Wednesday, May 6, 2015

To let this season...


Today I sat at my kitchen table, beside an open window, knitting a blanket for my new son. A moment of gratitude for this season of pause. 

I have resisted this season, resented it even. I have felt like my whole life has been set on pause during this pregnancy. I wait to see what this child will be like - an easy baby? A fussy baby? Will he sleep well? Grow strong? I wonder how I will adjust to being back in the baby stage again. Will I bounce back? Will I stay active?

I remember Eli's first months as basically spending a year at home in my pajamas. I lost friends that year and gained some dear new ones. I wonder if it will be the same? Will I struggle to get out of the house, take a shower and load the dishwasher? Will it be as hard for me to go back to the baby stage again as it was the last time? 

I don't know. I feel mighty stuck. Like my life is on pause as I grow this new baby inside of me.

So here I sit with my feet propped up and a giant cup of ice water nearby. But in this particular moment I feel thankful for this moment of pause. This stillness. This quiet. This soaking up all that I have to be grateful for. Listening to my kids play with the neighbors in the back yard. Knowing that this is a sweet spot, an in between time when all my kids are old enough to play outside together without needing me to keep an eye on them ever minute and when I will spend my days with a baby on my chest (and then chasing after an increasing mobile boy) but today, right now I just feel thankful for this moment. 

It's dark right now, the whole house is quiet but I can't sleep. As much as I would like to, I just can't. I sit in my dark kitchen, drinking a glass of milk (and a little bit of ice cream) and think about that moment. The word comes to mind "let" from James 1 - the word is in the context of trials, that the trials test your faith and the testing produces steadfastness and then it says "let steadfastness have it's full effect" so that you can become mature and effective. I think of this verse as saying - let this thing that you are going through have it's full effect on you. Don't fight the pain,  the hurt and the struggle of this season. 

Let

Let this season produce its intended effect. Let this moment come and go. Let it change you deep inside. 

I want this for myself in this season of pause. 

What I feel about this season is like my tide has gone out. Like God asked me to be brave, to walk out on the waves in faith and I did for a bit but then the tide went out and now the ground I'm standing on is just mud. Nothing beautiful about that. Nothing brave or spectacular, just sticky, gloppy mud and here I stand in it, stuck.

What I am choosing to believe about this season is that God has a plan for this time. That even in this moment, in this literal pregnant pause there is something going on, deep inside of me that I can't see. Things shifting, pieces getting stronger, other pieces being let go. I  don't get to watch the process because it's deep deep within, but I see the result. I know I will see it in me. That when the next storm waves crash I'll stand stronger. I'll stand amazed at what God has done in me. But in the meantime I'll simply let. Let this painful season become a pause, and watch the wasteland become a garden. 

Pregnancy Update


I realized that yesterday's post mentioned that I'm pregnant, which is the first time I've written about it in this space. I wasn't doing much blogging when we found out - so here's a quick little update!

I'm currently about 22 weeks along.
I'm due September 5
It's a boy.

It has been a harder pregnancy for me but everyone is healthy and doing well.

This kiddo is really active, like a little ninja. He was so active the ultrasound tech had a hard time measuring his heartbeat because he was moving constantly

All of the kids are really excited about our new little one. They call the baby "stick man" - thank you Emma for that one) Eli has been really really sweet about getting ready for "his baby" - and he is looking forward to helping take care of the new baby. There will be four years and two  months between the two of them.





Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Spring

Before yesterday I hadn't published much here, but I've been writing things in draft now and then. Here is a post I wrote about a month ago, but the heart of what I wrote here is what has been on my mind for awhile now.


Today is a perfect day.

The sun is shining, there's a cool breeze blowing, it's the kind of day that makes me appreciate living here in the South but all I want to do is curl up in a ball and cry.

I'm pregnant. This is normal. It stinks, but it's just part of it. Some days you just need to cry.

We head out the door, eventually we'll end up at the grocery store so that we have something to eat for dinner tonight, but for right now we're at the park, in the sunshine and fresh air. Eli's in the stroller and I'm walking, even though I'm wearing flip flops and a skirt. This is good.


We stop for a quick potty break and I take a picture of the stalls, all in a row. All the doors closed, with toilet paper strewn  here and there. This is exactly what my life feels like at this moment. Every door is shut and I'm traveling down this long, dark hallway. I try to open doors along the way but my only option is to move forward. In the middle of my mess...

These words are echoing in my mind today....



I see a couple with their newborn baby and a 2 year old who is stubbornly walking by herself, and I think how that was me ten years ago. I want to tell her "I know that all of this feels insignificant, but there is nothing you could be doing for your daughter's future happiness then to keep on spending time with her now. Lots of time. Lots of love. You don't get to re-do these years. I know it's exhausting. I know it feels like nothing. But trust me, one day you'll look back on these days and realize that they were everything" and the words I want to say to her I find myself saying to me. My nothingness really is profound. This day after day (after day after day) really does matter

I might feel burned-out. I might feel frustrated. I might feel inadequate and overwhelmed but I'm slowly and quietly learning that it is the small and simple things that collectively make such an enormous difference. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Everything

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Sometimes I have these moments when everything (or at least the thing I've come back around to again and again for the last while) well it just clicks. That one missing piece falls into place and suddenly there it is, that moment of clarity I've been hunting for.

Today it came, as it often does, in the form of my pastor's sermon ("Fruit-full Part 1: Love") and we visited a familiar scene to look at it in a different light:

"It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world. It was time for him to go to the Father. Jesus loved his disciples who were in the world. So he now showed them how much he really loved them..." (John 13:1 NIRV) and Jesus washed his disciples' feet.

We know this story. We may have even participated in one of those awkward feet-washings, but the point my pastor was trying to make was that here we have Jesus, in His final hours, filled with love for his disciples, who were not exactly at their most lovable (once again arguing about who was the greatest - and presumably who was the least and therefore the one to do the washing) and He wanted to show them his love, "the full extent of His great love" was what I have written in my notes, Jesus was setting Himself up to make a last grand gesture and he demonstrated it by doing the lowly thing, the thing that has to be done over and over, day after day. The unnoticed, seemingly unimportant thing. That's the thing Jesus choose to demonstrate His great love for His disciples. And in I'm being honest here, I'm just a little bit like "really Jesus? This is how you choose to show your great love?" Seriously? Washing feet? 

But as I began to see this story in a new light I realize that if anyone knows about this kind of love it's a mother. Basically our entire lives are spent on this kind of thing, the lowly, unnoticed thing. The kind of thing that goes more or less un-respected (if that is a word) and unappreciated. We are the sandwich makers, the diaper changers, the laundry folders, the dish washers, the floor moppers. We spend our energy, our days, our lives on these repetitive nothingsWe are the feet-washers. 

Yet in all of this nothing Jesus is turning to us and inviting us in. He is turning our mundane into something sacred. We are the foot washers now. The lovers of little (and big) lives.

This is the space into which Jesus invites us. This space in which He is demonstrating His great love. This same space in which we demonstrate His love (and ours) for our families. Through this seemingly insignificant act Jesus turns our kitchen sinks into holy ground.

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Jesus said "I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet. So you also should wash one another's feet. I have given you an example. You should do as I have done for you. What I'm about to tell you is true. A servant is not more important than his master. And a messenger is not more important than the one who sends him. Now you know these things. So you will be blessed if you do them. (John 13:14-17 NIRV)

He told us all that this is how we should love each other. By doing the thing that no one else wants to do. The unnoticed, unappreciated thing, day after day, week after week. He set the example for us. He bushwhacked the path of true love for us and it doesn't look romantic or idyllic it looks dirty and lowly and ordinary.

But isn't that the context in which we find ourselves? In ordinary moments of selflessness and service for those we love? Jesus is drawing us, inviting me into seeing these moments through His eyes. To see them as what they really are. That all of this stuff that seems like nothing is, in His eyes, everything.


"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:5-7 ESV)

He chose this path. He emptied Himself. He chose the role of servant. He chose the nothing of this world - knowing that it was truly everything. He gave up splendor and He chose mundane. He chose lowly, he chose unseen and unheard. He chose to show us love and He invites us to love like He did.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Breaking through


The last couple years have felt like hitting bottom, only to find the bottom break and I come crashing down. Last year felt like it was impossible to get through, felt like it could not possibly get worse. Now here I am pregnant and as much as I want to savor these months I am just miserable. I can't sleep, I'm in pain most of the day. I've been having awful headaches (not blood-pressure related, thankfully!) and I've been having Braxton hicks contractions since 14 weeks, sometimes all day long, often radiating into my back. 

There are often times when I'm crying out to God asking where He is in all of this? Sometimes he draws near in comfort, then there are times when He breaks open all the places of fear and unbelief. 

I feel like at the beginning of the year God called me to be brave and walk out into the oceans, and then the tide went out and here I stand in the mud. There's nothing brave or beautiful about this place that I'm standing. It's just mucky and hard to move. It's ordinary. It's frustrating 

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