tantrum tuesday.

Listen.  Maisy is outgrowing her ridiculous tantrums.  She only has legit tantrums like “I don’t want to take a nap” and “You keep bossing me around and I hate that” or “Don’t tell me I can’t punch Henry in the face.  I can.  And I will.  And also I just did.”

So here is a picture of Maisy Jo blissing out over some puppy chow Chex mix.

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2017.

DJI_00181. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?

I went on the 21 day fix for slightly longer than the fixes prefixed time limit of 21 days.  In that time I became pretty thin, then fell off the wagon faster than some unsecured watermelons in mid July and immediately gained back most of that weight.

Wait!  That sounds exactly like a fad diet and I HAVE done that before, so color me a two bit liar.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn’t make any.  This year I want to pray more for my children to conform to my will so I look better in front of my friends  to be drawn to the gospel truth.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? 

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Me!  Me!  I did!  His name is Duke.  He is chubby and dense just like me and I love him and squeeze him and he has a cute button nose, but sometimes he pinches me which is very uncool, but he’s a baby so it’s fine.

I was concerned that he might not be cute because my other children are and 4 cute children felt like tempting fate, but he is indeed very cute. The Lord Jesus gives good gifts.

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4. Did anyone close to you die? 

Yes.  My sweet friends lost their sweet baby Jack this year.  I was so glad to get to know him during his short time with us.

Psalm 147

3He heals the brokenhearted

and binds up their wounds.

4He determines the number of the stars;

he gives to all of them their names.

5Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;

his understanding is beyond measure.

5. What places did you visit? 

San Diego!! It was just as sunny and wonderfully mild as I remembered.

Hot dang right? That’s a handsome looking pizza! Just kidding, I never objectify my pizza- I ONLY respect it.

6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017? 

I would like my speech to be seasoned with salt and not seasoned with regret.

7. What dates from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

March 7- Baby Duke was born!  He’s so cute.

March 19- The year I did not make Nick a trifle for his birthday and he can’t let it go and keeps casually bringing it up when I least expect it, very subltey, but enough to let me know that I should have made that damn trifle and maybe bought a balloon or something.

Hey google, set a reminder for Kaley to set up gofundme page for Nick’s record breaking most bangin trifle party in the history of man kind.

This is a trifle:

Pinterest.com

Every year Nick’s mom sends the special limey (I understand that to be a British insult) custard from the U.K. which I almost always can’t get to set correctly and if this is the worst thing Nick demands all year I should really stop complaining.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Walking again!  During my third trimester with Duke, for a myriad of reasons, I could walk nary a fifty paces.  Had someone challenged me to a duel, I would have been SOL.

9. What was your biggest failure? 

Wow.  Tough to pin this one down.  I bet if you asked Owen or Maisy they would know.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? 

Just the general aches and pains of being an unfit mother of 4!  Working out?  Ain’t nobody got time for that!

#whatsyourexcuse

This.  This is my excuse.

11. What was the best thing you bought this year?  

A pair of worn in Sperry’s at a thrift shop for 9 dollars.

12. Where did most of your money go? 

Food! Living in a touristy town is

🤑🤑🤑🤑

But look at these views Holmes-

I took that on a walk 7 minutes away from my house.

13. What did you get really excited about? Girls. Weekend.

We all met up and talked and ate and used the selfie stick and then we laughed and also had French fries. We talked about racial reconciliation, and earrings and spiritual warfare but also made a dubsmash. They are my bosom friends and I love them.

14. What song will always remind you of 2017? “Where You Are”- Moana

Consider the coconut. The WHAT?!

“Awake my Soul & Sing” -Bethany Barnard

15. Compared to this time last year, are you: – happier or sadder?

Crazier!

– thinner or fatter?

Thinner than 30 some weeks pregs. Which is like not even encouraging in any way! 💁🏻

– richer or poorer?

Richer in arrows for quiver. Poorer because #diapersforyears

1
w
I had danced in public more. Like this lady.

I got in some sweet public dancing at the mall recently but only prancercised once or twice on my street this year and I just don’t want to hide my light under a bushel you know?! You get it.

Similarly, I wish I had danced in private more as well.

I wish I had been filmed at a live concert doing a strange dance and it was immortalized on a DVD somewhere.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of? I wish I had gotten less dental work. I thought getting a root canal would be relaxing, but there is a lot more choking on your own spit going on than what I had previously imagined.

18. How did you spend Christmas? Christmas program jokes

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STJ. Billy Graham meet up 🙌 God save the queen.

-Game of Thrones. Just everything. GOT is everything. The dragon scenes in this season were what I’ve been waiting for this entire series. Nerd out so hard.

-The Great British Baking Show. “It’s a good bake” watch this on Netflix. It’s, in a word, delightful.

Stranger Things- Because Billy.

20. What were your favorite books of the year? None Like Him- Jen Wilkin

The Heidelberg Catechism

Because He Loves Me- Elyse M Fitzpatrick

A Study in Scarlett- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Glory in the Ordinary- Courtney Reissig

Holding On to Hope- Nancy Guthrie

Walking with God through Pain and Suffering- Tim Keller

Daniel of the Bible. Lions, fiery furnaces, apocalyptic prophesy- its got everything!!

21. What was your favorite music from this year? https://youtu.be/jo0fECusCH0

Bethany Barnard (formerly Dillon) so, so deeply good.

Taylor Swift

22. What were your favorite movies of the year? Hollywood, y so much existential dread tho? Whyyyy???

Movies guaranteed not to make you want journal while Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls plays softly in the background, as follows:

The Big Sick- A must see. No really.

The Lego Batman Movie- Actually very funny.

Ok, upon deeper reflection, I think I hated almost every movie I watched this year 😳

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 32! I looked up from my phone on which I was googling “uterine prolapse symptoms” and realized I had turned 32.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurabley more satisfying? Living in Norfolk!

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?  Tight bottom, tight arms, loose where my torso loses all definition. Accentuate extremities ONLY! Pants must be tight enough to hold in internal organs since abdominal wall is, in a word, gone.

Still relying heavily on make up and flashy accessories to distract everyone from what I actually look like.

Got some clutch bronzer this year that took 5 lbs off of my face.

&am
r>r>
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Also, the Keurig machine.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017?  That it is important to remind yourself of the grace you have received from Jesus. When you reflect on the great sacrifice He made for you, on His love, then the focus can shift off of yourself and onto His glory.

Scripture is great to pray. And meditate on. Like, kind of a duh moment but it’s been huge for me to immerse myself more.

28. Your guilty pleasure?   Candy. Chocolate candy. Donuts with sprinkles. 🍩🍫🤤 29. Song lyric that sums up the year:

These T Swift lyrics sum up Nick’s Naval regulation Mustache.

on motherhood, moses, and manna

Ahhh motherhood.  You beautiful, terrible thing.  In this week after mother’s day, in the aftermath of the heart emojis, the potted plants gifted, and the manicures procured, I ask you, can I be honest?

I have found myself in the possession of many childrens, all mine, and I’ve found that I am, in a word, overwhelmed.  Where does this take me, but to the ever relatable book of Numbers?

I’ll catch you up.  Moses.  Red sea parted.  Isrealites victoriously delivered from slavery!  Whitney Houston’s “There Will Be Miracles!”

Then, Desert.  More Desert.  America’s “Horse with No Name.”  Manna.  More Manna.  Dang we could go for some meat.  Remember when we were slaves?  At least we had delicious meat.  Free and meatless sucks!  You didn’t say we’d have to go Vegan Moses.  We hate this.  And you.  And deliverance.

Moses responds to the Israelites demand for meat in Numbers 11:13-15.

13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”

Do you hear what Moses is saying here?  He’s saying it’s too hard.  The people that God has sovereignly appointed for Moses to shepherd, He is saying he is ill equipped handle all these people.  Me too Moses, as am I.  I too cannot handle all of the people God entrusted to me.  And I would be lying to you friends if I told you I have not laid face down on the bed after confronting disobedience in 3/4 of my children simultaneously and not wished for death.  And am I longing for actual death?  No.  But I crave peace- the glorious peace that comes from being with Jesus, in a place where there is no malice, impatience, or the ever present weakness in my pelvic floor that causes me to slouch, and sometimes google “uterine prolapse.”  So, we’ve established.  Moses = #sorelatable for overwhelmed mothers.  I feel like I could even argue that I might be getting a beard started.  So what now?  Moses was surrounded by such intense whining that wished for death.  Then what?  I’ve found that when I am longing for the Lord to talk to me, that I should just keep reading.  So… I kept reading.

Numbers 11:16-17

The Lord said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. 17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.

I feel pretty certain that in my particular situation I will not receive the gift of 70 wise elders to help.  But I do feel certain that God will send help, I do not carry this burden alone.  Isaiah 30 says that the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
    and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.

I notice 2 things about Moses here.  And 2 things about God.  Moses was honest about what was going on in his heart and he also sought God out to pray in that sincerity.  He offered up himself, in weakness.  God blesses the poor in spirit.  God heard Moses and He answered, but not in a way that Moses imagined or asked for.  Moses, in his infinite wisdom (eye roll emoji) said “Go ahead and kill me.”  (I say eye roll emoji but this is self deprecation because I literally do things like that ALL THE DANG TIME)  God in His infinite wisdom (no eye roll emoji) gave him what he needed to carry on.  Fellowship, help, a burden shared.  I think that you will find that if you reflect on the prayers of your heart- prayers that share your loneliness, your irritability, your anxiety and your pain, in these places the Lord is happy to meet you.  And not only meet you but deliver you.  Moses stood the mediator for God’s people.  He saw God as close as any man could.  But in the end, he sinned and a just God could not let him enter into the promised land.  Moses was just a man.  Time Keller says that “Jesus is the true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant.”

What is this new covenant?  Here is a taste via Jeremiah 31

31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Jesus is the sacrifice that makes this new covenant possible.  Jesus is the one who bears our burdens with us.  He who promised is faithful.  He will sustain you.  He will give you what you need, but not necessarily what you want or more appropriately what you thought you needed.  And this is a good thing.  Because- have you ever met a 4 year old girl?  I have.  Mine cut half a head of hair off because she wanted to.  She thought she was smart.  But it was not smart to get scissors and cut off her hair.  She could have asked and I would’ve given her some guidance.  In this example the girl was us and the parent was God.  Did you get that?  Was it obvious?

On manna and meat days remember, you do not have to bear your burden alone.

2016.  

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1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?

Sent a kid off to Kindergarten.  This really causes you to turn an editing eye on your parenting like when you’re laying in bed reflecting on your day and you think, “I really hope Owen doesn’t talk about his nipples at school tomorrow.”
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
 

Here it is- and I quote:

“Next year I would like to cut down on my sugar intake, because my teeth are turning into jellybeans.”
Spoiler alert:  I didn’t cut down on my sugar.  In fact, if an autopsy is ever made of my body it will beg internists to ask the question- Is this a human body or just a giant gummy bear?

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? 

Some of my close girlfriends had babies and I lurve it.  Welcome to the club.  The club where you don’t know words anymore because ya tired.

4. Did anyone close to you die? 

Feeling pretty torn up about Alan Thicke. (I’m not)

5. What countries did you visit? 

NorCal.  California.  Monterey.  It feels like a different country.  You’re not allowed to have plastic bags here.  If you forget your reusable tote they’ll charge you monies for a paper bag.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016? 

Oh wow.  I mean, if my butt were toned I’d feel like I could do anything!  The world would be my oyster!

So the answer is “toned butt.”

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I can’t remember dates.  My kids are lucky if I remember their birthdays correctly.  “You were born…. mid to late June-ish?”

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
 

Caravaning across the country with all of our children and both our cars in 7 days.  Nick and I only flipped each other off once, and that’s the Grace of God showing up big time.

9. What was your biggest failure? 

Consulted Nick- He thinks all the times I tried to feed our family borderline raw proteins.  But, if it looks cooked on the outside, how is a person supposed to know?!

*Currently Googling ‘Worst Cook in America’ applications*

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? 

I threw up for 3 months.  Now I have my back taped with PT tape so I can walk because before I was not really able to.  I sort of hobble around like an Igor in maternity tights.

The Lord keeps showing up in my weakness- and showing me how tied up in my own strength I am.

11. What was the best thing you bought this year?  

I want to say the maternity pillow that I found for 2 bucks at a bargain fair.  Yolo!

12. Where did most of your money go? 

Coffee, groceries, children’s clothing.  I kept listing hoping that the list would become less boring, but I guess this is who I am now.

13. What did you get really excited about?

This year, the answer is Jesus.

14. What song will always remind you of 2016?

Ragga bomb- Skrillex

Nick listens to this while he studies and I literally can’t even.  Because you think you know someone and then- Skrillex.

Also-

Africa- Toto

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder?

More content.

– thinner or fatter?

I moved to California- so you’ll never know.  How could you?  I’ll give you a hint though- I failed my gestational diabetes test.

– richer or poorer? samesies
16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I had done a YouTube challenge.  Off the top of my head I wish I had dabbed or water bottled or been filmed when I fell in the parking lot at Giant last winter and had that go viral.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of? 

Evicerate couples on House Hunters with my quick wit.  Sure, the amount of times she’s mentioned her gluten intolerance is ripe for mockery, but she’s a people too.  #compassion

18. How did you spend Christmas?

Here in Monterey with Nick’s mom and our lil goon squad.  Here was our picture with Santa.


19. What was your favorite TV program?

-American Housewife

– The Crown

– Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

– Game of Thrones (Jon Snow LIVES)

– of course New Girl, Brooklyn 99, and strangely, Bob’s Burgers

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

– Extravagant Grace By Barbara Duguid

-Parenting by Paul David Tripp

-The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges

– The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedmen

– This is Awkward by Sammy Rhodes

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

Sovereign Grace errything.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

The Lobster

Zoolander 2.  (This is not farcical.  I really thought it was hilarious)

Zootopia.  Good on so many levels.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

(Read as Stefan from SNL)

I nerded out so hard.  Nifflers.  Ariana Dumbledore.  Hufflepuff.  Gellert Grindelwald. A DEMIGUISE?  Erumpent horns.

I caught myself dreamily clutching my hands to my chest thinking the thought “This is SO magical!” Which is something few things can do.  Usually I just think- this movie can eat my farts!

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I got Mexican with my family and you could see otters gamboling around the bay.  Oh, and I’m 31.  And pregnant.  With my fourth baby. So you can imagine what kind of wild party that was.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurabley more satisfying?

Do you ever just feel like you want to do Dubsmashes with your friends but your friends live on the opposite coast as you?

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016? 


26. What kept you sane? 

I hate being serious- but deleting a lot of apps off of my phone and replacing them with the Bible app.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016? 

The thought “I’m probably not ovulating” is reckless and 100% wrong.

28. Your guilty pleasure?  

Cadbury Fruit and Nut bars.

29. Song lyric that sums up the year:

 


This is how I told Nick I was pregnant.  ( I know it looks like there is one line, but trust.  There are two.)

are there rodeo clowns in heaven?

tia_a_genuinelybelieve

Have you ever felt like a square peg in a round hole?  Paul writes in Galations that  “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”  Here Paul is stating that justification is through faith and that we cannot earn our righteousness by following the law.  But what if I don’t look righteous?  When I google righteous this is what comes up, which feels weird:

self-righteous-wide1

When I imagine a righteous person I like to think that they are meek, gentle, slow to speak, that they comport themselves with a general dignity befitting such a holy person.  They would not, for example, tell a long anecdote about Michelle Duggar’s knees at Bible Study. What might they do instead?  I would expect them to share some piece of knowledge gleaned from an obscure minor prophet that I didn’t even realize was a book of the Bible.

This is the delusion I fight against almost all the time.  That righteous people have one foot inside a monastery and no feet in the “being ridiculous” arena.  But the truth is that when I professed my faith in Christ that His righteousness became my own.  And that His sacrifice covers all my sins past, present, and future. I need to trust that the Holy Spirit will lead my heart in sanctification and repentance.  One could be surprised to know that I spend a good amount of time each week reading the word and assorted theological books.

It’s not that much but for having three children proportionately it is a decent amount of time.  But when I open my mouth to speak, nothing eloquent comes out.  This is where I recall that Moses had a debilitating stutter and God appointed his brother Aaron to publicly speak for him.  Maybe Siri could be my Aaron.  I have not a debilitating speech impediment to get around, but debilitating awkwardness.  Excuse me, I digress.  1 Corinthians says:

“But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.”

And this is where I wonder to myself, at the feast of heaven, will there be a rodeo clown?  Does Jesus need a body part akin to a humorous gag wig?  He made me and he loves me.  He loved Nathaniel and called him right after Nathaniel threw some major shade at Jesus under a fig tree.

Maybe there will be jokes in heaven.  Everyone really loves laughing.  I will remind myself that God’s creation is diverse and wonderful and that he loves monastery people just as much as he loves people who are quirky and awkward.

PS  This is a ringing endorsement for the book “This is Awkward” by Sammy Rhodes.  It’s like if I wrote a book, but a lot better.

tia_b_donuts

 

mom’s birthday.

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Today is my mom’s birthday.  I bet you don’t know my mom.  And I bet if you’ve met her that you don’t know her very well either, because my mother puts the I in introvert.  My mother gave me her good taste in curtains, pot plantings, and wall hangings.  My mom could wear a bikini after she had her children, and she didn’t give me that.  I’ll forgive her because after all, nobody’s perfect.

As it will surprise no one, I was an awkward youth.  When I reflect and realize that throughout many of my years in school that my mother was praying for me during Moms In Touch, I can say that I see the fruit of that prayer.  I walked through school with much more confidence than this earth would justify.  Making it through middle school was a result of the faithful prayers of my mother.

I’m thankful that I’ve gotten to know my mom as a real person too, not just a mom person who caters to my every whim.  I’m going to post some verses that remind me of my mom.  Proverbs 31 is overused, sure.  But not for my mom.  My mom who works away tirelessly in the kitchen to feed her one million grandchildren.  My mom who fields phone calls on how to do, well, basically anything related to being an adult.

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” (Proverbs 31:26-29 ESV)

And that’s mom.  In a nutshell.

Mom, you’re the best.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, because they would be WRONG.  And I’ll punch them in the face.  Please come live with me when you are old because I miss you.  We will stick you in the giant laundry room to earn your keep like poor old Grandma Duggar.

on how grace changed and is changing me.

 

Grace is God’s free and unmerited favor shown to guilty sinners who deserve only judgment. It is the love of God shown to the unlovely. It is God reaching downward to people who are in rebellion against Him. Jerry Bridges

Grace, I never knew you.  Not in middle or high school.  Certainly not in college.  Definitely not until the Navy provided the opportunity for me to know no one while across the country from everyone I had ever known.

I remember having a conversation with my brother, this was during my conversion from legalism, when I realized I really wasn’t doing a good job following God’s law and felt really discouraged.  I knew all along I was screwing it up, but I was getting closer to admitting my own failings (obvious though they were).  He asked me why I was a Christian if I felt guilty all the time.  To quote John, “So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”  I was called to Jesus and even though I was struggling to understand, I knew there was nowhere else to go.  It was and is Jesus or nothing at all.

I spent a lot of time nursing my guilt and not turning to God because clearly He knew how bad I was.  You guys, I’m such a butthole.  Just last WEEK I watched Diners, Drive ins, and Dives just to make fun of Guy Fieri.  For, like, 2 hours.  Admittedly, I was handing out sick burns like a boss.  But just because you are particularly gifted in your sin of choice doesn’t mean it’s God glorifying.

Let’s get wordy y’all.  I knew that Jesus had died for my sins.  That work was done.  That’s justification.  Sanctification?  That was harder for me.  I thought that once I was justified it was up to me to follow the law.  To get my devotions on and love people well and to stop judging people and getting annoyed by things that do not matter.  Jerry Bridges says this: “So where the law condemns, grace forgives through the Lord Jesus Christ.  Where the law commands but gives no power, grace commands but does give power through the Holy Spirit who lives and works within us.”  I was not leaving room for the Holy Spirit.  I was trying to be nicer, and it wasn’t working.  No one wanted me on a leadership team in college.  I was “the least of these.”

A beautiful cocktail of good teaching, a friend who often said “There but for the Grace of God go I,”  and people who loved me opened my heart.  People who saw that I never did dishes and just helped me do them, people who didn’t gossip about others- not self righteously, but because the love of Christ drove their actions.  People who willingly offered the gospel of grace- those people showed me grace.  The Holy Spirit changed me and it used the people around me to do it.  I realized I was worse than I thought.  I saw that God loved me more than I deserved.  He loved me- not just when He died on the cross for me- but when I was binge eating fries because I just received bad news or when I was crying out against Him because we keep moving.

Spend a day with a toddler and watch her make the same mistakes over and over.  Spend a day with yourself and notice the same thing.  Prepare to be amazed by the grace of your Heavenly Father unto you.  Know that God longs to be reconciled with you- so repent with confidence!  Fess up to your slanderous words about a Food Network star.  Jesus paid it all.  

Thanks for being there for my sanctification Lord, because the closer I get to you the more I realize my sin is like the peeling of an onion.  Layered, odiferous, and sometimes makes you cry.  I can only close with this song by Bethany Dillon- a Campus Crusade muse for the ages- but as I grow in faith I realize just how on fleek ole B-Dills was.  I know you might not know her, but she’s married to one of the Shane’s from Shane and Shane and you have to know them.  I mean, you don’t have to.  But c’mon, you probably do right??

I follow all the rules, well at least I’m trying

Hoping when my days are through, You will be pleased

I’ve lived the longest days, thinking my heart was so bad

Too scared to look into Your face.  Oh if only I had.