Now I Lay Me Down to (Not) Sleep

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Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray that I don’t hear a peep.
If he should cry before I wake,
I pray the Lord no soul I take.

The baby sleeps in the other room,
The house is quiet as a tomb.
In our bed, we finally plop,
We thought the crying would never stop.

We have a pair of great degrees,
We thought that this would be a breeze.
But ever since the baby crowned,
We feel a bit as if we drowned.

The things we said we’d never do,
Have become ritual tried and true.
We’ve never had less control,
While trying to parent this little soul.

When we are tempted to despair,
And there is spit up everywhere,
We must recall what God has planned,
And even difficulty is from His hand.

To the Lord we have turned,
And to His Word for lessons learned.
Upon Christ, we must depend,
He’s our only guide and friend.

Though the dirty clothes are piled,
We are stewards of this child.
Through our weakness, we can see,
How Christ works through you and me.

He uses us to shape and mold,
While refining us like gold.
As we instruct this tender heart,
He teaches us lessons that won’t depart.

Though the nights are long and trying,
And we often feel like crying,
We are thankful for this baby,
And one day, we will get some sleep. Well…maybe.


Hallway Church

Church

Church hallway selfie!

I have spent the past four months attending what I affectionately call hallway church. Meaning, I have spent a lot of time standing in the hall outside of the sanctuary with a crying/eating/fussing/noisy baby. It has been discouraging at times. I have been tempted many times (including this past Sunday) to just stay home. I know that most likely I will end up standing in the hall until the baby goes to sleep and probably only listening to part of the sermon.

I have to battle my own heart every week. So I made a list of reasons why it is still important to go to church even if I do not get to hear all of the sermon. It is what I use to encourage my own heart and I pray that it would encourage you as well.

  1. Obedience – We are commanded in Scripture to not neglect meeting together. If I skip church, I am disobeying this command. When I obey, I reap the blessings that come with obedience like the blessing of fellowship.
  2. Fellowship – There is always another mom in the nursery or in the hall. I have had some sweet fellowship with other moms while taking care of my baby. I would miss these opportunities if I stayed home. You never know who you will have the opportunity to bless and encourage. Or be blessed and encouraged by!
  3. Bear Burdens – As believers, we are called to bear one another’s burdens. If we are not meeting together, how will we know what those burdens are? Standing in the hallway communing and commiserating, we can bear one another’s burdens.
  4. Example – I want to set the example to my son that church is a priority. I want him to grow up knowing that every week we worship corporately. Furthermore, I want to exemplify this priority to the kids in youth group that we minister to.
  5. Marriage – Attending church is not only personally edifying, it is edifying to my marriage. My walk with the Lord is strengthened by being able to discuss spiritual matters with my husband. If I am not at the service, I can’t discuss it with my husband. Even if I only get five minutes of the sermon, it is something that we can do together.

Mamas, this can be a hard season. It is so tempting to just stay home! But I encourage you to keep pressing on. Your spiritual life, your relationships, your children, and your marriage will benefit by you attending church!

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Are you praying for your church leaders? It is really important that we pray for our church leaders. Here is a list of nine things to pray for them.


You Have to Be Home to be a Homemaker

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“You have to be home to be a homemaker.” Those words have left on an impact on my heart even four years later. I was a senior in college and the students in one of my classes had the privilege of attending a brunch hosted by John MacArthur’s wife, Patricia.

I don’t remember much about that brunch. I do remember the cozy feeling you got from being in their home. I remember the food being delicious (even though I can’t recall exactly what it was). I honestly do not remember everything that we talked about, but I do remember those words.

Mrs. MacArthur shared that it was hard to be a homemaker if you were constantly running around to this soccer practice and that social event. In order to be a homemaker, you have to spend time at home.

The longer I have been a wife (and now as a new mom) the more I have found this to be true. Yesterday, my two-month old and I spent the majority of the day out running errands. By the end of the day, we were both cranky and tired. My house was a disaster and we had nothing ready to eat. When we are not at home, our lives tend to be more chaotic.

This does not mean that you have to be home full-time to be a homemaker or that you can never go out. It is simply a reminder to dedicate time to caring for the home. When we designate time to be at home, our lives are more orderly.

As a ministry couple and especially during the holidays, we are out of the home a lot. We have to work hard at making time to be at home. We sometimes have to turn things down so that we can stay in. We have found that all of us do better when we have time set aside to be home as a family and time to care for our home.

In a culture that emphasizes activities and a full social calendar, let us be counter cultural and make our homes a priority. An article I read a couple of weeks ago urged believers to make our homes a ministry hub rather than a refuge from ministry. We can’t do ministry in our homes if we are never there.

Let us cultivate our homes in a such a way that they reflect the orderliness and beauty of our God. Let us create a refuge for the hurting or lonely. Let us display the Gospel to those who do not believe.

But you can’t do this if you are never there.

That’s great, but what if I am single? Well, hospitality isn’t just for married people. 

I understand, but what if I work full-time? You can still be a homemaker. 

 


What I’d Tell My New Mom Self

Photo Credit: Katie Drumm Photography

Photo Credit: Katie Drumm Photography

It is only a season. Everyone tells you this, but it is hard to believe until you actually experience it. It seems like an eternity when your baby is not sleeping through the night. I felt like the nights where I spent hours trying to get my baby to go to sleep would never end. But one day you wake up and your baby has slept for 8 hours. And then he does it again the next night. And you realize it was just a season. You can handle anything for a season.

God does give you the grace, wisdom, energy, and strength that you need. Whatever you need to get through that season, the Lord will give you. I am the most grumpy person in the world without sleep and yet I somehow managed even on the days where I had only gotten three hours of sleep. It is only by God’s grace that I was able to handle those days and I saw His strength so clearly in those long nights.

I have never prayed for wisdom more than I have since my son has been born. And the Lord has been so gracious to give it to me. He also often uses my husband to communicate that wisdom to me.

Your spouse is a superhero. You are not the only one who is a new parent. Your spouse is in this with you. Make sure you take note of their sacrifice and service and praise them for it. My husband is always willing to watch the baby while I got an extra hour of sleep or to get up with me in the middle of the night. He is my hero!

Don’t compare. I can’t emphasize this enough. Don’t compare yourself to your husband (like how much sleep he got!) or to other moms or to other women. You have heard it said that comparison is the thief of joy and that is so true. Comparison twists blessings into burdens and joy into jealousy. Fight comparison with thankfulness and prayer.

Parenting is the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done. I have gotten to see clearly how the Lord answers prayer and to understand biblical truths more fully as a result. It has been so sweet!

What would you add to this list? 


What I’d Tell My Newlywed Self

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Photo Credit: Haley Dennis Photography

My sister got married this past weekend and she got married in the same place that I did. Naturally, it made me reflect on my own wedding almost three years ago. I wondered what I would tell that eager 22 year old if I could go back in time? I think I would tell my newlywed self:

Learn to love your spouse in the way they want to be loved. My husband used to bring me chocolate cupcakes when we were newlywed. It was so sweet of him but I don’t particularly care for chocolate cupcakes. He quickly learned that I appreciated a loaf of bread more or a Creme Brulee cupcake from my favorite cupcake shop. It is a silly story, but the point is we have to learn to love our spouse in the way they want to be loved. This means that we need to study them and learn what makes them feel loved.

Conversely, learn what irritates them. (Not because you want to use it as a weapon!!) Learn what frustrates them so that you can avoid it. I hate it when the plastic bag on the bread gets tied. My husband kindly serves me in this little way by not tying the bread bag!

Ask how we can serve our spouses. Similarly, we need to serve our spouses in a way that is helpful to them. Have a conversation with your husband or wife and ask them what would be most helpful to them. Perhaps keeping the fridge stocked or the house clean is most helpful. But maybe its something entirely different. It may surprise you.

Constantly reevaluate. Seasons change in marriage. Marriage requires a constant dialogue about what is going on in your life. Life is looking a lot different now that my husband and I are parents. We have a constant conversation about how life works now that we are parents. Roles might change as you enter different seasons and how you spend your time will fluctuate. Sit down every so often and discuss how things are going.

Invest in your marriage. It is easy to get complacent in your marriage. Things aren’t bad so you just live life. Plus, you are busy. So you talk when you can and at the end of the day you just plop because you are exhausted. But what you do not realize at the beginning of your marriage is that you are forming (or not forming) habits – little ways of doing things that you will continue to do.

The idea of investing is to put away something for later gain. You make sacrifices now so that you will benefit in the long run. Every time you sacrifice time to go on a date or energy doing something for your spouse you are making a long-term investment. These investments are going to enrich your marriage in the long run.

There are so many more things that I would like to tell my newlywed self, but I will leave you with these. What would you add to the list? 

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