The Paths We’ve Traveled.

As the time is ticking down, I can’t help but feel this huge rush of different emotions.  The 40 week wait is almost over!

As I was sitting in our game room talking with Shane, there was one question that I asked him:  “How the heck did we get here?!”

For those of you who know us or that have followed or story on here, you know that 4 years ago, we were both on very different paths.  Paths paved by the broken pieces of who we once were, the plans we had made for ourselves, and any type of feelings and emotions that were anything other than the feeling of being numb.  Paths that eventually led to one another but not without some hiccups in the road.

I couldn’t help but look around at everything that has happened in the last 4 years and just be humbled.

As I looked down at my fully inflated belly, I got chills.  I’m 40 weeks pregnant with a child I was told that I would possibly never have.  I’m 40 weeks pregnant with the son that I had only thought that I would get to meet in my dreams.

Then I look over at Shane who is just taking it all in.  He’s looking around at the wife he felt for so long he didn’t deserve, at the house that he’s put blood, sweat, and tears in order to make it our own, and my growing belly at another son that is soon to make his debut.

Seriously.  How the heck did we get here!?

In a sense, the answer is so simple while in the same breath so complex.  With everything that has happened, all aspects of our lives had to have been in the perfect place at the right time.  There is only one answer as to how this happened – both when we were on separate paths and on the path that we are on now.  God’s plan was bigger and the story is told with our shoes.

God’s plan for us was bigger than any called off wedding plans.  Bigger than bone scans, blood work, and x-rays.  Bigger than any doctor diagnosis based off of nothing more than ‘science’.  Bigger than the legal “one bedroom” house that we were trying to raise a family in.  Bigger than anything that we could have ever  imagined and planned for ourselves.

It’s just such an odd mix of emotions to be sitting in this chair and feeling all of these feelings: excitement, anticipation, fear, joy, nervousness, happiness, anxiousness, calm, and the list goes on.

Truth of the matter is that within the next week or so, I will have a tiny babe laying next to me.  Well, he will probably be in his bassinet or rocker and I’ll be staring down at him just in awe that my “slim chances” is laying right in front of me.

The picture of our shoes tells the story of our family.  We have a daughter who is so shy and so quiet.  But she slips on those shoes and walks across a stage and transforms into numerous characters while telling a story for judges and peers.  We have a son that puts on his drill masters and marches across football fields and performs marching shows that he has put countless hours of practice into.  I click my way across the floor at the dealership to work with my salesmen and their customers to help provide a good life for the two children we have.  Shane puts on his boots daily and labors in extreme heat, extreme cold, and everything in between to be sure that all of us are well provided for and taken care of.  Elijah’s shoes have yet to be worn.  Those shoes will soon be the cause of the pitter-patter sounds running across the floor followed by the excited squeal of a toddler running away from his hard working father, his expressive sister, or his determined brother.  It just seems so surreal…

How?!  Just, how?

God is so good.  If you give Him the chance, He works such miracles.  His plan is bigger than yours.  He will bring you places that you never thought you would go.

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I just love this picture!  Our lives have been so serious in preparation for our little guy that we needed a good laugh tonight!  ❤

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That Special Feeling.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I can’t help but notice the amount of stuffed animals, flowers, candy, and special plans that are listed out on my Facebook, Instagram, and other social media feeds.

I was going through and enjoying what I was seeing.  I am happy that people get flowers, candy, and other gifts for Valentine’s Day.  But as I was going through and seeing all this, I felt like I got hit by a bus:

If your man or woman only does special things for you or makes plans for you one day out of the year, they are failing the other 364 days.

…that means that you feel special 0.0027% of the year.

I was just having a conversation with Shane yesterday about how I felt like I wasn’t good enough for him.  That I was a failure.  That he deserved better.  It was one of those days that was looking like I was going to have a late/no lunch break.  I let him know and found out that he had planned something special for us.  Being the supportive man he is, he found a way to make it OK.  But that didn’t change the little seed of doubt that started.

I failed him.  I failed to be able to schedule the day where I was able to take a decent lunch break and allow him to carry out this plan he had…but the car business is unpredictable so we have to work around it.

But as soon as that little seed was planted, I realized not only had I failed to take a decent lunch break, I also didn’t get dishes put away from the night before, I forgot to switch over the laundry, I was distracted with getting the kids to school and the dogs outside that I didn’t get the bed made, I hadn’t swept the floor, vacuumed the rug, dusted the shelves, and I forgot to pull bread out of the freezer for supper.  As you can imagine, the list continued to grow throughout the day.

After a long night of letting my mind spin on these things, we sent the kids off to bed and sat in silence.  I apologized.  For what?

For not getting anything done while getting everything else done, for encouraging M in her speech practices while coming down on her for neglecting her responsibilities to practice before 24 hours before her first competition, for guiding M and giving him room to grow while getting upset that he’s ‘wasting time’ and ‘procrastinating’ when we need some speed in the routine, for loving Shane with everything that I have but still not being enough for him.

As I opened up to him, he just sat and listened.  No judgement, a few laughs, and a few shakes of the head.

But when he asked me if there were things that had been done that made me feel like I was good enough, it was almost overwhelming.

Yes; you planned a special dinner for us, you’ve planned an anniversary weekend event, you’ve demonstrated patience, you’ve been understanding, you built us a bed frame with your hands while I was in Texas, you’ve lost sleep to make sure I was OK, you’ve taken leaps of faith with me, you’ve supported me, you’ve blessed me with M&M, you’ve encouraged me when I’ve lost any type of luster to continue, you’ve built me up when I’ve been knocked down, you’ve allowed me to grow, you’ve loved me through every trial and tribulation, you’ve gone out of your way to make sure I’m comfortable and feeling loved, and the list can go on.

He makes me feel like this every day of the year.  I never go to bed wondering if I’m loved or cared about.  I never question if he is being honest and faithful.

So why, the day before Valentine’s, are all these women raving over feeling ‘special’?  Do you not feel loved every other day of the year?  Do you not receive the respect that you deserve from your someone special?

When it comes to love, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is the ‘go to’ verse.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

I once read, to know if you have the love that you deserve, replace some of the words with the name:
Shane is patient and kind; Shane does not envy or boast; Shane is not arrogant or rude. Shane does not insist on his own way; Shane is not irritable or resentful; Shane does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

If you replace those words with the name and you cannot say that is 100% accurate in your life, maybe it’s time to reevaluate some things.  I’ve been in situations where every single statement was false.  I didn’t have patience or kindness, I was surrounded by envy, boastfulness, rudeness, arrogance, resistance to compromise, irritation, resentfulness, and someone who celebrated wrongs instead of doing what was right.

Women (and men too); listen to me:

You DO deserve patience and kindness and endurance.
You DO NOT deserve any type of envy or boastfulness.
You DO NOT deserve arrogance or rudeness.
You DO NOT deserve someone who is resistant to compromise.
You DO NOT deserve someone who is irritable or resentful.
You DO NOT deserve someone who rejoices in wrongs.

While I am truly elated that you have been able to receive flowers, candy, and other things, please keep in mind that you deserve more than 0.0027% happiness and love throughout the year.  You deserve to be 100% happy, 100% loved, and 100% special 100% of the year.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Nothing But A Memory.

As I’ve gotten older, trying to find the perfect gift to buy my loved ones has become harder.  It’s also become harder for me to decide what I would like to receive as a gift.

Last night Shane and I began discussing things that we have put off for ourselves; things that would make Christmas gift ideas.  I got to thinking and my list was a pencil sharpener, a travel coffee mug, a stamped mothers ring, a hair cut, and a few other small things that just aren’t necessities.

Same with Shane.  He’s been wanting things such as a mider saw, a drill press, a chop saw, wood clamps, U-clamps, and other things that can help with woodworking crafts.

As a couple, things like a bathroom renovation, an over-the-stove microwave and a new mattress/frame for our bed that was damaged in the move became the topic of conversation.

However, since these things aren’t necessary, we put them off.  We save the money and later put it toward something for the kids, gas in the vehicles, or food on the table.

But as I’ve been sitting behind my desk at work, I can’t help but think of how greedy people have become.  We sit in our homes the last Thursday in November every year giving thanks for the things we have, the people in our lives, the experiences we had over the year, and so on.  But within 24 hours, people are standing in obnoxiously long lines chomping at the bit to get the best deals on big screen TV’s, video games, clothes, shoes, toys, home decor, and more.

Why?

Why do we feel the need to buy a large amount of gifts for those in our lives in order to celebrate a holiday that has nothing to do with material items?  So we can “buy” the love of those around us?  So we can “flaunt” the money in which we may (or may not) have had?  So that we can try to out-do one another?

As we crawled into bed, I heard Hugo walking around downstairs followed by the jingle of his tags laying down on the floor, I heard Marley curl up on his bed next to my bedside table, and I knew the kids were fast asleep.  I began thinking about the next couple of days.

One more day of work before a day off, a trip up to visit my sister and brother-in-law and parents over Thanksgiving day,  and another day of work rewarded by an annual tradition that evening.  I couldn’t help but smile a little bit.

Because through all of the hustle and bustle that has become our lives, we still strive to make memories, we still find joy in the little things going on in our lives, we strive to carry on traditions and throughout it all, actively practice our faith and give honor, praise and glory to Him for all that he has blessed us with.

We treasure the memories over the material items.  We would rather build a foundation on Him than functionality of expensive goods.

Just after having 12 hours to think it all over, straighten it all out in my cluttered little brain, I have finally finalized by Christmas wish list:

Nothing, but a memory.

Forgive Those Against You.

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Saying some prayers this evening for those who have figuratively nailed me or anyone within my family (my parents and sister included) to a cross.

I may have not been “in the right” but neither were they. In all situations, it takes two to reach the outcome.  It takes two to argue.  It takes two to point fingers.  But it only takes one to stand up for what is right.

It is not one-sided, it is not a blame game, it isn’t a game of wits, and it isn’t about who told the honest truth over who told the personal truth dabbed with lies.

It isn’t about who has the ability to stand up for themselves.  It’s about who has the ability to stand up for Him.

You can judge me, you can criticize me, and you can persecute me.
But then you cannot stand and call yourself a believer.  You cannot stand there and preach against one thing and act another.

“Do not repay evil with evil. Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes.  If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.
If your enemy is hungry, feed him.
If he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  For in so doing
you will be heaping fiery coals on his head. Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.” – Romans 12: 18-21 (HCSB)

I may not be (and possibly never will be) at a place where I can reconcile. It is my Christian duty to forgive others so that my Father will forgive me .

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him so that your Father in Heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing.” -Mark 11:25

Freeze, Frozen, or Forgiven?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reading the book “God Never Blinks” by Regina Brett. I haven’t been reading it front to back like you would  a normal book.  I’ve been flipping through and finding a little passage that relates to my day.  Last night I found one that has summed up my life the past month or so.

The section was titled “When in Doubt, Just Take the Next Right Step.”

The analogy that was used was the game of freeze tag.  Once you are tagged, you stop (or freeze) in place.

I can relate to being tagged in my life and I just stop in place.  I don’t look around, I don’t move forward.  And I definitely don’t move backwards.  I’m just there – blindsided by a strong hand that has stopped me in place.

I stay in my own little world stuck in one spot wondering what my next step is going to be.  Stay where I’m at and think of endless possibilities of how to become unfrozen?  Try to break my icy mold by myself and continue on?  Try to retrace my steps and find a way around finding myself stuck in a place I don’t want to be in?

Being human, we get so wrapped up into what has gone wrong, we freeze.  We meditate on all the things that have happened, all the things we wish we could have done, or all of the things that were done.

Shane and I experienced this about a month ago.  We were so blindsided by the actions of others that we froze in place.  When you take a married couple and both of them freeze at different places on the field in different positions, it’s not good.  You can’t communicate, you can’t console, and you can’t encourage forward movement.  You stay in place, facing different directions trying to figure out what comes next.

Well, in our situation, the obvious “next step” for us was a prayer of forgiveness.  We needed to forgive so that we could move forward.  We wanted to forgive so we could move forward.

However:

Forgiveness doesn’t always mean reconciliation.

I struggled with this concept – and still kind of do.  I have been raised thinking that if you forgive someone, their wrong doings are “erased” and you make the effort to restore what you had before you became frozen.  That’s just how it was.  That’s how it’s always been.

But, Shane showed me a new option:  you can forgive without having reconciliation.  Somethings just can’t be, won’t be, or (even in some situations) shouldn’t be resolved.

Kind of like that saying “Hate the sin, love the sinner.”  You can love someone without approving of their every move, decisions, or choices.

We “practice what we preach”.  We try to see everyone through the eyes of Christ and love everyone as we love ourselves, but there are times where this just doesn’t seem possible.  But we are told in Ephesians 5:1-2 “Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children.  And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.”

We cannot be imitators of God if we are walking around judging, ridiculing, wishing ill upon our neighbors, or not loving our neighbors.

When Shane sat me down and told me that there can be forgiveness and Christ-like love but not necessarily reconciliation, it caught me off guard.  But here is where it begins to make sense. (Authors note:  Feel free to correct me here if I am wrong.)

Forgiveness and Christ-like love can be one-sided.  You can forgive someone without them knowing or returning the favor.  Just the same, you can show love to someone without them wanting to receive it or returning it.

We, as Christians, can fulfill our duty as being imitators without the acknowledgement of the receiving end.

Up until the last few days, I was frozen in place.  I thought that I had broken my mold and began my journey forward.  I was wrong.  I was just as frozen last week as I was a month ago.  I hadn’t taken the next right step. I had prayed but I hadn’t put into action what I had prayed for – because I was stuck.

I want to move forward and ONLY forward.  I will not be looking back, dwelling on the past.

If you have wronged me, my husband, or my kids, know that you are forgiven and you are loved.

Just as I have been forgiven, I have forgiven.  I have forgiven, I have loved, but I cannot reconcile at this point in time.

But I am no longer frozen.  I will not stand stationary waiting for the world around me to change.  I need to be the change in the world.

I need to take that next right step.

I am in Love with Another Man and My Husband Knows It.

I am in love with another man and my husband knows it. Not only does he know it, it is the best thing for our relationship. It is the best thing for [our children]. It is the best thing for my soul.

I am in love with an outlaw. His name is hated, he is shut out, abandoned, left to himself. Governments set out to hide him, to lock him away, to keep his influence from taking over their people.

He is dangerous but he is to be trusted. He roams, but he is safety. Outlawed, but can not be hidden. Despised and rejected, but gives his all. He can not be understood, but he is the answer.

I am in love with another man, I can’t keep my mind off of him. When my heart aches, when all this world has to offer is not enough, he is my soul’s satisfaction.

If I did not have Jesus, my marriage would have fallen apart long ago. If I was not totally enthralled with my Lord, then I would have nothing of benefit to teach my [children]. If my God was not all consuming, then there is no need for me here in this Earth.

Oh Jesus, I am wholly, completely in love with you!

Originally blogged on:
Beautiful Life With Cancer

Cross The Line.

Have you ever really sat back and thought about everything that a line can do?  It can be a barrier, it can be a way to organize things, it can cause division among things, or it can be a path to follow.

For example, the lines on the roads.  If they are followed correctly, they guide traffic safely.  However, you remove those lines, there becomes chaos.

There are figurative lines when we talk about personal boundaries.  Nobody can see them, but you know they are there.

But what about when it comes to faith?  Christ drew a line for us to follow:
“Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me’.” ~John 14:6 HCSB

He gave us a very black and white statement.  No one can get to the Father unless they believe in Jesus.  But this is where the line gets blurred for some people.

See, you can either be on one side of the line or the other – either you believe or you don’t – there is no grey area.

There are those believers who claim to be believers but do not show actions of a believer.  In other words they do not show Christ’s love, they do not pray for others, and/or they do not give up complete control of their lives to/for Christ.

On the other hand, you have those who are believers and show Christ’s love to the best of their Earthly ability, they pray for others – especially those who come to them in need, and they offer their whole lives to Christ.

I will not sit here and say that it is easy for me to turn over complete control of my life.  After all, who could keep up a schedule like ours if you have zero control over it?  Well, the answer is simple – He can.

I gave up complete control of my life in early 2013.  Up until then, I was one of those believers who said they believed (and I truly did) but I did not show it.  I did hide behind my faith.  I was scared to offend those around me who didn’t believe.  As soon as I gave up control of my life, He started to do some pretty amazing things.

He brought me out of an abusive relationship.  He healed my broken self into something that He could use for His glory.  He called me back into an education program that I loved.  He gave me a job offer that allowed me to escape the daily grind of a gas station.  He allowed my path to cross with a man that I had only dreamed about.  He showed me a way to share my life story, my faith story, and my heart on a public forum.  He lead us to a home church.  He has done it all.

The difference between the “new” believer in me and the “old” believer in me?  The old believer believed that Jesus was my Savior.  The new believer in me believes that Jesus is my Lord and Savior.  They key difference being the word Lord.

One of the definitions of the word Lord is “act in a superior and domineering manner towards someone”.

I have began to follow His greatest command for us: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” ~Matthew 22:37
He has come first and foremost in my life – even during times that I wish I could maintain control.  I cannot do it without Him.  He knows what I can handle and He knows that I need Him to help me through.

Do you hold Christ above yourself or do you feel that you come first?

We saw the line that Christ gave us – “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

If you have not accepted Christ and your Lord and Savior, do you feel that he is going to let you to the Father off of some excuse as to why you felt that you were superior to Christ?

When He stretched out his arms on that cross, He forgave all of our sins.  That shows us that not one person should be viewed over the other.  We are all sinners and we have all been forgiven.  So why is it that people still feel that they can control when Christ is in their lives and when he ‘doesn’t need to be there’?

Wonderful things begin to happen in life when you decide that you want to give up complete control.  Until then, His arms are still stretched open waiting for you to realize that He is the way, the truth and the life.

“No one comes to the Father Except through me.”

Which side of the line are you on?

*Blog topic credit goes to Shane.  Thanks, love!*

We Are Thirsty.

There are times where we all struggle.  In those times, we become thirsty for the help of our Lord.  However, we tend to stray and push him aside as we try to manage our pain by ourselves.  We need to remember that during those times, we need to rely on our Lord to help us through.  Only He can help our sorrow and pain.

All we can ask is Come, Lord Jesus. Help us with our pains and sorrows.

Living On Edge.

One of the biggest things that irritates me about myself is my temper.  Maybe more of my patience.  Not meaning I’m walking around angry all the time but more of the fact that I get so easily frustrated with situations that are not worth flying off the handle for.

And I get mad at the fact that I’m mad.  Then I get even more mad.  It’s a vicious cycle.

Today, for example, I was furious with Verizon Wireless after about…. 5 minutes of using their online chat.

Shane and I have been battling them over one thing or another since I can remember. (I was evening battling them before we started dating.)  We often times find additional charges or changes to our plan that were not authorized.  But recently, we have been dealing with the Edge plan.  (A plan through Verizon that you can get a brand new phone without paying for it up front and it is split up into payments that are added onto your bill; you also get a discount.  It’s pretty impressive actually.)  We were both eligible before we got married and Shane “Edge’d up” when we looked into it and I was going to “Edge up” when we got our plans combined.  I was looking forward to this since I have had numerous issues with my iPhone and just wanted to be done with it.  However, in the midst of all the changing and transferring, my eligibility was removed.  We made numerous calls and spent hours upon hours on the phone with different agents to see what we would do to remedy the situation.  We came up dry.  I got mad.

Of course I got mad.  My phone only works when it wants to.  You don’t realize how much you use your phone until you can’t.  I use it for everything; blogging/checking the notifications, banking, schooling, checking on my loans, social networking, researching different things; the list goes on.

However, I was contacting Verizon last week because my phone completely quit.  I couldn’t do anything.  I was disconnected from WiFi, it wouldn’t connect to 4G or 3G, in fact, it said “No Service.”  So, I hopped on Verizon chat and did some troubleshooting with the agent for a while and we just happened to be making small talk when our issues with the Edge program were addressed.  She couldn’t understand why nothing was done about it before since it was a simple form to fill out.  She promised that she would take care of it and I would see results.  I was impressed.

I went back on today to just check and see if there was anything more I could do on my end and what their system was showing.  BIG MISTAKE.  The agent I was paired up with could not differentiate between Shane’s phone line (who happens to be the account holder) and my phone line.  He was trying to tell me that I was already on the Edge plan and that I needed to pay off $300+ dollars in order to “Edge up” again.  Um.  No.  That’s my husband, not me.  I tried to explain it better (since all I wanted to know was if the form was filled out) in hopes that he would understand; no go.  The longer I sat there explaining the same thing over and over, the more frustrated I grew.  Like, crazy rabid squirrel frustrated; fangs showing, foaming at the mouth, pulling my hair out frustrated.  Eventually, I got tired of wasting my breath (after explaining the same thing over and over for about a half hour) that I asked for his employee ID to leave him a review and logged off.

My blood was boiling.

As soon as the chat was ended and I took a few breaths, I realized that I was frustrated over something so small and so stupid.  Then I started reciting this verse without realizing it:  “…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to be come angry.” – James 1:19

I often hear my husband mummer this under his breath when something is frustrating him.  He also happens to be one of the most patient, understanding, and forgiving men I know.  I have him to rely on and to help build me up and encourage me, but yet it is so difficult for me to stay calm in situations that try my patience.

Shane really is a living example of Christ’s love and how we, as Christians, should be conducting ourselves.  We need patience instead of anxiousness.  We need calm instead of chaos.  We need to listen instead of slander.

I can only pray that I can begin to show patience and understanding in my character.

“I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13