• Forgiveness.

    Forgiveness.

    Forgiveness.

    “Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22 (ESV)

    Two things I have learned about the context of this passage is that Jesus was referring  back to Genesis 4:24 when the word says, “If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.” That is so interesting to me because of the second thing I learned about this scripture. Jesus surely didn’t want us to stop forgiving at 490 times, right? Wouldn’t it make more sense for him to be making a point that our forgiveness should go beyond what is normal? In that time forgiveness was said to be given up to 3 times, so Peter suggesting 7 was very out of the ordinary and extremely generous. Of course Jesus takes this further and challenges us to forgive, always. Jesus is showing here that his forgiveness goes beyond the normal 3 times, and far beyond the very generous 7 times that Peter suggests. It’s unlimited; And we are called to be Holy like Christ. Our forgiveness should mirror His.

    But… Jesus is Jesus. I am not.
    You are not. Forgive every person, every time?  Seriously?

    Let me be real. Forgiveness is hard for me because I am a sinner full of pride. I don’t want to forgive someone who has done something wrong to me. I want an apology and I want them to have some sort of consequence because they did ME wrong. You may be wondering, “How is that considered pride? Isn’t that just wanting justice? Aren’t you just requesting for fair treatment?” What is wrong with someone receiving an apology and then forgiving them IF you WANT to?

    The problem with that lies in two things…

    _One is that it doesn’t mirror Christ accurately.

    Christ was humble and forgiving regardless of his mockers and regardless of what the people did against him. “…He gave himself up for us while we were still sinners…” (Romans 5:8). And he is “…merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him.” (Dan 9:9).

    _The second is that it puffs me up in pride.

    Who am I to say that a sin committed against me is any worse than the sins I commit every day? The bottom line is all sin that is committed ultimately is against God. You are not my enemy, I am my own worst enemy. Focusing on someone else’s sin gets my eyes off of my own sin and has me more concerned with yours. The enemy LOVES that. He loves when I focus more on other people and what they are doing instead of allowing God to slay my heart and make me more like Christ. He doesn’t want me to, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Eph. 4:31-32) and he most definitely doesn’t want me to “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Col 3:13)

    My aim as a Christian is to become Holy, as Christ is Holy.

    (2 Cor 7:1, 1 Peter 1:15-16, Hebrews 12:14).

    In order to do that we must focus first on His goodness. Secondly we have to focus on the radical corruption in our heart apart from Him. And lastly we have to be in the word allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us (Hebrews 4:12).

    Brothers and sisters, join me in forgiveness.

    Join me in laying down my pride and saying, “I am no better than any other. I forgive you, I am a worse sinner than you. I deserved hell and the Lord rescued me. I have no right to hold condemnation toward you because He has not held it against me. I will live like Christ, not like the devil.”

    Die to yourself.

    Paul said, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21)

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  • The Aftermath

    The Aftermath.

    Let’s be real honest.

    If you are a mom you know that pregnancy really throws you for a loop, ESPECIALLY the first time around.  But even the second time around, everything changes!

    The journey starts for everyone a little differently. Some people are like me the first time and unexpectedly get pregnant. This can be exciting, or scary, or both. Some people have to work really hard at getting pregnant and have so much anxiety over it that they have trouble sleeping at night. I know women who have literally gone through the process of in vitro by personally inserting a good friends semen because she wanted children so badly and couldn’t afford to actually have it done. Don’t place judgment on her, it was successful and she is an amazing mother. Some of you have tried and succeeded only to find yourself shattered because your pregnancy ended way too early. My heart goes out to you, sincerely. We all hear these stories, right?

    So, now you are pregnant!

    You get all excited and jittery and nervous and anxious and “all of the feels”. You dream about your baby. You also despise them at times because you can’t go 30 minutes without a bathroom break or wanting to sleep or vomit. But then the emotions come back and you decide you love them regardless. You can’t stand your husband for breathing too heavy one minute and then you love him more than yesterday for smiling at you when he walked in the room. You get to have baby showers and wear comfortable clothes without judgment. You don’t feel the need to wear makeup every day and you get a little more relaxed on your diet. SUPER fun times!

    My birthing experience this time around was amazing. I had a great doctor, great nurses, and we loved our hospital stay. My labor was all day long but I wasn’t in pain for any of it (thank you epidural) and the pushing was literally only 7 minutes. But again, I want to get to the aftermath.
    

    So we talk about getting pregnant and we talk about being pregnant but we don’t talk a whole lot about afterwards.

     

    When you finally come home again with “all of the feels”. You are so excited and happy and exhausted at the same time. You are once again madly in love with your husband beyond what you were two days earlier and he is basically your superhero. Watching my husband fall in love with our daughter has been one of the most amazing things I’ve ever gotten to experience. He is an amazing daddy! What follows those first few days home is different for everyone.

     

    You have mood swings. If you are breastfeeding you’re most likely up every 2 hours in the night either feeding or pumping. If your daughter is like mine you are changing poopy diapers multiple times during each feeding. You basically snack all day because there isn’t a lot of time for cooking or actual meals. If you have family members that have passed, you mourn them all over again for an entirely new reason. Then a couple weeks go by and you seem to have forgotten everything you knew from the first time you had a child or if you read books you realize that your brain absorbed about one percent of the information you read. My first is 8.5 years old so give me a break! I basically remember she needed to eat and she would sleep a lot at first. So then I had to relearn that babies have growth spurts like every two weeks and every time we start a new one I don’t even realize that’s probably why my little angel has turned into a demon until we are already almost out of it. Shots also make them crazy, but not the day of… no. This madness starts a day or two later and lasts 2-3 days. I never knew breastfed babies can literally go 2 weeks without pooping as long as they are having wet diapers so I went into panic thinking she was constipated. Breastmilk is absorbed easier than formula.

    I also didn’t know breastmilk could have “high lipase” and taste like soap after being expressed and sitting for too long.

    Apparently they can still drink it, but some babies won’t. I don’t blame them! Who wants to drink soap? Breastfeeding for sure shrinks your uterus faster so I suggest doing it even for a little while for your own self image! Sound selfish? Maybe. But it’s hard to feel good about your body after a baby. You also don’t need to consume EXTRA calories while breastfeeding but you definitely need to consume more liquid. One day you will think, “Oh, Yeah! I’m feeling back to normal!” And the next you will be bawling in the shower literally for no reason at all. Another tip, just because you are breastfeeding doesn’t mean your baby won’t take a bottle. If you vaccinate your child, good for you! If you don’t, good for you! If you breastfeed in public, awesome! If you don’t, that’s okay! Everyone feels differently and has learned different things. We are honestly all just trying to do our best to figure out ourselves and our children. Every person will take a few different turns than I do, and that’s great for them! At some point, I may need them to teach me what they’ve done so I can try it. 

    For all the people who are wanting to be moms, are currently pregnant, are new at the mom game, or you are a seasoned vet… Do your thing!

    And please, share your aftermath stories.  We all need the encouragement and we all need to be informed so we can do our best at making decisions or trying things to help ourselves heal and enjoy our babies, our children and our adult children.

    We never quit needing guidance and encouragement because we never quit being moms.

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  • Marriage: Kill Me.

    Marriage: Kill Me.

    Kill Me.

     

    Probably not what you would expect me to say in reference to my marriage…right? This blog post is going to be super real you guys so just get ready.

    You know they always say marriage is work, right? Everyone tells you that tp stay married you have to really work at it. One thing I have realized they fail to tell you is that almost all of the work you put in is work you have to do on yourself… not together.

    Sure you have to decide things like where you want to live and what school your kids go to or if you even want to have kids. You give and take when it comes to what show to watch and where to eat dinner. There’s the small annoyances like someone who leaves the dishes in the sink versus the spouse who always puts them in the dishwasher. This is not the “work” I am referring to.

    Since getting married I have realized marriage is a lot more about working on myself in order for my marriage to work than it is working on our actual relationship.

    Heres the thing that nobody wants to admit: I am nowhere near perfect, but I think I am.

    I think my way of doing things and in my timeline is the best and only way. I think that my plans are better. I think that I know what is best most of the time. I become overly critical when things don’t go my way or happen when I think they should and I realize that for my marriage to thrive and not just survive I have to do one thing. 

    Die.

    That’s what I mean when I say kill me.

    I have to DIE to my expectations and my selfish need for everything to be how I want it to be. You see, I didn’t marry myself. I married my husband. I married a man who is so completely different than me in so many ways. I’m extremely organized and I plan things out down to the hour. I enjoy a decluttered house. I am very strict on our finances. I drive fast. I love chocolate. I am loud and outgoing. My husband has small pieces of some of these things and some he doesn’t have at all (love for chocolate LOL) but at the end of the day I didn’t marry him because I thought he would be like me. I married him for who HE is and because he complimented me in all of the areas I was lacking. I married him because God designed him to be who he is exactly for me to have what I needed.

    I love myself.

    That’s the problem. When you get married you have to stop loving yourself and your ideas and your ways of doing things MORE than you love your spouse and their ideas and their ways of doing things. Marriage isn’t hard in and of itself. The part of marriage that is hard is dying to yourself every day just like Christ died for you and serving your spouse just as He served us.

     

    The longer I am married the more I realize how selfish I am and how NOT okay with it I am.
    I love my husband, but I also love myself.

    I married my husband, not myself.

    I expect perfection, yet I am terribly flawed.

    I realize more every single day how much I need Christ to change me. 

    I realize more every day that my husband doesn’t need to change,

    I do.

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  • Beckett’s Story pt. 5

    Beckett's Story pt. 5

    After picking my mouth up off the floor

    we finished up the conversation and she told me I needed to go take a pregnancy test and call her back with the results. We hung up the phone and I stopped dead in my tracks.

    I got on my hands and knees and cried. I cried so hard. So full of thankfulness, but equally filled with wonder and awe and anxiousness. Just because some paper was  saying it was likely I was pregnant did not mean a test would read the same. I got very real with myself and with God in that moment on the floor. I began to worship Him and sang a song that I had been resting in.

    “You are worthy of it all. For from You are all things, and to You are all things. You deserve the glory. All of the glory, all of the glory is Yours, is Yours, is Yours.”

     

    I began to say out loud to Him “Even if not, You are still good. You still deserve my worship. You Lord still deserve ALL of the Glory. If this test is negative You are still faithful and You will deliver on Your promise.” I was scared to death to drive up the street to Walgreens and buy that test. What if it was negative? Would my heart truly still worship Him for all that He deserves or was my heart truly thankful because I felt He was finally giving me what we had prayed and believed for? I wanted my heart to be thankful for the sweet gift of life, but mostly I wanted to to remain content with getting more of God even if it wasn’t His timing yet.

    I bought the tests and came home and wasted no time peeing on that darn stick.

    As I waited I sang again to God that exact same song. I read all of the verses I had written down about His goodness and faithfulness. I remembered how the Apostle Paul wrote in. “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,” (Philippians 3:8-11)

    If that test came back negative I wanted to be sure that I remembered that the true gift from God was the gift of repentance and salvation through His son Jesus, and not even the life of a child placed inside of me can replace that joy.  It made sense to me that this journey was meant to sharpen me and make me rely on Christ. This journey was for me to know that all of the scripture in the bible reminding us of Gods faithfulness always is to make us turn back and remember that He will be faithful to fulfill the promise of salvation in His son Jesus. It was a reminder that because He is faithful in that, we can be sure that in His divine timing He will deliver on every single promise He gives us.

    It was positive.

    “All of the Glory, ALL of the Glory, it’s Yours. It’s Yours.”

     

     

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  • Beckett’s Story pt. 4

    Beckett's Story pt. 4

    In february I decided to be referred to an infertility specialist

    just to try and be on top of the physical side of things. Remember, I knew God was going to make us physically able to have a child of our own but I also knew as much as I believe He could heal me He still had not chosen to do it. I looked at going to the doctor as one of the ways He may choose to do this and just give it a shot. I really  had NO clue what to expect going in there. I knew there would be a lot of questions I had to answer and maybe tests I had to take but in all reality it had me pretty anxious not knowing what to expect or what news they were going to give me.

    $250 later I left his office with news  that my body could physically carry a pregnancy

    and a prescription for 5 days worth of  medication that would help me track my ovulation, thus making it easier to try and get pregnant. I had instructions and a little worksheet I would have to fill out every day and fax in at the end of the month. Other than that, I was pretty much clueless. Overall it was good news and once again, just a waiting game. I told Zach and said “Ya know, if we do this I COULD get pregnant this month. Are we ready?” And apparently we thought we were so I filled the prescription and started my daily log of temperatures.

    Part of me really tried to not think about why I was filling out this worksheet every day because it made me anxious, but I couldn’t help it.

    I was actively trying to get pregnant… knowing that I may or may not. I knew God promised me. “Would it be this time? Or just like everything else in life, are we going to have a long battle ahead of us? It doesn’t matter. He is good and He is faithful. He will deliver on His promise to me.” Those were the thoughts in my head day after day all month long. Not to mention I had no clue what these charts and temperatures and circles I had to make meant. I didn’t know if I was filling anything out correctly or  how knowing my temperature was going tell me anything… but thankfully there are doctors who do.

    So at the end of the month I went to the library and faxed them my worksheet. Yes, the Midwest City Library. I have to admit it was a little weird going in there to fax my doctor a diagram with all of the days I had sex in the last month on it but… we have no fax machine? Sooo, yeah. I was honestly just hoping I faxed it to the right number and that it went through to them. I hadn’t gotten a call from them and was thinking I would so I decided to call them. She assured me they had received it and if they had any questions about it they would call me back.

    My phone rang

    and I answered expecting the nurse to ask me a million questions about my diagram because truthfully I had no idea if I had filled it out accurately. Instead she had 2 simple questions. “Well, did you have a cycle?” I said, “No…” and she followed with “Well, did you take a pregnancy test?” At this point I was pretty confused. “No, I didn’t know I was supposed to.” She answered me so matter of factly my mouth hit the floor,

    “Well according to your paper, you’re pregnant.”

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