Before The Ring

 

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Marriage is something just about every woman dreams about as a little girl; her white wedding dress, her husband, having kids with him one day. All that is cute and all, but the most important time of anyone’s life is while they’re single. Let’s face it, with more than half of Americans getting divorced, there is a real growing problem. Way too many people are rushing to the Alter before truly knowing what commitment they’re about to make and with who.

Before Michael and I were a thing, I had a few characteristics that I thought were really important that my future spouse had to have. I know what you’re probably thinking, Steph didn’t you and Michael meet in high school? Ha, yes! God spoke to me even as a little girl. He told me that I needed to marry someone who loved the Lord and put Him first. My characteristics were: He needed to know and love Jesus Christ, he needed to love and respect his mother (my mother always told me you could tell a lot by how a man treats his mother and sister) and he needed to be a family man. I didn’t want someone who was more worried about what was going on outside of his home rather than inside his home.

This prompted me to ask a friend of mine, who is going through a rough time in her marriage, what five characteristics would she tell a friend to look for in a man. Her answer blew me away. She started off by saying that especially now that she’s dealing with a potential divorce; she knows now more than ever that these 5 characteristics are extremely important (we say potential because at the end of the day we know WHO we serve and I’m praying with her that the Lord restores their marriage.) In the midst of her tough time, she allowed me to share these characteristics to inspire girls to ask themselves what they truly want in a future husband.

  1. A man who puts God first above all. Who will sit and pray with you through every storm in the relationship. (I legit screamed out YASSSSSS when I read this first one. That is THE most important one of all, She legit could have said that and that alone ha!)
  2. A man who focuses on the solution rather than the issue. That’s how you both will outgrow each issue and turn it into an amazing lesson.
  3. Selflessness.
  4. A man who isn’t defined by a woman. Who sees them as a partner and who compliments him. Not someone who is beneath them or less.
  5. A man who truly shows sympathy and empathy through everything. Putting himself in other peoples shoes.

The bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.”

That is why number one on her list is the absolute most important one. To know the Lord is to Love the Lord, so how can a man properly love you if he does not know the Lord? The bible also tells us to not be unequally yoked. Meaning if his beliefs do not line up with yours sis, run. Run the other way. Don’t settle. Don’t think you can change that man because the truth is, you can’t. Only God can and yes God can, but you shouldn’t run to that alter because you think you’re in love and things will change once you two say I do. If he doesn’t stand for God, he will fall for anything.

Lets not forget to look at ourselves as well. Ask yourself this; of those five characteristics you want in a man/woman, do you see any of those in yourself? Do you know and love the Lord with all your heart? Do you put the Lord first before anything else? In your singleness, instead of putting so much time and effort on trying to figure out when you’re going to meet your future spouse, lets focus on being prepared when the Lord does bring them into your life.

Ladies, the bible tells us “He who finds a wife, finds a good thing,” He, not she. So we should be focusing on building our relationship with Christ so that we can be the woman that God has called us to be and the wife that God has called us to be. Life is not all about getting married. It’s about serving the Lord and finding out our purpose He has designed for us.

So for my single ladies, have a date night with the Lord. Sit before Him, worship Him, talk and pray with Him, and let Him lead your path. I’m a strong believer in speaking things into existence. If the Lord places marriage specifically on your heart, start a prayer journal and write to your future husband. Pray to God that your future husband knows and serves the Lord. Write it down and watch God make it happen.

 

Love,

Mrs. Luster

 

 

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Aria turns ONE!

 

Wow. It’s all I can really say. It seems as if I blinked and my baby girl is one. It’s true when people say that kids grow up really fast. Seems like just yesterday my baby girl was moving around in my stomach and now she’s sassy as can be and just the center of our world. It never gets old looking at her and thinking, God, you really did it, you blessed me with me most amazing gift ever, a beautiful baby girl that I can call my own.

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This year has been by far the best year of my life. Aria has taught me so much about myself as a woman, a mother, and even a wife. Seeing my husband with her and how patient and loving and kind he is just makes me fall in love with him even more. I should be asleep right now, but I’m lying in bed, writing my thoughts, staring at both of my babies sleep, Hubby and Aria.

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The day I gave birth to Aria I felt this sense of peace like no other, it was as if Jesus himself was in the room. I have never felt peace like that ever before. I wasn’t nervous, I wasn’t scared, I just knew that the Lord was with me and he prepared me for this day my whole life. In that moment I knew my purpose, I knew I was born to be a mother. I knew that this little bundle of joy was about to take over my life in the best way possible and I was so ready for it.

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The journey to motherhood was no easy task and labor proved to be another obstacle. I wanted so badly to do an all natural birth (as in no drugs whatsoever), but the pain was way too much. After 4 hours of intense contractions, (that were coming less than a minute apart…OUCH) I had enough. I like to think I have a high pain tolerance, (I mean I got all four of my wisdom teeth taken out and I didn’t take one single pain pill), But I remember thinking to myself, I’m not going against what the Lord specifically made to be painful. So I got an epidural. Was it painful you ask? At that point, I couldn’t feel any more pain than what I was already feeling so to be honest I don’t even remember the epidural process.

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I was in labor for 21 hours. The last 4 hours were the most intense. Each time I had a contraction, Aria’s blood pressure would drop very low. This went on for a few hours and each time it happened I felt like the world stopped and I couldn’t breathe thinking about if something might happen to my baby. But I had one amazing hospital staff to back my amazing doctor and me up. He knew I wanted so badly to deliver vaginally. He was patient and made sure baby girl was doing great. Then I got stuck at 8 CM. I had to be at a full 10 CM to start pushing. I just remember the doctor saying “Okay Steph I’m going to come back in about an hour. If you’re still not fully dilated, I’m sorry we’re going to have to discuss a C-section.” Something inside me refused to accept that so I called my family in and we all started praying. An hour later the doctor checked me and I was at a full 10! Time to start pushing. The song that was playing as baby girl was being born was a song by Kari Jobe called “Speak to me”. It was so fitting. I felt the Lord speaking to me the entire time. It was a healing moment from all the pain I had endured. The miscarriages, the heartaches, it was as if God said, “It is finished,” I now had my beautiful blessing, my promise from God, my rainbow after the storm.

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So I say all this to encourage someone that may be going through a tough time. God is with you. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, He’s always there and there is always a purpose. May the Lord continue to bless you.

 

Love,

Mommy Luster

Our Pregnancy Journey: From Loss to Answered Prayer

 

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Hi Guys! We’re back with a new video! As many of you know Michael and I struggled to have a baby for two years. We went through several losses and I went through a period of anxiety and depression. But GOD…….has answered our prayer and we finally got our little miracle.

We wanted to make a video to help encourage any other couples that may be dealing loss and fertility. We hope this video encourages you!

Love,

Mrs. Luster

5 Things I’ve Learned as A New Mom

 

 

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Life has been going literally non-stop. I always heard being a mom was a full-time job, but to be honest I didn’t quite understand what that meant. I figured, “how hard can it really be?” Ha! I applaud each and every single one of you mamas! I think back on my pre-baby self and how I would complain about being busy and tired and I just literally laugh now. My mom used to always say, “Mija, wait until you become a mother. You don’t know anything about being tired just yet.”

But….

Enough about that, my baby girl is my entire world and I would give my life for her. It’s a love like no other. I can’t even begin to describe. Being a mom is truly a selfless job. It doesn’t matter how tired I am, how crazy my life may seem at the moment, she literally makes it all worth it. She gives me that drive that I never knew I had and I would do it all over again (3 times to be exact ha! I want three babies so hubby needs to get used to that lol!)

In honor of Mother’s day and me being a new mom, I decided to put together a list of 5 things I have learned as a new mom.

  • Never compare your self to other moms! Sounds easy right? Well I would often find my self comparing myself to other moms and questioning if I’m doing this thing right. It’s true what they say, not all babies are the same, and hey not all moms are the same either. I chose to breastfeed, but trust me I know how incredibly hard it is to breastfeed and some mamas either just can’t produce enough, or they just have an awful experience. And you know what? That’s OKAY! You know your body and baby best, so do what is best for you and your baby. I can’t stand to see other mamas shaming each other on if they breastfeed or not, give formula, or if they let their babies sleep with them. I’m a part of several mom groups on Facebook and I literally have to hide posts so they won’t pop up on my news feed because every day there’s a mom asking if she’s doing something right and literally every mama has their OWN opinion. Geeze. Just because it worked for you and your baby, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for theirs or mine.
  • Take it one day at a time. Can I be completely honest? There are days where I feel completely overwhelmed. Like my house is a mess, I haven’t showered, Aria is LiiiiiiiT (as always haha) and I feel like my to do list just keeps growing and growing. But then I have to stop and take a deep breath and remember life is so much more than just worrying all the time. So what if my house is a mess, I’ll get to it when I can. So what if my to do list seems like it will never end. As long as I’m healthy, my baby is healthy, my hubby is healthy, we have food and shelter….all is well with my soul!
  • Your body won’t snapback overnight! About a month ago I literally had a melt down over how I hated the way my body looked. Breastfeeding has caused me to loose a ton of weight and made me so self-conscious. My hubby of course being the amazing man he is, wiped my tears and literally said, “You are so beautiful to me and that’s all that should matter to you, I’m not going anywhere. I married YOU, not your body.” Like can we take a moment and just…sigh* Thank God for my amazing hubby! I literally had to suck up those tears and embrace my new body. This body carried a human being for 9 months! An 8 pound baby to be exact ha! And mind you, I only weighed 108 pounds before getting pregnant! I’m a petite thang!
  • Enjoy every moment. I heard moms telling me that while I was still pregnant. One mom put it best. “Enjoy every single stage with Aria, even the newborn sleepless nights because one day you’ll blink and she’ll be all grown up.” Like I want to ball my eyes out right now because that’s legit how I feel. It literally feels like I had her just yesterday. They really do grow way too fast! So each stage that she’s in I try to not rush it and enjoy it. Especially breastfeeding. Gahhhhhh it is such a powerful bond. As tired as I am of getting up in the middle of the night (sometimes twice) to pump her milk, I know this chapter will come to an end so I’m enjoying every moment.
  • You’re a great mother! If we’re all honest with ourselves, we all go through moments where we feel like we’re not good enough. Like we feel like we’re failing our kids. I’ve had dramatic moments where I feel like I’m not good enough. Honey the devil is a liar!!!!! You ARE an amazing momma. On days where I feel like this, it’s as if Aria knows and she just looks up at me and gives me the biggest smile, laugh, and says “mama” and legit nothing else matters in that moment! In her eyes, I’m the best thing ever and that’s enough for me.

 

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Love,

Mommy Luster

Motherhood is Heaven on Earth!

Motherhood is a feeling I can’t even begin to describe. It’s the most amazing feeling in the world. It literally feels like heaven on earth. I can’t help but think of God’s love for us. If this is just a glimpse of what the Lord’s love is like then I can’t even imagine the full amount of love He has for us. It’s true what they say, you forget about all the pain once you first lay eyes on your precious baby. Although the journey to motherhood was hard, I’d do it all over and over again just to have her! What’s even more amazing and just another way God proved his hand was all over this, Aria was born on hubby’s late grandmothers birthday. Which is also the inspiration behind her middle name. His late grandmother Marie was the definition of a praying woman. Every time he talks about her or my father in love talks about her it was always about her outrageous faith. I didn’t get the chance to meet her but would have loved to! Aria was prayed for like crazy by everyone and it’s only right that her middle name be Marie. When she was born on the same day as her late great-grandmother, it just confirmed what we always knew. God had this in His plans all along. Thank you so much Lord! And thank you Marie for watching over your great grand baby and for covering her with prayers even before you even knew she would exist one day.

My sister Sabrina created this amazing video of the birth of our beautiful daughter Aria. Enjoy and don’t forget to subscribe to her channel!

My Other sister Samantha took these amazing photos of me and baby girl while in the hospital and she took my labor pics! If you wants pictures done by her, visit her FB or instagram @saflanthaphotography

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Love,

Mommy Luster

Baby Girl’s Nursery

We are SOOOOOO ready to meet our princess. On this incredible journey to parenthood though we’ve learned that everything is all in God’s timing and we need to be patient. (But if she comes now that would totally make our day, just saying lol)

Way before finding out we were pregnant, I pretty much had her room planned out lol! I knew her room would be totally girly and I just love the way it came out!


We had so much help from our loved ones in helping to decorate her room! Hubby and my father in love built her crib, rocking chair, changing table, and hung everything up for us.

My mother in love was the master mind behind the decor and where exactly to place everything.

My mom, sisters, and sister in love helped me organize everything in baby girls room (and my sister in love made this beautiful sign for baby girls room.)


This picture could not have fit more perfectly into her room. She is definitely worth the wait! Although I would never want to go through what I went through, it brought me to her! I love my baby girl soooo much already. She’s going to get annoyed with me because I’m going to shower her with daily kisses. 🙂


Hope y’all liked her room as much as we did! Thanks for all the love & support you all have given us! It’s definitely helped us in the most difficult times.

Love,

Mrs. Luster 

Our Pregnancy Journey

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As a little girl, I remember dreaming about one day becoming a mother. I wondered what my child would look like, if I would have a son or daughter first, how many children I would have, and whom would I have children with. It was as if I was meant to become a mother because it’s all I’ve ever dreamt of. What I didn’t anticipate was the journey to motherhood. How could something I knew I was destined to become feel so far away, and I felt as if I would never see my dreams come true.

When Michael and I decided to start trying for a baby two years ago we had no clue the journey we were about to embark on. Things were pretty much falling into place for us. We got married, I had my dream job as a T.V news reporter, we had a place to live, we had a beautiful wedding, and we were so happy enjoying our first couple of years of marriage. Then baby fever set in bad. Like REAL bad lol. I wanted a baby instantly pretty much. We talked it out and decided to start trying at the beginning of the year 2015. I had been on birth control for two years, got off of them in May and by June we were pregnant. I thought, “Wow, this is so easy! We got pregnant fast!” The moment I saw those two pink little lines on the pregnancy test I fell in love. I thought about all the dreams and wondering I did as a little girl and the moment was finally here! What made it feel even more amazing was the fact that I was having a baby with my husband, the man I’m so head over heels in love with.

Then things took a totally different turn. We miscarried. I was heartbroken, literally. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. So many thoughts went through my mind. Why did God take our precious baby away? What did we do to deserve this? Haven’t we been good and faithful servants? Why would God place this desire in my heart, just for it to be taken away? I didn’t want to go down that dark road. I refused. I brushed it off and thought God is still good, we’ll just try again. Michael and I fasted and Prayed and decided to try again. When we miscarried again for the second time, I completely lost it. I became so angry with God. I didn’t understand and to make matters worse, the medicine they gave me to help ” pass the baby” made me so sick. It also gave me a weird side effect where I experienced dizzy spells daily for like three months. Not only was I grieving but I felt as if God was punishing me.

I’ll be completely honest instead of drawing closer to God I drew far away. I knew God loved me, I knew he had a plan, but this was just too much for my heart to handle. It seemed like everyone around me was either getting pregnant or having babies. As much as I wanted to be happy for them, my heart just wouldn’t let me. I was slowly slipping into depression and had no idea. I remember one day my mother in law was over at our house and she pulled me aside and said, “I think you’re depressed.” I was so mad at first and quickly tried shutting that down. She told me she recognized what depression looks like because she experienced it when he mother passed away. Days went by and I couldn’t stop thinking about what my mother in law said. Then I finally admitted it I was experiencing depression. I was crushed. How did I get here? What am I doing to myself? I’m a Christian woman. I’m not supposed to experience that. The truth is, I’m human and just because I’m a Christian doesn’t mean I’m not going to go through anything. I’m not exempt from trials and tribulations. The bible tells us we’re going to go through trials and tribulations, Jesus doesn’t promise us a life free of troubles. He does promise to be with us. You see while I was going through my storm, he was there with me all along, just like he was there for peter when the boat was sinking.

Matthew 14:29 “Lord, if it is You,” Peter replied, “command me to come to You on the water.” 29 “Come”, said Jesus. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”…

I was sinking, and just like Peter, I cried out to the Lord to save me, but had no faith in him. I sunk deeper and deeper into my depression that anxiety followed and then panic attacks set in. I was so deep in my thoughts and worries that I let them consume me. I listened to all the doubts in my head that I would never become a mother, I could never give my husband a child, that I’m not a real woman because I couldn’t give my husband a child. All of those thoughts came from the enemy and I knew better than to listen, but sometimes when the storm is so loud and you’re so focused on the storm, you can’t hear Jesus crying out for you. And that’s exactly what happened.

God had to work on me; He needed me to trust him. For an entire year I feared getting pregnant and tried everything possible to avoid getting pregnant. We went to a fertility clinic just to be told, “we couldn’t find anything wrong, and you’re perfectly healthy!” On one end I was extremely relived, but on the other hand I wanted them to find something to justify why I went through this horrible thing called “miscarriage,” twice. When I didn’t get the answers I was looking for I became so obsessed with trying to find a reason. I knew God was good, but I didn’t understand this part of my life. I could have lost my mind, but God wasn’t about to allow that to happen. I’m his child and He loves me.

After avoiding getting pregnant for a year, I remember Michael asking me, “Babe when are we going to try this again?” I stayed quiet; I didn’t know what to tell him. I wanted so badly to give my husband a child but I couldn’t bare the thought of loosing another child. I remember sharing my fears with my hubby and he did what a God-fearing husband should. He told me that I couldn’t hide from this forever, that eventually I would have to face my fears. He was right. I had been running from this for an entire year, taking everything into my own hands, and leaving God completely out. I had to make a decision, was I going to let the enemy take over my life or was I finally going to give this to God. I asked myself what’s the worse that could happen? Another miscarriage? Well, had been there done that. And guess what, God will be there with me again. I had to trust him completely with my body and future. When hubby and I decided to try again I truly was at peace. I gave it to God and said “God whatever happens, you’re in control, but whatever happens please give me strength.”

A month later we found out were pregnant after initially trying again and I was excited but I could tell I was reserved. I tried not to get overly happy, but then again I wanted to trust God. Hubby and I went over to my in-laws to pray with my father in law and tell them the great news. We then told my family as well so that we could all be on one accord and in prayer. I was scared but I knew with an army behind us praying, the Lord was going to hear our cry.

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Fast forward 9 months later and we are patiently awaiting the arrival of our baby girl. This journey has not been easy. There have been times where I’ve doubted and cried out the Lord. Each time I made it through another week of pregnancy I said to myself “almost there, just a little more!” But what I’ve learned is that if you truly give it to God, He WILL answer your prayers and get you through whatever fear you have. The bible tells us that fear is not a spirit of the Lord, but of the enemy. So I knew where my fear was coming from and I had to let it go and trust in God no matter what the outcome was. I’m glad I stopped trying to figure it out on my own and leaned on God to get me through.

For all my mommas out there struggling to get pregnant or have experienced loss, trust in the Lord. I know it seems so hard to do when all you want is to become a mother, but he has given you that desire. Whether he decides to bless you with a child in your womb, or through adoption, trust in Him always. His plans are good.

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Feeling my baby girl move around in my stomach is a reminder of how good the Lord is and how faithful He is. I never would have made it this far without him. I still would have been trying to handle this on my own. My daughter will know just how much she’s loved and how much we prayed for her. When she’s old enough to understand, I plan on telling her all about our struggles to finally have her and hold her. She will love the Lord and know Him. To my baby girl Aria, Mommy loves you so much and I’d go through this journey a thousand times just to have you.

I pray for all of you mommas out there dealing with struggles of having a baby. I too was there and one day you’ll be saying the same while holding your precious baby in your arms.

Love,

Mrs. Luster