double the love

babiesinheartThis is the girls’ first Valentine’s Day and I am over the moon about celebrating with them. Everything is so much more exciting with babies … double that excitement with twins! We had this mini photoshoot and while I’m very proud of the pictures I took, the garland I made, and how everything came together, I also see looooots of room for improvement.
And, the way my hobbies are set up – I’m going to get a lot of practice!

… and, don’t judge the paci’s. (smile.)

moving on…

During our struggles with infertility, what made me the saddest was the idea that I would never be able to experience all of the things I’d envisioned doing with my kids and family, that I wouldn’t be able share the things that I love with them and vice versa…. that I wouldn’t be able to experience the joy that children bring to your home. So, now that these sweethearts have graced my life, I want to celebrate them and play and share and experience and teach and learn and grow with them as much as possible.

One of the things I want to teach them most is how to love like Christ loves us. I mean, He’s going to teach them…. but I just wanna play TA, and be the example. Kinda like a class pet. I want to be one of the ones called on to show and lead and to help.vday1

A friend’s Insta post caused me to really think about how our culture loves and responds to certain behaviors….. very “He did this so i’m not cooking… or doing that” and “I’m not going home because she’s nagging.”  So, I got to thinking about how our behaviors are so rooted in fear and pride that we can’t love like Jesus. Jesus could love the Pharisees and Judas (of all people) because his behavior was based on their crowd approval or their day to day choices. Jesus treated people the way he did because of His love for God and seeking his approval only. Christ teaches us to serve as unto God…. not until we get what we want, not when we feel like it, it, and not quitting if someone does something we don’t like or when our feelings get hurt. Jesus knew that people are just people. We aren’t perfect. We make stupid mistakes, we make emotional decisions, we get tired, we yell, we get frustrated and we SIN. We do some very opposite of awesome things and say some very opposite of loving things because we are fallible. But, not unlovable. Not unworthy of a second or millionth chance. In desperate need grace and mercy.

This kind of love is completely countercultural and down right difficult at times. It requires humility and a heart for God. It requires constant prayer and sacrifice of ego. This kind of love is invaluable. It can’t be measured. And, it teaches others to love in a way that lasts.

*** What it isn’t is an invitation to be a doormat… it takes a mighty strength to love another this way, a strength that won’t allow you to be treated any kind of way, and a strength that will let you communicate that in the best way. lol. get me?
(I’m learning, too!! Boundaries aren’t always easy to establish!)
Jesus didn’t play. You don’t have to either. lol***vday2

Even if relationships end or change, even if you have to walk away from a toxic situation….. loving like this will never be a waste. It leaves the door open for a reconciliation of friendship and relationship (even if it’s on a different level). Loving like this will heal and strengthen. It’s accepting when you fail and encouraging when you’re vulnerable. It’s a love that doesn’t humiliate or tear down. A love that softens hard conversations and is open and inviting. It’s courageous.

This is love.
The kind of love I’m learning and becoming excellent at. A love I am constantly praying for. The kind that is the standard for my behavior, it shows me where I’m failing miserably at. Because I’m a person. It’s the love that forgives me and gives me grace. That gives me twelve hundred more tries. The one that comforts me in my brokenness and celebrates in my success.
This love is Jesus.

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spurgeon goodness

IMG_5738.PNG“…. the promise of the new covenant is affliction….
If you hear fruit, you will have to endure affliction….
But, this affliction works out precious results.”
– Spurgeon, Morning & Evening

Thank God for his faithfulness and for being a constant source of strength and patience. For being a promise keeper and a life giver. A redeemer and friend. Comfort and peace. Mercy, hope, and grace.

Amen.

{sidebar: I love these babies every crinkle, roll, snore, and toot. I mean, just look at those chapped lips. How could you not obsess over them! Lol}

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the lesson of “and”

and

(this ultrasound is from their 20w appt with the MFM… the one and only head/head picture we have!  they’ve been head/foot in some fashion ever since! lol)

There are so many things I want to teach my children. So many things I want to protect them from. I hope to pass on countless lessons and life tips that I hope they will cling to and find true and valid as they grow older.

One of the first ones is the lesson of “and“.

It’s simple three letter word that will probably be one of the first words they’ll learn to read/recognize.
A word that communicates togetherness. Connection. Association.

Rhyann and Logan.
Logan and Rhyann.

This is what they will hear from the very beginning of their life…. A connection and togetherness I pray they will find comforting and safe though I know they will also find frustrating. Their connection and bond will be one of the strongest relationships they will ever have and I want them to learn early on how sacred relationships are and how fragile “and” is. If not cared for and acknowledged appropriately, our relationships suffer.

One of my greatest desires is to teach my girls to honor each other and to their relationship. To celebrate each other and stand by each other. I want to teach them to be loving and kind. Patient and enduring. Forgiving and strong. In their relationships with self, each other, and those who are around them.

It’s so very easy to think that certain relationships can weather anything….. harsh words, unintentional mistakes, bad habits, hurts, or nasty arguments. From earlier that morning, or ten years ago. It seems second nature that members of the same family would have very close, solid relationships, that these relationships would have depth and loyalty. But, it sadly, isn’t always the case. I desperately need them to understand that even though some relationships may hold more weight than others, all relationships are important.

I want them to accept that with good comes bad – they can’t ever be separated because of our sin nature. That sometimes yucky things happen but there are also some pretty amazing things stored up for us, as well. And, that because of that warring of good/bad inside of us and the good/bad that are interwoven into the fabric of this world, it’s vital to learn to be forgiving, patient, and considerate in our relationships. It’s vital to relating to others and learning to be empathetic and considerate. And, at the same time firm and wise.

This lesson of “and” is such a big deal to me because Rhy & Logan will come into this world a part of a relationship that will require more of them sooner than singletons. They’re attached – they don’t leave the sandbox or their playdate to go home alone to decompress in whichever way they chose without having to deal with another person on some level. They will learn much sooner than their counterparts how difficult being in a relationship can be. But, they’ll also experience the joys and sweetness relationships a bit earlier, too.

Teaching them that relationships are broken by rigidness, unforgiveness, selfishness, a lack of consideration, intolerance, and impatience is a lesson that will be taught from the very beginning of their life.
We put so much pressure on those around us to give us what only God can…… so we fight because we’re disappointed, angry that we’re dealing with ____, and frustrated in our circumstances. We blame what and who we can see. We point fingers instead of being introspective enough to consider what we could be doing to exacerbate the situation.

We don’t look to and truly depend on the Lord, the one person who can bring peace and joy in the middle of havoc, that person who can give us wisdom,  what we want, and provide patience and the refinement of our character in order to endure.  Relationships can thrive and be put back together when we choose God in everything that we do, think of the others as more important than ourselves, learn to be content, and forgiving, humble, and patient. When we value each other and ourselves – not because we are so great, but because we know who we (and they) are in Christ.

Yes.

There is balance. Yes, relationships need boundaries and sometimes they way our relationships function needs to be adjusted a bit, and adjusted again. Sometimes, they end. I don’t want them to fear and attempt avoiding ending or adjusting toxic relationships – I want them to value the person as a person, no matter what the outcome.

And, ya’ll, sometimes people just need time. Time to mature and develop. Time to grow up. Space to learn. Time for God to work on their hearts. How much time is time? No one ever knows. How much time did you or do you need?

I want them to know that it will always be Rhyann and Logan. Logan and Mommy. Ryhann and Mommy. Logan and Daddy. Rhyann and Daddy. Mommy and Daddy. Them and us. Them and Jesus. All of us and Jesus. All of us and God.
We will always be not because we are a family; we will always be because of how we choose to treat each other and relate to each other; endure, persevere, show patience towards, and forgive each other. We will chose to love and respect, listen and confide in, support and cheer on. Especially when it’s hard.

Being a friends and a family will just make this life a bit sweeter.

Always.
Always together. Always supporting each other. Loving each other. Serving & validating each other. Learning and growing from each other. Teaching and correcting each other – because we are very aware and comfortable with the fact that children can open our eyes to things we do not see, and I hope to raise children in such a way that they will also be able to teach and show me where I’m wrong, too.

Relationships are tough. They aren’t always easy or fun. But, they have just as great an opportunity to be wonderful, as well. Those girls won’t always get along. They’ll hurt each other, fight, argue, and be mean but I want the foundation of their relationship to be so rooted in love and grace that it’s solid. It’s mendable. It’s fruit is joy, peace, true friendship, and depth.

I’m looking forward to discovering their little personalities and in what ways they will naturally gel and clash, how they are similar and so very different. 4 1/2 weeks out and I’m surprisingly mellow. Very chill, not frantic or frazzled. Stressed or in a panic. And, for that, I thank God!

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