A Life That Is Captivating

Now, in my 6th month of pregnancy, waiting to meet my little girl, I have felt such a deep sense of responsibility about the kind of life I live. Every time I feel her kick I swell with joy and excitement at the thought of meeting her. We dream of who she will be, whom she will look like. More than anything, I pray that she would have a deep sense of purpose in the One who calls her by name even before she is born. The weight of bringing life into this world is profound and utterly amazing. It's inspired me to pave a road before her that displays strength and trust in the identity our Father gives us. Something I have to admit doesn't come naturally to me.

I've been thinking about the character of women, and how often in our society we have two extreme opinions: a traditional, subservient woman who should stay at home and serve her family, or an extreme feminist few that encourages a woman to break free of any mold and stick it to the man. When I look at Proverbs 31, I see a harmony of the two.

11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Her family has confidence in her. She works hard. She gets to work and does business. She takes care of her household. She is gracious and helpful. She is fearless. Strong. Wise. Faithful. Worthy of praise. What a beautiful and perfect picture of a woman who can be both a servant and a leader.

There is a penetrating beauty that can be found in the secure feminine soul. Captivating talks about the longing that every little girl feels to be swept up in romance and to play a role in a great adventure. The author says, "Your heart matters more than anything else in all creation. The desires you had as a little girl and the longings you still feel as a woman are telling you of the life God created you to live. He offers to come now, as the Hero of your story - to rescue your heart and release you to live as a fully alive and feminine woman. A woman who is truly captivating."

This is the legacy I hope to leave. Not only for my daughter, but for other girls / women who are living in a society that has so blurred what their identity is or where it is. In Christ. It's not in our job, our relationships, our family, where we live or how we look. It's in Jesus. There is so much freedom in that! A freedom I am still trying to live in everyday. It's alarming how easy it is to slip back into the comfort of a husband, a boyfriend, a good job and forget that none of those things will give us what we really need.

So far, 2016 has been a tough year. God is moving and doing something great I'm sure, but the process is difficult and at times painful. This morning, I read something that resonated deeply with this current season. This blog writer said, "We can't escape God and His stormy gale of purpose. He pursues us with love that is filled with a beautiful intensity unlike anything we have ever known." I feel grateful despite the pain I am experiencing because I can see glimpses of what He's doing in my heart. I can see Him trying to answer the questions I've been asking for a while now: "What is my purpose?" "What are you calling me to?" "What is my role in the great adventure?" I see Him creating something new in me through the storm I feel like I'm in. There's nothing like bringing a life into this world to make me start asking some big questions. To make me take a serious look at myself and say, "It's time to get it together." I mean, seriously Vittoria get it together. (And then cue a good cry, because #hormones.)

Often, I feel so alone when it comes to this concept of "calling and purpose". As believers, we are so focused on that (as we should be), but it's so easy to slip into the comparison game and feel like I'm missing out on something. Now, working at a church, it's even more difficult for me at times feeling like I must be the only one around here who has no idea what God is calling me to do with my life. Sure, I know that I've always loved writing and now I'm entering this new season of motherhood, but what does it all mean and how can I make a difference? I'm surrounded by a lot of people who are relentlessly pursuing the callings on their lives and I find myself feeling like I should really have it together by now.

My prayer is that if there is anyone else out there feeling a little lost and like they don't have it together, that they know they aren't alone. I also hope that as a community we can enter into a season of finding beauty in the purpose of simply being that "Proverbs 31" woman that we hear about all the time. Maybe one of the greatest legacies we can leave the next generations is finding security in who God says we are. To being bold and courageous, quiet and confident, and trusting God to use us, simply by being faithful in those small things.

The invitation to this year's Colour Conference reads, "Be found so that others may find hope through you." I love the simplicity in this statement. The focus on our identity as a woman and making the world a better place by being found in our Savior. I don't want to get so wrapped up in doing something BIG that I forget about being faithful in the small. I'm beginning to see that it is in those baby faith steps that we can be led into our big moments

What do you think? How does your identity play into your purpose? What, in your opinion, is the greatest way we can leave a legacy as women?


Confessions of a Control Freak

Control freak? Me? Guilty. One thing marriage will show you (among many things) is your flaws. I think it's easy for most of us to recognize that there may be a few things wrong with us, but they are so small and insignificant, right? Until you commit your life to someone and realize that those small things are actually huge things that really need some work.

So, one of those things is my need for control. Since I'm being transparent, most of my need from control stems from the anxiety that I have. I have spent a lot of years being trapped by worry and fear, primarily of anything out of my control and the "unknown". Since being pregnant, this need for control has been challenged and it's been pretty incredible to so clearly see how God is working.

Let's be real, most people really don't talk about how scary or difficult pregnancy can be. You hear about the glow, and the excitement, and how beautiful it is to feel your baby kicking your rib cage. But nobody talks about the reality that you are completely out of control of the life growing inside your own body. Aside from not ingesting poisonous foods, or working out too hard, there is really nothing I can do to control what's happening inside my own body. Like, sometimes I just feel like Elizabeth Banks in What to Expect...

Last year, when I miscarried, I got a glimpse of that reality. The "there was nothing you did or didn't do" reality, it just sort of happened. This time around, it's taken a lot of conscious effort to not be riddled with fear and anxiety over losing the baby again or something going wrong. (Shout out to my counselor for slowly bringing me through little victories!) Last week, my OBGYN called me with some news about a Choroid Plexus Cyst that was found on my ultrasound. The choroid plexus is an area of the brain that is not involved thinking or personality. Rather, the choroid plexus makes a fluid that protects and nourishes the brain and spinal cord. When a fluid-filled space is seen in the choroid plexus during an ultrasound, it is called a choroid plexus cyst. The doctor continued to explain that these are extremely common and the majority of the time it is absolutely nothing and goes away sometime in the third trimester. OR it could mean the baby has Trisomy 18 (a genetic defect where babies either won't make it to term or won't live more than a day or two). Awesome. So it's either nothing, or it's deadly. I let myself have a good cry and then I pulled myself together and had to remind myself, "there is nothing I can do." Worrying will legitimately get me nowhere and this is an opportunity to trust what the Bible says: "For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well." Psalm 139:13-14. I've had to trust that whatever happens really is for His glory and that He does have our best interest in mind, even if we think things aren't going the way they should be.

I have been seriously blown away with the peace God has given me during this time. He is so good and faithful. I really believe that this peace is something special He gave me when I got pregnant. This sort of supernatural and sudden understanding that not being in control is OK. I'm still a work in progress. There are days when I feel like grasping for control of any little thing possible and Jon has this look in his eyes like, ok you are crazy. (Shout out to seriously the most patient and loving man ever.)

Life is crazy right now. So much going on and so many unknowns. A lot of change on the horizon and honestly, it's hard. (Extra hormones do NOT help.) Jon and I have been having so many conversations about what we want our life to look like and one thing we are certain about is that we want our kids to grow up to know, love and trust the Lord and we can't possible expect them to do that if we don't do it ourselves. Even if that means taking risks, or standing up for what we believe in or sticking it out in a tough situation. Writing that and talking about that is scary, because it's not necessarily something we always look forward to. I'd be lying if I said that I look forward to change and the challenges it presents, but how sad to look back on our life and say that we took the easy and comfortable road. Jesus take the wheel.