Help my Unbelief

“Sleep like a baby” is such a great term to use because it is so true. When babies sleep they really sleep. I remember Abigail’s first Easter we all woke up early to make it to the church’s Sunrise service. Abigail seemed great waking up a few hours early, but by the time the Sunday service started she was gone. She knocked out about the time the choir started their first song. I am pretty sure I could have flung her any way I wanted and she would be asleep still. Jordan and I almost went into hysterics trying not to laugh out loud at her in the middle of service. Abigail has always been a great sleeper, and even as a toddler that is no exception. She sleeps around ten hours every night and then takes a two hour nap in the afternoon. Usually right around the two-hour mark she begins to wake up and I go and get her out of the crib. Today, she was snoring away when I went to check on her. I said, “Good morning, Abigail,” thinking that might wake her up. Nope. This is the picture I took then. A little girl sleeping away just like a baby. I guess she was a little more tired today.

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Just call her sleeping beauty!

But she makes me jealous. Abigail sleeps so soundly. I toss and turn all night long worrying over to do lists and things that have gone on that day. My thoughts are everywhere, but usually lean to the negative side. “I won’t ever finish this project.” “I cannot do this anymore.” “I am worried about how to go about this thing.” “Why didn’t I say this to so and so today?” The end of the day worries and regrets wash over me as I lay in my nice cozy bed. Why do we do that? Why do we hash out every little detail and let it consume our thoughts. It takes away valuable time we could be doing something so much better with. Where is our trust and faith?

That is why babies (and my husband) sleep so soundly I believe. They do not worry about things. I get so frustrated at Jordan because he does not let the small things bother him, and he can compartmentalize all his problems. He always says that he will worry about it tomorrow, and then he lays his head on his pillow and drifts off within minutes. Not me. Long after he goes asleep I am laying there, tossing and turning wondering about everything and anything.

But I realized today that Abigail has no worries because she knows everything will be provided for her. She has never been hungry or in need ever so she does not know how to go without. She has no need because every need is met. She has complete and utter trust in me, Jordan and her other family to take care of her and give her whatever she may need.

I want that absolute trust in my Heavenly Father. I want to know that I know that every need will be met in Him, so there is no need to worry about the future. I do not have this trust. I lack faith. I worry about simple things that after a week will not matter. But I want to keep growing, keep gaining this faith in God.

One of my favorite verses is when the demon-possessed boy’s father tells Jesus, “I believe, but help me in my unbelief.” That’s me. I know in my heart God is good and He will bring us through, but in my head it does not make sense how. I think it would be easier to rely on myself to see me through. But may God help me in my unbelief. May I have such child like faith as my Abigail has in me. May I know God will provide. He loves us too much not to. Oh that I may rest in His love and His provision!

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Abigail’s Special Ability

We were sitting on our front porch and we watched three little girls ride by on their bikes. She watched them riding by, giggling as they went. As they disappeared around the curve she reached her little arm out and I explained they had already gone. She just kept reaching, processing everything that had just gone by her. My own eyes filled with tears as her eyes kept watching after those three girls. My baby girl cannot keep up with those girls. She might never ride a bike or run around the front yard. As she watched those girls go I wondered what she was thinking.

A questionnaire I was filling out at the doctor’s office asked if Abigail’s condition affected her relationship with others. I had never thought of it affecting her before. She is such a friendly, social little girl. But as I sat there pondering that question I thought of how much she is affected. She cannot explore her environment as a normal toddler would. She cannot socialize with other children her age because they are too fast for her, and they scare her. Yes, she is cute and a show stopper in so many ways. Yes, she can get all the attention in the room quickly. Yes, she is a social butterfly and does not mind getting attention from complete strangers. And yes, she loves all people. But how does her disability affect her socially?

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Would Abigail be who she is today if she was not developmentally behind? It is hard to think of Abigail as being ‘normal.’ I cannot imagine her running around, getting into everything and talking to me in her own toddler language. Would her personality be as glowing and sweet? Would she be a calm child or one who is into everything. Would she be adventurous or cautious? I would like to think that she would be the kid climbing the walls and coloring the walls. She would be strong-willed and stubborn. She would be independent. Maybe I am glad to have a toddler who cannot move. Just the other night she literally poured out an entire bag of cheerios on the floor in a matter of seconds. I had given her the sealed bag to play with while I talked to Jordan. Neither of us were paying her any attention, and then we heard the Cheerios spilling out. They were everywhere before we knew it. That little stinker managed to open the bag and spill them all without even leaving my lap. She is a mess and a half and she knows it too!

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As we watch Abigail grow day by day I realize how long she is getting. Her baby-ness is disappearing and she is turning into a little girl before our eyes. Yet, every time I talk about her for the first time I do not mention her progress or her abilities. I always tell people about her disability. I explain she cannot sit up or walk or talk. Her disability is apart of who she is. I do not do this because it defines her, but because people realize something is not quite right and it is easier to put them at ease then make them quietly question it in their minds. Yes, her disability is apart of who she is, but it is not all of who she is. Abigail is a smart, spunky, independent little bombshell. She is hilarious and the life of the party. But because she cannot do anything independently she quickly gets overshadowed by everything else going on around her.

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I want Abigail to always remember this. She has the ability to do so much, and I want her to never think because of her disability she is not enough or not worthy. Yes, she will struggle. Yes, she will do things differently than everyone else. Yes, she will have things to overcome. But this will only make her stronger. It will give her a story that can only be hers to tell. Oh may her ability to do what she sets her mind triumph her disability every day!

Thus Far

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I love the Old Testament, and right now I’m reading through 1 & 2 Samuel. In 2 Samuel chapter 7, God has just revealed to David the Davidic Promise of how he will always have a relative on the throne for all eternity. David goes in, sits before the Lord, and says, “Oh Lord, who am I and who is family that you have brought us thus far.” I obviously cannot relate to how David felt at this moment, but I can repeat those words. “Who am I oh Lord, that you have brought me and my family thus far!” I was reflecting today where the Lord has led me in the last 10 years. I would never have planned any of it, but I am thankful to be here and to know God has brought me thus far and He will continue to lead me and my family!!

When I was fifteen I got serious about my relationship with Christ. I knew it was something more and that relationship needed all of me. God needed all of me. So I made the decision to jump head first into my relationship with God and I never looked back. There have been lots of times of doubt, struggles, and fear but God has been with me every step of the way! I had my life all planned out by the time I was a freshman year of high school. I had always wanted to be an elementary school librarian (my dream since second grade) and I planned to go to college at Berry in Rome, GA. I like plans and hate change so when I make my mind up it does not change a lot, but low and behold God had other plans for me. I had already applied for Berry and a few other choices by my senior year. But my friend was looking into a school named Truett-McConnell for a soccer scholarship. The ironic thing was this friend did not have a relationship with Christ, and to apply for Truett you have to have a written testimony. She even asked me to write a testimony for her. Needless to say I had to explain that was not an option. But because of this friend I found myself at the TMC table during a college fair talking to the admissions rep. The rep was great at her job and convinced me to tour the school and meet the librarian there. I was so excited to meet a librarian I agreed to come visit the next week.

My mom and I went to TMC to meet with the Admissions team and take a tour. The weather was awful and I had to sit in my moms lap while taking the tour so I would not get wet. An eighteen-year-old riding around a college campus on her mom’s lap was not a good start to the tour. But the last stop before we went home was the library. I do not even know why but I told the librarian I would be there in the Fall. I went home and applied to TMC that night and was accepted in the following weeks. I was going to TMC to major in Education to get one step further in my dream of becoming a librarian.

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Me as a little tiny Freshman. The hair cut was a huge mistake!

Truett-McConnell changed my life in many, many ways! I wish I had the time and space to write everything, but since I don’t I will just have to hit the highlights. The first and biggest thing was that God continued to change my plans. I felt God tugging at my heart and leading me into ministry but I struggled because if I heeded to Him all my plans would be shot. I had already changed schools (which was a marvelous decision) and now He was taking away my only other dream. But by the end of my fist semester of college I was ready to surrender my dreams to God too. It is a story in itself, and everyone who knows me calls it my FROG story. Maybe one day I’ll share it with you too, but I accepted Gods call to ministry, changed major to Christian Studies, and again never looked back. Three years later I graduated with a Christian Studies degree, and I pray to use my calling to encourage and disciple women all my life!

But not only did I receive a whole new calling and a degree there, I received a husband and a child. My family grew there, literally. I was not even planning to get married going into college. Having a family was not a thought for me. I just was not one of those girls who dreamed of marriage and family. I guess I figured one day I would get married and have kids, but it was not something I desired. I liked living my life, and growing closer to God, but as always God had other plans for my and my mystery man.

Jordan and I both became Resident Assistants for the 2012-2013 school year. That was fated to bring us together, though I am not sure exactly how. We could not be more opposite. He was your typical athletic, popular, blonde hair jock, and I was your shy, dweeby average nerd. We did not hang out in the same circles (mostly because I never left the all girls’ dorm and he never left the all boys’ dorm), we did not share the same interests, and we had no clue the other existed though we sat a couple chairs apart in most of our classes the semester before.

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I think this is our first picture together at the TMC Hoedown.

But the summer we came to school for RA training we got to know each other and kept having weird, awkward encounters around campus. One time we passed each other in the stairwell and just stared at one another for about a solid minute without saying anything. I practically ran back to my dorm room mortified! Oh, to be a young college kid again. So after a lot awkward encounters, and a lot of volleyball games later we both confessed we liked each other for some reason or another and we became, as the kids say, ‘official.’ That was September 4, 2012. We both knew after two months of dating we were going to get married. Jordan proposed in June the following year and then in February 2014 we were married.

Our first year of marriage was probably kind of weird looking back, but we did not think anything of it at the time. Our first home was a small apartment inside the all girls’ dorm where I resided as Resident Director. So Jordan lived with 60 other girls for about four months. Then we moved down the hill to another on campus apartment to become the Resident Directors to more college kids. Six months into marriage I was pregnant and sick as a dog most days. Again, not the life I had planned but I would not trade these things for the world. They have made me who I am today.

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The day we left our ‘first home’ aka Otwell. I had lived there for three years by then.

Soon after Abigail was born we left TMC. It was a sad farewell, but we both knew it was time to move on. This is when the adventures with Abigail started. At two months we knew something was wrong with our child, and it has been a journey since. I will not go into details because I have told Abigail’s story so many times, but she is yet another thing we did not plan. We planned the having a baby part, but not the ‘your baby has special needs’ part. No one can plan that.

I could tell story after story of how God continues to change our plans. How we have interviewed at countless jobs for Jordan’s ministry position and yet have been turned down for one reason or another. I could tell of the tears that have been shed or the questions we have asked God as to why He continues to change our direction and path. But today I want to celebrate where God has brought us as David did all those years ago. I want to thank God for the life He has led me on. I want to praise His name for His faithful and continual care and provision for us. We have never been without what we need. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. He may not seem like He is always there or that He is listening to our pleas for answers and direction, but He has a bigger plan than I could ever dream or imagine. So while we are in the unknown in so many areas of our life, all I can do is trust God to see us through, and remember how far He has brought us thus far.

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My family! We are BLESSED!!!

Babies Grow Up

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Abigail, only hours old

Our sweet, not so cuddly, newborn baby we brought home two years ago is growing. Her baby fat is melting away, her hair grows inches everyday I swear, and if Abigail would stand she would be almost 3 foot tall now! I see the changes everyday – a baby turning into a beautiful little girl.

She is learning so much and is becoming interested in her environment around her. She loves people and will interact with any adult she sees whether we are in a restaurant or checking out at the store. Her joyful little personality comes out day by day. She brightens up a room, and makes people smile in her own simple way.

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One year old Abigail. What a cutie patootie!!!

If Abigail was your typical two year old she would have be jumping around and climbing into everyting. She would be an adventurous, that kid who is into everything and we would be exhausted at the end of each day as we try to keep up with her. Abigail is fiercely independent and stubborn. She is adventurous and a little dare devil. She has no fear of getting hurt, falling or being in danger. She is our blonde headed wild child.

When I lay her down in her crib at night I see her length has taken over her crib. Yet, she finds a way to snuggle all the way to the bottom of her crib with her legs always at crazy angles jutting out away from her most nights. I know it is going to be time for a big girl bed soon, and that excites me and saddens me all at the same time. This baby is turning into a girl, and we have so much to learn about raising a child!

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Trying out the big girl swing in the park the other day. She is still so tiny in it.

My little girl will always be my baby. So often it is hard to see her growing up because she is still so dependent on us, but I am seeing her grow before my eyes. One day she will not be as reliant on me. One day she will feed herself or get herself dressed and I will be a proud mama who will treasure these moments, but for now I will watch this baby girl of mine grow into a lovely child who will one day shine her bright light for the world. Right now though she is my innocent, sweet little baby girl snuggled up in her footie pajamas just sleeping away in her crib. Oh may this little girl grow into a godly woman with a big servant’s heart.

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I love sleeping babies!

Things Treasured

My blog was original titled “Treasured Encounters.” It started as a blog about my treasured encounters with God as I spent time with Him. But then I became a mom, and I learned that you have many, many treasured encounters with your children that people love to read and I love to share. And these moments are more sharable moments than intimate moments between my God and I. Like Mary I love to ponder these moments in my own heart. So I began what my blog is today, sweet moments about Abigail. But with resurrection Sunday tomorrow, and yesterday being Good Friday I wanted to share my treasured God encounter with my readers.

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The Bible tells us that Mary “treasured these things” on multiple occasions especially when Jesus was first-born. This young mother treasured all the moments she could with her son, the very Son of God. As Easter is approaching this weekend I love being able to take an extra long look at the cross and what God has done for all mankind so many years ago. Easter is a beautiful time of remembrance for an event that impacts our life every day. An event that should be thought about often as we humble ourselves and worship God in awe of what He has done for us. I want to be like Mary who ponders these things in her heart. She knew these were moments, when she saw shepherds bowing down to her newborn baby and wise men bringing gifts fit for a king to her bouncing toddler, that she would remember and look back on years later.

Since having my own child I can relate more with Mary as a mother. Obviously, I have no idea what it is like mothering God himself, nor would I ever want that. Just think of the worries and pressures that come with that!! But I can sense her mother’s heart as she looks lovingly into her newborn son’s perfect face moments after giving birth. I can feel her panic as she realizes her teenage son is no longer with them, and they cannot find him anywhere. And I do not want to imagine her grief and sorrow as she follows Him up Golgotha’s hill. But she has watched Him become a man and known in all her pondering that her son, God himself, was leading to do something more. He was never hers to hold on to forever. God blessed Mary with a wonderful gift of birthing and rearing the Son of God. However, Jesus answered to God alone, and was here to do His will, to save man from sin and death. But Mary had to watch.

There are things about Abigail and mine’s relationship that I could never put into words. My pride, my joy in her, my love for her are all too much for basic words to describe. The bond we have is something I never knew existed until I was blessed to experience it myself. Yet, this love pales in respect to the love Jesus showed for us that day on the cross. Two thousand years ago a young Jewish man died a gruesome death for people crosswho despised Him, rejected Him, and hated Him all because they did not understand Him. God knew His Son was the only way to reconcile man to Himself. God desired a relationship with us so badly, he sacrificed everything to bring us back to Him. My human love stretches to just a few people in this world, but God’s love is “never stopping, never giving up, unbreakable, always and forever.”  (Jesus Storybook Bible) And it reaches every. single. person.

God always reveals a new aspect of the Easter weekend to me each year, and this year I want to ponder as Mary did. I want to store these things in my heart and reflect them in my life. I want to learn more about God’s mysterious love for me and for mankind. I want to put my fingers in His nail scarred wrists and trust Him with everything. I want to learn to surrender all in the light of my Lord and Savior who was beaten and broken for my name’s sake. I want to remember the torn veil, and know I have a mediator who stands in my defense. I want to be like the ground under the cross where Jesus gave His all, and be covered in His blood. I want to be more like Jesus, and be willing to carry my cross as scary as that is. I want to worship Him in spirit and in Truth daily. I want to live in His resurrection power, and know that same power lives in me. I want to experience that same joy Christ experienced as he reconciled sinful man and holy God. I never want to forget what God gave to show His love for me. I want to find my hope and peace in this God who loves me unconditional. Oh, and I want to treasure the moments of our relationship in my heart forever!

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