Friday, January 13, 2017

for my son

by Alanna

Dear Samuel,

You are going to be one soon, and I want to capture the memories of where you are now and praise God for you.  You are my darling joy, nearly always happy and eager to smile at whoever will smile at you. I see you even in the grocery store, smiling at strangers who will give you their attention.  You are an active little boy, walking almost everywhere now- with your arms still high up in the air for balance.  You cried so hard when we first put shoes on you about a month ago, but since then you are willing to wear them and even walk in them some.  You love to be outside, and sit quietly in the stroller even for long walks.  You can climb stairs, get down off the couch, shake and nod your head. 

You are slowly learning to sign "more" and "all done" although in your highchair you would rather wave your arms around and yell to get what you want.  You say "na" to mean yes, and sometimes to mean no. I think you are trying to say ball too.  But you are more of a doer than a talker.  You love your sister Isabella.  With her running, you crawling fast, you chase her around the house- both of you laughing. 

You are just starting to get interested in reading books.  You make huge efforts to find your favorite ones in the book basket and then carry them to wherever I happen to be.  It is hard to resist you so I often drop the dishes and read it to you.  You like to get into the kitchen cupboards, especially the one with the potatoes.  Often I find a stray potato in my room, and this morning one in Isabella's dresser drawer among her shirts.

You like to wrestle any big stuffed animals, and you love to snuggle with your owl blanket.  You are cuddly when you have a still moment, and you love being around people.  Getting you to sit still in church or anywhere else is quite a challenge.

We are trying to teach you obedience, and you are doing well but don't like not getting your way.  I have prayed for you since before you were born, that you would follow Jesus no matter how hard.  That you would obey Him no matter the cost.  I know that in that obedience you would find your greatest joy my son.  I hope and pray that you are like your namesake, Samuel, who heard from God at a young age and followed Him.

I am so thankful to be your mama.  I love you with all my heart.   

Thursday, January 12, 2017

for my daughter

by Alanna

Dear Isabella,

I write this to you so we can both remember what you were like at this age- just over 2. You are a joy to have as a daughter. Always talkative, rarely pausing for breath. You talk so well in full sentences and have for a long time. You sing songs, sometimes the same one over and over again. Your favorite song is Hosanna by Andrew Peterson. But you love to sing Trust and Obey, Are You Washed, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Baby Beluga, and many others. Recently I heard you singing the hymn "Jesus I My Cross Have Taken" to Samuel when you were both having lunch.  You love to learn and so are always asking questions. "What's this one called?" "What's his name?" "Where are we going?" "What're we gonna have for lunch?" You still love to read books, lately your new Jesus Storybook Bible that we got you and your brother for Christmas. The story of David and Goliath is so far your favorite.

Christmas was the time you really started asking so many questions about "baby Jesus." You had a long discussion with me on the way home about Jesus and who He is. Figuring out that He's not a baby anymore, that He is kind and not scary, that He is the King and He takes care of us. You know that He is the One we pray to about everything. You told me twice recently that you love Him.  For this I'm so thankful, because if there's one thing I want you to know it is to know Jesus.

You are still an introvert and not a cuddler.  You need time by yourself at home to just play with your baby dolls or have a pretend picnic. But I have seen you grow lots in being kind to people and giving hugs even when you don't feel like it.  I think your best friend is Kezi, who we met at the park before you were even one. You like to go to Nona and Grandpa's house and play with your aunts and cousins.

I think your favorite thing is babies. You mother your baby dolls at home, and whenever we see a baby in public you want to touch them and love on them.  I'm happy for this because you have a new baby brother on the way, and I think you will be such a big helper with him.  

You are better at fine motor skills than gross motor, but you are getting so much braver in trying new things. Climbing at the park, jumping like a frog, doing acrobats or balancing on things around the house. You either say to me "Look what I doing" or you ask "Mom what am I doing?" You like to make silly faces, go on walks, get new books, play soccerball with your papa or Samuel.

I am praying for you this coming year, that you would continue to learn obedience. That you'd keep growing in kindness and love for people, even when it does not come easy to you. Praying for you to have a gentle and quiet spirit. Like any two year old you like to talk back and assert your wants. Also praying for your emotions.  You are so much like your mama, feeling things strongly.  This makes you laugh loud and cry hard.  It makes you sympathetic to others but hard for you to cope when things go wrong in your world.  I pray that God gifts you with self-control and discipline, to use your emotions for good.  I know, it is not easy to be emotional.  But the world needs followers of Jesus who feel things strongly, and I hope that your compassion and empathy will grow under His guidance.  I pray too, most of all, that Jesus gives you His joy.

I love you with all my heart and I am so thankful I get to be your mama. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

by Alanna

Perhaps I’m alone, but I doubt it, in wondering sometimes if I am meant to be here. I am not cut out to be a mom to three kids under 2 ½. I can’t handle the two I have; I don’t give them healthy lunches; I don’t deserve this kind and patient husband; I don’t belong here worshipping in this church when darkness so oppresses me; I don’t deserve to be a daughter to them.  Maybe we all hear something false at times. Maybe you believe you should not be still single, still waiting. Maybe you are not cut out for the suffering you are going through. Maybe tomorrow will feel too overwhelming and you just won’t get out of bed. All these doubts and fears and lies, settled by one thing. The truth. God put you here. If you are following Jesus, then here is where He has you. If you are a mother, then He created and purposefully placed each baby in your womb or in your heart, and made you their mother for whatever time He has. He knows everything about you. He knows you are going to fail them. If you have been waiting for so long for something, He knows. He purposefully placed you right here, where you are.  If you are headed off to a foreign land, He is sending you and goes with you.  I know for myself that God put me in this house, with this husband and these children. It is not myself I’m to depend on, but Him. Who am I to say to my Creator that maybe He got it wrong?  Maybe I won’t be able to handle this next child, maybe things will be too hard for me, maybe darkness will overwhelm me.  But I know the truth.  Jesus put me here.  He goes before me and behind me and lives inside of me.  His grace is always sufficient. Instead of fear I want to embrace joy, in eager expectation to see what He will do next.