Monday, 15 April 2019

Dear Elias - You're two!

My little Li-Li!!


Two years ago, I was lying in an operating theatre, with a room full of people, after being rushed in to a "code red" with a lot of tense instructions being batted around over my head. It should have been one of the most anxious moments of my life, and yet somehow there was a peace, assurance and confidence that still is so precious to me to this day. The trauma we had been trying to avoid for the entirety of my second and third trimesters had just happened, and I found myself in a room full of medical professionals, who though calm, could not hide the concern written all over their faces, as they stuck me full of cannulas and needles and pumped me full of all sorts of necessary drugs.

Both you and I were in danger, and to be brutally honest, things got a lot, lot worse before they got better. But that's a story for another day. 

Two years later, I sit here with this delicious little person, beaming his toothy grin, cheekily informing me that he can do everything "ganz alleine!" (all by himself), giving the best hugs, and being the most endearing little friend to all of his siblings.

Elias you are such a gift to us.

From those early whisperings and assurances through my pregnancy, you have been in the Lord's hands. I haven't talked a lot on here about the still small voice that grounded and anchored my soul through that stormy pregnancy... partly because it has felt preciously private, partly because I don't want it to be misunderstood as some super spiritual experience, and partly because I still don't quite understand it myself. But throughout all the anxieties of the pregnancy and very real possible complications, I deeply knew the Lord telling me four things...

You were a boy
That the Lord would deliver you safely***
That you were completely in his care
That your name would be Elias which means, "The Lord is God"

You were born that afternoon... the third attempt at a caesarian section, in a different hospital to where we started, and both of us completely knocked out for the entirety of the birth.

But despite all the trauma of that day, despite the shocked reactions of literally everyone who heard our story after that day. Four things remained true...

You were a boy 
The Lord delivered you safely
You were completely in his care
You were named Elias, which means "The Lord is God"

Your little life is a daily reminder to me of the sovereign care of our God. The one who comforted my soul in the deepest place, and made the run up to your birth very precious and joy filled in my memory. You are a joy-filled boy... you love deeply and honestly. Your affections are real and tactile... and you openly share your joy at being with the ones you love! You chatter away and have the cutest and deepest belly-filled giggle I think I've ever heard. Right under your chin is your tickle spot!

Of course, you are also very much learning to push boundaries, you are fiercely independent and intensely stubborn. You know what you want and what you don't want. You know who you want and who you don't want, and you don't pack your punches in terms of letting us know how you feel!

You are our little bookworm. You would literally sit for hours reading story after story after story. Your sisters have always been book lovers, and Jonas more recently, but you are already completely gripped by a good story, and enjoy a good bit of interaction too! Reading with you is a delight (though I'm usually done after about 5 books! You would just keep going!)

Today is your second birthday, and I am so thankful for the way you enrich our family, and genuinely do bring joy to each of us. I love watching your relationships unfolding with your siblings. You and Ava - two peas in a pod - SO similar in so many ways! Heidi, your biggest fan and mother hen who just dotes over you and overloads you with vigorous affection (sometimes a little too much!) and then your friendship with Jonas, which literally brings me so much joy. You look up to him, he protects you, and I often overhear you telling each other "bester Freund!!" The two of you have so much fun together, and though you have the odd bicker over the Paw Patrols figurines, or magnetic wooden fishing rod, you actually get on incredibly well most of the time!

My prayer for you, Elias, is this. That that natural joy which comes so instinctively to you would root down deep in the Saviour... because that kind of joy weathers whatever life brings. My prayer is that your affectionate nature would overflow into a love for others which shines bright and shocks people with its generosity and willingness to sacrifice. That your love of books would lead you into a love of and desire to study and meditate on and learn God's word which will be a lamp to your feet, and that your relational strengths will give you an ability to get alongside all people, whatever walk of life, background or situation, and tell them of the love of Jesus which gave up everything for them... the love which died on a cross and offers you the power to be this kind of person. Christlike.

Ultimately, my prayer for you, Elias, is that you would always remember the truth of your name, and walk according to it...

I am so thrilled and thankful and joyful to be your Mama,

Our little Li Li...

Ich hab dich so lieb!

Happy birthday baby boy!!

Mama xxx

***(To be clear, I don't believe the Lord always promises this.... and in the trauma around Heidi's illness, although we knew a deep seated and unexplainable peace, we never had any sense of certainty that 'all would be alright in the end'.)

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Me and Mine in March

March. A month of birthdays and book days... of swimming lessons and school days... of playdates and playdough. Just the every day and the extraordinary mixed up in one big beautiful cacophony!

It is very much what life feels like these days. A thousand little simple moments, repetitive actions, commands, requests and decisions... all joining together to form the beautiful chaos of life as a Mama of four littles. It is relentless... I still have frequent moments of wondering whether how I'm responding to a particular issue or question or behaviour or attitude is right... plenty of self-doubt and a lot of prayer thrown in. And all too many moments where I know I didn't handle something well... where my own sin and selfishness get mixed up in the chaos. This mothering malarkey is no joke. But it is also the greatest privilege. Four little souls... each unique... each with their own little quirks and personalities and challenges... but each made in God's image and entrusted to our care.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Waving Goodbye to Winter: Our Little Loves

Oh my... it has literally been SOOOOOO long since I've done one of these, but I have missed recording the silly little details of our weeks... the little ordinary bits and bobs that together make each week have its own unique feel and memories. There is the day to day routine... the hooks we hang our week on, but really the vibrancy of life is made of the details surrounding those repeated responsibilities... the little spots of sunshine.

So here's what we got up to over the past four months...

Monday, 4 March 2019

Dear Heidi - You're Six!

Wowzers Heidi girl... how did this happen?!

Six has always felt to me like the age when your little people turn in to proper "children"... it feels strange to me to now be completely out of our baby girl days. This milestone of you turning 6 feels bittersweet. Bitter because I literally adored those little girl years and I'm sorry to wave them a very fond farewell, but so unbelievably sweet because you reaching 6 has come with so many other milestones that my heart quite literally aches with thankfulness. In so many ways I wish I could've caught a glimpse of you now, on those painful days leaning over your cot in the pediatric heart ward, wondering what life with a Kawasaki baby would look like... and yet I'm so thankful that I didn't, because in some strange way, that truly only God must understand, the uncertainty made us more deeply reliant on God, and also more deeply entwined with each other. This Kawasaki journey has been something we've always done together... and I am so thankful for the connection its brought us, the deep and meaningfuls its prompted and the eternal perspective its given you, which I think is pretty unusual for a six-year-old. There have been so many beautiful raindrops brought about by that huge cloud of darkness that hung over us for so long, and they have watered my soul in more ways than you could imagine.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Siblings in February // Grace + Glory

I'm a little late on posting this month's "Siblings Project" post... sadly my phone was stolen from my rucksack in London on Saturday and I've been a little in limbo ever since... out of the social media loop and grabbing odd check ins on my husbands phone. It's been refreshingly good for me too though... in SO many ways. Bizarre how something as rubbish as having your phone nicked can actually work for your good. But isn't that what God promises us? That ALL things work together for our good and his glory? So this enforced break from the social media world has made me more present with my children, and has also helped me see how dependent I was on my phone - the number of times I've reached for it and remembered it's not there has been an eye-opening insight into how many times I actually do reach for it!

Anyway, that's for another post... because this one is all about these four...

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

The Grass Is Greener Where You Water It // Contentment + Courage

"The grass is greener where you water it"

This line was spoken to me after church last week in a conversation with a young man after the service. We were talking life and ministry... and the way the Lord has led us both down pretty different paths. I was sharing some insights into what I perceived to be rather mundane days in comparison with his more adventurous life, and he stopped me in my tracks.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Heroes + Heroines for my Kids // The Beauty of Biography

Stories have always played a significant role in my life... from the moment I could read, I had my nose in a book... there was something about immersing myself in an epic story which truly captured my mind and my heart and my emotions. I have learnt so many lessons through the years from story characters - both real and fictional.

Perhaps the best kind of characters are the imperfect ones... the ones who make mistakes, who are real flesh and blood people, but who appear to achieve something incredible. Something that inspires us, gives us perspective and helps us to long to do more with our lives.