A Pretty Good Deal

I have never been an abnormally materialistic person. In fact, when it comes to love languages, giving and receiving gifts is last on my list; I’d prefer a hug or a kind card.  But lately I have struggled so much with wanting to buy stuff.  Friends of ours recently moved into their new home and have begun the process of setting it up.  Suffice it to say that upon entering those beautiful wooden double doors, one is greeted by a room that looks like it came straight out of Better Homes and Gardens (but like a really trendy, rustic version).  I’m so jealous.  Our last visit there, I found myself gazing longingly at the handcrafted fireplace, the brick wall in the den, the furry couch pillows…I could go on…

Don’t get me wrong, I love our apartment.  It’s cozy and warm and the perfect size for our little family.  And it has plenty of stuff in it.  Plenty of stuff we don’t need, in fact.  But it seems like every time I see something that looks pretty, whether it’s in a house or on a person, I feel like I have to have it.

I try to justify my desires for more things by only shopping in the clearance section, or at thrift stores and flea markets.  I tell Matthew, “You’re so lucky that I’m not high maintenance and can shop for so cheap.”  Yeah.  ‘Till I buy ten books, three shirts, five dresses, a pair of shoes, and a homey knick-knack at Goodwill for $50.00.  Then it’s not as cheap.  The point is, I constantly desire what we don’t need.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having money and spending it on your family and your home, and even on fun frivolity every now and again.  But these past few weeks, there has been something seriously wrong with my heart.  My heart has forgotten that eventually all I have ever owned and will ever own will be in a landfill.  My heart has forgotten that happiness and fulfillment do not come with possessions.  My heart has forgotten that the Bible has promised me treasure that is spiritual.  In fact, 1 Timothy 6:6 says, “But godliness with contentment is great wealth.”

Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…”  (Eph. 1:3) What are these spiritual blessings that we have when Christ lives in us, you ask?  In his letter, Paul goes on to say that we have been chosen by God before Creation, we are holy and blameless, Jesus loves us, He has adopted us as His children, we are accepted, we are redeemed by His blood, we are forgiven, we have unmerited favor, we can know His will, He has given us an everlasting inheritance, we know the Truth, we have the Holy Spirit, we have hope, we have power (Eph. 1:1-14).

Welp.  This list makes even the best flea market bargain look like dirt.  And I have made some awesome flea market purchases.  But even if I stood all alone in an empty field with no clothes on my body or a single item to my name, I am ever so wealthy.  Because I have the treasure that is Christ living inside of me, and it will never perish or fade away or leave me for someone better.

This spiritual treasure is expensive, though.  It came at a high price.  God’s precious Son gave His perfect life in order that this treasure may be ours.  The only thing we must give up is our pride.

Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

Paul writes in his letter to the Philippians, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him…” (Phil. 3:8-9).

Though purchases are necessary and can bring moments of pleasure and joy, I must continue to remind myself (and all of you please hold me accountable) that the material possessions the world offers are rubbish when compared to the priceless gain of knowing Jesus and being found in Him.

My soul is so grateful that God saw me as a worthy purchase and paid the absolute highest price so that I would be forever His.

Her smiles make me rich
Her smiles make me rich

Again

My husband and I are alike in many ways, but Matthew is a creature of habit while I require some spark of spontaneity in everyday life.  He could happily scarf down a PB&J for lunch everyday, while I constantly change up our grocery lists because I tire of foods so easily.  He can watch episodes of The Office on repeat, while I get bored watching shows I’ve already seen.  Matt thrives on routine and rejoices in the mundane in a way that I envy.

Which is why being at home with Nora was difficult at first.  I was busy— but I felt like I was always feeding her, changing her, or soothing her.  When Matt would come home from work I would practically force him back out the door to go out for dinner or take us on a walk or do anything just to get out and do something different.  Some days, I was a mommy on autopilot.

But then I think about how God’s heart rejoices in routine.  He created the sun to set and rise and He made the seasons to come every year without fail.  Psalm 74:16-17 says, “Yours is the day, Yours also is the night; You have prepared the light and the sun. You have established all the boundaries of the earth; You have made summer and winter.”  The Lord delights in seeing His creation do the same thing over and over again.

At the same time, He makes each day new! Psalm 90:14 says, “Satisfy us in the morning with Your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.”  On a similar note, Jeremiah writes in Lamentations 3:23, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning…” Each day we can ask the Lord to satisfy us with His love and show us His mercy again.  What gladness can be found in the faithfulness of the Lord! Every waking of the sun brings new mistakes, new mercies, new moments, new opportunities, new experiences, and new triumphs.

I’ve discovered that (as with most things in life) we have to walk in balance.  We can find happiness in the mundane trappings of life, while at the same time soaking in the newness and uniqueness of each day.  I have since learned to drink in deeply and slowly every bath time, every feeding, every smile.  Now my gaze lingers on her face for longer, I hold her before bedtime a moment more, and my hugs and kisses have multiplied.  But also– each day is a new opportunity to wake up and be the best, most joyful mother I can be.  I am learning to take sweet pleasure in our daily ritual, while at the same time asking God in my heart, “What new do You want to show me today?  What can I learn?  What adventure do You have in store for today?”

Life can be so enjoyable when we balance excitement for the future with true contentment in the present.  Instead of just waiting for what lies ahead, I want to savor each moment as it happens.  One great thing about babies and kids is how they are continually captivated by the same things.  Games like Peekaboo and Hide-and-go-seek never get old, and they constantly say things like “Throw me again, Daddy!” or “One more time!”  For some reason, Nora is completely fascinated by lights and ceiling fans.  She tilts her head and looks up at them no matter what house or room she’s in.  We can learn from children what it means to find the most ordinary things completely riveting.  I want to be the kind of mother that lets herself be constantly delighted by what life brings her way.

So I am learning from my husband, who finds peace and comfort in routine.  I am learning from my daughter, who is fascinated by the ordinary.  And I am learning from my Father, who is exuberantly joyful to spend every day caring for His children.  My prayer is that this daughter will learn these lessons and live in such a way that she cries to her heavenly Father every night, “That was so fun, Daddy! Again!”

We love hearing her squeals!
We love hearing her squeals!
Nora loves looking at her hands.
Nora loves looking at her hands.

More

Matthew and I are on the verge of celebrating our one year wedding anniversary, and together we have been reflecting lately on all that has happened.  A lot can happen in one year.  Let’s see.  I got married, moved to a new state, landed a new job, started attending a new church, found out I was pregnant, finished my Master’s, and gave birth to Nora.  Whew.

Four short years ago, I had big plans to finish my Theatre degree and move out of Orlando to L.A. or New York in order to pursue an acting career.  I expected to wait a long time before getting married, and I definitely did not plan on having children any time in the near future…ha ha.  My heart was set on taking the theatre world by storm, traveling the globe, and settling into a big city for a life that was more than just the average life of a stay-at-home soccer mom.  Offended by my terminology?  Me, too.  But that’s what I wanted; glamour and spontaneity and excitement and…more.

I looked into my future and thought I had it completely figured out.  Fast forward four years later.  I am married to a man who dreams of becoming a pastor, I got pregnant so fast after our wedding that I beat my parents’ record, and…I live in Arkansas.  My first child was born in Arkansas.  Never thought I would use those words.  Maybe, My first child was born in Africa. But not Arkansas.

Nevertheless, here I am.  Sitting on my couch in Bentonville and glancing every so often at my daughter sleeping in her swing.  And I have joy.  My cup runneth over.

Psalm 139:16 says, “…in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.”  I marvel that the Lord not only knew my days ahead of time, but that He knew His daughter’s heart so well.  While I thought I craved the fast-paced, brightly-lit life of a successful artist, my Father knew me better and gave me the deepest desires of my heart.  Desires that I didn’t even know existed.  Growing up, I was resolved to lead a “special,” unconventional life.  Younger Mallory would have shamefully scoffed at my current life as a young mother who stays at home with a baby and is completely dependent on a husband.  Younger Mallory would look at me scornfully and say, “Didn’t you want more?”  In fact, sometimes I feel like the rest of the world looks at me and says, “Didn’t you want more?”

This is the most important lesson I think I have ever learned and may ever learn in this life (and I type this with tears of thanks in my eyes): God’s plan is always more.

He knows us better than we know ourselves, He loves us more than we love ourselves, and His plans for us are greater than our minds can fathom on our most imaginative days.  But we have to trust Him.

Everyone’s life looks different, and I am not suggesting that a woman has to be married with children to be fulfilled– I am suggesting that if we trust and acknowledge the Lord with our plans, He will offer our hearts contentment that we cannot attain for ourselves.  Our lives as followers of Jesus will not be perfect and forever peaceful; but the Lord’s plan is for our ultimate good. Always.  Even when parts of life leave us feeling impatient or unfulfilled or afraid or broken…At the end of the day, we can trust Him to carry out the best possible plan for us.  (To those of you who are muttering to yourself, “Some plan.  I’ve never been truly happy,” I encourage you to look to Christ and then wait on Him.)

At one time in my life I was praying for “more” thinking I knew what that meant, but thankfully God answered my prayers in His own way.  I may not have an acting career, but my life has tremendous purpose in caring for my family.  I may not live in a big city, but I have a beautiful community of people that love me.  And I may not have traveled the world, but I’m only 24…

Rather than yearning for “more,” I find myself asking God, “What more could I possibly want?”  And I feel a familiar whisper to my soul, Just wait.

At one of our favorite restaurants in Bentonville, the Station Cafe
At one of our favorite restaurants in Bentonville
My sweeties
With my sweeties
This smile
This smile

Fairest

I have felt so unattractive lately.  Having given birth not long ago, I feel flabby, stretch-marked, and frumpy.  My clothes don’t fit right, I don’t have time to fix my hair, and every morning I go without exercising my self-esteem plummets a little more.  It doesn’t help that every time I go on Facebook or watch TV I am bombarded by images of gorgeous, photo-shopped girls with tan, skinny bodies and perfect makeup.  Finally I realized that my anxiety isn’t because of my extra baby weight.  It’s because of the trap of comparison.

I’ll never forget working at a youth camp while I was in college and meeting one of the pretty high school volunteers.  She was teeny tiny, with thick dark hair piled on top of her head, and bright blue eyes fringed with thick lashes.  Every time I saw this girl I got annoyed.  I finally realized that I was annoyed because every feature about myself that I was slightly proud of or was praised for, she had the better version.  Truly.  I’ve never particularly loved being 5 feet tall, but I do like being petite.  This girl was more petite.  My hair is one of the features about myself I like the most, but her hair was thicker and darker.  I like my round blue eyes, but hers were bluer and she had long eyelashes.

One minute I was content with who I was, and the next minute I was questioning my confidence.  All because I had compared myself to another girl.  Women do this all the time.  She is such a trendy dresser, I really need a wardrobe more like hers.  She does her makeup so perfectly, I really need to watch more YouTube tutorials.  Her arms are so toned, I really need to start lifting weights.  The problem with this is that there will always be somebody that we deem better looking.  Angelina Jolie was quoted as saying, “I struggle with low self-esteem all the time! I think everyone does. I have so much wrong with me, it’s unbelievable!” (I wanna be like, “Really, Angelina?  Really?”) But there you have it…

We can never be perfectly satisfied with how we look.  Remember the evil queen from Snow White? She was totally satisfied with her beauty until the Mirror on the Wall told her that some other chick had her beat.

So what can we do to separate ourselves from society’s laser-like focus on outward appearance?   Let’s help each other!  Let’s continue to have fun with makeup and clothing, but all the while remembering that it’s simply that: fun.  It’s not where our identity is found.

The apostle Peter encourages, “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—  but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:3-4).  How on earth do I raise my daughter to care more about being precious in God’s sight than in society’s? How can I teach her that outer beauty fades but inner beauty lasts forever?  *Sigh.*  I suppose by attempting to live this out myself.

By refraining from making disparaging comments about my personal appearance in front of her.  By praising celebrities who give generously and speak thoughtfully rather than those who are simply good-looking.  By telling her she’s lovely even during her awkward years (thanks, Mom).  By warning her that modesty and faith will land her a better guy than a short skirt will.  By feeding her Scriptures like 1 Samuel 16:7 that says, “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” By reminding her that while her body will grow old, her soul will live forever. By helping her grow into a beautiful woman who is known for her stunning compassion and kindness rather than for her facial symmetry.

And just one last thought.  What if instead of comparing our beauty to that of other women’s, we compared good works?  Perhaps then instead of logging onto Facebook and being overwhelmed by artful selfies and endless articles about beauty and beach bodies, we would be encouraged by others to love our families and communities better.  Maybe we would then be obedient to Romans 12:10 that says to “outdo one another in showing honor,” and to Hebrews 10:24 that says to “stir up one another to love and good works.”  Just a thought.

Perhaps then we would live in a world in which the woman who loves deepest and works hardest and speaks kindest would be considered fairest of them all.

Telling her she's lovely
Telling her she’s lovely
Our precious girl
Our precious girl

Kiss the Wave

Last week Matt, Nora, and I vacationed with Matt’s family and my sister at the beach in South Carolina.  We stayed in a beautiful condo at Litchfield-by-the-Sea and bathed ourselves in sunshine and family togetherness.  It was egg-frying hot and the air was wet, reminding me of home in Naples.

I remembered how much I love vacation.  Not just for the relaxing time by the pool and family game nights (by the way, Matt and I now play bridge if anyone in Arkansas wants to start a snooty Thursday night bridge club), but for the plane flights and unpacking and waking up in a new bed and my mother-in-law’s spinach omelets.

As I sat on the sunny beach next to my husband and kept an eye on baby girl (who was enjoying the ocean breeze from underneath her umbrella), I thought, life can’t get any better than this.  I sat in my beach chair, dreaming of future beach trips with lots of cousins, tiny bathing suits hogging up the towel racks in the bathroom, sand castles, and the smells of sunblock and saltwater.  We have so much to look forward to, and so  much to be thankful for.

But it won’t always be like this.  The sun won’t always be shining.  (I know, total Debbie Downer moment- but hear me out…)  On Friday of our trip, it poured cats and dogs and the wind blew so hard that whole palm branches were ripped from the trees and pieces of the roof blew clear away.  We stayed inside and watched the news.  It was still really fun.

Life can still be good when sunshine is interrupted by dark clouds.  I think of when the disciples were being tossed around in a terrible storm, and they woke Jesus and said, “Save us Lord, we are perishing.”  In His sovereignty, Jesus rebuked the wind and the waves and “there was a great calm.” The disciples wondered, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” (Matthew 8:24-27).  In their darkest hour, the scared disciples were given a gift: assurance that God can protect them.  Assurance that they need not fear.  During difficult times when we aren’t enjoying a book by the pool or a friendly game of Taboo (if such a thing exists), when we are face down in the dirt with no clear hope– we can remember that Christ is on board with us, ready to ask us why we are “of little faith.”  And sometimes during our trials God graciously gives us a clearer understanding of Himself.  Just as Job states at the end of his terrible suffering, “I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You…” (42:5).

When my thunderclouds start rolling in, I pray that my heart will be comforted with the knowledge that Jesus is always present in the storms. The storms we face may be family health issues, tragic loss, difficulties at work, seasons of low self-esteem, or broken relationships. (Living here in Arkansas our storm may actually be a storm- this is tornado central, y’all).  I want to always remember God’s promise in Isaiah 43:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…” (43:1-2).

May we all be ready to call upon the name of our Savior when our tribulation comes, ready to faithfully seek the help of He who never fails. As Charles Spurgeon said, “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.”  What a blessing storms can be.  Especially if you’re stuck inside a condo with cable and a full kitchen.

But for now, I’ll just soak up the sun with a heart full of thanks.

Ready for the beach
Ready for the beach
At the pier
At the pier

To My Husband on His First Father’s Day

I know this is kind of private, but I wanted to share anyway.

To My Husband on His First Father’s Day:

Matthew, thank you for being truly filled with joy (with a healthy touch of anxiety) about our pregnancy news even though we had only been married for three weeks.  Thank you for being courteous and selfless throughout my pregnancy.  Thank you for spending hours staring at the Excel budget spreadsheet making sure we were wise with our money.  Thank you for holding my hand, praying, and reading Scripture over me during the difficult, painful hours of my labor.  Thank you for holding our daughter with love in your eyes as we became a family of three for the first time.  Thank you for being kind.

Thank you for waking up with me those first sleepy nights when Nora and I were both crying, and for staying patient.  Thank you also for graciously accepting all of my apologies when I was mean to you in the middle of the night…we have discovered that Mommy really needs her sleep in order to show Christ’s love.

Thank you for picking up baby girl every day after work and saying, “Your Mommy dressed you so cute today,” even if she’s just got on a onesie and a dirty diaper.

Thank you for watching The Fault in Our Stars with glassy eyes during the scene when Hazel’s dad carries her into the hospital.

Thank you for leaving the audiologist with a grin saying, “That went so much better than expected- she’ll be able to hear!” And meaning it from the bottom of your heart.

Thank you for kissing me in front of Nora and saying, “Your mommy and daddy love each other so much.”  Thank you for coming home for lunch as often as possible so you can be with us for one extra hour a day.

Thank you for bringing laughter into our home.  You laugh at me, and it makes me feel like I’m funny.  I can’t wait for you to make Nora laugh for the first time- I hope she has your sense of humor.

Thank you for making me feel beautiful all the time.  You can’t possibly know what peace I have knowing that you will make Nora feel beautiful, too.  She will grow up believing herself lovely because her dad says so.

Thank you for our family date night.  You knocked on the door instead of just coming in, and you had flowers, and you said, “Is Mallory Harris here?” Thank you for worrying that we don’t have enough date nights.

Thank you for making our home a happy, peaceful place.  Though others from different walks may disagree with our politics and faith, if we invited them over for dinner they would not be able to deny the love they see here.  They would notice that even though I am a young wife and a stay-at-home-mom, I am far from being trapped or unfulfilled.  I am like a “well-watered vine.”  People flourish when they are loved unconditionally.  Your tenderness and kindness have made my life sweet.  And they will make Nora’s life sweet.

Thank you for your dreams and prayers for Nora.  You pray great things for her.  But you don’t pray for her to be wealthy, you pray for her to be satisfied by the treasure that is Christ.  You don’t pray for her to be physically beautiful, you pray for her to be gentle and kind.  You don’t pray for her to be successful, you pray for her to be willing to give up everything for the sake of the Kingdom.  You don’t pray for her to be well-liked, you pray for her to stand on the Gospel of Truth in the face of great adversity.  Yes, you pray great things for her.

Your love for Nora has shown my heart new things about how God looks at me.  He looks at me with gentle patience, even when I’m making a fuss.  He looks at me with everlasting love that has nothing to do with how good or pretty or smart or obedient I am.  He looks at me with rejoicing.

Thank you for that gift, my love.  I am so thankful that you are the father of my child.  I look forward to the years of new babies, science projects, vacations, family game nights, Sundays at church, basketball practice, and all the adventures that are ahead of us.

Love, Me

Belly Kiss
We were so excited to meet our Nora!
At the Hospital
Daddy and newborn Eleanor
Chilling
Chillin’ on the couch with Dad
Sleepy
Sleepy
Day at the Park
Day at the park with Daddy

Different

First of all, thank you (*note: this is not a polite “thanks,” this is a deep, teary, scratchy “thank you“) for all of the kind comments and prayers.  They have meant the world to a scared new mommy who believes in the power of prayer.  I believe that God listens and answers, and He did.

We took Eleanor to the audiologist last Thursday for the second time, and she had an Auditory Brain Stem Response test (ABR) to gauge the severity of her hearing loss.  She sat in my arms for an hour with electrodes taped to her little head and ear monitors stuffed inside her tiny ears while the technician graphed her brain’s response to sound.  After the test, we were told truly amazing news: Nora has only moderate hearing loss, which means that she will be able to hear normally with the help of hearing aids.  My initial response was: “HOORAY! My daughter will hear!” But then we were escorted to a smaller office and for the next hour were given more information than I could handle.  We were shown hearing aid models, given packets of info, warned of the possibility of progressive hearing loss, and provided a run-down of the seemingly endless audiologist appointments in our near future.

After we left the doctor’s office, (I basically ran out) I took a deep breath of fresh air and the let the tears flow.  Part of me was so grateful that God answered our prayers in the form of tiny pieces of technology, but the other part of me was asking questions a mile-a-minute, Will she notice she’s different? Will she be made fun of in her classes at school? Will she be self-conscious of her hearing aids?  

Guys, middle school sucks.  Kids are mean.  I was made fun of in middle school and I didn’t even have hearing aids (although I did have huge hair and knobby knees).  Sadly, all my ungrateful heart could think about was how terrible middle school would be for Nora.

Then this morning as I was drinking my coffee and praying for the Lord to give me comfort about Nora’s hearing aids, I felt the Lord whisper to my soul, Darling, didn’t you pray for ‘different?’ 

I had to laugh.  It’s true– how many times have I laid hands on my pregnant tummy and on my sleeping baby girl praying for the Lord to make her “different?”  I have prayed for God to make Nora wiser than her peers, more modest and gentle than the woman of today, strong enough to stand for Truth in a society that hates it, brave enough to fight for those who are bullied, more passionate about Jesus than I am…indeed, very “different” from the rest of the world.  Physically, yes, she will be ever-so-slightly different from the other kids; but my dream for her is that spiritually and emotionally she will be much more noticeably so.

As her parents, we will do everything we can to teach her to be polite and obedient and compassionate and kind.  But only Christ can give her “the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4)– that’s not something we are born with, folks.  My prayer is that she will always carry with her joy in the Lord, compassion for others, and confidence in herself…and that the other middle school kids (I’m clearly really fixated on middle school) will see those qualities that are slowly but surely disappearing from our society and say, “What makes you different?” and that my daughter will not answer, “Well, ya see, I’ve got this hearing impairment…” but rather she will gently say, “I’m different because of Jesus.  Let me tell you about Him.”

I realize now that God is preparing us for the fact that Nora may never fit in.  But will it be because of her hearing impairment? Nope.

I have prayed it, and God has been so faithful to answer my prayers.

Nora didn't like those pesky electrodes!
Nora didn’t like those pesky electrodes!
Mommy holding Nora, getting comfy for the long ABR test
Mommy holding Nora, getting comfy for the long ABR test
Daddy and Nora at the audiologist
Daddy and Nora at the audiologist

In the Quiet

Having just entered the exciting (yet somewhat excruciatingly mundane) world of stay-at-home-momhood, I now understand exactly why there are so many mommyblogs out there.  I was so judgy towards those moms that sat at home and wrote blogs, grumpily muttering to myself, “What makes you think your perspective on life is so interesting?”

Now I realize that the majority of moms don’t write blogs to dole out wisdom or to show the world how totally with-it they are, they are probably writing blogs for themselves in order to share their thoughts and feelings with people that aren’t tiny and needy and spit up all the time.   If blogs were only allowed to be written by people with lots of life experience and interesting stories, I definitely would be last on the list.  I’ve only been a mama for six weeks- doesn’t exactly make me a fount of wisdom.  Heck, most of the time I feel like a little girl playing house with a really cute boy and an adorable baby doll.

Which is why it doesn’t seem fair that Nora might be deaf.  My husband and I are so happy right now–like, deliriously happy.  I wake up every day praising Jesus that Matt and I are healthy and in love and have a sweet baby girl.  Nora and I anxiously wait for Daddy to come home from work every day and give us kisses and make us laugh.  So when our little Eleanor Lane failed her first hearing tests in the hospital we thought that surely it must be a mistake; indeed, my doctor told us that we “had nothing to worry about, lots of newborns fail their hearing tests.”  Last week I breezily took her to the audiologist for a follow-up and left ugly crying when they told me that they were pretty certain she had some hearing loss.  The doctors’ somber faces and pushy questions of “Are you sure there isn’t a history of hearing impairment in your family?” left me devastated.

Had I been ignoring the fact that when the dryer beeped loudly or a door slammed she never woke up from her sleep?  Had I been blind to her constant need to be held and touched because she couldn’t hear me telling her “Mama’s here, don’t cry”?  Apparently so.  After I got home that day, Matt left work to come and be with his girls.  Since that fateful Tuesday at the audiologist, we have done some at-home tests on our own, and have yet to witness her react to a loud sound.  So.  She might be deaf.  Or at least extremely hard of hearing.  There is a chance that maybe she’ll grow out of it– we have heard stories of babies one day growing out of their hearing loss.

Either way, it still doesn’t seem fair…you might say…it’s “hard to hear.” Pun intended.  On the outside, she is perfect.  She has little tiny precious ears and her Daddy’s kissable mouth and my eyes…why does this one thing not work right?  As a first-time mom I felt so completely shaken that I almost forgot to seek comfort from He who is Unshakeable.  My husband reminded me recently of advice he got from his own wise mother, that “the difference between us as parents and God as a Father is that we do not love our children enough to wish upon them suffering that might be beneficial in the long run.”  Chew on that a moment and swallow it.

How could I possibly be okay with my child never recognizing my voice or hearing music or having clear speech?  Well right now, I am not.  I want those things desperately for her, so desperately that my eyes are filling with tears even as I type this.  So desperately that I will seek out the best hearing specialists and pay for the most expensive hearing technology if it means my baby will be able to hear.

But perhaps down the road…if our family learned sign language together and became involved in the deaf community and grew to a fuller understanding of worship that was more than just music…perhaps then I would be thankful.  Now I don’t know if that is God’s plan for her life, but I can joyfully rest that God’s plan for Nora is better than mine.  Even if it means she never hears my voice.

Because I know that even in the quiet, God is present.  If she never heard a sound in her life, she would most certainly recognize the voice of her Shepherd (John 10:27).  And what an extraordinary gift the angels’ singing in heaven would be to someone who had been deaf on earth!  Yes, there are beautiful silver linings provided by the light of the Lamb.  And yes, she may grow out of this hearing thing and her life will go down a totally different but equally beautiful and hard-in-its-own-way route.  I’m excited to see.  He is quite an Artist, and my girl is His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10).

Thanks for letting me get my thoughts out- and try not to judge me too hard for this blog.  You may find yourself therapeutically writing one someday.  I am still an emotional, hormonal wreck from giving birth and pushing through that monstrous second week of breastfeeding, and it feels great to have an outlet.  And here I am: still exuberantly happy and crazy thankful for this life that is mine.  I will keep you updated!

In Him,

Mallory

“In the quiet, in the stillness

I know that you are God.”

– Hillsong United, None but Jesus

 Sweetness Me and My Girl