Thursday, May 29, 2014

One Year Old!

Twelve Months
This was the best I could get! These became more challenging the older he got!

My baby, you're one! Tears fill my eyes as I attempt to grasp the reality of this. This year has been the most joyful, trying, beautiful year of my life! 365 days with you and each one keeps getting better. This month you cut your top two teeth, which caused you to be more difficult to please (putting it nicely!) However, you've started giving hugs and laughing to yourself as you play, and that helps offset any of your more challenging moments! You're still not taking more than one or two steps at a time, but you've learned how to go DOWN the steps (thanks to your dad!) which has allowed you to get into much more mischief :) You've also started dancing anytime music is hold onto the couch with your hands then shake your booty! So cute! My new favorite thing you do, though, is give hugs! You hold on tight and lay your head on my's the best! Your favorite thing to do lately has been to play much so that when it's time to come inside, you scream and throw a fit for quite some time! It's exhausting, but I love that you love the nice weather as much as I do! 

Sweet Levi Jack, you've changed me. You've made me see the world in a whole new way. You've made me stop and notice how the trees rustle in the wind. You've reminded me how much grass tickles and that mud is kind of cold. I never watched a mama bird fly from her nest into the yard, find a worm, then take in back to her babies until you came around. Thank you for that gift, Levi.

You've forced me to think about myself less. The last 365 days I've been elbow deep in messy diapers and soaked head to toe in vomit and my only thoughts have been about what was in your best interest. (Of course I'd be lying if I didn't also think about how awful it all smelled but I promise, I first felt for you.) There have been times I have felt like I have had less time to serve others and randomly help people out, but the truth is every moment of my life now is consumed with serving you, sweet boy. When I wonder what I can do to honor God each day, it's you that I get to care for and nurture and raise and point to Him. Such a beautiful thing.

You've given me a better glimpse of the Father's love for us. I think so much about my love for you, how I love you so much it actually hurts. Yes, it makes my heart ache being so full of love. To think that God loved His Son so much, but yet He was willing to let Him be the sacrifice we needed for redemption, for a chance to know Him, because He loved My great love for you has made me all the more aware and grateful for His love for me!

This last year...too fast? You bet. But in the speed of it all, you've made it more. Too fast? Sure. But also too sweet, too wonderful, too breathtaking, too hilarious, way too stinkin' good. I look at you, my hammy little man, and stare in wonder. This precious little life I got to deliver into this world. I am beyond humbled. Beyond grateful. Beyond amazed.

So today, I'm soaking you all in. I'm going to treasure your noisy "guh's" bright and early and the way you pat my chest and back out of excitement when I get you from your crib. I'm going to laugh at the noisy inhale when you see Sophie first thing in the morning. I'm going to remember how warm your cheeks feel when I give you kisses after your naps and how yummy your head smells when we have our post nap snuggles. I'm going to giggle with you at the sounds Sophie makes when she eats her food and smile as you open and close every cabinet and door you come across. I'm going to hang you upside down and kiss your belly over and over again just to hear you laugh and laugh and laugh.

We pray once again that you would fall in love with Jesus and that your little life would make a big impact on this world. Not because of who you are, but because of what the Lord has done through you! "For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 1:9-14)

I love you as big as the world, my boy,
With all of my heart, with hugs and kisses and a million more,

One Year in Pictures

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Dedication

This time of year last year, I spent an afternoon watching Ellen's Mother's Day special on DVR with envy as I sat in bed eating countless Flavor Icicles. First time mom's were receiving thousands of dollars worth of free baby stuff right in front of my eyes as I lounged in my sweats, praying time would fly so I could meet the acrobat baby maneuvering around in my belly. I was 38 weeks pregnant, and while everybody earlier that day at church sweetly wished me, "Happy Mother's Day," I didn't feel like a mom. I felt like a balloon. A giant, sweaty, contracting balloon who wanted so badly to be in California with Ellen. Anybody been there? Anyone?

I had waited for this day for so long. The day when "Mother's Day" pertained to me. And not because I'm a fan of Hallmark Holidays (because I'm really not,) but because I always dreamed about the day I would have children of my own. And I had ideas on how I would raise them: in a home full of family who loved the Lord with fervor, where we'd eat and grow and play and learn. I knew I wanted to surrender my kids to the Lord. I just didn't know what that looked like. But today on Mother's Day, Brett and I stood in front of our church body with Levi as we proclaimed our desire to dedicate him to Jesus and our wish that everyone there would encourage us, hold us accountable, and help us raise him to grow to know the Lord as his Savior. It was an emotional day, because this past year, I've realized how scary it can be to surrender your child to God. You see, this wasn't the first time I confessed to the Lord that Levi was HIS, not mine, and I wanted HIS will for his life.

The first time I dedicated Levi to Jesus was about 12 hours after I learned his little life was growing inside me. Signs of miscarriage began, and Brett and I lied in bed and cried and prayed that Jesus would protect our baby, but also we begged Him for HIS will to be done, and we prayed with confidence that no matter what He chose to do, we would praise Him. Hardest prayer ever. 

Weeks later I remember surrendering Levi to the Lord again at church while singing "10,000 Reasons" during worship (which "ironically" we sang again this morning!) Up to that point, all attempts to hear his heartbeat had failed, and we were going in the next morning for another check up. I sang "Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, Let me be singing when the evening comes." And that was my prayer. That God would allow whatever would give Him glory, and I trusted that He loved Levi even more than I did. So I tearfully prayed, "Lord he's yours." (And yes, I really did say "he" because I just knew we were having a boy!)

Levi was dedicated to Jesus one last time just 4 weeks before he was born as I sat in the church pew at a funeral for the one week old baby boy of my sweet friend. Words will never adequately describe how sad, how vulnerable, how guilty and shocked and scared and numb I really felt. It was so unfair that the first time I was meeting her beautiful baby boy, he lied lifeless in a tiny casket. I knew right then I would never understand God's ways, but I chose to believe that somewhere in the midst of the hurt and anger and guilt and fear, my God was still a loving, gracious God who's love for His
children was higher than the mountains and deeper than the oceans. The safest place for my baby to be wasn't in my belly or my tight embrace. No, it was in the arms of Jesus, just as my friend's baby was. So I cried and I prayed, that the Lord would comfort my friends. I prayed that Jesus would meet their baby boy at the Gates and hold him tightly so that he would feel so loved and wouldn't be scared. And I told the Lord that I'm giving Levi back to Him, to do as He sees fit, because He is good. It hurt and filled me with peace all at once. And my heart has never been the same.

So today as we "officially" dedicate Levi to Jesus, our prayer remains: that God would grant us wisdom and discernment so that we may point to Jesus in all we do, that God would work in Levi's heart even now and prepare him for the day He reveals Himself to him, that the veil would be removed from Levi's eyes and he would see God's greatness and love for Him, recognize his own sin and need for a Savior, and decide to follow Jesus the rest of his life! We give him to You, Lord Jesus, and praise You for loaning him to us! Amen!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Spring Photos

I cannot even begin to tell you how grateful I am for these images! My beautiful sister-in-law from D.I.A. Images came over (when she was 37 weeks pregnant, mind you!) and captured these moments so perfectly! But don't just take my word for it. Scroll below to check them out for yourself! I'm forever indebted to her and to the Lord for blessing me this much.

Eleven Months

Eleven Months

How is it possible that this is the last monthly update before you are ONE YEAR OLD?! I don't know what happened, but I have loved every day with you! You've started acting more and more like a toddler this month. You are standing for longer periods of time on your own and even attempting to take steps on your own, but you're still a little leery of the idea! You are driving Sophie nuts these days, pulling on her hair and climbing all over her. She puts up with it, though, because she knows you like to sneak her your food when you're in the high chair! You're becoming quite the little tornado, pulling everything out of drawers and cabinets wherever you go! Everything goes in your mouth these days, including rocks, paper, and scissors dog bones. People keep commenting on how blonde your hair has become from playing outside so much! We've noticed a wave of shyness coming over you when you enter new situations. You usually come around just fine, but it takes a while for you to be brave enough to crawl away from Mom and Dad. You really have a mind of your own these days! You are exerting your will and testing boundaries and you get so mad when you don't get your way. It's super fun horrible. However, it's all a learning experience for you and we are delighted to be the ones who get to teach you and help shape you and point you to Jesus. Oh how we pray you would know Him, love Him, and follow Him!