Where to go with your Question

“You see, every little girl–and every little boy–is asking one fundamental question.  But they are different questions, depending on whether you are a little boy or a little girl…Little girls want to know, Am I lovely?  The twirling skirts, the dress up, the longing to be pretty and to be seen–that is what that’s all about.  We are seeking an answer to our Question.”
(Stasi Eldredge, Captivating)

You are beautiful, my girl.  Beautiful.  You take my breath away.

I watch you dance in the sun, twirling in the twirliest dress you can find, usually with a few tutus layered underneath to make it more poofy.  I delight in you, my girl.  I delight in the fact that right now, you are unashamed in your asking of the question: am I beautiful?  Do you delight in me?

And, oh, yes I do.  You are stunningly beautiful in my eyes, but you are a world of other things too. You are the kindest and most sweet-hearted girl I have ever met.  You literally bubble over with love, always so happy to see others, taking time to talk with each person you see.  You love people, love to play with others, love to make others feel welcome.  You can’t stand to see someone cry without running to hug and comfort them.  You are incredibly creative and imaginative.  You are so strong physically, especially for being so much smaller than other girls your age.  You love to read more than any other person I know, and I treasure each time you ask me to sit and read with you.  (I hope this never changes!)  You forgive easily.  You tell the truth.  You love to help.

All these things are surely part of the reason I look at you and see such beauty, because we are not just our physical bodies, and we are not just our souls.  For some reason, in His wisdom God saw fit to enclose our beautiful souls in a physical form.  We don’t get to choose so many things about ourselves, physically, spiritually, emotionally.  We only get to choose whether we will accept who God has made us to be, or deny it and suppress it and fight it.

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My dear sweet girl, today I wanted to tell you a little story.  A story from my growing up years, the painful, hard and awkward years transitioning from being a little girl to a woman.  I think I was in middle school at the time, 8th or 9th grade.  My older sister was everything to me.  Four years older than me, she was so cool, beautiful, creative, everything I wanted to be.  I always compared myself to her.  What was more difficult was when others compared me to her.  She was more outgoing, funny, likeable.  I was quieter, shy, never knew what to say when put on the spot.  I hated the spotlight (still do).  Often I craved the attention she recieved, or the love really, because that’s how I translated it.  She was so beautiful and I felt so plain.  Ordinary.

I was in 8th or 9th grade.  My older sister had heard some big modeling agency was holding a model search in our town, and she wanted to go try out.  I don’t remember all the details, but I remember that my mom was going to take her, and I went to tag along.  I don’t remember if I wanted to go or if mom just suggested I come along.  I wasn’t planning on trying out, of course.  You see, I already believed deep down that I was plain.  In my eyes, my sister was beautiful, but next to her I was just plain, ordinary, common.  There wasn’t even a thought in my heart to ever try out for a modeling career.  But then we were there, and my mom was like, “why don’t you go, too?”  Who knows what her reasoning was, but I know she was only doing what she could to be the best mom she knew to be.  Hope dies slowly in the human heart, and for some reason, even after we’ve convinced ourselves we don’t care about that thing anymore, something comes along that wakes our desire up again…

(The rest of this post is over on my new friend Lauren‘s blog today!  Hop over there to read the rest of it.)

 

Dedicated

We dedicated our darling little Philippa Ruth to the Lord this past Sunday, also dedicating ourselves to bring her up in the training + admonition of the Lord.  Making such a public statement of commitment is beautiful, but also difficult.  With our firstborn, we did so with innocent pride.  Now with our third, we do so fully aware of our complete inability to do the task at hand apart from Christ’s Spirit working in us.  We are so thankful for “Christ in us, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).  Apart from that promise, we truly would be hopeless!

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The familiar lines from Psalm 145 rang through my soul that day:

“One generation shall commend your works to another,
    and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
    and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
    and I will declare your greatness.
They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
    and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and merciful,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The Lord is good to all,
    and his mercy is over all that he has made.

 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
    and all your saints shall bless you!
 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
    and tell of your power,
 to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures throughout all generations.

The Lord is faithful in all his words
    and kind in all his works.”  {Psalm 145:4-13 ESV}

Little Philippa,

We so hope to show you what a mighty God you have.  The One who breathed life into you, the One who formed you in the “secret places” of my womb long before we even knew you were in existence.  The One who shaped your very form to be exactly as it is.  The One who created you to reflect His image.  His works are awesome, child.  He is faithful in all His words, kind in all His works.  Indeed, His mercy is over all He has made.  He is rich in compassion.  Unlike your human parents, He is slow to anger.  He abounds in love.  He has already lavished such great love on you, littlest one, because He has entrusted you to us.  The hymn I have sung over you almost every night these past six months that we have held you has been an old one, “When All Thy Mercies, O My God.”

When all Thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys,
Transported with the view I’m lost
In wonder, love, and praise.

Unnumbered comforts to my soul
Thy tender care bestowed
Before my infant heart could know
From whom those comforts flowed

When worn with sickness, oft hast Thou,
With health renewed my face,
And when in sins and sorrows bowed,
Revived my soul with grace.

Through every period of my life
Thy goodness I’ll pursue,
And after death, in distant worlds,
The glorious theme renew.

My favorite line reminds me that He has lavished His love on you FIRST.  He first loved you, before your infant heart could know. He first loved you because He entrusted you to a mommy and daddy who are counted amongst His people, a mommy and daddy who are covered in grace, who will sing over you the song of His great love and mercy for ruined sinners such as ourselves.  A mommy and daddy who He has first lavished with the Gospel of grace, who in turn plan to ravish your heart with that Gospel.

We praise Him for your precious life and the joy you bring to our family.

We love you so!
Mommy + Daddy

{Photography by Celena Simpson Photography}

And She’s Four!!

My darling little girl
Look at you here, four weeks old:

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We had no idea the joy in store for us when we would hold you for the first time, when God would deliver you to us.  How wise He was, how kind He was, to give us you, sweet girl.  What a bright light you’ve been in our lives.  So full of joy, so hilarious and so dang smart and so strong-willed!  We pray that God gets a hold of your strong will and uses it mightily for His glory, as you have such strength to offer already, in your tiny little precious heart.  You tell me all the time that you love God and that He lives in your heart.  I hope you know how precious that is to your mommy, who wants so much for you to receive the very best in this life, and the very best you can receive is JESUS.  He will make all the good things come true and all the bad things come untrue, as we read so frequently in your little story bible.

This year with you has been a blast.  You’ve been the biggest joy and help to momma during my pregnancy with your little sister, and what a happy big sister you are!  It makes me so happy to see the way you adore your little siblings and take such care with them.  You’ve fallen in love with all things girly and fancy, and I don’t know a single other little girl who is fancier than you right now, other than fancy Nancy herself!  You change outfits approximately 17 times a day, which can sure make me crazy sometimes, but when I stop and just take it in I have to laugh at your creativity and zest.  I’m so glad that you see being a woman, womanhood, and being a momma as something precious and to be treasured and enjoyed, and I hope that doesn’t change!  I love your imagination and your excitement over the smallest and simplest things in life.  I love our snuggles in the morning when you run down the hall to find me on the couch with coffee.  I love dancing with you and twirling you.  I love your love for books (may it never end!) and that we can share in the fun of losing ourselves in a big stack of library books.

You are so special to me.  Even when you are crazy and naughty, which is inevitable given the two parents you came from, I adore you.  I’ll never stop loving you, no matter what, with an always and forever, never stoping, never giving up, unbreakable love.  That’s what it’s like to be a momma.

Happy 4th birthday my little mupsel.
Love,
Mommy

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He’s Two!

My sweet little man

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How are you two already??  This year with you has been the MOST fun.  You learned to walk this year.  You said your first words, now your first sentences.  You’ve begun to reveal more of your little character, your sweet personality.  What a thing it is to have a little man-child.. a little dude who notices every truck, motorcycle, or digger.  You’ve begun to be captured by books this year.  You love being outside and you’re so brave at the park, trying things all by yourself.  You had your first big move to a new house.  You discovered swimming and riding “kykles” this year.  You love helping momma in the kitchen whenever you can (“get the tool (stool) momma?”).  You live to pull all the pillows off the couch and play “jumpey-jump.”  Anytime I say, “It’s so scary, Noah!” you say “s-okay momma!”  If you hear baby girl crying, you run to kiss her and tell her it’s okay.  You became a big brother this year!  And you’re such a good big brother, so careful and tender with your little sis.  You’re still trying to figure out which parts on your body are your ears and which are your eyes.  Every night when we pray, you tell us you’re thankful for Jesus and your favorite songs to sing are “Jesus” (Jesus loves me) and “Zacchaeus.”

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You’re growing so fast and so big and you’re such a happy little guy.  Momma and Daddy love you so much and we are so very proud of you.

Happy 2nd birthday Noey

Love
Mommie

For the Broken Ones

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For you who feel alone:

He can find you.

“Now the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur.  And He said, ‘Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?'” {Genesis 16:7-8}

For you Hagars: the cast out, the used up, the sin-broken, the sin-sick, the undeserving, the unwanted, the rejected ones, the forgotten ones.

“The Lord has heard your affliction.” {Genesis 16:11}

He cannot resist the broken ones, the searching ones, the lost ones.  The unseen ones.

“Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, ‘Have I also here seen Him who sees me?'” {Genesis 16:13}

He sees you today.  He knows you.  He foreknew you.

“For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,

When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.” {Psalm 139:13-16}

You, His marvelous work.  His masterpiece.  Does your soul know it very well?  Present with you from the moment of your conception, your genesis, your beginning.  Delighting over you.  Singing over you.  Knitting you together.  Writing out the story of all of your days.  Yes, He saw you then.  He knew you then.

“Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?” {Psalm 139:7}

And why would I ever want to, God?  There is no shame in Your presence.  There is only fullness of joy.  Because You are the God who sees, the God who saw me before any other, who knew my days and knew all my faltering and failing, and still said “Yes” to me.  Still choose me, set me apart.  Still said “No” to Jesus {Mark 14:36} so You could say “Yes” to me.  To fellowship with me.  To unbroken presence with me.

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“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?” {Psalm 8:3-4}

This sky that takes my breath away, You breathed it into existence.

The star-breathing God, the One who made all this glory.. what is one small man, one small woman, that You are mindful of us? Mindful.  Mind full.. of us.  Who are You, that You are mindful of me?

This is our God.

This is my God.

I worship You today.

to make you feel my love

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dear phoebe

last night we cut into the cake and discovered that this baby growing in mommy’s tummy is a girl!  you screamed and bounced in your chair, so excited.  from the very beginning you said you wanted a sister.  then lately you’ve been wanting another brother.  and late last night, after all the excitement had settled and we were tucking your sleepy head into your bed, your little precious face clouded over, your big solemn eyes became troubled.

“Mommy, can I get back in your tummy,” you asked.

“Will the ‘new girl’ sit in the front seat?” (your special favorite treat lately is when mommy lets you sit next to me in the car when we drive our back road home.)

and oh, my heart squeezed for you.  do you know how special you are to me?  no one and nothing ever can replace you, my girl.  your quirky, silly, wild, hilarious, exuberant, scrawny, gorgeous little self is entirely unique.  you’ll always be my very favorite firstborn ever.

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having a sister can be hard sometimes but there is no other relationship like it on this earth!  I think you’re going to love it.

love,
mommy