Thursday, January 1, 2015

The next step in our journey

The last four months have been a series of choices.....choices to choose trust over fear.  It began with taking our pregnancy test. Being friends with some dear ladies who have either lost precious little ones or who long for them but are unable to have them, puts a different perspective on having my own. It is not a blessing to be taken for granted (as if we should take any blessing for granted), but rather an event to be received with gratitude and to be held with a loose grasp.

Knowing that every pregnancy carries its natural risks, and that life is never guaranteed to any of us, I  was fearful to make the news public....afraid in case something went 'wrong'.   Gently, the Lord whispered...."Trust me".

With each step of telling people at school or at church, my fear battled my trust.  I kept fearing the what if's, while the Lord kept whispering the 'trust me's'.

What if I tell people at school, then you take the baby to Heaven?          Trust me.
What if I post our 'announcement' on social media,  to immediately follow it with a sad one?    Trust me.
What about the risk of SIDS? What about all the other possible things that could go wrong?   Continually, the Lord whispers.....'Trust me.  Trust me that no matter what happens I will walk through it with you. Trust me that through the mountains and valleys, you will not go it alone. Trust me that I have a purpose that I want to accomplish in your life through every situation you go through.  Trust me, that nothing is a surprise to me. Trust me."

Somehow with all my vast four months of experience (ha!), I have a feeling that this is only the beginning of learning to trust God for this little one.

Expectant Parents: a book review

Expectant Parents, written by Suzanne Hadley Gosselin, is a how-to manual for the hearts of new parents. In her book, she covers mom and dad's individual roles, career decisions, emotions, community, family background and other essential topics. It's not so much a reference manual as a gentle discussion with a friend of all the new challenges and blessings that come with a new little one. Suzanne shares a variety of both positive and negative experiences from people at different stages in the journey. She strongly supports the belief that there are no set ways/methods for each family. Rather each couple needs to seek out the Lord's leading for their own family, and this may not be the same as their upbringing or of the cultural norm.

Reading this book was like receiving a comforting embrace midway through a white-knuckled drive down a foggy road. I about cried tears of joy as I read her chapters and realized......I was normal. It was all going to be OK!  I remember excitedly telling my husband that "the book said it's going to be OK!  It said that I'm normal and it's going to all be fine!"  My husband and I are expecting our first child next summer, and thus the first couple months of pregnancy were filled with fears, weariness, sickness, and talk over the future. Remember in Luke, where Mary went to visit Elizabeth after finding out she was 'with child'?  How comforting Elizabeth's words and embrace must have felt to a girl who had just obediently accepted a social outcast role in raising her first child, God's Son!  As Mary heard Elizabeth's words, she must have thought, "It's OK! I'm not alone!  It's going to be OK."  As I read through that chapter with new eyes this Christmas, I connected with her. I too, needed someone to tell me it was OK, and that the emotions and fears I had were normal. I would recommend this book for anyone expecting their first child. It is a good reminder to seek the Lord in each area of this new adventure, and it also provides good discussion between couples over the expectations each one has for delivery through raising a family.
I received a complementary copy of this book for review purposes from Tyndale House Publishers.

Jesse Tree

Ann Voskamp has written a beautiful family geared version of the daily Jesse Tree Christmas readings. She has taken the scriptures for each day and retold each story in a child-friendly fashion.  Each story comes with beautiful illustrations depicting the wonder of the season, and providing a visual to support the literary experience. This version of the advent reading is unique as it follows the story of Christ from the world's creation through the kings, prophets, and the New Testament events. For those families who have enjoyed using the typical Jesse Tree Christmas readings, but need some support in using it with children, Ann Voskamp has made it easy for you.  Each daily reading includes suggested discussion questions and activities to expand the lesson with your family.

I have loved reading Ann Voskamp's blog for a while now and I appreciate her finding wonder in the simple ways in life. Understandable, I was very excited when I found out there was a book available combining her unique style with my favorite Christmas readings. This year, my husband and I read through it through December and enjoyed how she carefully used each story to point to Jesus.  So often, we view Jesus as simply the Christmas story and beyond, when He really is the central point of the whole Bible.  All through the Old Testament, He has been working with the Father to complete their plan.  I would recommend this book to any family who wants to read and discover the whole story of Jesus during the Christmas season.
I received a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes from Tyndale House.