Show Up…

We have many ideas about what encouragement is. My pastor, John Barnett, talked on this a few weeks ago.

For one person, it might be a spoken word of appreciation.

For another, it might be quality time together hanging out and talking.

Maybe it looks like washing the dishes or doing the laundry for your parent, spouse, or roommate.

All these things are encouraging; and they have one thing in common. To do these encouraging acts, you have to show up. This was my pastor’s premise.

The basic act of encouragement is simply showing up in someone’s life! So, you don’t have to be over the top, above perfection, completely organized encouragement. Just show up.20161117_140315

Click here to listen to his sermon!

Who’s life are you going to show up in today?

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Kicking and Screaming

As I was nursing my son to sleep last night, I was praying for him. That he would grow up to know Christ, that he would have ears to listen to the wise ones in his life, that he would eventually outgrow this stage of tantrums. As I spoke that last phrase in my head, my eyes filled with tears. As God gently nudged me, I had this thought.

How often have I thrown myself down and kicked and screamed when it came to my walk with God?

As I began reflecting on the events that can cause my young son to melt down or act out, I saw some comparisons in my own life.

Example 1: Joseph loves being outside. He loves swinging and sliding. He will walk around and dig in leaves and dirt. Usually, he melts down when I bring him inside. He desperately wants to be roaming around and doing his own thing.

How often have I fallen down, digging in my heels, as God is trying to take me on a journey with Him? How often have I screamed and cried about changes in life that will ultimately bring me to the next part of my life with Christ?

 

Example 2: Joseph loves to eat, and typically meals aren’t a huge issue. But every once in awhile, he doesn’t really care for what we offer him. As you can imagine, this usually results in him spitting it out or throwing it off his tray. After a few tries, he will start waving his hands to make sure we can’t get the spoon to his mouth.

How often have I ignored, spat out, rejected, or waved off God’s truth because it was too hard to swallow? Too bitter and difficult to taste? Too offensive? How often have I complained about what blessings I do have because I wanted different or bigger ones?

 

Example 3: Joseph loves to investigate the bathrooms. He pulls down the hand towels, flushes the toilet, and inevitably, he wants to carry around the plunger. Naturally, I don’t want him running around with the cesspool of bacteria that surely resides on the plunger. Often, when I refuse to let him carry it around, he fusses and flops down on the ground.

How often have I screamed and cried because I felt God was taking something away from me I had a right to? Perhaps He is taking something away that won’t be best for me in the long run or taking something away to give me something better.

As I reflect on these, I am reminded about a man of God who had to deal with all of these issues. Abraham was asked to leave his home country and go to a place God would show him. (Genesis 12) He was given God’s covenant-which promised many children and land among other things-when he had no heir and was living in a foreign country. (Genesis 17) He was asked to give up Issac, his only son and the fulfillment of God’s covenant. (Genesis 22)

In Hebrews, he is honored because of his great faith and trust in God.

 8By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.

I want Abraham’s faith. Faith that stands up instead of melting when asked to do the hard stuff of life.

c.s. lewis quote-far better

Baby Blueberry – The Countdown is On

Well…we are almost there! My due date is in approximately a week and a half.

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Soon, Phillip and I will be parents of a living, breathing, hold-able, snugly newborn.

I know that we are parents already, but it still seems surreal somehow…like maybe I’m imagining it all.

I have dreamed of being a mom for so long, ever since I was a child. I long for the hard work of raising children in this broken world. The unending sacrifice of valuing someone else’s life as more than your own. The most important work of bringing up tomorrow’s workers, leaders, parents, spouses, and teachers. I have no expectations that this work is simply or easy. That it is cut and dry. That it will not cause stress, worry, strain, or frustration. That it limits me and my freedom. But I am sure that despite these things, it will be the most important work and an unbelievably satisfying adventure to walk.C.S. Lewis quote - children are the most important work

So, as I look forward to holding my little man, I wanted to share our maternity pictures Phillip and I had taken a week and a half ago by a friend of mine. Her name is Rebecca Finley. You can find her on Facebook. She has always taken fabulous pictures and captured some wonderful moments for us. Thanks Rebecca! (She’ll be doing newborn photos as well after Joseph is born.)

I started with my absolute favorite.

It captures the joy and excitement we have for each other and for meeting this new little one!

View More: http://finleyphotography.pass.us/gilmorematernity

View More: http://finleyphotography.pass.us/gilmorematernity View More: http://finleyphotography.pass.us/gilmorematernity View More: http://finleyphotography.pass.us/gilmorematernity View More: http://finleyphotography.pass.us/gilmorematernity View More: http://finleyphotography.pass.us/gilmorematernity View More: http://finleyphotography.pass.us/gilmorematernity View More: http://finleyphotography.pass.us/gilmorematernity View More: http://finleyphotography.pass.us/gilmorematernity View More: http://finleyphotography.pass.us/gilmorematernity

I hope you have enjoyed these pictures and seeing a bit into my thoughts regarding motherhood and why it is so important!

Love,

Elise

Baby Blueberry – 26 Weeks

How far along? 26 weeks. BB is approximately the size of a head of lettuce, about 13.6-14.8 in. and 1.5 to 2.5 lbs. BB’s eyes are forming the he will open them soon. His immune system is ready for life outside the womb now and he is soaking up my antibodies.

Total weight gain? 23 pounds

Maternity clothes? Dresses are the most comfortable. Some of my size small maternity pants don’t fit well anymore.

Movement? All the time!!! It is so reassuring to feel him wiggling around in there.

Miss anything? lunch meat, white rice, feeling relaxed (having a hard time doing that with so much going on)

Food cravings? bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits, burgers, sweet tea

Have you started to show? Yes, and my bump seems to be all baby. You can’t tell from behind yet.

Sleep? Sleep has been good, but we’ve been getting a bit less of it because we have some homework we do in the mornings now from my childbirth class, Hypnobabies.

Looking forward to? All of our favorite shows will premiere in the next two weeks, so I’m excited about those coming back on. Big Bang Theory on Monday, Sept. 22, NCIS on Tuesday, Sept. 23, and Castle on Monday, Sept. 29.

Symptoms: Fatigue, extra mucus and flem, moodiness (I was emotional before pregnancy, so this isn’t helping), back pain, hungry more often, itchy skin, discomfort where my upper abdominal muscles are stretching out, color changes on my stomach, leg cramps, some tooth/joint pain

Belly Button in or out? It moves between in and out depending on what time of day it is and how much food I’ve eaten.

Gender? We’re having a boy!

Best moment this week? I have had a really hard time seeing good moments this week. Many situations have arisen this week that we didn’t foresee occurring and that we didn’t financially plan for. But even in those moments, I know that God is still for me and that His ways are higher than mine. All that said, I guess my best moment of the week was being a part of replacing a roof on a friend’s house today. While I couldn’t help much, I got to enjoy seeing many men pouring out their energy and sweat to bless this lady with a leak-proof roof!

What do I know? I know that I hate feeling busy and rushed. I don’t like it when I get to the end of the day and haven’t had a moment to catch up with my husband or to breath in a breathe of relaxation. My Hypnobabies scripts have helped create that space, but because it’s homework, it still feels like one more thing on my list that has to be checked off before the day is done. I don’t like living like that. I enjoy checklists as a tool, but I don’t like it when I need to plan my life around them to meet my schedule. Hopefully, after my childbirth class ends (I’m glad I chose to do it, it is just 3 more hours a week I have committed to be somewhere), I will get to breathing easier.

Note to the Blueberry: Dear Blueberry, I promise to live in the moment with you…no matter what other people say or what the current American culture encourages. No matter what might need to be done, spending time with you and loving on you are more important. I promise to play in muddy puddles with you. I promise to look at insects and trees and animals with you. I promise to have water fights and sword fights with you. Sometimes work will have to get done, but I pray that the Lord will teach me how to spend time with you, even when I am doing those things. I don’t want my existence to be my to-do list. Give me grace, because I won’t get it right all the time. But know that in my heart, my deep desire is to live richly in every moment with you and your dad. Love, Mommy

all there

Baby Blueberry – Week 24

I would like to apologize for the long absence. We have had so much going on…people coming here, going other places, long work hours, extra expenses, a broken pipe, extra activities…I haven’t had the desire or the time to get on here and publish an update. I hope you enjoy learning where we are now!

24 weeks

Photo credit – Bethany Pounders/Becca Hall

How far along? 24 weeks. BB is approximately the size of a cantaloupe, about 10.5-11.5 in. and 12-20 oz. BB is getting pinker skin, making him look more like a baby.

Total weight gain? 12-15 pounds

Maternity clothes? Dresses are the most comfortable. Some of my size small maternity pants don’t fit well anymore.

Movement? All the time!!! I first felt movement back in week 18 and Phil felt him kick around week 20.

Miss anything? lunch meat, white rice, feeling relaxed (having a hard time doing that with so much going on)

Food cravings? bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits, strawberries, sweet tea

Have you started to show? Yes, and my bump seems to be all baby. You can’t tell from behind yet.

Sleep? This past week, sleeping hasn’t been the best because I’ve been battling a sore throat and cough. I stayed home from work for two days and that seemed to help me rest and recover.

Looking forward to? my Centering appointment today, we’re going to be touring the hospital which I’m excited about.

Symptoms: Fatigue, extra mucus and flem, moodiness (I was emotional before pregnancy, so this isn’t helping), back pain, hungry more often, itchy skin, discomfort where my upper abdominal muscles are stretching out, color changes on my stomach, leg cramps, some tooth/joint pain

Belly Button in or out? It moves between in and out depending on what time of day it is and how much food I’ve eaten.

Gender? We’re having a boy! We found out about 3 weeks ago, and I meant to make a specific post about it, but life has been happening, so that just didn’t happen.

Best moment this week? Going to Amber’s baby shower!

What do I know? I know that I want to cherish Joseph’s time as a baby so much. I don’t want to be stressed out and tied down to a certain style of feeding, or a schedule, or anything like that. I want to be able to give him what he needs and get to know him. Once that is established, everything else will fall into place. I also know that I am going to my first Hypnobabies session on Tuesday, and I am scared out of my mind. I don’t really know what to expect, but I have heard such great things about the program that I can’t let my fear get in the way. Some prayers regarding this would be highly appreciated.

Note to the Blueberry: Dear Blueberry, My favorite parts of the day are when you are wiggling around in there. I bet you are already having boy adventures like fighting off the Indians or exploring a new land. I hope that those never stop. It is a great joy in life to adventure and discover new things. I hope you never fear a new experience or a new place. (I’ll probably be doing that enough for both of us) I love you completely and can’t wait to see your little face and discover what you are like. Love, Mommy

Incomprehensible…is a good thing.

(This was a post I wrote in July after a sermon at Community Bible Church called God: Part 1. It is actually something we are talking about with the middle schoolers about all year long. God…what we do know about him, and embracing what we cannot know about him.)

I was challenged this past Sunday (July 27) about the box we tend to put God in. We feel more comfortable with a God we can understand, a God we can control, a God we can predict. The scary, amazing thing is that we will never be able to impress these ideals on God because no box will contain Him.

We will continually be frustrated and annoyed if we keep trying to define God on our terms and with our limits. We need to open our boxes and allow our mind to be blown by the amazingness that is our God.

No matter how much time we spend studying and learning about God, we will never grasp everything about who He is. In fact, the speaker at church suggested that there are attributes and traits of God that we don’t even have words for. I had never considered that before. In heaven for eternity, we will be learning new things about our amazing God!

To be honest, the fact that I can’t fully comprehend God has never really bothered my heart, it has actually comforted it. If I understood all of who God was, if I knew how His mind worked, if I could wrap my mind around His ways, I could not be saved by Him. If I could comprehend Him, He could not step in and rescue my soul from the pit.

Think about it…when you’re trapped in a house on fire, when you are in a wreck, when you suffer a heart attack, it isn’t someone inside the house, inside the car, or beside you when the pain starts who typically steps in and saves you. It is someone outside the situation who has the ability, skills, peace, and knowledge to save you from danger and death.

It is no different with God. For human sinners to be saved, there must be a being who isn’t bound by our sin, knowledge, time, or abilities. He must be more powerful than death, stronger than sin, and more complex than us.

So, instead of shaking our fist at a God who doesn’t work on our timetable, who won’t give us two weeks notice, and who brings storms our way sometimes, we should take a new approach and let God out of our restricting boxes. All those boxes do is limit our faith and our ability to trust. It doesn’t give us control of God.

We should start marveling at how much we don’t understand about God. We should allow ourselves the freedom to admit we don’t know everything about Him. And that it’s ok for that to be the answer to a question. “I don’t know.”

The speaker at church encouraged us to read Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer.
I should be getting a copy soon and I will share what mind blowing quotes and thoughts God brings out of the book for me.

a.w. tozer quote

What is something you’ve never fully understood about God? Does it bother you? Is your faith limited by the size box you have closed God into?

Baby Blueberry – 14 Weeks

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How far along? 14 weeks. BB is approximately the size of a lemon, about 3.4 in. and 1.5 oz. BB is wiggling his/her toes and thumb-sucking.

Total weight gain? 3.5 pounds

Maternity clothes? I have enough for right now. I have 3 pairs of pants I will begin wearing and am wearing a lot of stretchy skirts and dresses.

Movement? Still too early for that.

Miss anything? lunch meat, white rice, all my regular summer shorts, feeling carefree (there is just so much going on right now)

Food cravings? fries

Have you started to show? I’ve started to show. You can’t see it from the front necessarily, but if I turn to the side, you can see a little bump.

Sleep? Sleep has been ok. I sleep well, and I wake up refreshed, but then around 9 or 10 I’m exhausted again.

Looking forward to? Seeing my parents and sister on Thursday and Friday. We’re celebrating my upcoming birthday and the 4th of July!

Symptoms: Fatigue, lots of extra mucus and flem, moodiness (I was emotional before pregnancy, so this isn’t helping), back pain, hungry more often, sore breasts, back pain, itchy skin (sometimes), some mild discomfort where I think my abdominal muscles are starting to stretch out

Belly Button in or out? Still in, but I don’t think that will last very long!

Gender? We should find out sometime in August at my 20 weeks ultrasound. (I think it’s a girl.)

Best moment this week? Closing on our house! Yay! Phillip has started ripping out carpet and painting the nursery. Attending my friend Amber’s gender reveal and finding out she’s having a GIRL!

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Our community group members who were able to attend the gender reveal (some people are hiding though).

What do I know? I know that I can’t wait to find out whether I’m having a girl or a boy! I am glad I bought the book Babywise, it is highly recommended by friends. I will be using Alva cloth diapers because they are actually reasonably priced. I will probably have a Target registry, a buybuyBaby registry, and an Amazon registry.

Note to the Blueberry: Dear Blueberry, I hope that you feel warm and safe in my tummy. I am doing everything I can to keep you and me healthy. I can’t wait to see your little nose, and fingers, and toes. I know you will grow up so loved in our family and our circle of friends. Daddy likes to give my belly raspberries so you can feel the vibrations, I hope it doesn’t shake you up too much. Also, please come in December, because if you come in January, you owe me $1000 to repay the insurance deductible. (Just kidding, you can come whenever you’re ready.) I love you! – Your Mommy

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