Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Forgive me in advance if this post is less polished, more rambling than usual. Like all of you, I am struggling to process the events of the past week. I have hesitated to write anything about it. I've read some wonderfully encouraging, wise words from others in response to the tragedy, and I have no new wisdom to share. But I need to put my heart onto paper this morning. Maybe you will recognize yourself here.

I have been wrecked by the shooting in Connecticut. I'm a mama, and I was once a teacher. I catch sight of my son's sweet dimples in the rearview mirror and burst into tears. I've pictured the face of every first grader who came through my own classroom and those of my colleagues. I remember how much I hated lockdown drills. They filled me with such a sense of dread. I would hover under the chalkboard with my precious group of little people and count the minutes until the "all clear," so thankful to know that it was all just pretend. My mind can't help but picture what came next for the students and faculty of Sandy Hook, as they began to realize the reality of what was happening there. It's too horrifying to imagine, but I do.

Like all of you, I've wrestled with the why. Why does evil sometimes get to win? I understand that we live in a fallen world, that the kingdom of darkness is in constant battle with the Kingdom of Heaven. I know that Satan is real and that he is bent on the destruction of every good thing in life - family, love, peace, innocence. All of which were shattered last Friday. And of course, I don't know why. We will never really know why on this side of heaven. And I am so blissfully far removed from this tragedy. I can't begin to imagine the "whys" that must scream through the minds of those parents and teachers and children left behind.

Like many of you, I've struggled to reconcile my overwhelming sense of thankfulness with an overwhelming sense of guilt. I am indescribably thankful to have my three healthy, whole children in my arms each night. I am newly aware of the gift of each giggle, each funny thing they say, each creative game they come up with, and each precious "I love you, Mama." And yet I feel so guilty that I still have them, and those parents do not. I get to tuck my children into bed each night and wake up to their sweet, stinky breath in my face, and it simply isn't fair that so many parents have to walk past their child's empty bed and wonder if they will ever feel joy again.

I feel guilty because my life is going on as usual. I'm Christmas shopping, wrapping presents, baking cookies, doing laundry, running errands. And my children drive me crazy, as usual. My kids still bicker, pick on each other, throw fits, whine, and grumble. They're still too loud when I have a headache. They disobey when my back in turned. Eli pulls his five-year-old attitude and Luke uses that whiny baby voice that makes me cringe and Maddie screams in the car and I still feel the urge to lock them in their rooms and drive all the way to Mexico. I want to sit with them, cuddle them, speak sweet words of love and affirmation to them and never let them go. And they need that. But they also still require training up and discipline, and it feels wrong somehow to put my child in time-out or give someone a spanking when there are mommies and daddies who would give anything to be able to hear their children throw a tantrum again.

As I've been in my Advent study this week, I've read familiar scripture with fresh eyes. In the light of this unspeakable tragedy, in the light of a world that generally seems to be out of control with ugliness and evil, the ideas of hope, joy, peace, and love seem idealistic and fake. But each verse that I've worked through has brought me new understanding of what I've always known: In this life, the only true, lasting, unfailing source of hope, joy, peace, and love is Jesus. Our hope is in the resurrection, where Jesus conquered death once and for all. Our joy overflows out of the thankfulness of being forgiven and loved by the God of the universe. Our peace is in knowing that He is the King, and that one day He will bring every single thing on earth back to order. Our love is Jesus, the One who humbled himself to a lowly human birth and a horrifying, senseless death because He just wanted to reach us so much. This is the truth. And it is why we can say with confidence that, even as we walk through the shadow of the valley of death, we will fear no evil.

But still, it hurts.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


The question was posed: "Why do you pray?"

It cut to my heart. I snapped to attention.

Why do I pray? What's the motivation behind my conversations with God? When I approach the throne of grace, what do I hope to find there?

I have struggled with prayer lately. I'm in a season of life where every prayer seems to go unanswered. I ask and seek and knock and beseech and beg and cry out and... nothing. Circumstances don't change. Doors stay closed. Hearts stay hard. Bodies go unhealed. Opportunities stay hidden. Bounty is withheld.

Sometimes, I doubt that prayer "works" at all. Do you?

Rumor has it that prayer changes things, that it moves the hand of God. But when so many prayers are answered with a "no" or "not yet," I begin to feel like I'm talking to a brick wall. I get disappointed and frustrated and wonder why my prayers are so ineffective. I follow hard after Jesus. I study His word. I listen for the Holy Spirit. I walk in obedience.

And I think to myself, "I deserve for this prayer to be answered, now."

So when the question was posed - "Why do you pray?" - I had to search my heart. If praying doesn't get me what I want, what's the point?

Then, this truth: Prayer is a place where we get to be in the presence of God.

I wonder... is that really why I pray? Is my heart oriented in such a way that when I come to God, all I really want is to be in His presence? I say that I just love to sit at the feet of my Savior. But... I am actually satisfied just with Him?

Could it be enough for me to be bathed in the presence of the living King - with no agenda, no demands, no requests, no urgency? Simply to come into his presence, and rest, and be full and content whether or not my mountains move. Could that really be enough for me?

I want it to be. I need it to be. I need to change the way I think about prayer, to lay aside my desperate expectations for new jobs and better health and sweeter kids and and and and. I want to learn to be satisfied with the gift of his presence, and nothing more.

It's okay to want answers from God. It's okay to ask for what we need and desire. In scripture we're instructed again and again to bring our burdens to Him in prayer. It's okay to keep coming back when a prayer seems unanswered. But we need to be careful when we think, "God never answers my prayers."

Because the truth is - he always answers. I forget, when I can't see the exact answer I want, that he always gives me what I need. His provision comes in so many ways. An encouraging word from a friend. A scripture. A song. A check. The comfort of his Spirit. 

Even when all we seem to get is another trial, he still blesses us with fruit: "We rejoice in our sufferings, for we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope (Rom 5:3-4)." 

When our prayer life is in step with His word - expectant and honest, making time to listen as well as speak, full of praise and gratitude - we will never, ever come away empty-handed. 

How I need this perspective, that in Jesus is the solution to every problem, the hope for every sorrow, and the fulfillment of every promise. Not in what he chooses to do for me. Just in Him. His presence alone was more than enough for Mary. How I long for that to be true of me.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


I couldn't sleep, anxieties tugging at my mind. I logged into Pinterest and got lost in a world of virtual perfection. Beachy home decor, photo shoot-ready outfits, a different messy bun and braid combo for each day of the week. I finally crashed into bed feeling inspired - tomorrow I would look amazing and work my abs like a pro.

The baby woke to eat at 4:30. The middle one poked me awake at 7 - poke, poke, poke, on my forehead. I dragged myself to the bathroom while one eye refused to open. I made an effort - blew out my hair and put on eyeshadow - but no abs. No scripture. No quick-and-delicious breakfast frittatas and power kale smoothies. No perfection.

Tonight I sit folding loads of laundry and unloading some burdens onto Jesus. I lay out my faults for Him - procrastination, laziness, envy, insecurity, undisicpline. Things that I once thought were signs of immaturity, that I was sure I'd grow out of once I hit 30 - and that I have to now admit are just parts of who I am. I lay my heart bare for Him, and wait. Listen. Gently, lovingly, He disciplines. Reminds me of a simple truth.

that when I compare, whether I come out ahead or behind, it is a foolish exercise in pride. It destroys what He is trying to accomplish, which is to transform me into the woman He designed me to be. With my own strengths, talents, and gifts. And whatever I am good at - wherever my skills and talents align with my passion - that is where God wants to use me. 

(I know, you'd think I would have understood this by now. But I'm a little slow sometimes.)

Case in point: I am not a great singer, to say the least. But I love to sing so much, and I always wanted to be an amazing singer. So now I have these friends who are amazing singers, and I feel jealous of their talent. 

But God speaks the truth to me: "I didn't call you to minister through song. If I wanted you to sing for people, I would have gifted you with a voice people would want to hear."

Harsh. But, I love to sing. Like, passionately.

"Awesome. Sing passionately for your kids. Sing songs about me all day long so they will hide my word in their hearts."

Well, that's lovely and all, but where are the accolades for that?

"I'm supposed to get the accolades, remember?"

Ouch. He disciplines. He loves us too much not to.

Then God lays out for me what I can do. Where my gifts intersect with my passions. I'm funny, and I love to make people laugh. I write well, and I love to write. I'm gifted for hospitality, and I love to have people in my home. I'm a good listener. I make a mean pulled pork. I do great animal noises. I'm reaching, but you get the picture. Figure out how God has gifted you, even in the little ways, and ask Him how He wants to use them.

So I ask, and He instructs me in the ways I should go. How to use my gifts to encourage and bless and minister to the people He places in my life. And how to seek help where I fall short - glean wisdom from His word and from others who are strong where I am weak. I may not be naturally as patient with my children as another mom, but I can watch and learn from someone who is. Not with a jealous heart, but with a humble and honest one.

And if I can't design the perfect bedroom or apply eyeliner or bake the ultimate chocolate chip cookie? Well, that's what Pinterest is for. :)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

when your rudder is broken

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."                                                             James 1:5

Over the past few months, I've been feeling really empty. Physically tired and always out of energy, mentally drained of creative thoughts and ideas. Overwhelmed, undermotivated, and generally burned out. And spiritually, I feel dry and distant and just plain weary. I'm worn down from carrying too many burdens. I'm tired of striving and failing in the same ways again and again. I'm battling a spirit of depression and a mind full of doubts about God's goodness, faithfulness, and providence.

And I'm ashamed of it all.

I hate the disorder in my life, in my home, and in my spirit. I hate that my three-year-old still won't poop in the toilet. I can't stand my squishy, roly-poly body and the fact that I just keep feeding it junk and parking it on the couch. I'm embarrassed by how unfinished and messy and disorganized my home is. I'm disgusted by so many dysfunctional habits and patterns that have persisted in my life for years. And when I look at everyone around me, all I see is successes - moms who are running fast and cooking amazing meals and looking adorable and writing beautiful blogs and speaking calmly to their children and crafting their crafty little butts off. In this Facebook and Pinterest world, everyone is doing incredible things at all hours of the day.

I can't even find the energy and focus to print some pictures off at Costco.

I was never one to hide how I feel, or to ask for help when I needed it. But lately, I've just wanted to keep all the ugly stuff hidden away. I don't want to be vulnerable and raw and honest even with God, much less another person. I feel alone and isolated, craving the fellowship and encouragement of Godly friends, but when I reach for the phone, the enemy whispers, "Nobody wants to hear it. Nobody really cares. Nobody has time for you." So I stay hidden. I slap on some bandaids - a little makeup, a cup of coffee, two or three or seven cookies - and present the best possible version of myself to the world. And then crash into bed at night with the same feelings of sadness and hopelessness and failure.

I hear God calling to me, every day, every hour. "Come to me," he says. "I'm not ashamed of you." But I resist his call, knowing that if I ask him to search me and know me, I am not going to like what he finds.

And so I dragged myself off to church this morning in this same frame of mind. Desperate for an encounter with the Holy Spirit and dreading it at the same time. Then our pastor spoke about Paul and Timothy, and how much we need to seek wisdom, and how our pride and arrogance keep us from seeking it from others. I realized how prideful I've been in not asking for help and advice from other moms who have been where I am now. We are not meant to walk through life alone, even alone with God. We are designed to live in community, learning and gleaning from the experiences of others. Asking for help and wisdom in all of these spaces in my life - parenting and marriage and health and home - does not diminish or belittle me. It turns my inward gaze outward, and it makes me better.

As we stood for worship, I cried tears of relief as I let go of some of my heaviest burdens and rested at the feet of my Savior. Knowing that it's okay to show the world how rudderless my ship has become. There are people who will love me, and come alongside to help me set it straight.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

the disappointed heart

Sobbing, I slumped to the floor of the bathroom. Another trial, another roadblock, another disappointment. I wanted to badly to quit, run away, and try to leave our problems behind.

The attacks of the enemy are relentless lately, hitting us again and again with frustration. God has been at work and Satan has taken notice. We learn to sow joy in the midst of trials; he plants seeds of bitterness and resentment. We practice obedience without foresight; he reminds us of past failures and shows us the easier path of self-interest. We purpose to show our children the love of Jesus; Satan uses the irritations of parenting to drive a wedge between us and our little ones.

Life is not easy right now. My husband's work is a constant source of struggle and frustration. His business has suffered in this economy and we struggle to make ends meet. That tension and burden trickles down into every other part of our lives - how we relate to each other, how we handle the challenges of parenting, how we walk with God. We had many expectations when Ben finally finished school, and it hurts to be disappointed by how things are going so far.

Disappointment is a tough one, isn't it? It's a hard, hard emotion to deal with. There's something intensely vulnerable about feeling let down by something, which is why many people choose to not get their hopes up at all. Investing in something and not seeing it come to fruition makes us feel like we've somehow failed, and it causes us to question God's goodness. I know I have. I can't count how many times I've cried out to Him in a furious despair. "Why won't you change this?!" We watch loved ones struggle and suffer through circumstances far worse than ours and pray earnestly for His hand to turn in their favor. He has the power to change anything, to move any mountain, to intervene in any circumstance. So when he chooses not to - when the answer is no or not yet - we can't help but feel disappointed. In the answer, and maybe even in Him.

From what I've found, the Bible doesn't speak directly to the emotion of disappointment. But it speaks volumes on the two issues at the heart of disappointment - humility and hope. A lot of people don't want to feel disappointment, so they try to go numb instead. But that numbness is masking a prideful heart. God instructs us to put on humility like a garment - Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, and humility (Col. 3:12). God wants me strip off my pride and be vulnerable and honest, with him and with other people. When I humble myself, I can admit my own faults, and gain a clearer perspective on my situation. When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom (Ps. 11:2). And maybe he wants to use my raw, unfiltered hurt and sorrow to encourage someone else to come running to his throne with honesty.

If the playground gets rained out, I can turn my kids' sadness around in five seconds with a cookie. There is usually no such easy fix for grown-up disappointment. The circumstance that disappointed you probably isn't going to change tomorrow. It might not change in a week, or a month, or a year. It might not change on this side of Heaven. I think of a dear friend whose youngest child has had a profoundly debilitating health condition since birth. She walks so faithfully through it all, but I know she has felt the sorrow of disappointed dreams for her little boy. God has not taken away the reason for her disappointment. But he has given her the antidote: Hope. Hope is the only cure for the disappointed heart. And the only true hope is in Christ. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure (Hebrews 6:19). If we know Jesus, we know that the trials of this life are temporary. We know that honest joy in the midst of darkness is possible. We know that he loves us intimately. We know that he uses every heartache and broken dream to bring together his perfect plan and purpose for our lives.

Hope is the reason that I don't run away from home. No matter how deep the hurt of a disappointed dream, God will replace my sadness with the hope of the cross. In Christ alone, my hope is found.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

where the rubber meets the road

I had a great conversation with a friend recently. Out of the blue, it was equal parts encouraging and convicting. It was a divine appointment, the kind of chat that so clearly drove home what the Holy Spirit had been speaking that it could only have come directly from Him. I was sharing with this friend how much I've struggled with my children lately, in the midst of this chaotic season. This friend, who is several years further down the parenting road than I, encouraged me that, with Jesus, I could do it. She then exhorted me, with Jesus, to do it. In a word, get it together, mama.

You see, I have kind of hated parenting lately. I love my boys, but they have been tiny terrors. I know where it's coming from - nothing in our world is normal right now. Their routine is completely upended. They spend hours strapped in their car seats and fed a steady diet of DVDs and fast food. Most importantly, the thing they need and want most in the world, the positive, loving attention of mommy and daddy, has all but disappeared. So they act out, pick fights, talk back, whine, and generally push every button and boundary until Mommy snaps.

And oh, do I ever snap. I never considered myself to have much of a temper until now. But lately, when I finally crash into bed at night, I cringe as I replay the angry words, harsh condemnations, and barked orders that peppered our conversations during the day. My little ones push, and I react. They push, I react. I feel helpless to do anything else, that I have no time or energy to spend getting to the real heart of the problem and coming up with real solutions. My toolbox is limited to yelling, threatening, bribing, and begging, none of which are effective as more than temporary band-aids.

More importantly, those tools, those strategies are doing nothing to teach my children about Jesus.

After the conversation with my friend, I drove home (alone, for a change) and told the Lord about my problem.

"I can't do any better, Lord. I just have nothing left to give right now."

My grace is sufficient for you.

"Sure, under normal circumstances. But this is ridiculous. How can I be expected to model anything to them right now?"

Let's see... Daniel... Job... Joseph... Esther... Boaz...Moses... Paul...  ...  Do I need to keep going?

Humph. "Okay, okay. So my circumstances aren't that bad. But... I'm showing them why Mommy needs Jesus, too. Like, ALL the time. That's good, right?"

That is good. That's a start.


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

"Huh. I haven't really nailed those lately."

Not so much.

"I can't stop yelling at them. I can't stop saying things that I wish I could take back five minutes later."

 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word promotes evil. 

The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil. 

Pleasant words promote instruction. 

"I get it. I'm sorry. I'll start doing better soon, I promise."

Start doing it now. Show them who I am, today.



And so I am. Trying. Present tense. Because it is not okay to just throw up my hands and quit. It's not okay to put a pin in this Godly parenting business and decide I'll pick it back up when life returns to normal. This is when my children need most to see Jesus in me. This is when I need to show them not just why Mommy needs Jesus, but what Jesus does in Mommy. It's good for them to see me screw up. It's great for them to see forgiveness in action. It's even better, I would argue, for them to see repentance. Transformation. Obedience and faithfulness, in my words and my actions, when it's really, really hard. That's where they learn who He is and what He does with hopeless, helpless people.

Gentle words. Kind hands. Loving attitude. Go team.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

the curveball

In my mind, my postpartum period with Madelyn was going to be different. I can barely remember Lucas as a newborn. My mind and energy were completely preoccupied with my two-year-old, and the beginning of Luke's life was a total blur. This time, I was determined to slow down. Ignore the house. Order takeout. Let the flabby belly lie. This time, I was going to sit, sing and rock the baby, get down on the floor with the boys, and just enjoy.

But we were thrown a curveball. 

We'd been home with Maddie for just a few weeks when she came down with a respiratory virus and had to go into the hospital for several days. But that wasn't the curveball. Scary and stressful, certainly. But then, after weeks of virtually no sleep, I was running on less than empty when we got the news, out of the blue, that we were out of a home. The owners of our house, who less than a week before had agreed to us signing another lease, had decided instead to sell. And we have to be out by the end of May.

Cue Major Mommy Meltdown.

A move is incredibly stressful any time. Moving with little kids is even more stress. Moving with a brand new baby, two frenetic balls of boy energy, and two unbearably exhausted parents is just a nightmare. We've spent days and days searching for a new home. Driving around for hours with fussy, bickering, crying kids in the backseat, shuffling them from one friend to another to give them some time to play. Arguing over price, location, schools, and  yards. Trying desperately to get ONE THING clean in the house that is a complete disaster and has to be inspected. Wondering how I am ever going to get this house packed up, cleaned out, moved over, unpacked, and put away again. I am consumed with stress from the minute I wake up until I finally crash at night.

And while all this is going on, I've got these two little boys who need their mama so badly, and just can't seem to get her. They fight with each other, they argue with me, they get into everything and make mess after mess after mess. And then they're sweet as pie... for five whole minutes. And then they're fighting again. And the baby cries, and needs to eat. Again. And the dog makes a mess on the floor that I JUST SHAMPOOED. Someone is always crying, always in trouble, always needing something from me right this second.

In other words, life. This is the life I chose when I chose to have children and stay home with them. And I love this life. The struggle is nothing new, this battle between the pull of busyness and the needs of my children. I know this challenge like the back of my hand. But right now, with the added upheaval of having to move, it's like life magnified times a hundred.

And I confess to you, I am not handling it all that well.

I'm really trying. Reading the Word every day. Forcing myself to slow down, even as my mind is racing with everything that has to be done. Reigning in my tongue and my temper. But I'm failing, a lot. My kids are basically being raised by TV, fast food, and yelling. I'm not going to lie, I hate this season. It's making me crazy.

But God doesn't lead us into any season of life without knowing exactly how we will get through it. He sees the other side of this. He knows where we're going to live, how we're going to afford it, who is going to magically appear to help us move all this furniture. He doesn't ask us to pretend to like it. But he does ask us to trust him, and to walk in obedience in the middle of the trial. Which means, I can't just throw up my hands and quit trying. I keep turning to him. I keep asking for direction, and making room to listen. I ask my kids for forgiveness and control my tongue and temper again. I reset. I repent. I press in.

The blessing is waiting on the other side, but the blessing is right here in the middle, too. Believe it or not.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

my cup overflows

There is just so much to share. Over the past few weeks I have been completely overwhelmed with blessings, specific answers to prayer, and an awareness of God's incredible, perfect timing in our lives. I've written countless blog posts in my mind and cannot wait to share with you all some of the lessons and truths that I've learned through the journey of this pregnancy. But for now, with my sleep-deprived mind working at half-speed, and my window of opportunity only as long as my children will nap, I'll share just a few of my prayers during this pregnancy and the answers that came.

I prayed for a healthier, easier pregnancy that would allow me to be a good mom to my boys.
A third trimester that was considerably easier than either of my other pregnancies. I had far fewer headaches, less fatigue and nausea, and fewer aches and pains. Sure, by the end I felt pretty much like I'd been run over by a bus, but a smaller bus. I struggled quite a bit in the first half of my pregnancy with depression and irritability, but in the second half I felt my spirits lift considerably and felt much more able to love on my little boys every day. I was far from perfect - they have never watched so much tv as they have in the last few weeks - but I think they felt loved.

I prayed for a healthy baby.
Our precious baby girl was born whole and healthy. She has the same condition in her trachea as Lucas had in his larynx, and so we have another squeaker baby. But, it's nothing that hurts her or puts her at risk in any way, and we know she'll grow out of it. Considering my enormous anxiety that something terrible would come of having had to take loads of painkillers again during this pregnancy, my prayers for God's grace to cover over my little girl's health were answered with a resounding YES.

I prayed for financial blessing for my husband in his work, and for our family to "catch a break" that would allow us to be relieved of some burdensome debt.
The week before Madelyn was born, Ben received his healthiest paycheck in over six months. A few days later, we received our tax returns, which were generous, and which came much earlier than we expected. The timing was extraordinary - Ben had just the right number of days to settle bills, pay off a good deal of our debt, and pay for some needs and even a couple of "wants."

I prayed for a better job for my sister.
This one may seem random, but it's been a burden on my heart for years. The week before Madelyn was born, my sister got a new, full-time job with better pay, health insurance, and other benefits that will be an enormous blessing to her. I'm still praying for my sister-in-law to find the perfect job, but I know God has it for her.

I prayed that we would be able to be able to share the birth of our child with certain loved ones, and for my kids to be well cared-for during our hospital stay.
We had my parents with us in the delivery room when both boys were born, and we wanted to share this birth with Ben's mom and sister, since they now live close. The logistics were daunting, especially making arrangements for our kids (our two boys and Heather's son). God provided exactly what we needed for all of it to come together, and Becky and Heather were able to be with us when our baby girl made her way into the world. It was an incredible experience for all of us and such a blessing to get to share it.

I prayed to see Jesus work in my husband's heart and mind.
We've made no secret of Ben's recent struggles with his work and personal struggles with anxiety and depression. While his job challenges remain largely the same, the transformation in his heart and mind over the past year has been amazing. I certainly can't speak for everything that God has taught him, but from what I can see, God has spoken so much truth to Ben about who he is in Christ, and Ben has learned to surrender everything to God and walk in the quiet confidence of His goodness. God has brought some wonderful, wise, Godly men from our church to walk alongside Ben as friends and mentors. My heart is incredibly full to see how Ben is in turn reaching out to minister to other men, in the church and outside of it. What a privilege it is see the man I have always loved deeply become more and more a man after God's own heart.

I prayed to see Jesus work in my heart and mind.
This one was, of course, the most critical prayer. Without the continued work of Jesus in my life, I would never have made it through this pregnancy, let alone be able to face the coming days and years with joy and peace. Through this season, as I struggled with my own depression, anxiety, and doubts of God's goodness, He pursued me relentlessly. I learned (again, and again) to surrender, to choose obedience over my emotions, to allow Him to do in and through me what He wanted. And in the process, I learned new and deeper truths about my the lover of my soul, about who He is and who I am in Him. I know that our "new normal" as parents of three will bring many challenging days, but I can rest in knowing that Jesus has the answer for every problem and question that we will face.

I really can't do justice to the intricate way that God orchestrated every part of this pregnancy and birth to allow His glory to shine. My words are completely inadequate to pass along to you every beautiful truth that He has taught me in the recent months. But trust me, it's good. He is good.

p.s. If you'd like to read the story of Madelyn's birth, head on over to my other blog - A Work in Progress... but give it me day or two. :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012


The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.                                                                                                         - Zephaniah 3:17

Quiet is rare in my life. My two young boys are frenetic balls of energy, and they are LOUD. They fill most moments of the day with noise - yelling, singing, vrooming, laughing,chattering, fighting, and whining. I try to cherish the little kid noise, knowing that in a heart beat, my home will be too quiet. But there are times when I just long for quiet. To surf the web, read a chapter, even make an uninterrupted phone call. I savor the moments when their mouths are busy eating, or a cartoon actually captures their attention. And bedtime... well, we all know bedtime is the greatest. I'm trying to teach my children that while noise and commotion are fine at times, quiet moments are just as important. There is just something wonderful about a little bit of silence.

So often, it's my own spirit that needs to be quieted. My mind races, ruminating worries and what-ifs and if-only's. I fight with anxiety over things I can't control. I struggle to bring my concerns to His throne and leave them there. I wake up during the night, gripped with fear over some circumstance or trial we're facing, wondering if God can really handle our finances, our future, our children. I wrestle with doubts of His presence and goodness. 

In those moments, the Holy Spirit draws near to perform one of his greatest works. He quiets me. He settles my spirit and calms my fears. He reminds me of His long, unbroken story of faithfulness to His children. He reminds me of my part in that story. He gives me strength to keep walking in confidence in the face of uncertainty and adversity.

If I let him.

You see, God doesn't force Himself on us. He pursues us, certainly, with an unrelenting, unparalleled determination. But He doesn't force us to accept His gifts. When I feel stressed out, irritable, angry, anxious - when my spirit is chaotic and disordered and full of noise - I can choose to stay in that place and fret. Stew. Simmer. Or, I can choose to forgive, to release resentment, to take captive my thoughts of worry and fear and turn them over to Him. If I choose to, I can let Him love on me. Comfort me. Quiet me.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Oh, yeah, I have a blog.

So... it's been awhile. In my mind, I've written countless blog posts over the past many months. Too bad it stopped there. I have plenty of excuses for my literary silence, and I make no promises that I will be writing regularly for some time. But I thought I'd pop in to confirm that I am, in fact, still alive.

We are expecting Baby #3 in about 6 weeks, give or take. We're thrilled to have a little girl on the way, and Madelyn Kate can't come soon enough for this worn=out Mama. Overall, this pregnancy has been easier than the other two - fewer headaches and much less nausea, at least. But I've been extremely fatigued, and many weeks of my pregnancy were marked by depression, anxiety, and a crazy amount of irritability. I've really struggled with controlling my temper and my words with my two little boys, yelled at them more than I ever imagined I could. I've felt despair in the face of circumstances that seem impossible, and questioned whether God was hearing any of my prayers. But I've also learned so much about His goodness and grace at work in my shamefully imperfect life. I can't wait to share some of those lessons with you all. For today, I'll leave you with a piece of scripture that has been my touchstone lately, from Zephaniah 3:17:

"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."