Sweet Phoebe, I’ve been remembering your first few weeks of life lately. I remember how you were cuddly and soft and tiny. I remember how you cried. Oh, sweet baby. You cried. You did NOT like being here. You were perfectly … Continue reading
Today I am so excited to turn writing over to Chrissy. Chrissy and her husband are friends from college that we had the gift of living near as we each began our families. Her little guy, Charlie, has a killer smile, … Continue reading
I first met Abby on a trip to New York City in college. I admired and continue to admire her sincere kindness, her honesty, and her love for Jesus (and also her singing, writing, and drawing). Abby writes about life, faith, and … Continue reading
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.
I’m standing next to her bed before she can call my name again and I’ve gathered her in my arms.
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.
This gallery contains 21 photos.
So, with each pregnancy I’ve debated maternity photos and newborn photos, and with each pregnancy I’ve ended up making the same decision: skip the maternity photos and don’t skip the newborn photos. So far, I haven’t been disappointed with my decision. Note … Continue reading
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.
So I’m 9 days past my due date. Nine. NINE. Nine days is a lot of days to wake up and think a new PERSON might join your family that day…and then go to bed wrong. It’s exhausting, people. The … Continue reading
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.
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.
Things that have happened today:
“Don’t eat food out of the garbage can!”
Followed by a quick look into the garbage can to see what she might be eating. The good news is I was greeted by David’s leftover cereal, which was piled on top of a clean paper plate, so…
While trying to make a packing list for our upcoming vacation, one little hand on my knee, one clutching a book. The question “Do you want to read some books?” was immediately followed by a vigorous head nod and beeline to the bedroom.
I heard a loud crash during “nap time” and found this in her room. Apparently we weren’t tired today.
That’s all for now. Another stack of books is accumulating next to me on the couch.
For the first time in almost 15 months, I went all day without nursing.
I think Eliana’s just about done with it. And while it’s nice to have a small break, since Little Sis is due exactly 4 months from today (WHAT?!?!), I can’t help but feel a little bit sad.
I mean, I knew this was coming. It’s fairly common for babies to quit nursing when their mommas get pregnant, and she’s just been less and less interested the more interested she becomes in the world around her. But this has been a journey. Despite a bit of a rough start, things were fairly smooth after the first couple of weeks. I quickly became one of those mommas who loves nursing.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Eliana’s newborn days lately. I remember crying a lot that first week or two. I was an overwhelmed, fearful, overjoyed new momma. That crazy cocktail of new momma hormones definitely had something to do with it, but I’m also an emotional person by nature (duh) and I was convinced my two week old was just growing up too fast.
And the Lord saw that momma.
And he spoke to her, maybe in a way he’s never spoken to her before. Because the change, my friends, seemed instant. The way that peace washed up over her heart and her life and still washes up over her every. single. day? He didn’t scold her for her fear. He didn’t chastise her.
He invited her.
He invited her to make the choice between a life with grasping hands and squinted eyes– always straining to see the future instead of looking at what’s right in front of her, always snatching at moments as they pass instead of feeling the way they gently move through her hands the way sand does– and a life with open eyes and open hands, ready to be filled and emptied, filled and emptied.
He invited her to be filled and emptied. Over and over again.
But how can she be sure that once she’s emptied, she’ll ever be filled again? How can the fullness be enjoyed if it’s only meant to be given away?
Is this not the beauty of the Gospel, sweet friends?
When he met that momma that day, there on that brown couch while she held her newborn baby with tears running down her face, he gave her a gift. A gift of trust. Trust that grasping and squinting don’t make things slow down or become more memorable. Trust that this abundant life is in the seasons, the time coming and going. That “hurry up and get here” doesn’t make for an abundant life, but neither does “wait, wait slow down.” She didn’t want to be one of those mommas always lamenting that her first baby was growing up too fast. Because she isn’t. She’s enjoying and living each day that the Lord graciously gives her, and shouldn’t her sweet momma do the same?
To this momma who had been told the lie that she would have to be perpetually sad that her children were growing and growing and growing, Jesus spoke the truth that growing and growing and growing is a gift to be cherished by giving and giving and giving.
Maybe to you it seems like I’ve overspiritualized something that’s just a part of everyday life, but I think my point is that everyday life is deeply spiritual, if we pay attention. And I think that this is why I don’t have to be depressed about my sweet baby not nursing anymore. That even as I lose a part of our relationship, I can celebrate. Because she’s growing and growing and growing.
And I get to find new ways to give and give and give.
New ways to trust.
That empty hands will be filled again.
That abundant life doesn’t mean clenching up, it means opening up.
That I can say “yes” to all that Jesus has for me without squinting first to try and figure out what it is.
That He is good.
And then, last fall, I found myself saying “YES! YES!” as I read a post by Ann Voskamp who says it so beautifully: