March 27, 2017

Rosemary's Baptism

Last Sunday night, Andrew had the opportunity to preach to our church. He took us to Psalm 120, the first of the songs of ascent.... the pilgrim songs. These songs were not meant to be sung alone, but as a chorus that mingled with the tromping of
feet that were traveling together. Voices that were, yes, raised to the heavens... but that also stayed earth-bound and weaved in and out of your friends' ears... anthems of truth that went before you and caught you up from behind. 

It was a beautiful message that made me think of the significance of the morning... of Rosemary's baptism. Her sign that she is caught up in the singing. 


On Sunday, her church told her that the gospel promises that we sing over her...around her... those are promises for her, too, if she believes. 


As my best friend's husband poured water on her head to signify the washing of the Spirit... I thought that what he was really saying to her is that she is our fellow pilgrim; She is walking with us in this not-quite-our-world home. 


And her baptism says she's a part of us. We haven't left her behind. She's being carried along in our arms, in the midst of the travel to a better land.


And I was thinking and hoping of that wonderful day when I can take the hand of my daughter who will also be my sister. When she's not just carried along but chooses to come along and her voice will join our chorus and encourage other weary hearts.


This just isn't the year for us to buy a baptism dress, so I asked one of my dearest friends if I could borrow.  I was, admittedly, a little sad at first that she wouldn't have her own... but then I thought about the beauty of her wearing a dress that Allison wore as a baby. And all three of her girls. What a tangible reminder that our friends are her family, too. 


We had a small little gathering for lunch after church as we feasted and celebrated the goodness of our Father.




Right now you don't have a choice but to be carried as a pilgrim. You live in a home and with a family who have their eyes fixed on a better country... We love this world created by our good Father, but we also know it's not the way it was supposed to be. And until then, we will be tent-pitchers, sewing seeds of beauty and goodness that are given to us by the one leading us, Jesus. He is slowly restoring this world back to its original beauty. 


And not just the world around us... but the worlds inside of us. He can do the same work in your heart... He can make you who you ought to be, He can make you into the most beautiful version of yourself. On your baptism day, we gave you a sign to point you to that truth- that just as you could not apply the water from the baptism font to your head... you cannot apply the work of Jesus to your heart. It is a work of grace, not of merit.


And after the sign, the singing. In one of the more beautiful moments of my life... I cried through your first pilgrim song. 

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so...


Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong. 

Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.


There will be so many times in your life when you're going to need your fellow pilgrims to hold you up with songs of truth.. Times when you are so low and disoriented that you cannot hear the voice of your Father singing love songs over you. So on Sunday, we sang. Before you could even believe it, or doubt it... we sang truth to you. 

And one day, you will need to sing it back to us. Your father and I are hoping and longing for the day when you and your brothers become our forever sister and brothers in Jesus. We love you, Rosie Baby! 

December 09, 2016

Rosemary, {almost} Three Months

Darling, dreamy, doll-baby.

Andrew and I keep saying, we didn't know we could make babies like this. Of course we love our boys. I could have eaten them both up with a spoon at this age, too. But Rosemary just looks at us with this smile that says, "I'm going to take care of you. I'm going to weave peace and love and easy-goingness all through this family." Maybe she's a hippy. And even so, one day I'm going print out this blog as a thank you note and take it to my girl in her flowing dress with flowers in her hair... and say thank you, for just being so very, very kind to us.

I was reading Charlie's three month blog earlier today, and I mentioned how I was rocking him before naps. Hmmm... naps?  I'm afraid she's so easy-going that she just kind of follows whatever the family is doing. Sometimes asleep, and sometimes awake...

She is still sleeping beside our bed and when people ask us if she's sleeping well at night, I don't know how to answer that because... Charlie. Charlie has not slept through the night once since we've brought Rosie home. He comes in our room at 3:00, or cries out from his at 2:00 or walks in ready to start the day at 4:00 (that trend lasted a solid three weeks and was the worst, worst, worst). A typical night right now is: Rosemary goes down at 10:00, Charlie comes in our room at 1:00... I cover his mouth (so he doesn't wake Rosemary) and lead him back to his room where I sleep in a twin bed with a line-backer of a two year old until 4:00... when Rosie is up ready to eat... Charlie comes in our room at 5:00 and LET'S GO. COFEE TIME. It's a season, it's a season, it's a season....

Did I mention that Rosie is a dream?

Charlie loves his baby sister. We've found him in front of her swing singing to her... and she's the first thing he wants to see when he wakes up from his nap (blessed, glorious nap!). Wilson is so very sweet with her, too. They are both all up in her face all the time and she LOVES it. She gives them the best grins and kicks and coos... and my heart is swelling with the hope of two big brothers lavishing love and protection over their baby sister for all her days. Step on back, future suitors!

She has rolls on rolls on rolls and I'm just so happy about a chubby baby, because both boys had dropped below average weight at this age. Rosemary weighs more than 86% of her peers and we are so okay with that. It's the by-product of her nursing so well, and because I know the woes of babies and weight-gain, I could really cry out of thankfulness about it.

She has little stork bites everywhere, and the most prominent one is on her left eye lid. It looks like she's wearing pink eyeshadow and I'll be sad when it fades...

We have had a packed three months! Rosemary was born and we were hurled headlong into holidays and travel. 

We had Andrew's parents here with us, and then that whole side of the family came to celebrate and meet Rosemary. We laughed and ate good food and took our annual fuzzy hat picture. 


Allie and Kody came somewhere in there and loved on us. And I guess I didn't take any pics! Newborn haze is real... did any of this actually happen? I wouldn't believe it without pictures to prove me wrong.

My mom came to celebrate Thanksgiving... it was simple and sweet. 


Andrew's parents came back to spend Christmas with us. 


Then my parents, sister and EJ came to open gifts and play and give hugs and kisses.

We took our first big trip with three to Atlanta/Auburn for a week. And just like I suspected... Rosemary made the trip with barely a peep. Who is this child??


And then we made our first trip to Kentucky for Rosemary to meet some of her great-grandparents. She also attended her first show... at the Ryman, no less... and was (no surprise) the best third-wheel we could ask for. 


Rosemary, on January 21 our phone alarms went off at 3:00 am alerting us of a tornado warning. We woke up your brothers and stuffed ourselves inside of the bottom of our linen closet. Your father hovered over the news in the living room while I held you in my lap and had a brother under each of my arms, like a (terrified) mother hen. The weatherman told us the tornado was barreling towards us. At one point, the audio went out in the news studio and they began to hold up paper signs to warn us where it was heading next... you sucked your paci and curled up into me. Charlie laid his head on your legs in my lap. Wilson asked me, "What's going to happen if the tornado hits our house?" And I hated that I couldn't tell him "It won't, we will be fine." So I stammered through--"We just hold onto eachother. Tight." I had such a helpless feeling, Rose... What if the winds tried to rip you from my arms? How could I hold onto all three of you at the same time? My faith was like an atom of a mustard seed. I pled out loud to Jesus to keep us all anchored- our feets anchored to the ground, our hearts anchored to Him, our arms anchored around each other. 

As providence would have it, the tornado missed our house by half a mile. And as reports came in to tell us of our town being shredded, wounded, lives taken... my eyes wouldn't leave your little faces. And I was reminded of my finiteness... how there is a limit to my protection over you. I cannot promise you safety this side of heaven, Rosemary. My heart fights against that, but it's true... 

We try to find safety in policies, in diets, in bank accounts. We look for it in the right school systems and neighborhoods and even in our own families. We think it must be in vacations or full nights of sleep or maybe the right wardrobe. We build up walls around ourselves so that people not like us can't threaten our comfort. I tried to find it in that linen closet... 

Our fear tells us what to run from, but it doesn't tell us what to run towards. So I'll tell you a secret, Rosemary, that so many don't believe. You cannot find safety here. Our King Jesus is the only safe place... and that's because He lives outside of time and space. And yet... He entered into time and space to be our safety, our sure hope. 

But life in Him means He will call you to live a life reflective of His Kingdom... and that's not always safe.

You will be asked to love people not like you.

He will ask you to lay down things that are precious to you to follow Him.

You will need to seek the good of others before you seek it for yourself. 

And that is not always safe... and it is definitely never comfortable. But it's the way to know for sure that you have anchored your life down in the only One who is truly safe. 

Don't anchor your heart here, baby girl... Your father and I will do all that we can to help you throw your anchor towards heaven. We love you!

November 20, 2016


In every way, Rosemary has taken our breath. She has been one surprise after another in the best sorts of ways and every bit of her life so far has shouted the love of a good, good God.

Knowing that we would probably be looking at moving this summer, Andrew and I decided that we wanted to try to have our (probably) last child here in Hattiesburg. We love this town, our church, our friends here... dearly... too much to which I can give the full amount of words it deserves here... and felt like it made the most sense to have all of this familiarity and care around us in the newborn stage. We gave ourselves a six month window to try (before we lost the window of our health insurance coverage) and we prayed for the grace to welcome a new life into our family. It didn't happen- and we were resolved to be okay with that. And then, it did. On the seventh month. And there was fear and anxiety (about timing and insurance and how will we get our house ready to sell with a newborn?)... but there was also so much rejoicing.

I cried at the "yes" and said, "Is this true? Can it really be true?" and felt God tenderly holding my face and saying, "Yes, let me love you in this way."

And then. Then on the way home from my home in Kentucky, after announcing to my family... complications started. And I cried in a Publix bathroom and told Andrew it was over when I got to the car. Seven long hours home of quiet. And grief. And anger. How was this love?

The next week I saw my doctor and she was also fairly certain I was losing the baby, and so she started a series of blood work. All of my results confirmed what we already had resigned to- that grief was ahead... waiting for us. And somehow this seemed harder than my first miscarriage because I knew what I was facing. I knew the Lord would be good and tender, but I also knew the pain I was being forced to walk towards.  I wanted to crawl in a hole somewhere until it was all over.

And then I walked into my scheduled ultrasound to confirm a miscarriage and discuss next steps and the technician says, "Well, there's only one!" And I said, "Only one what??" And she says, "Only one baby, only one heartbeat." And my hands covered my mouth and I let every tear flow that had been hiding its hopeful self away in a corner of my heart. It couldn't be true, but it was true. I went straight to my doctor who wrapped her arms around me and said, "I don't have any answers, except that you must have had people praying." Oh, did we! We love our people. Praying this baby girl into existence.

Been through so much with this precious doctor of mine...
And a girl. A girl?! What do we do with pink and bonnets?  Andrew was convinced this was going to be another boy and I just wouldn't let myself cling onto a gender. Wilson begged for a girl because "boys are mean"... but everyone was full-faced smile when the ultra-sound technician gave us the pronoun SHE!

Somehow I ended up with the same nurse I had with Charlie and she was the BEST. 
We had already decided on her name if she were a girl. Wilson wanted a Mary and when my sister was born I wanted to name her Rosie Rainbow. So a little Rosemary made both of our six year old dreams come true! Rosemary is also known as the herb of remembrance... and I know that every time I look at her face I will remember the love that God spoke over us when He breathed another life into our family. Her middle, Virginia, is after my grandmother and I hope she inherits every square inch of her character- including a towering stack of books by her reading chair.

Rosemary Virginia.

We got to see her face for the first time on November 9, my dad's birthday. She came so quickly at 11:03 that my doctor barely got her gloves on in time to catch her.

Andrew prayed over her entrance into the world and I held on so tightly to this little one that I had thought was lost. She was beautiful in every way- in her tiny features, in the way she gripped my finger when I pulled her close, in just being... her very existence was beautiful.

Both Andrew and I had tears flowing over her coming and Andrew so much that my doctor asked him, "How in the world are you going to make it through her wedding?" Pshew, we can't even think about that yet!

Bigs with his birthday buddy! Now Wilson and Rosemary both share a birthday with a grandfather and poor little Charlie is feeling left out about that. 
And two days later we walked her into the chaos that is our life with boys: of sickness and fevers and too many hospital visits and boys up way more in the night than she was. And grace upon grace that she has survived the germs (so far)... but she has also just been this anchor of peace in what seems to be the constant turbulence of our household. A treasure that her brothers just could.not.wait. to get their hands on. She is abundantly loved here!

Rosemary, I'm looking at your little face now and thinking that you can't even know a corner of how much I adore you. How fiercely I would fight for you. I was the first to know you existed... and then I thought I was the first to know that you were leaving us. And I've grieved over my grieving... thinking that there were two weeks of your little life that I thought you were gone. And you were not gone. But the most beautifully wonderful (almost too much for my heart to handle) truth is that when no one else knew or believed you were there- God knew you. He didn't just breathe you into existence, Rosie, He SAW you. He watched you. He never took away His eyes or His hands or His devoted attention to your life. I know it's true because Psalm 139 tells me it's true. And my prayer for you will be that you would live out the meaning of your name, remembrance, and always call to mind these wonderful truths:

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

I suppose this lie manifests itself in different ways in every generation, but right now social media is doing a good job in decieving us into thinking that our moments don't matter unless someone else sees them. What I want you to remember is this: there was a moment in your little life when we were all grieving your loss. But you weren't unknown in those moments.... your life, even then, had weight and meaning because you had a Father who was watching and weaving and writing the story of your life.  And that will always be true of your life... when you make secret choices that honor Him and that breathe life into others, sometimes no one else will know or see. And sometimes it's better that way. God will. Some days you might feel invisible to people around you, but your existence is always a joyful shout in your Father's ear. You are seen and you are delighted in and your every moment carries the weight of eternity... Rosemary, the eyes of your loving Shepherd are always, always gazing upon you. And your always being seen means that you are always being loved. 

We love you fiercely! Welcome home, Sister.