What is a Godly Husband?

I had the privilege of speaking at a men’s gathering at a family farm last night. We had a great evening relaxing by the campfire. Here’s what I had to say…

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T. asked me to come here tonight and tell you what women look for in a Godly husband. I don’t know what women look for. I am only one woman, and I wasn’t looking when I met my husband. God placed him in my life at just the right time, and we’ve been on this wonderful adventure ever since.

I remember a wise woman telling me as a teenager, “Pay attention to how he treats his mother, because that’s how he’ll treat you.”

I had no idea what she was talking about. Continue reading

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Transparency: Aimee’s Story

Part One – God’s Love

Aimee means Loved. We never got to meet Baby Aimee, but her little life is challenging me to love and be loved more deeply than I could have imagined. I have been slowly working my way through Ann Voskamp’s The Broken Way with a lot of journal-ing and Bible study along the way. These are some of my reflections.

I talked in my last post about how I surrendered about the time Little Man got his fever in the middle of the night, while I was sick, and recovering from the D&C. It was a lonely night on the couch. But I realized I can’t do this without God. To try to get through this season on my own would be futile. I accepted that I am broken, that this is where I am in this season of my life. And how did I accept it? First, by talking to God, with a chip on my shoulder.

IMG_20180129_125245“Feelings are meant to be felt – and then given to God.”* What does it mean to give our feelings to God? It means being totally transparent. It means telling Him about your anger, your despair, your deepest desires. It means letting it all out. Write a letter to God. Let it flow. It’s humbling. “You are your truest self when you live with your heart as glass to God.” You don’t need to hide or stifle those feelings, even when you yourself don’t like them.

Webster defines identity as: sameness of essential or generic character in different instances. Identity comes from the Latin word idem, which literally means “same.” “It is your intimacy with Christ that gives you your identity” (emphasis mine). Your identity is who you are through all the changing circumstances of life. No matter the season. Your identity is all about intimacy – relationship – with God. How do we build relationships here on earth? By communicating with one another. By sharing our feelings with a friend. By being vulnerable. By accepting the love of another. How do you build intimacy with God? My guess is pretty much the same.

Everywhere I go people ask me how I’m doing. It’s a hard question, but one that always leaves me examining my well-being and my identity. Who am I today? Okay. Getting better. Physically healing. Still broken. Even the guy at the feed store asked me with a worried look if I was doing okay. “Sure,” I said. “The year has not started well for us.” Did he really want to hear how this season has been a whole lot of rain? But the sky breaks so the seed can break to break the ground to grow a garden of bountiful harvest. And it starts with a whole lot of breaking. To get to the harvest you have to be broken.

“What if speaking your most unspoken broken is what it takes to release a damned-up Niagara Falls of grace? … Grace is what holds you when everything’s breaking and falling apart, and whispers that everything is really falling together.” Be honest with myself, be honest with God, even when it hurts, so I can know my identity more deeply. Then I can face the rainstorm with a roof over my head, stego, because love bears all things. Surrender to God’s love. Surrender to God’s grace.

broken belovedI am broken, I am beloved.

Whatever you are taking to God, it doesn’t change the way He feels about you. Because regardless of your feelings today, how you feel about God right now, God’s feelings were first. He loved you first. That is our identity as Christians.

“Can I remember? I don’t have to fix things, I don’t have to deny things, I don’t have to pretend away things…. Could I feel okay being un-okay, trusting that Christ is always making a way?” Because that IS the promise. “God is faithful and will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing He will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) What is the way out? His Love. His grace.

“He binds up the brokenhearted.” Isaiah 61:2

*All quotes from Ann Voskamp’s The Broken Way, unless otherwise noted.

Scripture Memorization for the Littles

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We’ve decided not to send Little Monster to VPK next year, but keep her (and Little Miss) at their little preschool two days a week and homeschool on the side. One of my goals is to incorporate Christian education into my ‘curriculum.’ Children should learn the foundations of our faith first at home, and then build on it through the knowledge and wisdom of others and personal study. Continue reading

Overwhelmed and Excited

Guys, I have so much going on these days. Sometimes it feels overwhelming, but oftentimes I find myself just excited about what God is doing in my life.
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Playtime with reflux

Little Man had his 2-month appointment yesterday. He is a thriving, growing boy. At 12lbs12oz he has already gained 5lbs5oz from his birth weight. He has reflux. He DOESN’T have a food allergy. After a month of dairy free living, I’ve been eating dairy all week with no reaction!!! I still have an oversupply but we’re managing it. The oversupply is likely what caused the allergy-like symptoms which led me to eliminate dairy and soy from my diet. He probably has a tongue tie, it is visible, but it’s not to the point that movement is restricted, and clearly he doesn’t have a transfer issue, so we’ll let it be for now. I was reminded once again how much I LOVE my pediatrician. She is a real human being and talks with me like I’m a thinking human being too.

His baptism is this Sunday. This is such a special time for our family as we make a public commitment to teach him about God’s love, raise him in the community of believers, and pray for him as he grows. As an infant this is a covenant baptism, recognizing that we belong to Christ even before we understand it. When he is older he will be able to go through confirmation class and make his own public affirmation of faith. But because he’s so huge, I need to do a small alteration of the baptism outfit that was worn by his Papa and uncle, and made from his great-grandfather’s wedding shirt. The alteration will be a simple crotch extender, so it won’t impact the existing garment.
Littles Monster and Miss are in preschool three times a week and love it. They come home with new songs all the time. They have stories to tell about school. I can see leaps and bounds in their development. Little Monster is also in speech therapy (aka talking school) and will begin OT next week. I am so thankful that we can provide her with the help that she needs so that she can succeed. We are working to help her as much as possible NOW, before she begins VPK. She is so receptive to the help and wants to be understood.
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The best part of baking

 I feel like I’m constantly dealing with health insurance. I was on the phone with the marketplace for 1hr15min on Monday to update our information and switch policies again (I accidentally selected a policy this year that our pediatrician wasn’t covered under. OOPS!!) While insurance always seems to be a nightmare for me, I am SO THANKFUL that we have it. I just hope we can continue to have insurance.
I am always working on too little sleep, not enough patience, and a whole lot of prayer.
My mom and I wrote a children’s book last spring titled The New Baby Went to Heaven. We had a contract with a publishing company. We got through the editing stage, but no further. We learned last week that they suddenly closed their doors. I know that this will be a blessing. We are starting to explore new avenues to get our book published. I’m also excited about the second book we wrote, and two new inspired works that I’ll be working on this year.
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Sweet Baby Faith

Already we have been blessed by another author who also happens to work with NILMDTS, and edited our picture of baby Faith into a beautiful keepsake where she actually looks like the peaceful baby that I so briefly held in my arms instead of the stillborn baby under flourescent lighting. I was so thankful that the hospital took pictures of her, but wished for better quality. One of my regrets was that we didn’t take our own pictures of her while I held her. So this is an amazing gift as we approach her one-year stillbirthday. I now have a picture I can show my living children of their sister that we lost too soon.

The women’s community Bible study started up again last week and I’m loving the new study of 1 Peter, and the fellowship with these amazing women as we learn and grow together. I have never done a study like this – a study on how to really study the Bible. It has been so enriching in just the first week!
I have not been as active on my blog as I would like. I have so many thoughts, but then never get it on screen.
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Lending Library pretties to play with

I continue to volunteer with our local babywearing chapter. I love having another outlet for my writing as I help with the blog (even though I’ve totally slacked on this lately!). This group has meant so much to me. From them I learned how to wear Little Miss with confidence so that I could care for both her and Little Monster when she was little. I have gained so many friendships through the group. They were a huge help to me when we lost baby Faith. They have continued to support me in my mommyhood journey. The group is constantly evolving as people move away or babies grow out of wearing, but the friendships remain.

The farm continues on. We are going to be adding chickens soon, once we can make the time to build the chicken tractor. I’m excited about the future of our farm. I’m excited to be good stewards of the land and animals that we have been blessed with. I learn something everyday!

 

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‘Gardening’ in the morning

I’m getting back into my crafting, whether with wood or with fibers. It is so challenging finding the time and managing the littles so I can do the things I want to do, but it is so empowering once I get it done. And I think it’s so important for them to see me doing things that I enjoy. For my girls (and eventually Little Man) to see me do the more traditional women’s activites like sewing and such, and to see that women can build things with wood too, which historically was the man’s domain.
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Mama’s workbench

Speaking of the man, Hubby works long hours and oftentimes comes home exhausted, physically and mentally. He is working on too little sleep too. It often seems like we hardly talk to one another between his work hours and the nightly routine with the kids. But somehow we still manage to make time to ensure we’re on the same page, working toward the same goals for our family. We have started a new reminder for one another though, that this is not forever. This is only a season.
So that’s most of the things going on these days. This started out as a Facebook post, but got so long I brought over here to the blog. But all this to say, life is good. Very busy, challenging, exhausting, but good.

Slowly Moving into the New Year

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We’re a week into January and I’m finally starting to look to the new year and make some goals. This is pretty typical for me though. I have a January birthday, so I always give myself a little extra time to ‘debrief’ from the previous year before moving into the new one. Especially this year – 2016 was extra… eventful. I hadn’t planned it, but the themes of 2016 ended up being community, thankfulness, and family. My Bible verse for the year was Jeremiah 29:11-13, “‘For I know the Plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you….'” Continue reading

Protein S

Six months. Twenty six weeks. Half a year since we said goodbye to baby Faith. I have dealt with so many emotions in that time. Not having a reason of death was maybe the hardest thing for me to accept. And so I blamed myself. I dealt with the guilt. I forgave myself. I vowed to do better next time. Continue reading

Faith’s Playlist: A Journey of Faith

I’m a music person. My life has a soundtrack. Each chapter of my life sounds a little different. Music is an expression of the soul. There were times when I longed for an English horn, to let out that mournful melody of my grief. But the oboe worked well enough with Nielsen’s Romance of his Two Fantasy Pieces. Most of the time though, I let others create the music. This is Faith’s soundtrack.

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Motion of Mercy – Francesca Battistelli: This was first on my iPod labor playlist for Little Monster. I took my Kindle with me for Faith’s delivery and would rely on my Pandora stations for labor music this time. When it was time for the actual delivery, Hubby asked if I wanted to change the station (he truly is amazing, always knowing exactly what I need at just the right moment). I switched to my Francesca Battistelli inspired station, and as fate would have it, this was the first song that played as I was ready to push. The same one that started the pushing phase with Faith’s biggest sister. It helped ready my mind and body for the task ahead. “God give me strength to give something for nothing. I want to be a glimpse of the kingdom that’s coming soon. That’s the motion of mercy, changing the way and the what we are. That’s the motion of mercy, moving my heart.” Continue reading