Sunday, December 23, 2018 Not Easy and the Peace of Christmas

A favorite book of ours in our household is Waiting is not Easy by Mo Willems.  In fact, if you have not read this book, go grab it for a gift for yourself, your kids and your nieces and nephews.  It tells such a simple and true story about how waiting for us as humans is so hard and yet so worth it. 

As we are waiting for this little girl to arrive and join our family in the next week,  I have been so reminded of how this parallels how God asks us to wait patiently and in anticipation of Jesus Christ's birth during Advent and then the celebration of His birth at Christmas.

Do you know that God created every single person on this earth?  That he desperately loves you and wants to have a relationship with you?  In Psalm 139:13 and 14 it says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

Today at our worship service at Riverwood Church here in Waverly, I was struck by our sermon that really focused on the truth that God is the only one that can truly give you peace.  One of the names that Jesus is called in Isaiah chapter 9 is Prince of Peace.  The world is constantly trying to find peace but because of sin and evil in the world, there will never be peace in the world until God returns and fully redeems His creation.  When Jesus was born into the world as both fully God and fully man and lived a perfect life here on earth and then killed on a cross and rose again, then we could be made right with God as a sinful human.  This gift of life and peace is so amazing!!  I never truly understood what God's peace was or felt like until my mom passed away from breast cancer.  During the first few months of her being gone, the verse that was the only thing that truly comforted me was Psalm 46:10, "Be Still, and know that I am God....."  In Philippians 4:7 it says, "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Do you know this peace?

My desire this Christmas is for everyone to read the Bible.  This book is a gift.  God gave it to us as a love letter and the coolest thing is that every time it is read, you gain new knowledge about who God is and how He works.  He is all powerful.  He is always with us.  He is good.  He desires communication with us (prayer)!  

This morning was a wake-up call for me personally.  The past two to three days I have started to be cranky about being pregnant and having to wait for the timing of her arrival.  I was convicted that I was not keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus and what God has in store for me.  His timing is perfect!  Have I not seen that with the creation of our family?  I was also humbled about how I needed to confess that I was trying to do things my way and was too focused on myself.  Each day I have with my boys is precious and especially this time to focus on Jesus' birth at Christmas.

I pray all can experience the joy that Christmas brings with the realization of what a gift Jesus is to everyone.  If you don't know much about this gift or need some prayer, please reach out to me. I would be honored to pray for you and share what God has done in my life and continues to teach me each day. 

Please check out this prayer:

Merry Christmas!!    


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Moving, Adoption and Community

With our move and being less busy, I have had a lot more time on my hands to think.  In many ways, this "slower" season of our life as far as commitments go has been nice because I have actually gotten some habits established in our home that I have always wanted to.  For example, introduce Fridays as pizza nights, actually do meal planning and try to be more intentional about making our home a welcoming haven with decorations and visible scripture on our walls to memorize. 

However, one of the things that I have learned about a move is that it can also feel very lonely.  Why is it so exhausting to get to know a person?  Why does it take so long to go deep with people?  Not really recognizing that after we had spent 13 years in one area, that even though we sort of new a little bit about our new surroundings from spending college there, we were still starting over from scratch with relationship building.  As someone that has a strong faith in God and values the need to find a church to get connected to as soon as possible after moving, I wonder how those that don't have a community survive through moves?  Our church here has been where we have connected the most and most easily.  I love how the body of Christ immediately unifies you!

Another piece of our move that caught me off guard is just how much I miss the area we lived in before. Since it is only 1.5 hours away and we get back there every so often, when I am there, my heart just aches and longs to be back there!  I know this will get better with time and I think it is mostly a comfort thing because I have enjoyed so many great experiences with friends etc. at places! 

Trust = safety.  The move has also given me a good reminder of what kids that have experienced trauma of any kind (example: adoption) experience as they go into any situation that is new or change.  Learning to trust when you have gone through many experiences where they did not have anyone to trust or someone was not trustworthy, can really make you hesitate to go down that path again.  Learning people's story, journey and not just judging their actions, behavior or choices is what we are called to do.   

November is National Adoption Month and so I have been thinking about how thankful I am for my two boys that we have that are adopted as well as their birth mom.  However, this awareness still is bittersweet at times because the journey of adoption is ever changing and sometimes rewarding and sometimes very hard!  One of the reasons I wonder if God gave us this little girl that is on the way is to help me remember how great a gift and sacrifice it is to carry a child for 9 months and then choose to place them in a home where you are entrusting them to another family's care.  It is so humbling and truly something so hard for us to fathom.  This is when I stop and thank God that he is sovereign and in control.  He moves mountains and knows how many hairs are on our head.  So...I know without a doubt that He placed our two adopted boys in our home, not because of anything Matt and I did.  What questions do you have about adoption?  We are an open book and are always open to share our journey.     

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Townsley Family....And then there were 6! is true!  God has chosen to grow our family once again...this time biologically!  As most of you know, we have struggled with infertility off and on for the past 9 years.  We always said, we would be open to another child naturally if God blessed us again after the adoption of our 2nd and 3rd sons. we are...7 years later with a baby on the way. I am due in late December and we are excited!

I have to say, when we found out, I was excited, nervous, worried and not sure I can really swing this mom of 4 kids gig.  Truthfully, I can't, but I do know that God's plans are best and what he wants from me is daily dependence on Him.  For several years early in our marriage, there were times I even wondered if I wanted children.  As I processed through the realization of all the things I would miss and the truth that children are truly a blessing from the Lord, we started down the journey of building a family.

Parenting has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and there are many days that I struggle on a minute by minute basis to choose to love my children and point them to Jesus.  Being a parent is self-sacrificing in so many ways.  I am constantly asking for God to give me wisdom and understanding with our children as they make me angry and frustrated when they seem to make such unwise choices that cause them pain or more work for Matt and I.  However, the reality is, Matt and I are the only ones that have the opportunity to love, serve and show our kids that we are all sinners in need of our Savior Jesus.

So...with all that, we are excited to welcome another blessing into the Townsley family.  Are we all praying for a girl??!......maybe. :)

Just like us all here on this earth, God is never finished with changing, growing and refining us to be more like his son Jesus until we leave this earth.  Parenting and having another child is where God wants me to be right now so that I can fully depend and trust Him even more during this time in our lives.

We covet your prayers for our family.  Adoption is a beautiful thing but brings a lot of different dynamics into a family.  Pray that we would be intentional on loving both our biological and adoptive children equally and understanding their needs.  Pray for unity in our family and that we would always show Grace to our children, just as God has shown us grace.