10.26.2019

To That Girl



I wish I was sitting across a table from you, sipping tea and looking right at you. I wish I could hug even if I met you that afternoon or we've been friends for years. Maybe one day we can go for a coffee date, but until that day I wanted to write you this letter.

My husband and I have been in student/young adult ministry for almost a decade which is why all of it feels so fresh. Some days I feel like I'm in high school or my early twenties because I am interacting and living life alongside you in this age range. My high school memories are fresh as I journey with you through the very real struggles you face every. Dating, university, living overseas for a year, early married life, it all comes up as I interact with you. I'm so grateful for it all, to be given the opportunity to walk alongside so many of you but I want to tell you something. I need you to hear this.

Even though most days I feel sixteen or twenty-two, I know I'm not. And because I am in a different season being married for six years with two children I needed to write you this letter.  I need you to hear this when you are in the thick of it and everything feels too much. Why? Because I needed it when I was in your spot. I didn't have a lot of Godly women speaking into my life that were a few years older, a season ahead of me and so hear I am. An "older" women wanting to say something to you my dear sister.

Jesus is worth it. 

He is good, and wonderful and everything that He says He is. He is enough for you. He understands what you are going through and is with you in it. He loves you-so very much and longs to spend time with you. Following Jesus is worth it. It is worth the cost. Every single thing you suffer because you follow Jesus is OK because you know you are only here on this earth for a vapour and this is not your home. As you start to know what Jesus voice sounds like, as you spend more and more time with Him, it just gets sweeter and sweeter.

I just need you to know this because I was where you were. I questioned if Jesus was worth it. I questioned if I could even pray more than 10 minutes without falling asleep. I questioned if reading my bible would ever feel easy and not like a chore or something to check off my list because I was a Christian.

I was there. I wouldn't have said this out loud or been able to articulate it back then but I wanted the things of the world to satisfy me. The way I was living, I was telling Jesus He wasn't enough as I chased after the world. I wanted guys to check me out to feel beautiful, I wanted a love story like the bachelor and movies. I wanted to get a little bit tipsy and make out with someone new. I wanted to feel alive. I wanted my life to be exciting and wonderful and at the time Christianity didn't seem like it could do any of that.

When I looked at Christians and the "rules" and "do's and dont's" it felt stuffy and like I was missing out on the good things in life. I would see my friends on the weekend get drunk and be daring and have so many stories to tell and I would look at my Friday night youth group and feel like I missing the good days. Isn't high school and university some of the best days of my life? This train of thought translated to me thinking that God was boring and unfulfilling. Surely, if sex was so amazing and God created it would he really care if I slept around before marriage?



Girl, I was there. I chased after what the world promised would fulfill me and added Jesus onto it. I wanted Jesus to be enough but it is so hard when our eyes are fixed on this world. All of it matters so much more when we are looking at what others are doing and what culture says and not what God has designed us for. I don't know what your thing is that trips you up to only half live for God. What is it? 

I just need you to know He is better than that thing. That living for Jesus 50% of the time is not living for Jesus at all and is making you miserable. Jesus asks us to count the cost before we follow Him. Seriously, go read Luke 14:25-33. This is Jesus talking. He is asking a lot of us, but is promising we will go from death to life. That we were actually dead and He makes us alive. But before that happens, He wants us to count the cost. To ask ourselves if He is worth it? If He is worthy of laying down your life? You see, Jesus doesn't need us. He has a redemption plan in the works since before the earth was made and nothing you do or don't do will mess that up-you just aren't that important and that is a great thing. Jesus doesn't need you, but He wants you — but He needs you to count the cost first.

And I'm over here, shouting, jumping up and down, asking you to go all in. With tears in my eyes I'm telling you He is worth all of it and begging you to lay down your life so you can truly find it.  As a sister maybe "a few years older" I'm telling you when you fix your eyes on Christ, on eternal things and not on the world - it will make sense (Matthew 6:33). I started taking my faith seriously eight years ago and I can honestly say that He hasn't failed me once and I am confident now that He never will. All this confidence and knowing the sound of God's voice didn't come overnight. It came with discipline and structure and times where it felt like routine and not out of my love for Jesus.

I'm here to tell you that praying for more than 10 minutes is possible and a true joy. I can pray for 45 minutes and it seems like a few seconds. I'm here to tell you that reading your bible actually becomes easier and now when I miss a day or two I crave it and could read it for hours and hours. I'm here to tell you that Jesus is worth all the FOMO because you know that you are here on earth for such a short time compared to eternity and it's a joy to suffer for the sake of the gospel. 

If you are wondering if He is worth it - I want to hug you and tell you He is. I want to tell you to be gracious with yourself and just pick up your bible even when it feels like a chore because one day it won't be. I want you to stop making God all about you and your needs and start understanding who God is and how you fit into His redemption story.

Living for God part time isn't living at all. I promise you that it leaves you more miserable and confused. I don't long to get drunk anymore or have sex to feel beautiful and fulfilled. Those aren't the sins I struggle with now — but I still struggle — there are so many temptations and comforts of this world that are attractive to me that aren't glorifying to Jesus. It's not like we lay our lives down for Jesus and it's a one time thing and we are good to go and no longer struggle with sin. Nope, I'm defiantly not saying that — but I am saying your foundation gets stronger and they get easier to deal with.

For example, before when I struggled, I would think maybe God didn't understand it or the bible must be out of context somehow to twist it to get my way. Now, when I struggle, I have a foundation of who God is so a verse may come to mind. Or I turn to my bible first to see what God has to say (before my husband, friends, podcast etc.) trusting Him 100% because I know that I know that I know He is faithful and has my best interest at heart. He loves and adores me, created me and knows what is best for my life and godliness.

I am so in love with Jesus. He actually is my best friend. He is lovely and sovereign and does what He pleases and that is good.

I look around and see so many of my sisters in Christ struggling. I see you attending church on Sunday but not even thinking about God the rest of the week. I see you not reading your bible and only listening to podcasts or pastors so you don't even know Him yourself. I see you playing this game with Jesus - not committing to him and surrendering it all. My heart aches. It actually breaks because I know that isn't living. Christianity isn't boring — but I see you bored. I see you and my heart hurts because I was there, questioning it all too and I remember. 

I have some foundation now and I'm here to tell you Jesus is enough. I counted the cost and He is more than enough. I want you to know He is enough too. You can talk to God, know His voice, love spending time with Him and have true purpose and joy in your life.

I am writing you this letter because I want you to truly live. I mess up and struggle and fail but I know God will always forgive me. I can stop feeling shame or guilt when I mess up and run back to Him knowing He will take me back every single time and use this to teach me and make me more like Him.

So sister, you were made for a purpose. I want you to live that purpose out! Know that I love you and I'm for you, cheering you on and believing in the Holy Spirit inside of you. 

Jesus is worth it all. 

XO
Maddie


If you want to talk more I'd be happy too and pray with you. I probably don't know what you are going through or how it all feels but I know Jesus does and I can beg Him on your behalf to show up if it all feels too much. 

4.09.2019

Dear Marlowe // YOU ARE ONE!



Dear Marlowe,

Happy happy birthday baby girl.

I am so thankful we are almost out of the "baby stage" but also feel like you were just born and can't fathom that you are having your first birthday.  The days are long but the weeks and months fly by.

Marlowe, you a gift - a true blessing and every day I am so thankful I get to be your Momma. The days leading up to meeting you, I so prayed for a little girl. I would have been 100% content being a Momma of boys but there was such a deep longing for a little girl. Playing with your brother makes it so obvious - I am not a boys mom and Jackson tells me my towers and trains aren't near as good as Daddy's. I can't wait to play dolls and barbies, paint our nails and have high tea (if you are into that stuff...?) I can also see you wanting to play trains and build towers and also tell me my creations aren't adequate. It's fun to dream and laugh at the future of raising a strong willed girl. Who knows if you'll want to do that, but I can host a high tea with your dolls better than most people out there - just saying :) 

I snuggle you to sleep every night and always rock you for a few minutes. In the dark and quiet I cherish these short minutes after a long day. These times are so sweet as you look up at me, often sucking your thumb. My eyes often fill with tears of just being overwhelmed with gratitude that you are mine, and at the same time begging God in those moments for Him to save you. 
I know your greatest need isn't physical or keeping you safe, or parenting you to live on your own one day. Your greatest need is the same as mine - it is spiritual; we need a Saviour to forgive us for our sins. Our ultimate needs are spiritual - we are dead and need Jesus to make us alive. I can't even begin to think about you choosing to not follow God and being separated from me for eternity so I just beg God to save you, to pursue you to draw you close to Him.

I once heard the saying that as parents we have the opportunity to put as much kindling and wood onto the fire but it is Lord that ultimately has to ignite the fire in our kids lives and save them. I know that it is only the Spirit who saves, nothing I can force on you - but I'm challenged to think and ponder how to get the "good fire wood" and "kindling." I pray you will see me loving Jesus and giving Him away confident that He is the hope, He is the answer in this messed up broken world looking for purpose and hope. 

I already wrestle with that looks like for our family. Oh Marlowe, I long for you to one day know Jesus and His unending love for you. Most nights I pray Psalm 63 over you and want to write some of this passage out on your birthday letter. One day I hope you will be able to pray this for you, that this would be the posture of your heart as you cry out to your Heavenly Father, but for now I will pray it over you.

Psalm 63: 1-8
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

Miss Marlowe, I pray you will know God's steadfast love is better than life, that your soul will cling to Him. I promise to always pray for you, to always bring your before the Father and to seek His will for our family and for your life. I pray that as I run after God with my whole life you would see my joy, that it isn't a Sunday thing or something that we "do" but that it compels my entire life and every choice. I pray you would see your Momma as a messed up human, full of sin - yet redeemed by Jesus and set apart to live on mission. I am so aware every single day of my shortcomings and failures especially in motherhood. It's so hard and I often see my sin creep up as I try to mother you and your brother - but Jesus - I am so thankful for His grace in my life, that His mercies truly are new each morning. 

Marlowe, I pray from a young age you would know you are loved not with an earthly love that is self seeking - but with an enteral love. I pray I would be so connected to Jesus that His love would overflow from my life into yours. Oh sweetie, I just want to love you like Jesus - serve you like Him and point you to Him. He is the only thing you need in your life. 

Jesus, thank you for my beautiful baby girl, for a whole year with her in this world. Thank you for entrusting me to be her Momma and love her with your love. I can't fathom thinking how much more you love her than I do. Goodness, that is a lot of you love you have for your children. Thank you for your grace, for fresh starts and for this journey. Thank you that you never leave our side. Thank you for this wonderful year. I pray for so many more years of loving and being Marlowe's Momma. You are good good Father who gives good gifts to your children - thank you for this gift of being her Momma. Goodness, I love you so much Jesus. Help me to mother in a way that honours you and points her to you. 

XO

Happiest of Birthdays Baby Girl, 
I couldn't love you more.

Your Momma



The things I want to remember about this month:
- You still only say "Momma"
- You crawl everywhere now! Hurray you are on the move
- You eat everything -your favourite foods are French fries and cheese
- After you take a drink you usually go "ahhh" - it hasn't stopped being the cutest thing ever
- When Jackson takes your toy you now throw a hissy fit/temper tantrum
- You still have a large personal bubble and really value personal space - you stare down all strangers and are still very rude to the people at church who just adore you. Maybe soon you will smile at them? hahha
- Your resting BABY face is intense - yet so your personality.
- You think your crib is a play area now - we had to lower it because you know stand on your knees, very close to standing up
- Your favourite thing is the bath - now that you can move I often find you crawling towards the bathtub and then trying to get in. 
- Still applying steroid cream on your face daily (left side when looking at you) for your eczema. You also have a few patches on your back that really bother you. When we use the 2% steroid cream it is manageable but when I stop it gets bad again
- Still nursing 4 times a day (morning, two naps, bedtime) 
- Still won't let me feed you with a spoon, so we are teaching you to use a spoon


3.24.2019

Dear Marlowe // Ten + Eleven Months


Hi Baby Girl,

You have grown up so much since writing your nine month letter. Let's start with the big ones.

You say Momma all the time and I love it so much. I think you said Dada once but have not repeated it. Momma is really the only word we can decipher.

You have eight teeth. Top 4 and bottom 4 - middle.

Your hair grew a lot these eight weeks and it's coming along finally - you rock the pig tails and top ponytail almost every day. You take out your hair clips and can easily pull off headbands now.

You started crawling officially Friday March 22 (I know this is technically 11.5 months). You do everything on your own time and you are a great crawler now. I'm excited for this next season of movement.

You average 11.5 hours of sleep at night and sleep straight. Normally you head to bed around 6:30 and sleep till 6am. I tried a couple times pushing bedtime to 7pm to see if you would sleep in, but it didn't seem to affect your sleep. You still take 2 naps a day (9am and 1pm) and will generally sleep an hour + each time however you poop a lot in your naps and then wake up and can't fall back asleep - so I'm super hesitant when you haven't before your nap. It's a battle every time.

You eat everything now and eat a lot of it. Except you won't let us feed you. Never. So it's everything we eat in little pieces. I am still nursing you when you wake up, before both naps and once before bed. The goal was to nurse you till you are one but I wanted to do the same nutrition plan with Jackson and that was using a lot of purred food. So I still need to figure out what I want to do - but I would love my body back soon.

When you are done your food you just throw it off your high chair. When you drop something heavy, you close your eyes and squint before you even throw it down - it is really funny and cute but we've been trying to get you to understand no, because today when you threw the applesauce on the ground and it went everywhere, I was not thinking it was cute.

You can pull yourself to your knees, you love to clap, we always sing to you "hi miss Marlowe, hi pretty girl, hi tiny tiny tiny tiny tiny girl." When the Wiggles are on you dance and bounce. You adore your brother, but he def. gets into your personal space and you are slowly able to push him back. I'm interested to see your relationship develop - every month it just gets sweeter.

Can't believe we will be celebrating that you are ONE in a couple weeks. Marlowe, you bring me such JOY. Every night when you fall asleep I look at videos and photos of you on my phone because I just love and miss you! Having a girl is beyond special and I love being your Momma. You are a gift and I don't take that lightly. Thank you for letting me be your Momma through all my failures and struggles. I hope you grow up knowing that your Momma loves you unconditionally but that Jesus loves you even more than I ever could.

I love you so much Miss Marlowe,

XO



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