Why I want to become a doula.

I recently announced on social media that I am pursuing my journey toward becoming a trained and certified labor doula. It is no mystery to those who know me that I love anything related to pregnancy, birth and babies. I was the child who would rather watch TLC’s “A Baby Story” than just about anything and being home schooled, my mother intentionally taught my sisters and I about the incredible value and beauty of life from conception to birth. A baby growing inside of you is quite possibly one of the most incredible miracles to ever take place. To participate and partner in creating a human life is beyond amazing. The journey is beautiful, marked with divine purpose and is a powerful experience that transforms women into mothers.

All I ever wanted to be when I grew up was a mother. I wanted to carry my own babies and I wanted to be called “mommy”. I worked as a nanny for years and took babysitting jobs like they were going out of style. I loved babies and I loved to be around babies. The instinct and desire to be a mother has always been a strong one for me. I never doubted that I would marry the love of my life, have babies and raise a family together. It took my husband and I about 2 years to conceive. The moment I became pregnant with my now 9 month old son changed my life forever. I will never forget the excitement and joy coupled with absolute fear and anxiety that washed over me. There was so much I didn’t know, so much I wanted to know and so much I was afraid to know! That Google search bar had the power to both motivate me and terrify me all within the same minute. “Natural unmedicated birth vs. medicated birth”, “cesearean birth vs vaginal birth”, words and terms like episiotomy, pitocin, GBS, preeclampsia, amniocentesis, gestational diabetes, FTP, PPD, posterior, anterior, breech, tranverse, VBAC etc. etc. etc. WHAT WAS THIS WORLD I WAS ENTERING?! 

Naturally, I scheduled my first appointment with an Ob/gyn and I went in clueless. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t comfortable either. It was scary and it felt invasive. After doing some research and being referred by many friends to a birth center, I made an appointment to tour the facility and meet the midwives and staff and I instantly knew that I had found the place for me. (I am not in anyway against ob/gyns- they are amazing and I know MANY people who have great experiences with theirs- including my sister). Upon making the switch, I was at ease and actually looked forward to my appointments with much anticipation. My husband and I sought out an intensive 12 week Bradley Method course and we learned SO MUCH. We felt so prepared, supported and motivated by the birth team that we chose to surround ourselves with. I trusted these women with my life and with my baby’s life. This was indeed sacred.

My sister gave birth just a month and a half before me. Her pregnancy experience was much different than mine and was marked with a lot of trauma. It’s hard for me to accurately convey how heart wrenching it was to see her go through all that she did while I, too was pregnant. I thank God for doctors and specialists, I am grateful for modern medicine and for necessary interventions. I have seen God’s hand through them in saving not only the life of my sister but also the life of my precious nephew. Our experiences were completely opposite of each other and not to be compared in any way. Both experiences made us mothers. Both were emotional. Both were scary. Both were euphoric and both were so beautiful!

As I recall my own birth, I am still amazed at my ability and I get emotional when I think about the amazing support that I had from my husband, midwife and from the nurses. I can say without a doubt that they are the reason that I made it through. They played a very key role in one of the most important and life-changing days of my entire existence. Their unwavering labor of love during my labor changed my heart and life for all of time and I am forever grateful.

After these experiences, I have not been able to push this intense desire out of my mind and heart. To be a support person and to serve women and families during their journeys of childbearing and childbirth would be an honor that I don’t take lightly and an opportunity that humbles me in so many ways.

The word ‘doula’ comes from the ancient greek meaning “a woman who serves”. How fitting. It is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period. (excerpt from DONA’s website)

I am beyond grateful for this opportunity and for the people who have encouraged me, inspired me, motivated me and who are training me to be the best doula that I can be! I am so humbled. I am so grateful. I am so excited for this new adventure!

xo Amber

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Everett Benjamin Rhodes Birth Story

It was a typical “overdue” pregnant Wednesday morning for me on May 28, 2014. I had taken my maternity leave a couple weeks beforehand and was thoroughly enjoying full fledged nesting and resting. My due date had come and gone (May 23) and I was content in knowing that our little boy was safe, healthy and still tucked away inside of the safest place on earth. As much as I was over the back and hip aches, heart burn, constant exhaustion and frequent bathroom trips, I truly enjoyed my pregnancy and I was soaking in as much as I could the last few days of it. Every little kick and movement shared just between my baby and I was priceless and savored as I knew the journey of pregnancy was ending and the unknown adventure of motherhood was soon to begin. The excitement in my heart to meet my precious baby face to face was unreal and the fear of the unknown of labor and delivery began to surface. My husband and I did everything that we possibly could in preparing for the birth of our first child. We attended 12 weeks of Bradley method classes, went through books, watched countless videos and documentaries on the natural birth process and we chose a birth center with midwives to deliver Everett at. I felt empowered, encouraged and educated throughout my entire pregnancy as I surrounded myself with an incredible birth team! I was so excited to FINALLY experience the miracle of birth for myself.

At around 10:30 AM on Wednesday morning (May 28), I got out of bed to make breakfast and felt a significant gush of fluid. I immediately thought “DID MY WATER JUST BREAK?” but then started to dismiss this fact as I had learned that only a small percent of women’s water breaks before labor (especially first time pregnant moms). My mother-in-law called me that morning and jokingly said “Is there anyway you can go into labor today so that I can get out of going to church tonight?” We laughed and I said “Hey, you never know!”. I went about my business of bed-making, breakfast eating and experienced a sudden burst of energy which made me start cleaning like a mad person. I was scrubbing floors, walls, counter tops and making sure my birth center bag was packed with everything I needed (even though I had packed it 3 weeks prior), our birth plan was typed neatly and I ensured that we had multiple copies JUST IN CASE today happened to be BIRTH day. Soon after my cleaning craze began, I felt another gush of fluid. I then started to really feel like my water had broken due to the amount of fluid I had lost in a short amount of time. I called my husband at work and informed him of what was going on and then called my midwife who instructed me to come into the birth center right away. I tested positive for GBS (group b streptococcus) during my pregnancy which is a bacteria found in about 25% of healthy, adult women and can be passed to the baby through delivery. It is dangerous for a new baby to be exposed to GBS so I was informed that I would have to have IV antibiotics administered every 8 hours during my labor in order to make sure that it didn’t transfer. This was initially a bummer as we had planned to have a labor and delivery COMPLETELY free of any medicine whatsoever but I trusted my midwives expertise and they assured me that I would still have my natural birth experience. 


At 1:20 PM, Ben and I packed our birth bag and birth essentials and started off to Natural Beginnings Birth Center in Statesville, NC (about 45 mins away from us). We talked excitedly as we drove, Ben prayed over the baby and I and we were so overwhelmed with joy as we realized that we would be meeting our baby boy SOON- the anticipation and excitement was palpable. This was actually happening! I was having minor contractions that were spread out, I could talk through them and I was all smiles so it was very apparent that we were in the early 1st stage of labor. We stopped and grabbed a bite on the way and I was chugging water like a champ! I kept remembering the “eat, drink, sleep, shower and walk” routine and I was definitely killing the eat and drink portion!

We arrived at Natural Beginnings at around 2:15 PM, I was ported and they started the IV drip of antibiotics. My midwife came in and I laughingly said “So, now what?” to which she laughingly replied “you have 24 hours from the time your water broke to go into active labor due to you being GBS positive”. We couldn’t stay at the birth center because you have to be at least 4-5 cm dilated and in “active” labor in order to labor there. She sent me home with black and blue cohosh (herbs used to induce labor) and instructed me on a myriad of “labor cocktails” to try and get things really moving!

Ben and I started back home around 3:00 PM and arrived back home at about 4:00 PM. My contractions on the way home were starting to intensify some but I could still talk through them. I lost my mucous plug at 4:04 PM. started the black and blue cohosh and alternated use every 30 minutes for the next few hours, I did the unthinkable and DRANK CASTOR OIL (YUCK! YUCK! YUCK!), I borrowed a breast pump from my bradley instructor and pumped to try nipple stimulation. Sure enough, my contractions began to come more frequently and were starting to get more intense. There were ones that were difficult to talk through at this point. Ben called the family at 5:35 PM and informed everyone of what was going on. I labored on our birth ball some, laid down to rest and walked a little bit. I lost more of my plug soon after. I was feeling more tired at this point and my contractions were becoming a little more frequent (3-4 mins apart) and I just KNEW I was approaching “active labor” and that I HAD to be dilating. 

 
At 10:00 PM, Ben and I left our house to go back to the birth center for my second round of antibiotics as I had to have them administered every 8 hours during labor. We decided that instead of coming back home if I was not in “active labor that we would get a hotel room in Statesville to be close. I was hoping that I was at least 4-5 cm dilated and that I could just stay and labor at the birth center. I had to be. We arrived at Natural Beginnings at 10:50 PM and they began the second dose of IV antibiotics and my midwife checked my cervix. I was only 1 cm dilated. I was starting to feel really discouraged at this point, my contractions were still intensifying and I felt a lot of pressure in my pelvis. How could I only be ONE CENTIMETER? Nicole (my midwife) was super sweet and encouraging and told us to go to the Holiday Inn express nearby and tell them we were laboring and they would give us a discount. She told us to call her and keep her updated. We left the birth center and arrived at Holiday Inn Express at about 12:00 AM. At this point, I was unable to talk through my contractions, I was VERY focused, serious and did lots of moaning and groaning to get though each one. I tried to lay on my side but was very uncomfortable so I got on the birth ball on the edge of the bed and pretty much stayed there ALL night. My contractions were about 2-3 mins apart and were lasting 60-90 seconds. I was feeling exhausted and just kept wanting to sleep but there was no way I could sleep through them. Ben put pressure on my back, squeezed my hips and coached me beautifully through each one. We had an app on his phone to monitor them and he talked me through each one. He was so encouraging and kept telling me how amazing I was doing and how exciting it was that we were going to be holding our baby so soon! At one point, he looked at me and said “babe, you’re incredible and you are doing such an amazing job and I am gonna be here every step of the way BUT I have got to go and take care of something right now” and he walked into the bathroom and started throwing up! I kinda freaked out a little bit at that point and thought he was getting sick but later learned that it was just nerves and the fact that he hated seeing me in so much discomfort. We laugh about that little detail to this day😉 Needless to say, it was a VERY LONG night. 
 
Ben called Nicole a couple of times and informed her of my progression. We ended up leaving the hotel at around 5:50 AM to go back to the birth center. I could barely walk out of the room and found myself stopping in the halls and lobby to moan and get through the contractions. I know people were looking at me funny but I didn’t care AT ALL. Ben helped me into the car and we started back to the birth center. I just knew that this was active labor and that we would be staying there! We arrived and Nicole started the IV drip and checked me and I was only TWO cm dilated. At this point, I don’t even think discouragement is the right word to describe how I felt. I was utterly disappointed and so upset. I cried and kept asking “is my body broken?”. I was so sad because I knew that this meant my beautiful water birth experience was not going to happen as we would have to go to the hospital and they would start pitocin soon. Pitocin- the word and idea that I so hated and so planned against. I had heard horror stories. As if the comments toward my perfectly planned natural birth were harsh enough from people who told me “you probably won’t be able to do it without the epidural” there were ones who had told me of their own hell-ish experiences with the agonizing PITOCIN and that is was indeed, impossible. I felt swallowed and trapped. I was trying to breathe through contractions, tears and fears and I was completely overwhelmed. 
 
The ride there felt like an eternal mile and a half. My husband was so precious and kept encouraging me and telling me how proud he was of me and that soon I would have our perfect baby in my arms. We arrived at Davis Regional Medical Center at 7:30 AM and I could still barely walk and talk. They started the pitocin at 8:45 AM and man oh man, did things REALLY start to intensify. I thought my previous contractions were intense but compared to these, they were a brisk walk in the park on a sunny afternoon. These were NO JOKE and they were coming in waves that felt unbearable. I kept thinking how bad I wanted relief and rest- I was exhausted. Ben and Nicole were excellent at talking me through them. They kept saying “that is one more you don’t have to have and one closer to having your baby!”. Some were 1 min apart and others were 30-45 seconds apart. At 10:30 AM, I got in the tub to labor. The water was my friend. I wanted to stay there. I got an urge to push and they made me get out. I started to labor on the birth ball again and my midwife put heat and counter pressure on my lower back during contractions and it definitely helped! I got back into the tub at around 11:45 PM and got another urge to push. I remember wanting to just stay in the water so bad and I was so upset that they kept making me get out when I wanted to push! My labor and delivery nurse helped me out of the tub at 12:30 PM and due to the fact that my midwife had left for a little bit to go to an appointment, she checked me, told me I was 10 cm and that we were getting ready to have a baby! She called Nicole to come back, Ben called all the family who started the track to Statesville from Concord and they began to set up the room for a baby! We were so excited! 
 
My midwife arrived at at 12:50 PM and she checked me and informed me that I was actually only 3 cm. Hello, Natural Alignment Plateau. Within the Bradley Method, we learned of this. It is sometime during labor when there is a ‘stall’ in cervical dilation. Sometimes this occurs just before transition, but can happen at any time when it looks like nothing is happening! It is often misdiagnosed as the all too commonly heard “failure to progress” or “CPD” (big baby, small mama). According to textbooks, a woman should dilate in a specific way, usually so many centimeters per hour after she has reached active labor. However, we learned that judging progress by dilation is totally irrelevant as there are MANY things working together within the amazing human body to prepare for the birth of a baby. Unfortunately, modern medicine and many OB/Gyns will make mothers feel as though their bodies are broken during this time and that they “just won’t dilate” which isn’t always the case (or is rarely the case, I should say) and then it usually ends in a c-section. I am SO thankful that Ben and I educated ourselves and that we had a midwife who was PATIENT, believed in natural birth, encouraging and allowed me to continue to labor. Also, dilation is measured differently by most everyone. It is so tricky to gauge true dilation. I won’t lie to you and say that I didn’t feel discouraged and totally defeated at this point in my labor. Again, I can’t say enough how tremendous my husband was during this phase. He knew what was happening and he kept reminding me that my body was doing what it needed to do for me and for the baby and that I was a champ. These words and reminders were powerful to me during this stage.
 
My midwife suggested that I start trying some other positions and let gravity work with me. From 1:00 PM- 2:00 PM, I labored in many different positions such as hands and knees, the birth ball, squatting, side lying. At this point, I started to majorly doubt myself. I started saying things like “I can’t do this anymore”, “I need relief” and “I think I want the epidural now”. I was crying and really started wanting drugs at this point. Ben and Nicole kept talking me through each contraction and were so sweet and supportive.
 
At 2:00 PM I asked to get into the tub again and after about 15 minutes, I felt an overwhelming urge to push. I couldn’t not push. It was impossible. This baby was coming whether I was 10 cm or not! I knew it. The pressure was intense and the urge would not subside. I got out of the tub at 2:15 PM and sat on the toilet. This is when I hit transition. It was intense. I was shaking, throwing up and crying. Nicole and Ben kept saying, “remember this is the shortest part- you’re doing amazing!”. It felt like I couldn’t go on. Where was I going to find the energy to push? Nicole had me get on hands and knees on the bed again and I pushed a couple of times. I had an intense need to bear down through each contraction. I stayed on hands and knees for about 15 mins and then I wanted to change to the classic pushing position (sitting up with knees back). This detail is funny to me because during our labor rehearsals, I thought for sure I would HATE that position for pushing but sure enough, it’s what I wanted. I started pushing in classic position at 2:45 and pushed through each contraction for a little over an hour. My pushing contractions were way more spread out and I was talking, joking and laughing through them. When they came though, I HAD to push with my body. I remember wanting to groan really loud when I pushed but my midwife kept telling me to focus all of my energy on pushing. She massaged my perineum with oil between and during my pushes to keep me from tearing. I remember feeling the “ring of fire” as the head was crowning and they kept saying “He has hair!”. This was so motivating to me, I wanted my baby in my arms. I pushed through the burning a few times and at 3:56 PM on May 29, 2014, Everett Benjamin Rhodes was born! They placed him on my chest immediately and the most overwhelming sense of joy, love, relief, excitement, happiness and pure peace came crashing over me. Never in my life have I experienced a rush like that. Ben and I couldn’t take our eyes off of him as he nuzzled into me and let out the most precious cries I have ever heard in my life. 
 
We did it! We had birthed our baby as a team and I was so shocked and in disbelief that I made it through without ANY pain meds. I felt like I could literally do ANYTHING. The moments after his birth were precious and I will never forget how precious the skin-to-skin contact and the first time breastfeeding was. It was surely love at first sight- this child whom we had prayed for, prepared for and had already grown to love on the inside came into our world and radically changed our lives in an instant. We were a family.
 
If this experience taught me anything at all, it surely was a beautiful lesson in trust. Trusting the Lord, my husband, my midwife, my body and my baby. I realized that my “plans” were surely secondary and I learned to “roll with the punches” per se. We didn’t get to have the water birth at a birth center that we so desired and planned for but our birth story is beautiful in every way, filled with adventure and is a journey that I would absolutely change nothing about. Everett ended up having a pretty severe jaundice case and we had to stay in the hospital 4 extra days. I was able to stay even though discharged because the hospital was very small and they didn’t need the rooms, the medical staff were complete angels and we were very well taken care of. I can’t say enough how wonderful the entire experience was there. 
 
I am so grateful for everyone who participated in Everett’s birth and especially for the support that I felt in my husband. We were truly a team and I learned that he really did listen to all 12 classes that we went through😉 We will try for the water birth next time, my body is NOT broken, it IS possible to have a pitocin induction and not have to have an epidural! IMG_9831 IMG_9834 IMG_9811 IMG_9859 IMG_9916 IMG_9924 IMG_9940 IMG_9836 IMG_9922 IMG_9816 IMG_9817
 
The end of the best beginning. <3 

 

Careful Hands

“Put your coat on, this city trembles.
Keep your chin up, as you untangle God
From cold blood and bruises.

We are X-rays of something broken.
Cursive bloodlines write every forecast:
An orchestration Of dissonance and innocent surrender.

When our color dies,
We will bury the ashes of time,
And we will earn new eyes.

Wrists get tired rewriting futures.
Our bodies beg us to be creatures of habit.
We are creatures of habit.”

To me, this song says it all right now. I can’t figure God out. I never will be able to. Yet, I trust Him and I am attempting to keep my chin up through all of this. I am learning to see God in the mess, hurt and pain. (Untangling God from cold blood and bruises).

I am broken and shattered and I beg and try to reason with God argumentatively only to come to the realization that all I need to do is surrender. Trials and tests are instruments used to shape and form me.
(Cursive bloodlines write every forecast: An orchestration Of dissonance and innocent surrender.)

I know that one day, in time I will realize the reasoning behind the pain and the purpose for the suffering. (When our color dies, We will bury the ashes of time, And we will earn new eyes.)

I can’t foresee the future. I am human and I am susceptible to the frailties of human nature. I crave stability and I crave comfort. I am a creature of habit.
(Wrists get tired rewriting futures. Our bodies beg us to be creatures of habit. We are creatures of habit.”)

Basically the song is amazing and I just get it.

-ar-

Heart spill.

For a brief instance out of the corner of my mind’s eye I could’ve sworn I saw something so vivid yet so unclear; my future.

It’s as if I ran a script through my mind or watched it move across a screen before my eyes only to be so rudely interrupted by the many distractions that life so unexpectedly brings.

I’m almost grateful that my expectations are not secure just in the confines of my own heart and mind and that I am able to freely discover much greater things that may seem unattainable to my limited hopes and dreams.

But when we dream daringly, seeing no limits and understanding that our minds are of slight dimension compared to His elaborate mind is when we begin to understand to a somewhat moderate degree how much more there actually is. The fact that we aren’t able to grasp the fullness can seem overwhelming yet can be so invigorating and even, comforting.

I seem to be understanding that the limits I put on my dreams and heart’s desires are directly related to the insecurities and fears that I face deep within myself. I’ve been jaded by disappointment but have learned that where faith is lacking, doubt is very present.

To the best of my ability I intend to embrace my current state with joy and gratitude. My aim is to grow. To learn. To dream.

And I feel like I’m finally dreaming again…

Aside

Before and behi…

Before and behind us, weaving in and out like rainbows through clouds. Bursts of vibrant color and every now and again a splotch of grey or black is thrown in the mix.
Keeping me alive, yet letting me see the darkness and feel the pains of it, too.
I thank you for that.
Endless fields, vast horizons, the ocean’s edge and Your creation in general has the ability to completely overwhelm me.
The rain on my face feels refreshing and the lights in the sky fascinate me.
Both darkness and light lead me to You. Every time. I do believe I feel closer to You this way.
You dwell withIN and all around.
It really is so beautiful.

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“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” Psalm 8:3,4

-ar

“Deliver Me, O Jesus”

“Deliver me, O Jesus:

From the desire of being esteemed

From the desire of being loved

From the desire of being honored

From the desire of being praised

From the desire of being preferred to others

From the desire of being consulted

From the desire of being approved

From the desire of being popular.

Deliver me, O Jesus:

From the fear of being humiliated

From the fear of being despised

From the fear of being rebuked

From the fear of being slandered

From the fear of being forgotten

From the fear of being wronged

From the fear of being treated unfairly

From the fear of being suspected

And, Jesus, grant me the grace

To desire that others might be more loved than I

That others might be more esteemed than I

That in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I decrease

That others may be chosen and I set aside

That others may be preferred to me in everything

That others may become holier than I, provided that I, too, become as holy as I can.”

(Mother Theresa, A Simple Path)

Notice the first two paragraphs as she is asking to be delivered, she repeatedly uses the words “desire” and “fear“. These two feelings and emotions are probably two of the strongest we, as humans experience and face on a daily basis. We all fear something and we all crave something. I know that I, in my human-ness fear many things such as rejection, disappointing someone or not measuring up to expectations. I desire to be noticed. I secretly desire for my efforts to be praised and I desire to be loved and accepted. I believe we all face and have come to grips with every single one of these desires and fears and obviously even Mother Theresa had. That is why she prayed, “Deliver me- rid me of these desires and fears and grant me the grace to desire that OTHERS be more loved than I and more esteemed than I…etc.” How I desire to reflect this. It’s very easy to pray a prayer similar to this or to post it as inspiration for yourself and others but may it not just be inspiration. All too often I am inspired by something or someone and I leave it at that. May I become influenced and affected to alter my persona and character to reflect what it is that had the power of moving my intellect and emotions.

Deliver me, O Jesus and humble me.

-ar

True Greatness

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In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8

Wow.

I’ve read this passage various times in my life and every time I read it, it wows me all over again.

This principle of servant leadership looks strange to most of the world. The Kingdom of God permits that the lowest will ultimately be exalted. The humble will reap great rewards. Those who put themselves last and serve to not be seen are the ones who God looks upon and delights in. He is attracted to humility. He is drawn to a heart of meekness.

There is much to be said about the example that Jesus set for us. We could study His words, parables, stories and teachings our entire lives (and many have) and probably never grasp the fullness of it all. However, He set the ultimate example simply in the way that he lived His life on this earth. To study His life and works is to learn of His humble ways and of His full submission to His father’s will.

Jesus exemplified servant leadership. He knew the key to greatness was to become the lowest of the low. He bowed so low that he was nearly unrecognized as the one who was the fullness of God. He lived a life of humility and traded his garments of holiness to take on garments of flesh.

He never walked around “parading” himself. Rather, He said, “I do not honor myself”. He never coerced people to follow Him. He never manipulated. He only served. His posture of servant leadership was inherent within Him. He led by His quality of life and out of the depth of His genuine compassion and love for others. He made the ultimate sacrifice and with immense strength and dignity, He looked death square in the face and walked serenely towards it.

Jesus understood the blessing that accompanies meekness and he lived His life in that manner. He knew that to be exalted to the highest place, you must first take the lowest place. This is the mind which must be in us. Like Christ, we must seek to become the servant of all and make ourselves of no reputation. We must serve from a place of meekness, a place of true humility. Humility that requires no honor.

I once heard someone say, “The branches that bear the most fruit hang the lowest” and I never forgot those words or the mental picture that it gave me.

A life of true humility will be that of lowliness and will truly bear fruit.

This will forever be the only way to true greatness.

-ar

The Value of Love

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I listened to a challenging message on “The Value of Love” yesterday that tugged at my heartstrings and shed light into a deep part of me. Not in just the “wow, that revelation gave me nice chills for a minute” but in the “wow, I desperately desire to put this into practice in my life” sort of way.

I love. It’s easy to love those who love me in return. But what about those who pay no attention or give no recognition to my care and concern for them? What about those who don’t know how to love me back the way that I want or even expect them to? I tend to have quite a sensitive little heart (I know. You’re shocked, aren’t you?) and while this can be a beautiful blessing at times, it can also be quite a heavy burden to bear.

The beautiful promise of God’s love for His creation gives an astounding analogy to my little human heart and the capacity that it holds to feel and to hurt. He loved us SO much and gave everything to give us LIFE and to show us LOVE. What more does He ever have to do? Nothing. He has done more for me than I can ever fathom or grasp. My human mind can’t comprehend the loyalty and faithfulness of His love, grace and mercy. Why do I ever doubt His love and concern for me? My doubt and inability to accept His fullness must break His heart. Yet, He never stops loving. He never stops giving. He never stop extending His ever loving grace and tender mercy to my heart because He is who He says He is and He is faithful to my heart. His love never ends. It never runs out. It never gives up.

To truly resemble that pure love is humanly impossible. His heart is so forgiving and true. He truly is patient and kind. He is not rude or self-seeking. He loves with no intention of receiving love in return. He loves us so wholly and yet, sometimes, we break His heart.

This is why we need the Spirit of God to pour into our hearts the revelation of God’s love for us. I can’t believe the beauty of this truth on my own. In my broken, fallen human state I need all of the power of God working INSIDE of me to fully convince me. However, I can and must do my part by OPENING my heart to believe and to wrestle against the lies and accusation of Satan that I am inadequate of this love or that I’ve gone too far. God is love, and it is this truth of the love of the Father, and the love of the Son that will set my heart free and give me life.

His love strengthens our hearts. It sheds light into our love for others. It encompasses us and meets us where we are.

I want to love like Jesus loves. Only I can’t do it without first accepting His love and acceptance of me in every area of my life.

“Love for God and others is the fruit of the miracle of regeneration and the Holy Spirit’s work within us. The Holy spirit begins empowering us to WANT to love, giving us the ability TO love and causing us to KNOW the love of God”

Sometimes it’s the simplest of revelations that can have the deepest of meanings.

We cannot possibly love fully and wholly until we KNOW and fully accept the love of God.

May I abide His love. May I walk in His love.

-ar

Here we go…

I’m back on the blogosphere! I blogged for years only to abruptly stop near the end of last year. Life got crazy busy with planning a wedding to being married and then moving to a new place, so blogging kind of fell to the wayside for me.

So, I am starting fresh and new. I’m going to try this whole wordpress thing out and see how I like it.

I hope you enjoy my thoughts and often, senseless rambling❤

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