Yesterday, sweet Madeline Rae turned 2 years old. The little girl that made me a mom is growing and such a sweet addition to our family. While she keeps me thinking, playing, laughing and talking during my day, she mostly keeps me humble, praying, and reliant on God. Being 2 years old her world is very small and very simple. When I was thinking about what to do for Madeline’s birthday and I started thinking through what she loves to do this is what I came up with:

1. Going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house

2. Macaroni and Cheese

3. Watching the sing along music video of “Let It Go” from Frozen (that is the only 4 minutes of the movie she has seen)

4. Going to look at horses

5. Watching dogs play at the dog park

6. Oatmeal

7. Balloons

8. Cole-Baby

9. Wearing shoes

10. Taking baths

11. Snuggling her bankie-bankie (super soft pink blanket)

12. Playing outside at the playground

13. Reading books

14. Pointing out all the dirty things that mommy should clean

15. Suck her thumb

16. Carry her purse with keys and phone in it and “work hard”

17. Popcorns popped on the stove (as she calls them)

And that about sums the exhilarating life of a 2 year old. It really was a sweet day and at the end of the day I thought that there was a sweet lesson to be observed. She gets the greatest joy out of very simple things! She came downstairs yesterday where a small bouquet of balloons greeted her. Her first thought was to give the Winnie the Pooh one to her brother, because he has a Winnie the Pooh bear in his bed. She was then thrilled to eat a bowl of Oatmeal with applesauce and watch “Let it Go” about 10 times. We didn’t check off everything on her list but just did a few of the MOST exciting things that worked with the schedule. Mac and Cheese lunch with Grandma. Dog park. Horse viewing. Carrying her Balloon all day. Wearing a new coat. Playing outside. Reading books. Brand new super soft sheets on the bed. The whole day was really sweet and I found myself praying for her that she would always treasure the simple. That the simple things would always thrill her and be a joy to her heart. That she would never forget the thrill that is enjoying Gods creation and be content with the things right in front of her.

From what I remember and have been told, my childhood was not too different. Pretty humble and modest. There weren’t huge parties and stacks of gifts. We didn’t have a huge house brimming with toys and new everything. There were always people that were more fancy, more experienced. More traveled. More lavish. My whole growing up it never mattered and I never knew any different. I really loved everything about my childhood. There were sweet skills and memories cultivated during that time, most of all I know my parents loved me, loved eachother and loved the Lord. Somewhere along the line as I grew I began to grow discontent with what I had and covet other people. It probably started out innocent, just wondering what the “fancy” is like or splurging with a paycheck. Girls at school would have new clothes. Families had cabins. People would fly in planes and stay at hotels for vacation…for 2 weeks!

The Lord continued to refine my heart and permit some of it and limit others, but one thing that definitely surfaced were new habits and a new mindset. If you need groceries… go buy them. If something breaks… fix it or replace it. If you like the clothes…get them. If you want to travel somewhere…go there! One habit that was quickly lost while I was a budding career person was being frugal and creative with my cash, mostly because I didn’t have to be. I was prayerfully being a good steward in all areas of my finances and working toward reasonable goals. There was just a part of me that didn’t want to go pick up free furniture behind La-Z-Boy any more. I didn’t really want to have a MAJOR beater car anymore (I was super thankful for it though!) I wanted to know the mystery of designer brands. There was also a new fun joy of enjoyment of buying fun things! And while it is fun to do and spend on some of those things, it sure adds up! Hear this. I LOVE fancy and beautiful things. I ENJOY lavish events, food and experiences. Stylish things are SO FUN. But I also love being outside. I love reading and journaling. I love dollar ice-cream cones. I love a good clearance rack. I love free stuff. I love garage sales. There are so many cheap and simple things that I really love doing, not because of the price but because I just like it. I am not saying either is good or bad. That is the hang-up. I can be QUICK to say one is good and one is bad. Somewhere in there I guess I thought that you had to be one or the other with no grey area. Fancy or simple. Spendy or Frugal. Designer or sack-cloth. 5-Star or Beans and Rice. Pick one. Pick the good one.

Alright, to bring it back around. Where I am going with this, it is interesting for me to see what is important for me when I am raising my kids. I want Madeline to ALWAYS love the simple. She will probably have and do some nice things in her life and it would be a joy to experience those things with her. As a mom, I love giving gifts to my kids! (Well, I love giving gifts in general) What I really hope is that she grows to be grounded. Confident and wise about what God’s Word says and who she is. I want her to be comfortable and able to function in a filthy poverty stricken home and in a 5-Star resort. I want her to wear a goodwill coat and beautiful shoes in the same outfit. I want her to know BOTH and know that neither of them defines her or her hear. Neither is good or bad. As her mom, I have a new appreciation for the simple things and am looking for ways to embrace the simple things that I love and find new simple things too!

Her mama had it all wrong. It took me a long time to learn that the Lord sees and cares about my heart. The LORD calls the shots on my identity and my life. Not my address. Not My clothes. Not my car. Not my spouse. Not my purse. Not my degree. Nothing. The GOSPEL changes everything. My life is hid with Christ on High. If PEOPLE think otherwise… then that is between them and the LORD, I can be gracious and content WITHOUT their approval and point them to the throne of Grace. I can stand upon the Word of God and go forward. My life is for the GLORY of CHRIST ALONE. Fancy and simple as that. In the same way, I need to guard my heart and think rightly; not jumping to conclusions about other people.

Madeline, sweet girl. Be simple or be fancy; it is completely secondary to your heart being hid in Christ. Your primary role in life is to bring glory to Christ and worship Him as the risen and Holy Son of God.

Hopefully this gives you some good food for thought and points of prayer and evaluation for your heart. There are a lot of ends here, hopefully they were tied up well and left you encouraged. I thought that this video seemed to be fitting for this topic. Enjoy the cheesy Martin Luther movie clips throughout. 

****this message goes out to all of my children future and present, it just happens to be Mad’s birthday****