Happy birthday to our sweet Levi. This week I have been really thinking about the plans God has in store for Levi and my curiosity has been flaring. Watching him move steadily through the milestones and stages of life has brought a healing to my heart…I always feel bad admitting things like that, as if stating it de-values my journey with Malachi. If you know me you already know I treasure every bit of my Malachi, even the hardest parts of our walk as they have heated my up and re-molded me into a new creation. Levi’s journey has just been so incredibly different and those effortless moments of progression are so energizing.
Levi’s empathy is unmatched for a child his age, and undoubtedly having a brother that needs some extra help often has something to do with that. It is rare that Levi doesn’t cry during an episode of Daniel Tiger as he feels all of the emotions from each character. He celebrates Malachi’s achievements more than his own and is his brother’s biggest fan. Levi started playing basketball this week and he was more excited about Malachi getting to help ”coach” then he himself being able to play. He also chose to go bowling this afternoon for his birthday and Levi celebrated Malachi’s bowling achievements way more than his own. What a blessing they each are to one another.
Speaking of basketball, oh boy. First of all, check out this baller in his jersey and new birthday basketball shoes.
And now let’s talk about how much fun we had watching him play. There’s our #12 playing some serious defense.
He has zero basketball knowledge and lots of soccer knowledge so when they use the soccer terms he knows (pass, dribble, shoot) he defaults to his footwork. He would set the ball down by his feet so he could obey what they were asking him to do. We have several funny videos but here is one of my favorite ones; the coach told him to dribble:
And this one when the coach told him to pass it:
But he absolutely loved the idea of being on a team, practicing, and games and it has been a talking point all week. Seeing his excitement to put on his jersey and go to practice was just precious.
Malachi is definitely dealing with some jealousy and we are starting to enter uncharted waters that need to be navigated delicately. I explained to Malachi that Levi’s team was only for the younger children but that he could also get a jersey to wear to the games and he could help coach. We programmed his recordable switch with a whistle and his job is to blow it any time the other coaches blow theirs. He likes the game of listening and trying to be on his A game. I took a video of him as well and it makes me smile:
We let Levi pick out some activities for his birthday and stop #1 was bowling at his request. He lasted about 6 frames which was longer than I anticipated.
Malachi wasn’t “into” it until I informed him he was beating Levi. Then he really came back to life quickly. The empathy thing I mentioned before is most definitely a one way street with these brothers. And Malachi has a spirit of competition in him. He was very particular about wanting to bowl without help from mom and dad so we try to be as hands off as possible after we set him up for success.
After bowling I told Levi he could have a special birthday treat; anything that he wanted! I offered suggestions like pizza, mac and cheese, ice cream, a slushee…
And he was insistent that his one and only birthday wish was a kids ice water from McDonalds. And that is just what he got!
He got a ”need” gift with his basketball shoes and a “want” gift with a pack of superhero costumes for him and Malachi to share. And he was one happy birthday boy!
Levi’s g-tube had been causing some irritation over the last few weeks so the doctor upgraded us to a slightly longer stem. They came in the mail this week and when I opened the box Levi knew from experience exactly what was about to happen. He started crying but then shocked the socks off me by requesting that we put the new one in right away. What a good sport he was! Then today the new balloon burst and his g-tube slipped out. So he had to do another tube change but again he impressed me with his newfound maturity to understand when things just have to happen.
Malachi’s seizure control has been so so so good. He is still having daily seizures but most of them are very short and less intense.
I have been working so hard to try to get him into bed earlier than his typical 3am. We are slowly making progress and last week he was averaging between 5-6 hours each night, hallelujah!
Malachi also spent a few afternoons at school this week. I asked him on Wednesday if he wanted to go to school and he signed no. But Thursday and Friday was an adamant yes. He is only going for about two hours each day, twice a week. Even that brief period of time tuckers him out.
As usual, today has bubbled up so many emotions and memories for me. Some of the most amazing moments in my life also qualify as some of the most heartbreaking. Motherhood has been such a unique blend of joy and mourning and birthdays are such vivid reminders of that blend.
I will never forget the heart flutters I experienced when I laid eyes on this photo for the first time.
I was not awake for Levi’s birth and Jake had this photo to share with me when I woke up from surgery. I remember so much anxiety lifting from my shoulders when I saw this photo and felt the emotions rising up from the base of my throat. I thought he was one of the most beautiful things I had ever laid eyes on and I don’t even remember seeing the ventilator tube. All I could focus on was his healthy color and how much he looked like a healthy baby.
Today Jake and I were talking about our crazy life and I was explaining to him how lately I have felt like I am in an inner tube racing down a raging river. I have no paddle and no control over where I am headed downstream. I can only see a few feet in front of me on my journey but there are lots of bends in the river with surprises waiting, some good and some bad.
When I first ended up in this inner tube I panicked. I fought against the river, exhausting myself against its current. I wanted out because I wasn’t equipped for the journey. But as much as I screamed and pleaded with God about my inadequacies He did not stop the inner tube. Everytime I hit a rock and sprung a leak I tried to use it as evidence to God that I was not equipped. But he covered the hole and asked me to keep floating and trusting in Him.
I am at a point where I have embraced and made friends with the river. The river has calm waters and the river has rapids. But the river is ever flowing, carrying me somewhere new.
Greek philosopher Heraclitus said ”No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
I could spend time breaking this down for you in terms of my life, but I feel like it just needs to simmer in your mind and my time is meant for more biblical things…
Mark 14:38 ”Keep watching and praying, so that you will not come into temptation; the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”
I have been really processing these words. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. It is such a simple sentence yet oddly profound.
This sentence came from the mouth of Jesus after He had instructed His disciples to keep watch while He went to pray before His arrest. When He returned and found them sleeping you can hear almost a tone of exasperation ”Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Keep watching and praying, so that you will not come into temptation; the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”
This verse summarizes me very well this week. My spirit longs to be used by God in big ways. I desire a thriving and effective walk with the Lord. My spirit is oh so willing.
But my flesh is also so weak. So incredibly weak.
This verse says a few key words at the beginning…”Watch and pray”. I realized this week that I am not doing nearly enough watching and praying these days. I let down my guard and allow the enemy to sneak in. The action it takes to be a follower of Christ is an every second, every minute, every hour action. It is not a passive role.
Christ’s words for His disciples could very much be the same words He has been laying on my heart: ”Could you not keep watch for one hour?” And in my laziness and my distractions I have allowed my spirit and my flesh engage in battle.
Galatians 5:16-17 ”But I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh is against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, for these are in opposition to one another, in order to keep you from doing whatever you want.”
My desire this week is to end the battle, even if it be ever so brief, between the flesh and my spirit. That is a war that will continue to wage within us for our time here on earth. And it is a war we accidentally find ourselves in the middle of sometimes without intentionally enlisting, but it is a messy one nonetheless with lots of casualties.
This week my motto is: Walk by the Spirit, walk by the Spirit, walk by the Spirit.
When I am focusing on walking by the spirit my mind will be too engaged to focus on the things of the flesh.
I know I am mentioning some pretty meaty words and concepts in this week’s blog, If you ever have any questions about some of the ”Christian terms” I have been tossing at you please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for listening to me ramble each week without complaining. You all are a very special bunch and my family is very blessed to have such a great support system.
Now off to bed! Much love,