Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I am a daughter....

I'm shocked at how quickly time has flown by. I have an 8 month old son. A son! It is still amazing to me. I think I have hesitated to write because there has been so much going on that I don't even know where to begin. So I'll start with my favorite subject. And write about the hard stuff soon.

So, my favorite subject these days is my sweet giggling 8-month old baby boy - William Bennett Mitcham. I could go on for hours and days and months about how amazing Will is....you can ask my husband as he has been subject to my thoughts on the subject for the past 3/4 of the year. I literally cannot say enough about this child. I am crazy about him!

So I won't bore you with listing all of Will's attributes (don't worry, I'm sure I'll do it another time) but instead want to tell you what Will's presence in my life has sparked in me. And if you don't have kiddos, please don't turn out...this isn't so much a post about being a mom as it is about being a daughter.

Here's the deal...although I was so, so, so, so amazingly excited about having a baby, I was expecting the first few months to be really tough. I work with women - lots of women - so I have heard many stories of post-pardom difficult adjustments and since I'm not huge on change, I was expecting to have a really rough few weeks. That was what I had braced myself for...so, that's where I was in June. (And huge and hormonal...but that's another story.)

And then, on June 20 at 2:15pm, Will arrived. And at 2:15pm and 1 second, I fell madly, deeply in love with him. I was (and still am) overwhelmed with how I feel about this child. The second he emerged into this world, I just knew, if given the opportunity, I'd give my life for him in a second...without a thought. Without a doubt.

It felt like my heart was now no longer inside of me but outside of my body in this tiny, 7 lb, 1 oz, crying baby boy.

The unconditional, automatic love completely overwhelmed me. I wasn't prepared for it. It basically felt like a tsumani of emotion. And not just fleeting, feel, good emotion; but deep, life-changing, REAL life-will-never-be-the-same emotion.

When we finally got home (after a second hospital stay and an emergency 2nd surgery for me...yep, labor and delivery was NOT fun or easy...), I was rocking Will and telling God how much I loved this child and how perfect and amazing and wonderful He made Will. And I was praying my heart out all blessings I could think of praying over this kiddo. It seemed like I couldn't get enough words out.

In the silence, the whisper I heard back was "Kate, that's how I feel about you. You're my daughter."

It nearly un-did me. Honestly. I've been pretty candid on here about my performance issues. It is really hard for me to wrap my head around the concept that I am loved for FREE. I can't seem to get it; probably because human relationships don't model this. And God is constantly wooing me back after I go on a performance-binge and reminding me of His grace.

And on that afternoon holding a week and half old baby I finally got it a little more. Because I don't love Will because of how he loves me, or what he does for me...I love him because he is mine. And if I can love an earthly child with this intensity, then how much more lavish and abundant and strong can God's heart be...towards me? Because He is GOD....and I am his daughter.

So that's where I am trying to dwell these days -seeing God in a new light as Father and opening up my heart to the truth of his unconditional, lavish love.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

4 months later....

Well, it's been awhile since I've blogged. There are several reasons for this:
- Although I said a million times I would not get this way, I have really experienced the whole "pregnancy brain" phenomenon and feel creativity and deep thought being sucked away, along with my short term memory. it stinks!

- Any and all free time has been dedicated to learning about having a baby. Seriously, this is a part time job...how do people do this?! There are a million stroller choices, new baby methods, research that needs to be done on car seats, and a nursery that needs decorated. I am indecisive normally, like on a good day, so all this is really throwing me for a loop.

- I've been deliriously happy ever since we found out that we are having a BOY. I didn't care one bit whether this baby would be a boy or girl, but it is so fun to know and get to picture him. He is also kicking up a storm...which is the coolest thing ever. Seriously, this kid already owns me and I haven't even seen him yet.

- I've been an emotional train wreck because we found out Taylor (our amazing, fantastic, 5-year old golden retriever)'s cancer has metastasized. Taylor was diagnosed last March with cancer - a really horrible kind that that gave us really poor odds on. But we knew our Taylor...and that if any dog could kick cancer's ass, it would be him. So we did surgery and have been taking our sweet dog to chemo every 4 weeks. He has been amazing - this whole year, his tail never stopped wagging and he was his usual self. We had hit the year mark - considered a "medical miracle" by the doctors, when we felt a lump in his left lymph node...confirming the worst (again). I'll spare you all the details, but basically they are giving my darling dog a month or two to live. I really can't put into words the heartbreak I feel. It is a physical pain. I'll try to do a proper tribute to Taylor at some point, when I can handle it, but I'm just not there right now.

So....that's what the last 4 months have been like....it's been life. Joy and excitement mixed with disappointment and heartbreak. New life and death.

I keep playing a song that I heard at church the other day that is speaking to me about both situations. Here is the chorus and my prayer to God right now:
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

I can feel Him making this beautiful baby in me. I trust He will bring beauty out of my heartbreak over Taylor. Because that's what God does. Through both of these things, He is making me new.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Words for 2011

Wow, it has been a long time since I've written - over a month! I guess it's attributed to such a busy time of year...AND the exciting news that we are going to have a baby!! Baby Mitcham is set to make his or her debut in June. We are beyond thrilled and excited. I'm sure there will be much to report in the next few months about what I'm learning from pregnancy and also about pregnancy fashion since I am finding it somewhat difficult to get dressed each morning (not sure if this is normal or not).

But today I have been thinking about the new year. I love fresh starts, don't you? The hope, the possibilities...whether it has been a wonderful year or a hard one, I always find myself getting excited the week between Christmas and January 1 about what God will do in the coming year.

I fell in love with these verses from Psalm 37 this morning.

Psalm 37:3-7a
Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
Trust in Him and He will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.

I wrote down the action verbs in those verses - here they are:
Trust (shows up twice)
Do good
Be still

I hope these words characterize my life in 2011.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

some solace for the day...

loved this and couldn't help but want to share...

"Surrender your poverty and acknowledge your nothingness to the Lord. Whether you understand it or not, God loves you, is present in you, lives in you, dwells in you, saves you, and offers you an understanding and compassion which are like nothing you have ever found in a book or heard in a sermon."
- thomas merton

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My heart longs....

I love cities.
Seriously. My heart beats faster when I think about cities.

I love them all - New York, Rome, Paris, London. I love how ALIVE I feel in cities. I love how unexpected cities are - like at any moment you could turn a corner and see an impromptu concert or mime, or stumble upon the best meal you've ever had.

I love how culture starts in cities. That artists and musicians and chefs flock to cities. That this wonderful vibe of energy and art and culture and diversity is always bubbling right at the surface.

I physically miss cities the way I miss people. I'm not sure if this is normal or not.

Like right now, I miss New York City. I love NYC in the fall. LOVE IT. With intensity. I miss it and when I think about it, I feel a pang of longing in my heart.

I don't know if it's normal to feel the way about places the way that I do.
I think I love cities most because there is the hope of possibility....the hope and possibility it is so tangible I can almost feel it when I'm in the middle of it..it's exhilarating and exciting and challenging and lovely.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Guilt and Anxiety

Matt and I were given the gift of going to a lake house this weekend.....just the two of us with nothing to do! That never happens... it felt like such a luxury we didn't even know what to do with ourselves. Saturday morning, I woke up giddy, drinking my coffee and looking out over the gorgeous lake and trees changing color. I tried to enjoy it, to be still...but the familiar anxious feeling started creeping in my stomach.

As I sat - literally - just sat - on the couch, my soul began to settle. I've been going and moving and thinking so fast that I haven't just let what is really going on with me surface. And I was shocked at what surfaced - two horrible things that have been following me the past several months: guilt and anxiety.

The anxiety I knew I had because I get very physical symptoms - a nervous stomach, racing mind, heart flutters. Nice, right? I don't know if it's a human thing, a woman thing, or a ME thing, but I seem predisposed to being anxious. For about a year or so I experienced a blissful, worry-free, light hearted existence. It was awesome. And now, with no warning (and certainly no welcome) I am forcefully battling anxiety every day.

The guilt was a surprise. I didn't realize it, but I've been carrying around guilt like a favorite purse - everywhere I go. I think it's the "not enough" syndrome. I don't feel like I'm being a good enough friend, a good enough wife, a good enough daughter or sister. I certainly am not doing enough domestic chores around the house (how DO people work full time and keep their house up???? I'm lost!!), bringing enough meals over for people who just had babies, remembering birthdays, being a good enough small group leader....and, I realized, I don't think I'm being good enough for God. (Is His amazing grace ever going to dwell in me so richly I get over my performance issues? I hope so...but until then I still struggle on...). I feel like I should do more with my appearance, my time, my work. When I really think about it, there is not a single area of my life I feel like I am doing okay in.

The beautiful thing about the realization is that it brought me to my knees, and back to surrender. Back to the truest place I know....the arms of my Heavenly Father. I had been spinning like a top, going in circles; and when I finally stopped for a few minutes, I realized I was far from home.

So I am going back home, back to the basics. I am surrendering my performance issues, the lies that I'm not enough, the fear that I won't ever be. I'm trying to delight in the truth that God loves me. And that is enough.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Wizard of Oz...Prayer?!

I have to pray for courage a lot. I really do. There are those confident, brazen personalities that are totally at ease on stage, or in confrontation, or when asked to do a new task.

I am not one of those people. Outwardly I may be projecting confidence, but inside I'm shaking in my boots (or, let's be honest...my heels).

So, if you look at my journal (which I don't recommend unless you want access to the innermost workings of my heart - scary!), you will often see the word "courage" in there. The other day I was praying for courage (again!) and I got the image of the Lion from the Wizard of Oz in my head and I bust out laughing. The Lion, as you know, is a huge beast who just happens to be a wimp. He joins Dorothy to go find the Wizard because he is tired of being such a scardy cat. He realizes something is wrong - he is created to rule the animal kingdom, not be terrified of it...

Then I thought about how I can identity with each of the other characters who, in desperate need, join Dorothy and Lion on their journey to Oz. There is Tin Man, and he needs a new heart. He can't feel. There is an empty space where there is supposed to be love and compassion. Can any of us relate to that feeling? I sure can. I often long a new heart that is pure and good and not heavy or unloving.

And then we have kindhearted Scarecrow, in need of...a brain. Poor guy has no wisdom to make decisions. Again, I saw myself - - how many times have I prayed for wisdom and a renewing of my mind?

So, anyway, I've started praying for what each of the characters so desperately needs - courage to speak truth, a heart full of love for God and others, and a clear head and wisdom as I go about my day.

Who knew one of my favorite childhood movies would prove so insightful 20 years later?!

"Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore...."