Monday, June 3, 2013

The wait is over!

My last post was about 10 1/2 months ago- all about waiting. Little did I know that 2 weeks after writing that post, my wait would be over. Let me back up to three years ago: 3 years ago, David and I began our journey to start a family. We were so excited, but after a year of trying with no results, we reluctantly went to a fertility specialist. Not being able to find anything wrong, my doctor arbitrarily put me in the category of "infertile" and told me that I only had a 5% chance of getting pregnant on my own. I was devastated. David and I were trying to get out of debt and therefore did not feel comfortable  investing money in fertility treatments. We believed that God had promised us children and that He was bigger than a statistic. 

Another year passed with no pregnancy. In my prayer life, I wrestled with God and tried to make sense of why we were walking through this valley. God eventually gave me a greater peace and instead of praying that we would get pregnant, I began to pray that God would send us the children he wanted us to parent, however that looked. I still struggled to wait, but life was about to change.

On July 27, 2012, I ran to the store and picked up those dreaded pregnancy tests that had only disappointed me in the past. I just had a feeling that it was different this time, and I was right!
David and I rejoiced and thanked God for answering our prayers! We celebrated with our families that night and began our pregnancy journey. I ended up being way more of a nervous nelly than I anticipated I would be. It was only compounded by the fact that at about 4 months, I started to bleed on a Saturday night.

Terrified, we made our way to the emergency room. I couldn't help but think, "God, why would you make me wait all that time only to take this baby away from me?" We prayed for our sweet baby at the hospital and were overjoyed when the ultrasound revealed a strong, beating heart. A follow-up appointment on Monday revealed that I had partial previa and that we were having a girl!

The pregnancy continued on as normal and at 40 weeks, we scheduled an induction. Baby girl was comfy and did NOT want to budge. I went in on April 10, 2013 at 41 weeks.
Our sweet baby girl was born that evening at 8:42 pm. Meet Eliana Elizabeth:

It was love at first sight! We brought her home on Friday, April 12th. She is not almost 8 weeks old and has grown so much!

Eliana means "My God has Answered." It is the most perfect name to tell the story of her very existence. When I look at her, I am reminded of what a picture of God's grace she is. The process of bringing a new life into this world is nothing short of God's miraculous, creating power. The wait for us was hard, but well worth it! We love you, Ellie!

In His Mercy.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Waiting Here For You

I turned on my Hillsong Pandora station this afternoon while I set about to accomplish a few chores and Christy Nockel's song, "Waiting Here for You" came on. The lyrics were enough for me to stop what I was doing and reflect. I've talked about waiting before on my hardly ever used blog, but it's one of those lessons that I have struggled with. I've had a really hard time finding God's holiness in waiting. I am almost ashamed to say that. 

I've had a lot of waiting periods in my life. In my depression several years back, I spiraled into a place that was so ugly and only God Himself could have pulled me out, and he did. But, I had to wait in that ugly place for Him and only then could I recognize His faithfulness, love, and grace. When I longed for a husband and didn't see one in sight, I had to wait in an uncomfortable place, but God met me there. And now I have been married for close to 4 years to a wonderful husband who I am so in love with. I could go on about those waiting rooms, but who wants to hear about all that ugly stuff?

My point is, that God is holy even in my pain, even in my waiting. God waits with me and stirs my heart and my passions despite my selfish desires for things to go my way. Just now, I sat down and wrote a poem for the first time in 5 1/2 years- I used to write all the time. God is slowly laying out pieces of the puzzle of my life and letting me see how they fit together. I am in awe of God's faithfulness and love in this moment. He always brings to fruition His perfect plan and I expect no less than this time around.

I'm waiting here for you, Lord.

In His Mercy.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Word from God

Since graduating from seminary a couple of years ago, I have struggled to come to terms with the fact that my faith and/or the practices of my faith cannot be tied to a specific place or season of my life. Going to a Christian college and then immediately off to seminary created a safe, easy place to cultivate good habits of devotion, prayer, reflection, study, etc. However, after moving to Georgia and settling into marriage, I began to really struggle with my faith. Not that I ever stopped believing, but just became lazy about time spent with the Lord. It became all to easy for me to point fingers, blame people or places that I felt were bringing me down. All along, I failed to realize that I make my own choices. I make the choice to sit in misery; I make the choice to turn the tv on; I make the choice to be too busy to just be still and listen.

Recently, I have gotten better about some things. For one thing, I try to pick up my Bible each morning before school. Also, I stopped trying to pray while falling asleep because inevitably....I fall asleep! One of my specific prayers is that God will open my ears to hear and my eyes to see the things He wants to teach me. Today I saw my prayers answered.

I love using stories of the kids in my life because so often, God uses these precious children to teach me. Today, one of the boys in my class handed me a big school bus toy and asked if I could pull out the fire truck that had gotten stuck inside. Frantically, I jerked it around, pulling and tugging and muttering that it looked like it was just stuck in there. But then, I relaxed and gently tried once more and it came out smoothly and easily. If that's not a metaphor for my life, I don't know what is! God is asking me to stop struggling and just relax so that things will go smoothly, as He intended. When I try too hard or when I hold on tightly with an iron-clad grip, God can't work in my life. It's no one else's fault; I just need to stop trying so hard.

Jacob wrestling the angel has become one of my favorite Old Testament stories recently. He wrestled with the angel until he received His blessing. Is it okay to struggle though to the blessing with God? I believe that yes it is. Is it okay to jerk things around and try to control something that was never ours to control? No, I don't think it is. There are things I wish I could control in my life. Things I wish would go my way. Things I wish were a little easier. Things I wish were other people's burdens, not mine.

But God used a Fisher Price school bus to remind me to stop jerking things around and being bitter. He reminded me to be a little gentler in my life with situations that are beyond my control. Thank you, Lord, for opening my eyes to see and my ears to hear Your sweet voice!

In His Mercy.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Deer in the Woods

Yesterday David and I decided to hike up Kinnesaw Mountain. It was only about 3 miles total, so not too bad of a hike. As we started off, it didn't take long for me to feel impatient; I wanted to get to the top so we could turn around and go back down- my nickname as a child was Little Sarah Whiner- any guesses why???? As we made our way the the top, David imparted his words of wisdom: Life is a journey. We have to enjoy the journey as we get to each destination. It's not about getting to the end at the expense of the journey to get there. We have to enjoy all of what each day has to offer us.

Okay, I can't argue with that. I tried to slow my footsteps. On the way down, I was in a groove. We were probably 10 minutes from the bottom when I looked up from my zooming steps. About 15 feet diagonally to my left was a fawn munching on some leaves. It was amazing how close we were and the fawn just kept on keeping on, not seeming to mind us. I think the fawn was a metaphor for all the things in life I would miss if I didn't enjoy the journey. If I keep my eyes on the ground and rush to each destination without enjoying the journey along the way, I will miss out on so much that God has in store for me.

I believe God has wonderful plans for David and I. I have to remind myself daily that I don't get to choose what I want when I want it. Do I believe in freewill? Of course, but I also believe that God directs our steps. I am living by grace in the palm of God's hand. I am missing out on so much around me as I try to strive for the destinations that I want. God's not done with this leg of the journey. He wants me to slow down and look around me and see all the good that there is. Perhaps a deer in the woods is what it took to get me to see that!

In His Mercy.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Not Yet

Last month, I went back to Wilmore, Kentucky for a ministry conference. It was great! I loved being back in Wilmore. As much as I had felt ready to leave back in 2008, being back reminded me of all the amazing things that happened and all the ways got broke me apart and built me back up- a new creation! The first evening we were there, the four of us ( we went with two of closest friends from seminary) sat at John Wesley's feet and talked and reminisced of days of old. Something about that peacefulness of the moment brought about a sense of emotional release, as if all the emotions that have been building up over the past year suddenly came to light in that moment. During the week, I was reminded of the deep love that the Father has lavished and is lavishing on me.

This past monday, our church had its first Women's Bible Study/ Fellowship meeting. One of the associates led us in a devotion time and talked about waiting. So a propos! What she said specifically that struck me is that what ever it is that we are waiting for, Jesus waits with us, offering us a constant Hope. I've been waiting for almost a year for things to happen in a way that suits me and to be honest, I have felt that God is "up there," looking down on me and waiting for the perfect moment for all the pieces to fall in place. Shamefully, I have never considered that He waits with me. What a difference it makes to know that Jesus is waiting with me! is Good Friday. Jesus is now dead and in the tomb. Before today's noon service, I sat in the front of the church and thought how eerie it was to see the entire altar area shrouded in black. How scary it must have been for the disciples- alone, not understanding what Jesus had tried to tell them. So I am waiting alone today. I will never forget my pastor from CT telling us one Good Friday to leave Jesus in the tomb. I remember the fear I felt when he said that. So yes, I wait alone today. Yes, I know the rest of story and know what is to come, but I do believe it is important for us to embrace the discomfort of Jesus' suffering and death. After all, Ester could not have happened without "Good" Friday first.

In His Mercy...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Things Lately

The weeks are flying by! Last month, I only had one FULL work week because of holidays and the week off due to snow. And now it's almost halfway through February=) I've had a few things on my mind lately. My first thought(s) has actually been on my mind for a long time. Last year, I went on a women's retreat. I found one common theme among all of us: hurt. Whether it was from divorce, insecurity, feeling like we don't deserve what is good and right, it seemed like we all had tears of hurt to cry. Why is it that as women, we don't feel like we are good enough or that we don't measure up?

As I was walking out of one of my favorite stores the other day (Ann Taylor), I glanced up at the back of a mannequin and noticed that it had to be taken in with pins just to fit the mannequin. And the thing is, it was probably the smallest size shirt and pants that there are. Why do we feel so inadequate? Because almost everything in advertising and society tells us that if we aren't a size 0, we aren't good enough. If the average size is not huge on us, we are not pretty enough. If our skin is not perfect or our hair not just right, we aren't living up to "the standard." Our feelings of inadequacy stem from the fact that society tells us that we have missed the mark. I am certainly not saying that this gives us license to not take care of ourselves; on the contrary, Paul tells us that our bodies are temples. Therefore, we are responsible for treating it as such.

I am reminded of this verse: "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well" (Psalm 139:14). God made us exactly how He wanted us to be! So love who you are=)

I have also thought a lot about waiting on the Lord. Brennan Manning, in his book Ruthless Trust, says that to truly trust is a heroic act. So true. I prayed with David for the Lord to help me wait for things and as we prayed together, somehow I visualized the idea I was surrendering as an actual thing, placing it at the foot of the cross. I can't even explain it or articulate what happened, but it was powerful and emotional. God WANTS us wait on Him. So much easier said than done.

"Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD" (Psalm 27:14)

In His Mercy.

Friday, December 31, 2010


I must sound like a broken record, but I can't believe how long it has been since I last write! These past couple of years have been "bad blogging" years. Writers dry spell I guess.

Well, this whole month I've reflected a lot about "Emmanuel, God with us." The Christmas story is a very literal recounting of exactly how God was with us. But what does Emmanuel mean to us today? Even when Jesus was literally with His people 2000 years ago, there was still a special, unique "something" that took the name Emmanuel above and beyond its literal meaning. Yeah, of course it was special for God to come down and be the "Word made flesh," but it begs the question, "so what?" I began to think about how I see God with me- His provision, His comfort in my distrust, His faithfulness in my unfaithfulness, His relentless love in the midst of my wavering love, His plans coming to fruition in my own life and in David's. God is ALWAYS with us. Jesus wasn't Emmanuel just for a moment of time; He is Emmanuel always. He is ALWAYS with us. What an amazing promise. I have come to love the name Emmanuel more than any other name for Jesus. Knowing God is with me makes every other aspect of Jesus a given- at least in my mind.

I've had a hard time "letting go" of Christmas this year. Maybe because it was so special. One fo the things that made it so special and unforgettable is that it was a white Christmas here in Atlanta! It began snowing in the morning and lasted late into the evening. It was absolutely gorgeous! It seemed like a dream- of course now all the snow is melted and gone! It was also a special Christmas because David and I got to host my parents in our home. It's the first time where my family Christmas was at my home and not at my parents. I feel like a new "life milestone" has been reached! Well, my parents left a couple of days ago and I have had to fight off the moping big time. It was just sad seeing all the Christmas still up, but having an empty guest bedroom and knowing that Christmas came and went. But, I had a revelation today. Advent and the Christmas and the days to follow is not a season of sadness, but a season of joy and hope in Jesus' birth! Yes, Christmas is over, but I can always be joyful and hopeful in God's plan for David and I's lives. I feel the sadness breaking away....but I'll let you know how I do when all the Christmas stuff comes down!

In His Mercy.