You get to decide

There will come a day when our children and grandchildren look back on this time and ask why?

We are writing our own history. I have often looked at history and wondered why things happened and how people could let them. Why did no one stop what was happening? How could they be so blind?
One day we will answer for what we do today. We get to decide right now at this moment what world we want our children to have. We get to decide what freedoms they will have. We get to decide what the cost will be of today’s decisions.
It doesn’t matter how you feel about the pandemic it matters what you do. Do you continue to be told how and when you can work? Do you continue to be told how and when and if you can worship? Where you can go? What you must wear? What vaccines you must have?
Right now. This moment is our defining moment. We either show that we stand on our constitution whatever the cost or we do not. What freedoms are OK to lose?
What world is it you want your children to have?
Remember the elected officials who were silent. Remember the ones who said nothing. The ones that stood by and watched instead of leading with boldness. Take note. Remember and vote accordingly.
When your rights are being trampled on, remember you today are standing on the shoulders of men and women that sacrificed everything for this nation. You are standing on the constitution. Do not let their sacrifice to build America go in vain.
Do not let “safety” be the reason freedom dies.  “Give me liberty or give me death” those words were spoken with conviction and in truth.
Wake up. Don’t let history tell the story of how America was once a great nation full of freedom. Let it be said that we fought for what was right. We fought for our children. We fought to gather and worship. We fought to work and survive. Don’t let our children ask how we could just stand by. Stand up. Be bold. “all that it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” Do something. And vote!
shallow photography of usa flag
Photo by Sawyer Sutton on Pexels.com

Living in a Saturday

I love Easter. Whenever one of this kids ask me why I always tell them without the Resurrection nothing else matters.

However we can’t get to Sunday without Friday and Saturday. Friday the day Jesus took our place and took our sin. The sadness the darkness. Imagine being there. Imagine the earth rumbling. Imagine watching Jesus die. The heavy darkness. The mourning of those who loved him.

Friday. The day Jesus died. Then we often skip over Saturday. We just focus on the Resurrection but Saturday plays a very significant part in the story.

They laid Jesus in a tomb. All felt lost and hopeless. The world seemed cold and dark. All Saturday was spent in this time as the world waited.

We are living in that Saturday right now. We are waiting for God. We are waiting in a dark and scary time.

Here is the good news. SUNDAY is coming. I don’t know when. I do know God will not leave us. He is here. He is working.

Hang on my friends. We may be living in a Saturday but Sunday always comes.

I lift my eyes to the hills

If I am being honest, I am tired. Today’s news has been a blow and leaves many of us with heavy hearts.

In Georgia, we just learned that our children will not be returning to school this year. We will finish out the school continuing with our distance learning. The state is now under a shelter in place order.

I am heartbroken. It seems trivial to others but this means for us the loss of a preschool graduation that I oftentimes wondered if we would ever get to see for our child that has struggled tremendously. It means he continues without the services that he was provided through the school system. This has been especially tough for a child so dependent on a normal routine.

My oldest finishes her 2nd-grade year without the hugs from friends and hugs from teachers. She will not get to experience all the fun end of year activities. She misses her friends terribly and for an extrovert she has really struggled feeling alone and isolated.

Our youngest misses her preschool. She loves school. Last year her year was cut short and now this year it is too. She is struggling because I am so focused on getting the older kids through their distance learning everyday and she feels left out.

I am worried about our small business. How will we continue? This is a catalyst for so many other worries and stresses.

In all of this, I have no choice but to surrender these worries over to the one who sees and provides.

Psalms 121 says “I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made the heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved, he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil, he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”

God never sleeps. He is our keeper. He protects us. He is our help.

We are living in an uncertain time. We do not know what tomorrow brings. We can live in fear and distress or we can proclaim the promises of God and stand on those. God knew this was coming. He knows what you need. He sees you. He knows you. Rely on him. Lay your worries at his feet. He never meant for you to carry them.

Tomorrow I will get up and we will continue on. I will press into this time and learn from it. I will make the best out of what God has given me and entrusted to me. I will not let the worry and stress rob my joy and faith in who God is. He has carried me this far, he will continue to do so.

Stay well friends.

I miss it all.

I miss coffee dates. I miss friends. I miss date nights. I miss Target runs, gathering with friends, play dates at the park. I miss sitting in Church on Sunday morning with other believers worshipping together. I even miss carpool line, waiting on that sweet face to come tell me about her day. I miss sitting outside waiting on the bus every afternoon. I miss it all.

Hopefully because I am missing it all now I won’t miss the important things later. My immune system is not great. I get everything that comes around. So I am taking social distancing pretty seriously. I don’t want to miss the big things later. I don’t want my husband to miss the big things. I don’t want my family, friends or community to miss them.

There are much bigger things at stake than coffee dates. There is being here for my children as they grow up, discover who they are, find their way. I don’t want to miss that.

So for now, we stay home. We play board games, watch movies, bake cookies, play in the back yard, sleep in, and only leave when we have too. As hard as this can be to just stay home it is harder for my kids to watch one of their parents go through this virus.

We have to look for God in this. He is here. He is here in the people working 18 hour days taking care of the sick. In the neighbors going to the store for each other. In the Pastors that post videos everyday sharing who God is. He is in the teachers working harder than ever making sure our children still get an education. In the lunch staff still providing meals for families. He is in our government officials trying to balance freedom and safety. He is here in the family dinners. He is here. He is working. He will use all of this for his glory. Just wait. Until then friends, stay well. Kelly

Calm the storm

Mark 4:35-39

This is such a great story, especially for today. We are going through uncharted waters together. We are just taking the days as they come with no idea what the waves may hold. I wanted to share a powerful story with you and point out a detail that is often over looked.

Mattew 4:35

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him “Teacher do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be Still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 

So they are on a boat and a storm comes. They are all afraid as the waves are crashing and tossing the boat around. They look around and where is Jesus? Asleep! They wake him up and cry out to him “Do you not care?” Jesus calms the storm. The winds cease and all was calm again. 

What I don’t want you to miss is that there were other boats on the water too. Jesus did not just calm the waters for the people on the boat but for everyone!

Today, we have a unique opportunity to tell the storm around us “Peace, Be Still!” We can be the calm in the storm for the people around us. God grants us his peace and we know we have nothing to fear because HE is our father. Hex calms the winds and waves. We do not have to be anxious and worried. Be the calm in the storm because God is bigger than the storm.

 

Stay healthy and safe friends! Much love

Kelly

Hard topics

This weekend a topic came up with my seven year old that I never imagined we would be discussing. Like most major topics in parenting I found I was terribly unprepared.

This past week a student in our community lost his battle with depression and he committed suicide. This child by all accounts was well loved. He played lacrosse and football. This left so many with questions and if onlys.

This tragedy has been heartbreaking and as my child so innocently wants answers that I myself struggle to understand I can only turn us both to the one who gives hope.

I told her I would answer her questions as best I could. I told her the truth. I didn’t give details. I simply explained that sometimes people can be sad and feel so sad or hurt and not be able to see a way to make that sadness or hurt stop. They don’t always know how to tell someone.

I then told her what she needed to hear from me the most that I love her and that nothing she does will make me stop loving her. That no matter how bad anything ever seems or how much trouble she thinks she will be in I am on her side and we will figure it out together.

I reminded her that she always has hope because God loves her even more than I ever could. That no matter how bad things are we can pray together. That God is good and faithful. He will see her through.

But it isn’t enough to tell her this once. I know that I have to tell her this over and over again. I have to really mean these words. I have to model these words. If I say I will love her no matter what she needs to believe that. I have to prove that to her.

If I tell her God is good and faithful she will only believe that by watching my faith. How do I handle struggles and anxiety? What do I do when I have a crisis? Do I turn to God?

Our kids are watching and listening to how we deal with our own struggles. It is time to stop hiding them but instead owning them and coping with them so our kids can learn how to cope with theirs too. Lets be real and honest. Lets let them see yes this is where we are struggling but this is how we handle it.

God is good and he is faithful. If I do nothing else but teach my children that I will have done enough. That will carry them through.

Trust in thee

Today I sat across from our pastor and poured out our struggles. That was a new one for me. I have spent many days and nights searching and praying. We have found ourselves in a situation in which we could never imagine. A place that is filled with so many emotions that swing wildly and unexpectedly.

It is a place with deep hurt and pain, betrayal, anger, self righteous indignation, anxiety, stress, sleeplessness, sadness, and confusion. I pray, worship, read, beg God, cry, scream and I want to tell you that I have a sense of peace in the midst of this battle but I do not. I have so much anxiety every bite I put in my mouth I want to throw up. I sleep just to wake up in a cold sweat crying out to God and begging him to be near.

I want to comfort myself with all the familiar bible verses but the realist in me says that God may not make this right in my lifetime. That God has allowed so much worse to happem to others. The storm has raged for so long around me why would it stop now? Where has he been? Why does evil seem to win so often? Why, why, why?

 

Do I trust him? Can I trust him? Is he good? Is he there? The bible says so. The pastor says so. All the songs say so. But in my heart I want to scream out you don’t understand what I have been through! You don’t know the path I am on! You don’t have any idea all that I have lost or that the storm keeps raging and I keep losing. What else will be swept away?

 

Can I trust him? Do I trust him? Is he good? That is really what this season comes down too. All the heartache. All the loss. So much loss.

I Will Trust In Thee

“When my path is dark before me

 I will trust in Thee

When Thy face is hidden from me

I will trust in Thee

Though my burdens Weigh upon my heart

And hope seems far from me

I’ll lift my hand to thine, my God

I will trust in Thee, oh Lord I will trust in Thee

Though an host encamp about me

I will trust in Thee

Cleaving to the One who will save me

I will trust in Thee

Before the earth and heavens formed

Before you made the sea

You knew my name and claimed my life

I will trust in Thee, oh Lord I will trust in Thee

Lord, You found me

You surround me

Lord, I love You

I will trust You…

My strength, my shield

My God, to Thee I yield

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus blood and righteousness

I dare not trust the sweetest frame…

I will trust in Thee,

oh Lord I will trust in Thee,

oooh I will trust…in Thee”

Hope against hope

Some years ago Johnny Hunt gave an illustration about giving, he said if we hold tightly to our money two things happen. The first is that we can’t give but the second is that our hands are closed to receive. That left a big impression. If they are open not only can blessings flow in but they can flow out. It is something that God reminds me of over and over. This, however, could be said about anything that we hold on tightly too.

Over the past year we have really been faced with a season where all those things we hold tightly too, so afraid to trust God with have been pried out of our fingers. It is so easy to say “it is all Gods” but oh, how different to live that!

I have felt like every area of our life and family has come under attack. The pain has been unbearable. I have begged God to stop. I have screamed and cried. I have often said “what else could possibly be left” and felt like Job. It has been a season that God has knocked down every idol. Anything that we have held on tightly too. It has hurt and it continues to hurt.

Yesterday as I was driving home after filing a report over having something stolen I just felt like it was the icing on the cake. This item was taken out of our garage and from what we gather very recently. The more I thought about it and everything relating to the situation the angrier I became. I felt justified in my anger.

By the time I pulled into my neighborhood as God so often does I knew it was not my anger. I was reminded of the words said just yesterday in the sermon that God would make it right. Even if we don’t see it. God would make it right. (Proverbs 20:22)

It is time to start asking what I can learn in all this. I know God is at work. I know I can trust him as time and time again this year he has shown that he has a much better plan than I could. I am not saying that we will walk through this and in the end it will all be wonderful and fantastic and we will come out on top but I do know he promises to make it right. So today I am going to trust that and as it says in Romans 4 “in hope believe against hope.”

Kelly

Share our struggles

Grief is a tricky thing. It can manifest itself in so many ways. If I am to be completely honest dealing with the grief of a miscarriage lately has knocked me down pretty hard. Miscarriages are rarely spoken of. We seem to hide them. The day I found out I would lose the pregnancy I was overcome with terror at the fact that we had already shared what was supposed to be a happy event with so many people. How do I know share that grief with them? How do I face the questions when I have no answers? It was such an overwhelming thought for me.

As a society, we seem to believe that we have to hide the ugly parts of our lives. We have to cover it up and put on a face. For the past year, we have walked a very public journey filled with grief and disappointment. We have been open and honest about diagnoses and loss. We have shared our journey. It has been uncomfortable but the truth is that only in that sharing have we found support.

How many times have you heard something happened and asked “Why didn’t you call me? Why didn’t you tell me?” We don’t want to admit that we have a flaw, a weakness or a struggle.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

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.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Only by sharing our weakness and struggles can we give God the glory.

If you are struggling reach out and tell someone. Share with others. Don’t let the fear of judgment make you hide. Fear is from the enemy and peace can be found in Jesus.

Update

So many have reached out to us about Thatcher. It has been hard to write this post because we honestly have no answers.

A few weeks ago we began to feel as though his behavior was regressing. It seemed as though all the strides we had made over the past year began to disappear. He began experiencing what the doctors called “headaches”. He has had episodes in the past where he screams, cries, and lays in the floor covering his ears. They are horrible. When this happens he can’t hear us and he won’t let us touch him. It is indescribably heartbreaking to watch your child scream and cry in pain and not be able to touch or hold him.

I had assumed that these episodes were due to the SPD diagnosis and that something had just pushed him too far. Then they started getting more frequent and one night he woke up in the middle of the night doing it. It took me a long time to get him calmed down and it terrified us. Off to the ER we went. Honestly, by then, he was acting like a normal 4-year-old and our concerns were dismissed until they consulted with CHOA. They recommended a neurological consult and an MRI.

It has felt as though we have just been sent to doctor after doctor with no answers. It is frustrating and has left us in tears more than once.

Our pediatrician has been amazing though. Constantly calling and checking to make sure that he is ok and that we don’t need anything.  The pediatrician and I both believe that he may possibly have ADHD or High Functioning Autism but that diagnosis is left to another doctor and another round of evaluations. The idea of a diagnosis is heartbreaking. The idea that someone would define him by a “label” causes many sleepless nights. We never want to label our kids or have someone not see how amazing he is because of it. That is our fear. I see the sweet, empathetic and smart child but what will others see if they hear a diagnosis? Will they look past the label and see who he really is? What will happen when he starts school and teachers hear that diagnosis? Will he be dismissed and just shuffled through if he doesn’t learn the same way or needs extra accommodations? So many fears.

The best advice that I have been given is to just focus on one day at a time. So that is what we are doing our best to achieve. We focus on today and today was a good day.

It is a journey, and we have been blessed to have so many come alongside us and share their journeys and offer their advice and support.

Right now we are waiting on an Evaluation and hoping he will get admitted to the Preschool Special Needs Program. We also are following up with the neurologist and he will be getting an MRI to make sure we are not missing something. It has been a hard few weeks and we have appreciated more than anyone can know all the prayers and support.

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