life with two.

About 8 weeks into this two-kid life, I had a realization: I am really, really unhealthy spiritually, emotionally, and physically. My kids are thriving, I’m transitioning back into work, meals are getting cooked and the house is (mostly) clean, but I am not taking care of myself.

The breaking point came one Sunday morning. Eliza was napping in her crib and Kevin was out of the house. I sat down on the floor near the coffee table to color with Lydia. Only a few minutes in, I started feeling intense anxiety, like I was wasting time. Thoughts were swirling through my mind. Eliza is asleep and Lydia is distracted, what can I get done? What can I multi-task while playing with Lydia?

It’s impossible to get anything done with two kids under two awake, so when I have at least one asleep, I try to be doing something – cooking, cleaning, getting myself ready for the day, responding to a text  – rushing to the next task to complete before the free moment passes.

But this morning I wanted it to be different. It was a Sunday morning. I wanted to sit and color with my daughter. I wanted to simply enjoy her company. To enjoy the calm, the silence.

And I couldn’t sit still.

As I tried to fight the anxiety and be present with Lydia, conviction set in. I knew in my heart that it wasn’t just this moment. Since coming home from the hospital and starting our life with two kids, I’d had an inability to sit and be still, to spend quiet time with the Lord, or even prioritize taking care of myself. I broke down as I realized that not only was I hurting myself, but it was now affecting my ability to be present with my own daughter.

It was time to acknowledge my sin and ask for help.

 

F I V E . M I N U T E S .

Breaking the habit of hurry, which isn’t easy for any momma (but especially those of us that are enneagram 3’s) takes discipline, dedication, and accountability. A wise friend spoke the words of God into my life when she suggested that I start small: Five minutes of silence a day.

Literally, five minutes. The first chance that I get.

There have been a rare few days where I’ve been able to start my day with five minutes. Usually it doesn’t come until 2pm when both my girls are taking naps. There’s been some days when it comes at 10pm. But there have been few days I’ve missed. I set a timer on my phone for 5 minutes and 5 seconds (a few seconds for adjustment) and my phone on “do not disturb.” The only thing I’m allowed to “do” during that time is drink a cup of coffee or other beverage that fits the time of day.

And I must sit
still
in
silence.

I can’t also eat, also drive, also shower, also clean.
I must
simply
sit
still
and
listen.

And as my husband reminds me
let God listen to me.

The first time felt anxious and uncomfortable, but it only took a few days for it to become the highlight of my day. I sit in silence and listen for God. When the timer goes off, I sometimes journal a few thoughts or a few words I hear from God.

Little did I know that five minutes a day would be so transformative.

“It’s like, it’s just five minutes,” I said to Kevin about a week later. “Why is it making such a difference in my day?”

He pointed out simply, “It’s not just about the five minutes. You’re taking control of the day and stopping to sit with the Lord, instead of letting the day control you.”

And that’s the freedom I’ve felt. In the midst of spending 14-16 hours a day, usually with an hour at night, taking care of other people, I am stopping to at the least spend five minutes taking care of myself, my soul. Drawing near to the Lord in the midst of the hurry. And that is a victory.

 

L I F E . W I T H . T W O.

I am here now this week, 12-weeks postpartum with my second daughter. Praise God, there has been so much that the Lord has done in the past four weeks to bring me into a healthier place – way more than I could possibly write! The Lord has been so kind to bring in just the right Scripture or podcast or song or text when I needed clarity, to provide a husband that wants to fight for me to find health in this season, and some amazing women who speak truth into my life.

So how is life with two kids under two?

I’ll be real. Many days my patience runs thin. I look forward to work because it’s actually a break. I’ve got a strong-willed toddler that loves to test the limits and a 12-week-old that only naps for 30 minutes at a time. I’ve fallen asleep on the couch and had to be carried into bed by my husband honestly more times than I can count.

Yet at the same time, life feels natural and normal, just with an extra layer of joy and love that I feel toward my second daughter Eliza and seeing her grow and discover the world. I am still fighting the same temptations I had before marriage, before motherhood, and before being a momma of two: the temptation to fill my days and my life with business, distractions, and excuses that keep me from intimacy with the Lord.

In every season, God must re-teach me the same lessons:

He alone is the One who has not only called me to this life but equipped me.
He alone is the source of my peace and joy.
He alone is worthy of my heart’s worship.
He alone is worthy of my all.

Thank God for a five-minute reminder each day of the Truth that will last for eternity.

work ahead.

“You’re only as loved as your last success.”

My husband Kevin read those words aloud and they brought instant emotion and conviction. He was reading the description of an Enneagram Style-3 from the book The Road Back to You, a required reading for our upcoming Young Life staff conference.

There is no denying the truth: I am prone to live by this lie every single day.

The trouble is that this lie is a never-ending cycle. It doesn’t matter if one day I’m a professional athlete, or getting married, or having a baby, or starting a new job. Days or sometimes hours after achieving the goal, the same lie creeps in: that was yesterday’s success… but what are you doing now? Who do people see you as today? Are your accomplishments today worth others loving you?

As a 3, my heart question is Who am I to this group? I am constantly aware of my public image, and when my accomplishments don’t match the public image that I seek to have, I feel deep shame. In believing this lie, I am fooled into thinking that my public image is all that I am. I can let my drive to succeed overpower everything else in my life. As a 3-wing-2, I am especially sensitive to whether others notice or approve of my successes or accomplishments.

Fortunately, this isn’t the end of the road for me. What I enjoy about the Enneagram test is it exposes your internal motivations but also says this: don’t stay there. Through self-awareness, confession, repentance, prayer, and accountability, I have the opportunity to choose God’s truth and seek healthy change.

 

T R U T H .

I am more than my success. I am more than the image others see. I am a child of God, loved not for what I do but for who I am (1 John 3:1).

Failure simply reminds me that I have a God who never fails. It reminds me of my utter dependence not on my own power, but on the transforming power of God (1 Corinthians 1:9, Romans 12:2).

I don’t need approval from other people, only from the Lord. Because of Jesus’ death on the Cross, God’s wrath was already poured out for my sin. There is no condemnation. The debt has been paid. Because of Jesus’ accomplishment on the Cross, God approves of me. His love for me is not contingent on my worldly or holy accomplishments (Galatians 1:10, Romans 8:1).

I don’t have to cut corners for the sake of getting things done. I can seek the Lord and seek patience, trusting that His timing is perfect. I can be present with my family and friends and trust that the work will get done (2 Peter 3:8-9).

 

T I M I N G .

The timing of this staff conference and the processing that followed came in the midst of a season of accomplishments: finishing a master’s degree and moving forward with a dream job opportunity doing marketing and communications for Young Life College.

As many of you know, I left a career in college athletics days before my daughter Lydia was born because my heart was in ministry. Without having a set job, I knew that God was calling me to wait and focus on learning to be a mom and finishing my master’s before asking the question: What’s next? I wondered what life would be like as a stay-at-home mom. Will I enjoy it? Will I go crazy?

About three weeks postpartum, I found myself creating work. In the midst of a financial deficit for our local Young Life area, I started putting together a team of people to support Kevin and our other local staff and came alongside my husband in support raising. Four weeks postpartum, I was ready to start back up my master’s program after a brief leave of absence. I looked forward to school work and any Young Life project I could get my hands on. I was quickly affirmed: I genuinely enjoy work.

All of this said, I had plans to finish my master’s degree around the same time as Lydia’s first birthday. The vision of walking down the University of Kansas campanile hill on graduation day with my one-year-old daughter cheering me on became my motivation. I surrendered to the Lord: I won’t try to discern what’s next for work. I will wait, pursue patience, and focus on family and ministry. When grad school is done, I will discern God’s will for what’s next.

 

T O M O R R O W .

Ironically, this Young Life conference for staff and their spouses came the same week as my finals. I almost didn’t go, but I’m so glad that I did. I had the opportunity to get away for a few days and seek the Lord on what was next.

Through learning about myself over this last year, balancing part-time work and grad school, I found that this was actually really enjoyable and healthy for me as a “Style-3.” If you know the Enneagram, this statement comes at no surprise to you as a 3. On the positive side, I desire productivity and efficiency, bringing projects to completion, and accomplishing goals. I am driven, motivated, energetic, and enjoy being busy. I am a multi-tasker who is able to think about and balance several things at once.

Pursuing advancement and more hours in my ministry career doesn’t just have to happen because my family could use the finances, but because I actually, really and truly, enjoy work.

I prayed to God for an opportunity in ministry that would provide finances yet also have the flexibility needed as a pastor’s wife and a mom to littles.

I prayed that my heart would be genuine in wanting this not out of my default, self-promoting motivations but because it’s God’s will.

I prayed that my natural motivation to accomplish goals would be used not just for my own benefit, but to serve the Kingdom of God. I want to compete for His glory, not my own.

God has and is continuing to answer those prayers in the work ahead.

With my Master’s in Business Administration out of the way, it feels so good to move forward in freedom with being a working mom, even with Baby #2 on the way. I love my job doing communications, marketing, and event planning for Young Life College and I can’t wait to see where the Lord takes my career in the future!

 

.

One of the best ways that I can love my daughter is by modeling for her a woman who chases the dreams that God places in her heart.

How can I possibly teach her to chase her dreams if I’m not chasing my own?

Thank you, Lord
for
dreams
and
dreams
come true.