the art of remaining planted

Home. this is my view every night. But this night my husband had just hung these signs, and I walked in to see my oldest son snuggled in to his dad as they read about Jesus and His cross. My youngest can never sit still long enough, but he yells “Jesus!” as He walks out of the grave in His white robe. Jesus defeated the grave. The enemy has no hold on us. And we are free.

I have a mustard seed growing into a tree tattooed on my arm. My grandma’s mustard seed was tied to my wedding bouquet. These last few weeks I’ve been reading and hearing multiple sermons on seeds planted. Having vision and faith, remembering what the Father has spoken over your life, and not running when the vision isn’t coming together the way we thought it would. The Father is always visual and repetitive when He speaks to me. Probably because I question Him the first and even second time He says something.

I was cleaning the men’s bathroom at church the other morning, and with each piece of toilet paper I swept up, I just felt joy within me to be doing it. At first I wondered, why is the men’s bathroom full of random pieces of toilet paper everyyyywhere? But I literally smiled and sang a song the whole time. Because we are planted. Because I love the people we are spoiled to do life with, here and now. Because THIS, here, now, this home, these children, this family, this city, these people, feels like our burden. We are burdened for this. These seeds. This plant. Because the Father is refining us and we are trusting Him with all of the little seeds.

They are rooting. And we are tending. I love home. I love this vision. I love how nothing goes unturned with the Father. He has His hand in it all. with each beginning He uses, so long as we remain planted.

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Holding loosely

When I had our firstborn, I held him so tight. He was a gift from the Father that I fervently prayed for for years. And when he arrived, I was afraid to let go. I was afraid that if I did, I would lose him. He was my dream and I was not willing to risk any pain of loss regarding him, I didn’t completely trust the Father with my son and I refused to loosen my grip. The feeling of control that welled within me became too much to carry. The anxiety of keeping him safe at all times caused tension throughout my life.

It wasn’t until a friend gave me a prophetic word over my life a few years ago. She wrote me a letter full of words that no one else would know besides my husband and the Father. She mentioned my burden’s and my grip on the things I wasn’t trusting the Father with. Because I wasn’t trusting Him with the things He gave me in the first place. And it was all weighing heavy on my shoulders. Jesus was asking me to hand over a box full of my things, in exchange for His hand. But I was afraid.

I think the thought of a Father having better things for me was unbelievable. It was foreign to me. The only good memories I have of holding my dad’s hand was when I was a little girl. And the memories of then seemed so distant a few years ago. Trust was broken and I hadn’t held a good father’s hand in a long time.

But thankfully, I handed the Father that box. And I took His hand. And I still do it daily. Before we moved from home, I sat with my husband and our pastor in tears as I knew leaving meant handing over my box again. I had a vision of what I wanted our life to look like, here at home. At our church. And in our ministry. But He was inviting us away for a while. So I took His hand. Then He gave us our second son. The exchange was so worth it.

I stood in church today, it was the first Sunday in our new building. For a moment, the old vision snuck up. What I already gave to the Father a few years ago. I closed my eyes and damned the lie that anything could be better than where we are at now. I told Him the story in my heart this morning and He whispered words over me that allowed my soul to unravel. Then our pastor told us to hold the hands of the people next to us, but I was alone in my row. So I close my eyes and start to pray alone. A pastor in our church quietly said my name and reached for my hand, and I grabbed it. It felt like a father’s hand in that moment and I was overwhelmed.

I know within me I’m always searching for a father’s hand. And I know He is always reaching for mine, like this pastor did this morning, reminding me to hold on loosely to the box, and grip tightly and full of trust to His hand.

Oh Abba, I’m continually letting it all go. The dreams. What I thought I knew. My pride. Sometimes it aches to let go but I know you have the best in store for our family. And anything I’ve ever put in Your hands You restore more than I ever could have imagined. So I’m doing that again, right now. Holding loosely. And reaching for You.

I notice you

It’s Sunday and I volunteer in the nursery, so we got our kids up and fed, dressed and out the door. I thankfully noticed the dirty diaper attached to my jacket before I closed the door behind me. I felt anxious from the rush and the time so I ask my husband to turn it from the Moana soundtrack to worship music.

I raise a hallelujah, in the presence of my enemies
I raise a hallelujah, louder than the unbelief
I raise a hallelujah, my weapon is a melody
I raise a hallelujah, heaven comes to fight for me”

The worship calmed my heart. And I look to my oldest son who is pointing out the window to everything under the sun. My baby reaches for his brothers hand and they laugh at each other. I realize we are raising great men who will love deeply and do greater things than we will ever do. Our greatest ministry will always be in our home, raising our boys together.

and I’m thankful to be their mama.

It’s been an on-the-go week (and weeks) and chores at home often pile up. It’s a season of motherhood that often feels unseen. And I’ve often felt unseen.

But this morning our pastor was praying at the end of worship and my mind started drifting when I heard the Lord say to me clear as day,

“I notice you.”

He notices every kiss we give on our babies boo-boo’s. He notices every prayer we say with them before they close their eyes at night. He notices the laundry we try to keep up on. The diapers we change. He notices our worry when our children come down sick and the temperatures we take when a fever runs high. He notices our tired eyes on an early Sunday morning but we go to church despite it all, because we want to know Him even more. He notices when we look in the mirror and find those grey hairs. Feeling older than the day before. He notices the sacrifice a woman makes when she because a mama. And He notices the way she doesn’t count any of it at all a loss.

And when you feel unseen. When you feel anxiousness in the depths of motherhood, He’s in awe of you. Your tender heart as you mother your babies. He notices every moment. Every kiss you give. Every prayer you speak. And He’s reminding you this is your greatest ministry yet.

Best Yes

Thinking about today’s message on Mary. Her best yes gave us Jesus. I watch my two sons sleep and I imagine the way her heart must’ve swelled for her baby boy the night he was born. And each moment after that. She probably had tired eyes in the morning after sleepless newborn nights. She probably had frustrating moments in the pits of motherhood. She probably watched Him sleep, memorizing his chubby toddler cheeks, soaking it all in. All of these moments she held in her heart must have all came crashing in when He was hung on the cross. And I’m so thankful she said yes, because when I worship Him today, hands reaching to Heaven, I think of all His goodness, His gentleness, His sweetness. I think of how He turns everything around for good, I think of these two boys, such a gift, and I cherish all of these things so deep in my heart.

ends of the earth

Sometimes we drive at night. Ever since we started dating we would go for a night drive. To anywhere. We dream together. We look at Christmas lights like my mom did with us when I was a kid. Tonight, we put the dogs in the back and strapped our babies in, and we went for a drive.

Sometimes things we live through feel all for not, but not this. I’m always searching for Him in everything. What are You saying? Where are You in this? What are You going to do next? But for almost a year He felt a little silent. Truthfully, what feels like silence can be frustrating for a while, until I started listening deeper. Realizing He’s trusting me to live this out, to seek Him harder, and to see what I will choose. We drove in the dark, and I told my husband I love Father more for this. For this season. And I feel His love for me more. I’ve realized He loves us so much, that He gives us our desires though He see’s the journey it will take us on. But because we desire it so deep, sometimes He gives it to us because He’s our Father and He can. He loves us so much. I can’t fully fathom that love. And I’ve never felt so consumed with love for Him in return. And that’s all He’s ever really wanted from us. For us to want Him back.

I remember a conference we attended in Grand Rapids where a man named Dan spoke at, it changed my life. He told a story about a time he was just driving, and He heard Father tell him to pull over and meet Him out in this field. He did, and Father told him just how much He loved him. Dan stood there in Father’s love for a while, consumed. He got back in his car eventually and drove off, and asked why He couldn’t just tell him this on the path he was driving. He told him that He wouldn’t have listened as intently if He hadn’t taken him off course.

Tonight I told my husband I know that He brought us to where we are to change my heart for Him. To be consumed by Him. To give desires just so I can realize that they are not what fulfill me. To be fulfilled by Him. I see even now what He was hoping I would. And I know through the years there will be moments that stop us in our track, where we will see even deeper still.

at the end of the day, we worship Him. We answer to Him. We trust in Him. We do our best to listen to His leading and follow. We aren’t perfect but He’s not asking us to have it all together before we can encounter Him. Just asking us to bring it all to Him and fall at His feet, stay there a little while longer, until all we see is Him. And He will go to the ends of the earth to tell us He is so in love with us, and for us to actually, really believe it.

You don’t give your heart in pieces, you don’t hide yourself to tease us 

Wild Fire

We woke up early this morning, I prayed over our family aloud before your daddy left for the church. Your brother napped for two hours and you and I did the dishes together. We cleaned your room together. I put things away and you played make-believe. It all felt so much like home to me. Something about your small hands and your little voice that calls me mommy, it takes me back to our old yellow house on Willow Street. It takes me back to curling up on my mama’s lap as she drinks her coffee.

And I was thankful to Father for this little gift, getting things done. My hair a mess and I look in the mirror and don’t feel so beautiful. But I have joy because I’m seeing this all as His gift.

And yesterday you tired me with that fit you threw over sharing toys. I worried what people would think. That maybe I’m not doing the best job at teaching you these things. But you nestle into my neck and you twirl my hair as your eyes fall to sleep. You let me know in this moment this is enough, this is all you need.

So I rock your brother to sleep for another nap and I watch you in the midday sun. I see sleep come over you after a morning of dinosaurs and singing songs and chasing your new kitten around the whole entire house. I close my eyes and I declare His goodness. His goodness in my tiredness. His goodness in the change. His goodness over you and your brother. In the fits and the tears and the happy and the fun. He is good in it all. And I ask Him for patience as your mama. He reminds me that you are exactly who He created you to be, wild, fierce, adventurer, a fire. So I pray for patience. I pray for a kind voice and arms that are always yours to fall in to.

And I see a glimpse of the future you. Unstoppable. I see the wild in you now is going to set the world on fire when you’re big and strong. I see the way you pretend you are your daddy when you have a microphone. I see you sing your little heart out and yell JESUS! So I won’t tame it. I pray for patience, and I’ll encourage you to be exactly who you are created to be. Wild fire.

whatever you’ve been praying for

I haven’t been to this space in over a year. The last time I was here we were living at my moms and we were pressing into our next step. Trusting God for us has always been a free fall. I’m usually the one to question that first step, but my husband takes the leap with no fear. So much has changed in a year.

It’s been one year since we moved from home. Where I’ve lived my whole life. Where I know everything. It’s still home to me, and I never thought we’d leave. But we trust Him more. We believe Him more. And we are enjoying where we are at. And honestly, we have been so spoiled in this season. I watch my husband and I could never say enough good things about him. The way he is a husband, the way he fathers, the way he handles it all. The way I would like to crawl back into myself at times, and the way he calls me out and speaks life back into me. He is so good. He is learning. I am learning. We are growing.

I sat with a friend last night and she told me about how God provided for their family in a huge way. God told her what their next step would be, and she trusted the impossible. And she saw it come to life. She trusted that He would show up, and He did, the way He always does when we have that kind of faith.

I stood in church this morning. We dropped our oldest off in the 2 year room and I held our baby during worship. My heart pressed in, heavy with all of these promises it seemed like He may have forgotten. And I know they aren’t forgotten. I know there is growth in the days that are leading up to the promise. These days are the promise. And I hold our baby, he falls asleep as the songs are sung. And she sings these words,

The Cross has the final word

She repeats it and it’s like an anthem in me. I remember years ago when I truly believed I would never be a mom. I can remember declaring that over myself in my hopelessness. Because I believed the enemy and what he had spoken over me. What he’s never let me forget. I remember sitting with our pastor in tears over the lie, that I wanted to be a mom but I would never be one. And I would think back to my first baby, and the enemy would remind me that I threw my chance away. But he is a liar, and he sees our purpose, so he tries to distort what’s true.

And she sings these words on a Sunday in September and I look at one of those promises in my arms. He’s fighting sleep as I rock him back and forth, as that anthem stirs inside of me and reminds me that it’s finished. That the enemy is finished. That we are healed and we are covered in His mercy, bathed in His grace. That someone can make the ultimate regret, and then gift His daughter with 2 babies, entrust her with 2 sweet boys, because of the cross. Because of His great love. I’ll never understand it, but I love being completely overwhelmed with Father’s love.

Whatever promise you’re holding onto, whatever you’re waiting on, I promise He hasn’t forgotten. And when the enemy tells you that He’s failed you just remember what’s true–

The cross has the final word

Give up the ghost

I watch him, he’s learned to walk and he has no fear. No fear, I know. I see the brave in him when he lets go of mama’s hand and walks, almost runs on his own. I see brave as he climbs stairs and he climbs chairs and he would climb down them alone if mama would let him. I watch him and I wonder how to get back there, to Eden. He has no fear and he’s there, in Eden. He’s innocent and brave but he looks back at mama while he does these things, like my presence makes him this way. Like it’s okay for brave so long as mama’s with him. And he laughs from the pit of him and it’s pure and sweet  and what is it about a baby’s laugh that does something inside of us?  It changes us for a moment. We don’t think about worry for a moment. For a moment we’re innocent, too. It’s Eden. 

And there’s a ghost that’s been chasing me or maybe I’ve been chasing it. And it’s midnight and He wakes me and He asks me to give it up. I pretend I don’t know what He’s talking about but He knows, I know. Because I’ve eaten the whole apple and I’ve known more than He’s wanted me to and it’s been chasing me, I’ve been chasing it. So many times I’ve closed my eyes and the liar is there. The liar shows me what he said would be forgotten and he lied. It’s there. And there’s plans I’ve been making without Him and I’ve been chasing them until my legs grow weak. He asks if He can come but I know what that means – give up the ghost. And can I? Hand over this box with all of my things? Hand over these plans in my mind for an unknown thing? Can I relearn this life-thing and get back to Eden? Before the apple fell into my lap? The Eden where he is, my trusting boy who’s brave comes from knowing his mama isn’t far behind. Can I find his brave in knowing that He isn’t far behind?

So I’ve invited Him deeper but really He’s probably invited me. He sits with me at the table of my soul and He knows everything I’m about to say. He breaks bread and He offers me some. He knows I don’t find the good in the clouds covering the sun. In the car that finds trouble in the rain. He knows I clench teeth when bank account runs dry and He asks, “Where is your brave?” And He asks, “Where is your trust?” And He asks, “Where is your hope?” And He knows, hope is in the ghost I’ve been chasing. In the plans I’ve been making. The ones I forgot to invite Him to. So He pours wine and He asks me to drink. He asks if I remember the house in the country and Him meeting me there. He asks if I remember slamming the door and telling Him to leave. If I remember the cool mornings on screened in porch where we met over coffee. All He wanted was to lift the heavy from my chest that had been there for years. He asks if I remember and I do. Because He did. It was painful because of the enemy but He was not the enemy. He was cool breeze in the early morning and He never left even when I slammed the door. And I remember. I take a sip and I see dark room and apple juice and I see nails and cross and I’m free. It’s been years, and I’m free. It seems so easy. The Answer. He asks and I remember. 

I open The Book and it’s Eden. It’s my brave child and I’m brave, too. Papa lingers behind me as we walk through the field and I feel brave, for the first time in a long time. And He speaks of thankfulness rolling off tongue but that’s a foreign language to me. It’s all over these pages and I’ve read them before but seeing them now as we walk hand in hand it’s like the first time. Thankful in all of this. Thankful for where we are. Thankful that that door didn’t open and thankful for wisdom to close the next with our own hands, even if it aches me. Thankful for dirt under toes and thankful for little hands to hold. And I can be tired and I can be broken and I question – but its been in these pages all along, waiting for me to give up my ghosts, waiting for me to invite Him in or maybe accept His invitation. For thankful. For His road. For His hand to hold. 

And I’m running in the field and there’s a wild in my soul flamed with a fire from Heaven, and He’s trailing behind fueling my brave. 

Mama, I’m Tired

We don’t have a schedule. We don’t have certain things we do at specific times of the day. Not yet, anyway. We never stuck with sink baths. He insists on taking a shower with me. Sometimes we don’t get dressed until the afternoon, and sometimes it’s only to put clean pajamas back on. I see other mama’s and I wonder how they do it. They post photos of themselves with their hair curled and make up done and I bet her legs are shaved. I bet her bed is made. I look at me and my hair hasn’t been washed in what feels like since his birth and I’m wearing this shirt that smells of spit-up. 

And I look at him. The one who made me mama. He looks at me, looks passed the mess of me. Gives me the sweetest smile, the one I’m so in love with. “I’m thankful.” I whisper. He brushes his ear to let me know, “Mama, I’m tired.” I rock him in my arms as he fights the heavy wave of sleep sweeping over his deep blue eyes. I’m thankful for those eyes. I sing Amazing Grace for the millionth time since we brought him home. Sleep invites him in and I lean my head back and let out a deep breath.

We don’t get out much anymore. Making it to Target is our getaway these days. I push him in his stroller and the brightly lit store widens his eyes. We pass another mama pushing her newborn and her hair is in a bun and she has eyes that miss sleep. Looks at my little singing boy then to me, smiles faintly as if to say, “Mama, I’m tired.” And I know, these are the days.

 And these days our living room has toys piled in a corner and I’ve been having to remind our dog that they aren’t for him. 

 There’s dishes in the sink and the laundry’s waiting to be switched over and the fridge is growing bare. All of a sudden it’s past noon and the dogs still haven’t been let out and I haven’t eaten lunch, and what are we having for dinner again? Wasn’t there a magic dinner fairy that was suppose to come in this marriage-package deal? 

He jumps up and down in his bouncer as I cook over the stove before his daddy gets home. He coo’s conversation to me and my mama heart is thankful. It’s busy and draining and I’m wishing I could shave my legs, but I’m thankful. I cook dinner and he smiles as he throws his Sophie Giraffe across the kitchen floor. Calls for me with his sleepy eyes that let me know, “Mama, I’m tired.” I sing Amazing Grace over those deep sea eyes and I wonder how I’m going to do it all over again tomorrow. I wonder if these yesterday chores will ever get done tomorrow. My eyes grow heavy as I rock him back and forth and I say to myself,Mama, I’m tired.” And I’m wishing for my mama to rock me to sleep, too.  I’m wishing for the sweetest graces sung over me.

Just when I think sleep has stolen him away, he looks up at me and touches my face. In all of my exhaustion and worry if I’m doing enough, am I doing this mama thing right? Did I give enough kisses and hug him tight enough? All it takes is that look from him and his sweet embrace that says, “Mama, you’re doing enough.”

And I know one day when he’s old enough to put himself to sleep, when he no longer needs a lullaby to be sung, when there’s time to do laundry and I notice I have smoothe legs again, I’m going to be praying to hear those words inviting me to rock him close in my arms once more, Mama, I’m tired. 

The Other Side Of It All

Years before my son, I chose abortion. It was my choice. Maybe because of where I was at in life. Maybe because I was too ashamed to carry a child at the time. Maybe because I didn’t know more. I wish I had known more.

 I knew I wanted abortion, but even more I knew it was wrong. I knew the thought of it made my stomach sick. I knew I didn’t want anyone to know. I knew I was scared. And I was too paralyzed with fear to run from what my heart was telling me not to do. 

When I was pregnant for the first time they didn’t call my baby a baby. They called my baby a fetus. They told me I’d receive counseling but all they did was give me a paper to check off boxes asking if this was my choice and if I was raped. They turned the screen away so I couldn’t see my baby in womb. So I couldn’t see my baby’s beating heart. They did everything possible to disconnect my  mind to the fact that I was carrying a baby. A human. My child. As they continually said this is a fetus. Fetus. Not life. Fetus. Fetus. Fetus. Fetus. Fetus…

When I was pregnant for the second time they congratulated me right away. As my sons small body showed up on that screen, she pointed to him and called him my baby. “There’s your baby. There’s your baby’s heart.” The same gestational age as my first baby. And I cried. She smiled. She patted my leg. She didn’t know my thoughts immediately rushed to my first baby. That this is what my first baby in womb looked like, but I didn’t get to see. I didn’t get to see my first baby squirm around the way my son was on the screen. I cried not only because I was happy for my second child, but because I was sad for my first child. Because I wanted abortion, I took my first baby’s life. Because I was born, because I can talk and breathe air and because you can visibly see me in front of your face, I had the right to take my first baby’s life away. That is my right. 

When we want our baby in womb then it is a baby. We call it a baby from the start and the doctors call it our baby and send us off with “what to expect” books and a million congratulations. We have baby showers and we buy pinks or blues and everyone around us is in celebration, too.

But when we don’t want that child..

There is a disconnect with abortion. When we want an abortion it is only a fetus. It is not yet life. And we totally support abortion because the baby on that screen doesn’t fully look like a baby yet. We are repeatedly told that it is not yet life and the doctors at the clinic drill it into our minds that it is only a fetus and send us on our way with antibiotics and a paper with our signature that signed life away. You know, sometimes in the quiet we wonder what if we never signed that life away. 

When abortion comes there’s no congratulations. There’s no happy at the end of the day. When abortion comes so does the dark. The innocence once felt in soul disintegrates, because abortion came.  They say there will come relief but it’s been all this time and I’m still trying to catch my breath. For so long I couldn’t move forward like they said I would. I’ve let the silence overcome me and I’ve wished and prayed and begged to go back to that day. To run out of those doors but instead I stayed. Room full of women waiting for the same thing, we all stayed. I believe in healing and believe me I’m healed, but it didn’t come easily. I ran and I screamed, cried and fought, forgave and released. There will never be a day where I will say I’m proud. I’ll never live without regret. 

And so here I stand, on the other side of it all. I see people scream for their right to choose. I see people joke about it being our human right to “kill fetuses” because it’s our body. I look at my son and I’m so glad he made it. I’m so glad for his life. I’m so glad his mama values life today. I look at my son with joy, yet I’m burdened. For the ones who didn’t get the chance to make it, to choose for themselves because their life isn’t viewed as valuable unless they are wanted. I stand on the other side wishing the world knew. 

Oh babies, you are loved. Your lives still matter. You aren’t forgotten.

For more prolife blog posts please click these two links: 

A Voice is heard in Ramah 

Cycle of feeling