Friday, January 28, 2011

Is it spring yet?

I hope Spring is around the corner!  While multiple feet of snow fall on our neighbors to the north, I'm putting my sweaters away - probably way too early.  I know we have almost two more months of winter left, and I remember freezing to death at a baseball game last March, but I'm doing some wishful thinking.  Today is beautful, sunny, and - when the wind isn't blowing too hard - almost warm!  Addison and I met some friends at the park and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon! 
Last week we made the trip up to Birmingham.  Brad had a board meeting to attend, and I had some friends to hang out with and introduce Addison to.  We had a great time!  I loved getting to spend a leisurely lunch and few hours with some sweet friends, and see them love on my girl.  What a precious moment.
Is it possible to have a relationship with a city?  Brad would be completely embarassed to know I'm posting this, but I love Birmingham!  And it's not just living there - we went to college there, and Brad and I lived there our first year and a half of marriage, and we enjoyed it, but it's so much more than that!  When we are heading north on 65 and start recognizing the things that let you know you're close, I start getting the same excited apprehension I felt at 15 when I went to Birmingham for World Changers and stood on top of Red Mountain and told my dad I thought I'd live there one day; and at 17 when we drove up to visit Samford and the leaves were beautiful and changing colors; and again every year following when I came back to Birmingham for the fall semester.  I love Birmingham!  (I am such a dork.) 
Here are two sweet, sweet "big girls" Addison got to play with while we were there.  Too cute!  (Except for the snot, haha.)

Moving on...
Speaking of Spring, I'm sort of ready for a new "lesson" from our heavenly Teacher... I mean, I'm not ready, which is why He is still working on me, but I sooooo want to be!  This one is kicking my butt!  I mean the making me think - keeping me awake - praying myself to sleep kind of kicking!  I finished the book Passport through Darkness, by Kimberly Smith yesterday.  Wow.  Addie took a long nap and I read the entire time; I was absolutely drained afterwards.  I felt like I had seen and heard and been challenged more from my couch than I have been in a while.  Something in her language and tone and honesty grabbed my heart and I felt like I was experiencing everything she experienced in Africa.  She tells several stories about people risking their lives to not worship Allah, or to get out of slavery, or protect children from trafficking, etc.  More than that, she told of how living through helping those people changed her relationship with Christ.  When she told two stories of women who risked their children's lives to not worship Allah, I was stopped short.  I actually said outloud "no way.  Not gonna do it."  I actually judged those women!  One believed that it was better for her children to risk - and did - die a painful death than be slaves and forced to bow to Allah in a Muslim house.  I couldn't handle it!  I realize this reaction is a sin on my part - the not being willing to risk Addison's life, and then the judgement on top of that - but I could not get past it! 

As I lay in bed last night I was convicted that I need to start praying that I will become that kind of Christian: who's worhsip is so important that I recognize and am willing to give up anything to make sure God is the only one I worship.  I want to be the kind of woman Addison can and should look up to, and maybe want to be like.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

So I've had a bunch of different things on my mind lately, and not a lot of opportunities to share them, so here goes:
Abraham, Isaac, and Esau...?
Brad went to the Passion conference New Years Weekend.  There he heard lots of fantastic speakers like Francis Chan, Andy Stanley, John Piper, and more.  Brad came home talkative and full of stories.  (For those of you who know my sweet husby, you know he has a word maximum every day, and it's pretty low... it's rare he's talkative about anything.)  One sermon Brad relayed to me has really struck a chord with me; I keep playing what I imagine this preacher said in my head, and one thought keeps ringing true.
Genesis 25:30-34 talks about Esau coming in from hunting famished.  He's so hungry that he agrees to trade his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew.  I'm hungry so often I'm always saying things like "I'm starving to death!"  Beyond just food, we're all hungry for something.  What Heavenly blessings (birthrights) have I given up to be satisfied for the moment?  Let's face it: just like when we say we're "starving," sometimes the things we claim to "need" are simply things we want.  If we let our appetites lead us, who knows where we'll end up?  Who knows what we'll end up doing?  If you're like me, its probably something that seems "good" at the time, but has no real Kingdom value.  Then, to put an Eternal spin on it, Brad put it this way: could the line of David have started with "Abraham, Isaac, and Esau"?  Did Esau seriously give up the opportunity to father the nation that would be God's chosen people for a bowl of soup?  Yes.  Wow.  It stops me in my tracks to think about what long-lasting decisions I might be making daily, based on my whimsical appetite.

"Me" messages
I have a fantastic life.  I have a wonderful husband who goes out of his way to take care of us.  I need to say that upfront, so that you don't think I'm bashing him.  There are days, some more than others, when my "me!" attitude gets in the way of appreciating all the good things in my life.  For example: If I go to work, get home and feed/put Addison down for nap by 2, I may start the laundry and do some cleaning and check my email then get dinner started.  If later, when dinner is over and we've cleaned up afterward, Brad leaves his jacket on the chair, I tend to get an attitude.  I'll say things like "I've been straightening up all day!  Can't you do anything to help out?"  He doesn't need me fussing or yelling about it any more than I need him leaving junk all over the place.
I really think God has a will for even our daily lives, especially our responses to daily activities.  My response, no matter what the situation or who I'm dealing with, should be one of patience and love.  People are forever talking about "What's God's Will for my life?" as if it's some crazy big thing, far out there for us to be searching for.  I do believe it's something crazy-big, and far out there, but I also believe there's stuff all around us to do in the mean time that's a part of His will.

"At the end of me..."
This is the title of the first chapter in the book I'm reading Passport Through Darkness, by Kimberly Smith, the speaker for our women's retreat this year.  The book is kicking my butt.  Just think about the first chapter, "At the end of me."  Like you'd imagine, it describes the process she went through to find the end of herself, so that she could be imersed in where and what God wanted her to be.  As a minister's wife, sometimes I feel one of two somewhat-ridiculous things: (1) I can't do any more; my place of ministry is at Brad's side, with whatever he's doing.  This is somewhat true; I feel like we're a good pair because we both have similar hearts for people, especially for kids.  It's false because there are plenty of other places I need to be serving!  I could really get into the habit of using this as a cop-out.  (2) I should be doing so much more because my husband's a minister; I need to be at church every opportunity, no matter what. 
I've been praying a lot recently that God will work through my life to show me specific places He wants me to be serving.  I get nervous thinking about praying this, though... what if He demands a huge change in me?  What if it calls for a sacrifice beyond what I'm comfortable with?  A sacrifice from time with Brad or Addison?  (HELLO!  That's what a sacrifice is!)  So I go around and around: "God use me and show me where you want me."  Then, "keep me here, and comfortable."  It's a good thing our sweet Savior has more patience than I do!  He is beyond patient and loving even before I find the end of myself. 

Blood tests and Tumors
My sister is pregnant.  I'm beyond excited for her and Bill, and can't wait till they get to experience the wonder of parenthood.  She had a somewhat scary result from a blood test this week, regarding the baby, and we won't know the real results until the baby get's here, but in the meantime we think the baby is healthy and growing well.  The unknown is pretty nervewracking.  My mom has a tumor on her right ovary.  We don't think it's cancer, but don't know for sure yet.  These things have served to slow me down, and think about where I am and what I've got. 

Sustaining Grace
God's sweet grace is not just in Salvation.  Don't get me wrong, I am a sinner saved by the grace of God alone.  But He didn't just reserve it for saving me... I get some every day.  So do you.  Did your kid yell for 3 hours straight and you managed to not pull our hair out, or lock him in his room?  Sustaining Grace.  Did your husband leave his dirty dishes on your freshly-washed counter and you didn't fuss or freak out?  Sustaining Grace.  Have you had 32 co-workers ask you the same ridiculous question about something you really did not to share with them, and you politely handled them all?  Sustaining Grace.  Saving Grace, by nature, overshadows Sustaining Grace, but I think the latter is still pretty important.  Last night in my Bible study I heard Beth Moore say that maybe the every day, sustaining grace is miraculous, and we're just so used to it that we don't even notice it.

Sometimes I get bogged down before the day even begins: I wake up, read my Bible and study for a few minutes, shower and get ready, get Addie up (although she usually wakes up when I do) and changed, nurse her, get her and I some breakfast ready, eat with her, fix our lunches, put clothes on both of us, walk out the door... GOOD GRIEF!  Is that the end of me?  Probably not.  I do think it's part of my sweet Savior's sustaining grace that by 8am I'm calm and collected and, well, sane.  It's right where I want to be right now it's where I've chosen to be.  And I'm abundantly blessed to be here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Six Months!

I cannot believe I have a six month old!  We went for our check up this morning and all is well - 26 inches long and 15.9 pounds!  Every time I turn around Addison is doing something new. 
Here are some pictures of her many adventures the past two weeks...
playing with Mommy's cell
Look at my new kitchen!

Addison's first time swinging... "who cares about the swing, when I can play with this cute Cath Kidston bag?"

We did get one brief smile...

... and now its back to being in love with the bag.
see that mat behind her?  That's where she started out.  She scooched that far!
more play time with the pretty bag

Trying to hold hands with our friend Will
getting stuck under the coffee table is fun!