Saturday, June 27, 2015

Love Wins

We are a country divided. I assure you this will not be a political rant, nor will it be a protest. Hear me out if you would.

Shock and outrage should never lead to hate and intolerance. Love and acceptance should be grounded in that of Christ Jesus and biblical truth. This isn't about condemnation or the fall of society. The downfall of man came thousands of years ago when Adam and Eve first disobeyed God and chose their own way and sin entered the world. 

We can quote John 3:16, "For God so loved the world..." But do we understand the reason He came? To pay for our sins. To make a way for us from our sinful, fallen state to reach eternity with a perfect and Holy God. He did not come to condemn the world but to save it, which we find in the very next verse in John 3:17. 

Make no mistake. This earth will pass away, and all that's in it, and the only thing that will matter is what you decided to do with Jesus. Who do you say He is? This isn't about Christianity or what you may call yourself. It has nothing to do with labels or titles or man's rulings. It has everything to do with whether or not you have a personal relationship with Him as your Lord and Savior.

Understand. He created you. He loves you. He desires to call you His child. It is the sinful nature in which we were all born that separates us from His Holiness. It is why we struggle. It is why there is pain, disappointment, hurt, sickness. It's why we can't often make sense of some of the things that happen. It's also why He sent His Son. It's why He made a way, because there must be a way, for us to bridge the divide of our fallen flesh and His perfect righteousness. 

This is where love wins. This is absolutely about love winning. Love has won. It is winning. It will win once and for all. Because Christ defeated sin and death when He paid for each and everyone of us and made a way for us to gain eternal access to heaven and our Heavenly Father. 

Heaven and Hell are as real as the love and hate we demonstrate. Whether it's race, gender identity, marriage laws, or any other issue that might be prevalent in our present day. We are living and acting as if we're surprised. We should not be caught off guard. Quite frankly we should only be more prepared than ever to make sure our eternity is secure. And rest assured that is really the only issue. 

We cannot expect the world to act as if they know the bible we believe if we simply bang it over their heads. We must fulfill our purpose. Our calling. The original plan - we know this as the Great Commission: to go into all the world and tell the good news. The good news that God is love. The good news that His Son paid the price for our sin. The good news that we can have a personal, redeeming and life changing relationship with Him that will guarantee our salvation and secure our eternal presence with Almighty God. The good news that most certainly we claim: love wins. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

It's a GIRL!

We waited for this day for so long. There we were staring at the screen watching our little one moving all around, mouth opening and closing, hands going up and down. The technician switched over to 3D and there before our eyes was the image of our lovey's little face. I looked over at my husband with tears in my eyes and I could see the astonishment in his expression. This was our baby. The technician warned us when to look away. We weren't going to find out the gender until that night when we would gather with family and friends. 

I delivered the sealed envelope to the baker right after our appointment. And yes, it was still sealed. You have to understand how difficult this was for me. Everyone in my family knows I am the one who simply cannot wait for surprises. Like the one Christmas when I sliced open my gifts while mom and dad were gone...only to have my little sister tattle tale on me. I would always go on scavenger hunts to find hidden gifts or reveal secrets so knowing that envelope held one of the biggest secrets of my life was near torture!!! Even worse was when the cake was delivered and I knew just layers below that icing was the secret I was DYING to know!!

Understand something. I've done EVERYTHING I can to try and guess the gender. My early ultra sound between 6 and 7 weeks produced an unknown result for the Ramzi method. My ultra sounds at 9 and 10 weeks were too early to tell the Nub theory that is usually seen at 12 weeks. I researched (we'll use this term loosely) every Old Wives Tale to try and make an "educated" guess...but this only proved to be a divided line of some boy and other girl signs. The funny thing would be to hear all the guesses, "Oh, you're carrying low - it MUST be a boy!" then another "Yep, it's definitely a girl, I can tell."

This entire time I have been convinced I was carrying a boy. We had our girl name picked out even before this baby was conceived but we just couldn't be as confident and 100% "sold" on the boy names we kept suggesting. This was another reason I was convinced it was a boy. Most of the hints and predictors seemed to point to a boy. The heartbeat has been consistently in the 140's and I felt certain we needed to be prepared to see teal icing in the center of that cake. I tried to prepare everyone, especially my husband and son who have been "Team Girl" from the beginning. The pressure was on with the "majority vote" being for a girl and I didn't want anyone to be disappointed when and if it was a boy.

Our guests kept asking if we were cutting the cake first and somehow we managed to get through sharing a meal together...but not long after that it was time! We got the cake set up and called our out of state family on Facetime so they could watch the reveal. With family and friends gathered around, we prepared to cut the cake. 

I was prepared. Prepared to see teal icing. Prepared for a second boy. Prepared for more dirt and worms and Legos. What I was not prepared for was the overwhelming surprise and my undeniable excitement when we pulled out that slice of cake only to reveal PURPLE icing! "IT'S A GIRL!!!" 

I was SHOCKED!!! Michael later said he couldn't even process what was happening and thought somehow I might have cut myself instead of the cake because of the screaming. We were all screaming in excitement and disbelief. It was the last thing I expected to see. Purple icing. I kept staring at the layers in disbelief then remembered the baker had given us back the gender envelope. I quickly removed the tape and opened it up. Sure enough! This was not a joke! There she was in living proof. OUR GIRL!

I can share this now that we know...but a few weeks ago something came to mind. Something I hadn't thought about in over 7 years. I had always wanted a girl. I have enjoyed the close friendship of my own mother-daughter relationship. I am, as no surprise to anyone, a girly-girl so the thought of all the frills has always been, of course, a desire of mine. During the adoption process that wasn't an option for several reasons, none of which I will truly discuss, but suffice to say it was a desire I buried and put out of my mind. In fact, I was just so elated to become a mother it didn't matter if it was a boy or a girl. Until just a few weeks ago, that desire started to resurface. After 7 years, it caught me off guard. Especially since I was so convinced this baby would be another boy. I kept telling the Lord, "I don't want to be disappointed - and I won't be! Because I love being the mom of a boy and I will love it again!" At the same time, I couldn't figure out if it was the "majority vote" or truly the desire of my heart that seemed to be swaying my affections to "Team Girl." 

Even as I prepared to quiet my mind and heart after such a full evening of joy and celebration, it was all I could do to ask, "How God? How could You see fit to so abundantly bless me? I don't deserve any of this - at all - and yet every single desire and detail You have worked out for my good and my joy." It is humbling to come face-to-face with this reality and yet it causes me to do nothing other than praise and give Him thanks. 

Yes, we are having a girl and we couldn't be more thrilled. But I must stand back and give God ALL the glory for each and every miracle that He alone has worked in our lives. The mere fact Michael and I have the blessing of sharing life together, let alone bringing a baby into this world, to have the desire of our hearts fulfilled on so many levels, is a constant reminder of how much He loves us. How He works everything according to His plan. How what others meant for evil, He will use for good and ultimately His glory. This baby girl is yet another answer to prayer AND a reminder to give Him all the praise and glory He is due. 

We praise You, Lord, for You are fearfully and wonderfully fashioning and forming our Baby Girl. We can't wait to meet her!

Thank you for celebrating with us!

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Secret Place

In 2008 the year of Elijah's birth, 95% of the birthmothers residing in the Liberty Godparent Home were expecting boys. Friends of mine had been placed with what was known to be the expectant sole girl just months before Eli was born. The chances of me becoming the mom of a boy were high. And somehow it never seemed to phase me, despite previous thoughts of wanting a girly girl. It seemed almost fitting that I would become the mother of a son. I hope it's now safe to say I have embraced this title with more dirt, worms, frogs, cars, Legos and outdoor play than I could have ever prepared myself for...and I've loved every single second!

June 23rd has been scheduled for almost 5 weeks so it is with building anticipation that we finally reach this long-awaited day. It's known as the midway anatomy scan and for many, including us, it will also be the big gender reveal! Oh yes, this day is highly anticipated when no longer will it be unknown what gender our baby is. When we get to start buying bows and ribbons and all things purple (because if you know me, you know it must be purple over pink), or if we will keep with the theme of snakes and snails and puppy dog tails. 

I would be lying if I told you a little girl to dress up and spoil, to be my mini me, wouldn't be a dream come true. Yet I simply cannot deny the bond I have with my boy and how much I love being the mom of a son. I only know that would double with another boy. 

What do I think? I keep saying boy. I have tried every old wives tale, studying my previous (way-too-early) ultra sounds and everything has seemingly been divided. Still my thought remains boy. Is it a feeling? Not necessarily. Especially since Michael and Eli have held steadfast with team purple this entire time. 

Even as I laid down to sleep, Baby Wright was ever so softly tapping on me from the inside. I placed my hand on my stomach. 

Hello Lovey. I love you so much. Tomorrow night when I lay down to sleep I will be able to call you son or daughter. For now, this one last night I rest knowing only God Himself knows. He has known you from the very beginning of time, even before you came to be. He's had His hand on you, fashioning and forming you in the secret place where only He could see. He's been lovingly shaping you, planning your days, as I simply dream of you and the day we will finally meet face to face. He and He alone has already laid eyes on you as He's knit you together in my womb. Only He knows, and the truth is, no matter what is revealed it won't matter...because you will still be mine and your daddy's, sibling to Eli and our precious gift from God. I love you, but I hope that isn't a secret. I tell you all the time. I am so excited for what will be revealed but I'm even more excited with what I already know: I am your mommy. You may already know my voice. And we are preparing for you whether that means purple or blue, girl or boy. You are ours, hand-crafted by God and places in my womb to forever be a part of our Family. 

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:13-16

Thursday, June 11, 2015

He Loves Us

He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane
I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory 
And I realize just how beautiful You are 
And how great Your affection is for me 

Oh, how He loves us so

was simply brought to tears as we sang this song in choir last night. I have heard it before but all of a sudden the words were sinking in. There I sat as the music played, my voice lifted in unison with the rest of the choir, and I could feel what felt like a little fish flopping around inside me. My little sweet potato, at least that's how big the baby is this week, and he/she had been moving around all day. It was one of the first days I was fully aware of constant movement and now as the words of this song resonated with how great His affection is for me, I couldn't help but be overcome with emotion. Just thinking about the ways He loves us and the very obvious ways He reveals His love and Himself to ust overwhelms me. 

I came home with the song still playing in my head and wasn't even aware I was still singing it out loud when all of a sudden Eli asked me, "Who is jealous?" It caught me off guard and then I realized he was listening to my song. I tried to find a way to explain what I had been singing. 

"God is jealous for us - He doesn't want anything in our lives to take our attention or love away from Him." 

He seemed satisfied with that answer but I could see on his face he was still processing the idea.

"Mama, what about my Legos? Would God be jealous of those?" He had an entire Lego city in his hands. It seemed only fitting he would wonder about this. 

"Yes. He would be jealous if those Legos were more important to you than He is." 

Now he was understanding. The precious colored blocks he takes everywhere, he incessantly plays with all day long, the creations he won't even part with at bed time, even these inanimate objects could be "the thing" that diverts attention from our Heavenly Father. 

I could tell he was conflicted. He loves those Legos so much. So I offered further explanation. 

"You know how much mommy loves you? I love you almost more than anything...but I love God even more. But you know something? He loves me, and you, even more than we could ever love anything in this whole world." 

"Does God want to have my Legos?" The pained look on his face revealed it was certainly something he hoped wouldn't be true. 

"No, bud, God doesn't want you to give up your Legos. But He does want to make sure you always put Him first." 

I couldn't help but think about what "Legos" exist in my own life. What am I so enamored with, what can't I live without, what is it that captures my attention and affection, even taking the rightful place of Almighty God? Certainly when I stop and realize how great His love is for me, does it not cause everything and everyone else to pale in comparison? Even as I feel this little one moving inside me I know full well I am but a steward of the children God chooses to bless me with. When I stop and realize just how much control I don't have over all the little things I attempt to cling to and hold onto, it causes me to understand the magnitude of His sovereignty and how He is at work in my life. When I'm in the middle of affliction or trial, it is easy to be consumed with the storms blowing around me. But if I would truly stop and see Him for who He is and how He is at work in my life then I would get to glimpse His power and glory. 

Oh how He loves us so. So very much. So much more than we can comprehend. So far beyond what words can express. So infinite. So perfect. When I truly let this sink in, there's nothing I should hold onto so tightly that it causes me to lose my grip on Him and His love. 

He Loves Us