Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Weeds, Roots, and Discipleship

The four of us stood there staring down at the beaten up patch of earth we had called our garden last summer.
The boys had fond memories of picking sweet pea pods and vines bursting with fat cucumbers. Now they stood numbly taking in the hard, cracked soil overrun with the healthiest crop of weeds in existence.
I explained to my row of boys beside me we needed to rid this patch of these nasty weeds and make the soil healthy again so we could plant our new garden. One by one they attacked the stubborn green clusters tugging, ripping, and falling back hard when the weed would partially give way.
Next they tried coming at the unsightly plants with troughs and rakes only to come away with handfuls of leaves and barely denting the packed soil around the root. And then just as they had begun, one by one they started giving up, declaring it impossible.
Their tired dirty hands hung low by their sides and once again we stood there staring at that patch of earth deeply rooted by terrible weeds and they wondered aloud if the garden would ever exist again. I told them all to sit down and rest beside our garden for a few minutes.
As they watched I began to dig away around a particularly stubborn weed. I explained how Satan wants our hearts to be like this. He takes the rich ground we have in Jesus and sows his weeds, thick, ugly, stubborn weeds. The soil looses it's value, it becomes hard, and the sinful weeds take deep root.
The only way to get rid of the weeds, the lies, bad habits, selfishness, prideful weeds, is to pull out the whole thing, by the root. I explained how just pulling off the top leaves, or the part you can see would leave a hidden root which would grow again and strangle our good seeds. I dug and clawed until I could pull out the whole ugly root and the boys marveled at how deep it had been inside the soil.
Keeping our hearts fertile for growing in God requires constant weeding, of the whole root. We looked at the blisters on our hands and talked about how removing some weeds from our lives might even be painful, but the healthy soil we leave behind in our hearts will grow sweet and delicious fruit. One by one the boys got to work again, now naming each weed they attacked something they wanted to work on in their lives. The garden became a discipleship ground they could visualize as their hearts. That day as healthy seeds were sown in our backyard, Godly seeds were sown in little hearts. And now every day as we water our garden, rid it of weeds, and watch our plants grow my little men talk about weeding their hearts, and the healthy things God is growing in them.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

40 Weeks - The Last "Belly Shot"

I started this post last week and forgot to finish it, but wanted to document the final "Belly shot" even if LilyMae is already two weeks old! At least the picture was taken on the official 40 week mark :)
How Far Along: 40 Weeks - born May 6 at 39 weeks
Size of Baby: 7 lbs 2 oz. and 20.5 inches long
Gender: Girl- Elizabeth Mae
Maternity Clothes: None! Yay! Back to my regular clothes and summertime sundresses and sandals :)
Movement: This little lady does not stay still long! She loves tummy time and is already holding her head up to look around.
Schedule: LilyMae is such a good baby! She nurses every two hours during the day and gives me a 5 hour stretch then a four hour stretch at night! 
Best Moment of the Week: Celebrating our precious LilyMae arriving to our family! We have longed to meet her and can hardly believe she's finally here! Thank you everyone for your prayers and celebration along with us!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

To Know Her By Name

We had over four and half months of knowing a little girl was growing our family. Twenty weeks of anticipating pink and bows, pearls and lace. One-hundred and forty days of trying to imagine a little girl in this mix of boys.
And then suddenly here she was. After 45 minutes of contractions we headed to the hospital. After two hours of waiting through IV antibiotics we grew more excited. After my water broke she was in my arms in seconds and suddenly, she was here.
This tiny little girl I couldn't picture before was laying on my chest and I was looking into her eyes and I was in love. We had those 20 weeks to pick her name and I just couldn't. I longed to know her by name but I couldn't picture her face.
But on May 6, at 3:05 AM, there I was staring into those dark eyes and running my fingers through her thick black hair and it was like I've always known her. This beautiful baby was my Lily, my Elizabeth Mae and I knew her by name.
And just like that the 4 1/2 months of wondering and waiting melted away. The little girl I couldn't imagine before had so entrapped my heart now I couldn't imagine life without her. 
Happy Birthday to our little princess,
Elizabeth Mae Clark. 
We love you!

Monday, May 4, 2015

39 Weeks

How Far Along: 39 Weeks
Size of Baby: About 7 lbs and 20 inches long
Gender: Girl!
Maternity Clothes: A mix of anything comfy, loose, or airy, with a style that just says, "hopefully only a few more days of dressing this belly!"
Movement: She's balled up tight and out of room but somehow finds ways to completely stretch out defying all spacial odds of my abdominal cavity.  
Cravings: It's fitting that pregnancy websites estimate a 39 week baby being about the size of a mini watermelon. But a mini watermelon would only hold my cravings over for let's say, an afternoon ;) 
Symptoms: My goal was to get to May. All through the end up April contractions were picking up and getting more intense making us wonder if the midwives were indeed correct about not making it to May without a baby. But now May has come and nothing, nada, zero signs of anything. Even the contractions have slowed down. But she's definitely worth the wait and it will make finally seeing her beautiful face even more sweeter.
Best Moment of the Week: There were several little moments that just made her finally being here more real. We planted our garden and Matt mentioned that the vegetable seeds we were sowing would one day be processed into baby food for her and that was an exciting thought. We also got her bassinet set up in our room and baby bottles washed and ready. At my midwife appointment last week she sounded great, is growing great, and I was dilated 3-4 and completely effaced. So there's proof that she'll be making her debut soon, and until then we eagerly anticipate our little lady!