Activity vs Productivity

We spent the first official week of summer running some much needed errands, taking some much needed long naps, and soaking in the family time. Each day we played a family game together and watching the competitive spirit that seems to be innate in my boys is fascinating to me. They come by it honestly as Jake and I are both incredibly competitive, but interestingly enough Malachi seems to be pretty savage when it comes to games.

Levi is a phone thief and takes dozens of photos a day before I can snag it back. He took this one and it had a certain artistic flair to it.

Malachi and I headed to the hospital this week for a routine visit with his neurosurgeon. Malachi has had the same wheelchair for nearly 6 years and is about to outgrow it, but getting a new one is quite the tedious task. From start to finish it takes about 4 months to receive so we decided we needed to start the process now. In order to even get an appointment with the wheelchair company we have to have appointment notes saying that a medical professional suggests a new chair. His neurosurgeon clinic has an amazing setup for helping jump through the insurance hoops for equipment so we decided to go ahead and try through that specialist.

Malachi will need to do an MRI to check his shunt function in the next year, but for now everyone on his team feels confident that his shunt in functioning as it should. On that note, we are truly blessed in that area. Many shunts malfunction or fail within the first 3 years but Malachi has had his for 8 years now without any issues. Praise the Lord for the small blessings we are able to spot within this complicated life. Just in case we have new readers, Malachi had grade 4 brain bleeds at birth that blocked the ventricles from being able to release spinal fluid. The fluid goes in but cannot find its way out on its own. They placed a shunt (a machine under his scalp in the back of his head with a small tube that enters the ventricles) to move the spinal fluid from the ventricles and down into his body cavity. It is programmed with a magnet so they don’t have to go into the scalp again each time it needs to be adjusted. It is actually pretty impressive technology.

As I drove to the appointment I flashed back to a conversation in the NICU with this same neurosurgeon before we placed the shunt. For Malachi the shunt was necessary, but we discussed the pros and cons of one so I could feel like my decision was an educated one. I remember leaving that conversation feeling disappointed because he told me Malachi wouldn’t be able to play contact sports with a shunt. As odd as it sounds, this was one of my first losses of normal. I mourned over this, not having any idea of the severity of what our journey with disability would hold. As I flashed back to that I prayed to God and thanked Him for unveiling his plan for Malachi just a little at a time. It allowed my faith the build muscles before the true workouts began.

The boys spent some time with cousins and friends this week and even got to partake in a big water balloon fight. Little Levi definitely didn’t understand the process and kept tossing them onto the ground to watch them explode. Malachi threw sniper shots from the deck at his unsuspecting cousins, giggling each time he made contact with one of them.

Levi made some big steps this week at church and starting attending children’s church without mom and dad! Jake and I are splitting the youth group for Wednesday nights now (he is teaching the high schoolers and I am taking the middle school class) and being able to focus on the lessons without a three year old in the room is so refreshing.

Levi is talking so much more and listening to him is proving to be one of my favorite parts of the day. There is something so special about being able to have a conversation with your child. Malachi can definitely converse in his own way with his signs, but the creativity in Levi’s stories blesses my heart.

If you look hard enough at that picture you will note some interesting things. Yes, there are three puppies in that photo. We did some dog sitting this week for one of the puppies sisters. When you daily live in chaos, adding one more element to the mix doesn’t impact too much! Levi is also in that photo. The boys love to wrestle with Jake, and getting Malachi in a spot where he can safely participate is a fun challenge.

This week I talked with some of my coworkers at the church about the difference between activity and productivity. In a ministry setting I have an easier time distinguishing between the two. But in a motherhood setting that line gets a bit blurred. My days are JAM PACKED with activity, but at the end of each day I can’t spot a lot of productivity from the day. This is extremely hard for me. I am a mover and a doer. But in the role that I am in as caregiver and mother I am not able to be as productive as I would like. Some days simply keeping my kids alive and breathing is all I can accomplish. Other days, three loads of laundry is all I can knock out.

I have started to see that I have spent far too long placing my self worth in my productivity. Motherhood asks us to make so many sacrifices, and sacrificing my productivity is one of them.

Motherhood is a lot about activity. Sometimes it is about being present and helping littles ones be productive….helping them grow physically, grow mentally, and turn into beautiful souls.

And I am learning that the seasons of motherhood change more quickly than the earthly ones do.

But I have also realized something else this week. It is in this season of activity without much productivity that I am able to dwell more on God. I often get so wrapped up in my busyness that I am unable to mentally focus on my walk with the Lord.

In Psalm 46 we find a verse that is very simple yet profound: “He says ‘Be still, and know that I am God;’ “

I have always read this verse in the context of the verses around it, meaning that we need to trust that God will fight our battles for us (read Exodus 14 this week for a GREAT devotional thought along that line and ask God to speak to you through it). But when I apply it to my life right now I see God reminding me that it is in the still moments that I allow my eyes to search for Him.

When I put my self worth into productivity I deplete myself, leaving scraps of energy for time with the Lord. Sometimes we need those quiet, reflective moments to help us remember that our self worth in Christ is just as meaningful in the quietness of life.

It is in these moments that I remember that God doesn’t NEED me. I need Him. And while my productivity can most definitely impact the Kingdom of God in a mighty way, God can produce an even greater crop from a mustard seed that I don’t spend hours cultivating.

This week I am trusting that God is honored in my moments of activity, as my heart desires that even these moments bring great glory to His name.

And I am so, so thankful for His grace.

Please continue to pray over Malachi’s ability to rest. He is staying up until 3am each night and back at it around 8 each morning and his body and brain need more rest. Also please cover Levi in prayer as his Cincinnati surgery is less than 3 weeks away.

Much love,

Leah

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