This morning I scrambled out of bed with a start. I heard Tim open the front door. Natalie. Here for our prayer walk.
I pulled on some leggings and grabbed my pink zip up hoodie and three year old pink keds. I've always loved pink, but sometimes I wonder if being a BOYMOM has me overcompensating. I check my pink fitibt as I poured myself a mug of coffee. 6:37. As soon as we walked out the door, the breeze hit me. I clung to my "Wild and Free" mug, a thrifty gift from my thrifty friend, Elise. The cold and the dark confirmed that Fall was coming.
According to the calendar, it might as well be here. September 1. Everyone is back to school, the vacations are mostly over, people are making Labor Day plans. The structure we so loved deconstructing at the beginning of the summer we are craving to reconstruct. There are google calendars and menu plans and house church meetings.
This summer was anything but routine, although we found our rhythms. We have never had a summer with two little boys before. Most mornings we played. We hit the splash pad, although Titus didn't love it, all the parks, all the library story times, and a "Tiny Thursday" at the art center. It wasn't really a morning unless it involved adventures with friends. Afternoons the boys napped and I studied and wrote. Evenings we cooked and read and studied and programmed some more.
Titus is soaking up everything. He remembers that "God is Everywhere," his church lesson over the summer, and says we are "vrooming" anytime we go anywhere. We read library books until finally one of us calls it, but that one of us is never Titus. He could care less about potty training. He is still all kinds of "handsy." I'm having trouble being patient with him. He loves to be all up in Matthias' business and I'm daily repenting of my quick angry responses. He has brought me to my knees many times. I'm sure it is only the beginning.
But I'm thankful for God's kindness and tender mercies with Titus. He also just prayed with me this morning that God would heal our hearts. As he is beginning to understand all things, he is also beginning to understand Jesus. He has memorized 3 verses with us this summer, his "ABC's". A friend loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17,) Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other (Ephesians 4:32), and Clothe yourselves with compassion kindness humility gentleness and patience, (Colossians 3:12). You want an oatmeal heart? Try hearing your 2 year old say the word "compassion." Because two of his verses have the word compassion in it, I've been trying to teach him what that means and point out times when he is being compassionate (when he brings Matthias a toy, his pacifier or elephant lovie, gives Matthias a macaroni noodle, etc). Parenting a two year old is hard work, amen? But as I teach Titus compassion, I know the Lord is really teaching me.
Matthias rocked his first summer. He learned his crawl, more of a half crawl, half drag. He doesn't seem to believe he can crawl with his left foot too! He grew in teeth, in chunk, and inches. Off the charts for height! He learned mama, dada, and uh oh! He struggled the most on Bible Study nights when his Dad had to put him to bed, but gradually came to love and bond with Tim more and more.
Sometimes my boys prefer me at this stage, as much as they LOVE Tim. In the moment I really struggle with that because it feels like all too much. I always have a moment when I wish Tim had the boobs so I can sleep or wish that Titus would at least let his Dad be the one to sing him songs and tuck him in, but I know, I KNOW, I have limited time in this space. One day they will need their Dad more than me. One day they won't need either of us. And so Lord, stretch me, and help me embrace being the hero of their small worlds today.
Tim has never had a summer in his 30's before. We began the summer with his 30th birthday party when I got to recognize this man of God I get to call husband. We gathered with friends and family who love him on the top of Flyboy's Deli and eat good food and brag on him all night. In some ways, we scaled back the long adventures with no week long birthdayversary trip, but in other ways we upped the adventure. We were gone more weekends than not. We went to the Herr's cabin in the woods of Pennsylvania twice. We carpooled with my parents to see my cousin get married in Iowa. I reunited with my high school "tribe" in a poolhouse in the middle of nowhere and he went to visit his parents. We went overnight to Columbus for our anniversary, our seventh one!
As I'm typing I got a text from Tim. He's asking me if I want a coffee from the new coffee shop downtown after he gets off work. The man knows the way to my heart. Seven years in, we are still asking God to increase our genuine love for one another, for it covers a multitude of sins. Right now we are daring to dream past the PhD, and praying for God to direct our steps. Adoption? New job? Mission trip? Minivan? Recovery house church? Dig our roots deeper and get our hands dirtier or look to rebuild your kingdom elsewhere? Where? and When?
No answers yet, but trust is here. Peace is here. We look to God, who has never failed in directing us yet. We may be blind to 2018, but we are together here and now and with God in the right here and now. We are changing diapers, programming on the desktop, making dinner, writing theses, studying the Bible and checking on our neighbors and living our daily lives. And all of it is holy, every last boring detail. Because all of it we dedicate to you Lord.
This summer, I found out there is a teacher inside me. Where has she been hiding? I have never taught 12 weeks of Bible Study before. And i loved it. Every minute of it. Sure, it stretched me, scared me. It is terrifying to think that my loud mouth could lead someone astray in their walk with God. I felt that heavy responsibility acutely. But every time I opened the Bible I felt like God was saying "trust me" and "teach them what I'm teaching you." And God showed me that the main work He was doing in them was in the secret places and the boring places and the playdoh and car pool places and not on Thursday nights. Yet, knowing how God was working in the women I taught energized me. I often couldn't sleep after a Bible Study night because I was so eager for more. More truth. More Jesus. More rebuilding. More renewing.
And now that it is over, it's bittersweet, but I'm already knee deep in the next medium: podcasting! He's a good Father. If it's not one gift, it's another. He has never left me without instruments to praise Him with. This blog is one. And how I've missed writing it! Writing Bible study lectures took its place in my time, but God is giving me space again to type out my oatmeal heart again.
I'm writing on my bed, propped on the new fancy pants pillows my husband got me for my birthday, feet wrapped in the LLBean slippers he got me for Valentines day a few years ago that loyally don my feet from September to May. The babies are quiet. My chai tea is empty. My heart is grateful. A new season is upon us. I am lighthearted, positively giddy, and hopeful at the thought of what my Good Father has to grow and harvest within all of us.