Posts filed under Letters to my girls

Letters to My Girls: The Prayer I Stopped Praying

Baby girls,

The past year, like every year, has brought a thousand woes. I’ve seen families grieve empty seats at the table. New mamas leaving the hospital with empty blankets that should be full of new life, only to go home to an empty crib. Marriages on the rocks, full of hurt, betrayal, harsh words.  Women taking multiple pregnancy tests only to see one line appear over and over and over again. That foster mom who wonders how the child she has mothered over the last three years will do now that he’s beyond her care. Moms and Dads spending hours in hospitals advocating for their sick child. Friends hoping that this next relationship is the one, only to be heartbroken and left to attend weddings alone and face awkward questions… yet again. Parents fighting and praying for the wayward child.

It’s everywhere. Disappointment. Heartache. Brokenness. And I’ve come to the realization that I can’t control which heartaches you face.

Three years ago we had just found out that we were expecting the two of you. It was a joyous season full of celebration and preparation. Many nights I would lie awake rubbing my growing belly praying for you. Praying for God to grow you into women who love Him. Praying for God to shield you from the brokenness of this world.  That he would keep you from harm and hardship. That you would grow strong and healthy, and that you’d live a life that honors Him.

It is every mother’s prayer.

But my precious ones, my prayer has changed over the last few months.

Over the last year, I’ve watched my own mother pray hundreds of silent prayers for the Lord to take a burden from me. Again, it’s what we mothers do. When our children’s hearts break… ours do too. But through this dark season I’ve learned more about who God is as Abba Father than I have in the all my years of reading about Him. Without the pain I would have never fully known that when gray skies hover, God draws near to the brokenhearted.

Over the past year, I’ve learned that God doesn’t abandon his own in the storm. He doesn’t leave them alone to weather the dark skies, fierce wind, and never-ending rain; rather he builds a shelter and invites us in. Although he can part the Red Sea and calm the storm with just a few words, He doesn’t always make the clouds part and the sun shine when we want him to. But that doesn’t mean He is any less good. In fact, I’d wager that these hard seasons are when He does some of His best work. The real beauty from ashes stuff.

You see no one wants the ashes. No one wants to walk through the pain to get to the beauty. And no mother wants to watch her children walk through dark days. But I can no longer in good conscience pray for your life to be exempt from hardship, rejection, or pain. 

So I’ve stopped.

Instead, I’ve started begging the Lord to be near to you when the brokenness of this world comes knocking at your door. I’ve spent countless hours pleading with God to not allow hurt to crush or harden your heart, but instead to soften it towards your maker. I pray that you never get too comfortable and believe the lie that you can do this life without our Savior. And when hard moments remind you of this reality, I'm praying that you allow our God to do what he does best. I'm praying that you find his shelter and give him your ashes so he can turn them into something beautiful.

My little ones, you are strong, but He is stronger. And when you can’t feel God’s presence during difficult moments, I want you to stop trying to feel Him and instead look for His strong hand moving on your behalf. Look at the people he’s placed around you, the ways in which He’s provided, and mostly look to the cross and the empty tomb. Because when all else fails, that empty tomb brings more hope for our broken world than any other moment in history. And if that empty tomb is BIG enough to provide hope to all mankind, that means it’s big enough for your troubles too.

So I’m done praying for a trouble-free life. Not because I don’t love you, but because I love you too much. I love you too much to wish you to know a life without need of a great Savior. I love you too much to think I can control what your life holds. And I love you so much that it is my prayer, every morning and evening, that in your highest highs and your lowest lows you draw near to the one who loves you more than I.

Much love,

Posted on March 12, 2015 and filed under Twinsies, Letters to my girls.

Letters to My Girls: Two's

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I think every post that I have about the girls starts out with “Where does the time go?” or “Man Time flies…” and although I’d like to get creative and change it up a bit but… HOLY COW WHERE IN THE WORLD DOES THE TIME GO??????

I really just don’t get it.

I have two two year olds. Two walking, talking, sassy bundles of joy who sleep in big girl beds. There is so much to capture. So many moments I don’t want to forget and seeing how things change every time I blink... I better get started!

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There are a lot of fun things about this stage but a few of my fav things about this stage are your language learning skills, your wrestling/giggling matches, and your joy in discovering new things.

Ok… your language. I mean… your dad and I could sit around and listen to you “talk” all day. You’re definitely slow to talking, but it has been such a fun journey. You still twin talk, but amongst the twin babble there are real words. Some we can make out, others not so much. But every week you get better and better.  My personal favorite is that you get some of your labials mixed up. For example instead of saying “candle” you say “camble.” And instead of "paci" you say "papi." And although sometimes you call me “mama,” you also call me “Baba.” And “look” is “gook…” and so on and so on. We love it. And if you forever call me Baba, I’d be 100% ok with it. 

Ok… your wrestling matches. They. Are. Awesome. Like really really awesome. I think you might have a future in the WWF… ok maybe not… but your daddy & I get the biggest kick out of it. I’d go on and on… but I think this video is enough (fast forward to 35 sec and it gets going).

And this one is just of yall laughing... I mean... Be still my heart. Yall are awesome. (Also... I promise I dress you and bathe you... Promise. But let's keep it real. Some days are best spent in jammies and messy hair. These videos capture that. <3 )

And again… your joy. OOOOOOOF. It just makes my heart explode. I love how when you look in the sky and see and airplane or bird, your eyes light up and you yell “GOOK” or “OOOOH!” or “WOW!” Your eyes get large as saucers and my heart explodes, because I love looking at the world through your eyes.

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The newness. The awe. The joy.

Speaking of JOY.  You love your grandparents A LOT… and it’s a shame the feeling isn’t mutual. JUST KIDDING. It’s ridiculous how much they love you back. You love to facetime with Grammy & Papaw and when I ask you to give them kisses, you kiss the phone instead of blowing kisses, so by the time I’m done my phone is slobbery and disgusting. But Grammy & Papaw love it. Then there’s Kiki & Gdaddy. You flip out when you see them and start squealing and yelling “Geeeeeee-daddddeeee” & “KiKeeeee.” Now whenever we say their names you run to the front door, which is awesome if they’re coming… but incredibly unfortunate whenever they aren’t.  Hello terrible two’s.

Oh and speaking of terrible two’s. I pray that one day God will give you beautiful joyful babies who are just as passionate and opinionated as you are. You’re welcome for that. And that’s all I’ll say about that… other than this... terrible two’s are a very real thing. You’ve been warned.

I guess what I’m trying to say is… Girlies… you are loved. A lot. Like a whole bunch. Like so much that sometimes I wonder if you’ll ever understand HOW MUCH you’re loved by us. Or if you'll be ruined by it all. But the truth is we love being your parents. Every second. Every sleepless night. Every giggle. Every fever. Every walk. Every “Baba” & “Dadee.” Every bath time. You are thoroughly and completely loved & we count it a privilege to be your parents (even during the terrible twos)... Such a joy.

Happy two's my two little ones!

Much love,

Baba

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Letters to My Girls: Do Not Retreat.

My Girls,

You are too little to realize it yet, but this world is broken.  Very broken. It is not how God originally designed it to be. And one day, when this realization becomes true to you – I pray that I can be there to hold your hand, wipe your tears, and be a sounding board for your thoughts and questions. For now though, all I can do is pray for you and this future moment.

This week a lot has gone wrong in the world. Men, women, and children in Iraq are being murdered for their faith. An unarmed boy was shot by police & left in the street for four hours in St. Louis. There is an Ebola outbreak – and selfish people in our country are way too concerned with their well-being that they say stupid things on national television or the internet. A well-known pastor has fallen from good-graces with our denomination.  We have friends who have lost babies. We’ve seen sons and daughters bury parents & siblings. People are being diagnosed with cancer. And all over my facebook feed I see people hurting from illness and loss.

It’s enough to make you want to curl up inside your home and retreat. But little ones, when the moment comes when you fully understand the frailty of humanity, retreat you must not.

Throughout the Old Testament we are pointed to a God who cares about justice. He cares about the orphan, the widow,  & the sojourner. Over and over in Scripture we are told to seek justice and to treat the widow and fatherless well. And if for a second you doubt God’s care for the poor here are just a few verses that speak of His unfailing love:

“Father of the Fatherless and Protector of widows is God in His holy habitation” Psalm 68:5

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”   James 1:27

“You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will burn…” Exodus 22: 22-23

“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute” Psalm 82:3

“Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.”  Jeremiah 22:3

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

These are just a few, but Scripture is packed full of a stories and verses that point back to a God who doesn’t just care for the poor and oppressed, but comes to their defense. That is, after all, our story too.  We have been adopted into God’s family. We were once sojourners, but now we have been given an eternal Father, a magnificent Savior, and the Holy Spirit to guide us in this life.  We were outsiders, who have been taken in. This is our story; it is our song. And just as it is life giving, it is life changing. And when dark days come, and come they will, I want you to fight the urge to retreat. Instead I want you to remember your song, and push into the one who will make all things new.

In moments when you want to retreat or feel paralyzed, I want you to pray hard little ones. When you wake in the dark night overwhelmed with grief, I want you to remember these verses and remember that the God you serve neither slumbers nor sleeps & He loves His children with reckless abandon.

Where you see injustice, I want you to be God’s hands and feet and take comfort in knowing that YOU can be a picture of God’s redemptive story to this broken world. I know that at moments, you might feel paralyzed by all that’s going on around you. I know on weeks like this one… I surely do. But then after I catch my breath and realize that the “saving” is not up to me, I look around and ask God where I can do my part.

I’ll be honest with you. This is one of the many reasons why we’re adopting. We see the brokenness that has invaded our culture regarding “unwanted” children & we feel God’s hand compelling us towards action.  (Clarification: We know that most birth moms very much so WANT their children, the “unwanted” was referring to our culture’s push towards abortion, not birth mom’s lack of wanting!). We want our family to be a conduit of grace in our society. We believe that ALL children are a blessing and have equal and great worth in the eyes of our Lord. And we know that we can love you and the other children that God brings into our home, because He first loved us. And through any hardship, He is greater my little ones.

Where we see a racial divide, Jesus is Greater and He is better than our comfort zones. Where we see a financial divide, Jesus is Greater and all things are His and so we give and receive generously to/from one another. Where we see hunger, and pain, and loss, and hurt, again, may Jesus is Greater be your anthem. But may it not only be your anthem in word, but your war cry in deed.

He is not a God who retreats. He is not a God who quits. He is strong. He is mighty. He is GOOD. And He has fought for you and will one day make all things new. 

Because of this, you can be brave and trust Him. Evaluate your giftings, your stage of life, what you are capable of, and then fight back. If you’re a writer, I want you to write. If you’re a teacher, teach truth passionately. If you’re a mother, I want you to LOVE selflessly. If you’re a business woman, work hard and give generously.  If you’re an engineer, create better ways of life for others. If you’re a missionary, never, ever, give up.

This week my mama’s heart initially prayed for your safety and for your comfort in days to come, but I know that those prayers are selfish. And that God did not give you to me so I could teach you to love comfort. Instead, during your little years I’m training my heart to pray for more than that. So tonight, as I go to sleep… I’m praying that you will abandon modern comforts with reckless abandon and run to what God bends your heart towards. I'm praying for courage to stand for truth, for tenderness to God’s call, for your spirit to be kind, for your hearts to be discerning, minds to be quick to learn, and your feet would be quick to go. Oh my little ones, one day when you’re older I pray that on weeks like these you will be strong & courageous, deeply rooted in the faith. May you walk into the trenches to hold hands with those who are hurting. May you open your home, your hearts, and your wallets to those who are truly in need.  May you love deeply and without prejudice. And may you live anything, but a comfortable, boring, self-absorbed life. 

Do not retreat.

Much love,

Your mama