Saturday, December 21, 2013

I Belong on Phil's List

I know the last thing you want is to read ANOTHER post, status, article or tweet that mentions "Duck Dynasty" or "A&E." But, this is not a post debating should he have said or should they have fired.

I will do my best to keep it simple.

It seems (to me) much of the defensiveness is coming from the fact that Phil Robertson "lumped" homosexuality with a list of other sins. And, he was referring to a passage of scripture, so it was a [lose] quote of the Bible.

I have no idea if you have friends who are also appalled at these sins being named together, but if you do, I encourage you to consider carefully how you respond. 

I can't help but continually be reminded that I am there.  I am on that list.  My sins are listed there. All of my sins should be listed there.  I know my heart.  I know its wickedness. 

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived:neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

I am an unrighteous human. Because of that, I would not inherit the kingdom of God. 

But, PRAISE GOD, there is good news - The Gospel. As believers, we know the Gospel is also offensive. The Gospel is offensive because the first step is realizing we are on that list. Our sinful pride makes it seem foolish that we would be on a list with someone who (fill in the blank).

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

You see, the things I loved the most - even some of the things I thought defined who I was as a human are wicked to the core. 

I am driven. Nope, greedy.

I am persuasive. Nope, a swindler.
I am just honest. No, a reviler.
And, the list could go on!

We don't fully grasp the depths of our sinfulness. And, we can't expect unbelievers to! If they did, they would realize they desperately need a Savior. 

But, my heart leaps with joy as I read the VERY NEXT verse of that passage that contains the "list".

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11

Praise God! Christ came and was made the perfect sacrifice. I was unrighteous, but now He is making me into something else - a new creation.  In Him we can be righteous.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

So, I encourage you: if you are chatting with someone who doesn't like the list, with humility, put yourself there and point to the Gospel. Don't be surprised; they will probably consider it foolish and be offended. Be patient and loving.

*If you would like to know more about the Gospel or just have some questions, please contact me by email

** This post is not intended to address the political issues surrounding what Phil said and A&E's response (Although, I do think they are important). My intent is to encourage us to ponder our own sinfulness, be reminded of the Gospel and to meditate on the wonder of our Savior.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Febrile Seizures

(This is a post I began back in August documenting Jude's first febrile seizure.  I did not post it then, but decided to add to and finish it, after his second febrile seizure.)

On July 30th, Jude and I came home around noon from running some errands. I noticed he acted like he wasn't feeling well. When I tried to feed him lunch, he did not want to eat (very abnormal for this kid). When I picked him up out of the high chair, he felt warm.  So, I took his temperature. It was 102.

After taking his temp, Jude began to act nauseous.  Sure enough, about 10 minutes later he began vomiting. So, I decided to do a bath to clean him up and help bring down his fever a bit.  When I took him out of the bath, he began shivering.  I dressed him and laid him in his crib so I could change my clothes.  As I was changing, I heard strange sounding whimpering. I went to him, thinking he was probably vomiting again.

When I got to the crib, I found him seizing. His whole body was shaking and he was making this little squealing sound. He stopped squealing, but was still shaking with his eyes fixed with a blank stare.

I remembered that Stephen had had febrile seizures (seizures brought on by a fever) so, at first I wasn't panicked. I just thought, "I need to get his fever down."  (I now know it is not the height of the fever that triggers the seizure, but the rapid rise of body temperature.) So, I took off his clothes and brought him into the bathroom and began running some cool water. As I was running the water and getting a washrag, I looked down at my still shaking baby.  I noticed that his skin looked grey and his lips were turning blue.  I thought that he may not be breathing (it was hard to tell because he was shaking) so, I called 911.

After about 2-2.5 minutes he stopped seizing. Then, he was in this catatonic unresponsive state. He vomited more.

Jude's first febrile seizure landed us in the
hospital when he was 9.5 months old
eShortly, the ambulance came and took us to the hospital. He was given IV Zofran and meds to control his fever (which got up to 104.5). The doctors confirmed that is was a febrile seizure. He was hospitalized over night since his fever was hard to control and his vomiting and diarrhea was so severe.

Since his first febrile seizure happened at such a young age, we were told it is more likely that he will have another. Stephen had them very frequently as a child. But, praise God, they are harmless and he should grow out of them around age 5 or 6.

Fast forward - almost 5 months later - we experienced Jude's second febrile seizure on a Sunday night after church. Thankfully, this one seemed less severe and did not last as long.

If you ever become (and I hope you don't) the parent of a child who has these, you will be told several things:

- They are harmless.
- They will outgrow them.
- There's nothing you can do to prevent them.
- There's not much you can do while your child is seizing.
- Giving your child Tylenol or Motrin at the first sign of fever hasn't been proven to prevent febrile seizures.

I KNOW all these things. But, I feel anxiety creep up every time he feels warm or gets a runny nose. And, in the midst of a seizure, all I can think is, "He's not breathing. Please breathe."  Both times he seized it appeared (to me) that he is not breathing. I have been told he is probably still taking tiny unnoticeable breaths and since most febrile seizures are less than a couple minutes this is ok.

I am not incredibly experienced at this whole parenting thing, but it seems that one of the greatest challenges must be watching your child suffer and not being able to do anything about it. That urge to protect and nurture makes being in such a situation seem absurd.

I completely acknowledge that febrile seizures are so trivial in the grand scheme of other health burdens parents must face. I in no way want to exaggerate our situation. I can't imagine what parents whose child is seriously ill must face.  My heart breaks for any parent in such a situation. Yet, the Lord is teaching me something through this. He is teaching me to relax. Teaching me to control my thoughts when emotion and panic try to take over. To trust Him with one of the things I try to control the most - my child's health and well being. Truly, I am not in control. Not even a tiny bit. None of my decisions are sovereign over my child's future. The Lord is.

I so hope I learn this lesson well. That I can have a sense of calmness and confidence in the Lord no matter what. That I can trust Him completely - even with my child's life.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Becoming an Okie

We live in Oklahoma!
Jude and me after church on November 24 - first OK snow. 

Though this sentence has been true a month, sometimes it still seems so surreal. Do I really live over 1,100 miles from family, friends, and things familiar?

Yes. Yes, I do.

Stephen accepted a position as Associate Pastor of Worship here in Edmond, Oklahoma. We are loving our church and are so blessed to be a part of a body that is dedicated to functioning as scripturally as possible! 

You would think that I would be good at moving at this point. After all, we moved from Louisiana to Florida when I was 33 weeks pregnant, then a few months later moved again with a 2 month old, and now this move less than a year after that! But, I am not good at it. Actually, I loathe almost hate it.

Moving to Oklahoma at the beginning of winter definitely created a “shock factor” for these Floridians. During our first week here we were greeted with snow and ice. Then a week later we experienced a whole week where temps didn't get above freezing! I have NEVER seen single digit temps and only seen the teens a handful of times! Let me assure you, my wardrobe is inadequate and my blood too thin for such cold! :)

Jude had a bit of a rough week our first couple weeks here – he just wasn’t his usual self. He was whiny, clingy and newly defiant. Of course, some of this is just normal one-year-old stuff.  We still have some things we are working through, but I think he is beginning to adjust.

Jude and Daddy. More Snow - Dec 5 
I was surprised at how hard it was to leave Jacksonville.  Though we were only there a year, we made some precious friendships.  I had the opportunity to pray and cheer for some sweet friends as they struggled to grow their families.  I was sad to not be able to see those babies before we left, but know I will get to meet them when we return.  We miss our church in Jacksonville, and are so blessed that they viewed this as them sending us to Oklahoma to do ministry. It was such a blessing to have them praying for and counseling us as we made this decision.

Most of all, it was hard to move away from family again. I cherished the ability to visit my parents, sisters, and in-laws.  I loved that my nephew knew who I was and that I could spend time with him!  I miss them all so much. But, am so thankful for that year.

One thing I do know, moving, especially across the country, is a huge source of sanctification. This is especially true for my husband since in the midst of all the stress and grief I become incredibly hard to bear. Oh, I am so thankful for him for bearing so patiently with my sinfulness!

My sanctification has come in the opportunities I have to fight temptation to sin. I have been tempted mostly in the areas of self-pity and to doubt God. I am tempted to self-pity when I think of the things I am missing (family, friends, events).  Doubt creeps in when I think I may never have relationships as dear as the ones we left.

I frequently see these great opportunities to trust God, then fail miserably to execute.  I seem to over-estimate my spiritual maturity. But, failure is a lesson that my own strength is not sufficient! And, I see the great growth he brings forth from these difficult seasons.

With every temptation to sin, I have the opportunity to preach to myself. I have the opportunity to remind myself that God has always been faithful to give us all that we need.  He has always provided family away from family. Friends that feel like we have known them forever. People who love our little like he's their own blood. And, though it has taken time, each place he has brought us to has become "home."

It’s funny - I remember reading the accounts of the Israelites forgetting what the Lord did for them in the past and complaining against him while in the wilderness. I arrogantly thought, “How could they forget? I mean, seas parting? Pillars of fire? How could they forget?”  But, here I am in a much more comfortable place than the wilderness and I am quick to forget that the Lord has always provided. And, he already provided everything I need in Christ.

So, I know these next few months will be all about building relationships and making this our "home." In my experience, this takes time. I am praying that by the Lord's grace he may speed up this process.  I can't wait to see who the Lord will bring into our lives to befriend, mentor, and disciple us. 

As always, we ask that you would pray that God would use us to draw people to himself!


Though my blog has been sorely neglected this past year, I hope to revive it. I have not perfected being both a mama and a blogger, but I pray that I can do a little better in order to keep family and friends who live across the country up to date on what the Lord is doing here.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Parents of a Toddler

Today, we became parents of a toddler. (Yup, he is ONE!)

And. I. Love. It.

I am going to confess something that may sound completely awful-sounding but, I am just being candid. My yearning to have kids has always been just that - for "kids."  When I dreamed of being a mama, I didn't really dream of the newborn and infant stage, instead I envisioned the learning and exploring age. Now, did I cherish holding my itty bitty baby? Absolutely. Do I think it went by too fast?  Heck yes! Did I love watching Jude complete all of his "firsts?" Yes!  But, with all things considered, I am excited (not mournful) to become the mama of a toddler.

As we have approached the big ONE, I realize more and more that there is just something in me that is just ready and excited for the teaching and training stage. So, I really look forward to this next year (and beyond).

There are so many things I love about Jude's one-year-old-self. So, for this post, I am going to share all the sweet things that I want to remember about our one-year-old.

I love that when he figures out how to do something new he does it over and over and over again. Like he is "practicing" it!  Two nights ago, he figured out he could walk between our bookshelf and dining table. So he did. Then walked back. Repeat. Times 20.

I love that I can say, "Walk to mama," and he lets go of whatever he is holding on to (such a sweet picture of trust) and toddles to me with the biggest, proudest grin.

I love that when he wants something he says, "Sees" or "Zeez." (His version of please.)

I love that when we lay him down at night he rolls over on his belly because he wants us to pat his back while we pray over him.

I love that when I tell him, "Say, 'yes mam,'" he does two quick nods.

I love that he is such an observer.

I love that he is trying so hard to talk. It is so much fun to teach him words and so cute to hear his rendering of them!
      Some of his words:
                    "sheees"...... shoes
                     "tesss" ....... trees
                    "ah-dee"...... daddy
                    "uh-tuh"...... Oscar
                     "dut" .........  duck
                   "uhma" .......  amen
                    "zeees" ...... please
                     "tahs" ........  toes
                  "tik -tidd"..... tickle- tickle
                    "oo - be" ..... movie (My Baby Can Read)

I love that he opens his books and "reads" them.  In Jude's world, all the books say, "Noi, Noi, Noi, Noi."

I love that when we say, "Play the drums," whatever surface is near becomes his personal bongo!

I love that he is an amazing eater. The boy eats everything. And, is really determined to use utensils.

I love that he loves to be outside.

I love that he loves animals and trucks.

Each and every one of these things is a grace of God in Jude's life. All the Glory belongs to him.

Today, Jude turns one and we have so much to be thankful for.

We praise God for his Word, our mentors, and gospel-centered books which have guided us in how to parent. We give glory to God for his growth and development. We praise God that we have seen fruit from Biblical discipline. We praise God that he has given us this precious little boy and has used him to sanctify us.

We praise God for Jude. We praise him for the gift of parenthood.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Good or Gracious?

"God is good."

This is a phrase most often repeated after some situation works out as we hoped it would. We prayed for a job and received one so, we say it. We pray for a child for many months or years and now our belly is growing so, we say it. 

Is God good? YES! Of course He is! 

Is God good because we get what we want? No. He is good because He is God. 

Is it wrong for us to say "God is good"?  Nope! However, it is wrong for us to think that his goodness is proved by how much we like how things are going for us.

So, after thinking this through I try to remember to say, "God is gracious" when something goes as I hoped or prayed it would. I also try to preach to myself that "God is good." when faced with heartache, disappointment, or tragedy. I have found this practice so helpful to me.

Saying "God is gracious" reminds me that I don't deserve anything from The Lord. When The Lord sees fit to do something I think is good, it is not because I deserve it. It is simply because He has shown grace for His glory. Realizing this humbles me and makes me thankful. 

Saying "God is gracious"  also reminds me that He is good all the time. It reminds me that He is gracious because He is good. EVERYTHING that happens is because He is good. Even during the painful seasons of life He is good. When things don't go as I had hoped, He is still good. I am reminded that this pain, trail, or denial of my wants is for my own good. I am reminded that He is using all events to transform me into Christ-likeness.  I am reminded that He is good and gracious for providing me the strength and faith I need to deal with the difficulties of life.

This thinking leads me to pray for grace more than my wants. I realize that apart from his grace my life would be hopeless and I would be in the dark destined for hell. Now, when I approach the Lord with a request, He reminds me that I don't deserve for things to "go my way." So, I pray that He may be gracious to me, if it be for the glory of His name. 

In addition, the phrase "God is gracious" may be less of a stumbling block to the lost. I have lost friends who have stumbled over the truth that God is good, but painful things happen to believers. If, when something goes well for us, we say instead that, "God is gracious" we have the opportunity to explain our sinfulness (how we don't deserve this blessing) and, ultimately, the good news of Christ.

I encourage you to remember God is good all the time, whether things are going as you would like, or not. And, when the Lord does bless you with something you have prayed for, praise Him for his grace!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

7.5 Months

7 months - 21.5 lbs
When the time came to write a 7 month update (May 19th), I just couldn't find the motivation. Jude didn't have many new developments to write about since the 6 month post. But, the week following so many things changed. Mamas, does that happen with your little one too? All the sudden they make leaps and bounds?

So, all the pictures were taken on the 18th, but most of his new developments happened the week after.

First, let me say that a few of his developments are late, comparatively speaking. My friends' kiddos who are close in age have reached some of these milestones weeks and even months ago. Of course, it is fun to be the mama who gets to say, "My kid is already ______ ing!" But, even though it has taken him a while, I am not letting this steal the sheer joy of seing him grow and develop. Why do moms feel like this is a contest? I don't know why, but there is a temptation to worry if our kid isn't the first to roll, crawl, walk, etc.

Jude playing with sweet baby Vivian.
As he approached 7 months, he began rolling over. This started with him doing it in his sleep. He has always hated being on his tummy (probably why it has taken him so long to do this). This sleep-rolling resulted in a few nights of poor sleep. But, on the day he turned 7 months old, he mastered it and now prefers to sleep on his tummy. I love walking in to his room to get him out of his crib and seeing his little head sticking up as he looks around for me.

In the last week, he has gotten stronger so quickly (from the rolling and increased belly time) and can now almost push up to hands and knees. However, I have a hunch that he might be a but-scooter instead of a crawler. When sitting up he rocks back and forth, so we shall see!

Monday, May 20th, he woke up babbling. He has been such a quiet, serious baby from the start, so its really fun to hear the da, da, das and the na, na, nas all the time.

Jude chilling with his Granna (my mom)
He. Eats. Everything. Whatever we are eating he eats. I would love to tell you that I am doing this purposefully, but honestly, I am just too lazy to make purees or cook him a separate meal and don't want to buy baby food (for budget reasons). I do hope that this helps him be a well-rounded eater. At his cousin Calvin's birthday, his great-grandfather let him take a couple bites of his hamburger and gave him a bbq potato chip! He seems to like savory food (like meaty, garlicky  or cheesy foods) better than fruit. He LOVES hummus! Some of the other things he regularly eats: salmon, broccoli, yogurt, black beans, squash, zucchini, grits, chicken, quinoa. Oh, and of course, biscuits from Maple Street!

Held by his Mugga (Stephen's grandmother) and fed by my papa.

He gnawed on Papa's burger!
Jude has loved to try and drink out of my cup or bottled drink since about 6 months. I think more than being thirsty, he thinks it is fun. Just this past week has mastered straw-drinking. But, he has also figured out that something fun happens if he blows in the straw. Ut-oh.
Such a blessing that his GREAT grandfather can play with him like this!

Our schedule is much more flexible now. If his nap or bedtime is a little off he can stay awake and remain pretty pleasant. He officially moved to two naps over the past couple weeks (we weaned him gradually) at 9:30 am and 2 pm. He is also now on a 4 hour nursing schedule! I am loving this!

Thankfully, he is doing much better sitting for family worship time. Praise God for his grace in that. There were days when I thought, "He is too young, he doesn't understand, why are we doing this?" But, I am glad we continued. Sure, he doesn't know what is happening, but I think it is good to expect him to be a part of it now.

Jude and my granny.

Jude and my papa. This man loves babies!

He is beginning to understand the word "no." Not always. but sometimes when we tell him no he prostests. He definitely protests when you take a phone from him. Why are kids so obsessed with those things?

Parenthood is so much fun. Especially now that the "new parent syndrome" is wearing off. By that, I mean the determination that you are going to make all the right decisions and the anxiety that accompanies every tiny parenting decision you make as if that decision is going to impact your kid for the rest of their life. Try as I might, I was not immune to it. Thankfully, it is subsiding and [most] things are just not that big of a deal anymore.

We just love this little boy to pieces.

Love those rolls!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Words of Wisdom for the Wife-to-Be

Recently, I got this text from my man...

This question came from two Christian women he works with. I am so encouraged that they are asking this, and wish I had been as wise!

As you can tell from my response, I wanted to say much more than a text would suffice. I have spent a week two weeks contemplating procrastinating my response. In that time, I thought of many, many, many things I could say. I have learned MUCH through my many mistakes! I thought about doing a top three. Then a top ten. Then a list of 25. I finally settled on just sharing what has been the most important thing I have learned. The thing I wish someone had encouraged me to do. The thing that has benefited our marriage the most since using the advice.

Find a Godly, older wife to disciple you.

No kudos to me for this advice.  It comes straight from Titus 2.

It is so easy for us to think that we don't need someone to disciple us. When we first got married, I thought, "I am going to read the Bible; I understand the Gospel; I know what a wife should be; I should be able do it on my own." Right? Wrong.

This is not me JUST saying the typical "marriage is hard." I am saying more than that: your sinful desires will make it so difficult to submit to your husband in a God-honoring way that you will think you are doing "pretty good" when in fact your submission is only motivated by your sin!

And, there is nothing in the Bible that even hints that we are supposed to do the Christian life autonomously.  We are supposed to "spur" one another on - encourage, exhort, and disciple one another. But, this advice was so hard for me to practice early on... I was too prideful to admit that I needed help like this.

So, what does this look like?

Well, I think it looks less like a mentoring "program." Less like going up to someone and saying, "Hey, will you disciple me?" (Although there is nothing wrong with these.) I think it looks more like a Biblical, natural friendship. I have found that a more natural approach has yielded so much more fruit! Instead of finding someone to do a book study with, maybe find someone you can spend time with just doing life - watching, learning, and talking.

So, what should this woman be like?

Well, first she should be sinful. Why did I list this first? I say this because in our quest to be discipled there is a temptation to think that there is no one sanctified enough to teach us. OUCH. I have been there. Hello, pride. Except I said it this way, "There is no one whose marriage I want to ours to be like." Oh the sinfulness! So, don't assume you can't learn anything from someone just because you don't want to be just like them - because they are sinful. As we look to others for discipleship we are still desiring to be conformed to Jesus, not them. So, as you read the rest of this list, remember all women are sinful and won't be perfect! Show them grace.

She must have evidence of sanctification in her life. She is not in habitual, unrepentant sin. She is quick to confess her sins against you, others, and especially God. She is reading the Word. She is attempting to live it.

She bases advice on the Word of God. She shares scripture with you. She would tell you something you don't want to hear because it is in align with the word of God.

She tells you to pray about something before she offers her opinion.

She is quick to listen and slow to speak.

She prioritizes her God over her husband and her husband over her children.

She NEVER, EVER suggests you undermine your man.

She doesn't speak ill of her man.

She is older and more experienced.

The Bible says that women like this are hard to find - Proverbs 31:10. So, don't be discouraged if it is hard to find her. But, don't give up. And, don't assume you'd be better off not having a mentor.

Once you have found a woman who you want to learn from be friends with her. Spend time with her (but, not more time than you spend with your man). Watch how she relates to her husband and her children. Watch how she cares for her home. Ask questions. Minister to her. Pray for her.

Remember, she is sinful, just like you. Her advice should be filtered through the Word and prayed over. Don't let her become an idol. Don't be a relationship leech, either. Give back to her.

This is the wisdom I wish I had known early in our marriage. I believe this is the best advice I could give any wife-to-be or even wife-already. Oh, how I pray each of you finds a Godly woman to disciple you.

To all the women who have discipled me. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have given so much to me, my husband, my child, and my future children!

What would be the wisdom you would share with a wife-to-be?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

6 months

And, we have a 6 month old!

Suddenly, it doesn't seem like we have a baby anymore. He is beginning to act so much more grown up these days. He wants to grab and explore everything. He gets upset if we take or move something that he wants to hold. He does things to try and get people's attention. He smiles at people when they talk to him.

I am loving this age!

There have been many changes since my 5th month update! First, Jude no longer has a pacifier. I always hated the thing; we took it cold turkey the week he turned 5 months old. Also, naps have MAJORLY improved due to "nap training." (I plan to write a separate post about that endeavor!) He is sitting up like a pro! I can leave him for a long period of time sitting up on his own. He has two little bumps on his bottom gums where his teeth are beginning to come in. I can feel his left one. He also has begun to eat and enjoy solid foods; so far, he has eaten banana, avocado, sweet potato, carrots and oatmeal. He is physically capable of rolling over, but chooses not to do so. Oscar is still the most interesting thing in the house, and for now, Oscar thinks Jude is pretty cool, too. Unfortunately, Jude is determined to "taste" Oscar (see picture below)...

Jude and I went to the beach on Friday, which was his actual six month birthday. He loved it. He played in the sand and tried to eat it. He watched all the people, dogs, and seagulls. He even took a nap on the beach. We had a blast, but I had a major mommy fail.  When I lathered him up with sunscreen, I tried not to get it in his eyes. This resulted in him getting sunburnt in two circles around his eyes. It looked terrible!  Thankfully, it looked much better the next morning, and it did not seem to bother him.

Stephen and I have thoroughly enjoyed the last month. We look forward to the milestones in next.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday

Today, there are many facebook statuses and tweets about the crucifixion.  Praise God, there are people who are purposefully thinking about this day, what happened on this day, and what it means.

However, I can't help but notice that so many of these updates are man-centered.

Things like:

He thought of me above all.

I am worth it.

I am someone worth dying for.

We are tempted to make everything about us. Yes, I praise God that I get to have a part in the story of redemption!  But, I also praise God that Jesus' death was not [primarily] about me.  I was not his motivation. Humans were not his motivation. There is nothing about us worthy of Christ climbing that hill.

He did not think of me above all; He thought of the Glory of the Father.

He did not think I was worth it; He knew God's glory was infinitely worth it.

I am not someone worth dying for; I am desperately wicked.

Did Christ die for us? Yes! The Bible says, "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" Romans 5:8. But, when Jesus prayed on the Mount of Olives he said, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:42)  His focus  was the Father.

He died for the Glory of the Father. He died so that God could be glorified through the magnificent story of utterly depraved humans being saved by His grace.  

He did not die to give us positive self-esteem. We shouldn't look at the cross and think, "I am worth it." Instead, we should meditate on the disparity of our sinfulness that it would cost so much to redeem. We should humbly marvel that God would allow us to be a part of that redemption.

So, let us be careful with how we talk of the crucifix. It is not primarily about us. It is first about the glory of God. I praise God that he would allow me to be a part of His glory through the story of redemption. I don't deserve it; I am not someone worth Christ's death. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Five Months

This guy has been with us for 5 months. I can't believe it.

I think back to when I was 5 months pregnant. I was barely showing. Strangers were JUST starting to notice. Even then, they were rarely brave enought to ask. I didn't feel like I had been pregnant for long.

But, I feel like I have been a mama forever. Five months with our son has felt like a lifetime. You know what parents say, "I can't remember life before our little one?" It's true! It seems like I have been his mom so much longer than 5 months.

At the same time, these five months have been a whirlwind. Already, I am forgetting what he was like as a itty bitty newborn. Remembering him then is made more difficult by the fact that he is a big boy. Yes, I am the mom who often gets told things like, "He's only 5 months? He's a big boy. He's gunna be a line backer!" And, I totally dig having a "big" boy. He is wearing 9 and 12 month clothes!

He is not really interested in rolling over, but is starting to sit up. I think he's not rolling over because his personality is so content. He's kinda like, "Oh that toy is out of my reach? Oh well, I will just look at it and talk to it, no big deal. No need to expend extra energy to roll towards it."

Naps continue to be my nemesis  He still takes 30 minute naps. 30 minutes. Thats it. Because they are so short he has a really hard time making it until bedtime. He gets a bit grumpy in the afternoon. This makes me feel as if I am ALWAYS either trying to get him down for a nap, or get him back to sleep at the end of a short nap (which does not usually happen). This all started around 2-3 months. Once in a while, for no apparent reason he will take a longer nap. But, this is so random and rare that I can't figure out the trick. And, I have tried EVERYTHING. No Joke. Everything. Twice.

He may take pitiful naps, but he does so awesome at night. He sleeps for 12 hours straight. Seriously. He started sleeping 8-10 hours straight around two months, then lengthened it to 10-12 hours around 3 months and has pretty much kept doing 12 (sometimes 13) since 4 months. Oh, the bliss!

So, perhaps the catnapping is related to him sleeping so much at night or maybe it is  just a phase. Other moms who I have talked to who's babies slept 12+ hours at night report their little ones did the same thing and say it levels out around 9 months. So, looks like we might have 4 more months of this catnapping stuff. Which means I need to figure out how to deal, ASAP.

Jude is not yet eating solid foods regularly. He's still pretty much only eating breastmilk. Out of curiosity, we have given him a little avocado, sweet potato and a taste of banana. We have decided to follow the baby-led weaning (AKA baby-led solids) approach. We know so many parents who have done this and have kids that are super awesome (read: not picky!) eaters. We will begin Jude with sweet potatoes, avocados  and other fruits/veggies he can handle in the next month or so as he begins to show interest in food, looses his tongue thrust reflex, and can feed himself. We do not plan on buying baby food or making purees, but giving him foods that he can manage in their natural form.

Jude has not yet had any immunizations.  It's not that we are totally opposed to shots, but he had a virus at his 2 month appointment, so he did not start them then. Then other things happened, so we put them off. Basically, its a long, boring, drawn out ordeal, but he should begin to get (some of) them at 6 months. I dread that.

I love being the momma of a 5 month old. I love seeing him take in things and learn! I love the open mouthed kisses, belly laughs, happy dance (when he flails his arms and legs with excitement), reaching for and shaking objects that intrigue him, and that he enjoys independent play time.

Most days, I love, love, love being a momma though there is the ocasional meltdown day. I am so blessed to have a husband who is so patient, understanding, encouraging when I have those days. I am one blessed gal.

So, here we are. The parents of a cute 5 month old! I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Sin of Discontentment

It is easy to feel discontent. After all, we live in a culture that thinks no one should feel unhappy with their lot, or if they are, they are entitled to change it (or have it changed for them - but I digress). More than that, it is a part of our (sinful) nature to think that we deserve contentment with our circumstances and to make our own contentment in things or events an idol. I am guilty.

This struggle comes in may forms:

I am discontent with this job; I quit.

I am discontent with this house. Hello, mortgage I can't actually afford.

I am discontent with my body. Know a good plastic surgeon?

I am discontent, but it will be better when _________________.

It seems that we think that if we are discontent something is wrong. Something needs to be fixed. After all, our circumstances should provide us contentment, right?

Now, I know many of you are wiser than I and already have spotted the error of this logic. Honestly, I thought I got it, too. But I didn't. I was looking for contentment in circumstances rather than in God.

Philippians 4:11-12-  Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
This season of our life has brought with it temptation to be discontent about many things: 

Reduced income.
Living in the city. (I am a country girl.)
Adjusting to being a stay at home mom.
No health insurance.
Cultivating new friendships.

I began to interpret my lack of contentment as something wasn't right. Maybe we had made a wrong decision. Maybe something needed to change. We needed to "fix' this.

Of course, this thinking reveals sin, the sin of discontentment. I thank God for friends who are willing to call sin, sin. As Stephen was seeking counsel from a Christian brother and sharing some of our stuggles this individual pointed out that we are battling the sin of discontentment.

1 Timothy 6:6-7  But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.
Typically, we don't see discontentment as a big problem in the Christian life. But, it is a big deal.  Really. Discontentment is doubting the sovereignty of God. Doubting that God has a purpose for every season of our lives. It is forgetting that not one decision or event comes without the Lord allowing it.

Why hadn't I realized this before?  Just realizing that what I was facing was sin made a huge difference. The first step was repentance. Then, I began to look at things differently. Instead of trying to change something to feel content, I started to realize that this season brought with it great opportunity for sanctification.

And, by his grace, The Lord is teaching me much. 

I am learning to... 

trust God more,
be thankful,
invest more time into people rather that projects/home decor/shopping,
appreciate the season of plenty we had,
pray more, 
submit to my husband in difficult decisions,
and to parent more intentionally in the time I am blessed to spend with Jude.

Now, don't misinterpret this as, "I have mastered these things." No, at any moment I am tempted to be fleshly and discontent. But, still, there is such a huge opportunity for growth and sanctification, an opportunity that I did not see when I was only focusing on my discontentment and how I could "fix" it.

Are you dealing with discontentment?   Perhaps you, like me, did not realize the sinfulness of your discontentment  Perhaps you are consumed with "fixing" it by seeking out a new job, home, church, etc.  Dear friend, I encourage you to repent. I encourage you to see your struggle as an opportunity for sanctification. May the Lord use this to make us more like Christ.

Friday, February 1, 2013

On Being Mommy

Recently, my life has been consumed with this thing called motherhood...And I haven't posted much about that because, well, to be honest, most of the time I think I am doing it wrong.


Am I weird?

Just this Sunday, in church, the sweet mom in front of me turned around and said, "Hows it going?  How's he doing?"

I looked down at my precious little boy who was, at the moment, a bit fussy and said, "Well, he's tired. Church is during morning nap time."

She smiled sweetly and said, "Yeah, Sundays are hard."

"Thank you," I said. When she looked at me, confused, I continued, "I am relieved to know its not just me or something I am doing wrong."

It seems that I am always second guessing myself. Is he tired? Or hungry? Should I give him the pacifier to sleep? Should I stop swaddling him? Do I lock myself in my house until we have a good nap routine established, or do I continue my life and tote my tot along? Or where is the balance between the two?

Basically, the only thing I am sure about is that I need to quit worrying.  I need to trust that God's grace is sufficient to cover my mommy mishaps. I need to stop, enjoy and be grateful for my son.

I need to pray more.

Just a week or so ago I got in touch with one of my mommy mentors about how she would proceed to lengthen Judes naps. (He basically takes 5-6 30 minute naps during the day instead of 2-3 longer naps.) And her first advice?  Pray.

And, I must admit, I am much quicker to consult the latest book, blog, or forum on a parenting issue than to pray that the Lord would give me wisdom.  Ouch.

That same mom also reminded me that our most importnat concern should be that we raise our children to love God. We shouldn't  put more effort into any other area of parenting. Nothing should concern us more. Breast or bottle? To vaccinate or not? Cry it out or soothe? Scheduled or unscheduled?  All these issues, though important, pale in comparison to teaching my child the beauty of the Gospel.

Sometimes, I just need to be reminded of the proper perspective.

Tonight, bedtime was a complete chaotic failure. But, I am reminding myself of what really matters. I am reminding myself of the lessons I have learned so far in my short time as a mom:

Enjoy and be thankful for my son.

Trust the Lord.

Teach the Gospel.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Church Membership

This season of transition has made us acutely aware of the importance of church membership in the believer's life. We all know people who believe (falsely) that they don't need to be a member of a local body. But, church membership is so critical.

Jesus Christ died for the church. He loved the church so much that he died for it (Ephesians 5:25). Yet, many who claim to be followers of Christ sacrifice nothing for the church. Many even deny that they need church membership.  Please don't mistake me for comparing church membership to just having your name on a roster. Instead, I am referring to the corporate study of the Scriptures, worship, accountability, discipline, and fellowship that should be a part of church membership. This is church membership and it is vital to the life of a believer.

Sunday, we ended the season of being believers disjointed from the body; we joined Orange Park Bible Church. We are excited to be a part of this body. We pray that we will be an integral part of the ministry there.

We know that being members of a Biblical, like-minded church was a necessity  We could not survive apart from the body.  The Bible tells us that we need to be apart of the local assembly. The Bible compares members of the church body to parts of the physical body (1 Cor.. 12:12). What happens to an arm, leg, or finger that is detached from the body? Surely, it can not serve its purpose and, ultimately it would die unless reattached.

This little church has already demonstrated the love and grace of God to us in VERY tangible ways (meals, job, living arrangements). We do not deserve the kindness that has been shown to us, but we praise God for it.

Before we joined OPBC, we had to complete a new members class. The day that we joined, the pastor had all of the families who were joining stand in the front of the church while he shared a little about them. When he got to us he began to tell the story of all God had been doing over the past couple years to bring us to this point - membership at this church. I teared up. I so appreciated his reminder that God has been sovereignly working over years to bring us here. For me, it is such a temptation to become discouraged by the stuggles of this week, this month, and this season; I quickly forget that God has been working much longer than that. What a sweet reminder to hear the events of the past couple years and be reminded how God has worked.

We eagerly anticipate how God will use us here. I pray that if you are reading this, and do not have a church home you will realize the importance and begin seeking a place of membership.

If you are searching for a church to call home, I encourage you to read 9 Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever.