Sunday, September 20, 2015

God is Able

To all who prayed for us while we traveled to be present for the funeral of Cameron's grandfather, thank you. God answers prayers.

We were blessed by the people around us on the planes who were nice to our children and never once seemed annoyed when Lila cried (which was a LOT). We were thankful for TSA officers who were helpful and made Violet smile. We were blessed on our way there when we had a tight connection and our gate was in the exact spot in a large airport where we needed it to be. We were even more blessed on our way back when a connecting flight was delayed, giving us enough time to make it to the gate (which we would have definitely missed otherwise). We were also blessed by our family, friends, and Cameron's job who helped us financially be able to make the trip.

The number of things that had to come together speaks volumes of how much our heavenly Father loves us.

When we got home, we were greeted by a loaf of home made bread and a breakfast casserole in the fridge for the next morning left there by sweet friends of ours who knew when we were coming home.

I am consistently amazed at how God provides above and beyond what I need or think to ask.

I recently posted on facebook to ask if any of our friends had an extra microwave lurking around since ours decided to turn into a sparking fire hazard. This morning when we came home from church, there was a brand new microwave on our porch. I nearly cried. Over a microwave. It was left anonymously, so to whoever generously gave us a new microwave, thank you! We know how to live without one, but our leftovers lifestyle sure is easier with one.

Believe that the God who created all things, owns all things, and loves you, knows what you need and will provide it.We are thankful to the people God used, but we recognize that it is God who provided what we needed.

Ephesians 3:20-21
"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Faith Like a Child

I've heard the term "faith like a child" for as long as I can remember and to be totally honest, I always equated it with an ability to easily believe anything (even things that aren't true). Yesterday I got a new picture of this concept that Jesus spoke about that has really captured my attention.

My youngest daughter Lila is 7 months old. When she wakes up from her nap, she is hungry. Yesterday when I got her up from her nap, I put her in her high chair and noticed something that I'd never paid attention to before. She was looking at me and holding her mouth open. Did you catch that? She was focused on the person who she believed (with faith) would provide what she needed. Not only was she focused on her provider, but she sat there with her mouth open in expectation, ready to receive provision.

She couldn't see the food. She wasn't even looking for it. She seemed to not be concerned at all about the location of the food. She knew with certainty that her mom would feed her, and she waited expectantly. I know this seems repetitive, but this small act on her part showed me in a huge way how I fail so often when it comes to faith. I know what I need, and I start looking for the food (you could replace food with money, relationships, feelings, etc). I become so concerned with where to find the "food" that I don't even think to look at the Provider. Even when I do think to look to the Lord, I still fail in waiting with expectation, or at least to the extent that my sweet 7 month old does. If only I could open myself in expectation, waiting with a certainty that God will fulfill all my needs, focused completely on Him.

That would be faith like a child. Whew. Lila makes it look so easy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

See the Need, Share the Need, Meet the Need

So much of my life lately has been consumed with this:
1. Seeing needs and not knowing how to meet them.
2. Having needs but being resistant to sharing them.
3. Being able to meet needs, but not willing.

So many conversations I've had lately center around seeing needs. I know couples who need marriage support, ministries that need prayer, women who need friends (me included), men who need mentors, and families who need help raising and taking care of their children. How do we meet these needs?  How do we get others to see the needs? That's the real question. We can't meet every need we see, but someone can.

Lord please change our hearts.

How many needs do I miss? Why when there is so much uncertainty are we hesitant to share that we need prayer and encouragement? How do we as the body of Christ die to ourselves to do the work God has called us to? How can we expect others to do what we ourselves are unwilling to do?

I am guilty. I doubt, I fear, I give in to anxiety, but rarely do I share what I'm struggling with. Right now we are in the process of buying a house. We thought we were to the end. It's been incredibly stressful. I've had anxiety, worried at late hours of the night, and even had nightmares through the process. I've cried, drove by the house and said a million prayers, and only confessed to a tiny few that we are even in this process. Why? Why did we not tell right away that we were doing this- that we needed guidance and encouragement and advice? Buying a house is stressful. We thought we would be closing this Friday, but according to the call I got today at best it's happening next Thursday if at all. I was completely crushed. I've prayed through the whole process, but if I had just shared the need early on how much stress and anxiety could the prayers of others saved us? We have to share our needs. We need each others prayers. We need each others encouragement. Sometimes we need more than just encouragement and prayer- sometimes we have physical needs that could be met if only we would speak up.

If more and more people were willing to be transparent, would it make a difference?

To that end, we have to do more than see needs and share our own, we have to actually step up and meet the needs we are capable of meeting. I can't do it all, but I can do something. I can pray for someone. I can send a card. I can send a meal. I can watch a child for a short amount of time. I can listen. There are lots of things I can do, I just have to be willing to listen when the Lord says to move and take action.

What needs do you see? What needs do you have? What needs have you met? These questions are important. As the body of Christ we should be in the business of seeing and meeting needs.

Acts 20:35 "In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

James 2:26 "For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead."

1 Thessalonians 5:11 "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."

Galatians 6:2 "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ"

Hebrews 10:24-25 " 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

What are your thoughts? What keeps us from meeting others needs? What keeps us from sharing our own needs? What is keeping us from seeing the needs of others?

I'm tired. I'm scared. I'm selfish. Lord change me.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Understood Mommy

I've come to notice a change and I'm proud to say I think it's coming from my generation.

Today I was out with my lovely 18 month old all over town running errands. I dropped in a resale store that I go to often to see if I could consign a few of Vi's old clothes that will be the wrong season for Lila (I'm crafty, but even I don't know how to salvage long sleeve christmas onesies and make them work for July). While at the store my child started having a meltdown. You know, a "scream at the top of my lungs and cry and want up and then kick to get down, and then beg to be picked back up" type of meltdown. If you have never experienced this, well, you must not have ever had an 18 month old. It's completely normal. I was not panicked. I was not embarrassed. I could tell the sales lady was a little uncomfortable, so I told her that at this age my child has no less than 20 "the world is ending" episodes a day, and that it's not a cause for concern. I basically ignore them unless I know there is a legitimate reason/need not being met causing the behavior. At that point I noticed a few other moms in the store who had taken notice, and when I explained to the sales lady, I saw smiles. They knew. I didn't have to talk to those other moms to know they weren't judging me. A simple smile let me know that they understood exactly what I was going through and the futility of fighting or even apologizing for my child's behavior.

 I have a piece of paper from our pediatrician describing in great detail my child's exact behavior (even though it is a handout given to ALL moms at the 18 month check up). It also states I should not take my child anywhere I would not feel comfortable with having her throw a tantrum. As it turns out, I don't care if her world ends while I'm at the grocery store, a clothing store, or even church. Do you know why? Because I have been given the freedom to parent according to my own convictions. I am careful about what I say in public and keep my more debatable parenting convictions to myself or share them person to person rather than throwing it out to the wolves. For the most part, I don't see judgement.

That's what makes me excited. Women my age have embraced reality. In spite of the pressure of super mom on Pinterest and perfect pictures on Instagram, we've managed to get over it all and accept that life at home is hard. Children do not act or look the way we want them to all the time. Our homes are messy. We don't shower nearly as often as we wish we could. We are too tired to compete. There is always dirty laundry and dirty dishes. We try to feed our families healthy foods, but sometimes we  feed our kids cereal for dinner. I am so thankful for the other mommies out there with blogs that reflect real life. I'm thankful to women I almost never interact with in real life, but, through facebook, feel like kindred spirits because they aren't afraid to post photos with laundry baskets in the background and toys all over the floor while their children wear mismatched clothes or run around in underwear. That's real life.

I still see women who pass judgement on other moms, but the point is I'm seeing it less and less. What I'm seeing more is the great response of honest mommies who rise up in defense when they see another mom being criticized. It gives me hope that some day when my girls are older and become moms, they will have a community of support instead of a community of criticism. I pray that women in the church would rise up with honesty and transparency because that's what women need. We need someone genuine who feels what we feel. We need someone to smile in such a way that let's us know they get it. We need to know that our feelings are valid. They are.

We understand. We really do. If we don't, it's only because we haven't been there yet, but trust me, our day is coming.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


The past few days I will admit that I've felt a little lost. I don't call my parents often. I rarely ask for advice or direction, but I did recently because right now I honestly have no idea what to do. Have you ever felt that way?

There are some things in life that we must decide that aren't easy, times when no one else on earth can really tell us which direction to take. That's where I'm at.

As contrary as it may seem to many, the Bible really doesn't contain a list giving us the answer to every move we make in life. It won't tell us directly what method we should choose to educate our children, where exactly to live, what occupation to take, who to marry, or how many children to have. There are certainly guidelines and advice that speaks to all of these, but the Bible doesn't give specifics on many of these "big" decisions.

We know that when we don't know what to do, the answer is to ask the Lord. After all, He is sovereign. He knows all things, so surely He can direct us in these decisions.

That's what I'm waiting for.

I have to admit, it's difficult to wait with patience. I want to know the answer yesterday. I find myself pouring through my Bible in hopes of finding a solution even though I know that my current situation will find no direct answer in scripture. So here is what I pose to you: In these situations where you find that the only answer is to pray for an answer, what do you do while you are waiting on God?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters... Introducing our little one's name :)

If you didn't catch the hint from my facebook post, Violet is getting a little sister. I'm ECSTATIC! I'd have been happy to have a little boy, but I don't think there is anything wrong with having a preference one way or the other, and I really wanted another little girl.

Her name, well, it kinda requires some explanation, but to start, I SWEAR I'M NOT NAMING MY GIRLS FOR SHADES OF PURPLE. Now that I've got that out, we will call her "Lila." Her full name is Lilac Jane Joyce Jaeger.

1.I want my girls to know they are beautiful so I gave them names of flowers. Violet's flower name was a nod to my early love of reading The Boxcar Children. Lilac's name was inspired by my favorite movie of all time: The Holiday Inn (which is also the first movie Cameron and I ever watched together). One of the girls in the movie is named "Lila" and I thought it sounded pretty.

2. As well as being beautiful, we want our girls to be smart. I like giving them names with literary ties (Cameron and I both desire for our girls to love reading like we do). Jane is in fact a nod to my favorite author of all time, Jane Austen. The fact that her middle names Jane Joyce are also reminiscent of James Joyce was a happy coincidence :)

3. We also want our girls to be close to their family, so we are giving them family names. Violet was named for Cameron's maternal grandmother Grace. Lila we are naming after my maternal grandmother Joyce. Regardless of all else, my grandmother has this legacy to offer: she stayed with my grandfather for better or worse and in sickness and health. Sometimes "worse" is something we never imagined before we got married, and "sickness" can be years and years of struggle, but I believe that marriage is sacred and our vows are meant to be honored for life. That's something I want to pass on to my daughters.

 So there you have it. Her name is long, and certainly less than common, but I love it. We are identified by our names for the rest of our lives, so they might as well accompany a meaning worth identifying with. God makes us in His own image. He makes us beautiful and intelligent. He created us for relationship with Himself and others. If we fail in other ways, at the very least our girls will grow up sure of these things because even their names will testify to their identity in Christ.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A little note of joy

Being a parent is pretty awesome most days. Just sayin'. Don't get me wrong, the teething is terrible, my child's inability to tell me in words what is wrong (therefore resulting in many mini meltdowns) stinks, and about a billion other little annoyances make the job less than desirable at times, but all in all having a little girl is pretty amazing.

Tonight we were making dinner in the kitchen and had Violet sitting up on the counter with music playing and while she was bopping her head and flailing her arms in an attempt to dance, I took Cameron's hand and we started dancing. Her little eyes lit up and she busted out giggles of glee. We let her hop down and she went back and forth between the two of us taking our hands and dancing around the kitchen with us.

She has this way of stealing the show in our family. We think we are watching a movie or eating dinner or doing any normal thing and then I find that actually we are just watching Violet do those things.She is absolutely captivating. I mean it. When her little eyes light up and she smiles and starts dancing we can't help but stop and stare as if mesmerized. It's almost as if her joy fills us with joy.

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.Psalm 126:2-3 (NIV)

That's what it is. Children are a gift, a great blessing. Just by trusting us with Violet, the Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.