I've been waiting to show you some of the family pictures we had taken recently and today I finally had some time to post them. Our friend Jeff took them for us, he also photographed us 2 years ago when Ava was just 7 months old and like before, he did a great job. Seriously, photographers are magicians I think. You'd never know that it was cold that morning, our kids had runny noses and Carter cried for most of the hour we were shooting these! As I poured through them and even as we took them that day, the significance of how our little family has grown kept washing over me..
We have two kids, we're a party of four...
I wanted to take some time this month, to reflect on the many things I'm thankful for and today, I'm starting with my little family.
When we found out we were expecting Ava, we were thrilled at the thought of a baby girl.
As we immersed ourselves in a sea of pink that first year, we embraced all things girl. Pink toys, baby dolls, hairbows and princess themed cups spilled out of every corner in our home. We were so in love with our Ava Page that when we discovered the Lord had blessed us with baby #2, I immediately thought the Lord would give us another girl, a little sister to grow up with.
But at our 20 week ultrasound, we saw with our own eyes that the Lord had a different plan for our family. In His grace and wisdom, He had a plan for a little boy to enter our world and shake things up. Literally! He gave us a bright eyed, blonde-haired, ball of energy to bring us twice the joy and love we thought we were capable of having.
On that day in June, we were introduced to the color blue and in a matter of seconds, I'd never seen a color I loved more. God took the heart of this Mom, who thought she'd have a pair of sisters to nurture and He carved a new spot for a little brother. A spot that belonged to him all along.
Now we would have the privilege of raising a sweet daughter and son to know and love the Lord and to grow up to be a Godly woman and man.
Suddenly our roles and responsibilites were sharpened. I would model the way of Godly womanhood for my daughter, by the grace of God alone, as she watched me be the wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend God called me to be. For my son, I would do the same and paint a picture of the woman he might wait for, when it's his perrogative to seek the Lord for a wife. A high calling indeed, and one not to be taken lightly.
For Travis, he would model Biblical manhood to our son, as he led our family and loved and served us with the same kind of love that Christ displayed for the Church, only by the grace and strength of the Lord. He would show him how to be a man, a husband, a father, a son, a Pastor and a friend. As he did these things in the presence of our kids, he would also paint a picture of the kind of man our daughter might wait for as she trusts the Lord to bring her the husband she's dreamed of.
With the knowledge of having a son and a daughter, we suddenly gained little mini-me's. A meticulous, creative, neat-freak little girl and a tender hearted, demonstrative, thrill seeking little boy!
Pure JOY twice over!
As this past year has unfolded, we have marveled at the plans of our God. Plans that are good, right, and just. Plans that give us a hope and future. Plans for a little girl and a little boy who would change us forever.
Our laundry has doubled and our groceries too but would we go back? Back to the quiet nights, the free weekends, the meals for two? No. Someday we'll be forced to when the Lord moves them on, out of our home and on to the path He has marked for them. But until that day comes, we will take every long, disrupted night and each exhausting day to love these little people and grow them up in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
There was a day when we doubted the plan God had for us.
When we didn't know how He would give us children of our own or if He would.
Those days were hard and not always filled with beds of roses.
But as only He can, He saw us through with patience and love and faithfulness.
He reminded us that His ways are not our ways, that He works all things out for the good of those who love Him and His plans are better. Always better.
He knew that a little red head and a little blonde would one day keep us busier than we could imagine and bring us right back to Him for wisdom and strength.
He knew we needed each other and a marriage centered on Him to survive parenthood.
He knew we'd fail, we'd make the wrong decisions, we'd look other places for validation and we'd forget the reason we were created.
He knew all of that, before He led us to one another, before we bent our knees to Him.
And He gave us Carter Travis.
He chose us, imperfect and flawed, and He gave us them.
By His grace and mercy, we are doing our best to give them, Him.
A party of four and we couldn't be more humbled or grateful to Him for it.
"From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another."