We Fail and We Succeed

I totally failed yesterday. I missed it big time. I could’ve made a new friend and instead I introduced myself to a stranger and left her stranded.

We were at story time at the library and El was hungry, but I couldn’t resist smiling at a gorgeous young mum with a rounded belly and a little boy at her heels as we walked out the door.

“When are you due?” I asked and she glowed as she responded saying that she was 38 weeks, scheduled for a c-section in two weeks, but was feeling like it might need to be sooner, maybe even later that day!

My hands were full with library books, a chubby hand, and a hungry baby but I smiled in excitement and said, “OH! Congratulations! I hope it all goes well.”

Even though I was stepping toward the car, she wanted to know where my accent was from and tell me that she was Malaysian and had family in America and had only moved here two weeks ago but she’d be back at story time next week and would we be too?

I smiled and said I only knew one Malaysian in America and best wishes again with the baby and we have something next week but maybe the week after? We’d look forward to seeing her new little one.

It wasn’t until I was a couple of kilometeres down the road that I realised what she’d said. They only moved here two weeks ago. All her family was overseas. This was her first attempt to make friends. And she might be having her second baby… today.

All of the things I could’ve should’ve would’ve done flipped through my head. Sure, I’m busy changing the world, but I have time to make a meal or host a play date or just be the new friend on the other end of the phone!?

But I missed it. I wanted to drive back to the library and find her and tell her or do something but the moment was gone and so was she.

I’m sure I won’t be so quick to miss it next time.

And I’m glad that my good mate didn’t miss it.

Even as I was at the library, she was in a village in PNG and she too was meeting a new mum with a tiny baby. Only this mum had tuberculosis and couldn’t feed her baby. When mums in this part of the world can’t feed their babies they don’t run down to the store and pick up some formula. Either the women in the village help feed the baby… or the child dies.

The women weren’t helping. They were afraid they’d get TB. But my girl new better…

With her own gorgeous baby on board, she took time to express some of her milk to feed this tiny little one… and even helped the other women in the village learn to do it as well. So far, they are all helping to feed this tiny life.

Even as I kicked myself for my little oversight, I rejoiced in the beauty of my friend giving life in such a gorgeous way. We women can feel so stretched and pressured, or even insecure and unsure, but the reality is, we have SO much to offer one another. So glad i can share in the joy of my friend’s success and have a precious reminder to take up the opportunities as they come my way!

Newborn Baby Joel, the first patient on the YWAM ship for 2012! Photo courtesy of Anna Scott/YWAM Medical Ships

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Maybe Being a Mother IS the Gift

There have been some pretty funny pictures and jokes running around in light of Mother’s Day. My favorite was this one:

There seems to be this expectation of Mother’s Day. Maybe as the matriarchs of our families we traditionally plan the surprises, shop for the gifts, prepare the special meals, take the photographs and then (if you’re more on top of it than me) arrange those photos into beautiful albums to look back on. We are the memory makers. And maybe sometimes we want someone to make that memory for us

Or remind us we are special… Or just let us sleep in for the love of all things good and right.

I must admit that I’ve been struggling with these feelings and not just in light of Mother’s Day. I’ve sometimes felt jealous that Jared can leave the house whenever he wants without worrying that the baby will wake hungry. I am often covered in spit up, my cheeks wet with slobbery kisses, runny noses, sticky jam hands and I wonder, “When do I get a break?” and “How many hours has it been since there wasn’t another body touching me?

And while having a break, getting out with friends and being refreshed are all good and important things, I’ve been a little bothered by these things floating around in my heart because they haven’t come from a pure desire to live a healthy life. Its been about comparing and jealousy, holding on to my rights and trying to get what I “deserve”.

(Oh, I am so glad I don’t get what I deserve.)

In the lead up to this Mother’s Day I’ve been considering a lot as I am confronted with images and advertisements and funny (albeit cynical) pinterest photos appealing to this selfishness in me.  What do I want? Flowers? A massage? Sleep? Time to myself? The house cleaned? That bigger car we desperately need turning up in the carport?

And I realized… what I want is my kids and their daddy.

I want to walk on the beach and stop to watch the skydivers. I want to rock my baby to sleep while I listen to my toddler giggle with his daddy. I want to remember the day each of them came into my life and celebrate their latest milestones and relish in their clever sweetness.

My Mother’s Day started early this morning when my newborn girl woke up to eat. She snuggled in close to me, and I drank the feeling of her nearness, the sound of her swallows, and the warmth of her peaceful body.

And in the stillness that can only come in those early hours of the morning I was filled with gratitude to God. “This is it,” I whispered in my heart, “Perfectly, exhaustingly it. Being a mother is the gift.”

Best presents EVER.

Best presents EVER.

PS – Please know that I am all for pampering mamas on mothers day and I hope you were sufficiently blessed in many ways! I just wanted to share a different and very personal perspective to add to the mix this Mother’s Day.

Today I Changed the World.

The office was totally abuzz today. There were at least six different events happening, requiring everyone to be dressed to the tee and doing lots of different jobs.

I love that kind of a buzz. I love the adrenaline rush of remembering millions of details and trouble-shooting last minute anomalies. I love the feeling of being so exhausted you start to lose your voice, but knowing that it really is okay because in a few days you’ll get that sleep-in and in the mean time, there’s some world changing to be doing and when you hear about the results, it. feels. awesome.

I felt the buzz today, but I felt it around me instead of in me. And I loved it and it was contagious and it inspired me to a place of hope and rallying, but at the same time I knew I couldn’t take it all on. It wasn’t my turn.

My two babies don’t know what its like to run a major event. They just know what its like to build towers and drink milk and giggle.

I’ve found motherhood to be an ongoing transition. I’m guessing it will never ever stop being that. I’ve been told this is true.

Today was another transition.

Oh sure, I double-checked run sheets, and edited thank you notes, and trouble-shot printer troubles, but I did it with a baby on my chest, sitting on the ground, putting together a wooden train track.

I battled in my mind as I watched friends and coworkers I loved and admired doing a great job, but really feeling the load. Was I doing enough? Surely, surely I could take it on for them… help a little bit more.  But it wasn’t my day to carry that load.

So instead, today, I told a little boy that he was fun. Not because he needs to be affirmed but because in the bottom of my heart I think he is the most fun kid I’ve every been around and I love that he makes me laugh and I feel so special when I hear glorious giggles erupting from the bottom of his belly.

And I told him he was smart because seriously, the things he says these days absolutely blow me away and he does it with this cheeky grin because he knows he’s never said that word or sentence or even concept before and that I’m going to think he’s the bees knees when I hear it (and I do.)

And I told a little girl she was sweet because the girl will stare and stare and stare at you from across the room until you notice her and look at her and its like she was just waiting to melt you with this smile that is so deep and incredible that you think she must be more wise than any 9 week old that ever lived or maybe she just still remembers what it was like being knit together by the hands of God Himself because it feels like He’s just smiling right through her to the deep places in your soul.

And as I talked of funness and smartness and sweetness, I realised, I’m changing the world too. These little people… this is the foundation for them to become the world changers they are destined to be.

And I smiled. Because even though I adore the buzz, playing with trains and blocks is a pretty cool job to have too.

Lumps and Bumps

I got an email today with a scanned copy of a letter from a man who leads a remote village in Papua New Guinea. In broken English, he sent a request for help from our ship, listing out about 10 health problems the village are facing, the last of them being “lumps.”

As I read that, I swallowed a lump in my own throat.

I can picture the lumps. Strange growths like the man who had a tumour so big in his mouth it has started leaking through his cheek… for the past several years.

Giant, infectious lumps like this little girl’s

Lumps and bumps that never get diagnosed… and often claim lives.

And to me, its that extra bit of sad right now because my own baby has a little lump… that still isn’t gone.

I’m so grateful to live in a country where we have had adequate health care. And not just adequate, but nurses that remember him between visits and treat us like rock stars. Surgeons who spend an unlimited amount of time answering our questions. Doctors who come in just to listen because they’re all a little puzzled about what’s been going on…

It tells me they aren’t just doing their job but they actually care about our little boy.

We’ve followed up on Max’s surgery and they’re not happy with the way his wound has healed… or about the new lumps that have emerged. That said, its not bad enough to warrant surgery yet… and they are over trying antibiotics.

So we wait and we watch and we pray.

And while we’re okay (I mean, you can’t argue with the fact that he’s an adorable almost-18-month-old who runs around giggling and cracking us up for the better part of every day), we don’t like it. We want to know he’s healthy and forget about the scary words the doctors mention as possibilities.

So while we wait… and watch… and pray… we continue on with our life. And for us, continuing on means doing our best to help other peoples’ lumps go away… Recruiting doctors and nurses, fundraising, renovating ships, writing newspaper articles, planning strategically for the future…

Because just a couple of hours away is another mother, making dinner over an open fire outside her hut, who is not only wondering what that lump is on her little boy’s neck… but also knowing that she may never find out… and may face the very real possibility that he won’t be okay.

We believed our little Max would bring life to many… and he inspires us every day to do our best to do the same.

The Tiny Ways My Life Has Changed

My life has changed just a tiny bit in the past year:

1. Tiny spoons cluttering my cutlery drawer.

2. Tiny multi-coloured food cubes stacked in my freezer.

3. Tiny jeans hanging on my washing line.

4. Tiny shoes that walk (or stroll) along beside me.

5. Tiny cars brrm brrming around me.

Today, I’m especially grateful for this tiny thing.