Sunday, November 20, 2011

Our Gwynnie-pie!!

So much to say!!! We have been parents for nearly 6 months now, and I just haven't been able to find words to describe how much joy Gwyneth has brought to our lives. Every night we sing and pray over her before she goes to bed and my heart is often overwhelmed with gratitude to God for allowing us to be her parents.

Can you even handle that grin:)?!?

Parenting is not the only new thing that is happening in our lives! Steve's business (in-home care for elderly) is now up and running and God has answered our prayer that I would be able to be home with Gwyn most of the time. I LOVE my days with her. It is so fulfilling pouring my life and heart into her. Watching her has helped me to know and understand the love of God a bit better. For example, I love Gwyn so much right where she is at today. Though I look forward to her growing to maturity, there will be infinite joys and grace during the process. God's love for us is like that too! He is so patient and gracious with us, loving us more than we could imagine right where we are today. Awesome!!!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Life Change

Hoo-ey... well, with only 28 days (approximately) left until we meet our babe, let me fill you in regarding the joys of pregnancy:

1st trimester = never-ending nausea and fatigue
2nd trimester = wicked back pain and fatigue
3rd trimester = swollen ankles, multiple night-time trips to the bathroom and, you guessed it, fatigue

I have been at the mercy of this little one for the last 9 months and, though there have definitely been times of complaint, for the most part I've loved it. Sometimes the baby's kicks and jabs make me laugh out loud because of their force or timing. It's miraculous to see my whole belly move with new life. I love having little "bonding" times with my babe... just chatting about things or poking him/her and then he/she jabs back. Sometimes I put music on my belly and we have worship times together. Steve and I so desire our children to know and love the Lord Jesus. We realize that our kids will be our primary ministry focus during the coming years and this is exciting! We are contemplating these verses in Deuteronomy:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:4-7

Isn't it amazing that immediately following what Jesus says is the greatest commandment (Mark 12:29-31), we are instructed to be continually about the business of teaching these things to our children. It's a high calling and I have to admit that there are times I feel terrified and unqualified. I have to trust that God will give us the wisdom that we need, and I'm so thankful for my husband's Godly leadership.

Side note... as pregnancy draws to a close I have occasionally found myself thinking, "it will be so nice to have my body back." While I was thinking this a few days ago the Lord brought to mind 1 Corinthians 6:19, which says, Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. It was a great reminder that what I often think of as "mine" really isn't. During this season God has chosen to use my body to grow a miracle, and I am so thankful. But during other seasons it is still not my own... He has given me this body to use for His Kingdom, so whatever He calls me to do, I need to do it! What a privilege.

In a few short days we will be holding our baby in our arms and that is thrilling! I tear up just thinking about it. Since I was a tiny little girl I have wanted to be a mother. I used to want only dolls that looked like real babies, and when my little sister was born I mothered her as much as I could and hoped people would think that she was MY baby:). We know that we are in for a massive life change, but we know that it's going to be good. Thank you, God, for allowing us to be parents. Every good and perfect gift comes from You!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

First Pics!!

I'm so in awe of God. We have been counting down the days until we could see our sweet love on ultrasound, and today was the day! It was amazing. I cried and cried. Here are some pictures of God's awesome handiwork!!!

P.S. We're waiting until delivery day to find out our baby's gender. Any guesses?

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Let everything that has breath...

Praise the LORD.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.

Praise the LORD

Psalm 150

He is so worthy!!! I can hardly find words to express how powerfully we have seen God at work over this past year. It has been painful and beautiful all at the same time! After the loss of our first baby in May we both knew that the Lord was moving us from Colorado. So, with a combination of sadness and excitement we went off, halfway across the country to a new home in Wisconsin and many surprises! In addition to being very close to Steve's family and much nearer to mine, we have found here an amazing church family and have been challenged and stretched in our walks with Christ like never before. We also were so blessed to meet a couple who are actively involved with Hands at Work in Africa, the organization I spent a year with in Mozambique. Through this divinely orchestrated friendship and other things as well, God has stirred our hearts in a fresh way to be involved with the plight of the orphan and widow. We are praying about how this will be lived out in the years to come and trusting God to lead. We became licensed foster parents this year and are respite providers. This simply means that we help out other foster families when they need to be gone and can't take their foster children, or when there is a placement for whom a family cannot be immediately found. We desire to do more, but at this point our grueling work schedules do not allow it. But, very soon we hope this will change!!!

Steve and his brother are very busy working together on an awesome business opportunity that is most definitely the provision of God for our family. More on that in the future! We celebrated our first anniversary in September and are now eagerly awaiting the birth of our baby who is, at this very moment, making me smile with his/her busy activity in my womb:). May cannot come soon enough!

We feel exceedingly blessed, but it has not come about easily, and for this I am actually thankful. All of the change, the stress and the pain of loss and uncertainty this year has challenged our comfort zones and complacency in our walks with Christ and in our marriage. We have desperately needed God and found Him waiting for us to turn to Him. We have seen our sinful tendency to be more consumed with desire for the 'American Dream' than to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. We have realized that more of our thoughts rest on football teams, shopping trips and our plans for the weekend than on loving God and our neighbor, and this is to our shame. We have so far to go, but are thankful that God is not leaving us alone but doing the work of refining. Have your way, Lord Jesus.

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.

Praise the LORD

Monday, July 05, 2010

It's Been A While

A lot can happen in a few months it seems! I was just reading over my last post and am amazed by all that has transpired since then. To write in detail about it all would take approximately forever, so I'll just give a brief synopsis...

We discovered with delight in mid-March that our first child was on the way! No one could have been more thrilled than we were... we talked to the baby, prayed, planned and dreamed. At 10 weeks I was scheduled for my first ultrasound and we counted down the days. Everything had been going well...

We saw our baby but something was very wrong. Too small for 10 weeks and with no heartbeat, our precious child was already with the Lord and we were devastated. Our amazing Colorado Springs family surrounded us in the ensuing horrible hours and my mom, sister-in-law, and best friend arrived two days later to be with us while I went through surgery and while we recovered emotionally. Anyone who has had a miscarriage knows how much it hurts... my arms literally ached to hold my baby.

But God. So many times I've seen those two words throughout Scripture and lately they have gotten my attention. But God. He was there in our grief and gave us grace to worship him through our sorrow. As tears flowed we remember that God lost His Son... he knew how we felt. We are so grateful for His nearness in our brokenness and though we would love to have our child back, we have peace.

Within a week after our miscarriage we both knew that it was time to move. God had been putting such a burden on both of our hearts to move closer to Steve's family in Wisconsin. We began making plans, notifying our landlord that we would move when our lease was up at the end of June and notifying our places of employment of our plans. We didn't have any jobs lined up but knew that God would provide... He was leading us, after all. He DID provide! Steve is pursuing a position through classes and an internship that would result in the job of his dreams and I have the job of my dreams in a large children's hospital in Milwaukee working in the pediatric ICU. We just moved last Thursday and are getting settled in! We spent the weekend with Steve's family and my family is flying in for the coming one. We feel God calling us to pursue becoming foster parents and are beginning to work on getting licensed. Foster children so desperately need loving, stable homes and we are so excited about this new journey!

We're not where we thought we'd be, but we're thankful. The Lord knows what He is doing and I believe that now more than ever! I have a feeling that He is going to do some awesome things in the coming months... I'll try to keep you posted.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Looking Back to Egypt

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin

I find so much hope in this beautiful verse of music. For a long time I have felt beaten down by all of the ways that I fall short of the glory of God. I don't feel worthy of His mercy and have therefore settled into a life that looks strikingly similar to the rest of the world. I was reading in Acts yesterday morning where Stephen is talking about Israel and says something absolutely tragic. "And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt." (Acts 7:39b) Though they had seen God do miracle upon miracle, yet they forgot all of that and yearned for their former life of bondage! How easily I do the same. My days fill up with work and social events, acquiring "stuff" and wasting time watching tv, even busying myself with church activities. How easily I forget that my first and greatest calling is to "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (Deuteronomy 6:5) This week I have been on my knees, returning to my first love. It is a great place to be.

Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My African Brother

I have dubbed February the 'month of guests'. Creative, right? No? Ok you're right. Anyway, our home has been filled with people almost constantly this month and we have loved every minute of it! We were positively delighted when we found out a few weeks ago that Carlos Giua would be coming to visit all the way from Mozambique. Carlos and his wife, Pascua, and their two daughters were our family in Mozambique and leaving them was very difficult. Since that time they have had another daughter and a son and continue their amazing work of loving their neighbors selflessly. Their love for Christ is so obvious and the first thing we always did when stepping into their home for a meal or tea was to pray together.

Carlos had never left Africa before and it was a blessing that he was able to obtain a visa and make the trip to the US for a month to travel and speak. I was thrilled that Carlos and Steve would at last have a chance to meet. While we were waiting at the airport for Carlos to arrive and searching the crowds for his face I told Steve, "you will know who he is when you see his eyes." And, in fact, Steve spotted him first. There is a light and a joy in his eyes that comes from being with Christ. It reminds me of the book of Exodus when Moses comes down from Mount Sinai and he is not aware that his face is radiant because he has spoken with the Lord. Such a beautiful thing!

One of the really special moments of his short time with us was when he saw snow for the first time! We all laughed as he jumped in it and we showed him how to throw snowballs (of course) and slide on the ice. The Olympics were just starting so we watched some of the skiing and Carlos kept saying, "OH. Is it real?!?" and laughing and laughing. Carlos was able to share about the ministry of Rubatano with many of our friends one evening. There are so many believers in Mozambique who are doing an amazing work of reaching out to orphans and the sick and dying. Please be praying for Carlos as he continues to travel and speak for two more weeks. Pray that the Lord would provide for the needs of Rubatano. The needs are, indeed, great but our God is greater!!!! We were very sad to see him go, but as always, Carlos reminded us that "We are together."

Here are some photos...