Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mema's Hands

There is no 92-year-old woman I love more than my Mema. She is the perfect combination of sweet yet feisty and quite hilarious. No trip home to LaGrange is complete without a trip to her clutter-filled, always hot, but always stocked with chocolate apartment. She sits in the only open spot on her couch, nestled between her beloved newspapers and magazines, while I take my place in the chair; I take hold of her hand while we catch up on life. She fills me in on the drama from the latest Food Committee meeting, any recent visitors, the happenings of the local birds and hummingbirds that frequent her corner apartment, the score from the latest Braves’ Game, and of course, she enlightens me to any important clippings from the LaGrange Daily News. I fill her in on all of Micah’s new tricks, any important happenings from our crazy family, and often lament on the challenges of bring a wife, mom, and teacher. She always pats my hand while reminding me, ever so sweetly, that “it will be alright.”

I’ll never forget the trip John and I made to LaGrange soon after confirming our first pregnancy. Oh, the excitement to finally tell Mema about our first baby. The tears in her eyes, the joy on her face, and the way we held hands for the longest time will be a memory forever etched into my heart. Her wrinkled, weak, arthritis filled hands. The same hands that stood at an altar and vowed to love my Deda through good times and bad, sickness and health. And did she ever live up to that commitment as she loved, cared, and fought for her husband as he battled against Alzheimer’s. Those same two hands that loved four children, a multitude of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and transformed a little white house into a comfy home. Speaking of which, she and my Dad, her youngest son, raised a duck in the upstairs bathroom unbeknownst to my grandfather. Yes, a real, live, quacking duck. To this day, my Dad gets the biggest grin on his face when he retells this story.

The list goes on and on. She is a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She is a teacher, an artist, a hard worker, the best-bread-maker EVER, a wonderful listener, a generous giver, and a fighter. But most of all, she is a difference maker. She has made quite the difference in my life. Can’t wait to see her soon and hold those precious, tired hands.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


I clearly remember the day that doctors confirmed there was indeed life being knit together in my womb. My heart was immediately filled with sheer excitement and a touch of anxiety knowing that my life would be forever changed. The days following that life-altering appointment were filled with sharing our big announcement with those we love most.

Several important people in my life said the exact same phrase upon finding our exciting news...”This child will forever change your life.” Duh. I knew that sleeping would never again take such priority in my life and I would be forever responsible for getting two people ready instead of just myself. And while we are on the subject of fashion, I struggle with finding just one cute outfit for me to wear daily so the idea of now finding two outfits was a bit overwhelming. Pajama days are a huge blessing around my house...amen! A year and nine months into this journey of motherhood, I’m beginning to understand the depth of that statement….”This child will forever change your life.”

No one could have ever explained to me that on February 14 at 7:02pm my heart would take up residence outside of my body. M’s life has left me astoundingly vulnerable because I take his joy, sadness, and every emotion in between so personally. I have never prayed over someone with such diligence and intensity before this child became mine. I pray that he will grow to love the things of the Lord, for God’s protection to follow him all of his days, that his future wife will be madly in love with Jesus, that the manners I attempt to daily teach him will eventually take root in his mind and heart, and for his life to make a difference in the Kingdom of God. Oh, yes, this child has forever changed my life. Every tragedy I see on the news or hear about from a friend makes my heart momentarily stop because what if that was my child. My heart knows no greater joy than watching him experience something for first time or the belly laugh that ensues when his Daddy walks thru the door after a long day at work. I never knew someone so small and innocent would make me doubt my every decision. Although I have loved my parents for 20-something years, this little being makes me appreciate them more than ever.

As I listen to friends chat about their desire to love a child as their own or when that exciting phone call comes to share the news that a dear friend has finally gotten the miracle she has prayed for my heart merely whispers, “this child will forever change your life.” What a beautiful yet exhausting calling motherhood is for many but with each passing day and milestone, I'm realizing the truth of just how incredibly much this child has already changed my life.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2013: Expectant...

Ah, goodbye 2012 and hello 2013. Fabulous yet challenging...yes, that would be an accurate summary of our year. On February 14 our world was completely rocked by that bundle of joy that was born at 7:02pm. July brought about a move to our new hometown with a five-month-old in tow and the overwhelming decisions that come with building a new home. Next, August brought the closing on our very first home and the following months were filled with the challenges and immense joy that come with serving in the place where you know God has called your family.

So, 2013…how are you going to beat that?!? My heart is expectant of many things in this New Year…an intimate walk with the Holy One, God-ordained moments to serve others, the life-changing experience of discipleship, a love for memorizing scripture to fill our home, lots of laughter, raising a little one to love the things of the Lord, both connections within the Body of Christ and outside of the walls of the church, and multiple opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!” -Ephesians 3:20-21

Sunday, December 2, 2012


“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” –Galatians 5:1

Freedom. Christ came to give life abundantly. Therefore, He never intended for us to live enslaved. Let that sink in. Not enslaved to people, comparison, money, pride, busy schedules, food, or anything else. When I surrender all at the foot of the cross, I gain freedom. Perfect freedom to be His servant…such glorious irony.

Monday, October 1, 2012

My Story...

The Women of Faith Conference in Atlanta last weekend spoke truth to my heart, rejuvenated my soul, and challenged my mind. The line-up of speakers included Sandi Patty, Kelly Minter, Patsy Clairmont, Brenda Warner, and many others. Each of these ladies shared some of their deepest hurts that included abuse, divorce, tragic accidents, and adultery. Seriously, their transparency and willingness to share their darkest moments with thousands of women spoke strength into my heart BUT it also made me doubt the power of my testimony. Would God ever use my story despite the lack of tragic events in my life?

In Mark 5, the demon-delivered man begged to go with Jesus and while the Savior refused, He gave the man a clear command. And Jesus did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”

As I have wrestled with the heart of God this week, He whispered a strong, clear answer to me. Yes, I have a story to live out. One that includes highs and lows, defeats and successes, doubting myself and doubting God, and a heart that daily chooses to trust the integrity of God. You see, comparison has stolen much of my joy over the past 10 years.

Ah, the subject of comparison. It is that pesky voice that whispers things like:

- You’re not as smart as…
- She is a better minister’s wife than you…
- Your house is not as fabulous as…(thank you, Pinterest!)
- She is a better mother than you…(hello mom guilt!)
- Your walk with God is not as strong as…
- She is a better friend than you...
- You're not as funny as...

And the list goes on and on and on. Indeed, comparison is the thief of MY joy.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” -Theodore Roosevelt

The lies of comparison steal my joy of friendship and my ability to be content. Furthermore, it steals the gift of genuine joy when I rest in the sovereignty and integrity of my Heavenly Father. Instead of believing the lies of comparison, I will tell the world how much He has done for me and of the perfect mercy He has given.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Feeling Unworthy?

Life is crazy busy for us. A church flock to love and lead, a six month old to care for, a new house to make a home, a marriage to nurture, families to stay connected to, new friendships to cultivate, and precious friendships that span numerous miles to keep thriving.

Unfortunately, my flesh longs to appease every person God places along my path and meet every.single.expectation placed upon me. It is definitely not my best quality but an ever-present struggle in my life. Attempting to earn the love of God and those around me is beyond exhausting.

And just when my feelings of inadequacy begin to overtake my thoughts, the Word of God breathes life into my weary soul…

- Moses was marked by a severe speech impediment.

- Noah was 500 years old when he built the ark.

- Ruth was a widowed outcast.

- Paul killed Christians.

- David was an adulterer who committed murder AND was overlooked by his
own earthly father when he gave consideration to which son could become king.

- Gideon was a scared coward.

- The twelve disciples were less than perfect and often doubted Jesus, even
though He lived among them.

- Sarah bore a child in her ripe old age after doubting God would ever knit life
together in her womb.

- My own SAVIOR was born to a young girl and a carpenter in a stable surrounded
by animals.

I’m forever grateful to serve a God who chooses to use His imperfect followers. If God could use these seemingly useless characters in the Bible, then watch out world, because He will continue a mighty work through those of us who feel completely unworthy.

If God is for us, then who can be against us?
Romans 8:31

Friday, July 6, 2012

3 Years Later...

After J proposed on November 17, 2008, we set out to plan a worship service to honor the Lord and join our hearts together in marriage.

I am forever grateful to my mom, an event coordinator at heart, who helped me see every single detail that had to be planned, laughed with me until we cried many times, and made it such an enjoyable experience. I love you, Daddy, and will always be grateful you set the standard so high for how my husband would love me. You will always be the first man I ever loved!

We spent the Friday before finalizing the details, loving on family and friends, rehearsing for the big day, and reminiscing at the rehearsal dinner.

Saturday morning FINALLY came and after getting ready at a sketch hotel, my girls and I headed to LaGrange for the bridesmaid’s breakfast, hair appointments, and a trip to Wal-Mart. While all of this was happening, J and his boys were shooting skeet in LG.

While J and I were enjoying the day with our family and friends, a precious friend from church, who is a decorating genius, was putting the final touches on decorations for the ceremony and reception while my talented aunt was busy putting the flowers together.

J and I chose to see each other before the wedding, so when the moment we had reverently prayed for finally came, my heart was beating out of control. It was a moment filled with tears, smiles, laughter, and praises to our Heavenly Father.

The next several hours were spent taking pictures, laughing with our wedding party, and waiting on 5:30pm to finally arrive.

Two things I will forever cherish about our wedding:
1. J composed the piece the musicians played as my Dad walked me down the aisle.
2. My veil was handmade from my grandmother’s wedding dress. Mammy and Pappy enjoyed fifty years of marriage, loved the Lord and His church, raised four children, and spoiled nine grandchildren. What a legacy!

After a wedding reception filled with music, yummy food, a coffee bar, and sweet family and friends, it was time to say goodbye.

Three years into our marriage, we have added a baby, moved four times, and made incredible memories together. What a blessing that God has chosen us to experience a journey that represents His love relationship with the church!

“I have found the one whom my soul loves.” Song of Songs 3:4

*Photo Credit: Daniel Menacher