Friday, August 16, 2013

Come What May

To say that my family and I have had a rough couple of weeks would be an understatement. It seems like everything is going wrong. I'm sure you're thinking I'm being dramatic, but let me fill you in on just a few things that have happened over the last couple of weeks:
* My debit card number was stolen and our checking account was drained.

* I fell down the stairs, scraped my arm, and got a bruise the size of Texas on my rear.

* Keith had his worst month of sales since entering his industry in 2011.

* While hammering a nail to hang a picture on the day of my husband's birthday gathering, I punctured the freon line and caused $$$ in damage.

* Gav drove his Tonka truck over my iPad and cracked the screen. 

More things have happened, but I'll stop the list at five. (And yes, the iPad getting cracked isn't too much of a big deal, but add in a broken laptop and a graduate program starting next week and we've got a situation!) I was fixing to write a post about seasons and the ups and downs of life, and then I remembered that I wrote a guest post for my lovely friend Al over at Traffic Jelly a little over a year ago. The same words written then still ring true today, so I thought I'd share it here on My Dolce Vita.
While blog hopping one night in 2010, I stumbled upon a beautiful girl in the midst of a heartbreaking season. I didn't know anything about her except that she was strong, honest, and raw. I love that about Al. :) So when she reached out for guest postings, I didn't think twice. Today I am inspired by Al to write about something that so often enters my mind, and that is the seasons of life.
We all go through them. Some are wonderful, some are messy, and some are just plain rotten. We get hit by life's curve balls and sometimes it's too easy to accept defeat or think that things cannot possibly get better. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. But here's the thing -- the season will change. Things will change. After all, they are called seasons. 

I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and each season we go through teaches us valuable lessons. Whether you are forced to learn the hard way or are blessed with a joyful season, it doesn't matter. Nothing stays the same. As a new Mom, I am learning this daily. My son, Gavin, was born on Leap Day and is already 4 months old. This tiny little soul who used to sleep all day has found his voice and is now quite the random screamer. He is rolling around, scooting across the floor, trying to eat his toes, and at this very moment, making gargling noises. So much has changed in only 4 months that I want to grab time by the shoulders and say "PLEEEEASE. Slow. Down!"

But I can't.

And that's why we need to soak in every season. Time is fleeting. Do I like 4am feedings and poopy diapers? Of course not. But will I miss them on his first day of school or when he learns how to drive? Absolutely. (My stomach just sank at the thought of my baby being a teen...woah.) For me, this season would be considered a good one. But rewind to January and things weren't so peachy. My husband's company filed bankruptcy and laid off everyone when I was 8 months pregnant. And while losing his income hurt, the biggest lost was our health insurance. We had recently relocated to Atlanta, GA for his job and were now stuck with with no job, no insurance, and no family. Oy. Let's just say it was a stressful, scary season.

But you know what? Everything worked out. We ended up applying for health assistance through the government and were approved a week before Gavin was born. I delivered a healthy baby boy without any complications, and in March my husband received a job offer for the best job he's ever had. In a matter of months everything completely turned around. Without a doubt, we give 100% credit to the one who holds us in His hands.

I personally think the most important thing to do when stuck in an unpleasant or unfortunate season and is to not lose faith. Don't give up hope. Persevere. Things may have to get worse before they get better, but I can promise you that eventually, it will get better. When I think about past seasons, I tend to chuckle a bit. In high school I was confident my life was over when I didn't make the cheerleading squad junior year. In middle school, I just knew that was it when I got caught passing notes. And when I was making poor choices in my wild season and feeling more than lost, I just knew things would never get better. But I was wrong.

Just remember that it takes time to transition from one season to the next. Also remember that the tough ones will make you stronger. I hope this post encouraged you to hang on, keep the faith, and know that you are not alone.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
 Deuteronomy 31:6 


So, we're praising Him in this storm. Because as with all seasons, this storm is on its way out!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It Never Fails

Life with Arabella has been sweetened like I would have never imagined. This precious baby girl is simply amazing. She's an easy baby, just like her brother was. She sleeps and nurses well, and so far our only difficulty has been figuring out what I'm eating that makes her puke. all. over. me. :) When I think about my daughter and how much I love her, I feel like my heart could literally burst. I felt (and still feel) this exact way about Gavin, and I never imagined that my love could multiply. But it did. And there isn't anything that I could possible say that would accurately describe my thankfulness.

 Our sweet girl

After Gavin was born, I experienced an overwhelming increase in my protective instinct, but also in the sensitivity of my heart for the motherless. On my first Mother's Day, I experienced true heartbreak for children in the Philippines. And it's happening all over again. My heart breaks a little each time I hold my babies, as I sit there thinking of the children in this world who aren't held enough. The children who have to go without. Without food. Without shelter. Without outstretched arms. Without love. Without someone to protect them. The pain that I felt with Gavin is one that I am feeling again with Arabella, and I know that God is breaking my heart and preparing me for something bigger than myself.

Keith and I have always had a heart for children, and after having our own we see the need to live out Proverbs 31:8-9. "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." For us, that means becoming a voice for children locally and and internationally. It means giving back. It means being His hands and feet.

God has specifically broken my heart for children in the Philippines and Nicaragua, and I will continue praying for clear direction for ways to help these precious babies. Keith has a heart for evangelism and feels that wherever we go or whoever we encounter, he can perform God's Will. And while having two little ones under the age of 2 is a huge responsibility, we also know that we want to adopt. And sooner than later. 

Parenthood has definitely rocked our world, and through this role God is breaking our hearts, and using this brokenness for ministry. And I for one am eager to see where He leads us.
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