Who am I anymore?

God has been doing some serious work in my heart over the past 6 months.

I was sitting in bed last night reflecting back on all the huge changes that have taken place over these months, but really over this last year and a half of living in New England! He brought us out to this place we hadn’t ever been, Jacob began his first ministry job, then I began my first ministry job and quit my day job, and a few months later found out we were pregnant.

Growing up, I often wouldn’t try new things or play sports with friends because I was afraid I wouldn’t be good at them. I didn’t want to do anything I wasn’t good at because I felt like that changed my value as a person. (Yikes, I know.) Through college and post graduation, God has been working that need for others’ approval and need to be successful out of me. He’s been teaching me that first and foremost I am his beloved child and that is all the definition of myself I need to feel valued.

As an adult, though, I still fall in to similar traps. My job defines who I am – am I proud of it? My husband’s job defines who he is – is he appreciated? Are we doing work that matters? What I do in my free time defines who I am – musician, writer, reader. Having a baby changes who we are becoming – mother and father. I have let all of these things, which are very subject to change at all times, define who I am. And I think that’s why becoming a mother is so scary to me – it is changing the way I define myself. I will no longer be the young, married without kids worship pastor guitar lady who sings too much. I will be all of those things except also a mom who has a child to consider in how she spends her time.

As soon as I think I’ve got my feet underneath me and I’m ready to tackle what’s been thrown at us, God reminds me he’s in control and he’s the one who holds us up. No matter how many of our roles change throughout life, he remains the same and we can stand firm in being his children.

So I’m making a declaration here. God, we’re in this together and I’m looking to you to lead us to what matters most. I’m so glad we aren’t in this alone.

The CRAZIEST announcement of all…

We’re having a baby!!!

I know, I know, try to regain composure of your shocked facial expressions right now. We reacted the same way, to be honest, but it has sunk in a bit now. đŸ˜‰

We’re expecting our first little to be born in late March of 2016. It’s been a crazy 15 weeks of morning sickness, extreme exhaustion, and a rollercoaster of emotions… but we’re excited to adventure into this new season of our lives together!

We appreciate your prayers and kind words during this new season!

How in the World is it August 19th?!

I blinked and somehow half of August blew past me. Anyone else feeling that way?

It’s been a whirlwind of a summer over in our neck of the woods, although I bet yours feels pretty similar. Family visits, job changes, youth group trips – the list goes on but I think the passing of summer says it best. And perhaps the picture above where one plant looks beat to a pulp and the other is thriving – both the result of summer, yes? Possibly also my green thumb (or lack thereof).

This summer has been a rollercoaster of victorious, celebratory moments and also moments of fierce doubt and worry. After cruising along through June and July, God has been grabbing our attention. He’s been showing me again and again that he is King over my life – when in fact I thought I was in charge. He’s been reminding me that even when I’m unsure of my footing, he is the Shepherd who won’t lead me astray or leave me out to dry.

He’s been picking us up by our feet to shake off the dust we didn’t realize had slyly settled from the comfort of our selfishness. He’s started to teach us the meaning of leaning into him because there’s no other Rock that can stand still through it all.

I’m still recovering from the stark realization that my life is not about me because I hadn’t seen myself fall into that place of deception. It happened slowly with the temptation of complacency. But now that he’s got my attention, there’s no turning back.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:1-2

Presenting my body to God as a living sacrifice means all of it – mind, body, spirit, will, hopes, dreams, accomplishments, etc. There is no part of me that can be left aside from this living sacrifice. Lord, make me look more like you. More of you and less of me. More of you and less of me.

It’s okay not to have babies

If we were 100% in charge of the timing, Jacob and I very clearly tell people we aren’t ready to have kids. But in all reality, I know we aren’t in charge of that timing, so I’ve been hesitant to write out this post in case the next week our entire reality changes. đŸ˜‰

But it’s my blog, so I can do what I want here, and I want to document these feelings. We have several good friends who are expecting, for whom we are very excited, but it’s weird to be in that stage where now announcing babies is almost more typical than announcing engagements.

The more we talk about kids, though, and think about how much our lives would drastically change once we have them, we aren’t ready. We’ve been married for two years, but there’s still so much I have to learn about Jacob… not to mention how to love him and honor him and minister to him above anyone else on earth! I can’t imagine how complicated that gets when you throw kids into the mix – I don’t want our lives to become so focused on our children that we lose each other! Is that a normal fear to have?

It often feels like you’re supposed to go to college, get married, have babies, grow them up, send them to college, etc… those are just the steps you’re supposed to take. But they aren’t required and they definitely shouldn’t be rushed. I don’t want to live my life always looking to the next thing – I want to be happy with where I am now. God has given me so much, in such abundance… and most of which I don’t even appreciate fully.

But most importantly, and maybe even more truthfully, neither one of us feels the tug to have kids right now… and that’s enough reason not to. Granted, if tomorrow I found out I was pregnant, we would be excited and life would move forward in a drastically new way. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with not wishing for that every day. We just aren’t there yet, and that’s okay.

So for those of you in similar places, it’s okay. If you aren’t sure about having kids, that’s okay. There’s no pressure – it isn’t something you just follow the crowd into doing. If you do want kids, that’s awesome, too. That’s the beauty about life – we can (mostly) go where we want to go, when we’re ready to try it. There may be obstacles, or giant mountains, blocking the way, but that’s part of the ride. Your adventure is yours. Don’t let anyone else pressure you to do something you aren’t interested in or ready to do.

What are your thoughts? If not about babies, do you feel pressured in another area of life? I hope these words today can give you strength to go where you feel lead, not where you feel pushed.

A Surprise Rest

This week is the first in months that we didn’t have a single commitment on a week night. I won’t lie, when I realized this on Monday I legitimately squealed with delight and hurried to call Jacob to tell him. There’s something so freeing about a schedule totally open for slow moments, like grocery shopping with Jacob, cooking dinner together three nights in a row and sitting in our living room with the breeze circling through open windows.

It’s not that we don’t love what keeps us so busy, but sometimes it’s just nice to have a break. This week has reminded me of a slower pace of life, one that often and so quickly gets squandered with all the things we have to be doing to get ahead, be present, make an impact, etc. 
Well, this week I’m enjoying making an impact right here in my quiet home, right here in my marriage. We’ve enjoyed laughs, home-cooked food, and each other’s company. So thankful.

Happy weekend, I hope you can find some moments to enjoy the gift of rest.


playing hostess at its finest

I have always loved playing hostess. I love party planning (especially showers!), laying out all the food in cute dishes, changing the sheets and laying out towels for guests, etc. Now that we’ve moved across the country from nearly all of our friends and family, there’s lots of opportunity for visitors!

And there are so many things to do around these parts, for those of you reading this wondering if it would be worth your while to visit… đŸ˜‰

But with the slew of visitors we’ve had and will be having soon, I thought I’d share the top 7 ways I prepare for visitors.

1. Start preparing a few days in advance. It’s no fun when you realize the day before your guests arrive that you have a long to-do list. You want to be well-rested when they arrive, so you can enjoy their visit! If we have visitors coming Friday, I try to start these things by Wednesday.

2. Meal plan. Then go crazy at the grocery store. If you’re like me, and cooking isn’t your strongest suit… meal planning insures you don’t look like a fool. I have a few go-to recipes (bbq baked chicken breasts, tacos, taco soup, and burrito bowls) that are pretty standard if we are having guests. For me, having visitors is not the time to try new recipes.

3. Wash all linens and guest towels. Make the bed, fluff the pillows, and lay the towels out on the bed or in the bathroom where they are easily found.

4. Make sure the bathroom is stocked with toilet paper, q-tips, cotton balls, and extra toothpaste and shampoo in case anyone forgets.

5. Vacuum like crazy. I hate dirty floors, so I tend to vacuum frequently anyway, but the house must be clean! No one likes to stay somewhere with crummy floors.

6. Make a plan for their time spent here. Luckily, we are only 45 minutes to an hour from Boston, so it’s the perfect place to take our visitors!! If the guests are new to town, I like to brainstorm fun things that are specific to the area we live in – local restaurants, fun businesses or past-times, and of course a tour of our city!

7. Share your wifi password. With smart phones and iPads, share the love and spare your visitors’ data plans. I hope to make a cute sign like one of these for our spare bedroom after we move.

Happy visiting!