Annabelle’s Announcement


This flower appeared on our azalea bush a day or so ago. I didn’t pay much attention at first, assuming there were others. But last night, Jason pointed out there’s only one. He also reminded me that the bushes had already bloomed earlier this Summer. So really, it’s unusual that this one bloom came back. Thus, we wondered… is it her flower? A sign of what, or who, is coming our way. And in admiring this pale, blush colored blossom, I have to think yes. It’s hers. For this is the color that adorns her walls and bedding. It’s definitely Annabelle’s flower.


I’ve been pretty busy lately as this past Summer has been a season of preparation. See, I’m preparing the way for the new life that’s about to enter our world. Her name is Annabelle and for now, she resides inside me. I keep thinking any day, but alas, my womb continues to encompass her. She is surrounded by me. And so, I find new ways to prepare every day. Her room was done a month ago, so I moved on to filling her dresser drawers and closet with clean sleepers and every adorable outfit you can imagine. When the clothes were done, I moved on to sterilizing bottles and nipples. And then packing her bag, eagerly anticipating the big day as I bustled along. My thinking the whole time was, it could be any moment. And if I were to judge by yesterday’s sonogram, I’d say she’s overdue. She should be here already. But God’s timing is perfect, and Annabelle will arrive when the time is right.

And so, perhaps Annabelle’s announcement may seem a bit premature. Isn’t it customary for birth announcements to go out after the baby arrives? But this morning, her impending arrival is all I can think about. And so, I’m ready to make the announcement. Annabelle is coming. And I want her message to go out to the world.


As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:15

I began receiving gifts for Annabelle in January and the theme seemed to be feet. The first two cards portrayed baby feet and baby shoes, while the first two presents were wee little slippers and dainty pink sandals. Feet. And so, we wondered, would she be a missionary? What purpose did God already have for this little girl growing in my womb? And as I sit here today, her birth feels significant. That there’s something God wants to do through her… and so, I go back to feet. Her feet. And my feet.


Lovely, aren’t they? My ankles have nearly disappeared and my feet are so fat I can barely wiggle my toes. So aesthetically, perhaps not so pretty to gaze upon. But when I think of what they represent, I’d say these are some of the most beautiful feet that trod the earth. At least for today. Because I bring good news. I announce the birth of my baby girl. She’s coming. And so despite my swollen size nines (or tens), I’ll continue to prepare the way… for her. I’ll prepare the way for new life, and this is what makes these feet of mine lovely.

The past few days, I’ve been thinking about another set of feet. They belonged to a man named John. I wondered if his feet became achy and swollen. Or if they were dirty or sandy as he prepared the way. See, upon John’s birth it was asked, “What then will this child become?” The answer… “And child, you will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways.” John was chosen to give the people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of sins. And when the time was right, he prepared the way for Jesus’ arrival. Though he didn’t know the exact date, he knew that the Dawn from on high was coming. He knew that Jesus would shine on those who lived in darkness and in the shadow of death… that the One to come would guide others’ feet into the way of peace. And that made his feet lovely. For John brought good news.

Funny thing, though. John’s message to the people was “Repent!” And honestly, this just doesn’t sit well today. When we hear repent, don’t we feel more like cringing than rejoicing? It doesn’t sound like good news, does it? Almost harsh. And it’s here at this point, I imagine some people may wonder what in the world repentance has to do with a birth announcement… with Annabelle’s announcement. And personally, I have to say everything. Everything. My daughter’s very name points to a message of repentance. And the thing is, I believe the name was given to her by God. Though I selected it because it means joy, I find I’ve been residing in a state of repentance instead. Ever since February, in fact. And so I deem this to be an act of God. Annabelle pointing me in another direction. 

Yes, Annabelle’s coming and her name means joy. But you know what? Through the book of James, God tells me my laughter must change to mourning and my joy to sorrow. And this doesn’t sound like good news. But you see, there’s hope. For in Psalm 30, I read that weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning. Joy is coming for it follows repentance. It comes when you really turn from something you know you need to leave behind. Because if you hold to the thing you’re not supposed to, it kills you. It’s like poison. I know this to be true. And so, I find I’m repenting. As I turn loose of what He said to, I find I am able to turn to Him. And this prepares the way for new life. And not just the new life that resides inside me named Annabelle. For I come to life alongside her. My Joy is birthed as I prepare to birth her. That’s the very reason I picked her name… for I was longing for joy. And so now, Jesus comes to me. His arrival is right on time and He ministers to me…

The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me,
because the Lord has anointed Me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and freedom to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of our God’s vengeance;
to comfort all who mourn,
to provide for those who mourn in Zion;
to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
festive oil instead of mourning,
and splendid clothes instead of despair. Isaiah 61:1-3

Jesus must have had lovely feet. For He brought good news to the poor. And He was sent to heal those brokenhearted souls. He came to comfort those who mourn and sorrow. This is a picture of repentance. And so I see it’s not a harsh message, after all. It is good news and it’s quite lovely. And I feel such hope. For I am poised to rise from the ashes. He will replace my mourning and sorrow with oil of joy. Joy. And that’s what her name means. And this is why Annabelle’s birth is so significant. She has great purpose. For her very name, and her birth announcement, proclaims the One to come. Her lovely, little feet that have not yet trod the world already prepares the way for Him. That’s what she’s been doing in my heart… preparing the way. Lovely feet. Good news.

Oh, I have been preparing. For months. I’ve been paving the way for my daughter’s appearance. But in addition, I’ve been turning. My heart has been changing as it aligns to the ways of Jesus. His ways are becoming my ways. And so, Scripture comes to life. In me. For repentance is simply this change of mind. It’s this change of direction. And so in preparing the way for Annabelle, I find I’ve also been preparing the way for Christ. While I’ve been making room for her in my home, I’ve been making space for Him in my heart. And ultimately, His way will guide my feet into the way of peace. The path of joy…

She’s coming. And He is, too. When the time is right.

“I assure you: You will weep and wail, but the world will rejoice. You will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy. When a woman is in labor she has pain because her time has come. But when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the suffering because of the joy that a person has been born into the world. So you also have sorrow now. But I will see you again. Your hearts will rejoice, and no one will rob you of your joy. John 16:20-22

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Who I am


The One who comes from above is above all. The one who is from the earth is earthly and speaks in earthly terms.  The One who comes from heaven is above all. John 3:31

I’d never given much thought to John the Baptist before this week. I knew who he was and what he did and what Jesus said about him… “I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than John…” Luke 7:28. But really, I just never settled on him. But today, I think for the first time, I caught a real glimpse of who John was. And what opened my eyes was the realization of why he never fully captured my attention before now. Basically, he didn’t stand out because he wasn’t supposed to. That’s because he did exactly what he was called to do as He fulfilled his mission on earth. He decreased so that Jesus could increase (John 3:30). You will find that he never pointed to himself, rather, he always pointed to Jesus. He didn’t proclaim who he was. Instead, he heralded the One to come.

And child, you will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give His people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of sins. Because of our God’s merciful compassion, the Dawn from on high will visit us to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:76-79

Yes, John was a prophet of the Most High and his job was to prepare the people for the One to come. But until his time came, he remained in the wilderness. And it was there that a miracle occurred, for God’s word came to John the son of Zechariah. And as he went out, he caused a bit of a stir. John developed quite a following in that he had his own disciples. And because he was such a force, the Jewish authorities sent out messengers to question him. See, their traditions were messed with as change arrived on the scene. And they didn’t like it. So, the Pharisees sent out priests and Levites to question John, “Who are you?” But John didn’t give out his name. Despite his being chosen by God and the voice, he simply replied, “I am a voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord…” See, John was humble. He didn’t exalt himself because he knew One was coming from above. And he knew the One coming from heaven was above all.

Today John the Baptist captured my attention. Fully. Because today I realize I need to be just like him. In the past year, so much has occurred. I climbed high with God, only to fall down into the pit of darkness. But, part of the climb was self-seeking. And much of the reason for the fall was pride. I’m the one who dug the hole. And it’s there, in the dark hole of my wilderness that transformation took place. I was humbled and turned to God. And there, in my wilderness, a miracle occurred. For God’s word came to me. And now, I believe he’s sending me out. However, it’s not Pam He’s sending out. Rather, He’s sending “a voice of one” to cry out from the wilderness. My mission being no different than John’s. For in looking back, I see One thing remains the same. Just as John pointed to the One to come after him, I can do the same today. For the One who comes from above is coming back. The Dawn who walked the earth in John’s day will return. He is the One I can point to. As John decreased, I must do the same. So that He may increase.

And so today, I know. If someone asks for my name, or demands to know who I am, I can answer as John did. I can say, I am a voice of one crying out in the wilderness…

“Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight!”

For He will return.

They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven.” Acts 1:11

She Believes

Zoe writing

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1:45

My sister-in-law has a lot going on, as I think most women do. We’re just busy. So busy. We become hurried and rushed and before we know it, we’re covered up by a list of to-do’s that keep us distracted from the things that really matter. Like our kids. For me, it’s the dishes and the laundry and the work emails and the paperwork and the cat boxes and the appointments and the practices and so on and so forth. So much. I scurry here and there and before I know it, it’s bedtime. And that’s when guilt sets in. Because that’s when I have time to contemplate my day and realize I did nothing that I really wanted to do. Like pour myself into my child. Oh, I may have accomplished some things on my to-do list… but what about my child. Did I put any of myself into him before tucking him into his bed?

Rushing. It’s part of a mother’s life. For me… this leads to the wilderness mentality. Some of you may know what I’m talking about. God’s chosen people, the Israelites, wandered in the wilderness forty years. Basically, a desert land. And sadly, just about every one of them died in that desert land for they were unable to enter the land of promise. It was disbelief that kept them out. But two made it. There were who heard what God had to say. And they believed Him. Those two entered into God’s promises, for they believed.

Yep, the wilderness. Too often, this is where I find myself. Because my busyness leads me there. And when my to-do list is not finished by the end of the day, I feel upset. What Jesus said to Martha, He says to me, “Pam, Pam, you’re worried and upset about many things.” It’s no coincidence I read this passage of Scripture on Monday, for it’s a picture of me. No doubt, this week has been busy. So busy. I’ve been so distracted and have accomplished nothing that I really wanted to. You know, the things that really matter. Those items that end up at the bottom of an undone list. Like pouring myself into my child.

The funny thing about the wilderness is, I believe it’s a necessary destination for each of God’s children. The only difference is the duration of the stay. Some may remain there forty years, like God’s chosen people. Or perhaps, some are more spiritually grounded and wander only a short while, like Jesus. He was in the wilderness forty days and nights. Or what about John the Baptist? I can’t be certain, but I believe he was in the wilderness until he was about 29 years old. And it was this John who was chosen by God for a particular task. But he had to be ready. And it was during his wilderness stay that God prepared him for what he was created to do…

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” Luke 1:76-79

You know, we’re no different than John the Baptist. Like John, God created each one of us for a specific purpose. While we were in our mothers’ womb, He knew what He had in mind for us. But through the course of life, we can become busy. We get off track from His course. And it’s those times we can feel like we’re roaming the wilderness. However, we can still be used by Him. Even when we have dry, parched seasons and we feel that we’re running and running but getting no where, even there… God can use us. Like John, we can be a voice of one crying out. Like John the Baptist, we too, can be heard.

A voice of one crying out: Prepare the way of the LORD in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert. Isaiah 40:3

Yep, this week has been busy. My sister-in-law can attest to that. And I’m sure that through her busyness, she’s become dry. I bet she feels like she’s been running and running until she has nothing left to offer. I guarantee you by the end of her day, when all is quiet, she has regret. I’m sure she beats herself up, thinking, “I should have done this…” I know she wonders if she poured enough of herself into her children. And you know what? I think she has. I think God used her even while she trudged through a wilderness land. For she’s the voice of one crying out. Isaiah 53:1 says, “Who has believed what we have heard? And who has the arm of the LORD been revealed to?” And I think my niece. For she has heard her mother’s voice. And more importantly, she believes. For my niece’s heart overflowed onto her mirror sometime this past weekend…

Zoe 10-28-13

Oh, the belief of this child! Who has believed what she has heard? She has. And who has the arm of the LORD been revealed to? To her. For she proclaims, “O Lord, how powerful are you! For how beloved I am! My God O mighty is the only one that is on top of all of us! O how I love Him!” You know, Isaiah 40:22 declares, “God is enthroned above the circle of the earth.” The writing on the wall (or mirror) essentially proclaims the same. God’s word is in this child. She is a voice of one crying out. For the One who is worthy of all praise will be praised. If we don’t open our mouths to do so, even the stones will cry out (Luke 19:40). And if we don’t open our mouths, even the children will cry out, for “You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength…” (Psalm 8:2).

Yes, it’s true. Mothers can become overtaken by hectic schedules. And it’s true that we can end up in a desert land. It’s a fact that we sometimes wander through the wilderness because of our overstuffed days… but those times are necessary. It’s a season of preparation. For it’s then that we’re strengthened and we grow. And it’s through our wilderness roaming that we turn to Him.

You know, every day we have a choice. We can be a Martha or a Mary (Luke 10:38-42). And no doubt, we will be both of these women throughout our journey. However, when we find ourselves in the way of Martha, let’s not beat ourselves up. Let’s not wallow in guilt and regret, thinking, “If only I did this…” Because praise God, today’s a new day! Today, may we opt to be like Mary and choose that which is better. For His word won’t be taken from us. And let’s take that which is better, and pour it into our children.

And for those who find themselves in the wilderness today, take heart. He can still use you. Like John, be that one. Be the voice of one crying out, “Prepare the way of the Lord…” I guarantee you, there will be someone to listen. And more importantly, there will be someone to believe. Like my niece. She believes.

And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel. Luke 1:80