Quiet Time

It is 4AM on a Monday.  It is a crisp, cool October morning and I am up. I could be snuggled up beside my son and husband in bed.  I could also take advantage of the silence and get some house cleaning done. Or, I could get a head start on my to-do list for the day ( pay bills, pump breast milk, do my hair, grocery shop, etc.).  But this morning, I’m choosing to spend it with God.

What I should say is that God chose me.  Ever since I was in college, I’ve been waking up some mornings between the hours of 3AM and 5AM. At first, I didn’t know why it was happening.  I was angry because either I had gone out the night before and had an early class, or I had just ended an all-nighter trying to finish a paper, or I was too exhausted from the day-to-day extracurriculars that I would appreciate a solid night of sleep.  Then, I don’t know how it happened, but I started to write. I may have been listening to some worship music to help get me through a paper, when the inspiration to write hit me. The only way I can describe it is that I felt as though if I didn’t get these words on the computer or piece of paper that I was going to explode.  The Lord gave me words of encouragement.  I was hesitant to share it with others, but I soon found out that these words are not just meant for myself.  Other people could be inspired by this as well.  God was using me to encourage others through a gift of writing that I didn’t even believe that I had.

On the mornings when I try to ignore this overwhelming feeling, I cannot go back to sleep and end up more tired than when I began. 

When we are too busy, but God wants to speak with us, God will interrupt our routine. Sometimes we are too enthralled in our own lives, that we forget to make time for Him.  But when He has a purpose for your life, there is no getting around it. Yesterday at church, we learned how God used dreams and visions throughout the Bible to speak to people. God desires intimacy with us. Nothing is more intimate than one-on-one, uninterrupted conversation with the Lord.  Sometimes this is done through dreams and visions, and other times it is done in the wee hours of the morning/during the night.

The Word says,

Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
    you chew on Scripture day and night.
You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
    bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
    always in blossom.”

Psalm 1: 2-3 MSG

And also, “And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.” Joshua 1:8-9 MSG

When I am moved by the Holy Spirit and in the presence of God, it is undeniable.  The weight of His glory is so heavy and the urgency of this task is so great.  I have to write then and there.

Today, I desire a good night’s rest even more than I did in college, especially since becoming a mother to an almost 5 month old. But, I have learned to value this time with God.  I actually look forward to our time of intimacy, and I learn something about myself and about the Lord every time.  After it is all done, I have a sense of peace and I feel spiritually full.  Without this one-on-one time, I feel off, like something is missing. I only post these words as instruction from Him. I have always prayed to be privileged enough that the Lord use me.  I can’t be picky. So, when I’m awakened suddenly and the Lord speaks to me, I pop up and get right to work, no matter how tired I am.

How has the Lord been trying to create intimate time with you lately? How willing are you to be used by Him, whatever hour that He decides to call you?

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Tiny trophies, Magnificent love

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I came across this post on Instagram this morning and giggled to myself. This is SO me! My phone has threatened to shutdown several times in order to free up the space it needs to run properly. Can anyone else relate? Maybe it’s the fact that we realize how fast our kids are growing that we hope to pause time with our photos. I’m a sentimental person, so I love reminiscing about the old days and finding forgotten treasures or letters from the past. But, I’m also incredibly proud of every single accomplishment Coltrane achieves. These photos are like tiny trophies for each milestone.

When I think about this aspect of my relationship with my son, I think about my relationship with the Father. I imagine Him being immensely proud of every hurdle that we jump with His help. Seeing a child struggle is never easy,  but witnessing an increase in his or her endurance and strength is worth the discomfort. If we’re able to take pride in our children and love them immensely while only being able to forsee a small part of their lives at a time, imagine the full love of our Father who sees us as we were created to be! Thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. I get overwhelmed sometimes thinking about my love for Coltrane, but it is only a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the LOVE Christ has for us. Romans 8:38-39 MSG says, “None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”

We are not worthy of this love, but He loves us anyway. That alone is worthy of praise!

I thank God for the opportunity to make memories with my son. I also thank Him for using this relationship to further understand my relationship with the Father. What a magnificent love!

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On Pregnancy and Being “Passionately Patient”

“So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.” 2 Peter 1:5-9 MSG

When I read the words “passionately patient” in today’s devotion I thought it was an oxymoron. Placing those two words together didn’t make sense to me. How can one be passionate and patient at the same time?

I’m not a patient person.  Thus, the process of becoming pregnant and being pregnant were especially difficult for me. I expected to become pregnant the moment we started trying, but it took 3-4 months. I also expected the 10 months of pregnancy to fly by, but it felt exactly like 10 months.

Today, we have the privilege of having an assortment of apps and tools that help educate us about pregnancy. I think I used them all. I tried about 3 different ovulation predictors and calendars and visited just about every website that detailed weekly fetal progress. I gobbled up all the information I could gather about pre-natal health, fetal health, motherhood, and anything related to pregnancy. We prayed continuously for my health, the health of the baby and for a smooth delivery. The anticipation for this child was great, and my actions reflected that.

However, waiting wasn’t the hardest part. At first, the monthly reminder that I wasn’t pregnant made me feel like a failure. Two months before I actually got pregnant, I remember being completely devastated and disappointed. I could do nothing but cry. Though we hadn’t been trying for long, I felt as though God had forgotten about me. This was something He had promised me and my husband. Why hadn’t He delivered? Even though many women go much longer before having a child (some not at all), I complained. However, I prayed for the strength to continue and for His grace to complete his promise.

I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, extreme morning sickness, and was sick for 23 weeks. I lost 14 pounds. When my son was born, I weighed less than when I found out I was pregnant. The pain of my lower abdomen stretching was almost unbearable. Towards the end, my amniotic fluid was low enough that they had to induce me at 38 weeks 5 days.

This whole process was not easy, but I had to remember that God always keeps His promises. Intentional prayer and continuous work to make sure I was doing my part for my health and the health of the baby helped me persevere to delivery. This is how I imagine passionate patience to be. We wait passionately for the coming of Christ. Not without difficulty, but standing firm on His promises, consuming and reflecting on His Word and drowning in His grace.

The Word says,“I see what you’ve done. Now see what I’ve done. I’ve opened a door before you that no one can slam shut. You don’t have much strength, I know that; you used what you had to keep my Word. You didn’t deny me when times were rough.” “Because you kept my Word in passionate patience, I’ll keep you safe in the time of testing that will be here soon, and all over the earth, every man, woman, and child put to the test.” Revelation 3: 8,10 MSG

Our son, Coltrane, was born in late May. We rejoiced at his birth and praised God for keeping His promises. All the heartache and physical discomfort was worth it. We have a healthy baby boy, and hope to live our lives and raise him as an ongoing act of worship and a ‘thank you’ to Christ.

I thank God for helping me to develop “passionate patience” and using the experience of pregnancy as an example for future trials and waiting periods. God’s Word never returns to Him void.


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Dear Coltrane, You are 3 months old!

THREE MONTH OLD COLTRANE
THREE MONTH OLD COLTRANE

Dear Coltrane, You are 3 months old today!  P-E-R-S-O-N-A-L-I-T-Y!!! You are one big ball full of personality! You give even more smiles than last month. You love to express your feelings via baby talk. You make yourself loud and clear when you want you want to say something. You’ve started teething so you love to suck on your fist, and you drool a lot. You’ve become very fond of a plush hippo toy. Tummy Time is really hard, but we’re working on that.

You visited family in Maryland again this month. They couldn’t wait to get their hands on you. You had a very spirited conversation with your Tía Tee Tee. It was as if you were catching up on old times.

Tía Tee Tee and Coltrane
Tía Tee Tee and Coltrane
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Gigi and Coltrane

You had your first visit to a museum and Subway ride this month. We visited the Museum of Natural History, thanks to Grandma Burton. You slept the whole way on your first Subway ride to and from the museum.  At the museum you demonstrated tons of interest in the exhibits. We know you are going to be one smart fella!

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Selfie!
Selfie!

 You also went to your first wedding! You looked so great in your tuxedo. We had a great time.

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Coltrane and Uncle/Godfather Tony
Coltrane and Uncle/Godfather Tony

You still love to hang out with Daddy and watch TV or 2k with him.

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Overall, you’re just a really happy baby! And we love you so much!

Here are your 3rd month photo shoot pics!

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Mouth of Babes

Our talkative little Coltrane
Our talkative little Coltrane

I must admit. Sometimes I get intimidated by people who produce lofty sounding prayers or who praise God eloquently. When I am overwhelmed by God, sometimes the weight of His glory and grace are so heavy that I cannot say a thing.

Lately, my son has been a talkative little person. At nearly 3 months old, he has seemingly mastered a variety of vocal tones and accompanying facial expressions.  My husband and I will try and slowly say simple words in an effort to try and get him to say them.

“Say ‘Hi’, Coltrane.”

“OOowhyyyAHHH!”

“No, Say ‘Hi’.”

“AhDuhhheyy!” Gurgle, Gurgle, Smile.

We are anxious for the time when he will start to say actual words. However, just because he is not talking with words, that does not mean that he is not saying something.

After reading Proverbs, I decided to dive deep into Psalms.  The Word from this morning made me realize even babies praise God with their little voices.

“God, brilliant Lord, yours is a household name. Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you; toddlers shout the songs that drown out enemy talk, and silence atheist babble.” Psalm 8: 1-2 MSG

Though nonsensical to us, God uses even babies to sing His praises. When God has been so great to us, we are meant to worship Him, even when we don’t have the words.

“Hallelujah! Praise God in his holy house of worship, praise him under the open skies; praise him for his acts of power, praise him for his magnificent greatness; praise him with blast on the trumpet, praise by strumming soft strings; praise him with castanets and dance, praise him with banjo and flute; praise him with cymbals and a big bass drum, praise him with fiddles and mandolin. Let every living, breathing creature praise God! Hallelujah!” Psalm150:1-6 MSG

We shouldn’t feel intimidated or inadequate to give God praise. Our lives should be an ongoing worship song for Him. He gives us talents in order to worship Him.

Draw. Dance. Write. Sing. Play instruments. Play basketball. Clean. Teach. Do whatever you do best to give Him glory.

As long as we have breath, we have no excuse.

Bumblebee Coltrane

Our best shot of the photo shoot
Our best shot of the photo shoot

My son is very good at facing the camera for photos. This is probably because my camera is in his face every 2 seconds for a picture. I can’t help it! He’s too adorable. However, he isn’t always in the mood to participate in my mini photo shoots. This was very evident yesterday during our “bumblebee” shoot. I took a fuzzy blanket, draped it over our couch, put on his really cute bumblebee diaper cover and hat, and began to shoot. He did not want to pose with his butt in the air or smile. He just looked at the camera like, “Really mom? We’re doing this again?” He finally complied…after he fell asleep.

I just wanted to share these pics. Hopefully, they bring a lil sunshine and honey sweetness to your day.

Bee great!

Cute pose take 2...
Cute pose take 1…
Cute pose take 1...
Cute pose take 2…
Cute pose take 3...
Cute pose take 3…
Cute pose take 4...
Cute pose take 4…
*Yawn* This is boring..
*Yawn* This is boring..

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Oops! I think there's something in my diaper...and it's not my stinger...
Oops! I think there’s something in my diaper…and it’s not my stinger…
Maybe that's a smile?!?
Maybe that’s a smile?!?
My chunkster
My chunkster
Not feeling it
Not feeling it

Dear Coltrane, You are 2 months old today!

My son, Coltrane. 2 months old.
My son, Coltrane. 2 months old.

Dear Coltrane,

You are 2 months old today! I feel like you are a toddler, because you have grown so much physically and developmentally in the past two months.

You have such a HUGE personality! This month you learned to return our smiles and smile when you are happy. I just LOVE that you wake up EVERY morning smiling. You remind me that no matter the circumstances, each day that God gives us is truly a blessing. We should be filled with joy every time we open our eyes.

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You don’t hesitate to hide how you feel, and your many faces reflect that. This helps me to remember to be true to myself.

You still like to eat and weigh a little over 11lbs. I put a rattle in your hand, and you held it and shook it. You are entertained by the mobile in your Pack and Play. You are so determined. You try so hard during Tummy Time, and reach as far as you can to try and tap Tigger in your lounge chair. Sometimes you get frustrated, and I want to make it easier for you. But you have to learn to do it yourself. I’m always nearby for encouragement, hugs and kisses.

You visited your grandparents in Maryland and met your great-grandparents (and great aunt) for the first time. We took you blueberry picking. It was a beautiful day, even though you slept through the whole thing. Everyone loves you and everyone keeps saying that you’re an old soul. Your Tia Tee Tee spoiled you. Gigi and Pop Pop couldn’t keep their hands off you. They can’t wait until you visit next time.

Trane and his great grandparents
Trane and his great grandparents

You love Daddy, and turn your head every time you hear his voice. You use his chest as a recliner and a jungle gym. You guys watch soccer, excuse me, football together. He looks forward to seeing you everyday after work. I love watching you two bond.

Watching Jamaica vs Mexico
Watching Jamaica vs Mexico

You can’t say, “I love you”, yet. But I know you do. Especially during those rare moments when we look into each other’s eyes. Your eyes get big and bright. You coo and smile. You are showing me, in your own little way, that you love and appreciate me.

I love and appreciate you too, more than you’ll ever know. I can’t wait to see what the third month will bring.

Love, Mommy

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