a love that overtakes me

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Almost 20 weeks ago now, this fellow came into the world and changed my life – forever. I became a mama and I fell in love in a way I could never have imagined. It’s a love that overtakes me when I’m beyond exhausted and my little dude wakes me up, again, needing some snuggles and a paci or a middle of the night snack. It’s a love that makes it so very natural (even though it’s so very hard) to sacrifice my own desires/needs and take care of his first. It’s a love that delights in every little thing that he does and every part of who he is. I’m smitten and there’s no amount of his scream crying or my sleep deprivation that could change that. It doesn’t matter that I’ve tried to write this post 5 different times and I always have to stop because my baby needs me. I miss having time to write and create different things, but I know it is just a season. I also know that when this season is over, I’ll miss the little baby cuddles more than I currently miss having a clean kitchen or sitting as long as I’d like in a coffee shop with my journal and a good book.

This love has taught me so much about my Jesus and the way He has forever loved me and you. My love for my baby is big, but it is so tiny in comparison. (People say these things all the time, but now I get it…)

This love has taught me that true sacrifice always flows from true love, and that you can’t have true love without true sacrifice. (I feel like I should have so much more to say about this, but I just can not find the words. Could be the sleep deprivation, could be that it’s just too big for words.)

Now, this sweet boy needs some attention… But hopefully, I’ll be back soon (even if I have to write on my iphone while nursing my boy, like now. The multitasking mama life.).

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Jerry Maguire taught the world lies.

I, for the time being, have the luxury of being able to sleep in. That really just means that I have the luxury to stay up really late reading. Last night I stayed up [till 2:30am] finishing a novel (Remember by Karen Kingsbury). I borrowed it on my kindle from my friend (Asia Sister) Brittany. It’s a part of a series. This was book 2 of 5. I was hesitant to start reading because a series of novels all at my disposal (if Brittany continues to share) will inevitably suck me in and distract me from reading other things that I want to be reading, but I did it anyway because I wanted to … escape into a story.

Buuuuuut… last night, towards the end of the book, I found myself annoyed and while I’ll probably eventually get over it and read the rest of the books [I’ve begun to care about the characters as though they are my friends. Do you do that?] I’m glad to be annoyed by them for a while so I can get back to my other reading.

Why am I annoyed? I’ll tell you.

Because Ryan told Kari (characters in the book) “… the only time I’m ever whole is when I’m with you.” AND “You complete me, Kari. You always will.”

UGHHHHHHHHHHHHH! {Eyes rolling! Arms up in the air!}

Maybe this is, once again, me being finicky about word choices. But seriously, I think Jerry Maguire taught the world lies.

Why Jerry? Why did you have to say that?????

I have gained much and lost much in my life. Relationships. Possessions. Reputation. Respect. Success. They’ve come, they’ve gone, they’ve come, they’ve… What I have learned is that none of the gains will ever make us more complete and none of the losses make us less complete.

Completion is a job that ONLY JESUS can do.

I’m single. AND. Believe it or not, I am complete. Sure, I would really love to have a person to walk through life with who compliments me and I hope, someday, that I will… but completing me is never going to be the job of a man, and I will never accept the position of completing another. (Maybe that’s why I’m single?) It’s too much pressure for a person. It is the job of JESUS. He made me. He fills me. I’m complete.

Now, I know some of you have said these words – “You complete me!”, or some form of them, and I appreciate your sentiment. I really do. You’re in love. You feel more alive and all that other mushy stuff. And that’s beautiful. But maybe it’s because you COMPLIMENT each other, not because you COMPLETE each other. That’s probably what you meant, just not what you said. Again, I’m finicky about words. Don’t take it personally.

Complimenting is a beautiful thing.

Completing is an unhealthy expectation for anyone who is not GOD.

And that’s what I think about that… Since you asked.

P.S. The first time I watched Jerry Maguire, I was in 8th grade on a plane to Washington D.C. I thought it was so romantic when Jerry said those famous words. I hoped someday someone would say them to me. Oh 14-year-old Shanda… Now, if someone said them to me I would probably respond with, “Aww… That’s nice… But I really don’t complete you…”

the love of my Father

I spent yesterday afternoon and evening at the beach. I sat at a picnic table journaling. I walked in the sand up and down the shore. I stood staring into the horizon. I sat on a bench reading. I laid in the grass. I went to my favorite ocean-side coffee shop. I took pictures of the sunset over the pacific.

Being near the ocean delights my soul. When the salt air hits my nostrils and curls up my hair, it also wraps me up in the love and closeness of  Jesus. {Cheesy sounding, maybe. But so very true.}

At one point in the day, I watched (in a non-creepy fashion) a man and his two daughters playing in the grass under the palm trees. The girls were probably 2 and 4 years old. He would chase them and they would act as though they didn’t want to be caught, but they did. He’d pretend it was hard to catch them, but it wasn’t. Then he would scoop them up in his arms and spin them around. They would giggle with delight and then he’d put them down and it would be their turn to chase him. After a minute or two he’d pretend to be tired and fall to the ground, giving them the chance to catch him. Then he would say, “Ohhh… here comes a hugging monster… here comes ANOTHER hugging monster!” And the girls would wrap their little arms around him and, again, he’d pick them up and spin them around. They clearly loved their father and delighted in his love for them.

I LOVE seeing people LOVE, especially fathers and daughters (and sons too). It’s such a special thing. As I sat there, I remembered my own father’s love for me…

I’m very ticklish. When I was a little girl, my Dad would attack me with tickles and I’d giggle until I could barely breathe while protesting, “top it Daddy, top it!” (top it = stop it) He would stop and I’d catch my breath and then say, “Do it again! Do it again!” I don’t think it was that I LOVED being tickled so much as it was that I loved having his attention. I loved making him laugh and smile. As I got older, I was so impressed by his random knowledge about the world that I wanted to impress him with my own so I read and I learned and I would say, “Hey Daddy, Did you know _____________?” and when he didn’t know, I felt like I’d achieved something amazing. [So, yes… My nerdiness is all a result of a desire to impress my father.] The funny thing though is that I didn’t have to TRY to impress him. I could have been the biggest idiot in the world and known nothing about anything and he would have thought I was just amazing – because I was his daughter, the little girl with curly red hair that he had always dreamed of.

So as I sat in the grass by the beach watching this father love his daughters and thanking Jesus for the love my father had for me… He reminded me…

This is how I love you. This is how the Father loves you. You don’t have to impress us. You don’t have to work to achieve Our love. We made you. We delight in you. We love your attention and you always have Ours.

Today is my Daddy’s 55th birthday. He’s not on earth to celebrate it, but I will… because I’m thankful for the ways he taught me about love and helped me to understand the love of my Father.