Entering 2021 With an Anthem of Praise!
Sweet friends, y’all know how much I love getting to update this little blog of mine each month and man, this month I feel like the Lord has really been growing and teaching me a lot. In the midst of expecting our sweet baby boy later this Spring (I’m 23 weeks pregnant as of yesterday..eek!), finishing up our kitchen renovations, finding out that Wes gets to work from home now up until May (right before baby Judson arrives), and really trying to soak in these last couple of months of “just us two” – I have really seen the Lord’s hand of faithfulness like never before – and as a result, have been led to praise Him in a whole new way.
"Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and PRAISE your name, for in perfect faithfulness, you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago." // Isaiah 25:1
I’ve really been trying to soak up this season “working from home” (slippers, kisses from my puppy Red, and all) with my sweet boys before a new little baby boy joins the crew in just a couple months! Also, currently celebrating this week’s little “milestone” of my baby bump officially making it’s big debut the past week or so (just like my mom predicted)! Baby Judson loves to kick and it’s so fun getting to feel him wiggling and flipping around (especially at night)! And we have also been having so much fun dreaming up baby boy’s safari-themed nursery, too! Here’s a little inspo board I created for it:
At the beginning of January, we had our big 20 week (halfway point!) anatomy scan for baby Judson and all is healthy and well, except little buddy did not want to show his face (silly boy!) or front side at all – so obviously I was a little disappointed. But the next morning, my sweet and amazing husband surprised me and took me to the local Baby Debut ultrasound center to see baby Judson and he was a little angel for us and everything looked perfect! (Side note: for all of my other pregnant mamas out there - Wes got me Chick-fil-A and a Dr. Pepper before this appointment and we think this “did the trick” because Judson was moving all around and definitely showing off this time! I am so so grateful for a healthy and strong little baby boy with all of his little organs and ligaments! And so cool to see him waving his hands around and flexing for us, too!
And the best part was that Wes actually got to come in and see Judson too (since he doesn’t normally get to come) - as he has been really wanting to see him! It was such a miracle to see this little baby growing so fast inside of me and hard to believe I’m already over halfway along!
Being pregnant during a pandemic has definitely been hard at times because Wes doesn’t get to come to any of my regular appointments, but I am grateful for a husband who cares so much about both me and baby Judson, and who does thoughtful surprises (like ths one) to make me still feel like the luckiest pregnant woman in the world! I truly don’t know what I’d do without him!
It has been so wild to compare the ultrasound scans from different appointments to see how big he is growing – especially now that I’m over 23 weeks along and he is officially the size of a large grapefruit!
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” // Psalm 139:14
This verse has definitely taken on a brand new meaning for me as I have, for the first time, begun to fully understand what it means to be fearfully and wonderfully made. Because throughout pregnancy, you are filled with both fear and wonder as you are forced to trust the Lord with your precious unborn child – because He is the one who loves this child the very most and has his unique story and life in the palm of His hands.
We have already been receiving so many little surprise baby gifts in the mail for little Judson and know that he is already loved by so many of our dear friends and family, too! And we are so grateful for all of your love, prayers, and support!
Another exciting thing that happened this past month was finishing up our kitchen renovation!
Fixing up the kitchen in #ourlittlefixerupper has been such a journey (to say the least) but it has been the BEST feeling in the world to see how it has transformed since the very beginning when Wes bought this house while I was still living overseas in Uganda! Here are some before and after photos below:
As of last weekend, the tile floors, dishwasher, granite countertops, new sink AND backsplash are all put in and we can hardly recognize it compared to how it looked before (and honestly, pictures don’t even do it justice)! I’m thankful for my hardworking DIY husband who made all of this possible and it’s been so special getting to make this house a home with our growing little family - and as my mom likes to say, “get the kitchen ready for her” before baby Judson arrives! And from the picture, I think it’s safe to say Red likes the new kitchen look, too!
Now that I’ve filled y’all in on what has been going on in the Mabry household this past month… I wanted to take a second to reflect on the Lord’s faithfulness throughout 2020 and also share the story and heart behind my “word” for the new year with y’all, too!
For starters, 2020 sure was a crazy year – for us all. But I truly am grateful more than ever for my #1 quarantine buddy, sweet Wes, and all of the memories we have gotten to make through it all! In the year of 2020, we got to celebrate our very first anniversary together and also got to celebrate the wonderful news of being pregnant with our little baby Judson! I know I say this a lot, but I am thankful, more than ever, for this sweet lettering art business that has been such a blessing to our family and has allowed me to work from home while working on my Master’s degree in Counseling – and more than ever, so grateful for this business and how it will continue to allow me the opportunity to still help provide for our family while getting to become a mama so soon!
Finding out the news of our sweet baby boy on the way will forever be my favorite memory of last year and I love that baby Judson’s name actually means “praised” - because I believe it is so very fitting! I am praising the Lord for our little “blessing of peace” on the way as we start off 2021 with praise, gratitude, and expectancy for what the Lord has in store ahead.
As I was processing the faithfulness of God throughout the course of 2020 and how He wonderfully provided in the midst of such a crazy year, my word for the new year is “praise” because I truly believe that praise, song, and melody are the greatest weapons we have against the enemy - and I am choosing to continue praising and lifting up the name of Jesus into the new year ahead - because He is worthy of all of our praise and HE is where our true hope and freedom dwells! 2020 put so many things in perspective for us all and has taught me to never take a single moment or day for granted - with my husband, family & friends, puppy, and now little baby Judson (“praised”) on the way, too!
“I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to him as I rejoice in the Lord." // Psalm 104:33-34
On that same note, I believe praise and faithfulness go hand in hand. As we reflect on the Lord’s faithfulness (even in the midst of the crazy times and circumstance we are living in), we are led to praise Him in a whole new way.
Sometimes it’s crazy (and super encouraging) to take a step back and see just how far the Lord has brought you - from the dreaming days, the praying, and, to now, the reality. While life is far far from perfect, I have so much to be grateful for and truly am overwhelmed thinking about the two biggest answers to my prayers - Wes and baby Judson on the way - that the Lord has blessed me with. I heard this phrase one time that said,
“I still remember the days I prayed for what I have now...”
and I have been deeply moved by how the Lord really does listen to our every prayer and every cry of our heart.
From meeting my husband at a church dance a year after I graduated from college, to being engaged while I was overseas in Uganda, to coming home and fixing up a house together, Wes finishing up his seminary degree this past semester, loving on our college ministry kids together at church, encouraging each other’s dreams (Wes giving me the courage to start this lettering business being a big one for sure!), and now expecting a BABY BOY this May...man oh man, life sure has been an adventure and I wouldn’t trade one second of it for the world! This sweet man encourages me constantly, makes me so much better, and points me back to the cross daily - and I truly don’t know where I would be without him!
I don’t know what prayers you have seen answered or what has been on your heart lately, sweet friend, but just wanted to encourage you to keep on praying and keep on keeping the faith. There is so much noise and fear that is distracting us from the peace, love, goodness, and truth of the Father - and I believe, as my mom always says, it is more important than ever to set our minds and fix our eyes on Jesus - the author, perfector and finisher of our faith - so that we can see and be reminded of how the Lord is still working in and through it all for your good and for His glory - even when we can’t always see it at the time.
“May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” // Romans 15:13
Remember just how loved, seen and known you are and reflect on the Lord’s faithfulness in the past, present, and future because HE is worthy of all of our worship, adoration, and praise. And He will continue to be faithful because that is His character. All glory to Him alone!
And in a sermon the other weekend, our pastor so beautifully said, “seeing Jesus changes everything...” and these words have stuck with me ever since.
He preached on John 9 and the story of how Jesus heals the man born blind and went on to speak about how, as believers, we are called to live lives of gratitude, praise, and proclamation - out of deep appreciation for what Jesus has done for us and for all that He is doing now. Just like the man who was blind and can now see, we are called to proclaim the goodness and mercy of Christ to those around us, too.
You see, just like with the story of the blind man and the Pharisees who rejected Him, Jesus sees you, finds you, and stands up for you when no one else does - and often times, our walks with Jesus lead us down a whole new path and, as a result, we are called to live lives of worship and praise to Him alone.
I heard this quote one time that said, “The law never changed anyone, but the gospel of grace changes everything.” I don’t know what your walk with the Lord looks like, sweet friends, but I can honestly say that - from my own story - understanding and receiving God’s beautiful GRACE changed everything for me. We have nothing to prove and nothing to “earn,” yet Jesus finds us right where we are and meets and walks with us in our mess. And, in my own testimony, learning to walk with Him through hard places, falling in love with my god-fearing husband and seeing the selfless and unconditional love of Christ in a whole new way, and daily being wrecked by His overwhelming and undeserved grace makes me want to continue becoming more and more like Him. But that is not out of flesh or human desire, but rather, out of an overflowing of a heart change that only Jesus can orchestrate and do.
I hope that this morning’s blog post blesses you and reminds you of the goodness, mercy, and faithfulness of Jesus - because seeing and knowing Him truly DOES change everything. In Him is our peace. In Him is our hope. And in Him is our joy. Seek Him FIRST, sweet friends. And give Him all of your praise and adoration as we continue into this new year of 2021. He is worthy.