I had the best time last weekend at the Women of Faith conference in Indy. I went with some ladies from church and we had so much fun. I think it was one of the best conferences I have been to. There were so many great speakers, the music was awesome and I was truly blessed. There are days when I feel like it really sucks to be a woman, especially when I am stressed out, emotionally exhausted, and just plain tired of having to keep up the pace and keep everyone happy. I can't be super woman, and I will not claim to be. This is my disclaimer right here: I am not perfect, I will most definitely screw up more often than I get it right and I refuse to give in to the pressure of keeping up with every other woman around me. I am a bit of a perfectionist, come by that naturally thanks to my Dad, and so the whole struggle to be perfect is a daily thing. I hate to say it but even at 38 years old I still feel the need-although I do not like to admit it-to please others. I don't get as overwhelmed and stressed out by that need as often as I did 20 years ago but it is definitely still there. As I am getting older and see how really stupid people can be, I am learning to let it go and live my life to please one person. God. He has great expectations of me. I don't want to let him down, but I can move forward with confidence in knowing that even if I do screw up--He is there to pick me up and help me find His way again. Did you get that? His way, not my way. How easy is it for us to go, "Okay, God, I know you have my best in mind but what about this? This could be really good for me. Can't you make this one thing happen for me?" We watched a great video skit Sunday at the conclusion of the sermon that went right along with our pastor's message about struggling to be perfect, to please God, and then to let Him have His way with us. It was painful to watch but it was so good. I think it made us all take a hard look at ourselves and how we view God, and how we try to put Him in a nice little package. We can't do that to Him, but instead we have to let Him do His will in us. That means we are going to be chiseled, molded, shaped into what He wants us to be. It is not pleasant, and in fact, it is likely to be a very painful and heart breaking process. I don't want it, but I know I need it. I have to choose daily to turn my thoughts, my actions, my worries and fears over to Him. I have to trust and obey Him with my life completely. How easy is that? It is not. I had my check up on Monday and it was good, except we couldn't hear the baby's heartbeat. My doctor was not worried, and in fact reassured me that everything was fine and we scheduled an ultrasound for tomorrow. Today I have been wandering in and out of concern, but I am not worried. I give God the credit for that. I know He is taking care of us, that He will work it out according to His good and perfect will. I know He has a plan, regardless of how I see it.
I am a ball of emotions today for many reasons. We just started sharing with our family and friends this week that we are expecting another baby. This is something we have talked about for about a year now, well, basically since the miscarriage last year. The reality of this new life is beginning to sink in, and I am overwhelmed with a strange sense of joy and fear all at once. I am finding that this is not as enjoyable nor as easy on my 38 year old body as it was just 5 years ago when I had AJ. I go through waves of feeling like I am going to absolutely lose it, and then I am fine. I wonder how I am going to handle having a baby at 39? I wonder how Ryan is going to handle it too? I wonder how the kids will adjust to having a new sibling? I cannot begin to describe in words how raw emotions are in our home right now. I am thankful that our children are comfortable sharing what they are feeling openly and honestly. I am certain that we will continue to ride this rollercoaster of emotions out as the days ahead pass, and we approach the arrival of this little one. I am not a complainer, and in fact I am one to stand on my soap box and insist on the benefit and powerful influence of positive thinking. Negative thinking and a stinky attitude, holding grudges, walking through life with a plate full of what you think justifies how you speak, act and live is not acceptable and is not a reflection of Christ. I pray each day that God will give me the ability to speak and act in a way that is only reflective of Him. It can be no different in my home with Ryan and the kids. Truth? Yes, I have moments of sheer insanity, anger and frustration can get the best of me and I am not who I know I should be. This is where honesty and integrity come in. If I can't be transparent and admit my faults, ask my own children for forgiveness, then how does that translate in to who I am outside of my home? I cannot live my life differently at church or at work than I do in my own home. I will choose to be the person God has intended for me to be with my family, with my church family, my friends and everyone I come in contact with each day. Emotions are a tricky thing that God gave us to deal with in our humanity. But He has given us a guide, the Holy Spirit and we have the truth of His Word to stand upon, to strengthen our faith. The other side of my ball of emotion today is related to the issue of gay marriage. I have read about what is going on with the state of California, the recent ruling to allow it and the reactions of so many communities in our nation. I have more than one friend in the gay/lesbian community and I love each one of them dearly. I have not at any point felt the need to defend my opinion to any of them, nor do I feel the need to tell them how to live their lives. I choose to love them and support them because that is what God calls me to do. I do not support gay marriage because I believe God clearly spoke from the beginning of Creation and in many of the Scriptures it is stated how He views homosexuality. I will not engage in debate with anyone about this issue because I don't feel it is my place to cast judgement, and I believe it is extremely arrogant for anyone to claim they can "convert" someone from their homosexual lifestyle. I believe the Bible is Truth, that God is God and when we are all standing before Him one day--He will have the final word. We can argue, debate, condemn, spend all kinds of time on this earth trying to convince one another who is right and who is wrong, but God is ultimately the One who knows all and will have all the answers. When we stand before Him, there will be no argument. There will be no questions. We will know. The Bible and the God I know and love cannot and should not be packaged or interpreted to fit our lives. Our lives are to be shaped, molded, carved into a complete reflection of Him. We are walking a very dangerous and shaky path in this world when we decide the Bible and God's view can be interpreted more than one way. There is only one way. Living the Truth and living a life of complete submission to Christ is not easy and will not get any easier as the world keeps spinning out of control. I will stand for Christ, I will love as He loves and I will live as He calls me to live. I am thankful God gave me emotions, and I am thankful he gave me free will. I am thankful for everything I have experienced in my life so far and I know that this rollercoaster ride is far from over. God, give me strength. I know I cannot do it alone.

my Ebenezer...

“…Thus far the Lord has helped us.”-1 Samuel 7:12 There are moments in my life when I look back and can see how God in His perfect yet my...