Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Remembering God's Grace and Realizing My Blessings

I often think about "re-starting" my blog, but then life catches up with me and I realize I don't have much time to do it, so I don't. Here's to a new start and an attempt to write more than once every two years.

My life is full.  Today we celebrate my youngest son, Shepard's, 11 month birthday and we also remember the reason I started this blog; my first child.  It's been 4 years since my heart broke into a million pieces.  4 years since I became a mom.  4 years since I became a different me.  Last night Ashley and I put our kids, Jude who is 2 1/2 and Shepard, to sleep and had a wonderful date night at home.  We intended to go out but with Snowmaggedon 2014 going on in Northern Indiana everything is closed and so we were forced to stay at home.  But, it was wonderful.  Exactly what we needed amidst the busy life of planting a church and having two young boys.  We had a nice candlelight dinner and then trekked outside in snow up to our knees to find Elliott's little grave.  It took quite the effort given there was several feet of snow protecting it, but with much effort we beat the subzero temps and snow drifts to reflect on the first life God blessed our family with.  Before going inside I figured the only logical thing to do at that moment since I was covered in snow and inappropriately dressed for the temps was to fall backwards and make a snow angel.  It was joyous.  Cold, yes, but freeing.  I even convinced my husband to join me.  We were covered from head to toe in snow, but why not remember Elliott through laughter too?

A lot has changed in four years.  We are a family with two busy little boys, we have started a church plant in River Park, and I now work very part-time as a nurse so I can manage all of that.  Many days it's a lot to handle.  Changing diapers, potty-training, breaking up fights, stepping on legos (Ouch!), hauling kids to the grocery store, managing a budget on a pastor's salary, supporting my husband's dream, and often feeling like I'm trapped in the same cycle everyday.  But today is such a great yearly reminder of what my deepest desire was four years ago and why the sometimes mundane and often crazy and patience-trying times of motherhood is also so rewarding and worth it.  There are days I want to pull my hair out, any mom would agree, but I'm thankful for these two little lives that God has blessed me with.  Jude and Shepard fill my heart with more than I deserve and forever I am grateful.  Though I only carried Elliott for a short time in the whole scheme of our lives, he will forever hold a special place in my heart and hopefully be a reminder of God's sufficient grace.

Here is a picture of my sons sitting by Elliott's little stone.  This of course was several months ago prior to Snowmaggedon 2014.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." -2 Corinthians 12:9

Saturday, January 28, 2012

2 Years Later.

It has been 2 years since Ashley and I lost our first baby.  In just 2 years it is amazing how vastly different our lives are.  Our lives were pretty dark and seemed quite hopeless in January of 2010 and now our life radiates with the life and joy of a little 8 month old boy.  With that being said though, even though joy and hope are more evident in our life now, the memory of the pain we endured in losing Elliott is still there. 

Our church is offering a midweek class taught by Dr. Chad Meister on the topic of "God and the Problem of Pain and Suffering".  I went to the first class last week and appreciated the perspective Dr. Meister shared with the class.  In particular the passage in Romans 5 which talks about rejoicing in our suffering because it will produce perseverance and then perseverance, character and character, hope.  Dr. Meister talked about how with suffering our character is formed into people who are becoming more like Jesus Christ.  As I reflect over the last two years, I see the work of God forming me.  I care more, I pray more, and I understand Romans 12:15 which says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn."  My life used to be centered around me (and it probably is still more than it should), but now my eyes have been opened to how to care for others in some of their darkest times, and for that I am thankful.

I placed some flowers on Elliott's little grave this morning and I assumed I would be filled with sorrow, but although saddened by the life of a little baby I never knew, I had a sense of peace and hope for a new tomorrow and the promises God gives us.  I am thankful for the journey God has taken me on in the past two years.  Although I know that life with still have its ups and downs, the promise that God is with me through the dark valleys is something I am incredibly thankful for.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Don't Take Things for Granted

Over the past year I have had several friends who have lost people close to them and many times I have been at a loss for words on how to comfort them.  I have had a friend lose her brother, another one lose her full-term baby, another friend lose a son they were so close to adopting, and then another lose her husband.  These are all girls my age who have experienced such devastating heartache and pain.  And I can't help but wonder why these wonderful, sweet, loving individuals have to endure losing someone so dear to their hearts.  I can't answer why and I can't understand it, but I can learn to not take for granted my sisters, my baby, my husband.  I would never wish the heartache of losing a loved one on anyone, but I do encourage everyone, including myself, to learn from this.  Hug your child a little tighter, say you love your spouse before going to bed, cherish the moments you have with your siblings.  These devastating circumstances have made me realize I am incredibly blessed and I should not take one minute for granted that I have to spend with my child, my husband, my family, or my friends.  And as I remember how blessed I am, may I continue to pray for the people who have lost someone dear to their hearts.

Friday, January 6, 2012


I found out yesterday that a friend of mine found her husband unresponsive earlier that morning and did CPR without success.  They have a 3 week old daughter.  I am at a loss for words and it is so hard to not question why this has happened.  I have honestly been rendered speechless.  I don't know how to comfort her or encourage her to seek God in this horrible time.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.- Romans 8:26

Lord, please wrap your loving arms around my friend and her daughter at this time.  Make your presence known.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Missing You.

Why is it that the holidays make you miss people who are no longer here?  There are several people that I miss right now (in no particular order).

1) My mother-in-law, Chris.  She was always full of loving wisdom and there have been times in this past month that I wish I could gain knowledge from her.

2) My grandma.  She was a woman that lovingly disciplined me and helped make me into who I am today. I often miss her and wish I could share nursing stories with her, ask her advice on parenting, introduce her to my husband, and just see her hold my son.

3) My grandpa.  I want him to try the cookies and fudge that I make from his recipes and get his sweet smile of approval.  He was a man of very few words, but his kindness always shined through his eyes.

4) My father-in-law, Gary.  I wish he could be here to see what his son is doing with River Park Grace.  He would be proud.

5) My uncle Jeff.  I would love to have him meet Jude and have him take Jude on boat rides at the lake and make his famous Tony's breadsticks.

6) Elliott.  I often wonder what he would look like, what his personality would be like, and how much fun Jude would have with an older sibling.

Although I greatly miss these people, I am thankful for the time that I did have with each one of them.  Sometimes I like to just sit and reflect on the memories I have of them.  Sometimes those memories bring tears and sometimes they bring a smile.  As I rocked Jude to sleep today I told him stories of his family members he will never meet and I hope to continue to do this until he feels like he knew them too.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

I have come to my blog repeatedly over the past week to write something and I just can't seem to find the words.  There is a lot on my heart in regards to some sensitive issues in my life and I just can't find the appropriate words to express them.  But I'm thankful that I don't need words for my God to understand my heart.  He knows my thoughts and prayers.  He knows my desires.  And for that I am thankful.

On a different note, Christmas is upon us.  What a wonderful time of year.  The lights on trees, sweet treats made for friends, presents bought for family.  I love it all, but what I love even more is that we get to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  How amazing that He came to this earth purely to die for our sins, in order to give us life!  Ashley and I have been talking about traditions we want to start now that we have our own family and many of them center around the modern day celebration of Christmas, such as making cookies, cutting down a Christmas tree, etc.  But we have also noted that we want to be intentional about teaching Jude the real reason we even have the chance to celebrate Christmas.  We want to read about the birth of Jesus prior to opening gifts on Christmas morning and we want to be intentional about giving back to someone in need during the holidays.  My prayer is that as we make these traditions part of our family that we will also be able to instill a love for Christ in Jude as he grows older.

Below is Jude with his first Christmas tree and stocking made by his grandma.  This is the first year in my entire life that I haven't had a real tree, but with Jude on the move we decided we better be safe and put up a small fake tree instead.  So I guess that means one more evergreen tree gets to live a year longer...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

With Blessings Come Tears of Joy

My little boy turns 6 months old tomorrow.  Just thinking about it makes me cry.  I don't want him to grow up.  Although I know there are great things ahead for him, I just want to freeze this time forever.  Another big milestone is happening tomorrow too.  We are having our first service in our new church tomorrow evening.  As our team was mopping the floors, scrubbing the toilets, and doing sound checks, I was almost brought to tears out of joy for what is ahead for River Park Grace.  We have been incredibly blessed by acquiring a building that is paid off and we have a team that is absolutely amazing.  So with that being said, I have a feeling that tomorrow may be a somewhat emotional day for me.  But it's only going to be emotional because of the incredible blessings in my life; both Jude and River Park Grace.