Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lead Me Where My Trust is Without Borders

"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior."

I love this song, "Oceans," by Hillsong. I've been playing it while I get ready in the morning and in the car (that is, when Ava lets me take a break from Disney Junior's wide selection of Choo Choo Soul and Pirate Rock songs). 


Yesterday, I began to think to myself, "They say this stanza over and over...like 6 times." But, of course, I sang along with it probably 36 times because I had it on repeat. Again in my car this morning, I was like, "Seriously, why is it repeated so many times?" (By now, you probably know that I don't believe in coincidences. I believe everything happens for a reason as God sees fit). And then it hit me. I was finally hearing God's still, small voice speaking to me....

Ben and I have been trying really hard to pay off student loans and other debts we have, but it has been a struggle so far. In addition to our typical monthly bills, we've had my unpaid maternity leave (which led to paying a month's worth of insurance) that has given us a slow start, plus multiple trips to the mechanic for both cars, and the Jeep still has issues.


And recently I have been feeling really frustrated and defeated thinking, "God, You know we are trying our best to get things paid off, but as soon as we get ready to payoff something, we are slammed with another huge bill. I just don't understand why we can't catch a break." Even now as I'm writing this, I'm emotional about it. Those who know me well, know that I like to do my best and failing is not something I like to do. This past month has brought about situations in my life, both at school and at home, that has made me feel like my hard work is getting me nowhere. 

However, here is what God made me realize today. I sang those words, "Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders....wherever You would call me...(where) my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior," and I understood that this valley I'm in is where God has called me to be. He has brought me here to this point to make my faith stronger and to fully trust Him. God has a different plan for everyone, and I realized that this is where God wants me (yes, in the middle of all these trials) because He desires for me to rely completely on Him. 

I know I personally cannot solve all the issues in my life, but I know that my Savior can. He has never failed me, never given up on me, and never left me; and I know He never will. Satan has been trying really hard to bring me down lately by throwing these situations in my life, hoping that I will falter. But I pray that I will not. I am "casting my cares upon Him," because He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7). I can't do this on my own, but God can take care of it all. I'm so thankful for the hope I have in the Lord and the grace He extends to me daily. He is my strength, my refuge, and my everything. 



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Providence: The Protective Care of God

I remember learning the phrase "God's providential care" in high school, tucking that thought away in my brain, but never fully recognizing that idea until the past few years. I have always thought that God would take care of me and I would even verbalize it; but truly believing it and surrendering to this idea whole-heartedly is something that I'm still learning to do. Not because I don't believe it, but because I like to be in control and I like to plan everything out. But that's not always what God desires for me. There are times when He wants me to walk through valleys to realize that He will see me through regardless of anything I've tried on my own. Like everyone else, I have gone through hardships but my faith in God and His providential care is what has seen me through.

Just today, Ben and I were reminded again of how amazing God's timing is. When we sold our house last summer, we were supposed to receive some funds after the closing. While we received part of them, we had not seen the remainder at all....until today, when we received the checks. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but here's the incredible part. Due to my maternity leave, I went several weeks without pay. In addition, my place of employment stated that I would have to pay the insurance premium for December (which is roughly what I make in one month). Well, I have been putting funds into savings to pay this insurance bill, but we recently have had some car repairs (for both cars, of course) that were not in our budget and it put a dent in our savings. So, we weren't where we needed to be. And then the checks came. Not just some added funds to help, but literally the EXACT amount we needed to add to our savings to pay the insurance premium.

When I saw that today, I had chills. I know this was no coincidence, but just another example of how God takes care of us. Coincidences like this give me the opportunity to praise God for his grace and protection. It reminds me that God is in everything I do and He will take care of me. How sweet it is to trust in Jesus and know that He is with me.

Matthew 10:30-31

"But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Never a Dull Moment

Ava cracks us up, and tonight was no exception. Her favorite things lately include coloring and trying to climb up in "big people" chairs at the table. She is also a really good scavenger and will run her hand along the edge of the kitchen table in hopes of finding something she shouldn't have like forks, ceramic dishes, or glasses full of water. One thing's for sure, there's never a dull moment when Ava is around--and we wouldn't have it any other way. We love our baby girl.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Creative Ava

Ava is so smart. (Okay, so I'm probably a little biased...but she really is)
She loves to color and watching her play "house" is adorable. I'm such a proud mama.



Almost 3 Months Old

Finley Dean will be 3 months old on the 23rd. He is started to "talk" and smile all the time. We are loving it!



Saturday, January 18, 2014

How to Melt this Mama's Heart

Ava is starting to really like Finn and take care of him. Recently, when Finn has been crying, Ava has tried to rock him in his bouncer, give him a pacifier or just stack her cup and stuffed animals on top of him. It's so cute seeing her trying to show her love and concern for her baby brother. It amazes me that a 20 month old baby girl is capable if being so thoughtful and compassionate.


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Monday, January 13, 2014

Close Call

"Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go..." Genesis 28:15a

This verse rang true for us today. After a professional day at a workshop in Hamilton and traveling to the chiropractor, I finally got home after 5...just in time for us to chow down on dinner before Ben had to leave for work. (Side note: Ava actually participated in our "group hug" tonight and hugged baby Finn:)

Before Ben left, he told me that he had been hearing some weird rattling sound in his truck. He seemed a little concerned, but not overly worried. So, we kissed goodbye and off he went. 

I went about cleaning and started washing dishes. Then I felt the need to pray for Ben, so I prayed, "Lord, please watch over Ben and keep him safe on the way to work." 

I am not exaggerating when I say that within a minute of me speaking that prayer, Ben walked back through the door. The brakes on his truck stopped working on his way to work and he had no control in stopping his truck. Thankfully, he chose to go the back way to work rather than the highway and was able to get back home safely.

This was no coincidence. I 100% believe that God was protecting Ben and brought him home to us. My God never ceases to amaze me. We now face a potentially expensive mechanic bill, but it’s nothing compared to having Ben safe and secure. It specifically reminds me of some of the lyrics to one of my favorite songs: His love is “higher than the mountains that I face, stronger than the power of the grave, constant through the trial and the change.” His love remains. Even though it will take some adjusting to going down to one car for a few days, it’s more than worth it. I’m so thankful he’s okay. God has seen us through again. His Word is true when He says that He won’t leave us and He will “keep us wherever we go.” 




Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Who God Gave Me



 There is not a doubt in my mind that God wanted Ben and me to be together. I'm so grateful for our relationship and marriage. He truly is my best friend and encompasses every quality I could ever hope to find in a husband. He keeps God first in his life and strives to be the best husband and dada possible....and he accomplishes that. He is so giving, caring and understanding. Ben has been my unwavering, steady companion through two pregnancies and deliveries that were full of nausea, cravings, stress about needles, compression socks, sleepless nights, body pillows, and aches and pains. And he never complained once as I would vent to him about all of that. Instead, he stood by my side, brought me Lucky Charms and Cocoa Pebbles, and slept on about 1/8 of our bed as I surrounded myself with literally 7 different pillows. Little things like that show me how much he loves me and just how unconditional and selfless his love is.

He is the same in his love as a dad. Ava and Finn are the lights of his life. Ben is an exceptional Dada. He doesn't just play with our babies, he helps in every aspect. Laundry, diapering, feeding, burping, cleaning and bathing are nothing out of the ordinary for him. I love that Ava and Finn have such an incredible role model to look up to.

Ben works so hard for our family and never complains about it. He has three jobs right now and a crazy sleep schedule. If that were me, I know is be exhausted and grumpy; but he is never like that at all.
I don't know what I did to deserve him, but I'm so glad I have him. I am so blessed to be his wife and I love him more than I could ever express. I pray every day that Ava and Finn find a love like this someday and learn to be the best spouses and companions possible. 


Sunday, January 5, 2014

1-6-14

Ava (a.k.a. Ava Girl, Ava Baba, Baba Girl) is 20 months old! I can hardly believe it. She will be 2 years old in just 4 short months. She is such an energetic, sweet, fun, and smart toddler. She's been a joy since the day she was born. Ben and I love watching her grow and learn.
She spends her days hanging out at home, playing with toys (and non-toys--tupperware, pots/pans, bags of potatoes, etc.), watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse & Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, and running laps inside the house.


12-23-13

 Our sweet baby boy is already two months old! The time has flown by for sure. At two months, Finley Dean is starting to smile a lot and "coo" at us. He's such an easy baby; only cries when he's hungry. He's definitely going to grow up to be tough as Ava likes to share her toys with him by piling them on him while he's chilling in his bouncer.

I truly can't get enough of my little buddy. His adorable smile just makes my day. I love his little personality already. I'm so excited to see him grow.


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Ava Loves to Laugh

Ava is super ticklish and loves to laugh. Ben and I love playing with Ava. Some of her favorite games include: 1) Chase Me Around the House, 2) Chase Me and Jump Out and Scare Me, and 3) Tickle Me.

She also loves to sing songs. Well, what that really means is she likes for us to sing songs to her. Her favorites are: "You Are My Sunshine," "The Wheels on the Bus," "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes," and "If You're Happy and You Know It."

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Friday, January 3, 2014

God Sees Us Through...Again

I'm always blown away when I see how God is working in my life. I shouldn't be, because I know He always sees me through...but I'm still in awe. And it happened again today. 

Finley arrived almost 4 weeks early and I didn't even have enough sick days to cover me on his actual due date. This meant two things: 1) I got extra time with my sweet baby boy at home, but 2) I didn't have a paycheck since October. 

We had saved up enough to cover us for the anticipated due date through Christmas, but not much more. Ava had arrived just 5 days early, so we were expecting something similar. Thankfully, Finn came when he was supposed to and allowed me an extra 4 weeks with him.

I know people have been complaining about the snow and weather lately, but it has honestly been an indirect answer to my prayers and has really helped our family. Because of the snow days our school had in December, I wasn't docked any pay on those days. As a result, I received a small paycheck today for the days I worked before Christmas break plus those snow days. My paycheck that I wasn't counting on today was direct deposited this morning and was the exact amount we needed. 

God truly never ceases to amaze me with the ways He takes care of me. I definitely believe that everything happens for a reason, even if we don't know the reason just yet. God is so good

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Our Super Smart Ava Girl

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Ava is learning so much everyday. She loves showing off what she knows. Her favorites are pointing to her nose, hair, belly, tongue, and eyes. She also will "put on her binoculars" because they do that on the show "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood." Ava is really observant and tries to mimic things she sees. We're so proud of our baby girl.




2014: Happy New Year!











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2011, 2012, and 2013--all three of those years I have been pregnant at some point and time. Our family is now complete with our two incredible babies, Ava Belle and Finley Dean Dykes. If you would have told Ben and me last year that we'd be celebrating the new year with Ava and a new baby, we wouldn't have believed it. God has blessed us with the cutest and sweetest little boy ever. We are loving every adventurous day with our perfect little family. Here's to another fabulous year!