Flaws are openings

I mentioned this in a my bump letter post yesterday, but the transition from crib to bed-- from alone in her own room to sharing a room with someone else-- has been anything but easy.

Here's the deal: when we moved Blythe it was as if nothing had changed. She simply went to sleep, never once got out of the bed, and continued sleeping from 7:30-8 a.m. for us.  Blythe is just now potty-training through the night, which has actually been pretty easy... after we convinced her it was okay to get out of bed. At almost 4, she still wouldn't get up unless we came in and gave her explicit permission. [Side note: If you have a first child who does things perfectly like this, either stop having children or be prepared to realize with number two that you actually know very little, that you don't "do it right", and that your first child just came pre-programmed to be awesome and make you think more highly of yourself and your skillz than you should].

Enter Becks Lynae. I love this child fiercely and deeply and in ways I never knew a mama heart could love. But like I told my sister the other day via text: Becks may very well be my penance. 

She is stubborn and intense. She is demanding and defiant. She is also hilarious and sweet as pie and cute as all get-out, which is how God has protected her. I knew she wouldn't "go gentle into that good night" like Blythe, and it's actually more like "rage, rage against the dying of the light!" [My apologies. It's the English teacher in me. I digress.] It also doesn't help that she is now sharing a room. It also doesn't help that her bed is directly on the floor.

The first couple of nights and naps were doable. She eventually gave up the fight. But then...oh then... she figured out that I am exhausted. She figured out that my waddling 33 week self has very little patience and stamina. She started banging on the doors [thank heavens she can't turn the doorknobs yet!], she started rummaging through drawers and throwing clothes on the floor, she started flinging anything she could find off of shelves. All in the pitch black. She started shouting at Blythe to ensure she would stay awake and be cranky as well.

Last night Brent was gone and it all came to a head. It was ugly. I was ugly. The girls were ugly. Let's just say there weren't any dry eyes in the house and at one point I literally walked out of their room and said out loud, "Get behind me, Satan!"

And you know how it ended?

It ended with me, two hours into the ordeal, hastily throwing a new crib sheet back in the crib [that I had already stripped and cleaned for baby],  picking up a screaming and crying Becks while telling a crying Blythe I would be right back, placing her back in the confines of her familiar crib in her solo room, returning to Blythe and calming her down, and then promptly crashing in my own bed in tears.

I had failed.

I felt like a failure. Not just at not being able to get my not-even-two-year old to lay down and sleep in her bed, but at everything lately. I haven't been able to engage the girls like I would like to. I physically can't do much. I'm tired and my patience is thin. The girls listen to Brent way more than they listen to me and they would have gone to sleep without issue for him, I was just sure of it.

All these lies were just coming at me and I just started praying, "Jesus, speak your truth into me right now. Tell me who I really am." And I fell asleep before I had any real revelations.

It was exhausting. This morning I apologized to the girls for being crabby. But then nap time rolled around and the banging on doors began and I felt like I was slipping into that place again.

Interestingly enough, I've been reading a book called "The End of Me" by Kyle Idleman. He walks through the seemingly upside down ways of Jesus through the Sermon on the Mount. He says things like,
"Blessed are you when you're so broke you have nothing to offer." "Broken people reveal the power and beauty of God. Flaws are openings." "Pride is best buddies with insecurity." 


So it's okay that I'm broken.
It's okay that I'm weak.
It's okay that I cry.
It's okay that I need Jesus more now.

It's not okay that I act out of a place of pride or insecurity with my girls.
It's not okay that I let this state of weakness make me feel less than.
It's not okay that I act out of impatience or anger.

But it's okay to break some days. 

And I don't have a solution for what we're going to do. I don't know if I can keep trying. I don't know if we'll have a crib to put this new baby in because Becks may still be in hers.

I don't have a solution. I have nothing to offer. 
I am going to rest in my brokenness and let God tell me who I am these days. 

 I need to rest in the peace of God these days.
"The peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7

Jesus, guard my heart and mind. Walk with me in my weakness. Reveal yourself in my brokenness. 


Baby Bump 3: Week 33

Dear Baby,

I think I look tired in this picture, which seems fitting because I am tired these days. Growing you and keeping up with your two sisters has been trying for me. There are so many things I want to do but can't do. There are so many things-- like making any decision-- that simply seem overwhelming for me right now. However, when I think of the end of this journey and the end of this time, when I think of you in my arms, I have peace.

I still feel like you're sitting pretty high, and as of my last appointment you aren't head down yet, but the doctor said we don't start checking for that/worrying about that until 36 weeks. My calves have been giving me issues again: intense cramping at night and then sore throughout the day. Other than that, besides normal pregnancy stuff, I feel pretty fortunate and feel pretty good, all things considered. However, pregnancy number three and pregnancy number one are totally different ball games. Whew.

It was interesting because I pulled up my letters from Becks' and Blythe's pregnancies: with both I was starting to feel a few minor braxton hicks at 33 weeks. Well I'm here to tell you, this time around those braxton hicks have been much more intense-- maybe even leaning towards "real" contractions. I put real in quotations because in the past I've only had real contractions when they were incredibly intense and threw me in to labor. It was braxton hicks or those. No in between. But you've been a little different.

We also have tried moving Becks into Blythe's room this week to totally vacate your room and the crib. To say it isn't going well would be the truth. We started early, in hopes that they'll make that transition by the time you come, but it's looking doubtful. We will see.  [Actually, as I write this Becks is banging-- LOUDLY-- on the bedroom door instead of napping. Blythe never once even attempted to get out of bed- she still doesn't- so I'm at a loss. When we move you to a bed, can you please take after your oldest sister?!]

Sweet girl, we keep praying for you. We pray we learn to love and discipline you in ways that are best for you. We pray that you would know our Jesus early and turn to Him often. We love you so much and can't wait to see what you look like and over time to see what your little personality becomes.



Hopes and Dreams, Round III

Hopes and Dreams Round II
Hopes and Dreams Round I

Just as we did with Blythe and Becks, we picked four traits we've begun praying over our third little lady.  It's been really fun to watch the older two coming into their own, and to see some of the traits we've been praying since before they were in our arms coming into fruition. Now that Blythe is a little older, we try and really call out these traits in her, and point them out to her when she displays them and let her know how proud we are.

The traits we've chosen for baby girl three are the following:



1. the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people
Pride is a tough sin to kick-- one I don't think we ever really do this side of heaven. We're so "us" focused, aren't we? We pray our daughter thinks of others. C.S. Lewis said, "True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less."
What the bible says about humility: 
Philippians 2:3 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves." 


1. thinking about or watching something carefully; paying careful attention to something

2. Very concerned about the needs of others

Have you ever been with someone and when you talked to them you knew they cared and you knew they were really present with you? They were attentive to you and you could feel it? That's what we pray for our daughter. We want her to be intensely aware of what is going on around her so that she can respond to needs and care for others in deep ways.
What the bible says about attentiveness [The Message translation]: 
Matthew 13:16-17 
 “But you have God-blessed eyes—eyes that see! And God-blessed ears—ears that hear! A lot of people, prophets and humble believers among them, would have given anything to see what you are seeing, to hear what you are hearing, but never had the chance." 

1. having or showing true and constant support or loyalty

2. deserving trust: keeping your promises or doing what you are supposed to do
Faithfulness is kind of multi-faceted. We pray our daughter is loyal and true to people; that she is loyal and true to her God. We pray she is a person that others can rely on. And we also pray she is faithful to her future spouse in her heart and in her actions, even before she meets him.  
What the bible says about faithfulness: 
Proverbs 3:3 
"Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart."


1. the quality of being kind, understanding, and not selfish

2. the quality of being generous: freely giving or sharing money and other valuable things; providing more than the amount that is needed or normal: abundant or ample

Generosity is something that tends to be lost in a culture that is all about getting ahead. We don't want to be generous with our money, and we certainly don't want to be generous with our time or other intangibles. And so we pray that our third little daughter is generous in spirit. We pray she is generous in material things. We pray she is generous with others in a way that points to the generosity of our Father in Heaven.
What the bible says about generosity: 
Proverbs 11:24-25
"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered." 


Book Review: 40 Days of Decrease

Growing up in a Southern Baptist denomination, I knew about Lent but never practiced Lent. In college I participated in an Ash Wednesday service, and even "gave up" a few things for Lent a couple of different years. I had a professor who helped us reflect on how giving something up for Lent may help us prepare to celebrate a risen Savior more.

But that was about it.

Flash forward to now. I am currently part-time staff at our church, and though we are non-denominational we wanted to do something with this tradition of Lent. We are in a series currently called "The Way of Jesus" and studying how counter-cultural His life was and how His entire life was spent in "downward mobility." Lent is all about entering into that downward mobility of Christ.

But I wanted a good resource. I wanted something I could put my hands on that would help me guide our congregation through this new thing. We wanted it to be less about giving up dessert for a month and half and more about entering into the walk to the cross with Christ.

And that's when I found Alicia Britt Chole's book, 40 Days of Decrease: A different kind of hunger, a different kind of fast. 

The back of the book says:

We ache deep within to meaningfully honor Christ's resurrection. Yet, in practice, this foal point in the liturgical calendar is often a celebration of public holiday more than it is of humanity's hope. At the day's end, we fall asleep well-fed and perhaps even grateful, yet still somehow something short of awed. Enduring awe is rarely the fruit of a morning's celebration. Enduring awe is the fruit of daily participation with Jesus, our resurrected love.
40 Days of Decrease invites readers to walk with Jesus through the holy decrease of less and loss that led Him cross-ward and beyond. Each day offers a meaningful consideration of Jesus' journey through reading and reflection and then issues a challenging daily fast... [the book] calls communities to a Lenten fasting of apathy, injustice, resentment, hypocrisy, and more for the love of God.
It has been incredible. Our church has been challenged, but I have been challenged at deep and real levels.

I could talk about this for awhile, but if you've been following my Lent journey you've seen how powerful these challenges are. And I would even say this doesn't have to just be a book to use during the season of Lent. I would highly recommend it.

I received a free copy of this book through BookLook bloggers but all opinions are my own.


Baby Bump 3: Week 32

Blythe wanted to join me for these pictures: mullet, too small pajamas, and all

Dear baby,

 We had a sonogram this week and you looked great! We think you may have your dad's nose, but I suppose their could be worse things in life ;). They measure different parts of you during these sonograms and then can estimate your size: it appeared you were just shy of 4 pounds currently. We've got a month and a half left, and they say the last month is when babies really pack on the pounds, so if you're already 4 pounds I'm wondering if you'll be our biggest baby yet?! A whopping 7 pounds? Who knows.

The weather turned this week and it has been beautiful. This means me and your sisters want to be outside as much as possible, but it's getting harder and harder for me to be on my feet for very long. We actually took a very slow-- verrryy slooow-- walk to the library. There and back is probably about a mile. I was super proud of myself, but also super sore later. Oh baby girl, you've done a number on my stamina these days! We also went on a little "adventure" in the woods and your sisters explored and found some "treasures". The whole time I was picturing what a third little lady will look like on these trips. It will be so much fun.

Today is actually so nice I'm sitting outside writing this while your sister's nap. When I'm done I'll crack open my current book and soak in the warm sun. Your dad is off for a little run. We're both doing things we love to do, and it makes me wonder what your favorite things will be. What will your hobbies include? Time will tell, but for now you're content to play the fiddle on my rib cage.

Becks will be out of your room within the week, and I've started crafting a few things just to welcome you and make it feel like yours. It's hard to believe we'll have another little bundle of pink to lay in that crib soon-- the same crib where your nana laid me as a squalling baby. 8ish more weeks until you come into this world and our arms. We love you, sweet one.

Love, Mom 


Baby bump 3: week 31

Dear baby,

Oh sweet one. I just love you so much. I told your dad recently that I'm just ready to hold you. Of course, I know you have more time left, and I'll be patient, but I really am just ready. Of course, our house isn't necessarily physically ready for you... but, eh. At the point, I think I could even be okay with that! :)

I'm really trying to take it easy for your sake, but that's easier said than done with your sisters around. I can still carry Becks pretty easily, since she is such a squirt, but I know I shouldn't be picking up Blythe... and yet she is very slow about doing certain things and I just want to lift her up or do it for her or carry her somewhere to speed the process along. But she's learning how to do more for herself and I'm trying to learn patience so that I don't over do anything. We'll be playing something and Blythe will say, "Let's run..." or something like that, and then look at me and say, "Oh. Sorry. You can't do that because baby sister is in your tummy." [Here is an inside scoop though: I wouldn't be running even if you weren't in my tummy ;)].

This pregnancy has been different in so many ways: It has gone incredibly fast. Like, I'm pretty sure it's supposed to still be August. Secondly, I've felt like I can do less but have had to be doing more. Also, with my last two I obviously was excited about meeting them and holding them on the outside, but I was good with waiting it out the entire time. With you though? Oh with you I would have bypassed almost all of this pregnancy, not because it's bad or because I don't like being pregnant, but because I just want you. I want those quiet days in the hospital. I want the slow weeks following your birth. I want the warmth of you against my chest. I want to watch you grow. I want to hear your little sqwauks.

But we have several more weeks together like this, and I will relish all the parts of this part of the journey as well: the movement only you and I share. When I'm having a conversation with someone and get distracted by your hiccups. Knowing that I can't drop you or forget to feed you/change you, but that I'm just doing my thing and God has orchestrated this amazing way for my body to just take care of you. Yes. I want to meet you on the outside, but I do love this pregnancy journey and getting to know you on the inside too.

Inside or out, I love you dearly and deeply, baby girl.

Love, Mom


Baby Bump 3: Week 30

Dear Baby,

This week had been much better. I've felt better all around and some of my pains from last week have subsided. But you know what hasn't subsided? Your movements! You are all over the place! I can definitely feel your feet up in my rib cage, which always makes me wonder how long you are and how big you'll be. Will you follow your sisters' leads and be teeny tiny?

I also feel like I've started nesting a bit. I want to get Blythe and Becks moved into their room they will share so that I can start making the nursery totally yours, and also start digging out all those baby clothes again. Which basically means at this point BOTH rooms are in a state of disaster. So keep hanging out in there for awhile!

Our doctor's appointment this week went well. Dr. C is definitely concerned about you coming too quickly, and she wants to make sure I have the best care. She wants me to consider an induction for this reason. Your dad and I are praying about it. It is very scary to think of you coming so quickly that we can't make it to the hospital, and as fast as your sisters came, I don't want to take that lightly. However, my deliveries have been, though terrifyingly fast and unfortunately without an epidural, quick and have gone smoothly. I don't want to mess with a good thing, either. It feels like a huge decision, but I know God is in control and either way He will be with us and at our side.

Just last night I looked at myself in the mirror and told your dad that I feel much bigger than I did last time, but then I laughed because I said, "Oh yeah! I'm 30 weeks!" It has gone so fast that I feel like I'm still 20 weeks, so obviously I think I look big when my brain hasn't caught up to the reality of how far along we are! And yet, I'm so ready for you to be here. I know, deep in my soul now, the utter joy of welcoming a new life and I look forward to it immensely with you.

Love, Mom