When Your Heart Might Burst

It was the kind of day that you just want to bask in and savor and hold onto for just a bit longer –

The kind of day that was filled with far more happy tears than sad -

The kind of day when you think maybe, just maybe, your heart might truly burst right open from the beautiful glory.

me and Ariya

It all started with this three-year-old girl jumping giddily on her bed with the happiest smile you ever could imagine. Her words this singing grace – “I’M (big jump, spin, smile) GETTING (plop on bed, giggle) DEDICATED (stand up, start again with arms flailing) TODAY!”

There isn’t any mama that would stop that kind of joy bouncing!

And then an eight-year-old sister with bed-head-hair and eyes sparkling beamed that in a few short hours she would get to be baptized by her daddy.

And then there was this mixture of scuffles over tights and finding lost bows and getting kids to brush their teeth and a little boy that wanted to look all snazzy for his sisters’ big morning.

And maybe my husband-pastor forgot to fill the baptismal up the night before so it was freezing. And maybe I had to run back home to grab the towels and changes of clothes that I had completely forgotten. And maybe the five-year-old wore three different headbands and socks over tights that her shoes didn’t cover. But I wouldn’t change anything for these precious memories…

Ariya Faith, and her sparkling dress, her beautiful joy, and the sweet way she smiled as Papa prayed over her – I don’t ever want to forget. Oh, how I long to raise her to love the Lord.

Ariya Faith - dedication

Ariya's dedication

And my sweet Kayla Ann – there are no words to describe what it was like to watch this babe I once birthed be held by the man I love as she professed her faith in Christ – this glorious sign of new birth. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such lovely smiles.

baptism- Kayla

Kayla baptized

Kayla's baptism

baptism of Kayla

Kayla - baptized

Maybe, just maybe, my heart might burst from the wonder and the beauty and the joy of it all.

And, yep, it’s only been two days and there have been angry sisters and fights loud and a mama that was too tired to read that Bible story before bed. And we can declare our love for the Lord at the top of our lungs, and we can have hundreds of thousands of drops of love and prayers poured into our lives, yet we still need Jesus daily.

What a sweet reminder –

That every day we can be bounding with joy for the grace that He gives over and over and over and over.

My heart just might burst.

The One Thing I Need to Remember This New Year

So it came and it went. It wasn’t perfect. And I never did get it all done.

And it feels all hollow and too quiet in this mess of a home filled with empty packages and mountains of laundry and tiny pieces of new toys flung everywhere.

The world just doesn’t seem to have the same glimmer today with kids back to school and guest beds stripped bare and the ornaments taken down.

But I never want to pack away the glory of the gift of Immanuel – God with us.

This offering not just for Christmas, but for today and for each day.

And I sit for a moment just past the edge of this brand new year. This place that can be so intimidating with resolutions and goals and plans for the months to come.

Maybe before I can look ahead to this pure grace of starting afresh, I need to look back at where I’ve been.

You too?

happy 2015

new year

At the late nights and early mornings –

And the little eyes peeking at me from the other side of the covers.

At the first hair cuts (one at the salon, and one at home chopping her own five-year-old bangs the day before the Christmas program) –

And the word-snatching experience of getting to see my girls get baptized by their daddy.

At the thousand or so meals planned and the wash, rinse, repeat cycle of crusted dishes and little girls’ hair and the vacuum covered with smiley face stickers when I wasn’t looking.

At the doors slammed loud and the tantrums stilled and the whispered words of “I am sorry” as hearts and knees bowed low.

At the hundreds of books read and dozens of cookies baked and secrets shared over hot-chocolate and snuggles under the covers (or toes in ribs) at 4am.

Christmas night

under the tree

And there was the school-work done in jammies and the beauty found amidst a mop full of bed-head hair and love shown in unexpected places.

And there was fighting over fractions and crumpling to the floor over oranges and plunging through monotonous days of sticky hands and slobbery kisses that would soon be gone in a blink.

And there was the first year in over nine years with no crib and no diapers – and a mama’s heart that rejoiced and then spilled muffled tears into her pillow.

And the selling of our house and the settling in from all the boxes unpacked and everything changing and lives starting afresh – and this mixture of loneliness and new friends that are always so lovely yet painfully slow in the making.

And there were the times my temper flared and my failures piled higher. And the days we made it through by God’s grace alone – when the life breathing in and out of His Word was the only thing that kept me from suffocating.

candlelight

As I look back at the glorious ordinary of all of this and so much more – the messy, the brave, the precious, the scary – it’s this spit and mud miracle that although I was blind, now I can see God with usImmanuel.

God with us in the blessed and the broken.

God with us when He came as an infant.

God with us when in His suffering He thought of you – of me.

God with us still today.

And tomorrow.

And at 3am.

And on those kissing feverish foreheads, holding puke buckets, and sleeping on the bathroom floor days.

God with us when we see the sparkle in the snowflakes and hear the giggles behind snow forts and wipe boot prints off the floor with a smile.

God with us in first notes plunked out on a piano by a girl dressed like a Who from Whoville and in the holey miss-matched socks worn without tights to the Christmas Eve service.

God with us in the daily rhythm of laughter and tears – and music and prayers.

miss-matched socks

my crazy wonderful family

God with us when the bank account should be dripping empty yet somehow there’s food made out of scraps in the cupboard and there’s water and gas and warmth and gifts overflowing.

God with us when the call comes the Sunday before Christmas that they can’t find a heartbeat, and when they’re grieving something fierce while music plays “Silent Night” at the candlelight service.

God with us when we are sleep-starved and lonely. When we don’t feel we’re enough – that there’s no more we can give – and we don’t know what to do.

And God with us when He’s speaking to our hearts and healing our scars and making a way for us to know Him. When He makes mud with His spit so we can see.

new year 2015

Happy New Year 2015

God with us – Immanuel – this bread and water that we can’t live without, and these good and perfect gifts that are only all from Him, and these aches that would pierce even deeper without Him.

And the lights are still wrapped around the tree, as this Truth wraps around my life.

And it all keeps coming down to this – this one word – Immanuel.

Just that.

God with us.

God in us.

God through us.

This overwhelming, overflowing gift of love that is changing my world.

For what would happen if I lived each day of this new year with this one word on my lips? How would it change my moments into this broken heap of sacrifice for Him? When I’m hurting or flailing or celebrating or seeking? Oh – I can already feel this beating in my chest, this passion to know Him more and to live with Him in and through and around everything.

Just this one word of pure grace and love – Immanuel.

As I sweep up the pine needles and walk a little lady back to her bed.

From Our Family to Yours

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It may be loud. It will definitely be messy. There may be struggles, and even a bit of down-right ugly. But in the midst of it all is the sweet, glorious reminder that this baby, whom we celebrate today, was born to die – bringing hope, peace, and joy to our messy, crazy, blessed lives. […]

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Do Your Kids Believe in Santa?

Do your kids believe in Santa

It’s the question we get asked over and over again this time of year. Here’s my answer typed out from a couple years ago. I hope you’ll find lots of grace in these words, as we focus on the greatest Gift of Christmas. Eyes aglow and face full of excitement, my little boy jumped up […]

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When Christmas Feels a Bit Like a Mess

When Christmas Feels a Bit Like a Mess

Because sometimes maybe we all feel like a Christmas mess… Maybe I shouldn’t have taken that quick glance at Facebook. At that post by the mom who has all her Christmas shopping and wrapping and bow-tying done. And there were gingerbread cookies baking in the oven, and she managed to sneak out to Starbucks and […]

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Words Every Mama Needs to Read Today (Christmas Version)

words every mama needs to hear today

Maybe there’s been squabbling all morning long. Maybe there’s been laughter overflowing. Maybe that babe finally fell asleep in your arms, and there ain’t nothin’ gonna move you. Maybe those beautiful Christmas cards you thought would actually be sent on time just arrived on your doorstep with half the picture missing. (I’ll let you guess […]

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When Mommy is Tired (A Favorite…)

When Mommy is Tired

There’s been this much needed quiet in this online space. As I take a little more time to rest and breathe and live right where I’m at, I thought it’d be fun to share some of your favorites. And this one? Oh, I’m needing this reminder today. (Sent to you while hiding in my room […]

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Dear Daughters – What I Want You to Know on Your 10th Birthday

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Sure, your dad teases whenever our family tries to fit into a minivan that we’ll just have to get rid of one of you. As if we could just rip the two of you apart – you who have shared a womb and a decade’s worth of memories strung together. And your eyes dazzle at […]

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Miscarriage – You’re Not Alone

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I hung up the phone and crumpled to the floor. Tears streaked all blotchy and lungs gasped fighting for one more stale breath. Eleven years. But the semblance of having a baby ripped right out from the inside still leaves its ache. It was the first time in our marriage that we had to walk […]

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School At Our House (Curriculum 2014-2015)

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This schooling at home. It’s so much like other motherhood feats. There’s having everyone in the house all day long with piles of books stacked high in the way of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and little ones under foot while attempting a Science experiment. There’s an English book that needs to be shared two ways […]

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