Wednesday, November 19, 2014

On baby announcements.

Baby announcements are hard for me. As a woman who struggles with infertility, it's hard to scroll through adorable photo after photo, video after video, of creative announcements of expectation, hope, and joy, and not feel the bitter pangs of jealousy and wonder if that will ever be me. 

(Photo source)
I was speaking with a co-worker the other day and we were talking about moving, change, and transition. She mentioned the term "happy-sad", feeling glad and devastated at the same time. We talked about what an interesting emotion this happy-sad is. Happy-sad is how I feel about my friends who are pregnant. It's a very confusing feeling. I am SO THRILLED for them, and somehow so crushed for myself. I won't lie and tell you that my sadness isn't often mixed with jealousy; that I don't get angry and feel embittered toward God for providing to others what I so desperately want myself. I do do those things, and I am not proud of that. 


As with everything else in life, I get a choice on how I respond to this. I don't want to live my life in jealousy and bitterness. I don't want to live for the future and be absent in the present. I WANT to embrace my current season of life, even if it is not everything that I hoped and dreamed. I WANT to trust that God's plan is bigger and better than my own. I WANT to be content and choose joy in all circumstances. 

In chapter 12 of the book of Romans, Paul describes what it looks like to be a member of the body of Christ--what it looks like to be a Christian
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Romans 12:9-18 ESV)
What an amazing checklist! And what a lot to strive for, by God's grace and through the powerful work of the Holy Spirit: genuine love, outdo with honor, rejoice, be patient, show hospitality, provide for needs, live in harmony, etc. What stood out to me most, though, was verse 15: Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 

To my dear, dear pregnant friends (and my friends with kids): I rejoice with you! Please, please never be afraid to share your wonderful news with me--I want the opportunity to celebrate you and to celebrate new, miraculous life! And, if you think of me, please pray that I would indeed "rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, and be constant in prayer."

With so much love,
Ferial 



read more "On baby announcements. "

Friday, October 31, 2014

Hello there.

Hello, blog, I forgot you existed for the last 5 months.

I also haven't chosen a resolution song for the last 5 months. Oh well. There's grace for that.






































A friend recently mentioned to me that she wandered over to my blog to see what I was up to. Well, according to this internet space of mine, I haven't done anything in the last 5 months which is, of course, entirely untrue. I'd like to be able to get back into blogging and updating, and recording these ordinary and lovely and difficult days of ours. I want to document each season of our life, even the ones that aren't as bright and shiny and adventurous. And, I want to do all this remembering and documenting without the pressure of entertaining. This space is for remembering, sharing, and doing life together. 

So, here's to updates, thoughts, and remembrances. 

For posterity's sake, here is a quick outline of what has been going on in my heart and life lately: 
  • The hubs and I completed the Whole30 this past summer.
    • Incredible results! We are so pleased and amazed at discovering more and more about how our bodies and minds are directly affected by the food we eat. We are committed to sticking to a mostly Paleo diet now and plan to do another Whole30 in the new year. 
  • We welcomed a tiny little nephew into our family. 
  • We attended some beautiful weddings, traveled, and surprised family
  • We've worked hard, gotten to play a little, carried on in ministry, and are learning tough lessons on what it means to be content in and through all things. 
Here's to more updates, more blogs, more reflections, more remembrances. 

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
(Ephesians 3:14-21 ESV)
read more "Hello there. "

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Resolution Songs // Month 5

Image Source

This month started out kinda hard. What with the news of the loss of a sweet baby boy and with Mother's Day coming up, I just didn't feel like choosing a song this month. Too much sadness around and inside, too much pain, too many questions and doubts and angry shouts to the sky. 

But then I realized, that's exactly the reason why I decided to do this thing, this resolution song thing. The very purpose of my commitment to this was to choose faith, choose joy, choose encouragement, choose to not wallow. And tonight on my drive home from work, I sang along to this song with all my heart. In the midst of confusion, of pain, of grief, of hopelessness, of questions and doubts, I sang. I sang for Jacqui and Dan, I sang for dear friends who have also lost little ones, I sang for my sick friends, I sang for my hopeful friends, I sang for my questioning friends and my lost friends. I sang out in my own brokenness, I sang this truth out to Jesus, because it was all that I could say.


"I need You more than anything." 


What can compare
To the love of Jesus
Who can repair
Every broken thing
No other One
Can break this darkness
No other name
No other name

I need You
More than anything
Jesus I need You
More than anything

Through the calm and the storm
In the chaos
Though the mountains will crumble
You will not
Never failing Your promise eternal 
read more "Resolution Songs // Month 5"

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

When the dream dies

The dream. Go to college. Write a novel. Get married. Travel the world. Own a home. Find a career. Be a rockstar. Save your marriage. Have a baby. Homeschool your kids. Reconcile with your family. Retire. 

Dreams come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors, and we all have different tastes. I love hearing people's stories and dreams, hopes for the future, and starry-eyed plans. But what happens when your dreams don't seem to come true? Granted, we dream until we die, and I believe that it's never too late to see a dream achieved. However, what of the athlete who gets into a car accident and can never play ball again? What of the 39-year-old single friend? What of the betrayed and abandoned lover? What of the barren wife? 

What happens when our dreams seem shattered and altogether unachievable? What do we do when there is no plan B? How do we keep calm and carry on in the face of hopelessness? 

Honestly, I don't know. 

Scripture has a lot to say about hopelessness, and I take comfort in God's Word and in the knowledge that He is faithful and the most understanding of our trials. 

Philippians 4:6-7 

 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Matthew 11:28-30 
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 
James 5:13 
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 

And yet, practically speaking, what do we do when the first dream "dies"? I know that "give up" is the wrong answer here. So, do we pursue a new dream? Do we relentlessly continue to pursue the first dream? Prayer, community, and studying the Scriptures are musts for me. But what else? How then should we live?

Again, I'm not entirely sure. 

One thing I do know, though. It's a phrase that I've held onto for the last handful of years, one that my husband and I repeat to each other as encouraging reminders: 

"One faithful moment at a time." 

That's all that we're sure of. This moment in time. Jesus could return or take us home at any time. We have now. Let's be as faithful as we can be with it. 

It's definitely not a satisfying answer to all of the hopelessnesses of life. But, it's one that I cling to.


Want to take home your own copy of my One Faithful Moment art print? Enter below to win your own free art print.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. 

Here's to many faithful moments to come.



read more "When the dream dies"

Friday, April 4, 2014

Resolution Songs // Month 4


Choose Joy. This month, I want joy. I choose joy, in spite of hardship and depression,  in spite of selfishness and setbacks, in spite of doubt and fear. I CHOOSE JOY. I want it. 

The pain will not define us
Joy will re-ignite us
You're the song
You're the song
Of our hearts

Jesus Christ is the only way to true joy. What an amazing thing that He provides! On top of salvation (which is MORE THAN ENOUGH), He wants to fill us with joy (Romans 15:13). For this month, April 2014, I choose to take part in that plan. I choose joy. Thank you, Jesus, that YOU make JOY available to us!

This song, "Joy", is from The Rend Collective's newest album The Art of Celebration. It is fantastic and I highly recommend it. Deep and powerful lyrics of praise accompanied by intricate and bright, celebratory tunes. There's no better song that encompasses my commitment to choosing joy this month.



"Joy"
We're choosing celebration
Breaking into freedom
You're the song
You're the song
Of our hearts

We cast aside our shadows
Trust You with our sorrows
You're the song
You're the song
Of our hearts

We're dancing to the rhythm of Your heart
We're rising from the ashes to the stars

You're the joy joy joy lighting my soul
The joy joy joy making me whole
Though I'm broken, I am running
Into Your arms of love

The pain will not define us
Joy will re-ignite us
You're the song
You're the song
Of our hearts

The dark is just a canvas
For Your grace and brightness
You're the song
You're the song
Of our hearts

We're dancing to the rhythm of Your heart
We're rising from the ashes to the stars

You're the joy joy joy lighting my soul
The joy joy joy making me whole
Though I'm broken, I am running
Into Your arms of love

You're the joy
The song in my heart
The hope of my soul

In the shadows
In the sorrows
In the desert
When the pain hits
You are constant
Ever-present
You're the song of my heart

You're the joy joy joy lighting my soul
The joy joy joy making me whole
Though I'm broken, I am running
Into Your arms of love
Into Your arms
read more "Resolution Songs // Month 4 "

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

On Photos

I have been inspired recently by a dear Insta-friend to take more photos with my husband. She and her husband have made it a priority to take a photo together each week, for memories and for their children. 

I love this idea. It's so easy for me to take photos of beautiful things--places I've been, meals I've cooked, people I love, my cats. But John and I rarely get behind the camera together. I think we both like taking photos, and it's also just easy to forget to take pictures together. Or I don't have any makeup on and am feeling self-conscious. This should not be. I want to remember us, at every age and stage, with every haircut, made-up or not, dimples, wrinkles, and the on-coming grey hairs and all. I love us, and here's a photo to prove it. 


read more "On Photos"