Lottie Turns One

Our dear Lottie,

Today you are one. Everyone says it because everyone is right - it was the fastest and best year of my life. Except the "best" part doesn't seem quite right. Language fails to explain how good this year was because you were here in the middle of it, turning our lives upside down in the best possible way. How is it possible that a year with an above average amount of emotion and exhaustion and confusion can still be the best? Well, better than best. Like I said when you were this teeny tiny newborn, you split our hearts wide open and continue to do so. Sometimes I think if I run full speed into a very very hard wall then I just might be able to physically feel the amount of feels I have for you. [Anyone else? Just me?]

We have quickly turned into those totally obnoxious parents thanks to you. We hang on every new sound and discovery and dance move. Never did I ever think I'd be so excited to hear you say "bah bah" after I hold up the sheep puzzle piece. Granted, all the animals say "bah bah" at this point, but it totally counts girlfriend! Other than the obnoxious thing, you've taught us lots about ourselves and God's love for us. You've taught us to trust Him more, remembering that He loves you so much more than I ever could imagine. Though that doesn't stop me from peeking in at you every night to make sure you're breathing. I'm not sure how long that will last - 3 years old? 16ish?

Whether I'm watching you sleep or downing some steamed carrots in your high chair or playing in the living room, I imagine this big bright and sparkly and exciting life coiled up inside all your smallness. I know they'll be some rocky valleys where the Lord [I'm praying] will draw you nearer to Himself. But right now, sparkles [mixed with cheerio crust] are the vibe I'm getting from your precious one year old self. Regardless, I'm on the edge of my seat, watching it all unfold with every new discovery and word and milestone. We are so thankful for you and how you have changed everything about this wonderful life. We love you. You are better than best.


new-ish year

I had lots of plans and thoughts and scribbles for a new year post. One about a fresh start and no big impending change for this year (you know, like a baby) and feeling like this is normal compared to the fog of new parenthood that was 2015. And also a post about this undercurrent of potential change and praying and seeking and feeling clueless all at the same time. But it's not really any of those things fully. And I'm beginning to understand that that's a good thing.

See, I would have said that we feel like the Lord has something potentially different for us. (That's that undercurrent I was talking about. We don't know what it is, but we don't think the both of us are making it up.) And I would have said we are "seeking the Lord" on what that is. And even "waiting patiently." But when I step back and take a look at my days as a whole, I'm not. I'm saying a quick prayer about it as I'm reading down my request list. We're praying about it before bed, half asleep. And in the meantime I'm worrying about D's stress level (part of the potential change reasoning), researching real estate in different places, and asking advice from others. Not to mention slightly obsessing over Lottie's birthday, cleaning house, taking care of lots of different obligations I've said yes to, having lunch with friends, forcing baby sign language on my child (she's going to sign "please" if it kills me), day dreaming, texting, social media-ing it up, watering house plants (lol, they wish), picking up living room toys yet again, cursing Jillian Michaels, slowly responding to work emails. The list goes on. Once D gets home, I find my list still half way done and myself explaining to him that it seems so difficult to get anything for real done with our precious little mobile chick. And I find the days flying by. One after another after another. Each feeling like a total blur. It gives me whip lash just to think back on the last week.

I look at those days and think - they're all pretty good things. They were happy days. But the noise created by those days left me feeling "clueless" and "stuck." Quotation marks because I've said those exact things to D numerous times. There are two things that I know: 1) I want to follow Jesus step by step by step, wherever He leads, wherever He desires us to be. We say that we'd rather live uncomfortably inside God's will instead of comfortably outside of it. And we want to stop just saying it. And 2) I want to be a wife whose family knows that they are living in God's will and favor and blessings partly because they're wife and mom wouldn't let their names fall from the Lord's ears. (I totally stole that from somewhere that I can't remember, but it's true.) I just want to bug him to death about them (oh dang, the theology, I know).

So I'm going to clear out some noise. I mean, I really like a lot of it. I love communication and encouragement (and tv). But the ratios need to shift a little. Because The Bachelor + The Today Show vs. Jesus in a pie chart might be a really sad sight right now. And that's still just a small piece of what consumes my day and thoughts and efforts. I'm clearing out some noise because I feel that it's the only way I'll start making even small strides towards those two goals above. And besides them being the two things that I want most, He is deserving of that. I don't have to even worry about giving anything up simply because of who He is. He is the Great I AM. The fullness of that name makes my head want to explode. More fullness is not possible. HOW COOL IS THAT? And having that ability because of knowing who He is makes me want to know Him and His promises more. I'm missing so much!

Even if the questions aren't answered and this year feels somewhat in between and unglamorous, we will stand on the promise that He will faithfully lead us when and where we wants if we'll just get rid of some noise and listen. I want to do my part so that the wondering will be eliminated. Because even if He isn't moving us - He's doing His part. I mean, sometimes I wish I could just have it the easy way - a big road sign or billboard or, you know, a pillar a fire. He does it that way sometimes. But not most times. What kind of relationship does that build anyway? Not one of intimacy and reliance day in and day out. And that's what I want with the Great I AM. So that He'll lead us where He wants, no matter where that is. Because "God is good to us and God is good at being God" (preach, Lysa T.). I guess what I'm saying is that I'm realizing more and more how much of a responsibility I have in this relationship. Duh, right?

One quick word on getting rid of noise in a non-audible sense. Can I tell you how much less brain fog I have after cleaning out my closets and other stackable surfaces? I actually still look around and think WHAT'S WITH ALL THIS STUFF?! And I can say this, because never have I ever claimed to be OCD or tidy or whatever that gift is. So it truly does make a difference to someone who doesn't mind clutter. After Christmas, we came home with baby's first Christmas gifts from two families (OMG) and several boxes worth of stuff that I wanted from my grandmother's house. So I seriously slowly cleaned everything out, loving the feeling of it more and more with every closet and cabinet. And I really think that Lord used that as part of my realization about noise. He had to use getting rid of my outdated college decor (easy) to work up to getting rid of other noise (really hard - I'm looking at you Matt and Savannah because I LOVE YOU SO MUCH).

So that's where I am. Seeking God without as much noise. I mean, I'm still in the getting-rid-of-noise process and probably always will be. I don't expect life made up of serene days with plenty of time to read and highlight and pray. See: almost twelve month old. And I'm certain things will get even more crazy during these (Lord willing) big family raising years. So I'll start now with the optional noise (because, let's be honest, a lot of it isn't all that optional) and try to choose Jesus and get back up when I will surely fail a lot. A lot, y'all. Because with less noise I'll get to know Jesus more and will be able to stand on His promises day in and day out, wherever we happen to be that day and whatever the Lord allows to happen.

I went to a conference where Lysa Terkeurst spoke a lot about standing on God's promises and "establishing a pattern of promises." It was awesome, but the point of me saying that is to tell you that I've had the hymn "Standing on the Promises" stuck in my head all week like any good baptist girl. It was always one of my faves growing up - kind of upbeat and the men with the deeper voices would do that fun little echo part. I looked up the lyrics while I was thinking about this. So good, y'all.

Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
Through eternal ages let His praises ring,
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing, standing,
Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
Standing, standing,
I’m standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises I now can see
Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;
Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord,
Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,
Standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
List’ning every moment to the Spirit’s call,
Resting in my Savior as my all in all,
Standing on the promises of God.

So. Less noise, more promises. Working on it!