100 Days, Round 2: 59-50

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Halfway to the "due" date, though September 29th is probably the day
I consider LEAST likely to see your sweet face for the first time :)

Day 5o- Friday, August 10, 2012

I can hardly believe we're halfway to your due date since I started counting down from 100 days. As always, I know that September 29 is a general marker and, as I think I've said, pretty much the day I least likely expect to meet you face to face. Jesus certainly is welcome to surprise me :)

I am still that crazy lady who, despite how rough things have been going, prays you come at least 2 days late and arrive in October. Though crazy crazy me hopes somehow you come on October 11 (hello, 10.11.12) I'm pretty sure my doctor wisely won't let us wait that long. My gut says you're bigger than Rog was and I would really, really be blessed by another vaginal birth and since Roger was 8 pounds, 13 ounces I just am not sure waiting until almost 2 weeks overdue (since your due date is based on my LMP, not ultrasounds) would be wise and neither is she. But I do think 10.2.12 would be cool because a: it sounds awesome and b: 10+2=12. But really, Jesus has already written your birth and just to keep me on my toes you'll probably come early :)

One thing I wanted to write to you is this: I've been really blessed by the amount of peace Jesus has blessed me with regarding your life. It's interesting because with Roger I was simply terrified that he would miscarry really late, or be stillborn, or die of SIDS. I have no particular assurance that you are meant to live a long, healthy life, which is what I pray for, but the paralyzing fear has simply ceased. It's less that I'm sure you won't die (how could I ever be?) but more that I have, by God's grace, been more gripped with the faith to believe him that he is truly good, that you are his, and the days of your life have been written long before he knit you in my womb.

Here's what's most miraculous about this: two women in our church have suffered such loss. Our beloved pastor's wife, who is also battling cancer, unexpectedly and inexplicably went into early labor at 21 weeks and the doctors simply couldn't get her body to stop. Sweet Samuel Thomas only lived 2 short hours before, I firmly believe, being taken into Jesus' presence. Another sweet lady in our church had a full term stillbirth. I feel like because I have seen it happen around me I should be more afraid, yet by his grace Jesus simply keeps answering my prayers as I cry out for these women to experience his peace with, "I am trustworthy. I am good. I am the lifter of each of these beloved daughters' heads and so it is with you, darling girl." How sweet he is, Juliet. I pray you know him not as a God of rules and expectations and requiring your performance or as one to be rebelled against but as your best friend, trusted savior, and the love of your life.

One quick PS: Daddy and I just watched the women's 4x100m relay in the Olympics and we crushed the world record that has stood for nearly 30 years. Being a female ROCKS. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

Days 54-51- Monday, August 6, 2012 - Thursday, August, 9, 2010

So sorry, darling love, that I haven't written for a few days. Truth be told, things have just been rough. I'm still fighting the upper respiratory infection (I saw the doc for your 32 week appointment Wednesday and she wasn't concerned; we know it's simply a virus that my body needs to fight off) but then yesterday I woke up with a different, separate head cold. It just doesn't feel fair, but I'm grateful that your big brother is just about the most chill kid ever and I get lots of rest during the day.

I know it's pathetic to say this little when it's four days worth of posts but I trust that you understand. Sometimes life just isn't how we'd hope and yet there's such goodness and grace to be found in cleaving to believing that Jesus truly is good and sovereign over every circumstance. Just know this--I can feel you so well (at the moment it feels like you are playing with my right hipbone!) and I'm just enthralled with you. Today Roger and I were snuggling at nap time and he was just so filled with joy and laughing and I thought to myself, "I cannot believe we get to do this again, and with a daughter!" I'm positive that you will be just as perfect to me in every way as he is. I honestly am not sure how I could love you more yet I know from experience that somehow every day of your life I will.

Day 55- Sunday, August 5, 2012

Yesterday marked 32 completed weeks of pregnancy. So nice :) Today was one of the hottest days of the summer and it was miserable for me, so we embraced the grace of air conditioning (even though it KILLS me to think about how much electricity it uses) so that I could keep sane. Daddy is good about not letting me be ridiculous about those things and looking out for my best and so I'm grateful for that.

There's a lot on my heart and mind, but also I'm just wiped out so I'm not going to write a terrible lot. Just that I love you, I'm thankful for you, and I'm excited that each day brings me one day closer to meeting you. As much pain as I'm in, I'm really in no rush. I am enjoying each day...plus I have a lot I'd like to accomplish between now and then if I'm able :) Clothes to sort, dressers to paint, etc. So do feel free to stay warm and snug until that full 40 weeks, 'k darling?

Day 56- Saturday, August 4, 2012

Today was hard, sweet girl. Much back pain and struggles due to extreme (90 humid degrees in Seattle is extreme!) heat. I got the closest I've ever come to passing out because it was nearly 80 degrees in our apartment and unfortunately our dinner was the final leftovers of eating some hot soup. It was delicious...but then when I was done the warm soup (doubly warm because it was reheated AND it had some tasty sriracha) in my belly combined with the heat and humidity in the air just whacked me. Thankfully your sweet daddy hooked me up with a cool washcloth for my forehead and a towel-covered ice pack for my neck so I could lie down and rest. Not fun but grateful that now, after midnight, it's finally getting closer to 70 degrees out...which is ironic since that's gross hot for this late!

One other thing I want to share because the coolest thing happened this morning. Remember a few days ago when I told you about our (now) dear friends who are serving in the Rainier Valley? Daddy and I recently really carefully combed through our finances to free up as much money as possible to pay down debt. There's simply no more room for us to cut to be able to give to them monthly, but I asked Jesus to free up some money anyway because, well, he can if he'd like to!

So, we realized we still had Netflix though we absolutely never use it. We cancelled it and were halfway to the amount of money I prayed Jesus would free up. Then, today, for no particular reason (for such a time as this*?) I felt compelled to look over our internet bill just to see what we pay. I wasn't trying to save money, just wanted to make sure things looked right. As I was looking it over I realized there was a charge that didn't make sense. So I called our ISP and, long story short, they were wrongly charging us for something that we don't have (and never had--the lady had no idea why we were being charged for it) so not only did we get a refund for wrongfully paying for the last 3 billing cycles but also--how cool is this--it was $1 short of the amount of money, combined with cancelling Netflix, that I asked Jesus to provide for us to give.

I was so excited I had to text your daddy, who was studying hard at Starbucks, who rejoiced with me. You know the best part? Jesus didn't have to. He could have said that right now his answer to us being part of the  financial provision for this sweet family is no. He doesn't need us to do his work--being able to financially support them is a gift that brings us joy as it brings them joy and spreads the gospel, but God can provide for them not through us and deny us that joy as we focus on paying down debt. He would still be a perfectly good and wonderful and loving God if that were his answer.

But he didn't say no--he said yes, and the obedience we've been graced with lately to pursue him, to cry out for freedom from the fear (more me) and shame (more daddy) we feel financially as we've let him pursue our hearts allows us to enjoy this grace. I just love experiencing Jesus' grace, baby girl! I pray we continue this redemption with long obedience in the same direction so you can learn well from us :)

*Obviously some freed up money to give isn't the same as Esther's situation. I just love Jesus' timing that, seemingly totally randomly to me, this morning was the time he chose to have me find an oddity in a bill I haven't looked at in a few months because it was legit (or so I thought). When Jesus is your Lord there is no such thing as coincidence :)

Day 57- Friday, August 3, 2012

The last two days have been long entries so today I'm keeping it short: I love you. I'm excited to meet you. I've been feeling so much joy as you move inside of me--and girl, you've got your tiny baby self some moves! My entire belly, every so often, will move all at once. It's amazing. I just really adore you. Right this very second you're moving around and oh, girl, I love it! As much as I want you in my arms, you'll be in them for as long as we both shall live but this time with you in me is limited and I continue to ask Jesus to help me enjoy every moment of it despite the pain and discomfort that accompanies the wonder and joy!

Day 58- Thursday, August 2, 2012

Today was busy. Something humbling happened that I have to share with you because it's a beautiful redemption story. Interestingly enough it's also about money.

After growing up in poverty, I thought I'd be so smart about money...but then I got my first credit card in college and it felt amazing to simply be able to get something I wanted and feel like I was earning it by paying it off. Only, sadly, over time I kept getting more stuff while not making very much progress on the overall balance. In other words, I accrued a lot of debt.

When I got my first real job I needed a car, so I thought I'd go into my credit union and get a car loan, maybe $5k-$8k. Not huge, but enough to get an ok car. Long story short, my job was as a teacher in a low-income area with terrible pay, I had a lot of debt, and basically the loan lady treated me like a complete idiot and waste of her time. Ouch.

Now, praise Jesus, at that time he provided me with a car that was worth $3,500 for only $600 in that way that only he can. But those feelings of identity--that I'm poor white trash, a fool with money, that a nice/new car is for people "better" and "more deserving" than me--plagued me yesterday as your daddy and I drove to our credit union to apply for an auto-loan. You see, sweet girl, there simply isn't room for you in our current car and though we normally wouldn't want to spend money on a new car our heart is to be wise and have a car that is appropriate for our about-to-be family of four. We feel led to find the best deal possible on a dependable car that, Lord willing, will be a reliable family car for 3-4 years and then to see if it's time to expand our family and get a van.

So, then, today we were heading back to a credit union to get a car loan and I felt those icky feelings. But here's the best part--your sweet daddy didn't just say, "Stop it." He explored why I was being so anxious, and that was when I remembered the bad experience 7 years before, and helped me see that it was an attack on my identity. Even if the credit union said no, or gave us a very small loan, my identity as as a daughter of the king--a princess in the kingdom of heaven, actually--rich with the love and approval of Jesus.

So good. That's all that matters and I got to repent of my anxiety and believing lies and just enjoy whatever came our way as grace.

As our sweet Jesus would have it, we qualified far beyond what we hoped for and things went way better than we'd even asked Jesus to do for us. That isn't because I repented--it was always his plan. But I got to enjoy it as grace. Sweet Lord, I love your redemption! I pray you will always see stories of redemption like this in your mama and daddy, because we are sinners basking in the grace of our loving Jesus! And, Lord willing, I look forward to bringing you home from the hospital in a lovely 2011 Toyota RAV4 in which there is plenty of room for our whole family :)

Day 59- Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hello, August! I still pray you come in October (you're due September 29 and I always pray you stay in the full 40 weeks--what are two more days, really, when the payoff is being born in the BEST. MONTH. EVER?) but we're only one month away from your "due month." Whoa! Time has flown by so crazy quickly!

So, then, today: it was awesome! There's a sweet couple we barely knew who came over to chat with us about their calling to serve in the Rainier Valley location of our church. It's a very impoverished neighborhood that is not only the most ethnically diverse zip code in the United States but many sad struggles are present--single mothers without husbands, children without daddies, domestic violence, crime, lack of resources like good education and other generally things for students to do with their time, gangs, etc. Our church is there to not only meet as many felt needs as they can but to give the best news--the Gospel.

It's not easy. The suburbs have their own challenges, but the felt urgency is simply palpable for the ways this couple is being led by Jesus to be "all in" in the RV. And it really got my heart fired up! I feel more urgency to pay off our debt because I hate that we're slaves to the debt we have--we can't just decide to stop paying certain bills so we can allocate it to something like this ministry that we feel passionate about. So I'm prayerfully looking at ways I can not just steward things like certain parts of our budget more carefully but also possibly try to find ways to generate some income and get that debt (primarily loads and loads o' student loans--gross!) paid off.

I pray your daddy and I teach you wisdom regarding money so that you spend wisely, save wisely, but most importantly, give biblically--generously, joyfully, and regularly. I pray you don't have to unlearn icky things we have had to unlearn and, I pray, we raise you in such a way that by God's grace you are well provided for but also grateful and willing  to work hard.

Anyway, I'm rambling so I'll stop now! But I do want to end with this--when you are like-minded with someone, united by the Spirit, Jesus does amazing things. We did barely know this couple, but after one evening together we simply bonded in such a way that they feel like longtime, good old friends. Love how Jesus does that!

What's This About?

If you weren't around for it, when I was pregnant with Roger I did a blog series when I reached 100 days remaining until his due date; I knew then and know that September 29, 2012 is really just a placeholder that means very little, but it was fun to count down with Roger. I decided that I'ma try to do it again with Juliet. Now that I have a lovely 15 month old keeping me on my toes I might not be able to hit every single day the way I did with Roger but I still plan to give it my best!

So here we go! The lowdown: I'll keep one post per "decade" of days, updating with the current day at the top each day. Day 10 plus any bonus days will get their own posts until the day our beloved Juliet Elise arrives! And, as with Roger, they'll be addressed to her personally.

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