What I hope to teach her about faith someday






Mya was baptized on Saturday October 29th. She looked like an angel in her jumpsuit and dress. In the moment, I felt a million emotions, and only now after a few days have passed am I able to articulate my feelings of that day.

We had been preparing Mya for baptism for over a year. We'd teach her an aspect of Christ's gospel and ask, "Does that make sense? Do you have any questions? Would you like to follow....(honesty, tithing, chastity, etc.)?" Sometimes she'd say yes. Other times she'd say no. Oddly enough I was never discouraged by her occasional no. I felt each answer led to more teaching and more understanding, and I believe becoming a disciple of Christ is a lifelong mission so I was very accepting of every step she took that led her to her decision to be baptized.

Of course as the months ticked off the calendar and she watched more and more of her peers choose to be baptized, her desire to be baptized grew stronger, and she finally asked to be baptized. The days leading up to her baptism were filled with innocent and hopeful questions like "Mama, what if I mess up? What if I don't know everything? Will I feel Him?" Each query resonated in my pondering heart, and I reflected on how I felt all those years ago when I too chose to be baptized. I think the biggest memory I have of my experience was returning home from the church and sitting on my bed alone. I remember thinking how I wanted to do everything right so I didn't have to say I'm sorry to anyone, especially God. I think I made it to 6pm that day without making a single mistake, and I thought that was quite the accomplishment.

As I shared my story with Mya, I reminded her that baptism is just a step, albeit an important one, on our faith journey. And I told her that I was proud of her for wanting to be like Jesus and that no matter what He and I would always love her, even if she made a mistake. I could've told her a million other things that I've learned about faith and Christ, but I kept it simple. Time will gift me the opportunity to teach her what I know as she grows and matures.

What I hope to tell her someday is that faith in Jesus Christ is more than an institution or a religion. It's more than words or hymns in a book. It can't be proven with facts, but it certainly isn't fiction. Faith in Jesus Christ isn't (or at least it shouldn't be) passive or dormant. It isn't something someone can convince you of no matter how hard they try. It is something you have to want--want so badly that your body literally hungers and thirsts to know Him and then to be like Him. Faith will ebb and flow. There will be years she will feel so close to God, and then there will be years she'll wonder where He is at all. Faith will feel like a light in this somewhat confusing and dark tunnel we call life.

I will also tell her throughout her life that I believe in Jesus Christ. I know He is real. I felt His presence as she gracefully entered the waters of baptism at the hand of her father. I know of Christ's love. The very thought of his love makes my heart feel joy, even and perhaps especially when life doesn't feel very joyful. Becoming like Him is my ultimate goal. It's a bit of a challenge in my current life situation because I don't always have time to read His words, and I often fall asleep during my prayers at night, but I'm trying. And I absolutely believe He knows that.

Someday I will tell her all these things, but for now I will keep theses feelings of love and gratitude close to my heart because it truly is a remarkable thing to help God's children on their path back to Him.

A few thoughts











I'm sorry I've been absent. I alluded to it in the last post, but life is crazy right now. I can't really talk about it yet, but I will soon. As soon as I can breathe comfortably again (meaning not feel so stressed), I will try to write. I can't really write when my brain and heart aren't in the right place. Here are a few pictures of the kids from the past few weeks (and maybe months). I am super behind so I can't really remember when these pictures were taken.

curveballs

Why do I always feel the need to write at midnight? I should be sleeping. I always regret this the next day, but I know I'll toss and turn in bed if I don't get the thoughts out of my head.

I distinctly remember the last time I wrote about "curveballs." I had just arrived home from my best friend's wedding in Utah and had taken a 4th pregnancy test only to receive the same answer that I was pregnant. In disbelief, Tim and I looked at the positive sign in our tiny Peoria apartment, wondering how we were going to have another baby since we had just had a baby 3 months earlier.

I typed the words: Sometimes life throws you curveballs; just don't let them knock you down.

Life has thrown quite a few curveballs at us in recent months. Some good, some bad, some already forgotten. Somehow we are still standing, even though several curveballs have gotten close enough to knock us down. Tonight as I repeated some of my fears and concerns to Tim, I could feel my chest tighten with anxiety, but then almost as quickly as the anxiety filled my chest, peace filled my heart, and I remembered these thoughts from 5 years ago.

What I didn't know when I looked at those pregnancy tests was that I would miscarry several weeks later. I didn't know that my heart would shatter in a million pieces following that miscarriage. I didn't know that I could experience postpartum depression after a miscarriage. I didn't know I would doubt God, religion, and life. I didn't know I would stop believing in everything all together for a time and wallow in a very dark place. And I didn't know that I would somehow find the ability to push forward until I could breathe again.

I didn't know any of that when I wrote those words. I think I wrote them trying to will my brain into believing them. It didn't totally work. But I believe it now. I believe life has a way of working out, even if that means we feel pain for a bit. Things will be okay. I have faith in God. I believe He has faith in me. He will guide me through the spinning curveballs and lead me to where I need to be. He always has.

My Timmy









Timmy is 5 months old today. I'm not really sure how that happened, but it did, and I'm not really sure how I feel about it. Last night I started looking at old pictures of him on my phone, and I started to cry. I just loved him as a cuddly newborn. He is more than double his birth weight now and could literally eat that little baby from 5 months ago. I think he'd jump at the chance.

He is in a state of constant movement--his arms and leggings kicking out every which way. It's impossible to get a clear picture of him. When I lay him on the bed, he immediately tries to pull himself up but doesn't quite have the stomach muscles for that yet. He rolls over and moves all around his crib; I believe he'll be more active than Birdie ever was as a baby. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I think Birdie will stay in a crib until she's married. She has no desire to move or change her current world. Timmy, on the other hand, will be different. He already babbles and coos more than she does. I love his raspy little voice; it's amazing how different it is than the girls. Everything about him different, actually, and I love it.

I think I love the most about Timmy is the way he looks at me with absolute adoration. He smiles biggest for me, and I need that. Because he's my last baby I really need that. (My heart still aches that there will be no more babies, even though I know it is the smartest thing for our family.) I am so grateful for him, and I wish everyone could have a baby like him.

The Outerbanks Part 2

















We didn't make any specific plans while at the Outerbanks (except celebrating Cathy's birthday), so we had lots of time to just come and go at the beach as we pleased. My girls are water babies. They spent more than half their summer in a pool so a beach was a welcome change, but they enjoyed it just the same and maybe more. Cathy and Tim purchased boogie boards for the kids, which was just as much fun for the adults when we were able to steal a few minutes away and hop in the water. Towards the end of the trip, Tim's dad told the story of the great white ape, and although my kids have heard it before from their dad, it was fun to watch Tim tell it to all the grandkids.

I think my favorite part of the trip was that I was able to read a 500 page book in 5 days. I forgot how much I love to read, and given the chance, I will read as much as I can in the time allotted. Another fun memory I think I will always love is running the Outerbanks 5K with Joan. Both of us had babies this summer so I think it is pretty amazing we pushed ourselves to get through that.

I think the girls would say their favorite part of the trip was the beach (on the days the jellyfish larvae and crabs weren't all over in the water), the warm, made-to-order Duck Donuts (please get these if you're ever visiting the Outerbanks), and grandpa and grandma. I kinda wish the trip lasted longer. Going home was pretty lame, but we all got over it and have found our way again in boring old north Texas.

The Outerbanks Part 1























Nearly two months ago we spent a week at the Outerbanks in North Carolina with Tim's family. The memories are so sweet and happy still in my heart. It was a week that will not be forgotten. I'm embarrassed that it's taken me so long to upload the pictures, but it was difficult to do so with Timmy sleeping in our room. He is now in his own room so I am taking a minute today to start posting a few pictures.