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Biblical Womanhood

Biblical Womanhood, Motherhood, This Week in Motherhood

Motherhood: There is No Formula For This

January 31, 2017

Warning: Rambly post about motherhood that may or may not have a point by the end. If you don’t have time to read, here is a great Sally Clarkson podcast on balance in motherhood. It has lots of good, practical tips!

Hello mommy friends. How’s it been going with you guys? There’s no simple answer to that, is there? These past couple of weeks I’ve felt pretty encouraged. Mainly just because I’ve felt normal! And by normal I mean happy, healthy, and not exhausted/on the edge of my sanity half of the time, hahaha. Though any time I talk to my parents on video chat they’re like “wow, you look so tired”. Leave it to your family to tell the honest truth!

Anyway, the sun has been out almost every day, which is unheard of where we live so praise God! Overall, the months since Lilah was born have been very good. Life with four kids (when the oldest is only five!) has it’s moments, both good and bad and hectic all around. You know, a new baby in the house and the adjustment that comes with that + travel + holidays + Thane’s work travel picking up again + what seemed like tons and tons and tons of doctors appointments and errands that had us out and running around all the time. And did I mention there are four kids, all five and below? Haha! But errands and commitments outside of the home have calmed down a bit and we’re all healthy for the first time in months. So, praise God, I am so grateful! And we can do a lot of hard things as long as we stay encouraged, right? Keeping a positive outlook is half of the battle.

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Biblical Womanhood, Motherhood

Baby Spam

January 9, 2017





I usually keep my baby spam to the confines of my own laptop, but since I’m trying to get back into the habit of regular blogging I figured hey, why not spam everyone?! So here we are. Lilah’s wearing a few of my all time favorite baby-girl items; her Woolly Wonder Knits bonnet that just started to fit her a few weeks back, her pink pair of Poudre Organic bloomers via Mama Owl, her basic white Gerber top (I love the classic Gerber wear!), and then there’s her blue Summer Poppy swaddle by Little Unicorn. I’ve bought very, very little for her, but when I do buy I make sure to invest in timeless items that I love. We’re not exactly planning on expanding our family any further, but….she may need a little sister to pass these things down to someday! Just saying.

These pictures were taken right about the time she was three and a half months old, which was coincidentally the same time she realized she could stick out and wiggle her tongue (reference photo #1, haha!). And honestly, whether she’s wearing pretty little things or a hand-me-downs from her brothers, I’m just so thankful for every little second I have with her. The longer I’ve been a mom, the more I’ve learned to slow down as much as possible and appreciate every little thing about each child. I never feel like I do that successfully- almost every night I put them to bed somewhat regretful (grateful for bedtime, yes), but worried that we didn’t glean as much quality time together as we could have. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to avoid that feeling….life is busy, it moves fast, and it’s hard to split myself between all four every day and be relaxed enough to take it all in to it’s fullest. But each and every day is a gift from God, and for every time that I’m tempted to worry about how fast the time goes or to regret what’s already passed, I remind myself of all we have in Christ. I remind myself of the joy of knowing Him, of the fullness He’s given to our family and the good, beautiful things He has in store. There is so much to wake up and be thankful for every single day, and so much to look forward to in the light of His promises!

Biblical Womanhood, Birth Stories, Motherhood, Pregnancy

Lilah’s Birth Story

October 14, 2016

lilah

We have a girl! Can you believe it? I mean really, can you? Because after three boys I can’t, hahaha.

I took this photo the day I went into labor, at 39 weeks and 4 days, just a few hours before we went out to have Thai for dinner- which is either the best or worst thing (???) to have when you’re on the verge of going into labor. Continue Reading

Biblical Womanhood, Family Adventures, Motherhood, Pregnancy

Surprise Babies

March 5, 2016

Stork

I always thought the idea of a surprise baby was really sweet and romantic. Asher, our second baby, and then Silas were not surprises, and I assumed we’d probably never have one that was. Then we got the news that Finn was on his way a mere two and half weeks after Thane got home from his last deployment to Afghanistan, and though we definitely wanted him, we certainly didn’t anticipate him coming so quickly! So, he was a semi-surprise.

Then…

Ultrasound

Oh my goodness. I’m not sure I would have been more surprised had a literal stork crashed through my bathroom window with a packaged newborn. We generally planned on remaining a family of five and were very, very happy and content with our three little boys. I’ll admit that I had no idea what I was going to do when Finn was no longer a baby, because he is my snuggle bug! But I assumed that any additional babies- if they ever came- would be a surprise a ways down the road. A ways.

But January was not that far down the road at all.

It all started with Thane making a few very silly comments about me being pregnant, which I adamantly denied. I thought there was- maybe– a 1% chance that he was right, but 1% might as well be zero so clearly he was just making silly comments because he was bored and had nothing else to talk about. Then we had a weirdly serious conversation about it one evening, so just to put it to rest I decided to take a test when I woke up the next morning. I had one sitting there on the bathroom shelf, about to expire. Knowing it would be a complete waste, I almost didn’t take it. Then decided that $1 down the drain was worth getting this crazy idea out of Thane’s head.

Well… When two pink lines showed up on that thing so fast that I couldn’t even process what I was seeing, I dug the box out of the trash to look at the instructions. This is far from my first round with reading pregnancy test results but extreme shock + pregnancy brain aren’t a great combination, so I just stood there, dumbstruck. Later that day I decided it must have been a faulty test (since it was old) and so I bought a new one just to be sure. Two more pink lines. By then it was starting to sink in, but it was very bewildering in the beginning. I truly did not see it coming, at all, and I’m not used to be caught so off guard!

It took me a little while to get used to the idea… I can’t say I felt ready for another big life change, not in the slightest. We stepped onto one giant roller coaster ride last April when Finn was born, rode it all the way to Germany when we headed overseas six weeks later, and then spent six months trying to put all the pieces of our life back together once we got here. And as of January, I was just starting to feel on top of things again. I guess that’s why God thought it was a good time for the next curve ball, hahaha! One thing is for sure; He’s thrown us lots and lots of big surprises these past couple of years. One of these days- perhaps- our life will get more predictable again. But until then, I guess we’ll just go with it!

It’s definitely been a struggle to keep my head above water these past couple of months, I can’t deny that. I shared a little bit about what it’s like to be taking care of three very active little boys in the dead of winter while enduring the first trimester in my last post. But I’m doing my best to trust in God’s plan, to stay focused on the big picture, and to remember what a gift this is. Whether this is another little boy that I wouldn’t trade for the world or the little girl that I never expected to have, wow! I never pictured myself as a mom of four, but I guess one of the great thrills and blessings of life is never knowing what’s around the bend.

And on that note, please pray for me. I need it!

Stork

 

Biblical Womanhood, Motherhood, Photography, Pregnancy

Farewell, February!

March 2, 2016

Steaming Coffee Cup

I’d like to say that February was a cozy, quiet month spent contemplating the finer things of life in front of a warm fire while sipping on gourmet espresso as depicted in the photo above. But sadly, it was anything but that.

I really want to write more about the new baby (!!!!!) but feel compelled to document our rather epic February first. There are certain things you just can’t sweep under the rug.

First of all, who else is thrilled that it’s March?! No, March is traditionally not much better than February concerning the weather. But at least it brings a small ray of promise that warmer days are coming! I don’t know what it is about February, but it generally seems like the time of year when the winter is at it’s worst, the whole family takes turns being sick for three or four weeks straight, and we basically hole up at home with minimal interaction with the outside world. Asher’s birthday on the 19th is always the highlight of the month (and though last year was fantastic!) there’s always a very high chance that his party will have to be canceled or take a serious hit due to sicknesses. I’m so thankful it didn’t have to get canceled this year, but it didn’t exactly go off without a hitch.

The other tough aspect of February was being smack dab in the middle of the first trimester of this new, exciting, and very very surprising pregnancy! Lord willing, I’ll be back with more details about that soon. But for now, let me just say that feeling sick all of the time, having zero energy, being faint and dizzy and all the rest of the common symptoms on top of taking care of three very active little wild things all day (every day) + nursing Finn + all of our colds + my full blown stomach bug over Asher’s birthday + the really cold, dark, depressing weather + little to no coffee was enough to have me begging God for mercy a few times. Seriously. My life was basically an episode of the Walking Dead, and I was the Dead. I don’t remember if I took a single photo or did a single creative project. I lost all of my passion for Instagram (hahaha, but really). And blogging? Forget it.

Waffles, impromptu naps on the living room floor, and daily prayers for just enough energy to get by were my “functional saviors”. And- though I’m painting a melodramatic portrait of my personal woes- there was a lot of grace. There were a handful of very manageable days scattered among the tough ones, and despite the tough ones there were many, many times when I knew it was only through Christ and His strength that I was making it. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10) This was my anthem this February! Sometimes, it’s a blessing to have what we’re used to- our normal ease of life- taken away for a season to be reminded just how good the life that God has given us can be. To be reminded of just how much we have to be thankful for! Not to mention the fact that I have a loving and supportive husband that is currently home (which is not always the case in Army life) and for that I am so, so thankful.

And here’s more good news; the fact that I have the energy to be typing this up means that things are getting better. I’ve actually felt human these past two days, so that’s got to be a good sign.

Anyway- assuming this new found energy holds out- more regular blogging will resume! (As regular as anything can possibly be with three little boys + one rather large one set on stealing my heart and my time, haha!). But until next time, I’ll leave you with some serene photos from my Instagram account (taken sometime back in January) that have absolutely nothing to do with what life has been like lately.

Enjoy!

Flax Seed Bread 2
Garlic 1Floral PaintingSpartan Antique Silver RingWet Paint Brush | www.sarahkeller.comFossil WatchPencil and ShavingsVintage Illustration Nusery Decor 2Golden Camera Paper Weight | www.sarahkeller.comWhat the Bible Says About Being a Woman | www.sarahkeller.com

 

Biblical Womanhood

A Brick Wall Beginning

February 5, 2016

Brick Wall |www.sarahkeller.com

I once lived in a row house where the only thing I saw through my bedroom window was a solid brick wall. It was fitting, because that dead-end view was a portrait of my life at the time. It’s not that I’d suffered a tragedy, a failure, or a misfortune. I was a sophomore in college with every opportunity afforded me and I lacked nothing by worldly standards. But somehow that didn’t account for the dark void in my heart and mind. The void that exposed my utter lack of purpose, direction, or peace. It had always been there, but somehow I’d come to a point in my life where it faced me as forcefully and inescapably as that brick wall that blocked the view from my bedroom window. But sometimes these dead ends aren’t an “end” at all, but a beginning. I now count that dark room and that dark chapter in my life as sweet mercy, because it was the very place where my good and gracious God came for me. Where Christ opened His arms wide for me and where He took me under His wing and gave me a second chance at life! Not because I deserved it, but simply because He is good.

This is the story of my brick wall beginning.

But before I go on, let me give you a little bit of background on me. Even though I didn’t grow up in what you might call a traditional Christian home, I did have the privilege of attending a variety of Protestant churches throughout my childhood. Over the years I got a picture of what the so-called Christian life was supposed to be, and that left me with a nagging and unsettling impression that I could never be good enough to be one of Jesus’ “people”. Then add to that all of the natural questions like- is the Bible really true? Is Jesus really God like He says He is? Why did He have to die on a cross? There were times when I certainly had hope and what you might call a child-life faith, but there were also times where I wavered between doubt and discouragement, in the limbo of wanting to fully believe and understand what seemed like a good thing, yet lacking a solid grip on truth.

MEETING JESUS, JOINING HIS FAMILY, LOVING HIS WORD

Fast forward to now, and one thing is exceedingly clear: sitting in the pews, singing the hymns, and even praying and reading the Bible are empty works if I’m estranged from God Himself. Though my path was- some of the time- paved with good intentions, I had no personal relationship with Him all of those years. And this leads me back to the room with the brick-wall view. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college during a simple Bible study with my best friend- in that room!- that it changed. The two of us were reading about the life of Christ in the book of Mathew, and the only way I can describe it is that He opened my eyes to a genuine, saving faith, and finally gave me the indescribable gift of seeing Him for who He really is- a friend, brother, counselor, confidant; the one and only righteous and loving Creator and God, full of mercy and truth. He was no longer the distant, mysterious historical figure I’d learned about growing up, but a real, living person. It was as if He walked right up to me with a big smile on His face and open arms! He gave me His light, His joy, and- for the first time ever- confident assurance! He truly made me one of His own that day.

Along with this totally new sense of joy and belonging to His family, I couldn’t wait to read the bible. As Jesus calls His Word “the bread of life” (Mathew 4:4), it truly became like food to me. For the first time in my life it all started making sense and it gave me real, practical guidance for how to pursue a genuine Christian life.

HEAVEN & HELL

Also, I finally began to understand why Jesus came to die for us. Our God did an amazing thing when he created us with the choice to choose good or evil. Tragically, we chose evil in the dawn of our creation when we sided with Satan in the garden of Eden, but God remains Holy and Righteous in every way. Yet He would not be righteous if He allowed our mutiny and sin to go unpunished. So, for us to have the choice between good and evil and for Him to simultaneously maintain His Holiness, He must punish our sin. Every time sin is committed, righteous anger is added to His cup of wrath and that anger must be poured out for justice to be served.

And who deserves the punishment that brings justice? Sinners like you and me, by way of spiritual and then physical death, followed by eternal separation from God in Hell. The concept of Hell is hard to swallow, isn’t it? It’s horrifically severe and terrifying and I wish it wasn’t real, yet it doesn’t matter what I think. His ways are higher than ours, and I know that we’ll all understand these difficult things when we see Him face to face.

What we do know is this; our lives are a series of choices, and we actively and willfully give up our right to eternal life in Heaven when we make decisions that rebel against our Creator. It’s tragic enough that Hell was created in the first place as a prison for Satan (Mathew 25:41). But when much of the human race is so blinded by sin that we resist God’s grace and follow Satan down his path to destruction? It’s beyond tragic.

THE GOSPEL

But this is where the gospel comes in. Since no man who has ever walked the earth has lived a perfect, righteous life, Jesus Christ- God Himself- came to earth to do it for us. Where Adam failed to resist Satan, Christ conquered him. And then, acting as the representative for the entire human race, He willingly received God’s full cup of wrath as it poured out over Him in punishment by His death on the cross. God punished sin in it’s entirety by punishing His very own righteous Son in our place.

But having never sinned, death had no hold on our Lord Jesus, and when he rose three days later and was witnessed alive by over 500 people (1 Cor 15:16), as well as other non-Christians who recorded his resurrection in the records of history. This is proof of His victory over death! Now Christ holds something very costly and precious in His hands- the “paid in full” invoice of God’s wrath against the sin of mankind. And this is His free gift for all- He will exchange our sin for His righteousness. He clears our debt to God as if we, too, had paid in full. And not only that, but He gives us His Spirit so that when our Father looks upon us, He sees the image of His perfect Son rather than our own marred records. God is glorified, and we are redeemed!

IT’S FOR FREEDOM THAT HE SETS US FREE

Let me just stop and say praise God. I don’t know why He came for me and granted me this unbelievable pardon of mercy when I was blind and indifferent towards Him for so much of my younger years. But I can say with full certainty that it was all of His doing and none of mine. A true gift of undeserved, unmerited grace. I have nothing I can give in exchange, all I can do in return is get on my hands and knees with face to the floor and praise Him and honor Him and thank Him for all eternity.

Loving Jesus and obeying the bible is not popular, conventional, or easy, but He is worth the world and I praise Him for this new life He’s given me. I’m no longer a slave to myself and- with His constant help- I’m free to change and grow and move forward. This doesn’t mean I don’t have really hard seasons of struggle and uncertainty. I do. But His love, truth, and power is greater than my struggles, and I have nothing but gratitude for His amazing grace.

Now that He’s brought me this far, I can look back and know with certainty that any time I spent trying to live a good life before meeting Christ was pointless. I didn’t understand that I needed to born again (John 3:3) and to receive His Spirit before there could be even one ounce of true change in me.

And it’s the same for you. If you’re already a born-again believer, I rejoice with you! If not, I hope and pray that He will come for you, just like He came for me me. A life without him is a life lived in vain, eternally separated from the purpose or direction for which you were created. Even if you live a long, happy, healthy life without the common plagues of hardship, loneliness, addiction, shame, struggle, fear, or the like, this “happy” life won’t amount to anything in the end. The truth is that we can’t do a single good, lasting thing without Him, because every act of our own goodness or righteousness is but a filthy rag in His sight (Isaiah 64:6). The idea that the human race is “mostly good” and self sufficient is a deception that’s been blinding us from the moment Satan lead Eve into the fall of humanity.

Humanism and godless philosophy is utterly empty. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but it’s end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

WE’RE EITHER WITH GOD, OR AGAINST HIM

The bottom line is that each person who has ever lived is either:

1) Redeemed by Christ for eternal life with God, or;

2) Dead in sin and sentenced to eternal Hell as the just and lawful punishment his of deeds.

Praise God that ALL OF US can be redeemed! But until you surrender to Christ and receive a new heart (Ezekial 18:31), you stand condemned. Each and every one of us needs a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus, one characterized by love and obedience to His Word. And to have that, you need the Holy Spirit. Jesus says to ask for it, to seek it, to knock on the door for it, to be persistent (Luke 11:9-10). He says that if we, being sinful, can give good gifts to our children, “how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13).

God loves us and waits patiently, giving all of us time to turn back to Him! So don’t put it off any longer, be reconciled to God! Just take a humble step of faith, ask for His help, and He will welcome you with the same open arms that welcomed me.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” {John 3:16}