Sweet hard change, we meet again

 

Today I quietly realized how God has lifted me up and given me a new perspective on how He weaves the pattern of my life. Prayers are realized (and often not in ways we ever saw coming). As a human, I tend to ask God for fulfillment in specific ways, and then immediately begin planning how this will happen (and who will be a part of this fulfillment). You would think I would learn by now that He never works this way, and His fulfillment of His word is better than I could ever script for myself. 

In the midst of staggering goals I set for myself, today I was able to take a step back and really see how we are supported and favored by Him, how He asks us to humble ourselves and how He challenges our cultural norms in a prodding yet gentle way. His peace sustains our home. In late February, we began meeting with dear friends every Friday night for shabbat. We laugh, eat, reconnect, recognize where life has scraped us during the week, celebrate, cry, pray. And usually we chase around a lot of kids and lots of babies cry. God hears this as our beautiful intentional pause in the chaotic music we self-orchestrate throughout the week. 

Intentional moments like this challenge me to recognize God in everything (something I am really not that great at). I am so used to segmenting my life (and myself) according to who will see me when. God calls me to wholeness, one person living all of life redeemed. I often feel very far away from this reality. I have a hunch weaving Him into every fiber of my life will be a life-long pursuit. 

With the blessing of Elleanna in our life, I need to strike a balance between discipline and letting each day unfold. I need to soak in these glorious baby days, yet recognize how hard they have been. I need to sink into grace, yet intentionally structure my time, as there is less available for the remaining pulls of life. LeLe helps me sift what is important.I hear her little words and see how she mimics all that I do, and it makes me want to model for her what it really means to be a woman of God, sustained by God life, not bound by hard religious rules. I straddle grace and pressure. I create, flop, disappoint myself, thrill myself, soldier through the hard days (sometimes barely). I let myself run empty and pile on the guilt. I flourish and soar. 

After lots of wrestling, we’ve decided to sell our house, move in with Matt’s family to start a community living experiment and send me to grad school. I wrestle with pride, growth and hope. Change excites us and deflates us. We’ve felt change coming for some time. And while I do not directly know how this will all pan out in detail, I feel the sustenance of God’s faithfulness to answer our prayers: we fight to be debt free, to find deep meaning in our work, to raise our little olive plant to bloom and exude the presence of God. We fight for daily redemption (even thought it seems like most days we give into selfishness). I’m writing this as a marker, so that at the end of the year, we can recount God’s fruition. I am seeking to really trust Him, and not because I think He will make life easy. I trust Him because of His character and who He is, and that no matter how life turns out, He is still God and He is still good. And my life is richer for following Jesus. 

Psalm 72:17-19 – 

His name shall endure forever;
His name shall continue as long as the sun.
And men shall be blessed in Him;
All nations shall call Him blessed.

18 Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel,
Who only does wondrous things!
19 And blessed be His glorious name forever!
And let the whole earth be filled with His glory.
Amen and Amen.

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(Above: A photo from one of our Colorado mountain trips. The song comes to mind: “Your Love, O Lord, Reaches to the Heavens. Your faithfulness stretches to the skies.”) 

 

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10 months old and already starting to work on her Tarzan call: Elleanna Joy giggles and moves and grows

Today I took a snot bath.

Yep, the real first baby cold kind. As she battles this virus from the far flung reaches of the nether world, my mommy spidey senses are heightened (*disclaimer… I may be a bit more dramatic due to lack of sleep… LeLe’s cold is actually quite normal…but it does make us sad to hear her cough…and it does make us laugh to hear her “baby smoker” voice. ** disclaimer to the disclaimer… my baby does not smoke, nor is she around smoke).

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LeLe’s brain definitely had a massive neuro party these past few weeks. It seems like in the blink of an eye her logic-oriented brain began to really put puzzle pieces together. This manifests in her quizzical pointing, her caressing of new textures, and her desire to build anything as high as it will go. She sits in the living room, turning boxes over, and stacking as many toys as possible on those boxes. Her hands are everywhere and on everything, and she is always looking for a good time (a.k.a. what can she unpack?). One of our favorite days of play happened when Matt put LeLe down on the floor below our long, colorful living room curtains. With giggles of delight she felt every inch of them, scientifically analyzing their texture and movement properties. Or, maybe she was just enjoying a newly discovered toy.

A few weeks ago (March 27), she really shocked herself by half-crawling backwards for the first time. The scenario used to be: “Get on my knees. Cry. Fall onto my tummy. Cry. Turn over and try to sit up. Cry.” But now, she moves back and forth on her hands and knees, half scooting and shuffling across the living room. And she can’t get enough of trying to pull herself up on us and on anything she can get her hands on (including the long lamp pole from one of my college dorm room lights that she nearly pulled over on herself today… yikes).

This month Matt started teaching LeLe the fine art of tummy drumming. Now, whenever she is experiencing costume changes throughout the day, she takes the moment to celebrate life by tapping on her chest and tummy, making her first tarzan-esque communications to the world. Daddy also taught her the freedom of the walker while outside. While working in the garage, Matt had LeLe in her crocs and walker. Before he knew it, she was racing down the sidewalk. She was a little miffed by the bright sunlight, though, and she would stop anytime it really got in her face.

In mid-March, when warm temperatures were daring to make a bit of a statement, we got LeLe out on a walk. As we were moving, the wind really picked up and blew her hair straight up, sculpted like a perfect rock-star hairdo. The glee on her face as the wind whipped through her hair reminded me of full abandonment and joy. She reveled in the feeling and the moment.

Elleanna continues to deeply care about people, and she is getting better and better about reading the emotional vibe of a room. She seeks to comfort, and to understand, and to protest when peace is not the agenda. We love seeing her personality unfold both physically and emotionally.

But perhaps my favorite time of the day is right before bed. Some nights she is a little punchy, and as we prepare to lay her down in her PJs with a baby, the silliest things will get her no-holds-barred giggling. Peals and peals of laughter ring from the nursery, and it’s hard to say goodnight to such a fun-loving little peanut.

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