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Dishes, Diapers & Diligence

16 Sep

She wouldn’t settle and it’s not usually like her to fuss more than once at night.

I sleepily pushed the button to illuminate my cellphone and it read 3:09 AM.

I tried nursing her, but still she whimpered. We rocked and nursed and rocked and nursed and finally she drifted off. Putting her back into her crib, I wondered how long she would last as she normally sleeps snuggled between Daniel and I from midnight on, but I wanted to see if having her own space would help her to rest better.

5:15. I stumbled into her nursery, scooped her up and brought her into our bed. The air was chilly, and I thought maybe the warmth was what she needed.

Still she cried. Knowing that Daddy would need to get up and going in just an hour or so, I took her down to the living room to rock her in the recliner and give him some peace and quiet for his last few minutes of sleep.

Though my eyes were burning and my mind was filled with thoughts of the busy day ahead (Sunday, the day of rest, is our busiest day, it seems!), I gave her a few teething tablets and we rocked some more. I knew being awake most of the night was going to make for a very long day, but my sweet girl needed me and there was no place else I’d rather be than cradling her in my arms and bringing her comfort as she struggled to sleep.

Being a wife and a mama has been such an enormous and ongoing lesson of selflessness and of learning to put the needs of another before my own. Most days, I do it without thinking about it, but others find me struggling to be diligent.

Kitchen sinkChanging diapers and doing dishes.

Mopping floors and planning meals.

Laundry and laughing with Lovey Lou.

Changing more diapers and doing more dishes.

I only get one chance at this and am I so convicted and challenged to do it right.

To give it my all.

I want to “train up (my) child in the way (s)he should go.” {Proverbs 22:6} I want to “look…well to the ways of my household.” {Proverbs 31:27} I want to be a “crown” to my husband. {Proverbs 12:4}

To do these things, I must be diligent.

As I read, Proverbs chapter 12, it screamed diligence over and over again. Verse after verse challenged my heart in this area.

The dishes aren’t going to do themselves.

Laundry needs to be washed, folded and put away.

Meals must be planned if we are going to eat well and spend wisely.

The little girl tugging on my skirt tail is only going to be little once. I only get one opportunity to teach her, to hold her, to love her, to point her to Jesus.

No one else can spend time with the Lord for me.

“He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread…” v. 11

If I’m going to look back twenty years from now and be satisfied with how I did in my role as wife and mama, I must till my land.

Tilling takes work. It takes time and energy. It takes diligence. It takes doing what needs to be done even when my flesh wants to sit down and do nothing!

“A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompence of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him.” v. 14

I’ll only get out what I put in, and I can only put in what is needful if I’m where I need to be with Jesus. Without putting him first, dishes are a drudgery, I grow impatient with sweet Londyn girl, and frustrated by the ever-growing pile of laundry.

Verse five is so simple, yet SO profound.

“The thoughts of the righteous are right..!”

When I am seeking His righteousness, my thoughts are right.

When I’m thinking right thoughts, I am thankful for dirty dishes because I know they mean our bellies are full. When my thoughts are what the should be, I am grateful for laundry as it means we have clothes on our backs. Most importantly, when my thoughts are right, I am praising the Lord for the privilege of being the one to teach and train my daughter rather than seeing the constant attention she needs as a burden.

Being diligent has a lot to do with having a schedule and sticking to it, but it has even more to do with making sure my heart is pursuing my Potter so that He can make this worthless lump of clay into something useable.

“The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.” v. 27

It is all too easy to be slothful when I’m focused on self, but it’s almost impossible when I realize how precious “the substance” I’ve been given is.

He has so graciously given me a husband to love, a baby to raise, a home to keep, a ministry to serve in.

All of those things are so very precious to me and all of those things deserve my diligence.

Lord, help me to remember that, “In the way of righteousness is life: and in the pathway thereof there is no death.” v. 28 Righteousness comes from You, alone, for my righteousness is filthy rags. I need your righteousness to think right thoughts which will lead to right actions and the ability to be diligent in the tasks before me. Whether it be rocking a fussy baby at three in the morning or doing a sink full  of dishes, I need You! Oh, how I need You!

 
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Seasons

12 Sep
Autumn’s chill has arrived. 
It came suddenly. 
Last week, Summer’s humidity still hung heavily in the air, but this week brought change.
The sun is setting earlier bringing cooler temperatures with nightfall.
An extra blanket on the bed. A sweater instead of sandals. Mums blooming. Leaves falling.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1

As Summer fades into Fall, I think of the seasons of my life and how things have changed.

My first Summer as a wife is behind me. It passed quickly with the busyness of ministry. 

While the last several Autumns found me longing for marriage, this one finds learning what it means to be the wife my sweet hubby deserves and soon learning what it means to be a good Mama to my baby girl.

The season of singleness that seemed to last forever while in the midst of it is over.

And I now look back on it as a season of preparation.

Preparation for marriage, ministry and motherhood.

I didn’t know that when those things came, they’d come nearly all at once, but He did.

He knew the exact moment when He would transition me from one season to the next, and He knew what I would need to be ready for the change it would bring.

The years of singleness felt long when in the thick of them, but I now see how each one molded and shaped who I am today.

When school started last week, I wasn’t in the classroom for the first time in eight years, but rather preparing a room for a our precious daughter.

I believe those years of lesson planning and paper grading taught me valuable lessons for this new season of life.

The time I was able to spend with my grandparents in that season taught much, as well.

I’ve always been drawn to those older and wiser than myself. It’s always been easier for me to build relationships with them rather than those my age.

I now see how that has helped me to establish friendships with the seniors in our church giving me a place of ministry in their lives.

He knew that I’d be where I am today, and lovingly gave me years of training that I might be ready for it.

He’s placed me in this season and will enable me to flourish in it if I’ll only seek Him.

Yes it’s full of change, full of lessons to learn, but it’s also full of blessings I am so thankful for!

This Miracle

28 Jun

Dishes are done. Laundry is folded. My Bible lay open on my lap.

As I read, I feel the strange yet satisfying thump within.

“And the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing…”

Romans 15:13

She kicks.

Reminding me to hope. To trust.

My heart is anxious. I note her every movement. I wait when she is still. Sleep is filled with dreams of what she will be like, of whether or not she will be healthy, and of whether or not I will be what she needs. At each appointment, the seconds it takes the midwife to find her heartbeat seem like hours

I must surrender something that isn’t mine in the first place.

Her life belongs to Him, and I must trust His goodness. He will sustain her as he has for the last six months.

With my swelling abdomen growing a little more each day, our daughter is growing too along with my faith in the One who blessed us with her.

“Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee.”

Jeremiah 1:5

 He already has big plans for her little life which include teaching her Mama a little more about what it means to truly rely upon Him each and every moment.

I am so grateful for the precious gift of our girl and for the gracious God whom I am so privileged to call Father who has been so faithful thus far.

As He knits her together, I am learning to trust unlike ever before. I am so in awe of my Faithful Creator tonight. He’s big enough to keep our world spinning on its axis and yet is keeping this little one within me.

Her tiny feet are strong enough to make her kicks visible.

I watch my belly move.

Amazed at this miracle and thrilled to be a part of it.

Where I am…

2 May

be where you are.

Contentment.

I thought I’d learned that lesson already. I was sure that was the point for the years the Lord allowed me to remain single.

Yes, teaching me contentment, that was the reasoning, right?

Well if that was the case surely I’d be an expert on the subject by now.

But I am finding that the opposite is true.

I am finding that contentment is a lesson not learned in a single season, but rather through lifelong teaching.

And as He continues teaching me, I am challenged to be here.

Not where I think I should be.

When single, I thought I should be married.

Now married, I am grateful (so grateful!) for a longing fulfilled, for life with my wonderful hubby, but today I face a different kind of discontentment.

One that comes with living so far from everything I’ve ever known.

I struggle with new longings.

Though I thought I learned contentment years ago,  it’s quite clear I’ve not yet mastered it.

He has much more teaching to do and through His teaching I’m beginning to realize something.

He’s not teaching so that we learn to be content with the circumstance, but rather with the Christ who is ever present in each one.

The temporal will never satisfy the Christian. We will forever be longing for more, groaning for a filling only the heavenly can provide, for something only the Savior can give us.

He wants me to be content with Him which will in turn give the grace needed to be here or anywhere for that matter.

As I waited through my single years, He was there, and He remains as I navigate these first few months of marriage and pregnancy many miles from Maryland.

It is in Him where I will find the ability to truly be content no matter where life and ministry may take us.

And it is because of Him that I can be here

where He knows I should be.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

1 Timothy 6:6

Home

1 Mar

For twenty four years and two months, home was a gray rancher in a town with a population of 4,000. No sidewalks or streetlights just fields and moonlight when evening came.

Today and for the last sixty days or so home has been a sage green two story in a city with 25,000 residents! Sidewalks, streetlights, traffic, hustle, bustle, etc. etc.

Leaving that sleepy little town, if it can even be considered one, and everyone that made home home, has been more difficult than I ever expected.

Image DetailOver the last few weeks, I have truly felt the reality of homesickness weighing heavy on my heart. Tears flowing as I think of everyone and everything I’m missing back “home,” I’ve struggled to feel at home here one hundred and fifty miles from everything familiar.

The homesickness has made me miserable and given me an attitude that is far from pleasing to my Lord or pleasant for my sweet hubby to be around or deal with.

This week though my Lord has been speaking to my heart, questioning me as to where “home” truly is.

We’ve all heard the old adage, “Home is where the heart is.” And I believe it to be true, but what does it mean when your heart is in two different places?

Here in New Jersey with my wonderful husband and new ministry with such potential for growth and accomplishment for Jesus.

There in Maryland/Pennsylvania where our parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, school and church family are living their lives as they always have three hours away.

Well, Scripture says that where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21

I truly treasure this new season in my life as I learn how to be a wife and am now carrying this precious little one, but I also treasure the relationships back in Maryland and familiarity of the place that was home for so long.

But where does Jesus say, my treasure should be?

In a place? In people?

The preceding verses are clear.

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven..” (vs.19-20)

My treasure should ultimately be in my personal relationship with Jesus that is the same regardless of whether or not my street address has a New Jersey zip code.

Everything we have here is temporary, we are “strangers and pilgrims” (1 Peter 2:10) on earth where our hearts know loneliness  and sadness. Our true home is in Heaven for eternity where He has promised to wipe away tears from off all faces” (Isaiah 25:8) and where we will never again have to say painful goodbyes!

So I am learning to lay up heavenly treasure as I am settling into the fact that this is now my earthly home and trying to do my best to make it just that for my servant-hearted husband and our sweet little peanut who is busy growing at the moment! 🙂

All the while looking forward to the day when I hear my Savior’s voice welcome me to my Heavenly Home and to the wonders of spending eternity with Him!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Baby is making this Mama very tired and very nauseous but also very excited!!!! Seven weeks and counting!!! I hope to start posting weekly “bump” pictures this week! Please keep praying for our little one’s growth and development!

Quiet

31 Jan

The voices of once struggling readers succeeding.

Skip counting by two and five and ten, and after a lot of practice six, seven and eight.

Requests for ring pops because “they were really good today.” 🙂

Even during my planning hour, the chatter of third graders on their bathroom break outside my classroom door.

As a teacher, my days were anything but quiet.

Now,

I notice the stillness.

the quiet.

As I sweep the floors and fold the laundry, the house is silent.

Yet in the silence, I hear Him. He’s urging my heart to follow suit.

Child,

“Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:1

Know that I’ve brought you here for a wonderful purpose.

Know that I’m taking care of all the things back home that continue to occupy your thinking.

“Be still…”

and savor this precious beginning with the husband you’ve waited for.

take in every moment and give  your all.

“Be still…”

and learn what it means to rely fully on Me to be your help in 

the newness of marriage and ministry.

Quiet is another new that I’m adjusting to, but one that I am so very thankful for. Though I miss the days I spent in my classroom and the children whose chatter brought such joy then, I am grateful that I am now student rather than teacher.

I have a new classroom, and He’s teaching me so much.

But to do so, He needs my heart to be quiet, undisturbed, at rest.

And being the amazing Teacher that He is, He makes sure that my learning environment is always perfect.

“…in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength…”

Isaiah 30:15

New

27 Jan

a new home

in a new city

where we serve at our new church.

a new role

as

wife

and

homemaker.

a new routine

that no l

onger includes

text books, spelling lessons, and tutoring sessions

but rather

mopping, laundry, and meal planning.

a new normal

three hours from family

and

from everything that I was so accustomed to.

Four weeks ago today, when we turned onto Cleveland Street, I was anxious to unpack boxes (and there were lots of them!) and make our home exactly that.

Tonight the boxes are empty and everything is in its place. I love our apartment, and I especially love the fact that I share it with my handsome husband!

I am settling into the new.

“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?

I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”

Isaiah 43:19

And asking God to do a new work in my heart.

Asking Him what new lessons He wants to teach me as I pack my hard-working hubby’s lunches, wash dishes and clip coupons.

I am certain that I am exactly where He wants me to be, doing exactly what He’s called me to do, but in the midst of so much new I must be careful to seek Him diligently,

asking Him to make rivers when loneliness leaves me dry, to make a way through the wilderness of inadequacy that can be so paralyzing when dinner doesn’t turn out quite like I planned or it takes me an hour and half to grocery shop.

I want Him to do a new work in me, making me more of what my Daniel, our church, and most importantly my Lord deserves in a wife, an associate pastor’s wife, and a daughter.

I am so excited to be back on the blog front sharing Scripture here at LovingmyLord and plan to make it a big part of my new life here in Caldwell!

Stay tuned for new posts much more frequently now that we have Internet access here at home, but until then I am praying that He is doing new things in your life as we finish the last few days of January!