vacation!!!

alainabridgeThis past week, we were in full fledge vacation mode….. limited internet access helped a ton with winding down the summer and enjoying time with family/friends!!

It was so nice to have one last summer vacation experience as a duo, before we become an instantaneous party of four.

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This is my eleven week belly….. the belly that grows as much week by week as it does as the day goes on (lol)…. the belly that is housing two of my greatest creations, my greatest blessings, my greatest gifts, and the cause of the greatest thanks. The babies that have rocked my whole world, caused me to vomit in public places, and has brought us so much joy and love already.

Being pregnant has opened my eyes to a lot of thoughts I’ve had that truly weren’t fair and were quite judgmental. Thoughts that were so foolish and inconsiderate.
For instance, the size of early bellies.
They’re small. And, at times I’d see mamas to be posing with these super small bellies and think, “Cute, but there’s barely anything there.”
Well, I will say that I do appreciate opportunities that open my eyes.
I recognize that my belly is  small comparatively speaking and for some it may not seem like a big deal.
But, it is. It’s huge for a couple of reasons.
First, I’m bigger than I’ve ever been before and this body is changing fast. And, two, there’s life inside of this smallish growing belly.
So, to us… while there’s “barely anything there”, its the most amazing “barely anything” we’ve ever experienced.
Perspective and a willingness to understand makes a world of a difference.

bellySeven days in the Caribbean was phenomenal and so relaxing. I followed Dr.’s orders and limited my time in the sun, enjoyed the surf, water, and beach in spurts, lounged in the shade drinking lots of water and icees building relationships and enjoying friends.

People watching is one of my favorite favorite things to do….
I found myself watching young families at the beach and airports wondering and laughing with Thomas about what we’ll look like a year from now, traveling with two little babes. lol. Both of us talking about what we don’t get about kids and the nuances of traveling with kids… lol.
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Sidebar: Thomas is a major fan of me bearing the belly! He even proudly pointed out the fact that my linea nigra (the dark line down the abdomen) is making an appearance. lol.
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And, this guy.
sleepHis birthday is today.
Every year I look back on who is has become and am grateful for the growth, the craziness I put him through and how he so graciously and patiently deals with my spontaneous decisions and chasing my heart all over the place, and how him he is. And, how being exactly who he is has made me better, has benefited our relationship, our business, and our life together.

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Even though I always get on him for how lucky he is for having a summer birthday that isn’t smushed between anything, he really deserves an amazing day all his own, not impacted or eclipsed by anything else.

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Happy birthday, man!

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… sarah or hannah

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There were plenty of women in the Bible who, for a time,were unable to bear children, seven if my count is correct.

And, all of them eventually ended up bearing great men who contributed greatly in the history of our faith.

I went back to read about these women because I’ve been feeling some kind of way about our predicament. Wondering if I’m acting more like Sarah versus Hannah.

For the record, for whatever reasons, I am completely over bearing my own kids. Random. The backwards thought is that I would completely love to see who Thomas and I would create. I’d like to see a few of our creations and what they would be like, but I’m truly at peace with not having my own kids.

God has absolutely created this passion within me for adopting and orphans and there are times I wish God would bless me as He did Pharoh’s daughter (who is not one of the seven). Can a little one just be dropped in my lap?
Right now, I’m completely obsessed with fostering, but we’re still connected to our adoption agency. Annnnnd, I don’t know, WE don’t know, what to do.

I’m thankful for a husband who tries his hardest to understand me and cover me with grace as I am trying to lead my broken heart where God is pulling me… I pray for his leadership daily – I know how hard making such final & life altering decisions like this can be and for it to rest on his shoulders has to be so difficult. Especially when he sees me struggling regularly. Having to balance and choose wise decision making for your family & doing what you can to ease your wife’s pain can’t be easy. So, I work really hard to be strong and give him space to think and pray.

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I like to go, go, go!! But, I’m learning to “go slow”. That’s my new phrase. Go slow. Go slow and pray for guidance. This is a huge life altering decision for three groups of people – is it right? I’m big on just doing it, Nike & I think along the same lines. But, I’m also recognizing the detriment of creating a situation that could not be the Lord’s will. So, we wait. We pray. And, when Thomas says “Let’s go.” we will go in whatever direction he leads us in. (Husbands have it rough, y’all! Lets squeeze them extra tight for doing their best in leading our families well!)

I’m trying to find comfort, wisdom, & a path to follow in the lives of the six obedient women. What I can see is that while they waited, they prayed pretty hard. They cried just as hard.

I’m wondering where they were emotionally and spiritually weeks before they found out they were expecting. What did they do? I’m wondering where Hannah was… Pray and praying, committing this child she was crying out for to God if He’s only let it be. I’m guessing she’d be the mama in wait who served, read her Bible, & worshipped while Sarah, completely heartbroken & frustrated, threw her Bible across the room and gave up. Can you see them? How very different they behaved in their desperation?

Have we been Sarah? Completely & understandably worn down? Haven’t we stormed off to “do it ourselves”? I know I often regret my actions post the mini tantrum. Words spoken in hurt & anger than can’t be taken back and actions that are difficult to forgive. If we learn anything from her, it’s the beauty behind patience, endurance, wisdom, & common sense.

I love Hannah’s heart. I love how she clung to the Word & God’s promises. I admire her strength and dignity. I love how she kept her promise to give her son back to the one he truly belonged to. What an humble woman with a servant’s heart. I’m sure she cried but she was hopeful and faithful in her pain. What an example.

I’m hoping that I’ll continue to pray and cry out to God, that I stay at his feet. I’m at the place where I desire God’s direction and his shaping of me & my life more than the things I want. I’ve never been here before. It’s scary yet safe and calm. I’m not pulling away or seeking Him because I know He’s the end to desires.

I think that’s a good place. Learning to love and seek God because of who he is. His glory above my desires and my comfort.

Thank you all for supporting Thomas and I, for praying with and for us, and sharing in our struggles. It is so appreciated!!

… here’s to patiently praying and enduring these long months and years. Hope it’s over soon.

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… be strong & courageous

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“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

As we grow in wisdom, we learn that being strong and courageous can sometimes mean sitting still….. Praying…. And, waiting. Being quiet. Trusting God while He works.

We recognize that being strong and courageous in Christ is completely different than being strong and courageous in the ways our culture defines strength and courage.

It’s counter-cultural. It’s not ego driven. It is not self satisfying.

Sometimes showing strength & courage means standing up and defending ourselves and others, but never at the cost of another.

Tearing someone down doesn’t make you strong.

Neither does holding your tongue “to keep peace” when someone or their cause needs defending against a larger entity or when it means going against what’s popular. There are times when it’s much wiser to remain quiet, which takes a strength all it’s own, but we can trust that wisdom will tell us what battles are worth fighting with who and when.

Getting our little one has been a fight from the very start, but I have learned that some battles are best fought on my knees. Praying and pleading.

For my baby. My family. Their family. And, for whatever circumstances wherever they may be experiencing.

One of my friends called her family her adopted child’s Plan B family. I never thought of it that way but how true it is.

It is so true that God doesn’t desire families to be broken and children to be removed from their homes.

It’s true that God doesn’t want His children living with life long soul aches because they can’t raise their children comfortably themselves.

But, redemption stories are also true. How God can mend all of our broken hearts. How He can comfort our sorrows and turn our pains into opportunities that birth our greatest joys, opportunities for us to testify to His goodness & glorify His name.

How these three or four separate entities can find peace and comfort in our Savior. The One, besides the baby, that unites us forever.

It’s absolute truth that our Plan B story written by God is better than any top tier, Plan A story that could ever be written by anyone or any cohesive group of people.

I think about how our Savior wasn’t God’s first, second, or even third choice when deciding how to bring His people back to Him…….. But, because of our sinful nature, His last option was the greatest option.

I have wanted to give up. To say “this just may not be for us…” but I know that it’s God’s desire for us to care for a baby who is either unwanted or just cannot remain with their birth family for whatever reason.

And, I can’t walk away from that.

I’d prefer to wait in the balance knowing I’m doing God’s will than to walk away and experience temporary “peace” that will never truly be satisfying because of how the Holy Spirit will nag me and forever tap on my shoulder reminding me of what could have been and pushing me to obey anyway.

I’m excited about the next steps in our process…….

This week, I’ll be working on gathering our pictures so they’ll be ready to go in the next few weeks!

I’m excited and literally sitting on the edge of my seat in anticipation about what God is going to do over the next few months! I truly believe that He is going to do something amazing through our lives and I am so ready for it!!

He commands to not fear or be discouraged. No matter what the circumstances or what you face, The Lord YOUR God is with you wherever you may go.

His presence is more valuable than anything we could ever purchase to protect us. Or, whatever comforts we feel could make us feel better.

…. Here’s to a strength, peace, & courage that could only come from The Lord!

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