Monday, June 29, 2015

A Humbled Heart

I have been quite a bit about my own pride over the past few weeks. Really, it's more a lesson in humility than anything, but the two are irrevocably tied together. I feel like so often I know I need to work on this area or that, I read scripture and sing songs and pray that I can be more like Jesus and less like myself. But this, THIS is different. Because this has been one of those rare times when without seeking it, the Lord has just demanded a heart change. Not that this probably wasn't a long time coming, but when Jesus decides that you need to be sharpened (and softened) there is no resisting. 

So here are my lessons in humility, in only as much detail as necessary so as to keep the focus on God's journey in repurposing me instead of my individual story. 

1) Humility through Under Appreciation
I have been faced with a few interactions over the last couple of months that left me feeling greatly under appreciated, and because Satan would love to justify my sin of relying on the approval of others, I initially masked my pride with anger. "How dare you?! Look at all I've done for you, and all you want is to ask for more? What gives you the right? If anything, you should be THANKING me for what I've done. I'm not going to do anything else for you until you acknowledge how much you need me and how great I am."

Pride demands recognition and awards. 
Humility serves quietly in the background. 

2) Humility through Forgiveness
You ever have an argument with someone you really care about and even though it's not easy for you, you hold your temper and apologize? Pride demands a pat on the back for that. And if that apology or kind words aren't reciprocated? Pride tells you to cut the relationship off, let them come to you if they want to make things right! You did your part, you offered the olive branch. For heaven's sake, don't GROVEL. 
But humility sees things differently. Humility says to forgive, to empathize, to think of others instead of yourself. Humility says it's not good enough to just be the "bigger person" and apologize first, but instead to seek reconciliation to its completion. Humility says to forgive without expectations of receiving forgiveness or an attitude of humility in return. 

Pride insists on everything being equal. 
Humility is never interested in winners and losers. 

3) Humility through Immaturity
Recently, I have been lucky enough to have my path intersect with some wonderful women who are older and wiser than me, and for the purpose of this post, much MUCH more humble. Women who truly have very little interest in self-promotion. Women who seek the Lord's counsel in everything, even something as small as posting an Instagram pic (or publishing a blog post). Women who are quick to admit they are still a work in progress and imperfect in many ways.  

The more time I spend with them the more I recognize that I am a closet know-it-all, feigning the passion for growth but always ready to prove how grown I already am. This is especially hard for me as a pastor's wife, because sometimes I feel that there is a higher expectation of "holiness" that I am required to meet. And that expectation allows for pride to take root in my heart with the need to prove to everyone that I won't let them down, that I AM super holy. But in the end, this doesn't prove anything except that the Cross is the only holy thing about me, without it I am incredibly broken and in need of saving. 

Pride doesn't care about age or life experience, it already knows everything and is always right. 
Humility is insatiably teachable, always looking for an opportunity to learn and look more like Christ. 

The thing is, I like being right. And I like winning, oh my GOODNESS how much I like winning. Which is exactly why I know that this lesson in humility would have never been my idea. To be completely honest, there have been many, many tears shed on this journey. Why am I not being treated the way I feel I deserve? Why do I keep having to be the bigger person all the time? Why does it feel like I'm the ONLY person choosing to be humble? It's just NOT FAIR (and I really, really like things to be fair. I'm a middle child, justice is my domain). But there is no scale in God's book measuring the goodness of me verses other people. The only scale He is using measures my character against the character of Jesus and I am sorely off balance. 

In the end, this painful lesson in humility is God's way of evening the scales, His way of nudging my side a little closer to Jesus; narrowing not only the gap between his character and mine, but also between who I thought I was and who I really am. 

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Titus: 3 Years!

Dear Titus,
At 3 years...
  • You weigh 28 pounds and are just shy of 3ft tall 
  • You wear 2T shirts and still wear mostly 24 month pants because your legs are short and your waist is small
  • You are still in diapers (you have yet to seem very interested in potty training) but we are planning on potty training this month
  • You have been in your big boy bed for a couple of months now and you love it! You've only fallen out a couple of times and you have never crawled out in the middle of the night (I think you are too scared to get out of bed in the dark)
  • You love to pretend. We do a lot of pretending to blow bubbles, or throw balls, or eat pretend food.
  • You are generally very sweet and kind to your baby sister, but when you take a toy from her or hit her I often come back in the room to see her crying and you in timeout, where you PUT YOURSELF for hurting her.
  • Your favorite foods are stir fry veggies, cheeseburgers (with LOTS of pickles), yogurt, "special tweats" (usually a hershey's kiss), sandwiches, hot dogs, most berries, mandarin oranges, carrots, pizza, popsicles...
  • You don't want to try new foods ("I DON'T WIKE IT!!!") but our rule is you have to have one bite, and then you usually end up eating all of it anyway
  • You are in a phase where you love to tell stories and are always asking everyone else to tell you a story. All of your stories involve throwing fireballs.
  • You respond to almost everything with, "why?"
  • You are obsessed with patterns, measuring, counting, and spelling
  • You are always spelling "words" on your etch-a-sketch pad and then ask me what it spells (which really means you just want me to say, "I don't know Titus, what does it spell?" and then you tell me the gibberish word you spelled)
  • Calculators are one of your favorite "toys"
  • You are also on a geography kick, so you want to look at maps and talk about countries all the time. Your favorite country is Turkey, you can find it on almost any map along with about 10 other countries
  • You love the solar system and reading books about planets
  • You have learned a little about flags and now anytime you see the American flag you say, "Wook! It's our flag! U S A! U S A!" (your Daddy taught you that chant). The other day you saw the USA flag and said, "it is big and it is stwong!"
  • You still go down crying for most of your naps and frequently wake up from your nap crying. Naps are not your favorite thing.
  • You are so very, very dramatic. You throw yourself on the floor in a fit at least 3 times a day. When you get sent to timeout I can often hear you wailing and saying, "Whhhhyyyyyy??? Whhhyyyyyy I throw the boooooook??" Like you are bemoaning yourself for disobeying
  • You have become so independent. You let yourself in and out of the backyard screen door, you climb into the car and in your carseat by yourself, and you often get your own food out of the fridge.
  • When daddy goes to take a shower you have a meltdown if you can't go with him and shower too
  • On the weekends you LOVE waking daddy up at nine "way-ro- way-ro" (zero zero). You love clocks and telling time in general!
Titus James, you are my firstborn and I will always love you in such a special way because of that! No one will ever be able to make me feel like you do when you look in my eyes and smile at me and give me a big hug. You are sweet to other kids (especially babies) but you definitely don't want them in your space bubble. If you start to feel upset you often need to take some quiet time in your room by yourself and get out of a crowded area. Once you cool off you are so much better!We are also laughing at you ALL THE TIME! You are so funny and you KNOW you are funny. The more people laugh at you the sillier you act. You also think a lot of nerdy things are funny, like when we ask you to point to what country you live in on the globe you will point to Mexico and then laugh so hard, knowing that you intentionally picked the wrong country. Not only are you smart, but you are definitely an energetic little boy! You love jumping, running, yelling, and generally being a little spastic. Not a day goes by that I don't feel so lucky to have you in my life. Even when you are throwing fits or disobeying, I am grateful (sometimes only after you've gone to bed, ha!) that I have you as my son. We love you to the moon and back, to infinity and beyond, forever and ever.

Haddie Mae: 12 Months (ONE YEAR!)

Dear Haddie,
At 12 months you...
  • You weigh 21 pounds.
  • You wear size 4 diapers and 12 month clothes.
  • You sleep from about 7-7:30pm to 6:45am. You take two naps around 9:30 and 2:30.
  • You love to feed yourself (if I try to feed you then you spit the food out)
  • You can say "mama" and "cat"
  • You moved to a convertible carseat last month and don't love the car, but you seem pretty content still facing backward
  • You still don't have much of a passion for food in general, but you keep putting on weight and have some cute thigh rolls so I guess it's ok!
  • You LOVE your bottle, you get so demanding when you see me making it
  • You love going to the store and riding around looking at everything. You actually love anything you can ride in- the wagon, stroller, shopping cart, etc. You don't ever try to climb out, you just sit back and enjoy it. I don't think I've even had to strap you into a shopping cart yet, come to think of it!
  • You love bath time so much that you scream and cry almost every time we take you out, even if you've been in there for 20+ minutes.
  • You try to put EVERYTHING in your mouth. When we go outside I often zip you into the trampoline so that you can't crawl on the dirt and put rocks and weeds in your mouth. We also watch big brother play outside a lot while you stand and watch from inside the screened door, you love doing that!
  • You are loving to crawl around and explore. You go from room to room just looking at everything.
  • You make a lot of screeching and screaming noises, but you aren't trying to talk much. You do say "mama" and "cat cat cat cat."
  • You are so very sensitive. The fews times I've had to tell you "no" (usually because you are trying to eat a cord or mess with the DVR) you immediately cover your ears, your bottom lip starts trembling, and out come the big, fat crocodile tears.
  • Speaking of covering your ears, this is a big thing for you. You do it when a stranger tries to talk to you and you're feeling bashful, you do it when you are sleepy and want to go to bed, you do it if you are physically hurt, and you do it when your feelings are hurt. It's like your security blanket!
  • You have the prettiest little dimples starting to show when you smile! Especially the one on the right side
  • You and Titus will often crawl into his room and play by yourselves. I'll here him saying, "Here go Baybee Hahdee, take dis toy. You wike blocks!" He is so sweet to you, he is always giving you things and saying, "it otay Baybee Hahdee" if you start crying (while he pats you on the head). 
  • You still love to sleep and I am thankful for that!
  • Every time you get in your crib you grab the extra paci in your crib and switch it out for the one in mouth. Then you hold the other paci in your hand while you sleep.
  • You like to try and put your bows on yourself. Also sunglasses and scarves, so apparently you may have a thing for accessories!
  • You LOVE to cuddle. It is my favorite thing about you! You will just sit still and lay on me (or almost anyone after you warm up to them, for that matter) and wrap your chubby arm around my shoulder
  • Your favorite game is "put my paci in mommy's mouth" which is exactly like how it sounds
  • Your favorite toy is the cozy coupe car. You like being pushed but even if no one is there to push you, you just love sitting in it and not even moving.
  • You got 6 baby dolls for your birthday and you love
  • You love bouncing, dancing, and bobbing. Pretty much anything that looks like squats.
Baby love, we just adore you! Everyone is constantly commenting on your red hair and your pleasant disposition. You are constantly smiling and trying to make eye contact with everyone around you, even though you will immediately duck your head and act bashful when people smile and talk back to you. I don't think I've ever reached the point where I just want to put you down and need a moment to myself, I genuinely love each second that you want to cuddle with me because you are just so gentle and sweet! We have so many friends and family that are praying that you keep your gentle and kind personality, and I know that God made you with these characteristics for a reason. I pray that you will grow up to love everyone as openly and warmly as you love your mommy, daddy, and big brother. I pray that you will view everyone as important just like you do each of your baby dolls (and stuffed animals and basically anything with a face, including the dog picture on the dog treat box!) But more than anything, I pray that you would know that we love because He first loved us (1 John 1:19). You are so incredibly special to us, Haddie Mae. Happy first birthday!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Haddie Mae: 11 Months

Dear Haddie Mae,
At 11 months you...

  • You weigh 20 pounds and I can't wait to see those chubby thighs waddle around this summer!
  • You are wearing 12 month clothes but still have tiny little feet (size 2 or so)
  • You sleep from 7pm-6:45am, and still take 2 naps (9:30 and 2:00)
  • You are FINALLY crawling! It's a slow and tedious process, but you are really enjoying being able to move around on your own. You still prefer walking while we hold your hands to crawling, though.
  • We like to say that you don't walk, you dance. You never take normal steps around the house, you're always excitedly bouncing around like you're dancing
  • Your favorite toys are rocks, dirty shoes, scrap paper and anything else you shouldn't put in your mouth
  •  You get really dramatic when I take things away from you. And the three times I've had to tell you no (chewing on a lamp cord, trying to swallow a rock, etc.) you immediately started crying crocodile tears and sniffling. I can't even imagine what you are going to be like as a teenager!
  • I am starting to see a lot of teeth when you smile. You got in the two bottom middle ones first, and then got in two top teeth, but not in the middle, the two on either side of the middle! Thankfully, now the middle two teeth are coming in, but I think your smile is going to look a little interesting for a couple of weeks with that big gap in the middle :)
  • You like to toss your pacifiers over the crib railing when you wake up
  • You love planking, you do it all the time
  • Your favorite foods are turkey, toast, french fries, pickles, shredded cheese, baby puffs, ground beef, chicken, raspberries, and baby food. You still don't like any veggies and strawberries seem to give you a little bit of a rash
  • You play the bashful routine anytime someone new looks at you (burying your head in my shoulder or the ground, but looking up at them and smiling from the corner of your eye). This is exactly what you do during Peek-a-boo, too, which is one of your favorite activities
  • You still won't drink more than 5oz in a sitting because you want to be moving and playing
  • You have started using a sippy cup some but you don't like water!
  • You like to stand at your toy table and play for a little while, but in general you want to change activities about every five minutes
  • You love to stand at the back door and look out the windows at what Titus and the dogs are doing in the backyard
  • You are in a big girl car seat now and you don't like it very much!
  • You like to watch Elmo and Sesame Street but a lot of times end up watching shows like Team Umi Zoomi because that's what brother is watching
  • You love to push buttons on anything electronic, especially my phone and the tv remote
  • When you get sleepy you alternate between covering your ears and your eyes, like you're trying to block out all sights and sounds 
  • You love to be cuddled and rocked when you are going to sleep
  • When you're falling asleep in your crib you have a paci in your mouth and you also have to have one in your hand to hold
I think this month has flown by the fastest of all! You are almost ONE sweet girl! I love that you are becoming more mobile even though I know that means it'll be more work for mommy trying to chase you around. It is so sweet to watch you crawl around the house, you still do a little dance jiving during the process, so it kind of seems like you've always got a song playing in your head and you are just dancing to the beat. Speaking of dancing, you are ALWAYS dancing! You love the record player and dance to CCR with your brother and daddy. And if I start singing or even if my phone starts ringing you will start bouncing around wherever you are. I love to see how much joy that music brings you, it's just one more way that we get to see your sweet and happy personality shine through. We love you all the way up to the moon and back, baby love!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Haddie Mae: 10 months

Dear Haddie Mae,
At 10 months...

  • You weigh 20ish pounds but are still very short, which makes for an adorably chubby body!
  • You are wearing 12 month clothes and size 4 diapers just like your brother because you poop through the smaller size...
  • You sleep from 7pm-7am (12 hours), and still take 2 naps (9:30 and 2:00)
  • You have started getting up on your hands and knees and rocking, but still no crawling (although sometimes you accidentally move backward). You are trying to take some steps (assisted) and you want to be standing ALL the time.
  • Your favorite toy is any stuffed animal, baby doll, even the dog treat box with a dog face on it. You just want to be interacting with someone at all times!
  • You have gotten 5 teeth in the last month and have another one on the way!
  • You like to roll around in your crib and talk to your pacifiers before you fall asleep
  • Your favorite foods are turkey, toast, sandwiches, veggie straws, and sometimes baby food (mostly fruit). But you prefer table food over baby food now.
  • You have REALLY come into your own personality this month! All the sudden you are making funny faces and talking and having preferences over toys and activities
  • You have started babbling like crazy! You love talking, squealing, and making all kinds of noises
  • You still drink about 5oz per bottle and eat 3 meals a day, but a lot of times those are more like snack. You don't really care much about food!
  • You have figured out how to use a sippy cup although you much prefer your bottle
  • You don't want to sit in your jumper anymore because you want to be moving around
  • You like sitting on the trampoline while Titus jumps around you
  • When we're in the car you always pull your carseat overhead visor down so you can get a full view of your brother. He babbles and sings to you and you think it's so funny! But you don't fall asleep in your carseat anymore either, sad day!
  • People say you look a lot like your brother as a baby but you definitely still have red hair.
  • You are happiest when there are other kids around to play with, and you have started trying to hug and kiss them
  • Your separation anxiety has gotten a lot better, you don't seem to mind me leaving as much as long as you don't see me go. But you do get particular about bedtime and sometimes you won't take a bottle from anyone but me.
  • You like going outside for walks but would generally prefer I carry you in the baby carrier than to sit in the stroller for more than 15 minutes
  • Your favorite game is when I blow in your face and when we play peekaboo 
  • You hate being left alone in a room by yourself
Haddie Mae I have just been shocked at how much personality has come out in you this month! You have always been sweet and content, but that was more your temperament than your actual personality. But now you are really starting to come into your own and I can't get enough of each little piece that makes you unique! A lot of the time when you are super talkative or making funny faces you don't even know I'm watching, you are just entertaining yourself. You have lots of little conversations with your baby doll or stuffed animals and I just know you are telling them how special they are and how much you love them because that's the kind of sweetness you are made of! You are such an easy smiler and sometimes you are bashful and bury your head in my shirt, but you give out giggles and grins to anyone who will keep eye contact with you for long enough. We are so thankful for you, baby love! These first 10 months have gone by too fast, but I can't be too sad because I love every phase of yours more than the last.