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Posted on Aug 25, 2016 in Fertility, Health, Love, Marriage | 11 comments

Baby Wyse #3

Baby Wyse #3

Rick and I are so happy to let you know that Baby Wyse #3 is on the way! The baby is due to be born on March 16, 2017. We are soon to be out-numbered!

After Charlie was born, I decided there would be no more pregnancies for me. Pregnancy and I didn’t get along very well, and I had my son and daughter. My hands were incredibly full with a 15-month old and a newborn, so the idea of another baby made me feel like suffocating.

But the kids are now 3 1/2 and 2, much more self-sufficient and getting along great. I considered returning to work, but the options in our rural area are limited. After exploring those options without success, Rick and I decided that another baby might be a good thing. I was still terrified of pregnancy from my two previous experiences, so I began exploring alternative health options to see if I could have a different experience in the future.

I found a wonderful chiropractor who helped with the energy deficiency I couldn’t seem to shake. She introduced me to a local naturopath who ran some tests and provided hope that I could get some deep-seated health issues resolved and have a better experience. I had excruciating pain in my knees, in spite of having lost 20 pounds and following a diabetic diet to keep my blood sugar healthy. My primary care physician, chiropractor, naturopath, and the massage therapist I’ve been working with for several years all told me the same things: 1) This is a reaction to stress. Go on vacation and get your mind off your recent disappointments. 2) You need an anti-inflammatory diet. Meat, vegetables, fruit. No more bread and sugar.

I heeded their advice. I began taking the remedy the naturopath gave me (one bottle, not hundreds of dollars in various supplements). Our family rented a beautiful cabin in the mountains of Gatlinburg, and we brought our babysitter along. For the first time in about four years, Rick and I slept through the night without interruption for 8 nights in a row. I cannot minimize how much that helped me. A lack of sleep for that many years had really affected me. During that vacation, I took a complete break from social media and things came back into perspective. I have been so blessed with a wonderful family, and I simply enjoyed them.

Following that vacation, I started The Whole30, which I’ve written about before. I used that eating plan to help find a good balance for my body, and while I’m not where I want to be yet, I am confident that I’m headed in the right direction. As my diet changed, anxiety fell off me. My knee pain all but disappeared. I lost more weight. I began exercising again, and as summer came around, I began enjoying gardening and the warm, fresh air.

Strange things began happening, like instead of falling asleep after over-eating, my body screamed at me to MOVE. I started jogging a little, doing jumping jacks, and even (shock…) craving vegetables! I began to have healthy, normal responses to hunger and satisfaction. My hormones balanced out and the naturopath could find NO vitamin/nutrient deficiencies when she tested me.

Baby Wyse 3As I worked on my health, Rick and I decided to let nature take it’s course to see if we might conceive, but nothing happened. We thought it was possible that we had reached the end of our biological clocks and were okay with that. We are so content and blessed with our precious children. But I’m not very good at “going with the flow”, so after almost a year of seeing what might happen, I got serious. I began tracking and testing and was very pleasantly surprised to find that IT WORKED! The first month! Whoa.

Within an hour of getting that positive pregnancy test, I went to work. I made a list with the title, “Preparation for Armageddon”. I listed all the things I needed to do in the next one to two weeks to prepare for the sickness I’d had with the other two. I cooked up a storm and filled our freezer to the brim. I organized and planned and prepared. I had boundless energy and I used it!

When week five hit (the first time I threw up with Eliana), I still felt great. Relieved, I scurried around more, doing fun things with the kids while I could, making lists, and working in the yard and garden. I was intent on meeting my “step goals” on my fitness tracker and did so every single day that week.

When week six hit (when I really got sick with both kids), low-level nausea made it’s appearance. It was no big deal. I didn’t throw up, I wasn’t couch-bound, I even felt a little better if I went for a walk! So I walked and gardened and kept on cooking. One day we had a family fun event and I was pretty tired of feeling nauseated, so I took some anti-nausea medication. The rest of the day was great and I had no issues at all.

The days since then have been a combination of feeling pretty good (except for very, very tired) and feeling yucky/nauseated. I haven’t thrown up. On the days when I’m extra-tired, I take a nap with the kids. My energy comes back within a few days and I make up for the days before. I’ve been spending more time indoors and not getting many steps in, but I’m giving myself grace for that.

So far, this pregnancy is pretty normal. I remind myself that nausea isn’t that big of a deal and repeat out loud how grateful I am that I’m not throwing up. I can go for walks (with Eliana, extreme motion sickness made walking impossible), work in the garden, pick peaches with my husband, and cook meals. My meals aren’t spectacular right now, but they’re often hot and nutritious.

We’ve decided to wait until the baby is born to find out the gender. Once the baby gets here and is big enough to sleep in a crib in his or her own room, we’ll evaluate where the older two are with their maturity level and decide how to arrange the kids’ bedrooms. We have lots of ideas, but no solutions right now, and are hoping it becomes obvious to us when we need to decide.

I’d like to have a different birthing experience this time. The epidurals didn’t fully take either time before, and last time led to a horrific spinal headache that negatively impacted Charlie’s birth and my health for a while afterward. I’m planning to fully educate myself on non-epidural pain-relief methods, utilize a local midwife, and plan for a midwife-attended hospital birth. I take medicine for a headache, so I see no reason to go through labor and delivery completely un-medicated. However, the epidural is off the table. Thankfully, with the last two, the birthing process was actually the “easy” part. Not really, but so much easier than the pregnancies themselves.

We’ve told Eliana and Charlie and they’re thrilled. They have all kinds of fun and interesting questions. I have an app on my phone that shows an illustration of the size of the baby each week. Eliana LOVES to look at it and asks me almost every day to show her how big the baby is right now. Some questions I’ve had so far include:

“When the baby gets big enough to come out, will your belly just POP?” (A basic anatomy lesson followed that question and seemed to satisfy her concerns.)

“Do I have a baby in MY belly?”
“No, sweetheart. You’re too little to have a baby in your belly. That won’t happen until you’re more grown up.”
“Like Kristina?” (our 18-year old babysitter)
“Well, yes. You have to be at least as grown up as Kristina to have a baby in your belly.”

One day when I was particularly nauseated and tired and laid on the couch most of the day…
“Is the baby in your belly still sick?”
“No, Charlie, the baby isn’t sick. But because the baby is in Mommy’s belly, Mommy’s belly is a little upset today.”
“Oh, okay. Can you walk?” (Well, shoot. I guess I’ve been particularly lazy today. After that, I got up, took a Zofran, and got some things done.)

“If you throw up, Mommy, will you throw up the baby?”

****************

I’ve always wanted a large family. Maybe we’ll stop after three and call that “large enough.” Maybe we’ll test nature a little more and see if four is possible. Rick looks at me like I’m crazy when I say that, but these kids will keep us young! 🙂 Our babysitter’s mom told me she had four more after she was my age, so it’s possible that if I keep myself healthy, I have plenty of time left…

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Posted on Jun 27, 2013 in Devotional, Marriage | 0 comments

Why Did God Make Me Wait?

Why Did God Make Me Wait?

A few days ago I snuck in a guilty pleasure, a 90-minute phone conversation with one of my good friends from our single days in Nashville.  We often discuss the meaning of life when we talk, trying to figure out our own crazy lives and what to make of it all.  We have wildly different ideas about theology, but it never seems to bother either one of us.  I thoroughly enjoy our conversations, both of us realizing we never answer the questions but enjoying our conversation anyway.

telephone_1950sShe began this talk with the provocative questions, “Why do you think God had you wait so long to marry Rick?  Couldn’t you two have married fifteen years earlier?  You knew one another.  You were both single adults, who wanted marriage and family life, so why did you have to wait so long?  And how does Rick feel about it?  Does he wish you’d found one another sooner?”  Rick couldn’t care less about these questions.  He just enjoys life where he is and doesn’t try to analyze it too much.  I’ve gone over and over those questions in my mind, trying to get to the bottom of the puzzle.

I gave her the practical answer:  Fifteen years ago, Rick worked too many hours to have time for a family.  I wanted to get my education, have a career, and enjoy city life.  I wouldn’t have even considered becoming a farmer’s wife in the rural Midwest.  It wasn’t until he “retired” from the business he and his father had together that he was ready to marry.  As badly as I wanted a husband, it wasn’t until I had worn myself out with trying to make my way in the world that I was willing to allow someone else to help me.  I didn’t add this part in our conversation, but the truth is that it wasn’t until I discovered how much I could trust my loving God that I could trust my life to a man.

My friend wanted to know if it was it God’s plan for me not to marry until I was 36 years old, not to have the longed-for child until I was 37.  And am I ticked about being placed at the end of a very long line, being forced to wait until the last few years of fertility?  (At least I was in the line…)  Was it God’s plan for me to wrestle with purity, to wrestle with my sexuality, for twenty years?  Ugh!  Why would God make me reach puberty in my early teens, command me to reserve sex for marriage, and then make me wait until my late 30s to marry?  Is He really that mean?

I have to believe that God is not mean, and He did not intend to deprive me.  Humans have convoluted His system, made life into something different than the ideal, and as a result we suffer needlessly at times.  As I look back on my life, I cannot help but remember a guy who adored me while I was in my teen years.  He was an active member of our church and committed to Christ, handsome, kind, and had a good job.  He and I came from a similar background and our families understood one another well.  He was too old for me, so we never had more than one ‘accidental’ date.  I knew of his feelings through things others said and the fact that he hung around a lot, not because he ever acted on them.  But I believe he might’ve waited for me if I’d responded differently than I did.  I was over-the-moon that he’d pay attention to me (he was so cute!).  But that’s where it stopped.  I thought I needed to go to college, work, live on my own for a while, and if I could get him interested in me I wondered who else I might be able to attract.  So I made a choice and he married someone else.

Years later when I finally did marry, I married a man a lot like him.  I have to shake my head in wonder at the whole thing.  I suppose I might have had a similar life to the one I’m living now, but without the years of struggle as I waited and tried to keep my desires in check.  (Who knows, there may have been a bunch of different problems though…)  So is it right to blame God for “making me wait”?  We can never really know how our lives might have been different if we had made different choices.  I can’t say that I wish I’d chosen differently back then.  I’m not even sure I was capable of making another choice.  I made an immature decision because I was immature.  I needed time to figure out my way in the world.  God knew the entire time what I needed and He sheltered me as I bumbled around, trying to figure it all out.

So the battle between free-will and predestination rages on for me.  God gives us free will, but He knows everything, so He knows what choices we will make.  Nothing surprises Him.  Knowing what choices we’ll make, He’s able to lay out a plan for us.  So He has a plan, but it’s based on what He knows of us, yet He created us as we are.  To me, it’s the unanswerable question.

IMG_20130331_153246_716I’m thankful I finally married Rick and that we have such a sweet little girl.  I’m thankful that at this time in our lives, he’s at home a lot and we are raising her as a team.  I’m incredibly thankful that Rick is the kind of dad who is available and involved in his daughter’s daily life.  He’ll be that awesome dad who can chaperone field trips and help with homework.  Both of our dads were young when they had us, faithful and responsible, and they worked around the clock to provide for us.  Both of our mothers sometimes felt like they were raising their children alone, but appreciated the husbands who made it possible for them to have homes and children.  Given the time he had to prepare, Rick is a good provider and a present parent.  I’m thankful to know who I am, not trying to raise a child while I strive and strain to become whole.  I’m grateful that within a few years of discovering that I want to be a writer, I was able to stay at home and focus more on it.

Whether it was free-will or God’s perfect plan for my life, it has worked out.  God has taken my mess and made something beautiful out of it.  God has allowed me my mistakes, seen my heart, and worked it all out for my good – giving me joy unspeakable.  He’s healed me from my struggle with anxiety and depression and set me free to enjoy the other parts of life that I wanted so badly.  He’s given me a loving and kind husband who is absolutely committed to Christ, a true man of peace.  In spite of all the options I passed by and questionable choices I made, hopefully the person I am becoming is one who brings honor and glory to Christ’s name.

Our phone conversation wasn’t all about me.  My friend has her own questions, wondering how life might’ve been different if she and her husband had known one another earlier, had different experiences.  Could they have avoided some of the problems they’ve encountered?  Might new problems have taken their place?  Interrupted in the middle of our conversation by the needs of our children, my friend and I laughed as we hung up, undisturbed by our inability to conclude our discussion.  We didn’t need to wrap it all up.  We just enjoyed trying to figure it out together.  We’re both in love with our children, in love with our husbands, thankful for the ability to devote ourselves to them full-time, and to sneak in ridiculously long phone calls every once in a while.

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Posted on Jun 22, 2013 in Fertility, Parenting | 10 comments

Ten Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman with “Morning Sickness”

Ten Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman with “Morning Sickness”

DSC_0019 CROPPregnancy.  Ugh.  I’ve decided that the women who say they feel great and actually like being pregnant are lying.

Okay, so maybe they aren’t exactly lying, but they aren’t actually telling the truth.  Could they be?  Nah.  Pregnancy, as beautiful as the outcome may be, is not what I would ever call “fun.”

No, I’m not trying to announce that I’m pregnant. I just had a little trip down memory lane and thought that in my non-preggo, non-sicko state, I’d make a list to help you out when you encounter other women with that glow. And for the record, “morning sickness” is the most under-descriptive name for the all-encompassing, 24-hour, flu-like state of many pregnancies.

1. You should try ________ (fill in the blank – saltines, ginger, peppermint, etc.).
Do you want to know how bad those things taste coming back up?
Get me a trash can!

2. You just need a little fresh air. Go for a walk!
I puke when I walk to the bathroom and you expect me to make it outside and down the road?
Get me a trash can!

3. Everyone gets it. Suck it up.
Oh, that makes it so much better…
Get me a trash can!

4. I can’t believe you’re sleeping again.
I just grew a pinky finger in my womb. What did you do today?
Get me a trash can!

5. You think you’re sick now, just wait until labor and delivery! (Snort.) Let me tell you my horror story…
Thanks. Now I’m not just sick, I’m terrified.
Get me a trash can!

6. If you were busy enough, you wouldn’t have time to be sick.
Are you freaking kidding me?
Get me a trash can!

7. Do you want to have sex tonight?
Do you want to clean puke up off your face?
Get me a trash can!

8. I don’t smell anything. You’re imagining it.
How can you not smell that? It’s awful.
Oops! The trash can wasn’t close by enough. Sorry about the floor.

9. Why do you need a trash can? Just puke in the toilet.
Yes, because in my extremely nauseous, motion-sick, hyper-sensitive to smell state, I want to stick my face in the pot where we poo.
GET ME A TRASH CAN!

10. I don’t feel like going out to get the food you’re craving right now. You’ll just puke it up anyway.
If I can’t have [pickled bananas] right now, I’m going to claw your eyes out.
And yes, after eating the crazy food I requested, get me a trash can, please…

And now, for some encouragement on what you could say to a pregnant woman with “morning sickness” to help her through it.

• Tell me about what you’re looking forward to most when your baby is born. (Then remind her of that when she’s feeling the sickest.)

• Is there anything I can do for you? Clean? Cook? Get your groceries? Get you a cool cloth? Turn the heat/AC up or down?

• Your shoulders are probably aching from the constant strain of vomiting. Can I rub them for you?

• I see that it must be difficult to reach your feet these days. Would you like me to paint your toenails?

• How do you feel about epidurals? Isn’t it nice to think that after all this sickness, you won’t have to feel a thing when you deliver this baby?

• Here are some boxes of baking soda to absorb odors. Where all should I put them in your house?

To all of you who are going through this difficulty right now, my heart goes out to you.  Remember, there will come a day when you have a sweet reward.  What got me through some of the worst of it was imagining little baby toes, little baby fingers, a little baby nose, and the joy of it all sometimes helped me to smile through the nausea and exhaustion and discomfort.  It won’t last forever.  One day soon(ish), you’ll be rewarded with big smiles, adoring eyes, and chubby little arms wrapped around you tight.  Then, if you’re anything like me, you’ll wonder how quickly you can do it all again.

What dumb things did people say to you when you were pregnant?  And what brilliant things did they do to help?

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Posted on Jun 18, 2013 in Wisdom | 3 comments

Cultivating Joy

Cultivating Joy

Self-pity is not my friend.  It tries to pretend like it is, sneaking in and whispering to me like we are partners or something.  And I admit there are times when I listen to my ugly companion and give in to self-pity.  Yesterday was one of those days.  Eliana was unhappy.  Who knows why?  She wouldn’t sleep.  She wasn’t hungry.  She didn’t want to play.  She wanted to be held, but when I held her she wriggled around until she was in crazy-uncomfortable positions, then looked at me with total betrayal that I would let her get like that, and scream.  I walked, patted, bounced, laid her down, tried toys, sang songs, got quiet, tried the swing, gave her gas drops, gave her prunes and apple juice, put on more clothes, took off clothes, took her for a walk, a drive, and so on – all day long.

She wouldn’t stay comfortable or content for more than 10 minutes at a time, but usually it was more like 2 or 3.  I finally got her to sleep after 3 hours of struggling, only to have her wake up screaming less than 30 minutes later.  Exhausted, frustrated, and concerned for my baby, I let her fuss for a while and ate some ice cream.  Shoot.  That didn’t help.  I ordered pizza.  Gorging myself on pizza and falling asleep used to be my way of comforting myself.  I hated what the scale said later for it, but it gave me enough of a temporary fix that I got over the whole scale problem…  Last night it didn’t work.  I knew what I was doing as I drove to pick it up.  I didn’t care.  I deserved it after the day I’d had.  But my day wasn’t over and eating pizza is less exciting when one of the people you love most in the world is miserable.  I drank a Coke.  That didn’t work either.

She finally went to sleep at 9:00, five minutes before Rick got home from work.  He tried to talk to me, but I was too out of sorts to have a conversation.  After letting my frustration and misery be known to him, I begged him to just let me go to bed.  The sweet man who had been working all day himself came to bed early too (not his favorite thing to do) and rubbed my back until I relaxed enough to fall asleep.

Guess what happened then?

The baby started crying.

Rick got up and took care of her.  All night long she fussed miserably, and all night long her daddy held her, fed her, patted, rocked, bounced, and shhh-ed.  I got up a few times, reminding him that he had to go to work in the morning, but he sent me back to bed.  He ended up sleeping with her on his chest on the couch so he could comfort her immediately when she cried out.  That kept her mostly asleep for a few hours.  When it was time for him to get up for work, I switched places with him.  Thankfully, she kept sleeping for a few more hours and woke up happy and pleasant.

I took her for a long walk this morning, knowing fresh air and exercise would do us both good.  Rick and his parents have done such a nice job of turning the land into a beautiful home that it’s helping me to love country farm life more every day.  There are flowers everywhere I look.  It’s so peaceful and quiet, the early morning air was cool, and the sun was shining.  As we neared the end of our walk, we came upon the mama kitty and her five kittens that are about a month old now.  She had moved them under the car for shade and as we walked by, then ran out joyfully to greet us.  Delighted that they didn’t run away, I sat down in the grass and put the baby in my lap.  Together we giggled as tiny kittens crawled all over us, meowing and purring as we petted them.  Eventually the mama kitty laid down kind of under my leg in the shade and nursed her kittens.  I couldn’t believe it.  What a moment…  I turned Eliana so she could see them and we helped one kitten who couldn’t find a place get what it was looking for, then we watched with delight.

I hadn’t planned on that sidetrack, and I had things I wanted to do inside.  It was tempting to quickly put the kittens in their box so they wouldn’t get under the wheels of the stroller and slow me down.  Who wants to sit in the grass and get ants crawling on you?  But I’m so glad I did.  It was a few minutes of unexpected delight.  A sadness that I’d been working over in my mind came into perspective.  I was reminded of the dream I believe God sent me a few months ago to stop looking back and start looking around and forward.  The frustration and sadness and self-pity lifted and joy returned.

Self-pity is easy.  Self-pity is, in a way, comforting.  Nobody understands me.  This person hurt me.  That person ignored me.  My husband doesn’t meet all the needs I expect him to meet.  My baby isn’t always happy and sweet.  I ate too much pizza last night and now I feel guilty.  Why do I do this to myself?  Blah, blah, blah…

Shut up, self pity!  Just shut up!

And so I begin the process of cultivating joy again.  I remind myself of all I have to be thankful for.  I remind myself of those who have been kind to me, of those who have gone out of their way to spend time with me, of those who have encouraged me to keep writing, and of those who have helped out.  I force myself to look around me, to consider the future, and to stop trying to right the wrongs of the past.  I get my eyes off myself and see the look of love on my daughter’s face, the way her eyes seek mine out and look for approval.  I look at God’s creation, the trees, grass, springs, flowers, plants, sky, and kittens, and remember that I am a tiny part of this great world.  I will start again on my plan for healthy eating, I will once again remember the healthier way to handle frustration and pain (call a friend, go for a walk, get some sleep, write a letter, play with some kittens) than comforting myself with food.

My life is so good.  It would be easy to nitpick, to find things to be upset about, and to chew them over repeatedly until I’m a total mess.  But I can make a better choice.  I can look around and see the good, thank God for His many blessings, and look ahead with eager expectation.

At times circumstances make it difficult to see the good.  At times it takes some concerted effort to see the good and appreciate it.  It’s a choice I make every day and it keeps the smile on my face and a song in my heart.  Lord, help me to drive self-pity far from me and to keep my eyes fixed on You.

Do you ever find yourself giving in to self-pity?  What do you do to fight your way out of it’s grasp?

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Posted on Apr 24, 2013 in Devotional, Parenting | 11 comments

Too Much Love?

Too Much Love?

 

ImageZephaniah 3:17 (NIV) – The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

The love I have for my daughter has twisted me up and laid me bare.  The years of lonely waiting have been replaced with intimacy and pleasure.  It’s the purest form of joy I’ve ever known, and it brings with it dark and brooding fears.  My love for her tends to burst out of me in the form of singing, reminding me of the reference in the Bible to God singing over us.  I have to laugh at times, thinking my life is the closest thing to a musical I’ve ever known.  I start to tell her things and song lyrics from years past come to mind.  Suddenly I’m making up new words that apply to her and our situation and we’re giggling and I’m wiping up drool and life couldn’t be more wonderful.

I talk to her all day long; I tell her what I’m doing and let her know I’m interested in her.  Today I taught her how to deal with peppers, showing her the colors and letting her smell and touch them, explaining how a food processor works.  I know it’s ridiculous and she won’t be able to remember anything about it, but I figure if I do this kind of thing often enough it will start to sink in.  Maybe one day she’ll know her colors and not be able to say how she learned them, but it seems like something she just always knew.

I’ve heard other people around us observe with surprise how much I interact with her and how alert she is.  I’m not sure if they’re happy about it or think I’m ridiculous.  Their comments have given me pause.  Am I too interactive with her?  Am I too focused on her?  Should I put her down during “happy-awake time” and get some work done, letting her entertain herself with toys and those fascinating hands she can’t stop admiring?  She sleeps during the day and I’m able to get work done then.  I’m not living in a messy house with a starving husband.  We are well-fed, the house is fairly clean, and my chores are close to done.  There are times when I put her down to finish some time-sensitive task.  She entertains herself well during those times.  But why would I miss out on the best times with her simply because she is content enough to be ignored?  It’s so much fun to interact with her, to see her smile, to hear her laughter, and to cover her in kisses.  Why would I give that up simply to have a house with zero dust?

But that fear creeps in, wiggling around inside and forcing me to stop and deal with it.  Am I spoiling her?  Will it be difficult for her to adjust if other children come along because she suddenly doesn’t have my full attention?  And the most insidious thought of all – am I making her into a god?  Giving up my worship of Jehovah to adore her and focus my attention on the gift rather than the Giver?

That last one gives me pause.  It is so close to a truth that it almost causes me to put her down, walk away, and pick up my Bible to pray.  That sounds like a godly thing to do, right?

But it is such a lie. 

The truth that rings in my heart and sets me free to love and adore this precious child is that my adoration of her, my focus on her, is a beautiful extension of my love and adoration for my God who gave her to me.  He blessed me with the most precious gift.  He didn’t give me this gift to leave in a corner and ignore, just to be sure I don’t overdo it.  How is that pleasing to Him?

My care for my daughter is an extension of my gratitude and thanksgiving to my God who lovingly placed her in my arms.  I sing over her the way I imagine He sings over me.  I find delight in her the way I imagine He finds delight in me.  I’ve read my Bible faithfully for years, studied it and poured over it’s passages.  I’ve committed them to memory and formed my life around it.  I love the words in The Book.  But now is not the time to pour over the words, but the time to apply them, to say them aloud, to teach them to someone else.  And it is the principles in The Book that I am to teach.  What does it say to this small and vulnerable child when she cannot get my attention because I’m studying a book?  I’ve studied The Book and now I will pass it on to her.  I’ll quote Scripture to her as it applies to our lives.  I’ll pray over her.  I’ll tell her stories from the Bible.  It has become so much more than cold words on a page.  In our home, it is breath and life and joy, structure and hope and love.

Of course I haven’t abandoned my study of the Bible.  I lead a Bible study and feed my own soul from the words I discover there.  It is so much more than a story to be read once, memorized, and filed away.  The Word of God is powerful and life-altering.  I love pouring over it, finding hidden treasure there that I missed in previous readings, considering the way the words apply to my life today in different ways than other days because my circumstances have changed.  But I’m in a time in my life where I don’t need to be a scholar.  I need to be a teacher.

There will come a day when my sweet Eliana won’t have my full attention.  She won’t need it either.  Those first few weeks of her life when I was healing and she was dealing with the shock of life outside the womb, I held her as much as possible.  I stared at her face for hours.  I knew that level of attention was impossible to sustain, but for those weeks I enjoyed every moment of it and soaked in her precious newness.  Then the day came when I realized we all slept better when she was in her crib, and so she began to sleep away from me. 

And then the day came that she didn’t need to nurse every few hours and she slept away from me for longer periods of time.  It’s a natural process of letting go.  Soon she won’t want constant face-to-face contact with me when she’s awake.  She’ll have a world to explore and will be busy checking everything out.  Toys and books and kitchen cabinets will demand her attention and I’ll be ready for the expansion of her world beyond me.

But for today, her chubby little knees are learning to lock into place and hold her in a standing position.  I want to feel my heart soar as I see the proud delight on her face as she grows in strength and accomplishes this new milestone.  I want to marvel up close at the strength in her neck as she holds her head up.  I want to feel the softest cheeks as I kiss them, smell the sweetness of her head, and hear her laughter when I tickle her tummy.  I want to listen as she babbles and coos, telling me her stories and trying to match my tones with hers.  I feel like I was given a back-stage pass to the most popular show in the world and I’m not going to stand aloof in the back of the auditorium, too cool to eagerly go backstage and meet the band.  I’m going to enjoy the intimacy that is the privilege of being a mother. 

And as I raise her little hands and say, “So big!”, my heart is raised to my God who has given me so many reasons to thank Him.  Each moment I spend adoring her is a moment my heart worships.  There is no way I could love her too much. 

For this child I prayed and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. – I Sam 1:27

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