Sunday, January 26, 2014

a decade

you know, you hear mother's say it all the time.
where did the time go?
and i sit here saying the same line i've said countless times before.
where did the time go?
yesterday was her actual birthday.
january 25th.
it's been 10 years.
an entire decade has gone by since my first baby was born of my womb.
in some instances, it feels like just yesterday.
i can remember seeing her face for the very first time.
i can remember being wheeled through the hospital hallways from the OR to our room...
proud and beaming (and a little sore, i might add), showing off my new little girl.
a girl!
yes, a baby girl!
i was so shocked and so thrilled to have a daughter.
i had thought for sure it would be a boy.
but a girl!
a little bundle of pink.
my heart's desire!
God is so good and knows what we need, and when we need it.
in other instances, it feels like so long ago that she was born.
so much has happened since that frigid day.
more babies, more happiness, more pain.
life has passed by sometimes at a snail's pace.
most especially in those stretching times.
but here i am.
10 years later from the day i officially became mom.
watching my baby grow up has been wonderful, full of joy, immense joy.
but also full of heartache.
some of it because of my own selfish heart in wanting her to stay little.
i am accustomed to the feeling of trying to hold on too tightly to what i can't.
it is difficult for me to move on, difficult to embrace the up and coming and try not to live in the past.
and although i feel there are moments i'm living in denial that i now have a tween living in my home...
i also feel like God has been preparing my heart for this time.
He's been gently prodding me to open my heart up to these changing seasons.
because she is changing.
whether i like it or not.
yes, she is naive to many things in this world, and i will protect that fiercely if i have to.
but i don't keep her in a bubble either.
i want her to know that she can be different from those around her, in a good way.
she should be different.
but i also realize that this is tricky when you're growing up with a fragile confidence.
here's a story to evidence this.
i took big k shopping last weekend.
not just any kind of shopping.
specific lady undergarment shopping.
it's time.
for modesty sake.
this is me trying hard to protect her.
anyway, enough of the reasons... just know that i, as her mother, felt it was time.
she has been very vocal about expressing her opinion about this issue.
she is not impressed.
she's made that very clear.
she does not want a bra.
so we went shopping, and i took her shopping without telling her what we were going for.
well, this was going to be the only way, it seemed.
we went to the first store and she browsed around.
they had lots of dance wear and athletic clothing geared to tweens.
cute stuff.
and they also had some cute little sports bras there.
she wanted to try on some pants and tops and stuff... then i gave her a bra.
she gave me "the look".
she could not hide her disdain!
not from her mama.
she gritted her teeth, grumbled "no", shoved it away from me and walked away.
i patiently went to her changing room and had a conversation with her about it.
i just asked her to please try it on and then put a shirt over to see how it looked.
after a long discussion, she finally relented.
and after more discussion, she finally conceded to me purchasing one.
we got one.
i would have bought a couple, but they were not cheap in this store.
so only one was bought.
after this store, we went to eat and did some more enjoyable shopping (re: clothes and browsing the apple store).
it was a fun evening.
towards the end of our excursion, i tried to get her to try on some more bras because i felt it would be good to have a few.
you know, when one gets dirty then she has another one.
she again, didn't hide her feelings on this.
i brought her to the changing room to try on again.
while in the changing room, refusing the try on, she started crying.
then she said through muffled tears, "i'm only 9 years old!"
and she just cried.
and then i cried.
i pulled her into my arms, held her close and comforted her as best as i could.
we cried together and i told her, "i know, i know, it isn't fair."
my heart broke in that changing room.
my tenderness was so strong for her in that moment.
it was so distressing to see my daughter as she first experienced growing up as a hard thing.
she doesn't want to be different.
she wants to be the same as everyone else.
in some ways, i don't blame her at all.
who wants to be singled out in this way?
but because she's my daughter and my precious girl, i want her to buck the norm!
i want her to see how beautiful she is and how God created her perfectly just the way she is!
i want her to embrace the changes that are going on and to feel confident in Christ!
this is my prayer for her as she enters this next phase of her life.
the next decade is so formative and i want her to come out the other side positive.
but today, this is my little girl (who's not so little anymore).
she is an interesting mix.
she's quirky and funny.
she loves to make people laugh.
she loves nothing more than to get her nose in a book.
she's constantly reading and finishing a novel every couple of days, it seems.
she also loves to play piano and recorder (much to our chagrin, as parents).
but funnily, she does not like to sing, at least not in front of us.
her music teacher tells us she's one of the loudest singers in class though.
go figure?!
she is extremely social and asks almost every day to play or see a friend.
she is not a cuddler, but she is obsessed with babies and holding them.
i love knowing that she got that trait from me!
she's incredibly bright and gets perfect marks in school.
she hates math and complains about it, but still gets 100%.
that makes me laugh.
she's a talented dancer and really enjoys it... but sometimes i think it's more for the social aspect.
but oh, do i love to watch how graceful she is.
it's such a joy!
she's not driven or competitive and this she also gets from me.
sometimes this is hard because i know she could do better but it's been a good lesson for me too.
she will do things her way, not the way we think she should do things.
and i have to trust that God will lead her down the path she needs to take to find her special interests.
she loves art, lego, ipods and playing outside.
she still plays petshops and pollies with her sisters.
she likes to write in her journal and be alone in her room.
she loves to wear my high heels.
she's in between a little girl and a teenager.
confused in her changing body, having a hard time letting go of what she's known (the little girl world).
she has the most beautiful genuine smile.
when she's happy, you can't help but be happy too!
my girl, my first born!
daddy and i are so proud of you and who you're becoming!
our prayer for you is that you'll keep growing in confidence in yourself, remembering that Christ is the one who is always strengthening you and upholding you.
look to Him when you're happy... look to Him when you're in pain.
He's always there!
we love you sweetpea!
happy 10th birthday!

faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don't see.
hebrews 11:1 

Friday, January 10, 2014

new year, new word.

here it is.
my new word for 2014.
i'm putting it out there.
kinda scary.
i have to admit,
i like my little bubble.
but this word will be good for me.
and i've been feeling nudged into this place.
i really don't think i can experience and take in all of God's goodness for my life unless i'm open.
opening my heart to His love.
opening my hands to serve Him.
opening my home to loved ones, acquaintances and strangers (eep, i just wrote that).
opening my mind to think outside the box, to experience the grey.
opening my mouth and speaking for those that can't.
opening my hands and letting go.
i want to live my life in 2014 open to everything God will have me experience, good and bad.
like i said, this is very scary for me.
my word from 2013, change, has abled me to see that God doesn't want me to live life like anyone else.
He wants me to live life as me, to embrace me.
it was a season and year of growth and change.
to be more confident in who God made me.
i needed to change my outlook on life, letting go of anxiety and worries.
i won't say i'm fully changed and done away with those things...
but i feel like i'm changed in that i'm handling them much better.
my perspective is changed and still changing.
i'm a work in progress.
and now i'm here, trying to be open.
open to where God is leading me... leading us, as a family.
eager to see where He will take us and sometimes, a little frightened.
but i'll put my trust in Him, close my eyes, open up my hands and my heart and step out in faith.

"So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t."
romans 12:1-7