father to daughter.

Monday, 29 July 2013

'Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.
See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
The fig-tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
My beautiful one, come with me.'

Quite a while ago now I posted that verse. At the early, scary, tentative stages of pregnancy, suffering with chicken pox, stuck in the house and in a rut, panicking about the amount of money I was losing for being off sick, the sheer beauty of that verse hit me and I realised that was how someone felt about me, and I sat there and cried over it. Today I've been reminded of it again and it made me smile.

We - me and Chris and baby - have all been spoilt recently. The anticipation of baby has made our families pull tighter together and I feel their protection around us. The sheer blessing of having them there - of being a couple fortunate enough to have a family that care this much about them and about their child - is hitting me more than ever as I realise that we are not raising this baby alone, but in a community of people that care deeply about her. When we've needed something - a pram for baby, furniture - money has arrived. When I needed a bag big enough to take into hospital with me, my friend came round and gave me one. When I thought we might need to buy a new car, and my heart sank as I wondered how we'd afford it, the problem was fixed in a moment and it hardly cost us anything.

I, personally, have been extremely spoilt.

I don't feel like I deserve it.

I have been blessed with two enormous gifts recently that were entirely separate from my birthday and from baby and Chris. Just for me. And I don't know how to handle it. I get awkward and embarrassed and shy and I feel a paradoxical combination of being deeply loved and blessed and not at all worthy of it. It annoys people because they just want to bless me, just like everyone wants to bless people they love.

I'm the same way with God sometimes.

I'm not super spiritual. I don't find reading my Bible to be easy and I don't often always hear things from it that make me weep. I don't spend every morning reading it. Sometimes I'm lucky if I remember to read a verse on my Kindle through blurry morning eyes whilst scoffing down breakfast. Sometimes my mind wanders during worship and I have to force myself to sit down and pray, even for things that I really need help with, because it doesn't always come naturally. I regularly forget what I've read and I make silly decisions and sometimes I can be pretty mean. (I'm not bragging about that. But it's my blog and I might as well be honest about it).

I second-guess myself, too. When I am on track and I'm sitting in bed reading a verse and I feel moved by it, sometimes I can't just be thankful for it. I wonder how I can do more with it. Which is sometimes a good thing, but sometimes leads to me striving, and the simple joy of being touched by a piece of scripture and letting it settle in my heart is lost.

Sometimes I'm cynical and the questions I have about my faith and the sheer complexity of it weighs me down.

I'm not good enough in any way. I try, sometimes not hard enough. I fail.

Yet every day He boldly declares His love for me in a million different ways. Not just through physical gifts, but through family and friends, through quiet moments of joy in an otherwise exhausting day, His love for me reaches beyond my own tiredness, lack of obedience, lack of grace, my cynicism. One quiet time with God, this morning, and I'm overwhelmed yet again by the fact that I'm loved despite everything, despite how long it's been since I set time aside for Him, despite my many mistakes.

May the journey of learning how to be thankful and joyful continue.

Because that's my calling.

'Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.' 1 Thess 5:16


Saturday, 13 July 2013

This week I've been in receipt of a lot of sympathetic glances and 'Oh, are you suffering in this heat?' type questions.

The answer is yes, yes I am. Much more than I thought I would be. I am exhausted at work by about two o'clock in the afternoon; my Braxton Hicks seem to intensify in number and strength depending on how hot I am and how urgently I need them not to happen; my brain won't work properly; I can't sleep, and I have an extreme case of 'pregnancy dropsies' (dropsies = bizarre phenomenon which means that otherwise stationary objects, when in my hand, seem to fly out of their own accord).

So yes. I am a clumsy, hot, sweaty mess. My baby, meanwhile, kicks and squirms in delight, utterly unaffected by how tired I feel, sprawling happily across my belly in between practising her aerobics, which means my formerly neat bump is now growing sidewards as well as outwards.

My default answer to the question 'it's a bit hot for you, isn't it?'  after the first day of the heatwave was: 'Yes, it's a bit too hot for me.' (Polite smile). My default answer after a few days of working in intense heat was a slightly sarcastic, through gritted teeth 'Oh, just a bit.' My default answer after a weak of chasing after babies and toddlers in a heatwave with an energetic baby bump and no energy is now a dirty look and a muffled, Marge-Simpson-Like 'MMMMM.'

So I haven't blogged for a while. Terribly sorry. I'm hoping at some point my brain will go back to normal function even if my body isn't quite up to it. But there we are.

In a break from staring hopelessly at my ever-growing 'To Do Before Baby Arrives' list whilst having no energy or inclination to do anything about it, I'm going to write down a few things that have blessed me over the past few weeks:

  • Girly birthday presents from my lovely husband
  • Seeing our baby in another scan and having a rush of realisation that, as far as I can see so far, she looks as though she has my lips and Chris's nose
  • Friends and family gathering together for my birthday to watch a terrible film ('Birdemic' in case you were wondering)
  • Buying a fan for our house (this right now is literally the best thing we've ever bought in four years of marriage)

I'm blessed, really, and every day my body successfully grows and feeds my baby, I am thankful.

But I'm a grump.

Go out and enjoy the sunshine for me, happy, soon-to-be-sunburnt British people!

God bless x
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