a new season
sunday morning was our first sunday back at ward church as a family. david and bina went the prior week while juniper and i stayed home to view the broadcast of the service. it was good to be back.
during worship, i was holding juniper while standing and singing. bina stood between me and david. she reached for our hands and we held hers. then she started swatting away david's so she could raise her hand in worship. david and i both looked at each other and beamed. how precious. that was possibly my proudest parenting moment. and i'm pretty sure i had nothing to do with it because i don't think bina has seen me or david raising a hand in worship. it was just the sweetest thing. and as i turned from david and bina back to the front of the room to read the next lines of the song from the screens, i was just overcome with gratitude. holding in my arms the babe i had waited three years for. holding the hand of my almost four year old as she raised her other hand in worship. standing in church as a family of four, worshiping together. i found myself completely humbled and blown away by the kindness of god. he didn't pull this together in my way or timing. he pulled it together in his. and i am so grateful. i love my girls. i love my husband. i love our family. i love our life together!
last week a member of the ward mothers of preschoolers (MOPS) leadership team reached out to me about my application to be a discussion group leader next year. these applications were due the week after i gave birth to juniper. i could have applied for one of the many leadership team positions and/or to be a discussion group leader. i knew i wanted to apply. i wasn't sure about leadership team. i was very much in the fog of having a newborn and still having a hard time just standing up straight and walking. it was hard for me to think about what i might feel like this fall. a night or two before the applications were due i quickly typed in my answers to all the questions and, without even reading it over once before submitting, emailed it off. i had been praying for god to show me where he wants me to invest my time this next year. this is my third year of both MOPS and bible study fellowship (BSF) so i anticipated getting involved in one of the two at more than participant level in the next year. i was surprised and honored to be contacted about not just becoming a discussion group leader but also to consider joining the leadership team in some capacity. my delirious post partum newborn brain had managed to put together a coherent application that made an impression. go jesus! i felt that being asked to consider coming onto the leadership team when i had not applied was god opening a door for me and showing me this is where i am to invest. that afternoon i spoke on the phone with the current leadership team member who reached out to me and discussed my strengths, the different positions, where i might fit best, and confirmed that yes i would love to be part of the team.
today juniper is five weeks old, and i five weeks post partum. i feel like her birth brought this season of heartache and navigating treatment of anxiety and depression to a close and opened wide the way to a new season of blessing and growth. now as a mom of two, on my good days i feel like this is what i was made for. i can see myself continuing to grow in grace as motherhood continues to break me in the most beautiful way. calling me to be the adult i can and need to be so my children can be children. i can see myself advocating for women, for mamas. encouraging and supporting, connecting and empowering. i was brought back to my vision i had a few years back while driving up north -- our multicultural family with a sense of how much we had grown in love to get there and also an understanding of the hard work it would take to be that. so many times i've wondered how in the world. but having glimpses of me really growing in grace and love for myself and others, stepping up and being an adult emotionally when i just want to tantrum like my three year old -- that gives me hope that maybe that vision can be realized. i have excitement for what the future holds in store. i look forward to joining this leadership team with the ward MOPS group. i look forward to growing deeper in relationship with the other women on the team and with members of the group. i look forward to seeing how god will grow and use me in this next year as we settle more into life as a family of four and i prepare to begin homeschooling bina. as we consider updating our home study with the new addition to our family and returning to the waiting families list. it's a new season. it's a new day!
david and i attended a marriage conference at ward last friday and at the end they asked us to fill out this little paper with optional next steps. one could request to mentor a younger couple, attend future conferences, etc. though our relationship is far from perfect (no one's is!), i felt that the way david and i handled conflict in the first weeks post partum really was a testament to the work we've put in to learn to communicate better. i was able to find my identity solely in christ, explain what i needed from david, and not completely spiral down emotional black holes. i'm not sure if the church is looking for couples just 10 years into marriage to mentor others, but if they are, we want to do it!
after first service on sunday we attended the first of three classes on the beliefs of the church as part of the process to pursue membership. the woman who taught it had a similar educational background to david. i asked if david had talked to her about it before since we had seen her at an event the night before my water broke. he hadn't, so i encouraged him to talk with her after class. when we discussed their backgrounds, she expressed interest in having david teach a class at the church. understandably, there aren't many with the level of biblical education she and he both have. it was encouraging to me to hear her enthusiasm for david and excitement over the possibility of him teaching a class at the church. i look forward to seeing where god takes that open door, and i look forward to completing the membership process at the church. we decided to move to ward church just before juniper was born, a difficult decision for us as we had attended our previous church since we moved here almost three years ago. this last month has offered many confirmations that the move was the right decision for our family and for that we are very thankful.
of course after having my high moment being asked to join leadership and feeling great gratitude on sunday morning, i've had many WOW, I CANNOT DO THIS MOTHERHOOD GIG moments. which i think is totally, totally normal. even sunday afternoon i found myself completely exhausted and questioning if i had just made up this whole "it's a new season" thing. i'm realizing that exhaustion generally means i need to eat something. i'm nursing juniper around the clock and bina has picked up her frequency, no doubt because she sees juniper nursing. i don't even necessarily notice feeling hungry because i'm just hungry all the time. but i DO notice when i feel like i got hit by a truck and can't manage to get up off the couch because of sheer exhaustion. time to grab a bowl of greek yogurt with fruit and granola! or a peanut butter apple. or a perfect bar. something. anything. and then i perk back up and my life as a mother of two doesn't seem so overwhelming.
as i'm typing this, i've got juniper in the uppababy bassinet on the floor in the office, bina in the family room playing happily with her peppa toys. both dogs. juniper woke just as i got started and then proceeded to poo. then she went back to sleep. guess i'm going to let her sit in that a bit because. well. i don't get much opportunity to write. then my three year old comes in making a bunch of goofy noises with her mouth. messes with the canopy of the bassinet. decides to sit at the desk next to me and open the playing cards on the desk. she plays "spot it" for all of five seconds then gets bored. i ask if she wants to get her peppa toys. nope. or read a book? nope. how about i get your kinetic sandbox? yes. ok great. i go grab the box from the other room and set it on the floor in the office. i take off the lid as she is saying she wants her shovels. she wants her shovels. SHE WANTS HER SHOVELS. i explain they're in the box. she sees them. crisis averted. i'm about to sit back down at the desk and one of my two dogs starts making the noise dogs make when they're about to vomit. he proceeds to vomit four times. on the wood floor and not the rug, thankfully. i run to grab paper towels after the first two piles of barf, calling back to bina not to let him eat it (things i never thought i would say). i run back and clean up two piles of barf as he's making two more. oh. my. goodness. really? as i'm finishing this paragraph, the baby is waking up. no doubt unhappy about the poo she's sitting in. never a dull moment, i tell you!
the days have been warming up this week. last night we decided to go on a family walk. but bina was having none of it. we had a probably 15 minute struggle with her. during that time we could have left and been back already. threenagers. we were trying to get out of the house before the sun went down. it was getting close to that time. at one point i was wearing the baby and looking at bina having a complete meltdown in the family room about not wanting to go. all that was within me wanted to just scream her into submission. i could have. i could have yelled and gotten what i wanted using fear based tactics. but then it occurred to me that she was having a three year old tantrum to get her way, and i was about to have an adult tantrum to get mine. and really, that's just not the example i want to set for her. we both want to get our ways. we both want to go about it in the same way. but look, here's the thing. i am the adult. i have to be the adult. so somehow i managed to just walk over to her mid tantrum, speak to her calmly, take her hand and walk with her to the garage. and she did it. but then she didn't want to take us up on either of our options for her -- ride in the stroller or ride her bike. after another drawn out process, she finally agreed to the stroller. juniper had started fussing. when we finally started off down the sidewalk, she was losing her mind and rooting like crazy. OH MY GOSH. i JUST wanted to go for a WALK. david was impatient as well. we were both on edge. i weighed my options. walk around the block with a screaming newborn, or feed her and then come back out and hope for the best. i went with the latter. and i think that was good because it gave both me and david time to cool down. when i was done and back outside to start the walk, bina was a happy little camper and we were all in better spirits. this is kind of how things are lately. patience is low. exhaustion is high. our tempers are short. there's a lot of "i'm sorry" being said from me to bina. and we're just getting through it all one broken day at a time living the gospel of grace. because we survive each day by grace and grace alone. it's so hard, but so good.
and so this new season begins. as our weather is changing from winter to spring, the winter of my soul is doing likewise. i birthed a new little life in february, precious and beautiful. long awaited. i planted bulbs in our front flower beds last fall that i look forward to seeing this spring. some i've forgotten where i even planted. it will be a pleasant surprise to see them when they bloom! i hope the spring of my soul is the same. seeds sown intentionally seasons ago about to break through the cold ground and stun with their color and variety. new life! a new season.