Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Announcing NUMBER SEVEN!

For months, I have been treasuring this baby in my heart. It has been such a sacred time for me and the Lord. It has seemed like a dream. It still does.
The first trimester has been hard.
A day seems like a thousand years in the first 12 weeks.
The nausea and fatigue is intense!
Yet, life is growing and being knitted together through the sickness and fog.

This baby has such a story.
I KNOW God has a great plan for his/her life.

We had waited to tell the children as long as we could.
They have been to so many funerals lately... I just didn't want them to know too early in case the baby didn't make it through the first trimester. 
I'm sure they wondered why I was so sleepy all the time!
We were going to tell them at Christmas but decided to wait until our anniversary.
God gave me a creative idea on how to tell them (and my friends who were here).

I ordered some boxes from The Container Store.

After we said our vows, Tim pulled out a big pink box.
He talked about the gift of marriage God had given us.
And what a precious gift it was!
We had NO IDEA what all was INSIDE this amazing gift.
We began praying that God would give us a baby after we got married.
He did!
He gave us Reece!! Tim opened the pink box and pulled out a gray one to represent Reece.

Tim began to speak words of life over Reece and tell him what a gift he was to us and what an amazing leader he is in the family! Tim made eye contact and spoke with authority. It was powerful stuff!

Next, we began to ask God to give us another child and a sibling for Reece.
Out of the gray box came a yellow box for Evan!
Tim told Evan how special he was to us and to our family and spoke words of LIFE over him.

Next an orange box came out representing Lake.
Tim told Lake how much we loved him and what he loved about him.
It was so sweet.

Hope was squirming in her seat with excitement. She was about to explode that she was next. 
OUT popped her purple box.
She soaked in every word he said. Her eyes were so big and bright as she listened to how much we WANTED a girl.  She is so much more than we could have ever prayed for.

Another box pops out for Crew.
Crew is so sweet. He sat perfectly still as Tim talked to him and praised him for who he is.
He was so so cute. 
They each loved being the center of their daddy's attention. It was such a picture of God the Father as He speaks over us individually and treats as we are His only child.
I tell the kids that they are each our "only child". ;)

And lastly came Rhett. A little blue box for him.
Tim mostly gave him fist bumps and high fives for being so awesome.
He is a full-time JOB. And we all think he is just the funnest baby ever.
So thankful for him and can't wait to see how God uses the strength He gave him.

What they didn't know is that there was another tiny box!!
(We don't know the gender yet but we knew Hope would appreciate another purple box.)
We told them that God does EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY MORE than we can ever ask.

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
Eph 3:20

Everybody at the little ceremony was so excited for us.
It was definitely one of the most special nights of our lives.
We have a lot of critics.
My friend calls them "sideline judges"- people who aren't running your race (or any race at all) but like to judge you on your technique and cheer when you stumble.
I have to keep my eyes on my Running Coach... the Author and Perfecter of my race and my faith!

Remember: Eyes on HIM. 
Don't listen to the crowd. 
Whether cheers or boos. 
Either can trip you up.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. 

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. 

For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
Hebrews 12:1-3

For us to have a safe place (with people who are FOR US) is something I do not take for granted. They know our flaws and failures and still believe in us.
They do not want to tear down. They want to build up.
And we are FOR THEM!
Praising God for their investments in our lives and faith.

All of these gifts came from the GIFT OF MARRIAGE.
Isn't that amazing?

(Here are some pics from the evening off my friends' phones.)

 Rhett cracks me up in the one below:

The kids are so excited. They have prayed faithfully for God to give us another baby.
Their hearts are pure.
The older boys have been texting their friends the only picture they have of their new brother/sister.
On their own. 
They have genuine love for this baby.
Reece asks me tons of questions about the baby and what it feels like to be pregnant.
I am thrilled that my older ones are going to get to experience the power of God through a pregnancy.

We call our children "LOVE EXPLOSIONS". 
That is what I see when I look at this baby.
An explosion of love mixed with a lot of faith. :)

There is SO much pain, sweat, and FAITH (behind-the-scenes) with this baby's story.
One day I will share it all.
But for now, we rejoice in God's mercy and His gift.

I feel like I have never done this before. 
Every day is such a mystery.

"Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things."
Ecc 11:5

When I saw the baby moving around on the ultrasound screen... 
so tiny and full of LIFE!!!
I was blown away by my God. 
My Faithful Restorer... Giver of Life.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. 
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."
John 10:10

Be Blessed~


Unknown said...

You are your family are such an encouragement to me! HUGE congratulations on your new addition! :-)

VIC said...

EEK! I'm so very happy for you and Tim, and your SEVEN beautiful children. It was pretty cool reading your story about each child and their box, and looking to the right of the screen to see that it lined up with their pictures. Praying for strength!

MarthaYvette said...

This had me in tears! Stephanie, you have such a beautiful family. I think I found your blog when you had three boys. God has truly blessed you! I will be married 33 years this June, we have three children 21,20,18 (2 boys 1 girl). I wish we could have had three more but it wasn't in His plan. Thank you for sharing and always being such a blessing to this old girl.

clooney1946 said...

WHAT A have been blessed with such a beautiful family. Can't wait to see if your newest is a boy or girl. Thank you for sharing your wonderful news.

Kim said...

congratulations to your family!!!

I have commented before but we have never met. It has been awhile since I "stopped by" and as usual I am encouraged by your family and how you love one another!

May the Lord continue to bless you all!!

Kim from PA :)

Anonymous said...

A big CONGRATS! So very excited for you and your family. Love your writing. You are such an encouraging voice in today's world to live for Him. Erin Lynn

Anonymous said...

I'm completely thrilled for you and hope you never, ever stop blogging! Your sharing has been SUCH a blessing to me. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie, it is Mary. I have revisited your website tonight. You are an amazing inspiration. God uses you powerfully! Dynomite! Thank you again for your words. So encouraging.