thoughts on the parting sea

walking through the valley

When you’re in the valley, it feels deep and dark and empty and lonely. But I know I’m not the only person to experience hardship. Really, I’m far from it. But in the darkness, it’s easy to believe those lies.

A dear friend reminded me the other day that the Israelites didn’t know God was going to part the Red Sea. Surely they thought they were marching to their suicide… but he did the unthinkable. They followed Moses, despite what they thought blocked their path. They pressed on and God’s plan was truly beyond anything man could imagine.

Adeline used to absolutely hate being in the car. Shortly after we’d start driving, the crying would start and she did not sleep. The crying would just go on and on. Desperate one day, I sang to her and she not only calmed down but fell asleep. You can bet that song became her new lullaby.

So now, multiple times a day and every night, I sing it to her.

Grander earth has quaked before, moved by the sound of his voice. Seas that are shaken and stirred can be calmed and broken for my regard.

Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on you. Through it all, through it all, it is well. Through it all, Through it all, my eyes are on you. And it is well with me.

Far be it from me to not believe, even when my eyes can’t see. And this mountain that’s in front of me will be thrown into the midst of the sea.

So let go, my soul, and trust in him. The waves and wind still know his name.

It is well with my soul. It is well with my soul. It is well with my soul. It is well, it is well with my soul.

God uses this song multiple times a day to remind me he is with me. This mountain that’s in front of me? It will be thrown into the midst of the sea. This valley that I’m walking through? Well, grander earth has quaked before, moved just by the sound of his voice. This valley doesn’t stand a chance of separating me from God. Even in my darkest days, even in the hardest moments, he is with me. And he’s telling me to keep my eyes on him. Trust in him. And it truly is well with my soul.

I’m grateful that on that day in the car when I thought I couldn’t handle more crying, God gave me the gift of remembering this song… this song that would become my anthem in this season. He knew what I would need long before I did.

Motherhood is a lesson in stewardship 


How long can you blame postpartum hormones? Or is motherhood always this emotional?

My baby had her six month shots today. She was such a trooper that she kept trying to smile at the nurses in between her sobs because they were trying to cheer her up. This sweet little girl.

I accidentally left my house key inside when we left for her appointment this morning, so we got locked out and, of course, Jacob was out of town. As was my landlord. 

So Adeline and I spent the rest of the morning window shopping and she was so happy! She babbled and made all sorts of happy sounds in her stroller. It was overwhelmingly precious and I looked back to the days when she hated her stroller/car seat and I felt like we would never be able to leave the house and smiled. We have overcome.

Now I’m sitting in bed and she’s asleep in my arms. I’m breathing in her deep, sleepy breaths and I can’t believe that time is ticking by. I kiss her soft little cheeks (they are SO SOFT – when does that change?!) and wonder how I’m supposed to let her become an adult? Kissing her cheeks won’t feel the same. She probably won’t even let me kiss her cheeks? At least not often. And definitely not with her cradled in my arms.

Motherhood is so emotional. Every day is like holding onto your most precious, prized possession, but realizing that when morning comes she will already have changed. And she will keep changing every day after that. These sweet moments that I want to grab and never let go of are literally fleeting – here now and gone the next minute as she grows and discovers and changes. 

What a lesson in living with open hands, am I right? What God has given me doesn’t belong to me. It’s not my possession. She’s not my possession. She’s His and I’m a steward of her, for a time. 

This is the hardest lesson in stewardship I’ve experienced in my life so far. I don’t want a single second of it to pass by with my eyes glazed over. I don’t want to miss a thing. I want to be bright eyed and present and grateful because time is already moving at warp speed. 

The Smallest Working Mom Mental Victory

Working Mom Victories

I’ve written this post a thousand times in my head. I think, I want to stay present here and I want to remember this forever. But then I get distracted by the dishes, Adeline needing another rocking to go to sleep, work tasks I’ve yet to do for the day, the ice cream in the freezer.. the list goes on and the post fades away in my head.

But tonight I’m choosing to write.

Wednesday nights are some of my favorites because it’s the end of Adeline needing babysitters for the week. Tuesdays are my longest days in the office – they usually end up being 9 or 10 hour days after office hours and worship team practice that night. Wednesdays are my second office day and the only day we usually get an actual sitter for Adeline. Those mornings are the hardest because the last thing I want to do is drop her off and drive away after I spent all of Tuesday away from her.

But Wednesday nights are the sweetest. I don’t have to fight the temptation to stress and wish the moments would hurry if she doesn’t go to sleep right away because the next day holds nothing pressing. I can soak up the snuggles, the way her head fits into my neck and her sweet little fingers that sometimes stick out from the swaddle sack and hold my fingers. I can breathe in the fresh scent of clean baby and it’s the easiest night for me to stay present. The anxiety of a Sunday morning feels far away and most of my work tasks for the week are already finished. All that usually remains is more practice hours, and on Wednesdays they feel totally doable during my remaining days.

It’s these moments in the fading evening light of our bedroom that I feel overcome with gratefulness. I can’t believe God gave us this sweet little gift that I didn’t know I always wanted. I can’t believe I get to be her mom and I get to struggle with the tensions of work and motherhood and homekeeping and following Christ diligently and loving my husband well. Sometimes those burdens feel heavy and completely unattainable, but I’m trying to live in those tensions and press in to what I know is true. In this season, God has called me to all of those things. And he’s already given me the grace to walk through it with him.

So all at the same time I’m practicing gratefulness for my job that stretches me and requires much of me, while also soaking up these moments with her that are speeding by too quickly. I’m tempted to think I can only do one or the other when things get hard, but thank you, Lord, for the reminder tonight while I rocked Adeline to sleep that with him I can do both. Be present. Be present. Be thankful. Give yourself grace.

You can check out more photos of Adeline’s nursery here.

The power of Words

Your words have power

I had my first emotional breakdown since Adeline was born this past week… and it wasn’t pretty. Starting work again has thrown all the routines and knowledge about motherhood that I thought I had right out the second story window. (see this post for proof.)

I took Adeline to the office with me on Wednesday and we ended the morning super fussy and flustered. She was hungry on the way home, so she was crying… which then got me crying because I knew she was hungry and I also felt like I’ll never get a handle on this working mom thing.

I felt like I wasn’t giving anything 100%. I wasn’t giving Adeline 100% or work 100%, which translates also to feeling like a failure at everything. So when I got both of us, the car seat and my three bags in the door (we’re still crying), we nursed and I just straight up cried ugly tears. I let them roll, apologizing to Adeline for making her feel insecure about getting food and telling God that I just can’t do it all. I can’t cook, clean, care for and mother my daughter, work and still have a drop of myself to give to my husband every day. I just can’t.

But it feels like I should.

It feels like I should be able to do all of these things to the same extent that I did them before Adeline, but I’m pretty sure I’m putting that “should” on myself. I worry my coworkers are bothered by Adeline’s needs while she’s there, I worry they won’t think I’m adequately present, I worry she doesn’t feel like her needs are met like they are when we’re at home (she 9 weeks old, I really don’t think she’s making these comparisons…), I worry my bathroom will never be cleaned again, I worry I won’t sufficiently get myself playing guitar well enough to lead again, blah blah blah.

There are so many worries in that paragraph!

All that to say, after I cried it out, I remembered I had an unopened envelope of encouragement cards from my baby shower. The sweet hosts asked the guests to write me notes of encouragement, and then they sealed them up for a future day when I’d need those words.

Yesterday was that day, and boy did I get my crying in for the month! This time, though, they were happy tears. Tears full of remembering the truth that God is in this with me, tears of feeling loved and built up from women speaking truth into my insecurities, tears of reading about the gifts God has given me called out on paper and witnessed in real life from these ladies.

Words have such power.

Use your words to encourage those around you... you never know how deeply those words can hurt or build up!

Thank you for using them to encourage me when I needed it most.

I encourage you today to think about someone in your life you can encourage. Send them a quick text or give them a call and speak some life into them. Call out and affirm their gifts that you’ve witnessed, thank them for ways they’ve loved you or shown up when you needed them, etc. You have no idea the weight and power those words hold. Let’s be a community who look to uplift and encourage each other!

Your words hold power. Let's be a community who is quick to build up the people around us. Click To Tweet

Returning to work + Fighting to believe the truth about it

Encouragement for returning to work after maternity leave

Today marks the end of my maternity leave… Or, rather, the start of my return to work. I’m a ball of mixed emotions as I drive to the office today.

A huge part of me mourns the hours of my week that will no longer be devoted solely to meeting the physical and emotional needs of my daughter. I’ve spent the past 8 weeks learning how to care for her, anticipating what her needs may be and constantly shifting my priorities from my needs to hers. Very little during that time required me to shift my thoughts from her to something else. Those eight weeks passed in what now feels like the blink of an eye, although I know some of those nights felt like an eternity in themselves.

Related Post: Adeline’s birth story

But a small part of me fights to speak truth into my sad heart this morning. That small part reminds me that I’m acting out of obedience to God by returning to this job. I know this responsibility is a calling he has placed on my life – a calling he has given me in addition to motherhood and being a wife that I want to walk in because above all else, first I am his daughter.

My job is completely a gift from God; it’s one of the several loud, tangible examples I’ve seen of his grace in my life over the past two years. In fact, about this time last year I realized this job was the dream job I didn’t know my heart desired!

But I now know motherhood is another job I didn’t realize my heart desired… I had no idea how much I’d want this and never want to turn back.

So as I drive to work today, I’m reminding myself of these truths, because despite the changes this new season of working and motherhood will bring, I know I’m walking in God’s desires for me and my family.

When I go to work, I get to spend part of my week exploring how we can help people encounter God each week through the arts. I get to brainstorm and bring to fruition these ideas with people who are passionate about making the gospel known to our community.

When I go to work, I’m surrounded by people who inspire me to grow and be better. They inspire me to renounce selfishness and remind me this life is about more than just myself and my wants.

When I go to work, I get to lead my community in meeting God through song. What a joy and what a responsibility! I don’t take Sunday mornings lightly. What a privilege to gather freely as a community to preach truth to ourselves, to each other and to unbelievers who visit with us through the words we sing in those songs. I am incredibly grateful that God has entrusted me with the responsibility to lead part of his people in this act of obedient worship each week.

When I go to work, I get to use my gifts as a musician and grow in them! I get to collaborate with other musicians and be inspired by their discipline and talent. I’m driven to further develop my gifts and that brings me incredible joy.

When I go to work, I get to help provide for my family. I’m not leaving Adeline for my own selfish gain (not that “me time” isn’t a healthy thing for moms to have each week!) – I’m leaving her so that I can help keep a roof over her head, clothes on her body and food on the table! I am glad I get to help demonstrate for her the discipline and value of work.

When I go to work, I am walking faithfully in one of the many callings of my life. I’m renouncing Satan’s whispers that I’m neglecting my daughter or that I’m not qualified or that I’m not creative or talented enough for this job. And boy does he try to lure me away with those lies! Motherhood is another string for him to twist in my heart. No – when I go to work, I am honoring my commitment as a follower of Christ, as a wife to Jacob, as a mother to Adeline and as a woman who values growth, hard work and chasing a dream and life she loves.

So when I need to remember why I’m going to work, I’m going to re-read this post and ask God to use me, to make those hours count for his Kingdom and to help me remember the freedom I have to do so joyfully.

Ladies, no matter what your season of life looks like – whether you stay at home or go to work or do a mixture of both, live this season faithfully! If you are struggling with where you’re at, I encourage to to sit with the Lord and ask him to show you why you’re there. And then write it down! When Satan tempts you to sink into the lies that where you are isn’t enough, read that list to remember God’s truth. And then walk in it confidently! All of the seasons of our lives and motherhood look different, so don’t worry yourselves by comparing yours to the people around you… You matter right where you’re at, right now. As I press “publish” today and drive into work, I’m praying for each one of you reading this, that you’ll believe the truths God has for you in this season instead of Satan’s temptings to despair.

Mama, you matter right where you're at, right now. Whether that's at work or at home. Click To Tweet

Thanks for your encouragement as a new mom these last 8 weeks! I hope we can continue sharing so much more encouragement with each other!

What’s an area of your life that you are struggling to believe is purposeful or valuable?  Claim that truth today and ask God to help you believe it!

A slice of my heart in this newborn world of ours

 
Being a mom has rocked my world – little Adeline has stolen our hearts and has us eating out of her teeny tiny little hands. (You can read her birth story here!) Our lives have changed so drastically in the last three weeks, but I can’t imagine it any other way. 

Most days and nights consist largely of the same thing – feedings, sleeping in intervals and changing what feels like a million diapers – but I’ve loved every minute. 

I can’t get enough of the newborn cuddles and giggling with Jacob at all her facial expressions and noises. Watching him be a dad has transformed my world in a way I didn’t know was possible. What they say is totally true – you feel love in an entirely new and different way once you’ve had a child, and watching my husband with her is like falling in love with him over and over again. 

But truthfully, motherhood has also been incredibly hard. 

Since we are breastfeeding, I am the sole provider of food for Adeline, which means I’m at her beckon call to eat at all hours of the day and night. I’ve adjusted fairly well to the lack of sleep/increments of sleep, but I have my moments y’all. 

It’s easy to sink into bitterness in the wee hours of the morning because I have to be up whenever she needs me and Jacob does not. And, believe me, he helps so much! He gets up to change her, rock her, hold her when she just won’t sleep, etc… But the truth is, he can’t feed her (yet – I need to work on pumping so he can!). 

So in those moments I want to resent him because he can sleep or watch TV in peace, I have to choose to remember these moments are fleeting. The way she wraps her little hand around my finger and looks at me while she eats is absolutely heart-melting. I love every second of it, and these days are already numbered. 

I’m learning that parenthood is a long journey of sacrificing myself over and over again, much like marriage – but kind of harder in this sleep deprived stage at least 😉 – and I’m trying to learn to sacrifice joyfully. 

Jacob, I love you and I appreciate you so much. Thank you for dealing so patiently with my grouchy self at all hours of the day, but especially in the middle of the night. Thank you for holding her at 3am so I can sleep in peace and waking up with me all throughout the night. Thank you for the endless treks to get me water, more diapers and fresh clothes at 4am. You are an awesome dad and a sweet husband. 

Adeline, I love you, too, sweet girl. And I’m so grateful for all the cuddly moments we get together and I hope you’ll let that continue for a long time. I love being your mama and am incredibly grateful that God gifted you to us in this life. I plan on soaking up every waking moment with you and cheering you on as you discover who you are. You are beautiful, baby girl.