The Perfect Fit

Earlier this year, I wrote about how Paul and I were trying to find our church home.  Well towards the end of May, it felt as though we had tried almost all the churches.  We decided to try one that a friend of mine from high school goes to.

So one Sunday morning, we headed in with no expectations.  During the worship, I kept thinking that I really liked the songs they were singing, and the congregation was so much more animated and less conservative than any other church I’ve attended.  For me that’s a good thing, but what worried me was Paul.  I was kind of thinking to myself, that it may be a turn off to him.

After worship, the sermon began, and the pastor was foreign.  This came as a surprise to me.  I’m not sure why I just wasn’t expecting it (we later found out he is Egyptian).  I LOVED the sermon.  I truly felt the Pastor captivated me, and he truly applies scripture to the world and your life.  He helps show how some of the older biblical verses that don’t seem very applicable anymore, most certainly still can be applied to our lives today.  He isn’t afraid to be blunt and honest about biblical beliefs, and how Christians need to be living and acting in today’s world.

That day, Paul and I left, and as we were walking back to the car I said, “So what did you think?” and Paul said he liked it, in a pretty non chalant way.  Didn’t seem too crazy about it.  So he asked me and I responded in the same way.  After I said I liked it,  Paul said, “Oh good! I really liked it and I was praying during the service that you would feel the same way!  I just feel like this is supposed to be our church!”.  I think we were both waiting to hear the other’s opinions before we came out with how we truly felt!

We continued to test the waters for the next couple of weeks, and each week we grew to love it even more.  The Pastor INSTANTLY introduced himself to us the second week we attended after we didn’t go flying out in a hurry.  We felt so incredibly welcomed by members of the congregation.  After we had only been attending for 3-4 weeks, we had Aubrey.  Without even knowing more than a few people’s name, they started a food train and brought Paul and I food and gifts, and it was just so incredibly sweet how they took the time to care for us when we were so new!

Their youth program is amazing, and you can just see the Holy Spirit at work throughout the younger generation.  It makes me so happy to have Aubrey grow up in that kind of environment.  Paul and I got involved and started the Foundations bible study which has been LIFE changing!  I honestly cannot recommend it enough, and you can find a part of the study in this book.  After our life settles down in the next couple of weeks, we will both begin volunteering in the children’s ministry, and we are both looking forward to it.

We’ve now been attending for 5 months, and I can honestly say I’ve never looked forward to church so much in my entire life.  The worship is so moving, and the sermons stick with you.  I don’t forget them when I walk out the doors on Sunday.  I remember them, and throughout the week I find myself correcting my behavior/thoughts because I remember something the Pastor said.  Paul and I have both grown spiritually.  I’ve never been good at consistently staying in the word, and it feels so important now.  My prayer life has improved, and I find myself relying more on God than I ever have before.  I am so happy to be a part of this church family, and I am so excited to continue to grow in Christ!

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” – Hebrews 10:24-25

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My Little Girl

At our wedding, I danced with my dad to “My Little Girl” by Tim McGraw.  That song has always left me with a soft spot.  If you’ve never heard it, you can listen to it here. I thought it fit perfectly for my dad and I.  Specifically this verse:

Someday, some boy will come and ask me for your hand.
But I won’t say “yes” to him unless I know, he’s the half
that makes you whole, he has a poet’s soul, and the heart of a man’s man.
I know he’ll say that he’s in love.
But between you and me. He won’t be good enough!

I am not trying to say my Dad doesn’t love Paul, he does. He gave Paul his blessing which is a big deal if you know my dad.  He knew Paul was perfect for me, but I also know that if my dad had any doubts he would have easily told him “No”.  Without him saying so I think this is how he felt when he gave me away, and I think every dad feels that way before they give away their daughter.

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So while I was working, I had music playing and this song came on.  I couldn’t help but smile thinking of memories of my dance with my daddy.

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As I was listening to the lyrics it hit me, soon this song could define how Paul feels about our daughter.  I just started picturing this little girl running into his arms, because I just know she is going to be a daddy’s girl.  It makes me so excited when I imagine watching Paul play with our daughter.  This perfect little girl that we haven’t even met yet.  So this verse came on, and so did the waterworks… (which isn’t abnormal these days when I think about babies, or giving birth, or things we will get to do with her!)

When you were in trouble that crooked little smile could melt my heart of stone.
Now look at you, I’ve turned around and you’ve almost grown.
Sometimes you’re asleep I whisper “I Love You!” in the moonlight at your door.
As I walk away, I hear you say, “Daddy Love You More!”

I grew up with a dad who drove me nuts sometimes, but I never once doubted how much he loved me.  I knew he would be there for me in an instant.  He gave the best hugs, and he’s probably the reason why I love to cuddle so much.  He gave me advice (sometimes it wasn’t always asked for, but he did it anyways… and maybe I didn’t listen when I was young, but I remember it all today).  Every little girl deserves a daddy like I had, and there is no question in my mind that Paul will be that dad for Aubrey.  Just that thought alone, makes my heart swell with joy. I am so thankful for a dad who taught me what to look for in a man, and I am so thankful that God brought this man into my life at the perfect time.  I am so incredibly thankful, that Aubrey gets to grow up with not only an amazing Daddy, but an amazing Grandpa.

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Freewill

Expecting a child comes with so many emotions.  It is so incredibly exciting, but it is completely terrifying at the same time.  Not only are we responsible for the well being of our daughter, but we are responsible for her soul.  We are responsible for teaching her to live in the ways of the Lord, and raising her to have faith.  We are the role models for her future, and her relationship with God.  That is a HUGE responsibility, even more so than making sure she has all of her basic needs provided for.  The pastor at our old church in Tallahassee always used to say, that your goal as a parent should be having godly grandchildren, because that means as a parent you’ve successfully raised godly children.

That being said, there is no guidebook for parenting.  So every time Paul and I see or hear of a situation with children, we ask the questions, “If that was Aubrey, what would we do?” “How do we handle that?” “How do we keep that from happening?”  Our daughter’s future is completely overwhelming when we look forward to her teenage years, and decisions she will face.  How do we do this whole parenting thing?  These thoughts have kept me up countless nights during this pregnancy, and finally the answer came to me.

We are not raising her alone.  We pray that God will guide us with our parenting decisions, and we pray that He will help us lead Aubrey the right way.  We will teach her right from wrong.  We will teach her to respect authority.  We will teach her to respect herself.  We will teach her the dangers of drinking and driving, drugs, talking to strangers.  We will fill her with as much knowledge as we can before we send her off into the world, but from there how do you not shelter them, and keep yourself from being overprotective?

Freewill.

We can only teach our children so much, and then at some point, we need to trust them to make the right decisions, and give them the freewill to make mistakes.  The same way our Father in heaven has taught us.  We know what pleases Him, but He gives us the freewill to make our own choices, and our own mistakes.  We trust that we will do our job of raising her to the best of our ability, and then we have to leave the rest in God’s hands.  We trust that He will take care of her.

Our daughter isn’t even here yet, but as we await the arrival of our first daughter, our minds are racing.  I think that is only normal, but I think the best approach is for us to take it one day at a time.  She isn’t even here yet, so we can’t be working ourselves up with worrying about what we will do when she gets older.  Let’s work on getting her here safe and healthy.  Then let’s work on getting her to sleep at night 🙂 Until then I will continually praise God, for this gift He is entrusting to Paul and I.

Train up a child in the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – Proverbs 22:6

Finding the Right Fit

Church is a commitment Paul and I have every Sunday.  It’s never a discussion.  We never wake up and say, “Are we going to church today?” It is a priority of ours, and without fail, we will be there every Sunday, and we will plan our day around church.  That being said, finding the church that is the right fit for you is difficult.

In Tallahassee, I really liked our church.  Which is funny, because the first few times I went with my sister and brother-in-law I didn’t care for it too much aside from the Pastor.  He was amazing.  I hopped around to a few churches, before finally I decided to give their church a chance, and when I did it grew on me so quickly.  I got involved in the nursery, and Paul and I did a couple small groups.  In all honesty, when we moved I was really upset to be leaving a church that I actually felt I was forming a connection with.

When we moved to Orlando, we started going to the church I grew up in.  I think this was just because we were getting settled into our new life, and we wanted to be sure we were still going to church.  At first Paul wasn’t sure how he felt about it, but it’s really grown on him and he likes it a lot.  I was actually the one who decided I don’t feel at home in this church.  The church here is great, and I’ve always absolutely LOVED it, because it was what I was used to.  After being exposed to a completely difference church experience in Tallahassee, it just isn’t what I picture as a church home anymore.  I am quite literally craving a different church environment.

I’ve tossed around the idea in my head for a while to try new churches, but Paul was getting comfortable where we were.  Each week that we go to church, I just feel this longing to have an environment similar to the way they were back in Tallahassee.  A close knit community, and relationships that we were building.  This past weekend, I had something come up that took longer than expected and we missed the early service at church.  So we decided to go to the later service, but instead I started browsing the internet for other options.  I asked Paul how he felt about trying a new church, and he was on board.  So we headed to a new church.  This church was great.  We talked to more people in the first 5 minutes at this church, then we had in the first 5 months at the church we’ve been attending.  During worship I actually was smiling to myself, because I felt like we were finally getting the atmosphere I now expect from a church.  The sermon was great!  Paul and I definitely enjoyed the experience, and we would go back, but we also found that we were probably the youngest couple there.  Quite possibly one of the only couples in our age range, and there was probably only a handful of kids.

We really want to find a church that has EVERYTHING we are looking for.  We want a church with powerful worship, an excellent Pastor that goes through scripture, younger families, and a feeling of community.  Now that we’re settled here in Orlando, I think we’ve officially decided to begin our hunt for the right fit for us.  I’ve already done more searching and found the church we will try next week.  I have high hopes for this church, and I just pray that eventually we will find our new church home.

You Just Gotta Have Faith

Sometimes I think one of the hardest parts of being a Christian is having faith in God that everything will work out.  When things seem hopeless, when you have no sense of direction, when things don’t work out the way you wanted them to, you have to have faith in God that he is in control.

It’s funny how God knows exactly what you need to hear, and finds a way to deliver the message.  At bible study this week we were studying the story of Noah.  How Noah was instructed to do something that seemed absolutely ludicrous, and yet he listened, obeyed, had tons of faith and trusted in God.  I mean he built an ark for 120 years in the middle of land!! For 120 years you have to wonder if he questioned God at all.  Are you really going to flood the Earth God?  Is this really what I’m supposed to be doing right now?

Obviously, Noah’s situation is vastly different from our own situations in our lives (I mean I could be wrong, but I don’t think God has told anyone to build an ark recently), but we need to use Noah as a role model for faith in our own lives.  Even when we don’t see the big picture, and things get hard.  We have to trust in God, have faith, and know that God is in control and He has a plan.   I know this is easier said than done sometimes.  When we see things happening on a day to day basis, and we don’t see the full picture we ask God the obvious question, “WHY??”

So here I am asking God “Why?!?”, when instead I just need to have faith.  I trust that God has a plan, and when the time comes it will reveal itself to me, but it is a lot easier to have faith in God when we are building a relationship with him.  So I will pray, pray without ceasing.  After all, God has never failed me.

Amazing

As I sat in the doctors office yesterday having an ultrasound, I couldn’t help but be blown away.  The technician pointed out Aubrey’s bones, her bladder, her kidneys, her brain, her heart, all of her little fingers and toes.  We got to hear her little heartbeat again, which is just the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.  I just sat there amazed.

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I am amazed at what my body is capable of doing without me even trying.  I mean, I’m aware I’m pregnant, but I’m not thinking about what my body needs to do in order to make a baby.  God made the human body to “be fruitful and multiply”, and we do, but often without even thinking about it.  I mean here I am going about my normal day, working, eating, cooking, cleaning, sleeping, etc. and all the while, my body is MAKING a person!!  Without me even paying attention, my body has formed the vital organs my baby will need to survive in life.  Right now my body is working overtime, to make a perfect little person.

Maybe that is why I could look at an ultrasound all day, or maybe it’s because that is my baby and I can’t wait to meet her and hold her.  What I do know, is that I am perfectly made, by my Lord and Savior, and He created the human body to do just what it is doing.  God has blessed me by choosing me to carry this little girl, and in doing so He has made my dreams come true.

For this child I have prayed, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. – 1 Samuel 1:27

You Think I Would Have This Figured Out by Now…

Looking back it’s almost humorous.  All the times I get impatient, or I don’t understand why something is happening, when in reality I don’t need to.  I know that God is in control, and I just trust in Him and His ultimate plan.  I thought He taught me this lesson at the beginning of this year, but I think He likes to teach things again, just to drive the lesson home so to speak.  Let’s just look back and laugh at all the times in 2014 I was frustrated, and God’s plan prevailed perfectly.

  • Paul’s back issues brought him to the ER, and in the midst of my husband’s pain, God taught me to let go of my money issues… Doesn’t make sense?  You can read about it here.
  • Paul and I went back and forth about getting a new car.   We finally decided it was in our best interest for his job since he was spending so much time on the road.   Almost 2 months to the day, God laughed at us, and provided Paul with a new job that also came with a company car.  We have since sold my car, and now I’m driving the car we thought we were buying for Paul.  1 Car = 1 car to insure.
  • New job meant moving out of Tallahassee, and Paul and I couldn’t quite figure out where we wanted to be.  We had decided on Palm Coast Beach, up until his boss told him Orlando was “strongly encouraged”.  So to Orlando we came… not very enthusiastically.  Aside from my parents and brother, we weren’t too excited to be in the crazy big city that engulfs central Florida.  Why here?  …. keep reading…
  • New job for Paul in Orlando, meant new job for me. Except God dealt us another hand, and gave me the opportunity to keep working for a company I love, and to work from home.  Could that prayer have been answered any more perfectly?
  • Paul and I decided money and situations may never be perfect or ideal for bringing a new baby into the world, but if you let that stop you, you may never have the baby or family you’ve always dreamed of.  Back in March we started trying for our little family regardless of how much money we made, and regardless of the fact that our house was not big enough.  Month after month I would cry trying to figure out why getting pregnant was SO EASY for people (it seemed especially easy for people on my Facebook Newsfeed!).   (*Disclaimer: Paul and I did not have issues getting pregnant, I was just impatient.  I thank God every day that we were able to get pregnant, as I know many women struggle with infertility, and their dream is to be a mom)  I knew God had a plan, and I kept reminding myself of that, but I still felt disappointment each month knowing that God decided that wasn’t quite the time for us to get pregnant.  Why not ?? ….keep reading…

That brings us to today.  Where God has answered each and every prayer, and provided for us beyond our wildest dreams.  Paul got a new job with more security, and gave us even more financial stability.  It brought us to Orlando… 5 minutes from my parents to be exact (perfect when you’re expecting your first baby).  I now work from home.  Last but not least, within 2 weeks of moving, we finally got that positive test we had been waiting for.  We didn’t see God’s big picture from the beginning, we only saw His plan as it unfolded day by day, but in the end His plan is so incredibly perfect.  God has never given me a reason to doubt His plan.   I sometimes get frustrated and have to remind myself that He has a plan, but after all the ways God has provided for us…. don’t you think I would have this all figured out by now?

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7-8

Time for a Testimony

This entire year has been a testimony to our faith.  There have been so many stories and blessings this year, but I figured it was time to share one of my favorites.

If you’ve been reading my blog regularly, you may remember that I’ve previously talked about the struggles we have had financially in 2014.  Starting in January we got hit with huge unexpected expenses one right after the other, and they haven’t quite ended but God has continued to provide for us through everything.

After Paul’s visit to the ER in February, we were getting hit with all sorts of medical bills.  Unfortunately, we had to hit Paul’s deductible before his insurance kicked in.   Unfortunately, our income varies month to month.  We know what to expect for my job, but Paul’s job was purely commission based. It varied every month, and with all of these bills coming in it was a little overwhelming.  Paul and I got a little stressed out, but we continued to pray about it.

One day, Paul got a call from someone about a product he sells.  This gentleman was referred to Paul by a friend who had met Paul at a trade show the year before.  This person never actually worked with Paul or bought from Paul and he ended up leaving the industry, but over a year later he referred his friend to Paul.

So Paul answers the phone, and begins talking to him.  Soon they determine that the products Paul sells is exactly what this man is looking for.  I believe his exact words to Paul were, “You’re an answer to my prayers”.  A few days later, the order is placed.  Paul immediately tells me the sale and the commission he will receive, which is almost exactly the same amount as one of his medical bills.

The best part of the whole sale was that this gentleman’s company was Christian based, and included the acronym “TYL”, which just happened to stand for “Thank you Lord”.  If that was not God showing us to trust in Him, and to know that He will provide for us, I don’t know what is. This man told Paul he was an answer to his prayers, little did he know he was an answer to ours.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:25-27

Falling into Place

When Paul recently accepted his new job offer, we knew what it entailed.  We would have to move, find someone to rent our house, find a new house for us, and I would have to find a job.  To me this whole process just screams STRESS! Fortunately, to my surprise most of this process has been easy.  God has a plan for us and everything has seemed to fall right into place.

Before we knew Paul got the job, his old roommate contacted him looking to rent in our neighborhood.  Paul told him that if he could hold off until Paul knew about the job, he may be able to rent from us and we would give him cheaper rent then the house he was looking at.  Low and behold, Paul accepted the job, contacted his friend, and he will be moving in the same weekend we are moving out.  Seriously?  How perfect is that?  Not only do we have a renter, but we know them.  Which makes the whole accidental landlord thing easier to take in!

So we had his job and our house rented out, but  I was stressing about finding a new job.  I work for the same company I worked at during my last semester in college – just a little over three years.  We have been voted one of the best companies to work for in Florida 3 years in a row.  Our little office really does feel like a family for the most part.  I know the people I work with care about me, and vice versa.  I absolutely love the team that I work on, and I hate the thought of leaving.  Our owners are AWESOME!  If there has ever been a problem or something I needed, I know I am able to go to them.  They know my goals in my career, and they help me make a plan to get there.  There aren’t many companies like this nowadays… or at least from what I hear.  I was terrified to find a new job, and hate the company.  I also just felt like the job I found would be in Orlando – meaning commuting on I4 everyday… I HATE I4.  I avoid it at all costs.  Hating my job and commute would not help in our transition.  Well imagine my joy when I found out that I would be able to continue to work for my company… FROM HOME!  I knew it was an option they were exploring.  I brought it up when I gave them the news that I would be leaving.  I figured it was worth a shot… but I thought it was a long shot.

No job hunt!  No commuting on I4!  No working for an awful company! The homebody in me seriously had an all out party (but by myself… because I’m an introvert)! I get to work in  yoga pants everyday and stay at home?!  Seriously, I cannot even describe how incredibly overwhelmed I was when my boss told me.

Every step of the way for this journey, God has provided for us.  I have been completely overwhelmed by the blessings He continues to give us.  To be honest, a couple years ago I would have considered it luck, but as I’ve grown in my faith there is no denying that this is God at work in our lives.  Now we are just waiting for him to give us a house to live in… that allows 3 dogs.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

We’re Moving!

Now that this information has been given to our bosses and co-workers, Paul and I can officially publicize that we will be moving next month!

Paul was recently approached by one of his manufactuers for an internal sales position with them.  This was a long 2 month process, and if you know me it was a TORTUROUS secret to keep.  From the very beginning, we thought he had a great chance of getting the job.  He was told he was the “top candidate for the position”  (yes, that’s my husband that was APPROACHED as the TOP candidate for a position – super proud wife moment so I have to brag!)  Originially we were under the impression he could stay in Tallahassee and work.  As the weeks progressed, he learned that was no longer the case.  Due to his new territory, and the amount of business in Orlando, we decided the best place for us to relocate to within his territory will be Orlando!   This new job is a huge blessing, and with Paul covering less territory and the majority of it in Orlando, it means a lot less traveling for him!  Which makes us both happy!

This past weekend in Orlando, we started looking for places to live.  Our next hope will be to find a house to rent that allows 3 dogs… call that landlord crazy but I will love them forever if it means we get to take our 3 babies with us!  Luckily for us, my parents are in Lake Mary, and so we have a place to stay if it takes a while to find a place (thanks mom and dad!).

We are extremely excited about this opportunity for Paul, but it is definitely bittersweet.  Tallahassee was home to each of us before we met, and now it holds all of the memories we have created together.  Paul and I both really love our jobs, and not just our jobs but the people we work for!  Which only makes the decision that much harder, but we know it is the right one for us.

God has really outdone himself on this one.  It just goes to show that God’s plan will prevail. Without the job opportunity Paul was given two years ago, he wouldn’t have the opportunity he has now.  He has gone above and beyond when answering our prayers! We even already have someone to rent out our house when we move at the end of September!  Whew!

Paul starts his new job on September 1st in Orlando.  We will basically have a long distance marriage for a month, and we will move at the end of September.  September will be busy… and stressful!

We are sad to leave Tallahassee, but since it is the Home of the Florida State Seminoles and football season is approaching… so there is no doubt that we will be back regularly! Well back for football… and our adorable nieces and their parents 🙂