Sweet Days

The kids are napping. My house is quiet, except for the steady hum of the dish washer. And I felt these keys calling to me. So here I am, filling you in with our summer days.

I can't believe it's already half way through the summer. I walked into Hobby Lobby the other day and was bombarded with Christmas decorations! What in the world?!

Part of me wants summer to last forever, but then again, there's something inviting about a crisp, fall morning with hot coffee and football weekends. But for now, we're living in our bathing suits and puddle jumpers. My hair stays in a messy top knot (not the cute kind on Pinterest) and my yoga pants are worn thin. It's hotter than hades down here in the south. I walk out of our house and my glasses immediately fog from the humidity. But this summer has held sweet days for our family.

Micah is doing so well! He is gaining weight and WALKING everywhere! My baby with Cerebral Palsy is walking. It's truly a miracle. He's started saying a few words, and we'll say, "Raise your hand if you love Mommy." And every time he raises two! It's the cutest thing ever. We haven't been in the hospital since May and every day has been such a blessing. I'm breathing in these baby smells and holding on to every second of this season. It has been such a needed season of rest for us and we couldn't be more thankful.

Selah decided she was ready to potty train last week. Bahahaha!!! I still can't believe her! I am always late with everything, like taking the bottle away, pacis, big girl bed, blah blah blah... I have been in no rush to potty train her because quite frankly, diapers seem easier. Since I'm not going back to work in the fall, I haven't been rushed about it and figured when I was ready, we'd give it a shot. Well last week she came up to me and said, "Mommy, I potty twain now." She took off her diaper and went to the potty. Also, I realized we could save about fifty dollars a month...

So we spent last weekend getting her Elsa panties and M&Ms at Target. Monday she had three accidents and hasn't had one since. I guess she was ready. Today we ventured out and to my surprise, waited to potty until we got home. I took extra panties and shorts because I was positive she would have an accident, but I was wrong! Most of me is so incredibly proud of her. She makes up her mind about something and does it! That's a great quality. The other part of me is so sad she's not a baby anymore. She is looking more like a little girl everyday. But, whether I like it or not, she's growing up and I love the little girl she's becoming.

Brandon booked a trip last October when Micah was so sick. He heard on the radio that people who have something to look forward to in life are much happier. October wasn't a happy time for us. That whole season when we were trying to keep Micah alive was stressful to say the least. We had no idea what our life would look like this summer with him, but we booked the trip anyway. And I'm so thankful we did.

We have a thing for cruises. We like boats. We like all the food. We like the ocean. So we left our babies and every single one of Micah's specialist's number with our favorite nanny ever and went to the Bahamas. She is super responsible and just has a mama heart. She has been with us since the beginning of Micah's story, so she knows his medical needs very well, and loves my babies something fierce. Everyone told me, "I can't believe you're leaving your babies for a week! I could never do that!"

Well, I'm not gonna lie, it was hard, but I promised God my marriage would always be my first ministry. Time alone with my husband, investing in our marriage, is loving our babies well. I spent a whole week eating without being interrupted, drinking fruity umbrella drinks, and reading. Among other things you do with your husband when you don't have kids for a week. (Ahem.) And the sleep! We slept like we haven't slept in several years now. It was so wonderful!

We were able to reconnect. We talked, we dreamed, we planned, but mostly we just enjoyed one another. Father breathed the sweetest love into our marriage that week and made me want to marry that man all over again.

Not only was I able to fall in love with my husband again, but I did the same with Jesus. Everywhere I looked, He was so beautiful. He spoke so much truth into my heart that week. At one point, I was sitting in a beach chair, laying out in the sun, feeling the ocean breeze blow against my face and I started sobbing. I'm not much of a crier. I always end up with a headache later and it feels like it takes up so much energy. But it was as if all of the hard we have walked through in this year, just released.

And I let it.

I let myself feel the weight of watching him turn blue all those times. I let myself feel the fear of every hospital stay, every surgery, and every diagnosis. For the past year, I have lived in a constant state of panic. And to be able to release that was so freeing. I remembered every piece of the hard and thanked Papa for being right there through it all. He was so faithful then.

There will be more hard days ahead, but He'll be there again, right beside me. Loving me, drawing me to Himself, and inviting me to come in closer. But these sweet days of rest are so lovely. I'm finding Him here too. Lots of Him. Parts of Him I never knew existed. These days feel normal. And normal isn't something we've felt in a while. I'm soaking it all in over here.

I just can't thank you enough for following along with me in this journey. So many of you have emailed the perfect encouragement when I feel my voice is just another in all the noise. You, friends, have prayed for my baby and for my family. You've invested eternally into our lives and for that I am so thankful.

I'm excited to share with you that pretty soon things will look a little different around here. But it'll still be the same me behind these keys, typing away in my not so cute top knot and thin yoga pants. Sharing with you the sometimes ugly parts of me, hard and beautiful parts of following Jesus.

I love you, friends. I'm honored you meet me here. Praying for you today. That today would be one filled with warm coffee, belly laughs, and joy no matter what circumstances you find yourself in.

-Jessica

A Letter to My Newlywed Self

Next week I’ll celebrate eight years of marriage with my husband. The one I prayed for every day since I was in the sixth grade. The one I gave an old shoe box full of letters I had written to him. The one I promised my life.

When our anniversary rolls around each year, I always think about how young and in love we were. I always think how we were so naïve to what marriage really was. How we had no idea what we were stepping into. How we did the whole premarital counseling thing, we thought we understood the weight of our promises, and how we thought we knew one another. Every year I wish someone had told me the things I know now. But then again, these things were a part of our journey.

So this is to you, my newlywed self. With your tan lines and bright eyes, with your unwrapped wedding presents perfectly in their places. Trying to make that new house a home. This is for you.

Dear Newlywed Self,

It might have not been the most talked about in the town, but your wedding was everything you dreamt it would be. Your family, your friends, your colors, your church, your Cinderella dress that your grandma made. But most of all that groom.

He was tall and slender and so handsome, standing hands crossed at the end of the isle. Tears streaming down his face and yours. That moment, of walking between the isles, like the way Abraham made a covenant with God, it was beautiful.

That song you wrote and surprised him with, it was from your heart, and you meant every word. I know it was precious to him. But that kiss, that first kiss, the one you waited on. It was holy.

I saw you close the door to that limo and cry your eyes out. You’re leaving your family. You’ll come back to a new home. Promising your life away to him, it’s a lot of emotions in one day.

You came back from the honeymoon a wife. And everyone stares a little a church, because they know what you did all week. And that’s okay. You, sweet girl, are just scraping the surface of knowing that man.

The first few weeks will be those of adjustment. He’ll throw his underwear here, and you’ll squeeze the toothpaste there. His mom had cleaned this way, your mom had cleaned that way. He’ll sleep with the TV on, you’ll sleep with it off. So you’ll meet in the middle on those things. Or he’ll give. Or you’ll give. But you’ll start to learn one another.

Then you’ll realize your time is not your own. Your money is not your own. Your space is not your own. Your body is not your own.

Then you’ll struggle finding the new you, the wife you. You’ll never expect your relationship with Jesus to change. But it does. Drastically. Because now you are one with him. And you’re all one together.

You’ll have your first married fight and will never know how someone could hurt you so deeply. You’ll never know those words will fly out of your mouth. You’ll never know you could hurt him so badly. And there will be no retrieving them. But then after he has time to process, and you wait patiently, forgiveness will cover you both like a warm, cozy, blanket. And you’ll learned a new way to serve him and a new way to communicate.

A time will come, if you’re really honest, when you’ll wonder if you can do this for the rest of your life. There will be days when loving him is more than butterflies, but a choice. It’s because of that covenant. You will have to choose him first, you are called by God to, but there will be lots of times you don’t.

But all this time, when you’re learning one another, hurting one another, forgiving one another, loving one another, the Father will be using you to love on him. You will be Jesus in the flesh, loving on His beloved. Showing him there is more to life with Christ than only church and songs. You’ll get the honor, the absolute privilege, of loving his heart to look more like His Father’s. And then that same Father will take a man, your sweet man, and will bring healing to years of abuse from another. He’ll break through those walls, the ones no one had ever seen, the ones you kept hidden for so many years, not with force or selfishness, but with the utmost gentleness, love, and respect.

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