Gone Coastal

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Pondering Grace

This is one of those posts that's been brewing for awhile, but now I find I'm not sure where to start. Understanding and growing in God's grace has been a theme for me lately. Consciously since around the holidays, but I think that's only when I started to recognize a work that's been in progress for awhile (how old am I now?).

I've been reading a book I picked up a couple of months ago, Tender Mercy for a Mother's Soul. It was about Christmas or so that I got into the two chapters that deal specifically with grace. It's definitely something I needed to ponder.

I think my understanding of grace has been fairly limited. Safe. Rather like the way it's used of extended deadlines and such, "There's a 7-day grace period." Cutting you a little slack when you're capable but you just didn't quite get there as quick as you'd hoped. But motherhood, and some of the writing in this book, has shown me that I've had and I need a so much more all encompassing kind of grace. It's shown me more than anything I've ever done, ever tried to do, or even ever failed at, how very insufficient I am in my own strength and abilities to be the parent, the mentor, the wife, the full woman I long to be, and at the same time how fully sufficient God's grace is to allow me to do what needs to be done, leave what needs to be left for a time, and be at peace about it. God's grace is for when you're entirely unable.

Grace is there when I'm sure one day I'm overindulging my baby girl, wrapped tight around her tiny fingers, and the next day that I'm neglecting her and my priorities are all wrong because she'll grow up too fast and I'll miss it if I don't spend every waking minute actively engaged with her. I can find peace. Grace brings me back to earth, to my knees, when I let my fears race years ahead and I want to quit because of all the things I can't believe I'll be able to handle in keeping a marriage and family healthy. Grace gives me courage to follow the teaching of the Word when it runs counter to some of the strongest values that I was raised with, and then lets me see the truth come alive in my life. Grace draws me back over and over to Jesus to fill my cup, that I can then overflow with grace to those around me that I once relied on to be my source.

I need to say, lest I give a false impression, that this is an ongoing lesson. These are my reflections in the calm quiet at the end of the day, but I struggle to recognize and receive grace through every hour of the day. But that's really what grace is about anyway. The Lord said to Paul, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Notice: Bear on Duty

So, tonight I'm starting an evening class at the local art college. It's an intro course in acrylics, and I'm looking forward to actually developing some technique in a medium. Those who know me artistically know that I'm prone to doing something completely different with every project I start and improvising as I go. But more even than the chance to learn and create, this will be the first scheduled thing I've done without T at my side. Apart from a handful of spontaneous brief escapes when she was quiet or sleeping and the Bear was around to keep an eye or ear out for her, she's gone everywhere I've gone for the last four and a half months.
And of course this means the Bear is on duty tonight, and every Tuesday for the next ten weeks. I'm trying to lay out everything for him, and I'm sure he and T will do just fine, but he's a bit apprehensive. So if you should happen to read this tonight and you feel so led, say a prayer for the Bear on his first shift.

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12-18 months

This won't be news to anyone who's already got kids, or has tried to buy clothes for someone else's kids. Sizings for baby clothes are fairly arbitrary and seemingly random.
I got my first taste of this before T arrived, as I was sorting the great bounty of stuff we were given. Sorting the sleepers by actual, physical size, I had things marked as 12 months that were smaller than some marked 3 months.
Well, last week I had to do a bit more shopping. I'd noticed that several of the pants she had without feet were pulling up to her knees when she was sitting (something she's practicing a lot these days, with a little support). So, we went down to Abra-Kid-Abra, a great little new and used kids store. Fortunately, my eye for size has improved, and I can now look at things on the rack before looking at size labels and get a pretty good idea of what's going to fit (or be a little big, as all parents know is best until they get old enough to protest).
She got two used tops, and a pair of used jeans, (for $6 each - woohoo), and one new pair of pants 'cause they were way too cute. They all fit her nicely, just a little loose with room to grow. And they were all labeled 12 months or 12-18 months. She's only 4 1/2 months old! She's not a tiny girl, never was, but she's not that big.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

When God made me . . .

He gave me a really great thumb! It hooks so nicely in the corner of my mouth, just the right size when my gums hurt, and I can always find it when I need it!


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New Year's Revolution

I don't know about any of you, but I've never been big on resolutions. Building up to the one big day of the year when you should suddenly be able to conquer your bad habits, and establish all the good ones you've been lacking. What is it about changing over to a new calendar that makes people put all that pressure on themselves?
But it's hard to avoid at least thinking about what you'd like to do, and what you wish you'd done in the past year, and in thinking of it this year I was reminded of a truth. If we've made a mess of things today, we don't have to wait until next year to start fresh. We've got a God who is faithful, even when we're not, and we can come to him to clean our slate, and give us strength to move through the consequences and try again. His mercies are new every morning.
So, I propose that rather than thinking of this as just the one day to start a new year, think of it as the first (now the fourth) of a whole year of new days. Have a Happy New Day's Year.


I'm thankful for a lot of things, though it seems far to rare that I take the time just to be so. Not even so much the act of saying thank you, but reflecting on the good things we have, and those people and things that make the tough parts not so bad.
Today I'm particularly thankful that our baby girl is not inclined to be a screamer. She seems to have a bug of sorts the last few days, likely something she picked up in our weekends travels, and so she's let us know in no uncertain terms that's she's uncomfortable. Far more persistent and screeching than her typical boredom babble or feed me call. But still, not unbearable. What's far worse is not being able to do anything about it, to know she's unhappy and uncomfortable, possibly in pain, and I can't fix it or even help her understand what's happening.
But in all humble honesty, I'm mostly thankful that in fighting this bug, she's choosing to sleep a lot rather than cry it out. At least I can then distract myself with the list of accumulated tasks on the to do list. I took her out to the park with the dogs around noon, and then dropped the dogs off and walked with her to the bank while the skies were patchy blue and dry. She was awake and talking a bit as we came back up the block, and I was sure I'd be warming a bottle within minutes of coming through the door, the request coming through in force the moment the stroller stopped moving. But I brought her carrier in and put her down on the floor, and then grabbed a muffin while I could, and made a pitstop at the bathroom, still anticipating the urgent onslaught. But she's still sleeping. In fact, she's still in her carrier, and I've finished cleaning out the guest room for the Bear's stepdad, finally run a mop over the living room, and now made a post to the blog.
If I didn't know the rest was good for her, I'd probably feel guilty. As it is, I'm looking down at her as I type, offering up little motherly prayers, and wondering if I should grab a bottle and unbuckle her soon.
Sweet dreams.

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