I’ve been taking weekly pictures, but in the interest of not wanting to annoy people with another baby bump blog post, I’ve compiled all of them from weeks 9-16 here. This is mainly for my mom and Colby’s mom and other mom-type people in my life who I know will love these pictures. Things are going great with us over here; I have an appointment tomorrow with my midwife. Excited to see the little nugget again.
Colby and I made the shirt together. I got the idea from Miranda of One Little Minute. Her DIY can be found here!
Besides being pregnant, other things are going well. I’m starting back to my second teaching job this week and excited to be back there. I’m teaching novice level (basically beginning level) which should be interesting. I’ve already had some fun interactions with students, which is what makes my job so entertaining for me. My students at the community college wrote out their goals and some small steps they can take to improve their English on their own time. I was practically exploding with pride and joy thinking about being a part of their growth and personal success.
February is Mexico with sister and bro in law over Valentine’s and March is my birthday (we’re thinking Downton Abbey themed party…) and flying to TX for a World Race wedding. April is Ohio baby shower and May is California baby shower. So much to look forward to.
God’s giving me a lot to think about, and some posts are brewing in my head, but all in good time.
I wrote this blog post on October 10th, 2013, about a week before I found out that I was pregnant after six months of trying. I hesitated to post it but ultimately decided that it’s a powerful testimony and wanted to share. I know that everyone’s story is different, and we can’t compare the ways that God works in each of our lives. I can’t explain why some people are unable to have children, and I believe God’s goodness is just as true to them as it is to me, but, that being said, I truly believe that through my faith and God’s power, he created a new life. Colby and I are so pleased to announce our sweet baby boy is coming June 2014.
God’s teaching me something these days.
It started a few weeks ago when a group of dear friends read aloud from Isaiah 61. The beautiful imagery fell flat with me as I heard about beauty and joy, gladness and praise. Those words indeed were beautiful, but they weren’t my reality.
My reality was being in a place of mourning, ashes, and heaviness because I wasn’t pregnant. After 5 months of trying, I was empty. Literally—my womb was empty, but figuratively as well; I felt so empty. I felt completely devoid of any control in my situation as I waited with mounting frustration every month.
In a powerful time of meditation and prayer, God gently reminded me to fix my eyes on not on what is seen, but instead on what is unseen (2 Cor. 4:16). God, with his sweet sense of humor, led me to 1 Peter 1:3 that says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope…” And later in the chapter it repeats a familiar phrase on the same theme, “…Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” (v. 8).
Those words brought me peace and hope, but God wasn’t done yet.
Yesterday, my devotional spoke of Abraham. From Romans 4:17-19 (MSG), “Abraham was first named ‘father’ and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said.”
Abraham was called out and named “father” by God years before it came to pass. Abraham believed it, and God did it.
In God’s word, there are countless verses that promise children to his people. I started to write those down, take them to heart, and speak them out. I searched his word for promises and claimed them as my truth. I spoke into the future believing that God was going to make good on his word.
In Acts 16:25-26, we see Paul and Silas in jail. They’re in there praying and praising God when, all of a sudden, a miracle happens. God caused an earthquake to break them free from their chains. The praise came before the miracle. May it be so in my life. I’m choosing to believe that the next time I take a pregnancy test it will be positive because God has promised goodness to me.
I often think about the Israelites wandering in the desert. It’s a series of stories that I consistently relate to and find myself pondering. There are just so many parallels that I see between myself and that crazy group of people following a cloud and complaining all the way.
I find myself reading the stories and thinking, how could they? How could they grumble when God 100% miraculously rescued them from the hand of their oppressors? How could they promise to serve the one true God and then turn around and worship their melted down and re-formed jewelry? How could they doubt in the face of such a faithful God?
And soon the questions start to turn inward, not in an accusing, condemning way, but in a “are you serious?” kind of way. How can I doubt in the face of such a faithful God? After all the ways he’s shown up and provided and done miracles on my behalf…as Jon Foreman put it, “Why should I worry? Why do I freak out? God knows what I need. You know what I need.”
And then there’s this beautiful picture of manna. I get teary-eyed just thinking about manna.
I learned today that Bethlehem means “House of Bread.” Jesus, Our Daily Bread, was born in a House of Bread. It blows me away. I know that the idea of Jesus being our daily bread is cheesy and so played out and made into a tidy little devotional every year, but the concept is incredible if you stop to think about it.
Just as God provided manna in the desert, Jesus is our provision today. It’s this amazing resource that we have unlimited access to. I have blogged before about how amazing it is to compare our relationship with God now to the relationship with God that the Israelites had. This is yet another example. God provided food and physical sustenance for his people then and continues to do so today. Yet because we have a great high priest who is able to understand all of our circumstances, we can come to God about literally anything and receive grace and mercy.
I don’t even know where I got this, but I have this Heidi Baker quote on a sticky note that I look at often. She’s speaking from the Lord and says, “I want you to eat this fresh bread from heaven, don’t eat the little crumbs from yesterday. I want you to eat fresh bread from my presence every day.”
It’s powerful. Just as the Israelites had to go out and collect fresh provision daily, God calls us to do so now. It challenges me to seek him daily. I don’t want to rely on revelation that I received in the past, as good as it may have been. God has something fresh and new and life-changing for us each day, if we make the effort to go out and collect it. May I be brave enough to continually seek and follow.
[Side note: The inspiration for this blog came from a daily advent devotional that I've been reading lately. The She Reads Truth community has been rocking my world for a few months now, and I believe that it could do the same for you, too.]
Our lifegroup went on a retreat this past weekend to Bakersfield. If you’re from Orange County, you probably immediately had some snarky thought in your head about Bakersfield. But seriously, it was so great. We stayed on a ranch in the middle of nowhere (as in, there was no cell service).
Time away is so necessary.
Time away with friends is so healing.
I was reminded again of the power of vulnerability. Isn’t it just so crazy how up until the moment that we share something, it feels like the heaviest, worst, most unbearable thing ever? But once we have shared it and realize that the earth didn’t fall out from underneath our feet, the freedom comes almost instantly. And to be in a community of people who will step in and fight for you through truth and prayer? It feels almost too good to be true.
We are wildly undeserving of the grace we have received.
Every year, around the end of September, the world sighs. Or maybe it’s just me.
Summer is officially over as of yesterday. This is my fifth week back to work (I know, I know, we teachers are so spoiled with summers off). Things can feel a bit slump-y.
But then, something magical happens. It’s called Returning Fall Shows. To me, it’s a certain sign of grace.
I just…think that whoever decided that shows would come back at the beginning of Fall is the most brilliant person ever. I know it’s not just me, because I see people posting on Facebook about their shows coming back. It’s just fun to have a little something to look forward to at the end of a long day…a story to get pulled into, a character to connect with.
There are actually only two shows that I’m super excited about this season. One is Parenthood (which I’ve blogged about before), and the other is the Mindy Project. Parenthood was so good last season. Yes, I only started watching it because Lauren Graham was on Gilmore Girls back in the day, and yes, the show has some annoying plot holes and inconsistencies at time, and, yes, it’s creepy that Lauren Graham and Peter Krause are dating in real life but they are brother and sister on the show but MAN, way to tug on our heartstrings with every episode, writers of Parenthood. I think Colby cried during just about every episode.
And…I can’t really say enough about how much I love Mindy Kaling. She’s smart, hilarious, successful…you go girl. Great addition of James Franco on this new season. I legitimately laughed out loud 5-10 times during the season premiere.
Shows that I was previously into but have kind of lost their luster for me are New Girl and Downton Abbey. I know, blasphemy, right? But seriously, all of the things about the characters of New Girl that I used to find hilariously quirky, now I’m like, grow up. Let’s see a little character development.
As far as Downton Abbey goes, I don’t want to ruin anything for those of you who haven’t watched yet, but I’ll just say don’t get too attached to any of the characters, because they ALL DIE. For the love of God, don’t kill Bates. Please don’t kill Bates!
I don’t always read the ESV study Bible for pleasure, as I’m more of a Message Version kind of girl for my daily devotionals. But today I whipped the giant Bible out because I had a question, and I ended up finding so much comfort and peace. Verses 5-7 are familiar. They read:
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the Valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
each one appears before God in Zion.
I don’t know if the writers of the ESV study Bible hoped to inspire people by their extensive footnotes, or if they just simply wrote to illuminate the meanings of the scripture to the best of their ability. Either way, my heart swooned when reading the footnote here.
“The next section describes those who make the journey to Zion to worship at such a sanctuary; they are blessed. Their strength is in God, to sustain them on the way; the highways are in their hearts, which probably means that they actually want to go (pilgrimage was obligatory, but should never become mechanical or burdensome). The location of the Valley of Baca is unknown; it seems to have been a dry place, but the faithful pilgrims make it a place of springs (which probably means that they delight in this valley as much as if it were well-watered, being so happy to be on the way). These pilgrims go from strength to strength (i.e. they keep on finding new levels of strength for the journey), until each one appears before God in Zion.” (emphases my own)
Seriously, how encouraging is this? A reminder of the reason for the pilgrimage, the joy that can be found in the journey, and how the Lord provides the strength we need to press on. May I delight in the valley as much as if it were well-watered and continue to seek the Lord to find new levels of strength.
“For the Lord God is a sun and a shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Ps. 84:11)
With promises like that to hang on to, let’s keep going.