Titus 2:11-13

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Holding On Tightly

Time. No matter how tightly you try to clutch it, it still slips away.

My babies are becoming less like "babies" every day. In a few days, Isabel and Elliana will be 10 months old. In about a month, they will be the age Amariah was when I became pregnant with our third child. In two months, they will have their first birthday. And just yesterday, I was carrying them in my womb, relishing in the feeling of two babies moving inside me!

It's so cliche, but really... where has the time gone?

Knowing that these are probably our last babies is making this whole growing up process a little more difficult this time around. I look at Abel and Amariah and think about how they have grown far beyond the point of being cradled in my arms or falling asleep on my chest, and I know that Isabel and Elliana are heading for that same place--and that there is no one following behind who will fill that void.

Early in my pregnancy with the twins--just yesterday (Ha!)--my mom said something to me that seems almost prophetic now. She said, "Make sure you enjoy every moment of being pregnant, because you may never get to experience it again." I am so thankful for that simple but wise statement. Because of it, I was able to enjoy every moment of that pregnancy like it was my last--because, for all I knew, it could be. I was able to appreciate the fullness of my womb in a way that I never had before... and in a way that is now helping to satisfy the emptiness of it (i.e. my womb).

Similarly, I have been focusing on fully enjoying every moment of Isabel and Elliana's babyhood, because as I watch it slowly slipping away, I know I can never get it back. I hold them on my lap and look into their sweet faces as their soft little hands touch mine. I know that all too soon they will grow beyond this; and, I wonder: Am I doing enough?

Am I doing enough enjoying to last a lifetime? Am I appreciating every opportunity I have to hold/nurse/kiss/touch/play with my babies? Am I enjoying enough?

A couple days ago I took all four kids to the mall. I can't imagine why one young woman pushing a double stroller while guiding two toddlers through the mall would attract attention (Ha!), but we did. We seemed to be a magnet for kind-hearted elderly people that day. One gentleman approached us as we were about to leave the mall, and he said to me, "I have to tell you this. These are the best days of your life. I look back at my life, and I think, 'Those were the best days....'"

I hope that, like that man, I can one day look back at this time in my life and say without regret, "Those were the best days." I hope that I can know that I did the best job of raising my children--and enjoying them--that I could do. Time will keep on slipping away, and I'm okay with that... as long as I don't let it slip away without me....

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A March of Emotion

The month of March has become to me a month full of emotion.  It has always been that way to some extent, because it is the month of my birth--even though I'm getting older, there is still a certain excitement about having a birthday--and because it is the month that ushers in Spring and with it warmer weather and regeneration of life.

So, yes, March has always been an "exciting" month for me.  But as the Marches have gone by, additional causes for that excitement have developed; and so this month I have been feeling like my heart is full of emotions and my mind full of memories.
  • On March 8, 2004, Travis so very humbly and beautifully asked me to be his wife.
  • On March 13, 2006, our first child and only son was born into this world.
  • In March of 2009, we took our first family vacation.
  • Also in March of 2009, we entered into the final trimester of what was arguably my most emotion-full pregnancy.
Each of these "March memories" have caused me to feel quite full of emotion this month.  I have felt excitement for the coming of my birthday and for the coming of Spring.  I have remembered that perfect night when I became engaged to the man I wanted to marry so badly.  I have relived the anticipation of those final days of my first pregnancy as well as every detail surrounding Abel's birth.  I have reminisced about last year's vacation and how fun and refreshing it was.  And I have recalled the beauty and blessing of carrying twins in my womb.... Or maybe I have recalled the beauty and blessing of being with child, period, knowing that I will probably never experience it again.

I am so thankful for what the Lord has done in my life--be it March or any other month of the year.  He has filled my heart with gladness; and, through these March memories, He has once again reminded me that all of my days were ordained before there was yet one of them (Psalm 139:16).  Thank you, God, for giving me 27 Marches of abundant life (John 10:10)!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Debt and Decision: Burdens Lifted!

If you read my blog regularly you've probably noticed that I've been somewhat absent from it this month.  It isn't that I haven't wanted to write--I have.  It's just that my thoughts have been quite consumed by a decision that was facing my husband and me, and I wasn't ready to blog about it until now--after the decision has been made.

A little over a month ago we started to entertain the idea of selling our house and up-sizing a bit.  As much as we love our house, we were looking into the future and thinking that with one boy and three girls in the family, a fourth bedroom will one day be in order.  And, of course, with mortgage rates being as low as they are and the home buyer's credits being currently available, the idea of selling our house seemed somewhat timely.

However, in spite of this seeming "timeliness," neither Travis nor I could manage to come to a place of confidence when it came to making the decision to sell our house official.  For whatever reason, doubt was there, and it was keeping us in a standstill.

Yesterday, we finally made up our minds.  As soon as we did, I felt a weight just lift from my shoulders, and I knew we had made the right decision:  we are not going to sell our house!  The best part of that is that, besides no longer feeling burdened by the thought of selling and purchasing and packing and moving--or even just by the decision-making itself--we were able to use our money to pay three debts in full instead of having to throw it down on a new house (which lifted even more weight from my shoulders!)!

The correctness of our decision continued to be confirmed to me throughout the day today.  Coming out of that state of limbo where we weren't sure if we'd be staying or going has enabled me to once again see clearly how thankful I am for the home God has given us.  I pray that we will always be faithful stewards of it and that it will always be a place where He is glorified.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Too Much "To Do"

I think I am beginning to experience the effects of having too much "To Do" on too little sleep.

I like to think that I have always been a fairly responsible and dependable person. But, lately, my behavior is calling that into question: I can't seem to remember anything! Okay, maybe anything is too all-inclusive of a word; but, nevertheless, my brain just doesn't seem to be functioning at optimum levels.

  • Ever since the twins have been born I have had a terrible time remembering to pay bills. The "grace period" has many times been my saving grace.
  • Last month I incurred a healthy overdue fine on the kids' library books because I simply got a wrong due date stuck in my head.
  • This past Sunday I was planning to pay a lady at church for a Bible study book I "bought" last month but had forgotten to pay for. This very lady sat beside me during the service... we visited a little after the service... and yet it wasn't until I was driving home from the service that I realized I had forgotten to give her my money. In fact, paying her had never even once crossed my mind.
  • Last night after putting the babies to bed I went to the store to buy diapers (which I had forgotten were running low until I used the last one) and to return a movie. Halfway to the store, I realized that I had forgotten to grab the movie.

In light of these few examples of my less than optimum brain function, you can understand why the running joke between my husband and me has been, "Maybe you should get a planner...."

All joking aside, though, it kind of distresses me that I have become so... so... irresponsible. My husband shouldn't have to remind me to pay the bills. The library shouldn't have to send me an overdue notice. The budget shouldn't have to allow for late fees. The more forgetful I become, the more I become less like the Proverbs 31 woman in whom the heart of her husband trusts (vs. 11). This isn't who I am. This isn't who I want to be.

I'm not necessarily claiming to be "overwhelmed"; and I'm neither desiring an "escape" from my responsibilities nor pleading for help with them. I guess I'm just simply expressing my realization that a change is in order.

Perhaps this forgetfulness is somewhat the cumulative effect of nine months of inadequate sleep. Or perhaps it's just the natural course of one person learning to effectively manage a growing "To Do" list.

Maybe someday I'll start getting more sleep. In the meantime, if I can remember to, I think I'll go buy that planner. :-)

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