naming caleb jordan.

With great joy, Kevin and I named our daughters Lydia Evelyn and Eliza Rose within hours after finding out their genders around 20 weeks pregnant. Our last pregnancy, we had decided on “Micah” boy or girl and had been referring to Micah by name within a few days after we found out we were pregnant.

Through our first two pregnancies with Lydia and Eliza, Micah had been our top boy’s name. We’d hardly even considered other boy names because we were so sure of it. So, after losing Micah to miscarriage, and nearing halfway on our rainbow-baby pregnancy, brainstorming boy names were a total blank slate. 

As we awaited the gender, “Baby J” had been this baby’s nickname from early on, mostly due to the Jayhawk mascot and being a KU family! Along the way, we also wondered if this kid would have a J name and the nickname “J” would stick for the rest of their life. When it came down to the week of our gender reveal, we had our top three girl names and top three boy names, and all of them started with the letter “J” except one late addition: Caleb.

Caleb means faithful, whole-hearted devotion, brave, and courageous. It was the meaning behind this name that drew us in most, as I’ll get into more later. As the days before our gender reveal grew closer, we landed on our top girl’s name, but our boy’s name remained unclear. Every time we casually discussed boy names, ultimately, we couldn’t even fathom having a boy! The very thought that blue balloons could come out of that box felt so surreal to me that naming a son was even less comprehendible. So, Kevin and I stacked hands on our girl’s name and when it came to our boy’s name we agreed: let’s cross that bridge when we get there.

T H E . R E V E A L .

On the Sunday before our 20-week appointment and gender reveal, I was sitting in church, and our pastor closed his sermon by inviting us to intentionally avoid distractions and listen to the voice of God. I had been preoccupied all sermon-long recounting regrets from the day and overanalyzing what others thought of me, constantly replaying situations in my head. As I paused to ask God what He had to say and put away the tormenting distractions in my mind, the Holy Spirit brought this Scripture to mind:

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13).

God, I feel so faithless, and so full of doubt… 
I AM FAITHFUL.”
This year, this season, it’s been so hard… 
I AM FAITHFUL.”
But God, what if…?
I AM FAITHFUL.”

My thoughts had been interrupted, and I could not get His words “I am faithful” out of my head. It was as if the very voice of God had been written on my heart. I could no longer think of my faithless regrets, only of the Grace that comes through Christ alone. Praise God, even in our doubts and disbeliefs, even when we lack faith, HE IS FAITHFUL

As we were driving away after church, I shared this moment with Kevin. I knew that God wanted to draw my attention away from my faithlessness in that moment and focus my attention on His faithfulness – and to give my God the worship and glory He deserves. To rest in His grace. I also told Kevin, with open hands: “If we are having a boy, did God just give me his name? Will our son’s name forever remind me that God is faithful?”

I pondered these things in my heart, but Wednesday’s reveal still needed to come. 

O U R . B O Y .

Even though I had said that out loud to Kevin days before, that Lydia had insisted all pregnancy that Baby J was a boy, and I’d had a dream about being pregnant with a boy two weeks before our positive test… still I doubted and convinced myself that we were having a third girl. We had an all-girl family, and surely that’s how it would always be…

We had decided to save the special moment of finding out the gender of Baby J until we could have the moment with our daughters Lydia and Eliza at our sides. After a healthy 20-week appointment and the gender sealed in an envelope, we gave the sealed envelope to a dear friend who put together a box filled with balloons and streamers for the reveal. We invited a few close friends and family to join in the celebration. This same friend caught on video our reaction: shock, surprise, excitement, and literal jumping for joy when blue balloons and streamers indeed poured over our heads! 

It’s a boy! He’s a boy! We are having a son!

While we processed all the emotions – the excitement, the fear, the joy – it was within the full week after this reveal that God confirmed our son’s name, Caleb Jordan. His nickname around the house has slowly changed from Baby J to Baby CJ

C A L E B . J O R D A N . 

Most of 2020 through the start of 2021 was a difficult season for our family, even before our miscarriage in January. Heading into the year, the Lord gave Kevin the word “courage.” His constant prayer: Lord, give me more courage. Kevin’s conviction was that it’s not about getting things right or having the right answers, but simply having more courage. For me, I felt that I was constantly being reminded into the new year to “embrace my humanness.” My conviction was that it’s not about my ability to be faithful on my own, but that God alone is faithful, and He created me—human—to depend on Him, and that dependence is not weakness; that dependance is beautiful.

As I mentioned earlier, Caleb means “faithful, whole-hearted devotion, brave, and courageous.” It truly was the meaning of his name that we couldn’t get past because of how it fit with the exact words and prayers we’d been praying for in this season of our life. It encompassed both the word COURAGE and FAITHFUL. We needed courage to rise redeemed out of a season of darkness and to re-enter hope and intimate relationships. We needed our faith to be dependent on God and not on ourselves in the depths of our grief.

As we look back on this entire season, it was more than just that moment sitting in church and hearing God draw my attention to His faithfulness, but GOD has made His faithfulness known throughout our entire pregnancy with Caleb Jordan, from the unplanned timing of conception to the joy of discovering we will raise a son! 

For his middle name, Jordan means “to flow down.” The Jordan River has very significant symbolism in the Bible and has provided several meanings for us. Water is a representation of new life. Just as Caleb Jordan is the sign of new life after loss, so water represents new life in Christ through baptism.

Secondly, the Jordan River is another symbol and reminder of God’s faithfulness to His people. After wondering 40 years in the desert, after decades of unfaithfulness and turning away from the Lord, God carries the Hebrew people through the Jordan River and into the Promised Land. The Israelites were faithless, but God remained faithful. And then, centuries later, God chooses to send His son Jesus into the world – the ultimate symbol of His faithfulness to a faithless human race. God had spoken of Jesus’ coming through the kings and prophets, and again He was faithful to carry out His promise. And where does Jesus’ ministry begin? Jesus’ ministry begins with His baptism in the Jordan River.

The Jordan River is where Jesus was baptized and truly began His ministry on earth after 30 years of waiting (Mark 1:9-11).

Together, Caleb Jordan means “faithfulness and courage flow down.” And wow, has God’s faithfulness and courage flowed down from heaven to us through this precious life!

T H E . N A M I N G .

After a weekend trip away, about a week after the reveal, I was sitting down during Lydia and Eliza’s nap time and praying that God would confirm our son’s name to me. I was drawn to study the Scriptures and the life of Caleb, a courageous and faithful warrior. I found the account in Numbers 13-14 of Caleb, who enters to story as one who took part in Israel’s great exodus from Egypt, through the parting of the Red Sea, a rising leader among the tribe of Judah. As I read that story, I saw Caleb’s faithfulness and whole-hearted devotion to God in the face of disapproval and even death. I saw Caleb’s courage to speak out against all of Israel to trust in God’s faithfulness. I read about the way that God honored Caleb’s whole-hearted devotion and courage by allowing him to be one among only two from his generation that would see Israel indeed experience and receive the Promised Land.  

As I read Numbers 13:30, the words nearly leapt off the page: “Then Caleb quieted the people in the presence of Moses and said, ‘Let’s go up now and take possession of the land because we can certainly conquer it!’”

Again, in Numbers 14:8-9, Caleb along with Joshua persist against Israel’s betrayal and faithlessness, saying: “Don’t rebel against the Lord and don’t be afraid of the people of the land… the Lord is with us. Don’t be afraid of them!

And yet, Israel chooses to deny God, and as God’s just wrath comes, God spares Caleb and acknowledges his faithfulness: “But since my servant Caleb has a different spirit and has remained loyal to me, I will bring him into the land where he has gone, and his descendants will inherit it” Numbers 14:24.

This kind of courage, this kind of faithfulness, that is our prayer for our Caleb Jordan. That he would live a life of courage and whole-hearted devotion to his God and King. In this moment that I was praying for our son, Kevin spontaneously walked in the door, and we studied the Scriptures together. Tears filled our eyes and we prayed. God had just revealed Caleb Jordan’s name to us. 

1 0 . W E E K S . L A T E R .

The past 10 weeks have been a blur since that day, and as I write this, I am nearly 32 weeks pregnant. CJ is moving all the time, day and night, whether I’m laying down, sitting, or walking. We just finished a very busy few months of work and life and I should be spending more time on the couch. Lydia and Eliza love watching CJ grow and give him hugs and kisses and talk with him every single day. Lydia is constantly asking questions about his arrival and always follows up on how his doctor’s appointments go. Lydia and Eliza have both made a habit of praying for baby CJ at night to grow healthy and strong. Our whole family is counting down the weeks until his arrival! 

With only 8 weeks to go, I’m trying to start a small baby registry and think about boy nursery items but the little boy clothes and decor all still feel very foreign to me. As we transition Eliza to her sister’s room and start getting CJ’s room ready in a few weeks, I wonder if adding a third, a son, to our family will start to feel more real. Chasing two toddlers with physical pain and fatigue from pregnancy don’t allow much time for planning and dreaming for the future, but it also makes the moments that I stop to pray or dream that much sweeter.

Lord, thank you for this little life. Thank you for Caleb Jordan. Thank you for our son. May he continuously remind us of Your faithfulness flowing down to us and to have courage no matter what season we are in. We can’t wait to meet you, CJ.

rainbow baby.

Spring was a season of grieving and healing. As March approached, we crossed the two-month mark of our miscarriage. My doctor told us to wait two months to start trying again for another pregnancy to ensure my body had fully healed. While still processing our loss of baby Micah, I began to place hope in a new pregnancy – a new life, predestined by the sovereignty of God, that could redeem and give understanding to our loss. Lord willing, there is another child we were meant to hold and raise on this earth.

I convinced Kevin that we should wait one more month to try again for one reason alone: Let’s avoid a December baby. With Eliza’s birthday on the 10th and mine on the 19th, plus Christmas, plus other immediate family, I feared that not being excited about a December-due-date baby would trigger more sadness of our August-due-date loss. 

So, we protected and prevented for about two weeks around the window of my expected ovulation. 

Our God had different things in store. 

Around that time, I got my first dose of the COVID vaccine, and I remember marking on the sheet “Not pregnant/no chance of being pregnant.” I hesitated before I marked the box and thought to myself, there’s no way. The same week, I had a dream that I was pregnant and remember laughing about it to my friends after church. To them I reiterated, there’s no way it’s true.

In mid-April, a few days before our cross-country spring family vacation, I woke up one morning feeling off. I thought to myself: Surely, it’s because my period is coming soon. When is my period coming? I grabbed my phone and opened up my fertility tracking app, which read:

6 days late.

My first thought was surprise. Clearly it had not been on my radar at all. My period must be coming today, I thought to myself. As the day came and went, reality started to set in, and I experienced a lot of emotions: denial, anger, confusion, anxiousness, fear.

But as the sun set and the next morning came, a new day, the Lord gave me peace even in the unknown. I needed to take a pregnancy test. 

I picked up a box of pregnancy tests at the store and waited for a moment to take one with Kevin. Waiting for a 4th positive test is an experience I wasn’t sure I’d ever have. When we saw the double line, indicating positive, the Lord gifted us in that moment with joy. All we could do was smile and laugh.

Our new journey had begun.
Our rainbow baby.
Our surprise.

OK God, we get it. YOU are in control. Even when we try, we can’t control the way that you create life, in your timing. We trust you with this child, that his or her days are numbered—just as we’ve trusted you with our first three: Lydia, Eliza, and Micah. 

FIRST APPOINTMENT.

Perhaps it was the distraction of vacation or the shock and joy of our pregnancy, but the fear and anxiety of pregnancy after loss didn’t set in until Kevin and I were laying in bed together the night before our first appointment. I broke down in tears. 

Our appointment. Our appointment was where we found out that Micah’s heart had stopped beating. Everything was fine before our appointment.

Kevin and I prayed together and once again had to relinquish control and trust God. We just needed to get to the other side of our appointment. 

It all felt so familiar – except for one major difference. Thank God, Kevin was at the appointment with me. (He was not able to come to our sonogram with Micah due to COVID.) We held hands as the sonogram started.

“This baby is measuring much smaller than your projected due date,” the sonogram tech said immediately. 

After a deep breath, I let my sonogram tech know our story. I let her know that there was absolutely zero chance that this baby was conceived between the window of 7-9 weeks ago. With that, she assured me that she was no longer worried about baby’s size. Our baby had a healthy heartbeat and healthy size for a 6-week pregnancy. They moved my due date back about two weeks.

Turns out, I had ovulated 12 days late.
Our due date?
December 17.
Right in between mine and Eliza’s birthdays.
The exact week we wanted to avoid.

But at that point, I could care less about the shared birthday week.
The only thing that mattered: our baby was healthy.

While we celebrated, we also kept up our hearts guarded. Micah’s heartbeat didn’t stop until 10 weeks. We still had a long way to go.

SECOND APPOINTMENT.

Our second appointment was set for 10.5 weeks pregnant and the day before we left for our Young Life summer assignment. This timing almost mirrored the same appointment we found out about our last loss. As first trimester nausea began to cease and a few trips provided much-needed distractions, anxiety came in again as Kevin and I left for our second appointment. 

There was nothing I could do to control any of the circumstances. We just needed to get to the other side of our appointment. 

The plan was to detect baby’s heartbeat on the Doppler with our nurse practitioner. When she came in the room, she assured me that I was on the early side so if they didn’t catch a heartbeat, not to be immediately worried.

Within 15 seconds of doing the Doppler and no heartbeat detected, she stopped suddenly and said, “We’re doing a sonogram.”

Kevin and I just waited anxiously behind a closed door for our sonogram.
More waiting.

When the sonogram tech got us and led us to the room for our sonogram, Kevin held my hand tight again. I took a deep breath, in this all-too-familiar space, staring at the screen in front of me.

Within two seconds of our baby being on the screen, the sonogram tech knew what I needed to hear, “Your baby is a great size and a healthy heartbeat.”

I wept.
Instantly.
I cried so hard that she had to stop the sonogram.
I couldn’t stop crying.
–tears of absolute relief and gratitude.

When I finally could regain control of my breathing and slow down my tears, we started the sonogram again. Our tech explained that my placenta was anterior which is why they couldn’t pick up baby’s heartbeat on the Doppler. She assured me that was normal, and we even got to see our baby wave and kick!

Finally, we could take a deep breath. We allowed ourselves to fully celebrate this little life.

THE END TO THE FIRST TRIMESTER.

To be honest, it feels like I’ve waiting 6 months to be out of my first trimester. And I’ve never been happier to see my baby bump grow than I have these last few weeks! At almost 15 weeks, Lydia and Eliza have taken notice of “Baby J” growing. Lydia has started praying for Baby J at night and praising God for his life. (She’s convinced he’s a boy…we will see at 20 weeks!) Lydia even taught Eliza how to “kiss” Baby J on my belly and at night they take turns kissing my belly. This new daily routine is the sweetest gift. 

There have been so many mixed emotions this pregnancy.
I have cried as many tears for Micah in this pregnancy as I did before. I still miss Micah.
Yet I also rejoice in this new life.
Sitting in the tension of both of those emotions—joy and grief—in a way I never have quite before.
To rejoice is to also grieve, and to grieve is to also rejoice.

Yet I need to feel and experience each emotion separately.
I need to remind myself that grieving Micah doesn’t mean loving “Baby J” any less.
Celebrating Baby J doesn’t mean missing Micah any less.
To be honest, I’m still sitting in this tension.

There are days when I have peace, but still moments when I break down and cry as the heartbreak of losing a child and the tension between the two emotions overwhelm me. 

ALL I KNOW.

If there is anything that this fourth pregnancy has shown me, it’s that I literally can’t take control, even when I try! The fact that our pregnancy was an unplanned surprise has somehow given me more peace to let go and let God be God.

Early in pregnancy I came across this Bible verse: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

God’s ways are not my ways, His thoughts are not my thoughts. His ways are higher, higher than I can comprehend. All I know is I need Him. I run to the Father and I fall into His grace… again, and again, and again.

So here we go. December, you don’t scare me anymore.

We are ready for you baby number 4, our rainbow baby.
We are ready to name you, find out your gender, and prepare our home for you.
We are ready to meet you, hold you, and raise you. 
You are the one we’ve been waiting for.

God chose you, and we choose you too. 
We are yours, and you are mine. 

baby micah.

NAMING MICAH

When I was 20 weeks pregnant with Eliza and found out that she was a girl, we felt strongly about the name Eliza Rose but also had the name Micah on the table. Micah had originally been our boy name through two pregnancies, but we also loved the name for a girl. That same night, I had a dream that we had three girls: Lydia, Eliza, and our littlest, Micah. 

I woke up that next morning and felt so strongly: The Lord is saying don’t be afraid to have three girls, and you’re supposed to have one more: Micah.

Micah is Hebrew for the phrase “who is like God?” We also loved the name because it comes from the same root word as Michael (Kevin’s middle name) and Michelle (Kevin’s mother’s name.) Open handed but confident, from that moment I had held onto a vision of our family. Months after Eliza was born, Kevin and I couldn’t wait to be pregnant again and have our Micah—boy or girl—and complete our family.

LIFE BEFORE MICAH

Leading up to December, we had entered a dark season for reasons that I will keep confidential on this platform. I was exhausted from nights without sleep and I felt scared and anxious leading up to the days of my missed period. On our first pregnancy test we saw the smallest, faintest line. I’ll never forget that night when around 9pm, Kevin left for the store to get more pregnancy tests. The next one showed an even fainter line—but the line was still there. After processing it all, we decided to tell no one but planned to take another test a few days later to confirm. 

On the morning of December 7, I took another pregnancy test and left it in the bathroom. Kevin and I swooped up our two daughters to bring them back to see the results and celebrate the news: a solid line! “There’s a baby in mommy’s belly!!!” The four of us cheered, danced, and celebrated! Over the next several weeks and through the holidays we shared our news with friends and family. My baby bump showed quickly. I had all the symptoms. Our family felt complete.

Immediately we started calling the baby Micah.

LIFE WITH MICAH

Despite it being a challenging season, there were also sweet moments that Micah experienced with us. Micah helped me turn 30 years old and celebrate entering a new decade! Micah gave us hope for the year 2021 after a really difficult 2020. One part of this last month that I never want to forget was the first time Lydia, at 2 ½ years old, ever asked to pray before a meal or before bedtime started the week before our miscarriage. She insisted on praying and would pray: Dear Lord, please help the baby in Mommy’s belly, thank you for Baby Micah, I pray she grows and is born. Amen. Hallelujah! (Lydia Evelyn, I will never forget your first genuine prayer. I am so sorry that God didn’t answer it the way we wanted.) 

The week leading up to our miscarriage was one of the most emotionally exhausting weeks of my life. But Micah was with me for every single heartbeat. For every sleepless night. For every helpless prayer. Micah brought me comfort and gave me hope. After a week of traumatic and hurtful events that I will not record, on Wednesday, January 6, a sweet friend took my kids for a few hours and sent me off to have time with Jesus. I wrote these words: 

In 2020 I am leaving behind regret. I am leaving behind what could have been, the grief of loss that surrounded me from every side. 

In 2021, I will be marked by freedom. I will be marked by embracing my humanness. By embracing my limitations and my capacity. By wholly accepting the gospel as I am – not for what I can achieve. May my weaknesses be Your Glory. 

.

THE DAY WE LOST MICAH

Lydia woke us up at 6am on Thursday, January 7, just like she had most mornings the past month. Yet instead of having Kevin go tell her to say in her room one more hour, I had this sudden urge to be with her. I said out loud: “I want to hold my baby.” I asked Kevin if he would bring her back to bed with us. In a very rare moment for my never-stop-moving toddler, she climbed in bed with me and just hugged me and told me she loved me. We didn’t stop holding each other and telling the other I love you for about 15 minutes. That was a gift. I got my usual morning cuddles in with Eliza and started getting ready for my morning doctor’s appointment. This appointment was supposed to be the point of relief after a really emotionally exhausting week. 

And for about 5 seconds, I had that relief. Kevin, Lydia and Eliza were on FaceTime as the sonogram tech started the sonogram. Immediately, we saw Micah.

“Look Lydia and Eliza!” I said out loud over the phone. “There’s baby Micah!” 

There are really no words to describe what happened next. To experience the joy of seeing your baby on the screen and sharing that joy with your other children – to the shock and confusion of hearing a sonogram tech say the words: “I’m so sorry, there’s no heartbeat.”

I was stunned to silence. The only words I could mutter were: “Are you sure?”

As Kevin’s hands went to his eyes hiding tears, I saw Lydia’s face in the corner. I heard her sweet voice ask, “What happened to baby Micah?” 

I took a deep breath. To help my oldest daughter understand, I had to speak into existence the truth that still hadn’t hit me. “Baby Micah died.” 

I collected my sonogram picture of baby Micah and was ushered into another room. Kevin and I stayed on the phone and cried together until my mom came to pick up the girls from our house, and Kevin stayed on the phone through all the next steps. We decided to choose the pill option with the hopes of inducing miscarriage and avoiding surgery if possible. We asked all the questions we could think of during the appointment, including, “Is there anything we could have done to prevent or cause this?” and “Is there any chance our baby’s heart will start beating again?”

As soon as I arrived at home Kevin and I just held each other and cried. After a few calls and texts, we agreed that we wanted to go pick up our girls, clear out our work schedules, and take the medicine later that day.

I was almost 10 weeks on a third pregnancy and had passed the point of hiding my bump. The hardest part was that Lydia could see the baby in my belly. We had to explain to her that baby Micah wouldn’t be in my belly anymore but instead would be in heaven with Jesus. Having to remind her of this constantly for the first two days became one of the hardest parts. (But her accepting and telling me she now longer sees a baby in my belly was just as hard.)

After putting the girls down for their afternoon naps, Kevin and I sat in the quiet of our living room. We processed all of our emotions and as much grief as we could verbalize. When it became time to take the medicine, I broke down. There was something about the actual act of vaginally inserting pills that made it feel so final. Not to mention I was really scared for what was to come. We decided in that moment to just stop and pray. We wept together and cried out to God, but in our prayers, we just couldn’t stop thanking God for Micah and for the time that we did have with this baby, for the season that we did carry this child in. This little life was beyond a gift to us for nearly 10 weeks. This little life changed us. 

We lamented what could have been and quickly our prayers turned into talking directly to Micah.

Micah, we love you… we were so excited when we found out about you… thank you for comforting us and bringing us joy in one of the darkest seasons of our life… we wish we could have met you, held you, heard your first cry, seen your first smile, seen you take your first steps, and raised you. We promise you, Micah, we will never forget you. We will never forget the time you were with us. You will always be a part of our family and always in our hearts. We can’t wait to meet you and hold you in heaven. We rejoice that the first time you opened your eyes, you saw Jesus. But Micah, we miss you…

When we said everything that we could think to say and everything we could think to pray, we took our first step forward. With Kevin at my side in the bathroom around 4pm on one of the longest days of our lives, we inserted the medicine. Eliza woke up a few minutes later and that evening playing with our children provided the most beautiful distraction.

A few friends dropped off meals, some essentials, and some surprises that comforted us in the moment. Tears and numbness rotated in waves. Nausea set in quickly and I couldn’t eat much but a green smoothie sustained me. Around the girls’ bedtime at 8pm, the cramping began. Fortunately, it wasn’t until after they went to sleep that I saw my first drop of bright red blood.

We set up a heating pad near the living room couch, got some blankets, lit a candle, and turned on The Voice season finale. And for the next few hours, that’s where we remained. My husband held me and every 15-30 minutes we paused the show, went to the bathroom, and Kevin held my hand through it all. While we were never able to see at the time, in hindsight, we are both pretty sure of the moment when the clotting blood passing was the worst. I wept on the toilet and cried out each of the three times when the passing was at its climax. 

We weren’t sure how long the night would last, but thankfully cramping ceased around 11pm and the night ended with me falling asleep on Kevin exhausted on the couch.

LIFE WITHOUT MICAH

I woke up the next morning around 6am, surprised I was able to sleep that long. As soon as I stood up, I was shocked. My stomach had already shrunk. My morning sickness felt different. I felt postpartum. I felt very similar to the day after I gave birth to Lydia and Eliza, except that today I woke up without Micah. 

And I felt the weight in my heart. I felt the loss. Like someone was missing. Grief overtook me, but as the day went on, so did the healing, both physically and emotionally. I cried a lot. My mom dropped off soup and helped with my kids while my sister, who works in health care, also came over. I drilled her on any possible medical and genetic question I could have surrounding pregnancy and miscarriage, which helped to make logical sense of our loss. Later, one of my best friends from high school who had also been through a miscarriage came over. We cried over our angel babies and the empty feeling of our arms, we processed similar fears, temporarily carrying the weight of the loss being our faults and the helplessness we felt in the darkest moments. Then later that night, I hopped on Zoom with three of my best friends who know me better than I know myself to have a beer and cheers to baby Micah’s sweet life, even amid the loss. I knew I was ready for my first beer when it didn’t feel like an escape, but instead, an outward symbol of acceptance.

Over the weekend we continued to take space to just be together as a family. Mostly, when my kids were awake, I could hold it together. But when they were asleep, Kevin and I just fell apart. We’ve had to process and grieve the loss in so many more ways than I would have imagined. At the same breath, we have been completely in awe of the community that has come around us. From meals to coffee to flowers to texts and phone calls and prayers. The love we’ve experienced from our community during this season has changed us forever.

Lydia and Eliza’s sweet presence has been healing and comforting. I am so sad and miss carrying Micah and miss the life we could have had with him or her, but I am also overwhelmed with gratitude that I carried this baby during a really dark and challenging 10 weeks for unrelated personal reasons. Every day of Micah’s life served extraordinary purpose for me.

We’re not angry at God, we feel comforted by His love and grace.
We don’t feel alone, in fact our community has surrounded us.
But we just feel really sad. We miss Micah. 

In the almost 12 years I’ve known Kevin, I had never seen him like that. I had never seen him weep uncontrollably like he did. His emotion was what first brought the emotion out of me. We have grieved similar in some ways, and different in others, but the level of heartbreak we have both experienced has been the same. Despite a really hard week and a continued grief journey, we feel God with us, we see His blessings. We were gifted with space to be together. As the weekend came to an end, we grieved that as well because it felt like the time we got to “be” with and bond with Micah. Moving on to our busy lives felt like we were losing even more of what we will never get back. But we knew we needed to move forward. To push past the triggers and the ways we wanted to run away. But we found comfort that we will hold Micah in our hearts for the rest of our time on earth until we hold him or her in heaven.

ETERNITY WITH MICAH

Speaking of heaven, Kevin and I had always joked that he wanted a gender “surprise.” Meaning, during one of our pregnancies he wanted to be surprised by the gender when we met the baby after delivery. But knowing me, I am one of those people that needs to and loves finding out the gender at our 20-week ultrasound. We don’t know if Micah was a boy or a girl, but now we’ve joked that Kevin will finally get his surprise when we meet Micah in heaven! I can just imagine being there when Kevin arrives, or Kevin being there when I arrive, and shouting out, “Micah is a girl!” or “Micah is a boy!” What a sweet moment that will be! 

Micah means “who is like God?” We have found that phrase to be true in this season. God alone restores our joy in the midst of our sorrow. Our hope and trust in Him allows sadness and peace to coexist. We have seen that there is no community like the community of God, coming around someone as they suffer and value the human life we carried, no matter how brief. The meaning of Micah’s name reminds us to look up to God in the midst of our doubts and remember that His ways are higher, His plans are greater. He is worthy of our love, our trust, our all. There is no one like our God.

Kevin and I feel blessed beyond measure that we get to raise our two beautiful daughters in this lifetime, and now we can’t wait to meet our angel baby in the next. It’s been waves of really hard and sad, and waves of peace and comfort, but overall, we are doing well. Thanks to those who have entered the journey with us.

We love you, baby Micah. 

THE TREE.

Eliza, I need to tell you something. This tree is really important to me.

Instantly tears started welling up in my eyes and emotion overtook what I thought would be a simple moment. I couldn’t even get the rest of the words out as I spoke to my 7-month old daughter. 

I looked up and saw my two-year-old, Lydia, ahead, climbing on rocks with her dada. I held Eliza close and blinked through tears as I looked back at the tree and tried to get my words out. 

Do you remember our friend Jackie? Well, three years ago we came here just two weeks after her dada died. 

I paused again. Instantly my mind was filled with memories of those few weeks. The call from Jackie. The hospital. The funeral. Her decision to still come on our Work Week at Young Life’s Clearwater Cove—leading up to the clearest memory of all. A few nights in, during the scheduled “15 minutes of silence,” we sat down and wept together under the stars. I had no words, only prayers. 

This tree was planted in memory of Jackie’s dada.

I finally got the few words out, took a deep breath, wiped away a few more tears, and continued to tell Eliza the rest of the story. How Greg, who oversees landscaping at Clearwater Cove, came to me with the idea to let Jackie pick out the type of tree and the location to plant in memory of her father who had just died suddenly in a car accident. I remember seeing Jackie pick it out and plant it into the ground.

The tree.
a sign of life,
in the midst of
grief.

More than just showing Eliza this tree for the first time at this special place, this week at camp wasn’t supposed to happen. It was supposed to get canceled, just like everything else. I was overcome by tears in many moments throughout the week just being there. At Young Life Camp. In the midst of a pandemic. Not taking a single day for granted.

The losses of this season haven’t been easy for any of us, and some of us have lost more than others. This isn’t the way it was supposed to be. 

THE TREE IN THE GARDEN.

The Bible starts out telling us about a different tree. The tree of life that holds the knowledge of good and evil. God created humankind through Adam and Eve and gave them complete freedom in the garden with only one rule: do not eat the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:15). Yet they were convinced by the Enemy’s promise for God-like wisdom and chose to eat the fruit from the tree and disobey God (Genesis 3:6).

The Enemy was wrong. The Enemy had deceived them. Instead of becoming like God, Adam and Eve were overcome by guilt, shame, brokenness, and fear. 

Because humankind turned away from God, sin entered the world. And because we continue to turn away from God every day, choosing to listen to the voice of the Accuser and give in to the desires of our flesh, sin reigns.

I don’t think I need to convince you that we live in a world still today where guilt, shame, brokenness, and fear reign. From a competitive pressure to be the best, the smartest, the prettiest or have the most—and we fall short of unreachable expectations—we are covered in guilt (you haven’t done enough) and shame (you’ll never be enough). Within a country that is so polarized that we are making the simple fact of ending racism or wearing a mask during a pandemic something that’s political—and no systemic solutions in sight—we are broken. And in the midst of it all, we are consumed by fear

I was listening to a new PitBull song recently and his words struck me: The only thing that spreads faster than any virus is fear. I think I shouted an “Amen!” back at PitBull through my car stereo the first time I ever heard that song. There’s never been a time in my life where I’ve seen this more present than during COVID-19. Our world is controlled by fear.

where is our
hope?
Where is our sign of life
in the midst of our
grief? 

THE TREE ON THE HILL.

When sin entered the world, God had a plan for restoration that involved another tree. Jesus was killed on a Cross, a tree stripped of roots and branches. In this undeserving death God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Hallelujah. 

Through faith in Christ, we are made right with God and our relationship with Him is restored! He frees us from guilt, shame, brokenness and fear through His blood shed on the Cross.  

This tree is now our
sign of life
in the midst of our
grief. 

And friends, this is good news. We have life and hope in the midst of the never-ending trials of this world because our hope is in a God who rose from the dead and is making things new. We believe that we were not merely created for a comfortable and happy life, a life that comes and goes like a breath in time, but we believe that God created us for a greater purpose. He has promised for those of us who believe in Him that as we put away our sin and love others, He will produce in us love, joy, and peace in place of our brokenness. 

He doesn’t just remove our sin. He redeems it. And as He rose from the dead, He calls us to rise.

Will you rise redeemed with me in the midst of your fear? Will you choose positivity and gratitude in the midst of a dark season of guilt, shame, or brokenness? Will you strive for peace with those around you, instead of division? Will you choose to believe that “He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6)?

Will you hold on to our sign of life (Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection) in the midst of our grief? 

He has called us higher than simply getting through. Just as He is the vine, and He has called us to be the branches and to bear fruit—fruit that will last (John 15:1-17). He has called us to pursue hospitality and love in the midst of physical distancing (Romans 12:13). He has called us to fight for racial justice in the midst of racism in our systems (Romans 2:11). He has called us to stand firm in our faith and use our voices to speak the truth in love, being a light to the world (Ephesians 6:13, Matthew 5:14).

I read this quote recently, written before COVID-19, but I believe it applies well: “Our goal in life is not simply to survive the current hard thing in hopes that it will be our last. Rather, we endure whatever God has for us to the very end, believing God’s promises even when we can’t see the outcome” (Risen Motherhood).

If you’re still reading, I pray there is something God has for you in all of this to encourage you. Take a deep breath. Go outside and sit in the shade under a tree. My friend, as He speaks, listenHe is our life

pandemic milestone.

It’s not a wedding, or a graduation, or a funeral, or the birth of a child. This milestone may seem small on the outside, or small from the casual smile and shrug when you ask me. But the truth is that it hit me deep in the soul. My first milestone to occur during the COVID-19 pandemic: my daughter’s second birthday.

Two months ago, many in Kansas said that May 15 would be the date that things would start to get better. While some stay-at-home orders have lifted, it’s not the end, and it turns out we are nowhere close to an end in sight.

Don’t get me wrong, I know I have it good. My family is beyond blessed. But the purpose of this writing and this processing is an effort to not play the “comparative suffering” game. In my own circumstances, I am processing loss and change. I must grieve.

 

O U R . G R I E F .

I’m grieving that the last two months of Lydia’s second year of life, she didn’t hug nor play with many of her favorite people. She didn’t go to many of her favorite places. No kids church, no toddler gymnastics, no parks, no visit to see her grandparents in Texas, no play dates or babysitters, no chance to be the flower girl in our friends’ wedding, no softball or baseball games… the list could go on.

The things I am missing out on as an adult pale in comparison to the loss I feel for my daughter. My heart aches for her. It hurts. I feel a weight that is hard to explain. The pain I feel for Lydia’s loss of life’s experiences, diversity of people, sports, and activity is multitudes more than my own loss.

Day by day, I make an effort to focus on the positives. But for a moment, I can’t escape from what’s been hard. Like the moment when, during a “social distance” dinner with friends in our driveway, Lydia knew to keep a distance before I even told her. She learned from imitating the actions she saw everyone else doing to keep a distance. Or the moment when she asked if her two best friends could come to her birthday party, but she’s too young to understand why the answer is no. Or when she asks to go to the gym and upon hearing it’s closed, she responds with a prayer: Please God, open the gym! I admit that her prayer has more faith than my own.

And while she is too young to understand a global pandemic or perhaps even recognize a daily difference, more than it’s hurting her, it’s hurting me.

Outside of social media and select family, now for over two months, some of our closest friends aren’t seeing the beautiful young girl that she has grown into over the past few months.

They’ve never heard her sweet excited voice speak in full sentences or sing entire songs.
They’ve never heard her use the words please, thank you, I’m sorry, great job, I’m proud of you, and I love you—words in her daily vocabulary.
They’ve never heard her makes jokes just to get you to laugh.
They’ve never seen her use her newfound imagination to play “make believe.”

So much has happened in her little life. She picked up a ball bat and took a swing for the first time. And let’s not forget the fact that she’s potty trained! They’ve never seen her pride and joy every time she makes it to the potty, just waiting for mama and dada’s celebration and her piece of chocolate reward.

I wish they could see.

 

O U R . T I M E .

Some days the quarantine feels like life has paused.
like we’ve slowed down,
and
we can appreciate the simpler moments.

But as this milestone passed us,
it reminded me that
time
doesn’t
stand still.

Time moves forward no matter how much we try to slow it down.

No matter how many things are canceled
no matter how many free evenings and weekends we have

Time moves on.

Which is why, I must remind myself of truth: these losses are not worth dwelling on. Time goes far too quickly to dwell on the things you can’t control.

I must grieve,
yes,
and then
let go.

I must move on.

I must let go of the what-ifs and could-have-been and remember what is eternally important.

.

This quarantine has been an incredible opportunity to teach Lydia real life skills and to rejoice in the simple pleasures of life. Every night, we recite our family motto together: “We are the Tietz Family,” Kevin and I start, “and in this family we…”

Lydia usually prefers to finish it herself. “We live simply, give more, and expect less… because we have all we need in Jesus.”

She may have it memorized, but that doesn’t mean she knows what it means. Well, not yet. We are planting seeds that one day, we pray, will bear fruit.

We are modeling a family that eats meals together, takes care of each other, laughs together, prays together, reads God’s Word together, exercises together, takes care of our home and yard together, forgives, celebrates, and loves.

We are modeling a family that endures. We don’t always get what we want, and not everything in life will be in our control. We have to be brave when things are hard. We have to ask for God’s help when we are afraid.

We have to remember to live simply, give more, and expect less.
Why?
Because we really, truly, have all we need in Jesus.
and
for eternity
that’s what counts.

Lord, help me let go.

 

O U R . H O P E . 

On April 29, 2019, I started reading the Bible chronologically with the hopes of finishing it in a year. 364 days later, I finished Revelation 22, the last chapter.

I was reminded in that chapter of our eternal hope. The timing was fitting. By the way, this is how the entire Bible ends:

‘I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.’ The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

…He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:16-17, 20)

Jesus reminds us that He is the promised one, the one that fulfilled all the laws and all the prophecies from of old. And we are reminded that those who want Jesus, get Jesus. The one who is thirsty can come to Him, drink from the water of life without price.

There is no price to pay,
no checklist of things we must do,
or we must achieve,
or we must get right before we come.

We get to come without price because Jesus paid the price for our sin on the CrossAnd He promises that He will come again.

.

So when we see the pandemic at hand, the death count rising, with no end in sight
Come, Lord Jesus!
When we read yet another headline of a racially driven murder
Come, Lord Jesus!
When we feel helpless to comfort friends, spouses, children, or parents, those we love the most
Come, Lord Jesus!
When our private thoughts and actions are exposed, and we must confess our own sin
Come, Lord Jesus!
When we hold walls up to others or self-harm because it feels like the only thing we can control
Come, Lord Jesus!

When we teach our kids that we have “all we need in Jesus,” this is what we mean: All of our hope, our joy, and our satisfaction is found not in material things. It’s found not in the exhilarating experiences of life like sporting events or big parties. Whether homebound or traveling the world, whether richer or poorer, whether sickness or health, no matter our circumstances, our hope in Jesus is one thing that doesn’t change, even when our world changes.

.

So as I reflect on Lydia’s second birthday and let go of birthday party hopes and dreams, or what could have been for her these last few months, I am reminded of the opportunity to point my daughter to her ultimate hope. No matter the trials she faces in her life on this earth, may those seeds be planted, that even she has all she needs – not in mama or dada or birthday cake or balloons – but in Jesus.

In Lydia’s heart, mind, and soul
Come, Lord Jesus.

life with two.

About 8 weeks into this two-kid life, I had a realization: I am really, really unhealthy spiritually, emotionally, and physically. My kids are thriving, I’m transitioning back into work, meals are getting cooked and the house is (mostly) clean, but I am not taking care of myself.

The breaking point came one Sunday morning. Eliza was napping in her crib and Kevin was out of the house. I sat down on the floor near the coffee table to color with Lydia. Only a few minutes in, I started feeling intense anxiety, like I was wasting time. Thoughts were swirling through my mind. Eliza is asleep and Lydia is distracted, what can I get done? What can I multi-task while playing with Lydia?

It’s impossible to get anything done with two kids under two awake, so when I have at least one asleep, I try to be doing something – cooking, cleaning, getting myself ready for the day, responding to a text  – rushing to the next task to complete before the free moment passes.

But this morning I wanted it to be different. It was a Sunday morning. I wanted to sit and color with my daughter. I wanted to simply enjoy her company. To enjoy the calm, the silence.

And I couldn’t sit still.

As I tried to fight the anxiety and be present with Lydia, conviction set in. I knew in my heart that it wasn’t just this moment. Since coming home from the hospital and starting our life with two kids, I’d had an inability to sit and be still, to spend quiet time with the Lord, or even prioritize taking care of myself. I broke down as I realized that not only was I hurting myself, but it was now affecting my ability to be present with my own daughter.

It was time to acknowledge my sin and ask for help.

 

F I V E . M I N U T E S .

Breaking the habit of hurry, which isn’t easy for any momma (but especially those of us that are enneagram 3’s) takes discipline, dedication, and accountability. A wise friend spoke the words of God into my life when she suggested that I start small: Five minutes of silence a day.

Literally, five minutes. The first chance that I get.

There have been a rare few days where I’ve been able to start my day with five minutes. Usually it doesn’t come until 2pm when both my girls are taking naps. There’s been some days when it comes at 10pm. But there have been few days I’ve missed. I set a timer on my phone for 5 minutes and 5 seconds (a few seconds for adjustment) and my phone on “do not disturb.” The only thing I’m allowed to “do” during that time is drink a cup of coffee or other beverage that fits the time of day.

And I must sit
still
in
silence.

I can’t also eat, also drive, also shower, also clean.
I must
simply
sit
still
and
listen.

And as my husband reminds me
let God listen to me.

The first time felt anxious and uncomfortable, but it only took a few days for it to become the highlight of my day. I sit in silence and listen for God. When the timer goes off, I sometimes journal a few thoughts or a few words I hear from God.

Little did I know that five minutes a day would be so transformative.

“It’s like, it’s just five minutes,” I said to Kevin about a week later. “Why is it making such a difference in my day?”

He pointed out simply, “It’s not just about the five minutes. You’re taking control of the day and stopping to sit with the Lord, instead of letting the day control you.”

And that’s the freedom I’ve felt. In the midst of spending 14-16 hours a day, usually with an hour at night, taking care of other people, I am stopping to at the least spend five minutes taking care of myself, my soul. Drawing near to the Lord in the midst of the hurry. And that is a victory.

 

L I F E . W I T H . T W O.

I am here now this week, 12-weeks postpartum with my second daughter. Praise God, there has been so much that the Lord has done in the past four weeks to bring me into a healthier place – way more than I could possibly write! The Lord has been so kind to bring in just the right Scripture or podcast or song or text when I needed clarity, to provide a husband that wants to fight for me to find health in this season, and some amazing women who speak truth into my life.

So how is life with two kids under two?

I’ll be real. Many days my patience runs thin. I look forward to work because it’s actually a break. I’ve got a strong-willed toddler that loves to test the limits and a 12-week-old that only naps for 30 minutes at a time. I’ve fallen asleep on the couch and had to be carried into bed by my husband honestly more times than I can count.

Yet at the same time, life feels natural and normal, just with an extra layer of joy and love that I feel toward my second daughter Eliza and seeing her grow and discover the world. I am still fighting the same temptations I had before marriage, before motherhood, and before being a momma of two: the temptation to fill my days and my life with business, distractions, and excuses that keep me from intimacy with the Lord.

In every season, God must re-teach me the same lessons:

He alone is the One who has not only called me to this life but equipped me.
He alone is the source of my peace and joy.
He alone is worthy of my heart’s worship.
He alone is worthy of my all.

Thank God for a five-minute reminder each day of the Truth that will last for eternity.

Eliza’s Birth Story

Eliza Rose Tietz
Born 11:17 AM on Tuesday, December 10, 2019
8 lbs 12 oz, 20 inches

15 DAYS BEFORE

I will always remember Eliza’s birth story not just for the day, but for the two weeks leading up to the day. God used these two weeks of an emotional, spiritual, and physical roller coaster to break me down and bring me to complete and utter dependence on His power and will and not my own strength. Praise and glory be to God!

Eliza’s birth story started on Monday, November 25 shortly after my 38-week doctor’s appointment when I thought I was in labor. I had always expected to make it to Thanksgiving. Work and volunteer projects were wrapping up before then and I was looking forward to spending the holiday with family. With a due date of December 13, I always just assumed we would make it at least to December.

So when I was dilated at over a 5cm at my appointment, and my doctor asserted that she wasn’t sure how it was possible that I wasn’t in labor yet based on my dilation and enfacement, she encouraged me that as soon as I felt contractions of any kind to head into the hospital. So naturally, when about one hour later, I started counting regular contractions (the third time in the previous four days), I assumed I was in labor and started wondering how soon to head to the hospital. I sent panic texts to my boss, my mom, and my sister. My sister stopped by my house while running errands and talked me down, giving me the hard-but-needed truth that I probably wasn’t actually in labor. A few hours later as contractions came to a halt, I figured it was still only a matter of days before Eliza was ready to come. At least, that’s what my doctor told me, that’s what everyone was telling me.

14 DAYS BEFORE

I woke up the next morning about an hour before Kevin and Lydia and immediately went to sit with the Lord. My head was spinning. I was tired. I asked the Lord, where do I go from here? I prayed for God’s perfect timing and for His perfect peace. Throughout the false labor over the previous few days, instead of feeling peace, I’d felt extreme anxiety. During one round that was late at night, in the middle of a contraction behind a closed bathroom door, I begged God pleading that I wasn’t actually in labor. Then immediately after I broke down as shame filled me. Am I not ready to meet my daughter? Shouldn’t I only feel excitement and joy over the idea of being in labor? Through the false labor, my heart was exposed to so many fears I’d buried and so many things I was holding on to. I acknowledged that morning that God alone is the author of Eliza’s birth story. He alone is in control. But the work that God was doing in my heart had only just begun.

10 DAYS BEFORE

I spent a long Thanksgiving weekend actually resting, physically. After several days in a row of false labor and losing my mucus plug, any physical movement toward labor had completely halted. In wondering how I suddenly felt like I could carry my baby another several weeks, I realized that this was an answered prayer. After the confusing contractions I’d been having, I asked sisters in my community to pray for clarity. I thought the answer to this prayer would be my water breaking. Instead, the Lord answered this prayer by making it clear that this week was not His perfect timing. I spent a few days actually enjoying pregnancy as I finished up a devotional, Labor in Hope by Gloria Furman, and reflected on the way that labor and childbirth so beautifully displays the gospel and mirrors the suffering and new life of Jesus on the Cross. The word “grace” was laid on my heart to meditate on as I prepared for labor and delivery. In the midst of anticipated pain and unknowns, it was grace that I would labor with the hope of meeting my daughter! I felt as if the Lord has given me spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical preparation and rest.

6 DAYS BEFORE

With every day that passed, I was wrapping up work and Young Life activities, house projects, and Christmas shopping and decorating. I went into my 39-week appointment curious and slightly anxious — especially since it was my 39-week appointment with Lydia that I showed up at the hospital and didn’t leave until five days later, due to a medical induction! (Click here for Lydia’s Birth Story.)

Yet just as I suspected, nothing had physically changed since my previous appointment. Although I saw a different doctor, I got the same “I don’t know how you’re not in labor” and “you better hurry to the hospital as soon as contractions start.” However, the doctor offered something I didn’t expect. She offered to schedule an induction for the following week on Tuesday, December 10, the day our doctor was on call. All of her disclaimers, outside of my body being ready, were “you can cancel at any point” and “you probably won’t make it to Tuesday anyways.” Kevin and I took her advice and scheduled the induction. As we walked out to our cars in the parking lot and before rushing to get back to work, we processed briefly the option. Are we taking control into our own hands by choosing to induce before our due date? If we follow through with this, will I ever have the “experience” of going into labor naturally?

That night after putting Lydia to sleep, we sat down for the first time all day. The living room was dark except for a single strand of Christmas lights on our small Christmas tree. As we talked and prayed through the induction and dug beneath the surface of timing and logistics, I realized the truth of my hesitation around an induction and what had been holding me back from experiencing peace this entire time. As much as I “knew” how amazing it would be to meet Eliza and become a family of four, what I also saw in front of me was this season of being a family of three coming to an end. This season of having just Lydia as my only child – sweet Lydia, filled with so much laughter and joy – giving her my full attention – was now six or less days away from ending. Somehow putting an actual date on the calendar made me stop and actually process not just the transition that was coming, but the season that was ending.

I needed to grieve the current season coming to an end in the midst of the joy and anticipation of the next. I wasn’t ready to let go of this season. I was afraid of change. As Kevin picked up one of Lydia’s stuffed bears from the coffee table, we reflected on what an amazing 19 months it had been becoming parents and getting to know our girl. We both wept. Ready or not, this season, the sweetest season we’ve known on this side of heaven, was ending in a matter of days.

At this point I was already praising God for the gift of scheduling an induction. If it wasn’t for putting a date on the calendar, I’m not sure if my busy-and-achieving self would have actually stopped to process and grieve the season we were leaving behind. That night by the Christmas tree was a gift. I needed to embrace the coming change in the midst of unknowns. And those tears were oh, so needed.

5 DAYS BEFORE

Determined to soak up every last second of giving Lydia my full attention, yet another turn of events happened the next day. I had been dealing with hemorrhoids for the better half of my pregnancy, but on this Thursday, the pain started to become unbearable. I couldn’t walk or really even sit, let alone pick up my toddler or play with her without wincing in pain. I questioned God and wondered, hasn’t the emotional and spiritual roller coaster been enough? I quickly realized that God was pealing back yet another layer of my calloused heart – the physical. I had prided myself on doing a natural childbirth with Lydia. As I hoped and prepared for a natural birth with Eliza, a whole new level of fear had overcome me. How am I supposed to endure the pain of labor when I feel so weak already? During my pregnancy with Lydia, I had been able to maintain regular workouts, and I felt fit and healthy. During my pregnancy with Eliza, I could barely get through a day of chasing a toddler around and was lucky to get in a walk around the block in a week. And now this constant, piercing hemorrhoid pain had me laying on the couch for a moment of relief. What will I do if the pain level, my starting point, is already here? How will I get through this? The next layer of fear and doubt was exposed.

4 DAYS BEFORE

We made it to Friday, the end of the week, and I started to have more peace about the induction on Tuesday simply by the way this pregnancy had taken a toll on my body. Eliza was low and, labor or not, my body was ready. Yes, I was afraid of change. I was afraid of the unknown. I was afraid of the pain. I was afraid of how weak I felt. And yet, as I meditated on God’s promises, I rejoiced in truth: I am no longer a slave to fear because I am a child of God! Instead of focusing on what I couldn’t control – my ability to hold onto seasons or how I felt physically – I set my mind on God’s graciousness to me to expose my own natural tendency to rely on myself and my own strength.

I meditated on the truth of Psalm 62:11, which says “power belongs to God.” I wrote these words in my journal: In childbirth and labor, in parenting, I MUST have FAITH in God’s strength alone… in HIS power that is at work within me.

Yes, I am weak. Yes, my flesh will fail. But God’s Holy Spirit is strong in me.

I spent the next several days resting. My hemorrhoid pain slowly became manageable and I was able to soak in special moments with Lydia and Kevin. I experienced peace and joy as we moved closer to Tuesday, the day we would finally meet our daughter Eliza.

 

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10

6:20 AM

I sat down with a cup of coffee and a bowl of oatmeal to pray. I wrote in my journal: Happy Birthday, Eliza Rose. At this point I had let go of expectations and was ready to set my heart on the Lord. I praised God for the way He had used the last two weeks to call out all the ways I doubted myself and doubted Him, and to increase my dependence on God as the source of my power and strength. The last two weeks were truly a gift. I had prayed for peace and excitement in His perfect timing, and I felt every bit of that on Tuesday morning. I meditated on Eliza Rose’s name, which means “joyful promise.” I prayed that when the doubts creep back in, whether during labor or in the weeks to come, that I would only think or look at Eliza and be redirected to remember God’s joy-filled promises!

7 AM

We dropped off Lydia at my parents’ house on the way to the hospital wearing her “Big Sister” shirt. We got to talk with her about what a special day it was because she was finally going to meet her baby sister! We hugged and kissed her goodbye and told her that we would see her later that day. Minutes later, Kevin and I walked through the doors of Lawrence Memorial Hospital, hand in hand, for our 7:30 AM induction.

8:15 AM

After meeting our nurse and getting settled in, my doctor came in to check my dilation and see if Eliza was in the proper position to break my water or if we would need to start Pitocin. My doctor shared with a smile that not only was Eliza in position, but that I was already dilated to 7cm! Immediately I started praising God again. Not simply for the head start in labor and the likelihood of not needing Pitocin, but for His provision. Had I gone into labor naturally and tried to labor at home for even 30 minutes, we might not have made it to the hospital in time. The Lord intended every step of the way and it was His will for us to plan an induction and start labor at the hospital!

My doctor broke what she called a “firm bag of water” and we agreed to wait and see how my body would naturally respond from here. Our nurse put on Eliza’s heart and contraction monitors, and Kevin and I started walking the hallways of the labor and delivery wing.

My sister Rosie arrived shortly after and we caught up on the week, laughed and made jokes, and looked at the homemade hats that they offer for every new baby. We sent text messages and marco polos to friends and family and time passed quickly.

8:55 AM

I paused mid conversation due to a contraction that was strong enough that I couldn’t walk through it. After a few more laps and higher intensity contractions, it was time to return to our hospital room. Active labor was coming soon!

9:25 AM

We continued to converse between contractions as I sat and labored on a ball. Contractions started to pick up intensity as I focused on breathing through them, swaying side-to-side. Excitement and peace rose up in me as I realized that I had naturally progressed to active labor. I mentioned to the nurse between contractions that I felt like I needed to use the restroom, but she told me that at this point any urge I felt was the urge to push, so I would need to fight through the pressure until I was fully dilated. As I commented on the pressure I was beginning to feel almost instantly in my lower back, she recommended that I switch labor positions. This confirmed a suspicion that my placenta was located in front and Eliza was low and back (no surprise given the hemorrhoids, early dilation, and other pregnancy-related aches and pains).

10:10 AM

I laid on my side with a peanut ball between my legs and immediately I felt Eliza start to move. I continued to feel intense pressure on my back, so the nurse started pushing on my lower back, and showed Rosie how to do the same. Any time a contraction came on from there, I had Kevin at my side talking me through breathing and helping me focus on the Lord and on Eliza, and Rosie pushing pressure on my back. I was able to close my eyes and relax as I could physically feel Eliza getting lower.

10:23 AM

The nurse checked me, and I had progressed to an 8-9cm and Eliza was rotating into position! While we tried to switch sides for dilation, we quickly saw that Eliza’s heart rate had decreased, so I rolled back onto my right side with the ball between my legs. I hit the highest level of pain at this point, but I remained relaxed and in control, and we started playing worship music through our Bluetooth speaker.

I meditated on the words of the songs with every contraction. Different than my previous labor that focused on attacking and embracing pain, I didn’t want to think about the pain this time around. I told Kevin to repeat the lyrics of the song to me. I mouthed the words too, when I was able. I knew that I was going to meet my daughter soon after only being in active labor for an hour. All I wanted to do at this point was worship God!

I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God…
You are constant through the trial and the change…
Jesus, Jesus, You make the darkness tremble… Jesus, Jesus You silence fear…
The storm surrounding me, let it break, at Your Name…
How He loves us, oh, how He loves us…
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me, You never fail, and You won’t start now…
Sing like never before, O my soul, I worship Your holy Name…

10:57 AM

Despite how quickly things were progressing, I was certain now that I was feeling the urge to push. After being checked by the nurse and hearing that I was almost to 10cm, I moved positions once more and my nurse called the doctor in.

11:08 AM

My doctor, who also was with me to deliver Lydia, didn’t even check me when she walked in. She knew me as her patient and trusted me. She immediately started gowning up after hearing the report from the nurse and instructing her team that it was time to push. Within a few minutes, I moved to my back and into position to push.

11:17 AM

After only seven minutes of pushing through three contractions, Eliza Rose Tietz was born into the world and placed on my chest. I saw her and immediately started repeating “that’s my daughter, that’s my daughter, that’s my daughter…” Kevin cried at my side. I held her close as the doctor delivered the placenta and stitched a few abrasions, letting me know that I didn’t tear or need an episiotomy, like I did with Lydia. Again, I praised God. We studied our daughter over head to toe. She was beautiful. She was perfect.

12:25 PM

It wasn’t until an hour later that my tears came. Kevin left the room to greet Lydia in the hallway and carry her back inside to meet her sister. As soon as I saw Lydia, immediately the reality set in. This moment made it real. For the first time we were together as a family of four.

 

9 DAYS LATER

12.19.19

Today is my birthday. I am holding my daughter Eliza on my chest as I write this. This day marks another day I’ve been dreaming of – hopeful that by this day – my birthday – six days after her due date – that we would spend the day in our Christmas-decorated home – but most of all – with our healthy baby girl.

We are here.

Tears of joy come as I look at her and tell her that she’s everything I’ve dreamed of, and more. The nine long months of pregnancy really are done. Labor is in the past. We are on the other side, a family of four.

This is our new normal.
This is my life.
It’s simple, but it’s beautiful.

I’ve been reflecting this day on my 29 years of life. The trials that I faced in adolescence brought me on my knees before God. Ultimately this led me to a Christian community where I met my husband, the most God-fearing and loyal man I know. And through our union God orchestrated and created LIFE in Lydia Evelyn and Eliza Rose. And together, Kevin and I have the privilege of stewarding these little lives. Of raising them and teaching them and loving them. There are truly no words for the gratitude I feel. I am fighting hard to not take a day – or night – for granted. I know this may be impossible but still I will try, striving to daily surrender expectations to the Lord and open my hands in a posture of thanksgiving. 

As we reflect on the celebration of the birth of Jesus this advent season, I’m still in awe that my waiting for Eliza is over. When I stop long enough to really, truly look at her, I feel fullness of joy. In the joy of this birth, I am reminded of the ultimate joy at hand as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, into the world. God became human to dwell among us, to die for us, and to rise for us. And as it is written on the sign above Eliza’s crib, “blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her” (Luke 1:45).

any day now.

This is the first time since entering my third trimester that I’ve had the chance to sit down and write. Yet here I am, 37 weeks, 4 days. Dilated at a “5cm+.” Increased Braxton Hicks and practice labor three of the last four days. Hospital bags packed. I’m sitting in Eliza’s almost-finished nursery while Lydia sleeps. I’m sitting in here trying to process the reality that we’ve finally hit the any day now stage of pregnancy. Kevin, Lydia and my world is about to change… any day now.

It’s been a challenging last few months. This pregnancy, by far, has been worse on my body than my first. Braxton Hicks and piercing abdomen cramps wake me up at night. One night, I felt paralyzed laying on my back and couldn’t move for several minutes, panicking to tears and waking up my husband who proceeded to lift me to an upright position through piercing pain and coach me through breathing until the cramping went away. Daily I’ve been pushing through hemorrhoids, heartburn, pelvic pressure, fatigue, and not to mention seasonal colds and a teething toddler.

I’m ashamed to admit that there’ve been moments where I’ve longed for the days of not being pregnant more than the day that I will meet this precious little girl growing inside of me. It’s hard to bring attention to a child inside of me that I can’t see, and much easier to bring my attention to the discomfort I’m feeling. I remember confessing this to God one day as I clung to the words in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:

“We do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

There have been days where I physically feel like my body is wasting away and breaking down. On the harder days, I praise God for practical truth that reminds me to

bring my attention
not to the physical
to what is seen
what is temporary,
but to the spiritual
what is unseen
what is eternal.

He promises us that our light and momentary afflictions are actually preparing us for eternal glory beyond all comparison. We may feel, emotionally or physically, the brokenness of sin in our world, but He has promised to renew our Spirit within us, every day, as we cling to Him.

And He is a God who is faithful to fulfill His good promises.

 

J O Y F U L . P R O M I S E .

Does this sub-title look familiar? If you read my post Naming Eliza Rose, you’ll recall that Eliza’s name means “joyful promise.” This has been a season of choosing joy as I cling to His promises.

About a month ago, we had the privilege of taking a family vacation to the beach for a long weekend of rest, to slow down, and treasure our last few weeks as a family of three before Eliza makes her arrival. With family help and an automatic-reply email set up for work, I fully unplugged and spent much needed quality time with the Lord through the weekend. One day while overlooking the ocean waves, I found myself in 1 Kings 8 when King Solomon dedicates the temple after the process of building it was finally complete. In a lengthy sermon, Solomon again and again echoes praises to God for fulfilling His promises. God had promised to David that his son, Solomon, would be king, and that Solomon would see the temple completed during his reign. Solomon is full of joy as he meditates on how God fulfilled this promise!

I paused from my reading and thought of my Eliza, being reminded in this story of the meaning behind her name. I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to pray for her, that she would have the gift of wisdom like Solomon and have eyes to see the way that God fulfills His promises. I prayed that she would know and trust fully in the joy of His promises.

I’m not one to ask for a sign much, but I felt the urge to open-handedly pray, “God, if this is from you, would Eliza move right now?”

Immediately after praying that prayer, I felt her move in my womb.

Overcome with peace and comfort, I continued to pray for her and also praise God that He felt so real in that moment. As I sat to finish 1 Kings 8, I came to verse 56:

“Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. Not one word has failed of all His good promise…”

As if to just lavish me with His love, unbeknownst to me, I stumbled upon a mirror image verse of Joshua 23:14…

The verse I read the morning after we found out we were having a girl.
The verse I read while contemplating the name Eliza Rose, which means joyful promise.
The verse I wrote about in my post 3 months before this moment.
The verse that sealed her name.

“You know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.”

I sat in awe.

In an incredibly busy third trimester that included three weeks of travel, work events and deadlines, and a sprint to the end—a third trimester that has taken a beating on my body—it’s been these quiet moments of overwhelming peace, hope, and joy that have gotten me through.

 

S H E . W H O . B E L I E V E S .

As Kevin and I place the finishing touches on Eliza’s nursery, we picked out the verse that will hang above her crib. We hope that Eliza will keep this piece of art with her when she moves out of our house one day—yet even more—we hope and pray that this verse will be on her heart for all of eternity. It’s the second verse I mentioned in my previous post as we were in the process of naming Eliza. It echoes the words of Elizabeth as she greets her sister Mary, pregnant with Jesus, our Savior and Messiah, in Luke 1:45:

“Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!”

The word believed will be emphasized as an encouragement that we must choose to believe, to trust, to have faith, even when the promise is yet unseen. We must choose hope and choose truth in any season of waiting. And blessed will we be on the day when we get to look back and say not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord my God promised! All have come to pass, not one of them has failed.

So here I sit.
Waiting.
Praising.
Hopeful.
Joyful.
The wait is almost over, any day now.

I am choosing to trust God’s timing, not my own, not my doctor’s, not what other people say based on my dilation or contractions or due date. God alone is the author of her birth story. In His perfect time, in His perfect will, Eliza Rose, we are ready to meet you.

it is well.

Motherhood is sanctifying.

In the midnight hour on July 31, I had the privilege of being in the delivery room with one of my best friends, Keely. Over the last three years, I’ve walked with her through three miscarriages. Countless prayers had gotten us to that moment.

Lord, please, let her hold her baby.

Finally
her water broke
her labor began
and
there we were
at last
this momma would hold her baby.

While up until that moment in time she had yet to meet one of her babies, Keely had already experienced sanctification through motherhood. Your lack of control hits you within moments after learning about a pregnancy, and for many of us, it brings us to a place of utter dependence on the Lord. Through Keely’s pregnancy loss, God had changed her. In a time when she easily could have run away from God, she ran to Him. She chose faith and trust. Her journey brought us to this sweet moment during her labor that I will never forget.

I had stepped in at Keely’s side to give her husband Kyle a break as they prepared for a long night ahead of labor. While we laughed and danced in the waiting at first, contractions had started picking up. The mood in the room had changed but we were still at the point in labor where we could talk for the few minutes between contractions. I pulled up her premade labor playlist and the first worship song came on: It is well.

Keely shared how this song had carried her through her miscarriages. We took a moment, even in the midst of her labor and excitement, to grieve the loss of the three babies that she would never hold in this lifetime. As painful as labor is, she grieved that she wasn’t able to experience the pain of childbearing with her first three. We imagined what it would be like to hold her babies in heaven. We imagined how proud they were of their momma in this moment, having chosen to place her faith in the Lord and trust Him in the unknown.

Through tears, we listened to the words of the song as her next contraction came on. “Even through it all,” Keely whispered. “It is well.”

 

P E A C E . I N . P R O C E S S .

Motherhood is sanctifying.

Here’s what I mean. Sanctification is this process that the Bible refers to as the time between salvation (justification) and the moment when we are restored to new life in Christ for eternity (glorification). Sanctification is the in-between, it’s the process of being made holy. While we are a new creation in Christ at salvation because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17), the Lord still has a lot of work to do on our sinful hearts and flesh. And this doesn’t happen overnight. For most of us it’s a painful, long process of being made holy.

The hope of sanctification is that the longer we walk with Christ, the more we should look like Him. I have learned that God is much more concerned with our holiness than our happiness. Along the way we think we want happiness but really, our deepest desire is peace. Sanctification is the smoothing off of our rough edges and letting the desires of our heart become God’s will for our lives. It’s the pruning of dead branches, so that we can bear more fruit, and fruit that will last. It’s finding peace in our circumstances of this life, knowing that our hope rests in a Good Father who will come and redeem all the brokenness, guilt, and shame we feel and restore all of creation to perfection. Sanctification is the painful process of letting go—and letting God.

I wish I could say that things have been all rainbows and butterflies since the moment when Keely finally held her daughter, Emmaline Grace. But the next trial we will face in this life is always right around the corner. In baby Emmaline’s first month of life, Keely’s had to deal with the challenges of having a newborn and learning to nurse in the midst of Emmaline having a benign tumor on her gum and undergoing surgery at 4 weeks old. God is not done with Keely’s story yet, and neither is He done with ours.

 

I T . I S . W E L L .

Motherhood is sanctifying.

A few weeks ago, I had my own sanctifying motherhood moment. Caught between the demands of work, ministry, and our busy lives, I realized that I was not giving my daughter Lydia the attention that she deserves. In the middle of transitioning her from a morning nap ready to rush her to my parent’s house so I could get more work done, the voice of mom-guilt came in my head, accusing me of being a bad mom.

I stopped. I looked at Lydia and asked her, “Do you think I’m a bad mom?” Knowing that Lydia couldn’t answer that question, I broke down into tears. My 15-month-old daughter ran into my arms and hugged me. I picked her up and my little girl didn’t stop hugging me back for several minutes as we walked up and down the hallway. She continued hugging me until my tears finally quieted. She didn’t need to have words in that moment, she communicated everything that I needed. The Lord reminded me through my daughter that I was doing my best, and that Lydia loved me not based on “how I did as a mom that day.” She loved me because I am her momma. The same is true with God. He doesn’t love me based on “how I did as a Christian that day.” He loves me because I am His daughter.

The Lord used Lydia to encourage me to find peace in the process.

This life that my toddler and I live together isn’t going to be easy. I hear from other mommas that it only gets harder. I’m going to be an imperfect mom, and Lydia is an imperfect child. We are going to hurt each other. We are going to let each other down. We are going to have moments where we say, “I’m sorry” and ask each other for forgiveness. Yet through every trial, every mistake, every burst of anger, every moment we can’t control, and even the most joyful moments that we can’t slow down—through it all—we are being sanctified.

When I say that motherhood is sanctifying, what I mean is that motherhood brings out all the ways we fall short on our own efforts. Motherhood brings out our flaws and imperfections whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. Yet God uses motherhood to refine us, to make us more dependent on Christ, and to therefore become more like Him as we choose to place our trust in Him.

It is sanctification that brings us to a place where we can say, no matter my circumstances, I have peace. God is good. He will redeem.

Through it all — it is well.

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” (Psalm 139:7-10)

naming eliza rose.

“It’s a little girl!” the sonogram tech announced. 

Hi, Eliza.

That was the first thought that came to my husband’s mind upon hearing the amazing news that we’re having another girl.

Kevin squeezed my hand but neither of us could take our eyes off the screen, staring at our beautiful daughter. As I watched my little girl move around on the sonogram screen, joy and relief filled me. Joy in her heartbeat and her health, and relief in feeling a deep bond with her—God is growing my ability to love a second child.

As the supernatural peace about having two girls set in, I started dreaming of her name and who she would become. I thought a lot about my one-year-old daughter Lydia, too. How will they be similar, and how will they be different? As I prayed through names we had considered, asking the Lord to reveal her name, there was one phrase I couldn’t get out of my own mind: Lydi and Liza, my daughters.

I left that open handed and started imagining decorating her nursery. I thought of the rose flower wreaths I made for a party that I’d been holding onto as décor just in case we had another girl. All of a sudden, the idea of roses seemed to fit her.

Tears came suddenly.

Rose.

 

E L I Z A .

Kevin and I have certain criteria that we love for names: familial, biblical, and meaningful. Preferably a name carries all three, which narrows our list quite significantly! We came up with the name Eliza more recently than some of the other names on our list. As we were thinking of family names one day, we got stuck on my mother’s middle name: Elizabeth. We considered that but also loved the name Eliza, not just as a nickname, but standing alone. I thought instantly of how much this season of motherhood has brought me closer to my own mom, and how special it would be to honor her name in a similar way that Lydia Evelyn’s middle name honors my mother-in-law’s middle name, Lynn.

>For more on Lydia, read Naming Lydia Evelyn, written in April 2018.

Next, we thought of Elizabeth in the Bible, a beautiful woman of God! While pregnant with her son, who we know as “John the Baptist,” she was visited by her cousin Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus. Elizabeth is one of the first people to recognize Jesus as Lord. She was filled with the Holy Spirit immediately upon Mary’s arrival and declared Mary as the mother of “my Lord.”

Elizabeth says this in Luke 1:44, “For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

Finally, Eliza means “my God is an oath.” For us, the meaning of God as an oath is two-fold because it represents both our promise to God to follow Him with our lives and His abounding and unfailing promises to us as His children. We have a God who has been and always will be faithful to fulfill His promises to never leave us, to always love us, to work all things for our good, and to restore us. God had promised that He would send a Son, a Redeemer, into the world to deliver His people. Jesus came to be that fulfillment through His life, death, and resurrection. Now, through faith in Christ, we can trust that He will continue to fulfill these promises as we wait in hope for eternal life. As Elizabeth said, blessed are those who believe that there will be a fulfillment of God’s promises!

Eliza may also be used as a variant of the Hebrew name Aliza, עַלִיזָה which means “joyful.” Seeing the Hebrew word for joyful is what gave us that final affirmation that Eliza is her name. It fit perfectly next to our intention for her middle name, Rose.

 

R O S E .

The formal meaning behind Rose is to indicate rose, the flower. But to Kevin and me, the meaning of Rose has carried much more significance because of the person we ascribe that name to.

My identical twin sister, “Rosie” as we call her, is by far the most joyful person I have ever met in my life, and I have the privilege of calling her sister and best friend. She has been a constant source of light and joy in my life and continues to be. Joy is her spiritual gift, it’s the Holy Spirit’s manifestation in her, it’s who she is. To me, “Rose” represents joy. With this in mind, it’s no coincidence that Eliza also meant “joyful.”

As Kevin and I were talking and praying over the name Eliza Rose after our appointment, that’s when it all came together…

Eliza Rose means joyful promise.

 

J O Y F U L . P R O M I S E .

The next morning after our appointment, Lydia woke up around 5 o’clock with teething pain. After giving her some medicine and putting her back down for her final hour or so of sleep, I was the typical pregnant-hungry-anxious as the clock hit 5:30 a.m. I decided instead of going back to sleep to take advantage of a quiet morning and sit with the Lord, thinking and praying about Eliza Rose, and continuing to process if He had really, truly given us her name.

Coincidentally (or not), I happened to be finishing up the book of Joshua, and there it was, God speaking to me through His Word. At the end of Joshua’s life as he was charging Israel’s leaders onward, he says this:

“You know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed” (Joshua 23:14).

Joyful promise.

This verse served as a reminder that He has promised good things for us. And though I may be in a season of abundance and blessings now as I bear children, I know that hard seasons will come back around.

The true test is believing in God’s good promises no matter the season.
I want to choose to trust and have faith in my God even when it isn’t obvious or easy.
I want to put my hope not in this fleeting world, but in the promise of eternity with my Father.
I want my source of joy to come from my confidence in His promises.
And
more than almost anything,
I want this daughter of mine to do the same.

I know in my heart and soul that if I continue to love God and put my faith in Jesus, God will fulfill all of the good things that He promised concerning me, even when I don’t understand.

He will never leave me (Duet. 31:8).
He will always love me (Isaiah 54:10).
He will work all things out for my good (Romans 8:28).
He will come again to restore this broken world and make all things new (Rev. 21:5).

In these promises, we find our joy.

 

.

Eliza Rose.
May her name be a reminder of God’s joyful promises to our family.
May she grow to love and trust in His joyful promises to her.

Eliza Rose, we can’t wait to meet you.
We will love you until the end of our days.
We promise.