Four

IMG_0824.JPG

If I could post this picture a hundreds times without the rest of the word thinking I was crazy, I would. It is without a doubt my favorite picture and probably will be for a long time. Yes, I love it because we all match perfectly for the holiday of July 4th. Yes, I love that it was taken in front of my best friend’s house and if you look closely you can see her sweet boy riding his bike in the background. Yes, I love Jane Taylor’s outfit. I stalked the internet for months trying to find the perfect look for our new neighborhood’s biggest day of celebration. But what I love the most is that in this picture there were four of us.

 

Four. We weren’t planning on becoming a family of four at the beginning of July. We weren’t planning on having a new baby arriving in March. We weren’t expecting to have two kids under two. It wasn’t in our plans. But in early July we were reminded that God is in charge and this was the greatest unexpected plan we could ever receive.

 

A couple weeks later I miscarried. An unexpected pregnancy turned into an unexpected loss. And it rocked my world. Hard.

The question “why”. Ugh. I hate that question. Has been at the forefront of my brain ever since. Why did God give us this baby only to take it away? I was just beginning to process the idea of this baby being born. What the nursery might look like. How to convert the stroller into a ride for two babies. What would it look like taking two kids into the grocery store. And as all of those exciting, nervous thoughts were coming into play – our baby returned to Jesus.

 

It was amazing how I could go from receiving the greatest news to the hardest news all in the same month. How quickly my days went from dreaming to heartbreak. No one told me my body would go through all the motions again like it did after giving birth to Jane Taylor. No one told me that my postpartum anxiety would come back. And boy did it – worse than ever before.

 

I was great around people because they were a wonderful distraction. A moment in time where my head wasn’t having to fight off the darkness that seemed all consuming. Alone was scary. Night time was the worst. Becoming a one in a statistic hit me harder than I thought it would.

 

Summer was hard. I would lay on the floor in a ball of tears wondering why. Why us. Why me. Why am I going through this season of darkness. What Lord do you want me to learn from this. What was the point of gifting us new life only to take it away. It brings me to tears just to even type it out.

 

I am not on the other side yet. I am closer. But I am different now. Pregnancy is different now. I see mothers differently now.

 

I also see God differently – in a very good way. See through all of this I have had to lean on Him more than ever before. I see His work. I see His kindness. He works so hard to remind little fragile me that He has got the strongest grip on my heart. He is in charge. He is fighting for me. And it is a beautiful gift. I wish it was a gift that I didn’t have to receive through a heartbreaking loss. But I am so grateful for the way my eyes see Him now.

October 15th is now a day that will have a bigger impact on our hearts. So will July 1st – the day we found out we were pregnant. July 10th – the day we lost our child. And March 5th – the day our baby was supposed to breathe his first breath in this world.

Apart of me will always long for the child we lost. These dates will be filled with a mix of emtions. But I pray that when these dates come and go that I will use them to remind me of how great our God is. His plan might not make a lot of sense but it is set into motion for a reason only He knows. Putting my trust in that fact is the best thing I can do. It is not always easy. Some days it is the hardest thing I have to do. But it’s all I can. I pray for the mother’s who have lost today and I pray that through the hard moments they can see how tightly God is holding on to them too.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” -Psalm 147:3

Your time, not mine

Photography by  Madi Flournoy Henderson   Outfit is linked below

Photography by Madi Flournoy Henderson

Outfit is linked below

Today, I want to bring this post to you in a slightly different format.  Normally, I find a way to relate my outfit to having a TAD more faith. And while this white dress from Lulu’s (which just so happens to be the perfect length and perfect amount of comfort – all at an affordable price) does offer several faith-related connections, I just need to get to the point.  That being said, I REALLY do love this dress. It’s perfect for all things summer no matter the occasion (except maybe a wedding… but you already knew that). 

Moving on.

I want to talk about the topic of God’s timing, which is a concept that I struggle with on a day-to-day basis.  Being a teacher, I am a planner by nature – not just in lesson plans, but also in life. There are certain areas in my life where I feel comfortable letting God take the wheel.  But there are also several areas where I haven’t turned over control just yet. Like I often say, I am human, so it’s no surprise that I haven’t perfected the art of giving it all to God. 

I talk a lot about this dream I have and how I am always fighting for it. Recently, I felt a couple of doors close (actually more like slammed shut in my face) on that dream happening at my speed. While the reality was harsh, I wasn’t going to let it stop me. I developed a new plan and decided to take it day-by-day.

This past weekend, my husband and I took a trip to New York. We did a number of different activities throughout the city. Some of these activities were planned, while others came about as the trip progressed. What amazed me was that at more than one of these activities, all of which were very different, we heard a similar message:  believe in yourself.  For example, I would expect to hear that kind of thing from the pastor at Hillsong Church in the heart of Times Square, but I would not expect to hear it from “The Magician” at the NoMad Hotel (yes, we went to a magic show…I promise it was SO much cooler than you might expect). And I really didn’t expect to hear it while sweating it out at Soul Cycle. However, in a roundabout way, at each of these places, the topic came up. And every time it did, I thought about my dream.

On the last day of the trip, I received an email that overwhelmed me with excitement. It was the opening of a door that I expected to be closed for a long time. While the door only opened a crack, it was a mire sliver of hope that reminded me this was all in God’s hands.  No matter how much I stress, plan, talk, or whine about it, God remains in complete control.

My prayer for you is that you can start to turnover control to God of that area in your life that is weighing heavily on your heart. You will recognize that sometimes God’s plan doesn’t always line up with your calendar but that doesn’t mean it wont happen at some point.

"Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her." - Luke 1:45

Entertaining God's Plan

To officially enter this blogger world, I felt like I had to write at least one post about styling a bar cart. It’s basically a right of passage. So, here it is. My beautiful bar cart from World’s Market, and I absolutely love it.

I also absolutely love to entertain. I am happy to offer my home for all types of occasions: from dinner parities, to baby showers, to football gatherings, and—of course—Sunday in the Shed. Having people over to my house is one of my favorite things to do. So, naturally, adding a bar cart to my entertaining collection made perfect sense. It was also a great reason to buy macaroons from Whole Foods that only cost a small fortune (shhh, don’t tell Adam!). 

 

When I planned this photo shoot, I didn’t totally think it through. And I’ve honestly struggled a bit with trying to figure out how I am going to incorporate my bar cart into my Christian blog. Like, what was I going to do? God loves you, so let’s pop the champagne and celebrate all His blessings?  Yeah… No. Then it hit me. 

This past weekend I struck up a conversation with an old acquaintance, who suddenly felt like a close friend that had been in my life for years. The words she spoke and the strength she exuded could only come straight from the heart of God.  It was a force of faith that could shine in the darkest of holes. If I ever have to go to battle, I will seek her strength to help guide the way. That is how strong she is.

It was during our simple conversation that I realized the gift she was giving me. But, if I am being honest, she had given that gift long ago. This time, however, it was just hitting me smack dab in the face. She was teaching me that God places us in situations beyond our control, yet gives us the strength to confront those situations with nothing more than a faith in Him.

Entertaining a party seems like a pretty easy task when compared to entertaining the plan God has for your life.

Sometimes that plan seems exciting, glamorous, and even thrilling. Other times that plan seems gruesome, painful, and completely unwarranted. The hard part is realizing that no matter the plan or the path, God is shaping you through each and every step. You have to choose if you are going to let him walk beside you… or behind you.

 

Image by Jenn Gietzen

Image by Jenn Gietzen