Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Little

"My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be."
Psalm 139: 15-16
I have been thinking about Psalm 139 a lot since Scarlett was born. You can't really look at a new baby for very long, especially YOUR new baby, without being totally struck by the miraculous. Everything is so perfect, so present, so miniature. A wonderful work of art, not yet much hardened by the strains of life and a world of sin.
I have been reading Psalms since I got my new study Bible, toward the end of my pregnancy, when I was finally able to read without feeling nauseous. I read a chapter a day, unless it's really long. Escape to the boys' room after they have already woken up and are downstairs. Before they are woken up enough to start fighting. Sit in the silence for about 15 minutes. Drink a cup of coffee. Study all the cross references.
I finally came to Psalm 139 last week. I spent 2 days on it, because I didn't want to finish it.
Sometimes Scarlett sits with me. Leaning against my chest, listening to my heartbeat...her favorite place. She is so still, I think she is asleep, but then I look down and her eyes are open, often trying to look up at me.

Sometimes I read out loud, because she likes to hear my voice. I relish the silence, the warmth. When she is on my chest is when I feel the most at peace. I know eventually I have to get up. And I like that part too. Going downstairs to the chaos, to hugs that feel like tackles, to a play by play of the latest audio book they are listening to, or the latest show they have watched. To ooh and ahh over the latest creations. To round up the dirty dishes and vacuum the floor...again.
"You hem me in, behind and before, and You lay Your hand upon me." Psalm 139:5
When I read this verse, all I feel is that warmth. God's hand feels like a 7 week old baby, peaceful against your chest.
My fussy babies taught me so much about love, about sacrifice, about God's strength and power.
My quiet babies have taught me so much about God's comfort.
Scarlett likes to be held. She sleeps best that way. I don't begrudge her that privilege, despite my business. Babies ought to be held.
When she wakes up and I see her squirming around in her bed, pacifier out of her mouth, preparing to complain...I put the pacifier back in, and I lay my hand on her chest. She feels the warmth, and the pressure, and her eyes close again.
She would rather be held, and sometimes she needs to be held. But sometimes, all she needs is a hand on her chest. God lays His hand upon me too. It is a reassurance, a confidence. It is warm, and so many times it is enough. He knows exactly what we need.
"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
Psalm 139: 23
In church right now, we are learning about courage.
The last couple of weeks, we have read about Joshua and Caleb. Going in with the spies to the Promised Land. They chose to see the good and not the scary. They chose to see God and not the enemy.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9
I sat there in church holding my 6 week old daughter, thinking how I am living at the point in life that I always dreamed about. When I was in high school, college, this is exactly where I wanted to be. I am married to the love of my life, 4 beautiful kids, beachside, and working at a job that I find fulfilling and that also allows me to be there for my family.
A lot of the big, hard decisions are behind me now. And so it can be easy to grow complacent, comfortable.
It doesn't feel like it takes much courage to wake up each morning and feed and hug and teach my children, love my husband, help him with his work, and work on my own.
I have always had a heart for great adventure, and while my heart overflows every day as I send my children out to find theirs, there is occasionally a nagging feeling of wondering if I am fulfilling my own. It's hard to explain, because I know I am, I know I am exactly where I was always meant to be.
I think it is just that hunger to hunger.
I don't want to be complacent. Don't want to settle for ordinary. I don't want to just ask God for the strength and grace to get me through another day, I want to, as I did before I knew where I was going, place my entire life in God's hands (because it is anyway), and tell Him to do with it whatever He pleases. I want to live radically, even in my ordinary.
That takes courage too, I realized in church last week.
It takes courage to remember that all the little decisions we make every day add up to big ones that we will someday see more clearly.
"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble."
Helen Keller
It takes courage to remember also that though we think we know how things are going to go, though we think we have everything under control, we never really know what is going to happen tomorrow. If it is the Lord's will we will go on as we have before. We will continue down this path with its bumps and chaos and occasional boredom. But the Lord has given it all, and it is also His to take away. I don't say that in a catastrophic sense of doom kind of mindset. I choose not to feel anxious  in it. I say it only in reverence, as truth. We have this moment. It is all we are given.
You live differently when you think that way. You live with more courage. At least I do.
This week I returned to work from my maternity leave.
This was the first time I have ever returned to work gladly from my maternity leave.
This first week I was able to ease into it, and only had to leave Scarlett for 3 hours, though I worked 19. The boys had their church camp and got to go to a free summer movie with JT, and got to spend some time with their grandparents.
It definitely meant things were busier, with 19 less hours for me to keep up with housework. It also meant less sleep, since I got up early to get some work done before they woke up and while JT was still home to be with them.
But I realized this week for the first time, that at this point working actually feels like "me" time.
I used to feel jealous of my stay at home mom friends who spent their me time at the gym, or going out to lunch with each other, or taking naps. But I have also always really struggled with taking time to myself. Realistically, even if I was a stay at home mom, I put so much pressure on myself to have individual time with each kid, with my husband, to keep things clean, and also not to put too much on my husband since he is usually exhausted from work, that I would probably never get around to the gym or lunch or that nap anyway. JT probably wouldn't get the opportunity to take the kids by himself and develop his own kind of relationship with them, which is different than it would be with me hovering around influencing it.
I enjoyed the mental stimulation this week. The opportunity to think outside of our little family box. While at the same time, feeling that I am doing something really useful for my family. Maternity leave puts things in good perspective, when you are having to move money from savings just to buy groceries. My family needs me to work. And I am so thankful that I have a job that I can also enjoy.
And now it's Sunday....another week is set to begin. This week the boys begin swim lessons. They go bowling with the church kids, and they get to hang out some more with their grandparents.
They are loving summer, and so am I. Aquaman has already read 2 chapter books, which is a great accomplishment for a boy who hates to read. Now that he has had a break, he is also going to start practicing his typing skills a few days a week.
Yesterday I asked the Dude if he wanted to read to me and he said "Do I ever!!" He only made it through half the book before he was too frustrated to go on. But I guarantee that this morning when I ask him to try again he will start out with the same enthusiasm. I love that kid.
I can't believe we still have 2 more months of summer. We have plowed through a lot of our bucket list already. The kids are eagerly trying to think up more things to add.
Me? I am just breathing it all in, drinking it all in.Living in the little with as much courage as possible.
Remembering that someday I will look back and see how big it was.

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