About Me

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I'm just a 28 year old woman that married the man of my answered prayers on July 18, 2009. We have our sweet Ella that was born in September of 2010 and our precious Charlotte that was born in February of 2012! On March 24, 2013, our first son was born, Josiah Warner. After a complicated pregnancy, he was born very prematurely and lived less than an hour before going to be with Jesus. Through life's ups and downs, I'm trying to figure out how to follow Jesus. I mean, really follow Jesus. The kind of following where things start to change. It's time to put action to the passion

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Beauty Instead of Ashes

"to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor." -Isaiah 61:3b

When we first moved into the house we are currently renting three years ago, there was this cute little flower bed near the front door. And, in this bed was a tall plant hanger. I immediately forgot about my black thumbs and decided I needed some "pretty flowers" to hang there. 

So, off to the store I went with John and Ella still in my belly. I decided that the dark purple flowers were pretty and they were already in baskets ready to hang. I couldn't wait to get home and hang those puppies up! As soon as we got home, that's exactly what I did. They were so pretty and I'm sure I must've squealed and/or clapped, which is my typical reaction when I think something looks just too perfect. 

As time went on, I did a crazy dance back and forth with these flowers. I'd forget about them and then see them browning, so I would frantically get a cup of water to revive them. But, it didn't take much longer until those pretty purple flowers went bye-bye. 

I've noticed that when your family is in a season of having babies, something usually gives. For some it's cooking, for some it's cleaning, for some it's the yard, for some (like us) it's a small bit of everything. Those poor pretty purple flowers were one of the things in our yard that totally bit the dust and we never looked back. 

Here is what makes you so glad to not have to be our neighbor...we are just classy enough to have kept the plastic hanging baskets on the plant hanger! Oh my word, I can't even contain my laughter as I sit here and think about how those tacky plastic baskets have hung there for three years with only the first few months of those three years even containing any flowers. 

What makes you even happier that you're not our neighbor or our family, is that my mother in law totally tried to help us out in the tacky area by filling the baskets up with pinecones from our yard. Ya know, trying to help us not look like the complete freaks of the whole city when most people around here have nice landscaping. 

So, there the baskets have sat. Full of pinecones for 2.5 years. Then, our sweet, precious, handsome miracle of a son, Warner lived on this earth for under an hour and went to be with Jesus. We were so incredibly blessed that family and friends dropped what they were doing to come into town to mourn with us. 

My father in law came into town as my mother in law was already. Our family always does way too much to help us when they're in town. I'm sure the plastic hanging baskets full of pinecones are no indication to them as to how much help we need...

But, my father in law mowed our lawn and trimmed our bushes while he was here. While trimming the bushes, he accidentally whacked one of the plastic pieces of the basket that was holding it up. John showed it to me the day after and I completely cracked up. 

But, here's reason #48 why you're happy to not be our neighbor, we have left the baskets hanging there STILL. Yes, I'll blame it all on the grief...the grief has just made it impossible to think clearly and I totally would've gotten rid of the now barely hanging plastic basket of classy pinecones. Yep, mmhmm...

But, just a few days ago, John and I loaded up the girls for our daily walk and there it was...

Beauty out of the ashes. 

All hope was lost. The container was falling apart. The pinecones threatened to choke out the beauty. But, when it's time for beauty to arise, there's nothing that can stand against it. 

No one in their right mind would ever expect hope to spring up in that flower basket. It had been neglected and forgotten about for years. There had not even been a glimpse of the possibility of a flower for 2.5 years. Even the basket was barely hanging on by the time the flower bloomed. But, even despite the container seemingly falling apart, at least it was still hanging on. 

We are still hanging on. I don't understand how beauty can spring up during the ugliest of situations. I don't understand how all of the surroundings can point to despair, yet hope takes its rightful place. 

I can assure you that it was no accident that those tacky plastic hanging baskets have hung full of pinecones for years. This day was coming just for me. That little purple flower spoke volumes of God's beauty, hope, and light in the middle of the darkest of situations. 

We have been praying and will continue to pray that Warner's life would shine the beacon of hope in Christ to a dark and ugly world. And, that little flower has proved just that hope. 

"He has made everything beautiful in its time." -Ecclesiastes 3:11a

Saturday, April 13, 2013

My God Gives

Where was God?

Where is He now?

Why must God keep taking things away?

God was there when my heart shattered on March 24th and I knew Warner was on the way. God held me together as I pictured baby boy sucking his thumb that we had just seen on the ultrasound that morning. God kept me from losing control and missing the one hour we had with Warner.

A tiny hospital room in the middle of Fayetteville, Georgia, became a sanctuary of God's presence on this Palm Sunday. While the whole rest of the world went about their business, we met our son. We met the son that we prayed fervently to not meet until the summer. And, my Jesus was there.

He showed up in even more grandeur than He did 2,000 years ago on that first Palm Sunday. No donkeys this year. But, a Savior that was willing to hold us together and carry my son to God. A Savior that, we believe, had His heart broken with us. A Lord that wept with us over what this broken world produces. Infection.
Premature labor.

But, my Jesus reminded the enemy again of where he's headed when all is said and done. Satan didn't win three weeks ago and he's not winning today. And, how he shook with anger at the truth that filled that hospital room, "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"

There is a God that intimately loves me, my husband, and all of my children. There is a Savior willing to carry you to God when all of the pieces are just so scattered that you don't feel presentable to a Holy God.

My Jesus is strong enough to hold you tight when this broken world hurts too much. He never intended for sin and death. But, our God is such a giver in nature that rather than taking away our very hope for life, He gave the very thing I lost 3 weeks ago. His only begotten Son.

My God does not look at my life wondering what thing He can take away from me to bring Him more glory. Oh my dear friend, on the contrary. My God has such an extravagant love for me that He gives and gives and gives. He's looking into your heart with the intent to give you life and to give it to you abundantly. Don't miss it.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bold Prayer and the Sovereignty of God

 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." -Jeremiah 29:11-13

The day we found out we were pregnant with baby Warner, we were so very surprised! For each of our kids, God gave me verses to pray throughout the pregnancy. So, I prayed on the very day we found out that God would give me those verses quickly this time around to help make the pregnancy more real to me. And, He provided quickly with Jeremiah 29:11-13 and little did I know how God prepared me even on December 10, 2012, for our sweet baby boy's life.

Not only has God continued to show me that He is good and never has an intent to harm us, He is a God that hears us pray. And, when we wholeheartedly seek Him as we pray, we find Him. There ended up being many Scriptures we prayed throughout this pregnancy, but I have always returned to this passage. I am in complete awe of God's faithfulness to go before us in ways that we can't even fully comprehend.

In several conversations with people, I've told them how I really do feel like I did everything I could for baby Warner. And, I add that I not only feel like I did everything physically I possibly could, I did everything spiritual that I could. We boldly prayed Scripture over little man every day, we battled the enemy through the authority given to us by Jesus Christ, I took my time on bedrest to study God's word in depth, we asked others to join us in prayer even with specific Scriptures to pray, and we ultimately believed, with faith even greater than a mustard seed, that God would heal me and Warner.

After sweet little man passed away, I was holding his little lifeless body and prayed with boldness and every inch of my being. I prayed asking God in complete faith and peace to rewind time and allowing everything to be okay with Warner. From the top of my head to the tip of my toes, I believed in complete faith that God was big enough to even rewind time and allow my son to live a healthy life on earth. A minute or two passed and Warner was still gone in my arms. There was an overwhelming, added sense of peace at the answer that God had not removed my cup of suffering

"And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”  And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.  And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground." -Luke 22:41-44

For the last several years, one of my go to prayers for my own walk and life with the Lord has been Philippians 3:10 

"that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,"

And, I can say that God has been answering those prayers. I feel like I am the closest I've ever been to sharing in His sufferings. I've also come to realize that there is really one ultimate goal as we boldly pray...we boldly pray to become more like Jesus. 

His sovereign will is so much higher, so much greater, and so much more peaceful than my own. There is no magic prayer, no lots to cast, no special sacrifice that can produce anything more amazing than asking for His will to be done and it happens.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts." -Isaiah 55:8,9