Archives for posts with tag: sisters

I saw an article recently on Facebook which lamented how moms “lose a part of themselves” once they become a mother, basically due to the major shift in having to account for and incorporate a child into all of life’s plans versus just accounting for yourself. Several women identified with that feeling, maybe you did/do, too. I want to give some credence to this concept because becoming a parent is a big shock to the system. You get a baby, of course, but you don’t get to sleep or eat or go out, etc., whenever you want to. Maybe you don’t shower for days at a time. Maybe, like me, you had a “postpartum uniform” consisting of the same pair of sweat pants and a breastfeeding tank top. Also, a big robe that I’d throw on for chilly nights or special occasions like company popping over. Just ask Matt. I wore my postpartum uniform for a solid four months, maybe more. The transition can be jarring. That said, I don’t relate to the “lost myself” post for a few reasons. First, I think the whole idea is moot if we stop to consider the fact that not only have we not actually lost any of ourselves, God has miraculously taken pieces of us and multiplied them. Second, feeling lost was not my experience at all. Motherhood is where I found myself. More on that in a sec. Third, and what I want to dissect more than the other two, if you are in Christ, who cares if you lose yourself? Isn’t it kind of the point of following Jesus to lose yourself to find him? To peel back our layers of self-centeredness until we can see only Jesus at our core?

Before I was a mother, I had my faith and my values; they became the foundation for which I lived my life. Things were real and rich and good, yes, but they were also kind of fluid. I was responsible for myself and only myself. I could, if I wanted to, change my mind from day to day about what I believe and being fickle would have had little impact on anyone except for maybe me. When we had Harper, figuring out what I core-believe hit me like a ton of bricks. A wave washed over me when I started parenting. A wave of identity and intentionality. It’s one thing to live your life in a state of total personal impressionability, but when I became a mom it was an immediate and important goal of mine to provide stability, consistency, and dependability to a future generation. I have totally “lost myself” over the last six years in the sense that 2015 Laura is very unlike 2009 Laura. I happen to feel like whatever of me I “lost” was made up for (times ten) in what I have gained through a grander knowledge of God and through finding my identity in Him as I fight the selfishness I’m prone to in order to show Jesus to my family. If I lose myself in becoming a parent, that’s a small price to pay in order to find God. Consider this: Matthew 16.24-26 “24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”.

Self-centeredness and self-absorption are things I believe that every human struggles with. We all want to feel important, we all want to be heard, we all want to be well-liked and respected. We worry about our bodies, our social standing, our bank accounts. We all think other people are way more interested in us than they actually are. Selfies are a thing, need I say more? And now we have these megaphones of social media where something we say or show can reach hundreds – maybe thousands – of people in only minutes. Now listen to how sad this is: What do we use these platforms for? We use our platforms to elevate and showcase ourselves instead of God. Try scrolling through your posts to see for yourself who or what you are prone to elevate…I was convicted, maybe you will be, too. I say “Look at me” much too often when I should be saying “Look at God” or even “Look at God in me.” I use pictures or words to subtly communicate, “I am healthy. I am good. I am smart. I am together. I am successful. I am…”. This is so convicting because I am not I AM. But I sure put myself on a pedestal like I AM.

So, this is where losing yourself and finding yourself merge together. Whoever we are or were or whatever – doesn’t matter. Let’s stop trying to hold on so tightly to that person. We have to work hard to change our patterns of behavior in order to elevate God over self; if we do not proactively seek to lose ourselves to find our identities in Christ, we will always default to serving ourselves. What we CAN do is soul search. Pray and read and listen to what God has to say about the identity He wants us to have (hint: it’s going to look like Jesus). It’s very good to be intentional and have direction. Write down and memorize a personal or family mission statement. Here’s a clip of Cortland saying ours. Matt and I pray that our Family Creed will help us focus and re-focus as many times as our culture encourages us to think first and most often about ourselves.

One other quick thing on our personal missions: I have friends who are doing incredible, selfless, mountain-moving kingdom work around the world. I used to get a little jittery when I would hear people talk about feeling called or led to a foreign country, because I’ve never felt that kind of burden and wondered if maybe my compassion-meter was broken. It was as if my belief was that we are ALL called to a foreign country if we’re connected enough to God or are spiritually mature enough to really hear and understand what He’s saying. This belief assumes that, if you’re not a “real” missionary somewhere impoverished, then you’re spinning your life’s wheels. If we dwell for too long in this pattern of thinking, our everyday life here will start to seem inconsequential. But have we pondered the plight of America lately? Our country’s poverty is not for lack of food or shelter or clothes…it’s our spiritual poverty and our level of depletion is crippling. Alarming. Devastating. My burden is for right here at home in the US and, oh boy, do I feel called. There is kingdom work EVERYWHERE here. Don’t be fooled by full bellies and trendy clothes and lots of degrees – people are drowning in wealth, but starving here. Right here. We can do this.

And just in case you couldn’t quite understand toddler talk in the above clip, but wanted to know the words:

Moss Family Creed

Moss Family Creed

 

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My kids were being pretty annoying in the car last week. Cortland has figured out Harper’s annoyance triggers, not that Harper hides them super well, but, in no time at all, Cort has become an expert in exploiting her sister’s weaknesses. Here is how it went: We were driving home from gymnastics and Cortland started saying, “I’m five! I’m five!”. Harper, who actually is five, became quickly agitated and started yelling, “You’re not five! You’re TWO! YOU’RE TWO!!” As any other parent can attest, Harper’s tantrum reaction only served to encourage Cortland’s insistence of being five. “MOM! Are you listening to her? She’s saying she’s five! She’s NOT five! She’s NOT! She’s two! She’s saying she’s FIVE!” Tears. Balled up fists. Screaming. Kicking my seat in frustration.

That's right. These angels.   Photo by Brighten Photography

That’s right. These angels.
Photo by Brighten Photography

I could not believe how ridiculous the scene had become. I talked Harper down eventually and somehow was able to reason with her. We talked about how I am the final authority on how old Cortland is. I was there when she started being a person. She wouldn’t be here without me. Just because Cortland says she’s five doesn’t make her five. She is completely, totally, and helplessly obligated to the same system of time and counting and aging that we are all tied to. She doesn’t get to skip ahead or fall behind. Maybe she wants to be five, but she is two. Maybe she says she is five, but she is two. Maybe she even really believes she is five. Know what? She’s still two. I am the final authority on this topic. I know the real truth, despite what anybody says. So, Harper, trust that what is truth will continue to be.

The whole conversation stuck in my thoughts later for quite some time. I noted that her behavior is not far from lots of adults I know, at times even me. We throw (super annoying) adult sized tantrums (typically on social media) when our feathers get ruffled over something another mere man says or decides. We who are in Christ should know by now that God is our final authority. He knows the truth. He was there when this all started and we wouldn’t be here without him. A man saying he’s a woman does not make him a woman. Legislation going into effect governs the law of the land; it does not govern the law written on our hearts. We look ridiculous with balled up fists, screaming, red-faced, kicking the back of God’s seat, “Did you hear that?! Do you hear what they’re saying?? It’s not true! It’s NOT TRUE!”

Maybe you’re not a tantrum thrower (and thank you), but you feel anxiety mounting when you hear unsettling news, whether it’s national news or a disagreeable set of views from someone close to you. Don’t stop after the first verse of John 14, but that’s what I’ll include right here. From Jesus: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God. Trust also in me.” I have to include verses 16 and 17 because they’re so interesting: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” My takeaway here? If I’m getting all up in arms or letting worry nag at me and trouble my heart, I’m showing a lack of faith in God’s sovereignty and a fundamental distrust that Jesus is who he says he is.

Once more: We who are in Christ should know by now that God is our final authority. Not the President. Not the Courts. Not strangers, not friends, not family, not even our emotions with all their twists and turns. If you don’t know what’s real and what’s not, ask the One who is Truth to reveal it to you. You will waste a lot of time finding out the Truth if you’re sifting through talk shows and blogs and articles and newsfeeds. Just go straight to the source. God knows the real truth, despite what anybody else says. So, friends, trust that what has always been truth, is yet truth, and will continue to be.

Saylor. Sweet little one. We were so fortunate to get to meet her today (and catch up with big sister Findley). I think it’s safe to say that Ben and Whitney are in the habit of making delicate, adorable, and good-natured little girls. I wish we lived closer so that we could play with them every day. We’re in love with the Harms but, of course, what’s not to love?

Everyone grab a sister! Cort, Harp, Fin and Saylor

Everyone grab a sister! Cortland, Harper, Findley and Saylor

Harms sisters

Harms girls

Huge baby and petite baby. Catching the fishhook in the mouth was just a bonus.

Huge baby and petite baby. Catching a fishhook in the cheek was just a bonus.

Harper loves babies.

Harper loving Saylor. With Cortland being born at 10 lbs, she never got to hold a baby quite so small!

Oh yeah. And we saw Santa. C wasn't a fan.

Oh yeah. And we saw Santa. C wasn’t a fan.

I bought my first thing of rice cakes a couple of weeks ago. Holy cow. I’ve never eaten something that could so easily pass as an inedible object. It’s Styrofoam, guys. I actually googled the manufacturer of the product to make sure there weren’t any pending class action lawsuits accusing the company of actually just selling packing peanuts, lightly salted and then delicately formed into perfect circles. I couldn’t find any real dirt, just other people freaking out about how tasteless these “cakes” are (and, yeah…the word “cake” certainly implies you’ll be at least marginally satisfied). At any rate, after the first bite, I lathered on a nice, thick layer of peanut butter, followed by a honey drizzle. Much better. Both girls tried them (and without any flavor enhancers like PB or honey) – chomp them down like cupcakes.

That's rice cake shrapnel on her face, by the way - not a rogue tooth.

That’s rice cake shrapnel in her mouth, by the way – not a rogue tooth.

She’s trying to be all cute and convincing that rice cakes are actually good.

Then Harper served us tea to wash the cakes down.

Then Harper served us tea to wash the cakes down.

Cracking each other up.

Cracking each other up.

Stop worrying about your life – your food and clothes and all the other things that cloud your vision. The birds don’t fret about where their food will come from. The birds aren’t anxious about where they’ll sleep. All the things they need, God has made available to them. And you? If God cares so much for the birds, won’t He make sure His children are taken care of? You can’t improve your situation by worrying, so stop…always ALWAYS seek God’s kingdom first – and His righteousness. When you do, you’ll never want for anything else.

Paraphrased from Matthew 6.25-34

Harper made a birdhouse to help us remember that if God’s eye is on the sparrow, He certainly watches over us.

Harper making her birdhouse nice and colorful.

Harper making her birdhouse nice and colorful.

Cortland wanted in on the action.

Cortland wanted in on the action.

Stray paint

Stray paint on a pretty face.

We’re back to play-outside-weather!

Name that movie tune: "There were never such adoring sisters!"

Name that movie tune: “There were never such adoring sisters!”

Sunny baby.

Sunny baby.

Slide racing.

Slide racing.

What a great morning. Everyone slept until 8:15am. And as we all know, being well-rested promotes laughing easily, being more social, and just generally being less mean. At least around here. The contrast between having had a good night’s sleep versus not is quite stark. So it was not surprising, after last night’s awesome recharge, that the following tickle session ensued.

Look at the little one, just egging him on.

Look at the little one, just egging him on.

I’m actually quite certain that Cortland was living vicariously through Matt in that moment, relishing what it would be like if she could assert the same kind of power over Harper.

Speaking of Cortland, poor thing has been a little neglected on this blog as of late. To (over)compensate, I’m going to (over)share and post a couple pictures of her naked bod. Because it’s both adorable and funny.

Rolie Polie Cortland

Rolie Polie Cortland

This shot doesn't do justice to her longest-booty-crack-ever status. It's not a Phelps gene. That's all I have to say about that.

This shot doesn’t do justice to her longest-booty-crack-ever status. It’s not a Phelps gene. That’s all I have to say about that.