Do you ever just open your eyes and find yourself staring in awe and wonder at the gifts God has given you?⠀ This morning I did.⠀ On this simple Sunday morning,⠀ nothing out of the ordinary,⠀ I took notice and gave praise to the Giver of them...⠀ A handsome and godly husband after years and years of waiting.⠀ A daughter so miraculous and beautiful.⠀ Nestled in a home He prepared for us for this time.⠀ He is good.⠀ We don’t need those instruments to sing a song of praise.⠀ ✨
Her little fingers wrap ever so gently around mine.⠀ I inhale deeply and exhale as a wave of euphoria flows through my body.⠀ These moments—these still moments in the darkness of early morning, the two of us in this rocking chair in her nursery—I never want to forget.⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ I close my eyes, imprinting the vision in my mind.⠀ My left hand rests on the small of her back, her head lay in the crook of my elbow, her belly breathes against mine.⠀ My right hand is poised lightly across her midsection, thumb nestled into the palm of her hand as her fingers wrap up, over the creases of my knuckle, and down around the side.⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ I feel the sands slip steadily through the glass of time.⠀ I know these moments are running out, never to return.⠀ I wrap this one up, to hold in my heart. And I linger here a little longer today.⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ As I do so, I praise God for this most precious gift, for this tiny bundle—so quickly growing—in my arms.⠀ What wonder fills the mind of this mother as she rests under the weight of this moment, of this miracle, of this great and mysterious love. ⠀⠀ 📸: @applerosephotog
Praise be to God our Father, the Maker of Heaven and earth, who gives us such. good. gifts!⠀ What good gifts has He given you?! ⠀⠀ 📸: @applerosephotog
✨5 months✨ In the hand-me-down onesie from her siblings now with Jesus. At 5 months. 5. The number God was showing me during that hard time, now with new meaning. ⠀⠀ Today I asked Alexa to “play Christian music in the family room,” and the song that came on could not have been more appropriate in reflecting on this profound beauty that is Noelle after the ashes of that loss. “You are Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, Light in the Darkness. My God, that is who you are.” ⠀⠀ He is good, indeed. And I am so grateful for this good gift. ⠀⠀ I can’t believe she’s 5 months today. Sometimes I want to stop time so she can be my sweet, snuggly, squirmy and squishy baby forever. ⠀⠀ Her great big smiles light up the room. Her squeals of delight and her little laugh are just about the sweetest sounds to my ears. ⠀⠀ She’s strong. It’s what everybody tells us. Holds her head up high. Wants to stand. Loves her new walker. ⠀⠀ She’s alert. Always on the lookout. “Busy.” I crave the times just when she’s awaken or just before she goes to sleep when she nestles her head on my shoulder. ⠀⠀ Those cheeks. The most kissable cheeks! I can’t get enough. Cannot kiss them enough. ⠀⠀ She’s growing. So fast. Already in 6 month clothes. She’s well out of the 4th trimester now, and that makes me sad. If I could go back and re-live every hard and glorious day of these last 5 months, I would. ⠀⠀ I don’t want to give back the sleep we are getting, though! Baby girl is sleeping 8-9 hour stretches, and mama is a new woman. She’s unswaddled now, in a sleep sack, and turns from her back to her belly to sleep before her daddy and I can even turn on the monitor! ⠀⠀ One of my favorite things these days is when she places her hands on my face and stares into my eyes. Another is when she wraps her soft little fingers around mine when she is nursing. These are the moments I never want to forget. ⠀⠀ Noelle, I could write about you for days. I will love you for all of mine. You will always be my baby girl.
Is there anything more snuggly than a baby right out of the bath?!⠀ Here are my 5 tips for a safe, efficient and enjoyable bath time routine for baby:⠀ 🛁Get everything ready ahead of time.⠀ 🛁Place baby’s towel on something like a @babybjorn bouncer for quick and easy wrapping up of baby after bath! Simply pick up baby, place onto towel-covered seat, wrap like a cute little burrito and pick back up!⠀ 🛁Have 2 wash cloths ready. One thicker one to get wet and place on baby’s tummy to keep them warm during bathing. The other thinner one for gently wiping baby’s tiny face.⠀ 🛁Use a super safe and gentle soap like @youngliving’s Seedlings lavender baby wash + shampoo. We use soap on her hands and nether regions daily, but only on her entire body about every third day.⠀ 🛁Bathe baby as part of bedtime routine. Our lives have changed since we started this schedule:⠀ 6:30 feeding⠀ 6:45 bath⠀ 6:50 sleep sack + book reading⠀ 6:55 top off feeding⠀ 7:00 lights off, sound machine on, bedtime!⠀ (ish: Sometimes we start a little later. Sometimes it takes a little longer. But this is the general idea, and the bath really helps to get her ready for sleep!)⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ Happy baby bathing! ⠀⠀ #noelleelizabethcollier
And when God finally reveals His strange and mysterious ways, it will drop us to our knees in worship. We will thank Him for the prayers He did answer. We'll also thank Him for the prayers He didn't answer because we'll finally understand
, Praying Circles Around Your Children ⠀⠀ The tears formed so quickly, I sobbed & actually choked on my spit. Grief is messy, that's for sure. ⠀⠀ The prayers He didn't answer... I prayed so many prayers for those babies, believed as much as I could that God could--and would--do it, clung to the promises of Scripture... and yet... He didn't do it. ⠀⠀ They didn't... They weren't... Words seem to fail me when I speak about them. I never got to hold them. Instead they’re with Jesus. And for that I am grateful. But my heart will aches for them. In a similar way that my body still aches so many months after giving birth, my heart still aches from the trauma of losing them. ⠀⠀ I don't know why God didn't answer that prayer--those many prayers. But I do know a great blessing that came from the wreckage. ⠀⠀ We wouldn't have Noelle if it weren't for that loss. And I can't imagine life without her--her sweet smiles, gentle coos, the way she sings with me in the darkness of the night. ⠀⠀ It's messy--this grief. It's tangled with a gift, intermingled with joy. There's sadness & beauty, anger & gratitude, confusion & wonder all wrapped up together. Like the threads of a rope. Like the workings of a web. ⠀⠀ It's difficult for me to sort, much less to explain. It's difficult for me to understand, much less to convey. ⠀⠀ Maybe you, too, know this mess of grief. Maybe you, too, find yourself amidst its deep & dark waters. Hopefully you, too, find yourself guided to the stiller, calmer & clearer waters--the ones by the sandy shore of rest, relief & healing. ⠀⠀ And if you, too, get choked suddenly, unexpectedly--by the visitor unannounced of this grief that will always be with us--well, that's okay, too. ⠀⠀ It's all part of the journey, the navigating of this messy earth until we reach the shores of Heaven, walk through its golden gates & gaze upon the glory of the One who holds it all. The One who holds them all.
This is a continuation of my last post (👉🏻) on appreciation over comparison.⠀ My wise hubby recently said as we were discussing the topic, “When we compare, we elevate ourself; when we appreciate, we elevate our spouse.”⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ Wow. I never thought of it that way.⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ @stevemoakler sings in his song Riser, “Imma get down low so I can lift you higher.”⠀ Paul writes in his letter to the Philippians, “in humility consider others better than yourselves” (Phil. 2:3).⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ What if we not only elevated our spouse above ourselves in our minds, but we also got down a little lower to raise them a little higher?⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ What if as wives we didn’t consider ourselves too high for menial household tasks and instead considered them holy work?⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ What if we joyfully served our husband and our children as we put their needs up high?⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ I am not saying to not take care of ourselves. When we take care of ourselves we are, by default, taking care of those we love. Because when we are first filled up, we can then be better poured out in love and service. I’m simply asking us to ponder what it would be like—what our marriages, families and homes would be like—if we just shifted our perspective a little bit and elevated those around us? ⠀⠀⠀ What if I got down low so I could lift Clay higher? And what if he did the same for me?⠀ We’d have a marriage that was so uplifting!⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ What if, in humility, I considered Clay better than myself? And what if he did the same in his view of me?⠀ We’d have a marriage that was so serving!⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ What if today, instead of comparing, we appreciated? What if instead of elevating ourselves, we elevated our spouses?⠀ Well, then I think our marriages and our families and our homes would be a place of such deep and rich life, joy, and presence of the Holy Spirit. And I’m sure we could all use some more of that! ⠀⠀⠀ What are some ways you elevate your spouse or those you love? Comment below! I’d love to hear!⠀ I have a LONG way to go in this work, but you can see some ways I elevate Clay in my mind on my last post—by simply recognizing and appreciating that which he contributes!⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ✨
I wake up. I see the dishes drying that he did after we were asleep last night. I see the exercise ball he bounced her on so I could finish my dinner. And my heart is filled with gratitude.⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ As I make my coffee, I see the trash cans outside the window that he pulled in while we were still asleep. I see the vacuum he used to clean up my spill on the couch. And my mind is washed with a wave of appreciation.⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ And as I turn to get her from her crib, I see my “to do” list on the counter, now with his handwriting below. It reads—in sweetly mocking form (👉🏻), “Always: I love you. You are amazing. Thank you for all you do!”⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ I’m not proud to say we weren’t (and aren’t) always this way. Having a child requires quite an adjustment period. And there have been times we have played the comparison game instead of the gratitude card. But there are days like this that we get it right.⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ In marriage, and especially in parenthood, it’s easy to compare all that we are doing—to see the effort we are putting in and that which we are contributing. It’s more difficult to appreciate our spouse—to see the effort they are putting in and that which they are contributing. And yet this work of appreciation makes our marriages so much stronger. ⠀ While we won’t always do it perfectly, may we strive to have hearts full of appreciation instead of minds heavy-laden by comparison. May it be a practice we chase after. May it be a habit we continue to form. Day after day. Year after year. Season after season. ⠀⠀⠀ ✨
Noelle.⠀ Mama. My first nickname for you.⠀ Noellie Ellie.⠀ My warrioress.⠀ My little monkey.⠀ No No.⠀ My squishy baby.⠀ Pookie Bear. Pook. My Pook.⠀ My sweet girl. ⠀ My little bambino.⠀ Of all the names I have for you, the greatest one of all of this: His.⠀ You are His. His child. The daughter of the Most High King.⠀ He has called you by name; You are His.⠀ Precious.⠀ Beloved.⠀ May you never forget this. May you always know it. May it come alive in your heart and pour out through your actions.⠀ My prayer for you, sweet girl.⠀ My dream for you, my rainbow baby.⠀ My hope for you, my most treasured gift.⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ 📸: @applerosephotog ⠀⠀ #noelleelizabethcollier