Thursday, March 28, 2013

For My Daughter, On Her Fifth Birthday:


You are bright, smart, funny, energetic, and full of everything good in the world. Tonight is the last night you are four. Tomorrow you turn five, and that is a big deal. This birthday is hard for me, because this year launches you into many new, “big-kid” things. Just last night, your Daddy and I registered you for Kindergarten. Where have the past five years gone? You are not my baby anymore. You are growing and maturing a little more with each passing day, and that is hard for my mommy heart.

There are parts of me that want to freeze you in time.

I want you to always want to jump in my lap, hold my hand when we walk, shower me with pictures you made, and tell me you love me over and over again. I want you to always want to play with me, to have me read to you, and to be so excited about every day and what it brings. I want you to always run to daddy when he comes home from work, full of joy and anticipation. I want you to love God, love your family and friends, and love the earth just because it is what you have always known.

But I also want you to grow.

And I know that part of growing up means that you won’t always be my little girl. You won’t always want to hold my hand. You won’t always be so generous with the “Mommy, I love you.” I want you to become less dependent on me and daddy, and more able to do things on your own. But as you gain independence from daddy and me, I want you to become more dependent on God.  I want you to continue to explore who God is creating you to be. I want you to learn how to take up space, and be fully who you were created to be. I want you to ask tough questions and wrestle with the answers. I want you to learn, discover and be challenged.

My sweet girl, this world will not make it easy for you.

It will lie to you. It will tell you that your value is based on your appearance. It will make you feel like you have to look a certain way or wear certain clothes to be accepted. It will imply through its media that you are an object to be admired. It will tell you that because you are a girl, you need to behave a certain way, do certain things, and not do other things. Those are lies, my brave girl, and that is not the story that we want you to embrace.

What I want you to hear from me, Sophie, is that you are deeply loved, valuable, and so very cherished just because you are you.

It’s okay to like pretty dresses and skirts, and even have fun with princesses and Barbies (much to your mommy’s chagrin!). But you, Sophie, are so much more than what is on the outside. God made you with a beautiful heart—a heart full of love, compassion, creativity, humor, wit, energy, sunshine, and so much intelligence to share with the world. I love watching you explore your faith, explore science and math, learn to read and write, and work on art projects with a passionate fervor. I love watching you grab your guitar and make up songs. I love watching you play with Sawyer. I love watching you run around outside and really own the space.

Don’t ever let anyone distract you from the things you love. Be who you were created to be: God’s image in your body, with your unique talents and giftings.

So, my beloved girl, on your fifth birthday, I pray this for you: I pray that you will take up space in this world by learning, growing, discovering, taking chances, making mistakes, and embracing who God is creating you to be. Sweet girl, you are going to change the world. I believe that—I believe that God has great plans for you. Do not ever let anyone downsize your place in this world—you were made to do awesome things, to be awesome. I love you more than I could ever say with words.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Myself When I Am Real: An Everyday Mess

People often say that one’s true character is most evident when no one is watching. We moved Sophie to her first big girl bed last week, and everything seemed to be going well. Wednesday morning I rolled out of bed a little later than planned. At 8:30 I still hadn’t heard Sophie, and so I got out of bed and went to her room to check on her. The sight which greeted me upon walking into her room cannot be adequately described in words. Sophie had taken a full bottle of powder, diaper rash cream, Vicks vapor rub and Vaseline and used her new sheets, bedspread and body as her canvas. Everything, including her, was covered in a layer of gook topped with a layer of powder. 


If I wouldn’t have been so angry, I would have taken a picture. I have never been so angry with my child--I didn’t know it was possible for me to be so angry at my child! (Oh how I look forward to the teenage years!) 

People disappoint us, even people we love the most. And I am quite sure she never meant to disappoint me. The entire rest of the day she asked me, “Mommy, are you happy?” The truth is that the person I am when no one is watching is just as messy as a diaper cream-powder-covered 3-year-old. 

That night, as I tucked Sophie in bed, I sang her a song which I sing her most every day: “I love you today; I love you tomorrow. I love you as deep as the sea. I love you in joy; I love you in sorrow. You can always come home to me.” (Andrew Peterson) Thank God we are living in grace. Thank God that he never gives up on us. Thank God that everyday messes can be moments in which we learn more about our own mess--and more about how to love and forgive.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

All About Love

"Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body." I Corinthians 12:12-20

The picture of solidarity that Paul paints for us in this text is striking. Two things stand out. First, we exist in a world in which power and position are extremely valued. Because of that, we have a hard time believing Paul when he says that the body’s “parts should have equal concern for each other.” God gave the gifts, and to God, we are all equally valuable in the Kingdom. God chooses to whom the gifts are given, and God is a God whose dream for creation is a dream of solidarity, equality, and mutual submission. It should be the church’s greatest joy to embody that dream on earth.

Second, our North American value of individualism often takes precedence over the Kingdom value of community. I don’t know about you, but I get extremely wrapped up in myself – I am my own biggest fan most of the time. Until we begin to embody the Kingdom value of community, selfishness and individualism will continue to trap us into ineffective mission and witness. So, what do we do? How do we begin to embody community? How do we work together as a body, equally valuing each member? Keep reading, Paul tells us the most excellent way...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Life and Knitting

Creating is underrated. Generally, I consider myself a creative person, but I have found a unique joy in learning to knit, and in sharing it with others. I have known for a long time that one of my most prominent "love languages" is giving gifts. So, having a hobby that I can share with others is awesome. 

Even more than that, though, is what I am learning about creating. I believe that an attribute of God that often gets overlooked is "creator." God is creative, and I am finding myself experiencing that truth as I, created in the image of God, create. And, in sharing my "creation" with others, I am learning about a new kind of connection with my creator who shares creation with us every day. My mother-in-law, who makes baskets and teaches basketry for a living, talks about this, and while I have always thought that was cool, it hasn't been until recently that I have really "gotten" it.

Through this hobby, I am able to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. Brian's aunt (who gave me my first knitting tutorial) sent me some gloves that she made me after I experienced a miscarriage several years back. I will never forget that, and every time I wear the gloves I remember that she was there for me--gently loving me and somehow walking the journey with me through her gift. I have made 4 baby hats in the last couple of weeks (and have 2 more in process!), to give to friends who are soon expecting. It is a joyous gift! But, one is for a dear friend who is walking a heart-breaking journey, waiting and knowing that the baby growing inside her will not be coming home with her.  

So, I knit, and I pray for her, and I cry, and I connect to the God who not only creates but can mend brokenness.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Stuff Sophie Says...

First, I'll start with a story from tonight: Sophie didn't ever fall asleep during nap time today, which means I put her to bed early. I read her one story, and as I was reading the second, she started drifting off. As I closed the book, she said, "We'll read the rest tomorrow." Usually, I am the one who says that we'll read more later, because of course she always wants one more! So, I turned off the light, and she promptly cuddled in to me with with her eyes closed and giggled. It was too adorable. I sang her a song and prayed over her as she gently slept, and rocked her for a minute then put her down. She, at least half asleep, curled up in her bed and said, "Sing one song...twinkle, twinkle...." and promptly began her heavy breathing, almost snoring. Priceless.

After a long day of mopping up water from my leaking laundry room window, no nap for Sophie, and a huge cupful of water all over my bathroom floor during bath-time (via Sophie), I can assuredly affirm that I am blessed beyond measure, and I am reminded to thank God for my beautiful baby and cherish every moment I have with her.

And now, some of the stuff Sophie says.....

Sophie: "Maybe I need an office."
Me: "Really? For what?"
Sophie: "For my work."
Me: "Oh, what work do you have?"
Sophie: (contemplatively) "Red...or maybe, pink."
Brian made Sophie her very first hot chocolate a few weeks ago....
Sophie (bemused smile on her face): "I like it a lot."
Daddy: "Why do you like it so much?"
Sophie: "It makes me happy."
Sophie, to Brian, "You're not a man, you're a dad-man."
Sophie, re: Maria and Captain VonTrap: "SHE's captain now."
Sophie: "I'm really busy doing my work."
Me: "What kind of work are you doing?"
Sophie: "I am going to the city."
Sophie: "Oh, hi Friedrich (from Sound of Music), it's me, Sophie. I'm just calling hum, yep."
"That was a GREAT movie." (after seeing Tangled in the theater)
"She has a BEAUTIFUL dress." (in reference to any dress, bathrobe, towel...her taste is not discriminating at this point!)
"Pissketti" instead of spagetti
"Cloff-cloff" instead of washcloth


Friday, February 04, 2011

How Long, Lord?

I got a phone call on Monday; the kind of phone call one never wants to receive. My friend, Tom, who plays drums for the worship band of which I am a part, lost his 8 -year-old son in an accident that morning. I felt like the breath flew out of my lungs. Disbelief. Anger. Unspeakable sadness. How could this be? I didn't want to believe it. I still don't. Aiden Patten's funeral is on Sunday.

During another time of unspeakable pain and tragedy, I am reminded of an article Keith Huey wrote in November after Jeremy's death reminding  us of the apostle Paul’s response to suffering. This same question is presented over and over again in the Psalms, and it is not one that asks, “Why?,” but one that asks, “How long?” Read this heart wrenching text from Psalm 6:
“Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, LORD, how long? Turn, LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave? I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.”
Let us lament together, trusting that God can handle our hurt, anger, and deep sorrow. But let us also hope, trusting that God walks in the dark places with us, and that though we will never understand we put our faith in a God who does - a God who came down and suffered with us. Psalm 6 continues:
“Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping. The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.”
May we find the freedom to lament and the courage to hope.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Knitting Adventures

So, I have been knitting like crazy since Christmas, and I have completed several projects. Here is what I have done so far....

 A scarf(ish) for my sister-in-law Sara.

 A scarf for my mom.

A scarf for Sophie.

And, dish cloths...I have made several of these, actually. 

I am pretty much stuck on squares and rectangles. I want to learn how to do hats, but I am going to have to watch some more YouTube tutorials first to figure that one out :).