Today I woke up the same way I have been waking up over the last few weeks, to your gentle movements inside of me. I rolled over to see if you preferred my right side versus left and even though I didn’t feel you kick immediately, I knew you didn’t like it. Only two months left until I get to meet you and there is so much I want to tell you, so much I want to make sure you know deep in your inner most heart of hearts. You are loved, you are cherished, you are strong, you are healthy, but most of all you are a child of God and as such you should know that long ago he said your life was meant to be. He has a plan for you, you are important, and when you feel lost and broken He is the way, the truth and the light.
Madelyn, I just spent this past weekend with a group of inspirational writers who all believe in each other and God’s plan for their life. I pray you find your people outside of your immediate family who also believe in you and remind you that our savior is the one and only way to pull you out from the darkest parts of life. I pray you may never have to feel the suffering of being in a dark place, but if you do my prayer is that you will not be afraid to face it head on knowing God is your strength when you feel weak, God will guide your feet when you don’t know which way to turn and if you turn to Him in prayer he will always listen to what you have to say even you feel like you are waiting forever and a day for him to respond. He moves in ways you can’t always see until he’s taken you through what he has planned for your life.
When you walk with God, you should not fear what he is calling you to. When you hear him, don’t walk but RUN towards it. Be the light for others around you so that they can see how God moves you through life when you are obedient to him. Be brave little girl, be brave and do not be afraid.
As I pray for you, I also pray for myself as your mom that God would walk closer than ever before to be the mother you need me to be. Provide me with the wisdom to parent and teach you while also keeping an open heart and mind to the lessons you will teach me. Little girl, don’t let anyone, even me make you believe you are not good enough to do what God is calling you to. When I lose my patience I pray you still know I love you, when I make you angry I pray you still want to come to me when you need someone to listen, when I am no longer “cool” I pray secretly you think I’m cool even if around your friends you roll your eyes at me.
Madelyn, thank you for picking me to be your mom. I am so honored to raise you into a God fearing woman who is unstoppable.
Today we are traveling back home to Kansas City. We are over water making a stop first in Orlando. There are many families on this flight headed to Disney World with their children probably for the first time. I hope to someday bring you there to see Disney World and watch you have so much fun learning the patience it takes to wait on line then the wonder in your eyes as we get on each ride. I pray you are adventurous and filled with a sense of bold curiosity even for the “scary” rides. There is nothing to be afraid of and you can trust that mommy and daddy only wants what is best for you and sometimes that thing is feeling the rush of wind in your hair as the rollercoaster rounds the corner and other times it will be standing calmly watching the fireworks glow over the castle. The wonder, excitement, and curiosity that lives in these places like Disneyland can also be found at home.
I pray the adventure never stops and we are able to explore our own home, neighborhood, and community with the same wide eyed curiosity and amazement that Disney brings. Because honestly you hold all the magic inside you baby girl. You can make any moment feel as exhilarating as the drop of a rollercoaster or as calm and bright as the fireworks over the castle. You have the power to control your emotions and breath walk into any room and light it up with your presence.
Last night before today’s big trip I prayed for you with grandma Annie and your great-aunt Cheryl. Grandma and I sat on the bed holding hands while Cheryl was on her knees at the bedside and we prayed for your strength and health. We prayed that you would come to know Jesus and have a heart of gold. We prayed for our safe travels today and that your entrance to the world would be safe, calm and uneventful while also being the singularly most life changing event that I will have after 28 years on this earth.
It doesn’t feel real that you will be here yet, that your eyes are going to look into mine and you will call me mom. I feel like you are so close yet so far away still I can’t wait to hold you and meet you, all of you and love you just as you are.
I think you like plane rides, you spent all of the first 15 minutes of take-off moving around inside me. I could feel what I think are your feet kicking me. You don’t feel nervous or scared, more excited to be up in the air with me. This was our first time traveling alone together, daddy stayed home to work and I can’t wait to see him again when we land.
One last thing I wanted to make sure I tell you. This morning when we were waking up you let grandma feel you kick and she was so happy to feel you move. Thank you for showing her you are there, alive and well. I know she is just as excited to meet you.
Praying for you always.
I’m laying in bed with daddy and he just finished reading to you. This weekend we went to go see a movie in the movie theaters for the first time in over a year. The pandemic closed all the movie theaters and I’m not sure how any of them stayed in business but good thing they did because you loved it. Well I think you did, I think you were just kicking because it was very loud but you were making my stomach dance all throughout the movie. We went to see the Black Widow – origin story so there was tons of action and the plot showed women helping other women to escape the control of an evil, power hungry man. I wish I could tell you this was a plot only found in the movies but unfortunately this story is the reality of the world even today. Even on a more personal level I’ve lived this story and I pray you never have to.
My job in my early twenties I worked in a manufacturing plant where we made diapers. It was 2016 when I graduated and I had thought for sure I wouldn’t face male biased discrimination in the work force because all the amazing, strong willed women before me had laid the ground work for me…. I was wrong. Most of my career in manufacturing I reported to men, I had mostly men working for me, and because the job was incredibly technical as well as required strong leadership skills there was this internal pressure I felt to act and perform just as my successful male counterparts had done. Internal pressure is what I thought at first, but then I realized there were actually many strong leaders that were men I looked up to who talked about their female colleagues in a way that made me think they weren’t respected for their insights, they couldn’t do the job as successfully as they had, or even the fact that they talked too much was a flaw and not a strength. I had heard stories of the unicorn women who were tough as nails that these men respected, all of them long gone from the plant and all of them described with traits that a man typically displays that led to her describing qualities to be “tough as nails.”
Hearing it from these men, who I looked up to and respected, while also trying to figure out how I was going to be successful in my career caused me to unknowingly create a list in my mind of all the traits I should avoid; don’t talk too much, don’t stand up to a man when he confronts the decisions you made because it might make him mad and call you a bitch behind your back, don’t ask too many questions about how and why your male team leaders make the decisions they do about the multi-million dollar equipment and production you are managing because they’ve been doing it before I was born and I might not understand anyway, and never ask for help because all the other women who do ask for help appear as weak and incapable of doing their job. Throw them into open waters and see if they survive with no life vest in shark infested waters. Them being women who are literally just trying not to drown or get eaten, while their male counter parts who may be in the same shark infested waters were given the grace of at least a harpoon to defend themselves or some even as much as a cage depending on their ability to connect man to man on the operating floor.
Madelyn, I think this is where I stop tonight, I’ll share more tomorrow.
Yesterday I started telling you the story of how I faced adversity early in my career as a woman in engineering being led by men and leading mostly men. I feel like someday I will need to finish this story but after getting back into my daily Bible reading this morning I feel like there is something different on my heart this morning. Today I read Isaiah 35-36 which talks about a day of the Lord and the day of the Lord. It talks about how once God returns “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;” Isaiah 35:1 As someone who grew up in the desert, this image reminds me of the monsoon season when the skies open up and rain just pours out over the hot dry desert. The smells in the air are so fresh and everything feels so clean. As a child I don’t think I appreciated what this feeling was when it rained in the desert, I just remember looking outside my living room window at the dark skies and watching the rain drops hit the ground thinking it’s just another rainy day. There IS beauty there, though that we may never see fully here in the mid-west where rain and green go on for miles and miles. We are so blessed to be surrounded by the tall trees in the summer that shade the walking trail and be able to feel wet grass in the morning below our feet. I haven’t spent a winter here yet in our new home so I can’t yet describe to you all the changes that will happen around us but it’s probably similar to the seasons I experienced while living in Cape Girardeau, MO. The air starts to get crisp and the leaves start to change colors. Even though the green disappears there is that same desert beauty and joy that comes in the changing of seasons I want you to experience. May it not make you anxious but fill you will wisdom. “Say to those who have an anxious heart,’Be strong fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with recompense of God. He will come and save you.’” Isaiah 35:4
I think the point of me telling you this after I started a story on feeling isolated is to remind you, just as God has reminded me that he is always with us making us strong and will save us even when we are in the desert. It will make the season glad and allow us to rejoice in His works in our lives.
Do not be afraid to face times of adversity Madelyn, I pray that you will know that there is a season and a day for all emotions and God will hold you there through it all and as your mother I will be here for you through it all no matter what. May these words of God fill you “For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water” Isaiah 35:7 May the waters of God’s word flood your heart always baby girl.
I am trying to be consistent with writing to you since in only 2 short months you will be here and I have so much I still want to say before I meet you, but today I am so tired, and yesterday I was tired too. I was exhausted by 3pm and went to go lay on the couch in the upstairs living room until daddy got home. I think you are growing big inside me. I went on a walk yesterday morning and again in the afternoon and my whole body felt different, heavier and more off balance. You’ve been moving less which I always think you’re growing when your movements get smaller or slow down, but I still feel you kicking in there so I know you are doing okay. I always love it when I can feel you moving, even when it’s uncomfortable I am just happy to know you are alive and well.
There are so many things I love about growing you inside me, but since you may not relate to this for along time today’s reminder is to listen to your body, it will tell you when you need to rest, need to eat, need more water, need a hug. It took a long time for me to learn the cues my body was giving me and for the first portion of your life your body will be growing so much too these signs may change, but if you pay attention to how you feel your body will tell you amazing things. If you don’t know where to start I recommend just breathing, it will slow down your heart rate, your thoughts should also slow down too and if you close your eyes and just listen you will be able to feel your energy flowing through you from your head to your toes. The world may feel like it is swimming around you and there is just so much to get done and you are running out of energy, these are the times that are most important to take a moment to breathe, stop all the noise, and remember that you have what it takes inside you already to be and do what God is calling you to.
There is such beauty in these silent moments, like right now, I am sitting at the kitchen table looking out at the green trees and I hear the faintest chirping of the birds outside. It is almost 8am but after this I am still going to go on a walk to get my heart beating, blood pumping, and energy inside me flowing so I can do all that God is asking me to today.
Somedays I feel like I have a long list of “things” to get done, and a little over a year ago I bought into the idea that we need to do “all the things” but Madelyn, you don’t. You just need to do exactly what God places on your heart and pursue that with a passion. You are His daughter first before you are my daughter and I want to do everything I can to teach you about His love for you and how you can find him in these quiet moments you create for yourself. These quiet moments are even some of the best times to pray because you’ve stopped all the swirl around you it can make it easier to hear His response or tug on your heart of what to do next. Sometimes that answer is be patient child, which is never easy but always worth it.
In today’s Bible reading in Isaiah 37:26 God reminds us that we cannot mess up God’s plan for our lives, we are always living in his plan right now in the moment; “Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days old what now I bring to pass.” This is what God said as a reminder to his people of his promise that he would deliver them from their Assyrian enemies. You may not have a whole country of “enemies” baby girl but there are always enemies we will be going into spiritual warfare with that God promises to deliver us from.
Just live your life and live it well in accordance to God’s plan for you, and if you ever feel lost or overwhelmed I pray that you run to Him. He will always welcome you back into His open arms as will, I forever and always.
Today during my daily readings the word that stood out to me was consistency. I was reading about how king Hezekiah went humbly to God when he was uncertain how to handle the threats of king Sennacherib on his nation. In 2 Kings 19:14-15 it says “and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord…” I purposely bolded the letters in the previous sentence ‘and he prayed.’ This is so powerful especially paired with the word consistently. And he consistently prayed.
In this life there are so many outward and earthly distractions that it can be easy to forget about praying, but my prayer for you is that you find quietness, rest, and trust in bringing all your worries and success to God through consistent prayer. We learn in the story of Hezekiah that he is not consistent with his life of prayer after God blesses him. After his success over the Assyrian nation, Hezekiah’s heart changes. He becomes prideful over all his riches and even boasts about them to a visiting nation. God sees this and speaks through the prophet Isaiah to warn Hezekiah that because he was no longer humble, all of his riches would be taken from him, and this is exactly what happens. Yesterday we just learned how we are always in God’s plan, he knows all that is yet to come. “Have you not heard that [God]determined it long ago? [He] planned from days of old what now I bring to pass…” 2 Kings 19:25.
He knew Hezekiah’s heart would turn from him, yet he still chose to bless Him because He is truly consistent in pursuit of our hearts and it brings him joy to do so. This just blows my mind because there are so many studies on habit formation and leaders literally preaching that habits are the best way to consistently improve your performance. Heck the reason I am reading the Bible daily again and even writing this to you is because I was recently re-energized with this idea and even joined in on a community habit formation challenge for the next 30 days. My goals were to consistently read the Bible and write daily for 30 days. If you look at the dates of each of these entries it becomes clear that I can’t even be consistent in that. The only insight I have on this is I AM HUMAN! I am not God, I have things that distract me from time to time, that keep me out of the word that keep me away from my computer to write new words. We are all human though and there is only one God is the master at consistently pursuing our hearts and can do it joyfully no matter how stubborn we are!
When I try to put this into perspective and think of how I could be more like God and consistently pursue the heart of someone I love even after they’ve disagreed or fought me time and time again it frustrates the living daylights out of me. The definition of insanity has even come to mean doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Is God insane for relentlessly pursuing us even though he knows we will always turn away from him? Or is this a love far greater than we can even fathom. What we call insane, he calls love. What drives us crazy, brings him joy.