More of you and less of me.

It seems like the more I understand that I am nothing without Christ, the more He uses me and shows me my value.

I feel like nothing today. Beat down. Discouraged. Empty. Exhausted.

We lost another baby. I was at my 16 week doctor’s appointment and they couldn’t find a heartbeat. They did an immediate ultrasound and couldn’t even find the fetus. Empty.

I later learned I had a partial molar pregnancy, that there was a baby but it didn’t live past 7 weeks. I had a D&C procedure, and have to continue getting blood work done until my HCg hormone levels drop down to zero. Then it’s at least 6 more months of blood work to make sure it stays down. We were told we’d have to wait a year before trying for another baby. Following a pregnancy like this there is the risk that a tumor might continue to grow inside me that could even potentially become cancerous. It’s been just over a month and I’m still waiting for the blood test to come back zero.

Writing that brief version of the story, I’m a little detached. I’ve told it enough times by now, I can get through the facts.

But ask me how I’m feeling… that’s a whole different story. I can barely take one step up that mountain of a story. The pain feels too big to conquer, to even see the peak of it where I might be able to come down the other side with some relief. I’m still traveling up hill right now. One foot in front of the other. And the burden feels so heavy.

Jesus said to take His yoke upon us (Matt. 11:29). He said He would help us carry the load. I’m counting on that promise now. The child we lost was never meant to be, but for 4 months of terribly sick pregnancy the hope of that baby was what got me through. It’s been a horrible ending to a horrible season, and it’s just too much.

And yet, He’s called me to ministry. I’ll be co-coordinating the MOPS group of Valdez this year. It’s in the time I feel the most vulnerable, the least capable, the least prepared that He has answered the prayer and the calling I felt a year and a half ago when Teagan was just a newborn. A call to ministry. He laid the way, He set it all up, now I just have to say yes.

Never more than now do I feel like I am nothing. There is no silver lining to losing a child. How can anything good come out of it that was worth the loss? But the Lord still promises to USE it for good (Romans 8:28). He’s promised that the pain and suffering we experience now will create in us perseverance, faith, character, and hope (Romans 5:4). So I’m praying-

Use my nothingness Lord Jesus. Use this pain to produce in me more of your likeness, and heal me Father. Please heal me.


Give and Gain

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” -Jim Elliot

When I was in 8th grade I did a project on a famous person from history. I chose Jim Elliot the missionary to the Auca tribe in Ecuador. He was killed by the tribe in 1956 while attempting to befriend and witness to them. A modern day martyr.

Today, while doing dishes at the kitchen sink (trying to load the dishwasher faster than my 11 month old could unload it), that quote by Jim Elliot popped into my head.

It was so profound to me as an 8th grader because it was his quote that explained so well and gave purpose to the tragic ending of his life. That was the year I got baptized. I decided I too wanted to be a missionary. And someday I wanted my death to count for something too.

But today, 13 years later, I realized that quote is so profound because of his life, not just his death. As a missionary to unreached peoples he gave his life up everyday. The harsh lifestyle of the remote jungle, the danger of flying small planes in rough terrain, and the daily threat of not being well received by the people. It was a sacrificial lifestyle, not just a sacrificial ending.

13 years later I still want to be like Jim Elliot. I’m not a missionary in a foreign land. I’m a stay at home mom in the U.S. I can’t tell you what my ending will be, whether I’ll die for the glory of God, but I can live sacrificially today. When I am tempted to be jealous at working women who seem to actually be contributing to society, I can rebuke that feeling and tell myself that raising God fearing babies is more than productive. I can choose to see my daily tasks of keeping a house and cooking meals as a way to love and honor the Lord, instead of feeling sorry for myself that my life is at times mundane.

I can give the hours of my time that I cannot keep to the little girl hanging off my leg. And in that sacrifice I’ll gain what I cannot lose, the delight of the Lord as I honor Him in motherhood. And I’ll be no fool to do so.

Thanks Jim;)



{holy moments}

Baby’s First Christmas!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Valdez, Alaska. Snow has fallen, our Alaskan spruce tree is up, decorated, and taking up way too much room in our tiny cabin’s living room. I’ve spent the last three days a slave in the kitchen baking tons of yummy goodies to give away. I’ve got lists of groceries to buy and last minute gifts to get since we’re hosting my family this year. I’ve been inspired to make this Christmas extra special because of one little reason I didn’t have last year –

Teagan Noelle.

She turned 10 months old on December 2nd and stares with wonder at the lights on the Christmas tree (before yanking down the lowest hanging ornaments).

Her middle name is appropriate for this time of year- Noelle is the female version of Noel which means Christmas in French. It’s the name of theologian and pastor John Piper’s wife. Tyler and I both thought it was beautiful. She was born in February but she’s our Christmas girl.

This time last year, December 2015, I was 8 months pregnant. I couldn’t help but think of Mary awaiting the birth of her first born son as I waited (impatiently) to meet our first born daughter.

But as much as I thought about Mary carrying baby Jesus in her womb last Christmas, it doesn’t even compare to the connection I feel to her this year. I think of her in the holy moments of motherhood, like when Teagan falls asleep in my arms. Moments like that bring a new found sense of wonder at the story of that other young mother holding her own sleeping baby over 2,000 years ago.

Mary and I. We have so much and yet so little in common.

Her baby was born in a stable or a cave and laid in a manger. Mine was born in a comfortable birth center and laid in a padded cradle.

Her baby was greeted by unknown shepherds from a field nearby. Mine was greeted by a large family who waited expectantly for her arrival.

But her baby had flesh and blood and new baby skin, and so did mine.

Her baby was fed by the breast milk of his mother, and so is mine.

Her baby had wet diapers and took first steps and said first words, and so did mine.

But Mary’s baby was born to die, so that mine might be born to live. Her baby came to take on the task that no one else could. For he was all human baby but also divine.

“Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant and being made in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:7

While Teagan didn’t have a choice… Jesus didn’t have to be born in painful childbirth. He didn’t have to grow up in the harshness of the first century, or to parents who had to work so hard to survive. He was God. He was the king of the universe. But He gave it all up at a certain time in history, at a certain place on earth. In Bethlehem. All so that he could die at a certain time in history, at a certain place on earth. At Golgotha. Death by the cross.

“Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:8

Her baby was born to be obedient to God, to the point of death. So that He might rise again in victory over it and be shown as the Son of God, as Jesus Christ the Lord.

“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

Her baby was born for a tragic purpose. He died a horrific death. Mary didn’t choose this for Him, His Father did. God had it all planned, and Mary acting in trusting obedience played her part of the story and then had to watch it all unfold. Maybe she didn’t know what it was all for, maybe she didn’t know it was God’s great love to send His son to die. She certainly couldn’t just turn to John 3:16 and read…

“For God so loved the world that he sent His only begotten Son that who so ever believes in Him will have eternal life.” John 3:16

Eternal life with God.

Mary may not have known the great purpose for her little baby’s life. She was a woman living in a pivotal time in history when God came down to dwell on the earth. But we don’t know what Mary did or didn’t know. We only know that she obeyed. When given the news of her part to play, the news of what her life would become if she said yes to God, she said,

“Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38

Like Mary, I don’t know the exact purpose of my baby’s life. I don’t know exactly the hardships or tests that she will face. Like Mary, I can’t stop the pain and suffering that will inevitably effect my child. The only thing I can do, is act in obedience to God myself. To be like Mary and live obediently. That’s the best thing Mary could do for her son Jesus. Because she submitted to God’s will she got to be directly involved in God’s work, and the whole world benefitted.

I don’t expect my obedience to be that far reaching, to change the whole world. But I do think that my submission to God in obedience might at least affect my little girl’s world. I want to teach Teagan His ways by directing her to His word, so she will know the truth about Mary’s son Jesus.

Despite what other traditions believe, Mary was just young woman. There was nothing really different about her that set her apart for the high calling of being Jesus’ mom. She simply obeyed God. So by her example as an ordinary mom I’ve learned that I too can obey God, I just have to listen to Him like she did. I can do that by reading His word . And I can pray, as Mary also prayed. Now that I am a mom, I pray. I pray every night for my baby. I count on the promise in 1 John 5:14 that if I pray according to His will, He will hear me. I pray every time it comes to mind that MY baby will kneel and bow before the one true God. I pray that once we teach her the truth, her tongue will confess that Mary’s baby is Lord. That Jesus is God. And that she will know, He alone gives purpose to her life. That by trusting in Him, confessing, and believing she will rise with Him again and live forever too.

The Christmas season is so fun and so busy. It’s full of traditions, and events, and food, and family. I’m enjoying it and looking forward to more. But this year, my first year as a mom, I’m stealing away holy moments. I’m pausing in the car on my way to the post office, in the kitchen washing cookie sheets, to let the Lord speak and remind me what it’s all for. What it’s all in celebration of- Her baby.

Mary’s baby was born to die, so that my baby might be born to live.

Thank you Lord.




reacting to authority

I read an article from Desiring God this morning by Stacy Reaoch, sited below. It’s about submission in marriage and the role that should play when a couple disagrees about an important decision. I’ve been there. Submission to my husband didn’t come naturally or easily in our marriage. It took about 3 years for me to wrap my head around the idea and what it was supposed to look like. Now, 4 1/2 years later I’m working at it…and I need God’s grace everyday.

What struck me about this article was the application it can have on our current political situation. We have a presidential election coming up next month and I, like probably a lot of Christian Americans, don’t want to vote for either party’s candidate. I just heard on Moody Radio that the American Psychological Association is now addressing what is called “Election Stress Disorder” since 52% of all voters (OVER HALF!) are experiencing elevated stress over the up coming election this year.

My first thought was, here they go again naming another CAUSE of stress a “disorder” so that sufferers can feel that their anxiety is normal giving them another excuse to pop a pill or seek medical attention when really what they need is to put their HOPE and TRUST in Christ who says in his word to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” Proverbs 3:5-6. I don’t know whether the stress over the election for most people comes from having to choose the lesser of two evils, like mine does, or if it’s that we have way more access to conflicting information due to social media. Whatever the case tension is high this election season.

Unless God intervenes in a miraculous way in the election for President of the United States, I’m not going to like our next leader. The God of the universe could take control of our election process if he wanted to. It’s not beyond his ability, but I’m betting he’s going to let the process run it’s course and I’m betting the inauguration of our next leader will leave a bitter taste in my mouth. But I’m also betting that the Lord won’t be surprised at the outcome, that he won’t be worried, that it’s all part of his plan. So how will I deal with this stressful season and unavoidable and undesirable new authority? Stacy’s article about submission in marriage has some great ideas…


The Ultimate Authority

The ultimate question really is not, “Can I trust the person in authority over me,” but, “Am I trusting that God is leading this person to lead me?” Yes, people are fallible, but God is infallible. He never makes mistakes. He establishes rulers and kingdoms. He is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega. And he has put those bosses, elders, parents and husbands in the positions of authority they are in. Nothing takes him by surprise. And he can be trusted. 

When I am whining and complaining to others about a “bad” decision someone in authority over me made, I am really whining and complaining about God. I’m not trusting God’s ordained leadership, and telling him that I have a better plan. And God does not take that lightly. “Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (Romans 13:2).

How we respond to difficult decisions made by the leadership over us is a test of Christian maturity. We can choose to humbly submit or make a respectful appeal, or we can choose to grumble, gossip, and slander the very leaders God has sovereignly placed in our lives. 

Here are a few ways to move toward keeping a God-centered perspective on submission to authorities in our lives.

1) Recognize God’s authority structure as revealed in Scripture.

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Romans 13:1)

2. Pray for the leaders God has placed over you.

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Timothy 2:1–2)

3. Repent of any grumbling in your own heart.

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” (Philippians 2:14)


Not only do I need to recognize that the governing authorities, just like my husband’s authority, was place over me by GOD, I need to PRAY for that authority. I don’t have to like the next President but I need to quit complaining about it.

WOW. That was convicting. When my Facebook feed is full blatant criticism and rants about this candidate or that candidate I’m supposed to be submitting, praying, and not complaining??? I guess the Lord wasn’t kidding when He said we are to look different than the world. I don’t think that means we shouldn’t have opinions or shouldn’t be discerning, we’re called to engage in the world as Christians. But what that looks like must be different.

Set apart. 

I’m reminded of the story in 1 Samuel 8 when the Israelites asked the Judge and Prophet Samuel for a king to reign over them, like the neighboring peoples had. The governmental structure of a kingdom wasn’t in itself sinful, but the Israelites motivation for wanting one was. They wanted to be more like the world around them instead of clearly set apart as God’s people. Samuel wasn’t pleased, he felt personally rejected (he was an authority is God’s governing structure as a judge) and annoyed. But he sought the Lord. God wasn’t pleased, he WAS being rejected. He may have felt annoyed that his people wanted a man as king instead of him alone, but he wasn’t worried.  In fact he had foreseen this day and made his perfect plans of sending a Savior through the line of King David come about by way of the Israelites selfish demand for a king. Deuteronomy 17:14-20, written by Moses which took place generations before the time of Samuel, gave specific instructions to God’s people for WHEN they would insist on having a king. God knew his people would choose their own way and he used even the Israelites sin for his glory.

This tells me that once again there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). The United States in now in a less than ideal political situation, just like the Israelites were when they demanded an authority other than God’s alone. But just like in the Old Testament, I think God is going to somehow use our situation for his glory, and for his ultimate plan. Because the circumstances might have changed, the presidential candidates today might look different than the Israelite judges and kings, the issues today might be unique to the 21st century, but God is still God. He is still on his throne and he is still carrying out the plan he had for the world since its foundation.

*sigh of relief*

So when I feel a bout of “Election Stress Disorder” coming on, instead of giving in to the panic I feel over who our next president will be or opening my mouth to complain about it, I will choose to recognize that God has allowed this current authority structure. I will choose to PRAY and not to complain. And I will choose to blare this song through my speakers in hopes that its lyrics will reverberate into my soul:

“Through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You

Through it all, through it all

It is well.

So let go my soul and trust in Him

The waves and wind still know His name

It is well with my soul.”

I choose all these things because GOD is my ultimate authority.

better is a dinner of herbs

where love is, than a fattened ox and hatred with it.”

-Proverbs 15:17

I heard that verse on Moody radio the other day and it’s stuck with me.

It’s Monday and I have taken my own advice, that I first heard from one of my best friends. Meal plan. It’s annoying, it’s not spontaneous, but it is literally 15-20mins of work on one day that lessens my stress all week long.

I don’t do anything fancy, just look in the fridge and freezer and write down a different meat that we’ll have each night of the week for dinner. Then I look through the cupboards to see what kind of dishes and sides I can make with those meats. Then I fill in breakfasts and packable lunched for hubby based on some of the left overs from those dinners. I’ll cook a real breakfast a couple times a week and wraps and sandwiches go a long way in this household. If there are things that I need to supplement the meals I’ll head to the grocery store, but I’ve been pretty good about following the “shop from your freezer” rule first. I think it’s saving us money, but who has time to calculate that?! I mean people do, but I’m not one of them at the moment.

…45 mins later…

my 4 mo old baby girl needed me and that seems to be about the maximum amount of time I have to focus on anything besides her. 45 mins. And when the day is broken up like that it is loooong and it’s also hard to get much done. That’s why meal planning on Monday allows me to focus on other things throughout the week. And speaking of time savers… thank you Lord for the invention of the crockpot.

It’s my go to. Since having our baby I use it every other day. I think I’m going to start giving them instead of cute outfits at baby showers because… life saver.

So I’m learning that meal planning and crockpots are great because they help me with the goal- saving money and time by cooking healthy meals at home. But even more important than that I’m reminded again of that verse,

“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.” -Proverbs 15:17

My attitude in all of this had better be one of love or it’s not even worth doing. And that is so convicting. I’m a first-time stay at home mom and this new job is the most demanding and most exhausting I’ve ever had. And I don’t always have a good attitude about it. I don’t always do my duties with love. Meet me Jesus at the kitchen sink because I can’t do this without you.

It’s impossible to be the perfect wife, mother, house keeper…So why do I care to try and save money and cook healthy meals and manage my time wisely?

Because God called me, in this season, to be a “worker at home” (Titus 2:5) and he called me to work as if I am serving Christ himself (Col. 3:23-24).

And that’s actually what I am doing when I feed my family, I’m serving Jesus. Wouldn’t I give the King of Kings a healthy meal with time and thought put in to it’s preparation all with a loving attitude? Of course. So Lord help me see this monotonous task of meal planning and cooking as a way to love and serve you. And give me the strength to do it well.

Have I mentioned that I HATE cooking? 

This is Jesus meeting me where I’m at. He’s showing me it’s not about me me me anymore. It never was. It’s ALL about Him and He’s given me the task of cooking and He’s already blessing me in the kitchen.

So I’d better get to it.

What’s for dinner: Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup from The Pioneer Woman



everybody needs mom

feeding at 3:30am, baby doesn’t go back to sleep until 5:30am, hubby asks if I want to get up with him at 6:30am, baby wakes up hearing our conversation…feeding at 6:45am, up for morning routine at 7am.

Teagan Noelle is 2&1/2 months old. I read “On Becoming Baby Wise” before she was born and have more or less stuck to their scheduled feeding routine that says will help teach your baby to sleep through the night by 8 weeks. And let me tell you- it works. Even more than a set schedule is their promotion of a set routine of Eat-Wake-Sleep which helps baby learn the difference between day time and night time. We really started implementing it when she was about 3 weeks old and by 7 weeks she was starting to sleep 7-8 hours at a time and by 8 weeks that was the new normal. I know everyone has a different philosophy about how to best meet the needs of a newborn, some say never wake a baby (we wake her during the day for feedings every 2.5-3 hours), but this has clearly worked for us and I’m so thankful.

All that to say…even with her sleeping 7-8 hour stretches at night I am WORN OUT.

Teag’s 7-8 hours of sleep means more like 5-6 hours for me after cleaning up dinner, bedtime routine, talking business with hubby, relaxing with him, usually massaging his back (he’s in construction), watching an episode of some crime show, and finally laying down in my sweet sweet bed and immediately passing out. Hubby’s love language is quality time, so when he comes through that door at 6pm (usually working from 6am-5:30pm) it’s HIS time and all he wants is MY time.

So when is ME time? I’m still trying to figure that one out. I’m stealing a few minutes now just to get some word vomit therapy in while bubba girl naps.

I’m a self proclaimed social introvert. That means I genuinely like being with people, am outgoing and friendly, but I NEED time alone. That’s how I get re-energized. And even when the person I’m with ALL the time is a baby it’s draining…maybe especially because she’s a baby.

I absolutely love being a mom. I think even more than I imagined. It’s come so naturally to me. I used to joke when we were first married that becoming a wife was the hardest and more challenging and that becoming a mom would be the easiest and most natural.

Well it’s definitely come more naturally, but it’s not easy. It’s so so hard. After giving birth naturally with a midwife I said, “I don’t care if you had a natural childbirth, no matter how it happened every mother should get a medal.”

Now after being a mom for 10 weeks I think every mother should get a medal, a million dollar bonus, and their own TV show…

Because there are SO many things to do that no one gets to see. No one appreciates. Yes, baby does but she can’t give me the verbal affirmation I so crave.

So I’m learning, once again, by experience a lesson that I’ve known forever taught by scripture- 

Colossians 3:23-24

23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

Matthew 6:5-6

“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, andyour Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

That it’s not for the praise of other people that I am learning how to be a good mom. It’s not for the fans of my TV show. It’s for Teagan, but not even primarily.

My work as a mom, the hardest thing I’ve ever done and continue to do day in and day out, is for the Lord. HE sees me. HE affirms me. And HE is honored by my faithfulness.

It is still hard. And it will still be hard when she’s 2 and 10 and 20. But that’s life. The greatest joys usually come from the things that are hardest. And motherhood is no exception.

I haven’t forgotten about my last post- about the strange timing of sensing God wants me to be open to something more. Well, lately I think it might be as simple as being open to accepting help. When I wrote that I assumed it would be me pouring out to someone else. But I think it was meant to teach me something else. My precious neighbor who has 2 little ones has offered to take baby a few times and I’ve taken her up on it. I’ve taken advantage of the alone time to go running and just breathe.

I don’t like accepting help. But I’m learning. And I am humbled.

Life is hard, but God is good. And baby just woke up….:)




strange timing

Sometimes God’s timing seems strange. But that’s because His thoughts are not our thoughts. If we could see eternity past and eternity future we would probably have a lot more wisdom of opinion too.

Teagan Noelle Andersen was born February 2, 2016 at 12:13am. 8 lbs. 0.5 oz 21 inches long.

She’s incredible. The cutest baby on the planet (of course) and even more JOY than she is work.

But she is work.

Claiming a few mins of alone time by getting up before her this morning (my hubby’s idea) has my heart set on the things of God and for some reason today it’s a call to action.

Why now? How in this season of learning to care for a newborn, taxes due in one month, and holding the rest of the household together…how can I feel a call to action?

Because it’s not me. It’s the Holy Spirit in me and since he’s God I guess the perspective of eternity past and eternity future must be at play here.

So instead of feeling even more overwhelmed and burdened than I have in the past few days just doing my now normal life, I feel excited and expectant. Because God in His wisdom as a way of working all things for the good of those who love Him, and maybe He knows that a pouring out of His Spirit through me is just the kind of refreshment that my soul needs to encourage me in this season of new and heavy responsibility.

Maybe my own call to action to do God’s work is really His gift to me.

…Waiting expectantly on the Lord..