Not What I Expected

I’ve been wanting to write for a while, but haven’t been able to really organize my thoughts. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I haven’t really wanted to organize my thoughts. My typical defense mechanism is to ignore what’s going on, shove it aside, and live in survival mode until I finally deal with it or it blows up in my face. And while there have been bursts here and there along the way, there hasn’t been a huge explosion yet. I hope, by addressing this now, there won’t be. Perhaps I actually am learning something.

This last week leading up to Mother’s Day was very different from the one two years ago. Then, I was starting on a cycle of fertility drugs, going a little crazy, stressed, anxious, and sad, though still hopeful. Now, I’m celebrating my first as a mom, with less than 6 months to go before we welcome a second into our family. Oh, yeah, and there’s a pandemic going on.

This time last year I thought there was still over a month to go before we’d get to meet Evelyn (there was really only a couple weeks as she came over 3 weeks early). I don’t remember being incredibly stressed. I just remember having huge feet, not being able to put on shoes and socks without feeling winded, and feeling the kicks and hiccups from the little one inside, reminding me she was there. I was amazed at what was going on inside me. Amazed at a Creator who designed this process so flawlessly. And yet…

I don’t know exactly when it happened. Probably a little bit as we struggled with infertility. And a little more as we saw a specialist with no results. I had begun to withdraw from the God I loved.

I was thankful, am completely thankful, for the precious gift He’s given us in Evie. But throughout that pregnancy I was still skeptical of the outcome. Worried she’d be taken from us too soon. Not letting myself get attached in preparation in case that happened. And then she was here. And what started out happy enough with this sweet little girl turned into two weeks of hell. We were scared DCPP was going to take her from us (all because I ate a poppyseed bagel 4 hours before I went into labor and tested positive for opioids on a drug test I took when I was admitted to the hospital). That complete ordeal lasted two plus months, but there was nothing that shook us both as much as those first couple days. Days we should have been rejoicing in the new life we’d been blessed with, not fearing that she’d be snatched away, this blessing we longed for so much.

Then there was the figuring out how to be a mom. How often should she eat? Sleep? What if she seems like she’s hungry but she just finished nursing? Is she crying because she’s hungry or because she just wants to be held? Along with the seemingly innocent questions and comments, “You’re feeding her again?” “She sure does eat a lot.” (Please do not ever say these things to a new mom. While you may think they are just observational and offhand, they can be taken very much as judgement of what she is doing…as if she isn’t already questioning herself & her competency enough.)

Just about the time the whole poppyseed ordeal was clearing up I found out that Evie wasn’t getting enough to eat (despite me feeling like I fed her all the time). For not the first time and not the last I felt I had failed her.

Insecure about my “motherness”, my body, my choice to stay home, I looked to distract myself from all of that (I’m really not so good at facing things head on). I turned to entertainment, social media, ridiculous time consuming games on my phone. All from which I gained absolutely nothing, besides what I wanted. Distraction. And during this all I distanced myself from my God. And I distanced myself from my daughter. I learned how selfish I can be; not wanting to relinquish my time to care for her. I thought this was all what I wanted. Be a stay at home mom. Take care of my baby. Teach her and watch her grow. Take care or our home. Cook delicious meals. Host dinner for our friends. Why was I not finding joy in this?

I had forgotten where my joy was found. More likely, I didn’t want to look for it there. There, in the place it always was and always has been. There, in my Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ. I had fallen into, I don’t know, a hole, a rut, a pattern of behavior? And while I didn’t want to be there, while I desired to draw close to the Lord, I had settled into where I was. I was comfortable.

Oh, there were times I had been rather distraught. Times of breakdowns and ugly crying. Times of knowing I wasn’t doing what I should. And maybe I’d change for a day or two. I’d rally myself and try to do better. But you know what? I’m not so strong on my own. I look back at all the things I have done/gone through in the past; moving to Alaska, major surgery, finding a husband, finishing a half marathon. They all have one thing in common. I did not rely on my own strength. So why am I trying to do that now?

Maybe in this season of feeling so out of control I want to feel like I can control something (though this started long before the current pandemic crisis). Maybe I want to prove something. To the world. To myself. To those around me. And yet I think about that and it seems so silly. I have the knowledge of where true strength comes from. I have knowledge of where true joy comes from. And yet I lack wisdom to put that knowledge to use.

And then yesterday, Mother’s Day, my first Mother’s Day, we joined our church’s livestream from home. Our pastor spoke of his mom, who went home to be with the Lord only a few weeks ago. He spoke of one of his fondest memories; seeing her enjoying her morning coffee and time in the Word and sharing with him what God had been sharing with her through it. Sharing with his sons the same as they grew. Her strength and joy found in her Lord though her life was far from easy, far from pain-free. The deep impact that has had on his life.

And I remembered why I so desired to be a mom in the first place. I remembered a desire that had lain somewhat dormant for some time. I remembered the desire to share the knowledge and the truth of the Lord I love with the child(ren) I hoped to have. It is to this end that I strive. Not for my own reknown or acknowledgement, but so that in this I  may honor & glorify my Lord.

Is it really that easy? Hearing a sermon and deciding to change? No, I know it won’t be. I know there will be days where my selfishness will take over. Days when I insist on working through my own strength. Days when my confidence in the process will falter because things are constantly changing. Days when schedules and best laid plans fly out the window (especially when her sister enters the mix). But I have been reminded of this great endeavor I have been blessed to have. Evie is almost a year old. Time goes by so quickly and I don’t want to waste it anymore.

If you made it this far, friends, congratulations! Forgive me for the twisting, winding thoughts. I hope they’ve made at least a little sense. This was much more for me to find my way through it all. To make sense of this last year. Thanks for muddling through with me.

If you feel stuck in a place, you’re not alone. This is not an easy road. I’m traveling it, too. More importantly, Christ is here, too. With Him it may not necessarily be easier, but it will be possible. I write this so I may remember it as well.

Love & Blessings,


Thankfulness: Day 4

Today I am thankful for the community of faith where the Lord has placed me. I have not been a part of this church for very long (a couple years), but this family is one I am ever grateful for; a place I can go to be renewed by the Word and worship the Lord.

Here I find likeminded people who aren’t just a part of a Sunday morning tradition, but are part of my life. We stay connected through the week, encourage each other, speak truth to each other, mourn & rejoice with each other.

There is a reason we are instructed to gather regularly as the Body of Christ; this whole being set apart from the word thing isn’t easy on ones own. But with Brothers & Sister by your side, to remind you of the Lord’s promises when you’ve forgotten or to tell you, in love, the sin they see present in your life when your eyes are closed to it, it’s definitely more manageable.

I cannot fully put into words the great effect my various church families have had on my life; from helping grow my faith and teaching God’s Word, to countless discussions on salvation, singleness, infertility and prayer upon prayer. By the grace of God, these people have been used by Him to draw me deeper to Himself and there isn’t gratitude enough in my heart to say just what it means. I only hope that I never turn from opportunities the Lord puts in front of me to do the same.

Have you such a community, friends? I pray you do. And if not, I pray for wisdom and guidance that you may find one.

Love & Blessings,


What I Love About Sundays

A simple list; because that’s sometimes all you need:

*Being with the family of God

*Sharing; joys, needs, praises, hurts

*Sunday morning I’m-so-glad-to-see-you smiles (and hugs)

*Singing praise & glory to our God & King

*Hearing the voices of loved ones that stand out from all the rest while singing

*Witnessing love as a husband’s hand sets upon his wife’s while they worship together

*Being in communion with God, though there is not one thing I’ve done to deserve it

*Being reminded that “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe”

*The voice of a sister in prayer, giving thanks to our God for His provision, always

*Being reminded, once again, at only Jesus saves; as much as we love things and/or people of this earth they can never provide us with the same benefits as He does

*Resting in and being renewed by my God; the only One able to take this mess of a person and use her for His glory & the good of His kingdom

I hope you’ve gotten to experience at least a few of the same today.

Love & Blessing,


Church as God Meant it to Be: One of His Provisions for Us

To start things off; if you think the church is the building you go into once, maybe twice a week to worship, take a closer look at 1 Corinthians 12: 12-27. In that passage Paul says we (Christians) are all part of one body, the body of Christ, His church. So being, we all have our purpose yet work together for His glory. In the early church believers pooled all of their resources, even if it meant selling all of their land, so that all were taken care of. It’s pretty amazing to think about; that people who are of no blood relation would be so willing to take care of each other with such a sacrificial love. But then, they were called to love one another as Christ loved them. And His love lead Him to give the ultimate sacrifice. This commandment of love was not just for the early church, but for all believers. We know about it, we read about it, but how often to we actually experience it?

There is no coincidence that my pastor preached out of Acts chapter 2 this morning for his sermon, “A Grace Built Church.” A lot of ideas about church today are so very different from when the church first began. We are meant to be doing so much more than just making an appearance every Sunday, saying polite hellos, singing, and listening to a sermon. Perhaps it will be helpful to take a look at how the church conducted business when it was new.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. ~Acts 2:42-47

I, myself, have been blessed to be on the receiving end of this kind of love & fellowship this past week. On Friday I was in great need of prayer. I was able to contact some of my church family and within minutes I had replies of prayers, encouragements, and even a couple phone calls. This morning I spoke with a Brother about the decision I have to make about going to Michigan as my grandmother is not well. I would typically drive the 12+ hours over 2 days, or sometimes straight through. He offered to get me a plane ticket with miles he and his wife had saved. After a similar conversation a Sister offered to drive with me if I ended up driving. This same afternoon I was also simply handed some money to assist with a need I’ve had. I was struck by these great kindnesses and I felt so blessed to be a part of it all.

As I was driving home I really thought about it. I often feel left out, no, on the sidelines, no that’s not quite right either…perhaps more like I’m missing something, because I am single. But I will also be one of the first to say that that is not true. God has provided for me, in these instances and many, many more, through the amazing church family He led me to. I pray I’m able to pass the blessings along. There are always things we can do better, but I think we have a good part of Acts 2 working within our family, all for the glory of God.

So what is it you could be doing to help your family? Maybe it’s gathering together to help a Sister move. Perhaps God’s leading you to help support a member of your church to go on a mission trip. Spend some time with an elderly Sister or Brother who might be on their own. Invite a new couple to dinner. Be available to the mom who just might need some time on her own. Whatever it is, I encourage you to follow His lead. You probably do not have to go so far as to sell your possessions to help a Brother or Sister out, but would you be willing to? If we are to be known by our love, let’s put those words into action and make them evident. Can you imagine all of those who would be “filled with awe” (insiders and outsiders alike) by witnessing such acts of love?

If you do not know this kind of community I’m writing about because you do not have a church family of your own, I encourage you to start searching for one. It is so hard to be a part of all of this if we are by ourselves. It’s not easy and it’s not always a comfortable experience, but when you’ve found it, you will definitely know.

Love & Blessings,