Wednesday, June 21, 2017

GIFTS



Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.
Psalm 127:3


Three weeks ago we became a family of six! I still can't believe we have four children! And honestly, no one else can believe it either. Everywhere we go people are so amazed to see a family with four children! We've been asked if they're all ours, if we're "done" now, if they were all planned, etc. It's amazing what people will say!

We had the photo above made when Allison was just 4 days old. When Elizabeth, the photographer, showed me this final product, I literally cried. All I could see when I looked at that photo was gifts....gifts from our Heavenly Father. The Bible says that children are a gift from the Lord, a reward from Him and I know that to be true! We don't deserve these babies. We aren't the most qualified parents. We don't even know what we're doing most of the time, but God has blessed us abundantly with these little lives! 

I know four kids seems like a lot and I'm sure there will be many, many days where we feel overwhelmed and unsure of how we'll successfully raise all of them. But today I am grateful for these GIFTS that God has given. He has given Bryan and I such a great reward. As I snuggle with Allison, hold Tyson's hand, hug Evan, and talk with Dylan, I can't help but say "Thank You" to the One who placed them in our lives.  

I pray that I will remember the flood of gratitude I feel now on those hard, long days where impatience and frustration seem to win. Parenting is hard but its what we were made to do. 
I am so thankful for these precious little people for they are a great reward.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Box it Up Like an Old Photograph

A couple of days ago I was looking through some boxes in the attic, searching for photos of me as a baby. I wanted to see if Allison looks like I did as a baby. It turns out, she doesn't really look like me but that's okay, she is gorgeous!

As I was driving in the car yesterday afternoon, I heard an old song on the radio by Josh Wilson. Part of the song says,

"That was then, this is now. You’re bought by the blood, 

                       saved by the Son the saints all sing about
                                  That was lost, this is found
And it’s time to say goodbye to the old you now

So go ahead, put the past in the past
Box it up like an old photograph
You don’t have to go back
‘Cause that was then and this is now"


As I listened to that song, God brought to my mind the scene from the night before when I was digging through boxes in my attic. As I thought about that I realized that our past, our mistakes, the person we used to be, are a lot like photos that we pack away in the attic.  We can totally put away who we were, and live fully in the life God has given us now. From time to time we may go looking around in our old boxes and be reminded of our past and even deal with shame and guilt from those experiences but we don't have to stay there; those memories no longer define us. 

Honestly as I looked through those photos, I didn't remember most of what I saw. Trips I had been on, parties I had been a part of, people I had met; those were all memories that had been boxed away and only remembered when I went looking for something. I am grateful that the same is true our lives. Unless we go looking in our past and allow those memories to come out, we don't have to deal with the shame and guilt. Frankly, God doesn't want us to live that way. Jesus died so that we could live in freedom! This past year has been the first time I've lived in freedom. After sharing last May about the abortion I had at age 16, God has lead me into a place of total freedom from that dark time of my life. I used to worry over it and be filled with shame and buried with guilt. I always tried to hide it and never allowed myself to walk in the forgiveness God has given me. Now, I am no longer ashamed or chained by guilt. I still hate that choice and all the details that went along with it, but I don't wallow in grief any longer. I can box away that part of my life and live fully in what God has blessed me with now.

Today I am grateful that God isn't holding our past against us. He forgives and He wants us to walk in that forgiveness. I am thankful that I can box away those things I want to forget and only revisit those memories when I want or need to. I don't have to suffer because of my mistakes and neither do you. That was then, this is now. It really is ok to say goodbye to the old you because God has made you new!

I just believe someone needs to be told....
Go ahead, box those things up like an old photograph and walk in the freedom God wants for you!


Monday, June 5, 2017

What a Difference 13 years makes!


13 years ago today I married the love of my life. It was the the most perfect day. We were young, in love, and excited to spend the rest of our lives together. The wedding was gorgeous, the honeymoon was incredible, and our life together was starting. I cannot believe its been 13 years since that amazing day! 

If you had asked me on my wedding day what I thought our life would look like in 13 years, I would have never said that we would have 4 children, that I would be homeschooling our children, or that my greatest desire would be to raise godly children who know how loved they are. It's amazing to look back and see all that God has done in my life, Bryan's life, and our marriage over these years. We may physically resemble those twenty something kids in the picture above but I barely recognize them in almost every other way. Bryan and I have grown so much. God has been molding us into the wife and husband He created us to be. He has been shaping us into the parents He made us to be. He has changed our priorities and our focus. We are by no means perfect but I am so grateful for all the changes that have occurred.


Today I am grateful for my marriage, for my husband, and for all that God has done in our lives. I am thankful for these sweet babies He has entrusted to us to raise and love. I am overwhelmed by His goodness and all the ways that He has blessed Bryan and I. We are different than we were on this day 13 years ago. Different in so many wonderful ways. Our wedding day is one my favorite days but I wouldn't go back because I'm so happy with the life God has given us.

My, what a difference 13 years makes!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

For these daughters, we have prayed...

About 10 months ago my best friend, Valerie, and I began praying for something very specific. She had recently had a miscarriage and I had recently found healing and freedom from the abortion I had when I was 16 years old. We were both desiring daughters and since the Bible tells us to ask God for the desires of heart, we did. We spent time in my sunroom, praying together, asking our God to give us daughters. We hoped that He had heard our prayers but honestly, we were both surprised when we found out in October that we would both be having babies! 


A few months later we both found out that we would be having little girls!!! We had asked God for daughters and He had blessed us both with girls! We have been so thrilled. Since we both have three little boys already, the thought of us  having girls was super excited for our families!


As we approached the end of our pregnancies, we were ready to have these girls!!! It felt like they would never be born. On May 30th my doctor induced labor  at 7:15am. Valerie and I were in touch all morning. She was planning to come meet Allison as soon as she was born! In the afternoon, I got a text from Valerie saying that she would be having her baby on the SAME DAY!  She had been to the doctor and he had decided that she needed to go ahead and have her c-section. We were both in shock! The baby girls that we asked God for would be born on the same day! How incredible is that? 

Allison was born at 4:20pm and Isabelle was born at 6:08pm. 
Less than 2 hours apart!

Today our girls "met" one another for the very first time. They are both 5 days old! It was so special and emotional for Valerie and me. Here we were, holding these daughters that we had prayed for. 

Incredible.
Allison and Isabelle , 5 days old

Me holding sweet baby Isabelle

Valerie holding baby Allison





Today I am grateful for answered prayer. We asked God for daughters and not only did he answer our prayers, He allowed them to be born on the same day! To think about all the details He is involved in and all the ways He worked this experience out for us, is mind blowing. He loves us so much. He did all of this to help us feel His presence in our lives and in our friendship. He is amazing! I am also thankful for these precious little girls. They are destined to be great friends. They are beautiful and perfect. They are daughters of the One True King. What a sweet blessing it is to be given the opportunity to raise these girls together! 

I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.
1 Samuel 1:27