Clinging

“To grip tightly, to hold as if glued firmly,” that’s how the dictionary defines clinging. I have experienced a lot of clinging this week. I helped with the 13-18 month olds at Vacation Bible School this week. They are precious, every single one of them. But since I was there all morning working with those little ones, I was away from my daughter every morning. The little guys would cling to me as the morning wore on and they become tired. They wanted their own mommies, but in the mean time I had to do for them. Then I would come home and my sweetie would go crazy trying to get to me in her own way. I would pick her up and she would desperately cling to me, pleading with me not to leave her again.

IMG_7149

All those snuggles!!!

It makes me wonder what have I clanged to in my own life? What have I run to when I am hurt or tired or afraid? The things we cling to show where are heart really is because these are the things that we love most, the things we truly treasure. I personally have clung to my husband, to food, to worry, to writing, to busyness, and to television. It is in these things (and probably lots of other things) that I find comfort from the hardships and worries of life.

A man from my home church used to sing, “The Anchor Holds.” It is a beautiful song and so true. The chorus says, “The anchor holds though the ship’s been battered. The anchor holds though the sails are torn. I have fallen on my knees as I face the raging seas. The anchor holds in spite of the storm.” In the midst of life, worries, and hardships God is still there anchoring us to Him. He desires us to cling to Him. Just as Abigail would not let go of me when I have been away from her all morning, He wants us to run to Him and hold on tight.

As Father’s Day is this weekend, I cannot help but think about how my heavenly Father has loved me and watched over me all my life. I live a very tiny life, but it is blessed in so many ways. I am thankful that God is a Father who loves us despite ourselves. He loves us despite what we have done or how we look or even how we love Him in return. He loves us because He made us, and desires us to know Him and His own Son. I am so thankful to have a heavenly Father who holds us, who comforts us, and who gives us grace and mercy every single day when we deserve none of it.

When worries and troubles come, or when times of joy and celebrating arrive, I want to run to my Father and cling to Him alone. I want to be so close with God that I know His heart and can reflect His love to others. As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” That is the God we serve, a God of all comfort who we can cling to tightly despite what we have gone through or what we have done. He desires us to come close to Him, and see whom He is. God loves you so much. My prayer is that this Father’s Day we all cling to the Father who has given us so much!

Happy-Fathers-Day

Happy Father’s Day to all dads out there!!!

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.

sleep

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!

trust

Thus Far

David

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.

Freshman

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.

Jordan and Me

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.

Otwell

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.

family

My family! We are BLESSED!!!

The Perfect Mom

perefect mom

I am not perfect. In fact most days I am not even that good. I spend more time on my phone and on social media than I would like. I get impatient with Abigail. I brush off her whines to be played with or held so I can finish that one load of laundry that just has to be done. I am selfish with my desires and time. Often at the end of the day I can see the moments I should have done things differently or had a better attitude or reaction to something that happened earlier in the day.

However, despite my imperfections I love being a mom. God blessed me with my daughter and she is my responsibility to raise, and I am thankful for this even on the hard days. Raising children is not easy. They need a lot of things and attention especially when they are young. I know the teenage years come with its own list of demands and worries as every new stage of childhood does, but right now I am in the infant, dependency stage. To think that God gave you children to raise is a huge honor and one not to be taken lightly. So often we forget the big picture as we struggle through the daily grind of dirt, feeding, and playing. We forget that we only have these little people in our lives for a short period of time before they grow up and leave our houses to build lives of their own. Babies do not keep. Babies become adults out in the world who have an impact for the good or for the worse. We all want our kids to be world changers and lights in a dark world, but are we modeling that in our homes everyday with our children now?

Motherhood is a blessing. Those little arms that reach around you at just the perfect time make your whole day better. Watching your children learn and discovery as their personalities bloom in front of you is a treasure in and of itself. Knowing that this little child will soon be replaced with a man or woman making their own decisions, makes you want to store every possible memory of them you can. Yes, days can be long between the complaining, whining, cleaning, and hunting for that lost shoe. But God gave us children to enjoy, to nurture, and to teach and He trusts us with that precious child each and every day. Motherhood not only shapes the child, but it transforms you too as you learn from those precious little lives about child-like faith, dependence, and brings you face to face with your own selfish desires. God uses motherhood to mold us as we mold our children after God.

children

Children are a blessing. I still remember the first day we went to listen to Abigail’s heartbeat at the OBGYN’s office. We were about 8 weeks pregnant. I had already been experiencing night sickness for about 3 weeks, but that tiny whoosing on the monitor made everything just stop for a moment. I wish that they could give every mom a recording of that precious sound. It is the sound of life. Children bring life into everything they touch. They bring joy and laughter and fun. The way they see things is astounding, and makes you realize how much the world influences you daily. Children find more joy and laughter in the simple things of life. They would rather play in the giant cardboard box than the new toy they just received. Children make life seem so simple, and they can teach us so much.

I know I am not a perfect mom, and I know I never will be. Mistakes happen, reactions will come out too fast, and time will be mismanaged. However, I want my kids to know that I was the best mother I could be. I want to be their mom that they love. I want them to know that they are loved and that we are so proud of them. I want them to know that the love God has for them trumps my love 100 fold. I want them to be children, and let innocence reign for as long as possible. I want them to feel safe in my arms, and know I will be there to support and encourage them all day, every day. I want my children to laugh and love. I want them to be different than the world, and shine in the darkness. I want them to know and understand the Truth and know God’s Word. I want my children to love one another and love others. I want them to not be afraid to be who God created them to be.

Today, I pray, not to be a perfect mom, but to be the mom Abigail needs. I pray that you will be the parent your child needs. Let us remember the big picture, that these children will not be children forever. God gives us these little lives only for a short time to raise, and then we send them out. But they are not alone! Our God who loves our children so much more than we ever could is with them every step of the way. Let us remind our children of that daily, and then remind ourselves of that even more. May your season of motherhood be blessed!

motherhood

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.

mary

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!

Image (4)

Transformation in the Waiting

You wait in check out lines. You wait on big news to come. You wait on deadlines and release dates. You wait on your husband to get home. You wait on your baby to arrive and you wait on them to fall asleep every night. Waiting is just a part of life. Some people are good at waiting and others are very impatient. While you are waiting what are you learning? Life is not always about the destination at the end, but about the journey on the way there.

“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:13-14

Jordan and I have been waiting for what seems like forever and we still have no clue what God is leading us towards. He has called us both into ministry, yet neither of us is anywhere close to that calling. When we first got married three years ago we were helping at a church with the youth group. We then moved to a part-time youth ministry positron, and then we moved here where we are not in any ministry. We have interviewed at countless churches and been told no more times than I’d like to admit. It’s tough knowing what your passionate about and what God has called you to, and yet not finding an open door to do that calling. I can only hope that God has something bigger out there than we could imagine, and this season is our time to prepare for what God has planned.

We are also still waiting on answers about Abigail. Why is she so far behind developmentally? Is there hope for her to talk and walk and be independent one day? This journey started when Abigail was two months old. We have waited on many different doctors to do many different tests. We have waited for MRI, EMG, EEG, and blood work results. All these point to the same answer – that Abigail is completely ‘normal’ on paper. So we wait. We wait for her genetics screen to come back. We wait for answers. We wait for her to determine if she is ready to advance or not.

We are living in a time of waiting. Waiting is not fun. We want answers as to why God has led us here and what He wants us to do. We want answers about Abigail and hope that things will be okay. But for now God has led us here – to this community, to this job, and to this child. We are trying to serve where we are because for now this is where God has us.  And as long as God has us here I want to be intentional with every moment. So many days I get caught up on the to do list I forget there’s a bigger world out there than just my own. I’m not sure how long God will have us here. It could be for 60 years or for two, but while we are here God is molding us and growing us. I can see it in my own life and in Jordan’s. We are growing up and learning so many things about our community and ourselves. We need to be here. We need this time to mature. We need this time of waiting to mold us into vessels God can use.

“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8

The Bible uses a lot of comparisons to pottery and a potter when it talks about God working on our hearts. I have a very special piece of pottery from when I worked at a camp one summer. It doesn’t seem like much of a pot from the outside, but our theme that year was about the Potter and the clay. During our worship night two leaders would sit on the stage and make a pot as worship music was played. It was beautiful picture that God is still working on you and me. As the girl made this particular pot it started to fall in the middle. She didn’t give up on it though. She just started reshaping it and now the line where it dropped gives this pot personality. That’s exactly what God does in our lives. When we mess up, when we choose what our flesh wants, when we fear and doubt His ways we feel like we are messed up and cannot be fixed. But our Potter takes his skilled hands and forms all our mistakes into beauty. He is a master Potter and what He designs is never wrong. So these times of waiting, while painful and long they may be, are necessary to make us into the vessels God needs to serve Him today. And to do that I have to stay moldable and in my Creators hands no matter how tough it may be. It hurts to be pressed and pounded into something new, but in the end I want to be a beautiful piece of pottery that my God is proud to display to the world around me.

IMG_6143

“Where do you want me to go?” That is what is written on my piece of pottery.

My Sufficiency

plenty

I am sitting here in my daughter’s bedroom waiting while she goes to sleep. My husband is out working. I am listening to the rainfall on the ground outside and the distant sounds of thunder. I have always loved storms. They are somehow calming to me, always reminding me of my God’s power and strength.

The God of the universe who controls the wind and rain sees little old me and loves me unconditionally. I fail often and I mess up even more. I have doubts and fears and failures. Yet, my God, my Lord and Savior loves me. He sustains me!

Many people wonder how I do it. How I stay so positive and uplifted as uncertainties and closed doors often come my way. Well, first of all, you do not see all the tears I shed at home and in my own private times. I try to be strong, but often I am not. I try to be brave, but often I am scared. I try to be hopeful, but often I doubt. I try to be joyful, but often I see only the negative. No, it is not me you see being brave, strong, and full of joy.

Those things come from God and Him alone. Without Him how lost I would be. He makes me brave. He gives me hope. He is my joy. He gives me strength to face tomorrow. God and I have become very close lately. I have tried to do it on my own before, and it has not gone well. I mess up relationships and cater to my weaknesses every time. But with God, the darkness and lies disappear and are replaced with light and Truth.

I am thankful we have a God who cares about us. Who listens to us and can supply our every need. He knows we cannot do life alone. He never meant for us to. That is why we were created – to find fellowship with God. He makes us sufficient, brave, bold, and joyful. He gives us love and peace beyond what we will ever understand.  Like a child who is hoisted up by his dad so easily to reach the counter, so our Father can pick us up and carry us when we cannot go on by ourselves. We simply must allow God to help us.

So it is not I with that brave face on ready to smile at the world. I could not do it alone. I am too weak and too scared to face life alone. My life is in God’s capable hands. He supplies all I need, and in Him I find goodness and life. I alone am not able to be the person God has made me to be. But in Him I find victory! He is all I need, my sufficiency. God gives me courage to tell our story and embrace life for all it is – the good, the bad, and the unexplained.


I mentioned that lies disappear when the Truth is at play. Here is some Truth I have found to disperse lies that entrap me at times:

 “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant…” 2 Corinthians 3:5-6

 “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory…” Ephesians 3:20-21

 “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together withal the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses all knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3