“Let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me”

Having just returned from The Influence Conference, my soul is nourished, my heart is lifted. A conference based on building community, ironically, I didn’t know anyone going into it. Anyone in “real life”. But that quickly changed.

It was beautiful. Beautiful how souls were shared. Hugs were given. Prayers were said. Hearts were lifted.

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A few of the many ways my heart was healed, my soul was encouraged…

The lies we hear from the world and let ourselves believe: your voice is worthless, nobody loves you, you are not seen, your gifts aren’t as good as others, that value is determined by someone other than God. Lies! Jesus is enough. We are so loved.

God did not give us gifts, just to take them away.

Fill the unknown with faith, not fear.

Don’t invent enemies.

My dream, my gifts, are a gift from God. I am a Steward of a Dream. To use. To pursue. If I let fear & lies take over so I don’t follow it, I’m being unfaithful. Believe this, friends. Don’t be idle and let your dreams fade.

God doesn’t say “follow your dreams”. He says Follow Me. Align your dreams with God’s will, God’s plan. It’s not about how many followers I have. It’s about me following God’s will.

Sole Hope Party at InfluenceOver 250 women tracing & cutting shoe patterns for Sole Hope the first night.

Ginger Lane at Influence ConferenceMy Ginger Lane clutches in the Market. I set out notecards & pens for people to write encouraging notes to the girl we sponsor through Compassion. Child sponsorship is at the core of the Ginger Lane Mission. I can’t wait to send the notes to our child!  Ginger Lane photoshootOne of the highlights of the weekend was the photoshoot for my Ginger Lane products.

Ginger Lane photoshootMegan photographed, Kristin & Brittany generously agreed to model. I am giddy & encouraged & blessed.

Influence sistersThe other highlight? These amazing women. My sisters in Christ. From the left, Rachel, me, Kathleen, Jennifer, Jenny, Amanda, Whitney, Lena, Tawny, & Katie.

SunriseThe gift of taking a 6am flight home was viewing the sunrise from the sky. My Spirit worships while viewing God’s natural creation. I kept thinking about how He created all of this. All of us. And imagining all of the people below and how He knows and loves each of us individually. That Jesus died on the cross for each of us, individually.

I am home: refreshed, challenged, overwhelmed, encouraged. With Hillsong’s “Oceans” on repeat in my heart from our worship:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior”

Celebrating life (How I nearly died & met Jesus)

Today, my three boys turned 6! Their birthday, this milestone, always floods me with overwhelming emotions. I’ve touched on parts before, but here is the whole story…

I remember the joy.

After a long road to parenthood, we were shocked and laughing when we saw the three beautiful heartbeats of our boys. But we were the only ones rejoicing. The doctor’s conversation went as such, “I see one heartbeat! I see another! Oh My God, I’m So Sorry I see a third heartbeat. We’ll have to discuss if you will reduce one or two of them.”

We stood firm for our faith and chose to not follow the doctors’ advice. I couldn’t imagine not keeping all three.

The pregnancy was…uncomfortable. Three babies and their placentas filled every inch of my short torso. I would’ve carried one on my back if I could have. After weeks of bedrest and the beginning stages of pre-eclampsia, the boys were born. With my head on a bag of soil. Pure joy. The room was packed with people. Folks lined up against the walls just to watch a triplet delivery. Each boy had their own station and team of 3-4 NICU nurses. It was quite a celebration. We made it to 34 weeks and each boy was over 4 lbs.

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(See my pillow? It was important to my husband that the boys “be born on Virginia soil”. So there it is.)

I remember the downturn.

From the operating room, the boys were immediately brought to the NICU and I was brought back to my room to recover. I see photos of moms holding their babies after their born and my experience couldn’t be more different. I was able to see them and kiss them, and then they were whisked away. Little did I know that I would not be able to see them for another 36 hours.

I remember being in and out of consciousness. I remember feeling tremendous pain. I remember the rush of doctors and nurses in and out of the room and the concern as they tried to figure out what was wrong. Turns out the incision from my c-section had torn open in multiple places, leaving me with “a million little bleeders”, as we were told. The doctors had found 2.5 liters of blood in my abdomen (the average person has about 5 liters total in their body). I later learned that they were preparing for the best case scenario: a hysterectomy. Can’t fix the bleeding, just take it all out.

By the time I was brought in for an emergency surgery, about 19 hours after their birth, I had had unsuccessful blood transfusions, my kidneys had shut down (as with other organs) and my blood pressure was 60/40. Near comatose. I was in and out of consciousness. I do remember being wheeled to the surgery, seeing Rob standing helplessly by the window (his three babies in the NICU and his wife on the brink), and having my heart cry out “Jesus please be with me. Jesus please be with me” over and over again.

And the next thing I knew, He was with me. It was the purest white light and I was surrounded by Him.

I remember Jesus.

I’m going to ask you guys to close your eyes. You see darkness. Now imagine closing your eyes and having the brightest light possible surrounding you. Hugging you. It was like a giant hug from Jesus. It was the most joy-filled, peace-filled, beautiful, comforting experience. No words can describe it.

Joyful – but the most joy you could possibly feel.

Peaceful – but the most peace you could possibly feel.

Beautiful – but the most beauty you could possibly feel.

Comforting – but the most comfort you could possibly feel.

It was complete. I was complete.

You know how it says in Revelation 22, “There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” I totally get it now. His light is real. I was lucky enough to get a taste of it.

I imagine that is what it is like to die. It’s not painful, it’s not scary. It’s beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be here to love my family as long as I possibly can. But I KNOW that joy is waiting. It is no longer just a faith in Jesus, but knowledge and memories of Him.

I remember life.

I don’t know how close I was to death on the operating table. But after many conversations with multiple doctors, I am very very lucky to be alive. They were able to stop the internal bleeding and didn’t even need to give me a hysterectomy.

I remember waking up in the ICU, intubated. Again, in and out of consciousness, I was so confused as to why I was intubated. Apparently they thought they would have to bring me back to the OR. But it wasn’t needed. I was slowly healing.

So 36 hours after the boys were born, my amazing ICU nurse, Megan, brought me to the NICU to see the boys. It was late at night, but she still used the service elevator. I was quite a sight. Barely lucid from the morphine. Swollen from fluids and medication, I couldn’t put my feet on the wheelchair pads.  So she put a pillow on the ground and dragged me backwards. Two of those wheelie pole things accompanied us to hold all of my IVs and monitors.

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(Two days post-birth, many of the IVs/tubes/monitors removed, some remained. Unable to walk, but holding one of my boys.)

A week in the hospital for me, and 11 & 12 days for the boys, we were all finally home. A family.

So unlike Duchess Kate, I was not upright, glowing and camera-ready the day after their birth. But I was alive. And my boys were alive. And forever grateful for getting those moments with Jesus.

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So blessed, Happy Birthday boys!

Influence…Making my online life mean something

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The Influence Network was launched in January and it is already one of my favorite online spots. These women (yes, I’ll generalize for a sec) are real, genuine, creative, Christian bloggers. To continue with the growth and depth of the community, I’m linking up with all these lovely ladies. I look forward to meeting you all at the next Influence Conference!

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Ginger

Looking for a photo made me realize that there are no photos of me. Except for this one. And what I love about it is that it’s from a surprise 10th anniversary trip my husband planned for us in Napa. (No small thing coming from Boston and finding childcare for triplets.) Drinking champagne at Mustards, with my love. Heaven.

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1I met God. During an emergency surgery after the birth of my triplets after my health began to fail, I was surrounded by pure white and His complete joy and peace. It was like a giant hug from God and the most amazing experience of my life. Read more about it here.

2I’m allergic to most raw fruits. Unhelpful when dieting or walking through New England apple orchards.

3God uses me to connect people. I can be chatting with someone about a need, problem, whatever and He will bring to mind a different friend, acquaintance, resource that can help. It brings such joy and gives me goosebumps every time. I can’t force these situations, so I’ve started praying every day that God use me to connect people to others that can fill their needs, give wisdom, whatever it is. Since we’re all part of One Body, I feel like I must be a ligament or synapse.

influence linkup gained

Community. Wisdom. When I first started this blog journey last summer, I was really put-off by the networks that asked everyone to play these games of commenting on each other’s posts and clicking on their links. Not because they were genuinely interested, but just for numbers and page views.  I was looking for genuine people, genuine community. So when I came across the folks that the Influence Network attracted, I knew immediately that these were my people, my sisters in Christ.

 

Giving during Lent

During lent, we prepare our hearts for Easter. It was common during my childhood to give something up for the duration of lent. But for me, it was half-hearted and often lasted only a few days. I never made the connection as to what giving up chocolate had to do with Jesus’ death and resurrection.

This year, I’m switching it up. Apparently when I have to make a sacrifice and give something up, it makes me focus on what I’m missing out on all the more. (What a great personality trait…) But if I sacrifice time & money and give to others, it will allow me to focus on what truly matters. It’s God’s money, not mine. To love my neighbor. My gratitude for Jesus. Each denomination has different traditions, so do what allows you to focus on the true meaning of Easter.

Giving to Someone Lent

For more information about some of these giving ideas…

Host a Sole Hope Shoe Cutting Party

Birthday Wishes birthday box

Make a bracelet or pouch for the She’s Worth It Campaign

Collect medical supplies for Sole Hope

What other ways can we give during lent? Share your ideas in the comments!

Psst…I have more posts about my faith. Take a look!

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Teaching children to give?

How should I teach my children to give, to teach them a servant’s heart? I have no idea. I am spending time trying to plan out activities this summer that allow us to serve others. But how much can (almost) 5 year olds get? How much can they do?

We’ll soon find out. We will have to learn by trial and error.

In the meantime, the boys and I piled up on the daybed this morning to try to brainstorm ideas of things we could make and give away to strangers. Below is a preview!

While we were rolling the clay, I asked the boys why we should love other people, including strangers. One said quietly  “because Jesus tells us to. And he also tells us to give.” Mind blown. There is such joy in my heart! (Keep in mind, the other two were busy telling potty jokes while this was going on…)

We are excited to get started with our plan to give these away, but still have a few things to do. My boys are imps (they get it from me), so our method for distributing will be fitting.


Stay tuned!