… be thankful

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(photos by Temi Coker… find him on Insta @temi.coker)

This past year, specifically, has been so difficult for me. From January til now, it’s been very hard… literally, no ease up.  And, over the past few months I’ve worked to deal with and address (within myself) the effects and feelings of everything that’s happened even though it’s so incredibly difficult for me to do.

I would pray and read and ask God for the strength to persevere, to “be right”, to endure, and to just get whatever it is I should learn from these struggles – even if it’s patience. And, my mind would wander to all of junk that’s happened and I would end up frustrated; not even focused on God.

So, this morning, I woke up committed to just breathing and being grateful in spite of what’s happened. I know that there is so much more to be grateful for aside from and even in the middle of chaos than I’ve allowed myself to see.

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Have you heard of She Reads Truth? It’s a wonderful women’s devo; I follow them on Insta, and have their app. Yes, I’m a total Stan!! I love how they use their little space on this app to encourage and speak truth… how their app is full of devos that refocus you and give you truth (not something that just sounds good) to rest in. This morning their IG posts says:

When we seek Him, we will find Him – His Word says it’s true. And so we give thanks. We cling to Him and to the promise of Him, and we give thanks For although we may feel lost, we know He never loses us. 

No matter what I’ve gone through, God has his eye on me. And, for that I am so incredibly grateful. Oh my God, if there’s anything to be grateful for – it’s that Jesus is within me, that he’s with me. That heartache isn’t for nothing. I’m grateful that He reminds me that the most important things to be grateful for are His promises….. that because of Jesus I have something to be grateful for.

That sounds so stupid. I know. So lofty and spacey, so trite. But, when everything has shaken and the reality sets in that nothing is certain….. all the truth and solidarity you have is that Jesus is with you – you quickly realize how much we take his faithfulness for granted. How we truly DON’T depend on Him for strength, endurance, and peace. How when we pray in difficult moments for patience and then immediately respond impatiently – that we aren’t trusting Him for what He promises He can give us. For what he so graciously offers us.

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I have experienced God being a redeemer.
I have experienced his faithfulness.
I know that He is a comforter & peace.

But, I’d forgotten.
I wasn’t focused.
I was afraid.

But, thankfully, I am reminded of what an amazing Savior He is.

I’m thankful.
Thankful for these girls whose lives I will forever be stilled by. I mean, I wrote back here about how Sarah and Hannah responded so differently to infertility….. I read my words, my truth about how over having my own children I was…. And, I see how this insane story has unfolded and I know that only God allowed me/us to respond to such foolishness, difficulty, hurt, and chaos the way He did. I pray for their lives daily…. pray that they have a heart for Jesus and are committed to “go slow” in trusting God. GO!!!
Thankful that I have family who double as real friends and friends who double as family who are the most supportive and encouraging…. who I can learn from and share so many hilarious and exciting memories with.

There’s always, always, always something to be thankful for……. We have just have to position ourselves to realize it and acknowledge it. Without comparing one thing against another. Without wishing and hoping things were different. Without disconnecting from life and our circumstances. But, showing gratitude for all things in the midst of having everything or having nothing because we know that although this life comes with struggle we have so so much to be grateful for.

And, finally, I am thankful that somehow this post was able to be restored. Idk what I did but I intended to publish this post and it somehow got lost and I broke down in tears.  I was already talking myself through getting over it… But, now, I’m happy and can cook with a peaceful, settled mind! 🙂

Post Jam: Jesus Saves by Jeremy Camp
*** I literally love this song….. hope you enjoy it, too! ***

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the big three….oh

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How are we feeling??!?!?!
Definitely feeling like I’m 30 weeks! lol…. Excited about my weight gain, excited about getting more prep done for the girls, and having the best dreams about the day and first few moments they arrive!!!

The fact that these girls will be here in a matter of weeks, more than likely by the end of the year, is literally thrilling and more exciting than anything I’ve ever looked forward to. I’m especially stoked about the first few weeks/couple of months when your only goals are to teach them to depend on you….. I mean, all that means is cuddling you all day and feeding you when you’re hungry. I may be sleep deprived and hurting but to be able to just sit and cuddle “all day”, to watch them sleep, and watch them grow and do new things is perfect enough for me!

What’s going on with the bump?!?!
The bump is doing just fine! The girls are weighing in at 3.6 lbs. and 3.1 lbs. so we are all very pleased with their growth. Hoping my 3.1 lb-er slows her little self down so she can keep her weight on! Of the two, she weighs the least and has the high heart rate and it’s all because she’s so stinking active!! (And, all of that is determined by her mama, not the doctors! lol. But, when you compare her to her very relaxed sister who is almost hitting 4 lbs with a lower heart rate…. I think it’s obvious what’s going on. And, I want her to chill so she can have a higher birth weight. lol.30w
Contrary to what I thought, there is plenty of room for them to move and flip because that’s exactly what they have done. Baby A was vertex 2 weeks ago, now she’s breech. Baby B was breech, now she’s vertex. So, if Baby A chooses to stay put and not flip one more time – I’ll be having a definite c-section. How do I feel about that? Well, once I found out we were expecting twins, even though I was still very serious about a natural water birth (seriously.), I chose to be very open to the method of my girls’ delivery. What I want is a lot less important than what’s best for the girls. So, if that means a c-section…. a c-section it will be!!!!


So, how are you feeling?!
Greeeaaattttt!!! These kicks to my cervix aren’t comfy at all and the girls movements can be uncomfortable, but aside from the physical……. I’m just grateful. Excited. Y’all……….. I’m having TWO baby girls in a few. This time last year I would have never thought that this is how I would be ending the year. EVER. It literally makes me cry. I’m simply praying that we continue to have an eventless pregnancy and safely make it to 37 weeks. I’m praying that my girls won’t have to spend any time at all in the NICU and that they are as healthy as they can possibly be. And, that they latch on well. And, I produce enough milk for everybody. lol.

Anything else?
Absolutely…… A couple of things.
If you people keep gifting my girls such amazingness, you’ll force me to have to try to keep up with you. Which means we’re going to be in a lot more trouble than I thought!!! Like, how adorable are these hangers? How can you expect me to actually USE these beauties? I promised to hang ONE clothing item on them so that is what I will do… then, they’re framed or hung on the wall. Sorry. hangers then….
I told you guys back here that my friend Christin of ChristinShootsPeople asked me to write our story, our journey through infertility, adoption, and now our pregnancy. And, then she went and published it in her magazine. What. Yes. So, naturally. I bought a couple copies and was stoked about getting a complimentary digital copy.
photo 1-5This edition also has a pretty neat write up from my friend Leah about losing your pregnancy weight in a healthy way! She’s absolutely amazing and also has an e-cookbook and does cooking classes and private events. I’m so grateful to be surrounded by amazing women who are serious about their passions and pursue their dreams… then, dream up more dreams to chase! It’s incredibly inspiring.
Anywho, go here and order your copy!!! You won’t be disappointed!!!!!

From mommy….
well, mama packed on 4 lbs in two weeks so…. ***pats self on back***…… and, we’re slowing down to make sure we don’t over do it!! But, I’m grateful that the doctor’s are pleased with your weight gain and the fact that y’all haven’t tried to make your appearance yet! lol. Stay put, we’re not quite ready for you yet! Still can’t wait to meet you though!!!

– mommy

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counting down and preparing

I’m (generally) a planner. I (generally) like to know what’s going on at all times. I like to have things in order and I enjoy being overly prepared way in advance. It makes me feel comfortable. Calm. Happy. And, at peace. PLUS…. it gives me a chance to make changes or adjust when things come up. Because they always do.

So, days away from my 28th week, the beginning of my 3rd trimester, I’m counting down.
Thanksgiving Day I’ll be 31 weeks. 31. 31. 31. That’s insane.
New Year’s Eve I’ll be 36 weeks.
My ob tells me to be ready the first week in January (37w), but to not be surprised if these girls make their debut in December.

whoa.

Nothing new. I’ve mentioned this in my last few posts and I guess I keep saying it because this is real. And, it is happening. But, I’m having a hard time believing it. God’s faithfulness has blown my mind. The tangible truth that he gives good gifts is difficult to grasp. And, I just. can’t. get a handle on it.
Now, considering the type of person that I am….. I’m not ready. I’m not ready. I’m not ready. I feel like we have so much to do, purchase, organize, wash, and just make ready before the girls get here. Even though I watched my belly grow, my tops shrink, and my dresses fill out, December/January felt so far away and this reality felt so unreal. Yes, I saw these babies grow before my eyes from a little ball of cells with a beating heart, I watched their limbs grow and develop, their little faces mature…. I felt their kicks grow stronger and watched them vie for space in my belly but to know that I will be watching them grow on the outside in a matter of weeks is unreal. I can’t believe it. I literally cannot believe it. And, I’m not ready. {I don’t think.}

I love movies. I mean, I love movies. And, we’ve been going quite a bit lately. I want to see all the best movies out… My favorite are romantic comedies & films that depict love conquering all. I’m intentionally putting off  all of the girlie movies for the days/nights I’m stuck at home or will be at home. So, we’ve been watching the deeper more thought provoking movies (which I love, too!!!) and ended up catching The Judge last night. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. For more than a few reasons, but left me wallowing deep in my feelings and more than ever adamant about preparing for raising our children. (No, I’m not telling the movie, so you can relax!!! lol). All of this felt great because just a few days ago, I sent Thomas and email with a list of things I wanted to begin focusing on, discussing, and working toward in terms of spiritually preparing to raise our girls with a heart for Jesus.  I went to Flourish in June and was about 6 weeks pregnant. It was a beautiful conference which scheduled quiet time with Jesus. During that time I wrote down every character trait I wanted our kids to have (and, yes…. I wrote children many times and felt silly for doing so but that was what was on my heart), wrote scriptures associated with those traits and attached women in the Bible who portrayed the traits I longed for them to have.

After the movie, I was left encouraged to do all the things I’ve been running from, personally writing about, and convicted to do. I rambled on and on about how important it is for me to deal with hard things, emotions, hurts, and disappoints and to communicate because doing so builds and strengthens relationships, not doing it tears them apart. And, hardens us. I’ve hardened in many ways and although I’ve been praying that God soften my heart, I truly don’t feel as if I’ve surrendered enough for Him to do it.

I know that not dealing with our own personal shit before we have kids and after they arrive, leave them be the ones shoveling both theirs and ours. If we don’t deal with our own junk, we pass that junk onto them. I know that our issues impact our kids, shape their lives, their perceptions, and experiences. Noyhing will ever be perfect but my goodness I want to give my kids the best foundation possible.

I don’t want the things I suck at to impair my children. I don’t want the fact that mommy hates crying and being emotional so she doesn’t like really digging deep and dealing with things to hurt them. And, it will. It will hurt them, my relationship with them, how they see me interacting with their daddy, and their view of me being a person who is supposed to be the heart and lifeline of our home. All of my decisions will shape and impact their lives. For better or worse. 

Treating them with grace, freely and relentlessly showing forgiveness, and intentionally guiding them to truth that they NEED Jesus will be all of our saving grace.

Especially when the less than attractive side of mommy comes out…. when she’s impatient, harsh, hard, seeking perfection & the best from herself and everyone around her, is HARD. It’s stressful. It’s limiting. It doesn’t help to build relationships or people.

With two extra little firecrackers (which they will inevitably be) in our home, finding a new balance will be hard, but finding it will be our peace. Learning to deal with things…. learning to be gentle, assuring, and kind even when frustrated will be what shapes our girls to be kind and self assured. It is what will keep the feel of our home warm, safe, and sure. It is what will tether us together when we’re disappointed in each other… when we’ve hurt each other… when we’ve just been less than loving and gracious.

Wanna know what’s burdening me right now?

When you experience pregnancy, everyone is focused on gender, names, a nursery, cribs, and collecting massive amounts of diapers. We have checklists and baby showers to collect a bunch of (needed, albeit) STUFF. We have childbirth classes and hospital tours, lactation consults, pedi interviews. While there are plenty of THINGS our children will need throughout their short span of newborn-hood, toddlerhood, childhood and on and on. And, duh.. it’s an exciting time. But, why is the focus on all of that but not on shaping these children’s lives? Why aren’t mommy-friends sitting mommies to be and new mommies down and talking to them about their experiences as new moms who have to maintain homes, marriages, and learn how to be a good (read: God focused) mom and wife in this new stage in her life? What this life is really going to look life before/after/during and under the surface of the beautiful photoshoots, Insta posts, and funny stories?

No one knows it all, we’re all struggling. Bringing a person into this world and having the responsibility to raise them cannot be easy. Why are we avoiding the conversation? Why are we trying to appear to be these women who have everything together and in need of nothing? As a mommy to be, I can only imagine the stress of having to care for everyone. How can we be more supportive of each other in this new role is my question. How can we build honest, trusting relationships with other new mommies who we can go to for a release? For advice and wisdom? Yes, we have our girlfriend groups and they are tight knit and deep……. But, I feel that motherhood is so personal. I feel that mothers are so harshly judged that even with our closest friends it can be hard to open up about what we need and what we’re struggling with… difficult to tell a friend that the teacher isn’t all the way wrong about her child’s behavior… or to offer help in an area that we see our friend needs help with… or to share with a friend what the future of that child and her life may look like if she doesn’t ease up on the super strict discipline or reign in a child who could use a bit more structure and discipline…. It’s hard.

Because we’re fragile and offended easily. Because we don’t know if our relationships can withstand such truth, an opinion, constructive criticism. We’re doing the best we know how to. The best we can. And, can get angry when someone points out a weakness that we may even know we have. But, who does that serve? How is being hard, in denial about our struggles, our junk helping? How is it shaping our families and our children? How is turning a blind eye benefiting us?

Who is talking about postpartum depression? Who is talking about how frustrated you’re going to be with colicky babies or late night partiers when you’re exhausted and working on two hours of sleep? or sick babies? breastfeeding issues??
Who’s talking to mamas who have lost their babies?  Who is talking about REAL LIFE?? Who is willing to?

We expect everyone to show their best face at all times because dealing with life is hard, messy, and ugly. All at once. Yes, life can be beautiful, wonderful, and peaceful, too. But, truth be told it isn’t like that all of the time. I know that because we’re all sinners and we can all make the worst of the worst decisions at times. We like to serve ourselves at some points, in some way whether small or large, that hurts another person. This life, our friendships, marriages, and relationships are hard because we are, because we’re unforgiving, we have junk we want to hide, and because we just plain ol sin everyday.

I’ve pulled out my notes from Flourish and have been studying, reading, and soaking up all of the wisdom that was given that weekend. I’ve committed to dealing with all of the hurts and disappointments that I have felt, perceived, and experienced over the past six-eight months and I’m going to talk about them. Cry about them. And, truly work towards getting over it or learning how to carry it without allowing it to cause a negative impact on my life. I’m going to make more of an effort to build deeper relationships and open up much more to that close knit group of gals and really learn to lean on them and position myself to be leaned upon.

The quality of our lives depend on it. Our depth of our character, marriages, and relationships with Christ depend on it.
Our husbands’ lives depend on it.
Our children’s lives depend on it.
Our friends’ lives depend on it.
Those we love the most depend on us truly being able to deal with our junk and love them deeply, serve them with gladness, guide them with grace and wisdom, and relate to them in a way that they learn to truly trust us with all of them – both good and bad.

Post Jam: Kari Jobe – Here.
Healing and finding peace begins with Jesus. It ends with Jesus. We have to ask and trust that He will bring people into our lives and/or further deepen the relationships we have to help us along and to push us closer to him.

I’m definitely encouraged to deal… to take a deep breathe and do hard things that will expose my heart and cause me to be vulnerable. To dig in, take root, and grow in ways that will honor God, strengthen my family, support my friends, and build my children. I know I’m not alone in wanting these things, but are we willing to take the leap to take hold of them?

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