the first month

T.J.Children, ParentingLeave a Comment

Ventura Blvd. in Old Town, Camarillo

Mac is one… One month that is. I thought this article would be about Mac, and about how much he has enriched our lives this last month. Instead, as I write, I think this article will actually focus on this last month and how enriched our lives have been not only because of Mac, but because of the many blessings God has given us.

Our new home

In the late summer of last year, shortly after Kelli and I discovered we would be becoming parents, I began to realize that our 800 square foot apartment was small. We began to imagine how the nursery would look in the then office. Where would the office go? A lot of boxes got packed and stored away in my parents slowly shrinking garage (thanks dad).

I have always had a hobby, I guess you could call it that, monitoring our local real estate market online. I have always found it interesting what type of properties are for sale, how much they sell for, how much they used to sell for, what neighborhoods have more value, and everything else you could possibly think of when it comes to real estate. While browsing listings, I tended to tailor my search to homes that would fit my desires, if I were looking to buy. Which brings me to the funny part of this story (funny if you know the ending), I was not interested in buying. For sake of not writing a novel, I leave the reasons why to your imagination. Chiefly, to satisfy the curious, was money, I didn’t think we could afford it. My hobby continued, with no desire to buy a home. However, I very contumaciously coveted a home.

Contumaciously? I know, a strong adverb and a big word for an uneducated and grammatically not good fellow like I, me, myself. I am stubborn, strong headed, pig headed if you must (bad occupational reference). I believe that God has a plan for my life, for my families’ lives. I believe that God has a plan for your life. Broader, I believe God has a unique and distinct plan for everyone’s life. I live my life attempting to hear from God, learn from Him, and live according to that plan. Confused? God has a plan for me, I don’t know what it is, yet I attempt to live in accordance with it. God has a way of revealing his plans to us. In the Bible God even tells us details about his plan for us, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Awesome, so God has good plans for me. But, how do I know whether God wants me to buy a coffee, let alone a home?

For lack of a better term, “life’s a bitch.” Maybe another post on the subject matter at a later date.

I was very stubborn. I coveted a home. I wanted a home for some good reasons, yes, but also some very selfish ones. I was not being thankful for what I had, instead, I desired, coveted, more (a common theme in most of our lives). Once I realized it, I began to embrace what God had blessed us with, instead of coveting things I didn’t need. I sometimes forget my fundamental rule in life, a fault in the English language. There is no such thing as a need. A need is a silly English word to re-define the word want. You don’t need air. Need is a word used to shorten the phrase, “I want air because I want to live.” There is one exception, love. This exception was made very real to me when I met and fell in love with Kelli (yes, simultaneously). It truly enhanced and made greater my appreciation for Christ’s example. Love. The one exception. Maybe another post one day.

I eventually did remember my rule, and began embracing the fact that I did not need a home, I wanted one. Once I began accepting the fact that I wanted a home, I began to also accept and embrace our apartment as our home. It was an awesome home! I started to build shelves to make more storage room in the closet. We began imagining furniture in the nursery. We started calling it the nursery. We started picturing Mac in our life, in our home, the apartment God blessed us with. I also accepted the fact that I wanted a house one day, in God’s timing, not my own. I changed my prayer from “God give me a home, I need one” to “God, help me prepare for the home you have waiting for me, that I want to have one day.”

A couple days later, while browsing homes for sale online, I discovered a town home in Old Town Camarillo. It was cool. It looked cool, was in a cool part of town, close to cool things, etc. I was confused by the cool price. I know now it was God’s way of showing me, “Hey you! Go check it out!” So we did. Kelli and I went and looked at it, loved it, put in an offer, waited four months, and did NOT get it. God is humorous, remember?

Now the end of December, with Mac due in February, we had still not heard back from the bank. The town home was a short-sale, and we were waiting to here if the bank would sell the home as a short-sale. I called our realtor and said, “Hey buddy, baby is about to pop out, we need an answer, or we are backing out of our deal and setting up our nursery at home in our apartment.” By that time, I was more then content to do so. The realtor explained that he had not heard back, but an end unit in the same complex had a buyer back out at the last minute. The property was a foreclosure and was priced very similarly.  So, we went to look at it. It was awesome; way better then the other one. We decided to put in an offer on this one too! So we did, that day. The next day, we found out that our offer was accepted, and that the bank denied the short-sale status on the other home. About 45-days later, we were moving in. Mac was due one week later. Mac came three weeks later!

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. -Psalm 34:8-10

I told you His plans are good.

and now Mac…

God truly does bless. Sincerely, I lack no good thing. God has taught me this lesson, to trust in Him and seek His ways, over and over again. But it is still a struggle. For example our first mortgage payment and budgeting for the one to come. Why should I stress and worry about my perceived lack of finances when I know that God will provide? I shouldn’t! I should trust. But, it is hard. Like I said, “life’s a bitch.” Hopefully as I grow, I will get better at trusting and stop stressing. Praise God that there are plenty examples and mentors in my life.

God’s blessings really shine bright with Mac in our life, as I previously blogged in baby mac, week two. Living in Old Town is fun. Old Town is what our city calls our “High Street,” our little street with lots of shops, restaurants, barbers, etc. A fun place to walk. A fun place to sit and have coffee and people watch. While I have had time-off of work to hang out with Kelli and Mac, we have loved spending time in Old Town. We sit on the sidewalk at a cafe and enjoy coffee while watching people. The old ladies love to stop and look at baby Mac, some more awkwardly then others. We also have been walking through the neighborhoods in Old Town. It is so awesome how walking with Mac tears down social barriers. Everyone feels welcome to talk with us, thanks to Mac’s cute smile (or my stunning physique). That’s the way it should be, Mac (or my three pack) or not! Yesterday, another new mom “full on” stopped her car in the middle of the street, got out, and stopped to talk with us. She had a newborn as well, a five month old (she left him in the car when she got out). She was so excited to tell us that she had the same stroller for her little guy. Today, while I sit here at the coffee shop in Old Town, I talked with a young couple who was with their first, a six month old boy. We shared stories for twenty minutes. I am not the social butterfly, nor do I care to be, for those who don’t know. But, it was so much fun to meet a young couple in our same shoes and to see my same excitement as a new dad in this dude’s eyes.

So, Mac is a month old. When I first witnessed how real God is while on a trip in Papua New Guinea, I thought that my joy meter was at full. Later in life, as an adult, when God showed me how awesome my parents were and how blessed my family is, I thought my joy meter was full. I met Kelli after that. From our first date, I was in love. Not only did I think my joy meter was full, I thought it blew up it was so full. After a year of marriage, I came to expect that my joy meter needed to be re-calibrated.  Now here is Mac, one month, and I cannot describe where my joy meter is. Mac truly brightens every aspect of my life. He makes me see clearly. He shows me that life is good. He shows me that God is good. He shows me how beautiful Kelli is. He shows me how wonderful family is. Thanks be to God, I am over-full! Joy, thanks be to God, for without Him none of this is possible, none of this joy exists, none of this blessed life would be mine.

Life has its downs, its hard times, its mountains. I pray that as I hike these mountains, even now as I struggle at times with minute and meaningless aspects of this carnal life, I pray I focus on this joy, on these blessings, and remember my life to come, thanks to God, thanks to His Son, thanks to Christ.

Be full of joy. Live in love. Abide in Him.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. -John 15:1-11

Remember His plans are good? Enjoy His joy.

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