The Life of Jesus Starring Charlie (2014)

This time of year I like to stop and reflect on Jesus’s childhood (check out my thoughts in 2012 and 2013)… I look at my own son and imagine how Jesus grew and what he was like… what his parents experienced… and just try to get a bit of an intimate glimpse into my Lord. I always come away in awe of how he went through a human life like my own just to be able to relate to me, and also wondering if his sinless existence made him different than my sinful little one {“GASP, did she call her innocent little boy SINFUL?” Um, yeah, just like everyone. Trust me, when you have children, you realize how innocence and sinfulness can co-exist}.

And discipline… oh, discipline… did Jesus need it like Charlie does? I wonder if Joseph ever had to do, “JESUS… ONE… TWO…TWO AND A HALF…. Or was this a non-issue? Sidebar – remember the time Jesus was 12ish and disappeared for a few days without his parents knowing where he went? Hm… that doesn’t really fit with “honor your father and mother,” but it was honoring his Heavenly Father as he learned in the temple… did he get disciplined for that? Should he have? I’m willing to bet he disobeyed direct parental instruction like “stay in the caravan…” Anyway…

This year I’m also expecting another little boy ANYMINUTENOW… and it made me think, did Jesus lay on Mary’s sciatic nerve and make her walk slower than a turtle through molasses? I know he delivered us from pain and disease when he was suffering and beaten (“by his stripes, we were healed” – 1 Peter 2:24), but he hadn’t done that yet. So… what was Mary’s pregnancy, labor, and delivery like? I’m also curious whether riding mammalian transportation would make that worse. And how did she get a leg over? Maybe she rode side-saddle. Or waddled on foot. Questions, questions. Don’t you love imagining the scene?

Anyway, here are some things we’ve experienced with Charlie this year, from 1 ½ to 2 ½.
At this age, our Charlie has been…

  • Climbing out of the crib and getting a (very) bloody lip.
  • Using complete sentences and having actual conversations – vocabulary EXPLOSION!
  • Moving into the Big Boy Bed.
  • Interacting with Mommy’s belly with Baby Brother on the way.10703750_855613132823_8274360143619281394_n
  • Moving into “our new house.”
  • Reciting every other word or phrase when Mommy and Daddy read to him
  • Wrestling with Daddy.
  • Holding hands to pray before dinner.
  • Delaying bed time (and other things) with “just one other hug,” and “Oh! I gotfor (forgot to) kiss you, Mommy!”
  • Feeding the pets.
  • Playing the timeless sport of bowling for the first time.10615385_858783010363_8924896967631875450_n
  • Trusting Daddy to catch him mid-air.
  • Imagining sooooo much (who taught him about dragons spitting fire????)
  • Confusing us with, “I want this,” immediately followed by wailing, “NO DON’T WANT THIS!!!”
  • Pouting and whining too much.10488001_816264283233_4297569493793862184_n
  • Learning manners – when to say please, thank you, I’m sorry, and following “I farted” with “Excuse me.”
  • Being completely charming.
  • Being such a big helper… involved with EVERYTHING….10616212_857876801413_5585395776736731008_n
  • Saying, “Daddy, you’re my best friend.” And other heart-melting gems.
  • Using and misusing common phrases, like “Bye, Alligator!” or telling Daddy, “Give my heart back! You broke my heart!” upon Daddy “taking” different body parts (you know how you always take their nose…) Oh, and apparently he is “cray cray.”
  • Practicing sitting on the potty.
  • Learning to share (and even more fun, being shared with).984042_793119395773_1305051651_n
  • Doing the same thing OVER AND OVER AND OVER BECAUSE IT’S SO FUNNY AND I WANT TO KEEP LAUGHING FOREVER SO I’M GOING TO DO IT AGAIN NOW AND ONE MORE TIME IF THAT’S OK AND LOOK IT’S FUNNY THE 48TH TIME TOO. But you know, it doesn’t get old for Mom and Dad either because his laugh is so intoxicating.
  • Singing medleys of ABC + Happy Birthday + Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Can you see Jesus acting this way? Doing these things? He was 2 years old once. Because he wanted to experience human life like yours and understand so he could sympathize with your weakness (Hebrews 4:15) and offer you the grace you need to make it through in the tough times. He gave up his throne in heaven for over 30 years and instead lived on earth where he “had no place to lay his head,” (Luke 9:58) and people were constantly plotting to take his life (oh, and they did). Doesn’t sound like a good gig to me. But he did it for love. He did it for you. Thank you, Jesus, and Hallelujah.

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Cor 13:14

Merry Christmas!

Love,

Lyle, Carolyn, Charlie, and Baby Brother

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The Parent Screw Up

I believe most parents do their best. Really. They want their kids to be happy and successful and to turn out ok. They love their kids. Most parents really do.

And most parents screw it up royally. Like me. Our son is two and we have another on the way. Most days I’m excited, but more than occasionally, I’m terrified. Why? Because mine is the son that escapes me at the grocery store, initiating a yell and a chase and resulting in a straitjacket hold if I can catch him and pin him against my pregnant self. You know… the “spirited” boy.

"Spirited" Child

…He really is cute though. I’m just saying. Yesterday he put on a stern toddler face hiding a smile and told Lyle, “Not funny. Not funny, Daddy.” A charmer. A defiant charmer.

I am in such trouble.

And I read all the parenting blogs that tell me I’m a good one, that shout “No more Mommy Wars!” and encourage parents that they can choose breastfeeding or formula or co-sleeping or cry-it-out or homeschool or spanking or emotional spoon-feeding and still succeed as a child-raiser.

And that sounds good to me. I want you to support one another and be peaceful amongst yourselves.

But I still want to do it better than you.

In fact, I want to do parenting better than anyone in the history of ever, because I can’t think of anything more critical in this life than healthy, happy, successful family relationships. It’s one of the things I care the most about and I just know deep in myself that if families were fixed, nearly everything would be fixed as a byproduct. So naturally, my family must be perfect, and I must be the perfect mother. Sorry Lyle, you are also required to be the perfect husband and father. It’s like you won the lottery! {Ok, you are seriously not perfect, but you are pretty amazing. Keep up the good work}.

So now that I’ve established the good rapport and trust of telling you I want to be better than you, don’t you want to read about the things I’ve learned? Well, I think you will be glad you did because it involves me crying in public-ish {again}. You’ll like that, won’t you?

I was in church this week on a Wednesday evening and silently reflecting as the music roared around me. I may have been the only one not singing. But I was tired. And God doesn’t want me to yell just to yell. There are lots of ways to praise him.

I want to please God as a parent, and that was on my mind. I thought of my son’s defiance and my inability to control him {don’t lie, you wish you could control your kid to some extent… don’t you?}. I considered what I had read about shepherding his little heart to honor God, and how to model God’s love to him in Biblical ways. I was slightly choked up because even though an ugly part of me is selfish and wants to be “perfect,” I really do want to do my very best to unselfishly love my son and honor my Lord.

All this was reeling in my brain when a song began that said, “Jesus, Jesus, all I want is to be like you.”

Isn’t that the best way to raise a family anyway? So I sang it out. And in my heart, God spoke… “There is nothing you can do to screw up your kid bad enough that I can’t fix it.” And I cried a little.

I lifted my head to see right in front of me, my beautiful friend Laura. Laura has shared with me pieces of her messy family history. She has journeyed through and continues to climb up and out of the muck. And there she was, praising God. Her parents made some pretty big mistakes, but God has helped her put together broken pieces and has kissed all her wounds the way only Daddy can.

I cried a little more.

Next to Laura, her tender teenage daughter stood, arms raised and singing out with a full heart because God creates new legacies for seekers and breaks chains of the past. Her grandparents treated her mother poorly – What did that have to do with her? Why should that pass through the generations?

I wailed.

By my side, my dear amazing blessing of a partner in life sang out to God, who saved him from a legacy of divorce after divorce after divorce… of alcoholism and affairs… of promiscuity. His life could be so different.

But God redeems.

When I don’t know what to do when my boy cries for eternity because I corrected him in the middle of Kohl’s and I imagine all the eyes and ears around me and even my own are focused on how NOT PERFECT I am at this and I don’t know what EXACT THING OUT OF ALL THE THINGS I’m supposed to be doing in this moment…

God redeems.

“Do your best, and let God take care of the rest.” Yep, got that one from helping out at Vacation Bible School this summer. :) Simple truths…

I’ll keep trying to be the mommy my kiddos need to the best of my ability. But in the end, I’ll remember God can fix it all. And my prayer will be, “Jesus, Jesus, all I want is to be like you.”

Have you ever felt like a parenting screw up? What “simple truths” did you hold onto?

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Up Me, Mommy! / Seven Words of Praise

If you’ve been around little kids at all, you know their neediness can be both heartwarming and overwhelming. But even in the trying moments when you just want to continue the task at hand, it’s hard to refuse the sweet face looking up at you with arms stretched high.

This week Charlie has increased his requests to be held. He charges at me and reaches toward my waist, half appealing and half demanding, “Up me, Mom-my.” If by chance it takes me a moment to respond, he barrels impatiently into my shins with a little whine and grabs behind my legs. “Up me, Mom-my!” I scoop him up for a squeeze and a kiss {my lips are grafted with magnets attracted to every inch of his toddler skin}. The boy thinks he needs me, certainly wants me, and it brings me back to what’s important – my distracted heart is refreshed.

up me arms

Did you know there are seven words the Bible uses which all translate to our one English word “praise”? That’s right, SEVEN. Can you imagine if there were only one Spanish word to translate breakfast, lunch, dinner, meal, dessert, kitchen, and restaurant? Yikes! So when King David wrote that “They who seek the Lord will halel [rave, boast and celebrate] him” (Psalm 22:26), and when he expressed he would “Barak [bless by kneeling or bowing] the Lord” with all his inmost being (Psalm 103:1), I was oblivious to the stark contrast between them – my book says “PRAISE” in both verses. I’m thankful for this message from itown church, “Fresh Air – Get Worship,” that explains how God’s love language (or what we can do that makes him feel loved) is expressed in more than one form.

All of these words are translated to “Praise” in most English versions of the Holy Bible:

  • Halel… to rave, boast, celebrate in a clamorously foolish fashion.
  • Yadah… to acknowledge in public, give a raised hand.
  • Barak… to bless by kneeling or bowing, presenting ourselves to God, perhaps expecting a blessing.
  • Zamar… making music to God with strings, loudly.
  • Shabach… to address in a loud tone, to shout.
  • Towdah… to lift hands in adoration, raise hands to receive.
  • Tehilah… exuberant singing.

As my pastor walked us through these seven words, my heart flip flopped when I heard something that resonated deeply, and I can’t get it off my mind.

Towdah. Not only does this word of praise indicate the raising of hands, but it alludes to a little child approaching a parent with raised arms, expecting.

Oh, my baby boy… How I adore him. How my heart explodes when he reaches for me and physically displays his yearning to be near me. How I cannot resist bending over to embrace him, to satisfy his desire, to comfort him or to share his joy. To lift him into my world and nestle into the wonder of what was made from my very self. I cannot fully express the simultaneous emotion and peace this encounter brings me. I am honored when my son offers me towdah.

And God is honored when we offer this to him. He is enraptured when we surrender ourselves to him. When we reach out for him if our spirit is broken or if it’s soaring high, it shows him that we trust him. When we display that we need him, we desire him, we want to be as close as possible, and show him that we believe he has the power to protect us, and to make everything better. “Oh, my little one, made from my very self, I just can’t get enough of your love.” He is proud, he is captivated, he is inundated by our love for him.

Don’t you know you can’t overwhelm God with your mess? He has time for you, no matter what other miracles he is working on. Lift your eyes and your hands, and reach for him like a little child. “Up me, Daddy.” And he will. Because it’s not just you needing him. It’s you praising him. Honoring him. And his arms are strong to lift you into his world with laughter, comfort, and adoring love.

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How do you love on God? What word for praise resonated in your spirit?

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Bouquets of Looooove

A few weeks ago, my 22 month old son walked in the door carrying a beautiful bouquet of fuchsia flowers. “He ye go, Mom-my.”

HEART. MELT.

I’m telling you, this kid’s smile and dimples will get him a long way in life and spare him many pains (just like his dimpled Dad). Add out-of-the-blue blossoms to his charm and I was a puddle on the floor. This would have been an opportune time to ask Mommy for a cookie, or a Red Ryder BB Gun.

I kept those flowers for probably 10 days, hauling them to work (so our kitty cats wouldn’t eat them), hauling them back home for the weekend, and hauling them back to the office on Monday, carefully balancing the vase-half-full in the passenger seat and driving with one hand. Everytime someone noticed them, mentioned them, breathed in their aroma, or just anytime I caught them in my glance, a feeling of being sweetly-loved welled up in me. I’m a sucker for thoughtful gestures and anything beautiful.

—-

Central Indiana is GORGEOUS this time of year. Have you noticed all the trees blooming? White ones, red-violet ones, barely pink ones… Fluffy trees, trees that snow petals, mossy-looking redbuds…

I have never seen a larger bouquet than a tree in bloom. And when I walk outside, surrounded by budding tree bouquets, created and given by God after the most ridiculous winter IN THE HISTORY OF FISHERS INDIANA, that feeling of being loved is even more intense. It bubbles up and pours out of me. Only a big, big God could hand over bouquet after bouquet of this magnitude. I absolutely can’t keep myself from grinning – and I look like a fool in love.

But I’m no fool.

Because His is the best love ever given.

“Now I am going to pursue her, lead her out into the wild openness, speak tenderly to her heart, and win it.” (My own paraphrase of Hosea 2:14)

HEART. MELT.

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Seven Year Itch

Lyle and I have been married 7 years (ok, almost 8). I wish this were a sitcom so I could flash back for you 30 Rock style, but it’s just a blog, so allow me to summarize our married life in 10 sentences or less…

Year 1 – The honeymoon. Woo hoo!
Year 2 – Goodbye college, hello big city!
Year 3 – The death of a parent, job disappointments, and onset of depression for a jobless and motherless young man.
Year 4 – Breadwinning wife is FRUSTRATED. Credit card balance up, bank account balance down (like, way down).
Year 5 – Dual income again, but with a price – coworkers who negatively influence and SO MUCH PRESSURE to keep them happy.
Year 6 – New home, new (better) job, and pregnant – full of joy, and also every possible mood without any warning (Thank you, Little Macaroni in my womb).
Year 7 – Parenthood, postpartum depression due to both the wild hormone fluxes associated with breastfeeding, and finding I am the working mother I never ever planned to be. Yipes.

But this year feels different… We are changing. We are maturing. We are learning, with more perspective and grace. And instead of a “seven year itch,” we are experiencing the surprising bliss of a new honeymoon phase.

The world would like you to believe that your first year together is the most romantic and exciting time you’ll ever experience, and that it’s all downhill from there. Honestly, it has taken me by surprise how “in love” I’ve been feeling lately. I’m a teenager again, infatuated with my crush (who, by the way, I remember as a blue-haired, bass-playing teenager*), and I just want to spend every moment I can snuggling up to him.

Just like yours, our life has taken some rough turns (not as rough as many, but they were rough for us), and just like you, we have each had periods of being selfish jerks along the way. So where did this 7 year crush come from?

I think it was a choice. First to survive, then to thrive.

TO SURVIVE, we made these preliminary decisions as husband and wife:

  1. To never, ever, EVER use the 7-letter D-word, in speech or thought. Til death do us part, baby, whether you like it or not. Once, years ago, I nearly failed at this. I remember explaining to my husband that “most women wouldn’t stay through this.” I instantly regretted it 100% and decided I would never even imply it ever again.
  2. To prrrrrraaaaay, pray, pray… and ask others to pray… and not to pray for your spouse to do what you want him to do, because he’s likely praying for what he wants you to do too, and chances are good that neither of you have a clue what you really, truly need the way God does.
  3. To seek counsel and knowledge and wisdom about glorious relationships from the Bible, books, mentors, pastors (like our pastor in his Love Song series at itown church), and other happily married people seeking God.

We had to make sure our marriage SURVIVED to even get to a place where we could BEGIN to thrive… And recently, life has become even richer. I blame it on two tweaks:

He has been more intentional about caring for me.
About 6 months ago, Lyle started sharing thoughts about why he loved me, how he appreciates this and that about me, or what I do or even try to do… he’s been very specific, and also enduring in this practice. He offers me written words I can keep from an email or handwritten card mailed to my office… and even once displayed on Facebook for all to see (his sweet message of gratitude got him record likes!) He knows my love language is snuggling, holding hands, and any kind of tender touch – and he does that for me. He even offered me a back rub last week (whaaaaaat????) I could go on about how amazing he is with the baby kiddo, and around the house… It all seems so very intentional. Most people complain about things, but don’t point out when things are good – Lyle does.

I have been more intentional about appreciating him.
Also about 6 months ago (maybe a correlation?), I had a question on my mind: “How much should I expect from my husband?” I had some expectations that I knew he could meet, so I automatically believed he should meet them!  I began reading The Power of a Praying Wife. The author, Stormie Omartian, directly addressed my concern before Chapter 1 was over. In a nutshell, her answer was “Expect as little as possible.” This is really less about where the bar is set, and more about a heart of entitlement vs. gratitude. As Lyle’s wife, I’m not entitled to anything except what God commands of him as a husband! Anything beyond that is an overflow of surprise blessings that bring true joy. Once I realized this, the blessings my husband offered became overwhelmingly clear.

Now that I look at these… they are really the same. It’s intentional gratitude.

I want you to know that I’m not bragging about a perfect life. My life will never be perfect and neither will yours. I know that I will need to re-read this message many times in my future, but while I’m in a place of peace and joy, I desperately wanted to use it to offer you some hope – that’s my only goal in writing this week. Let’s just be honest, sometimes it feels nearly impossible to find even one reason to be grateful toward your spouse. But the more you do it, the more obvious it becomes, and the more you default to a positive marriage.

Are you missing the happy in your marriage? Got a 7 year itch you need to scratch out before you lose something you can’t replace? The solution isn’t in demanding what we “deserve.” It has to be about our lover. I’m so grateful that our family is experiencing a season of (relative) calm this year, but your life can be drama-free and still not be filled with romance that you could be having if you would be intentional. I know, it’s not always this simple, but often it is. Could it be up to you to start?

What can you find to praise about your spouse? How can you be intentional today?

*I know, you want to see it, but unfortunately, no suitable photograph of my blue-haired hunk could be located. Maybe someone can convince him that his non-profit colleagues would accept a 2014 replay of 2002. Yes?

 

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The Life of Jesus Starring Charlie (2013)

Don’t you wonder how Jesus behaved as a toddler? (See my post from Christmas 2012 to see why I reflect on this.) Since the Bible is blank on the childhood of Jesus, and I’m no expert in child-rearing culture of the day, I don’t know if Jesus did the same things Charlie has done this year at the same age… like climbing out of a shopping cart, swinging at the park, rocking his rocking horse, or going to a zoo. I’m pretty positive he didn’t ride in a police car to go to a Memorial Day parade with ginormous floating character balloons in downtown Indianapolis. And while he didn’t take a 152(ish) hour car trip to Georgia through the mountains, I know he traveled to Egypt and Nazareth and other places as a child with some form of mammalian transportation (Impala? Just kidding).

As Charlie is learning about obedience and manners (or rather I should say, as we are trying to teach Charlie about obedience and manners), I have to ask, Did Jesus act out as a toddler? The guy never sinned, and disobedience to parents is a sin, right? So when he was 1 and a half, did he stop throwing food when Mary said “no”? Did Jesus have tantrums when he was tired and needed a nappy or did he control himself?  We have to correct Charlie everyday in some form or fashion, but what about Jesus?

I can’t help but suspect that Jesus was just like each of us and had to learn all that stuff too, and that Mary and Joseph had to ask for just as much wisdom in how to raise their child as Lyle and I do. Now, I’m just speculating, but don’t you think Jesus liked to be chased, and thought it was a fun game when he ran from his mother (who would try desperately to catch him) in the market? I can see her getting exasperated, taking a deep breath… and then finding herself shaking her head with a laugh as Jesus stopped running and spread the biggest, funniest, toothy toddler grin. She just couldn’t help it. “The Savior of the World,” she would say to herself, in awe.

So much to wonder. If Jesus did anything between 6 and 18 months like Charlie has this year, here are some things that might have gone down. Imagine Jesus and his family experiencing these things, though some would look different in a culture 2,000 years removed from ours.

Putting everything in his mouth, to test it out – from toys to mulch to sunshine spots on the floor

Daddy makes him giggle unstoppably

 (watch the video—>) 2013.06 Swinging Laughing Charlie and Dad

Learning to walk

First pair of shoes

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Walking just fine by first birthday, running within another month or two.

Went from sitting in the shopping cart, to standing in the shopping cart, to climbing out of the shopping cart, to being (relatively) trustworthy in the shopping cart

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Learned to whistle… dance… and even sing (“ooh ooh ooh ooh”)

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Went from eating bananas only to anything and everything

Gives Raspberries

 (watch the video—>) 2013.10 Charlie Raspberries Daddy

Riding Dad

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Likes books and toys that make noise

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Running

Pulling everything out of my bathroom drawers – he loves hairbrushes and toe separators

Before learning to kiss cheeks, he would poke your cheek with his finger and make a kiss face (like you did to ask for the kiss)

Little bits of curls in back…First hair cut (and 2nd)

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Learning to brush teeth (aka chew on the toothbrush and eat the fruit flavored paste off)

14 teeth by 18 months

Wants whatever YOU are eating

Climbs into chairs

“Hi hi hi hi hi” – there’s a new friend around every corner

Helps change his own clothes

Learned to “Cheese”

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Climbs the stairs with no hands

Tries to hug the cats

Plays every instrument he sees (piano, guitar, kazoo…)

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Starting to use words to communicate. Says: “(Where’d it) Go?,” “up,”  “mow” (what a cat says), “moo” (what a cow says), “Deet doo” (thank you), “peas” (please), “day go” (There you go), “choo choo,” “wow,” “whoa,” “bite,” “heyo” (hello), “mommy,” “daddy” and more…

A paper plate… a pacifier… your spoon… they are all hats when you put them on your head and say “hat”

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Innocently saying “hug?” with open arms… to get you to pick him up for one reason or another, not always for a hug.

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And of course, there’s this beautiful chorus:

 (watch the video—>) 2013.05.04 Bbbbb with Dad SOOOO CUTE!

C’mon, you know Jesus did that.

I fall  in love with Jesus in a new way when I think about his sweet toddler heart. I can’t wait to watch Charlie grow into a big boy, a teenager, and a (handsome) young man to understand more of who Jesus was.

Luke 2:40 “And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.”

I know I’m a little late, but Merry Christmas to you all,

Love,

Carolyn (like singin’ at Christmastime!)

 

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Mother’s Day / Treasure Your Season

I’m certain your joy was unfurled
When they said, “It’s a Boy!” or “a Girl!”
Now dream sweetly of
Grown or Little One’s love,
And today, know that YOU are their pearl.

That’s the cheesy limerick I wrote in the notes I gave to all my friends and clients for Mother’s Day (well, only the mothers). Except I accidentally wrote “know that you are their world” in a few of them, which I actually like better. I don’t know what it means to be someone’s pearl, but it sounded like something pretty that you treasure, and it rhymed. I don’t know why I didn’t think of “world.” Maybe I’d rather be a pearl. Sounds like a lot less pressure.

Anyways, I’ll come back to that.

Lyle and I are a part of this absolutely amazing church called itown. Had the church-planters been Indianapolis natives, they probably would have known we call this place Naptown instead, but nonetheless, itown it is, and it’s a body of God’s kids who are seeking Him and striving to mold their lives to His Will and Word. Like, they really are. Isn’t that a novel idea…

This weekend at itown church, we learned about Hannah, who desired children more than anything else. Her husband, Elkanah thought that having him should satisfy her; it was “better than having ten sons.” (What a man.)  Elkanah’s other wife was a fertile Myrtle who teased Hannah endlessly.

As our pastor spoke, he reminded me of so much I already knew deep down, like I should trust what God has promised and I should give grace to people when they act like stupid idiots. (I think the message notes actually say “give grace when you are misunderstood…”). But there was another tidbit tucked away in this story that I needed, and I needed it right now.

Treasure each season of life.

Hannah did it in her own way – you can hear about it here and/or read about it in 1 Samuel chapter 1. And you will need to do it in your own way as well.

Enter my creative writing.

Do you “dream sweetly of Grown or Little One’s love”? Or are your dreams more that Little One would be Grown One already? Maybe they’re not dreams, but nightmares. Maybe they’re neither because your teething infant hasn’t let you sleep in 86 straight hours… Do you wish Grown One would SLOW DOWN and Middle One would be as mature as Oldest One? Do you crave the time that Grown One will finally settle down and make new Little Ones? Maybe all you want is a Little One to dream of in the first place.

Should I go on? If you insist. You might be thinking…

When I get promoted, I’ll be happy.

When I own a home, I’ll be happy.

When I find someone who wants to marry me, I’ll be happy.

When I move to the big city, I’ll be happy.

When I graduate, I’ll be happy.

When I find a publisher for my book, I’ll be happy.

When the adoption goes through, I’ll be happy.

When my kids move out, I’ll be happy.

If I can just make it to the weekend, I’ll be happy.

When fill-in-your-own-blank happens, you’ll be happy.

What is that really saying? “Until ____________ happens, I’ll just go ahead and be miserable.”

You know what? Yes, you should dream of the future, and imagine the big things God has in store! See yourself in New York! See yourself with a family of 15! (Too much?) See yourself in your new career! You were made to thrive and grow and BECOME!

But don’t be deceived. You’re wasting time. Don’t you know this is a season you will never experience again? Don’t you know you’re gaining wisdom and perspective? Don’t you know there are people who need you where you are right in this moment? Stop wallowing, wishing for a different season. You may want to fast forward your life, but some things cannot be skipped – like the disciplined work it takes to become successful, or those awkward middle school years.  Treasure each season of life.

Do you want to know what mine has been?

When I can be a full-time Mom, I’ll be happy.

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(Photos of Charlie I missed while I was at work).

There. I said it.  I never wanted to be a working mother. I have wrestled that disgusting monster that shouts, “but it’s not fair!” for just about a year now. And I’m ready to kick him through a bedroom door to Siberia (that is a Disney Pixar “Monsters, Inc.” reference for all you who didn’t catch it…) A mentor of mine always says, “If everyone you know wrote down their worst problem and threw it in a hat, and we all drew out a slip of paper, you would probably be asking if you could have your problem back.”

And he’s right. I know that my family is a blessing. I know that my job is a blessing. And I refuse to accept that my blessings are stressing me out. This is the Season of the Working Mom. It won’t last forever. While I’m in it, I’m going to enjoy encouraging my co-workers. I’m going to enjoy the walking trail on my lunch hour. I’m going to appreciate that someone else changes a few diapers for me everyday. And I’m going to embrace that for 50 hours a week, absence is making my heart grow fonder of my family.

Look to the future. Imagine it. Work for your dreams. But don’t be miserable about them. Misery makes today drag on longer and pushes your dreams farther off.  So don’t wish away your Little Ones or any other challenge you face. Treasure your season.

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

What season are you in? How will you treasure it?

Posted in Just Sayin', Things We Have Learned | 3 Comments