The Audacity of Hope

I realize I do not do these near enough, so I wanted to take a second to let you all know how the Smith’s are doing! First off, if you don’t follow me on instagram (I’m angelac519…i don’t know how to hyperlink that since its on my phone, but I bet you can find me!) you are missing lots of really fun photos like this one of Charlotte.

I know, right?!?!?! She is so delicious. And a total talker. She says things like, “Ina bine beh” (I want brown bear) and “I gonna getchu!” while running around the house in her nudie-tudies. She also sings a multitude of songs (think Adele, not Barney) and insists on wearing shoes All. The. Time. She also says, “Tank U Maaaach” for thank you, and her newest phrase has something to do with greeting a sea bass but we haven’t figured out the details just yet.

In other family related news, we got a call a few weeks ago to see if Todd would like to be a part of an Easter service at Sea World, and we talked it over but really wanted to be together so he talked with the radio station and asked if he could bring his family. We have wanted to go back to Disneyworld since we were pregnant with Audrey but just haven’t been able to. If you have read my blog for any length of time, you will understand why we knew God was giving us a gift with this new trip. The radio station agreed to the adventure and long story short, we are all going back to Disney. And you’ll never, never guess what day we are flying out?

Or maybe you would :)

April 7th. On what would have been Audrey’s fourth Birthday here with us.

I cried. Hard. And as grateful as I am, it is very bittersweet. The last time we went we still had her with us, so I have so many memories tucked away about the way I hoped that she would survive. For me, the trip happened at a time when I didn’t know the way it would turn out, and it breaks my heart to remember the hidden prayers that followed me to bed.

Last night Todd and I were watching the Duggars and Michelle was talking about her pregnancy and how she was so happy and wanting to get past a milestone (because her daughter Josie had been born prematurely before that). I started crying as I watched it because I know what she didn’t at that point. The sweet daughter she was carrying would not survive. I watched as my eyes grew hot and red because she had such hope. And I can’t help but see myself in her face, praying that our earthly desires will come to fruition…praying to the God Who knows what will and what will not.

When I think about Disney, I can’t help but imagine that the Lord was watching us as we hoped, and knowing we would be devastated soon. That’s a difficult thought, and I wonder if you have ever been there. It would be easy to allow the world to tell us that it wasn’t worth the risk. Why bother to hope at all?

May I dare to answer that for your heart {and mine} today?

In my life, hope has led me to pray. It has led me to believe Him. To have the boldness to say that I trust Him above the hurt. It has given me a reason to lift my head, to stake my claim, and to dismiss the shadows that whisper, “it will not be redeemed.” We do not know the ways of the Lord, of course. I’ve heard it said a thousand times and I agree. But there is more to say, isn’t there?

We might not know His ways, but we can know Him. 

My life didn’t get tied up in a neat bow when we had this crooked-ponytailed miracle you see above. And it didn’t answer the questions or silence the hurt.

What it did give me was a reminder of the power of hope. Not just in tomorrow. Not just in this life, actually.

But the hope that demands a response in the way we live our lives.

She is with Him.

She is with Him.

So while my feet reach one in front of the other, for all the years to come, I will remain steadfast in this:

I have hope because I have Him.

Disney will be great. I’m sure we’ll get sick on loads of ice-cream and lack of sleep. But there is no amount of adventure that can compare to the time I have ahead of me. I need that reminder a lot, and maybe you do as well.

This isn’t it, friends. Do you believe that more than the curve ball life is throwing you right now? I hope you do.

And hope?

Is a beautiful thing.

Eyes on Him, friends. Eyes only on Him…

Here’s to the audacity of hope.

Angie

p.s. We have been told that the song “I Will Carry You” has ministered to the Duggars as they have walked through the loss of their sweet Jubilee. I believe it will be featured on their season finale this month. It is an incredible honor to be able to share in their loss this way. Audrey still testifies to the power of hope, doesn’t she?

Sweet Sleep – Fun Friday:Flipped


I have been loving “Fun Fridays” around here lately. But it got me thinking about how much we are often receivers online instead of givers. I believe this community is more than that. So, I’m excited to flip Fun Friday for a change & give back as a community rather than getting this week.

My friend Jen started an organization called Sweet Sleep which distributes beds & mosquito nets to HIV/AIDS orphans in Northern Uganda. Sweet Sweet Sleep’s vision is for every orphaned child in the world to lie down in their own bed reminding them they are loved, protected and cared for with hope for the future through Jesus.

Kind of neat – every bed that Sweet Sleep provides is purchased in the country they are working in. So not only are they providing children with a place to sleep but they’re building into the economy of the country as well. They send volunteer teams several times throughout the year to assemble the beds in the orphanages & show the children they are loved and care for.

Wondering how you can join in on the Fun Friday:Flipped fun & give back? You can help with a one time gift or by becoming a sweet sleep bedhead & donating monthly. It’s easier than you might think…

$8 will buy a net 
$10 will buy a Bible
$12 will buy a blanket
$20 will buy just a mattress
$50 will provide an entire bed kit for a child in Uganda (this includes a bed, blanket, bible, & mosquito net)

If you want to give, you can do so right on Sweet Sleep’s site here. Thanks for letting me flip things upside down today!! :)

Bloom Announcement!

In answer to your (soon to be) question, I don’t know what is happening with my hair. I’m also having reservations about that shirt, which looks much cuter standing up.

Enough about me.

I’m not really a huge fan of the make-up either. Maybe it’s the lighting. It could be my head.

Ok, I’m really done now.

And despite all of these reservations, I still want you to watch this quick little video to hear about our latest selection for the Bloom Book Club. Maybe I needed the reminder…and maybe you do too.

:)

Bloom Book Club Introduction from Bloom (in)courage on Vimeo.

Hush.

It was 4:00 in the morning, and like clockwork, Charlotte started screaming.

Confession: Todd usually gets up with her in the middle of the night. Another confession: He usually gets up before me with the kids in the morning. One more confession: He does 98 % of the laundry and more than half of the housework. I have other confessions but I will save them for a day when you might not decide to hate me because I have such a great husband. :)

Anyway, last night when Charlotte started screaming, instead of her normal “please come get me and rock me back to sleep” sound, she was wailing. She went from dead asleep to sounding like she was desperately afraid in about 4 seconds. I opened my eyes and sat still for a second because sometimes she goes right back to sleep.

“Mommy! Mommy! MOOOMMMMYYY!!!!” I jumped up. Because that’s me she’s calling. And she isn’t just upset, she’s wanting me. And who can resist answering that need?

I jumped out of bed and walked toward her room. Right as I turned the doorknob, she let out another piercing scream, so she didn’t hear me walk in. We live in a house that has creaky doorknobs and pockets of the floor that you learn to step around if you’re trying to be quiet. I know where they are. I didn’t make a sound.

It surprised me that she wasn’t standing up in her crib and bouncing, because she usually does that when she’s upset.

I know. Because I know her.

She was so worked up that she didn’t even notice that I had gotten right up next to her crib, and that I was actually leaning over the white wooden bars while she was flailing around. She was sweaty, I could tell from her little wet head. She was digging her fists into the mattress and rolling her legs around kicking the sides of the crib. And she was more upset than I have seen her in awhile.

I prayed for her. I rebuked any Satanic spirit that might be influencing her, I prayed for peace and for rest. I did it quickly, and I waited just a moment more.

She was still scared. Still unaware of me.

Quietly, quietly, I started humming, “Hush little baby, don’t you cry…” It was just enough to make my throat vibrate. Too quiet for her to take notice, but she must have sensed something in her half-awake state, and she calmed a little. I started to reach over the crib but I didn’t want to wake her if she was going to go back to sleep. She didn’t even need to know I was here, just felt enough in my presence to know she wasn’t alone. I kept watching her though, and I noticed that although she was still upset, she wasn’t looking at the door. She knew that one of us would come in and get her, but she cried to the corner, so distraught that she didn’t lift her head.

And in the middle of the night, while the wind howled around Nashville and the rest of my babies slept, I wondered how many times I have done this.

I call Him, because I know His name.

And He answers, because He has always knows mine.

I am lost in the wreckage, trying to get my bearings, and while I can’t even lift my head, He whispers throughout the madness…I am here, love. Rest.

I snuck in when you thought it was over. When you thought it was impossible. And while your back was turned and the world was upside-down, I came near to you. I have seen you wrestle with your pain, shout in anger, and kick the sides of this life until the bruises reminded you that you could even feel at all.

And somewhere, sometime…many in fact, I bowed beside you and sang. And when you thought you couldn’t get to me, I reminded you that I always, always come to you.

Hush little baby…

I stood in the moonlight and let Him fall on me. Have you ever done that? Because it’s pretty spectacular. I read my Bible, of course. And I love to listen to music, to be in community, and all of the other gifts of this world. But every now and then He speaks and I know that even when I leave the moonlight I’m never going to forget the mercy that spoke in the darkness.

She stirred again and I reached over and touched her back. Gently, gently.

Hush.

She felt me, jumped up, and scrambled for my arms as if I might leave without her.

I never would, you know.

And as she lowered her head into my neck, I settled into the rocking chair and she was out before I even sat.

There were no words exchanged. Just the truth that exists between a parent and a child in the middle of the night. And it says the same thing it always has.

You didn’t know I was there, but it doesn’t change the fact that I was.

I heard you call me and I came.

I sang over you, prayed over you, loved you from the shadows.

Hush, love. Hush. Another day is dawning soon and we will meet here again. Around the squeaky floors I have come to know so well. And when we do, you will remember why it is that you called me in the first place, so long ago.

And if you listen to the stillness, you will hear me. Anywhere, anytime.

Hush.

Can you hear Him?

{Zephaniah 3:17}