Saturday, May 31, 2008

Reflections of This Mother's Heart

It’s crazy that Parker Jane has been with us for over two weeks now. She has been quite a joy. Easy baby, at this point. I had one almost entirely sleepless night (last Monday) where the only sleep I got was during two different 30-minute periods. It was quite a night. She wasn’t super fussy, just wide awake and wanting to be held. Thankfully, she has not done that again. In fact, the last two nights, she has only woken up once during the night to eat. WHOO-HOO!!!! You don’t know how happy that makes me. I feel like anything I face during the day is manageable when I get that kind of sleep! The last two days have brought increasingly more energy to this mama. The first night she went six hours between a feeding, I thought it was a fluke, and I didn’t expect it to happen again last night. But when it did, I admit I’m starting to be hopeful that she’s begun a new habit that just might stick. I’m hoping very cautiously still. She’s starting to wake up a little more during the day, and it’s been fun watching her take everything in. Especially all that her brother is doing. Almost every morning this week, she’s had a long awake period where I’ve put her in her bouncy seat next to Jonah, and he’s talked to her and entertained her for quite a while. She’ll just watch him very intently. I love it. He’s all over her, very affectionate all the time. The hardest thing to get him to understand is that he doesn’t need to put his face against hers all the time! The girl appears to have some personal space issues, and he is not cooperative in that way. But I’m loving that he loves her so much. And generally, she responds well to his love. When it’s given at least a foot away from her face! I’ll post more pictures tomorrow. I don’t have my camera or cord with me right now. I confess I haven’t taken very many this week. Poor second child. But I’m going to get on it. She’s gaining back some lost chubbiness, and she graduated from newborn to size one diapers earlier in the week. She’s growing so fast!! =)

I’ve been reflecting on what I think about having a daughter. Honestly, it didn’t become real to me that she was a girl until I met her. I never expected to be given a daughter; I just didn’t. Thought I was more of a “boy mom.” Even though I happen to be pretty girly. Maybe my own girly-ness is what made me scared to have a girl and I don't know why I thought God would not give me one because of my fear. I should have known He'd want to make me face it! (And I'm ridiculously happy He did!!!) There are seasons of life that I so look forward to with having a daughter, but there are some that just thinking about for a second brings me to my knees! But as I’ve explored some of these fears and looked deeper into my heart to know why they exist, I’ve realized that the problem is really that I feel so much pressure. Pressure to model for her what a godly woman looks like. Obviously, the need to model holiness is just as strong when you have a son, but for some reason, Satan has had success in discouraging me in this area more with a daughter than with a son. Maybe the significance of my modeling of Christ is just harder to ignore now. I don’t know. But regardless of why the pressure feels stronger this time, it is something I have needed to deal with. The Lord has begun addressing the specific hang-ups I have in this area, and what I’ve found is that there exists in my heart this sense of personal failure. Future failure. A realization that I will let her down, that I will fall so short of the model I’m called to be for her. An acknowledgment that Parker’s mother is and will be a woman who deals with real-life heart issues and has her own set of struggles, insecurities, and failures. Now, it’s not like I didn’t know this already. We all know we’re not perfect. It’s pretty obvious. It’s just that Satan has bombarded me with these thoughts in such a way that I’m more bothered by it than I used to be. Perfection is something I will never be able to offer her. And to be just plain real, I hate that.

But the Lord has been so sweet to walk me through this.

I can tell He’s calling me out of that place. Because of Christ, things can be so very different. I don’t have to crumble under the pressure. Through reliance on the Lord, I don’t have to let Satan steal away any more of my joy or confidence. I keep coming back to the truth of the book of Hosea (my go-to book of the Bible when I’m struggling to walk in grace) that tells me all about the sweetness of Christ’s redemption and the beauty that its restoration brings. As I’ve been applying those truths to various situations in my life, I’ve been experiencing His healing touch in a number of areas where I’ve been living with deep heartache. This year has brought several opportunities for it, and the ache has been so real. I have dealt with soul-longings and relational hurts that have brought about some deep security issues in my heart. Being in the midst of those and being told I would have a daughter had escalated the fear of raising her. But as I’ve allowed Him to touch those issues with His restorative love and grace, I have not only fallen more in love with Him but I am also assured of what is most important in terms of the kind of example I set for my daughter: that the best I can give her is to allow her to see in action the grace-story God has given me. I need to live it out before her. Not try to hide my failures from her. But to show her what it looks like for a broken heart to keep returning to the Lord for grace and healing. To teach her the power of a God who keeps loving on messed-up people. And I’m convinced that really is THE BEST I can give her or Jonah. Or anyone I come into contact with, for that matter.

I recently was reading someone’s blog entry and was struck with sadness when I realized that she was still in bondage over something difficult she faced a number of years ago. I was so sad for her because I really sensed that there was still lingering in her heart some anger and bitterness over this experience that happened so long ago. It led me to reflect on some of the more difficult experiences of my past, and I realized that the things that hurt me that many years ago are not things that still pain me today to the same extent. They’re things that I don’t even think about that much anymore. And as I contemplated why that is, I was overwhelmingly assured that it has everything to do with God’s healing grace in my life. I have no problems saying it: this is something I really know something about. When your heart and head have been as messed up as mine and you experience Christ’s restoration in such a powerful way, then you do too. Then you, too, have a grace-story. And His forgiveness of our past issues (or SIN, if we really want to get right down to it) works something like a shower door that gets all steamy. You can kind of see through it, but it’s all foggy and unclear. You see what happened in the past (He usually doesn’t erase your entire memory of it because He does want you to remember the lessons learned from it), but because He brought healing to that experience or situation, your vision of it is not quite so sharp. Your feeling of it not as intense. You know there was great pain, but it just doesn’t seem to sting in the same way anymore. One of the most beautiful things about God’s grace is that it both enlightens and blurs at the same time. I think time brings that kind of experience, IF you let healing run its FULL course. When you stop short of experiencing complete healing grace, or if you follow Satan’s lead to return to the pre-healing state of your heart, then you are bound to experience bondage. Real captivity of heart. And you’ll miss out on a lot of abundant life you were meant to have. Thinking about how God really redeemed some painful experiences of my life as well as ungodly decisions has reenergized me to fight these insecurities I’m facing now. Remembering how He has delivered in the past is what compels me to address these feelings of failure and not get tripped up by them. If God has said anything to me this last week, it’s been, “Stop. Stop thinking that way. Just STOP it!” So I’m going to stop. I don’t want to go down the road that nurturing self-deprecating thoughts will most surely take me. I really don’t want to go there. It’s totally selfish. It’s taking attention away from the God who can work wonders in a soul and already has. He deserves more credit for what He’s done in my life, and to let myself keep thinking that He won’t keep doing it (showering grace for me to daily walk in) dishonors His glory in such a profound way. It’s like a betrayal of my praise. So while I’m stopping that thinking, I also recognize that it will take work. It just will. I’ll need to work through these debilitating thoughts that plague me one-by-one, and it might be a tedious process that takes longer than I want it to. But I will do the work necessary to replace those thoughts with truth. Truth says that the grace-story He gives me is way more important than my efforts toward an image of perfection, and Truth says that the healing He desires to continually bring to me is more effective and life-giving than a mindset filled with self-disgust that never turns to Him for help.

So, yes, having a daughter has already brought about some challenges! Challenges to my own heart, that is. I know that God desires for parenting to be such a refining process; it’s just been getting really personal here lately! And I am thankful. I want Him to take me to a deeper place with Him and teach me to live in His grace more, and I know I want it because I see how much I want it for my kids. And while God isn’t limited in what He can do in their lives, I sure am. I won’t get to be the one who leads them there if I haven’t gone there myself. And what real and lasting joy will be found in the role of motherhood apart from that?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sweet P

Wow, already one week and one day. We're still alive! And happy! Here are a couple of my favorite pictures from the last couple of days. Love the frog hiney:

And what a sleeping position:

Here are the stats for Parker Jane: She was born at 12:31pm on Friday and was 20" long and 8 pounds, 7 ounces. (Although they said she was probably a few ounces more since they waited a while to weigh her and she had already used the bathroom twice when they did!)

As for my labor story....(don't read if you don't like birth details) I was given pitocin at 6:10am and the doctor came in at 7:30 to break my water. I didn't feel a thing (although I was told my contractions began right away) for another hour. Then they started coming fast. But not hard. Y'all, my contractions were not hurting very badly at all! It was the weirdest thing. They hurt, but they didn't seem to last long. With Jonah, I don't remember ever having "breaks" in between contractions. I knew that breaks in between were how it was supposed to be, but my experience was that it just hurt constantly. It was so totally different this time! It was so bearable being able to breath in between, and most of my labor was back labor which was a little better because I could lift up on the sides of the bed when a contraction came and feel some relief when pressure was taken off my back. That wasn't doable with "front" contraction pain. I was dilated to a 4 whenever the doctor broke my water so I knew I could get an epidural at any point I wanted. But I just didn't think I could have progressed much more due to the low level of pain as compared with my first delivery, so I held off (and they held off increasing my pitocin because they were coming fast but not too painful). I hurt more at a 4 with Jonah than I did at any point this time. But my nurse (who I really want to send a gift to and ask her to be my friend - she was AMAZING) told me that she could tell that we weren't too far from delivering and if I wanted an epidural, I would probably miss my window of opportunity if I didn't go ahead and get one now. So I took her word for it. And I am so glad I did. After getting my epidural (at 11:10am), the couple of contractions I felt before the epidural took effect were much much more painful, so I was really glad I got it when I did. Especially when they checked me a few minutes later and I was dilated to an 8! The rest just happened super fast. By noon, they said she was coming. They could see she had two inches of hair. They called my doctor and said if he wanted to deliver this baby, he'd need to literally run to the hospital. (His office is located on an adjacent corner from the hospital). I wasn't feeling any pain, but I could feel the pressure of her getting close, and they told me not to put my feet in the stirrups yet or she might come out with the next contraction. So my doctor rushed in out of breath, having RUN from his office, and had me push one time and Parker's head was out. He then told me to wait for the next contraction and she would come out on her own with maybe a gentle push. Really, it was weird having him tell me, "Push gently...gentle...more gently...GENTLE!" What doctor says that to a delivering mom?!! It was a bizarre experience, that's for sure. I felt guilty when people told me good job because I really didn't do a thing! Parker just came out on her own! And I am glad she did.

So, yes, it was quite easy. But before you hate me, please remember that I'm a girl who throws up (or has to take anti-throw-up medicine) for over two-thirds of the duration of my pregnancies. Does that make it a little less enviable? And I'm sorry for those who have the throwing up AND the bad deliveries. So so sorry. Tell me about it, and I'll sympathize. And maybe buy you a caramel frappuccino out of guilt.

But I sure liked my labor story this time, I must say!

We've had a great week. Parker really is a different kind of baby than Jonah was. Who Jonah was on his first day of life is who he was at 1 month, 2 months, and so on throughout his infancy. He never ate at anytime other than every three hours, he ate the same duration of time every single time, and filled his diaper ten minutes into feeding every single time. He was quite a man of routine from the very beginning! Parker, on the other hand, keeps us guessing. Which is totally fine. She does not have to have it all figured out yet. I don't mind. There is plenty of time for a schedule later on. But she goes about 3 to 3.5 hours at night between feedings and anywhere from 2 to 3.5 hours during the day. She's had bad diaper rash, and she's had some issues with bad gas and fussiness at night. She had a rough time on Tuesday night, not going to sleep until 3am. We could tell her stomach was hurting her badly, so that was hard to watch. There's so little you can do for them when they have gas. Joel did make a 2:30am drugstore run for Mylicon that night like any superstar-dad would. She had another fussy time last night, although not as long or intense, and didn't go to sleep until after midnight. She's been eating and falling asleep but waking up after being in bed just a few minutes. Usually, the culprit is hiccups. (I can't believe the biggest challenge we're facing is hiccups. They're beating us every time. Is there anything we can do for hiccups?!! They seem to interrupt her beauty sleep, and mine, quite often.) And the most common remedy for her difficulty in falling/staying asleep at night, I must admit, is daddy rocking her or letting her go to sleep on his chest. Great habits to start, I know. But again, there will be time later on to correct that. So, later on when we're working to "correct" that and it's hard and we have attachment issues, remind me that I did ask for a cuddly baby this time. I'm pretty sure she's going to be that type of baby. She LOVES to be held. She'll be screaming her head off and the second you pick her up, she's amazingly calm and quiet. She can turn it on and off so fast! We could count on one hand the number of times Jonah had real tears during the first few months of his life. His cry was just a screaming one. And it wasn't often. Her cries contain immediate, streaming tears. I'm already seeing the emotional differences in a boy and girl! Or at least in my boy and girl. She's far from predictable, but we are learning more and more of who she is every day, and I'm thoroughly loving the process. Seeing God's creativity in His design of individuals is just mesmerizing.

Thanks y'all for your kind words of welcome to our little girl!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Four Days Old

I can't believe we have a four-day old baby! In some ways, it seems like Parker has just always been here! How weird is it that I find it hard to remember what last week was like...with just three of us. Our family life just has just a sense of completeness right now. We're just loving our new family member like crazy. Jonah has been sweet with her. Unfortunately, the last couple of days, he's had a runny nose and cough, so it's been hard getting him to keep his germy self off of her! He wants to give lots of hugs and kisses. And we're working on "gentle." He's getting there. He's definitely trying to figure out what we all think of him and how things are or aren't different. He's working hard for attention and approval. Thankfully, for now it's by trying to be extra good and obedient! But he's definitely much clingier and desiring more affection. But it's like he's scared to do anything bad because he wants our approval so badly right now. We want to be careful with how we respond to's weird seeing those typical "firstborn traits" show up so very quickly after the change from only child to firstborn of two children! The real test of how he's doing with the transition will come when Joel goes back to work. Presently, Jonah doesn't want daddy doing anything without him!

As for Miss Parker herself, we've had a great few days! Her first two nights at home, she woke up every three hours to eat. Like clockwork. She slept solidly in between. And last night, she went over three hours between nighttime feedings and almost four hours one time. I'm liking that. She's been mostly sleepy during the day. And I know that's normal for newborns, but Jonah didn't sleep at all as a this is new for us! When awake, she's been very happy and content. She's only had a couple of fussy periods, due to gas, that have lasted about 30 or 40 minutes. One of them was yesterday when our friends, the Jenzes, were over visiting. Poor Jon thinks it's his fault since he was holding her when the crying began. Will someone please tell him he can't give a baby gas! =) But other than that, she's been easy breezy at this point.

I'm feeling really good. My delivery was pretty easy (I'll save that story for another post) and recovery hasn't been bad at all. We were home from the hospital shortly after noon on Saturday. I've had very little pain. Except for this horrible arm and shoulder pain associated with my rhogam shot. I've heard this kind of painful reaction can happen, but my rhogam shots have never hurt like this. That part has not been fun. But I'm really thankful for my mom who has come over the last few days early in the morning and stayed most of the day, cooking meals for us, keeping the house clean, doing laundry and ironing, helping with kiddos, allowing me some nap time here and there, and just being available to help in whatever way I need help. It's a HUGE blessing. She'll be helping us all week, as we need her, and Joel has one more day off this week. I've LOVED having him home these last few days. He may be getting a little stir crazy though! Between both of them here, it's been a lot easier. We've just been hanging out and enjoying time with friends and family visiting. It's been a very good week. I'm tired, but I can't say it's been stressful at all.

And now for more pictures...

Coming home from the hospital:

And here are a few of the pretty girl the last couple of days:

I can't get over how gorgeous she is! I kiss those cheeks a billion times a day and I love how intense her eye contact is. I could stare into them all day. She's just perfect. And my heart has filled so fast with dreams for her life and for our relationship and for our whole sweet family. I am blessed.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Few More Pics

Love this can see her five chins. =)

A nurse is in the room right now and was listening to Parker's heartbeat. Jonah asked what she was doing to his sister. He asked if she was going to put Parker back in Mommy's tummy. I guess he thought that was an option. Which might make for some interesting conversations to come.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Our Newest Love

Meet Miss Parker Jane!!!

Thanks for your prayers!!! Everything was/is GREAT! We love our little cupcake. Will post more pictures soon. Just have one good one for now....I thought this one would show you her two most noticeable features: her long dark hair and her chubbiness! She is so rolly-polly! =) Need some rest right now, but I'll post more soon.

Monday, May 12, 2008

3 1/2

Oh, elusive 4 centimeters...where are you? I'd sure like to see you by the time I go into the hospital Friday morning. It would make lots of things easier if you showed up by then...things like epidural timing decisions. I'd like that. For now, I am happy to have heard the doctor say a number other than "3" though. Cause 3 1/2 is soooo much better.


This has been a good week. I'm just trying to clean the house - but not too fast that it all gets messed up again before I go to the hospital at the end of the week. I'm trying to go slow enough to avoid that but still get the task completed in time. It's a delicate balance. One that I haven't mastered yet. Ever. But I'm still trying. And I'm loving the sweet time I've been able to have with Jonah this last week. He's been so much fun, and I feel so blessed by the great time we've had to share. We're going to try to squeeze in one last zoo trip before Parker arrives, amidst all the crazy schoolchildren there on their crazy field trips. Unless, of course, those are your kids, in which case....they are not the crazy ones. I'm talking about different crazy schoolchildren at the zoo. Yours are nice. But most of the schoolchildren taking over the town during the month of May scare me. It's a little much for a 9-month-pregnant mama and a toddler to handle. So I'm bringing in the local grandmother as back-up for this zoo trip. Should be fun times. Then, the rest of the week includes running a few last-minute errands and trying to rest up as much as possible. I already feel pretty checked out of a lot. Someone asked me at church on Sunday what my original due date is, and I had to refer to a friend next to me because I couldn't remember and I knew she would know since she had the same due date with her daughter last year. That's bad. That date has been constantly on my brain for the last 8 months until last week when I received an induction date. In less than a week, I had already forgotten the date I had pondered every single day throughout my pregnancy. I wonder...if my brain comes back, will I even recognize it? It's been so long. Oh no...what if it doesn't return but I am under the impression that it has? Will you tell me? Or let me go on living under the assumption that I'm normal? I'm not entirely convinced which would be a better way. You decide.

I'm sleepy, so I must now make the announcement I got on here to make. I don't know how I got so off-track. an effort to make things simpler for the friends who will kindly be communicating to people our baby delivery news when it happens on Friday, we'll just post info and pictures on the blog as soon after Parker's birth as possible. A secondhand mass email will not go out to everyone...I figured that those of you who are semi-regular readers of this blog will be able to check in here to find the news at your convenience. Sound like a plan? I knew I could count on you.

Thanks, everyone, for sharing in this journey. You have played a sweet role in this time of anticipation of our little girl - through your encouraging comments, excitement, wisdom, and prayers! I treasure it.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day Thoughts

There are several random things I'm thinking and feeling about this Mother's Day:

I am thankful for my own mother, who led me to my Savior and has taught me so much about the Lord, all the while modeling selfless love and generous service. And she has loved my child so purposefully - I know she "grandparents" his heart in the same way I desire to "parent" his heart: in a way that nurtures his understanding of the Heavenly Father. And that fills my heart with joy.

I am grateful for the woman who mothered my husband. He's a good one, and I'm glad she gave birth to him!

I can't help but think of all the people I know who long to be mothers and are still waiting for God to answer their heart cry. The faces of several women I know in that position have been running through my mind today, and I want to recognize their pain. I hope they escape much hurt and insensitivity from others this Mother's Day. I feel the same sadness for those whose mothers aren't on earth anymore. I am saying prayers for God to give these women a special portion of grace today, making their journey through this valley somehow sweeter, turning sadness into some sort of celebration, as only He can supernaturally do.

I am immensely thankful for my own experience of being a mother. It has been a remarkable gift...its joys are indescribable and even its challenges are rich in purpose and significance. I can't believe my sweet Jonah will turn three years old in less than a month! What an amazing three years of motherhood. His life blesses me so much more than I ever would have thought possible. I am also thankful for the life of his sister, as we prepare to meet her. I also find myself thankful for another child of mine that I did not get to know on this earth, reveling in the perspective, growth, and joy that has come from such a difficult journey. My experience as a mother has not been long on time, but, my, how full my cup feels already.

As fun as it is to have a special day to commemorate the special gift that mothers are
and how nice and appreciated it is for husbands and children to honor the moms of their families, I am reminded of a sweet truth today. One that I am most thankful for. However much or little recognition we receive here on earth for our service as mothers really isn't as significant as I once thought. I am so glad my worth does not come from my role as mother (or anything else). I am also glad that we don't have to measure our success by the level of appreciation and admiration we receive from those around us. Their view of our mothering is not what makes us who we are. Our identity is found in Christ. Alone. Not in gifts or cards or special demonstrations of love given on a particular day. Or the lack of them.

New Addiction

Sorry for the lack of postings this week. I had written a really long post one night and realized it was really late so I had better wait to publish until the next morning when I would be able to tell if it made any sense or not. I don't know if anyone else has to do that, but I just can't rely on my usage of the English language at certain times of the night. Upon re-reading it the next morning, I realized how very boring it was. I wrote it and I thought it was boring, so I'm sure you would have thought the same. I was writing about my new addiction as of the last week or so: grocery coupons! I have learned a few new "tricks" recently about saving money on the grocery bill, and while I've tried using coupons before in an effort to save money on groceries, I have never been that successful. I'm realizing what all I had done wrong. I'm learning about new savings opportunities and resources, and I'm just having a blast with it. Two weeks ago, I was completely overwhelmed by the prospect of implementing some of these money-saving strategies, not thinking it was possible to do it well at this stage of my life. It takes too much time, I thought! I'm already not very skilled with time-efficiency. But it's a miracle! I'm doing it! I'm really doing it! And while I'm an amateur and have just begun, I've already seen incredible savings on my grocery bill. And that is such a thrill. I was telling friends, it's like working out...once you start seeing some results from your fitness efforts, it becomes so much easier to make time to go to the gym. Similarly, I have found plenty of time to plan and prepare for these grocery trips, and the savings I'm seeing just drives me to save more and more! It's like I've been in competition with myself all this week, trying to get better and better at this. And if I were completely honest...a competition with my mother too! She's queen of this, and I'd like to find one great deal or bargain...just ONE....that she doesn't already know about! That will be quite a challenge. So, that's what's been occupying much of my brain these last couple of weeks. I decided this time to spare you all the details of what these strategies actually are, but trust me, if you're interested, you can let me know and I'll be happy to share! Because it's exciting to me! And if I can have success in this area (with my struggles in the areas of organization, time management, details-orientation, productivity, and being the most physically tired this week than I can remember), anyone can!

And for those of you who have been asking to see nursery pictures,'s still not ready. But I'll give you some sneak peaks. I'm waiting on the rest of the bedding for the daybed (someone is making it and should have it ready pretty soon), some baskets to go under the crib for storage (because right now it just looks junky with all this stuff thrown under there), and I have one whole wall that is empty. I have a few ideas for the wall but haven't decided exactly what I want, but I think it won't be decorated until long after she's here because that wall might include pictures of her. But anyway, here's what the bedding looks like:

And my sweet friend Ame hung Parker's letters on the wall this week for me. I can't explain it, but it seemed too overwhelming of a task for me. God bless her servant's heart! She's great at making stuff like that look pretty. Much prettier than I could do, that's for sure!

And here's a glimpse of some of the fabric for the daybed:

It's been fun this week hearing of exciting news from a couple of friends: Alissa and Angela. I'm thrilled for them that God is adding new life to these families. Girls, I'm praying!

Monday, May 5, 2008


I had another doctor's appointment today, and while there weren't any new signs of physical progress, I did leave with an induction date! I am scheduled to be induced on Friday, May 16th if Parker hasn't arrived before. Though the protein levels in my urine were down, he still wanted to be cautious and deliver a week early so as to hopefully avoid toxemia developing right at the end. He says it's like my body is just trying to develop it, but it's been slow. So we'll keep watching for it, but things look good. Anyway, I'm excited about the 16th! I think it will be a great day to have a baby. It will allow for Joel's mom to be there when we're in the hospital because she won't be able to make the birth if it was in the middle of the week because of work. So that would be great! While I won't be terribly depressed if my baby comes right now, I am definitely now hoping that she holds on until the will make a lot of things easier with planning, family traveling, etc. But I feel like she'll hang on until then. And I do have a few more things to get done around here! I had several random things to blog about, but my head is now spinning in tiredness and I don't know that I can construct one more sentence that makes sense. So you'll hear from me again soon. Depending on if and when my brain shows up.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Rest of the Week

Well, last week was fun and full. The first few weeks of May are just full of activities for us...we've had a bunch of church things going on, which has been great. I've realized that I really enjoy my husband's job! I've always been happy to be a minister's wife, but when we were first married, my role in that looked a lot different than it does now. He started out in college and singles ministry, and I loved being a part of that. My role in ministering to the college girls at our church then was clear to understand and was something I was very passionate about, in a ministry that my husband and I participated in very much together. Joel's current role is in small groups ministry, adult education, with involvement and leadership in several other areas of church ministry as well. It's such a perfect fit for him, he enjoys it a lot, and I enjoy that he enjoys it! It just doesn't come with a tag-along role for me. Which is fine. I wasn't hired; he was. But I'm just saying it was a big transition for me when he moved away from college ministry. What my own personal ministry looked like changed so much. I haven't stopped to think about it a ton in the last couple of years, in terms of how I feel about my role transition, because it has been so clear that God has led my husband to the perfect place of ministry for this season in our lives and maybe always. But there have been times I've struggled to understand my place in it and what my support of him needed to be. Because his needs for support (in his ministry) are way different than they were in the beginning of our marriage. Anyway, I'm saying all of this because this weekend has been pretty full of church activity and we've had numerous "events" to do, and it just hit me this week how much I LOVE where we are and what my husband is doing. The role for me is different, yes, but I realize how comfortable I've become with that. I've been blessed to be given this time where my support of him happens mainly within our home and, on occasion (like what happened a lot this weekend), I get to participate with him in all the church things. And that may just include attendance sometimes. Not actual sharing of leadership. But I'm becoming increasingly ok with that. It also frees me up to explore other opportunities God has in store for me and to really have time to seek where God wants to develop new ministry for me. I don't know if y'all feel this way sometimes....but there's just this feeling I get when I sense God about to do something new in my life, or that He's working to bring a new realm of ministry to me. And that's what I've been seeking lately. Clarity of vision. I feel like I'm in the beginning stages of something new, but I don't really know what that new thing is just yet. He's just starting to stir some things around in my heart to shift my burden and passion to a new need. And I'm liking it. It is exciting to me to know that He's doing something...and that I don't even have to have it all figured out right now. But thoughts of it, however vague, have been running through my head this week.

One of the more exciting things of the week though was that my friend Shelly had her baby Wednesday evening, and oh my goodness, did it ever make me more ready to have Parker here!! Congratulations to Michael and Shelly on the arrival of Piper Reese! Here is the beautiful mama with her beautiful baby (and her jealous friend!) -

I was at the hospital with her a couple of different times, and I thought it would be such perfect timing for my water to break while I was there. I would already be there, I could be there at the same time as a friend, and I even saw my doctor already at the hospital one of those times. How convenient that would be! But God didn't agree with me. My water stayed unbroken. And my uterus non-contracted. But I know His timing really is perfect, and as excited as I am to meet my little girl, I am enjoying these last days with just Jonah. He's been pretty sweet lately.

By the way, he had his first opportunity to take cover from a tornado on Friday morning. Jonah and I were at home and when the sirens went off, we pulled a mattress into our hallway and had quite the little adventure. It really was exciting to him. He keeps talking about "tornader storms" as he calls them, even though he has no clue what a tornado really is. In his mind, it just seemed fun and exciting and different for us to sit in the dark in our hallway with a mattress! I always learn something when I take time to see things through his little perspective - I love that he had no idea to be afraid of a big storm. We so often learn fear, but I love that he didn't really know to be fearful yet. I'm not ignoring the existence of the sin nature, but a lot of times we base our reactions on how we see others respond to a circumstance or experience and through that, we formulate our ideas of what is normal . And through the whole (short) experience in the hallway Friday morning, I realized how much responsibility God has given me to model TRUST to my child. And how powerful that example really is. I just wonder how many times I miss those opportunities and I let him learn worry and fear from me instead. Well, speaking of the precious guy, he needed to be put down for a nap about 45 minutes ago, and I think his mommy needs one too!