My Oracle for Luke

This morning, we had Luke’s baby dedication at our church. It was such a sweet time for our family to pray over our littlest boy and over us as we publicly promise to teach him about, show him, and lead him to Jesus.

Four short years ago, when my biggest little boy was a baby, I was inspired by an oracle in Proverbs 31 that King Lemuel’s mother taught him. For Bennett’s dedication, I wrote him an oracle — my heart’s burden for him. Today, I shared my heart’s burden for Luke.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

in Him is the light

the true light

the only light of life

but His people have not known Him

loving, clinging to darkness,

those made in His image reject Him

but He shines

and our darkness cannot overcome His light

so–

not everyone hides

you, O my son, what about you?

son of my womb, son of my vows–

created for Light

named for Light

dedicated to Light–

know who you are!

leave foolishness for fools,

worldliness for the world

seek Wisdom,

Truth and Goodness

receive Him

believe in His name

cling to Him

and He will give you the right to be His,

not born merely of me,

but of our Majestic Messiah-God!

be a Light-receiver

and a Light-giver

O, my son,

join with those ancient and eternal citizens

who, with Him and for Him,

SHINE

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Proverbs 31:1-9

John 1:1-5, 9-13; 3:19-21

Matthew 5:14-16

Soon

13576827_10100713984985605_422606740353858805_oIf this guy had a tattoo, it would read: ADDICTED TO CUDDLES.

He can’t help it; it’s in his genes. After a wonky day where he missed his morning nap and only had a few snoozes here and there, I put him down for what I thought would be a solid afternoon nap. Forty-five minutes later, “MOMMY!!! MOMMY!!! MOMMY!!!” (Okay, no. He doesn’t say that, but that’s what he means.) When I scooped him up and saw his little red-rimmed eyelids, I knew he needed more sleep, and that he needed a little extra help.

So we wrapped up in our favorite wrap and gently bounced. As I patted and petted and hugged my little bundle, I had this thought:  One day soon, he will be in another woman’s arms when he’s worn down. When the world becomes too much for him now, I am his refuge, but that won’t always be. And then — I’ll admit it — with a brief flash of future jealousy, I wondered how I will cope with only hearing from my sons once a week, or every other week, or less. How does a mother’s heart survive this trauma, knowing another woman has stolen her son?!

Refocus.

Oh, this is how You planned it, Lord. Fashioned in a woman, birthed of a woman, nourished through a woman, nurtured by a woman, destined for a(nother) woman. Oh, let her — this other woman — let her be humble and kind.  Both girls — Bennett’s and Luke’s — let them love You fiercely and love my boys fiercely. Let them let their husbands and help their husbands be good men. Let them be humble and kind and holy and brave and strong.

I breathe in his scent, hear his soft snores.

Thank You for these boys, this royalty worth dying for. Thank You for entrusting me with this high and holy calling. Help me to get them ready, for time is so short.

If I had a tattoo, it would say: SOON.

Soon, no one will be pulling at me or screaming for me.
Soon, no one will call me “Mommy.” (Or “MOMMYYYYYYYY!!!”)
Soon, I won’t have to remind anyone that our hands are for showing love and kindness and so are our words, or that God gave us toys so we can share them.
Soon, my chances will be gone, and I’ll hope what I did was enough.

Soon is a word I use to focus myself.

Today, it was a bittersweet moment as I imagined the future. Knowing it will come so soon, yet determining to savor sweet baby breath. Hoping for faithful daughters-in-law, yet cherishing chubby cheeks, wrists, ankles. Soon, this baby will be a man. But right now, he’s a baby, and there’s so much beautiful ahead of us. This is such a good moment. Keep rocking. Keep praying. God is good.

Yesterday, it was a desperate moment as I despaired the present. A preschooler in the other room needed me while I held an inconsolable infant while I internally counseled this tear-soaked woman on her fourth day of fever and sickness with this one word: SOON. Soon, you will feel better. Soon, the baby will stop screaming. Soon, what the preschooler needs help with, he will be able to do on his own. Soon, your babies won’t need you quite so much, and that will be good, but hard. This moment is also good, but hard. Keep rocking. Keep praying. Keep crying, too; it’s okay to fall apart sometimes.

Soon, Mama. Soon.

 

Imitation

(Handwritten in my journal on July 18, 2014)

I just had a profound experience reading a blog post entitled, “To My Future Daughter-in-Law.” In it, the author refers to her own infant son as the future daughter-in-law’s husband. I have prayed for my son’s future wife, but I have never considered it in those terms, that he is her husband. Of course, I tell God all the time that I know Bennett is not really mine, but His. This is hard enough. I must confess my immaturity and jealousy here when I consider that another woman will take him from me!

Of course, I know this will happen. I just don’t want to think about those chubby cheeks giving way to rough stubble, or that poochy belly slimming and revealing lean muscle, or his eyes sparkling for any girl besides myself. These things are good and God-ordained, but it hurts to think about it. I need to pray more intentionally that God readies my heart, for this boy is someone’s husband. 

But, this was not the main part of the post that affected me so profoundly. It was this prayer: 

Lord, make him a man among men. A leader among leaders. Make him strong, resilient, brave, loving, and humble. Make him a good man in a storm.

That’s where I totally lost it. I want all these things for my Bennett, and it’s my responsibility to teach him all of it in between shoe-tying and counting. How can I teach these things if I am none of them myself?

I blend in with the crowd, but you, Son, go and lead. 

I am weak, easily beaten down, fearful, selfish, and prideful. I’m panicky in a storm. But you, Son, do as I say, not as I do. 

I totally lost it when I read this prayer, because I know I can’t do it. I went into the shower and nearly choked on the water, I was sobbing so hard. A tearful, snotty, soaking wet mess, I stood naked before God and lamented the irony that I want more children when I am so woefully inadequate in shepherding this one. I cried in fear because I cannot control who my son becomes, even if I WERE strong, resilient, brave, loving, and humble. And God’s answer?

Oh, He’s all grace on this one. I may have no control, but I am far from powerless. I may be weak, but I am not alone: 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
(Joshua 1:9)

Lord, make me a woman among women. A leader among leaders. Make me strong, resilient, brave, loving, and humble. Make me a good woman in a storm, a sincere and sold-out follower of Christ, and a leader of others into Your Kingdom. Make me all of these things so that I might be able to say to my children with confidence in You, 

Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.
(1 Corinthians 11:1)

And thank You, Lord, for Your grace and wisdom in giving my children an amazing father who is all the things I am not. I am not alone!

~Amen and Maranatha~







I am on a one-year journey through the book Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster. This month, I am practicing the discipline of Christian meditation, and the experience related in this journal entry came out of meditation on the truths shared in the above-linked post and, most especially, on Joshua 1:9. He’s had me meditating on that verse for days. I hope to share more from my experiences as I journey through the spiritual disciplines over this next year. 

Homemaking: Goals for Year Three

Now that you know how I did on last year’s goals, it’s time to share my objectives for this new year!

Homeschooling
While I am not currently planning to homeschool long-term, I do want to be more intentional with instructional opportunities now. Bennett is at a really sponge-y and eager age, and I want to make sure I don’t miss this window! A dear friend shared with me a preschool curriculum called ABC Jesus Loves Me, and it has a tw2 Imageo-year-old curriculum! I plan to do it just a few days a week, and we will be learning about God, listening to Bible stories, and memorizing simple verses in addition to academic work. We will be beginning in August when all the other kids start school. (Whoa. What a big boy!) This is going to be a BIG change. I have a great schedule going right now that I love, with library visits, exercise, parks, play dates, etc., on various days of the week. I’ll have to do some shifting around to make this happen, while still prioritizing outside play and peer interaction. Homeschooling is probably my biggest undertaking for this year, but I’m very excited about it!

Potty Training
Okay, so those of you ahead of me on this journey might say that THIS will be my biggest undertaking for this year! I certainly don’t have a specific timeline on this as far as when to start, because my boy is definitely not currently ready. However, he is beginning to show some signs, and so I’m hoping that by this time next year, he will be all Superman underoos and no diapers! Woo!

Balance
This past year, and really just specifically in the past few months, I have definitely felt God leading me in certain areas of service that utilize my spiritual gifts. It has been a really amazing journey full of confirmations through Scripture, prayer, sermons, friends, books… and I don’t even remember what else, but it has been really encouraging and empowering to receive the same message from multiple, unrelated sources. That being said, I definitely still need to grow in balancing what I believe to be this calling on my life with the more immediate and higher calling to be a godly, intentional, and very present wife and mother. In trying to figure out this journey, I have struggled with how to continue prioritizing homemaking and how not to put unfair stress on my family because “I just need some time to finish this!” Basically, I need to be creative with finding time, and I need to learn when to say no for the good of my family. I’m already growing in this area, but I still have a lot to learn!

Vegetables
I need to eat more of them and feed my family more of them. I’ve made great strides; really, I have. If you knew what I ate on a regular basis even just a few years ago, you would be amazed at how far I’ve come! I’m far from being an organic, whole-foods guru — and I doubt I ever will be — but I am fairly regularly serving green beans, broccoli, sweet potato wedges (okay, fries — but they’re baked!), peas, corn, or beans at dinner. This is a major accomplishment, but I definitely need to prioritize expanding my culinary skills and my palate’s tolerance level for vegetables. Recipes, anyone? (Easy ones?)

I’m sure if I kept thinking, I could easily come up with more things I need to improve. However, I found success last year with a list of four things, so I’m going with that same approach this time around! Thoughts and ideas are welcome! Also, I’d love to hear about any goals you have for this next year! (Thinking in academic years can work well for many of us with kids, so I feel comfortable asking you even though it’s not January! 🙂 )

Body Slam — Baby Video!

For the past few weeks, Bennett has had a new favorite way to play with Daddy and me. If one of us lies down on the floor, Bennett will come over, stand next to whomever it is, and then repeatedly practice his body slamming! I’ve been meaning to get it on video for a while, and this is the only one I got where he sort of cooperated. He usually repeats the body slam several times and with much more gusto, but you get the idea. 😉

Moving Toward Minimalism in Parenting

In preparing for the birth of my little one, I purchased two things: a changing table at a thrift store ($20) and a car seat/stroller from a family member ($50). That’s it. Everything else was given to me in the form of hand-me-downs, shower gifts, or gift cards that I used for whatever I didn’t get. Did I get everything I wanted? No. But I had everything I really needed. I know that because even though there were several things I didn’t get from my registry, I can’t even remember what those things were anymore. The only things we’ve had to buy is diapers (starting at around 3 or 4 months) and childproof cabinet locks (at around 9 months).

I made a decision to be careful about what I buy, because it’s sooo easy to overspend on your kid. Everything’s so cute! And my kid is so cute! All of this stuff is obviously made for him! And that’s why I don’t go into the baby clothes section. Ever.

E V E R .

I eagerly accept hand-me-downs from Bennett’s older cousin, and grandparents often can’t resist giving him the occasional outfit. This is great. He has everything he needs. Sometimes, I have to do laundry a little more often than I would if I just went out and bought a few more outfits for convenience, but I must remind myself that he’ll just grow out of those clothes in a month. I’d have to buy a bunch more to replace them, and then a bunch more, and then a bunch more… I think I’ll just do a load of laundry instead!

And recently, my boy needed a haircut. Now, I don’t know about you, but just about everyone I know takes their kid to the salon. It’s a whole big deal, with some sort of dinosaur or car they get to sit in; with cartoons, superhero capes, and suckers; and with a professional hairstylist who can make your kid look Abercrombie in 7 minutes flat. It’s pretty cool, really, and the kids do end up looking pretty swag! I love it! But for some reason, these fancy haircutting people ask for money. So I decided to do it myself.

It was a whole big deal, with a high chair, about seven graham crackers, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, and a new mom who’d never given a scissor cut in her life, much less to an infant. And I made my kid look like a military recruit in 45 minutes flat. And I think he’s awfully cute. 😉

I’m no pro at this minimalist mom thing, by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m learning. I really don’t have a lot of advice here, except to make “don’t buy it” a general rule. I put things in my cart at Walmart all the time and then put them back.

Like the green umbrella stroller with Mike Wazowski on it. It was cute. It was only $20. I would love to have a lightweight stroller instead of the monstrosity I do have. But the bottom line: I have a stroller. It is huge, but it works. It holds my baby and my bag, and it rolls. End of story.

I already talked about clothes, so let’s talk toys. I don’t buy those, either. I bought him three gifts for Christmas, and only one was a toy. (The other two were books and flashcards.) After seeing how much loot he got from family, I got to thinking that I didn’t need to get him anything at all! A baby just doesn’t really need a room full of toys. (What is mine playing with right now? The kitchen rug, a skillet, and some plastic containers.) If he has a grandma (or three of them, in our case), he will have plenty of toys.

Babies need so much less than all the websites and the commercials and the stores say they need. The people behind this are not concerned with teaching your child to have treasures in heaven (shocker!), but rather with making money by taking advantage of new parents who want the best for their children. That’s it. The irony is that by falling for their advertising, we’re doing exactly the opposite of what’s best for our children. The more we buy, the more we encourage materialism in our kids and welcome idolatry into their lives. While minimalism itself is not the answer to this problem — because anything can become an idol, even this — for me, minimalism is a step away from the clutter crowding my heart, and so then it is easier to see Jesus.

That is why I’m drawn to minimalism.