The Slippery Slope of Comparison

Six months ago I started down the slippery slope of comparison.

It all started with nothing. I mean, nothing was happening. Titus was not doing anything new. His “failure to thrive” diagnosis was weighing on my mind. Instead of watching him learn how to crawl, stand up, and walk, we rejoiced over little victories — like a pound gained.

I was acutely aware that my child was not up to speed with other kids his age. He wasn’t interested in moving anywhere or saying any words. He was perfectly content to sit in one spot and play quietly by himself or sign “please” when he wanted something.

But every time a stranger in the grocery store, a distant relative, or a friend of the family said something like, “Oh, I bet your hands are full with him! He’s probably getting into everything!” I had to smile a little and tell them, no, Titus was content to stay put.

Sometimes I got an uncomfortable look — like they knew this wasn’t normal. Sometimes I got unsolicited advice (with good intentions, of course). Sometimes, rarely, they accepted the fact that sweet Baby Ty is on his own timetable and he’s just fine.

Unfortunately, it was hard to tell myself that.

Six months ago I also had to shift my thinking from stay-at-home mom to working-full-time mom. I blamed myself for Titus’s lack of progress. I wasn’t a good enough mom. I couldn’t teach him anything. I should be home more.

Six months ago, I started to compare myself to other moms on social media. I’m not proud of the fact that I did this. I was jealous they were able to stay at home. I compared their babies’ accomplishments to Titus and what he could do.

And just like that, my joy was stolen.




It’s taken six months, but I’ve slowly gained back my joy. I often forget how blessed I am when the messiness of life surrounds me. I’m thankful for Titus’s health — that he has gained weight (nobody comments on how tiny he is, anymore!), for a place to live, a husband who loves me, and the precious gift of salvation.

Then, three weeks ago, I went to bed with tears of joy and thankfulness in my eyes, because Titus crawled. In front of me and Dustin and family. He crawled, and my heart burst with pride for him. It was something that I felt I would never see. Walls of discouragement, envy, and fear came crumbling down in my heart, and I felt God’s peace settle over me.

Why should I worry? His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me. And Titus. And he loves both of us more than I could ever imagine.







Titus – six months old


Titus – 11 months old


25 Things I Learned in 25 Years

Twenty-five is both a monumental and insignificant age. Monumental, because it’s closer to 30 than to 20. Insignificant, because nothing changes. There’s nothing glamorous about the age 25, except, something magical happens at midnight on your twenty-fifth birthday and, suddenly, you’re able to rent a car without paying any extra fees.

Regardless of the perceived importance of my age, I’ve made it a practice to sit down and take a good long look at my life once a year on my birthday. I think about where I am in life and where I want to go. I think about goals and I make ambitious plans. Sometimes those plans are successful other times they fall to the wayside.

This year, I’ve made a list of what I’ve learned in the past 25 years. Learning from your choices, good and bad, is how you grow as a person. So here is an annotated list of conclusions I’ve reached within a quarter of a century:

1. Wake up early.

I can’t prove this scientifically, but I swear I’m happier on the days I wake up early. Getting out of bed before six a.m. just makes me feel productive, and that feeling carries throughout my day. There’s nothing like the peaceful stillness in the early morning hours before everyone else wakes up.




2. Make your bed.

This also puts me in a good mood for the rest of the day, which might be proven scientifically. Plus, it’s what adults do. So just make your bed.

3. Love is a feeling. And a choice.

I’ve felt love plenty of times. But loving someone for life is more than a feeling – it’s a choice. I choose to love my husband every single day. Life is messy, and it’s not easy either. But even when I’m not overflowing with love for him, I choose to say, “You’re the person I want to be with. You are the one my soul loves.”



Photo by Juliana Bird Photography

4. Energy fades.

Coffee is life.

5. Laughter is an essential component to friendship.

My favorite friendships are the people who can make me cry from laughing so hard. Those are the types of people that can pick up a friendship right where you left off, even if it’s been months since you’ve connected with them.

6. Laughter is an essential component to love.

Learn to laugh instead of fight. I’ll admit, I haven’t mastered this yet (hi, husband!). If you can find the common ground to laugh in the midst of an argument, you can make that relationship work. You may not laugh every time, but you will know when a person brings joy to your life.

7. Sleep is precious.

Enjoy sleep before you have a baby. Soon you’ll be asking yourself how you stayed up until four in the morning in college and still went to an 8:30 a.m. class.

8. People disappoint.

You will be disappointed by a person close to you at some point in your life. Don’t be surprised. No one is perfect.

9. Relationships don’t always last, but the world won’t end.

I remember my first break-up. That awful pit-in-your-stomach feeling just stuck around for days. I thought I would never get over it. But then I realized the sun was still shining outside the four walls of my bedroom. I got up, went on an adventure, and moved on.

10. Your parent could become your best friend.

I remember watching Gilmore Girls when I was younger and longing for the friendship of Lorelai and Rory. I had to grow up a little bit, but I realize now just how valuable my relationship with my mother is. She is one of my closest friends because she knows me best and she’s been rooting for me for 25 years.

11. “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

This quote from Theodore Roosevelt runs through my head every time I scroll through Instagram. The grass is always greener on social media. Comparing your life to others will only hurt you in the end. So don’t play the comparison game. You’ll never win.

12. Money is important, but it’s not most important.

There were a couple of months of my marriage when I could only think about money. How much money we made, how much we needed, how much we wanted, and plenty thoughts that started with the sentence, “If only we had more money…”

Money is necessary, but it can’t be your focus. People should be your focus.

13. Stay out of debt and you’ll experience freedom.

Debt bogs you down, ties you up, and takes away most of your paycheck. We are finally on the path to paying off our student loans within a few years. But if we knew then what we know now, we would’ve worked harder to stay out of debt. Even if that means a less prestigious college or working harder during school, it’s worth it. I promise.

14. Treasure experiences, not things.

The things I treasure most are memories of playing Haitian orphans, holding my baby for the first time, and hiking in Colorado. There’s a world outside of your tiny bubble. Spend your extra time and money discovering it.




15. Community helps you grow.

Find people that challenge you. You have so much potential! Sometimes you need people who love you to bring it out of you and push you to work harder.

16. Working out is not easy.

After high school, it’s the worst!

17. Sacrifice is part of healthy relationships.

Learn how to let go and put someone else first.

18. Time moves quickly, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Even your longest day is only 24 hours. Be intentional. And 25 years can fly by.

19. It takes courage to be different.

Your opinion may be unpopular. People may not like you. Don’t let that change who you are.

20. Differences are okay.

Learn how to have a rational conversation with a person who disagrees with you. You might learn something new.

21. It’s okay to get married young.

Marriage isn’t for everyone. Getting married young isn’t for everyone. But don’t let anyone look down on you if you do get married young. How boring would it be if everyone’s lives looked the same?




22. Be humble enough to learn.

Humility means saying, “I don’t know. Teach me.”

23. Make a budget and stick to it.

Self-control is key.

24. Words hurt more than you may know.

The first time I wrote an article that garnered a lot of attention, it got a lot of nasty comments. I remember wondering how people could be so mean. Ever since then, I’ve tried to be more cautious with the words I say on social media. Just because you can’t see the person, doesn’t mean they aren’t reading what you’re writing. Think before speaking (and typing).

25. Perfection is impossible.

Trying your best is good. It’s also okay if you aren’t the best. Stop chasing perfection and give yourself some grace.

On Teaching My Baby to be Brave and Kind

This summer, I’ve found that my favorite time of day is bedtime. The sun is just about to set as I put Titus to bed. I put his blanket over my shoulder and he settles into me and pats me on the back as I pray for him.

I pray he will be strong and brave and kind.

Strong like his daddy. Strong in his beliefs. Strong enough to make a decision and firmly stand by it.


Brave enough to stick it out in a tough situation. Brave enough to speak his mind. Brave enough to choose the right thing to do, even if it’s unpopular.

It’s only lately that I’ve added “kind” to the list of things I pray for Titus.


It seems like tragedy rises with the dawn each day. Another life taken, another person harmed. I read the news and I’m sad Titus will grow up in this world. I’m sad that he will ask questions that I never had to ask as a child. I’m sad because he will probably need to be brave someday, and it won’t be easy.

But Titus doesn’t just need bravery. He needs to know how to be kind. He needs to know what it means to have a tender heart. I want him to be able to reach out to someone with love when they don’t deserve it. I want him to give generously.


Kindness leads to hope. In a world as dark as this, one tiny flame of kindness can light up the night and fill it with hope. Hope for new beginnings. Hope for the future.

For now, I’ll hold Titus, watch him fall asleep, and pray he grows up brave and strong, as long as his heart stays tender and kind.


Chelsea and Titus

Images by Juliana Bird Photography.

Treading Water

I took swimming lessons a really long time ago. I clearly remember early summer mornings at my lessons. It wasn’t hot yet, so the pool water was freezing. The instructors made me and the rest of the budding swimmers wriggle out of our shorts and t-shirts, down to our bathing suits. They blew the whistle and we jumped. Ice cold water made us squeal. One of the first things a swimmer learns to do is tread water (after you become a pro at blowing bubbles without water shooting up your nose). So, to warm up our tiny bodies, we would tread water. It seemed like we would float there forever, waving our arms and kicking our legs. Your feet can’t touch the floor, the instructors would call out to us. I found that focusing on an unwavering object helped me stay afloat. But little legs get tired quickly. The second my feet were allowed to stand my body up, straight and secure on the floor of the pool, I felt better. Stable.

Dustin and I sat in our car in the parking lot of the grocery store earlier this week and talked. Sometimes our Camry is where we do our best communicating. Treading water. We agreed that’s what life feels like right now. Always swimming. Never going anywhere. We aren’t allowed to stop. If we take a break, give our tired legs some rest, we will fall behind. Then again, we were never ahead. We’re just trying to get by. Working, wishing, waiting for the day when we can stop and breathe. Two more months, we tell ourselves. Finances will look better then. We’ll find a place to live by then. We’ll have a better grasp on what life in Pennsylvania looks like by then. Except, we’ve been saying “two more months” for many months, now.

There’s a reason that treading water can be a good workout. It’s exhausting after a long time. You use your core, your leg muscles, your arm muscles and your back muscles to keep your head above the water. I don’t think we’re the only people working hard just to keep our head above the water. We aren’t the only ones who are tired, spent and running on fumes. I’m starting to realize that my exhaustion is making me lose focus.

Lately, I’ve been focused on finding a job for myself. I have been focused on finding the perfect home for our family. I’ve been focused on Titus and his health. I have been comparing my situation to others. I’ve been comparing Titus to other babies. I’ve been comparing my husband’s career to other careers.

I lost focus on what’s important. I’m Peter. Instead of walking on water, I’m treading water and sinking quickly (Matthew 14:22-33). I took my eyes off of Christ at some point and I fixed them on other things. Peter saw the wind and became afraid. I saw my circumstances and started to worry.

I wish I could say I’m all better now. I wish the was an easy, no-mess fix to simply trust God more. Unfortunately, it’s day by day. Every moment is a battle. I’m called to walk on water, not sink. I’m called to trust, not worry. I’m called to faith, not fear. You have the same calling. Just look up.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Titus Adams Mosher: 9 Month Update

Every time we reach a new month milestone, it seems like a really big deal. Nine months sounds so old. I can’t believe how much Titus has changed. He looks more and more like me. I still see Dustin in his face. But when strangers stop me in the grocery store and tell me Titus looks just like me, I have to admit I’m a little proud.

When I look at Titus, I’m just amazed at God’s creation. He is such a unique human being, perfectly molded. Each time his eyes crinkle from smiling, each little giggle is because of a powerful God who graciously gave us this gift in the form of a little boy.


I have a feeling the rest of my milestone updates about Titus will have blurry photos. He definitely likes to wiggle.

Weight: 14 pounds and 12 ounces. The doctor is really happy about his weight gain progress. All of his tests came back normal. He’s still anemic, but we will get his blood work checked out within the next couple months!

Length: 25 inches long. I think. Again, he likes to wiggle.

Milestones: Titus sits unsupported. He likes to wave hi to people. He reaches for me when he wants me to hold him (which is one of the best feelings in the world). He has zero interest in crawling. He’s perfectly content to stay right where he is!

Dislikes: Ty is not a fan of avocados. He doesn’t like plain sweet potatoes. Right now, he has a bad cough, so he’s a little more clingy than normal. I don’t mind too much!

Likes: Titus loves peaches, applesauce, pears, prunes, peas and carrots! He’s a big eater when it comes to solid food. He’s always a little sad when he finishes his favorite foods. I can relate. He thinks he’s pretty funny. If he does something silly, he looks around to see if people are watching him 🙂

Since I skipped his 8-month update, here are a few pictures from the past two months:


It’s almost time to retire all of the cute winter pajamas 🙁


…When grocery shopping is just too much excitement to handle…


We took a day trip to Washington D.C. (Dustin’s first trip!). I’ll post a few of my favorite things to do in D.C., soon. Meanwhile, here’s the view from Arlington.


Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day!

I also just need to share one of my favorite things to do with Titus recently. We play JJ Heller’s album I Dream of You constantly over here. It’s perfect for in the car when I want Titus to fall asleep or around nap time. It’s a bunch of original love songs and lullabies written and recorded by JJ and her husband. These songs are so soothing to my soul. I think Titus likes them, too. So if you’re looking for some sweet, modern lullabies to play for you and your kids, you need to check this album out! It’s on Amazon and available to stream on Spotify.

Dear Husband, Love Still Exists Between Us

I distinctly remember every moment of our wedding day. If someone were to ask me to tell them about it, I could go back in time and recall each second. I woke up, twisted the engagement ring that sat on my finger and smiled. I can imagine myself stepping into my dress. I can still feel the crisp air on my bare shoulders as I patiently waited for you to turn around and see me for the first time that day. I stood in front of a hundred people and my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. You squeezed my hand and glanced at me during the ceremony like you had a secret that only I knew.

When I promised my life to you, I knew I loved you. I knew you were a good, good man. I knew you only wanted what was best for me. Doubts never clouded my thinking that day. I couldn’t imagine loving you more than I did in that moment. I was all in.

The night I told you I was pregnant, you laughed so hard you almost cried. I couldn’t ask for a better reaction. And every day forward, before you left for work, you placed a hand on my growing belly and told me you loved both of us. The first time I had morning sickness, you watched helplessly from the bathroom door as I emptied my stomach over and over again. I leaned my back against the cool, ceramic toilet and you sat down beside me in silence. After a few minutes, you said, “You’re beautiful.” I rolled my eyes, but I wondered, have I ever loved you more than I do right now?

The day we left the hospital, I stood in front of the mirror, holding our son. I inspected my body, inch by inch. I was proud of the fact that a child came out of me. I was proud because labor didn’t kill me and I was a little nervous that it would. I remember being sort of shocked that I still looked seven months pregnant even though a seven-pound baby had vacated my body. I guess I thought I would magically look like the person I was nine months ago. I kept these things to myself as you took him from my arms and put him in the car seat for the first time. You told him that he’d better thank me someday for delivering him. That it was hard work and I had already done so much for him even though he was only three days old. You kissed my forehead and asked if I was ready to go. I don’t remember answering you. I think I was scared to leave. But I do remember telling you that I loved you.


Today, babbling baby noises from beside our bed woke me up. I twisted the wedding ring on my finger and opened my eyes. Yours were already open and you met my gaze. Your eyes were lined in red and bleary from a night of little rest. You smiled at me and blew a strand of hair out of my face. I wrinkled my nose, sat up and lifted our baby out of his bed. You took his hand and sang a silly song in a high voice because we’ve been trying to get him to smile for weeks now. I know he’ll smile any day now. The baby app on my phone said so.

I watched you play with him. Your hair was sticking up in a funny way and your lips were chapped. You smelled like smoke and sweat from a fire you fought the day before. No matter how many times you shower, that scent lingers for days. I thought I couldn’t love you more than I did in that moment.

I knew we were a good match when I married you. I knew I loved you. But I didn’t know that one late night, we would sit in bed and you would ask me about the dreams I had for myself. And when I told you what I wanted to do with my life, I didn’t know that you would do everything you could to make that happen for me. I didn’t know that you would go above and beyond in every way. I didn’t know that I would love you more today than I did yesterday.

People say that love after children is difficult. They say that marriages wither like grass in a drought. Fatigue sets in and frustration ensues. It’s hard to be frustrated with a tiny infant, so you take it out on your spouse. That’s happened to me. But, so far, I’ve found that love is richer after babies. I firmly believe that love isn’t a mystic, driving force that comes and goes as it pleases. Love is a choice. And when my soul feels dry and parched, I lash out at you. But you calmly and wisely choose to come and make me feel brand new again. You choose to love me when I feel unlovable.

Dear, sweet husband, I want you to know that love still exists between us. When Valentine’s Day isn’t quite as romantic as it used to be because of diapers, spit up and early bed times, know that I wouldn’t have it any other way. When it gets hard, I’ll choose to be with you. I’ll choose you over anyone else. Don’t ever worry that I’ll fall out of love with you. That won’t happen. I will choose to love every part of you because you do the same for me.

Free Things You Must Experience in Baltimore

The last time we traveled to Kansas to visit Dustin’s family, we missed our plane. We decided not to chance it this time and, instead, we spent the afternoon in Baltimore and stayed overnight. Hopefully, we won’t miss tomorrow’s plane. *fingers crossed*

Anyway, I had this entire day planned out. We were going to do as many free things as possible and explore Baltimore in depth, since Dustin has never been there before. Spoiler alert: Tuesday is not the day you should go to Baltimore to do free things! Two of the places I wanted to visit are closed on Tuesdays. Luckily, we only live an hour and a half away, so we will be back!

We did, however, do a little exploring at the Baltimore Inner Harbor. I’ve been there plenty of times, but Dustin has not. Plus, it was a beautiful day to walk around. I told him about the National Aquarium, which we will definitely visit once Titus is old enough to say, “fish”.

IMG_20160202_144028777 (1)



Then, we walked around my favorite Barnes & Noble. It’s the coolest Barnes & Noble I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been to a lot of those stores. It’s located inside a refurbished power plant. So even if you don’t have money, walking around and reading the backs of book covers is totally worth it.

Barnes & Noble, Inner Harbor

Once we got to the hotel, Titus and Dustin chilled in our room while I went to the gym and jogged. This information is really unimportant, but I had to share this post-workout selfie:


Even though we couldn’t do everything I wanted to do in Baltimore, I made a wishlist of free things I want to experience someday (soon):

Visit the Baltimore Museum of Art

General admission to the Baltimore Museum of Art is totally free. The museum has a large sculpture garden and every Sunday it hosts hands-on workshops and other family activities.

Explore the Walters Art Museum

Again, general admission to the Walters Art Museum is also free. It’s known as one of the best art museums in the United States, so free admission is kind of a great deal.  It also has a lot of family activites, like weekend art classes. Plus, it’s supposed to be a great museum for kids.

Visit the Enoch Pratt Free Library

Yes, most libraries visits are free. But this library is huge – one, entire city block long. The architecture, both inside and out, is supposed to be beautiful. Plus, it’s home to some rare manuscripts, works and letters of Edgar Allan Poe. It’s located in historic Mt. Vernon, which is an awesome neighborhood in Baltimore.

Walk inside the Basilica

I kind of have a thing for cathedrals. Dustin and I had our first date in the French Quarter in New Orleans. On that date, we spent some time in the St. Louis Cathedral, which is one of the oldest cathedrals in the country and it’s so gorgeous. The Baltimore Basilica is the first cathedral ever built in the U.S., so it’s also a national landmark.

All of these things cost absolutely nothing! My favorite price 🙂


Titus Adams: 7 Month Update

I write for other people right now. It’s awesome because I make money, but it’s also not-so-awesome because I don’t get the credit for my pieces and I also don’t have time to write for myself.

Then, suddenly, it’s 11 at night and I’m sitting in my bed with my laptop and the baby is sleeping and my husband is about to get home from work and I’m in my comfiest clothes and the last thing I want to do is think. Or write. Especially since I just wrote a 1,000 word piece on throwing the perfect Super Bowl party. But so much has been happening in our lives, and February is creeping up on me, and I have no idea how I arrived at this day. It’s like when you’re driving to a destination and you get there, but you can’t remember actually making the turns, stopping at the red lights or even turning on your car (I really hope I’m not the only person who does this). Life is one day at a time, but the days are flying by too quickly.


And when I say “so much has been happening in our lives”, first of all, I realize that my writing is lazy (I hate the passive voice in English!), and second, I really mean to say, “so much has been happening in Titus’s life”. Between weight checks, blood work and X-rays, we’ve managed to make lots of friends in plenty of doctors’ offices.


Most of the tests results are in, though, and Titus has anemia, which means his iron levels are very low. He will start taking vitamin drops to boost his iron. We are still waiting on some more results which will (hopefully) rule out some more serious diseases.

Here are the stats for the litte dude:

Weight: 12 pounds, 5 ounces. He’s officially out of 0-3 month clothing (kind of a huge deal since he’s been wearing those onesies for 7 months). The doctor was super impressed because Ty was a pig and put on a whole pound in one week. Pretty soon, we’ll (“we” meaning Titus, obviously) be in size 2 diapers, so watch out!

Length: 24 and a quarter inches long.

Milestones: Titus is pretty much sitting up on his own, which I find very exciting. I had to giggle today because he looks so funny sitting up. He’s a 7 month old in a 3 month old body. I’m excited for him to start crawling. People keep saying to watch out because once babies start moving, life gets more difficult. But seeing him grow and reach milestones is one of my favorite things about mommyhood.

Dislikes: He’s such a happy kid that there aren’t a whole lot of things he dislikes. Getting blood drawn is definitely on his list of dislikes. And also getting X-rays. And also urine samples. He’s not a fan. I should add a “Does not care about” section to these updates. Because he really did not care at all that the good Lord dropped heaps and heaps of snow out of the sky onto Pennsylvania. See:


Loves: Titus seems to love sitting up. He looks so proud of himself. He also really loves one on one time. His personality shows more and more. We’re finding out that he’s kind of an introvert. He doesn’t like big crowds of people or loud rooms. He clams up and just watches everyone. But if you have Titus to yourself, you’ll get tons of smiles and laughs. 10620419_10153830545524534_8128052944726408809_o

Titus Adams Mosher: 6 Month Update

On Tuesday, we went to Ty’s first doctor appointment since moving to Pennsylvania. They asked us questions. We talked about how smart and funny and happy our baby is, but Titus and I left the pediatrician with this piece of paper that says in size 12 font, “Failure to thrive”.  I can’t help but take those words personally. Up until the doctor told us that Titus was in the zero percentile for both weight and height, when I looked at him I saw a baby that loves to smile and laugh. He likes to reach for his toys. He looks for me when someone else is holding him. He grabs his pacifier and puts it in his mouth. He loves to eat. He loves to sleep. And the words “failure to thrive” never entered my mind, because I thought he was the epitome of a thriving baby. I’m frantically researching anything that will help both of us beat this thing. I just need to remember that “failure to thrive” doesn’t mean that I’m the failure, and it certainly doesn’t mean that he’s the failure!

So, Titus has another appointment in a few weeks and his doctor wants him to gain weight between now and then. I’ll be keeping him on his regular schedule, but I’ll be feeding him extra milk each time he eats. Our prayer is that he gains the weight and that there is nothing more serious going on. If our friends and family could please lift up Titus in prayer, it would mean the world to us! Here are the stats:


Weight: 10 pounds and 12 ounces. I’m guessing that the scales I was using for his past updates were just wrong.

Length: 24.1 inches long. To be fair to Titus, he’s in the 0.7 percentile for length 🙂

Milestones: Just this week he started to prop himself up by himself, so Titus is on his way to sitting up unsupported! It was very sudden, because one night he would topple over while I had him practice sitting up, then the next morning I had him sit up and he put his hands on his toes and held still for a good 15 seconds.

Dislikes: He definitely dislikes getting shots, but who does like that? He had a fever yesterday and his poor little legs are sore from four shots.

Loves: He seems to like sitting up. Or maybe he just likes watching me squeal and clap my hands when he does sit up. He loves his toys, so we are excited for him to get some new things for Christmas! He also really loves super soft blankets. When I put him in for his nap, he’ll pull the blanket up to his face and immediately close his eyes and sleep. Such a cutie!

Thank you for your prayers, friends. I will keep you updated! Merry Christmas!

Come, Behold Him

The time has come. Christmas is upon us once again. It seems like this time of year, people are either more cheerful or more high-strung and on edge. Either they are contemplative about the season or consumerism and materialism run rampant in their hearts. And there are a few people in between. I think this year I fall in the last category.

A couple of weeks ago, I stood in the check-out line at Target with a handful of items and Titus in his car seat. It was in the middle of the afternoon on a Tuesday, but the Christmas season means a busy store. There were three registers open and about 20 people waiting. The man behind me complained loudly, to no one in particular.

“Where are all of the cashiers?”

“How can they expect us to wait in line this long?”

“This always happens here.”

Titus was starting to realize that the cart wasn’t moving and he squawked a little. Although annoyed with the man behind me and his loud whining, I found myself thinking the same things he was saying. I felt the injustice. I wanted to be served and I wanted it now. Unfortunately, I think that’s how I’ve felt for a while.

Impatience has gripped my heart. I feel the fingers of discontentment squeeze a little bit tighter when I scroll through Instagram or Pinterest. I think to myself, “I want that life.” Or, if I had this one thing, life would be easier, better…you fill in the blank.

I once lived in a house with no furniture. My roommate and I were basically squatters, except legal, we had the homeowner’s permission. We lived in the unfurnished house while it sat on the real estate market for quite a few months. We used to sit on the kitchen counters, play Disney music and eat the meals we knew how to cook. Cooking without pots and pans is more difficult that you’d think. We slept on mattresses with no bed frames. She taught me rudimentary gymnastics on the living room floor, because I was a 20-year-old girl who never learned how to properly execute a cartwheel. We didn’t have wi-fi. We didn’t have a TV. We didn’t have laundry machines. We did have one chair, but we both refused to use it, because sitting on kitchen counters was way more fun. I remember being really happy. I had very little “stuff” and even less money, but life was an adventure like this. I didn’t need things to make me happy.

A lot has changed since then. I’m married and I have a baby boy. I know how to cook more meals. I have more things than I know what to do with. But there are still things I want. I look at my son and I want him to have everything his heart desires. At the same time, I want him to know what it’s like to have nothing and still feel like you have everything. To be content with what you own instead of always wanting what you think should come next.

This Christmas is different than others, but I think it’s to be expected when you finally have a kid. I feel guilty for not buying my 6-month old more presents, even though he’ll never remember this Christmas. I feel pressure to give into what the world says I should be doing. Buying a house, owning a second car and looking Instagram-worthy while I do all of those things.


And then I find myself singing a simple Christmas hymn about a baby in a manger, wrapped in scraps of cloth while his mother looks over him with pure wonder. My hands clasp together in front of me, my eyes close and the firm grip on my heart relaxes just a little bit. I breathe a little bit easier.

This is a wondrous mystery. The coming of a Savior to rescue a soul like mine. The awe-inspiring presence of a King wrapped inside the innocence of a baby boy. This is Christmas. Not presents under a meticulously decorated tree. Not bright pictures on social media. Not songs on the radio.

It’s peace. It’s unexplainable joy, despite circumstances. It’s immeasurable love. It’s something to behold, to take in and treasure. It’s something that should last all year round, not just in December.

Ah, what it would be like to be content in all things! To say, “Bless you, Lord,” even though everyone else sees you and wonders at your grateful heart when things aren’t going your way. I want so badly to be a mystery to those who look on. I want them to ask me why I’m so happy, when it seems like I shouldn’t be. I want to be the girl doing cartwheels on the living room floor, falling down and laughing because life is worth living, even if you don’t have it all!

Merry Christmas to you. May the joy of Jesus fill your heart and mind as you do your last minute shopping, stand in line at Starbucks, or watch your kids open their presents. Despite sickness, loss or poverty, may you be inexplicably happy and content. Make them wonder. Make them see Him when they see you.