Where are you at with Jesus?

This past Tuesday, our connection group with our church started up and since our church is between a sermon series, we decided to start out this semester in group asking the question, “Where are you at in your relationship with Jesus?” The idea is to evaluate where we currently are in our relationship with Jesus and how we’d like to grow by the end of this semester.

Now I have to say, this question was super convicting to me. I have to admit, since I’ve had Titus, I let my quiet time with Jesus fall to the waste side. Having a newborn has completely changed the routines I was used to and because of that, I feel that I have been in survival mode and just trying to learn how to re-route my life as a mom. A new routine hasn’t come easily for me. Many mornings I’ve chosen sleep or getting housework done while he sleeps instead of sitting down and enjoying the peace and quiet time with Jesus. The less and less I’ve spent with Jesus, the more I think I can do everything on my own without him. But, that is so not true! I now have a little boy who will soon be watching and taking in every move I make. I want Titus to see how much his mother loves Jesus through my actions. So, bottom line… I need Jesus every day! So how do I do this?

I guess that brings me back to the question- Where am I with Jesus? To be honest, I have A LOT of growing I need to do. I have been unloving, I have been selfish, I have been hateful, I have been prideful, I have been anxious. The list goes on. Without Jesus, I am nothing. I can’t grow until I start taking charge and changing things. So, this week, I’ve made a list of things I’d like to improve on so that I can grow closer to Jesus this semester (and semesters after). My list looks like this:

  1. Be in the Word daily. My goal is to read my Bible every single day, even if that means I only get 5-10 minutes. Last year, my church did a Bible read through in a year. Well, embarrassingly, I never completed it so my goal this year, especially since I realistically won’t have a lot of time for studying scripture, is to actually read through the entire Bible.
  2. Memorize scripture weekly. It’s amazing how the more you memorize scripture, the more opportunities Jesus gives you to use the very scriptures you’ve memorized. So, my goal is to bring out the spiral notecards and begin memorizing one verse per week. Eventually, it’ll add up.
  3. Spend time in prayer daily. Prayer has always been hard for me. I’d say I’d pray for people, then I’d forget or I’d spend a ridiculously long time trying to pray for every single thing that it became unfeasible for me to pray efficiently everyday. So, later last year, I made a prayer journal outlining every day of the week and praying for specific things on each day. I found that the prayer journal helped me organize my prayers for people, things and situations and allowed me to pray more efficiently with the time I had available. It was amazing how much closer to Jesus I felt after spending that time in prayer consistently.
  4. Read Biblically saturated books. I am not a born reader. My sister could read a book in a weekend and I mean a 300 page book. I never could. However, in the last few years, I’ve tried to improve my interest in reading. I’ve actually enjoyed reading books that are biblically saturated and provide me with tools to grow in my relationship with Jesus. So, this semester, I’d like to read the books A Mother After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George and the Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler. I’m excited to see how God challenges and teaches me through these books!
  5. Read parenting books on how to raise Godly children. The heaviest thing about being a parent is realizing that God has given us this little person, who is sinful and needs Jesus, to disciple and share the Gospel with. It is our responsibility to raise him in the ways of the Lord. If I’m honest with myself, looking at the way I live my life right now and how I represent Jesus, it terrifies me that Titus may never visibly see how important Jesus is to have in his heart. So, Zach and I have started reading Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp. This book outlines how, as parents, we are to discipline our children, not out of anger or frustration, but by identifying the heart issue and redirecting their heart towards Jesus. I think it will definitely be helpful in redirecting my heart also. I pray everyday for Titus’s salvation and that he comes to know and love Jesus but ultimately, he has free will. I just pray that Zach and I can raise him with the proper tools to grow in his relationship with Jesus and that he realizes he needs Him in his heart. I hope this book will help us succeed in that!

Those are my goals for this semester (and I’m sure it will pour over into the next semester as well). I’m praying that committing to this list will bring me closer to Jesus! It will be tough to stick to these goals but hey, no one ever said growing was easy! Feel free to hold me accountable because I’m sure I will need it, especially since I’m still working at forming a new consistent routine. So, I ask you, where are you with Jesus? Is there room for improvement? I challenge you to make a list of areas you’d like to personally grow in in your relationship with Jesus. Let me know about it so I can pray for you and hold you accountable as well! Let’s make this year a year we can both grow spiritually!

The Pregnancy Chronicles: Welcome to the World, Titus Henry

Part VI

Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s 2019 already! I have had so much I’ve wanted to share with you all before the new year but before I realized it, December just FLEW by. It seems like just yesterday that I brought my precious little boy into the world, but in reality, it’s been almost a month. Can you believe it?! A MONTH! Just thinking that makes this momma want to cry because it’s gone by so quickly.

The last time I posted, I talked about the agony of waiting and how I felt like I was never gonna get to meet my son. Well, my friends, that time FINALLY came! When I was pregnant, I absolutely loved hearing birth stories from my friends and fellow pregnant ladies. It always made me imagine what mine would be like and almost made me more excited for that day to come! So, I figured the best way to end my Pregnancy Chronicles series was to share my birth story with you all. It definitely didn’t go as planned but I am so proud of how our special day panned out and it was all worth it when we welcomed my precious Titus Henry into this world!

My original birth plan was to go into labor naturally and to have an unmedicated birth. I even hired a doula to help increase my chances for doing so. Well, my due date (December 5th) came and went with no sign of labor in sight. After discussing my desires to have a low intervention birth around 39 weeks, Dr Thies was supportive of my birth plan but didn’t feel comfortable with me going beyond 41 weeks. At that point, I was 39 weeks and super antsy to meet our little guy that I was okay scheduling an induction on December 12 because I’d be 41 weeks and figured I’d go into labor before that day came anyways. Plus, it was comforting to me to have an end in sight. With almost every other friend of mine delivering early, I was convinced I’d be no different. I guess Titus and God had different plans. Even though I wanted to go into labor naturally, I feel that God gave me a sense of peace with going through with the induction process if that’s how it panned out. Well, we finally made it to 41 weeks and D-Day had commenced (induction day was upon me).
We arrived at the hospital at 5:30 am. We got checked in, filled out paperwork and discussed different options for induction. We decided that beginning induction by using the Cook Catheter followed by Pitocin would be the best way to go. The Cook catheter was done first because I was only 1cm dilated and it would get me dilated to around 4-5cm. Then pitocin would continue afterwards. They placed the catheter at 8am. That’s when the beginning of contractions started. They were painful. They started pitocin a few hours afterwards. I didn’t dilate to 4.5cm until around 3pm that afternoon and that was when they decided to remove the catheter. Once that was removed, the contractions became immediately bearable. I was feeling like superwoman at that point because I could handle them so well! Around 7pm, Dr Thies came in and checked my cervix and to my surprise, I was only 5cm dilated. I was so upset and worried that I wasn’t progressing quickly enough. She recommended I break my water to start moving things along. I had initially discussed with my doula to deny getting my water broken unless it did it automatically but after talking with Thies, at the rate my contractions were currently going, I wasn’t dilating and the only way to really progress was to break my water. I agreed, much to my doula’s dismay. Not more than 10 minutes later, I experienced some of the most intense pain I’ve ever experienced in my life. From around 7pm to 1am I labored in every position and in every piece of equipment that was available and nothing seemed to help the pain of my contractions. By 1am, Thies came in to check my cervix again, at which point I was only 6cm dilated. I knew at that point that I could no longer go on without an epidural. Thies knew that if I continued on like I currently was and really unable to manage my pain, that I’d be out of energy when it came time to push. So, I decided that the epidural was the best decision. And man, I don’t regret it! That epidural was a game changer. Within minutes, I was able to find relief and even get several hours of sleep. Zach was able to sleep too as he was also pretty exhausted. I was only able to sleep in a sitting position on the bed however as Titus’s heart rate was all over the place and that was the only way he was happy. By 8am on December 13, I was finally at 8cm! Yay, I was getting closer! And by 9am I was at 9.5cm. Around 11am, I was finally at 10cm and was ready to push! I pushed for about 30-45 minutes and before I knew it, Titus made his grand debut at 11:41am! It was one of the best moments of my life to have that little chunky baby placed on my chest. After only 2 or so minutes of skin to skin time, the nurses pulled him off and rushed him over to the table to place the CPAP respirator and drain the liquid from his lungs. I was so nervous but kept praying that God would take care of him. I had peace that he’d be okay. About 25 minutes later, he was breathing well and brought back to me for a delayed skin to skin time. He weighed in at 9lb 1oz and was 21.25” long! I couldn’t believe a baby that size actually fit inside of my 5’3″ frame! Crazy!

Even though my birth plan didn’t go the way I planned and even the days leading up to the induction brought me lots of anxiety, I’m really happy with my experience during labor and delivery. I am no longer against epidurals because it made such a difference to me. It was easy to let the pressure of others get to me but honestly, I was proud of the way it turned out. I labored unmedicated for 18 hours! Most of the women I know that had unmedicated births didn’t labor for that long. Plus, I was able to get sleep before pushing so that the pushing didn’t last hours and hours. 28 hours was a long time to labor and I definitely hope that next time I go into labor it will be shorter but overall, every moment spent in that low intervention room was so worth it when I locked eyes with the most perfect little baby! I know God definitely had his hand on the whole process and I’m so thankful I get to be Titus’s mom!

Induction Day had commenced. We were so excited about meeting our little man!
Our first photo as a family of three!
I’m the mom to the most perfect little baby! Titus Henry, you are so loved!