December 22, 2015

Never Ending Kingdom

Centuries of wandering and wars; through miracles, prophecies, and justice- God was speaking Himself. And then in holy obscurity unto us was birthed, to all of creation, the entirety of God.

Comfort and joy came, showing the way to live life full. Yet we turn our souls to the earth, straining to find light in contrite happenings. And why do we hasten to label all this goodness as hate? When God reached down to bring heaven and earth together, we saw rules and separation.

But grace is not defined by our finite minds.

I can't get away from this revelation that everything God is, everything He was aching to express to us, He gave in His Son Jesus; born in a humble barn among the lowliest of creatures. We get to know and love and live the truth of who God is. What a blessed gift we have received.

Hallelujah that the God of all creation pursues even the furthest soul- obstinate and sure they have no need.

And even if you don't want to accept that Savior, it is His light that will overcome all darkness. For His kingdom has no end.

November 5, 2015

Nobody's Hero

They say hard work pays off, but this payoff I can't work hard enough for. I'll make the circles in my prayers and cry the tears to sow those seeds deep, but my own two hands can't accomplish the miracle of growth. This overworked body is broken down. All my problem-solving skills have been adding, multiplying, and subtracting everything I can. How do we approach this from a different angle, find that hidden passage, so we conquer and move on to awaiting battlefields. These horrible prisons we've made for ourselves of ideals, holding tight even after the scarring of shattered promises.

As a mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, human. I cannot solve all these. Tomorrow may be another fruitless day, no end to problems.

It's too easy to rely on a person or a program to heal this hurting world. All the good intentions and tax dollars in the world won't bring the solution.

But gracious if we can't hold tight to faith, hope, and love.

October 19, 2015

Good Gravy

All these tired bodies. So weary from attempted proving. I am enough. I am alright. I am making it to the other end of this winding road, this winded breath.

Why can't we embrace the pause? To survive this cosmic swirl, inhale the chaos and exhale grace.

I am not a survivor. I'm not scraping by, just making it to the next vacation from a life of problems. I'm a thriver. I take all this mess and scrape it together into beauty; into the good that is my life.

Good glory. Make my life something holy. Above the grime of tantrums and patience run out.

Not only for the lives living like me- wives and mothers. For the outside, upside, inside out. We're all in this together. Racing humans to find that prize.

The most demanding part is giving up the reigns. I don't control my life, my child, my friend. We each take what we have and go where we must, fighting upstream to our Spirit's broad pasture.

Hardest working doesn't mean best receiving. But investing heart and soul, we always reap what we sow.

If I compare and contrast these last years given to husband, child, and another child, I must exclaim- "What strength was lain under tranquil waters!"

All that I needed to learn and to love, waiting for the push, tug, pull of giving.

June 12, 2015

If I Could Turn Back Time

This human race is, and most likely always will be, obsessed with time travel. Books and movies overflow shelves with their speculating scenes and scenarios. Attempting to teach the past all the things the future wish they'd known.

I don't like carrying regrets or if-onlys around with me. They cause too much introspection. They steal too much from today. But the lessons learned, those are invaluable. People say live and learn, I think it's healthy to make note of the lessons we've learned so we don't forget to live by them.

Revisiting my high-school-self I would tell her all that loneliness was forming so much strength. I would affirm the wacky uniqueness she possessed but felt so uncomfortable in, so sure that it was something to shed before she could become an adult, before she could find her "soul connection". I'd let my first-and-only-relationship-self relish every midday walk and coffee date. I would congratulate her for her grounded-ness and the good chunk of money they saved up together. I would tell my first-time-mommy-self she is doing great, even when she feels like she's lost in a stormy sea of crying and emotional turbulence. I would let her know that yes, old things have passed away- days of doing what she wants when she wants. But a new thing has come- new contentment of simply loving and being loved in a way only a mother and child can.

If I could turn back time mostly I would tell myself to let go and live. All my eyeing the progressions and possessions of another's life only returned resentment and fear. Worry is such a wicked curse, whispering that what we know now is reality forever. But when we live by our lessons, the truth is undeniable—this too shall pass.

In three years I'll look back on my two-kids-self and command a slowing down of time. The nights at home rocking babies to sleep will seem so sweet, park play dates precious and pure. Maybe I'll even miss the spitting up and blow-out diapers. But most likely not.


My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:14-19 MSG)

March 19, 2015

Becoming Great

... But whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. -Matthew 20:26-28

What a privilege we have, to live this life as a servant, bearing and birthing tiny creatures who don't offer us the choice, to serve or not to serve. Selflessness is demanded, required, unceasing.

I'm learning a little more every day what it is to give continually. To give my ears, my heart, my body. Not just to those tiny creatures, but even after a frustrating afternoon still give to my husband when he comes home, and to the people I interact with as I go about my day.

Learning it's not a competition or a scale we have to balance, who gave more, who's felt more unloved or devalued. Our greatest commandment is to love, and love usually looks more like serving than it does conquering.

It takes a very special pair of rose colored glasses to see this life of serving as a privilege, to believe that we are becoming great with all our giving. Those glasses are rose colored and thorn covered.

This serving-life draws blood, asks for the very sustenance of our life. It can leave us feeling more at risk to bacteria and disease than feeling great or strong.

Maybe my theology has been rattled by all the crying, but I've been thinking Jesus might not have come to teach lessons or gain a following, but to serve. The miracles, demonstrations of power, raising Himself from the dead- maybe it was all serving. If so, shouldn't that be our greatest honor, the highest goal?

But we're humans, and giving without always getting is hard and uncomfortable. How could changing diapers and bounce-walking earn us anything but a sore back? 

Days are long and makeup smears, hair gets frazzled and we all shed at least a few tears. Clothes get spit-up and snot wiped on, but I'm becoming great. Magazines and Instagram celebrities mostly document the clean white blankets and adorable outfits, but even those moms are becoming great. The ones with potty-trained tots, sleeping-through-the-night babies, and tantrum-less days. We all get our opportunities to serve, to give without getting. And it's a privilege. We are becoming great.

February 2, 2015

Family of Four

We're three weeks into this whole family-of-four thing, and I've survived two whole weeks with Max back at work. I'm a mess of thankfulness for the family and friends who have brought dinners, diapers, coffee, clothes, watched Hanley, changed diapers, and just hung out- bringing a feeling of normalcy in the midst of exhaustion. That's my coping mechanism with weariness, don't give in, just keep trekking through that rough first month.

In a way it seems like we arrived here in a flash, yet have been rocking and burping for months. But we are so thankful to have Eliza Louise here with us.


After a week of intermittent but strong contractions, I was dilated to a three and feeling ready to meet our little girl. It was one day before the due date and I had the doctor strip my membranes (read up on that if you dare, I think it sounds worse than it is, but I'm also terrified of all things medical), after which I went back to work to see what else of the crazy end-of-year mess I could get done. A January baby when you work in payroll at an accounting office is less than ideal, just ask my co-workers how they feel about the last three weeks.

By 7pm that night contractions were five minutes apart and I was wondering if this was the real deal. By 9pm they were more intense and I was going to attempt some sleep since I figured I had a long labor ahead of me. By 10pm I realized no sleep was happening, trying to relax and keep breathing through contractions was taking all my focus.

For two hours I tried to distract myself walking around the house, eating, watching old 30 Rock episodes (honestly, my favorite part of the labor). By midnight the contractions were three minutes apart so we figured it was a good time to head up to the hospital (Hanley was sound asleep, the sitter sleeping downstairs with the baby monitor). 

When we arrived at the hospital my body was shaking uncontrollably and the nurse had the nerve to tell me I might not be in real labor, just my body freaking out after the membrane stripping. Between that and then being told that I had only dilated to a four after a few intense hours of labor, I almost died.

In my labor with Hanley getting from four centimeters dilation to holding the baby in my arms was twelve hours. I did it without an epidural, but I couldn't imagine twelve hours of these contractions. The nurse left the room and I told Max the whole natural childbirth thing probably wasn't going to happen. He prayed, the nurse came back in and started asking questions about my level of pain (dumbest question ever, but I forgive them), and we just kept going.

Two hours passed painfully with some throwing up and me telling Max I didn't want to do this anymore (or ever again), but smart man that he is, he just held my hand and told me I was doing great. I was too focused on the labor and answering questions about my family's medical history (another dumb question in the midst of hard labor) to think much more on the epidural. By 2:30am (two hours after being checked into the hospital) the nurse asked if she could check and see how much more I had dilated. Apparently the intensity of the contractions (and pain) had done their work, and I was at nine and a half. Obviously the epidural wasn't happening, which was okay with me.

I can't express how relieved I was to know that we didn't have much longer, but then terrified that I was soon to be pushing.

By 3am I was fully dilated and the nurses had everything ready for delivery. With some very helpful coaching on when and how much to push, Eliza was born at 3:26am, healthy and beautiful.

And here we are, a family of four.

It still feels pretty unreal.

I don't think I've been anywhere on time with both girls. In two years I forgot how much time it takes to feed, burp, and change a little one. Especially when their cuteness is so distracting. We were almost on time to meet my sister and her husband for donuts. But that's because we didn't take showers or get ready much. And it was for donuts.

Life with a newborn and a two year-old is tiring and overwhelming, and also overwhelmingly beautiful.

There are some things that have come so much easier, like nursing (HALLELUJAH!), and her diapers don't seem gross at all in comparison to the two year-old's.

But each baby has their own uniqueness and I keep wondering, is this what Hanley did? Is this normal? How do I treat this diaper rash? Who knew there were so many kinds of diaper rashes a baby could get, and SO many ways to treat them.

Hanley is so sweet with her little sister, although she's still mixed up and calls Eliza her big sister. She talks to her in the highest pitched voice, brings her toys, asks why she's crying, and seems to get the idea that she can't eat the same food as her. Last week Hanley told Eliza, "we're going to be friends". I'm pretty sure she learned it from a show, but still that's darn cute.

Of course we are all learning the transition of spreading out our time, energy, and bodies a little further than before. And leaning more on God's faithfulness to strengthen and to be our faithful supplier of peace, wisdom, and patience.