As Lydia turns six months old, I have been reflecting on a few things I’ve learned over this past half-year about myself in light of who God is. Here are six things in honor of celebrating six months of Lydia’s life.
O N E .
He still wants all of my heart.
It’s truly hard to put into words how I feel about my daughter. The best way I can think to explain it must start with the reminder that she was once a literal part of me. I was pregnant with Lydia for nine months. I felt her grow inside of me. The same way that I feel a oneness with the Spirit of God who lives inside of me, I felt one with Lydia. I felt her move and felt connected emotionally, mentally, and spiritually to her. As we spent that time bonding while she was in my womb, she truly felt like a part of me, and that feeling didn’t go away when she was born. She was set on my chest after birth and it still felt like she was a part of me. Even now, when I nurse her or she lays on my skin, I sense that same connection. So naturally, it’s not easy to be away from her. When I’m away from her, it feels like a part of me is missing.
And now I see why some mommas wait years before having their first night away from their babies. It doesn’t feel natural to do so. With all that being said, this past month I had a few overnight opportunities away from the home that brought upon a decision. Do I limit my capacity in these once-in-a-lifetime activities, or spend nights away from Lydia? (One was the wedding of a close friend that included a few overnights with the bridal party, and the other was a conference in Seattle.) As I prayed about a decision to bring Lydia with me or to let a trusted family member care for her, the Lord reminded me that He wants all of my heart. Choosing to leave Lydia in someone else’s care isn’t not loving her. It’s actually letting go of control and trusting that her life is safe in God’s hand. It also for me was a simple act to remind myself that while I love Lydia very deeply, my heart belongs to God.
T W O .
He’s still calling me outside the home.
Picking right back up with where I left off from point one, I’ve learned that He’s still calling me outside of the home and into the lives of others. While I spend most days at home with Lydia and her daily care is my greatest priority, the Lord hasn’t stopped my calling to love my neighbors, to love those in my community, and to reach out to the broken hearted. While my primary ministry is within my home to my husband and to my daughter, in this season, He has only increased my fire and calling to reach the lost with the good news of Jesus. I’ve loved filling my weeks meeting with students, having friends over for dinner, and creating a rhythm of life around our Young Life College ministry. For more on this, read my past post Family on Mission. At the end of the day, I’m learning to walk in obedience to where God is calling me both inside and outside of the home.
T H R E E .
He will follow through with His promises.
A year ago, I was three months pregnant and I was beginning to plan for life after Lydia’s birth. In praying, the Lord gave me peace about a few things. He gave me peace to pray boldly for a paid job in ministry. But He also gave me peace in this sense to stop trying to figure it out now, because there was something that He wanted to show me first on the other side of Lydia being born. So, for the next 9 months, I didn’t try to figure it out. I just waited. I tried to be present and faithful where He was calling me. I finished what was my current full-time job. I was present with Lydia during maternity time. I served my husband in his job. I served my local Young Life area as a volunteer, pursuing a calling over a job title. If you’ve been following my blog, I wrote about this in my entry, Promotions.
Yet over the past few months I started to doubt His promise. I questioned if He was going to follow through with the promise He’d given me – that He would provide a job – that He would show me what’s next. I constantly asked: How am I going to help provide financially for my family while maintaining my ministry here in Lawrence? We had a few months of high financial output and low input as a family. I knew that this wasn’t sustainable long-term and that ultimately, I would need to find work that paid. But I also knew that God wasn’t calling me away from the mission of Young Life College and helping reach lost students with the Gospel of Jesus. I doubted wondering, how is this all going to work together?
Out of a few weeks of doubt, I decided to pick up some softball lessons on the side to make some money but to keep walking forward in faith. Within a few weeks, Bill Reazer, our Young Life College Midwest Divisional Coordinator, reached out to me with a job opportunity. Part-time, paid work that I could do from home. I would serve YL College throughout the Midwest in a communications and administrative role, which fully aligns with my giftings. I can balance it alongside the ministry I’m doing with students at KU and being home with Lydia. As I write this, I’ve fully stepped into this role, and it still feels surreal. One year later, I am in awe of God’s faithfulness. I am actually in shock that He’s answered such a specific prayer.
It’s safe to say that I doubted His voice. I thought to myself – maybe I made that up, maybe that wasn’t really God speaking. Yet I was able to confess and crush those doubts and continue walking in faith with the help of my husband and my community. And now I get the great privilege of saying: Look what God did! He followed through with His promise to me!
F O U R .
He is in control.
And thank God He is! When I take a step back and look at my life, it’s nothing the way I thought it would be five years ago, but at the same time, better than I could have ever imagined it. I never thought that I would settle down in Lawrence and work part-time from home so I could live a life of full-time ministry. I also don’t think I could have ever imagined a more perfect, beautiful, and happy little baby that I get to call my daughter. One thing that I’ve been wrestling with, in the midst of my blessings, is why in this season I am so blessed while I see many of my friends suffering. I see friends processing through child loss or infertility. I see friends who have lost a loved one. I see friends struggle with depression, anxiety, and abuse. Yet I know that suffering is not unique to them. We will all go through suffering—the question is when.
And that is why our ultimate hope must stand on the One who never changes. The One who gives us a reason for our suffering. The One who says – you think I don’t use suffering for good? Just look at what I did on the Cross. Trusting that the ultimate goal in this life isn’t to avoid suffering, it’s to glorify Jesus. And honestly, we have more opportunities to fulfil our greatest calling to glorify God and grow in our relationship with Him when we are suffering. So, when I hit that season, because it will come, may I remember in the valley what the Lord has been teaching me on the mountain.
For more on this, see my previous post Life & Death.
F I V E .
He is a perfect Father.
As a parent, I will fail. I won’t be perfect. I will sin against Lydia. I will take her for granted. I will not love her and give her my full attention in some of the moments that she needs it. I will try, but I will fail. In my imperfections, may the perfection of my heavenly Father be that much louder.
And thank you God that you are a perfect and Holy Father not just to me, but to my daughter as well. I remind myself constantly that she needs You more than she needs me. And You are perfect for her. Thank you.
S I X .
He’s doing more than I can see.
I can’t see what life will be like a few weeks from now, let alone a few years from now. What He’s calling me to now is daily faithfulness.
Spend time in His Word.
Be present with my family.
Manage the home.
Finish my master’s degree.
Serve the mission of Young Life.
Love those around me.
Keep showing up in peoples’ lives.
What I don’t see is how He will use all of this daily faithfulness in the future. But after ten years of my best attempt at day-to-day faith, I get to look back and see that He has truly done immeasurably more than all I could ask or imagine, according to His work within me, and for His glory. He has been faithful to fulfil His promises, even if they didn’t turn out how I imagined or in the time I wanted them too. And even now, He’s doing more than I can see. He’s taking daily faithfulness and multiplying my efforts for His Kingdom Come. And it truly is joy, peace, and life.