God Has It

So many things to say.  Today has been rough.

I took baby girl to pediatrician for her 2 month check up, she got three shots.  So sad!

Received a call from a company that I have been really wanting to land a job with.  They offered me a part time position.  I should have jumped at the opportunity, however they want me to work on Sundays.  The last time I disregarded God and gave up Sundays for a job it bit me in the butt...HARD.  So, I am almost positive that tomorrow I will be calling to turn it down, as hard as it is...God comes first.

I found out today that my sister's dog has congestive heart failure.  I love little Max.

I had a conversation with a close mentor friend of mine about the job situation.  Which ones I apply for and which ones I don't and why.  Her and I agree, that God leads my heart and I am good at following His leading.  I am not speaking of going on a "feeling"... I truly follow God and trust that He has me where I am for the moment and He knows my situation.  Until He leads me I will stay put.  I am not going to hastily apply for any job out there just because I need more money.  God provides.  He has been so faithful to me and I will not doubt even when people or a person discounts my decisions to decide one way or another what I am going to do, or what job I am going to apply for.  There is something to be said about the amount of time I have stayed at Starbucks.  Employers appreciate longevity and I will hold out for the right opportunity.

On top of all of this, I am a single mom.  I am burnt out.  I am so thankful for the things people are doing for me.  Girls night out this past weekend was awesome...Hillsong is an amazing worship experience.  I was so blessed by that time.  I am so thankful for those that have stepped up and helped with childcare and other needs while I try to figure this gig out. 

Also I am going to put this reality out there.  I have not had more than 15-20 minutes alone since about July 10.  Once I got to the hospital that was it.  The most time I have had alone has been in the car in between locations.  When I am here with my baby I am the sole caretaker.  I don't have a husband to give me a break (my fault but doesn't make it easy).  I am nursing so my body is not only physically exhausted from being on my feet all day, lugging gallons of milk, etc. at Starbucks, but it is working to produce milk as well.  My work breaks aren't breaks because I am rushing to assemble a pump to express whatever my body has decided to produce for the past few hours and then as soon as I am done I am back to work, often with very little to nothing to eat because there is no time and sometimes no money.  When she is in my arms and when she smiles at me it is all worth it.

So, while I am AFRAID, exhausted, appreciative, blessed, and every other emotion out there...God has it.

Trying to trust Him and lean on His promises.  So thankful for those who have and will step up to serve Him in this single mom's life.  It isn't a life I chose but God knew it is the life I would lead and He has prepared me for this and I will be faithful to Him in the raising of my daughter.  I will teach her integrity, commitment, and all the things that I value in this world, the greatest being Love.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding.  He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless.   Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall,   but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31 


25 Days In

DISCLAIMER:  I have new mommy brain.  This may be scattered.

So...If you haven't heard, I am a mom.  I have been for about 25 days now...almost 26. 

At one point I would have been just gushing over my new mommyhood but this is what I have found...IT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT THING I HAVE EVER DONE!

I am a baby and child lover.  I have grown up taking care of kids (LOTS of them) and loving on kids through mission trips and serving at church.  I always knew it would be hard, but nothing can prepare you for parenthood.  

Don't get me wrong.  She is the most precious beautiful thing in the world to me, and if you don't believe my words, just check out the number of pictures I have taken on my camera and iPhone. 

I had baby girl naturally, no pain meds...not so much as a tylenol.  I am happy I did and proud of that fact.  I wanted to experience labor for what it is, though I never would have admitted it in the midst of that process...oy!  I asked for drugs right about the time it was time to push and when I found out how close I was I changed my mind and got her out.  Praise the Lord it only took 5-6 pushes! 

The first few days were fabulous in the hospital and coming home was a joyous affair.  Fast forward 1 week and it became a different story.  Nobody tells you about what happens to your body after birth.  If you want to know I will tell you but it takes some serious time to get back...and on top of the healing, you have this new screaming, demanding being that is a joy to take care of but caring for both yourself and the baby is seriously hard.  Then there is the fact that I am single.  Not having a pity party by any means but I am more sure now than ever that this is one reason I should have waited until marriage to engage in intimate affairs.  :-/ God knows what is best and He WANTS it to go well with us... and for us.  Why I don't listen, I am not sure.  I do have a bit of His creation that He has entrusted me with though, so, in the midst of it all, I am so thankful, humbled, and bewildered as to how and why He chose me to bring up this little beauty named Jewell.

Add nursing to the mix and my oh my.  For the record...that isn't easy either.  I have actually been struggling to eat enough.  It was the first time in my life a doctor told me to eat MORE.  You might think it reason to celebrate, however, I am happy to find 5 minutes to eat, so there is no time to dream about what I actually want or to enjoy it, so quite frankly the easiest thing with the most protein is what I go for.

So, then, I also had been wondering why my check for my leave hadn't arrived yet...ok...PANICKING as to why...I received a letter, address mix up yadda yadda...

My point is this...

God has provided everything I have needed when I have needed it.  He has been and always will be my source of...well...everything. 

When I didn't think I could make it for another moment because she has been SO fussy, she has taken a nap and God revives me through His Word...or a nap.

He put purple weeds/flowers on the side of the road just for me.

 When I am aching for social time, He blesses me with the best pizza ever, the best cupcakes ever, along with fellowship with one of my favorite people ever. 

Additionally God has provided me with best support in the world.  I could never begin to thank those in my life enough for how they have been there for me.  I had the best birthing coaches in the delivery room with me, along with the best mom and sister...My birthing coaches have been the best friends I could ever imagine.  My mom has been more help than I could ask for and is a serious blessing in my life.  The friends who happen to be midwives are amazing and so patient with my onslaught of text messaged questions...as well as bringing me frozen crock pot dinners and stool softeners.  Yes I did just say that.  :)

So, I will work on not worrying and on being in each moment and each day engaged in where God has me, and the task He places before me for each moment.  I will be thankful for the beauty that surrounds me in my baby girl, the other people in my life, laughter, tears, and every hormonal moment that I will one day look back on and laugh at...I have already done this...

Click here to read this Scripture...God uses is over and over to speak to me and He is most certainly using it now.

Matthew 6:25-34

 Best birthing coaches ever!

 Best mom and sister ever!

 The amazing midwife (that I hit).

 My grandma, and baby's namesake.

The beautiful piece of Creation God has entrusted me with.


God's Voice

There has been a void in my relationship with God for a little while.  I haven't been able to put my finger on it this time, whereas I have been able to do that in the past and work my way forward in my relationship with Him.

I have been worried that my sin has been too much, that God had given up on me or just that my own guilt was getting in my way of my relationship with Him.  But even as quickly those thoughts came to the forefront of my mind they went away, suggesting that those were not the problem.

So, I was reading my summer Bible study a week or two ago, but because of moving, settling, working, and being so tired all of the time, I just now got around to blogging...

This particular chapter opened my eyes to a sin I hadn't really given much thought to.  

I had ignored the voice of God.  The sin that followed is irrelevant, but when God warned me, I ignored Him and did it anyways.  

I am not speaking of ignoring the "gentle whisper" as mentioned in 1 Kings 19:11-13.  I am talking about the BOOMING VOICE OF GOD as mentioned in Job 37:1-5:

“At this my heart pounds
    and leaps from its place. 
 Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice,
    to the rumbling that comes from his mouth. 
 He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven
    and sends it to the ends of the earth. 
 After that comes the sound of his roar;
    he thunders with his majestic voice.
When his voice resounds,
    he holds nothing back.
God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways;
    he does great things beyond our understanding."

I believe wholeheartedly that the act of ignoring His voice and continuing in my own way has most certainly caused a void in our relationship, as any sin does.  I am working through restoration with Him and taking things day by day as I learn to hear Him and communicate with Him as I once did.  

My prayer is that my heart would not be hardened because I turned from His voice.  I pray it would be softened, that I would learn from this and that I would continue to listen to Him and follow where He leads.  I am in no better place than when I allow my path to be guided by Him.

"So, as the Holy Spirit says:
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion..."

Hebrews 3:7-8a 

Even though I have stumbled, I have God's promises to lean on and I know that because of Him I will remain standing.  

The Lord makes firm the steps
    of the one who delights in him;
though he may stumble, he will not fall,
    for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

Psalm 37:23-24

I instruct you in the way of wisdom
    and lead you along straight paths.
When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
    when you run, you will not stumble.

Proverbs 4:11-12 




What is in a Name?

Today I did a Bible study that discussed the names people were given in the Bible and how God had chosen their names based on the relevance that person's life would have in His kingdom.  

It then asked me to discover the meaning behind my name, which I already knew, to find Scriptures referring to that meaning, and to apply how the meaning of your name and references in Scripture can be applied.

The meaning of Amber is "precious jewel".

Well, of course I took this and applied it to me AND my baby girl who will be named Jewell Grace. :)

So, I looked up a couple of Scriptures:

I delight greatly in the Lord;
    my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
    and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isaiah 61:10

The Lord their God will save his people on that day
    as a shepherd saves his flock.
They will sparkle in his land
    like jewels in a crown. 
 How attractive and beautiful they will be!
Zechariah 9:16-17a

These and other verses tell me that jewels were and are still used to bring attention to something.  A jewel is placed on a woman's left hand to bring attention to the fact that she is spoken for, a necklace made of jewels can be placed on ones neck to bring attention to the beauty of her neck and shoulders.  There are many things jewels are meant to bring attention to.

When I first read these verses and thought about it, I thought, I don't want to be the kind of person that is seeking to be noticed as a jewel.  It seems very self absorbed.  Additionally, in naming my baby girl Jewell, I don't want her to grow to be this attention seeking woman.

God spoke to me and showed me that we, as jewels, can be used to bring attention to HIM!  :)

Jewels, at their very finest are cut in a way that reflects the light and brings out colors and facets that otherwise might go unnoticed.  

My prayer is that God would continue to carve me and shape me into His finest jewel so that the light would reflect onto Him and bring Him the glory He deserves.
My newest prayer is also that I can be his shaping tool to carve my baby girl into a woman who reflects His glory.  I want nothing less than the best for her and in HIS hands, I know she will receive nothing less.

It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
Revelation 21:11 

I am blessed with some of the most fabulous friends and am enjoying time here in the mountains with them.  I have indulged in some fantastic North Carolina barbecue, salted caramel ice cream, and old fashioned candy...the following is SOME of the creation God has allowed me to indulge in...


God's Power in MY Weakness

I am pregnant.  On the outside it is now obvious that I am a sinner.  In so many ways it has been freeing.  I think that it is so much of a temptation to keep sin within us and private so nobody knows how we have failed in the flesh.  I know so many who do this, and I myself have done this in the past.  In my situation, I am being forced to be open about what happened. 

God is so GOOD.  He is the only ONE who has the redemptive power in this situation.  I have felt compelled to write and have had no clear direction so I opened up a blank document after reading Scripture and literally stared at it for several minutes before typing.  As soon as I started, I couldn’t stop and my thoughts are all being supported and spurred on by the Scripture I just read.  I love how God does that.

The Scripture I read when I sat down was 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16.  I will highlight the parts of this that are speaking directly to me in this situation as well as other Scripture God places before me along the way...everything is moving through my head so fast!

So, throughout my pregnancy I honestly have not felt shame, which I believe is a good thing.  I definitely felt guilt in doing wrong but I have held my head high knowing Jesus Christ was crucified for times like this and He is the Giver of Life and has a plan and purpose in the situation.  I have accepted His forgiveness and been moving forward step by step with the best people I could imagine surrounding me.  Proverbs 18:24 says, "A man with many friends may be harmed, but there is a friend who stays closer than a brother.” 

Other things I have felt include feeling that my knowledge of Scripture as Bible major in college, and having been brought up on church should have prepared me for such temptation and I should have known better.  In one word FOOLISH.  But, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29:

“Brothers think of what you were when you were called.  Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”

Two things from this passage are true...  I have felt foolish, and I am definitely NOT boasting after my experiences.

All I have to offer anyone is the truth that God has forgiven me and is continuously pursuing me and assuring me of His forgiveness and acceptance and of His love that doesn’t fail, even when I do.  Romans 8:37-39 says:

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

My fear for a time was that God could no longer use me.  Scripture suggests otherwise, in fact, the very one I read today (1 Corinthians 2:1-5) says:

“And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

Anything I have to offer anyone comes from my own experience in Christ and my testament is of how greatly His forgiveness, redemption, grace have all released me from the troubles others may try to impress upon me by either hiding sin or pretending that things aren’t as they seem to protect a certain aspect of what they perceive to be their life, when it isn’t theirs, but the life God gave them.  I will not hide or be ashamed when it comes to God’s power being revealed through my weakness. 


I hate Goodbyes...

I have a multitude of things happening in my life right now.  Exciting things, mundane things, sad things, just really difficult things.  One of the hardest is saying goodbye. 

When you break off a relationship, one that has been going on for many years, it is so hard to say goodbye to the memories, the laughter, the things you shared that you haven't shared with anybody else.  It is super difficult to leave behind the people you met through that person, be it their family, friends, etc.  That is proving to be one of the hardest for me right now. 

I am the person that gives every person I meet all that I am, as much as possible depending on that relationship...obviously a close friend is going to get more of me than a co-worker...but, that being said, I have poured so much of myself into these people and received so much back.  It makes it hard to move forward I may or may not see them again until Heaven. 

So...my prayers and thoughts will be with them...I will laugh and probably cry as I reminisce about the time we spent together...but I am so thankful we share a God who links us together into one body and we will be together again one day, with no worries or drama there to cause conflict...it will be one happy, blissful, joy-filled day.

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
   but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 18:24


Sinful Nature

So, pretty recently, within the last few months, I underwent a serious Spiritual battle.  I knew when I was going through it that I was going through it.  I made a very clear decision to "gratify the desires of sinful nature." 

I am not in any way proud of the situation.  However, I have been able to see God's grace and redemption in new ways and I am beyond grateful for His son Jesus Christ who made that possible.

It is my goal to now live life by the Spirit.  It is amazing how you can read Scripture over and over, and then when a life event happens, that piece of Scripture changes and becomes your lifeline for that exact life circumstance you are facing.

Many times when we fail, it is easy to beat ourselves up and to be bogged down by the failure we have made.  Shame creeps in and can demoralize us, which is completely against what God wants for us.  In the past I have done this and I realized at the time that is completely disregarding God's sacrifice of His son Jesus.  He sacrificed His son so that we could live under the umbrella of grace and NOT allow the power of sin or satan get us down.  Jesus was HIS GIFT to us so that we can live in love and allow His light shine into the lives of others.

The Scripture that has spoken to me is the following:

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  
For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit, what is contrary to the sinful nature.  They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
The acts of sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.  I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Galatians 5:16-26
It is God's will that when we mess up, we repent (check), apologize for our actions (check), and face the consequences as well as realigning your life with what God wants (progressively checking).

I am so thankful for His grace, beyond what I can express, and hope that I can be a forgiving and loving friend to anyone who sins against me, as those I love (mostly) have done the same for me.  For those who haven't and who still hold bitterness in their heart...I am praying for you.