Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Everything about you has been different. Our first baby not planned. Our first baby not born in July. Our first baby born past her due date. Our first baby with blonde hair and blue eyes. Our "late" crawler. Our baby who still has not said a word or walked. You entered the world on your own time and have been doing things at your own pace ever since. It is a beautiful thing.
When I found out I was pregnant with you I cried. Your sister, Charlie, wasn't even 8 months old yet. I didn't feel ready. I took a minute, breathed it out, and never looked back. I knew that God would provide whatever it is I needed to be a mom again. What I didn't know was how I needed you and how you would shape motherhood for me in a unique way that I had not yet experienced.
You have taught me to slow down. You have taught me that it is okay if everything doesn't stay clean or organized. Perhaps what you have taught me is that it isn't possible to stay clean and organized with 3 kids...but, whatever, the benefits of the lesson are the same! You have taught me that the world won't end if nap time gets off schedule, if you sleep in my bed (still), or if you eat a pancake off the floor. You have taught me that my best work right now is you, and your sisters. Anything else I'm doing pales in comparison and is less in priority. God has used your birth combined with unique circumstances in our life to open a window to my soul, that, as a mother, has made me strong and rooted, like a tree able to bare much weight. Though your cry (which is really not a cry, but at all times is a level 10 emergency scream) is straight from the pit of hades, you, Dominica, are like a peaceful river, flowing and pouring out life and rest.
I have been in absolutely no hurry with you. I have longed to savor every minute, every moment. I'll carry you as long as you'll let me. I'll hold you as long as you're still. The fact that you have been here one year now, is a testament to how fast all this is going. You have taught me to slow down, and I want to stay at this pace.
Your name means: Of the Lord. Though I consider all my daughters treasured gifts from God, your presence in this family has had a special impact. I think because you were not a part of our plans, it was clear you were a part of God's plans for us. And so I have felt graced by God. Graced to be your mother. To carry you, deliver you, love and nurture you. When we brought you home from the hospital I would just look at you and cry because I didn't want anything to happen to you, ever. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I'm thankful for you. I'm genuinely grateful you are here. It is a satisfying, joyful blessing to be your mommy. I look forward to an abundant life with you. I love you. Happy birthday, sweet girl.
Saturday, November 1, 2014
When we got married, we had the honor of having Josh's dad speak at our wedding. He said a lot of great things that day that still have an impact on us. One of the things he spoke of were the Israelites and a custom they had throughout history of building alters when God had done a great work in their nation. It was like setting up memorials to intentionally remember and speak of and pass on how it was that God showed them favor, helped them, blessed them, saved them, etc. typically in situations where they were facing certain defeat. You can read this in 1 Samuel 7:5-13 where Samuel, Israel's judge at the time, placed a large stone between two towns where God was supernaturally causing them to be victorious over their enemies. Samuel named that stone, Ebenezer-"the stone of help". And also in Joshua chapters 4 and 5, where Joshua was leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. God, again, supernaturally intervened by causing the Jordan river to dry up so that His people could cross over and He then went to battle for them defeating their enemies while leading them to a place of promise and rest. After all the Israelites crossed over safely, the Lord commanded one man from each tribe of Israel to take a stone from the Jordan and pile them up to build a memorial so that their children's children's children could see it, ask about it and remember the glory of the Lord. Josh's dad encouraged us to build these kinds of alters in our new life together.
I don't know if you have ever read my previous post, Living on Miracles, but if you haven't I would encourage you to do so (http://heidi-alongtheway.blogspot.com/2012/01/living-on-miracles.html). Long story short, there was a 2-year time period where Josh and I went through some serious financial struggles after I quit my full-time job to work part-time for our church/stay home with our daughter and where Josh was working as an independent contractor at a law firm. It was a time where I had to commit to knowing God is good when I didn't feel like God is good. It was a time where it was hard to see beyond the current circumstances to believe for anything different. We sometimes felt forgotten by God. Hopeless even.
But God truly is good. And on November 1st, 2012 Josh was offered full-time employment at the law firm. A very painful season came to a close. Just like that. Next payday we were able to start paying rent again and even buy our own food. I still remember how it took some time for that guilty/anxious feeling to subside when I would go to the store for groceries. But eventually it did.
I can tell you now that we still have times when we are paying last month's bills with this month's pay check, but that doesn't really shake me. I know we have walked the trenches of much greater despair and have been pulled right out into a place of promise and rest. That rest being this...that I know God is good.
So, on November 1st each year we have a feast. We talk about what God did, and how he rescued us from certain defeat. We bless another family with a meal, letting them know we want to pass on the generosity given to us. And we pray together as a family. Giving God glory for what He has done in our past, is doing in our present, and is going to do in our future. This is our way of remembering our Ebenezer; of setting up our 12 stones.
Although it may not be a holiday in your house today, I encourage you to remember the faithfulness of God in your life. And know that He is good. And when you come through whatever it is your going through, grab a stone and tell someone about it. :)
P.S. If you are facing certain defeat in your life right now, check out the link below (Come To Me, Bethel). The lyrics in this song truly saw me through some dark days. To this day, it makes me cry.