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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.

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)

Day 234...big baby

Sickness has gone through our house like the plague. But in the spirit of remaining thankful, it has only touched the babies. (I still like referring to my 2 and older kids as babies). Your daddy and I have not had the flu, trusting we won't, either. Remaining hopeful. It's been a miracle so far; needless to say with all of the nose wiping I have assisted with, all the coughs sprayed upon me, among everything else, I am a walking miracle. Thank you, Lord! Thank You I have been well enough to cuddle their foggy heads, cradle their fevering bodies, and nourish their weak temples. The sick season we are enduring has challenged me and stretched me in ways I wasn't even aware I needed.

There was this breaking point I reached the other day. It was a pity party, really. But I ended up dealing with my selfishness when I was all done pouting and escaping. Truthfully the pout and escape did help me settle and come to the realization I was being selfish, thrusting me back into the dirty work with pure motherly joy once again, only by His grace. But hopefully next time I can come to my senses through the Spirit and without running anybody over or acting like such a baby.

Dear Sadie

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Day 233...cling tight

Yesterday I was a pill.  Today it was like I took a pill and everything turned around.
I don't really know what the answer was...maybe it was the personal bath and book time last night, maybe it was the rebuking of myself while in the bath with the book and saying Forgive me, Lord, for letting the weakness do me in.
Whatever it was, today was different.
Yesterday it was "what?!  another case of the flu?! no!!!!", and the taking care of others constantly, and the constant reminder of never getting a moment to myself, and the Jason, Honey, I need you...can you come home now, please?!
Then there was today.   A new day.
Today was sunshine on a rainy, gloomy day.
Maybe it was worshiping my Jesus with my church family. Glorious Presence!
Or maybe it was the melancholy of my babies while helping good friends register for their new little treasure to come.
Or maybe it was the drive with the soundtrack of "Awake My Soul" between places.
Whatever it was, it was grace.
You'll have days of both kinds, Sadie.  Just go with it, and cling to the Lord tight.  He will lift you above the clouds every time if you seek Him. His grace will blow your mind.

Dear Sadie.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day 232...best day ever!! books and friends

Soaked in a bath tonight to end another typically undpredictable day.  Grabbed my new and tasty book I've been dying to devour ever since I grazed on it at Barnes and Noble back a month ago.  I don't waste a beat, for God knows this night "ending" at 8:30 pm with kids asleep in their beds is only a mirage in the desert, or maybe just a tease.  Titus, sick with the flu, passed out at 7:30 only after two throwing-up-episodes, bless his soul.  Shortly after his sick spell, you downed a bite of mac and cheese that was doused with more salt than needed for 1 box of macaroni let alone one bite! (you pride yourself in doing these things by yourself, bless your heart). We watched your big eyes pleading for help as your mouthful seemed to want to explode; you panicked then puked.  Three vomits in one evening.  Yeah.  So much for the quiet unwinding by the fire.  Although, it was a bit of a calming backdrop for these reckless events.

Earlier before dinner and daddy's return, you were sitting by me, Titus and the fire.  Me with my nightly coffee cup in hand, attempting to warm myself after the first cold day we've had thus far in our 70-degree month of December.  Titus having woke from a late night, sleepily joining the day again, playfully fooling us all that his flu was tapering off for good.  I think it was in those cuddles in that moment that you declared, "Best day ever!!!"  (as you have stamped on many-a-moments)  I laughed, smiling, "Yes, you always say that."  "Yes, but it really is!" you defended.  I love it.  You feel every minute, as every healthy child does.  Yet you know how to express it in a way that makes adults shake their head with bewildering joy.  I'm proud.

Besides the throwing up and the cranky flu baby, the day wasn't half bad!  Especially when topping it off with a book that inspired me to write this letter.  Yes, I sighed heavily at the thought of having to write again when it looked as though I might actually have the time.  Nothing that a good writer, bath, candles, and Dr. Pepper in a wine glass couldn't cure (we didn't have any other red stuff).

She (Jen Hatmaker) had me laughing out loud with the first chapter of "7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess."  She is a gal I wish I knew personally.  I'm already thankful for her witty humor and rawness that leaps off the page: her bleeding heart.  I am so inspired that I, too, am compelled to think I could also write a book someday. I laugh inside and embarrassingly hope no one will read this and laugh too.

A good friend of mine wrote to me today: "Sometimes I think people or books just kind of click in our spirit even before we read them or hang with them!"  I totally agree!  I was barely through with the introduction of this book and already promoting it on Facebook.  What's the matter with me?!  I guess it was the way the writing/subject/author made me feel like my soul had been wrapped like a pretzel through hers.  Books and friends should be like kindred spirits.  (Now affectionately remembering Anne with an e.)

I like to think God is placing books (and friends) in my path that will further me on in my writing, my passion, and my personal and spiritual life.  This one is, and I'm not even through the first chapter.

I, too, like Rapunzel can now shout, "Best day ever!"...knowing I most likely will want to shout it at some point tomorrow...

isn't that how it should be?

I end my day thankful in soul and spirit.
Thankful for Pandora and headphones.
For my computer to write on.
For baths and candles and a husband.
A king-size bed beside me I get to snuggle into with him later.
For Jen Hatmaker.
Thankful for books.
For inspiration.
For hope.
For dreams.
For my Father who points the way and lifts my spirit.
Thankful for a lifestyle where holding my sick baby is absolutely possible without having to "call in sick to work," where I can drop everything and play "make-believe-we-are-kittens" with my daughter, where I have time to drive another Hot Wheel up and down my leg with my son (even if it takes me forcing myself to do it), and enjoy a leisurely stroll around the library fountain listening to my kids squeal with delight and freedom.  For more than enough provision that I can give away a car-load of stuff to a thrift store without feeling even the slightest bit of need.
For a daughter who is puppy-dog giddy at the sight of popsicles and chocolate and books and lying in grass beneath trees, like me.  Who soaks up the simple things of life with all of her senses.  Those simple things that are God's little graces that, if we are paying attention, are the winds that carry us through the yuckiness that comes to kill, steal and destroy.  That far outweighs any discomfort or even pain.
Thankful for another letter to my Sadie.

Dear Sadie.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Day 231...cuddle bug

Cuddling in the bed on a late Saturday morning. Squished between me and daddy. Hard to find where one person starts and another ends. Such a good place.
"This is soooo much fun," you said.
I'm just enjoying these moments right now when you think daddy and I are the coolest, and you actually want to be close and together with us always.
Does it have to end?
Will you have to go through those teenage years?
Is there a button we can push to bypass and remain best buds?!
I know they (as in all parents) wish this were so. We want things to stay the way they are. Close, snugly, innocent and light-hearted.
For now all I can do is enjoy the present, hold you tight, and pray for grace always no matter what phase we must walk through together.

Dear Sadie

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Day 230...Raw

I have one more to write today.

One word.

Raw.

The idea of rawness was highlighted to me tonight.  In the context of worship.
Raw means uncooked.  It's not cooked up.  Not prepped, prepared, maybe not even seasoned.
In its original form.  Spontaneous.

This is what the world is desiring to see.  Formalities and traditions are so prepared, prepped, cooked and packaged neatly, they have no real impact anymore.  People are hungry for more.

I am hungry for more.  Right now I'm just a mom, but a mom to YOU!  So I have to say, even as a mom, we can cook ourselves into a frenzy.  By this I mean, we worry and fret that all our "to dos" are done, and in the process, we leave behind the original, beautiful forms that are often pretty messy but hold the real juiciness of life.  Children, our children, are hungry for moms who will leave all of their preparedness long enough to look into their souls and be present long enough to ask them, "What do you  want to do today?"  "How are you feeling today?"  "What do you want to talk about?"  We have to be careful our carefully planned days, and neatly manicured lifestyles, and perfectly arranged wardrobes are not at the expense of the raw reality: that life sometimes has to get unorganized, out of order, and spontaneous in order for God to step in with what He is speaking and doing in the moment.  What He wants to say to us.  What He wants to do through us.  This is raw.  This is real.

Lord, help me to be awake to the stuff that matters for eternity.  Help me stop and rest long enough to hear You speaking to me about my day, about my kids, about what fills our calendar, and all the rest.

Let me become the original form of Christy: the mom, the wife, you intended me to be.  And when I get off track or become caught up with the recipes that are not on your menu, let me again turn to You for the good stuff.  God in the raw.  God in the everyday grind of life.  Let Your ways infuse my days, Lord.

Forgive me, Sadie, for when I fall.  I am learning just like you.

Dear Sadie.

Day 229...moments of courage and beautiful surrender

Hey there.  It's the end of the day and I really should be getting to bed.  But it was a hard day. Had some of those lately.  Hard but good.  I lost control of my emotions on several accounts.  Not pretty.  Could have been worse.  But still.  And I'm seeing now how God is using these moments to shape me into the woman He wants me to be.  It's in those moments where my patience is running thing (and pms taking over) that I see how human I am being, and how much more God longs to purge out my humanness as I press into His superhumanness.  That's where it's at.  That's where life is.  That's where the miracles happen.  I stopped and gave thanks in the middle of a tiresome day, kids crying, kids not napping, kids not being their normally wonderful selves for their tired mommy.  And I thanked Him.  I thanked Him for all the goodness that surrounded me.  And it gave me breath and life for more moments to come, tough or simple.  Significant or not.  He always gives me grace in my need.  I love Him so much!

Dear Sadie.

"my power is made perfect in weakness"  2 cor. 12:9

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 228...eucharisteo

Eucharisteo.  "He gave thanks..."  Looking at what you are given and choosing to see it as grace and give thanks.  "Choosing to fill with all that He freely gives and full live--with glory and grace and God"  A.V.

Tonight we danced and sang and read books and tumbled by the fire.  Ice cream and cookies.  Firelight and Christmas tunes.  But it was in the laughing faces that made me think..."thanks."

Little moments are treasures for my soul.

Dear Sadie.

"Best night ever!,"  Sadie.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 227...number our days

Kids are napping, all is right with the world.  Ha ha.

I have a moment, and I'm choosing to not do laundry, mop, read, or play on my iphone.  I choose to write.  Yea for me!

I have a feeling I should not have started out this letter project calling it a 365 day thing, expecting that I'd actually complete 365 letters to you!  What was I thinking?!  If anything, this should tell you I am quite an optimist.  It should also tell you that I am pretty tenacious to make it this far! AND, that I really like writing.

So many days have gone by that I simply have not been able to write.  When I look at the "number" of day I am on, I get discouraged because I know I should be much farther along and I think, Why did I think I could do this?  In hindsight, I wish I would have just said I'd write for a year's time, not write every day!  And then just write to you whenever I found the time.  1) I wouldn't feel like such a failure!  But 2) I probably wouldn't have gotten this far?  Maybe?  Who knows.  Maybe I should just accept my limits, and let this be a learning experience for me.  After all, life is one huge learning experiment, is it not?  Rather than set the bar high, set the learning curve high, right?!  That way we won't give ourselves such a hard time!

So I'm sitting here, tackling one more letter, loathing and loving at the same time (although the love is definitely winning out as usual!), and I think to myself, I could just take the numbered days out, that way when the big "1 year" deadline comes around, however many letters I have written will be enough!  But then, that wouldn't reflect truthfully this whole journey now, would it?  I want to be honest, even if it means sucking up my pride.  If I can't do it, oh well!  At least I tried!  And at most, I've learned a lot!  (and maybe you did too!?)

All these thoughts of days and numbers reminds me of something, "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" from Psalm 90:12.

I have always wondered what exactly this means, and why I should learn to number my days.  I guess I really shouldn't take those numbers off then, huh?  Maybe they can serve an even deeper purpose?

I don't know if my thinking is right, but I wonder if maybe God was reminding us to keep in mind that life is severely short.  And to make every day count.  And that when we do finally learn to number our days, we will find wisdom growing and ruling in our hearts as we live out each day.  I think that's safe to say!

So there.  I will keep the numbers, if for no other reason than to remind us to make.it.count.

Today I have been alive exactly 12,358 days.  It is so strange to think of this fact.  To think of my life in terms of days.  (How many more do I have left?  I hope for lots!!!  I want to live to watch you grow up and become a woman!  And Titus, a man!  And grow old with Daddy!  And hit the mission field once again!  And write a book!  And learn how to sew! (hey, anything is possible!)  I'm glad only God knows what my number is!  He won't tell me, but I know He wants me to live a life not wasteful or lackadaisical.  Perhaps if I did know my number, I might live out with extremity the things I am most passionate about...to make it all happen...to seek to know Him all the more, to follow my heart, and to make every present moment and every person matter!  I can't let knowing or not knowing determine my life.  But perhaps if I thought of my life in terms of days not years, I won't waste so many precious moments!  Ah...the light bulb is coming on now!

This could be what the psalmist was getting it.

Live as though I knew my number.  Live in terms of days.  Each is not for nothing.  
I may not know the total sum of them, but I can be certain of their worth.  

Life goes quickly.  Let's make it count.

Dear Sadie.

"Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

(Want to find out how may days you've been alive?  Go to www.timeanddate.com/date/duration.html

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 226...Naptime

Trying to put you guys to bed when I, myself, was tired was an absolute nightmare today. It was nap time and I could barely keep my eyes open. You, on the other hand, were having the opposite problem. Titus was being wild. Now that you are sharing a room, you have a bit of trouble relaxing when he is thrashing about, giggling, and getting in and out of bed. Deciding I'd deal with him in a moment, I went to you and tried to calm you down. "I can't sleep! It's too hard! My eyes won't stay closed!" I laughed inside. Gently I corrected you, for I knew how tired you were, even more than you could realize. "Just relax, Baby," I said. "I know you can do it." Still in the protesting mode, you took a minute, but under my calm but confident instruction, you succumbed to the tiredness, and after just a couple of minutes of caressing your long blonde hair down your back, you were gone.
I was reminded tonight just how easy it is to be like this with God. In my stubbornness I say, "I can't do this, it's too hard!" And all the while its my own will fighting and me becoming distracted by all of the commotion around me. Yet all He is wanting me to do is close my eyes and trust His voice telling me, "You can. Just rest in Me. I am right here with you." And with the comfort of knowing He is with me, and the peace that passes understanding, I "fall asleep." In this sense, by sleep I mean really letting go of needing to control things, and let go of the need to see how everything is going to work itself out. Closing your eyes can be scary, just like trusting is frightening. You don't know what's ahead. You are trusting your Tour Guide. But then when you do, you can take a deep breath and enjoy. Because He really is a good Father and has a perfect plan for you if You'll surrender to Him.

Dear Sadie

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 225...I'm right with you

So much of what I write to you is a "note to self." That is to say, I am relearning things about life, God, motherhood, children, over and over again, until the day I die.

One of those things I actually enjoy being reminded of on a frequent basis is the super importance of being present. I know I must have talked to you a bunch of times about it already, but I still have it in me to learn. And so I must say it again. One of the primary gifts of live we can give to others is our very present selves. No distractions, no cluttered mind of pressing needs, no discontentment, just pure love that says, "nothing else matters but you right here right now." And this gift, especially when invested in our children, is priceless. This kind of selfless love never goes wasted. You can never spend quality time paying attention to one of your kids and then say, "man I wish I folded that laundry instead!" If you do, you missed out, and so did your child. Because you can't help but feel the effects of being present in a moment where you've given of yourself. It resonates in your soul and in your spirit and the moment reminds you why you exist. What you are here for. You are here for the now. To love the person God sets before you with all you got. That is why the greatest commandment we can never forget: "love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength." Experience is everything. If someone ever tells you that the experience of God is not that important, then they are speaking from a tasteless faith. It is impossible to truly know God and walk away from Him saying experience is unimportant. It is the presence of God that drives and motivates us to walk with Him daily, just as He intended in the very beginning, walking with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. To be one with Him is intimate knowledge. And so we must, as imitators who bear the very nature of God, be present, real, in-the-moment, substantial, authentic friends who listen, who touch, who see, who feel, who deeply care what another needs. To not be content to turn a dead ear or look the other way. Especially as parents. It's what we are here for. To give you two our love, attention, and devotion to meet you where are. It's so easy to tune people out, especially children. But I have to choose moment by moment, am I going to wish my life away, or stay stuck, or surround myself with distractions so I don't ever do the hard stuff? I have to choose to be present, as hard as it is sometimes, and this simple selfless act will not be gratifying immediately always, but it is where life genuinely happens.

Dear Sadie

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 224...back burner

As I sit down and reflect on what to write today, I'm struck by the fact that I do so much reflection throughout the day, yet I sit down at the end of the day blank.  It is funny cause most of my day I reflect and pray, but it's survival mode I live in, hour-by hour.  I wish I had a more forward-thinking goal than, "just get me through dinnertime."

On the back-burner is orphans and widows in a faraway land.  That children's book I've been dreaming about.  On today's burner is a pot of mac and cheese with a side of prayer, playing, cleaning, hugs and kisses.

Dear Sadie.

"Lord, You have assigned my my portion and my cup; You have made my lot secure."  Psalm 16:5

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Day 223...expecting

Tonight I had an eye-opener at the "deep end..." A prayer and worship gathering.

Mundane into memories...that is His desire for me.

So much of my every day life feels limited and mundane, but tonight I was reminded by my sweet Daddy that I have more to believe Him for than I even give Him credit for. I limit Him when I keep the focus on me. I keep the possibilities of heaven to earth opportunities when I stop expecting Him. And I haven't been expecting. I have become comfortable in the mundane, and I am done. Today, I declare, I will not be content with less than God absolutely ruining me for all other gods. Especially unbelief.

He is absolutely enough. And He is going to blow my mind.

Dear Sadie.



Friday, November 2, 2012

Day 222...stay-at-home mom

There are fewer things that will test your pride and performance-driven life like the unseen life of the stay-at-home mother.

If there's a lack of humility, you'll soon discover it.
If there's a need to be seen or rewarded, you'll know.

There will be challenges of all kinds for this unique time in your life. And if it's something you choose, staying at home, be ready for it to rock your world.
It won't be without troubles, but it also won't be without His blessing and Hand. Thank Him for that!

Dear Sadie

Day 221...self-less

There is nothing that feels more right than loving with abandon. Living with less to do about yourself, and more to do about others. This season is about that for me. I'm so grateful that The Lord is simplifying things for me. I sure need it.

Dear Sadie

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Day 220...freedom in Christ

I'm so glad we aren't living according to laws and regulations anymore! That was the old covenant. Now we are of the new! God writes his law on our hearts, and His Spirit will let us know what walking in the spirit looks like, what is loving, what is good and right and just. What it means to love your neighbor as yourself. I'm so glad, because the Bible tells us we'd never be able to live according to all of the commandments! Now we have something better!

So the next time you're afraid of falling, or feel like God is looking over your shoulder, waiting for you to mess up, think again. Let your mind be renewed, and live to love God. Then love others.
If you want to live by rules, let these be your guide.

Dear Sadie

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day 219...amazing daddy

Sickness is really the pits. Titus has got a bad, bad cold. And on top of that, I'm caring for Emma, who is one year-old and going through a clingy phase. So guess what, you're having to play by yourself a lot right now. Good thing you are pretty experienced at that and you enjoy your "Sadie Time," but you need me just like the other kids do, it's just that something's gotta give. We squeeze in time together here and there, but I'm thinking some "Girl Time" is in order very soon. I can just see your cup becoming filled as we will laugh and talk and sing and get ice cream on our next date, and whatever else we decide to do together. It'll be fun not just for you, but for me as well, because I love being able to focus all of my attention on you. You are so interesting and I love you!

I was just standing here in my kitchen doing dishes, feeding Emma, when the thought just occurred to me...

I'm so glad that God has time for attending to all of His children, all at once! Isn't He amazing? Aren't you glad that God doesn't say "in a minute?" I just think it is so cool that we have access to our daddy anytime we need Him. We don't have to wait to have our love cup filled; He is always available, ever-ready, continuously without fail.

Dear Sadie.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Day 218...express

Self-expression is an innate need of every human being. God Himself expresses Himself through His Word and creation. We, animals, plants, planets, and on, are all expressions of God, originating in His own mind. Therefore, as God's most prized possession, and special expression, being the only ones to ever be made in His own image and likeness, we have inherited this trait and desire and need for expression. We create all of the time on various forms. Finding the means by which you express yourself best is the fun part, and very important too. We are all designed with different talents and abilities, but never let that idea inhibit your choices, whether or not to explore new methods of creativity and expression. Never let the enemy cut you down in thinking that you have nothing to give. There may not be "anything new under the sun," but we have "the mind of Christ," and if we seek Him, He will show us great and marvelous things that no eye has seen nor ear has heard. So go on, be like your Daddy. He is proud of you and thrilled with your every endeavor that seeks to honor and glorify Him alone. It may be a little intimidating at times, but don't let pesky fear stand in your way.

Dear Sadie.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day 217...they let me out

It's crazy, you are with your kids all day and desperately need to get out of the house and be recharged a bit, and all you can do is think about how amazing your kids are and how great your life is, even with all the messiness.

Daddy just sent me the sweetest memo of you saying what you live about me, and now I can't wait to get home and hold you again!

I got out of the house tonight because I couldn't remember the last time I had done this, so I thought that was a good time to recharge my battery and get alone with God.

And as much as I knew I needed this, I really didn't want to leave! So I'm at the bookstore for the evening to have some needed separation, but I can't wait to be home again! Thank you, Lord, for sweet dilemmas!

Dear Sadie.

Day 216...live well, love well

Being with tiny people all day with very little big people interaction is something.

When I signed up for this, I really did not think it was going to stretch me so. But it has. More than anything. It feels freeing to admit this.

I am daily humbled through mothering. I lay aside my plans (most of the time) so that I can meet the needs of my little sheep. I go minute-by-minute, drawing strength from My Strength. Without Him, I would have caved in by now. But I keep going because He is with me, speaking to me, giving me peace, satisfying me whenever I set my heart on His, reaffirming me through His Word, comforting me by His presence, letting me know that He sees, even when no one else does.

When I'm being pulled in four different directions, including my own, I have a choice. I can either go crazy, try and fail, or I can depend on Him for my every need. No brainer, but stupidly, I choose my own way or try to check out sometimes, and it always backfires on me. Gently He redirects me.

Ultimately though, I choose to be thankful, and the blessings continue to shower down on me. Never did I know where challenge and joy intersected one another until this season. And I know when it all starts to shift I'm going to cry! I have to live each moment or I will have regrets. And my dear, you need me now, but one day you'll not need me as much anymore. That makes me sad. But also all the more diligent to give my all. My sole desire is to, as if i can summarize this, know God and spread the real love of Jesus. I know you are my chief audience, looking to me for answers and truth, imitating every move I make. (Yikes! :) So I strive to love God well by loving you well. Thanking Him for the grace to do this.

Dear Sadie.

Day 215... My Life

I find myself analyzing my life way more than I want to. Why can't I just lose it?

Dear Sadie.

"Whoever would save his life will lose but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospels will save it." Mark 8:35

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day 214...nothing at all

I haven't written in awhile, not because I haven't wanted to, but because I haven't had much to say. I know that is strange coming from me! But I always think I should have some sort of lesson or story to share, but lately I've been more internalizing things and writing in my personal journal. This is good, but not very useful to you! I promise I am trying though!

I love this season of Fall. I don't like winter coming too fast, and I am always looking forward to the cooler weather while we are in the humid, sweaty months of Summer. So here we are, and I am loving it! I'm surprised I don't have more to say in this season yet, because it always makes me more contemplative. But here I am going on about the weather! Haha. Oh well! It is what it is!

Dear Sadie.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Day 213...crazy messy beautiful

It's funny, after a long day of crazy here, messy there, I put you two down to bed and feel tired but at peace with the blessings in my life.  When you have Jesus, there's literally no words to describe the peace and joy that are deep in your spirit.  It's not conditional to how well your day did or didn't go, it's just there.  He is there.  He never goes away.  He really does satisfy my soul.

Dear Sadie.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day 212...God's Book

I'll never forget the day when I made it point for the first time to tell you how true the Bible is.
Being surrounded by fairy tales and movies and books all of the time as kids, it's easy to combine God's Book with all the other made up stories, even if it captures our hearts in a unique way.

So on this particular day I say to you something like, "Sadie, the Bible is true.  Every word is true.  These aren't just made up stories, like Cinderalla or Dumbo.  These things actually happened."

You look at me very confused..."No, it's not."

I continue to explain, and finally you reason, "But they wear all those funny clothes.  We don't wear clothes like that!"

That makes so much sense!  Of course a four year-old who only knows the context of clothing in which she lives would wonder what on earth the robes were all about!

Finally, after more explanation, you seemed to understand.  Glad we got that cleared up!

Truly though, I can't wait for the day until the truth of God's Book really takes root in your heart, and you live it out as it penetrates your very being in a very real, very active way.  

Even now, Lord!

Dear Sadie.

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."  2 Timothy 3:16-17

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Day 211...the book story

"You're supposed to be lovin meeeee!"  you sobbed with such force it made my heart stand still.

I was in a mood.  During playtime, you had drug more than half of your books off the shelf and into the living room.  I didn't see you do it or I would have stopped you.  We stacked them all on the chair and I half-scolded you for doing it, more bewildered that you did it than anything.  You didn't see anything wrong with your idea.  You had a reason for doing it, but neither of us were sure of that reason after the fact.

"Okay," I said.  "Carry the books back here to the shelf.  I'll help you get them on there."

You decided that the one-by-one method of restoring the books back to their home would suffice, but I quickly grew impatient of the whole ordeal.

"This is taking way too long," I huffed, watching you slowly stroll back and forth across the room, handling each and every book as if it were a carton of 36 eggs.

I soon resolved to do it myself and dismissed you of your responsibility in the matter and ordered you to get upstairs and get ready for bed.  My tone was way overboard.

"You're supposed to be lovin' meeeee!"  The genuine tears of my gentle girl came a-rushing.

It was with those words my heart went from 52 degrees to warm like melted butter.  I scooped you into my arms, and right away, you could tell your mommy was sorry for taking whatever it was I was feeling out on you.  You knew you didn't do anything wrong.  I knew it.  We both knew it.  You bounced happily upstairs as if nothing at all went wrong.

I wish I had that kind of forgiveness, and forgetfulness.  Once again, little teacher, I thank you.

Dear Sadie.

GOD... "I will not remember your sins."  Isaiah 43:25

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day 210...Happy Problems

This is just so cute I have to share it...

I could think of a nifty spiritual lesson to come out of it, but maybe I'll just keep it for what it is...a cute story.

We were sitting together working out some math problems, some very basic addition facts, using cheese nips as visuals, gluing them all down on our orange construction paper. We were having fun, and the concepts were coming together.  I was being careful to use language that was somewhat unfamiliar to you so that you'd begin to form a context for how they were used...plus, add, altogether, equals, etc.  Though it never occurred to me the word "problem", as in math problems, would sound strange to you, but it did.  We were all done, wrapping up the lesson when you said, "But these were happy problems, right mama?"  I just had to laugh.  Happy problems.  You could say that!  :)

Okay, so I can't write that without giving a quick application...I'm just that nerdy, okay!?

When we encounter problems, trials, persecutions, hardships on earth, especially ones that come to us for being believers, we are to count them as all "joy."  Sound weird?  Maybe, but that's what the Word says.  It means we are living honorably unto Him.  Consider it pure joy.  Consider it a "happy problem," for there is no greater suffering than the kind that is for Jesus' sake.  After all, He did give us His life so that we might have life!

There.  Happy problems!

Not only that...but also when we encounter something that seems so impossible, remember that it's a doorway through which God steps in and does the unthinkable.  Rather than look at a problem as impossible or hopeless, open your faith door and let Him show you just how amazing He is!  That way, our problems can always be happy problems...for He knows the way!

Dear Sadie.

"Jesus said...With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."  Mark 10:27

Day 209...faithful servant

My strength + My understanding = Failure

His Strength + His Wisdom = Miracles

It's basically the process of dying to self that keeps us going in the right direction.

I've had to learn this lesson in a big way when I was in complaining mode on the other side of the world.  After three years in Korea, I began to feel deep, disheartening unrest.  I remember one day sitting in the bathtub reading the familiar passage in Matthew when it struck me,

"Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things."  Matthew 25:24

At that time, I wanted more.  I wanted to be in Africa where there were starving and dying people everywhere, desperate people in need of a touch from God.  I felt so desperate myself to get out of the slump I was in, teaching "rich" kids who all had to have the latest cell phones.  I was being selfish.  Selfish?  Selfish to want to give my life over to the poor?  Yes.  Selfish and self-centered to demand more, to not be content with God's will for me.  To not be faithful with the few that were given to me.

Still now today, working in the home and not having a "job" has become more of a difficult path than I ever imagined.  I shouldn't say that I don't have a job.  I do care for children besides my own, too.  But what I mean is, I'm not pursuing my career or on the mission field that I once enjoyed.  (Yes, I loved serving in Korea with all of my heart!)  I didn't actually make plans to be here, it's the path God has led us down through various circumstances.  Some women knew they'd be doing this all of their lives and never wished for anything more.  They must be so content!  I'm not saying I'm not content a lot of days.  I'm just saying, this has stretched me more than I ever could have imagined.   Even now that I've begun homeschooling you at four years-old (although that really began when you were an infant!), there are days when I want to throw in the towel and say, "She'll have much more fun at school!  I'll just enroll her!"  But then I stop and think about it and wonder what it is I am saying!  This is God's will for us.  This is what we're doing.  And I can't quit every time it gets hard.

Being faithful with the little things.  If there are days when I do nothing else but read with you, then I have to be okay with that! If we have days where there is a lot of productivity and lots of laughing, I am in heaven!  The hardest part for me sometimes, I think, is not having the adult interaction I once had.  I love to be around people and have that kind of connection.

All of this is stretching me big time.  It's a big part of what led me to start writing you.  I want you to know your mommy through this season in a way you can't possibly know at four.  We are so close, it's hard to think about you not really "getting" me on every level right now.  I am deeply, deeply touched by our close relationship and intimacy we share.  I wouldn't trade a thing in the world for it.  I pray we share this deep of a connection until Jesus comes back.

So to end, be faithful with the small stuff.  Do not rely on your own plans, your own understanding, even your own strength.  If you do, God will not be able to show you how big He is.  Be faithful with whatever He gives you, and He will do the miraculous.

Dear Sadie.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Day 208...I want to get lost in Him!

Let's see if I can capture in words just how profoundly this author, Katie Davis, has touched me.  Her story, really her testimony, has opened up a new place in my heart so unexpectedly.  I started reading her book not too long ago.  Her passion for Jesus shines through so vividly, it could never be mistaken for anything else.

She moved to Uganda fresh out of high school and followed the Lord's leading into the adoption of thirteen children!  Her heartfelt tale has truly begun a reviving in mine.  I can honestly relate to her love for Jesus, and her passion for the lost, dying and lonely children on the earth, wherever they may be.  She just chased after her dream, into a calling clearly from the Lord, where He has blessed her every step of the way.  I am still in the middle of the book, Kisses from Katie, and I can't put it down.  It's so compelling, so inspiring, I just know it's full of God's heart and purposes, a Word to all of us believers.

I'm going to to try and convey what the Lord has been stirring within my spirit since I began reading the book, but I already know that my words are going to fall short of what I am experiencing.

You see, I thought maybe that reading a story about a girl who left everything to minister to children in a foreign land, one of the most destitute places on earth, poverty-stricken, the whole nine yards, would make me envious.  She is living a life I could envision myself living as a young person.  Even now, the Lord knows I would not hesitate to sell everything and move my family to an area where we could, as a family, bring the gospel of light into the darkest places.  But envy and jealousy are far from what I'm feeling.  If anything, she's reminding me of the serious call that the heart of a mother entails.  Her life is completely and totally yielded to the heart of God.  His heart for adoption, for children, for the poor and needy, are unmistakable in her life.  Where do they exist in mine today?  These have always been the cry of my heart.  You can't miss them in Scripture.  But if there were just one thing that I'm taking away, okay maybe two, two things that I'm hearing, they are this...Love the person right in front of you, right now, today, right here....And two, lose your life to gain it.  I feel renewed in my passion at the moment to do these two things.  And I feel confident in trust that the Lord will take care of the rest.

For example, I have the opportunity to love my children, plus two other children, not to mention my husband, in many tangible, practical ways each and every day.  It's not explicitly rewarding, not seen or glorious, not making me rich or even famous.  But in God's eyes, it is glorious.  It is beautiful.  And too, I have been given the opportunity to lay my life down, lose it really, for my immediate loved ones (and hope to lose it way more than I am now!). Would I choose to lay aside my lifelong dream of being a missionary and working with children, many children, all to be staying at home, only impacting a few kids, with no plan for the future?   How did I get here?  But I am learning how to be content.  Paul spoke of contentment with plenty and with little. This goes for "ministry" as well.  Whether I think I'm doing "big" things for God, or "little," what matters is...am I listening to Him, fellowshipping with Him, giving my everything to Him, in every relationship I encounter?

I am being stretched more than I have ever been stretched before.  More than being a teacher to bunches of kids.  More than when I lived out of my comfort in a foreign land.  More than when I was separated from loved ones for thousands of miles.  I am being stretched and turned inside out.  And that is what Katie is reminding me of.  That is where the center of God's will is for me, and for you.  It's where God is teaching you, showing you His grace, being your strength when you have none, and getting the glory for it all. That is the place I am in.  I'm not saying I've succeeded in this. I fail continuously.  But to experience His grace through the learning process, now that is a blessing in itself.  I have shown some pretty ugly sides to myself, to my kids, to my husband.  I have felt anger rise up from the inside that I never knew could exist.  I have let depression in when I felt I could be doing so much more than I am able, or should be doing more than I am, feeling that what I do is not good enough for God, or simply just not enough.  I am ashamed of my attitude, my struggles, my heart that has turned cold towards Him.  For the ungratefulness, for the lack of trust.  Finally, I am coming out of all that and into days of true thankfulness and contentment, and even more importantly, fervor and hunger like never before.  For this season I am truly grateful.  I know that right here and now, God is shaping me into His image.  He is doing it through means I never knew He would.  I feel so close to Him, so in LOVE with Him.  Katie has reminded me of the Jesus I knew from the beginning.  That may sound strange for a believer of twenty-eight years, but it's for real.  We all need a wake up call to rise up and see Him for who He really is, once in a while.

As for the future?  My heart to be a missionary?  My desire to travel?  My intense need to live on very little so that others can have it all?  To show my children what it means to lose their life through practical, Christ-centered living?  I have no idea how it's going to look, where we'll all end up.  I only know to set my gaze upon Him, and listen...He is the One who knows best and has it all under control.

Thank you, Katie Davis, for chasing your dream, for loving Jesus, for being a living example of a life lost and found, for loving His little precious sheep, and for sharing your story.  I'm so glad I'm not finished with your book yet!  And I'm so glad God's not finished with me either!

All of our stories are different.  We have different paths to take, but the same Maker.  The same destination in the end.  I hope I choose His way, and I hope you, Sadie, will find your calling to be sure, clear and an adventure worth telling the world about, for His sake.

Dear Sadie.

P.S. There is so much more to this story, but this is all I can really say at the moment...thank you, Lord for teaching me, for Your patience with me, for never being done with me.  Thank you for wanting to do way more through me than I could ever dream up on my own.  Thank you for the beautiful family I get to take care of every day.  I am beyond blessed!

Whoever tries to keep His life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.  Luke 17:33

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Day 207...surrendered mom

It's taken me 9 years of being a wife, 4 years as a mother, to feel like the "homemaking" part of me is finally coming to the surface.  I'm finally realizing how unique God made women, how he placed such great desire to be nurturers and lovers and housekeepers and organizers and teachers.  That's not to say there's not much more to us than that.  There is so much more.  But it's taken me a long time to leave my independent ways behind, and come into the understanding that I shouldn't fight it...this is who I am...and God blesses my work as a mother and wife when I release myself in freedom to these roles.  When I don't try to minimize it, but let God maximize my efforts.  When I mark up the little unseen, sometimes laborious, tasks up to serving Him.  Finding my peace in surrender to His marvelous grace.

Dear Sadie.

"Encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored."  Titus 2:4-5

Day 206...in your face

I was looking at your sweet face today and thinking Man how happy is she!  
Every time you smile so big I just feel like a kid again myself.
I couldn't help but share it on Facebook, as so many parents can relate.
Why is it that we can't get enough of our kids' faces?
I'm still in on awe every day that you're mine.


Dear Sadie.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day 205...Come close my child

Waking up from a nap, not quite ready to leap from the bed, you called out to me, "Mommy!!!"

I rushed upstairs and scooped you up as fast as I could, mostly so as not to disturb your sleeping brother in the adjacent room, but also because I knew of your need for me in that moment. You just wanted to be held,.

I brought you downstairs and held you close in my arms.  Your body still warm from slumber.

I pressed your pillow-soft cheeks up against mine and rubbed your back.

I could feel your whole body melt like wax and relax as I held you close.

I was thinking today about an experience with God, the kind where afterwards you felt like you could actually say you "touched God."  I've had those type of experiences in His Presence before, where the feeling is undeniably of God, one so good it is difficult even to convey to another soul.  I hunger for God's touch, His Presence felt.  Do I always feel Him close?  No.  Do I need to always be in that place?  No.  Just as you don't need to feel my embrace every second of the day.  But today as I held you close, I was reminded of the spiritual need we have to feel the Father just as close.  He created s this way.  Just as you and I experience one another so intimately, so God has created within us the need, desire and privilege to feel Him near.  He longs to be near to His children.  Jesus' blood washed us clean and He tore the veil so that we could come close to the inner room where the Father is.  What a price He paid for such fellowship.  And as if that was not enough, He sent the Holy Spirit to live inside our very beings.  He is my Comforter.

What joy!

The next time I feel your breath in my face and your tiny palm stroking my arm, I will not just think to myself "Oh, she's going to get older and not need me anymore, I better enjoy this now!"  No, I will be reminded of the nearness of God, and His goodness towards me for making Himself so available, so practical, so comfortable, so friendly, and so real.

If you ever doubt His Presence with You, draw close.  Seek His Face evermore (Ps.105:4), and you shall never doubt again.

Do we always need to feel His touch?  No.  But if all we ever do is learn about Him and talk about Him and tell others about Him without ever having any experiences with Him on our own, then we don't even really know Him for ourselves.  So go after Him with all your heart, and you will find the Lover of your soul.

Dear Sadie.

Come near to God, and He will come near to you. James 4:8

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Day 204...buried

Two hundred days of writing you.  Wow.  Yikes!  I still don't know how I'm going to finish 365 letters in 365 days.  I've missed so many days.  The tasks of every day life have taken priority.  Being a mom, working at home, it's been an eye-opening experience.  Eye-opening to just how selfish and self-centered I once was.  (not that I'm not still!)  If I had it my way, I'd have about 3 hours to read every day, 3 hours to write, 3 hours to sit on a bench outside or row a canoe, go for a walk, go shopping and hang out at a coffee shop, surf the net a while, visit the elderly an hour at a retirement home, feed the homeless, (okay so I added those last couple so I wouldn't seem so selfish, but I really would want to do those things) and then get my day started feeding my kids, playing, cooking, cleaning, etc., etc.  But what kind of person would I be?  An unrealistic one.

Being a parent has changed my whole way of thinking.  I used to see moms and think how they had lost their former "cool" selves in all of the "mom-ness." All they could talk about were there kids!  I'd think, How sad.  There seems to be nothing else to them but their children.  I'll never be like that, I promised myself.  And yes, I have fallen.  I have fallen in love with my children!  I have fallen a victim to the momhood.  But, it's not that I've lost my former self, or sense of self, or anything of the sort, as I once perceived.  I see it as having gained so much more.  My offspring, my husband, my family, have added blessing upon blessing on my life. Glory to God for His grace.  If anything, I haven't been lost, but motherhood has found the truer heart of who I am to be.  If I am lost, it's because I'm buried.  Buried in blessing.  That's a pretty good way to lose oneself I'd say.

There's no longer time to devote to self as I once did in college....ride my bike down by the river...read the Word in random parks in the city sprawled out on a blanket...stroll through the mall for a whimsical purchase of a shirt or accessory...eat raman noodles for dinner...go to the gym every day...play pool for an hour after lunch.

Those were great days.  Wonderful days!  Days I will never forget.  I will hold them in my heart as a treasured season.  And now for this.  I embrace what these uncertain days hold for me.  For God is stretching me in ways I never had imagined in those earlier carefree days.

My days may be crazy and uncertain, but I am certain and confident in this.  God sees and holds and knows.  I'm crazy about Him.  And I'm crazy for this life He unfolds to me in each and every moment, should I be awake to them.

He holds my yesterday, today and tomorrow.

He knows what He is doing.

While there are many days I feel useless to the rest of the world, I know with all my heart I've been given the huge and important task of ministering to four extremely important people within these four small walls.

I may not have the roaming freedom of my former days, but for this season, there is a new kind of freedom found only in the quiet places...       and who am I kidding, the chaos too!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Day 203...Messy

I know I've written on this subject over and over again...but one things for certain with mothers.

We like to look like we have it all together, but the truth is, our lives are a mess!

The more control you try to have over the mess, the worse it gets.

The lesson I keep learning is, do my best at what God has for me, and lay the rest down.

No one is perfect, no matter how perfect their lives appear.

The more I embrace this truth, and the truth of His sanctifying work of grace in my life, the freer I become...the more freedom He has to do the work He needs to do in my life, according to His plans, not my own.

I love Grace!

Dear Sadie.

"...for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose."  Philippians 2:13


Day 202...Recipe for disaster? Behold, a new day will come.

Sleep Deprivation + Household Overrun with Sickness + PMS = World Falling Apart

I can laugh now, but it was a rough two weeks.  I got through it by God's grace!

There are times in our lives where we become ashamed at the mess around us, the mess within, and the mess we create.  Sometimes it's the fault of the fallen world, sometimes the state of our inward unrest, sometimes our human nature and flesh get tangled in the web of it all.

The good thing is...two things come in the morning...

Joy!  And God's compassions!

He understands, so take heart!

That's a promise.

I'm so glad.

Dear Sadie.

Psalm 30:5, Lamentations 3:23

Day 201....Mad rush

It was a mad rush out the door.  Kids crying, hanging on my legs like koala bears to trees.  My mind firm on the mission to get the kids in the car and get the car rolling down the driveway and on to our small group Bible study.  No crying or tantrum was going to stand in my way. Besides, the more I stall or become frustrated at times like this, the more it doesn't help anyone.  So my motto is, keep going.  It will all blow over.

Two kids in the car, one to go, plus one questioning, doubtful husband inside.

Are you sure this is a good idea?  

Yes!  Everything is under control!  They'll be happy once we get going.  They all just woke up at the same time needing me.  They're going to have a blast!  I tried to be reassuring, but it was hard, as he could see I tried to control my anger towards him for attempting to stand in the way of "the plans."  I failed.

Taking a deep breath, I load up the car.  Thinking over how I could smooth it over with Daddy, you look at me peacefully from the backseat...

"It's okay, Mommy.  God is with you."

Selah.

"He can make the babies stop."

Aahhh...Thank you, Lord.  Thank you for the way you speak through the mouth of tiny children, not too wise in their own eyes.  No selfish ambition in their message,  just simple truth brought forth out of love.

I love it.

Okay, time to slow down and make things right.

Thank you!

Dear Sadie.

"From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger."  Psalm 8:2

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Day 200...Look into my windows!

I've had this phrase "the eyes are the windows to your heart" running through my head.  I thought it was a Bible verse, but it turns out it's more of a poetic phrase coming from a mixture of Jesus and old poets.  As I was teaching Sadie about this one day in the car, I realized I should probably look it up when I got home, because who knows where this is coming from!  Well, I swore I had read about the eyes being the window to your heart or soul somewhere in Proverbs, but apparently, it's not in there anywhere, or I can't find it!  In Matthew 6 God says that the eye is the lamp (some versions say window) to the body, but it's kind of a different message there.  Still, the message Bible says, "Your eyes are the windows into your body.  If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light.  If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar.  If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!"
This is saying to me that it's how and where you are looking that effects your body, and ultimately your life.  Taking in consideration other verses, if you "set your eyes" upon the Lord, the Light of Life, He will fill you up with His light and you will shine His glory upon every bit of darkness.  And how, then, can people miss Jesus if they look into your eyes, your windows??  I think they'll be blinded by Him!  That is my desire.  Oh, Lord, make it happen!

I explained to you that you can really tell what's in a man's heart by looking into their eyes.  They will tell you what's inside.  We talked about how one can see love in another's eyes, another can see Jesus, and you just swell up at this idea.  We now say, "Look into my windows, and what do you see?!"  and laugh all googly-eyed at each other.  It's so need to see you connecting emotionally with me and with others.  I see so much love, peace and joy in your eyes every day, it makes me overjoyed to know you feel so safe and loved in our home and in your family's upbringing.  I give all the credit to our God who provides all good things for us.

Dear Sadie.

Jesus said, "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."  John 8:12

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Day 199...Boys WILL be boys

I thought that because of my younger days hanging with the boys, I'd know what to do when having a boy of my own happened.  I don't.

When I was in elementary school, I spent countless days running through the woods getting dirty, playing war, building forts, and playing every kind of sport in the neighborhood with my brother and the boys who lived near by.  We were practically family.  I remember a flying pine cone getting stuck in my hair at the bus stop by one of the boys whom I developed a huge crush on later.  I also remember them laughing at me while they sat on me and released their on-demand gas in my face.  We slept in tents in the backyard and rode our bikes through people's yards.  Those were the days.

I thought because of all I endured, all I enjoyed with brothers and boys, I'd know how to "handle" a boy.  Nope.

So raising you these first four years has been probably a lot easier than I once realized.  Now that I have Titus, my precious son, I know how much being a girl with you has been favorable for the both of us.  We like the same things, we chill, and we do sweet things and think aren't we cute.

These last couple of weeks, watching Titus grow into more of a little boy every day, the revelation has come.
I have no clue what I'm doing.
He climbs, he hits, he throws, he jumps, he pushes the limit.  He hungers for danger and adventure.
Am I ready?  I hope so.  It's happening fast!

Everyone I talk to says the same thing.  I have heard it all my life.

Boys are different.

Raising a boy is so much different than raising a girl.

I knew it was true.  But now I know it to be true.

I'm just so very grateful he has a daddy who has a clue.

And I'm glad our Daddy (the Lord) has one, too.

I'll be asking Him a lot.

Dear Sadie.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Day 198...Joy comes in the morning...through a boy!

I thought I might have a breakdown the other day,
but the Lord heard my plea!

It's crazy how hard things can seem one night, and the next day, everything is bright!  Thank you, Lord!

I stood up to stretch this morning after sitting with some worship music on for awhile, and as I did, Titus put his hands up in the air and smiled shouting, "Yeah!! Yeah, God!!"  

What a fire it lit in me.  He and I both shouted praises back and forth to God, laughing for joy!  

I haven't been the same all day!  

More, Lord!



"Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning....


You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
    you have loosed my sackcloth
    and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
    Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!"  Psalm 30


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Day 197...i'm mad for you!

So today my gracious husband (your daddy) sends me out the door after he comes home from work with a couple of frozen pizzas.  With a special poem and $20, he encourages me to let my hair down and treat myself however I feel the need to.

I get away to escape the chaotic rhythm of crying toddlers, drool, tiny cars I try not to slip on, and food-crusted floors.  I join the rhythm and pace of the fast-paced world outside my walls.  I get away from the ones I love the most so that I can enjoy them again.  Funny thing is, I miss you even before I leave.  And when I'm gone, I can't wait to see you again.  And with my money, I try hardest not to buy something new for my babies.  Because as crazy as you all drive me sometimes, I'm crazy in love with you!

Dear Sadie.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Day 196...the hard talk

When I say motherhood is no joke, I mean it.  It's no joke! :)

I'm thinking back to when I was pregnant, and do I recall anyone telling me how hard it was going to be?
Not that I can remember.  It was all, "You're going to love being a mother." and "Get ready for the best of life to begin."  Those sentiments in general.  And were they wrong?  Absolutely not!  Sure, we laughed at the amount of poop-handling and sleepless nights, etc.  But still, there seemed to be something missing in the preparation.  Can anything really prepare you for this?  I've only been a parent for FOUR years, and I know one thing already.

Being a parent is really, really hard.

Really hard.

Wait, am I the only one??

Something tells me no.

I'm trying to picture how it would have gone over had someone sat me down and said,
"Look.  I know you're excited.  You're caressing all those cute and cuddly tiny clothes and soft blankets, waiting for the most adorable creature you've ever laid eyes on to arrive.  You probably don't want to hear this right now, but here goes.  Life is about to take a drastic turn for you.  A huge, almost unbearable at times, difficult turn.  Changes are about to occur with the creation and raising of this new person in your life.  You're going to do some serious soul-searching.  You will lose your sanity at times.  You will feel like crawling into a hole at times, some often feel like ending it all at least a few times.  You will cry at the endless cycle of selfless and tedious chores.  You will be depressed to find all of the simple pleasures you once enjoyed seemingly lost for good.  You will lose yourself.  You will just plain go nuts.  Just brace yourself."

Someone please slap her!!

Nobody talks about the hard stuff and until you're walking through difficulty and then they chime in, "Oh, I've been there!"  

Should they?  

Do you tell future mothers what they're getting into, or just let them figure it out for themselves?
Survey says, let them figure it out.

I'm quite tempted to delete all that I just wrote for this very reason.  There's no reason to walk into the biggest moment of your life with fear and anxiety, right?  So just so you won't be scared and decide never to have kids, I'm going to take a deep breath and finish with the inevitable flip side of the coin.  The good stuff.  


Because the truth is...becoming a mother is a wonderful learning process.  It's different for everyone, thank God.  God's grace provides a huge learning curve.  All of the mothers out there whom you know will be right there for you when you need them if you ask.  Have you ever met a mother not chomping at the bit to offer advice?  More importantly, God is right there with you every step of the way.  I don't have to hide all of the scary and seemingly intolerable from my friends and family.  I can express it.  I have my God to lean on.  I have friends and family.  I have no reason to fear.  And neither do you.  Inevitably, becoming a mother is one of the most awe-inspiring experiences ever in my life.  It will turn you inside out, cause all of your desires and theories and emotions and practices in life to come into question.  But it will be part of your salvation.  Your Aunt Jenny reminds me of this a lot.  Nothing shapes you quite like motherhood.  You will find out things about yourself that you never wanted to know, but once you know them, you are so glad you do.  And what's more, you will have a deeper understanding of the love of the Father.  His pure, fierce, self-sacrificing love that compares with no other.  Parenting gives us a glimpse.  What could be more wonderful than that?

It's simultaneous pain and beauty.  


Those without Christ run dangerously on their own fumes.  They conjure up all the strength they can, which is what I am tempted to do when I'm not allowing Christ to abide in my heart like I should.  But when He is at home there, I find my strength renewed, my creativity flowing, and my peace like a river.  I don't have to know it all or, thankfully, do it all.  Those without Christ indwelling are performance-driven and guilt-driven.  I have found that to be at home with Him is to be at peace among the madness, and reliant on Him for this huge responsibility He has so graciously endowed us with.

I LOVE being a mom.  Even on the hard days, it's an undying passion of mine.  It means I get to nurture, and train, and discipline, and play, and love, and learn, and laugh with my two precious treasures from heaven.

To God be the glory and to Him be praise, for I am so thankful for this gift of motherhood.

Dear Sadie.

"women will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety."  1 Timothy 2:15

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Day 194...happy tears

You were engrossed.  You'd seen The Neverending Story probably four times before, maybe five, maybe more.  It is still a newly acclaimed favorite of yours, mostly because of the "Rock Biter," whom you call "Rock Guy."  You'd watch his parts over and over if I'd let you.  This time, though, you sat through the whole thing.  It wasn't until the ending when the credits were rolling to the dramatic music that I knew just how into it you were.

"I have happy tears," you said.  Curiously I walked over to you and leaned in.

"Why?"  I asked.

"Because of the Emperor."  (You were really referring to the Empress whose life was saved in the end, but who could remember that at four?)

I got up close to your face and said that those happy tears are because the movie touched your heart, and that what a good thing it is to be moved in such a way.

Your eyes were indeed watering. But I sat amazed.  I kind of thought maybe it was the fact that you had a cold, but you were convinced it was the movie causing the waterworks this time.  I couldn't help but awe at my firstborn's precious and new heartfelt moment.  Never did I think a four year-old could yield this kind of expression.

Later on we decided to put in another movie because you were not feeling that well and needed to rest.  Who can argue with a girl with a red nose relentlessly runny?

This time you requested "Land Before Time," another childhood favorite of mine.  "We havnt't watched that one in awhile!"  you happily exclaimed.  You sure like things to be special!

The "earth-shake" (as Ducky calls it) started cracking the dry ground and the dinosaurs started to run.  That's when you blew me away again with your next comment, looking up at me with those big blue eyes,

"This touches my heart."

My darling.  I'm so glad you are in touch with your emotions!  May you ever be passionate!

Dear Sadie.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."  Proverbs 4:23

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 193...Slow down

Slow down and make time for the important.

Dear Sadie.

Day 192...Take Mommy's Headache Away

I had a headache, again.

We were driving down the road and you asked me if I still had a headache. You were in the mood to sing, and these days it's not unusual for you to make up a song as you go.  So when you asked me could you sing a song about me and Jesus, I wasn't all that surprised.  But the words you sang touched me deeply.

I don't remember the exact words, but included somewhere in there were,


Jesus, you are Healer.

Take Mommy's headache away.

You love us, and we need you.

You can do all things.  You can take Mommy's headache away.

You are wonderful.


You then asked me did my headache go away, to which I replied, "No, but it's getting there."  The truth is, how can I care about a momentary, passing feeling of pain when I have you, precious girl?

You are my inspiration!

Dear Sadie.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."  Colossians 3:16

Day 191...Nothing can prepare you

Nothing can prepare you for just how much parenthood changes you.

You will never be the same.

But don't worry, it's all for the better.

Dear Sadie.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day 190 Keep Calm and...

"Keep Calm and Grab a Cupcake"  the bookmark read.

At first glance, this quote is cute.  Maybe even endearing.  You can find variations of this sentiment all over the internet, in bookstores, etc.  But today in church it made me sad when it came to my remembrance in a stark new light.

Is that what the world does when they get panicked or stressed or worried?   Is that what I do?!

Medication or comfort comes in so many forms these days.  We all reach for that "thing" that makes us feel like we're tossing our cares aside.  Feels good.

Sure, there's nothing wrong with the cupcakes themselves!  Everyone should indulge in something they like every now and then--the frivolous of life!

But the statement, "keep calm and..." bothers my spirit.  It's a reminder of the misled, misinformed orphaned world we live in.  They (who are we kidding...we...) survive and cope however possible, "white-knuckling it" (as my pastor likes to say) to the very end.  But what I wish to convey to them, to me, to you, is that our response and even relief to the trials we face day after day does not have to come in the form of a lifeless, temporary, though cute they may be, cupcake!  JESUS is the living water, sustainer, and helper in our time of need.  He is the one who truly satisfies, whether it be in the storm or resting on the shore in the breeze.  He is the living Word we need to bring us back from the dead, or nourish us back to health.

Indulge on the Word.  Devour it.  Jesus is salvation!

Organic, naturally-sweet, living Jesus.

He is our daily bread and our dessert.

Dear Sadie.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives."  John 14:27

Monday, August 20, 2012

Day 189...can i do this?

it's been so long since I've written, I feel like giving up!  Why did I commit to every day again?  my life is so crazy now.  between taking care of you guys, another little girl, keeping up the house, homeschooling, running errands, and doing everything else a stay-at-home mom does, when do i ever have time to write?  now I'm sharing a computer, and it's just not working!  please forgive me for not being more diligent.  it's just impossible many days, and i have to come to terms with it or it will drive me crazy!  but i love to write, so HEY, follow your dreams, right?

Dear Sadie.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Day 188...watch me

"Writing can be a pretty desperate endeavor, because it is about some of our deepest needs: our need to be visible, to be heard, our need to make sense of our lives, to wake up and grow and belong.  It is no wonder if we sometimes tend to take ourselves perhaps a bit too seriously."  --Lamott, "Bird by Bird"

I have had this thought many times about Facebook, blogging, or publishing works in general.  Might we just be taking ourselves a bit too seriously?  Why do we sense the need to be heard or seen so much?

I think of you when you're proud of something you're doing...

drawing a picture,

doing a somersault,

swimming,

coloring...

Mommy, will you sit here and watch me?

Watch me.

I make myself sit still and watch, and show you I'm watching, so that you know I love you.  So that you feel loved and important.

Now as an adult, do I live as though someone is watching?  Even now, do I write so that someone will hear me?  Do I update my status on Facebook hoping to get heard?

The truth is, for me, I can always make room for being more others-centered.

On the same token, we have a GOD who sees, a GOD who understands.  Hopefully we recognize the people He has placed in our lives to be there for us as well.  Hopefully we're not always in the dark reaching out.  Hopefully we see that we're not alone in this maze.  Hopefully we realize there is more than me.  

For now, until you get it, until you get how important you are to HIM, I'm going to watch you, applaud you, build you up to show you that you are so special.  So special in who you were made to be.  There's molding and disciplining and repenting that will undoubtedly be a part of this journey, but I get to be by your side through it all.  I get to be your biggest fan (maybe daddy too :).  Someday you'll go beyond these doors and look to see who else is seeing, hearing.  My prayer is that you will keep focused on Jesus.  What He says about You.  He will help you make sense of it all.  He will keep your heart. He will make you grow.  Belong.  He will quiet your soul.  And He will love through you to show others what really matters.

Dear Sadie.

Day 187...am i beautiful?

The other day when you were playing with a good friend of yours, five year-old Jude, you sweetly asked,

"Am I beautiful?"

My heart just dropped for a moment and time stood still.  She's four!  She seriously just asked that?

I honestly have no clue what I'm in for, obviously!  But yes, it starts young.

Identity.  Beauty.  Acceptance.  Love.  Vanity.  Rejection.  Security.

Am I beautiful?

It's funny to think about...how many times have we told you...have your grandparents told you...and yet, you want to know what the boy next door thinks.

Should I be worried?

My heart tells me it's normal, that what you're feeling you should be feeling.

What I told you was a bit different.  I said, "Sadie, right now the only ones you should be asking that question are Daddy...and Jesus."  You took that pretty well.  It made you smile.  Whether you really understand yet is probably unlikely.  Nevertheless, it's the truth.

Someday you will find that boys think you are beautiful, and it will make your head spin.  You'll know what to think of that when you're old enough.

But for now, remember who your princes are, and they'll graciously guide you to the other side...especially Jesus.  For He knows your beauty better than anyone else. He made you.  He makes all things beautiful.

Dear Sadie.

"He has made all things beautiful in its time."  Ecclesiastes 3:11

Day 186...The Closet Keeper

There's no faking it when it comes to intimacy with God.  You either have it, or you don't.  And people will take notice.  They always know.  People you meet can tell when you've been abiding in His Presence.  That may not be how they characterize it, but they see the sweetness about you.  They feel your at-rest spirit when you've been taking shelter in His wings.  You make others to be at peace with you when walking with the Prince of Peace.  No matter what the storm, big or little, you make even your enemies to be at peace with you.  You inspire, encourage, discipline, and love, without condemning.  All is flowing from the overflow of a full heart, where the God of love is taking up residency.  Yes, abiding intimacy cannot manifest itself any other way other than what it implies: bearing your soul to your Lover in the quiet, hidden place.  If you don't come out shining, go back in until you do!  With Him there is no lack.  In His Presence is fullness of Joy.

Dear Sadie.

El Shaddai...He is the Almighty God...The All-sufficient One