Jul 29, 2015

On not doing more.

Calligraphy nibs and ink sit unused in a drawer. Tubes of watercolor paint and acrylics are hidden away in the disorganization of my craft cupboard. There are books I want to read and an itch to write more, projects I'd like to do and ideas to pursue and talents to cultivate.

And yet, these days, I find the majority of my hours disappearing as I attend to the many needs of two busy little people - playing and reading books and making lunch and potty training and cleaning up messes and breaking up fights and disciplining and the list goes on.

Inwardly I struggle because there are many at-home moms out there doing this and other amazing things -  writing books and creating art and running small businesses or ministries.

I admire them and wonder if I'm just disorganized or lazy because my list of accomplishments at the end of a day is normally not very interesting or impressive.

But this morning as I sat with my coffee and had a bit of time to think and pray about my anxieties in this area, I found some clarity and peace. I'm to live before God and please Him, not to try and live up to what others are doing or expect or my own misinformed ideas.

Seasons come and go, and today I have a two year old and sixteen month old and a new baby due in two weeks. Looking at that realistically,  and keeping in mind the priorities of spiritual disciplines and my calling as a wife and homemaker, perhaps it's okay that I'm not putting much energy into other endeavors these days.
 
I may find moments here and there to do something creative or dream a little, but today I'm remembering it's also okay (and even necessary) to say no to some things and embrace the simplicity of everyday tasks and routines, finding peace because right now, it's what I've been entrusted with.

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Jul 23, 2015

Four Years.

 "What are some of the secrets of happy home life? The answer might be given in one word—Christ. Christ at the marriage-altar; Christ on the bridal journey; Christ when the new home is set up; Christ when the baby is born; Christ when a child dies; Christ in the pinching times; Christ in the days of plenty; Christ in the nursery, in the kitchen, in the parlor; Christ in the toil and in the rest; Christ along all the years; Christ when the wedded pair walk toward the sunset gates; Christ in the sad hour when farewells are spoken, and one goes on before and the other stays, bearing the unshared grief. Christ is the secret of happy home life.

But the lesson may be broken up. The making of a home begins before there is a home—it begins in the days when the life-choices are made. There are many unhappy marriages. There are families sheltered in houses, which are not homes. A happy home does not come as a matter of course because there has been a marriage ceremony, with pledged vows and a ring, and the minister's "Whom God has joined together, let no man put asunder," and a benediction. Happiness does not come through any mere forms or ceremonies; it has to be planned for, lived for, sacrificed for, prayed for, and ofttimes suffered for." (link)
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Crazily enough, I forgot it was our anniversary today. We went away for a little early celebration last month so perhaps that's why it wasn't on my mind. Loris was up before me and said he was going to go downstairs to make oatmeal for the kids (who weren't awake yet). I went down shortly after and didn't see him in the kitchen but thought maybe he went to bring some garbage outside or something? I was getting my breakfast and suddenly the door opened and he came in with flowers, having snuck out to the store quickly. I was confused until he smiled and said, Happy Anniversary! And the kids weren't awake yet so we made eggs and toast and juice and sat together reminiscing a bit and wondering how we got from there to here so quickly?

Four years of marriage and almost three little ones and I continue to marvel at what God has given us. Of course, our marriage is not perfect (because we are not!) but as we move through these days and years we can each affirm more and more that yes, the secret to ongoing joy and union in marriage is Christ. He brought us together and holds us together and as we continue to pursue Him we are brought closer as time goes on, building what we hope would be a marriage that pleases and honors our God. All because of His grace and sanctifying work in our lives.

Thanking Him for it all today!


Jun 16, 2015

Remembering Elisabeth

You've probably already seen the news, or tributes popping up here and there to remember and honor a faithful and godly woman who died, entering the Lord's presence, yesterday morning - Elisabeth Elliot.

I'm thankful for her life and ministry on a personal level because, through her writing and speaking, she's been a close mentor to me.

I can look back over varied seasons and struggles where her practical view on faith and living the Christian life has given me encouragement or a needed gentle rebuke, inspiring fresh resolve to do the next thing, to keep a quiet heart, to trust, to obey.

In thinking about her life, I'm struck by the thought that in many ways, as she would admit herself, she was just an ordinary woman, nothing special. How then, was her life marked by such extraordinary sacrifice, by such wisdom and far-reaching impact? The answer, of course, is God. One day, one moment at a time, she made the choice to surrender, to turn to Him, and in doing so she was transformed more closely to the image of Christ, made more useful for His service.

This process, the daily opportunities to choose faithfulness, are the same for us.

 ~
“This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.” 
“Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy. Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands.” 
“Where does your security lie? Is God your refuge, your hiding place, your stronghold, your shepherd, your counselor, your friend, your redeemer, your saviour, your guide? If He is, you don't need to search any further for security.”
"We want to avoid suffering, death, sin, ashes. But we live in a world crushed and broken and torn, a world God Himself visited to redeem. We receive his poured-out life, and being allowed the high privilege of suffering with Him, may then pour ourselves out for others."



 Go to Revive our Hearts for tributes, a collection of messages and an upcoming special series celebrating Elisabeth's life and ministry.

Jun 15, 2015

Summering.



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Wanting to do a couple little trips before baby arrives in August, we took advantage of the lovely weather this past weekend and crossed the border to visit a wildlife zoo in New York state.

Blue sky and lazy early summer landscapes made for a perfect hour or so drive, plus it always feels like a bit of a vacation when the kids are trapped - I mean strapped - in their carseats and we can talk and just enjoy a bit of quiet time together...or at least time spent not having to supervise or be a human jungle gym.

























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Growing up, my family went on lots of daytrips like this in the summer and I have many fun memories of the whole crew of us (at some points nine people) stuffed into the family van and heading with excitement to this place or that. Nothing elaborate or too expensive, but breaking out of the norm to see new places, even if only for a day, seemed special.

We're at the beginning of this building memories as a family thing, and I love the possibilities, love watching our little ones have fun.










































































And could these two be any cuter? I love being their mom.