How You Doin’?

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Blogs are funny things. Well, some tend to be rather serious, but I was referring less to content and more to…I’m not sure what.

What I meant is that a blog doesn’t actually remind you of its existence. It doesn’t require any attention beyond what you deem necessary. Gosh, I love blogs for that reason! Also, that is why my blog has been silent the last few dozen months. I may or may not have slightly forgotten it existed.

Truth be told, I couldn’t remember my log in or even the location of my blog on the Interwebs. (Deep down inside, I think I should be a Mennonite. I really like pen and paper.) So yeah, let’s catch up, why don’t we?

Apparently, I only blog when pregnant. Which I am. Any day now, StuBaby #3 is set to join us. A girl, from what we are told, though my doubting heart is hesitant to believe that until she is in my arms.

I think when I last posted we were in the midst of the Year of the Knife. I am thankful and grateful to say we have officially made it a full year without any surgical procedures, a record since Daniel was 18mos old. Praise God! Seriously.

Speaking of kids, the boys are growing faster than I thought possible. Daniel is 41/2 and loving preschool. We have become part of a great community and that boy absolutely thrives on the friendships it has brought us. He is still brilliant, compassionate and more than a little inquisitive.

Hudson is two and a half, looks three and a half and is more than half mischief. While incredibly adorable, he is the reason silence scares me these days. Nothing good comes from silence, people. Not with toddlers.

Ted is still enjoying his job, programming software. That’s about all I can tell you about his job, since his tech skills are beyond my comprehension. I’m still not convinced the “Software Engineer” title isn’t a cover for “FBI Tech Guru” or “Hogwarts IT Dept Head.” I may watch too much television.

While I could go into lengthy detail on the things this last year or more has held, I am easily winded while typing (not really.much.) I will wrap this up. Basically, I really like our life. It’s messy, chaotic and usually all sorts of disorganized. It’s also chock full of real relationships, community and life just being done with all sorts of people. Which is pretty much the best thing ever.

I have learned a great deal in the last year about how the Lord sees me, what His desire is for me. (Huge exhale: its NOT serving people in the Amazon. Though I may have a ministry via Amazon.com) As a family, I feel we have come to a place of rest and rejoicing in the Lord. We have found ourselves striving less to be ‘good Christians’ and encouraged to be disciples. I have seen the Lord break the chains of what I felt I ‘should be’. Which could be a whole other epic length blog post in and of itself. Probably the next one I write.

Anyway, I am alive. Our family is doing well. I take better care of my children than I do my blog, I promise.

If you are reading this after my accidental hiatus of many months, thanks! I wish I had some super exciting story to compensate the silence. They frown on those being published while in Witness Protection, though.

Wait. What?

No One Promised

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Nobody promised me this.

For a year, the context of that sentence has varied. Angst, sorrow, elation. Often one moment to the next, it would vary. As a reminder to not claim that which wasn’t given, as a reminder to celebrate what was.

Nobody promised me this.
No one, not even God.

Four pediatric surgeries, 13 months. So very minor in many ways, most of all compared with people who watch their children endure far more, in far less time. We had the best of everything. Literally, God paved the way seamlessly, despite my endless reluctance to walk it. Family, friends, top of the line medical care- minutes away, always. The radiance of our blessings seems to be growing as we exit this long season we never anticipated. I thought the distance may dim it but am grateful to be wrong.

Nobody promised me this.

My oldest just turned three and the reminder left me teary for his birthday- 3 years! Nobody promised me this. Not even God promised I would wake up today and get to snuggle my children. He didn’t promise three years with Daniel. He never even promised a day, a minute, a breath.

He promised Himself.

He promised to never leave nor forsake and oh, how I have treasured that! Taken it for granted nearly every day. Mistaken His presence for a guarantee of well being, more often than I can count. He filled in all the crevices, watered the desert that my own desires created. He was the still small voice louder than heart rate monitors and fears. The reminder that my children aren’t my own and they were bought at a price, the price He paid for me, as well.

Nobody promised: birthdays, laughter, growth and joy. Memories, answered prayers, scars that prove survival. Delight, strength, celebration, depth. Nobody promised.

Tonight I rocked Hudson, my arms full of (large) baby, remembering a year ago when I thought I would be eternally pregnant. A year with him, come Saturday. Again it ricocheted a whisper within my heart: no one promised this. The gratitude, the richness winds me. I don’t have the words for what God has done in this home, my heart, over the last year. The surgery within my soul was what amazes me the most. What was cut out, what was left, what was healed. Our family is so much better than anything I ever yearned for or pictured. My marriage, infinitely strengthened. Sheer necessity, desperation and a complete need for God to just be with us, wrought changes I cannot count.

It wasn’t the surgeries or the surprises or the trials. It was all the in between, the realities that came with every new day.

All the things He never promised and the greatest things that He did.

Fearfully, Wonderfully

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We all have those days, my child. When all you can see is what separates you, makes you different, makes you ‘less’. It won’t always be big things and sometimes it will be things that you have never thought to dislike or disdain, until then.

I still remember the raw frustration, the angst of my mother’s opinion-her unwavering conviction that I was flawless, beautiful, enough. At 13, her bias was too great for me to credit her with any honesty. I mean, half of me was her, so how could I expect her to be anything less than partial?

It makes more sense now, my child. For as I spend my days with you, watching you learn and grow, budding into a completely unique human being- the conviction grows. It has nothing to do with you being half ‘me’. It has everything to do with this:

“For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
All the days ordained for me were written your book,
before one of them came to be.” – Psalm 139:13-16, NIV

God does not make mistakes, beloved. He knit you together, perfectly and intentionally. Out of love. With hands that formed every thing in this universe, He formed your very body and soul. Oh, how I pray that someday, that knowledge will bring you to your knees.

I want to love you in a way that lives this out, makes this evident. All too often, I fuss and fidget over my own inadequacies and shortfalls, whether physical or otherwise. It makes me hurt to think of raising you on a foundation of perception that contradicts those truths above. So I am clinging to them, breathing them in with every chance I am given. Having felt you grow within me, marveled at the miracle I was being entrusted to carry, it is easy to know He knit you together perfectly. It is sheer dichotomy to believe He did anything less with me.

Victory

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Today has been timely. From church to the fact that all my boys are sleeping, timely. I should be sleeping but this peace is resonating so loudly that I have to write.

I have been more than a little worn out lately. Having two kids is sinking into the reality phase, especially after all but the youngest of us had the flu this week. More than once I had the thought that my two year old could teach interrogators a thing or two about sleep deprivation tactics. Life has been overflowing and I am grateful, despite the dark circles and bald spots where frustration won.

Victory. That word left me humbled and broken today. I had forgotten, at the very least I had overlooked, the fact that Christ is my victory. Not halfway, half-hearted or any less than complete victory. A simple word with massive implications, I sat and let the tears fall as I was reminded what it meant.

I haven’t felt victorious. Tired, insignificant, overcome? Yes. Not victorious. I have been clinging to The Lord, rejoicing in His strength, wisdom and sufficiency. There have been many times this week where He has encouraged me. It has not been a season of spiritual drought, yet there was no victory.

In me. No victory in ME. Ever. Ahh. The rest in that! HE is my victory, my completion, my everything. He conquered death and sin, for His glory and my salvation! If He conquered death, the troubles of my soul are not too big for Him. God conquered my sin, made way for me to spend Eternity with Him- why then do I think my troubles would overwhelm Him? Why do I doubt His victory?

It is so timely, so like God, to nourish my soul with the refreshment of His victory, today. I feel as if I can breathe a little deeper, knowing that it isn’t mine to win or conquer. I will drop the ball, I will get overwhelmed and frustrated. I know myself well enough to know that. Yet, that nagging voice that says I need to do more or be more, is silenced in light of Him and His victory.

There was a verse in one of the closing worship songs today that mentioned “walking on water where (when?) I have been called” (my words, not exact!). I keep returning to that. Our family has some big areas where God is calling us to walk on the water, meet Him there. My eyes have been on the waves, I confess. I have been praying for rescue and afraid to step out lest I drown. With the knowledge of victory comes courage. The trust that my God is bigger than the storm. The desire to be closer to Him, no matter what it takes to get there.

Victory.

Living Lies – a note for Momma’s

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It was a long night, short on sleep. Teething brings a havoc uniquely it’s own and keeps us guessing every time. Waking was a struggle, joy a battle. As I showered, it hit me:

“What lies will you live out today?”

Guilty. I was believing, living in light of, a completely false set of “facts”. I was believing my feelings- tired, insufficient, worn out, unmotivated.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

The truth, is that as a daughter of the King, I lack nothing. HE is my sufficiency. In Him, I have every single resource today could possibly require. I could either continue to live out and believe the lies, finding my strength in coffee and deep breaths. Or I could rejoice that it wasn’t about me, but whose I am.

I would love to say the morning was a breeze. That would be a lie. My sleep deprived, coughing 2 year old was more than prepared for today. As soon as his dad left for work, he started pushing every boundary he could find. It wasn’t easy and the first few hours weren’t even slightly fun. I couldn’t shake the thought though, that awe, that my God is bigger than my toddler and his tantrums. That He is long suffering, patient, even when I am insufferable and short tempered.

I am writing this because I realize I am not the only mom who wakes up discouraged by lack of sleep, difficult children or Mondays. We have a choice. We can choose a lie, shuffle and grump our way through the trials of being us, today. We can be overwhelmed, wiped out and severely in need of a cruise. Or we cling to the Truth. We dig in, shore up and bury our heads in the shadow of His wings. It wasn’t that I chose a good attitude or perspective. I have been fighting to believe the Truth all morning long. That has been my only objective today- believe, cling, breathe, but only Truth.

I was rocking my 35lb toddler, in a steamy bathroom, on a tiny toilet seat, wishing I had more lap. My back was screaming as the contractions fought for my focus. Yet, I was able to sing, hymns rolling from my heart to my mouth. I would finish one and wait for my little man to croak “More song, momma?” before another began. I held him and thanked The Lord for truth. For hope. For always being bigger than my trials, my feelings.

Momma’s, hang in there! Tough days are a gift we will treasure later. May He fill you, meet you today. May you find in Him, every thing you need for every moment ahead.

What Love Looks Like

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I know I rarely write and that I for sure wrote something last Valentines day. I guess it is one of the few ‘holidays’ that make me introspective and wordy. So, I am writing them out, lest I am found overwhelming my husband with philosophy upon his return home.

I am hormonal and emotional, so it doesn’t take a whole lot to get me teary eyed. Almost nothing that makes me cry, makes any sense. Like my son blowing on my coffee today. The kid has no concept of pain and would gladly hold the burning cup for me if allowed. The concept of ‘hot’ has registered in a completely selfless, adorable way. Love is blowing on my coffee because he knows it is hot.

Love (and an obsession with shoes) brings me my shoes when it is time to leave. One at a time, because clogs are not lightweight.

Love says my name a thousand times in a row, followed by “HI!”

Love gets silly excited when I walk out of the bathroom, as if the separation of 2mins was more than his tiny soul could bear.

Love thinks ‘hiding’ is fun because Momma always finds him.

Love just wants to help, always.

Love may not snuggle, cuddle, kiss and hug every day. When he does, it’s priceless and breathtaking.

Love is about 3 feet tall, all boy and silly at heart. He giggles freely, loves to play and hates when anyone is sad. He throws fits, gets mad, and can be impossible at times. Yet he still lets me kiss his bumps, sits next to me because he can and runs to me when I walk in the room.

I have this little person who runs around my house, loving. All day long. Loving life, loving me, loving laughter. I don’t choose to notice that as often as I should, choose to delight in it, the way I should. His Daddy is his best friend and first pick, but he loves me anyway.

It was 5:30 this morning when I walked in his room because the “Momma” calls in the monitor weren’t stopping. I tucked his shoulders under the blanket and smiled. 5:30 in the morning and he needed me to assure him that his cousins and friends, listed by name, were all sleeping too. Thus convinced, he sighed “night night” and went back to sleep.

I walked back to bed, smiling at the amount of love packed in such a small boy.

I love what love looks like here. I love what he is teaching me about loving and living. I even love that today always makes me reflect on what love is and isn’t defined by.

Love is growing here, wrapping around our souls and reflecting off the smallest things.

Couch potato

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In regards to this title, this has nothing to do with potatoes. Sorry for the disappointment.

I am sitting on my couch right now. The couch I slept on most of last night. Most of the last three weeks, to be honest. I have been very grateful for this couch, for a variety of reasons. Mostly I am grateful for why I have been sleeping on the couch. Well, actually the reasons I am not.

I am not sleeping on the couch because of marital discord or strife. Never have, that I can remember. Not that we don’t fight and not that I haven’t tried. More than once I have stomped or trudged out here, too upset to stay in the same room with my husband. Too frustrated to fight it out. Too emotional to try and process. Every time, God has confronted me. Every. Stinking. Time. I cannot tell you how many times I have tossed and turn, continuing the fight in my head while my completely willing-to-work-it-out spouse is still in our bed. It never works. God always makes me go in and finish what was started. Usually with an apology for my childlike petulance or frustration at myself for being incapable of handling the emotions that trotted me out in the first place.
Let me tell you: I LOVE THIS! I love that God has never let me sleep apart from my husband peacefully when I was supposed to repent and push through the issues between us.

We speak different languages, my husband and I. I am fluent in “emotion”, he is fluent in “logic”. Communication will always be an area where we have to work harder than we often would like. I would love to be able to read his mind. Shoot, I would like to be able to read his body language! We are forever better for the battles, he and I. We learn something every time. Like that sleeping on the couch isn’t a solution.

I have been sleeping on this couch because 28 weeks of pregnancy translates as acid reflux and sleeplessness. As does a kiddo recovery from surgery. Neither of which are impossible or altogether bad. Reflux means my baby is growing, so I will take it gladly.

I lay on this couch last night, frustrated at still being awake. Until all I could think of was how grateful I was for a couch that was reasonably comfortable. That I wasn’t battling with my husband or the Lord. That my two favorite boys were sleeping well. That this couch has never been a refuge from a battle I should never have deserted. It has been a meeting ground for me and the Lord quite often.

So here I sit, grateful and a bit sore because no couch is really great for spinal alignment when your are pregnant.

Potato. The End.