This morning, the girls were shocked that we were going to try again to have us ALL go to church. The morning was full of us all working together to bring it about and what was amazing was that there were no massive meltdowns, no overflowing needs of diaper changes, but a day where we had just a few issues that were short lived and taken care of quite simply. (i didn't even have to put my hair up in a clip but got to CURL my hair!!!)
We thought that we were going to be SUPER early BUT by the time we finally got out the door and got there..... Ally decided to drop us off and she would keep Ethan in the van with her until she parked the van & came in. The other girls and i went in, heard the pre-music already playing and immediately went to seats in the foyer. The plan was that Victoria and i would take care of the twins and the other two girls would then be able to sit with their friends.
SINCE it was music time we knew that it should be fine for the twins but, after getting Ethan from Ally (as soon as she walked into the sanctuary), we decided that we should probably just stand at the back of the sanctuary and have the twins 'sit' on the 'wall' that surrounds the sound/light system area. Well, that lasted for about 1 1/2 songs and then SOPHINA got antsy to go up to the balcony. We got up there and it was announcements and i knew that there would be no way that we could sit with the other people SO Vica and i HELD the twins in our arms and stood at the back. I had the ever-growing Ethan and she had Sophina. Then, there was a beautiful presentation for Compassion Intl. where three ladies were up front & an amazing story was spoken. There was no video or music, just speaking and i was nervous that i was going to 'lose Ethan' BUT he stayed quiet in my arms and SOPHINA was wiggly and wanting to get down (but there was no way that i was going to switch and risk losing Ethan's calmness)!
I figured out that there was now NO WAY that we were going to be able to hold the two in our arms standing up through the whole music time as it had been quite a long time already and Ethan was getting VERY heavy. The place was pretty packed and we saw that the other side of the sanctuary, on the far side, had a couple rows of open spaces down on the floor of the sanctuary. We went all the way to the other side and went to the very front on the FAR side. All that was in front of us and the platform was a big pot full of plants. Ethan did fantastic during music. I sat so he could stand next to me and i could be right at his level. He was very comfortable and calm!!!
The music today was very different than normal. It reminded me of the music that i grew up with down in Denver....almost a Southern Gospel feel. SO, there WAS lots of clapping. There was quite a bit of space in front of us and we were off to the side and Sophina was DEFINITELY LOVING the music with 'flare'. My thought was that this is absolutely amazing......BUT, this is the way that it has been before....they BOTH LOVE music!!! It just seemed so different THIS time! Ethan came across as feeling.......well, like...... he was HOME!!! As if he had always been coming to our church every Sunday. YET! i didn't want to get my HOPES up. I DID love it...LOVE it in the time of it happening!
The music today seemed to be longer than the typical and i was loving that we were going to be able to be in with the rest of the church body for a longer time than i had before. Finally, the music stopped for prayer and offering and i was prepared.....but i didn't need to be. Ethan prays multiple times a day....at his meal and when i put him to bed. He also hears men pray on the CHRISTian radio station and as soon as he hears it, he yells out "Plray.....PlrAY......PLBRAY!!!" as he waits for me to fold my hands on his tray so he can fold his hands over mine. I told him that we were praying and he immediately folded his hands over mine. Well, he is NOT used to a prayer that is longer than two sentences and so i was getting concerned but again didn't need to be as he was quiet.
Thankfully, there was yet another song which he loved. I loved how relaxed i was able to be as he was just SO CALM!!! The music ended and this was it.....was he going to have a meltdown and scream for more??? BUT, I really thought that he was in a good place and i was right!!! He kind of turned to me a little and quietly said and signed, "again.....again.....music.....again" and i lovingly replied, "no honey, we are all done but we will sing again, you just have to wait a little bit" to which HE signed and said back, "all done" ....'yes sweetheart, all done'.
The sermon was amazing, as usual. What is amazing is that Ethan sat sweetly in my lap!!! SOPHINA was starting to get VERY wiggly, as in TRYING with ALL of her might to get out of her sister's lap! I now had a predicament.....do i give up sweet little Ethan to calm down Sophina OR what!?!?! Vica whispered that she needed to go get Sophina's blankies and nookies! We had saved a spot for us to go back to in the foyer and had left all of our items there to be there when the music was done. Vica quietly slipped off the side and Sophina tried to make a run for it. I was thankful that i had NOT gotten the twins all dressed up but had them in Osh Kosh B'Gosh overalls so i grabbed Sophina by the back of hers....with a TIGHT grip which held her on the seat. All of this is sounding like it was all a big deal but it really was not, in fact, i was able to focus on the sermon through all of this. Even though i am "fed" at home, there is nothing like being in one's home church and i was NOT taking it for granted for one second!
Through all of this, Ethan was calm and wonderful as i softly stroked his legs through most of the time of preaching. Vica came back with the needed items and Sophina was immediately quieted! She had asked to sit in between Vica and i in her 'own chair' and i had even let her BEFORE Vica left. Ethan saw this change of spots and then quietly let me know that he wanted to sit next to me on the other side. Another change of scenery.....he sat WONDERFULLY-EVEN THOUGH the seats are the kind that flip up if you don't weigh enough, don't have long enough legs or happen to get off the chair. HE WAS AMAZING!!! He didn't fool around with the chair. He sat facing forward as if he was intent on listening! I got to hear the sermon!!! Every little bit of it!!!!
Pastor Matthew called the music team to come up, sooner than i had anticipated and my emotions were NOT prepared for it. When i realized that i had just sat through an entire service with my twins and Victoria....i IMMEDIATELY felt the tears fill my eyes and felt like i was going to be weeping, HARD.
THANKFULLY, it all went right back in as Pastor went into a part of the sermon that was COMPLETELY POWERFUL!!! What was AMAZING was that he was saying what i had been thinking just moments before (when i thought that the sermon was over and the music team was coming up) -i got to hear every word! I KNEW that i WANTED to hear EVERY. SINGLE. WORD. i was coming THIRSTY and HUNGRY for the Word of the Lord being preached. He spoke for probably another 5-7 minutes and Ethan STILL did great!
The music played in the background as Johnny told us that we needed to NOT think of this next song as a 'children's song' BUT to think of the power of the words! HOW PERFECT!!! Yep, we all sang, This Little Light of Mine!!! The twins LOVED it!!! It, to me, seemed like God was putting the icing on the cake that He had created just for ME!
A friend came immediately over, after the service and i tried to speak without crying but i failed......she had not been at church for quite awhile and she was coming over to say how pleased she was that he had improved so much! I was in complete awe in telling her that this was his first Sunday in a long time (since Palm Sunday). The family that had been behind us was a friend and i was so glad that she got to see the incredible miracle happening right in front of her as i know that she has read enough of our story!
IMMEDIATELY putting Ethan down on the floor, he went running off to explore! He was zooming right up onto the platform, checking out all of the musical items and even got introduced to a new friend. SO....THAT whole story was my FIRST MIRACLE!
It was lunchtime for the twins, in fact, it was already thirty minutes PAST and since i know that THAT fact could become a REALLY big deal, i tried to get us out of there ASAP! I gathered all of us together when Liz came walking by to let us know that they had just had Sophina and she was WET! Ally & Ethan went to get the car, Vica & Catia were going to take Sophina and while they got the kids in the car i was going to run all the way to the end of the church to QUICKLY say hi to our chef from the restaurant that i worked at for over five years. I was a poor example to children everywhere as i RAN down and got into the kitchen to give hugs, thank him for his incredible gift and tell him of my love and how much i missed working and being with all of them there. Seriously, that was all i knew i had time for.
I got out to the foyer & was quickly making a bee line for the door when i saw that our Victoria had been changing Sophina and had just gotten done getting her dressed into new clothes! A dear friend was then able to share an incredible story in her life with me while Victoria finished up. We all finally got into the car and made it for home. I got the kids all set up with food for the twins as i ran for a special treat of Papa Murphy's pizza (with a coupon to boot). I got back in time to oil both kids and get Ethan down for his rest time.
THEN, time for the second miracle. Going back to the fact that we had our Cafe Renaissance Chef in the church :) My friend, Ahmed, donated his time and made enough food to feed 350 people!!! One of the announcements that was made at the beginning of the church service was the fact that there were only 70 openings left to fill the 350 spots. The pastor made a long and great PLEA for people to go to the 'table talk' time (where the people spend 1 1/2 hours eating and discussing the sermon that was just preached). (our church, i believe, is in the size now of about 600-700 people) When we were just about to leave the church, you could tell that the line was long and the people heard the plea and obeyed and WENT! ;) I knew that by the time i would get there the food would be gone but i wasn't going back to church for that....i just wanted to be able to see how Ahmed was (as it was already 1:20pm when i got there). As i was walking to my van in our garage, a voice in my head said to take some containers. I took another step and went back inside and got four containers that Scott had had out in ND but had never opened. He had brought them back with him a few times back ago. I got to church, left them in the van and ran inside to talk to Ahmed. I was shocked to see that he not only had leftovers but a BUNCH of leftovers and his first words to me were...."do you have any containers that you could take some home with you?"
You see, i knew this week that there would be no way that i could go to the 'table talk' as that is the EXACT time where our family is at its busiest season....feeding, pottying, oiling and resting. Yes, it takes that long to do that with the twins AND at least three of us all helping at once. I tried figuring out a way that a couple of us could get there but there was no way. I was bummed but i have really gotten used to having losses as i know that this is just for a time and I was fine in the end. GOD HONORED THAT and not only gave ME a plateful but filled me up to overflowing! (Ahmed gave the rest of the food to Place of Hope!) I got to talk to Ahmed for almost a half hour! I went home and dropped off the four containers AND Ethan's glasses that i found on the floor of the van ;) THAT story was MIRACLE TWO
Now, for another big one. My girls know that mommy doesn't get out (unless you count grocery stores, doctor appointments or Sam's Club and if i am blessed, CHURCH) SO when they heard that i could go out with a dear close friend this afternoon....they shooed me out of the house! (Vica & Catia were concerned as to why i was home already when i brought back the food from the church & were relieved as I dropped off the items and left for my time with my friend- they were so sweet as they thought that my time had been cancelled).
My friend and i took our time, enjoying each other's company. One and one-half hours into it, Vica called to say that she had already fed Ethan his supper and asked if she could give him a bath!!! Ummm......let me think about this! SURE :) She told me that we could take as long as we would like and that THINGS WERE GOING WELL AT HOME!!! I called an hour later and all was STILL going well!!! They ALSO had given SOPHINA a bath (which is MUCH harder than Ethan-as Ethan LOVES baths)! I called another hour later as we had walked out of the restaurant and my friend had asked me if i wanted to go shopping with her as she needed to go pick some things up.....the girls AGAIN said....."Mom, as long as you are home before it is time to get Ethan his night time meal, have fun!!! The twins are doing great!" Mind you, Ally had not been home this entire time! This was just the two middle daughters....Vica and Catia!!!
I GOT TO BE WITH A DEAR FRIEND FOR FIVE -YES, FIVE HOURS!!!!! THIS is the MIRACLE THREE
May i say that i got a respite!?!?! May i say that i was COMPLETELY and OVERWHELMINGLY blessed beyond what i am worthy!!!??? Oh my goodness!!! WHAT. A. DAY!!! I am ALWAYS BLESSED!!!
THREE miracles in one day!