We welcomed Sophia Elizabeth Whited into this world at 9:01am, Saturday, June 12th. She was only 7 lb .5 oz; and 20.5 inches long. She thought it was awfully comfy in mama's belly so decided to stay an extra 8 days in there. I even made her a cookie cake to entice her.
But when she came out it was love at first sight! Her delivery was miraculous considering how Chase was a c-section and we weren't sure if this would end in another c-section. I do remember holding her immediately after I gave birth and she had so much hair and her hands and feet were still purplish. She did have the cord wrapped around her neck and they did have some difficulty in getting her out, but it didn't take but 15-20 minutes of pushing and she was out.
Sophie- You are a people magnet! You have this magnetic smile and "I wanna just eat you up" cheeks. You are full of personality and you bring us so much laughter. You are your brother's BFF and we love hearing you make each other laugh. I can't wait to see what the years will bring! You have already stolen our hearts! We are grateful for God for you. If joy could be personified, it would be in your smile, twinkly eyes and curly locks.
This time last year, Brian and I went to the hospital ecstatic that we were going to add a girl to the mix of our family. We did what we could to prep Chase that he was going to have a sister and we even had a present waiting at the hospital for Chase to open "from baby sister." We were nervous about the VBAC because they are risky, but overall felt less anxiety than we did with having Chase. We didn't know what to expect since Chase's birth was via c-section. We had a crazy (hard from the get-go) kinda labor that defied all expectations. What do you mean by that, you might ask? Q:Labor slow at first and tolerable then worse towards the end, right?
A: Nope. Started out being more painful than it ended. Q:Did we have ANY of the doctors in the practice there? A: Nope. Happened to be the one day that all were gone and another doc was covering for that practice. Q: Was he convinced I was in labor when my contractions were doubling (a.k.a back to back) and I was vomiting so much I could transfer rooms or make it to the restroom? A: Nope. (The nurse was more than convinced... whew at least someone was on my side) Q: Did I give in to meds? A: Yup. I laid aside my pride at that point and said if the contractions are not doing what they are supposed to on their own, it's worth trying to at least relieve me from vomiting. Q: Did they work? A:Nope. Well, not originally. The Anesthesiologist was baffled ("this has never happened" he scoffed and we all had a big laugh actually at how he had to stick me twice. So the eventual answer is YES! AMAZINGLY! And thank you Jesus for that!) Q: Did the epidural make things slower (as I had feared) and make me feel worse (as many had warned)? A: Nope- in fact it made my contractions efficient (as in rather than just painful and back to back, they actually made my body respond accordingly). Q: Baby being 1 week and 1 day over must've come out bigger than Chase who was 3 weeks early? A: Nope. She still weighed less than Chase! Q: So, measuring petite even after going over 41 weeks made delivery easier? A: Nope. One would think so. Apparently when doctors make those comments about "you have childbearing hips" - they are not directed at me. Even my little 7 lber was a feat. But she survived! Her entry may have defied a lot of our logic (I'm such an ISTJ), but it was sure worth it! Thank you, God.
This isn't an exciting post. But it is one of honesty and of earnest wrestling with God's truth. I have felt emotionally overwhelmed the past several weeks. I'm not claiming to be going through anything more difficult than anyone else. Surely not. In fact, I know of people around me suffering and my heart does grieve for them. It grieves that I can't grieve more and give more of myself to bear with them in sorrow. It grieves as I'm coming to terms with my limitations as a human being and how I have to forgive myself and ask forgiveness daily.
I couldn't put a finger on why exactly I was so exhausted amidst everything happening. But now that I have time to reflect, I can see that it's just a lot to adjust to:
-memorial for my Aunt Joyce who passed away -visit from my cousins whom I haven't seen in ages -coordinating care and trying to encourage our dear friends who are waiting to bring their baby home from the NICU (http://waverlysjourney.blogspot.com/) -hosting our dear college friends and their 3 kiddos from the Eastern shores -Sophie's baptism -hosting Brian's parents and youngest sister -adjusting to the thought of two amazing friends moving!! (so sad Liz & Val. I'm fighting tears just thinking about it.) -applying, scheduling training to be a Zumba instructor at the Y (READ: asking myself how I am going to find "spare" time to choreograph 60 min. worth of Latin dance) -buying tickets to visit our friend Jon who is halfway across the world (this could be a whole blog in itself) -LOTS of dog maintenance (bathing, meds, using the Furminator, cleaning her eyes and vacuuming incessantly all of the hair and gunk that she carries on her) -Zoe's thumping habit which a) requires her to be put in the basement or b) us to revert back to the sleeping habits we had with a newborn baby! -working with Chase to sit through our church service (I can't remember the last time that I didn't leave 5 minutes into the service because of Sophie screeching or Chase revolting from being contained to a chair) -weaning Sophie -cleaning after every meal where Sophie wants to throw her bottle and all the food on her tray on the floor (She has a love/hate relationship with her nalgene sippy but whenever I giver her her bottle, she throws it until there's a pool of milk on the floor). -trying to referee my kids from fighting (yep this early! Sophie pulls hair and Chase knocks her over. Don't get me wrong they are each other's best friends the other 51% of the time...) -countless allergic reactions (I pretty much have unexplained rashes all season long... only this time the doctors can't blame it on pregnancy like they did in the past) -several trips to the doctors for the kids that leave me quarantined -Chase's newfound freedom with no gate on his door -learning to love my three year old and pray for patience when he wants to argue over everything (like telling me something is green that is blue just for the sake of arguing)
All this has been a reminder that nothing in this life will eternally satisfy. We weren't meant for suffering. We weren't meant for death. We weren't meant for this bitter fight with sin. With our own sin. And with other's. We weren't meant to feel like distorted images of God in a distorted world.We were meant for Paradise. We were meant for uninterrupted communion with the One who created us. We were meant to reflect His glory in all it's entirety. I've been reading Alcorn's book "Heaven." I have gone to bed earlier in the past few weeks than ever--even during past pregnancy. The irony is that I have been reading and re-reading the same pages over and over. I find myself falling asleep. (Partly due to the combination of the exhaustion and the occasional glass of wine. But the other part is due to the overwhelmingness of what I'm reading.) I'm not falling asleep because heaven is boring. Nope! Just the opposite. The profundity of what I'm reading is almost too much to take in. Do we realize that everything in us longs for perfection? Every way we strive at our jobs, in our marriage, in our parenting, even in our yardwork seeks to redeem what is imperfect. And boy are those weeds a reminder of my need for sanctification! The good thing is that this redemption isn't another "work." It isn't another thing on our to do list. It's in us to want to "better" things. But by the grace of God, He is the one that uses us in the process of redemption.
Tozer wrote in The Knowledge of the Holy that "what comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. " (1) He points out how imperative it is that we determine our view of God because that will affect the way we live both here and for eternity.
Not only does our view of God reflect shape our beliefs, but also our view of eternity. Tozer comments on how even Christians fail to have an eternal perspective: "The church is constantly being tempted to accept this world as her home... but if she is wise she will consider that she stands in the valley between the mountain peaks of eternity past and eternity to come...Even if the earth should continue a million years not one of us could stay to enjoy it. We do well to think of the long tomorrow."
It's very true that we (I, confessedly) lose perspective. What we are used to becomes our home rather than what we know deep down to be true. Do we view heaven as our home? Do we view ourselves as strangers in a land where we temporarily live while our true identity and citizenship is in heaven? (Phil 3:20) As I am reading this book, I am convicted of how little I actually stop and reflect and question what Heaven will be like.
Alcorn brings up a good point. "We tend to start with Earth and reason upward toward Heaven, when instead we should start with Heaven and reason down toward Earth. It isn't merely an accommodation to our earthly familial structure, for instance, that God calls himself a father and us children. On the contrary, He created father-child relationships to display His relationship with us, just as He created human marriage to reveal the love relationship between Christ and His bride (Eph 5:32)" In other words, these analogies (like God being our father) don't exist because it was the closest thing God could find to us understanding them so He decided to use an earthly relationship to help us get it. Rather, these relationships first existed in the heavenly realm and what we see on Earth is a shadow of the original, not the other way around. Our sonship without our Father existed before any parenting on earth existed. God didn't think it novel as he watched us parent and then claim Himself our Father after seeing how parent/child relationships were on Earth. HE is our Father and he created us be parents as a shadow of the original.
This brings me to why our needs here on earth are not sufficiently met in any job, status, relationship, amount of money. I've felt the pangs of that recently. And that is on purpose. It's not God being cruel to us. He doesn't create in us a desire He can't fulfill. Rather, God wants us to desire Him more than any other thing on this earth. More than being the perfect worker at our job (or in my case, parent...unless you count Zumba and I can promise you I'm far from being the perfect Zumba instructor. Ha! Ha!) More than being the perfect spouse. More than being relationally respected. More than being a servant in the community. More than having a perfect record of remembering birthdays. More than being the healthiest person who eats all organic and looks 20 years younger than everyone around them. More than being a "moral" person.
I have recently read and re-read Mason's book The Mystery of Marriage. It is by far one of the best reads EVER! My heart "AMENS!" his statement: “It is an enormous source of human frustration that our need for intimacy far outstrips its capacity to be met in other people. Primarily what keeps us separate is our sin, but there is also another factor, which is that in each one of us the holiest and neediest and most sensitive place of all has been made and is reserved for God alone, so that only He can enter there. No one else can love us as He does, and no one can be the sort of Friend to us that He is.” (41)
It is hard for us to imagine one person fulfilling all of our needs. Society tells us that thing fulfilling us should be our spouse, or our job, or our role as a parent, etc. etc. And if we don't feel fulfilled as a married person, or as a parent, or church-goer, or as a wage-earner than we should feel very guilty. But do we stop and think that maybe, JUST MAYBE, the One who created us to have all of these needs will be the one to fill them? And being with that One for ETERNITY won't look like disembodied spirits sitting in eternal church-services yawning away at the worship services. We will have the same souls but redeemed bodies that really live and take in the beauty of Heaven. Doesn't the thought of a new body alone just fascinate you? I'm SOLD right there. We will have emotions and have rich relationships that aren't hindered by sin. That means no feelings of guilt, insecurity, envy, hatred, dread, etc. We will have emotions but they will reflect His glory. That will be more glorious than we can fathom. That will be....well..... heavenly!