Friday, May 9, 2014

What's in a year?

I stare at this blog occasionally, wondering what happened to my brain.  I second-guess grammatical moments that used to take no thought, I've even started spelling things incorrectly.  I feel like I have nothing to say except trifling news about the day.  And yet, what a year it has been.

This time last year, I was impatiently awaiting the arrival of our son.  This year, I'm planning his first birthday party (which will be sunshine themed).  This year, I'm impatiently awaiting the birth of my best friend's baby because they didn't find out the gender ahead of time and it's driving me completely bonkers.  Also because I can't wait for her to be a mommy and to snuggle her little newborn.  Last year, I had babies on the brain because I was about to have one.  This year, I have babies on the brain because we won't have any more.

Last year, I was mourning what felt like the loss of a very dear friendship.  This year, I am celebrating the birth of that friend's second baby and rekindling something that means more to me than I ever knew.  It has been beyond joyous to bring her meals in the hospital, shower her baby with presents, and let her know how much I love her and her family.

Last year, I would look in the mirror with a mixture of pride and disgust; pride that the giant belly I wore was doing what God made it to do, and disgust that the rest of me had to inflate simultaneously.  This year, I look in the mirror with a mixture of gratitude and trepidation; gratitude for the amazing eater that my son has been to take all the weight off me without my having to work for it at all, and trepidation about how I will look when he stops nursing.  I'll have to discover will power, something that has eluded me thus far in 31 years of life.

Last year, I was filled with fears I refused to give to God.  Fears for the birth and health of our baby, fears for our future, for our family.  This year, I feel a peace and general contentment…but almost to the point of numbness, or muffled sensation.  Like I'm squinting at the world and listening through earplugs.  Cocooned, almost.  Wrapped up in the everyday battles of mothering.  They're small battles, but I don't seem to often win, which makes them loom much larger than they are.  I lack creativity, or at least energy and time for creativity, and that makes everything seem a little duller than it ought.  The only thing that makes this okay, that keeps me from panicking, is the knowledge that this is, in fact, only a season.  I can trust in the God who made me this way that He will fulfill the gifts and desires he's given me, in his time and to his glory.  Now I just have to repeat that until it really sinks in.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


We had a discussion about idolatry in community group on Monday, and the topic came up again in women's group Wednesday.  I seem to have seasonal idols that come and go, but one constant remains: comfort.  I would do almost anything to be, and stay, comfortable, and it is what I pray for most often.  I'm revolted at myself for asking God to serve my idol, rather than the other way around.

It's not just physical comfort, though that's a large component.  It's the comfort of financial security, always being prepared and not having to scramble when something comes up, of doing the minimal amount of work for the maximum amount of relaxation and downtime.  It's the comfort of having a plan, knowing what comes next, of never disappointing people or causing strife in relationship.  It's food that makes me feel good, regardless of nutritional content, and not pushing myself too hard.  It's self-serving, short-sighted, and a bad example for my kids.

And I'm scared to death that God will take it away from me to teach me to trust in Him.  I don't want to pray for that, because it's honestly the scariest thing I can think of.

This is where I need to dwell: 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Blessed be the gGod and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and hGod of all comfort, iwho comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in jChrist's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.1 kIf we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you lshare in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

COMFORT is not a sin; seeking comfort above God, as a self-serving idol, IS a sin.  The comfort given me by God should be useful for serving and loving others, not just myself.

Teach me, God, to understand what this means and how to glorify you well and love others with your love and comfort.  Remember these words in my heart all the time.  Please pick me up, brush me off, and teach me to start again.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


I'll be honest, I've had mixed emotions this entire pregnancy.  I've WANTED the baby the whole time, I've just also been scared witless and hugely anxious since before the test even came back positive.  Now, heading into 35 weeks, I'm just really, really excited.

Ever since my dear friend (and two acquaintances at the same time) lost their sons at about 20-24 weeks gestation, I've been terrified of being pregnant.  And having a boy.  And everything else that's even remotely similar about our situations (age, geographic location, etc).  Every pain, twinge, discomfort, new sensation, would send me into a whirlwind of anxiety and fear.  Not because I was afraid of experiencing the pain of loss; I've been there before with my dad (though I know it's not the same thing).  I don't know why.  But an amazingly Godly woman pointed out that being anxious about the "what if's" robs the certainties of their strength and joy.  I am not certain that this pregnancy will play out like a fairy tale, but I am certain that I have an amazing husband and two-and-a-half-year-old who love and rely on me to be in the present moment with all of myself.  Just in this moment, God reminded me of many things:

  • I am loved by Him and held tight in His promises.  This does not mean I will not endure great suffering, but it does mean I will not endure suffering alone and without support unless I choose that idiotic route.
  • Babies (and kids and adults) die.  Knowing this reality has caused alternating anxiety and appreciation for the time we're given on Earth together.  The anxiety is sinful, and the appreciation glorifies the God who has given us this time as a gift to steward well.
  • Being anxious and fearful robs me of my strength and joy and creates an ugliness that I can only blame on myself.  I don't want to blame that on myself, so I will choose joy.  Over and over and over, because the alternative SUCKS.
  • Anxiety and depression during pregnancy are NORMAL, often caused by hormones, and I need to allow myself grace...but not excuses.  I need to assess every moment when I am feeling down and ask God to help me out of it.
  • Every baby is a blessing, even the ones we don't get to keep.  They just get to be a blessing to the God who created them, and be in His presence more than ours (physically).  We still get to meet them, and spend eternity with them praising God, and I am grateful beyond words for that promise.
Now, I am choosing anticipation and excitement over anxiety.  There are still a million things that could go wrong, but God is in control of all of them and He can (and will) use everything for His glory and our good.  That is something I can rest in during the dark days.  That is a source of deep, profound joy.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


How do you express in words the pain of sharing another's grief, coupled with the admiration for their strength and vulnerability during the shittiest time of their life?  How do you give them the space they need, and the support and love you long to show, when they hate you so much for the blessings you have that they were denied?  There is no easy answer, and the love lost is almost too painful to bear.  I can only pray that time will heal our relationship while it heals the hurt in my dear friend's heart.

I can honestly say that while I don't know exactly how she feels, I do have some understanding from my own experience, and I love and respect her despite her bitterness toward me.  I know what it is to lose someone you love so very dearly, and to have the people around you constantly remind you of your loss in flippant, seemingly unsympathetic ways.  When I lost my dad so suddenly, every time I saw a girl with her dad, no matter their ages, it ripped to me to my core.  It still does, often.  Holidays are especially hard, and while it helps to focus on my husband as the daddy on Father's Day, there's a hole where my dad, Mimi's Grandpa, was supposed to be.  And I am so sensitive to situations in which someone complains about their dad; I just want to smack them upside the head and tell them to appreciate the gift that their father is, even if he is not the best dad in the world.  Appreciate him, because you're going to lose him, and no one can replace him.  Respect him, in word and deed, and show him the love he needs, whether he deserves it or no.  Losing my dad has helped me appreciate the relationships I have with my family, both blood and Blood, and I want to cherish those relationships with all that I have.  Yes, I still struggle, because people really piss me off sometimes, but this newfound perspective has caused a profound shift in the way I love others that has helped me see God's love for them, and His love for me.  Yes, I still have moments of deep, despairing depression, usually triggered by someone losing a loved one.  It's still so fresh, and so painful.  Four years is NOTHING when you lose someone you love.  Time can smooth the edges, but it's still raw and ragged in the heart.

I can't sympathize completely with my friend, but I can sympathize.  I can't share her pain, but I can understand her anger and bitterness fueled by that pain.  I can be patient with her, and understand that she'll never heal from this, not completely.  And I can also be wounded by her anger and bitterness directed at me for living the life that she was denied.  I can also live with the anxiety and fear her experience creates in me, the knowledge that I am in no way safe from re-living what she is going through for myself.  I can choose to trust in Jesus and His plan for our family over the fear that her experience daily brings out in me.  I can choose to shut her, and her negativity, out for right now, while still praying for her and loving her from a much greater distance than I would like.  I have to, for the sake of my own emotional well-being, even though it sucks.  I can't go around feeling guilty for living the life that God has given me, for having the blessings that I have.  There is no guilt there to be had that isn't inflicted by the pain and grief of another person.  I don't expect other people to feel guilty that their dads are still alive and well.  I expect them to appreciate what they have, and hold their loved ones close.  Our time down here is just too damn short to be full of hate, bitterness, guilt, fear, and anxiety.  I love and respect my friend so dearly, and I hold no animosity toward her whatsoever about what she is feeling about me.  She is allowed to have her feelings, to express them however she wants, and I am allowed to let them hurt me, or not.

There is healing to be had, and I pray for my friend to find her healing in the God who made her, and who holds her baby boy in His hands.  I am excited to see her son in heaven, to have him show me around, to introduce me to his friends and his God.  I'll wait on Jesus' timing for that day to come, but it makes me smile to know that it WILL come.  I just wish I could know if my dad would be there, too.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


In expectation of His good provision
I wait, and close my eyes against the early autumn sun,
Inhaling apples, dry summer grass,
The first bite of crisp coolness,
Exhaling impatience into the sky.

I breathe deeply, filling my belly
With this last fling of sunshine before the rains return,
Expanding my ribcage,
And holding each breath down to my anklebones,
Knowing it must be released into winter.

I stretch one last summer stretch
Toward the south-drifting sun,
Preparing to curl my spine around my middle,
Ready to hibernate, pale and warm,
Waiting for spring and rebirth.

For in this spring to come, in expectation
Of His good provision, His perfect plan,
Renewing covenant, retelling story,
I will see His grace breathed out in breath upon breath,
Shining through His people Israel.

Life, into death, into life again.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


I am so full.  Full of gratitude for this life I lead.  Full of the sweetness of baby giggles and kisses and single-word-exchange conversations.  Full of love for my sweet husband.  Full of cheesecake my sweet husband encouraged me to eat in honor of mother's day.  Just full.  But I won't burst; he helped me with the cheesecake.

I wore shoes today I haven't worn since before Mikaelin, which got me to reminiscing.  This time 7 years ago I was celebrating Mother's Day by graduating from college.  This time two years ago, we were going on our babymoon.  This time last year we dedicated our baby to the Lord.  This time next year?

Life is good.  80-degree May days full of lilac breezes and rhubarb evenings.  Community that's more like family than family.  Watching the Mikaelin Channel on the video monitor while she sleeps.  Crayon blue skies and minor home demolition projects.  Planning for the future, full of hope.  Gratitude and hope.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


It's normal to think your child is a genius, right?  At least the first one?  Because we do.  Mikaelin is picking up words and associations left and right, and can say her entire alphabet when prompted letter by letter.  She can even recognize some numbers and is making connections on her own.  She's repeating nearly everything we say.  She's awesome.  And we need to start seriously devoting some cash to her college fund.

Sometimes I try to picture her as an adult.  It's kind of fun.  I would love for her to stay my tiny newborn forever, but that season's already come and gone, so instead I picture her once she's out of the toddler years and able to use logic and know, when she's in her 30s.  Not that I don't "treasure every minute;" I totally lock them in my heart to use as sentimental blackmail when she's a teenager.  I'm just so excited to see what God has for her life.  I love what God has called me to in this short span of years, and I pray that my daughter would experience such fulfillment someday.  I love my sweet girl, and am so grateful for the time that God has given me to care for her.