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.

make me new.

There is something in us all that loves the idea of a New Year. Perhaps it’s because God is in the business of making things new. The New Year is an opportunity for us to turn the page, set goals, and dream dreams of what could be.

This New Year’s Eve was very nostalgic for me for several reasons. Mostly because I thought a lot about where I was exactly a year ago and how different life is now. I was halfway through my pregnancy and, by way of a New Year’s Eve, all-out gender reveal, we found out that we were having a girl and named her Lydia Evelyn.

This year, I spent New Year’s Eve at Young Life Camp with my 7-month-old, beautiful, healthy, mobile and joyful baby, Lydia Evelyn.

Not only was 2018 about realizing and living into a call of motherhood, but for those who have followed my journey, you know that it was also a year of me taking a leap of faith and pursing a call into full-time ministry. After a long ten months of trusting God in 2018 with no idea where obedience would lead, being unsure if this path would equate to an actual job, the Lord provided a position within Young Life working part-time from home as the Young Life College Midwest Divisional Admin. It seemed only fitting, then, that I spent New Year’s Eve literally living out this calling, working as a Camp Director for a student weekend at Young Life’s Clearwater Cove while having a baby in arms through it all!

 

L I S T E N .

I struggle to sit still. As an achiever, I thrive on busyness and completing tasks. Even “rest” for me involves listening to a podcast while folding laundry. And, might I add, having a mobile baby and a new job doesn’t make finding time to rest any easier! So, I’ve been finding ways to trick myself into sitting still. (Whatever works, right?) My latest trick has been painting my nails. After you paint your nails, what do you do? You have to sit still to let your nails dry. If you try to do anything too quickly after, they chip. So, I packed my nail polish to camp. And, during one of Lydia’s naps, I painted my nails to keep me from doing anything else, from touching my phone, or computer, or even my pen. I pulled up a chair by the window, overlooking the lake, letting my nails dry, and just sat still.

I thought a lot about the New Year. I thought a lot about 2018 and wondered where I would be a year from now. What excites me about 2019 actually isn’t change. (Without a doubt, 2018 was about change!) But 2019 will get to be a year where I grow and settle into my new job while also watching my beautiful daughter grow. Yes, I hope to reach some milestones, specifically in finishing my master’s degree in May. But, Lord willing, I like to think that I have an idea of what 2019 holds. (Maybe I’ll look back at this statement a year from now and laugh, but here’s where I’m at now!)

So, as I sat down and asked the Lord for a word or phrase or vision for 2019, the word that came out of nowhere that He placed on my heart was the word: support.

 

L I V E .

As I prayed into this word “support” more, sitting still and overlooking the lake, I felt the peace of God. In 2018, I relied on others for an immense amount of support. Multiple baby showers and help through the last half of pregnancy, preparing for a baby, and not to mention child birth and recovery! I let others serve me and accepted numerous meals and gifts. My husband Kevin was my chief encourager, reminding me to trust God in pursuing full-time ministry, even when I doubted. Regularly, he encouraged me to finish my master’s degree, reminding me that it will be worth it, and meanwhile serving me relentlessly so that I could do so. Kevin has truly laid down his life for me this past year, as God calls all husbands to do in Ephesians 5:25, supporting me through pregnancy, postpartum, and job transitions.

And now, feeling like I have settled into a routine, a new lifestyle, and a new calling, with joy I get to recognize that it’s my time to give back and to support those around me.

Supporting Lydia will take much more of my attention now that she’s mobile. Productive hours have dwindled down to when she’s asleep or with a babysitter, and you know what, that’s OK. I have the privilege of letting go of expectations and enjoying her for the few hours of awake time I get with her each day, knowing that the work will always get done.

Another dream for 2019 is being able to support my husband more this year. He also has dreams of graduate school through seminary, and I want to be able to offer him the same support that he has offered me through these last few years. I want to help him to have the space that he needs to work, read, study, and do the things that give him life. Such is marriage, I know that there will be seasons where one of us has greater needs. I am determined in, as much as I can control, to make this year the one where I get to serve and support him.

And last but not least, I want to support my ministry, my friends, and extended family. I want to love people well. But like, really well. I want to celebrate people’s birthdays and accomplishments and milestones with a party. I want to be generous in hospitality. I want to serve without reservations. I want to attack the bitterness in my mind and be the first to see that it’s a “me-issue” and love even those that are hard to love.

In writing and reflecting, I am brought back to one of my favorite passages in Scripture:

“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that One has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised… Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-17)

May I let the love of Christ control me as I strive to pursue what it means to support others in my life. Just as He, who lived a perfect and holy life, died for me, may I no longer live for myself, but live for Him who created me, saved me, and sustains me.

And again,
in 2019
Lord God,
I need your help.
Make me new.

 

“And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelations 21:5)