reitersabroad

Habakkuk 2:14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Luke 10

Chapter ten of the Gospel of Luke is may just be my favorite chapter in all the gospels. This text is packed with so many applications and challenges- the sending of the 72, the good Samaritan, Martha and Mary. Any attempt to to expound on what Jesus teaches here is vain, after all, Jesus is the Great Teacher. I’ll leave you with His words that have struck me in my reading for you to chew on today.

 

And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.
Luke 10:2 ESV

Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Luke 10:20 ESV

“But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion… Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
Luke 10:33,36-37 ESV

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:41-42 ESV

 

Advertisements

The things on my mind

Does anyone else ever get overwhelmed by your own ambition? I think of all the goals, dreams, ideas, and to-do’s I’ve come up with for myself, and suddenly I’m paralyzed with the equivalent of ‘writer’s block’ of the heart. It helps to write out the chaotic mess of my mind:

-Motherhood is a Mercy blogpost

-I really need to get back to my knitting.

-listen, listen, LISTEN to the Lord

-smoothies? vegan? paleo? while I’m breastfeeding? what do I believe about health?

-Doula-oils-nutrition-speaker-fundraising. And having another baby. We’re broke…and I need to pace myself.

-Hubby is demanding meal plans. I have good intentions when I peruse food blogs, but I never get any meal planning done…just a lot of drooling…and more wondering about what I believe about health

-Big Goal: get OUT of parent’s house and UP to Nashville and INTO our own place again!

-I can’t shake my longing for sheep and chickens

 

babies up!

In the middle of the night

We are 7 months in and I am finally discovering the balance between the burden of being needed and the need for intimacy with Jesus. For some mothers, it doesn’t take this long, and yet for others it might take even longer. This balance is a delicate thing.

For 6 1/2 long months my spirit slowly withered and starved as I, day-in and day-out, ignored everything around me and within me in light of the hugeness that was my precious daughter’s constant need. Her frequent waking, her comfort nursing, her never-ending mommy preference, it all felt so heavy, big, and unbearable. But I carried it anyway.

And thats what mothers do. We somehow carry loads that seem too heavy and too hard because we know that this is how our babies were created. They were created to need so much from us in these formative years; so much in fact that we are rendered servant. Exactly what Jesus desires from us. It is without a doubt part of Gods plan to make us more like him.

Her need is normal, this is how she was created and I am not bitter.

But

I did forget for whom she was created. And for whom I was created. I forgot about the sovereign Lord’s desire to be glorified in my life. I forget about Christ’s request that I forsake everything in order to follow him. God himself wants my time and attention, but all I could think of was sleep, and diapers, and breast milk.

Eventually, I came up dry. I was parched and hungry and defeated. I was forced by my weakness to ‘cease striving’ and I cried out to God. Just in time. The burden of my own motherly ambition had almost cracked me to the core. I had become Martha, Martha, and forgotten to keep the main thing the main thing. I had deprived myself of the bread, rejected my Lord, and neglected the truest need of my daughter. Who better to show her to the feet of Jesus than her own mother? That is what she really needs from me.

 

I’ve heard the saying “There’s no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one.” The sweetness of meeting with Jesus is one of them, and definitely the most important.

 

 

**I recently heard this song and was really moved by it. Music does that for me. The video is cheesy but the song is great**

The Joy of Fatherhood


And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 

Genesis 12:2-3 ESV

Fatherhood has been the biggest adjustment in my life- even more so than marriage. But like marriage, fatherhood has given me much joy and many blessings. I’ve been blessed to experience Penelope’s first moments of life in the outside world. I also have felt incredibly frustrated when I can’t soothe her when she is upset. And yet I experience profound joy in the mundane- changing diapers, bathing her and carrying her everywhere. And I wouldn’t change any of it.

Since becoming a father, I’ve had to reevaluate my expectations in marriage. Claire and I can’t go on dates whenever we like. This was really frustrating for the past six months- we were not able to get the quality time we had become so used to the last year and a half of marriage. In the last few weeks though, we have been able to get away and take advantage of grandparents being so close. During our dates, I’ve found that scarcity has made our time alone that much more meaningful.

I’ve learned over the past six months that becoming a father and the head of my household has weighty implications- and that I’m not not just providing physically but spiritually. The family is the unit that God has designed and created to be the vessel by which His blessings will come through to all peoples. Entering into this reality is a daily challenge- I must choose to lead and to serve my family in such a way that they are encouraged to take part in God’s grace and then extend His Glory.

This begs the question- “How does a six month old partake in Gods grace, much less extend it?”  I am encouraged by Jesus’ response to a similar problem. While He was ministering many people were following Him and listening to his teachings. A number of these people wanted their children to be blessed by Jesus and brought them to Him. The disciples scoffed at the idea- they thought it a lowly thing for their master to spend time blessing children (Don’t we often do this? Act as if we know what Jesus should be doing with his time.) Jesus saw this and said-

“Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. (Mark 10:14-16 ESV)

It is too easy to qualify scriptures and make an ‘out’ for ourselves. Before Penelope arrived, I thought Jesus meant kids that could talk. There’s no way an infant can receive the Kingdom of God. He is quite clear- “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them!”  It has been a blessing to see Penelope come to Jesus. I can get out of the way and trust the God who created Penelope to know how to speak and minister to her in a language she does understand. My heart melts thinking of how she kicks and coos while I hold her during worship at church. It is so sweet to be worshiping Him with my daughter. Even sweeter is reading the Jesus Storybook Bible. She looks and listens so intently. And if things couldn’t get any better, she enjoys our time praying too!

God has been faithful to teach me that Penelope does experience grace and I’ve also seen how she extends his Glory. It is no coincidence that she smiles at everyone! Walking anywhere with her, she loves to face the same direction we’re walking and from other people’s reactions I know that she is grinning. Penny loves other people. The simple ways that she brings joy into other peoples days is the most evident way she extends the joy she already has. I’ve been blessed to see her shower her mother in affection with kisses or swinging her arms in excitement. I love being able to come home and see Penny get excited about me and giggle in anticipation as I am about to pick her up.

I never thought I could be challenged to grow in my journey to the Kingdom by a six month old. She has taught me a lot. We can all learn from the littlest of children. It seems backwards to mature by becoming more like a child, but our Father wants His children to trust him and be transformed by His love. He has been faithful to make Matthew 10:14 a reality. I hope to grow more in this truth and receive the Kingdom like a child.

Media Monday

I think you will find this video thought provoking. We are told by the media that there is such a wide gulf between Democrats and Republicans, that choosing one over the other will be a catastrophe for our country. In reality, both major party candidates offer us the same thing- an ever expanding federal government bent on policing the world and mandating what you  do with your wallet.

Rombama 2012!

Brent

via LewRockwell.com

Finding time to grow

I’ll be honest…time management has never been one of my skills. I was a chronic procrastinator, couch potato, home-body and pretty much the complete opposite of a go getter…a stop and sitter? Its clear to me, no matter how much I try to fight it, that I am simply not gifted in this area. Now I’m the mother of the most curious, busy baby (and SMART!) I have ever known, and I’m left thinking at the end of another exhausting day When will I ever find time to grow?

Despite my lack of fiery ambition, I am also the type of person who sets a lot of goals, sometimes unrealistic, and dreams a lot of dreams, mostly too expensive. There are so many things that I want to learn and do and accomplish. I think If only I could actually master something, then I’d be more satisfied with myself. If only I could be that woman who’s a great cook, or an inspiring artist, or a craft queen…then I’d feel like I am accomplishing something and moving on up in the world.

 

Really, Self? What better soil is there to grow in than motherhood? Exhausting, joyful, hilarious, and trying motherhood? There are so many lessons that God has written into the curriculum of motherhood that I am going to have to learn. Its quite possible–and probable–that God intends for me to spend myself so completely on Him and His Kingdom in my home by taking care of my husband and my child, that I can’t wrap myself up in how great I am at accomplishing my own to-do’s. Besides, who am I kidding? Its not like I am the first mother to ever feel like I’ve given everything there is to give and then realized at the end of the day that I didn’t get around to myself. I guess this is why so many women demand a bubble bath after the kid’s bedtime.

I think the ultimate point that my heart is trying to make to my head is that growth is not found in the intervals of time when I am alone with my ambitions. Growth is going to happen when Penny is grumpy and I choose to sit down and nurture her with smiles and love, and as much comfort nursing as she wants. Growth is going to happen when I remember that my Husband needs quality time and adult conversation over a baby-less dinner, and grandparents will babysit for free. Growth is happening in me. It doesn’t look like anything I can put on pinterest or hang on my wall, but beautiful things are happening deep inside this soul simply because God promised it would.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ–Phillipians 1:6

 

Mama Mondays: For my good, her sake, and His Glory

A few days ago another Mama in the blogosphere asked the question: “What do you want to teach your daughters?”

 

I remember a certain conversation with a few close friends shortly after Penny was born. We were discussing our ‘Curriculum for Christ-likeness’ and my world felt turned upside down. My life was totally different now that I was a mother, and I hadn’t considered how that curriculum would look. The only thing I could think of was that I, as a woman, a mother, a wife, a doula, a daughter of God, wanted to show my daughter what it meant to follow Jesus in all of those identities. I wanted to show her that being who you are, whatever you are, and wherever you are, is only satisfying and fulfilling when fully rooted in our Jesus.

I am her example. Her first example, her closest example. And what kind of woman do I want her to be?

I want her to know God, not just know of God, or know about God, but deeply, desperately, intimately know God as her Abba Father. I want her to walk so closely with Jesus that she knows His smell and  His voice. I want her to stand firm in the midst of the crashing waves and raging winds of this life of discipleship. I want her to love discipline, love people, and fear the Lord our God. I want her to know when to laugh and when to weep, when to speak and when to listen. I want her to be a loving wife, a committed mother, a genuine friend.

These are the hopes and prayers I have for my precious first born daughter, and yet I am her example, the first and the closest. As she grows everyday she will look at me with those piercing, searching eyes, and she will mimmic what she sees. Oh, how I pray that God will shape me into the woman that I hope she will become! How I pray that instead of seeing sinful, wayward, broken me, she will see Jesus, the Christ.These are my hopes for her, and the desperate desires of my soul for myself.

He hears me. I am confident in Him. He has chosen me to be her mother, and what an incredible and overwhelming gift. ‘And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in me will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.’ ‘Now may the God of peace himself sanctify me completely, and may my whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sanctify me in the truth; your word is truth.

For my good, for her sake, for His Glory

 

Pick Her Up- my birth story

*disclaimer: I’m not shy about the details!*

It was 13 days past my due date and boy, was I depressed. I knew that it was pretty normal for a first time mom to hit 42 weeks but for some reason I never thought that it would happen to me. Mary wanted me to come in to the office that Monday morning after a weekend of unsuccessfully inducing via breast pump. She asked that I get up at 7am and start my day with a castor oil milk shake (breakfast of champions?) to help clean me out and cause some contractions. Nothing happened before my 9:30 appointment. Brent and I arrived for our appointment and were greeted with sympathetic smiles by Mary and her student Summer. They (and Debra) were as invested in us as a caregiver can be, and they were anxious for birth as well. After discussing our frustrations, fears, and feelings, Mary offered to ‘strip the membranes’ as a last resort before talk of transfer. I had been 70-80% effaced for a few weeks but only at 1cm. After she pulled the amniotic sack away from the cervix, I instantly was at 2 1/2 cm and praying for it all to start soon! We left around 10:15 and on the way home the castor oil started to kick in with some slight cramping. I didn’t immediately think anything of it, especially because I had been experiencing false labor for nearly 2 weeks by that point; I could easily ignore it. I got home and went to take a nap. Brent said he wanted to send some emails he had been putting off and then he would join me. He never got the chance. The contractions kept coming, and they were manageable until Brent hit send on his last email. He hit send and I called out for him from the bedroom.
I couldn’t stay in bed. Brent started running around getting everything ready and heating up lunch, while I dressed in my labor outfit, lit the blessing candle, and put on my labor necklace. It was about 11:00 and within 5 contractions the intensity went from a 3 to a 7. I was trying to tidy up but it was all I could do to take a few steps then stop and vocalize through another contraction, then recover with excited laughter. It seemed to be coming fast…really fast. Timing for 10 minutes confirmed this. My contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and about a minute long, so Brent quickly called Mary at around 11:45. She sad to keep doing our thing and call back around 2. I don’t think anyone expected it all to be happening so fast.
The next 2 1/2 hours are a bit of a blur. Brent was still excitedly panicking and getting everything ready AND trying to help me through contractions. I remember getting in the shower and letting the water hit my back. It helped for maybe 10 minutes but I needed to submerge and float. Luckily the birth tub was already inflated and ready to be filled. I got in and clung to Brent who sat in front of me as I swayed and moaned through it all. He called Mary back around 2:30 and she headed out our way, letting Debra and Monica (another midwife who just joined their team) know to meet them soon. I was still in the tub when Mary and Summer arrived at 3.
I remember thinking to myself I must not be very far along. This is intense and hard but I can still manage. God, is it going to be another several hours?? Mary requested I get out of the tub and onto the bed so she could check my progress. I was expecting to be around 4 cm, just starting active labor, but was so surprised to hear 6 1/2! Transition was about to begin! I got back into the tub and had a few contractions back to back in which I felt the first urges to push. I knew it wasn’t time yet, but the feeling is unstoppable. I couldn’t help but push through the next 30 minutes and I felt the baby descend rapidly.
Debra and Monica had arrived, and since I saw and interacted with Debra the most, she took over while the rest of the women hung back and encouraged me. I was in a bit of a haze…labor la-la land I guess, but I do remember asking Debra if it gets easier with other children (since she’s had 7). She responded with ‘yes honey’ but then changed her mind and said ‘well, no actually, but it does get shorter.’ I guess that would be okay. And who knows why I was already thinking about having other children?!
I labored in the tub until 6 o’clock. I wanted a water birth, and the warm water was awesome, but Debra could tell that I was having a hard time getting the baby to crown in the upright position. So we moved to the bed so I could alternate between lying on my back and on my side. Brent was doing an awesome job keeping me hydrated and comforted. I never screamed, cursed, or kicked, just held onto him tightly and moaned through every wave. I was checked again after I got onto the bed and found to be at 9 1/2 with a slight lip. Debra said to push as she held back the cervix so we could get the head all the way through. That worked beautifully, and it was then that my waters finally broke with a pop and a gush! Debra jumped in surprise and I managed to laugh, even in the midst of suddenly crowning.
So I was full on pushing which is something of a learned skill. It took me a few times to really figure out what exactly it felt like to successfully push. The midwives were really encouraging even though I couldn’t feel any progress until Debra asked Brent to look and said I could feel the head if I wanted to. Somehow, before I ever reached down, I knew exactly what it was going to feel like. Brent was excited to see lots of dark hair. He was really fascinated with the whole thing, despite being grossed out by the YouTube videos I had made him watch before. I guess the fact that it was HIS WIFE AND HIS CHILD helped him to enjoy it.
A few more pushes and a lot of burning and baby Reiters head was fully out. We planned for Brent to “catch” but when Debra said to reach down and pull her out he was too nervous to do it. So all of the sudden this big wet baby was placed on my chest covered by the sound of Brent’s laughter and the midwives celebration! And then we realized that we needed to check the gender. It’s hilarious…we were both absolutely sure that we were having a boy but Brent exclaimed “it’s a Penelope!!!”

7 weeks ago today, the most beautiful little girl filled up our lives and melted our hearts. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but strangely, I never felt that I was incapable of finishing what we had started. I never once thought to ask for medication, and I’m so glad that she was born peacefully at home. I haven’t been away from her since, just the way I like it.

-A friend of ours who is an obgyn had said once that ‘having a baby is the closest you can get to God’. For us, the entire experience made this statement so real. The trial of labor and delivery caused me to cry out to God in a way that I never had before. The thing about childbirth is that it is one of the few experiences that you truly cannot escape. You are fully grounded and unable to be anything other than entirely human; no turning back, no backing out, and I’m so much stronger because of it.
Childbirth is the perfect pre-requisite for motherhood. Now the real adventure begins!!

Find a Penny…

Birth isn’t confined to the rolling of contractions and the arrival of your baby. It is a journey; one that begins with an act of love and the beginning of life. Every moment of my pregnancy affected the birth of my child, so it is only right to tell the whole story.

In February of 2011 I threw away my last pack of birth control, vowing never to take the pill again. Its amazing what such a small tablet can do to your mind, body, and spirit. I had put on weight, suffered depression, and made an idol out of the idea that I was in control of the timing of conception. God was stirring in my heart though, beckoning me to trust Him with the plans, rather than some swallowed hormones. Beforehand, I really knew nothing about my body and the way that it worked. I of course knew the basics from science class, but I didnt know my body. I just simply believed that despite the misery they caused, I could trust these little white and pink pills to make my life simple and controllable. So did my husband, until conviction set in and God asked me to learn and to trust Him.

I found out about Taking Charge of Your Fertility, and though I couldn’t have control, I knew there was value in learning the way that God had created me. So I finished my last pack of pills, threw away the prescription and dove headfirst into charting my cycles and finding my ‘normal’. It really wasn’t very long before I was back to my old self, and strongly desiring a child. I prayed and asked the Lord to unite my husband and me in this desire, though by the time he did agree, we had already missed our window for that month.

Part of me worried that it would take a long time for us to conceive. I was young, but had also been on the pill for an entire year, which can make conception more difficult. So imagine my surprise when the very next month (May) we conceived. Its also a bit ironic that this happened to be the month that I quit my job, we moved to a new place, and I really failed to chart my cycle at all. Lesson learned: I am definitely not in control.

As my pregnancy progressed I learned to trust God with every part of it. I didn’t take pre-natals but instead focused on food, I only had 2 ultrasounds (the 20 week anatomical and another at 41 1/2 weeks to check fluid levels) in which we did not find out the gender, and I planned and prepared for a natural home birth. We found the practice we wanted to deliver with, Heart of Texas Midwives, and started attending appointments with Debra Day and eventually Mary Barnett as well.

Pregnancy wasn’t always easy. I had horrible morning sickness for three weeks in the beginning, vomiting about 2 times a day. Then shortly after that, both my husband and I (and 40 other family members) got an awful stomach bug that meant frequent vomiting and diarrhea for 2-3 days.

Despite the sickness, aches, and constant need to pee (all normal parts of pregnancy) I enjoyed this time. There’s so much hope and excitement that surrounds pregnancy, especially a first. I found a lot of peace knowing that God’s provision and timing was perfect. He sustained me and my baby to the very end, even when a hard depression hit our home in the last two weeks as we impatiently waited Baby’s arrival. It was fine that my due-date came and went, but when 41 weeks past and we had to start talking about a possible hospital transfer and induction if I passed up 42 weeks, I hit a low point. Again I realized I am not in control. I had no choice but to believe God for His grace even if I had to be induced.

Luckily I did not…

To be continued*

The Final Countdown

Tomorrow, February 14, is not only valentines day, but the start of my final week of pregnancy before my due date. My goodness, I can’t believe that we WILL have our first-born child in our arms in 3 weeks tops!

Brent and I (claire) have a lot to share on this blog in the coming weeks, months, years…however long we will maintain this site, but what better way to launch our life-living on the internet than with the upcoming birth of our first child? So, to family and friends that are keeping tabs on us, you will have a chance to read the birth story here…once it actually happens! Give us a few weeks though…we aren’t actually expecting Baby to come on the 21st, though it is certainly possible!

 

Can’t wait to share this joy with you!

 

Claire

Post Navigation