Thursday, October 30, 2014

Seasons

Last night I had the opportunity to speak to our Studio 412 students. I began by talking about how life reflects the changing seasons in nature. We are constantly moving between seasons before we can get too comfortable in our current one. And it's the same in life. Life is constantly changing seasons. Sometimes we wish we could stay in a particular season forever - when things seem to be going our way and everywhere we turn we find excitement, and joy fills every moment. Then there are seasons that are dark, and joy seems nowhere to be found. It is in these seasons that I am thankful we can know a new season is coming.

I then invited them to walk with me through some different seasons of my own life. I recapped how the Lord was sovereign in specifically placing me at Studio 412. How Bentonville, Arkansas was the last place I wanted to be after I graduated college, but God knew I needed to be home for what the next four years would hold.

I shared with them my season of singleness, my season of meeting David Street, dating him, marrying him and now our current season of expecting our little Hank in January! I also shared in more detail what these past 10 months have looked like since losing my mom in December and how the Lord has recently changed my perspective. That I now realize God never promised us easy. He promised us hardship and trials, but He also promises us His grace - His perfect sufficient grace.

For those of you who weren't able to attend last night, I wanted to use this post to share with you this newest season that the Lord is calling my husband and I into. It has been our desire for me to be able to stay home and raise our children when the time comes - for our children to be my main focus and ministry. As you all know, that time is coming very quickly when Hank will greet us with his sweet little face - only 11 weeks away! With that, I will officially be stepping down from my position at Studio 412 in December. This is such a bittersweet time.

I am so thankful that God changed my heart 4 years ago and brought me home. By bringing me home I was able to meet and marry my husband, and I was able to be right by my mom's side through her entire battle with cancer. I can't imagine having been anywhere else. I have needed my family more than ever on this journey, and I couldn't have asked for a better church to come along side us through every season.

These students at Studio 412 have truly made life so fun. It's crazy that my life has been on display for them all to see, but I have so loved sharing every part of it with them! Their love, their joy, their excitement, their support and their tears have blessed my heart more than words can say. I mentioned last night that I feel like I have 100 little sisters, and somehow in that tearful moment with a bunch of girls on the front row, I failed to mention that I also feel like I have 100 little brothers!! I have such a BIG FAMILY!!! I am so blessed!

To all you Studio 412 students, guys and gals, thank you for sharing life with me. Thank you for all your love and support through life's many seasons. My intention has been to invest in you and lead you and challenge you to love Jesus more. You guys have invested in me and challenged me to love Jesus far more than you realize! You have kept me on my toes. And by watching you guys grow over the years, my heart has been so filled. I have no idea what words to use to express how deeply I love each and everyone of you.

I have so many mixed emotions about this new season. Most of them consist of excitement and sheer happiness. I cannot wait for our little Hank man to get here in January! I am also ready to join and support my husband at his church in Siloam Springs. Since he became Youth Pastor in August we have been attending separate churches, and now I will have the opportunity to be right by his side and to support him in his ministry there, and that is exactly where I need to be. But there is a big chunk of my heart that will be left at Studio 412 and FBC Bentonville. My roots and my heart have been established and cultivated here since I was just 8-years old. So this will be a very bittersweet transition for me.

And hey! Don't forget we aren't moving anywhere! Our faces will still be around, and I plan on all of you getting to meet Hank as soon as possible! Just because life will look differently in this new season does not mean we can't still share life together. It will just be different, and different doesn't always mean bad and sad. I believe God has great plans for me and my family, and I believe God has really great plans for Studio 412!

Please pray for David and I as we transition into this new season together. There is so much excitement that fills our hearts, but there are also so many unknowns that tend to allow anxiety to creep in as well. We have so clearly seen the Lord work out so many details these past few months concerning several details in our lives. Please pray that we will continue to trust His plan and provision for us in the weeks, months and years to come.

Officially in my 3rd trimester!

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

Sunday, September 14, 2014

We Aren't Promised Easy

Looks like I'm doing TWO blog posts in a week! Who am I right now?!

I feel like the Lord gave me a revelation today about one reason why my mom isn't here anymore. It doesn't make it any easier knowing this one reason, but it does help put things into perspective.

As Christians, we aren't promised an easy life. We aren't promised a life free from trouble and heartache. We aren't promised that everything is going to turn out the way we once imagined or hoped it would.

Jesus says in John 16:33, "In the world you will have tribulation."

James tell us to count it all joy when we meet trials. Not if we meet trials, but when.

1 Thessalonians tells us that we do not grieve in the same way the world grieves. We grieve differently because we have hope. But the key I want to point out here is that we will grieve. Hardship will come, and we will grieve.

Jesus never said that following Him would be easy. In fact, He was pretty clear when He said, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." Take up his cross... take up this instrument of pain and suffering... and follow me.

If my mom were still here, life would be a heck of a lot easier.

I, and the rest of my family, depended on my mom in so many ways.

We depended on her strength.
We depended on her optimism.
We depended on her faith.
We depended on her laughter.
We depended on her wisdom.
We depended on her "mom knowledge."
We depended on her joy in the hard times.
We depended on her companionship.
We depended on her love.
We depended on her reassurance.
We depended on her prayers.
We depended on her friendship.
We depended on her courage.
We depended on her humor.
I could go on, but simply put...
We depended on her.

With her gone,
I've had to find a new source of strength, a new source of optimism, a new source of faith, of laughter and of wisdom.
I've had to seek "mom knowledge" from other moms.
I've had to find joy in my Savior.
I've had to find all these things elsewhere.
I've had to dig really deep.
I've had to cry countless tears.
I've had to throw things.
I've had to scream.
I've had to question, and I've had to wrestle.
I've had to walk through the darkest season of my life.

All without the one person I depended on most deeply.

If she was still here, I would still be depending on her and life would be easy.

EASY.

We aren't promised easy.

We are promised HARD.
We are promised TRIALS.
We are promised TRIBULATION.
We are promised SUFFERING.
WE ARE PROMISED GRACE.

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 in 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

I am living in His promises.

This life is only temporary. Praise God it is only temporary! I am so encouraged to know that I will see my Momma again. But until then, I want to live this life well. I don't want to feel like I have been wronged because she isn't here with me anymore. I haven't been wronged. I'm simply living what I have been promised as a follower of Christ.

In the midst of suffering, we have been given a megaphone for His glory. When a Christian still praises God and rejoices in sorrow, it makes no sense to the world, but it proves, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that we have a hope that transcends this temporary life. No matter how "unfair" this life may appear to be, we cannot be wronged. We have our eyes set on the joy that is laid before us.

I still miss her with every ounce of my being. My heart still skips a beat when I unexpectedly stumble upon an old picture of her. Sometimes I still have to remind myself that she is really gone, that all this has really happened. I'm still sad, but my joy is not stolen.

I'm simply learning a new perspective...

Brothers and sisters, remember, we aren't promised easy.

This picture came up on my Timehop app today.
Wish I could go back and enjoy this moment with her!

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

Friday, September 12, 2014

Fun Life Updates

Life is getting exciting at the Street home!

First I want to share some more pictures from our gender reveal two weeks ago. A friend of ours, Rhyanna Ketron, took pictures for us and did a fantastic job! I love that she was able to capture every moment of such a fun event!

I now invite you to relive this fun time with us!

Oh the suspense!

Blue!



Our first look at the ultrasound and my SIL explaining it to us...
Although it was pretty hard to miss, he's definitely a boy!

Happy tears over our little man!

Family celebration!

Family and friends!



Last weekend, we painted baby boy's room!

I. Love. Gray.

Vintage sports theme!

Each day we get more and more excited to meet our little guy! We have a name in mind, but I'll wait to share when we are 7315745894751% set!

In other news, my husband got a new job! Two new jobs actually! Woohoo! A few weeks ago he started working part time for a little church in Siloam Springs as their youth pastor. This is such a great opportunity for him to get his feet wet and discover if this is the direction the Lord is leading him to full-time in the future. Today, David is working his last shift at Mimi's Cafe. He has been waiting tables there for nearly a year and a half. This coming Monday he will start his new full-time job at Harps (a local grocery store around NWA with about 75 stores). He will be working in their offices in the loss prevention department. Another great opportunity for him!

And our last bit of exciting news, we bought a car!

Dave's new ride!
Between both of David's new jobs, he will be driving about 300 miles a week. Whoa! This called for a car with much better gas mileage than his truck. So we found this sweet little deal! A '99 Honda Civic with only 80,000 miles on it! What a steal!

And finally, an update on the growing bump. I'm 22 weeks today, but haven't taken my picture yet, so this is a week old, but here you go! 2-week intervals from 17 to 21 weeks. Yay!


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

Sunday, August 31, 2014

And Baby Street is a...

These past few days have been pretty exciting! We had an ultrasound on Thursday to find out the gender of our baby... only, WE didn't actually find out! The doctor put the result in an envelope so we could wait and find our with our families on Saturday. Talk about the longest 2 days of waiting. Ever.

Profile of our little banana baby! 20 weeks is officially
the size of a banana, about 6 1/2 inches long :)

Little alien baby looking right at us!

Friday, I had a hair appointment, which always makes for a good day! David's parents, one of his sisters (Anna) and his nephew came into town on Friday as well. We had a good time visiting and catching up. Louann, my mother-in-law, was a great sport as she sat and helped me tear tons of blue and pink confetti to get ready for the gender reveal the next day!

And then Saturday finally came! We had the reveal at 10:00 in the morning, so David and I had to get up early to make some last minute preparations...

We headed to the church to fill these massive balloons
with helium. One was filled with pink confetti and one
with blue confetti. Which were we going to pop?!

And then the moment finally came. We all gathered at Tony's house, and as soon as everyone arrived we got the ball rolling. I handed the envelope to our photographer, she looked at the result and brought us the correct balloon...

We're having a little boy!

This is currently the only picture we have so far taken on David's mom's phone. I think this is such a funny picture. Anna says it looks like we are getting attacked by a swarm of blue bees, and I totally agree! Ha!

Many of us were expecting pink to come out of that balloon, but we are so thrilled to meet our little guy in January! David and I celebrated by taking a trip to Baby Gap and buying him some new clothes!

Can't wait to put that hat on his little head!

We won't need to buy hardly any clothes really because Jenna (my sister-in-law) will be passing along a lot of Hudson and Rhett's old clothes (some of which my mom bought, which will be such a sweet thing to see my little boy in things that she bought).

Needless to say, we've had a wonderful weekend! And now it's time to get started on our little boy's nursery! So excited!

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

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Moving Toward Acceptance

The Lord has been working an overhaul on my heart the past couple of weeks. As many of you saw, my last post was very raw. I shared with you the questions that had been tearing at my heart, the lies that had been clawing at my mind and the emotions that followed. A raging mess is what I called it. I then proceeded to share with you how I felt like the Lord was beginning to bring me to a place of desiring rest and quiet in His presence.

I'm still moving in this process, but the Lord is slowly bringing me to a place of acceptance. I am finally realizing that the fighting and the flailing and the asking questions and the demanding answers and the anger and the frustration are all so exhausting. Wouldn't it be much better to simply surrender? I think I finally want to throw my hands up and just say, "I'm done." I'm done fighting and flailing. I'm done demanding answers. I'm done clawing at the dirt. I want to wash my hands, remove all the dirt from under my fingernails, and just lay down at His feet. I just want to rest.

I can't say it any better than Phillip Keller in his book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23:

   Again and again I remind myself, "O God, this seems terribly tough, but I know for a fact that in the end it will prove to be the easiest and gentlest way to get me onto higher ground." Then when I thank him for the difficult things, the dark days, I discover that He is there with me in my distress. At that point my panic, my fear, my misgivings give way to calm and quiet confidence in His care. Somehow, in a serene quiet way I am assured all will turn out for my best because He is with me in the valley and things are under His control.
   To come to this conviction in the Christian life is to have entered into an attitude of quiet acceptance of every adversity. It is to have moved onto higher ground with God. Knowing Him in this new and intimate manner makes life much more bearable than before.

A quiet acceptance of every adversity. This is one of the biggest things I have had to learn the past couple of weeks. I've found that I have had pretty high (aka normal) expectations of what I thought life should look like.

I thought my mom and Tony would grow old together.
I thought my mom would be with me when I give birth to our first baby.
I thought my mom would be around to help me raise our baby.
I thought my mom and I would always be able to get pedicures together.
I thought my mom and I would always be able to share lunch together.
I thought my mom would be here. Period.
I guess I thought.... things would be easy.

Yes, those are only expectations that included my mom. My mom was a BIG part of my world. Without my mom here, life looks NOTHING like I ever imagined it to be. So with that being said, I've decided it really isn't worth it to get my panties in a wad when other things don't turn out the way I want.

I want to simply accept my lot in life and trust that God has it under His control.

My brain is so tired from writing this post. I have written and erased so many sentences and paragraphs trying to voice where exactly the Lord is leading me and what He is teaching me. I can't think anymore at the moment, so I'm going to wrap it up with a happy picture of my growing bump...


We find out in 6 days if Baby Street is a boy or girl! Be on the lookout for that exciting announcement!

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

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Raging Mess to Quieted Rest

I have been such a mess the past few weeks.

Life just looks so different from what I ever imagined it to be, and I've had a very hard time coping with what life is going to look like from now on.

I've heard that pregnant women are very emotional... Well, I'm pregnant and still dealing with losing my mom to cancer 7 months ago among many other up-in-the-air major life changes that are currently happening. Needless to say, I've been one emotional, irritable, angry, ugly mess lately.

I started a 40-day challenge to read through the New Testament, but as I was reading through Matthew and Mark, I found myself getting more angry with God and demanding more answers from Him. I was angry every time I read of Jesus healing someone and saying things like, "Let it be done for you as you have believed." Why didn't He heal my mom? Why didn't He do for us as we had believed? As thousands had believed and cried out on her behalf. Why have I seen cancer run rampant in so many lives over the past year and a half? Why hasn't He been healing these people? Do our prayers mean anything?

During this time, Satan began to speak so many lies into my mind. Two of which consisted of wondering how God could still love me and how my husband could love me through a time like this. As I looked at myself and examined my heart, all I could see was ugliness. I recognize that even on a "good day" there is no good in me. Any good that is in me is simply Jesus. But over the past few weeks I haven't been able to see any Jesus in me, and Satan took that opportunity to run wild in my mind.

I wanted answers. I still want answers. But answers won't bring my mom back.

After a few very honest conversations with my husband, my dad, and a couple at our church, I feel like the Lord slowly began to soften my heart. I was reminded to allow myself FREEDOM. I had been beating myself up for not fitting a certain mold and for not living with joy and peace. There's a part of me that feels like 7 months has been such a long time and that I should be "okay" by now. That I should have come to terms with my mom being gone by now. That I should be overflowing with joy by now. That I should be ready to teach and pour myself out in ministry by now.

But I'm not.

A big part of my problem has been that because of my anger, I have forsaken the One who alone can give me joy and peace. The One who can bring me to a place of contentment and acceptance. The One who can fill me up to overflowing to be able to invest in and minister to others.

So I have began opening my Bible again, finally allowing Truth the opportunity to seep into my mind. I have also started reading a book that Tim and Jenny gave me a while back. Let me pause here and say that Tim and Jenny have been a gift from God in my life. Jenny has been through a very similar situation, losing both of her parents at a young age, and she has been such an encouragement and Truth-speaker in my life. They are both such a blessing to me and my husband. Tim and Jenny, we love you!

So this book they gave to me is called "A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23"


 I'm only three chapters in and am completely hooked. I have been reminded of God's deep love for me and to what extensive measures He goes to take the utmost care of me. As I look back over the past few weeks, I feel as though my soul has been screaming and flailing, demanding answers and asking why?! But now I feel as though the questions that have been raging in my mind are being quieted, not answered, but quieted. I have a desire for my soul to simply rest in His presence and trust that He knows best.

The description on the back of the book says, "As a shepherd, Phillip Keller shares his insights into the life and character of sheep - and of the Good Shepherd who loves and cares for them. This beloved classic will give new meaning to the ageless Shepherd Psalm, enriching your trust in and love for the Lord who watches closely over you."

So over the past few weeks, I feel like the Lord has slowly been taking me from a raging mess to a quieted rest. I'm not completely to the other side yet, but He is teaching me and speaking to my soul and reminding me how much He really does love me and care for me.

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

Friday, August 1, 2014

Where in the World I've Been!

It's crazy how time flies when you are so busy. I can't believe my last post was almost a month ago.

After camp we had about a week to recover before we flew out with 35 students to Ecuador for our first international mission trip with the youth group. It was a really great trip for our students! We worked with an orphanage called the Happiness Foundation and led a soccer camp and two Vacation Bible Schools at some nearby church plants. Everything went very smoothly, and the Lord blessed us with health and safety the entire week.

However, it was a really hard week for me physically. I was 13 weeks pregnant while we were there, and my body was exhausted. The week started with being awake at 3:00am to make it to the airport, waiting in the Atlanta airport for hours and hours, sitting on 2 planes for about 7 hours total, and finally getting to bed at about 2:00am. Almost a 24-hour day, and I had a nasty sinus infection brewing. By the end of day 1 (which was just getting to Ecuador), my body was totally zapped, and then it was near impossible to fully recover at an altitude of 14,000 feet. Despite all of that, it really was a great week, but I was very happy to finally be back home 8 days later.

Here are a few pictures from the trip:

So happy to be off airplanes and out of the airport!
Finally in Ecuador!

The kids at the orphanage really LOVED David!
A couple little girls painted his face. I love this
husband of mine.

Our VBS team and our translators with a few of the kiddos.

Some of our students hard at work on one of the houses
at the orphanage.

Stephanie, me, Hutch, Dawn and Chelsea at the top
of a really really tall mountain overlooking Quito.

The Basilica and my husband's goofy arm :)

Zip lining with this fun group!

I was 1 out of 4 in our group to balance an egg on the
equator. I was pretty pumped!

Two days after we got back from Ecuador, I celebrated my 26th birthday! It was a very relaxed day, and it started with a doctor's appointment where we got to hear our sweet baby's heartbeat for the second time! The heartbeat was at 160, which is on the high end. Some think this is a sign that Baby Street is going to be a girl! We'll see!

Waiting for the doctor to come in!

After our appointment we went downtown to a really yummy crepe stand, hit a couple flea markets, and headed home for a much-needed nap. Then we met up with my family for dinner at Olive Garden and headed to Bryan and Jenna's house for cake and presents.

Jenna bought Baby Street her/his first clothes, and I
was so so excited about it!

Can't wait to put our little one in these cute outfits!
Thanks Aunt Jenna and Uncle Bryan!

Hudson helping me blow out the candles

This past Sunday night we had an event with our 9th-12th grade called Senior High YOUNITE. We all went to the youth pastor's house for a good 'ole country evening. The girls brought picnic dinners that the guys bid on, and they ate dinner with the girl who brought that basket. We had a sno cone truck, line dancing, all sorts of games and competitions and finished off by watching a movie on the lawn.

Line dancing, bobbing for apples, egg toss, and
pie eating contest. Such a fun night!

My sister-in-law has been telling me about a "cabbage test" you can do to try and figure out the gender of your baby. Her mom knows 5 people who have done it, and it has been accurate for all 5 of them. So David and I decided to give it go. The test I looked up online said that you boil cabbage for 10 minutes, and then mix one part cabbage water to one part urine. If the water turns red or pink, that means it is a boy. If it turns purple, it's a girl...


Well, David and I thought the water looked purple. I sent this picture to Bryan and Jenna, and they said it looks pink. Which the picture does look different than it looked in real life. But honestly, it's just really hard to tell what color translucent water is, especially when pink and purple are pretty darn close. So after the test, we were just as in the dark as before we took it. So I guess we will wait and find out when we have our next ultrasound on August 28th! Just 4 weeks away!

I'll end with a picture I took last week to show my little baby bump that is finally growing!

It's little, but it's there!

I'm 16 weeks today, but David isn't here to take a picture of me, so I'll post that one later.

So THAT is what I've been up to this past month! Hopefully now that our summer schedule is over I can have some more time to sit down and blog. I've missed it!

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