I Will Not Keep Calm


It’s been a long, tiring day with the murders of #AltonSterling and #PhilandoCastile heavy on my heart. 

My fourteen year old brother has a solo trip planned to come visit us here in MN and he doesn’t want to come anymore because he is afraid to travel (alone) lest he face a similar fate. He’s fourteen years old.

He doesn’t have his driver’s permit yet but tonight, we had to educate him on how he should act if he ever were to get pulled over by a police officer. Because statistics, and the events of the past few days tell him and us that more likely than not, being the color he is and encountering a police officer could end up fatal for him. Fourteen years old. 

To those of you reading this and already rolling your eyes or thinking “calm down…” I ask you to stop. Stop with the “well he shouldn’t have…” or the “well he was no angel” or the “black on black crime” spiel. Do not redirect the discomfort of the truth.

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What’s So Amazing About Grace?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the word Grace. We’ve all heard the song “Amazing Grace.” Perhaps like me, you’ve known it since you were a tiny human. Amazing Grace was one of the first hymns I learned. If I’m being honest, over the years the words of the hymn have become so mundane to me, so the message seldom strikes me as a powerful one. Every once in a while though, I’ll have one of those moments where I stop and ponder – what is so amazing about Grace?

It was in late May, just one year ago that my husband and I found out we were expecting again. My family was in town for some reason, probably to see our new house, and not wanting to have to make the long drive to to where my parents live to tell them the news later, we decided to break it to them while they were here. That day was also Pentecost Sunday.

The theme of Grace has been prevalent in me and my husband’s lives all of our lives, but I guess we started paying attention and noticing it a lot more in the recent years.

Grace was with us on our first wedding anniversary when we learned we were pregnant for the first time. We celebrated not only one year of marriage but also the joyous news of expecting a little one.

Grace stayed with us as we sat in the doctor’s office at what was supposed to be our very first prenatal appointment. Grace was the doctor who had sympathy in her voice when we saw a tiny baby on the screen but didn’t hear a heartbeat through the speakers. Grace was portrayed through the nurse who sat with us for what seemed like an eternity as we began grieving the little life that we desperately wanted but no longer had. Grace was felt through the phone as we broke the news to our parents, who sobbed with us and then prayed for us.

Grace came with the sunlight each and every morning following those long nights when it seemed that nothing could pierce the darkness that enveloped our hearts and minds.

Grace came in the form of my husband’s embrace and encouraging words as I felt betrayed month after month, my courage puddling on the ground. Grace whispered in those moments I wanted to be angry and bitter when I heard from friends who were announcing pregnancies, or when I received invitations to baby showers, or saw photos of babies being born. Grace whispered “wait in Hope for the Lord. Wait.”

Grace blared through on that Pentecost Sunday as we saw a plus sign on a tiny screen. Going to church that Sunday, the anthem the choir sang was “O Day full of Grace.

O day full of grace which we behold,
Now gently to view ascending,
Thou over the earth thy reign unfold,
Good cheer to all mortals lending.
That children of light in every clime
May prove that the night is ending

Our hearts soared as we sat among hundreds knowing that a tiny miracle was growing.

Grace showed up again and again through the moments when fear tried to rear its ugly head, speaking falsities of loss and hopelessness. We combated by proclaiming Scripture and promises.

Grace came in the dozens of emails and messages we received over 40 weeks informing us of the prayers being said on our behalf from literally all over the world. Our prayer warriors were armed and going to battle daily for us.

Grace was displayed through the various nurses we encountered over the 35 hours I spent laboring through arduous, ridiculous complications, one after the other. Nurses who, we came to learn, loved the Lord. They encouraged and comforted, assured and prayed with us when things seemed bleak.

And Grace overwhelmed us as our daughter was born. She was 8 pounds 7 ounces of God’s amazing, perfect Grace. And she was all ours.

Her name means God’s unmerited favor and blessings given to us.

Gracelyn


So what’s so amazing about Grace? Everything.

God’s Grace is in the little things, such as getting to sleep an extra 10 minutes as our daughter is entertained by the ceiling fan, and His Grace is in the big things, like salvation and redemption from our sins.

God’s Grace is prevalent in every aspect of our lives. May we learn to seek it out and acknowledge its greatness.

I’m Baaaaackkk!

Holy cow it’s been nine months since my last post! I do sincerely apologize for my absence; it’s just been.. somewhat chaotic.

In the last nine months, I: had a baby, took maternity leave, learned how to take care of a baby, went back to work, and experienced all the emotions and thoughts that go along with all of that. It’s been one crazy, beautiful, messy (think leaking boobs while trying to learn how to breastfeed) ride. (I do apologize to those readers who are squirmy with body things a woman goes through after giving birth because there will be a lot more mention of that now.) You’ll also hear me mention a lot of how grateful I am for this little peanut… no truer truth has been spoken. Those of you who have been loyal readers since our miscarriage story know.

fam

Baby!

I finally feel like I have some semblance of balance in mom life/work life so I’m going to reattempt getting back into blogging life. Wish me luck! And subscribe, or come back to read often!

 

One Year Later

To the Love of my life,

Look how far we’ve come in the past year, Love. We’ve experienced so much joy together, encountered crushing pain together, prayed through tear-filled, sleepless nights together, and here we are, one year after we experienced what we hope to be our greatest loss. I cannot imagine doing this life and marriage adventure with anyone but you.

You have held me, you have prayed for me when I couldn’t pray for myself, you have comforted me and spoken God’s Truth to me, you have loved me when I couldn’t love or forgive myself, and you have allowed God to use you to show me so much of His grace, goodness, and redemption. Thank you for being the man of God I prayed for all my life.

Today I am tired, Love. I am beyond tired; I am exhausted. I can’t imagine how you must be feeling, staying up late to hear my me recount my sorrows the past few nights. Instead of being at work, I would rather be curled up on the couch with you, sipping hot chocolate and breathing in your scent.

I’m thankful to God for you and the two babies we’ve made together – one in heaven and one growing in my belly. You are going to be the greatest dad I know. I know this because of the way you love and cherish me. I can’t wait to see you love and cherish our little one that way.

God’s grace carried us here, and by His grace, we will carry on.

To our little one in heaven,

We miss you more than we can admit. There are days when we imagine how our lives would be different if you were here with us today. I have to stop myself from thinking about it because it shatters everything inside me. Who knew we could love someone so much without ever meeting them.

I’m deeply thankful you get to look into the face of our Savior everyday and experience His presence engulfing you. I’m thankful His face was the first thing you ever saw.

“Baby let sweet Jesus hold you, till Mom and Dad can hold you. You’ll just have heaven before we do.”

To our little one growing inside me,

We are beyond thankful for this journey we get to have everyday with you. We love reading about how you’re growing and love feeling you move. We pray that you come to know our Savior very early in life and that that relationship guides you for the rest of your life.

This pregnancy journey has been the most terrifying, yet thrilling journey we’ve been on together. We’re looking forward to loving, kissing, and holding you. We pray daily that God continues to mold us to be godly parents worthy of raising you. Please continue growing, you’re doing such a good job.

To my Heavenly Father, my Comforter, my Redeemer, my Healer,

Thank You for continually loving and forgiving me through my pain, my doubts, and my anger as I grieved. Thank You for the countless times You will forgive me yet as I continue to grieve, as I learn how to become a mom, as I grow in becoming a more godly wife. We could not have survived everything in the past year without Your presence and guidance in our lives. The sadness tends to be overwhelming at times, but may it not overlook the joy You have graciously granted us.

Thank You for life. Thank You for my husband. Thank You for my babies. May our lives continue to reflect Your glory as we pursue You first.

Almost One Year Later

We wait in hope for the Lord, He is our strength and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice for we trust in His holy name. May Your unfailing love rest upon us, oh Lord, even as we put our hope in You.

Here I sit, on the one-year anniversary of that heart-crushing doctor’s appointment where we discovered our first baby was no longer alive, and one day away from the one-year anniversary of when I delivered our first baby.

Yesterday, a couple came to the church where I work to meet with the pastor. They had given birth pre-maturely to their baby at only 25 weeks and the baby died three days later. They walked in with a heaviness I recognized too well, and hope to never experience again. It’s the kind of heaviness that consumes you to the point where seeing anything and everything and encountering anyone was too painful, but because of the demands of life, you still had to do it.

I’ve had difficulty sleeping and staying asleep the past two nights. The first night, I was plagued with nightmare after nightmare. The last one I had before I woke up was that I was having a miscarriage; There was so much blood everywhere. I woke up in a panic, checking the bed to see if there was blood. Last night, some sort of dream/nightmare woke me up around 3 a.m. There was redemption afterwards as I stayed awake for the next hour and a half because our Little One was kicking. It was a welcomed distraction to feel her moving inside of me, reminding me of the life that still perseveres inside of me despite my fears and doubts. I am so thankful to be able to feel her on a daily basis now. Even as I write this, she’s kicking me in my side.

I still grieve the loss of our first child. Sometimes, I know people don’t understand why. “But you’re pregnant with another child” they think and say, as if that makes our previous loss better. It doesn’t. Yes, the Lord has blessed us with another child and we are so, so thankful, but that doesn’t take away the pain from losing our first child. It helps at times, but this child is not a replacement.

Tomorrow, September 11, will be a joyful day as we celebrate our growing baby turning another week older in the womb, but the day will be interlaced with tears as we remember where we were one year ago. Thank the Lord for His grace so amazing and so prevalent.

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lordbe strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Lazy Weekends

I love lazy weekend afternoons, the kinds where I can lay on the couch and not have to think about work or about cleaning the house. Today is one of those afternoons.

I’m sprawled on our living room sectional. My belly is full and I’m content from snacking on homemade crêpes I had been craving.

  
From time to time, the gentle stirring in my lower abdomen makes my heart leap with joy. I’ve become more attuned to the baby’s kicks and I love feeling the movements.

In the next room, my husband is gently and patiently shaving our dog’s fur. His demeanor is so different from mine when I do the same activity. Mine includes a lot more “quit moving, Beesly!” and “stop it, Beesly!” His voice is gentle and encouraging as he praises and affirms our goldendoodle for following his instructions. Beesly adores him, and so do I.

I am so blessed with a good man. His patience, outlook on life, and character are good. He seeks to please God and this desire pours out to all other aspects of his life. I see it the most in the way he cherishes and honors me. I am so thankful. And I am beyond excited to see him interact with our baby in a few short months. He is going to be the best father. Praise the Lord for godly men!

There is no other way I would rather spend my weekends and days, lazy or otherwise, than with him. 

A Prayer to Start My Day

A coworker shared this prayer with me a few weeks ago and I completely forgot about it until today. I thought the words were perfect not only for a Monday, but for a day when I’m feeling very unmotivated. May you find solace in this prayer.

Lord, as I think about my day, there are some things I’m excited about and some I’m dreading. I have people who are looking to me for direction, answers, support, and encouragement. In my own strength, I will fall desperately short of all that is expected of me. Strengthen and remind me that the only One I have to please is You.

May my thoughts, words, and attitudes be pleasing to You today. Let every interaction be seasoned with grace and purpose. May no frivolous words or actions clutter my day, but only those things that will bring You glory and build Your kingdom.

I surrender my day, my agenda, and my plans into Your hands. I ask You to order my day Your way. Even when the inevitable interruptions come, help me to sense Your intention in each one and respond the way Jesus would.

Amen.

Oh, the possibilities

Have you ever been really excited yet really nervous for something? Like a first date or a big school presentation or your first day of work? 

I’m currently super excited yet super nervous and the truth is it’s tiring me out. I’m excited for all the possibilities and the good things to come, and I know that this is where I should reside, but I’m nervous because… What if there’s a repeat of what happened in the past and things go downhill? What then?

I can’t wait for tomorrow to be over. If you think of me sometime tomorrow morning, please say a prayer for courage and joy through it all.

Praise Him In Advance

I have Friday afternoons off work and this afternoon, I’ve decided to spend it cleaning the house. Don’t feel sorry for me; I really do like cleaning. 🙂

As I was cleaning, I turned on Pandora Music so I could have some tunes to work to. My station of choice? Anthony Evans. First few songs were not disappointing and spoke to my heart words that I needed to hear. And then this song came on. You ever have those moments when you know God not only knows but acknowledges all that you’re going through? If the first few songs didn’t make me aware of that, this song certainly did.

These lyrics especially stood out to me:

Praise will confuse the enemy.

I’ve often wondered how I would combat fear and doubt and over and over I was told “give thanks” and “praise God in those moments.” This song reaffirmed that for me.

The singer, Marvin Sapp, continues to sing, “That’s why I praise him with my hands, that’s why I praise him with a dance, He’s given me a second chance, come on lets praise him in advance.”

So praise the Lord in advance for all that you will encounter today and in the days to come.