20 / 52 – Courage
May
20

20 / 52 – Courage

I woke up a couple days ago feeling really overwhelmed.  These last few months have been so incredible and humbling.  The Lord has opened doors for us to share about Ireland with churches and people and I can see Him going before us in so many ways.

But as we get closer to leaving, the magnitude of the transition ahead is getting real.  There are things that have to be in place – financial support, a house and a car, plane tickets and figuring out how things will be shipped, and so many other things that we probably haven’t even thought of yet!

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A little over a year ago, the Lord told me to start praying for five things – passports (which we didn’t even have yet!), a scouting trip, visas, the house we would live in, and the car we would drive.  This list seemed pretty crazy since, at the time, the Lord still hadn’t spoken to Branden about missions or Ireland, and He had said I wasn’t allowed to either.

The Lord wanted to grow my faith.  To believe Him for things that were impossible.  I started to pray.

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Provision for passports came first, then as the Lord brought Branden to a place of stepping out in faith, funds for our scouting trip came in.  By the time we got back from the trip, our visas were provided for.

As the year has gone on, I’ve been praying for a house and a car.  The Lord has made it clear, He has a specific house and car for us.  The house looks a certain way and will be used for ministry in specific ways.  Sounds crazy right?  Honestly, there have been moments when I’ve thought so.  But every time I find myself doubting, the Lord reminds me that He’s spoken to me, and that He’s able to do everything He says He will.

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The other day, with my anxious heart, Jesus led me to to the book of Joshua.  God’s servant, Moses had just died.  Now God speaks to Joshua about how he needs to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land.  God said He would give them a specific territory and names the borders that surround it.  All that had been promised to God’s people from generation to generation was now before them.  Joshua had been Moses’ helper.  He’d seen God do incredible things all throughout his life.  But now, at the banks of the Jordan, with this great calling in front of him, God gives him a command:

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  – Joshua 1:9

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That first chapter in Joshua encourages me so much!  First, God spoke to him in specifics – He would give them a certain area of land, a territory they were to posses with real borders.

And even after Joshua had seen so much, even as he was speaking to the living God, he lacked courage.  God knew that in his heart, Joshua was wrestling with fear and doubt.

His solution was that God Himself would go with him.  The God Joshua knew, that he’d seen do the impossible time after time, would not forsake him now.  The Lord had proven Himself trustworthy.  There would be a lot Joshua would find out along the way – giants and battles and fortified cities – but one thing he knew and that would be enough – the presence of his God would go with him.

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God has a good plan for us, some things He’s already told us about, a lot we’ll find out along the way.  His word is sure and He is trustworthy.  His presence is our courage and strength.

……….

These boys teach me so much!  These pictures and video below represent everyday life with our two adventurous boys and their big imaginations!

19 / 52 – My family
May
12

19 / 52 – My family

Family is a funny thing.  It’s like this thread that runs through you, connecting you to people that are each somehow a part of who you are.  Family is where everything begins.  It is possibly the most important, God-given, life shaping force that exists on the planet, besides the Holy Spirit himself.

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This thread is a fragile but resilient thing.  Through time and circumstance it may pulled and strained, worn thin, maybe even frayed.  But somehow, it keeps.  This thread is colored at times with pain, with heartache.  Other seasons may bring ease, laughter and strength.  People change, but the bond is not broken.

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This is my family.  We have seen seasons of difficulty, times where the Lord taught us how to grow in grace.  Other times have been easy and fun, where we just enjoyed each other and the relationships that tie us together.

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The coming year will be a full one for us, lots of change and growth.  I’m excited and thankful.  And though there will be great distance between us, I know this thread will stretch :)

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These boys will miss their Lolo and Lola.  And their Lola’s cooking!

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And I will miss my mom

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It’s been a long time since the five of us were all together, and these pictures will probably be the last ones we will take as a family before we go to the mission field.  We had to celebrate with a few pictures!  I will treasure these images, especially these selfies :)  I sure do love these people!

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Sisters

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18 / 52 – Seven
May
07

18 / 52 – Seven

I remember the day Ethan was born.  I had gotten sick with preeclampsia and we had to be induced three weeks early.  The pregnancy had already been stressful, but I was a mess at the news we’d be delivering nearly a month early.  We already had a one year old in the house, the crib wasn’t even put together yet, and I was still warming up to thought of having two full time diaper wearers!

Branden and I hadn’t settled on a name yet.  He had a list and I had a list, but no matches.  Pulling into the hospital parking lot that day, Branden said, “Just pick the name you love the most and that’ll be it.  But I get to pick the next one!”

“I love Ethan.” I said without hesitating.

“What about the middle name?” he asked.

“Cole.  Ethan Cole.”

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I don’t remember much about the induction.  I’m sure everything went just as it was supposed to – checking in, settling into our room, getting hooked up to all the monitors.  I have high blood pressure, which is what led to the preeclampsia, so some special precautions were being taken.  The anesthesiologist came in to give me my epidural.  I remember Branden wanting to watch (no thanks!)  The anesthesiologist let him as long as he was sitting down.  He told Branden that if he fainted, he wasn’t going to be able to help him up!

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I was progressing with the medicine.  Soon my doctor came in to break my water.  We had a short exchange about how I didn’t want to end up with a c-section.  He reassured me I was at very little risk since my labor with Silas only lasted 8 hours.  He broke my water and stepped out of the room.

The nurse that was with me put an internal monitor on Ethan’s head.  Within seconds I remember her saying how the baby didn’t like something.  She asked me to get on my hands and knees.  I’m sure I looked at her with complete confusion.  Wires were running from me to several machines, and my epidural was in full effect!  She didn’t wait for me.  I’m not sure how, but she grabbed my ankles and within seconds, I was on all fours!

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Branden and my mom were the only ones in the room with us at the time.  I remember my mom starting to cry.  She came to the bed, kissed my forehead, and said she was going to step out.  We have a long history of women with high blood pressure in our family, and I knew she was scared.  So was I.

A team of five or six women burst into the room.  They were all yelling at each other.  Wires were unhooked and the bed began to move.  We were going to an operating room.

I remember just crying at this point, not knowing what was happening, if my baby was okay, if Branden was going to be with me when I delivered.  The OR was chaotic and loud.  Things were happening without me.  I could see my doctor getting into his operating gear.  I was moved onto a new bed and quickly prepped for surgery.  A nurse came and put an oxygen mask over my face.

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“What’s happening?”  I was still crying.

“Your baby’s heart rate dropped, but it’s starting to come up.  Can you hear it?”

I listened for that familiar “whoosh, whoosh, whoosh” of the heartbeat through the machine.  I could hear it.

“We have to get your baby out right now,” she said calmly.

The anesthesiologist I had seen an hour or so before was standing at the head of my bed.  He was yelling into the room, “Do I put her out?  Do I put her out?”  No one was answering him.  “Do I put her out?!”

“Just put her out!” someone yelled back.

I looked up at the nurse.  “Can my husband come in here?” I asked desperately.

“I’m sorry, no.”

And I was out.

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The next few hours were less chaotic, but equally emotional.  I woke up to a new room, a new nurse, Branden and my mom, but no baby.  He was fine, being monitored because of the stressful delivery, but it was hours before I got to meet or hold him.

Branden told me later that it was only about 15 minutes between the time they wheeled me out of the room to when they handed him the baby, all cleaned up and swaddled.  A video was taken of our families meeting him and of Branden sharing the name we’d picked for him that morning.

The next day my doctor came in to check on me.  He explained that Ethan’s cord had been wrapped around his body five times – more times than the doctor had ever seen in his ten years of delivering babies!

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We stayed in the hospital almost a week.  My blood pressure needed to be monitored, new medicine figured out, and there was a list of things that needed to be “checked off” before we were discharged.

In the wake of it all, I remember finally getting home and walking through the unexpected events of Ethan’s birth.  Branden said, “Maybe it needed to happen that way, so you would know that no matter what, God is in control.”

Later I remember the Lord speaking to me about it, helping me realize that getting sick and having to deliver earlier likely saved both Ethan’s and my life.  If my water had broken at home (as it did with Silas), neither of us would probably have made it.

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God is so good, isn’t He?  Saving us before we even know we need it?

We always have our plans, our ideas, expectations.  But God is quietly working things out the way they need to be.  So often I realize in hindsight how little faith I’ve had.  But there is no condemnation or “I told you so” booming from Heaven.  Only grace, and a love that chooses to keep walking with me.

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When the fog lies low on the path ahead, and I am unsure or even afraid.  When I’m full of doubt or feeling frantic because I have no control (I do like control!) I need to remember, I belong to God – the One that would let nothing keep me from Him!  Whatever His plans might include, they are for my ultimate good, not harm, and for His glory.  I am safe with Him.

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And Ethan :)  He’s seven!  He was spoiled by so many in Texas as we traveled through and then here in Colorado when we got home!

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He’s this amazing combination of cleverness and innocence, still excited at the things he’s learning about the world around him!  He’s funny and quirky and loves music.  He’s embarrassed easily but also loves to make people laugh.  He still likes to snuggle, which makes me happy :)  He’s little and big at the same time.  Maybe I’ll always feel that way, but it’s true today!

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Happy seventh birthday sweet boy!

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