8.28.2012

8.27.2012

a walk in the park

Last Friday morning, Mat, AWA and I went for a walk at Noccalula Park. We can't wait until the cooler weather arrives so that we can go more often!

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**See that little footed pajama foot sticking out in the right hand corner of this photo?

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8.25.2012

the truth about pain in childbearing by jen wilkin

She's done it again.

I ran across this article from Jen Wilkin at The Gospel Coalition web site, and I had to share.

...Childbearing. What great grace to us.

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"The Truth About Pain in Childbearing" by Jen Wilkin
Originally posted at The Gospel Coalition on August 21, 2012

It's that day again---the photos are everywhere on Facebook and Twitter: scrubbed faces, neatly trimmed hair, un-scuffed shoes, and bulging backpacks all heading out the door. The faces in the photos are all smiles---it's behind the camera where the tears usually spring up, as mothers everywhere faithfully create a steady record of that bittersweet morning when the kids return to school.

Jewish rabbis taught that pregnancy is a mother's most blessed season. During pregnancy she could know with certainty that her child was safe, warm, nourished, and near---a certainty that would vanish as soon as the child entered the outside world. With a measured inhale, a steady exhale, and a mighty push, she would irreversibly move her child from safety and provision to separation and uncertainty.

The rabbis may not have been far off the mark. Birth is euphoria tinged with the ache of separation, the loss of a kindred closeness. It feels a little like a betrayal of a trust, thrusting a tiny person from a place of relative self-sufficiency to a place of complete dependence. It is undeniably natural and necessary (I'm glad my 15-year-old is not still in utero); nevertheless, we are stunned by the pain it involves and astonished at the amount of adjusting to come to grips with our new reality as a mother.

As the years unfold we begin to understand that we have been introduced to the great truth of pain in childbearing, a pain we naively believed would be confined to labor and delivery, but that visits us at every transition we nurture our children toward: the measured inhale, the steady exhale, the mighty push. And separation. Preschool. Kindergarten. Middle school. High school. College. Career. Marriage. With a familiar aching euphoria, we push them out---from safety and provision to separation and uncertainty. It feels like they would be safer just staying with us, as if safety were the greatest gift we could give them.

Somehow, this painful separation process is for our sanctification as mothers. For years I was not sure what the Bible meant that women would be saved through childbearing, but it grows clearer to me now. I once thought it referred only to giving birth, but its meaning encompasses the span of motherhood. Children are born in an instant, but they are borne across a lifetime. Childbearing saves me because it faithfully (albeit painfully) reminds me over and again that I am weak. It reminds me that I am not self-sufficient, that I do not have what it takes to preserve and protect my children, but that my heavenly Father does. It saves me from the belief that I am God.

Motherhood teaches women the imagery and language of the gospel on an intensely personal level. How appropriate the intertwined imagery of childbirth and the Cross: the necessary spilling of blood for the commencement of life, great loss holding hands with great gain. How appropriate the intertwined language of motherhood and the Great Commission: at the threshold of an unkind world we smile bravely at our children and say "go," though our hearts may whisper "stay" as the door closes behind them.

My maternal feelings mislead me. There is no betrayal of a child's trust in sending him out into uncertainty: there is only opportunity to further teach him the one worthy Object of his trust---and to learn the lesson again for myself. To paraphrase a favorite author, I cannot raise my children to be safe, but I can raise them to be strong.

So on such days of transition, I will steady myself to take those precious photos and send those precious children out. Inhale. Exhale. Push. And it will hurt the way great loss holding hands with great gain tends to do. I may cry for a little while after they go, but I will also give thanks for God's faithfulness---faithfulness in turning the pain of childbearing from a curse to a means of grace. Only he can do that. He can be trusted, and he alone. 

8.11.2012

gladness in growing and going

Sometimes, I run across articles that just hit the nail on the head. This article did just that. And because I am an avid reader of and subscriber to Jen Wilkin's blog, I didn't stumble across this one, but it meant enough to me for me to repost it here. Go here to see Jen's blog and read this original post.

...and I, for one, just like Jen, am eternally glad that I am mother to my daughter. There is gladness in her growing and gladness in her going. May God increase mine and Mat's quiver for His glory, for daughters are arrows, too... (Psalm 127:4-5)...


"Gladness Immeasurable" by Jen Wilkin
Originally posted on her blog, The Beginning of Wisdom, on Monday, August 6, 2012

I am standing with both of them, the one that looks like me on the left and the one that looks like her father on my right. They are tall, tall as me, and full of the willowy beauty of hastily retreating girlhood. 

He regards them. He smiles and says: “I’m glad I don’t have daughters.”  He means it as a compliment. A lighthearted joke. We smile back and laugh.

I smile, yes - but I am thinking it was funnier the first time someone said it. When they were perched in a shopping cart in tutus, all of two-and-a-half feet tall. How many fathers of sons have said this? How many times?  I’m glad I don’t have daughters. Glad. I’m glad about it.

Why, I want to ask? Why glad? Are sons so much easier to raise? There are two of those under my roof as well. What is it about daughters that their absence in your home is a relief to you? Is it their emotions? Sons have those, too.

But I can see the answer as you look at my girls: how can that sweetness be brought safely to adulthood? Men you understand – the paths of their thinking, the patterns of their acting. If your sons act rashly with women the consequences can be minimized. If my daughters act rashly with men the consequences can be massive.

You think I should be afraid. You ascribe truth to the common crass joke that with a son you only have to worry about one set of sex organs, but with a daughter…

I reject this analysis of the risk. I reject the fear-mongering apparitions of predatory sons and pregnant daughters as motivators for my parenting.  These are the substance of a philosophy that believes a pregnant daughter is the worst thing a parent has to fear. This is far from the truth. My greatest concern cannot be that they reach marriage unsullied and unharmed - it must be that they grow to love God above all else. If they make mistakes on the road to adulthood, even mistakes with permanent consequences, we must face them bravely and run to their Savior for forgiveness and help.

Do you think that your sons are at less risk to be harmed by wrong decisions? You take too much comfort in their lack of a uterus. You have calculated the risk only in physical terms. There are always consequences for sin - some of them just gestate longer. If you considered my daughters as valuable as if they were your own, you would raise different sons. In all likelihood, one day you will have daughters. Raise sons who choose them well.

I am glad I have daughters.  You must hear this: Glad. They are strong and smart and unconsciously lovely. They know what their bodies are capable of. They know what men’s bodies are capable of. They are not afraid of your sons. And neither am I. They will know if your sons are worthy of their attention because their father’s example has hard-wired them to recognize character. Instead of intimidating someone else’s sons at the front door, he has wooed the hearts of his daughters every day of their lives. I am glad I have daughters, and by God’s grace the father of their husbands will be glad I had them, too.

You do not mean to offend or challenge. I know this. My head measures your words and finds no fault, but my heart measures the culture that has taught you to repeat these lines. You catch me at a vulnerable moment.
They are running - running, I tell you – toward womanhood. No more tutus and sequined shoes. The heavy-lashed eyes of their dolls have long grown accustomed to the darkness on the highest shelf in the closet. On a day not far distant those two rumpled beds will remain neatly made side by side in the room they share. There will be no more jumbles of hangerless clothes, no twisted cords of curling irons, no fine dust of beauty products adhered to the sink top with a film of hairspray. They will be gone. Let it be known that there has been gladness in their growing and going. Let it be known that I have been glad beyond measure.

Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.
Psalm 33:20-21

8.09.2012

alexander family beach trip 2012

Hello, friends. I'm tired from a long and eventful day, but I wanted to post photos from our beach trip this past week. Enjoy!

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DSC_0761 - Version 2

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