Excuse me, friends. I had a baby and took some time off. This post immersion blends the past two months into something like a nice butternut squash Jillian thought puree. You have been culinarily warned.
Deuteronomy 3:23 "And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers."
Since I've been a mother, I've been brought out and back in several times. God gives us seasons of land and seasons of wandering, some longer and harder or more beautiful and bountiful than others. He gives and takes away. "My heart will choose to say, Blessed be your name."
I've begun to venture out more and more on my own with the two babies. Two months ago this seemed impossible, but somehow you just do it and then one day you realize it wasn't so bad and life is actually getting easier. We are hitting our new normal.
As I've been out and about, I've heard the saying from several, stranger and friend, "You look like you've got your hands full." I've joked back, "Yes but I haven't dropped a baby yet. Several other things, but never a baby!" I'm a serial dropper. I've been guilty of dropping a bowl of oatmeal, mugs and mugs and mugs of coffee, papers, laundry...you name it...all as I've carried my baby securely over my shoulder, in my arm, on my hip.
When God gave me Titus, my hands and heart were full. Overloaded, really. And I felt that nudge to give up a job to take another one up, but really several in 2016. My life was quiet for a season after that new baby, but as full as ever within my soul. Slowly, he gave me a ministry through that story, one of discipleship, to my children, to my church, and to other women. It morphed into my new, very full lifestyle: momming, house church shepherding, meeting in a one on one discipleship relationship, and serving with Dayton Women in the Word.
Since God gave me Matthias, I've been learning this lesson again, the ebb and flow of giving and receiving, a full hands kind of life. One where you have to make some painful nos in order to give your best yeses, because my hands are full and I don't want to drop my babies. My Dad and I were talking about this over breakfast, as I was chewing on hashbrowns and my recent decision to find my dog a new home. He told me, "You can't have it all, and at some point, it is self-destructive to try." I can't carry it all my friends, and that used to disappoint me. Now it is freedom.
I received a job offer in my inbox the other day. In my exhaustion, can I tell you, it was darn tempting? Something to get me out of the house a few days a week, something that is easier to explain than the stay at home life, something where I use my degree, something to contribute. Like a new boyfriend, it was so nice to be pursued. I felt all kinds of pretty and valuable and recognized again for like a millisecond. My toddler and infant don't do that for me.
I LOVE counseling (my old fulltime gig), but you know what? All those things above? WRONG REASONS to do it. And not what God has given my chapped hands with chipped nail polish at the moment. And all the kingdom impact He is giving me right now through these ministries of home and heart? Not worth trading for the other paycheck, the put together look of a working woman, or the affirmation of a boss. I believe God gave me that job offer so I would be forced to remember why I'm doing what I do every day, and why I'm not doing other things, and to be honest, this week, why I can't own a dog right now.
Over the last month, Matthew 20:28 has been repeated in my life several times. My mom quoted it as she gave a challenge to my nieces and nephews in the form of an acts of kindness book during our family Christmas. In the card our house church gave us as a thank you for shepherding this year, it appeared again. When God repeats himself, I've learned to listen.
January 1st is rolling around my friends. Me and new year's resolutions go together. I'm a goal setter, a tangible, "let's do it," planner, task oriented, action steps kind of gal. But to be honest, two babies under two and specific goals don't seem to go together. Too many times, I've laid out expectations for my day in the form of a to do list and resented my kids for my inability to get it done because I had to care for them. And there lies the problem. My kids aren't distractions from my life. Jesus is my life, and he has graciously given them to me to be my main focus right now. I want to be present with them and not trade them for a check off my list. So how do I marry a life of intentionality with a life with small children?
I'm not quite sure, besides to hold my list and goals with an open hand to the Lord. And to keep my main goal to live a life not to be served, but to serve. And in my life, serving my husband and my kids comes first, and then everybody and everything else.
SO, I won't be setting goals, but I have chosen Matthew 20:28 to be my life's verse for 2017, with Jesus as my example. And, can I tell you, I have peace that it is enough? That I am enough? And that this is the most worth-while goal I have ever had? And that my hands are full, but in the best way? And that, by God's grace, I've necessarily had to drop a lot of things, but just as securely as my babies are in my hands, I know I am even more securely in His? I am fully carried, and fully served, and fully loved.
His scarred hands are full to the brim, but never too full for me, or for you, for that matter. And I will drop everything to show that to my kids, to my people, and to you too, dear reader.