A Trip Around the Sun

I finished a great book yesterday by Mark Batterson and Richard Foth called A Trip Around the Sun


This book was a collection of stories and godly wisdom on how to live a more adventurous life. I didn’t want to put it down but often had to with a 1 month old baby to enjoy and care for. 

One of my big take aways from the book has to do with taking chances (anyone who knows me understands that I am not a risk taker). Mark wrote something along the lines of you will never walk on water if you don’t step out of the boat. (I don’t know the exact quote because it’s hard to hold a sleeping baby, read, and underline passages that you love.) I love the boat, the safe spot, my comfort zone. I don’t like the unknown, unplanned, or risks outside of the boat. Mark is referencing Jesus’ and Peter’s story of walking on the water. 

“Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.””

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭14:22-33‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I would never have the courage to step out of the boat but as I have thought about Mark’s reference this week I realized I have in certain ways. Kyle and I stepped out of the boat when we left our home church to take a ministry job at ATCO. We stepped out when we both answered the call to go to St. Vincent on mission not knowing how it would be financed. We stepped out when we realized God was leading us to do fertility treatments. Our boat has been left more times than I realized until God showed me how often Jesus had told us to come

I highly recommend this book and would encourage you to think about how Jesus has called you to come onto the waters, step out of the boat, leave your comfort zone. 

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The Best Example of Love

While God is teaching me about love I can’t help but read about love in the Bible. I want to know how I can best love Hannah, my husband, God, the church… If God is love, then we have the greatest example of how to love.

 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬). 

I have an entirely new outlook on this verse since August 10th. My Sunday school teacher even asked me if I would give my daughter back in order to save someone else’s life. I couldn’t help but cry later that night at the thought of giving her up. I would never. And yet God did just that. He sacrificed his son for the lives of sinners. For me. That is how much God loves you and me. Enough to give up Jesus for the chance of a relationship with me. I say chance because of the “whoever believes” part of the verse. We have to believe in order for what Jesus did on the cross to count. God made the sacrifice but we still have a decision to make. The decision to believe in Jesus.  

Do you believe in Jesus? Do you know that he is the son of God? Romans‬ ‭10:9-10‬ says, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” So today I’m learning just how God loves me. He loves me enough to save me through sacrificing his son. I chose to believe when I was a child, but have you made that choice?

God is Love

On Sunday I shared how God was teaching me about His love for me through my daughter. He has shown me more of His love with each day since her arrival, and I can’t shake this overwhelming feeling of awe.

When I look at scriptures about love I start with the passage found in 1 Corinthians 13. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…” (‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:4-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬) This definition of love is incredible to think about. How often do I fail to love like this. But when you pair it with 1 John 4:8, which tells us that God is love, it becomes…unimaginable. 

If we put “God” into the 1 Corinthians passage instead of “love” or “it” the passage takes a new form (at least in my mind). God is patient, God is kind. God does not envy, God does not boast, God is not proud. God does not dishonor others, God is not self-seeking, God is not easily angered, God keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God never fails…


Wow! 

I’ve read the passage several times through and still can’t imagine why God chooses to love me. He is patient in his love. He is kind in his love. He does not envy (remember that envy and jealousy are different). I could keep going… but I think you should read the passage again. 

God is patient, God is kind. God does not envy, God does not boast, God is not proud. God does not dishonor others, God is not self-seeking, God is not easily angered, God keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God never fails…

I must remember that God is love. 

My Last Week

This is my last week of maternity leave and the thought of next Monday morning breaks my heart. I love my daughter so much and the thought of not being with her all day is devastating. I would be a stay at home mom in a heartbeat but that is not in God’s plan for me right now. I know that God called me to be a teacher, so I must put my teacher hat back on. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love teaching. I love seeing students’ eyes light up as they learn new things! I love inspiring students and figuring out how to make learning come to life for them! I love what I do! I just love Hannah more. 

So my last week will be full of staring at my beautiful daughter, holding her as much as she will let me, praying over her and praising God for her, bouncing her, dancing with her, and cherishing these last days while looking forward to the next full day with her. This week will be for us. 

Faith, Hope, & Love

Do you ever read scripture and feel like God taught you His word in a situation who’ve walked through? I know I do…constantly. I was reading in 1 Corinthians 13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:13‬ ‭NIV), and it hit me that God has used the last three years to teach me this verse. 


Faith

The first year we tried to get pregnant we were faithful to try, try, and try again. We prayed and read God’s word and had faith that He would send a baby to us in His perfect timing. My faith was stretched and molded into something greater with each month that passed. I’m not saying I belong in the Faith Hall of Fame but I learned about Hebrews 11 first hand. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”(‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬). I couldn’t see my future children, a positive pregnancy test, or the Lord who said he was with me, but I knew that God was with me and that He would either give me the desires of my heart or change my desires (which I prayed many times as my heart was aching). Faith was where it all began for me as I began my journey to becoming a parent.


Hope

The second year we were trying to get pregnant we had so much hope for what God was going to do in our lives. We hoped for a positive pregnancy test each month. We hoped for a baby to be sent to us. We hoped for our marriage to be strengthened through this trial. We hoped for our relationships with the Lord to be deepened. We had hope. I meditated daily on Romans 12:12; “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” I can now see that hoping for a child deepened my prayer life. I say this because I expressed my hope through prayer continuously. Those prayers were what helped me hang on to the Lord. 


Love

Since Hannah has been born (I can’t believe she is a month old already), God has been teaching me, and continues to teach me, about love. I knew God loved me, but I didn’t understand the extent to which he loved me. Until you have a child I don’t know that you can fully understand God giving his son to die for our sins. I would do, and will do, anything to guard, shield, and protect Hannah. I do not want any harm to come to her. I cannot imagine giving her up for someone else’s life to be spared, but that is exactly what God did for me and for you. That kind of love is beyond my ability to understand. Each day I pray that God would teach me to love him as fiercely as I love Hannah. 

So here I am, at the end of a three year journey, realizing why the greatest of these is love. 

So Many Prayers Answered

These last five weeks have been full of emotions, but the best feeling is the joy my heart is full of. So many prayers have been answered through our new family member. Not only my prayers or my husband’s prayers, but our family’s, small group, and friends’ prayers. As I see each person hold her, I am overwhelmed by how that person’s prayers have affected our lives. 


To each of you who prayed for me and Kyle as we walked through infertility, thank you. To those of you who prayed over our lives, hopes, and future family, thank you. To the people who prayed for Hannah before we knew her, thank you. To the ones who cried out prayers for our blessing to come to us, thank you. I can’t say it enough…thank you for praying for us. 


Now is they time we need to praise God for all of the answered prayers. Will you praise the Lord for his blessings today?


Lord, You are good and faithful. You knew the plan and timing for our daughter to join our family. Today, and each day moving forward, I want to praise you for your gift of Hannah. Thank you for the journey that brought her to us. Thank you for trusting me and Kyle to raise her. Thank you for surrounding us with likeminded friends and family to pray for us and praise with us. Guide us as we raise Hannah. Teach us how to be parents. We love you and praise you for the shower of blessings you pour out on us! Amen. 

Four Way Failure

1. At 2:30 am when your husband has been up for 2 hours with a baby and needs sleep because has to go to work at 9 and you are frustrated because you need sleep too…wife failure! I got up, and stayed up with baby girl but struggled to defend my husband in my mind (what I have to do when I know he isn’t trying to hurt my feelings, but my feelings are hurt). 

2. When you’ve only had about three hours of sleep the entire night and your daughter is crying (again) and you don’t have a clue what she needs…mom failure! Baby girl loves to be up at night and then only sleeps in two hour stints during the day. By the time I’m convinced she is really asleep and then I fall asleep, I normally only get 30-45 minutes of sleep before she fusses again. Then I go through the list of things she could need (diaper change, food, burping, gas, etc.). But when I get to the end of the list and nothing has worked…I burst into tears too!

3. When you check your work email and have another parent complaint about the substitute teacher…teacher failure! My students shouldn’t have to suffer while I’m out and parents shouldn’t have to deal with this bad situation, but I can’t do anything from home…and my daughter needs me more than they do. I hate that I have left my teaching partner with this and the students and parents too. It stinks!

4. When your boss text you asking about the paper work for your maternity leave and the papers are still in Marietta at the doctors office…employee failure. 

At this point I lost it! I’m talking total meltdown. Tears streaming down my cheeks, sniffling nose, hair a mess, need a shower, baby girl crying, home alone,… I think you get it. It was bad. 

I’m not used to failing. Or feeling like a failure. I try my best at everything I do. I want to bring glory to God in all of my actions and today I felt like I let my husband, my daughter, my students, their parents, my teaching partner, my bosses, and God down. 

My husband came home at lunch and affirmed me and my efforts as a mom and wife. My mom went to the doctors office for the paperwork for me. And a shower and lunch helped to stop the tears and sniffling nose. But I am constantly reminding myself that I can only do this thing called life with God on my side. I need God to supply my rest and strength. I have to trust that God will take care of my students and prepare me to go back to work. I know God has my daughter in His hands. But my failures are real. Scripture reminds me that God’s, “’grace is sufficient for [me], for [his]power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”(‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬). 


So today I am bragging about my weaknesses, down falls, and failures. Because the only reason I can keep going is with Christ turning my mess ups into power.