Third Sunday of Lent

Gracious Father, we give You praise
And thanks for this Holy Communion
The body and blood
Of Your beloved Son

ah, this is so good. I need this.

Maybe this truth will help me be in a better mood,

give me a better attitude,

help me focus in the right place.

The body is broken
God’s love poured open
To make us new
Lord, make us new

Thank you, Lord.

Thank you for mercy,

for grace.

Abba Father, we bless Your name
And take part in this Holy Communion
Make us all one
To love like Your Son

Yes, Lord.

How my heart longs for that true fellowship of believers.

Wait. Is Phoebe fussing? Didn’t the downstairs neighbor say that she can hear Phoebe crying sometimes? Does she think I’m a terrible mother? I better go make sure Phoebe is okay.

The body is broken
God’s love poured open
To make us new
Lord, make us new

CRASH.

My eyes snap open. Despite the one million times I have told her not to, Ellie has climbed into her doll crib, and, obviously, the bottom fell out.

ALREADY? I just wanted to listen to this one song. I just wanted two minutes and fifteen seconds of peace.

The body is broken
God’s love poured open
To make us new
Lord, make us new

“It’s not your fault, It’s my fault.”

Before I can even open my mouth, my two year old short circuits the thoughts that would’ve made this situation all about me and not about her. All about guilt and not about grace.

And somehow, we have a quiet conversation about how important it is to listen to mommy and to choose to obey, even if my eyes are closed. And I gently remind that little girl that she has her own crib and this one is not it.

And somehow, the bottom of that plastic doll crib fits right back in there and it’s almost like it never broke in the first place.

And somehow, He keeps finding ways to be Immanuel. God right here in our life. The God who came to live with us. The God who isn’t only there when I have a quiet space, ancient prayers, and cup of coffee, but the God who wants to be found. Right smack in the middle of crying babies and disobedient toddlers, if I will only ask to see him. The God who doesn’t need silent spaces or special weekends to change my heart.

The God who is right here in my living room, making me new.

With Child: A Guest Post Series.

The response was overwhelming. Granted, it took a few days. They are all mothers, after all. Each one has a lot on her plate. Those first few days were full of sweaty-handed waiting and continuous phone-checking that would rival any junior-high girl with a serious crush. After more than a year of praying and thinking and dreaming, I was waiting. Waiting to see if anyone’s heart had ever felt the same way mine did. All I had done for months was hope & pray, and once I hit that red send button, there was little I could do but hope & pray some more.

And then the ‘yeses’ started trickling in. Filling up my inbox day by day until there was a yes for every email I sent out.  From women I have shared countless cups of coffee with to women I know almost entirely by the words they write online.  “Yes,” each one wrote, “I will share my story.”

It has been a long time in the making- the gathering of these momma hearts. In different and deep ways, the stories these women are living flood my heart with grace, tug me closer to Jesus, make me a better mom, a better friend, a better wife.

It’s no secret that just a simple Google search will return an overwhelming amount of articles, videos, and websites that might lead us to believe being a momma is actually about the kind of diapers we use, or about how we feed our babies or clothe our babies or birth our babies, or about how many hours we spend at home or at work. I’m beginning to believe that I’m not the only one who forgets that motherhood is mainly about Jesus. How he makes us more like him. How he makes our children more like him. How he makes his name famous. How he accomplishes his mission in the world.  How he allows our families to participate.

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Over the next ten weeks, you are invited to join us as we tell a different story about Motherhood, as we look for Jesus, specifically in the journeys we take into motherhood.  Each of these sweet women are going to share different stories of the ways that the Lord has used the journey into motherhood to make them more like him, to illuminate the gospel, and to glorify himself. I am so excited to introduce these women to you and to share their stories with you. We are excited to see what the Lord will do with these stories. Each of the next ten Tuesdays, will you join us with a cup of coffee and discover the Jesus in our stories?

First Sunday of Lent

It’s past 11:30. The tears are fresh on my pillow, and I’ve just slipped into that dreamy place between waking and sleeping when I hear her. It’s quiet at first, so that I fall in and out of that light dozing a few times, unsure of what’s going on, but then I am sure I hear her.

“Moooooooommmmaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh.”

I’m standing next to her bed before she can call my name again and I’ve gathered her in my arms.

“Snuh-gguhl.”

It’s kind of a routine.  She hasn’t been sleeping through the night for a few weeks now. At first, I didn’t mind it, but the last day or so, my attitude has moved from gracious to annoyed. Sometime, I stopped being enamored by the way her golden hair curls against her neck, the way her head rests, slightly upturned, next to mine, and the way her chubby toddler hands find my face in the dark; sometime it all began to blur into constant kicking and thrashing and loud mouth breathing. I noticed it tonight, and at first I couldn’t figure out what had happened- when everything had shifted.

But I think now I know why. I think it’s because this week I’ve been living frantic. I spent the week trying to get the house ready for Eliana’s second birthday party, and I’ve been babysitting again, and Phoebe really doesn’t like to be put down. And it’s been a week like so many weeks during high school and college where I shove food into my mouth while standing and find myself going from one appointment to the next with little down time and I can’t remember which meals I ate and which ones I just thought about eating.

And even though this week marked the beginning of a new season of the church year, I barely noticed as we slipped into Lent. And even though I desperately longed to feel the ashes smeared and hear those words whispered “dust you are and to dust you shall return,” the pressing of time felt so near suffocating to me that I didn’t go anywhere.

Dust I am and to dust I shall return.

I have long confused busyness with importance, overcommitment with faithfulness, stillness with laziness. Having two children under the age of two has forced me to live slow. To take my time to stop and listen and rest. To give myself grace when the laundry piles and the cabinet doors grow sticky, and the bathroom mirror boasts those toothpaste pockmarks. I have simultaneously gloried in the simplicity and felt guilty for it. Exulted in the freedom to focus on my children, to soak in every single moment and complained about being bored. Laughed at sweet silly toddler phrases and cried about not being important.

These first few days of Lent have looked a lot more like striving and a lot less like trusting. A lot more frantic and a lot less peaceful. A lot more harried and a lot less hopeful. So far, Lent is doing exactly what it is supposed to do- reminding me that sin is so much more than just the things I do wrong– it’s the very basic ways my heart doesn’t work properly. How deep, how fundamental my sin, how desperately I need a Savior.

Dust I am and to dust I shall return.

how we’re observing lent.

In typical Lindsey fashion, I’m thinking well in advance running around like a crazy person, wishing I would’ve remembered that Lent was coming a week ago. I’m not going to argue for participating in Lent in this post, because I’m firmly convinced and it wasn’t the words of any human who convinced me, it was simply in the doing that I realized how much I need it. And every year as I look forward to it, I remember when it seemed like an empty practice, and how it wasn’t until the first time I observed it that I realized how much missing out on Lent can mean missing out on Easter.  But if you’re interested in it or you want to know more about it, Ann Voskamp has some helpful words.

I know Eliana is young. I know Phoebe is even younger. I know that they don’t yet grasp the meaning of the church calendar or the things that we’ll do during Lent, but I also think that it’s important that we observe this season as a family, so I’ve made an effort to find a few things that will help us talk about Lent and participate in it in our daily lives.

For the Grown Ups

The first is something that’s just for me. I’m going to be making an effort to follow the She Reads Truth Lent study. I got the first day half-way done while I was feeding Phoebe this morning, and I’m really excited about this. You can get access to it on the app for a small price, but if you follow it online or via email, it’s free. Just visit the link above to sign up.

David and I are also going to be going through Reliving the Passion by Walt Wangerin Jr. When we were engaged, we went through another of Walt Wangerin’s books with some dear friends who were mentoring us.  We read yet another of his books aloud to one another after finding it at a thrift store on our honeymoon. We love that guy.

For Our Family

For our family, I found this resource, which is a reading plan that takes you through the Jesus Storybook Bible (up to the resurrection) during Lent/Easter. We have been trying to start (or end) our day with a reading, song, and prayer. I think Lent will be a good opportunity to build that habit.

I also found this calendar and this “Lenten Path” for children. My plan is to print out the path and then add those activities from the calendar to my copy, adjusting to make them applicable to our family. Each day we’ll color a square of the path and talk a bit about the activity for the day.

Also, I can’t believe I actually nearly forgot this one. Have you heard of The Brilliance? They’re brilliant! (I couldn’t resist.) Their Lent album is one of my favorites. Those songs made up a significant portion of my labor playlist. Because labor is kind of like Lent to me, but that’s possibly another post for another time. We’ll definitely have this one on repeat for the next 40 days.

Also, I was thiiiiis close to trying to hurry up and make an “Alleluia” banner, so we could bury the alleluia, but for a few days now, I’ve been trying to consider the meaning behind that tradition and decide if we’re going to do it, so we’ll see- maybe I’ll just try to have it done for the Easter season, and we’ll have until next year to consider it.

I would love to hear how you are planning to observe Lent with your family.

Letters to Phoebe: Birth

Dear Phoebe,

You had your own ideas about your birthday, didn’t you?  I feel like it’s unfair to you, but it’s difficult to not assume that you’re maybe just a little stubborn (you’d come by it honestly, at least), based only on when you were born. And even though I made jokes about it and I was tired and frustrated, and ready to hold you, I secretly cheered for you when you waited until the last second to decide on your birthday. That’s my girl!

September 15. That’s the date I came up with the day I got a positive pregnancy test. That’s the date my midwives told me waaaay back in February when I went to my first appointment. That wasn’t your birthday. And neither was the 16th. Or the next ten days after that. It got to the point that we started talking about trying to help you out.  I went to my midwife on Friday, and we set up the induction for Saturday. And I got home and I cried a little. Because I was hoping you’d come on your own. I was really looking forward to the experience of labor happening on its own this time around, and I was a little disappointed.  I felt silly for feeling like that, because I was also very, very excited to meet you. And very, very grateful that you were healthy. By the evening, after a lot of praying, and a lot of encouragement, I was only excited. Exhausted, but excited.  It was a funny feeling, after months of waiting and weeks of waking up wondering if it would be your birthday, to go to bed knowing that you would be born on Saturday.

I guess at this point, I’ll mention that I had been having contractions on and off throughout the day on Friday, but that was nothing new. It had happened a lot of other days only to stop and leave me a little bummed that we wouldn’t be meeting you yet after all.  I timed them while your daddy and I watched t.v. and they were about 10 minutes apart, but not really painful.  I made sure all our bags were packed and I went to sleep.

I woke up around 2am from painful contractions, but I honestly thought that I was imagining them. And I really wanted to be well-rested for labor, so I tried to keep sleeping. I dozed between contractions for the next two hours, until they got so painful that I had to wake your daddy up. “Sweetie, my contractions hurt really bad. I think…” He fell back asleep before I even finished the sentence. He woke up to me trying to make it through the next contraction on my own and failing. “I’m sorry, David, you have to wake up. We’re going to have the baby now.” They seemed to be coming about 8 minutes apart, so I decided to take a shower. Very quickly, the contractions got a lot closer together and stronger. We finished getting things together, called your Auntie Kelley to come stay with your sister, and left for the hospital.

I was so happy the entire drive to the hospital. You were finally on your way! I felt pretty sure that we’d be holding you by lunchtime. I was so excited to meet you and so grateful for the gift of a labor that began on its own. Over and over throughout this pregnancy, the Lord has continued to remind me to trust, to rest in his grace and his goodness. It was no different in labor.  I hope and pray, sweet daughter, that you will learn this lesson when you are younger than I am.

We got to the hospital at 5:15am, and met up with your Nana and our Midwife, Isabelle.  Part of the deal with the hospital was that I had to agree to monitoring for the first 30 minutes, so they hooked me up, and we started waiting. Isabelle started getting a room ready for us, and came back in towards the end to see how things were going.

7 centimeters. That’s how they were going. Apparently weeks of contractions and waiting had paid off. We headed down the hall to my room and I hopped right in that lovely tub. It was probably around 6am when we got to the room.  Contractions continued to pick up, and your daddy did such a wonderful job helping me through them.  The time between contractions was nice.  It was restful and for a while, we chatted about your arrival.  Itbecame clear that you would be born long before lunchtime. In fact, before we were even scheduled to be at the hospital for the induction, I was holding you in my arms.

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Isabelle helped me think about and work through my labor, and when I decided it was time to push, just about 2 hours after we got to the hospital, she helped your daddy catch you. You were born in water at 7:43am. September 27, 2014. 8 lbs. 10 oz. 20.5 inches. Our sweet Phoebe Evangeline.


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Dark hair, and big gray-blue eyes, just like I had imagined. Your daddy handed you to me right away, and I just looked at you, cuddled you, and kissed your sweet face.  It was so precious to have those two sweet hours to hold you and get to know you, to introduce you to your big sister.  She came right into that room, took one look at you and said “PHOEBE!” She climbed up next to me, kissed you, held you and played little piggy with your “toesies.” Like us, she had been waiting so expectantly for you. I pray that sisterhood will be a blessing for you both throughout your lives.

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Sweet Phoebe, we are so grateful for you. Our prayer for you is that you will be an example of and a glad witness to the “light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” We pray that you will radiate the light of the Lord our God–that you will love the light, walk in the light, and give light to others as a city upon a hill. We pray that the good news of Jesus Christ will shape everything about you and that you will choose to devote her life to the advance of his kingdom.  We love you, sweet girl, and we’re so happy to have you in our family.

Love,

Momma

Phoebe.

A sweet new baby finally decide to join our family on Saturday, September 27, 2014 at 7:43am.

Her birth story should be finished in a few days, but for now, say hello to Phoebe Evangeline.

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