Dear J.A.G. {31 Days of Letters}

DISCLAIMER: In an effort to not falsely excite my family, let me just clarify that this letter is not some creative way of announcing my pregnancy.  I am NOT pregnant.  If all goes according to plan (which it usually doesn’t when God’s in control…), there won’t be some cutesy pregnancy reveal for a couple years.

Also, in my future perfect thinking, this little guy would precede a baby sister.  I have an amazing older brother, thus I am fairly prejudice towards that sibling situation.  So, when I talk about our family unit, that’s what i’m picturing, though I will be thrilled with whatever gender order our little Gardners come in.

I do hope Baby J looks something like this…

Baby Tim

My dear little J,

I am both terrified and thrilled beyond imagination at the thought of you.  I don’t know why God intrusts such beautiful, fragile beings to such broken people.  Since God gives us the gift of life, He must equip us with the tools to protect it, therefore, I trust He has given provided us all that we need to love and care for your sweet self.

I can’t wait to stroke your fuzzy little head, nuzzle your soft neck, and just enjoy all of your baby-ness.  I’m amazed that two people could create a person so marvelous and intricate.  Know that I am in awe of your mere presence in our lives and pray for your already.

My prayers for you are often pleas for shelter from hurt, protection from evil, defense against wrong-doing.  I realize those are enabling prayers.  I most certainly want to shield you from harm, but I realize that is impossible and what I really want is for you to know where to turn when bad things happen.  I want you to intimately know your Shelter from the storm, your Protector, your Defender.   My precious J, you have a Father who loves you even more than is humanly possible.  As you grow, cling to Him.

It will be a great joy to see you grow.  If you’re anything like your dad, you’ll enjoy Legos and preaching to stuffed animals.  You’ll probably enjoy making music too, and with any luck, you’ll inherit your dad’s singing ability not mine.  We’d love you even if you did get my (un)tunefulness, though.

There’s a sappy, but true, quote that says “Don’t marry a man unless you would be proud to have a son exactly like him.”  You know what, J?  You can’t be exactly like your dad – that would be a bit weird – but you have an amazing model of a Godly man in your life.  Not everyone has that gift.  Take note of his caring spirit and soft heart.  He is full of integrity and quiet strength.

Both your dad and Uncle Tim are great examples of what manliness is all about.  Take note of their sensitivity.  Little J, it’s okay to cry, to empathize and have compassion.  Take note of how they treat women.  Little J, it’s important to respect, esteem, and protect women.  Take note of their relationship with family.  Little J, be kind to your sister.  She will be one of your biggest fans and greatest allies.

Though these are scattered thoughts to you, my beautiful boy, know that my feelings toward you will never be scattered.  My love is unconditional.  It pains me to know that I will fail.  I will not be the perfect mom.  But you have an Abba that IS perfect and won’t ever fail.  I can rest well knowing that you were made in His image and held in His hands.

With a full heart of love and anticipation,


You can find all my letters here.

For more information about the 31 Day Challenge, visit The Nester.

His Love Is Wide

At first I’m suspicious.  Wide isn’t the good path.  Our path should be narrow, tough, intentionally walked with care.

But, God’s love is wide.  His arms encompass us with a breadth we can’t comprehend or imagine.

It’s like He purposely juxtaposed the slimness of our journey – the narrow way we must traverse – with just how wide his love, grace, and mercy stretches around us.

He deals with our sin in the same way.  As far as the East is from the West…

Our Savior made a “narrow” choice to die on the cross for us in order to fling our transgressions away from us with such strength that they will never be seen again.

His love is wide.

His love is deep.

It covers us.


*This post was part of Five Minute Friday over at Tales From A Gypsy Mama.

Four Monthiversary

Today, Tim and I celebrate four months of marriage.  Seems like a small feat, but I am thankful for every day, every week, every month I get to share with my love.

Leaving our family and friends last week provided a great opportunity to create a wedding slideshow for our loved ones to watch at a little Labor Day gathering.   Moving preparations were all encompassing, so we finally sat down and went through the one-thousand plus pictures our photographer had given us months ago.

A wellspring of emotions rose up with each photo as I remembered the joy of that day – May 11th, 2012.  There is much to be said for letting those memories wash over you – reliving the thrill of the first look, the nerves of waiting to walk down the aisle, the excitement of being pronounced “Mr. and Mrs.”  Those memories are wonderful medicine for the stress of moving and the anxiety associated with a new job and a new season in life.

As I watched snapshot after snapshot come across the screen, I was thankful – thankful for the gentle, caring, strong man that I married, thankful for the friends and family standing and sitting around us, and most importantly, thankful for God’s evident hand in bringing Tim and I together.

Four months later, I still see God so evidently involved in the path our lives have taken.  On May 11th, neither of us would have guessed we would celebrate 123 days of marriage in Idaho; but, now, I can’t imagine anything else being what God had planned.

My prayer for the next four months (and the next four months…) is that Tim and I would embody Psalm 34:3 – exalting the Lord for the good things He has done and magnifying His name in all that we do and say.

Lord, let our union be a reflection of Your love for us, Your children.

Oh Magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.

Just in case you’re wondering who took these lovely wedding photos… Check out Bobby Schneider – he’s super talented and a blast to work with!