Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Fuzzy Pink Chair...

As a parent, I take such joy in seeing my kids accomplish things. You would have thought Annie had become the youngest president of the United States from the way DH and I responded to her waving for the first time just a few weeks ago...
And while it may not be hanging in a popular art gallery, Gabriel's first water color painting is certainly taking a prominent position on his mommy's fridge this week! 

Lucy even bowled her first strike recently, and the "crowd" (ummm, family;) went wild!!:-) 

But even more than being proud of my kids for their various accomplishments and activities, it's those moments--those "ah-ha!" moments--that really melt my mommy-heart.  You know, the moments where something just "clicks" with your child, and they aren't simply memorizing a fact or performing an activity out of habit and obedience, but they really "get" a situation and apply its importance to their own life...

Lucy is blessed to attend a local Christian school, and it has been such an amazing experience for her. I love that she is surrounded by teachers who not only love her, but teachers who love the LORD and bring Him into every subject and every activity. Part of Lucy's assignments this school year is a memory verse each week. I typically keep the paper in the kitchen or we write the verse out on one of our chalkboards (is anyone else obsessed with chalkboards? I have them everywhere!) and go through it every day.
 Lucy wasn't feeling well on Monday, so she had to leave school early and didn't get her verse sheet until the following day. At dinner that evening, I was going through her papers and saw her verse. "Lucy! This is one of my favorite verses! It says, 'The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.' Exodus 14:14." Lucy responded, "That's one of my favorites, too!"  She paused before continuing, "And you know, that's just like me, too! I didn't feel well yesterday, so I needed to be still, and the Lord had to fight my sickness for me." I think I almost had to pick my jaw up off of the floor! I tend to think of difficult battles I have in my adult life that cause me to need to let go of my desire to control and just let God handle it. But oh, to be able to view life through the eyes of a child! She so eagerly and quickly made that verse her own and applied it to exactly where she was in her own life--and the Lord cares just as much about her feeling poorly as He does about anything we as adults may be facing in our relationships, finances, jobs, etc.

So whether it's learning to use a spoon for the first time...
Or being engrossed in a newfound love of art...
Or celebrating an accomplishment... 
I pray that my family will learn how to actively practice being still--to carry out our everyday lives in such a way that we allow the Lord to work through place the stresses of our circumstances at His feet while we wait patiently to see how He will move past our hurts and move toward the arms of our loving Heavenly Father...and to look for Him and wait for Him. We never really know what's in store for us as a new year begins, but we can trust in the One who has gone before us to prepare the way, and fight the battles that are only need to be still...and if you're like Lucy, you can enjoy it all from the comfort of a fuzzy pink chair;-) 


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Learning to Hope Again...

This time three years ago, I was sitting on our living room couch sifting through multiple sheets of information while also trying to sift through the multiple thoughts and emotions running through my head. Three years ago today, DH and I had attended the first day of our adoption agency's orientation. That weekend literally changed our lives. We went into it apprehensive about open adoption, and came out of it completely certain and totally excited at the path God had placed us on. There were so many unknowns, but there was one very clear answer: We were called to adopt! As the status update from three years ago popped up on my timehop app today, my heart literally stopped and a smile spread across my face as I looked across the breakfast table at my precious little I studied his face, I found it unbelievable that three years ago he was just a hope in my heart. And you know what is so amazing about hope? That it "does not disappoint!"

One of the scripture passages the Lord led me to during our struggle to expand our family was Romans 5:1-5: 

"5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and HOPE DOES NOT DISAPPOINT, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." 

I struggled so much with how to hope. Through the devastation of unanswered questions from my daddy's death to the heartache of being unable to conceive, it was just too painful to hope. But God was teaching me that when we place our hopes in His hands, He will never disappoint us. Rather, He takes our ashes and makes them into something beautiful.  And now, every time I look at Gabriel's precious face, every time I squeeze him tightly, every time I kiss his smooshy cheeks, every time I hear his sweet voice say "Momma..."I'm reminded of the truth that we can hope and not be disappointed, because God's path truly is perfect. It may be filled with the lowest of valleys and the trickiest of turns, but it is always accompanied by our Daddy-God who guides us to somewhere more beautiful than we could ever imagine if we will only let Him.

Three years ago, we not only began our adoption journey officially, but I also began my journey of learning to hope again. My prayer is that you, too, will discover how He's calling you this new year to hope in His perfect plan... 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My Greatest Accomplishment...

From the time I was in junior high, I had one big dream: to be Little Red Ridinghood in a production of Into the Woods. I referred to it as my "not-so-secret ambition in life." Well, being 29 (again...and again...and again...) I'm pretty sure my ship has sailed on that dream.

I remember my daddy went through a period of time where he had a "word of the day." One word/term that he shared with me that I have never forgotten was "wool-gatherer." It means someone who likes to daydream. Well, that was certainly me! I had oh so many plans and dreams for my future--dreams I would play out over and over again in my mind. Dreams I was told I could certainly accomplish...when I was older. It was a recurring theme in my life--feeling passionate and led to do things, but so often being told I was too young and there would be plenty of time for them when I was older.  Well, now I'm older...and I'm beginning to get a lot of "well, you're a bit TOO old to do that now..."


I shared with my husband one evening at the dinner table how I so often feel like life is just passing me by, and I'm not accomplishing "anything" I had set out to (in true dramatic flair, using that exact verbiage.) What I failed to realize at that moment were the precious, tiny ears listening in on my conversation. I looked up across the table to find my daughter staring right at me with a sad and questioning gaze in her beautiful blue eyes, as she asked with all sincerity, "Do you wish that you never would have had me?"

My heart sank.

"Oh Lucy...please come here right now." As she walked over to me, completely defeated, I grabbed her close and then pulled her face up into my hands as I locked eyes with her. "I'm sorry what I said made you think that. Don't ever ever ever think for one moment that I didn't want you. I love you more than anything in the whole world. YOU are my greatest accomplishment." 

I suddenly realized the selfishness of my earlier words. I recalled the heartache of not being able to start a family. I remembered my desire to fill the greatest role of a lifetime: Mommy.

And while it is true that there's nothing I've ever wanted so badly as to become a mother, I more often than not feel like I'm the last person who should be awarded such an honored title. The numerous blogposts that pop up amongst my feed talking about how important it is to wake up early in the morning to have our "Java with Jesus"
so we are fully prepared for the day...and here I am struggling to get out of bed before 9AM after being up late with children that won't sleep and a baby who needs her momma in the middle of the night followed by my insomnia...
 Then there's the toy closet that looks as if it might explode through the tiny crack between the door frame and the wall, that no matter how many hours I spend organizing, it just looks like the same mess within days... Then there's the pile of laundry in my closet floor that I just can.not.seem to get caught up on. And how about the crushed up veggie straws lining the inside of my minivan floor? Who am I kidding? I'm doing good getting all three kids out of the car without everyone having a major meltdown, so there's no time to clean the car out. But worst of all are the moments when Annie is screaming, Gabriel is disobeying, and Lucy is arguing with me, all while I'm trying to get clean clothes on and get everyone out the door because we are, yet again, running late. (Please don't get me started on the post running around saying that people who are late are rude and inconsiderate. Even if I were to get up an hour earlier to try to avoid the last-minute mishaps, that would just give more time for another diaper blowout or spilled drink or untied shoe on the way out the door.) I could go on, but my point is this: I feel like a failure. If someone were to watch my life play out on the stage (and let's be honest--as a minister's wife, I DO feel like people are watching my every move) they would probably write a review that was less than stellar, bidding readers to stay as far away as possible.  I find myself looking at the other mommas around me-the ones homeschooling their kids while they have babies at home, too...the ones holding down a full time job with young children at home...the ones who scrub the grout between their kitchen tile and seem to always have their house in order...I feel like I can't even get my teeth brushed by a decent time most days! 

So what do I do? I retreat. I start searching out a different role in life. One where I can pretend to be someone else-anyone else-because maybe then the world will watch that person instead of the real me. Maybe they will be distracted and not hoan in on my flaws. And maybe my children and my husband would be better off without me around so much.  If I need a break from myself, surely everyone else does, too, right? Right!

And for a split second, I believe the lies, until my Heavenly Father whispers a response in my ears: 


God didn't choose me to be a momma because I was so awesome at it. God chose me for this role despite my weakness, so that I could be a vessel to show HIS strength. 

I think I often feel like every day I'm waking up to audition for this role, desperately wanting a call back and ending the day defeated that I just couldn't measure up. But I'm looking at the wrong audience. The ones whose opinion matter the most are those three precious cherubs who call me their momma.

The ones who wake me up every morning with excitement for what's in store...the ones who dirty up their clothes and add to the laundry pile from living life with abandon and excitement...the ones who pull out their toys and make messes from using their sweet imaginative minds, inviting me to play with them...
the ones who leave sippy cups and crumbly snacks behind
because they're eager to be on the go with wherever Mommy wants to take them...the ones who are learning how to ask for forgiveness and also how to accept it every time they accept my apologies with, "It's okay, Momma. I forgive you." 

Yes, there are seasons where it feels like I've fallen short and am failing, but that's when I get to experience God's power in an even greater way in my life. Life isn't passing me by-life is standing right in front of me in the form of three incredible blessings who call me their momma, and who I call my great accomplishment...