Forty. Seven. Three.

Seven years ago, i started a journey of forty weeks. Forty weeks and a baby. Forty weeks and a life change. Forty weeks of being on two types of nausea medications because, well, one just didn’t cut it.

My first was born in February of 2010. My middle in October 2011. My last in June of 2013. Forty months.

Forty months and three tiny humans have entered the world.

Forty months ago my oldest turned three. And i was in round two of potty training him (long story for another time), and I had a newfound walker toddling around, and I was pregnant… and staying married felt like the biggest impossibility of my life.

Now, forty months later, and my youngest is about to turn three.

 

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Three is my favorite number. Or it was. Before my children turned three. The twos may be terrible, but the threes… well, the three’s will threaten your very existence as anything resembling a sane human being.

Three year olds haven’t just discovered the word ‘no’- they’ve discovered they can center an entire universe of a household around their very selfish souls. They’ll do things they wouldn’t have dared to dream of doing six months ago, incredibly self-absorbed things. Because they need the bubbles now. And they need food now. And bedtime can happen when they say it can, and reading a story doesn’t cut it anymore. Read five. Then sing a song. While tapping out a soft shoe.

Now snuggle.

And cuddle.

And go and get that book and read it again.

Basically, three year olds are the rulers of the toddler terrorists. They set the rules and you best d*mn well play by them. Or those Candy Land cards are gonna get it. …and how do you feel about an overflowing bathroom sink?

You can’t catch all of them. So you repeat, under your breath, and maybe over their angelic sleeping faces,

You may have won this battle. But I will win the war!”

And so you struggle and claw your way back to some sort of sanity. Maybe you stand at the top of the precariously drawn cliff you just peaked and survey the wastelands you’ve wandered and struggled through over the past forty weeks.

You hope and pray you will find a way to do the right thing at the right time just once. to make a breakthrough in your child’s life. to bestow upon them some rightness in their next steps or future steps.

you close your eyes and hope one day you can be the obedient child who enters into the place you are called to be and by doing so can be Hands and Feet and Light… and do it all right.

That’s when I realized – and maybe you do too(?) – I play the three year old with my Heavenly Father.

There’s a tiredness which arises in a season of waiting. It will seep into the sinews of your soul if you aren’t careful… and when a door needs to be kicked down, you may find yourself slumped down against it, a wailing heap on the floor, begging for someone to just open it for you.

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There’s a resurgence period. When forty months leads to forty weeks of gradually regaining more to life than surviving the day to day. When dreams are remembered and passions are stirred and it all just seems to be waiting for you to take one.more.step. – smash the window… knock down the door… step through and step out of the waitful wandering…

It’s a process and that’s for certain. At times it may just feel like you are going to drown in the gradual slowness of it all. And you might just find yourself being a three year old. Again.

I have this insane calling to write a book, and how I see it at the moment is an enormous amount of time, thought, emotional and physical energy… and no promise of any recompense at the end of it all. I could finish and that could be that. Years of stories coming together in a few hundred pages may very well end at the end of writing it. It may go nowhere past that. In fact I’m kind of betting on it. … and hoping it doesn’t at the same time.

I have a dream to foster and adopt children, and bring them into a sort of refuged haven- away from any and all sorts of abuse and hardships they have faced in their short lives, and just love them in as safe a space as I can provide them with our family.

I long for a move to take me away from the heat which torments and destroys my body (literally), and a place which provides an easier year round interaction for me with my children. Because i just want to freakin’ enjoy every minute with them. And that isn’t easy when you’re constantly battling a heat and sun sensitivity causing the world to spin around you and your skin to feel as though it’s about to melt right off your body.

So i dream of finishing a novel. And adopting the daughter i’ve prayed over since i was eight years old. And living somewhere i don’t have to fight and struggle with my own body just to participate in life with the children i’ve always longed for.

I think we’ve found our dream home. And we only have a little over half of what we need for a down payment. So… donations welcome. haha, 😉
In one week and three days we will celebrate our baby turning three. And yes, we actually will celebrate. Because, despite the fact we are entering his “three year old” stage- we’ve already survived the three’s twice over, and i have little doubt we will get through this too. I mean, technically, if you think about it, turning three means he’s finished his third year of life –he’s actually starting the first day of his fourth year the day after he turns three … but… semantics.

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fickled expectation

expectations are funny things. fickle things. falling-short things, really.

and boy howdy do we have much too many of them all at once.

i know i do. did. will have again. unfortunately.

yes, i was one of the many who thought marriage would be something i would be good at.

my perception of wife-hood was one of which i totally thought i would rock. like i rocked those wrangler jeans in the barn days of my youth.

being a wife was something i totally thought i had covered. and yes, this is where i pause to laugh because i honestly thought: 

how could it not be?

how could i not have this covered? i paid attention. every compliment. every seeming act of virtuous wife. i studied it. i mimicked it. craved it. grasped for it. fell short of it. and kept on again.

that is, until i got married myself. and realized expectation doesn’t come in terms of “one,” it comes as a whole flock.

it’s not about having an expectation.

it’s about having expectationssssss. times infinity.

because sure there’s the expectation of the condition of the marital relationship. of how fights will go. or not go.

but there’s also the house.

the city.

the lifestyle.

a thousand little expectations all culminating and merging into one whole expectation of what marriage will be like.

you may not have any expectations for your spouse. at least not unrealistic ones. but what about the environment of living it all.

and in the midst of the reality of my fickle little friend, Expectations, i was affronted with the fact that being a mother would be another time of me falling so much shorter than i ever imagined.

motherhood and wifehood. and all the whimsical dreams of youth now brought to light.

how do we turn that stark brightness off? dim it down a little bit… a little less harsh… a little more dream-like.

Halmark-Card-me… there should be an app for that…

or at least an oil.

oh naive, simpleton, me.

children are the mirrors of ourselves. and our spouses. and you thought communicating with another adult was hard. or trying to understand your own self at times was exhausting enough… *laugh* *cough*

and then you try to lead a child version- understand the child, speak with the child. listen to the child. have patience with the child. and don’t lose your-self to your-selfishness along the way.

don’t take the frustrations of the child-learning into the husband-endearing, and don’t take the trials of the husband-loving into the child-growing.

going from tiny humans to grown human, and back again.

the meter running out all the while on that little introvert battery of yours…

for how do you really truly fill an introverted heart in an overflowing house. city all abuzz and never a moment to breath?

the rush of it all collides against and collapses into you, and all the while trying to catch, and rear, teach and love…

it could overwhelm a person entirely.

too entirely.

but all is grace.

all is gift.

i always wanted to be a mother. i just never wanted to be a city-mother. an errand-running-mother. a life lived everywhere but here, mother. 

i am not the mother i wanted to be. 

i wanted that life of sitting on palettes in front of fire place… reading books, snuggled close. pajama day? every day.

play outside on mountain knoll… climb the rocks… explore the untamed woods… do it all with the nose in a book.

you all can have the city… i’ll take the farm… the mountain ranges… the anywhere that herds of people are not. 

oh, the fickled expectations… if only life always fit like the pair of jeans from childhood. the ragamuffin days. the lay on the hillside, watch the clouds play, days. 

the scramble to the woods. the build a fort from fallen Aspen trees. the days of black and white, and everything fell just right. 

but you see what i’ve done, don’t you? equating the circumstance to the occupation of motherhood. that the mothering comes easy when the life comes easy. and when the winds of life blow hard, the air gets knocked right out of me and i lay down not knowing what to do.

expectations locked up in circumstance.

and everything begins to crumbled right dust.

so i name the grace gift of motherhood.

of wifehood.

of Him being All Good.

of chilled days.

and warm teas.

of log piles.

and Christmas trees.

of fort climbing.

and slide racing.

swing giggles.

wild and crazy.

i name the grace and pray that finds the Joy He gave in this life of mine.

to let it go and let it be… and maybe find a peace for me.

to give up on this grating desire for everything to lay perfect. quiet.

to live the upside down motherhood life- of mothering in the life.

and not letting the living control the mother i am going to be.

to name the grace even when everything seems to not be… as it should be.

 

 

 

 

children may just teach you your own childishness

and we are all just children. the all of us here.

children.

yes, there’s a reason we’re not called God’s “adult-children.” and having children of your very own will teach that better than any writings or vocalizing on the subject.

children scream

because when those days come we get to hear God’s words through our mouths and watch our reactions in the faces of our children.

we question their refusals and rebuttals.

their disobedient acts and their flagrant disregard.

and disrespect.

their wandering hearts and their fickle emotions.

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we see it all.

i see it all.

i feel the hurt of it and the anguish. the desperation to get them to understand that what i ask of them is ultimately for. their. good. 

they don’t see the tomorrow that we see. a day filled with adventures and plans – which in turn requires a good rest the day prior in order to enjoy the activities of the next to their fullest.

and there is no reasoning  with a toddler.

we are asking them for something that is severely precious. anguishing to relinquish. and guarded ferociously.

their trust.

i am honestly not quite sure why we haven’t obtained it yet.

you’d think after all of the middle of the night feedings and diaper changes… the stroking of sick backs… the cleaning of sheets and clothes… and the fact that no matter how long it takes to get a meal made, they will still get fed… that we would have earned the right to be trusted by our children on all accounts.

without question.

despite all of the provisions and all of the gifting. there is a lack of trust.

of complete trust.

perfect trust.

and the belief that the child’s way will yield the best results. better than those of the parent. yes, that.

Tuck leap

you’ve seen a tired child. i’ve seen a tired child. that middle of the day meltdown where it’s so ridiculously obvious that poor kid is exhausted out of its mind- trying to control the laughter- while at the same time running down how to actually convince that child of the fact. you as the parent, or caretaker, or just keen adult observer, know this child’s needs.

most children don’t think they need sleep though. most fight it. i have one who viciously fights it.

i’m talking this kid gave up morning naps when he started to crawl. at five months.

he gave up afternoon naps when he started to walk. at eleven months.

and we did cry it out. sleeping in bed with me for nap-time. you name it, i most likely tried it.

he would scream for fifteen minutes. pause for one. then scream for fifteen more. and repeat.

for over an hour. 

he probably could have gone longer. but i couldn’t.

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there’s no reasoning with a baby. or a toddler. my kids aren’t at the other ages yet. but i don’t hold out much hope. because when i reflect back at my own actions with my own Heavenly Father, how much worse am i than them?

because i can understand not fully trusting another fallible human being.

but the Creator of the Universe? the One knitting together of DNA into marvels? miracles and life abounding from His touch? and my very breath evidence of His very Grace? what is the reason for not putting my trust wholly in Him and His Holiness?

why haven’t i been able to teach my heart that the more i seek the Joy in Christ, the more i will be in-Joy. en-joy my life. my children. this grace gift given at highest cost?

mirroring my attitude of child to the King back in my mind- i see all too well the screaming for my longings and fleeting desires. all the while He stands bent over stove and agonizing over what He is making for my life to become.

with calm voice and gentle hand, He repeats to me, “I am working all these things together for your good. for My purpose.” (Romans 8:28 paraphrased)

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we teach our children to ride a bike with training wheels. looking to the day when the training wheels come off and the child flies off on two wheels and a grande feat accomplished.

one of the firsts.

and not the lasts.

us parents are already looking to the next.

we labor over the learning of letters and numbers. singing alphabets and counting to ten… so they can write their names and count their ages. for starters. 

why then do we not believe that Christ is working in us? that every refining moment has a purpose-  equipping us- readying us- for when we need those tools we will also need to know how to use them.

that is what this life is.

all moments that lead to deeper and more. all purposed and planned. diligently. intricately.

and we are meant to enjoy it all.

trusting in Him. naming the grace-gift of this life. and its moments.

even when our children are red-faced and refusing to rest their weary selves. even those moments can be a refining fire.

 

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so may i encourage you as i remind myself- to not miss the opportunity to be refined. it may not be what you are wanting. but it may be what you are needing.

(a good way to tell when you are in the midst of this? when you feel like throwing a tantrum yourself. generally that means you are being told to obey a Father who isn’t acquiescing to your requests. and instead insisting that He knows what is for your best. And isn’t that just so incredibly good? Hard, yes. but GOOD.) 

where vision and passion mix

i dream big. it’s true.

some may say i dream too big.

that i catch a vision for something and before you know it i’ve made it something entirely too unattainable.

yes, some may say that…

call me crazy but i’m under the impression that where God gives passion, He provides a path, and will enable the impossible.

 

i have a list of “unattainable”s.

i have a vision of being a part of the ending of human trafficking. the abolition of slavery. everywhere.

for it to be done. finished. over.

… of witnessing the end of abortion. on a global scale.

and i know that there will come a day where evil and sin will be no more. the last breath of Satan will be taken and God, His truth, His love, His mercy, His justice will be all that exists.

oh sweet GLORY. knowing that brings peace.

but it doesn’t bring complacency. because His Kingdom is now, here, and we are the church.

so we are called to action.

we are called to “Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.” (Micah6:8)

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and God loves to make the unattainable attainable. by His power. working all things together for our good and His glory.

so why not dream big?

as a body we have dreamt of serving the impoverished. we are making clean water attainable, providing shoes for children’s feet, coming along side of people groups and helping them learn how to care for their children, how to make businesses that thrive and provide. we have built orphanages and adopted children. reunited children with their parents. brought them to forever homes. we are setting captives free and giving clothes and food to the homeless. providing for the widows. all. through. HIM.

so why not dream big?

why not see the places that have now been given access to clean water and dream about bringing them a system in which they can grow gardens for their communities in towers of water? towers that use 10% of water the produce would normally use to grow… saving water, providing food.

okay so maybe that’s a big leap to make right now…

but what if these same towers could be used to cripple the mega markets? because we have problems in this country too. children are facing health issues like never before and the majority of those issues can be linked back directly with what they are putting into their bodies. food off the shelves of stores that shouldn’t even be there.

foods that are illegal in other countries because of their ingredients, our children are pumping into their bodies on a regular basis.

and even when you find a product that is “good,” it turns out to be produced by a morally and ethically corrupt company.

i recently looked up my laundry detergent. ALL “free and clear” and what i found was this: the product itself was not harmful. it was actually a “10” on the scale of unsafe to completely safe to use. but then there were the moral and ethical scales of the company that it was produced by. those numbers were much lower. much lower.

it’s purchasing consciously. purchasing with a purpose. caring enough to not support a morally and ethically corrupt company that you are okay with paying a couple dollars more for laundry detergent.

so what if we decide to purchase purposefully?

 

jaymartin quote

what i learned about these “tower gardens” though is that they don’t cost more. you actually save money the first year (when you’re paying off the garden) and then you continue to save hundreds of dollars each subsequent year…

so you get to better your family’s health and the health of others’ (because let’s be honest, those babies grow a ton)- all while supporting a company whose goal is to better the health of this world.

so here’s my vision.

to start small.

to start in my own home.

to grow outwards…

to partner with schools. because how awesome would it be for pizza sauce with red40 to stop being considered a vegetable- replacing it with actual vegetables that the children have spent their time nurturing and growing?? 

and then to take a step and incorporate a way where you could “buy one, gift one” and help others around the globe live full, nurtured lives.

i think it’s a step worth taking. and an impact this world desperately needs.

access to whole foods and good nutrition. outside your door. and across the globe.

provision in the everyday life

the rains came in the morning.

that downpour of freshness, quenching the earth, and bringing rest to the soul. Because the soul was in need of the watering. those deserts needed to be drained so the cup could fill to overflowing.

“funder! Funder mommy, funder!! Funder SCARE me!!” 

and when the storm turns violent and the pulse quickens in the veins, the fear rises, and the child clings tight to those she trusts most. snuggling deep in this lap made just for her little perfectness- all to watch a monkey be exceptionally curious.

and the fear subsides.

and she nestles deep into me.

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in that state of complete and perfect peace.

the faith of a child… that a mother can protect from thunderstorms- the belief that as long as this hug is tight enough, the truly scary things of this world cannot get close enough to do any harm. 

and what if we held to that relationship with our Father? to clench Him when the fear is at our necks like a rabid dog or creeping quietly and steadily across the floors to just up and drink us completely dry of all Faith?

and maybe it isn’t a terrifying thing when the husband comes in on Sunday morning saying he feels miserably sick- maybe to people without 3 kids aged four, two and a half, and almost one- but to this momma, with teething baby, and crazed toddlers… it may as well be a death sentence.

and the relief? it came in the form of some little inconsequential bottles.

bottles full of these natural, “essential,” oils. and the provision that they had come a day before? yeah, that fact has not gone unnoticed. to the momma who wants to “detox” the house- who is trying not to buy over the counter drugs if she can help it- to be able to take care of her husband with products that help-with-no-fear-attached?

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God gave us this earth, and made our bodies so that basic needs would be provided for- that we can trust Him to take care of even the smallest things (like excruciating sore throats, and stiffening-headed-to-sickness-overload muscles).  it just makes me so happy to know that there are ways we can take care of our bodies- to prevent disease, or to help combat illnesses- ways that our Father has made possible through His creation.

gaaaaalory!

It’s so complex, and yet so intricately simplistic- this natural way of living the life God has given to us. He really has provided for our needs!

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? -Matthew 6:25-27

do we trust in a faithfulness that we cannot fully comprehend?

to be able to see His goodness, His constance, His truth- in the midst of any and all uncertainties? 

To find that peace that is complete in Him…

to trust His purposed and provisioned plans

and to rest in His perfectly-tightened embrace

when we are gifted the waters we have been begging for are we able to receive them?

What IF: we became a generation willing to suffer…

So- What IF?

what if every single person cared so much about every. other. person. in this world and those to come that they wanted to come along side the poor. the hungry. the homeless. the orphaned

 and gather everyone up into this same. standard. of. living: 

…mentally?

…physically? 

spiritually?

when it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of Heaven- and maybe that man is in reference to us? – that the standard of life we live here in first world countries is considered the wealthiest in the world-

and, yes, that does in fact make us the “rich” of the world. 

And then does it start? Those immediate defenses that spring like geysers – those mental images of that handful or group of others who have more or do more or spend more than you ever could or would or do– spring to mind?

and that makes you any. less. wealthy. ? 

And what if wealth had no actual meaning in regards to earthly endeavors and possessions but solely those that are for eternity and His glory? … And are we wealthy then?

Are we being the true last?

Are we serving the orphaned?

… the widowed?

… the sick?

… the lost

And when the preacher is standing at the pulpit on Sunday morning and your blood starts to surge through all of those depths, because just YES that is where you want to go- those unreached people groups– that your heart is so pulled for that that you end up ignoring the fact that you are where you are in this season for this time- that His reason for keeping you somewhere will be the same as His reason for sending you over oceans.

That calling to live the Gospel- waiting until His plan and timing reaches utmost perfection– and you may just board that plane with a solitary one-way ticket – the lost just as much there as they are here. 

And we are living in His timing now

And if God provides all the needs for His people, why do we not see ourselves as being a part of His body as a provision?

That He has provided us to do His work.

That His work may in fact be something that puts us right in the middle of suffering?- 

That despite the friend, the parent, or even the stranger who looks at the sacrifices and the sufferings of your life and declares “Enough!” – they are in fact not God? – That you are in fact NOT here to do their will, but rather you are here to do His will and obey His commands? 

And oh are we missing this!

For those who look at the orphan crisis, human trafficking, or even just the general third world conditions that exist today- and sit back, “broken hearted” and. do. nothing.- 

 

My son recently opened a fortune cookie. Delighting in ever crisp piece he placed between his lips- humming to himself that song of lovely contentment…. when he handed me the little rolled up white piece of paper.

Tiny printed black words, which I was expecting would read something along the lines of: 

“Fame and fortune will soon be yours.” 

“Something lost will soon be found.” 

“The sun always shines after the downpour.” 

“The star of riches is shining on you.” 

But instead read:

“No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he only had good intentions.”

After researching this fortune I discovered it to be a Margaret Thatcher quote, the second part of which is “He had money too.” But we do have wealth, in abundance, both in the Gospel and in this first world life-style of ours! … so what is our excuse for not #endingitALL –

All the abortions?

the deaths

the lies?

the poverty?

the starvation?

the sickness

the thirst

the abandments?

the slavery?

the brokenness?

the abusing?

the unreached

So how do we sit here, in our air conditioned 21st century lives, and be just plum okay with Satan having a freaking playdate with all the lives of all the lost? 

And what if we weren’t

What if we lived, actually lived, the Gospel?

What if we lived in submission to God’s will for our lives, instead of our loved ones’ wills for our lives?

What if we up and stopped trying to please others and rather focused solely on pleasing Him?

What if we actually loved the Gospel so much we were willing to suffer for it?

What if we did something to #enditALL that required more from us than just clickinglike?”