Storyteller: Solly's Nursery

In the weeks leading up to our placement with our sweet Solly, I heard a song that I just couldn't get out of my head. It became my anthem in the waiting and wondering. I sang it all day long...

The mountain where I climbed
The valley where I fell
You were there all along
That’s the story I’ll tell
You brought the pieces together
Made me this storyteller
Now I know it is well, it is well
That’s the story I’ll tell

-Morgan Harper Nichols

I knew that I wanted to create a piece of artwork for Solly's room that tied in the lyrics and meaning of the song. I wanted it to serve as a reminder of God's faithfulness to us--and especially to Solly.

His room already had a pretty rustic, wintery feel to it because, well, I love winter. We don't get much of a winter here in Georgia, but I wanted the nursery to feel like a cozy winter retreat. My inspiration began with a drawing I made for my dad when I was a teenager. He passed away in 2005, so the drawing is now a tangible reminder I have of him. He loved winter, too. 

hibernation_bear_nursery_art.jpg

With the drawing on the wall, I began a simple mural of wintery birch trees on the wall behind the crib...

The song lyrics tied in nicely with the rustic, wintery theme as it talked about the mountains and valleys in life, so I knew I would incorporate those images. I also wanted to tie in some of the colors and patterns from this quilt that was gifted to me by my mom.

And here is the final product...

   

 

 

And here it is in its home above the changing table. I still plan to make a wooden frame for it to anchor it a little bit more in that big space. But for now, it's exactly what I envisioned for our sweet boy's nursery. 


And all that You have done for me
I could never hold it in
So here’s to me telling this story
Over and over again

-Morgan Harper Nichols

To read more about this part of our story, click here.

 

when you didn't get what you wanted

 

I woke up this morning with one thought heavy on my mind: what if you didn’t get what you wanted?  

Of course there are things we wish we’d gotten that we didn’t...a new car with a big red bow like in the commercials, or meeting the man of our dreams while cutting down our Christmas tree like in the Hallmark movies.

 

But what if we didn't get the things that really matter to us?

 

Here we are, 6 days after Christmas, where we celebrated the birth of our Savior. The one who brought us hope, who still brings us hope today. Christmas fills us with hope. 

 

With Christmas comes the end of a calendar year. So many times I have prayed for things to happen “in time for Christmas”. And many times they have.

 

But what if they didn’t?

 

What if he didn’t propose?

 

What if the crib in the nursery is still empty?

 

What if you didn’t get that promotion you were expecting?

 

What if your relationship with your family is still broken?

 

What if he still isn’t well?

 

Maybe you are no closer to your goals than you were a year ago today. When the Christmas lights come down, and the garland and glitter get packed away and we enter into the blustery gray winter of January, it’s easy to feel like our hope and joy are put away, too. 

 


Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. -Proverbs 13:12


 

It was just a few days after Christmas three years ago that I walked into church feeling this way. And our good friend David McNeely shared a message that resonated with me. I loved it so much that I purchased a copy of the message from the book store and even inspired me to paint about it. 

 

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I don’t remember everything that he said, but I remember that I felt understood. And heard. And I knew God hadn’t forgotten me. And that I could hold on to hope and trust in Him.  

 

It’s scary to have hope. It’s easier to worry and to expect the worst. Expecting the worst doesn't leave us far to fall; helps us soften the blow. But hope sets us up for the possibility of disappointment. 

 

I love Charles Stanley’s wisdom on hope:

 

“But this is the challenge of waiting on God. It’s the ability to keep hoping when the nevers of life bombard us—when the minutes, hours, days and years tick away without any answers to our most passionate pleas at the throne of grace. It’s the faith to hang on to the Father on the long road, when human reason tells us to give up.”

 

Human reason has often told me to give up in order to save face. It’s embarrassing to hope for something when it seems unreasonable (and unlikely) to everyone around us. Hope requires waiting. If there wasn’t a season of waiting, we wouldn’t really need hope, would we? God knows that about us. That’s why there are so many verses like this:

 

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.”-Psalm 27:1

 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.-Proverbs 3:5

 

“Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.”—Isaiah 64:4

 

“None of those who wait for you will be ashamed.” —Psalm 25:2-3

 

“Those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame.”—Isaiah 49:23

 

If you are in a season of waiting, your story isn’t over. He tells us to have hope. HIs plans may not look like we imagined. In my experience, His plans look nothing like mine…but are way better than anything I could have asked for or imagined. Our desires may not be met in the way we planned. But He knows what we need better than we do. And He is good.

 

So may we each walk into the new year full of hope, saying ‘no’ to fear and disappointment—being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not {yet} see.

at the end of myself

My husband gave me a new journal for Christmas. The journal is filled with inspirational quotes in the margins of each page. This quote served as the “Introduction”:

“Life throws us curveballs. Dreams get shaken by reality. We are sometimes put into situations we don’t have the strength or wisdom to handle. But the good news is we don’t have to! God loves it when we come to Him because we are at the end of ourselves. That’s when we start relying on Him. He is God of the impossible.”

Heading into this new year, I couldn’t be more “at the end” of myself.

I read this quote on a blog a few months ago, and it resonated with me:

“God does not often reveal His plans for us, because we would run away in fear of the trials that lie before us, not valuing the refining process that makes us a just a little more like Him.”

I have to say, if I’d known what my journey to motherhood had in store, I would have surely run away.

Read More

brave

My husband shared this with me when it popped up in his inbox months ago:

Tuesday April 29, 2014

Making Our Lives Available to Others

One of the arguments we often use for not writing is this: “I have nothing original to say. Whatever I might say, someone else has already said it, and better than I will ever be able to.” This, however, is not a good argument for not writing. Each human person is unique and original, and nobody has lived what we have lived. Furthermore, what we have lived, we have lived not just for ourselves but for others as well. Writing can be a very creative and invigorating way to make our lives available to ourselves and to others.

We have to trust that our stories deserve to be told. We may discover that the better we tell our stories the better we will want to live them.

– Henri J. M. Nouwen

The truth is, he and I both know that it applies directly to me–to our story. God gives me words to share on a daily basis, and I run them through my head and never put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, in this case). But the words continue to build and sometimes I feel like I’ll explode if I don’t let them out.

It’s not that I don’t like to write. It’s that I don’t want to make myself vulnerable or to be misunderstood, or–heaven forbid–receive criticism. I have an abundance of posts that are just sitting as drafts because I am too chicken to hit the “Publish” button. But today, I will be brave.

I pray my words–my stories–will resonate with you.