First things first: Getting rooted

 

I remember the moment very clearly, when I met my husband, Troy. We met online, and communicated for about 10 days before we met. I was standing in the middle of the gardens of a downtown park, at 9:30 on a hot summer morning. I was so nervous that my first words, other than “nice to meet you”, were “I have to pee!” We had never talked on the phone, so I wondered what his voice would be like. Thankfully, it was instant ease for both of us. We spent every free moment of the next five days together as I showed him my favourite places around the city, went to a Latino market, took him to church, and even met his mom and step-dad. Love grew as we spent time together, and it wasn’t long before we both knew we never wanted to say good-bye.

As my love for Troy grew, as I learned his character and heart, my trust in Him grew too. I knew he’d be a man that would protect, provide, and cherish me. I could see how he’d be a great Dad, and a man who would challenge and support me. As I spent time with him, the roots of love grew deeper, and my trust grew alongside that.

Trust grows as love deepens.

The greatest commandment that Jesus gave us was to love the “Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind and your strength (Luke 10:27, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30-31, Deuteronomy 6:5).

For much of my life, I think I’ve tried to put trust before love. I tried to do and obey and be the good Christian girl I wanted and needed to be. I truly wanted Him, but something still felt missing. I’d ask myself, “Do I reaaaallly love Him? Like I want to?” When you live out of a ‘do-er’ heart, rather than a simple and beautiful love for Jesus, you can easily get swept up in religiosity, anxiety, comparison, and all things that are works and striving motivated.

Then enters grace.

As my prayer has turned more to, “Reveal Yourself to me, Lord” and asking Him to help me to love Him for Him, and not what He can do for me, I find that my heart is changing to, “But I WANT to obey and trust Him, BECAUSE I love Him so much.” He is changing my heart to love Him, on the good days and the hard days. And in the meantime, he is removing the weight of all the things that I often add to our relationship 😉

In Ephesians 3:17-19 we read, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

That phrase “rooted and grounded” refers to building a house. If you look at the cross-reference for grounded (BlueLetterBible.org is a great resource!), it refers to where Jesus was talking about building our house on a rock – Jesus! (Matthew 7:24-25, Luke 6:48)

I planted some parsley and some pansies this week. We went to this beautiful greenhouse and café for Family Day, and I was just itching to buy some seeds and plant something. When we got home, I was ready to dive in to the dirt, and just get it done. But I chose to research how to grow parsley inside, and it suggested to soak the seeds overnight, thus speeding up the normally slow germinating process. I decided to go the route that would give me the best seeds, rather than what was quick. It sounds small, but for me to wait, to take the time to do it right, is evidence of God working in my heart to submit to processes so that roots can go down deep! Small progress, right?!

We were created to love and enjoy Jesus. There will be so many things in this life that vie for that attention, but we must start here, or everything else is a struggle.

Jesus wants us to know Him, to love Him, AND to trust Him. But let’s start by letting Him reveal Himself. Start by waiting in His presence, getting rooted. Start by studying His character, His heart. Put aside everything we think we need to do to become who He wants us to be. And let Him change our hearts first, to ground us in Him. And watch trust flow naturally out of that changed and rooted heart.

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Monday Minute: He delights

 

Her little head lay on the pillow; cozy and just five-days-old, like an angel floating on a cloud. Our photographer graciously allowed us to hover and do what we needed to do as new parents. This was as foreign to us as it was to our little girl. How do we do this? Some parenting comes naturally, and the rest, I am learning, you figure out along the way. But the one thing that just comes without effort?

Love. It’s there in amounts beyond measure.

I’m generally an ‘exact’ person. I like to know what’s expected, what the recipe calls for so to speak. If it says “1 cup pressed flour” I know that I have to tamp it. But if it says “1 cup loose flour” say, that means scoop and throw it in.

But love, it can’t be measured – loose or tamped. It can’t be contained; doesn’t run out. It keeps growing, like a fig tree with roots that get deeper and deeper as the years pass.

That day? He could’ve popped a button he was so proud. Troy stood over the photographer as she tucked and propped our little girl into the perfect angelic position. I stood back, watching it all, capturing the moment. New Daddy or not, he was in love with his little girl.

As she grows, we both have commented on how much we are enamored and in love with our daughter. She doesn’t have to do anything special, she’s just ours and that’s enough. We look at pictures and videos of her after she has gone to bed. We delight in her because she is our daughter, before she does anything special or loves us back. In a heartbeat, we will do whatever it takes for her to grow and become all that God has destined for her.

Delight would be an appropriate word. We delight in her. And as the days and months pass, it makes me think how Father God feels about me. Yet it’s beyond the scope of what we feel for Elizabeth, a love that we can experience, but surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 3:19). And like friends told me, you can’t really grasp it until you have your own. I now understand the mama-bear, panic-gripped, tear-stinging, heart-jumping, joy-filled love that you only experience as a mommy or daddy.

We are there for her. Will there be days when we make decisions she doesn’t like? You betcha. Will there be discipline and ways we love her that don’t feel like love at the moment, but are for her good? Yep. Hard days, I’m sure. With love as the driving force, we will train her up in the way she should go (Proverbs 22:6). And cover her with our delight.

This picture of peace, of rest, as Daddy watches… let it be a reminder today of how much God is for you. How much He is there, loving, ready in a heartbeat to catch you if you fall. Ready to train you, delight in you; yes to challenge and cause you to grow. But, all in love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fake fire and burnt pots: how I want to mother

The fake fire is crackling on the tv; it will do for now.

Carrot soup is beginning to simmer on the stove; it’s become a favourite.

And I’m left with time to decide how to use it! Do any other new moms struggle with deciding how to use their free moments the best? I can be horrible at sticking to a goal or plan; even though I’m a planner.

What I wanted to write about was a moment I had last week; the random ones that come unexpectedly when Father God hugs your heart. I’d asked for it, just not in that moment. He seems to like to show up when I least expect it 😉

I was driving into the city to meet my husband at the mall to take our now 8-month-old daughter to meet Santa. She’d begun exploring syllables, and was doing a sweet ‘ba ba ba’ in the backseat. I looked in the rearview mirror and called back to her, “You are such a good talker, honey!” And the thought immediately came to me, “I want to mother out of healing, not out of perfection.” And like clockwork, Adele, Water Under the Bridge, came on the radio. Be it Adele’s powerful vocals or just simply the presence of God wrapping me up, I cried. Like He just hugged me and said to mother out of the renewed heart He is giving me, and not out of my expectations or having everything ‘just so’. For the past several years, I have felt like the gospel has been illuminated in a real way – and the truth of what Christ accomplished on the cross holds me closer in a way it never did before. I could almost cry just typing that. I am learning to see my sin for what it is, and how much hope we have in the cross. How much we miss of the cross, even as Christians! Oh let Him do His work, people. Let Him do His work.

Back to that moment…

Was Elizabeth actually talking in the backseat? She was trying. And doing great, in her way, at the stage she is at. And I want to mother, wife, daughter, friend, sister, homemake, write… out of healing, out of renewal … not out of my perfect stressed-out expectations. Even if they are slow-going attempts at first.

What does that look like? It’s taking shape. It means sipping tea with my husband before I feel I need to clean up the kitchen. It means getting on the floor with Elizabeth…a lot. It means being okay with having an emotional day, a tired day, a stressed day. Knowing God has it all. For me it means being okay with not knowing everything that is to come.

That moment for me as we drove to see Santa at the mall was a reminder that I am at my best, when I let God reveal, heal, and love me how He wants to.

Because if truth be told – the fake fire is on because all day, in the cold of winter, when you’re at home alone… can be long and lonely.

And the soup? It’s in the only big pot I HAVEN’T burnt something in lately. Yeah. “New mother-multitasking” I call it 😉

And this post? It’s not perfect. But my daughter is waking, and I want to go mother AND write without having all the things done I wanted to.

Colossians 3:17 (Amplified) says, “Whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus [and in dependence on Him], giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

I want to do what is before me out of the renewed-love-for-the-gospel-heart that God has given to me – be it as a wife, mother, friend, or family member. Doing it in dependence on Him.

So crackle on dear fake fire, I can enjoy you just as you are.

Bedtime letters and the One Who hung the moon

 

You’ve all gone to bed. All of you. Even you, Pippa. It was a night of breakfast for supper. Daddy bathing Baby. Baby peeing on Daddy. Mommy quickly shampooing carpet while it was okay to be noisy. Baby smiling her heart out for Daddy. And Mommy and Baby closing out the night with snuggles and a song.

And here I am, wanting to use the present quiet for something productive. Useful. Maybe write something New York Times worthy. Or dream of what to cook for my family tomorrow. Yet nothing comes. No great words. No three-step plan on how to accomplish the hidden things in my heart. Nothing beautiful. Nothing noteworthy or insta-happy. And it’s frustrating. I want to make the most of the moments I have on my own. Yet I am lost in the quiet of the night as the tick-tock of the clock overhead drifts the family into dreamland. All but me. I am not in dreamland. I am in the land of, “I want to use this quiet hour to myself to do something useful. Accomplished. Something I can be proud of.”

And then I remember that person I follow on Instagram who is about to be a mother after 10 years of waiting for their miracle. And how she is starting a journal of letters for her babe that he can have when he is 18. And I think, “Aw, I should do that.”

But in all honesty, baby girl, it is not because I want to dote on you with love letters, though I do. Oh how I do. I check my heart. In all honesty, I want to be the best. At everything. Even if it’s not my thing. Accomplish lots in a day so that I can lay my head on my pillow and feel proud. But darling, this mommy-ing thing takes all my time and thoughts. Meal planning. Meal trying. Laundry. Cleaning. Bathing. Dreaming of our next home. Shopping for us. Scheduling, oh the scheduling. I get lost in loving you. And there’s only the three of us! Baby girl, I love hearing your voice come alive. *wipe the tears* I love the way you kiss my face and gaze at me as though I hung the moon for you. Oh, don’t you worry, you’ll meet the One who hung the moon. I will do my best to show you Him.

So when the stillness comes and the day draws to a close, I almost don’t know what to do. Because I get lost in loving you. But the good kind of lost, sweetheart. The kind that takes you down a better road than you could pick for yourself. The kind that has sweet surprises and redemption written all over it. This kind of road is good. It’s called adventure.

This mommying thing is changing me. And I’m so thankful. But somedays, I need to remember, that the most productive thing I am to do is not to fill every waking moment (though that is sometimes necessary). But to let Jesus, the Moon-Hanger, love me, and love the gifts He has given me. You and Daddy are the best ones. xo

Love,

Mommy