Monday, January 14, 2013

He Give and Takes Away; Blessed Be His Name

I don't know why certain things don't happen the way we planned them. I could get all caught up in asking, "Why?", but that won't really get me anywhere. Sometimes it just not for us to know. But, what I do know is that God's ways are not my ways (Isaiah 55:8). His plans for my life are not plans to harm me, but to give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). And He came so that I may have life and life abundantly (John 10:10).

Last week, I found out I was pregnant and then four days later it was confirmed that I had miscarried. It all happened so fast. At the first signs of trouble, I was praying and trying to speak life over the situation. I kept praying that this baby would live, but, clearly, that was not meant to be. It was devastating. My dream of how our family was going to grow was ripped apart. Our kids would have been 21 months apart, which was within my "ideal time frame." I was going to be due in September, so Alex and I would both share birthday months with one of our children.  It only took 4 months to conceive instead of 11 long months like it did with Natalie. I was going to pregnant at the same time as several close friends. But despite how perfectly it all seemed to have come together, God had other plans.

It was amazing to me how quickly peace and calm returned to me. I have wonderful friends and family that started praying at the first sign of trouble and God answered. If there's one thing that I learned while I was waiting to get pregnant with Natalie it is that God's timing is perfect. If right now isn't the time for us to expand our family, then that means that there is a time in the future that is better, and I'm ok with that. As much as I'd like to analyze the situation and pick the "perfect" month for our next child to be born so that there aren't ten other family events or holidays going on during the same month, in the grand scheme of things, that won't matter. I'm going to be thrilled when I find out I am expecting again and will greatly anticipate meeting that precious little one, whenever they will be born.

The thought that keeps occurring to me is abundant life. Abundant means abounding, rich, to have plenty. Despite what the circumstances around me are, I choose to live a rich life. I want it to be full-to-the-brim, spilling over and touching others so that they might find abundance, too. I want to be intentional with my time. That includes personal time, time with Natalie and Alex, friends, and other family. Life is too short to dwell on things that I cannot change and get stuck asking why certain things didn't turn out like I planned. I'm blessed beyond measure with an amazing family, a precious daughter, and abundant grace given by a sovereign Lord who loves me just the way I am. I am thankful to have gotten a good report from my doctor today that there is no reason to be concerned and we can go on planning our family without worrying about health complications.

"The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" Job 1:21 KJV

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Year That Flew By

Four days before Christmas, my precious daughter turned a year old. I still remember the details of her birth so vividly. The crazy 21 hour labor, holding her for the first time and thinking that she looked like Alex's mom, learning to nurse, the overwhelming flood of uncontrollable emotions, the car ride home as a family of 3 (well, 4 if you count the dog, whom we picked up from my mother-in-law on the way home!). Such cherished memories. Every single one.

Natalie Grace, on your first birthday, I want you to know:

You have given my life more meaning and fullness than ever before. I am so full of love for you, I must tell you I love you at least 20 times a day and give you twice as many hugs and kisses. I love walking into your bedroom first thing in the morning and seeing your grin light up the room from behind your pacifier. Seeing your smile makes all the sleepless nights and early mornings worth it.

Your favorite thing to eat for breakfast is bananas and you have already started to say 'nana' and point to them to let us know what you want. That's pretty adorable, too. Speaking of food, you love everything except eggs and have been really pigging out lately. Your daddy and I think you're going through a growth spurt.  (Here she is enjoying blueberry birthday pancakes - another big hit, surprise surprise!)

You have grown up so much in the past year and really have become a toddler before our wonder-filled eyes. Watching you rapidly scoot across the floor and then pull up and start walking never ceases to amaze me. You stay so busy going from room to room seeing what there is to explore. Currently, you enjoy playing with and trying to eat Layla's dog food, scavenging for leftover food on your high chair, watching Layla from the back door while she is outside and pulling food out of the pantry (are you noticing a recurring "food" theme here?). Your favorite activities include eating (obviously), being pushed around the house on your Fisher-Price school bus, story time, knocking down towers of stacking cups or blocks, wrestling with Layla, and dancing to music.

Your favorite food is probably more of a food "group" than one particular thing. You love sweets, but since we try to limit those, you definitely are a huge fan of fruit. You can never get enough bananas, peaches, pears, applesauce, oranges, and grapes (all of which are staples around our house).

I have always considered you to be an answered prayer. Before you were born, I prayed that you would have a sweet spirit and would have favor with people. Even though you are just a baby, I can already see that prayer being answered. People have been drawn to you since you were born and we have received so many compliments about your personality. I also prayed that you would have a close relationship with both me and your daddy. You definitely want your mama at certain times, but it warms my heart to see the bond you share with your daddy. He loves you so very much and loves playing with you. As you grow up, my prayer for you is that you fall in love with Jesus at a young age and serve Him all the days of your life. I pray that you will know His voice as a young child and will always listen to what He tells you. The world will try to steal away your innocence as soon as possible, but I will do everything in my power to protect that precious innocence and wonder. Nothing would make me more proud as your mama than to see you grow up to live out the destiny that God has for you. His plans are so amazing, sweet girl. I am so thankful that He chose me to be your mama. I also pray that our relationship as mother and daughter will continue to grow as you get older and that we can share countless precious moments together. I love you, Natalie Grace! You put a smile on my face!

 Happy first birthday, sweet girl of mine!!!

P.S. I'm glad you enjoyed your birthday cupcake. You were so fun to watch digging into it once you got the hang of it!