f i v e

Can y’all believe this?! These people are five years old!

This space was birthed because of them.
(Sort of.)

I started writing in this space in 2011 to keep my family and close friends in the loop of my & then husband’s journey through infertility. With all of the doctor & specialist appointments it was annoying to make all the phone calls and send the texts…… so I started writing.

 Created a blog and titled it something that has colored the last eight years of my life.

GROWTH. Very public, very ‘come alongside me’. Journey though all life’s hard shit with me. I never thought it would become what is has. Ever. Your emails, messages, comments, and support has been NUTS. Because you’ve been going through the same exact things. And, felt alone. Felt afraid. Felt isolated. Confused. All the things that I was feeling, but we got to do it together. It’s been nice.

Three years of writing through the ups and downs of fertility treatments and adoptions.
Three years of sharing the highs, lows, disappointments, fears, & frustrations.
Three years of learning about character of God, how to trust Him.
Three years of fighting through a maturation of my faith I KNOW
wouldn’t have come unless we took the hard, rocky route.

The one that forced you to face God.
And, then…. boom.

At the point I became aware of the unraveling of my marriage, I find out I’m expecting.

More hard and rocky.
Insanely unbelievable hard and rocky.

Timing made no sense.

Then, five years ago, after 9 days in the hospital on bed rest, I woke up to a second consecutive high blood pressure reading at 36 weeks and was prepped to deliver these sweet girls by a c-section.
The last five years haven’t been easy.

But, again …. the Lord is answering prayers still.

He is faithful.
He is love.
He is kindness.
He is mercy.
He is grace.
He is hope and strength.
Full of joy and comfort.

They are and are becoming everything that I have prayed for. They are kind and funny. Smart and helpful. They’re thinkers and compassionate. They love God big and love singing worship songs and praying. They love to read. They’re cuddlers and wonderful big sisters.

Even in the midst of chaos & hardship God is still faithful and good.

Their story, these miracle blessings came at the worst time in my eyes but even still the Lord has been so good. We are not able to control the climate, we can’t control the circumstances. However, we can trust that whatever God allows no matter when he allows it, he will carry us, grace is through it.

There are times I wonder why God allowed such incredible blessings to come in the middle of such drama. Why after all of the craaaaaazy, things couldn’t level out and be fine… because OMG answered prayers! Come on!!! This is glorifying to you, right?!

But, y’all. THIS IS.

And, I mean….. that would have been, too, right? Peace and marital restoration after crazy. For sure. Maybe. Who knows. But what I do know is that this life I’m living right now has put me face to face with God and I love it. I love his Word, I love HIM, I love watching him move in my life and be & so all the things I’m asking & needing him to be & so. Trusting God “though you can’t trace Him” as my Pastor says, is hard but so so so good.

Their life is like a time stamp of sorts. Marking not only evidence of the faithfulness of God, but so much newness. Five plus years of this….. growing and maturing with and because of these incredible little girls.

Five years of watching them seemingly never have enough time to
play and chat and sing together.
Five years of laughing at their silliness and jokes.
Five years of milestones, growth, change, challenges, and learning.
Five years of watching two little people who came at the most
inconvenient time make such a huge impact on so many people.

Two little girls who are evidence of the impossible. Two little girls who have, by their very existence, driven me closer to the Lord and been such catalyst for out-of-comfort-zone living.

I can’t (well, I could but won’t) celebrate them without honoring how gracious God has been. If you don’t truly know, it’s likely hard to understand how intertwined so much of this day, my girls, & their birthday is to completely changing our life and faith in God. The fact that they are here, my pregnancy was as healthy & physically/medically stress free as it was, and we have made it five years is a reminder of what and why I believe what I do and why my faith is as unshakable as it is.

God truly gives us the desires of our hearts.
Truly answers prayers.
Has his hand on our lives as he lifts up our heads, as he covers us with grace.

I was still crying out to God for AN answer when TWO were already growing in my belly.

A celebration of these girls cannot be unattached from worship, separated from the acknowledgment of how faithful God is.

We prayed them here. Praised God when we got that positive pregnancy test. Praised him when they got here and we’re going to do the same exact thing every single year.

PUBLICLY UNASHAMED.

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it’s all for his glory

One of the most beautiful things about the love of Christ is how he transforms our lives.
It’s beautiful how he will literally breathe life into a broken, dead situation.
How he puts joy and songs of praise in our hearts in the midst of and after great loss.
We value and celebrate that growth… count on it and expect it.
….. while at the same time, we’re ashamed of the need to grow.

WHY?

I have to admit that when my girls received the Most Improved award at their end of the year program last year, I was embarrassed. Even though I knew they’d matured so much over the year, knew that there was no doubt that they’d grown, and truly improved in so many areas from not losing their shit during drop off to potty training to using more words…. they blossomed! But, what I wanted was for them to be the best from the beginning. The foolish and judgmental stigma of “most improved” that I had was that they literally sucked and they’ve gotten better……… as if growth wasn’t something to be proud of, that it should be expected, and that it should be a goal to attain. Truth is, I was very proud of how they matured, I just didn’t “like” that they received an award for it. So silly.  Their hard work should be been celebrated instead of something to be ashamed of. Lord knows if it was up to me to get them potty trained, they’d still be in diapers. lol. Their teachers for the past two years have been incredible and I’m truly grateful for the leaps and bounds they’ve accomplished since they’ve started their preschool program.

How is my perfectionism and shame of their growth teaching them?
Is it pushing them to cover their struggles?
Am I teaching them to be insecure about their weaknesses?
Or that I will only be proud of them if they are “there” instead of celebrating them and enjoying the journey of becoming?
lol… I am more ashamed of myself and what my actions (even though I never told them or showed them how I felt) communicated than their growth. Clearly it revealed multiple areas I needed to grow in.

A friend of mine recently posted about the beauty of golf courses and how, in all of their well thought out beauty, they are man made. That space, those acres of plush grass, sand dunes, lakes, trees, and pathways, was not natural. But, the awe we feel doesn’t decrease and we don’t look down on them because they needed work.

But, we do this to ourselves daily. Or….. I know I can beat myself up about not having a certain trait or not quite yet getting control over that flaw not realizing that growing into that trait and becoming better over time is still something to be grateful for.

The disappointment, frustration,  or shame comes from comparison…. from looking at another person and thinking that the way the Lord naturally created someone makes them better than how he naturally created us. It minimizes the sin issues they have (whether you’re aware of them or not) and maximizes ours. It compares what could be the later chapter in their book to the earlier chapters in ours that are still being written. It ignores how the Lord is molding, shaping, improving, and creating you to be.

Lord knows there are days I wish the issues and flaws that I have didn’t exist…… that I could have come into this world as the person I’d like to be. But, that’s boring. That doesn’t tell a story of how great our God is and how he truly works things out for our good. Beauty is beauty…. formed by the words of our God or thought up in the imaginations and created with the gifts that the Lord has given us. It’s all from him. All for his glory. All of it tells of how the natural things the Lord created come together to honor him.

It’s the same. 

Over the last few years, I’ve learned how important it is to not allow a flaw to cause us shame. That sin issue may truly be a hard one to swallow, it may seem worse than any other, and it may have caused you some serious consequences and broken relationships….. But, guess what? When Christ died on the cross, he gave you victory over that sin. He forgave you of that sin. He gave you access to a relationship with a God who wants you to get that Most Improved award and tell you “Good job, my good and faithful servant!” when he greets you in heaven. He gave, he gave, he gave…. so that he could take away the hard and ugly and (again) give you something beautiful in return. A life free of guilt, a life full of hope, of salvation, of opportunity, or wisdom, and growth. He gives you a story your life will tell that will cause everyone around you to see that something about you different and wonder how it was possible.

And, you get to say “Jesus”.

Remember when I would post songs that I had on repeat?? Let’s bring that back!
Hillsong United – So Will I (100 Billion X)

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11 months old….

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SERIOUSLY?!?!?!

We’re eleven months into this thing and I’m still blown away at the Lord’s goodness and his choice to bless me with two beautiful babies.

I look at them and cannot believe how fast the last few months have flown by, I don’t want to believe that their “intense shows of drama” (really it’s a tantrum, ok?!) are real and they aren’t playing. That they are doing what they can to get their way. The fact that they give kisses melts my heart – especially when they are kissing each other. I literally belly laugh at them fighting over toys and babbling back and forth at each other.

Children are a for sure blessing and these girls bring joy to everyone around them! They are well loved and so loving. They have the sweetest laughs and absolutely love to play. Watching them do something new, something that we’ve been “working on” or that I’ve done with them in passing, with intention makes me realize how attentive they are and how sponge-like their minds how. I see how something so insignificant to me is such a big deal to them. Rhyann spontaneously started playing Peek-a-Boo with a blanket! Say, what?! We’ve just played with our hands – never an object. She plays interactive games so well it’s hilarious! The fact that they do things you have no idea they knew how to do is shocking…. they’ll offer you something then pull it away when you reach for it. They’ll fake you out by reaching out for you and then turning away when you reach for them!  wall2If these girls have done nothing more, they have motivated me. They’ve caused me to want to be better for them. To learn to do so many things better for their sake…. One thing I’m being forced to pay attention to is not holding to a one for all mindset. While it’s so much easier to have one method of putting to sleep, one bath time, one this or that and expecting it to work well for both girls (because it’s easier for me) is incredibly selfish but it’s also stretching me in a lot  of ways. I try not to look at their need for individualism as an inconvenience, but as an opportunity to learn about the girls  as individuals. Imagine how nice it is to have someone’s undivided attention… I can only imagine how that attention and focus could improve their day. Because my day isn’t only about me. Each of us have “a day” and it’s my job to make sure that one day doesn’t control or negatively impact their day. We’re all in this together and what’s convenient for me can’t dictate what their day looks like. What kind of model is that? In order for us to do life well together, we have to show a certain level of consideration, patience, and sacrifice. I have to consider them just as I would hope that they learn to consider their sister and others. I’m queen of the caste, but everything isn’t about me. wallI mean…. I don’t think it gets much cuter than this!

The girls are babbling more often and with more emotion… They fuss at each other and fuss at you. They squeal and clap and cheer! “Yay” is definitely one of the words I hear a lot! They say “hey” which is hilarious! Logan will say “night, night”, Rhyann imitated “bye, bye” this morning. (!!!!!!!!) They’ll sign “eat” spontaneously and with purpose. It’s a joy to hear them talking! More words are on their way and so is a step or two (I hope)…..

Motherhood is a joy… No matter how tired you are, how frustrated you are, how worn out you are – I love how motherhood pushes you even further than you thought you had the capacity to go. And, I love the model of unconditional love, unending effort, never ending forgiveness, and total acceptance it brings out of us and models for them and world.

One of my goals is to create a peaceful, accepting, joy and love filled environment for them. That they feel loved and accepted. That they will one day learn that the only way they have been loved so well is because of the overflow from Christ’s love through me and other’s around them. That we aren’t loveable by nature, that we aren’t forgiving and patient by nature, that they will do things and behave in a certain way that will disappoint, anger, and hurt me. I don’t even want them to think that they are perfect and always innocent, and I especially don’t want them to think that I think they are always good kids and unable to initiate or be involved in things they shouldn’t do or sin. I want them to know they are sinful and how sinful they are. I want them to know that because we sin, we need a Savior. And, I have to love them to Christ. Not force them, or berate them, or humiliate them to our loving God. If they’re earthly parent isn’t loving them, why would they believe someone else could? Discipline is real and necessary… another individual approach will need to be taken for it to be effective for each kiddo, but we can discipline in love and lovingly. We can create and instill boundaries and self discipline with love. It’ll make life easier for their teachers, coaches, friends’ parents, … heck, ME! lol….. We can go on all day about that and how we can go about creating sweet environments for our babies, but I’ll stop my rambling and because we each have our own reasons for how and why we parent the way that we do. I just pray and depend on God for the wisdom to do it a way (among so many) that’s pleasing to the Lord and respectful to my children as people.

Anywho……
Happy 11 months to the happiest, most beautiful, and playful girls!! Mama loves you!

….. um, have y’all heard Lecrae’s Boast??? UGH… so good! Listen and let me know what you think!!!

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