Monday, March 31, 2014

Counting the Cost

 If you are a Christian, what is the gospel worth to you? Think of the most precious thing in the world to you. Think of the person you love most. If you are a parent--think of your babies. What if the Lord asked you, somehow, to give that person, or people, up? What would you say? It is not an easy question. No easy answers. In fact, the answers are soul-wrenching, gut-twisting, animalistic cry-inducing ones.  

Leadership, by nature, is lonely. I read an article about that this week. Then was reading today in Matthew 8, where Jesus says to a teacher of the law who shows up all excited and enthusiastic, saying basically, "Hey Jesus, I think you are awesome! I'm gonna follow you anywhere! Everywhere!" You can practically see the guy's excitement and commitment at the height of his newfound fervor for Jesus. But Jesus' response does not match the excitement. It is tempered. Honest. Realistic. He knows what this guy is in for. He doesn't say, "Come join the fun! Jump on the bandwagon! This will be the time of your life!" Instead, he quite directly makes sure this guy understands exactly what he is committing to. "Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." 

Well. That's a bit of a downer, isn't it?

Do you ever feel like you have no place to lay your head? 

If so, you are not alone. The Lord of the universe, the greatest leader of all, who is still leading and tending his flock, through the presence of his Holy Spirit--did not have a place to lay his. No real home on this earth. And here I am, claiming to want to be like him. As Christlike as possible. Do I really mean what I say?

And this is not the only place in Scripture that Jesus gives this kind of response. He is honest with all who come to him. He plainly states that if anyone wants to come after Him, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Him. 

I apologize for this not being a particularly uplifting post. I usually try to end on a note that is happy or at least somewhat positive. But today I will be more tempered. Honest. Realistic. In spite of these realities though (here comes the inevitable little bit of positivity-hey, I can't help but try)--I truly am thankful that like Jesus, I know this earth is not my home either. Because I know, based on his promises, that what he has for us is ultimately better than anything we can see or imagine for ourselves. He promised he would go and prepare a place for me. I believe Him. And I imagine that it will have a perfect place to lay my head. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

18 Weeks

Pregnancy Highlights:

How Far Along: 18 Weeks 
Size of baby: He weighs 8 oz--found that out at the doctor's office last week. The sonographer pointed out that a coke can is 12 oz, so that's a good way to compare!
Total Weight Gain/Loss: 10 lbs
Maternity Clothes: I will have to buy some black pants that are maternity this week, I think. That is what I will need for singing in church, which I do fairly often, and the ones from my last pregnancy are a little too big. I've got to make time to do some shopping ASAP! 
Gender: a sweet baby BOY! Amos Jackson Sledge
Movement: feeling him pretty regularly now. He gets going pretty intensely from time to time! A little jumping bean in there.
Sleep: still not the greatest, but that's ok
What I miss: nothing that I can think of at the moment. Am really enjoying carrying my sweet boy. Especially now that I have a real belly and don't feel awkwardly pudgy. Ha! 
Cravings: Back to frozen fruit 
Symptoms: lightheadedness and dizziness on occasion 
Best moment this week: hearing that my sweet Amos looks healthy and is growing right on track. Last Friday was the big anatomy scan that is done about halfway through the pregnancy where they check the heart, brain, kidneys, etc. I am so, SO very thankful that all was well. A miracle and blessing from the Lord that I do not take for granted. 

I can't believe this pregnancy is almost halfway through. I want to savor every moment of it. Even the not so comfortable ones. 

Here are a few pics from the last week or two. Oh--and happy St. Paddy's Day! 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Amos Jackson

 This past Tuesday we had a gender reveal party for our sweet new baby BOY!! I was so thankful to have lots of friends and family present to celebrate this new little life.

I got up early that morning to make the cupcakes. From the outside, you couldn't tell, but there was some very blue icing on the inside.

Carrie came over to Mom and Dad's and helped me get things ready. Creativity and decorating are not my strongest suits, and she is great at both! We wrapped this netting around the wreaths that were already on my parents' door to help people know they were at the right house.

I thought they turned out pretty cute!

Carrie saw this on Pinterest, or somewhere, and painstakingly colored in all the "he"s and "she"s on these candy bars.

Fun candy for everybody! 

Dad picked these up for us. So festive!

The big brother right before the party started: 

Lots of sweet little people! 

Carrie, Mary Martin, me, and Kim:

Dad and me:

T.Mark stealing some sugar from Nora Lynn:

Mamas-to-be (and Joel the photobomber in the back!). These babies are due just a few days apart, even closer than their older brothers who are just 3 weeks apart!

T.Mark is very excited about his baby brother! They will be wild together I'm sure! 

Proud grandfathers right after seeing the blue:

Angie, me, and mom: 

Taylor and me:

T.Mark and me with Whitney and sweet baby Evans:

Yay for blue! 

Me, Carrie, and Lizzie:

Lavon, Wendy, and me:

  There were lots of people I didn't capture in these pics--several other couple friends, two of which have babies due any day, plus my brother and his sweet girls, my sister in law, another niece and nephew, and others . I am so thankful for this group of friends and family. Emily was back in Annapolis and was facetimed in again for this gender reveal! She had paid me a surprise visit the day before at my office, resulting in some very happy tears: 

   When there were just a few of us left, Lavon asked if he could gather everybody together and pray for this sweet little growing boy. I was so touched by and thankful for this prayer. I will always remember it. 

   As you can probably tell by the post title, his name has been decided--Amos Jackson Sledge. I am so excited about it! For quite some time, Amos has been my first choice for if we had another little boy. It was my great grandfather's name. I love it for several reasons--the family significance, and the fact that it is somewhat uncommon. It is a biblical name. And it means "brave, carried by God". Jackson is a family name as well, and is also extremely special to me. 

   Now I am just ready to meet him!