Abiding in 2017

Happy New Year’s, friends! I’ve started 2017 off with some soul-searching and thought I’d pop in to share my thoughts with you.


I often times look at my son and expect him to serve me in some way.

Be in a good mood so we can laugh and smile.

Sleep all night so I can get some rest.

Don’t scream while I’m in the shower so I can enjoy the hot water and steam.

 

Everything essentially revolves around me. What I feel. What I expect. What I want him to do.

 

And I suppose, in a way, he could say the same thing (although he obviously couldn’t admit it at this stage of life.)

Give me that toast you’re eating because it looks yummy to me.

Feed me now. I am hungry. I do not care that you are showering because I am hungry now.

My gums hurt and all I want is for you to hold me and make me feel better. I don’t want to play by myself.

 

We are truly selfish beings, huh? When you look at that picture—of what I want from my son and what he wants from me—our selfishness is laid bare.

Except, the only difference to this stage of life is that my son legitimately needs me to meet his needs. I’m all he has. And he doesn’t understand when he might be inconveniencing me or doing something that makes me upset. All he knows is that he is hungry or sleepy or tired or hurting or _______ and he looks to his Mom and Dad to fix it.

So in this stage of life? I have to lay down my wants and desires. I have to be humble and extend myself to serve him. I can’t label my days as good or bad based off of what my child did or didn’t do. I can’t allow my emotions to swing in a pendulum that’s driven by a tiny 18-pound force of gravity that has no control over his own feelings or needs.

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It sounds like a simple equation but obviously it is not an easy one. This consistent laying down of all that I want to do is exhausting and frustrating at times. There are moments where I catch myself envying my friends on social media when they post their cozy moments relaxing on the couch with a book and warm cup of coffee in hand. Because I have a one-year old. Those moments are not mine in this season of life. And if Roman and I have more children sometime next year, they won’t be mine for the years to come.

Yet I am acutely aware of how quickly time slips by. Jackson is a year and one month old. I feel like I’ve only blinked and suddenly 13 months have come and gone. I have followed a blogger for almost six years and today her oldest daughter turned 17. I do not even know how this is possible. Yesterday she was just a pre-teen and now she is about to graduate high school. I’m not so naïve that I think time won’t slip by just as quickly for me. I’ll look around and suddenly be teaching Jackson how to drive a car or balance a checkbook.

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Friends, whatever season of life you’re in whether you have kids or not, understand that it is short. I think we forget this. We get caught up in the details of our circumstances and maybe even a little bit of envy as we watch others around us and we forget that time quickly slips through our fingers. I want to be a woman who perseveres through all seasons…..even if they are trying or sad or exhausting. I want to recognize that the season of life I’m in now is probably not the same season I’ll be in within a few short months. I want to remember to look for God’s strength and kindness and grace and face each day knowing that it is a gift.

2016 was a year of change for us. We started out the year with a three-week old baby who despised sleep and had awful reflux issues. We overcame all the little challenges that being a new parent brings. We started a small group together. We bought a house! (More on that in a later post.) I grew my at-home business. We ended the year celebrating our son’s 1st birthday.

I’ve never really given much thought to Resolutions or “Word of the Year” movements but this year I am. My word is ABIDE. 2016 was full of changes but I want 2017 to be a year where I simply abide. Where I stay engaged and present in my moments. Where I recognize that life is short and don’t wish it away.

I hope that 2017 has gotten off to a great start for all of you, my dear readers. But even if it hasn’t let me encourage you today: the seasons are short. While we don’t necessarily have to enjoy each season I think we are called to look for the Lord’s gifts of grace and goodness in the midst of them. That’s my goal for 2017 and I hope you will join me. I hope we can all look back on the year and see a shift in our perspective and way of living and be able to say “I lived in 2017.”

Happy New Year!  ❤

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Living in the Tension

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My little guy is 9 months old now. Oh my gosh, how time has flown. This week he has started letting go of whatever he’s holding onto while standing up….and he’s not falling down. Yesterday he tried to take a step towards me twice. I’m just not ready. I’m not ready for him to walk. I’m not ready for him to grow into a toddler. The more he grows the more I realize: parenthood is learning to live in the tension.

Actually, I think we all live in the tension….whether we have kids or not. Only I think that I’m just now realizing it.

When I was a senior in high school, I can remember being simultaneously thrilled and terrified at graduating. I was so ready to be done with high school. Freedom! No dress code! Adulthood! {Man, that last one is so overrated. Bills, anyone??} But I also knew, graduating high school meant my life would never be the same again. Everything would change.

The “big day” came and went and just like that I was thrust into a new season of life. A full-time job….online college courses….my first car payment. But it doesn’t take long for our human hearts to yearn for “the next big thing.” I was ready to be married. Building a life with my soul mate.

It was only a couple years later before I would accomplish that dream. And I found myself living in the tension of wishing for easier days–graduate college! better jobs! children!–while also trying to enjoy my fresh new marriage.

So when I really stop to think, it’s no surprise at all that I find myself still feeling that same tension. The tension of being excited and hopeful for the future, while also not wanting my current days to end, while also missing the days that are behind. I look at this grinning little boy and think all the same thoughts together, “No! Where did my little tiny baby go??!?” “Oh, he is so adorable. I don’t ever want him to grow any bigger ever ever ever.” “I can’t wait to see him continue to grow and learn. I can’t wait to see the man he one day becomes.”

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There are plenty of blog posts out there encouraging women to “enjoy the moment” and “be present.” Those are all well and good, but I think we all know that those are simple cliches that don’t really answer the broad range of emotions we feel on any given day. I think that yes, we should enjoy these days and we should be present in our lives, but we should also recognize that there is a lot of tension in that. And that’s totally okay.

There will be times when we wish for days past or days to come, and there will be times when all we want is for time to freeze in place. I think this is part of our human condition. I think this is part of the Lord’s design. Because one day? One day we will live in eternal bliss. We won’t wish for days past or days to come. We won’t wish for time to freeze, either. We will live in perfect content and will want for nothing.

I believe that living in the tension is a life-long lesson–that this world is not our home. That we were created for more. We will one day have more. And that’s a truly comforting thought, no?

Even still, don’t grow up, little baby boy. I want you in my arms forever. But at the same time, I can’t wait to see who you become.  ❤

Lessons from a Baby–Vol. 1

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When I found out I was pregnant, one of my very first prayers was for the Lord to teach me more about Himself through my child. Despite having a fantastic father here on earth, I have always struggled with the “fatherhood” characteristics of God. The Lord promises in His word that if we will seek Him we will find Him, and this promise has certainly been true in my own life as I watch God over and over answer this prayer. This new series will be a place where I can share these “lessons” and thoughts with you. Perhaps the parallel between earthly parenthood and heavenly parenthood can help someone else as well. 

Jackson is super squirmy, fast, inquisitive and daring. He first started trying to crawl right before he turned six months old. Fast forward about six weeks and he was zooming around the house. With his new talent of crawling, he immediately started pulling up on everything. Bar stools, doorways, clothes hampers, the cat….you name it and he’s probably pulled up on it. I learned my lesson fast that I couldn’t take my eye off of him for even a second–and I learned it the hard way.

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To keep him somewhat “contained” while I’m showering/getting ready for the day, I put him in his walker in the bathroom with me. At least this way he can’t fall down or pick anything up he’s not supposed to get into, but obviously it doesn’t keep him completely out of danger. One day I was straightening my hair and realized I left my make-up bag in my purse, so I turned around to get it. In less than five literal seconds, my child rolled up to the side of the counter and grabbed the straightener cord hanging down. Had I not been close enough, he would have pulled it down on his head and that would have probably resulted in an immediate rush to the emergency room.

I’ll spare you the level of mom-guilt I felt in that moment…just know it was intense. But once I calmed down and realized that no harm was done and that I had just learned my lesson to never take my eyes off of him, the Lord spoke and revealed that this was a lesson I could learn about Him as well.

Jackson didn’t understand why I grabbed the cord out of his hand. He didn’t know about the intense danger he was about to pull down on himself. However I had a view of the entire picture. I knew that if he continued to pull on that cord, he would certainly injure himself. As his loving mother, I knew he simply could not have the object that he wanted.

My, how easily this compares to our spiritual lives! How often do we see the Lord shut doors in our lives? How often do we get mad at Him when He does? We think we know what we want and how our lives should go, but I wonder just how many times the Lord in His sovereign and loving mercy has actually saved us from a terrible disaster by not allowing us to have what we wanted? The house we thought we needed to buy, the guy we wanted to date, the dream job we never got….what if they actually were going to cause us harm in some way? And what if, in His perfect providence, our loving Father didn’t allow us to go down that road because He sees the whole picture and wants to protect us from that harm?

(Note: Sometimes we can push and push to get our way and our loving Dad will decide to let us learn a lesson the hard way. But even then He will pick us up after our fall. That’s a lesson for another day.)

This is obviously not the end-all reason when life doesn’t go our way. Sometimes the Lord just has different plans for our lives. Sometimes we lose something or someone because we live in a fallen world and as a result of that, bad stuff happens. But I think there is a definite lesson to be learned here, and it’s certainly something to consider as we walk through life. Because maybe sometimes when we don’t get the job or the guy or the house or the _____ we shouldn’t pitch a fit, but instead thank our Father and trust in His plan for our lives.

Gosh, it’s something I still struggle with so much. Which is funny, because my kid still struggles with it too. He still reaches for any cord he can get close to and it will be quite some time before he’s old enough to finally learn why he can’t play with them. But that’s okay, because I’ve got my eye on him and I’m here to keep him from injuring himself. And you know what? The same holds true for our God as well. He watches over us every moment of every day and is always there for His children.

Looking back on your life, do you recognize a time where you didn’t get your way that was actually the Lord protecting you from something? Did you see those moments as the Lord protecting you, or were you angry that you didn’t get what you wanted? Have you ever struggled with seeing the Lord’s protection in your life?