Tindell Baldwin »

I’m sitting here on the eve of my ninth wedding anniversary and trying to remember what I thought it would be like this far into marriage. Someone told me that statistically years 7-9 are the hardest and looking back at the past two years I’d have to agree. New adjustments, new house, another baby, and I wonder if I could have prepared myself for the hard what would I say. We are currently on the blissful upswing but I wonder if I would have listened to my own advice, here’s what I’d say…

Dear me,

I know you thought that this was the hard part. You thought that finding a great man was the real battle. I know you didn’t want to listen when people told you that rocky times lay ahead. Love is like a thick fog you can’t see through and you’re so young but I know you don’t think you are. I won’t try to tell you it will be hard because you wouldn’tbelieve me anyway so I’ll just give you some pointers for the… um… speed bumps that lay ahead.

 

  1. Assume the best, this is hard for you. You have a long history of men not living up to their word. He’s not like the others. He’s good. Solid. Caring. He is patient and loves you well. So when he says something you want to interpret as underhanded, ask instead of assume. Most of the time he has no idea you just filtered his simple comment through the lens of your past and fears. Talk about it, don’t walk around with your panties in a wad… its unattractive.
  2. Have fun, for the love have fun. Life throws you some real curves. Things don’t always go as planned but you can enjoy life as much as you choose to. Ben’s better at this than you, he knows how to laugh. He knows how to take hospital rooms and tense moments and make you smile. He’s good at throwing a good old-fashioned dance party right there in the kitchen. Let your guard down. Laugh more. You will have plenty of time to be serious.
  3. Your kids are amazing but he is too. Now right now you can’t imagine putting anyone before him. The thing is though motherhood is powerful and it turns out you are more maternal than you thought. The babies are wonderful (yea you have a few) but when they leave the house, which is the goal, you two are left standing and you want to be standing side by side holding hands. Also, if ministry teaches you one thing it’s that nothing will affect your kids in a more powerful way than your marriage.
  4. Stop keeping score, right now! From this day forward there will be a silent scorecard in your head and the temptation is to see who does more. He does the dishes, one point. You clean all the bathrooms, five points. You wake up with the kids, 1000 points. He goes to work, 10000. You stay home with kids, not a number high enough. The thing is, you always seem to award yourself more points and in the end, no one wins. Stop keeping score and just support each other. Oh and ask for help when you need it, he can’t read your mind.
  5. Weep together and pray together. I know you hate crying. Actually, you hate all strong emotions except anger. You like control, but weakness and vulnerability are bonding. Lean on him when you get bad news, tell him when you’re sad, and don’t expect him to get it right every time. He’s a really good shoulder.
  6. Saying something that stings hurts both of you. Oh if you could just get this one right if you could hold your tongue from all the hurt that you will spew out when disappointment, loneliness, and frustration happen. If you could just see that your words give life or cause wounds. Those are the only two options. Don’t take it out on him. He deserves more respect than one-liners that sting. Give it to him.
  7. Hormones are crazy. I know you think you understand this now but let me just warn you babies make you think and feel things in a whole new way and the only positive ones seem to be aimed at the baby. Don’t trust estrogen or prolactin or whatever else is coursing through your body in a year or so after you have a baby. It’s a liar, you will get along again. Things will be fine. Power through.
  8. Marriage is as amazing as you hoped it just takes more work than you thought. Even your ordinary life feels extraordinary when you get to walk it with someone you love
  9. You need God, like a lot. At the end of the day you can only control your half of it and thats scary, trust God with the other half. I know you think you could change a cat into a dog if you tried hard enough but you are naïve. Ben is exactly who he needs to be, love him for that, and pray when things are hard. No one will get you like the man standing beside you. Don’t take it for granted. Cheer him on, talk less, and don’t take for granted his belief in you. Its truly astounding all that he puts up with.

Love,

A much more tired version of you

  • Anna Etheriedge - Great! True! Loved it all -from 51 year old- 30 year married to my BFF – looking at a possible empty nest… someday… well maybe… at least during weekdays perhaps :))ReplyCancel

You’ll miss it. Cherish it. Enjoy the little years. They will grow up before you know it. It goes so quickly. Don’t blink. Those are the best days.

These are the kind of comments I have gotten from well-meaning strangers, older parents, and anyone watching my kids since I entered baby town almost six years ago. People always like to say these things at the weirdest moments too. It was never when my kids were all behaving out in public (probably because that rarely happens) that I’d get these not so subtle reminders. It was the target meltdowns and chick fila diaper explosions. It was days when the baby was inconsolable while grocery shopping and then another kid would loudly announce they had to pee while the oldest asked one hundred times for a new stuffed animal. Perhaps it was because they knew it was all true and they wanted to make sure I remembered.

To be honest, there have been lots of points over the last five years that I didn’t think any of it was true.

Like when we had a newborn and were living on fragmented sleep and lots of coffee. Or when we had a baby, a potty training toddler, and then found out Claire had severe eye issues and I was more overwhelmed than I knew was humanly possible. Or when Briggs was born and Claire was way under two and I yelled outside the car before we left our house one day “why is this so hard”?  Or every winter when flu season rolls around and we all live in fear for a few months (ok maybe no one actually misses that). Or those days when I look at the clock and realize there are way too many hours before bedtime. Or anytime Ben and I have fought out of pure exhaustion or desperation because it’s hard to connect with so many little people needing you.

On those days I thought, there’s no way I’ll miss it, it doesn’t seem to be going by at anything but a snail’s pace and all I cherish somedays are bedtime and naptime. I thought maybe this was all concocted by sentimental moms and grandmothers who forgot all of the really hard details that motherhood really consists of.

Yet here I am about to graduate one kid out of the baby years and one more into school and I looked at a mom with just a newborn the other day and said, “enjoy every moment, it goes so fast.” And I meant every word.

Because while I hate to admit this, it’s all true. You will, in fact, miss it one day. Colbie, our 30 lb baby, will be two in two months and I realized I really don’t have a baby anymore. I do miss it. I miss holding a little baby on my hip even if it was always at the most inconvenient times. I am about to enter what I once thought of as parenting mecca when one kid goes to “real” school and the other two will be in preschool yet somehow its bittersweet (the real school not preschool… preschool is the bomb).  I’m mourning the time I won’t have with her anymore. I’ve only got one kid in diapers and… actually, I’m good with that.

It really is all true though, time chases you down in the midst of you chasing down all these little ones and you wake up and realize you’re in a new season. Sure, you enjoy it, but you get a little sappy at night (when they are all asleep) and remember the days when they weren’t so independent.

So, mommas, I’m here to tell you it’s all true, I only have one foot out of this season and I already miss it. I blinked and Claire has her first day of kindergarten next week. I do think these precious years where we’ve been in somewhat of a cocoon of home and preschool are awesome. I do know there is much good that lies ahead but we are about to crack open the cocoon just a tiny bit and let the light shine on all the real imperfections of the world. Gone will be the days of PJs till mid-morning and all of us snuggled in my bed watching cartoons while I drink coffee and wake up.

The real truth about this season is it teaches you so much if you let it, for me it’s been utter dependence on God. It’s taught me to soften and take time for life hurts both big and little. It has taught me that I cannot do it all but on the flip side I am far more capable than I ever gave myself credit for. It had shown me that I do not have control of much but I can always control how well I love others. It has shown me that community is vital and investing in friends is worth so much more than I thought. Mostly it has taught me to give grace, to others and myself, most of us are doing the best we can.

So for all of you teetering on the brink of exhaustion wondering if you will ever actually miss it, you will. I promise.

First Wee School Christmas... nailing itI remember the first day I dropped you off, a sweet mom’s morning out class, just three hours a week. You held my hand as you walked in with your chubby toddler wobble while I pushed your newborn brother in the stroller. I remember looking down at you and saying, this is school and I’ll be back in a few hours. Your eyes filled with tears and I promised I would be back, I wondered if you were ready.

Then today you strolled in talking about how you were going to miss your teachers this summer and gave me a hug goodbye and ran off to your class. Your last day of preschool and I held back tears as I told you I loved you. I made it all the way to the parking lot till I let them fall heavy in the car. I thought I’d be ready for this. I thought I’d be ready to say goodbye to the few hours a week preschool and hello to real-world school. I thought these past years of Christmas programs, bible stories, and drawing letters had prepared you for the next stage. And they have. And you are. But I’m not.

What I didn’t count on is that I wouldn’t be ready to let go when the time came. I didn’t count on numbering the days you had left at home with us until you’re gone, not 10 hours a week but 37. I didn’t count on your brother being your best friend and telling me how

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much he misses you when you aren’t around. I didn’t realize how much I would miss your morning dance parties and made up songs. I didn’t realize how much I’ve loved slow breakfasts and lazy cartoons before we are all ready to take on the day. I didn’t realize how much I had taken for granted that I’ve had the opportunity to be by your side for most of your life.

So while I watched you bound down the preschool hall today for the last time I couldn’t help but wonder how we will all do next year without you, when you’re where you need to be but where we will miss you so terribly much.

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I thought I’d be ready. I thought my heart would take about five years to prepare for the day you move on just ever so slightly but it turns out it needs more. I read a blog once that said, “I don’t want more babies I want more time with the babies I have.” Today my heart it breaking just a little as I realize I want more time with you. I want more days where we live in the cocoon of staying home and staying close. I’m not ready for the world and the questions that will come as you take steps towards more freedom. I’m not ready for you not to want to walk hand in hand as you ask me why God made dolphins without feet, or why summer is so hot, or when we can go on a picnic again. I’m not ready… but I’ll gear up and get on board and cheer you on as you walk confidently into the next thing. You won’t feel my fear or hear me asking if you can do it. I know you can, but I know there will be days like today when I cry in the car with my sunglasses on and hope you don’t see because growing up is harder than I thought.

It’s funny how over the past five years there were two things I always thought I needed more of, time and freedom, I thought if I could just get a little more of that I won’t feel as stressed or tired or overwhelmed etc. Well here I am standing at the door of both and what I really want is what I’ve had all along.Displaying 5697788752_IMG_0541.JPG

We bought a house that was a flip. It was built in the 1970’s but a builder came in and gutted it and made everything shiny and new. We walked in and it and fell in love. It had all the things we needed plus it was so new, fresh, and clean (AKA no children had lived in it). Ben turned to me after we walked through it and said “I could get my Saturday’s back.” We loved our old house but every Saturday was filled with maintenance, kind of killing the Saturday morning family vibe I was so aggressively trying to implement. We decided it was the one (and yes choosing a house feels similar to finding a spouse) and fast forward over the next craziest weeks of our life, sold the house we were living in, closed on the new and started moving our crap in last week. I used to call it stuff until I had to pack it up and move it… then it became crap.

The problem with shiny and new is that it never stays that way. My fridge now has fingerprints where little people have opened and closed it over and over and over and over again telling me they are starving (five minutes after eating). The walls have been scuffed up by oversized furniture being moved up narrow stairs and the once sparkly bathtubs are now filled with kid’s toys. And we have only been in the house two weeks.

My point is nothing stays new. Life takes a toll on even the shiniest of things.

I don’t talk a lot about my marriage in my writing because I see it as sacred, whereas motherhood and ministry feel like something we are all trekking through together. Marriage though, it’s my safe space- my safe person. It’s a place I’m careful about who I let in, so while I’m very open with my people, I’m not open with all people. The rest of my life though I’d tell the cashier at target about… because we are there so much I know them all by name and when they got a haircut. Then I was talking to some friends the other night who aren’t married yet and they were asking what marriage is really like, is it wonderful? Is it hard? Is it beautiful? Is it boring? Is it exciting? Is it disappointing? Is it everything you dreamed of? Is it challenging?

Yes.

All of it.

Yes. Marriage and mothering are the only things in my life where my selfishness will actually ruin someone else’s life. Marriage is the hardest and best thing I have ever done. It’s what has taught me the most and grown me in ways I didn’t know I needed to grow. It’s softened me, changed me, and pushed me closer to the God who made me. Most of us read 1 Corinthians at our wedding but don’t really understanding those verses until we have to live them. Real love is living out what I said I’d do when I least feel like it. Real love doesn’t fully come until you chose to love even when you feel justified (and most likely are) in your frustration, sadness, anger, exhaustion or whatever else. God asked us to do this for others and then he demonstrated it through Jesus so that we could always know what real love looked like (John 15:9,12).

Marriage is a lot like a new house. It starts off so shiny, so new, and you move your stuff in and scuff it up along the way. You bring your baggage and expectations and make it yours and the shiny wears off but in its place is left something great… home. It’s where you breathe, where you let your guard down, and where you can be really bare… in every sense. It seems like there are really only two choices, find something else or someone else shiny and new or see your spouse as the gift they are. If I moved every time my house got a little messed up we’d live in a perpetual state of moving and unhappiness.

The reality is it takes maintenance, like keeping a house clean, it doesn’t stay shiny on its own. Ben and I check in every Sunday to see how we are doing (while we fold approximately 50 lbs of laundry), we cover fun topics like budget, relational ups, and downs, parenting, upcoming week etc. We do date nights every other week (side note- we are incredibly blessed with in-laws who live in our neighborhood and love our kids and us SO well making this possible). When we go on dates, I make a real effort to only talk about the kids on the way to dinner and then shut down the kid talk. We have so much more to connect on than just our kids. I think of this like sweeping the floors or wiping down counters… it’s part of keeping things in order so that we can focus on what matters.

We are coming up on nine years of marriage, it isn’t anywhere close to a lifetime but we both really care about not just staying together but about being for each other. Yes, my marriage is important for my kids, but also because Ben is worth fighting for, so even when life gets hard or we are knee deep in babies I’ll choose him. That’s living the love we talked about at our wedding and it’s so worth it. I think the greatest and easiest lie to believe in marriage is that you married the wrong person or that someone else would understand you better, love you better, and they might but they’d do something else worse. We all have our flaws, every relationship gets a little scuffed up like tiny fingerprints on a fresh wall but it’s the mark of something personal. It’s yours.

 

People love to tell me I’m going to miss this. That one day I’ll look back in real wonder at the absolute chaos that my life was during this time before “real” school. That one day this will be a hazy half-memory where I marked through the hard and bad things and remembered only the beautiful to pass on to the next tired mom at Target. While I’m sure I will miss it and I’m already feeling heavy waves of sentimentality as we are mere months away from kindergarten what I care about more is that I don’t miss it now. That I don’t miss all these tiny things that add up to the really big things.

This morning I was asking the two oldest to clean up their puzzles before they could watch TV (while Colbie came behind them and dumped said puzzles out on the ground) I saw Claire stuff one puzzle under the trampoline and then look up to see me standing there. For my rule-following first born this was the most upsetting thing that could happen, being caught doing the wrong thing with no way out. I told her if she’s going to do something to do it right and asked her (in my stern mom tone) to find the box the puzzle went in.

As she went to grab the box I heard her mumble, almost incoherently, “I’m just different from everyone else.”
“Claire, what did you say?” I asked completely caught off guard.
“I said I’m different, I just don’t do the right thing.”
“Claire will you come to my bathroom while I get ready so we can talk, don’t worry about the puzzles.”
She followed behind me shoulders slumped. As I got ready I asked her two simple questions, why do you think that and who told you that?

Who told my perfectly made, uniquely gifted, tenderhearted, outlandishly kind, five years old she was different? The girl who made me a mom, who has a father in heaven who knows the number of hairs on her (Psalm 139:13-14), and a savior who would go to any lengths to win her tender heart (Romans 5:8).  Who spoke such bold lies into the heart of my beautiful girl? I can tell you who, the same deceiver who whispers lies right in my heart when I am not listening to the truth of my savior.  The same liar who is consistently trying to pull at the threads of truth I am working to teach my kids daily (Mark 4:15). The father of lies who knows just the right words to makes us doubt who we are and where we belong (Ephesians 6:11&16). See, Claire is harder on herself than I am on her, she loses confidence at the smallest infraction because she expects perfection from herself. I have seen this in her from an early age so what’s the perfect attack for my perfection seeking daughter? The LIE that everyone else is doing a better job than her, that everyone else has some magic potion that keeps them doing the right thing all the time.
I pulled her chin up to look at my eyes and I spoke the truest words over her that I knew, “Claire, God made you perfectly with a purpose and there is nothing you can do to make him or us love you less. Don’t tell yourself lies like that.”

Then I made her list out all the ways she was created uniquely with a purpose and I saw her eyes brighten and her gaze lift as we talked about the things about her that were true. The joy she brings to her dad and me, the incredible friend she is to her siblings, and the helper she is to teachers. I reminded her how many times I screwed up and had to ask for her forgiveness and I reminded her perfection is only for God, he doesn’t expect that from her and neither does her dad or me.  She bounced back to her brother’s room with renewed confidence.

This is what we cannot miss. Forget the long days and sleepless nights, the dread of illnesses, and the agony of mom guilt. I don’t want to miss the teachable moments that will make or break my kid’s heart in this season. We won’t be able to catch them all but we must be available to see the ones that really matter.  I won’t send my girl into the world believing her performance for others will earn her love or acceptance. No, I will teach her that dependence on God gives us freedom. It starts now. Today, she must start hearing the truth before the lies are so loud she accepts them as fact. That I won’t miss.

Dear Son,

As I looked back in the rearview mirror and saw your big blue eyes it hit me that you looked sad. It was a hard morning with multiple consequences and tears at every corner. The tension to do the right thing or go your own way feels heavy. Childhood can be hard with three little people in our house and us, the people in charge, who need God’s grace just as much as your tender heart. Three is hard, being the middle is hard, sandwiched between two touchy sisters (and the baby who likes to smack you for kicks and giggles) sometimes frustration mounts and you just can’t do what you know you ought to do.

So today as I looked back at your tear stained face and quivering lip I didn’t see a problem I needed to solve or a measure I needed to take. I saw you, in all your humanness, I saw your need for independence and struggle for control. I saw your already wounded heart who needs Jesus just as much this morning as his impatient mama.

I’m sorry I haven’t noticed it more, how hard and harsh the world can feel when you’re just trying to figure it out. I’m sorry I haven’t stopped to hug your little frame when you cry about your sisters ruining your blocks. I’m sorry I haven’t remembered how challenging it is to keep pent up energy…well… pent up, or stay in bed when you aren’t tired, or not to scream in frustration when no one understands.

I was in the middle and I also struggled with a rebel heart that knew the right thing but ached to go my own way, just to have something that was mine. Little one, I’m sorry I haven’t stopped when I should and made sure your heart was OK. I’m sorry I haven’t paused to remember that no discipline is pleasant even though necessary. I’m sorry I haven’t thought about how hard my own growing pains were when I asked you to do better.

So when I looked back today, I looked in silence for awhile and said, buddy, are you ok? Your little head nodded and your lip shook. “buddy you know I love you,” I said. Big blue-eyed tears pooling your cheeks, another nod. My own eyes starting to fill I heard God whisper, “pray for him, your son needs you to pray for him.” All sudden you weren’t just my son you were a person, with feelings, and needs, and a son of a God who loved you.

I did. I prayed right there as the red light switched to green. I whispered quietly as Claire sang at the top of her lungs and Colbie yelled cracker from the back seat. I prayed for you. I prayed for your heart that God would show me how to love you well. I told satan he couldn’t have you. I told the darkness that ensnares our hearts so easily that it wouldn’t win. I prayed God would allow me to raise a son who becomes a man who would bring glory to his father in heaven, a father who cared about him even in the throes of three.

I hope as time goes on you’ll remember the simple words I tell you every day If you can’t do the right thing ask God for help. Until then I’ll keep making sure I don’t just see you as just my son but as a little boy with your own heart, your own struggles, and your own humanity.

Love you

Mom.

  • Kelly denbow - Just what I needed today. Our William (6) is smashed between two sisters, one who seems to always make the right choice and the other who is a wild child. I feel like I’m failing him because I don’t know how to handle his responses to me and to his sisters. Pray more….. that’s how I do it! He is strong and gentle, angry and kind all wrapped up into one little boy trying to maneuver this world. Thank you for putting your thoughts into words!!!!ReplyCancel

Don’t you feel like if you could pick apart some of the people you love and take little qualities from each of them you could be the perfect spouse, mother, friend, coworker, etc. In our heads we say things like, If I had her drive I’d do more. If I had her humor we’d have a marriage that was more fun. If I could take things in stride more my kids would be better off and we pick apart all the things we hate about our self and jigsaw back together someone who could do and be all the things we need to be. We could be the version of ourselves that would be acceptable and possibly more lovable to all who know us. We could feel slightly more OK when we closed our eyes at night if only we _____.

For most of my life I have felt like a subpar girl. I was always taller than girls should be. I’ve never been quiet… like ever. I can’t keep opinions to myself or sit still when I need to. My personality tests reveal similar things every time, that I’m intense but I get things done. I love people… but almost too much. I value accomplishments and am driven… but to a fault. When I asked my husband once if I was “warm” his pause spoke volumes (it’s now a running family joke). When I wasn’t in the church none of this mattered. I pretty much embraced who I was and lived boldly without much care about what others thought.

Then post Jesus and reintroduction to church I felt like there was a Christian girl mold and I just didn’t fit it. I didn’t just want to sit and take notes I wanted to be driving the discussion but that was a role mostly given to men. I stared to wonder if God had made me just a little wrong. Part of me felt like I needed to just tone down all of me or there would be catastrophic consequences on my relationships. Fast forward to being a mom and the feeling intensified. How could I be a good mom when I was so overly “passionate” about life? Not only that but our firstborn and even our second have soft hearts. Our third has my DNA. She’s bold and she will fight me head to head… at fifteen months old.

I have been thinking a lot about the words used about me as a kid as I speak to my own kids. How they sank deep and filled in the pieces where I had gaps of understanding myself. I was always talked about as the bold, crazy, slightly brash, mischievous kid.  It wasn’t because it wasn’t true but I think we can challenge our kids to be better by not speaking words over them that don’t coincide with a redeemed heart. Like when Briggs hits Colbie (because she grabbed his favorite reindeer and threw it across the room) I tell him, you aren’t mean but what you did was mean. Making the distinction when we talk to the people that we love that their actions don’t convey the heart God gives them. I speak to my kids like God has already redeemed them, believing one day he will. These words speak to the heart they could have instead of shaming them to feel guilty. Pray to God for the guilt, man-made guilt doesn’t change hearts just behavior, conviction from a perfect God brings people to his perfect unhindered love.

Part of the reason I acted the way I did was because it was simply expected, the bar had been set. No one expected an A on my report card or for me to participate in the schools charity events. So I didn’t.  I wonder though, if I speak the life into my kids I hope they have, the life I know God can give them will they believe it? If I tell them that God can change their selfish hearts into caring ones will it push them to do so? Colbie, our third,  is a flat out mischievous willful little one but I’ve had to remind the big kids to call her curious not crazy. Curious speaks to a sense of adventure where as crazy speaks to actions of disobedience. The truth is she is a little bit crazy but there’s nothing wrong with that, I want my words to speak life into the girl God made her be not shame her into a corner about what she isn’t. There’s no mold. That’s the beautiful thing about God, his intense creativity that has come up with the most fascinating productions and to not live that out would be a disservice to the creator.

  • Katie Bulmer - “ I can’t keep opinions to myself or sit still when I need to.” Yes girl! I felt like you were describing me! I also had a hard time when I first became a Christian. My husband was a youth pastor at the time too!

    Your passion and drive have been used so beautifully!ReplyCancel

Sunday is laundry day in our house, the hampers are all busting at the seams by the time I manage to drag it all down the stairs and start the vicious cycle of washing and drying that never seems to end. Last Sunday, Claire asked me if I could help her get goldfish mid treacherous journey down the stairs and I yelled my hands were full and to hold on.

Life with little seems to always be leaving your hands feeling full and if you forget everyone is all to eager to remind you. It’s what the dentist said to me when Briggs and Claire were getting cleanings and Colbie spent the entire time wandering and climbing on every surface (at one point diving off a sofa and the receptionist had to catch her… it was a glorious parenting moment). It’s what the kind older man said to me as I checked out at target for the 3rd time in one week and all my kids were melting down and begging for candy. It’s what anyone anywhere reminds me of when i’m in public with all of our kids that resembles a traveling circus of Ferrell cats.

 

 

Yes my hands are full. Yes, at the end of the day my brain feels fried and my body tired. To deny the beautiful mess this season is would be pointless. My hands are full so not much else is. When your hands are full even little things are hard to do. Claire’s simple request for goldfish was nothing more than poor timing. My hands were full so I couldn’t help. When they aren’t full I can.

I think one of the biggest struggles in the Christmas season is the pressure that flanks our calendar from every side. Come to this, be here, and make sure your kids fully understand one of the greatest miracles of all time. Oh you don’t know how? Here’s 70000000 options of how to teach them and you should probably do a minimum of three to lend to all of their different learning types.

I currently have a Jesse tree ornament box that is on day 10 but have zero ornaments hung, an email with curriculum I desperately want to teach to my kids that a friend wrote, and two Ann Voskamp advent books I think they will have to graduate from college to understand. Claire’s 5th birthday is tomorrow and preschool thinks holiday parties for my kids are what I live for (Its not just FYI). My hands are full. It’s all good and none of it’s that hard but when you’re hands are full the simplest request can take you down.

What change we could make if we’d embrace where we are and slow this train down. Especially this time of year. You know what makes teaching hard? Rushing out the door to 1 billion holiday activities. We are talking about teaching 3 and 4 year old that God came as a man to die for their sins because he loves them that much. There’s not a part of that sentence my four year old won’t have 5 follow up questions for. While our three year old will just put his favorite question on repeat, why can’t I see God?!

I think Satan’s best scheme yet will be nothing more than constant distraction and busyness, to keep us moving so we won’t sit too long with our questions or our wonder. So we won’t just think about how utterly beautiful it was that God wanted so much to be much to us that he sent Jesus to put his love on display.

Time is a beast I cant fight, I remember that every time I open my fridge and glance at the first picture I ever got holding Claire. She’s five tomorrow. That’s five Christmas’s with her and yet I remember the first time I held her in my arms. I remember the first Christmas morning with her. I remember thinking I’d never take another moment for granted because life was so precious to me that first Christmas but time marched on.

If we aren’t careful we will miss it. We will miss every teaching moment and every perfect messy memory because we wanted to do it all. We will put up trees and hang lights, wrap presents, go to parties, and then it will come and go and we won’t feel the true weight of this season. All we feel is relieved when its over. If your hands are full but your heart feels empty then don’t empty your hands, make room for what matters. It won’t be easy, not everyone will understand, but it will be worth it. Merry Christmas!

S u b s c r i b e
S e a r c h