Baby Jesus

On this sixth day of advent (I’m a little behind in posting this.) as I watch the snow fall outside I am overwhelmed a bit with the celebration of this Christmas season. Last year B and I began celebrating advent as a family. God used the advent readings to focus my mind on what led to the birth of Jesus and allowed me to experience a more Christ centered Christmas.  Remembering the centuries of waiting and longing for God’s salvation through the promised one.  It is through this celebration, this time of remembering that I have grown to love this season even more.

This year, with two little ones in the house, under our care and instruction, it is especially important that we begin to teach them what Christmas is all about. At the end of November I unpacked a child’s nativity set that I had purchased on sale last year the day after Christmas. Roxie Kyle and Hudson were excited for a new toy on their play table and immediately started breaking it in. The majority of the pieces have logged many miles around our house by little hands. Each night, after the kids are in bed, I attempt to locate all the pieces and place them back on the table. Throughout the day when I see them carrying a member of this “scene” I try to take the time to stop what I’m doing and tell them who it is they are carrying around. I’m partial to the tiny manger holding the baby and to be honest I’ve probably picked it up a hundred times calling Him by name in hopes that one of the kids will repeat me.

About a week ago as I sat in the glow of twinkle lights while my children played at my feet, it happened. With the manger and baby tucked in her tiny hand, Roxie said it, “Baby Jesus.”

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And she hasn’t stopped saying it.  Oh, how I wish you could hear her squeaky little voice slurring the two words together.  It’s so sweet, genuine, and innocent.  But it’s not just about a sweet word that she has learned to create with her little voice and mouth and tongue.  It’s the name of Jesus.  Jesus.

“For centuries God prepared people for the coming of His son, our only hope for life.  At Christmas we celebrate the fulfillment of the promises God made–that he would make a way to draw near to Him.”  Noel Piper

“Our spiritual redemption came to us with the baby of Bethlehem.”  Noel Piper

For my children to understand what Jesus’ birth did for us, how it changed everything, is critical. I think it goes without saying that I want them to be aware of Jesus birth all year long but as Noel Piper says, “with our hearts and spirits open in anticipation and excitement, what an ideal opportunity for remembering and teaching.” Christmas is that ideal opportunity.

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So for Roxie Kyle to recognize this baby as Jesus is a beautiful moment. My prayer is it doesn’t stop with recognition, my prayer is that Hudson and Roxie Kyle’s knowledge and wisdom of this life altering birth will grow as they grow.

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Hudson’s Two-rrific

Two years ago I wasn’t at the hospital laboring for my son.  I didn’t hear his first cries or change his first diaper.  I didn’t bundle him up in a “coming home” outfit or tuck him into the crib down the hall.  Two years ago I was in my home thousands of miles away from Ethiopia, Africa laboring for my son.  I was painfully awaiting his arrival into our family.

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The word labor means “work, hard physical work”.  In scripture, God said that women would have pain in bringing forth children (Genesis 3:16).  Pain and labor are most definitely associated with extending our families through children.

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While my labor and pain may not have been physical, there were still very difficult, anxious moments in bringing him home.  Over two years ago we started praying for this little boy, praying that God would grant us to extend our family.  During this time we have shed countless tears, prayed lots of prayers, and had many difficult days.  But today we are celebrating!  Today we are celebrating God, who has given Hudson Lee Wilson life and allowed him to be a part of this earthly family.

“Through him we have birth and life and every thing and every person in our lives.  So God is the reason we have anything to celebrate.  He is the ultimate source of any of our celebrations.”  -Noel Piper

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is not variation or shadow due to change.  James 1:17

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Receivers of Mercy, Givers of Thanks

A year ago, on Thanksgiving Eve, I was lying in the borrowed bed of my dear friend Ashlee in Washington D.C.  We were on the first leg of our trip to meet our children.  My eyes wouldn’t seem to close due to some obvious nervous anxiety and a bit of fear that we would oversleep and miss our flight. We didn’t miss our flight and as the story goes we met Roxie Kyle and Hudson for the first time.

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Looking back it seems so far away and in some ways like a dream.  On this Thanksgiving Eve I’m not thousands of miles away from them but only a few feet.  I can hear Hudson’s even breathing on the monitor and see the nightlight shining beneath Roxie’s door.

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Articulating all the emotions I’ve experienced through this process seem near impossible.  Even now, I fall short.  As simple as it sounds and during a season when at times we seem to throw around the words like confetti, I am truly thankful.  I truly feel am a receiver of mercy.  And as Charles H. Spurgeon says, “So as long as we are receivers of mercy we must be givers of thanks.”

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
And his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
His steadfast love endures forever,
And his faithfulness to all generations.”
Psalm 100

Two gifts

Three weeks ago I was nervously wandering around a guest room in Ethiopia trying to focus on packing my suitcase.  My little one was gazing out the window periodically yelling, “Beep, beep”.  It was the beginning of a two day journey to bring our little boy home.  Such a time of emotions.

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Late that night, when I sat down on the airplane in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with Hudson in my arms, overwhelmed with emotion, the tears started flowing (I did the same thing with Roxie).  A hard, ugly cry that I could not turn off.  Finally.  My family of four would soon be together.

We arrived safely home and reality starting sinking in.  The first week is the hardest.  It just is.  Without going into details it’s a challenging, joyous, straining, tiring, happy, overwhelming week.

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But it’s under our belt and we are moving forward.

Now the second and third week are over and I still have to blink twice to believe that I have two one year olds standing at my feet begging to be picked up, hugged, kissed, rocked, played with . . .

Even through the transition, I couldn’t be happier that the Lord has blessed me in such a way that I get to be a part of Roxie Kyle and Hudson’s lives.  Recently, I read a blog post in which I was reminded that these children are gifts to enjoy, not tasks to complete.  This is definitely a reminder I need because I am such a to-do list person.  So today, on this first day of November, three weeks after being a mom of two “gifts” I am thanking God for all the blessings that flow from their lives being intertwined with mine.

Two sippy cups to keep full
Two car seats in my rearview mirror
Two mouths to feed
Two diapers to change
Two sets of teeth to brush
Two sounds of children’s laughter
Two personalities
Two voices calling for mama
Twenty fingernails and toenails to clip
Double the toys littering the floor

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“Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.”

Psalm 30:4-5

That’s my home.

I went for a run today and of course I took Roxie along in the stroller.  When I started walking to cool down I took her out of the stroller so she could walk alongside me.  I talked to her about exercise and nature and all the fun things about being outside.  As we neared our house I told her we were almost home.  When we came over the hill and our house came into view I picked her up and pointed to the house, “That is our home.  Can you say home?”  She raised her little hand and pointed her pudgy finger toward the house and looked at me with a grin, “home”.  Hearing that one word come out of her mouth hit me square between the eyes.  Tears welled up, wanting to spill over at the reality that this child has a home.  She has a family.  We are her family.  She is our family.  How amazing!  Isn’t God amazing? The plan He has for my life is so much more than I ever could have imagined.  I feel unworthy to be this little one’s mama.  But I am. God has allowed us to be mother and daughter.

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As a daughter of the King, I am like Roxie.  I have a home, an eternal home through Christ Jesus.  I am part of an eternal family.  Oh, how unworthy I am to be a part of the family of God.  This plan for my life, to be His adopted daughter is so much more than I could have imagined.

My daily prayer is that Roxie will become His child, that she will be spiritually adopted and that she can have so much more than an earthly home, an eternal home with the Savior.

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