Tag Archives: God

Not just another baby story

I thought it would be fun to share the story of my daughter’s birth from the photographer’s perspective.

 

I was sweating in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart when Tamika called me on a swampish July afternoon to ask me a question. She wanted to know if I would photograph her daughter’s birth. “I don’t know how you feel about that,” she laughed; I didn’t know how I felt about it either. There are several factors my mind quickly went to that could have kept me from saying yes, for instance, gratuitous pain or bodily fluid, both of which I’ve long assumed I have a low tolerance for. But Tamika has me wrapped around her finger and she makes everything in life feel beautiful and celebratory. I’ve known her for over three years now but only in the last year have we built a firm friendship and have become ingrained in each other’s lives. She’s taught me how to celebrate the mundane. She’s shared her family with me, her dreams, her precious tea. She laughs with me a lot and gives me a sassy look -a look I can’t help but imitate regularly. I trust my life with this woman. She is quiet, she is fierce, and she loves Jesus. She is also very intentional with her life and friendships. I didn’t understand fully why she wanted me there but when someone like that has loved you so well, a big question slowly turns into a simple answer: absolutely.

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Close to a week before the birth I dropped by the Fairmount House to talk through the details surrounding Tamika’s delivery. It should have been no surprise to hear the plan entailed being just as quiet and chill at seven centimeters dilated then when she’s sewing a peplum top sipping on some hot tea. She wanted a peaceful and subdued atmosphere but I doubted this projection. I was leaving for Atlanta for a conference a few days later and texted her to suck that baby in until I returned. Baby obliged and the family went to the hospital half an hour after I returned to the city. That’s what I call perfect timing.

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I joined them at 10:20 PM on a Saturday night, a weary traveler who hadn’t showered in two days and smelled like beef jerky (Let it be known, I erased this sentence twice before I resigned to full disclosure) I anxiously walked through the deserted halls of the hospital, finally forced to face my small anxieties I previously squelched of what would happen that evening. The nurse buzzed me into the maternity ward. I could hear a fresh baby crying in a room down the hall; I smiled and breathed deeply as we entered our room. It was dimly lit, smelling of lavender and peppermint. Tamika curled up on her side in the hospital bed, smiling between contractions, happy to see me.

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Labor was less stressful than I had braced for but I imagine Tamika could tell a different story there. There wasn’t any drama. There were minimal monitors and beeping. Husband wasn’t stressed. Nursing staff wasn’t rushing in mid-contraction to see if it was time to push. No one rushed anywhere. I’m not entirely sure why I was expecting these things. Too many episodes of Offspring, I suppose. Tamika labored quietly.

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Her friend, Louise, tended to her every need and encouraged her as she progressed in labor. I sat back quietly with her husband, my camera always close. I’m one of those sense-ers, the people who can walk in a room, lick my finger, hold it to the wind, and come back with pretty accurate readings on tension and drama in the situation. Being in labor and delivery was a constant sense check, especially when you’re capturing someone’s pain. An hour into that room I came to the definite conclusion that there will always be something inherently awkward about sitting on a couch with your legs crossed sipping on a cup of coffee while watching someone agonize a child out of their body, or even worse, taking pictures of them. There’s just no way around it.

That evening reminded me that, like most things I’ve experienced in life, is experienced individually, but is done best together. It’s good to lean in the uncomfortable circumstances of life and stay with loved ones even when you feel incapable of healing or helping. Sometimes our presence and our attention can be enough; not enough to change people or pain but just enough to remind each other that we don’t have to be alone when we hurt; that when we absorb the desperate squeezing of a hand our willingness to sit with the suffering produces the courage to keep on. Tamika has sat with me as I’ve cried over heartbreak or confessed sin in my life or probably more commonly, where I’ve been unwilling to see the next best step. Andy Crouch says that persons created in the image of the triune God do not flourish unless they are placed in community. As I’ve flourished, this past year I’ve learned a healing community looks a lot like a delivery room; waiting, anticipation, and continual prayer. And when the time comes, change happens.

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In the wee hour of Sunday morning, it was time. The doctor walked in followed by two nurses who stood in the back ground, waiting. The doctor asked me to help her tie her scrubs and she casually sat down on a roller chair and asked Tamika, “Are you ready to have a baby?” Husband, who appeared relaxed all evening, crossed his arms expectantly. As Tamika readied herself, we all rose to our feet, like a palace waiting for their queen. The room grew quiet, Tamika’s pain the only thing heard. When she bore down to push, I looked around the room at the seven of us. I thought about each generation before us, who labored out the next, and on and on, that brought us here, to a darkened hospital room to bear witness the birth of this little one. Tamika grabbed husband’s hand and I thought of my own mother’s soft tan hands gripping a cold hospital rail and my dad’s arm, as if it eased any sort of pain. It is crazy how humans can love each other that much without the slightest clue of who they’re bringing into the world and the heartache tethered to them. It’s crazy knowing my mom –like many others- would do it all over again if she had the chance. It’s even crazier to know paradoxically, that even that sort of love leaves the deepest part of me wanting, aching and lonely to be filled with an even holier, perfect love that only God himself can satisfy.

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It has always been mysterious to me why God came to us as a baby. I’ve wondered why didn’t he show his power by parting the sky when John was baptizing and instead a dove, drop a grown-up Jesus down then (or any other time and place, for that matter). But there, in that hospital room, I couldn’t help but think of Mary and how quietly the world changed when she gave birth and about how much the world that Jesus was born into desperately needed him as much then as we do now. Christ lived, died, and conquered death for that world and this one, with a promise to return. And so we’ve waited. At twenty-six, I’ve sat in front of enough television screens riddled with mass shootings, missing planes, abducted children, oil spills, and beheadings that at times life can feel so heavy that I’m sure it will split in two. Some days the goodness of life can be overwhelmed by the senseless viciousness of it. The earth has pretty much always been broken, as it has always been round. While Tamika labored to bring her little girl in the world, another friend’s days old daughter died that night in a NICU; the same night we stood in joyful anticipation of life, another room sat in grief. When I hear of these paradoxes, the wars and slavery, sometimes they just get called ‘life’, a pat answer for the worst kind of realities and confusion we live with. It has been difficult to look at the state of the world and not ask God what the heck is going on, what’s the plan here or ask ourselves, why can’t we just get it together for a second and stop killing each other? Over the years my trust in God has wandered in every direction–to his very existence to whether he’s even good to us. It’s inconceivable to me that God still wants me–the doubter, the naysayer of his love and kindness–and yet, I’ve felt his kindness in spite of my disbelief over the years. It’s wounded me in the best way; a wounding that has cut my pride down to size, picked me up, and loved me in spite of myself. There is so much in life I do not and will not understand but my prayer is that I, like Paul, will always say,

“How great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! Or who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice? And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back? For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever!”

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So when my dear friend cried out in pain as the child that she’s hoped and loved and labored for came, Jesus spoke to me in that room, in the still small voice recounted in Isaiah. He spoke the very words he spoke to his disciples in Matthew 24, “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.” And then he comes backFor good. And with one incredible push, a tiny Contessa Grace was welcomed into the world, quietly and wide-eyed on a dark Sunday morning. Her eyes moved about, as if she was taking in the new world and upon assessment, let out a pitiful grunt of approval. All seven of us chuckled quietly. It completely took my breath away. For the first time in my life, I understood pain and suffering in a whole new way. We can exist in a world of pain and still rejoice because we know hope is being born. It is all light and momentary affliction in view of the glory to come.

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Half an hour later, I sat on the couch holding Contessa in all her un-bathed curly-headed, slender fingered, baby-grunting glory, pushing back tears. Tamika looked over at me at one point and just raised her eyebrows and gave me a half-smile, like we’d both experienced something crazy. We had. I will always be grateful for Tamika and her husband inviting me into their sacred space and entrusting me with the honor of telling Contessa’s birth through my camera. I laugh thinking about the doctor looking at me before Tamika pushed and asking me, “Are you good?” –I can’t imagine what my face was saying. I can’t ever get it to shut up. Mostly, I’ve come away amazed at God’s design and how he is found at the start of every life, how he holds and tends to each one so carefully. I’ve seen his kindness and blessing in the face of suffering.

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I’ve thought a lot since then about what I would want Contessa to know about that night if she ever finds herself leafing through those photos. I would want to tell her that when she was born all the lights in the hospital shined brighter that night because that’s how it felt, as if her birth charged the earth’s battery by two hundred percent. I would tell her that her mama laid her on her chest and locked eyes with her and just smiled and said, “Well, hello there.” like they had met before and her daddy looked her over a thousand times like the Sistine Chapel. There was a small party with nurses who cooed and a doctor that smiled and Louise who giggled and Bri who took pictures. God smiled and the angels rejoiced.  And more than anything, I would want her to know that even though life is a struggle, we all count it a privilege to be here in a world with her, to live, to discover, to love, to yearn, to live life together, imitating the Creator.

 

My roots: Africa and America

I was super excited when the invite came from Heidi to participate in Roots: Sewing your heritage.  I just love it when art is meaningful.  Have you seen the other creations?  Just beautiful.

I am African-American.  Of African descent, yet born and raised in America.  Honestly, I still have questions about my roots, and almost allowed my lack of knowledge to keep me from participating.  One thing I am learning is that conditions don’t have to be perfect before I can put my “yes” on the table.  For now, I can celebrate what I do know: Those before me were born with purpose, and I am grateful for their strength and sacrifice.

*steps down from soap box*

I wanted to create an ensemble that reflects my appreciation for color found in African fashion and fit my 6 year old’s mature and hilarious personality.

When I think of modern African fashion, I think of bold and bright colors.  I think of energetic movement and strength.  The use of saturated solids, dazzling prints, geometric shapes and sophisticated silhouettes give a regal feel to garments and are breathtaking.  Muted palettes are also favored in African fashion.  There were several routes I could have taken when designing an outfit.  Color was my inspiration for Curly Cutie’s creation (say that 10 times – lol).  Feast your eyes on these beauties (pics will take you to source).

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african vlisco2 African Vibrations

africa bk cross African Vibrations

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See what I mean?  This was no easy task for a person with a go-to palette of black and white.  I appreciated the challenge though.  I feel a little more free now, like I could just about put anything together and say, “BAM, there it is!”

Here is my little one.

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We thought it would be fun to add a baby wearing element to this ensemble.  I have a friend from Ghana that taught me how to tie a wrap so I could carry baby #2 when he was just a little something.  This wrap is just a yard of fabric.

African inspired girls' clothing

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Pattern used for shirt is the Aspen Ruffle Dress by See Kate Sew.  As for modifications, I shortened it to make it shirt length.  I extended the height of the collar by an inch to make it more pronounced.  Decreased collar and elastic length.  I extended the sleeves to accommodate CC’s long arms.  Circle skirt is self-drafted with a contrasting waistband and back zipper.  I used a random pocket pattern to add pockets in side seams.  A pair of textured white tights and faux oxford shoes complete the look.  I know some of you are basking in warm sun, but it’s cold here.

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Now, about this hair and these accessories.  I was totally in the moment with this hair.

I had the idea to pull CC’s hair up with a banana clip.  I remember these from my younger days. So fun.  The front part of her hair is simply left loose with a couple of hair pins to cinch some areas.

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*back up on soap box and clearing throat*

Can I just say that I love natural hair?  I’m talking just the way it grows from our scalp.  There was a time when I didn’t feel this way and would incessantly straighten my hair by chemical force (lol) because I thought it was ugly and hard to manage.  My eyes have been opened and I know these things are not true.

I do not believe there is anything wrong with chemically treated hair.  I just did not appreciate the beliefs that fueled my commitment to the practice.  It’s nice to have options: straight, curly, wavy, coily, etc.  The opportunity to teach my daughter to appreciate everything about the way God made her is truly priceless.

*steps down*

hair and earrings

The fabric flower and covered button earrings are both handmade.  I wanted to find another place to incorporate the bold yellow fabric from her skirt waistband, and I thought a pair of earrings would be the perfect place to do that.

As for the shoes, they started out plain white.  I know people paint shoes all the time, but I wasn’t necessarily trying to do that.  I whipped out a blue Sharpie and white fabric paint marker and went to town coloring.  I was going for an oxford look.  Something simple that could be worn with other things. I removed the shoestrings so they could be worn free.  There is a piece of elastic inside that keeps the tongue from shifting.

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roots finalLol!

There are still a couple of days left, if you are feeling adventurous, to add a culturally inspired outfit to the link up.  The prizes look amazing.

Thanks for visiting!  Any questions or comments?  Drop them below.

Handmade happy birthday!

I was trying to figure out what I’ve been doing over here.  Now, you know I’ve been sewing.  After some thought, I realized that I’ve been having fun making birthday presents.  Birthday’s are so sweet and special.  It’s like God kisses the earth every time someone is born!  Life is so precious and deserves to be celebrated, right?  We don’t necessarily need gifts to do this, but they do add a special touch.  So, here’s what I’ve been making….

Remember this clutch made from a curtain remnant?

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Well, I had a couple other remnants with this similar floral print.  I have a dear sweet friend that I wanted to make pillows for.  She enjoys adding beauty to her home, and I thought she might like to add a little elegance to one of her spaces.  I used a basic envelope-style design for these pillows.  Super easy, and there are lots of tutorials on how to make these.  I just used some store bought pillow forms to stuff the covers.  I was very pleased with how they turned out.

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Next up are a couple of messenger bags for a set of twins; the same twins I made the artist roll-ups for.  Continuing on with the theme of upcycling, I decided to use a bed skirt given to me by the very friend I made the above pillows for.

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See, gifts just keep on giving!  I thought the fabric was perfect because it resembles canvas.  It’s sturdy, and I’m sure it will hold up to much wear.  The style of this bag was inspired by one of my husband’s bags.  It features two front pockets with faux button velcro closures and an adjustable strap.  I used bias tape to encase all raw edges.  I did not make an inside lining for these bags, so the bias tape worked perfectly.

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I really hope they enjoy these.

Last but not least, I had the privilege to make a birthday dress for a little ones 1st birthday.  The party theme was ladybugs of course.  And get this, more curtain remnants folks.  The mom of this sweet baby girl gifted me with a huge box of curtain remnants that I’ve used for many projects.  The polka dots were cut from yardage.  The lady bug is appliqued onto the white eyelet fabric, and embroidery thread was used for the antennas.  It was my first time using an embroidery hoop.  The belt is removable.  I enjoyed this color palette.  You don’t really see the turquoise added in with the traditional lady bug colors black and red.  So, I thought that was a fun twist.

A little bit of planning did go into the selection of this style dress.  I sent my friend a couple of collages for design inspiration and asked for her feedback.  She really liked the first dress in the top row (made by a seller on etsy).  So, I used it as my inspiration to make the dress.

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I was asked to incorporate the blue into the head piece somehow, so I just mimicked the style of the other ribbons and added a removable piece.

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The kids and I were able to go to the birthday party of this sweet little one.  I must say she was quite adorable.  Everything worked out great.

A miscarriage experience

The following is a letter to my son.  Even though he will not read this, it is necessary for my heart.

My dear son Rohan,

I was so looking forward to seeing you.  Your older brother was only 9 months when we found out you were on your way.  So, you definitely snuck up on us brotha.  I wasn’t worried though, God’s timing is perfect.  Take that back, I didn’t worry much.  But I did become anxious at times thinking about if I could produce enough milk to feed you, or if I would have to supplement like I did with your brother.  I knew you were coming when my body started feeling a-certain-kinda-way.  Constant nausea without the vomiting, for a few weeks, seems to be commonplace with our pregnancies.  Such a small price to pay for such an amazing gift.  You were no exception baby boy.

Your big sister had just started her first year of homeschooling.  You should have seen me trying to take her through lessons while being stretched out on the couch.  I thought I was pointing to words in a book for her to read along, but when I looked up my finger was all off the book somewhere.  I was too miserable to even sit up, but I tried really hard to remember I would only feel that way for a short season.

Your dad had me laughing.  He said that one day I was fine, then after we took the test and found out it was positive, within 24 hours I was an absolute mess.  I guess he couldn’t understand how it happened so fast.  Maybe he thought is was psychological, but I say, “welcome to the wonderful world of mommyhood”.  I knew something pretty much amazing was going on inside of me.  Your dad had me laughing on several occasions actually.  Just like he told me the gender of your brother and sister, he told me that you were a boy.  He chose a name for you shortly after.  That’s just how it’s been in our family.  Your dad was spot on with your siblings.  He lets me know when he feels really drawn to a particular name.  I have often found myself in prayer a lot after he reveals the name.  Once I told him I would pray the opposite of what he was praying.  Lol.  Talk about division.  It was all in fun, but some of those names were just hilarious to me.  I will probably holler (hearty laugh) if we see you in heaven and you’re a girl.

I thought I was on my way out of “baby season”, but I had to give up any thoughts of having a normal nights’ rest for a loooong time.  Well, you would have just given us a new normal.  Soon my mind began thinking about all the handmade items  I would make for you.  I started sewing last year, and it is such a joy to learn.  You were going to be so cute in your little appliqued tee.

It would have been so much fun seeing you grow alongside your siblings.  You probably would have knocked all of their milestones out of the park because you were trying to catch up with them and do everything they were doing.  Even though we will not experience the joys of having you here with us, we will remember you.  You have forever changed our numbers.  And when people ask me about my children, I will not forget you.  People don’t talk much about this stuff, you know?  I had no clue so many women share this same experience son.  I mean, you hear the numbers, but you really don’t think about it.  At least I didn’t.

I’ve thought about how I won’t be able to tell you that God loved you so much that He sent His only son to live and die for you on the cross.  But hey, you are way ahead of the game son now that you are with Him.  So happy for you.  Can’t wait to see you.  I must finish out my days here, allowing the Lord to guide me through each season of life.  Such a sweet partnership.  I pray this can be done in faith and with much joy in each experience.  You were a great reminder of the brevity of life.  I have found myself not being so uptight about certain things, because hey, tomorrow is not promised to anyone.

Son, you are special to me.  Hopefully I can comfort others with the same comfort I have received from God concerning you.  Until we meet……………..

Resting in His love, (you are doing the same)

Mom

The Blessing – July 14

So, I am working my way through a book by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend entitled “Boundaries – When to say yes, when to say no to take control of your life”.  How sobering for me this has been.  It’s been interesting to see the areas where I’ve instituted healthy boundaries without even knowing.  On the other hand, to see those areas where the effects of improper boundaries are manifest is another story.  So glad to be working through some of this stuff.

For example:  Saying “no” when I should be saying “yes”, and saying “yes” when I should be saying “no”.  I have sometimes found myself repeatedly giving my daughter a “no” at her requests to have or do something when there was no real reason why she should have been denied.  On the other hand,  I would say yes to requests of others knowing it was not a wise decision.

Two things in operation here:

1.  Some of my yes’s have been motivated by guilt.  Saying “no” to other people would make me feel bad, especially since I feel others have been so kind to me.   The least I can do is pay it back.  Right?  No, not right at all.  This giving is not motivated by love.  So, my “yes” was an attempt to feel good again.

2.  Some of my no’s were a result of envy.  My tendency has been towards introspection.  From a young age I learned that my needs were just not that important (although this is not truth).  I didn’t do much asking then, and am realizing that I still have a hard time asking for what I need today.  How does this play into me telling my daughter “no”.  Well, I’ve realized that her requests are her attempts to get her needs/wants met.  One day I really had to ask myself why I was telling her “no” so much.  I could find no logical reason, but could clearly see she would get upset and I would feel triggered by the constant asking.  My daughter is learning to ask for what she wants/needs because she has a history of them being met…..something I didn’t learn to do.  In essence, my heart would resent those requests because my daughter was doing something I would not.  Ask.  Woa, kinda hurts to type that.  So, I am learning to come out of passivity and create boundaries by asking, seeking, and knocking (Matthew 7:7-8).  And of course, I can meet my daughter’s requests with a yes and a smile, especially if there is no potential harm to her or others.

Man, God teaches us so much through our children.

I figure it’s only fitting to bless my family with healthy boundaries.

Husband, daughter and son: (taken from book)

I bless you in the development of: Physical boundaries that help you determine who may touch you and under what circumstances, Mental boundaries that give you freedom to have your own thoughts and opinions, Emotional boundaries that help you deal with  your own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others, and Spiritual boundaries that help you distinguish God’s will from your own and give you renewed awe for your Creator.

For more posts on THE BLESSING.

Photo credit

What I shoulda said (on memories)

In My Handwritten Life I talked about how I have been writing in journals for several years.  I made mention of my memory that leaves quite a bit to be desired since I easily forget things.  Sometimes I take a couple of hours to sit down and read what I wrote in years past.  It’s interesting to see the different thought processes I’ve had, and the maturity or lack thereof that has come from them.  Journaling has helped me to remember the good times.  The funny times.  But, I shoulda shared about a stretching time too……

I remember the time when going to bed at night was oppressive.  I was so plagued with fear that I slept on my stomach – every night.  I did this for years.  The thought of something coming for me in the night was too great for me to sleep, in what I thought to be a vulnerable position, face up.  At least if something did get me, on my stomach, I wouldn’t see it coming.  You wouldn’t have seen it coming either way Tamika because you were SLEEP.  I know, but fear has torment and this is what I had reasoned in my mind.  It had become such a part of me that I didn’t even think about it as being an issue.  Until I heard these words……FEAR IS NOT YOUR PORTION.  I didn’t know how it was going to happen, but I knew I wanted to be free.

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  John 8:32

I needed the truth.

The truth is……

God had not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.

The Lord gives His beloved sleep.

When I lie down I will not be afraid.

When I lie down my sleep will be sweet.

The sleep of a laboring man is sweet whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of the rich will not allow him to sleep.

Jeremiah said that when he woke up he realized he had sweet rest.

These are not merely some random good thoughts.  They are straight from the word of God (see references at bottom of post).  THEY ARE MY PORTION.  These scriptures along with several others became my spiritual food that I partook of daily for a while.  Daily until I owned them.  I continued to sleep on my stomach, but the words of God flowed from my lips.  Then, one day it broke.  I don’t know when it broke.  I just know that one day I did not feel the compulsion to sleep on my stomach anymore.  The peace of God came in where there was fear.  And if I sleep on my stomach today, it’s because I want to and not because I’m plagued with fear.  Truth be told I can tear up a bed.  Lol!  My husband often tells me there is no need for me to assault him in the night.  Lol.  I don’t mean to.  Really. 

So glad I have my journals to go back and read of the good things God has done for me.  And how living and active His word is.  The day belongs to the Lord.  The night belongs to the Lord.  I belong to the Lord.  I will not be afraid.  The battle against fear continues in other areas of my life.  At least now, I’m well rested for the fight.

For personal reflection:  What areas of your life is “fear a factor” for you?  What would your life look like in this area if you were not afraid?  Does the bible speak about it?

Scripture references:  Psalm 127:2, Proverbs 3:24, Ecclesiastes 5:12, Jeremiah 31:26

What I shoulda said (on marriage)…..

You might want to start by reading this post for context.

High Five! is the post where I shared that we were expecting our second child.  I began the post with comments about my husband.

What I shoulda said…….

There was a time when I didn’t think I would ever get married.  One, because I come from a family of mostly women.  Women with children.  Women who are divorced or single.  I didn’t see marriage growing up, and I certainly hadn’t heard it being talked about much.  And two, because I really didn’t think I was worthy of being loved.  A lie.  This is the message my life circumstances communicated to me.  If my own parents were not intimately involved with the details of my life, why would anyone else want to be.  This is what I told my heart as a young child and wasn’t even aware of this reality.  Consequently, I grew up starved for affection and desperate for attention.  I guess it wouldn’t have been so bad if there was at least one man that loved me.  But, at some point, each one of them walked away.  Growing up, I held on to that lie and carried it around as if it had been tattooed on me.  I carried this lie into my marriage, it just changed forms.  Have you ever been made aware of something that was in your heart that you didn’t even know was there?  The lie went from, “I am not good enough to be loved” to “Oh, he really does love me, but……it will come to end.  He’ll leave at some point”.  See, that’s what my past taught me.  All men leave.  I believed it, and had no clue that was my basis for truth.

I now know that, in our own strength, our love has limits.  As much as we may want to love others purely and wholly (if we even make it here), we fall short.  In order for me to move forward, there was one thing I had to settle in my heart.  I am loved.  I AM DEEPLY LOVED.  I am deeply loved by the maker of heaven and earth.  He will never leave me or forsake me.  When he died, he said it was finished.  And if I believe in him I would not taste death (spiritual), and we would be together forever.  I had to tell my heart that this is my story and I’m sticking to it.  Even if no one else, in this life,  ever decided to spend their days with me……..I am loved.  My Father said so.  I believe it.  And that settles it.  Thank you Jesus.

Fortunately, I did marry a man that loves me.  Does he fall short in the expression of it at times?  Yes.  Get this, so do I.  These times don’t mean we are unworthy of love from the other.  It means we are broken individuals being put back together by the hands of a merciful God who is teaching us to love like he does.  Without condition.

For personal reflection:  What lies have you believed about your value as a human being?

The Blessing

I’m not really into the whole resolutions thing, but there are definitely things I would like to see happen this year.  One of those things centers around the principal of “The Blessing”.

All throughout the Bible we find references to “the blessing”.  We see it from the beginning in Genesis 1:27-28.

 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  28And God BLESSED them, and God SAID unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

We see it at the end  in Revelation 22:14.

BLESSED are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

“The Blessing” is like an impartation into another person of the power of God.  It generally involves the act of speaking.  It’s not solely about the spoken words, but also involves action towards those being blessed.  To bless another is to give them honor, praise, significance, and to encourage and empower them for a better life.

This is what I want to do for my home this year.  I want to take 365 days in 2012 and speak blessings over my husband, daughter and son individually.  Of course I don’t want to limit “the blessing” to just them, but I want to be intentional in the lives of those in closest proximity to me.  Charity begins at home, right?   This year has 366 days, so on the last day of the year I would like to do something special to “look back” and see how their lives changed.  I don’t quite know what that will be, but I have some time to decide.

I wanted to share this journey with you.  On occasion, I will share the blessings I am speaking over my family a particular day.  Maybe you might be encouraged to speak words of life over others too.   Here is the blessing I gave my daughter yesterday ( I look into her eyes and speak to her as a valued human being.  Totally different spirit from the times I want to hang her upside down by her foot from the tree in our backyard)……

I BLESS YOU WITH A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF GOD’S AFFECTIONS FOR YOU.  I BLESS YOU TO EXPERIENCE HIS MANIFEST PRESENCE IN YOUR LIFE.  MAY YOU KNOW YOUR WORTH TO SUCH A DEGREE THAT MEDIOCRITY AND INADEQUACY HAVE NO PLACE IN YOUR LIFE.

Side note:  We are 11 days into this and my daughter has started giving me blessings as well.  One sounded a little something like this….

I bless you to walk next to the tree and see that and take the trash to the circus on a sunny day.

Lol!  Gotta love her.

 If you are already familiar with this principal, how has “the blessing” changed your life or someone else’s life?  Did you know that we are even supposed to bless our enemies?  Try that and let me know how it works out for you.  Lol!  I’m done being silly.  The things of God don’t have to be hard.  His yoke is easy, and burden is light.  And the year of “The Blessing” continues.

Picture this.

And you will have to picture it because there are no pictures in this post.

I am overwhelmed.

Woke up this morning praising God.

Why?

I see my Father.

See Him coming.

See Him running for ALL His children to come.

Let EVERYONE come.

Deaf ears are opening!

Blind eyes are seeing!

They got up

They get up.

Legs are moving!

Lungs breathe clearly!

Hearts are strengthened!

Sound minds returning!

EVERY disease……EVERY disease is running, fleeing!

NO DISEASE KNOWN TO MAN WILL BE ABLE TO STAND!