On Showing Up

I survived Day 1. 

Every time we have added another little one to our family, the first post-pregnancy day I survive by myself with just the kids is one I count as an absolute win. This time was no different. Today marks 3 weeks since the life I was carrying and growing warmly and safely inside me, entered our little space of the world. It also, so happens to be the first day I have been with all my kids…completely solo.

And quite frankly, I am feeling pretty good about how the day went.

I mean —-

• Groceries were bought. (Can we give it up to Walmart for their AWESOME online shopping and pickup thing they gave going on? Everything bought and picked up withOUT having to unload my small army of children. 🙌🏽)

• Not one, but FOUR loads of laundry washed, hung to dry, and put away.

• Time outside on the porch to unwind and play.

• 3/4 kids bathed and clean before bed.

• And. No one missed a meal. (Albeit, cereal was the entree of choice for dinner 😬.)

So now, I lie here in bed reflecting on this day that I was initially quite intimidated by and I remind myself of why it went so well.

I serve a God who is rich in mercy.

A mercy so rich, it brings my dead heart to life; so rich, it is also poured out in many ways of grace in the everyday minutiae of things. He draws me to Him and refines me through, sometimes the extraordinary, but often in the ordinary.

I saw how His grace was extended through the generosity, kindness and sacrifice of others. 

People in my life…showed up. In all kinds of ways, people were the hands and feet of Jesus to my family and I. Where we needed, He provided through the outpouring of love from people we walk with in this life.

My day was good and so (dare I say) perfect, because of His provision.

For example…

I thought about the many hands who helped out when we were trying to get our little home move-in ready before our newest arrival showed up. I can’t even begin to thank those who showed up and gave of their time, energy, sweat, hard work…just for my family. I mean, my poor sister about scrubbed her poor fingers off when she set out on the task of helping with the grouting of our floors.

We had friends – dig ditches in uncomfortable weather conditions so we could run a new electric line to our house; sweat themselves to death helping with siding, installing cabinets and transferring (by hand) a monstrous pile of drywall from where it was dropped outside to the inside of our shop; my parents (bless them) worked their tails off outside to help make it our place somewhere that looks more and more like home.

Then, when the time came, we had family give up vacation days to help move us into our house…without us even asking. They just showed up.

I had a nice comfortable home to be in today with my kiddos, because of the many ways God used people to bless us with much needed help.

These last 3 weeks? Man, they have been tough for me on a physical level. C-sections—are no joke. Being 34 and having undergone a fourth c-section (with an extra little removal of tubes thrown in for fun [read sarcastically]), REALLY was tough on me this go around. The healing process was so much slower and harder on me.

But, people showed up.

My parents literally gave up a month of their lives to help take care of me and my family. They helped clean out the last remaining necessities from our little travel trailer, took excellent care of our other children, and just gave completely of themselves in every way to help make this transition a good and easy one for us.

Meals. I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Every person who showed up with a meal for my family…just completely messed with my emotions. Inside, I was a blubbery mess with each sacrificial blessing that was brought over. People are busy, teachers were soaking up their family in the last days of summer, friends with new babies, friends with their own families to tend to, my awesome mother-in-law who provided a slew of frozen meals…all showed up. 

The meals? Were awesome. But what they brought to my family and I was so much more…it showed us not only did they care, but they reminded us of our faithful God who cares, too.

Prayers. There is nothing that can make a momma come to her knees quicker than her children. When your tiny and new little life seems to be having difficulties, there is something so comforting and powerful to know you have an army of people praying for him. And when our little guy was getting bili levels checked every other day and we were worried out of our minds about unknowns…people showed up to pray. We were surrounded by prayers of peace by friends who brought our needs/anxieties before the Throne of Grace.

To wrap it all up?

Well, this extra long post of mine is really summed up in these two words – show up.

People are always wanting to make a difference and do something big…but I was shown that sometimes (probably most times) it is the small things, the ordinary things, the not-so-glamorous things that will make the biggest impact in the lives of others.

Through the seemingly boring day-to-day ways of showing up, God was glorified; I am fully aware of His amazing mercy and grace that was woven through the everyday ways people poured themselves out to my family.

I know, my successful day today is in no part all my own doing. It was because of the richness of His mercy and grace…by those who (maybe unknowingly) were being used by Him.

To all those who have shown up…thank you.

When Easter is for you, too

This week.

I can’t help but be overcome by what it means. It is a day so immensely special, there are no words which could truly describe the impact of such an event that was catastrophic to all that is broken and fallen; an event that brought about the perfection of freedom. It is where the ashes of our messy lives could hope to find beauty and where all that was lost could now be reclaimed. We are on the cusp of a day where we will sacredly observe an act of obedience that was carried out, so perfect and true; an act which resulted in our penalty being taken on fully and in every aspect – pain, death, and separation. His blood for mine. This week…well, it a celebration of justification.

The other thing? Well, as if all the above was not enough…we also get to celebrate one more thing: Resurrection.

This day we celebrate what death could not hold; we celebrate an empty grave. The humble Christ Jesus, rising victorious as King over all and with the chains of death, broken, in His grasp. A day that holds the promise for newness and holds the promise of freedom.

This day means:

  • Every wayward son and daughter, now has a new hope. Their pasts and their hearts now have a place to shed their brokenness and their rebellion. Because of the cross and because of a risen Lord, they now can stand faultless…they are redeemed, they are new.
  • The hurt and ache of a broken marriage that is held firmly in sin’s grip of death, no longer needs to despair and mourn. The fallenness that wants to destroy and steal away what does not belong to it, has no bearing when given to the One who prevails over the fallen world. In and through Jesus, there is now hope and a future for any and all marriages. Ashes redeemed.
  • The tragedy that struck without permission…stealing and snuffing out all happiness…can be given to the One who can heal hearts and redeem sorrow for true and lasting joy.
  • The heart that is held captive by the yearning to please constantly, there is freedom in Christ. The selfish and vain nature which is found at the root of this bondage, can be given a security and wholeness through the One who is perfection.
  • The heart and body who experienced betrayal and shame from another person, maybe someone who had something stolen they could never get back, no longer has to bear all the pain and “dirtiness” they carry deep in their hearts anymore. Jesus took the full weight of that on the cross and His resurrection destroyed its hold. He can wash and make new. Freedom from another’s sin imposed on you.
  • Hearts that mourn and are broken…there is healing.
  • Frustration and anger, there is a calm reprieve. A place to cast off those feelings which control so uncontrollably. The one who controls the raging waves of the sea, has the power to control and calm the rage inside of you.
  • The one whose body craves the thing that it most wants to be rid of…there is hope. Jesus is stronger than any addiction. When eyes want to bleed over images, when throats want to be quenched by fire, when bodies shake for that next fix, when minds want to wander to those places where no one returns from unscathed…There is freedom found in a Redeemer who has conquered the slave-master of your heart. The death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, is your freedom-song.
  • Pride, jealousy, greed…all chains fall at the feet of Jesus.
  • The one who struggles with self-worth, Jesus pours His love into you. You are worthy and loved by the King and He has the power to wash away unworthiness from your heart and mind.

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.

Luke 19:10

You are the lost. I am the lost. We are the lost. All was and became lost in that garden long ago. But, what was lost in the garden…was redeemed on the cross and restored because of an empty grave. What was unraveled, is knit together. What was stolen, is redeemed. What was broken and ruined, is restored.

All that He accomplished through death and resurrection is ours…free. GRACE.

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift – not from works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

A gift. A gift of rescue, free, through our faith that He can and will save us. His gift, to be free from works…for any other way would lead to further bondage and sins of the heart – so that no one can boast. It is through Christ alone.

I hope that this Easter season, this Holy week, will resonate strongly in your heart. I pray that the impact of what occurred, will flood you. I want you to be overwhelmed by the event that changed the course of this world forever.

“Our savior displayed on a criminal’s cross
Darkness rejoiced as though heaven had lost
But then Jesus arose with our freedom in hand
That’s when death was arrested and my life began”

“Death was Arrested” – North Point InsideOut

Happenings at the Hollow

March is here and we are nearly into month 5 of this RV living thing. Our little shop home is coming along, you can follow the progress on our Instagram account: @rustlinghollow, and we are slowly making this new place more “ours”.

Most recently, we have tackled the overwhelming job of clearing brush and junk left over from the previous owner. We are trying to get as much cleared before the real warm-up begins, which will inevitably bring about all kinds of nasty little bugs and slithery creatures. Also, clearing the brush and debris of the land will: 1.)Most importantly, keep my poor husband from contracting “the rash” again and again…he has had a perpetual poison ivy rash since we moved out here. 2.) Most, most importantly – I get my space for my chicken coop/run. Ya’ll knew it wouldn’t be that long before I would find a way to get at least a few chickens. Even the kids are missing them.

Here is a “before” picture of one of the area we worked on…


Here is the “after” picture of the same area…

Life in every other sense of the word is moving along, as life tends to do with or without said permission.  I was watching the kids play a few days ago and I couldn’t help but feel that little tug that sometimes grabs my heart and pulls until I feel a little lump in my throat. The growth, I see it unfolding before me – They are growing up and they are growing to be such great friends. While the growing up piece of it is something I sometimes struggle feeling happy about, the growth in the relationship I see happening amongst them absolutely warms this mother’s heart.

Just as their little selves are growing, so also are the minds. I have one who wants to read everything his little eyes can take in, another who loves to sit and study the pictures of book after book, and one who enjoys sitting all cuddled up by someone while enjoying being read to…especially if it happens to be a dinosaur book. The weather has been particularly lovely, which has been perfect for my little nature explorers/scientists. They can spend hours and hours outside studying, discovering, and constructing various experiments and projects.

Of course, all the outside playing/working has resulted in an extra trip to the laundromat every week. So a once a week chore, has now become a twice a week chore. However, with the weather warming up, I find myself hopeful. There is talk happening between my husband (you know, the guy who is trying to renovate a metal shop into livable space for his family) and myself —- I do believe I have convinced him to build me a clothesline. The washer is an easy hook-up; so having a clothesline available and the weather being nice, my bi-weekly trips to the laundromat with three kids may soon be a thing of the past.

Well, that is all the happenings I have time for sharing this go around… my little crew is starting to getting the tummy grumbles, which means dinner time is right around the corner. So, off I go to figure out what I will be making…since it is 5:00 and all. I need to get back to my weekly menu planning…