Hush.

It was 4:00 in the morning, and like clockwork, Charlotte started screaming.

Confession: Todd usually gets up with her in the middle of the night. Another confession: He usually gets up before me with the kids in the morning. One more confession: He does 98 % of the laundry and more than half of the housework. I have other confessions but I will save them for a day when you might not decide to hate me because I have such a great husband. :)

Anyway, last night when Charlotte started screaming, instead of her normal “please come get me and rock me back to sleep” sound, she was wailing. She went from dead asleep to sounding like she was desperately afraid in about 4 seconds. I opened my eyes and sat still for a second because sometimes she goes right back to sleep.

“Mommy! Mommy! MOOOMMMMYYY!!!!” I jumped up. Because that’s me she’s calling. And she isn’t just upset, she’s wanting me. And who can resist answering that need?

I jumped out of bed and walked toward her room. Right as I turned the doorknob, she let out another piercing scream, so she didn’t hear me walk in. We live in a house that has creaky doorknobs and pockets of the floor that you learn to step around if you’re trying to be quiet. I know where they are. I didn’t make a sound.

It surprised me that she wasn’t standing up in her crib and bouncing, because she usually does that when she’s upset.

I know. Because I know her.

She was so worked up that she didn’t even notice that I had gotten right up next to her crib, and that I was actually leaning over the white wooden bars while she was flailing around. She was sweaty, I could tell from her little wet head. She was digging her fists into the mattress and rolling her legs around kicking the sides of the crib. And she was more upset than I have seen her in awhile.

I prayed for her. I rebuked any Satanic spirit that might be influencing her, I prayed for peace and for rest. I did it quickly, and I waited just a moment more.

She was still scared. Still unaware of me.

Quietly, quietly, I started humming, “Hush little baby, don’t you cry…” It was just enough to make my throat vibrate. Too quiet for her to take notice, but she must have sensed something in her half-awake state, and she calmed a little. I started to reach over the crib but I didn’t want to wake her if she was going to go back to sleep. She didn’t even need to know I was here, just felt enough in my presence to know she wasn’t alone. I kept watching her though, and I noticed that although she was still upset, she wasn’t looking at the door. She knew that one of us would come in and get her, but she cried to the corner, so distraught that she didn’t lift her head.

And in the middle of the night, while the wind howled around Nashville and the rest of my babies slept, I wondered how many times I have done this.

I call Him, because I know His name.

And He answers, because He has always knows mine.

I am lost in the wreckage, trying to get my bearings, and while I can’t even lift my head, He whispers throughout the madness…I am here, love. Rest.

I snuck in when you thought it was over. When you thought it was impossible. And while your back was turned and the world was upside-down, I came near to you. I have seen you wrestle with your pain, shout in anger, and kick the sides of this life until the bruises reminded you that you could even feel at all.

And somewhere, sometime…many in fact, I bowed beside you and sang. And when you thought you couldn’t get to me, I reminded you that I always, always come to you.

Hush little baby…

I stood in the moonlight and let Him fall on me. Have you ever done that? Because it’s pretty spectacular. I read my Bible, of course. And I love to listen to music, to be in community, and all of the other gifts of this world. But every now and then He speaks and I know that even when I leave the moonlight I’m never going to forget the mercy that spoke in the darkness.

She stirred again and I reached over and touched her back. Gently, gently.

Hush.

She felt me, jumped up, and scrambled for my arms as if I might leave without her.

I never would, you know.

And as she lowered her head into my neck, I settled into the rocking chair and she was out before I even sat.

There were no words exchanged. Just the truth that exists between a parent and a child in the middle of the night. And it says the same thing it always has.

You didn’t know I was there, but it doesn’t change the fact that I was.

I heard you call me and I came.

I sang over you, prayed over you, loved you from the shadows.

Hush, love. Hush. Another day is dawning soon and we will meet here again. Around the squeaky floors I have come to know so well. And when we do, you will remember why it is that you called me in the first place, so long ago.

And if you listen to the stillness, you will hear me. Anywhere, anytime.

Hush.

Can you hear Him?

{Zephaniah 3:17}

Lamb

It won’t come as a surprise to most of you that I’m a little Type A about things. Not even important things, necessarily. For example, I can’t keep all the dog hair off the ground but if a recipe calls for a teaspoon, it’s painful for me to try and “guesstimate” without the actual measuring spoon. Weird, I know.

Last week I had an epiphany about my prayer life and it’s probably going to look pitiful on paper but it really did make a big difference to me and I want to share it in the event that you can relate. When I talk to the Lord, I have realized I do it like He doesn’t know who I am. I originally thought I had to be on my knees next to my bed (left side, candle burning) in order for Him to hear me but then years later I rebelled and just did it while sitting straight up. I like to push the envelope, what can I say?

It seemed like I was still connecting despite the fact that I wasn’t following my little rules, so I went with it. I became accustomed to just talking to Him wherever I was (madness, I tell you), but until recently I didn’t realize that I still had some learning to do. I’m kind of laughing as I write this because it sounds funny to even say, but the truth is that I typically pray like this:

“Dear Jesus (wait until He has had a chance to turn His eternal gaze on me instead of the other thing He was doing. Not scripturally accurate but nonetheless, I do), I would like to lift up so-and-so to you. She is really processing her divorce and I’m concerned for her. Lord, what can I do to help? What should I be saying to her?”

It goes on like this for a few minutes, me talking like I’m talking to a psychiatrist who just pulled my file. And sometimes (gasp!) I get distracted and then I start over. “Sorry Lord. I just started thinking about how this other person really irritates me and I kind of chased the rabbit trail a little. I also ate some Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls but now I’m back and I’m ready to focus.”

It’s like I have to have a powerpoint presentation before I feel like I’ve prayed efficiently.

For crying out loud, how weird is that? And yet, some of you are  nodding your heads right now because you have felt the same thing. You feel like you’re talking to Someone Who has other things to do and you just want to walk away feeling like you did it “right.” Because certainly the God of the heavens can’t piece it together if I don’t help Him out.

Last night Amy (from Selah) and I were getting ready to go to a movie (Inception, if you must know. And don’t think the irony isn’t lost on me. And also, I’m still confused about the whole thing, start to finish). Charlotte was crying about something and Todd had taken her into the bedroom to try and calm her down. It wasn’t going very well so he brought her back out and Amy took her. All the while I was acutely aware that she wanted to be swaddled, turned slightly into someone’s chest with her pacifier in her mouth and her lamb making the ocean wave sound. I’m pretty sure Miss Kelsey (who has saved our lives and is currently watching the kids so I can hide in the bedroom and write) just shouted Amen because she knows the drill too. But it’s a recent development and Todd was out of town for a few days so he didn’t know about the magic of the lamb (once again, the irony is kind of like a sack of potatoes falling on my head. Subtle, you know?).

I picked her up and walked her into her nursery and a few minutes later she was completely asleep and Todd came in to see what I had done to calm her down. After he walked out I continued to rock her and I had one of those moments where you just know the Lord is trying to impress something upon your heart so you listen.

She didn’t say a thing. She didn’t label her needs and desires with boxes to check off. You knew them already because you know her. You know the sound of her hungry cry and the sound she makes when she’s falling asleep contented. You don’t need her to explain, because you love her well enough to know.


Well, that’s because I’m her mother. Naturally I know.

And exactly Who do you think I am?


God likes to trump me with one-liners. He knows I appreciate timing and punch.

I start to realize that I pray to Him as if He doesn’t already know everything. As if I’m another customer in the long line of people Who want to talk to Him. I’m like three steps away from making an appointment.

I don’t even hear the little Lamb playing because I’m so darned convinced that I need to show Him where the swaddle is. He doesn’t need a preface. He doesn’t want a 5 step plan. He wants me to be with Him. I have this weighted feeling that if I forget to pray specifically, it won’t happen. If someone writes me and asks me to pray for their child and I screw up and forget, what will happen? It will all fall apart, right? Because it was dependent on me to explain. He didn’t understand and I would have been the one person who could have intervened. Logic at it’s finest, folks. Hope you picked up on that.

I know it in my head and I believe I love Him this way but for some reason the praying is different. When I saw Charlotte sleeping I knew He was trying to teach me something that would deepen our relationship. Instead of rattling off a list last night, I laid in bed (Oh yes I did. And He heard me anyway) and I thought of a person in my life who has really wounded me. As the face of that person sat in my mind, I just let it sit. I didn’t try to pepper it with my side or explain how wronged I had been, I just rested knowing that He knew it already. And it was a relief. And then He told me I was right and that person was wrong, wrong, wrong. Well, I’m pretty sure anyway.

I freak out when I don’t have control (airplanes, anyone? I’d probably be fine if I was the pilot!) and I feel the need to fill in all the gaps. I’m really going to try and change this, and I have worked out a very specific checklist in order to free myself from it.

That last part was a joke. Kind of.

I want to let Him be Him in my prayer. I want to be able to rest knowing that I don’t have to work to pray, because He is in the business of knowing already. Does that make sense? If not, you should see Inception because this will be really simple after that.

I just wanted to encourage you all to reach out to the God who has already filled the gaps, and embrace Him as the Father Who doesn’t need anything from you. You are freed from responsibility, and enabled, through grace, to be a part of the miracle.

Ahhh. Doesn’t that feel nice?

Rest in Him today, friend.

With much love and an alarming selection of highlighters,
Ang

P.S. Thank you Miss Kelsey! We love you!

How Do I Thank You?

I had to pop in to let you know how incredibly grateful I am for your generosity. SO many of you gave money for the Phelps family and I am blown away by it. I believe they will be able to pay off all of their outstanding debt (costs associated with burial, hospital bills etc.) and when Todd talked to Michael on the phone today he broke down crying. It is so amazing to see the body of Christ coming together for strangers, and I just want you all to know that it has ministered to me greatly to see so many kind words and contributions. I know I say this all the time, but I don’t take it lightly that you all even come to this blog, let alone jump in and offer what you have when there is a need you feel like you can meet. A few of you have asked about sending checks, and if you were one of them, feel free to send it directly to them. Here is their address:

Michael and Holly Phelps
411 Annex Ave. Apt D-7
Nashville, TN 37209

Speechless. I’m just speechless…

Thank you so, so much.

Also, thank you to the ladies who mentioned the sling recall. I did check to make sure this one wasn’t recalled (it’s a Hotsling in case you asked…and I agree…the pattern is adorable!). The founder of Hotslings is on the ASTM board that comes up with the safety standards and I couldn’t find anything that said that this sling was unsafe, but I certainly welcome any thoughts from you all if you have had a different experience. Shoot me an email if you know anything specific about this brand that might be helpful to me!

Also (and this will officially make this the most random post ever), I am praying about my next book and would love your input. Believe it or not, I have an October deadline and although I have a few ideas about what the topic will be, I would really like to hear what you all think. Feel free to leave a comment on this post or send me an email if there’s something that sounds interesting to you. Parenting? Devotional-type book? Specific Bible topic? Anything else?

Still no more pictures on here…bad blogger, bad blogger…but it will be soon! I’m making some little dresses for the girls photography session next week so hopefully they will turn out cute :)

Have an awesome holiday weekend and be safe-

With much gratitude,
Ang

7×7 Button

Hey everyone! OK, thanks for all of your great suggestions..I think I like the 7×7 thing (which several of you thought of!) so sweet Danielle made a button for it.  Thanks to those of you who asked for this, because I wouldn’t have thought of it myself:) And make sure and check out Danielle’s fun Christmas blog designs…she is so great!!!

If you want to add the button to your blog/site and help promote prayer for our kiddies, feel free. When people click it, it will link to the post with all of the scriptures.  People always ask if they need to link back to me, and while I’m not sure about blog etiquette, just know that it is much more important to me that people are praying for their kids than reading my blog:) Link me or don’t link me…just tell ‘em to PRAY!!!! 

How’s this week going, friends? I hope well. I am praying that the Lord blesses you as you lift up your kids in prayer.  
Angie

BTW, that is Ellie in the picture:)