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365Expressions

Writing these "letters" has helped me to process life as a new mother, remain thankful, and come awake to the little moments that make this pretty challenging season simply wonderful.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Day 365...This is it

One year has gone by.
One year of writing my sweet daughter.
One year of reflecting on this unique, challenging, beautiful, and all-too short season of life as a young mom. (I think I'm still considered young?!)

365 days ago seemed like not that far, but looking at you and how much you've changed, it blows me away all that can happen in a year.  And to think tomorrow starts a new year of it.  A brand new year of 4 1/2 year-old girl passions: kittens and ballet. :)

A year ago I said I wanted to write you every day.  Did I do it?  Nope.  I missed a lot.  I disappointed myself.  But somewhere along the way I realized it mattered not that I stick to a list of rules to follow in order to complete a task.  It became more about the heart of the project. As I reflect on lessons learned through writing letters for this past year, that has to be one of the top on my list: whatever I do, let it flow from my heart.  If I just wasn't feeling it one day, I didn't write.  It took my awhile to get there.  I felt it better to sort of force something.  And in some practices, that is the best way for sure.  Self-discipline should not be overlooked.  But in this case I had to learn not to beat myself up for not living out guidelines.  It was in my heart to write every day, but I just couldn't do it in the end.  Just like it's in my heart to read my Bible every day, be nice to everyone I encounter, and so on.  But I have to live with the fact that I'm not perfect.  Wow, what a revelation!  But honestly, it is one when you accept your limitations and start living in the freedom of His joy and presence.  It's absolutely a real thing, and once you experience Him for yourself, you'll know what I am talking about.  But back to the letters...

I hope you've learned something along the way.  I know I have learned a lot about God, myself, life, etc. all just through the writing process.  I probably learned way more than I would have had I not written.  That leads me to ask the question, should I continue?

I told your daddy I would probably end it here.  It's bittersweet, yes.  But honestly, I'm looking forward to going even deeper this year.  I'll be journaling in my journal, so I can always let you read them later on.  But sometimes I am too guarded when writing Letters to Sadie, because, well, you are my daughter.  And there are some things I have to learn on my own.  Some things are better kept between me and God. But I will miss these sweet times we have shared.

I hope we will come back to these letters, you and I, and laugh at the silly mistakes I made, or the funny stories of young Sadie.  I like you at four.  I love you at every stage.  But I also like the thought of watching you grow up and mature into the woman God designed you to be.

I'll leave you with this verse that keeps popping up as a "life verse" for me right now.

It comes from Micah..."And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."  (6:8)

I pray that justice moves you to act on behalf of those who can't, that you become addicted to showing love and kindness to those who don't even deserve it, and that you become so satisfied with knowing your Father and being in such intimate fellowship with Him that you are ruined for all other gods.

I love you, my sweetheart.  My special girl.  My sister chick.

I miss you while we're apart (may it never be)
but you're always in my heart.

Dear Sadie.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Day 240...My Daddy's Eyes

I was just thinking today how incredible it would be to always be looking through my God's eyes...having His lenses on all of the time.  This way, whatever I am looking at, I will seeing what He sees.

I would see the beauty of Creation and be in awe.

I would see circumstances as opportunities for breakthrough encounters with heaven.

I would see people as lost, and found, and know how to mix wisdom and compassion with each.

I would not be shaken or moved  by the impossible or the nauseating, because what I would see would divide foolishness from wisdom, temporary from eternal, beautiful from ugly.

Last night going up the stairs, you had just said good-night to Daddy, and you said to me so sweetly as we were climbing our way to beds...

"I have Daddy's eyes."

"Oh, yeah?  What made you think of that."

And you said, "I'm just sayin' it."

Like a child does, you say things outwardly that you are feeling on the inside.
At that moment, you felt so much pride to share eyes with your Daddy.
You looked into his eyes while saying good-night, and you saw love.  You probably saw his beautiful eyes, too, and remembered what someone said about you one time, that you do indeed have Daddy's eyes.  His big, beautiful eyes.

In the same way, let us be enamored and proud of our Daddy's eyes.  And let us, as we gaze upon His beauty, see life through His lenses.

One day we will see fully, Corinthians tells us.  For now, we only see but a dim vision of how things will be one day.  Still I pray that we spend enough time gazing on Him, and looking to His Word, that we can't help but look at things with wisdom, strength, and understanding. Even more, that others could look into our eyes and see the Father.  What beauty that would be!

Every day.  To see the world as You see it, Father.

Dear Sadie.






Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day 239...birdies

Well it's been a long while once again, but not because of you my dear. It is all me for sure. I have felt dried up inside. This happens to me a lot during the holiday season. Every year I try harder to keep my Focus, and yet it never fails. I'm busy, distracted, having too much fun, having not enough fun, and the list goes on. There's always this tension I feel around Christmas. I really go into the season thinking I can be better this year about where my hope will lie, how to maintain my peace, where I will cut back and simplify, and how we will spend our time. But like a monster it sneaks up on you and next thing you know the whole thing is over and the monster ran away with all the treasured moments you were supposed to feel, and all those glowing memories you were supposed to make, vanished into this air. And you're taking down the tree thinking, when did I even sit and soak in the beauty of our hopelessly leaning tree these past two weeks? It's hard not to be sad. Or glad, that it is over and you can go back to normal. The tension is in the trying to fit our traditions and make them fit nicely into Jesus, and the truth is, they don't, usually. We need to be honest and just say it. Some things we do have nothing to do with Him. I think He understands. And there is grace and freedom. We don't have to be "spiritual" in everything we do. The beauty is in the honesty. In the moments when I tell Jesus I have neglected Him for the lesser things, and He says back to me, "I know," with forgiveness and wonder in His eyes that beckon for me to come and sit at His feet once again. And He starts to tell me stories of what He has been up to. What He has already done. He shows me the birds chasing each other outside my window, looking for morsels, building big beautiful nests, singing songs. He whispers to me, "I made those just for fun." And I kind of think how silly I am to take myself so seriously as I do so often. Could I just be a bird one day, and have the trust that they do? Couldn't I just labor and rest, aware that My Maker, in all of his glory, has done and is doing such amazing, awesome things, and that all I need to do is accept His invitations?
To be a bird. Only, I am His special creation, designed to do what only humans can do. I just have to have more if Him daily and to set my eyes on things above. I need only more of Him, and less of me.
Well thank you. Thank you for letting me pour out my heart. I hope I have learned something!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Day 238...better than okay

When things start to look like they are going to crumble, and I feel the tears are going to rise, something inside me says, It's going to be okay.  It's the Holy Spirit, and I'm so grateful for Him who dwells in me and abides with me.

Even so, He's given me you.  When I stop and look into your eyes, and hold those sweet cheeks, you smile back at me with your eyes that say, "It's better than okay.  We are going to be great."

Dear Sadie.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Day 237...poem

It's getting late, time for bed once again.
I must lay my head down and just put down my pen.
(okay, laptop)
But before I go I just have to say,
You are so very special in every possible way.

Dear Sadie

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day 236...Christmas Blues and Sparkles

Oh the tension we live in here on earth!  I can't wait to be in heaven where it all makes sense and there's no strife but instead we will see clearly, not dimly as in a mirror...

Your daddy and I went shopping for you guys today.  We went to one store.  One Store.  
The fabulous Target everyone has come to love. 
I mean, who doesn't love Target!?  

Well.  We had fun.  Or at least it started out that way.  We ran from one shiny sparkly here, to another tough toy truck there...  Oh, Sadie would love this!!  Titus would get a kick out of that!  Then we started to go back and forth on what to get you guys.  The fun outing turned into stressful decision-making and over-deliberation.  Over budget.  Not practical.  Not enough independent play with that one.  Too much to set up every time.  She has more than him.  This one would be fun to open but how much would he really play with it, I mean really?  Mommy likes this; Daddy likes this.  I think next year we will buy separately.  I think it will go much more smoother.  I mean, you guys are two and four, how hard should this be?!  

Well. We finally decided on a few things for each of you and left pretty satisfied at our final choices.  We even learned a few things about each other in the process and appreciated one another, quirks and all, a little more.  (daddy and me)  

So I came home and got in the bath, my third one in about a week's time, which is a first for me.  You can tell by baths what kind of week it's been, but hey, it may become a more permanent thing for me in the end!  It was so relaxing, especially after such deliberation!  (the word of the night)...

I start reading my new favorite book "Seven," about an "experimental mutiny against excess," and I'm on the chapter "possessions." Oh boy.  Yeah.  This is where the tension enters the story.  I mean, how hard to come home with bags of stuff for your kids, and then to read about how the rich are praying to get richer in America?  Come on!  Can't a girl enjoy her Christmas being a fairly new mommy with actual cash in her wallet?  What's so bad about that?!  

I mean, we stuck to our budget and didn't go overboard by any means.  To tell the truth, we probably spent way less than the average American spends on Christmas.  No, extremely less.  But...does this make it right?  It sure doesn't make the pit in my stomach go away.  Not when I think about the thousands of people who died today of starvation, and I'm obsessing about whether to get my daughter a fuzzy white pony in a purse, or the stuffed cat from Aristocats with the cute pink bow.  I'm so confused now.  I want to think I have all the answers.  But as soon as I think I do, I realize I'm so far off.  I'm going to keep reading this book, and I'm going to keep letting the Lord use it to get to me.  And I'm really not complaining, even though I sound like it.  I'm just sounding off, because truthfully I do get it.  I get it all.  We're not one of these families who have multiple credit cards, fancy vacations, or even closets full of unused clothes.  We live on hand-me-downs, and we actually eat almost everything we buy on a weekly basis.  But all that said, I do have a hunger and thirst to be messed with...to be the last, to be well-acquainted with the least, to bind of the brokenhearted, and so on.  I am so tired of consumerism and "keeping up," and worrying about having less than everyone else and not giving my kids all that they deserve.  I mean, reallly, what are you all lacking if you know you are loved and reminded of the good news on a daily basis?  

My main concern though...are we raising you guys to be self-centered?  over-indulgent consumers?  distracted?  Yikes. The burning and yearning in my heart to take you from here and touch and feel and smell and grab hold the poverty that the majority of the world is experiencing right now is, well, it's almost getting unbearable to contain.  I feel like there's a ribbon tied up against my chest and I'm leaning into it, ready to run from here.  And when someone shoots the gun I'm going to bust through that ribbon and take off.  But not from here location-wise necessarily, although it may be.  Here, status-quo-wise.  There are some Scriptures I've come to know and love that just don't match up with my lifestyle, and I'm thinking of letting them ruin me. Ruin our family.  I want to be a radical Jesus freak.  Forgive me, Lord, for ever hesitating.  I'll have to use a letter to tell you what those Scriptures are, and you'll see what I mean.

For now, this Christmas, my special girl...your mommy and daddy love you.  We love to shower you with good things, as does your Heavenly Father.  I'm going to hold myself back from returning everything tomorrow before it's too late and I've wrapped all the gifts.  (Here it is 6 days before Christmas and I'm contemplating a present-less Christmas for my preschool children--what is going on with me?!)  Just know this, that in our hearts lies the sincere desire to never spoil you.  We do want you to be happy, but all the while, we hope to be living examples of contentment and gratitude for the happiness that lives and breathes in our hearts: Jesus.  

Dear Sadie.

"every good and perfect gift comes from above..."  James 1:17

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Day 235...get me my water

Today it occurred to me just how closely you observe me and I don't think you nor I actually stop to take notice much. You were in bed and you very nicely said, "Get me my water." I have probably heard similar demands made of me dozens of times, but tonight as I corrected you, I sort of had an epiphany as to why the clarification I was making with you was such a hard concept to grasp. When I said "excuse me?" (Sort of nicely) you replied "I was being sweet." The funny thing being here-- you were! It was said like a true, polite little southern girl! I almost laughed. Then it dawned on me how many times a day you hear me making demands of you in the same nice manner, expecting the appropriate responses...I think I try to always tag on a please somewhere in there...bring your plate to the kitchen, please...Sadie, please pick up all the books...(Ok, yes, I must admit my tone doesn't always remain in the "sweet" category, but nobody's that perfect!). So now i get it...you are merely imitating your mommy! You seemed to genuinely understand the differentiation I made about mommies and children and their roles, requests and demands, etc. I walked away going huh. And then wow. I wish I had more pivotal moments like these! But in all truth, how responsive will you now be to our little teachable moment? We will just have to see, won't we? :)

Dear Sadie (ever-so-sweetly)