Learning to say “No” to doing ‘big’ things for God.

For many years I have read the classic devotional “My Utmost for His Highest.”

Let me be honest here. Some days I just read the words of Dr. Os (which is what I affectionately call Oswald Chambers) and they don’t penetrate my soul. Just as often happens in my daily quiet times of Bible reading and prayer, this devotional reading can be more of a habit than a spiritual discipline.

And since I’m being truthful…

There are days…wait there have been weeks….okay…there have even been seasons in my life where I got up from my reading and praying as dry as I was when I sat down to read or pray.

Nothing.  Nothing changed in me.  No holy fire from heaven.  My spirit remained thirsty.  My heart remained unsteady.

I have often succumbed to the pressures of this world on women.

The idea that a woman can have it all and still maintain her sanity all while keeping a perfectly clean and trendy house, meeting all of her spouses needs, feeding her children only organic food, and making it to the gym every day.

On top of the pressures of the world, in recent years the Christian culture has lumped another burden on women.

This message is spoken loudly these days from the pulpit, the blogosphere, and around small circles of women gathering in coffee shops.

The pressure to do “big things” for God.

The pressure to raise “world changers.”

The pressure to rescue the orphans.

The pressure to free the sex slaves.

Now don’t get mad at me just yet.  Give me a chance to explain.

I am all about doing big things.  Just ask my husband.  I am a dreamer.  Daily I battle with restless to ‘do’ something more for God.

And nothing would please this momma’s heart more than to someday put my children on a plane to ‘go change the world.’

And those orphans.  I had a heart for the Fatherless way before there was a much needed renewal of this long neglected teaching of the Bible.

So…isn’t all of the pressure “good Christian peer pressure?”

I’m not sure.

As I visit and work with women in the church….I am beginning to think that for many the constant message of “doing big” has had the opposite effect on women.

Instead I have found myself in a generation of women (and I include myself in this) that have grown discontent.

Single women.  Married women.  Divorced women.  Women living in wealth.  Women living in poverty.  Young women.  Older women.  It seems that life’s circumstances are not the driving force behind this discontentment.

Discontentment can often be a good thing. It can lead to aligning one’s wandering heart to the Lord’s.

However, discontentment can become a state of mind that causes us to miss the contentment we should find in the present.

I believe the latter is the sort of discontentment I see in women of this generation.

I think if we are all honest we could admit that we have lived many days wasted in the mindset of discontentment.

If only I could ‘do’ something big like so and so, then I will be contented and satisfied with who I am in Christ.

If only this toddler stage would speed up, then I will have the time and energy to be all that God has designed me to be.

When I get married….when we make more money…when my husband gets out of school…when the kids are out of diapers…when we have our dream home.

Goodness.

All the “if onlys” and “whens” have been the cause of many blessings of ‘today’ to slip right through my fingers.

I am not blaming anyone or anything.

But I do want to plug my ears to all the pressures that are screaming at women to “do” more.

Could we all just raise our hands up in the air and scream loudly

“Enough already!!!”

This is where my daily devotional that I read this morning comes in. This morning Dr. Os’ words were like lavender oil on my soul.

My heart has been restless.  My spirit discontent.  A place I find myself way too often.

“We have the idea that God is going to do some exceptional thing–that He is preparing and equipping us for some extraordinary work in the future. But as we grow in His grace we find that God is glorifying Himself here and now, at this very moment. If we have God’s assurance behind you, the most amazing strength becomes ours, and we learn to sing, glorifying Him even in the ordinary days and ways of life.”

So, I wonder.

I wonder what would happen if we as women could learn ‘to sing and glorify God in the ordinary days and ways of life.’

I have a guess.

I’ll bet that instead of us doing “big things for God,” God begins doing big things through us on ordinary days in ordinary ways.

The big things won’t be planned.  They will sneak up on us and surprise us.

World changers would be raised.

Orphans would be rescued.

Slaves would be freed.

And I’ll put my money on the fact that if we do less and ‘be present in today’ more, then we will find ourselves right in the middle of big things that God is doing.

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I really don’t know how long it has been since I have had a day when there was not a single thing scheduled. A dot free day on my phone. An opportunity for me to put in action just what God spoke to me this morning. I want to learn to embrace the ordinary days and ways of life. The dot free days. I wonder if it is on these days of ‘not doing’ that God does the biggest things.  Summer….I love you.

Elementary School. Done.

Today he finished elementary school. I now believe those people who told me when he was in Kindergarten that I would blink and he would be in middle school….they weren’t lying.

I watched him walk into his elementary school building this morning for the last time. I had to ask him to please turn around and wave at me as he walked away. To my surprise he didn’t hesitate to do what I asked. Thank goodness he’s not too embarrassed to do things like this for his momma….yet.

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Seriously. It was just yesterday that I walked him into his kindergarten class on the first day. He let me walk him in for 3 days and then I was about to get out of the car to walk him in on day 4 and from the backseat I heard him say.

“Momma, I can get to my class by myself today.”

I wasn’t quite sure how to feel. Proud. Sad. Scared.

Those doors are heavy, can he open them himself?

His class is in the back of the school. What if he makes a wrong turn?

My heart raced.

As I watched him walk towards that building by himself that day, he stopped at the stairs and turned and gave me a big smile and blew me a kiss.

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Tears streamed down my face.

My firstborn was carving a new path for me as a momma.

The path that I would learn to walk of letting my son grow wings and begin to learn to fly on his own.

Oh. My. Goodness.

This has been one of the most difficult things for this Type A momma who likes to be in charge and struggles with fear of things I can’t control.

God has used parenting my boy as a way to chisel away at this heart of mine and learn to live out what I believe. . .this beautiful (a momma can say that about her boy), tenderhearted, brave boy is not really mine at all.

I gave him to the Father from the moment I learned of his conception. Every day I must choose to live in this position. . .giving up the control that I want to have over my son and allowing the Holy Spirit to be his Guide, Comforter, and Teacher.

He was strong enough to open that big door by himself.

He didn’t get lost on his way to class.

Six years later…he is the one on safety patrol that was chosen to monitor the Kindergarten bus riders in the cafeteria and then escort them to the bus.

Every day this year I would sit in my car and watch him after school, walking these oh so little Kindergarteners to the bus, and I took mental pictures because it is a memory of him I do not want to forget.

Where did the last six years go?

Honestly…he was just that Kindergartener waving to me from the stairs letting me know he was okay and he could do it on his own.

I’ve been asking him a lot of reflection questions the past few weeks about his time in elementary school.

“Son, what do you think you have learned from being on Safety Patrol this year?”

“Kindergarteners….man they are all like sheep that have gone astray.”

My eyes glazed with tears as I laughed out loud. I love when my boy surprises me with his wit.

I looked at him in pride. Each year I have questioned our decision to have him in public school wondering if we had doomed him to educational mediocrity. . . if we had thrown him out to the wolves to be devoured.

I have dear friends who have chosen different educational paths for their kids…and I know that they too have days that they question the educational decisions that they have make for their kids..

Guilt. Frustration. Fear. The enemy’s tactics to make us question the path the Holy Spirit has each of us on…different paths but all for His glory.

In the past six years of having my son in public school, many times I have felt defeated in the guilt, frustration, and fear.

But in the quiet moments, I hear the still small voice say. “Trust me. I love that boy of ours. I’ve got this. You just press on momma”

As I stood there in the kitchen watching my boy shake his head about the disobedient kindergarteners, I was reminded that indeed God’s grace has covered all the times that I have failed in my parenting and He has been faithful to bless my novice parenting efforts.

I haven’t totally ruined my firstborn child. And this indeed is a miracle.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.     Isaiah 53:6

We have been memorizing some verses together as a family this year. Isaiah 53:6 is one of them.

Kindergarteners after school waiting for a bus. Having to walk on a sidewalk in a straight line. No pushing. No cutting in line. No walking on the grass. And for goodness sake “Get a Kleenex!”

Seriously. I didn’t teach this application to my boy.
Indeed. Kindergarteners (and 30 something year old mommas) are like sheep gone astray.photo

Thank you Holy Spirit for teaching my son.

Thank you Jesus for your grace that covers my parenting failures.

Thank you Father for giving me big arms to rest in peace in on this wild ride of parenting.

Middle School….Here. We. Come. Surely it’s not as bad as they say (can you hear the sarcasm from a former middle school teacher….breathe momma breathe…it’s gonna be alright.)

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This was my favorite picture of his last day of Elementary school. It was raining when I picked him up. Seconds after I took this picture, the wind caught the umbrella and turned it inside out. He started laughing hard and dashed off to the van…soaked to the skin and smiling and laughing all the way. Just what every elementary school boy (I mean middle school boy) should do…see rain as an opportunity to have fun. . .who needs umbrellas.  Thanks but no thanks momma.

And I have to include an epilogue to this entry…

When we first started memorizing Isaiah 53:6, I quoted the verse to the kids and asked them what they thought it meant.

I got a little frustrated with the big girl because I felt like she should surely understand the verse after I explained iniquity. I may or may not have gotten a little firm in my frustration with her not trying to think through what it might mean.

She was quiet for a while. My frustration built. I’ve failed. Does she really not understand the cross, sin, grace? Where have we gone wrong?

Then in her oh so sweet voice she said, “But momma I just don’t get it. Not everyone in the world likes sheep.”

I didn’t get it at first and then Joe started belly laughing.

“We all like sheep. You aren’t pausing at the commas.”

Parenting failure 10,904.

I hugged my girl. Apologized for my frustration with her and let her know how darn cute she is.

Relief. My failure wasn’t in my teaching theology to my kids…I just need to work on pausing at commas. I haven’t totally ruined them…yet.

Tasting the bittersweet in Mother’s Day

Nine years ago on Mother’s Day, I dressed a little baby girl in a handmade white dress for baby dedication Sunday.

Last night, I couldn’t sleep. I took the time to make little bows for Baby B’s head and feet to wear with the very same white dress that her big sis wore on her dedication day.

Tears streamed as the bitter sweetness of this day set in as it has in my heart for the past 13 years. . . the first Mother’s Day that I watched friends dedicate babies as I grieved the loss of mine. (I wrote more about this last Mother’s Day when we began telling family and friends about our being pregnant with Baby B)

Mother’s Day would never again be the same for me.

Tears also flowed because making pink bows always brings a rush of emotion as I remember making a special pink bow for my baby niece Daisy to wear.  I never got to hold her since she was born in Thailand, but I was thrilled to make a pink bow for her to be buried in.

Last night I searched for just the right accessory for Baby B to wear to commemorate her 3 siblings and two cousins in heaven.

I wanted something gold.

One of my sweet college roommates lost her baby girl, “Goldie” this year and it will be her first Mother’s Day to taste the bitter sweetness of this day.  I wanted to have my friend on my mind to pray for as I enjoyed the sweetness of my baby girl.  (You can read about her journey here )

I came up short.

Then I remembered a box of gold jewelry that was left over from a garage sale. This costume jewelry belonged to my sweet sister in law’s momma who went to be with Jesus this year.

And just like my Heavenly Father always does, He had a gift for me in that box.

A gold angel pin.

There were only three things left in the box and one of them was a golden angel pin. Are you kidding me? I didn’t even remember seeing that pin before.

Thank you Mrs. Norma. We will all grieve you this Mother’s Day but you left behind a gift and we know you are loving on our babies in heaven.

Oh, and if you read the post that I linked above…my friend that pregnant me hugged last Mother’s Day because she was grieving the loss of her baby son…today I will stand next to her as she will be dedicating her daughter…a baby girl she has adopted.

Bittersweet.  Bittersweet.

Big sister on her dedication day nine years ago...oh how we look young and naive.

Big sister on her dedication day nine years ago…oh how we look young and naive.

Gold pin.  Pink bows.  My sister would be proud that I took the time to accessorize. Most people don't believe it when I tell them the ponytail princess has some mad bow making skills...

Gold pin. Pink bows. My sister would be proud that I took the time to accessorize. Most people don’t believe it when I tell them the ponytail princess has some mad bow making skills…

The April day when I looked death in the face and it change my life forever.

There are certain seasons of my life when I have been brought face to face with the reality that my days here on Earth are numbered. It is during those times in my life that I find myself asking the age old question, “What is life on this big ball of dirt we call Earth all about?”

One of those seasons came 19 years ago during those beautiful early days of April, 1995.

I was a college freshman living in the dorms at my small liberal arts college in a small Arkansas town. Because I was living about 5 hours from home, I didn’t make the drive to south central Oklahoma every weekend.

Basketball season had come to an end in March and this meant for the first time since October, I could actually feel like a sort of ‘normal’ college girl on the weekends.

Since most weekends my closest friends went home, I often found myself going to eat Friday and Saturday dinner in the cafeteria we all loving called “Walt’s” to see who else was actually on campus for the weekend.

My normal Friday night cereal dinner at Walt’s (because Friday nights at Walt’s was…well let’s just say they didn’t spend much of the budget on weekend food) often led to an impromptu trip to Hot Springs with an eclectic group of people to go to a coffee shop and to hang out in the lobby of the Arlington hotel watching the ballroom dancers.

I know. My college life was wild and scandalous.

Give me a little credit. I was a Baptist preacher’s daughter, attending a Baptist university and so for me watching 80 year old people drink liquor and dance on a Friday night was quite scandalous for me in those days.

One April weekend of 1995 was different.

My roommate and my two suite mates were all staying on campus for the weekend and so we decided it would be fun on Saturday to make the hour long trip up interstate 30 to Little Rock and celebrate my suite mate Ami’s 20th birthday….the first one of us to cross out of the teenage years.

I don’t remember much about the day except for what we captured in a few pictures.

I remember loading up in my roommate Gwen’s sporty new to her gold Honda Accord with all the excitement that fills the heart of college kids who are enjoying the days of not having to ask parents permission to make an hour long trip to the city.

I remember a stop at a couple of stores.

We enjoyed a fun time full of laughter eating at the Olive Garden.

I don’t remember many details of that day except for what happened on the drive home.

There was road construction, which meant that for a long stretch of the trip the traffic seemed to be heavier than normal for a Saturday afternoon.

Gwen kept her eyes glued to the road as the four of us talked.

About halfway through the drive, I notice that there were many semi trucks on the highway that April afternoon.  Shortly after this thought a series of events occurred that I will never forget.

Being a Southern Oklahoma girl, I was soaking in the beauty of the pine trees that lined the Arkansas highway for much of the drive…something I was learning that all my native Arkansas friends took for granted.

I was sitting in the back behind the driver’s seat.

We were driving in the right lane.

I looked out the window to my left, and I could hear yet another semi truck coming up in the passing lane. For some reason I looked out the back window and noticed the truck’s speed and the fact that it was creeping dangerously close to the center line.

I remember saying “Gwen” and then about that time everyone in the car looked to the left and saw that the little two door Honda we were in was about to be side swiped by a speeding semi truck.

As most people would do, my sweet roommate, Gwen, looked out her driver’s window and the sight of a semi wheel caused her to turn the steering wheel quickly to the right in hopes of getting us out of the way of the semi that was crossing over into our lane.

The next 5 to 10 seconds of my life are forever ingrained in my mind in slow motion.

The little gold Honda did not stop turning right.

As our car was making a complete circle in the Southbound traffic, I closed my eyes and knew that at some point the car would come to a stop.

As you can imagine the car was full of screaming, while we awaited the inevitable impact.

Ami was sitting next to me in the backseat.

She threw her left arm across my chest. I guess since she was the oldest in the car it was natural for her to throw out the momma arm in attempts to protect me.

As we spun out of control in that car, Ami screamed out “Jesus, Jesus save us.”

Still traveling at 55 miles an hour, just as we were about to make a complete circle in the southbound lane, the wheels of that little Honda came off the ground and sent us airborne towards the median of that interstate.

The car made a half turn in the air and the inevitable impact came.

We crashed into one of those majestic pine trees in the median that I had just minutes before been admiring.

Our screams were interrupted by the loud sound of the crash followed by a silence that brought on a moment of terror.

The next few minutes are a bit surreal.

There I was strapped inside of a car that was now on its side in the middle of an interstate highway.

I remember the initial shock and then the terror of wondering if I was okay.

Was I injured? What about my friends?

Then came the questions.

“Gwen, are you okay?”

“I think so.” I have never been so thrilled to hear my roommate’s voice.

“Susan?”

“There’s some blood on my leg, but it doesn’t look bad.”

Because I was now dangling sideways above Ami, I look down at her and could see that she looked a bit shaken up but was okay.

Within seconds, there were people surrounding our car. Passersby who had seen the accident had pulled over to help.

They peered into the window.

I am sure they expected to find a horrific scene.

Because there was not a way for them to get us out of the car, I can still hear their calming voices assuring us that help was on its way.

When I realized I was okay and might be dangling there for a while, I undid my seat belt and stood on the backseat window that was now lying against the ground. I tried my best not to step on Ami’s head as she still sat in her seat.

Within 10 minutes we heard sirens and the car was surrounded by a team of first responders.

They told us to cover our eyes, and we listened while they broke through the front windshield.

One by one those men lifted the four of us out of the car and told us to sit down until we could be checked out by the EMTs who were on the scene.

The passersby sat next to us and did their best to provide calming words to all of us.

It was 1995 and not many people had mobile phones.

Miraculously one of the people sitting with us did and wanted us to call our parents.

Because all but Gwen’s parents lived hours away, I dialed Gwen’s dad and proceeded to recount the events. I told him that Gwen seemed in shock and the EMTs thought she should ride with them to the nearest hospital, but that the rest of us would be fine riding in the police car.

So that’s what happened. We rode with the police to an ER at the hospital of a small Arkansas town.

Sore necks, sore chest bones, and a few scratches on Gwen and Susan from the partially shattered front windshield.

That’s it.

Gwen’s parents arrived at the hospital to take us back to campus, and we spent the drive recounting the events and asking ourselves the ‘what ifs?

What if this had happened two miles earlier where there were no pine trees in the center media, and we had been launched into the northbound interstate traffic?

What if Ami hadn’t have put on her seat belt? She had mentioned that she never wears a seat belt in the backseat but only strapped it on because she saw me put mine on.

We all spent the next few weeks battling the body pains associated with the wreck and there were many tears as we recounted the scary details of those moments. Riding in a car was quite scary for each of us for a while.

But in those weeks and now years that have followed that crash, countless prayers of thanksgiving have been sent up to heaven for sparing our lives that day.

For some reason that April Saturday was not our time to go.

From what everyone at the scene said….we were lucky girls.

After all, I’ve known several amazing children of God that have had their lives cut short because of accidents.

Why was my life spared?

Why does it seem as I recount this story, that we must have had angels sent down from heaven to protect us?

Those are questions I struggle to answer.

But what I do know is that 19 years later, when my neck occasionally hurts from the injuries I sustained in that wreck…..I am reminded of life.

The pain in my neck is a sign of life.

A sign of a life spared.

Today life is quite different for the four of us college friends.

Over the years we had lost touch with each other, but in my love/hate relationship with Facebook….I have loved that social media allowed us to reconnect.

Ami had another birthday this past weekend.

Even more exiting, after years and years of not being able to have a baby….after having adopted three beautiful boys and raising them to be elementary aged kiddos…

Ami got pregnant a few months after I found out I was pregnant with Baby B.

Sweet Cora was born just a few weeks before Ami’s April birthday.

Thanks to Facebook, tears rolled down my cheeks as I saw my college friend holding the child she had prayed for for so very long.

There I sat holding my own sweet baby girl and looking at the picture of Cora, and I couldn’t help but remember that April day in 1995.  All I could do was lift my eyes to heaven and say, “Thank you Jesus.”

I don’t really know the answer to the “why did God choose to answer Ami’s prayer to save us?”

All I know is that from that day forward, I have been challenged to thank God for life when I am tempted to complain.

When my neck hurts, I try to turn my thoughts to the fact that the pain is actually a sign of the life I have been given that almost got cut short.

This morning when I was tempted to get frustrated at the grains of dirt sticking to my feet after I had just swept the floors yesterday….I was reminded to be thankful for the dirt.

Though I would love for my 11 year old to remember to take off his baseball cleats before he comes into the house, that dirt is actually a sign of life …the life of a little boy who is healthy enough to run and play baseball and I am honored to get to be his momma.

And last night…when baby B was having tummy troubles in the night, and I found myself changing diapers a few times in the night, I turned my thoughts to my two precious friends who in the last few weeks have both had to hold the body of their lifeless babies in their arms just after having had given birth to them…

Those late night diaper changing…well they are a sign of a life I don’t ever want to take for granted.

It took a brush with death to help me truly understand that I am not promised tomorrow and my days here on Earth are indeed numbered.
***Crazy addition to this story….this morning I read this to my sweet Joe in our morning time and tears filled his eyes. This afternoon just before I was about to post what I wrote to my blog, I get a text message from him “I think I just saw someone die in a car wreck” Turns out a small red car in front of him slammed up underneath a big semi truck. Life is fragile people. Let’s handle it with love and grace.

The next week we went back to see the car.  Needless to say, it was an emotional reunion.

The next week we went back to see the car. Needless to say, it was an emotional reunion.

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My beautiful friends who put up with all my late night basketball games and stinky laundry….and who always let me wear my basketball cap.

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The fun before the terror.

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Yep. This is where I spent many a college weekend. You’re jealous. I know.

Happy Birthday, sweet Ami!  That day you taught me to cry out to Jesus and I have been crying out ever since.

Happy Birthday, sweet Ami! That day you taught me to cry out to Jesus and I have been crying out ever since.

I sent this in the mail to my Ami this week.  So humbled that because our lives were spared, we get to share in blessing of being pregnant with our daughters at the same time....we just won't add up how old we will be when they graduate high school!

I sent this in the mail to my Ami this week. So humbled that because our lives were spared, we get to share in blessing of being pregnant with our daughters at the same time….we just won’t add up how old we will be when they graduate high school!

Diapers...one of the constant signs of life I have around my house these days.

Diapers…one of the constant signs of life I have around my house these days.

Dirty kitchen floor...a sign of a life I am thankful for...

Dirty kitchen floor…a sign of a life I am thankful for…

 

The time God told me to get off my B-U-T-T…

It’s been one of those weeks. A lot of “little things” that cause frustration with the kids, the hubby, my job, and the perpetually undone things around the house….well let’s just say somewhere along the way all those frustrations collided.

All it took was me having to repeat myself to the big kids for a third time to “set the table” and something that I think would resemble how some scientists propose the Big Bang occurred was set into action.

I had to call a family meeting later that night and ask the kids and the hubby for forgiveness.

It is kinda a funny thing to look a man and two preteens in the eyes and ask them to extend me grace and mercy during this season of balancing interrupted sleep, my job and housework all while crazy nursing hormones are racing through my body.

Looking back on that conversation….I might as well have been trying to explain Algebra to the baby and expecting her to understand.

I went to bed defeated and longing to do a better job of taking my thoughts captive so the devil doesn’t gain ground in our family. As I laid there in bed I knew there was something deeper that was causing me so much frustration.

A few weeks back I very clearly heard the Holy Spirit tell me to spend the days leading up to Easter doing three things that always  produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness. goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in my life…three disciplines that clear my mind of the negative thoughts and fill it with things of God, the fruit of His Spirit.

First, I heard God tell me to read through the Gospels from April 1st to Easter on the 20th. It was a very specific thing and something I had never thought about doing before so I knew it was God telling me to discipline myself to read about my Savior during this Easter season.

I counted it up and it was only going to be about 4 chapters a day. I can do that. Easy Peasy….or so I thought.

Second, God told me to get off my butt and start working out again. (Maybe God doesn’t use the B-U-T-T word with you, but sometimes this girl requires a firm word from her Daddy in heaven)

One morning, I was trying to get on some of my pre-pregnancy summer pants and found myself in disgust. That’s when I heard that gentle voice telling me I was beautiful in His sight and to join Him each morning for a walk or on the elliptical and we’d work on getting those pounds off together.

This was followed up with the “B-U-T-T” instruction I got from Him.

Love how He is gentle…yet firm with me. Exactly how I want to be with my own kiddos.

Third, I am supposed to be writing more and sharing what I write.

Over the past few weeks I have felt a familiar nudge in my heart.

A life lesson story from my past would come to mind and I would feel the need to go to the computer and write to record it so that someday my kids and grandkids will have these stories written down and perhaps learn from my life.

Not one time have I followed through and written the stories down.

The nudges to write also have come several times when something would happen during my day and I would clearly hear, “go write that down and share it because I want to use you to teach someone else what I am teaching you.”

Nope. I haven’t written a single thing.

Then there was the sweet girl from church that I really only know in passing. We always smile and say “Hi” when we pass each other in the hallways at church, but I don’t think we have even spoken a full sentence to each other before this past week.

I spotted her in the grocery store as I was trying to be incognito because I hadn’t had a shower that day and my outfit and baseball hat screamed of a momma needing a fashion intervention.

I got up the guts to say a cordial, “Hi, how are you?”

As always she gave a sweet smile and said “Hi” back, but then she continued.

“I read your blog and I love it. You are so real, and I enjoy reading it”

Okay. I almost laugh every time someone mentions “my blog.”

“My blog” was really something I only intended to write on for a few weeks as a 10th anniversary gift to my husband. I wanted the accountability of close friends and family who I thought might read ‘our story’ and keep me motivated until I got all of ‘our story’ written out. I had no intention of ever posting anything on there again after our tenth anniversary in 2009.

But then, somehow, other people started reading what I was writing.

Several of the people who were reading along as I wrote out my and Joe’s story wrote me long emails about how my words had helped them, and how they hoped I would keep writing.  Some of the emails came from people I barely knew.

I didn’t really get the whole blog thing. Who has time to sit around and read about other people’s lives? I am quite busy with my own life to read about all that is going on in the lives of others…especially people who I have never met.

So, I decided to just keep “my blog” active and figure out what to do with the requests of those who had emailed me.

Over the past 5 years, I have just used my little space on the internet to post something I write from time to time. . . occasionally I will write something and the Holy Spirit lets me know that someone else needs to read what I have written, so I post it.

Every time I post something I have second thoughts because the written word is so powerful and once written you can’t ever get it back. It goes into the hearts and minds of those who read it.

It has always been my desire for the words I speak and the words I write to reflect an authentic me. An imperfect follower of Jesus.

And if for some crazy reason someone chooses to “follow ‘my blog’” I want them to come away from it thinking and talking more about Jesus and not more about me or my words.

My heart’s desire is that words I use only point people who hear them or read them to be encouraged to read more of the ONLY words that bring life…the Word of God.

The Big Bang of emotions a few nights ago was not about the table that I ended up setting myself.

At the root of it all was the fact that I had not been obedient.

My own disobedience to do the things that God was clearly telling me to do had led to me spewing out anything but the fruit of the Spirit to the three people I love the most in my life.

So here goes….(she writes with trembling fingers and all the anxiety in her heart that an introvert feels when they open themselves up to be known)

I’m going to be obedient.

Starting today I am going to read through the Gospels before Easter.

I’m going to write every day and post them more frequently to ‘my blog’ when I feel that ‘nudge.’

And by golly…I am going to get off my B-U-T-T so I can actually fit into a few of my summer clothes and believe the words that my Father speaks over me as I look in the mirror in disgust….”You are beautiful, my child”

Joe and I are currently memorizing some verses along with our kids.

This week’s verse is Matthew 5:6.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

I love that this verse does not say blessed are the righteous.

Instead, it says that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed (which means happy) and will be filled.

The ‘do’ part of my obedience is worthless unless it is an overflow of my obedience to “be.”

In two weeks when Easter rolls around, I hope to have made it through the Gospels. I sure plan on having written and shared some things. And I would love it if my summer pants are a little closer to fitting over my thighs.

But truth is….my deepest desire is that on Easter morning I am filled….filled not because of what I have done but because of who I am in Christ….His child whom He loved enough to bear all my imperfections.

Making peace with my chubby legs….

It happened.  She noticed.

She’s a girl, so I knew it was coming, but nine years old…really?

I guess I am half responsible because I was a contributor of one of her X chromosomes.

Before Joe and I were married and we shared with each other our future ideas of a ‘perfect’ family…he mentioned that he would love a house full of girls.

I remember getting a huge knot in my stomach…you see… Joe and I never went on a date…we were engaged after only having known each other 3 months (please don’t tell our kids this).

{I actually started this little blog 5 years ago to record our love story to give to Joe as a 10 year wedding anniversary gift. . .you can read about that craziness starting here; I had no intention of continuing to post things to the blog after our anniversary that year, but I had lots of friends and family asking me to continue to post things I write…so this is where I do that from time to time when I write something that I think might help someone in their journey.}

Somehow, I didn’t think to ask the “how many kids do you want?” question before I said yes to marrying him.   Kind of an important thing to discuss if you plan to live together ’til death do us part’.

My parents will attest to the fact that from the time I was a kid, I had always said that IF I had kids I would adopt all boys that are at least 12 years old.

Being a tomboy, I didn’t really ‘get’ a lot of other girls a lot of time so I deduced at a young age that I would not make a good momma of girls…and quite honestly I didn’t think I could handle a house full of pink, make-up, and drama.

Growing up I tried to wear trendy clothes…but my athletic legs and size 11 shoes just didn’t look the same as all the other girls.  I always defaulted back to my Chuck Taylor’s (which were camo) and sweatshirts.

I tried my hand at the trendy big hair that was the rage of girls in the 80s…It took a gallon of Rave hairspray to get my permed, fine,thin hair to keep up with all the other girls’ hair.  I finally gave up.

My girly, girl sister dreamed of having a little sister that she could teach all the ways of the girl world….let’s just say I was a bit of a disappointment.

My childhood best friend was a fashionista with thick flowing locks and a gorgeous tan I tried and failed to achieve with baby oil and iodine.   Our friendship from 4th grade through college is recorded in a series of letters we wrote back and forth after she moved.  My letters consist of stories about bicycle rides and basketball scores.   Her letters were filled with details of how she decorated her room and what her boyfriend got her for Valentine’s Day.

Deep down I was often in turmoil.

I wanted to fit in with other girls…but I really didn’t.

I wanted to just be me.  To be a girl who preferred tennis shoes to high heels, sweatpants to dresses, and shooting hoops to shopping.

There was often a silent war raging for my soul.

The same athletic legs that helped me to run fast enough to be a part of a state championship relay team as a freshman in high school and do two collegiate sports…

The same musclely arms  that Joe fell in love with when we first met (and that women all across America are trying to obtain in CrossFit gyms)…

The same size 11 shoes…well really God?  You could have at least stopped them at size 10….I’ve never found a true benefit to such big feet.

Those same big muscles are the same muscles that I looked in the mirror and wished weren’t underneath my skin.

If the big quads and calves weren’t there…then surely I could fit in the size 1 jeans like all my friends.

If my deltoids and biceps didn’t look like a boys….then surely I would have a boy show interest in me.

Over the years I have learned to win that war in my mind over my body.   I daily make peace with my “athletic” body and remind myself that I am fearfully and wonderfully made by my Creator.

Having a daughter has made me all the more aware that I have to be on guard daily to fight and win this battle.

There we were sitting in the living room.

I made a comment to Joe about my daughter’s thin legs.

She was listening and because she speaks truth without a refined filter she replied to her Daddy

“and Momma’s legs are chubby.”

I turned in shock and asked with a sort of sincere smile, “What? “

“You know.  Your legs aren’t skinny like mine.  They are kind of chubby.  When you wear shorts they go like this..”.   And she proceeded to draw out with her hands in the air a shape that resembled an hourglass…a quite large hourglass.

She’s a girl…she noticed.

At the tender age of 9, she has already begun to compare.

And at the wise age of 38, I chose not to take her comment to heart.

I have much bigger dragons to slay in my life these days than being consumed with what others may think about my athletic or possibly even chubby legs….

Last night we were getting ready to head to a mother/daughter event.

She was getting dressed in her shirt and leggings that are supposed to be tight…but the tights wrinkle up and look more like pants because her thin legs don’t fill them out.

I was in the place I dread the most right now…my closet.

After having given birth to a baby almost three months ago, I gave away all my maternity clothes.  None of my pre-pregnancy clothes quite fits right.

My wardrobe right now consists of a few shirts and two pairs of pants.  (Well, I have lots of sweatpants and sweatshirts that fit…but my sister would argue that these are not to be counted as part of a wardrobe)

In that closet that night the war in my mind began to rage.

I was beating myself up for having only worked out twice in the past week.

In my mind, I scolded myself for eating pizza the night before with the kids.

As I squeezed my “athletic” legs into my pants, in my head I planned my workouts for the next week and hoped that they would not have the reverse effect that they sometimes do on a musclely girl…making her bigger instead of smaller.  (Can I get an ‘Amen’ from all the athletically built girls out there?!?!?).

I began promising myself that I would say no to pizza and ice cream next week.

After a frustrating 20 minutes trying on clothes in my closet, we made it to the mother/daughter event.

At one point in the evening she crawled into my lap.

Her thin legs draped across my not so thin legs.

In that moment I was reminded I have two girls that God has entrusted me with who are watching me closely.  Close enough to notice my chubby legs and no doubt they will be watching and listening to see how I respond to the body God has given me.

No doubt very soon she will be fighting mental battles of her own. It likely won’t be over athletically chubby legs…but there will be something…. something about her body that she won’t see through the lens of Gods perfect design for who He created her to be.

She’s a girl and bless her heart she got a mom who is fumbling her way through this whole parenting thing…

I may not be able to teach her how to walk in heels or create a smokey look with eye shadow, but she’s got a mom with strong legs (okay…they are more chubby than athletic looking these days…and I’m okay with that) and big biceps ….and by golly I’m ready to use them to help her fight to love her body when the evil one tries to wage war on her.

High School Senior pictures are an awkward thing for a tomboy.  The amazing Lawrence Anderson did a great job ...I remember getting this picture back and debating on whether I liked it or not because my biceps and quads looked 'too big'.  Oh to have my 18 year old body again!

High School Senior pictures are an awkward thing for a tomboy. The amazing Lawrence Anderson did a great job …I remember getting this picture back and debating on whether I liked it or not because my biceps and quads looked ‘too big’. Oh to have my 18-year-old body again!

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I am sure that this Halloween was a nightmare come true for my sister. I never wanted to dress as a princess or anything girly…I was the Incredible Hulk one year, a mime one year, and this…Not sure what I was here but this was a real outfit of my brother’s that I secretly wanted to be mine and he let me wear on Halloween one year. I think maybe I thought I was a member of the group Stryper.

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This picture capture the difference in me and my bestie perfectly.

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My sister managed to get me in pink a few times.

Redemption and healing through drawing a mustache on a picture…

I’ve never really been a crier.  It takes a lot to evoke tears in me.

But today I was overwhelmed and the tears started flowing.

I was driving to a staff meeting we were having at an old church property that our church will be taking over soon, and the tears started flowing.

As the old church came into view, I couldn’t hold back the tears.

You see a few years back, I had driven to this church many times to help plan and direct a Vacation Bible School.

This church is like many city churches.  Over the past few decades, the neighborhood surrounding the church building changed.  Houses and businesses started getting run down and a new type of people began moving into the neighborhood.

To help this church try to reach its neighborhood, I agreed to help plan an outreach VBS.

At one of the first planning meetings, I met in a small parlor on a Sunday afternoon with a handful of eager volunteers.

Halfway through the meeting I looked up at the wall in front of me where there were large pictures of each of the church’s former pastors (and there were a lot of them).

I scanned each picture and then I did a double take.

There hanging on the wall was a picture of a man who had caused a lot of pain in my life.  I teared up and couldn’t believe my eyes.

I wanted to go draw devil horns and a pitch fork on his picture.  I know. I know.  That’s not very Christian of me.  But that was my gut instinct.

I refocused because I was leading the meeting and needed to wrap it up because there was a precious group of 80 something year old women who used the parlor for their Sunday night Training Union class (you have to be at least 35 and have a Southern Baptist background for that to make you smile).

On the way home that night, I couldn’t hold back the tears.

My mind strayed back to some of the words the man in that picture had spoken over me and Joe.

In one breath he had said that Joe was more like Jesus than anyone he had ever met and in the next breath he claimed that there is no place for someone like Joe on a church staff (hmmmm…..isn’t that a little weird)

During the time that these things were spoken to Joe, I was pregnant with my second child and finishing up my last 10 hours of my Master of Divinity in seminary.

My heart should have been bursting with excitement.

Instead I was discouraged and had taken words spoken to me to heart.  I began to feel that there was not a place for me in ministry at a church.

I didn’t make a very good children’s pastor’s wife…I never really liked kids much and try as I did I had a hard time faking it.

I tried my hand in women’s ministry.  But I don’t really fit in in that arena of ministry either.  I don’t like shopping.  My sense of fashion is nonexistent.  Since I’m not a mercy person, I had a difficult time sitting and listening to women complaining about their husbands not unloading the dishwasher correctly (I often zoned out when women would talk to me about their ‘problems’ such as these)

I thought there wasn’t much left for me when it comes to working at a church.  I don’t like kids and I don’t like women …(I’m joking…sort of)

All I knew was I longed for the days of ministry from my college years.  Leading a Bible study with my basketball team…a group of girls who the Christians on my Christian college campus pretty much ignored or kept an arms distance from because let’s face it…college women basketball players are intimidating…at least our biceps were.

I longed for the days I spent in a cabin at a camp for inner city kids where I spent nights praying over the darkness surrounding the lives of the preteen girls I grew to love that summer.

I loved church.  But it was during my time as children’s pastor’s wife that I began feeling like church just wasn’t for me.

I didn’t fit in.  I longed to use my passions and giftedness for the kingdom, but I began to believe that my love for the church and passion for ministering to the forgotten ones would never collide.

But there I sat in that parlor.  As the beautiful gray haired women filed into the room and we scurried out, I glanced one more time at that picture hanging on the wall.

God had used hurtful words to put a fire in our hearts. . .to give us a new vision, a new passion.

Three years ago as I greeted moms dropping of their dirty, hungry kids at the door of that old church to attend the VBS….

I knew that what the devil meant for harm, God intended for good.

As I listened to the children sing that night and as I hugged their moms when they picked them up, I felt God’s arms wrap around me and say . . .

“You were made for this.”

Today as I entered that church building again for the first time since I helped with that VBS, I was overcome with a feeling of redemption. 

Three years ago, I began praying that God would redeem this church, this community, the children and moms I loved on that week in VBS and God has been so good to let me see it happen before my eyes.

I walked down that old hallway to the parlor.  The pictures were still hanging there.

This time I was able to look at that picture from a heart that has been healed…a heart that has been redeemed.

I couldn’t help myself though…I may or may not have drawn a mustache on the face in that picture…It was all in good fun this time…I promise.

My seminary graduation

My seminary graduation….The joy of this moment was overshadowed by painful words spoken over our family. I wish I could grab that girl with that silly hat on and give her a hug and assure her that “God’s got this!!!”

My prayer for my daughter on the day of her birth…

Today is your big day sweet daughter of mine.

For 9 months I have dreamed of this day….the day I will get to kiss your cheek and tell you how much I love you and look forward to watching you grow into a woman.

I sit here with tears streaming down my cheeks thinking about how loved you are even before you have taken your first breath here on earth.

There are so many stories I can’t wait to tell you someday.

I will tell you about how your daddy is dreaming of holding you in his arms for hours at a time, and how he doesn’t wake up for much of anything at 4:30 am except fishing, hunting, and meeting you for the first time.

I can’t wait to tell you the stories of how your big brother and sister have fought over who gets to hold you first and how they have counted down the months, days and now hours until your arrival.

Your affectionate sister has her rocking chair all prepped for snuggling you, clothes all arranged to dress you up, and a special bracelet she made for you she can’t wait to put on your wrist.

Your tenderhearted brother has talked to you in my tummy and smiles from ear to ear everyday as he felt you kick and roll around .

So many stories to tell.

Family and friends all over the country and world are awaiting your arrival.  I don’t think I would be exaggerating to guess that hundreds of people have been praying for you and will wake up this morning anxious to hear the news of your birth.

There are two things I want to tell you today that I hope you carry with you from the moment you take your first breath until the second you take your last…

First I want you to always know that you are loved.

But second I want you always to know that there are hurting people all over the world who need you to share this love with them.

All around world today children will be born.

Some will be born into the love that you will know.

But many of these babies won’t have a line at the hospital of family waiting to have their turn to meet and hold them and tell them they love them.

There is a mom somewhere today that will hold her baby in her arms for the first time and feel many other emotions than the joy I am feeling right now.

Fear that she doesn’t have a safe, warm home to raise her baby.

Sadness that her child’s father doesn’t want anything to do with being a Daddy.

Around the world today babies will be born who will never know the comfort of a mother’s arm.  There are all kinds of reasons that the moms of these babies will choose or be forced to turn their baby over to the government to be raised in an orphanage or by a family that is not their own.

Some of these babies will be loved just as you are….a “forever” family has been praying for and dreaming of welcoming these children into their homes.  Some of the babies born on this day will have to wait for years to meet these forever families.  But the day will come and they will someday know the love of family that you will know from the first day of your life.

But sweet child of mine, most of these babies will grow into children and then become adults who have never known the love of family that you will get to experience every moment of your life.

As I have been getting things ready for your arrival, my prayer has been that all the days of your life you will not keep this love to yourself, but that it will pour out of you into the hearts of others.

In this past week I have thought of some things that I sure don’t want to forget to tell you….

I want you to know….the swing you will rock to sleep in was given to you by one of my elementary school teachers who used it for her beautiful grandson that was adopted into their family last year.

I don’t want to forget to tell you…the car seat you will ride in was given to you by a family who bought it for a precious foster child that they took care of for months and months.

I also want you to know…the Ethiopian coffee I will drink in the sleepy days to come was sent to me from a friend who just returned last month to bring home another child from an orphanage to welcome into their family.

I have to tell you….yesterday was parent child dedication at church.  You kicked wildly in my tummy as Daddy and I prayed over dear friends of ours who were dedicating three daughters that they have adopted into their family from the foster care system.

I also want to make sure you know…for the past few months a sweet teenager at church has been mesmerized by my growing belly.  She had rubbed on it and stared at it asking me all kinds of questions about you.  It was just a year ago that this teenager was an orphan in Ecuador.  But because our friends had love to share, they welcomed her into their home and are surrounding her with a love she has never known before.

Oh, and just last night…I tucked one of your brother’s friends into a bed in the room we have prepared for you.  Just four years ago this precious boy laid his head down to sleep in an orphanage on the other side of the world, but sweet friends of ours took in this boy and his two siblings to be a part of their family.

Sweet, sweet Bethanny.

In the years to come, you will learn that the unconditional love that you will be surrounded with all the days of your life, is the love that is given to us from God above.

You are surrounded by our family and friends who have chosen to not keep this love to themselves but to pour it out into the lives of others.

My forever prayer for you is this…to love God, to love who you are in Him, and to love others.

Do not take this love for granted, my child.

Share it as if it is not yours to keep.

Pour it out with abound to a world full of children and adults alike that are desperate to know such a love.

Baby girl Buxton...arriving November 2013

Pursuing peace…despite the hormones…

This morning I read chapter 14 of Romans.  This really should be a weekly reading for every believer.

A twice a day required reading for a pregnant woman.

If we all really put into practice the teachings of this passage, our relationships would be transformed.

I am sitting here typing this in my 38th week of pregnancy.

If anything is an enemy to the words of Romans 14:19…it is a woman’s hormones.

“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”(Romans 14:19 ESV)

I think those who know me best, would classify me as a generally peaceful person.  Now…those same people who know my core know that I have never been afraid to speak up loudly when I see injustice…but in those times I always hope and pray that my pursuit of justice is intertwined with my pursuit for peace.

Enter hormones.

I remember early in this pregnancy I taught me 8-year-old and 10-year-old about hormones…

Let me set the stage for you…

I was in my first trimester of pregnancy.  My body chemistry was in overdrive as it was preparing a place to grow a tiny human in my womb.

It was a normal day running errands in the minivan.  A rather typical sibling rivalry was brewing in the back of the van…

Almost out of nowhere, my blood pressure skyrocketed and out of my mouth came a loud, “Stop it!!!  Shut up!!!!  Not another word until I tell you it is okay”

This is anything but normal for me.

I immediately knew I had blown it for the 100th time that week as a mom.  Tears filled my eyes.

I had silence in the van alright.  But the result was two kids trembling in the back of the van.  I had silence, but not peace.

Then without thinking I just started talking to them,

“Okay kids.  Your behavior was wrong.  But my response was wrong too.  Let me just tell you something about the next year….When a woman is pregnant there are these things in her body called hormones that help make the baby.  The hormones also for some reason make a woman more emotional where she cries a lot more.  And what you saw just now….hormones can make a woman very cranky and turn into something that resembles an angry bear.”

“So, just be warned….you never know when the bear might come out of momma.  That doesn’t make it okay….I am just giving you a warning.”

A week passed.  Long day at work.  Sibling rivalry in the van.  Tough day of homework.  Joe did something that irritated me when he got home.  (it was such a big deal that I don’t even remember what it was….he probably forgot to fill up the water pitcher or something huge like that).

The bear came out again on all three of them, and stormed out of the room in tears.

I sat on the couch in tears.

Frustrated that sibling rivalry exists, teacher’s assign homework, my husband doesn’t love water as much as I do, chips can’t be considered a health food.

Frustrated at myself for blowing my top.

Peaceful heart…where did you go?

In a few minutes around the corner comes my tender-hearted 10-year-old son.  He wraps his arms around me and says, “Hormones, right momma?”

Just what I needed to bring peace to my heart.

Joe and I exchanged a sweet glance, and I smiled and said, “Yes, son. Hormones.”

Romans instructs us to “pursue what makes for peace.”   I have learned that peace only comes with pursuit.  And peace must come to my own heart before I can pass along the peace to others.

This passage teaches me that my words and actions should have the purpose of “mutual upbuilding.”   Whether with my spouse, an acquaintance, my kids, or a coworker….the goal is peace.

As Christmas ads begin to flood my mailbox and TV and the colors red and green begin to color my world….hormones or not…

“Let there be peace on Earth….and let it begin in me.”

And a, “Your welcome” in advance to my future daughter-in-law out there….your future husband will be well trained on the biology of hormones in women.

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Friendship…the best gift of all…

Last night I laid my head on my pillow and literally almost giggled myself to sleep. I drifted off to sleep with such joy and thankfulness in my heart.

That’s what happens when you spend an evening with friends.

The kind of friends who have walked with you through heartache and celebrated with you during times of joy.

Friends that know sometimes what a girl needs is an evening of cupcakes, coffee, hot glue, and laughter.

As I drifted to sleep last night, my mind kept thinking back to 6 years ago.

Six years ago, our family had picked up and moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma.   It was the next step in a leap of faith that we had taken for Joe to ‘start over’ in his career/ministry path.

We didn’t know a single person in Tulsa, but the excitement of a new direction in life filled our hearts as we drove northeastward on I-44 with our two preschool children and all of our possessions packed up in a minivan and U-haul.

I remember seeing the beauty of the Tulsa hills as we approached the city. Despite the beauty, the excitement turned to fear.

What in the world are we doing moving to a new state for the third time in our short 8 years of marriage?

I then remembered how difficult each move had been.  How lonely moving to a place where you know no one can be.  I had done it 6 times in my life.  I knew very well what was ahead for me.

No joke, I turned on the radio to see if I could find a good station to distract me and the Brandon Heath song, “Don’t Get Comfortable”  blared through my minivan.  Tears streamed down my face as I wanted to believe the words of this song, yet knowing that there were likely many lonely days ahead for me as a stay at home mom of two preschoolers in a city where I didn’t even have one single friend.

That first night in Tulsa was the first of many nights in the coming year that I would lay my head down in my pillow and soak it with tears.

I longed to have just one friend to call to come over and share a cup of coffee and conversation.

I mourned the friendships I had left behind in the two other states where we had lived.  The kind of friends who know from the sound of your voice and the look in your eyes that you need a word of encouragement or who come snatch your two preschool kids to give you the little break you desperately need from mothering little ones.

That almost seems like a lifetime ago.

During those first years in Tulsa, God brought two friends into my life who were just what I needed.

One of them was that friend who would call and come pick up my kids to go to her house to play…even though I hadn’t even told her I desperately needed a break.

The other friend is the polar opposite of me in almost every aspect, yet our paths divinely crossed in those first years in Tulsa because God knew I needed more laughter in my life.  And this friend…well hands down she is the funniest person I have met in my entire life.

Last night I spent the evening with these two friends who took it upon themselves to do something for me because they know it is exactly what I need.  These friends know me well enough to know that decorating a baby’s room is not high on a priority list for me.  They know that I am big and tired and well just not as motivated as I was as a young whipper snapper pregnant 20 something.

These two girlfriends, who are both unfairly talented in their crafting and decorating skills, gathered some of my other sweet friends and last night we all worked together on craft projects to decorate baby Bethanny’s room.

Curtains, pillowcases, hair accessory frame, letters to spell Bethanny’s name, a lamp, a canvas

And though all of these things were amazing, the sweetest part of the evening was the laughter that filled the rooms as we spent the evening together.

I wish I could go back to that young mom of two preschoolers that I was six years ago and wrap my arms around her and tell her, “Hang on.  Trust in God’s promises.  Believe in the prayers that your mother prayed over you as a child to have friends who are there for you in times of need, and that influence you in a path of chasing after the Father.  Rest in His arms now, friends are on their way….and by the way you wouldn’t even believe it if I told you how truly amazing these friends will be.”

As I laid my head down on my pillow last night, my eyes were teary but this time my heart was overflowing with joy as I recounted the stories told throughout the evening and thought about the adorable room that awaits our sweet Bethanny.

“Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes with the morning”  Psalm 30:5

There are still a few things being finished up but here’s just a few of the amazing things my friends did for sweet Bethanny’s room.

I promised them that with the next child I will keep it to two or three letters

I promised them that with the next child I will keep it to two or three letters

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Dresser cycled into a changing table... like I said these friends are unfairly talented.

Dresser upcycled into a changing table… like I said these friends are unfairly talented.

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