Thursday, August 9, 2012

Through a multitude of storms...

I've been waiting awhile to post on here- waiting for news to settle, for my heart to still, and for my hands to be ready to write.  Seems to me that the past 6 months have been filled with "life". "Life" being a host of storms for those around me, specifically for some of the precious mamas in this space.  Somehow, writing a mundane (or seemingly mundane) question for us all to consider has seemed inappropriate at best.  I've labored and prayed over you, as you've gotten grim diagnoses,  said good-bye to the love of your life, or your sweet fourth child, or  your precious mom, or grieved birthdays or anniversaries of loss.

Amidst the sorrow, I am reminded of one thing that ties us all together- our common identity as women and as mamas.  Recently, I received wonderful news that I am pregnant again- and then received shocking news that I'm carrying twins.  While I'm totally aware that this is an absolute blessing AND one that many of my friends who've struggled with infertility or loss would give anything for, it's been a hard mental adjustment for us.  Little things have been concerning like space- we only have 2 bedrooms, and money- truly, we have no idea how we will afford daycare, and numbers- we never intended to have 3 kids.  Like I said, this has been a bit of an adjustment for us but we are now excited and obviously a part of some bigger journey AND, if it wasn't clear enough already, I am MOST CERTAINLY NOT in charge of my life.  Anyway, I know that in no way does my circumstance compare to what you are going through, have gone through, or will go through but it does remind me of one VERY common thing: we all must continue to mother, no matter the state of our minds or hearts, or in my case- the state of my very nauseous stomach.

I've been reminded so clearly that life does not wait for me to get on board, Gemma does not wait for me to get my head right.  She is up bright and early every morning, calling me from her crib, "Mama, I want get up! I want get up!" and up we get, and off we go.  So, I guess, this has been a wonderful reminder for me of what motherhood really is, in the midst of everything.  Being a mother, means laying yourself down over and over and over- placing your scarred heart aside to fix a sandwich- holding back the morning sickness to push a toddler on a swing.  And then, it's taking that moment or those moments for ourselves, in the dark of the night, or in the early morning, in the tub or in our beds, or on a walk or a run- to weep, to grieve, to hope, to remember, to honor, and to persevere.  And somewhere in the midst of all that, our children heal us- they remind us that life is a gift- sometimes too fleeting- but a gift nonetheless.  They remind us to ooh and aah over airplanes and garbage trucks, spelling bees and confirmations, stars and fireworks.  They point us back to the creator of beauty Himself.  The one who holds our hearts and our hands through it all.

Out of our emptiness, even small cracks in our souls, comes the beauty of sweet music.  Motherhood gives us that chance to pass along a song- one that someday will carry our children through their own seasons of brokenness which will inevitably come their way.  Being present, being honest, and taking time for ourselves sets such a wonderful example for our kids.  Although I have to admit, Yo Gabba Gabba is a great occupier for Gemma when I think I might be at the end of my capability.  I'm not ashamed to admit it... I'm also not ashamed to admit that I know ALL the lyrics to the opening song... don't know how THAT happened! :)

So, I just want to thank all you mamas for weathering a multitude of storms together through prayer, support, and love.  Since I started this group, women have lost husbands, children, and parents, and much more that we don't know about.  Thank you for being a village of encouragement and support for one another.  I will go back to posting about "mundane" motherly things soon, can we say "potty training"? Ugh.  Until then, hug yourself from me and all of us.


How Emptiness Sings By Christa Wells 
(Inspried by Ann Voskamp's  A Thousand Gifts)   If you haven't read it, do- it's great.

Brother, he’s suffered like a tree taken down
Wept as he witnessed his dreams carved out
And how can a man just keep walking around
With his heart full of holes

But ooh,
His bow is on the strings
And the tune resonates in the open space
To show us how emptiness sings:

Glory to God, Glory to God!
In fullness of wisdom,
He writes my story into his song,
My life for the glory of God.
Hmm, hmmm

Sister carries her loneliness
In a hidden hollow inside her chest
And sometimes all that she wants is an end 
To the long, long night

But ooh, 
Her bow is on the strings,
And the tune resonates in the open space 
To show us how emptiness sings:

Glory to God, Glory to God!
In fullness of wisdom,
He writes my story into his song,
My life for the glory of God.
Hmm, hmmm

I haven’t been asked yet to walk the hard roads
Still there’s a sense of deep loss in my soul
In the middle of a party, I’ll just want to go

But ooh,
My bow is on the strings,
I’m beginning to learn where to find the words
To the song that emptiness sings
Ooh, bow is on the strings:

Glory to God! Glory to God!
This is how emptiness sings, oh,
This is how emptiness sings
Hmmm, hmmm

Friday, April 20, 2012


for a friend and her family as they walk through ashes.

Kingdom Come by JJ Heller

Ashes, ashes, we fall down
It always feels too soon
But when we walk on golden ground
All will be made new

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah
all will be made new

Life is but a dream at best
Morning's coming soon
Kingdom come will bring us rest
All will be made new


All sorrows and sighs
Will fade away into the night
And all will be made new

Monday, January 16, 2012

Battling Fear... 2012!

Starting last year, inspired by Ann Voskamp at, I've started naming my years. Last year was the year of here. And I truly did try to be fully present- soaking up the small moments and the large. Setting aside fears for full absorption of experience. The motivation was to try to relieve some of the anxiety I felt over Gemma's health in the first few months she was born and just enjoy her and my new life as a wife and mama.

I would say that I was more present or at least more aware of my place in situations and experiences because I focused on that theme. It was a successful endeavor but of course, things got in the way, anxiety about her health still remains an ugly monster to fight, and concern for Abe's job still caused me to revert to a longing for the peace that supposedly comes after the storm.

What I'm learning, slowly, and probably will continue to be reminded of until I'm dead, is that the bitter and the sweet exist simultaneously. The fear of her sickness is only cushioned in the awareness of her health- the reality of Abe's seemingly ceaseless job search is only made bearable by the blessing of his current job(s). So, in the midst of striving to be truly present, I must embrace, feel fully, express gratitude during, and experience the bitter times too. It's an ongoing journey, of that I'm certain.

This year, I've decided that the biggest thing I battle is fear. Usually, it takes the form of worry about Gemma. Since she's so small and dependant, I often feel completely alone in care for her. It's totally irrational, Abe is beyond present and involved. I have a loving family and wonderful daycare- friends and a church family who love us all. But, I feel ALONE in my worry. All the time I am concerned, I feel as though I am the only one. I think that may be the biggest rot of worry- the sense that you are alone in your concern. It's much easier to share concern with someone than to feel that you are the only one concerned and thus, the only one responsible for making it okay. I just wish there was some sort of meter or gauge that would tell you how concerned to be about things. I just worry that I'll miss something and since I feel so alone in my worry, I also feel that if I don't look for everything- something could go overlooked and result in something really scary and... it would be MY fault.

Fear comes as a result of a lack of faith- hmmm.... does that sound incredibly harsh? I almost feel bad writing it, but it's true. There are countless times in the Bible that God tells us to not be afraid, have no fear, be fearless. It's so hard to keep that perspective when we see only what's in front of us- this life, this person, this situation. Eternal eyes are fleeting at best. So, I am surrendering this year in faith to God. That I am never alone, never forsaken, never deserted, and never on my own- no matter how scary or unpredictable things may get. I've been praying and thinking a lot about how to battle fear and I've come to a pretty clear direction that my year needs to take. In the book of James 1:5, I've found my "battle cry"-

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. "

Because I'm surrendering in faith, this year for me will be the year of "WISDOM". I am CLINGING to the promise that if I ask for wisdom, God will provide it. In every fearful situation, I am committing to pray for wisdom on how to proceed, how concerned to be, the empowerment to follow through on what I feel led to do, and let the rest go. We have a massive group of gifted people surrounding us- doctors, teachers, family, friends, minstry leaders and even though it sometimes feels like it, I am most certainly NOT on my own.

I also have this man beside me who holds my hand, listens to my irrational concerns, tries his hardest to alleviate what he can, and then softly encourages me to give it up to God. It's about time I start listening, huh? This year, when I have a multitude of heavy and life changing decisions on the horizon, I will beg God for His infinite wisdom and actively try to let go of the need to be in charge of it all. Because let's face it, I was never in charge to begin with, right? :)

So, Mamas, what are you going to focus on this year? Have you considered naming your year? I much prefer it to New Year's resolutions... :) No giving up of chocolate or soda, no disapppointing lack of weight loss... just a constant, prayerful refocusing of the lens through which I view life. But just for the record, I've not missed a day of flossing my teeth since the turn of the year, so there.

Happy New Year, Mamas!!

Lovin' some books... (Feel free to add suggestions in the comments. I'm LOVING my new Kindle!)

What I'm reading right now:

Crazy Love by Francis Chan

A Love that Multiplies by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar (knock it off, people.... stop judgin') :)

Couldn't get enough:

Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis and Beth Clark

Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope by Mary Beth Chapman

Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist

Feathers from my Nest by Beth Moore

Coming up:

Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist

7: An Experimental Mutiny against Excess by Jen Hatmaker