Saturday, March 25, 2017

it is well.

Go back with me a couple months to November. One of the craziest months in recent history, with election 2016 hanging in the balance. I had wished that week away for months in advance. Oh, but I would take it back in a second. 

November 6th. Two days before the world's  inevitable "E-Day" (Election Day, for those who want it spelled out). It was Sunday. I woke up extra early, like 4 am early. When you gotta go, you gotta go ;) 

I had been putting off the inevitable for over a week. There were signs I rolled my eyes at; my favorite was almost fainting running into the room when the Cubs won the World Series a few nights earlier! {Go Cubs!}

So at 4 am, on Sunday morning, I peed. On a stick.  And I waited. I'm in the digital age people, I just can't with those- are they, aren't they there lines!  I'll always be digital - I need Not Pregnant / Pregnant spelled out. 

I had been waiting for 35 months. So what's like, 2 minutes? I knew it would be the same outcome as the previous 35 months. (That's one month short of 3 years in layman's terms). David was heading out of town the next day for 10 days for the end of his tour. So I had told him a few days earlier  I'd do it before he left. So 4 am it was. 

Over the previous 35 months, I leaned to guard my heart to not hurt each month. And recently started imagining our life as a family of 3 and being content with that. I was skeptical. I was sad and discouraged, but I was content. I wanted Ella to have a sibling so much it hurt. She was not made to be alone! 

Ella was certain it would happen. She knew she would be a big sister. Only 4 weeks earlier, as we sat at dinner at our neighborhood Mexican restaurant, we talked about having twins with purple and green hair; one boy, one girl.  She stopped us and said let's pray about it (all the heart eye emojis). And our sweet 4 year old (less than 2 months shy of being 5), prayed for us to have a baby. 

That same week Ella prayed, two of my students stayed after school for our monthly coffee hang, and during our conversation about still no babies- they stopped and prayed over me. I won't ever forget that moment either. The three of us were in tears standing and praying in my room about life, our future and a baby for me. 

He knows what we want before we ask it, but he wants us to ask! Present our requests to Him because He wants a relationship with us! So sweet! 

Sitting in the dark, at 4 in the morning with no one around, I read the word I won't ever forget. Pregnant.

Y'all, I sobbed. Fell on the floor and cried out to God in thanks, fear, and disbelief. I was pregnant. The Lord had answered our prayers. God is so good!! 

I didn't have a plan to tell David. I gave up on daydreaming the perfect way to tell him years ago. It hurts too much when you come up with a plan each month to only be let down. So in my half sleep I looked around the bathroom and saw a pen and a box top to an old Birchbox. So I wrote a little message that simply said "Surprise Dad!" With the stick on the box top. (So gross if you think about it!) 



And I went back to bed. And couldn't sleep- I  laid awake until Davids alarm went off at 6 am, pretended to be asleep, and then waited for him to go in to the bathroom. 

He was probably in as much disbelief as I was! We did the only thing we knew to do. We prayed and thanked God for this sweet baby growing inside me!! 3 years is a long time. 

So much can happen in such a short amount of time! We had seen our families over Thanksgiving and shared the amazing news with them and celebrated!! I was feeling all the feels (nauseous ones that is!), my clothes were quickly tightening, we came up with names, we planned our future as a family of 4, we made summer plans since a new baby was coming in July! I was tracking baby's size on the apps and joining the blogs! 

Fast forward to November 29. 

I took off work early and David meet me for our doctors appointment. Such joy and excitement and nerves walking back into the doctors office. It had only been 6 months since I stopped fertility treatments, so it hadn't been long since I'd seen my doctor. I was so excited to see her to tell her the news and rejoice with her! 

The next few moments are a blur, but also the most vivid in my memory. I can see our sweet baby on the screen. I can see them. But there was no heart beat. 

Shattered. 
Heart broken. 
Dazed. 

(S)he was real. (S)he was loved. So, so loved. 
(S)he's gone. My heart won't be the same. 
(S)he was here. 

It's been almost 4 months, and I am just now allowing myself to deal with it. I was angry. I was sad. I was confused. I put up every wall I knew to put up. I felt completely unseen. Forgotten. I said I was mad at God out loud to a few people, but that wasn't even true. I was sad. I was just really sad. My soul was crushed. After three years, it seemed cruel that our baby would be taken so quickly. Really quickly. 

But I know this. God is the same. He is unchanged.  God is faithful because He is God, and He is good. My circumstances don't change who God is. 

He was faithful in December of 2011 when I brought home a beautiful, healthy baby girl. He was faithful in November of 2016 when I went back to the same hospital and admitted through the same doors to have a D&C, because my body didn't know yet that my baby's heart wasn't beating. 

He is faithful.

He fulfills His promises. And His promises are about who HE is. He is trustworthy. He is faithful. He loves me. He sees me. He desires me. He is Creator. He is Healer. He is Provider. He is with me always. These are the promises God has given to me. 

God has never promised me a child. It took me a long time to admit that. But He hasn't. He hasn't promised me any comfort or desire. In fact, Jesus said this life will be hard- really hard, but He will be there to walk through it with me. So if I never have a baby again, He is unchanged. If I do have a baby, He is unchanged. 

God is good, because He is good. My circumstances don't change that. 

It's taken me years to know that truth. To believe that truth. 

My desire of having another child is important to Him, because he wants to know the desires of my heart. He asks me to present them to him with prayer and petition. And I will. But His will be done. I cannot change His will. His good, and perfect will. And I don't want to. 

Jesus was real in my life in the days and weeks following our trip to the hospital in November through our family and friends - our church.  They brought over food, they brought wine and yoga pants, they sent cards with God's promises on them. Jesus hugged me big time through the people around me. It took me a little bit to see that, also. But what a sweet reflection of Him. The hands of Jesus, wrapping around me. 

He was loving me when I thought I was completely forgotten by Him. He will never leave me. He promised that. 

Today, I can write these things. The past 4 months, I was unable to say these things or believe these things. Today, my soul is trusting fully in Him. Today, it is well with my soul. 

Jesus drew me into Him this week on a sabbath beach getaway to rest. Just me and Jesus,  to sweetly remind me, He makes all things new. Even me. He desires me. He is trustworthy. He is faithful. He is unchanging. I can rest in Him. All I need is found in Him. 

"Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:23 

Far be it for me to not believe even when my eyes can't see.
Through it all, my eyes are on You.
So let go, my soul, and trust in Him.
The waves and wind still know His name

-It is well, Bethel Music.

It is well with my soul. 








While I was on my beach retreat the past few days, these things spoke to me unlike anything else. I wanted to share them with you.
** For further reading, check out She Reads Truth, the book. You can find it HERE.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I Don't Want to Forget Tonight

I feel like I need some sort of reintroduction after 4 years away! This blog was the perfect baby book for Ella Kate. The story of her first year is so precious to me. I had it printed and LOVE it so much. I can't wait to share it with her when she gets older. Maybe I should print a second copy so I can gift her one when she is older, and I can keep the other. I don't want to give mine up!!

Tonights events seemed baby book worthy, so I am adding it to her digital baby book so I don't forget. Thanks for reading along!

Ella Kate and I were eating dinner and watching Little Rascals tonight when our phone rang. It was Lilah calling to tell us the best news that she asked Jesus in her heart tonight! Ella Kate and I celebrated with her over the phone! Ella was so excited for her. The phone cut out so we didn't get to talk long. But HOW COOL!!!!

We went back to watching our movie and eating our dinner. It was a bath night, so we went upstairs to clean up before bed.

When EK was getting out of the bath I brought up Lilah asking Jesus in her heart and how exciting that was. Which prompted the best conversation. One of those conversations you just WISHED was recorded. I wish I had cameras set up for just a moment as this. So, instead, I will blog. So I don't forget.

I asked Ella about who Jesus was, and she told me he is God's son. She said Jesus lives in her heart too. I felt promoted to talk to her about this .... so we talked about believing in Jesus and how the Bible says if you believe in Jesus and believe he came back to life after he died, He will come in our hearts. 
"if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.." Romans 10:9 
We also talked about Jesus forgiving us when we do things we know we shouldn't. She said "I do stuff sometimes I shouldn't." I asked her what she should do with that. And she said if I ask Jesus into my heart it will all be ok. I told her that even if Jesus is in our hearts we will still do things sometimes we shouldn't. And I told her I mess up all the time. But Jesus still loves me. And He doesn't leave our hearts just because we mess up. She was pretty excited about that point. "He doesn't?!" No baby. He never leaves us. 
I asked her if she wanted to pray and talk to Jesus about it, and she said yes. So she prayed. unprompted. I have weird feelings about repeating prayers. I wanted her to speak from her heart. And she so did. 


Jesus, come live in my heart forever. I am sorry I sometimes break the rules. But live in my heart. Forever. 

I told her how cool that was that she prayed that - and asked if she wanted to FaceTime with Daddy to talk to him about it. {He is in California}. With all my heart I wanted him to be hearing this conversation and to speak to her about it. I needed backup. 

She did. 

She called him and told him right away about our conversation. And instantly broke out into song about what we had talked about and explained all the things we had talked about and much much more, in song. And for about 10 minutes she skipped and twirled around the room making up a song about Jesus living in her heart. It ended with a rendition of "saying I am sorry is the first step, then Jesus lives in our hearts!" -- ok she borrowed that from Daniel Tiger, but all the good musicians are inspired by someone!! David smiled and said, well, you just wrote your first worship song.  {Which isn't entirely true because we make up worship songs together all the time. But I didn't help on this one!} 

It made my heart smile. So big. 

Then when picking out a book before bedtime she found the "Jesus Book" which is Jesus Calling Bible Stories for kids, and said we should read this one tonight. So we did.  We read about the night Jesus was born, and we read about Jesus loving the little children.  
We were still on FaceTime with David, when she climbed in bed and she decided we would all pray tonight. So we did. Ella prayed first, then Daddy, and last Mommy. 
She cuddled with the phone and pretended that Daddy was laying in bed with her and she whispered to him for a little bit about their day and future trips to the beach. She was so happy. 

Once we got off the phone, she fell instantly asleep. She never falls instantly to sleep. Ever. 
She was so peaceful and filled with joy. And it was amazing. 

I know this is just the beginning of walking through this with her. And I know she is not even 5 yet. So there is a lot she doesn't understand. But there is a lot she does. And tonight, she told Jesus she wants Him to be with her always. And then she danced and sang praises to Him until I made her stop so she could put pajamas on. {She may have been dancing and singing naked straight out of the bath. maybe. ;)} 

I think the story we read tonight might have been more for David and I than Ella Kate. That the adults needed to step aside and not get in the way of the children coming to Jesus. We both were a little hesitant with the conversation because she is 4. And because of our stories we want her to choose Jesus on her own. We don't want to push anything on her. But as I was watching it all unfold, and as I sit here reflecting, that girl believed with all she could understand tonight.
And my heart smiled. 

Lord, my prayer for Ella Kate. Let me step aside so I don't get in the way of Ella Kate knowing you. Let me lead her to you. May she see you in both David and I.  I pray she will learn to know you and love you. I pray tonight is the beginning of a lifetime of singing and dancing for You. May she always seek You and trust in You with the same faith she has tonight.  The faith of a child is whats needed to get into heaven, so don't let me hinder that. May I trust like she does, and may that never fade in her. Thank you for tonight, and letting me experience You through my baby girl.  Amen. 


Monday, December 10, 2012

ONE!!

Happy Birthday Ella Kate! 


You got to have 2 birthday parties this year! One in Tulsa with family the weekend of Thanksgiving, and one with friends on the day of your birthday!

What better way to capture it all than in pictures!!




Tulsa Party!! 




At School on Friday, your sweet teacher Ms Ann had a present and balloons waiting for you in your crib! What a cool way to start the day! 

The morning of December 9th! Happy first birthday!! 




We had friends over in the afternoon of the 9th to help celebrate your birthday!
It was a pink party.
You had cake for the first time. And in all honesty, you had sugar/ sweets for the first time too!! You liked it :)  Our sweet friend Anna had a special dairy free/ gluten free cake made for you! It was still really yummy!! 










I can't believe you are already one. You are such a sweet, funny, smart, adventurous little girl. We are so thankful you are ours. We prayed, and hoped for you years before you were born. And now you are ONE! I want you to know you are loved more than words can say and I can't wait for the next year and then all the rest of your days so we can celebrate YOU!  

Friday, November 9, 2012

11 Months Old!



  

11 Month Update! 

  • You are 11 months old today! I am actually blogging on the correct day and not a couple months later :) that's pretty significant, so it gets the first bullet point!! 
  • You are 20.5 lbs. 
  • You are in size 3 diapers. 
  • You are wearing 6-12 month clothes. I need to get your 9 month clothes out of storage, because I bet you'll be wearing them soon. 
  • You are still getting milk about every 3-4 hours. You are eating food 3 times a day, breakfast- lunch and dinner. You have started eating meats with your veggies and fruit. I have started giving you some table food, but with only 2 little teeth, you still can't chew on too much! 
  • You are going to sleep around 8:00 at night and we have to be up no later than 6:20 for school. You have been waking up around 2-4am the last couple weeks. (Just to eat and go back to sleep.) I'm hoping once you feel back to 100% from your little sickness that you'll go back to sleeping through the night. 
  • You stood without holding on to anything for the first time this month!! You have done it several times. We try to not get too excited so you don't get nervous and fall. But we clap and cheer once you sit! 
  • You are taking steps holding onto the couch, baby gate, really anything you can get your hands on! 
  • You are saying Momma!! I walk into the room to pick you up from school and you start saying Momma over and over! It's the coolest thing ever. You know my name! 
  • We went on a road trip last week to Arkansas to see our family. We got to drive to Monroe, La. to see Daddy too! He has been on tour all month, so it was GREAT to see him in person! You love to FaceTime with Daddy on the iPad while he is gone. 
  • You started playing the piano! You were facetimeing with Daddy, and you crawled over to the piano- stood up- and started playing. You are so talented! You have done it several times. Daddy was home a couple days last week and you got to play with him in person. It was beautiful music. 
  • Gigi and Diddy came to visit! They were here for a long weekend. You got to skip school and hang out with them the Friday they were in town. It was cold and rainy the weekend they were here, so a lot of our plans were disrupted. But we still had lots of fun. Bapa helped Mommy with a bunch of projects in our new house! 
  • You had your first ear infection. :( boo!! It was actually a double ear infection. You had a fever for three days. Thankfully, you were sick over our Fall Break so we didn't have to miss too many days of school. (I'm glad you are feeling better!! That wasn't a lot of fun, was it?!) 
  • One benefit of your high fever at nighttime, we stopped swaddling you to go to sleep. I was super nervous you weren't going to sleep- but you were so sick, you feel asleep as soon as I put you down. The second day I swaddled you for nap time, but I figured- if we were going to break using the swaddle... we needed to break it. And we did. Three weeks later you don't use the swaddle at all anymore. Yay! 
  • Your first Halloween!! You got to trick or treat at school! We didn't go at home, it was really cold- and you were still on your antibiotic from your ear infection, so I didn't want to be out! We did, however go to Chipoltle for dinner. $2 meals if your dress up! So I dressed you up and we went. We met your friend Ollie and his mom Liz for dinner! 
  • We got to go to the pumpkin patch before Daddy left to go on tour. We got some great pictures of you and the pumpkins! I can't wait to take you again next year. I think you'll have a lot of fun once you can walk/ run around! 
You are getting so big!! I can't believe you are 11 months old already! I need to start planning your birthday party! Just 4 weeks away!! 
I love you so much sweet girl! 
Happy 11 Months! 

And now the important stuff... Pictures!! 


AS&D concert 


Pumpkin Fest! 


Trick or Treat! 


Pumpkins!! 



We love you!!!



Monday, September 10, 2012

9 Month Update!



9 months old!! 

Ella Kate, you are 9 months old!! That's how long I was pregnant with you! 
(Actually that's a lie that I just helped continue. People are pregnant more than9 months. Closer to 10, actually. Someone didn't pay attention in Biology). 
You are growing and changing so much everyday! I am loving every moment watching you learn new things  and do new things. 

  • You are  26 inches long (10%) 
  • You are 18lbs and 2 oz. (25-50%) 
  • Your head is 17 1/2 inches around (50%) 
  • You are finally wearing 6 month clothes exclusively! Thankfully the weather has been nice because a majority of your 6 month clothes were for summer! Wo knew it would be September before you fit in them! 
  • You are crawling everywhere! You are getting pretty fast when you have somewhere you want to go! 



  • You are getting more sturdy standing on your own, but you of course still need to hold on to something to stable yourself! 
  • One of the downfalls of loving to stand, sometimes you fall. On your face. It breaks my heart when it happens - you scream and cry. I am there to cuddle and make it better though :) 

  • You are waving at people. Sometimes on que. Sometimes you just wave because it makes you happy. That makes me happy too. 
  • We went to see your Daddy play in Nashville at an outdoor show. You got your first backstage pass. Just wait, there will be more. 



  • We also went to your first Independence High School football game! Go Eagles! We didn't stay long, bedtime creeped up on us about halftime. But you still had fun. 



  • We found a new house! Which means we are packing! You are staying entertained in the boxes :) 

  • Your new favorite game is peekaboo barn. You love looking at the animals and hearing all their noises. Your old favorite consists of playing on or under your exosaucer. 



Happy 9 Months Sweet Girl! 
You are so much fun and you make us so happy! 
We are the luckiest! 


  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

8 Month Update!





8 Month Update



August already? It's Back to School time at the Leonard house!! 
  • We started school August 3rd. You get to come to school with Mommy this year! So far, so good! However, Miss. Ella, you haven't been sleeping at school. I know you simply don't want to miss out on all the fun you could be having. Sweet girl, you need to sleep!! 

First Day of School


  • You are still in size 3 month clothes. But growing! 
  • You are wearing size 2 diapers. 
  • You are getting milk every 3-4 hours still, with fruit and veggies for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 
  • We had family come visit this month!! Your Leonard and Newman family came to see you for a few days! We had a lot of fun and played a lot while they were here!! 

  



  • We had a lot of firsts just in the last week! 
  • You said your first word!!!! UP! You say it a lot, it's the sweetest sound. (August 1st) 
  • You pulled up to standing on your own on the cribs at school. We were at the daycare open house! I think you we're showing off for your teachers at how advanced you were!! 
  • You are kind of crawling, but its slow moving :) The last week of July you started moving one little crawl at a time. You would take one crawl, then fall. You are getting so, so close to being mobile!! 





You light up our lives! We love you to the moon and back!! 
I am so thankful I get to be your mommy! 


Thursday, July 12, 2012

7 Months Old!


7 Month Update 
 
You turned 7 months old on Mommy and Daddy's 7 year anniversary! We spent the day together doing what we do best, antique shopping :) 

Now for your update of the last month! 

  • You weigh approximately 16 lbs. 
  • Still in size 2 diapers. Hopefully you will be wearing them for awhile! We have boxes and boxes of size 2 diapers in your closet! 
  • You are wearing 3 month clothes :) How many 7 month olds can say that?! My little petite baby!  I bought you a 4th of July dress a long time ago- and bought it size 6 months. It was pretty big on you ... But don't you worry... You wore it!! And we had a photo shoot in it! 
  • You are eating baby food everyday! You have had carrots, sweet potatoes and peas! You love all of them. Mommy is going to make your baby food for you starting this week! I hope you like it!! 
  • We have spent a lot of time relaxing and establishing a set routine this month. After all of our traveling, it's been good for both of us. 
  • You are taking 3 naps a day. Which has allowed me to take a nap once or twice. :)
  • You remembered how to sleep!! After switching up our night time routine, you have started putting yourself to sleep after I lay you down. Game changer. You are sleeping all night long!! (you have had a night or two of forgetting around 2 in the morning ... But I forgive you!) 
  • Momma had strep / scarlet fever this past week. I prayed for protection over your little body to stay healthy and luckily you never got sick... Inspite of my coughing and sneezing and maybe the occasional kiss on your head ;) 
  • We celebrated the 4th of July at Grace Chapel in Lieper's Fork. Uncle Toby played with Jeremy Camp so we went to watch. You love music so you had fun! You also drank out of a water bottle for the first time :) it was really cute. It was over 100 degrees out, I didn't want you to overheat / dehydrate! You also got to wear your super cute sailor dress! That may have been one of my highlights of the day. 
  • Oh, that reminds me. We have had one of the hottest Tennessee summers! We broke a heat record 8 out of 10 days in a row. It stayed between 102- 106 for over a week. Yuck!! We stayed inside to beat the heat in the A/C. 

I'm leaving you with a couple cute pictures, because I can! 
Ella Kate, we love you more and more everyday. You bring so much joy to our lives. 
Loves!!!