Friday, June 26, 2015

At What Cost?

Let me start this post by saying...

I am no better than the homosexual, the murderer, the adultress, the "worst of the worst." The only difference between me and these I have listed is that I have chosen to accept God's free gift of grace. I am a sinner. My nature is bent toward rebellion. I need Jesus. I need Him, and I have surrendered my life to His Lordship. He is my Savior, and He is my Lord. Without Him, I am nothing. Without His gift of grace, I myself would be condemned to hell.

Please read on.

As I scrolled through my newsfeed on Facebook today, I was very saddened to read posts of responses to gay marriage being legalized in our country. But my sadness is toward one very specific group of people - Christians who are supportive and happy about the direction of our nation.

What I'm going to say here will make many very angry with me. But I can no longer stay silent on this issue.

Christians, what we are dealing with here is so much bigger than same-sex marriage.

Here's the thing... This earth is temporary, and along with it, every earthly happiness. I understand that we want to see people be happy, but at what cost?

1. Homosexuality is sin.
Romans 1:26-28 "For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done."

2. Christians cannot continue in a lifestyle of sin.
1 John 3:6 "No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him."

How can we, as Christians, applaud our government on this decision to legalize same-sex marriage? According to Scripture, one who keeps on sinning, walking in a lifestyle of sin, has neither seen Jesus or known Him. Therefore, someone who chooses to enter into marriage with someone of the same sex is choosing to enter into a lifestyle of sin.

Therefore, this person does not know Jesus and will be condemned to an eternity in hell.

Many will cry "HATE SPEECH" at that sentence. No. That is "Truth speech" and I say it with all the love of Jesus I can. My heart is broken over this.

Listen, I want people to be happy, too, but not at the cost of eternity.

 My brothers and sisters, that is what we are dealing with here. The eternity of souls. Earthly, temporary happiness fades in comparison.

I sin every single day. Since becoming a mother, I have seen my own depravity in a whole new light. I struggle with sin. If I chose to give into sin and experienced no conviction over it, but sinned with a carefree attitude all my life, this would be evidence that I have never seen Jesus, nor do I know Him, and I would be condemned to an eternity in hell myself.

Homosexuality is not the only "lifestyle of sin" that condemns the soul to hell. This "lifestyle of sin" can take many different forms. The key here all goes back to 1 John 3:6. Christians cannot continue in sin - whether that be homosexuality, idolatry, greed, pride, etc.

Christians, I ask that you would reconsider your stance on this issue. Please realize it is so much bigger than temporary happiness on this temporary earth.

I realize the world hates Christians for this hard message. But remember the words of Jesus: "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." John 15:18-19

I end with this...

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." John 3:16-17

The world gets the words to those verses mixed up. I think they read it this way...

"For God did not send his Son into the world to save the world, but in order that the world might be condemned through him."

Jesus did not come to condemn the world. He came that we may have life and have it abundantly.

Although this is a difficult message and a sad day in America, I still say...

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

Thursday, June 18, 2015

My Desperate Need for Jesus

Motherhood is hard.

If you could tie a ball and chain to each of those words and toss them into the bottom of the ocean, it still wouldn't adequately express the weight of that sentence.

And then add on top of that the phrase "life is hard."


I keep learning the same lesson over and over and over again lately. I find myself saying, "Oh man, this is harder than I thought it was going to be," or "this is taking longer than I thought it was going to."

I've said those things in the context of some very minor things like...
Packing up the house.
How long it was going to take to make dinner.
Getting things together to go on a short kayak trip (that didn't end up happening).
Moving a set of lockers into Hank's room.
Ugh, the list goes on...

I tend to expect that things are going to be easy. And because of that, when things are harder than I expect, I get angry, I give up, and I quit. It's an embarrassingly childish trait that I possess.

When it comes to small things like trying to learn calligraphy (as a "lefty") or signing up for Netflix, it's not really a huge deal. But when it comes to life and motherhood... yeah... that's a whole different story.

Yesterday I wanted to throw in the towel.

The problem is... You can't quit life. And you can't quit being a mom.

I did "quit" in my own way though. I chose to boycott happiness and hope. I pouted. All day. I didn't do any housework. I sat on my booty any chance I got. And I drank a lot of coffee. Let's just say yesterday was one to forget.

In these past 5 and a half months, I've seen a side of myself I never knew existed. I won't go into the details because it's quite humiliating. Humiliating. Yes. Motherhood is the most humbling thing I've ever experienced. I used to think I was a pretty "good person".... After being a mom and not sleeping for 5 and half months, I've seen otherwise.

I now see my desperate need for Jesus and His grace.

I see how broken I am. I see how weak I am. I see my insufficiency to love unconditionally, and in the midst of that, I have a hard time comprehending His unconditional love for me.

I missed my mom deeply yesterday. I wanted to ask her what it was like when she first became a mom. Did she have melt downs like I do? Did she walk into the bathroom and scream into a towel at the top of her lungs like I've done? I can't imagine her doing those things. She seemed to me to be a walking picture of peace and grace. Oh I wish I could call her and just hear her voice.

I hate that I sound like Pessimistic Patty here. I'm really okay. Life is good. But life is also hard. That's just where I'm at right now. I love my son, and I love being his momma. He really does bring me so much joy, but he also brings out a side of me that I wish didn't exist. It's crazy how those two things can go hand-in-hand.

I really just need Jesus. Every moment of every day. I realize that more than ever now.

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

Friday, April 24, 2015

Big Announcement!

No. I'm not pregnant again. I'll just start with that!

So a quick update on little Hank first. Life just keeps trucking along. Hank will be 4 months old in less than a week!


4 month picture coming soon!

That sweet face!

He is such a happy little boy! (for the most part, ha). I have so enjoyed being this little guy's momma and am so proud to call him mine! He started sleeping through the night about two or three weeks ago, and I am loving my sleep again!

Before Hank was born I wrote a post about how life is constantly like the changing seasons. At the time I wrote that post, we were about to enter our new season with Hank and with me staying home full time. And now, we are again changing seasons...

Sometime in the next few weeks (after Mother's Day and before June 1st), our little family will be moving to a little town about 4 hours east of where we are now. David just accepted a job as full time youth pastor/associate pastor at his home church! We are so excited to embark on this new journey together! I believe this will bring great things for our family!

These past four months have been really busy and really hard. David is working full time, he is the youth pastor at a little church in Siloam Springs (which is a part time position), and he is taking a seminary class which requires lots of time reading and writing papers on top of preparing for Sundays and Wednesdays. Oh, and on top of all that, he is an excellent husband and father! He has done a phenomenal job fulfilling all his roles as provider, husband, dad, youth pastor and student. It has required many late nights of studying and preparation. I am so proud of how well he has done in this season, but I am so ready for life to slow down a bit! This new position will allow for just that. He will no longer need to spend his evenings preparing material for Wednesdays and Sundays, and that will be a huge blessing for our family.

We are so thankful for the past 8 months that David has been able to serve at Gum Springs Baptist Church. It has played a huge role in confirming God's call on his life to ministry. The people there have been so encouraging and supportive, and we could not have asked for a better pastor to serve under. Thank you, Gum Springs, for all your love and support to David and our family! And thank you for loving our little Hank! You all have been such a blessing to us!

Now, as usual, let me backtrack a little bit. God has done some amazing things with impeccable timing that has confirmed to us this is exactly where He is leading our family. Let me fill you in with a little timeline...

January 22nd - I wrote this question in my journal: "Am I holding my husband and our family back from following God 100% by not being willing to move if that is what ministry would lead us to?" The answer to that question was a resounding yes. You see, ever since my mom passed away, I have not wanted to leave my family's side - I feel like that is pretty understandable. But as time passed, I feel like the Lord revealed to me that this should no longer be so. It would not be right for me to hold my family back if the Lord were to open a door for us to move and follow Him in full time ministry. Soon following this journal entry, I talked to David about it, and we decided that we would be open to follow wherever the Lord might lead us.

February 22nd - David met with the Associational Missionary of the Northwest Baptist Association and expressed his desire to enter into full time ministry. He gave him his resume to be passed along for any open positions. This was a big first step in pursuing full time ministry!

February 24th - TWO DAYS LATER - David's pastor from his home church called looking for a full time youth pastor

... lot's of soul searching on my part ...

April 19th - We went in view of a call and the church voted YES to David as youth pastor! Long story short, we've accepted and will be heading that way in the weeks to come!

I'll be honest and say, I wasn't expecting something to happen so soon. The Lord had to do a lot of work in my heart after that phone call to bring me to a place of accepting this new direction. Moving still scares me. Leaving my home and my family will be hard, but I also expect many great things! I have no doubt this is where the Lord is leading us, so I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Also, somewhere in the mix of the past 2 months, God had some more great timing... So we have been long-term house sitting for a family at my home church while they moved out to California. The initial timeline was that they would be gone for 2-4 years. Well, we are almost at the 2-year mark and we recently found out they will be moving back in June or July. We will be moving out in May. How cool of God?! Timing couldn't be more perfect!

Please pray for our family as the transition will begin in the next few weeks. That God will continue to perfectly work out the details (as He already has been), and please pray for my heart as it will be difficult saying goodby to home, family and friends, although I am confident of His blessings in this new season.

I'm sure I will have more to write on this topic in the weeks to come. But this is all for now!

Our little family :)

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

Friday, April 3, 2015

One Long Good Friday

All of life is like one long Good Friday. Interesting that it's called "Good" Friday. Nothing seemed good about that Friday. Our Savior was mocked, beaten, killed and buried.

Sin prevailed.
Death won.
Satan scoffed.

Sounds a lot like this world. Sin runs rampant. Death steals our loved ones, and Satan laughs all the while.

On Good Friday we know Sunday is coming.
Therefore, we have hope.
We know Friday isn't the end.
We know our Savior is RISEN.
We know He wins.

This life isn't the end. This life is like a really long Good Friday. But Sunday is coming for us, too.
Therefore, we have hope.
We know Friday isn't the end.
We know our Savior is RISEN.
We know He wins.

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

Friday, January 30, 2015

One Month and God's Mercy

How in the world is my little boy already a month old?! It went by entirely too fast! He is such a joy to my heart, and I couldn't ask for a better baby. God has been so gracious to me with this little guy. I am thankful that the Lord knows our hearts, and He knows what we can handle.

I want to back up a little bit and retrace some fears I was struggling with before Hank was born and then tell you how the Lord so faithfully took care of me. But first, here is some more back-story on how my pregnancy was really treating me near the end.

As my due date was approaching, I couldn't help but envision how my labor and delivery would pan out. I was planning on a natural birth with no epidural. My husband and I had hired a doula to help coach us through labor, and we were as prepared as could be for the big day - whenever that might be. We even practiced breathing exercises at home in a pretty humorous way. David would hold a pound of frozen meat to the bottom of my foot for 45 seconds and make me relax and breathe through it. I guess I should say pretty humorous to everyone....but me.

The further I got into my third trimester, the more and more miserable I became. My body kept trying to go into labor, but it would never progress. I found myself at the hospital twice, at 33 and 36 weeks, but nothing came of it. I fought contractions a third time (the Saturday before Hank was actually born) but decided not to go to the hospital until we knew it was for sure the real thing... and it never was. Oh boy, I was so miserable and done.

I'm so thankful I had a prenatal appointment already scheduled for that Monday. I was 37 weeks and 3 days along at this point. As you may have read in my previous post, this was when we heard Hank's heart rate at a sky-high 220. When the doctor came in and told me I was going to have a baby that day and that it would probably be a c-section, I was honestly jumping for joy inside. Was I thrilled about the c-section part? Absolutely not. Was I so ready to get this baby out of me and finally meet my little boy? Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times YES! I could not have been happier!

This is where I feel like the Lord was completely sovereign in sparing my heart the fears, events and emotions I dreaded most. You see, two and four years ago, my sister-in-law allowed me and my mom to be in the room with her when she gave birth to my two precious nephews. During these two encounters I was able to witness my mom cheering Jenna along through labor and delivery. I saw the joy she experienced and the pride she exuded as she met her grand babies for the first time. I saw the love in her eyes as she gazed on their little faces. I heard her whisper in their tiny ears, "G-ma loves you very much."

My heart ached as I tried to imagine my own labor and delivery without my mom by my side. She wouldn't be there to cheer me along. She wouldn't be one of the family members to hold Hank and get her picture taken as we passed him around the room. I wouldn't be able to hear her whisper in his ear, "G-ma loves you very much." Somehow I knew the hospital room would feel so empty without her there by my side to rejoice with me. I wasn't sure how I would be able to handle the extreme emotions of sheer joy at meeting my little boy and deep sorrow at her absence.

All these things I feared... I didn't have to encounter a single one. My birth experience went in no way, shape or form as planned. It was nothing like my sweet sister-in-law's. There was no comparing between mine and hers. No envisioning what it would have been like if my mom would have been there. It was an entirely new experience.

You see, I was wheeled to my hospital room at lightening speed, hooked up to IV's and strapped to an oxygen mask. Pretty soon I was in an operating room. Moments later I was waking up back in my hospital room. There was no longer a baby in my belly, and I was on some really great pain meds! My brand new little boy was in the NICU. There was no passing him around the room and ooh-ing and ahh-ing over him. I didn't even get to see him for the first time until hours later, and even then, I still didn't get to hold him. Before I knew it he was boarding a helicopter and flying 3 hours away from me. I had to wait two gut-wrenching (ha, no pun intended for my incision) days before I could finally hold that little love of mine.

Some might see total chaos and a complete disaster in this story. I see God's mercy written all over it. He spared me all my fears, and it was exactly what my faint heart needed. I needed something so out of the ordinary. I needed my plans to go out the window. I needed to not be able to compare my birth story with Jenna's. I needed my own story. Something entirely new. And that's what He gave me. I didn't know that was what I needed, but He knew, and I am so thankful.

This past month has been quite the whirlwind, but it's been a really great one. It's been hard figuring out my new "normal" and trying to establish a routine. Ha, wait.... what even is a routine??? I'll be honest and say my consistency with the Lord has wavered, but my love for Him hasn't. I'm thankful He is still so faithful to me when I am struggling to accomplish anything past feeding Hank and keeping up with my own personal hygiene. I am thankful He is patient with me and remembers that I am but dust as I work through balancing life in this new season. He is too good to me, really.

Thank you to everyone for all the prayers, meals, love and encouragement that have been sent our way. The Streets are blessed beyond measure!

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

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hank Carpenter Street

Who knew that just a short 3 days after my last post I would be a momma?! This past month has been a complete whirlwind! I don't even know where to begin... I'll make a relatively long story short...

Monday morning, December 29th, I went in for my routine weekly prenatal appointment. I was 37 weeks at the time. The nurse calls me back and starts doing the usual steps - weighs me, takes my blood pressure, measures my belly, etc. And then she grabs the monitor to check little man's heart rate, and that's where it all began. I wish I could play an audio file of what we heard. I guess try to imagine a stampede of horses running full speed - that pretty much does it. Hank's heart rate was sky high at a record 220 - off the charts... literally. My doctor comes in and says something along the lines of, "I don't like what's happening here. You're probably going to have a baby today, and you're probably going to have a c-section."

Ummm WHAT?! Yes.

Less than 2 hours later a beautiful baby boy was born!

Getting ready for my C-section - still in good spirits!
David getting suited up! But he didn't get to come back with me since it was emergency.
Hank Carpenter Street
6 lbs 9 oz, 19 3/4 in long
Proud Daddy!
My first time seeing my sweet boy!
Hank was born at 11:21 that morning, and I did not get to see him until around 5:00pm. His heart rate was still sky high, and he actually had to be flown to Arkansas Children's Hospital that evening. I had to stay in Northwest Arkansas until Wednesday. Talk about ripping out a new momma's heart! I wanted to be with my little boy. I wanted to hold him and love him and gaze into those little eyes and tell him everything would be okay. Oh, my heart was bursting! Thankfully David was able to drive down and be with him, and I had plenty of people to stay with me and take care of me too.

So here's a really neat story that shows how cool our great God is... After Hank made it to ACH, the cardiologist called me and explained the procedure they were about to perform on my baby to get his heart rate down. It sounded scary, but I knew he was in good hands, so I had to trust them. Ten minutes later the cardiologist called me back and said, "Nevermind. He converted on his own!" Praise the Lord! They didn't have to do the scary procedure, and my baby boy was well! He still had to stay at Children's for a couple days to be monitored and receive antibiotics.

But seriously, that next day and a half was heart-wrenching. I'm so thankful for technology and that I was able to see my baby through pictures and Facetime, but I needed to be there with him. I was finally released Wednesday morning, and Tony drove me to go see my newest little love!

So happy to be heading to Little Rock!
No words to describe this moment. Finally holding my little boy!
Our little family all together for the first time!
I just couldn't get enough of him!
We finally got released to come home Thursday!
My final "bump" picture to add to the collection!
The whole compilation!
And now, just lots of pictures of our sweet Hank!!! We love this little boy so much!

Went for a walk downtown

And a few newborn pictures (credit to the fabulous Rhyanne Ketron)

Our hearts are so happy and full!

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

Friday, December 26, 2014

One Year and Picture Overload

One year ago today I received the phone call. The one I knew was coming any day now. I was expecting it at any moment. It's hard to explain what I felt when I heard those words - "Your momma is with Jesus now." I didn't cry. It was almost like a relief. Like... Finally. She isn't suffering anymore. She's finally where she is supposed to be. But at the same time, I knew a tough road was ahead of us. I had no idea what to expect.

December 26th, 2013 was probably one of the strangest days of my life. You see, I had spent the two weeks leading up to that day right by mom's side soaking in every precious moment with her. Rubbing her feet, staring at her, watching her breathe, etching her smile into my mind, soaking in every bit of her I could get. We knew the end was near. We shared our hearts with her and told her everything our minds could think of to share with her before she passed. And as the end got closer and closer and as she slipped further and further away from us, the Lord had given us so much peace. A day or two before she passed, I remember gathering around her hospital bed praying and asking God to come and take her. We sang "Amazing Grace" together. We knew it was time.

Now she is gone. She's been with Jesus for an entire year. How has it already been a year? A year ago today, I couldn't imagine how in the world I could walk without her. I couldn't imagine how I could go to work without her. I couldn't imagine how I could laugh without her. I couldn't imagine how I could do life without her.

Looking back, I realize that I simply had to take it one day at a time. The Lord taught me what it means to not worry about tomorrow, but to simply live in today. That His grace is sufficient for today. And when tomorrow comes, His grace will be sufficient for tomorrow.

There were days and events that I worried about and dreaded over this past year. For instance, Mother's Day, my family's birthdays, my own birthday, youth events (because my mom and I worked together and were buddies during each event), Christmas Day, and now today. But each of those days and events, including today, the Lord's grace has been sufficient. Imagine that?! He promises us grace in His Word. And guess what? He delivers on that promise!

So yes, we've made it a year. By His grace alone. There were a lot of hard days and a lot of really good ones. I thought reaching a year would give some sort of relief like, "Whew! We did it! I think we can handle this now." ... But no. That's not the case. Yes, we've made it a year. But now there's another one ahead. Another year with some of the same obstacles and same days I dreaded before. But there will also be new obstacles. New ones that make me think, "I can't imagine how I'll do 'this' without her." The biggest of which being how in the world I will have and raise this baby without my momma by my side.

The day is drawing so near when my body will go into labor. Our little Hank could literally greet us any day now. I never imagined having my first child without my mom right by side. Holding my hand and cheering me along. I never imagined not being able to take a picture of her the first time she holds him. I never imagined having to lean on anyone else when it's time for all my questions and needing a little (or a lot of) extra help when I'm exhausted. I never imagined any of this.

I always thought when other families who have lost loved ones made it through their first year, that it must feel like some sort of accomplishment. Like a breath of fresh air that would somehow give them the motivation they need to continue on to the next. But now that I'm in that place of making it through year one, I realize... This doesn't feel like an accomplishment. There is no breath of fresh air to motivate me for year two, three and four. Today is simply another day. Another day of trusting in His grace. Not looking to tomorrow or the years that lie ahead. But trusting that when tomorrow comes, His grace will be there too.

I ask that you would continue to pray for me and my family. Just because year one is behind us doesn't mean this road is suddenly easier. For myself personally, I foresee some very difficult days ahead. I can't explain the wide range of emotions I am already dealing with. There is so much excitement and anticipation with our little Hank arriving so soon. But fear and sadness and grief have their fingers so tightly interlocked with all the excitement. I can't imagine that first moment I see his face and hold his tiny hands. But I also can't imagine not sharing that moment with my mom. How can my heart feel so whole and so ripped apart all in one moment? Again, these are my thoughts and feelings that creep into the days ahead. This is where I must stay in today.

I beg you for your prayers for year two. Just as I couldn't imagine year one without my mom, even more so I cannot imagine year two. I miss her more than words can say. I mean that so literally.


Please pray for us.

I was listening to some of my mom's favorite songs this morning and realized this song sums up this past year perfectly...

Okay switching gears. I realize I have been MIA for almost two months. I have no idea how to catch you up on what all has happened in November and December, so how about picture OVERLOAD??

Here we go...

First of all, I'm not even sure if I have officially announced little man's name yet, but we have settled on and ADORE Hank Carpenter Street. Hank is simply a name that we love, and Carpenter is David's Mom's maiden name. Love love love his name!! Woohoo!

So here is Hank's room (not entirely complete in the pictures, but close enough!)
Old vintage sports theme!

The three pictures next to the pogo stick are baby pictures of my mom. I LOVE this detail!

My awesome Studio 412 students showered me with TONS of diapers!!

We had some really wonderful maternity pictures done by a sweet friend of ours! I highly recommend Rhyanne Ketron Photography for your future photo shoot!

We had two great showers for our little Hank!
David's family

My twin nieces Kaitlyn (glasses) and Kimberly (stripes) and my SIL Jenna!

Some of my favorite people who threw me a fantastic shower!
Love you three with all my heart!
We are SO blessed!

Missed her so much that day.
Sweaty, pregnant girl standing in the fridge cooling off before the shower began! Ha!

David's church that he works for now also threw us such a sweet shower!

Loving this necklace that my SIL Anna gave me!
Getting pedicures with this sweet friend of mine! She is due 6 days before me with a little girl. So fun!
David and I painted this plate in anticipation for a fun family tradition we will soon begin. This plate will be used for all our kid's birthdays and other special days!

And a few growing bump pictures!!

I'm 37 weeks today, but no picture yet!

And last one... A new tradition that David and I plan to do every year...
Leaving poinsettias at my mom's grave Christmas Day (also her birthday) celebrating and remembering her beautiful life and lasting legacy.

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