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DysFUNctional

by Darlene Schacht


In this modern world where chaos is the norm, Darlene's goal for her family is not one of perfection, but rather it's one of direction as they are lead by the Father--enjoying every step of the way. Read Darlene's column each month, as she puts the "fun" in dysFUNctional

She is a quirky forty-something-year-old Christian mother of four whose children range in ages from four to fourteen. She and her husband Michael live in Manitoba, Canada where they run a growing company that empowers writers to self-publish.

Darlene has written over a hundred humorous short stories, some of which have been published in
Winnipeg—The Lance, The Herald, The Metro, and the Times, and both in print and online at Emphasis on Moms. She is currently the editor and founder of Christian Women Online, and the author of the newly released book, "The Mom Complex."

In addition to this monthly column, Darlene can be found at CWO's team blog 'The Internet Cafe,' or at her website, darleneschacht.com

Email Darlene

Check out Darlene's book:

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I Am Your Servant
Darlene Schacht, August 2007

I had just walked in the door after managing to dodge the heavy rainfall. It felt good to be home, warm and dry. The crazy morning had me on the run, and I was finally ready to sit back, dig into email, and put my painted toes on a chair. The phone rang.

I don't know exactly what prompted me, but in that moment it took to pick up the phone, I made a covenant with myself... Whoever is on the phone, is going to receive my full attention and care. I'm taking this moment out of my life just for them, for in serving others, I'm serving God.

It was my teenaged son. "Mom, you probably don't want this call right now, but it's raining, and I wondered if you could pick me up. Sorry to bother you," he said.

I had a choice to make--either I could lecture this kid on how I just passed by him 15 minutes ago, but didn't stop because he told me not to, or I could stick with the plan, honor the covenant, and be a servant. Life is good when you stick with the plan--amen?

"Not at all!" I said, "You're not a bother. I'd love to pick you up--where are you right now?"

I think the boy must have fallen over, which is a long way to go since he's six feet tall, but if so, he managed to pick himself up off of the floor to tell me he'd be at the corner in ten minutes.

He made apologies when he got in the car about how he should have told me to pick him up in the first place, how he could have taken the bus in the rain, how he would try to come up with a better plan next time... Things he expected me to say.

"Don't worry about it," I assured him, "I'm happy to spend this time with you." And I was.

The rain poured down quenching our thirsty land, as the Spirit moved, quenching my thirsty soul that had been dry far too long. It felt good to be living my purpose.

This little covenant, got me thinking... Since I practiced it yesterday, it served as a constant reminder today to put others first, I mean really put them first, by taking that "moment" out of my life to warm someone elses. To be a servant for the Lord.

For it was the Lord Himself that rose from the table, removed His robe, then reflecting His impending death through the act of a servant, knelt to wash His desciples feet. We too can reflect His death by becoming one with Him in servanthood, as daily we give our lives one to another.

Yesterday it was an inconvenient ride in the rain; today I was called to patient understanding in miscommunication ... And what will you require of me tomorrow Lord? May I be ever ready to serve you. I am your servant.

"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ." ~ Colossians 3:23, 24

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Don't Waste the Rain
Darlene Schacht, July 2007

When life gets difficult and darkness sets in like a stain on my soul, I’m reminded of days like these…

Standing between the sun and I, was a wall of darkness, so thick, so intimidating, and so full of beauty it demanded my time.

I stood on the edge of the curb, calling the boys to my side “Look at the rain,” I said, pointing west, “you can see it falling only miles away.”

My other two children were at school learning from books—we were at home learning from God. Together we watched in awe. There was beauty in that moment while the earth was still and dark, we stood in silence with the rest of our world in that calm before the storm.

For a time there was nothing but silence, as though nature itself was hushed in the presence of God. Breaking that silence, a rumble was heard in the distance announcing a power greater than man. We waited and watched until the wind swept through to rush us inside.

Through the tip tap of the rain on the window, I witnessed our tent bobbing along through the grass, banging against the fence and the swing set, trying to find its place in the storm--but finding no rest. Not wanting to waste a minute of the rain, I slid open the glass door.

“Boys, come feel the rain,” I called from the kitchen.

Together we stood at the door with our hands reaching out--feeling the rain, smelling its fragrance, and listening while the tip tap of its rhythm grew stronger. As the rain poured down, I planted seeds and watered their souls with the Word, bringing it down to their level of understanding, and up to their level of faith. Revealing the magnificent power of God revealed in creation.

Soon it was over, the sun had broken through once again, and we were headed outside. Somewhere over our house, I knew that there was a rainbow to find.

Don’t waste the rain in search of a rainbow. When storms blow in, wait in silence--hushed in the presence of God. Listen to the sound of His voice announcing a power greater than man. Feel the rain on your outstretched hands as you breathe in His fragrance, knowing that the sun will break through, once again…

“Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof... Be still and know that I am God.” ~ Psalm 46:2,3 & 10

 

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The House
on Curious Hill

Darlene Schacht, June 2007

I take after my father in so many ways—we’re fussy, we’re short, we're...well...adorable, and above all, we’re extremely curious people. So when we heard that the vacant cabin in the nearby woods, with the eerie reputation, was "off limits" to campers, we made plans to go out for a walk...

Unaware that this was more than your usual nature walk, my husband tagged along with our daughter Maddy, and the four of us walked up the hill toward the woods. About five minutes into the walk, hints started dropping like cash at a yard sale. “Did you hear about the vacant house, Mike?” I asked veering off the path.

“Yeah, I heard about it.” Michael said, grabbing Maddy’s hand who was trailing behind.

“I wonder where that house is that they were talking about?” my father asked, pushing brush aside.

“It has to be this way,” I said, stepping deeper into the forest, “I wonder what’s beyond the woods over there?”

“I think we should check it out; I see a path through those trees.” Dad said, marking a path in the air with his finger.

Before my husband knew it, he was captured in our trap, surrounded by bush, deep in the woods, still holding the hand of our daughter, “Oh brother, you two are so curious, you’re looking for that house aren’t you?!” He said, “I think we should get back, there’s nothing out here but a bunch of bugs and bushes.”

Adrenaline pumped through my body, like drums in the jungles of Africa--urging and pressing me to go a bit further. My seventy-five-year-old father was scaling rocks climbing steep hills and pulling himself through waist high bush in search of danger. We weren’t about to let Michael slow us down.

We finally reached the top of a steep hill, where, in the midst of nothingness, nailed to a barbed wire fence, was a sign, inviting us in. The words “Enter at Your Own Risk” beckoned me to come forward. So without hesitation, my father and I did. Forcing the barbwire down, we scraped ourselves over while my husband and daughter safely remained on the other side.

I cowered behind Dad every step of the way down the steep hill, wondering what the risk could possibly be. We were sure they just put that sign there to scare away riff-raff. No one would mind if my father and I tiptoed through to sneak just a peek--would they? Nah.

At the bottom of the hill Dad came to an abrupt stop; my jaw dropped. An enourmous tree was swaying before us, and something was making it sway. Frozen in fear for a second, I wondered how something so large could be moving so close. Did it have teeth? Was it angry? Did it gobble up campers and spit out their Nikes?

Before I had time to find out, Dad was running past me like Mom was after his wallet. Jumping and flailing his arms, he hollered, “You’re on your own!”

I didn’t know it was humanly possible for a seventy-five-year-old man to run that fast, jump that high, or abandon his daughter so quickly, but I did know it was time I got out of there too, before it spit out my shoes.

I decided to scale the barbwire fence instead of taking a trek up the hill, so I scraped and scratched my stomach wiggling over the thorny metal edge. My heart was pumping, Dad was jumping; he was flailing, I was scaling, until finally we reached safety.

From the other side of the barbwire, we looked back to determine what monster lay behind the swaying of trees. What we saw was nothing but a herd of cows standing in the woods staring at us, their tired eyes saying, “Moooooove on.”

On the walk home, we laughed and we laughed. Holding our stomachs, we laughed even more. I remember lying in bed, listening to the sudden bursting of giggles that streamed from my parents bedroom that night.

We never did uncover the mysterious cabin that day, but we did uncover a memory that would warm us forever.

Someone once said "curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning," and I believe that God has given us curiosity to grow mentally, and spiritually. I’ve observed this in my father, over the course of several years. It's had him running from cows a few times, but it's also had him running toword God as he's sought after Him with all of his heart--curious to learn the deeper things of his Lord.

Although the forest before him seemed hopeless at times, he continued to press on in search of the path he knew that God was clearing ahead. Sometimes he couldn’t see the path for the brush beneath his feet, but he walked on in faith, climbing hills and wading through bush.

A few times each year, he'll say, "I just finished reading the Bible again, and you know what I found?..." With each word he reads, He's in search of His Savior and the promise He holds for tomorrow.

I've heard there's a mansion just over the hilltop, and I wonder... Are you curious enough to go looking for it?

"When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed." ~Jeremiah 29:12-13, The Message

 

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Messy Faces in
Divine Places

Darlene Schacht, May 2007

Have you ever heard the one about the woman who walked into a restaurant with a priest, a piglet, a rich man, and a child who could out-eat ten sumo wrestlers? You probably haven’t—unless you’ve stepped out for dinner with my family, the party of six.

Our two middle children each received a gift certificate through the book-reading program at school. To qualify for the award, each child had to read twenty books. Maddy read the required twenty and happily claimed her prize, while six-year-old Graham read eight, then held out his hand to the teacher to draw her in with the magnetic force of his charm. His eyes peered out from behind thick lenses, like an orphaned boy begging for one more bowl of porridge. Caught in his snare, the teacher placed the unearned prize in his tiny little hand.

Brown paper covered the tables in place of a fancy tablecloth, while the head of a deer with oversized antlers hung above our table in place of class. In place of a vase sat a cup of broken crayons, which came in handy when sometime after the drinks were served, I scribbled, “Help!” The six of us squeezed shoulder to shoulder into a booth that comfortably sits four. Each time a waiter rushed by, our jackets swung back and forth on the horseshoe from which they hung, like a pendulum thumping the back of my head. Trapped in a coo-coo clock, I waited for the hour to end.

I began reflecting on the days before kids, when tablecloths were white and dinner conversation didn’t consist of, “Oh honey, Nathaniel hasn’t been wiping again, and since he wears his pants inside-out with bum to the front, I think you’ll understand why the neighbor pulled me aside today.”

I also got to thinking about the days before kids, when a flickering candle gently lit up our space. Together we whispered sweet words of undying love. But that was the past, and now four children were present, competing to make their mark on the world.

No child makes his mark quite like our son Graham, who at some point in his six-year career as a boy morphed into a two-foot tall Billy Graham. Billy Boy Graham nearly had the restaurant staff singing "Just As I Am," while the customers walked through the aisle toward our table with all other heads bowed and eyes closed. Our entire time in the restaurant, Graham talked about Jesus and Satan:

“Dad, does Jesus walk the earth?” He asked.

“Yes.”

“Is He inside me?”

“Yes.”

“Does Satan walk the earth?”

“Yes.”

“Is he inside me?”

“No.”

He thought for a moment, “What do people do in hell?”

“They just burn forever and ever.”

Again, he asked, “Why do we have to do what Jesus said, just ‘cause He died on the cross?”

Dad tried to change the subject, “Can we talk about this later?”

Then very loudly, Graham calls out, “Whoever loves Jesus, put up your hand! Mom, don’t you love Jesus? Put up your hand!”

“Graham, no more of putting up hands in the restaurant OK? Yes, I love Jesus. Brendan how was school today?”

“Whoever doesn’t love Satan, put up your hand!”

“Graham, no more putting up hands, OK?” I yanked down his hand.

“You know who I love best in the world, Dad?”

“Who?”

“Jesus.”

Meanwhile, four-year-old Nathaniel ate sour cream with his fingers while Maddy picked fries off the floor and Brendan the teenaged eating machine surveyed the dessert menu. When he enters a restaurant, Brendan expects the full meal deal served on a silver platter. “How much is the sky high chocolate pie, Mom?” he asked.

“Seven-fifty I think. It’s expensive.”

“OK, I’ll have that next, and I need a refill on this drink.”

The way he sees it, money is no object until Mom and Dad start to object.

In stark contrast, Maddy sits in her spot and eats whatever is passed down to her: tomatoes, a chili fry, chunks of chicken, even the sour cream from Nathaniel’s fingers, if that’s all she can get her hands on. My daughter will eat until her eyes leak, and still want more. I know better than to ask my husband, “Do you want some of my meatloaf?” Because Maddy will start hopping up and down in her seat yelling, “I’ll have it.” And then a fist fight will breakout with her brothers, and she’ll win.

Ninety minutes and fifty dollars later we dragged the kids out with a crowd of sorrowful eyes watching us leave. Nathaniel became a walking sheet of fly paper—plastered in sour cream, salsa, and ice cream. We were careful not to brush Fly-Boy against anything on the way out, including small children that could have been dragged to the car by his cheek.

Twenty seconds passed and then a little voice from the back seat started up again, “Dad, why is Satan inside me?”

“Satan is not inside you, I told you that. Jesus is inside you.”

“No, you said Satan is inside us.”

“No, I didn’t.”

With that, Graham started again, “Whoever believes Dad, put up your hand!”

We arrived at home late, and before long, it was time to wash each messy face and tuck each little soul into bed. After tenderly kissing their foreheads good night, I reflected on the days before kids, when tablecloths were white and flickering candles lit up our space...Small hands never reached up for mine in the market, little lips didn’t press a kiss on my cheek, but most importantly, the day didn’t end with a tug on my heart and a child whispering, “I love you, Mommy; good night.”

I look at my children in awe of the gifts God sent my way, and how much He has abundantly blessed me today. I don’t want to look back on what was, or focus on what is to come. God has set my feet upon the path of motherhood, and with each step I take, I see a little more of His blessings unfurled. It’s when I discover that I’m right where He wants me to be; I see how He’s blessing me with messy faces in divine places.

I agree with Solomon’s wisdom when he wrote:

"Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy…
Oh how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!"

~ Psalm 127:3,5, The Message

 

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Therein is Life
Darlene Schacht, April 2007

I tiptoed my way toward the teddy bear crib hoping to steal one last look before going to sleep. Crumpled up in his bed like a kitten slept the little man who was placed in my care. This baby, though only a few months old had already been through the valley of the shadow of death, but by the grace of God he lives—by the stripes of our Savior he’s healed. With such a marvelous glory before me I couldn’t help but to brush his cheek with my hand before leaving.

Standing outside in the hall, I looked down at the palm of my hand, still feeling his warmth. This hand was a familiar one that I had seen somewhere before—adorned with a simple wedding band, marked with a touch of arthritis, and clothed with lines and creases liken to roads of years traveled—what I recognized were the hands of a mother.

A vintage suitcase marked with stamps collected through journeys, my hands have traveled to far away places. Now bursting with riches they can hardly contain, these hands hold a treasure of memories locked deep inside.

They held my own mother’s arms that pulled up my trousers, while I felt the warmth of her breath on my neck. They curiously turned the handle to peer at my father while he undressed for the shower—yes, the same hand that stifled a giggle as I ran from his voice. They held their first cup of milk careful to not spill a drop, and later their first glass of Coke as the bubbles jumped from the cup.

My hands have waved high in the air, hoping that one would be seen and be heard. They’ve held the hands of fair maidens in the kingdom of friendship. They held the hand of new love, and took another in marriage. They’ve placed coins in the hands of the poor, and received coin when times have been rough. They’ve felt the coldness of death and the warmth of a newborn’s first grasp. They’ve reached out in the dark to give and get love.

They’ve pushed the back of a swing that soared through the air, and tied the laces on skates making sure that each leg was tight. They’ve learned to hold on and let go.

Then I see a different pair of hands, but unlike mine, they’ve been scarred from the journey. These hands have held his mothers arms as he felt the warmth of her breath on his neck. They’ve been used to stifle a giggle and place coins in the hand of the poor. They’ve held hands of royal princes in the kingdom of God. They’ve reached out in the dark to give love, and bring life. They felt the coldness of death and the power of life. These hands are familiar ones that I can only imagine to see—the hands of a Savior—my Jesus.

My little man, Graham is seven years old now. Living and breathing against all the odds. I have seen him so near to death that a team of doctors rushed to his crib late at night, and the same child so near to the glory of God that his face reflected the light.

Therein lies the power of life—in the hands of a Savior—my Jesus.

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

 

 

__________________________________________

Inertia
Darlene Schacht, March 2007

Newton’s famous law of “inertia” states that an object at rest will stay at rest and an object in motion will stay in motion unless an outside force is brought to bear upon it.

It’s for this reason that when we make our minds up to do something, the end result is most often an outcome of failure.

There is only one way to achieve real success in our lives, and that is when the changes we make are anchored in the will of God, and when the love for God becomes the driving force in our lives. Romans 12:1-2 is life changing, and key to success in your life. It reads:

“I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God".

We all have goals. For me--being a good wife and mother, having self control, and keeping a well managed home are the things that I hope for. Losing a few extra pounds--well that's always nice too. The good thing is that they're all possible goals to achieve when God leads the way.

The force that brings us out of this state of inertia is the lane switch we take when we stop following our own way of thinking, and start following God—the renewing of our minds, or what is also known as “walking after the Spirit”

How do I know that God’s ways will be better than my ways? Because I trust that since He was faithful to me in the past, we will be that same faithful God in my future. If you believe that the direction you’re taking is in accordance to God’s will for your life I encourage you to press on in faith.

I remember the day when my husband came home declaring that he wanted to buy the book producing company he was working for. In fact it was more than just a desire—he truly believed that God was calling him to use this company for His glory. The few quarters in his pocket barely jingled as he bounced into the room, to tell me his plan. Skeptical I stood by watching, wondering how a man with such a low income and barely a buck to his name would purchase a company for $83,000.00--we could barely afford cream for our coffee. But Michael remained focused believing that God could open doors of opportunity saying, “If it truly is His will, He will make it happen.”

Over the following months, doors opened and doors slammed closed, leaving us in a state of uncertainty. But believing that this was the path God wanted him to take, Michael pressed on never losing site of the goal that God had placed on his heart. “God can open another door,” he said. And he was right, because that is exactly what God did. However, because all of the twists and turns in the journey caused several months of delay, the owners were forced to let it go quickly, thus turning the company over to us for a fraction of the original cost. God is faithful.

“Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” (Hebrews 11:11)

Richard Cecil said, “We are urgent about the body; He is about the soul. We call for present comforts; He considers our everlasting rest. And therefore when He sends not the very things we ask, He hears us by sending greater than we can ask or think."

It’s that understanding that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think that keeps us pressing toward our goals. When we finally change the way that we think and start walking in the light, we are able to achieve our goals. This hope for the future is power for the present—and it’s power that will move in your life.

 

__________________________________________

Man Against Nature
Darlene Schacht, February 2007

Gathered with friends around a game of Scrabble, I silently waited for my turn, rocking the letter ‘K’ under my forefinger, as my heart filled with lust for the triple word score. 

My husband Michael sat across the board from me, where he had strategically placed himself beside the talker. The talker is the opponent who pays the least attention to the game, the most attention to the snacks, and generously opens the board up wide for the next player. This move is usually followed by an, “Oh well, it’s just a game,” while Michael covers his smirk with a cup. 

I had seen that smirk several times in the early years of our marriage, each time Michael sat to the left of his Grandma. But as the years went by, the smirk was seen less and less when I caught on to his strategy, and grew closer to her myself. Things obviously hadn’t changed much over time, although Grandma wasn’t present that evening, his broadened lips were in full force after he slipped unnoticed into the winners seat. He proudly sat; sipping a coffee while nodding his head to the talker on his right, who had just discovered that qua and pi are actual words. I had to score big if I had any hope of bringing him down. I waited in silence.

With a tilted head and a hand on his mother’s shoulder, a squeaky voice broke our concentration, “Mom, why is a mouse just sitting in the kitchen?” 

Before cramming another chip in her mouth, the talker stopped and turned to her son, “Is it a toy honey?” She asked with a puzzled look on her face.

“No,” He shook his head with wide-eyed sincerity, “It’s a breathing mouse, Mom.”

I froze for a moment, before getting up; my reputation dangled before me like a rat on a worn out thread. I could only imagine what the talker was thinking and what they may tell their friends, “Oh, you think you’re a bad housekeeper? Darlene’s kitchen is so dirty, there are mice running all over the place. I swear she hasn’t washed that floor in a year!” What if it was true? What if there was a mouse in the house? What if they discovered I’m not a Martha? 

They were on their way to the pit, formerly known as my kitchen. There was no time to kick it under the cupboard, or sweep it under the mat. Soon we’d be dialing ‘Rabies 911’.

Flushed, I rose, prepared to face my humiliation. Sure enough, in the center of the checkered linoleum floor was a rodent, breathing as though he had just finished sweating to the oldies with Richard Simmons. I was too frightened to move, because I knew if I did, he would dart across the room, scurry up my pant leg and start clawing at my face. Paralyzed with fear I stared into his beady little eyes.

My fearless husband Michael slipped on his glove and courageously scooped up the tiny creature, boldly going where many men have gone before. With the sound of a flush, we knew it was over for the little dude. 

In the safety of the kitchen downstairs, we waited, blissfully unaware that upstairs Michael was battling against the forces of nature. Nature had called someone else only moments before to drop a load the size of Texas in the toilet. Thus began the war of man against nature as Michael raced against time to grab the plunger. 

As the water rose higher and higher, Michael moved faster and faster. Running. Plunging. Sweating. Swearing. The mouse realized it was his last chance at freedom as he struggled against the current and clung to the plunger that jostled him to and fro. If only he could manage to climb up the handle, he could scurry up the man’s sleeve and start clawing at his face. But the force of the water rained on that parade, releasing his grip on the dome of salvation. 

Finally, swirling in circles that carried him down, his eyes looked up at the frantic face of the man who only moments before courageously scooped him up in the palm of his glove. Now, standing in the center of the bathroom was a man—without his grin—breathing as though he had just finished sweating to the oldies with Richard Simmons. And then it was dark.

We are jostled to and fro as we fight to survive against the current of the world that so easily drags us down. Struggling to find freedom, we desperately clutch to the dome of salvation, but what is that dome that we’re all fighting to hold? It’s only when we firmly plant our feet on a solid rock that we can have confidence on that which we stand. The solid rock on which I stand is salvation through Jesus Christ. 

There are times when Michael and I are frustrated as adults, as parents, and as a married couple. Stress overtakes our lives like a tornado ripping through our home, leaving us with only two choices: stick it out, or stick it out. We choose to stick it out. Working together in accordance to God’s plan and his will for our lives is our way of building upon the foundation. As carpenters we build a spiritual house with doors for our children to walk through, windows to show them God’s love and cupboards to tuck away the precious words of God as they lock them into their hearts. It’s a humble home with much need for improvement, but by installing God’s word into our lives, together we continue to build a home that is pleasing to God. 

“But if you just use my word in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.” - Mathew 7: 26, The Message

The crowd will naturally follow the world and seek guidance from those who tickle their ears. I go against that flow, but finally get my triple word score, when, written across the board of my life, thirty-five wooden letters read, “As for me and my house—we will serve the Lord.” 

__________________________________________

A Person's a Person,
No Matter How Small

Darlene Schacht, January 2007

Getting pregnant is like being proposed to, and having a miscarriage is like being dumped at the altar. I have been dumped five times. Just when all of the invitations have been sent out and you plan to spend the rest of your life with this little person you're left standing alone, without presents, without an excuse to pig out on cake or ice cream and pickles. Everyone sits in their pews waiting to know, is it on or is it off?

A wise Dr. Seuss once said, “A person’s a person no matter how small.” He may not be ‘The Great Physician’ but I do agree with the doc on that one. I believe that each one of those little people that lived and grew inside me were a reason to celebrate. In my case, some stayed for weeks, some stayed for several months, and one is still hanging around after 15 years looking for something to eat in the fridge.

We never know how long we will have them—hopefully forever. And yet if we do lose them—was their existence any less significant? Was something wrong with them? Was I a fool for thinking it would last? No. I am glad that I shared their existence each time.

After five miscarriages, we finally had our daughter. For that short moment in time, I was a vessel that carried a fragile, growing little being, who was soon to be my child. And like a mother ship, I proudly set sail on yet another voyage of anticipation.

Six months in, I began to wonder who the weirdo was that ever came up with the notion that a pregnant woman glows, and I wondered what ever inspired friends to tell me that. I concluded that either it was the sun reflecting off my "wide load", the sweat pouring over my face, or the fact that my skin was stretched out tighter than a girdle on a semi. One wrong move and my face could have snapped off and went sailing across the room. I suppose that saying someone glows is just a kinder way of saying, “Wow, you really look bloated today, are you sure your face can handle all that extra fluid?”

Like so many mothers who are expecting, I experienced things that I wasn’t expecting--and things my husband wasn’t expecting, as hormones took over our house. I’d run from a room sobbing, “Nobody loves me!” But unfortunately, I couldn’t run too fast or too far as my legs would cramp up. All I could do was fall into a chair and wait for someone to pull me back up. Even if my husband called some guys over to help pull me out of the chair, it wouldn’t be long until I was dizzy and faint and needed to sit again.

It was all fun and games until I started throwing up everywhere I went. My appetite was a vicious circle. I would be sick ‘till I ate then I would eat ‘till I got sick, and within minutes, I would be back in the kitchen with a craving for something else.

Although I ate everything I laid my eyes on, the one thing I couldn’t stand when I was pregnant is tea, and the one thing that made me sit when I was pregnant was pee—gallons and gallons of pee...

Pregnancy is the storm before the calm. It whips through your body like a whirlwind—rapidly spinning through your life. Then, after what seems like a thousand and one years, it’s over.

When I finally looked at her tiny little hands that may one day wear a ring and the tiny little feet that would one day walk in heels, I felt a longing compassion to hold this new life close to my heart.

The pain and suffering of pregnancy, childbirth, and the unborn children I had never met faded into the distant past like the setting sun. And, like the beginning of a brand new day, her future lay before us.

It warms me to know that God sees me that way—a new beginning, precious in His sight. He doesn’t see the old me who rebelled against His will, or the old me who tried to cover sin by hiding from Him. Old things are passed away, and with forgiveness and life, all things are become new. When I put my faith in Him, the old life fades into the distant past like the setting sun, and like the beginning of a brand new day, my future lies before me.

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

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