Monday, July 22, 2013

Varicose Veins

It's common
To complain about our bodies
Or be dissatisfied with how things appear
and take our health for granted.

I'm against it.
After dealing with an eating disorder,
I probably take not talking about my body, or anyone else's to the extreme.
I just don't think negative or even a positive evaluation of my body, or yours, does anyone any good.
Life is so precious and so fragile,
it just doesn't seem worth the time and energy to obsess.
My prayer is for me, my husband, my little girl, and for you to be

My awesome sister-in-law was at the pool recently
and said something about the veins in her legs.
          I got her permission to post this ;)
But she had some tough stuff with baby #2 and now the veins in her legs are pretty apparent.
Then there's the torn ACL from soccer in high school,
- but my favorite scar on her legs is another torn ACL
...from jumping in the Sky Zone with her two sons!
(Did I mention she's awesome?)
Ali is on the left w/ my brother Jason & her two boys, my nephews, Cooper & Ian. My other brother Ryan & my other sis-in-law Natasha are on the right.

This may come across as sugar coating things,
but I'm going to claim those veins, scars and anything else she doesn't like about her legs as beautiful.
They tell me she's a mom who isn't afraid to play hard with her boys.
They tell others she's carried two babies and has worked hard every day since.
They tell her that she's lived life.

Her legs make me smile.
They represent a different definition of beauty, one that I so desperately want to believe for my body, and you to believe for yours.
That the stretches, scrapes, and yes, scars, were hard-earned and good reminders.
Of the truth of who we are, what we've been healed from and the life that we live.

I'd rather be like my sis-in-law with scars,
than have perfect legs that don't know how to jump on a trampoline with her babies.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

My Child

She was singing and dancing in church today.
Seriously - arms raised, feet kicking, and sound coming out of her mouth that I'm gonna call singing.
My sweet Sarah Lynn Mercy likes to sing and dance in church.

We were singing "Our God" by Chris Tomlin.
...higher than other

While my sweet baby sang & danced it hit me
- the thing my mom always used to tell me
"You'll understand God's love so much better when you become a parent, and have that unconditional love for your child."

It's true.
Goodness I love her, my baby girl, my daughter.
As I sang along with her about a strong, great God, I remembered this:
"I will be a Father to you,
    and you will be my sons and daughters"

~ 1 Corinthians 6:18

Right now, there is little I can expect from Sarah. Even as she gets older, my desires for her are many. But mainly I want her to know and love Jesus...and right after that I sure hope she loves her momma! I really do want a relationship with this little lady. To know what she likes, cares about, someday to know her hopes, dreams, and yes, even her hurts.
Sweet Sarah - 7 months
God calls me His daughter.
So, He must feel that way about me.
On a Sunday morning, next to a dancing 8 month old, I was struck again by the way God desires a relationship with me, far more than all the other stuff.

The truth is that His love for me, for you, for us is
...higher than any other

And the reason He is a
is so all that junk (my past, my present, and the mess ups I have coming tomorrow) doesn't stand in the way of our relationship with Him.

That is what makes Him


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Just a Taste

People will say that being a parent helps you see things from God's perspective. That the love you have for your child is a small taste of the love God has for us. If that's the case, I am broken at how God can love me.

Seriously, when I look at little Sarah Lynn Mercy I am full. She delights me, makes mornings the happiest thing since cheesecake, and entertains me endlessly. Her little fingers grab at my nose and I think I've won the lottery. This momma could go on and on about the ways my heart beats for this life.

You can't imagine that God could love you and feel for you the way you feel for your child. I'm so messed up, full of mistakes and junk that should push God away.

Truth: Despite all of that - God loves me.

And then it makes sense. When I look at Sarah, all I see is my love for her. When God looks at us, all He sees is Jesus' love covering our shame.

"He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing." ~ Zephaniah 3:17

Tonight, I am thankful that God gave me a daughter so I could taste more of His love. May you know God's deep love for you tonight too, even if you don't have a precious peanut like I do to show you.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

It's Like Watching the Ocean

The rise and fall.
Blues and purples ripple across a the surface.
Bubbles form and burst away with a soft gurgle.

Crushing blue.
It pierces your heart,
And reminds you of how small you are.

She's so tiny, fragile, moody even, this child God has placed in my care.
Sarah Lynn Mercy...
Her name is written on my heart, forever a daughter.

I've been to the beach countless times and it's one of my favorite places. The smells, the sounds and of course, the sight. A sunrise or sunset over the ocean is one of life's "must see" moments.

Tonight I was reading about creation out of "The Story" version of the Bible. All that God made and said was "good." But then, He made something in His Own Image: humans.

I get it.

There is a soul, emotions & heart behind those crushing blue eyes. The blues and purples along her forehead pump life, and the weight of this responsibility humbles me. She has been made in the image of God, and I get to watch her character, personality and God-given talents unfold before me.

This is way better than watching a sun set over the ocean.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Demanding Baby

Staring at Sarah again today, it hit me that I pretty much know every single thing about this girl. Spending every waking, (and for her sleeping!) moment together I've learned her facial expressions, how she likes to be held, talked to, and now what even makes her giggle. And, as I eat up another one of her adorable smiles I'm starting to realize how this is the foundation of a great relationship.

We are intimately acquainted, this little girl and me. (Doesn't get much more personal than changing diapers!) But I want to be as intentional with other people in my life as I have been with her.  Babies cry if they want your attention. They literally demand to be heard.  But my husband doesn't cry for my comfort when he's stressed.  I miss out on the details of my best friends' lives when we go for weeks without talking. And, while God is a constant in my life, if I'm honest, I often don't earnestly seek him unless I have a deep need.

Life and people are so important, and this type of deep relationship is so very special. It rewards you with smiles, hugs and the knowledge of truly "knowing" someone. It has reignited within me the desire to listen better to my friends, to know my husband's heart and to pursue God the way I pursue my daughter.

I'm learning the truth that even though we grow up and don't demand attention like we did when we were babies, we still crave it just as much. I long to be loved and truly known.

So I'm starting to see how I have a special job to deeply love and know those in my life. Not just Sarah Lynn, but sweet friends...and if I'd open my eyes, I know there are people right in front of me crying, just like babies, for love. I want to see them, adore them and show them the unconditional love I have in Christ.

~ Shelby

Friday, November 30, 2012

Playing House

Like many little girls, I grew up playing with baby dolls and pretending to be a mommy.  From just about the time I was a baby, I've wanted a baby. And, since before I even imagined myself married, I envisioned being a mom. (Sorry Silas!)

And now, it's happened.
I intimately know the ways she likes to be held, comforted, and what her cries mean. Even after waking up three times at night, I'm still excited for the morning, to cuddle with her and spend the day together. Fully and completely I am a momma, and Sarah Lynn Mercy is my baby. 

Sometimes I will look at her smiling and cooing up at me in disbelief. It's hard to believe she is actually here, not just because I wanted her so badly, but because I've been dreaming of this for as long as I can remember. And today I realized that I feel more fulfilled right now as a mother than I really ever have doing anything else. Changing diapers, feeding her, snuggling, singing and talking to her feels so natural. All those years of pretend are finally paying off!

I think the lie that could mess me up right now, is that this earthly fulfillment is somehow wrong.  Like shouldn't I find my greatest fulfillment in God alone? But, I think enjoying Sarah and being her mom is spiritual. The truth is that teaching her, praying with her and trying to love her the way Jesus loves me is connecting me to God. And for now, that is enough

Having a child simplifies things.  So, today I simply accept the joy & fulfillment of being Sarah Lynn's mom.  
~ Shelby

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Two Weeks

We've had our baby girl to hold, cuddle and love on for two weeks now. People want to know how you feel after you have your first child,  and if I could write a song, a poem or choreograph a dance to show you, it still wouldn't be enough.
Still, this new wave of love threatens to overwhelm me with both happy thoughts and huge fears.

"What if we lost her?"

That question has swirled in and out of my mind these last two weeks as I watch her sleep, kiss her face and start to learn about this new soul. It could cripple me, that fear. And truly, the reality is, we could lose her at any moment. It takes my breath away to remember that the Sarah she was named after...died at only 15. What if that happens to my Sarah?

And then, the peace that passes all understanding reminds me of this truth...

"You have had 14 days with a child you thought you might not ever have."

In God's great mercy He gave us this Princess of Mercy - Sarah Lynn Mercy. I have had more days with her today, than I ever dreamed possible. My heart is so full of gratitude to God for giving her to us, if only for these days.

I'm learning that this attitude of a heart that is genuinely grateful will live in peace.  If I can wake and be thankful for this moment, this day with our girl, I can savor it, and I can remove the fear of tomorrow, because I'm living for today.
No, it's not easy, I can't say the fear doesn't overwhelm me at times, but I want to live this way, to believe the truth that being grateful really can free me from this fear, and can allow me to entrust Sarah to God.

So in this moment, as I watch her sleep I say a prayer of thankfulness to God for this day, and the past 14 He has given us. What a gift.

~ Shelby