Dear Daughters – What I Want You to Know on Your 10th Birthday

Sure, your dad teases whenever our family tries to fit into a minivan that we’ll just have to get rid of one of you.

As if we could just rip the two of you apart – you who have shared a womb and a decade’s worth of memories strung together.

And your eyes dazzle at your ridiculously awesome daddy, for we all know that you’re not going anywhere.

The truth is we’d always choose you.

birthday girls

Again. And again. And again.

We’d go through the sickness and the weeks in the hospital, the countless diapers and carpet rubbed bare from walking circles with two babes snuggled close. We’d walk through the sleepless nights and mountains of laundry, the spit-up all over e-v-e-r-y t-h-i-n-g and getting peed on at 2am.

We’d battle the ten years of temper tantrums over tights and toys and sisters who always take your favorite shoes, the disobedience and the messes and the downright dirty glares. And we’d even straggle back through the days when parenting left us wounded and broken and fallen on our knees.

We’d always choose you.

beautiful birthday girls

beautiful Alyssa

beautiful Elliana

sweet birthday girls

You, with your beautiful hearts – your passion for God and love for others that runs so, so deep.

Despite our many mistakes, you have grown brave and tender, gracious and kind. You have touched our hearts and the hearts of so many others in ways we couldn’t ever have imagined possible.

What an honor to watch God shape your lives – to see Him in your tears and smiles.

Oh, what amazing things He is doing and is going to do in and through you as you keep seeking His face and trusting Him to walk each day with you.

We’ll always choose you.

love these birthday girls

Again. And again. And again.

Through failures and heartaches. Through laughter and dancing.

As you grow and search and try to find how to fit into your own skin.

Whether you travel to Africa to care for orphans, fly airplanes right up to the heavens, become a famous speaker proclaiming the good-news of Jesus, or quietly share the gospel right in your own home through poopy diapers changed and toilet bowls swished…

We’ll always choose you.

love these girls

Happy 10th Birthday, Alyssa Marie and Elliana Grace!
You will always be sweet reminders of the joy God brings as we look to Him, and of how He truly does answer our prayers!
Oh, how we love you!

Miscarriage – You’re Not Alone

I hung up the phone and crumpled to the floor. Tears streaked all blotchy and lungs gasped fighting for one more stale breath.

Eleven years.

But the semblance of having a baby ripped right out from the inside still leaves its ache.

It was the first time in our marriage that we had to walk through loss so personal.

I was eight weeks when I miscarried. And I grappled with what it felt like to never be able to hold the first babe enwrapped in my womb.

There were days, weeks, months when I wondered if I’d ever be able to see past the heart-wrenching sorrow. Or to really smile.

I had lost my baby – no matter how tinyand the tears seemed to never end.

And how does one feel so lonely when so many others have had to bury their babies?

Yet somehow, as I fell deep in my grief, I kept living and moving and breathing.

And I never did drown with God near to me.

I felt His strength and I felt His peace to keep going even when it hurt to breathe.

For I couldn’t go back, couldn’t erase the pain and the trembling, the words that there is no baby.

But God came in the beautiful ugly. As God comes to us in all moments.

baby ultrasound

In empty wombs and death aching – a newborn’s cries and love unending.

In a husband who ached for my suffering. In pain-filled moments of faith defining. In God’s grace poured out in a second offering.

Showing me He is still good. And miraculously uses my heart-ache for His glory.

our baby

Today I weep for the eleven years and the wonder that will last a lifetime.

And my half a dozen kids, all sing-song talking, bounce off and on their chairs, eyes glistening. And they wonder if anyone’s birthday is today.

And I just can’t get the words out about that first little one, such a precious part of me.

But I smile and breathe it in through tears.

This surrendering each day, each baby, each child, each heart-break, each moment to Him – all for His glory.

How about you, dear friends? Are you deep in pain? Wondering how God could use your heart-break or loss for His glory? I know the days can be difficult as we walk through this journey of life, loss, joy, and pain. And I’d be honored to pray for you along the way.

School At Our House (Curriculum 2014-2015)

Preschool-2014-2015.jpg

This schooling at home. It’s so much like other motherhood feats. There’s having everyone in the house all day long with piles of books stacked high in the way of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and little ones under foot while attempting a Science experiment. There’s an English book that needs to be shared two ways […]

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When Marveling at the Days Behind (Back to School Pictures 2014-2015)

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Sometimes you don’t know where you’ve been until you turn around and marvel at the moments turned days and years behind you. At how half a dozen kids in just as many years would grow in a blink. At how the reading about history while nursing a babe and the tears and furrowed brow over […]

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Sometimes There are No Words

Ellianas-baptism.jpg

It’s been two days and I’ve still got this giant lump in my throat and joyful tears in my eyes every single time I think of it. Who would’ve known that it would be like this? – That this man I’ve loved and made babies with would get the honor of holding our daughters now […]

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It’s a Beautiful Birthday Day!

the birthday girl

Did you realize the way I held you just a little bit longer last night? How I smiled instead of sighed when your excitement kept bubbling up and over and out of your room again and again as the clock ticked into the late night hours? And how all day I’ve tried to go slow, […]

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1 Peter – Bible Studies and Family {Bible} Times

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A summer’s worth of days spent soaking up the imperishable hope and the divine grace of our great God, and I know my heart won’t ever be the same. It’s been this sweet treasure found in moments carved out and tucked in between picnics and pillow forts and that mountain of laundry. And though the […]

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When Your Love Looks Boring to the World

What love looks like

How do you know what love looks like? The black and white screen rolls love as a crazy romantic race through traffic. Cars and semi-trucks screech to a halt as a mad dash is made for a final chance at love. And a kiss that tilts worlds is seen at the top of a high […]

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True Grace of God – Final Greetings (1 Peter-Week 12)

1 Peter Week 12 - Our Family for His Glory

Here we are, friends – the final week of our 1 Peter study. And I can’t help but feel the tears trickling down my cheeks and the sweet smile on my lips. For we have sought to grow closer to our God, and have spent many battled for moments and hours and days growing in […]

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When Even Kids Deal With Depression and Anxiety

When Even Kids Deal With Depression and Anxiety

So there are storms that blow fierce, And depression that creeps through cracks. There are bullies and frizzy hair and sisters that make your little eight year old heart bust right open. And there are parents that leave and best friends that betray. And who would have thought that the pain would go so much […]

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