Captain, We Need More Snuggles!

Do you have a super snuggler in your life? Maybe it’s a child, your spouse, or a pet, but if you have one you already know what I mean when I say super snuggler. Holding hands isn’t enough, laying with their leg touching yours isn’t enough. If there’s a blanket or a shirt between their skin and yours, they’ll nudge and shift their body until the fabric moves.

They just can’t get close enough and every part of them needs to be touching you. My super snuggler is Jonathan. If cuddling were an Olympic sport, this kid would win the gold medal. He wakes up for snuggles when he’s lonely. If I bring him into bed with me and wait until he’s asleep to slowly slide away, we do this kind of dance where I inch away and he inches closer. Then we dance like this until I get to the edge of the bed and give in to the sweaty baby snuggles again.

This week has been wrought with sickness in our house. Pneumonia, flu, bronchiolitis, and a stomach bug have all graced our doorstep with their nasty unwelcome presence and nobody even bothered to wipe their feet. Poor Jonathan was on the receiving end of all four illnesses. Isn’t it great when siblings share? Well, when Jonathan is sick, he takes his already super-snuggly-self into a hyper-drive of clingy goodness.

It’s exhausting; even my ergo is showing signs of tiredness. In the still of the night last night, rocking and singing to a sweet, sleepy boy, I saw a peace and comfort in that face that inexplicably melted away my exhaustion. That peace and rest can only be found one place I know.

I stopped singing and started praying. Thank you Father for this tiny boy. Forgive me for my selfishness and resentment of what he needs. Forgive me for wanting to prioritize my sleep over loving him. You’ve entrusted him to us to love and teach and raise and snuggle. Oh, these snuggles. Even though he cannot say a word, You’re already using him to teach me about my relationship with You. Even in his sleep, even when he’s sick, he instinctively knows that there is comfort in closeness. Lord, we are sick and too distant from You. Grow in me a longing to be closer to You, to snuggle in and never feel like I’m near enough, to want to cling tighter and tighter to You. You are where I find my rest. Remind me when I forget that You are the bringer of all peace and comfort. Help me become more like this little child, snuggling close as I grow.

18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.

20 The Lord watches over all who love him,

Psalm 145:18-20a

~Wiff Love

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The New Washing Machine

Raise your hand if you’ve ever left a load of laundry in the wash and forgotten about it. Whether it’s for half an hour, over night, or until I go to do laundry again the next week (don’t judge me, I’m not the domestic goddess that my mother is. They don’t make ’em like that anymore), I’ve done it all. And damp-yucky-forgot-to-switch-the-laundry smell is, in my book, second only to found-a-sippy-of-milk-under-the-car-seat-in-July smell.

Recently I was feeling pretty smug about not forgetting the laundry anymore. Before we moved, I used to do it all the time. Now, I can’t remember the last time my forgetfulness has been punished with a whiff of that stink. Go me!

Before I could reach to pat myself on the back, the washer chimed its sweet little digital bird call; “Twee diddle dee diddle deedle leedle dee.” Such a stark contrast from the one-and-done “SQUAAAA!” notification from the crotchety old washer at the other house. This one doesn’t bellow, it beckons. It’s like he’s singing “Your clothes are done. I’m here. Pay attention to me. Move them to the drier now or they’ll stink.” If I’m changing a diaper or otherwise occupied, he’ll sing again in 5 minutes. It’s the same sweet warble.

Friends, Our God is like that. Like a dishwasher designer knows how to call this momma to change the wash, like a shepherd knows his sheep, the Father knows just what kind of call and what reminder intervals we need to pull us away from the distractions of the world to focus our attention back to Him.

He doesn’t call for my attention because He needs me. He calls because He knows I need Him. Without attending to His call, I’d get stinky again.

Only He can keep the dampness from sneaking back in. My distractions are met with reminders. He gently reminds me to stop what I’m doing and pay attention to Him.

Father, Thank You for knowing my name and calling to me. Thank You for washing machine songs and for all the ways in which Your creation points back to the character of its Creator. Far too often I let distractions of this world get in the way of spending time in Your Word and in prayer. Continue to put my name on your lips, to sing to me, to urge me, to remind me, and to desire a relationship with me. Tune my eyes to see and ears to hear all the ways in which this world points me back to You, that I may be amazed by the everyday and the mundane ways that Your Grace finds me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

~Wiff Love

Your Grace Finds Me, Matt Redman

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving week, what does practicing gratitude look like for you?

For me, it’s a kid on a counter, a perspective shift, and an intentional focus on the posture of a thankful heart:

  • I could be mad I can’t leave them alone for 30 seconds or I can be grateful they’re here with me all the time.
  • I could be frustrated that my third child is more devious than his elder siblings or I can be thankful that God had the wisdom to place him last (or he may well have been an only child!)
  • I could be annoyed at yet another thing to baby-proof or I could be thankful that he’s an engineer like his father and determined like his mother and that he is always, always thinking up new ways to stretch the limits of his world.
  • I could be exhausted and spent by 10am or I can be thankful that I don’t have to do this alone. I can be thankful when I don’t think I have enough to get through today’s dishwasher climbing moments, and diva tantrum over multicolored cheese, and losing the fourth game of battleship with my other little thinker. I can be thankful that God gives me more than I can handle alone, because with that burden comes the humbling reminder that He is strong and He is enough and His energy is more boundless than all three of the Wifflettes 700 times over.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work ~ 2 Corinthians 9:8

Thanksgiving isn’t just a day, it’s a posture.

~Wiff Love

Beautiful Tears

Today was the last day of our Fall Bible Study. I was blessed to hear many, many courageous women step out in faith to share how they’ve grown through this semester. Along with these faithful women sharing their stories, several of them shared something sweeter with our group; their tears.

Yes, seriously. Before you start thinking I’m some kind of sadistic jerk, let me assure you the tears were wetting my cheeks as well.

I’m a sympathetic crier. It’s been that way as long as I can remember. If I see someone in tears, I can feel that pain and, inevitably, I start crying too. I used to think that this was a curse and was embarrassed by it. This self-consciousness about my over-active tears always led me to steer clear of conversations or situations that might make me cry. I would do everything in my power to avoid situations where people might be crying. Then my first child was born. And I was a hot mess of tears and emotions. What new momma isn’t? But even more than raging hormones and a demanding infant, my heart was just hurting for these little, tiny cries of a less-than-day-old babe who needed an unknown something.
One of the many times of shared tears in that first 24 hours in the hospital with Zachary, the nurse walked in. When she saw me trying to quickly wipe away my tears and cover my embarassment, she spoke some kind and wise words that have shifted my perspective ever since.
“Oh, honey, don’t be ashamed of your tears. It’s just a sign that your heart is so full that it’s overflowing and spilling out your eyes. I’m honored that you let me see those drops.”
What freedom was found in that revelation. Since that day I’ve stopped hiding my tears. I’ve stopped avoiding potentially tear-filled situations. I’ve also developed some of the deepest, most authentic relationships I’ve ever had. Sharing joys and struggles, unashamed of ugly tears streaming down my face and soaking my shirt is the only option now.
So, let those tears flow. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t let anyone make you feel like tears equal weakness. And never, ever apologize for letting me see them. I’m honored that you let me see those drops.
~Wiff Love

Family Resemblance

Jillian: Hahaha. Zachary! What happened to your hair?

Zachary: Daddy cut it.

Jillian: That’s funny. You look like Daddy!

Zachary: Really? Let me see!! *runs into bathroom to look in the mirror* … Yep! I don’t know why you’re trying to pick on me, though. Daddy’s a handsome guy!

So confident in the face of adversity and so secure in his identity. Rather than be rattled by an attack, he chose to see it as a high praise. As always, God uses these tiny humans to teach me another lesson when it’s me that’s supposed to be doing the teaching.

When do we look most like our Father?

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Ephesians 5:1-2

When do we look most like our Father? When we love.

~Wiff Love

Still

God has quite a sense of humor in answering prayers.

Pray for the ability to trust God and relinquish control? A health storm in my life churns up of which I cannot change my diet, take a pill, exercise more, or otherwise “control” it. Just trust that He’s got this.

Pray for stillness? Doctor recommends a CT scan to check out above mentioned health drama. On the table, loud and clear, the radiologist says “be still or we won’t get a clear picture.” Be still. Why did she choose *those* words? Could’ve said “don’t move” or “lie perfectly still” but no. Be still or we won’t get a clear picture. Message received.

~Wiff Love

Mail’s Here

Frustrated, drained, and needing 45 seconds of silence, I walked to the mailbox even though I’m positive that was a landscaper trailer and not the whir of the postal truck. Yep. Empty. Wasted trip.

As I turned around to walk back into the house, I was hit between the eyes with my never-ending list of things to do before the snow flies. Plant the hosta, trim the birch tree, fill the flower beds with more dirt, repair the screens, power wash the siding… and that’s just the front yard. Ugh. My frustration with the three squabbling and demanding littles in the house began to deepen. If it weren’t for them, I’d be done with my to-do list by now.

Them.

As soon as I thought it, I was convicted by the Holy Spirit. It was only then that He let me see them.

Them.

Two at the door and one in the dining room window. Those sweet faces, missing me while I’m on my mini mom vacation and all-inclusive pity party.

I get so lost in the daily perceived drudgery of motherhood, that sometimes I lose sight of my mission. I’m not here to have the perfect kids or the perfectly landscaped front lawn. Most importantly, it’s not all about me. I’m here to be God’s hands and feet, to train up these Wifflettes bathed in Scripture, and to give grace abundantly because grace has been abundantly given to me.

Even though the post office didn’t deliver any letters to my mailbox, this Heavenly message was delivered right on time… as always. Deep breath. Sigh.

~Wiff Love

Jonathan vs. Bubble Wrap, the Video Series

Part 1: The Encounter

We’ve all been here. New food. A new job. A new relationship. A new obstacle to jump over. New stuff can be scary.

Part 2: Paralyzing Lack of Courage

Do you react with fear? Do you step back to analyze? Do you test the waters before jumping right in? Do you wait and watch to see who else is doing it and how? Maybe you need someone to come alongside you with just the right motivation or words of encouragement.

Part 3: The Incentive

Sometimes no matter how badly you want to overcome your fear, you’re incapable of doing it on your own.

Part 4: If at first you don’t succeed…

Part 5: Try, try, and try another way

Sometimes I get to this point and realize that I’ve been ridiculous. My fear was unfounded and the only thing stopping me was myself. Other times, you finally muster up the will to touch/do/say the scary thing and find that it is, in fact, worse than you’d made it up in your mind to be. This is impossible. I. Might. As. Well. Just. Quit.

Part 6: Not Alone

Fine. I’ll swallow my pride and insistence on independence. Daddy, please, help me. I need you. I can’t do this on my own.

Part 7: Suited up for Battle

It’s almost embarrassing. I look so silly. Will this solution work? Okay Daddy, I’m trusting you. Here I go.

Part 8: (Spoiler Alert) Success and Skittles

At what point in the journey do you ask your Father for help? The command is simple:

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

So often, I’m just like Jonathan. I try EVERYTHING to do it on my own first. I ponder the situation, psych myself up, take a running start, try to jump, try again, get frustrated, try again, and then, only then, do I take my fears to my Heavenly Father. But why do I make things so hard on myself? He was sitting right there the whole time, with a solution much better than my own silly ideas. But I fear. And I fret. And I hold onto that burden like it’s a life raft and not the millstone that it is. Philippians mirrors Matthew in the order and frequency with which we should be taking things to God:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

And why? Certainly not because God needs His ego stroked or He expects us to fall before Him as the pitiful failures that we often are. No, it’s much purer than that.

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

He loves us.

Heavenly Father, Your mercies and faithfulness never cease. Your love is unconditional. Turn my face away from my fears and help me to focus on You. Encourage me always to seek you first in praise and petition. Help me to remind my problems who You are so that when I encounter bubble wrap along my path, as I certainly will, I do not stumble or stall. Remove from my heart all traces of fear and fill the empty space with trust in Your providence. In Your Son’s name I ask these things. Amen.

~Wiff Love