Meet My Amazing Friend, Martha!

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Hey everyone!  I am beyond blessed to introduce my AMAZING friend Martha to the Kelly’s Korner blog world!!   She is one of the most remarkable women I have ever known, and I’m looking forward to helping the right man hit the jackpot with her!

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The first thing you need to know about Martha is that she is the perfect collision of North and South.  She was raised in Connecticut so she has New England culture, class, and sensibility, yet Martha has lived in Florida for the last 15 years, which has cultivated a deep sense of Southern hospitality, charm, and warmth. The diversity in her background makes her happy in a variety of cultures and climates, which makes her comfortable on both ski slopes and sand dunes. As a result, she loves to travel and has had many adventures around both the country and the world.

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Martha loves to laugh.  She has an incredible sense of humor and even as I type these words, I am smiling thinking back on years of hysterical memories shared with her.  Her intelligence gives her a very quick wit that you might not initially expect, based on her sweet demeanor.  She has a perpetual twinkle in her eye that endears her to everyone, both young and old.  Martha knows how to poke fun at herself, and she is able to make everyone laugh without making jokes at the expense of others.

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If I were to choose the one characteristic that stands out the most about Martha, it’s that she loves others so well.  She has an incredible heart for God, and His love pours out from every fiber of her being.  She lavishes love on her friends and family in ways that will leave you speechless. From unexpectedly picking up a friend’s favorite coffee to crafting stunning photo books of memories to celebrate milestones, there is no act of love too large or small for Martha.  The wheels in her mind are constantly turning with ways to shower the people in her life with love.

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As a teacher and a nanny to dozens of families over the years, she has multiple children she loves as her own. Former students return year after year to share the impact she has had on their lives, and the babies she has cared for view her as a second mama.  She encourages, she empowers, she challenges, she entertains…she brings out the BEST in every child she meets. Personally, I am so thankful that my son will grow up with her—at 10 months he is already enamored with and profoundly blessed by his Aunty M!

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Beyond the people in her immediate sphere of influence, Martha loves her community, and she often reaches out to people that she has never even met.  She has poured her heart into the Ronald McDonald House for years, caring for families who desperately need strength in times of need. I, and many others, can attest that she has made an incredible difference to those families during their most trying times.  Martha has also raised money and awareness for causes dear to her heart by running races and organizing charity outreach projects, often using these events to empower her students to make a positive difference in the world.  Martha has traveled to the Dominican Republic to help villages in extreme poverty, and she continues to support a family who captured her heart while she was serving there.   To say that she goes above and beyond to show love to all of God’s people is an extreme understatement.

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She is beautiful both inside and out, and the truth is, I could go on and on listing all of her phenomenal qualities and still not even come close to capturing them all. She never seeks praise or recognition for who she is or for what she does; she simply does what she does and is who she is because she loves. For her, it’s just that simple, love much, love often.

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In the end, Martha wants to share her life with someone who has a heart for God and is ready to embrace all that this life has to offer.  She longs for laughs, adventures, compassion, and understanding.  The perfect man for Martha would be someone strong, caring, and who prioritizes love of God, then family, then friends.

If you would like to know more about Martha for you or somebody else feel free to leave a comment or email me at jameemiller@me.com.

Happy Un-First Day of School

We were supposed to start school today…except we didn’t. The elation that bubbles within my soul as I type those words is almost too much for me to contain…in fact, I couldn’t keep myself from feeling giddy about it all day long. Despite a painfully early wake up time and multiple messes to be cleaned, I remained so joyful at the realization that I had W all to myself today.

I could take you back through the last six months and document all of the steps that led to an enrollment in a 2-year-old program at a local Christian school, but I will spare you. Suffice it to say that without realizing it at the time, I was pursuing a course that I thought I was “supposed to” rather than listening to the whispers within me that suggested otherwise. So after a brief Meet the Teacher that left us feeling unsettled, we sought wise counsel, prayed, and ultimately determined that attending school this year was not the best choice for our little man or for our family.

As a result, all throughout the day, I found myself covered up in even more gratitude than usual, which is saying something. I appreciated every moment I spent with my boy because I was acutely aware of how that time was almost gifted to someone else. I took countless pictures, several videos, and just savored every delicious drop of our day together. I count it as such a divine privilege to get to be mama to this precious one every day. The fact that I am able to witness every mood, every misstep, every dance, every laugh, and every milestone is something that I don’t take lightly and I truly thank God for it every. single. day.

So today we reveled in our perfectly normal existence. We played trucks. We went to My Gym. We ate “angich” with the trains. We snuggled in the white chair and read books. He performed “The Hot Dog Dance.” He recited 5 Little Monkeys and reenacted the story with finger puppets. We played outside. He held my hand. He spilled my coffee all over the table. We made up stories with his Little People. He gave me sticky PB&J kisses. I sang to him. He said, “Mama play with you,” and I did…because I could. What a gift.

It was a beautiful day and one I will hold in my heart for a long, long time. After I tucked him into bed, I spent time smiling over the many pictures posted on social media celebrating kids’ First Days of School. I thought of all that we have to look forward to…backpacks and Valentines, cubbies and new shoes, 100th day celebrations and Curriculum Nights…all of it so dear to me for so many reasons. I thought of all of that and how many babies started their journeys today with teary eyed mamas putting on brave faces as they sent them off to conquer the world. I took it all in, knowing perfectly well that our time is just around the corner. But it’s not today…and for that, I am thankful.

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Two.

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He is 2 today.

 

He loves to zoom cars, play trains, and go spinny spinnys.

 

He adores animals. He showers our puppers with affection every single day, whether they want it or not, and he calls the goats at the zoo his “friends.” He is gentle. And loving. And kind.

 

His laugh reaches a part of my heart that I never knew existed before he arrived. It consumes me. I am convinced that stripped of all other physical necessities, I could subsist on it alone.

 

My boy can roar like the fiercest of lion cubs. With the same volume, he can also cheer on his beloved Magic, better than any full-grown fan.

 

Much to my delight, he has his father’s sense of humor. He loves surprises. He thrills to make other people laugh. He has an impish gleam in his eye that foretells of many future adventures that are sure to leave me shaking my head in hilarious disbelief.

 

This boy can eat. I’m not sure where it goes, but we are constantly astounded by what he is able to put down in a single meal. He loves to see how much will fit in his mouth at once, much to his mother’s chagrin. 😉

 

Don’t get me started on his curls…they are the stuff that dreams are made of. Like perfect spirals of white chocolate adorning the top of a heavenly cake, they perch atop his head and make me swoon. I’m not sure that many other babies have as many pictures of the backs of their heads as mine does.

 

And oh, his heart. While I may have been prepared for other aspects of him, nothing could have prepared me for the countless ways my heart would near burst in the presence of his sweetness. He delights in his friends and family. He cares when others are hurt. He loves “BIG MUCH.” He can be brazenly independent, but at the end of the day, just wants to be close. He constantly covers me in hugs and kisses and the hugs he requests are “BIG hugs!” He throws his arms around my neck and squeezes tightly with every cell in his little body.

 

He is 2 today and in my eyes, he couldn’t be more delicious if he tried. Years will come and go, but I doubt I will ever be able to sing “Happy Birthday” to him without welling up in tears. I’m just that grateful.

 

Grateful for two years. Grateful for this precious boy. Grateful for all that we have to celebrate today.

 

Thank. You. God.

 

“Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God.” Philippians 1:3 (MSG)

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Dear Beth,

I’m writing today to tell you a little story about my adventure with the Siesta Scripture Memory Team…one that took a truly unexpected turn from the time when I first signed on…

Let me start by saying that I have always been passionate about scripture memory. Having grown up in the church, I’ve always been surrounded by God’s Word. I grew up in Sunday School, then Youth Group, and found my way into Chi Omega sorority in college, which was home to many Christian girls who encouraged me in my walk. During my time at the University of Florida, I was chosen to serve as a Program Coordinator for a mission camp in Western North Carolina. Worried that my knowledge of scripture needed to be strengthened to take on such a task, I started a scripture box. I filled a small grey box with index cards featuring verses on one side and their addresses on the other. I used them as flashcards, taping them up everywhere around my apartment and flipping through them whenever I had the opportunity. I wanted to be able to have the right word for the high school students I would be serving without fumbling around and was determined to have as many as I could committed to memory. Over time, while I found that I was using them to help with my scripture memory, they were also managing to help shape my daily choices and behavior. I would often remove cards from my box, fold them up, and carry them around with me when I felt like I needed a constant reminder of something. I can’t tell you how threadbare “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth” is at this point in my life!!

 

I started participating in your Bible studies shortly after graduate school and grew so much as a result. My involvement in them ultimately led me to Siestaville, where I discovered your precious community of women. You were well into the Scripture Memory Team for that year and I remember being so disappointed that I had missed the boat. I continued to participate in various threads in Siestaville and vowed that I would join the next Scripture Memory Team.

 

Fast forward to December 2012. I learned that you were hosting another SMT and I was excited, but hesitant, for this time I was 7 months pregnant. My husband and I were expecting our first child and life was a little hectic! I knew that life as a first time mom would be a challenging affair and wasn’t sure if I would be able to manage the deadlines of SMT. Regardless, I sent away for one of the adorable spirals and determined to do my best.

 

After a strong beginning in January, I soon found myself slipping with my commitment to SMT in February. With my due date just weeks away and feeling like I couldn’t manage the timeframes in Siestaville, I bowed out of the SMT and opted to continue with scripture memory on my own. I took the adorable spiral and decided to fill it with verses that would be beneficial for me during labor. I used beautifully colored pens and prayed about which verses to include. When I had a solid collection, I tucked my spiral into my hospital bag so that it would be there to help me during an unknown and anxious time.

 

Around midnight on March 3, 2013 my water broke and my husband and I quickly headed to the hospital. Once I was admitted and settled, labor was in full swing and my spiral lay forgotten in the bottom of my bag. After 13 hours of labor followed by 3 hours of pushing, my precious baby boy was delivered into the world. My husband and I were overcome with emotion when he was placed on my chest and flooded with a love we had never before known. Within five minutes of his birth however, I started to feel disconnected and was overtaken by nausea. The doctors and nurses who were tending to me became frantic and it quickly became apparent that something was not right. My boy was fine…placed in the arms of his loving father, while I was whisked quickly into the OR.

 

I was bleeding. I was bleeding uncontrollably and they were unable to discern from where or how to make it stop. The doctors had determined not to put me under general anesthesia, as that could complicate my delicate situation, so I was left to experience this nightmare awake with only my epidural to keep me from feeling what was happening. I was placed on the operating table and watched and listened as 20 to 30 medical professionals battled to save my life. I was transfused with 11 units of blood and watched my vitals struggle to stabilize. I heard the anesthesiologist yell, “We’re losing her!” and thinking of my precious husband and newborn son, I willed my eyes to open. Hours ticked by and the doctors became more and more desperate. Every attempt to stop the bleeding failed and they were running out of solutions. They called multiple specialists on the phone and asked for ideas…nothing worked. The doctor in charge decided to try one last procedure and it was successful. He declared it a miracle from God and later explained to my husband that they were down to about 5 minutes left before I would be lost.

 

Incredibly, during the most traumatic experience I had ever known, I found myself completely at peace. A real life nightmare was playing out around me, and yet I was enveloped by God’s calming presence. As the hours wore on and uncertainty reigned in the operating room, He wrapped His arms around me and carried me through the darkness. I didn’t know how everything was going to turn out, but I knew that God had me. It was the most amazing encounter I had ever had with Him. While laying helpless on the operating table, I could clearly picture a page from my SMT spiral…Isaiah 41:10, written in purple pen. God called it to my mind and it became my focus. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God…” Over and over the words scrolled through my mind, fighting back the fear that threatened to well up within me. I breathed. I let my heart beat. I knew God had me. When the bleeding slowed and I was out of danger, the doctors said that if I hadn’t remained calm, I likely would not have lived. God’s word had literally saved my life.

 

The next day, I had to have a follow-up procedure—one that could put me right back into the peril I had faced not 24 hours prior. When it was time to go I brought my spiral to pre-op and flipped through it as they were preparing me for surgery. Just before they wheeled me back, the nurse explained that I would have to leave the spiral behind. I could tell she felt badly about it, but I was able to smile and assure her that I didn’t need it. I had committed the verses to memory and God had etched them on my heart. All of the years that God had nudged me into Bible study, encouraged me to study His word, and prompted me to commit His truth to memory prepared me for this unexpected and unbelievable time. In the darkest hours of my life, I couldn’t grab a Bible to battle the fear. I couldn’t run to my scripture box to find just the right verse. I couldn’t call a friend to give me a word, but praise be to God… I didn’t need to. He had thoroughly equipped me and planted all of the scriptures I would need in my heart so that when the time came, He could call them to my mind. Wow. Suddenly what I once viewed as a spiritual discipline had taken on a lifesaving quality.

 

 

The story ends here. Thanks be to God, I am completely healed and now the VERY proud mama of a beautiful baby boy. I have recounted this story to countless friends and family members and every time, they express how sorry they are that I had to go through such a horrifying experience. I shock them all when I say with a smile that I most certainly am not. Not only do I have a miracle from God to share with the world, I am moving forward with a more profound appreciation for the study of His Word than I ever would have had without this terrifying ordeal. Leave it to Him to take my brokenness and make it my strength. What a mighty God we serve.

 

Thank you for all of the ways you have held me accountable, encouraged me, and taught me over the last 10 years. I am SO incredibly grateful!!!

 

Warmly,

Jamee Miller

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Churching.

Now that we have found a rhythm in our life as a family of three, we decided to emerge from the world of online worship and put our feet back inside of a church.  Stepping through those doors two weeks ago was like a breath of fresh air.  To be back in the midst of the body of believers, to be surrounded by a community with a heartbeat and desire to serve God, to worship outside of my pajamas…I savored it all.

We brought William with us and he had his first experience at kid’s church.  At his current age, it is just nursery daycare, but it is still a big deal for him.  The first week was a little unnerving, since it was all completely new, but he survived.  When we returned the following Sunday, he knew what was going to happen and quickly became very unhappy.   It was heartbreaking to leave him, but the lovely ladies in the nursery assured us that we would be paged if he continued to be upset.  We never received a page, so were excited and proud to pick him up once the service was over.

When we rounded the corner and our little love came into view, I saw something that I will never forget for as long as I live.  There, on the floor surround by toys, was our boy sitting with a friend, babbling and sharing a bag of Puffs.  I know it sounds completely ordinary, but to me it was much more…it was our boy relaxed, happy, and at home in church.

I was immediately overcome with gratitude that we live in a country where we are able to worship freely in places with wonderful child care.  When William turns two he will officially start Sunday school and the thought of that is enough to do me in.  I am so incredibly humbled by the thought that there will be people week after week to love on my boy and to teach him about Christ, filling in the holes that we miss, and giving another voice to the faith that we treasure.  What an incredible gift.

As I thought about all of this, I found myself flooded by memories of my own experiences growing up in the church.  I thought about my time in Sunday school and then youth group…Wednesday night suppers, mission trips, flannel boards, weekend retreats, animal crackers, uncomfortable shoes, Bible studies, and unforgettable friends.  I thought about the lessons I learned, the Scriptures I memorized, the questions I asked, the trips I took, and the experiences that changed me forever.  I remembered the faces–the friends and the leaders, the old and the young–some who remain beside me today and those who are now only familiar in my memories.  Church helped grow me into the woman I have become.  It was there, through the commitment of so many faithful people, that I came to know the God who relentlessly pursued me and found a passion in His calling.  Thankful doesn’t even come close to capturing my gratitude–my life was permanently transformed by the time I spent there.

So while it seems inconsequential to note this image of my boy eating Puffs in Sunday school, to me it was the start of something…the start of something huge.  It marked the first chapter in what I pray will be a lifelong relationship between my boy, the body of believers, and the God who loves him more than he will ever comprehend.

So. Very. Thankful.

It isn’t lost on me.

It goes without saying that I spend quite a bit of time in W’s room.  From sun up to sun down, we are in and out of that precious space reading books, playing games, and simply spending time together.  I love that room.  There is something about the space and all of the memories it holds that just warms my heart.

Before those four walls housed W’s room, that little bedroom was my office.  I spent hours, days, weeks, months, even years there working, crafting, and dreaming.  My office was where my computer was located, along with all of my journals, books, and treasures.  With all of the time I spent in that room, I naturally found myself praying and having my quiet time with God.  It was my corner of the world to do whatever I needed to do and I loved it.

Tonight as I was rocking W to sleep, I was caught up in the thought of all that room has seen in nearly a decade.  I thought of the many emotions brought through the door–incomparable elation when Gilbert asked me to be his bride, stress over FCAT scores, anxiousness in the days leading up to our wedding, hilarity over the dogs’ latest antics.  I thought of the giddiness of honeymoon planning, the anticipation of holidays, the freedom of summer vacations.  I thought of all of the changes I have seen and the transformations I have experienced since I first claimed this space as mine all those years ago.

While there was so much to reflect on, the emotions of the time leading up to and including motherhood, dominated my thoughts more than any other season.  With my precious boy nestled peacefully in my arms, I vividly recalled the tears and desperate prayers cried aloud countless times for just such a privilege.  I remembered the fear…the disappointment…the uncertainty.  I remembered all of the moments spent wondering if, when, and who God would give us.  I thought of the research…the confusion…the hope…the devastation.  Sitting there tonight, I looked at the floor and in an instant, was back to the moment when I was face down before God, begging Him for a baby or if it wasn’t in His plan for me, for freedom from the longing for one.  I remembered it all and while I was still reeling with the memories, I read the scripture painted above the door in his room,

“For this child, I prayed” 1 Samuel 1:27

It isn’t lost on me.

It isn’t lost on me that the same room in which I cried out to God for a child is the one that catches my precious boy’s whimpers when he rouses from sleep.

That the same floor that caught my tears, now catches bubbles blown in play time when they float beyond his eager grasp.

That the same walls that gave me a quiet place to pray, now give him a quiet place to rest.

It isn’t lost on me.

God did something HUGE in my world by giving me this little boy and there is not a single moment I take it for granted.  I know it isn’t coincidence that while the outside of this room remains the same, the inside has been completely transformed.  That’s just so quintessentially God…it’s what He does…and I am so. very. thankful.

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A Grieving Heart.

My girl is gone.

 

After 12 years of plodding along by my side, she has suddenly journeyed on ahead of me to a place I cannot reach and my heart hurts more than I can say.

She saw me through so many seasons…it’s a wonder she could still recognize me as mom after all of the transformations I underwent before her eyes. When she was first placed into my arms, I was a newly graduated 22-year-old, one month shy of my first date with Gilbert and without any clear idea of what my immediate future involved. She left me last week, a married 34-year-old mother with a 10-year teaching career on my resume. She faithfully walked beside me as God molded me into this current version of myself and I feel adrift knowing that I don’t have her to look forward to tomorrow.

 

I can’t fully articulate how much life she shared with me in 12 years. Far more “people” than dog, she loved me well through the highest highs and lowest lows I have ever seen. She celebrated my victories, comforted me in my sadness, and brought me healing in my brokenness. She licked away my tears, showed me understanding through her eyes, and brought me peace in her presence. For 12 years she was my constant companion, cheerleader, instigator, co-conspirator, and love.  I know I should be smiling about all of the time we had together, but in the midst of her absence it all seems woefully short. I miss her so much.

 

She taught me more about motherhood than I could have ever imagined and I considered myself a mom long before William’s first breath, because of who she was to me. She was high maintenance, endearing, lovable, stubborn, and in my eyes, perfect.

 

She never lost her “puppy” which is maybe why the house is so quiet without her. Although she got older, she remained quintessentially Mo—swimming the day before she died and stubbornly testing the boundaries at her last meal in the same ways she had since she was 4 months old. She filled our home with her personality and has left us with a palpable emptiness.

 

My girl is gone.

 

I type it again now days since her passing because there is a part of me that still can’t believe it. I have stared into our backyard countless times, willing my eyes to see her nosing through the grass once more. My heart aches for just one more day with her. One more day to spoil her with every kind of food she could ever desire, wrap my arms around her neck, and tell her how much I love her. She holds a place in my heart that few people have access to and has seen me in the truest sense of myself. She takes with her moments of mine witnessed by no one else, and I just feel incomplete without her here.

I have spent the better part of a week trying to put into words who she was, what she meant, and why I hurt so much in the wake of her passing and have failed miserably every time.

 

My girl is gone.

 

I know that in coming weeks I will want to share stories of my memories of her, but that time is not here. For now, I want only to hold them close and selfishly keep every one for myself.

 

My girl is gone. And while she knows greater happiness now than she ever realized here on earth, I look at the void she has left behind and I am heartbroken.

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Valentines Day

Oh my sweet boy, your mama is a hopeless romantic.  Lucky for me, I married your daddy…who not only understands and appreciates that, but also shares the same trait.  We celebrate Valentines Day every year not out of obligation, but because it is an opportunity to pause, change our routines, and be extremely intentional about expressing the love we have for one another.

I love your daddy so. very. much.

I’m telling you this now not to make you roll your eyes, but so that you will know that true love is real.  There is a growing idea in our culture that true love is something fictional…something that only exists in movies and fairy tales.  There is a population of people who want you to believe that marriage is an outdated idea and that relationships that appear to have true love are somehow secretly flawed or fake.  They are trying to tell you that true love doesn’t exist.  Well, my sweet boy, it does.  It’s real and raw and God has blessed us with it.  Thanks to Him, your daddy and I have a marriage that makes me open my eyes every morning with a smile and close them at night awash in gratitude.  Your dad makes me feel beautiful, challenges me to be the best version of myself, keeps me guessing, and loves me so well.  He encourages me when I feel overwhelmed, he shows me he loves me in the most creative ways, and he makes me laugh constantly (no surprise there!).  He is strong, he is passionate, he is smart.  He has a hunger for adventure that surprises me, a mind that amazes me, and a heart that inspires me.

I am head over heels in love with your daddy and have been for over 10 years.  He’s not perfect.  I’m not perfect.  We are living creatures who mess up, hurt each other, and say the wrong things sometimes, but we forgive…we repair…we love.  Each and every day, I thank God for bringing your daddy into my life and every day I choose to love him with every ounce of my being.

I pray for you every night and frequently those prayers turn to the person who will one day capture your heart.  Such a funny thought for my sweet 11 month old!  As far away as it seems, I pray that you would never settle for less than the incredible life God has intended for you and this includes your love life.  It may take longer to find and it might look a little different than you expect, but it will far exceed anything you could have crafted for yourself.  I pray for your spouse and pray that you will have a relationship founded on faith.  I pray that you will feel loved, supported, respected, encouraged, and empowered by your marriage.  In praying for your future spouse, I also pray that you will be an honorable husband.  That you will take your vows seriously.  That you will love without reservation or hesitation.  That you will forgive, demonstrate grace, and choose daily to show your love in many different forms.

With the help of your daddy, you presented me with chocolates and a card asking me to be your first Valentine.  I almost melted into a puddle right on the floor.  With tears in my eyes, I snuggled you up and accepted your request, praying that when the time comes for you to ask someone new to be your Valentine, you would never settle for less than the true, beautiful, authentic love I have found with your daddy.

I love you, lovebug.

Mama

Meeting Santa

Before Gilbert left for Christmas tree season, we took William to meet Santa.  It was nothing short of amazing!!  William was cool as a cucumber the entire time and was quite interested in the man with the fluffy white beard.  Right before it was his turn, there was a young girl absolutely LOSING IT on Santa’s lap.  William kept looking at her and then at us as if to say, “What’s her deal?”  When it was his time, he snuggled right on up with Santa and gave us some of the BEST photos ever.

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Letters to William

Oh my sweet babee…we had the best conversation on our walk today and I just had to write it down.  The day was beautiful–waning sunshine in the late afternoon sky and a refreshing chill in the air.  We took our usual loop around the neighborhood and what can I say?  God showed up.

I started pointing out how God has blessed us so abundantly through nature.  He could have given us only a few different animal species, but He didn’t.  He flooded the earth with millions of different types of creatures and as a result, we constantly encounter a variety of animal friends.  He could have limited our experience with one type of weather, but He didn’t.  He has given us seasons (yes, even in Florida!) so that just as we are tiring of one type of temperature, another is ushered in giving us a renewed energy and enthusiasm about where we live.

From there, we started talking about how incredible it is that the God who created ALL of that and more, wants to have a personal relationship with us.  I shared a verse that was a part of my morning Bible study–Jeremiah 33:3 which says “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”  Wow.  We definitely camped on that thought for awhile.  I pointed out that this one little verse tells us so much about our great and loving God.  First, it shows us that we can talk to Him.  We can do this wherever, whenever, and however.  Sometimes this means praying out loud like we do when we say our nightly prayers.  Other times this means praying in our minds when we are in the middle of a crowded room.  The means doesn’t matter, the fact is that we can always talk to Him.  This verse also shows us that God listens and hears us!  In order to answer someone, you have to hear what they say, so that means the Creator of Heaven and Earth is actively listening to our every word when we call to Him!  Is that amazing or what?!?  Finally, it shows that after hearing our calls to Him, He responds.  This relationship is not one-sided–we talk, He hears, and then He answers!  While the verse doesn’t promise that we will hear the audible voice of God, it does tell us that He responds.  Sometimes this is in that God voice we have in our heads and hearts while other times it is in things that happen around us.  I can attest to this firsthand, my love.  God speaks to me in both of those ways all. the. time.  He will do the same for you–keep your eyes, ears, and heart open.

Since we were on the topic of prayer, I shared another verse from my Bible study with you.  James 5:16 says “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”  While it might seem CRAZY that God would listen to our prayers and answer them, the fact is He does.  Not only that, we can ask Him for ANYTHING that is on our hearts.  When you pray for something and God gives you what you asked for, please be sure to thank and praise Him!  We did this just this week because you had a cold and we prayed that God would make you feel better.  He did and we said THANK YOU to God for answering our prayer.  Just like I would expect you to thank a friend or a family member when they give you a gift, we must be sure to thank God when He gives us the gift of answered prayers.

That said–and please learn this early–we don’t always get what we ask for in prayer.  In the same way that I don’t give you everything you ask for because I know what is best for you, God answers our prayers according to what is best for us.  Yesterday you wanted to put the Christmas lights in your mouth.  I said “No” and you screamed in protest.  You just couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t let you do that–it looked like so much fun to you!  I think we can both agree, since you are alive to read these words, that I made the right choice in not giving you what you asked for.  ;0)  God works the same way.  We don’t often understand why He says no, but we can rest in the fact that He is faithful.  We can trust that if He says “no”, it is always for our benefit.  Oh lovebug, sometimes those “no’s” are SO hard.  I have cried many tears over requests that God has said no to over the years.  It’s so hard to understand why He doesn’t answer my prayers the way I want Him to in the moment.  But every time that happens, after I stomp my feet and ask him “WHY??”, I rest at night knowing that He loves me and I trust that while I don’t understand why He said “no” I trust His will for my life.

We talked about how sometimes God answers prayers with “yes” other times with “no” and finally we have to talk about when God says “Not now.”  Sometimes God is willing to give us what we are asking of Him, but He wants to wait to give it to us on His time.  Oooh this is hard too.  Waiting is SUCH a bummer.  When we come up with something we want, we almost always want it immediately.  When God says “Not now” we have to be patient and trust that His timing is better than ours.  This is a hard concept to grasp, even for adults, so I broke it down a little further for you with the following example.  Let’s say you asked me to take you to Disney World.  I said “Not now” but you REALLY pushed and I gave in and decided to take you.  When we arrived at the park, the skies opened up and we were plagued with torrential rain for the rest of the day.  We ended up having to leave the park after only an hour because the weather was so bad.  Now…replay that same scenario, but this time I stick to my “Not now.”  I know the weather forecast and it’s going to be a horrible day to visit the park.  Instead, I opt to take you the next day and the weather is absolutely beautiful.  We are able to enjoy a full day of fun–something we would have missed out on if I honored your request on your timeline.  Remember: God ALWAYS has WAAAAAY more information than we do.  If He says, “Not now” it’s because He can see a benefit to waiting that we can’t.

Oh how I love these little chats with you.  You kept glancing up at me and cooing in a way that melted my heart.  Someday you will be an active participants in these talks and that just blows my mind.  I love you so much, lovebug.  Thanks for being incredible you.  I am beyond blessed to be your mama.