Monday, June 24, 2019

Henry is ONE

Oh sweet Henry, how I prayed for you. I prayed for you from the moment we knew you were growing inside of me. We prayed for a long healthy pregnancy. We started doctor appointments immediately and came up wth a medical plan to try and prevent early labor. But the countless doctor appointments, medicines, and shots couldn’t alter what the Lord intended. You came early in to this world like a champ and we watched you fight to survive and defy odds most days you were here. I pleaded with God to allow me to be your mommy on earth, if only for a little while longer. I pleaded with God to shield me from this pain again...but after 7 days I had to say goodbye. This past year has been hard without you here, very hard. Although I had experienced this loss with your sister, the oh so familiar pain was unbearable at times. 

So sweet boy, while I struggled all night to sleep and even more so to put some words together to honor you, I can’t help but be filled with gratitude.

I am grateful for my week. 

I am grateful to have gotten to hold you. 

I am grateful to have been able to change your diaper and kiss your sweet feet. 

I am grateful to have been able to sing to you.

And as much as my heart ached, I am grateful that I was able to rock you to Jesus. 


I am grateful to have had a week with you even if it meant losing you. You will always be my little boy...happy 1st birthday Henry! I love you sweet boy! My mama heart just knows you and Berkley are playing and dancing with Jesus. 

See you soon, 

Mama





Thursday, June 6, 2019

Pain and Growth

One year ago today I went for my weekly doctor appointment to check on baby Henry. Every week I got a shot and every week I saw an OB. At my previous appointment everything was fine and healthy so I had no reason to believe that anything was going on. Within a few hours I was admitted to Floyd with pre-term labor. I was 22/5. After the results of my two prior pregnancies, I was well aware of what the odds of a healthy baby were and terrified of the pain and heartache I was about to face. My entire body shook from the moment I was told to go to the hospital. My mind jumped from scenario to scenario for the next 3 weeks of bed rest. With each ultrasound I feared the worst, when my water broke I knew it was the end, and when Sadie cried missing me at home the guilt was so bad I vomited. Some moments were a blur and some moments so clear, i wish I could forget them.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year. In a few short weeks we will celebrate his 1st birthday and one week later be reminded of the last breath he took. It has been a hard year, no doubt, and it hasn’t passed peacefully without pain, doubt, anger, or emptiness but it has also been a year of growth and Hope....

Have you ever seen a weed growing up in the concrete? Like one tiny twig sticking up between breaks in concrete that you immediately want to spray with weed killer? I saw one this morning and was given this nugget...Good things can grow in hard places and sometimes the hard places stimulate the growth. I know this because I’ve lived it. I know this because God leaves us examples in scripture of growth from hard places. It is not always a pleasant process, in fact it often may look like a weed sticking out of place in the concrete but it doesn’t negate the growth. The circumstances we are in have nothing to do with the perfection of the gifts God has given us or will give us during the hard seasons.

“For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,”

‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭4:4‬ ‭

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

‭‭James‬ ‭1:17‬ ‭


So while I’m coming up on a hard anniversary and while the season I’m celebrating ended in devastation. While there are still days of extreme grief and overwhelming emptiness, it doesn’t make sweet Henry any less than a perfect gift from God. Even the hardest of days don’t take away the memories of one week on earth, or 25 weeks of belly life. 


Good things can grown in hard places.

Hard places don’t negate perfect gifts from God.

Amen and Amen. 🙌🏼 



Side note: it was raining and I was late so stopping my sloth like moving morning child to take a picture was less than optimal....so I googled an image for the post.  🙄🤷🏼‍♀️




Sunday, June 2, 2019

Missing God-Spired moments

I am so God-spired at the beach, y’all. Something about no schedule and late nights, I really allow God to speak through the smallest of things. My last post was God-spired but also kicked off by my sweet mama saying “well if that doesn’t sound like your next blog”...I love my sweet mama, she gets me. Sometimes I forget to pay attention to the God-spired moments and people like my sweet mama remind me to pray about it so I can be led with His spirit. Sometimes I forget that He has blessed me with the gift of gab and that I must pay attention to the nuggets of wisdom that He gives me through my sweet girl.  Being at the beach I seem to be more aware of these moments but tonight, I almost missed a God-spired moment again...🙄🤷🏼‍♀️ I blame exhaustion.

We were out hunting shells while Sadie was literally chasing the pink sky, and I noticed she kept dropping tiny shells in my bucket. I couldn’t hear what she was saying each time she put one in the bucket so I just smiled as she ran around finding more. When I asked her what the shell was she said “it’s a butterfly shell and we have to keep them. It’s important”. 

Everything is important to this precious 3 year old so my first thought was that I would just rid them when she wasn’t looking because they are tiny and they’re too small. But that’s when God was like “hello Lauren, just because you can’t see the beauty doesn’t mean someone else can’t”. Such an elementary concept, right? Turns out this “butterfly shell” is called a Coquina...a tiny clam shell. They are like the size of your fingernail. It has two holes on each side, smart folks call them siphons but us common folk would say “tiny hole”. One takes in food and oxygen while the other dumps waste. The shells she was finding are open and look like a butterfly. I guess the tiny clam has come out and all that’s left are the open shells....I don’t really know, but from what I understand they are basically temporary houses for the tiny clam. So as far as their purpose, they’ve served it. But let me tell you something, through those sweet butterfly shells God taught me an old lesson. Much like we are taught about having  a “child like faith”, I saw that the beauty my child sees is way different than mine. Her perspective isn’t jaded like mine. So what I may see as too small to matter or waste, she sees as a butterfly. We adults are so jaded by the world, distracted by our stressors, and worried by obligations that we often miss the beauty that our sweet little ones see. I saw a purpose filled, washed up shell become beauty to a 3 year old. I was not only taught a lesson on beauty and perspective, but quickly reminded that no matter where we are in life, how purpose filled we feel, how worthless or washed up we may think we are, God can still use us. 

God has purpose for our pain, healing in His name and He works all things together for good.

Praise Hands for that! 🙌🏼






Tuesday, May 28, 2019

I don’t trust you in this ocean..

Sadie: ((screaming and climbing up my leg)) I’m scared of the ocean mommy — hold me!! 

Me: Kat baby, do you trust me to keep you safe?

Sadie: yes ((crying))

Me: ((takes off sunglasses)) Look in my eyes baby, trust me in the ocean. I won’t let you get hurt. 

Sadie: Yes but not right now in this ocean ((crying, running from water))


Out of the mouth of babes, right? Well maybe it’s out of the mouths of adults too...believing, Jesus loving adults.

How often do we —adults—say this? How often do we post and profess our trust in God, while not trusting Him with our current circumstances? If you’ve been in church for any amount of time you’ve probably heard a pastor or leader say something to the effect of if you can trust Him with your eternity, you can trust Him with your now. It’s preached, there are memes, we say it to others, we post it on social media, yet we hold on to our hardest moments like He isn’t big enough to handle it, like He doesn’t already know what we’re going through. 

—————

Because from the beginning...


““Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.””

Jeremiah 1:5 NIV


“From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.”

Psalm 22:10 NIV

————

In the middle...


“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;”

Proverbs 3:5 NIV


“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28 NIV


“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3 NIV

—————

Until forever...


“I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.”

Job 19:25 NIV


“Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.”

Isaiah 26:4 NIV

————


He tells us in scripture to trust. He gives us direction from the beginning. It’s so hard to trust His plan when things aren’t going according to ours. It’s easy to trust when we graduate, when we find our “soul mate”, when we have beautiful children, when they succeed, when our career takes off, when finances seem to be in order, when everyone is healthy. Yeah, that’s the good stuff life is supposed to be all about, right? But what happens when we can’t afford school, we are single or heartbroken, our children struggle, we can’t have children, we are let go from our job, lose our home. How do we react when things don’t go according to our perfect idea of life? I bet you that even the most saintly of people struggle in these times. Even the most profound pastor, speaker, leader, teacher you know will fall when faced with disappointment and failed life expectancies. We are human. We are bound to fail. We are not only bound to fail but bound for Hell without Jesus. I have never “questioned” the goodness of God and have always known that His plan was greater than mine. But with that being said, I have also had hard seasons. Seasons of deafening silence, seasons of questioning why, seasons of struggles behind the scenes and seasons of lonely emptiness where I longed for things to be according to my plan. 

So when Sadie says I just don’t want to trust you in this ocean, I get it. I feel that deep because I live it. Its in these times we have to rely on scripture we know, believers we trust, and prayer to survive whatever season we are in. Some seasons are gut wrenching but we have to remember that they are just that, seasons. The only thing that is forever is Jesus and that is why we must trust Him in the ocean. 








Friday, May 17, 2019

Almost a year...countdown to heartbreak








The six weeks following this post were easily the most emotionally draining weeks of my life. We went from an extremely healthy pregnancy to confusion, fear, trauma and loss very quickly. 
I am both thankful and heartbroken when I see these memories pop up. I am thankful for the time I carried him. I am thankful for the 7 days I had with him while also heartbroken that it was only 7 days. See, grief and joy run hand in hand when I think about Berk and Henry. The beauty of my relationship with Christ is that I can both grieve their loss while resting in assurance that His JOY never leaves me. Praise Hands for that 🙌🏼
#momof3 #only1yousee

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Thy Will Be Done

When Facebook showed me my memories this morning, I was flooded with emotions. It was this day we gave him a name. It was this day we started anticipating the future with a little boy. This day was special. On this day, so many people loved on us and helped us celebrate baby Henry. I am ashamed to say these emotions got the best of me and I began this day with sadness, frustration, guilt, sorrow, regret, confusion, the list goes on...

But.GOD. 

Just as the service was starting today, my sweet cousin Tori sang one of my favorite songs. I knew she was singing it but I had no idea how badly I needed to hear the words. Not only did it freshen my perspective but also reassured me that God is in even the smallest of things. From the moment we found out we were pregnant, to the day we gave him a name, to the day my water broke, to the day he was born, to the day he passed and to the day Jody planned the music... almost 10 months later, when my heart would be shaking and I would need to hear “thy will be done”. It’s a hard prayer to pray and a harder prayer to live. Praise the Lord for the GRACE given to walk the prayer with a good good Father. #ThyWillBeDone #HeisGod 

#trust #allconsumingloveofGod 





Saturday, March 16, 2019

Sloth the Sloth

Sadie got a new stuffed sloth this week that she loves. I asked her if she had picked him a name yet and her answer struck a cord in me. She said “he doesn’t need a name mommy, he is a sloth so we call him sloth”.
Y’all...how profound, right? 

What if we acknowledged each other as “human”? What if we didn’t place unrealistic expectations on others or, wait for it, even ourselves? What if we simply called each other human, treated each other with the same level of kindness, didn’t expect perfection of each other or seek it for ourselves?

In my bible study we just finished talking about the fall. In Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree and realized they were naked, God asked them two questions...
Where are you?
Who told you?
Lysa T teaches that those two questions can mean so much more than the context we probably read them in. 

Where are you? In your depression, in your anxiety, in your sin...where are you? God is with you but where are you? 
Who told you? Who told you that you were naked, who told you that you were any less than a child of God? 

The truth is once sin entered, we realized we were less than perfect, “naked” in every sense of the word, but our hearts didn’t lose the desire to be perfect. We all know Christ conquered perfection for us so that we could have eternal life with Him but the thing is sometimes our hearts desire to be perfect keep us from embracing the “made perfect through Christ” mentality that we’re all taught in church. That’s when we start labeling ourselves and others. That’s when we start throwing around judgements about how others should or shouldn’t live their lives when the truth is we  all (Christians) are struggling with some form of sin. We start comparing sins and each other when the truth is if we spend our time in comparison we will always leave with disappointment. We will never be truly satisfied or made perfect without Christ.

We are all human. None of us are perfect. None of us are anything apart from Christ so what if we all acknowledged that?? If we could all extend the grace of that acknowledgment I think kindness would certainly spread. I think we could all take a lesson from Sloth the sloth. I am not “Lauren the (__)”, I am Lauren the human. The human who makes mistakes, sometimes learns from them and sometimes repeats them. The human who loves the Lord but sins. The human who lets people down and also builds them up. 
Each one of you reading this probably have a label you’ve placed on yourself or a label that has placed on you. We all need to remember that we are simply “>insert name<, human, made perfect through Christ”
Hebrews 10:14

It’s easy to type this and much harder to live it...I know this. I just really love the idea of sloth the sloth so I wanted to share...♥️