Friday, September 23, 2011

More Than You'll Ever Know


That's the topic of this post.

Over the past few months, our family has been through a lot of stretching and pulling.  I know that is how the Lord works.  He loves us exactly the way we are, and yet His love is so deep that He refuses to let us stay that way.  I have a habit though, of resisting change.  Yet God in His kindness will continue the good work He has begun.  He won't allow me (or my family) to remain shallow.

To be honest, this pregnancy has been such a peaceful and easy and calm and natural experience for me physically and emotionally- but financially and spiritually it has challenged our family in ways I really wasn't prepared for.  It is funny how it always comes back to trust.  When I was pregnant with Emme, I spent the entire pregnancy learning about trust- and constantly having to lean into the Lord, knowing that He would take care of her and also letting go of so much fear after our miscarriage.  This time around, it has been facing another fear- namely, financial insecurity and fear of the unknown. 

I am so thankful to the Lord for allowing me to stay at home with my children.  There is truly no greater joy for me than to be with them every day, teaching, playing, knowing their little nuances, capturing every special moment.  It is a treasure that is priceless, and I am blessed, blessed, blessed by it!! I am thankful that my husband feels the same way, and that he works countless hours to make sure I am able to care for them.  Living on one income has never felt "burdensome" to me.  But when the costs of this pregnancy, and anticipating health care, and every day needs as JB arrives started to become more of a reality,  I confess it drove us to our knees. We still aren't sure about how it is all going to work out.  But what I am learning (over and over) is that God wants our family to rely completely and fully on Him alone. 

And am I so foolish not to believe His Word?  Doesn't He take care of simple things like birds and flowers?  Didn't He hand-pick JB and place him in my womb at just the right time?  Isn't He completely and totally aware of our situation- and isn't He bigger than our day-to-day anxieties? 

Even though I still don't have the answers, and the big picture is unclear, I know that God's timing is perfect... rarely early, but never late.  He is Jehovah Jireh, my Provider.  And there are people in my life that He is using in ways they probably can't even imagine to provide for our family's needs.  I am so thankful for those people (and you know who you are) who have allowed me to be vulnerable, have prayed with me, have lifted my family up in prayer, have provided babysitting, have given time and resources, have given generously in so many ways.  You are the hands and feet of Jesus. And when I am feeling weak and afraid, He has used  you, and continues to use you to encourage me and remind me of how big our God really is. 

I don't know how to repay my friends and family that have so willingly taken on our family's needs and cares and continue to love us sacrificially.  Thank you for being the body of Christ to me.  But I hope this song will share a little of my gratitude, as you mean to me More Than You'll Ever Know (courtesy of Watermark).

 Something brought you to my mind today
I thought about the funny ways you make me laugh
And yet I feel like it's okay to cry with you
Something about just being with you
When I leave I feel like I've been near God
And that's the way it ought to be...

'Cause you've been more than a friend to me
You fight off my enemies
'Cause you've spoken the Truth over my life
And you'll never know what it means to me
Just to know you've been on your knees for me
Oh, you have blessed my life
More than you'll ever know, yeah, yeah, yeah
More than you'll ever know, yeah, yeah, yeah

You had faith, when I had none
You prayed God would bring me a brand new song
When I didn't think I could find the strength to sing
And all the while I'm hoping that I'll
Do the kind of praying for you that you've done for me
And that's the way it ought to be...

You have carried me
You have taken upon a burden that wasn't your own
And may the blessing return to you
A hundredfold, oh yeah...
A hundredfold, oh yeah...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Birthing from Within: Part II

We just finished up our last birthing class last night.  It has really been a blessing to learn more and gain confidence about the whole process.  I have a lot to be thankful for, especially our sweet friends, the Sraders, who have taken care of Emme every Tuesday night so that we could go without paying for a sitter.  I am also so thankful for the wisdom of the midwives, Betty and Jean, and birth assistant, Marissa.  It never ceases to make me smile when I hear them add in things like, "That is the way God intended it..." or "We believe God designed things this way..." etc.  It is so cool to know that the people that will be with you during one of the most vulnerable times in life also share your faith in the Lord.  I "graduated" yesterday evening feeling excited and very much looking forward to JB's arrival, and ready to put into practice the tools that I have gained over the past 6 weeks.

Last night we got to talk a lot about post partum care and breastfeeding, both of which were really important topics for me personally, so it was great to have a whole class devoted to that.  I feel so much more prepared, and while of course you can never predict what birth will look like- it seems as though I have many more ways to cope and remain flexible this time around.  I can't explain how different it all feels this time. So much less anxiety, just embracing and enjoying the natural process, and also feeling much more joyfulness about the prospect of bringing home a newborn instead of fear.

I have about 8 1/2 weeks until my due date and am enjoying this time with just Emme and Ben.  I know that things will no doubt be crazy for awhile with an infant and readjusting to late night/early morning feedings, schedules, gear, nursing, and all that fun stuff.  I really am doing my best to treasure this little window of opportunity and soak up "Emme time."  I'm also surprised at how much of a bond I already feel with JB.  I have a lot of love for this little guy- and I guess I don't remember feeling this attached before!!  I'm typically such a thinker personality that I can really sabotage myself and take a lot of the fun out of things because I'm always processing it and making things complicated (really annoying personality trait I might add). So its neat how God just continues to pump me full of awesome hormones and happiness about this birth, and how by His goodness I've been able to sit back and relax.  I am so thrilled for the next chapter of life.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Meet John Bailey

My two best friends surprised me with an amazing gift for my 28th birthday, something that I never would have done for myself, but was so, so cool to experience!  They blessed me with a 3D/4D ultrasound of my sweet little boy!! I was really excited because I have only had one sonogram with JB and it was at 18 weeks- when he still looked very "skeletor" and we didn't come away with any cute little baby profile pictures.  Anyway, the prime time for a 3D sono is 28-32 weeks when the baby is perfectly round and well developed but not so stretched for space that they can't move much (isn't it funny how this also coincides with the time when Mommy also feels beautiful and "cute" pregnant but shortly before she starts to feel like a small elephant?) ;)

So now that I am officially 30 weeks, we scheduled our appointment and it was awesome! I must admit that I wasn't prepared for how attached and in love I would feel in seeing John's sweet baby face. It was extremely real and I could not believe the details we could make out. I was literally melting when I got to see his chubby cheeks, pensive expressions, tiny toes, and adorable nose. He is quite the handsome fellow if I do say so myself. I'll share my proof with you...

Needless to say, I am just a wee bit excited to meet this little guy.  10 more weeks? I think I can handle that. :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Faith Like a Child

It has been really eye opening lately to see just how much Emme is able to communicate.  For so long, you say things to your kids, hoping and praying that some of it is being absorped.  I feel like I am always praying for Emme to have a heart that it is sensitive to the things of the Lord, that she would have an intimate relationship with Christ in a personal way even from an early age, and that she would understand that obedience brings blessing, not that it is just a set of rules from Mommy and Daddy.

All of that to say God has really started showing me that He is working His ways in our little ones lives, even if at times it is hard to see and you wonder when there will be any fruit.  I wanted to document just a few of the "revelations" I have been noticing.  Not because there is any glory in those for Ben and I, but because we rejoice that even in our sinful, selfish, imperfections- Christ will still make Himself known to the smallest of these.

Emme has started to use the word "Obey" more frequently.  Like, "Mommy or Daddy said, Obey" or "I obey/Emme obey."  That alone to me has been such an encouragement.  One of the things that Ben and I both pray for her is that she will have  a clear understanding of the place of authority in her life, that it comes from God, and that as her parents we are a steward of that authority.  I have been trying to use this phrase with her (I know that I can't expect 1st time obedience on every occasion with a 2 year old) to help her remember that obedience needs to happen right away because whatever it is could be important for safety, or removing her from harm, etc. "Obey, Obey, Without Delay!"  It is really cute when I hear her say "Wifout Deway!"

She has also started saying, "I go church." many times when we get in the car :) I love that she enjoys church and also that she is understanding that it is a normal part of our routine.  The other day she was in the guest bathroom and happened to pull out a cross key chain from a bathroom drawer.  She picked it up and said, "Jesus on Cross."  Wow.  It just baffles me that even at 2, she is picking up on Bible stories and truths that we are repeating, even if it seems at the time that she isn't getting it at all.

Emme also loves, loves music.  She has memorized Jesus Loves Me, and we sing it together every night before bed.  Oh  I love to hear that little voice singing such precious words!!  She also started saying, "I got joy joy joy in my heart!" "Daddy got joy joy joy in my heart!" "Mommy got joy joy joy in my heart!" So funny.  It is just neat to see God working Himself into her being. 

I am encouraged that God cares for these little ones.  He desires after them, just as He desires after us and wants us to know Him more deeply.