When I began to piece together arrangements for bringing my baby home in 2015, I worked to fill every gap I could possibly imagine. I planned to have my mother here to help with daily chores. I arranged meals to come in from the church. I organized dog walkers to help with Baylor. I wrote a list on my fridge of daily and weekly to-do’s. I washed, folded and organized all the baby clothes in advance and tucked them neatly into drawers. I put together “welcome” stockings for houseguests filled with lotions and other treats to sustain them while at our home. I carefully planned for every possible need that would arise.
It’s been one year. A year that I will never forget. A year that is leaving deep imprints on my soul.
Moving into motherhood, I knew I had nothing figured out. I knew I was clueless and that it was going to be hard and that I was going to need friends and family to come alongside us on the journey. I remember questioning the basics: Do I really know how to change a diaper? Am I supposed to burp her if she falls asleep or just let her be? Do I heat the bottle up in the microwave or on the stovetop or under water? Does any of this matter?
Summer’s hands pressed against the edge of the door as she was trying to finagle it open. She knew her daddy was on the other side doing woodwork and she wanted to watch. Baylor also paced looking at me as if to beg, “please can we go?”
I cracked open the door and asked Ryan if we could join him. He nodded, letting me know our presence was okay. I grabbed a few candy canes and followed Summer outside. There, we played soccer and watched Ryan work under the rumbles of the power tools.
Ryan paused with the saw and moved over to another tool. During the transition, I ran indoors to grab a toy. The silence felt piercing in the wake of his power tools.
While inside, I heard Ryan’s fierce, loud cry, “NOOO! Get away right now. That is never okay. Bad. Do not touch.”
His tone sent a chill down my spine.
“But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice.” Philippians 1:18
Here I sit in the sacred space of yogi snacks, spilt sippy cup puddles, and puzzle pieces that may never find their home again. Oh, and Christmas décor. Oh, the beautiful, toddler-proof Christmas décor. My home looks like Country Living is forcing an awkward relationship with the Babies R Us catalog.
I feel this advent season is going to be marked by the word “gifts.” The Lord is sewing powerful meaning behind this word into my spirit right now.
For now, I’m reveling in the gift of presence. God’s presence, of course. But also the gift of being present with others. Oh, how being physically present with one another can breathe hope and life into our very bones.
He chose to make Himself physically present with us: Immanuel. That’s what we celebrate this season. The greatest gift ever given to mankind. God’s presence leans more intimately into the lives of men and women with each chapter.
“When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
My sanity is still messy, but it’s a restful sort of messy.
I will never forget the lessons I learned from my mom as I watched her go about life when I was a young girl. She is the most selfless, strong, servant-hearted women I know. Growing up, she integrated teachings from Scripture in sweet and tangible ways.
One of the most priceless lessons my mother taught me was the value of soul-care and self awareness. Through example, she taught me to begin with self-awareness, and then to implement healthy boundaries. She taught me that soul-care paired with selflessness is key to living a full life.
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13
Babies are fun! They are hard. But they can be fun.
It’s been one of those mommy-ing days when you just throw the lofty goals like meal times and naps out of the window, and you charter new territory in hopes of at least making a memory out of the mix.
I’ve had several of those days lately
Just the other day, following a sleepless night, a runaway dog expedition, and a 45 minute bumper to bumper car ride serenaded by a screaming baby, I wandered around the wine store with my baby on my hip and realized upon getting to the register that my breast was out of my shirt.
Embarrassing. Exhausting. Laughable.
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.” Psalm 19:1
Wrestling with a baby 30,ooo feet off the ground is an art that I have become too familiar with over the last 9 months. Summer has now flown 14 times. She wiggles, yells, laughs, cries, flails, punches, pokes, prods, flirts and violently nurses. Sometimes all at once. When I say she is a high-energy, strong-willed kid, I’m not exaggerating. Our trip home in June featured me sobbing with her in front of the entire crew and passengers for a full hour. It was awesome.
“For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” Psalm 103:14
I finally got her down. It was a pre-naptime process that involved tears, restraint, wrestling, ear-piercing white noise (why is that soothing to them!?), a stress ball, and countless breath prayers.
I made my nursery exit feeling an awkward mix of gratification and frustration. I tripped over the dirty laundry in the hall and stumbled down the stairs over dog and baby toys until I found my coffee. This morning would require an extra dose of coffee. And Jesus.
What is worship? We are all worshipers. We were created to worship, thus we cannot help but do so. Worship is directing our attention, our adoration, and our energy toward something. Some of us worship our bodies, some of us worship our partners, some of us worship sports, food, music, ourselves, the list could go on and on.