Sunday, November 21, 2010
so for weeks, i'd say even since before liliana was born, we've heard the high pitch zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzz of a crotch rocket flying past our house and down the joining road beside our house. and it makes todd furious. several times he's jumped in his car and chased after the guy - but we're always too late. the little rocket boy is going so fast. by the time you see him, he's turning onto another road and there's no catching up. all we wanted was his license plate number. because that ought to do SOMEthing, right?
yesterday i was on my way home from the gym and as i turned into my neighborhood..zzzzzzz...there he went. he was rounding a corner in my neighborhood just as i was passing him. so i, being alone and without children, did what any mama would do. i jerked my minivan into a road, backed out and hauled booty after the rocket boy. and when i say hauled. i mean i was going 70mph down 17th street ext. headed towards college road. and if you're from here, you know that that in itself is no brilliant move. but i was determined to get this boy's license plate. so as i'm speeding, i'm dialing the hubs. "i'm chasing the crotch rocket boy, todd! i'm gonna get him! ...ok, get something to write with. ...you ready? license plate number...ok. now pray for me. i'm gonna talk to him."
so i pull up next to him in my minivan. i'm lookin' fierce in my hollywood sunglasses and hair greased back in a ponytail from my workout and my two carseats in the back. and i ever so nicely say, "can you hear me?" he smiles and says "yes." and i say, "do you live in bla bla (gonna leave that out) neighborhood?" him, "no." me, "do you sometimes ride through there?" him, "yea." and this is when i get pissed, but mind you i didn't say all of the curse words that i wanted to. cause boy, i wanted to either knock him in his nose with my fist or at least let him have it with mean words. but i refrained. so instead i said, "DO NOT come in our neighborhood AGAIN! it is NOT OK for you to ride your bike that fast. THERE ARE CHILDREN in there.!" him, "SO. they gotta catch me. i don't care. i don't ride around kids. i don't care." me, "well then you should know that your license plate number is going directly to the police RIGHT NOW....(and i add this in b/c i KNOW that this will scare him)...and i have a cop who lives on my street. we WILL catch you!" him, "i DON'T CARE!"
and the light turned green.
and that joker accelerated so insanely fast and went around the turn so fast that i was sure that his bike was going to fly out from beneath him (which i don't want. i didn't want him to die.). but i wanted him to get a FLIPPIN' CLUE!
and i know that i sounded so far from threatening. but let me just tell you how much of the mama bear in me was rising up. i was so rattled and angered by that moron that my hands were shaking when i walked into our house. i'm just glad that we were in our cars and not face-to-face. i'm afraid my knee would have had a twitched and jumped up and knocked him in special places.
i don't think i would have been so mad if he hadn't said he didn't care. because he DOES in fact ride his bike by children. our whole neighborhood is active - people are constantly out walking or riding bikes or kids are playing. how incredibly ridiculous. and when we called the cops there really was nothing they could do. they said they would go by his house and talk to him.
and you know what i picture? and i always have. so now picture this with me. i picture the holy spirit being loud like a lion when a mama is protecting her babies. and i've always thought that if someone broke into my house with me there with the girls, that i would open my mouth and this roar would come out. it would be so big and loud and crazy, that the bad guy would run. i believe that the voice of the Lord can roar. sounds silly, maybe. and so i'm just hoping that even though i didn't roar at that rocket boy, i hope that whatever i said to him transferred. i hope that the Lord rearranges my words, later, and that when rocket boy replays the events of yesterday that he remembers this crazy burly looking dude threatening his rocket riding days if he so much as steps a wheel in our neighborhood. because the Lord is cool like that, and i know He could relay that message if needed.
here's to no more rocket boys in my hood. or else.
Friday, November 12, 2010
last night our baby slept through the night. well, she woke at 5a.m. to nurse and then went back to sleep. she slept beautifully. i, however, didn't. i kept wondering when she was going to wake. and sometime in the night i realized that i'd forgotten my nursing pads. i realized it because my entire shirt and bra were soaked with milk. oh you sneaky let down, you. but when i woke for the day, i was ready. i was so happy for a well-slept house.
and after a nearly two hour doctor's visit gone horribly wrong, i was deflated. we were one of maybe ten patients total. and somehow they forgot about us. i asked three times if they remembered us. finally after an hour and a half, we were seen. but by then, the two month old was exhausted and falling asleep. shots pissed her off in a bad kind of way. and the two year old. Lord help us. i was about to sit her in the hallway and ask them to bring her some sort of sedative. the holding room was WAY to little for the three of us. or maybe just the 2 year old's energy.
i laid the baby in her crib. her eyes never opened. i wanted to crawl in with her. exhausted didn't properly define my state. but life goes on. the dishes needed to be unloaded from the dishwasher and the full sink needed to be tended to. and those dishes needed to be loaded. and the laundry - that turned into three loads - needed to be washed and folded and put away. and the toddler still required my attention. and she whined and pleaded for it. my attention. and i was torn from my deflated energy and the chores that needed to be done and the love that needed to be given to the brown eyes that were begging me to come and play.
so we played. and while playing, a flash of red caught my eye. so like any good mother would do, i used a paint stirring stick to squish a black widow. (while screaming at the curious 2 year old walking towards me saying "let me see the spider mommy"...and i was yelling "DO. NOT. COME OVER HERE! IT'S A DANGEROUS SPIDER!"). and then i called the exterminator. oh the drama. the neighbors must think i'm a loon.
and as i type this, my baby's daddy is giving the two year old a bath. the two month old has been in bed for hours and i'm still...exhausted. and i keep wondering when energy will return to my body. though i remember it being like this the first go round but i still wonder. and i wonder when the last few pounds of fat will leave my body. this is not what i remember the first go round. then again, this is a second child. i am 31. and i'm not nearly as able to get up and go to the gym or go for a walk with napping child(ren). so i try to be patient and do arm weights and situps and squats in my livingroom...in between folding underwear and socks and miniature clothes. lots of them.
and i try to smile knowing that this is the life i dreamed about...but knowing that the reality is that some days are just harder than others. some days i've got it all down pat and figured out. and then some days the firstborn whines more than there are grains of sand on the beach and the house requires more of my attention than i'd care for and the fat on my belly still jiggles and the crows feet keep digging in and the gray hairs keep multiplying and i smile. because i know that this is what i signed up for. but some days...some days it's just exhausting.
and i find myself looking the brown eyed babe in her eyes and wondering where the time has gone. and i cry. because i know that my mom and dad held me when i was a babe. a toddler. and they loved me and fussed over me and then time slipped on...fast. and so i think about this day that's worn me out - for whatever reason - and i think, enjoy it ashley. one day you'll wish you were squishing spiders and pushing thirty pounds of chubby toddler love on a swing and nursing your baby and not waving them goodbye as they pull out of the driveway headed to their own houses.
and really, is there any sweeter sound than a baby nursing?
God has overwhelmed me with the most precious daughters. thank you Lord for the chance to raise up two women to go out and make the world crazy in love with You.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
so here's the naked truth. cause by the end of it, i was indeed naked. well, i had on a sports bra.
pregnancy with liliana was so different from my pregnancy with loralai. it was easier, for the most part. and there were some physical ailments, i'll leave those unmentioned, that affected some unmentionables and was just well, unpleasant. but aside from the unpleasantry that occurred, pregnancy with my little liliana was wonderful. i felt her kick early and she never stopped - i don't think she took a break even in the late hours of the night. and this summer. well, this summer goes on record as being one of THE best summers i can remember since being a kid. loralai and i spent at least one to two days a week at the beach with some of the best friends and their babes. it seemed surreal. i was big, pregnant, it was the hottest summer on record, and God had blessed me with life at the beach. and, He'd blessed me with a husband who works at home. todd's job has changed. he's now self-employed. there's a lot about that that we love and a lot that we hate - but having him home, i love. and it made the summer even more rich.
so fast forward to august. i'm OVER being pregnant. oh mercy. i clearly remember sitting on our back covered porch one early afternoon while loralai played in her swimming pool and i...i sat in a chair, with an overhead fan and a floor fan both blowing on high...and i...i was sitting there in my bra and underwear sweating it out to the beat of black eyed peas' i gotta feeling. why? because it made my toddler smile to heaven and back and truth be told, it made me happy too. but way too sweaty. yuck. this summer was a hot one. and by august, i was nearly wishing for a c-section to be scheduled.
but not really. because my c-section with loralai resulted in blood transfusions and a long long road of recovery that i don't wish on anyone. so my heart's desire was a vbac. i wanted to see if my body could do it. i wanted to experience life birthed the way that God had created it to be. and so we waited. we decided that we would wait on the Lord. no rushing. no giving in. just waiting. so we prayed a lot. and we walked just as much. there were many days that i'd walk two times in the day. i kept thinking that gravity had to do some sort of good to pull this baby on down the lady shoot.
by the end of august, though, i was beginning to wonder if this baby would ever come out. why i thought she would come early is beyond me. loralai was two weeks late. so there was no reason for me to wish that liliana would be early or on time. but still, i wished. and i prayed. and i quit going to church. it was just too uncomfortable. and i was just too big. and too hot. and too irritated to sit in a regular chair position for an hour. so for three sundays before the baby arrived, todd took loralai to church and i had the morning to myself. and i have to say, those were some sweet moments alone. it gave me a chance to regroup. to remember who i was aside from being a pregnant mom and wife. i drove in the car by myself. i turned the radio up really loud. and i almost always had to make a mad dash home to pee. i was never gone long. the bladder was a squished bladder by then. but still, the time was glorious.
but that last sunday. three days after my due date, something felt different. maybe it was the extreme nausea i'd experienced the day before. or just some sort of feeling that God gives when the time is near. but i actually blow dryed my hair and put on make up and vacuumed and mopped and clearly remember saying out loud to God "God, i promise to choose to have a good day today." (did i mention being a bit irritable?) and i did.
i went running that morning - prior to the makeup and hair doing - and it was laughable. i remember thinking that surely my butt cheeks were going to detach themselves from the bones upon which they sit. the running, it wasn't so fast, but its purpose was to move that baby OUT! and by 3:30p.m., i was even more antsy and ordered the husband to go on a journey to the local pharmacy and buy some castor oil. but as the Lord would have it in his humorous way, i lost my plug while the husband drove down the road. without the help of the oil, the baby was making her way. within the next hour, the contractions set in at 8, then 6, then 5, then 3 minutes steadily apart.
so we ate dinner and played in the yard and waited to see if this was the real thing. because for the two weeks prior, i'd had nothing but false labor. though this. this felt real. these contractions were painful. and i was happy. it may be the only time a girl is ever happy to be in pain. so i called my mom - and her bags were packed. and then i called a dear friend of mine who was going to be my doula - and she was ready to go. and then i called a girlfriend - and she was on her way to my house. we tucked in loralai and prayed with her and told her that tomorrow morning, she was going to meet her sister. she was excited. we were excited. and it was all i could do to not cry.
the thought of getting to hold our sweet liliana seemed to be too much. i couldn't wrap my mind around being the mom of two. of our family not just being the three of us anymore. of God redeeming September.
to the hospital we drove. and todd missed the turn to the hospital. and i cussed. we were off to a grand start. we were a little frazzled and looking back, it was funny.
we got to the hospital around 8:30-9 and were admitted around 10. by midnight, the contractions had intensified though they stayed every three minutes apart for the next fifteen hours. and for those fifteen hours, i breathed, and clenched my jaw tight, and listened to my husband and friend (ovella) talk, and got in and out of the birthing tub, and moaned and groaned in pain and wonder how much longer. how much longer Lord? i remember being completely angry with Eve and being ticked that this is how life has to come into the world - through pain. but then ovella would pull me back to center and another hour would tick by.
though admittedly, by the 12th hour or so, i was done. i was exhausted and in so much pain. i had a baby who was turned sunny side up and was pressing down on my pelvis and nerves were shooting like lightning rods and i felt paralyzed to move though forced to breathe and desperate to run away from my body. i wanted an epidural and i wanted it now. but now was 14hours + and now was too late. i remember begging and pleading for the pain to stop. and i remember getting really short and rude with the nurse, mary, and telling her to PLEASE BE QUIET! and i remember todd kept talking while i was having contractions and i wanted to do bodily harm to him. and i remember thinking that i couldn't do this. and i remember wanting to die. truly just let me die. it would be better than this pain.
but then it happened. somewhere in the middle of the song Faith by Jason Upton, the holy spirit grabbed me just long enough to send the enemy running and let Truth enter my heart. it was just long enough for me to distinctly remember thinking "i can do this. i was made for this." that feeling came and went in the wind. but in the midst of the height of the pain - and words can't describe the insanity of the pain - i could hear and recall that. and i knew, despite my fear (because i was scared of the pain. it didn't come to play.), that i could do it. and while ovella held me close to her chest and prayed over me, i knew that my baby would be in my arms soon.
i never imagined the pushing of it all. i just didn't. i knew i'd have contractions and that laboring through would be tough but i didn't think about pushing. and when it was time, i seemed to be stuck on my side. however the baby was positioned, it made it nearly impossible for me to move as with every move, it felt like my pelvic wall was going to crush into a million pieces. it felt like my lady area was going to break. and it was.
so with force, the nurse and todd and ovella pulled me onto my back and the pushing began. ovella was amazing. truly. she is amazing. God has blessed her with an ability to walk someone through pain and help them to see the purpose in it, more than anyone i've ever known. she was absolute light when it seemed utterly dark. and the noises that came out of my body in groans and shreaks and cries - they surprised even me. my body was doing something without my permission. it was beautiful and terrifying and exactly how it should be.
and as her head started to crown, i remember todd saying, "i thought this would be weird. but it's not. this is awesome! keep going baby!" he was so excited to see his baby girl enter the world. and all i could think was, sweet jesus get her out! the pain. Lord Jesus, the pain. but a few pushes later when that sweet liliana joy slipped from my womb and up into my arms...the pain melted away. literally. i didn't care. i was staring into the face of someone i had loved for months - or maybe even always.
she cried and i cried.
and it was labor day, september 6, 2010. it was my 31st birthday. and it was liliana joy's birthday. of all of the days that the Lord could pick to bring forth my second daughter, he chose my birthday.
it was redemption. because for years, september seemed to go all wrong. my parents separated, my dad was a no show or no call on my birthday, a long time boyfriend broke up with me, i found out my grandad had terminal cancer, my parents divorced, my childhood home sold...for a long time, i found myself cringing when september rolled around. i was just sure that something else was looming in the dark, waiting to crush the hope that was september. and when i got married, todd started rewriting september. he would do everything he could to make my birthday special.
but it was the Lord himself that redeemed it. it is He that only can redeem anything. and when he took my birthday and made it my daughter's, He gave me a new focus. september is so sweet now. i'll never see the sadness in it. never. all of the pain of all of those years were worth the sadness - it was in the sadness that hope grew.
and now i look at this blue eyed girl and my heart rejoices. for so long we waited for the Lord to restore something that seemed impossible. but he showed us that it was possible. somewhere in the quiet of the early morning hours of september 6th, God reached into my heart and reminded me that i was created for this - for this moment. and from my womb, he made new precious life - again.
and i love her. she is a joy.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
i live with this little girl who is just so cute. and every day i tell her the same thing. i look at her and say, "hey. look at me." and sometimes now she looks at me (and i swear she's rolling her eyes) and she says it before i get a chance to "i love you." she knows what i'm going to say just by me asking her to look at me. but there's a little more to it. i always say "God made you SO good. i love you. every day. all day long." and she's started asking me sometimes "every day?" she thinks about it.
she also thinks about crackers and chocolate. but that's a whole other post. a post on how to feed your children healthy foods without being asked first thing in the morning, "i want crackers for brea-fast mommy."
back to being so good.
have you heard that jonny diaz song Beautiful You? if not, go to iTunes and listen. it's so sweet. and true.
the chorus goes like this:
There could never be a more beautiful you
don't buy the lies disguises and hoops they make you jump through
You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do
So there could never be a more beautiful you
if you know Beth Moore, right about now i hear her saying "ain't it so ya'll?!!"
i can't protect our little one from the world, but i can do my best to prepare her for the One who calls her beautiful, beloved, lovely, daughter, innocent. i can prepare her to look in the mirror and know that she was created for a purpose. what a privilege to pour into a little girl's heart truth. real Truth. not feel good stuff that works for the minute. but Truth that produces a fruit so sweet that the world will be the one uncomfortable around her. not her around it.
i look at her dance and i think - keep going sweetie. never stop. throw your hands up before your Lord and dance. and never let anyone stifle that spirit that was made to rejoice.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
then i asked her, "who is Jesus?" she said, "Jesus is God...i love Jesus and God."
this afternoon before naptime, she was in her room, sitting on this comfy green chair where she cuddles up to read her books. i overheard her reading and so i stood at her doorway and listened. and this is what she was reading, "in the be-ninning God made the earth. in the be-ninning God made the earth. in the be-ninning God made everything."
and as we cuddled up to read a book before her nap, we prayed. and i thanked God that He would bless me with these moments and these minutes and these days where i am given the privilege to pour His Word into my sweet one. when i'm able to rebuke her with love and correction and explain to her why we sit in our chair.
i never knew that a two year old could have a heart so hungry for God. but she does. the questions are natural and come often and the lady who keeps her during the day has all the time in the world to answer them. and i'm thankful to my husband for working his fingers to the bone so that our baby's keeper is her mama. i'm honored.
what a joy it is to go without a shower, to grocery shop greasy-haired, to sweep crumbs up, to wipe jelly-stained cheeks, to potty train, to wipe tears, to pick boogies, to laugh and dance and play dolls. i wouldn't trade a minute of this time for a day at the spa. not a minute.
Friday, February 19, 2010
i lived in the triad of NC for about 4 years after college. and in that time, God landed me the most incredible job a girl could have ever imagined. at least this girl. i wanted to work in advertising, and the Lord showed me great mercy by letting me work for an agency full of men. and three other women. being outnumbered by men is interesting, to say the least. the conversation is almost always music, bodily functions, sports and any kind of joke at the expense of yours truly. all in good fun.
moving back to wilmington was exactly what i was supposed to do. but it seemed so unfair to have to leave that job. i don't know how to tell you how much i loved it. or maybe it was more the people i loved. because each one is/was so unique. it was there that i saw what it looked like to be a husband, a dad, a spiritual leader... i remember thinking that if i could ever find a man who was the combination of the men i worked with, then he would be perfect.
bill was the class clown. literally. sometimes you wanted to have a whipping stick to pop his knuckles in order to reign him in during a creative meeting. creative doesn't begin to describe him but it was the only title they could stick him under: creative director. when i think of bill, this is what i think of: a musician, a flirt, a word nerd, distracted and focused, strong, a mama's boy, a wealth of useless information, an eyebrow raiser, the best hugger, always finding a common ground to make you feel comfortable, one of the boys, excessive coffee drinker, night owl, a definite kid at heart.
that's how he greeted me most often. i wish you could hear his voice. it's just...bill.
i remember being so thankful that i could shout "BILL" to a man and not want to take his name in vain. because at the time i was working with him, i hadn't forgiven my dad and held his name in real contempt. but to say this bill's name was easy. he made bill fun. he made bill likeable. he gave bill hope.
but this Bill, he's dying. a few months after i moved, he was officially diagnosed with colon cancer that metasticized. he's fought hard. it's been nearly 5 years. but the doctors say that his time is near.
i'd be lying to you if i felt relief for him. i don't. my spirit groans for him.
something happens when you follow Jesus. your heart becomes stronger because you depend on Him more but your heart also does something you never saw coming. it grieves sin desperately and cries out in huge ways when you see someone losing heart. losing hope. and you get mad. because you see the enemy setting up camp.
so let me tell you this. this girl. bill's daughter. i'm not after the enemy. he's nothing compared to my God. but i'm after this bill. i'm covering him in prayer. i'm asking the Holy Spirit to combat against the enemy until bill's heart softens enough to reach out to the hand that is calling him.
the Holy One. the one we cry out to, Abba Father, is calling bill.
and i COVET your prayers.
this world doesn't need bill. it doesn't need me. but i refuse to give up so that hell gets him. he was created by the living God and i'm asking that you pray with me so that it is He who looks into bill's eyes and lovingly says "welcome home Son."
pray with me. please.
the thing that bill doesn't realize is that he WANTS Jesus. he's just hiding behind the same pride that's denied the Lord for 50+ years.
there is no one like the Lord God Almighty. he is HOLY. HOLY. HOLY.
he is Creator, Perfector, Finisher, Almighty, Everlasting, Ever-present, Healer, Savior, Father. and if the enemy thinks he has anything on that, he ought to stand back and watch the King of Kings take a hold of a heart that he thought he had wrapped in the bag. cause it's on! there's an army of warriors praying for a man named bill.
because we're desperate to send our friend off and finally call him brother.
oh to be present and see him bear hug Jesus.
pray with us, won't you?
Thursday, February 18, 2010
today we went to the doctor - all four of us (i count the one in my womb as a whole being). and we heard our little one's heartbeat. woosh woosh. woosh woosh.
i didn't expect it to take my breath the way it did. and the tears that found their way into my eyes kind of surprised me. not that i'm not excited about this new baby. it's just that i've had less time to ponder over the new life inside of me, like i did with loralai. time is different now. what with the endless conversations that two year old offers, all the time we pretend cooking, reading books, playing outside, singing and dancing...time is just different. but when i pray, it's still the same.
i still ask the Lord to find favor with us and bless us with a healthy and hardy baby. i'm realizing more and more what a miracle life is. and having two lives to care for is even more amazing. God thinks that Todd and i should be parents to loralai and this new baby. that's just so sweet to me - especially because i think that loralai is one of God's sweeter creations ;)
today while at the doctor's office, loralai sweetened up one of the women on their staff. and that woman so generously gave loralai a 3 inch tall teddy bear that she had sitting on her desk. made miss nancy's (that's the woman) day and it definitely made loralai's day. she kept saying, "that lady gave me a little teddy bear." and then they gave her chocolate and sitckers. who knew.
later in the day, before nap time, loralai wouldn't eat lunch. not like her. and i asked her what was wrong; why was she crying. her response, "it's because i'm tired mommy." oh. simple enough.
so at naptime we took a little time out to pray and regroup. she was just out of sorts. and i asked her if she wanted to pray first. it never ceases to amaze me the the things that come out of her heart. she said this, "thank you God for mommy. amen. thank you God for daddy. amen. thank you God for the lady who gave me my teddy bear. amen." and that was enough. she laid her head on my chest and waited for me to read a book.
at two, she has a grateful heart. now to just keep fanning that fire and praise her for that sweetness. to see love overflow from your little one's heart makes you know, for certain, that God is doing a sweet work in her.
i can't wait to see how she prays for her baby brother/sister when they get here. i bet it will go something like "thank you God for our baby. please make it stop crying. amen." and i bet the dogs will concur.
today, sweet hugs from my one year old and a heart rejoicing to God for teddy bears.
tomorrow, happy birthday songs, chocolate chip pancakes and...who knows. it's going to be great!
Sunday, February 14, 2010
so it's true. we're pregnant. or i am, anyway ;) and just like my pregnancy with loralai, i'm nauseated more hours of the day than not. but i'm just praying that in the next few weeks all of that will pass. our due date is september 2nd. and that's a pretty sweet thing. for a long time i really wasn't a fan of septembers. the laundry list is long and it might be a little indulgent to list all of the woes out - but let's just say that a lot of loss happened in september from the time i was about 18 until 26. and so i dreaded september. especially my birthday that falls on the sixth. it wasn't until after i got married that i had a friend try to make sweet memories on my birthday, that i started to enjoy it again. that friend is my husband. and he always does his best to make my birthday a relaxing time. and while i know that being happy about some things is just a plain choice, i'd be lying to you if i said that the old memories didn't creep in on my birthday. so sometimes it's just a choice to rebuke the old memories and consciously live in the new ones happening.
when we found out the due date of our new little one, i was so happy. finally september isn't a month to think of all those old woes. God's given me a sweet new gift that was already mine but He so graciously reminded me when He gave me this baby. it's hope renewed. restored. and maybe our baby won't be born in september - maybe it will be an august baby. but for the next six months, our eyes are fixed on september 2nd. and that is a beautiful thing. to think about a time that used to bring pain and to envision the glory that will unfold surrounding it...i just smile.
and loralai. well i asked her one night what we should name the baby (and no i won't reveal the baby's name. you won't know that until it's safely in my arms.) and she said that Potato would be a good name. aaah. Potato. what a sweet name.
and speaking of loralai. she turns two this coming friday. it seems like yesterday that i was crushing a plastic bedpan while trying to pee lying on my back during the midst of an induction. 1. that's a story for another day (and yes it's hilarious) and 2. they should never tell a pregnant woman that she can't go pee for 8 hours. (seriously!) but anyway, my baby is a toddler. a talking sweet toddler. i would name the words she says but i can't count them. we carry on conversations like old friends. she just talks - a lot. and her heart is growing in sweet sweet new ways. we've been praying with her a lot. reading her the Psalms and telling her the stories about God's people. about the people that Jesus was friends with - the people that first spread the good news about salvation. and just when i think she isn't understanding, she'll open up one of her little books, point to jesus and say, "that's MY Jesus." and yes. yes it is.
at night loralai has been waking up a bit crying. it's a hard thing to discern, at this age, why she's crying. regardless, todd and i believe that our greatest protection against bad dreams, fear, anything, is the armor of God. though while loralai is still young, we know that her armor is the protection of the holy spirit - the spirit she has yet to accept. but God says that he protects the young - that it's under his wing that we find refuge - that he is ever present in our time of need (which is always. hello.). so we've been talking to loralai a lot about all of these things. and the other night, overly tired, while putting her to bed, todd says the same thing to her that we've been saying for a while. he tells her that mommy and daddy can't come in tonight if she wakes...and she fills in the blank where we normally continue by saying, "but Jesus can. He sings me the hmmm hmmm song." (which is jesus loves me, hummed). todd said it was all he could do to not cry. it was real. just as Jesus said that when we cry out to him, he will come, he does. his promises are good.
and in the quiet of night when our little one reaches out in fear. when she musters up the courage and faith to ask Jesus to help her go back to sleep, it is Him who comes to her and sings her a lullaby back to sleep. only i'm certain that he says, I love you. This I know. For I've always told you so. Little ones to Me, you belong, you are weak but I am strong....
can you imagine being sung a lullaby by the King of Kings?
i bet you that He's willing to sing a beautiful sweet melody into our hearts, if we'll just still ourselves long enough to muster up the courage and faith to receive Him.
"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation."
...and this is how we pray with loralai. not that it's a perfect equation. but just an idea of something to do if you're new to praying with your little one. we just plug her name in to where the Psalm is talking about God's people and how He loves them. and the fruit is great. covering your children in the Truth is a mighty shield that will protect them now and in the days and years to come.
"Because Loralai loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue her;
I will protect Loralai, for she acknowledges my name.
15 Loralai will call upon me, and I will answer her;
I will be with Loralai in trouble,
I will deliver Loralai and honor her.
16 With long life will I satisfy Loralai
and show her my salvation."