I overhear the most entertaining conversations each morning.
Most mornings, Judah is the first to wake, and he rolls over and "Sissy...Wake UP! Siiiisssssy! I need to go potty! Let's play! I'm hungry and tirsty.".
And my sweet girl, she'll get her brother up and undressed, take him to the potty, and then assist him with re-donning his super hero drawers. Often she'll go ahead and peel him a clementine or grab them both a banana and head back to their bedroom to play. She takes incredible care of him, and he adores her for it. This is the calm before the storm. No diapers. Self sufficient. Yes, I'm enjoying it while it lasts! Judah will even assist himself to the big potty, though at times still insists that I come with him. This morning he danced around the kitchen, "OOOooooh. Oooooh. I gotta go bad!" I told him to go ahead and go on to the potty...that he could do it. But he pleaded. "No! I need you to come wif me. I might fall in and go away, and den I won't be wif you."
Ok. Break my heart. Yes, mommy will help you to the potty anytime you need me to.
Anyway...back to the conversations. While most mornings they've been getting themselves up and fed and playing without ever coming to get me, occasionally they linger face to face on their pillows chatting. One morning this week I overheard Judah plead, "But I don't want you to go to school, Sissy. No. You stay home wif me. I want you to stay wif me." She tried to explain..."Awwww. I know you do, Bubs. But I've got to go to school today. You can stay here with mama, and I'll be home in a little bit." He's come to grips with her new independence quite well. However, if she or Aron leave in the morning without first giving him a hug, a kiss, an "I love you!", AND a wave all the way down the sidewalk along with a stated "Byyyyyyeee!" (without missing any of the listed elements), we have a major teary meltdown that is nearly impossible to soothe. Once they've had their five part goodbye, he's at peace with them going, and on we go with our morning.
This morning I overheard Belle gently explaining while they were still in bed, "No, Judah. You can't have chocolate for breakfast. Or candy. I'm sorry." Judah pleaded, "YES! I want chocolate! And candy! Pleeease?"
He continued to insist after they rose and joined me in the living room. I, however, gave him the same answer as Sissy. Bummer. However, I do find it quite adorable that anytime he IS allowed a piece of chocolate or a treat of any sort, he always asks for 'one more for sissy', and runs as fast as he can to deliver an equal portion to Belle.
Such a silly man!
He prayed over our lunch today, "De-ah God, Thank you for Jesus. Thank you for Mommy & Daddy. Thank you for Sissy. And Samuel. And E-saiah. AAAAmen!"
And last night, he was struggling at bedtime (the dolls in their room really terrify him), so I layed down with him for a few minutes to reassure him. I have never ever met a kid who so strongly exhibits physical touch as a love language. He loves to place his hands on both sides of your cheeks and just rub...over and over and over, until his arms are too tired and they fall from exhaustion or he falls asleep first. I think he discovered at Christmastime when he had some time with Grandma that he also really likes his face rubbed too. Last night, with my face cupped in his ever rubbing hands, he instructed, "Mommy. Rub me! Right here on my face." And so this is how he drifted off to sleep, double rubbing. Aron and I joke all the time (though we are somewhat serious), his poor future wife...she'd better be a 'toucher'!
But for now, I'll enjoy all the cuddles and kisses and cheek to cheek time this amazingly sweet little man, so full of music and wild, has to offer. I'll be jealous for them one day when he's grown and no longer expresses his love to me in this way.
One of the signs of a Christian life is inner peace and contentment. To be honest, this is something I have struggled with my entire Christian life. At it's core, this is an issue of doubt and mistrust towards our heavenly Father. We doubt that he cares. We doubt that he is mindful of our situation. We doubt his love. We doubt his kindness.
As followers of Jesus, we hope that he will do great things in our lives, and if when do not see these things come to pass as we thought, we at least hope that there is a greater purpose in it all. After time, we begin to doubt that there's even a greater purpose - "What the heck is God up to? Do you even see my life, God? What are you doing? Can you hear me?"
If you don't struggle chronically with this (like I do), you WILL at some point in your Christian life.
This morning I watched this sermon by Bob Russell called "When God Says 'No.'" and I have never been more encouraged to trust the heart of my heavenly Father. I have never been more sure that he IS aware of what is going on in my life, that he IS good, and that, in the end, there is a MUCH greater purpose being worked out in my life to the glory of God. I would highly recommend that every believer watch this sermon!
It's easy to believe, trust, hope, love and be content when life circumstances are good and you get everything you've hoped for. But I want to be full of joy and peace and love in any and every circumstance in my life, even and especially when God says "no."
My flesh and my heart mayfail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.
I'm painting January with the book of John, trying not to fight the nature of the season, but rather to allow my spirit the room to walk through the chill and the barren without the implied despair she brings. January has always felt tasky to me: Christmas mess, returns, purging, taxes, resolutions...and the realization that winter is upon us and the glistening magic decided to marry December & forgo the rest of the season. But this year, I'm doing my best to align myself with the rhythm of the seasons. To embrace the forced quieting winter brings, allowing myself to prepare, to rest, to recharge in preparation for life to burst forth as the spring solstice approaches.
I've found my spirit hungrier than ever for substance, for more of God than I can possibly handle. And so I am asking him for just that. For his daily presence so near, for a fresh understanding of the beauty of his Son, and to know Him like I never have. My sister bought me this wonderful book:
And I am finding it completely delicious as I encounter, perhaps for the first time, the 3d picture of the personality of Jesus. I am asking him that as I study through John's accounts, that he helps me to know him as he is, as he wants to be known. And that he shows himself not just through scripture, but in my everyday life. I think we make a lot of assumptions about who Christ is and how he works based upon our interpretation of life, and without realizing it, these presuppositions begin to taint and distort not only our picture of Jesus, but our walk with him.
The other night I was laying in bed nearly in tears as for a brief, sweet moment, I could clearly see the big picture beauty of just how amazingly good God really is. (Moments like these remind me of watching a breathtaking sunset. You try as hard as you can to soak it in, to make it last, memorizing every glowing hue, because soon the light of the moment fades and darkness creeps in until you can no longer see at all. You find that you have to trust the memory of the sunset and the promise of another one coming in due time to walk through the dark places, until you once again behold the glory that paints your world heavenly.) The next thoughts ushered in unspoken questions of when the proverbial 'other shoe would fall', awaking me to announce there really is no 'happily ever after'. When the 'but' statement would rush in and steal the beauty of his unending love. Gently, God whispered to my spirit, that there is no other shoe through Christ. He really is fairy-tale good. And the richness of this inheritance that I did nothing to deserve only ripens with time like a good wine.
So I am breathing in of His spirit (which according to John 3:34 he gives without limit), and it warms and satisfies, even and especially in winter's wait.
husband sought you out, you charm of old, wrapped you up and put you under the tree.
beautifully aged, you wrap my neck in whimsy love, given as you were with utmost intention. in utter surprise I beheld you as you whispered to me, "beloved. known." you hold my world within and carry it close to my heart.
ever thankful for a good gift and the man who gave it,
I giggle to myself as my mind's eye replays Judah's crash landing, falling hard asleep, so deeply as soon as face planted on rug, that my attempts to brush his teeth did not so much as stir him. I carried him limp to bed, when only a minute before he was sitting up eating his bedtime snack. Both the granola in his bowl (from Grandma's cupboards) and the hand-me down dino jammies (from cousin's drawers), tell of a week of highs, of filling of heart, with the ones that mean so much.
I think we all, the four of us, crashed in this way the last two days, slamming back into responsibility and demands, coming down from the high of 10 straight days of togetherness (and an unholy amount of sugar). Its always harder than I anticipate to reacquaint my heart to the distance, to the weeks stretched into months of time apart (even harder to watch the kids try to do the same...navigating questions like, "Mom, why did God make Grandma live so far away?"). The transition back is a bit of an emotional crash landing. Our poor family, I think they must weary of the togetherness when we are visiting (and understandably so...its a lot of time in the same space when your bucket is already full), but we know of the drought that awaits us, so we soak them in like a sponge, letting their waters saturate to the deepest pores to last. And truly, we drove North on 75 this past Tuesday with full hearts, smiling and joyful as we talked about our favorite moments of the week.
The crash landing is inevitable when you soar at such great heights of the heart. Oh, but our Father, his faithfulness and goodness is always surprising me. A phone call tonight from a sister, not in flesh but in spirit, offering to spend an evening with the young Kirklings so Aron & I could have a night out, felt a gift of encouragement straight from his generous hand.
Our Christmas tree is still glowing, though the needles fall faster than my vacuum can handle. But our bags are unpacked, mostly. Tomorrow I will put on my nurse hat for the first time in nearly two weeks, praying all the way to work for skillful hands and an attentive mind, and pleading for the same for the nurses and doctors preparing my dad for his procedure two states away. Saturday we will initiate a circus waffle maker to our pancake loving ways and close up Christmas to make room for order in this tiny little home. At least in my ever planning mind, this is how life should unfold.
Of course one never knows, but I am okay with that. Because I trust the one who does.
crash-landing, but cradled even so,