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!!!

Week 31

Week 31

So if baby girl comes on time, then we only have 9 more weeks! Single digits… eek!!

How do I feel?

I mentioned last post that the given should be tired haha. Still agree. I took TWO naps on Saturday and one nap on Sunday. It’s crazy! Trying to cash in now before we reach total sleep depravity. I think I’ve written this before, but everyone says the gradual lack of sleep is actually God’s grace. It helps prepare you for the battle ahead and teaches you to function with less and less sleep!

On that note here’s a lovely picture of my Saturday morning breath of fresh air (hehe):

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Gotta love that hair.

Other than that, baby girl is continuing to move quite frequently! I was texting Kenny at work yesterday that I can’t get enough of her moving (despite how uncomfortable it can be especially when I’m trying to sleep!). I think this is a preview of parenthood. I know cognitively how delusional it is for me to be so obsessed with her tiny movements, but I can’t help but absolutely love it! In fact, every time I grab Kenny’s hand and put it on my stomach to point out her latest hiccup or kick, I can’t help but wonder if he really does enjoy it as much as I do or if he just thinks I’m crazy.

I can’t wait for our baby!!!

What is God saying?

What is He NOT saying!? Lately there’s been so many things…

I think He continues to press in the need for Gospel urgency. If He is who He says He is, then whether or not we follow Him and live the way He prescribes is not something that can be delayed, it’s something we need to decide IMMEDIATELY.

If He is who He says He is, we cannot afford to delay. We cannot afford to be disobedient. We cannot afford to not spend time with Him. We cannot afford to not read our Bibles. We cannot afford to not pray.

Essentially, if He is a reality, then I cannot afford to spend my life on me.

If the God of Revelation is real (and quite honestly Revelation has been so hard for me to read with all the judgment and eradication of evil… evil as in Satan but also human beings who choose to oppose God by not believing), and His wrath is coming, then the need for us to share His Gospel love and grace while He may still be found is a matter of great urgency!!!

And how can I share His love with others and be a reflection of His light if I am not so filled with Him, so moved and convicted by His Holy Spirit, if I am not walking in His ways? I cannot be an effective Christian if I am not actively walking in Him!!

My heart has been breaking for those who do not know the Lord. As hard as it is for me to imagine a God who would punish those who do not choose Him, in faith I know that it is necessary and loving even for Him to punish sin and carry out justice. The punishment of evil is necessary if He’s going to restore the world to what it should be. And let’s face it, we all know this world is NOT what it should be.

Do I truly believe the Bible? Do I believe sin MUST be punished? Do I believe in the complete and total holiness of God, that if He truly is holy, then He must punish those who reject Him? Do I believe in the reality of hell? That even the things written in Revelation are only a tiny piece of the reality those will face who choose to not believe? (That realization to me was bind-blowing. As terrible as the judgments of Revelation are, there is still a limit to them because of the grace of God. If hell therefore is complete separation from God’s grace, how much more terrible will hell be!?)

If I truly believe these things, then my heart must be filled with conviction. How can I go about my life casually knowing that people I know (some that I love, some that I like, some I’m indifferent to, and even the ones I don’t like…) face the reality of hell? The reality of existence without the common grace of Jesus?

I cannot save anyone, only the Holy Spirit can. And God can choose to work independently of Christians (ex. Muslims seeing Jesus appear to them in dreams), but in His Word God says that whether I like it or not, if I call myself a believer I am responsible for making disciples, living a life that speaks of Him, and preaching His Words that can be very offensive, but are utterly necessary. Therefore, I am OBLIGATED to live a life that reflects Him. And I know the only way I can reflect Him is by abiding in Him– choosing holiness, being immersed in His thoughts through His Word, praying, listening.

Last week I cried out to the Lord, “I can’t do it.” I can’t love people. I can’t share Jesus with them. I know myself all too well. I’m selfish. I’m lazy. My love is so limited. My grace so conditional. I don’t like getting to close to people due to self preservation. I don’t like speaking the truth because I fear rejection and offending. I don’t want to tell people they’re in sin and maybe that sin is why they can’t feel or hear Jesus. I don’t want to tell people that no it’s actually not okay to put off thinking about God and just live in the moment and be happy. I can’t do it, so why would God choose to partner with me and give me opportunities to be a vessel for Him?

I am so limited. But God? God is unlimited. His resources are endless. His lovingkindness is inexhaustible. He knows how to love. He knows how to give extravagant grace. His Words bring life. His Words bring conviction and stir up hearts toward repentance from sin.

And what else do I know about God? His Word tells me to REJOICE, BOAST, BE THANKFUL for my weaknesses. For when I am weak, He is strong. For when I am empty, when I realize I have NOTHING to offer on my own, then I can truly be used by Him. He just needs a willing vessel. He doesn’t need a spiritual superstar. The people He chose in the Bible, they were incredible messed up even. If I am willing to be humble, and simply cry out “Here I am, send me!” then it’s in that place that He can use me.

So that’s where I’ve been lately. I’m in this place where God is giving me more of His heart, and showing me truly what it means to have Gospel urgency. And what does it mean to have Gospel urgency? Yes, it does mean being willing to share and listening for His voice, looking for opportunities to intentionally be a witness, but even more, Gospel urgency means recognizing how desperately I need to be with Jesus!! I cannot afford to not spend time with Him, read His Word, pray, listen, choose to walk in holiness. For the sake of the world, for the sake of my family and friends, I cannot afford to not be in Jesus!!

I’ll end with John 15:1-17. I’ve been drawn to these verses for the past month or so and even excitedly pointed them out to Kenny one morning. It’s a long passage, but please take the time to consider and read:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

Week 15

Week 15

I’m on a blogging roll lately probably thanks to my new excitement over WordPress. I realized too there might be a way to actually import XANGA into here, but then again I kind of want to let my early college and especially high school thoughts stay in the past where they belong haha.

So anyway, it’s week 15!! Woohoo!! 15 weeks actually sounds like a lot, but really that’s only about 3 months down. Still 6 more to go…

How do I feel?

Not bad!! I was in awe yesterday after work because I genuinely had ZERO nausea. Must’ve been the lemonade and two salted caramel macarons I picked up from Europane mwahahahaha! So delish.

On a sidenote, on Saturday I dreamt that I was biting into a light blue salted caramel macaron. I bit in, chewed once, thought “hmm why does this not taste like anything??,” and woke up both stunned and saddened that it was just a dream. It was so realistic!! I then felt that my dream was so important that I had to tell someone, so I woke Kenny up and told him. He couldn’t have cared less (I reminded him again later in the day and he only vaguely remembered), so I then FB messaged Petrina since I knew she’d be awake. Hmm… I guess this is yet another “you can see where my mind’s at!” moment haha.

And miraculously even through all this I’m still -1 lbs from when I started. This past week though I’ve been eating a TON (I polished off an entire 2-entree Panda Express plate for dinner… gross!!) and we haven’t cooked at all, so I’m anticipating this may change very soon…

Other than my crazy pregnancy hunger, I’ve been feeling much more energetic and in good spirits, PTL!

What is God saying?

So I know I’ve written quite a bit about this over the past few days, but God is working on my heart in the area of love and showing me that though I consider myself a nice person, my love is so lacking!!!!

I think as much as we can try to brute force things though, as much as I can try to force myself to have good will toward others, true change can only come from Jesus. A mind set on Jesus will lead to a life that looks like His. A heart seeking Him continually is a heart that will be truly transformed.

It’s easy for us to change on the outside, but if that change doesn’t come from the heart, it won’t last.

The easiest place for me to see this is at work. As much as I can try to be nice and patient with donors/volunteers/families, once I’ve been interrupted too many times, once I’ve answered the phone one too many times, or made the trek down to the first floor more than I’d like, that’s when I can see my lack of love especially come out. I struggle so much when I feel inconvenienced or when I need to love at a time when I’m not prepared to. I’m okay when I am prepared, it’s when I’m not and in the middle of something that I really struggle.

Just this morning, I was rushing to finish receipt letters and Ms. A came into my office as she had a meeting in 10 minutes with the COO. I KNEW I should stop everything and talk to her and pray, in fact just this morning on the way in I was thinking about how I should spend more time with her in prayer, but my flesh was struggling so much. I had an unexpected deadline to meet in 40 minutes!! I was stressed!! Even for Ms. A my flesh railed against the Spirit.

And yet, by God’s grace, I saw tiny shreds of evidence of change. By His grace, I told the flesh to shut it, and that in faith I would spend time with Ms. A (and really it was a measly 10 minutes!) believing that God would help me get everything done by the deadline. So we sat, we talked, Ms. A prayed for Kenny, the baby, and me. It was a great way to start the morning, and yes, ultimately, I didn’t make the deadline, but it turned out to not be that important anyway and my boss easily pushed the deadline back by 3 hours without much thought.

For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

Romans 8:6

Striving in this season as I’m convicted to set my mind on the Spirit, on Jesus, believing that He will bring change.

Week 14! & The Fight Against My I-ness

Week 14! & The Fight Against My I-ness

Second Trimester!!! Woot woot! But why do I still feel nauseous!?!? Haha.

How do I feel?

Still nauseous in the afternoons toward the end of work and before dinner. I thought this was supposed to be over?! Ugh. But as much as I complain, it’s still amazing that I’ve only thrown up ONCE so far (I don’t count the time that I had food poisoning) and even that one time was kind of due to my stupidity with the whole toothbrush thing. Sure there are the moms I can’t identify with who say being pregnant was so great and didn’t have any nausea at all, but on the other end of the spectrum there are moms who threw up every single day well beyond the first tri. Time for me to stop complaining about this and be thankful.

And HUNGRY. So hungry. I am always down to eat. Like always. Like worse than before (because in all honestly I’ve always been pretty down-to-eat even pre-pregnancy). Nice thing is I’m still -2 lbs. from when we started this whole pregnancy thing, even though if you were to see my tummy it sure doesn’t look it! Still not even sure how that’s possible, but I’m sure I’ll start putting on the preggo weight soon.

Definitely not as tired now though PTL. I barely even nap after work anymore!

Thirsty. The OBGYN asked about it at the first appointment and I wasn’t feeling it yet, but when I wake up in the morning I am soooo thirsty. My throat feels parched. Oh and then there’s the pee. Yes, it’s true. You always have to pee. Haha. Oh and leg cramps too in the middle of the night. That’s a new thing.

Other than all that though, I actually feel pretty energetic and excited! I’m feeling a lot less irritable too thank goodness… or should I say thank Jesus!? There’s still times when I feel like the grouch can’t be contained, but it has been better as of late probably due in part to being less tired.

What is God saying? (This is actually a whole other post really, “The Fight Against My I-Ness”)

So I just wrote a whole Tumblr post yesterday, which kind of captured it, but I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships and change and what it means to endure in relationships even when they are difficult. I think God has been speaking to that area of my life and working on my heart to grow me in love.

I think too He’s been showing me that my love is so small, even when it comes to the people I purport to love. Only He can grow my heart and make me someone who truly loves.

My love is so limited. I will “love” to a certain point, i.e. be friendly, small talk, help out a little, but there is definitely a limit to how far I’m willing to go with other people. It’s like I stop right at the point of being friendly acquaintances/casual friends and for the most part don’t dare to or want to move past that stage.

Why is that?

For me at least, I think a big part of it is personality. For so long I deceived myself into thinking I was an extrovert because let’s face it, as a kid being an E is sooo much cooler. And yes I was always pretty friendly and I can step it up and try to drive a convo if I need to, but me, an E? Puh-leaseee. There’s no way even when I was in high school/college. I just wanted to desperately to be that social, fun person that draws people in. But honestly when I realized later that I was actually TOTALLY an introvert, it was actually very freeing. Finally I knew why I couldn’t pull off meeting up with multiple people every day of the week like my more extroverted friends. It wasn’t because I was less loving or less Christian, it just wasn’t how I was wired. And when I had a better understanding of my wiring and limitations, I think it helped me live a more reasonable life.

Now I think in high school/college life, there’s a lot of I’s trying to pull off being E because like I said, it’s just SOO much cooler. But then something changed either as a young adult or when all this introvert pride literature started coming out over the past few years (I think it’s both) and suddenly it’s like I-ness is totally a cool thing too. I think also as you mature you come into your own and stop trying as much to be things that you’re not. But suddenly it’s like being I is supreme and guess what it’s TOTALLY okay to hermit out in my room or only spend time with my sig other and cut off the rest of my community.

While I think it is good to embrace who we are and see the upsides of our own God-given personality, I think it’s also totally NOT okay for us to use personality as an excuse for not loving, not being a part of community, not trying hard with other people. In order for me to love and be like Christ, I need to fight off my tendency to only think about me: my comfort, my energy levels, my time. Because I am an “I,” or perhaps just because I’m human, it is SOOO hard for me to make space in my life for other people.

I am TOTALLY that person at work that only has 1-2 work friends and keeps everyone else at arm’s length because I just don’t like being bothered. It’s not that I don’t have time, it’s just that I’d rather sit here quietly at my computer than go out to lunch with everyone or join in on playing ping pong or that sort of thing. And in my mind I justify it and think well all these people are Christians so you know it’s not as important for me to make friends as it would be if I were at another type of workplace. But who am I kidding? At my last job for the most part I was the same.

And at church… at church I have to fight SO HARD sometimes to put myself out there and be social. I struggle to introduce myself to new people or go deeper with less new ones. A lot of times it’s so hard for me to open up with people because I just don’t really want to or sometimes even see the point of it. And life group/small group, etc. Ugh. I feel like saying “don’t even get me started!” But it is so hard sometimes to drag myself there and I often feel like (at least initially) that it’s going to be a waste, so what’s the point? Even lunch after service can be a drag and I have to convince myself to go and participate in lunchtime festivities. (Luckily having an extroverted husband helps though as he’s almost always down for some activity.)

So basically what I’m saying is that it goes against my nature to love and connect with (most) people. And it’s probably not just an I thing, I’m sure there are ways E’s struggle with loving too. But what I find is that when I do die to myself, when I do force myself to hang out/reach out/go deeper, a lot of the times God does meet me there and I leave thinking either “that wasn’t that bad” or surprisingly “that was actually pretty great!” It’s just that initial surge against the flesh that takes effort and a lot of Holy Spirit help.

A fellow introvert posted this Tim Challies blog which I found very insightful: The Christian Introvert.

The post isn’t long, but here the parts that spoke to me most:

I believe that God made me introverted. It seems clear that some of us are naturally more outgoing while others are naturally inclined to be quiet. I am naturally quiet and this is part of God’s good design.

…we inhabit a world of sin where any trait or quality can be used for God-glorifying ends or for self-glorifying ends. Not only that, but God calls us to be always willing to deny our desires in order to serve others. Both introverts and extroverts will face particular temptations to sin. My temptation as an introvert is to run away from people instead of serve people. It is to be selfish instead of giving.

The Christian life is a life of self-denial. It is a life of saying, “Even though this may be what I want, duty compels me to do something different.” There are many times when I am to deny my own desires in order to serve others. Even the desire to be alone.

I have no right to crave introverted solitude. Rather, the gospel compels me to deny even that trait and all its desires in order to serve other people. I am introverted, but this does not give me a different calling in life than the gregarious Christian.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not a hermit or anything and I have a handful of people I choose to keep in contact with and who I feel I can honestly share my life with, and I don’t think we need to be best friends with everyone, but we do need to love everyone, love those we come in contact with. When I come in contact with people, do they leave having experienced at least a small part of Jesus’ love for them? Do they leave feeling like they matter and knowing that they’re important?

Jesus focused a good amount of His energy on the 12, and even within the 12 disciples, He had His inner circle, but I’m certain that every person Jesus came across He loved. Yes, even the Pharisees and others who opposed Him in a strange way were loved (kind of what I described yesterday regarding His firm stance against sin).

Anyway I could babble on and on about this topic, but the heart of it is, “Lord, help me to love!” In spite of all I am and/or with all I am, help me to love.