Glue

Glue.
God gave me that word a few weeks ago. 
When I’m not sure how I feel,
I sometimes ask the Lord for words or pictures
that help my emotions make sense to me in light of Him. 
The term “glue” echoed deep into my soul and
began bringing pieces of my puzzle into something resembling an image
rather than a jumbled mess. 
In this season as young wife and mother, I feel like glue. 
Glue that is smeared on the back of a piece of scrap paper and
holding everything together. 
I dance in the celebration of wifedom and motherhood. 
These are my greatest earthly gifts. 
But you want to know the truth?
More often than not, I’d rather be the artist than the glue.
I want to dream and create and be filled with passion. 
I want to be a part of beautiful things upon which people can gaze. 
I want to be spontaneous and creative and free to
explore something further if it catches my eye. 
Instead, I feel as though I never get to choose
where I’m smeared or what I hold together or
how many times my little knob at the bottom gets turned
to use more and more of me up.  
I sat there at the feet of God telling him,
“Yes! Glue is it exactly!”  
And He countered me. 
I tuned my ears to Him and I felt the word
“valued”
resting on my heart. 
It’s now written on a name tag and pressed into the pages of my journal,
right alongside the only other words I could use to
describe my feelings just minutes before:
stuck, wandering, lonely, set aside, fixer, unnoticed, used…glue.  
Something was rising up in me.
Valued. Called. Anointed. Promised. Useful. God’s Workmanship….His art!

IMG_7994.JPG


This season I’m in is one of considerable joy. 
There is much in which I rejoice and delight. 
Being a mom to my Lettie Anne thrills my soul.  
Each day is a voyage into new bliss as I witness her personality burst forth. 
The friendship and romance I possess with my husband
is a privilege I could have never dreamed up. 
Both relationships are privileges I would never willfully give up. 
It is not Biblical to assume, however,
that joy cannot reside alongside struggle.  
In fact, Scripture suggests quite the opposite. 
I know in my soul of the fruit
God promises to produce in me and through me if I remain in Him. 
I trust Him for this. 
Don’t misinterpret my emotions as
regrets or ungratefulness or
failings on the part of my loved ones to meet my needs. 
I am simply compelled to tell the truth from deep down because
I can’t help but sense that others feel it too.  
I dare not sacrifice authenticity for the sake of
appearing at peace by my own accord. 
I fear pretending ease when reality is hard. 

I shudder to think another mom may be crossing my path
with a similar ache in her heart to be seen and
my eyes are too fixed on seeing myself that I miss seeing her! 

We all could use a little honesty, and
my truth right now is that I feel unseen in this space of young motherhood.
Joyless? No way! 
A little lost and overwhelmed and stuck?  Yes and yes! 

Truths do not have to equate to complaints when spoken. 
But truth does deserve to be spoken. 

Not working to stay at home with children is hard.  
Moves to new cities are hard. 
Moves to new countries are even harder. 
Submitting to your husband is hard. 
Things which used to come easily to me I now often find challenging. 
Making friends, plugging in, leading,
even finding the right place to serve seems illogically difficult.
I think the transition to marriage and motherhood can often
lend itself to an identity crisis of sorts. 

I’m not sure where me went. 

We just seem to be stuck right in the middle of
all these things and people and
we can find everyone and everything
          (the remote, your daughter’s left shoe, the cream cheese…am I right?)
but ourselves.  
There is a lot I don’t know right now. 
Especially about myself. 
But! I do know that if God never put me in this “invisible” season,
then I may have never had eyes to see you when you are in it. 
So I want you to know that I see you, sister. 
And if I don’t see you yet,
then know that I’m looking for you. 

You are God’s workmanship, a masterpiece if you will. 
Though you may feel like a clumpy piece of glue and
all you want is to have a little control over what you become,
take delight in the fact that
you don’t get to be the Artist because you get to be
the art. 

God saw all that He had made and it was very good. 
Creation is not a finished work.
Creation is past and present.
That means you.  And me. And the mom across the road. 
Pardon the cliché, but we are works in progress.
The Artist has His hands invested in us and
He is making something to be valuable!
There’s my word…valued. 
Remember, the creative process often requires glue. 
So I’m choosing today to celebrate my stickiness and
I’m going to do my job not only with all my heart,
but with all my joy. 
Because I trust the Artist.  
And I know after the glue dries,
when our kids have their footing and
hold themselves together a little better than they do now,
maybe then I can be the paintbrush! 

As I scrap my way through this season of glue,
I’m speaking the promises of John 15 over my life and yours. 
Do not dry up. 
Do not pick up a pen and start drawing furiously
on a canvas that is not yet ready,
even if you know you have a picture to draw! 
God sees. 
May we be patient. 
May we let Him do His work. 
May we remain in Him. 
He sees the giftings you possess when you hold that pen,
but He wants to ensure the canvas is prepared suitably to receive them. 
May we not turn and separate ourselves and attempt to bloom
“right this very instant!”  
Haven’t we all told God at one time or another,
“I better blossom right here right now or else!”? 

Perhaps He is watering us. 
Perhaps the vine is growing and
the branches are extending and
little shoots are beginning to sprout,
but the fruit is simply not ready. 
Hear this….Not dead!
Just out of season. 
It’s coming. 
Works in progress. 
Remain in Him.

God is good. All the time. 
Now go be the best glue you know how to be!

The Sisterhood of Motherhood

Sometimes God speaks to your heart through the testimonies of His people. 
This is often true for me as I engage with people in such varying walks of life. 
Rich or poor, hurting or healed, educated or street smart-
He writes beautiful stories in all of us. 
One of the greatest privileges of becoming a mom is joining
the remarkable sisterhood of motherhood. 
It extends beyond boundary lines, beyond language, beyond race or age or finances-
the most natural unifier on this earth. 
When a baby is in tow, linking eyes with another mother connects you
in incredibly intimate ways. 
As I began walking with Lettie,
first in my ever-enlarging belly and then in the stroller in front of me,
we would pass other ladies and revel in the relationship created
by only a knowing look and a wave.

 

I vividly recall the pulling of my heartstrings to hold the mother’s heart and
infuse it with grace and encouragement. 
In those moments I began praying for the Holy Spirit to permeate me with
words of peace and purpose for others as I, too, was learning
to lean on Him to lead these tiny souls called children. 
True to His character, He began speaking. 
He imparted to me spectacular images of His goodness all around me. 
The deeper He took me into His presence,
the deeper my heart searched for the parts of a mother’s heart
that need to be filled with Light and washed in His mercy. 
In the celebration we often (and rightfully) assign to motherhood,
He led me first to the pain. 
The ache and the agony is not just in the labor. 
There is the sting of loss in miscarriage or stillbirth. 
There is the throb of brokenness in foster care and adoption.
As I type these words my heart feels as if it has sunk to my toes and
my vision blurs with tears. 
Motherhood in all its rawness. 

The sisterhood. 
My sisters are hurting.
And the whispers of the Father become shouts of hope. 
Lord, embrace them with truth and let them feel You
mourning beside them in a heap on the floor. 
Then, rise up in them! 
Take your sturdy hands and pick them up,
stronger than ever and filled with confidence that You write good stories. 
You are the author and perfecter of our faith and
You can take any twist in the plot threatening to destroy and
turn it into a best seller,
because all the good books leave us with hope.   

So here we are.
Joined, connected, bonded together by motherhood and
held up by a faithful Father, a mighty Warrior, and a loving Creator. 
If you’re like me, I need help taking captive my thoughts
from schemes of deceit and dwelling on Truths of the Word. 
Therefore, the Lord put my hands to work and asked if I’d jump out on this limb. 

Today I will launch an Etsy shop with the prayer that it will reach my sisters,
our sisters,
who are suffering in the darkness and need to feel seen. 
Isaiah 40:8 says “The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the Word of our God stands forever.” 
When it feels like all hope is stripped away,
we have the promise of unfading glories.
We all know someone who has been there or is there now.  
Let’s talk about it.  Let’s bring the Light to it.
Let’s join together in this beautiful thing called motherhood.  
If you get a chance, check out my shop UnfadingGlories:

(https://www.etsy.com/shop/UnfadingGlories?ref=l2-shopheader-name)

and consider the testimonies God is shaping in the lives of people all around us. 
He is good, all the time.

Planting

My mind is jumbled with thoughts
bouncing back and forth between
naptimes and bottles, roadtrips and budgets.
 I’m finding transition a difficult place to be,
particularly for a wife and mom.   
Taylor’s hard work toward a career is effort in which
I trust, encourage, and rest secure. 
He is doing what is best for our family and we are thankful for him. 
This season of job training and preparation, however,
has us more often at my parents’ Carolina home while
our life awaits us on a hill in Tennessee. 
I find myself wondering how I fit into this big picture. 
Where do my God-given passions and gifts intersect with the world?  
I am a tree longing to be planted by streams of water,
but I keep feeling as if I’m still just sitting in the pot. 
There is purpose in the pot, indeed,
just as there is great meaning to motherhood and being a spouse,
but how much more growth and beauty is beheld when
roots are allowed to run deep. 
Nevertheless, I wake to a South Carolina sunrise and
a heart-melting, sleepy-eyed baby girl ready to climb and play
in a home that, however beautiful and warm,
I did not prepare, in a city in which I do not live.  
Although routine and roots beckon me,
there are rays of sunshine in this seemingly wild ride
us Nashes tend to board,
shedding light on Kingdom things and grounding us in His purposes. 
Perhaps being uprooted is
part of the method and the blessing before the planting, after all.

A rare sense of routine washed over me one morning
as my little girl and I were alone together for the first time in months. 
God came and dwelled among us in the rhythmic tide of motherhood. 
And He fathered me, His child. 
I noticed. 
He taught me of Himself. 
He showed me glimpses of His mercy. 
He broke bread, offering me a piece and I joined Him at the table. 
Oh how hungry I was! 
He filled me with the knowledge of His gentle hands
guiding me into His best for me, and I rested there. 
“I see you, darling.  I desire for you to learn and grow. 
I yearn for you to be delighted in joy.
I expect you to contribute and give of yourself to others. 
Know that I see you. And trust Me.
I am preparing a way for you.”

There was food to be cut into bite-sized pieces,
a little face to be wiped, diaper changes, books to explore,
dirty laundry, clean laundry, thirsty plants, needed exercise,
and tiny hands to hold.
As I cared for Lettie in the blissful quiet of our morning together,
the Father’s words echoed to the depths of my soul.  
Every move she made sealed them deeper and deeper into my heart. 
As I gave myself fully to my “now,”
God spoke directly to my “later.” 

I first heard Him knock in the ever-expanding pile of laundry on the bed. 
I would fold, and Lettie would roll and play and ruffle. 
I would sort, and she would giggle when
she found herself under a pile of daddy’s shirts. 
It was sweet and simple fun. 
Eventually, however, the task we set out to accomplish had to get done,
at which point Lettie found herself in the laundry basket
while the clothes occupied my hands. 
In the hamper, my sweet baby was safe from falling off the bed
and kept from undoing my job,
yet we still got to enjoy each other’s presence. 
I longed for her company,
especially after having had to share her for so many weeks. 
She was not locked away in another room or given to someone else’s care,
she was simply given boundaries that
brought peace and progress to a important task with which
she was not ready to help. 
What she didn’t know was that the basket wasn’t going to last forever;
I would lift her out as soon as the time was right. 
Immediately I saw myself in that basket and
God’s knowing, capable hands making order of the mess on the bed.
He longs for me to be there beside Him,
especially when our time together has been short. 
He placed me there for my good. 
It is not time for me to be picked up and set out. 
Until then, we can talk and sing and laugh together. 
The time will not be wasted. 
I will be safe and can learn from watching Him work.  
And in the end, the job completed will create space and freedom for me
to again jump out to explore and contribute. 

nothing like fresh laundry to roll in

nothing like fresh laundry to roll in

As the final sock was rolled,
my little girl reached up and I scooped her out of the basket. 
She was on the move. 
I smiled as I watched her crawl down the carpeted hallway,
stop to gaze at the nightlight still glowing,
look at me as she questioned how quickly she could grab it,
change her mind,
then head for the closet door on which she
pulled up and practiced finding her balance. 
I got a wave and a shout of acclamation and she was off yet again. 
These times are magical. 
She brings me such delight as she becomes a part of the world around her,
trying harder, doing more, going further.
We have special spaces and toys designed for her to
provide those opportunities she needs not only to explore, but to grow. 
I love to nod in approval and cheer her on as she searches my eyes for pride.
There are times, though, I must say “no” in love and redirect her
to a space better suited for her abilities,
eager to nurture success.
The stairs, for example, are a mountain she has learned to climb,
but the descent will most assuredly end in a tumble
(although she may beg to differ). 
For what seemed like the millionth time,
I pointed her away from the top step. 
She repositioned herself around the corner as if to make a statement that
she was not amused by my “no” and would
be just fine to play by herself, thank you. 
Of course I pursued her. 
When I peered around the bathroom door,
she proudly waved at me donning feminine products in each hand as if to say,
“Look what I found! Haven’t I done a great job all on my own?!” 
There again I saw myself,
flapping my arms at God so proud in doing something independently,
nevertheless how foolish it was. 
When He takes too long to tell me “yes”,
how quick I am to turn the corner on my own to a dead end bathroom and miss the space prepared specifically for me next door by a loving Father. 

I sensed His whispers in my own reaction to Lettie,
now with said product hanging out of her mouth. 
I had no anger or self-righteousness toward her.  
I did what any parent would do-
I snapped a picture, giggled, and gently guided her toward an activity
better suited for her. 
Something I designed for her to be a part of. 
In several years I will show her the photo and we will laugh together
at the innocent joy and pride she took in such a silly “accomplishment”
and we will revel in how far she has come. 
Doesn’t our God relate to us in much the same way?    
He peeks around the wall to find us waving our own ideas or achievements,
and with a gentle touch He guides us into something better,
another room arranged especially for us. 
He covers us in the grace we need to look back at old snapshots
and continue growing in wisdom. 
As Lettie looked up at me, I again reached down for her and helped her
walk into a better space.

Oh my gosh. Please don't judge me for the bruises on her face or the the activity choice. 

Oh my gosh. Please don't judge me for the bruises on her face or the the activity choice. 

As the morning sun hung on to its last gentle rays
before the afternoon heat arrived,
my girl looked at me with tired eyes and reached her little hands up toward mine.
Without a word spoken, “Hold me, Mama” echoed through the living room
and I scooped her up to cuddle her close.   
Noting her need for rest, I placed her in the stroller
and laced up my running shoes to put my feet to the pavement. 
I believe babies know their Creator best when they are in His creation. 
There is a sense of calm and peace and contentment
that washes over Lettie as leaves sway and birds exchange songs. 
It is worship in its purest sense. 
With sweat beading on my forehead I again felt the tender nudge of the Father.
“Climb in the stroller, My daughter. 
Let Me do My work. 
I am strong and can take you places that you cannot get on your own. 
Worship Me.  Gaze in wonder and awe as you
rest in My presence.”

Relaxed, I'd say.

Relaxed, I'd say.

I looked down at the precious feet crossed at the base of the stroller
and thought of the constant ups and downs of their efforts all day long. 
They cannot carry her very far,
but they go as far as they can in the moment. 
I thought of the desperate need Lettie has for a nap on a daily basis
because, however limited she is,
she pushes and prods with all her might
wherever it is she finds herself. 
She needs rest that she might grow and strengthen;
when she has found it,
she will look at me and reach her arms out to be lifted up
so she may again be a part of the world around her.

My morning with my baby girl was one of
communion with God. 
He often uses her to show me more of Himself,
and this day was no exception.
I carried her now slumbering body from the stroller to the bedroom
and laid her on my chest,
allowing her to settle once again. 
As we lay in a peaceful embrace,
I not only breathed in the feel of my arms around her,
but the Father’s arms around me. 
My mind filled with vivid images.
As with trees in a nursery,
He is busy transplanting me from one place to the next. 
The ride is trying and my roots are thirsty for land,
but I sense that even the most magnificent oaks must
make a journey toward the fertile soil upon which they will be planted. 
En route the gardener will ensure the proper containers are used
to preserve the health of the tree. 
He will time it perfectly to ensure the tree is not traveling too long. 
He will advise the finest planting spot for the tree to
flourish and become a spot of shade and rest for all who encounter its branches. 
My heart longs to be engaged with hurting people and
for opportunities to show them the worth and value found in walking with Christ,
but for now I am as Lettie and the oak tree- 
ever reaching for my Creator to lift me up and
place me in the space designed for me. 
I trust that in worship there is not only rest, but strength,
and I commit to walking in that,
hand in hand with God. 
Praise Him for His constant love and faithful guidance,
even in the in-between.
He is good, all the time.

IMG_5876.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

Eternal Pleasures

It’s been a month now since our world literally
crossed hemispheres and flipped upside down.
 I remember like it was yesterday the feelings I felt so deeply,
caught in a moment of fellowship with my God,
my heart stirring with Spirit whispers that said,
“See, my girl.
I told you I would be with you.
And here I am.
Emmanuel.
Just like I promised.” 

In just a few short weeks,
I watched our humble African abode
 turn from our home to just a house.  
We sold or donated or gave away nearly everything
not essential for us to carry across the ocean.  
One night near the end of our time there,
I sat with the Lord,
my back pressed against the empty wall of the living room,
my bum on the dusty carpet where the couch once rested. 
Lettie leaned on my legs, trying out some new sounds with her little voice,
every so often throwing her head back to catch my eyes and
make sure we shared a smile. 
There, of course, were many emotions
dancing throughout my head and my heart,
but the greatest sensation was that of Company,
and of pleasures far exceeding what that house could give me. 
Earthly securities had all but slipped out my hands as
we again uprooted to head into more unknowns. 
But there He was. 
God With Us.

Thirty-one months ago we landed on that continent,
in that space. 
I remember so vividly
sitting with my back against that same wall,
my bum on that same floor with empty walls around me.
 A couch yet to be bought, pictures yet to grace the walls,
in just a house that was soon to become my home. 
I felt alone. 
No clue what to do, where to go, who to talk to. 
So much left unknown and only time to find it out.  
Our prayer from the beginning was from Psalm 16:11,
“Make known to us the path of life,
fill us with joy in Your presence and
eternal pleasures at Your right hand.”
Sitting in that empty room back then and sitting in it today were
entirely different experiences. 
Where there was loneliness, there was now fellowship. 
Where there was fear, there was now trust. 
Where there was uncertainty, there was now peace. 
By no means did this African journey perfect my faith,
but it opened the door to the presence of God in my life. 

I now have so many of the very things for which I longed
while we were worlds away.
Family, farm life, a sense of safety, kitchen appliances. 
There is even the ease of Wal-Mart!  
Pleasures of the flesh, albeit good as they are. 
However, here I am this morning in another house
that again will take time to feel like home. 
Here I am with a routine that, for now,
boasts more in solitude than in company. 
Here I am again not quite sure how I plug into everything.  
All of this so familiar, yet worlds away from what it was in Africa. 
I’ve learned earthly things all lead down similar paths,
no matter where on Earth you are.

My mind skips throughout the daily rhythms of
babies, laundry, groceries, exercise, dinner,
husbands, communication, fears, finances,
church, doctors, family dynamics,
life,
life,
and life.
I recognize many of the same
anxieties and pressures and spirits of discord
which are threatening to push into our
hearts, our home, and our marriage. 
We know them. 
Desires of the flesh with which we are quite familiar. 
The same ones that threatened to destroy us early in our African journey.  
The same ones the enemy has used over and over again to
send stormy waves into the walls of our boats. 
This time, however, there is a deep Anchor securing me to my Heavenly Home.
The Lord has given us Spirit eyes with which we can now view our world. 
He has given us hearts that long to take delight in the things of Him.
He has opened our minds to purposes which
greatly surpass the goals of my naturally selfish and short-sighted mind. 
Eternal pleasures. 
There they are.  Just like we asked. 

I stand by my statement that my faith has not been perfected.
This I know because I must fight so hard for the joy of His presence to be enough.
I must ask daily for these eternal pleasures to reign in my heart. 
I must seek His company diligently as I walk on the path of Life
allowed only because of His sacrifice.
It makes me angry that it takes so much effort on my part. 
I know the Truth of His goodness, and yet I still struggle to walk in it.
I am so sinful.
The enemy is diligently trying to steal, kill, and destroy. 
Satan and his tribe prowl about,
waiting on me to give them just a second of attention. 
This journey has taught me the truth of Romans 8:5-6. 
If my mind is governed by what the flesh desires,
I will only walk down a path of death-
destruction of my joy, my security, my peace, my dreams, and my life. 
But when my life is in accordance with the Spirit and
my mind is governed by His desires,
it is there that I will find life and peace.  
There is no disappointment and no fear
when our pleasures are rooted eternally in Him. 

Praise God for His faithfulness that extends through
hemispheres, circumstances, seasons, and ages. 
When the road turns, when the scenery changes,
He is steady. 
He may leave us on the edge of our seats wondering
what our next step looks like,
but His character is so predictable.  
He is love.  He is kind. 
He is firm. 
He is caring, seeing, knowing. 
He tells the truth. 
He expects much from us. 
He is forgiving.
He is jealous.
He is present and He is good. All the time. 

I look forward to the day when “welcome home”
means I am bowed before the feet of Jesus. 
Today, however, I will bask in the eternal pleasures of His presence
sprinkled throughout my life in small town Tennessee.
This is my prayer for us all as we gear up for another day
in bodies of fleshly desire,
in a fallen world full of really hard things:
          “…if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
          think about such things. 
          Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—
          put it into practice. 
          And the God of peace will be with you.”  
          (Philippians 4:8-9)

Go boldly with Emmanuel today.
God is who He says He is,
and in Him there is life and peace.

 

 

Milestones

 

Milestones are fun. 
They mark significant moments in life,
often propelling us into something new. 
They indicate change is upon us. 
As an almost 4-month-old,
these major moments seem to come in droves,
ever pushing you towards the next big thing. 
Heck-merely staying awake long enough to eat seems like
a big one at first!
Then there is head control, and eye contact, and finding your toes. 
Sleeping through the night, taking a bottle, and
the first real smile breaking through. 
It seems there is something almost every day!  
As a 26 year old, these timeline markers are a bit more spaced out,
but they faithfully show up in each stage of life.
Losing your first tooth, going to middle school,
getting that long-awaited driver’s license, graduating from college,
marrying your love, becoming a parent. 
Or in this season of life for us,
moving back to America after 2.5 years as missionaries in Africa. 
These milestones continue through the years,
and they are all such special, powerful, meaningful moments. 
Moments that God specifically designed for you to experience. 
Moments that shape who you become.
Moments that bring with them change to the life you currently know. 

Witnessing these moments with my little girl has
broadened my understanding of our Heavenly Father
in beautiful ways. 
I love Lettie so much it oozes from me. 
She can do nothing that will make me yearn for her less. 
I long to hold her, to comfort her, to squeeze her cheeks.
If she cries (or screams at the top of her lungs!),
I want to be the one to help her pain relax into rest. 
And I will embrace her,
no matter what. 
I don’t care how dirty or sweet or sick or giggly or
sweaty or sleepy or young or old she is. 
I get such joy and purpose from holding her next to me. 

With one of the more recent milestones in her little life,
there has been a shift in the way we relate.
Now she can grasp.
She can touch something on purpose. 
And all of the sudden she is
not just in my arms because I lovingly put her there. 
Her fingers are curled around me, her little hands stroke my shoulder. 
It is in the moments when she holds me back that
I am moved into a state of bliss,
basking in the purity of love understood.

Don’t you know that God loves us in the same way? 
As so perfectly described in the Jesus Storybook Bible,
His love is a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking,
Always and Forever Love. 
He will never cease to long for us, to comfort us, to squeeze us. 
He will continually help our pain relax into rest. 
He will hold us no matter what. 
These things are His very joy and purpose. 
But what more does it do for a pure and holy relationship
with our Lord when we hold Him back? 
When we reach for him.
When we curl our fingers around His
that have been stroking us all along. 
This is a huge milestone,
propelling us not only into something new, but something better. 
In an instant, the relationship changes from
a Father loving His child in the best of ways,
to a child holding on to a love she knows is hers.

In the beginning, I often found myself rescuing Lettie Anne from a
despair into which she had already sunk. 
Her tears would flow.
Her breath would struggle to catch up.
Her body would tense in the most rigid of ways. 
It could take long stretches of time and gentle whispers of assurance
before she would realize she was being held.
I loved her the entire time,
but how my heart ached for her until she would peacefully unwind. 
Until she would recognize the love that securely wrapped her up. 
Oh, Lord, how often have I pained you in the same way? 
I am but an infant, blindly struggling alone
while You ache for me to know Your love that is right beside me. 
May I begin learning to grasp.  
May I reach for You, relax into You,
look into Your eyes and know they see me. 
May I not simply find myself in Your arms, but place myself in them. 
May I not just be chosen by You, but may I choose You. 

Yesterday was a day when change threatened me. 
I had Bible study with a group of sisters who
bless my soul deep down. 
Sisters I’m leaving in Africa.
I left the gym and let the mountains outside take my breath away. 
Mountains I’m leaving in Africa. 
I ran into the grocery and felt how normal that was-
you know, the normal of “your” grocery store. 
The normal I’m leaving in Africa. 
Then, I came home to a house that is emptying by the day.
 Things sold, new tenants coming to view it, bags getting packed. 
The home where my marriage grew and my child first slept,
the home I’m leaving in Africa.  
I reflected about moving to Nashville,
a place I’ve never lived. 
I thought about how many hours I will still be
from my parents and siblings and nephews. 
I considered the grocery store and the aisles I'll have to wander. 
I thought about having to use GPS again and again and again. 
I thought about going back to work and leaving Lettie Anne behind. 

Change is upon me.  
A milestone is about to hit.   

And we are excited!
It will be new and full and adventurous. 
It will stretch us and grow us and propel us forward. 
It will be the start of a much-needed, God-ordained season.
But in the same way Lettie gets a little off-kilter
before she masters something new-
whiny, frustrated, sleepless, clingy-
so I felt myself wandering down a similar road. 

With emotions churning through me,
I laid down on the floor beside my napping little girl
and I cherished the way she is growing and learning. 
I didn’t dwell on the tough days leading up to
her newfound giggle,
the voice she offers the world,
her delight with her stuffed giraffe. 
Rather, I treasured her growing into herself and
becoming my beautiful, strong, confident daughter.  
I pondered how she and I will continue to relate as
she becomes more and more aware of my love for her. 
Then I remembered how I felt when she
first took her little hand and grabbed onto my shoulder. 
Her cries were calmed almost instantly. 
She knew who I was. 
She found her balance. 
Her eyes looked at me with a trust that said,
“I know I’m okay if I stay put right here on your arm.”
She held me and we moved through life together. 
I carried her into bigger and better spaces.  
We began discovering the world and learning together. 
Each day she becomes someone
more capable, more joyful, more understanding. 

Oh, Lord, how this is my prayer! 
Walk with me through milestones that
threaten my normal until they catapult me into
a better me and a bigger world. 
Train me to grasp onto You before I reach the pit of despair. 
Teach me that Your love is
Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever,
but that it is more fully experienced when I
plop down into it
instead of making You fight to show me.  

God is good, all the time. 
As we make this next big leap onto US soil in April
for the first time as a family of 3,
my prayer is that we will hold onto His goodness in new ways and
cling to it with a refreshed understanding of His love.

 

 

Life

This post was written a while ago, when our little girl was still so new.
I'm just now getting around to posting it.  
She seems so much older now- bigger, more alert, more...OURS.  
Goodness, life happens so fast. 
Those first 2 weeks are wonderfully hard,
full of change and pain and healing and emotion and joy. Ahh yes..the joy.

I'm so grateful for the constant faithfulness of our Lord as
He walks through each stage and season of life with us,
which already seem to be changing on a daily basis.

Life sure can change substantially in a short period of time.  
In just under a month, life for us has been touched and shifted and rearranged
in each crevice and every corner. 
New schedules.
New chores.
New identities.
I find myself looking at the daily rhythms
that have found their way into
my home, my marriage, my errands, and my sleep,
and at times it feels unfamiliar and strange.
Other times, it feels as if it has always been. 
Comfortable and recognizable. 
Our lives were changed by the new life of our little girl. 
And gosh how alive that makes me feel!

In the weeks since her arrival,
there have been many pinpoint moments that mark this newness upon us. 

I’ve had boogers, pee, poop, and puke
(oh the amounts of spewed up milk I’ve encountered!)
come in contact with every fabric in our home and every inch of my own skin,
and never batted an eye. 
A younger me used to hide out in the garage when my brother would vomit,
just to make sure I had enough distance in between myself and that vile substance. 
Today, however, it seems so insignificant.  
We really are much more adaptable than we give ourselves credit for.   :)   

From the tub that used to provide long, deep soaks
with the occasional aroma of a burning candle,
I now find myself sitting in leftover water from a baby girl’s bath,
staring at a giant goldfish sponge drying next to me,
rushing to get clean before Taylor finishes the
drying, lotioning, diapering, and pajama-ing of our little one who is
minutes away from screams only milk can ease. 
But oh how beautiful are the sounds coming from one room over
of my husband speaking softly to his beloved daughter,
asking her to be patient and telling her that he’s got her. 
How sweet is the warmth of her body finally relaxing against mine
and the coos from her satisfied stomach.

I’ve caught myself in the bathroom looking into the bedroom that is now Lettie’s,
and feeling stressed about the trash can overflowing with dirty diapers…
and the laundry piling on the floor because
our washing machine broke 2 days after bringing home a newborn,
fully aware that clothes don’t magically wash themselves or
dry quickly when hanging them on the line is your best option. 
And then I remember all the times I looked into that room over the past 9 months,
neatly settled and precisely organized and how
I longed for this day when it wasn’t empty. 
Slowly, my heart turns to praise for a God that delivered
such a beautiful gift into our lives. 
I’m so thankful that life now fills this room. 

There have been moments that my fingers tap wildly on the screen of a phone
as I sink into the same familiar hole on the couch,
trying to distract my mind as it’s time to nurse AGAIN. 
But then I’ll glance down quickly and see
the eyes of my little girl gazing up at me,
and the phone seems like such an enemy to the moments of life before me. 
What used to feel like harmless scrolling
I now put to the side because
those eyes will not be there forever. 
They will grow,
and they will run
and play
and leave. 
And they need to know that I saw them. 
That I looked back into them and loved them dearly. 
That I prayed over her life. 
I see you, my child.

And then there is Taylor.
Husband. Father.
Rock to our little family of 3. 
The teamwork that is needed he so gracefully fills. 
The burden shared, the joy multiplied. 
The love and respect I feel for him exceeds my wildest dreams. 
The privilege it is to call him ours bursts forth from my soul. 
The strength I find in his arms when my own strength is drained is
an earthly gift from a Heavenly Source. 
He pours the grace of God into our home
with prayers and steadfastness that are unmatched,
and I can often only sit and soak it in. 
Without either of us saying a word,
he follows me into the bathroom, closes the door, and
gives me the hug that releases the tears I’ve tucked away as this
whirlwind of life spins faster and faster. 
He lets them fall, then wipes them away. 
And just like that, the bathroom door opens and life goes on,
refueled and confident.

One moment you are pregnant,
anxiously awaiting the thrill of welcoming this budding life into the world. 
You’ve talked about it, dreamed about it, prayed about it. 
You wonder about timing and parents on planes and C-sections versus natural deliveries. 
So.much.wondering. 
And then it is just here. 
In our case, it was here in a matter of 3 hours! 
Water broken. Nervous excitement. Contractions.
Wow. Bad contractions.
Call the doctor. 
No time for pain meds. 
Tell our loved ones.
Push.
I don’t know if I can do this.
Breathe.
Push harder.
Muffled cries.
- She’s here. -
Hold her close.
Stitches.
Ow.
Hold tight. Hold tighter.
A brief moment alone, the 3 of us. 
A sigh of relief. 
Finally, the gentle touch of Taylor’s hand,
a look into his eyes and then the eyes of our daughter,
and tears from two hearts that just caught up to what our bodies just witnessed.
Our daughter is with us.
She is ours,
to love and to hold and to care for.
The gift of family runs so deeply through us that it’s
unfeasible to assume we could hold back the joy from our pounding hearts. 
A bond like no other, both between us as spouses and us as parents.  

The whirlwind continues. 
Within days, our little girl was given the blessing of grandparents’ love. 
Precious introductions that my heart will cherish for decades to come. 
We soaked them up, drank deep, and took so many pictures...
both on the camera and in my mind. 
However, as is life on the mission field,
hellos always bring with them goodbyes. 
And this time just like any other, the goodbyes again found us. 
These goodbyes felt big. 
With sleepless nights behind and in front of us,
new responsibilities to bear, holidays to enjoy, and chances to watch our girl
grow and bond and change already blossoming before us,
I mourned the loss of time she would get with her family across the world.
Those planes were boarded and life here was beginning again. 
The same as always, and yet more different than ever.
I sat in our living room, just me and my girl,
the quiet creeping around us, the days ahead looking us in the face. 
And in a moment of quiet lullabies into the ears of a sleepy babe,
God reminded me that He brings life. 
There is no room for Satan to steal, kill, and destroy when we
cling to the life He is pouring over us. 
And so I’ve found the song that will grace the ears of my child
who sat so peacefully as I wept over her,
my tears falling onto her soft cheek nuzzled by my own. 

     Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
     Because He lives, all fear is gone.
     Because I know Who holds the future,
     This life is worth the living just because He lives. 

Praise God for the life we have through Jesus. 
Praise Him for the gift of a tiny babe that he sent long ago,
much like the one sleeping beside me right now. 
Praise Him for His selfless goodness and sacrificial love. 
Praise Him for the joy found in believing life is so worth it,
because He lives. 
He is good, all the time.
I am rejoicing in that through beautiful hellos, dreaded goodbyes, and
all the life happening in between. 

"I have come that you may have life, and may have it more abundantly." John 10:10

photo credits: Kate Senekal, Storybook Photography