Thursday, June 20, 2013

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

ride the wave

Motherhood can be a strange ride.

There are the whole crazy pregnancy and post-partum stages, where strange things are happening to your body that you have absolutely no control over. Then there's the part where you actually have to, you know, mother. The other morning I was feeling frustrated by the pile of pants that don't quite fit just yet, lamenting the loss of my Pregnancy Hair, and..what's that? You aren't familiar with Pregnancy Hair? Well, it's a glorious condition wherein your head decides for whatever odd hormonal reason not to shed and you end up with thick, luxurious hair that does wonderful things. As with all good things, Pregnancy Hair too must come to an end. Unfortunately this happens when your head decides it no longer wants all that wonderful hair and so it all starts coming out with reckless abandon. For someone who has a thing about hair (be it mild phobia or major pet peeve) this is a very unwelcome process during an already chaotic time.

So anyway, there I am feeling totally creeped out by the amount of hair I'm shedding, while also realizing my favorite pants still look a little more like they were saran-wrapped onto my body than I'd prefer, and we're getting dangerously close to "woe is me" territory. Then my sweet boy, who has been hanging out on my bed, starts smiling and cooing up a storm, and I remember how very lucky I am. I throw on a pair of pants that allow me to breathe and go about my life. Cut to last night, when I spent an hour putting Lorelei to bed and the scales of motherhood felt perfectly balanced. We took our time reading, laughing, tickling, and relaxing (or "belaxing" as she currently calls it). We chatted and played and prayed and my sweet girl told me how much she loved me and went right to sleep. I was so aware of how sweet that moment was, so thankful to have time to bond with my girl. And then this morning we were back to an 11 out of 10 on the crazy meter with tantrums and yelling and crying and holycowhowisitonly8am.

My first instinct is to compare these early years of motherhood to a roller coaster. It's a crazy ride, with twists and turns and a few stomach-churning drops and most of the time someone is screaming and/or holding on for dear life. It's thrilling, fun, anxiety-inducing, and it's so fast and furious you might miss it if you blink. And yes, these times can feel pretty much just like a roller coaster. Yet as I seek to create balance for our family and make it through these years as gracefully as possible, another image comes to mind. I'm trying to think of motherhood less like riding a roller coaster and more like riding a wave. Waves are powerful and strong and they can knock you over and drag you out to sea if you aren't prepared for them. But when you are prepared, when you see them coming, you can put yourself in the position to ride with awareness and skill, to come out on the other side having accomplished something rather than having been strapped in and dragged around the track someone else built.

It takes practice. It takes focus and hard work. It takes self-sacrifice and more than a few falling flat on your face moments before you find your balance. Unlike a roller coaster, it's about equipping yourself for the ride with skills that will last you a lifetime. I have to say, many days I still feel like I'm on a roller coaster. I fall into bed exhausted, wondering if I accomplished anything good that day, other than keeping us all fed and free of injuries requiring a trip to the hospital. Riding a roller coaster can be defeating. Riding a wave, on the other hand, can be rewarding.

It's not a perfect analogy, but I think God wants me to do more wave-riding than roller coaster-riding. I see that when I prepare my heart by spending time in prayer, in the Word, and in a healthy spiritual community that I am acquiring the skills to overcome even the biggest, scariest, most powerful waves. I can't help but picture the disciples in a boat during the midst of a life-threatening storm, totally freaking out and losing it while Jesus slept beside them (Matthew 8:23-27). When they woke him, it took only a word to silence the storm. He simply spoke and it was so! Because of the gospel, that power is just as available to us now as it was to the disciples then. God will equip us, by His power, to ride the waves coming our way. My prayer for myself and my family as we continue to seek peace in our home is that I would draw on the power of the resurrected Christ to help me gracefully weather the stormy moments instead of strapping myself in and hoping for a good ride!

Oh and Mom? I love you! Thanks for everything. :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

you have God's attention

"You have God's attention."

The words I desperately needed to hear yesterday morning. The words I had no idea how deeply I was missing until they hit my soul like water in the midst of a desert. I realize these words may sound self-focused on their own, but in the midst of a glorious gospel message they were just the opposite. Through a message largely focused on mission, missional communities, and the state of our church body, God used the words of our dear friend and pastor to take my selfish and defeated heart and turn it toward the blessed freedom of Jesus Christ. Beyond the message itself, which I also gained much from, God wanted me to hear the most basic truth of what Jesus did on my behalf, and of how much He truly loves me. Me! I have been reminding myself of just that over the last few weeks, but "reminding" and "believing" can be more distant cousins than blood brothers sometimes.

In this first month of becoming a mama to two, I have experienced both more blessing and more difficulty than I anticipated. I knew I would somehow make room in my heart for a second sweet babe (a feat that seems almost impossible when your heart is already so full of love for just one!), and I also expected challenging moments. I expected tired and worn-out. I didn't so much expect that after the first few weeks of visitors, meal deliveries, and adrenaline wore off I would feel like I'd been hit by a train of emotions (with a very hormonal conductor, might I add). I suppose the beauty of bearing a child is that you quickly forget much of the early hardship as life gives way to a sweet little person blossoming before your eyes. You remember labor and delivery, but somehow when it comes around again you remember in a very vivid way (oh, hello again contractions). You remember being tired, but when you're sitting on the floor in the middle of the night with tears pouring down your face because you are justsofreakingexhausted, you suddenly remember just how tired you were the first time. You remember feeling unsure and confused about this whole parenting thing, but you don't remember questioning everything you've ever known until it happens again.

Can we do this? Are we going to damage them irreparably? What should I teach them? Do I remember anything I learned at that age? How did I even pass kindergarten? Am I really going to start doing concerts again in a few weeks? Do I even remember any of my own songs? Will I ever sleep again? When was the last time I showered? Why is my two year old so suspiciously quiet? Why is there so much pooping and crying happening in this house? For the love of all that is good where are all the pacifiers!?

The list goes on. The lack of sleep continues. Your two year old gets 4 spankings before you even get out of her bedroom some mornings and your infant wants nothing more than to be held at every second that day. Life‑even a beautiful, comfortable, healthful life‑can be hard. It can be so hard! And here I am trying just as hard to fix it. Here I am wanting, willing myself to be a better mom and a better wife. Not to mention that I have a stack of thank-you notes to finish and missed wishing a best friend "Happy Birthday" until two days after the fact. It's so, so easy to think we should work for it. That we should earn it. That if we could "white-knuckle it" (thanks for that visual, Pastor Jacob) it will all work out in the end and we'll get God's attention, that we'll earn His love.

Please, please hear this: You have God's attention. You do. You already have it. If you have said "yes" to Jesus and His sacrifice for you, you are His. So when He looks at you, the selfish mom who is feeling like a failure at 3am (or whoever you happen to be), He doesn't see the selfish doubter. He sees Jesus! He loves you as He loves his very son. The messy track record you've left behind is replaced with that of our perfect, spotless Jesus. God regards you as He regards Jesus Christ, that is, perfect. (I'll be honest, I sort of picture God handing out perfect records with Oprah-style enthusiasm here. YOU get a perfect record! YOU get a perfect record!)

As I was so lovingly reminded yesterday, that is no license to sin, and it doesn't mean God cares not for who we are in this life. Yet, if we truly understand the goodness of the gospel, that is all the motivation we need to ask God for the strength to do it better the next time. And the next. And, the next...

So whoever you are, whatever plagues you with doubt, fear, and the nagging feeling you're not doing enough, you're right. You're not, you can't and you won't, and you don't have to. Jesus already has, and you already have God's attention.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

waiting well...

It's a very odd feeling to know that something completely life-altering is just around the corner, but to have no control over how or when it happens. With my first pregnancy, I was so naive as to what labor would be like and how having a baby would change me. This time around, I am so, so anxious for this little boy to arrive because I know, at least in part, what's coming. At the same time, every day that passes leaves me frustrated because I'm so very ready to experience this labor, and there is so much I can't control that I'm just looking forward to getting through that part and beginning the journey of being a mama to two precious babes.

I have a friend with whom I frequently discuss the idea of "suffering well" and how that plays into our lives as gospel believing Christ followers. While I wouldn't exactly consider this a time of suffering, I have been so convicted by our conversations as I wait for this baby boy. Waiting is hard. It's not fun, and it's not satisfying. I have been trying so hard to make every day the best "last day" just in case I happen to go into labor, and have found myself frequently frustrated or criticizing myself when things aren't going as planned.

I feel like if this baby comes while Lorelei is under the weather or Jordan and I are bickering over the endless nesting projects on my list that I have somehow failed. I want Lorelei's last moments as an only child to be joyful, perfect, and full of love. I want to go into the delivery room feeling like Jordan and I are a perfectly happy, competent, prepared baby-having team. What I really want is to make my home here the most important thing, rather than my eternal home. I want my life to be idyllic and sweet and look good to anyone who might get a glimpse of it.

What I am so thankful for is a gracious Savior who has already done the work and written this story. I need not strive to be enough as a wife and mother, because my value has already been determined as a ransomed child of Jesus Christ. I am a great wife, a loving mother. I am enough. Not because I do it all or do it well (spoiler: I don't), but because I have been gifted the "perfect, spotless righteousness" of Jesus. Waiting is terrible. Waiting leaves me feeling empty and hopeless and frustrated. Jesus, on the other hand, is soul-satisfyingly complete and offers up a fountain ever-flowing. The sheer joy I feel when I live there is such a jarring contrast to the best I can create for myself that it's embarrassing!

Last night Jordan and I spent over an hour in the kitchen together cleaning up a rather unfortunate (and borderline toxic) spill in our refrigerator. I mentioned that I needed to clean it up and when we realized how bad it was he jumped right in to help me. What I thought would take five minutes ended up being a laughter-filled few hours with my husband over something as unattractive as a leaky bag of chicken. We spent the time chatting and laughing and bonding over how gross the inside of our fridge was, cleaning the heck out of it, and putting it all back together.

Friends, cleaning a refrigerator that has not been cleaned in way too long and has recently been overtaken by raw chicken juice is not sexy. Especially when you are 9 months pregnant. But having a few hours with the person I love and cherish to talk and to laugh and to remember how very blessed I am? That is such a gift. God so refreshed my heart by reminding me that even if my very last pre-labor experience is cleaning out the fridge, I am lacking nothing. What Jordan needs is a wife who loves Jesus and finds value in His finished work on the cross. What Lorelei (and baby boy) need is a mama who loves them out of response to who Jesus is‑not to who they are, or who I am.

So, I am doing my best to wait well. To patiently and joyfully sieze each moment God has granted me and to not waste time scribbling on scrap paper when God has already created the greatest work of art in the gospel of Jesus. And just maybe, this will be the day I finally meet my son. Or, maybe not. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I've been struggling a bit with the motivation to blog lately because my mind is literally consumed at all moments with one thing: a new baby! As we count down the days (2 1/2 weeks until his due date!) I'm finding more and more that every free moment I have, and many distracted moments in between, I am totally consumed with all things newborn, nursery, nesting, etc... When I think about blogging, I find myself hesitating to share for fear of alienating those who don't care much about babies at the moment, but I realized today after perusing a few of my own favorite blogs that this space is as much for me as it is for any of you. It's not always possible to put out content that every reader will relate to, and I need to be okay with that.

That said, I want to be able to look back at each post and know that it accurately captures my life and that of my little, but growing, family. So, this space will continue to change and grow as we do! :) As for what's actually been going on over here at casa Anderson, we are loving having a few weeks/months at home. Last year we were on the road almost 250 days, and that's a lot of days to be in someone else's space! We've been using the last few weeks to organize and get rid of clutter‑it's so crazy how much stuff we had crammed into our closets! Adding another person into the mix has taken a whole lot of strategy, but we're mostly there. I am a crazy nester when I'm pregnant, so there are about 5,000 projects I had in mind, but we've accomplished the most important ones (painting a living room at 9 months pregnant is no small feat) and I'm using the remaining few days to get the details in order.

I'm also reminding myself every day that this is the last time we'll just be 3. Sometimes it's easy to focus on how ready I am to meet this baby, and how excited I am for Lorelei to be a big sister. I can't wait to see my sweet husband with a little boy, and I am so ready to be done with pregnancy. For a week or two I felt so grouchy and I realized how little fun I was having. Since then I've tried my best to celebrate the way we exist now, as a little trio, and to soak up each moment of love with my favorite little girl. She is such a special and amazing little person, and while I know our hearts will grow to include space for two kiddos, it's just a few more weeks (days, fingers crossed) that all my kid-focused love and attention is just for her.

On that subject, if any of you have tips on how you made your older child/children feel loved and nurtured while welcoming a new baby, please share! She's so great, and very excited about having a brother. We picked out a present from her for baby brother together, and we have one to give her when she comes to meet him as well. Although I know she'll be getting extra love, attention, and a few presents from family and friends when the baby comes, the mama in me is so afraid she'll feel left out, even for a moment. Thankfully our life is somewhat crazy all the time, so she does extremely well with change.

Hopefully very, very soon we'll be able to share the good news of this baby making his appearance. If you think of us, please pray for a safe, healthy, quick delivery! We're planning to go natural as we did with Lorelei, and however he gets here it will no doubt be intense and momentous!