Teach Us to Number Our Days

Teach us to number our days, Moses writes.

Those words echo in my heart as I’ve been so overwhelmed by this mix of emotions that motherhood brings. There are days when it is so hard that I have to give myself a pep talk just to get out of bed, let alone smile as I walk out of my bedroom door to face the day. There are nights when I go to bed so completely mentally and emotionally drained that I can’t articulate a thought before I am asleep. There are moments throughout the day when I’m having to discipline a behavior – the same behavior that I thought we had just corrected five minutes ago – when I just wish away the clock.

August 2014 030

Then, then, there are the moments that make me want time to freeze. Ephrem giggling at something that I’ve done, something so ridiculously silly that I would never do in front of my friends. Or watching him accomplish something and seeing the pride light up his little (no longer a toddler) face. This little boy is funny, and sweet, and becoming his own person. How did that happen? Each day I see him more and more as his own person. I see our fingerprints in his personality, for sure, but he is becoming his own version of Ephrem. I can only imagine that continues as he grows. I have these flashbacks of new parenthood with this little toddling boy and I realize that that little toddler is a shadow only found in photos.

August 2014 122

August 2014 292

August 2014 246

My favorite moment of the day with Ainsley is when she first wakes up. She smiles ear-to-ear as I get her out of the crib. And then I get to hear Ephrem say excitedly, “Ainsley is AWAKE! Ainsley, are you ready to play pat-a-cake with me?” And she smiles even bigger for her brother. I could nestle down and live in that moment forever. She’s giggling. She rolls over and reaches for and can hold onto toys now. And most of all, she loves her silly brother. In just five short months, she has started to emerge with a little personality that was hidden inside of her little newborn self.

August 2014 317

August 2014 311

August 2014 234

 

The parenthood equivalent of Moses’ words is the saying, “The days are long but the years are short.”

I can see how quickly time has already gone by with these two little loves of mine. There are exhausting, difficult, did-I-really-lose-my-patience-again moments. In fact, I’ve never experienced exhaustion quite like parenthood. But each of those moments is countered with a beautiful moment where I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

August 2014 218

So, I pray that I learn to number my days so I can present a heart of wisdom. I don’t think that I will always remember not to wish the hard minutes (or hours as it may be some days) away. But I pray that I wish  away fewer moments and embrace those moments because they make the other moments glow even more.

August 2014 189

 

 

Advertisements

The Stone and the Snake

Someone once told me that God typically gives three answers to requests – 1) Yes, 2) No, and 3) Not yet. There’s something that I have requested from Him for years. Like Hannah, I have laid my heart before God in this one thing. And then, recently, I heard His response.

No.

Honestly, it hurt deeply. What I wanted wasn’t bad. It something that many people want. It’s something that is a good thing. But it isn’t what’s best for me at this point in my life…and may never be.

It’s hard to reconcile when our desires, what we imagine to be good for our lives, isn’t what God says is the best for us. While God will allow us to make our choice and I could choose to fulfill my heart’s desire, I don’t want to live in His permissive will. There’s too much room for mediocrity there. I long for His perfect will because I know, in that, I will grow and find life.

Still, it can be painful to leave our heart’s desires on the alter. And I struggled terribly to walk away from that request fully.

Today I was reminded of a point I heard in a message once. There’s this passage in Matthew where Jesus is talking about prayer –

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

(Matthew 7:7-11)

We typically focus on the fact that the Good Father gives good gifts. If we ask Him for a loaf, He will not give us a stone. If human fathers are can do it, just imagine how much our Heavenly Father will take care of us. And that’s very true. When we ask for what we need and it is what is best for us, God is faithful to provide that in His time and manner.

But what if we ask for the stone?

What if we ask for the snake?

What then? Does a good father give his children the thing they ask for, even when it may hurt or kill them? When it will not be the thing they need?

Our sovereign Father will not give us something that will ultimately hurt us any more than an earthly father would let his children play in bleach or give them poison ivy as a salad.

I am learning that our walk with God is all about learning that He is God, that He is holy, that He is loving – beyond my comprehension. I am continuing to learn that this God who calls me His own expects holiness from me and that holiness requires brokenness in me – it requires refining in me. This Abba Father accepts me as I was, as I am, but calls me beyond that.

Sometimes that means no to what I deeply want.

When I ask for the stone, the answer is clearly no. When I ask for the snake, the answer is no. When I want to live beyond God’s perfect will, the answer is no. Our good Father only gives good gifts meant to help me become more like Christ. I may think that my heart’s desire is good for me, but God knows that it isn’t what I need in my life, that He has another purpose.

My challenge now is to walk away, to leave that desire on the alter, and to rely on God to do this with a cheerful heart. My challenge is to remember to call Him good and faithful even when I don’t feel it. My challenge is to remember that God is I AM and I am not.

Where

I read this quote recently:

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
-Theodore Roosevelt

I’ve been challenged by that quote for a little over a week. It’s not so much the “doing” part. It’s the “where” part. Because sometimes where we are isn’t where we think we should be. It isn’t maybe where we want to be.

Honestly, I’ve struggled a lot with the “where” part of my life because I didn’t expect to be “here” when Ephrem came home – “here” as a mother who works outside of the home to provide financially for her family. I didn’t expect to be an employed mom, because my idea of “where” was at home, being a full-time at-home mom. We had planned for me to be his mommy at home. When the adoption hit warp speed and it was clear that I wasn’t going to be a stay-at-home mom like I had envisioned, I was tripped up. Because it didn’t fit my plan.

And then I remembered a conversation I once had with a co-worker a couple of years ago. Before Evan and I became parents or had really talked about becoming parents, my sweet friend was missing her young son while she and I were at work. She returned to work once her maternity leave ended and worked long hours in our very demanding job. She had tears in her eyes as she shared with me what was probably one of the most profound pieces of unintentional advice I’ve ever needed, “Sometimes, caring for your child means that you work and someone else watches him all day. And it’s hard, but that’s what you do to take care of your child.” I don’t think my friend knew how much I would come to lean on those words in this season.

This “where” is yet another opportunity to learn to yield, to allow God to have His will in my life, to be obedient despite the feeling that I know best (clearly I don’t). I am striving to rely on God to do what I can, with what I have (time, energy, focus), where I am (at home or work). When I’m home that means being completely available to my family and being a mommy. When I’m at work that means being diligent to work hard as a grant writer. I might not have planned to be here, but God has a bigger purpose, more refined plan, and better vision for this employed momma. He knows the desires of my heart, but I have to trust Him that in this season, we are all exactly where we need to be.

My soul does wait

I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is lovingkindness,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
And He will redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.

(Psalm 130:5-8)

Holy, Holy, Holy

1 Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. 2 And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. 3 And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6 He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7 Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”  8 And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. (Matthew 28:1-8)

This morning, I am excited to serve a Living God. I have a Savior who died for my sin, but defeated the grave so that I can have new life. I am called a “daughter” because Christ as redeemed me from a state of sin. Our God planned that moment from the beginning of eternity, longing to be in a relationship with the created.

I am excited to worship this Savior this morning.