Dear Husband, I Loved You First.

Dear Husband, I Loved You First.

But often, you get the last of me.

I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now, at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a pony tail or some rat's nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone's bodily fluids smeared somewhere.

But there were days when we would lay in bed and binge watch Netflix. They were my favorite. The thought of being with you for the whole weekend, got me through the week. We'd run down the street to our favorite Mexican place, eat until we were stuffed, grab some ice cream, and watch Chuck until we fell asleep. We'd laugh until we cried. And we wouldn't wake up the next morning until we felt like it.

Remember all those Saturday's we'd hop in the car and drive? Anywhere. Or we'd call up a few friends and ask them to meet us downtown in like thirty minutes? We didn't have to be home at a certain time. If we stayed out late, it was fine because we could take a nap the next day. We went on lots of adventures, didn't we?

And you got all of me. The very best parts.

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Resisting the Norm

Selah didn't crawl until she was 14 months old. She finally took her first steps two months later. For the first year of her life she just explored the space around her. She had no desire to lay on her belly to try to reach for something. She would play with one toy for hours at a time. She was always happy, content. When I think about baby Selah, I see a little squishy smile and hear a belly laugh. She was dreamy.

But I was on a mad mission to get her walking. Granted, she was one and only sat. She didn't roll or reach or scoot. She was happy where she was. At that point, she needed physical therapy. We spent many hours working through her tears and I remember the first time she crawled. She tried to get some puffs we put across the floor. I cried and felt a rush of relief.

It bothered me so much that she fell below the norm. All of the other babies her age had been walking for quite some time and she couldn't even crawl. It broke my heart for her. I felt as though she was missing out on something.

She wasn't missing out on anything.

I was.

All of those extra days I got to cuddle her and carry her, I spent them wishing she could crawl or walk. When, looking back, I had then, what I wish for now. She's two and half, busy giving her stuffed animals and our family members check ups. She runs around our house building castles like Elsa and jumps on the furniture much more than I like.

She started crawling when she was ready. When she was able. She started walking at her pace, at a time that was right for her. And she didn't miss out on anything. Honestly, because she lacked skills in gross motor, she gained so much language during that time and still excels in speech. Well beyond "the norm."

I've always had a problem with being normal. It's honestly one of my biggest fears. What is normal anyway? I don't even know. But I know there is this push for us moms, for our kids to fit this normal mold. They should dress this way, behave this way, respond this way, do this thing, achieve this by this certain time. There is pressure for us to push them to normal, whatever that is.

While "the norm" helped us identify Selah's low tone, and eventually led to us giving her resources to help her succeed, often times "the norm" defines our ideas of what is best for our children. When really "the norm" is the last thing we should be concerned with in regards to parenting.

God has made each of our children uniquely gifted for a certain Kingdom purpose. Maybe we aren't resisting the norm in shepherding little hearts, because this is an area in which we need shepherding. Maybe we have forgotten this for ourselves.

Hear me, mama. God has created you with a unique gift set that doesn't look like the mama beside you. Your contribution to the Kingdom is something no one else can give. We need each other to stop looking to the left and to the right, but forward to the destiny God has purposed for us. Because that purpose, is something only you can fulfill.

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Photos by

Rachel Ackerman Photography

Tattoo It On My Heart

I got a new tattoo a few weeks ago. I really like it. My grandma doesn’t. She hates tattoos. She doesn’t understand “Why you young people have to mark things on your bodies.” She’s cute and l love her so much. And regardless of my tattoo, I know she loves me too.

Hesed is scripted on the side of my wrist.

It’s Hebrew for covenant love or loving-kindness. Capturing the true meaning of the word in English is difficult. It’s better defined as a life-style. Like the love Ruth lived for Naomi. It’s the love Boaz lived for Ruth. It’s the kind of love that has no strings attached, doesn’t think about self, loyally loves regardless of feelings, day in and day out, in the hard and in the easy. It’s a sweet love, like the love between a husband and wife. It’s a lasting, never ending love, the kind of love the Father has for His people. The kind of love I want to spew out of me like a geyser and wash over the precious ones in my life and those watching.

Tattooing that word on my body is so much easier than living it.

Sometimes I literally go in the bathroom and close the door, just to be alone. It doesn’t change the fact that I am still needed. There is always a little knock and voice on the other side of the door calling my name. After a few seconds, I’ll see those tiny, brown fingers wiggling underneath. I never knew the bathroom before to be a place of such retreat.

Right now I’m working full time and my husband works nights in the NICU.

So I work a full day and come home to two little people who seem to always fall apart when I walk through the door. My husband wakes up right in time to entertain them while I cook supper and pack lunches for the next day. We see him off to work, and I do bath and bedtime by myself. The few hours between the babies going to bed and the time my head hit the pillow aren’t exactly rest either. I’m sweeping up food thrown in the floor from the tantrum at dinner. I collect all of the sippy cups scattered around the house. Run the dishwasher. Iron and lay out clothes for the next day. Check emails, pay bills, and clean the kitchen. The baby has been sick so when it’s my time to go to sleep, I’ve been up with him every night, and working with dark bags underneath my eyes the next day. It honestly seems to never end, the exhaustion.

I know you know what I mean.

I’ve learned that when I am physically exhausted, without realizing it, I can become spiritually tired too. I start believing lies about myself and my family. I start to feel frustrated that I am not seen, recognized, or appreciated.

After those thoughts start stirring around for a day or so, I develop this annoying, entitled attitude.

“I deserve a break. I deserve to go to the bathroom alone. Or for heaven’s sake can I not just eat without being interrupted?” I start keeping score. “I haven’t slept either. I’m just as tired as you. It’s your turn. I just changed that last dirty diaper.”

There is this distance between the Father and me. I have trouble connecting with my husband, because rather than seeing him as who he is, my beloved, the one I loved first, I see him as two extra hands to help with the chaos of our life. I start to see my children, the ones I prayed so long for, as jobs. My friends hear more of my griping than my engagement in their lives.

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Photos by Rachel Ackerman Photography