My Advent


We planned an induction for him.

We had just moved to the mountains six weeks earlier, at the end of October on a weekend when a freak snowfall happened and I smiled into falling snowflakes as I felt God whisper,

Welcome home.

Since I was very great with child, the stories came at me like a non-stop barrage immediately upon my arrival.

There’s no labor and delivery at our hospital.

The closest hospital is half-hour away down the mountain.

We’re due for a bad winter.

You’re due mid-December? You might not make it off the mountain.

Did you hear about the couple who delivered their baby in the car halfway down the mountain on their way to the hospital?

It was this last one that I heard no less than 20 times that confirmed anything less than a planned induction was not an option.

Welcome home, indeed.

I checked myself into the hospital and got comfortable for the next several hours. As labor progressed and the epidural kicked in, my excitement to finally meet this boy — this promised child — went as off the charts as my contractions.

We had waited for him a long, long, time.

We had suffered for him through miscarriages and tears.

We had anticipated him through words of confirmation and prayers.

As I hit 10 centimeters, I mentally prepared myself for an easy delivery — one, two, three pushes and his crying, heaving chest would fill the room and my heart.

The doctor did a final check and announced he was breech. In my naivety I immediately asked, So what does that mean? I thought perhaps a little repositioning would be all that was needed.

But at 10 centimeters he was going to barrel his way through regardless of which end was up.

Within seconds of the doctor uttering the words C-Section, a team of nurses resembling a hazmat team burst into the room and rolled this very great with child mother onto a gurney. I began sobbing and shaking and as they whisked me past my family I saw brave faces giving me a thumbs-up, doing their best to encourage me.

Welcome home.

The operating room was cold…so very, very cold…and between the epidural and anesthesia and fear I could not stop shaking and sobbing. My husband put on his brave face too and kept whispering everything would be okay.

In just moments I was exposed and he was pulled out. I heard his cry and the official announcement of it’s a boy! and my husband kept saying Man, that’s a good looking boy! over and over on repeat.

Each time he said it I went more and more out of my mind. I hadn’t laid eyes on him yet. I heard him and was told how handsome he was, but I hadn’t seen him. The nurses and doctors kept saying everything looked good, that his lungs and chest were clearing, but I hadn’t seen him yet.

I wanted to see him.

They finally brought him to me and I wept again — this time from warmth and joy. But as they put him in my arms, the coldness and sobs came back again. I couldn’t hold him. All the anesthesia had numbed me from the chest down and I couldn’t feel my arms. Despite being completely flat in a gurney, I was paralyzed with fear I would drop him.

So they laid him between my legs and wheeled me to my room as I laid flat, completely numb and unable to move.

I called my mom on the other side of the country to tell her he was here and he was perfect, but all the medicine and change in birth plans hit me like a brick wall and I threw up and continued to do so for another 14 hours.

Welcome home.

BIG SIS & BUB copy

Due to the unplanned c-section, I stayed away from the mountains for a few days in order to get checked by the doctors. Greg and Jaana went back up while my in-laws upended their home to make Paxton and I feel comfortable until we could go home, too.

In that sweet little room, with the bassinet next to my bed, my head spun for days as I tried to categorize what had just happened to me.

And while I was with family that I loved and adored, I felt alone and confused. Nothing had went the way I thought it would.

When I got back to the mountains I tried desperately to get back into the swing of things, but something was always off. Nursing was hard. Living in a house that was temporary was hard. Living in a town that was only weeks new was hard. Adjusting to a family that after almost six years went from three members to four was hard.

Postpartum depression rode in with guns blazing and attacked from all sides.

Welcome home, indeed.

And then it was suddenly four years later.

Four years filled with God’s grace and provision, filling the temporary and making it permanent. Four years of God’s peace, filling the darkness and making it light. Four years of God’s pure joy disguised as a laughing, loving and happy boy.


The funny thing about blessings is that sometimes they show up all wrong. They show up contrary to your plan and your reaction is confusion and chaos. Sometimes you’re unprepared to handle the manner in which it shows up…and sometimes it requires you to look past how you thought it would be and see it for what it is.

Sometimes the greatest blessings show up as a baby wrapped in cloths in a manger, to a young girl who’s trying to not feel alone and confused and gypped out of her pre-determined birth plan.

Sometimes our personal advents — the arrival or coming, especially one which is awaited, according to the dictionary — means we have to wait just a little bit more before the impact of the gift truly revealed.

As I celebrate my son’s birthday today, I reflect on the advent of him…of waiting for his arrival, his coming. How we waited, and waited some more. How we suffered, and suffered some more. How we anticipated, and how we anticipated some more.

me & bub

But I also reflect on the advent of Jesus…waiting for His arrival, His coming. How God’s people waited, and waited 33 years more. How God’s people suffered, but He suffered more. How they anticipated Him, and we — us here today — keep on anticipating.

Sometimes the greatest blessings show up as small, infantile gifts that appear contrary to our expectations. Sometimes the unexpected manner in which it arrives requires us looking past how we thought it would be in order to embrace exactly what it is.

We are welcomed into the blessing, even when we don’t feel at home in it.

“A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices. For yonder breaks a new and glorious dawn.”

Welcome home.



We rejoice at the positive pregnancy test and immediately plan the colors of the nursery. If it’s a girl, it’ll be Tiffany Blue and if it’s a boy, grays and navy. And when the ultrasound time comes and we find out the gender we immediately pick names. In the span of 20 minutes we’ve considered and tossed out close to 50 name options ranging from family to traditional to unique to modern spellings of traditional names.

As the pregnancy grows we plan our clothes and the baby’s clothes. We plan the diaper bag and the wipes holder and plan the car seat and the window shade and the high chair. We plan our birthing process and what we’ll wear in the hospital and what the baby will wear home.

When our child is born, we plan the feeding schedule and the sleeping schedule and the pooping schedule and the playing schedule. We plan visits with family and friends to show off our bundle. We take time to pack the bag and have extra clothes and extra diapers and extra wipes and extra everything in case we’re stranded for a week solid.

As toddlerhood begins we figure out where they’ll go to Mother’s Morning Out and for how many hours a day. Then we finalize a preschool and Halloween costumes and Christmas outfits and Easter baskets and decide if we’ll even celebrate Halloween or Santa or the Easter Bunny at all.

Careful thought about every single aspect of our child’s life, planned out from the moment we peed on a stick.

But then, if you’re like me, you wake up one day and your daughter is almost nine and you realize you’ve been very happenstance about this whole mothering thing, regardless of all your planning.


And I suddenly there’s a sense of urgency because if I’m not intentional now then I’ve lost the most formative years before she’s a full-fledged teen. (tweet)

And all the planning for nursing and outfits and preschool was nothing compared to the planning I need to do now.

So now — today — I begin. With intention. With determination.

First, I hit the ground with my face to the floor and let my pained heart bleed out to the One who gave her to me. I thank Him for the gift of raising a daughter, even when I was scared to death about raising a girl in a world with Facebook and Twitter at minimum. I ask Him to fill me with wisdom and discernment and confidence and boldness that I might say no when necessary, bestow grace when it’s undeserved and hold firm when I want to waver.

Second, I cover her with Truth. I pray the word over her, that her heart would be guarded from lies that the world wants her to believe. I pray that no weapon formed against her would prosper and that He would hide her under His mighty wing. I pray that she might always find refuge in Him alone. First. Always. I pray that her daddy would continue to dote over her and fawn over her, displaying the Father’s love for her here on earth, just as he always has.

Third, I stock up my arsenal. I gather books and resources galore that will help me navigate in these choppy waters of tweendom. Resources from Secret Keeper Girl and books like Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl and Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters. I read and highlight and cry and pray as my eyes are opened to the importance of this time in her life. I call on friends who have walked this path and know what’s ahead of me. I ask them for prayer when I’ve had to make tough decisions that leave me feeling like That Mom. I soak up wisdom from these friends and pour out thanksgiving to them and God for their covering.

Lastly, I let go. After all the tears and prayers and books and talks, I have to open the cage and let her fly. I have to trust her to make tough decisions. I resist the urge to rescue when her heart is hurt by a friendship. I have to comfort and love and release and watch in so many ways and it makes my heart ache, but that’s what I’m called to do. I have to trust Jesus in her. I have to trust God. I have to. For after all, she was His first. He’s just entrusting her to me for a time.

When I was six months pregnant and had that glow and eagerly anticipated what Jaana would look like and how she’d grow up, I didn’t imagine she’d be as amazing a child as she is right now. I also couldn’t have imagined the depths to which I would feel for her.

I knew I’d love her fiercely, but I didn’t realize how quickly I’d be willing to punch out another child for hurting her feelings. Or how often I’d want to isolate her in a bubble so she wouldn’t be subject to any pain or difficulty or change. Or how her pain would literally make my heart stop.

I didn’t know it would be like that.

I’ve had to keep myself from crying more times than I can count as she tells me about changing friendships, hurt feelings and how life just doesn’t seem fair.

For all the planning I did as a pregnant woman, I have felt so underprepared to mother, feeling failure at every turn and fear of permanent scarring.

But there are also moments when I’m drowning in the words I can’t find to comfort or guide her, and suddenly as my mouth opens God fills it. He speaks the words that will bring a healing balm to her tiny heart. He speaks the grace that erases doubt and confusion as she nods her head in understanding.

Those are the holy moments. The moments when I truly realize He has equipped me for this job…even if the equipping happens in real-time in a minute-by-minute basis, and not in a stockpile. (tweet)

So I begin my journey of intention starting today, confident in the knowledge that God is equipping me to mother this beautiful girl as I go. I make my plans but keep a loose hold on them to allow for God’s divine guidance and direction along the way.

“The mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord shows him what to do.” (Proverbs 16:9, New Life Version)