Thursday, October 14, 2010

Life-givers

So, I haven’t posted a blog in awhile because we have been just a little bit busy with the arrival of our sweet little girl, Addilyn. There are many, many things that I have been reflecting on over the past few months and now I am hoping to find time to start sharing a couple of them.

One thing I have been pondering is how both men and women are created in God’s image, yet how women are given the unique privilege to bring forth life. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” God formed man out of dust and then, from the man, he fashioned a woman. However, from woman all mankind continues to exist. What an honor it is that God chooses to continue the work of creating people through the wombs of women. How incredible it is that he created our bodies to adjust in many ways to meet the needs of a growing baby. He fashions each person to be a unique and special individual. Our bodies, only by the grace of God, sustain life! While our baby is still in the womb we can do nothing but wait to meet our sweet new treasure. During childbirth, only God can give women the strength to endure pain in hopes of holding her new miracle.

In addition to the physical symbolism of life giver, women can also be spiritual life-givers. Because we do not naturally love God, He sent his Son, Jesus, to show us how to live, teach us about God, and die in our place, taking on himself the judgment we deserved. He then rose from the dead, and rules with God. If we turn from our sinful ways to trust in Jesus, we receive his Spirit and can live for his glory with a new life. This is the GOSPEL! By sharing the Gospel with others we can offer new life through Jesus. God has given us the privilege to share this message for His glory. In addition, we can pour into other believers teaching them as Christ has taught us and loving them like Christ has loved us, this is how we can ALL be life-givers.

I could elaborate and write much more, but I will stop for now and just stand in awe of the Lord and the blessing and honor he has given to me as a woman.

“And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.” - Genesis 3:20

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thank you.

It’s been awhile since I last wrote, but in preparation for our daughter Josh and I have been extremely busy. One thing keeping us so busy is taking in all the blessings our friends and family have been pouring out on us through baby showers. We had two different showers in Atlanta from family, a shower in Wake Forest, a shower at our church, and a shower at Josh’s work. Yes, FIVE baby showers in two months! Addilyn has everything she needs until it’s time to potty train! So, I just wanted to take a sec and let everyone know how thankful and how blessed we feel. We really appreciate the love that’s been demonstrated to us. Thank you so much!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Funny Fear

So, obviously my tummy is expanding and there is no mistaking I am pregnant. Everywhere I go, it’s no longer “Are you pregnant?” Instead, people now ask me, “When are you due?” So, again, I’m just loving every aspect of this blessing; however, I wouldn’t be completely honest if I were to say I hadn’t had a concern or two. What’s funny is that the type of concerns I have had are not the traditional ones. I haven’t been worried about parenting. I haven’t been anxious about finances. I haven’t even been concerned about labor.

Okay, so what am I afraid of? Don’t laugh…my fear is that my belly button is going to pop out! My whole life I’ve had an inny. I’ve never really known of any close friends who have an outy. Josh jokes with me that like a well-done turkey, my belly button is going to just pop out. Yes, I know how ridiculous this sounds; however, I did have a friend who actually watched her belly button go from an inny to an outy in a day. This freaked me out a little. Josh thinks this is hilarious and never misses and opportunity to make fun of me. In fact, lately he’ll randomly make a popping sound (similar to the one they use on the Pringles commercials) and then grin at me in a really mischievous way.

I know there is no way to predict whether or not my belly button will pop out. I’ve heard some say it depends on the position of the baby. I also know there are many ways to conceal an outy (like simply placing a band-aid over it). And I also know that if it does pop out, it will most likely go back in after the delivery. Needless to say, this is truly not a reason to be concerned but I thought you would all get a good laugh out of my ridiculous fear.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Another Reminder That God Is In Control

On our way home from church one Wednesday night towards the end of January I began having some pains on the left side of my stomach. They were not very strong and I just assumed Addilyn had shifted and was pressing on something. However, when we got home, I went to the restroom and I was bleeding pretty heavily. We spoke with my doctor and he suggested I rest with my feet up for awhile and then check to see if the bleeding had slowed down. I was to go immediately to the hospital if the bleeding was still heavy but if it had slowed I was encouraged to rest until the morning and then go into the office as soon as they opened the next day. As I was laying on the couch, my lower left side of my back started to have a piercing pain; however, after checking again it was obvious that the bleeding had slowed down. Praise the Lord! I cautiously took a shower and got ready for bed. As soon as I laid down in bed Addilyn started shifting around. She was kicking harder than she ever had before and I was SO thankful. I have never felt relief sweep over me like it did in that instant.

First thing the next morning we went to the doctor. They did several different ultrasounds, a stress test, heart rate checks, tests to check for contractions and preterm labor, and a few other things. Everything looked good! They were unable to determine what had caused the bleeding and it did not seem that I was having any preterm contractions; however, they want me to continue monitoring everything. They gave me another Rhogam shot and told me to rest for the next few days.

Once again, I was reminded that I’m not in control. Only God is, and he works all things together for the good of those who love him. So, praise the Lord for His sovereignty and for yet again pouring out tons of grace and mercy on our family. Praise Him for allowing my body to heal and for allowing Addilyn to continue to grow and stay healthy.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My Reminders

I’ve never felt anything comparable! Around Thanksgiving I began feeling Addilyn’s little flutters and right before Christmas Josh actually felt her kick. I absolutely love the little thuds (even when they wake me up in the middle of the night). Her movements are a constant reminder of God’s amazing blessing to us. Lately, she has started to kick a little harder. Hard enough in fact, that tonight was the first time Josh and I actually saw my belly move! Being pregnant is so fun. Thank you Lord for allowing me to experience this! Praise God today for something He has blessed you with and that may be easily taken advantage of. Give Him the credit for working miracles in the little things.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Unexpected Blessings that Demonstrate God’s Faithfulness

For several years Josh and I have been trying to determine where God wanted us after Josh graduated from seminary. There were many different possibilities on the table including pastoring a church somewhere in the Southeast, starting a new church, working on a college campus as a campus minister, or raising support to go on staff for a para-church organization like Campus Crusade or Campus Outreach. We have prayed over this decision for years and we finally have come to a conclusion; none of the above. Yep, instead the Lord has laid a completely different opportunity at our feet and we are thrilled. Since the fall of 2008 Josh has been meeting with our pastor and working to develop a college ministry at our church.

For about six months, Josh did lots of research in regards to college ministries and how they typically work at small new churches. Starting in January of 2009 we began meeting with students on NC State’s campus. We took a semester to read and discuss the book “Don’t waste Your Life” by John Piper. Although it was a great semester and we were able to build relationships with several college students, we saw many areas that needed improvement. This is when our pastor presented the idea to Josh that we could begin raising support so that he could work for our church. Instead of volunteering 25-30 hours a week in addition to working a full-time job, he could make the college ministry his priority and get paid to do so. Although our church would love to pay for Josh to work full-time with the college students, presently that is not a possibility. As a very new, and small church, the priority lies with getting a facility and maintaining our ministries to the poor and needy.

Over the summer Josh continued his research and began meeting with other college pastors in the area. Last semester he focused on deepening relationships with college students who are currently members of our church and preparing them for potential opportunities of leadership. Last fall was also a time of immense planning. Josh has been refining the vision, mission, and goals of the college ministry in addition to planning out what the logistics will look like in the future. We hope to begin weekly meetings in February that would push the college students to deepen their relationship with Christ and to provide opportunities for accountability.

With all this being said, Josh and I both have struggled with a lack of faith. Both of us have struggled over the past six months with doubt and anxiousness concerning fundraising. It was our desire to get the ministry up and going before even beginning to fundraise. In our opinion, we did not want to start asking for support for a ministry that was not already proving successful. We have not been certain about where to begin. Who do we ask? How could we possibly raise enough money to live off of? How do we even begin asking for money when the economy is so bad right now? This is when God chose to demonstrate yet again that he is in control.

We recently received a significant financial gift to help us prepare for raising support and finish out the planning stages of the college ministry. With this gift we were able to take care of a few things that will make starting the ministry and raising support dramatically easier. More importantly, this gift spurred us on in thankfulness. It was such an encouragement to see how God is already moving in people’s hearts to pray and give to this ministry. We have been shown that it is okay to ask for support in the anticipation of a future ministry and God is faithful to provide for the needs of those who pursue his glory. Whatever you may be going through right now, be encouraged that God knows your needs and he cares for you!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's All In A Name

Okay, so I’ve had several people ask me how Josh and I came up with the name Addilyn Grace Kelly for our sweet little girl.  So, for all those who have asked…here’s the story:

When Josh and I were dating we had discussed potential baby names for our children.  This was not the best thing to do to guard your heart before marriage, but that’s a story for another day. Regardless, he and I had decided upon Abigail Grace Kelly and Ethan Brian Kelly.  For years we loved these names, but as we began trying to get pregnant we realized how common these names had become.  We both still liked Abigail and Ethan, but we began considering other possibilities. 

Looking at the meanings of boy names we decided on Josiah.  In Hebrew, Josiah means “the Lord saves” and in Aramaic it means, “the Lord cures.”  This was really symbolic to us because of all we had been through and all that God had done for us.  In addition, Josiah was a great king of Judah who found the book of the Law and removed the false idols from the temple during his reign. In the Kelly family, the eldest son of each generation has been given the name Brian.  So therefore, we had a little boy’s name:  Josiah Brian Kelly.

When we started fertility treatments we knew the possibility of having multiples was higher so we began thinking about names that would sound good together.  I liked Abby and Addi but for the longest time we could not decide on what Addi would be short for.  This past summer, Josh was working at a camp at his school and one week he had a little girl in his group called Adeline (ad-eh-line).  Right away we both liked it.  However, the more we considered it, we decided that we liked the softer sound of Addilyn (ad-eh-len).  This name means “noble or kind.”  We also decided to keep Grace because of the amount of grace that the Lord has shown us through our salvation and the entire process of trying to conceive.  Many have asked, but no, we did not choose Grace because of the actress Grace Kelly.  Although she was classy, beautiful, and married a prince; this was not our reason for giving our daughter the middle name Grace.

So, there you have it:  Our little Addilyn Grace, and maybe one day (Lord-willing) a little Josiah Brian.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Anticipation

One thing I have always struggled with is wishing away time.  I have always seemed to be excited about something in the future to the point where I do not fully enjoy the present. With that said, I want to make it known that I have absolutely LOVED being pregnant. Despite how much I have grown in my anxious demeanor, I still fight little battles each day.  Recently, I just couldn’t wait until we knew the sex of the baby.  Then I just couldn’t wait to feel movement in my tummy.  Now, I just can’t wait until Josh can feel Addilyn kick.  And most of all, I just can’t wait to hold her in my arms!  Although these desires are not sinful in and of themselves, I am realizing that these desires can easily become idols in my heart.

So the question is, “What do I anticipate most?” Am I focused on loving the employees of a department store more than getting registered for baby supplies? Do I spend more time thinking about the gospel or how to be a mom?  Do I talk more about Jesus or my pregnancy?  Do I long for the return of Christ more than I long to hold my little girl?  Do I have an eternal or worldly perspective?  Galatians 5:5 encourages us to eagerly wait for the Lord. As we do this we can certainly delight in blessings from the Lord.  However, we should never place more importance on the blessings than we do on the one who is pouring out the blessing.

 

Philippians 3:12-20

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained. 17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Teachability, Patience, and Humility

As an opinionated and vocal woman, why does it surprise me that everyone has their own opinion to share, especially when you’re pregnant?  Over the past few weeks I’ve realized that everyone knows exactly what pregnant women should or shouldn’t eat, how they should exercise, what techniques will be best for labor, how to nurse, and even what toys we should or shouldn’t allow our baby to play with.  Funny enough, few people have the same opinion and everyone seems to contradict one another.  Whether the advice comes from a doctor, a friend without children, a friend with 5 children, a popular book, or another pregnant woman, I am still thankful for the variety of advice I am getting.  I appreciate that my family, friends, and doctors care enough about me to share what has worked for them and others they know.

So now, after expressing my gratitude, I also ask for your prayers.   As Josh and I prepare for our little one, we will be making many decisions that will affect our family in a variety of ways.  Pray that we will continue to be teachable and listen to the advice and wisdom that so many want to share with us.  Josh and I have been praying that the Lord will give us discernment. Everyone’s circumstances are different, but the Lord knows our every need so we pray that He will help us to make decisions that are best for our family.  Secondly, I ask that you pray for us to have patience.  With so many people asking us to consider a way that worked for them, it can be difficult to respectfully disagree with someone or explain that we would prefer not to take that specific route.  I hope the Lord will continue to allow Josh and I to express our thankfulness in how an individual is demonstrating their love for us.  Finally, please pray for us to have humility.  It is difficult to not become prideful or defensive about things we have already made decisions about when others clearly disagree.  Since I was a young girl I have always helped care for infants, toddlers, and young children. The majority of my friends already have children so I think it is safe to say that I am not naive about babies and children; however, pray that I will continue to realize I always have more to learn.

Proverbs 11:2  When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Colossians 3:12  Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mercy at 12 Weeks

This week I have seen abundant mercy and grace poured out on me from the Lord.  Monday morning I started bleeding very heavily, which is not a good sign for a woman who is 12 weeks pregnant.  Thankfully, Josh happened to have the day off of work and so we immediately went to the doctor.  I wasn't having any cramping and I wasn't nauseated so I was somewhat optimistic.  As we sat in silence during the 35-minute drive to the doctor, the Lord brought many of his promises to my mind.  I was so blessed by these reminders of the Truth that I believe in.  Some scriptures included:

James 1:2-3  Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

Colossians 3:15-17  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.   Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly

Romans 8:28  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him

2 Corinthians 12:9  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me

Psalm 121:1-2  I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from?  My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Deut 31:8  The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

When we arrived at the doctor, they preformed an ultrasound...Praise the Lord, the baby looked good.  He/She was kicking like crazy and the heartbeat was really strong.  The doctors were concerned however because they were not able to identify the cause of the bleeding. In addition, they were concerned with the fact that I have a negative blood type (or no Rh Factor) and Josh has a positive blood type (presence of a Rh factor).  From what they told me, this can be very dangerous for a pregnant woman.  This combination (me being negative and Josh being positive) most likely results in a child who is Rh positive. Although the baby’s blood system and mine are separate, there are times when the blood from the baby can enter into my system or vice versa. This can cause my body to create antibodies against the Rh factor, thus treating an Rh positive baby like an intruder.   Long story short, my body’s immune system would attack the baby as if it were an infection causing my body to break down the red blood cells of the baby.  Results from this include anemia, other illnesses, brain damage, and possibly even death.

Basically what the doctors ended up doing was giving me an injection of RhIg (also known as Rhogam). This will help me by suppressing my ability to react to the Rh positive red cells. This means that my body will not be able to fight off any infections for awhile, but it will protect the baby a little better.  I will need to get this shot every 10 weeks and again immediately after the delivery of the baby.  

I can see so much grace in this, and I am so thankful both the baby and I are fine.  I think it’s amazing that the Lord has given doctors wisdom to know these types of things.  Please continue praying for mercy in this area. Pray that the Lord will protect the baby and me from getting sick since my body will not be able to fight off any infections. Most importantly, pray that I remember that it is the Lord who gives and takes away (Job 1:21) and that I will continue to glorify Him no matter what His will for my life is.