Sunday, December 7, 2014

To A Daughter On Her Birthday

Sweet Girl,

On the early morning when you were first placed in my arms, we were both so exhausted, and neither of us knew what was to come. Life in those first newborn days did not get off to an easy start – they were days filled with tears, anxiety, struggles, and certainly not sleep. As it goes for many new mothers, those first few months I spent with you were intensely difficult. But the one thing I want you to know is this: you were worth every bit of it, and I would do every second of it all over again to secure your place in this world.
 
Letter To My Daughter
 
For the past five years I have had the great pleasure of getting to know you, and I have already caught glimpses of the woman you will become. You are so loving and kind, and you have already learned the value of having a beautiful heart. I pray you never forget that lesson and become a blessing to everyone you meet.
 
The Hopes I Have For You
 
You are tenacious in your pursuits, from planning impromptu backyard parties with your picture lists to showcasing your entrepreneurship with your grand schemes of selling your old toys door to door in the neighborhood (someday you'll understand why that wouldn't have worked out). You are full of creativity and big ideas, and I hope you'll always have the courage to chase your great adventures.

Raising A Child With Courage

I love how bright you are. I love the questions you ask and the answers you give me, the stories you tell and the laughter you bring. You've been speaking in complete sentences since before you were two years old, and you've never run out of things to say since. In many ways, you are how I wish I could have been. Never lose that spirit. I want you to always have that thirst for knowledge, and more importantly, wisdom.

What I Love About My Child

Our time together may not have started out perfectly, but you have been my little buddy for five years now, and I know I could never have imagined a better companion. I often find myself thinking back on these years, each memory rich with pure joy for the simple pleasure of spending it with a child like you, and all I can think about is how they have been the best years of my life. I pray for many, many more just like them, and the hopes I have for you are too many to count.

How To Pray For Your Child

Ever since you were tiny, all I've ever wanted to do is be the best mama I could possibly be for you. There aren't enough words in the world to tell you how much your daddy and I love you. All I can tell you is that you and your brother are the greatest treasures we could ever ask for.

Raising A Sweet Kid

Happy Birthday, Hannah Cabana Kabookie

Love, Mama

Saturday, November 29, 2014

To A Son On His Birthday

Baby Boy,

I never thought I'd have a son. When I was growing up, my world was always filled with females – sisters, stepsisters, mostly girl cousins...we would often joke that our family just knew how to make girls. I always knew that I wanted children, and I always felt that I would like to experience having both a son and a daughter, but I kind of prepared myself for the continuation of the trend. Thankfully, it was not to be as I imagined.
 
How To Be A Man
 
The day we discovered you were a 'he', I teared up with joy, for you had become a reality that I dared not hope for. I was raising a daughter, and I would also have the privilege of raising a son. It is not a task that I took lightly then, and it's one that I feel the weight of even more strongly as you grow.

How To Raise A Son

You are blessed in a way that many little boys are not. I look around at the world, and I see too many poor examples of what a man should be. I see men who refuse to fight for their families, men who do not love their wives and children, and men who lack the integrity I so long for you to have. But you are blessed, my son, because you have examples in your life who show you the way; men who live their lives for others and are willing to do whatever it takes to run their races with honor. You have your daddy, and he loves you and me and your sister endlessly and sacrificially, and you will grow up knowing what it means to be loved and love others. Not every little boy has that. Take advantage of that blessing because if you learn to do it well, you will have the opportunity to give that gift to someone who needs it someday.
 
Growing Up To Be A Man

I wish I could hold on to every part of you that won't last. The way you sound French when you say the word 'door'. You caressing your 'comfy blanky' that is wrapped around your face when I check on you as you sleep.  Your silly antics. The big tears you cry over the littlest things, and even your surly facial expressions (those might last a while). Though you will one day grow up to be a man, you will always be my sweet little boy. You will always be the little fella who wraps his arms tightly around me and puckers up big for a kiss. I will always hear your little voice say, “I wuv you, Mama.”

Funny Looks Kids Give
 
I want you to know all of this so you understand when I get a little blurry-eyed at times in your life. I can't even think about how much I love you for too long without the tears welling up. But as you grow up, I take comfort in thinking about the man you will one day become. The world can never have too many of the good ones, my boy. You are three today, but you will be 33 before I know it. You have many more years ahead of you for learning and having fun and driving me crazy and holding my heart, but it will all go by too quickly. These past three years already have. 
 
Raising A Son
 
During the first hour after you were born, I watched you intently, unable to process the love and awe I felt at your presence in this world. I will never stop marveling at you and all that you have brought into this life.

Hold on to what Daddy and I teach you. We love you more than you may ever know.

Happy Birthday, Biscuits.

Love, Mama

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

31 Days Of Strength In Scripture: Who Our Father Is

I think we often don't understand the way that God deals with us. We are confused by His discipline, or we choose to follow our own paths instead of His guidance, and we lack the understanding to know the difference. Considering He doesn't exactly write us notes across the sky, it's understandable that our human limitations often get in the way. But I do know that I can know who He is and what He has promised through His word, thus there are certain truths I can be sure of in the way that He operates.

All the commandments that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to give to your forefathers.

You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.” - Deuteronomy 8:1-3

He is more than just some master giving orders. Everything He does has a divine purpose, and His desire is to get man involved in His great purposes. When I consider that the One who holds the whole universe in His hands is interested in getting me intimately involved with the events in that great universe, it's humbling. It is also beyond humbling to realize that I truly can't live by bread alone because everything I have and everything I am, I owe to Him.

Just because I've been writing about strength in scripture doesn't mean I have it all figured out all the time. If anything, I need these kinds of reminders daily, which is why I decided to write them in the first place. We have a God who brings us through the wilderness and teaches us along the way, and that's something to celebrate.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

31 Days Of Strength In Scripture: Worship

Since I'm spending the month writing about finding strength in scripture, I can't ignore another very important counterpart to scripture in which that strength is often magnified – worship. I've always found worship to be a very personal and humbling experience because it's so unique to each individual, and thus such an incredible expression of His glory in the way that He understands His children so intimately.

For me the old hymns are most effective at awakening my soul and stirring up the truth that's bubbling beneath the surface. When I need a recharge, it's often because I need the connection that comes through worship.

I'm blown away by this performance of How Great Thou Art by Vince Gill and Carrie Underwood every time I see it, and I just happened across it again today. May you also be blessed by it, and by the beautiful lyrics below.
 
 
   How Great Thou Art

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

And when I think of God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!