A loss like no other.

In my last post I talked about Godly sorrow and my struggle with wanting to be a mom but not getting pregnant.  Well, interestingly enough, I wrote that post while being pregnant and not knowing.  Now, sadly for us, God called our baby home just a week and two days after finding out.  I was 7 and 1/2 weeks pregnant at the time. 
It is crazy to think that I shared my struggles, worries, and cares all while having an answered prayer.  I don't regret sharing all of that because they were real feelings.  I know that there are many women who have those same battles - waiting on God while trying to figure out if they should keep patiently waiting or joyfully move on. 

I'll save you from all of the details, but I do want to share that if it weren't for my Father in Heaven, Who used my husband, family, and friends to speak words of encouragement and take time to pray for me and my healing, this could have been bad. Well...it was bad, but it could have been very bad.  I'm grateful every day, and I thank God every day for the outpouring of love during this hard time. Sometimes, I didn't always want to hear those sweet words. I didn't want to know someone was praying for me because I wanted to be mad.  I wanted to cry.  I wanted to just sit by myself and feel.  Experience all of the emotions that I was feeling.  When someone is encouraging you, sometimes, you feel like you have to be strong and can't show how broken you are, and boy, was I broken.  I still am. BUT God has healed so much of me, and He is still healing me.

There aren't many words that can describe the pain, doubt, hurt, sadness, and anger that take place within you when something like this happens.  Those of us who are "lucky" enough to experience it are the only ones who will ever truly know.  Until I was honest with myself about how I was feeling, I was just pretending to be okay. I masked how I was feeling to those around me as much as I could.  I finally realized that it was okay to be honest.  After all, I lost my baby.  The baby whose heartbeat I heard TWICE. The baby whose little arms were still only nubs when we got the second picture of him.  So of course, we need support and love (and oh do we need those prayers), but let us feel too.  Help us to be honest with ourselves so we can process everything and allow God to start His healing process.  Be there to keep us from spending too much time in our sorrow because you know the enemy likes to lie and thrives off of our weaknesses.  There is definitely a balance required to allow yourself to feel sad and upset and have questions but not stay there too long.  Come to the Father of all fathers.  He is good, no matter how you feel.  
One of my favorite verses is Mark 14:36, "Yet not what I will, but what you will", because life as a Christ follower cannot be about what I want in life or how I think life should go.  Why?  Because I cannot see the full picture of my life, only God can.  Why would I want to be in control of something that I know nothing about?  I have to trust the God who sees every day of my life.  I have to trust the One who knew my baby before he was formed in my womb because HE sees all.  'El Roi' is Hebrew for "The God Who Sees".  My husband shared this with me one day and I just loved it.  I loved the reminder that no matter what trial or joyful path I'm walking - He sees.  God saw something in the future of the pregnancy or the future of that child, something that led God to calling him home.  Questioning Him obviously ran through my mind, but what difference would it make to know His answer?  I'm not going to stop serving Him or loving Him.  I have lived life without Him, and I've lived life riding the fence. I never want to go back to either.  So, I will continue to serve Him, seek Him, and love Him.  After all, He answered so many of my prayers with this one little gift, and then He said "Not yet, my daughter.  Not yet." And I will trust Him.  

This week there have been a few verses God has used to speak to me and grow me, and I'd like to share them with you.  Whatever battle you're fighting or whatever trial you are walking through, trust Him.  Wholeheartedly.  I am trusting and hoping (with expectation) that He will grant us a rainbow baby, all in HIS timing.  Yet not what I will…

When God speaks

This week has been a week of truth speaking and embracing Godly sorrow.  Not as fun and exciting as my favorite things of the week but way more beneficial.

This Sunday God spoke.  He spoke to the congregation in my church.  He spoke through my husband who gave the message.  He spoke to me directly.  It was exactly what I needed and I didn't even know it.  

In my first post I mentioned that I was made to be a momma and the struggle with doubting that sometimes.  Well, I have been feeling so proud of myself (like I do anything in my own strength) because of how God has given me peace about possibly not becoming a mother biologically.  I kept thinking He had answered me and I was okay with His answer because He is still good.  I was excited about getting an answer because I thought with being at peace about it we will get to move forward with adoption sooner since whether or not we have children biologically we were called to adopt.

Sunday I realized that I was wrong.  He hasn't given me peace about it.  He hasn't answered me, yet.  Instead, He told me "embrace this Godly sorrow"... I'm sorry, what?  Here is a little backstory, since I was younger I never really shared my feelings and still don't.  Not my deep, heartfelt feelings.  Why?  Fear of rejection, fear of being found silly for my feelings, and fear of letting people get too close just so that they can leave me again.  Honestly, you can name a thousand reasons and they will probably all fit.  That is the heart behind the blog.  Sharing more of myself so that He may be glorified.

So, here it is... I need to embrace the sorrow that comes with the fact that I may not have children biologically.  Does it hurt to think about it, let alone write about it?  Of course.  If I don't let myself embrace this sorrow, I will never heal.  I was simply bandaging the wound instead of allowing my Savior to heal it.  I know that God does not call everyone to parenthood.  I know He does not call everyone to have children biologically.  I know all of that and that is why I didn't let myself embrace that sorrow but God wants me to so that I can be broken before Him, and He can revive my heart.  Hosea 6:3 is a beautiful reminder that if I acknowledge the Lord, His strength and the work He is doing in my life, He will come to me, and He will heal me. 

Now I know many of you have a few various questions like, have we really tried?  Have we gone to the doctor to get checked out?  Have we really prayed about it?  And my answers are maybe not, it would depend on your definition of "trying".  No, and I'm not sure that it would honestly give us the answers or peace we desire; however, it is something that we are going to discuss.  And, not together as often as we should.

When God speaks one grows.  We just need to listen.  If it is just my husband and me for the rest of our lives, I will still have a full heart.  If it happens, I will be so thankful to our Father but if not, He is still good.  I was reminded on Sunday that I need to enjoy where God has me now and not get caught up in the world and its' culture.  In my Armor of God study I learned that I can sometimes let comparative righteousness rule over me.  Isn't that one of the enemy's greatest tools?  Telling us lies and leading us to compare ourselves and our lives to everyone around us.  Well, God said enough.  The imputed righteousness, which came from His death on the cross for my sins, declares me innocent before God.  No more comparing, no more letting culture determine my thinking.  Why don't we, collectively, start embracing the Godly sorrow that may come so that we may be fully healed in Him.

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends!I'm joining my very FIRST link up with Andrea, Erika, and Narci. :)  Okay, here we go...

One   my handsome
God has grown me a little more this week, and through that I have a greater appreciation of the husband He has given me.  He really is my best friend.  He is a total entertainer at home.  He is patient and loving, and I am pretty sure I could go on forever about him.  He's not perfect, but he's perfect for me.  

Two  Armor of God study
Y'all, this study is fantastic.  Now, I am not going to tell you that each week I have done each day because I would be lying.  BUT out of three weeks, I'm only 3 days behind so that's not too shabby.  Anyway, it really is amazing.  It is eye opening, motivating, and encouraging.  I still have 4 weeks left of it, but already I am already loving it, and recommend it as a study for women.

Three  baby shower gift shopping for my seester (sister-in-love)
Unfortunately, I cannot show everyone the adorable items my husband and I picked out because occasionally she reads this blog, so then she would know what we were getting her, and that is NO fun; however, you can see from the picture above, it's happy camper themed.  I'm so excited for a new, little niece but I'm more excited that my husband and his family get to experience this baby excitement for the first time.  So you better understand: she is the first of three kids to have a baby, so my husband and his brother are first time uncles and of course, my in-loves are first time grandparents.

Four  Magic basketball season.
My husband is a huge fan, and I'm just a fan (haha).  We recently went in on a ticket package with my in-loves (parents, sister and her husband), so we will get to go to multiple games this season.  The atmosphere at games are my favorite, and it makes for a fun date night!  I'm so thankful we were able to do this.  Go Magic!

Welp, that's all for this week (I'm new at this).  I look back at these things and smile because it reminds me that God is even in the smallest details that, sometimes, we think are silly but bring us genuine joy.  Have a fabulous Friday!

A few tears, and a lot of love

10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics[a] of the Devil. 12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 13 This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 14 Stand, therefore,
with truth like a belt around your waist,
righteousness like armor on your chest,
and your feet sandaled with readiness

for the gospel of peace.[b]
In every situation take the shield of faith,

and with it you will be able to extinguish
all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Take the helmet of salvation,

and the sword of the Spirit,
which is God’s word.
18 Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:10-18.  Good stuff, eh?
My lovely DOTK (Daughter's of the King) group at church is currently in the third week of Priscilla Shirer's Armor of God study, and WHOA - it is awesome.  Remember when I wrote about how the enemy likes to declare battles when you get serious about getting serious with God?  I wasn't kidding.  This past Sunday was an incredibly difficult day for me both, spiritually and physically.  Y'all, I was a mess.  Sidenote: I still can't believe that I'm here, writing, and sharing my feelings...I just don't do this sort of thing, BUT GOD has a plan.  
Okay, so I was a mess.  Like Kim Kardashian mess.  See below for visual:
I was mess for numerous reasons, insecurity, doubting God, irritation with my husband (he seriously is the best, I'm sensitive to a fault), just to name a few.  And for most of the day I was ugly, angry, distraught, and sad until I remembered what Priscilla shares in the first week of this study, "The most troubling things in your life - things you perceive with your five physical senses - are not your real issue.  Though you may be wrestling with them verbally, emotionally, financially, even physically, you are wasting precious time and energy that needs to be reserved for the real culprit - the one who is behind the scenes, striving to direct the details of some of your most acute difficulties.  Everything that occurs in the visible, physical world is directly connected to the wrestling match being waged in the invisible, spiritual world.". 
Caught ya! Ya sneaky, little snake. What I've learned is that the enemy wants us to forget about him.  He wants us to blame and hate everything, and everyone.  When we do this, we let him win.  We allow ourselves to get caught up in the world around us, things that take place in our personal lives, and anything else that doesn't go as planned or as smooth as we would like and we totally forget who is behind it all - the enemy.  Granted, sometimes things happen in order for God to grab our attention, and for Him to teach us something, but Holy Spirit will help you discern that.  
God has blessed me with a husband who is patient, and loving.  He just sat with me, talking, listening, and encouraging me.  A dear friend, and sweet sister in Christ, understood how I was feeling, corrected me in love, and shared her own personal feelings and thoughts to help me through mine.  So much love the Father has for us, and so often He uses friends and family to love on us.  So, now I want to encourage you, do not let the enemy steal your joy.  Remember that beyond the physical life and its' battles, there is a spiritual life that is waging war.  Be a Warrior, put on your armor, and fight.
Your family, friends, health, and soul are worth it. 

I've already failed at blogging

Yes, you read the title right...I've already failed at blogging - at least that is what I initially thought.  Literally, my words were, "it's been THREE weeks and I have already failed".  Well, friends, I did some research and guess what?  I can post as often as I want!  Snaps for you if you already knew this. (side note: "snaps" is a reference to Legally Blonde 2 and the 'snap cup' ;) ).  It was a relief to realize just because in my mind I wanted to post once a week and it didn't quite pan out that way, that I didn't totally fail at blogging so snaps for Jess! 

So about a week and a half ago I wrote the start to, what would have been, my third post; however, I read over it and realized that was not what God wanted me to share, not yet anyway.  Instead, I feel Him leading me to write about the awful 'f word' we all hate...not that f word, the other one - failure.  I have talked about discipline and with discipline comes the possibility of failure.  I'm going to fill you in on my current goals and what is going on with me.  

Okay, so I signed up for a 31 day challenge for the month of October.  If you know me then you already know that it was with Tone It Up .  I've been following this fabulous, online fitness duo for about three years and just became an official member (insert the huge, grinning emoji here).  Whoa, major side track - sorry.  So goal number one: follow the challenge workouts everyday.  Along with that challenge comes an entire meal plan.  Goal number two: stick to the nutrition plan.  I'll be honest here, I'm sticking to it about 80%.  Friends, this is where I look back at what I've accomplished in 5 days and think, "awesome, I'm failing miserably".  I missed days two and three of working out so that means my challenge actually ends November 2nd AND I've somewhat failed following the nutrition plan.  I get so frustrated with myself and it makes me just want to quit (I know you all can relate); however, this time is different.  My mind set is different.  What's the saying? Fall down 7 times get up 8.  That is what I'm planning to do, get up and not stay down, throwing my own pity party.  Goal number three (and the most important to me): get up early to pray.  So this one I started this week and so far I've gotten two out of three days.  The reason why this one is so important to me is because everything rises and falls on what my prayer life is like.  If I am committing my day to the Lord and spending time in His presence before the craziness of life sets in, then I have a better chance of everything else going fairly smoothly.  And if it doesn't, at least I know the day was committed to my Father and He knew all that was going to take place before it actually did.  Goal number four: read my Bible through the year.  Fail, with a capital F.  I felt so bad about being three days behind that I re-started and missed the second day.  (Insert wining emoji here - clearly, I like emoji's).

As you can see, on my "goals report card" I have received mostly F's.  Through this process I've realized that I need to give myself some G's.  What is that letter grade you ask?  Grace.  I need to give myself grace.  My Father in heaven, loves me and says that I am worthy of His grace, and so are you.

John 1:16 says, " For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace."   - My seester (my beautiful sister-in-love who is also my absolute best friend. Ever. Aside from my hubby, of course.) loves this verse and I understand why.  It speaks a little louder to me now than before, perhaps because I'm learning more about grace, the grace I am given, and the grace I should extend.

We have to extend ourselves grace too.  Whatever it is that you feel like you are failing miserably at, extend YOURSELF grace.  You are beautiful.  You are worthy.  You are valuable.  Don't believe me?  Read what God has to say about you in His word.  

You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.
Who can find a virtuous wife?  For her worth is far above rubies.
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Pumpkin Everything season

Let's be honest for a moment, I am SO excited that it worked out for this post to be published just in time for the official Fall season - YAY!  Would you agree that the change from one season to another can be so beautiful? ... Well, at least that is what I hear.  I wouldn’t know because I live in Florida, you know, the Endless Summer state.  I’m sure I fell in love with the thought (okay, maybe it was the decorations) of fall, or as I like to call it 'Pumpkin Everything Season', considering I have never actually experienced a fall season.  Well, while some of you enjoyed the last few weeks of summer (and we, here in Central Florida, were practically dead from 105 degree heat), I was already dreaming of pumpkin everything season.  A few weeks ago I had pumpkins on the brain so my husband and I were talking about fall and how it would be here in a couple of weeks, and decided I would decorate that night.  After all, there’s no harm in decorating a few days early, right? I was so excited to get home and start decorating when I thought, “I should look up the actual date for the first day of fall …… (GASP) SEPTEMBER 22?! – insert hard, crying emoji here.   Well, friends, we made it.  Here's to pumpkin everything season!

Don’t you find that to be true in seasons of life too? You know, you get excited about a new season of your life, a new job, marriage, serving in a new ministry position at church, having kids, watching your kids grow into new phases, or retirement, only to realize it is a lot less glamorous than you thought it up to be.  I briefly touched on seasons of life in my very first (EEK!) post.  My husband and I are in a season of discipline.  It’s where God has us right now.  Paying off debt requires discipline. Creating a healthy lifestyle requires discipline. Growing in your relationship with the Lord requires discipline (like the discipline of a warrior because you know the enemy likes to declare battles when you get serious about getting serious with the Lord).  So, we started preparing, each month for a few months we cancelled one thing that was an unnecessary bill.  We were simple to begin with, we didn’t have cable, and neither of us had Facebook (shocker, I know).  I’ll be honest, I had the thought that this was going to be pretty easybecause we weren’t enveloped in social media or entertainment.  Fast forward to a week after we cancelled Netflix, and I’m 99.9 percent sure that I was going through watching withdraws.  I told my husband how nuts I was feeling, and he shared that he was feeling the same way (whew, I wasn’t alone).  I could not believe that we were feeling that way.  I think back to that week and cringe. I sounded so pathetic. I was pathetic.  The truth is, I still am.  Why don’t I have withdraws after days of not spending time in my Father’s presence?  Friends, I’ll tell you why, because I don’t seek after Him the way I sought to watch Netflix every night after work.  That is when I realized, seasons of life are not always easy or glamorous, and ours in particular is going to be hard, and sometimes ugly, BUT it’s exactly what I need. 

As impatiently awaited Pumpkin Everything season, patiently await on the growth in my walk with the Lord, and what He will accomplish through me during this season of discipline.  This season is just what I need (as well as accountability, but that will come in another post).  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NKJV) talks about seasons, and how there is a time for everything.  No, not everything on earth is bad or sinful; however, because we don’t focus on the season we are in, we misuse the good things that God gave us, and neglect the teachings God has for us in those seasons.  I encourage you to read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.  Meditate on it.  Allow your Father in Heaven to speak to you about your season of life.  Maybe you just came out of a good one, and are headed into a hard one or vice versa.  Whatever it is, let Holy Spirit prepare your heart.   

Everything Has Its Time 
3 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: 
2 A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; 3 A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; 7 A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; 8 A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.