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.
Do you find yourself waiting a lot? Waiting for a table at a restaurant. Waiting in a doctor’s office. Waiting for test results. Waiting for a pay check. Waiting on love or marriage. Waiting on a baby. That’s mine. I find myself waiting to be pregnant.
People insisted that we needed to be careful after our first arrived, because we may get a surprise sooner than we wanted. My thoughts? That would be AWESOME! I would have praised God for that gift. Time has passed and surprises were not given and now I find myself waiting. Waiting again for a baby to come from heaven, created by the only one who can create life, as a gift to our family.
Waiting is hard. Waiting is emotional (at least for me). Waiting teaches us so much. Because in the waiting we have to lean on God. In the waiting we have to rely on God. In the waiting we have to hope in God.
The Bible says in Psalm 130:5, “I wait for the Lord; I wait and hope in his word.” I know this scripture isn’t actually referring to waiting for a baby, but at the same time it is. The writer of this psalm is waiting for a redeemer, someone to correct his relationship with God. The writer is waiting on a baby who would come, a baby named Jesus.
I am so blessed to have a redeemer in Christ Jesus today. I am not waiting on someone to save me because I have a savior. But I love how this verse assures me that I can wait for the Lord and have hope in his word. I can lean on the promises of God and know they are true. I will cling to the cross, my redeemer and wait.
Waiting still isn’t easy, especially when people ask if there are plans for a second, or if we are pregnant, or trying,
but with hope in God’s word we will wait.
Have you ever struggled with what to focus your time and attention on? I do…all the time.
As a teacher, I want to be the best teacher out there. I want to be the Ron Clark of my school. I want to show my students I care, not just about their learning, but about them. I want to engage students in rigorous tasks that they will remember.
As a wife, I want my husband to have no doubt in his mind that I love him more than any human walking planet earth right now. I want him to know I care by how I serve him, care for him, listen to him, spend time with him. I want to speak his love language so that his love tank is full.
As a mom, I want my daughter to know how much I love her and care about her. I want to teach her and support her dreams. I want to show her the way to live as a godly woman (one day). I want to spend time with her, showering her in attention and words of affirmation.
As a christian, I want to devote my every thought, attitude, and action to loving God and loving others. I want to spend time in my bible reading, studying, and applying His truths. I want to pray for others, myself, and praise God continually.
But my inward struggle is over which of these four will win. These are the big four in my life. I still want to be the best daughter, sister, in-law, designer, blogger, etc. too, BUT the four titles above are where my deepest desires are rooted. And I struggle. I struggle to put the phone down and focus on my daughter and husband. I struggle to pray continually. I struggle to engage all of my students. I struggle all the time.
As 2017 closes out and we are looking forward to a new year, new beginning I am struggling. All of the people I follow on Instagram have these amazing classrooms with fun songs and flashing lights, or beautifully put together homes with nothing out of place, or a million pictures of their families on these amazing trips…and here I am comparing myself to them. The exact thing I tell the teenagers at church not to do.
So today, as I have been reflecting on 2017, struggling with comparing myself to the Instagram world, and looking forward to 2018 I have realized where my focus must be. On HIM. On the Creator of the universe. If I focus on my relationship with GOD, He will pour into me and I will begin to overflow. These excess will only grow and benefit my marriage, my motherhood, and my teaching. I want to ooze Jesus when I am squeezed by the world.
Who cares if I don’t most ten pictures of Hannah each day? Most of you would probably be silently thanking me for not oversharing. Who cares if my classroom isn’t the most matchy-matchy? Who cares if dinner isn’t on the table at 6 and all of the laundry folded before bed?
2018, I’m ready. I’m ready to spend more and more time with King Jesus. Focusing on HIM so that my overflow will cover all of the other areas of me!
We have another college graduate living under our roof!!! To say I am proud would truly be an understatement. Kyle has worked tirelessly for years to finish his Bachelors degree in Christian Ministry and this past weekend he graduated!!! We didn’t drive to New Orleans for commencement, but we have marveled all weekend at how good God is to have provided for his tuition, energy requirements , and motivation to do well.
This man has gone from hating school and reading to completing his degree with all As and Bs. He enjoys reading now and often buys himself books (if you knew him in high school this may sound unbelievable). He has accomplished all of this while being a husband, pastor, dad, and so much more!
I am so impressed by you and will always be your number one cheerleader! Way to go Kyle! Congratulations graduate!!!!
Dear family and friends,
God has used 2017 to guide us into places we never imagined, bless us in more ways than we can count, and teach us to lean on Him and each other more than ever.
We began our year celebrating six years of marriage and praying about where God was leading our family. By the end of January, we were being called to Trinity Baptist Church in Calhoun, Georgia. We obediently left Atco Baptist Church after four and half years of ministry.
We continued to pray about a new teaching job, home, and babysitter as March came and went. In April, Danielle accepted a teaching job at Calhoun Elementary School and we began the house hunting process. After six years of teaching at Cartersville Elementary School, we moved Danielle’s classroom to a fifth grade math, science, and social studies class in Calhoun.
Our home in Cartersville sold in June and we found our dream home soon after. With the help of our families, we made a slow transition to our new home (living three weeks between parents’ homes) and began to find a new normal. We were blessed to find another amazing babysitter in Calhoun and she has helped us adjust to life in the ‘houn by caring for our sweet girl.
Hannah made her first trip to youth camp in June and turned one in August. She is growing like a weed and loves to walk (finally), read books, and pretend to cook and eat food. Kyle made another trip to St. Vincent in July for his 6th mission trip to the island. He has diligently worked through his final semester of college and will graduate from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Leavell College on December 15th! Kyle has guided our family and been a rock for us as we have walked through each change God has sent our way. Danielle continues to do ministry alongside Kyle and is currently teaching high school Sunday school.
2017 has brought so much change! We could not have done it without the blessing of God’s hand guiding us each step of the way. We know that God has big plans for us in Calhoun. We hope that 2017 has been full of blessings for you and your family.
Kyle, Danielle, and Hannah
“Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!” Psalms 144:15
For the past seven years I have celebrated Christmas by showering my hubby with sweet notes, little gifts, and set aside time for each other in this crazy month we call December. I have twenty-five envelops, with notes inside. Some have presents that go with them. Others have food. Some have nothing at all. But I LOVE getting this ready to show him extra love during the month of December.
With Hannah here and old enough to understand this year, I have added some things into the mix for her as well. I still have to finish wrapping everything for this month’s fun, but I cannot wait to start our 25 days together on Friday!!!
When you’re little and not so coordinated you may fall and scrap your knee. It may even leave a scar, a mark that will always be there not matter how much time has passed. Every time you see the scar you will probably remember how you got it, the pain, how old you were or where you were at the time. The wound will heal, but the memory remains. Sometimes those memories bring us pain, not a physical pain, but an emotional one.
Infertility is my scar. Even though God has helped us overcome this hurt before, we still wear the reminder on our hearts. We still feel the emotional pain of it. I don’t know that I will ever recover completely from the journey infertility took me on. I don’t know that I want to either. All I know is that God has given me the desire to have more children. He has blessed us with good health, a happy home, and this deep desire to give Hannah biological siblings.
Right now my scar is causing pain, pain so real I would say it is physical. But my God is bigger than this pain. My God has overcome sin, death, and the grave; He can definitely handle my scar and the memories it brings back. My God wants to hear the desires of my heart. My God wants me to cast my cares upon Him, so today I am trying to let go of my scar and the pain it causes and trust that God will care for me and my desires. He wants you to do the same. Let’s stop looking at our scars and remembering the pain and instead trust God with them. He can heal them all!
Do you have dreams for your life? Or maybe for your children’s lives? I have several for our family, for Hannah, for me! I’ve been listening to Casting Crowns a lot lately and Dream for You is one of their songs. It is about David and how his shepherd sized dreams were changed into king sized dreams. And Mary’s dreams of marrying Joseph and then starting a family were not exactly what God’s plan for her life was. The chorus says, “So come on, let Me dream, let Me dream for you; I am strong when you’re weak and I’ll carry you; So let go of your plan, be caught by My hand; I’ll show you what I can do; When I dream for you; I have a dream for you.”
This song has caused me to think about David’s story a great deal lately. It is a whirlwind story that no one could have imagined happening, especially him. King Saul had lost the favor of God and Samuel went looking for who God would anoint as King. “Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.” (1 Samuel 16:11-13 ESV) David is the youngest son of Jesse. He is a shepherd and wasn’t even on the radar of becoming anything great amongst his family. David probably dreamed about becoming a big time shepherd, owning a lot of animals, and maybe one day hiring young guys like himself to shepherd his flocks. But God had different plans for his life. God’s plan for our lives means that we may have to let go of our dreams and plans. I’m sure David never dreamt about becoming King and without God he never would have been king. God’s plan for David was so much bigger than being a shepherd.
David spent years as a servant of Saul’s, a soldier, and then running from Saul. David and his family knew he had been anointed by Samuel but it’s not like it was posted on Instagram for all to see. God’s plan for our lives means that we have to trust God with our dreams, and trust that He will make His plans come true in His time. “So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. And David brought up his men who were with him, everyone with his household, and they lived in the towns of Hebron. And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.” (2 Samuel 2:2-3ESV) “Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “Behold, we are your bone and flesh. In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. And the Lord said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.'” So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.” (2 Samuel 5:1-4 ESV) David went from a young shepherd boy to a servant of the king. From a servant to a soldier and from a soldier to a man running from the king. The entire time he knew God had Samuel anoint him as king, but he wasn’t king yet. Now he is the king of Judah and Israel. God’s plan requires us to be obedient. David found out he would be King long before it happened. And I am sure along the way he was unsure how he would ever get what God had told him would happen, but David trusted God and His plan. David was obedient and did as God directed him. God took years to place David as king of Israel and many times David was faced with enemies who wanted to kill him. But David knew God would fulfill His promises and trusted God.
I am having to let go of my plans for my life, Hannah’s life, and our family so that I can trust God and His plan. I know His dreams for us are King sized dreams instead of my shepherd sized dreams. I am letting God carry me and going to be obedient to His word and let His dreams for me take root in my heart and trust that His plans are better than my own!
A few weeks ago Kyle said he was going to live in Calhoun as if he were a missionary. Ummmm…okay. Those were my thoughts at first. We aren’t that far from where he has grown up. It’s 30 minutes away. We are living life very similarly to how we lived in Cartersville. We both work. We have a normal home. We are active in church, but missionaries? I wasn’t so sure.
But the more I thought about his statement the more it makes sense to me. Jesus gave believers a task before he ascended. “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.””(Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)
We are missionaries. We are living with a purpose to infiltrate our community with the gospel. We are here to take every opportunity to share Jesus with the people of Calhoun. We moved 30 minutes away to be missionaries. But truly, we are all called to be missionaries. We do not have to move to spread the gospel. We can share right where we are. We can shine Jesus even if we are living in the same neighborhood we grew up in. So yes, we are missionaries in Calhoun. Where are you a missionary at?
I’m trying to process through tomorrow. As I sit in my quiet home, I am overwhelmed by the meaning behind what is coming in the morning. Tomorrow is Hannah’s baby dedication at church, and my heart is bursting with joy and my cheeks are damp with tears.
For years I prayed for this sweet baby and God has given us the happiest little girl, and now it is our turn to give her back to God in front of our family and church. Hannah’s name is special for many reasons, but today I am reminded again of Hannah from the Bible. In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah asks God for a son and then promises to give her son back to serve God. God hears Hannah and blesses her with Samuel. Later in the chapter it says, “For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.” (1 Samuel 1:27-28 ESV)
Tomorrow we are giving our daughter, and the life she lives, back to the Lord. We are going to be charged with raising her in a godly home, living a Christ-centered life in front of her, and teaching her all about Jesus! I am so excited for this moment! A moment I was unsure would ever come! These tears are tears of joy! My heart is so full! I will gladly and whole heartedly dedicate her to the Lord!