Friday, November 28, 2014

give thanks

A couple of weeks my connect group & I joined in with some other ladies from church in an effort to be intentional about giving thanks over the course of the next month using journals.  With these journals we are creatively expressing our gratitude through Bible verses, prayers, quotes, etc.  Some of us also began the new She Reads Truth study "In Everything Give Thanks", and this has really set the tone for an "attitude of gratitude" for me.  I have so looked forward to spending time each day expressing thanks to the Father and carving out that time to just create.

In the midst of feeling very pregnant this week, read hormonal and full of mood swings,  I have been finding it refreshing to think upon the things that I have to be thankful for when it comes to Jesus and what He's done for me.  It's been refreshing to get into the Word and find it come alive as I read it with a thankful heart.  And last week we got a phone call that sent my level of gratitude through the roof.

For about 6 weeks we had been in a period of waiting and wondering and hoping and praying in regards to our baby girl.   At our 20 week ultrasound they found something that had them concerned and so began a series of blood tests and another ultrasound and a meeting with a genetic counselor and the waiting.

Finding out you're pregnant brings on such a rush of emotions: you're elated yet fearful; anxious yet hopeful; excited yet overwhelmed.  Everyone prays for a healthy pregnancy; everyone wishes for a healthy baby.  Then to find out something might be wrong, something might not quite fit into the plan you have have for this baby, suddenly the emotional roller coaster does a loop de loop, and you're wondering which end is up.

When we first heard this news of further blood tests and meeting with genetic counselors, we weren't quite sure what to think other than to immediately begin praying for the Lord's hand on our baby, as well as praying for the Lord to help us trust Him and His leading as we walked this road.  As hard as this blind journey was, we rested in the knowledge that He formed this baby, and He has a purpose for her.   My husband, who is the worrier in the relationship, was at peace, and that for me was confirmation that the Lord was working.

One day my devotions led me to Philippians 4:6-7, which is one of my favorite verses.

Whenever I am faced with anything remotely scary or might trigger worry, I immediately hear this verse in my head, with a large emphasis on the word "ANYTHING".  ANY.THING.  It's something that I believe with my whole heart, that we should be anxious over NOTHING!  And if we refrain from being anxious and worrying, we receive the peace of God & it guards our hearts and minds.  I mean, isn't this a sweet exchange for the awful side effects of worrying & being anxious?? i think so!

I found it fitting that after reading this verse, we got a phone call from the genetic counselor with great news about our baby girl.   It was the greatest birthday gift I could've gotten, and it was a great reason to "shout to all the peoples" about what God has done.

But I know full well that we don't always get the answers we want hope to hear.  I know that sometimes the test might come back positive and sometimes we find ourselves walking a path that we just would not have chosen ourselves.  What I am daily being reminded of is the fact that no matter what He is still good.  He still loves us. He still welcomes us to bask in His mercy and grace. He still calls us His own & desires to walk with us every step we take in this life.  And more & more, I find this to be the thing I am most thankful for in this earthly life.

Last night as Mike & Eli & our niece and nephew sat down to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws house, my mother-in-law went around the table asking the kids what they were thankful for.   When it was Eli's turn, he blew us away and said, "Jesus."  Later when we were driving home high-fiving each other for the "parenting win", I began reflecting on his answer.  Really, is there anything else more important to be thankful for?  I mean, it pretty much sums it up.  Because of Jesus, I have everything.  Because of Jesus, I am who I am, and because of Jesus, I can walk through this life with abundant blessings and feel secure knowing I am His.  Because of Jesus, my future is secure, and I have hope beyond hope.

Because of Jesus.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Is there something wrong with me?

Ok, we won't even talk about the fact that my last post said I was going to do 31 days of blogging.  I failed.  Boom. That's all there is to it.  Ok, maybe there's a little bit more, but let's just celebrate that I actually have the ability to form some coherent thoughts and have something to write about today, k?

As we drove home today from our 3 hour long doctor appointment, I told my husband that today was going to be the day that I broke out of my blogging slump because I got some things I need to get off my chest!   

From the get go, I knew this pregnancy was going to be different.  I knew pretty much from the start it was a girl because I experienced symptoms I did not experience when I was pregnant with Eli.  I questioned at 20 weeks how I was going to continue for 20 more weeks with the symptoms I was experiencing.  Those symptoms have since gone and I've had some reprieve for the last 2 weeks, dare I say I've felt really good for the last 2 weeks and have enjoyed being pregnant!  But one thing has not changed that I was totally not ready for.  Apparently I should start using a cane and ask for a senior citizen discount because that is how I am being treated with this pregnancy!

Sure I've got some gray hairs creeping in, but Friends, I am about to turn 36.  Upon leaving my doctor appointments, however, I feel as though I have unknowingly advanced in age and am about to turn 76!  Prior to this pregnancy, I thought maybe we might just try for a third, but now I'm truly afraid.  Not because I would be an older mom or anything like that.  I'm afraid they would require me to use a wheelchair and them to use a megaphone to speak to me in fear that my hearing aid wasn't turned on.

Can I tell you that I honestly feel like there is something wrong with me every time I leave an appointment?  Like, is "old lady having a baby" in that big ol' medical book with all the current medical conditions?  (I know it has a name but I didn't really know what to Google to figure it out!)
Should I start wearing a medical alert bracelet? I know, along with my glucose test, it's probably gonna be issued at my next appointment.  

Imagine the poor woman who our doctor told us about at our very first appointment who she had just come from seeing who was 52!?!?!  God bless you, my geriatric sister-friend.  

So now that they've got me worrying my baby is going to come out with 3 heads and have this syndrome and that syndrome and I'm elbow deep in blood tests, I'll just go on my merry way, me and my gray hairs and all my 36 years.  

If you know me at all, you know I use the term "worrying" quite lightly because I'm not really worried.  I'm not a worrier!  It's just that this is the most insecure I've felt in a really long time.  It's not so much the pregnancy cravings that require me to keep ice cream in the freezer at all times, it's the insecurity I feel after every appointment!   

I'll tell you what I am 100% secure about though.  That God has formed this baby. He knit her together, knows her inside and out.  She is fearfully and wonderfully made.  He has appointed this time in my life to carry this little girl for a purpose.  He has chosen me as her Mommy and He has chosen Mike as her Daddy, and I couldn't be more thrilled that He chose Eli as her big brother.  She is a gift to us.  She is so loved already, and I can't wait to meet her!!  

So, I'll just remind my doctors at my next appointment that Sarah was 91 when she had Isaac.  They'll probably be appalled and drop over, but I'll just tap them with my cane as I skip on out of the office!   

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

31 days

the other day when i realized that october was about to knock on our door, i recalled last october when  i participated in the nester's 31 days challenge.  it was a great experience, but surely i would not be participating this year, as i certainly have nothing to write about.  i mean, last year at this time was pretty eventful.  the Lord was doing lots and lots of stirring and moving and jarring and chiseling in my heart, there were things to talk about and things to process and write about.  no, this year i will just sit it out.  maybe find someone else's 31 day journey to tag along on.  

then yesterday as i was sitting in a quiet coffee shop, ear buds in, getting some work done, i found myself logged on to my blog and suddenly contemplating, "if i were to write for the next 31 days, just what topic could i explore....?"  i even began editing a picture to use for a graphic trying out different fonts and phrases to see if my random typing would magically create just the right title for my 31 days series.  sadly, it did not.  

i woke up this morning saddened by the thought that i had not come up with anything and that perhaps this month would go by and my blog would sit untouched for yet another 6 months because i have not had the discipline to sit down and write the thoughts that have been stirring over the course of the last 6 months.  i really thought that if i was able to join in this 31 days challenge, it would force me to get back in the game and give some much needed lovin' to my little corner of the internet.  

throughout the day, i kept coming back to my unfinished graphic in my head trying out more titles.

"31 days of...... just writing whatever the heck i want to and hoping people don't get bored with my random thoughts for the day."

yeah, i know that seemed a little long.  but really, that's what i wanted to do.  just write.  i want to find my voice again and maybe it would mean just recalling my day and finding some beautiful lesson in it or sharing something difficult or something funny or something mundane, but just writing.  maybe just trying to find the joy in the everyday moments so that i don't forget that it's there.  

then it came to me. 

it occurred to me that lately i've been kind of just coasting through life.  my entire summer was a complete blur.  i'll probably share more about that later on, but the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014, God did SO much in my heart and there had been so much that i wanted to share and write about and just didn't.  i shared with a few people that if there could have been a soundtrack for my life at that time, it would have been "the art of celebration" from rend collective.  every single song spoke volumes as to what the Lord was doing and what i felt like He wanted me to experience and learn.  i literally listened to nothing else for months on end because each time i heard a song, even if it was for the 18th time, i found a new lyric to attach myself to and allowed it minister to me in a brand new way.  it was enlightening and refreshing and comforting and encouraging in the most beautiful way.  

today as i was cleaning up from lunch, thinking about our morning, i caught a glimpse of a picture i had taken from our time at the library.  eli had asked us to find "monster truck books" and when my husband delivered on the request, he was so incredibly excited.  my husband called me over from another section of books to snag a peek at eli who was excitedly poring over the book he had been given.  it was a moment i just wanted to tuck away and remember the joy on his face.  

thinking about this moment, i thought back to the idea of the "art of celebration" and how in the recent months, i've missed out on so many opportunities to practice the art of celebration.  i had just been learning what it looked like for me and our family, but without the practice, like any art form, it slips away.  

that's when the lightbulb went off and i realized that for the next 31 days i could revive the art of celebration and take each day to practice this amazing art to find beauty in the everyday moments and find ways to celebrate even in the midst of what seems like a seemingly uneventful season of life.  

and there you have it.  welcome to day 1 of my 31 day series.