lover of redemption

one thing i love about being a Christian, about being a part of the body of Christ is that we are never, ever alone. God not only provides us with other believers who surround us (and who we’re able to surround) with love, friendship, support, and prayer…. but, He has also given us the Holy Spirit. It’s a like an inner best friend who is with you always… who prays for you, who guides you, who “fusses” at and convicts you when you are verring from the path you should go.

He’s given us Jesus…… the one who petitions on our behalf, the one who honored His father until death for our sakes, the one who is the perfect example of what love in action truly looks like.

 

this life can be so painful…. it can leave you feeling lonely and broken and depleted. But, I’m thankful that God is a redeemer. I’m thankful that He can restore and heal.

I’m thankful for the many examples of others he has set before us that remind and encourage us to remain steadfast in our faith and trust in Him. Because, it’s hard. Because it takes a strength that we don’t possess naturally. Because this lilfe is out of our hands.

A few of my favorite redemption stories is the one of Joseph. Ups and downs, lies and betrayals, yet he still trusted God and honored him in each position he found himself in. I can’t imagine how broken and hurt his heart was on so many of the circumstances he put himself in and no matter how frustrated or angry he was, he trusted God. ACTIVELY. He didn’t act out in his frustrations, he didn’t seek vengeance, he didn’t quit doing what was right. God restored his family, redeemed the time he spent isolated and in prison. God had a purpose and plan for his life. He couldn’t have seen how being sold by his brother would be GOOD for him and the Israelites, he couldn’t have seen how being lied on and thrown in prison would be GOOD for him and how he would literally save millions of people from starvation just by being obedient. He had no idea how his faithfulness and obedience would encourage me.

Let’s not talk about Job…… I love how he complained and fussed to God and God basically told him “recognize who you’re talking to…” Job trusted God when his life and health crumbled FOR NO REASON other than to be sifted, other than to be tempted by the Devil for his own sick entertainment…. But, through the emotional turmoil and depression he continued to seek God. He stayed in His face. And, God honored him for it. Restored, redeemed, and healed. For whose sake?

Hosea…. who I know was sick and tired of having to be the “good husband”. Tired of dealing with his wandering spouse who so blatantly disrespected and disregarded him and their marriage. Publicly. I know he was tired of being loving and gracious and kind to her. I know he wanted to quit. But, this story to closely resembles what Christ has done and continues to do for us daily…. how often does God rescue us, how often do we come back to him broken and hurting after disobeying? How many times does he have to forgive and cover us with mercy and grace? and, HOW does He do it every.single.time? And, who does this selfless love benefit?

The patience, quiet spirit, and obedience of Ester and Ruth.
The triumph and fall, the waywardness and steadfastness of David.
The rebellion of Jonah.
The friendship and betrayal of Judas.
All for a purpose. All honor God. All turn our attention to Christ. All make us marvel and the goodness of our God.

The struggles of this life aren’t for nothing. Yes, while they make us stronger in our faith and in our ability to persevere which builds our character and gives us hope (Romans 5:4), our stories, our faithfulness, our obedience is for the Body, as well. We are all connected and we effect each other in every way.

While this life isn’t easy, while we will have to endure setbacks, failures, the consequences of poor choices, and just sometimes the sovereign plan of God that puts us in difficult places – we know that will get through it, we know that it is purposeful, and that it will honor God in some way.

My dad used to always tell me “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” I had no idea what that meant. Mainly because, looking back, I had no idea who good obeying is for you. Even when you’d rather be doing something else much more fun and enjoyable, even when it goes against every fiber in of your (naturally sinful) heart, and you don’t see the purpose. The learned discipline is good for you. I’m glad I see that now. Glad I understand from experience on both sides how when we obey we are truly positioning ourselves for the best possible outcome.

(Sidebar, which truly frustrates me about today’s children… some have no idea how to obey. how to follow rules. how to do what they’re told….. how can they obey and learn to yield to God when they can’t obey their teachers and parents? It’s GOOD for your children to have rules and boundaries… to learn discipline and hard work. They’re going to be someone’s husband and wife and mother and father one day……… NO ONE LIKES adults who have no self control, no concern for others, and can’t do what NEEDS to be done (i.e.. LAZY!). Give your children some chores that MUST be done, don’t let them quit because “they don’t want to anymore”, don’t excuse their behavior, blame others for their wrong doings, or let them get away with not obeying because you want them to be happy. We all want our children to be happy, no ones likes to see their children cry… however, Hebrews 12:11….. discipline benefits children and all of those who will be surrounded by them for the duration of their life…… rant concluded.)

Redemption, restoration, healing, and the overwhelming joy we experience on the other side of difficulty is encouraging. KNOWING what’s promised and what’s coming is worth enduring whatever is put in front of us.

It’s not easy but it sure is worth it.

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gender reveal!!!

Today, we celebrated.
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For going on four years, Thomas and I have struggled through infertility and adoption with high hopes and broken hearts. I had given up on the possibility of becoming pregnant at all and made peace with that. I was able to move forward with adoption and building our family in a way that so clearly displayed the Gospel and would allow us to live that out loud.
I feel in love with adoption – with the concept, the work that went into it, the families and women who’ve adopted and were so passionate about such a sacrificial, selfless, and loving act.
But, ultimately that is not the way God chose to allow us to expand our family.
And, we accepted that knowing that God had a beautiful plan for our lives, that He would give us the desires of our hearts, and that He is sovereign and loved us deeply.
We moved forward choosing to enjoy the summer and revisit expansion (lol) in August.

Turns out, God blessed us in a way that I never, ever saw coming.
A way that would blow my mind, but would make so many around us laugh as they knew God would do something spectacular in our lives.

I knew to expect the unimaginable, but never thought to expect that in May I would find out we were expecting and then in June learn that we’re expecting twins.

So, today.
We celebrated the journey and our babies with a  small gender reveal.
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I thought it would be super cute to frame a few of our ultrasound pictures… I wanted each gender to be a surprise so I chose to envelope Baby A and Baby B’s genders and box them with a bow…. each guest with their own box.
gr2gr1We knew the genders of both babies…. And, I had to hardest time keeping it to myself because every.one wanted to know! lol.

I couldn’t even get through thanking everyone for coming, but thankfully Thomas stepped in and took over explaining a bit of our journey, thanking everyone, and giving little tidbits about each of the babies. He also went around taking a poll of what everyone’s thoughts about the genders!
I jumped in to lead everyone through opening their boxes; we opened each enveloped together which was really fun and exciting!

And, the envelopes held the genders of each baby…
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YAY!
TWO GIRLS!!!
Although, I was hoping for a combo pack…. a girl and a boy…. I am so grateful and thankful to prepare for two girls!!

Once we came home, although completely exhausted, utterly/uncomfortably full, I took our weekly photos and got to relish opening a box and enjoying the envelopes myself!
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 We’ve had a long and tiring yet beautiful and eventful day.
Next up…. the baby shower!

Time is winding down and I’m sure the day we are to meet our girls will be here before we know it!!!
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And, for all of you who have been rooting for us, journeying with us, praying for us, and encouraging us for any length of time:
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
You have no idea what your support means to us, what your emails, comments, texts, and messages touch us.. touch me.
I am so grateful for you and your excitement, love, and joy for our daughters and this new chapter in our lives is nothing short of breathtaking and surreal.
Thank you.

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annnnd, twenty!

20wYes. We are that huge… measuring at 7 months (!!!),but thankfully we are  all belly!!!

How are we feeling??!?!?!
Good!!! Getting out of bed is interesting and sleep is getting difficult to fall peacefully into but we’re doing pretty good!!

What’s going on with the bump?!?!
This bump is growing and growing and growing…. And, I’m thankful I’m not too concerned about my size because this side view is pretty much panoramic. LOL.. We had our anatomy scan this week and it was so very fun to watch the babies for about two hours! We got a 3D scan of our babies and they were positioned so sweetly!!! Completely snuggled up and moving about! lol. They’re both head down with their feet in my riiiiiiiiiibbbbbbs…….. The optimum position (AT THE END!!!!), but I’m pretty sure they’ll turn quite a few times before it’s time to deliver! I can feel them moving now and so I do feel kicks daily (eeek!!!). For now, they’re soft little thuds…. and, we can handle that!

So, how are you feeling?!
So good…. So thankful. I loved, loved, loved seeing their little faces and that combined with finding out their genders made this whole experience so much more real. They have the cutest features and they actually look like babies now!!!!

Aside from baby feelings, I’m happy with the weight I’ve gained. But, it’s weird…. I get so anxious to get on the scale because I want to know how much I’ve gained…… but, then for a split second I cringe at the number! I’ve never weighed what I do now and don’t care because, hello… I’m pregnant. But, at the same time, it’s still a bit shocking!

Anything else?
ehhhhh……. I’m really digging canned fruit still and Strawberry Limeades from Sonic. I mean, it’s like heaven.

From mommy….
you guys….. mama is thrilled to reveal your genders this weekend! I’ve been working hard to create a “simple” little brunch for you guys and so far I’m quite proud of myself. lol….

Everyone, and I mean so. many. people. are so grateful for you, they are praying for y’all, and are eager to find out what you are! LOL.. It’s so exciting to hear everyone’s guesses of your genders and talking about your personalities. It warms my heart that you are so loved!

- mommy

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