An Ending and an Invitation

On May 14th, 2011 I wrote my first post on this blog. Today I write my last.

This blog has been, and always will be, a special part of my life. It holds my thoughts during the most difficult season of my life thus far, but it also holds some of my biggest joys. These posts have been filled with serious reflections alongside “just for fun” stuff. Everything from recipes to vacation photos to home renovations. A new house, two babies, new jobs.

Life has changed a lot since that May and much of it is captured and preserved here.

But I’ve decided to make another change, one I’m really excited about… I’ve started a new blog! You can now find me at comesojourn.com. I really hope you’ll join me on this new adventure!

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Why a new blog? Well, some of you might remember a post from last April when I shared some of my uncertainty about where to go next with this blog. As much as I’ve enjoyed this blog as a sort of “catch all” for anything I wanted to write, I am feeling a pull to be more purposeful in my writing. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now and I feel that this new blog is a step in the right direction.

So what can you expect from Come Sojourn? Like I said, my hope is to be more purposeful… in both my content and my frequency of posting. My goal is to share one new blog post each week. These posts will be similar to many of the things I’ve posted here, sharing moments of my life with a focus on the way I see God’s hand in each and every part.

I’m also starting a new series called Weekly Word. This will be a chance to spend some time in the Word together every Monday. The first post will be up this coming Monday but you can check out the page now for a sneak peek of the topic.

I want to say a very sincere thank you to everyone who has read this blog, whether you’ve consistently followed or stopped in just a couple times. Thank you so much! I love to write and share my thoughts with you and I hope you’ll continue to give me that privilege by following me on Come Sojourn.

The first post is up so please stop by, take a look around, and tell me what you think!

 

 

Dreams Come True (And the Big 3-0)

When I was 16 years old I mapped out my ideal future. And by mapped out I mean I literally drew a map with “landmark” sketches of the things I wanted to achieve and my hopes for what would happen.

It was the time when gel pens were cool and I had a set of glitter ones that looked especially pretty against my notebook with the black pages. I filled those pages with quotes and Bible verses, doodles, resolutions, and even a couple poems.

And my map of course.

I found the notebook recently and it made me smile to look back at those teenage musings and see where I am now. I was especially interested in the first page where I had drawn in a big cloud and filled it with my dreams for the future.

Some were serious, some pretty silly. Some have happened, some never will. And some are still waiting… on that page and in my heart.

I’m turning 30 tomorrow. My life hasn’t followed the map I idealized 14 years ago and my silver gel-penned list of dreams haven’t all come true.

But there are dreams my teenage self never could have imagined, like the feeling of her little hand in mine, and those dreams are so much better.

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There are dreams left to fulfill and dreams yet to discover. But right now I’m so thankful for the dreams come true… and this wonderful journey of life that God has given.

The Crooked Camel

The wise men are falling over, there’s a tree floating above the manger, and the camel is crooked.

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Yesterday Natalie and I put a sticker nativity scene up on the wall. I did some to get her started then let her place the rest on her own. I wanted her to enjoy doing it independently, but it took a conscious effort on my part not to stop her and “fix” it. I wanted to straighten out those wise men and guide her little hand to a better spot for the tree. But I resisted and let her just have fun.

As I walked by it last night on my way to bed, I spotted that crooked camel and smiled. I love these moments with my little girl.

Beyond that, though, I felt a gentle reminder from God… our little nativity scene isn’t perfect, but neither is this world that God sent His Son into!

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the sweet pictures in our Christmas books and the friendly looking animals that sit beside my nativity scene on the shelf. But I know that Jesus’ entrance into this world wasn’t so neat and pretty. And while I love to sing along to Silent Night I’m pretty sure that, between the newborn infant and the multitude of angels proclaiming the news to the shepherds, it wasn’t so silent!

Jesus came into the world just like any other newborn baby would, messy and (probably) crying. His head didn’t radiate light like some of the drawings we see. And I doubt the words of Away in a Manger, “the cattle are lowing the baby awakes, but little Lord Jesus no crying He makes”, are very accurate.

God didn’t rearrange or “fix” things in the world to pave an easy path for His Son. Jesus lived a real human life, right from the start.

Yes, Jesus was God incarnate and He lived a sinless life. That fact is essential to His saving work for us on the cross. But He was also fully human. At Christmas we can celebrate the joy of Jesus’ coming, not only because He brought salvation but also because He loves us so much that He became like one of us.

I think of the words from Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” What an amazing gift for us to know that Jesus humbled Himself and lived in this world, setting an example for us and providing comfort and strength for the difficulties we face in our lives.

Let us never forget the hugeness of the sacrifice that was made when Jesus came to earth. This is an imperfect place, a messy place, a place where things aren’t often neat or pretty. And Jesus – God’s Son – came here to live among us… crooked camels and all!

 

 

 

 

 

The Edge of the Bed

“Mommy! Mommy!”

Her little voice pulled me out of bed sometime around 3am last night. Down the hall to the room with the moon nightlight shining on the ceiling. She was standing in her crib, stuffed animals tucked tight against her, hair covering half of her face.

I picked her up and cuddled her close, “What’s wrong sweetheart?”

She looked at me with wide eyes and pointed back down the hall to our room. I carried her there, settling her in bed between Steve and I. It didn’t take long for her to stretch out, diagonal across the middle, pushing me to the edge of the bed. She drifted back to sleep.

Me on the other hand… I stayed in a hazy half-sleep for a while. Her feet against my back, as well as the knowledge that I’d have to pick her up and carry her back to her crib, kept me partially awake.

I don’t know when I finally did lift her up from our bed, kiss her soft forehead, and lay her down in her crib once more. I do know that my alarm went off too soon afterwards and I hit snooze an extra time.

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I used to think I wouldn’t be one to let my kids come in bed with me. I was wrong.

Maybe I bring her in because it’s easier for me to lay back down with her quiet by my side than to listen to her cry. Maybe I just can’t resist those middle of the night cuddles. Or maybe Faith changed the way I parent. I guess I’ll never know that for sure, but I suspect that’s true in some ways.

I’m tired today, but that’s okay. Someday she won’t call my name in the night, won’t need me to lift her from her crib to hug her and kiss her and comfort her. But until then… I don’t mind the edge of the bed.

 

 

 

Choosing Thankfulness

There’s a difference between feeling thankful and being thankful.

Tomorrow we’ll sit around a table with family. We’ll share in delicious food, conversation, and laughter. We’ll take a little extra time to be thankful for all that we have.

And I will feel thankful. I already do. I feel thankful deep inside my heart for so much in my life right now.

But what if I didn’t? What if it was hard to feel thankful?

I’ve been there before. Three years ago when we were headed into Thanksgiving and Christmas and a new year, all without the baby we had hoped and prayed for.

That November I challenged myself to write about something I was thankful for every single day. I made a decision to be thankful, even if it was hard to feel thankful.

And you know what? It was wonderful. It was healing. It made me focus my heart and mind in the right place which, in turn, helped me to actually feel thankful at a time when I thought that would be so hard to do.

Although I still have those moments where my emotions or temporary circumstances distract me from an attitude of thankfulness, the lesson I learned three Novembers ago sticks with me.

I wrote 1 Thessalonians 5:18 on the door of our broom closet as a reminder this November…

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As Christians let us not forget that it is God’s will for us to give thanks in everything. Let’s make a choice to be thankful always, not just when we feel like it or when the calendar tells us we should. We can honor God by choosing to live a lifestyle of thankfulness. It’s not always easy, but I know from experience that it can have a powerful impact on your life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

PS I’d love to blog more often but once again it’s a case of the page being empty because life is full. Hoping to have some more frequent updates soon!

 

 

The Way She Is With Us

In the song that woke me up this morning, the words replaying in my head as I drove to school…

Even if You take it all away, You’ll never let me go.  Take it all away, but I still know that I am Yours.

In watching as Natalie picked flowers and set them on her stone…

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In the candle that glowed on our shelf tonight while Natalie sang “Jesus Loves Me” in the background…

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In the stories we read together while we cuddled before bed…

I wanted you more than you will ever know, so I sent love to follow wherever you go.

In the way we love each other and the joy we find in the simple moments together.  In the hope we have through Him.  In the promise of seeing her and knowing her someday, together in that place where no candle or light of any kind is needed…

And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever. (Rev. 22:5)

In these and so many other ways she is with us.  Always in our hearts even though she is not in our arms.

We love you Faith.

Here’s to Our Adventures

She wants to look for animals.

I know because she told me, then took my hand, leading me toward the edge of the yard. It’s where we watched a bunny nibbling the long grass, set a toad free, and listened to a bird who was hiding in the bushes.

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It’s where the weeds start to grow and tiny bugs swarm in the air. It’s a place like many I loved growing up, a place to imagine and explore.  But as an adult  somehow my mind keeps wandering to questions like  “how many mosquito bites will I have by the time we leave?”

Oh for that carefree feeling of childhood.

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I love that she loves it out here… outdoors with nothing but nature to entertain.  It’s simple and beautiful and reminds me of myself as a child. I love that she wants to share it with me.  I love that, through her, I can relive some of my own childhood memories.

I love the feeling of her little hand in mine.

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Here’s to finding animals, forgetting the bugs, and having many more adventures together little one.