Monday, June 27, 2011

The Love of a Mother

It was not as dark as it should have been, considering that it was somewhere around three 'o clock in the morning (give or take a few hours...). The light in my parent's bathroom was on. My entire body ached, and longed for sleep...

Wait... why was the light in the bathroom on? And why was I in the same room as my parent's bathroom? And why was I awake at three in the morning? And why did my entire body ache?

Perhaps the date will clear things up a bit: It was the night of June fifteenth, 2011.

On that day, my sister Esther entered this world.

All throughout the night, I had been continually awakened from brief snatches of sleep--by one of two noises. Either it was the soft, tired voice of my mother, or it was the cute but insistent cry of my brand new little sister.

I had to fight, sometimes, to drag myself up off the nice warm bed to go get mama a drink, or to rearrange pillows, or any number of other tasks-- both for mama and for new little Esther. (My sleepy brain attempted to protest that the baby didn't really need a diaper change...)

Of course, the real me was (is!) thrilled to have a new baby sister, and happy to serve my mama and the baby.

Tired as I was, though, I couldn't help but be amazed at something: while mama was caring for this tiny little bundle-- who was insisting noisily on being nursed right now, not letting mama sleep, and the one who, just hours before, had caused her intense pain-- she was constantly telling her what a blessing  and gift from God she was and how glad she was that she was here now, and kept asking me, "Isn't she so beautiful?!" Oh, yes, she is. Very much so.

But... to be saying that after having experienced more pain than most of us have experienced, after having gone through the whole long labor, while being kept from (desperately needed) sleep for hours??

To be caring for her tenderly and patiently, and speaking kindly to her, in spite of all the aforementioned?

This, folks, is what love is all about: being kind and patient and caring--no matter how you feel; no matter what the other person has done to you.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lessons from Birth and Baby

If you've known me very long, you know that I rarely just experience things without thinking about them lots... I generally manage to pull some sort of lesson out of just about anything. And it has been no different with the labor, delivery and birth of little Esther.

Recently I read the book "Wrestling Prayer" By Eric and Leslie Ludy. (highly recommended, by the way.) In it, they talked about how we are to "travail" in prayer. The word "travail" is often used to describe the pain and... well, labor... of labor.

Watching mama laboring... I realized just how intense travailing is. Mama's entire focus was on getting that baby out. She wasn't distracted by anything else: it didn't matter what was going on in the world, or who was saying what, or anything like that. All of her energy was directed to one end: holding a baby in her arms. There wasn't any option of getting out of it besides going through with the labor and successfully bringing a new life into the world. She was going on at all costs, in spite of the risks, in spite of the pain. For hours she patiently endured. She didn't fight the pain: she worked with it. She knew that the pain she was experiencing was limited, and that there would be a glorious reward at the end. (And wow, is Esther ever a glorious reward. :D) She knew God was working through it all. She knew He had a plan. And she kept focused on the end, the baby--instead of the trial and length and intensity and agony of labor.

That... is how we should pray. Intensely focused, long prayers, with a clear goal in mind. Pressing on in spite of everything. Literally hurting for the people you are praying for. Struggling, wrestling, fighting until the answer comes.

How often can our prayers be described by the word "travail"?

Unfortunately, it is all too rare in my own life... I can remember a few times, perhaps... but it isn't a regular occurrence. Now, obviously, we cannot always pray like this... there are times when we just send up quick prayers as we go about our daily lives-- like I talked about in the Be-bumpy post. But there are times when we need to pray the kind of prayers that can be described by words like "travailing" and "wrestling". These are the kind of prayers that change lives, the kind of prayers that defeat the enemy, the kind of prayers that change the course of the world, the kind that move the hand of God.

So that was one lesson... haha. :D

The next was more of an amazing thought than an actual lesson:

Jesus was born.

*confused silence*

No, really, He was BORN. Think about it. That is crazy, folks. The God who made the universe...was born? Unfortunately not many of you know just how... well, messy births are. Beautiful, yes. But messy. Sweaty, bloody... Isn't it amazing that God would humble Himself to the point of being born? Wow... just going through it again (that is the third birth I have been at), watching it unfold... I was amazed that my God would do that.

One thought I had while she was being born was that birth is a picture of salvation... we must be "born again". It isn't exactly easy and pain free to be born. Nor is it wholly dependent on you.

Another lesson was just to see how completely helpless and dependent Esther is on mama (and us)... for everything. Food, clothing, comfort, warmth, cleanliness, life... literally everything. That is how we should be with our Heavenly Father. He is the one we must look to for everything... the only One who can truly meet all our needs. He is the one who gives us life-- and everything else.

Esther being her adorable, kissable, helpless self.

There are many other things that I have been learning... some related to this, and some from other sources. Eventually they will all make it to this blog... but you'll have to wait. (Isn't it nice of me to give you all a chance to learn patience? ;))

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Several months ago, I did a study on the book "Preparing to be a Helpmeet". One of the assignments was to rewrite 1 Corinthians 13 in your own words... Lately I've been thinking about what love really is and how to do it, so I thought about this assignment, and decided that it might be of interest to you all. And yes, the first part is slightly tongue-in-cheek and aimed at the "stay at home daughter" crowd. haha. 

Even if I read all the books that have ever been published on homemaking, even though I learned every craft there is to learn, even if I posted the cutest pictures ever and blogged the sweetest and most inspiring things, even if I have done every class and attended every conference, even if I wore denim skirts every day-- none of it would matter a single bit if I did not love. I would still be nothing. Even if I supported hundreds of orphans, even if I had faith enough to move mountains... it would make no difference. Without love, I am nothing. 

Love is patient--even when the waiting is very long and the circumstances very trying. 

Love is kind--without expecting kindness or acclaim in return. 

Love does not envy--it is content with the blessings God has provided. 

Love does not show off--it knows it is doing good and obeying God even if no one on earth notices it. 

Love is not puffed up and proud--it knows that love of this sort only comes from God--what does it have to brag about?? 

Love does not behave rudely--it is conscious of the comfort and pleasure of those around it. 

Love does not seek its own--it seeks the good of those around.

Love is not easily provoked--it is hard to make it upset. 

Love does not think evil--it focuses on the good in people and situations.

Love does not rejoice in iniquity--it rejoices in the truth. It is not interested in hearing mean, untruthful gossip.

Love bears all things-- puts up with lots, and also bears the burdens of others. 

Love believes all things that are true--it thinks the best, always. 

Love is very hopeful--it will find a way, and it believes good will come. 

Love endures all things-- once again, it "puts up" with everything--little annoying repetitive things, big, crazy, hard ones...

Love--true love: the kind that comes from God-- never fails.

(Verses 1-8a)

And here's the real thing:

 1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 

 2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 

 3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 

 4Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 

 5Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 

 6Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 

 7Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 

 8Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 

 9For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 

 10But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 

 11When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 

 12For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 

 13And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.