Friday, May 29, 2009

blessings

Jarrad has been leading the youth group at our church for almost a year. Last summer, I was a bitter, pregnant woman who did not see the joy in his service, because it meant so much time away from us, and away from what I perceived to be his "duties" in our home and our family. One of the families who has two children in the youth group lives closeby, and their 14-year-old son came over multiple times over the summer last year to "bless" us by mowing the grass and tending to a few other outside chores. Every time he came, I cringed. "Here he comes to do Jarrad's job again, because Jarrad doesn't care enough about us to do it himself," I [erroneously] thought.

Today, that same teenager and three other boys from the youth group came over. They mowed, trimmed, sprayed, and spread pinestraw. They hung out. They drank my sweet tea and served as my girls' afternoon entertainment, and they walked away with some snacks and two pictures from Rachel (she "wrote" their names!).

Today, I was blessed. My husband spends his time blessing others in the way the Lord has called him, and I now see all the ways the Lord was waiting to bless me by providing our needs through others. Don't get me wrong--I had faith, before, that the Lord would provide. But, somehow I missed that He chooses to provide in many many ways. I had grown to believe the lie that the Lord would provide only through my husband. And so, my sin was keeping me from receiving the blessings He was offering to me through others.

How sweet it is that my husband is willing to be used by God to bless others. How sweet it is that his service gives others the opportunity to be a blessing. How sweet it is that the Lord is teaching me to receive those blessings with thanksgiving and praise.

For about a week, the phrase, "the Lord is my portion," kept coming to my mind. I knew it was from God because I wasn't even completely sure what it meant. I finally Googled it, just to see what came up, and I got a beautiful explanation that [of course] fit with this process I've been going through. The Lord IS my portion. He IS what I need, and I have my portion in HIM. When I think of a portion, I think of it as exactly the amount needed. And He IS exactly what I need!

The last two days, I have been meditating on another one of God's names: Jehovah-Jireh, "the Lord will provide." Each time I have been tempted to think that Jarrad is failing us in some way, I remind myself that I serve Jehovah-Jireh, and HE will provide! And He proves it over and over and over again.

Monday, May 25, 2009

ramblings from mommy

I have a ridiculous amount of work to do to catch up on this blogging thing. My computer crashed about three weeks ago, and my hubby keeps his tied up most of the time, so I have been pretty well media-free ever since (did I ever mention that we chucked our TV a couple of months ago?). It's been a little strange, but I haven't missed any of it like I thought I would. What a relief, right? But I do miss keeping up with my blog, especially since the Lord has been teaching me so much lately.

I am learning all about what it means to be a Godly woman. I have finally found the true freedom that exists when I am obedient to what the Lord calls me to as a wife and mother. It is so amazing and humbling, and it makes me wonder what in the world was hindering me from understanding it before now. But since I can't change the past, I am anxious to get on with the future and see what other surprises await! I have fallen in love with my husband all over again, and this time is sweeter and much deeper than the first. I praise God that my husband is the Christ-follower that he is. I also praise God for daily reminders that it is He who sustains me, not my husband, and it is He who will never fail me. I realize that I was holding entirely unrealistic expectations for my husband and depending on him to provide for me and fill my heart, when God was just waiting for me to turn to Him instead. And so, over these 7 years of marriage, and especially since the arrival of our firstborn, I have felt disappointed over and over, oppressed, and angry. I knew that it was illogical and ridiculous, but I just couldn't seem to put all the pieces together. I am realizing now that it is wrong for me to ever be disappointed by another person on the level that it affects my heart. When that happens, it exposes where I have been placing my trust--in that person rather than in God.

Now, daily, I lay it down at the feet of Jesus. And when my husband fails me (because he does, God bless him), I remember that it is the LORD who will provide what I need. If I can cling to that, I will never be angry or resentful toward him, and he will never feel the need to be defensive with me. Praise God for His model that he laid out for us in the Word! It's so counter-intuitive that I should make little of myself and much of my husband in order that God will be glorified and I will have true freedom, but I am discovering how true it is, and how SWEET it is!

And so I publicly beg the forgiveness of my humble, patient, God-fearing husband, who put up with me when I was so ugly and sinful and unrealistic. He chose to love me through it, as he committed to do on our wedding day almost 7 years ago. I am amazed at the sweet season my heart change has thrown us into, and I look forward to being that old couple who still can't get enough of each other...it was hard to imagine before, but now I know it will be.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

my little baby

Our sweet little Carly turns 6 months old tomorrow. Praise God we seem to have an answer for her persistent cough: acid reflux or Tracheomalacia, either of which she will grow out of without consequence. We have medication for acid reflux, but I haven't been able to bring myself to give it to her yet. If she has it, it sure doesn't seem to bother her, aside from the normal amount of spit up (still significantly less than we experienced when Rachel was a baby), and, of course, the congestion/cough. It doesn't make her fussy, keep her up at night, or cause her trouble breathing. On the other hand, if she gets another ear infection, I sure will kick myself for not giving it to her. Oh, these mommy decisions...

I finally started Carly on rice cereal about a week and a half ago. I'm rather hesitant when it comes to food, and I'm not sure why. Maybe because it's such a tangible sign that my baby won't be a baby forever, or maybe it's just because we can't avoid having "another mouth to feed" any longer, but whatever it is, I put it off as long as I can. She loves it, though, and she caught on to the whole deal rather quickly (my baby, my little baby..). I can hardly stand it!

She's great fun now, too. I can't believe how proficient she is becoming. She was playing with an input toy a couple of days ago, and she was actually picking up the balls and putting them right where they belonged! (my baby, my little baby).. She can sit up on her own quite well (although I still don't leave her sitting by herself), and she wants to get moving so badly. She thinks Rachel is hilarious, and she has the cutest habit of keeping the very tip of her index finger perched right inside her bottom lip. She is as pleasant as any baby I've ever been around, and I love her sweet little voice that she's finding more and more (she's gone from cooing to "yayayaya" to "dadadada" in the past week). She also L-O-V-E-S being naked (or "nakedy" as Rachel and I call it), and will giggle at nothing when she's free from diaper and clothes.

And speaking of diapers, yes--she still wears them. She goes on the potty some, of course, but I don't foresee a diaper-free future for quite some time. We do love catching what we catch, though, and she definitely knows what's going on now. (my baby, my little baby). I am less enchanted now with pottying and cloth diapering, and I'm happy to move into a season when it's all just a part of normal life--the potty, the cloth diapers, the laundry. With Rachel, I resorted back to disposable diapers pretty readily, but now I don't even think of it, really, because cloth is what we're used to.

The first picture here shows how much Rachel loves that her sissy is growing into a playmate. I can't turn my back on Carly for more than a few minutes before Rachel has surrounded her with toys. I sometimes can't find Carly in the mound, and she seems to get overwhelmed at times, but I do think it's sweet.

Below is the face Daddy will want her to use on all the boys: video