Posted in baby, God, life, Parenting

A Common Cold

My girl sleeps now…

Last week her first cold developed and it threw us for a loop… and by us I mean me.

There is something that happens when you become a parent. A shift in the universe.

And by shift, I mean that the world suddenly stopped being all about me.

I know how that sounds. But it’s solid truth. If you ever want to know how self involved you are, have a baby. You’ll realize… real quick.

Throughout my pregnancy, I had a clear picture of how I wanted things to go. I had expectations. I had a process of doing things. I had a life with my husband before baby. And I expected her to fit into that life the way that I had planned it…. notice how many times I used the word “I”?!

Last week, with my boogie nosed, not so tiny infant coughing and sneezing, I held her down to spray saline up her nose and the stream that ran out of her nostrils resembled the stream of tears running out of my eyes. I just cried and cried. And asked my own parents if it ever gets easier. And my dad laughed lovingly at me and said not really… that it would always be the most difficult seeing your children suffer or in pain and did I ever imagine myself loving someone so much.

The truth is I loved myself that much. And I loved my husband that much and the life we had pre-baby. And now we have this perfect little creature and I love her more and more with each day that passes. I love her so much it hurts… like physically hurts. I’m not talking infatuation. Infatuation is looking at her and goo goo gawing about how dang cute she is and how I could just bite her cheeks! And don’t get me wrong I do that too… but that’s a fleeting feeling… it’s not all day every day, it comes and goes. But the actual love I have for her. That’s a different thing. It’s on another level. That’s why this little tiny cold wrecked me on the inside because I’d rather feel all the pain in the world myself then have her suffer even in the tiniest bit.

And then I got it.

God loves us so so much that nothing else matters except for saving us. He sent His son… His son that He loves so much it hurts to take on the greatest pains in the world to keep me… silly self-centered little me… from an eternity of suffering. With Him we have a hope and a future… forever with Him because of Him. He loves me like I love Michael. But even more so then I could even imagine, which is pretty impossible to fathom.

So as this girl sleeps, I can’t help but to be thankful. Thankful for God’s love. Thankful for His blessing of my daughter and the sweet addition she is to our family. And thankful for His pruning and His grace in all His teachable moments as He continues to teach me to look inward less and outward more.. and UPWARD more.

Thank you God for tiny colds. (But please push it out of my house sooner rather than later 😉).

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Posted in life

To My Michael As I Return To Work…

To my Michael,

You are eight weeks old! Your dad says I should probably start counting your age in months instead of weeks, but I think that makes you sound even older. As I write this you're napping on your mat in the living room as Mom has finally learned how much better you sleep on your belly, and finally feels comfortable enough to let you do so… at least for napping.

I am writing you this because in just a few short days our spending time together all day every day will come to an end as Mommy returns to work. In the beginning it seemed as if this day would never come, and then I blinked, and now it's upon us.

When I say I felt it would never come it's not because I didn't love spending time with you… I did. And with each passing day I love it more and more. I also love working, and returning to work is not easy, but so important and I want to tell you why.

First of all I want to show you that work is a part of life. Sometimes it's tough, but it's a part of life and a good part at that.

Work isn't just getting up and going to a place, performing tasks, and going home… it comes in all forms. It could be working to clean the house or take care of babies. For you one day it'll be school work or chores… it can even come in the form of communication and working on relationships. Everything worthwhile in this life takes work. And it's not enough for me to tell you this, but rather I need to show you with how I live my life… you may not always remember my words, but something tells me you'll remember my actions.

Working, in all its forms, will make you a better person. The challenges that come with hard work will shape your character and give you a sense of purpose… you won't always feel like working but if you only do what you "feel like" doing you won't end up anywhere that you truly want to be.

I am going back to work because I love my job and the people that I get to work with. I love what we get to do on a daily basis to help people gain a relationship with Jesus. I love being a part of something that is bigger than myself.

You…my brilliant, beautiful, baby girl have so much to offer the world. And I'll always want and pray that you find something bigger than you that you can use your gifts and talents that God has blessed you with to serve others, being humble and kind while doing so.

Michael, as you grow, you'll realize that you're allowed to enjoy more than one thing at a time. For you, you might one day enjoy soccer and dance, gymnastics or schoolwork, spending time with your friends and family, balancing it all. For me I love many things… spending time with you and your dad top my list, I love to read and write, and I also love to work and love my job.

It's great to love a lot of things, and I hope you'll find things that you love and are passionate about. Whatever you choose to do, I'll be behind you, to support you and encourage you. I also will be praying Philippians 2:3…that you "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself".

Just like I strive to give my all at my job, I will always strive to give my all to your dad and to you, making the most of the time we have together.

Most importantly for you to know is that everything your dad and I choose to do is what we think is best for you and our family. YOU are our number one priority. And for now that looks like Mom going back to work. And though it will be hard and I will miss you the very most, I will be brave and do so with all the joy I have to give… you will be in good hands and I know that this is the first step of many that will push both you and I to grow into the women God has planned for us to be.

I love you more than words can say.

Love,

Mom

Posted in life

May Your Life Preach More Loudly Than Your Lips…

I was recently asked to speak at the Father Daughter Dance that our church holds each year. This is an annual event that our ministries put on to give fathers an opportunity to set aside time to take their daughters out one on one and remind them how truly special they are… not only in their father’s eyes but in the eyes of their Father in Heaven.

When I first was asked to speak, I thought about what I could possibly say that would be relevant. Yes I am a daughter to someone. Yes I am about to have a daughter… but clearly a room full of dads that have been dads for years have more experience in this area than me so what could I possibly say to contribute to this wonderful experience?!

Then I realized it wasn’t so much about what I could say, for my words are fleeting and would probably be forgotten the minute I was done speaking. So no it was not about what I could say, but rather it was what I could do.

Something that I love to do is write. I keep journals, I keep this little blog, and I keep tons of notes in my iPhone. Millions of thoughts run through my brain at any given moment throughout the day so I love to jot them down. Because of this, I knew I could write a letter to express my thoughts to how important the role of “dad” is in a woman’s life and the impact it has. More specifically: the impact my dad has had on my life. I want to share this letter with you all all.

BUT…

Before I do, let me give you a little background… I am 29 and I am the youngest of four girls. My mom and dad were married in 1979 when my dad was a whopping 19 years old. Two years later in June of 1981, they were blessed with my oldest sister Stephanie. Then exactly 2 years after that in June, my second sister Stacie was born. 2 years later right in the middle of 1985, that warm June month brought my third sister Sandra… and I bet you could guess what happens next… but you’d most likely be wrong. I suppose my parents decided to give June a rest. But low and behold 2 years and 5 months later in November I was born. So here my dad was at 28 years of age with FOUR daughters. To say his plate was full was an understatement. To say his heart was full is the understatement of a lifetime.

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As far back as I can remember, my dad has been a man of little words. The strong and silent type, many of my friends, especially those of the male persuasion, found him to be a little intimidating, but I just found him to be generous. The hardest worker I know, many of my memories of him find him at worK. He had two jobs for a good part of my childhood and he was in and out of the house a lot. But that doesn’t mean his presence wasn’t felt. He always made sure that it was. Being a man of little words, he wasn’t especially well versed in the Bible. He didn’t quote scripture or throw Bible verses at situations… He wasn’t publically praying or acknowledging God’s goodness in every breath. He didn’t talk much of parables or the Old Testament tales. If you wanted to measure my dad against the idea of what “a good Christian Dad” looks like, he would probably fall short every time. He is not perfect and he is with his faults. But I never once have questioned in my life where and whom His heart belongs… and it’s not because of his words but with his actions. And that’s what has made the most impact on my life. Here is the letter I wrote my dad:

 

 

Dear Dad,

First off I want to say thank you. At a time in my life where it feels the generation of men are more concerned with their on fleek haircuts and material possessions, you have taught me by your hard working hands that your first priority and responsibility is to love God and by doing that love your family. Loving your family doesn’t mean sweet words or small gestures, but rather it meant waking up at 4 am each day and coming home long after the sun had gone down just so that I never had to go without. It meant that when things got tough with mom you didn’t leave or give up, but rather you persevered and pushed through knowing that, with God, tomorrow could be better. You showed us that 38 years of marriage isn’t easy and takes work, but it is worth it and it is possible if you never give up. And because of that you showed me to never settle for anything less than that when it came to my own spouse and gave me the confidence I needed to enter into a marriage knowing that though it may not always be easy, it would always be worth it.

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You probably could never have told me that in Acts 20:35 it says:

“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

But this verse came to life when you took us to make baskets for the homeless every Thanksgiving, when you knew that the little boy down the street couldn’t afford new shoes and you replaced them for him simply because he needed them, and when you silently served at the Boys and Girls club for years, being a big brother to someone who had no one… never telling anyone that you were doing so.

Dad, you probably don’t know that Romans 15:7 says to welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you… but you showed this when you opened up our home day in and day out to all people anytime because you know that everyone needs someplace to go.

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You probably wanted to pull your hair out when I kicked and cried on Saturday mornings because you made us get up early and pick the rocks from the soil…. But in that I learned humility and that no job is beneath me. You taught me grace, not by blasting Chris Tomlin through the house, but by constantly forgiving those who wronged you, and you showed me faith by continuing to put one foot in front of the other in the face of despair and sadness, knowing yourself and showing us in your actions that the sun continues to rise. Not grumbling in your words but moving forward trusting that God was still in control.

Dad I say all these things not to point out what you don’t know, but what you did know…and that is the simple fact that actions speak louder than words. For God says don’t just be hearer of the words but doers as well and you, my father, have always been a doer. For that I will always be grateful because it is a legacy that I will remember far longer than any word or conversation that we have had. It is a legacy that has made me into the woman I have become and one that will continue through my child and generations to come.

I hope I can, like you Dad, be a doer, and show it in the way that you’ve shown me. For your mirroring of God’s love is worth more than anything else. I love you forever.

Love,

Daughter #4

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To all the dads out there, or parents in general, I just wanted to say that it’s okay. It’s okay if you aren’t perfect. It’s okay if you fall short or make mistakes. It’s even okay if you don’t know every word that is in the Bible. But If I can encourage you in one thing, it’s to encourage you to be doers. It’s not enough to come to church and listen to God’s word and regurgitate it to your children in hopes that they’ll absorb it. But rather they need to see it through your actions and how you’re living your life. Your example will always mean the most in the end. It is what is going to make the greatest impact on them… knowing and seeing that God’s love has transformed your life and has the power to transform theirs as well.

Posted in life

She Rejoices Without Fear

When beginning this blog, I wanted to have a place that I could write out and process the millions of thoughts that race through my mind on a daily basis. No exaggeration. What you see is only what survives the dreaded delete button… (Not really delete, but more like locked in my drafts until maybe one day I become brave enough to post it). Some of those thoughts come out as random blurbs, some single, lone sentences, and some actually wind up stringing together something that might bring a little understanding to my world. Continue reading “She Rejoices Without Fear”

Posted in life

Most Improved

Tonight, my nephew was awarded the Most Improved Player award at his school’s basketball banquet. Call me biased, but I think this is one of the most incredible awards someone can receive. Why you may ask? Some would argue that there are other awards that are more prestigious or more reputable, like Most Valuable Player. One thing is for sure, there is definitely something gratifying about being the “best”, about being the most valuable, the most needed, or wanted. But most improved… now that takes something special. Continue reading “Most Improved”