Once again…

Once again, I’ve not posted in a while. A really long while.

There are a lot of reasons for that. Work. School. Life. And Harper has done really well through all of the busyness of everything, so I’ve been holding on to that and feeling “normal” again.

It’s funny to me the “normal” things that we once took for granted are now big steps. We’ve made it a couple of months with just her regular therapies and no doctor’s visits. She had a good report card without an extensive amount of extra work or tutoring. She’s participated in school parties, festivals, and musicals. I was able to stop using a checklist to help her remember how to get ready in the morning or at bedtime. She even started sleeping in her own bed in our room instead of beside me in my bed! I began to rest easier at night, to not analyze her every move, to loosen the reigns a bit and let her be a kid. It was good.

Things were going so well that I reached out to her doctor in Baltimore to ask about postponing her next appointment in January. She agreed.

And the very next day the seizures came back.

I’m not going to lie- I’m kind of mad about it. Actually, I’m really mad about it. Just like that I’m back to watching her every move. I listen for the rhythm of her breathing to change in her sleep. We’re falling back on checklists to keep her on track and helping her get dressed and reminding her of where things are or what she was just doing. Easy things are becoming more difficult again and her memory seems to be failing her again.

I see her frustration. I see her confusion. I feel her fear and anxiety as she loses control of her body. Last night I held her on the bathroom floor when she should have been snuggled in her bed and I watched her face contort in pain and her muscles twitch involuntarily and I wanted to scream for her. It is not fair!

I hate this disease. I hate what it does to my baby’s body and her brain. I hate the toll that it takes on our family. Yes, hate is a strong word, and it isn’t one that I toss around lightly, but tonight I feel it.

I know that we are the blessed ones. It could be worse, so much worse. We’ve experienced worse, and we see those who live with worse every day. I don’t take that for granted.

But tonight I’m mad. I don’t doubt the goodness of God and I don’t doubt that He is working a plan greater than me and my feelings. I know that my girl brings glory to Him and that ultimately she is His. I have hope that this is not it, that we will see complete healing. But in this moment I feel angry.

And I share that not for pity. I’m not looking for a pat on the back, nor do I need anyone to tell me that I’m wrong. I put this out there to encourage someone else who doesn’t understand the why, who feels angry or frustrated or disappointed, who keeps waiting for that prayer to be answered, who is weary and worn, who feels alone or unnoticed.

You’re not alone. And feeling those feelings does not make you any less. I understand. Our paths may be different, but I get the emotions and the thoughts and the feelings.

Better yet, He knows. The Maker of the heavens and the earth knows your every thought before you even think it. He has formed you and given you purpose, and He loves you with a love like no other. He is good. He is mighty. He is faithful and just. He hears you, He sees you, and He is with you.

In that truth is where I find my rest tonight. I’m praying you do the same, friends ❤️

“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.” (Deuteronomy 32:4)

“O Lord, you have searched me and you known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up you discern my thoughts from afar... You hem me in behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.” (Psalm 139:1, 5)

He meets us where we are…

I’m going to be real candid here- This past week tried to take me out.

We had the youngest having seizures, the middle with some mystery illness, the oldest not feeling her best, the mama with a shifting kidney stone, a hurricane that leaked water all underneath our dining room floor, and a trip to Duke… on top of regular life and bills and appointments and school and work.

By the time we made it home from Duke (after having our girl laid out in the grass on the side of the interstate as she seized and vomited everywhere) to our other sick children and my husband left on military orders for the weekend, I was ready to throw in the towel.  If you drove by my house, you just may have seen me waving the white flag out the window.  I. WAS. DONE.

So when Saturday morning rolled around- at 5:30 when my no-sleeping child decided it was time to get up- and the husband was gone and the older kids were arguing and the youngest was having tantrums of epic proportions and my to-do list was a mile long, all that was on my mind was to at least get a fast shower in before we had to leave the house.  And at the point the only way I saw that happening was to turn a movie on so that *hopefully*  no one would cause bodily harm to anyone while I washed.

As I stepped into the bathroom, you can imagine my surprise as I felt an overwhelming urge to open my Bible.  With all that was going on in the house and all that I had to do, the last thing on my mind was to sit down and read Scripture at that moment.  I didn’t have time for that!  We had somewhere to be.  I couldn’t trust the kids alone.  My mind was scattered in a million different directions.  It just was not the time.  But as I tried to argue it away, the Lord kept pressing, kept calling me to come close, kept whispering to my heart to just be still for a moment.

I conceded. I crept into my closet and grabbed one of my “other” Bibles (you know, the ones that haven’t been worn in good yet), and I shut the door behind me and said, “Okay, Lord, here I am.”

And do you know what happened? HE SHOWED UP! He led me straight to the Book of Psalms, to Psalm 65. And as I read those words He spoke life into my weary heart. So many words of that passage spoke so much truth, but the Lord had a message just for me in verse 9… You care for the land and water it; You enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so You have ordained it.

Now, I’ll be honest, this is one of the verses I normally just skim right over. But God stopped me right there, and reminded me that this verse was for me.

He cares for me.

He waters me.

He enriches me.

And He enriches me abundantly. That word abundantly means “plentifully; in large quantities.” In other words, above and beyond what I ask for or even what I could imagine.

That verse goes on to say to speak of the streams (or rivers) of God being full of water- they never run dry! No matter how much it takes to quench me, there is still more. No matter how dry I am, His water keeps flowing.

And it’s flowing for a purpose. It’s flowing to provide just as the Lord has ordained. And He has ordained our provision- we will not go without.

That rest we need? We have it in Him. That answer we are waiting for? It’s coming through Him. That healing we long for? It will be manifested. That comfort, that peace, that wisdom, that discernment, that friend, that love… all of it is in Him.

He is our caretaker, our enricher, our provision, our source of living water… that is a promise to cling to. I’m grabbing on to that with all I’ve got this week- won’t you join me? ❤️


September already?!

Y’all, I just can’t seem to keep to a schedule with these blog posts! My goal for the last year has been to get on a more regular schedule for posting, with at least one post each week.

The last post I shared was in July. It is now September. Suffice it to say my plan is not working.

Anyway, since July things have been pretty calm when it comes to Harper. Now, in my own life with school and work and three children and a husband, not so calm, but maybe one day I’ll get around to a post about all that (or maybe not, given my track record…)

Harper started first grade and has adjusted so well thus far. She is all about becoming more independent and is so excited about learning new things. It has by far been our smoothest transition yet with her, which is an absolute answer to prayer.

As far as seizures go, I was feeling pretty confident in our level of control. We had not seen any daytime seizure activity since her hospital stay, and we spent the last couple of months weaning off of one of her medications. However, those pesky things have been trying to make a reappearance, so we are on heightened alert right now. She is back to having very restless sleep and waking up several times a night, and we have seen some seizure activity pretty consistently in the last week while she’s awake. Fortunately those episodes have not progressed to the full-blown tonic-clonic seizures, so we are still counting our blessings!

We do have a message in to the doctor to see what our next step is to stop these episodes since Harp is down to one med right now, and we have a trip to Duke on the schedule this week. While we have transitioned her seizure care to a neurologist at Johns Hopkins, we still have regular follow-ups and scans with her neurosurgeon at Duke. This week she will have an MRI to monitor the cysts and fluid in her brain, and we are praying that she will be cooperative and expecting nothing but good news!

This morning at church I heard a great message, and one of the points the pastor made really resonated with me. See, Harper is 6 1/2 years old now. We have been doing this for that many years, and we have been steadily praying all along the way. And while we have seen great miracles worked in her, we have not witnessed that total healing completely manifested yet. (And I do emphasize yet because I know it’s coming!).

We get tired. We get discouraged. We have our questions and wondering and not understanding. But this morning the pastor said something along these lines (and I’m sure he said it much more eloquently, but you’ll get the gist)- oftentimes God does not change our circumstances, but He changes US.

We are still in this battle. We still fight every day and our entire family is impacted in ways most people don’t even know. It’s been a long battle. BUT GOD has been faithfully changing each one of us along the way, revealing Himself in ways we never would have seen before, and growing us in ways that we would have never experienced. Our journey isn’t over, and He isn’t finished with us yet. We will choose to be thankful and give Him praise for all He has done, all He is doing, and all that He will still do. He is GOOD, y’all!

First Flights & Faithfulness

It was a big weekend for Harper (and Mom)… she took her first airplane ride!

She was super excited about it and had a blast, but unfortunately the destination was not so exciting. We had to return to Baltimore for follow-up testing regarding her ESES diagnosis. Since we were just there a month ago and the trip took about ten hours in the car by the time we made all the stops along the way, we opted for the one-hour flight this time. Yes, it was more expensive. Yes, it was a bit scary to maneuver the airports and big city alone with her. But all in all, totally worth it for her comfort!

Harper had an overnight EEG, a re-evaluation of certain items on her neuropsych testing, and a follow-up with the neurologist. The results from everything have been somewhat complicated.

We received the full report from her testing last month, which showed a lot of concerns developmentally. While she has made great strides and progress in so many ways, there has unfortunately been a lot of regression in other areas. I won’t lay out all of those details here, but there is a lot for us to process and consider, and decisions to pray over.

As for the ESES, the good news is that the medicine has decreased the intensity of her seizure activity in her sleep, and there were improvements in one area of her cognitive testing. However, there is a flip side to that. First, while the seizure activity is less intense, it is still at the same frequency, and the testing indicated that her memory is still regressing instead of improving as they had hoped. The next solution would be higher doses of the medicine she’s on- but we just had to decrease it because of the side effects.

We are going to instead try weaning her off of her original medicine to see if perhaps the combination of the two medicines is the cause of the severe side effects we’ve seen. This will be a two-month process, and will be re-evaluated if her daytime seizures start again, but if it goes well, we will then look at tackling the ESES more aggressively with the other medicine.

At times this journey seems so long. There is so much trial and error. There are so many questions without definitive answers. And oftentimes there are so many answers we don’t want to hear. There are times that I get angry about it, and times that I just feel sad as I wade through all of the information that comes at us. Sometimes I wonder how after over six years of this road I can still trust and believe.

Here’s how- the faithfulness of God. I see His faithfulness in every little step we take. Every milestone she makes. Every day she wakes me up with that sweet smile and too-tight hug. Every reminder she gives me and every tooth she loses and talks about infinitely. Every word she learns to read. Every song of praise that leaves her lips. Every prayer she says and every time she raises her hands in worship. Every story she tells with such animation. Every time she falls but bounces right back. Every giggle, every dance, every time I hear her little voice say, “Mommy.” Every time I watch her play with her dolls or be brave or try and try again… it is all because of Him.

And because I’ve seen His faithfulness in all the small things, I know He is faithful in the big things.

He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. -1 Thessalonians 5:24

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. -Hebrews 10:23

For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord! Psalm 117:2


The last week or so has been a struggle.

I usually try to post the good things on here- the answered prayers, the blessings, the good news- and even when the news isn’t the greatest, I try to focus on the good that is there. But today I’ll just be honest, because I think there is danger in putting up a happy front all of the time and not being real.

This week has been a lot of real. It has been bouncing around to appointments with a child who screams for thirty minutes in the car. It has been watching my usually-bouncy-and-happy little girl battle fatigue and aggression, spacing out while I’m talking to her and spending the majority of her day crying, uninterested in the things that she once enjoyed. It has been difficult conversations with doctors. It has been hard-to-swallow information and diagnoses that hurt my heart. It has been pages of reports that bring me to my knees and fear that threatens to cripple me. It has been reverting back to checklists and schedules and techniques to ease my girl’s days as her mind and body grapple with medications that wreck her. It has been saying no to many of the things we usually enjoy this time of year and praying that my other girls will understand. It has been painful, it has been challenging, and it has been lonely.

I found myself weeping one night, which is something I don’t often do. I am just not a crier, but the floodgates opened and as I sat there in a puddle of tears, I was shocked as I realized that I was mentally berating myself for being emotional. I was downright angry at myself for crying. “Get it together! You’re stronger than this! You can’t solve any of this by crying over it!”

And as I chastised myself, I felt the Lord whisper to my heart, “You’re wrong.”

The fact of the matter is, I cannot get this together. This situation is far beyond me, and that is hard for me to accept. I am a fixer. I want to make everything better, especially for my babies. But this time I can’t. Now, don’t get me wrong- I won’t stop trying. I will fight for my girl, even if that means traveling all over the U.S. to get her help or telling a doctor that some of their recommendations just aren’t happening because while they may know her condition, they don’t know her.

But sometimes my fighting isn’t enough, and I have to realize that. Sometimes my fighting needs to be less of my own efforts and more of my prayers to the One who can get this all together. Sometimes I need to do less standing up and running around and more kneeling down and surrendering. (And by sometimes, I mean all the time!)

I also came to the realization that I am not stronger than this. I am weary, I am worn, and I am weak. I’m not strong enough to face this! But the One who is in me is, and His strength is perfected in my weakness. And He does not expect me to face this in my own strength.

As for all that crying? Well, the tears may not solve anything, but the Bible says that God sees them all and that He cares. He draws near to and heals the broken-hearted. Psalm 56:8 in the Message translation says it this way… “You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, each tear entered into your ledger, every ache written into your book.” The tears matter, and my brokenness drives me even closer to Jesus.

So, to those of you who need to hear this reminder, here you go: it’s okay to feel broken. It’s okay to not have all of the answers or be able to fix it all. It’s okay to feel sad, to feel weak, and to feel scared or angry or disappointed. It’s okay! Feel all the feelings. Let it all out.

BUT- don’t stop there. Push through those emotions, cry out to God, and let Him heal your hurt as only He can do. Let it all out to the One who can take it all and bring beauty from ashes. Let Him hold you and mold you and lift your tired bones back up from the mess. We may not get up off the floor with all the answers, but we can step forward with the One who already knows the outcome. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather grab His hand and walk on than hide away and wallow in my tears.

Be real, but be real to the real God. And if you need a friend to lift you to the real God, I’m here ❤️

Sufficient grace…

I was just sitting here, holding this cup of coffee in my hand, thoughts brewing in my mind… and feeling utterly overwhelmed.  Can you relate?

It has been some kind of month in our house.  After my last post, we made our trip to the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore for Harper’s testing, which was actually a lot of fun.  We took Grammy and our big girls along and made a mini-vacation out of it, touring Washington, D.C. and taking them all into Baltimore to see the sights for the first time.  After that trip, it was time for Christmas, and then this mama and daddy did something we have never done- we took a trip totally alone together to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  It was completely nerve-wracking to leave the kids, but it really was a much-needed time for the two of us.  Who knew we could actually carry on real conversations??

Anyway, after that trip, we came back to the real world, and it’s been fairly crazy ever since.  Harper got a stomach bug while we were gone, which led to some other issues, so she was sick for a good while.  We ended up with two ER visits in the middle of a crazy snow and ice escapade (which never happens here), so it was an adventure.  She’s all better now, but in the midst of that my middle girl has been dealing with reflux and digestive issues, and has been down the last couple of days with a stomach bug on top of it, so no fun there.  And then I caught the crud this week while dealing with a kidney stone that I’m supposed to have surgery for on Monday.  Apparently we just need our own wing at the hospital these days!

So, as I’ve been forced by my health to slow down this week, I sat down with this cup of coffee and my calendar and my overloaded brain, and I just started talking to the Lord.  Here’s a peek at how that conversation went:

The calendar is full.  Three girls in three very different stages of life.  School and activities and friends and doctors and appointments.  I have a husband with a job and military duties that will be taking him away for several weeks pretty soon, and big decisions of his own to deal with right now.  I have duties to fulfill at church and a ministry to lead.  I have schoolwork to complete (what was I thinking??).  I have a household to keep running, bills to pay, mouths to feed, and let’s not even talk about the laundry pile!  I don’t have time to be sick or deal with these health issues. 

And speaking of big decisions, we’ve got family decisions to make.  It’s time to start thinking about school for our kiddos for next year- I’ll have one going into high school (that alone can bring me to tears), one in 4th grade (who was surely just in PK4 yesterday!), and one starting kindergarten (again, cue the tears), and many schools are starting enrollment now for next year.  It should be simple, but it’s not, as we just received Harper’s results from her neuro-psych testing, ten pages, complete with recommendations about her educational needs.  Ten pages!!  And I have no idea what to do with it. 

Overwhelmed is an understatement.  I feel ill-equipped to handle all of this.  I feel incapable of making the right decisions for myself, much less these three girls who are counting on me!  Surely I am not the right woman for this job (“this job” referring to any of the many jobs on my plate right now!).  Look at me- this is the picture that defines “hot mess express”!

And as I rambled on, I glanced down at that coffee cup in my hand, the cup I grabbed without thought from the cabinet earlier (possibly because it was the only one clean!), the cup my sister gave me some time ago knowing that it was a reminder I needed daily… and I saw the word “grace.”  And my rambling stopped, and I let that word sink in.  Then I turned to the scripture that is also printed on that coffee cup, found in 2 Corinthians 12:

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.  (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Sufficient grace… the grace that can only be found through Christ.  It covers all of my shortcomings- all of them!  It looks beyond my failures, beyond my confusion, beyond my poor-decision making.  It even sees past my mess- me, my kids, my house, my laundry, the whole lot of it!  It’s the kind of grace that doesn’t need anything from me, other than surrender.  It doesn’t need me to have the right answers or to have it all together or to even look like I have it all together.  Sufficient grace finds me where I am, sees me for who I am, and blankets me in the love of the Great I AM.

I cannot do it all, I cannot take it all, and I cannot be everything that everyone needs me to be- apart from Christ.  I am weak in my own flesh, but the power of the One who lives in me is anything but weak.  His power is perfect.  So, as life comes at me with all its got- “weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities”- may I be content… content in knowing that God is working, that He has a plan, that His grace is sufficient, and that His power is perfect…. content in knowing that it isn’t about what I can do, but what He is doing.

Masquerades & lonely days

Have you ever felt alone?  I don’t mean you’re home by yourself and you’re alone, but the kind of alone where you can be surrounded by people (like adults or little people, depending on your situation) but still feel isolated.  You just don’t quite fit in any of the boxes and you find yourself wandering on the outskirts, just at the edge of the dark.  You weave in and out of the crowd, make small talk along the way, but realize that you’ve put on a mask for the world to see and perhaps no one sees what you look like underneath it all.

I’m learning that on this journey of mommyhood it’s far too easy to fall into this trap of loneliness.  We worry that we’re messing up, that we aren’t disciplining our children correctly, that they eat too much junk food, that they watch too much tv, that we don’t do enough crafts, that the house isn’t clean enough, on and on and on.  We compare ourselves to what we think we see in other moms, forgetting that we often perceive things to be very different from what they actually are.  We don’t want people to know what really goes on in our homes, so we put up a good front- so good, in fact, that we fool even ourselves.  But, in the midst of our masquerade, there is always One who cannot be fooled.  There is One who sees all and knows all- even those thoughts and feelings we keep to ourselves.

In a rare moment alone, I found myself listening to a sermon on love, and totally convicted of all the ways I fall short in demonstrating such love to my family on a daily basis.  (You know, love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy… it is not easily angered- not exactly the picture of love I’ve been painting these days!)  As I was praying, the Lord revealed to me the masquerade of mommyhood- within the walls of my home, I’m less than patient and kind, I catch myself being jealous of what I see others doing, and heaven knows I can get angry when the bickering amongst siblings begins!  Yet that’s not what I want people to see.  So we dress nice and smile and say everything is good when someone asks, and I bow my head in humiliation when my children throw a fit in public, or when someone shows up unannounced and sees the mess in my home.

And where does that get me?  Into the land of the lonely.  Feeling like I don’t measure up, that no one gets it, that I’m all by myself on this journey.  Now, granted, a lot of times I am by myself- with a husband who travels a lot and one daughter with anxiety and OCD and another daughter with special needs, I can be a bit isolated. But the loneliness is amplified when I try to pretend that everything is nice and happy and “normal” all the time.

However, the Lord led me to His Word- specifically to Psalm 139:1-10…

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue You, Lord, know it completely.  You hem me in behind and before, and You lay your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.  Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your Presence?  If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

You see, even when I feel at my lowest, when I feel I am completely alone and no one understands, I’m wrong.  There is always One who is with me, always One who understands.  He knows me intricately.  He knows my moves, He knows my thoughts, He knows my words.  He knows every detail about my being, knows every detail of what I’m facing, and He understands me better than I do- because He knows not only where I am and what I’m doing, but what is to come in my story.  Wherever I go, He is there.  He’s with me on the mountaintop, He’s with me in the sludge of the valley, and He’s with me on the journey in between.

So, goodbye loneliness, goodbye masquerades… What joy there is in knowing that wherever this journey leads me, I have One with me who refuses to leave my side, who refuses to leave me alone, who refuses to give up on me.  He knows me- the real me- and loves me like no other.



If you’re at all familiar with the contemporary Christian music genre, you’ve no doubt heard the song “Oceans.”  It’s a powerful song about faith and being willing to go wherever God sends you, and there was the big trend to sing this song loud and proud without really taking into account the meaning behind the song.  So then there came a time of people not being so quick to sing it for fear of not having big enough faith or doing big enough things- I found myself there, feeling like I couldn’t really mean these words being sung about walking out onto the water into the unknown.  I mean, really, I’m a stay at home mom in a small town, the very town I grew up in, married to my college sweetheart- not a lot of big, dramatic, walk-on-water moments, right?

EXCEPT… maybe, just maybe, walking on water in faith is being right where God has placed you, even if that means doing the mundane day in and day out.  Perhaps sometimes radical faith is staying the course.  Sometimes it isn’t crossing oceans to reach a foreign people but rather being present with the people right here in your hometown, or even just in your home.  Sometimes it’s cleaning messes and changing diapers and reading stories.  Sometimes it’s cooking meals or helping with homework or driving little people to practice.  Sometimes it’s grocery shopping or paying bills or chatting with a neighbor.  Sometimes it’s helping out that new mom or visiting the elderly or hosting your kid’s friends for a sleepover.  Sometimes it’s trips to the doctor and scans and tests and making them take medicine and living with a mountain of unknowns.

Because those are all opportunities.  It’s all a chance to exercise faith and trust God a little more and share Jesus and extend grace and love and mercy- to go deeper.  I don’t have to cross the ocean to give my all to God.  Quite often my deepest waters are right within the walls of my home.  My feet may fail and fear surrounds me all. the. time.  Any one of us can find ourselves thrust into the mystery of the great unknown at any given time, even if we feel we’re safe in our comfort zone.  And sometimes trusting God means accepting the place you’re in, the role you’ve been given- even if it doesn’t seem big and grand and important.  It all matters.

So I’m looking at this song with renewed vision… believing that God may be leading some of us to big, bold things that turn our worlds upside-down, but that He also calls some of us to do the things here, the things at home that not everyone sees.  No matter where we are or what role we are playing, we all have an ocean to face.  We can all make the choice to follow Him in faith, call on His name, and go deeper.

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
-I Corinthians 1:26-29

 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
-Ephesians 4:16

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
-Matthew 14:25-32

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
-2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Mommin’ ain’t easy

Okay, have y’all seen all the shirts advertised right now that say, “Mommin’ ain’t easy”?  Seriously.  Those should be handed out like trophies at the hospital when you give birth- swaddle those newborn babies up in that shirt as they go home because every mama will understand those words all too soon.

Moms, our work is not easy.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve given birth or God has blessed you through adoption… If you work a full time career outside of the home or work odd jobs to make ends meet… If you home school or private school or public school… If you’re the “fun” mom or the “tough” mom… If your house stays clean (bless you) or if you wade over the piles to get in bed at night… If you have one kid or twenty… being a mom is hard.

The struggle is real and I get it.  I’ve had the days where I’m not sure if I’m running a home for my family or the mentally insane.  I’ve been hit, scratched, spit on, yelled at, called names… All in one day.  I have had to make hard choices and discipline when it hurts- and yes, sometimes it truly does hurt me more than it does them.  I’ve had moments of patience and moments of yelling, days full of tears and nights full of prayers.  I’ve helped a threatening runaway pack her bags and I’ve run away myself a time or two (but only as far as Target, so don’t freak out on me!).

But, here’s the thing- It. Is. Worth. It.  Yes, some days are hard and you just can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, and some of those days grow into weeks or months, but every second of every battle is worth it.  You see, these little humans that we have been given charge of here on earth were given to us for a purpose.  God designed them for us and us for them.  He knew that you would be the perfect mom for your child, that you have the qualities and characteristics that your baby needs not just to survive, but to thrive- and that your kiddo also has the very thing you need to develop and grow and become more Christ-like.  Because this mom-thing isn’t just about us teaching and molding them- it’s a learning process for us, too.

Right now it’s hard to see beyond the dirty diapers and sleepless nights, the piles of laundry and the toys in the floor.  It’s difficult to see how cooking another dinner that will be met with grumbles and complaints will bring glory to the kingdom of God, how wiping up another spill could possibly lead someone to Christ, or how refereeing the umpteenth argument over Legos or Uno (or some other catastrophic event) is an opportunity to share the love of Jesus.  But guess what, weary mama?  It all matters.  All of the little, tiny, seemingly-unimportant moments make up a big, beautiful picture painted by a big, beautiful God- and He doesn’t make mistakes.

Your work is not in vain.  Keep pressing forward, knowing that every word spoken and every deed done is making an eternal difference.  You are loved, and you are doing a mighty work.



Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. -Galatians 6:9

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.  -I Corinthians 10:31

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.                      -Colossians 3:23-23


Sunday’s Scripture… Even if

Today’s Scripture is from the book of Daniel…

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king.  But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.  -Daniel 3:17-18

This passage is spoken by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in response to the king’s threats to toss them into the furnace.  They literally were facing the fire, lives on the line, and their faith remained unwaivering.  And what strikes me here is the phrase, “and even if He does not.”  They acknowledge that the God they serve is most certainly capable of rescuing them from their circumstances, but they also choose to accept that He may opt not to rescue them- and they’ll worship Him anyway.  I heard someone once refer to this as the “even-if” kind of faith… Trusting God’s plans even if it doesn’t look like what you expect or desire.

Y’all, I’m struggling with this kind of faith this week.  It’s been a hard two weeks in our family.  Two weeks ago today I wrote about my youngest having a small seizure, and that it was no big deal and to be expected.  That was easy to say when it was just one small one-minute seizure.  But Friday morning we woke up around 6:30 to find her in another seizure.  She happened to be in the bed with us, so her shaking woke us up- but we don’t know how long she had been seizing before we actually woke up.  We started timing it once we were aware of what was happening, and it lasted about four minutes and then stopped on its own so we did not have to administer her emergency medication… But it was scary.  We’ve now witnessed a few of these episodes with Harper, but they don’t get easier… It is a gut-wrenching, heart-breaking feeling to watch your spunky, full-of-life child be so vulnerable and helpless.

With these seizures we have also been seeing some other changes in Harper.  Her mood swings are intense- We have the typical terrible two’s, but it’s amplified by her lack of sleep, an incredible physical strength, and these new screaming spells that come on for no apparent reason and can last for a really long time (and no, they are not like toddler tantrums).  She’s been eating very little, naps about once a week, and is up and down through the night once she finally falls asleep.  Now that she has started having these seizures, she has been moved from the toddler bed in our room into our bed so that we can feel her when she starts seizing… Not an ideal sleeping situation, but it’s the best way we know how to get any rest at this point in the game.  We have a message in to her neurologist at Duke to update him on what we are seeing, and her next MRI is currently scheduled for September.

I have hesitated to tell people that we are dealing with this.  I’ve been so full of hope and we’ve seen such great strides forward for so long that it’s hard to admit things aren’t perfect.  I’m so grateful to God for bringing us this far that it feels wrong to say there’s a problem now.  I feel guilty for any kind of complaining about things being hard because they could be so much worse.  And I feel guilty for being afraid because my faith should be greater than that.  Plus, speaking it makes it more real, and I don’t want this to be a real thing for my daughter or our family.

But I am drained.  I am weary.  I am exhausted.  And it isn’t just physically.  This new way of living is mentally and emotionally wearing, and the worry is weighing heavy on this mommy’s heart.  I know all of the verses about not worrying, I know where my hope lies, I know Who ultimately is in control, I know my help and my strength comes from the Lord… My head knows the Bible answers, but my heart is struggling with the “even-if” faith.

We’ve seen miracles happen.  We’ve been granted an incredible blessing in Harper.  I don’t for a minute discredit all the that Lord has done for us… We are miles away from where we were two years ago.  And I know He has a plan.  But in these moments, I’m a little bit scared of what His plan may entail.  I know He can totally heal our girl- but I also know that His plans are not our plans and I have to be willing to trust Him and praise Him “even if He does not.”  Because regardless of what happens, He is still God and He is still good… even if.

he is still good