Tuesday, May 28, 2013

number four.

My little girls are turning four tomorrow, and it's making me so darn introspective! 

I start thinking back to what it was like when we had these two pretty, perfect little babies and I can't not think about the friends that we had in our lives at the time. Like it's impossible. I had two babies and a four year old little boy. 

I needed help. 

And praise the LORD, I got it. 

I'm thinking about how I didn't have to cook for a month and a half- and I'm not exaggerating. Friends brought us food, strangers brought us food, Caleb's preschool teacher brought us food, all of the moms at preschool brought us food, more friends brought us food, people sent us gift cards; it was amazing. 

I'm thinking about the sweet friends who were so mindful of Caleb that they would take him to birthday parties that I couldn't get to with two newborns. Friends who would pick him up in the morning and let him just soak up in some glorious boy time at their house for the day. I'm thinking of friends that I could text on the way to church if Ricky was working, knowing that they'd help me with this crazy mess of kids that I was still learning to cope with. Friends who'd run out of their house when I pulled up to take a kid out of the car because I just didn't have enough hands. Friends who are incredibly thoughtful, generous, fun and kind. 

I love that I can't think of my two little best friend twins without thinking of so many of my own friends. 

To a recovering, struggling perfectionist who gets so caught up in her "I can do it all on my own, just sit back and watch me be awesome" attitude, needing and receiving all of this help was extremely humbling and an extremely practical way for me to see how lame it is to try to be super awesome all by yourself.  Friends. Family. Thank you for showing my family so much genuine and real love. 

Sometimes I wonder if the reason Jesus gave me so many kids is simply to help me get over myself. 

But that's another blog, another day. 

And now I have these funny, beautiful, thoughtful, often generous, (mostly) kind little girls. Jovie's not scared to sneak a handful of cake (yes, handful) and give it to Lotta before sneaking her own handful of cake. 

"Here you go, Lala."
"Sure, hon!" 

Friendship. It's a beautiful thing. 

Happy birthday, my Loretta Joy and Jovie Grace. You've brought more Joy and Grace into my life than I ever could imagined. I love you. And everyone who I'm sharing this birthday with: thank you. I love you, too. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

baby steps.

Do you ever go through seasons of life where you feel like you're telling yourself the same thing day in and day out? I'm thinking of Bill Murray in What About Bob, "baby steps, baby steps, baby steps, baby steps, baby steps."

For me these days it's, "eyes on Jesus, eyes on Jesus, eyes on Jesus." In awesome stuff, in weird stuff, in painful stuff, in exciting and fun stuff, in all the stuff, I want my eyes on Jesus.

Lately that's been hard. Sometimes I feel like I'm fighting myself. (Romans 7, much?) Or like my heart just isn't in it. So I need this reminder today- a reminder of who I'm setting my eyes on and why.

Eyes on Jesus- the very One who made Himself of no reputation, took the form of a slave and came to earth as a man. Jesus, the One who humbled Himself to the point of death, even death on the cross. Jesus, the Risen One, the exalted One- the One to whom every knee is gonna bow and every tongue is gonna confess that He is LORD. (philippians 2:5-11) Jesus.

I write this because I need to hear it.

Seeing Jesus, who is crowned with glory and honor; Jesus, who by the grace of God tasted death for everyone. For me and for you. Jesus, the captain of our salvation. (hebrews 2:9-10) Aaaaah, Jesus.

Eyes on Jesus. The Risen One. The Captain and The King.

In the midst of whining and bills and friends and church and backyard projects and family and birthday parties and dinner and more whining and unsuccessful nap times and laundry and work schedules: Eyes on Jesus, Keri. Eyes on Jesus.

"Looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (hebrews 12:2)

All the junk doesn't just go away. (At least it hasn't for me.) But the Holy Spirit is able to do the impossible and change our perspectives- instead of this stupid egocentric thing I've got going on, the Holy Spirit brings that Jesus-centric focus and it changes my Thursday. It changes my parenting. It changes my relationships- we're freed from operating from a point of competing and getting what's owed to us. It's the gospel over legality- it's Jesus' work over mine.

It's life-changing.

He removes our need to compete and strive because our identity isn't wrapped up in us anymore. Our identity is wrapped up in our Victorious, Righteous, Faithful, Loving, Beautiful Savior; and there's nothing on earth or in heaven that compares.

Eyes on Jesus. Thinking about Him. Talking with Him. Enjoying Him. Loving Him. Eyes on Jesus.

"Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart,
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all."

please don't take this the wrong way, but:

Friday, May 17, 2013

My Bible sass rant.

I'm feeling pretty sassy this morning. 

That's a disclaimer for what's about to come. 

(Also, the vibe in my house right now is LOUD. I have four kids with leg warmers on their arms singing "Born to be Wild" as part of a "surprise party" they're throwing for Caleb. His birthday is in November.)

On Mother's Day some family of ours ended up at a church where the pastor taught through 1 Corinthians 13- you know, the love chapter. And since it was Mother's Day, he taught that mom was patient and kind; mom does not envy, parade herself or boast. I really can't even keep going with this because I already feel like throwing up a little. 

All week I've been thinking about this. And maybe that's why, as I sit down at my computer, I'm sassy.  

I'm mad. 

We cringed and squirmed through a very similar teaching last Mother's Day at a different church that we (fortunately) didn't attend for long. 

So I maybe I just need to vent a little. Maybe you heard something similar last Sunday. 




Already, I feel so much better. 

Pastors, do you want to encourage a mom on Mother's Day? How about this: Pray for the mamas. Lay hands on the precious mommies your church is blessed to have and pray that the Holy Spirit would enable them to do the impossible and love their kids. Young mommies, old mommies- moms who are seeing all of their kids walk with Jesus and moms who have wayward kids; moms who work, moms who stay home; moms who are weary, sad, guilty, tired, stoked, passionate and lonely. 

You wanna have a serious impact on the next generation? Start praying for those moms.

But please, don't get up there and teach that moms are the standard of love. Because that's more pressure than anyone needs (that, and it's totally not true.) Bring the mommies to Jesus. Remind them of how deep the Father's love is for them. Bring them to His never-ending well of mercy and grace and help them to draw from that- from Him. 

To my mom friends, who are in the trenches with me, who struggle to find time to read the Bible, who have a hard time praying much more than "Jesus, help. Please help," the work you're doing matters. You are not doing "lesser things." 

 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28)

Find your rest in Jesus today. He's the standard- you can't be the standard. That's the gospel. Our standard wasn't good enough, not loving enough. And so we need to invite Jesus in- to let His standard and His love work in and through us. Are you having a hard time? Run to Jesus. When my twins were babies and I was pregnant with Fin, my refuge and prayer closet was my car. I'd strap those kids in, we'd drive up the coast and I'd pour my tired and overwhelmed heart out to Jesus. 

It's okay to let those perfect mom walls down. 

Proverbs says this: "He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge." (Proverbs 14:26) 

Let's do that.

I feel like my soul just sighed with relief. 
Thanks for letting me vent. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

mother's day.

I have four kids. In those four kids, I have one who's just like me. Painfully so. If you've met me and you've met my kids for like a minute, you know- Jovie Grace and I were cut from the same passionate, explosive, bossy and sometimes tender cloth. I love her to pieces, she cracks me up, but that girl can be the turdiest turd. Just like her mama. Maybe you have one of those, too, and so you understand right now why I need to do this: 

Give me a minute to thank my mom. 

Mom, thank you for teaching me to use the toilet. 

Thank you for teaching me basic social skills. Like not strangling people, pushing them into walls or down the stairs when they touch my stuff. 

Thank you for not just whacking me with a hairbrush every time you brushed my hair and I screamed like a banshee. 

Thank you for not banning me from crayons, play-dough or food forever.  

Thank you for making me do chores. 

Thank you for not making horrible, awful fun of me (at least to my face) every time I liked a boy in Jr. High and High School. 

Thank you for not beating me when I painted Thomas with nail polish. 

Thank you for not beating me when I made Thomas eat bunny poop. 

Thank you for not beating me when I covered Keith in Vaseline. 

This could get really long and embarrassing, so I'm done. 

Being a mom is weird. 

And it's taught me more about the gospel and God's love for me than anything I could dream up myself. I'm not perfect. And my love isn't either. But even when my kids are wrecked, I love them. I'll take their sticky face kisses and their Dorrito cheese hugs. They can suck at every aspect of life and I love them. If you're a mom, you know. 

You think about them when you're away from them. You remember their sweet little smiles and tender hugs. You rejoice over their little victories like they just won the World Series- that poop that finally made it in the toilet is worth a standing ovation. You have hopes and dreams for them that would blow their little minds. You make sacrifices for them without even seeing them as sacrifices because you love them. You put them in time-out, spank or ground them because you don't want to raise little psycho-paths.  

If that doesn't remind you of God's great love for you even a little, I don't know what will. 



Remember the gospel. Remember Jesus. Remember that His love for you doesn't change when you're "good" or when you're "bad." He loves you when you poop your pants. He rejoices with you when you finally get it in the toilet. 

I have twins who are three.

Happy Mother's Day.