Like a Weaned Child is My Soul Within Me

Good morning! It is 7:45 AM and I am running on a few sporadic hours of sleep. Two year old Rosie was up over and over last night, claiming she needed to potty, only to sit there and do nothing…. and then have an accident in the bed.

Around 5:45 this morning I just gave up on getting any more sleep for either of us, parked her on the couch with some milk and myself with an americano, while I mentally prepped for a rough day. I have so many things (big and small) I need to get done, and a few sleepless nights in a row has me feeling like I can’t get it all done.

mommy blog two under twoAnd then the coffee kicked in, and the Lord reminded me of one of my favorite Psalms.

“O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.”
-Psalm 131:1-2

There are times for Mama to dive deeper, but for me, that is not this day. Today is a day to calm and quiet my soul. Today, we are putting one foot in front of the other, and seeking the Lord’s constant presence. Elisabeth Elliot would say, “Just do the next thing.”

So, that’s what today is. A day of next things. One at a time.

Love,
H

In Which The Statons Have a Bad Week

   

This has not been our week.

Our fridge went out (which meant throwing away a lot of food), we purchased a brand new one but it couldn’t be delivered until 5 days later, I got sick with a cough & fever just as my Mom & Dad came into town to spend time with us, and Rosie’s left eye is currently swollen shut, from what looks like some sort of bug bite. Oh, and the starter in our car went out, so Kip is outside fixing that right now.

I mean, good grief, Charlie Brown.

I just read this Proverb last week, sort of on accident. It was written on a random note card somewhere, but it has stuck in my head all this week. “All the days of the afflicted are bad, But a cheerful heart has a continual feast.” -Proverbs 15:15

I think it’s about perspective, not circumstances.

Sometimes, when everything seems to be going wrong, we have to work hard to see the good. Sometimes, that might mean naming gifts, like Ann Voskamp, or writing down 10 things you love right now, like sweet Brittany.

Our troubles have not been major, and I am grateful for that, but they have seemed to come one on top of the other. Sometimes, I think we need to let go of our plans, or our ideal of how we think things are supposed to go, and just roll with the punches and see the graces for what they are in this season.

For me, graces have looked like this:
1. Finding a desk someone threw out, bringing it home, and turning it into a daddy-daughter project. (It looks so good, btw!)
2. Friends knowing we’re sick and temporarily car-less and bringing Chick-fil-a breakfast.
3. My own (thrifted and thoroughly cleaned) espresso maker which = iced americanos all the time.
4. Mom going to the store for us and bringing us a box of popsicles, which disappear on day 1.
5. A husband who works tirelessly with a good attitude, and helps me remember to laugh at the insanity.
6. A new fridge that actually fits where it is intended to in this house, haha. (Note above photo of Sam: baby changing table where fridge should fit!)
7. Finding out that Kroger is running a crazy good sale on fresh meat the day I go to restock our groceries.
8. Friends that actually pray when you ask them to.
9. Knowing that despite the terror, sin, and hurt in the world, I am confident of something better beyond.
10. The Lord who is an ever-present help in trouble.

“As long as thanks is possible, joy is always possible.”

How has your week been?
Love,
H

Open Wide | The Gospel in Motherhood

The further I venture into Motherhood, the more often I find that God has so sweetly given mamas a unique perspective on His relationship with us. I wrote this back when Samuel was still nursing, but I still look back on those memories with fondness, and gratefulness for the gift of that experience. I know that not all women are able to breastfeed their babes for a variety of reasons, and I understand there can be some hurt there for some who feel they may have “missed out.” My encouragement for those mothers is to remember that you are precious in the Lord’s sight, and your value as a mother is not determined by the things you do, but the price Jesus paid for you. 

christian mommy blog“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” -Psalm 81:10

Tiny, new little body swaddled in my arms, resting after hours of laboring together to birth from the darkness into light. Smooshed little face, eyes wide and alert, belly hungry and slowly he turns, rooting. I tell him to “Open wide, baby boy…” He tries to latch, but it’s shallow – I know the clicking sound from his tongue means that something is not quite right. We need to start over and try again.

I stroke his cheek a bit with my finger, inciting reflexes that open his mouth as wide as tiny lips can open. He lets out a panicky, frustrated whimper. I remind him, “just open wide, and you can eat, sweet baby!” And just when the desire to give up and desperation for nourishment meet, he opens vulnerably wiiiiiide, and… latches. Oh, that sweet relief when babies get the right latch! He drinks the colostrum, the rich milk to work in his little insides to move the yucky, black tar of the womb-self out of his system.

In the days that follow, he cries often for more, and I hurry to him. He opens wide (now only occasionally needing to be reminded the proper way to latch on), and he eats his fill; the tiny, walnut-sized stomach now full of rich nourishment. He rests deep in the milk-coma and I can’t help but smile on him. I delight to meet his needs; to be the one he needs. 

Am I so different? The moments of emptiness come often in my day- I’m out of patience, out of energy, out of drive, out of… fruit. Who can live without sustenance? Who can live long on one meal? I have to come back to the arms of Christ, back to the supper table, again and again. Maybe just for a small portion at a time. One verse to recall. One name of God to ponder. One overarching Truth to dwell on and let dwell within me. And when I “run out”, I cry for more. And the Lord comes to me, ready to fill. But do I know how to receive from Him?

“Open your mouth wide and I will fill it…”

Opening wide requires vulnerability and acknowledges dependence.
Opening wide lets go of idols and inhibitions.
Wide open needs.

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” -1 Peter 2:2-3

breastfeeding gospel motherhood encouragement

Photo by JWillowe

We approach him with our hands and hearts (and mouths?) wide open, and He promises to fill. With forgiveness, with grace, with love, with unwavering faithfulness. And as He fills, the pure spiritual milk grows us from deep within, moving the icky blackness of our old self out to make room for the new. That nourishment builds our core that keeps us upright and branches into limbs and capillaries of functioning – crawling, walking, stumbling, running – love. The only thing required of us is emptiness and thirst. And when we cry to Him, does He not come to our side?

As we grow, new depths of Truth are introduced. And though we always must return to our newborn-needy state, we also move on to the “solid food for the mature.” This takes time and gentle patience, slowly introducing and internalizing the new. And though my baby grows and is ready to be fed solids, the approach – the mantra – stays the same. I pop the top off the little jar, dip in the baby spoon and tell my sweet son once again, “Open wide!”

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” 

Tree of Life

In all my searching for what makes a home, what I’ve returned to again and again, is really – people make a home. And, if I’m going to call myself a “home-maker”, that means I carry the weight of putting into the home what we want to get out of it: peace, gratitude, safety, refuge, joy, faithfulness. I take care of it, it takes care of us. Beautiful things can help call our minds to a higher place where the Spirit works in us, but they don’t do it alone. Hearts call us to a place where peace, gratitude, safety, refuge, and joy can grow.

Processed with VSCOcam with x1 presetAs the center of our daily family life, what is in my heart constantly overflows to those in my care. I am, hands down, the one who talks the most on a daily basis around here. At least until Rosie turns four. 🙂 I keep our routines, our plans, our meals, our laundry and all the things to keep us all functioning throughout the week, which requires just a whole lot of words. It is so easy for me to get flustered and frustrated as I’m trying to get through my homemaking to-do’s, and these people of mine get in the way. Doesn’t that sound terrible? But if I had to name what was in my heart in those moments, that would be it.

“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” -Proverbs 15:4


When I picture a “tree of life” I picture a huge tree with arms outstretched, housing every sort of creature that needs a nest, or a refuge from the snow, or some shade from the hot sun. I see its roots digging deep (maybe the same proverbial tree planted near streams of water?), anchoring deep into the solid earth, steady in the wind and the rain. I see everything I desire to see in our home: peace, gratitude, safety, refuge, joy, faithfulness. A place of encouragement for anyone who needs it. And this short Proverb tells me this type of home comes from my tongue, not from the type of house we have.

I can’t bear the thought of breaking anyone’s spirit – especially my child’s. I can already think of many times I have allowed perverseness – taking something good and making it more important than Christ – to take control of my heart, and therefore my tongue. I hate that. When I seek to create a beautiful house, a good gift, and make it the prerequisite to serving Jesus with my home, I have perverted my priorities and the evidence will overflow from my heart, into biting, impatient, discouraging words.

DSC_0546On the other side of that, when I am grateful to the Giver and my heart is filled with Truth, I see my people instead of my things, and my words are gentle. Often, the real ministry that happens here is fully present, deeply personal, and/or just not very pretty. Those are the times when it doesn’t matter that I haven’t hung those frames or arranged the bookshelf. The times that aren’t always Insta-worthy. Those moments are so tender that a quick social media post will not only break my focus, but cheapen what is happening right in front of me. This is the life I desire, and the refuge I am eager for my home to be.

It starts with me. I wish this was something I could accomplish in a few easy steps, but that’s not how hearts work. There are no real “Before & After” photos of this change to share, because we become who we are in the small, consistent choices we make every day. My only hope to create this Tree of Life in my heart and in my home is to return to Jesus again and again, abiding in Him, living with gratitude for whatever He gives or withholds – good or bad. A salt pond can’t produce sweet water, and I truly desire to be a broken vessel holding sweet water for my family and the world.

Could we start in this home?

Finding The Gospel in Sam’s Hair

I have learned that this season of life is one that is overflowing with Gospel-saturated moments, if I just choose to see them. Some of the smallest moments can carry the most weight, if I am willing to slow down and look.

My life with little bitty ones has become a life of little things, things that always need to be done: laundry, dishes, and the like. There are little toys perpetually strewn across the carpet, little people stubbornly clinging to my legs, little bits of food invariably scattered under the table… I live my life in 900 square feet that often feel smaller, and sometimes I forget the world is, can be, so much bigger.

SamsHair

But then there are those moments. When we’re sitting in the light coming in through the window and I catch a glimpse of sun reflecting off the finest strands of white gold, or the deep pools of hazel surrounding pupil, even as she’s frowning at me mid-whine, and I wonder… “How are you a person?” How are you a soul right in front of me? And right there, in the middle of a passing moment, Psalm 149:14 becomes touchable and our four walls hold more weight and eternity than I realized they could.

During the days of a clouded mind, frumpy tee shirts and nap schedules that keep us chained to the house, the ultimate challenge is to continue to abide in Christ. I can’t see Him, and I so quickly forget He is here with me. I know He is out in the mission fields, in the refugee camps, in the secret churches. But, here? In just a pile of laundry? In diaper changes? How can I find Him here?

Rosieeyes“…our perennial spiritual and psychological task is to look at things familiar until they become unfamiliar again.” [G.K. Chesterson]

Sometimes, all it takes to turn a day of tasks into a day in which we see Jesus is a change of posture. Kneeling lower allows me to see more closely my boy’s nose-wrinkled smile or my girl’s swirly little cowlick, and wonder at this creation. Descending to the perspective of a child suddenly demands an upward gaze, where now I can see my Lord.

SamuelClear“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” [Romans 12:2]

Though my days are filled with the seemingly mundane, my calling here at home is an unwieldy one: to grow people – to gather Gospel kindling around their hearts, and pray faithfully that God ignites it. When I choose to slow down and see even the smallest things as gifts from the Lord, I reach for more piece of tinder for their souls, and more fuel for my own. Growing these people means creating a home where daily tasks are done separately from God, but where we walk in the Truth that the only real Life is lived with Him.

RosieToes“I discover that slapping a sloppy brush of thanksgiving over everything in my life leaves me deeply thankful for very few things in my life.” [Ann Voskamp]

So, I’ll thank God. I’ll stare at what He’s given long and hard until what I see isn’t simply an eyeball, or little toes, but splendorous, eternal Power of a Creator. I’ll thank God for the bodies that fill the laundry, the food that dirtied the dishes, and for the toys scattered by little hands I don’t deserve to hold. This is how we abide.

“…here, you can become a current in the river of grace that redeems the world.” 

Four Years of Freedom

This time last year, I was desperately waiting for Rosie to make her appearance- today was her due date! Little lady, thank you for waiting 12 more days to be fully baked before you were born, and for sanctifying your impatient Mama. 😉

This time four years ago, I gained certainty that I was a Child of God.

When I think of where I was just over four years ago, I can’t begin to understand how I could be where I am today- a wife to a sweet man, and a Mama to an almost-one-year-old girl and to an almost-here baby boy. It is a miracle that “because of His compassion we are not consumed,” but what’s just as unbelievable is our “adoption as sons” and the overwhelming Fatherliness of God. He gives good gifts to His children.

His Glory. I can’t understand how my good is for His glory- but I’m overwhelmingly thankful He made it so.

Last year I posted my testimony, and I’ve now included it as a page on my blog. I hope to be less about me and more about Him in the coming days, but I also want to share what God has done!

Happy January 16th! ❤
Love,
H