Monday, December 14, 2015

Jesus Wept Too


We all know the verse in the book of John that says "Jesus Wept."
Mostly because it's known as the shortest verse in the bible. To be honest, I've never thought too far beyond that. I've never really dwelled in the context of that verse. But it's right in the middle of the story of Lazerus. One of Jesus' good friends had died. And even knowing that He would soon raise His friend from the dead, Jesus sat with Martha and Mary and the others who had gathered to mourn Lazerus' death, and He cried with them.

Brandon briefly mentioned this yesterday in his sermon and it hit me like it never has before.

Jesus wept too.

To weep means to express grief, sorrow, or any overpowering emotion.

Its amazing to me that Jesus, knowing the full story, the beginning, the present and what was still to come (Lazerus being resurrected) He still allowed himself and those around Him, to feel and to express the emotion of loss.

Have you ever experienced loss like this before? A loss that doesn't make sense at all. One that you know, in the end, will be evidence of God's glory, but right now, it doesn't seem right or true and the overpowering emotions of sadness break through. Despite your every attempt to be strong, and to stay strong. The emotions take over.

Can I tell you something? It's ok.

It's totally ok to cry. To mourn. To question. To get angry.

Life doesn't make sense all of the time. Or even most of the time, really. Mostly because we are human. We don't see beyond the present circumstances of this world, but let me please reassure you that there is so much more to this life.

So much more.

And even in the darkest of times, where you may feel like you have to keep it together, or you shouldn't question things...it's ok to weep.

Let those emotions be fully felt. Cry. Get angry. Ask God the hard questions. He wants you to! It's in those times of leaning in to the hurt and the pain and the anger, that I believe we truly change. If we can lean in to them and let them be felt there is so many things to learn. So many ways to grow.

There have been times when I didn't want to cry. When I felt like crying meant I was giving up. Laying down my armor. Letting walls come down. And I didn't want that. I wanted people to see me being strong. I wanted to keep fighting and keep moving. Weeping always felt close. Surrender always called my name. But I pushed it away. Kept going, kept pushing, kept fighting.

And then I broke. Physically, mentally and spiritually.

And I wept.

Uncontrollable, gasping for air, tears falling. Wept.

I sat in a rocking chair, rocking Bella who was around 14 months old, holding tight to her, while letting go of the baby who had been fighting so hard with me inside. That little 20 week baby girl inside me. I couldn't go on anymore. I couldn't fight. I let her go. I freed her from the fight and I wept.

That same night, I held her in my arms. Our Faith Marie. I kissed her lifeless lips knowing full well her spirit was already in the arms of Jesus in heaven. It didn't make sense. It hurt. The loss of our baby girl felt so heavy. And yet there was peace. Unexplainable peace. It wasn't my fight anymore. Laying down my armor didn't mean giving up. It simply meant surrendor.

I truly believe that we have to allow ourselves to fully feel one emotion in order to fully know another. Because I have felt great heartache, I know great joy.

It may be today, it may be weeks from today, but if you've stumbled here and you're fighting...If you're tired and weary from the fight...From trying to be strong...

Please know, it's ok to weep.

Jesus will meet you there. He knows whats coming. He knows the great joys ahead. He knows the good, good plans He has for you. But He'll be there for you in the brokenness too. It's ok to cry. Joy is coming. Light has come. Eternal life is ours. Lean in to that surrender and let it transform you.


"You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. 
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, 
that I might sing praises to you and not be silent."
Psalm 30:11








Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Project Hope


Hello!!

I wanted to hop on and take a second to let y'all know about another Project Hope Craft Night that is in the works. If you have followed my blog for any amount of time, then you know all about Project Hope and how it began. If not, you can click this link to read all about it.

In short, after losing our babies, we were given memory boxes in the hospital. When I recieved mine after having Faith, there was a little pink lovie bear inside. I picked it up and instantly felt hope that I would one day have another little girl and give her that lovie bear. It was pink with angel wings and our now nearly 5 year old Mia Glory, carries that bear with her wherever she goes. 

When Mia was a little baby, I searched out the organization that gave me this memory box and found Threads of Love here in San Antonio. They operate completely off of donations. I decided to put together a day for women to get together and decoroate boxes. We held our first little event in the school caferia of Cornerstone School. We donated 50 decorated boxes to Threads of Love. 

A year later, I decided we needed to not only decorate and donate the boxes themselves, but fill them with all of the special items. Including lovie bears. 100 of them! I put the word out here on my blog and with the help of so many amazing friends around the world (literally! it was amazing!) We were able to donate and fill 100 memory boxes. The craft night was an amazing night with over 60 women coming together for this cause. 

Here we are again. It has been a couple years, we planted a church, had a miscarriage and had a new baby, but the dream and passion for Project Hope has never ever died. In fact it is even stronger. I have such a heart for women in those very moments after losing a baby. I always say if I could be there to offer an actual hug, I would. But these boxes are a little bit of that same love. Not just from me, but from women across the world who want to hug these women too. 

So, I am asking you...to number one, please be in prayer and agreement with me to get 100 boxes filled. A list of the items we need will be below. If you are local to San Antonio, you can also join us for the Craft Night. $5 RSVP will hold your spot. We will have food and giveaways and it will just be a special and fun time together as women sharing one purpose. We only have 100 seats available and are already selling tickets fast so hurry if you'd like to join us!! 

If you are a handmade shop owner and would be willing to donate items for the giveaways, we would love that! Or if you can handstamp charms to go in the boxes for the mothers, or if you can donate a lovie, or you can even donate moneatrily...we'd so greatly appreciate it. 

This is a big dream. But I know God is bigger. 

Email projecthopesa@yahoo.com if you'd like to help or send an item from the list below

To RSVP to the Craft Night or to donate you can go directly to this link: Project Hope


Friday, August 28, 2015

N E W

(photo by Chelsea Lietz)


Oh Hello!

I never planned on or intended to, but I ended up taking a 7 month hiatus from my blog. I could very well let it just lay to the way side (did I even just use that correctly?) but every time I question it, God keeps bringing me back to the very reason and time I started it...

Gosh, it was nearly 5 years ago. I was pregnant with Mia and we had just found out we'd lost her twin. This came after a very devastating loss of losing our first girl, Grace, at 20 weeks, as well as Bella's twin early on in that pregnancy, and then losing our 3rd daughter Faith at 22 weeks. I know this all sounds so confusing and one day (soon) I will write out my full story. But that day, the day we came home from an ultrasound and the doctor said one of the babies hadn't made it, I wanted to give up. I wanted to crawl under my covers and hide from the world.

I was sitting on my bed and the computer sat near by. God had been whispering to me about writing through my journey and sharing it, but I was rebelling. Blogs weren't too big back then and I was like a blog? What kind of a word is that? And who will read! And what will I say!" Basically, I just didn't know where or how to start or how much I wanted to share and putting myself "out there" was a scary thought. My bed, hidden under my blankets, sounded a lot safer.

That day though, He clearly said, "Start." Right here. Right now. In the middle of your heartbreak, start.

So thats where it began. I wrote all through my pregnancy with Mia and even after. This blog went through many different identities (high five for anyone who remembers it used to be called 'From Grace to Faith') I've shared our life, shared my home, our kids, my faith, and so much in between.

I have changed so much since that day 5 years ago. Heck, our whole life has changed so much since that day. After another miscarriage when Mia was 3, we became pregnant in the spring of 2014 and now have our 4th and last...Judah Charles. He was born February 27th weighing 8lb 11 ounces. He's completed our family in so many perfect ways. It just feels right and good to know he's our last. But he also completed a nearly 10 year long story where so much of my identity was in my babies and pregnancies and losses. It's sort of left me here asking where do I go from here with this blog?

Lately God has been speaking the word NEW to me a lot. How its time to start praying some new prayers, for a new season, and singing some new songs. Know what I'm saying? Not to say "forget the past, it's time to move on"...Not at all. Simply that all of that, is part of now, yet seperate. It's connected me to where I am now... A new and different place.

I may not be walking through the same season I was for so long, but it's a new season. And one I want to share. It's a season of change for our family, a fresh one....one that just feels good. Complete in some ways and just beginning in others. I loved this quote I read earlier--


 "All that is BEHIND you was in preparation for all that is yet BEFORE you."
Lisa Bevere 

My story is one of hope, loss, joy, struggle and faith. But it is far from over. In some ways I feel its only just beginning. So if you're reading this now and you've been with me from the beginning, or if you've just started.. WELCOME. I pray, truthfully, with all my heart, that my words encourage you, uplift you and inspire you. I'm not here to just be like "Hey look at me, look at my life, isn't it wonderful?" ...Far from it. It is always my heart to be transparent and real. Life is for sure so beautiful and I strive to always look for the good in every bit of it, but it's also very messy at times.

So here's to a new chapter.
Thanks for being here and thanks for all the love over the years. I'd hug you and ask how you've been if I could see you in person, but since I can't, just pretend I did, K?

xo
Laura


Thursday, January 22, 2015

One Word

At the beginning of this year I started thinking about "my word"....what word did I want to focus on for 2015?  I have wanted this year to be different from last year from the very get go. I wanted to go in with a different mind set than I have before. Unfortunately I'm the girl who gets all excited and ambitious and wants to do everything and be everything and sets out running at 80 mph. And then at some point, I look back, at all I've put on my plate and I'm like "Dude. I am tired. What the heck was I thinking?"
I mean don't get me wrong. I always have really good intentions. I always tried really hard to listen and obey and go in directions I felt the Lord leading me. 

But at the end of the day, I'd look back and feel exhausted. Stretched in a million directions and like  a hamster spinning her wheel going no where. In fact I am pretty sure I used that metaphore with Brandon many nights as I unloaded my stresses on him. Bless him.

I would look at it all and try to eliminate the things that weren't life giving for me or for my family, but I'd always go back to feeling like it was all supposed to be there. So confusing right. So what was I doing wrong? How could I fix it? What did I need to do. 

Meanwhile my grip on it all tightened and my headaches kept coming and my feelings of failure wouldn't leave and my annoyance with people and obligations grew even more.

But then something changed right around the end of June. I woke up the morning of June 26th and very quietly made my way into our bathroom while the rest of the house still slept. And I took a pregnancy test. I watched as it turned positive and then picked it up and walked upstairs to the little corner of my office where my chair and bible were, and I sat down. Test in my lap, I just stared at it. An overwhelming peace filled my heart like never before that morning. There was no sense of panic, or even nervous excitement. Just peace. 

I opened my hands up wide as that positive test sat in my lap and I prayed. I gave it all to the Lord. The next few minutes, few days, few weeks, few months. This baby was His. And every bit of control I ever thought I had, I surrendered it. I knew no matter what happened or didn't happen in the next few weeks and months, was out of my control. And from that moment everything changed. 

I feel like a freedom came that I hadn't had before. A freedom in those moments of release. And for the next few weeks and months and even now, that peace that overwhelmed me that morning, has never left. 

I look back on the second half of 2014 and I realize just how much this baby slowed me down. In the best way. Everything I was doing, or trying to do, or hoping to do....none of it mattered any more to me. I knew in my heart as I laid in bed many days from complete exhaustion and nausea, that I was doing what I needed to be doing in those moments. Growing this baby. 

Time slowed down. My hamster wheel stopped spinning, because I stopped spinning. Long mornings spent with my kids piled on my bed telling me their dreams from the night before, afternoons in the back yard with popsicles and the water hose, and early evenings in bed. 
Slow and good. And so unlike me. 

My laundry piled up, my house wasn't neat and tidy 24/7, my kids probably got away with more than I'd normally let them....I let go of some of the things I commited to, and I put my shop on a long break.  Also, I gained like a good twenty pounds. Haha!

So going into 2015 I wanted to keep that pace. I had no desire to run full speed ahead, or pile things on to my plate or fill my calendar with goals or big to-do's. Not that I think any of those things are wrong. Because I do still have them. But above every thing else, there is just one thing I want to focus on most this year, and that is to love. 

I get that that sounds super simple. But for me it's bigger. When I look at what I do want to accomplish for this year, I see that none of it can happen without love. I want love in my heart, and in my actions and in my intentions. Love is what fuels and propels us. Love covers all. When we seek to do things in love, it comes from a real place and a place that doesn't run out of energy or motivation. Love fuels our passions. 

I want to love my husband and my kids in the little every day things. Making lunches, coloring, laying out clothes, studying for spelling tests, sitting in on meetings to plan out our Sunday services, give input and insight and attention. Because these are the ways my people feel loved. 

And I feel like as I seek to love first, everything else will come. Not by my own "do-ing" but by my own love fueled actions. I want to lay down at night and reflect back on my day and know I loved people well. That I reflected Christs love through me. That I didn't make beds or fold laundry or answer an email or help plan an event or sit in on a meeting or have a conversation with someone that wore me out because I HAD to, but because I wanted to. Loving these people, my people...it is an honor. A ministry in itself. And I don't want to take it for granted. 

Does all of this even make sense to anyone else? I hope it does. I write all of this and share it all not for any reason except maybe there are others out there right now who are feeling drained and exhausted and we are barely through January. I pray you're encouraged by my own honesty and shortcomings and experiences. And I pray God pricks something in your heart to fuel you for 2015 in a new way too. 

My husband spoke a message at the beginning of this year on this idea of "ONE WORD" and something he said stuck with me: 


"IT’S OFTEN THE SMALL THINGS THAT NO ONE SEES THAT RESULT IN THE BIG THINGS THAT EVERYONE WANTS."

These small things and small ways of loving my family and friends and neighbors and our church family...maybe no one will ever see them. Maybe no one will notice them. But I'm confident if I continue on in them, when I look back at 2015, I'll feel more accomplished than I ever have before. 

Have you thought about your "One Word"? I would love to hear it if so and pray with you to seek out ways you can see it through for 2015.

Here's to our best year yet y'all. 
xo

Laura