Friday, April 27, 2012

Mistakes and Outtakes

I often feel God knocking on my heart. Some days I'm welcoming and embrace Him with open arms. Other days I smile and nod but carry on with the ordinary.

Then there are the days I turn off the lights and pretend no one is home. It's not that I don't want Him in. I really do. But it seems that He wants more than to come in and make Himself cozy. He wants to walk around and rearrange the furniture of my heart. He goes to the dark places that I keep hidden behind curtains because there just isn't enough time to clean. Maybe I'm not ready to clean or I just don't know where to start.

 I look around inside these walls and wonder how I let it get so out of order. He holds my hand as I dig through the litter. Why is it hard for me to get rid of clutter? He patiently shakes His head no when I ask, "Can't I just keep this one thing?" He doesn't pressure me to let go, but I know to my core that by holding on to it I will miss the blessings He has waiting for me.

I feel the rawness of being exposed and the pain of giving up something I want to keep. I also feel God's grace and mercy as He holds me assuring me that my obedience will be rewarded.

Rearrange my heart, Lord. It's yours.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

One Blessed Momma

I shamelessly ask for birthday gifts from my children. I even tell them exactly what I want. My usual requests are clean house, obedience and no fighting, those are my three favorite things. Together, they make for a happy mom.

This year I wanted more. I begged asked for individual music performances from each of them. The little kids were thrilled, the big ones.......not so much. But I know that they love their mom and I can usually get what I want.   Shhhh.....don't tell them.

Emmaly started my day with sweet written words.

(When did mommy become mom?......sigh.) I got serenaded all day from my little three.

Mommy's boy made me a "Birthday Queen Chair". Here's where I sat while enjoying precious 5 year old hands rubbing my feet. I love my little man.

I gave a specific song request to Austin. Everyone else chose their own songs. Dakota was the most reluctant. I agreed to no video or pictures for my shy (right!) girl. (Next year I'm asking for video too!) She performed Adele's "Someone Like You". It was awesome!

Brooklyn played and sang "Skyscraper". Demi Lovato would have been proud.  So beautiful.

Also... they memorized their pieces for me. (Above and beyond!)

Austin played a diverse variety of songs for me, "More Than Words", "Enter Sandman", "Give Me Faith", "Sweet Home Alabama", and the one I requested , my all-time-very-favorite-song ever "For The Moments I Feel Faint".

I did not have dry eyes listening to him play. In fact, I had to consciously control my breathing and swallow my sobs. When did my frog chasing, Lego playing, sword fighting, little boy turn into a young man?  Where did 17 years go?

He even gave me the gift of a picture with his mommy. 

My kids blessed my socks off! Even if I had to be a little pushy, I couldn't have received better gifts from them. It was a great day. And I am the luckiest mom alive!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Loving the Unexpected

The day I found out I was going to have child number six, I cried. I wish I could say they were happy tears, but they were not. If someone wanted to give me a baby (or 10) I'd happily take it, but after 11 plus years of being either pregnant or nursing, selfishly, I was done sharing my body. I'm one of the unlucky women who is sick the majority of the pregnancy. And doesn't it make sense that if barfing is part of the daily routine then gaining lots of extra pounds shouldn't be? It didn't work that way for me. Monthly I had to endure the well-meaning doctor advice "You need to watch your weight." "You're not as young as you were before, it won't be as easy to lose." My interpretation: "You are fat and old." That does wonders for a emotional gal's already fragile self image.

The thought of telling family and friends that we were once again expecting was nearly as bad as my first bout of morning sickness. Call it hormones but I wasn't ready to hear the normal  "Were you planning on another?" "How many more are you going to have?" and my favorite "Do you know how you get that way?" No, please tell me how one becomes with child. I can laugh at these lines now, but in the midst of newly accepting the news myself, I just wanted to hear, "Awesome! A baby! Congratulations!"

The worst was the guilt I felt being so blessed with children while having several friends struggle with infertility. I was ashamed of my selfishness in not wanting to be pregnant while they would give anything to be. False guilt, maybe, but I dreaded telling those friends most of all.

After I jumped off the all-about-me train, I realized what a blessing God had again chosen for me. I embraced the pregnancy (sickness, 50 extra pounds and all) and couldn't wait to meet my precious bundle.

 My babies are obstinate from the very beginning with most being two weeks over due. Which, really is okay, because I'm never ready anyway. (Imagine that, me not ready!) After the most amazing labor and delivery EVER my heart was stolen once more. 

Faith Elizabeth was every bit worth the unpleasant pregnancy. I'm so glad God knows better than I do.

She was, by far, my hardest baby. If ever I wanted a baby to communicate their needs, it was her. She made me doubt my skills as a mother, not to mention my sanity (which I still question at times). It was hard to believe someone so little could be the commander of the house. She was....and often still is.

She was strong-willed from the start. I love a girl who knows what she wants and is determined to get it, but being borderline uncompromising makes for some difficult mommy moments.

Secretly, I admire her spunk. I know determination can be a wonderful characteristic when used for God's glory. I have no doubt that He has extraordinary plans for this girl. He has already used her to change and shape me.

I have learned there is a difference in the things that I think I need and the things I truly do need. Having Faith, I have been shown how to embrace and look forward to the unexpected. My way may be the easy one with road signs that tell me the exact route with the fewest curves and detours. But God's path is full of beauty, beauty that I sometimes miss when I'm unfocused and traveling alone.

God hasn't finished revealing to me where I need to grow and mature. I am shown daily how weak and stubborn I can be. (Since being weak and stubborn are opposites, shouldn't they cancel each other out?) I am so thankful that He used a beautiful gift of a surprise pregnancy to open my eyes to what true blessings are.

Happy 2nd Birthday to my perfect little Surprise!!

**These pictures were all taken by my amazingly talented sister-in-law, Apryl. I see another photo shoot in the near future, sis. :)