Friday, July 4, 2014

12 Weeks and a Blessing

Can I just say I am so glad that my pregnancy is no longer a secret?! It is so nice to be able to openly talk about it with whomever I please!

I will share soon about how we revealed our secret to the students at camp. It was so fun!

So today I am officially 12 weeks, and baby is the size of a plum! Woohoo!

We had our first appointment about a week ago, and got to hear our sweet baby's heartbeat, and we even got a free ultrasound! It was such a blessing!

Baby Street at 10 1/2 weeks
Sucking his/her thumb!

We took our students to camp this past week, and I am so thankful I felt great all week! The food was, um, edible... And it was a little humorous to see how many different meats they could put on a bun and make a meal out of it. But other than the food, I feel like the Lord gave me lots of grace and energy to do what I needed to do.

This was our first camp without my mom. Her absence was so evident to me, and the hole in my heart was massive. I missed being able to hold her hand and hug her while singing praises to our Savior - that is one of my favorite pastimes with my momma.

The Lord also blessed me in a mighty way this week through her absence. First you need to understand that when my Mom was around, I clung to her side and followed her around like a little baby duckling. I let her take the lead in everything. I literally hid in her shadow, and I loved it. But now I can't do that anymore. And as much as I miss being able to that, and as much as I obviously miss her with every ounce of my being, I am also so thankful for this new blessing I have discovered...

It is the blessing of being so deeply and tangibly loved by my Father in heaven through His people here on earth. There was one day in particular while at camp when I saw this most evidently. Some of the adult leaders had gathered in the worship center during free time to pray over the room and the chairs that would soon be filled by students. As I began to try and pray, my heart was overwhelmed with brokenness. You see, I still struggle with so many different emotions - ranging from anger and frustration about my mom being gone, all the way to joy, thankfulness and excitement about this new life growing inside of me - too many emotions for this hormonal pregnant girl to handle. I talked to husband for a little bit and he prayed over me. And then I approached Jenny, a long-time family friend and a woman I look up to and admire. She also lost her mom around the same age as me. As I walked toward her, I couldn't hold back my tears. I just walked up and asked her to please pray for me. She wrapped her arms around me and prayed and we hugged and cried together. As the other adults finished praying around the room, they came over to us and I cried some more and hugged them.

It was such a sweet moment of release for me. To allow these women to see my brokenness and to experience their love toward me. It's a fellowship and a bond that wouldn't be formed under any other circumstance. I love these ladies so much - Jenny, Kristy, Dawn and Robyn - thank you for loving Jesus the way that you do, and thank you for loving me and supporting me and walking with me through such a difficult time. I am thankful for your friendship and for the bond that grew deeper at camp this week.

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

9-Week Update

Sunday, June 15th

As of this past Friday, I am nine weeks pregnant! Baby is the size of a green olive right now. Woohoo!

In my "broken cisterns" post, I spoke of a wide range of emotions that I have been sorting through and trying to figure out how to handle. I wish I could have told you specifically just exactly what all I was talking about, but the secret wasn't out yet! So jump back to that post if you need a refresh. Then you will understand even more so all my crazy emotions ranging from anger and frustration to pure joy and excitement. It's a lot for this pregnant girl to handle!

Up to this point, I guess my symptoms have been pretty manageable. I feel very tired and exhausted all the time. I mean hello! My body is in the process of creating another human right now. Holy cow. I also fight nausea pretty much all the time. Thankfully no yacking so far (sorry, I don't really know a polite word for "throwing up"....yacking may not have been the best choice). To stay on top of my nausea I basically just have to be eating all the time. Which isn't a bad thing... unless nothing sounds good!

So this is kind of funny. Apparently I'm not very good at keeping my pregnancy a secret. Somehow I've been giving myself away to some of our very curious, very observant teenage girls in our youth ministry (yes, girls, you know exactly who you are if you are reading this)! A week ago, 2 of them approached me separately and told me, "You just look like you're glowing!" And then one proceeded to rub my belly and just blatantly ask me, "Is there a baby in there?" I don't even remember how I responded to her, but in my mind I was wondering how in the world they knew and/or who told them?! I tried to play it off by asking them if I was starting to look a little chubby.... I'm not really sure if it worked.

We will be revealing our big secret to all the students at camp, which means I only have to hold off for about 2 more weeks! I'm ready to get our secret out in the open!

That's pretty much all for now! We love this little growing life so much already!

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Monday, June 30, 2014

Telling My Family the News

Here is a video from when we told my family our exciting news!


We drove to Bryan and Jenna's house immediately after finding out, and thankfully Tony just happened to be there too!

That's all for today!

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Saturday, June 28, 2014

My Own Mother's Day!

Okay, we need to jump back a little bit.... to Mother's Day. And I'm going to jump right to the point...

I wrote about my Mother's Day weekend in Texas here. But what I didn't tell you is that as soon as I got home from my trip, I found out that I had actually just celebrated my very own first Mother's Day! Get it??? David and I found out at 9:00pm on Mother's Day that I am pregnant!

This picture was taken in the car at about
9:20pm because we immediately headed
over to tell my family! It was too good a
day to pass up!
Can't believe there's a little baby in there!
I was 5 weeks when we found out.

We couldn't be more excited for this new life! What precious and perfect timing that the Lord allowed us to find out on Mother's Day. So far the journey has been very bittersweet - wishing my Mom were here more than ever, knowing she would be so excited with us. But even in her absence, my heart is overjoyed and full of excitement. I can't wait to meet our little one!!!

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

6 Months Today

As this 6-month mark has been approaching, I haven't had a lot of time to process or grieve. The past two days I have worked over 12-hour days getting ready to leave for youth camp. We leave tomorrow, and I fully expect another 12-hour work day again today.

But as I sit here this morning, I can't help but think about her. I can't help but think how strange it is that I haven't heard her voice or hugged in her 6 whole months. It just doesn't seem right. So much has happened since she has been gone. There are days when I think I might be okay, and then there are days when I literally feel like I can't breathe.

I had one of those can't-breathe type of days just this past Monday as I sat and read through my old journal about my last few days with her. I wrote down every detail I could - how I loved just staring at her, how much I cherished the life in side of her, every breath she breathed was so precious to me, the time I put my head on her knee and she played with my hair and for that moment everything felt okay, the conversation we had as I laid in her bed with her, the things she told me - she was thankful I have David and she told me to take good care of Tony.

As I read these things, I broke. It all felt so real to me again. It seemed like it was all just yesterday when we received the news that her cancer was terminal. When we found out she only had a couple weeks left. I remember driving down the road listening to "Oceans" and realizing God was calling us out upon the waters where my feet would most definitely fail.

And now here we are, six months later. As I wrote in my journal this morning, which is also a form of prayer for me, for some reason I just began thanking the Lord for the good things. For the grace and the strength He has given me on this road. For remembering that I am but dust. For His love and forgiveness - I've needed a lot of these two things lately. And I thanked Him for all the people in my life who love me so much. He really has blessed me these past six months.

But even in the blessings, there is still so much pain. So much heartache. So much missing her. It still hurts. Even more than the day she left us.

My mom. My best friend. I love you, and I wish you were here with us now more than ever. To hug you again. To share with you all that is happening in my life. To hear your voice and to see you smile.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know, Mom, how much I love you
You'll always be my sunshine today.

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Busy Summer

I've had a pretty full past couple of weeks. Summer is our busiest season with the youth at work. About two weeks ago we had our local Youth Missions Week which consisted of holding a backyard Bible club at a nearby apartment complex and volunteering at a couple organizations helping with anything they needed.

Here is part of our group volunteering at Helping Hands -
a second hand store and food pantry. They did such a great job!
And here is the other part of our group at Havenwood - a local
organization dedicated to helping single parent families. Students
organized a huge donation closet and revamped the playground.
Another great job by our kids!
We assigned a team of guys who worked on the playground
for two days. They replaced the old gravel with brand new
rubber mulch. The finished product turned out AMAZING!
I'm so proud of the hard work they put into this project!

The week was a huge success! The children at the apartment complex learned about Jesus, and our students got to be the hands and feet of Jesus to our community. We have such a great group of students!

About a week ago, David and I went to a Third Day concert with our friends Jonathan and Amanda. It was a really fun night to be outside enjoying great music with great company!

I don't know why we didn't get a pic with all
four of us. Oops!

Thursday I flew to Austin, TX to go see my uncle graduate and become an official Texas State Trooper! He went through a grueling 23-week academy, and now all of his hard work has paid off. I'm so glad I was able to go be part of such a special and exciting occasion!

Tony, me and Texas State Trooper David Hudgens!
So proud of you, Uncle David!

I got home at about 10 o'clock last night, right as our high school students were showing up to our house to hang out for a couple of hours. They swam and we all roasted marshmallows and ate s'mores and it was a really fun night!

And now.... I am exhausted! But the craziness of the summer has only just begun! We leave for camp in just a few days, and there is still so much to do to get ready for it! Whew!

That's all for now!

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Monday, June 16, 2014

Broken Cisterns

I had a much-needed meeting with Jesus on Saturday. I have been struggling trying to figure out how to balance so many emotions. I finally admitted that anger is still one of them, along with frustration and confusion among other happy and joyful ones as well. I'm telling you, it's a very wide range of emotions that I sort through and push away every single day.

Sometimes, well, most of the time, I feel like a mess. I don't even know what to do with myself. And since I don't know what to do with myself, I guess I've somehow reached a place of thinking that God probably doesn't know how to handle me either. So I've just kind of been.... scraping by.

Each morning I sit down to eat breakfast and read my Bible. I read for as long as it takes me to finish eating, and then I go get ready. I utter a quick prayer as I drive to work. But for the most part, I guess I've been depending on myself a lot.

But Saturday morning, I felt like the Lord revealed to me that I have forsaken Him. I didn't really do it consciously. I have just been so overwhelmed with all my thoughts and emotions that I guess I subconsciously buried them and kept putting one foot in front of the other.

For my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.
Jeremiah 2:13

This verse screamed at me. I honestly don't even know what cisterns I've created or turned to, but I know that they are empty. I've been parched and dehydrated for far too long. How have I turned from the fountain of living waters? It seems so silly. God alone is our Living Water, readily available to us at all times. But for some reason, we choose to weary ourselves and create our own cisterns... that can't even hold any water. It would be like someone offering us this massive endless buffet of yummy goodness, but then we choose to microwave a Hot Pocket and eat the cardboard sleeve. Like... what?!

Return, faithless Israel,
declares the Lord.
I will not look on you in anger,
for I am merciful,
declares the Lord;
I will not be angry forever.
Only acknowledge your guilt,
that you rebelled against the Lord you God
and scattered your favors among
foreigners under every green tree,
and that you have not obeyed my voice,
declares the Lord.
Return, O faithless children,
declares the Lord;
for I am your master;
I will take you, one from a city
and two from a family,
and I will bring you to Zion.
Jeremiah 3:12-14

All I needed to do was return and repent, which is sometimes the hardest thing to do. But I had to trust His word, that He is merciful, and that He will not look on me in anger. So I put my pride aside, which really was such a dumb pride... it was the pride of thinking I was too much of a mess, that I had too wide a variety of emotions and thoughts for Him to handle.

But I got on my knees and I cried out to Him. I asked Him to forgive me. I told Him every emotion I was wrestling with. I told Him that I have no idea how to handle it all and that I desperately need His help.

I don't say any of this to highlight myself at all. Honestly, I'm still a mess, and there is no reason to look at me. Really, I write this for my own processing and remembering. But my prayer is that maybe you needed to be reminded of God's mercy today. Maybe you needed to know it's okay to be a mess, but don't let yourself think that your mess is too big for God to handle. Stop burying all those crazy emotions that make you feel like a monster. Stop dehydrating yourself. Turn back to God. He alone is the Living Water. Throw away your Hot Pocket sleeve and come back to the buffet!

Put away your pride and ask for His forgiveness and help. It really is that simple.

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."