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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.

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