10 January, 2014


 We had "waited on the Lord".
We had a good Christian courtship.
We had premarital counseling.
We were madly in love.

He proposed, of course I said "YES!"
We saved our first kiss for the wedding day.
I realize what a cliche that sounds like, but I'm glad we did.
There's something precious in it, 
and our relationship was built far beyond anything physical.

So, when the "big day" arrived, we were totally ready.
 It was destiny! It was glorious!

It was beautiful, and so pink. 
Let me tell you, there was a lot of pink goin' on.
(It's still my favorite color!)

We had family and friends who supported us, encouraged us, and loved us.

It was the classic church wedding,
complete with bride-in-the-nursery shots.

Our parents gave us to that moment,
and I wish I would have better grasped all that meant.

I wish I would have savored this walk.
It was such a blur-I looked into Scott's eyes the whole time,
but I wish I would have held my daddy's hand, too.
Because my life was changing, and I ignored the importance of the transition.

Then we stood before 450 people,
and vowed our lives to each other.

That's all pretty blurry, too.
Such a lovestruck high!

It went so fast, and we were so caught up with being in love!!
I wish I could go back to that moment and say,
"WAIT! You are committing to happiness, to sorrow, to gain, to loss. 
Take a deep breath, mean it with every fiber of your being, 
and go forward with convinced purpose, not just butterflies."

Because here we are, five years later, with more at stake.
We have invested in each other, 
we have grown closer,
we have had children,
we have lost together,
and we have gained more from each other.

I love being married
and I love my husband.
I have also come to realize that a good marriage
is based on waking up every morning intending to honor God.

It's not for my husband, it's not for me,
it's for the One who created us, who put us together,
and who made us one.

With each passing year my commitment grows, my appreciation of Scott grows, and my devotion to us grows, and my devotion to Christ grows.

09 January, 2014

What Do You Do?

 I'm frequently asked what I do for a living. 
In fact, I was recently offered a job at Bath & Body Works while out shopping with a friend. 
(It came by surprise, because I had informed the lady that my intention was to smell just about everything in the store.)

So, it's kind of fun to tell people, "I'm a stay-at-home mom."
There are mixed reactions to this.
"OH, that's so great! I wish I could."
"Good for you. I think I'd go crazy stuck with my kids all day!"
"So, you probably have tons of down time, right?"

It's people that think I have soooo much time on my hand that are completely unprepared for my reaction.
I squawk. 
(I'm not joking.)
Almost a guffaw.
Have you ever spent time with children?
They are exhausting.

This morning I was chopping vegetables for soup, all while fielding, "Mom, look at this! Mom, listen to this! Mom, hear me pretend! Mom, I need ___ NOW!"
My head hurt by 11:00 this morning.

I'm typically mostly patient.
But not always.

I've learned to breathe deeply, ask God for help, then use my very calm voice when I'm totally lost about something.
(And then my husband gets a text that reads something like this: "YOU have the MOST ridiculous children EVER!!!"

I've spent hours teaching my children things-
good manners, potty training, preschool work, cooperation, problem solving...
always with the goal that they see the value and importance of pleasing God first.

Things once valuable to me have been damaged or broken.
I've cleaned RED marker off my front door (Magic Erasers, people), crayon off my walls, and vomit from the furniture.
Scott and I have tagged teamed sick kiddos, rocked fussy babies, stayed consistent and calm through temper tantrums, been firm in our "no" answers, and loving in our discipline.

And the hope? The goal?
That in ten years we have young women well on their way to being powerful in the work of God.

Ava prays, "Thank you, Jesus, for dying on the cross to take away my sin."  
(And I hope it's in her heart, and not just her head.)

Lucy memorizes, "Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians four two."  
(And then she pushes her sister, or teases, or whines, or hits, and I wonder if she really gets it yet.)

Olivia learns "no" and how not to shriek every time she's upset. 
(Unless it's 2am and she is refusing to sleep unless we're standing, swaying 30 degrees side to side, with our heads to the left and arms crooked just so.)

And I pray, and pray, and pray, that it's all for God's glory and not for ours.

Because when people compliment my children, or tell me how adorable they are, it's really easy to take credit.
And when my children are naughty in public (heavenforbid), it's easy to be concerned with what people think of my reputation.
But it's not about me, or about them. 
It's about God, and are we pleasing Him?

It's about apologizing to my children when I let my emotions run high, and my voice with it.

It's about setting an example with my life, to say, "Hey, I've really messed up. I didn't honor God here, and I'm going to ask Him to forgive me, too."

It's about praying, asking my Father God, to keep my marriage strong, my parenting humble, and my life focused on Him.

Because parenting is so, so hard.
I really stink at it.

But I love my children more than I ever thought possible,
and I have gotten to the end of a day and realized how God used the most ridiculous moments to bring us closer as a family.

And the longer I am a parent, 
the more in awe of Christ I am.

It amazes me that God would give HIS SON to rescue me.

I want my children to know this hope!

I'd have to say that parenting, that what I do "all day long", is one of the greatest jobs I've ever had.

It teaches me of God's patience toward me, of His grace, His faithfulness, His compassion.

Running into 2014, I've been thinking on this:
"There is no need to pass through years of penance, of hard labor, and of trial; the gospel is as free as the air you breathe. You do not pay for breathing; you do not pay for seeing the sunlight, nor for the water that flows in the river as you stoop to drink it in your thirst. So the gospel is free; nothing is to be done in order to get it. No merits need be brought in order to obtain it. There is free pardon for the chief of sinners through Jesus Christ's blood. But I said it was a full pardon, and so it is. When Christ does anything he never does it by halves."
-Charles Spurgeon