Friday, December 19, 2014

Mary, Mary....Revisited

Happy Christmas season friends!  The season of anticipating.  Awaiting.  My heart is a mix of awe of Him....and sheer panic.  I've spent the morning trying to talk myself back from the ledge of Christmas panic.  I've got to do this and this and this and this by when????  With a newborn???  And a three year old who is going through a phase of just really liking being by and with Mommy as much as possible???
The truth is that I have paired back my Christmas 'to-do's' as much as possible this  year....but I still feel like my speed of productivity is akin to trudging through the mud while pulling a bootcamp style tire.  So even though I've tried to simplify....somehow my short to-do list still awaits me for the most part.  Smile.  Breathe.
But in the mix of that reality, is the other reality.  The realest one.  I've been thinking a lot about the fact that I've heard many times that Jesus was probably not born in December at all....more likely April.  LOL!  But still, there is something undeniable about Him in the air.  It's like He's hanging over me welcoming me at any moment to slip away mentally and ponder the fact that He came.  He came for me.  And you.  He came.  Wow...my mind can't even hold it all.

And I think about Mary.  Her journey.  We've read and heard the story so many times that we become familiar with it.  But if you take a step back and look with fresh eyes, her story deserves a big. fat. WHAT????!!!!!  She went through what?  Literally everyone must have been whispering behind her back.  She MUST have had a few moments of thinking back on the words of the angel and wondering if she had made everything up in a hallucination.  And then she would have looked down to her middle and been reminded that she was in the middle of walking out something that was so far beyond her.

In fact, if anyone would have been entitled,as we like to think of entitlement, to favor, as we like to think of favor,...wouldn't it have been Mary?

I wrote this last year and it's still one of my favorite bits of truth to ponder during this season:

A few weeks ago I was reading the second chapter of Luke and something hit me so hard - as if I'd never read the words before. Isn't that the most beautiful thing?!

Here's what I read:

Luke 2:6-7

"And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn."

Have you ever had one of those days where it seems that even your lost keys are against you? Seriously all you need to do is get to the store to pick up apples and toilet paper. But getting out of the house unfolds into one of life's great challenges: the shirt you thought would be clean, wasn't. The two year old wants to bang against your legs as you put on eyeliner. Said two year old really doesn't care to get out of his way too soggy overnight diaper and runs yelling "Noooooo!!!!!" You stump that same old toe on a red Hot Wheels that has blended into the red of the rug on the kitchen floor. Somehow, by the grace of God, you are finally dressed and he is finally dressed. The purse is in hand. He is hoisted into the car seat and wrestled in to be buckled. You sink in to the driver's seat and reach for your keys. WHERE ARE THE FREAKING KEYS?????!!!!! And you literally have this thought somewhat consciously - 'I am going to hurt someone.' Next thought: 'Are you kidding me God? Do you see me here? Are lost keys in this moment REALLY necessary?'

There are simply those moments when my sense of entitlement to a certain level of ease and what we may like to call blessing, take me back a bit. Hello ugly.

And then I read that teeny tiny phrase at the end of verse 7: "....and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn."

Double take. No room for them in the inn. If there was ever a human entitled to a little special treatment from the Most High - IT WAS MARY. Mary had the kind of faith that awed the heavenlies. She was willing to sacrifice every single bit of her reputation to submit to the Lord's plan. She was even willing to go it totally alone if it had been too much for Joseph. Who knows what her parents thought. She carried the most precious human being in her middle and then got on a donkey. A donkey. Only to get to Bethlehem and be told "We're so sorry. There's no room here tonight."

If I applied my humanity to Mary, her thoughts may have gone something like "Really. Really? Do you see me God? I feel so much pressure that I might explode. Was it too much to ask you to divinely touch my bladder so that the last pit stop wasn't necessary? If we had gotten here twenty minutes ago would that room have been available? DO YOU SEE ME AND YOUR CHILD???"

Somewhere along the line, we've come under the impression that the one God blesses does not encounter challenge.

But it's stories like Mary's that make it so clear how off that is! If anyone deserved some TLC - it was sweet Mary. But God had a bigger picture and a much more beautiful story unfolding that superceded what we may think Mary deserved in our human perspective. Our Savior took his first breath of air on Earth as a human in a stable, with animals and cloaked in humility. In fact, the very truth that He came as a humble King is a huge part of the story of Salvation. Mary's lack of comfort became a cornerstone piece of a story that has been told for thousands of years and sets this God-man apart. He came in humility, he lived in humility and he died in humility. There was something of much more import taking place than whether or not God was good enough to give them a room instead of a stable and a manger.


Mercy, Father. Forgive me for belting out my "God where are you???" cries when the challenge presents itself. Humility is a beautiful gift and this is a beautiful season to turn our eyes to It.

Beautiful.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Women Can Do Hard Things

Well shoot.  Shoot.  I just wrapped up a middle of the night feeding with my Shepherd and I could be sleeping.  Four hours is enough sleep though, right?!  Who needs more than four?!

It all could have gone like clockwork if I hadn't seen her post on Facebook while nursing.  Do you follow Jen Hatmaker?  If not, do yourself a solid and get on it.  She's hilarious, real, and challenging.  This is what she posted that caught my attention:

Had some of my faves over last night. We call it "Porch Night" even if we were inside because it was too cold: 60 degrees. (Don't hate. We have sensitive Texas constitutions.)

We celebrated Jami who just finished her first semester of nursing school LIKE A BOSS. Straight A's while still parenting three young kids. She had to make her own celebratory orange-ginger cheesecake because none of us can out-dessert her (you may recall she drove to my house and staged a toffee intervention once). I provided champagne. We all have our gifts.

My mom is on the right, and she went back to college when her four kids were in high school, middle school, and elementary. Amy on the left just started a new job while also homeschooling her FOUR BOYS. I wrote my first book when my kids were 1, 3, and 5 like some lunatic.

I just love when women chase down a new dream right in the middle of living their lives. It feels so courageous and gutsy. Sometimes a "not yet" turns into "never" if it sits around waiting too long. Rarely is "right now" easy or convenient, but sometimes you just decide to put your head down and GO FOR IT.

You got a dream simmering? Are you waiting around for "someday"? Maybe that someday should be now. Women are capable of so much. I bet you would surprise yourself.


To all the girls who are wives and moms, I am certainly not saying that being a wife or a mom is the easy road.  Nor is it lacking in calling and destiny!  And focusing on those two callings may be exactly/precisely/perfectly what you are called to do right now - and nothing more.  But..... if there is something stirring inside of you that is outside of those two boxes, maybe it's not intended for ten years down the road.  Maybe.  And maybe not.  It may be that ten years down the road is right on time.  

But man alive, reading Jen's words made something inside of me resonate.  And thus, I'm blogging at 4 AM.  Makes perfect sense really!  LOL. Wow though - women can do hard things.  If there's grace.  If He's calling you out on the waters.  If there's a yes inside of you that's aching to become a small step forward.  

You, my friend, can do hard things.  

You were made for an adventure.  You were made to be stretched.  You were made to be alive.  You were made to change the atmosphere around you - whether that atmosphere is your home, your office or some crazy mix of the two.  

I had a mom that I really respect recently comment to me in person about my blogging.  She is a mom of many more humans than two and she had read one of my recent posts.  She was asking me how I was doing in the adjustment to two and mentioning that she had read the blog about my desire to get back on board with the weekly blogging.  (Ahem.  That didn't happen last week.  One step at a time!)  She looked at me and smiled and said "Abi....."  There wasn't a lot more than that but it carried a warning.  Don't push yourself too hard right now.  Don't put more demand on yourself than is healthy.  All from a place of love.  Sincerely!  I appreciate her so much and continue to glean mentoring from her by just watching how she raises great kids.  But, you know, women can do hard things.  We can't do all the hard things at one time.  Sometimes blogging does feel hard.  Sometimes I feel crazy for clicking away.  For making time to do that.  For pushing myself to connect more deeply with what's inside of me that can come up and out.  And, FOR THE LOVE, for doing so at 4 AM!!!!!!!!!!

But, it's my thing of obedience.  It's my thing, girl, and it does really thrill my heart.  Because it's a step.  It's a step towards something that is deep inside of me.  It pushes me!  I may not have the bandwidth to sit down and start writing that book but I can push in this incremental way.  

You have a thing.  I promise you.  Please don't feel guilt if you don't know what that thing is.  And if now is not the season for you to even take a step towards it, own that.  Allow peace, contentment and trust to be your's if you're reading these words but know that you know you're right where you're supposed to be and not taking those steps forward is obedience.  But, if something is stirring and you can't shake it.........take a step.

And now, I'm going back to sleep.  If I hit the sack right now, I can get in another hour and a half.  Livin' the dream!  

I'm inspired by you.  I'm challenged.  And I'm all stirred up.  Thanks a lot Jen Hatmaker :).

Love y'all,
Abi

P.S.  And duh, men can do hard things too.  I speak to a woman's perspective but I is one :).  

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Pressing In...First Thoughts

Heeeeeey! Word from a tired person on a wild Saturday night! It's 8:16pm. Blog Friday has become my Saturday night endeavor and I'm once again trying to prop the eyelids open as I blog. Livin' the dream! But really...I am :).

On a totally unrelated note (which may happen a lot in this post because I'm tired) - my writing partner tonight is Jimmy Fallon. I just really really appreciate him in my life. Z and I were talking the other day and determined that JF is actually an integral part of our life. He's the one show we watch together consistently. Let's be honest - sometimes I get my news through him...not proud of it but I'm a tired new mom. Jimmy Jimmy. You're truly hilarious and you make me LOL - literally. And now he's helping me write. What a pal, as he would say.

Last week, I mentioned that I have been pondering 'pressing into God' recently. It seems like that concept of pressing has been on my heart over the course of this year. Sometimes my brain is funny. This time, it's like the phrase runs over and over in my mind and I just hear the words. It's one of those phrases so familiar in Christian culture that I don't even think about it much when I hear it. And then it hits me, 'wait - what does that even mean???' 'What does God want me to get from that phrase?' And then we have to be honest about phrases we've heard forever and say....'Where is it in the Word of God?' And so this concept of pressing in has been that thing that's been messing with me. I don't think I've got anything to share that is going to rock your world, but I do hope your heart finds itself encouraged as you read.

Out of all of my pondering, there is one thing that keeps standing out. And it's this simple truth I think lines up with the heart of God:

Abi, you cannot press into me more than I am pursuing you. You cannot out-effort me. You cannot one up me. This IS NOT one sided. In fact, you may think you're initiating with me but the big truth is that I initiate absolutely everything first. I'm first. Always. I loved you first. I knew you first. So don't get all worked up into striving when you hear the phrase 'press in.' Don't work up a sweat. Pressing in is a simple response to the truth that I am pursuing you before you even wake in the morning.

I'm not trying to present theology or that these are the words of God that I heard audibly. Just what has been stirring inside of me.

Pressing into Him is not about knocking down the door of a God who would rather not be bothered. It's not about working hard to get His attention.

It IS about saying, 'No matter what today, I will press past distraction. I will decide to respond to the one who is already pursuing me. I will listen without fear of silence. I will quiet my soul to know that you are God and you are here.'

Pressing in is a response, not our initiation towards Him. That kind of changes things for me.

Thank you for graciously reading my tired thoughts tonight. I have a feeling I'll come back to this post when my brain, eyes, heart and soul are more fresh. But it just felt important to move forward with what I could tonight.

Goodnight my friend...hope your weekending has been wonderful so far,
Abi

Friday, November 14, 2014

The New Normal: Labored Breathing

Dear You,

I.  MISS. YOU.  Truly, madly, for real.  At the moment, my eyelids are propped up by a cup of coffee overheated by 20 seconds....ie scalding.  It's the cup o' joe that accompanies me through the day.  Who knows how many times it revisits the microwave.  Who knows.  At the moment, one boy is sleeping and one boy isn't.  Question - why aren't wet nurses still a thing?

My fingers itch to type and talk with you, it's the brain that's struggling to keep up!  My brain is half on and half off..... I have said some truly ridiculous things in the past six weeks.  How has it been six weeks since September 29???  The boy who looked like this:




Now looks like this:



I've said it before and I'll say it again, baby boys are delicious.  I feel so honored to have these two under our roof and under our wings. Who knows if I'll ever have experience as a girl mom, but I relish the two precious boys God has trusted me with.  Now....sometimes I question His mental stability if He looked at me and actually said 'Yep - let's trust her with human lives.'  LOL!  I jest.  But really.  Now more than ever, I feel so far from perfect.  Also more okay with that but still far far far away from perfection.  I've heard people say that the transition from one to two is more challenging than two to three.  Let's HOPE that's true!

Want to know a funny?  I just started hearing a rushing bubbling sound and my brain was so perplexed.  I thought it was the ice maker in the freezer.  Then it occurred to me that our ice maker doesn't currently work.  Then I just thought it was the refrigerator (pronounced fidgalator if you're a three year old living in this house).  Then I smelled food.  So I turned around.  Oh yeah!  I was warming up soup for lunch!  Who knew?!  It's now scalding (much like the aforementioned coffee) and has been boiling for who knows how long.  Eh.  I'll eat it anyways!  Such a perfect little insight into the functioning of my brain, yay!

Watching brother so intently:



I'm aching to get back into the swing of blogging every Friday.  Mostly, I think, because it's something that I can focus on that doesn't involve keeping people alive for just 30 minutes.  As honest as I am about how challenging I find this season and this transition, I have to be honest and say that the hard factor has gone way up but the reward/love factor has gone up even higher.  I LOVE being a mom.  It is even better the second time around, in my personal opinion.  It is way better!  The transition from zero to one child is such a shock to the system.  Your whole life is turned upside down and nothing remains the same.  Your precious bundle makes you feel all kinds of depths of love never before felt, but your life is lost more each month and the new life of being parents establishes itself more each month.  And it's hard!  Wonderful and hard.  I have loooooved being a mom to our second baby because even the deep down hard moments of sleep deprivation, you know you're going to make it.  I know it will be better tomorrow.  That coffee will help.  That He will give me what I need to keep going.  With Liam, I think I truly had (moments of) doubting whether or not I could actually sustain the level of commitment it took to be mommy.  Not long term doubting, but definite panic at a few particular moments!  It's a joy to be able to just love your baby and to not fight the hard parts as much.  It's a joy to be able to look at my bounding, chatty, funny three year old and to be reminded that each phase passes so quickly and that even the hard ones are beautiful because they are life.  And it's TRULY wonderful to feel more proud of myself this time around.



I was working in an office full time when I had Liam.  I loved my job and the people I had the pleasure of working with.  Great experience.  I felt proud of my work there because I worked hard, did challenging things and found excellence.  Being a mom was just a different kind of hard and it took me some time (especially after becoming a full time stay at homer a year later) to feel like I was doing hard work.  Not less important work, but there was something about the specific challenge of my professional work that made me feel valid.  Well, I'm  here to tell you, that inner dilemma is gone gone gone.  I am really proud even on the days when my make up belongs to yesterday, I haven't gotten dressed really, and I can't remember the answer to 'what's your favorite movie?' (granted that's a complicated answer: Anne of Green Gables/Pride and Prejudice/You've Got Mail/The Bourne Trilogy/etc).  Even when I look like this:


I am proud.  (Took this pic just before I started typing - unwashed face and the need for a shower is very real).  Because I know that I'll get back to the point of being able to get myself dressed and them dressed in the same day.  Today, we shared some bear hugs, I refrained from having a meltdown (win), I got to look deeply into the big blue eyes of Shepherd and tell him how much I love him, Liam had a piggy back ride on me that made him laugh with abandon and call me his horsey, I got to share time with a friend that means so much to me, and I have worked hard.  I've worked hard at loving, at keeping sweet boys alive, at sharing with a friend, at remembering my husband and how hard he works for our family, and oh yes, I've turned off the water to our dishwasher to stop a leak from continuing.  Now that's impressive.

So my new normal is starting to be discovered.  It's edging up over the horizon and I like it.  I'm beyond thankful for the gift of two children. Two lives!  Wow. And could they be more precious?  No.  Even in the way challenging moments, no they could not be more precious or valuable.


The new normal makes my breathing labored every single day.  It makes me pant lol!  But it's good because I am pressing in.  These two are my mantras in this season:

2 Corinthians 2:9  "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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."

Philippians 4:19 "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus."


I try to let those roll over inside of me again and again and again.  


I love you for reading.  For connecting with me.  I wish you could tell me how the past few weeks have been in your life!  Have you had any great coffee?  Any truly good chocolate?  These are the things I need to know, friends. Has He been teaching you anything in the quiet places of your thoughts?  




I'm going to put together some more thoughts on the realities of pressing in for next Friday.  If you have any thoughts on that topic - please reach out to me!  I'd love to hear of your experience.  


Much love and happy weekending y'all,

Abi The Tired


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dear Mr. Epidural, Dr. Thompson and Jesus....

How has it been EIGHT DAYS since we became parents to two little boys?  Mind blowing.  Time moves at a snail's pace and it sails past you all at once in the twilight zone of newborn world.  It also leads one to irrational decision making.  I.E. I feel compelled that THIS is the best time to blog.  Ten PM at night - the littlest brother is settled in and asleep - and I could be asleep too.  But, for the moment, this seems like a great choice :)

After Liam was born, I did a blog post of his birth story so that I would have a place to go back to remember every detail of that experience.  Now it's Shepherd's turn!  If you're like me, you can read a personal story of someone else's and get engrossed in it and love all of the juicy/intimate details.  But if you're not like me, then this one probably isn't for you!!!!!!  It's just my story and his story and you're more than welcome to experience it with me.

Note: If I were a male and reading this post, I'd go ahead and exit out and call it a day, my friend.  :)

I went to see Dr. Thompson at 38.5 weeks and I was SO THRILLED to learn that I was dilated to a 2 and I was 80% effaced.  GLORY!  I had been cramping and having occasional contractions for a week at that point and it was so encouraging to hear that progress had been made.  A lot of the sweetness of Shepherd's birth story is because of the context of how Liam was born and having a miscarriage last summer.  My body simply didn't do anything when I was carrying Liam.  Not one Braxton Hicks.  No dilating.  At my 41 week appointment, the ultrasound showed next to no amniotic fluid left for him and my doctor felt it was essential to induce the next day.  We did pitocin - had a very hard labor with no epidural - stalled at 8 cm - was told it was either an epidural to help everything relax and dilate or jump to a c-section - did the epidural and did dilate to a 10 - pushed for quite a while and Liam got into a face up and twisted position - at which point the doctor said she really didn't think he would come out.  C-section.  I can't really go back and second guess much of that experience and I was just so thankful for a healthy baby boy out of it.  But it was somewhat traumatic and the healing that happened after delivery was as much emotional as it was physical.  I am so thankful the c-section was there to help Liam come safely but there is something deeper than words can express inside of me that desired to have him the other way.  I knew within weeks of delivering Liam, that I wanted to look into a doctor that did VBACs so I could learn more about options.  

There are definite risks with VBACs but my dear friend, a labor and delivery nurse at St. Francis, told me that if I wanted to go that route next time, Dr. Thompson was the best.  So I made my appointment less than a year after Liam was born to have him do my well woman checkup and talk to him about my c-section!  From that appointment, I knew I would go with him.  He pulled my surgical report and went over every detail with me and sat and talked to me like he had all the time in the world.  He told me that I was a good candidate for a VBAC but he told me about the risks and his philosophy too.  The man has been doing these for 30+ years.  I so wish that every single one of my friends who have experienced a csec could have a conversation with him.  He doesn't just go into a VBAC haphazardly.  He has a very specific approach and method that is bred from years of experience.

So, when he saw that my body was making progress at 38.5 weeks, and he felt the baby's head and accurately guessed he would be between 8 and 8.5 pounds (gestational diabetes generally makes babies bigger even if your blood sugar has been well controlled), he explained to me all of the reasons why he felt we should induce.

Now.  Had he been talking to me three years ago, as a first time mom with every intention of avoiding interventions such as an epidural and induction, I would have found a way to say 'no thank you.'  But, he was talking to the now me.  The me that went through a very difficult labor without an epidural, ended up with an epidural and then had a somewhat rough c-section.  Man, talk about a brutal recovery!   I knew that this time I would get an epidural much earlier in the process.  You have to go into a VBAC knowing that a c-section may still be the very best outcome.  I had zero/zilch/nada desire to go through the physical experience of extreme pain and then end up with another surgery.  Pass the drugs, please.  When he recommended an induction, I had to process a bit.  I saw him on a Thursday and the only opening in the following two weeks to induce was the next Monday morning.  I would be exactly 39 weeks.  Zion and I talked it over, and we both felt odd peace about it and agreed we'd be there Monday morning.

Well, God was so nice to me.  Seriously.  Starting Thursday, the cramps/contractions started going to another level and continued over the weekend.  I wasn't sure I'd make it to Monday!  The mucus plug (seriously - please tell me you're not reading this if you're a guy) started coming out on Friday night and on Sunday I was fairly certain I was in full-on early labor.  I was able to rest and it eased back but it was so reassuring to me to see that this time, my body was cooperating with delivering a baby!  So when we went in on Monday morning, I felt great about it.  READY.  By the time they checked me I was at 3 cm and having contractions every 5 minutes.  Fist pumping ensued.

Here's the link to the post that I wrote the morning we were going into the hospital.

The whole day was smooth.  Which bowled me over in comparison to my first labor and delivery!  Liam was worth every second and more, though :).  I'd do that whole thing over again in a heartbeat to get to the end and have my first precious baby boy in our lives.  BUT - I felt the kindness of God from the moment we got there until way after Shepherd was born.  I don't know why the two experiences needed to be so different - but I had a deep appreciation for this one because of the first one!

Dr. Thompson broke my water around 10:30am.

Had to start breathing through and focusing around 11:30am.

Decided I was ready for the epidural by 1:00pm.

Got it at 1:40pm..... turns out the anesthesiologist was our friend's dad - whom we had never met - but I sure did meet him in a special way in that moment.  Hi Dr. Gillock!  We love your son and daughter-in-law! Meet my derriere!  Ain't she grand??!!

Ahhhhhhh the epidural.  I. Love. It.  I felt so clear about my desire for one this time.  No regrets...not even one teeny tiny whimpering of one.  It was a great epidural though.  I had one patch of feeling (although definitely not 100%) in my left leg/hip area.  I could feel a cramp there every time I was contracting.  It turned out to be very helpful for pushing!  If we have the honor of having another baby - sign me up again. Sign. Me. Up.

I got checked right after the epidural and was at a 6!  I mean, seriously, it just seemed like the progress was flowing so smoothly - and I kept pinching myself.  Next we did different positions to get Shepherd to keep coming down.  And the next time we checked, I was at a 8+.  Whaaaat?????

Not too much later, my nurse Diane (amazing amazing) came in and said, 'Listen, I'm going to check you again because Dr. Thompson just came on the unit.  This is bizarre, but seriously when he gets here his patients usually start delivering."  Lo and behold, I was even closer.  In comes Dr. Thompson to check on us.  He takes a quick look and says, 'Let's have this baby, Abi.'  Um, okay!  Poor Zion Spencer.  He had stepped into the restroom just before Dr. Thompson came in.  When he came back into the room there was all of the tools, I had assumed the position and we were literally just getting ready to start.  Bless him, that was a quick turnaround!

At first, Dr. Thompson had thought that I would delivery quickly. Well.....not that quickly.  We pushed for fifteen minutes and he said, "Abi, I want you to take a break (again - THANK YOU epidural).  I've got a patient that needs me for a c-section.  I'm going to go do that and I'll be back in 15 minutes to do this with you."  Okay!  Although, I will say, I think that Zion, my mom and I were holding our breath for a little bit during that wait.  We had gotten to this point with Liam too when my doctor got really uncertain and kind of shrugged and said she didn't think it was going to happen.  The vulnerability level is unreal in those moments.  You're doing all you know to do to but there's no way around it - it is and it feels absolutely out of your hands.  It could go either way.

He swept back into the room 20 minutes later and again said, 'Let's have this baby, Abi!'  I can't even begin to say how helpful and life-giving it was to feel his belief in me.  He kept that tone the entire time, telling me I was doing perfectly.  Ha!  I mean, how often are you told that you're perfect???!!!!  It took me a little bit to not balk at his statements...but I found a way and decided to just embrace it for what it was - deep encouragement that this was happening.  We pushed a total of about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  In essence, this was like having a first baby from a physical perspective.  So, there was a LOT of pushing that felt totally unproductive.  Mercy, I think it took me 30 minutes straight of pushing to actually get a feel for how to do it productively.  But, even when I was doing it totally wrong and getting frustrated, Dr. Thompson would just say 'Don't worry about it, Abi.  This is how everyone starts out and this is what everyone does.  You'll get it.' He just never put an ounce of doubt into the room.  I couldn't believe it.  At some point, I asked him if he felt I was past the c-section zone.  I kid you not, he looked right at Zion, and said, "Oh I've known for two months that she wouldn't have a c-section!  She has been so calm and positive about it from the beginning and that's really the perspective you have to have instead of worrying and trying to control everything.  We're not having a c-section today.'

Now, including that little bit feels audacious.  I could have just skipped over that.  But, in my shoes in that moment, his words meant the absolute world to me.  It meant everything and I want to remember it.  I just couldn't believe that he believed in me so much.  He's not a risky man and if there was a need to do a c-section, I know that he would not have hesitated. I tear up just re-reading his words because after you've worked so hard with a labor and ended up with a c-section the feelings of failure are fairly real.  God brought so much healing to my heart after having Liam.  But to hear my doctor being proud of me and believing in me made both Zion and me emotional.

I remember with every contraction, Dr. Thompson would passionately say, "Let's go to work Abi!"  It's those ridiculous little phrases that kept me going.  My mom and Zion kept the encouragement going too and somehow I never felt like I couldn't go through with it.

We pushed and pushed and pushed to get him past the pelvic bone.  And, then, in an instant - my precious boy's head was down far enough that Dr. Thompson had me reach down and feel it.  It was everything I needed to re-engage but also enough to make me fall apart.  I could feel it happening and was on the verge of weeping for the last few pushes.  Not helpful for pushing a child out of you.  :)

Having never pushed a baby out before, I thought that the hard part would be pushing the actual baby out - the last part.  I was so shocked that that wasn't true!  After he got past the bone - he just slid out and right into my hands where Dr. Thompson had me reach down and pull him up.

Our baby boy.  The baby our hearts longed for after losing a baby last summer.  We had ached for him and my heart had deeply desired this kind of delivery.  There aren't words, really.  God has been so gracious.  So gracious.  Zion and my mom were there every step of the way and Zion and I got to hold our screaming son on my chest right after he was born.  Dr. Thompson believed in me and gave me the opportunity to deliver a child without surgery.  How could I ever say thank you adequately?

Friends, these are my pictures.  They are intimate moments and they are so precious to me.  Feel free to pass because there is a little blood and guts glory :).  But I think they tell the story much better than any words of mine are capable of.  















I am sleep deprived, friends.  I am hormonal.  But, I am so thankful and utterly in awe of the gift we've been given.  Shepherd Levi Spencer was born on September 29, 2014 at 6:08pm.  He weighed 8lbs, 2oz and was 21 inches long.  We are a family of four and I could not be more tired or more happy :).  Liam doesn't necessarily want to hold his baby but he loves him.  We have two boys that melt our hearts with their preciousness every single hour.  Still can't wrap our minds around how much we've been blessed.

Thanks for letting me gush, share honestly, and record our story here so that I'll always have the details to refresh myself.  I'm guessing it will be about one more hour before my little man is ready to feed again so off I go to sleep - briefly!

Much love and thanks,
Abi

Monday, September 29, 2014

An Early Morning and a Baby Boy

On August 3, 2011 I was awake for a similar reason.  I was awake because I was 8 days overdue and an ultrasound showed almost no amniotic fluid left for Liam - so it was time to induce.  This time, it's Shepherd's turn.  Still inducing but so many different circumstances.  It's a week early (myself as a first time mom would have balked at inducing early/not giving the baby enough time/tampering with nature/the list goes on).  But my heart is too excited to sleep.

Hey, this time around IS better because the night before we went in for Liam's big day I slept a whopping ONE HOUR before go-time.  This time, I got in a glorious four hours :).

This time, I have had the joy (well, looking back it was a joy and in the moment it was the thing that made me cranky/edgy/and brow furrowed) of experiencing early labor.  Startling because I felt nary one little twinge when I was carrying Liam - even all those days past my due date.  So these twinges, sensations and hmmmmms have been a beautiful thing.

It's so surreal to have carried a baby for 9 months and know that within hours he will have escaped my insides to lay on my chest.  It is something sacred and I am filled with gratitude this morning.  Gratitude and a bit of a foggy head because four hours of sleep doesn't usually cut it.

I go into today trusting in the One who got me through Liam's big day which ended in a c-section.  I go into the process hopeful and full of faith and anticipation for a delivery without surgery.  BUT knowing that surgery is a miracle in and of itself.  That the greatest gift is the miracle of life created, carried and ushered into the outside world.

Isn't it odd to be on the brink of something so huge and to have no idea or control over how it will go?  Such a beautiful and challenging opportunity to press into trust and let go.

My next post will be an introduction of sorts.  My life will have been turned very upside down and I'll have two boys.  I'll be exhausted.  But so happy.  And I'll be able to bend over without wanting to curse.  And I'll be able to eat that brownie without a thought of gestational diabetes.  And I'll have way too many pictures to be considered moderate.  And I'll have a story of faithfulness - with beautiful twists and turns.

Happy Monday, my friends.  I'm off to meet another little man who will change me forever.

Lots of love,
Abi

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Quiet Heart on a Friday

Happy Friday!

I had coffee with one of my friends who happens to be a high school senior this morning. Such a joy. Fridays change as your school years pass, but there is STILL something undeniably wonderful about a Friday. I'm soaking that up today. (Thanks to my really really great mom who has my little companion with her for a few hours today).

No big personal stories on this Friday. Instead a direction for our hearts to focus on. Or for mine to focus on and for you to ponder :).

The past few days my heart has been stirring. Every time I start to talk to the Lord I feel the weight of his hand nearly saying 'Stop.' Well that's interesting isn't it?! But it's the kindest kind of stop. It's the stop that's saying, 'You've become giving heavy. It's all about you talking to me, you pursuing me, you standing for others, you doing. Of course those are beautiful things, but THIS is all about Me giving to you, daughter. Stop. Quiet your heart. Be still. Don't pray. Don't lift a weight. Let me remind you of who and what I say you are and who I am to you. Be reminded! Let me talk to you.'

Today, I invite you to join me in quieting the heart. In receiving instead of giving. Instead of thinking. Instead of anything else...

This song has been my theme for the past few days. You may want to play it in the background as I list out a few verses of who our God says that we are for pondering:


From Christianity Today:

I am God's child.
Galatians 3:26  "So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith..."
I am Jesus' friend.
John 15:15  "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you."
I am a whole new person with a whole new life.
2 Corinthians 5:17  "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!"
I am a place where God's Spirit lives.
1 Corinthians 6:19  " Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;"
I am God's Incredible work of art.
Ephesians 2:10  "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do"
I am totally and completely forgiven.
1 John 1:9  "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
I am created In God's likeness.
Ephesians 4:24  " and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness"
I am spiritually alive.
Ephesians 2:5  "made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved."
I am a citizen of Heaven.
Philippians 3:20  "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,"
I am God's messenger to the world.
Acts 1:8  "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
I am greatly loved.
Romans 5:8  "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
My heart is going to be camping out here for a bit.  Not focusing on what I can do for Him, what I can say to Him, or how I can be like Him.  But instead, on who He says that I am, what He is saying, and simply receiving.  

Happy weekending y'all!
Abi

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Life Lately: Pregnant, Tired, Joyful, Carb Hungry, and Honest

You know, the truth is that I am one nosy little person. (I guess I am kind of the opposite of a little person at 36.5 weeks pregnant!) But seriously, I love hearing people's stories. And my favorite bloggers share not just the highs of life and only perfect pictures, but truths of their lives that let me access them beyond the perfect. If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen my belly pics every few weeks. Let's be honest sister. I only take those pictures when I am dressed. And by dressed I mean, looking as good as I possibly can look under the circumstances. Here's the pic that I posted at the beginning of this week:


And here's what I look like as I type this blog:


Listen - to each her own, but I come from a long line of women that are greatly benefited by a little war paint as my great grandmother used to call it. Makeup. I do just love a bold pink lipstick. But let's be honest - I am that put together about 15% of the time!

These fingers are itching to get a little real and a little honest. I think it just hit me that I hadn't done a blog post of that nature in quite a while. So this one will be a little of this and a little of that - trying to be transparent about life, God, a painful loss, and the joy of life.

First, I love being pregnant. Truly. I am one of those. I feel all the feelings. Maybe it's because we experienced the loss of a pregnancy/child about a year ago (see this post and this follow up post). This child has been a great gift to carry. I think you're more in touch with the sanctity of human life when it's your second child but also after you've lost a baby. The preciousness of life is so blatant once you have experienced the loss of a life inside of you. So feeling every rolling elbow and even lugging the large middle from one side to the other side in the middle of the night, is a miracle.

Having said that, this pregnancy has been far less of a breeze than my experience with Liam was. Let's be honest - I had a cush pregnancy with Mr. William Justice. I sat at a desk for most of 8 hours a day and could chill on the couch after work. Not so with Mr. Shepherd Levi! Not so.

We started this one out with a bang. My progesterone was low at the very beginning so I went on supplements for the first trimester. Hello. That happened to coincide with a two month period of job transition for Zion and it all added up to me on the couch - a lot. The big old doses of hormones plus our personal transition meant I was emotionally low and physically low. Not so pretty. Bless my boys' hearts for showing me so much grace during that first trimester. Meeting second trimester had never sounded so good and saying buh bye to progesterone supplements was an instantaneous lift.

Of course, that timing was again crazy because the beginning of second trimester brought Zion full force into a new position. A great position. But, I think intense would be an accurate word to describe the transition and position. He's always been a hard worker but this time it's a whole new level. Traveling, working on the weekends, waking up at 5am to start on emails, and busting his brains to adapt to a new industry filled with some of the most intelligent people he's ever encountered has kept him intensely focused since the first few weeks...and it hasn't let up....and I'm thinking it won't let up. And that's okay! We are both excited about where this is going for him and we believe he's at the right place at the right time. But that doesn't mean it's not still intense...and demanding for our entire little family unit. Thank goodness that didn't start until we were in the second trimester! Praises.

Well then came third trimester. And my first failed glucose test...so back we go for the lovely three hour test. I was hopeful that it would come back negative but literally within a few days of having that second test done, I knew I was dealing with gestational diabetes without seeing the test results. It was like a switch went off in my body and all of the sudden I felt horrible. Three bites of birthday cake gave me a headache. My muscles started aching and trembling with fatigue as if I'd just run a half-marathon. My doctor confirmed it and thus began the great diet change of 2014. I think that my body was literally in carb/sugar withdrawal for two straight weeks. LOL! In retrospect, I understood fairly little about carbs and was having way more than I even realized. And then there was the straight up sugar. I was having less of it than I had with Liam, but sister, I still loved me a mix from Braums. So overnight, I went to counting carbs and eating pretty much zero sweets. Whew! The grace of God appears in circumstances like that because you truly are motivated to do just about anything to keep your baby healthy and give him every benefit of health that's up to you.

There's definitely been grace but there have been a fair share of low days when I am pressing into that grace with every ounce of strength I have in me. When my blood sugar gets a little off it can take 24-36 hours to start feeling normal again. That's frustrating when you feel like your to-do list is oh, like, never ending. :)

BUT there's always a gift! And the gift is that I feel so much better having made the change to counting carbs and cutting out sweets! AND - I am not nearly the puff ball that I was with Liam. Now, that is somewhat vain. But, I'm telling you, I AM thankful for that. The last 8 weeks of pregnancy with Liam, my ankles were the very definition of cankles and my face was whatever the facial equivalent of that is. I'm not being hard on myself...just honest. So, it's a bit of a joy to look down and still see bones in my ankles! And to be able to see some fraction of bone structure apparent in my face! This is the closest I'll ever be to a skinny pregnant woman and sister, I am embracing it.

My birthday will be a few days after Shepherd is born. I've decided that I need two birthday cakes this year. The vast majority of women's gestational diabetes simply disappear upon giving birth because it's a hormonal response to pregnancy. So heeeeeeeeyyyyyyyy! I want to keep a lot of the habits I've developed but let me just say - birthday cake WILL be enjoyed. When you go the last eight weeks of your pregnancy without sugar, ya just need two cakes. If I were you, I'd want to know what the picks were! My mom's incomparable chocolate sheet cake and pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust. Yes and amen. Yes. And. Amen. If you'd like to come visit me or bring me a meal after October 11 (we celebrate my birthday while watching OU/TX), you will probably be offered cake. Be strategic people.

All in all, even though there have been some very trying phases to this pregnancy, I am still overcome with thankfulness. One - for the capacity to carry a healthy baby to term and two - for this particularly precious boy's life. I'm in love with him entirely and I cannot wait to stare into his eyes and kiss that face. Bring on sleep deprivation...at least I'll be able to eat some popcorn when I want to lol!

Man alive, am I still typing???

I am. So let's wrap it up, shall we?

I pray grace and peace over you this weekend. May it be revitalizing. May you find moments of deep rest - even if it's only five minutes :). And may you enjoy life this weekend!

Much love y'all,
Abi

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rise Up

Hello there. Hi!

May my words be brief today and to the point!

My heart is stirring with simple encouragement as I write. Encouragement that I take directly for myself and encouragement that is too broad to not be somewhat applicable to anyone else, too.

Isaiah 52:2

"Shake yourself from the dust and arise; be seated, O Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion."
(English Standard Version)



On this Friday, can we take that as encouragement straight from Him to our hearts? There is grace today no matter how weak, how tired, how confused, how disheveled, how strong, how proud, how self-sufficient, how okay we feel, how anything etc etc etc we may feel, to RISE up and shake off the dust. There is grace to shake it off. That's what He does. He cleans. He redeems. He makes new. He starts us over. He gives NEW mercy every single day. He lifts the burden.

The thought of rising up to shake ourselves off may be more than you can tolerate because it's more will than you feel you can muster. Or the picture of rising up to shake ourselves off may be the exact picture you need to breathe life into your soul.

Truth says that no matter what this week has held, no matter what the last five minutes have held, no matter if you feel full of life or if you feel you are going through the motions, there IS grace to stop. To stand up, shake off the dust, and arise.

I find it so interesting that this scripture refers to us loosing the bonds from our own necks. Those are Bible words for stopping, deciding you're done with the heaviness that pursues your thoughts, your soul, or your heart and making a choice to step out of it.

Mercy, we all know that there are times it's not that simple.

But, let that not dissuade us from the truth that sometimes it is that simple.

We cannot step out of the heaviness because we are strong/perfect/all-sufficient. The only reason we can truly have faith that it is possible to shake ourselves from the dust is because THAT is His business. THAT is His deal. THAT is who He is. Maybe our minds forget that. Maybe our hearts forget that.

So, it's Friday. Let's cease and desist any forgetfulness right now. Let's remember. HE has not forsaken. He has not forgotten. He is real and He is here. And He's in the business of making all things new....even a weary heart.

Perhaps a little heavy for a Friday but maybe it will be the moment that welcomes a lightness into our Fridays!

Happy weekending y'all and much love,
Abi

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Woman Thing: Part Two

Oh man oh man oh man am I happy to be sitting here typing to you! Life has been a little unexpected over the past few weeks. A little more exhausting than anticipated. So when those Fridays would roll around and it was time to blog, I was on the depleted side of things and decided to let myself off the hook instead of forcing a post. But this week - I'm feeling it again! I'm feeling the stirring of writing before Friday and THAT's something that puts a little smile in my fingers.

If you missed the first post I did on The Woman Thing, and want to give it a read, click here.

Can I just tell you....can I JUST TELL YOU that this little bit of a topic has been wrestling around inside of me since writing two or three weeks ago. Sometimes in a fruitful way, sometimes in a 'gross make it go away' kind of way. Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones, right??!!

I still don't think I have all (or even many) answers for myself in terms of the woman thing. You know the thing. The one that quietly whispers or sometimes loudly blares "Lord, just don't let me miss it. Don't let me lose myself in this season. And yet, YES! DO let me lose myself in this season and be totally surrendered to it. Just please oh please help me stay in touch with where You are. Who You are. And what You want from me - today and in a forward moving way too." And the rumblings go on and on. At least for me, they do!

You know, I've only come to a few conclusions as I've wrestled. The biggest conclusion is that I really and truly believe that I'm supposed to be totally in love with this season and totally engaged with the ways that He wants to push my boundaries in other areas too. It's both. It's all of it. All at once. Which of course is never a perfect balance.

But what's in my heart for this post is to actually type out some of the things that I think He may want to encourage us in, specifically as women. Would you like to go with me on this little uncharted and not-guaranteed-to-be-accurate exercise? A little love letter from Him to me/you. Hey, what do we have to lose?

You, Daughter, you. You spend so much of your attention, energy and effort in approaching me. But I want you to hear me say that I AM THE PURSUER. Don't be afraid. Don't be hesitant to stop working so hard to pursue Me because I AM pursuing you. I am drawn to you. I want to be around you. I want to be laced into your being.

You are female. You are on purpose. All of my children are created in my image. ALL of you are made in my image. That means YES! Your femininity is initiated in Me. It was my idea. It is complex, intricate, beautiful, powerful, lovely, fierce, intelligent and designed. And it always has been. I love you in your femininity. And believe me, femininity is not a light word to me. It's not a pretty word. It's not a weak word. It's one half of what I make my children. There was a need for you and there is a need that only you were designed to meet.

You are not alone in your wrestle. I am right there, in it and through it with you. On the days you feel you can soar out of joy in the sweet moments and on the days when your soul stirs so deeply pricking you with fear that you somehow have or will 'miss it,' I am there. I am right there. I'm not bothered by the wrestle. I am even in the wrestle from time to time. I LOVE THE PROCESS with you! I love the now and I love what is coming. I am in it all. I am in your yesterday. I am in your today. I am in your tomorrow. I am present in all three. It's true. So when you lose yourself in today and the highs and lows, I am right there with you. And when you feel your heart stirring to take both small and daringly huge steps towards what else I am doing in your life, I am there too.

The truth is that I am always grounding you in the now AND I am pushing you forward at the same time. I am capable of that. When you try to do that on your own, with formulas, or follow another's path it will never bear fruit. It will only keep you spinning around in circles - neither content with your now nor taking real steps towards tomorrow. And when that happens, your today and your tomorrow are robbed from. I have fullness for you in your today. What is on your plate right now IS your calling. It's fully and totally and wholly where I am with you right now. And you can trust me to push you at the right time to break out of the boundaries when the time is right. But it won't work until the time is right. You don't want to miss it, right? Well you are in me and I am in you. And therefore, YOU WILL NOT MISS IT. I am the Vine. You are the branch. I am the potter. You are the clay. I am the Creator. You are the created. I am the Father. You are the child. Lean in and trust me. Trust me. Trust me.

Sometimes trusting me means following me on an uncharted path. Sometimes it means finding joy in the mundane. Sometimes it means going a path alone that no one else is going. Sometimes it means following the herd. There is no one path that is more righteous than another. The only righteousness is found in finding me. Follow me daughter!

You are my girl. Your path was never meant to be totally straight forward. I'm not typically found in straight lines but in winding/twisting/meandering paths. The only answer is to trust me. Trust me if I have something different for you than you have ever imagined. Trust me if there seems to be very little surprise in your day to day. Trust me.

I love you. I made you. I breathed life into you. I knew you before you were born. I am in your femininity. I am in your story. I take joy in your story. I take joy in the process we are walking out together. Great is my faithfulness. GREAT IS MY FAITHFULNESS!

Always. Before the beginning of time. Now in your every breath. Here I am and here I will always be.


Hmmmmm I'm breathing more deeply. He's in the complexity.

Sleep well my friend, my reader. And meet my writing partners tonight:


If you need a live worship feed, IHOP KC is great. This is Laura's set from Sunday, August 17. GOOD.


I needed it.

Abi

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Beginnings of a Thought: The Woman Thing

Good morning!!!

I sit here in a bit of a haze having rolled out of bed about thirty minutes ago :). I pondered writing later but life with a growing baby boy on the inside, a full of life nearly three year old boy on the outside, a big boy room to pull together and that ever lovin' mysteriously disappearing thing called energy mean that if this moment presents itself to write - I had best write! So if this one doesn't strike you well, blame it on my haziness :).

First, may I just tell you that I sit here a woman feeling mighty victorious this morning. Today is August 1 and therefore July is no more. Guess who's husband was gone for the entire month except two weekends in July? This girl's man was. Ohhhhhhhhh yeah. Cue 'I'm a Survivor!' More on that month later but let me just say - we made it through and are in one piece (mostly) but I am SO GLAD today is August 1. SO GLAD.

Second, I'd like to ask for as much grace as you can offer me as you read these thoughts today. They are the beginning of something in my heart but certainly not fully processed through. It's a touchy topic that has been rolling around inside of me so if your's are the toes that get stepped on, please know that my heart isn't to offend anyone. Ahhhhhhh let's just dive in, no more beating around the bush.


The woman thing.

There are probably a lot of woman things that come to your mind with those words. Mine too. But in this case, there is one big fatty fat fat one that won't leave me alone.

What is the role of a woman?

YIKES!

I don't have anything near a succinct answer to that but I have some thoughts that I'd like to begin to process with you, if you're willing.

I will say - I am a really bad writer and communicator when I am trying to filter too much - SO I am just going to put some honest and hopefully unfiltered thoughts out there. They're on the raw side :)

You know that scene in 'How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days' where Matthew and Kate are finally in their groove towards the end at his family's house? And they're playing that card game BS? I shall refrain from typing the words here but that is the exact thing (or phrase) that rises up in me when I think about women who say, "I don't know....all I have ever wanted is to be a wife and a mom. That's it. That's my calling.'

Insert the phrase which shall remain nameless.

See, there is a part of me that GETS THAT! I really get that. In fact, it's near ironic because I am one of those girls who got married, worked for eight years, had a precious baby boy and worked part time for another year, and then took the plunge when the opportunity presented itself for me to stop working outside of the home so I really focus on being mom. I mean, that's me.

I have been given the opportunity to observe many women who have walked this path beautifully and many who have ached their way through the journey and met a major crisis when the intensity of momhood eases as that child turns 18. Eases in the sense that, they likely move out and go to school, and what mom spent her days doing is now simply not there for her to do any more.

But, I've had the honor of seeing women do it fairly well, too. I've seen my mom do it. She gave her all to raising us - truly. And yet, there was still a part of her engaged in things that were totally about who she was called to be aside from mom and wife. The older we became the more she was able to host those parts of herself. I'm watching Carrie do it. I'm watching Kim do it. I'm not sure any of them would say that they're doing 'it' but they are.

So here's the deal: I think the thing that the Holy Spirit has been prodding me the most about is this - are we kidding ourselves if we invest in the belief that wife and mom are our callings in life?

I'd like to propose that they ARE most definitely A calling. Wiving and mothering are holy callings and utterly beautiful to the Lord. Frankly, if we view them as anything less than a calling, it's near impossible to do them at times.

But, I'd also like to propose that I was not born to become a wife and mom.

I do not exist on earth or have breath in my lungs for the sole purpose of marrying and supporting a great person (which HE IS!) and birthing and raising baby boys.

While both of these roles consume much of my heart, time and life and are roles that I DO feel called to, they are not my all encompassing calling in life. If that were true - my calling would be expiring with each day that Liam got closer to 18 and college/adulthood. If that were true - I'd be left without half of my purpose in life should any change ever come in my marriage. (Note: I don't say that second part lightly. I cannot imagine my marriage falling apart. But sometimes you have let the worst case scenario be a part of the picture to let truth come to the top).

Not every woman who is working outside of the home has tapped into her purpose or calling in life. Not every woman who has devoted herself to being wife and mom has either. Some in each camp have. Some have not.

Now listen, I sincerely do not judge any woman who struggles through this. Because I struggle through this! This is, for the most part, a silent battle every single woman faces. We don't talk about it. Some may assume that working women have tapped into their callings and stay at home moms have not. Or that stay at home moms have embraced the true and highest calling in life while working women have not.

There is a silence and quietness to this scenario that is the thing that really bothers me. It's like there's a silent invitation to me to slip into the proverbial back seat. There's a lot of serving in being both wife and mom that is beautiful and right. And if we try to do either of those roles without a humble willingness to serve, it gets ugly fast.

But there is something in that role of servant that has the potential to silently invite us to step back from the plate and stop swinging the bat. Ahhhh I feel very vulnerable right now! I PRAY you know a bit of what I am talking about because these words are like peanut butter coming out of my fingers. Sticky and thick and jambled.

Is it possible to step back from swinging the bat in life, in destiny, in the Kingdom, with the Lord, all the while being a wonderful wife and mom? Or stepping back from the bat all the while having an impressive and stimulating career outside of the home? This is NOT about whether a woman works in a paying job or not.

There are so many more things that can be said. I'm going to delve into this again next week. Heck, I may cancel out half of what I've said this week - next week! I feel as though some of us will read these words and have a lot of disturbance after. Press into the Lord, girl. Ask Him to help you get rid of any of my words that were off and only grab onto what He wants you to. If it's a scary and daunting question to ask yourself (as it is for me) - quietly allow Him to help you ask it anyways. Am I in touch with who I am called to be? Who am I aside from the roles I am filling?

THANK YOU for grace as you have read. Thank you for reading! This was a post I felt like I just needed to put out there - half baked - in order to get the ball rolling. Hopefully next week's words will bring more refined and processed thoughts. If you feel something in your heart that you'd like to add in to the mix as I continue to pray and process this, please get it to me!

This one feels unfinished and unedited at best. May the Lord do with it what He wants. Yikes.