Nope, I'm not pregnant with twins. But for those that haven't heard yet I am pregnant!!!!
And since I'm an all or nothing kind of a gal and Jesus thought this should be the craziest season of our lives, I also announced this baby, Sacred Holidays, this week:
I am both exceedingly excited and utterly terrified. Both of these things alone would cause those emotions, but together (with a nice dose of pregnancy hormones) and well, this has been an emotionally awesome and exhausting couple of months.
But more than any of those (very atypical for me) emotions, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude. I can hardly believe all that is happening. Floored by all God is doing.
I'm floored because I know me. I know my whole story.
With this sweet little life that is being formed within me this moment... This sweet little life that has me sick as a dog for so much of the day. This sweet little life that only wants to eat mexican food, cheeseburgers and greek salads (when I don't feel sick). This sweet little life is one I never knew would form within me. Doctors have always told me they didn't know if I would be able to get pregnant, and if I did if I could stay pregnant. Two weeks ago we got to see and hear this baby's heartbeat. Miracle.
I'm floored because I also know my story. And it's not one that anyone would've guessed would include having written a Bible study. Nope, never.
This past Sunday, our church sang one of my favorite songs: "Beneath the Waters (I Will Rise)" by Hillsong.
As I sang these lyrics and meant them more than I ever have:
I rise as You are risenDeclare Your rule and reignMy life confess Your lordshipAnd glorify Your name
Your word it stands eternalYour Kingdom knows no endYour praise goes on foreverAnd on and on again
No power can stand against YouNo curse assault Your throneNo one can steal Your gloryFor it is Yours alone
I stand to sing Your praisesI stand to testifyFor I was dead in my sin
But now i riseI will riseAs Christ was raised to lifeNow in HimNow in Him I live
As I sang those words the tears couldn't be held back. I had to fight hard not to go into full on ugly sob. I can't remember the last time I was overwhelmed with such gratitude.
As I sang and sobbed through those words I saw my spiritual life flash before me:
I saw myself at 15 fighting believing in Jesus. Coming up with every excuse possible to not believe. Living however I wanted with the mantra of "having fun."
I saw myself just a year later telling Jesus in my car on my way to breakup with my boyfriend, "Let's do this. I don't even know what this is, but I want to be yours. I want to follow you." At that light at Richmond and the Beltway on August 2, 1998 everything changed.
I saw myself over those next two years in high school fall in love with Jesus. I was so bad at this transition from old life to new life. But I loved Jesus so much. I was obsessed with His Word. I experienced His gifting in new ways-- my first time to speak in front of a group at an all girls chapel and starting different ministry things at my school and church. He stated my passion during those early years for ministry. I remember how I literally forgot to breath that first time I spoke. How my heart raced because I was so afraid of what my fellow students would think of me.
I saw myself go off to college. I saw myself face down on the nasty wood floor of Texas A&M MSC during a Phi Lamb meeting. I heard, as clearly as you can hear, God call me to minister to women. I was terrified. In that moment I promised Him I would never say no to an opportunity because of fear. I had no clue what I had promised Him and how often He'd cash in on that!
I saw myself those following years again passionately love Jesus and royally screw up so many times. My flesh was so weak. My immaturity often winning out. I loved Him though. I loved getting to serve Him during those years at Texas A&M. He gave me opportunities that blew me away. It was humbling and amazing to watch Him grow me. He grew me up. There's so many times I wish I could take that 18-22 year old out to coffee and share some things with her, but I needed to live through it all. The good and the bad are part of my story, as much as I wish only the good was.
I saw myself in the years after leaving Texas A&M struggle. I struggled with my belief and faith in Jesus. I struggled with the church. I struggled with my health. I struggled with my purpose. I struggled to find my place and my people. I struggled with singleness. I struggled.
I saw myself come out of that. My faith deeper. My faith more genuine. My faith never to be rocked like that again because of the belief that came out of that struggle. My confidence and my purpose gaining each day because of the healing work of, what I can only and honestly say is, Jesus.
I saw myself leave my dream world of marketing and public relations to work for my church. Hopes that this would be a first step back into what I believed was a calling in ministry. I saw myself heal during those years. Grow during those years. I met Chris and we married. I made the sweetest of friends. It was a healing time.
I saw myself leave my job to pursue ministry full time. And just a week later...
I saw myself get pregnant! What a miracle! Yet, at the same time, I was confused. I thought I had left my job to pursue this call to ministry and now I was stuck on bed rest. My dream of being a mom had come true and was the sweetest gift I've ever been given. Yet I struggled with how to balance the call to be a mom and the call to do ministry.
I saw how sweet the Lord was to continue to grow me even as I was a mom. He taught me to love His Word in new ways, to follow Him in new ways and to serve Him in new ways. So many sweet opportunities He gave still do ministry. This blog has been one of the sweetest of those outlets. My brother and husband often remind me of the large "classroom" that is listening here. I was able to teach a Sunday school class for women at our church, and speak at events and prisons from time to time. But my main ministry and priority was my girls. The most important women I will ever minister to in my call to women's ministry.
And that brings us to today. And the sobs got stronger.
I'm finally learning how to embrace the two calls to motherhood and ministry. Notice I said embrace not balance or perfect. I've learned I don't believe in balance or perfection. I'm learning I can't do it all, not well anyway.
The past year or two I've been clinging to 2 Corinthians 12:9-10,
"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
I clung to them this summer when I felt the Lord give me the go ahead for Sacred Holidays. This has been a terrifying yes for me. Blogging is easy. Blogging is so private. I can write this and never see you all. But releasing a Bible study and starting a ministry, that's very public. That's opening myself up to opinions of others. Social media can make you feel like a success with something as small as a thumbs up symbol or worse like a failure with something as small as no likes, comments or shares. What if no one likes it? What if no one wants to buy this? What if the material is stupid? What if I heard God wrong? So many questions. So much insecurity. This was terrifying. But this journey was so exciting too! Y'all it was so much fun to write! I wish I could share all the writing day stories. It was a blast to watch Him work. Each time I'd beg him to give me a gift of prophecy-- I wanted Him to speak something very clear to those that would read the words. Such a blast to watch Him do it. I learned so much from Him.
And then that one morning I woke up and took a test: pregnant. I was thrilled. We were so thrilled. And I was terrified.
How could I be starting this ministry and writing and have another baby?
"My grace is sufficient."
How could I have time to write and also be a present mom and loving wife?
"for my power is made perfect in weakness."
How could I promote Sacred Holidays and lead the writing team and still have a clean house and food in the fridge?
"For when I am weak, then I am strong."
I know my issues are so small. Most of you reading this would say they are nothing compared to what you are going through. I wouldn't argue. But it's still what's going on with me.
So that's why I sobbed this past Sunday and still get choked up every time I think about it. I saw all God did. How far He has taken this life of mine. How much He has done. What a gift He has been. How sweet of a Daddy He has been.
So I will keep on singing:
I rise as You are risen. Declare Your rule and reign. My life confess Your lordship. And glorify Your name. Your word it stands eternal. Your Kingdom knows no end. Your praise goes on forever. And on and on again. No power can stand against You. No curse assault Your throne. No one can steal Your glory. For it is Yours alone. I stand to sing Your praises. I stand to testify. For I was dead in my sin. But now i rise. I will rise. As Christ was raised to life. Now in Him. Now in Him I live.