Monthly Archives: June 2015

5 Years.

Five Years of Marriage…

It’s incredible really to be known and loved by someone and have the security that you are in it for the long haul.

We have had our fair share of arguments, disagreements, and feeling hurt by one another but mostly, its so easy to love you Micah Downs. Thank you for loving me so well and that when you don’t you earnestly try to get to know me better so that you can love me well.

There is no one else I would rather commit to every single day until death do us part…

To celebrate 5 years we got all dressed up in our old wedding clothes and went to the Sight and Sound Theater.

5years

Be You Bravely.

Yesterday I had the privilege of sharing a little about what God has been teaching me this year at our MOPs group.

The main point is: God is sovereign and in control, no matter what happens.

Introduction –

How I thought I was going to be the bravest this year!

So the topic this year was “Be You Bravely” and when Kristin asked me to share about what God has taught me this year through MOPs and just His leading, I truly didn’t know what I would share. I thought my biggest opportunity to be brave this year was going to come from asking my boss if I could just work part-time. Little did I know this year would be one full of transitions.  I have felt anything but brave on multiple occasions.

I realized I’m not brave by myself/ Lots of life transitions

All these different occasions led me more to my knees in prayer and humility than a “climb the mountain, conquering type of feeling” if you know what I mean. I realized that I am just not brave by myself, especially if life gets hard… but that’s okay.

It’s okay if you haven’t been brave this year either – and I hope you feel encouraged and not saddened at the end of this little talk.

The idea of being brave requires that you can summon up courage during some sort of decision or life event. I am more of a dependent woman than I ever have been in my life.

So at the end of this, if you can relate to me and you haven’t felt very brave this year, that’s okay. You don’t have to be by yourself. If you have felt brave this year, good! I am so glad for you. I hope you have thanked God for the grace to do so and realize that every good gift is from Him and that we shouldn’t boast in anything but what He has done for us. No matter what your situation, I hope you feel encouraged to lean into Him after this little talk, no matter what your story.

Body –

Verity’s Birth

I could tell you a lot of stories about all the transitions that have gone on in my family’s lives this past year but the most impactful for me to realize my dependence on God was my daughter’s birth.

Because I have to keep this talk under 15 minutes, the short version is, she wasn’t breathing when she came out. For seven minutes we heard nurses and doctors administer CPR, give her epinephrine, and then hook her up to tubes to help her breathe. I say we heard because we couldn’t see anything through the whirlwind that was the delivery room. I just kept asking “why isn’t she breathing, why isn’t she crying, and looking at my husband with fear in my eyes. I don’t remember actually asking him questions but the look in my eyes said it all – what if she doesn’t make it?

He knows me and he could read straight through my eyes and asked me ever so sweetly and calmly:

“Whose baby is she?”, “Who made her?”, “Who loves her more than we do?” I love that man.

When they got her stable and wheeled her away, Micah crawled in bed with me and we lost it. We almost lost her. But we didn’t. What if we had though? I know some of you have lost loved ones. We didn’t know if something was “wrong with her” from going that long without breathing and started to wonder what our road with her would look like.

I decided to ask Micah to turn on hymns because I just wanted to listen to truth. I couldn’t really talk and just wanted to be saturated with His word.

Because of this and a lot of other things this year… I became anxious and fearful. Two sins I’ve never struggled with before. It caused me to search my heart and mind to decide things… He is either good or He isn’t. I can trust Him or I cant. Not only in outcomes but through processes too, for it’s often there where we grow the most, through the process of pruning. Our sanctification. My anxiety and fear are being pushed away, (although not completely), as I learn and remind myself of His truths.

 

The Importance of Community

I remind myself of his truths by being in a gospel teaching and practicing church, by saturating myself with the word of God, by surrounding myself with believers to be encouraged, and non-believers to pray for and share truth with, it comes from prayer, it comes from a godly husband, it comes from me remembering every good gift is from Him and not mine to keep. It comes most of all not by me being more courageous but more dependent on the grace He lavishes out on me.

Community is so important yall – did you know that in the NT Paul is mostly writing to churches? When our old pastor shared that with Micah, it was a game changer for us. Who is the one another often mentioned in the NT? It’s us, its each other, it’s not just you or I. We are to encourage one another, serve one another, rebuke one another, bear with each other, pray for each other, etc.

Conclusion –

God is Sovereign and in control. He is good.

It’s true stuff is going to happen. We live in a fallen world where there is death and sickness and we are a far cry from Eden. Even when stuff seems terrible or on the contrary when we are in a season of light with hardly any darkness… we need to be trusting in God’s plan and His sovereignty, His purpose and abilities to make all things work together for good for those who love Him.

He is so good. If he didn’t let Verity live, He would still be good. I would just be a really brokenhearted mama.

We need courage to persevere in our faith, to run the race set before us.

In the old testament, we see time and time again where God calls people to do some really crazy things. To trust Him when things seem downright crazy. I was reading about Joshua entering Jerico, God says “be strong and courageous, the Lord your God goes before you”. He goes before us yall. He knows the number of hairs on our head and nothings surprises Him.

So “Be You Bravely” ladies, for sure. Practice courage everywhere you can. Just don’t think you have to go at it alone.

Be brave in your decisions, your parenting, your finances, your marriage, but all those things are circumstantial – pray that come what may, we can be courageous in our faith. That it wouldn’t yield to anything or anyone.

Let’s have our prayer be that Christ would be made known through our lives, and that we would be brave in making sure that happens, no matter what our story.

I just want to end with lyrics from one of my favorite hymns…

“From life’s first cry (or lack thereof…), to final breath, Jesus commands our destiny”

MOPs

Working From Home.

I’m not one for major goals and dreams and five-year plans.

In fact, if I truly did stick to my old ones I would have achieved those at the age of 26.

Married: Age 24 – check

Mama: Age 26  – check

Thanks God and Micah.

Whenever I was asked what I wanted to be as a kid, without fail, the answer was: a wife and a mom. Although I think I always said mom first. I bought baby dolls until I was in college. True story.

When I went to college, it was because it kind of seemed like what I was supposed to do. I loved JMU and my undergrad minor led me into my graduate studies: Human Resource Development and Adult Education. There were so many avenues you could take with that degree and I really liked it! I always hoped it would be something I could still use if I did become a mama. I hoped that it would be the kind of work I could do from home.

I’ve kind of always just tried to go with the flow when it comes to God’s plans for my life.

He led me to my first job after college – working full-time in an office in Newport News.

He led me to Frederick, MD – working part-time for that same company.

I couldn’t have planned that out.

I get weekly interview offers through LinkedIn for exciting opportunities, mostly because I am hitting my 5-year experience threshold and the location of where I live. I turn them down every time though. For now, what is most exciting to me is not the money, the project, or the location. It’s that I am here every day when my husband gets home. It’s that I am with my kids more than I am apart from them.

The fact that I am working from home right now, using my hard earned degree is not something I take lightly, at all. In fact, I have tears in my eyes just writing this because I don’t know why God is being so nice to me in allowing me to continue with my career and see my littles more. Truly the best of both worlds.

Now that I’ve been working from home for over a year, I feel like I can shed a teeny bit of advice for mamas who desire to do the same.

Here are a couple things to keep in mind if you are considering this type of arrangement, in no particular order:

Have a set space. Even if it isn’t an “office”. It’s easier to stay focused when you have a designated work space. My office happens to be in the basement so every now and then if I don’t need two monitors I come upstairs and into the light!

Have designated hours. I work Tuesdays and Thursdays full 8-hr days and on Wednesday mornings. For me this meant taking work email off of my phone and closing down my computer at certain times. I don’t want to be connected to it all of the time. Isnt that part of my goal in having more dedicated and designated time for each priority?

Have reliable internet and phone service. It’s kind of embarrassing to have to log back into a meeting or call your manager back because of a dropped call. I know from experience… as I’m still working on cell phone service in my neighborhood!

Get a babysitter. Find someone you love and who loves your kids. I know some people hate the idea of a sitter but I personally really like the fact my kids are learning to play with others and listen to other adults. Plus, then they aren’t sitting in front of the tv or crying for your attention 20 hours a week.

Get dressed. Okay, I don’t always do this one. Seriously though, if you have a client call, a meeting, etc. just put on some normal pants, a little mascara, and lipstick.

Practice Professionalism. Just because you can see dried cheerios on the floor and your pump with milk bottles full is beside you doesn’t mean you are not a professional. Answer your phone, texts, emails, etc just as if you were interacting in the office. No matter where you are or what you are doing – do it for His glory. Your reputation matters.

Take breaks. Don’t feel guilty about them either. If you were in the office you would be chatting with people, going to lunch, going for coffee, smoke breaks, etc. Just know your companies guidelines on break allowances and give your honest day. It’s definitely a fact, that I work better and faster from home. You might be more distracted though, that’s where space and time are important – or just go to the office!

FaceTime. I actually don’t mean it the way its spelled. I mean, go see your co-workers, bosses, and clients if you are able. In the meantime, email them, text, call sometimes and not just to talk about work. That’s one of the cons about working from home if you are an extrovert.

Evaluate. Ask your boss to evaluate too. This should be a mutually beneficial relationship.

That’s all I’ve got for now.

Someday my littles wont be so little anymore. They wont need me as much as they do now. I will probably want the fancy project, higher salary, to get dressed in a cute outfit every day and do my hair and go see people! That’s not right now though.

Whether, I am able to do this another 6 months or another 3 years, I’ll be forever grateful for this time.

6 Months.

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Has it really been 1/2 a year since you’ve entered our lives?!

This month was a little crazy.

You were still sweet as can be but…

You didn’t sleep as well as you had been and that made me a little nutty.

Then the last week of the month, you started crawling (kind of), eating solids, and sleeping in your crib.

They are all very welcome changes.

It feels a little freeing to me knowing I’m not the only thing that feeds you.

The crawling wears you out and helps you sleep better.

You are also a mover, a toucher, a kicker – you crazy girl. Your brother was so observant – you see something and go for it.

You prefer your crib to other spots to sleep.

Now that you can move, you are after your brother’s flashy toys. Sometimes he minds and grabs things from you but most of the time he loves to have you playing with him, watching him, and just being near you. If you sleep too long, he wants to wake you because he wants you around.

You two giggle at each other and it makes me soooo happy.

You are seriously the happiest and most delightful baby I’ve ever been around.

You blow spit bubbles and stick out your tongue like crazy! You don’t say anything yet but you are starting to make the “mmmm” sound so we work on mama a lot. I love when you scoot your little self over to me and then just wait for me to pick you up.

You can play nicely by yourself or with your brother for long periods of time but if you get stuck, bonk something, or get frustrated you get pretty dramatic. Now that you’re mobile I have to rescue you a lot.

You are such an undeserved blessing my little treasure and I thank God for getting to be your mama in this life.