But Our Eyes are on You

As I read the story of King Jehoshaphat tonight out of 2 Chronicles I was amazed at his continual faith in God. He trusted God with his own life, his kingdom, his wealth, and God gave him rest.

Jehoshaphat and the kingdom of Judah were about to be attacked. This alarmed Jehoshaphat and in the same breath he turned to the Lord for help (chapter 20, verse 3). Verse four says, “they came to seek the Lord.” How many times do I turn to everything but God first? How often is the Lord the last place I turn? I know I struggle with wanting to fix it myself. I struggle with feeling out of control. I struggle with becoming alarmed and focusing on the thing alarming me. Maybe this is the reason God has taken me through continual trials where I have zero chance of gaining or having any control.

Jehoshaphat then prays and in his prayer he says, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

Let that sink in.

We do not know what to do.

BUT our eyes are on you.

Our eyes are on God.

Now, I am by no means an athlete, but great players look to their coaches for what to do. I am by no means a singer, but anyone who has been in a school choir knows that you watch the director for what to do. In times of health concerns, you look to the doctors for answers, solutions, and a healing plan.

Jehoshaphat didn’t know what to do, BUT his eyes were on God! Jehoshaphat looked to the One who would know what to do.

Right now, our world is being shutdown by a microscopic virus. We can think that using more hand sanitizer and wearing a mask is going to save us, but it is not the Savior. We may think that staying away from people and doing online shopping is going to sustain our health, but it is not the Sustainer. I can think that I am the one keeping my family safe, and healthy, and protected, but I am not the Protector, Provider, or Physician.

Friends, we need to do like Jehoshaphat and admit we do not know what to do, but put our eyes on God.

Today, my prayer is that I can admit I have no clue what to do and then put my eyes on God.

At the end of the battle, Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah rejoiced and praised the Lord for his defeat of the attackers. Verse 30 says, “So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.”

I look forward to the day we can praise God for defeating this virus! I long for the day we can rejoice TOGETHER that God has the victory. And then I pray we can find rest all around.


Walls Will Fall

Walls are built for many reasons. Privacy. Protection. Security. Barriers. The walls of Jericho were to protect the city, the people inside, the king. The walls stood tall to guard the people within. The walls had few openings and could be locked down easily.

People build walls around things figuratively as well. Walls around our hearts to protect from being hurt emotionally. Walls around our mind to guard from evil thoughts and the pursuit of outside influences. Walls around our relationships to provide safety from being torn apart or growing apart.

I started mulling over this idea of walls as the pandemic spread and reached my ability to work. At first I thought it was clever to point out that we all want to build up physical walls to protect ourselves from the virus. I thought about how this would be an excuse for so many to continue to allow walls to be around their hearts but that God wanted to tear down the walls around their hearts and come in. Take residence in their lives, hearts, and souls.

These are still great thoughts but as I have read the story of Jericho multiple times this week, God is teaching me something different, much more personal. It’s not others’ hearts surrounded by walls that God wants me to focus on right now. It’s my own heart.

I cannot keep waiting for someone else to blow the ram’s horn and crumble the fear surrounding my life. A vaccine, treatment, and end to the pandemic is not what I need. I need to let the walls fall, blow the ram’s horn myself. I must lay my life in the hands on Jesus Christ, my Savior, my Redeemer, my ONLY hope!

A wall of FEAR has been built up surrounding my heart, mind, soul…surrounding me. It has been a daily fight, sometimes hourly, other times minute by minute to cast out fear. I’m not proud to type this. But as I sit in the driveway reading about Josiah’s faithfulness and Joshua’s obedience I am overcome by the need for the walls of fear to fall in my life.

I am not saying I am all good now. I am saying that I am going to daily, hourly, minute by minute focus on God and His faithfulness. His plans are good. He is my focus.

So while my physical walls remain as far as social distancing and sheltering at home, my heart is His!

His Verse and Mine

I have been seeing a ton of posts with Joshua 1:9 lately. Little do people know, this verse hangs in Luke’s bedroom. I speak it over him, out loud, every time I change his diaper. I pray it for him continually. That verse I know and love.

The verse before it is the one I need to work on.

“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8

Meditate, to think deeply or focus ones’ mind for a period of time. Well the period of time is listed in the verse, day and night. Mediate on the Bible day and night. Soak in God’s word.

I have been letting my bible study drift further down what I do each day and fear has snuck in and gripped me. But if I were to meditate on God’s word day and night, I would be better equipped to obey his word, which is to fear not, be strong and courageous, remember God is with me everywhere I go!

So while I continue to pray Joshua 1:9 over Luke, I am going to pray verse 8 for myself!

What a Miracle

If you know us, you know our journey to parenthood was anything but easy. With three years between beginning to try and bringing home our first baby we walked a path it seems more and more people end up walking.

We have always wanted multiple children but after a treatment which did not work last year, we needed a break. I needed a time without tests, needles, and medicines (let my coworkers and family tell you just how crazy these meds make me), but I quickly began to mourn the loss of hope. Kyle used to say we were pregnant with hope. I was losing my hope for another baby. It wasn’t a constant mourn, but a sudden onset of tears at random times when I would realize that it may not be in God’s plan for me to ever carry another baby.

You see, one of the most frustrating parts of our diagnosis (unexplained infertility) is that we are medically healthy with no reasons doctors can find for not being able to conceive. On paper, it makes no sense why we could not get pregnant, but there we were again without a positive test, plus sign, or baby on the way.

Last Fall, I finally let go of my obsession to grow our family. I could not miss out on the miracle God had already given me just because I wanted her to be a big sister. I stopped counting days, paying attention to the the calendar, and I began to relish my time with Hannah! The pain would show up on occasion and would let hope sneak back in only to have it cruelly squashed three minutes later by another negative test. I would cry to my mom and Kyle knowing that I was the one who had let hope reappear when I knew in my head I don’t get pregnant.

April felt no different. Being late is a part of what comes with my diagnosis, so I ignored it. I wasn’t falling for that trick again. The one where I buy a test only to have it destroy my heart within moments. After a week, I told Kyle. After two weeks, we decided we should take a test. Just like each time before, I told myself to not get excited. Don’t let hope in. It’s not going to be any different this time.

Three minutes went by and I screamed! Never did I think this could happen. Doctors said our chances were 0.02% on our own! This baby is the miracle we never thought would come!

So when you say congratulations, trust me we appreciate it, but let me tell you who deserves the praise…my God! The Creator of Heaven and Earth! The One who loves me unconditionally! He is the one who has given us this miracle! He is the one who has created life in me! He is the Great I AM!

We’ve Orbited the Sun Again

Where did 2018 go? I honestly feel like we were just at New Years and I was just reflecting on 2017, but here I sit thinking back and a lot has happened in 2018 (although not as much as 2017…thank goodness). My word for 2018 was GENTLE and I am not sure if I achieved what I had hoped but I am not going to dwell too long on what I cannot change now. My word for 2019 is DELIGHT.

I saw this on a friend’s Instagram feed (thanks for inspiring me Jessica) and it has stuck with me ever since. I am going to focus on DELIGHT. Being delightful, taking delight in others, sharing the delights of my life with all of you! More than any of this, I want to delight myself in the Lord and refocus my eyes onto Him!

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalms 37:4

Do you have focus word or resolutions? What are your thoughts entering a new year?

Oh Church Camp

Oh church camp…you leave my mind in a constant Tug-O- War match. Should I go to camp, or stay home? Will I be able to spend time with the teens, or will my daughter need all of my attention? Will God move, or will the Word fall on deaf ears? And the questions go on and on… But in our ministry (yes our ministry because although my husband is the youth pastor I choose to be in the ministry with him) I constantly remind myself that God will prepare me, God will give me wisdom (I do have to remember to ask for this) when I need it, God will speak, move, and show up, and God will get all of the glory!

At the beginning of my husband’s ministry we were young and fully committed to sharing our lives with teenagers. Our house was open 24/7 and my weeks off were spent with young people between the ages of 11 and 18. As our life changed and our daughter was born a lot of my ministry opportunities changed. Now my home is open, but noises have to be kept to a minimum after a certain time. My breaks are spent with teens, but a two year old is coming along for the ride as well. It has been a difficult balance to find, and by no means do I think I have it perfect, but this trip has been the best one since miss priss came along.

The girls rode in the car with us this year while the boys took over the bus. We laughed and cut up throughout our six hour journey. We watched movies and napped (well not me, but most of the others). I felt like I actually was able to continue to build relationships on the car ride instead of either A) focusing on the drive with a toddler screaming for mommy throughout the trip and wishing I had my husband to help or B) feeling like my husband was being kept away from the teens on the bus so he could drive his family to camp.

I haven’t made it to all of the small group sessions because mommy does have to put a sweet little girl to bed, but she has played quietly while we have done several bible studies. It has been incredible to get to help teach these young ladies and listen to them grasp concepts that may have alluded them before. This is the part I have missed the most in the last few years. It is so exciting to open God’s word alongside teenagers and help them take away something real.

Listening to Kyle preach is always one of my favorite parts of it being our ministry, but especially this time. He wasn’t sure he had the sermon right or made an impact, but I was in the room. My ears were listening, as little girl colored in a Dollar Tree coloring book, and I know what I heard. I heard a lesson that was relatable, real, and a little cut throat (learning about struggles and how God sometimes allows us to struggle is never easy to hear). I was able to encourage him afterward and remind him of how God uses preachers to speak into the hearts of the listeners in ways the speaker could not have possibly done.

Watching the teens love my little one and her attach to them is so encouraging. These teens will possibly be her small group leaders, teachers, coaches, and hopefully role models as she grows up. I want them to love her (because if mommy comes then baby girl comes too) and I want her to love them! These students play a HUGE part of our family’s life!

The best part of church camp winning the game of Tug-O-War in my mind is being together as a family. Spending time with our youth and serving alongside each other. Neither of us was raised as a preacher’s kid so we don’t really know what we are doing as our little one comes along but we do know that we are better together!

The Word has Captured Me

Do you ever read the bible just because you know you are supposed to? Truth be told, that has been me for awhile now. I read. I read often, but I was just reading to check it off to the “Good Christian” To-Do List. I was reading because I knew I needed to, but as I helped some teenage girls understand today, I was approaching the Word with a hardened heart. I was not intending to have a hard heart, but I definitely wasn’t looking for some life changing truths to come at me.

After my daughter was born, I experienced so many changes that I wasn’t reading often at all. I was teaching a new grade level, figuring out how to be a good mom, and we began a very slow transition to a new church, town, job, and house. Then it took me awhile to settle into all of the new. In 2018, I made a point to read my bible regularly, but that’s just it. I was just reading. I wasn’t opening my heart and expecting anything to happen when I would open God’s Word.

About a week ago I made a conscious choice to read and look for something, anything to speak into my life. I decided to begin in the beginning with Genesis. I read and reflected for 3 days without anything truly impacting me in a big way, but on the fourth day as I was reading Genesis chapter 4 the very last verse jumped off the page at me. I must have read it ten times.

At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord.

Call on the name of the Lord…it had me captured. I followed a footnote to Psalms and then another Psalms then to a few of the prophets and before I knew it I had been digging into God’s word for an hour.

An hour!

After two years of feeling like I didn’t have the time, energy, or desire to put in the effort. After two years of knowing I should dig but not having the zeal for it. After two years I was captured by the living Word of God!

I say all of this ashamed that I let it go for so long. I let life, the world, everything but the bible consume me for way too long. But I also say all of this for the teenager who thinks she has let too much time pass since she went to church. And the young mom who is too tired at the end of the day to lift the cover of her bible. For the grandmother who has read the entire bible through before and doesn’t think she has it in her today. For the husband who knows he should lead his family in a short devotional but has no clue where to start, or when. For the working man who struggles to understand what the bible is saying.

It is never too late, too long ago, or too far gone to give God and His Word our hearts. Don’t be like me and read because you are supposed to. Read expecting something to capture you.

I cannot wait to share more about what God has been teaching me as I have continued to dig into the Word. Until then, read the bible with an open heart and expect life changing truth to capture your heart while doing so.

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God is at work

This Fall will bring many Friday nights of Hannah and I snuggling alone. This may seem sad to some, but it is beyond exciting for us as a family! Kyle is serving as the chaplain to the GC Warriors football team and God is at work amongst those young men!

Two weeks ago, our church honored the GC Warriors in our morning service where Kyle was able to preach the word of God, recognize a player on the team, and serve lunch to this incredible group of young men. But Kyle’s journey with the Warriors did not begin with the Fall football season. It actually began last school year.

Kyle was approached by the head coach to come into the high school once a week and teach through a book with the football players. The book did not mention God, Jesus, or have scripture. But the book focused on culture change, becoming men, and allowed for Kyle to bond with the team long before the Friday night lights were on his back.

By summer practices, I was recieving more and more phone calls where I was greeted with a voice filled with excitement. Another young man decided to follow Jesus! They call me Brother Kyle. A player shared his entire life story with me! I’ve been invited to FCA camp. Fifteen souls were saved! So many sentences filled with JOY! So many lives changed all before the season had started.

So, Hannah and I may be missing daddy on Friday nights, but God is doing a great work that is so far beyond my Friday night plans! I cannot wait to see how God continues to move through the Warriors and I am filled with anticipation for the next phone call with more exciting news!

Baby Girl is TWO!

We celebrated Hannah Marie last weekend as she turned two! I cannot even believe I am typing that number. So much of what I have shared on this blog is about our journey to having Hannah (mostly because I have not made the time to share more) and for her to be two seems impossible.

Anyone who knows Hannah will tell you she is the happiest child you will ever meet. She smiles constantly! Her laugh is infectous! We are completely in love with her and feel beyond blessed to be entrusted with the sweetest gift from God.

Happy Birthday Hannah!

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Oh My Soul

It is the end of National Infertility Awareness week and I have been thinking about if I would even address it this year. This time last year I was able to celebrate my miracle baby and how her story has affected me and so many others around me, but this year it feels different. Not that she isn’t my miracle any more, because I assure you she is exactly what I prayed for. But this year my heart is crying this song, Oh My Soul.

Two weeks ago we found out that we were not pregnant, again. This would not have come as a surprise if we had not been doing an IUI treatment. As I have mourned and grieved, this song has been beyond true. I worry daily that we may never have another child. I am weary from losing control of my body and whether I can concieve another baby. I did not see a failed IUI coming at me. Our first IUI resulted in Hannah and what a blessing she is. I know my friends and family would not blame me if I cried because so many of them can relate to this hurt or hurt with me. I try to hide the hurt because part of me doesn’t want to burden anyone else with my problems. There were moments two weeks ago when I did stop believeing that I would have another baby.
But God has shown me that He is right here and I am not alone. My fear has had to face my God, and God has proven before that He is so much bigger than my fear, my infertility, and my disbelief. I know God will make a way for our family to grow. I don’t know what that looks like or when that will happen, but I know that God is faithful and He wouldn’t give me this desire if He didn’t plan on teaching me something and granting me the desires of my heart or changing that desire. My prayers are that I grow more dependent on God during this time. My prayer is that I drop my fears at the alter and let God carry me through this valley. My prayer is that God breathes on my dry bones and helps me to dance through this time in my life. My prayer is that God uses my story to make something beautiful from the ash and stone of this time.
So for today I must lay down my fear, worry, anxiety, disbelief…all of it. I know God will make a way for our family to grow. I may not be strong enough each day. I may feel like I cannot take any more medicine, do anymore blood work, have anymore procedures, but God will find me at His feet laying it all down. He will keep me from going under the waves of fear.
If you are struggling with infertility today, know that you are not alone. One in eight couples struggle with infertility. Look through the bible and see women sprinkled throughout who struggled with exactly what you are right now. Sarah, Hannah, Rachel, Samson’s mother, Elizabeth…all of them have stories like yours! God heard their cries and blessed them with precious children. Maybe your story will be like theirs and God will send you a sweet little one. Maybe your story will be different though. Maybe you will adopt in order to grow your family. Either way, know that you are not alone.

If you know someone struggling with infertility today, love on them, pray for them, and have a listening ear for when they are ready to talk about it. So many times couples struggling to concieve or maintain a pregnancy are scared to share about it, but pray for them anyway. When they do open up about their struggles, listen and continue to pray. Reassure them that they are not alone because you are praying alongside them.
“He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11a
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