Sweet Seven

Dear Gabe,

It’s ridiculous how you’ve grown without me even really noticing. Then one day you turn 7 and I look back and can’t remember nearly enough of all the in between moments. But I remember some. I remember how you would monkey crawl all over the place. I remember how you’d fall asleep during dinner if you went without a nap. You got so excited when you would see Buzz Bightyear!

Seven years with you have been the sweetest. I just wish . . .

I never wanted to say those words as a mom. I remember when you were first born, and your brother wasn’t even two years old yet, I consciously decided that I would live in such a way that I wouldn’t regret or long for anything different. I haven’t done such a good job at that. But I encourage myself that you are not even halfway through with your time at home and there is still time for me to be the best mama to you. So what do I wish right now that I would do differently from now until you’re grown?

I wish that I would take time with the Lord every morning. Fervently. Whole-heartedly. I want to be full of Him—not just for you and your brothers, but for me. I am His daughter and I long for quiet, intimate time with Him. And I am confident that that would result in a sweeter, more patient, more gospel-powered mama for you.

I wish that you heard me praying for you more often. I wish I pulled you aside more often to take you before the Lord with me. I wish you were undoubtedly aware of the importance of knowing Him and having a relationship with Him.

I wish that I wasn’t so harsh with you. You are the more sensitive of all my boys, yet I speak to you the same way I do the others and I fear it breaks your spirit at times. Where I can be firm with the others, I must be gentler with you.

I wish I’d taught you to make cookies already. You’ve been requesting to learn for over four months and for whatever lame reason, I haven’t taught you yet. Let’s do it. This week. Because I love you.

Yes, your mama fails you often, but you still squeeze my hand three times whenever you hold it. (You still hold my hand!) You still give me cute winks, kisses when you get out of the van for school, and sudden outbursts of “I love you more than you think!”

Thank you for loving me so well, Gabe. You have been a blessing to me from the first day I felt you kick inside of me. You are so precious to me. You are so precious to your Maker. I pray that as you work toward year eight, you will know Him better. I pray that the gospel will come alive in your heart as you continue to learn it with your head. I pray you know Him. I pray that I will be a faithful picture of Jesus to you.

I love you more than you think,

Mama

#livesmatter

Dear Boys,

It was a. heavy. day.

This morning I pulled you aside and spoke a harsh reality. For the first time ever, you learned that babies are being killed right here in Nashville. I explained as simply and truthfully as I could. There was not detail– just a big picture of an evil plot.

On our way out the door when Daddy asked you why this is wrong, you answered, “Because God made those babies.” Yes.

As we loaded into the van, I heard, “We must stop this.” Exactly.

And today we did a small thing that we pray has a large impact. We drove into the heart of Nashville and marched and stood and prayed with hundreds of other Image Bearers. We stood for Life. I am so thankful you were there and were a part of it.

I’m thankful mostly that you are here.

There are so many women who will walk alone because they chose wrongly for their sweet babies. They won’t hold their little one’s hands, won’t have hilarious conversations, won’t feel precious arms wrap around their neck after a hard day. So many women will try to imagine for the rest of their lives what their child would look like and be.

I’m thankful to look at my Drew and see a crazy reflection of my younger self.

I’m thankful to look at my Gabe and see the red-headed, tenderhearted boy whose stolen my heart.

I’m thankful to look at my Wes and see the sweetest face on one of the funnest, most mama-lovin’ boys I know.

And I’m thankful to look at my Noah and see a little boy who is growing and learning and developing his own personality more everyday.

Your lives are important. All lives are important. Each person that God has created, He has created in His own image. So let’s not stop at marching for the unborn babies. Let’s treat all lives with love, kindness, and respect. Let’s treat each other with love, kindness, and respect. Because that is how Christ has been toward us.

Love God well enough that you are willing to step out in love for others. Today you did, but that’s because you followed us. I pray that as you grow, you will know Him better and, therefore, love others better. Especially those with no voice. Keep standing– even no one else will.

I’m trusting that God will enable my boys to turn into His valiant warriors.

I love you guys like crazy,

Mama

See Jesus. Not me.

Dear Boys,

The work God has given me as your mama is the most important work I could be doing. Anything the Lord calls us to do is the best and most important work for us.

But it’s hard.

The monotony is hard.

The lack of immediate results is hard. And hard can lead to discontent.

Discontent is an uneasy road to live on but far too easy to get on.

Sometimes I wonder who you see when you look at me. When you hear my voice, what does it sound like to you?

There are days that are so grace-filled, gospel-spoken, joy-driven—but they seem to be fewer these days than they used to be.

Then there are days that are just sin-soaked. From every direction we all feel so beaten down that we start beating each other with impatience, selfishness, hurry.

I will only fail you. I am more aware of that after this past year than I have ever been before. This isn’t modesty. It is the muddy truth. Every single day that I get out of bed without a thought of the Life-Giver, I walk down those stairs a dead woman incapable of giving grace to any of my precious boys.

He will not fail you. And I hold onto that Truth with white knuckles and a thankful heart.

And so I fall on Him. I cleave with my entire being onto His character. I trust Him to complete the work He has begun in our home.

And it will keep being messy and hard. But I can be content in that mess knowing that it is He who has put me here and it is He who will work through me here.

I whisper to myself in those early hours, “Let your four boys see Jesus today. Not you.”

I pray you see Jesus. Only Jesus.

I love you like crazy,

Mama

Yes, we have full hands.

Dear Boys,

Sometimes I wonder if it drives you as crazy as it drives me. You know what I’m talking about. Those moments when the five of us are out grocery shopping and do all we can to hang on to that last straw of sanity and make it out the door before one of you has a complete meltdown– and just then a stranger so innocently approaches to let us know that we have our hands full (because we were obviously oblivious to it, right?). In that moment, most of you are in stranger-shock and turn into quiet, happy boys which leads said stranger to comment on how well-behaved you are. And you are, really. It just doesn’t usually feel like it at that moment because of the chaos surrounding errands.

Do you ever get tired of hearing, “All boys?” “Are you going to try for a girl?” As if you weren’t treasure enough for me.

Let me just get one thing straight. The four of you boys are far more precious to me than any girl could be. I love you like crazy. And no, I don’t need a girl to complete our family. You four and your daddy fill my heart. And when people stop to remind us that we have a “big” family, though initially annoyed (more often than I ought to be), it is a reminder of how blessed we are. My hands ARE full. But my heart is just overflowing.

Just know that I will take the full hands, the tiring errands, the hard days, and the boy noises, energy, and competition if it means I get to live my life with you in it. I love being your mama. I love that each one of you is a part of our family. I love each one of you like crazy.

Mama

Dear Boys,

When I was your age, my only dream was to be a wife and mom. I can still remember my first baby– the one that came about 18 years before any of you grew inside of me. Emily was given to me as a birthday gift and she didn’t leave my side for months. I still remember how her rubbery head smelled– weird as that is. My next baby was actually my brother. When your Grandma brought him home from the hospital, I snatched him up and took care of him as well as I knew how– all the while adorning the “doctor’s clothes” we’d received at a sibling class the hospital hosted. I loathed the moments when I’d have to hand him over so he could be fed or go down for naps.

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You know, in all of my playing house, I never imagined that God would give me four boys. At 2, 4, 6, and 8, you guys are my little loves. I see dreams seep through those hearts and mouths and I pray that all your desires would come from Him. My deepest yearning is for each of your hearts to be connected to Christ’s. For all the teaching, training, playing, crying, and overall madness that goes on in this home, I know that it is God who has to work in each of you. Can I tell you what a relief that is–especially in the midst of these hard seasons when words are said that can’t be unspoken, tones used that can’t be undone, when priorities are sometimes crooked, schedules unpredictable, brothers seemingly favored above you, when mama runs out of her chocolate stash and can’t even find a quiet closet for a few moments of stillness. Our life is loud and it is hard. But I pray you can taste and see how good it is because of our God. Even on the hard days.

More than anything today, I want you to know that my heart is always crying out and interceedingfor you– for grace, salvation, fruit, and a deep heart-knowing of God. You–Drew, Gabe, Wes, and Noah– are my little pilgrims. And I pray for the grace to lead you well to the Celestial City (we are obviously in the middle of reading Little Pilgrim’s Progress).

I love you like crazy,

Mama