Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Truth I Need

"Blessed be the Lord,
who daily bears us up,
God is our salvation."
-Psalm 68:19

Today I sent this verse to a friend who is a new mommy. It's my go-to verse lately; I think I must have sent it to four or five different people in the last few months. Here's a funny thing about the Lord though: He never lets me believe that I'm a mere minister of the Word, floating ethereally above the poor souls who need this truth. (At least, he doesn't let me believe it for long.)

For example, this afternoon I found myself plodding up the stairs and sinking into, "I am so drained. How will I ever make it till the kids are in bed?" This was less than an hour after I typed Psalm 68:19 into the email for my friend. But the Holy Spirit kindly brought this verse to mind again. "Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up." You can make it through, because I am bearing you up today, giving you strength, keeping your foot from slipping. You can choose to trust me in this moment, to believe that the grace I've promised is there. I am your salvation, the One who has saved your eternal soul! How will I not also see you through this one measly, little day?

Ahhhhhhh. That was what I needed to hear, all right. Isn't this a good God we serve? I'm so thankful that His Word has power to break into my daily life and transform my thinking!

So how about you? Anyone else out there want to share a recent go-to verse and how God's using it?

Friday, May 29, 2009

An Email from Me to My Husband, Who Was in the Living Room

Subject: Hi, it's me in the kitchen. :)

Text: I think you want to go buy me some Klondike Bars.

I don't know for sure. It's just the impression I'm getting.



Perhaps I have the gift of telepathy?


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Motherhood's Ministry

Carrying grace to a little sinner
requires that this big sinner
be filled first
with gospel grace
Awareness of the soaring heights of this salvation
and the lengths Christ went to deliver it.

Carrying grace
requires that I be humbled
again and again
shown the bleak darkness of my sin
so that I remember
The only light I can carry to my child
lies far outside myself.

Here we stand,
Two wretches at the foot of the cross.

Will my daughter bow down
in this sacred place
if all I do is point to the ground
and command her to fall down?
No, I must bow first
and weep these God-given tears
for my sin and hers
so she can know
Here alone is hope
for both of us.

I am having one of those truly wonderful but very challenging motherhood days. It's the kind of day where a particular child demands more energy and attention, patience and wisdom than I have to give. It's also the kind of day where I see God's grace and sufficiency and the glory of the Cross much more than I do on the days when it's all going well... because I am so desperate. This morning, after starting down the path of anger, stopping, calling my husband, receiving his prayers, and praying some more, I scribbled this quick poem in my journal. It is raw and rough and an incredibly poor attempt at showing how graciously God is meeting me, but I post it just in case it can be an encouragement to any of you other mommies who are experiencing similar need today.

Monday, May 25, 2009

David at Next

My husband has the privilege to be serving at Next this weekend. He's been in Baltimore since Friday morning. I'm a little envious that he gets to experience what sounds like an AMAZING conference, but mostly I'm just happy to have him there.

Next (or the conference formerly known as "New Attitude" and "Na") is an event that impacted my life significantly, waaaaaay back in its first couple of years when I was a college student deeply ensnared in rebellion and deception. God began a great work in my heart in the year that followed New Attitude 2000. By year three of the conference ('01), I was a volunteer member of the planning team, and years four through six I was on staff, helping to plan and run the main sessions. Now, unbelievably, this conference is in its tenth year, and I am so grateful that our family still gets to be involved through Dave.

My love, I hope that you are having a blast sitting behind that fancy digital mixing board and hearing that wonderful teaching about our Savior. Thanks for the long hours you're putting in--I know that your hard work is blessing so many people! I can't wait to hear your extended download about the conference... maybe on date night, huh? And there are two little people in this house who are awfully excited that tonight is Daddy's last night away!

Make that two little people and one big.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I Keep Forgetting to Mention That...

...we're having a girl!

We had our ultrasound two-and-a-half weeks ago now, and I just keep neglecting to post about it. Pretty lame, I know. But we are very excited.

We took Meg with us to the radiology place, and when the tech said it was a girl, Meg jumped up and down with her hands straight up in the air and yelled, "Yaaaaaaaaaay!" For the first month or so after we told her that we're pregnant, Meg insisted that the baby had to be a sister. We were eventually able to help her understand that "only God knows," and she responded well to that idea. But, my, oh, my, when the truth came out, you could tell she was still clinging to her first hope! It was very sweet.

Matthew's totally clueless, in case anyone is wondering. We haven't worked much at preparing him. Maybe we will do that more as September nears. For now, he's oblivious and happy as the baby of the family. And I'm grateful for a few more months of keeping it that way.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Meeting Aylenne

Meeting Aylenne 7

Guess what I got to do this weekend? (Hint: it involved children, but not my own, and it began and ended with a road trip.) Oh, wait, the title of this post gave it away already? Shucks. You people are too smart for me.

Yes, this weekend I got to go see my new niece, Aylenne, and celebrate my nephew Ari's second birthday. My valiant husband stayed home with our kiddos since preemie Aylenne is not ready to be around other children much. (Especially children who had their 47th cold of the year last week, like mine did.) It was Dave's first time keeping the kids overnight by himself (TWO nights, actually), and he did a fabulous job. I am so grateful, Love!

So I rode down to Norfolk with my mom, dad and sister Lena on Friday afternoon. What with stops, traffic, and detours to avoid worse traffic, our four-hour trip took six hours. Fortunately, we love being together. It was super fun and refreshing to have time with my folks without my little ones being present. Uninterrupted, adult conversation! How novel! In addition to conversation, we enjoyed and critiqued a whole lotta country music. My dad has recently become a fan. A musically discriminating fan, to be sure, but a fan nonetheless. Fine with me! Bring it on.

When we finally made it to Jacque and Asher's house, we were greeted by this wee bundle.
Meeting Aylenne 2

She is really tiny! None of the pictures I took do her justice in that regard--how small her sweet head is when you see her in person, how impossibly fragile her skinny arms look! But she weighed in at 5 lbs and 14 ounces on the day we arrived, if that gives you any idea. She's little. And so beautiful!

Just look at this dark complexion, would you? Asher says it could only have come from his mother's side of the family, as the rest of us Nalles and Spruills are pale, pale, pale as the day is long.
Meeting Aylenne 1
(Lena's such a cutie, huh?)

On Saturday, after spending the night at the Spruill home, we celebrated Ari's birthday--the big two!
Meeting Aylenne 3
Please note that he is wearing his William and Mary (a.k.a. "The Tribe", a.k.a. Jacque and Asher's alma mater) t-shirt. I thought that was fitting, since that's the place where it all began.

Mom and Dad enjoying their fourth grand baby while Ari opened presents.
Meeting Aylenne 4

The gift-receiving climax was this lawn mower that Ari got from his daddy and mama.
Meeting Aylenne 5

In this brief clip, you can see he was pretty happy about it.

It was lovely to have some unhurried time to talk with Jacque while she nursed Aylenne. I got to hear about the past couple of weeks and what they have been like for her. And I got to see firsthand how she is managing a very sleepy baby who is not always as eager to eat as she should be. I am grateful to God for the way He is meeting and sustaining my sister through what could be an anxious time.

Some shots of Jacqua (who is looking fabulous two weeks after delivery) with her little girl:
Meeting Aylenne 6

Love dat scrunchy newborn face.
Meeting Aylenne 8

Meeting Aylenne 9

Meeting Aylenne 10

Pretty ladies:
Meeting Aylenne 11

Sisters plus one (plus two, actually, if you count that ever-growing bump behind Jacque's elbow):
Meeting Aylenne 12

And a parting shot of Mom and Ari, who, after a long afternoon in the garden, was one dirty little boy.
Meeting Aylenne 13

The four of us (Mom, Dad, Lena and I) spent Saturday night in a hotel. (One room! Just like old times!) It was right on the riverfront in downtown Norfolk, so we got to walk around that evening and check out the boats, the lights, and the bridges. It was special time together, especially because my dad loves all things nautical and military.

The next morning, Mother's Day, we got up, packed up, and enjoyed a delicious breakfast (thanks, Daddy!) in the hotel restaurant. We had a wonderful view of the water, and it was a beautiful sunny morning. I have to say, though, I was eager to get on the road again. Two days apart from my three dearest loves was enough for me! So after more great conversation (and country music) on the car ride north, I finally landed back on my own doorstep. There I was welcomed by the best little family in the whole wide world. I couldn't have been happier for the time spent with extended family, but I certainly couldn't have been happier to be back where I belong.

And that's what I did this weekend!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day! (by Meg)

Neither Matthew nor I has posted lately, probably because we rely on Mommy to be our typist, and she's been really busy chasing us all over the house recently. However, we had some extra time with Daddy this weekend and wrangled him into helping us with this post, which we wrote to say only one thing:

We have the bestest, bestest, better than best-ever Mommy in the whole wide world!

As any good church tech director would do, our daddy tried to make this a video post, but it didn't turn out exactly like we wanted. Nevertheless, some of the outtakes are cute.

Here was Matthew's best attempt:

And mine:

It's true, Mommy. We love you soooooo much, even if we are more interested in the camera than in telling you so.

In the original script, we had a bunch of other things we were going to say we love about you:

MATTHEW: Your generous hugs and kisses
MEG: Your patient teaching at school time
MATTHEW: Rough-and-tumble in the living room
MEG: Your quickness to forgive our sins against you
MATTHEW: Bible reading before bedtime
MEG: Praying with you for Daddy when he's working late
MATTHEW: All the yummy food you make for our tummies
MEG: And for doing the dishes, too
MATTHEW: Letting us play in the mud
MEG: Choosing such cute dresses for me on Sundays
MATTHEW: Praying for my future wife each day
MEG: Praying for my future husband each day
MATTHEW: Seeking to train us up in the Lord
MEG: Seeking to grow in the Lord yourself, especially when we don't make mommying easy for you
MATTHEW: For loving us as only the bestest mommy could
MEG: Yeah, for loving us as only the bestest mommy could
ALL: Happy Mother's Day, Mommy!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Spider Kids