Tuesday, April 24, 2018

He Is A God Who Answers Prayers


 One of my most persistent prayers is that God would change me. That He would take all the selfishness and pride and anxiety and replace it with gratitude, humility, and complete faith in Him. I have walked the road of severe brokenness and seen severe brokenness and it terrifies me, and gives me a deep longing for the One who takes me and gives me a new name, a new identity. 

The ironic part about this is that when God answers my prayers, I am so prone to grumble and reject His plans for how He needs to prune me. When I prayed for a heart of gratitude He answered my prayers by allowing my husband to be severely ill for several months, opening my eyes to just how thankful I am for a normally healthy husband. To this day, when I remember those long months of illness, I am quick to thank the Lord for a husband who can now get up and go to work, play with the kids, and who is no longer confined to the cold dark walls of the hospital. I am thankful that I don't need to leave my children 3 times a day anymore and live a double life with no normality or consistency. God answered my prayer, but I have to be willing to not forget what He was teaching me because in my imperfect belief and in my flesh, I so quickly lose sight of what He is doing. 

More recently (after 2 years of not knowing why I felt so terrible) I found out that I have gallbladder disease, which has progressively worsened with time. I am in a position where I can't get surgery to remove my gallbladder until after I give birth to our third child. As my pregnancy has progressed, my gallbladder problems have worsened, and at almost 38 weeks pregnant I am feeling sick more often than I am feeling well. I wake up nervously wondering if it's going to be a "good" or a "bad" morning. I wonder if I'm I going to spend the day in pain and nausea or if I am even going to be able to eat at all for a day. I fear each thing I eat because there's no pattern to my gallbladder attacks at this point - they are totally random and out of my control. In addition, I am desperately trying to care my two kids and for this baby in my womb who depends on me for nutrients and who demands a lot of my physically energy. 

I can't say I have handled this suffering well - It is only recently that I have accepted that God really is teaching me and pruning me through this trial. I prayed for humility and He has delivered by making me an unreliable person who frequently needs to cancel plans. I have no choice but to trust Him with my reputation, and accept that my circumstances make being a friend to me a bit different. I have had to humble myself to my limitations, because I am easily tired and not as able to help others like I would like to. In my prayer for gratitude He has opened my eyes to just how incredible it is to feel well. It is a gift  and a joy on the days that I have enough energy to take the kids to the playground or be present with them instead of being stuck on the couch in pain. It is a joy to take a walk with my family as spring rolls around. It is a joy to feel the sun on my face while outside reading a book. It is a joy to be able to eat a meal and not suffer from it.

I prayed for patience and He gave me children who don't sleep well. I have to rely on the Lord daily to meet me where I am depending on what my circumstances are. My patience has expanded immensely and I'm able to handle a great deal more than I ever thought I could, and that glory goes all to God, not me. When I don't get a break in the afternoon or when I am surviving off of 5 hours of sleep, I have to trust that He is sustaining me. When I "lose my cool" I have to trust that He is changing me and teaching me and most importantly forgiving and loving me through it. 

When you pray, He will answer. He only asks that we trust him with how He answers those prayers and that we accept that how He changes us at a heart level could be painful for a time, perhaps both mentally and physically. My physical and mental deprivation has only ever driven me to seek Him more fervently, and that's the point. He gives His love, as our perfect Father, abundantly, but it's up to us if we are willing to receive it. 

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
Matthew 7:7

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Salve For The Deepest Wounds


The Lord has been putting on my heart to share what He has done to redeem me from 6 years of bulimia. As the years go by, I am so very tempted to hide this part of my story out of deep shame. My bulimia was a complex cry for help and my way of demanding to be noticed and loved, while also filling an ache that couldn't be healed apart from God's love. And while it's not a time in my life I am proud of, God has done so much to deliver me from the mindset that led me to bulimic behaviors. 
For that I am brought to my knees reminded of all He has done for me and the chains of slavery I'm no longer enslaved to. I don't want anything about bulimia to sound glamorous (as I falsely believed as a teen) so I am not going to paint a pretty picture of what my eating disorder was.

From ages 14-19 I saw the bottom of a toilet more frequently than my closest friends. It crept up slowly, the bulimia, at first it was difficult. My body fought against something that was so unnatural- so I did research, asking skilled bulimics online how they managed to be so good at what they did. Within a year I was a skilled bulimic and within 2 years I was a pro. By the end of my fight with bulimia, purging simply meant bending over the toilet and thinking about throwing up. After graduating high school and entering into a highly stressful nursing program, my idea of a fun Saturday became driving to the local Walmart, buying the foods I liked to binge on then sitting in my my car eating only to go back into the store and rid myself of all of it. By 18 I hated my bulimia. I felt trapped in a cycle that left me feeling half-dead, irritable, and always distracted. 

I hated it. But I loved it. 

Being a highly controlling person had led me into a  pit of despair that I couldn't climb out of, unless I was willing to surrender the control that comforted me more than anything. Attempting to fully recover from my bulimia not only meant breaking an addiction that had weaved itself into my DNA, it also meant letting go of the one tool I had to force those around me to care for me. I wanted to be fragile and broken, because who is going to hurt someone who is already fragile and broken. Giving up my bulimia and not allowing it to be my identity meant facing the darkest corners of my personality.

I was 19, engaged to be married in just a few months, and a total wreak. During one of my million fight/talks about my bulimia with my now husband, Sam, I broke down. I was done, I was out, I needed rescued from myself and I knew only Jesus could be that rescue. So in the same breath of swearing off bulimia forever, I devoted my life to a Father I could put my trust in. I put my trust in Him to control my life in a way I never could, and I put my trust in Him to love me in a way no one else could. He was my healing salve to a wound so ugly I could hardly look at myself. I needed His forgiveness to move forward as much as I need His love. 

It wasn't easy. It is still not easy.  

Being a highly controlling person didn't just lead me to years of bulimia. Looking to myself and trusting only in myself has led me to despair and anxiety again and again. I continue to cry out for His help to change the parts of me that if left unchallenged and unchanged would lead me away from God and towards a life of self trust and self destruction. But even though He has led me through such scary roads of mental turmoil, it is so clear to me how He has revealed Himself through my sinfulness. He has used my anxiety and personality quirks and my past wounds to draw me closer to Him, because He is the only one who can comfort me while also changing me for my good and His glory.

I survived what could have been a deadly battle. I am here to tell you that you are not condemned to your past wounds and mistakes. You should not cower in shame and self doubt, but rather share and exalt the one who has parted your red sea. As psalm 139 says; "He knitted you together in your mother's womb" he has searched your heart and will continue to do so. He will use you even if you feel like there's nothing about you He could make useful. My friends, be humble and be thankful for how God has met you in your neediness and how sweet it is to be be forgiven, recreated, and forever perfected through Jesus' blood.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

"I'll Be Home Late Tonight"

The "I'll be home late" text, oh how I dread it. Last week, I received that text everyday, and it left me reflecting on how I should honor my husband through a season of late nights. There was a time not too long ago, that I would respond to these late nights with anger and bitterness. My selfishness and entitlement would take over, and I would not receive my husband well when he finally walked through the door. The Holy Spirit has done work in my heart, and I've learned a few things over the past couple years that Sam has been at a demanding job. As I reflected and reminded myself of these truths this week, I wanted to share what God has taught me. 

Making him feel guilty isn't helpful.

Chances are, your hubby is just a bummed as you are to be spending most of his time at work. He very likely feels torn between spending time with family and being a reliable employee. When I'm tempted to guilt Sam about being away so much, I practice the good ol' "if I were in his shoes" trick and it helps bring me back to reality -- that this is difficult for both of us. 

He's not someone to throw the kids at

Too often I count down the hours until I can throw the kids at Sam and "check out" of the family. I don't physically go anywhere, but I am not present or available to my husband and kids. By all means, parents are a team, but that doesn't mean you should greet your husband at the door with "here's  the kids, see ya". Give him a hug, tell him you love him and you've missed him, tell him you appreciate him, and then ask for help where it's needed. I totally understand that different seasons call for different lifestyles, but it is absolutely vital in a marriage to remember that you are a team, not enemies. 

Check your own heart 

Ask yourself and pray to God to reveal to you why you may be feeling angry or bitter towards your husband. I have evaluated my own heart and have noticed common themes which I'll list here:
  • Unrealistic expectations: I am far more content when I don't expect Sam home at a specific time. When I see the day as an opportunity rather than a burden, I feel more prepared to "mom" for as long as the kids need me, and then I'm not so prone to counting down the hours until Sam gets home. 
  •  Entitlement: Sometimes I feel a great sense of entitlement that I deserve a break, which is really an issue of not having faith in God's promises. He promises to us that he will be with us and for us, and He will supply us with what we need. When I feel afraid that I won't get a break or feel entitled that I deserve a break, it is helpful to remember that our Savior is for me, not against me, and that He promises to care for me (Ps. 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7, Matt 11:28-30).
  • Idolizing my husband: I have time and time again fallen into the lie that my husband is my everything. This is damaging, not only to our marriage, but also in my relationship with God. When I expect Sam to meet all of my needs and "save" me when life is tough, I am inevitably disappointed because I am looking in the wrong direction for sustainability. My role as Sam's wife is to love him selflessly, serve him selflessly, and pray for him fervently. 

Take care of your own basic needs

I so feel all of you reading who just feel "burnt out" and you're thinking that everything I am typing is easier said than done, and you're right. In our weak human state, we have basic human needs that need to be met and we absolutely need humility to know our own limitations. I make my time with God a priority every day, which is vital for surviving this season of little kids who demand my constant attention. It isn't at all a "duty" type of thing, but rather a necessity that I spend time before God being refueled with His truth and his love for me. I also notice a huge difference in how I feel by how I am caring for my body and how I am spending my few moments in the day without the kids. It is so important to prioritize what is "life-giving" and "life-taking" in order to not drown in the sea of your children's needs. This also means being intentional with commitments, because sometimes it's not your kids who are draining you, it's actually all the other stuff that is demanding your time and energy. Be practical and be humble. 


To all you beautiful daughters of Christ-- you are precious, you are loved, and you are seen by our Creator. He will sustain you and He will equip you if you find your rest in Him. Hang in there mama.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Why I'm Ditching my Smartphone.


Last week we embarked on a trip to PA, where both of our families live. We were blessed with delicious food, wonderful conversation, and even some space so Sam and I could have a date in the same town we met. We stayed with Sam's parents, and I was so happy and content to spend an afternoon sitting in a cozy chair by the fireplace, and reading a book by John Piper that Sam and I have been working through. God is so perfect and gentle in His timing, and He chose this moment to test my faith and convict my heart.

I have an addiction to my smartphone, and God knows.

I could sugar coat this confession, however there really isn't any reason to. The truth is, I struggle to stay present with my kids during the day and find myself wasting too much time scrolling through social media rather than living presently in the very moment God has blessed me with. My smartphone addiction is robbing me of my children's little years. This isn't a new conviction for me, it's something I became immediately aware of when we dived into the world of smartphones, 3 years ago. Sure, it didn't help that I had a newborn who would only sleep on me for the first year of her life, or that I spent countless hours nursing that colicky babe, but the heart issue has always been there, which is that I prefer to mindlessly live in a different world aside from the one I am physically in. My heart craves the interaction that facebook offers and the potential self-glory my own life might portray on social media.

Since God has actually been pricking my heart to ditch the smartphone for years, this is hardly an admirable act of obedience. It took that afternoon by the fireplace for me to finally accept that I need to take this step in obedience and that I need to trust God with the fears I have related to giving up something that seems so vital in our world, today.

Matthew 5:29 says; "If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell." 

This is the verse God used to speak to me. It's a verse I have read and known for years, but in this particular case of sin I am dealing with, it became clear that I need to take this issue very seriously as an issue that is ultimately coming between my relationship with God. God doesn't literally mean for us to tear our eyes out if they "cause us to sin" but He is rather using this extreme example to show us how deadly sin is. I have tried self disciplining myself with smartphone restrictions of app blockers, but the temptation is always there, and I eventually fall short of my efforts. 

I doubt I'll be smartphone-less forever but for now, it's what I need to do and I am trusting God to bring me joy through this choice. I am looking forward to a simpler life and I'm thankful that I have the freedom to not have a smartphone (I know this isn't possible for everyone because of work situations). I am praying that God will use these years to cultivate a strong desire to serve Him, without needing other's approval and applaud.

Until next time, 
Annette. 

P.S. I still plan on blogging and look forward to sharing how life is without a smartphone ;)

Monday, December 18, 2017

When The Person You Love Most Becomes Fragile


It was Friday, October 13th when our lives were thrown majorly off balance, the day before was like any other - we had no idea what was to come for the next month.

Sam came home from work that Friday and went straight to the bedroom to lie down. He was having stomach pain he said, and I braced myself for a potential weekend of the stomach flu. Around 7pm he started vomiting, and the vomiting continued all. night. long. In desperation for him to feel some relief I urged him to go to the ER in the morning, where he was given pain medication and anti-nausea medication and sent on his way. Still very sick on Sunday, he went to urgent care and was told that he was just unlucky and having a hard time with a stomach bug. Still very sick on Monday, he went to urgent care and was finally diagnosed with a ruptured appendix. 

Again, we were naive to what sort of suffering God had in store for us, I drove Sam to the hospital and we both figured he'd have his appendix out and be home the next day. This was not true at all. In fact, Sam was just beginning a 3 week hospital stay where he would face physical and mental suffering like he'd never known before, and I was just beginning 3 weeks of emotional suffering I'd never known before.  

Antibiotics
IV fluids
He can't eat? 
He doesn't want to eat
Surgery
Home
Hospital
Home 
Kids
Husband
Need, need, need
Surgery
He's really sick
Sepsis
He's not eating. He's not drinking
I'm not sleeping. I'm not eating
Pregnant? I forgot
Antibiotics 
Cry
Pray
Surgery
Please God, make him better.  

This was the summation of my fleshly thoughts while Sam was sick. I could hardly take the roller coaster of what our life had turned into, and was constantly obsessing with how Sam was doing. Most days I woke up, went to the hospital, came home, put the kids to sleep, went back to the hospital, came home to put the kids to bed, and then went back to the hospital. But God. He was teaching, and He was stretching, and He was and still is using this to grow me and to grow Sam. Once I surrendered to this, I was at peace knowing that when God felt like this should end, He would make it end. the bitterness and anger slowly melted towards the multiple misdiagnoses that led Sam into this medical crisis. And so I prayed as my husband went in and out of surgery and I prayed when he was too weak to say hello to me. I prayed when looking at him was difficult, because I hardly recognized the 15 pounds thinner husband of mine. I prayed when the kids wanted Daddy. I prayed and I prayed and God was with me and I am thankful. 

One day I was driving to the hospital and talking to God and I felt Him ask me; "Am I enough? Would you be ok without your husband?" And somehow, God gave me the strength in my heart to answer yes, I would be ok. I would be deeply, deeply grieved, but I trusted God enough to let Him know that I would be ok. The kids would be ok, I know That HE would be taking care of us and leading us through it all. This was, perhaps, the biggest growth in my faith through this trial, and praise God that He has chosen to bring Sam back into our home and praise God that Sam is now healthy. Praise God, too, that I have the strength in my faith to know that whatever trial God puts us/me through, I can trust Him and I can be unafraid of whatever outcome, because my hope is not of the things in this world, but in the heavenly places. 

When the person you love most becomes fragile, it is hard and it is heartbreaking and it is confusing. But it is not the end, it is mearly a blip in God's massively beautiful plan.
 

Friday, October 13, 2017

A glimpse into my walk with anxiety

Anxiety. I have debated long and hard about writing this. I don't know why the Lord has called me to share through blogging, but He has, so I am trusting that He is walking through these posts with me, and helping me to express what He desires me to share. So tonight, with shaking hands, I am writing just a piece of my story, in hopes that others can find encouragement. Including myself.

As I sit here in my living room, staring at my son's deflating football balloon from his second birthday, I am at a loss for words. When something has been a part of you for so long, it's hard to know where to begin. I can't remember a time in my life that I wasn't anxious. I can't even tell you how many years I was experiencing panic attacks without even realizing there was a name for my suffering, but I know it was long enough for me to assume that it was normal to feel the way I did. It would take me so long to describe the triggers which set off my anxiety, so I will highlight what I remember most.

When I was young, it was a persistent and nagging feeling that something wasn't right. I don't think I could've described what wasn't right, but it left me hyper, overly talkative, and usually annoying to be around. As I moved into the middle school ages my anxiety became more consuming and manifested in obsessive behaviors. I can remember a phase of covering my mouth when talking to my friends because I was sure I talked in a "weird" way. I also remember always carrying cough drops because I was terrified I'd have a coughing attack at an inopportune time. The obsessiveness moved into my athletics after I heard drinking milk could give you a stomachache while running. Since I was a cross country runner, I was diligent to not have anything with milk or milk itself during cross country season, and if I accidentally did, I'd obsess over it in my mind for days, sure that something terrible was going to happen.

Moving into high school, the obsessiveness worsened. As I started to excel in cross country, I became more paranoid and started making myself go to bed at 7pm the night before races. This developed into a battle with insomnia and a reliance on Tylenol PM which probably worked more like a placebo than anything else. I would also make sure to get home from school as soon as possible so that I could eat dinner early (cause, ya know, I needed 12 hours to properly digest that dinner) and start my routine of stretching and packing my bag for the next day. I would fantasize about how wonderful I'd feel when the race was over, and console myself with the rest that would follow.

When I started getting into my adult years, I was noticing how emotionally off balance I was. During college, I would have nights that I would just cry for hours, sometimes I'd punch a wall or sometimes I would roam the streets of our small town into the late hours of the night, just hoping someone could save me from me. I felt totally paralyzed when it came to studying, sure that I would fail, anyway, and that there was no use trying. If I wasted one hour of time, I would throw in the towel and give up completely. My battle with bulimia was also at it's worst, and I would frantically binge and purge over and over as if the food could permanently console me, but as soon as I'd finish purging, I felt emptiness like I can't describe, and total powerlessness over myself. Around this time I started thinking more about God, the guy who I always claimed to know but He felt like a third cousin. Someone I knew existed, but someone I felt so disconnected to that it didn't matter He existed.

I was having trouble making phone calls, trouble answering the door, trouble going to the post office to mail a package. I can't tell you what I was afraid of, I was just afraid. I ended up failing out of college and moving in with my now in-laws. During that time I found some healing, I grew in my relationship with Christ (I believe this is when I was saved), and I made a once-and-for-all recovery from my 6 yr battle with bulimia. Sam and I got married and everything felt wonderful for awhile.

Now, as a mother to two, I still feel my anxiety. I felt it when they were newborns and I couldn't make them sleep or stop crying. I feel it when something bad could happen to them, but it doesn't, and I replay what could've happened over and over. I feel it when we've all had a hard day, and I feel like I will ruin the kids, forever. I feel it as the days get darker, earlier, and it seems as if the darkness is an entire world of it's own. Threatening to suck me in forever. I feel it when we all get sick and we're stuck at home for a week, but I'm sure we'll never get out of the house again. I feel it when I have a deep conversation with someone and can't stop analyzing my words. I feel it when I'm on a bridge because I know I won't, but I know I could jump.

I feel it, but it doesn't navigate my life and all my thoughts like it used to. I feel it, but I know that I am a child of God and that He promises He has a plan for me. I feel it, but I know He is in control so I don't need to be. I feel it, but I fight it with verses, and hymns, and prayers. I feel it, but I know I don't need to be afraid anymore. 



Friday, September 22, 2017

You are the God who sees me




If you haven't caught on by my blog posts or social media posts, motherhood has not come easy to me. Especially stay-at-home, round-the-clock, no breaks motherhood. I'm not sure it's easy for any mom to be followed around all day by little people who constantly need something, although I certainly have mom friends who carry through motherhood a little more lightly than I. For me, it was a shock that I wasn't finding joy in being a mom. Since I was little, I knew I ultimately wanted to be a homemaker. I'd dream of having 6 kids, speaking in a sing-songy voice all the time, always smelling and looking beautiful, having an endless supply of energy, and of course never having a Mom body.

Well. The news that being a Mom was less than stellar was broken to me the very night my first was born. I sat on the toilet, after giving birth, with the nurse staring at me waiting for me to pee. I looked down at the cushion of what was left of my once baby-filled belly..sagging and scattered with stretch marks. And then I left that bathroom to a colicky baby who treated me as a human cow for months to follow. When I wasn't nursing that tiny alien, I was either crying from exhaustion, bouncing her on an exercise ball, or doing a combination of all three. I thought it would get easier. It didn't.

If it wasn't sleep deprivation, it was loneliness, or boredom, or frustration. And when one little alien became two little aliens, it didn't feel like a blessing, it felt like a curse. I wanted to be a mother for all the wrong reasons, and boy oh boy has the Lord used motherhood to expose all the ugliness in my heart!

Being a stay at home mom is a very unseen and thankless job. As I navigate through sibling rivalry, sorting out discipline, choosing what their bodies are fed with, scheduling out days that don't all look identical, folding and putting away laundry, doing the dishes (by hand right now), vacuuming, washing the windows, making the beds, changing diapers, cleaning up puke, putting the toys away.....the list goes on. Nobody sees me. Nobody is giving me a raise or a pat on the back. Nobody is nominating me for employee of the month. Nobody is seeing my bad days and asking if I'm ok. Nobody is seeing my good days and admiring my work. It is quite possibly the most unseen and isolated job out there.

But this is good. This is very good. It has taken over 3 years of working out some deeply rooted sin and fighting against a self-absorbed mind, but God has shown me that He sees me and that it's enough that He sees me. As His child, I am not working for anyone else, I am working for Him and for His glory alone. Let's take a look at Genesis 16, which has humbled me and made me deeply thankful!


 Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her. The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” And the angel of the Lord said to her,
“Behold, you are pregnant
    and shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,
    because the Lord has listened to your affliction. 
 He shall be a wild donkey of a man,
    his hand against everyone
    and everyone's hand against him,
and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”
So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered. And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.

This is such a beautiful story. It is simply amazing that the Lord spoke to Hagar, told her to go back as a servant and submit to Sarai, and then told Hagar that she'd give birth to a wild donkey of a man. The Lord wasn't saying "Go back, and Sarai will die and Abram will dote on you and you'll give birth and live happily ever after as a perfect little family". But yet, after all of this was said, Hagar simply said "You are a God of seeing" and she obeyed his commands. It was precious enough to Hagar that the Lord knew her and saw her that she was able to submit to a life that looked less than stellar, and was able to trust that the Lord was equipping her and would give her joy. 

I'm encouraging my heart to reflect on this story in all the moments that I feel unseen. He sees me. He sees me. He sees me. I'll end this with a prayer. 

Father God, precious Lord. Thank you that I don't have to work for man, but that I can serve joyfully for you. God, I pray that my life would reflect you and not me. I pray that when I desire affirmation from people, or praise, or fame, or attention, that I would run to you in my need and that I would be filled by your perfect love and your perfect sight. I pray that I would serve my family selflessly and confidently, knowing that you, and you alone, equip me in all my many moments of weakness. Thank you for your patience as I figure out this motherhood gig and thank you for trusting me with these little souls regardless of my weak and sinful heart. Thank you that in my imperfection, you offer my children a perfect parent in you and love that will surpass anything I could ever offer. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.