A sweet friend reminded me of this verse last night: “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow. Isaiah 1:18”. Because of Easter, we have been washed white as snow.
What a sweet way to rejoice on Easter – with an Easter egg hunt in the snow!
Lately, I’ve been overwhelmed with joy that I get to be a part of these two beautiful boys lives. That I’m the one who sees them smile and makes them laugh and get endless snuggles. I get to be followed everywhere I go by Brooks and reached for by Jude.
That won’t always be the case; someday most of their smiles will go to someone else and I’ll be the one reaching for them. I sometimes (aka last week) get stuck in the frustration of “why are you so obsessed with me?” and “if I step on one more toy…” and “will my house ever stay clean?”
But I’ve found that I can change my mindset by simply looking for the positive. I can be a kinder, more gentle mama by looking for the kind and gentle way. And that’s the type of mama I want to be: positive, kind, and gentle.
Side note: If it seems like all I post about is this, that would be true. It’s because I’ve been learning and re-learning it. One day, I hope I have it mastered. To be able to see my negative mindset so quickly that it doesn’t last even an hour. But until that day, I’ll just switch my mindset to positive when I do notice, be it a week or a month or more.
He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Matthew 28:6
The warmth of the first spring days seems to always push me into declutter mode. To declutter my things, calendar, habits, thoughts, everything. Because of this decluttering, I had the mental, physical, and emotional white space to meditate.
To meditate on Holy Week. To think about the Triumphant Entry, the washing of the feet, the Passover feast, the garden, the betrayal …. the cross.
I read the stories from the Jesus Storybook Bible* to my toddler with vision blurred by tears and voice shaky. How do you read “Tears rolled down Jesus’ face. The face of the One who would wipe away every tear from every eye” without eyes filled? The emotions of the Hosannas, the washing away of dirt, the bread and the cup, the not my will but yours, the rooster crowing, they just kept flooding my eyes.
He asked if I was sad. Yes, Brooks, I am sad. This story is heartbreaking. But God** has a surprise ending…
*If you have the Jesus Storybook Bible, read The Servant King through God’s Wonderful Surprise. If not, listen to the stories here.
**Here’s the Holy But – thanks Ashley for this term
Two years ago, I was driving and going over the speed limit. As I saw a speed limit sign, I went to increase the cruise control yet a little higher and I heard “If you can’t obey me in the small things, how will you obey me in the large things?” I was so convicted and I decreased my speed to the speed limit. And then I started telling people this story and how God must have something big He wants me to do. I think I may have been a bit confused.
I’ve been on this obedience journey for two years, and I don’t think God has something big that He wants to prepare me for (although maybe He does, and I’ll be ready for it then). I think it’s not about obeying in one big moment but in a million small moments. In the moments where I want to feed my temptation to be disrespectful to my husband, impatient with my boys, and so on, He wants me to obey. (definition of temptation: invitation to meet a legitimate need in an illegitimate way)
Still the major topic of every nudge I hear from Jesus is “obey”. In sermons, Bible reading, worship music, and so on, I hear obedience again and again. The Bible study that was chosen for my mom’s group is Discerning The Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer and every nugget of truth I hear ties back to obedience for me. I bet someone else is doing the same study and everything is tying back to faith or hope or love or some other thing that God is trying to teach them. But for me, it’s obedience.
God wants me to live an abundant life (John 10:10) and He knows very clearly how that happens. He lays it out for us in the Bible and specifically, personally in our souls (the two will never contradict).
The Bible says that if we are living to please man, we are not living to please Him. And for each of us, we may struggle with that in a different way. My biggest stumbling block to pleasing God over others is social media. I am living to please others and not God on social media right now and God has been nudging me to take a social media hiatus.
You can still find me on Messenger and I will be popping on Facebook/Instagram to post to the Parent Life pages but more sporadically. I may be blogging more of what God is teaching me on this journey so follow along here.
Preface: this has a lot of details that I never want to forget. I won’t feel bad if you skim it or just look at the pictures.
When I was 19 weeks along with Jude, we found out that I had placenta previa. My grad school self went into research mode and I found a study in a peer-reviewed journal that figured that ~80% of cases of previa resolve themselves before delivery. But weeks and weeks went by, and my complete previa hadn’t resolved. Therefore, the best way to have a safe delivery was by cesarean. I was able to make it to my scheduled delivery date without complications (thank you, God!).
I woke up super early feeling so giddy. It was finally the day I was going to meet my second baby. We didn’t find out gender, so it was also the day we would find out whether Brooks would have a sister or a brother.
Since we didn’t have to be at the hospital until 10am, we went for a beautiful walk to enjoy our last few hours with Brooks as an only child.
Once we got checked in to the hospital, I almost immediately turned on the playlist I made for the day. I chose my most favorite relaxing worship music to keep me calm and focused on my (and Jude’s) Creator and Lord.
One of our nurses said, “I’m guessing your having a girl” and we told her that that was our guess (and nearly everyone else’s) as well! We also found out that my midwife Karen, who was supposed to assist, was with her daughter who was in labor. So then a general surgeon, who does annual mission work in Haiti and often gets asked to do cesarean while he is there, assisted so he would feel more comfortable doing them.
Philip got into his scrubs, and it was go time. This man held my hand the entire surgery and anytime I got worried (painful spinal, weird feelings, odd pressure), we locked eyes and I focused back on my praise music and the One who is our peace.
Just 20ish minutes later, I felt pressure on my chest and then the relief of Jude’s delivery. It was the oddest thing. Then Philip said, “It’s a BOYYYYY.” And we were both so shocked and instantly my eyes were full of happy tears.
Someone (maybe Dr. Sandmeier, my OB) said “Hi mom” and showed me Jude’s tiny wrinkled face right after he was born before they took him to the warmer. I wish I had a picture of his face over the drape because I don’t ever want to forget the details. I’ve been trying to engrave it in my brain.
The hospital I delivered at has a camera on the warmer and a video screen, so I was able to watch our baby being checked over. After a little while, Philip said look over here and look at his feet. And I looked over. And I saw those tiny feet. Kicking and straining like only a healthy, strong baby could do. And then all of the worries of the previous 20 weeks dissolved away.
After what felt like ages, but was actually about 10-15 minutes, they brought my sweet baby over and laid him on me. Because I wasn’t expecting a boy and this boy looked sooo different than Brooks, I kept asking Philip, “Who is he? What’s his name?”. We spent the next three hours trying to land on a name.
When my parents brought Brooks up to the hospital, Philip met them in the waiting room and brought Brooks in so he would be the first to meet his baby brother. He was so in love. And so excited. And so sweet. (Still is.)
It was also then that we decided on Jude Solomon. Jude means “praise” and Solomon means “peace” and it was just so fitting. Because during the pregnancy and delivery, whenever I would remember to praise Jesus, I would feel more at peace. And the verse (Philippians 4:6-7) I had so often meditated on in the past year reflected that truth as well.
After Brooks met Jude, Brooks introduced everyone to his baby and revealed the gender and name. I thought it was so special that Brooks could do the reveal to all of our family.
The next day, my midwife Karen came in and said “that’s a Sandmeier” when looking at my incision like an art enthusiast would say “that’s a Picasso”. I guess I’ve got a nice-looking incision…?
Also the next day, Brooks brought one of his favorite books (Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs) and recited it to Jude. So stinking cute. He melts my heart.
Then the hospital photographer came in and snagged these!