Saturday, August 20, 2016

Book Review: Hope Unfolding

Last year in my MOPS group, I met a new friend who had moved here from Colorado. She posted about this book that a blogger she loved had written. Then I found it was available for me to review through one of my programs so based on her glowing remarks about it, I immediately selected it to review. I'm really glad I made that choice.

"Hope Unfolding" by Becky Thompson, the blogger behind "Scissortail Silk", is a wonderful opportunity for moms of young children to have their hearts ministered to and be offered hope by a fellow mom alongside them in the trenches of motherhood. Each chapter is a chance for moms to receive another truth about God and hope in the midst of our mess, chaos, and hard moments.

Many of these chapters spoke directly to where I was at that very moment in life. For example, in Chapter 3 "A Fight for Joy", Becky discusses her first pregnancy, one that ended in miscarriage. We already knew at the time I read that chapter that we had lost our precious baby and 2 days later I would experience my own miscarriage. I cried reading that chapter but it was healing and hopeful. She talks about finding hope "after" and remembering to look for the familiar places in our lives where we know God has been, asking him to show us where he is even in the tough moments.

Each chapter contained moments like this where I could recall times in my life that needed the type of hope Becky was bringing to mind. If these moments hadn't immediately sprung to mind, there were sections at the end of each chapter for reflection and prompts on connecting with the Source of all hope. Her own story is woven seamlessly through the book, unafraid of serving as the example where needed.

Becky has a new book coming out in January titled "Love Unending: Rediscovering your Marriage in the Midst of Motherhood". It's already on my wish list and I can't wait to read that book as well! I really enjoyed how much this book ministered to me and can't wait to see what she has in store for "Love Unending"!

Overall Rating: 5 of 5 stars! :D

Soli Deo Gloria,

I received this book for free from The Crown Publishing Group for this review.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Long Term Lessons

So often as parents, we are teaching long term lessons to our children and we're never certain how much they're actually absorbing at any given moment. But then, when we see glimpses of what is taking hold, that what we're doing is actually making an impact...those moments are golden and so worth the struggle.

Obviously, at two years old, we will be working on manners for quite a while. We already have been for some time now and our Munchkin is pretty good about following our prompts and knowing what to say when we remind him. As we fully enter the phase of "That's Mine!" it will be even more important to guide him in learning these lessons but probably also more challenging.

But yesterday (July 26), I had one of those moments, those glimpses, that show what is truly taking root. It was unexpected and beautiful. It was an unsolicited statement with no reminders or prompting.

"Thank you, Mama."

Melt my heart. No matter how many times I've had to repeat myself in asking him to use his manners or ask nicely, hearing those words spontaneously makes it all worth it.

Joanna Gaines, amazing co-star of the fabulous show "Fixer Upper" on HGTV, recently posted an image and caption that went viral addressing this same sentiment. Take a minute to read it (if you haven't seen it already) and allow it to encourage you.

There's an Adonis blue butterfly bush I had planted by the girl's window almost five years ago when we were renovating the farmhouse. I wanted butterflies by the girl's windows that they could see and enjoy. I never told them about the bush and honestly I forgot about it over the years. This morning I found my little Emmie sitting by her window looking excitedly at the bush and saying "Here she is! My little hummingbird comes every morning mom!" First, I didn't know she looked out for her bird every morning. Second, I forgot all about the bush and never told her if she looked out the window she would see the prettiest butterflies and hummingbirds gathered around it. It's hard not to think this is a lot like parenting... You sow seeds early on and work hard to be intentional and then over time you move on to new lessons and challenges. Then one day you look up and the seeds you planted in your little children's hearts are now in full bloom. Be encouraged today to keep pressing in and tending to their hearts. It will be worth it.
A photo posted by Joanna Stevens Gaines (@joannagaines) on

So keep pouring into those babies, mommas! The harvest may be far off but it will be worth it!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Friday, June 3, 2016

Thy Will

Many of you that read Faith for Wings follow me on Facebook. You rejoiced with us when we announced on Easter that we were expecting another baby. And then you mourned with us when we had to share the news that our baby was no longer viable and had left us.

The day of the ultrasound appointment, Monday, May 2nd, was very hard but also full of God's grace. We had a wonderful ultrasound tech who was kind and sympathetic, apologizing for having to do her job after we knew what was happening. My amazing OB let us sit in her office for as long as we needed and took care of cancelling and scheduling appointments right then and there so we didn't have to worry about doing it. Our parents circled around us via phone when we called to tell them. And then there was the radio station that had no clue how they ministered to us on that hard day.

On Mondays, our local Christian radio station introduces a couple of new songs to their rotation. Typically 2-3 songs each week, they'll add them to the playlist at different times during the day. As I sat down in my car after that appointment to go pick up my son, this song started playing during its first day on that station.

"I know You're good, but this don't feel good right now." How true this was then and in the subsequent weeks. None of this has felt anywhere near "good". But I have also clung to one of the other truths in this song: "Sometimes I gotta stop, remember that you're God and I am not." A friend at church said a few Sundays ago that "God knows what he's doing." We have certainly been clinging to that fact. Dan and I have talked several times in the past weeks about God's goodness and sovereignty, His plans and mercy, especially in the midst of a broken world. We may not know the broader picture, but we cling to a God who does.

"I know you see me, I know you hear me, Lord". What comfort in those words! God is not ignorant of my grief or tears. How often the Psalmist proclaims this truth of God's knowing us in the midst of difficult circumstances! Jesus said that those who mourn will be comforted (Matt 5:4). I look forward to the day when every one of my tears is wiped away (Rev. 21: 3-5) but for now I trust that God will not waste this moment in time, this grief, these tears. I still miss my baby and mourn what will not be now. But I also still know He's good, even if my circumstances don't feel good in this moment. That hope...that makes all the difference.

In Loving Memory of Baby X

Soli Deo Gloria,

Monday, February 8, 2016

Guilty/Not Guilty

Oh, mommas. My heart hurt so much the other day. Let me explain.

My Munchkin has a little buddy that is almost his same age. His mom and I are both first time moms though she is several years my junior. When I saw her the other week to pass along some extra clothes another friend had shared with me, she mentioned that her tyke was sick with the flu and we talked about how hard it is for little ones. Just days later, she called me. Her little guy had shared and now she was sick and, for health reasons, unable to take typical OTC meds that would have helped.

Learning to love the white stuff ;)
We talked for a while about how hard it is to parent when you're sick. I related how my whole family had been sick a couple months ago and how sometimes you have to just dig down deep and find some extra strength to push through and other times you just need to curl up on the couch and watch the little one play. And that's when it happened. She basically asked me if that was okay, if it was okay for her to rest while she was sick. It seems that was the purpose of her call and it broke my heart. I told her that of course it was okay if she laid down and simply watched her boy play instead of pushing herself to engage beyond her energy. Of course it was okay to take care of herself and heal. My heart broke thinking of how many of us feel we need permission to do what is necessary in the face of what we feel we "should" do.

Being a first-time mom can be so hard. Throw in our own, often unrealistic, expectations of ourselves on top of the already hard work of raising littles and often the mommy guilt isn't far behind. We try to keep going, keep moving, keep doing for the sake of feeling accomplished. As a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) sometimes I feel I haven't succeeded if I haven't been constantly going and doing all day long or if I don't have something to physically show for the work I've done. My wonderful husband has really helped me to recognize this guilt when it creeps up and encourages me by helping me see all that I have done, even if it's "only" raising my little adventurer. Sometimes I simply need to realize that making it to the end of the day with a Munchkin that has been loved and fed is enough, even if my house didn't get cleaned or laundry didn't get done. Besides, who doesn't love a pajama day every once in a while? ;)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:28-29, NIV)

Jesus's way is not one of false guilt or running ourselves ragged trying to keep up with everyone and everything. It invites us to rest in Him, to find our strength and expectations outside of ourselves. It draws us into a relationship, not a frenzy of activity or to-do-lists. So let's link arms with the mommas around us and encourage them as they seek to find rest in the hurricane. Raising littles is hard enough already without piling false guilt on ourselves. Let's help each other to lay that burden down at the feet of our Maker and "find rest for [our] souls".

Soli Deo Gloria,

Monday, January 18, 2016

Book Review: "I Prayed for You" by Jean Fischer

"I Prayed for You" by Jean Fischer is a sweet children's book about all the prayers a mama bear says for her little cub starting before he was even born and as he grows each day. Every spread shares a different prayer, and moms will resonate with the eternally important messages conveyed in those prayers. Beautifully illustrated by Frank Endersby, this sweet book will quickly become a bedtime favorite.

I really enjoyed this book with my little guy. "I Prayed for You" gives mommas a chance to share with their little ones all the different ways they are prayed for as they grow up. My little guy enjoyed seeing Baby Bear do some of the same things that he does, such as playing, snuggling, and getting dressed. We especially like giggling along with Baby Bear when he meets a butterfly for the first time. I like how it gives me an opportunity to let my Munchkin know how much he has been and will be prayed for in his life. Sometimes I get teary reading the prayers for times yet to come in his life, knowing they will be the prayers of my heart as well.

Of note, it was a little different having the story part of the book not rhyme when the corresponding prayers on the opposite page did rhyme. Part of me might have preferred to have it all one way or the other. Otherwise, we really enjoyed this book and I look forward to many more bedtimes with it as our story for the night.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Soli Deo Gloria,

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”