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9 Months to Learn.

There’s a reason the Lord fashioned children to grow and develop for an estimated 9 month period in their mother’s womb before entering the crazy, dangerous, yet beautiful world.  Primarily this time is for the child’s development and growth but I want to think another big reason is for us as women to emotionally, physically, and spiritually prepare!

Emotionally.
Mothers day morning was when we found out we were expecting a tiny human. Almost shaking with excitement I went and brought Matt to the bathroom to look at the positive showing piece of plastic. Joy, laughter, and almost a warmth inside filled our hearts. Then…  a little bit of terror was felt. Mostly in a joking way but the thought of the responsibility and commitment that we had been entrusted to was a bit overwhelming.  Although at the time the sweetness of the moment overpowered that feeling, it was still there, dormant, and would peek it’s head up in my mind from time to time.

Are we ready? Are you going to be good parents?  Does everyone expect us to know what we are doing?? NO! So we shouldn’t expect that of ourselves either. Once in awhile the thoughts I had about the future and the unknowns were overwhelming. I figured I was the only one having these insane thoughts amidst the wild hormones and emotional rollercoaster my body was going through.  I am grateful so many of us are on this trek together. There are countless stories that moms have of the tried, attempted, failed, and successes and we can all learn in this together! Community. God’s given us each other for a reason and it is to our downfall if we don’t reach out, get out, and talk to one another about these things.

Physically.
I’ve never been one to count calories, step on the scale, or exercise for the sole purpose to lose weight.  But at my later appointments that turned into every week, the scale kept popping up numbers I had never seen before!  It was more humorous than scary but I was reminded every week that my body is not my own. As selfish as I can be with wanting to eat healthy so “I” feel better, to exercise so that “I” can jog further, and to take care of my body so “I” can fit in my clothes (key word being “I”..), I was now taking care of my body for another person. Whatever I did effected the life growing inside of me and the pounds were healthy ones!

For some women, this can be quite a struggle but there was so much beauty in watching what the Lord was doing as my body was transforming to make room for another life. There were many aches and pains and uncomfortable times but it was all too easy to forget that I “signed up” for all of these when we started praying for a child.  We really can choose to see something sweet while going through these times when our mind is focused on the bigger picture. One day soon, it was ALL going to be worth the changes.

Spiritually.
9 months is a long time when you are waiting for something at the end of it. It also can be a much used time to reflect and prepare your mind for the journey that continues after the 9 months is up.  Reading, resting, and rejuvenating spiritually is what the Lord showed me I needed to use this time for.  My time with the Lord would change in appearance once our baby came but the  amount of time given to me would not.  We’ve all been given the same amount of time each day to steward and use wisely yet the factors and distractions can vary.

Every day had something to be thankful for in it. Every day there was something to rejoice in. Every day was another day where I was humbled in thinking that I am the Lord’s child and before I knew anything about Jesus, He knew me full well.  He knit me together in my mother’s womb. While I was a sinner, He still chose to die for me. An all knowing, all loving, powerful God wanted nothing more than for me to know Him. He provided for me, watched over me, and had everything happen for a reason in my life and still does til this day.  What an awesome Savior we have. Such a Good Father. Jesus is all these things and more to our baby as well.

My prayers changed during this period of my life to sound more like a giving of a sacrifice. I often think of Abraham and Isaac when God asked Abraham to bring his only son as an offering to the Lord.  Isaac belongs to God first and He can chose to do whatever he wanted with Him.  Our baby has always been and will always be God’s first and it is up to HIM to do chose what He wants with her.

“Lord, I need your grace and strength every day to do what You have called me to.  May my life be a reflection of your goodness and grace and may Your power be seen great in my many weaknesses. Our baby is Yours! Help us every day to look to You for what we need to accomplish what You want us to.”
-Your child.

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You Remind Me of You

Dear little Carmen Dee Jane,

You are here!! You have blessed our family immensely with your presence. You decided to come a few days early which was a fun surprise for your mommy and daddy.  Praying that very morning for your arrival and God’s timing for you physically entering the world, you graced us with yourself about two hours after that prayer!

Our lives have changed forever now that you are in our arms.  I can’t fully comprehend the concept that you have been given to us to care for, love, teach, and steward for the rest of our lives. It blows my mind every time I try and grasp it.  You are God’s precious gift to us.  In no way have we passed any tests to show that we qualified to have you but God in His grace saw it best for you to be in our lives and us in yours.  Grace.  It’s so humbling.

No one could have fully prepared me for what your arrival was going to be like. Many say it’s love at first sight, and some don’t know what to think! When I first held you, I knew I had loved you unconditionally up until that point and would continue to do that your entire life.

I’m cherishing every minute we have with you.  Life is short, life is temporal, life it fragile, but life can be found eternal when we know and believe in the Author or life. Ultimately, you are the Lord’s. You belong to Him, He created every part of you, knitting you together in my womb. It’s a daily surrender, moment by moment, “giving” you over to the Lord again and again. He’s in control, He has a plan, and He knows whats best for you. Mom’s need a lot of wisdom!

Your daddy and I pray every day you come to know Him soon!  We will do our best to teach you and display Christ to you in how we live our lives but in NO way will we ever do this perfectly.  Ever..  but  our imperfections can point you to Him who is perfect.

I say this to you often but it’s words will always be true, “Daddy loves you and Mommy loves you but Jesus loves you most of all.”
One day you’ll understand what that means and Lord willing, believe it whole heartedly.

So while you are just 3 weeks old, I will cherish the waking up at night to feed you, the many diapers you love to fill, the laundry basket overflowing, and learning more about you more and more every minute! Your sweet squeaks, “snoring”, and baby coos are noises I hope to never forget!  This phase will quickly be behind us so I don’t want to wish any of it away.

Many people ask us who you look more like. It’s a fun thing to see and to wait and notice little features but every day i’m asked this question I always go back to saying, she reminds me of herself!  You are your own little person. I pray the pressures of this world would stay far from you and that you always strive to be all that Gods made you to be.

It’s a joy, a journey, and a very undeserved assignment to us.  Thanks for being part of our lives Little Carmen!  We love you SOOOO much!! And Jesus loves you most of all.

Love,
Daddy and Mommy

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My Every Longing Met.

“This hope [this confident assurance] we have an an anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whatever pressure bears upon it] – a safe and steadfast hope that enters within the veil [of the heavenly temple, that most Holy Place in which the very presence of God dwells].”
Hebrews 6:19 AMP

What’s next!?  What is it that you are expecting, hoping for, or looking forward to in the future? Perhaps it’s longing for a relationship, an acceptance of a job or further education, or maybe just looking forward to the New Year where there are endless possibilities and new beginnings.

Hope. A sure thing. Something that will not disappoint. That is, if our Hope is in the right Thing.

Every human being I believe longs for some sort of stability, fulfillment, and security. We strive and labor after this longing until it’s somewhat met or at least a bit satisfied.

How fleeting we are. Unsatisfied in what we try and scrounge up from the world and turn to the next thing as soon as we are let down.

The endless cycle we can quickly spiral into is: “I need ____ to make me happy..”
“If I don’t get ____, I will turn to ____ for my happiness.”
“If ____ is still unfulfilling, I will try something new..”

Over and over again never getting anywhere!

God has made us for something Greater!  Something more stable, something we can tangibly hold onto and rely on.

The answer: Himself.

I heard this quote a few years ago and have often reminded myself of it when I catch myself filling the void in my life with something other than what the Lord wants for me.

“The moment you’ve always waited for in fact is now.”
-Unknown

God tells us clearly in His Word,
“do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself…”
{Matthew 6:34}

What’s He getting at?  Live in TODAY!  Today is the only moment that you are guaranteed to live in.

Today you have been given:
-Hope
-Peace
-Love
-Strength
-Mercy
-Forgiveness
-Truth

God intends you to tap into all of these and more that He has promised us in His Word.  When we are constantly “living” in the future in our minds, we miss out on all that God wants to do in your life right NOW.

It’s good and wise to plan ahead, to prepare, to schedule, but our identity and certainly our hope cannot be left in our temporary plans.

“The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.”
Proverbs 16:9

What is it that you are looking to the Lord for right now?
What is something that you are looking forward to in the future that you need to commit to the Lord?
What in your life should you start changing now instead of waiting until the New Year?
What is the Lord speaking to your heart about through the Truths of His Word?

Everyone who has tasted even a bit of God’s goodness can testify that no relationship, vehicle, food, article of clothing, dream vacation, child, or shopping spree can never bring us lasting Joy, Love, and Satisfaction that Jesus Christ brings to us through having a relationship with Him.

We live in a searching world. Searching for something greater, a hope we can rely on.
It’s Jesus!

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my Portion forever.”
Psalms 73:26