Saturday, April 25, 2015

Then there were three...

So, there is a person growing in me!

How did it come about?

Well, you should know how this kind of thing happens. But if you don't, you should probably call and ask your mom. Should lead into a great conversation so make sure you're sitting down.

But anyways, the subject of babies was always an intimidating thought that was just a far off experience for much later in life. I mean, we even decided that we would get a dog way before we would try children! We never did get a dog, but we are going to have a baby!!

When we first got married (4 years ago), we discussed the likelihood of intentionally trying to have babies starting at ages 23 & 25. Then we hit those ages and looked around and said, "um... maybe we should wait." I was ready, but the subject always seemed to send a small shock of terror up Derek's spine.

Having a baby is a really big deal, so I tried not to press the issue.  I understand that babies happen even when folks are not intentionally trying to produce one and I know that we both would have welcomed a sweet little one no matter the circumstance. But I really wanted him to feel like he was ready rather than feeling "set up" and make him feel stuck or surprised. Derek never said anything leading or hinting to him actually feeling that way, but my own insecurities allowed that to be my interpretation of his hesitation. And what I didn't know was it was really affecting our intimacy and our trust in the relationship.

I was really fearful. I had a lot of friends around me that were having a really hard time trying to conceive. Some had been trying for years, and nothing. Then some would get pregnant and lose their little one shortly after. I miscarried at 9 weeks when I was 18, and that was the most horrific experience of my life. I didn't want that experience again. But what if we waited too long and my "clock ran out"? What if I don't work right and can't even help create or carry a baby? Would I be okay with that? Could I trust God's love for me through that? Would I let that define me? Man, we weren't even "trying" yet but I found myself tortured by these thoughts. Sometimes, I just wanted to get pregnant just to see if I could... It's a joyless, lonely walk that I chose to stay in... What the heck was I doing!?

I couldn't see God through any of those thoughts. When I don't see God while in a circumstance, I have to stop trying to figure it out and just ask him where he is. There are times when I don't hear him clearly or right away and it's really hard because I seem to have forgotten who He is, his character, and his love for me, which is that he is consistant, never changing, and unwavering. When I get like that, I really have to talk to the Lord and trust that God will reveal himself to me and show his love for me, no matter what that looks like, in the situation. So I waited. Some times were harder to be still and wait than others, but I began to see God's intentional preservation of our cute little blessing.

Back in August, Derek and I were still living with a very generous family with two adorable toddlers. At first, Derek was really careful with the kids and kept his distance. Not because he didn't like them, he just didn't really know what to do with them, and if I was honest, neither did I. I started to watch a transformation happen in both myself and Derek when it came to children. They seemed like hard work but a joyful gift indeed! I remember Derek started asking the father of the family questions about fatherhood, responsibilities, and how to love your children well. This was big.

Derek surprised me with a super sweet 25th birthday gift! DISNEYLAND!!! We would spend the weekend riding coasters and being entertained by Disneyland characters. :) I was so excited. But that was not the only surpise he had for me. At dinner, he told me he was ready for children! I was BLOWN AWAY! I was so excited for this new adventure. And I was ovulating.

Now I am 30 weeks pregnant with our 1st son. I'm blown away by God's grace to us. What a precious gift and all in his timing. We are grateful, nervous, and so full of love. What a journey ahead of us!

Come what may, we will glorify the Lord.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesday Letters...

Dear Decaf Coffee Beans,
I really like you. You taste great and make me think I have the real thing. Thank you for your trickery and your yummy taste. See you tomorrow. Sincerely, Addicted

Dear Lady Driving Behind Me Last Night,
I'm not sure if you are new to this, but when your dashboard shows a little blue symbol when you turn on your headlights, that means that your brights are on. When you are on a busy road, you don't need those. The normal headlights will do. Hope that helps. Sincerely, Blinded

Dear Dave Ramsey & Team,
My husband and I have been "following" you for over 5 years now, more like watching from afar. We listened to you about some things and completely ignored you for others. Now that we have lived and learned, we are ready for change. We have been following your Baby Steps for 4 months now and are already seeing big changes in our finances and in our hearts. Thank you. Sincerely, Wishing-I-Did-This-Sooner

Dear Water Bottles,
I am so grateful for your existence. Seriously, I find you in my purse, in my car, by my bed, everywhere! Thanks, because you are there whenever I need you, but since I only drink you a little at a time, you kinda make me look trashy. So, pick yourself up, okay? That'd be great. Sincerely, Can't-Finish-Anything.

Dear Man That Left A Message On My Voicemail,
Yeah I can't call you back because I heard your name was "Bernsoseski Entonvc-son" and your number was "2#$-ERS-LU25." I can't understand who you are, or how to contact you. Maybe try calling back and stick to English this time. Sincerely, Thinking-You-Have-The-Wrong-Number.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mornings with the Maffetts

Today, we are playing the 1, 2, 3 tag game (or at least our take of it). What other games should we play together?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014


My first reaction was, "When it rains, it pours!"

The fact that I even went there, both in mind and on my facebook status, shows alot about the true state of my heart. I gave alot of annoyed sighs, a couple eye-rolls, and I heard myself say, "for real God?" just a few times during this season. But none the less, I was moving forward... Right? Standing firm and enduring my hardship. Look how strong I am!! Or was I? I have found myself, really, just exsisting while taking, what felt like, each progressively, overwhelming surge.

Got into an accident, whip lash and a late night visit to the ER.
The place where we worship is in controversy, lots of prayer and conversations.
I broke my tooth, $300.
We find out more information about our church, lots of tears and more prayer.
Our Honda broke down, $850.
More stuff comes out about our church, now frustration, confusion, and more tears.
Paying for treatments from my accident, $250.
Our Honda breaks down again, $375.
Derek's latest yearly MRI shows 20 lesions when there has been only 3 for the past 3 years, lots of tears and I'm getting scared.
Insurance is refusing to pay for the accident, lots of anger.
More church stuff, I'm starting to get numb.
Our car's engine blows, $3,000+.
Add on the relentless day to day traffic, gas prices, work related issues, trying to build your direct sales business, fighting with my husband, moving and needing to put stuff in our home...

I'm trying! I'm trying to catch my breath. I'm trying to keep a smile on my face and my chin up, but this is HARD. I'm weary and I don't want to fake it till I make it. I want real joy, real peace, and real strength, because I'm really weak.

And that's the point. I've been trying to fight the waves that are crashing into me and they keep showing me my weakness. I'm not strong enough to handle them and I feel out of control and lost. I can't stand anymore.

Yes, I have been blasted by continious waves but I'm beginning to notice that I am laid upon the Rock of Ages. This cleft Rock has me and will not seem to let me go. The waves a wearing and blistering, but this Rock is unmoveable, sterdy, and trustworthy. He is my salvation in the storm. He is my safe ground, the One whom I find my shelter. Despite all things, which cannot be ignored or overlooked, He is ever present. In is presence alone, I am given an odd peace, one I normally wouldn't have in floods like this. He is here. He has made Himself known to me and I will follow him. My circumstance didn't change, just my perspective in light of my identity.

Jesus is to be my joy. Not my means to an end.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Story that's "Weighty"

This story is just that…a story! I happen to live this story, but I'm hoping that it can give you a little insight on how God has used my circumstances to love me, but even more how much I need him. This story illustrates where I currently find myself. I would like to remind you that this does not define me, although it used to. Sometimes I feel like I have "Big Girl" written on my forehead, but my weight, height, cellulite, and stretch marks say very little of my heart. Please read my story, and remember it's just a tiny glimpse into God's huge, overarching story of His Glory. Please note that I am not sharing this for any health advice or weight loss plans. I have a great team around me that is helping me overcome where my heart is, my sin, and my eating habits. I tell this story with the intentions of showing the depravity of my human heart, and ultimately show, once again that I as well as you, have a daily desperate need for a Savior.

"Dang, She got big!"
Those are the words I have overheard friends saying to other friends. I could read them as they rolled off the lips of family members, as they leaned over to whisper into another's ear. I have heard things like, "I would let you borrow my shirt, but I don't want it to stretch out," "I don't want it, but Courtney will probably eat it," and "She can't fit in here," from people on a packed elevator.

Thankfully, no one has asked me the question, "are you pregnant?" No, I'm not! I think I would cry on the spot. I have gained about 51 pounds in less than 3 years. Yes, I know there is a problem. No, it is not my thyroid. Truthfully, sometimes I wish it were a pregnancy, or had a thyroid issue. Then I would have something else to blame for how I look, rather than the truth! The truth is that I need to look at my heart and acknowledge the real problem. This may seem sad, but it's true.

Over three years ago, on my wedding day I wore a size 8 fitted-dress.
I weighed 165 pounds. I looked great, but I was miserable.

Growing up I developed quicker than most of my schoolmates. My birthday was after August so our school held me back from starting Pre-K for a year. I wasn't too self-conscious until I entered 6th grade. Something triggered in me when my best friend, who was overweight, began to hate herself for how she looked. I played outside a lot, played volleyball, and was pretty active. I had a cute body, but I began to see that I looked different from the girls around me. I was taller and my body developed curves sooner then theirs did. I didn't see that as maturity, I saw it as being big. I felt big, no matter my weight, or the pant's size. It became an ever present voice that taunted me in my head. As I feared my weight and tried to control it, my body blew up. It was this massive pendulum that swung from anorexia to gluttony. I considered throwing up, but I was a singer and knew it could damage my vocal cords. Instead I tried to eat my sorrow away, but it never seemed satisfied.
Through high school, I quit all of my sports because a "serious" relationship was taking up a lot of my time. I gained alot of weight, and I gained it really fast. I remember in the beginning of my relationship, this boyfriend begging me with tears in his eyes, "Please, don't get fat! Please!"
I broke up with him and ran away to a bible school (that's a whole 'nother story). I lost a lot of my weight thanks to being broke, having no job, and a low budget cafeteria menu. I became less stressed as the pounds shed, but still in my heart, I felt like a "fat girl."
I was able to stay smaller as I worked at the summer camp which had long hours and small meals. Still, my heart was uneasy and wasn't satisfied. In my eyes, I was bigger than the girls around me. I was convienced I couldn't be anyone's definition of beautiful because I wasn't even my own.

In my mind, beautiful was blond, petite, and super skinny.
Which I was none of the above!

Where did I get this? Why was this my definition? Maybe media, maybe it was the girls I saw with the guys I wanted. Maybe it was because I didn't see myself as beautiful, beauty had to be everything I wasn't.
I was sold a lie, and bought it.

I didn't believe anyone that would try to tell me I was lovely, or that what I was believing was lies! Instead, the rejection of others and lack of praise was what defined me. It was my identity. I was broken. I had no idea who I really was. I didn't believe that what God created (Me!) was good or was ever enough. Even when I had all that my wicked heart desired, the blonde hair and was a skinny version of myself. I was not satisfied.

I met Derek at that summer camp.
He was a masterpiece.
Smart, handsome, funny, and amazingly talented!
I really liked him. He seemed to really like me too.
I felt I had two things going for me at that point. Two things I thought I could slam on our imaginary table and say "Hey Derek! Choose me! I'm worth something!"
1. I thought I was pretty (now that I wasn't as big as I once was).
2. I could sing.
I knew Derek wanted to be a spoken word artist, so I knew I had what he would want in a wife.
I would like to add, God loves his creation. He loves what He has made. He knows all things, which means He also knows what will destroy us. These two things I thought I brought to the table defined me, not Jesus. I was worth something, because I was pretty, and I could sing. Not because I found my hope and idenity in Jesus. 

So what would it mean if I wasn't “pretty," and I could no longer sing... What would I have left?

Let's find out.
Because God loves me so much, He destroyed my idols. It seemed like the day after my wedding I inflated. Five, ten, twenty pounds. I was speeding down a hill and I could not stop. I tried what seemed like everything, but I couldn't let go of the weight.

I grew polyps on my vocal cords, and because I was prideful and angry, I kept singing. I ended up losing my voice and needing surgery, which kept me completely silent for about a month. I never thought I would sing again. I was so angry at God. As I lost control, I thought for sure Derek would leave me because I wasn't the girl he married anymore. I was just waiting for a tiny, blonde girl to come bouncy into our lives and I would have to watch my husband be woo'd away from me.

What happened next, left me in awe.

This man loved me so well during these past 3 years. He has held me as I've cried, complimented me, encouraged me as I worked out, and continued to enjoy me as I am. My inability to believe I was enough played a huge part in many of our fights. Derek has shown me the Gospel by loving me deeply during this time past my body shape. We are still together, our covenant is strong, and we are growing in our love, and enjoyment of each other daily! He is my biggest fan, and my best friend. I'm so grateful for the gift he is in my life.
When do you hear stories like that?
Now, you may think that God was mean to me (I did at the time), or you may even say that this wasn't God. You may think I miss stated something when I said he loves me so much that he destroyed my idols. But I know God loves me! He has convienced me of this truth time, and time again. I know he would preserve me for that which will greatly harm me, I'm not just talking about temporal, but eternal/heart/deep stuff. He cares more about my heart then my happiness, because He knows what my heart is focused on will direct me. When I am naval gazing, I compare, covet, and critize all those around me, losing many friends in the process. I know because it's happened before!!
Let me clarify. Being healthy and strong is not wicked. It's what Jesus intended us to do as stewards of our body. But personally, that was not my heart's intensions in my vanity. I wanted to be hot, admired, and wanted. Those are dangerous desires with ill intentions. I'm glad Jesus didn't let me lose the weight. I could see that the vanity in my heart was quenching any joy out of my day to day life.
I'm learning so much about what beauty really is, and this is why my blog say "Beauty flows from a beautiful heart," it's true!. My weight, my hair color, skin color, even the words people say about me, do not define me. My identity is found is Christ Alone!
My body may not be where it should be, but my heart is growing in a direction where I can become a better steward with it. I want to glorify God with my body, heart and mind and feel confident that my idenity is not found in my pant's size, but whom I hide myself in. Jesus.
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me. Let me hide myself in thee."
This is certainly not the end of my story, and I can't wait to share more of overcoming gluttony and obesity. I hope to learn these valuable lessons thoroughly, so that I may pass them on to my children.
How do you feel in your skin? Who/What defines that?


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Friendship is Important

Life is busy! There seems to always be something going on in work, at church, or at home. It's hard finding time to have intentional relationships, but they are much needed. I'm grateful that my church encourages community groups to gather once a week. This makes it easy to get to know people in your area and build strong relationships with people you normally wouldn't.
1. Be approachable: I haven't approached some ladies before because they just have this mug on their face that says, "What are you looking at?" I want to say, "Umm, nothing. I'm sorry," and walk away very quickly. Ladies, check your face.
2. Be a good listener: I have the hardest time with this one. I can be really selfish and find great joy in talking all about myself. I can change an entire conversation that starts about someone else and to become about me. Something the Holy Spirit has been convicting me on is to start intentionally listening to anyone that talks with me. What are they saying? Are they passionate about it? I don't have to put my two cents in, I can just listen and rejoice, mourning, or just be with them.
3. Be truthful but gracious: After listening, sometimes there needs to be truth shared. Whether it's sin to be addressed or you can tell they are believing a lie from the enemy, we are to share truth graciously. Truth isn't a hammer to break a person with. It isn't a moment of "I told you so." It's "please hear me out on this, because I love you." Pray first. Ask for wisdom and the words to address issues and share truth. Share Jesus with them.
4. Be adventurous: Your friends may like things that you have never tried or may not be right up your alley but I say, give it a try. They may like rollercoasters, hiking, roller blading, or sewing. Go for it. :) Step out of your comfort zone and try it. You never know, you may like it. I know that one of the things that blessed me, is when my best friend & husband Derek took me to a modern dance class. I love dance, but he does not! But he signed us up as a date night, and we both had such a blast. It was a onetime thing, but it was a memory for the books.
5. Be loving, even when it's hard: Sometimes, we don't see eye to eye and that's okay. We live in a fallen world with sinful people and despite how much we try, we will let each other down and even hurt each other. Don't jump out of a friendship when something happens, stick in there and watch your friendship get strong in the long run. It's worth it.
Are you someone that others consider a good friend? What ways is Jesus changing your heart and mind in order to become a better one?