Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Beautiful Things

Have you ever sat back and watched your life complete what feels like a full circle? I truly believe this is one of God’s greatest Moments of Selah with us…when he gives us the perspective to sit back and rewind with him to see that he had it in his hand the whole time.

 Like watching our favorite movies, we smile with him in the sweet parts, laugh until tears roll down our faces at our stupid mistakes, and cry fresh tears anew when we remember the pain and heartache that season of our lives held for us. We also begin to blot away those tears, or maybe even release new ones of joy, when we see where the circle landed.

I was talking with my husband the other day and half laughing, half feeling the old stings of pain when I think back to where life had us around a year ago. We were about to embark on one of the darkest seasons in our life together as a family and had no idea what was in store for us. A year ago, October 1st, I was blindsided and let go from probably the most destructive company and manager I had ever worked for…and as Satan On Stilettos walked me to my desk and allowed me to gather my belongings, I remember this great heaviness on my heart, as though I had let the world down. I had no control…I, the great list maker, plan writer, sticky note liver by-er, had no idea what life held for my family in the next weeks and months…
If you had told me then that my family would pick up and move to Nashville, that we would leave behind some of the greatest friends we had ever known, that we would also encounter some of the new incredible friends, and experience such a peace in life and a healing in our marriage and family that really passed our understanding, I might have called you crazy and walked away…

…If you had told me I would be pregnant, I would have smacked you first for being so cruel, and then walked away…(this one takes some explanation…stick with me…)

For the last two years, my husband and I, but mostly I, have been struggling with not being able to have another baby…It went from being something we kind of wanted to, something we really wanted, to something I began to hate myself for not being able to accomplish…I took numerous tests every time I was just a couple days late, in the hopes that maybe this time, it wasn’t just a screwed up thyroid gland restricting my cycle from happening…maybe this time, it might actually be a baby…

And this is where we come full circle…almost a year to the day of all that uncertainty, my family has celebrated one of the greatest seasons of peace we have ever known and…we will be celebrating the 2 month birthday of our daughter, Mackenzie Kate Serenity. Some people laugh when they hear this big name for such a little girl, but for our family, it holds so much meaning. Mackenzie Kate is her foundation of strength and a new start…Serenity is for the complete peace we feel as a family, seeing where God has taken us from where we have been. Its almost as if she herself is a celebration for us, in the culmination of the last year. The joy we never expected, but the blessing God chose to give us…

At this time last year, we went to the Catalyst conference on the grace of some very good friends. It was there we saw and fell head over heels with the music of Gungor. Their song, Beautiful Things, has been resonating with us the last year and as we celebrate the birth of Mackenzie, it really rings true as her anthem for life…
"Beautiful Things"

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us…

As we celebrate this October 1st, we’ll know that beautiful things have been made out of our dust…He has made beautiful things out of us…

Sunday, May 19, 2013

My Husband's Shoulders

If you've been comfortably married for a few years, like my husband and I have been, you begin to have your own routines. He is a super late night owl with his xbox and guy time and I pretty much turn into a pumpkin if Im not in bed by 11 with my Kindle and a book. So, you can imagine my suprise one evening as we not only made it to bed at the same time, but also, my husband crashed before I did. For some reason, I found myself wide awake and, like every good wife, given some free time to check out my (still adorable) husband while he slept. (I know this may sound creepy, but stick with me...)

For some reason, I was drawn to my husband's shoulders...I have loved those shoulders since we started dating.(See above old school photo!!) He's always had this broad, baseball player build and, Im not gonna lie, they still give me the girly giggles...but tonight, I felt God speaking to me about my husband's shoulders...

I stopped and thought for a moment, what weight is beared on those shoulders...what responsibility as my husband and the father of my child(ren!) I was amazed by the heaviness he must feel sometimes as he works to lead our family spiritually and emotionally throughout our day to day lives. How one or all of us may end up leaning on those shoulders and he is expected to hold us up. How those shoulders have wrestled with our son and sat him upon them, making Gavin feel like the king of the world and his daddy's best buddy. I was completely overwhelmed  by how much our family puts on his shoulders...and so, I began to pray.

I prayed that God would strengthen those shoulders, build them up, make them powerful for the days and challenges to come. I prayed that God would make them comforting, as we held each other through battles and struggles...I prayed that they would be my sanctuary of peace after my long days and a place of love, where our family could lean on them no matter what...

I then began to think further...what about his mind, and the darkness and temptations he faces on a daily basis? What about the thoughts that cross that space every day?

Or what about his mouth, and the things he speaks, that our children will hear. Will they see it as inspiration, love, and building up? Or a fleeting moment of temper that can destroy and tear down. What also about how he engages and speaks to me, using words to deepen our bond and relationship?

What about his hands? How they build and work...His feet? Where they lead and go....His eyes? (Oh Lord, protect his eyes!!)

...In that moment I suddenly felt consumed with praying for each part of my husband and how God uses this man in our lives and in our family's development.

I've always believed there's a special gift in the experience as a wife and mother who prays over her husband and children, but I never stopped to think about how much my husband deals with in his own life, bearing in his own way, so we feel supported and loved...and how he feels as a man when he lets us down. We may feel it for a moment, but how long does he consider those things in his mind and heart? I never stopped to consider each struggle he may face and focusing my prayer in such a way that I truly seek out the full force of God's strength, covering his entire being in protection and love.

It was a powerful experience for me, and, to be honest,  one Im probably not going to do all the time, but when Im feeling the need to pray and dont know where to begin, I think I'll start at my favorite part...

My Husband's Shoulders.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Love Beyond Words, Joy Beyond Understanding

Its no secret to many of our close friends that this little family of ours has had the craziest beginning of  a year ever...new job, new house, new town, new baby, new life...and during this transition, God keeps reminding me of an experience with our sweet 4 year old that is one of those moments I will hold forever.

I had just started my new job here in Tennesee...My husband and I made the choicefor him to join me for a week, to help me adjust to my new area and to partner with me in looking for our new home. (Some choices just can't be made alone!) This was big, however, because this was the first time either of us had left our little man for more than 3 days...this was 10 days away...hearts hurt on both sides, for sure...

We made the phone calls, had the face time, sent messages and pictures of our new home options...did everything we could to make our son feel connected to us during the move...He's still convinced he picked the house...(Dont tell him otherwise, we'd like to let him have that thought for a while..=) But it was still the hardest thing not having those sweet hugs and snuggles every day. Nothing makes me smile more than a (usually pantless, but rocking some form of superhero undies) 4 year old running to greet me every time I came home, exploding with details about his day.

Before we left, we read this book, "I love you more..." We began having a little family game of "I love you more than..." It started out sweetly, like, " I love you more than all the stars in the sky". (but because we are a sarcastic family, it became more like, I love you more than all the farts in Papa's butt...Yeah, that always makes us giggle...sorry, Papa.) Our family, no matter what, cant seem to pass the day without telling each other randomly that we love each other. Its something my husband and I have always done since we were dating, and its something we've tried to build into the character of our son...to never know a day where he is not loved.

Well, rewind back to us being gone...it was a Friday night and I had to make my first company appearance at a party. We had hoped to get home to our little guy sooner, but, we drove all through the night to get home to him. Arriving to my parents place around 2 am, we couldnt resist...we had to sneak in for some hugs and kisses.

Our sleepyheaded sweetheart rolled over, and through the dreams, realized that Mommy and Daddy were FINALLY home!! He gushed out what were the most adorable giggles and happy laughs. His little arms kept hugging us both and he jumped from lap to lap...It was almost like he was so overjoyed to see us that he couldnt formulate the words fast enough to keep up with the joy in his heart.

This "Love Beyond Words" experience was so beautiful for me as a mother...the joy we felt in being reunited as a family...I could physically feel it growing in my heart.

...and it's a feeling and mentality I never want to forget...

Being a career mommy, I have to work and travel a lot. Sometimes it sucks. But Im never so excited as I am running home to have those sweet hugs and greetings from my (often pantsless) superhero. It makes the work and struggles more worthwhile, knowing I have that kind of love waiting for me at home.