Not a walk in the park

There are two things in my life that are a huge challenge: marriage and parenting.  They are the greatest challenges I have ever faced.

Today I want to talk about marriage.  J and I have been married 5.5 years now and had dated 5 years prior to that.  We didn’t live together before marriage, which is something that was important to us.  He moved in the day of our wedding and the next day we headed out on our honeymoon.  When we returned, I realized that this boy, and all of his stupid boy stuff, were not leaving.  I went in my closet, cried and called my mommy.  I was basically told to buck up, and thus the marriage began.  Even though we have known each other longer than a decade, we are learning who we are each day.

Communication in marriage is key.  If we do not talk, we cannot grow.  We have learned that especially since having children.  We barely talk during the week, except for quick conversations during dinner and checking in each night about the plan for tomorrow.  There are many couples who realize, once the kids grow up and leave, that they have no interest any more in this person who has shared their bed for years.  They had focused on the kids, instead of each other.  I will not let that happen to us.  I love J with my entire self, and part of my goal for giving up during Lent, was to take up my marriage.

This morning was a typical morning that involved making breakfast, potty learning, and getting ready for work, school, and daycare.  J stayed up a bit too late last night, and was a bit of a grouch (sorry honey).  I wanted to yell at him, but I am trying not to do that, especially in front of the kids.  Instead I said, “how can I make your day better?”  He didn’t have an answer to that, but I hope that I was showing him I care.

I want to live a God-filled, loving marriage.  I want my son and daughter to learn how to be a husband and a wife, and to see what a healthy relationship looks like.  One day at a time.

As having nothing, and yet possessing everything

During Lent, many people give up certain things as a form of penitence.  I have been taught in my Christian journey, that although is is important to give up, it is also important to take on.  Some years I chose to do one or both, and sometimes I did neither.  I am Lutheran, and wasn’t raised with this being a requirement during Lent.  In recent years I was either pregnant or nursing, and I felt that I was making a large enough sacrifice as it was.  This year, I wanted to put Jesus first, instead of me.

So I decided to give up Facebook.  That sounds trivial to a lot of people, but it had become an idol in my life.  I would check it while driving if I saw I had a notification (mostly at red lights), I would check it while nursing Eloise, and I would check it while playing with Lincoln.  My smartphone would be on at the dinner table, in the car, everywhere.  It was my idol.

Giving up Facebook is a true sacrifice in my life, and one that I am hoping leads to taking on.  I will be taking on more time with my husband.  I will be taking on precious moments with my little girl who is growing up so fast.  I will be taking on wrestling with my adorable toddler.  I will be taking on God.

I am so excited.

in the beginning

My life has been blessed.

I grew up with amazing parents, a wonderful sister, and an extended family that is truly the crème de la crème.  I live in a beautiful place where I’ve met true friends, my forever love, and Jesus.

I’ve had my share of sadness.  Depression and I have a persistent dance, but I’m usually leading.  Marriage is always a challenge, but one that I find exciting.  My faith is strong and steady, although sometimes muffled by the everyday.

Then I had you.

My world was the same, but so incredibly different.

And then I had you.

My world, no… the world became better.

My life is blessed.  I am no longer who I was, but who I was meant to be.  And I am so excited to see what is next for us.

 

Loving Two

In two days, my sweet little Lincoln will turn 2 years old!  I cannot believe how exciting and wonderful these past two years have been, or how (stereotypically) fast they have flown by!  Link is his own little man completely.  He has opinions and moods, and is so curious.  He puts together many, many word sentences and asks wise questions.  He loves to help do dishes and laundry, and gets so excited to watch his daddy mow and water the lawn.  Link narrates our day and sings songs, and asks me to tell him all about my day on our way home from school.  He “uh-huhs” like he is actually interested in my workday.  I am so incredibly proud of him.

I have loved every second of being the mom to a son.  I am so excited to see where our relationship goes each day and year.  I cannot imagine anything as wonderful as mothering a son.

Except, mothering a daughter.

I cannot believe that in a few weeks here, I will have a daughter.  I will have a sweet little girl who I will teach so many exciting things that only a mom can.  I will watch my husband have a daddy’s little girl.  Watch our parents grandparent a girl.  I was nervous at first because I know how challenging teenage girls can be, but just imagine – I have 12 years to raise her and love her, and pray for her until we hit that stage.  Then I have countless days more to continue raising, loving and praying.

I do not understand yet how I can love a second child when I love Lincoln so incredibly much.  But I do know that because I have so much love for him, I am meant to love this little girl so incredibly much also.  I am so excited to welcome our daughter into our family and I cannot wait to meet her!

Being pregnant again

This week I am 12 weeks pregnant with Baby Gehring #2. Many people ask me if this was planned. My work-around answer is, “Well, we know how these things happen.” The truth is not exactly, we didn’t plan to get pregnant in December and have a baby late August/September. But I am so incredibly blessed and excited to be pregnant again.

I have been extremely fortunate to have this be my second pregnancy and, God willing, will be my second healthy baby.  I feel unworthy.  I felt unworthy with Link too.  I have been surrounded by losses over the last few years – too many friends and family members suffering lost pregnancies and lost babies.  It isn’t fair to them.  And I ask God, while thanking Him, why am I so blessed?

I may never know.  What I can do though, is pray and cry for those hurting, and praise and spread joy for my blessings.  I will work my darndest to give Link and our future children a God filled life.  I want them to know Jesus, to love Him, and to go to Him in times of need.  I am okay if my kids ask questions, if they experience doubts, if they, like me, ask “why is it working out ok for me, or why isn’t it?” I will encourage those things.  And all along I will work to serve others in any way God asks of me.

While pregnant, I have an internal law that I try to live by.  I will occasionally share my woes and discomforts. I will state that it is very hot being pregnant, or that I feel sick.  I will not, however, wish any of it away, or complain about what is going on.  The person growing in me is an incredible miracle. By the grace of God, I am growing a tiny human! It is the most miraculous thing I have ever experienced, and to wish it was out, to wish to not be pregnant, to complain about the pain it’s causing me, is just selfish.  So while we are called not to judge, I will wish that others would not complain.  I will pray for your pregnancy woes and aches, but I will not agree with you when you wish the pregnancy over or done.  I will, if you’d like, remind you that you are growing a human, a child that God trusted to you.  I will tell you again and again, if it helps you, that there is a watermelon-sized miracle! kicking you in your ribs.

While there are so many trials and troubles in this world, and so many questions to ask, I am going to live joyfully, while God does HIS WORK inside of me.

Celebrating Lent in the offseason

I started reading my February 2010 posts on this blog, actually completely by accident.  I wanted to read the 2011 ones, but I clicked the wrong button.  It brought me to the last time that I celebrated Lent with all of my heart.  I had given up some food vices and had taken up talking with God.  This was a beautiful time and I enjoyed reading it.  It was exactly what I needed to hear today.

Even though I have upped my exercising and my attitude is toward getting healthy, I haven’t been living it.  I have been eating for comfort way too often.  In my dark moments, I should be looking to God for help and comfort instead of Cheetohs.

It was just a simple, good reminder to look to God instead of idols.