Quote

True Love

True love is asking “how can I love and serve this person so that they can experience God more and become all He has for them?”

Wisdom from my BSF fellowship

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Bedtime Cuddles

Bedtime Cuddles

Dear Eva,

I never blog letters to you anymore, but I had to get this down for posterity.

Tonight you asked me to cuddle for the first time. We were going about our normal bedtime routine: clean up, brush teeth, read the Bible, blessing, verse of the month, climb up the stairs, sing Jesus loves me, pray while you rock by yourself on the rocking chair… and right before I placed you in your crib you said, “Cuddle? Cuddle?”

My heart just about melted and as we cuddled I told you this was “the best feeling in the world” and you said “best feeling.” *Insert crying emojis*

I asked what was on your mind you said, “Daddy? Daddy?” We talked about how Daddy was at Auntie and Uncles’ wedding rehearsal and how before two people get married they have a practice run. I told you how the bride’s daddy walks her down the aisle and hands her over to her groom. Holding your hand and picturing you one day (Lord willing) I just about cried. Then we prayed that God would bring you a husband one day who loves Jesus so much. Someone you will partner with to bring more and more people into God’s Kingdom, just as your name says.

Then I asked you how your day went and what could have gone better. You said “Grandma Grandpa house happy!” And we rejoiced that you love your Grandma and Grandpa so much.

I asked what else was on your mind and you said “Frozen Heart microphone!” And we thanked God that He gave you a voice and that you love music and we prayed that you would use your voice and your words and your music to bring people to Him.

Then we cuddled just a bit more, I told you that you were cute (“I cute!” you repeated emphatically) and I asked if you were ready to go to bed. “Yup!” you said.

As we always do, I told you you’re our daughter in whom we’re well pleased, kissed you, and placed you in bed, re-arranging your stuffed animals to encircle you. And as we’ve been doing as of late, I made sure to cover all four limbs with your Frozen blanket and tuck you in.

How amazingly sweet it is to have you as my daughter! You are truly my beautiful daughter and my heart is filled with joy as I think of you.

How wonderful it is too, to just be a child! You’re so content with cuddles and with being our daughter. You’re not weighed down yet by the weight of the world. I tell you you’re cute and you take me so easily at my word and are so happy to proclaim “I cute!”

What love the Father must feel when He looks at us, His children. As I do with you, Eva, He knows our flaws (seriously just minutes before during Bible time you threw a tantrum because you didn’t want to share the Bible with me lol), but also as I do with you, He loves us so much and calls us wonderful, beautiful, CUTE and wants us to take Him at His Word.

Last month at the Seeds retreat, Pastor Jon talked about receiving the Kingdom as a child. We listed many adjectives that describe children: persistent, eager, loud, silly, emotional… messy!! But tonight I’m reminded too of the beauty of being like a child, of being so naïve, wanting your mother or father’s cuddles, being simple-minded, and easily pleased.

Eva, I pray that you will always be able to take us, take God at His Word when we say that you are beautiful, wonderful, amazing, priceless. It grieves me to ever think about a day when you don’t believe us. I pray that you would know how to be loved, how to be treasured. I pray that you would know how beautifully, wonderfully, and fearfully you are made. Yes, you need a regenerate heart. Yes, you too are woefully sinful and need Jesus to save you. But I pray so much that you would have the quiet, humble confidence that comes from knowing God made you and that you are an image-bearer and that you are SO beautiful.

My heart bursts with love for you. And if my hearts bursts with this much love for you, I can’t even begin to fathom the love that God has for us.

Your dear, old, weepy, sentimental, adoring mother,
MGY

Lately

Lately

I never blog anymore. Blame it on the #momlife.

So I feel like, by the grace of God, I’ve been growing a lot lately.

It’s truly all God’s grace. I haven’t even been in the Word much lately.

But God is good. God is gracious.

I think I’m growing in my understanding of just how much grace He offers and affords me. That His desire is not to punish or shame. That His tenderness is extended just as much if not more than His wrath and judgment (theologians… is that correct thinking?? Or maybe it’s incorrect to think of these attributes in measurable amounts…).

I still struggle when considering God’s judgment vs. His long-suffering loving-kindness. Sometimes I still feel like His wrath is the “dirty little secret” of Christianity. But I’m understanding more that God MUST judge evil. And for Him to restore the world and humanity to its intended state, He MUST come in wrath. For Him to be good, He MUST hate everything that destroys, everything that separates us from Him. And His heart’s desire and full intent is to restore us completely to Himself for our great pleasure and His great glory. (Can you tell I’ve been listening to a lot of Piper? Lol.)

For the first time in a good while, I stayed in my seat during the closing set of worship. It felt so good to just receive and let the Lord minister to me.

I’ve been feeling stretched, and yes, as much as I hate the phrase due to all the overuse in college, perhaps a little close to burn out. Life is consumed with so much pouring out, so much ministry.

So as I stood at my seat during service, opening my hands to receive, I felt God encouraging me. I felt Him saying that in order to step into greater calling and greater ministry, I had to truly believe this one thing: that He is good and specifically that He is good TO ME.

Often I can feel His love and compassion and tenderness for other people, but I almost never feel it FOR ME. When it comes to God and how I feel He relates to me, often I see Him as a God who is just waiting to drop the axe (is that the expression?) and punish. As if He’s just waiting for me to mess up so He can discipline me. I see His grace as an obligation that comes out of Him being holy, rather than a loving expression He chooses because of the fact that He is so gracious and so kind that He loves me.

Every week during accountability, we answer this question: are you experiencing God’s love, grace, and forgiveness? And every week, my answer is somewhat. I don’t think there’s been a single week when I’ve answered yes.

Do I truly believe God is gracious to me? Do I truly believe He is for me?

If I examine my life, I can see so many small and large evidences of grace. All these times when I should have been shamed/revealed/disciplined, but God encountered me in tenderness and not wrath.

It reminds me of this article I read by Henry Cloud (it’s great, take a look!): Why You Shouldn’t Give Others What They Deserve

Not giving others what they deserve is a big part of not playing fair. To give them better than they deserve is grace. The word means “unmerited favor.” Sometimes, it means that we give someone loving limits and consequences if other things have not worked. But often, limits are not needed; only a little softness is.

SO good.

God is so gracious to me. He is long-suffering. He is kind. I don’t always feel it. But faith isn’t always about feeling. It’s about believing. It’s about knowing. (As my dear husband in recapping Todd White, his fave, recently reminded me.) I must BELIEVE God is good and that He is good to me.

When we know and believe God’s character, when we behold Him and adore Him and see just how worthy He is, then we will have fuel and passion and drive in our ministry. When we truly treasure the One we are worshipping, then our worship is not a chore, it’s a delight, it’s a pleasure. Pointing others to Him is no longer a task, but a privilege, a joy, it’s something that cannot be contained.

I’m reminded of one of my all-time favorite verses, Isaiah 42:3:

A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth justice…

My Lord, my God is SO gracious to me. He is so kind, so tender, so loving. I owe Him everything, yet to receive His love He doesn’t even ask for anything (other than choosing to believe)! Even if I didn’t serve Him, He would still love me. Even if I didn’t grow in Him, He would still love me. Even if I spurned His gifts, cast them aside, lived life only for myself, He would still love me. Even if I followed every evil desire of my flesh, He would still love me.

As someone who struggles with self-/works-based righteousness, that is soooo difficult for me to fathom!!!

How could a perfect, holy, all-sufficient God LOVE me, without ever even asking anything of me?

I just cannot fathom it. I cannot fathom this love He has for me. Yet here I am, exercising my faith, choosing to believe it and letting my inability to comprehend His love point me even more to how great, how loving, how immeasurably precious my God is!

Amen!! :)

Quote

Love

Something about the way we love the people around us should signal to the world that we belong to Jesus. Our mission will include preaching, encouraging, rebuking, serving, studying, suffering, and many other things. But if all of these activities are not manifestations of love, then we have missed the point. 

Francis Chan

New Mommy Life

New Mommy Life

Yesterday was difficult.

Not really sure why as it wasn’t too different than any other day. I guess part of it was the overly ambitious 0.8 mile walk to get poke and boba on a hot April day. And I think the other part of is that little Eves has been fussier than usual lately and yes, as my sore lower back and wrists can attest, I do get tired of having to carry her all day, but more so I think what frustrates me that I can’t quite figure her out.

Internal dialogue: Why is she so fussy lately? Is it just a growth spurt? But it’s been going on for a long time now! Should I give her a pacifier? Why do I feel the judgment of a thousand internet moms when I do and she calms down instantly (on that note, maybe I should just stop reading so many mom forums)? And if I don’t give her the paci, she’s so dang close to figuring out finger sucking soon as that index finger knuckle always lingers precariously close to her mouth and fingers are dirtier than pacis which you can wash, right? Am I spoiling her by carrying her constantly? But if I try to put her down no amount of shushing and patting will keep her content for more than 5 minutes. And what about nursing? Every time she cries now she acts like she wants to nurse (probably because I was too quick to nurse her every cry before! #newmomfail), but then when I nurse her she’ll only eat for a few minutes and/or spit up what seems like everything she ate within the hour anyway.

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Our Complicated Little Sleepyhead

I guess this is all just a part of new mommy-hood. The new mom boot camp that prepares you for the rest of your life!

And yet, what they say is so true. When she finally flashes you a smile or lets out a little baby coo, when she finally calms down and you get 15 good minutes of play time in… oh my goodness it is so worth it and all I can think is how could I ever be upset with you!?

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Melt my heart, why don’t ya!? Sad thing is she’s probably smiling at Kenny and not me bahahaha.

All this seems like one big exercise in learning to depend on the Lord, in remembering to ask Him for guidance and strength and wisdom and patience and grace and so much more! I’m in the crucible of learning to selfless (in other words, like Christ) and it’s hard because let’s face it often times what I prize more than my daughter or more than my husband is myself, my own convenience, my own ease.

And actually what I thought would be most difficult part (no sleep) is turning out to not be all that bad. For one Eva’s been a fairly gracious sleeper (usually 3+ hour stretches though lately it’s been one long stretch, then waking every hour til Dad fetches her around 5:30) and I think too I’m just used to staying up til the wee hours of the morning and dealing with very little sleep. (All those ridiculously late nights in college are finally good for something!) Also, I’m trying to just treasure the time and was convicted to turn the phone to airplane mode to discourage mindless surfing (and also the Parents magazine scared me by saying they don’t know the long-term affects of kids being constantly exposed to wifi and cell phone signals yet… yikes! So they suggest turning phones to airplane mode when possible and never holding a cell phone up to your kid’s ear). Instead, I’ve been striving to pray and commune with the Lord in those early morning hours when I’m holding little Eves upright (20 minutes to help reduce the spit up!) and listening to the dear husband snore. Though I do admit sometimes I can’t take it and give him a not-so-gentle kick hehe.

So anyway, just some thoughts and reflections.

I’ll end with this funny tidbit: last night Kenny graciously took Eva and gave me some me time to, well, wash the dishes (and really yesterday was the type of day when I relished the tiny respite that was dish washing!). When I finished I couldn’t remember if I had actually soaped them or not. I knew I had actually washed the cups, but I’m still pretty darn sure that at least half of the dishes had only been rinsed with water. So out came all the dishes and I had to wash them again hahaha. Totally the epitome of new mommyhood, am I right!??

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Little love bug loves her daddy!

Lord Jesus, help me to be more like You. Help me to be selfless and to truly treasure this short season that is new mommyhood. Give me Your character, Your patience, Your understanding. Give me wisdom as I try to figure out how to best care for our precious little girl. And help me to know there’s so much grace even when I fail. You are so good, O Lord! Thank You for Your love and grace! Help me through this whole process to understand what it means when You say You love us so perfectly and that we are Your children, and help me to teach these truths as best as I can to dear Eva. We love You, Jesus!!! We depend on You!!!