I have been struggling to hear the Lord's voice lately. Our new life is so busily occupied in so many areas that I have to remove myself from the mayhem sometimes to simply hear my own thoughts. Jim and I spent a good portion of our time away this weekend discussing our new blended family. It's funny because we have gotten into making fruit smoothies at our house lately and are on the hunt for the perfect blender. Our mediocre Cuisanart blender performs sub-par; sometimes the finished product is smooth but sometimes it is full of unblended chunks. Jim and I are growing (sometimes easily and sometimes painfully) into the new type of spouses and parents we need to be, letting ourselves be blended by the Lord. The kids are learning how to be parented by and be siblings to someone new. Christ is by far superior to our kitchen appliance. The difference is He lets us stay unbroken and stubborn if we do not submit to His ways of refinining. We have to give in to His hand smoothing us.
I have joked about the twins sending me into therapy but at times there is more truth behind that statement than I would like to think. They are my challenge. They always have been. Bless their little hearts. Their conception came along in the middle of a very busy life and at the end of a string of 3 pre-existing stairstep-age children. I have gone back over the journey to getting pregnant and having them. When Troy and I began discussing getting pregnant again we knew having 4 small children would be taxing but we had seen many of our other friends do it and knew that our family would feel crowded but would feel complete. I remember just weeks after I took the pregnancy test Troy looked over at me when I was changing clothes and he made the simple statement, "I think you are having twins. You are getting bigger sooner and I just think that would be the craziest thing in the world that could happen since we are out of time, space, money and energy already." I promptly told him he was the crazy one! He never gave up his thought of my pregnancy being twins. I truly think the Lord just decided to prepare one of us and picked Troy. Because the day we went to the ultrasound, I was the one who was shocked and crying uncontrollably when the technician announced the news "IT"S TWINS!". Troy just smiled calmly and smugly said, "See, I'm always right." That was the beginning. Then followed a difficult pregnancy, 5 weeks of bedrest and a C-section. And those were the easy parts! ha. We were so thankful that none of the many complications that can come with multiples happened to ours. But, once those two little girlies showed up our lives got turned upside down. Round the clock feedings and diapers mixed in with three other children's schedules and needs. On top of that Troy was busy being an executive aid and preparing to deploy to war. It was ALOT to say the least. We had a lot of help those first few months and we were thankful for that. Then when the twins were six months old, Troy said good-bye to his new baby girls. We thought it would be until they were 10-11 months old but shortly realized 6 months was all they would ever know this man that was their daddy. The other day they were looking at this snowglobe we have with Troy's picture in it. They said, "Look at the boy!". It broke my heart that they had no idea who he was. I know someday they will look at pictures of him and know who he was but what crushed me they will never KNOW who was. Does that make sense? I was saddened to find we had taken very few pictures of him with either Aspen or Annalise. We were just too busy for many photo ops. And there was always later....I thought.
After Troy was gone, life simply came down to survival. My own and all the childrens'. Most people knew how to take care of babies and that seemed to be the best solution was to give the twins over into other hands, more capable than my own. Many sweet folks met their tremendous needs. I simply couldn't do it. I remember locking myself in my room when they would be crying because the exhaustion and emotions I felt rendered me unable to care what their needs were. I have always loved them but having two tiny babies, on top of the other kids, and losing Troy about killed me. I was always a baby-lover. Just couldn't get enough of 'em. But tragedy changes who we were before. I remember my grief counselor telling me I not only suffered from post-tramautic stress syndrome but from post-partum despression and delayed bonding. I saw those twin girls as the mountain too high to climb at that moment. I took care of them when I could but my hands often got tired of hanging on to everything so, sometimes, the twins had to be the thing I let go of. Praise the Lord for Becky, the Engrams, my family and friends and Jess. They loved on those girlies like you wouldn't believe. I hope someday I can share with the twins how deeply these people invested into their little souls when their mommy could not.
Now, it is time for Jim and I to invest in them. They are not making it easy right now for us. I have never had such demanding or whiny or strong-willed children before- much less two of the same age at the same time. So parenting them is much like embarking on a new frontier. There are powers in numbers and I think they know they outnumber me. ha. Boston, who has always had the patience of Job, said yesterday, "Mom, everyone thinks the twins are so cute but no one knows what they are really like at home." You would think I would have laughed but I really just commiserated with him. They are in a very willful and difficult stage right now. And because of the past hurts and the current winds of drastic change, all of our patience is running a little thin. So I just told him I knew how he felt and this season will pass and we will enjoy them more.
The twins and I are working on bonding with each other. They need to know they can trust me and I need to trust God that He gave them to me, at such a horrible time, for some amazing reason. And that He will give me the strength I need for each new day. I have come to my poor mother, defeated and discouraged with how the process with the twins is coming along. That is when she read Jim and I that passage from Streams in the Desert that Jim quoted in his last blog. I cried when she read the line:
"I longed to leave the commom daily toil,
Where no one seemed to care."
But Jesus said, "I choose for you this soil
that you might raise for Me some blossoms rare."
I think that might be my next tattoo. Just joking. Maybe I will paint it on the wall of our home instead. Aspen and Annalise are my blossoms rare. Just look at these blond haired, blue-eyed, looking nothing like me or Troy, identical twin girls that came along, shockingly, in the midst of the most unthinkably horrible circumstances. And now Jim, who could have grandchildren of his own at their age, has been chosen to love, nuture and father them. The whole thing is just so, well, RARE....
The longer I live I see my God specializes in the RARE. Much like that green leafy vine growing through the layers of hard black volacanic lava rock(see Jim's blog pics from his March trip to Hawaii), He likes to work miracles in the most unlikely of places.