Tag Archives: God

a year of grace

My sweet baby girl —

It’s been a hard year, hasn’t it?

You experienced so much change and you had to learn so much. In fact, you learned more in this first year of your life than perhaps you will in any other single year moving forward (!). And the change you experienced – it was unimaginable, too. You went from having every single need met so perfectly that you had never even experienced need – to a world in which you experienced every basic need and more – hunger, exhaustion, frustration, anger, fear, sadness – sometimes all in one day or even one hour. I’m so sorry, sweet baby girl of mine, that it’s been so hard.

And yet – you amaze me. Despite all these hard things, you grew and thrived. You learned to roll over, sit, crawl, stand, start to walk. You learned to drink and eat (and boy do you love food!), to smile and laugh and start to talk. I am so proud of you, already, for your persistence, for your feisty spirit, for all the many things you have learned and accomplished in this short year. Today, you are ONE.

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My sweet baby girl, it’s been a hard year for your Mama, too.  Continue reading

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Filed under blogging, children, contentment, depression, family, god & faith, identity, motherhood, parenting, prayer, sensory overload

what’s in a year?

first-birthday-cakeHappy First Birthday to grace in the darkness! A year ago today, you made your way into cyberspace after many months of gestation (months which I spent researching and planning and writing and designing) and, like any birth, that day was filled with many hopes and dreams, much excitement, and certainly some nerves. It’s hard to believe it’s been this long already — and that some of you are still reading my words after 365 days.

Mostly, it’s hard to believe because it’s so easy to wish that I’d done more. Written more posts, taken more beautiful photos, facilitated more guest authors. Also, I’d hoped for more success. I wish I had acquired more followers, seen more readership growth, been offered more book deals (ha!). I’d hoped for more.

However, despite not being more, it’s been a good, full year. A hard year, certainly, but what year isn’t? As I was preparing to write this post, and thinking about the past year, I revisited many posts from the last twelve months (of course). I revisited the dark places and the questions, the favorite quotes, the letters to my son and daughter, the post about learning to love our family of four and the posts exploring Ed Welch’s book about faith and depression that I found so useful. I remembered my struggles with finding community in New York and applauded my efforts at starting to run again. And you know what? It’s not more, and it’s not the best, but it is good.  Continue reading

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Filed under blogging, career, children, community, depression, family, god & faith, identity, motherhood, prayer, Uncategorized, writing

the spring always comes

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So it’s finally spring in New York, and let me tell you, it almost makes up for how awful and long and hard and cold winter was. Almost.

But it is an interesting phenomenon. The temperature rises, the trees start to bloom, and everything feels DSC_0102better. I am happier and feel more capable of doing anything – traipsing about with my kids, making friends, attending events, brainstorming new ideas, reaching out. Life not only seems bearable, but wonderful and filled with possibility. I go on runs and smile at the people I pass and love waking up to the light-filled mornings as the sun creeps up earlier and earlier each day.

And there’s something about making it through the winter that makes the spring so much sweeter. You’ve conquered yet another challenging season, one filled with darkness and snowdrifts and icy roads, freezing temps and even colder wind chills, days of being cooped up inside and mornings of slipping your way to the subway. And now you’re on the other side – stronger and braver for enduring the hardship.

DSC_0113But the thing about the spring – it always comes. We never have endless winter. Even when the cold seems to last forever, even on the shortest, darkest days – the spring always comes. Why is it to hard to trust the truth that we know?  Continue reading

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Filed under children, family, god & faith, motherhood, prayer, trust

a mother’s love

My last post got me thinking about love. (Too bad Valentine’s Day was last month. But this is very me, you know, to be a little behind.) Specifically, it got me thinking about a mother’s love.

Yes, perfect love is all the things the Bible says it is – patient and kind, not self-seeking or easily angered. Perfect love does not envy or boast and is not proud. Perfect love keeps no record of wrongs. Yes, it is all those things. Yes, this is my model for love. (Yes, I fail at this love. Often.)

As I wrote last time, a mother’s love is also a sacrificial love. We make sacrifice upon sacrifice for our children, giving and giving and giving – because we love. But a mother’s love is not only sacrificial. It’s also unearned.  Continue reading

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Filed under depression, family, god & faith, motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

a mother’s choices

Motherhood is filled with hard choices. Lately, I’m constantly deciding which of my children comes first.

Maaaaamaaaaaa! Jacob hollers, banging his hands on the sides of his crib insistently with all the power and energy of a two-year-old.

Wake-up time!!!!!!! he calls, as though there was any chance I could have slept through his yelling. Nouk! Bum! Peatut burr!!!!” His way of demanding his daily breakfast: milk, banana, and peanut butter.

I glance at the clock, bleary-eyed. 6:34. At least it’s later than yesterday. I’m nursing his baby sister in my bedroom, hoping that she’ll get a halfway decent feed. The day before I’d gotten them out of bed together and she was distracted by his antics as he danced around with his milk while I tried to nurse her. I’d chosen to feed them together.

This morning, I’m choosing her. He has to wait.  Continue reading

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learning to breathe

Remember how I wrote about figuring out what’s necessary in life?

Well, I’ll tell you how that’s going in a bit.

These days, I’m teaching my son to breathe. When he gets upset and I can’t talk any sense into him or get him to stop crying  long enough to look me in the eyes or answer a question, I try to breathe with him.

In and out, in and out, in and out.

remember to breatheIt often takes a long time until he can join me. But the minutes that I spend sitting with him, inhaling deeply and slowly and then exhaling fully –

those minutes are good practice for me, too.

Because I’ve been holding my breath for awhile now. Wondering what kinds of feelings each day will bring. Wondering if I’ll make it one, two, three hours before hopelessness starts to replace hopefulness. Wondering if I’ll start to know – and really feel, not just know in my head – that God is real. Wondering if it’s too early in the day to start drinking.

It’s been hard, the past few months.  Continue reading

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Filed under blogging, children, depression, family, god & faith, identity, motherhood, parenting, writing

one step at a time

I’m a runner. Although these days I often feel like an imposter when I say that – so maybe I should instead say, “I was a runner.” Or, “I used to be a runner.” Because, honestly, I don’t run that much anymore. And not only do I not run all that much, but I also unsubscribed to Runner’s World (okay, that happened a few years back), have stopped reading running blogs, and have no idea how many miles I’ve logged in my current pair of running shoes. IMG_3258

Clearly, not a runner.

But I’ve just started to run again after my daughter was born (which you can read about here and here), and I am reminded of the tremendous humility it takes to do something that was once easy. Not only was I a runner, once, but I was a good runner. Not an Olympian, not competitive on an elite team, but good for an average person.

I started running in middle school and haven’t really stopped since. There have been injuries and long, icy winters and months when I was bored or uninspired or too busy – but for the most part, I’ve been running for about two decades. So it’s never been that hard for me to go for a short run, or a quick run, or a short, quick run.

And then I had two kids. In less than two years. And let me tell you, that does a number on your body.

And now it IS that hard to go for a short run, or a quick run. And my short, quick runs are shorter and much less quick than before.  Continue reading

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Filed under body image, god & faith, identity, motherhood, prayer, running

becoming holy and whole

Recently, I finished reading a book by one of my favorite bloggers, Micha Boyett (amazing what spending 8-10 hours a day nursing a newborn can do for that reading list!). Found is filled with so many jewels, so many wise words, so many moments that I identify with, as a still-new-to-motherhood mom and Christian struggling with balance and identity and jealousy and prayer and faith.

Which means that I wanted to share a few nuggets with you. And mostly just encourage you to read her new (and first!) book Found, because it is awesome.

I’ve been struggling with prayer these days. (And also with showering, and bitterness, and figuring out how not to feel constantly overwhelmed. I talk about this a bit in another recent post HERE.) I know I need to pray. I think it would make me feel better. I think it would make me act better, and have more hope.  Continue reading

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Filed under god & faith, motherhood, parenting, prayer, Uncategorized

becoming four

Apparently having a newborn and a 21-month-old is no joke. I mean, not that I thought it was going to be easy, but – surprise – it’s harder than I imagined. And I have quite the imagination.

I’ve started at least a dozen blog posts since Hannah Grace was born (four weeks ago today — probably longer by the time I publish this post), but they have all been in my head. I did actually start one, but typing with only my left hand while holding a sleeping infant in my right didn’t allow me to get very far, and I probably fell asleep, was clobbered by a toddler, had to feed the infant, and/or other things before I could write more than six sentences anyway.

Also, I’m not sure if I managed to save those six sentences.

I debated dictating my posts, but wasn’t sure Siri could handle it. (Additionally, this debate took place in my head, since I rarely talk much to anyone over the age of 21 months.)

We are now a family of four, and in becoming a family of four, a change occurred. I lost our family of three. And, friends, I suck at change. Good change, bad change, inevitable change – all of it.   Continue reading

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Filed under depression, god & faith, motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

practicing hope (part 4 of 4)

I’m not a particularly optimistic person (understatement of the year). Depression hasn’t helped. But I’m trying out this idea of allowing the dark times to teach me about myself and also about God.

I’ve written about how I believe that God uses our depression to teach us about our hearts and how we should use depression as a tool to examine what we worship. I’ve also written about how even though Edward Welch’s book on depression argues that suffering should bring us closer to God – because our world is broken and we are broken, often the opposite is true.

All of these things are helpful. Welch’s perspective on depression is profoundly shaping and changing my own. BUT. What I really want to know is what to do about the depression.  Continue reading

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