{Mommy Journal} Facing My Fear

11With the exciting new addition of Caleb back in November also came a lot of changes. Obviously, life takes a different turn when you add a little one who is entirely dependent on his parents for everything. But another new experience that I had not anticipated came from within myself. I discovered that I can very quickly fall into a pattern of fear and anxiety.

I am aware, of course, that one’s hormones can be crazy after a baby, so I know that some or much of this struggle could be hormone-related. But regardless, it is something I’ve had to learn how to address biblically.

Suddenly, with a child whom I loved more than breath itself in my care, I was easily given to imagining tragic scenarios involving Caleb’s wellbeing. News of turmoil around the globe could start me physically shaking within moments of considering the possible threats to our family’s safety. I can go from zero to sixty in a matter of seconds if I let my thoughts carry me into a pit of despair. It’s a short trip.

As we often say jokingly about trivial matters, “the struggle is real.” And a struggle, it has been. I’ve had to “respond” to each fearful thought with truth and often, direct Scripture quotes. I’ve had to cry out to my God on a regular basis, desperate for His power to remove my anxiety and replace it with peace. And what is exciting is, He has been faithful to do that as I have established a habit of running to Him and His Word.

For quite some time, I had been asking God to give me a deeper desire for the Bible. I wanted to experience the longing and thirst for it spoken of in the Psalms. If I missed spending time in it one day, I wanted to feel as if I had gone without a meal. I was discouraged with my often lukewarm love for Scripture.

In an unexpected way, God has used my fight with fear to grant that request and rekindle in me a deeper love for the Bible. I find myself truly, passionately yearning for it throughout the day. When I run into something that triggers my fear, I am almost immediately desperate for God’s Word. The verses that I have memorized have become like gold, and I am eager to commit more to memory as I stumble upon nugget after nugget hidden in that precious Book.

Although the newness of this struggle is likely largely postpartum-related, the Holy Spirit has proven more than a match for the thoughts and emotions I have experienced over the past seven months. Hormones may increase my tendency toward anxiety, but the Word of God is powerful enough to subdue my worries and impart peace. It has not been easy, but it has been sanctifying.

Praise God for the sufficiency and relevancy of His Word, His faithfulness to answer when I call, and His unchanging love for me even in my moments of doubting. I serve an incredible Savior.

If this is something you are dealing with, I would love to pray for you and share some of the Scripture passages that have become precious to me during this time. 

{General Updates} Blog News & Life Lately

Time has really gotten away from me recently, and my blog has (once again) had a quiet spell. It’s been a crazy wonderful year so far, and I can’t believe we’re almost halfway through it! A few updates for you.

First, I’ve decided to password protect some of my posts.

I’m trying to weed out the possibility for creepers and although password protection isn’t fail-proof, it’s one step toward better protection of Caleb’s privacy and safety. I would love to share the password with you, please just request it. Even if I don’t know you very well, don’t hesitate to ask. You can leave a comment below, or reach me another way if you already have my direct contact info. (Many of my posts will still be open to the public, but I’ll be protecting most of the ones with a lot of Caleb detailing and photos.)

Second, God has been at work in my heart in a number of ways.

Recent months have been a very stretching time for me spiritually, as I’ve had to do battle with my sin and have watched God open my heart and mind to new things I had never given thought to before. I am excited to share more as it is appropriate. One of the things He has been using to grow me is a new-found tendency toward fear and anxiety since Caleb’s arrival seven months ago. Nothing but the truth of God’s Word and His Holy Spirit at work inside me is strong enough to conquer the emotions and thoughts I have been dealing with, but God is proving one day at a time that He has given me the power to overcome this sin. I have seen my desire for His Word grow by leaps and bounds through this season, and I love and appreciate His sovereign care far more now than I did last year. These are amazing silver linings to a difficult time. I hope to write more about this journey more in the weeks to come.

And thirdly, yes, Caleb is seven months old!IMG_1942

He is such a joy to our hearts, and what a little go-getter he is! Cruising along furniture for weeks now, he appears to be heading toward walking from a very young age. He gets bonks and bruises regularly as he pushes the limits of his physical abilities. But my very favorte thing about this current stage? The amazing, wet, gentle kisses he loves to hand out. They melt me!

Finally, I’ve got writings elsewhere!

While I’ve been quiet here on my own blog, I’ve been busy writing for the Glory Books Ministry Women’s Blog! You can check out a feed of my recent posts here. Beginning in July I’ll be a featured author there, so watch for twice-monthly articles.

More posts to come…

{Mommy Journal} Today He Swings, Tomorrow He Marries

Caleb turned six months old today. That’s half a year. He’s been in our lives outside of the womb for half a year. How did this happen?

We took him to a little playground in a beautiful park. After he had crawled around on a blanket in the grass for awhile, I put him in a playground swing for the first time. It was the perfect way to celebrate six months and he loved it from the first push.

As I sat there crosslegged in the sand, giving the swing a little shove every now and then and saying “weeeee” as Caleb drifted back and forth, grinning and squealing, I had one of those “mom moments” in a way I hadn’t before.

IMG_0428-2Suddenly, as I looked at my baby’s big brown eyes and double-chin smile, I saw him posing with his books and pencil on the first day of homeschool, cheesy grin and polo shirt-perfect. I heard him telling me, “I love her, mom” with the most earnest of expressions. And I watched him marrying the girl of his dreams on the happiest day of his life. Then, just as quickly as those visions had hopped through my mind, I was back in the sand at the playground giggling with a little boy who doesn’t even know what school is or who girls are. But he will. And it will be sooner than I realize.

I can’t imagine life without Monkey. It isn’t easy being a mom. Even with a baby who is, on whole, very adaptable and incredibly sweet, life has changed dramatically and I’ve had to sacrifice a lot of things. But there’s no better reason than this precious little life, entrusted into our care by God Himself. Every single sacrifice is more than worth the joy and delight and rewards that come with being Caleb’s mommy. His infant days are already flying by so quickly. Much sooner than I realize, I’ll be taking his kindergarten photo and watching him go on his first date.

But not today. Today I’m sitting in the sand. I’m saying,”weeeee!” And I’m pushing a pudgy six-month-old on his first ride on the swing.

{Homemaking Journal} New Spring Recipes

Five months into this whole mommy thing, I’m still loving the extra time I have to cook proper, delicious meals for my little family. Granted, this week included two nights back-to-back where I got precisely nothing on the table due to completely packed apartment days, but under average circumstances, I have the time and the energy to put yummy food in front of my hubby each night and I love it! Here are a few favorite new recipes from recent weeks. Please pardon the language in one of these blog URLs. It’s an unfortunate blog title but the food is scrumptious! My new favorite cooking blog for sure.

As always, I made numerous changes to these fine recipes…including altering them to be gluten free. Sorry for the poor photo of the Bang Bang Chicken! I always forget to get my Nikon out after I’m done cooking. =)

Trader Joe’s Spaghetti Squash Carbonara – I personally loved this more than the Cheesecake Factory version. To die for!

Cheesy Enchilada Rice Skillet – Nothing earth-shattering flavor-wise, but SO easy.

bangbangchickenBang Bang Chicken – I’ve made this twice already! DELICIOUS! Worth the fuss!

Cauliflower Chowder – I’m honestly not a big fan of cauliflower, but I absolutely loved this soup. And it was sooooo simple.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Panini – These satisfy that occasional and obsessive craving for something toasted with cheese.

{My Photography} Ordinary Joy Photography Recents

I’ve really enjoyed getting more photography practice lately. I’m finding it’s incredibly rewarding when I actually capture on camera what I envisioned in my head. (I never knew that could actually be so challenging!) I have SO much to learn and I’m still very limited in what I can get, but I’ve made progress and that’s encouraging. Here are a few favorites from my recent work. If you have an Instagram, follow me @ordinaryjoyphotography to see more! =)

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{Mommy/Life/Wife Journal} A Few March & April Highlights

I know I’ve been so quiet here on the blog! I hope nobody has jumped to the conclusion that motherhood has swallowed up my life or that I’m fighting with Andrew and don’t have anything happy to share or that I’ve died. ;) None of the above are true. But, life is very busy these days and I’ve purposely allowed blogging to take a back burner. Here are a few quick highlights from the past month or so…

– Caleb is growing and changing so quickly and I can’t get enough of it! He’s had his first few tastes of solids (avocado and applesauce). He’s scooting around now…on the verge of legitimate crawling! I’m thinking I’ll be able to say he’s crawling before his 5 month mark, but we’ll see. I’m trying not to be the stereotypical first-time mom who thinks her child does everything six weeks before he actually does. ;) Trust me, it’s easy to do. My child is amazing. ;)

– Andrew helped me get back on track with regular, substantial quiet times by printing a Bible reading schedule for us to follow together. We still read separately but then it’s great to have been in the same place and discuss it! It’s a Bible-in-a-year plan but it’s chronological. I have two chapters left in Genesis and I’m finished with Job. Exodus is next!

– Spring break has been such a welcome respite from Andrew’s regular class schedule. We had a wonderful visit from two of my brothers and then from two cousins over Easter. Tomorrow, Andrew’s brother rolls into town to finish off the break with us. And in between, Andrew, Caleb, and I have gotten some quality time. I’m very thankful for each one of these precious memories.

– Backing up further, my mom came and stayed with us for five days last month. I ended up sick for most of the trip, and felt terrible that we mostly stayed home all week, but it was a huge blessing to have her help out around the house while I didn’t feel well, and we still got lots of sweet conversations in. We love Caleb’s grandmas! =)

– God was so gracious in helping us to pre-rent the vacancy we had in March, which meant no tours or open houses!!! We have two apartments vacating at the beginning of May. I’d really appreciate prayer that we’d get those filled quickly, as well. Vacancies can be a ton of work and stress, something we’ve yet to try with Caleb here.

– God’s mercies are new every morning. I feel like I’m in a constant battle with fear and anxiety these days, and needing to speak God’s truth to myself 24/7 to keep my heart focused on the right place. It’s crazy how quickly worry can take over, and I’ve got so much more that I can fret over now that I’m a mom. It’s an opportunity to continue growing in trusting the Lord and truly believing that He is sovereign and good in every situation.

– I’ve got a couple of maternity and newborn photo sessions coming up that I’m very excited about, and in the meantime I keep photographing my favorite little guy! =)

I guess that’s all for now…happy April, dear readers! =)