Discovering Peace and Freedom in Parenting by Learning to Surrender

When I announced the birth of my daughter last week, I mentioned that being a mother is a lot harder than I'd anticipated. I knew it would involve less sleep and lots of diaper changes. Those were the practical things that I knew came with the territory. But what I didn't expect was to feel so unprepared and lost at how to mother this daughter of mine. I'd read so many books and listened to so many other moms share their stories and tips and tricks, that I felt really confident going into this motherhood thing.

Then, my daughter was born and all those tips and tricks and instructions proved useless. Obviously, my daughter hadn't heard about them and how they're supposed to get her sleeping and eating like clockwork, settled down in seconds, and contentedly cooing in her crib.

For the first couple of weeks, I fought to follow all those rules. I fought to try to get her to fall asleep on her own, to stay asleep without a "prop," to nurse full meals, and to have "awake" time. I fought because that's what every professional said to do if you want your baby to develop healthy sleep habits and fit into a nice routine.

It sounds so lovely, to have a baby sleeping through the night and who can fall asleep on her own. Wouldn't that be so nice, so convenient? Absolutely, which is why I fought for it.

But with the fighting came frustrations and feeling like a failure. Because it wasn't working for my baby. They made it sound so easy, but for us, it wasn't. Already I can tell she is a sensitive soul with a tender heart. She craves being held and kissed and fawned over. She craves to know she is loved; don't we all? And so as I fought to get her to follow the rules, she fought back against them with buckets and buckets of tears.

At some point, when too many tears were shed on both our accounts, my husband reminded me that all those professionals might have good ideas but their ideas are not gospel. The Bible does not tell us to put our babies down drowsy and shush them to sleep or else. It does not instruct us about when to wake the babes up and when to make them eat. It doesn't tell us that we should make them sleep here or there or let them cry for a certain amount of time.

No, the Bible's instruction on raising children is sweet in its simplicity. It tells us to love our children, to sacrifice for them, to teach them about the Lord, to model the ways of Jesus to them, to discipline them as they grow, to instruct them in the way they should go. Those are the priorities we ought to strive for in our parenting.

And then one night, as I stayed up with my baby, lulling her to sleep the only way I knew how—by nursing—I felt the Lord whisper to me: Surrender. Surrender these rules and instructions to Him, to her. Look at her and who she is. She is a real person with real emotions and real needs. She isn't simply a piece of wood to be whittled into submission.

She has a heart to care for and tend to. A heart that God has entrusted to me and my husband to love and guide and protect. I cannot afford to neglect that, because that heart can someday change the world and surely will bring glory to God. In the end, isn't that all that really, truly matters?

With that—with a single word and a single reminder to surrender—I felt a new sense of peace take hold in my parenting. I free to mother her as I like: To listen to her rather than to a stranger. To listen to God rather than to a man.

We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. 
We must not just please ourselves.
Romans 15:1

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Introducing My Daughter!
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Children Are Our Inheritance / GUEST POST


When you hear the word "kids," what thoughts come to mind? Another mouth to feed? The end to life as you’ve known it? A disruption to your peace and quiet? The cause of your gray hair? Unfortunately, this is a tragic attitude of many.

The Bible tells us that children are an inheritance from the Lord; a reward from HIM! They are a gift to be handled far more delicately than silver or gold. An inheritance that will not perish; a living, breathing soul to be nurtured and directed back to the One who entrusted them to our care. Children are to be accounted as blessings, not burdens. (Psalm 127:3, James 1:17)

“Jesus Loves the Little Children,” we have all heard sung at some point in our lives. It’s not just a cutesy song to fill a time slot in Sunday school class. Jesus DOES love the children. He once rebuked the disciples when they forbade the children to “take up His time.” The Bible actually states that Jesus was greatly DISPLEASED! And in another text He strictly warns those who cause a little one to stumble. (Mark 10:13-14, Mark 9:42)

There are many ways to cause these precious ones to stumble. I won’t touch on the more obvious things, but how about when we withhold kindness from them “to show them who's boss?” What about when we rudely say things like, “Get out. I’m tired of hearing you?” Or when they get hurt, “Just shake it off and get over it?” As a mature adult, we would never speak like that to our spouses, close friends, or a complete stranger for that matter. Why do we think children deserve any less?

The Bible says that true love does not behave rudely (1 Cor. 13). Children need unconditional love and nurturing in order to become healthy adults. Without it, they will struggle in their relationships and it will be much harder for them to understand and accept the perfect love of God for themselves. If they can’t trust the ones who are supposed to protect them, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually, accepting that an “unseen” God truly loves them is much harder to grasp. May we never cause such a stumbling.

What an honor and yet, what a responsibility to take very seriously. The Maker of Heaven and Earth depends on us to raise our children in such a way that they will serve Him and one day be reunited with Him for eternity. For anyone who has lost a child to death, to substance abuse, to a communication breakdown ~ you know, how devastating that loss feels. The pain of that broken union. God loves our children on a much deeper level than we ever could. What a tragedy to not raise them to return to Him.

"And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (Deut 6:5-9)

Father, help us to be ever mindful of the way we treat our children. We make the decision now to not be controlled by our fleshly desires to lash out in moments of frustration. May we never carry the responsibility for scarring them emotionally through silent treatment, rudeness, unattentiveness, or belittling. Help us to love them like You do: keeping 1 Corinthians 13 before our eyes as the model of how love is to behave. We want our children to experience Your love through us.

Thank You for the gift of our children. We commit to seeing them as an investment to the world, a seed for Your Kingdom. We accept the responsibility to create an environment for them in which they can blossom into who You created them to be. We ask for Your forgiveness where we have stunted their growth through our selfish or lazy actions. From this day forward, Father, use us to properly tend these beautiful seeds You've given to us.


Elizabeth Stanko has a burning passion to see everyone come to KNOW the depth of God’s love for them and to discover the purpose that is planted inside of them just waiting to blossom. To see but one person recognize their worth and to watch God make beauty out of their "ugly"—is what keeps a smile on her face in this journey called life. :) She blogs at The Journey of Life.


Redemption is Everywhere, Even in the Media / GUEST POST


Film and television are often the last place we look to try and find God. Outside of 7th Heaven and The Blind Side, and some would say even within them, religion in the media tends to be the butt of a joke, rather than being the truth that Christians the world over know it to be. If you take another look, though, you might be surprised at the religious themes you find in all sorts of media.

What we as Christians see as a religious theme can also be seen from a secular point of view. Things like the love and strength of family and the vice of lying, are traits we read about in the Bible, as well as being traits experienced by the rest of humanity. The idea I'd like to look at is that of redemption.

In the church we see redemption as salvation from sin. We know that we live in a broken world. Looking at the Bible it’s clear that salvation—what the characters of the media are in constant search of—is right there. It’s not something we can earn, but something we must accept. The only thing that our salvation is contingent on is our belief in that salvation. How awesome is that?

We see everywhere that the world needs rescuing and nowhere is that more obvious than in media and pop culture. We see characters—in real life or in fiction—go through all sorts of troubles. Upon realizing the mess they’ve gotten themselves into, they will recognize the need to change, their need for salvation. They will try to earn their salvation, but just as in the real world these quests never go quite as planned. Many characters realize that they cannot earn salvation. They stop just short of recognizing a higher power.

For example, the story of RENT is riddled with immorality: A stripper and a heroin addict are far from the type of role models we would want ourselves or our loved ones to follow in the example of. But if you look beneath the surface story, you can see that Roger and Mimi just want to be loved. Mark wants to be recognized for his work. Collins wants to take care of his friends. In the end they simply want to understand the world they live in, which is what everyone wants in some way.

Reading between the lines of a movie or television show's story to see what the message behind it is can be difficult at times. There are some stories that no matter how hard I try, I just can't figure out. But when you see beneath the plot, you are seeing into the ideals and beliefs of the media's creators, and it's usually not as devastating as we had thought it would be from the onset.

Rachel Pierce ( is a writer and adventurer studying Television Writing and Producing. She enjoys singing to anyone who will listen, taking pictures of the sunrise, and drinking lots of tea. Despite studying television, watching far too much TV in one go will never get old for her, but it should be tempered with lots of times spent outside.

Introducing My Daughter!

Wow. It's been almost two weeks since I gave birth to my daughter, Claire, and the time sure has flown ever since! Almost immediately, it felt like she'd always been here. She was born on March 5 at 2:22pm, weighing 8 lbs. 10 oz., 20 inches long and a head full of hair!

We've spent the past week on a steep learning curve, figuring out nursing and experimenting with ways to get her to fall asleep (and stay asleep!) as well as just getting to know her and watch her grow, even in just these few days. Honestly, it has definitely been harder than I'd expected and more trying (lots of tears on both our accounts), but also more gratifying.

We're still finding our stride with parenthood, and fortunately my husband has been able to take off a couple of weeks to spend at home with me as we adjust to life with our little, leading lady. Which is why I hope that you've been enjoying all the great guest posts I've been sharing since I went into labor earlier this month. There are still a bunch more that I'm thrilled to get to share, and hopefully sometime in the next couple of weeks, things will be more settled around here so that I can get back to blogging on my own.

In the meantime, I really appreciate all the support and love you've shown through this whole pregnancy and now during this adjustment period. It means a ton!

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Reflections on Waiting on God for Marriage & Women Praying Boldly | GUEST POST


Two summers ago, I poured out my heart into a little blog post about trust. Because of that post, Carmen invited me to join an online prayer group she was starting. Immediately I was drawn into the idea of Women Praying Boldly. I also thought Carmen was a dear for agreeing to host this initiative for her single sisters, even though she herself is happily married.

It was a simple concept. We would pray for each other and our futures, specifically our collective desire to find our future husbands. We would also be seeking answers for where we are supposed to be now, in the waiting time.

It was simple in theory, but so much more complex in real life. My prayer life has become richer and more deliberate as a direct result of this activity. So much has been revealed and learned in this year and half.

As soon as I joined the prayer initiative, I bluntly and boldly told God every desire of my heart and how soon I wanted to see those desires fulfilled. Yet even as I prayed those words, I wrote:
Jesus won’t fit into any box I make, including time. Knowing all this, I believe
such prayers are not out of line. If God’s answer is different from what I want, it
just means that he has something better in store. Long gone are the days when the
disappointment devastated me. I lose nothing off my worth or identity by not seeing
my desires for marriage fulfilled as soon as I would like.
When fears took over and I felt unworthy, I would confess my shortcomings:
I am lonely. I am also scared of the unknown. I have made several mistakes before
and sometimes I worry that I will make the same mistakes again in the future. It is
only a mistake the first time. The second time must surely imply some inherent flaw
in your character. Who wants to let their guard down and admit that they are an
imperfect person?

I am scared of the unknown. Once I take that giant, daunting first step, most likely
I will find that everything is perfectly fine. Sure, there is a slight chance that I fall flat on my face. There is also the chance that I finally get far more than I ever dared to dream. I am not sure which extreme is more frightening.
God did not respond by giving me what I wanted, but something better. I longed for human affection, but he showed me over and over how He thought I was worthy. I was created for a purpose and that alone made me beautiful. His answers to my prayers had become cherished treasures. Even when it seemed like He was not responding, He most certainly was.

At some point in this particular prayer journey, I started to notice a shift. I was no longer just affirming that God was good. I was no longer only asking for my prayers to be answered one way. I was praying for others as often as myself. I was thankful for this community. I started asking for my heart to be changed and for it to find roots.

Oh how much my heart has been transformed! God is gracious and patient. He has slowly introduced my heart to new and exciting possibilities. He shows me over and over how his plans for me are truly good. He reminds me that He is my anchor. He has placed me right where I belong. With that gift also came freedom.

Freedom is a wonderful and precious gift. I could do wonderful things or I could fail. Failure scares me. I have the freedom to give the fear control of my heart or to fight back with truth. Even if I fall on my face, God will still be there. He will not abandon or forget me.

With that lesson in mind, I find we have come full circle back to trust. My mended heart knows He is worthy of my trust. I am taking the scary risks involved in starting a brand new relationship that has grown out of a beautiful friendship. If there ever was a time when I needed to trust God, it is now.

(If you are interested in learning more about the Women Praying Boldly community or signing up for our monthly emails,  you can find out more here.)

Leeann, or Leelee as she prefers, spends her days with preschoolers and her nights writing stories. She enjoys seeking out beauty in the midst of chaos, peace in the midst of turmoil, and faith in spite of herself. While these passions fill her heart with joy, her first love is her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. She also likes the color pink and sparkles. You can keep in touch with her by checking out her website, (and find all her previous posts about Women Praying Boldly here), following her on Twitter (@leeleegirl4) or following her Facebook page,


Sponsored Post: Stock Up on Grocery Essentials At Publix During Their "Running Out? Run In." Sale


It seems like the sales for stocking up on grocery essentials are never ending! Last month, Publix was running its Italian-themed sales event; and now they're hosting a "Running Out? Run In." sale. Which of course, is exactly what my life feels like right now: No time to spare!

This sales event runs now through March 20th and features a variety of brands from General Mills and Procter & Gamble, like Cheerios, Totino´s Pizza, Charmin and Crest. Plus, if you buy $25 of participating items, you can receive a $5 Publix gift card to use on your next shopping trip! (For more details on this rebate, please visit

Find out more about the sale (and all the everyday essentials you can stock up on!) at

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Scared and Sacred and Getting Over Ourselves / GUEST POST


I was reminded today that scared and sacred are almost the same word…and often the same experience. I asked my genius-girl, “Did you hate today?”


“Was today hard?”


She makes eye contact. We see glass-clear reflections of ourselves.

I’m so glad she didn’t hate this scared, sacred day. We broke it down today. The elements of speaking, communicating, why God gave us words and voices. And specific circumstances where talking is necessary. We both have much going on in our brains. And we both only let out a fraction of it.

I told my brilliant, beautiful girl I had some hidden years. I call them junior high. Who knew all those hidden days would be so relevant? Who knew I would draw from them often and reference that time again, again. A sort of testimony. Bulbs under snow. The frozen ground, the not wanting to become…was part of the becoming. Those hidden years? They weren’t about me. They were bigger than me.

Through the years, students have told me that their goal of fill-in-the-blank was too hard. Too hard? So I hold out my sweat-drenched shaky icicle hands for them to see. I show them stains of sweat. I line up the pill bottles in a neat little row.

“Even you?” They ask. “Why?”

“Because speaking to you and teaching you is a worthwhile, purposeful thing. And it makes me nervous.”

I made the confidence of so many girls my mission. Now they write me to say they are studying abroad, they are running marathons, they are working for dream companies, they are making new friends, they are stepping outside their own boxes. They are doing a hundred things I’m still too afraid to do.

So when I hear a girl make noises in that squeaky, I’m-too-afraid-to-breathe-because-I-don’t-know-if-I-deserve-air kind of way…that voice scrapes my heart. I will fight for you against that hesitation and inferiority. I will push. But I will not push in a way that breaks you and makes you want to crumple to the floor in a heap. I’m proof of plenty of tactics that didn’t quite work.

In college, an education professor made me yell as loud as I could and told me to practice my teacher voice while I was driving in my car. I hope I busted his dear little eardrum. After class, I rolled my eyes. I guess he didn’t know I led basketball cheers, sang solos, performed on stages, blared, resounded, boomed. You know, in the name of theatre.

But he did know, he must have known that some deep part of me still did not believe I had any merit. I did not believe in everyday, daily-life me. “You apologize too much,” he said. “Why are you always apologizing?”

I caught myself apologizing a few days ago. I was positively peer-pressured into posing for the flower shop’s sister company clothing store photo shoot.

“But I’m pasty winter-white! My hair will be messy unless it’s professionally smoothed and straightened! I have an underbite and don’t smile right! My cheeks still have babyfat! My triceps are flabby! I have no boobs and a rear that is too bootylicious for pattered skinny jeans! My sister’s an actual model…let’s wait until next month when she visits over spring break and she will rock these outfits! I’m out of the habit of wearing foundation!”

(Side note: Life feels more about survival than sparkle and gloss here in the tundra, more functional than feminine. The husband prefers au natural and I have zero people to compete with/compare myself to because the tundra is not located in Edwards County. So that’s what I mean when I say Girl is plumb out of the habit).

I mentally continued on my self-destructive rampage, “I never learned proper eye shadow application! My nail polish is always chipped! I’m bad at being a girl! I’m only 5’4”! Out of a hundred senior picture poses, I only have one photo that wasn’t awkward! I’m like Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights who doesn’t know what to do with his hands!”

Then I realized it’s not about me. It was about letting the customers see how the clothes fit. And about helping the company. And that’s bigger than my hang-ups and hitches. And why was I apologizing for natural in the first place?

Let’s stop apologizing, shall we?

For who we are, for what we do, for what we look like when we don't try or we do try, for being women, for having voices, for having thoughts, for having opinions.

Stop being scared little birds.

I think God wants us to get over ourselves.

Because the scared experiences are also the sacred ones.

Melissa Knackmuhs Kiefer attended the University of Evansville and taught at Reitz Memorial High School in Evansville, IN. She currently lives in northwestern IL with her husband, Josh--the man who's been by her side for eleven years, and her sweet black Labrador named Jovie. Melissa is enjoying her new jobs as a florist, bridal consultant, and English tutor and is looking forward to starting her MFA in creative nonfiction writing this summer. She blogs about life's grit and grace at On Bruised Knees.

Selfish Expectations in Marriage / GUEST POST


Last Christmas, I had my heart set on diamond stud earrings. I rarely even wear earrings but I thought if they were special, nice studs, I would get a lot of use out of them. So, I made sure Chris knew these were on my list. I typically don't tell him what I want outright because I like to be truly surprised and see what he will find. I had made it easy for him this time.

Several days before Christmas, he came home with a small box. He hid in the back room and wrapped it up, and then came back down the hallway and placed it strategically under the tree. It was right there: a small, gift-wrapped box. I was certain, absolutely certain, they were diamond earrings. What else could they be? I hadn't hinted at anything else.

We opened our presents on Christmas Eve. I handed him presents I had spent weeks selecting, and he handed me the small box, giddy and excited. As I was opening it, I was envisioning the earrings, so excited he had come through with an incredible gift. I carefully opened the paper and the box underneath told me everything.

It wasn't jewelry. It was perfume.

My face said it all, and as much as I tried to hide my disappointment, I couldn't. He read it like a book and sunk back into the couch.

"Perfume," I said, doing my best to force my lips into a smile. I was embarrassed at my own reaction.

"You don't like it," he said, obviously hurt.

"I do. I just, I thought..."

"You thought it was something else."

"Yeah, I did." And that ended the most awkward gift exchange I've ever participated in. In my head, I had told him exactly what I wanted. I already had at least five bottles of perfume, so why would he think I needed another one?

Later, when I came to my senses and apologized, he explained why he had bought the perfume. It was Taylor Swift's brand and I, we, love Taylor Swift. It had a bird on it and I love birds. The smell reminded him of me. And I hadn't even thought about why he was so excited to give it to me, nor did I ask. He knew what I had really wanted, but he also knew we weren't able to afford it.

I had doomed him to fail from the get-go.

By expecting the diamonds, I had determined anything else would be inadequate. I knew they were over our allotted price range for gifts, but I thought maybe he would surprise me with them anyway. Because I was being selfish. And inconsiderate. I had set up unrealistic expectations he couldn't afford to reach.

How often do we do this in our marriages or relationships? Christmas gifts aren't the only culprit.

I expect flowers on my birthday, so the hand-written letter within the sentimental card is all of a sudden not good enough. After spending an hour cooking, I expect him to do the dishes at least before we go to bed, so when they are still there in the morning, we start out the day on a rough note. I expect him to say something when I dress up particularly nice, and when he doesn't, I take that to mean I don't look as good as I thought I did.

And you know what? He has very few, if any, expectations of me aside from those we made in our vows over two years ago.

My expectations of him come from selfishness within me, and we're never going to win at this marriage gig if I keep setting us up to fail. He's not meeting my expectations, because I'm the one setting them. And when I set them, I don't tell him. I expect him to know, but he can't read my mind, and we repeat the cycle over and over and over again.

I can't stuff my expectations into a small gift-wrapped box.

I have to make realistic expectations and I have to communicate what I need.

I have to do each of these with love and fairness.

And by the way, I love the perfume.

Jordy says, "I blog about life, faith and marriage over at Jordy Liz Blogs. I was born and raised in Texas, but now live in the deserts of Arizona with my husband, dog, and soon-to-be baby. By day, I work in an office, and by night, I'm a blogger and freelance editor. Come visit!"

A Lesson on Waiting / GUEST POST


First, a huge congratulations to Carmen & her husband on the birth of their daughter. It makes me so excited for meeting our baby in May. My name is Iradis (but I'm known as Urban Wife on the 'webs) and I’m married to a man who makes me laugh, known as Red Beard. We’re slowly making our new home in Texas and enjoying the adventure. We love Jesus, coffee (him) & tea (me) and being active. My little piece of the internet can be found at and also on Instagram @urbanwife. I love meeting new readers so please stop by and say hi! Thanks for having me here today, Carmen.

Have you ever wanted something so badly that you thought you just couldn’t live another day without it? I’m sure if you think about it long enough, the answer is a resounding ‘yes!’, in spite of what your life journey has been up to this point.

My lesson in waiting starts a little over two years ago although if I really think about it, it begins many years prior. All I wanted was to become a mom and I had all my little checkboxes as to exactly how this ultimate goal of motherhood would happen. First, I would find a Godly man. Check. Then I would get married to this man. Check. We would enjoy a few years as a couple. Check. Finally, the month we would decide to have a child, it would happen that month. Not exactly.

What I didn’t count on was God’s plan in fulfilling my desire of motherhood and how He would go about doing it. I didn’t count on waiting but God knew all along, that I would need to go through this season of life. It strengthened my faith and patience.

Just because I wanted a child so badly and prayed about it all the time, didn’t mean that God wasn’t listening to my pleas. Those first months were not much of a letdown. However, those months slowly turned into years and still no child. As time went by, I found myself questioning more and more. Was God even listening anymore? Yes, yes He was. Was this my punishment for having once thought I didn’t want kids? No, no it wasn’t. Weren’t my plans good enough and logical? Yes...or so I thought.

It was right there in my face all along. God’s plan was so much bigger than mine!

There are 3 big-picture realizations I came to during my lesson in waiting:
1. God’s plan & timing is perfect. This is one of the hardest truths to come to grips with but when I did, it brought me more freedom than I could have imagined. From all the different reading I was doing during this time, if I had to pick one quote that served as a daily reminder about this truth, it is the following:
Lie passive in God’s hands, and know no will but His.” - Charles H. Spurgeon

When I read that quote, I think it perfectly sums up what it took for me to realize that waiting was all part of God’s plan and I didn’t have to do any planning; He already had this planned out.

Also, there were a few Bible verses that I committed to memory. Like a muscle that gains strength when you work it out, these verses were my daily workout, so that I could gain strength to let go of my plans and hang on to God’s plans.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalms 46:10

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalms 27:14
2. Keep living my life. As much as I felt like it would, life didn’t come to a sudden stop just because I didn’t get what I wanted, when I wanted it. What I realized was that I couldn’t keep living my life on a month-to-month basis. Instead, I had to live my life in spite of my circumstance and not because of my circumstance. We made plans to travel (and even went to Israel!), drank plenty of wine, ate lots of sushi, trained hardcore, competed in triathlons, rode roller-coasters, and the list goes on. In other words, I intentionally chose to focus on enjoying our time as a couple. It is amazing how when I would focus on what I actually had in front of me and was a present wife, I quickly forgot about wanting a child so desperately. It was so freeing, once I let go of my self-imposed prison.

3. Waiting makes it all the sweeter and more precious. Remember my question at the beginning about wanting something badly? Now try and recall a time when that desire was finally fulfilled, maybe even in an unexpected way. Take that moment, savor it and then bottle it up for later. God knew just how long I would be waiting for the arrival of our child. He knew the precise moment when I would finally conceive this child. He knew! We are currently expecting our first child in May. To say that this has been a much anticipated event is an understatement. When you wait on something for a long, long time, then when it actually happens it is like the sweetest fruit or dessert you have ever tasted. All the prayers, the waiting and the tears were worth every second of every day and now that fulfilled desire is much sweeter, much more precious than if my plan would have unfolded instead of God’s plan.
We are at the beginning of an amazing, roller coaster called parenthood. I realize just how blessed we are to have been given the gift of a child, along with the great responsibility we will have to be Godly parents to this child.

I don’t see this as a happily-ever-after ending. I see it as a lesson learned. I see it as my faith deepened. I see it as the continuation of many more lessons in waiting that await my life.

No matter how much you think you want something, remember that God’s plan is much bigger and infinitely better than yours.


Baby Is On the Way!

So it appears I might have spoken too soon, as I am officially now in labor! I am so excited to be able to type that: Our baby is coming! I can barely believe it myself.

Now that I'm officially in labor, I just wanted to pop in here to pass the word along and to humbly ask you all to be praying with us over the next hours as we wait to finally meet our little girl!

(FYI, I typed most of this post in advance and set it to post a few hours later, lest you think I'm absolutely crazy or anything!)

I do hope to post an update once she's here, but I can't make any promises on when exactly that will be, as I'm sure you all understand! In the meantime, I have scheduled a bunch of wonderful guest posts to publish while I'm tending to and getting to know her.

Thank you so much for all the support, encouragement and love you've sent my way over these past few months as we've made this journey. It means so much to me. And I can really hardly believe it's almost over. (Or, really, just beginning!)

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And Still We Wait...

It’s now eight days past my due date, and we’re still waiting to meet this little girl, snug and squirmy in my womb, who has stolen our hearts and affection for months now. But still, we wait.

It’s actually taken me by surprise that we’re still waiting. I had expected that she would come early, maybe even be a Valentine’s Day baby. But that holiday went by. Then President’s Day. Then a full moon. Her cousin’s birthday, her uncle’s birthday, her aunt’s birthday. All these extra special days inched by and still she has stayed put.

I try not to personify the waiting, like thinking that, “She wants a special day of her own!” or, “She knows that ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder.’” Because of course, that isn’t the case at all. I can’t read too much into the waiting, except that she or my body aren’t quite ready yet.

Just as we had to wait to conceive her, I now find myself back at that same place, trusting God to finish what he’s started. To bring this lady out into the world—and into my arms—healthy and well.

It seems this is a lesson God keeps wanting—needing—to teach me, time and time again. It seems that even though I’ve been through it a million times over now (just try searching for the word “waiting” on my blog!), I still don’t have this thing down. My heart still has to fight to believe and trust and have joy in the waiting.

One of the verses that has really spoken to me in these last months of pregnancy is James 1:2-4: “Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow—so let it grow! For when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.”

Time and again I’ve found inspiration and solace in this verse. And now as I wait, I came back to this verse again and realized that the trouble I am currently facing (waiting on the baby to come, in great hopes of avoiding a medical induction), I can choose to have joy now:

I do not have to wait until that which I’m praying for has come. There is joy to be found even now, in the waiting.

And so, tonight, while I continue to pray and wait and fend off my tendency to worry, I whisper to my heart to have joy, to rejoice in what the Lord is doing even now. Because, as I have seen time and time again, he is always doing something. It usually just takes awhile for us to actually see it.

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