Wednesday, December 31, 2008

O Suffering How Beautiful You Are...

Today I was able to spend some quality time out at Mia's grave. I was weeping pretty hard just remembering that Mia is 2008 for me...I was able to be Mia's mommy on this earth in 2008. I really wanted time to stand still and I really wanted to fast forward to eternity all at once...I don't like to suffer and I really don't know anyone who loves it! Even Jesus asked for His great cup of suffering to pass...

So on my way out of the cemetery I was drawn to read some other headstones. One in particular drew my eyes and it was a husband and wife with a beautiful scripture about God's glory overflowing out of heaven into earth. I was struck with deep connection with this couple that was now with Christ...I wanted so desperately to pick their brains about how they lived the long lives that they did and what kind of suffering they experienced and what marks their sufferings made on their lives for God's glory...and then a deep truth struck me in a much deeper way...

Suffering ALWAYS produces beauty when surrender to The Father is active. I don't want to pick every old-person's brain about their suffering...I don't want to know self-help strategies or pick yourself up from your own bootstraps kind of thought...and I certainly want to fight against the lies of any older person that just says that life is hard and then you die... I want to pick the brains of the old woman who was widowed and is a fiery prayer warrior as she experiences God's love towards her deeper today than yesterday.....I want to pick the brain of the retired pastor who still pastors people without his "pastor title" and though he has lost many loved ones, believes that God is alive and is able to do great miracles....that kind of stuff!

Tonight...on the eve of a new year I want to embrace these past moments/months of suffering with great expectation of the beauty and life that will come. Brian and I talked about how we expect 2009 to be a year marked with life. Please pray that along for us.

Tonight we were able to worship along with one of our favorite worship leaders "Jason Upton" through a televised was beautiful and almost a perfect summary of the tornado of hope and heartache that has been going on in my heart over the last week or so. Enjoy...

Jason's commentary" we've come to the mountain of the living God. The Hebrew writer doesn't indicate at all that it is going to happen one day...the Promise is here, its now, there is no better day coming than right now unless there's a better Son that's going to resurrect, the Son has resurrected, the morning is upon us. It's no brighter EVER than it is right now, so its us that has to awaken to that reality. that the kingdom is here and it's in you and me. amen."

Old man take my hand now, let us walk together
for years we have labored in vineyards apart,
the distance between us account for the problems
Oh suffering how beautiful you are.

we have come to the mountain of the living God
take a good look around us
what we see is what we've got
there's no better day a comin
no brighter morning sun
we have come to the mountain of the living God.

Old man please forgive me
for what I've been missing
this life that I was given
is better than I
could ever have wanted or even imagined
forgive me for wastin' so much time

We have come to the mountain of the Living God
take a good look around us
what we see is what we've got
There's no better day a'comin
no brighter morning sun
We have come to the mountain of the Living God.

He's a Living God....

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Keep them coming...and Christmas fun :)

Thank you so much for all of your comments on hope both on the blog and by phone. Please keep them coming as I am hopeful to learn more :) I am so glad for friends that have deep wells of knowledge and understanding in so many ways...thanks for adding to me!

So, Christmas was here and we had a great time with family. Jada was TOTALLY spoiled...or should I say well-loved? I have added some photos from our time here in Bryan and our time in New Braunfels. Also, we celebrated my brother, Jason's, birthday on Sunday night. My sister-in-law Shannon threw him a surprise party and he was definitely surprised (great job shan!) I have added some photos of that too.

Jada got a tricycle and loved to ride it around...she hasn't mastered the pedals yet :)

Jada loved her helmet so much that she didn't want to take them off!
Uncle Jason and Aunt Shannon gave Jada a big alligator that she lovingly has named "Greena"...this is officially the first animal that Jada has named totally on her own.
After we sang "Jingle Bells" we would say "Hey!" and throw our hands up in the air...Jada had lots of fun doing that!
Jada's friends Piper and Zoe came over on Christmas eve and they all decided to have a crib party...aren't they funny?
Aunt Dawn gave Jada and Madyson umbrellas with their names on them...they carried them around and played with them a ton! They even watched cartoons with their umbrellas :)

Jason and Shannon at Jason's Party

When we yelled surprise it was a bit scary for Jada :)...I thought this was kinda funny.

And...Jada bug has caught a bug and has been coughing, sneezing and now is on an antibiotic for an upper respiratory please pray for her speedy healing!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Your thoughts?

I would love to hear what you guys think of when you think of "HOPE"? I have been asked to share/speak at a night of worship in New Braunfels on January 23rd and I think I will be sharing on please give me your thoughts!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

my thoughts on hope...

I have been intrigued with Hope. The meaning of the word, the why, the when, the how, the actions involved in hoping. I have been extra sad these past two weeks. Some of the deep places in my heart are missing Mia. These are the moments when I wish somehow I could hold her again or the moments that I want to hope for her again...and then the reality of remembering that I will not get the privilege of that until this life is through. YET...there is this strange hope that is in my heart about who God is and what He will do with the rest of my days.

Hope is brave.

Brave has never been a word that has meant much to my heart. Really. I've always been the girl that is drawn to other words like sweet, kind, exciting, etc...brave was for other people who were more like fighters or warriors or people that are gifted with not being afraid of confrontation...that just hasn't been me....

But I can't stop thinking about those words "Hope is brave"...and I like it and I feel it. I am full of hope. Not in some strange pick myself up from my own bootstraps kind of way, but in an excited to trust Jesus more than my own thoughts or any wisdom that is from this world. I am full of Hope for our family and I am glad that Jesus has always known better than me about what is best.

I was reading a prayer that Piper wrote in a little book called "Life as a Vapor". It is good stuff :) and I thought I would share this prayer with all of you...I pray that we would all pray and walk in the fullness of this kind of life...

"Gracious Father, grant me a lowly spirit of gratitude. Make me feel the preciousness of past grace. Give me an honest memory of mercy. Forgive me for the pride of unremembered gifts and callous thanklessness. Waken faith in my wavering soul and give me strong confidence in your solid promises. Where past and future meet make me humble and bold. In Jesus' name and for His sake, Amen."

Friday, December 12, 2008

Let it snow!

On Wednesday we had snow!!!!

And then it was almost 60 the next day...but we enjoyed it while it lasted!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Jada's dream come true!

Jada met Elmo! We went to the children's museum this weekend and we had "brunch with Elmo and Santa :)" Jada was truly absolutely delighted! It was hilarious to watch her totally giddy throughout the experience! Here are some photos of our time...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Looking Up

I want to start with Oswald is the entry from April 29th out of "My Upmost for His Highest"
"Our natural inclination is to be so precise— trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next— that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty. Consequently, we do not put down roots. Our common sense says, "Well, what if I were in that circumstance?" We cannot presume to see ourselves in any circumstance in which we have never been.
Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life— gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God — it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, ". . . unless you . . . become as little children . . ." (Matthew 18:3 ). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, ". . . believe also in Me" (John 14:1 ), not, "Believe certain things about Me". Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in— but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him."
As you can see I have taken some random photos of Jada and I was overwhelmed at how many I have of her physically looking up. Maybe this is part of what Jesus meant when He said to come to Him like children. Physically looking up with expectation of Jesus' hand gently leading. That is what I want. Besides that, Jada is cute and I thought you would enjoy the photos :)

(butterfly headband courtesy of Uncle Jason and Aunt Shannon :))

Also, we were given a sweet visit from the Smithers. What a gift they are! Cherish and Jada helped me bake some pumpkin bread and also had an outdoor tea party. Pretty cute.

And I wanted to ask for your prayers. My mom and Mike have moved from Spring/Woodlands and are now living in Bryan in a temporary living situation. They were expecting to sell their house tomorrow and their buyer fell they have totally moved out but still making payments on their house. PLEASE PRAY for someone to buy their house so that they can move forward with buying or building a house here...and pray that they would be able to have joy in the midst of their frustrations. Thanks!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Intimacy Update...

Thanks so much for praying. The visual that I had was that of me standing on a rock with weak knees...and around me were friends, mentors and fellow believers physically holding me in place, strengthening my legs, heart, and mind. So that's what happened. I stood upon the stage and was able to tell my "story" to a large group of beautiful girls that came to worship. I was humbled and blessed as many girls responded in honest and sweet ways. I am so thankful! I am truly more convinced than ever that the desire of God's heart is to draw His daughters near to His heart. I am glad to be one of them!

Thank you to all of you whose hands I physically and spiritually felt holding me up. I love you!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I wanted to let you all know something kinda crazy...last spring I was asked to share my testimony at a thing called "Intimacy"- it is a night of worship for women and college girls in the community. It is an open invitation thing so all girls are invited. Anyway, it is tomorrow night, the 7th (just in case you are a girl, live in BCS and can is at Grace Southwood at 8:00.)
Many prayers, tears and hope have already gone into this night and I would love your prayers for God to move in really sweet and eternal ways in all of us who are there. I am hopeful that it will be a real night of grace and healing for me as I share who God has been in my life and now how much more He has been to me with all that has gone on with our loss of Mia. I am also hopeful that the Lord wants to do some beautiful things in the lives of girls who attend. So...
Thanks! I'll update afterwards :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

secret candy drawer...

With all of the serious blogging lately, I thought I would include some fun moments over the past week.

Uncle Jason is one of Jada's new favorite people!
Pinky...the balloon that is bigger than Jada from Aunt Shannon.
We went to a fall festival at the park with some friends..Jada didn't want to actually get into the bouncy castle where the kids were jumping into eachother and falling over (a little to rough for our soft-hearted girl) she bounced on the outside in the safe arms of her daddy.
Some of Jada's closest friends :)
"Carolina- Ethan- Cruz" or in Jada's version "Catonina- Etin- Cwuz"

These are two things that I am thankful for today:
  1. Jada's version of the ABC's that floats in and out of what I know as English, but she carries a great tune.
  2. my secret...or not so secret candy is just secret because Jada doesn't know about it...YET!

Monday, October 27, 2008

a deep breath

A few words to describe the last week or so:

  • foggy
  • tear-filled
  • hopeful
  • freeing
  • more tears
  • loving the body of Christ in new ways
  • trusting
  • peaceful
  • yet more tears...
  • still in need of prayer
I have cried daily. Some days harder than others. I have realized that every day I miss her more, not less. Little things that I have realized that I hoped for, or planned, or expected these days to hold are exactly the opposite. For example...We had a friend of ours,Kelly, live with us August-October before she got married. So, instead of moving Kelly's stuff out and painting Mia's room, moving Jada out of the crib, hanging up Mia's clothes that we already bought, etc...we restore the office as it was before Kelly moved in, leaving Jada in her crib a little longer, folded Mia's clothes and sadly placed them in a trunk. It stinks...really...there is no way around that. I have spent many hours in the "office" over the past few weeks. I have done a lot of singing and worshipping in there with my hands literally lifted up in surrender...I really don't know what else I can do. I have had some really sweet moments in there as I have been utterly convinced of a few things...

Which leads me to last weekend. Brian and I were able to attend a conference in Austin about Job- suffering. There is a fun story about how we were able to go the conference...but that is another story :). John Piper was the teacher and it was absolutely a gift to Brian and I. The conference began exactly two weeks after we lost our precious Mia. I described those days like this: when I arrived I was an emotional wreck. The Thursday before we arrived was no doubt the hardest day yet. I was just really sad and felt like an absolute outsider to the world. My mind believed God and the many truths that I have placed my faith in about who Jesus is...but my heart was broken and I couldn't feel anything but pain...Heart and Head disconnect in a big way! When we left the conference on Saturday my feet were firmly planted in truth and my heart matched what my head believed. We were washed in the word and truly our faith came by hearing the word of God magnificently taught. And the greatest part is that I have remained in that steady place of faith by the mercy of God! I already told you I've cried every day...but in the pain I have this deep joy and peace in loving God. A few things that I was able to say after the conference...

I went to Mia's grave and said to her and to the Lord "Jesus rescued me from the absolute pit and I absolutely treasure Him more than anything else He could give me...including my precious babies." My words were broken through convulsion like tears...but absolutely meant. So, I am saying to all of you who take time to read through this long post...Jesus is better and I trust Him with my future so much more than I trust myself...and if that means suffering and pain or if that means ease and delight, He is good and He knows what would be best to bring the Kingdom of God to the earth, and as people that have been rescued from our various pits...that is really what we all want.

Another wonderful thing that happened is this...a few days after we lost Mia I began to become anxious about Jada and worried about little things like if her runny nose was more than it seemed and I would just beg the Lord not to take Jada away. The visual that I had of myself during those days was me holding Jada so tightly and never letting go...literally. Totally led by fear. I would pray and cry knowing that this was not a safe place to live and like I said before, my head knew better, but my heart was all over the place emotionally. A wise woman in my life spoke directly into my soul saying "Jesus is a giver...not a taker." This same wisdom was spoken through the conference: "Satan aims to destroy your faith, but God aims to strengthen it." Amen...through this I have been more free as a mother over the past week. It is almost like the sentiment of the old hymn "Because He Lives, I can face tomorrow, because He lives all fear is gone, because I know who holds the future, life is worth the living just because He lives."

I wanted to leave you with this... Piper shared a quote from George Mueller...who Brian says is the guy who was responsible for radically loving orphans in England in the late 1800's...a real man of faith. This quote was spoken after George Mueller lost his wife. It brought tears to my eyes when Piper read it and took a deep breath as it sunk in...this is where I want to be as I grieve Mia...this is beautiful:

"I miss her in numberless ways, and shall miss her yet more and more. But as a child of God, and as a servant of the Lord Jesus, I bow, I am satisfied with the will of my Heavenly Father, I seek by perfect submission to his holy will to glorify him, I kiss continually the hand that has thus afflicted me."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Our Mia

It has been one week and 3 days since we held our daughter Mia. She was precious...she was beautiful...her tiny hands and feet were amazing and she was perfect. She gave me hope in a glory to come like I have never known and I will never be the same. My heart aches and tears pour out as I wish so desperately that I could of had more time with her here. The many things that I imagined doing with her are brought to my mind moment to moment. I dreamt of Mia's personality being both different and similar to Jada's. What color hair would she have? Would she like to follow her big sister as she plays? I dreamt of pictures that I couldn't wait to take of her and books that I was hoping to read to her. I could wait to carry her in a sling close to my heart and I longed for sweet moments together in the night. I've never known grief or love or loss or hope like I have over these past 10 days.

Already Mia's life and death has taught me and Brian so much about who Jesus is and how He really does love us immensly. When I would talk about Mia and how we were naming her Mia Carolyn (who is like the Lord, the free one), I would consistantly say "I can't wait for her to teach us how to be free." And she has already begun. At Mia's funeral Brian was able to share from his heart the beautiful ways that the Lord has already changed him through Mia. Our family will forever be changed!

It has been the hardest time in Brian and I's life...but Jesus has been near to us each moment. Some of you have written e-mails or texts or left messages and we cannot thank you enough. We have felt carried by your prayers and lifted by your love. We have been overwhelmed by the body of Christ across the nation through letters, phone calls and e-mails...thank you for taking time to love us and carry us nearer to the Lord even though we cannot physically hold hands and walk together through this time. Our local body here has been amazing in ways that we never have known. We have known the great Shephard more because of the ways we have been loved and protected. We are thankful to have your hands to hold over the coming months.

We truly ask you to please keep your prayers coming as we learn how to live and to grieve...that is the biggest way you can help us through this season. We love you and we are thankful for your love.

I wanted to leave you with a few scriptures and quotes that have come alive to us as we have mourned the loss of our precious Mia and as we look ahead with hope.

Psalm 36:8 "For with You is the fountain of life, in Your light we see light."

Psalm 16:11 " Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

1 Corinthians 15:54-56 "When the perishable has been clothed in the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true; "Death has been swallowed up in victory."

I Will Carry You- by Selah

There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?

People say that I am brave
but I'm not
Truth is I'm barely hanging on
But there's a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this

So I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the One Who's chosen me
To carry you

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice
And He says...

I've shown her photographs
of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All your life
And I will praise the One Who's chosen Me
To carry you

and an Elizabeth Elliot quote..."here is my chance to learn what death is about- to take up the cross, that is, willingly to accept the will of God which went so strongly against the grain of my own...for as we loose our hold on visible things, the invisible become more precious- where our treasure is, there will our hearts be."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Finally another update...does Jada's sis have a name? How old is Jada now???

Hi friends! It has been too long since we posted and I hope to stay a little more current! So...have we come up with a name for Jada's sis? YEP...her name is

Mia Carolyn

Mia- "who is like the Lord"

Carolyn- "the free one" ....also Brian's mom's first name :)

She is growing well and I am happy in the second trimester!

Onto other news...Jada turned two last week! If you ask her, she'll tell you that her name is Jada Becka or sometimes her name is Jada MiMi...she'll tell you that she is two while she holds out five fingers, and if you ask her what her sister's name is she'll tell you in the all time sweetest voice "Mia".

We had a great time celebrating her life with friends and family last Saturday. We had an unofficial Elmo party. I was weepy about how quickly she's grown and how my heart honestly hurts thinking about how deeply I love her! She is a joy to be around and she continues to bless me every single day in new ways. She is a tender hearted little girl who is full of compassion. Jesus has been so good to us through such a sweet and fun gift in Jada. My prayer is that she would learn to trust Jesus with all of her heart and that Brian and I would be really good shepherds.

Here are some fun pics from her party...thanks for all of you who came to celebrate with us! She loved it when we sang to her :) She also loves to dress up which you can see :) I had to include two of the best photos by Elmo...Uncle Jason and her friend Sophie (who obviously is a natural in front of the camera :))

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sister or Brother??????

Brian and I went to our beloved doctor yesterday with hopes to find out if Jada will have a little brother or sister. After the doc chased the baby around my tummy (the baby was kicking and wiggling all over the place :)) she spotted the proof of what gender this baby fact, she cought the baby 3 different times to prove it...we are so excited and we thought we would let Jada tell you...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

yep...very girly...

Recently Jada has been trying on our shoes and attempting to walk around in, of course I thought it was only right that I get her a pair of dress up shoes. She loves them...she says "My Shoes!" and sits in her beloved Elmo chair while she puts them on and attempts to walk in them. Only one shoe was successfully worn around the house...until today! She was so pround of herself! It was super cute so of course I needed to add some photos to see her sweet little legs in her very girly dress up shoes :) Oh, and the white dog in the back isn't's my mom's :).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Our official summer vacation update...

We are back after a fun get away to New Braunfels and to South Padre. We had a great time visiting Brian's family. We got to relax and hang out with Brian's parents and we went to a friend's wedding where we got to catch up with some old friends! We took Jada and her cousin Madyson to "Natural Bridge Wildlife" to feed animals out of our car was fun. Jada was very serious about throwing the animals the food as if their only source of food depended on her. She was not excited about feeding them straight from her hands...but throwing it at them was fun! We all agreed that the ostrich is the strangest looking creepy creature!
We also went to Chuck-E-Cheese and we absolutely didn't need to turn the games on for Jada to have a good time. She loved turning the wheels and sitting next to Chuck-E...she leaned over and gave him a few kisses she was so happy!

After New Braunfels we drove to meet my family in South Padre. Jada did great travelling and she was thrilled to see her cousins Allison and Emily! We did so many fun things...went to the beach daily, played in the pool outside of the condo, saw clowns and pirates, got cheap henna tattoos and lots of fun other adventures. Jada was a little hesitant of the beach at first, but it was only a matter of time until she was off running! Brian and I even got to go on a date while we were'll have to ask Brian about his massage by "Bertha :)" It was a great time!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Lake House Fun...

Over the 4th of July we all met up with some of Brian's college friends and their families. We had a great time playing on the boat and riding the jet ski's. Unfortunately, Jada and I caught a bug and were sick for part of the time, be other than that...we had a great time reconnecting with old friends! It was fun to watch the guys laugh so much!

We are now off for our family vacation to New Braunfels with Brian's family and to South Padre with my family. I will update in a week or so with new pics from all of our adventures!