joy and hope

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

In real life, when we are barely making it through the day without bawling our eyes out in the car or spending our days in zombie mode, it’s difficult to believe that God can fill us with joy and hope. And, when I say fill, I mean it in the truest sense of the word. Like, fill my wine glass to the brim because that’s the kind of day I had kinda fill. You know? Not the give my two year old a cup of water kind of fill that’s barely half full. Full like there is no room for a drop more or my cup will overfloweth kind of full.

But, when we step out of ourselves and look at the larger picture of what’s going on, we will see that God doesn’t find joy in our difficulties…. just as I don’t find joy in my girls’ frustration and hurt….. but, I know that there are times the hard times are necessary to learn something new and necessary for the next phase in life.

What’s the bigger picture? Why do we go through all of this?
plain and simple…. so that we will live a life as a person whose behavior honors and glorifies God.
That’s they why behind all of this……

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 5:16

When we’re going through the hardest of times, we have to remember that 1. God is our safe place. He is the source of sanity, joy, peace, strength, hope, love, and forgiveness and 2. when we go to God and depend on him in faith for all of those things we are able to live peaceably with all people in all circumstances.  And what will that do a few things….. deepen your relationship with Christ, calm your situation OR allow you to operate well in the situation, and cause others to wonder how it is you haven’t lost your mind. All of which give you the opportunity to share Christ.

Our world, our lives aren’t about us. That’s a difficult concept to grasp in the culture we live in today that encourages self-absorption, chasing your desires, and filling your life with stuff. But, those things aren’t God’s desire for us. He’d rather us be joyful than happy, searching for peace, our identity, fulfillment in Him rather than in people or material things or other people. He wants us to trust him in faith rather than what we think or feel. I don’t think he doesn’t know how difficult it is. I believe that because He knows how difficult it is, He sent his son as the perfect example of peace, endurance, patience, and perseverance…. until death. He sent the Holy Spirit to live inside of each and every one of us to guide us, pray for us, and comfort us. He gave us the Body to encourage and support us. He gave us something to look forward to –  joy and a life with Him. psalm29-11 my very beautiful friend featured in a Proverbs 31 Ministries pic.

We have a Savior we can safely put our trust.

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spurgeon goodness

IMG_5738.PNG“…. the promise of the new covenant is affliction….
If you hear fruit, you will have to endure affliction….
But, this affliction works out precious results.”
– Spurgeon, Morning & Evening

Thank God for his faithfulness and for being a constant source of strength and patience. For being a promise keeper and a life giver. A redeemer and friend. Comfort and peace. Mercy, hope, and grace.

Amen.

{sidebar: I love these babies every crinkle, roll, snore, and toot. I mean, just look at those chapped lips. How could you not obsess over them! Lol}

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speechless…

day1I am a mama.
It’s unreal. It’s beautiful. It’s certainly special.

It’s hard to believe that a couple of weeks ago these little girls were in my belly kicking and squirming….. There are moments where I expect to feel a jolt or someone getting comfortable but instead I have moments where these little girls are in my arms squirming and peacefully laying on my chest.

I thank God for my girls daily……
Thank Him for honoring his promises…..
I thank God for blessing us with children I never thought we’d have.
logan2

The past couple of weeks have been so difficult for me. Ten days in the hospital, a kidney infection, sky high blood pressure, and sudden onset of pre-eclampsia really caused me to be very emotional and disappointed about how the last couple of weeks played out. Every time I even began to complain, I was reminded of how God saw to it that when my health began to falter, I’d be in the best place possible to be taken care of. I was reminded how of great of a pregnancy I’d had and how great it was that I’d been able to carry my girls to 34 weeks. My doctor (who is phenomenal) constantly reminded me of how my small frame carried so much for as long as it could…. that my belly was measuring 43 cm at 34w. That my uterus was literally stretched well past that of one carrying a singleton full term and that everything was fine.

A quick little update:
My girls were born by c-section due to pre-eclampia at 34w and 1 day. They weighed 4 lbs 13 oz and 4 lbs 6 oz and are in NICU to basically feed and grow. They are doing a magnificent job and are meeting their milestones and taking all of their adjustments in stride. For our hospital, they are required to meet a few milestones before going home which they seem to be doing a lot faster than I thought they would. logan4
In order to go home, they have to be able to:
a.) maintain their body temps b.) gain and maintain their weight c.) sleep with no apnea d.) suck/swallow/breathe simultaneously.

And, right now they’re able to maintain their body temps and should be transitioning from their incubator to an open crib within the next day or so. Initially, their incubator was heated, covered by a blanket that kept the light out, and they slept on a z-flow which prevented them from moving around so they wouldn’t burn calories and in turn lose weight. They were able to have their lamps turned off a couple of days ago and as of today, they no longer had their z-flow or blanket covering their incubators! Not only that, but their incubator tops will now stay open for 24 hours! If they do well, THEN they will move to an open crib!! Definitely progress and definitely reason to praise God and be ever so grateful that they’re able to maintain their body temps on their own!!!

The girls are sleeping incredibly well (no sleep apnea!!!) and are able to drink their milk from a bottle with no issue. Suck/swallow/breathe – check!!  The nurses are steadily increasing the amount of milk their have and the girls are able to keep up with the increases!! They do tend to fall asleep during feedings, but they are finishing and that’s most important! Logan has a feeding tube that was put in because she was having difficulty finishing her bottles at first. But now, she’s eating like a champ and hasn’t had even a portion of her bottles fed through her tube for the last couple of days! They’ve gained most of the weight they lost after delivery, which is normal, and are ounces from their birth weight.

I was discharged from the hospital today and had to leave my sweet girls which was easier than I thought it would be because I know they’re in great hands. It’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but knowing they’re being taken care of and are best where they are makes it less stressful. Plus, I have access to their charts and can call the NICU anytime (which I will before I go to sleep!!) to get updates and check in! logan3

These girls are the sweetest little people…. It’s amazing to see how much they change every day….. It’s so fun to watch them learn and do new things – like smile in their sleep or calm when held skin to skin or cuddled.

All of this feels like a dream. It feels so unreal. I don’t think that these little people are the ones that have been with me for 8 months, that they’re MINE, that they’ll be coming home with us soon has really hit me. I think I’m still in shock that I even got pregnant so to be here taking care of my babies seems impossible, like a fairy tale.

But, I could never be more grateful. Their lives are testaments to God’s goodness and grace, his love and complete affections for us. His fantastic plans that not only blow ours out of the water but bring us more than we could even think, plan, or imagine. This time last year or even January of this year, I would not have imagined that by the end of the year, we would have two beautiful daughters of our very own.

I’m humbled and honored that we would be blessed in such a major way…… Honoring God in my parenting is my ultimate goal; I don’t know of another way to “repay” or show thankfulness other than treating the gifts I’ve been given with the utmost respect and gentleness. The girls’ birth has also challenged me to be more respectful and honoring to my husband, as well. I want them to grow up with a healthy image of relationships – their ups and downs, the amount of work, grace, and forgiveness involved, the benefit of them.

I’m looking forward to this experience more than anything in the world…. but, I’m also looking forward to this “nap” I’m about to take. Why just a nap? Because I’m up every couple hours pumping and taking meds. Woot – woot. lol. Great practice for when the girls get home,right?

More updates coming soon!!!
Thank y’all so much for the notes, gifts, visits, emails, texts, and on and on and on! 🙂 We’ve loved them and they’ve made our last couple of weeks that much more bearable!!

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