From the mouth of the river.

I turned 34 about two weeks ago.  

I'll be quite honest and say that 33 was one of my most challenging years.  I wrestled with many issues and personal things that I had been holding close.  We had recently moved, my husband got an awesome new job, we found a new church, we were surrounded by lots of great people, and saw the Lord move in many mysterious and wonderful ways.

Oh yeah, and we happen to live on a river now.  

Don't covet.  

I spent the year learning about Grace and Mercy and Forgiveness.  I scraped layers of my heart and removed and examined things that held me back from the life I thought I was living.  I spent a lot of time in prayer and thinking and considering things that I had known my entire life--but never believed them to be true for me as well.  

I spent many mornings looking at this river as I considered the things the Lord was teaching me.  I could find something peaceful in my soul no matter the time of day.  I spent a lot of evenings watching the sun turn the river to fire and overwhelmed by the Love He poured over our family.  Even in the darkest night, watching the river brings me immense peace and clarity.  

I love that as the sun rises and sets each day, the river remains constant.   It rises and sinks with the tides, the waves will roll, but that river is still there.  When the storms make the waters stir and thrash, when the mornings make it as still as glass, the river remains constant.  

These river waters remind me of my life.  
These river waters remind me of my faith.  

That no matter what is happening, no matter what I do, no matter how dark and gloomy or bright and beautiful, no matter how many mistakes I make, no matter my sins, no matter my victories, no matter what the voices in my head say, no matter what others say and do to me: 

Christ, like the river, remains constant.  

I always come back to this photo.  It has been my mantra this year.
And over the course of this year my religious convictions and beliefs have become a beautiful, tangled mess of living and breathing and doing.  

And in a few days (3 to be exact), our lives are going to get even more messy and beautiful.  

On Monday, June 3rd, we are planning to welcome our third baby girl to our family.  I'm excited to meet her, I'm excited to see her, and I'm excited to introduce her to the world.  

Photography by Lauren Thorn. 
But, I would be lying if I said that I'm not nervous about it, too. 

Repeat c-section.  Big needles and IVs.  Possible complications or defects.  Impact on our family.  The girls. My marriage.  Recovery.  Pain.  Starting over.  Sleep deprivation.  Personalities.  Hormones.  PPD.  Time.  

These things roll over and over in my head as the time grows close to her delivery.  Am I excited?  Absolutely.  Do I wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety?  

Of course.  

But, last night as I was facing another 4am awake time and spent time rolling over and over in my head all of the upcoming stresses of delivery, I feel like the Lord reminded me that He is in control, and He put these words in my heart. 

You see, our daughter's name will be Olivia Monroe.  

We picked "Olivia" because we've always had it on our short list of names for both of our prior pregnancies.  Olivia was always a runner up, but we always ended up choosing family names instead.  So, as soon as we found out we were pregnant again, there was no haggling over the girl name, she has been Olivia since Day One (even before we knew she was a "she," and when everyone swore she was a "he," she has always been Olivia to me).  

We really struggled with finding a solid middle name.  We had already used our two favorite middle names, and we just couldn't find one that fit.  Finally, after tossing several around with some of our family, we settled on "Monroe."  It has nothing to do with Marilyn or the president--we just liked the uniqueness of it--especially for a girl.  

Last night, we were randomly talking about name origins.  Olivia is an English name first used by Shakespeare and means "olive" or "of the olive tree."  Monroe has Scottish roots and means "from the mouth of the Roe" (the Roe is a river in Ireland).  I knew what our third baby's names meant, but I never really put it all together until about 4am this morning when the Lord reminded me that her name literally means "a peace offering from the mouth of the river."    

I feel like the Lord has greatly blessed us this past year.  I have wrestled with so much, but I have felt incredibly overwhelmed by His Love and Mercy.  I look forward to the things that are coming with our new addition, and I am reminded that no matter what, the Lord remains constant.  

And that alone brings me great Peace. 

If you are the praying sort, please pray for our family.  Pray for the delivery, pray for the recovery.  Pray for our baby and our girls and Chris and myself.  We are looking forward to Monday and the end of the pregnancy.  We appreciate your love and support.  We appreciate your kindness and gifts.  We appreciate you all.  

To be continued. . . (after Monday). . . xoxxo 

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