Well, we are now a party of three. This is Calli Elizabeth. I’m in love. I go gaga over her daily and can’t believe she is my child. She looks like me in the eyes and Chad in the face structure, lips and chin. So stinking cute. She loves snuggling, eating food and makes the cutest noises in her sleep. I can’t believe my body grew this precious gift and God gave her to us. She is the most mellow baby of all time. I am not sure how that happened. But I’ll take it. Friends say I only get one kid like this, so I am treasuring it.
The past six weeks have been a delightful daze. I am happily deliriously tired for the most wonderful cause. There have certainly been moments that have just been hard; but that’s parenthood right? We have had other moments that are just comical, like exploding poop diapers and bodily fluids coming out of all exit points at the same time. And life is just strange when you are so tired. But somehow you still function. Even without coffee. Calli doesn’t do coffee, so for now I don’t either. You will give up anything to have a baby that sleeps longer than a half an hour. Funny how that works.
At 9 days old we packed up our little family for our first outing and had these pictures taken. Somehow we all managed to be presentable and not look as sleep deprived as we really were. Brittney, our photographer, is a gem. We met through my Mom which is truly a God story. She did our maternity photos too (more on that later). We had fun with her and tried some cute stuff with Calli and I am delighted with how things turned out. Yes, we put our newborn in a bucket. But isn’t it so cute!? I’m sure she will roll her eyes at me one day for this.
Anyways, we are smitten. 🙂
We love you Calli. You make our world a brighter, more exciting joyous place.
If you are needing maternity or newborn photo’s, Brittney Hansen does an amazing job making you feel beautiful even if you just had a baby days before. Check out more of her work here.
Dear Baby Sweet Daughter of Mine,
By now we are getting to know each other and going on the biggest adventure together. We get to do life hand in hand. You are the girl that made me a mom. I don’t have words for that. I want you to know that you were a desire of my heart that God saw to bring to fruition when I least expected it. You were a surprise, the promise of life in a desert time in your dad and I’s life. Someone told us when we first found out about your coming that you would usher in a season of life for us. You would bring a new thing, a glorious thing. After all, new life is a treasure and a gift. God knew when you needed to come into our family and we are delighted that he chose you to be our little girl.
I always wanted to be a momma, and always wanted a little girl. I don’t know what you are going to be like. I have tried many times to imagine you. But the truth is I know you will be better than what I could come up with on my own. I can’t wait to find out what makes you laugh, what makes your heart beat with excitement and the things you delight in. We may be nothing alike, or you may have qualities of mine. But I want you to know that no matter who you are, I am committed to loving you and helping you become, in time, the woman God made you to be. I pray that you will brave and bold and love life with all that you are. I pray that you will always see people who are overlooked. My hope is that the things that are important in the Kingdom of God are the very things that you adore. I pray that you discover early the love of Christ and what it means that he died on a tree for you and me and all of humanity. I pray that you are confident in how wonderful you are, not because you are self confident, but because you understand the heart God has for you. That your confidence would be rooted on the Rock Himself. I pray you have a voice that rings loud to your generation of a Love greater than all it tries to give you. I pray that you will be willing to go where ever he asks and do things that shock you because he helps you. And I pray all the more that your Dad and I will show you these things because we follow Him in that way.
There will be things you face in this world that will be unfair. There will be times I fail you in the worst ways. I am a very imperfect person. But I want you to know that I will always love you. There will be times where you mess up, but I want you to know I don’t love you for what you do or don’t do. I love you because of who you are. I don’t know what we will face in life together, but I want you to know that you are enough. The world is going to try to tell you that you aren’t enough. It’s going to try to get you to sell yourself short and give yourself to things that will actually destroy you. I want you to know that God already says that you are perfectly and wonderfully made. He made you with intension and delight. He chose you and loves you fiercely. The only One you should give yourself to is Him. He is a good good Father. He loves us. He loves you. Unlike your dad and I, He is perfect. He will not fail you. He will never mess up or leave you. He is the One you need.
I want you to always try. Even when it’s hard or tempting to give up. We want you to give life your best effort but want you to know that we aren’t too worried about the outcome. If you truly are trying your very best, it’s enough even if the outcome is failure. You know why? Persistence is hugely important. You don’t make it in life just because you feel you deserve something. You have to work at it. You don’t become good at something without working hard. This world will try to present shortcuts or tell you that you deserve something just because you showed up. There will be times where your work and effort are overlooked. There will be times when no matter how hard you work, it won’t be enough to gain recognition you may have hoped for. But I want you to know that it is enough if it’s your best. Effort matters. God always sees your effort and work and takes note. Work for His eyes only. He will reward you. If not in this life, in eternity. Also, don’t ne afraid to fail. Failures and successes are not your identity. But be bold enough to try new things even if it doesn’t go well. And then pick up again and keep going. I will be there to help you up when you fall.
I pray that you hear the song He sings over you. That it is so loud in your heart that nothing can draw you from it. I pray that as you grow, you will have a tenderness to his Word and a strong conviction of the truth. We will do our best to help you navigate in a world that tries to tell you that everything is true. That alone makes no sense if you think about it sweet girl, but it’s what this crazy world wants you to think. This attempts to cheapen what really is true and makes things confusing. There really is Truth and things really are false. Everything can’t simultaneously be right. Your dad is very good at this. Listen to his wisdom. He will help you navigate your questions. Also, questions are a beautiful thing. Never be afraid to ask us things and question what people tell you. Even us. God gave you a brain and the ability to reason for a purpose.
One of the scary things as a mom is to know that you have an enemy. It’s the same enemy that I have. He isn’t creative, but he will try to destroy you. He has tried to destroy me and your dad too. He has one mission, steal, kill and destroy. I promise to always help you fight the fight against him. God has given all we need to be victorious against this enemy. But he will try and try to get you to forget that. And he will still attempt to rob us. Just know that “greater is he that is in us, that he who is in the world.” You are covered. And one day your dad and I will tell you our stories of how he tried to take us out, but wasn’t successful. Stories of how God is so much greater and is a redeemer of seemingly impossible things. I have to tell you that our family history on both sides is that story. Truthfully, it’s everyone’s story. But I want you to always know that God is bigger, greater, mightier, stronger than even the deepest of pitfalls and painful things. And then he takes those things and redeems them in powerful ways for His glory so all will know who he is and how he loves.
My job as a mom is to remind you who you are and who God is. It’s to help you know him, help you become like him. You were uniquely created by him with gifts and talents to give to the world for his glory. Let’s discover those things. And just like you, I am in process of learning to love him with all that I am. It will be an adventure. Just know, you are completely and totally adored and loved.
I know this “no” hurt. It’s hard not to let the voice of rejection ring loud in your heart after you prayed and sought God for his very best. From your vantage point, this looked like the best. It rang true with the very desire of your heart. And then for some reason, He said this wasn’t it. The door closed, the relationship ended, the dream died. Silence followed and all that you could hear was the breaking of your own heart.
I know you cried out from the depths of your heart. You thought you laid your desires out at his feet and believed that he would grant them. You ask, “Doesn’t he want to grant the desire of my heart? Doesn’t he see this need or want for what it is? Isn’t there a chance that he is the one that placed it there?” If the answers to these questions are “yes” then why did he come back with a no?
The truth is he does want to fulfill the desires of our heart. The desires he placed there. Not all desires we have sadly, are from him. We have a deceitful heart (Jeremiah 17:9), that seeks to satisfy our own selfishness and flesh (Galatians 5:17). Our motives are not always pure nor are they always in alignment with him (Jeremiah 17:10). Even when it seems like they are, he searches the far reaches of our heart for the true motive. Maybe we aren’t even conscious of what this is yet. Sometimes the no is the very thing that exposes our true heart and demands a part of our flesh to die so we can walk in life.
I know this “no” feels like hope deferred and heart sickness (Proverbs 13:12). As the waves of sadness come, it seems that all is lost. Maybe even a part of you feels like you are dying. But is it possible that he is about to raise you to life?
Our Father is kind. Is it possible that this very no is his kindness stretched out? Our emotions are fickle. They are like the waves of the ocean, tossing us about. They are not truth which we can stand on. They are real, yes, and worthy to acknowledge at his feet and definitely a part of how he created us. We should not feel ashamed of our heart and emotion. But they are not trustworthy. They do not proclaim truth about a situation to us without the proper footing on the Rock which we can stand. This is where we need his Word, his voice echoing in the midst of our emotion. We need to hang onto him.
You see, our Father sees what we cannot around the bend of that “yes” we so desired. He can see the outcome had he met that request with a yes. Imagine for a moment that if he said yes to this particular thing that it would lead you down a road away from his heart? What if this form of granting the desire of your heart meant giving you away to the world? What if you missed knowing his heart or the fullness of his love? Maybe it meant you bypassed the very reason you were created, or were left to a spiritual demise that devastated him.
God doesn’t promise an easy road without disappointment and valleys of suffering and despair (1 Peter 1:6). He doesn’t promise to meet our desires and needs in our way on our time table (Isaiah 55:8). He will not leave us wanting (Isaiah 58:11). He will provide for us (Matthew 6:26-27). He will not forsake us or abandon us, ever (Romans 8:38-39). But he also is faithfully committed to love us and complete the work He began in us (Philippians 1:6). What work is that you ask? The work of making us like his son, Jesus. This means a death, a dying of self to be raised to life again. This also means providing for us in his way, his timing. It doesn’t usually look like what we thought and certainly often contrast the world. It demands our trust, even when it isn’t easy to give.
And so because He loves you, he said no. He said I will not give you away. When you asked him for his will, his way, his best, he lovingly said no I have better.
In his time, in his way he will lead you to his best. In the meantime, lean into the comfort of his arms. Let him shelter you under his wings (Psalm 91:1). He is close to the brokenhearted (Matthew 5:4). Let him expose his love for you and heal your broken heart. Likely, he is just waiting for you to discover more of him. He is longing for you to know him more and anxiously awaiting your companionship. Don’t hide. Don’t reject him. He is the very thing you need.