He Can

Claire is frustrated.

We’re beginning the process of potty training and that means pants off and on a hundred times.  Claire is Miss Independent and can do it herself thankyouverymuch.  I let her because I like that scrappy side of her.  I like her determination and her belief that she can do anything.

However, she keeps putting both of her legs in one hole.  Then she shrieks with frustration.

“Let me help you.”  I say.

“NO!”  she cries and she sticks her tongue out at me.

She’s mad at me because she can’t get her pants on right.  Her way isn’t working but she’s mad at me.

I can almost hear God’s chuckle as I realize that He and I have the same dynamic.

I can do it myself.  I will try and fail and try and fail and try and fail.  And then I will get mad at HIM for the outcome.

“Let me help you.”  He says.

And I dig my heels in and say “NO!”

But my way still doesn’t work.  No matter how many times I try and it takes the emptying of my own will to really get it right.  To surrender fully and let Him do it.

I think about how people always say, “The Lord helps those who helps themselves.” and how we all kind of stand on that as Biblical truth.  But it’s not.  It’s something Ben Franklin said, not something Jesus said.  And while I think there’s some wisdom in doing our best to live out our potential, to do all we can to be productive…what I find is this:  the Lord helps those who stop striving and start surrendering.

His strength is fully exposed in our weakness.  When we say, “I can’t.” He offers a hand and says, “But I can.”

We can’t do anything apart from Him.  Even our sin is something we can’t fix…not without God.

Claire’s pants lay in a heap on the floor.  She’s decided she doesn’t need them and I can’t blame her.  When something isn’t working, it isn’t working.  She’s moved on from that and has in fact taken her shirt off too and is on to playing her “Ipad phone” (really an ancient ipod that belongs to my niece) and waiting for the timer to beep.  Next potty break is coming soon.

I hope I can teach her to surrender to God, that sometimes it’s okay to say, “I can’t.”  Those two words are so hard for me.

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Hello Grief

Grief is sneaky like Poor Me and Discouragement.

She shows up unexpectedly and sometimes with no warning at all.  All of a sudden, there she is and the sight of her knocks the wind out of you.

Grief and I have unfinished business-Ashermy Paw, my old church.  I have processing to do on each one and most days, I’d rather pretend that I don’t.

But there she is.  Grief.  She waves to me with a small smile and her face says that our meeting is inevitable.

The difference between Grief and Poor Me and Discouragement is that Grief is a healthy friend.  She means me good and not harm.  She knows I need her to get through the valley.  Those other two…they want to hold me back.  But not Grief.

So, even though spending time with her hurts…I know it’s for the greater good.

And so I start with Asher.

I have not forgotten that Nora is supposed to have her twin with her.

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I have not forgotten those two little hearts beating.  I have not forgotten the day that I found out that Baby B’s little heart stopped beating.  I have not forgotten that he waits for us in heaven.

And sometimes I stare at Nora in awe and my heart breaks a little…because while she is my miracle baby and I am so, so grateful…I really also just want her twin too.

I’ve thought about Baby B, about Asher a lot lately.  As Nora grows and the scary preemie nicu days fade away and she is just such a treausre, I wonder what Asher would’ve looked like.  My heart aches remembering that she is one of two.  What would he have looked like?  Would he have been the warrior that she is?  Would he have been snuggly and sweet like she is?

 

And I  know, I know, I know…Asher’s passing gave Nora a bigger chance at survival, at thriving.  I know that having two in the NICU and having two newborns at home while I still so slowly recover from my own version of Nora’s birthday would’ve been so much harder…but knowing that it would’ve been harder and scarier and all of that doesn’t mean I didn’t want them both.

I did.  I wanted them both.

And now I won’t have any more babies.  I am mostly okay with this, especially in my logical, sensible (you have six, you crazy woman!) part of my brain.  But there is a pang.  Because seven is a good number.  And we almost had seven.

All I have to remember kid #7 is a few ultrasound photos.

So I pour Grief a cup of coffee and we sit together and we think about Baby B.  And tears fall and I hold Nora and am so grateful for her.  Thankful that I only have to grieve one of them because my other one is here safe.

I know I’ll see Grief again.  I know she’ll be back by.  She comes and she goes.  Grief is not finite.  But she brings with her hope.  Because, if I let Him, God is present with Grief and God counts our tears as precious.  And God brings joy in the morning.

Milestones

It seems like we’re always passing milestones and I’m always talking about milestones and I’m always thinking about milestones.

Yesterday, Nora was twelve weeks old.  She snuggled on my chest and she feels heavy now.  It used to be that she didn’t feel heavy at all.  I remember the first time I held her and she was so impossibly small.

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But now she is weighty in my arms.  And I count every day of the last twelve weeks as joy.  Every day.

I think about milestones and how I’m always passing them.  I remember when Julia was a baby and every month brought new discoveries and changes and how exciting it all was.  I was always looking forward to the next milestone, the next month.

And then I had Aubrey and then Chase and I wanted those milestones to slow down some because it seriously goes by so fast.  I thought then that Chase would be my last baby and I grieved as much as rejoiced when we passed from one milestone to the next.

Now I have these three little girls and milestones are even more bittersweet.  I am proud and excited as they grow and change.  I love seeing them turn into little people, less extensions of me and more just who they are made to be.

But these milestones mean that they are all growing up and growing away and while I have lots of years of little ones left…I can assure you that it truly zips by and all of a sudden you’re on the edge of adulthood with them.

One of the hardest things so far about being a mom is this:  Letting them grow up.

Last week, Aubrey was going to drive herself to Chick-fil-a and to play practice.  I felt like the dad in this commercial:

Because as she was getting ready to go, I watched her tying her shoes and flashed on a memory of teaching her to tie.  Of her small fingers fumbling the laces, learning, trying.  I saw my little Aubrey, my five year old Aubrey…and I’m supposed to just wave cheefully good bye as she drives away?

She’s still my baby.

232323232fp53272>nu=3249>455>678>WSNRCG=323774-5-8-96nu0mrjBut yes, the answer is yes.  We can’t live in fear for our children.  That’s not living.  We ARE supposed to wave cheerfully as they go out and try new things and yes, as they fail and fall down and have to start over.  The point of parenting isn’t to prevent mistakes, bad decisions, pain, disappointment…the point of parenting is to raise and equip a human being who can handle failure with grace.  One who can learn from mistakes, one who can cope with disappointment.  People who are eager to try new things.  We aren’t raising children…we’re creating adults.  We can’t keep them small and dependent.  That’s the beautiful, painful truth of it all.  We pour our whole selves, all of our hearts and souls into loving them so that they can leave us and live out their lives.  This is a sacrificial job.

And so, I watched Aubrey tie her shoes and my heart played a slide show of Aubrey through the years and my stomach flip flopped and I thought I might cry as she drove away.  But I waved cheerfully and she did fine.  She was brave, she did it and she did fine.

And now she is turning eighteen on Thursday.  Eighteen.  My wild little dervish who would point her finger at you and say, “Don’t you make me serious.”  She loved Pocahontas 2.  Her favorite outfit was a slip. She was convinced she knew how to river dance.

This amazing little wild child has turned into a pretty amazing adult and I’m proud of her.

And isn’t that what it’s all about?

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