Category Archives: Motherhood

Milk & Honey

*For my baby Jane, in celebrating 7 months of life. ❤️

 

We had a bath, you and I.

And you know?

That may be the sweetest place I have ever been.

 

Your face, as pure as the droplets of water that speckle it, tilts back to gaze at me.

And I gaze at you.

 

You are the creamiest white.

Your face, and down along each roll of your arm,

across your belly and around your legs,

to the tip of your tiniest toe,

you, my dear, are the color of milk.

 

Your eyes lock with mine.

You smile with joy and kick the water.

It splashes the two of us, but neither one turns to look.

 

How can I?

Your eyes are like puddles of ocean water,

a deep, bottomless blue,

as if you could look and look

and not see all there is to see.

 

Your pink rosy lips form a side-lying oval

as your tongue curves up to join in the excitement.

And the colors trigger my heart to send a request to my mind: Remember this.

 

My eyes take a moment to blink,

like the click of a camera.

Did I get it?

Can my mind file this for safe-keeping forever?

 

Surely you will grow.

Most likely, faster than I have,

and I was but a child only a moment ago.

 

As if sensing my hopeless desire to control time,

you splash again and water splatters.

Your honey-tipped eyelashes have caught a drop,

wet and frayed out as they are.

They look like the palm trees in Florida, excited and undeterrable.

 

You win, my love.

I know in far away tomorrows I will ache.

Perhaps on a rainy day when the small droplets of water remind me of the way they splashed your face,

or at the ocean’s edge if I stand there looking deep enough.

 

I will remember you, us,

as we are in this moment.

And I will long for it back.

The memory will come with both joy and sorrow.

 

But right now, sweet child of mine,

you have chosen well and I can’t help but follow.

 

Joy it is, as we savor the present sweetness,

these moments of milk and honey.

jane legs

 

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Seeing Glory in the Grind {for the weary momma}

The sky was painted perfect last night. Long, strong strokes of orange swept thick across a soft blue. The tip of the sun lingered near the horizon, savoring the last few moments of day, and we all did the same. Necks turned, eyes wide, fingers pointed.

“Mom, do you see that? That’s amazing!”

The beauty held us there.

That’s the thing about sunsets- they are glorious every time. Typically redundancy chips away at the sacred beauty of something, and awe wanes thin, but the sky? When another pictures hangs, with colors spinning and bursting, it doesn’t matter that I’ve seen it thousands of times before, my eyes gaze wide and my heart drinks deep and I stand with my children like a child again.

I’ve been missing those sunset moments. My house is surrounded by trees, which have a beauty all their own, but they loom tall into the sky and the big picture is hard to see.

I’ve been having days like that lately. Days with trees looming tall overhead in the form of fussy crying and blow out diapers and kids getting into arguments about who got the toy first. Trying days without nights of rest, one morphing into the next without any break in between, and it left me panting. Where’s my sunset?

jane legs

So last week my wonderful mother took my older two, and I headed west with my babe. She was finally sleeping. It was quiet except for the hum of the minivan and the occasional sound of the blinker as we turned. When was the last time I heard the sound of the blinker? I unraveled in the quiet and the tears slowly came.

Because some days for us mommas? There isn’t anything left. We have children who need need need. Correction, food, comfort, cleaning, wiping, encouragement, teaching, chasing, pacing, embracing. They are little and act like complete children and babies cry like babies, and it’s all normal and has been happening since the first cry of the first baby. But I can’t help but wonder, did Eve ever have moments like this? Did she ever run for the quiet of a field, that first generation of nature singing a song of comfort to her momma weary soul?

jane arm

And after her, the second momma and third, and thousandth and millionth, and here we are the moms of this generation raising the moms of the next, and we are all the same really. Tied by a love that gives all and an overwhelming exhaustion when it feels like all has been given but the day isn’t over yet.

We’ve all had days when spilled milk isn’t just spilled milk. It’s a night with three hours of sleep, a mountain of laundry in the corner and dirty dishes in the sink, a morning of refereeing between two little people, while a baby is crying over your shoulder, and then the milk is spilled. And was it breastmilk? Well then let the floodgates open.

It can feel so unwarranted because the daily grind is a string of smallish moments but if you are one of those moms who just had the milk spilled on top of everything else that goes on with raising children and you want to cry, I get it. I am with you.

After thirty minutes of driving, I parked outside a café and went in, no hands to hold or little feet to direct. Just my baby, still sleeping, snuggled against me in her carrier. I ordered a muffin and something cold to drink and found a table near the window. I ate in the silence of my own heart’s conversation and it felt so good to listen.

Just one table over I saw a mom. She had her children around her asking questions and needing their food cut up. They were all boys, five of them under the age of seven. She handled herself with such grace and patience, I couldn’t help but take it in and let it simmer. I know she has had other moments. Ugly, difficult, hair pulling ones. I don’t think you can make it through triplet babies without shedding a good many tears.

But this moment in the café? Her boys looked to her and she spoke with kindness and I could see they were taking in everything she said like she was the most trustworthy person on earth. It reminded me, this is a beautiful calling. Motherhood is a beautiful, life-shaping calling.

It was enough for me to see beyond my trees and know that the glory filled sunsets are happening. And they are happening for you too, weary momma. Step out from under the trees and take a treasured moment to look at it.

kids on couch

The big picture is this: we are raising the next generation. Mommas we are raising the next generation.

This is huge.

And the days in which we live? It is an all-out battle for the minds of our children.

The world will offer confusion. We must teach truth.

The world will push for selfishness. We have to teach servanthood.

The world will tell them what they must do to be loved. Our children need to know they are loved by the One who paints the sunsets.

 I am convinced that the only way to affectively teach is to focus on being taught. We must hunger for truth in order to share it; to teach servanthood we must first learn to be self-sacrificing and our children will not fully understand the depths of His love unless we ourselves abide in it.

And these things do not happen in a day but in a long string of smallish moments. The good ones and the bad ones, because having the opportunity to apologize and seek forgiveness is not only inevitable but a moment used for good.

I write with my baby girl on my lap. Her name is Jane.

Back in 1926, a momma had a baby girl. She named her Jane. Jane grew and married and had eight children. One of her daughters grew and married and raised four children. One of her sons grew and I married him and together we are raising three.

This cycle of life just keeps going, day by day by day. Jane to Jane.

Grandma Jane was buried the month before our baby girl was born, but she left me with some beautiful words:

What ever happened to white picket fences,

Rose gardens, Prince Charming, happily ever after?

Fences must be painted and repaired, gardens must be hoed and nurtured.

Prince Charming gets tired and grumpy too.

Happily ever after?

The realities of life can be harsh. This is our prayer for you:

Keeping in tune with God’s plan for your life-

Abiding in Him can get your through those harsh realities of life and beyond.

All the way to happily ever after, both in this life and the one to come!

 

Abiding in Him. That is the happily ever after.

Chin up, momma friends. From generations past to generations present, we are in this together.

Life day by day, all for His glory.

Sunrise to sunset.

Aubrie

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Building Pyramids {and needing approval}

The blog was supposed to expire today.

I’ve been getting letters and emails for months warning me of the upcoming death sentence.

Honestly? That was just fine with me. I let the statements gather dust, one on top of the other, thinking maybe it will all just slip my mind and one day I will find myself unfortunately too late to renew.

But it didn’t slip my mind. In fact it took up so much space I was forced into prayer. A whisper barely audible from a distant heart.

“Lord, You don’t really need me to do this right now, do You? I don’t have anything to give.”

Which was true. Is true. How can I share when I am too busy to receive?

I find myself in this struggle especially when I am pregnant. My blood runs to the center of my womb and my thoughts dance in circles about all things baby, and everything else loses my interest. My energy drops, my pillow beckons… the Bible sits. Again, and again, and again.

It doesn’t take long ya know. I’m thankful that it works that way. It doesn’t take long until joy slips away, discontentment creeps in, and somehow my first response is to love myself full again.

And the Bible sits while I converse with the lies.

“You need to be this.”

“You need to accomplish that.”

“This is the problem.”

I bend my back.

In a land filled with glamorous pyramids, a deceived heart bent on feeling full will need one of these. A beautiful, tall, pyramid that others will admire and approve of. Something that will make a splash on social media because how full-filling will that second be?

I bend my back. That’s kind of laughable. What sort of bricks do I even have to work with? None really, but when it’s a battle of the mind, the spirit, it doesn’t matter whether you have the bricks piled high or not. They both need to be higher. Better. You need to be more than what you are. You must gain approval. Love of self cracks a hard whip. Another statement comes in the mail. I bury the red deadline out of sight.

Later at Bible study we piece apart the parable of the talents. It’s the one about the three servants, each given different sums of their master’s money, and all of them held responsible for what they did with it. I’ve always felt bad for the last guy, the safe one. That would have been how I would handle someone else’s money. Burying it means there is no risk of losing it. Shouldn’t he be rewarded for handing it all back in the exact condition it was given him?

A few years back I realized that I was reading this parable all wrong. What was given to those servants wasn’t something perishable or losable. It was truth.

“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you haven’t sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’” Matthew 25:24-25

And my heart pricked at the table because I still could relate to that servant.

“You are requiring too much of me. My culture, my generation does not want to hear the Word anymore. I am afraid, and quite honestly I want their approval, so let me just put this in the ground for a season. Look, here is Your truth, buried right over there. Have what is Yours.”

Sometimes it takes voicing my thoughts for me to realize the gravity of the situation. Is this really why I want to let this blog go? Have I no fear of the Master I serve?

“But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed…’”

Yes, this is going to make you uncomfortable. Yes, I know how the fields look, but I reap even in the most unexpected places.

All this heart stuff is going on at the perfect time. It’s Passover this evening. There is no sweeter feast to me than that of Yeshua’s salvation.

We will drink the juice and eat the bread and enter into the covenant of our Savior.

We will search our homes and hearts for leaven, and remove it. Whether that be sin, or an area of deception, pride, or selfishness, all these things have to go.

We will eat bitter herbs and remember, this Egypt is not our land. We have been redeemed and led out! We don’t have to be a slave of comparison. We don’t have to gain approval. I can let these paper pyramids go and worship, really worship the God who has given me life, the God who has given us life.

This blog isn’t expiring, although my heart’s an honest work in progress.

I am not saying that I will write often, because you mamas in the house know why.

Yesterday I had to answer more questions than mentally possible: (I am not making any of these up)

“How deep was that puddle we just drove through?” – Um… 2 inches? I don’t know.

“How many miles per hour did my hand wheesh through the air?” – Wheesh?

“What is air?” – Can’t we handle this question in eighth grade?

“How hard were your spankings when you were a kid?” – Very hard, son.

“No, like a number how hard?” – 8. Definitely an 8.

“What is taller- a humpback whale or a building?” – Well, the whale is taller than some buildings but not taller than a skyscraper.

“What is a skyscraper?” – Why did I say skyscraper?

“How many miles per hour is that squirrel running?” – Who knows these things? Let’s say 3 miles per hour.

 

My son has these big blue eyes full of curiosity and his questions are a constant string of conversation. Sometimes I imagine myself putting an end to all of them, with hands outstretched and face taut. “NO MORE STINKING QUESTIONS!” but then I remember that one day in elementary school. My teacher had his teeth clenched underneath a plastered smile. “Well, Aubrie, you certainly like to ask questions don’t you?”

I did. I do.

My daughter loves to talk, especially when her brother is a talking. They have this “Let’s see who can talk the loudest” competition multiple times a day.

My belly is large. And active. All. Night. Long.

I love being a mom. This phase is demanding but passing so quickly.

So I am not going to be a consistent blogger, but if the Lord lays something on my heart, I don’t want to bury it or sugarcoat it.

And I don’t want to be too busy to receive it. I’ve learned this lesson time and time again, everything my heart longs for is only found in Him.

With love,

Aubrie

“I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, and the son of man who will be made like grass? And you forget the Lord your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth… I am the Lord your God, Who divided the sea whose waves roared- the Lord of Hosts is His name. And I have put my words in your mouth..” Isaiah 51

dandelion

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what to do when the water is over your head: three simple words.

We went swimming this past Tuesday.

The place was magical. We stuffed our winter coats into a locker, grabbed our towels and opened the door to a large balmy room that smelled of chlorine. Without looking behind, we stepped into the new world. A world of summer and splashing and slides that landed in a kiddy-pool.

It was a playdate that every February needs.

But my white winter body donning a suit to frolic in knee deep water? No thank you. I kept my clothes on and did a big thumbs up every twenty-eight seconds, complete with the “that-is-awesome!” smile. I chatted with my friend on the edge of the pool, both of us multi-tasking our attention between adult conversation and kid-patrol.

My son started to make his way out of the kiddy-pool and into the adjoining big-kids pool. Step by step he was slowly going deeper until the water was up to his belly-button. I called his name and he looked at me briefly.

“No, honey, that’s too deep for you. You have to stay over this way.” Could he hear me above the noise of the other children? I stood by the edge.

He turned around. His eyes were fixed on a yellow waterslide that seemed to cascade down from the heavens. It was the biggest slide he had ever seen. He began moving forward with weightless steps, bouncing himself into deeper water. I called his name again. And again. This time I was certain he couldn’t hear me. Everyone else could, but his mind was concentrated on that slide, and my shouts landed on deaf ears. Within a few short seconds he was past his chin and kicking frantically against the water, and just as quickly I was in too. I lifted him into my arms and walked us to the edge of the pool.

Needless to say, we had ourselves a talk about water and danger and swimming lessons starting as soon as possible. And next time I enter that magical pool land? I might wear my swimsuit, bring a whistle, and take my phone out of my pocket. Perhaps I will also bring along a makeshift rope so that there can be a boundary line between the pools. Children need to see the boundary.

Don’t we all? There is nothing as deceptive as that slow decent into deep water. Eyes, that lamp of the body, become clouded, fixated on something else. Our ears turn deaf to the warning. What we desire is what we walk towards. It’s what we see and hear and it all feels fine until the moment our foundation feels out of reach. Fear sends you flailing and doubt chokes the hope. That foundation may be only four inches from your kicking feet but you can’t feel it so your body never stops fighting the water.

waves“… and beginning to sink he cried out, saying ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him…” Matthew 14:30-31

Lord, save me.

Weary one, that’s all you need. Three simple, heartfelt words. Lord, save me.

I am a mother, made of flesh and bone and selfish tendencies. But my child in the deep end? I would have jumped in to help him no matter what the circumstances. It’s this parent-child love that goes beyond the natural. I’m so thankful for it. It gives me faith in His love.

And it does take faith to cry out. It takes faith to believe in His salvation, the solid rock that our thrashing feet long to stand on. It takes faith to accept that a straying sheep would have a loving Shepherd, and it takes faith to fix our eyes, the raw desire of our hearts, on Him and His ways.

The yellow slides will always be there to beckon you out into the deep. They are not worth it. You see the slide, but can you see the struggle?

Keep your feet on solid ground.

“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.. My shield and the horn of my salvation.. He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters.. the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” Psalm 18

“Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation..” Isaiah 28

A sure foundation. That’s what my boy needed. He needed something to stand on, or the water was going to take him down. What do you have to stand on? Who are you or what have you done that you can straighten your legs and stand firm in righteousness against a world that thrashes ugly? Who are you that you can stand when your own flesh spews sin?

But you see? That’s why salvation is so precious. That’s why it has nothing to do with our righteous worth or we’d all be sinking together. But that Rock; that precious, life-saving Rock- salvation, Yeshua. We can stand. You can stand.

And the boundaries that warn of the deep end? It’s His word.

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25

“Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart… Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way… Let your mercies come also to me, O LORD- Your salvation according to Your word… Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word… Your hands have made me and fashioned me; give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments… Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides… I am Yours, save me…” Psalm 119

May this be the prayer and desire of our hearts.

With all the love!

Aubrie

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Vengeance is Mine {the nursery brawl}

teaI am not typically in the nursery. I am on a rotation with a couple others for teaching the first and second graders at church, so my experience with the group of newborn- three-year-olds has been limited. But I was there that day.

Whoever claimed that all people are inherently good and pure has probably never volunteered for nursery. Or had kids. The things, the atrocities that are taking place before your very eyes just doesn’t support the idea. Pushing, grabbing, screaming, glaring, hitting, whining- this is nursery. This is what pours forth from the cutest little people before they learn to behave otherwise.

My daughter was in the room, off to the side with a light pink plastic teapot. She had her little teacup in the other hand and the tea was a constant flow. Every three seconds a refill.

One of the younger lads noticed how much fun that looked. And can we blame him? I mean, imaginary tea coming out of a teapot, the opportunity to fine-tune motor skills and show the nursery that you too can pour air without spilling it. It’s all just too tempting.

He struggled to his feet and made his way over. It’s amazing the confidence that toddlers have. Really it is. How often do we as adults stay seated and watch from a distance? But nope. Not this guy. Not today. He strode across the room, back straight, comb-over on par, diaper swishing behind him.

He couldn’t voice the words, but we all knew what he was thinking. “Excuse me ma’am, but I believe you’ve enjoyed this teapot long enough. It’s probably my turn now.” He grabbed hold of the spout and gave it a good tug.

And that’s when I saw my daughter smile sweetly and explain that she would be sure to give him a turn.

Her face snarled. She had a good grip on the handle and she pulled it right back. And then? She took that dainty pink teapot and she slammed it down on his head. Bam! And again. Bam! Bam! It was an equal mix of anger and fear keeping that hand steady, like a practiced builder on a stubborn nail. Bam! Bam!

The poor boy’s face, so confident of his plans only moments before, was filled with confusion and dismay, as the teapot that he was supposed to be playing with was now clunking atop his head.

Finally I reached them and immediately whisked my toddler away for discipline. She explained, in between loud salty cries, that he grabbed. He grabbed! The injustice done to her was all she could see. The slamming of the teapot upon his head? That was perfectly excusable. That was her right.

But it wasn’t. A wrong is a wrong no matter what wrongs have been done to her. Being wronged doesn’t ever making doing wrong “a right.” That’s a truth for all of us.

As her mother, my eyes are on her. I am concerned with her character, her actions, and her discipline when she needs it, more so than other kids who have their own mothers doing the same for them.

This little teapot story came up at Bible study last night, and it had me thinking this morning, my Father is like that. He cares for me. His eyes are on me. He is concerned with refining my character and actions, and He disciplines when He needs to because He loves. The same is true for you.

He sees all the wrongs done; He won’t let them slide.

 “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay says the Lord.” Romans 12:19

 “Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

He’s so capable. We reach for our plastic teapots, but they clunk shallowly. And all the while, fear and anger take over our own hearts and we hurt ourselves. He can do this all so much better than we can.

I bent down to look in her eyes and wipe her cheeks. “That was wrong for him to grab honey. But you know what you should do next time? Say ‘Mommy, can you help us please?’ And then I will come and help you guys take turns. I will help you handle it. If you choose to hit, then you will need to be disciplined because that’s wrong too.”

God says the same thing. Rather than reach for your weapon of choice, whether that be words or the cold shoulder or thoughts of bitterness towards the person who wronged you, cry out for help to a Father who cares. Trust Him to handle your wrong-doer. Surrender, release.

Hurt people hurt people. Adjective, noun, verb, noun. Hurt people who refuse God’s healing, will in turn hurt other people. And then, like my two-year-old, you quickly go from victim to perpetrator. It’s the cycle of the sin nature.

But oh the hope, we are not chained to this. We can choose life. We can choose forgiveness and release of vengeance. And in so doing, we can spare ourselves from acting out a whole list of wrongs. A wrong is a wrong always. Set the teapot down.

Let it go.

And today? Choose grace. Receive joy.

Aubrie

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Roller-skates: An excerpt from one of motherhood’s longsuffering moments.

It was ninety degrees that day. Ninety. Take a moment to imagine what ninety degrees feels like. It really sets the tone for the story.

Our overhead fan was giving it all she’s got but her blades were turning slower by the hour, trying to spin the humid air around like it was made of whip cream.

I was sweating, he was sweating, she was sweating. The fridge was sweating and my cup of water was sweating. We were all one hot mess.

And just when we thought the day couldn’t get any hotter, Little Miss suggested we haul out the roller-skates. Because of course nothing says perfect roller-skating weather better than hot and humid nineties.

Whatever. I went with it.

I adjusted the size, crammed the feet, looped the Velcro, buckled the sides. We’re talking old school skates; I’m sure we all wore them. Blue, yellow, plastic, Fisher-Price. Or was it Little Tykes? I don’t know. But we finally got them on. Perspiration now running full stream on Mom, big smile on child. {#worthit #pleaserollerskateforhours}

“Uh-oh. Shorts!” She points. There they are on the floor. When did those come off? The dress is modest enough, but she’s bound to catch some wind on these skates.

“Alright girlie, come here.” I wasn’t about to take the skates off; the spandex Barbie shorts would need to make it on overtop.

She clunked her way through the carpet and stood right in front of me. I bent down so that she could use my arms as stabilizers while she lifted one roller-skate, and the yellow plastic was only about three inches from my hot face and it suddenly seemed so obtuse and the leg hole so small. Do we try this? But taking skates off and on isn’t going to be any quicker. One of the many small moments where motherhood puts you in between a rock and a hard place.

I pulled, adjusted, pulled some more. She fidgeted, started to fuss. We both jumped around a little bit. The room temp went up one degree and I could feel my legs salty crying, begging me to stop the attempt of the undergarments over roller-skates in the nineties.

My loose hair hanging down by my face, still bent over benout. And there she was, picture of Barbie princess looking up at me, mocking me with her fake plastic smile. I’m sure she had quite the view with my double chin framing my frown, sweaty face all contorted and upside down concentrated.

“Well let’s see you Barbie… Barbara. Let’s see you in hot and humid dealing with roller-skates.” I didn’t say that but I wanted to.

And then I started to blame the roller-skate designer. Who puts five wheels on a roller-skate? Five! I mean come on, these things are like pizza pans on wheels. Can’t we skate with one wheel? Anyone who needs five wheels should really not be on the rink.

My thoughts kept going. With each passing second, we both felt more of an angst. We pulled harder and faster. Surely she’s going to be late now. She’s going to be late for the kitchen roller-skating party.

Ridiculous thought process, I know. The kitchen roller-skating party would start whenever she made it out on the linoleum. She’s the party. But I had such a hurry! about me. Benout moments put me into hurry mode. Impatient, all kinds of frustrated.

But we finally made it. We did. She clunked her way out onto the floor and froze against the cupboard for about two and a half minutes before clunking her way back to the carpet. Turns out roller-skating isn’t her thing.

And I wanted to hit my sweating head against the wall. AaaaaahhhhhH!

I know every mother has this kind of stuff, the opportunity to be frustrated. Motherhood is full of these moments. I failed that one. I let it spin me up and spit me out frustrated.

And I could blame the roller-skate designer for the obnoxious number of wheels.

I could blame the children’s undergarment designer for not leaving enough leg space for roller-skates. (This has got to be a recurring problem for people; someone should let them know.)

I could blame the weather and our air-condition-less house.

But none of these are valid. Absolutely no one or no thing controls me. No situation forces frustration from me. Everything that goes on inside of me is my choice and under my control. I need to own it.

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love…” Ephesians 4:1-2

This verse. I need to write it down and stick it on my fridge. If there is anything motherhood needs, or any other walk of life for that matter, it is the ability to walk with gentleness and longsuffering through all of the daily moments. The work of the Spirit is in the ordinary, in our homes. Our children count as “one another” who need to be held in love. Love, of course, includes the tough kind. Bear, persevere, through the long training years with love.

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I am convinced (this is Hine-sight of course, always 20/20 after the frustrated exhale has long left my lips) that the daily opportunity (practice) of lowliness, gentleness, longsuffering and love with our families behind closed doors is a powerful blessing. The opportunity to be frustrated is another opportunity to slay my flesh.

So Today: what do you hold? Limitless opportunity I’m sure, for all of us.

Lowliness, gentleness, longsuffering, bearing with one another in love.

Lord be my limitless supply today.

Aubrie

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A moment revealed: Life is a Holy Gift

summer_sunlight_over_field-t2

Was it the way the golden light streamed gently through the trees? Or was it the sound of her laughter? Sometimes I have to ask myself, because I don’t even know. What was it that made me stop long enough to cherish the fragile beauty of the moment?

I almost missed it. Worse, rather. I almost prevented it.

I feel like that’s so much a part of my role as mom: keep the moments chugging along smoothly and timely. I can hear “Thomas the Train” cheering me along in my head, “They’re two, they’re four, they’re six, they’re eight, shunting cars and hauling freight. Red and green and brown and blue, they’re the Really Useful Crew…” Sounds so admirable doesn’t it? Really Useful Crew- such a strong and dignified title.

Perhaps it’s time to haul out the embroidery machine and make our own uniforms? We can do it kids! We can be that really useful crew. But alas, anyone who has ever had a child can know I dream in vain. Being really useful (or timely, or cleanly, or focused) is not on the top of their to-do lists. If ever you need a major project accomplished, do not hire a group of two-year-olds. Am I right ladies? They do not show up to the party ready to be useful. Not in the way intended at least.

So before she went running out to the backyard, I reminded her, “Say good-night to Daddy honey, ok? Just say good-night to Daddy then time to come back in.” The clock was ticking, every second a loud reminder that it was well past bed-time. It was one of those summer days spent pool-side; naps and dishes were ditched and for an entire afternoon we soaked it up. Sweet, sweet summer.

But now it’s time for bed. Focus honey-girl. Complete the mission and return to port ASAP.

I stood on the deck, knowing my pep-talk would need to be repeated four times. Slowly, she made her way to the garden. There he was, picking and pruning. She picked a raspberry, then another. “Goo-nigh daddy.” She said distractedly, eyes big and blue on all of the raspberries hanging in reach. I took a step, ready to intervene. Ready to bring timeliness to a two-year-old who has no concept of it. I wanted to chug the moment onto the next, the one where she was in bed sleeping and I was able to start haircuts for the boys.

But then he said something to her and she went running. Arms wide, blonde curls dancing wildly behind her. She laughed. My goodness, is there anything sweeter than the sound of a child’s laugh? Joy, innocence. He kneeled down, she gathered momentum and gave it all she got. Soon two pairs of legs were up in the air, one capped off by big, dirty work boots and one topped with small bare feet, and two songs of laughter filled the backyard and she was drinking in so much love. The sun was setting in that perfect golden way and it all made me stop. Wow. Life is really beautiful.

Wow. Life is really beautiful. Was I really just about to hurry this along? What other moments have I missed today? This week?

She made it to bed that night, a whole six minutes later than originally intended. As I was tucking her in, she re-lived that moment over and over, “I tack-oh-d Daddy! I tack-oh-d Daddy!” Big cheesy smile not coming off anytime soon.

As a mom, I get it. We juggle and organize and keep the schedules rolling, but I encourage you, I encourage myself, just stop and savor life more than every once and a while. It’s beautiful. Life is such a fragile beautiful gift. Stop hurrying long enough to recognize our moments; make moments. Be grateful. A grateful heart magnifies all of the good that is in life presently. Not what could be, should be. Gratefulness, right now in this moment. A grateful heart is the canvas upon which the “wow” moments are painted. Life is a holy gift.

Already it has been almost a year since I wrote this poem, Pigtails, about my precious girl in front of that same raspberry bush.

Time marches on unabashedly; we don’t always have to march with it. Pause and just watch for a bit, your grand love story playing out before you: you are loved. You are loved and He wants your love. Life is a holy gift. Step out of the routine to share that truth. Who needs to hear it? You? Your spouse? Children? Friend?

Make a moment, allow a moment. The important things in life are revealed in these places where we are bent and listening, watching.

-aubrie

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Pigtails

They sit atop her head,

Crooked and wispy.

 

The bottom hairs have fallen out;

A sure sign of an hour of play.

 

Shooting out on either side

They shout to the world “Here I am! Full of life!”

Much like the one-year-old who wears them.

 

Her blonde hair turns radiant white,

Reflecting the late summer sun above.

 

And there it catches my eye,

Bobbing up and down

In front of the raspberry bush.

 

Then she stops to point to the sky.

“Aig-pane! Aig-pane!”

A jet-liner noises our quiet backyard.

 

On her excited face

I see the raspberries have made a splash.

Like bright red lipstick around her mouth.

 

And then back to the bush she goes

Chubby legs squatting down,

Innocent hand reaching out,

And two perfect pigtails crowning the moment.

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When a happy Mother’s Day feels far away.

dandelionI washed his sweatshirt the other day. The black mascara stains have disappeared now; one of those things that slowly slips away without anyone noticing.

But five years ago? Five years ago that left shoulder was all smudged black where red was supposed to be. I didn’t care about the mess I was making. I didn’t care that my face probably looked the exact same way, full of streaks and smears and red and black.

We lost him. We lost him and I lost it. No!

I reached up around the neck of the one I love and I cried. The big, ugly cry that is powerful enough to shake the world and all you can do is watch as its pieces fall back together in slightly different places. I was thankful. I didn’t want the pieces to fall back right where they were. Every life has meaning. Every life has an effect on the lives of those around it, even the ones that have lived only on the inside, or only for a few hours, days or months.

He was our second baby that didn’t live to see the second trimester. Is this ever going to work? Will I ever get to hold a baby of my own? I remember all of the fears and doubts that invaded my empty space, and then multiplied like bad bacteria until it filled me to the brim.

Pretty soon the fear became irrational. Will my husband die in a car accident today? Oh my goodness, I couldn’t make it through that. Will our house get robbed? Fear, fear, fear.

And then when I finally saw those two pink lines again, my heartrate spiked and never came back down. I can’t lose this baby. Come on body, work for me here; don’t let this baby go.

“What if you do lose this baby?” I was talking to her and she was talking to me and we were trying to wrangle this monster fear together, like friends do. The question caught me off guard and all I could do was look out at the lake and try to allow my mind to go to a place that I had staked off with “No Trespassing.”

My mouth didn’t have the words, but He whispered to my heart then. While the summer breeze danced atop the lake that evening, I finally felt it. Peace.

“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me…”

Even if He would bring me through the valley of the shadow of death, He would not bring me there alone. He would be there to comfort me, like He had time and time again throughout my life in different ways. All hope was not lost in the life of a human being, whether that be my child or someone else, and in reality, life is not lost. Life is never lost but certainly that little life would be a huge loss for my time on this earth. Would He be enough for me to lean on?

After much thought, I had to say yes. That truth was like a cool river of water making its way across a dry and cracked desert, and it forced all of the critters to flee. Fear, doubt, and hopelessness are the snakes and scorpions of the desert. They do not survive under water.

“Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

Trust in the Lord. Sometimes that trust feels like the burn of fifty lunges. It hurts! It’s not fun. But the trial continues; the whistle hasn’t sounded. Lunge, lunge, lunge. Shaping, strengthening, growing His people. Put your trust in Me.

I found myself there again when my daughter was born with breathing difficulties. At times we didn’t know if she was going to live. At ten days old she went in for surgery. No! I reached up around the neck of the one I love and I cried. The big, ugly cry that is powerful enough to shake the world and all you can do is watch as its pieces fall back together in slightly different places. Put your hope in Me. Put your trust in Me.

I was being called out. Called out from searching for peace around me; there wasn’t any. Called out from clinging to hope around me; there wasn’t anything solid to hold on to. Called out from needing anything besides Him to fill me up; other people or things are not guarantees in this life.

My world has been shaken. I can only assume your world has been shaken too. We all have our own trials. Do you hear Him whispering to you? Do you hear Him calling you out and drawing you to Himself? Trust Me. Put your hope in Me. Rest in Me. Surrender whatever else you are clinging to and hold onto Me.

As Mother’s Day approaches, my heart goes out to all of the women who are going through the trial of waiting (whether married or still waiting for a husband), or loss, or infertility. My eyes cry with yours. That is so painful.

I know that through this trial, the hardest sight is blood. A period means that life didn’t take place; you’re up for another month of waiting and trying. Or perhaps life did take place, and then it was lost. Your body and heart bleed together.

Through all of your bleeding- physically, emotionally, and mentally- I encourage you to see Him. When you see your blood, be reminded of His blood. Be reminded of who walks this valley with you.

Your body- amazingly and creatively, provides blood every month to sustain life and then it is shed. Who designed this? Our Creator! Our God. He is always pointing us to Him. For new life to take place, He shed His blood. For physical new life to take place, He has designed your body to shed blood into the uterus to provide the sustaining life, whether new life takes hold of it or not. May this be a reminder for you also if ever you think you have messed up so bad that He doesn’t forgive you. Our God is a God of second, and third, and seventy-seventh chances. His mercies are new every morning. His blood is continuously offered up for mankind. Who is willing to take hold of it?

When you see that period, don’t see another fail.

See a body that is revealing His plan of salvation every fourth week, by shedding the blood that was offered up for new life. (All glory to Him through this; women are simply creations designed by the Creator. We did not create nor do we sustain this amazing plan. More on the number four and the message of redemption here.)

See a woman who is persevering through trial.

See a girl who is clinging desperately to life in Him, even as the womb is emptied out.

Girl, don’t be afraid to cry this out. We were designed to feel.

We were also designed to heal. Run to the Healer.

Much love,

aubrie

 

 

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When a Snowstorm Brings Your Sailboat to a Screeching Halt

Some days are just cold and nasty and negative.

The wind howled and blew and pushed the snow wherever it wanted to, and I looked out the window of my red truck and held tight to the steering wheel as I saw another gust of bitter wind barreling across the cornfield.

The outside matched the inside. In the backseat of the truck I had one child in complete distress over someone else’s blankey that she couldn’t take home with her and my other child was in tears because of his sister’s screams. The one howled her emotions as strong as the wind, and the other was driven along, like the snow that was quickly forming banks alongside the road and creating slick patches of ice.

And I gripped that steering wheel and felt just as helpless. My own inside felt weak from prior stress. My emotions soon bundled together and decided to make the brave jump to the outside world and I let them slide down my cheeks. There we were, the three of us crying together trying to make it home in the snowstorm.

Sometimes life has a way of slowing me down. The wind leaves my sails and I’m left rocking back and forth to the gentle push of the waves. The boat comes to a halt and my first thought is “What? Why are we stopping? We have places to be.”

sailboat

I look across the expanse of the water and I can faintly make out our landing spot. “See! That’s where it is. Come on God, we can do this!” But the wind is gone. The sails hang limp, and I obviously can’t get the boat there on my own.

This is exactly where He wants me. Sailing is wonderful (did I mention it was sub-zero wind-chill today?). Oh my goodness, sailing is wonderful. But if you get all anxious about reaching your destination, you miss the joy of just being. A lesson I needed to learn.

We are not here to do just for the sake of doing. We are here to be. If we are not properly “being” then we are most definitely not effectively “doing.” If we are properly “being” then He is effectively “doing.” He is the One who works. If we try to sail the boat with our big destination in sight, our eyes are no longer on Him. If our eyes are on Him, He drives the boat perfectly to wherever He has destined it to go.

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4

Of course, we are all called to live out our faith with our actions. This involves doing. But what a sad scenario we create when we neglect the Vine in our quest for bearing fruit. Our fruit then becomes fruitless. Our “doing” is of our own abilities and those abilities are amazingly lacking.

So it is with this in mind, that I hold my hands up in weakness. I need more time to abide. If I miss a week of blogging, you can know my time schedule forced a choice between writing or “fill up time” and I chose the latter. Perhaps this will happen often. Perhaps it won’t. Perhaps some days writing will coincide with abiding. Each week has a rhythm all its own.

I’m sitting down in my windless boat, feeling rather exhausted from the day… the week… but ya know what? It’s peaceful. I can hear the soothing sound of the water lap the edge of the boat. “Just be. Be with Me.”

I can picture Him, standing in a boat like this, gently swaying at sea, with a crowd of people along the shoreline, eager to hear Him. Can you smell the salty air? Can you hear the mamas try to quiet their children so that they could hear what God had to say?

“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow…”

“Wait… what did He just say? I missed that part. What is He saying?”

“Sshh! I’m trying to listen right now!”

“The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground…. And they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble….”

“Did He say persecution for the Word’s sake?”

“Yes, on account of the Word.”

“Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit.”

Hear the Word. Accept it. Bear fruit.

During His life on earth, Yeshua made it a regular practice to get away from the people to just be. He went to the mountains, the sea, the gardens, and the desert to spend time alone, in the Word and in prayer.

This act is far from selfish. In fact it’s just the opposite. If someone can plug away teaching and sharing, ministering, and even just living without actively seeking His voice, he or she has way too much confidence in him or herself. It is misplaced and the fruit will wither. We need to fill up in order to pour out or we will be left pouring out ourselves into other people, which is not only extremely draining but powerless.

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me by still waters. He restores my soul. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalm 23

Consider the different kinds of ground for the seed (which is the Word of God and is absolutely not “antiquated” or irrelevant) to land on. The wayside, stones, thorn bushes… or fertile ground. We can know all of these “grounds” are legitimate just as Jesus said. I don’t care which one you were yesterday. Decide right now today to become the good soil.

What was the first step in bearing fruit? Hear the Word and accept it. Sit down and listen. Abide.

Ok, Lord. Ok. Here I am in the middle of nowhere in this boat with You. Teach me.

-aubrie

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