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

Full of Thanks

I think it’s so great when we all come together & discuss the same thing. I’ve been really enjoying everyone’s Facebook statuses & Tweets about what they are thankful for. I’ve read everything from, “I’m so thankful for my family” to “I’m thankful for our soldiers”, all the way to “I’m thankful for chocolate…of any kind”. I’m thankful for all of the above! And sure, that last one may have been mine, but I am. No really.

I have so much to be thankful for. This year has been amazing. Not without it’s challenges, but amazing. As I write this, my sweet little 3 month old is cooing away in her little swing, just telling me all sorts of stories. Her face lights up when our dog walks by or she hears something familiar. Oh Jesus, thank you for her. She is my heart.

Every thanksgiving season I always see Philippians 4:6 at some point. Whether it’s in an email, on Facebook or in a card. I love it. It always reminds me of how my husband & I began learning what true thankfulness looks like during the first year we were married. What an awesome verse. And what a gift it’s been to learn this with my best friend.

Philippians 4:6&7 says,

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

We went from being thankful for the good days, to being thankful for the good in every day. And there sure is a very big difference between the two! Even in times of pain, uncertainty or confusion, there is always something greater & good to be thankful for. This is not always easy to do & the Lord knows it doesn’t come naturally to me, but I’m thankful that my God is patient with me as I continue to learn & practice this truth. I’m in awe of how He continues to show me what this looks like on a grander scale. There are those of you in my life that have had major tragedy happen and remain thankful for God’s goodness & faithfulness. You bless me & everyone around you. And I’m thankful for the examples you are! I’m thankful for the women who have & continued to pour into my life!

I’m also so very grateful for the sweet, peaceful seasons of rest & renewal too! Our God is a good God. He is just as present & in control on our sad days as He is on our happy ones.

Above all, I am thankful that God loves us! And I am thankful that His love for us is so great that He offers us the gift of salvation. Freely. No strings attached. Ours forever. All we have to do is accept it! That’s a pretty good deal, right?

My God is good. He is my Salvation. And I declare my God as faithful!

In Every Situation

I absolutely love Philippians 4:6 & 7. It was a very precious verse to my husband & I during our first year of marriage when we were learning to fully rely on God even when circumstances felt incredibly shaky & the future felt unpredictable. The truth & lessons we learned through this verse become a part of our core, so this verse continues to be very dear to me. It reminds me of God’s goodness in the past. And it encourages & gives me confidence about His goodness in the present & future. When we would recite this verse, we’d take it one line at a time, soak in it & practice it. The “give thanksgiving” part was not always easy. Especially when we felt like we were lacking something big at that moment. But as we communicated our thankfulness, our hearts began to be truly thankful & we realized how abundantly blessed we were & how much we had to be thankful for! I pray this verse blesses you where you’re at now. I love you, dear friend.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving*, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus*.

*Thanksgiving: The expression of gratitude to God

*Will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus: The enemy does not battle to change our situations. He battles to defeat our minds & hearts! Your heart & mind, when connected to God, are the outlets in which the joy & peace that God gives flows. If the enemy can trick or even distract your heart or mind, then you will be deceived into thinking that your situations have overwhelmed you & you will live today defeated and disheartened. But the truth is, God continues to hold you in His hand & work for your good. God & His provision for you will not change, but if you allow the enemy to enter into your heart & mind, he WILL enter & try to deceive you! Rely on God’s unchanging truth, not our changing emotions or limited understanding. That means the moment satan tries to put doubt, fear or worry into your heart or mind, you immediately claim God’s truth in your life, over & over & over. God’s Word is His truth, so keep a scripture you can look at, meditate on & quote out loud written down right next to you today. And when you read it, don’t speed through it. Take it line by line & claim it. The same Holy Spirit that dwelt in Jesus now dwells in YOU! And satan cannot intimidate, change or manipulate you unless you give him permission. Make your focus on Jesus & His goodness! Be mesmerized by Him today!

Rejoicing in Noes

I find it interesting that when I ask God for a clear answer about something, I usually get discouraged when I hear “No”. Or what’s even harder to hear is, “You have to wait.” I usually try to add a little gray into the black and white answer I eagerly asked for. “So Lord, does ‘no’ mean just not at this second? Are you going to change your mind this afternoon? Because I have to tell ya, I need an answer on this soon.” Since when did receiving the answer I don’t want to hear become an irrelevant answer? Do I really mean what I’m asking for in my prayers? This little fact about myself has been eye opening to say the least!
My husband & I are currently considering buying a house. We have seen numerous houses. In each house, I always love to envision where I would put our dining room table, which room the baby’s room would be & think about the barbecue parties we would have with friends in the back yard. We put an offer on a house about 2 weeks ago. After we submitted all the paperwork we needed to, there seemed to be one hold up after the other on the broker’s side. But I still had this overwhelming peace that I’ve had many times before. I knew God was in control & that He would work out every last detail. I grabbed a rock from beside the driveway of this house & decided I would put it on our countertop at home. I told my husband that whenever we looked at that rock, we were going to claim our house & thank God for it. I don’t think he was necessarily on the same page as I was, because his response was, “Whether or not we get this house, this rock represents that God knows what’s best for us.” What was he thinking!? I had a peace & confidence that God knew what He was doing, so obviously that meant this house was my house. A few days later, he called me from work & told me that we didn’t get the house. I could have just passed out on the floor from shock. All I could think was, “But my rock…it’s right here.” After my initial shock & a few tears, my husband reminded me what that rock really represented & that we had been praying for God’s answer about the house…not a yes. He’s very smart sometimes.
So this past week I’ve been more aware as I pray & ask God for His answer or direction about anything. And I’m keenly aware of the words I’m praying when I say “Your will be done.” That’s a very full statement & I know praying those words means I am willingly submitting my plans, thoughts & objective & asking Him to direct me where HE wants me to go. 
So I’ve decided I will no longer pray for God’s will when I know I’m just trying to hear the answer I want. Instead, I will first readjust my view, refocus my heart & realize that His best for my life is not always what I want at that moment. I have many, many, many examples of that in the past. Yet, I still need reminding. Thank you, Lord for reminding me…again. So all of this to say, I am so grateful for my “noes” in life. They are just as beautiful as my “yeses”. If I truly want to be plugged into God’s will, I will be thankful for each guided step & rejoice in every answer He gives me. He is always good to His children & I declare my God as faithful!