A week has flown by, so it is time for Scripture Sunday Week Two. I have spent the past week reflecting on the verse from week one. Part of me didn’t want to move onto my second verse because I feel like I need to continuously work on surrendering my thoughts and actions to God. Since I want to experience growth, I knew I needed to continue. I chose a verse to complement Romans 12:2, so that I may continue to reflect on it throughout this week as well.2 Timothy 1:7 says For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
The presence of fear is a sign that I have not fully surrendered my thoughts to God. I need to let go of my apprehensions to make room for God to work in my life. Fear and the Holy Spirit cannot coexist. I have things holding me back in my walk. There is a voice that whispers to me that I am not worthy of love and grace. The voice is wrong. In His crucifixion, Jesus has proven that I am worthy. In order to bridge the gap of sin, He died so I can be close to God. It is a complete disservice for me to continue to live a timid life since I have been called for so much more. Just imagining what I could accomplish empowered by God’s love and with discernment of His will gives me an indescribable hope. I am choosing not to fear, and am placing my trust in God for things to come.
When I moved into my first apartment, my mom gave me a recipe box filled with blank cards. At that point in my life, “winging it” and “semi-homemade” were my mottos in cooking. I asked her to write down her recipe for potato chip cookies in case I wanted to venture into the world of baking from scratch. I have been a vegetarian for almost nine years now and a vegan for over six of those years, so almost all of my baking is now done from scratch. When I heard that my mom was making these cookies for Christmas, I decided to make vegan potato chip cookies. A quick peek at the recipe for a refresher, I realized that it would be easy to make a vegan version as it didn’t require eggs. Continue reading →
The new year offers an opportunity for changes. If you have been here before, you may have noticed a couple changes that have already been made to my site. This is my first week in a new series I am starting, Scripture Sunday. Every Sunday, I will be posting a verse that I have been reflecting on. It is with great courage that I am sharing about my faith because I know with conviction comes conflict. The conflict may be with people that may be deterred from reading, or the conflict may be within myself. No matter what, I’m ready to meet it head on.
My word for 2016 is renewal. My years living in the Bible belt and my encounters with megachurches left me with a bitter taste for religion. I have since begun the process of healing from my experiences, but it took a lot to get to this point. Another problem I have to overcome is in my intellectual approach to church. When I became pregnant with Micah, I was just five courses away from my degree in Christian Studies. I listen to sermons and fight my instinct to predict where the sermon is going. It makes it difficult to truly listen when I am determining what I think God wants me to hear. I am trying to find a balance between academia and spiritual learning, and it is definitely a struggle.
Romans 12:2 says Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
I chose this verse to kick off the new year because it focuses on change and transformation. Paul wrote this in a letter to the Romans as they were establishing the world’s first christian churches. While this letter was intended for spiritual babies, I feel like this verse is applicable to people of every spiritual maturity. Since I wrestle with God over control of my life, I know that I need to change the way I think and act. By relying on the Holy Spirit, I will be able to discern what God’s will is for my life. I hold an untapped potential in my created self. While it scares me to give over complete control, I am also anxious to see where God takes me. I desire that my pursuit for renewal finds me regaining the sense of purpose and vision that I thought my life had when I was in my 20’s. I’m not sure where this year will take me or this blog, but I hope you will come along for the journey.
You have now been alive for 45 days. Somehow that amount of time simultaneously seems like a lifetime and a blink of an eye. My days have begun to blur into endless sessions of diaper changes and feedings. Despite you being my fourth child, I still worry that I am somehow messing up at this whole motherhood thing. You know what would really help ease my fears? A smile. I have been waiting these past forty five days for your first smile. I have caught glimpses of it when you are gassy or when I brush your cheek with my finger, but I have yet to see an intentional smile.
It is funny that people mention how easy it is to forget about the pains of childbirth; that our forgetting is how we can trick ourselves to go through it all again. I find that the experience that I tend to block out is the limbo after birth where I wait for you to first smile at me. The time where we enter into cycles of repetition: eat, sleep, change, eat, burp, change, sleep, eat, etc. throughout the day and night regardless of whether the rest of the world is awake or asleep. The time where coffee and cuddling are what convince me that I have gotten a full night’s sleep. Surely I must be slipping into delusion as I repeat the same steps with such little sleep. Perhaps this is why I question my ability to parent you.
No matter the reason, the truth is that I do question whether or not I am giving you my best. It is especially difficult since you have three older siblings that are also vying for my attention. So if you could please smile at me and let me know that we’re ok, I would really like that. I know that your first smile will come right at the moment that I need it the most, so I will wait for it. Until then, I will take your grip on my shirt as I hold you as a sign that you like being around me.
I am currently sitting with a sleeping two week old sprawled across my lap. I figured that I should probably take this quiet time to share his birth story while I still remember the details accurately.
I woke up on November 17th at 3:39 am after getting only four hours of sleep. The night before I began suspecting that the baby would be arriving soon. At bedtime, I dressed the kids in jeans and t-shirts in case we needed to leave for the hospital in the middle of the night. I was prepared to go to the hospital, but at almost 4:00 in the morning, I didn’t think now was the ideal time. I laid between Maeby and Abram (how I had continued to co-sleep while being nine months pregnant was beyond me) and began timing my contractions. They were around eight minutes apart, each lasting at least a minute. I continued timing them for an hour as a way to pass the time while my family slept. Stephen’s alarm went off. I told him that we were going to be having a baby today and that he probably shouldn’t go into work (he works in the city and his commute can be up to an hour and a half long). He got up to start getting ready for us to go, but I stayed in bed awhile longer. I knew that being upright would make my contractions stronger and I was hoping to make it until 6:00 am before having to alert my parents. I was trying to let everyone around me get as much sleep as possible. I texted my mom at 6:00 to let her know that she might want to head up to our house. I was correct in thinking that being upright would make my contractions stronger. By the time my parents made it to our house, I wasn’t able to time my contractions anymore (they were close together and long, so it was like a never-ending contraction). Stephen drove me in his car, while my parents and the kids followed us in my van. Along the way, my contractions started to fade. I guessed it was because I was sitting and not in a good position to make progress. I was afraid that they wouldn’t believe that I was in labor when we arrived at the hospital. Continue reading →