#youthprayermeetup [transparent]

Hey there. Been a little while, eh? I guess it always will be. My days of writing freedom and waiting for pictures to load and formatting whatnots are behind me. I’ve replaced those days with little people. And I’m ever so grateful, but, you know, extra time in the day for more sleep and things like these would be a serious bonus.


Any way. Whoever you are reading this, if you do not yet know, John Paul (husband) and I were called to another church and assignment recently. I guess more than recently, about 8ish/9ish months ago or so. Called out, released to go, etc. And it has been so good. We are thankful. Our assignment is to serve the youth of our new local church after their youth pastor and his family (our friends, too) went out to serve on the mission field. In between that, we have had a new baby and tried to once again navigate the waters of sleep deprivation and the many other growing pains and JOYS associated with those last weeks of pregnancy and first few months of a new little, completely dependent, life. And with a toddler. Oh my Sam is most assuredly a big kid now who has lots and lots of opinions and strength of emotion and not many fully distinguishable sentences. This mama thing is most assuredly a sanctification process for me–my forever prayer and deepest desire is that I walk in His grace to embrace it. But I digress. Back to the point. YOUTH.


While in the midst of these transitions both personally in our family and marriage and now in our local church, we have felt a burden. A burden for the youth in our community (all along the coast of MS). The burden was very much overwhelming to us at first because we felt we had very little resources to offer. Our time was caught up between Johnny’s ‘real’ job and birthing/rearing babies and serving our own gathering as faithfully as we could each week. And y’all, the enemy works in me so much in over protecting my time at home with my little people and husband. It’s a good thing to be protective and prioritize, but it’s not good when it’s out of fear and not love. I know my Johnny will often feel that pressure oozing out of me and be paralyzed in how to act in service to others. If that makes sense to anyone. Point is, we felt the burden and we felt out of resources. We felt stuck, we felt sad. We felt overwhelmed with the task. But I believe we stayed faithful in the little things…and slowly, as we sought Him, He spoke to us.

In our little teeny area there have been an unprecedented amount of teenage suicides. In one city especially. One was even our next door neighbor’s granddaughter. And in our new ‘role’, but not really a real ‘role’, at church, we (John Paul) can’t devote the time that the youth of our local body need and deserve–since he actually is employed full time elsewhere. And has a crazy wife and two kids under 2. (Poor guy;) But the burden in our heart kept growing. And growing. AND GROWING. You don’t see many teenagers on fire for Christ. Why? Deception, rebellion, apathy, etc. You see lots of them hurting, yes? Why? Isolation, not belonging, false idols, etc. And the answer isn’t more time for us to devote to telling them something. It isn’t a word John Paul could preach, or a hug I could give or a detail I could know about someone if I were able to be around more. I mean, all of those things are GOOD, so good. But they aren’t the answer. Nothing in our own strength will satisfy what the enemy has set out to kill, steal and destroy. The answer is Jesus. ONE TOUCH from Him and hearts are forever changed. One second in His presence and miracles abound. Revival happens, y’all. And when that word–REVIVAL–came to our mind, that’s when things started shifting. That’s when the burden was made real and, in a way, hopeful. The burden became real people. The burden wasn’t ours to carry, but Jesus’. We believe He is just looking for people willing to seek.


“ASK and it will be given to you. SEEK and you will find. KNOCK and the door will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9


The world is ready to capture our teenagers. To get ahold of them before they step out into the world on their own. It’s ready! It’s filled with empty promises that look so, so good on the outside. And when they feel that emptiness, they will fill it. We were built, actually created for relationship with a perfect God. We will search and seek and fill. The enemy seems to have his say in this age range–most of us have even accepted it. But when young, beautiful people take their own lives because of the hurt in the world, I say that’s enough. Enough to get our hearts geared up and burdened for them. Enough to seek HIM for REVIVAL. It’s been so interesting y’all, as we have begun to share this burden and what we believe the Lord has asked us to do in response, there is a similar chord striking everywhere. For unity in the body of Christ and for revival. Of course we ask Him for revival to begin in our own hearts–for Him to do a work in us so that we may obediently respond and move with Him in what He seeks to do around us and through us. But y’all, something is stirring. Something is happening. It is truly exciting.

So, WHAT has He asked us to do you might be thinking?? Well. First, we want to always stake our ground in that we know no formula. John Paul and I do not have the answer. We refuse to think we do and to think we know what’s best. With that said, until He moves us in another way, we believe He has asked us to open our home for a bi weekly night of prayer. Open to ANY youth. Any leader of youth. And for anyone who is called and feels led, to pray along with us, wherever you are, for revival in our teenagers. That each one, EACH ONE, would receive a touch from Him. That they would all experience His presence. And that a holy revival fire would come to our hearts and community. We believe He’s called us to make our home a sanctuary to this age group, that we embrace them the way the world does–with atmosphere, creativity, color, media, etc–but instead of the emptiness, we will offer Jesus. All we want is to usher in His presence. That’s it. But we’ve bought journals, and art supplies, I’ve decorated the inside of our home with Christmas lights, we have music going–we want them to have an un-intimidating space to be still and receive. To see what a vibrant prayer life can look like. To see that God DOES SPEAK. That He has a word just for them. That He will call out their greatness and destiny. HE WILL. We know He will. And we believe those who come will receive. And through that, others will receive. And the Holy Spirit will have his freedom to move and draw many to Himself.

After a few months of prayer and submitting to our authorities and whatnot, we were given the green light to move forward. And almost two weeks ago to the day, we launched! We launched fully knowing that probably no one was going to come, ha! We contemplated cancelling and waiting for a week where more people in our sphere of influence could commit to being there, but we felt God calling us to obedience. So, we did our best to get the word out beyond our kids who were all either otherwise committed to something else or too far from our home to attend, but when 7:30 came, I knew that unless the Holy Spirit just told random people to knock on our door, it was just going to be me, John Paul and little Joshua (Sam was asleep). So there the three of us are, with twinkle lights, candles, worship music, art supplies, bibles and journals surrounding us, and I felt so scattered. Like, what now Lord? So we just did what we knew we would direct the kids to do–be simple, ask Him to speak, open up the word, put a crayon or pen in your hand, just, BE. I felt like John Paul immediately got in ‘the zone’ and I was a bit jealous. I was holding Joshua and trying to get my eyes up on Him, but it just wasn’t working. So I tended to the baby and remembered a conversation I had earlier that week with a friend on Isaiah. She had mentioned that a certain chapter was sort of ‘her’ chapter and I had told her how I felt that same way about another chapter in Isaiah–that it was mine. And in my scatteredness, while surely being moved by the music playing and His presence resting with us, I opened my bible to Isaiah. And I read ‘my’ chapter. And I began to write out part b to a verse I particularly loved, but stopped, almost immediately, because a certain commentary on the opposite page caught my eye. It was a list of Isaiah’s prophecy on who Jesus would be and then where in the New Testament it was fulfilled. I can’t recite it verbatim, but I remember these:

-He will be our substitute

-He will suffer and bear our sorrows

-He will be disfigured

…and it went on.

That’s when my spirit ignited. There I was holding my infant child, becoming fully aware of all the things I desire for him. That he would first and foremost know Jesus and have a vibrant, dynamic relationship with Him. But also, that he would be no one’s substitute, that he would know no sorrow or suffering, and that he would most certainly never be disfigured, or ever feel disfigured in any way. I don’t want him to hurt EVER. I only want him to know the Truth of who he is. He was created with a purpose and destiny. That the living God has called him. That he is fearfully and wonderfully made. He was no accident, he is made perfect by the blood of Jesus. And his life, what God has called him to do, no one else can do. He has purpose that will be called out and made known to him. But I know that one day he will be a teenager. He will be susceptible to so many things that I cannot control. Empty things that will only seek to destroy him. And yes, He will overcome them. But as a mama, I don’t want there to be ANYTHING–no spirit of deception or rebellion–in his path that would divert or create bondage and open a door to the enemy in his life or body. My boys were bought with a price. Jesus became curse so that we would know NO curse.

And while holding my Joshua and praying to my ever-present and living God, I was so very humbled. These children who took their lives, they felt suffering and disfigurement. They were living deceived as to who they ARE in Christ. But Jesus, but Jesus! He knows their hurt. He lived it. That’s our Savior! The things we devalue, the things we push away, those are the things He became. My heart broke for those mamas who lost their children. My heart broke for those children in a new and very real way. Previously to this night, I was still detached from the suicide statistics. I could talk about it and say that’s one of the many reasons we feel led to seek Him for revival, but I was detached. No longer. And I thought of the many kids I know who look like they have it all together, that they don’t suffer or feel isolated. That they don’t ‘need’ me, or Him. That they’ll make it through these years with minimal damage and begin to serve Him faithfully in adulthood. But y’all. The God we serve? He suffered. He was burdened. And we will actively and passionately come before the Throne on behalf of those living in apathy, in ‘plenty’. So that they too may feel the burden in their heart and come to Him. And fight for their friends and peers to know Him too.

So as this dialogue is happening within  me, I tell the Lord: if this is not You, tell me. If you need us to change our plans, change them. I pray for humility, to be ever ready to evolve and change as You direct us. But Lord, if you bring the people, I will give them my family. I will not pretend to know the formula, but IF YOU BRING them, I will give them us.

So remember how I was haphazardly writing random things down at the beginning of the night? I looked down at my paper and saw this:


That’s all I had written from part b of a verse in Isaiah. Forgive the picture quality :)


John Paul and a similar experience, but it is not mine to share. The similar chord is–keep this simple, keep it pure, pray for revival, ASK-SEEK-KNOCK, Believe Him, unity in the body, stay humble, be ready to evolve as we see Him move, and, Behold, HE WILL.


If you’re local, please pray about if the Lord would have you involved in some way with this. Whatever that means, I know He will speak if asked. We are hoping to continue to share the word about this and seek more prayer covering over our time and our teenagers. If you are not local, please pray with us. For whatever He burdens your heart for. Please believe Him with us. Revival can come.

Thank you for taking the time to read this long thought :) I appreciate you & I thank you. To God be all the glory.

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(every 2nd and 4th Thursday, 7:30-8:30pm)




Joshua’s birthday

Joshua Patrick Buckley was born at 1:47pm on November 14, 2013. Looking back on every prayer I can remember for our future children, pregnancies, labor, etc, it completely overwhelms me how good and perfect our God is. Not everything was answered the way my feeble heart and flesh may have asked at the time, but the requests we brought before His feet as we honestly and earnestly sought Him, well, those requests were answered and perfected above anything I could have dreamt. Because, you know, He’s awesome.

Every time I mention the words home birth, I feel I have to preface it with a few things. Birth is so personal. It’s so completely miraculous, so completely emotionally charged, that those two words (home & birth) often cause a lot more in other people than I intend or desire or care for, to be honest. And the only conclusion I’ve been able to come to as it concerns philosophies on child-bearing, child birthing and child rearing is: there is only grace to do what the Lord has called YOU to do. He has not equipped me to birth and raise your child, just mine. His grace exists there. Well, technically, His grace exists everywhere. But. I figure save a lot of heartache and frustration and seek out what He has for me and our family and not follow what He has for other mama’s and their families. I will always passionately advocate for home birth in the general form. And in my own heart. Because there’s still a lot of flesh there that screams fear, but I know at least for our Sam and Joshua, it was their place. Their place to be born was in their home. But I see absolutely no need to advocate it on behalf of someone who isn’t being led to birth at home. Now, I do get on a soapbox every once in a while and I don’t like that about me. But it’s seriously annoying some of the things that happen to laboring mama’s and little babies. But I digress. Because as a whole, everyone wants what’s best, and I certainly want what the Lord has for you and YOUR family. Whatever that looks like. I’m with you. Really! Epidural, I GET IT. Induction, okay. C section? I was a C section baby and I really like myself, so…I’m with you there, too. Cry it out? On board. No crying it out? I get it. I’m just with you friends, I just am. It’s too hard birthing and raising littles not to be with each other. My heart though, and what the Lord has been speaking to John Paul and me about our future in child bearing, birthing and rearing, is to check our motive. It should be out of faith, not fear. It should align with scripture, not culture. Jesus is NOT about ignorance. But He is big on faith. He’s big on wisdom. He’s big on all the good stuff. And as much as I fight it almost every time, He’s right. He’s always right, He’s always better.

Now, I will say, only because His grace led me and sustained me to birth my babies the way I have, there is something about walking through the pain. There’s something there. I don’t know what exactly, the weight and heaviness and joy in birthing a child exists no matter what, but there’s something about working with the pain. There’s something about having your husband and other women gathered around you and supporting you physically, emotionally and spiritually as you walk in pure pain. Something real and good and worthy is there. Can’t explain it, but it’s real. And it’s good. Pure pain and pure joy are so closely related. And that’s incredibly evident in birth. And at the cross. And in every other life thing ever. Maybe it’s our flesh that gains (or rather looses) something through the pain. I don’t believe the Lord intends hurt, sickness, or curses in any form, He is not those things so how can He give them? And Jesus became curse so we would know no curse, right? So maybe the pain doesn’t strengthen our spirit but our flesh? Or rather weakens the flesh and brings more intimacy with our spirit? I don’t know. But I do admit, while personally I don’t want to feel child birth kind of pain again (never have, never will), there’s something there. There’s something significant in that pain.

But back to Joshua. He’s a stinker. I was feeling huge early on with this one. My weight was the same as with Sam, but my body just, wow. I felt huge. I kept telling everyone that there was just so much pressure (physically, not emotionally;). It was hard to move towards the end. I normally chalked it up to running around with a 15 mth old, but I knew this baby was different from my Sam. I knew it, but I didn’t want to let myself believe it. Sam’s birth was so long and hard for me. I’m pretty sure every prayer I ever uttered about this baby ended with “and let this labor be fast”. I had a dream about a week and a half before Joshua came that really put my spirit at ease. It came after my doula (who I met at bible study, and it’s a large, coast-wide bible study…fun fact, my close friend who acted as my doula last time moved to freakin’ Peru the first week of November and I knew I would be in need of a doula. I put it off and put it off, because honestly, a lot doula’s are kind of weird. And I didn’t know anyone who just had experience and a heart for birth like my friend did/does, and I knew I would kind of be picking one blind–to be in my home and with my family during the most sacred time ever. But because of how Sam’s labor was, I knew I neeeeeeeeded one. And any way, one day the Lord spoke to my heart and said you need to reach out at your bible study. Where you know literally one person. And I’ll give you someone there. So, I did and He did. yay! Same scenario, the woman just has a heart for birth and Jesus. Perfect.) So any way, she prayed for me one night that my fear and memory of last time would be erased. And she prayed lots of other good things too. And they took! Y’all. It took! I had a great dream. And about a week later, Wednesday morning, November 13th, I told everyone I was ready. I was ready to birth and care for a new baby (which is huge in Rachel-land, cause newborns and sleep deprivation scare the poo out of me). That night I drank hot chocolate and watched back to the future as my Sam slept and my Johnny worked on something for the nursery in the garage. At around 10pm, I started cleaning and packing Sam’s bag. And boom! The next morning, my water broke at 9:15.

I’m always a little weary when I  hear a friend’s water broke first before active labor really kicked in. I know it puts you on the clock and I know that the contractions are harder and I know, statistically, what usually ends up happening. Or what seems to ‘statistically’ happen based off my circle of friends/family–aka: csection. Please refer to a few paragraphs above to remember I’m fine with Csecs, I am! But when your heart is a home birth, a necessary Csec kind of puts you in a pickle. So after I called my midwife to tell her and my Johnny to ask him to come home, I started to cry. My Sam was still just running around the house and actually being super sweet, it was a very surreal moment–to be in labor and looking after my then ‘only baby’, knowing our world was about to be flipped upside down. But then, my contractions came and hit hard. I was in active, real labor with in 20 minutes. I didn’t worry anymore, I stopped crying, and I got my game face on.

And here’s what was different from last time. The day before, our little family went on a very intentional, possible last outing as a family of three, lunch date to where else but chick fil a. I was trying to put into words what I believed the Lord was speaking to me about this labor…it came out very muddled and incoherent, I’m sure, but Johnny shared the verse: “He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me because he delighted in me” (Psalm 18:19) and my words started to become clearer. What I had been searching for continuously throughout this pregnancy was for ways to make labor easier, ways to make the pain less. Ask my midwife! Every appointment I would ask how other women did it, what was the best result and method she had seen and etc. I took a few notes, but nothing really spoke to me. And then  boom! I realized I was constantly thinking about all I needed to get done so I could ‘rest’, constantly thinking about what I needed to clean so I could focus at home in a new and better way during labor (bc clutter and dog hair make me crazy). I was constantly thinking what needed to happen so I could have the environment (both in the natural and supernatural) to perform at my best. And the Lord said, if you can’t rest now, you won’t be able to rest then. If you can’t be at peace and listen to Me and work with your body the way I have intended you to now, you won’t be able to then.

Ummmm, okay. Gosh.

Enter the scripture Johnny shared and it clicked. A broad place. Usually when bad news hits, or my house is a wreck, or whatever, I just shut down emotionally and get to work. It’s like I need to gain a certain amount of control over the situation before I can rest and take it to the Lord in prayer. We call it my working it out time, me and Johnny. He knows that’s what I need. Just some space to work before I can rest and be at peace. And that’s narrow. It’s very one-tracked, very all-consuming, very controlling. Not a good place, but I thought it was a necessary place. And that’s what labor was like last time…I just shut down and worked second by second. I couldn’t talk or think. I could only focus and brace myself for every moment of pain. And actually, a lot of child birth methods teach single focus type stuff. Teach your body and mind to shut down. But I knew I needed different. I needed that broad place. I needed room to think and feel and speak. I didn’t think it would be possible, but wouldn’t you know it? It was!! He’s so flipping faithful. This time, labor was a BROAD place. It had smells and words and prayer and feelings. It had rest and pain. It had people and semi-conversations. It had text messaging for goodness sake! It had scripture and exchanges of thoughts. It had kindness. It had moments of rudeness too, I’m sure ;) It had many, many things. And I remember it all. Thank you Jesus.

And it was fast, Lord have mercy was it FAST.

So. 9:45ish Johnny came home and was able to share this verse (because he knew my fear of my water breaking first) with me.”…and David said, “God has broken through my enemies by my hand, like the breakthrough of waters…” (1 chron 14:11) and because of the whole broadness thing, I was able to respond and take it in and grab hold of it and believe it. He shared that this is the Lord’s way of delivering me and answering our prayer–he broke through! Very literally. He had to break through, it was Joshua’s way. It was the way he needed to come to deliver me from my past fears. Faithful, faithful Jesus….Then Johnny tended to Sam and put him down for his nap while I worked with the pain on my own. That was the huge difference from last time, I was able to be alone with the pain. Of course I labored in the bathroom mostly again, because apparently the potty is my favorite place for this kind of thing. It’s not a gross as it sounds, it’s just somewhere to sit without a lot of pressure. Physical pressure, you know? Okay, maybe it is as gross as it sounds, sorry. I was trying to save all pain management techniques like back massage and getting in the shower and stuff like that for later on. I just assumed I was in for at least 12 hours.

Around 11 my doula came. Her text said she was just planning on stopping by to check on me and we had discussed that she had appointments later that evening and who would be taking over for her and such. But once she came, she made no mention of leaving. She quickly downloaded a contraction monitoring app and sent update texts to my midwife. At 12:30ish my sweet friend (with three kids in tow) came to pick up Sam and keep him for the rest of the day. Between 11-12:30 I was still managing well on my own. My doula was significantly good at helping me with her words and anticipating my needs and asking specific questions to help determine what my needs exactly were–I remember saying a lot of ‘I don’t know’. I wasn’t sure how the whole doula thing was gonna go, since last time it was really just me and Johnny and a close friend. But man oh man, I don’t know what we would have done without her. Really.

The main difference between the two labors/births is still, in my opinion, best summed up as narrow vs. broad. But I realize that may not make much sense to anyone but me. Let me try to explain myself better…maybe? When labor hit with Sam, I tried to be awesome, I really did. But all I could do was shut down and just get through it. I would brace myself for each wave of contraction and I could barely listen or speak or react to much else. Of course it was 22 hrs long, it began at midnight so I hadn’t had much sleep, I threw up 6 times throughout the whole thing and it was my first time bringing a baby into the world. I constantly said and asked for ways to make this one ‘better’. I wanted to embrace the contractions and rest in between. I wanted to push into the Lord and think of his promises. I wanted to sink into myself and believe for good things. I didn’t want to shut down and single focus, I wanted multiple focus. I wanted that broad, broad place. And I knew I was getting it as I was able to pray (in my mind). I was able to use words, hear people, speak and pray. I only remember asking Jesus to COME. But I’m sure I asked for more, cause who says that? Or, only that? I remember praying (inaudibly to anyone else, I’m sure) while on all fours in the bathroom attempting to do pelvic rocks at the direction of my doula. And I remember her saying, “amen”. She knew my heart and she knew my pain. I remember asking Johnny to pray and me myself saying ‘Amen’, He knew how badly I wanted this baby to come to the world differently (and quickly).

Another HUGE difference were the actual contractions. Sam’s were a distinct waves, Joshua’s were so different to me. Just a lot of low pressure and, of course, the dreaded back pain. But I remember not being able to really understand them. Not being able to anticipate them as much as I could during labor with Sam. Of course they were coming very quickly, but they were overall, very different. I was able to work with them like I had hoped. Instead of breathing and (for lack of a better word) moaning as directed by someone else, I found my own voice (literally) and method. I found what felt natural and didn’t think back to the books I had read. And when I got a little too out of line, my doula brought me back down. She truly helped me manage the unmanageable. And Johnny was able to just be there–be there for me when I needed him, be present for himself and do what he needed to do and, just, well, be. Last time he was needed by my side every second. for 22 hrs. Not fun.

We went to lay on the bed because I was feeling quite tired in between contractions and that’s when I really almost lost it. I thought there was absolutely NO WAY I could keep this up for any more significant length of time. Just NO WAY. I held that in, but I did say lots of ‘it just hurrrrrttts’. And my lovely doula would look at me knowingly and just say, ‘I know’. And then my midwife came! yay!!! She walked in as we were still handling contractions laying on my side on the bed. I couldn’t bear them without someone helping me hold outside leg up. Apparently that should have been one of the many signs to me that we were close, but I didn’t let myself believe any of that. I had no idea where we were in process, so once my midwife came and checked his heart rate, I asked to be checked but needed one more potty break before. She obliged…as you do with laboring mamas ;)…but apparently I made some type of noise while on the potty (sorry) that made her come quickly. She told me I couldn’t make those noises like that without her holding her hand, ummm, well, down there. That should have been another clue to me that we were close to baby time. But still, I didn’t let my mind go there. Not until she checked me.

So I asked if she could just you know, since she’s down there, go ahead and check me. She said yes but that because of the angle she wasn’t sure how accurate it would be and we would need to do it again lying down. I agreed. And then y’all I saw that look in her eyes that gave me such relief! I asked if we should call Paige now…she asked who Paige was and Johnny said from somewhere in the background ‘our photographer’…and the most beautiful word Colleen (MW) ever said: YES.

YAY!!!!!! I found out later that she knew I was complete and plus 2 at that point. In the moment I still wasn’t really aware of how close I was. Last time Paige was still at my house for like an hour before Sam was born. But not this time! I got up from the potty, made it a few steps to the dresser in my bedroom and held on tight for the next contraction. I even crossed my legs because the pressure was so intense. Colleen was still setting up and getting things ready, my doula was reheating the rice sock and I was alone. The next contraction I hadn’t yet been able to move from my spot, my doula was back pushing the rice sock against my lower back (heaven) and I screamed for my Midwife. And apparently, after that, I just went from standing and holding onto the dresser to just squatting and holding onto my knees. My doula followed suit and Colleen told me I could push. Johnny barely made it to the doorway before that one loooooooong, bloody murder-screaming push. And then there he was! Joshua. Our baby that broke through the fear and brought his mama to a new, good and broad place. He was here! And after gaining some kind of strength back, I held him and made our way to the bed. My bed. In my home. That’s my favorite part. No one takes him away, no one even looks at him that doesn’t love him or his family. Every soul in the place he was born loves the Lord. That’s why we do it. And I’m so grateful the lord’s grace has been there to allow it.

And then, a few minutes later, Paige, my mother in law and our midwife’s assistant show up. ha! I hate they all missed it, but God bless! It was FAST. Praise God! Fast! All in all, about four hours. We went from 22hrs to 4 hrs. Simply incredible.

It’s funny, Joshua’s birth was so much more painful than Sam’s. I don’t get it. I guess the entire thing was just more intense. But I’ll take 4 hours of labor ANY DAY. Well, maybe not any day. I like my labor-free days very much.

And that’s that. I hope anyone reading this who is about to give birth, or will one day have a baby, or who is scared to have a baby again, I hope you feel hope. Feel our hope. The hope of His faithfulness and goodness. The hope of breakthroughs and broad places. The hope of glory maybe? Just hope. Little did I know that Sam’s birth would only be the first of the bazillion things that would rock me physically and emotionally after becoming a mama. I have been deathly afraid of doing it all over again, but I tell you what…He has been so faithful to our family. Emotionally, physically, everything. The sleep deprivation, the hormones, the toddler tantrums, the newborn screams, our marriage, everything…faithful. It’s not for the faint of heart, huh? Thankfully, I’m not where I was emotionally after Sam was born. I didn’t even truly know it then, I realize it more every day. Dark days. Joshua has a birth mark where his hair will one day be…and it’s only fitting. That this boy was marked by birth. We were believing that this baby would help usher in something new for our family, and he has. I knew I couldn’t relive Sam’s first months over again and live to tell about it. Wait, that sounded a little harsh, but y’all know what I mean?? It was tough. It hasn’t been nearly as dark this time. Or dark at all really. I mean, we have our moments. And we continue to have our moments. And I’m so thankful for that time with Sam…walking out the pain. Learning each painful and joy-filled moment of becoming a mom. It strips you, right? There’s less to strip these days. And that’s the calling I guess…the refining of our flesh and spirit. I can’t think of a faster or more perfect method than motherhood. A calling. I can’t imagine it getting easier or harder. Just easier and harder in different ways. I guess there’s a reason scripture only refers to children as a blessing. I love finding out more and more every day why. And then there our times my flesh screams out…and that’s when I love to relate to all you other mama’s whose flesh screams out. And I love the wisdom of those who have gone before me…and I love the innocence of those behind me…and I love, love, love the coffee dates, texts and calls from those who are in it beside me.

And if no one has told you in a while, you are doing a great job :)

and, for the pictures…


5 6 7 8 9 10 11

and just to prove our family doesn’t always look like that….here’s the front and back of our 2013 Christmas card and Joshua’s announcement


back2all pics were of course given to us by Paige Reaux

baby boy #2 has a name :)

So, just as with Sam, the Lord has given us a name for this new baby boy. And in a way only the Lord can do. Cause He’s cool like that.

And just to catch those of you who may not know up (but why would there be anyone who doesn’t know reading this??) I’m pregnant again. 20 weeks, in fact. Crazy. And I call him baby #2, but he’s really baby #3. Unless you believe (like we tend to most of the time) that Sam was perfected and given back to us. Then he’s baby #2, or 2 & 1/2, or 3. I don’t know. But for the sake of this side of Heaven, he will be referred to as baby #2. And he is a HE! A little brother. I love that. I admit the thought of a girl was so lovely, but also the thought of being surrounded by boys (and boys adore their mommas) is quite lovely in its own right. Any way, back to the point.

Like most every girl, I have a secret (and sometimes not so secret) baby name list. And my boy list is quite short, but even so, it has NEVER included baby #2’s name. It started on a morning I was watching a dvr’d first episode of The Bible series that came on the weeks before Easter. So good, right? And I’m not one to sit and reflect on Old Testament stories, except maybe a few with Daniel and Esther and David perhaps, but on this morning as Sam was napping and I was stuffing my face with who knows what and watching the first Bible episode, ALL I could think about was when was Joshua coming? Let me see Joshua! Where is Joshua? I’m over Moses, give me Joshua! Let’s go make some walls fall down!

And then, the first look of Joshua as a young believer following Moses, I about died. Which is all very weird, but I went with it. That name hung heavy on me all day (and for weeks later). It was like stuck in the back of my throat, like I couldn’t speak without mentioning it. So of course, when Johnny came home that night, I asked him what he thought about the name Joshua. He said something perfect and biblical as he would, and how he loved it, and he asked me if I was thinking of baby names. Of course I said no! I couldn’t name my kid that, I have other names for that business, but isn’t it a name? Don’t you just go Ugh! Now THAT is a name. HE was a warrior. But so pure I feel like. What is it about Joshua, Johnny??

Two weeks later, I find out I’m pregnant.

The name, still lays heavy on me, but I try to shrug it off and fall back in love with one of my three other names that are seemingly perfect. Then, a few weeks later, this friend from church calls me out of the blue on a Friday morning. Like, completely out of the blue. I mean, we’re friends, but not phone friends. Maybe we have texted twice in the two years we have known each other. Maybe. But an actual phone call? Crazy. Naturally I think something is wrong and I need to answer even though Sam needs to be put down for a nap. Her first words are, “I don’t know why, but I feel like the Lord wants me to call you and tell you something. ”

(and side note, a few weeks before I miscarried in July 2011, this same woman prayed like crazy over my Johnny at church. I wasn’t there that morning, and she didn’t know why she was praying, obviously none of us did, but that has stuck with me. Now, I KNOW the Lord only speaks to edify and lift up. Sometimes He uses words of correction, but they are NEVER filled with doom and gloom. Still, when she said that, and with me newly pregnant, I almost fell to the floor in fear. I admitted it to her quickly and she very quickly rebuked that thought out of me and continued with her story…)

Yes she knew I was pregnant, I had told her a few weeks earlier. I’m not the kind to hold that secret in any more. Sure I keep it off social media for awhile (a long while with Sam, only waited till we saw that beating heart at 8 weeks with this kiddo) but I figure I need the prayer covering, I need to talk about it. That’s just me. I get the not telling, but I have felt the freedom of sharing, too. And for me, the latter is better. Okay, back to it…

She says, ” Rachel. I don’t know why, but I feel like I need to tell you about Nicolette’s (her 3 yr old daughter) new friend Joshua. [my heart SANK] She won’t quit talking about him, she told me he was her friend from church, but I looked and looked last Wednesday night and there was NO Joshua to be found. All teachers confirmed that there has never been a Joshua in the children’s classes. And finally Nicolette told me Joshua was a really little baby. All she will tell me is that he’s a really little baby at church. And honey (did she say honey? I don’t know, I would have), I feel like the Lord is telling me he’s your Joshua. Has He given you this name? Is your baby supposed to be named Joshua?”

Well I just lost it. Through the tears I said Yes! Yes! Yes! It’s MY Joshua. So there you go! I fiddled around with some girl names in between just in case the Lord was only using that confirmation to lift me up through a scary first trimester, but I should have known. That Jesus. He’s cool. He knows my baby. He calls him by his name. And y’all, apparently, that name is Joshua. Joshua Patrick, to be exact.

Joshua; The Lord saves, or He rescues. & Patrick; Noble.

And then, just in time, a friend sent me this email.


Whatever. I have the BEST friends.

MY Joshua. May he be as his name says :)

And in other news, since my last post months ago, I found my way back to the living around January-ish. After Sam was sleep trained, after we started supplementing with formula (still nursed till he was nine months, but after an agonizing first three months, we realized we needed the help here and there), and after months of weirdness and complete joy all mixed together, I’m back! And better. Cause I’m a momma now. It wasn’t pretty, but it is beautiful. And my best advice to new momma’s everywhere, is don’t put lofty expectations on yourself or your family. You can’t live trying to constantly live up to yourself. I’m still terrified of a newborn, but now that I’ve been there and can see past what I couldn’t see in the moment (mainly cause I was riding the crazy train), I know what that life (& the Lord) has in store around every corner is always better than what it was. A full life is a good life. No matter the crazy that got you there.

And since I haven’t shown this blog pics of Sam for what? Like, 9 months? Here are some from early June and our beach trip last week. And the end.








so…what happened to the last 9 weeks?

So, it’s been 6 weeks since I have published anything on this blog…shameful. I’m obviously not a writer, and this is obviously not a major well-known blog by any means, but writing makes me feel human. I didn’t realize it made me feel human till another little human was born and started taking over my life. And the things I did in the past no longer exist. Now my “me” priorities are to eat, shower and get out of the house every once in a while. Writing fell way down on the list. But I realized I needed it. So I have been making time to do it. But now, instead of it being here, it’s in a journal. Mostly its little thoughts to the Lord and to Sam, but I miss those thoughts living here…so here I am. As I type this, Johnny has so lovingly taken our sweet baby to church to give me two whole hours by myself in my home. Sweet husband–he knows when his wife needs a little rejuvenation, and he gives it to her. Blessed.

Any way, the first month of his life is a blur. But I think I can sum it up in one sentence: I did not take easily to motherhood. Nope. Sure didn’t. I have written little things here and there about those first few weeks that I will one day put together in a real post (probably when my child learns to sleep 12 hours at night and take proper daytime naps…which according to the books, should be coming soon…but I’m not gonna hold my breath), but until then I’ll just hit the high points–

I have lots of regret centering around that first week of his little life. One thing I know I did completely right was choosing to have him at home, after that, I did lots of things wrong. The Tuesday morning when he was 2 weeks old will stand out in my mind forever. Horrible. Just horrible. You have to understand that aside from the first few days when my momma came in town, the time we evacuated from hurricane Issac to Starkville and stayed with my in-laws, and the few random days my sweet mother-in-law has helped me out to grab an hour nap or a dinner with John Paul, I’ve been on my own. I don’t have family nearby and my husband is at work. Not different from most momma’s, I know. But I don’t know ANYTHING about babies. I put lots and lots of energy learning everything I could about birth and labor, but NONE into learning about newborns. It’s amazing we have survived as long as we have. It’s a freakin miracle.

So, here we are at 9 weeks. And for every corner we turn, something else seems to slap me in the face. But I tell you what, the Lord is healing me. Ever since the weekend before last, things have changed. And instead of making this a place to document every bit of my Sam’s accomplishments and milestones (which there are many, cause he’s mighty cute and so advanced y’all ;), I’ve decided to share with the internet what I wrote to him in my journal on 9/25/12. I don’t know why. But here goes:


I have fed you, held you, pumped an ounce of milk (we’re trying to get our supply up around here) and showered. Now I’m resisting the urge to pick up the house and do laundry to again write some of my thoughts down to you as you sleep.

The enemy has completely attacked your momma from moment one of your little life. I definitely did not take easily to motherhood like I thought I would. Many, many days I broke down and you paid the price. And I’m so, so sorry. Of course you’re fine and you’ll never remember those moments your weren’t held tightly as you screamed or were given over hastily to your daddy as I cried out “I can’t do this, I just can’t do this” over and over again. But I’ll remember those moments for the rest of my life.

Anyway Sam, the Lord is starting to heal me. Something happened over the weekend and I realized in my spirit that even with all the revelation I have had throughout your little life, I was still doing everything in my own strength. I was still trying to get you to be who I wanted you to be, still trying to get you to do what I wanted you to do. I’m probably going to struggle with that for quite some time, but part of my heart is now being renewed. And part of myself is finally dying. I’m dying to myself. Of course as Christians we are called to do just that, but motherhood really forces the issue. I truly want to die to myself so that you may have Jesus as your momma. I can’t do it alone, I can’t do it in my own strength. And finally it’s not just a cliché saying anymore–it’s truly real to my heart. My life is not my own. I live to do His will…and right now sweet baby, His will for me is to be your momma. What an honor. Even though there is very little outside/worldly glory to it, I’m reminded that it’s the desire of my heart. I’m reminded of this time last year when I couldn’t see through the fog of losing an unborn baby. I’m reminded of all the times I cried out to God in complete despair and now? Now you’re here. And you’re whole. And you’re perfect. And the Lord is good. And my will needs to be given over to Him.

I know He’ll give us a full, blessed life–whatever that looks like for us. I know He’ll restore me to fullness of joy. And I know His grace will give you what I cannot. I just want you to know that I’m in this. I’m all in. After the first few weeks of loneliness, sadness, despair, I’m back. I’ve been emptied out…and while it didn’t seem like it at the time, it’s all been for our good. I’m ready to have complete lack so that He may have complete gain. I love you Sam. I love you Sam. How you have ministered and changed my heart is beyond what words can describe. However He needs me to do it, I’ll do it. I’ll be your momma. Whatever that means. Now & always.

Bless you baby boy. Thank you Jesus.


And that’s when I turned my corner. I’ve turned lots of little corners in this motherhood process, but that one was the biggest to date. Life with Sam has been 100% better since I truly realized that I can’t do it in my own strength. It’s too hard. Everything up to this point I could handle. Even some hard stuff. But being his momma broke me. Took me to a place I didn’t know. Took me back to the cross. And that’s a good thing. It wasn’t pretty, but it was worth it. I’m still not the doting mother I thought I would be–but I think I’m something better. It may not look like it or feel like it all the time, but there’s nothing I have fought more to have and given up more of myself to receive. His smile makes me cry. And there’s not one person who knows what he needs more than me. From the outside looking in, it may not seem like that to most–some people may be quick to judge my heart for my boy. But I know it, and it’s good. And it’s pure. It’s the purest thing I’ve ever known. I’m in awe that the Lord chose me to be his mother. And I’m in awe that He gives me the strength to do it every day. I’m in awe that anyone has ever been a mother. It’s ridiculously hard. But again, I’m learning that it doesn’t have to be. I don’t have to do it alone. Sam doesn’t have to be exactly who I want him to be and I don’t have to be a by-the-book perfect parent. I just have to do what the Lord would have me do in the little moments, in the small things. And John Paul and I have to shape Sam’s heart to reflect who the Lord has called him to be, not who we say he is. And that friends, that has taken some serious pressure off my soul. Just in time too…cause I was about to burst.

To any mother ever: You are amazing. I don’t know how you do it, but you do it perfectly. Well done. Your child is perfection.

Speaking of perfection: Sam is now officially awesome and, by all accounts, super advanced ;). Seriously though, he is. And I can say that here, cause this is my blog. I’ll do an annoying post one day with a week by week/ play by play milestone accomplishment record, but for now I’ll leave things where they are. We’re good, all is well and the Lord is faithful. Especially in my weakness.

no, wait…I’ll leave it here- there is officially nothing better than a sleepy husband at 4 am bouncing a baby back to sleep. Nope, nothing.

And just for kicks, here’s my current fav pic of Sam-bo. He’s pretty pumped (and shocked) about State’s ranking in the polls this week :) Hail State!

and two more…the time that passes in 3 weeks has never been more significant in my life till baby boy came into this world.

Loving y’all. Praying for you mommies, those about to be mommies, and those praying to become a mommy.