Tuesday, December 23, 2014

When it Feels Like He's Forgotten...

It’s been a hard one, 2014. It just has.

And in the messy, hard, tears, & fears, God has met me and continues to do so in ways I’ve never known.

It’s been a hard one for many of you, this year has. Many of my dear friends have experienced loss and hopelessness this year like never before. We’ve been pressed but NOT crushed, persecuted NOT abandoned; struck down but NOT destroyed ( 2 Corinthians 4.) Many difficult moments have seemed to never give way and the light at the end of the tunnel has been hard to see at times. 

But in the midst, God hasn’t forgotten me, nor has he YOU. He has met me this year in ways that affirmed my doubting heart and filled my peaceless mind. As He does, He met me today in my brokenness and reminded me of His love for my aching fearful heart.

This morning I got on the road to head home for an evening, after spending the last week in Birmingham with my sweet daddy who is very very sick. When you get a call saying your dad is in ICU and very unstable you don’t think about packing. You hop in the car and speed the whole way to get there never giving a thought to what you threw in your bag.  Needless to say, your attire might not be the most fabulous so when your dad gets stable, you take a break and head to do some laundry, spend the night in your own bed, and rest before heading back to the hospital to spend Christmas with his hurting body.

As I got in the car and pulled onto the interstate, the sky fell out. I couldn’t see the car in front of me, and literally was crying outloud to God:

 “Show me you love me, God!”

 “Show me you haven’t forgotten my daddy!”

 “Show me you care, because this year hasn’t felt much like it!” 

"Show me I am Yours and you care for me, because I don't really feel like you do!"

"Show me I can trust you!"


I began listing in my mind all the ways I feel that God has failed me this year. Because of my brokenness I am not always able to see His sweetness in this broken world and many times fixate on the problems instead of the one who sees and hears and never leaves.  Though HE truly hasn't failed me once, my list was long and hard and tears began to flow and I begged Him to show me he hasn't forgotten the girl who has loved Him since she was a frizzy haired middle schooler. I needed to know today, and maybe you do to, that He sees ME, hears ME, answers ME, and cares for ME. 

The weather got to a point where I had to pull off at an exit and wait for a bit. I knew I was upset, couldn't see, and needed to calm down and wait while the weather passed. After a little while passed and the weather had calmed down just a bit I got back on the interstate and turned off the Christmas music that was playing on every station on the radio- I didn't want to hear about a holly jolly Christmas when my year had honestly stunk and my dad would be spending Christmas in a hospital bed. 

I decided I didn't want to drive in silence either, knowing my own thoughts weren't the best thing to be listening to in the moment, so I turned on a playlist of some worship music I love and kept driving through the crazy pouring rain asking Him again:

"Do you even love me?"

"Do you love my daddy?"

"This year has been terrible."

And then He met me as He always days when I allow myself to ask the hardest questions of my heart and be the realest and rawest with the one who knows me best. I looked up from turning on the music and I was passing a giant cross on the side of the interstate. The rain literally stopped pouring and the dreariness of the moment before was gone. Healer, by Kari Jobe came on first on the playlist and I knew sweet Jesus had met me in that place. 

He met me when I doubted His goodness. He met me when the storm raged all around me. He calmed my heart and reminded me he calms the storm in every moment. He sang to me that " He holds my every moment, calms my raging seas, walks with me through fire, heals all my disease..." Would you believe it if I told you EVERY song the rest of the way home mimicked His goodness to me? Every single one, spoke to me of the love Jesus has for ME! 

Me, the one who was doubting He cared. 

Me, the one who often doesn't believe He can heal. 

Me, the one who is broken from a hard year of this hard world. 

He met me today and quieted my soul with His love. I pray that this Christmas He does the same for you. He does not cause pain without allowing something new to be born ( Isaiah 66:9.) 



He is faithful when we are faithless

He is gracious when we are grieving

He is healing for our hurting

He is our strength and portion forever. 

Merry Christmas sweet sweet friends! Thank you for journeying through this crazy, difficult, messy, incredible year with me. I pray you see Jesus in the hard and sweet moments of the next few days and His sweetest blessings to your longing hearts in the new year. 

He has not forgotten YOU!

KJ 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

10-12-14

My tiny one, 

You were set to arrive tomorrow. At least that was our plan. The doctors said you would arrive around the 15th of October but we knew you would come on the 12th. You see, Mommy has a thing about dates. I was born on 6-7-89 and Daddy and I were married on 7-9-11; it made perfect sense that you would arrive on 10-12-14.

My life has changed so much because of you sweet little one. When Daddy and I found out about you in February our hearts were forever changed. When I had the honor of holding you in my tummy for 3 months, I loved you so very much. Love, not loved. I was so sick, and you were so worth it. Even if only for the 3 months, you changed my heart and the core of my being. 

Tiny one, when we found out you had gone to Heaven, and your tiny little heart was now held by Jesus, mommy's heart broke; and her heart breaks tonight as she thinks of what could have been. Who you could have been. 

But little angel baby of mine, I had to write tonight. Because YOU matter, and your story matters. God created you, knowing exactly what He was doing, and the story of who you are is precious to me and will forever be. You were not a mistake, not an accident, but carefully thought out by the creator of the Heavens. He numbered your days and knew that Heaven would be your home. 

Every life matters my sweet baby. From the moment your little life began, you were so precious to your Heavenly Father, your daddy, and me. I grieve for you tonight angel dear, but rest in knowing that you are in the most glorious place, beyond what I could ever fathom or imagine. You matter, are loved and I praise God for creating your darling self. 



Glory Baby
by Watermark


I can't imagine heaven's lullabies
And what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing
Heaven is your home
And it's all you'll ever know

We miss you everyday, miss you in every way
But we know there's a day when we will hold you, we will hold you
And you'll kiss our tears away, when we're home to stay
We can't wait for the day when we will see you, we will see you

But baby let sweet Jesus hold you, until mom and dad can hold you
You'll just have heaven before we do
You'll just have heaven before we do
Yeah, you'll just have heaven before we do
Before we do

In Him, 
KJ 


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

If God's Plan Was Different...

If God's plan was different, I wouldn't be writing this blog. My guess is that it would have never evolved from more than a thought in my mind and the things that God is teaching me would still be floating around in my head, instead of floating around on the internet. Maybe one day I would blog. I doubt it would be now.

If God's plan was different, I wouldn't have paint under my fingernails. My hands wouldn't be stained with blues and greens and yellows from painting the Earth and Sun with my 11 school babies today. I wouldn't have taught them about the Earth and how it rotates around the Sun and what a miracle this life really is. It's a hard concept to explain to 1st and 2nd grade loves that we are actually floating on a big ball of a planet in space. Even more so, explaining that we rotate around the sun, and so sometimes its dark, and sometimes its light. Because sometimes, the part of the planet we live on, is hidden from the sun, we experience darkness. And if God's plan was different, I probably wouldn't correlate this elementary science lesson to life and the season I am walking through.

You see, if God's plan was different, I would be 8 months pregnant right now with our tiny one. Our tiny one who lives in Heaven. Remember our angel baby- the one we thought would be born on 10-12-14 ? If you are new to my blog, you can read the story of our little one here- Our Angel Baby.

If God's plan was different I would be putting finishing touches on the nursery that would have our tiny ones name displayed on the wall, which is still currently the craft room/office. Our angel baby doesn't need a nursery in our sweet little home, because our dear one has the greatest home they could ever know. A home in Heaven with sweet Jesus. And though I don't always feel like that is true, I can believe it is because of God's grace and mercy I have so evidently seen over the last several months.
(If you know someone who has had a miscarriage and they haven't heard this song send it to them- it's hard and real and I bawl every time but its so good and so true-  Glory Baby .)

So friends, if God's plan was different, my life wouldn't look anything like what it does right now.  I would be in the final stages of preparation for being a stay at home mommy to one angel baby instead of being a teacher to 11 school babies.  I wouldn't be working at the place I love so dearly with the people who have walked through this hard season so sweetly with me. I wouldn't have gotten to laugh today at one of my little men who loves to introduce himself as Michael Jackson or get hugs all day every day from children who are part of my heart now though we met only 3 weeks ago.

And as much as I love my angels and my school and my dear friends I work and live life with, there are moments, hours, and days, when I wish my season was different. I wish my season was preparing for late nights, exhausted feedings, and kisses from the baby who was one part Matt and one part me and every part our Heavenly Father's who took our baby to Heaven and because of that ruined MY plan to be staying home with our baby this year.

But God's plan is not different and though I don't always love it, I do believe it is good and perfect. I know I am not the only one walking through a season you didn't expect or plan for so I hope my story will be of encouragement to you and through it just maybe, God will remind you, as he has me, to live and invest fully in the season you are in. Here goes...

Matt and I found out we were pregnant the first week of February this year. I called the doctor, made my appointment, and excitedly told just a few people, including my sweet boss, that we were going to have a baby! My boss knew, because like I said, these coworkers of mine are so much more than "work friends," that when it was time for us to have a little one, I was going to be a stay at home mommy, volunteer with my sweet babies at Lincoln, and all would be perfect and in place. Right ?

So in February, I told my sweet boss, that I wouldn't be back to Lincoln as a teacher this year. She was so excited for me and even joked about putting a pack-n-play in the office so I would come visit often and volunteer ( she knows my heart for Lincoln and how much I was going to miss it when staying home!) After my first appointment, seeing our little one's heart beat on that screen, I came back to school, ultrasound in hand, so proud to show everyone else that we had a baby! My baby! We were all elated and joyful and it was so fun to enjoy and be excited with people I love so dearly. A few weeks later, we looked at the next ultrasound picture and squealed with joy together again. On April 4th, a Friday afternoon, the last bell rang, and I told all my sweet friends bye and I couldn't wait to show them the newest ultrasound on Monday.

You can guess what what happens here. God's plan was different and around 4:30 on April 4th, we found out our baby was no longer alive in my tummy, but in Heaven now with Jesus.

For the first few weeks after our miscarriage, I didn't even let myself think about the question of "next school year." It was painful and I just couldn't get there in my head. I didn't know what to make of potentially teaching another year, when MY plan was to be staying home with my baby. As much as I loved Lincoln, and honestly, dreaded leaving for a season, I had a baby and now my baby was gone and I couldn't imagine teaching again when my plan was to be mommy.

Give it a few weeks and a few doctors visits and the answer got harder but clearer. We found out that the type of miscarriage I had, meant that we could not try to get pregnant again anytime soon. Blood levels needed to be checked, months needed to pass, and a baby during the next school year, became no longer an option in order for the best health for me and our future baby. Knowing this, was extremely difficult, but part of how God spurred me into fully living in the season I am in.

Matt and I talked, prayed, I cried and cried some more, and finally, we knew that God was calling me to continue teaching my sweet little loves at Lincoln. After talking with my dear boss, it was decided and it was set, that I would be back, and be teaching, for the 2014-2015 school year. Through my wrestling and tears God reminded me that this year will not be in vain and that He has abundantly good plans for the time and seasons he allows me to walk through.

So on August 6th, school started, and I become a teacher once again to 11 precious kiddos who God allows me to love and teach each day. A week or so later our pastor spoke on Jeremiah 29 and in a small group of ladies we discussed it further the next Tuesday.  Jeremiah 29 is a letter to people living in exile- a place they didn't plan to be and in a season that was very different than what they were used to or expected. God clearly speaks to them in this place when He says :

" Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare." Jeremiah 29: 4-7

He tells them, instructs them, to not just be content in the season or place God has them, but to live fully in it. To thrive! To pray for the season they are in, to invest in it, and ask God to help you live well in it. It's not easy. Exile wasn't easy and our lives won't always be either. The season I am in, is nothing like I planned. Yours may not be either. But God continues to remind me as he did in Jeremiah 29 that where He has me is good and perfect and I am called to invest, love the people around me, serve with every bit of my aching heart that longs for our baby and LIVE fully right where I am. Right where I am today.

So, just like the Earth that revolves around the Sun that I got to teach my 11 babies about today, God continues to teach me that my life does not revolve around me and the plans I have. He keeps the planets in motion and us floating through space and shows us that the darkness of night never overtakes us because He keeps us moving. He keeps us pressing on and moving forward and though night comes- though hard comes- though pain comes- DAY comes- LIGHT comes -HE comes. He is present and pressing into us to LIVE.  He meets us where we are and helps us to invest in HIS purposes wherever you are today. Live where He has you today my sweet friends. If it's hard, pray for Him to help you. He knows our hearts and loves us with the same unwavering love that keeps us circling that big ole Sun- Keep pressing into the Son and though darkness will come, remember He is our Light and in Him there is always reason to invest, thrive, and LIVE.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Because sometimes it's hard...

Sometimes it's just hard. Your "it" is different than mine I'm sure, but we all have those things in our lives that just seem to drag on and on and healing or freedom doesn't feel like it's ever going to come. Those things that keep us bound and down and defeated and exhausted. So you see, sometimes it's just hard.


Sometimes it's hard to think about all that is true, because the lies we have been believing for so long entangle us. 

Sometimes it's hard to think about all that is noble, because the sin that we keep going back to somehow seems more fulfilling than the shed blood of Jesus.

Sometimes it's hard to think about all that is right, because our focus can barely shift off of every bit of wrong in this world.

Sometimes it's hard to think about all that is pure, because whatever mess we have gotten ourselves into seems to have stained us so deep that we can't believe that we are viewed white as snow by our Father. 

Sometimes it's hard to think about what is lovely, when it seems like everyone else is living the life you have dreamed of and you are getting the short end of the stick with the hand you've been dealt. 

Sometimes it's hard to think about what is admirable, because we continue to somehow be fulfilled by the gifts of this world that turn into idols instead of blessings. 

Sometimes it's hard to think about what is excellent, because we are never content with our ever present, always enough Jesus & instead are always searching for more to fill our heart holes & bandage our wounds. 

Sometimes it's hard to think about what is praiseworthy, because we focus on everything that is aching, missing, and breaking instead of who Jesus is regardless of who and where we are. 

So you see, sometimes it's just hard; for me anyways. And that's when my Jesus meets me in my broken, fearful, restless heart and reminds me I don't have to do it on my own. I will never succeed in getting to Jesus or loving Him enough without surrendering every need to Him and His powerful, merciful, gracious heart. 

A few nights ago, I, along with about 2,000 other "Huntsvillians," had the blessing of worshiping alongside Kari Jobe and Christine Caine. It was an incredible night of praise and truth and encouragement. Christine spoke into the truth that as Christians, walking through the promised land, there is always going to be a wall of some kind keeping us from moving from deliverance to true freedom. She spoke from Joshua and how silly, defeated, and hopeless he and his soldiers may have felt in the days and nights they were marching around the wall at Jericho, just hoping it would soon begin to crack through and fall down. Basically, she continued by pressing into us that sometimes the only thing we can do, is keep pressing into Jesus even when it seems like our wall is never coming down. Keep walking around the wall, keep fighting the good fight, keep begging Jesus to help you believe he is all he says he is and you are all he says you are. 

Maybe your wall is anger. 

Maybe your wall is resentment and bitterness. 

Maybe your wall is a broken relationship. 

Maybe your wall is crippling anxiety and fear. 

Maybe your wall is addiction. 

Maybe your wall is discontent.

Maybe your wall is depression.

Maybe your wall is pride.  

I don't know your wall- but I do know I'm not the only one who has one. I know I'm not the only one who struggles to think about all things true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. I know I'm not the only one who needs Jesus every day to help me focus on who HE is and make HIM bigger than whatever wall I am facing. Because friends, there is always going to be a wall. But there is always going to be our Jesus who shattered that wall at Jericho and will shatter every wall in your heart that keeps you from sweet rest in Him. We only see the wall- He sees the freedom of the other side. 

In Him, 

KJ 



Wednesday, June 4, 2014

25

In a few days I will be turning 25. Here's a list of 25 things I've learned so far in this life in celebration of my 25th birthday.

Thanking Jesus for each moment and looking with hope towards all He has for our future in Him.


1. Be present in each moment. As present as you can possibly be. Each moment is a sweet gift that is so fleeting. Enjoy it.

2. True friendships are the best friendships. Those friendships may be 15 years old, or 15 days old but when they come along, invest fully in them. Love people well. 

3. Nothing really helps morning sickness. You try everything, some things work for you, some don't. Don't be discouraged. It's a super hard season, but from what I hear, it's totally worth it. 

4. Be thankful for the family God has given you. No family is perfect but every family is worth loving and investing in. I am SO thankful for mine and Matt's families. We have been blessed beyond measure in that department. 

5. Grape Kool-Aid and Tang are equally as delicious drinks as an adult as they were as a child. Kroger carries both. Invest in some. 

6. Husbands don't stop dating your wife and wives don't stop loving and serving your husband. Times change, life happens, LOVE remains. Invest in your spouse and his/her heart. Know them and love them. 

7. Paint your kitchen teal if you want a teal kitchen. It's super adorable. 

8. Cancer is hard. SO incredibly hard.  Hope is bigger and God is healer. He can work miracles like He did in my daddy. 

9. Sometimes you just need someone to cry with you. Sometimes you need someone to cry for you when you can't even force out tears. Sometimes you just need to cry. 

10. Worry is worthless and a waste but real and wrecking. God is bigger and better and the only comfort you will ever know in that place. He will meet you there.

11. Invest in the lives of children around you. They don't have to be your own kids for you to love them and point them to Jesus.

12. The Pioneer Woman's iced coffee recipe is insanely delicious and I recommend everyone trying it. Now. Seriously, buy a pitcher and some cheesecloth and get to work. You'll thank me later.

13. Miscarriage is incredibly, overwhelmingly, hard. But God is more gracious than pain is deep, and He is good whether it feels like it or not.

14. Evaluate the lies you are believing when you catch yourself spinning into anxiety. What are you not believing about Jesus? What is His truth? Look for it. Dig into it. Immerse yourself into it when it's easier to fear.

15. I never thought I would like dogs and then we got Piper Jane. Dogs are priceless and precious and love in the good and hard.

16. Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep - Romans 12:15.  Live this and embrace what it means in both contexts.

17. Trusting Jesus isn't as easy as people make it out to be in casual conversation or in an instagram picture's caption. It's hard and hurts but good and grace-filled. God is big enough to handle our doubts and fears and loving enough to embrace us in the brokenness and bring us to His heart.

18. Let people in. Be real. Be honest. Be open. You will be blessed.

19. Love your grandparents and spend time talking to them. They are an incredible blessing of wisdom, love and knowledge. Really, spend time with lots of people older than you. Soak up what God has taught them through the years.

20. Peace and pain can exist at the same time.

21. Wrestle with God but remind yourself that He is the ultimate good and loving victor of the entire universe. How cool is it that He hears us?

22. Invest in a steam mop. Those things are just incredible I tell you.

23. Live with purpose and on mission. Be intentional to love the people around you. Some people may not be open to hearing the words of Jesus but loving them anyway could be what God uses to change their hearts to Him.

24. Accept that some years are going to be hard. 24 was a hard year for me. Look with hope towards the goodness of the future God has for you despite your circumstances.

25. Know, that no matter where you are, how far you've strayed,  how hurt you feel, you are loved by a God who died for you and adores you at your darkest. (Romans 5:8)

Peace,
KJ 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Beautiful Brokenness

About a year ago, I realized that there is a problem I face because of the type of personality God has given me. Something I don't like to admit to or reveal but is true and real whether I like accepting it or not. Sometimes, like every other human on this earth, I am sad. I am disappointed. I am mad. I am bitter. I am angry. I am anxious. I am not full of joy. I am NOT okay. For the free spirited, always keep a smile on, keep the peace kinda gal that I am, this really threw me for a loop.

God has taken me through such a whirlwind this year, even before our tiny one went to be with Jesus. It has been a year of self- discovery and healing and learning so many things about myself that keep me from being in perfect peace in my dear savior. I have learned that it is okay, not to be okay and that my only truest hope is in Christ alone. (There's a whole nother post that I'm sure I will write about at some point about this past year and all that God is continuing to do in my heart specifically related to this, but for today, just trust me, that it has been quite a journey.)

I say all this to say that God has allowed me to learn the value in vulnerability and peace in my lack of perfection and keeping it together all the time. But, in my humanness, I still want limits. I still want to project only the image I'm okay with people seeing and not let them see the tears as they are falling. It's okay for people to know my heart is still hurting over our tiny one- it's not okay for them to see my brokenness in its real, hardest, rawest state. Or so I had myself convinced anyways :)

A few weeks ago, a precious friend of ours had a worship celebration for her birthday. Matt, and two other guys, led worship and it was an incredible time of fellowship with dear friends. A few songs in, one of the other worship leaders, who didn't know about Matt and I's recent miscarriage, began sharing Lamentations 3:24 " The Lord is my portion," says my soul ,"therefore I will hope in Him."  He continued on to tell about an experience he had recently had at the doctors office. While at the office he ran into some friends of his who were walking out in tears-after a few moments he realized they had just found out they had miscarried their first baby.



I couldn't tell you what happened after that. Me, the keep it all together, always has a smile, trying to find the beauty in the broken self, couldn't control the tears that followed that story and ran out of the room in the some of the loudest cries I'm pretty sure have ever come out of me. I was broken, angry, sad, tired, and embarrassed that I had just had a meltdown at my friends awesome birthday party. But then, it happened. God showed up as always, this time in the form of my precious husband, and friends who followed me into the other room and prayed over me and for me while I just wept uncontrollably.  They wept with me and brought my broken self to Jesus when I couldn't get a word out to Him or them. They were the body, the precious body of Christ, who loves me like He does in wonderful and raw moments in this life.

Why do we run so far from the freedom that comes in Christ through his church?

What do we have to prove that Christ hasn't proven in Himself on the cross?

Why, in the rawest moments, do we turn people away so we can mourn or struggle or fear on our own?

Friends, I believe God has given us more. I believe he has given us his bride, to love and care for one another in the hardest moments of life. Life isn't always perfect. Okay, let's get real, it is never perfect! There is ALWAYS something going on, in someone's life, that makes them long for something more. That more is eternity. We struggle, we feel, we have very real heartache on this earth that will one do be nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed when we get to Heaven. Until then:

We aren't called to cry alone.
We aren't called to fear what people think.
We aren't called to live up to an insane expectation of having it all together all the time.
We aren't called to doing this life alone.

I'm not saying every person that reads this needs to go post a Facebook status about their deepest struggles and fears and be done with it. I don't know that that is necessarily the answer either :) What I do know though, is that living life; real, hard, messy, life, with people you love is the way to truest deepest community. I have seen the love of Christ, the character of Christ, the goodness of Christ, more in the last year than probably ever before . This has also probably been one of, if not the, hardest year of my life.

In those moments where His love didn't FEEL real, a sweet friend reminded me and believed it for me and with me.

In those moments where His character didn't SEEM good or loving, precious sisters reminded me of the truth of His word and times when His goodness has been absolutely undeniable.

We need each other sweet friends. Don't hide behind walls of shame and embarrassment because your life doesn't look as awesome as everyone else's on your Facebook or instagram.  Real friendships are hard, but the most rewarding kind I've ever been in. Remember that people only see what you let them- Let people in to the real, true, messy, raw, you. You will be blessed dear friends.

Peace,

KJ

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It is well with my soul

It's rainy and windy and cloudy this afternoon. My heart felt the same way until a few minutes ago- it's been a hard few days friends.

I would have found this week if Matt and I's tiny one was a little guy or little gal- instead, I'm going to the doctor tomorrow to see how my body is dealing with not being pregnant and if things are returning to "normal." 

What does that even mean? How do things just return to normal when your baby dies and the world moves on but you just can't ? How do you move on when your baby was a real living, heart beating, tiny human and then is just gone and the world can't look past the latest TV finale and your heart is still broken? Like I said and you can probably tell, emotions are on high this week which is good because it reveals how much this hurting heart needs Jesus in every single second.

I came home from work this afternoon and my heart was struggling. I curled up in the rocking chair on the front porch and started journaling and watching and listening to the rain pour down. My heart just kept asking, Jesus why do you just let it rain so hard sometimes? Why do precious families with a whole bunch of babies get in car wrecks and die and why do families get torn apart and why do daddy's get cancer and babies die in tummies? My baby, my tummy. And God spoke to me in my big ole' mess of sinfulness and I'm encouraged once again by His grace and mercy. 

While watching the rain, and questioning our big Jesus who is so able to handle my hurts and doubts, I heard what sounded like several little birds chirping. The most precious, tiny, adorable little chirps. I looked up and saw a bird's nest up in the corner of our porch- mama bird wasn't around so I thought I'd take a little peek. ( I know you aren't supposed to mess with bird's nests blah blah blah but God totally used this so I'm okay with it.) I climbed up on the ledge of our porch railing and very carefully, with much intention not to break the nest, cupped it in my hands and pulled it into eyes view. Inside the nest were three of the tiniest birds barely even feathered yet, and one perfect egg. After staring and admiring the little guys for a bit, I decided to move the nest to a safer place where it didn't look like it was going to fall off the porch ledge at any minute (Another no no, I know- whoops.) 

I went back to journaling and listening to the rain and listening to praises to my Jesus who I was so struggling to trust in that moment and God totally showed up and reminded me of His providence and hope. I heard a chirping sound again- this time louder, almost ferocious, if you can imagine that from a few pound bird. It was the mama- she was back and her babies were gone. And the floodgates opened and tears started flowing and wouldn't stop. She was crying out for her babies and they were nowhere to be found. Someone had come along and moved HER tiny ones and she couldn't even begin to fathom that. She wanted them-they were safe and they were hers. 

And that's me, a mommy crying out for my baby who is in Heaven and not with me. Jesus, I would have been a good mom! Jesus I would have loved our tiny one with all I had! Why did you take my baby Jesus! And Jesus quietly whispered the truths I know back into my aching heart this afternoon that He is the best my tiny one could ever have. He loves that baby more than I do. Like me, who wanted to see the beauty inside that nest and ended up ripping that mama bird's world apart- God knows the beauty He can reveal in me and through me that only comes through suffering. A beauty I may never know or see if our tiny one wasn't removed from where I thought was safe and taken somewhere far better- with no hurt, fear, pain, or ladies moving birds nests and killing mama birds dreams. 

I sat out there for hours. The mama kept coming back for her babies. She kept crying out every time she did, in hopes that they would hear her and she would find them. Isn't that what I'm doing Jesus? It's only been a little over a month and I have to keep coming back to you Father. I have to every day, reflect on the promises of God, not on this promises of this world. I have to come back and cry out for my baby but cry out knowing my baby is safe and so am I. I am loved and cared for and cherished inside the nest of my Father who will never break me or move me beyond what He alone can carry me through. 

About a week ago, a precious friend gave me a necklace as a tangible reminder of my tiny one and the hope we have in Jesus. The necklace was a tiny nest with a little turquoise egg inside- I immediately attached it to another charm I bought about a week after the miscarriage and put it on my neck. The charm reads " It is well with my soul." I bought it believing and trusting that though my soul hurts- I can trust it to Jesus and He will see me through this season. I'm so thankful even more now than a week ago, for my precious nest. I can trust my nest, all my little babies I hope to have one day and already have in Heaven, to my sweet Jesus. He does things I don't understand and that's okay- There is beauty to be found in the searching and safety to be found in the waiting. 

I'm so thankful for the sweet reminder today, that Jesus has my baby with Him and is bringing beauty through the pain and healing. Thank you Jesus. You are good and enough. Always. 

PS- I had some sort of skewed view about moving birds nests and what happens so had convinced myself I couldn't just move it back. Matt got home and moved it back and mama bird and the baby birds were reunited and they lived happily ever after. No birds were harmed in the writing of this blog. :) 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

He who promised is faithful.

I knew I would be waiting this Mother's Day. 

I'd be waiting for our tiny one to get bigger and give me a big ole' belly. 

I'd be waiting for the school year to end so I could start focusing on decorating the nursery.

I'd be waiting at doctor's appointments every month to see our baby growing. 

I'd be waiting for October, when our baby would be in our arms. 

That's not the kind of waiting I'm doing though. 

Instead, I'm waiting on blood work results every week while my body adjusts to no longer being pregnant. 

I'm waiting on precious friends to stop (innocently) asking if the morning sickness is getting better or how the baby's doing because they don't know that my baby's in Heaven now.

I'm waiting to be a mommy to a baby on Earth because our tiny one went right on up to Heaven and we know and believe that is better than anything we or this earth could offer. 

That doesn't make the waiting easier though. 

I know I'm not the only one waiting. I'm a mommy waiting to see my sweet firstborn in Heaven one day and waiting on God to fulfill the promises I know He has for our little family. 

What are you waiting for?

God to fill your barren womb and give you that sweet little love you already know you adore? 

God to fulfill the promise He made you that adoption is at the heart of God and you are begging, pleading Him for your little one from across the ocean to come home sooner rather than later? 

God to heal your loved ones cancer stricken body and praying that means healing on this Earth? 

God to bring your wayward child to His sweet arms of love and redemption and restoration?

God to bring that lifelong love that every part of you is so deeply longing for?

What is it for you? What is that longing or desire that you are just anxiously, not so patiently waiting for God to fulfill. I can promise you that if you aren't waiting now, or haven't yet, you will. I can promise this because the bible speaks to waiting so we know, at some point, we are all going to be in a season of wait. Through this new season of waiting that Matt and I are in, God's promises have been clearer than I've ever known. 

These are just a few of the verses God has used to encourage our heart- There are so many places in scripture where the heart of God is revealed and promises are fulfilled after seasons of painful waiting. 

Psalm 40:1 
I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry

How am I to wait for the Lord? By begging him to give me patience each day and trusting that he turns his heart to mine in each moment and hears my tears. 

Romans 5:3-4 
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

How am I to wait for the Lord? By trusting that we can have joy in our sufferings because suffering produces endurance, endurance helps us trust in Jesus and become more like him, and what could ever give us more hope than the promise of life in Jesus forever. 

Romans 12:12 
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

How am I to wait for the Lord? Joyfully, patiently, and faithfully trusting that my dear Savior is the God who heals and reveals and gives only good to me.

James 1:12
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

How am I to wait for the Lord? By persevering, knowing that God has promised good to those who love Him, and His good is ALWAYS better than my idea of good. 

Hebrews 10:23 
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

How am I to wait for the Lord? By knowing and believing, in the good and the bad, that we can hold onto hope because God is the one who always keeps His promises and is faithful forever.

On Mother's Day, I'm holding onto the hope of Christ- the hope that this season of tears and fears will one day end and the hope that God's plans for our life are perfect and good and He knows much better than we do when the time is right for our waiting to end. Questioning and wrestling and hurting are real and part of an aching wait- but God is near in those moments and tears so I encourage you tonight to embrace whatever season of waiting you are in. Wait well, by waking up each morning and begging Jesus to help you trust Him. Wait well, by getting on your knees and as your tears spill onto the floor ask sweet Jesus to heal your aching heart and give you peace in seasons of seemingly no end. Wait well, by trusting that He who promised is faithful- what a perfect promise we have in Jesus. 

Happy Mother's Day sweet friends- to all the mommy's with babies on this earth and in Heaven with sweet Jesus.

Peace, 

KJ 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Romans 12:15

*If you haven't read my first blog post, scroll down and read that before this one. This post will make a lot more sense after reading the first. For those of you who did read it, your responses have been absolutely overwhelming. Thank you for loving us so well during this season. Every single kind word touches our hearts so deeply. We are so thankful for each one of you.*

There are a few things I want you to hear if you read my blog post yesterday and plan to continue reading in the days to come. 

I want you to know that my heart in sharing our struggles in such a public way are not without great thought and intention. The part of our story we are currently walking through, and any part that has passed or is to come, is how God is molding and shaping us for His glory and our joy. I want you, my sweet friends, to know that He is good and gracious and hears us. I want you to know that God is on His throne in Heaven and that can and should be so overwhelmingly comforting. But, I also want you to know that we live in a fallen world and life can be so very hard sometimes. Right now, is one of those seasons for us and that's okay. God doesn't promise a life without suffering, rather He promises that He is near and that suffering makes us more like Him. God is big enough to comfort our hearts when we can't fathom what that looks like and loving enough to be so near in times of brokenness. I want you to know, that life is hard and hurts and wrecks us- but our God is bigger than the ruin and wreckage and redeems the most raw places in our hurting hearts. He is good and gracious, always.

I want you to know that miscarriage is much more common than people might think. Hearing from so many of you, about your own journey with miscarriage has been so comforting to me. So sad in a way, because it breaks my hearts that so many of my dear friends have had to deal with this struggle as well, but comforting to know that we are not alone in this, and as our Father carried you through, He will carry us as well. As with so many hard and personal struggles, families often deal with miscarriage alone, feeling shame, embarrassment, and uncertainty about how to share with friends what they are going through. For Matt and I,  after we saw that precious tiny heart beating, we were ecstatic to share with everyone about the life God was creating in my womb. Everyone knew that Matt and I were having a baby, and now I want, I need, people to know that right now, we are not. I want it to be clear that my heart in creating this blog isn't a plea for sympathy- it's a plea for community. God has not called us to live a life in secrecy or pain or shame. He has called us to live life together, in community with people who love Him and love us and can bear our burdens and pour out to Jesus on our behalves. As a believer, we are told to "rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15.) That's what this is about. Not attention, but affliction. It's real ya'll. God tells us we will suffer in this world. How much better is it to suffer with people who love you than suffer behind closed hearts and doors? I want our precious friends to know that suffering is hard , but we don't have to suffer alone. Being real and honest with people who live life with us has and I'm sure will continue to be such an incredible blessing for Matt and I during this season.  I want you to be encouraged that tears and fears don't make you less of a believer, less of a person- they affirm your humanness and need for Jesus and what more could we really ask for ? 

I don't have a clue what this blog is going to look like, but I know that God does. Maybe I post a few times and that's all. Maybe God continues to use our story to bring glory to Him and comfort to someone else. Maybe it's healing for me to write my thoughts and let you hear my heart. Who knows? Jesus does, and that's enough for me. 

Peace, 

KJ 

Monday, April 28, 2014

grace for the moment

* I wrote this several weeks ago but waited to post for several reasons. I felt like I needed to wait to post to check the motivation of my heart and be sure that I was prepared for what sharing our struggles in such a public way can entail. After lots of prayer and discussion with my sweet husband, here goes. God, our story isn't ours to share or bear alone. Use me and the story you are writing in our lives for Your glory.* 

I created this blog several months ago with the intention of writing when and about whatever God gave me in my moments with Him. I titled it grace for the moment, believing that He is my sustainer and redeemer no matter what the moments feel like, and that He will provide me the grace I need in each moment of this life on earth. I can believe this, even when moments are hard, because the truth of his word doesn't change even though my circumstances always do. His word tells me " For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace" ( John 1:16). Because of this, I can trust, and so can you, that though life doesn't always make sense on earth, God's grace is perfect and enough. Always.

I obviously didn't do any writing after first creating this little guy. I found out a few days later that we were expecting our first sweet little one and my mind got slightly preoccupied. On February 4th, our hearts changed forever as we began planning for our first baby to join our little family.  We had prayed for a baby, and our sweet God was so faithful in giving us one. We picked out names, family bought gifts, and friends celebrated with us over the joy in our hearts and the fullness of God's grace in granting us our sweet child.

We went to our 6 week appointment and saw our tiny one's heartbeat on the screen- a tiny flicker declaring life and life abundantly that our God alone had the power to create. We went back a few weeks later and saw our baby growing a tiny little body, and again, a little flickering heart that stole every piece of ours. On April 4th, we went in for our twelve week appointment- the end of the first trimester. I was overjoyed at the thought of not being so sick and being able to enjoy the next part of planning for our precious baby to be born. On that day though, the plan that was being created every moment in our hearts was no more. That day, we found out that our little baby, our firstborn, the child we prayed for, no longer had a little beating heart. We had miscarried.

For 3 months, I carried our baby, the baby I will never carry in my arms here on  this earth. For 3 months, I was crazy sick, looking at cribs and baby toys,  and planning our family's future in my head and heart. For 3 months I was mommy to our baby whose presence was growing in my body and heart. And then, our baby died. That tiny heart we saw flickering stopped beating and our baby went to be with sweet Jesus instead of ever making an entrance on this earth.  Our baby is healed, whole, perfectly glorified in Heaven with our creator who knew well what He was doing when creating our tiny one. Though there are a million things we don't understand right now, we know the word of God is true whether it feels like it is or not. We believe that what is written in the Psalms is good and real.
"For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them."

Psalm 139:13-16

By God's grace, I can believe that God knit our baby together, in my womb, and did so wonderfully. I believe that our tiny one's frame was not hidden, but rather, so intricately woven together by the same one who created the heavens and earth. I believe that though I don't understand why our tiny one's days were so short, God numbered them and knows better than I do what is good and perfect for our angel baby. 

Each moment is different right now, and I suspect it will be that way for a while. Anger, doubt, confusion, hurt, fear, sadness- they are all present in my heart some days. But in those moments of intense pain and questioning, God is giving me grace for every moment. Grace to know, He's not too big to wrestle with and hear my heart crying out . Grace to know, He's good even when I don't think He is. Grace to know that He is enough for me, whatever our future holds. Grace to know He is the most real source of comfort and peace I will ever feel. Grace for the moment.

Peace, 


KJ