Some of you might remember a post I wrote three months ago alluding to a to-do list written on a torn piece of paper towel that is stuck to our refrigerator that has everything on it me and hubby want/need to accomplish before Polka arrives. Well, first off, let me just say that time has apparently been on fast forward, for cryin' out loud! How could three months have already passed between then and now? Good grief!
Well, while the tacky looking paper-towel list still resides on our fridge, I'm happy and relieved to know that we've whittled it down to only a few remaining items: a thorough and deep house cleaning, schedule a carpet cleaning, select a baby boy name (if hubby doesn't come up with a few names he likes, I have one I'm gonna just go with! ha ha!), put the finishing touches on our new baby budget (had to say "adios" to our allowances for the sake of things like the rising cost of health insurance and hopefully a date every now and then), and put finishing touches on my scrapbook and baby book for Polka. Of course there are still the everyday chore type things, but the big to-dos are just about complete. Our hospital bag is mostly packed. The nursery is ready to go. Christmas packages bought, wrapped and shipped. Wills done and in our fire box. And I'm so thankful! And excited about the month ahead.
I am truly guarding the next month, setting it apart to prepare for Polka, mostly in my heart, and having quality time with my hubby. I don't want this to sound standoffish or that I don't want to be with my friends, because I absolutely love my time with them. But I know myself well enough to know that if I start scheduling a bunch of get-togethers with friends during the week, the time is going to whiz by me and I'm going to miss out in what I truly desire the next month to look like. So I've committed myself to keeping the schedule clear and not filling it as much as possible. I feel like the next month is sacred time. Sacred time between me and the Lord: to give Him my fears, share with Him my excitement. Sacred time between me and Polka: to bond, to pray for this little baby (something I admit I have not done very well the past 8 months!). Sacred time between me and my dear hubby: to soak in Christmas, celebrate our upcoming 6 year anniversary, and minister to and encourage each other as we prepare for our new roles of daddy and mommy. Sacred time. Time set apart and guarded.
One of the things me and hubby are doing the next month is reading together. The first book we're working through: Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp. If you are a parent or an expectant parent, I highly recommend you grab yourself a copy of this book. It will be the most significant and shaping book he and I read together the next month, and one we've said we need to reread each year. Folks, it is turning me upside down: pointing me to Scripture and Biblical principles that are transforming and renewing the parts of my mind that have been conformed to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2). It hasn't been easy because it's been a tool the Lord is using to show me my own sin, my own fallible viewpoints of parenting that are more cultural than Biblical. It's truly sobering to realize both the honor and responsibility that parenting is in shaping a little one's heart to know that "life is found in knowing and serving the true and living God", that the only worthy goal for life is to glorify Him. I have more of an unhealthy bent toward having a well behaved child, which I tend to see as an overarching goal in our parenting, rather than a secondary benefit to teaching our child(ren) about the Biblical truth of looking out for the interests of others and servanthood. Another big thing that it is bringing to the surface: the need for me to know the Word, to read it, to hunger for it. It needs to be the bedrock of all we do, say and teach and oh, how I long to pour over it faithfully. This book is truly rocking my world, and it will take the mighty yet gentle Spirit of God to teach, transform and help us every step of the way.
Jules from The Roost wrote a beautiful and powerful post yesterday that gives a practical example using Christmas gift giving that nails down exactly what I'm trying to communicate about having Biblically focused concepts integrated in parenting, rather than cultural ones. A main point she presents: instead of having kiddos make a Christmas list of their wants, have them create a Christmas giving list of who they are going to give to and come up with creative gift ideas that fit that person. She points out something that has become a culturally acceptable and expected practice versus what the more Biblically centered concept of giving would look like during Christmas time. She also gave great practical ideas about gift giving. It sure struck a nerve in me, in a good, convicting way. Take a moment to read it here.
So part of what will make this next month sacred: allowing my heart to be transformed and malleable before the Spirit of the Living God, giving Him all the room He needs to make me more of the woman, wife...and now mother, He wants me to be. I close with a verse that I want to somehow put in Polka's nursery to be a constant reminder to me of what I want Polka (and myself) to grow in and see through the content of our everyday life: that real living is experienced when we can genuinely say, "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you" (Psalm 73:25).