Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I was taught a very valuable lesson recently and guess who the teacher was? You! Both of you, actually! Now, this happens often to parents, but rarely do we slow down enough to accept the lesson. It is very humbling to know a 3 year old and a 1 year old can teach what you should have known all along. What you should have been teaching them.

I hope by the time you read this it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to you. I hope you are not nodding your head saying “Yep that sounds like mama alright!”. I would like to think I have grown in the years since I wrote this letter, that I have truly taken this lesson to heart.

You see, as of 2011 I have a major hang up which, in a matter of seconds can take me from a Praise-The-Lord-Hallelujah fit to a Pulling-My-Hair-Out-I-Hate-Life fit. Seriously, I admit it is really bad and unacceptable. What is this horrible hang up? My clothes (and hair if I am being honest)… ok let’s just say my appearance overall. Or at least my perception of my appearance at any point in time. Absurd… truly!

So, anyway… one night your father thought he would help me out and put the clothes from the washer in the dyer for me. Not until the dryer buzzed in completion did I realize that my jeans were in there… MY JEANS HAD BEEN DRIED! Oh boys, boys, boys… mama does not dry her jeans. Things happen in the dryer and they happen to only my clothes. They shrink at least 2 sizes. Seriously my loves, I’m even considering opting out of drying my underwear! Shrunken underwear is worse than shrunken jeans! Trust me….

Well, at the realization of my surely shrunken jeans I sailed up from whatever I was doing and I started crying. I really cried. Not only had my jeans been dried… but they were my fat jeans! You know that onepair of jeans that you can always wear and they don’t touch you anywhere?? Those jeans had been shrunk… they were no longer my fat jeans, but rather just my jeans. I had to go to bed, emotionally spent at the thought of what tomorrow morning would be like when I tried to put them on.

I got up early the next morning to work out… maybe if really gave it my all, I would lose a few pounds before getting dressed. I waited until your father left for work to get dressed. A quick little prayer later I slid my jeans on. They fit… they fit like any other pair of jeans. They were no longer my fat jeans, they touched me. I cried. I am not kidding you, I cried. I put on my makeup… tears being shed the entire time. I did my hair and of course it laid up there like a dead rat that had been moussed and blow dried! Pure sadness all the way around. At this point I threw the brush… threw it in rage. I can tell you it was not the first time I took my bad hair day out on my hair brush. Odd behavior…

Oh well, who cares… I’m just a sad old mother. May as well go buy a mini-van and wear elastic waistband the rest of my life. This is when I decided to get you boys ready. Oh Landon, you looked precious but honey you crawled behind me for at least 100 minutes crying, wanting to be picked up. You kept pulling on my legs all the while rubbing snot down the backside of my shrunken jeans. Nerves hanging on by a thread at this point.If I could just get your teeth brushed, Andrew and hair done I could get out the door and be done! Oh Andrew, at age 3 you do not stand still at all. Your hair was askew and toothpaste had dropped on your shirt. I lost it. I yelled at you both… I may have thrown your hair brush too.

You both started crying and I so did I. I was so ashamed because I had taken my shrunken jeans out on you. I picked you up (Andrew) and told you I was sorry and I loved you very much. I told you both it was not your fault mama was sad and I was wrong to yell at you. Landon, you smiled at me as if I was the greatest, most perfect person in the world. And in your little 1 year old eyes, I was. Andrew, you said ‘I forgive you mommy.’ And when I said ‘Thank-You, buddy’, you said ‘You should have some candy, it’ll make you feel better’. How sweet are you?

Once I got you dropped off at school and I got quiet for a few minutes, God really started to deal with me. He reminded me of Proverbs 31. Every churched woman in the world aspires to be a Proverbs 31 woman. Two verses were very appropriate on this morning:

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. (Prov 31:25)

Clothed in strength & dignity? Nowhere were my jeans mentioned. I certainly had not been clothed in either strength or dignity this morning. And I certainly was not laughing.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. (Prov.31:30)

Every woman in the world needs to hide this verse in her heart. Boy do I have to go back to it on a daily basis. This world really wants me to believe my worth is found in my pants size and youthful skin, but that is not what God cares about (however, he does care about being healthy – another topic for another day). God is far more concerned about matters of the heart. He is concerned about my relationship with Him. Where I stand with Him flows directly into my relationship with others – particularly you and your father.

I sat in the parking lot of worked and just cried and asked the Lord to forgive me. I asked him to help me to focus on the things that matter. To put my outward beauty into proper perspective and not lose sight of what is important in His eyes. I would much rather be a good, Godly mother and wife than to turn heads when I walk down the street.

I also thought about what true forgiveness is. You boys had been the face of what forgiveness should look like. I was not kind to either of you. You had every right to be mad at me. But, when I asked you to forgive me, you not only smiled and did so, but you tried to make me feel better. Landon you just gave me a look of adoration and Andrew, you tried to fix it with candy. No, candy couldn’t fix it, but your sweet, Christ-like attitude went a long way in helping.

I thank God for you both daily. You are so sweet and so very special. You truly are gifts to this world and I know God his hand on you. I thank Him that he made me slow down a little and learn a lesson from 2 small children. I pray that as you grow in both wisdom & knowledge, that you will never cease to learn lessons from ‘the least of these’. Sometimes we are the teacher and sometimes we are the student. God is always working in your lives, so stay alert, learn from your mistakes and be willing to teach others!

Love you much,

Friday, October 28, 2011


"God has not called us to be successful. He has called us to be faithful."
– Mother Teresa

I have had that quote scribbled on a post-it note at work for over 2 years, just above my computer
monitor. I look at it about 50 times a day and really meditate on it. I have wanted to write about it since I first found it. I have started a post countless times and I always get stuck. I just cannot seem to convey in words the truthfulness and deep conviction I sense every time I read it.

Earlier this week I sat myself down to finally finish the post; it has been nearly 2 months since
my last entry – the time is now. Stuck again! I am really not a writer, so I cannot claim writers block. I can’t claim lack of knowledge since all I want to convey is what is actually in my heart and head. So what is it Lord, why can I not write about what seems so important to me?
Finally, the answer… I don’t need to ‘teach’ you the importance and meaning of Mother Teresa’s
statement. I just need to show it to you and then it is up to you what you do with it.
You see, my sweet boys, if you really allow that statement to resonate with you, it could
dramatically change the course of your lives. That statement completely contradicts
the conventional ‘wisdom’ of this world. You are already (at 3 years old & 10 months old) being prepped for a lifetime of great achievement. Your father and I will actually be judged on your success in life. What you need to know and hold tightly to is the fact that the world’s definition of success and God’s definition of success is totally different.
True success is not measured by money or the things you have. It is not measured by the number
of people who know your name or how many books are written by you or about you. Sure, God’s plan for your life may be CEO of a major company or a Nobel Peace Prize winner. But, it may be that God has called you to be one of the greatest missionaries of modern time – like Mother Teresa, with very little material possessions. Chances are it is somewhere in between. I don’t know what he has created you for...
My prayer for you as you grow into young men and then men and then old men, is that you
continually seek the Lord’s purpose for you in life. He does have a purpose for you. His word specifically tells us that:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

Those plans may go dramatically against what you have planned for yourself and certainly what the world has planned for you. We must, as His children, prayerfully seek His guidance and commit to stay the course. Sure, you may (and probably will) get side tracked from time to time, but get back in line with His plan for you and keep on keepin’ on.
It is only… ONLY … through faithfulness to God that you will ever taste true success.

I Love, Love, Love You,

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I love you, Lord, my strength. Ps 18:1

I am so excited to write you this letter today. God has been burning this letter & this revelation in my heart for about a month now. I pray that it will speak to you and open your eyes the way it has opened mine. It is simply a letter about saying ‘I Love You’!

Andrew, recently you told me you loved me out of the blue. You just ran your little legs up to me and said ‘I love you’… unprompted. My heart melted! When I say ‘I love you, buddy’ you respond ‘I love you too’. My heart melts…

Landon, you are too young to tell me you love me. You have no vocabulary at the ripe old age of 7 months! But, when I walk into a room your face lights up and you kick your legs in jubilee! This is how you say ‘I love you’. When you are crying and I walk by, you hold your hands up for me and when I pick you up; you lay your head on my shoulder and sigh. That sigh is ‘I love you’… my heart melts every single time.

There are no words to accurately describe what is felt when your child says ‘I love you’. I hope & pray that I never grow so accustomed to hearing it that my heart ceases to melt at the proclamation. I pray as long as we live there is a constant communication of “I love you”… “I love you too”.

One day recently, as I reflected on how great it was to hear those words from your child, I felt sadness. I thought how terrible it must be for parents who children do not tell them they love them. Those children who have total disregard for all the things mama & daddy do and sacrifice just for their children. How heartbreaking to give all of you for your child and to get little to nothing in return from them. No I love you… no thank you… just take, take and take some more. As much as a parent loves a child, to get no expression of love in return must be the worst feeling in the world.

Light Bulb! Sometimes, the Holy Spirit can really swoop right down and grab you by the shoulders and shake you until your teeth nearly fall out. I cannot tell you the number of times since becoming a mama that the Lord has said to me “How much more do I love you”?

You see, I love you boys so much it hurts sometimes, but how much MORE does He love me? I cannot fathom! If I long to hear you say ‘I love you’ how much more does He desire to hear it from me? If my heart melts because of a mere smile you give me when you see me, how much more does he desire that reaction from me? I take and I take from him, blessing after blessing and yet day after day I find myself too busy to say ‘Thank You, I love you’.

Oh, like a dagger to the heart! I do love the Lord… I really do, but I am really lacking in my communication with him. And he loves me enough to point it out to me. I don’t want to go another day without telling Him that I love him and thanking him for all he has given me. I want you to be raised in a home where you see this lived out in front of you. As you grow, I want you to understand where your blessings come from and I want you to know how to return love to him. Sure, you’ll fall short, but I pray your heart is open to his voice when he convicts you of that.

I love you my sweet, sweet boys. I love you more than you could ever imagine, but how much more does he love you? Acknowledge it and return it!


Thursday, July 21, 2011


Last night, both of you at separate times, snuggled and slept next to me for a while. We shared one pillow and I pulled you close. I kissed your sweet faces about 20 million times and it never once occurred to me that I, myself needed to get to sleep. I am tired today and that’s ok!

I laid there with you pulled up next to me and I prayed for you. Praying for your children, I think, is the very best thing you can do for them. My prayer was simple, really just thanking God for allowing me the privilege to be your mama. Asking him to bless you and to give me the wisdom to raise you in such a way that you grow to know him... to really know him!

I’m not a perfect mama, Lord knows that is true. I work rather than stay home with you. I have no real TV policy – you watch more than the recommended 1 hour a day. I let you eat poptarts and sometimes forget to brush your teeth. I just fall short sometimes; often…

But I love you. I love, love, love, love, love you. I want the best for you. I don’t want the worlds best for you; I want God’s best for you. That’s the sweet spot my loves and don’t you ever let this world tell you otherwise!

Be good & do good because you are good; created by a loving God in his image for might works!!!

Love, Love, Love,

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


By the time you read this you will have no doubt heard the phrase ‘Thank God for unanswered prayers!’ People are known to say this all the time and while it makes for a great country song, I don’t think it is accurate at all. It is my belief and certainly my experience that God always answers the prayers of his children with one of three answers.

Sometimes God says ‘not now’…

I met your father in August of 2005, but it was in July that God impressed upon my heart that our meeting was very near. I know, that sounds absurd, but for real, God does actually communicate with his children. Anyway… I had an impromptu lunch with your daddy and a co-worker and I knew he was ‘The One’. Well as you know, a short 8 months later we were engaged! A mere 6 months into the engagement (and 2 months before the wedding), the panic attacks started which led to us postponing the wedding.

Of course anytime you postpone an already planned wedding – everyone thinks the wedding will never happen. This includes the persons who used the word ‘postponed’ in the first place (ME). I was heart-broken and confused to say the least. I was standing in my backyard late one night and it was quiet and the moon was full; I remember it like it was yesterday. My heart was in so much pain and I just looked up and cried “I don’t understand”. That’s what my mouth said, but my heart was pouring out the assurances God had given time and again that your daddy was, indeed, ‘the one’. “I thought he was the one… I don’t understand”. Just like that, God said “He is… just not right now”. What???

Well, you know the rest of the story. The wedding went from being postponed, to being called off to “here’s the ring back” and then… then God said “It’s time”. There have been ups & downs, but we were wise to listen and to wait. The things he taught us in that time of waiting better prepared us for marriage and all the things that come with sharing your life with someone else. It also gave us a sense of commitment going into the marriage that otherwise may not have been there.

Sometimes God says ‘no’…

Soon after the wedding – much too soon – we were greeted with the wonderful news that in 6 months we would be having a baby. I recall feeling many things at that moment, but joy was not one of them. I was scared, angry and terribly disappointed. This could not be. I am not the poster child for shotgun weddings. I cried and cried and when I could cry no more, I just made groaning, woe-is-me sounds.

I’ve written this before and it is as hard now as it was then, but I had hoped to lose the pregnancy. I felt sure God would spare me the humiliation of telling everyone I was pregnant when I got married. Please God, please take it away. God said No…

Andrew Nathan… you are here because God said no! My eyes are filled with tears because I am still in awe of how great my God is. How gracious He is and how thankful I am for the no’s he has given me. I cannot look at you nor think of you without uttering a prayer of thankfulness.

Sometimes God says ‘yes’...

And then, two years later your daddy & I knew we wanted another baby to love. We prayed and asked the Lord in his time, would he bless us with another gift just as special as Andrew. We didn’t have to wait long to get his answer. It seems as quickly as we asked God said yes! And before I knew it, my belly was great with child once again.

Those 9 months went by so quickly and we went from a family of three to a family of four. Landon, you are my little love bug. You are the sweetest ‘yes’ in my life. Had I not walked the hard road of ‘not now’ & ‘no’, I doubt I could have known what a blessing the ‘yes’ was. I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t love you both. Even long before you were ever given to me, I loved you. The journey here has been long and treacherous at times. There have been days when I wanted to pull my hair out, but every day has been a blessing. He has held me through it all and he is holding you too.

You will ask God for many things as you walk through life. Some things will be frivolous and self-serving while other things will be the earnest pleas of your heart. Know that regardless of the answer, God will not only answer, but he is sovereign in that answer. I know it is hard to trust the Lord sometimes, but had I not trusted him life would be much different for me… and you as well. The yes’s are sweet, but the “not-now’s” and “no’s” contain blessings that cannot be met or replaced by any other answer. “Lean not on your own understanding…”, but lean fully into the goodness of the Lord.

All my love,

Monday, June 20, 2011


The other day I watched you as you did your thing. Andrew, your thing was building a garage with your Lego’s and singing ‘Oh, How I Love Jesus’ quietly while you played. You only sing quietly when it slips your mind that you may have an audience. Landon, your thing was bouncing yourself to sleep in the bouncer that hangs from our bedroom door. We have been thankful for that thing more than once!

I watched you both and thought of how much I love you. I tried to think of the words to express it, but nothing would come to mind. Every word I thought of seemed so trivial and undeserving of my love for you. So, I thought I would make a list of things I love in comparison to my love for you:

* When the air starts to smell like fall and the grass is so cool you can't help but walk barefoot in it.
* Warm cobbler (any cobbler) with vanilla ice cream just slightly melted over the top
* Morning coffee with no rush to be anywhere
* Road trips
* Shoes
* Florida State Football... and Bobby Bowden
* Sitting on Papa & Grandmama's porch
* Melted cheese
* Pancakes cooked in butter
* Office supplies
* Every day from October 1st - January 1st
* Flip Flops
* A plate of fresh white acre peas, macaroni & cheese, collard greens & creamed corn
* Pajamas and fuzzy socks
* Bobby Bowden (mentioned again because I love him so much)
* Raspberry Pomegranate frozen yogurt with Fruity Pebbles on it (this is a new love)
* Speaking of Fruity Pebbles… sugar cereal for supper!
* Wearing your great-grandma’s costume jewelry
* Dark Chocolate

I love all of these things… but, take the love I have for each of these and add it up – It doesn’t even come close to the love I have for you! Do you understand what I am saying? I just told you that I love you more than Bobby Bowden. I have never said that to anyone in my entire life. Please don’t make me regret it!


Thursday, May 26, 2011


We recently celebrated your third birthday and I cannot believe how fast time has flown by. It seems like just yesterday they placed you in my arms. I have to be honest, my first thoughts were not all that positive. It was fear at first sight – not the love all the magazines had led me to believe I would feel. Oh but how my love for you continues to grow. How God continues to use you daily to bless me and to bless others. Even if I combined every language known to man, I still could not accurately express how much love I have for you.

The morning of your birthday I posted a ‘Happy Birthday’ message on Facebook. I’m sure by the time you read this, you will have no idea what Facebook is and Google will no longer exists to aide you in your search to find out. Just know that it was all the rage when you were 3 years old… even Grandmama had an account. She said she never used it and thought it was silly… but she has been known to call me with information she found about someone sisters husbands best friends dogs previous owner. Some days it is a real mess!

Back to the original point… I quoted Numbers 6:24-26 as a prayer for you that day. “The Lord bless you and keep you. May his face shine upon you and be gracious and give you peace”. I have been quoting that scripture continually since that day. Mercy Me also put out a song in reference to the scripture “Bless Me Indeed” which I cannot stop singing. It will forever be my prayer for you and for Landon. It says all I could ever want for you in life.

In the last 3 years you have made me laugh and cry and every emotion in between! At just 3 months old you got your first fever in the middle of the night. I rocked you and cried with you until it passed. When you were just 6 months old we took you to the pumpkin patch to have your picture made and you were nearly as fat as the fattest pumpkin. I almost ate you right then and there!

When you were a year old I gave you your first sippy cup. I have forever vowed to keep alcohol as far from you as possible because the way you slung your head back and downed that juice made you a good candidate for an alcoholic! I have the video to prove it…

When you started to toddle around I got a call from the day care that you had fallen and I needed to come get you. My heart broke… you were fine, but your eye looked horrible. Black & blue the next day – I cried again. You were resilient though – running within days of walking. My little weight loss plan, you are.

You turned 2 and the simple words gave way to full sentences. The personality God gave you started to shine through in the most amazing way. I started to realize that you were everything I prayed you would be. Some days that was good… other days I went to bed very tired! You became a big brother and in spite of the fact that you have tried to pull his arms off, throw him out of my lap and hit him with a magazine – he adores you!

Now you are 3! You talk from the moment you wake up until the very second you fall asleep. You ask questions that make no sense and are not satisfied until I give an equally absurd answer. You are hard headed and stubborn. You ask for milk and when I say ok, you say ‘No, I want juice’. If I give you a poptart (yes, I fed you poptarts for breakfast regularly against the advice of your pediatrician) and the corner accidentally broke off before I handed it to you, you would protest and refuse to eat it. This would of course leave me no option other than to eat it myself!

You are not perfect, but you are pretty close in my opinion. You are God’s smile personified in my life. You are a blessing and a joy. Thank you for just being you. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May his face shine upon you and be gracious and give you peace.

All my love,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Sweet Boys,

I want to tell you about something so personal that I have never told another living soul. You may wonder why I would chose now to share this and why on Earth in a blog that would be ready by many people before either of you ever have the chance? Well, we just celebrated Easter and I am reminded of just how much God loves us. How much he loves me and he loves you. I want you to know that you are never alone, you have never gone too far and you are never out of His reach. People need to know this and you do too.

I am certain that by the time you read this you will have long since been aware of my history with fear, anxiety & panic. I have every desire to be upfront and honest with you as I walk through each dark day. I need you to know that dark days come for us all. You will hear that ‘God is always there’ so many times in life that you may become complacent about the idea. Please guard your heart against this. I know sometimes it is the last thing you want to hear and that is ok as long as you always remember its truth!

Not long before your daddy and I got married, I was in the midst of my worst battle with panic & anxiety to date (at least up until I wrote this). I had gotten to the point where I had some good moments, even days, but then it would return. I felt no hope that it would ever leave or that I would ever be normal again… EVER! Let me just tell you that you do not have to feel hope to have hope.

This particular day was bad. It was morning and I had spent every waking second with shortness of breath, a pit in my stomach and the weight of an elephant on my chest. I carried on as normal because at that time I thought ignoring it was best –it wasn’t and God has shown me that over the years. Finally, as I was showering, I could not control it any longer. I was in a full blown panic attack and I was scared.

I got out of the shower, wrapped myself in a towel fell to my face on the bedroom floor. It was just me and God and I knew with every fiber of my being that He was all I had. Lying there that morning I poured my heart out to Him. The only words that would come out of my mouth were ‘take it all, but don’t take you. You can have everything, just don’t take you Lord.’

I have never meant anything more than those words. I knew that I could survive anything that came my way as long as He was with me. I would give it all up – everything and everyone that was important to me – He could have it all. Just stay with me Lord. In that very moment He rushed to me. I am not dramatizing here… he rushed to me. I keep searching for another way to explain this, but that is literally what happened. He held me, he picked me up and he has NEVER left me. He never will. His promises are true.

I would like to tell you that that day was my last battle with anxiety & panic attacks, but that would be a lie. They subsided for a while, but came back shortly after you were born, Andrew. That was worse than anything I had experienced before. Anxiety causes me to detach from emotion. It leaves me incapable of loving the way a mother should love. It is scary and I hate it. Every time – every single time anxiety creeps up – I go back to that day. My heart cries those same words “take it all, just don’t take you”.

Those words are harder now, because you, my sweet boys, you are part of the ‘all’. You are my very breath. You make my heart smile and life worthwhile… but HE is my everything and I place all he has given me back in his hands. I hope by the time you read this, your heart will agree that he is your everything too.

I don’t know how life will be for you when you read this. I know dark days have come, are here or are coming –all three if you live long enough. Please know this… he doesn’t only rush to me. He rushes to those who call on him. I cannot imagine anyone loving you more than I do, but He surely does. Hold on sweet boys… hold on to the hand that created you. Hold on to the one who gave you to me. Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, stand (Eph 6:13)!

All My Love,

Monday, March 14, 2011

For the Boys
My Sweet Boys,

I started thinking about both of you over the weekend and about all that I hoped to be able to teach you in the years ahead. I thought about your early school years and how you would need to learn that all people are to be treated with kindness and respect. Your teenage years will be full of tough choices and would speak to your integrity and character. Teenage years are followed by your twenties and while your choices will not fully define who you will become, they will linger with you for a very long time. Navigating life is tough and you will not always do it correctly.

My job, as your mother is to help you along the way. I love being mama to you both, but like you, I do not always make the right choices either. You don’t recognize it as much right now because you are too young; you simply love me in spite of it all. Regardless of my shortcomings, I still relish every day God gives me to guide and equip you with what you need to lead the successful life God has planned for you. I also hope you grow into an understanding of what God’s definition of success is.

Watching the news gives you a real wake up call to the fragility of life. It is true; our life is vapor – here today and gone tomorrow. All parents think about the possibility of something happening to them while their children are small and all they would miss as they began to grow up. I think about this often (a little too often if the truth be told). If something were to happen to me while you are still young boys, who will teach all there is to know?

Of course, I am not downplaying your fathers’ ability to raise you into outstanding men; he is, however chosen by God to be your father. That being said, I believe there are things you need to learn from both of us. It is for this reason that I have decided to write down the things I have learned as some of life’s greatest lessons. I just want to write life letters for you. Where ever you are in life, whatever choice you find yourself having to make, I want you to be able to pick up what I have written and maybe, hopefully find some wisdom. Consider this the first one and know that there will be many more to come. Sure, they will be on a public blog for anyone to read, but know they are written from my heart to you.

As a note, I am only in my early 30’s as I write this, so if you are trying to navigate a mid-life crisis or retirement, I may be of no use right now. I still need my mama to help navigate those waters for me. You see, we always need our mama’s and our mama’s are always there for us in one way or another. I pray you always know that; I will always love you and I will always be here for you.

I love you ‘to infinity & beyond’,

Friday, February 25, 2011

Grace and Mercy

Grace: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification

There have been many times in my life when I received God’s grace – none more important than when I was saved. The intent of this post is in no way to downplay or overshadow the Grace and Mercy shown to me on that day. It is, however a post to marvel at how the Lord continues to bestow his Grace and Mercy on me.

I have written many times of my struggles in coming to terms with the timing of my pregnancy with Andrew. As most of you know, finding myself 3 weeks married and 3 months pregnant was devastating to say the least. I wasn’t ashamed of getting ‘caught’, but rather of not staying true to my convictions. It took many, many months to overcome that shame and I still struggle today. It is very hard to watch people’s faces when they begin doing the math!

I struggled with so much shame that I couldn’t even figure out how to love my child once he was here. I went through the motions of motherhood, but didn’t really feel like what I thought a new mother should feel like. Slowly, overtime, I realized that I did indeed love this child. Then I got up the next day and it was a little stronger. Stronger still the next until the realization and panic hit me all at once. I was going to get up every day loving Andrew more than I did the day before. And then one day my heart would explode. Cause of death: Heart failure for loving her child too much! Is that possible?

Around Andrew’s one year birthday, I realized how gracious God had been toward me. I deserved no Grace to be shown to me, but Andrew was pure Grace in my life. When I look at him, even in the most frustrating of moments, I can literally feel God’s Grace like sunshine on a warm day. There are times I am feel frozen in awe and grateful that God knows my heart and how truly thankful I am for this precious gift of Grace in my life. I pray that Andrew will always know that even in disobedience, God can make all things beautiful and he is living example of this truth.

With the acceptance of God’s Grace came the realization of all that I had missed because I chose to live in shame. Once my sins had been repented of, I should have turned it loose and lived free of the same, but being human, I suppose, I couldn’t. I missed out on the joy of being pregnant with Andrew, the joy of birth and all the firsts that come in the first year of life. Sure, I have many memories, but mostly I have worry & anxiety of how I would explain having a 6 month old on my 1 year anniversary! I never felt I deserved to enjoy motherhood the way other mothers did. I always felt that if I enjoyed it or embraced it that would give the impression that I wasn’t remorseful for the circumstances. How absurd!

Mercy: a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion

We always knew we wanted more children. I wanted 4 and George wanted 2, so 3 seems to be a nice compromise (although now George wants to halt at 2, which I find borderline breach of contract!). When Andrew was 18 months old we started talks of trying for baby #2 with the hope that they would be around 3 years apart in age. Within a few months we got the news… baby #2 would be here by Christmas!

I recall the night before I found out I was pregnant. I thought I had missed the window and we would have to see if the next month held hope for us. I was disappointed and saddened thinking Andrew may be an only child. Now, this, if nothing else proves that I am indeed a product of the ‘microwave generation’! We had only been ‘trying’ for 1 month and I felt that I would NEVER get pregnant – get a life Libby! I sat in Andrew’s bedroom as he played with his blocks and vowed that if he was the only child God ever gave me, I was thankful for him and would satisfied with just him – and I meant it. To my delight, however, I found out the next morning that I was already 5 weeks pregnant!

I couldn’t wait to share my joy with everyone I knew. Finally I got to call home with the wonderful news of pregnancy. I was able to call my friends with excitement in my voice. I found out about Landon at 5 weeks and I was able to enjoy every moment of my pregnancy.

The first trimester came with some morning sickness – nothing major, but it was there and I hated it. Oddly, I loved being able to hate it. I loved being able to chose how I felt about being pregnant – the good and the bad. I counted the days until I felt the fist kick. Trying desperately to compare this pregnancy with Andrews, but I kept saying ‘I just don’t remember…’

The second trimester came with the passing of morning sickness, the arrival of heartburn and the news that my baby was A BOY! Ok, at first I wasn’t thrilled but within a few days I was very excited about having another boy. I mean, after all saying ‘The boys…’ has a much nicer ring to it than ‘The kids…’. Day after day we tried to pick a name until finally we agreed on Landon – and to this day we are trying to decide if we should keep that name! I guess we must now because sure enough, the kid is starting to grow into the name ‘Landon George’!

Landon was born on Monday December 6th at 8:02 am. The birth was much like that of Andrew’s birth (dreaded c-section), but this time I was able to see Landon as soon as they pulled him out. He had the loudest cry (which he still has) and lots of dark, curly hair. I remember looking at him and noticing he was smaller than Andrew (a full pound) and thinking “Who is having a baby in here today? That is not my kid!” But it was… that curly haired screamer was my baby boy… baby boy #2. Instantly I loved him. God has shown me such mercy... a second chance to embrace all that is motherhood.

Landon’s birth put an order in my life that I hadn’t had before. Suddenly, my priorities aligned as they should. I am a wife and mother… and I am confident in those roles. I know I make so many mistakes, but God has entrusted these boys (all 3 of them) to me. I love them. I love the dirty diapers, the 3 am feedings (a little less love for that), watching Andrew turn bath time into pool time, the celebration we have when he goes a full day in his big boy underwear. I love it all… even when I am so tired and the look on my face says I hate it. I love it. I love them.

I have been home with Landon for 12 weeks now. Today is my last day at home with him before he enters the cruel world of day care. OK, Andrew is proof positive that it isn’t a cruel world. But, honestly, I am very sad and torn about dropping both kids off Monday morning. I kind of want to stay home and bake cookies and do arts and crafts with them. You know, all the things that my mama did with me. HAHA… that was a joke. But seriously, she took me to Burger King every Monday for chicken tenders and a coke. Those are fond memories and that’s what I want for my boys.

God is good. That is a complete and truthful statement that doesn’t change based on our circumstances. God is gracious and he is merciful. It is a truth in my life and in yours. I don’t know what Grace and Mercy look like to you. But, for me, Grace and Mercy look like Andrew Nathan & Landon George. They are gifts.