He is My Legacy

I was raised in church. It wasn't an option and we were faithful about being there. As I look back, honestly I don't ever remember not loving Jesus. In the Lutheran church there isn't an invitation like there is in the Baptist church, but from a very young age I knew I loved Him. I felt convicted by the Holy Spirit when I made bad choices in high school but thankfully as I ventured off to college, I fell more in love with my Jesus as my faith really became my own.

Dusty and I got married in 2002 and to be honest, our first few years of marriage were rough. Looking back we know that the Lord had us firmly planted in a new church with a new group of friends for a reason... they quickly became "our people" (and still are). They were such an encouragement as we navigated early married life together.

In 2004, Dusty's dad died suddenly and I remember actually freaking out. I was in a hotel for a district meeting with J&J and I was so devastated. I felt a panic unlike anything I had experienced before. I met Dusty in Arkansas at his parents' house and I remember walking in to see his precious mom. I literally thought she would be on the floor, in a ball, sobbing and unable to function. I couldn't picture it any other way. Instead, I found her calm... a tear-stained face, but with this incredible sense of peace. I didn't understand it and in the days to follow, as I watched her grieve, I remember her saying "Jesus has to be my everything now." I'd never seen anything like it... she was grieving but NEVER as someone without hope.

In 2005, Deacon was born and honestly, life was good. I thought we had things figured out and while the balance between careers, a house and a baby weren't easy, things were certainly not impossible. I was dreaming big about the family and career I was building. The lives I would change. The difference I could make. It was a blissfully ignorant season... and one I'm so grateful for.

2006. About a year after returning to work I began to feel this calling to stay home. I mentioned it to Dusty but gosh, I was making good money and all the "perks" of my job made it almost impossible to walk away. And the crazy thing was, I didn't really want to stay home. Sure, the park and playdates and sleeping in sounded amazing, but I truly loved what I was doing. We committed to pray about the next steps and some financial decisions and wait to see what the Lord showed us.

Within a few months The Lord quickly answered every single financial concern and His path was abundantly clear. (My bonus that quarter was within a few dollars of the entirety of what we were praying over.) I felt a peace and assurance that the Lord was leading me home for a year. ONE YEAR.

I called my manager in January of 2007 and asked him to meet for breakfast. Funny enough, talking to him years later, he said he knew exactly why I was calling and was ready.

"I am resigning," I tearfully told him. "The Lord is calling me to be home for this season."

He said the oddest thing at that moment. He looked at me and said, "No problem. You know what? I can replace you tomorrow." It actually took my breath away. I remember feeling stunned. But he continued. "I can find someone to replace you... and you know what? They can find someone to replace me too. But you know where there will never be a replacement? At home. To your kids. You're 'mom' and no one can do a better job than you. So you should go where the Lord is leading you and be the BEST mom you can be."


I left with such clarity and peace... and told myself I'd be obedient and faithful in this season. For one year. 

One year later, almost to the exact date, our precious Maddox was born.


I had no idea what 2007 year would hold as I resigned. I had no idea we would struggle to get pregnant. Then celebrate the sweet miracle of pregnancy. Only to be told in September that something was very wrong with our child. For tests to read two days later that our beautiful boy was considered "incompatible with life" by this world and modern medicine. What?

Trisomy 18 is one of the leading causes of miscarriage. 90% are "terminated" after a diagnosis. Of those carried, roughly 50% of babies make it to a live birth. And of those born alive, less than 10% live to celebrate their first birthday. To say the odds were stacked against us would be a slight understatement.

From September 26th on, the fear, the questions, and the next steps were paralyzing. A war was waging inside. "Take captive every thought, take captive every thought," I told myself over and over and over. Such a battle of emotions. How could he be sick? I felt his strength as he kicked and moved and danced inside. I knew him intimately and couldn't fathom how this growing child inside could possibly die?! And yet medicine told another story. We trusted the Lord and waited. Ohhh, the waiting. The angst. The uncertainty. The questions... so many questions.

But God.

But God in His sovereignty was always so present. He gave me a peace I can't explain, but scripture can. "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guards your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7

That peace carried me. It protected me. It gave me strength when I felt like my own life was hanging in the balance. When Maddox was moving and strong just hours before, yet born with a slow heart rate and only opened his eyes once it was HIS PEACE that kept me from totally unraveling. His peace kept me as I handed my 3lb newborn over to the nurses, knowing I wouldn't see him again on this side of Heaven. And His peace that pulled me out of the car weeks later to pick up his ashes. I can't describe what it feels like when every single muscle in your body fights you from doing something. I physically felt like I was dying. Maybe you know too? All I can say is Peace. So hard to explain when you don't have it... A priceless gift when you do. 

What I've known since the moment we left that hospital without Maddox in January 2008 and with every breath since is that God is sovereign. He knew the trials coming long before we did. He knew the painful road we would walk. He prepared a path for us and brought people alongside. And He showed us how to suffer well... How to hear His voice in the chaos and confusion... How to praise Him when everything in this world screams to push Him away... He has shown us how to make HIM our everything. And now we have to do it. We have to live it out.

Ultimately, that is my goal. In everything I do. Everywhere I go. With each breath. With my last breath. My life is literally nothing if it doesn't point people to Jesus.

And please hear me. My heart's cry. Not for show, for applause or for eye rolls. I don't say it lightly or with pride, but with a deep conviction of what each word means.

With everything in me, with every passion, desire, dream and flame inside my soul, Jesus is everything.

He is my legacy. He is what I want to be known for. He is where I long to be. He has given us a story, a testimony to His goodness. His faithfulness. His peace. We've lived in the "even if he does not," (Daniel 3:18) and I tell you, I will not worship the things of this world. I will not cave to what the world says is important. I will stand for Him and pray to be obedient and worthy of what He has entrusted us with. I have to be faithful... because He has been. And because I wouldn't still be standing here, able to function, without Him.

Perfection isn't my goal. I know it's too lofty and impossible. But by His grace and mercy and leadership, I just long to be more like Jesus every.single.day.

Our story of Maddox isn't ours. It's God's. They're indelibly connected... God's story can stand on it's own, but our story can't stand without Him. Isn't that how life is? God doesn't need us. He is God regardless of our yes or no. But how does life stand without Him? In the end, it doesn't. And THAT is my ultimate peace. Because eternity is... well, eternity.

"The fear that held us now gives way

To Him who is our peace
His final breath upon the cross
Is now alive in me
Your name, Your name
Is victory
All praise, will rise
To Christ, our King
Your name, Your name
Is victory
All praise, will rise
To Christ, our King
By Your Spirit I will rise
From the ashes of defeat
The resurrected King, is resurrecting me
In Your name I come alive
To declare Your victory
The resurrected King, is resurrecting me"
(Resurrecting, Elevation Worship)
"Jesus, You're still enough
Keep me within Your love
My heart will sing Your praise again
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I'm still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed

(Do It Again, Elevation Worship) 


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