Friday, January 2, 2015

Thinking of Grace

This morning I woke up early 
I've been thinking about her even more lately because today was approaching.

I crawled over my little Noah, whose nestled tightly between me & Johnny to get out of bed then tip toed down the hall to not wake up my princess sleeping peacefully in her room. 
I grab a cup of coffee then I sit down in my office. 

Two years later on this day
Still, my heart aches for her. 
Still, I can't help but wish I had two little ones to crawl over to get out of my bed. 
Still, I wish I could scoop her up to play with in the mornings. 
Still, I wish I had pictures adorning my walls of her sweet smiles and beautiful locks. 

Still, I still feel this way. 
On January 7, 2013 I wrote this post, Words with a Heavy Heart. 

Then 6 months later, while pregnant with our Olivia I wrote the following post but never shared it until today. I've never shared this with anyone except maybe 3 or 4 other people simply because it was not the time and I know some may not understand. But this morning I've decided to share just how sweet the Lord truly is in every season. 
Good and bad. He is faithful. 

June 2013
One night last week Noah woke up around 2 am. After sitting with him for a bit in his room, I went back to bed. Walking the few feet from his room to ours a great wave of thankfulness came over me, hitting me so hard that I couldn't stop smiling. Quietly whispering to the Lord, "Thank you for Noah and baby Olivia."

Pulled the covers over me then closed my eyes. 
Sleepy but not asleep. I told the Lord that I really miss the little one we had just lost. 
I had been asking the Lord if our baby was a boy or a girl. I was only 11 weeks pregnant and we didn't know the sex of the baby when I miscarried. To me this was one of the hardest parts, I felt like I needed to know this baby's name to help me grieve the loss.

Although I have this incredible baby girl I'm carrying my heart truly aches over this baby. I'm pregnant but grieving the loss of our child I miscarried. This is an interesting place to be as a mother. So I've been asking God to show me, to somehow know if we were expecting a baby girl or a baby boy. In my heart I felt we were having a baby girl.

I closed my eyes and asked the Lord to please reveal this to me soon. 
Laying in bed, with my eyes closed I saw a little girl off in the distance. 
She looked about seven or eight months old with light brown hair, the sweetest rose colored pouty lips, and round little cheeks, just standing there.

I opened my eyes because it was so very real that it startled me.
I was not asleep. I was awake. 
Quickly I closed my eyes again this time asking the Lord, "is this her? our January baby?"
Never did I hear an answer, but that didn't matter.
The peace that entered my heart was everything I needed.
My emotions finally free, my heart felt safe seeing her.

My eyes closed I'm getting closer to her. 
She was just beautiful.
Porcelain skin, brown eyes, pouty lips like Tuckers (my nephew)big cheeks like Sammy (my niece). 
Her little face staring up at me.
Her right hand stretched towards mine. 

Laying there in bed I just began sobbing. Uncontrollably.

My heart finally feeling true joy thinking of this sweet baby we lost.
No longer was my heart so broken at the thought of our January baby, but instead joy. peace. hope.
I'm so thankful to the Lord for the opportunity to have joy restored to my heart from aching the last several months. I've felt guilt grieving the baby we lost while being pregnant with our precious miracle girl. 

Still laying there...
Thinking if I opened my eyes then it wouldn't be real and that I wouldn't be able to see her anymore, I just kept my eyes closed so tight. The most beautiful aspect of this dream/vision is that none of it has left my memory. It wasn't like a dream that I struggled to remember the next day or a week later. It was beautifully real in every way. I can close my eyes to see this baby girl of mine or leave them open to enjoy her precious face and barely there light brown hair.

Johnny woke up because I was sobbing so loudly. Concerned that something may be wrong, I did my best to explain to him what happened. Through more crying & lots of pausing finally I was able to share with him that our January baby was a girl. Holding his hand we just laid there in awe of the Lord for healing my heart by allowing me a glimpse of her.

I told Johnny, her name is Grace.
~June of 2013
These pictures are from last year on January 2nd. We bought some beautiful roses to remember our sweet baby Grace. Today we will add another flower to them. I'm so thankful for my sweet babies. I'm thankful that the Lord cares about what my heart feels. There have been times that I feel like I shouldn't be so heart broken because we have two beautiful children but I still am. At times I have felt embarrassed that I still think of her because we lost her so early, but to me how could I not? I'm thankful that I never have to feel ashamed of my thoughts and feelings, like they don't matter because they always do to the Lord. We serve a faithful God who restores our broken hearts. My journey to becoming a mother of two here and two in glory has not been the easiest but it has been truly beautiful. I look forward to the hope of more children. Our future rest in the Lord and that is the most perfect place for it to remain. 
~brittany 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Faith's Greatest Moment

At times saying yes to Jesus is truly a challenge.
Perhaps saying yes to his direction can cause to you second guess everything.
Feel broken. 
Perhaps the thoughts of making mistakes flood your mind. Of failing. Not getting it right.

This is faith's greatest moment to shine in your life.
The perfect foundation to take root in your heart, to grow abundantly.

As tears from the unknown wash over your face, this is one of the most beautiful moments of your life. 
Take Heart in it. 

Find purpose and seek his wisdom. Don't let this moment pass you by as heartache.
Embrace it as freedom in walking into his plans and out of your own. 

The regret of saying no to Jesus is greater than saying yes. 


Monday, September 22, 2014

Happy 28 Baby!

Last Monday was Johnny's 28th birthday. Early that morning my little fireman & myself snuck out of the house before daddy and sister were awake to work on a very special birthday surprise. We went to Kroger where I let Noah pick out daddy's birthday present. Completely on his own. Two balloons, 1 massive cookie cupcake, a dr. sues card, and a race car later we rang the door bell to deliver the goods to daddy. This little man was so proud of his gift.  

Of course Noah insisted Johnny close his eyes for the surprise. Honestly, this was such a fun morning with my Noah. We accomplished picking out daddy a fun surprise & gift but I really just loved the alone time with my little man.
My mom was sweet to come watch the kids that afternoon so I could take Johnny on a mini date to see a movie. We had a good time. 
That evening we had a birthday dinner at Chuys to celebrate my sweet man with some wonderful friends. I'm so thankful that the Lord has brought these people into our lives. He sure knows what he is doing. We had such a fun day celebrate Johnny. He truly is such a gift to everyone he meets. His personality is so loving, happy, and very kind. He will do anything for anybody without anyone asking him to do it. He has taught me so much since we have been married. Love you boy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Abide. How wrong I was...

Every other Sunday evening a group of sweet women and myself gather around a table at Panera Bread to discuss Abiding. I’m honored to lead a Thrive small group and this season we chose to work through a journal called, Abide, by NaptimeDiaries. Its an eight week study that is all about resting in the Lord as women while we realize that we in fact don’t know everything that we thought we did about trusting, resting, and growing in the Lord.

This is what I love about the gospel. We can never reach a plateau. There is not a level of “knowing it all” or “having it all together” in Him that we can attain because our God is just too big for us, full of so much grace, and offering a never ending fountain of knowledge to us. We just have to search his truths, wisdom, and all the grace we can receive while we pursue him.

Easier sad than done.

As we began reading through Abide a few months ago together (it has taken us a little longer than 8 weeks) I quickly realized how little abiding I was actually doing in my life. Once again I thought I was abiding because I’ve somehow figured out how to - on most days - have alone time with Jesus. Even if alone time means I've been asked 20 times to put on Curious George or I change a diaper and pick up a pretty little girls pacifier 15 times. Its time in the word and I’m so very desperate for his gospel that I will take it however it comes to me.

Little did I truly understand that abiding wasn’t worshiping to music during my day at home, or squeezing in his word when I could, and it even wasn’t trusting him with my thoughts, hurts, worries, and concerns. This wasn’t abiding at all. This was spending time with my savior and worshiping the one I am blessed to know.

Abide, the journal, has opened my heart to understand that truly abiding in the Lord is making new rhythms in my life of pursuing Jesus on a daily basis. Rhythms that have come from a true desire to find my rest not in sleep but to truly rest in him. To spend time alone with my thoughts, prayers, and love for our King without anything or anyone threatening that time. For me, I’ve truly fallen in love with a time of day that use to be so ungodly to me. A time of day that I rarely have seen in my life unless I was catching an early flight, holding a sick baby, or too worried about something that I couldn’t sleep.

I’ve fallen in love with a quiet, still, absolutely breathtakingly beautiful 5 or 6 am. I know, you think I’ve lost it, maybe you think I’m “one of those Christians” or perhaps you don’t believe me. But I’m so serious.

It’s so wonderful. I just want every single woman (momma or not) to do this. At least a few times. When I use to hear women say they woke up before everyone else I literally would think they must be those super hero Christians or totally crazy or totally exaggerating because there is no way anyone would do that on purpose. Jeopardize their glorious uninterrupted sleep. Especially if she had kids because God knows where you are in life & totally gets that you are cleaning up poop and exhausted that you don’t need to wake up early for him. He gets it.

Yep. Ive given that advise before. Which in many ways I 100% believe. God gets that my bible time, worship time, and prayer time is stretched out over 24 hours, crammed in between PBJs and the evening news but shouldn’t I want more? Maybe I need more…

Turns out I do.

Now, I’m her. Not a superhero Christian, crazy, or exaggerating… instead I’m just truly needing to abide in him before I do anything else in my day. It makes knowing him, resting in him, and sustaining me so much easier. Joyous. Happier. And even when my days are so full that I can barely remember if I’ve brushed my teeth (it happens, don’t judge) it doesn’t seem like it is at all. The days seem so full, so wonderful, so amazing, and full of grace.
Rest.

What does abiding mean to you?
What does it look like for you?

In love,
Brit

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Today is the Day! Happy Heart Box is HERE!

Happy Heart Box from Brittany Willard on Vimeo.

This is the day that I have been praying about & working so hard towards. If you follow me on facebook or instagram you are fully aware that I've been up to something the last two months. This is it! The Lord gave me a dream this year to start a ministry for women. The purpose to encourage women to passionately pursue Jesus at all times. Especially in the hard times. I invite you to take a few minutes of your day to watch this video and to visit Happy Heart Box at www.happyheartbox.com to learn all about this ministry. 

My heart is to bless women who are experiencing a difficult time in life with a gift box full of beautiful products. FREE of charge! If you own a handmade shop or would like to donate products please email me at happyheartbox@gmail.com Also there is a go-fund-me account set up to fully fund Happy Heart Box for the entire first year! This will fund 56 boxes that will be sent out to women throughout the year. Happy Heart Box is completely run by donations and we need you to be successful. 

Please feel free to share with everyone you know. 
Thanks!
~brit

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Freedom to Fall in Love.

Falling in love with my babies has been something that has happened so intensely the last eight months. I have always loved them. However, I've fallen deep in love with enjoying both of them everyday. We have been building tents all throughout the house the last two weeks. Laying there together, snuggling, telling stories, eating snacks, and making memories.

I had someone recently ask me, "How do you always seem to enjoy your kids so much all the time? I always feels so overwhelmed...tired..." I want to share how I got to this place I've been for a few years now. Even more so the last 8 months. It hasn't always been this way for me, being deeply in love with my babies & our everyday life together. I don't have it figured out & am confident I never ever will. 
But through freedom in Him I've fallen deeply in love with my everyday life with my littles. 
Let me explain a bit....
Noah is my sweet little buddy who has always been such a gift to me in my everyday life. Initially Noah was a very unexpected little surprise in our lives but over the years I have realized what a true gift in the perfect timing his precious life has been. He has been so much comfort, joy, and a constant reminder of faithfulness to us in our lives. I've always enjoyed him. However, until he was about 1.5 years old I often struggled with my attitude as a stay at home momma. I felt exhausted, tired, lonely, and sometimes depressed. This prevented me from truly falling totally in love with Noah & our everyday life together. I would often find myself down during the week. Wishing to be working in a career, frustrated with trying to be a wife, mother, & the "stay at home mom" that I thought I had to be. Honestly, I felt trapped. Trapped in a box that I built around myself. 

Pinterest was becoming a thing & it was ugly. 
Pretty on the outside but ugly on the inside.
All these mommas, women, & wives showing me how picture perfect their homes were, how clean their kids were, all the ways their children were the smartest, their weekly menus overwhelmed me, and how their everyday outfits were always so clean. For real? Who lives like this? I didn't. 
Slowly the enemy convinced me to be enough that I needed to adapt. Quickly. 
I fell into the trap of believing that as a stay at home mom that I had to cook, clean, keep a schedule for every part of my life, and act a certain way. All of this fueled my emotions and prevented me from truly falling in love with my baby in a deeper way. Obviously I was in love with him. If I looked at him when he smiled I would cry. I often still do. His sweet snuggles just made my heart burst. But I wasn't in love with our everyday life together as mom and child. God often convicted me about my lack of patience not just with Noah but in general. If my meal flopped, if others frustrated me, or if things didn't go the way I hoped. I got frustrated. Annoyed. Impatient.

I was trying to be something God never intended me to be. I was trying to live up to a dream that was never mine. Definitely not God's dream for my life. Who he called me to be - as his. 
 The Lord set me free of that whole mind set. It wasn't easy and it took work but when he did I never felt so joyous. Since then letting my kids wear pjs all day is totally acceptable, cooking twice a week is a miracle, having an empty laundry baskets every week is rare, having paint under my nails when I show up to church from enjoying my day is something I never think about anymore, or letting my Noah wear his daddy's long green socks that come all the way up to his bum to church is a priceless memory made or if he wants to carry around an orange under his arm all day for a week - its all good. Who cares what anyone else thinks about it. These and a list so long of things that have become real life everyday unbelievable memories hold more importance than being that woman I thought I had to be 3 years ago. 

There is freedom that my home doesn't always have to be perfect when friends come over. Expected or unexpected company show up, it doesn't phase me. I'm actually genuinely happy about having guest. Three years ago if someone rang the door bell unexpected all kinds of ugly would have crept up into my heart like, 
"why are they here, they didn't call, ugh who is it"
Gross. Ugly. I know. 

Looking back on the last 3 years my heart breaks at the thought of all the things I would have missed out on with my babies, friends, and in my life if I hadn't found freedom in Jesus. Found freedom from something I didn't even realize (at first) I needed freedom from.

I have fallen in love with my littles and our everyday life together by grace & freedom in Jesus Christ. Today I'm sharing this because I've been asked how I seem to enjoy my kids so much all the time. This is how. It is not perfect every day of the week, don't think that. I have my moments too, but honestly those moments are so fleeting since I've found freedom. 

Maybe you can see yourself in the me three years ago. Maybe there are parts of you in that old me. The reason I'm sharing this isn't to pretend I have everything figured out, because thats not truth. However, I am sharing this because I know that other women struggle with feeling overwhelmed, so tired, and even depressed as mommas because maybe we are trying to live our lives the way God never called us to. For you, maybe it is something completely different that you are trying to live up to. You may truly find enjoyment in having empty laundry baskets, clean nails, and schedules. (Some of my best friends truly do love it.) I just know that the enemy loves to speak lies over our lives in any area he can. Whatever & wherever that area is for you just know you are not alone. You never will be.

Know that there is hope & freedom in Jesus. Seek his freedom in all areas of life. It may not be easy, it may take some work, and the enemy will fight you over it a lot but it is possible to live in freedom. 
~brit
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