Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Honest Human Experience: On Abortion and the Film "Obvious Child"

At 24 I was pregnant with our first child. One morning about 8 weeks into the pregnancy I woke up and I was spotting some. I called my doctor and was told to rest and basically wait and see.

I prayed for my child, this precious, tiny, innocent human being that was growing inside of me and I prayed for its protection and for God’s hand to cover my womb.

I waited. The spotting stopped. The pregnancy continued.

A few weeks later my doctor confirmed that everything was perfect and my baby was healthy and strong at 10 weeks.

At 9 months I was given the paper work that described my medical history throughout the pregnancy with descriptions of every symptom and concern. On the date of that first visit it said, 
possible natural abortion.

I had never viewed my possible miscarriage as an abortion.

Fortunately, the abortion failed and Gods hand intervened for the life of my son.

A couple of years passed and the Lord began to walk me through different paths. In the early months of 2008, I faced many deep rooted fears and struggles that had forever been a part of my life and the Lord began to uproot those strongholds. It was a difficult time of learning to let go of control that I so desired; little did I know that it was merely the beginning to a very long journey of surrendering.

In April, I was finally feeling some sense of freedom and normalcy when I had the suspicion that I was pregnant again.

We hadn’t been “trying” but there was this ONE night.
One Party.
No Protection.
No Thought.
No Plan.

And there I was buying a First Response box at Walgreen's.

We sat on the bed and waited…it was negative.  
I sighed a huge sigh of relief.

I wasn't ready to have another baby. I was just feeling normal again. I wasn't ready to have 2 kids. I wanted to enjoy this time and not worry about being sick or tired or gaining more weight or preparing for another.

It turned out First Response had a different response a week later.

I trusted God’s timing, but the shame and guilt from the thoughts I had one week prior overwhelmed me.

And I was afraid.

The next nine months would be torturous in many ways.

The Lord would take me to a place of complete despair and total dependence on Him; He would take all my control so I would learn to trust Him alone. He allowed me to get angry at Him and lose my faith in who I thought He was supposed to be.

I lived in fear. The fear that the thoughts I once had about my baby would cause a “natural abortion.”
I also feared the guilt that came with those thoughts.

Every time the nurse listened to the heart beat my heart would stop until the rapid hum of her heart was heard.

Then one time, we didn’t hear her heart.

The nurse searched and prodded my growing belly…nothing.
I couldn’t breathe.
I prayed desperately seeking forgiveness for my thoughts a few months earlier and pleading to hear a heart beat, to feel a kick, anything.
“Please God I want my baby. Please Lord, save my baby.”

The doctor finally came in to check…after 10 agonizing minutes, the heart beat sounded clear and strong.

From that moment on I feared something would go terribly wrong until I held her in my arms. 
She was perfect.

On Friday, a film called Obvious Child will be in theaters across the nation and it will be proclaiming the message that having an abortion is no big deal. It will show a young, 20 something woman making a “choice” that is “normal” for many women like herself, and undergoing the "procedure" on film; and it will be claimed as a “shame free, regret free, clear way.”

The film is a Romantic comedy about a young woman who drinks a little too much, has a one night stand and becomes pregnant. The woman has a career to think of and a life to live and simply can’t have a baby, but she does get the guy. 

This film is hailed as the “most honest abortion movie I’ve ever seen,” by Amanda Hess, from

According to this article from CNN, the producer, Elisabeth Holm states that in the film, “(an abortion) happens but it doesn’t have to define her.” She also states that they want to “humanize the experience” and show that having an abortion is a “safe and healthy and also vulnerable experience.” Holm states that, “This is an experience that many women go through without shame and regret, but not without emotion.” Finally she states that her hope for the film is that it “…makes people feel confident in who they are and the choices that they make…And sometimes with confidence comes vulnerability – and that’s a very human experience.”

Honest is defined as “honorable in principles, intentions and actions.
Those who say abortion isn’t a big deal and that there is no guilt or shame in that “procedure” are bold faced liars, for their intentions are anything but honest.
Honest and abortion simply don’t mix.

I have never had an abortion.
I have never had to make that “choice,” but I have experienced the fear of almost losing my 8 week baby to a “natural abortion,” the same stage and age of more than 60% of all children aborted in this country.

I’ve never had an abortion, but I had an unplanned pregnancy and I experience the fear of “not being ready” and "bad timing." I also experience the shame and guilt of those same thoughts.

Here is the Universal Truth: Whether or not you are ready to have a child, whether or not this baby is planned, whether you believe this baby is simply a fetus and not a living,  growing human being; the truth is that YOU WILL experience emotions from the moment you realize you are carrying a child inside of your womb. You will experience for your entire life feelings of love and joy, guilt and shame, fear and sadness, whether you carry this child to term or not.

THAT is the Real, Honest, Vulnerable Human Experience.

Love, joy, guilt, shame, fear, sadness…all of these real emotions are a part of motherhood and you are a mother whether you choose to keep the baby growing inside of you or you choose to end her life and send her to her unmarked grave.

I experienced every single one of those emotions the moment the stick was positive. 
Those emotions are honest and natural and normal.

I experienced every single one of those emotions and continue to daily experience those emotions, including guilt and even shame and my children are all healthy and strong and filled with life.

To say that you will not feel guilt or shame when you choose to end the life of your child is foolish and audacious.

How dare anyone tell you what or how you should feel!

Those emotions are real and they will not simply go away once you are sedated and sent home, because they are as much a part of who you are as a human being and that is true vulnerability.

To go through the motions of having an abortion like the woman in the movie as if it was just another “to do” on her list isn’t honest or vulnerable…it is dehumanizing and deceitful.

Hollywood and Planned Parenthood and Pro-choice advocates want you to believe that you have a choice.

And that is true, you do have a choice.

But, the choice isn’t about being ready or not; the choice isn’t about life or death and it isn’t about a baby or a fetus.

The choice is, what will you believe?

Will you believe the lie that says having an abortion isn’t a big deal or a defining moment, or do you choose the truth that says having an abortion will indeed define you for the rest of your life?

That choice; what you choose to believe, is not just about the life of your child, it is about your life

Will you choose to live a life that is truly and honestly free from guilt and shame? 
Will you choose a life that will thrive and be given more choices than can ever be counted for both you and for your unborn child?

The “Obvious Child” is the child that has been chosen to live. The one in your womb is not the “obvious child” and according to Hollywood, is not the “obvious” choice, but it is an “obvious” life and should be worthy enough to be given a choice at living.

True vulnerability is not having control.
Real confidence in our choices is always vulnerable and in that vulnerability is pure, honest humanity.

What will you choose?

You are HIS Beloved, 

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

How to Abide in a Culture that doesn't Remain Still

I sit beside her bed and she says, “lay down mama; Hold my hand, mama.” I oblige, grateful for the moment of rest as I lie next to her crib and take her chubby, little hand in mine through the slats of the bed that will soon be too small for her. I don’t think about that though, I can’t stop her from growing or the soon to be transition to a big girl bed. I can’t think about the fact that once she moves from a crib to a bed, we may never have a crib in our home again.

I lie down and stroke her tiny hand. I pray over her and tell her I’ll stay for “one more minute,” which inevitably becomes two, then three and five.

I give her tiny hand a soft squeeze and quietly say goodnight, as she muffles a soft, “nigh, nigh mama,” in response. I cover her with her soft, pink blanket, which all my babies have affectionately names their “bee” and say a sweet breath prayer over her as I tiptoe out.

It’s out routine and what we do every night. The same routine we had with all of our sweet babies.

Tonight as I laid there with my hand holding hers, I was reminded of John 15:7, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you will ask what you will and it shall be given to you.”

Abide, remain, dwell.

When my children lie down to rest and they place their hand in mine, they are abiding in me. They are abiding in the truth that they know and believe: mommy holds their hand and holds their hearts and nothing can harm them when mommy is near.
When they hold my hand and rest their heads to sleep, their thoughts dwell in peace and rest because they trust the hand that is holding theirs.

When God holds your hand and you abide in Him and who He is, you can lie down in rest and know that His good and perfect will is sustaining you and protecting you.
When God holds your hand and you abide in Him, you can trust that He is protecting you and providing for you.

When you abide in Jesus, your life, your desires, your prayers remain in Him; you stay and He covers you, like a soft blanket that keeps out the chill of night. You rest in the warmth and have peace.

Abiding in Christ Jesus is the goal of our life. His greatest desire for us is to be still. The bible gives us so many scriptures that teach us that truth.
Rest, remain, be still, dwell, delight, abide…

Yet we cover ourselves with man made materials.
We mock any sort of rest.
We run and are constantly planning out the next move.
We look for the new, the better, the perfect.

Rest, remain, dwell, abide.

We fool ourselves into thinking it is easier to carry the burden. We don’t have time to rest or be still. If we make more, do more, work harder, then we can dwell and abide. Yet the burdens get heavier, the time marches on and the more never ceases.

He calls out to you and says, come to me, abide in me, I will cover you; I will hold you in my right hand. And yet, we let go of His hand. We walk away from His covering.

How do we abide in a culture that doesn't remain still?

  1. Be purposeful in the quiet times. Those rare times where the babes are sleeping and the house is still, revel in the stillness. Put aside the electronics that are never quiet with the constant dinging of notifications and instead, sit in the presence of the almighty and dwell in Him. Rest. Breathe. Be.
  2. Surrender your plans and purpose in those moments. Write out everything that is weighing on you. The pressures and worries, the doubts and fears and then hand it over, one by one. Allow Him to take the burden and lift them off your shoulders.
  3. Be quiet. Listen. Don’t think. Allow the Holy Spirit to penetrate your heart and mind and be in awe of who your God is, as your thoughts turn to His thoughts and your heart is filled with His great love for you.

I challenge you to find a truly quiet and peaceful time and rest, remain, dwell and abide. In that moment my prayer for you is that you will be lifted up, you will find peace and rest and your desires and prayers will align with His word, His heart and His desire for you.

Abide in His truths and ask Him to direct your paths, provide you peace and strengthen your faith.

Rest, remain, dwell and abide.

You are His beloved,

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Because Your Yes is Worth It

God has given each of us gifts, passions and dreams that are for His glory.
These desires and passions are all to advance the kingdom.
He wants to use each of us to do amazing things.

What you do everyday is good. You are doing the faithful work He has called you to.
He has great plans for your life. He has great vision and purpose for you.

I am writing these words and I really believe them in my heart.

But…I get stuck on a few continue reading click here. 

I am a guest writer over at We Are That Family today. Please head over and continue reading and be sure to comment and share on social media! 

You are His Beloved, 

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Monday, June 16, 2014

When Surrendering Your Time is Part of Being Mama

It never fails.

I wake up early to write, get a cup of coffee, sit down, write one sentences and I hear a door creak open. I sit completely still hoping that whoever it is goes back to bed.
I hear the little feet trot down each step and I hear a muffled, "good morning mommy."

My heart sinks a little because I literally wrote one sentences and I think, ‘this is why I typically leave to write!’

The little one comes and sits next to me.

I hold her, put away my notebook and she tells me about the bad dream. She is the cutest thing to see at 6:30 in the morning with tousled, curly hair and a pretty painted pink thumb in her mouth as the sweet, girly ruffled and satin night gown fall past her chubby, little girl knees.

I stroke her hair, kiss her head and then send her sleepily self off to her daddy with the incentive of “sleeping on mommy’s side” so I can get at least 30 minutes of writing done.

This is part of being mommy.
I hear similar stories from many mama’s often.
I get up to pray, walk, have quiet time and sure enough someone wakes up.

They want to be with you even though what you desperately want and need is an hour of solitude.

An hour of not being needed or wanted.
And hour of quiet.
An hour where you can put aside the to do list and just be.

I have a hard time finding that hour. In the evenings I stay up late because I am desperate for time alone and quiet. I spend time with my husband until he fall’s asleep and I can finally sit quietly and read or write. The hard part is that I am tired, but I stay up anyway.

But the next morning…I’m still tired. Very tired.

It’s hard to find that perfect time.
That balance.

I want desperately to have my quiet times so I can refuel, but so many times they are cut short.
I want to find time to write, but I have to escape to do that.
I want time to just be and relax, but I have to plan that or it never happens.

I realize it is all part of surrendering my life and especially my time to Jesus.

I have to give him my everyday. 
The quiet, the free moments, the crazy minutes that seem like hours, the long days, the tiring days, the fun filled days, the precious few moments.

I have to surrender all those times to Him and say, “Ok Lord, I can't control how my day is going to be spent. I can’t control the minutes or the hours, I can't control the well intended plans that fail, so I give you this day. I hand over the clock and I ask you humbly and as a sometimes desperate mommy to take the few minutes before the children wake, to take those quiet hours in the evening, to take the moments of running and living and laughing and reading and teaching and training and loving; Take all those moments and the millisecond breath prayers and fuel me. Make those small moments enough. Make the short time extend. Meet me where I am today and in whatever lies ahead. Fuel me to overflowing because there isn’t ever enough time, but I am desperate for more. You know my intention, my heart and my desires, so Father please extend your grace and fill me till tomorrow.”

You are His Beloved, 

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Friday, June 13, 2014

For My Husband on Father's Day

I see his adoration for his children.
The way he holds them
as they rest their heads in the crook of his neck and
relax within his strong embrace.

I see his admiration for who they are;
their good, their love, their extraordinary gifts, their delightful personalities.
His eyes gleam as he watches them enjoy life and enjoy him.

Sweet dreams fulfilled.

I see the way he looks at me.
He holds my gaze.
After so many years, I still blush and demurely look away;
Escaping back to the moments of sweet fifteen and captivated by his look.

He takes my hand and holds my gaze once more.
It’s amazing that despite the wrongs,
the apologies, the hurts, the frustrations,
the shame, the hard, the frail, the broken, and the pain,
It’s still us.

Time has marched on and yet, we are still us.

Sweet dreams fulfilled.

My Jesus, I love this man.
I love who he is and who he is becoming.
I love his tenderness, his courage, his strength.
I love his frailties, his weakness, his fears.

I love the very nature of who he is;
For the nature of who he is, is you Lord.

Sweet dreams fulfilled.

Happy Father's day to my Beloved and to all the wonderful Dads, 

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Sunday, June 8, 2014

6 Ways to Surround Yourself with Godly Mothers

One verse that has been such an amazing testament in  my life these past few months has been Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw of everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…”

To know that I am surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses that have run this motherhood race before me is so encouraging and inspiring.

Ecclesiastes says that ‘there is nothing new under the son’ and motherhood certainly isn't anything new!

The newborn stage of sleepless nights and early mornings, the colicky baby, the crazy toddler, the potty training, the terrible twos and threes, the fits, the demands, the tears, the never ending questions, the training, the tantrums, the drama, the bff’s, the break ups, the heart breaks, the fear, the worry, the laughter, the fun, the growing, the driving…the driving away…the coming home…

We aren't the first to run this race and we certainly won’t be the last.

And in that knowledge, as mothers we must look to each other, to those who have come before us and to those who have come after us and we must stand together in this journey.

We live in a society where we have been told and taught to be independent.
We have been told that we are strong enough to handle anything on our own.

Mama’s, hear me out…THAT IS A LIE!!

I’m not saying, we aren't independent.
I’m not saying you can’t handle it.

I am saying that you weren't called to do motherhood alone.

We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.
We are surrounded by moms and grandmothers and biblical, strong, proverbs 31 and Titus 2 women who have walked this walk; who have journeyed through the hard, crazy days of motherhood and have come through the other side of nursing and potty training and schooling and teenage crisis and more.

Yet, despite being surrounded, we isolate ourselves.
In our isolation is exactly where the enemy wants us.

When we are isolated, all we will hear is the enemies lies and our own fears and doubts.
When we are isolated, there is no one around to pick us up, encourage us and speak life to us.

The Journey of motherhood is hard. It’s long.
Womb to tomb.

We have to surround ourselves with mothers who will uplift and encourage and make us feel less crazy!

We have to learn to depend on other mothers and run this race together. 

6 ways to surround yourself with Godly Mothers

1. Read about other mothers in the Bible.

From Eve to Mary, there are so many mothers and women in the bible who we can emulate, learn from and become inspired by.

2. Find an older mom who has walked the walk you are on. 

She may be a little older or a lot older, that doesn't matter, but find someone who you can go to when you feel a little lost or sad or crazy. They may not have the answers, but many times, just knowing that there is hope is all you need.

3. Surround yourself with friends who are running with you. 

Go out for coffee and laugh about all the crazy, beautiful things your kids are doing. Laughter is good medicine for the soul.

4. Ask for help. 

You weren't called to do this mom thing alone. It’s ask for help.

If you need a day off, get a babysitter. 
If you are overwhelmed with housework, get a maid if possible, or maybe just once to help you at least get a head start on the cleaning. 
If the laundry monster is beating you up, call a laundry service and they will pick it up, fold it and bring it back! Hallelujah! 
And since you’ll have all this extra time cause your house is clean and your clothes are washed, call a friend and go to lunch!

5. Call your mom or grandmother. Call you step mom, mother in law, aunt, sister. 

When you need something or someone, call the moms in your life that you are closest to. 
It’s ok to need them. It’s ok to ask of them. 

I know family relationships can be hard. 
I know many of you may not have the kind of relationship that you desire to have with your mothers or other women in you family. 
Ask anyways. 

Build a bridge. Break down the walls. Be vulnerable…it’s hard, but it keeps you dependent on God.

6. Be helpful to the other moms around you, whether at the grocery store or the chick-fil-A or wherever you are. 

To that mom who is pregnant and carrying a toddler, be encouraging and tell her she is awesome and has such a well behaved kid.
To the mom in the grocery store who’s kid is about to lose it, let her checkout before you. 
To the mom who is carrying 4 happy meals with 4 drinks, 10 ketchup's, her baby wrapped on her, her toddler holding her skirt and her other two running in the play place and letting the door close behind them…open the door for her! Get some extra napkins and straws…We’ve all been there! 

I know the few times moms have helped me or said an encouraging word has been a life saver, especially in moments of weariness and tired. 

We must strive for solidarity in Motherhood. 
We are all in this together. 
We are all trying to raise our kids as best as we know how.

Don’t isolate yourself, but gather together and laugh and love and encourage.
We aren't the first to run this race and we won't be the last!

How amazing would it be if moms, instead of comparing and judging each other, we come together in unity and we walk this walk side by side, helping and holding each other up?

If we could do that, we could change the world.
If we could do that, we could raise world changers!

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You are His beloved,

Friday, June 6, 2014

Pursuing Beautiful: 15 Fun Summer Activities

I am all about making Summers memorable over here.
We only have 18 summers with out kids, so I personally want to make them count.

I know there is this unspoken pressure on us moms about being the most amazing "Cruise Directors" for our kids summer vacation and I think that shouldn't be the case.
We really need to get over having to entertain our kids every minute of the day.

Yes, it's summer vacation and yes, there should be some intentional and memorable times, but it's ok if they get bored...

If they are never bored, they'll never learn how to entertain themselves. 

If someone is always planning every minute for them, they won't know how to plan for themselves. 

If they are stuck in front of the screen all day long, they won't use their imaginations to fuel real, fun play. 

In the past, I tried to do one of those days of fun summers. You know, "Make something Monday" and "Field trip Friday", etc. And all it did for us was make us tired and over scheduled.

So this year we made a list of a few things we wanted to accomplish this summer and if we get to all of them...Great!

If we don't, we always have next year! 

2014 Summer Bucket List

1. Sea World! 

My kids LOVE Sea World and there is one not too far from where we live. So we will be heading down to visit Shamu and Friends very soon. If you have one close by, go! It's a great park and so much fun for all ages!

Tips: Take drinks to help with the heat! but throw out the straws (animal safety), Take bathing suits because they have the splash pads open and are lots of fun, they also have a pretty good dining plan that may be beneficial to your family...check it out.

2. Stay-cation

This year we aren't taking an "official" vacation because we are building a pool, so according to my husband our pool is our vacation for the next 10 years...yeah right! Anyways, the weekend our pool opens we are planning a stay-cation! We won't see anyone or go anywhere! We will stay by our pool and play all weekend long! If you don't have a typical vacation planned, or even if you do, take a weekend and stay home and make it fun! Maybe a pajama weekend, or a movie marathon weekend or even a video game weekend! Whatever your family likes to do! Sweetness in life has some great ideas for stay-cations which you can check out here.

3. Scavenger Hunt

Here is a good printable for both readers and non-readers. Here's a 'summer-long' one. You could even do a photo scavenger hunt to change it up some!  Check out my Summer Fun Board for more ideas here. 

4. Summer Movies

Summer Movie Clubhouse

One thing we do every summer is check out the local Theaters Summer Movies. Many theaters offer low prices on scheduled family friendly films throughout the summer! Cinemark has theaters all over you can check out if there is one in your area here

5. Cousin Camp! 

One thing we are really looking forward to this year is Cousin Camp! We are taking 3 days and the cousins are coming over and we are going to have lots of fun activities, crafts and even bible lessons and just spend some sweet time together with family! We will end with a fun family barbecue and it's gonna be awesome! I have lots of fun ideas and I can't wait to post pictures soon! Follow my pinterest board here. 

6. Find a New Hobby

We are going to hobby lobby and finding a new hobby for each kid! From looming to sketching...something to fight the "I'm bored" cries!

7. Beach Days!

We are fortunate to have a beach close by. It's not a great beach, but it's a beach! My kids can spend all day at the beach, boogie boarding, building sand castles and searching for sea shells!
Quick tip: Take something to shade you, like a pop up will help make the day more pleasant and beat that afternoon sun!

8. Science Fun

We try to do some fun science projects in the summer. You can see my Science Fun pins here.

9. Go Geocaching!

Ok, we have never done this, but hear lots of great things about it and I think my kids would love it. I can't tell you much other than it's like a treasure hunt. Read more about it here.

10. Outdoor Movie Night.

This would be so fun!

11. Spontaneous Weekend!

We are just gonna go somewhere! There are lots of places near us that we can take a day trip to so one weekend...we are just gonna go and have fun! No planning...just go!

12. Factory Fun.

I plan to take the kids to a factory. This is great because it's part field trip/ part learning fun! Check out the factories/field trips in your area here.  The website is geared toward homeschoolers but it has an extensive list of filed trip places for all over the U.S.

13. Summer Reading Awards

I am giving my kids rewards for their summer reading goals. We will either head to the library or half price bookstore and they will make goals for reading. At the end we will do something fun when they get to their goal!

14. Pick Berries

There's a farm nearby where we can pick berries and do other fun things. And maybe with our yummy berries we can make some yummy treats! Southern Living has 101 things to make with berries here. 

15. Camp, Camp, Camp!

Because a week of fun activities and time away from home is awesome!

I hope you have a ton of fun things planned for Summer! You can check out more summer time fun when you follow me on Pinterest

Happy Summer Friends! 

You are His!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Gather At the Table

Come sit at the table and bring what you have;
Your broken, your lonely, your sad.
There is love at the table. No insecurity here.
Sit at the table, let go of your bags.

There is room at the table,
So pull up a chair.
Tell of your stories,
Laugh, cry and share.

Rest at the table.
Come, and be filled.
Find refuge at the table,

Hear the stories, be encouraged, be still.

The last few months I have hosted some amazing women at my table. 
We have gathered together, broken bread, and shared our stories.

The Table has been a place of encouragement and inspiration. 

I encourage you to visit If:Table and host friends at your own table. 
Be vulnerable, share your stories and see what God can do in the 
meaningful conversations at your table. 

You are His Beloved, 

Finding Your Rhythm in Your Race

Run to the football game, run to the birthday party.
Run home, do a quick clean up, run to the grocery story, run back to the party.
Run to hobby lobby for that new project, run home for the baby’s nap.
Run the dishwasher, the dryer and the vacuum.
The vacuum wakes the baby! Run out for last minute errands.

I am not a runner, though there is an element of serenity and determination that appeals to me about running,
but this kind of running makes me weary and worn out.

This kind of running is what life and motherhood tends to here to read more.

I'm writing over at 5minutes for Faith today.

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