A Life Stirred

The Baby Question

Remember when you were a senior in high school?  Do you remember the question everyone asked you that year? What are you doing next year?  Family, friends, neighbors, fellow-church members, even the occasional chatty grocery store clerk, everyone wanted to know where you were headed.  If you had a plan, it was no big deal.  You answered the question and moved on.

But if you didn’t have a plan, it was the.most.annoying.question in the world!

Same thing happened senior year of college.  And then at each life stage there seems to be another similarly annoying question that everyone asks.  When are you getting married?  When will you start a family?  [Aaaaah!  Just let me enjoy my life for a minute!!]

And then you have a baby.  It’s a joyous moment.  But it doesn’t take long before someone asks the new question, the one that will follow you until menopause:  Will you have more kids?  

I'm pretty sure I was still in the hospital with this adorable squish when I got that question for the first time.

I’m pretty sure I was still in the hospital with this adorable squish when I got that question for the first time.

Before I go any further, I should confess.  I have absolutely asked that question to nearly all of my friends (and some strangers).  I’m just fascinated by family size, kid spacing, and my friends’ dreams for their family.

Actually, the question itself doesn’t bug me.  Not as much as the what’s-your-plan-after-college question did, anyway.  (Sidenote:  I had no plan, and there was only so many times I could say, “Haha, well, I’ll figure it out when I get there.”)

I think that question is generally asked out of a genuine interest…or an attempt at small talk.  Neither of which is annoying.

However, I’ve been hearing (well, reading) a version of that question on a few blogs and instagram lately.  Specifically, “Are you done?”  The comments to that question are always plentiful.  It seems like everyone has an answer…or rather, no answer.

Very few women have a clear we’re-done feeling.  And it got me wondering why.  Why does the desire for more kids linger in so many of us?  Why are there so many women who “struggle” with the not-done feeling?

Is it a lack of contentment with what we have?  Is it just part of being a woman (we can procreate so we feel we should)?  Is it that little kid clothes are just so stinkin’ cute!?

I mean, obviously, they are.  But I don't think that's the reason.

I mean, obviously, they are.  But I don’t think that’s the reason.

Or is it maybe something else entirely?

For the moms who still feel a pull towards the baby-stage, maybe that doesn’t necessarily mean birthing more babies.  Maybe it means adoption.  Or foster care.  Or serving in the church’s nursery (a place that almost universally needs more volunteers).  Or serving a new mom.  Or a million other ways to be involved in the baby stage.

Maybe that not-done feeling means you’re not done.  But it might just look different than you thought.

Obviously, this isn’t the universal answer for that not-done feeling.  Sometimes you feel not-done because you’re not done.  Everyone is different.  Just something to consider, I think.  I know I will be considering it.

What about you?  Are you done?  (And seriously, I’d love to hear.)

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Planted and Blooming

“Bloom where you are planted.”

I’ve been hearing this phrase everywhere lately.  So naturally, it’s got me thinking.

I feel like I need to confess that my first thought on this phrase isn’t very spiritual or wise or deep.  Every time I hear it, I picture a person literally planted in the soil with a little green sprout popping out of his head.  My brain is so silly.

But there actually is some good truth in this phrase (once I get beyond my literal brain).  Let’s delve into it a little, shall we?

Part 1:  “Where you are planted…”

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. 

Acts 17:26-27

God has determined where I will live and for how long.  He actually cares about where I am (geographically speaking) and what I do there.  He knew that I would come to Maine and live here for as long as I have.  My 1-year-turned-8-years didn’t surprise Him.  In fact, it was even part of His plan.

So God has planted me in a specific location for a specific time and for a specific purpose (even I don’t know those specifics).

[And by the way, God planted you in a specific location for a specific time and for a specific purpose.  It’s worth remembering.]

Part 2: “Bloom…”

He [the man who delights in the law of the Lord] is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers. 

Psalms 1:3

If I plant myself in God’s Word, I will yield good fruit.  With the Lord at work in my life and heart, I will grow and flourish.  I will be productive.  I will bloom.

And it may not always look like what I expect.  It may not be blooming according to the World’s standards.  It may not look like the American Dream and a house of my own and 401Ks.  But it will be fruitful for the Kingdom, which is even better than all those quick-to-fade things.

Hey, look!  It's a free printable here!

Hey, look! It’s a free printable!

I do want this phrase to be true in my life.  I don’t want to wait until I’m “settled” somewhere or until I’ve got it more together or until I can know some of the specifics of my planting and my blooming.  I want to bloom now…where I am planted now.  But more than anything, I want to be rooted in God.

With my roots deep in you, I’ll grow the branch that bears the fruit

And though I’m small, I’ll still be standing in the storm

‘Cause I am planted by the river, by your streams of living water

And I’ll grow up strong and beautiful, all for your splendor, Lord

“For Your Splendor” by Christy Nockels

(Love love love this song!)

 

 

 

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Swirling thoughts and a question

It’s 1:45 on a Thursday afternoon.  Both girls are sleeping (praise the Lord!!).  I have an unknown amount of free time.  Do I mop, shower, read, blog, nap, or scroll through facebook?

Such a tough question.

I decided to blog in my head while mopping.  I’m pretty sure I missed big chunks, but I’ve got most of a post written in my mind (and scribbled out on my grocery shopping list on the fridge).  Classy, right?

A Slinky-trapped baby.  (Nope, it's not related to anything, but it sure is cute!)

A Slinky-trapped baby. How’s  that for a smooth transition?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about community…

And how community connects to friendship…

And how friendship connects to encouragement…

And how encouragement connects to social media usage…

And how social media usage connects to competition and comparison…

And how competition and comparison hinder community and friendship and encouragement…

And on and on and on my thoughts go.

I feel like I’m on the verge of a big thought breakthrough, but then the demands of two kids yank me out of my thought-world.  <–Literally, a baby started crying as I wrote that sentence.  And I still haven’t quite put a finger on how all these sorta-connected things actually connect.

I do know this is what God is stirring in my heart, and I think this will all eventually connect to what He’s calling me to.  I just don’t see all the dots yet.

I have some questions for you.  Yes, you.  It’s about encouragement.

I’m assuming that we all want and need encouragement, right?

So, how do you want to be encouraged?  What form of encouragement would mean the most to you?

I suspect our answers will connect to our love languages and personalities, but I still want to hear from you.  How could someone show encouragement to you?  Would it be spoken words?  A letter?  A surprise cup of coffee?  Help folding the laundry?

Aaaaaaaaand discuss.

And because no post is complete without the help of both girls, here's Jo, eating a post-nap snack and reading the Bible.  She cracks me up!

And because no post is complete without the help of both girls, here’s Jo, eating a post-nap snack and reading the Bible. She cracks me up!

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Some random thoughts before the snow

There’s a big snowstorm coming (12-18 inches!).  So naturally, I’m all kinds of excited.  I love winter.  And snow.  It’s just so pretty and white and cold and fun.  Plus, I love that a snowstorm gives you a legit excuse to snuggle up, drink hot chocolate, and watch a movie.  And if you go outside at all, it pretty much qualifies you to be the Mother of the Year.

My favorite snow bunnies.

My favorite snow bunnies.

Because of the pending snow, Ben swapped his President’s Day vacation day for tomorrow.  So right now, it’s our Friday!  And we’re hanging out, doing nothing.  De-light-ful.

You know what’s not delightful?  My infected finger.  So gross.  So painful.  So small…and yet I’m pretty sure it’s killing me.  (Don’t worry, I’m on the road to healing, but for the past 4 days, I’ve been dying.)  You’d think after giving birth twice I’d be a little tougher on the pain scale.  Nope.  The nurses asked me to rate my pain on a scale of 1-10, and I wanted to say 8.  I said  2 because that seemed more reasonable.

I find the faces helpful.  "Yes, I'm at a 2.  Because I'm smiling, but not all the way."

I find the faces helpful. “Yes, I’m at a 2. Because I’m smiling, but not all the way.”

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately.  More than normal, I guess.  Or at least more focused.  At the IF: Gathering (a women’s conference), Rebekah Lyons  talked about calling.  She said calling is where our burden and talents intersect.  So I’ve been thinking about what God’s burdened me for (oooof…grammatically, that sentence hurts).  And I’ve been thinking about my talents.  I’m excited to see what God will teach me about my calling.

I’ve also been thinking about this post by Ben’s cousin’s wife.  So my cousin-in-law?  Is that a real thing?  I feel like we’re best friends.  Her boys (who are stinkin’ adorable) are pretty much exactly the age of my girls.  So I feel like that qualifies us for best friend status.  Except I’ve never met her, and I just read her blog and out-loud agree with everything she writes and then spend days thinking about it and quoting it to anyone who will listen.  Does that make me a creepy cousin-in-law?  I hope not.  Because someday we’re going to meet, and I’m going to have to play it cool.  [“Oh, you have a blog?  How interesting.  I’ll have to check that out sometime.”]

Anyway, that post was really good.  I totally recommend it.  (And hey, if you read it now, you’ll have a head start for your next conversation with me…because odds are, I’ll quote it.)  It’s about encouraging one another.  A topic that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, even before her post.   I definitely have a burden to encourage others.  And maybe some talent?  Could it be a calling?  No idea.  So, yeah.  Gonna leave it hanging there.  I’m pretty sure I’ll come back to it, but it deserves it’s own post (or twelve).

Well, Claire is clamoring for food.  Even though she ate 1.5 hours ago.  But whatever.  It’s what I do at night.  Nurse.  All the time.  Sigh.

Hope y’all have a great weekend.  Enjoy the snow!!

Seriously.  Mother. Of. The. Year.  It doesn't even matter that everyone is crabby.

Seriously. Mother. Of. The. Year. It doesn’t even matter that everyone is crabby.

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