Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Tube - And a Stark Realization

While there are multiple reasons why I absolutely love our new, smaller apartment, such as a shaded pool, a vegetable sprayer, not as much to clean, and especially being on the 1st floor, I never thought that I would appreciate not have TV as much as I do. You see, at our old place, our basic cable bill was built into our monthly rent and we did not have the option to forgo paying the $35 every month, therefore we went ahead and used the service. But never did I think that I would be using the TV as much as I have in the past year.

To give you a little background, my days used to start off by turning on the local news station in the morning to stay caught up on all the local and national news, local weather and traffic, even though you couldn't pay me to go out during rush hour in Dallas! Once the news was over, I usually flipped over to HGTV (my absolute favorite channel of all time), and it became a habit to just leave it on softly in the background all day. While this didn't happen every single day, it did happen more often than not.

I know that daily TV watching can affect each of us differently, but the way it affected me was that it made me tired. It made me not want to really leave my house, nor do anything productive at home, and each show completely sucked me in. I will say that before Caleb became active and engaged, it was nice to have something to do, something to watch, and a connection to the outside world. But once Caleb started getting older, and really looking for some intentional play time with momma, I grew weary on the days that I would continue in the pattern of watching so much TV and forgoing playtime with him.

In January, I was fortunate enough to go on an all girls leader retreat for Student Ministries from Watermark. They have this every year, but since my girls were graduating this year, I knew it would be my last chance to attend, and I didn't want to miss out.

Friday night after we all got there and settled in to one AH-mazing lake house on PK lake, we all met together in the living area and sang worship songs, prayed and had the opportunity to share our hearts. This was along night, especially since there were at least 30 of us women there, but it was so wonderful. I wanted to share part of what I spent time journaling during our extended quiet time on Saturday morning as I feel it truly captures where my heart was the night before, and then share where the Lord has brought me to today...

January 16th, 2010

"Last night Mel had us draw a picture that described something we were hiding or wearing a mask to cover up. At first, I really struggled to think of anything because I feel so known by my community group girls, but then I felt a huge tug at my heart that I was hiding behind my habit of TV. The picture I drew was a couch, since that's where I spend most of my days. Having the TV on in the background all day, watching shows that I start and can't turn off until it's over. This vicious cycle that I truly feel I can't let go of. Why do I feel the need to constantly have noise going? What can't I sit in silence? Why must I finish a show that I don't really care about? I truly feel that it is a habit, a mindless activity. Thinking about this last night after sharing, I asked myself, "If something were to happen to Caleb tomorrow, would I feel like I spent the last year with him well, or would I have regrets? What are those regrets?


That is my biggest regret! Watching TV instead of playing with my sweet, beautiful, precious child! What a waste! Thankfully Caleb will not remember the 1st (or 2nd) year of his life, when mommy was too busy watching reruns on HGTV to play with him."

This stark realization knocked me to my knees and I found myself crying such tears of hurt, regret, frustration and true sadness life I have not felt in a very long time.

Fast forward 5 months from that weekend, and although I did not stop watching TV altogether, my time in front of the tube greatly decreased, especially once I got through the most exhausting 1st trimester of my life! Now that we are all settled in to our new place, and do NOT have TV, not even local channels, our daily life has drastically changed! We still have access to our favorite night time shows through the Internet, and we even have Netflix for movies and such, but it is VERY rare (maybe once or twice a week), that the TV is on during the day, and 99% of the time, it's so that Caleb can watch an episode of Thomas the Train or Dora. We spend most of our days playing together, reading, playing at the play area at a local mall, getting together with friends, going to the store, and anyting else active that I can think of!

Continuing with what I journaled that day overlooking the beautiful Possum Kingdom Lake, I went on to write my desire for this area of my life...

"What a great opportunity I have to start fresh with Caleb! To create new memories of what I can be remembered for, what our time together can be remembered for. Loving him, teaching him, playing with him. Those are the things I want him to remember about his early childhood years! A great verse, that I should post all over my house, especially being a 1st time mom is Lamentation 3:22-24, which says, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him." What an incredible promise from my Heavenly Father! My soul needs to hear that multiple times a day! I know I am not, nor will I ever be a perfect mom, but how much better of a mom can I be if I truly believe the words of that promise? What more of a blessing will I be as a mother, if I choose to believe all of the Lord's truths and promises in His word? I must not allow my past mistakes dictate how I live in the future! I can change, I must change, I will change!"

Oh how refreshing it is to look back and read those heartfelt words of pain and regret, and know that the Lord is faithful to forgive when we repent, and change hearts, especially mine! My prayer at the end of those many many pages of journaling was this, "Lord, help me to be an intentional parent this year, especially the next 8 months that I will have Caleb all to myself before baby dos arrives. Help me to choose to close my laptop, put down my phone and turn off the TV so that I can be fully engaged with my son!"

Praise the Lord that he heard my cries from that weekend, as there were many many tears shed, and that I can look at where I am now, and see a changed woman, wife and momma! Thank you Lord, for this small but significant change in my life!

So, today, as we are now settled in, without TV, I can honestly say that I have never truly experienced such consistent joy and happiness with Caleb, as I have these past two weeks. I know part of it is because of his developmental stage, walking and talking and interacting with me, but I also know that it is greatly because of a changed heart, attitude and priorities, and ONLY by the grace of God!

Thank you, Lord, for never doubting me, even when I doubt myself. Thank you for growing me in the area of self-forgiveness, trusting that you have forgiven me for my mistakes, and now, being able to forgive myself and move on. Thank you for answering my prayers of bringing my faults and sins to the light, so that I can repent and change. Help me to be continually reminded of your grace, and help me to continue to strive towards greatness as a mom and wife. Thank you for this heartfelt change that has taken place in my life over the past 5 months. May I be consistently reminded of it, so that I do not fall back into old habits. Help me to continue to be intentional with Caleb, especially now that I only have him to myself for 12 more weeks. This is a very bittersweet time, as I know that he is young enough to not remember life before Asher, even thought my time with him alone will be one of my greatest memories.

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

No comments: