Saturday, August 29, 2015


August 28, 2015
Today is my birthday. 34. It feels like a funny year to celebrate. Perhaps the more and more kid’s’ parties I throw, the less and less exciting it is to have my own birthday. “What kind of party should we throw for Mom?” 5-year-old Noah asked my husband earlier this week. I’m sure he was thinking about Avengers or Minions or Frozen or something.
When we are little, birthdays seem like they are most importantly times for us to indulge in things we want. Even as adults, we do this. What do I want? What special thing  am I going to splurge on (or ask others to splurge on) so I can celebrate my birthday in the best way possible? What do I want to do? Where do I want to go? How do I get the most joy ?
This year, I didn’t have a desire to make my day exciting, to have friends over, or even for the boys to make me a cake. In years past, I’ve wanted to do things like going out for a long run or getting away by myself for a few hours or receiving exactly the present I was hoping for; but this year, I am out of shape, had alone time yesterday, and nothing on my list has a hold on my heart. So instead, we’re going to have a picnic in a park and go out for ice cream at a special place. It sounds perfect to me (especially since we’ve been out of ice cream in this house for the last two weeks!). Birthday Joy.
I got to sleep in this morning and was woken up by two sets of four limbs crawling onto my bed shouting, “Happy birthday!!  Wake up!! It’s time for breakfast!!” followed by secretive whispering, “We picked you flowers, but that’s not your present… and Dad’s going to bring home roses later, but that’s not your present either.” Birthday Joy.
I fumbled on my glasses and followed their happy feet out to the kitchen table where I found a cinnamon coffee cake muffin on a plate for me, one yellow candle sticking out of the center, and four impatiens petals scattered about. My love lit the candle, they sang, I made a wish and blew out the flame. Birthday Joy. 
I felt loved, appreciated and special. Birthday Joy.

But there is a joy that found its way into my heart and into my day that I did not anticipate or expect. At one point, my three-year-old Zeke (who was more than a little frustrating at various times throughout the morning), requested that we turn on some music and do some dancing. With baby Simon in my arms, we began singing and dancing around the living room. Zeke was happy, moving his body every which way and bounding around. A few moments into the song, I looked down, and there was three-month-old Simon, looking up at me and laughing. He had the biggest smile across his face, and he was giddy at the moves I was making. 
There is nothing like baby laughter to melt everything else in the world away. 
And with everything stripped away, I was left in my living room, holding this gift from God in my arms that brought joy to my soul. In that split second, God spoke something like this to me:

I have given you life. And your greatest joys will occur as you follow me. The rest of the stuff and the special things of this life do not matter—not even a little bit. Your Greatest Joy will be Me. Today, on this special day, and on every day, Christa, I am your joy.

Friday, August 14, 2015


Oh, the sweet sound of silence. I actually wish that I was writing this entry out by hand, so that all I could hear would be the sound of pen on journal paper. 9:38 p.m., and all I hear is the hum of the fridge, the click-clack of my keyboard, and a basketball hitting cement as the neighbor boy enjoys the temperate summer evening. 

This is the first time it’s been silent since 6:30 this morning, as I was woken up from my “morning nap” on the couch by two handsome and very energetic little boys. Since that time, I have gotten kids dressed and fed. I have studied Scripture with a friend. I have answered kid questions. I have gone to the grocery store. I have fed kids more. I have disciplined. I have soothed a baby’s cries. I have hung out with friends. I have pointed boys in the right way. I have sung song after song to get my three-year-old child to take a nap. I have picked up MagnaTiles and moved couches. I have pat the baby on my shoulder while reading a book to another child. I have worked over a soapy, watery sink with my five year old. I have been a listening ear for my husband.

And now this silence is so sweet to my ear and my soul. Some peace. Oh, sweet peace. Part of me wants to stay up all night and clean up my house in peace—put all the books back where they go and file all of the papers that need to get filed and throw away all of the old coupons that have been expired for two months. And the other part of me just wants to sit here and be silent with this silent house. I just want to let the silence weigh heavy in the air, let it soak into my bones, let it press its memory on my mind.

In this peace, in this silence, I want to hear God talk. Here in this place, all I need to think about is being His kid, not taking care of three kids. Here in this silence, I can begin to feel some restoration for my mind. My mind that is tired and a bit worn today. My mind that wonders if I’m up for this challenge of raising three boys, and doing it right. This mind that thinks a lot about giving anything, but wonders if I have anything to give.

My friend Katrina, who doesn’t like dust, asked tonight why anyone would willing put themselves into a position where they were camping. Well, Katrina, I think it’s the silence that draws me. I can get lost in the kind of silence that camping offers, surrounded by fir trees and stars. I can get lost in this silence that God is offering me this night. A chance to stop and to hear the voice he’s placed inside my heart—that quiet voice that often gets overrun by the noise around me. That voice that whispers, “I see you. You are loved. You are special. You are my precious kid. Rest here in my arms for a bit, my dear heart.”

Sounds good to me.

He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
Psalm 23:2-3

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Double Triple

Yesterday, we celebrated my second son's third birthday.

Ezekiel. The baby whose name caught us off guard. The baby whose strong will matched his strong frame. The baby who fought sleep. The toddler who brought me to tears. The toddler who screamed and used that voice to cut like a sword. The toddler who climbed up the ladder and slid down the slide on his own before he could even walk. The little boy who repeats everything his brother says (and does). The little boy who can hike up to Eagle Lake. The little boy whose hearty laugh infects the whole room. The little boy who shares all that he has with people around him. The little boy who is learning how to express his emotions. The little boy who is gaining an appreciation for using his strength for good.

This little boy turned three yesterday... and in the words of my dear friend, "he's two going on four."

As I was singing my energetic boy to sleep last night (ok, he was actually already asleep by the time I started singing--birthdays are draining!), God gave me a moment to glimpse into our past. The song I sang to my tuckered-out "big boy" was the same one I had made up a few years ago, when his refusal to sleep was wearing away at my sanity.

Oh, my little child, fall asleep;
Let the peace of Christ guard your heart.
Oh, my little child, fall asleep;
And from Him never depart.

Oh, my little child, close your eyes;
Wrap yourself in His great love.
Oh, my little child, close your eyes;
And dream sweetly of grace above.

And I saw for a moment how fleeting time is. Because it was not that long ago that I began to sing that song to him... but my worn-out three year old seems very far removed from that crying baby cradled in my arms.

It made me marvel at all the days that we have already passed through together, and it stirred excitement in my heart for the days ahead.

Happy Birthday, little guy. You are loved.

Praise [the Lord] for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Psalm 150:2