The Time Has Come…..

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

Blah. That’s how I’ve felt this week. It’s not all bad, I’m just worn out. Plain exhausted. Picture me with my hair in a high bun with random hair escaping, oh and add in Houston’s humidity and my normally straight hair has some curl to it…well the random fly-aways do. So annoying. I forgot my hair dryer and really don’t have a reason to dry my hair anyway so it just goes up!

Last Sunday Chaney, Michael and I drove down with our truck loaded full of items for the next few weeks. The next time I see my home we will have Tyler with us. Chaney flew home Wednesday so it has just been me and Michael for a few days. These past several weeks are somewhat a blur with the weekly trips back and forth from Houston and the sense of urgency to accomplish and satisfy my nesting compulsion. Nesting is hard when you aren’t home very often, especially in the weeks and days leading up to delivery. I’ve done my best to prepare our home for Tyler’s arrival and have driven everyone else crazy in the process. The bummer is he won’t come directly “home” from the hospital as we will be 500 miles away! Talk about doing things completely different this time.

However, even with this impending deadline looming I’ve been able to slow down and savor time with my family. This family of mine consisting of us five, for the last time. Over the past few weeks our family has enjoyed pizza and movie nights, manicures & pedicures, fall festival at the school, breakfast dates before school, fun at Fiddlesticks Farm, lunch dates with just me and the girls. We’ve also experienced Julia’s school musical, Katelynn’s eye appointment and her first pair of glasses. We have snuggled on the couch, folded lots of laundry, cleaned rooms and picked up toys. I’ve helped with homework and listened to the girls tell me about books they are reading. Basically the mundane, but as my friend Bailey would say the magnificent mundane. We have been enjoying everyday life with a few special events mixed in, but overall my focus is on the intentionality of each moment and offering myself fully available and engaged to my family. All of the things on my “to-do list” can be tackled later, or not and it won’t be the end of the world. (I tell myself this as my OCD kicks in mid-conversation).

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Breakfast before school. Mom really needed to go to the store, buuuut the girls LOVED it!

I’m not sure why I become so sappy, aside from the obvious pregnancy hormones, but with the birth of each of our children I go through an emotional process. I am fully anticipating the joyful addition of new life, yet grieving what phase of life we are leaving behind. When Katelynn was born I had no idea what we were getting into with parenthood and was basically scared out of my mind. I was grieving the loss of independence but had no idea the joy that would come when she made me “Mommy”. With Julia’s arrival I was unsure how our family dynamic would change. I already felt I was lacking as a mother to Katelynn and didn’t see how I could love both children without taking away from the other. When Michael’s due date approached I FREAKED out because we were about to do this baby thing again, but this time with two school age children. Thoughts that cycled included….“Am I too old for this? Will this take away from my availability to my girls?” Yet without fail, the arrival of each of my children quenched any anxiety and I forgot my initial fears. We made it work, because of the overwhelming love we had for our children. For all of our children. There has never been a shortage of love but abundance. Love grows.

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Fun at Fiddlesticks Farms

With this pregnancy I haven’t gone through this process because most of my focus is directed on appointments and tasks. I haven’t thought much about what everyday life will look like with another sweet baby boy at the Vines house. Partially because I have no idea when we will actually bring him home so it just seems like an idea, but also because I haven’t taken the time to slow down and contemplate the season of life we are embarking on. Yeah, I know I’ve had months to prepare myself. Chaney laughs at me to no end because he thinks I’m a space cadet. I voice my thoughts and concerns often inquiring his opinion and am usually surprised how he has processed the same thoughts weeks prior. It takes me longer to work through the entire process in “thought-land” and I spend much of my time there. Just call me an idealist or a dreamer, but I really find this form of processing very productive and healing. I’m currently in the midst of this process. I don’t really know how I feel. I’m still working through it all, so it has been difficult writing a blog update. I’ve tried to write this for the past 5 days and I don’t want it to be solely information. I’d like to be transparent and real, but I can’t be vulnerable when I’m unsure where to go with it. That’s about as real as I’m able to be right now. I’m overwhelmed and the words aren’t coming as easily as I am used to.

We went to my appointment on Monday and based on the results of the ultrasounds, the doctors have decided to deliver sooner than we originally had planned. Basically my MCA scans were elevated and I am past 35 weeks so an IUT was not an option. Dr. Moise is confident that Tyler will be okay until delivery as there are no other signs of anemia, but he doesn’t want to keep him in the womb for the original goal of 37-38 weeks. We set the date for induction for next Wednesday and that has given us time to take several steps furthering Tyler’s development. I received 2 steroid shots aiding his lung development and a medication that will help develop his liver. Specifically this medication helps his liver have the ability to process bilirubin and lessens the likelihood of major jaundice issues. The doctors also increased monitoring of Tyler as anemia can set in extremely fast. They don’t believe this will occur, but it helped put me at ease. We found out Tyler is measuring 2 weeks ahead of his age and already weighs around 7lbs 12 oz (at 36 weeks). Although he won’t have the opportunity to grow to full term and be a monster baby like his big brother Michael, it looks like Tyler will also be a healthy size.

Tyler will have a mandatory observation in NICU when he is born and several blood tests to measure how affected he is by my antibodies. Several of these tests will continue for weeks after he is born. We don’t have any idea how long his stay will be in NICU and won’t know until he is here. There is a possibility of Tyler needing blood transfusion(s) after he is born, either immediately or over the next few months. All of these procedures are much less dangerous and intrusive once he is out in the world rather than in the womb. We are leaving these decisions to the medical team who see babies affected by antibodies on a regular basis. The problem continues after his birth if my anti-kell antibodies have attached themselves to Tyler’s red blood cells. This can cause late onset anemia and other health issues until the antibodies are cleared out and Tyler is successfully creating his own red blood cells. This is the reason for continued blood draws and monitoring for up to 12 weeks after birth. We have contacted Cook’s Children’s Hospital to be assigned a pediatric hematologist. Our local pediatrician will partner with Cook’s by writing weekly blood orders so we can have these done at home. Our hope is to prevent travel as much as possible while not sacrificing quality of care. If these tests and results are not monitored closely life long health issues can be the result. As long as we stay on top of these tests, Tyler will not have any long term health issues.

Chaney and I toured the NICU at Children’s Memorial Hermann (where we are delivering). I didn’t expect to be so emotional, but I LOST it. I’ve never been to NICU before and I realized not only how hard this will be, but also how blessed we are. This journey we are on is full of amazing medical staff and resources available to us and is something I don’t ever want to be ungrateful for. Although I have anxiety, it’s not about the care we will receive. This is just a brand new experience for us with a lot of “unknowns”. We are in great hands. On top of this, the Ronald McDonald House in NICU will be available to us if we need it. It is separate from the house we weren’t approved for.  If I’m released from the hospital before Tyler, this will be very useful in remaining close to him to nurse and getting rest myself. The RMH is on the same floor and the same wing as NICU with day rooms available for naps & showers and a separate waiting list for evening stays. Our apartment is only 1 mile away from the hospital (another blessing) but I’d rather not be that far away if not absolutely  necessary.

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Fun at the Houston Zoo

The girls will be here next weekend to meet their new baby brother. We had already planned for them to come down and celebrate Katelynn’s birthday next weekend so we are sticking with the original plan. I’m bummed that I will be unable to go around town with them, but I’m overjoyed and full of anticipation to hug their sweet necks. Who am I kidding I’ll bawl my eyes out when I get to hug and kiss them! They will just have to deal.  Michael and I were able to visit the Houston zoo with friends this week and had a blast. I know the zoo is on Katelynn’s short list along with the aquarium. More than anything, I’m so thankful we will all be together for her birthday. I can’t wait for our family to be together…all SIX of us. What?! It will take us awhile to settle in to our normal as the next weeks and months are unknown, but it will be wonderful. It will be our wonderful. It may take a while for the word mundane to apply, but soon enough the days and weeks will turn into years and it will seem like it has always been.

I’m relying on my Jesus so much through this all. I allow myself to remember all the situations in my life that have been difficult. I remember how my relationship with Him has grown stronger. When I have fears I voice them, I don’t try to hide them. I have no idea what the future holds, yet when I trust Him it all works out. When the next doubtful situation arises I remember what the Lord has walked me through. Trust has been formed. Hope is a real experience, not something merely spoken about. I still have new doubts and questions, but in my Spirit I trust my Comforter and Counselor. I just have to hold onto Him and trust the outcome to His plan.

Thank you for experiencing this pregnancy with us. I pray the Lord has blessed you abundantly as you’ve taken the time to pray for us. I don’t know how often I’ll be able to update our progress over the next few months, but know that I will do my best. It helps me to be vulnerable in the midst of it all and I’m so grateful for your support, comments and messages. I pray Tyler’s life be one the Lord continues to use to bring others to Him. I know Tyler has brought me closer to my King and I haven’t even seen his sweet face yet. We all have purpose to be used for His glory, may we not forget this highest calling.

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”  Proverbs 19:21

Preparation is Key

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

James 1:2-4

When I met Chaney over 10 years ago I had a couple birds. Well, several would be more accurate. He gives me a hard time saying I was one bird short of being the “Crazy Bird Lady”.  How many birds you ask? Eight. Eight of my feathered friends consisting of a parrot, cockatiel, two doves, and four parakeets. I’d tell you all of their names, but I don’t want to bore you. (I’m sure you’d rather know the name we have decided on for our baby boy…but I’ll get to that here in a few paragraphs. Just stay with me I promise this all has a purpose). I had a two bedroom apartment…one bedroom for me and one for my birds. They needed plenty of room to fly and exercise their wings. Needless to say when Chaney and I started a family, several of the birds had to go. It was really tough, but a new baby  trumps pets every time. Three were particularly close to my heart so we made it work & Chaney put up with my bird loving self. Ahem…. I’d like to add here —> I’ve also put up with Chaney’s reptile loving self. We have had several snakes & lizards over the years and to say I’m not a fan of the slithery kind is a drastic understatement.

 

One of these three was my parrot Kiwi, who flew away several years ago. That was rough, but is a separate story and a rabbit I won’t chase. The other two were my doves, Bebe and Coco. I found Bebe at a carwash 12 years ago, when she was a baby. She didn’t have any feathers and I had no idea what kind of bird she was. I went to Pet Mystique, my local pet store, and my friend Cindy guided me in the process of hand-feeding a baby bird. She had another customer who found an identical baby bird but had no desire to raise it, so I had two baby birds to take care of. Raising baby birds is no easy feat. I fed them every couple of hours, kept them warm, kept them clean…all while continuing to work and go to school. Luckily I worked for my Papa at Johnson Bros. Oil Co. and he and Barb (the real boss) let me bring the doves with me. I was able to stick to their feeding schedule during the day and at night.

 

At the age of 19 I learned a little bit about commitment and nurturing and how hard it really could be. In a way it was a crash course for motherhood. They thought I was their mom and would fly to me wherever I was in the house. They basically acted like a dog would, except not…they acted like two little doves. There is just something about doves that is very calming and peaceful to me. If you can’t relate, just think about your favorite pet of all time and pretend I’m talking about him/her. (Channel those emotions so you can experience this story and not miss out.) I bonded with these little doves and they have been with me ever since. They met my three kids. Moved to each new home with us. The girls enjoyed letting them fly around and see who they would fly to. The last 12 years of my life have included them. When we came home from my Papa’s 90th bday celebration in Austin this past weekend, I found out they were gone. I was in no way prepared to lose them anytime soon. However the way it happened made it devastating. Chaney met me on the way into the house and told me I didn’t want to go inside. The bull snake we’ve had for 9 years got out of his cage and into my doves’ cage. He killed them and ate them. I am a total mess. I could not get ahold of myself and Chaney picked me up off the ground and held me while I bawled. I didn’t have to see any of the aftermath as he cleaned everything before I came inside, but I’m still finding evidence of the attack, think of my sweet little doves and then I lose it all over again. This whole event came out of NO WHERE. I couldn’t have made the scenario up if I tried. Seriously after 9 years of having them both…..no problems…and then…. Ugh. I can’t even explain how torn up I am. Yes, I know snakes are a natural predator of doves, but I’m still baffled. I was not prepared for this. I’m heartbroken.

“For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven”

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Life is so much that way. Circumstances happen that absolutely wreck me because I am not prepared. I don’t see them coming. I am blindsided. These events can be life altering situations or smaller upsets, but truly don’t most situations that catch us off guard seem huge? Accidents, loss of job, sickness, just change in general…anytime these events hit it knocks the breath out of me. I’m learning more and more as I go through life how important it is to be prepared. I can’t be prepared for everything, and I get that, but I can continually gain my courage and strength from the One who isn’t surprised by anything. It’s almost paradoxical because the more I let go and trust God, the more prepared I am for what life has in store. Yet if I try to hold on and control every detail of my life, I find myself completely unprepared and my resources inadequate to face the uncertainties that inevitably come my way.

This week one of those uncertainties has shown up in our pregnancy as we had an elevated MCA scan on Tuesday. They were all over the place, with some very low, but we did have a couple at 1.5 MoM or over. Obviously that is not what we are wanting, but we are grateful for technology to let us know if our baby boy is becoming anemic. I emailed Dr. Moise’s office in Houston and they would like to see me on Monday. Chaney, Michael & I will head down on Sunday and be there for a couple days or the week. They will perform their own MCA scans and if our boy truly has become anemic due to my antibodies attacking him he will have an IUT performed to keep him from having a chain reaction of health issues. (If all these terms are completely foreign, I did my best to explain our anti-kell journey & terms in this previous blog.) The good news is we will already be in Houston for the IUT if it is in fact needed. If it is not, we will get to come home grateful for The Fetal Center and their expertise closely monitoring our boy. We will also have an opportunity to find out what we can expect in the weeks going forward pertaining to a tentative time frame for my temporary relocation and induction date.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

2 Peter 1:3

 

If you’d like to pray for our boy by name, we have decided on Chaney Tyler Vines. Most likely we will call him “Tyler” as having more than one “Chaney” in the house could get somewhat confusing. This name thing was a really interesting process and I’m so relieved to finally be able to talk to this man child and pray for him by name. We have talked to the girls and explained, as best we can, why we are seeing a doctor in Houston and why Tyler is going to be born there. I don’t want them to be worried, but I do want them to be involved and aware of what is going on. We are so thankful for the prayers and support from all our family and friends. I know we will continue to need your prayers and support in very practical ways especially in these coming weeks as our family’s lives will be out of routine and spread out across the state.

 

With my pregnancy, my prayer and focus has been to trust the Lord. My tendencies to control and get stuck in the details are constant and an area I must surrender repeatedly. Sometimes I struggle through the emotions and anger before I realize that I’m attempting to run the show. I’ve had many days where I scream in frustration and finally voice, “Man, I really need your help today Lord!” Then I start crying, because trying to do it by myself is really exhausting. Part of the joy of being human is experiencing emotion. It helps us have empathy for one another through the highs and the lows. Another part of being human is struggling through emotion. I think I’m getting better at “feeling my feelings” vs. “thinking about my feelings”. If you understand what I’m talking about we may have similar personalities/mind-styles. Typically I deal with life by logically approaching situations, including my emotions. Sometimes this can be really useful, but other times “feeling feelings” can be so vital to healing. Crying isn’t something I do very often, but I’ve done it quite often these past several months. I’m taking the time to slow down and be honest with myself about how I’m feeling and then allowing time to deal with it.

 

Not knowing how everything will happen logistically is driving me a little crazy, but this is where I’m doing my best to focus on faith in action. The foundation of scripture in my life is the most valuable gift my parents and spiritual mentors have passed to me. Without scripture I don’t know how I would have made it through difficult times with grace and dignity. There are so many verses that remind me of specific seasons of life. They remind me of moments in time when God revealed more of His character to me through his Word. I couldn’t really say “This is my FAVORITE verse” because there are countless verses that are meaningful. However right now, this verse is one that sticks out above the rest. It is one of comfort because it doesn’t focus on the variables of life but the certainty of God. This assurance is what I need remember every day, in every moment. This truth is what I cling to so I can be prepared for whatever happens. This verse to me signifies the intentionality of being prepared. Preparation is all about where my FOCUS is directed. He’s got my back.

“ I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.”

Psalm 16:8

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Blessings & Complications

“Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭25:1‬ ‭NIV
I don’t know what to title this, no inspiration has hit for a cute name. I’ve used the delete button more times in these first two sentences than I normally do in several paragraphs. This is my attempt to share what our last several weeks have looked like and what I’m going through emotionally, physically & spiritually. I was told by a wise mentor and friend that there is a big difference between transparency and vulnerability. I can be transparent while sharing the healing and restoration God has already accomplished in my marriage and my family. We’ve walked through that chaos and although it’s an ongoing & intentional focus to keep Christ at the center of our lives & home, this is part of our story of REDEMPTION we are honored to share. I realized it’s so much easier to share what God has DONE because I know what the “other side” looks like. It’s hard to be vulnerable in the midst of the struggle. It’s difficult putting myself out there when my emotions are raw. However I’ve been so blessed and personally encouraged by others who aren’t afraid to share their struggle while IN the struggle, I’m challenged to do the same. 
We have some really great news to share as we are expecting a sweet baby BOY in December. We are thrilled to grow our family and with my OCD I’m satisfied with the even numbers. Now we have unit #1 with our girls and unit #2 with our boys. Needless to say Chaney has been grateful for the addition of some more males in our household! We still haven’t settled on a name and that process has basically been put on hold since we aren’t agreeing on any names at this point. It is so funny how the “last” baby seems to have such finality with it. I’ve been determined to enjoy this pregnancy and not complain no matter how uncomfortable I may be. I’m so grateful to be blessed with another pregnancy. I don’t want to take a minute for granted. There are also many things are different “this time around”….Chaney’s dad passed away last year and we really miss him. It is difficult not being able to share the news of another grandson with him. He would be so stinkin’ excited. I’m sad Chaney isn’t able to share this with him & our boys won’t know their Grandad. Also the doctor who I’ve seen the last 9 years & delivered our 3 kids MOVED. Finding a new doctor is a big deal, and I’m very thankful for friends who made great recommendations. 
 
The biggest difference is I’m considered high risk this pregnancy. 5 weeks ago, my doctor came in and shared the news that I have an antibody present that can cause extreme complications. He referred to it as a kell antibody. Huh? Well googling it doesn’t help much, other than instill fear and crying. Lots of crying. I was a total mess immediately going to worse case scenario. Sheri Mayo is fabulous and although she is in the medical field and a genius, she was aware of a blog she’d read in the past that explained anti-kell antibodies in layman’s terms (read it here ). Bethanys story and the story of her girls Lucy & Nora has been such an encouragement to me. If it wasnt for her willingness to share her experience I wouldnt know what to expect or know what to ask my doctors for.
Nothing is wrong with me & nothing is wrong with my baby. The complications arise with the combination of me & my baby. Kell is an antigen that roughly 91% of the Caucasian population do not have. In most cases, the anti-kell antibodies are formed after a blood transfusion. If the body is introduced to a foreign substance it forms an antibody to fight off the foreign substance. In my case, I’ve never had a transfusion so the likely explanation was exposure through pregnancy. After blood tests we’ve determined that Chaney is indeed one of the 9% who carries the kell antigen. He is heterozygous which means with each child there is a 50/50 chance of them also being -/+. (Confused yet? I’m telling you, Bethany explains it so much better and has many useful studies linked in on her page.) Again, NOTHING is wrong with being either kell positive or kell negative. We all have very specific antigens in our blood. A more common way to relate this is Rh incompatibility. The rhoGHAM shot was developed to prevent mothers with negative blood types from sensitization through pregnancy of a child with positive antigens from developing anti-D antibodies. Unfortunately, anti-kell is so rare a shot is not available to prevent, reverse or suppress the anti-bodies. Most likely the girls were both kell negative (like me) and Michael is positive like his daddy. Sometime during my pregnancy or delivery of Michael, my body was introduced to the kell antigen and formed the anti-kell antibodies to fight off the foreign substance. This is when I became “sensitized”. So what’s the big deal right? My body is doing exactly what it was designed to do! Well…..in subsequent pregnancies it becomes a big deal if the baby is kell positive and can cause anemia by attacking the baby’s red blood cells & preventing the production of new red blood cells. This must be closely monitored as extreme anemia leads to fetal hydrops and death.
 
My body is supposed to protect, nurture and grow our child until he is ready and able to enter the world, but it has the potential to do the opposite. Mentally I’ve had a hard time with this part. I did have a miscarriage in the past & it was hard enough. I think I took for granted the ability to carry children without complications. I took it on myself, like something was wrong with me. Maybe I did something wrong? (I know I didn’t, I’m just sharing emotions I had). I worked through this pain because of support of other women who’ve gone through the same thing. It is more common than people talk about. I mean it’s hard to talk about. It’s really not something that is easy to share, but I was blessed by those who chose to open up to me. Our pregnancy with Michael was after the miscarriage and I was fearful for several months that we may lose him too. I wrestled through the fear and received more healing after his birth when I was truly able to grieve the loss of a baby but rejoice in the birth of our son. So much of life is that way. The depths of grief balanced by the heights of joy. 
 
A blessing and cause for great relief is one of the world renown and leading doctors dealing with isoimmunization cases like mine is located in Houston, Texas. Ya’ll, people come see him from all over the world and he is just an 8 hour drive or quick plane ride away! Dr. Kenneth Moise comes highly recommended so we decided to make an appointment & have an amniocentesis performed which would give us a definitive answer whether our baby boy is kell negative or positive. I had this done last Friday and felt completely at ease with Dr. Moise and his staff. (It was also reassuring to meet another gal who is going through the same thing as I am. We have a closed group online that allows us to offer one another support & share information and it was an added bonus to see one of these ladies in real life.) The results came back and our boy is kell positive, like his brother and his daddy. Not exactly the news I was hoping for but it is what it is. It’s so much easier to talk about the scientific side of this & stick to the facts when sharing with others. However when I really start to think about the details, or when someone asks me “how are YOU doing with all of this?”….I lose it for a minute. I think that is a good thing though, to be honest with myself and others and release the emotions. I used to keep everything inside to be “strong” and that will wear you out real fast. I’m learning to lean on God in my weakness to receive His strength and steadfast loving-kindness.

“For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭54:10‬ ‭ESV
 

I’ve had weekly ultrasounds for the past 4 weeks and will continue having these throughout the pregnancy. These scans specifically measure the rate of blood flow through the middle cerebral artery. The MCAs provide a measurement letting us know if our boy is anemic. The rate of flow is measured in multiples of median (MoM) and 1 is normal 1.5 is considered very anemic. I am seeing a local maternal fetal medicine specialist (MFM) but I am only 1 of 2 women in the past FIVE years who he has seen with anti-kell antibodies. In Houston they see multiple women daily as this is their specialty. Dr. Moise recommends that I continue seeing the local MFM for weekly monitoring but plan to travel to Houston if the baby becomes anemic. We have no problem with this plan whatsoever.
 
I’m not sharing this so everyone will worry. I truly believe we are in the best earthly hands with Dr. Moise and his team. If baby boy becomes anemic, a procedure called an intrauterine transfusion (IUT) will be done. This allows the baby to receive blood in the umbilical cord (for immediate use) and his belly (for use over the next few weeks). I won’t go into details about this because we aren’t here yet. Hopefully we won’t need IUTs, however they are available if baby boy requires them and there is a high possibility that we will. I’m doing my best to take it a day at a time & not get too far ahead of myself, while at the same time making wise preparations. If you know me well, you know how hard this is as I’m a major planner and detail oriented. We are choosing to share through written word as it will be much easier to update family & friends as we go through the next several months. We covet your prayers, welcome your questions & need your support. 


I don’t want to try and have all the right answers and make it look good. I want to be real and share how great my God is in the midst of the storm….in the middle of the chapter not knowing exactly what will be written. I feel it’s so common to put off an air that Christians have it all put together and I admit I am guilty of wanting everything to look good. But, if I’m really being vulnerable here, I feel like a hot mess right now. I don’t have all the answers, but I know the ONE who does. The answer isn’t in the outcome of my circumstance, but of course I constantly pray over the circumstance. There is nothing wrong with this, yet I know the solution isn’t merely external. My strength is in the LORD and His character. I know regardless of what happens in this world, regardless of what shakes me to my core, regardless of the heart-wrenching tragedies all around and the pain I may feel inside, God is GOOD. He is my JOY. He is SOVEREIGN. I find it easy to say God is good when my life is going the way I think it should. I find it absolutely essential believe God is good and praise His name when life is frustrating & I just want to cry. 
 
Bethel Music- Ever Be
 

Your love is devoted
like a ring of solid gold
Like a vow that is tested
like a covenant of old
Your love is enduring
through the winter rain
And beyond the horizon
with mercy for today

Faithful You have been
and faithful you will be
You pledge yourself to me
and it’s why I sing

Your praise will ever be on my lips,
ever be on my lips
Your praise will ever be on my lips,
ever be on my lips 

 I love this song. It’s been on repeat in my car and on my lips. These are just the lyrics to the first part of the song, but check it out if you haven’t heard it.

“For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭117:2‬ ‭ESV‬‬