This week it hit me. A lot has happened in 2013 and I needed time to quiet my soul and wrap my head around this last year. I needed time to share with you all how gracious God has really been to our family this year.
The last couple weeks have been building up to this, particularly the last few days as I studied for our Community Group lesson on Colossians 4 on Tuesday night. And can I be honest? I have not near as much faith for myself as God has for me.
(Colossians 4: 2-6 (NIV) – 2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.)
After all this year has come to, I am certain of a few things:
1) God cares about the little things
Up until now, we’ve been a family of three living in a one bedroom apartment that’s ~600 square feet. You do the math – it’s small. But it’s our small if you catch my drift. It’s become our home. It’s literally the birthplace of our daughter, and I can’t help but think about her birthday fondly as I walk through it and reminisce. I will definitely cry when we hand over our keys, even though we always wanted a bigger place to grow our family.
God has given us an opportunity to more than double our living space since my brother-in-law, Tom is moving to Boston and we are going to live together. Here are some of the ‘little’ things this move will change –
A) Laundry we can now do IN our apartment. Laundry that I can now do since I don’t have to carry it up and down stairs (because it kills my hip to lift at this point).
B) Marin gets a room. She was in a co-sleeper in our bed, then a crib beside it, and is now in a closet for sleep. She will now have her own space which means we (Mike and I) will too and that we won’t have to tiptoe around our room during naps or nighttime.
C) My pantry space will exist. I have one metal shelving unit now that’s tall, but not wide. I have no other place to put our non-refrigerated groceries, but on top of the fridge. Can someone say “Hallelujah!”? I think Martha Stewart would.
D) My ‘play-room-living-room-office-dining-room’ will get to be their own unique spaces. Sort of. Our living room will have enough space to have more than a few people over at a time – and we love that! Our office will not be overflowing with craft supplies. Our table will be in the kitchen (or Tom’s) so that I can look at Marin as I prepare lunch and don’t have to run back and forth when she’s freaking out all my food attempts at mealtime. Our kid’s toys don’t have to be stuffed under the TV stand.
E) This deserved it’s own category: MY CHILD DOESN’T HAVE TO TOUCH THE BOOKSHELF OR COUCH BECAUSE SHE CAN WHILE SHE EATS since they’re all within in her grabbing proximity. I get a fighting chance to clean her hands before she touches them.
F) Our closet can be in our closet and not at the end of the hallway.
G) We will have basement storage. Do you have any idea how impractical it is to de-clutter your home when your child outgrows clothing at the rate that Marin does? She’s between 2-3 T, just FYI.
H) Sunlight. There will be sun because we are on a corner lot.
I) The entire apartment has just been renovated. The Floridian translation for that is “I have any house in Florida” because they are all recently renovated and none of them are old.
J) It’s DELEADED. I don’t have to worry about Marin eating paint chips or the results of her annual bloodwork. Not that I worry – she eats a lot of stuff that hasn’t affected her poorly yet. 🙂 See “I” for another understanding of the Florida meaning.
K) Company can stay in our apartment much more comfortably. No excuses now, people!
L) While there are still stairs, I will get to keep my stroller at the bottom of them, and not fight through 3 doors just to get out of the building.
Oh, and it gets better…
M) Not that that matters because my in-laws are giving us a CAR! Yes, a car! A car, a car, a car! I’m sorry, do you not rely on public transit? If you did, or have, you may understand the level of gratitude I have for their generosity. I CAN DRIVE HOME FROM CHURCH AND NOT WORRY ABOUT RIDES OR MARIN FALLING ASLEEP. I can go to Target WHEN I WANT. I can fully avoid Chinatown during the first trimester of my next pregnancy. I can help heal my hip because I don’t have to walk everywhere. Seriously, so fantastic.
N) Mike is starting a new position on January 6th! I’ll let him share details when he wants, but this again, is wonderful for him career-wise! He’s very excited to gain mentorship and go big at his new company, MorrisSwitzer.
I’m sure I have a full alphabet I could share, but I’ll leave you with up until N for now. 🙂
2) God asks for FULL faith
This is perhaps the biggest lesson I’m learning, and it really happened this last month. A lot of this post has actually – nothing like going out with a bang, huh?! I have never been more convicted about having the faith for ____ at 100% than ever before. I have realized my own cowardice in believing for things at about 90% or not at all to avoid any emotional reaction on my part. I probably defaulted to ‘good’ logic like “I don’t want to get bitter at God’ (not outwardly) or “I just need to accept what God’s doing” which in theory is good. It’s just not what I feel like God is asking me to do. He’s asking me to take a little, and maybe, a lot more risk in putting my heart out there to trust Him with it. So simple, and so hard, all at the same time. It hit me when my hip relapsed this last month. I had truly accepted that my body would go back to a 90-95% healing level when I went back down to about 70% from going too hard during a workout. And honestly, it might stay there, but I’m fighting the limited faith I have with more Jesus and more faith for 100% healing. I’m going to see a physiatrist (pain-specializing orthopedist) on Friday and am truly hoping with all my heart that this woman can help me get there. To be a complete open book, I’d been wanting to get pregnant since early last summer and trying since September. I thought, ok, my hips not going to get better, I want another baby, and I am going to have to accept this baby on those terms. Then I didn’t get pregnant in September, October, or November. This month I’m not trying. I genuinely have a peace that this relapse served as a reminder that I really do want 100% healing before a future pregnancy, and I’m going to fight a little harder for it. Hopefully that’s not TMI, it’s just another aspect of why this hip issue has been so heavy on me physically and emotionally. I feel called to motherhood, I’ve gotten things spoken over my life to have many children, I feel a deep love for children I haven’t yet had, and I know I’m not the only woman looking at her circumstances and asking God, ‘what are you doing?!?’. I just thought once I got a husband, made one baby when I wanted to, and I was healthy, that I didn’t need God for my pregnancies. Wrong.
I’m trying to transition my “why God’s?” to “what are you doing, God?”, and I wish I could say it’s easy. It’s just my only option right now.
3) God is mindful of us
I think about this A LOT. How God puts people in our lives at different crossroads, life stages, etc. and makes a perfect, beautiful community for His glory and our benefit. I cannot say enough good things about living in a place I never expected to live. God has perhaps blown my mind in this proportion more than any other because there’s no logical reason other than He’s mindful of us. He’s mindful of our need for community and family. He’s mindful of our littlest wants and biggest needs. He’s mindful of the negative pregnancy test. He’s mindful of our hope for a new job or a bigger place. He deeply cares, and it brings me to tears when I think about the overwhelming love of God and his perfect intentions for us and our lives. I think that’s how I come back to this place – God has a purpose for my life and it’s bigger than me, my wants, and my freaking Pinterest board! Woah!
(My best friend is pregnant due in January! Soooo excited for another girl to enter our ‘family’!)
So ya, 2013, you’ve been so different from what I expected. You’ve also been insane. You’ve been more than I thought, and better than I could’ve planned. You’ve been painful and upsetting. You’ve been new friend-filled with roadtrips and flights. You’ve been hectic. You’ve been tear-satured. You’ve had more ice cream than I’d care to confess, but not as much prayer or Mexican food as I’d like.
I’m working on it though. I’ve got 2014 up next and she’s about to blow yo mind.