Naptime.

Y’all. It has been forever.

I have had so many posts swirl around my head, but I usually really do write these during naptime, and ever since third trimester started, Ellie’s naptime is my naptime.

I told my grandma I was tired the other day and she said something like, “You ain’t seen nothing yet, sweetie.” I know she’s right, but I also know that the kind of tired I am in the third trimester and the kind of tired I am because I don’t sleep at night and I chase kiddos around all day are different. That tiredness can be helped by wonderful things like coffee and naps while Nana babysits, this tiredness can only be helped by not being pregnant anymore. That being said, I’m still definitely enjoying pregnancy and am trying to savor these last few weeks as a momma with one baby on the outside.

And now, I guess I just have a few updates that I’ve been meaning to write about, but I just keep falling asleep.

My grandfather passed away shortly after I wrote this post.  Early in the morning on Father’s Day, he went to be with Jesus. It wasn’t anything like I imagined– I actually found out about it on the internet. We had kissed him goodbye the night before and gone home to get some sleep, and I woke up to the news on my Instagram feed. It was jarring. And when we showed up at the house he was just gone. And there was an empty bed where he used to be, and the world was going about its Sunday like nothing ever happened. Like nothing ever happened. And I knew that he was finally free, finally with Jesus, but I was still sad. I took my daughter on a walk to the park because don’t you sometimes just need some space when something like that happens? Sometimes when you’re grieving and the world just seems to go faster and faster, don’t you just want to pause and make space? That’s why I walked to the park and sat on the swings that Sunday. To make a little space in that Father’s Day for my grandpa.  I’m sure I’m not done writing about this, but that’s all I have to say for now.

I also went to the high-risk doctor to have my ultrasound sometime between when I last wrote and now.  In her awesome Long Island accent, the doctor told us that her ultrasound technician had been alerted to look for a lake in my placenta (remember, not a leak, people) and she “didn’t appreciate that at all.” I was kind of confused (again) but it turns out what she meant was that her tech didn’t find anything to be concerned about and after the doc had a look, she agreed.  So, thanks be to God, we got out of there with a clean bill of health and as close to 100% certainty you can get that there will be a sweet little girl joining our family in less than two months!  We were very grateful to hear that everything looks good. Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to pray. I have struggled almost daily with trusting the Lord through this pregnancy. He is still at work, and I am so grateful for the story he is writing in our lives today, for the gift of the family he has given us today, and I’m still asking him to help me learn not to worry about tomorrow.

My goal is to be back to writing at least once a week because I really miss it and because I think it’s important. Sometimes the hardest part for me when I fall off like this is getting back up, so now that we got this out of the way, hopefully there will be better things to come. I have a few good ideas– we’ll see what happens.

Happy Wednesday!

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Waiting.

“This is not the end here at this grave 
This is just a hole that someone made 
Every hole was made to fill 
And every heart can feel it still– 
Our nature hates a vacuum”

We’re waiting right now.

We’re waiting with my grandfather while he spends his last days, hours here before he sees Jesus.

“This is not the hardest part of all
This is just the seed that has to fall
All our lives we till the ground
Until we lay our sorrows down
And watch the sky for rain 

And my grandmother talks about what a gentleman he is. And we remember.

And my mom talks about how gracious he is. And we remember.

And my dad tells a story about his sense of humor and adventure. And we remember.

And I tell a story about how he told me he would hold on to meet his first great-grand baby, and he did.

And now we tell him it’s okay to let go. His sweet wife stands next to him and urges him to run to Jesus.

“A thing resounds when it rings true 
Ringing all the bells inside of you 
Like a golden sky on a summer eve 
Your heart is tugging at your sleeve 
And you cannot say why 
There must be more”

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Last night we were sprawled on couches and chairs and floor sleeping. Together. Waiting. Expecting.

“There is more 
More than all this pain 
More than all the falling down 
And the getting up again 
There is more 
More than we can see 
From our tiny vantage point 
In this vast eternity 
There is more” 

And as the dim morning light started to creep in through the windows, we thanked the Lord for another day with him, but we know that when there isn’t one, it will be okay. We will be okay. And he will be dancing. His eyes will twinkle again, like they haven’t in years.

“There is more 
More than we can stand 
Standing in the glory 
Of a love that never ends 
There is more 
More than we can guess 
More and more, forever more 
And not a second less”

My dad says the closest thing he’s ever experienced to what we’re doing now is being there for each of our births.  It strikes me funny because I think, how is this even the same? And I think about this while I sit next to my Grandpa and I hold his hand and my sweet baby girl kicks and kicks and kicks from the inside. And I think about how he is about to enter into new life. A better one with no pain or sorrow or hurting. One where he will see Jesus. And I smile. And I think I start to understand why Paul said we shouldn’t mourn like people without hope. Because my grandpa’s labor breaths? They’re leading to life eternal. They’re leading to a kind of birth so good we can’t even imagine it.

“There is more than what the naked eye can see 
Clothing all our days with mystery 
Watching over everything 
Wilder than our wildest dreams 
Could ever dream to be 
There is more”

*Andrew Peterson, More

We Married Young, We Married Strangers…

Lindsey (4) Lindsey (3)

It happened before Pinterest was a thing. Before I had even finished college. Before I had any idea who I was or where my life was going (I still don’t?). Before job offers and job rejections. Before babies and blogs. Before graduations and new apartments. Before a faith crisis and a move overseas and back.

It happened on May 29, 2010.

A 21 year old girl and a 23 year old boy promised to grow up together.

Lindsey (6)Lindsey (5)
Lindsey (7)

I didn’t have pinboards full of ideas or attendance at lots of other weddings to compare mine to. I didn’t have a big budget or even a good sense for what I wanted my wedding to be like.  I just knew that I wanted to marry him.

Lindsey (8)

So we did it. With a little bit of money in the bank and a lease on a 400 sq. foot apartment, we “started” our life together. We started to grow up. We took a lot of that money and bought plane tickets to Brazil. And just 2 months after we said “I do,” we headed into the pressure cooker that is trying to figure out how to live in another culture and make all new friends. And then we came home and finished seminary, we had a baby, we got  jobs and an apartment and started waiting for another baby.

6 Residences, 3 countries, (almost) 2 babies, and 4 years later, here we are. Still young by a lot of people’s estimations, but feeling a lot older. Still with much to learn about one another but much better friends than we were on that day.

David, I love you.

A lot of people told me I was too young to get married. I guess they were kind of right, if  a spouse is something you check off your list of grown-up goals. I didn’t have any of my grown-up goals done when we got married, and I don’t think I even have grown-up goals anymore.  I wasn’t “old enough” to get married. Neither of us was, I think. But I am so enjoying growing up with you.  Lindsey (9)

Marrying meant sacrifices. And it meant that for both of us. It meant putting those grown-up goal lists on the altar and listening. Listening long and hard and close, even when all we heard was silence. It meant a lot of creativity and praying about paying bills and finding places to live. But it also meant privileges. It meant getting to do those things together. It meant apartment hunting and job struggling and seminary-scraping-by were team sports. It meant that those faith struggles happened within the shelter and the safety of our marriage.  David, there’s no one I’d rather do those things with than you.

What a gift it has been to get to know you better with each passing year. How I look forward to saying of this time in 20 years, “It’s like we hardly knew one another at all then!”

Most days, but today especially, I thank the Lord for the gift of marriage and for the privilege of building a life with you, of growing up with you, of growing a family with you.  Thank you for loving me, for loving our daughter(s), and for working so hard unto the Lord and for our family. Thank you for supporting me, for encouraging me, and for choosing to make our marriage a priority.

I look forward to celebrating each new year with you.

I love you.

Lindsey (10)

 

 

 

 

 

*The title of this post comes from the song We Married Strangers by Levi Weaver. 

A Lake is not a Leak.

This is a little embarrassing.

While was chatting with the midwife at my appointment today, David brought up my “leak.”

“Lake.” she corrected.

Oh. Lake? To be fair, with her lovely French accent, it kind of sounds like the same word.

Now I understand why all my Google research was so very unsuccessful. A placental leak is not a thing. I’m not entirely stupid. I kind of wondered if I had misheard when Google kept asking me if I meant placental lake.

I David was able to ask some more questions and our Midwife was very helpful. From what I’ve read, placental lakes, while abnormal, aren’t actually connected with any pregnancy complications and it usually isn’t even mentioned unless there are several of them. Assuming I didn’t misunderstand everything, I only have one tiny one.  She went on to explain that an OB might not even send me for the second ultrasound, but that Midwives have to be a bit more careful. My upcoming ultrasound is just to rule out any other deviations from “normal” as a precaution. Basically, the impression that I now get is that its primary purpose is to cover my Midwives’ you-know-whats.

Oh. Ok.

Even though I feel a little silly for completely misunderstanding a word…and for telling people that I have something that doesn’t even exist, I also feel really grateful.

If I’m completely honest, I have spent a lot more time concerned this pregnancy than I did in my pregnancy with Eliana. I think it’s something about looking at my sweet baby and knowing that there’s another sweet baby growing inside of me. Somehow, it’s not as abstract as it was the first time. I so desperately want to meet her. I so desperately want to get to know her, to have her personality revealed to me day by day, to watch her play with her older sister.  These last few weeks have had me leaning so heavily on Jesus. Asking him to remind me that he is the one who loves and cares for my sweet children perfectly. He is the one to whom they belong. He is the one writing the story of their lives.

I am only their mother.

I love them. So intensely, so deeply, but they don’t really belong to me. They belong to Jesus. I mentioned in my first post about this that it seemed like a great opportunity for Jesus to tend the garden of peace in my heart, and my friends, he has been so faithful.  Each one of you who took a moment to pray, each of you who took an extra moment to let me know that you were praying, thank you for helping him.

I was hesitant to write the first post back in April because I thought maybe everything will be just fine and then this will just be silly. But remember how I talked about thinking and no more lies before? I don’t want to pretend that I don’t worry about things that are silly. Because I do. I don’t want to only write stories that are finished and have good endings and resolution. Because a lot of times, there’s at least one story in my life that doesn’t. But Jesus meets me there. He meets you there. In the worry or the anger or the suffering, in the unfinished stories and the ones that end sad. He stands there with us.  I don’t know what new information, if any, we’ll learn at our ultrasound in two weeks, but I am also not living in fear of it.  The Lord is still teaching me to trust, in his goodness, his wisdom, and his faithfulness. Not that things will always be good, but that He. will. always. be. good. 

I still treasure your prayers as the Lord teaches me to trust him with my life, my plans, and my family.

Birthday Things

It was my birthday on Saturday.

I LOVE my birthday.

I always have. This year’s birthday was especially wonderful. Friday has been David’s day off for a while, so we made a two-day celebration out of it, and it. was. perfect.

David and I have been learning a little more about the 5 Love Languages.  I have suspected for a while that Gifts was a pretty strong one for me, and I was right.  I love giving gifts just about as much as I love receiving gifts.  So I decided that this birthday would include some gift giving on my part. I suspected that it might just increase my love for my birthday even more, and I was right again.

My first gift was to spend some birthday money I received on a zoo membership for our family. I know Ellie probably won’t have any memories of time spent there, but I’m looking forward to spending time there with her (and David) this summer, before Little Sis gets here.  We went for the first time on Friday, and Eliana loved looking at the animals, waving to everyone, practicing her walking, and playing with some of the exhibits.

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We spent the evening together relaxing, but woke up in the middle of the night to sweet Ellie’s first fever. It was so sad to see her feeling unwell, but I can’t lie. I love baby cuddles, and Ellie just hasn’t been as into them now that she knows how to walk.

We spent my birthday with some dear friends from college, eating delicious food, talking, and spending time together. It was a blessing to me to celebrate with them, not only my birthday, but also the new journeys the Lord is taking each of us on. It was a privilege for me to give small gifts that celebrate these exciting new places the Lord is leading them.   I think I hesitated to claim Gifts as a Love Language because it felt selfish to me, but I’m realizing that the joy is just as full in the giving as in the receiving. I felt new freedom to take a lot of joy in getting thoughtful gifts from so many considerate people, and it was an added joy to be able to give a few small gifts, also.

The day wrapped up with birthday dinner with family and a whole night of taking care of a poor sick baby.  I thank the Lord for the grace to see even this challenge of parenting as a gift.  I was tempted to feel self-pity that my daughter would have her first fever on my birthday. But I was gently reminded of what a privilege it is to care for and cherish this special life, and felt called to recognize the opportunity to give her the gift of my time, my patience, and my love while she felt sick.  It seems strange to write, but I really loved spending the last hours of my birthday evening holding my sleeping babe, not dwelling on how many or few hours of sleep I might get that night, but just thanking the Lord for all the fullness of the gift of being this sweet girl’s momma–all the hugs, drooly kisses, and smiles; and all the tantrums, huge messes, and late nights/early mornings of care taking.

Photo on 2014-04-26 at 20.13 #3

On Moving, Part 2.

I unpacked that box of tea a few weeks ago.

I cried a little bit.

I remembered the girl who packed it up. I feel like I hardly know her anymore and I feel like I’m still just like her, all at the same time.

The girl who dreamed of feeling “settled” and thought that trusting would just be easier if things were consistent. The girl whose heart was so sure that if that box of tea expired in some forgotten corner of a storage facility, her hope would expire right along with it. The girl who chose to trust because God was gracious to give her the courage to trust.

I think about her a lot.

I think about her when I watch my baby girl growing up and my mind starts to race with all the ways I could mess up.

I think about her when I consider the complete lack of control I have over either of my children’s lives, born or unborn.

I think about her when bills stack up on the counter, when it gets late and I’m home alone, when I remember just how much it cost me to get a degree I don’t use.

But it’s different now. In my heart, there is a stillness and a quiet that the Lord started growing the day I packed that box of tea and breathed that prayer for the millionth time. Today, I believe. 

The way the Lord has tended the garden of my heart– there is no word for it but grace. The way he has grown up that seed of faith into peace through gentle, tender care and attention, not giving me everything that I want, but patiently giving me the things that he wants.  It is beautiful. And I am grateful.

And as I sit here and think about heading to the doctor’s office tomorrow to catch a glimpse of our second sweet baby, I remember these truths. And there are so many unknowns and there is so much that I can’t control.  And worry and fear want to rise in my heart, but they can’t. Not like how they used to.  The Lord has been gently, graciously tending a garden of peace where there used to be a brush pile of worry.

And I write all of this because I remember how that girl sat on the couch and cried because she just knew she wouldn’t be able to muster up the strength to hope and trust and believe for that long. And she never had to. Because the amazing, wonderful, beautiful thing about the Lord is that, while the one thing he asks us to do is to trust, He never ever asks us to do it alone. That tea expired, but my hope and my heart are thriving.

Friends, the Lord has been faithful, not only to provide us with jobs and a place to live, but to continue to grow the garden of peace in our hearts.  To call us into uncomfortable places and fortify our hearts with his faithfulness as he meets us in our need, not always (not even often) in the way that we prefer or imagine, but in a way that will make much of him. And the delight in that place? One of the best gifts I have ever received. There is no word for it but grace.

when you kind of can’t believe it…

A week ago, I didn’t have “Bradley Conference” marked on my calendar.

A week ago, I was wondering what I was going to do with my free time.

A week ago, I downloaded an application and forgot to read the fine print.  I was thinking of how I should come up with $400 and realized I needed 4 X $400.

A week ago, I set up a crowdfunding website with shaky hands and a tummy ache.

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A week ago, I think I started a pretty exciting adventure.

I have tried to be honest through this whole process. I hope I haven’t suggested that being a childbirth educator is something I dreamed about doing when I was 5 years old. It wasn’t. I hope I haven’t suggested that I feel like God woke me up in the middle of the night and said “Lindsey, learn to teach The Bradley Method.” He didn’t. (It’s Ellie who wakes me up in the middle of the night.)

I hope I’ve communicated that The Bradley Method had a profound impact on my life, on the way I think about birth and pregnancy and hospitals and doctors. I hope I’ve communicated that I care deeply about future mommas and daddies and their babies.  I hope I’ve made it clear that this isn’t just a job or a hobby to me–it’s an opportunity to love, care for, and serve people in one of the most important times in their lives.  I hope I’ve made it clear that this isn’t just something I thought up one day.

The thing I think I love most about this adventure is that I didn’t sit around looking for an adventure or waiting for one.  I was going along, living my life, trying to be faithful to the things I think Jesus cares about, and something just started to happen.  I was talking with a dear friend smack in the middle of this fundraising adventure, and he kept commenting on how this just seems to make so much sense for me, for David, for our family. It just seems to fit. And that’s what I love.  I love that this is like a great-big present that the Lord has said “Here, open this. I want you to be a blessing.”

You know what else I love about it? You. You people. You generous, encouraging, caring people. Who have loved me through some of the hardest parts of my life, who have prayed with me, cried with me, laughed with me, and read my blog.  The last week has brought me into contact with many of you.  Thank you. Thank you for being generous. for sharing your time. for sharing your stories. for sharing encouragement. for sharing your prayers. for sharing your money.

I am so grateful you were willing to participate in the crazy-exciting thing the Lord is doing in our lives.  Each time I hopped on my computer and another one of you had taken the time to share a story with me, each time I saw that little green bar go a little farther, each time one of you sent me a piece of encouragement, I thanked God for you. I thanked God for his faithfulness.  In addition to making it possible for me to embark on this adventure, you have been a part of the Lord’s work in my life as he heals my heart and teaches me what it actually means to obey. I am humbled by your obedience to whatever the Lord prompted each of you to do.

Thank you.

I feel like I can only end with yet another quote from Eliana’s story Bible.

“Well, Jesus did many miracles. Things people thought couldn’t happen, that weren’t natural.

But it was the most natural thing in all the world. It’s what God had been doing from the beginning, of course.  Taking the nothing and making it everything. Taking the emptiness and filling it up. Taking the darkness and making it light.”

To the praise of his glory.

the past don’t own us anymore

When Eliana gets especially fussy (it does happen sometimes), when I feel like bedtime has to be just around the corner, when these momma  bones get tired and ache for a rest, when bobby pins no longer contain the mess that on better days I call a hairstyle, I turn on music.  Usually, it’s just the cure we need. It focuses our hearts, calms our spirits. I wish you could sit on the living room floor with us and watch my sweet girl respond to music. It’s a beautiful thing. She looks up and grows very still. She listens. I can be a pretty practical and sensible person, but I don’t care what people say–my baby listens to music. She has since she was in my tummy.  Sometimes she sings along. That’s my favorite.

Last night was one of those nights, friends. One of those nights you start checking the clock for bedtime an hour early. One of those nights where there’s nothing else to do but snuggle and sing away the last hours of the day. One of the songs we listened to last night was “The Past Don’t Own Us Anymore” by my friends Jenny & Tyler. And I found myself fighting tears while I cuddled my sweet baby. It’s from a collection of Love Songs, so I’m pretty sure this song isn’t actually written about the situation I’m about to apply it to. I feel like that’s one of the beautiful things about art, though– it speaks to our souls, and the situation doesn’t have to be the same for it to hit you. So, onward.

In high school, I had a friend who always used to tell me that my problem with boys was that I invested myself way too much.  “When you fall, Lindsey, you fall HARD. Every. Time.” she would say to me in an attempt to get me to lighten up.  My friend was right, but not just about boys. I fall hard about nearly everything. The last time I tried to do anything ambitious regarding a career, it was not pretty.  It left my heart pretty battered, and it took a long time to heal.  Because when I apply for a job, I don’t just write words on a piece of paper (or type endless paragraphs into stupid little boxes of an online form), I put my heart down on that paper. I imagine myself in that position, I develop a passion for it.  When I fall, I fall hard.  And when that rejection comes back, they didn’t reject my words on paper. They rejected me. my heart. Needless to say, after that happened a few (I stopped counting at twenty interviews in the first 9 months out of college–to say nothing of the rejections that happened pre-interview) times, it made it difficult to want to share anything with anyone.

“Pain came ’round and turned my soul stone hard
Floods came rushing up from underneath
Dark and lonesome memories
I tried, I tried to make them leave
Why can’t I just make myself believe?”

For several months after the whole teaching debacle, I tried hard not to fall for anything. Which is hard to do when you’re pregnant. It’s hard to do when you bring your heart home from the hospital wrapped in a gauzy blanket. The fear I lived in the first few weeks of Eliana’s life was crippling.  This was the hardest I had ever fallen. I just knew that any minute, it would all be snatched away from me.

DSCF0082“Of this I’m sure–The past don’t own us anymore.”

This whole childbirth education thing is exciting, but it terrifies me. I’ve known for months that this is something I care deeply about. But I’ve been afraid. Afraid to talk about it, afraid to try to do anything about it because I don’t want to face rejection.  Past experience tells me that I can’t handle it. Past experience tells me that when I fall, I fall hard and falling hurts.  Past experience tells me that I invest myself too much. Past experience says build a wall and hide your heart and keep the things you love to yourself.

“Of this I’m sure– The past don’t own us anymore.”

The Lord has been so faithful to heal my heart and to teach me how to fall hard without placing my hope in the wrong places. To teach me that he isn’t a big meanie in the sky who just likes to do mean things to us to see how we’ll respond. To remind me that he is near, and he is present, even when it feels otherwise.

“Of this I’m sure– The past don’t own us anymore.”

Ever since I started this fundraiser, I have been so blessed by the words that people have shared.  I keep getting emails, messages, and texts from people who hear my heart and encourage it.  Some of these are people I haven’t even talked to in years. I’ve thought a few times about what will happen if I don’t raise the money by August 5th.  I wonder how I’ll feel. We really can’t afford this right now, so it will certainly mean things being put on hold for quite a while, I imagine. And that’s okay. I’m certain that the Lord will do what he wants, and that I’ll get to be a part of whatever that is however he wants.  Today, I remember this, and I feel it very strongly, and on days that I don’t, like last night, I whisper to myself , “Of this I’m sure– The past don’t own us anymore.”

“Grace came down anew to feed the fallow
Love came showing us our deeper need
We grew wiser from the storms
Built our home on better shores
Found the fire burned more faithful than before
Of this I’m sure–The past don’t own us anymore.”

Is this getting old yet?

If you’re just joining us. 

If you just missed out on yesterday. 

If you want me to shut up.

And today, I recruited my daughter to shamelessly manipulate your emotions.

See that little “P” (for Pinterest!) button at the bottom of this post? Go ahead and give it a little click.

5 days left, friends!

Gracias.

And muchas gracias to those of you who have already donated/shared/encouraged me! Seriously, I’m so encouraged by the words many of you have shared in the last few days.

seriously. srsly. for reals.

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