Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Happy Birthday. . .

Oh my goodness, where has the time gone?? My sweet Hayley is one year old today. This time last year I had just finished being stitched up for about 45 minutes (I did not have a c-section) and my 9 pound baby girl had begun to captivate our hearts. I never imagined my heart would be able to love a little thing as much as I do my Hayley. I am amazed as I look back over the year and see all of the changes in her. She keeps getting taller and taller (close to the 100th percentile in height) and her personality is the greatest. She keeps us laughing with the funny things she'll say or do. I love how she said, "Gotta go" before she said mommy. As many have commented, "What a typical 21st century baby!" : ) She has an incredible independent streak which I love (one of the only things about her that reminds me of me---she's all Tra otherwise, except for her chubby cheeks---that's me too). I love how when she gets tired of doing animal sounds over and over, we'll ask her what a cow says and she'll say, "Moo, roar!" As if to say, "I know they're about to ask me what a lion says too, so I'll just remind them that I KNOW IT!!!" I really love to go check on her after she has been napping for awhile and catch her sitting up in her bed flipping through books with that pacifier in her mouth and little silk blankie close by.

Hayley Brooke, you have brought more joy into this home that you can ever imagine. The only time you'll truly understand is when you bring your first child home one day and experience this incredible gift from God. I love you more than words could ever express. I am so thankful for the gift of you at the perfect time in our lives. God is so good. As much as I love you, He loves you so much more. What an honor that He chose daddy and me to be able to have you during our short time on this earth. What a joy to think about spending eternity with you! Daddy and I and so many others have prayed that the Lord would draw you to Himself and reveal to you that he is the son of the Almighty God. We pray that you will not only accept him as your Lord and Savior, but that you will be blessed abundantly by His love, strength, joy and peace during your lifetime. I love that your name means "Courageous". I don't know what plans God has for you, but I have a feeling that courage might play a significant role in your life. When I begin thinking about your future and wishing I knew what lay ahead of you so I could protect you in every way possible, I think about the verse that is painted on your wall that we read so many mornings, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
He holds you in the palm of His mighty hand. He's ALWAYS there---when I fail you, when daddy fails you, when friends fail you----He is ALWAYS right beside you. And if He isn't beside you, He is carrying you. Never forget that, sweet angel. You are precious, sweet baby girl. What a fun year we have ahead! What a JOY it is to be your mommy! I love you to the moon, and back. . .

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Whisperings of the Spirit

Ever since I've been blessed with my precious daughter Hayley I have had some revelations from the Lord regarding the way He must feel about His children. I was thinking about some this morning and thought I should write them down before I forget what I belive the Lord has revealed to me.

First of all, regarding the "once saved, always saved" doctrine that I've had a hard time coming to grips with. Many in my church believe it is possible to fall from grace. My problem with that has been where do you draw the line of being "bad enough"? We would live in a constant state of fear (the bad kind) if we thought we could do something so bad it would make God say, "Never mind--you're out." Although Hayley is only 1 year old (or will be in 3 days---which is another blog entry in itself) as I imagine what she could ever do to sever my love for her I can think of absolutely nothing that she could do to make me stop loving her. Even if she declares one day that she despises me and never wants to speak to me or see me again, I would let her know that our door is always open to her if she ever changes her mind. Even if she chose terrible friends, got mixed up in the wrong crowds, drank herself into oblivion, etc, etc, I would pray every day that the Lord would bring her back to me. And just as the father of the prodigal son ran to his son as he watched him approaching his home, I would do the same for her. So how much MORE does our Father in Heaven love us??? We are mere humans and have such love for our children. Through Hayley, God has shown me that once we belong to His family and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we're there for good. I described it to my Sunday School class of 3rd graders as cookie dough. I held a chunk of cookie dough in my hand and asked if anyone would volunteer to separate the flour from the dough. They were like, "You can't---there's no way you can take the flour out after you've mixed it." Exactly! That's just how our relationship with God is---once we become His child we are like a lump of cookie dough and NOTHING can separate us from His love. Even if we "reject" Him, we may stray but He holds us in the palm of His mighty hand and He is our FATHER who will never let us go. I love Him for that.

Secondly, and lastly for now, regarding the ritual of daily quiet time. I had an example growing up of a mom who it seemed most mornings when I got up and came downstairs she was kneeling at the couch with her Bible open and most of the time was praying (although there were a few times she had fallen back to sleep). : ) I have a mother-in-law who is much the same way. These women begin their days in God's word and in prayer. I have tried for a good 10 years if not more to make that a part of my morning ritual and don't think I've ever even had a solid week where it worked out. I have beat myself up about it for a long time and tried to figure out what it is in me that won't commit to that ritual. Am I less of a Christian? Do I love God less? So lately He has revealed to me that He knows how much I love him and He doesn't tell me anywhere in His word that I have to start my morning with a certain amount of time reading the Bible or praying. Just as I would still adore Hayley if I went a few days without hearing from her, He is the same with His children. And after a few days of not talking, when we did talk I would be so excited to hear from her! My relationship with God is in my view solid and strong. I talk to Him throughout my day as if He were right next to me at all times. So it's not like I go days and days without thinking about Him or speaking to Him. I just don't have set, daily quiet times. My husband and I have talked a lot about his lately. He made the point of saying that we are the ones who miss out on getting to know Him in a deeper, more intimate way when we don't spend time alone with Him---which was a great way to put it. Thinking of it that way makes me want to spend quiet times with Him. I'm a huge fan of intimate relationships and knowing the depths of others' souls. But now I will want to do it because I just want to, not because I feel like I should. I bet that makes a big difference.

I know I have so many more lessons to learn and look forward to my next "whispering."