Sunday, June 29, 2014

Seaside Again

Just got back from Seaside (aka Heaven on earth). I am so relaxed. Like, ridiculously. 

It's time to get back to life. We're going to be super busy for the next couple of weeks with long lost friends coming to visit Monday, my family coming in town for the Fourth and my job responsibilities changing (more on that later). 

Rather than making this a lengthy post, I'll just let my pictures do the talking!!! 

Oh, and a special THANK YOU to "Bella" Rita and "Daddy Rick." They let Jonathan and I enjoy a lot of dates sans Nora while they spent time with their granddaughter. 

Luckily, we're also glad to be back home!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Christian parenting

Nearly 19 months into sweet Nora's life, I still struggle sometimes in my role as mom.

I have been reading my Bible, praying and seeking wise counsel from Christian friends. I've begun reading a plethora of noteworthy Christian parenting books. I decided to share what's on my heart in hopes that if any of you out there are struggling too, this might be encouraging.

Motherhood has been a huge blessing to me — and a huge challenge. I grew up telling folks I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. But then I became a mom and went running back to work at the end of maternity leave (just to be clear here: I love Nora with my entire heart and soul). Not everything about this role comes naturally to me, and I foolishly thought it would.

I still grapple with why this role is such a challenge for me: Am I just too selfish? Is Nora just a really challenging child? Is this how all first-time parents feel? What if I had more patience? Maybe I just don't like the baby phase??......

And then God delivered a powerful message to me through my sweet friend JoAnna. She warned me not to believe the lies I was telling myself — namely, that I was ill-equipped to be Nora's mommy. God uniquely paired us. He put our entire family together because He is sovereign and good. I can stand on that when everything else is sinking sand.

Her message stuck in my head and interrupted the thought process I'd been indulging. The next time Nora was having a category 10 meltdown from teething, I actually thanked God for His goodness — that He loves us both so much that he refuses to give us everything we want in life. He has something for me far greater than my own desires — especially my desire for control.

The parenting books are helping me see that I don't have to have it "together." The most important thing I can do is point Nora to Christ in everything. Especially my failures. That doesn't mean if I "do it right" she will come to know Christ. Christ will secure her salvation, not me. He works in, through and in spite of me. He will boast in my weakness. And that's a freeing thought.

And in these new freedoms, I'm finding simple joys being Nora's mommy. Just last week I was teaching her how to use a flashlight. She was shining it around a bright room and getting frustrated that she couldn't see the light. I helped her shine it under our desk and said, "See, we shine our light in dark places where it will be brightest." What a profound statement for a Christian. We are to be light in dark places. I am to be God's light to Nora.

Parenthood has a way of pointing us back to Christ by using simple truths we may have forgotten — or that I mistakenly think I've graduated away from. These gentle reminders are already one of the greatest blessings for this mommy.

Will you pray for me and Jonathan in our role as parents? Jonathan and I are working to restructure our lives to be the best parents we can be. I need Christ. Every day I will fail. Every day I can look to a Savior who lived the life I never can.