Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Haddie's birthday

Hadassah Lucille, you are one year old.  This one is hitting mama hard.  I am generally a very excited for each new age and stage with you kiddos.  But you, my surprise baby girl, you getting bigger is hitting me like a ton of bricks.  Not all surprises are good, but Haddie Lu, you are an amazingly wonderful surprise.  I had no idea how much our family needed you.  It has been such a joy to watch your daddy fall in love with another baby girl.  It has been sweet to watch Zeke take on big brother to his sisters in a different way from big brother to Ben.  Ben has loved you from the minute we told him we were having a baby.  He is always the first to want to hold you, still when you are fighting to not be held.  I can not wait to see the friendship you and Ellie will have.  She has already babied you and been sweet, but there are peeks of sister rivalry already.  
And you my girl.  You have been the best sleeper we have had, thank you so much for that.  You are so laid back and go with the flow about everything.  We need your nap to be cut short? You roll with it.  We need to feed you early or later than normal?  What evs, man.  Brother or sister climb all over you? You climb right back.  Things are getting loud and crazy around here? You respond either by popping that beloved thumb in your mouth, or by joining in and letting everyone know that you too can be loud and crazy if you choose.  We need to drive around for 9.5 hours looking for where we could possibly move?  Cool, you just take naps and get snuggles when you can.  
Sweet baby, we pray that you will continue to grow into a woman after the Lord.  We desire for you to know His saving grace early and that you will not waiver in your pursuit of Him.  We can't wait to see you do great things for the kingdom.  We pray that you will be close to your siblings.  We love the relationships that we can already see forming between each of you.  It's fun to see who pairs off to spend time together.  We love you more than we can even describe.   

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

3 years

Three years ago today, September 17, 2011, was my due date with our third child.  Joanna Rae.  I still feel raw some days.  I still see my table missing one, my van lacking a car seat, that there should be 5 and not 4.  It is really hard to answer the question "how many kids do you have?"  We have been getting that question often with the start of school and preschool and meeting new people.  And each time, I pause before answering.  It's too much to go into and explain how we have 5, but there are only 4 here for that quick question that people are asking in that moment.

In 2011 and 2012, September was rough.  They were big reminders of what we had lost.  Whose birthday should have been celebrated.  We only have a due date to celebrate her with, and it felt weird to not be able to do that.  And then God in his great mercy and wisdom gave me Haddie last September.  I wasn't due with her until October, so it never occurred to me that He would redeem the month to me in such a sweet and special way.  In His gentle way, He reminded me once again that He is my Father and that He cares for me.  He had already given us Ellie to be born in February (just shy of a year from when we lost Rae).  He in such a loving way gave me my two girls that I get to love and hold and care for on this side of heaven during the two months that hold memories of Rae.

I know this post is super jumbled and random.  But I just felt in me that I needed to do something for her.  I don't want the day to go by unnoticed or unacknowledged.  I am not meaning that I am seeking for those things from others, but by me, her mom.  I want to remember her and spend just a moment grieving for what could have been.  And then, I am going to go and squeeze her four siblings.  I am going to remember that the Lord has given them me to parent until He calls me or them home.  I will spend a few extra minutes loving them today.  And being so very thankful for every gift from God.

For anyone currently mourning a loss, be it fresh or years ago, I pray that you will feel the Lord's presence.  I hope that you remember even in the midst how good He is to us.  I pray you have hope as you're grieving.  We continue to pray that God would use our loss to point others to a saving faith in the only One who can comfort us in these times.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Diary of a Church Planter's Wife

Before I begin this series of posts I am going to be doing over the next few years, I want to just pause and recognize how we have felt the past few days.  We knew that once we were "out", things would change.  We knew it would be emotional and bittersweet.  We had no idea how humbled, honored, loved and overwhelmed we would feel on the other side, though.  The comments, hugs, texts, emails, and conversations we have had since Friday have been so encouraging.  It has made us even more excited about our new adventure.
My plan for this series is to give this side of church planting.  There aren't a ton of resources out there about being a wife of a church planter.  So, I thought I would document my side of our journey.  I am going to back track quite a bit to start our tale.  Spencer and I went to seminary (as in he attended classes and got a degree while I worked and paid bills, so yes I went too) thinking we would head overseas.  Through a series of events, Spence became the Small Groups Guy which turned into Small Groups Pastor and then eventually Spiritual Formations Pastor.
We never went to seminary or even initially took the job thinking we would be here forever and ever.  We always knew that Spence had a gift of teaching and preaching.  A few years ago, Spence began to really feel a desire to do more of both of those.  He began praying about the possibility of us planting and asked me to do the same.
For me the biggest thing that I really had to pray about was if I truly was ready to follow where the Lord was leading Spencer and our family.  Some verses that were really big for me during that time of prayer and seeking God's will were:

Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Genesis 28:15 "Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land.  For I will not leave you until I have done with I have promised you."
Deuteronomy 7:6-8, 9 "For you are a people holy to the Lord your God.  The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the people's who are on the face of the earth.  It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you... Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments.
Psalm 56:3-4 "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.  What can flesh do to me?"

As I prayed, I realized that yes I was ready and willing to follow Spence's leadership of our family no matter where that took us.  Even if it meant leaving a church we love, our friends, and the place we have lived for 15 years.  As we have settled into our decision over the past few months, I have gotten more and more excited.  I can't wait to watch Spencer as he shares his vision over the next few months.  This man.  Ya'll his heart for people who are lost to know Jesus and his desire for those that already to do know Him to grow is crazy awesome.
I will continue this with more about how I am processing everything.  How we were led to Charlotte specifically.  How we are planning.  What you can be praying for for our church and our family.  Things may get messy as I really get into the nitty gritty of all the change.  I'm a crazy emotional hot mess and this may be the place where I work out all those thoughts.  So, thank you for reading and especially thank you for supporting us.

Friday, September 5, 2014

SENT: Its our turn

Here's a little ol bloggy blog post from my husband.  About what's happening in the future of the Shelton house.  Next week, I will give my whole take on everything so be sure to hurry back Monday-ish (keeping it real folks).


Thursday, September 4, 2014

First day of school- Ben style

He walked in like he owned the place.  Did not hug or kiss or wave or even kick me in the rear.  NOTHING.  I got nothing.  So, what did I do?  I marched myself all up in that class and made him give me a hug bye.  I mean it is the first day of his last year of preschool.  Show some emotion, kid!  This is the beginning of the end for mama.  But no, he is just all about it and loves it.  And really could I ask for anything better than that?  He LOVES his teachers (Mrs. Jill and Mr. Scott), and we do too!  They were Zeke's last year and are top notch.  I did give them some warning that they are very different kiddos.  I mean I felt like I needed to give them that heads up.  Am i right? So, here's to a great last year of preschool, Benjamin!  I love your excitement for everything.  You do everything big and in your own way.  I can't wait to see you tackle reading and writing this year.  Please could you figure out a way to share a smidge of your energy though with your dear old mom?