About 3 weeks ago, we discovered…

I am pregnant! On Saturday, Feb. 27 I had that feeling. My friend encouraged me to take a pregnancy test. It was positive. I cried and was overjoyed at the same time. Jeremiah was in San Antonio for a class so I waited all day long to tell him. I went to Whole Foods and got 4 chocolate covered strawberries to represent that we will now be 4 and a card to write down all the details that happened before and after finding out.

We celebrated that evening together, surprised, excited, and shocked.

Since then, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind. I’ve had extreme nausea, cravings, morning sickness, fatigue, and feeling like a truck has hit me at about 8 every night. Since I often love to control things, this pregnancy is teaching me that I just can’t have control. Every day is something new. Every day I have to rely on God’s strength to help me love and respect my husband well and be there for John even when I feel like a mess.

Last Friday we went to our doctor and he said everything looked great and that our baby’s due date is Oct. 26, exactly three days after our son John was born. It looks like they will be 2 years apart. I am currently about 9 weeks along.

I definitely have my concerns: How will I love this baby the same as I do my son? Can we really handle two? We live in an incredibly small apartment on campus at seminary- will we survive until school is done? Can I really go through natural labor again? Are we crazy for trusting the Lord to grow our family?

Even in the midst of it all, we are so grateful that God has chosen us to bring about new life once again. His grace is amazing. And this new life is His. We have to hold this baby with arms wide open. It’s funny, I kept running into these verses in Psalms before we found out:

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
– Psalm 127:3-5

I think God was preparing me all along and I love how he does that.

Thanks so much for sharing in our joy today (I couldn’t wait to tell you)!

Being on Mission with Your Children- Part 2

This is part two of the series, Being On Mission with Your Children. Part one consisted of Being a Mommy on Mission. This final part is about Being a Daddy on Mission. I encourage Mommy’s and Daddy’s (anyone) to read both.

In Being a Mommy on Mission, I addressed how the tiniest moments of slowing down will define the huge moments of how we meet our child’s physical and emotional needs. Slowing down is just one of the many ways that mommy’s can be on mission.

I appreciated Dan Browne’s comment from last week: “We made a decision to live each day with our child to the fullest. Even if that means Mickey Mouse Club House for a few hours because she wants to see the fish or dog or show us the flower on the screen, etc…”

Daddy’s don’t want to miss those moments either, and I’m convinced that Daddy’s role is equally important as Mommy’s, if not more important.

1 Corinthians 11:7 says that a man is the image and glory of God. I just love that. God has designed the man as the leader and head of the home. He has purposefully created men to cultivate and to build (Gen. 2:15), so I think the important issue with being a Daddy on Mission is that you have to fight in the Battle as you build.

God created Daddy’s to cultivate their children through discipline, love, encouragement, rebuke, and making sure there is steady progress in the family. But the reality is that since the fall where sin made its first ugly appearance, Daddy’s have to work hard at cultivating (Gen. 3:17-19). It doesn’t come natural and it doesn’t happen over night.

I sense the fight in our family. When my husband Jeremiah leads the three of us in prayer before bed time every night, searches out the deeper things in my heart, loves me and John well, and is being the spiritual leader he was created to be, there are all kinds of things that want to thwart that mission.

I can be a very difficult wife sometimes and an impatient mommy. John can be fussy, disobedient, and a handful. Jeremiah sometimes gives into his flesh and has a hard time leading. All of that coupled with the flesh, spiritual warfare, baggage, and Satan’s ultimate plan to destroy the family can’t be diminished.

But what I do see is that Jeremiah puts his armor on daily and is ready to fight back. He’s not perfect, but he works hard at loving us even when he doesn’t always get the response he wants. He strives to love me like Christ loved the church by being in the word, confessing sin, staying pure, and being held accountable to other guys. His love has encouraged me to be the person God created me to be. And honestly, I think he “gets” how to love much more than I do.

While he fights to cultivate well, I’m also learning that it’s my role to build him up and not tear him down when he has failed. I realize the implications of that are massive. Choosing to tear down could result in another casualty- a mere tragedy all together.

So why do you have to be in the war? How come it’s just so hard sometimes?

In our experience, we’re learning to expect the battle because we’re fallen. In our marriage and in raising John, we’re starting to appreciate the gospel even more. We treasure God’s constant grace on our failures and sin. We become more dependent on him to make it through each day because some days are just plain hard. We’re thankful he’s in the process of sanctifying us for his glory.

Daddy’s have such a high calling as cultivators of their marriage and their children and to love without conditions. And apart from the Holy Spirit’s transforming power in a man’s life, it’s impossible to be the cultivator God desires. But Daddy’s who are in Christ, have been given everything they need to stand strong and fight the battle against sin.

So build away, and continue to let God be your ultimate strength as you raise your family. We need you, Daddy, more than you could ever imagine!

Question: What challenges do you face in being on mission as a cultivator? What rewards? What do you want wives and mommy’s out there to know about “the fight”?

Being on Mission with Your Children- Part 1

This is part one of a two-part series called “Being on Mission with Your Children.” Part one will consist of being a Mommy on Mission and part two will deal with being a Daddy on Mission. I encourage you to read both parts.

Kelly Sauer‘s Twitter bio caught my attention the other day. It read: I dream big and change diapers.

I just love that and it made me think of a little mission statement that’s been ringing in my head since I’ve been re-reading a book I had to read for my Child Developmental Psychology class in college called The Power of Mother Love.

My new-found mission is: I want to change the world, one diaper at a time.

To tell you the truth, however, I didn’t know this would be my desire until God gave me my son John.

I’m learning that he is my mission. He is 15 months old so of course he doesn’t know it yet, but how I give my love away to him now will profoundly influence and shape his life and character and ultimately, who he will become one day.

Many of you know that I’m fresh into being a mommy so I’m not a pro, but I’ve found a little secret that’s helping me to be “on mission” with him each day and to value, above anything else, the importance of who I am to my child.

This might seem way too obvious, but it starts with Slowing Down.

It requires a lot of intentionality on my part to see the world how John is seeing it, to get off my computer or i-Phone, to stop doing the dishes or the laundry, or worrying about this or that, but to really be all there with him. He invites me in to his world every time and his world is already at a much slower pace than mine. The choice is if I will choose to be still, within my own spirit, and embrace his world with him.

I’ve found that when I’m still and engage with him, I’m able to meet his deepest emotional needs by letting him know I hear his words and see each little step he makes. We’re able to capture moments together like when he first says “t-e-n-k you” or learns how to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on his own. Or when he’s offering to kiss me on the cheek or give me “that look” when he needs something. I can sense his needs easier and I’m there to nurture him whenever he needs it. And he always has a way of knowing whether I’m fully there or not.

My love is more available when I slow down.

Being on Mission as Mommy’s starts with slowing down, to where we are meeting our children’s deepest emotional needs, but that is not the end, it’s the means to the end where we’re slowing down so that we can best live out our faith and instill biblical truth into their lives.

In a hectic, over-worked, disorganized schedule it’s difficult to be all there and live out our faith in front of our children. Nine times out of ten, over commitment results in frustration, anger, restlessness, impatience, depleting quiet times and prayer and we end up not being who we want to be. I’ve been there and it has affected my home. I’m convinced that the tiniest moments of slowing down will help define the huge moments of how our children will grow and come to salvation in the Lord later on.

Of course, their salvation is an act only by God, but we have a huge part to play in how they view and love God for the rest of their lives. What a challenge and responsibility, but what a joy and privilege to help lead them to the cross and have them join us in God’s mission.

If you’re a mommy, and like me, have been wondering where your ministry is and how you can best serve God, remember that you are on mission right where you are, the best place you could ever be…

In your home.

The place where you were meant to help change the world, one diaper at a time.

Will you join me in this mission?

Question: What are some other ways you’re giving your love away and being “on mission” in your home?

My first white hair: thoughts on being 27

This past weekend, while Jeremiah and I were talking in bed, I thought my life was just about over. As we were engaging in meaningful conversation, he blurts out and says, “Honey, you have a white hair!”

I look at him like he’s crazy. Why did he have to tell me that? My husband loves to play and joke and sometimes it’s just not funny.

“Oh, let me get it!” he says.

He pulls the white hair out and I look at it: “It’s blonde! Not white!”

“Look at it again. It’s not blonde,” he says.

I moved it around for the light to catch it at different angles. I studied it for a bit. “Okay… it is white. Ughh. I can’t believe how old I’m getting! That makes me so sad.”

“Oh everyone gets a white hair once in while no matter how old you are. It’s okay babe, you’re beautiful,” he says.
………..
Well I’m not sure it’s been “okay” with me lately. A lot of my friends and myself included are in the stage of growing our families. I think just about every facebook profile pic I see has a sonogram on it (and it’s awesome). I’ve been told by acquaintances that I look like I “have it all together” now that I have a child (really? Hmm). Jeremiah and I looked at some pictures when we were first dating and we look like babies (that was 6 years ago). Now, he’s 30 and I’m 27. And to top it off, my 10 year high school reunion is this year.

Everything is just happening so fast.Where does time go? And will it really be okay as I age?

I’ve had these thoughts way before the white hair episode and I’m still trying to figure out how I can best give God my worry about growing older. But I’ve been encouraged by these verses:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” – Matt. 6:25-26

There’s so much wisdom here because God knows the natural tendency for us is to worry… what’s for lunch, what to wear, where the money will come from, who we’ll marry, who our kids will marry… Things that are not even here yet.

Life itself, however, is more valuable than anything else. God sustains us and gives us the ability to experience life to its absolute fullest: to feel the sunshine, laugh over meals, write out words, engage in meaningful relationships, drink a warm cup coffee, share his truth with others, know him through his Word, and feel our very own breath. As his children, he cares deeply for us and for our concerns. And he wants us to depend on his daily provision, not what we plan for ourselves.

I think he understands my struggles in facing the fact that life just happens and we grow older. But I think he might also wants me to realize that the best is yet to come because he’s on my side and no matter if I grow weaker or my looks change a little, what ultimately matters is the life change that happens in my heart as the days get faster.

If I do end up finding a white hair again and I (or Jeremiah) probably will, I told God that I’m going to thank him that I even have a head of hair.

Are you emotionally available?


One of the greatest things I’m learning as a mom are the many things that try to compete with the time and attention I give to my almost 15 month old son.

This past Wednesday when we were at lunch at Panera, I held John in my arms while we ordered soup, salad, mac & cheese, and chocolate milk. The cashier ladies made faces at him and he smiled back so excited. I loved seeing his new teeth come through and how his light brown hair was getting a little longer. At the table, my mom and I talked about life while we tried to feed John the macaroni he didn’t want. He was always on my mind and he was right there with us, just speaking his own language.

When we came back for his nap, even though I had a little work to do from home, I kept thinking how grateful I was to be his Mommy. Even though he was a little grouchy when he woke up, I hugged him and rocked him whispering in his ear, “I was once a grouchy little girl too.” And it came to my realization that I wanted him to know that I was not only physically there for him, but I was there emotionally too. And that I would be as long as I was his mother.

Many of us play a lot of roles as Mommy, Dad, husband, wife, aunt, uncle, friend, sister, brother, etc. And I think it’s safe to say that sometimes we’re just not always there with the people we love. I’m not. But, I’ve been really challenged to make sure that I’m finding “quiet” in my mind so that I can be all there. For me, that means first caring for my soul spiritually. Then…

Nourishing my marriage.
Taking care of self.
Pursuing a simpler life.

I’m definitely not perfect at this and never will be, but I really want to strive for it. When John is old enough to understand, it will be so critical for those emotional needs of his to have been met and it’s amazing how it all starts with me.

Marriage: why it’s hard work

Recently, Jeremiah and I have been going through 1 Peter together before bed. After I turned out the light last night, I asked him in frustration:

“Honey, why does marriage have to be such hard work?”

This question was birthed out of the petty arguments we had that morning on the way to church (an argument I started). He thought about it for a minute.

“Because I’m screwed up. And you’re screwed up.”

I laughed and couldn’t agree more.

“Do you think anyone has a marriage that isn’t hard?” I asked, really really wanting to know.

“Yeah,” he said.

“Dead people.”

Well… next Thursday will be our four year anniversary (we’re so excited) and this is the year I think I’ve figured out why marriage is hard work. More than ever, I’ve realized that I’m broken, sinful, and selfish. I don’t always love God and if you had the supernatural ability to open the blinds to my house from the outside in, you wouldn’t always see a pretty woman.

You wouldn’t always see someone who’s allowing the Spirit to control my life, but it’s what I desire.

The Apostle Paul said that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Gal. 5:22-23)

God has given me everything I need for life and godliness and his Spirit is in me to empower me to love my husband and to love those closest to me. I am thankful that God is patient with me. He knows I’m in a process of sanctification. He’s come to set me free from my sin and brokenness- to embrace the gift of marriage as part of his will to conform me into his image.

He’s given me my best friend, lover, soul-mate and the only person in this world I want to be with as a gift to steward, love, respect, and serve well.

Marriage is really hard work because of me.

Sinful. Fallen. Human. But through Christ’s strength and empowerment, my marriage can be beautiful. It has been. It is. And it will be.

And I don’t have to wait until I’m dead for it to be that way either. And that is so encouraging.

So what about you… do you think anyone has a marriage that isn’t hard work?

Being Thankful = Remembering

A few months ago, Jeremiah and I drove to Half Price books to purchase a very special book for our family. He’d been talking about getting a “Blessing Book” for a long time. So for $4.99, he picked out a brown and orange vintage floral journal.

We decided that we needed to start recording God’s faithfulness and his answers to our prayers over the years and that the Blessing Book would be the official landing place to write out those things simply because…

It’s easy to forget God’s work in the every day details of our lives.

Since then, we’ve recorded a lot of answers to prayers and twice now, we’ve gone through it so we can Remember.

Remembering God’s faithfulness and provision in the past has given me an overwhelming joy, thankfulness, and gratitude. It gives me great hope to face the uncertainties in the future.

There are all kinds of ways to reflect and remember. I stumbled upon Megan’s blog the other day and she’s created a Thankfulness Banner. I absolutely love this idea- especially as it really helps your kids tangibly see God’s goodness in their life.

One Thanksgiving when I was home from college, I printed out each of my family members’ names in big, bold writing on separate pieces of paper. All of us wrote a brief note saying how thankful we were for that person. It was a bonding time for our family and provided a ton of affirmation.

Well, I can’t wait when John can understand what our Blessing Book is all about so that he can share in what God has done and is doing in our family.

How do you remember God’s faithfulness and blessings during this time of year?

Dear John- 10/27/2009

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Your first haircut on your 1st birthday

Dear John,

On Friday you turned one! The sun was shining and the fall air was crisp just like on the Thursday morning you were born.

Your first breath of life changed your Daddy and I forever.  Your eyes were wide awake when you arrived and you even grabbed Daddy’s finger while the nurses were getting you ready for me to nurse you for the first time.

I couldn’t stop staring at you and giving you gentle kisses as you were tightly swaddled in your blanket.

You grew so fast during those first few weeks and months. Eventually you started to smile, laugh, and coo. Then you graduated from baby food and crawling to real food and walking, even before your one year old birthday. You are truly amazing.

I have taken you all kinds of places around Dallas and we’ve met all kinds of people. And one thing remains the same: People don’t leave unchanged when you’re around. I’ve seen smiles remain on their faces after we’ve walked away. We’ve actually stayed at the grocery store longer because of the old ladies who can’t stop getting enough of you.

God has given you quite the personality and you pick up on how to do things so fast! Lately, you like getting into Daddy and Mommy’s books, phones, and gadgets more than your brand new toys. You are saying “mama” the majority of the time then “dada”, “baby” and “oh?” We love your sweet words.

God has given you one year to live and we pray that many more are to come because this world needs you.

You’ll come to learn one day that your Daddy and Mommy aren’t perfect all the time, but we do serve a God who is perfect and will never let you down. We will still do our very best to love you with all that we have… because you are a gift from God and that is a serious thing.

I am proud that you are my son.

I love you,

Mommy

10/27/2009

Everything is God’s

10723_656785265458_55713931_38099891_4013055_nAre you like me, and sometimes forget that you don’t own anything?

I forget sometimes that everything I have is on loan and that God is the one who has given me good health, a beautiful family, genuine friendships, an apartment decked out with stuff, a car, his Word, the privilege of living in America, and the ability to use my gifts and talents every day.

It’s easy to be self-focused and think that I have what I own because of my own hands and abilities.

But God says that all I have is from his hand. James 1:17 says that Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Yesterday, I played with my son on the floor for an hour. I watched him carefully place his toys and various objects in the trash can. He would then look at me. One by one, he played this game by himself. He was serious and focused. I laughed over and over because it was so cute. I loved watching his expressions and movements as he learned a little bit more about life.

And it occurred to me once again, that his little life is a gift that I must continually give back to God…

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