A Wife Loved Like The Church

Today has been a hard day. I’ve felt anxious and overwhelmed. There isn’t any specific reason for it, just a tugging at my heart of heavier things.

I want to curl up and sleep, block out the low feelings for a little while until my cheery self returns.

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14

I read those verses today. Delivered from the domain of darkness. Transferred to His kingdom. Redeemed. Forgiven.

There is such comfort there. Comfort that this darkness can’t hold me. I am redeemed from it.

I may still feel like curling up, resting from the world a bit. But in that feeling, I can cling to the hope that this world is not my world, this darkness does not have dominion over me. I am redeemed. I am forgiven. I am His.

I’m starting to think that perhaps the most divisive issues among Christians aren’t theological issues but holidays. Celebrate Halloween? “Shameful! Pharisee!” Tell your children about Santa or that dreaded Elf? “You should tie a stone about your neck! Jesus is the reason for the season!”

Listen, I’m not knocking celebrating Christ’s birth. If Jesus wasn’t born all hope would be lost. We would be in utter darkness. In him was life, and the life was the light of men (John 1:4). Without the pivotal moment of Christ’s birth, everything would be for nothing.

Here’s what I am saying – lighten up. Celebrating Christmas isn’t a command. Nowhere does God tell us to celebrate Jesus’s birth with a holiday. Nowhere does God say that Jesus is the reason for the season. Actually, if we want to become pedantic, Jesus is the reason for ALL seasons. Perhaps {and this is a super radical thought} rather than harping about celebrating Jesus at Christmas, we could, I don’t know, celebrate Him all the time? Whoa. Mind-blown.

Honestly, our family doesn’t do Santa. Or that elf {which I harbor really negative feelings toward. But that’s a whole other post. Ha!}. While we decorate, things are kept low key. Our kids get just a few presents. We use December as one more chance to talk a lot about Advent. But, we also blare secular Christmas songs, watch Elf and Charlie Brown’s Christmas, bake dozens of cookies and bask in the beauty that is this time of year.

Ultimately, Christmas is just one more chance to talk about Jesus. It shouldn’t be seen as the only time we celebrate Christ’s birth. It’s just one more chance to celebrate it. Putting Christ in Christmas is ridiculous, because Christ is already in Christmas. Just like He is in Memorial Day or Grandparents Day. He’s there because He is always there, in everything. Because in Him and through Him all things have been made. We don’t need Christmas time to celebrate Jesus. We celebrate Jesus all the time because He is worthy of our praise.

This Christmas let’s make a truce. Let’s not shoot arrows at one another for our personal Christmas celebrations. Let’s not grumble when a parent lavishes their children with gifts {“spoiled brats!”} or roll our eyes when someone doesn’t “do Santa” {“ohh… so high and mighty! Pish.”}. Instead, let’s realize that Christmas is one more chance to talk about Jesus, not the only chance to talk about Him.

Julia turns 6 today. Excuse me as I curl into the fetal position and cry. Because 6? 6 is a big age. Already, she seems too old and I miss those days of when she was small. I can’t even imagine what an emotional mess I’ll become over next 12 years.

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Dear Julia {Julia Mabel, Jules, Mabel, Mama},

Oh baby love. I’m not even certain I can write this post without shedding a few tears. You are incredible. Your loving heart, your compassion, your ridiculous sense of humor. I can’t begin to tell you what a treasure you are in my life. You are an old soul, who cares so deeply for those around you. Because of you, the Lord has taught me so much about how to love those around me more than myself. Thank you for always being you. For always surprising me with your strength that is wrapped in tenderness.

As you just begin your life {with starting school, making friends, starting “big girl” activities} I pray that you stay tender but strong. That you remember that God comes first, that your family is always for you, and that if you work hard enough you will succeed. This past year has seen you coming to terms with who you are in light of Christ. I’m excited to see how you grow in your understanding of God and biblical truth. I pray that you bury it deep within your heart and never stray from Him.

You are my delight and joy. Thank you for giving the chance to be a mama.

I love you,

Mama

Joseph turns two today. Two years old. I’ve written before that having my girls turn two is so much harder than when they turned one. One happens. Two is a milestone. Joseph is no exception. My mama heart aches.

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Dear Joseph {Joe Joe, Judea, Papa},

Oh sweet boy. There are not enough words in the world to describe how much I love you. You are a delight and a joy to our family. Even as you hit the infamous “terrible twos” and learn to bug your sisters {as only a little brother can}, we wouldn’t want anyone but you. You have a sense of humor and desire to make others laugh {clearly a trait you got from your dad}. Then your sweet snuggles that you seem to save just for me {and I hope you never shy away from}. And the way that you fiercely defend your sisters when you think they are hurt/in trouble/need help. You protect them with all your might, which you firmly believe is much bigger than it really is. But I love it. I love that you have a heart for your family and go to such great lengths at your young age to show your love.

As you get older and the ways of this world tug on you, my prayer for your life is that you strive after God even harder than before. That, just as you defend your sisters, you defend your heart. That you fight off the lies this world want to tell you, and instead cling to truth. I pray that you learn what it means to serve and love God wholeheartedly and that you live your life always wanting to reflect your Creator. And I pray that daddy and I have the wisdom on how to guide you on that path.

Joe Joe, I love you. You are my sweet, sweet boy. While you may only be two, I know the years are fleeting and far too soon you’ll be grown. It will be bittersweet, so for now I’m going to soak up all of it I can. And I’ll try not to get upset when you pull down your pants and pee all over the kitchen floor. Again.

Love you, love you, love you,

Mama

Have you seen that new video of Louis C.K. and his rant on cell phones?  If you haven’t, I highly recommend it. In a nut shell, he aptly tells us to put away our cell phones and just be in the moment. Whether the moment is happy or incredibly sad, let those emotions wash over you. Allow that Jesus sized hole in your heart to radiate through your body. And he’s right. We really do need to stop filling our emotional needs with social media and the internet.

But can I tell you something?

Having a cell phone keeps me sane as a mother.

Like all mothers, I’ve used my phone as a “pacifier” at some point in the past 3 years. But frankly, our family views iPhone/iPad/tv watching as a right to be earned, so our kids don’t use it all that often. The chances of you seeing one of the Windham bambinos watching Daniel Tiger on my phone while we grocery shop is pretty much none {but I understand why mamas do it, so no judgement on my part}.

My cell phone keeps me sane because it connects me to my girlfriends. At the touch of a button, I can connect with a friend, send an SOS text, or just laugh at something hilarious a kid just said. Yesterday I sent out this text ::

TextMessage

My situation didn’t change after I sent out that message. In fact, because of a flat tire, Jonathan got home an hour later than expected. But, knowing I have women standing beside me, telling me that they understand and are right there with me, helps. A whole, whole lot.

And yesterday is just one example. Every day my cell phone keeps me connected to my mama friends who find ourselves on the brink of going completely cray-cray, letting each other know we aren’t alone. And it keeps me fighting. Keeps me grounded. Keeps me sane.

While Louis C.K. makes a valid opinion {and one I do strongly agree with}, I can guarantee you I won’t be giving up my phone any time soon.

 

I love the rain. Even when it’s inconvenient, there is something soothing about rain. It washes away the dirt, bringing life to the earth.

Austin Rain{photo credit}

It’s been raining here in Austin for the past two days. And it’s lovely. We need the rain so badly that there is something even more soothing about the downpour.

While my kids are going slightly cray-cray and might be watching too much t.v. {hey, there are only so many indoor games you can play}, I’m loving today. Sitting back, sipping tea, while listening to Nat King Cole and watching the rain. I’d call that a recipe for a nice, calming Friday.

Enjoy your weekend!

 

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I come from a really big family. I’ve got four brothers and one sister. My mom is the oldest of five children. Each of my aunts/uncles have several children. Which means I have something like 1 bijillion* cousins {and like 14 bijillion second/third/fourth cousins}.  *Bijillion is the official number used when counting large families. 

And being from a big family has always left a soft spot in my heart for movies about big families. Perhaps one of my favorite is The Family Stone. I love stories of families that are big and loud, fairly dysfunctional, but loving and fiercely close.

Sadly, my family isn’t very close. We’ve all gone our own ways, and haven’t done the best job of keeping in touch. While I’ve seen changes since moving back to Texas, it’s still not Hollywood awesome.

But then my two younger brothers moved in with us last year.

Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 9.39.58 AMAnd it’s been amazing.

In fact, it’s better than Hollywood awesome.

We are doing life together. Fighting and laughing. Arguing and agreeing. And forming a bond that is deeper than I could have ever expected.

I see my brothers in a whole new way. When I moved away from home, they were 7 & 9 years old. Little kids, who I loved because they were my brothers but didn’t really know. Now they are 20 & 22, and I love them because I really know them. They are ridiculous and funny. They can be so, so lazy {I mean, who would ever sleep until 11 am?!? Oh wait, I would…}. Yet, they support me and rally behind me like only brothers can do.

While it’s crazy in our American culture to have so.many.people living together, I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s cramped at times, wildly messy all the time, and occasionally smells like a frat house. {And don’t even get me started on the ping pong table in our garage.} But this life, this life with family, is beautiful.  Our lives will never look like a movie, but it is so much better than any Hollywood rendition of family.

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