My son is two. [Insert automatic sympathy/condolences here]
Actually, it hasn’t been terrible; it hasn’t been nearly as bad as I expected. Most days I want him to stay two forever! Learning to talk and the innocence of his actions melt my heart. But boy does he have his DAYS. Days where the theme of our life is tantrum after tantrum, triggered by either too many emotions going on in his little head at once or not getting his way.
Often times you hear people telling you that when you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior you are transformed. You are made new. But what does that even mean? To a new believer, it can sound a bit hokey. Was God supposed to wash over me and suddenly I stopped sinning? Was I born again? Made perfect? Righteous? How will I feel different (if at all)?
Wendi Iacobello, founder of Strength 4 Spouses and Army wife, lost her baby unexpectedly, during the eighth week of her pregnancy. The unexplained and unexpected loss challenged her faith and propelled her into a deep depression that seemed impossible to get out of.
As look into your brand-spanking new baby’s eyes - you are encapsulated with the wonder of their life. Nothing else matters anymore. You never realized how focused and complete you could feel until your baby was laid on your chest in the first moments of their life. Words cannot be formed and your exhaustion is irrelevant as you are entranced into the marvelous adventure of motherhood. Planned or unplanned; this child is everything.
It all started in January 2018, during the training period leading up to Ian’s, Meekah’s husbands, deployment to the Middle East. When Ian left for training, Meekah thought of this month as a preparatory period to figure out how to do life on her own with her three girls before the deployment actually begun.
One ordinary day, Meekah paused in the car to cherish a moment of peace while the girls slept in the backseat. Eventually, she carried the girls in one by one, saving Mary Kate for last. Meekah paused in the doorway with Mary Kate draped over her arms and felt this nudge to lay Mary Kate on the couch instead of taking her to her bedroom with the other girls. Meekah was doing the laundry when Mary Kate’s snoring suddenly stopped and silence filled the living room. Meekah rushed in to find Mary Kate purple in the face. She immediately called 911 and started CPR. Compression after compression, she kept going until EMS arrived and saved Mary Kate’s life. After an emergency tonsillectomy, Meekah breathed a sigh of relief; all is well. Or so she thought.
It’s pretty obvious that every single person on this earth will experience trials. Neither rich nor poor, black nor white, male nor female can escape the probability of being tested in their faith. It will happen. And yet the outcome will differ drastically.
Some will crumple under the pressure, giving up all hope, while others will find a way to thrive. Every circumstance is different, but truth of the matter is we all have control of how we perceive and react to our situation.
We can either wallow in despair of our suffering or we can look for the hope that exists, because blessings can be found in the midst of trials.
Through her unique yet challenging deployment, Amanda learned that she could do more than she ever believed she was capable of and that small acts could in fact change the world. She became more compassionate. And her eyes were open to the kind of suffering that was happening outside of the US every day. She realized she had to do more, so upon return home, she started donating to various organizations in helping people less fortunate than many Americans.
Although deploying changed her in many different ways, another challenge also significantly affected her --- transitioning from Airman to Mom.
Today you took a big step. An extremely brave step. You told me you were pregnant. It was so obvious that you wanted to hide it and didn’t want to hide it all at the same time. You so desperately wanted everything to be ok.
The truth is this is amazing news! I’m so happy for you. You have been given this gift of life. Something you can cherish, literally, for the rest of your life. Someone to love, to hold, to raise, and guide. You are now raising the next little saint for Christ. What an honor! Do not forsake the importance of the task God has placed in front of you.
Today, I told you I was expecting our second baby knowing that it would cause a storm of emotions inside of you. I didn’t know how to tell you, and honestly, I was afraid. I didn’t want to cause you any pain, yet I knew that there was no way around it.
The moment I found out I was expecting, I immediately thought of you.
Let me start this out by saying I am no expert in marriage. Trust me. 4 years does not make anyone an expert. But you don't have to be married 20+ years to have learned a few lessons here and there. Truth be told, you should be learning something new every day!
As David and I celebrated 4 years of marriage (and by celebrated, I mean really we are unpacking our household goods), I wanted to share the top 4 lessons I learned in the last 4 years.
For the past 10 years, I have seen God transform my world beyond what I would have ever imagined possible. I have seen His work from as far back as I can remember. I have seen Him in the heartbreaks and pain that served a purpose that, initially, wasn't so clear. Reflecting back on those 10 years, I have seen Him in the everyday moments of my life. These moments I classify as "God Moments"; moments in which God was an ever-present being even when I didn't know it at the time.
The number one advice we were given when we got engaged was to compromise in marriage, and it would all work out. But all compromising did was leave me frustrated and a little resentful. My stubborn husband rarely compromised, what was I supposed to do?
You were so deeply hurt you feel like throwing up. Your stomach churns those words, those feelings into a clump of pain stuck in your throat.
You seldom know what to do with that pain. You try to pray; You try to imagine the hurt Jesus carried to the cross; You try to put things in perspective by imagining how often and deeply you hurt God. But in reality you’ve been known to rip your shirts and scream into pillows.
My heart has become an entangled mess; fiercely fighting the reality that I’ve become bitter. The bitterness is controlling of my logic, my feelings. Who I want to be, how I want to love, my words, my reactions are not what I want them to be. If I were to take my heart out of my body; maybe I wouldn’t even recognize it?
What if we were to look at stories around us and find God’s faithfulness in midst of these stories just like we do when we open up the Word? … Looking at our fellow sisters in Christ and hearing their stories may just be the dose of perspective and inspiration we need to live the way we are called to.
I am DONE chasing worldly perfect. I am DONE feeling guilty when things don't go as planned. And I am DONE with trying to do all the things to keep up with other bloggers. Instead, this year I am chasing purpose and progress over perfection. We have a purpose in this life, and that's what I will be chasing.
…I have forsaken you. I have fallen shorter and farther away from you than I ever dreamed possible. My humanness has taken over on countless occasions. Moment by moment, I leaned into my feelings over you. I chose momentary pleasure or comfort instead of filling my cup with your goodness. The feelings that could easily be deflated by your word, ruled the roost…
wrapping, mailing. My schedule becomes event after event. Seldom, do I ask myself “how is this gift (or event) going to help me remember the significance of Christ’s birth?”. Rarely, do I sit and pray before wrapping a gift asking God to bless the person receiving it.
While my heart is to love people well, my thoughts and actions often become too transactional - ok, what’s next on my list? I find myself getting caught up in the action; forgetting the heart.
It’s amazing, utterly amazing, how God can take trauma, pain, desperation and give us life. He can restore life, give life, and continue life in the darkest seasons. With the strength, mercy, and grace of our Lord and Savior, we can take one more thing.
For many people in the Christian community, the church has always been a part of routine, day-to-day life, but for a few individuals, that hasn't always been the case. If the church has been a part of your Sunday routine for as long as you can remember, then it's likely you've forgotten how scary it can be walking into a foreign building, risking being seen by people—truly being seen.
While the levels and deepness of grief and sorrow vary from situation to situation – we all have experienced hardship at some point or another.
Jesus went 40 days and 40 nights without food or water (Matt 4: 1-11). While His body yearned for nourishment and refreshment; His mind experienced isolation. During His many years of ministry, He lost people He loved, He had friends betray Him deeply (John 18), He experienced relationship conflict (Mark 4:35-41), and loneliness. He got angry (Matt 21: 12-13), sad (Matt 26:37), hopeless (Hebrews 5:7), and exhausted (Luke 22:44).
Why is it that falling at the feet of Jesus is so hard to do? Why is it – in the moments of exhaustion, hopelessness, and loneliness – giving Him those feelings feels impossible?
I’m not going to pretend to have all of the answers to my problems – but what I have realized is that the only place to begin is at His feet. So, I don’t know what’s next. I don’t know how the Lord is going to redeem this challenging season of my life but I do know, now, that I have to entrust it all to Him.
When you wake up motivated to live a better today, but somehow manage to get off on the wrong foot. You are not alone. Get right back up, brush off the dirt, and keep after it. I know you can do it. I promise, if you just keep on pushing, you will arrive.