Shebraham: Letters to Baby #5
My Dear Baby Boy,
Even these few letters are a reminder for me to release you back to God daily. It’s not easy.
One of the first things you will be required to do as you enter this world is to trust…the doctor, me and your dad. Before I can even teach you the definition of this word, you will know its meaning. I’m sure I’ll be the one learning from you about how to fully trust.
Trust–“believe that someone is reliable, good, honest and effective.” (Webster Dictionary)
My son, as I enter into the final stretch of awaiting your arrival, now, more than ever is when I must choose this trust. There are so many thoughts, concerns, possible outcomes that can run through my mind even before leaving the house…thanks to the new at our fingertips today. It can come flooding, easily knocking me off the grounding I had just moments earlier.
This is trust, this is faith, my son: believing that our God is good, reliable, honest and effective. He will not let you out of his sight. As I teach you this, I must believe and practice this truth myself. Though I may be tempted to run, to panic, to spin my wheels, I must be still. In this quiet, I hear God. He reminds me that He is good. He is honest.
As you grow in my belly, I can see more clearly a purpose that I didn’t have at this time a year ago. Yet, at the same time, I can easily get sucked into more worry that I didn’t have a year ago either. But I’m learning to trust too, little one, just as you will.
As one of your dad’s favorite authors writes in one of your soon-to-be-favorite books:
“Is—is he a man?” asked Lucy.
“Aslan a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion—the lion, the great Lion.”
“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he—quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Shebraham: Letters to Baby #4
I forget that the things that still shock me while living here will be normal for you, since this will be where you are raised.
Today I drove past a father on a motorcycle with his infant son. I was again surprised that yet another father was not holding onto his helmetless son on their two-wheeled adventure.
Yet this sight made me realize that what is normal for me is not for others. In my need for safety, I was looking at another parent as being careless and unprotecting while I’m sure they made it home safely, as many families do the same here every day.
My son, even now, before you are out of the womb, I want to shelter you. I want to give you everything. I want to protect you from harm. However, I am reminded that the reason I started these letters to you is to remember that you are not mine. Though I want to control and cling to safety and comfort, those are the things our God is trying to release from my grip. He knows all things and He knows best. He knows, my son, that I would not even be aware of such vices if I wasn’t removed from the land that I know.
My son, may you not fear. May you remind me the same! May you no seek only comfort and safety but walk in courage and strength in the unknown. Know, most of all, son, you are not alone.
Shebraham: Letters to Baby #3
My Little Man,
I hold you close to my heart as I know the blessing and miracle you are. Your dad and I have waited four long years, wondering if we would ever meet you. Here you are, God’s miracle, without medical intervention, growing day by day. I am reminded, though my heart has longed for you, that you are not mine. It is not easy to do but I will promise to hold you loosely.
Fear. Control. My dear son, these are two traits of mine that are being challenged more than ever. The truth is, I’ve never truly had control but I certainly had the illusion of it, more so when I lived in my homeland.
You, my boy, will be born here. My prayer is that you know immediately that you can control nothing. You may be more aware of that before you can speak but you may quickly forget when you develop your strong will. Yes, I need to prepare myself for that now, since your father and I are both blessed with the same will. The point is, son, only our God is in control. May your faith in Him be BIG, my son. May you walk in utter trust–knowing you have nothing to fear because He has you, more than I ever could.
When you know you have no control, you must fully trust. With utter trust, you have nothing to fear.
Shebraham: Letters to Baby #2
My Dear Son,
Now, in these few mornings left of quiet and stillness before you come, I start each day with reading and reflecting. Today, as I reflect on what I’d like to see change in my own life, I’d like to extend these few things to my prayer for you. I pray that you might have a thick skin while developing a soft and kind heart. I pray that you have a sense of humor and might laugh at life versus allow it to overwhelm you. I pray that you would have flexibility and not hold to your own plans too tightly. Most of all, I pray that you might pursue righteousness. You will not be perfect. You will make mistakes. I’ll be the one pointing them out to you, because in my mind, there will be a “way” to do things. Yet, at the end of the day, what I will want most for you is not that you fit into “my mold” but that you pursue righteousness. The blessing is that each day we have the chance to practice who we want to be. We won’t always get it right but we can practice together.
Shebraham: Letters to Baby #1
As we reach the halfway mark, waiting for your arrival, I’m reminded that time and life is precious. There are no guarantees. Most importantly, I’m learning that only God knows His plan for you, for us. Which is why I’ve decided to start this series of letters to you, in case this is the only chance I get.
My dear son,
We confirmed at yesterday’s appointment that you are in fact, a son! I love you very much already and pray that I have the chance to meet you and watch you grow.
Now is the time for me to warn you, so you have a heads up, though you will know us as “Parents,” “Mom,” Dad,” we are only human. We don’t have all the answers. We don’t have everything figured out. We are learning as we go. Therefore, I’m sure there often will be moments where you’ll swear you know more than we do. I can promise you that I have a lot to learn and you may be the one reminding me so. So be patient, son. Let’s agree, in this house, that we will show each other grace and forgiveness.
As sinful people, we will (more often than not) observe in one another, pride, anger, resentment, unkind words and bitterness. Yet, my prayer is that we do not hide but rather admit our sin. My prayer is that we don’t expect perfection in this house but rather demonstrate mercy and extend compassion.
Honestly, son, at this point, we’re not very good at this. Yet, you are already being used by God to teach us brokenness, humility and selflessness. Know, son, we are a work in progress. May our Lord be glorified by the work He is doing in us right now. And you’ll see, son, I’m a slow and stubborn learner.
In this house, may we have the courage to express and strength to release our fears to God and one another so that we might find wholeness.
31 Days of My Life as Shebraham: Day 31
It is funny how quick we are to forget. Even 30 days later, I’ve forgotten some of the lessons I’ve been learning this month.
As I reflect on October, I’m in process of…
- Identifying my own selfishness.
- Being challenged to find my voice.
- Finding my identity in Christ alone…apart from demographics, family and career.
- Learning to find joy in spite of my circumstances.
- Leaning into my friendships more now than ever.
- Trusting God when I don’t understand.
- Embrace versus fight brokenness.
- Becoming a mom in six months.
- Clinging to truth.
- Standing firm, above all else.
- Renewing my thoughts and my mind.
- Finally growing up.
- Accepting things as they are and finding gratitude/positivity.
- Learning that love is a choice.
- Focusing on the positive while not ignoring reality.
- Embracing faith.
- Seeing God’s goodness.
- Choosing patience.
- Seeking authenticity.
- Finally writing.
31 Days of My Life as Shebraham: Day 30
Life is better with dogs. I begin and end my day with these furry friends. Did I ever imagine I would have four dogs? No. But now I can’t imagine our home without them. In fact, it takes a lot of self-control for me not to add to our pack, seeing that there are several street dogs in this city.
What have these four taught me in their short years with us?
With Sam (far left), I have learned loyalty, patience, kindness and faithfulness. When we first brought him home, I thought he would only bring craziness. But now he is a wise and comforting soul. He’s the one who makes friends with all other dogs he meets. He allows neighborhood children to pull on him or ride him. He is our protector. Though he rarely barks, when he does, we take notice! Though never a fighter, when other dogs seem to be a threat to us or the others, he will stand in intervention. He leaves the room if there is ever tension, reminding us, peace and harmony is priority.
With Sophie (second from left), I have learned diligence. She is our hunter. She has brought in birds, caught geckos, rodents and more. She is our most intelligent and curious. Though, she is neurotic as well. Yet, she has a sweet side. She must be active each day and is the one who tells me when it’s time for our daily walk. She leads the way each time, never to be outrun by her male counterparts. She always looks out for me, circling back to be sure I’m with the group. She is my Lassie.
With Bear, I have learned unconditional love. He has a special place in our hearts as the puppy we kept from Sophie’s litter. He has a big heart and you can see it in his eyes. He has a easily frightened side to him so he’s a bit jumpy. This characteristic keeps him nearby at all times. Thus he’s also a whiner if he alone. He has taught me trust and companionship.
With Woolly, I have learned scrappiness. He survived a year on the streets. He is intelligent and a survivor. He is independent and willful. Sound familiar? He is a quick learner. He adapted within weeks to learning all the tricks the others learned over years. He knew obedience equals treats. He is sneaky, finding ways to break rules unnoticed. Yet with all his street-smarts, he is extremely loving and craves attention.
These are the dogs who have made me. Life would not be the same without them.
Happy Birthday to the brothers, Bear and Woolly (far right)!
31 Days of My Life as Shebraham: Day 29
Weary. Burdened. Fatigued. Exhausted.
I’ve seen it in the faces around me, heard it over the phone while talking to friends. This epidemic afflicts all of us.
Why is it so difficult to care for ourselves? To set limits? To rest?
Among Webster’s definitions of rest, two stand out: “(1) freedom from activity or labor; (2) peace of mind or spirit.” Notice, without slowing down, it is more difficult to have peace of mind.
It seems so rare these days to find ideal examples of people who rest well. In fact, many of us would like to think that we strive to live a balanced life. I’ve heard others say they have no interest in balance (i.e rest). But at what cost?
When we’re so driven, to the point of endless fatigue, what suffers? Sleep? Self-care? Marriage? Time with children? Creativity? Opportunities for meaningful conversations and connections? Friendships? Time with God?
Why do the most meaningful things seem to be the first to go? Why is it unacceptable to say “no” to work so as to make time for loved ones? And what makes us deceive ourselves and others as we say, “It’s just for a season”?
Jesus invites us: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
Do you want rest for your soul? We must come to Him to find it. Lay down our goals, our work, our to-do list and be reminded in the still quiet that we are not God. There is rest knowing that He is in control. He longs to relieve us of our fatigue, weariness, exhaustion and burdens.
Will you come to rest?