“The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” (Tim Keller)

Praise.  God.  I am sinful and flawed, but loved and accepted.  Because of Jesus.

Let me press these simple, profound truths to my heart every day.  Let me press them against the hearts of my husband and children.  In my many roles, let me be a woman of one Message.

Part of the 30 day challenge series

Hard to pick just one, but the one that comes to mind right now is that he’s trustworthy.  If he says he’ll be there, he’ll be there — at least as far as it depends on him.  If says he’ll do it, he’ll do it.  He feels things deeply, too, and he has his off days like anyone else; but he’s a man of principle.  He isn’t generally volatile, capricious, or moody.  He doesn’t run after his every emotion and give license to each of them.  He keeps secrets.  He’s steady.  He’s faithful.

But don’t get me wrong.  He isn’t bland!  His trustworthiness is dynamic, creative, and thoughtful.  It’s affectionate.  It’s warm.  It’s manly.

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Ian, see those rainbow dots?  It’s a meter.  If it goes all the way right and hits red, that means you’re really crying your eyes out.  And appa holding you so tenderly?  He’s done this for you many times the past 10 months of your life, whether he was tired or having the kind of day when it might’ve been nice for him to be in your position. 
;]

Part of the 30 day challenge series

I’m going to make a guess and then ask appa for his answer.

My guess: That I’m of a cheerier temperament.  He told me before that your grandma always told him he needed to marry someone with a brighter personality.  If you look at our home now, the darker furniture, clean modern decor, and black and white photos are mainly your appa‘s influence (he took the black and white photos himself!).  The spots of bright color — yellow flower here, green wreath there, light birch furniture toward the kitchen side — are mainly my influence.  This doesn’t mean he lacks a silly, lithe side (he has enough for the both of us!) or that I’m never emo (this blog is proof); I’m describing us in broad strokes.

(about 20 minutes later)

His answer: Appa just walked in the door, and I asked him, “What is your favorite thing about me?  What do you love about me?” as I was bouncing on the exercise ball (I use it as my chair).  He said, “That you’re bouncy!”  I thought he was giving me a silly answer.  So he explained, “That you’re resilient.”

“Oh.”

Conclusion: I was wrong.

And a random observation: My answer was a paragraph.  His was two short sentences.

Part of the 30 day challenge series

Ian, this isn’t romantic at all.  The short answer to the question is: I knew your dad was “the one” when we said I do on our wedding day.

I didn’t feel free to say he was “the one” — mine — until then.  I hoped it, I wished it, but I didn’t know with any certainty until then.

Your appa and I both tiptoed into love.  He’s naturally cautious and deliberate in his decisions.  I’m usually more headlong, but I was still reeling from family pain and didn’t want to open my heart to be hurt anymore.  I didn’t want to risk loss anymore.  I really wrestled with the idea of gospel vulnerability during those months.  What am I afraid of?  I belong to Christ.  My security is in Him.  The worst assessment anyone can make of me, my sin, and my baggage has been made on the cross.  All I have is Christ.  What do I fear?

But appa hung in there with me.  We had no cloud nines to float on, only rock solid gospel to walk on.  And it was enough.  It still is. :]

Part of the 30 day challenge series

My dream job?  Easy.  Working for these two guys:

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Ian, loving and caring for you and appa is my dream come true job.  Really.

Before I met appa, I remember praying about a husband and not even knowing what to pray for anymore.  In college, I thought I knew.  After college, I thought I knew.  And then the years passed by.  And I didn’t know anymore!  What kind of guy could I love and follow for the rest of my life?  What kind of guy could love me and bear with my quirks and particular sins and baggage?  I didn’t know!  Maybe no one.  So I started asking God to provide as He knew best.

When I met your appa, as time went on, I slowly started to think, “This kind of guy.  Wow — God, You knew what I needed and wanted even better than I did.”  Marriage isn’t perpetual sunshine — we are so wretched in and of ourselves — but a marriage whose bedrock is the gospel?  The sun will never fail to rise, even after the darkest night.  I know this in principle and we’ve been tested on this point as much as man and wife can be in two years’ time, but I know and pray it will continue to be true of us.  This is my job and my joy.  ‘Til death do us part.

And as for you.  Let me give you a snapshot.  We went to Peet’s today.  I ordered a chai, and you got a coffee lid from the condiments area.  We sat on the bench outside.  You people-watched, smiled at the grandpas who doted on you, talked to your coffee lid, climbed all over me, chewed on the lid and then offered it to me by shoving it in my mouth, squealed at the sky, and gave me high-fives.  Is it always this sweet and easy?  No way.  But I wouldn’t trade even the hardest moments for the ease of any other job.  I know the hard moments will only get harder.  I know my heart will break at times, explode at others (sorry in advance, kiddo).  But God made me your umma.  No one else.  And I embrace it with all my heart.

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Love love love.

Part of the 30 day challenge series

That last post was kind of heavy.  I planned to write about spiders and such things, but something happened between my brain and my fingertips.  Thankfully, today’s prompt is a happier one!

I think I can sum up my relationship with your appa in this story:

We ate dinner at Sweet Tomatoes one evening in 2011.  A transcript of our conversation would have read like playful children dined together, as well as two very serious adults.  At one point, we talked about how the muffin top was the best part of the muffin.

Later, your appa picked up a blueberry muffin for us to share.  I thought he would use his knife to cut the muffin in half, but with one swift motion he popped off the entire muffin top and handed it to me.

I didn’t know what to do, so I took it, a little stunned.  Thoughts like, Oh, shouldn’t we share this?  Do you want half of this?  Didn’t you just say this was your favorite part, too? came to mind.  But I just watched as he quietly and happily ate the bottom part of the muffin.

What is our relationship like?

Your dad giving me the muffin top.  Me, melting.

1 month.

June 14, 2013

One month ago, around this time (8:20something pm), little Ian was born.  That first day together was a daze, and he was honestly a bit of a stranger to me.

One month later, today, he finally “feels” like my son.  Of course that feeling doesn’t affect the truth that he’s my son at all, but I think my emotions and affections have started to catch up with this reality.  I love him, and I understand my friend better when she told me a couple years ago that she wouldn’t just die for her son, she’d kill for him, too.  Not in a murderous way but that Mama Bear protection over her son.

I’m starting to understand that heart.

Yet I’m also realizing that doing what’s best for him sometimes comes at a cost.  I’m sure that cost will grow as he gets older, but for now, it’s in the little things, like hearing him cry.  I can do what’s in his best interest and still hear him cry like his little heart is breaking.  It’s heart wrenching.  And I can imagine it will be harder later, watching him struggle through something and to either have no power as his mom to ease his struggle … or to fight to see the big picture and refrain from rescuing him every single time rather than watch small struggles strengthen him.  There’s a wisdom to all of this that I have yet to receive, too.  Praying.  Harder.

And I have to admit I was frustrated many times this past month, because I wanted motherhood to be an extracurricular activity.  Something I could dabble in but still have my freedom and avoid major change.  But the change has been pretty major — without, yes, but most of all within.  I’m learning to embrace motherhood a little more and to cherish it.  I do cherish it more each day, but this didn’t come naturally.  As he grows more dear though, and as God is working in my heart, the sacrifices seem less like sacrifices and are slowly transforming more into labors of love.

With my marriage, motherhood has introduced a slew of new fears, too.  I’ve watched couples go through difficulties in their marriage due to the stresses of parenthood, and I feared the same for my marriage.  But the Lord is our confidence.  The gospel doesn’t change in this season of life either.  His grace is sufficient here, too.  Lots of truths to apply and reapply and reapply.  It has been bittersweet.  Bitter to see the many fears, sweet to remember Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  I’m so thankful for this unchanging Rock.

And it’s true — children are truly a blessing from God.