Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Are you sure?

Sometimes people will ask us, "Are you sure you are ready for this?" Or, "Just you wait." It's usually when they are changing a dirty diaper, or telling a story about how little sleep they get, or their child is disobeying, or just want to remind us that we aren't used to life with little people.

We always smile and say, "Yes."

I don't blame anyone for pointing out the changes we will face. We are well aware that our life will change drastically with the addition of our son or daughter. We know our life is simple and quiet and freedom abounds. And we also understand that we will have to make some changes, things might be rough for a while and sleep will not be near as peaceful as it once was.

But, I doubt everyone has put the thought into why we should have children as we have. Having children wasn't something we both wanted right away when we got married. We both figured that the desire would come later. For me, the desire came naturally and more quickly than for Hubs, and so we talked about it for a long time. We asked others, "Why did you have kids." People said different things: "We wanted to," or "We didn't make the decision," or "God commands it," or "Companionship." None of those were bad reasons.

Ultimately, we had to come to our own answers in our minds, though. And at some point, I knew mine.

One pastor said, "We need to raise our children to be martyrs for the Lord." At first that sounds depressing. I would never desire for anyone, especially my own child, to be martyred!! However, I do desire that my child's love for the Lord to be so great that they will follow Him at all costs.

Then, I started understanding the concept of being salt and light in the world. As salt, believers somehow preserve the world from become totally corrupted by the rottenness of sin. And as light, we stand out brightly in a world that is darkened. At that point I knew; I wanted to help raise the next generation of godly men and women. The goal of Christian parenting is not moral kids. Morality will change, we know that. If we create moral kids, they will change with morality. But our goal is to raise a generation of adults who is sensitive to the Holy Spirit, committed to God's Word and devoted to our King. I knew that whether we had biological, adopted or foster children in the future, I wanted this to be my aim.

This has been my prayer as we head into parenting. I know that it isn't going to be easy. That I don't understand all the things that will be hard. That this child will be as sinful as I am from day one. That my sinful self will keep me from loving him or her as God loves me. That I'll fail to put Christ on display. That I'll fail to live out the gospel in my child's life. But, we have eight years of figuring out our marriage that has set, what I think, is a good foundation for us to be parents. And we have lost two children that has made us cherish the life of this third one even more. So, yes we're ready.

And it is just lovely when someone tells us, "You're gonna love it."

"Just you wait..." We have waited.
"Are you sure you are ready?" Yes, I'm sure.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Cancun Honeymoon (2006)

Today marks EIGHT years of our adventure as Hubs and Feath. We now look at our wedding photos and think, "We looked so young!" When we were married, we had no idea what the next years would hold, but I can say without a doubt that I love Hubs at least 100x more today than I did then.

Hawaii (2008)

I would feel a little lost without Hubs. I love having my best friend as my husband. There is nobody I'd rather talk about my day with, no one I'd rather spend my time with and no one I'd rather live life with. He challenges me to change, he encourages me to grow and he humbles me.

Israel (2011)

Long's Peak (2012)

We talked the other day about what we were like when we first got married. Hubs told me he felt bad for me having married him as he was eight years ago. I told him that I could very well say the same thing. But what is the neatest thing about our marriage is where we are today. We have changed each other in good ways. We have grown in our knowledge and love of the Lord. We have been able to learn and apply theology to our life and practically live it out. We have made God's Word our authority over any of our traditions or pre-conceived notions of what our family should look like. And what we have come up with is a marriage that we both work hard at and that we both love.

Ortho Residency Graduation (2013)

Being married has far surpassed my wildest expectations. There have been hard times and growing seasons, but never could I have imagined our relationship to have grown to the spot it is now. So today, I am doing the only thing I can. I am praising the Lord for what He has accomplished in our lives to this point. I am thanking Him for this marriage because I guarantee that neither of us would have created this on our own. And I am praying for our marriage over the next year as we add to our family and begin our newest adventure of parenthood!

Just 'normal' life (2014)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

More than we can bear

Friends, I've alluded to our situation many times, but haven't given all the details. Because there are too many. Because the details are comically depressing. Because I keep thinking they will all fall into place and then I can tell the crazy story of our life. Because they raise our blood pressure. Because there is nothing you can say that we haven't said or anyone else hasn't said.

When we start down a path, thinking this is the direction we should go, we wait to tell people. Once we tell people, they begin to think that plan will happen. Then they tell people and soon our family, friends and acquaintances all are excited about our new plan. Then, something happens that ruins the entire plan and we are back at the beginning.

So, we don't get as excited in the beginning. We cautiously tell people the direction we are headed. And every time we have gotten to the point of being ready to take the plunge and as we jump, something grabs us and keeps us from getting into the pool.

I didn't think that would happen this time. But it seems to have done just that. And so, we are left wondering what is going on. What is the Lord doing? Will this ever end? Now what?

You can't imagine the thoughts, emotional highs and lows, stress and anxiety that has come to our lives. And, each time another situation comes up, we find out if our faith is true. How are we going to respond to these circumstances. How are we going to represent Christ? How are we going to show our trust in God's providence?

You may have heard people say, "God won't give you more than you can bear." That's ridiculous. Besides it taking 1 Corinthians 10:13 completely out of context, it also doesn't match up with the whole of scripture. Of course, God will give us more than we can bear so that we learn to lean on him for everything. If you could bear everything without Christ, then what is the reason for him?

So it is okay that we are overwhelmed and don't always feel like we can handle our situation. Christ was overwhelmed in the garden before He died. The psalmists are continually overwhelmed. So we follow the Lord's example and we go to God for our strength. We find He is faithful in the midst of whatever is in our life. We [hopefully] learn to lean on Him more than ever before. We  continue on each day mindful that our life is about His glory and not our own.

Our days are tough right now. Maybe not always on the outside, but in the quiet moments while we are driving or at home, and in our minds, we struggle. Sometimes we have no idea what we should do. We are overwhelmed.

I pray earnestly that this time in our life will come to an end. But I also pray that we would both be faithful each day, no matter what. That we will find joy in knowing Christ above all else, because knowing Him is a treasure far beyond all else.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Past 12 Months

Hubs and I are excited to welcome an addition to our little family after 8 years of just Hubs and Feath! The Pups has no clue what is going to happen in December, but I'm guessing the two of them will be best friends someday. I did all I could to get him interested in the tiny Toms, but he couldn't care any less that adorable little shoes were leaning against his leg.

But, this is not our first pregnancy. It's actually our third. Last June, we lost our first child very early on in the pregnancy. We were shocked and sad, but we knew it was kind of common, and we were thankful that we could even get pregnant. We worked through the attributes of God and really found comfort and strength through knowing Him and who He is.

In September, we lost our second child. This one was a bigger shock for me and brought with it questions and unknowns. But after a day of numbness, I was brought back to the multitude of blessings found in Christ. I have Christ, and I knew if I never was able to have a child, I could find contentment and joy in Him. It was good for me to not just say this, but to have to work it out through my daily life.

After the second miscarriage, my body didn't recover like the first time. For three months I dealt with crazy hormones, minor pain and bruised arms from lots of blood tests. Finally, my body was back to normal and we were able to move on. We learned that I might have a hormone deficiency that could be causing the problems, but we also knew that there were no guarantees that it would ever work. I really had to think through what motherhood is all about. Is it about an experience that I need to have? Or is it about teaching the gospel to the next generation? (Which is an entirely different blog post!)

[Of course, all of this was going on during our saga of trying to find a orthodontic practice for Hubs.]

So, as we embark on this pregnancy, which seems to be normal and healthy, I find that the past 12 months has given me a different approach than what I would have had without those miscarriages. I find myself more reliant on the Lord, more grateful than before and less prone to complain about my circumstances.

I'm keenly aware of God's sovereignty in sustaining life. My life is nothing short of a walk of trust in the Lord each day. And although I think there could be some uncertainty and fear in that, I have instead found comfort. Who better to trust in that the Lord who paid for my life with His blood? No matter what happens, I am daily leaning on the solid rock who is my Savior.

I feel more grateful and full of thankfulness to the Lord for each day. Everyday I am thankful because I don't know what the next day holds. Part of me thinks that this won't actually happen - that I won't make it the entire pregnancy. I struggle sometimes with doubt and hold back excitement because of it. So daily, I remind myself to enjoy and be thankful for this day. I obviously pray about the future - for this person to love Christ more than anything else, for us to be faithful parents who talk about and live out the gospel to our kids, for health and safety. But, ultimately I am just thankful and grateful that God has given me this child and this opportunity to grow and know Him more.

I'm less prone to complaining. There are some great things about Facebook. But one of the awful things is the complaining that happens, especially when it comes to pregnancy. Maybe I was more aware of it due to our situation, but every time I saw a comment about a person wishing they weren't pregnant anymore, it made me sad. Sad for those women who struggle with even getting pregnant or keeping a pregnancy. When we see comments like that, we just want to beg you to be thankful for those difficult times.

"Complaining is the most serious of all spiritual threats because complaining puts yourself on the throne of God and says, 'I expect and deserve better than what you have dealt me in my life, God.'" - Rick Holland

So, although I can (and do) find plenty things to complain about and ultimately to bring attention to me and my situation, I am choosing my words, even my thoughts, carefully. I am trying to take those difficulties and turn them into reminders that I have so much in which to be thankful. And instead of grumbling about them, I am thanking the Lord for who He is and reveling in the amazingness of how He created us to bring new life into the world.

Isn't it great that God has chosen to use our lives to bring Him glory and conform us to the image of His Son? Ultimately, no matter what, we can rejoice that He remains faithful. My prayer and hope is that He finds me to be faithful in return.

"If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself."  2 Timothy 2:13

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Waiting Game

You may not know the details of our life, but you know that we have spent the past 10 months or so waiting on many things. We wait and nothing happens. We wait, something happens, and then we wait some more. We wait, something happens, then it all falls through, so we wait again.

This morning, with the ice and snow falling, I was given lots of time to sit and think over our waiting.  And I have to ask myself, "Am I waiting well?" and "How can I wait well?" Though I've not waited well all the time, I have figured out what helps in doing so. In no way is this an exhaustive list. I could go on for days...

1. Don't waste the wait

Whatever you are waiting for - a job, a husband, a child, a house - don't waste the time while you are waiting. It is so tempting (and I've done it) to stop doing things, especially to stop serving others. But when you believe that God saw fit to bring this into your life for you to glorify Him and to become more like His son, you get a new perspective on your waiting. Let me give you an example of one of my best and worst days.

One day, I went to work and Hubs came along to work on a project at church. We spent the entire day doing something for someone else. Then, we went over to some friend's house that night to fellowship and have fun. Although we talked about our situation and thought about it, we were so wrapped up in other people that we didn't get overwhelmed by our own issues.

Compare that to another day, where I didn't text anyone, left the house only if I needed to, watched shows on TV, checked my email and social media, ordered food and went to bed early. I was completely consumed with my own situation, that I was depressed and my attitude towards others and Hubs was selfish and crabby. I wasted the time that God had given me.

So, find things to do. Meet with people. Don't waste this time, but redeem it. Never, ever will I believe that God's purpose for you is to sit and think about yourself.

I'm not always good at this, but when we serve the Lord instead of ourselves, I think our attitudes naturally get a little better. I am constantly reminding myself to be thankful that God has brought us to this spot to serve Him. Which bring us to the next one:

2. Choose Gratitude

I can't stand complaining, and I really, really try not to do it (out loud). Right now, it is super popular to complain about the weather, and I know I have even said a few things about it. But, when you believe that the Lord has graciously allowed you to be in whatever situation it is (even cold weather), it's really hard to complain and grumble.

Sometimes there are things that you have to work on moment by moment, and this is one of those things. I can be at church and see someone who is in a situation that I wish I was in. A little thought comes into my mind, maybe envy, and so I immediately start thinking over truths that I believe. God is good and sovereign and faithful. My life has been custom designed for me to grow in grace through faith in Christ. God has not forgotten me. Christ emptied Himself and came to die for me. What else do I need but Christ?

Choosing gratitude means you will stop choosing yourself. It's so tempting to just sit and think on your own situation. You can even sit in a room with other people, listening and talking with them, and really just be thinking of yourself. Please tell me that I am not the only one who has done this!

There is only one way I can think of that you can actually accomplish choosing gratitude. It's building  up a good theology from God's word and keeping it in your mind. It's an active thought-life based on who God is. And, neatly, that takes us to the next one!

3. Think what you believe

What do you believe? What do you think? What do you know?

Our thoughts can really change the course of our day. I can let my mind go down a horrible rampage and be changed in a matter of minutes. For example, I was driving to the mall yesterday and I thought about if we were in a car accident. In my mind, we are in this accident and I see this huge beam coming straight for us. Hubs is unconscious and doesn't duck, but I do just in the knick of time. Hubs dies and I am distraught. A few weeks later, I realize I need to talk to someone about what I went through because I am having nightmares. And although all of that is completely made up in my mind, I am in my car bawling.

That's a silly example, but I can do this with anything. I can be super mad at Hubs or think someone is in the wrong completely because I let my mind run away with a tiny thought.

What if we did the same thing with truth, though? I'm in this situation. God is still good. He has given us so much, everything we need and even more. God is faithful. I know He does all for His glory and our good, which is conforming us to the image of His Son. So, I am going to trust Him. In God's gracious timing, He has given me more hours to serve Him and others. Now, what am I going to do about that?

What you believe about God is the most important thing about you (from A.W. Tozer). Why? Because it is what will be lived out and it is what will inform your thoughts. Learn to reign in your thoughts and think biblically about your situation. When one of those moments happens where you are tempted to start feeling sad for yourself, ask yourself these questions: What do I know? What do I think? What do I believe? Maybe someday I'll give you even more details about how I do this personally.

4. Love the Word of God

There are still times where your heart is overwhelmed and you just don't know what to do. Sometimes this is the hardest one for me to do, but open your Bible and read God's words. My favorite place to turn to right now is Psalm 61.

"Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I."

I love to learn from David's example of what to do when you are discouraged or confused or overwhelmed. I love that God put verses in the Bible that can balm our struggling hearts. I haven't found anything else that comforts and attends to my needs more than Scripture, yet often it is what I turn to when nothing else works. Learn to go there first.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Question we Constantly can't Answer

"Do you know where you are going yet?"

We get the same line of questions each week because people care about us and are praying for us. Never would I think of complaining that people want to be involved in our lives! Just the opposite - I am thankful!

Unfortunately, we don't have an answer that would only take a few minutes to share. Our answer is long and complicated and best summarized as, "We don't know."

In the past 9 months, we have had lots of challenges. Mainly, we have faced many unmet expectations. Not unreal expectations, just normal ones that most people have. God has seen fit to take our lives in a different direction, however, and we are praising Him for his faithfulness on a day-to-day basis. We have food. We have a house. We have great friends and family. And as we wait and wait and wait, our goal is to be faithful on a daily basis in what the Lord gives to us. What does that look like? It looks like me going to work. It looks likes serving others in whatever way we can. It looks like fellowship with friends. It looks like cleaning the house and car maintenance. It looks like making little decisions and doing as much as we can to make the process go quicker.

I'm so glad everything in our life has purpose. How depressing would it be to have a "trial" and not understand that God works through them to conform us to the image of Christ? There is purpose and reason behind all that goes on in our lives! Hopefully, this is cultivating me to be a person who desires God's glory more than my personal desires.

So, when I say, "we don't know," I am not avoiding the subject or trying to be vague (that's not me). We really don't know what will happen over the next weeks and months, but we hope our life demonstrates trust in God and a desire for his name to be exalted in our life.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Big Day x2

Hubs graduated over a month ago. So, I totally missed the opportunity to tell you in detail about what a great weekend it was with our friends and Hubs' family. We ate great food (The Tavern) with friends, went shooting with family and had a fun time celebrating over all.
We introduced Hubs' parents to our enjoyment of target shooting, and I got my first dead on bullseye with my gun, plus I got a few with Richard's! 

At graduation. We are so bad about taking pictures these days that I am very thankful we made sure to get one! I wish you could see my full outfit, but it included a chunky gold pave link bracelet, gold belt and (my fave) gold peep toes. I debated for days about whether or not to go bare legs in the cold and I did. I'm glad. The dress wasn't as cute with tights.

Oh look! I found a photo of my shoes!

The valedictorian. 

The graduation was different than you might expect. It was a catered dinner with a program at the end. Each graduate goes up a says a little something before receiving their degree, mostly thanking people that helped them get to where they are today. Then they announce the valedictorian, which was Hubs. After so much hard work over the past 30 months, it was such a wonderful thing for him to be recognized for the accomplishment. I mean, being valedictorian of high school is cool. In college it is a bigger deal. And in graduate school it's so impressive. But to be in a group of 14 highly educated, proven intelligent individuals, is not easy. Each day, he put forth his very best and he was recognized for that. We have been overwhelmingly thankful for all of the people that have prayed for us, encouraged us and helped us through these years!

We had a great time saying good-bye to Hubs' classmates. He has seen those people almost every day for the past 2.5 years! It is a very sharp change in your day-to-day routine when graduation occurs. Most people were headed to their new state/country/practice within the week. And, in case you were wondering, we are still in St. Louis, working hard to determine what is next in our life.

Yesterday, Hubs had another big day. He turned 30! This is a crazy year because this year we are not only in our 30s, but this year will be the 10 year anniversary of when we met. It's unreal that we have known each other that long, and yet it is hard to remember life without each other. I think we say that about every milestone, but time continues to fly by and we are enjoying the ride.

As you know, I love birthdays and think that something special should be done. On a milestone birthday, it just means something more special should be done! If you remember, last year, we went indoor rock climbing and it was fun. This year, we went indoor karting and it was special because some friends came along with us!

No messing around with these karts. You have to wear helmets, and they about did me in. I felt so claustrophobic! 

See. They go fast!

We had never been indoor karting before, but these things can get to 45 mph and they are electric, so they don't smell! It was a lot of fun, although I was pretty intimidated by the other races who had obviously done this a lot. Most importantly, Richard enjoyed it and it was worthwhile. I ordered ribs from Jack Stack and they were amazing and we spent the evening with friends, which is exactly what Richard wanted to do for his birthday.

I completely disagree with those that say as you get older, birthdays don't mean as much. I mean, if you want it to be like that, fine for you. But in my book, we will be having a fun day no matter how old we are!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Am I Ready?

Last Sunday, we were challenged to take some time before the new year and plan for our spiritual growth. It was a great sermon that asked a lot of questions, and since then, I have wanted to sit down and plan out my year. What will I study? What will I read? Is my theology ready for whatever comes in 2014? (Click here to watch to that sermon by Rick Holland.)

This morning, I finally sat down to think through the sermon and make a plan for spiritual growth this year. I started off by reading a sermon by J.C.Ryle, "Are You Ready?". It is a short little read (from which Rick Holland quotes frequently in his sermon) and it started me thinking soberly about the next 12 months. (Click here to read that sermon by J.C. Ryle.)

Never before have I really prepared for the year ahead, but I want to make sure I am ready for whatever happens. Not that the trials will be easier, the loss will be less or the growth will be exactly scaled at what I think it should. But that what I believe about God and his Word will be the solid foundation I need to be tossed against when both hard times and good things come.