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Lasts, firsts…and keepin’ it real {you are NOT the only one that feels like…}

Sooo—tomorrow is SATURDAY…which means sports at our house. P-man has a baseball game. THEN he has his soccer game–what he has been calling his “championship game” because it’s the last one of the session. {I’ll go ahead and say forgive any typos in this entry b/c things are a bit blurry tonight…which means although the soccer cupcakes aren’t perfect–I get extra points if you can actually tell they are supposed to sort of be soccer balls:) Made these to help celebrate after the game tomorrow…

This week also marked a FIRST for Frankie baby. He was finally old enough this year to perform in the Spring Sing! The youngest group is the 2 year old class…hard to believe he was 2 when the year started! He did great…as in he did NOT run off the stage…BUT at times he almost broke his back trying to hide behind the blue bow:)

He started the year with NO hair and now has a head full! Next year, ITY will be old enough to sing in his first Spring Sing! We won’t rush it though…momma likes to keep them little.

Another first this week…we broke out our first watermelon of the year AND momma taught all the kids how to have a seed spittin’ contest (you can take the girl out of the country…but you can’t take the country out of the girl;).

And then…the keepin’ it real…

Things haven’t been easy here lately–and I will say this…I have held my tongue and not complained. (The children and I memorized the verses this month in Philippians 2:14-18 “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold outc the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.” Instead of saying I’m frustrated because I have blurred vision in my right eye–I try to say how thankful I am that I can see well out of my other. I’ll skip the talk about joints or this or that…I have told a couple of my friends the issues that the sweet teenager coming to stay with us this summer has deeper and harder things than I will EVER face…so these little health things are nothing in the big scheme of things…and hence begins glory in suffering…

I will say though–hopefully without complaining–and just being honest…that things are different and it is hard. Just over a year ago–I could stay up late…sew a little dress for Laney…get 6 hours of sleep and be good to go the next day. Now, I go to bed at 9pm–sleep until 7:30 or 8am…and when I wake I feel like I’ve slept a couple of hours. My joints ache–I pray throughout the day for the smallest things I used to take for granted. I am learning to LIVE ONE DAY AT A TIME…to not worry about tomorrow and only focus my energy on today…TO BE THANKFUL FOR THE LITTLE THINGS…to slow down…TO SPEAK MORE LOVE in my slowing down. But it is still hard. And I am beginning to understand what it means to REALLY LIVE FOR ONLY WHAT MATTERS.

I look at my little things–and see the future GLORY. They do not compare.

Some might tell me I need to not do ANYTHING for awhile. BUT the Lord gives me strength.

The reality for me–is I live in a nice home. My husband has a great job. I have 4 healthy children. And now I know thousands of children will be aging out of the orphanage system in Ukraine, Latvia, Russia…and many will be targeted for sex trafficking and prostitution. I know Jesus. I see His glory. There is more to lose by my doing nothing. Sure I know He doesn’t NEED me–but I know if I am willing…He may choose to use me…for His glory. My blurry eye issues, joint pain, anything I’m going through really doesn’t compare in light of the gospel. What the enemy would want to discourage me with–I will hit my knees and say BE STRONG IN MY WEAKNESS…I will glory in these sufferings…can you still use me Lord? Here I am…

Paul says in Romans that we should “glory in our sufferings”.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

I’m not sure about you–but I’m constantly reminding my children NOT TO BOAST. But here–we are told what to boast in. I was explaining this to them the other day…and they thought it was so cool they are “allowed” to boast in something. Boast in the hope of the glory of God. GLORY IN OUR SUFFERINGS…not only because they are for God’s glory (what the enemy means for evil–He means and uses for His good and glory!)…AND compared to glory–what IS TO COME–our sufferings…they are a candle in the wind!!! And then…there’s good stuff. What our suffering produces…




I’m learning how to persevere in new ways—and I’m seeing His power carry me.

Character? Oh I hope it’s being produced and shaped and molded. I feel like a fish out of water so often…but I think it’s part of the molding and remolding process. I am not alone here…and neither are you. (Wish you lived closer and we could have coffee and share our remolding stories…not always pretty–and this mom needed A LOT of remolding…)

Don’t get me wrong–this is VERY hard for me. It’s very hard for me to walk in my daily calling and NOT complain. Many days I want to question…seriously–homeschool? I mean…don’t you know how rested I’d be if my kids were back in school?? I mean–wouldn’t THAT be what is best for ME??? It can be easy to start complaining or comparing or wondering how things would or could or should be easier–but those things are NOT where the Lord has called me to be…and to glory in today. And while it can be hard–I know I am where I am for a purpose…as hope peaks through each day in some way to remind me of His purpose and the big picture…and why this is GOOD…and His will for my life is for my GOOD–not to bring harm but to bring HOPE. His will for my life (and yours) is good, pleasing and perfect. And really…although it it is hard…would we really have it any other way??? If you know what I’m feeling or talking about–then praise Jesus…you aren’t alone;) Seriously–we really need to get coffee together and encourage one another;).

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Do you feel it??? His love is always being poured out into your heart through the Holy Spirit. There will be times where you, too, feel like a fish out of water…but rest and wait on Him–allow HIM to be the one that fills you. Not others, not longing for deeper friendships or your kids to be in this or that…but JUST FOR MORE OF HIM…and if you slow down–and sit at His feet…HE WILL POUR…and you will be filled with more of His glory.

Not sure if this made sense at all…but it felt good to process and just say. I hope you all have a blessed weekend!!! Off to bed…gotta rest up for team mom action tomorrow:)



Courtney - May 4, 2012 - 11:43 pm

Oh Andrea. Love your sweet heart during this difficult season. I’m challenged by your perspective and encouraged that those who “suffer with Him…might also be glorified with Him.” -Rom. 8:17. Praying for you tonight!

KT Pierce - May 5, 2012 - 12:05 am

“Fish out of water” is the perfect way to put it. I love this post. Thank you for this. I love you.

Ashley - May 5, 2012 - 8:33 am

Sweet friend, you are SUCH an encouragement! I know the Lord will bless your devotion to Him in this challenging season. I don’t know if you saw our blog, but we are starting another adoption…so I know there are definitely challenging days ahead (even though the current ones feel hard enough!) But when we know it is all for HIS glory, it makes it all so worth it. I was going to put my big kids in school next year to make things easier on me, but the Lord reminded me as well that they are home for a reason, and He has called me to teach them. SO, we continue on, one day at a time… =)

Megan - May 5, 2012 - 8:36 am

I love this post! You ARE sharing in His sufferings, and I know that He is using you for His glory! I only know you through the blog world, but you do an amazing job suffering gracefully, boasting in Him, and encouraging others through your cheerful spirit.

Naomi - May 5, 2012 - 9:33 am

How I would love to have coffee with you! You are one of those Mums that I would love to sit down with and chat. I can so relate to so much of what you have written here and continue to pray for you and your health. I have also had health issues over the last nine years which have forced me slow down, (at 30 ovarian cancer was discovered whilst being pregnant and then Hashimotos disease just 6 months after that.) I have had achy joints too although I must admit that since moving from my home, (UK) to North Carolina, I am feeling a huge difference. I am also gluten free now and have really enjoyed reading about your health changes because they inspire me to keep on. I love your heart and your desire to praise Jesus in the midst of your sufferings. He is being glorified through you Andrea!

‘But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, makes you perfect.’ 1 Peter 5:10

May He continue that which He has begun in you!!!

love Noami

Marci - May 5, 2012 - 6:27 pm

To hear your heart Andrea speak is beautiful. You are being prayed for and will not betray you. You know that and it is clear you are a dear one in His Army. So many medical people in my family…I just am sad that some days are extra hard for you. If you are on any Field trip over this way by Emory…please call me. I would love to have all of you over. By the look of your cupcakes God is smiling saying,”My,My, that Andrea is both precious and strong” how creative you are and know that we all want for you endurance to get better. Hugs and Pax,m

Kim - May 5, 2012 - 8:12 pm

Yet another beautiful & timely reminder. Thank you … once again … for sharing AND teaching! Your pouring out … fills me up!
Love & Blessings,