Dear Abigail | 14 October 2019

Dear Abigail,

When your Dad and I were engaged, I decided to write in a journal and give it to him on our wedding day. I don’t remember much of what I wrote, but I know that I began writing it by explaining how inconsequential the date of that first entry was. I didn’t start that journal the day we got engaged, or on some other celebration-worthy day, but on some regular day that meant next to nothing. 

This is like that. 

It’s a Monday and I’m at a coffeeshop. I have other things I should be working on - is that motherhood? Just one long list of other things you should be working on that you put aside for this most important thing? - but here I am writing to you. 

You are seven months old. You have a tooth, one singular tooth in the bottom of your mouth on the left, that you used to bite me a few days ago. (If you hadn’t, I wonder how long it would have taken me to notice it.) You are fiercely independent and you smile at everyone and all I have to do to get you excited is raise the pitch of my voice ever so slightly. Two weeks ago you said “Mama” and I melted. Your Dad is still trying to get you to say “Dada.” 

I love being your mom, absolutely love it. You are brightness and joy and laughter. You have made me more tender, more kind. Some moms talk about how their babies smoothed out their rough edges and settled them down, but that has not been my experience with you. You have made my experience of the world sharper, clearer. I am more awake because of you. 

There are times when this awakeness startles me, like when I’m listening to music in the car and a lyric I’ve heard a million times will suddenly ring truer and tears will fill my eyes. Other times it feels as natural as a walk on a summer day. It’s as if when you were born my heart cracked open through my chest and sometimes the wind hitting that part of me that I kept so hidden takes my breath away. 

And yet, it’s just wind. Harmless, beautiful wind. 

All my love,

Mom

Sudden, Startling Joy

It has been a hot minute since I shared anything in this space. Admittedly, I expected the silence in this corner of the internet - caring for a newborn and becoming a mother myself have been full-time jobs that leave very little space for blogging. I started writing this post with the intention of updating all you readers (all 4 of you ;)) but so much in my life has changed in the past few months that to try to sum it all up in one piece of writing would be absurd. 

There is one piece of this story that has been sticking to my side like a bur, a piece that now feels almost too vulnerable to share. I was not excited to become a mother; in fact, I was dreading it with nearly everything in me. The nine months leading up to Abbie’s birth were some very difficult months for me. When I saw two blue lines on a pregnancy test, I honestly wept. Not tears of joy or celebration, but sad, mournful tears. The prayer I prayed most often over my pregnancy was that the Lord would somehow create in me the desire for the baby growing inside my belly because I felt so numb and afraid. 

I was never the girl who dreamed about being a mom. Before Abigail, I had approximately zero experience with babies and children. I had no idea how to change a diaper, soothe a crying baby, or do any of the things mothers do. I’m not sure there was ever a moment during my pregnancy when I felt joy about becoming a mother. And yet, as cliche as it sounds, the moment she was born was one of the most holy, sacred, and JOY-filled moments of my life. It was as if in a crashing wave the Lord answered “YES” to every prayer I had prayed throughout my pregnancy about creating desire in my heart. 

There have been many times throughout the past four months I’ve wondered shouldn’t this be harder? Shouldn’t I be more tired, more sad, more overwhelmed? Shouldn’t I be mournful for the parts of me that have changed and morphed and been lost? I expected motherhood to press against me on all sides like life has pressed against me for the past two years, and yet it hasn’t. I expected the weight of caring for another person to feel heavy and awkward and smothering, and yet it feels light and not burdensome at all. 

I expected a version of motherhood that is nothing like what I am experiencing. I expected that motherhood would be difficult, joyless, wrought with the little, painful deaths of my own desires. But instead of crushing, burdensome weight, my daughter has been, in the words of Madeleine L’Engle, a “sudden, startling joy.” 

I don’t know if there’s any deep spiritual lesson to glean from this, and I honestly don’t know if that’s even my job to try to find one and pin it down like a moth on a piece of glass. What I do know is that the rhythm of naps and nursing and diaper changes has become familiar and comfortable to me. I know that I desperately want to slow down time to soak in these moments filled with the most happiness I’ve felt in a long time. I know that the Lord is in these moments, and I’d like to think he gets excited seeing me experience all these blessings he is showering on me in the same way I get excited when Abbie looks up at me with her big blue eyes and smiles. Sudden, startling joy.

47E6D7B0-F372-46FA-81D2-FE8C6DF3312B.jpg

Quiet Faithfulness

Originally published by Horizons Resources

A year before I started college, I read a stack of books that were hot in the Christian book market (I was the cool kid in high school) and the familiar thread of full-time ministry as the highest calling ran through each. I was not alone. In fact, there was a movement of people my age who grabbed hold of these books and read them cover to cover, determining that full-time ministry was the only worthy calling for any Christian.

I’m sure for some of those people, full-time ministry was a perfect fit for their unique giftings and strengths, but for me and many others, this idea that some work was more spiritual than other work was a heavy burden to carry. These were books that said, “This is how you love and follow Jesus,” and then painted a picture of the Christian life in only primary colors.

The “radical” Christian life has become idolized in our churches and in Christian culture. We view pastors and missionaries as people who have a more direct connection to God, something deeper than what is available to the average person. The outflow of this idolization is a belittling of the lives of small, daily faithfulness.

Continue Reading...

10422214_982623708422528_1525667979971922144_n.jpg