Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Sleepless Night

So, last night was fun, except for not at all. Unless you think it’s fun when not even one of your three kids sleeps through the night, and two-thirds of them get up multiple times in the same night, and the three-year-old can’t stop coughing (bless her heart) and the baby won’t stop crying (bless my heart) at 3:00 AM. And your  husband is trying to get up to deal with it so you don’t have to (bless his heart) but you can kind of sense that if he keeps getting up you might end up finding the baby in the pantry or something bizarre like that because dads just aren’t wired the same way as moms at 3:00 AM.

But the weirdest things happen when you have the Holy Spirit dwelling in your heart. Because at 11:30 PM, 12:45 AM, 2:00 AM, 2:45 AM, 3:30 AM, etc., I had these very natural thoughts running through my mind…

Please, no, not again…please let them just fall back asleep…should I get up to take her to the restroom or just let her pee in her bed?...I’m going to die…can you die from lack of sleep?...he CANNOT be hungry, I’ve nursed him 89 times already tonight…please MAKE IT STOP…

But at the same time, I had these very unnatural thoughts running through my mind…

Count it all joy, brothers, when you encounter trials of various kinds…give thanks in all circumstances…My grace is sufficient for you…power is perfected in weakness…let endurance have its perfect result…in all things God works for the good of those who love Him…

And in my less delirious moments, I am able to cling to the promise.

My “trials of various kinds” are currently trials of the most mundane kind. But the promise holds whether I am grieving some tremendous loss or whether I am up all night feeding, rocking, or essential oiling my little ones. Because the promise doesn’t rest on the magnitude of my trial. It rests on the faithfulness of my Father.

Last night He didn’t allow me to die from being awakened one too many times. But He did give me a gracious reminder that my night was full of serving the least of these, and what a privilege that actually is, and that nothing goes to waste in His kingdom, and that “whatever you do to one of the least of these children of mine, you do it to Me…”

I’m still begging for a full night’s sleep. Is that even a thing? I don’t know anymore. But even in my inglorious trials, I can rest my soul in the promise of my Shepherd, who makes all things work together for my good.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Importance of Taking my Three Year Old to the Potty.

At the almost end of a very long day, at a meeting to which I was a little bit very late, in the back of a crowded room where I was trying to herd sneak in three kiddos without drawing attention, you whispered to me in a defeats-the-purpose-of-a-whisper kind of whisper, “Mommy. I need to go potty.”

I drew in my breath and closed my eyes and faltered for a second. But potties can’t wait long for three year olds and so almost as soon as I got to the meeting I was exiting the room again to find the nearest potty.

“Come on, hurry, we need to hurry. Come on, honey. I’m already late. I didn’t come here to take you to the potty. That’s not why I’m here.”

Wait a minute. It’s not?

As soon as the words left my mouth I heard them, actually heard what I was saying to you, my daughter. 

I’m not here to take you to the potty?

Because, now that I think about it, that’s exactly why I’m here.

Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary.

I’m worried about being late. No, I’m worried about what other people might think of me because I am late. I am bothered by not being able to sit in a meeting like a normal grownup rather than wrangling three ants-in-their-pants children in the back of the room with any semblance of dignity. 

But really? Only one thing is necessary. Only one thing really matters.

And right now? That one thing is you.

Because in the middle of worries and distractions and inconveniences, my Savior really only asks me to sit at His servant feet and take His yoke and bear His heart to the least of these. And right here, right now, is an opportunity for me to lay down my life for you. To meet your (urgent) need with grace and joy. To see what a gift it is to lay my pride and plans and comfort aside and show you that you are more important than a thousand meetings.

And so as long as you are mine, as long as motherhood is a part of my own upward call in Christ, I am here to take the graciousness of Christ that has been granted to me in my desperate need, and lavish it on you. And when I start to think of it as an inconvenience rather than a privilege, may I find myself like Mary, back at the Savior's feet, choosing the better part, and allowing His grace to cut through my pride and set my heart straight again.

I probably never thought I would sum up my life in a moment like this, but yes. I am here to take you to the potty.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Nine Years Ago

Nine years ago…

On a Wednesday night after church, my wedding director was trying in vain to get the timing right for the bridesmaid processional as I did the Roger Rabbit down the aisle. I couldn’t help it. How could I possibly walk normally when I felt like I was in the clouds? I actually probably danced everywhere that week. Nine years ago, I was giddy.

On a Friday night, we celebrated at our rehearsal dinner with friends and family. I ate an incredibly large portion of macaroni and cheese, we watched a slideshow of our lives so far, and then we said goodnight to each other, knowing that the next time we laid eyes on each other it would be to become husband and wife. Then I went home for one more night under my parents’ roof, and I crawled into bed with my little sister. Nine years ago, I couldn’t sleep.

On a Saturday afternoon, I was dressed all in white. The music started, the doors opened, and my daddy looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “Have I told you lately…?” And I nodded my head and willed my mascara to stay on my eyelashes and looked up and there you were. And I grinned all the way down the aisle and through the next half hour as we said “I do” and “I will”, not really even knowing yet what that would mean. Nine years ago, I became your wife.

Nine years ago, when we told each other “I love you”, we meant it. But now there is a history behind those words. There are nine years of experiences and emotions, of sanctification and wrestling with pride and deepening awareness of our selfishness. And there are nine years of learning to depend on God alone for fulfillment and strength and grace, and of learning to forgive and be forgiven. Nine years ago, I was on a cloud, but now I know, as Ben Rector puts it, 

“There are way too many love songs
And I think they've got it all wrong
Cause life is not the mountain tops
It's the walking in between
And I like you walking next to me”

So, Coach, nine years later, you are still the only Coach I ever want. I would like to keep writing mushy stuff here but I keep getting interrupted by two lovely young girls who are very (im)patiently waiting for me to come to their “rest-ra-not” to eat some fake bean soup. This. This is the walking in between, and there is no one I would rather walk with than you.

Nine Years Later :)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Daughters Like Me


From the moment I first laid eyes on you, all seven pounds and wide-eyed, I was breathless in awe. Our Father is such a brilliant Creator, and you are a marvelous work of art. I see His craftsmanship all over you – in your beauty, your logic, your intuition. And I’ve always found it so special to see little pieces of your daddy and myself in you – in the way you smile, or the way you look when you are sleepy, or the color of your eyes. I feel so happy when people say, “Oh, she looks just like you!” Thank you. I am so glad she is mine.

And at the same time, I see other resemblances between us. Like when you will argue until you are blue in the face before admitting that you could possibly be wrong. When you reason your way out of a mistake and end up convincing yourself that you were right all along. In those times, I think someone who knows me well could say, “Oh. She looks just like you.”

Or when you freak out every time we ask you to try something new…when you would rather miss out on the fun just to avoid the risk of failing. You look a lot like me.

So I want you to understand something.

There will be times when you come face to face with your sin and yet you dig in your heels because you don’t want to admit you were wrong…or when you are petrified of trying something new because you just might not be good enough…

And when those times come, I might confront you. I might say the hard words. I might push you toward that thing you are so afraid of. But I want you to know, dear one, that I understand and that I feel every ounce of your struggle and that I am on your side. I am on your side.

And you.

You, with your sweet, funny heart. Your daddy asked me last night, “Couldn’t you just eat her up sometimes?” Yes. Every single day. God gave you a free spirit and a tender heart and I love to see His handiwork in you. And when people say, “She looks a lot like you!” I smile and say, thank you. I am so glad she is mine.

And then there are those times when you start to crumble. You get so tired and overwhelmed and you just want to be at home instead of doing a million other things throughout the day, and you fall apart. I do that too. We’re just the same.

And sometimes you look us straight in the eye and lie. You don’t want us to know that you have disobeyed. You don’t understand that telling the truth is a thousand times better than lying to get out of trouble. Where do you get that from? I don’t have to look far.

So please hear my heart. When you want to hide from the world…when you are afraid of what will happen if you tell the truth…I get it. I might make you go out of your comfort zone. I might bring unpleasant consequences when you lie. But you must know that this is because I love you infinitely, and I can sympathize with your struggles, and sweet girl, I am on your side. I am on your side.
And God help me, I want to show you the grace that I have been shown. Because I have a Father who sees every single one of my failures and still delights in me. I have a Savior who knew exactly how messed up I am and still died for me. I have a God who walks with me and shepherds me with infinite love and compassion and whispers…

I am on your side.