7 Prayers of a Joyfully Exhausted Momma: Day 7 – Legacy of Love

7 Prayers of a Joyfully Exhausted Momma: Day 7 – Legacy of Love

Day 7 – Legacy of Love

If we’re going to pass anything along to our children, let’s give them a legacy of love. All of our previous prayers help build exactly that. Our actions and words are incredibly powerful. But our prayers will transform their lives.

Let’s create a home of love—love for Jesus, for each other and for others. I want my kids to always feel comfortable walking through these doors and sprawling on the sofa, even when they’re grown. While they’re little, I want our home to be a place of loving security and fun. As they get older, I want them to know that they will always belong here, and and that their hearts will always be safe here. I want them to feel validated, heard and understood. I desperately desire to keep open communication with them through thick and thin. I want them to know, that I am always, always on their team.

You are doing an incredible job! You are making a difference, even when you feel like what you’re doing is unimportant or overlooked. I see you, momma. We’re in this thing together. And remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup, so fill your own heart too.

Jesus, 

Help us to be mommas of love. Pierce the deepest parts of our hearts so that every area is transformed by the power of Your love. Show us how to be more like You, because You are the only perfect love. May we pass a legacy of love to our children, and may they always know my love for them…and above all, YOUR love for them! Thank you for the sweet little hearts in my care. In Your name, Amen!

We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. Psalm 78:4

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:5-7

7 Prayers of a Joyfully Exhausted Momma: Day 4 – Unwavering Faith

7 Prayers of a Joyfully Exhausted Momma: Day 4 – Unwavering Faith

 

Day 4 – Unwavering Faith

We will do anything for our children, won’t we? Even the quietest momma has the potential to become an angry momma bear when the situation arises. When they’re babies, we childproof our homes to keep them physically safe. As they get a little older, we can try to bubblewrap them (Not literally, of course. That would be weird. Hilarious, but weird), but we know we can’t keep them from scraping their knees, or running into walls, or breaking bones. Our desire to keep them safe goes deeper than worrying about scraped and bruised knees. One day, our little ones will walk out into the world. They will go off to school, college, get their own apartment, move across the country…or even across the world. We won’t always know exactly where they’re at or be able to guard over them. If you’re like me, even the idea of them experiencing heartbreak, or trials, or pain, or devastation, rips my heart out. But the beauty of Jesus is that He will always see them, know exactly where they’re at, be in every detail of every situation in their lives…and He cares for and loves them so much that He died for them. We may wish we could absorb pain for our kids, but Jesus actually did. That doesn’t mean they’ll experience a pain-free life, but it does mean that they will have the greatest Comforter and Protector by their sides.

When trials come, when heartbreak happens, when sadness and grief enters into my children’s lives (and all of that will happen), I want them to be able to navigate through it with Jesus. I desperately desire for their faith be anchored so deeply inside of their hearts, that leaning into Jesus comes as naturally as breathing. We can’t create faith for them. We can’t make them trust Jesus. But we can do 3 things. And these things will change everything:

  • Model unwavering (not perfect) faith in our own lives
  • Teach them Scripture
  • Pray, pray, pray

Merciful God,

I know You love my kids more than my own human heart can. Jesus, pursue them. Grab a hold of their hearts and strengthen their faith. May my own faith and relationship with You be authentic and real, and pour over into the lives of my children. Holy Spirit, show me specific ways to nurture their faith and continually point their hearts to You. I ask that You cover them, go before them, and show them Your love in tangible ways. Even while they are very young, speak to them. Build their faith, Lord, so that they never let go of You. Instead of using all my energy worrying, remind me that You have secured them. Instead of viewing my kids as something to keep safe, help me to see them as arrows to be released into the world. Give me wisdom on how to parent them in this way. In Your name, Amen.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

7 Prayers of a Joyfully Exhausted Momma: Day 1 – Sibling Bonds

7 Prayers of a Joyfully Exhausted Momma: Day 1 – Sibling Bonds

Day 1 – Sibling Bonds

The bond between siblings is a powerful one. Oh sure, there are wrestling matches on the sofa, and arguments over whose turn it is to use the coveted blue sippy cup…and attempts to duct tape your sister to the wall to see if it actually works (or so I’ve heard.)  But beneath the healthy quarrels and natural arguments, there’s an intertwining of heartstrings—a deepness that only siblings share. Some days that intertwining may seem tight. Some days it may seem loose. Other days it may seem completely undone. But despite whether or not our kids “get along” everyday, we want that bond and connection to put down deep roots. We want our kids to grow into adults that love, respect, encourage and protect one another. We want kids that are always on the same team—Team Family.

Dear Jesus,

You are a God who ties hearts together and strengthens relationships. I pray that my children’s love for one another would continue to mature as the years go on; that they would be able to rely on, confide in and encourage one another like only a sibling can. No matter how different their personalities are, Jesus, I pray that their love and bond always draws them closer to You and to each other. Give me wisdom as a momma on how to nurture these bonds and create a tight-knit home. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2-3

No, I’m Not Enough

No, I’m Not Enough

 

You are enough.

I’ve heard and read those words a thousand times. And they’re nice, aren’t they? This idea that I’m sufficient the way I am. But as I ran across those words the other day—you are enough— something caused my eyes to linger over them. I examined each word, confused by the prickliness I suddenly felt by the statement.

You are enough.

“But I’m not enough,” I thought to myself. “I’m not.”

Over the course of the past year, I’ve experienced an amazing truth…I am not enough. And it has been one of the most freeing, empowering, beautiful truths that the Lord has graciously revealed to me.

My motherhood is currently the most important, sacred task I’ve been given. I’ve always wanted children even when I was a child myself. When inquiring grown ups would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would always answer, “a mommy.” (Well, there was a period of time when my answer also included “a doctor” but as I got older I realized that I’d have to deal with blood and germs and death on a regular basis, and the whole “doctor” idea fizzled away.)

Now that I am a mommy, I desperately want to do this parenting thing well. And boy, do I try. I give it everything I’ve got. I muster up energy when I’m already running on fumes. I give 100 more kisses and cuddles and tuck everyone into their beds when I desperately just want to melt into my own bed. I want to teach my babies about Jesus and build their faith and love for him, even when I’m still learning all of that myself.  But even when I give it my everything, it’s still not enough. And that’s because I am not meant to be everything to everybody all the time. I can’t be. It’s not fair to me, and it’s definitely not fair to my little people. Or to anyone else for that matter.

It is only where I end and Jesus begins that true fullness, complete satisfaction, and enoughness is found.

(No, the word enoughness isn’t actually a word. And yes, I just used it…and will probably use it again.)

I have come to the edge of my own limitations—as a mom, but also as a woman. Things I’ve always avoided because I wasn’t “enough” to do them. And yet, that is exactly where God has called me to—beyond myself. (He tends to do that, doesn’t He?)

I remember a conversation I had with God last year that changed everything. I was preparing to speak at the hospital I miscarried twice at. I knew God had given me this holy opportunity. I knew I had to do it and that I needed to do it. And really, I wanted to do it. Yet, I kept explaining to God that I wasn’t enough to do it. “I’m not qualified enough to talk to these people. I’m not eloquent. I’m not an expert on the issue. And I’m definitely not super excited to bare my soul to a group of complete strangers.” And just to make sure God understood how inadequate I was, I ended my thought-conversation with God with these words: “I can’t do it. I’m not enough.” Just as clear as I had tried to make a point, I heard His response…every single word.

“You’re right, you can’t do this. You aren’t enough.”

I was a little taken aback with God’s response. I expected something a little more glitter-and-rainbowy. Maybe a supernatural energy boost or perhaps a spiritual pep talk with words like, “No, my child. You are enough. You are amazing and you can do this! Now get out there and be awesome.”

But nope. Didn’t hear that. At all.

“You’re right, you can’t do this. You aren’t enough.”

But that wasn’t the end of his statement. There were 3 more words: “But I am.”

I’m not enough, but he is.

I can’t do this, but he can.

And just like that, the paralyzing fear of not being enough melted away. The weight of my own limitations dissipated. Any hesitation to walk in obedience was replaced with a new boldness. The only things remaining were my willingness, and God’s ability.

I realized if I’m going live life according to my own limitations and boundaries, my soul will always be malnourished. I will only see a fraction of what could have been. And if I rely solely on my own abilities, resources, and circumstances, then I have no need for God.

If I want to experience fullness, abundance and enoughness in my life, I need Jesus. Because he is the only source of those things.

I’m the right mom for my kids, but I’m not enough. He is.

I want to be a great wife, but I’m not enough. He is.

I want to walk alongside other women who have lost babies and comfort them, but I’m not enough. He is.

I want to step out in obedience to God’s leading, no matter how rocky the terrain, but I’m not enough. He is.

Am I loved? Totally! Am I valued? Absolutely! Am I enough? No…

…but I know the One who is. And He is all I need. He is all you need.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

He Covers

He Covers

As I laid in bed with my daughter telling her stories before bedtime, we could hear the thunder getting louder. At first it was so faint, she was unaffected by the distant rumbles.

A few minutes later, the claps of thunder got closer and louder. She stopped for a moment and held still, realizing a storm was beginning to pass over us. “Can you get closer to me, momma?”

A couple more booms and she interrupted our story. “Momma…can you get your arms and hands and hold me?”

I moved as close as I could to her and wrapped my arms around her, holding her head close to my chest. I could feel her nervousness in the tension of her little body. I hated that she so scared, but I loved being right there with her—guarding over her, wrapped around her. We finished our story and I sang our nightly lullaby. Ever so slowly her breathing softened and her muscles relaxed.

Even after she fell asleep, I laid there for a few extra minutes absorbing the sweetness of my girl’s words—“can you get your arms and hands and hold me?” I loved that I was her security. I loved that I was the one that brought her comfort and peace. I loved it because sometimes…I just need that too.

Whether it’s been one of those days, or I’m in the thick of a really challenging life issue, there are times my heart begs God, “Can you please just get your arms and hands and hold me?” Some days I just need to feel that comfort and security wrapped around me and covering me completely.

God, can you please just get your arms and hands and hold me?

God’s Word says that he is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46:1), our rock, fortress, deliverer and shield (Psalm 18:2). The entire book of Psalms is overflowing with people’s pleas for God’s rescuing, as well as declarations of God’s faithfulness.

After I lost our first baby six years ago, I laid in an ER bed trying to process the emotional and physical brokenness that I had just endured. The chaplain walked in to talk with us. He laid a mint green shawl down the length of my body, covering me. It was crocheted by a hospital ministry and given to mommas who had just lost a baby. Over the next few weeks, I held it, I wrapped it around my, and I covered myself with it. And every time I physically covered my body with it, my heart was being covered too.

As humans, we all have this need to be covered in different ways. We need shelter to cover our families. We need clothing to cover our bodies. We need bandages to cover our wounds. Maybe you’ve even heard the expression, “I’m covering you in prayer.” We are all in need of covering.

Even now, as I pray at night, I ask God to cover my life and everyone and everything in it. Cover it with his protection, his blessing, his anointing.

When it seems like darkness is swallowing the world, He covers.

When evil threatens the security of our hearts and minds, He covers.

When anxiety attempts to steal our peace, He covers.

It doesn’t mean that the pain dissolves—but He promises to cover you with comfort. It doesn’t mean that brokenness disappears—but He promises to cover with restoration.

Our God is a God who covers. He sees and knows and covers. His love covers you and it destroys fear. His light covers you and it drives out darkness.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4

Something Bigger Is Happening

Something Bigger Is Happening

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I am not an avid news watcher. Hours of death, destruction and hatred—then at the end, throw in a story about a squirrel that can water ski to lighten things up. I’m sorry, but there aren’t enough water skiing rodents in the entire world to lighten the burdens of the evening news. I just can’t do it. But whether or not we actually sit down and watch a news broadcast, the many devices and social platforms we have definitely keep us plugged into worldwide happenings the instant they occur. There’s really no escaping it.

My family and I went to lunch the other day. And about 5 minutes after we sat down, our waitress asked, “Did you hear about the shooting? My sister just called me and said there’s an active shooter near the hospital.” Her next question was, “And what would you like to drink?” And in one of those weird moments where you say something you never thought you’d hear yourself say, I replied, “Oh my goodness, I haven’t heard anything about the shooting…and…umm…I’ll take a Coke…”

My husband got on his phone and sure enough, every local news station was covering the story but very few details were available. We just sat there, unsettled by the fact that there was a shooter loose in our city.

And this story isn’t isolated. My newsfeed and heart have been completely overwhelmed lately with horrendous stories of a pastor’s pregnant wife being murdered in their own home; crowds of innocent people being targeted with bombs; families being driven out of their towns, forced to leave behind everything they know. My mind can’t comprehend the pain, devastation and brokenness that other humans are experiencing at this very moment.

And sometimes, I have a really hard time with it all.

Lord, how does this happen to the innocent? To people who love you? To children? None of it makes sense.

I battle and I pray and still…I just don’t understand. I will never understand. And when all feels like chaos, I desperately cling to the truth that the only place my heart will remain secure is in Jesus. Even when I don’t understand why. Especially when I don’t understand why.

There is something bigger happening here. And I desperately long to perceive it on a deeper level.

In a heartbreaking situation where a man’s wife was brutally attacked then murdered in their own home, his reaction was one of forgiveness…and love. How can a man respond like that to something so hellish?

There’s something bigger happening here.

When bombs went off and the lives of thousands of people were forever changed in the matter of seconds, it would seem that was the end of the story. Yet numerous reports of kindness, selflessness and unity are surfacing from those unlikely moments of devastation.

There’s something bigger happening here.

People who are making their way across foreign lands—who have lost children, parents, and siblings because of the God they worship—refuse to forsake His name. They are struggling to just to stay alive, but will not reject the Savior they serve. He is all that they have. They’ve literally had everything and everyone they love taken away because of their unwavering faith. Yet, they hold steadfast in proclaiming His name.

There’s something bigger happening here.

With all of the fear that surrounds these evil attacks that have been carried out by evil itself, I know that peace—real peace—will come only from my Lord. And when the uncertainty of tomorrow is too heavy to hold, I will meditate on the One who is already there. When nothing can be trusted, I will place my trust in Him.

Because there’s something bigger happening here.

The continual existence of evil and the pain of the innocent still doesn’t make sense—but when the voices of the broken speak of things like hope and forgiveness and wholeness, it’s clear that something bigger is happening within the raw details and moments of their lives. And that bigger thing is the power of Jesus.

Blessed be the Lord!

    For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;

    in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;

my heart exults,

    and with my song I give thanks to him.

The Lord is the strength of his people;

    he is the saving refuge of his anointed.

Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!

    Be their shepherd and carry them forever.

Psalm 28:6-9

A Love Note To Who I Used To Be

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To the girl I used to be,

I know you lay in bed at night and cry. You are surrounded by people, but feel so lonely. Your heart feels empty, yet it still aches. It’s constantly seeking love, but only finds counterfeit versions and temporary highs that make you feel loved in that short-lived moment.

But you are loved.

You long to be cherished, but you think the only way that will happen is if you keep pretending, keep acting like the girl you wish you could be. You don’t show them the real you, because you are terrified that it’s not enough, that you are not enough.

But you are enough.

The idea that someone would embrace your quirks, your imperfections, the real you, almost feels like a silly dream. But still, you dream. You work tirelessly to be beautiful, because you desperately desire for someone to think that you are beautiful.

But you are beautiful.

You will give in to fear and run away. You will not finish your college degree with everyone and I’m afraid that’s something you’ll regret for years. But it’s ok. Because of that, you will learn to work harder for what you want. You will learn to appreciate time, money and perseverance much more. You will have moments of feeling like you’re not as academically smart as everyone else, but you will soon realize the truth.

You are smart.

While many others take the direct route in life, you’ve always taken the scenic route. It may not be like you imagined, but please look around and enjoy the scenery. Don’t get caught up on little details.

You whisper to God through your tears, “Why are You holding on to me so tightly?”

But He will always hold you tightly.

Sweet girl, life is going to get hard. There will be a time where your world falls apart. But I promise, it will be ok. You will feel like a wanderer, like you have no home. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. One day you will look back and see that it was those first painful steps that set the direction in your wild adventure. With every step, even the ones you hesitate taking or the ones that make you stumble, your legs will grow stronger, your heart will become braver and your spirit will feel freer.

He will always hold you tightly.

You will marry your best friend. Don’t panic about not knowing how to cook, he loves cooking and you will not starve to death. You will find out that marriage is hard, but so worth it. Fight for it everyday. Focus on Jesus and your marriage will be clearer too. (And keep doing your impressions and telling your jokes. He secretly finds them hilarious.)

You will have babies. You will lose babies. You have never known heartache like you will during this time. But remember, He remains faithful. You will be able to more fiercely love others who are hurting because you too bear wounds. You will experience the heart of Jesus in ways you otherwise wouldn’t have. And it will change you. You will taste bitterness, but you will also taste the sweetest of blessings. Your babies will teach you about yourself, about God, and unconditional love.

He will always hold you tightly.

No matter what, love Jesus. He is your compass. You will see His fingerprints all over your life. So stay close to Him. And if you ever need a reminder, just listen. The constant rhythm of His heartbeat echoes His steadfast love for you.

You are loved. You are beautiful. You are enough. And He will always hold you tightly.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”  John 10:27-29

…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Shadow Monsters

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Do you remember waking up from a bad dream as a child?

In the first few seconds after waking up, my room always seemed darker. And suddenly I was aware of every single shadow being cast on my walls. They towered over me like some child-eating monster out of a storybook. If you were like me, your first reaction was to cover yourself with your impenetrable shield of protection…your bedspread. Absolutely nothing could infiltrate it. The only flaw in your bedspread-defense is that the air starts to run out. First it gets hot, then it gets heavy, and then runs out completely. So you had better figure out your next strategic move before you pass out and get eaten up by a shadow monster.

As I took shelter under my sheets, I strategized an escape plan. But just the idea of letting my toes dangle over the edge of my mattress sent shivers to my completely rational, undramatic core, much less actually making a break for it. Ask any child and they’ll tell you that the moment your feet hit the floor, you have exactly .264 seconds to start running to the door, because something will grab your foot from under the bed. It’s just a fact.

The fear would grow and grow until there was only one thing left to do. I would work up enough courage to pull the covers down, just low enough to expose my mouth, then shout into the horrible blackness…

“MOMMYYYYYYYYYYYY!”

I needed her. I needed the comfort and peace that presence brought. And we all know that a mommy’s presence vanquishes any fear from bad dreams or shadow monsters.

I truly wonder how my mom got through my terror stage of the “Half Man, Half Monkey” (Thank you Sci-Fi commercial, thank you.) It didn’t matter if I was awake or asleep. If it was dark, I was scared. She had her presence requested (that’s a nice way to say I screamed bloody murder for her) countless times. To make things worse, I also discovered the movie, “Harry and The Hendersons.” AWESOME. I went to the kitchen one night for some water and as I sat at the dining room table, the realization hit me. Bigfoot was under the table. I should have just stayed parched in my bed…under my bedspread. I thought to myself, “So this is the end. What a way to go. So long, world. It’s been a great seven years.” To this day, I’m thankful that I was brave enough to look under the table. I’m convinced I would have had a heart attack if I had just sat there an longer.

Well, now I’m the mom.

My sweet toddler is in a stage where everything is “scary”. She’ll run up to the door where there is some chipped paint and theatrically scream, “Ahhhh! A big bug!”. Or she’ll run up to her daddy and then yell, “Ahhhh! Daddy scared me!” So yes, everything is pretend scary right now.

But an airplane flew right over our house yesterday. I must admit, it was pretty loud and startled me too. She ran out of her room yelling, “Mommy! It scared me!”

I took her by the hand, starting walking towards her room and said, “It’s okay, sweet girl. It was just an airplane. Mommy will go with you.”

She tenderly looked up at me as she took my hand. Once her hand was locked in mine, she had an instant boldness; a courage that comes along with simply having her mommy with her. The thing that scared her before, wasn’t so scary anymore. I was with her.

I feel that’s how our God is with us. We can run up to Him and tell Him that we’re scared; scared of the situation we’re in, scared of the unknown, scared of the future, scared we aren’t enough.

And His heart…His wonderful daddy heart whispers to us,

“It’s alright, sweet child. I’ll go with you.”

When we hear His voice, when we feel His hand wrapped around ours, we can move forward with boldness and peace.

It may not always be easy to walk into unknown territory, and let’s be honest, it’s usually scary most of the time. But we do not have to walk in fear because we are not alone. His presence allows us freedom to breathe, freedom to keep putting one foot in front of the other, freedom to find courage where otherwise there would be none.

What a beautiful thing.

So today, lock hands with Him. Find your courage in His presence. Walk in His presence. Keep moving forward in His presence.

Shadow monsters are scary, but they all disappear in the presence of Light.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

The Ache of Christmas Eve

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Do you want to hear a story of God’s faithfulness? This particular story happened one year ago today.

It’s an ugly & messy & painful wound. But it has become one of the most beautiful scars a woman can carry.

After we lost our first baby on October 1, 2011, I wanted to find was desperate to find an ornament for our Christmas tree. Not any ornament, but one that would represent our baby. One that would remind us of God’s goodness & faithfulness. One that would tangibly tie our baby’s life into all future Christmases.

I told no one of my search. Only my husband & my God knew the importance of this simple little object that I longed to hang on our tree. I repeatedly asked God to lead me to my ornament. I went to countless stores trying to find the perfect one. But it was nowhere to be found. I would not buy an ornament, just to have one. I knew in my heart, when I saw it, I would just…know.

And then…

one afternoon, a small box arrived. It was from a close, “adopted” aunt. I opened the unexpected package & there it was. My ornament. My precious precious ornament. She did not know about my search. She did not know how many stores I had explored. She did not know how deeply my heart ached for it. And the moment I saw it, I knew…it was the one.

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My aunt mailed it, but my God sent it. And His words filled my heart.

“I see you. I hear you. I know this is important to you. And it’s important to me too. Here it is. I love you.”

Time went by. My beautiful daughter was born. And the Christmas season of 2013 had arrived. I was pregnant again. And Christmas Eve had arrived.

One year ago today, I was bleeding.

I walked into the same ER I was in when I lost my first baby. I walked by the very room where I felt His presence closer than the air I was breathing. That white-walled room that held my cries to Jesus, our prayers to our God & the realization we would not be bringing home our baby.

They admitted me to a room down the hall. Tests were done. Blood was drawn. Ultrasounds were taken. And it was confirmed.

I had lost my baby.

One year ago today, I walked through the darkness again.

I screamed. I yelled. I cried. I beat the floor with my fists in anger. I was not angry at God. I was angry at the enemy. This was personal.

But this time, my heart recalled memory after memory of God’s faithfulness through my first loss. The details were covered with His fingerprints. He was there. And he mourned with us. He showed us we were not alone.

So, I claimed His faithfulness once again. I clung tightly to Him once again. I entrusted my broken heart to Him once again. Because I knew it is only in His hands that my shattered heart can rest & be restored.

One year ago today, my husband & I left the ER & began driving home, where I would see our Christmas tree in the living room & my baby ornament hanging.

I told Jarred I wanted to stop by the mall to get an ornament for this baby. Tomorrow was Christmas & our baby ornaments could be together.

But as we were driving, I knew I was too physically & emotionally depleted to muscle my way through crowds of last-minute shoppers, so I told my husband to just head home.

We pulled up in the driveway. On our front step was a box. It was from my adopted aunt. I opened it & began to weep.

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The perfect ornament. It even looked similar to my first baby’s ornament.

My aunt mailed me this little box days before. Nobody knew I would spend Christmas Eve in the ER finding out that I lost my second baby.

No one knew…

Except for my GOD.

And so, today, one year later, I hold my 3 month old; I snuggle my 2 year old; & I stare at my 2 baby ornaments. I declare my God as faithful in every day, every pain, every joy.

He loves us beyond measure. He is so very present in this very moment. And I am overwhelmed by His faithfulness.

Merry CHRISTmas.

Blessed is She.

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She has arrived!

Our newest addition is here & I’ve got to admit, she is perfection. Of course I say that completely unbiased. It’s a fact.

She is our perfect little puzzle piece & has already added so much fun to our family. My oldest daughter LOVES being a big sister, which of course blesses my heart to know she is thrilled about her new role. She makes sure that “her baby” is constantly hugged, kissed & updated with what’s going on. When the dog does something silly, she will run up to her little sister & tell her all about it, just in case she missed it. If baby starts to fuss, big sister is right there asking her, “You okay, baby?” She will promptly find her paci & blanket because that usually fixes a fussy baby sister. If that does not work, she has on several occasions instructed me, “Momma hold baby. Momma milk baby.” Yes, they are already buddies looking out for each other.

I catch myself staring at both of my daughters (it’s still so crazy to say, BOTH!), to the point of tears sometimes because I am just that in love. I see Jesus through them. I see His love, His grace, His faithfulness. They are tangible examples of His goodness.

I look at them & I am completely overwhelmed with thankfulness. I am thankful that the Lord has chosen me as their momma. I am thankful for who they are. I am thankful for who they will become. I am thankful for how they will serve the Lord. I’m thankful for how the Lord will grow them, direct them & protect them.

I am thankful.

I’m thankful that my God has remained just as faithful during the dark nights of sorrow when we’ve lost babies, as He has been in the days of rejoicing as we snuggle babies in our arms.

This blessing tastes that much sweeter because I will forever know the bitterness of sorrow & loss too. But I am filled with hope. I am overflowing with thankfulness. And I remain confident in my faithful God.

If you are in a place where you desperately need your ashes traded for beauty, know that it is coming. The transformation is painful. And it can feel slow, but oh, it is coming.

He promises.

When He redeems something, He redeems in perfectly. He redeems it fully. It comes in different forms, perhaps not how we expect it, but how we need it.

Breathe Him in deeply today. Trust that He will fulfill His promises to you. Don’t be afraid to cling on to hope, even when it stings.

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” Luke 1:45