Category Archives: Womanhood

oh how He loves us :: #SheSharesTruth

What do you think of when you hear the word “marriage”? I think of Ben (of course), I think of my amazing parents, who modeled what a Godly marriage is. I think of our amazing friends who have shown us grace through our first nine years of this chapter. And probably more than anything, I think of Christ and the church.
Ben and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary last week. The beginning of the week was great. We celebrated a few days early and my parents kept the kids overnight for us. We reminisced memories that have happened to us thus far, both the good and the bad. A friend of ours even made us a “Happy Anniversary” cake for church Wednesday night. But then, life happened, and some events came to light, and there was pain and emotion and a roller coaster of thoughts. All of a sudden, the beginning of the week seemed like years away. There was forgiveness that needed to happen, grace needed to abound, and love needed to transpire everything.

The #SheReadsTruth community has been doing a study on the book of Hosea for the past couple of weeks. When I found out that Hosea was the next study, I was very excited and anxious to get started. Hosea starts off rough. The Lord is not pleased with Israel and how they are not listening to anything He is asking of them. But, what they don’t realize is that all He is asking them to do is to come back to Him. When we follow Christ with all that we are, and want grace to abound in every area of our life, things fall into place. The sad thing is, is that we are just like the Israelites. I fail every.single.day. All of my friends, my husband, my parents, everyone fails every single day. However, Jesus doesn’t fail. Even in my weakest moment, Christ always is waiting.
Hosea 14 says

I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon; his shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive, and his fragrance like Lebanon. They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow; they shall flourish like the grain; they shall blossom like the vine; their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon. (‭Hosea‬ ‭14‬:‭4-7‬ ESV)

I am more than thankful that He still is waiting for me. That He is longing for me. I pray that we do this for each other as we become more like Him.

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A year without Christian

It’s June 10, and we are at the beach. Our family of 5 instead of 7. That’s a really sad way to start. We are having a great time. However, it’s a sad day. Today, last year, I was preparing for Christian’s funeral. I was trying on my sister’s dresses to see which one looked ok in my post-pardum body. I was hoping I wouldn’t be where I was. This year, I’m at the beach, and yesterday was the best day. I rode the skim board, I rode the waves with Isaac and I got sunburned. Everyone had a great day. Then I woke up this morning, and I remembered it was June 10. “It’s just another day. Enjoy it.” I kept telling myself. But it’s not just another day. Because I have 2 little boys that should be here with us. And I miss them terribly. I don’t just want them to know their brothers. I’m sad because they’re never going to know their grandparents, aunts, or uncles, much less their cousins, who are all amazing. I’m sad because they won’t know Mr. Brian and Ms. Cindy. I’m sad because this side of heaven, they are missing out on the abundant life God has given me.
Isn’t that so strange? That I go from being sad and missing half my family, to realizing that I have the abundant life in Christ. That’s why we named Christian what we did. It was all we could do to speak the name of Christ over him. Elias means “Yahweh is my God.” As parents, all we want for our children is for them to know Christ like we do. To love Him more than anything else in this world. And it does help me to know that Christian Elias is already worshipping Christ for all eternity.
At times, I’m very jealous of Christian, and at times, I just want him here. That’s what today has been. I want to see him and his brothers play in the sand. I want to see who his friends would be. I miss him so much. I just re-read the letter I wrote to him to be read at the funeral. I thought I would include it, just so people know it’s ok good to grieve and all at the same time, you can point to Christ and say you don’t understand why. I never will know why God chose Christian’s days to be short. And I will never apologize for talking about him or for grieving the way that I see fit. But. I will say I trust God and that I know He has given me 5 precious boys. And I don’t take any of them for granted.

Sweet Christian boy,
When your daddy and I found out you were going to be a part of our family, we were ecstatic. We told your brothers and we were all pretty convinced you were a girl. Little did we know that our family is just made to have boys, and as your momma, I couldn’t be happier about that. 
When daddy and I found out we were only going to have a little time with you, I had a million thoughts go through my head. I didn’t understand why we would have such little time, why I couldn’t rock you, sing to you, watch you grow up with your brothers, and I would never know what color hair you have. Then, I reminded myself that God’s plans are better than mine. That sometimes I don’t have to understand His plans, but as scripture says, we make our plans and God directs our paths. In the past few days the path God has chosen for our family has been hard. It’s been filled with moments of deep sorrow, of grief, and pain, and it’s also been filled with joy. 
The day we found out that God had already called you to His side, I was lead to psalm 116:15. “Precious in the sight of The Lord is the death of His saints.” You are precious, and thats exactly what i told you the first time i held you. You’re not only precious to your family but to Christ. I know that. That gives me more joy than I’ve ever known. It will continue to give me joy as long as I’m living, and I’m so grateful for that. I’m so grateful I had time with you to count your fingers and toes, to rock you and sing to you. I’m so glad and proud that you are my little boy. Thank you for being a part of our family and for being a part of my discipleship. You’ve brought me closer to Christ, and that is something I don’t take lightly. You’ve allowed me to feel Christ’s love through His body more than I ever have before. You, my son, are a gift. I love you so much. You are my sunshine, and always will be. 
Love, mommy.

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two years ago

i still can’t believe it’s been two years. TWO years. our first angel baby has been gone for two years.

we never did name this baby, so we affectionately call him Baby, or our first Baby. i have learned so much since we lost him (even though i’m not certain he was a boy…i’m just assuming). i feel as though i’ve learned more since we lost christian about how i really felt about our first miscarriage than i did in the year between the two. i’ve read a few blogs, talked to a few women who have experienced the same thing, and through it all, all i can think is how much it hurts, but more importantly, that this is my story. this is the path that God has laid out for me. this is my discipleship. my boys that are living are getting bigger. they are enjoying sports, friends, and i’m enjoying having a little more freedom, honestly. however, i would trade all of that for having him here. it’s just what the Lord has given me. my faith is stronger than it was, and our loss of Baby gives me more compassion on anyone who is hurting. it’s amazing how much i use my grief daily. it impacts me to listen instead of solve, to just say “i’m so sorry it’s like this.” instead of trying to make them feel better. or just to hug someone who is hurting. and for that, i am extremely thankful.

but. i do miss my baby. i miss not being able to see him grow up and get a personality. i wonder who he looks like, or how much hair he would’ve had. i wonder if he would’ve slept through the night early like his oldest brother or if he wouldn’t have slept at all. i wonder how differently our life would look, and i wonder what our future holds.

however, today i’m choosing joy in the midst of sorrow. i’m choosing to love others even when it hurts so badly. i’m choosing to try and not dwell on him (as much as i want to sometimes) but also realize that one day, we’ll be reunited. one day, he will rise with Christ into the heavenlies, along with his brother, christian, and Lord willing his other brothers, and us. and i’m choosing to realize that i can do life in happiness and joy even in my sadness. i don’t have to live in the past, because i have a wonderful life as it is. could it have been better with him? probably. would it still be joyful? i can almost say a for sure 110% yes. but is my life wonderful? YES! it is so good. and i’m so thankful my baby is a part of my story.

19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.[a] 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 

-Philippians 1:19-20

 

 

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The Week I Thought Would Never Come

Well, I’ve dreaded writing this post. And it’s probably going to take me several days to write it.
The question of why keeps coming to my mind. I don’t understand God’s plans for my life…for our life. I don’t know why I have two angel babies instead of 5 living children. I don’t know why I get angry at my children when I’m really just sad. I don’t know a lot of things right now.
What I do know is that I miss our baby and our Christian. I do know that I don’t know how to talk to people about either of our babies (unless they’re good friends). I do know that I wish death was something we could talk about openly, even though it’s sad, instead of it feeling like it’s a no no. I do know that not a day has gone by that I haven’t longed to have more time with both of our babies.
I can’t imagine what my life would look like right now if I were still pregnant. I try and imagine it, but it’s so hard. I wouldn’t be able to help out in Dillion’s classroom like I have; I wouldn’t be helping out at preschool like I do; I wouldn’t be teaching Sunday school; I wouldn’t be getting rid of baby clothes and bath tubs and bumbo seats. And everything I’ve been able to do because I’m not pregnant has been a joy (except the baby clothes part), but it pales in comparison to even just more time with Christian and our other son.
I also know the truth. God is faithful to what He has called me to do and to be. He has called me to be a mother to all 5 of my children. He’s called me to be a wife to Ben, a good church member, a pastor’s wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend. And He’s called me to bear the burden of the death of my children. As I work through all of that, I know that He gives me everything I need. I know that He is so much more able than I am. And I know that this is now my story. I also continue to know the love of Christ like I’ve never known before through His body…whether they go to church with us or not. And I know that Christian’s death has already moved people to love Christ more and to want to be more like Him. I love that. But, I miss my baby. I miss my babies. I long to hold them, to rock them to sleep, and to make things for them. I long for other people to know them. I long to see what their personalities could have been.
BUT, the fact of the matter is that they are never going to encounter sin. They never have to know evil. They will only know heaven, and not earth. That’s such a joy to know that my children are protected from the woes of this world. Do I miss them? Of course. Do I wish they were here? More than ever. But, I will continue to rejoice in The Lord, because He has give me good things. He has given me gifts. He has made me who I am because I get the privilege of parenting Dillon, Isaac, and Sammy, and the privilege of having two other children. I praise God for the body of Christ. I praise Him because He loves me, because He cares for me, and because I trust in Him more than anything else in life. I’ll close with the verses that are on Christian’s headstone. I cling to these and truly believe them with all my heart.

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. (Habakkuk 3:17-19 ESV)

Thank you, Lord for my five children. I praise you because they are all fearfully and wonderfully made.

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What I wore

Ok. I have taken some time to think about this new segment. I still have mixed emotions about it, but I’m going to roll with it for now. One of my favorite blogs is jones design co. Emily has done this same idea, and come to find out, it came from another blog and about 300 other women have done this, too. Well, I might just be another one on the list, but my reasons for doing this are simple. One, I want accountability to blog. Also, I want accountability to not wear my toms everyday, or a button down shirt everyday. Also, I want to look cute, but also know I’m a mom who has to be on the go. Is this vain? Maybe. Do I care? Not right now. Will I later? Probably, but for now, we’re going with it. So, without further adieu, here is what I wore.

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From left to right, top to bottom, you have
Monday: gray jeans – gap, chambray shirt – target, scarf – target, black flats – target
Tuesday – jeggings – target, pink polka dotted button down – old navy, scarf – old navy, shoes – toms
Wednesday – skinny jeans – mossimo, heart sweater – target, boots – rocket dog
Friday- boot cut jeans – mossimo, gray turtleneck – gap, boots – rocket dog
Saturday – skinny jean – mossimo, flannel shirt – target, shoes – toms

So, fail on the button down shirts, but a win for only wearing toms two days!! We’ll see how I do next week.

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:: our boy ::

over the past 2 weeks, i have had a range of emotion come over me. emotion that I don’t understand, that i can’t put my finger on, and emotion that i can’t explain. see a trend? i’ll try and explain some of my thoughts here.

first of all, christian elias was delivered on june 7, friday, at 10:10 pm. he was so precious. he always will be precious. that’s the only way i know to explain him. from the second ben and i found out about christian, that we didn’t have much time left with him, and that this was going to be the hardest thing we’ve ever gone through, we have relied so heavily on our community, our families, and our friends, but more so we’ve relied on each other and on the Lord. i’ve shared this with many of you that read this blog, but our family has never felt the love of Christ the way that we have over the past 2 weeks. i understand now why Christ created His bride, His body, the Church…it’s to be a body when you need an actual person to minister to you. this happens all the time, and on a regular basis in our lives, but i never fully understood what that meant. from our pastor praying and crying with us in his office, to my mom, dad, mother in law, and sister being with us all through labor and delivery, to meals being brought to us, and a circle of women surrounding me at church the following sunday, crying with me, and the same said women bringing food for the meal after Christian’s service on monday. y’all, it’s overwhelming. and it’s so refreshing. and it hurts. and i don’t understand it. and even with all of the wonderful things, ben and i miss our little boy. we want to see him grow up with his brothers, and we’ll never have that opportunity for him. i want to see what color hair he has, and i won’t see that here on earth. i miss him.

i know this is not the most uplifting post ever, but i pray that it will lift someone up. that it will be encouraging to that first time mom that is going through the same thing we’ve been through twice now. all i can say is that the Lord is faithful. He hasn’t left us once, and ben and i both feel incredibly close to him. i’m so thankful for His body, for our marriage, and for the family that God has chosen to give us. i don’t know what the future holds for us, but i know the only thing i can do is trust in Him, the One who gives me every good and perfect thing, and the One who truly knows what i am bearing now, since He bore it on the cross. 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Praise Him all creatures here below.

Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts.

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Amen.

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Miscarriage and loss

I don’t always think a blog is the best way to tell people really upsetting news. However, I think a Facebook status is worse, so here goes. I’m actually just going to post the letter we wrote to our church family. It has the essential info in it. As I process, I hope to write more.

Brothers and sisters,
Ben and I went to the doctor this morning expecting to have great news to share with you…a boy or a girl. Well, about 2 minutes into the ultrasound, the tech went to get our doctor. He came in and my heart sank. That’s never good news. The tech scanned over my belly and I saw the trunk of our sweet baby and there was no heartbeat. Immediately, I said “there’s not a heartbeat. Why is there not a heartbeat?!” Ben and I wept together in the doctor’s office as we found out the baby actually died about 3 weeks ago. My body hasn’t responded to the baby’s death yet, and we don’t know if it will. I thought I was 17 1/2 weeks along, which is far enough along that I will have to deliver the baby. We aren’t sure yet when this will happen, but it will probably be this weekend or before. We covet your prayers. We covet your friendships. We covet your love and support. We covet compassion and grace to us. And we definitely won’t turn anyone away that drops by or calls. We love you all and are thankful you guys bear our burdens with us. Love to everyone.
Peace of Christ,
Ben, Janie, Dillon, Isaac, and Sammy

New things

So, today, on a whim, my man and I bought an early Valentine’s day present to both of us. A new iPad mini. The crazy thing about getting an iPad is that I thought I knew everything about iPads. I don’t. I don’t know anything. So, I know the main apps like Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and those. I don’t know the good apps for preschoolers and kindergarteners. I don’t know that one app you can’t live without. Please do share.

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the new year

this year, i want to be more intentional. i think that this has been brewing for sometime. as posted on my last post, we did RACKs 2012 for advent. that was my first attempt at being more intentional. since then, that word continually comes up in life. ben and i talk about what we want to do with our kids this year, what are our goals for our family for 2012, and all i can think about is wanting to be more intentional with them. i want to memorize scripture with them. i want to play more board games with them, and have more meals with them. i want to be more intentional with who they hang out, with what they see me do. i also want to be more intentional with my relationships, with what my husband and i do together, and just how we do life in general.

philippians 2:1-8 says:

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

this is what i want. i want to have the same mind as Christ. in everything i do. whether it’s in a birthday party, a baby shower, a wedding, dinner with my family, taking my kids to school, taking care of sick kids, or how we run our home. i want to show others that i truly love Christ.

what are you going to do this year or even this week? if it’s too hard to think about all of 2013, start by thinking about what to do for a week, or a month. take it a week at a time. and if we mess up, we try again the next day. because Christ forgives us, and i’m eternally grateful for that.

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7 years

the mister and i shared our anniversary yesterday of 7 years. 7 years seems like so little time to so many people, but i’ll say it as my mom did last night “7 years. whew! doesn’t seem like that long!” i was so thankful to hear those words. it seems as though we have been together forever, and at the same time, i can’t wait to see what comes our way for the rest of our life!

ben and i have a lot of amazing conversations. some are about dumb and dumber or other silly things, and some are about life, and why we do what we do. we are destined to be selfish people. i don’t know anyone who is totally unselfish. i know a lot of people that come close, but we realized at dinner last night that our selfishness or unselfishness is all part of being married. that’s what love is. love is not conditional. we can’t ask our spouse to love us only a certain way. sometimes it’s good for us to tell them what we like or need, but we have to know that that is not always the way that our spouse will choose to show us love.

and we love them through that.

i’m no expert on marriage, but one thing i’m very thankful for is the way my discipleship has grown since meeting ben. ben could tell me something, and i would believe it. if someone else told me something, i’d take it or leave it, or have to figure it out on my own. marriage is a picture of what Christ has done for us. we daily die to ourselves in marriage. it might not be huge, but it does have to happen on both sides of a marriage. Christ died for us on the cross. the least i could do is die to myself in marriage, or any other relationship that comes my way. scripture says “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 john 4:7-8)

when i think about love like this, it makes me want to love more.

i love you, ben williams. here’s to the rest of our life together.

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on our honeymoon in new hampshire
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at the beach, 3 weeks ago
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