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March 12, 2012 / Jessica Turner

Sick days.

To post or not post? I chose not to post since mid July, but now I am back for…well…tonight.

There is no quick way to sum up all the events that have taken me by storm over the past 8 months. So let’s start with today and what’s coming! Liberty turns 1 year in just a little over a month, Andrew and I celebrate 4 years of marriage on May 3rd, I turn 30! in July, Gabriel will be 3 on September 4th and on September 20 Baby #3 is due!!! (3 exclamation marks for 3 kids)

Whew! I am out of breath just reading that.

Today was a very interesting day. At 3:30am Andrew left the house and flew to Virginia to help his brother, Mike, move the last of their belongings to Hamilton. My never-ever-gets-sick child was very sick with flu. I had it at its worse yesterday and Andrew had it at its worse on Saturday.  My always-seems-to-be-something-just-not-right child had a major battle with teething and flu since last Friday that just about frayed every last nerve on this already overly hormonal pregnant woman but I’m still standing. And the mess I was standing in after this weekend is almost traceless!

Today I felt a real advancement in my Spirit that I haven’t felt in a while. I started singing this old Johnny Nash song out of nowhere today at the sink and it’s the perfect description of how I feel.

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.

I think I can make it now, the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is the rainbow I’ve been praying for
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day

Truthfully, it was overcast and kind of cloudy outside today, but inside this fever and flu stricken, 1400 square-foot farmhouse there was sunshine. Little rays of hope bursting out of my every thought. Smiles and laughter over simple games of peek-a-boo and rubber ducks who went potty. I’m far from having it all together. I’m Simply Striving, nice to meet you. Simply Striving to make each day count for something more than just a clean house with clean laundry and a beautiful 5-o’clock dinner. Simply Striving for the more like re-heated pizza so we can sit on the porch swing and watch cats and I can hear Liberty meow and teach Gabriel how to sing ‘Jesus Loves Me’ and he can watch the wonders of his Creator before the weight and heat of his fever forces him to sleep too early. Those moments cost me something that I didn’t know I was holding onto. Selfishness. We don’t do perfect here. Not. Even. Close. I simply strive to worship the One who was and is and is to come. And tonight worship was the weight of 35lbs plus 17lbs on top a pregnant bladder and little voices trailing their sunshine melodies into the dusk air. Here is the rainbow I’ve been praying for…It’s gonna be a bright (bright) Sun-Shiny day.xo

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July 6, 2011 / Jessica Turner

Play with your kids.

I am the lion and Gabriel is the lamb. We went sailing in the Moses basket with only a flower from Sister’s headband to eat. We picked up a whale on our journey…Imagination at its finest. xo

July 6, 2011 / Jessica Turner

AMPLIFIED encouragement for a greater home…

1 Peter 3

1IN LIKE manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives,

2When they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him–to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband].

3Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes;

4But let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God.

5For it was thus that the pious women of old who hoped in God were [accustomed] to beautify themselves and were submissive to their husbands [adapting themselves to them as themselves secondary and dependent upon them].

6It was thus that Sarah obeyed Abraham [following his guidance and acknowledging his headship over her by] calling him lord (master, leader, authority). And you are now her true daughters if you do right and let nothing terrify you [not giving way to hysterical fears or letting anxieties unnerve you].

7In the same way you married men should live considerately with [your wives], with an intelligent recognition [of the marriage relation], honoring the woman as [physically] the weaker, but [realizing that you] are joint heirs of the grace (God’s unmerited favor) of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered and cut off. [Otherwise you cannot pray effectively.]

8Finally, all [of you] should be of one and the same mind (united in spirit), sympathizing [with one another], loving [each other] as brethren [of one household], compassionate and courteous (tenderhearted and humble).

9Never return evil for evil or insult for insult (scolding, tongue-lashing, berating), but on the contrary blessing [praying for their welfare, happiness, and protection, and truly pitying and loving them]. For know that to this you have been called, that you may yourselves inherit a blessing [from God–that you may obtain a blessing as heirs, bringing welfare and happiness and protection].

10For let him who wants to enjoy life and see good days [good–whether apparent or not] keep his tongue free from evil and his lips from guile (treachery, deceit).

11Let him turn away from wickedness and shun it, and let him do right. Let him search for peace (harmony; undisturbedness from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts) and seek it eagerly. [Do not merely desire peaceful relations with God, with your fellowmen, and with yourself, but pursue, go after them!]

12For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God), and His ears are attentive to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who practice evil [to oppose them, to frustrate, and defeat them].

13Now who is there to hurt you if you are zealous followers of that which is good?

14But even in case you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, [you are] blessed (happy, to be envied). Do not dread or be afraid of their threats, nor be disturbed [by their opposition].

15But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully.

16[And see to it that] your conscience is entirely clear (unimpaired), so that, when you are falsely accused as evildoers, those who threaten you abusively and revile your right behavior in Christ may come to be ashamed [of slandering your good lives].

17For [it is] better to suffer [unjustly] for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than to suffer [justly] for doing wrong.

18For Christ [the Messiah Himself] died for sins once for all, the Righteous for the unrighteous (the Just for the unjust, the Innocent for the guilty), that He might bring us to God. In His human body He was put to death, but He was made alive in the spirit,

19In which He went and preached to the spirits in prison,

20[The souls of those] who long before in the days of Noah had been disobedient, when God’s patience waited during the building of the ark in which a few [people], actually eight in number, were saved through water.

21And baptism, which is a figure [of their deliverance], does now also save you [from inward questionings and fears], not by the removing of outward body filth [bathing], but by [providing you with] the answer of a good and clear conscience (inward cleanness and peace) before God [because you are demonstrating what you believe to be yours] through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

22[And He] has now entered into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with [all] angels and authorities and powers made subservient to Him.

June 7, 2011 / Jessica Turner

Tornadoes

Two posts ago I shared the story of Liberty’s birth.

I shared about how important it was to me to wait on the Lord’s timing for her birth date. (And for all those who questioned, yes, natural labor, but that’s a whole other post, maybe..) His timing is perfect.

We drove home from the hospital with Liberty on Tuesday, April 26. It was just my mom and me as Andrew had left earlier with Gabriel. Toddlers and hospital rooms are not the best combination.

I was not paying attention and my mom and I missed the turn for Hamilton and we ended up in Phil Campbell. It was a lovely little mishap. We parked at the Piggly Wiggly and mom went to the local produce stand across the street and got a wonderful array of yummy-ness. The Dreamer guided us to Hackleburg’s main gas station and that’s where we found our road back to home.

The very next day, April 27th, deadly tornadoes struck Phil Campbell and Hackleburg. And the cities have been almost wiped out completely. The Dreamer was working in Phil Campell earlier this week and text me to say that the produce stand is now bulldozed to the street. The gas station in Hackleburg was destroyed as well. Many lives were lost. Yet many lives have gained new perspective. And that is our story.

We live just short of 15 miles south of Hackleburg and are thankful for our safety. And why the tornadoes hit Hackleburg, I do not know. But, I do know it doesn’t change how good God is now and forever.

You see the devastation and wonder why; wish you could do more to help and willfully vow never to take another tornado warning light-heartedly. And then the question of why comes back to the surface… In my life there have been many whys. Why did my grandparents pass away before I was married? Why did I experience a miscarriage on my first pregnancy? Why is it that children are sold into sex trafficking? Why does it cost thousands of dollars to adopt needy children and only a couple hundred to kill them? Why, God, Why? Perhaps this side of heaven we will never know.

I am reading through on of Elizabeth Elliot’s more obscure titles called, “A Path Through Suffering.” She was widowed early on in her marriage to Jim Elliot (Who was martyred along Nick Saint. Reference the movie “End of the Spear.’) and she talks about all the cards and well-meaning scriptures people sent to her during this period in her life and she said that no scripture was more alive to her during this time than 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

When my sister-in-law, Lea, and I drove through Hackleburg this verse was our topic of conversation. When you see such devastation it reminds you that everything we have or may be experiencing is very temporal, but for a moment. We are daily perishing, but the hope is that in Christ our inward man is being renewed day by day. Our afflictions are what we may be feeling or seeing, but a more eternal realm is moving too and it is a greater reality because it is forever. How Leah and I expressed such a longing for more spiritual reflexes. To be more in tune with the eternal realm in our lives. To fully gain in Christ a strength that guides us gently and peacefully through whatever tries to shake us. The trick is staying in His presence and Word. That is where the renewal takes place and that is where our eyes are trained to look at the eternal.

The relief efforts here are still on going. Its been amazing the stories you hear and the way the community has held each other. I pray that if you read this and are able to support the relief efforts here you will by clicking on this link:HackleburgHelpingHands. And know that even if you never see the fruit of your giving here in the temporal realm, your reward will be great in heaven, the place I pray becomes more real to us daily.

May 10, 2011 / Jessica Turner

The Dreamer’s Note.

Yesterday was my first day alone with Gabriel and Liberty.

Mondays are rough for us as The Dreamer and I juggle the kids while I teach ballet and he teaches Spanish. We do not see each other until 8:30pm when he returns from teaching and by that point yesterday I was a bit of a mess. All I remember saying to him last night was through tears about how Liberty seemed to scream all day and I even screamed at Gabriel…I felt guilty and like I had totally failed.

This morning he left me a note. I thought I’d share it as maybe someone else needed to hear it too. And yes, The Dreamer really is this amazing…

Jess,

I was praying this morning for you and the kids and this day and the Lord began to speak to me concerning the transition with the new baby. I was praying that it would not be hard or stressful and God corrected me. He reminded me of James 1:2-4 that says “…count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

He began to show me that if child rearing was easy than it would not produce the glory that it should. Part of that glory is the character development in us. Great women and mothers had to make this same transition and it wasn’t any easier than it is for us. Difficulty, however, does not mean burdensome or stressful. I believe this is one of the reasons you were created and if that is true than God gives the grace to do it.

May 8, 2011 / Jessica Turner

Liberty Esther is here!

The last month of pregnancy is hard. Really, just the waiting can be hard. In our immediate culture we become so frustrated with waiting anywhere for anything that we even, in ignorance, will become frustrated waiting on the Lord.

I am at fault for this myself this pregnancy, yet He was so Faithful and True.

Praying through my pregnancy I knew I heard from the Lord that I was to wait and let labor happen on its own timing. As time grew closer to the due date I tried my best to cling to scripture daily to stay at peace. At about 38 weeks my doula, Brandice, who deserves a hero’s award, a hand-stitched t-shirt and lots of chocolate had a dream that she was showing me a picture of an eagle flying and was telling me that this is where I was now in my life. (**Disclaimer**Prophetic dreams are not always part of the Doula package, but find a good one and you never know…)When she told me I knew it was a whisper from the Lord and my friend Stacie reminded me of Isaiah 40. “You will mount up on wings like eagles. you will run and not grow weary, you will walk and not faint…” I went back to scripture and read from verse 28,

Have you not known? Have you not heard? (Jessica, Are you listening to me?)

The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. (Jessica, God has created this miracle intimately and is not tired of waiting on her formation. He understands exactly when she needs to come. Trust Him on this, stop trying to search it out.)

He gives power to the weak, And to those (Jessica) who have no might He increases strength. (I will strengthen you in labor. Do not fear.)

Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. (Jessica! Wait and have new strength!)

So I waited as patiently as possible and 40 weeks came so did 40 weeks and day1, 2, 3, and 4. I woke up on Saturday morning feeling rested and great and a bit disappointed…still pregnant. Very pregnant. We packed up and braved the Ramp Community Easter Egg Hunt. I planted myself under a tree, but no signs of labor.  We came home, all took naps, then went for a walk, I cooked dinner, cleaned the kitchen, had coffee on the front porch with The Dreamer and Kristina. We came inside and folded 3 loads of laundry while we all talked and then at 10:26pm labor began. At 12pm we headed to hospital in Florence. We checked in at 1:15 and I was at 6cm with contractions every 2 minutes. My doula had the tub blown up, but Andrew began to fill it with water as I needed her in my face blowing me through every contraction… once the tub was ready I labored for only 3 contractions in the tub and then I was at 9cm and had to push. They called the doctor and when she arrived I was complete and ready for Liberty to arrive. At 3:31am  the world changed forever as Liberty screamed her first breath of air at 7lbs 2oz and a head full of hair!

The pains of labor are indescribable. Yet, during these times I feel so close and utterly dependent upon the presence of God. I can not count how many times I would breathe through a contraction and hear His voice whisper, “Renewed Strength.” I would be reminded of his promise to me and feel so empowered and relief all at the same time. His word is Living and Active…

Today is Mother’s Day an exact 2 weeks from Liberty’s Easter birthday. It’s hard to believe the events of the last 2 weeks! Yet, the Lord’s hand has been with us, protected us, held us and renewed our strength over and over. Sure, this is a testimony of a beautiful birth, but also of the importance of hearing the word of the Lord and doing your best to stay patient in the wait of His timing…He does all things well. And if you ever find yourself in the midst of the wait to cheer your self onward here is a song my dear friend Stacie called and sang to me a couple of days before Liberty was born. It’s sung to the tune of “Cinderella, Cinderella” from the Disney movie, Cinderella. Memorize it. I have sung it quite often since…

“You can do it, you can do it, you can do it, you can do it!  You can do it, you can do it! You can do it! You can do it! Do it, Do it, Do it!”

xo, jesss

April 8, 2011 / Jessica Turner

Update…

I have not fallen off the face of the earth…

So much to tell of life here in Hamilton so here is my nutshell bullet list that I promise to elaborate more on soon.

– Reading an incredible book called, The Path Through Suffering by, you guessed it, Elizabeth Elliot.

-The Ramp building caught fire, but it is restored.

-We had an emergency trip to Mexico…15 hour drive + toddler = specialness.

-We had a Ramp Conference at the airport hangar. Yes, Hamilton has an airport.

-Studying the word and attitude of “sober”…its been a glorious journey.

-Gabriel turned 19 months and is moving faster than ever…

-We have a Men’s conference this weekend. It’s going to be glorious, families will be changed forever.

-Bryn Waddell, the Ramp’s worship leader, has a solo album coming out today. Buy it on itunes.com or visit theramp.org or call the ministry’s office 205-921-0909. It’s incredible.

-My sister-in-love had her 3rd baby, a girl, Elysia Kristin Longwood, a week ago. Hard to believe it’s been a week and she’s beautiful just like their other two. They make gorgeous babies. If only they didn’t live so far away….

-I have been sewing like, well, a lot. Thanks to http://www.prudentbaby.com and recital costumes.

-I have been nesting like a little momma bird who eats gummy worms instead of real ones. (The gummy ones make you move faster.)

-38 almost 39 weeks pregnant. She coming and can not be stopped as Mrs. Karen would say…

-Oh and yes! My best friend had her baby last night, in 3 hours. Unbelievable, I know. Chloe Evelyn Reeser, hoping I get to see her soon!

-And my mom is here this weekend which makes me so happy and able to at least let you all know I’m alive and still pregnant.

p.s. I’ve got some incredible recipes to share too…

Love.xo