Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Life Goes On

In the midst of newborn craziness, life goes on. A few Saturdays back, our mission group took over a bowling alley for the most chaotic bowling experience you've ever seen. Kids far outnumbered adults.

After bowling, we moved the party to Dairy Queen where our kids laughed and laughed and ate ice cream way too close to bedtime and sang Taylor Swift songs a little too loud.

We are so blessed by these people - even the Beaver fans!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What's in a Name: Morrow Isaiah Edition

Four weeks ago, our hearts were bursting with joy as we welcomed baby Morrow Isaiah into the world and into our family. Joy. Pure joy. When we were walking through some of our darkest days, I clung to God's promises with every ounce of my soul. One of those promises is found in Psalm 30:5 that "weeping may tarry for a night, but joy comes in the morning." In the midst of many tears, I was trusting Jesus that joy was truly going to come.

Another way of saying "morning" is "morrow," as found in one of our all time favorite devotionals, Charles Spurgeon's classic "Morning and Evening." The morning devotional for May 13 is based on Psalm 30:5 and beautifully explains our heart in choosing Morrow's name:

Christian! If thou art in a night of trial, think of the morrow; cheer up thy heart with the thought of the coming of thy Lord. Be patient, for

"Lo! He comes with clouds descending." 

Be patient! The Husbandman waits until He reaps His harvest. Be patient; for you know who has said, "Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be." If you are never so wretched now, remember

"A few more rolling suns, at most,
Will land thee on fair Canaan's coast."

Thy head may be crowned with thorny troubles now, but it shall wear a starry crown ere long; thy hand may be filled with cares-it shall sweep the strings of the harp of heaven soon. Thy garments may be soiled with dust now; they shall be white by-and-by. Wait a little longer. Ah! how despicable our troubles and trials will seem when we look back upon them! Looking at them here in the prospect, they seem immense; but when we get to heaven we shall then

"With transporting joys recount,
The labours of our feet."

Our trials will then seem light and momentary afflictions. Let us go on boldly; if the night be never so dark, the morning cometh, which is more than they can say who are shut up in the darkness of hell. Do you know what it is thus to live on the future-to live on expectation-to antedate heaven? Happy believer, to have so sure, so comforting a hope. It may be all dark now, but it will soon be light; it may be all trial now, but it will soon be all happiness. What matters it though "weeping may endure for a night," when "joy cometh in the morning?"

During my "night," I was in the midst of the Bible Study Fellowship study of Isaiah. Isaiah's beautiful prophecy, full of God's promises to His people, carried me through dark hours and breathed new life into my downcast soul. Further, Isaiah means "God saves," and God Himself saved us from the night. We could think of no better middle name for Morrow than the name of God's faithful servant, Isaiah. Welcome Baby Morrow. Sweet baby, you are a tangible expression to us of Jesus's salvation, redemption and joy.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

We Made It

Tomorrow marks four weeks since we welcomed Morrow into our family. Wow. I had intended to blog more. Just so that I'd have some way to document our life with four kids, to be able to look back on someday when the delirium of sleep deprivation has worn off. But, the days have flown by in a seemingly endless series of that three-hour cycle. Eat. Awake. Sleep. The last four weeks have seemed like an eternity. And yet, at the same time, they have seemed like just one day.

My house looks like a tornado hit it. A tornado named Jameson who blows through while I'm stuck on the couch feeding a baby, unable to stop his path of destruction. Did you know that in a matter of 15 minutes, a two-year-old can open a cupboard, pull out every board game we own, and dump out every single piece into one big pile. He can also pull out every DVD case. Or every book. Or every toy in the toy bin. Phew. 

Jameson eating cheese on the floor surrounded by the pots and pans he pulled out

I also have no less than four loads of laundry to fold. I have two loads of folded laundry that need to be put away. I have another load of clothes that needs to be washed. And a load of sheets that need to be washed after a certain newborn pooped on our bed in the middle of the night, in the two seconds that a diaper was not secured. 

My kids' suitcase, that they took to their grandparents' house while I was in the hospital, is still sitting at the bottom of the stairs. Half-full. Don't trip on it as you walk into our house. I systematically empty it when I need clothes for them and we happen to be downstairs. 

There is a stack of thank you notes that need to be written. There is a box of baby announcements that need to be addressed and stuffed into envelopes. There are newborn baby pictures that need to be ordered. (Sorry Daveen - I promise I'll get to it). 

Seriously. It's wild. And, I don't know when all of it is going to get done. 

But, everyone is happy. Oh .... we had our share of tears this week - the kids' and mine. I've snapped and apologized. There have been a few rough moments. A few temper tantrums. Everyone has had to adjust. But!! We made it through our first week without Eric being home. And we didn't just scrape by. God showed up with abundant blessing throughout the whole week. 

Jameson on the carousel with Gram today to celebrate that we made it through the week! 

Sweet Eliza refuses to ride on a horse that moves, so she continues to ride on this little one every time we go!

Both of my younger boys are asleep at the same time (a blessing in itself). My older two are having "quiet time." And, I could sleep. Or I could take care of something off that list I just rattled off. But, I really need to stop and build an altar. Like Jacob did in Genesis. In Genesis 32, Jacob was afraid of his brother, Esau. Many years before, Jacob had deceived Esau and stolen his birthright and his blessing.  Because of Esau's anger, Jacob had been forced to flee his home. Now, returning home, Jacob feared what Esau would do to him. In his distress, Jacob called out to God for help, and reminded God of the promises He had made to Jacob. And God showed up and changed Esau's heart toward Jacob. So, Jacob built an altar to "the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone." (Genesis 35:3)

Last week, I was terrified at the prospect of being at home by myself with four kids. I'm not sure what exactly I thought was going to happen. Maybe I was afraid of kids melting down. Maybe I was afraid of me melting down. Or the house burning down? I don't know. But I was distressed. And I was crying a lot. So, I called out to God in my distress and recalled the promises that God has made to me in Scripture. 

God showed up. He answered me in my distress. And He proved He will continue to be with me wherever I go. Even into my first week as a mom on my own with four kids. Now I feel like I need to stop and make a written "altar" to who He is. 

Over the past couple of years, the Lord has impressed on my heart to be honest, to be an open book with my life. To be transparent - a word that used to scare the heck out of me. On Sunday, our first week back at church with Morrow, I didn't even try to hide my tears at church. I figured, if I cry then I cry. If I have to admit that I'm freaked out, then I'll admit it. When people have asked how I'm doing, I've been honest (a novel idea) and said I am good, we love this baby, but I am crying a lot. 

Transparency has been a huge blessing. Because Monday morning, I had friends, friends and more friends getting in touch to say that they were praying for my week. One friend dropped off some treats on my doorstep. Others left a voicemail checking in. My mother-in-law took Eliza to dance class for me. And my sister-in-law took Marshall to Bible study. In the midst of the hectic pace that four kids brings, I didn't feel so alone. Even though I didn't have time to chat with everyone  anyone or to even text everyone back, it was comforting knowing that I had community around me who knew how I was really doing. God showed up through the community of believers that He has built around our family.

Also on Sunday morning, as I told a friend that I'm struggling some, she mentioned a book that she had been reading, My Name is Hope: Anxiety, Depression, and Life after Melancholy, written by John Mark Comer (the pastor of Solid Rock Church in Portland). I downloaded it to my Kindle and started reading it on Sunday night, in the dark quiet of late night baby feeding. 

God used John Mark's description of taking every thought captive to speak to me. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says we are to "take every thought captive to obey Christ." I've heard those words so many times. But, I needed those words to fall afresh on me this week so I would apply them once again, now to my life as a new mom of four.  At 9:00 am, when I started to worry about how I was going to make it to 5:00pm, I shut down those worries. I focused on the task at hand instead. I asked the Lord to be with me right in that moment. Dealing with a temper tantrum, helping Marshall with math, changing a diaper, feeding a baby, being the referee in the older kids' argument. (Maybe all of the above at the same time?). And I had peace. I loved these words from John Mark's book: "The reality is God is your Father. You are his child. You will be okay. You just need to trust him." 

You are his child. You will be okay. Those two sentences have come to mind often through the craziness all week. 

Praise Jesus for reminding me that prayer and the Word meant that peace could guard my heart. Peace was not the absence of conflict of this week. Rather, I had "complete peace right in the middle of the chaos and the noise and the traffic of life." (Quote from John Mark's book). Peace and joy that came only by plodding through the day, by God's grace, with prayer and the Word. Just as the Israelites had just enough manna to get through each day - no more and no less - God provided enough of whatever I needed just to get through each moment. And, you know, it led to a harvest of abundant joy. 

So, the laundry and the mess and the tasks have waited while I've written this down today. But, memories fade, and I want to remember that this week God proved Himself to be the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

We Welcome with Joy . . .

We welcomed baby Morrow Isaiah Compton to our family at 8:39am on March 10, 2013.

Morrow tipped the baby scales at 9 lbs, 4 oz and was 21.5 inches long. We were shocked at how big he was! He was my easiest c-section. Quickest, least painful spinal. Fastest surgery. One sweet baby. More to come soon (or as sleep and four kiddos allow!) . . .