Nixon's birth story.

I felt your body leave my own
with a tug and a groan
you were here!
Breath of heaven in your lungs
your cry pierced evening air
That moment
a thin place —
and we were forever changed.

Nixon was born on a Monday, but his birth story kind of starts the prior Thursday at my hair appointment. No, I was not in labor for four days and my water didn’t break while I got my hair highlighted. Ha! But you’ll see in a minute how God ordained all of this to work together.

At 33 weeks, we knew Nixon was breech. His head was tucked right below my ribs and he was constantly tap dancing on my bladder. My doctor and nearly everyone I talked to told me different ways to help him flip over to a head down position because if he was still breech by 37 weeks, then my doctor was going to try to flip him via external cephalic version. Of course if that didn’t work, then we’d probably be scheduling a c-section. But I didn’t want to do either of those options – I didn’t want to try to flip him (it seemed dangerous and stressful for baby and painful for me) and I definitely didn’t want to have a c-section for delivery (this is obviously a personal choice. It’s just not what I wanted.) So I tried everything – I went to the chiropractor, I laid upside down on an ironing board, I tried different yoga poses, I tried acupuncture, I played music for him, I put an ice pack on his head, and I prayed, prayed, prayed he would turn.

Meanwhile, Aaron and I were preparing for his arrival. We took a birth class. I created a playlist. I packed essential oils and my diffuser. I read other birth stories to prepare for all possibilities of what to expect. My plan was to labor at home as much as possible before going to the hospital, then get an epidural and push exactly two or three times, just like my sisters did for all of their labors. Perhaps this was naïve of me, but it was my hope.

The only problem was we crept up on 37 weeks and he was still breech. As that mark drew close, I cried about the possibility of a c-section. It just wasn’t what I wanted for delivery – it’s not what I planned or prepared for. I guess I was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t have the full labor experience I was planning on. Laboring and doing the work of delivering is obviously a lot different than having your baby physically/surgically removed from your body. But at this point I still had hope that I would eventually just feel him turn over one day, and if not, the version would work to flip him and then my labor plan would go on as I wanted.

Well, my hair appointment, set months in advance, ended up being four days before Nixon was born. As I sat in the chair to get my hair foiled, my stylist and I talked (as you do) and we talked about life and the baby and soon came to find out that we had the same OB. What a coincidence (if you believe in that sort of thing)! I feel now like it was the providence of God because as we talked about her own c-section delivery, she mentioned how much she loved our doctor – how great she was during delivery, how sweet she was, what a good job she did, and how confident she made her feel in the whole process. I knew this about our doctor – it’s why I chose her in the first place. But hearing from someone who actually had a c-section made me feel better. I texted my sisters and my mom upon leaving my appointment and I said something to the effect of, “I feel a lot more confident now should I end up having a c-section.” I would soon come to find that this conversation was a sweet gift of preparation from the Lord.

Three nights later, I was getting into bed and noticed less movement from Nixon. As you move through pregnancy, you start to notice times when your baby is most active. Your doctor will tell you to start doing kick counts late in second trimester and especially in third. (I can tell you now how important this is!) For Nixon, he was always busy bopping around in the evening as I was getting into bed and in the early morning as I ate breakfast. So as I was getting into bed that night, scrolling my phone and waiting to feel the reassuring movements I was used to, I was worried when I didn’t feel much at all. I told Aaron I was feeling nervous about it. I pushed on my stomach to get Nixon to push back at me, and he did, eventually. He seemed a little sluggish, but his movements were enough to help me fall asleep that night.

Monday morning when I was sitting at the table eating breakfast and expecting to feel him wake up, I didn’t. I mean, he moved occasionally, but certainly not normally. I texted my mom and sisters and we all agreed that it was good I had an appointment later that morning to see my doctor. Trying to set my nerves aside, I went about the morning, anxiously waiting for 11:30 to roll around.

At 10, my doctor’s office called.

“Can you come at 11 instead?” they asked. I immediately felt it was from God – moving the appointment up so we could be aware of a problem sooner.

“I’ll be there,” I said.

Aaron met me for the ultrasound and we watched as our tiny guy came up on the screen. I told the tech that I felt like he wasn’t moving very much in the last 24 hours so she was aware as she moved around my belly. She hovered over his lungs for a while because at this point in pregnancy, babies should be practicing their breathing in preparation for birth. We saw Nixon doing it at 33 weeks, but today he wasn’t. She pushed on my stomach to get him to move, and he did, but barely. And he still wasn’t breathing. Still, she seemed pretty positive. She joked about him being tired, printed us a couple of pictures, and sent us on our way. 

Since my appointment with my doctor wasn’t for another hour, Aaron went back to work and I went over to my sister’s house to pass the time. When I returned to my doctor’s office, she came in and sat down.

“How are you?” she asked. 

“Well, I feel fine. But I don’t feel like baby has been moving that much in the last 24 hours,” I told her, nervously swinging my legs off the end of the table.

“That’s what I heard,” she said. “I talked to the tech and what she did during your ultrasound was a biophysical profile. Basically it tests baby on five different things and then gives them points based on what they see. Baby was moving, so he gets points for that and his fluid is good, so points for that. But he wasn’t practicing his breathing, so he lost points there and she also told me his tone wasn’t very good, so no points for that either.”

She went on to explain that tone is subjective but basically that our baby wasn’t as squirmy as he should have been – wasn’t using his muscles the way he should have been, especially when pressed on. The way I took it is that he was looking kind of limp. I tried to absorb all she was telling me but still wasn’t prepared for what she said next.

“So, at this point, we can’t do nothing. Essentially, we have two options: since you’re 37 weeks, we can deliver today…”

I drew in a breath. Deliver today? I thought. But we just tore out all the carpet in our house! We don’t have a name! I don’t want to have a c-section! We still have three more weeks. And Aaron isn’t even here. I’m sure the panic registered on my face.

She went on. “…or we can send you to the hospital and hook you up to a monitor and just watch him for a little while, see how he looks and redo the ultrasound from this morning.”

“Okay…” I said slowly, trying to understand the whole situation before I made a decision. “What would cause this? Why wouldn’t he be breathing?”

“It could be a few things...,” she said. “But for babies who are in distress for some reason, breathing is the first thing to go. And that’s often because of the cord, where they’re not getting the amount of blood flow they want. Next is fluid but his fluid still looks good. So, something is going on, something changed in his environment, and it just happens to be that we caught it.”

Tears were already starting to catch in my throat. “What would you do?” I asked. 

She thought for a moment. “Since you’re 37 weeks, I would probably deliver.”

And then I couldn’t hold in all the emotion. I started crying and my doctor reached for the tissues.

“It’s fine…” I tried to calm myself down by speaking aloud. “It’s fine.” I wiped my eyes.

“It’s just not how you thought today would go?” she interjected. 

“Yeah…” I stared at the floor.  

“Well, why don’t we just go to the hospital and get on a monitor. Let’s see how he does over the next hour or so,” she decided for me, thankfully so.

“Okay…” I agreed. 

“So, go to the hospital now and I’ll meet you there. Don’t go home, just go there. I’ll call and tell them you’re coming.”

And that was the start of the whirlwind that led to Nixon’s birth. I called Aaron on the way to the hospital and through tears and some panic I told him what was going on. I texted my family to let them know we were headed to the hospital and today might be the day.

We got up to our room and I changed into a gown and was hooked up to a monitor. Nixon’s heart rate was on the low end of normal but overall he was doing okay. Aaron and I waited and watched the monitor and talked about how we still didn’t have a name for our baby and how crazy it would be if he was born today, still thinking there was a chance he would be doing well enough that we could go home.

But when my doctor arrived and came to check on me, she sat down and said that we could either prep for a c-section now or try to flip him and if it worked, start Pitocin to induce labor. “Since nothing has changed or gotten better, going home isn’t an option,” she told us.

Still holding on to the possibility of avoiding a c-section, I agreed to try and flip him. So my doctor looked at Nixon on ultrasound and then tried to push him into a head down position. She thought he had moved a bit but the moment she let go, he moved right back to where he was, head up. One of the risks with a version, which was explained to us ahead of time, is that the cord can become wrapped around baby’s neck, so after she tried to flip him once, she pulled up an ultrasound image to check positioning. She also brought in another doctor who specializes in high risk pregnancy. They both looked at the monitor, discussed cord position and whether it was safe to try again to flip him. He was still doing okay, so they tried two more times to push Nixon to a head down position. But despite their best efforts, he didn’t move.

“So, let’s prep for c-section,” my doctor said. “We’re not in a rush, but there’s no reason to wait because there’s no one ahead of us,” she explained. “So we’ll see you in there.” 

Aaron and I had only arrived at the hospital four hours prior. And now we were having a baby.

Our nurse brought in scrubs for Aaron while they prepped me for surgery. Finally, Aaron sat down next to my bed and we had a few minutes alone.


“We’re having a baby today,” I said in disbelief. We were both shocked and excited — nervous and anxious and thrilled and all the known emotions. “I think we should pray,” I said to him.

He took my hand and we closed our eyes. He prayed for me, for our baby, for wisdom for the doctors. He prayed that all would be well and that it would all go smoothly. We said amen and it was time.

When I say it was all a blur, that’s because it was. My nurse was in and out of the room. My anesthesiologist came in and explained what he would be doing and how. I have to say he was the sweetest man. He shook my hand and Aaron’s hand and as he left the room he said, “Okay, I’ll see you in there. God bless you.”

At this point my parents had arrived and Aaron’s brother popped in on his way home from work. We had all of three minutes with them before I walked with my nurse down to the OR.

The west wall of the OR was all big picture windows. I remember feeling surprised at this but also comforted. It was a beautiful day turning into early evening and for some reason I thought about it being a beautiful birthday for our baby as I stepped up and sat on the side of the table. And then the anesthesiologist was ready to start. My nurse braced my shoulders as I leaned forward and breathed through the placement of both the spinal block and epidural. In the week prior I had been watching these short videos and studying Psalm 23. As I sat there on the edge of my bed having a large needle shoved into my back, I repeated these verses to myself as much as I could remember. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul… He restores my soul… He restores my soul,” I repeated as the pain increased and then subsided. With a warm rush to my legs, I was numb in seconds.

My mom sent a text to our family group at 6:17 pm that said, “They just came to get Aaron.” It was relieving to see him walk into the room and sit by me. He took my hand.

“Can you feel that, Lyndi?” my doctor said as she and the other doctor who had tried to flip Nixon finished prepping.

“No,” I said. And then I knew they had started.

From my position, I couldn’t see anything going on.

“I need you to talk to me,” I told Aaron. I needed to not think about my lower half being cut open.

“You’re doing great, babe,” he said. He was holding his phone, recording all he could while also helping me stay calm. I’m so glad he did because I have watched the video multiple times now.

I could feel a lot of pressure. I breathed through it all like I was laboring – not because it was painful but because it felt so weird. It’s hard to explain if you haven’t experienced it. Luckily I didn’t have too much time to think about it.

“He’s almost here,” my doctor said.

And in the next moment I felt the pressure of Nixon’s body leaving mine. It was like I was suddenly empty – life no longer growing inside me. It was 6:25 pm.

“He’s here! Oh, he is long! And looks just like you guys!” my doctor said. She was very positive and unconcerned. But I didn’t hear him crying.

“Is he okay?” I asked Aaron.

Aaron stood up so he could see a little bit better. “He’s moving,” he responded.

I felt helpless. I wanted to know what was going on - I wanted to see him.

And then his cry shook the room and altered our whole lives. And my cries immediately followed. I couldn’t control the emotion. We have a baby. That’s our baby, I thought.

They cut his cord and a nurse held him up so I could see him before they took him over to the warmer to weigh and measure him.

“Go see him,” I told Aaron. “Go see him.” 

He left my side to go see our son. Our son. What a miracle of a life. I could not believe he was here. I watched from across the room as he wailed, just waiting to finally hold him. Aaron got to cut off more of his umbilical cord and then stood by while they cleaned him off and weighed him, making sure he looked good and was breathing well before bringing him over to me. 


They finally placed him on my chest and I could not help but cry. This was a moment I waited for, dreamed about, planned for, hoped for, and it was here. It was surreal. And it was beautiful. I will never forget those next few moments where it was just Aaron and me and our baby.

Shortly after, Aaron and Nixon were moved to recovery to wait for me while my doctor finished stitching me up and nurses bustled around the room.

“You did great,” my anesthesiologist said as he finished. “God bless you guys.”

He’s right. We were truly so blessed.

Then I saw my doctor leaving the room.

“Thank you!” I called after her. And I meant it from the deepest place in my soul. Thank you for today – for noticing that my baby was in distress. For making the right calls. For keeping us all safe. For bringing him here to us. What a journey it had been.

She turned around and came back to my side. She grabbed my hand.

“Thank you,” I said again.

She smiled. “You’re welcome.”


Nixon Wilder Harms was born on August 26, 2019 at 6:25 pm, three weeks before his due date. We are so thankful for his life. While his birth story is not what I planned for or expected, I find that most of life is that way. There is very little we actually have control over. I was recently reminded of this again through the book I’m currently reading. One chapter is about our birth stories and this section really hit me:

“Nowadays, the perfect birth story is sought after like the Holy Grail. If we just read the right books, practice the methods, and have enough stamina and willpower, we have the power to manipulate one of the most vulnerable, undignified things we’ll ever do, making it bend to our desires as a display of our own strength and control. Our natural bent toward pride tells us that if we get our perfect birth story, we get to parade it around like a badge of honor… [But] As you plan for or reflect on your child’s birth, remember that God is the giver of life. He writes the only perfect story. In our birth experiences, God deserves all praise.”

God was working in Nixon’s story in so many ways — he was present and active from beginning to end - preparing me through conversation with the precious gal who does my hair, all the way through to having the sweetest doctor and anesthesiologist. When I saw my chart later, the reason Nixon was delivered was listed as, “non-reassuring fetal heart rate.” When my doctor came to check on me the next day, I asked if they ever found a reason for his distress.

“Not really,” she said. “The cord wasn’t around his neck - it was fine. I guess he was just letting us know he was ready to be born.”

What a blessing it is that he is here, safe and healthy. And instead of being what I planned, it worked out just as God planned, which is always better anyway. What a gift! I’m forever grateful for the life of this little boy he entrusted to us.


More than I could handle.

I had a friend tell me one time that every experience we have is a new opportunity to learn to trust God. I have hung on to this for a few years now – tried to remember in all the hard and good experiences of my life. It helps me to reframe them in this way. Similarly, I read a tweet from Adam Ramsey recently that said,

 “The more I realize that my trials are nothing more than servants of my sanctification, the more I enter into a wonderful freedom: honesty about my weakness, marked by hope rather than morbidity.”  

What a beautiful thought — a wonderful promise to hang on to. I’ve written before that pregnancy after miscarriage carries a specific weight with it – a certain degree of anxiety with a new level of trust required. But I feel the freedom now to tell you this story. The story about learning a new opportunity to trust the Lord. I want to tell you the story of a photograph. It’s a picture of my son’s hand at 19 weeks old, safely tucked away inside my body. It is so precious to me and Aaron. Let me tell you why.

I was seeing a midwife when we were in Hawaii. We both really loved her. She was the sweetest woman and made everything about this pregnancy experience comforting and exciting, which was exactly what we needed after our first loss. At our 18 week appointment she mentioned the option to do what is called a quad-serum screen. From what I understand, it tests the mother’s blood for different hormones and levels that may indicate there is something wrong with the baby. In this case, it checks for Down Syndrome, neural tube defects (like Spina Bifida) and Trisomy 18. Aaron and I decided to do the testing solely for the purpose of being more prepared and having the right resources in place should our baby be born with special needs.  

The blood test took a single minute and my midwife said she would call me and let me know the results before we went in the following week for the baby’s anatomy scan. Well, the day for our scan came and I never got a call. I tried to take this as a “no news is good news” kind of situation. We let the excitement of finally knowing the gender of our baby outweigh any possibility of there being a problem.

At the hospital, I laid down on the bed and the sonographer quickly pulled up a beautiful picture of our baby on the screen. She began taking measurements and photos but hardly said anything during the entire process. She mentioned that she was trying to get pictures of his brain, his heart, the in/out flow of blood through his umbilical cord, his hands and feet. All of this is normal – it’s exactly what they’re looking for – but it seemed to take a really long time, as if she were looking for something specific. As she moved the wand around on my belly, I asked a couple of times if the baby looked good and she only answered vaguely. Finally she finished and as she walked out to get the doctor, she left my chart on the chair. I tried to glance over at it because I saw in big, highlighted yellow letters ‘FYI’. FYI what?

Before I could see anything else on the chart, the perinatologist came in and introduced himself. I didn’t even know what a perinatologist was or why we were meeting with him but it quickly became clear. He sat down with my chart in hand and said,

“So last week you took the quad-serum screen, and this test checks for several different things...”

It was in that moment that I thought, “Something’s wrong.” I squeezed Aaron’s hand.

He went on, “The serum screen is not diagnostic, it simply identifies possible risk factors. Your risk factor for Down Syndrome and Spina Bifida came back low risk. However, the results did come back high risk for Trisomy 18.”  

I think I blacked out after that. I mean, I didn’t, but I could hardly focus as I felt overwhelmed at this blindsiding news. Our doctor continued to talk about exactly what Trisomy 18 was, which is also called Edwards Syndrome, and the mortality rate of infants born with this condition. These precious babies have severe physical abnormalities and are usually miscarried or stillborn.

Often you’ll hear the idea that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. You especially hear it when you’re going through something difficult. I don’t know who really believes that because let me tell you something – this felt like entirely more than I could handle. Our miscarriage last year was more than I could handle. Spotting at 13 weeks with this baby and going in for an emergency ultrasound was more than I could handle (have I ever mentioned that this happened the same week our car was broken into and my purse was stolen? Yeah, more than I could handle). And now at 19 weeks, we were being told that our baby may have an abnormality. I simply could not handle it. As I explained it to my mom on the phone later, I cried and said, “It’s just too much!” 

I think everyone will find at some point in their life that the trials feel like too much. Too much weight to carry – a burden too heavy. For one reason or another we’ll feel our knees buckling under the load we’ve been asked to carry. I think that’s by design. We’re not meant to do it ourselves. God may give us more than we can handle so that we’ll give it to him and let him handle it. It’s never more than He can handle. The weight is never too much for him. And whatever trial you are facing can be used, if you allow it, to make you more like Him. So, will you surrender the burden to Him? Let it draw you back to Him in new ways? Recognize that this trial is simply sanctifying you and bringing you closer to His heart?  

Dr. Goh, our perinatalogist, went on to say he looked at the photos the sonographer took of our baby but that he was going to do the scan again. He wanted to look for specifics that she was unable to capture.  

I laid back down, practically holding my breath as he pulled a new picture of our baby up on the screen. He went through each physical marker and explained the way it would look if our baby had Trisomy 18 and the way it looked to him as he scanned over our little one. The baby’s head would measure small and be abnormally shaped, but our baby’s was normal. The heart wouldn’t be developed correctly, but ours was normal. Aaron and I started to breathe a little easier as he looked for all the physical markers that suggested our baby was sick, but none of them were showing up. Finally, one of the indicators that an unborn baby has Trisomy 18 is that these babies can’t open their hands – they’re always in a closed fist and have overlapping fingers. As he explained this, I remembered that when the sonographer was in the room, she was trying to get a good picture of his hands and count his fingers, but she never got one.

Then, as Dr. Goh was explaining that baby wouldn’t be able to open his hand, our baby, by the sweetest grace of the Lord, showed us this on the screen at just the right moment.


Five perfect little fingers. Open hand. The most precious sight I simply cannot get over. None of the physical markers of Trisomy 18 were present in our little boy. Dr. Goh later said that Edwards babies always measure small but ours wasn’t. “You have a big kid,” he said with a smile.

Because the quad-serum screen is not diagnostic and even ultrasound photos aren’t a guarantee of baby’s health, our doctor suggested an additional blood test called the Harmony test. This test would draw my blood and look for pieces of baby’s DNA floating around in my bloodstream. Generally they can find enough of baby’s DNA to make a more certain diagnosis. I said okay because it was non-invasive, unlike other tests offered, such as amniocentesis.

So, after my blood draw, Aaron and I left the hospital a little shell-shocked. What was supposed to be a fun day of finding out the gender of our baby turned into a three hour hospital visit with a doctor who specialized in high-risk pregnancy. That’s not really how we envisioned the day going.

For the next week, I held on to the pictures of our baby. We announced to everyone that we were expecting a boy, amidst lingering fears that he might be sick. I journaled. I prayed. I cried out to God, really. Several days later I wrote in my journal, “We will find out the result of his blood test this week but I feel very calm about it - just giving it over to Jesus, who already knows. So I can rest.”

And later that morning, I received an email.


I sent a screenshot to Aaron and then sat on the floor and cried big, thankful tears. We didn’t realize how tightly we had been holding our breath for the entire week until this very moment when we could finally exhale.

So, as far as all testing can tell, our precious boy is just fine - growing and kicking me at all hours, and last week we watched on ultrasound as he practiced his breathing. Oh, it was so cute! But, I know this isn’t the story for everyone. I know the story turns out differently – you get the news you most certainly didn’t want. Your baby is sick. You endure the pain and bewilderment of miscarriage. The test results aren’t positive. You get let go from your job. Your relationships aren’t fixed. Your depression lingers. There are trials in life that don’t turn around into good news immediately. You can’t see the point and your “why?” goes unanswered. I’m not forgetting you in this moment - I have been you before.

But I am saying that in all circumstances the only thing I know how to do is lean on the Lord to get me through. I don’t know what other option we have. Where do you turn if not to the One who can carry it all? Is it your pride that says, “I can carry this. I am strong enough to handle this”? Because I would imagine the moment will come when you can no longer handle it. You’ll turn somewhere — to someone or something else to get you through. The thing is, the only One who can handle it is the very One who created you. Would you give it to Him today? Let Him carry you on all the good and bad days - the ones you didn’t see coming and certainly didn’t plan for?

For the week we waited for the results, I prayed that our baby would be okay and even if he wasn’t, that we would have God’s hand of mercy to walk us through whatever was next. I have to say that my heart and mind were covered in a supernatural peace – unexplainable given the circumstances. I was given new measures of compassion, an extra dose of strength, and put myself at the feet of Jesus again and again. This is what he wants anyway, in all our days. In the ordinary days that we would call boring. In the scary and unknown. On the days we want to shout from the rooftops because the joy is too immense and on the days we just cannot get out of bed for the weight of grief. Let each new day be a new opportunity to learn to trust God and remember that our trials are simply to be used in our sanctification to help us look more like Him.  

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121: 1-2



My own sea-change.

In her book Present Over Perfect, Shauna Niequist talks about a sea-change. She borrows from Shakespeare and I’m borrowing it from her now because I think it is so fitting for my time here in Hawaii – my own sea-change – happening right in the midst of living in the sea. In her book, she explains it like this,

“The word sea-change is from Shakespeare, from The Tempest: a man is thrown into the sea, and under the water he is transformed from what he was into something entirely new, something “rich and strange.” The beautiful and obvious connection, of course: baptism. We are tipped backward into the water, and raised into new life. We leave behind the old—the sin, the regret, the failings, and we rise out of the water cleansed, made new. A sea-change if there ever was one. This is the story of my sea-change—the journey from one way of living to another.”

There are times in our lives when there is a distinct change – we notice we’ve gone from one way of living to another, like Shauna says. It’s the end of one way of thinking, of being, to another, entirely new way. I can think of a couple of other sea-changes in my life. Once as I neared my 30th birthday. And now again out here in the ocean over the last two years. My sea-change has caused me to leave behind some old ways, some old thoughts, some old habits of being, and take on new. Marriage has changed me. Losing a baby has changed me. Living away from my family and old friends has changed me. Being in a new place and a new culture has changed me. And it’s all encompassed in this time here in Hawaii.

The verse God put on my heart as he drew me out here two years ago is found in Psalm 139. It reads,

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.

Did you know Hawaii is the most isolated population center in the world? I didn’t know this until recently, but you can certainly feel the truth of it when you’re on these islands. We’re 1,000 miles from the nearest island chain and 2,000 miles from the nearest continent. So in truth, I have been literally dwelling in the remotest part of the sea. And you know what I have found? He is near. Perhaps even more near than I had previously felt.

I think it’s because we live in the middle of the ocean that songs about God and water cause emotion to well up in me. Songs where they talk about his love being like a wild ocean or how he holds back the waters or asks us to walk on them with him. This lyric especially gets me , “You call me out beyond the shore into the waves.” Now I know they’re meaning that metaphorically, but I listen to that song each time I take off on a flight to this little island in the midst of thousands of miles of untamed ocean because I really feel that’s what God was doing in my heart two years ago - calling me out beyond the shore. And now I’ve been here in the middle of the ocean experiencing my own sea-change.

I’ve found that sometimes he has to draw us out so he can pull us in close. So he can change us. Mold us. Teach us. Show us that he loves us in new and beautiful ways. He might not draw you out to the ocean specifically. He might draw you out right in your own neighborhood. Your own school. Your own friend group. Your own workplace. He’ll call you to new places all the time if you let him. If you give God the space to move, he’ll certainly walk in and fill it up in ways entirely unseen and unexpected. Have you experienced this in your life? A sea-change of your own? Have you given Him enough space to move and breathe fresh life into your bones? To call you out to a new way of life? If you let him, he’ll change you from the inside out. That’s what he wants to do - to fill up all your empty places and refresh your soul. Sometimes he just has to draw you out so you can hear his still small voice.

Maybe that’s the biggest problem - we don’t take enough time to be still and listen. We’re too busy. We’re moving quickly and on to the next thing before we even have a chance to think about or reflect on the last. That’s one of the biggest things I left behind when I moved here - the work of being busy. I learned to slow, to be still, to listen. To savor the small and often unnoticed. Because God does not call us to busy. He calls us to rest. He calls us to abide. In her newsletter earlier this week, Ruth Chou Simons reminded me that, “to abide is to enter into His presence and to linger longer.” Linger with Him. Linger in the moment. Our scrolling thumbs and four second attention spans think we don’t have time to linger. We take in information at such a rapid pace, the pinball is bouncing off all corners of our brain all the time. But there’s a sweetness that seeps into our hearts when we linger a little longer in the presence of God. I’ve learned that out here.

Aaron and I will takeoff from this island for the last time in just a few more days. But I’m going home different. God brought me out to the remotest part of the sea to show me that even here he has not left me, forgotten me, or asked me do any of this alone. What patience and love and promises fulfilled I have seen while we lived here in the ocean. I go home now with a new sense of who I am and who God created me to be. I’m going home with a fresh desire to speak truth, to live boldly, to step out in faith, to be in tune with what God is asking and the ways he is moving in and around me. My own sea-change has caused me to begin a new way of living – one of reliance and trust on the One who can handle the weight of it all. Of being still and listening. A way of life where there is time to linger a little longer. And that’s what I hope for all of us - to experience a kind of change that leads to more of Him.

1122C, our first home.

Our time in Hawaii is quickly drawing to a close. It seems almost impossible to say that because one minute it feels like we just moved here and the next it feels like we’ve lived here our whole lives. But here we are, packing up our home and taking Darla all the way to Nebraska where we’ll put down some roots and make space for our baby (and finally pick out his name!) and spend time with our parents and grandparents. We always knew this day would come – we never planned to be here forever. But as our days are winding down, I feel reflective, as I usually do when something is about to end. You might remember how I felt when I moved out of my first apartment just two years ago.

So, if the walls of 1122C could talk, I think they would tell you about termites and the smell of paint and how she was nearly stripped bare before being rebuilt. These walls would tell you about a newly married couple who laughed and cried and spent the last two years learning the first few steps to the dance of marriage. They would tell you about the time I was so mad I slammed the front door hard enough to shake the frame and they would tell you the exact decibel grief reached when I knew I was losing that first baby of ours. These walls know all the words to every song on The Greatest Showman soundtrack. They know the sounds of many visitors taking up residence in her guest bedroom – the sand and the salt and the laughter that came with hosting them. These walls know how hot it gets in the middle of the day when the sun shines through the front windows and what it sounded like when Darla absolutely lost it because Aaron burned a pizza and filled the house with smoke (I think they heard her wailing a couple blocks over.) This house knows the pop of a champagne cork on our first night here and the way we’ll probably cry when we leave. Nearly two years in this house and what a little blessing she has been - even if I felt like that blessing was disguised sometimes. Ha!

I’ve been learning lately that God gives us the lessons we need even when we don’t know we need them. He takes us by the hand and patiently leads us as we walk this sweet journey of life. While I didn’t know I needed them two years ago and had no idea all that God had in store, I’m so thankful for the lessons I’ve learned here in Hawaii within this little home - the ones about being a wife and a mother. The ones about compromise and conflict and reaching resolution. The lessons about painting trim with a tiny paintbrush so as not to get it on the wood floor and how painter’s tape just doesn’t actually work because it rips the paint off with it when you take it down! I’m grateful to know more about who God is and who I am in Him. He has shown me again, graciously, that He is enough for me no matter my circumstances. That my identity is not found in what I own or how Pinterest-worthy my bedroom is or any title I possess but instead in the royal identity of being His beloved. In that, there is no comparison.

So, it will be sad to leave this house because it’s the only house we’ve known as a married couple – it’s the only place we’ve lived together. We started our lives on 2nd Avenue and we’ll always remember it that way. But we take with us endless memories and lessons and all the ways we’ve grown more into the people God wants us to be. We move on now to new things but I’m leaving really proud of us. I reflected on a lot of this when we hit the one year mark in this little house. But since then, we’ve continued to grow and learn and laugh together as we put the finishing touches on this sweet project. I don’t know what kind of future all this work has prepared us for, but all I know is that I’m ready to take that on with Aaron. I wrote on Instagram after we moved in and put some of our new wedding gifts in this house that I felt like we were kind of putting lipstick on a pig. Well we might have been doing that at first, but we turned this pig into a total babe.

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I made this little video of all our work – all the work we documented at least. I don’t make videos, as you can probably tell, but I made this one for us so that we would always remember – and more so for Aaron because I’m just so dang proud of him and all the work he did here. In case there was any question, this house is not ours - we don’t own it and never did. But we worked in exchange for rent and we worked our buns off. So take a peek if you’d like to know what we spent a lot of time working on - and what has shaped the last two years of our time here in Hawaii.