Never a Time that Wasn’t a Child

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the news that has surfaced regarding Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted baby parts. (To be clear, the gruesome murder of these babies is disgusting and evil whether their organs are sold or not.) I hope to write more about this in the future, but for tonight I simply want to promote this short, poignant speech by one of our country’s senators. Stupid movies go viral every day; let’s encourage Americans to watch something that really matters. These unborn children have no voice, so I’m thankful that bold politicians like Senator Lankford speak for them.

“You can’t say in one moment that’s not a human and then sell it for the next moment as a human organ and say now suddenly it is…There was never a time that wasn’t a child.”

{Mommy Journal} Facing My Fear (Pt 2)

DSC_0034It seems a terrible oversight that I did not specifically share any of the Scripture verses that have become precious to me in my recent battle with fear and anxiety. Many of these are becoming treasured old friends and I am beginning to memorize them without effort. It is a wonderful gift to have rich passages of truth hidden in my heart! I have found it amazing how God has spoken directly to my situation through HIs Word whenever I have opened it, so I won’t be able to list even close to all the verses He has blessed me with, but here are just a few.

Matthew 6:25, 27

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?…And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?”

John 14:27

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

1 Peter 1:3-9

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”

Psalm 46:1-2

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea.”

Psalm 37:1-3

“Do not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.”

James 1:12

“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

Psalm 61:2

“From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Philippians 4:6-7

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 34:4-8

I sought the LORD, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them. O taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

{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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