It’s a….

We had our ultrasound today. As I wrote in my earlier post, we knew pink or blue that God had a plan for us and had carefully chosen this special gift. But unwrapping the surprise is still lots of fun. And since we promised we’d share our news, here are some pics to tell the story.

First of all, a pic with my baby bump as we reach this half-way mark. I have to confess, I haven’t been as good about taking belly pictures with baby #3 as I was with baby #1. This might be the first official bump picture of this pregnancy.

baby bump 3

After we found out our news and told our parents, we thought about a fun way to tell the boys. We decided to wrap up a big present for them and tell them that if when they opened it up they found something pink, then they’d have a baby sister in a few months, and if they opened it up and found something blue, they could expect a baby brother. So…

Luke and Isaiah opening

 

Luke opening

 

boys balloons

 

Luke happy

 

mom and boys 2

 

Mom and boys

 

baby larson 3 bt

 

May God be praised! We can’t wait to meet you little one….

When All I Have to Give Seems So Small, Part I

hands

Early motherhood is an especially intense season of life. Often professional degrees seem to sit idle as we wipe bottoms and noses, count piggy toes, and muddle through sleep-deprived nights on caffeine and a prayer. And yet there’s so often both internal and external pressure that we should do more, give more, and be more.

But deep down, we know there’s not any more of us to give. We know that this is a season of life where our worlds seem shrunken in, and supporting those in our immediate care is not only our high and holy calling, but often all we can do.

As I was meditating on this, God brought to mind several historic examples of people who gave what little they had and how God multiplied it. These examples remind me how Jesus takes the two fish and the five loaves and feeds the multitudes, and how he will take my “all I have to give” and bless it.

When all I have to give is love for the man God gave me:
Katharina Von Bora was the infamous nun who ran away (or rolled away rather in a barrel of herring) and ended up marrying reformer Martin Luther. The former celibate priest wrote, “There is no bond on earth so sweet, nor any separation so bitter, as that which occurs in a good marriage.” Katie desired to free Luther up so that he could serve as God had called him. So in addition to caring for their 6 children and the 4 orphans who came under their roof, she did all she could to manage the affairs of the house. Luther called her “the morning star of Wittenberg” since she rose before dawn to care for the livestock, garden, and children.

But while running the affairs of the house was certainly a heavy load, Katie also stood by her man in another important way, as a strong spiritual ally. When Luther was facing a particularly deep period of depression, she greeted him at the door one evening wearing the traditional all-black of mourning attire. Confused, Luther asked her, “Who is dead?” She responded, “Don’t you know, God is dead?” Like the prophets of old, Katie paraded a visual message before her husband and showed him the practical atheism at the root of his current despair. Luther got the message loud and clear and saw the ludicrousness of his own attitude. Katie had been a good theologian to the theologian.

God took Katie’s desire to serve her husband and home—the “all she had to give”—and multiplied many times over. Only in eternity will we know the true weight of her impact on Luther and the generations which followed.

When all I have to give is love for the children under my care:
While Charles and John Wesley are in the Who’s Who of modern Christianity, many of us have never even heard of Susanna Wesley, their mother. And yet, it was this woman who had such a profound influence shaping the great revivalist preachers and fathers of modern Methodism.

Home-life wasn’t easy for Susanna. After a minor dispute, her husband disappeared for over a year. And his poor management of the family’s finances also landed him in jail twice. During one of these separations, Susanna wrote to her husband about how God had led her to spend individual time loving their children well. She writes:

“I am a woman, but I am also the mistress of a large family. And though the superior charge of the souls contained in it lies upon you, yet in your long absence I cannot but look upon every soul you leave under my charge as a talent committed to me under a trust. I am not a man nor a minister, and yet as a mother … I felt I ought to do more than I had yet done. I resolved to begin with my own children; in which I observe the following method: I take such a proportion of time as I can spare every night to discourse with each child apart. On Monday I talk with Molly, on Tuesday with Hetty, Wednesday with Nancy, Thursday with Jacky, Friday with Patty, Saturday with Charles.”

It was during these special one-on-one times where Susanna instilled the spiritual habit of self-examination, by asking thoughtful questions regarding the state of each child’s soul, and his or her goals and progress toward them. Susanna went to great lengths to shepherd the hearts of the children God had given her and the repercussions of her priorities are still felt today.

When all I have to give are my prayers:
Before St. Augustine ever wrote The Confessions or City of God, his loving mother, Monica, prayed, fasted and wept bitterly over the waywardness of her son. In a well-known episode, a priest reportedly comforted the distraught mother with the words, “the child of such tears shall never perish.” After nearly two decades of her faithfulness, St. Augustine turned to God.

 

Encouraged by this post? Read: When All I Have to Give Seems So Small, Part II. In it, we look at how God used friendship and a mom’s need to put bread on the table to change the world. And if you haven’t yet subscribed to get these posts to your inbox, you can right here

Embrace Your Season

beach angel
We’re on a bit of a vacation this week, staying with dear friends on Cape Hatteras. Unfortunately, no one informed the children that mommy was on a bit of a vacation this week. The boys have succeeded in waking one another up the last two days around 5:30 am. And of course, once they are awake, Mommy is awake. I’ll admit I was sorely tempted to be out of sorts about it. But on the first day, as I was getting up with them God lifted up my eyes to notice the glorious sunrise bursting over the Atlantic. I turned on some cartoons for them and sat myself facing the shore.  I comforted myself with the thought, “This is a sunrise I would have missed if I were still sleeping; God wanted me to see this sunrise.”  And I praised Him for it.

Before we left home, I was looking at a stack of books on my counter and thinking about bringing them along and then just laughed about it aloud to my husband. “What’s the likelihood of reading a book on the beach with a toddler and a 3 year old running around?” I asked him. He shrugged and said, “About as likely as me taking a nap on the beach while you read.” We laughed and I brought them anyway, if only because that’s what I do: I bring books places. Today, I didn’t read and my husband didn’t nap on the beach, but we made one mighty fine sand city—I called it Minas Tirith after The Lord of the Rings. We shoveled and the boys buried our toes in sand. I jumped the baby in the icy cold crash of the surf, and flipped not a page, nor closed an eyelid. And this afternoon as I snuggled up next to my three year-old, him sleeping soundly after being kissed by the sun and lullabied by the waves, I praised God for this season.

There was a season of my life where I slept in on weekends and vacations. There was a season of life where books were devoured seaside and naps in the sun were a possibility. This is not that season. This is the season of early wake-ups, of sand on the beach blanket and in our hair and everywhere else because toddlers don’t know any better. This is the season of little boy laughter and giggles and yes, mighty tantrums too. And it’s a season of my life I longed for more than naps and books and sleeping in late on vacation. It was a season I was willing to sacrifice to know. And now I don’t want to miss this season longing for another one. I don’t want to grumble through it. I want to enjoy it. I want to be thankful in it and savor it in all its messy glory.

One day there will be time for books on the seashore and naps, once more, but there won’t be sand-castles, and baby squeals; there won’t be sandy-wet baby footprints on the tile or a boy angel snuggled up next to me on my pillow—his breathing coming soft and steady as the waves.

All seasons are a gift. All are to be cherished. All we need to do is lift our eyes to the break of light we would have missed otherwise. All we need to do is open our ears to the sounds only this season can offer us. With eyes wide open and ears a-tune to the moment, we’re right where God wants us: present and thankful in the now.

Wherever you are today, embrace your season. Open wide your eyes, turn your head to hear the sounds of how God is loving you in the midst of your now. And give Him thanks, right where you are. You will never have this moment again to give to Him in praise.

 

Like what you’re reading? Consider ordering a copy of my new book Waiting in Wonder: Growing in Faith While You’re Expecting for yourself or a friend. It makes a perfect gift for an expectant mom you know.

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