Life

Awaiting a Revelation 21 Heaven

I write today with a heavy heart. It's Father's Day, which is typically a very joyful day. This year, however, Father's Day is concluding one of the most difficult weeks I've ever experienced. About two weeks ago Landon and I found out that we were pregnant. This is something we've been praying over for a long time, and we've been asking the Lord for the blessing of a child more intentionally and persistently over for the last six months. When we found out we were pregnant we were overjoyed to say the least. I woke up every morning and went to bed every night for about a week praising the Lord for this incredible gift. We prayed for the baby's salvation and health. We thanked God for answering our prayers. We could not wait to share the news with our friends and family. Unfortunately, we never got that chance. On Tuesday afternoon, at only about 6 weeks along, I found out that I lost the baby. The little life that God had blessed us with was unable to continue growing, and my heart was shattered. For a moment my world completely stopped. I cannot conjure an eloquent way to write about this experience. The depth of the sadness I felt, and still feel, is unlike anything I've walked through before. Landon and I are both heartbroken. We are tired, physically and emotionally, and I'm finding it difficult to refrain from replaying the events of the last week over and over in my mind. 

JordanBaby

Though we do not understand why this happened, there are two things I do understand, and I want to share these two things with you. I am not writing this post for sympathy or attention. I am writing this post to process and heal, and I am writing this post with the hopes of possibly encouraging another. I don't know what you are going through, but I am hoping the things I do know will be able to encourage you wherever you are:

  1. Every piece of our world is marred by sin. There is so much hurt all around us...war, violence, poverty, injustice, death...miscarriages. This week I've been tempted so many times to believe that darkness reigns. In these moments my soul is downcast, and I'm left without hope. But then, by the Spirit of God, the Word of God, and the community of God, I am reminded of the second thing that I know...
  2. There is hope. This morning at church we prayed over the events that happened this past week in Orlando. Our pastor said that "we live in a Genesis 3 world and await a Revelation 21 heaven." Though we live in a world completely marred by sin, we can have hope because we have a God that sent His Son to die for our sin. He traded His perfect life for our broken one, and through His sacrifice we are given eternal life. I was astonished when our pastor referenced Revelation 21 this morning, as I've been clinging to this passage all week: "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away'" (Revelation 21:1-4). 

The picture above shows all I have of the little girl or boy we lost. A nurse at the hospital gave a yellow, woven heart to us because our baby was not far enough along to be seen in an ultrasound. I do not know how to cope with the sadness and grief that I feel, but I do know that one day He will wipe away every tear from my eye. I do not know why our baby could not live, but I do know that one day death will be no more. I do not know if there will ever be a day on this earth where I do not mourn, cry, or feel pain over this loss, but I do know that one day this will all be gone. The former things will pass away. Today I am hurting because we lost a child. I am hurting because my husband is not experiencing his first Father's Day. I am hurting because of the depths of brokenness in this world. In this sadness I am clinging to the truth of His word and awaiting a Revelation 21 heaven. I grieve, but I grieve with hope. I pray He will comfort you and empower you to do the same.

IF: Gathering | Mercy Hill Church

The IF:Gathering is an annual two day gathering where women from all across the globe come together to dig deep in their faith and encounter God. The gathering is hosted in Austin, Texas, but it's also simulcast all across the world in local homes, churches and communities. I had the pleasure of attending this year's IF:Gathering through the "If:Local" event hosted at Mercy Hill Church. Along with 99 other women at Mercy Hill and tens of thousands of women all over the world, I sat and listened to many different speakers all addressing the question, "What if we lived like Jesus?"

The gathering began with talks by Jo Saxton and Jennie Allen, the founder of the IF:Gathering. I was struck by Jo's evident passion for the Lord as she reminded us of how Jesus is the Redeemer of our lives and the One who restores our purpose. Jennie spoke on John 13 where Peter refused to let Jesus wash his feet. She used this story to illustrate for us the importance of repentance. Her main point truly struck me: You have to put out your dirty foot in order to receive His cleansing. Sisters, He offers to wash us clean from all our filth, our guilt and our shame...we must only lay ourselves fully before Him and accept His redeeming love and care.

Other speakers throughout the weekend included Eugene Cho, Lauren Chandler, Bianca Olthoff, Shelley Giglio, Jen Hatmaker, Angie Smith, and last but not least, the president of the International Missions BoardDavid Platt. David Platt asked a question during his session that really left an imprint on my mind and heart. He asked: "What would it take for the concept of unreached people to become totally intolerable to the church?" For the last week I've been praying that this question would move beyond a question and become a reality for His church. 

The IF:Gathering both equipped and encouraged me to more fervently love the Lord, love others and make His name known. I was challenged by both the speakers and the women around me at Mercy Hill. I felt cared for by the women who put on this event (Thank you Kori Spangler!), feeding both our stomachs and our souls over the course of the weekend. And last but not least, I felt loved. I felt loved by the women who sat around my table and dug into my life. I felt loved by my church taking the time and making the investment to host this event for me. And I felt loved by a God who knows everything about me and still chooses to continually pursue me. Below are some snapshots from the weekend. I hope these photos and this post serve to remind you that you are known, valued and truly loved.

Jordan Family Vacation | Williamsburg, VA

One of the most fun things about being a newlywed is establishing family traditions. Landon and I got married about 13 months ago, and it's been so fun choosing which traditions to carry on from our families and what new traditions to establish for our own little family. We've adopted the idea of sending Christmas cards (stay tuned for a blog post about these!), and like many families, we bought and put up our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. Once we picked it out and brought it home, Landon's job was to assemble it and string the lights, and my job was to decorate it with all our ornaments. Snuggling up on the couch under the twinkling tree lights is officially my favorite Christmas season activity. Another tradition we've established is taking a trip every December with Landon's parents, his sister Meredith and Meredith's husband Hunter. Last year we went to Charleston, South Carolina, and this year we visited Williamsburg, Virginia. We arrived late Friday night, so Saturday was our day to experience the city. After a delicious breakfast near our hotel, we ventured to Colonial Williamsburg where we explored the world's largest living history museum and got to see hundreds of restored and historically furnished buildings. I loved all the details (see a few below), and it couldn't have been a more beautiful day (hello 70 degrees in December) to walk the 301-acre historic area. We paused for lunch at Berret's Seafood, where I ate (and did not share one bite of) the most delicious crab cake sandwich. After a brief rest back at the hotel, we ventured back out to Busch Gardens' Christmas Town. I've never been to an amusement park in December, so this was definitely a treat for me. The whole park was decorated for Christmas with over 8 million lights (which I loved), and all the holiday shows were incredible. I even convinced my height-fearing husband to ride a roller coaster with me...he must truly love me. The sights and sounds of Christmas painted our day in Williamsburg, but the best part of the weekend was getting time to cherish the season with family. I hope you enjoy a few of my favorite snapshots below!

Thanksgiving - Charlotte, NC

Happy December everyone! Before I get swept away into Starbucks red cups, Christmas tunes and tacky sweaters, I want to take a few minutes to reflect back on Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, as we get older, there are fewer and fewer times that we get to spend all together, so I appreciate the times we are together even more. This year Landon and I went to Charlotte for Thanksgiving to spend time with the Moore family, and I truly cherished every minute of our trip. Below you'll see a few snapshots from our Thanksgiving day, which included laughter, beautiful details and an abundance of food. What you won't see, however, are the matching camouflage pajamas that my mom got us all in Landon's honor. It was his first Thanksgiving with our family, and she wanted to make him feel right at home. Landon's comfort may have come at my grandmother's expense, as I highly doubt she would ever choose to wear any camouflaged clothing item; yet she donned those pajama pants without a complaint and rocked them like a champ the entire weekend. Our family is far from perfect, but no one can deny how much we are cared for and loved. I thank my God for this family and the joy they bring to my life. Our time together left me feeling full...both stomach and soul included. 

Jordan Anniversary | Chapel Hill, NC

Today is my first wedding anniversary with my handsome groom. I've learned a great deal over this past year, but to be honest, one of the biggest things I've learned is how truly selfish and sinful I am. In this though, I have seen God's grace more than I ever have before. I am so thankful for the Gospel that unified Landon and I, and I am thankful that the same Gospel continues to sanctify us daily. This process is not always easy, but I couldn't imagine chasing Kingdom come alongside anyone else. Landon Jordan, I love you, I respect you, and it is an honor to be your wife.

To help us celebrate our first year of marriage, friend and photographer Kelsey Nelson took a few photos of us at Merritt's Pasture in Chapel Hill. Kelsey and I were friends in college, and it was so wonderful to get to catch up with her and also introduce her to Landon. Her photography is absolutely beautiful, and you should go look at her work here.  Kelsey and I are teaming up on a few graphics/photo projects for each other in the near future, so stay tuned for updates on the fun there :) Kelsey, thank you so much for capturing these for us. We love them!