Calling

This week Levi started to potty train himself. I wish we could take some credit but Mr. Independent gets the glory on this one.

We are still very far from being potty trained, but oh the adventures we have had on the attempts. I am still trying to navigate how to make this work logistically since he is still in onesies to keep him from messing with his tummy tube. But we are making progress. Messy progress.

We are also dealing with some new jealousy issues with Malachi and have had to be very aware and cautious with our terminology with potty training. Our instinct phrases are “What a big boy!” and “You’re doing that all by yourself!”

It didn’t take long to notice that those were upsetting Malachi, and when I asked him if he was proud of Levi one morning he very seriously told me “no”. We have been trying to find a healthy way to encourage Levi for the progress he is making while not accidentally making Malachi feel less than.

One day this week Jake and I carried some things to the basement, and Levi naturally followed. When we came back up two minutes later Malachi was crying, upset that we went to the basement without him. He is very aware right now of the things he isn’t getting to do that Levi can do, so we are trying out best to change routines so he doesn’t feel left out.

The boys had horse therapy this week and it was a beautiful afternoon. While Levi rode, Malachi and I sat at a picnic table and he was clearly loving the one on one time with momma. He kept nuzzling his little face against mine and giving such generous kisses.

Parenting Malachi is such a blessing to me, and he brings us so much joy. It also provides challenges I didn’t know existed as far as how to speak worthiness into his little heart. What a smart little boy he is.

Levi has been a busy bee this week, systematically wrecking the house one room at a time! He loves to pretend like he is building things and carries the tape measurer around. When we ask him how long something is he tells us “three” with such a serious, contractor-like face. For Christmas he is getting his very own tool bench and child tape measurer which will be fun.

He is also super excited about his playset, which is still sitting at the base of the driveway in crates. Each time he gets out of the car he runs over and checks it out. We are working this week to get it set up and ready to go. Jake’s school closed due to COVID so he has some bonus time off!

We have had some great weather this week so we have had lots of time on the trampoline. We also spent some time today in the therapy pool! What a blessing to be able to get Malachi in heated water for stretching in the middle of December.

I am so happy to share that our Uganda buddy has officially received enough donations for every item on the wish list. We received an excess of donations and we were able to purchase a swim neck ring and some reusable waterproof diapers for him as well. The items have been ordered and most have already shipped to our stateside missionary. We have a few hand me down items here at the house that are in brand new shape that just didn’t work out as we had hoped for Malachi. We will be taking those to the missionary at the end of the month, but wanted to send her photos so she could make plans on how to transport it.

Thank you again for helping with a project very near and dear to our hearts. I think of all the stories in the Bible where Christ was drawn to those with disabilities, and I can’t help but believe that when we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus a big part of that is helping children like these.

Jake and I have been so blessed throughout our lives and have such a desire to raise our kids to be a blessing to others. We also hold fast to the scripture “When you give to the needy don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” (Matthew 6:3) We have been doing some super secret projects this week to help others, and both of the boys get so excited each time we head out to tackle one. We talk about why we are doing what we are doing, and make sure to explain the biblical reasons we are doing each one and they hang onto every word. They also love that it is a secret and Levi makes the “Shhhh” sound from the backseat.

Jake and I have been working on a big project that God has put on my heart. We are hoping to wrap it up this week and send it to the printers, but it has allowed us to plug into the Bible for hours each week. When God gives me a project He always gives me the energy, drive, and zeal to complete it and this one has been no exception.

But this week I have been spending some time thinking about Mary. I know I have talked about her before with you all, and will likely repeat myself in some of the things that I say, but I would love to dump some thoughts out on you all this week.

I have always had an appreciation for Mary as the mother of Jesus, but after having children I feel so connected to her. While our callings are very different, they both have required a complete and total trust in God…something that it undoubtedly hard for me to do. I can only imagine it was just as difficult for Mary, especially thinking about some of the scenes she had to witness in Christ’s life.

But I think about the idea that of all the women on the earth, God chose Mary to be trusted with such a special task. I love the angels introduction to her in Luke chapter 1:

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

I am continually blown away by this verse. There are so many things in it that catch my eye.

Each of us have a calling on our lives. We often like to look at callings as career paths, or attach them to decisions that we make at the crossroads of our life. We convince ourselves that callings are the things we are naturally good at or talented in.

We so quickly forget that callings are really from the Lord. He has things planned in our lives that we would never choose- things we would be terrified of if we got a glimpse of the whole picture. Things that we are not naturally good at, and things that will challenge us beyond what we think we can bear.

If Mary had been given a snapshot of her baby boy hanging dead on a cross I am sure she would have been tempted to argue with the Lord on her worthiness and strength for such a task. In the same way, if God had given me a snapshot of life with two medically complex kids I very likely would have tried to reject that calling on my life.

“Callings” are something we convince ourselves we can determine. But we have to man determines his ways but the Lord direct his steps.

I find so much encouragement in the angel’s greeting to Mary as it reminds me that God sees a strength in each of us that we don’t know exists. What we see as challenging life God sees as a blessed life, as He showers His favor on us.

Sometimes the hardest things in life can be full of the richest blessings. That is certainly true in our lives, and I hope you can look into the dark parts of your story and pick out the hidden blessings.

The Lord is with you. And you are highly favored by God.

May we always remember the goodness and mysteriousness of our God.

Much love,

Leah

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