Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Immediate Test of Faith

On Monday God was challenging me with the verse Psalm 103:2, to Bless the Lord and forget not all His benefits.

On Tuesday, God allowed my faith to be tested.

Now, I really try to be careful and censored about certain things I say on here. I don't want to bring offense of any kind, but in order to share what God is doing, some things just kind of have to be said.

Last week we received a check into our bank account. We immediately used it to pay bills. Then two days later we got a notice that the check had bounced due to insufficient funds on the part of the sender, leaving us overdrawn. Not. Good. I was quite upset. So this person sent another check for the same amount. We bought groceries and gas over the weekend, bought a few more groceries Monday, then on Tuesday, another notification that this check had bounced as well. Thankfully, this person sent some cash instead, and my parents came to the rescue as well, but it's still put quite the strain on us, obviously, and has caused some long term bumps in our bank account even though it was not our fault in any way.

I was almost in hysterics yesterday, I was SO ANGRY. How could this happen? Why is this happening to us? Doesn't God know it's hard enough already?

Ha. Okay. Of course a sermon would be on the radio about finances right after all this happens.

Immediately God said "Stephanie, will you still remember? Will you still trust Me? Are you going to choose to bless Me?"

And I kind of sat there and just laughed. Yes, I laughed. This test of faith came quick, didn't it?!

In all honesty, I'd love for our situation to be different financially. But for some reason, God is allowing things to be this way for now. He doesn't want us to be so comfortable that we stop depending on Him. And I hope, and I pray, that if God chooses to bless us financially and take these burdens, that I would never be so comfortable that I don't depend on Him to be my source.

"Count in all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." -James 1:2-4

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bless the Lord O my Soul

"Bless the Lord, O my soul
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."
-From Psalm 103

The beginning of this section of scripture is what really grabbed me.
I've been so frustrated, so angry about aspects of our situation, feeling like God doesn't really care.
all lies, I know, but real feelings nonetheless

I've forgotten all of God's benefits, His goodness.
And in the midst of my emotional tirade against God, He so patiently, graciously, and lovingly spoke to my heart, and said remember.

I am saved from the gates of hell, my life has been redeemed from the pit of hell! I will spend eternity in the presence of this awesome God. These facts completely overshadow our momentary, light affliction. Despite our circumstances here on this earth, He is still God, and that alone is enough for my soul to bless the Lord.

Today I choose to remember His benefits.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

32 Weeks, 8 Left

Growing, growing, growing. I can't believe there is only 8 weeks left! That's like, hardly any time at all!

My good friend Brittney Bumbalough (visit her new blog here) came over with baby Joseph last weekend. Such a beautiful and precious little boy, he really makes my heart melt. I'm so glad such a close friend had a baby a little before us, because it's made me realize that I really, actually, am quite excited to be a mom. These months of being pregnant I've had to surrender and let God change many mindsets I've grown up with, and mold my heart into one that views being a mother the way He views it. I'm excited for this, still nervous, naturally, but excited to hold this little boy in my arms. To touch his tiny feet, to grasp his tiny fingers, to kiss his little cheeks.

In the meantime, however, Rob and I plan to enjoy and soak up these last 8 weeks of just us. We're gonna do things like go bowling at 10 pm, go to the gym together often, whenever we want, go to museums, go anywhere really and not have to worry about another person, or diapers, or is the baby fed and had a nap. Just us.

But then, I can't wait to sleep on my stomach again. And run. And get off the couch without an ounce of effort. Or put my shoes on easily. Or drink a margarita.

Circa December 2010. Mmm yummy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New Things at Home - in Pictures

Above is the HUUUUGE box the crib came in.

Below, some of the pieces of the crib

More pieces for the crib

So many pieces! Glad my husband is a handyman!

The finished product!

This is the washer we got. Perfect condition, no dents, looks new.

And the dryer. The set was only $200. Thank you Jesus (and Craigslist)!

Got some curtains for the living room - SO much better in the daytime heat now. And we got that nifty little lamp in the corner for $7 :-)

Had to thrown one in there of me and my little companion :-) that okay to include this picture? Guess it is now. Silly dog.
And there you have it folks. The life of newlyweds living on love, gifts from parents, and cheap finds on Craigslist.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


3 weeks of endless itching
1 bar of Grandpa's Pine Tar Soap
3 cold showers a day, using said soap
2 bottles of hydrocortisone cream
1 bottle of calamine lotion
1 bottle of dandelion root pills, 3 pills, 2x a day
2 jugs of V8 juice
endless numbers of ice cubes used to numb my skin


Rash is ALMOST gone!!!

Still dealing with it in small places, but for the most part I'm not being tortured by constant itching as of, well, last night. God is healing this rash! Praise God that He is bigger than any news the doctors can give me!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Letters to Josiah

Dear Josiah,

It's really hard to believe you're going to be here, in this world, in our lives, in about 2 months. It makes me wonder where in the world time has gone, and it kind of overwhelms me! Many days I don't feel ready for you. But I simply can't imagine how wonderfully life changing it will be when you arrive. At this point all we have for you is a couple of onesies, a few outfits, and a crib, but no mattress. No diapers, no toys, none of the important stuff. Yet. They'll come, I know they will.

Josiah, I want you to know this: you may not get to have a bunch of things growing up, especially while you are young. God has taken momma and daddy's plans & turned them all inside out, so we don't really know what we're doing with our lives or have much money yet. BUT - just because you won't have all the coolest toys or nicest clothes, you will ALWAYS have something that many children will never know - the unconditional love of a mom and dad who will always be together and be here for you. I promise to give you that, and I know that one day, you will appreciate that more than anything money could buy.

I love you Josiah. I don't even know you yet, but I love you. I believe God really knows what He's doing in choosing YOU to give to us.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Tastes that Bring Back Memories

Currently I'm sitting in Starbucks, trying to get internet (think I'm having computer issues?!), and drinking a vanilla chai latte. (Notice I'm only wearing my wedding band? Yeah, the engagement ring doesn't fit right now. Kind of glad I never had the time to get this ring resized, or get the rings fused.)

The taste of sweet memories <3

I remember sitting in the hotel room of the Holiday Inn in Norman getting ready with my bridesmaids, and our photographer showed up with a vanilla chai latte just for me. And now, that taste brings me back to our wedding day - every single time.

I love these people so much. These girls are my best friends. They are wives, they are mothers, they are daughters, and they are answers to deep desires and prayers for good friendships. And the guys are pretty great too ;-)

I love this man more and more each day. It's only been 9 months, but our love has grown so much. God is so, so, so perfect that he would bring this man into my life. To think back two summers ago when I completely rejected him and had no desire to date him - ahhh thank you God that he didn't give up on me!!

Here's to sweet memories, weddings, and vanilla chai lattes :-)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Faith Isn't Easy

It's not easy to day after day trust God that He will provide when the bank account and logic continually says otherwise. It's not easy to trust God day after day when you don't know what the future holds, when you don't know if your husband's immigration will be approved, when you don't know if he'll ever be able to get a job here, when you don't know when you'll get paid, when you don't know what life will be like under these circumstances and adding a baby to the mix, when you don't know how you'll insure said baby.

Faith is simply not easy.

What is easy is letting these things weigh me down, to crumble emotionally, to distance myself from God. But I need faith. I often ask God for peace, but I think faith comes first. (And faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of distancing myself from God obviously isn't going to help!)

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you." -Isaiah 43:2

We are in a fire right now that we are choosing to walk through together, trusting God rather than looking for an easy way out. But God promises that we will not be burned nor scorched, that he is with us.

*Financial doubt & uncertainty is a flame
*Uncertainty about immigration is a flame
*Having a baby, the unknown that awaits, is a flame

We will NOT be burned, not scorched, not touched by these flames. There is a refreshing rain on the other side. There will be a road in this wilderness and a river will be found in this desert. (Isaiah 43:19).

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

At A Loss For Words

I've tried several times to post what's really on my heart, but can't seem to eloquently get the words out. It's such a rough/dry/weird/unexpected place in life right now, and I wanna talk about all of it. But for now, here's a picture of my amazing husband posing before the start of the Dallas Hottest Half Marathon on Sunday. So proud of my Canadian husband surviving such a dreadfully hot race!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My life these days

Consists of...
Applying this a gajillion times a day. At every nagging itch.

3 capsules, 2x a day. For some reason doctors don't like to recommend herbal supplements, but I did my research on this one and it's perfectly safe during pregnancy. God created it for a reason, right?

Showering and scrubbing this stuff on me 3x a day, in a cold shower. No kidding. It smells like I was just outside in the middle of a campfire, but that's the price we pay.

And the results after 3 days of use? Still unbearable itching, driving me nuts. Gotta give it some time I guess. PRAY FOR ME!!!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

When You Know Something's Not Right

Okay so I'm mostly asking advice from any woman who has ever been pregnant. But I welcome any advice! Here's the deal.

About 2 weeks ago I started to get this awful nagging rash on the backs of my arms. It came out of nowhere, so I brought it up with my OB doctor, hoping it wasn't pregnancy related. She assured me it wasn't, told me to make sure I don't switch any of my lotions or skin care products, and I'd be fine. I did that, and I'm definitely not fine.

Two weeks later the rash has spread like wildfire, covering my arms, tops of my legs, and as of this morning, covering my legs. I've tried Aveeno lotion, hydrocortisone cream, extra strength hydrocortisone cream, and now calamine lotion a gajillion times a day. Nothing is working and I'm ready to scratch my skin off! My doctor said it's not serious, not pregnancy related, but I've never, ever in all my life had any kind of rash like this.

What should I do?! Does anyone know of some miracle soap, cream, something, to make this unbearable itching go away?!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

One hundred what?!

It was probably about -5 degrees in this picture. On Christmas day. I could go lay in this snow, in my swimsuit, right now. Tomorrow it's supposed to be 110 degrees outside.

This heat wave is allllll because I complained about the cold winter in Canada.

I've repented. Now let's start praying for rain and cooler weather!

Monday, August 1, 2011

When August Rolls Around

I get emotional whenever August rolls around now. So many memories associated with it.
August 2007, 4 years ago, I left home to go to the Honor Academy. I couldn't possibly know all that God had in store.
August 2008, graduating the HA, making it through that year, my mom walking, staying another impactful year as a GI.
August 2009, another graduation, saying goodbye to Rob for the next year of our lives, staying a 3rd year at Teen Mania for what would undoubtedly be the best of all of them.
August 2010, leaving the HA after the 3 most incredible years of my life, planning a move to Canada and planning our wedding.
And now, August 2011. It's been a year since I left TM, and now we are planning the arrival of a baby.

I'm emotional thinking about where we are at in life, but also because I'm thinking about the interns that are graduating in a few short weeks and the incredible stories and life changing experiences they are walking away with. And then the incoming intern class who have a few short weeks left with their friends and families, yet they have no idea all that God has in store for them.

How could I have known 4 years ago that God was bringing another man to that same campus who would become my husband, and that He would give us a child. The month of August holds a very special place in my heart. It's almost like another holiday or anniversary - it's a season to be remembered year after year, and its stories will be told to our children. I'll fondly think of God's goodness and His incredible plans for our lives as each August 1st rolls around.

(this is from Fall 2007 with my core, Beloved) :-)