I hope she gets these parts of him.

Pumpkins Pregnancy Announcement

As we get closer and closer to meeting our little girl, I get so excited to see her face. I can feel her moving all the time now – I feel very connected to her in that way – but I long to touch her face and little fingers and kiss her little cheeks!

Thinking about actually getting to see her soon makes me think about all the traits she will get from us. Of course, I would love for her to have her dad’s beautiful, flawless skin and white shiny teeth, but there are other traits of Jacob’s I really hope she takes after.

I hope she is patient like him. I am sometimes too fast-paced of a person that I can’t bear to let others even finish their sentences (ugh, I know, right?! I’m one of those people). But Jacob is quick to listen and slow to speak – the very things that enable him to love others so well, and the things I lack that often get me in trouble!

I hope she is servant-hearted like him. He’s never one to hope for recognition, but he is almost always the first to lend a hand. Whether it’s helping people move or giving someone a ride, anything to meet a need, he is there and does so gladly. I’m so grateful for those parts of him and challenged by his actions to grow in this area myself!

I hope she works hard like he does. If there’s one thing I’ve never doubted about Jacob, it’s his worth ethic and dedication. I’ve never worried he wouldn’t be able to provide for us because he’s shown me again and again that he will do whatever it takes, even if he doesn’t like it. When he isn’t appreciated, he still works hard. When he doesn’t like his job, he still works hard. When he’s growing through a season of hurt, he still works hard and gives all of himself to what he believes in. While I am quick to complain, he is quick to press on. I hope she is strong like he is.

I hope she loves like he does. Pregnancy has rocked my world a bit – I’ve become uncomfortable, out of sorts with my emotions and quick-tempered. Jacob has remained steady and loved me through my tossing and turning night sleeps, grumpy morning numb hands, sciatic nerve pain that keeps me glued to the bed or couch, and ever-expanding belly that threatens my self esteem. He has continued patiently loving me and supporting me, even when I haven’t been the quickest to love and support him. I hope she sees Christ’s love reflected through the ways he loves me and the ways he will love her.

I can’t wait to watch him love her.

Pumpkins Pregnancy Announcements Fall

Photos by Kaitlin Bagby.

25.

Another year full of firsts and lasts. Today is my 25th birthday! My quarter of a century, I’m-officially-halfway-through-my-twenties birthday. And so much has happened.

This past year I changed jobs, leaving my first out of college “real” office job to come on staff at our church as a Worship Arts Pastor at our new campus. I was (and still am) blown away by the ways God ordained every small step in that process – I love getting to use so many of my gifts in my profession. And what a privilege it has been to stand up with my peers and lead us all in proclaiming the truth of Scripture, confessing our need for God, and showing up week after week to worship through corporate services. I am wowed by all God has done in my own heart through this job.

I got my very own guitar for my birthday last year – an incredible gift from Jacob and my parents that showed their investment in that season of my life and their belief in my success. I didn’t think it was possible, but my love for music has absolutely skyrocketed because of that guitar. I wrote my own songs this past year and mustered the courage to share them with friends and our congregation. Again, a “secret dream” I had been harboring for a long time, really even unknowingly to myself.

We found out we are expecting our first child in August last year. A shocking and, again, incredibly forming experience for us. I don’t even recognize parts of myself because of how much God has changed me over these 7 months of being pregnant so far. I loved being pregnant during Advent and anticipating the coming of the baby Jesus while also waiting expectantly for our own child to make her appearance this year. It has always sounded so cliche to me, but I can only imagine how much God will change me through motherhood. I haven’t even met our daughter yet and he has already done so much work in me because of her.

We received life-changing, world-turning news that threatened to leave us bitter and without hope. But again, God works patiently in our hearts and has done so much already. We still have some serious work to do in our hearts and in healing, but without the bitter, life couldn’t be nearly as sweet. For everything there is a season, after all.

This past year I read a ton of books, invested in deeper friendships, failed miserably with other friendships, laughed, cried, sang like nobody’s business, cooked and meal planned better than the year before and became (slightly) less OCD about having a clean house. God reignited my love for Scripture and grew me in the discipline of meeting with him. Jacob and I watched way too much Netflix, finally canceled the gym memberships we never used and got serious about saving money.

As I look to 25, I see motherhood, a strengthened marriage, further discovery of our giftings and how we can put them to work, new and old friendships blossoming, the humbling beginnings of parenthood and deeper relationships with Christ that infiltrate every thought we have, decision we make, and word we speak. God, I am looking to this year with expectant hope that you will be ever near to us and show us your glory, your plans, and your love. We are waiting with hope.

Just add a belt.

Just Add a Belt Fashion Inspiration
Just Add a Belt Fashion Inspiration
Just Add a Belt Fashion Inspiration
Just Add a Belt Fashion Inspiration

This outfit was so fun to put together! I recently got this dress from Pink Blush (for $15!!) and it’s become one of my new favorite pieces. It’s so versatile and so comfortable. That’s why dresses are one of my favorite fall clothing items – you look so cute, but secretly you know it’s all about comfort. ;)For those of you who commented last week about how green it was here.. I beg to differ! Ha! These trees are so bare it’s sad… it’s proof winter is really right around the corner. Although, we have yet to get any snow! And I’m thankful for that. I know it’s bound to come, and once it comes, it doesn’t go away… so I’m embracing these snow-free chilly days.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with the youth group this past Sunday and it was so fun. We all brought our favorite food items (which for some students was a pack of tacos from Taco Bell…) and ate too much, laughed, and spent time together.

The sad part for me is that it’s already November 25th, and I’ve hardly spent time this month reflecting on all the things I’m so thankful for. I know Thanksgiving is just a day, and that we should be thankful every day for these things, but it is nice to have a reminder once a year to just slow down and name those blessings, right?

So today I’m going to take a few seconds to name 10 things I’m thankful for. Will you tell me one or two things you’re thankful for in the comments?

1. Clothes – not only that I have more than enough, but also that I am able to choose how and when to wear them.

2. My apartment – that it’s warm, filled with food and furniture and a place we can invite others into to enjoy community.

3. Our new home city – moving to New England has been so great for our marriage.

4. The ability to travel for holidays – I’m so looking forward to seeing my in-laws this week. That’s the downside of living so far away: it’s been way too long since I’ve seen them.

5. New friends – God has blessed us abundantly with new friends in New England. I’m so thankful for them because God teaches me so much through community.

6. Old friends – He has also blessed us with friends who don’t waver, despite the distance. You know who you are. Thank you.

7. Technology – not only does it make it easier to communicate with people far away, but it has given me this opportunity to blog.

8. YOU – thank you for reading this blog and leaving encouraging comments. You have no idea how much that builds me up and spurs me on!! THANK YOU.

9. The freedom, security, and hope we have in the gospel – I can’t imagine what life would look like not knowing the truth of the Gospel.

10. My dear husband – he is absolutely my best friend. I love coming home to him, laughing, goofing off, planning our futures together and dreaming about this short life we have to live. He is such a gift.

You can shop a similar look here:
 

I’m linking up with Maegen and Jana for The Creative Closet. Check out their belted looks!

Dear Jacob

Dear Jacob,

I’m so thankful God made you. There are so many moments that I see glimpses of his overwhelming grace in you, I’m growing more and more grateful for your companionship daily. I love your laugh, listening to you talk about the things you enjoy, laughing at your Chickfila obsession, and exploring our new hometown together. I appreciate how you always make sure I can drive the newer car when I need to go anywhere, you do the dishes before you go to work and you listen to my outrageous emotional breakdowns more often than I wish I had them.

I love when you call me from work just to check on me or ask a quick question, our lazy Friday nights or Saturdays staying in, the way you get lost in a good story and how much you support me chasing my  crazy dreams. Thank you for making late dinners so I can run after work, not complaining when I snooze my alarm repeatedly every morning and not judging my crazy morning hair.

The past six months have been absolutely thrilling to move across the country with you and start a new adventure. Happy birthday, my dear. I cherish you.

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Don’t Wish Away Your Singleness

I’ve been married for two years now, so can I tell you that marriage is great? I’m sure you didn’t hear it from me first, though. I know there are lots of single ladies reading this who are longing for marriage… and probably already gearing up to click “exit” to leave this window out of exasperation. But I want to encourage you, so stick with me. Longing for marriage is a good thing, a natural thing, and something I can absolutely relate to! When I was single, I longed for marriage, too. I felt deep down inside of me that God created me to be a wife and I was eager to take up that role!

And I really don’t think that desire is a bad thing. I think most of us were created to get married and be sanctified through marriage. But I want to encourage you today not to wish away your singleness. Singleness is a gift, and, to be honest, the only Groom we are promised is Christ. He is more than enough.

Singleness is a gift because your mind is not torn between serving Christ and your husband – you can be totally focused on Christ (read 1 Corinthians 7:32-35). 

There is something so beautiful about being able to literally go and do whatever you feel lead to do. Spend all your free time investing in younger women. Have sleepovers. Take random fun and crazy trips. Spend a year in another country serving. Have other women over to your house for Bible study a few nights a week, etc. You are the only person you have to worry about right now, and that’s truly a gift! Listen to where God wants to use you and follow him without second-guessing.

Singleness is a gift because you will be sanctified through it. 

Just like marriage is a channel for sanctification, singleness is, too. Both of them bring their struggles – I think whichever is the opposite of  your “relationship status” is always the glorified one to you, because you don’t have it. But they both bring huge challenges and huge gifts – live in those moments and grow nearer to God through them. Don’t spend all of your time wishing you were somewhere you aren’t.

Singleness is a gift because you already have a Groom. 

Many women go into marriage expecting their husbands to fulfill their every unspoken need, which is totally unrealistic and unhealthy. In fact, it’s unrealistic to expect him to fulfill your every spoken need! He just can’t. But that’s okay, because your Savior, your ultimate Groom, already has and will continue to do so every minute of every day. If you do get married one day, you will be very well off if you spend your single days learning that Christ is your all in all. Because having an earthly husband won’t change that.

And, as much as our culture tells you the opposite, ladies, there is nothing wrong with you because you’re single. There are so many wonderful qualities about you that make you you, and that exemplify how much you are made in God’s image. Singleness is not a stepping stone to get somewhere else. It’s a part of life that will stretch you if you let it.

So today, if nothing else stuck – I hope that you can spend your days where God has you right now with wide eyes ready to follow where he points, instead of with your narrow eyes buried in the map you’ve drawn out for yourself. You are loved. So very loved.

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This post first appeared as a guest post on A Beautiful Exchange Blog last week.

730 Days

730 days ago, the day I’d been thinking about for most of my life was upon me and I couldn’t believe it.
730 days ago, I woke up at 6 am and rode with my mom to get dolled up for my groom.

730 days ago, my dad and I hid behind trees as we watched our family and friends arrive to my wedding and listened to our friend sing and play “Your Love is Strong” by Jon Foreman.

730 days ago, I put on a white dress and walked the long journey around a pond and down the aisle to my beloved.

730 days ago, referring to Jacob as “my husband” for the first time sent me into a giddy smiling spell.

730 days ago, we got sunburnt after just an hour of pictures and standing at the altar for 30 minutes.

730 days ago, our friends and family surrounded us as we vowed to love each other in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer, until the day we die.

730 days ago, my dad gave me away and Jacob’s dad lead us in promising God and each other that we would honor those commitments with all we are.

There’s something so beautiful about that commitment: knowing Jacob will be by my side for all of our lives. That in every decision, we have a sounding board, a checkmate, an encourager, a hard question-asker and a companion who won’t turn away when things are hard.

I’m so thankful for these 730 days that I’ve called him husband, and he’s called me wife. Here’s to the days ahead, when we don’t know what’s coming, but we do know who we will be standing beside.

I love you, Jacob.

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