Monday, October 19, 2015

Infant Loss Awareness and Give-a-way

I recognize October is a tough month for women dealing with infant loss, or even for those who have loved ones walking that hard road. But, I'm hopeful that this little gift of hope can be a seed of encouragement and testimony of healing in Christ. God is blowing me away with His faithfulness in getting into the hands of those who need it. This month, I'm giving away 5 copies of my book, 30 Days of Hope for Restoration in Infant Loss.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment here on my blog about how infant loss has impacted you or someone you know. The first 5 to comment will receive a free copy and will be notified through email. Remember, even if you're not walking this road, enter for someone you know who is!

If you want to share the message with others, here's a shareable link to a free sample of the content.

To lose a child, is to lose a piece of yourself. Author Unknown

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Half missing or wholly here?

This time last year, I can recall nervously clinging to my insecurities as I felt the Lord calling me to step out and trust Him with some big things. Things that in my limited frame of mind, seemed utterly impossible.

"You want me to do what, Lord?!"

But God...

So often we resist doing the things that are hard.

But God...

In reflecting over this past year and our homeschooling journey thus far, I'm reminded that when we just surrender our plans, listen to Him, and let HIM lead, there is peace.

There is joy in doing what He's called us to do! Even if it's messy and sometimes hard.

There are still days when I ask Him, "how do you expect me to do this, Lord? Really."

Homeschool my children, be a mom, a wife, write a book, work in publishing, serve in women's ministry... Honestly, there are days when I feel like I'm failing miserably at it all.

But God...

I mean, if only I could clone myself or find a better organizational system, right? Wrong.

But God...

Why fret when we have the most powerful resource living right within us?

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine... Ephesians 3:20

Lately, I've had several conversations about how to know if homeschooling is for you, or not. That's not what this post is about, but I do believe that you must be certain God has called you. Being a mommy is tough enough, right? Add "teacher" to that agenda and you can easily have a recipe for disaster if you're not certain that He is leading you.

In choosing our homeschool curriculum, Classical Conversations, I heard a presentation given by the founder, where she said "if you're choosing to homeschool because you want to shelter your child from the world, you need to reevaluate. Your reason for homeschooling should be so that you are the one introducing your child to the world."

For me, clarity came almost a year ago one day when I felt the Holy Spirit wake me in the middle of the night with a simple question. "Do you want to be halfway in my will, or wholly in my will?"

I knew then that all the fears, doubts, and anxieties I'd been wrestling with were going to be made small in light of Him. Have they disappeared completely now that we've taken the leap? Ha! Oh, how I wish. Absolutely not, however; He is providing in so many ways that the confidence I need to take small steps of obedience toward His wholly perfect plan, is there.

I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8

This is just life, isn't it? What we think is impossible... He makes possible. Not only does He make it possible, He surpasses all we can imagine it will be. He has called us to this wonderful journey of life in Him and I'm so grateful, aren't you?

I absolutely love the classical model of teaching. It makes so much sense to me. Know God, make Him known, keep Him at the center of all we learn. The classical model introduces information that within the traditional model, she may not learn until 6th or 7th grade. But because we are training her mind to retain knowledge long term, and not short term, it's all introduced from the beginning.

Emmalyn is thriving, glory to God. She loves her homeschool community of peers and amazing mamas who are loving on her and pouring into her as well.

So far, she seems to enjoy science the most. I think its because she can connect the dots more easily to God's purpose in all things and making all parts of life work together for His glory. Every Wednesday during our campus community group, we do science experiements. We do them at home on our own too, but obviously the group setting is way more fun :)

She's been studying the classifications of living things, kingdoms of living things, animal & plant cells, and types of seed plants. So, we've been to the McWane Center a few times, joining up with sweet friends for play dates along the way. She has an observation journal that she uses every day, so that she can look back at the end of the year and reflect on all she's learned.

We don't have a specific formula for every day. I aim to have our weeks planned out and do that on Sunday evenings, but sometimes it doesn't go according to plan and I'm learning, that's OK. Honestly, our curriculum involves a lot of repetition and memorization so we do things on the go too. She does do at least 2 hours of "classroom style" learning a day, but she's learning most by doing and ALOT of conversation.

What I aim for, doesn't always happen, because I do have a two year old too after all :) Honestly, he has been fantastic and wants to learn with her. For the most part, he does. Which I'm thankful for. It's helping him to advance too.

On Wednesday's our campus community group meets from 9am-1pm. It's a "classroom" environment day with music, art, science experiments, geography, latin, math, grammar, and Bible study. We eat lunch together and have recreational time together as well. I don't think I could make it without the prayerful support and knowledge of this community group!

We do field trips once a month as well. So far, we've been on a tour of our local fire station and to the pumpkin patch!

Best of all, the Lord is growing us together. Watching the light bulbs go off in their little brains and seeing them connect the dots to God's big story is simply the best. Truly the best.

And all the while, even on the hard days, instead of wondering if I'm half missing, I'm wholly here. Wholly in, and wholly trusting.

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Better Way...

I've been hiding from all the Planned Parenthood mess. I've been avoiding social media (unless it's Instagram) for fear of being barraged by images my eyes just do not need to see.

In light of the recent release of my devotional on infant loss, I've been getting a lot of questions from media asking if I'd be willing to shed some light into the investigation by describing my own personal experience of birthing a baby at 21 weeks. I'll be honest, I've avoided the questions.

But then, this past Saturday, as Lifeway Christian stores hosted a signing for my Publisher's new gifts of hope series, and I spoke with people who's hurt is fresh. And real. And raw... I realized, God's timing is right on. And I need not shy away from questions that will point to choosing life and choosing hope in Christ.

It was a beautiful thing... to sit and listen to some of these stories. Not all of them fresh and new, but some of them decades old... still trying to cling to the promise of forever on a daily basis. I was truly blown away that the Lord would chose our Ellanie. My precious baby girl... to launch those conversations. Proud mama moment? You bet.

So, today, in a nationally syndicated radio interview... the Lord offered courage. And He whispered Deuteronomy 31:6, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you." And all of those worldy fears of inadequacy to speak political correctness, they dissipated.

If you're holding back parts of your own story due to fear or anxiety... can I encourage you to lean into the courage Christ gives? He's forever faithful.

Thanks to my sister, Lindsey for capturing these fun pictures from the signing.