Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Yet, Christmas gives us a time to be doing things we should be doing all year. Look at the amount of time you spend with your family and friends over the holidays. Why not try to spend more time with them throughout the year, instead of just at this time? And look at the generosity of shopping for the perfect gift that will make a loved one's face light up when she opens it. Isn't there a lot most of us could do to be more generous throughout the year. And while we are on that subject - what about receiving? A lot of us struggle with receiving. It can be an insult to our pride or our independence or sense of fairness. If someone gives to us we feel we have to give something back to keep the balance even. Christmas is a great time for us to practice giving and receiving, but those are principles we need to keep in practice all year long.
And, as I am sitting here watching snow fall outside my window, I am reminded that God is with us every day, washing us white as snow through the sacrifice of his Son. We may be more aware and in tune with that during the Christmas season, but it is true all year long.
Monday, December 21, 2009
It hit me this weekend that, if I had worked right up until he was born and taken a full maternity leave, today would be my first day back at work. This Monday of Christmas week I would be headed back to my old job, dropping Jameson off at day care, adjusting to a whole new and different routine. I am so blessed to be in a position where I get to stay at home with him. Since I was young I have felt called to be a stay at home mom when the time came. It isn't easy, that I've learned. There are days I want to cry and pull my hair out, but it is worth it. I love witnessing all of his changes and developments. And now that he is starting to get into more of a predictable routine hopefully I can start doing a better job taking care of the rest of the house, the cleaning, grocery shopping, etc that has fallen by the wayside here recently. These past 12 weeks have been like an alternate life. I think of all the phases we have gone through with him, tough times that seemed interminable as we experienced them, that now I can barely remember. Time is flying by, and I want to remember to cherish every second!
Monday, December 7, 2009
God loves me. He has blessed me with so much, so many things I take for granted every day. I have a wonderful husband and a beautiful baby boy. I have a great house and yard, and I get to stay at home to raise my son. We have plenty of diapers that I don't have to wash every day! We have a diaper pail to put them in. We have a car seat and stroller, I have lots of clothes and shoes, we have a TV and cable. God has blessed us with all of these things, and certainly not because I deserve them! I am guilty of lying, gossiping, judging others, being selfish...the list goes on and on. If God gave me what I deserved what a sorry place I would be in. But no, He gives to me out of love. He pours out these blessings on me because He loves me. He gives me so much better than I could ever earn or deserve.
If this is the way God loves me and treats me, shouldn't I then turn and treat others around me with the same outpouring of love? Instead of worrying about how much Michael does that 'counts' on my list, shouldn't I instead be grateful of the things I have an opportunity to do to help him out? Shouldn't I be glad that I can allow him to spend time with his family on a holiday? Shouldn't I rejoice in the fact that I can change some diapers to take that task off of his plate? Shouldn't I be glad when I can get housework done so he comes home to a clean and sparkling house, instead of focusing on what I did and what he didn't do? Isn't that living in love, as Christ taught us to do?
This gives me a lot to think about. A whole new focus on my daily routines and tasks. And I'm excited about it!!!!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Infants come from a warm, dark, wet, safe environment (the womb) and are suddenly bombarded with a plethora of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, etc that they have never before experienced. There is so much to take in as their senses are inundated with new experiences and sensations every waking moment. It is vitally important for them to have quiet time as well as ample amounts of sleep so as to process all the new information and experiences. During that time their brain pieces together all of these new findings to make sense of them. This helps them understand their surroundings and develop and mature as a person.
Could this be another component of us becoming like children? If we are truly walking with and growing in God, we are likely experiencing new and different things. It could be in the matter of things we are reading, messages we are listening too, things we are hearing from people in our community, experiences in our prayer life, and many, many other things. A natural part of growth is new experiences. But, in our society, we are so fast paced we often don't take time to process these new experiences. Something may catch at our subconconcious, we may have a little niggle in our mind, but often we blow past it, in a hurry to get on with our day. We value efficiency so much that we push thing aside instead of taking the time to understand them. It is seen as 'laziness' or 'weakness' to set aside time to rest, to meditate, to regroup. And what are we missing by doing this? Children wouldn't be able to mature into adults, would not be able to understand this world around them, without that quiet and restful time to process the many new experiences in their lives. If we continued to follow that process as children do, how much deeper of an understanding could we have of the things we experience in our lives everyday?
Maybe there is a lesson to be learned here, or maybe I am off on some unrelated tangent, but the thought came to me, and it is something I want to explore further. I must thank Jameson for putting this in my mind!
Friday, October 23, 2009
Over the past few weeks, I have been overwhelmed with the generosity of our family and friends. So many people have brought us meals, given Jameson cards and gifts, called from out of town to see how we are doing. People have taken time out of their busy schedules to help us out and share in our joy. Friends and family have offered their insight and shared their experiences as we have dealth with new things or had issues come up we weren't sure how to deal with. They have taken our calls, stopped by our house, etc. Even doctors and lactation consultants have gone beyond the call of duty to help on weekends or off hours when needed. I can't imagine trying to care for an infant without all of that overwhelming generosity.
Then there has been the down side of being overhwelmed. Overwhelmed with learning how to care for this little guy. Figuring out what is wrong when he cries. Overwhelmed with pain as nursing hasn't been an easy process. Overwhelmed with tiredness after long fussy nights. Overwhelmed with wondering where all the hours in the day went, where I used to get so much done and now can't even find time for a shower. Overwhelmed with how little I know about caring for babies when this little man's whole existence relies on me right now. There is so much to overwhelm me.
But the BEST overwhelming feeling is when I look at his little face and hands and toes and am completely and utterly overwhelmed with how much I love him. I am completely, hopelessly, head over heels in love with this little guy. He is perfect, this treasure, this blessing from God, and I can't begin to thank God enough for him. The other things will work themselves out, but the overwhelming love I am so grateful for, and I know it will just continue to increase with each day. I LOVE JAMESON!
Friday, September 25, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
One of my heart's desires has always been to be a wife and mother. More than anything in this world I have felt God calling me to that from a young age. A little over three years ago He fulfilled that desire to be a wife, and now He is in the process of fulfilling the desire to be a mom. (I would say that I am already a mom, my little boy just isn't out here where everyone can see him yet.)
Regarding that desire to be a mom, I have always had a strong desire not to have labor induced. Not saying induction is right or wrong categorically, just that I have always felt it wasn't right for me. That feeling has not gone away during this pregnancy, despite the fact that, because of the Factor V and heparin injections, my doctors have all talked to me about induction, numerous times. I feel that the strong desires of our hearts, our dreams and passions, are placed there by God, and He will fulfill them. I trust Him in that. As I have dealt with the doctors I have asked God repeatedly to show me if my heart needs to change on this subject. I have asked Him to call me out if this is me trying to control things or do things my way, instead of His. Yet not once have I felt that conviction change. I know this is what God wants.
Today, I get a call from my doctors office again telling me they want me to schedule an induction. I explained to the nurse that I do not want an induction, unless they are telling me that there is a problem or concern from today's ultrasound. Is there anything wrong? No, they tell me. He scored a perfect 8 on his biophysical profile. Amniotic fluid levels are good, he is doing his practice breathing, he measures well. I have been having intermittent contractions for the past few days. Things are progressing. So, I reiterate, I would rather wait and let it happen naturally. Now they want me to go in to meet with the doctor tomorrow to 'discuss.'
I am steeping myself, my baby, and this entire process in prayer. I am so glad that it is in God's hands. I am so glad that we can turn ourselves over to his protection and not worry about anything (Phil 4:6) and that through Him all things are possible (Phil 4:13). He wants us to be healthy and prosper (3 John 1:2). I do not have to fear, for He is with me and will strengthen me (IS 41:10.) I can cast all my anxiety on Him (1 Peter 5:7.) And Psalm 22:9 tells me He will bring this baby safely from my womb. Wow. He is stronger than any other power, and He is on my side. What have I to fear?
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
And it hit me, like a mack truck, that I am so blessed to be able to trust God that way. I don't have to overanalyze, I don't have to find all the scientific answers. What I need to do is pray, take time to hear what God is telling me, and then trust Him enough to follow it. It isn't enough just to say repeated prayers about it. I have to take time to listen to his response. After that, it isn't enough just to follow whhere I sense Him leading, but I need to continue to trust Him. Sometimes it's easy, in the moment, to follow through on something. But then, when some time has gone by, it's easy to let fear creep in, to forget what He has told me, what He has promised, and try to take control back myself. I start to second guess, worry, re-figure things out, but I don't need to do that! I can have blind faith in my God, and know that He will never lead me wrong. There is such comfort in that. In knowing that I don't have to have all the answers, I just have to talk to the God who does!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
I love being pregnant. I really do. Despite some of the unfortunate side effects, I love having this little guy grow inside of me, I love feeling him move and kick and hiccup. But, sometimes the exhaustion and hormones get the best of me, which is what happened this week. I was feeling tired and down, I was being hard on myself for not being more productive and getting things checked off of my to-do list. It was rough. I was tempted to cry myself into a nap, but decided a better approach would be to call a good friend who has been through all this before. She picked up the phone and asked how I was and I burst into tears immediately. I couldn't even talk. And she was AWESOME! She talked to me, understood what I was going through. She offered advice and sympathized all at the same time. She didn't make me feel inadequate, or that I was wasting her time during a busy day. She asked me questions and told me about her experiences, she totally turned my entire day around. And, she called me again the next day to ask if I was doing better.
What would we do without friends like that? I love my husband, but he has never been pregnant so can't understand what I am going through. I love God and know He is there for me, but sometimes it is nice to have a physical voice to hear you out and talk back. I am blessed beyond belief to have such great people in my life and I thank God for them. I hope I get the opportunity to return the favor!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Then came the process of cleaning up my car to sell. Michael was great at getting it cleaned up and ready for market. We prayed about selling it, put it on Craig's list, had 3 calls within a couple of hours and sold it that night! God has blessed us beyond measure.
Why does this world make it so easy to doubt Him, to think He isn't there or doesn't care about our day to day lives? Why do we get out of the habit of talking to Him, bringing our cares to Him, asking for His help and guidance? He is happy to give it, we just need to ask, but we are too often caught up in taking care of ourselves. I want to rely on Him instead. I choose to rely on Him instead. His ways are better than mine, His plan greater, and I want to be part of it!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
As I think back on the event itself, my overwhelming impression is of joy and love. This room full of people who mean so much to me all together, talking, getting to know each other, sharing ideas, tips, and advice. People who anticipate the arrival of this little one. People he will get to know, who will shape his personality. People who love him and me and Michael and will continue to do so throughout our lives. The entire event was fun and joyful and overwhelming. Currently all of the cards people gave us are up in our living room, and our den is full of gifts waiting to be organized and put away. Every time I look at them I am again overwhelmed by these wonderful people we know.. God has been so good, and will continue to be so good, to us.
Monday, June 29, 2009
It has got me thinking even more about what a miracle this is. I was praying this morning, and just praising God for this wonderful little guy that He has created. It is amazing and comforting all at the same time to know that He has known this child from conception. Before I even knew I was pregnant, God knew. And He knew it was a boy, and what color his eyes will be (they open this week!) and what his favorite color will be, and what he will want to be when he grows up. What an honor to have a God who knows and cares so much for my child.
I was thinking that, even now, God is preparing the road for this child. He is knitting together other children who will be his friends and classmates. Somewhere right now He is training up a teacher who will impact my child's life. He is developing the man or woman who will someday be his boss, and his co-workers. He is training a great person who will lead him in Kids Club and help him learn more about Jesus. He is forming the perfect woman to be his wife. Amazing!
And this child that He has formed isn't just a coincidence. It's not just that we happened to conceive on a certain date, so this is the baby we are having. God put this specific child together as the perfect child for me and Michael. This is the child He created for us and I just ask His blessings on our family, giving us great relationships, giving us knowledge and discernment as parents to raise this little guy right.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
So, what does it mean to be called to be a wife? For me, it changes day to day, but fundamentally it means I am to honor, respect, and submit to my husband. Lately that has come to fruition in a lot of little things in my life. For example, I used to be obsessed with efficiency. (God is helping me to let go of this one.) When Michael and I are both at home, if he is working on a yard project I feel like I should be getting the laundry done, or the dishes put away, you get the idea. But often he asks me to help him. My help is usually fetching this or that, or being an extra set of eyes, or even just sitting and talking to him while he is working. That used to grate on me a bit. I had other things on my to do list that I needed to get to and wouldn't the efficient use of time be for us to both work on our chores simultaneously? But what I have learned is that there is a lot of joy in spending that time together. When we are doing things like that together we end up talking, sharing ideas, telling about our day or something we are thinking about, just doing life together, and that brings us closer as a couple. The dishes will be there for me to do later, and laundry can get put away tomorrow, but that time together is precious and priceless.
It also means trying to think of things from his point of view. Simple little things, that may not mean much to me but do to him. In our house, I know he loves to have the island in our kitchen clear of cluttler and cleaned off. It's a little thing, but the first thing he sees when he walks through the door. I have a habit of leaving odds and ends or mail or what have you on there, or not thoroughly wiping it down every time I use it. But, if I make an effort to spend a minute cleaning it off before he comes home, it can make a big difference for him. Maybe that sounds like a 1950s wife to you, but to see the smile on his face when he walks through the door, it makes all the difference.
And on the submission piece...before you quit reading on me, hear me out. I know the idea of the submissive wife is not exactly trendy in our society. But I have done some study on the Biblical principles surrounding marriage, and that is what Jesus called us to be as wives, and who am I to argue with Him? Besides, submission doesn't mean I am a doormat, that I have no opinion, and that Michael dominates everything. What it does mean is that I share my opinion in a respectful way, not shouting or demanding or fighting or crying to get my way. I can calmly and rationally discuss what I think with him, and we can work things out together. (By the way, because I am married to a Godly man who knows that Jesus tells him to love his wife as Christ loved the church, that also means he would never take advantage of my submission, but will seek to make decisions that honor me!) What I have learned in practicing submission is there is a lot of liberation in it! It is amazing how much less stress I feel when I realize that, when tough things come up, I can hand it over to Michael and let him take responbsibility. It is freeing! When I try to take charge and do things my way, I end up with an enourmous sense of stress and tension, but when I turn it over to him, and know he will take care of things, I feel free and joyful!
Anyway, these are just small examples, but I find that more and more God is calling me to try to understand things from my husband's point of view, or do little things that I know will help him out, make him happy, or ease his day. Sometimes I ignore those inner promptings, but I'm always sorry when I do, because when I follow through on them it brings a new joy and closeness in our marriage that can only benefit all of us!
Monday, June 8, 2009
Then, Saturday night he took me out for a fabulous night on the town! We haven't been out in awhile, you can chalk it up to me being tired, us watching our money, busy with family and friends, etc, but it was a big deal to have a great night out! And, my night out included some sushi and some wine, all of course on the pregnancy 'no-no' list. Michael totally encouraged me to celebrate on our anniversary and asked me several times during the week if I was going to have some wine at our dinner. I had told him yes, because I really felt God was ok with that. While we were having dinner Michael looked across the table at me and asked if I was worried about the wine. I told him no. His response? "Good, because God is taking care of our baby." Wow! That is how I feel too, and it was so nice to hear him confirm that and to know we are on the same page with trusting God to protect our child. I just looked at him with such admiration, realizing all over how amazing this man is. (By the way, he also gave me an amazing necklace for our anniversary. It has two diamonds in it. He told me one is for me, one for the baby. I about cried, it was so sweet!)
Today, Michael also helped God answer a prayer. After leaving my job, we have been dealing with all of the paperwork and logistics of getting me switched on to Michael's insurance. Nothing horrible, just the general run around you get from insurance companies. Anyway, I had prayed about it, asking God to make everything go smoothly, no hiccups along the way, just easy, breezy, presto. Today was the day Michael was first able to file all the paperwork with his insurance company. They told him it would take several weeks to process it and get me a new insurance card, and I have a doctor appointment tomorrow. He called them to talk through it, and long story short, he got me a temporary insurance card today so that there is no problem tomorrow. I thanked God for answering my prayer, and for using my husband to do it. Beautiful!
Monday, June 1, 2009
I don't know if God will ever call me to something as big and visible as that trip. He may, or He may call me to be a great mothere right here in Cincinnati, or to reach out to someone who will then in turn be the person to move far away and do something grandiose. I have no idea, but I was inspired to hear their story. Whether what God calls me to do is what Brian Tome referred to as 'grunt work' or 'glory work' I want to be in tune with Him so that I can follow that calling. What I am learning is that in my life a lot of times that means slowing down. It is hard to hear God when I am trying to cram too many things into a day, a week, my life. As much as that feels efficient in the world's eyes, something to be glorified in getting everything done off of my to-do list, it isn't bringing glory to God, or bringing me in closer contact with Him, which is after all what I want. It is amazing how, when I spend some time with Him, suddenly the rest of my day falls into place. He multiplies my time and smooths the way for things to get done. Or, when things aren't done as quickly or easily as I would like He gives me a better attitude and it doesn't bother me.
It's funny - when I am spending time with Him, walking with Him, hearing from Him, everything in life is so much better! Yet it is so easy for me to forget that, to get caught up in my lists and my agendas without spending time with Him, and how quickly I then get off track. It is an ever-evolving process as to how my time with Him works, but I need it to work to continue on the growth and path that I want with Him in my life.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
For the past week, I have had one of the worst allergy attacks of my life. I am used to allergies. I have had them for years, they are bad every spring, I take a variety of drugs to ward off the worst symptoms and wait them out until the pollen and all that craziness has died down and I get back to normal. This year they have been particularly bad though, maybe because I can't take any of my usual cocktail of OTC drugs. I have been miserable, not sleeping, and keeping poor Michael up in the process. At my doctor appointment this week I asked him about it and he prescribed a nasal spray that he assured me would not affect that baby at all, but would help me. I then went through 24 hours of struggling with whether that was true, should I take it or just suffer through for the good of the baby. I don't want to do anything that might hurt our child, but I realized that that attitude was not about protection for the baby, but was more about me living in fear. If I truly believe that God is all-powerful and that he is knitting this child together and knows all about him, then surly I can trust Him to not let this medication have any effect on my child. I had to come to grips with that, and repend to the Lord of my spirit of fear and recommit to living my life in Him and trusting Him.
This all happened last night. Then this morning, in reading the blog of a wise friend, it hit me that I need to pray to be delivered from these allergies. I have been praying that my child will not be afflicted with allergies, but I did not pray to God to take them away from me. Why not? Because I have had them all my life, I am used to them, I expect them? Is it worse than that? In some way do I enjoy the 'suffering' or my husband feeling bad for me? I pray to God for deliverance for the 'big things' that occur in life - do I not consider this a 'big thing?' The more I have thought about it, I believe these allergy attacks come from the devil. God doesn't want me suffering and miserable. He doesn't want me feeling like I need to be confined indoors instead of out enjoying his nature during this beautiful time of year. He doesn't want me sick or suffering, any more than I want my baby sick or suffering. I am His child and He wants good things for me.
So, I am praying. Better late than never, I am asking God to deliver me from the allergies. Not because I am fearful of the medicine, but because I believe that is what He wants, and I want to be in His will, I want to reflect Him image. Will you join me in that prayer, for deliverance from my allergies, and anything that may be holding you back in your life that you haven't recognized as such?
Since I haven't been working (truly a blessing from Him) I have been struggling with my days. Contrary to what so many people think about being bored if they weren't at work, I can't seem to find enough hours in the day to keep up with the house, errands, special projects, things to help out Michael, working out, getting ready for Baby, and spending time with God. Many days I have been waking up already feeling some stress about what all I need to get done that day and how I am going to accomplish it. Today was different though. I still have a lot to do, but felt called to spend some time praying and checking out some blogs while eating breakfast. These reminded me anew how great our God really is. I am starting my day a little 'behind' according to my agenda, but I think I am right on track for God's agenda, and isn't that what really matters?
I'm glad He showed me what to with myself for a few minutes this morning. I want to live in Him all the time. I want to reside in His will. It is amazing how, when I do that, everything else just seems to fall into place, or doesn't seem to matter. I know that, yet still at times I let myself get caught up in the world. Not today!
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Here is an example that happened to me this week. On Monday I was thinking about our baby. I love this little guy so much already that it sometimes brings me to tears. I was thinking about all the wonderful things that I want to give this baby. I want him to have the world. But it hit me that, most of all, I want to give him God. I want to teach Him about Jesus, I want to model a good relationship with God. I want to take him to church, teach him to pray, raise him in a Christian community. I pray that he will know God and walk with Him all his life. Anything outside of that, all the material possessions, aren't as important. So, I spent some time in prayer and told God all of that. I asked Him to help me raise my chlid in Him, and told Him that I would trust Him for the rest, for all the material 'things' that I want him to have. With me not working these days the idea of all the 'things' we need and the cost of them has taken a bit more prominence in my mind.
On Tuesday, I was surprised to find a box on our porch. It was a very generous gift off of our registry. Most people don't even know we are registered yet, as I have just been trying to get that done. We couldn't find a card or anything, and spent several hours wondering where it came from before we finally found a packing slip. A friend had sent it out of the blue. A coincidence that just 24 hours earlier I had told God I would trust Him to provide for this baby? I don't think so. He is so good!!!! It was like He just wanted to show me that He heard me and He loves that I am trusting Him and He is confirming that He will provide. I love Him!
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Some of you may know that I recently resigned from my job. I am now a stay-at-home-mom! It is truly exciting, and God really has set me free. Needless to say, there was a lot of detail, thought, prayer, agonizing over, and discussing this decision. It was a long process and I won't bore you with the details, but the important thing is that I learned so much from God as I went through it.
I learned that God does speak to me. He gives me discernment, and I need to grow in my ability to accept that from Him without questioning it. I spent a lot of time in that questioning period, wondering if this was really what God wanted or if it was coming from me. A very wise friend pointed out James 1:1-8 that really helped with that. I realized that God was putting this on my heart because it was His desire. I went throught a very different situation, but with similar questioning about whether I was hearing from God or myself, over the past two years. I only just recently had it confirmed through multiple people in my community that what I was hearing in that situation was from God. And this time I came to that realization faster. So I am learning! He is working in me! That discernment and being able to hear from Him are things I have been praying for for quite awhile, and it is incredible to see those prayers answered!
I also learned that God wants me to be free. Free from evil situations, free from dealing with unethical people, free from concerns about money/finances/security. I'm not saying those things won't come up in various ways at different points in my life. but for them to be all-consuming, taking all of my energy, and robbing me of my joy isn't right. As another good friend put it, God is giving me the joy of this pregnancy and hearing my baby's heartbeat for the first time, and all sorts of other miraculous things. He gives me that joy, and Satan has no right to rob me of it. He can only steal it from me if I let him. So, I am not letting him.
Embarking on this new phase of my life is exciting and scary all at the same time. It is different than anything I have done before. It is out of the normal for me. I know I will be questioned by various people about this decision, and a lot of society will not understand it. But I do. And God does. And my family and community does. I am doing what God wants, and it is the most liberating thing there is. There is still a lot to figure out and work through, but the bottom line is that God is on my side. This is what He wanted, and He isn't going to abandon me now. He will keep showing me how to move forward, I just need to keep allowing Him to do that. This freedom is spilling over into other areas of my life - more to come on that later.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I have given this baby and this pregnancy to God. He is watching over us and will protect and guide and develop us. I don’t have to worry about every little thing I eat or drink or do. I don’t have to religiously read every website and book out there, or pour over the ingredients of every product I may eat or use or touch. Those things don’t make me a Godly mother. Praying over my child, his/her future, our parenting skills, our family relationship, those things are important. Spending time reading the Word instead of labels – that will ground us. So, not only do I not have to worry, but I don’t have to worry about worrying. I am so grateful to serve a God that provides and takes care of me. I am so thankful that He doesn’t want me to worry, and doesn’t grade me on those things. He loves me, and wants me to have life to the full and find joy in Him. How awesome is He?!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
I am blessed to be part of such a group. If one of us is having a personal issue they can call anyone else to talk about it and get prayer and support. If a large concern comes up everyone will drop their plans for the evening to get together and help. If someone needs help painting a bedroom or moving to a new house, someone is on board to help out. If someone is struggling with a ‘biggie:’ considering a job change, a serious illness in the family, a move, a major temptation to sin, marital problems, financial problems, lack of faith, intimacy issues….you get the point…it is all fair game. There is no judgment, no secrets, just love and acceptance and grace and help. It’s not the easiest thing to find, and like any relationship it has to be nurtured and grown, but it is such a beautiful thing. You will be amazed at how God will use these people in your community to grow you! How one of them will speak something that perfectly confirms what you have been thinking or feeling. How someone will have been through exactly what you are going through and has advice on how to help. How someone will commit to pray for you and follow up with you as you work through something. How God uses you to build each other, develop each other, and speak His words to each other. I am so blessed by these people in my life, my community. I am so excited for the growth we will experience together, and for the community they will provide for our child as he/she grows!
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Wow, that was kind of depressing to write, but necessary because it gets me to my point. God wants to give us joy!!! He does. He is our father and He loves us. Who of you would not want your children to have joy? Here are several verses that speak to this point:
Deuteronomy 16:15For seven days celebrate the Feast to the LORD your God at the place the LORD will choose. For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.
John 15:11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
John 16:24Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
God wants us to have joy, but He needs to be the source of that joy. It is easy to find moments of joy: A fun night out with friends. A weekend to sleep in and relax. An upcoming trip. The anticipated arrival of a new baby. A day of shopping (or golfing or whatever it is you like to do.) But that joy is fleeting. It is fun for the moment, but does not last. God offers us lasting joy. His joy can fill us during those fun times, but also during the tough ones I mentioned first. His joy can sustain me and make me smile even when I am having the most miserable day at work. His joy can pick me up even when I am not feeling well. His joy can bring a smile to my lips and a song to my heart as I am just walking down the street.
His word tells me I need to ask for this joy, and I need to trust Him for it, and He will make it complete. I have found that, in order to have this joy, I need to keep my focus on Him all day. From the moment I first wake up in the morning I need to be praying. As I am getting my day started I need to praise Him for all the wonderful things He is and does. I need to repent for the areas of sin in my life. I need to ask Him for what I need, instead of trying to figure it out on my own. I need to slow down to hear Him in my life. And when I do that, consistently throughout the day, He gives me joy!
Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means an expert on this! The reason I am learning all of this is because right now I am struggling with not having that inner joy in my life. Sure, there are many things in my life to be joyful about. Case in point, this little baby I can’t wait to meet. But, I also realize it is so unfair of me to pin my joy on this child. Or my husband, or a friend. They cannot bring me lasting joy. That is not their job; it is not in their make up. And if I focus all my joy on the excitement of this coming child that puts a really unfair expectation on him or her. Not that I can’t be joyful about the baby, and find joy in his/her development and the time we will spend together, but that needs to be outside of the deep inner joy that only God can give me. Otherwise I am expecting way too much from this child, and setting him/her up to fail those expectations. And the same can be said for my spouse, my parents, my friends. I can have joy with all of them, but they cannot be the source of my joy.
This is a learning process for me. I am trying to learn more about how I access God’s joy, how to internalize it and make it part of my daily life. What about you? Does anyone out there have more insight into God’s joy and integrating it into your daily life? I would love to learn!
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
And it gives me a whole new appreciation for God’s love for me. How much He loves me, His child. How much He cares for me and wants good things for me and wants to grow and develop me. He has such plans for me, if I would just take the time to know him and understand the plan He has laid out for me. He wants the best for me, and is going to do everything He can (and everything I will let Him do) to grow me and mature me and make me a good person and to give me a good life. He speaks to me, even if I don’t always understand what He is saying or take the time to hear His words. Just like this baby will grow and learn and eventually understand what I am saying, if I spend time in God’s word and in a community of believers and in prayer I will learn to understand Him, and how to have a more meaningful conversation with Him, and understand what He is telling me in my life. I am His child, and He is raising me every day.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
I am excited by the changes God is working in my life. I am learning to better communicate with God, and with Michael. I am hearing Him in so many ways, and learning to rely on Him when I can't even understand myself. I feel so loved and cared for that God provides for me and watches out for me in my down times, and provided me with such a wonderful husband to do the same. How blessed can one girl be?
Sunday, March 15, 2009
God has been so good! So, Michael and I had always agreed we didn’t want to ‘try’ to get pregnant, but just take away barriers and let it happen naturally. So, in early November we quit preventing, but that was it. No charting, no looking at dates or anything else. I kinda had this feeling in mind that December was the month, but didn’t give it much thought. I was getting more and more excited about the prospect of having a baby as time went by, and the more I thought about it, I started to think maybe the focus on December wasn’t from me, but was from God. So, imagine my disappointment when I got my period on December 20th. I was so frustrated and disappointed. Then, on December 28th I had a message from a friend asking if I was pregnant, saying that she had a feeling. We had not told anyone we were even thinking of a baby at this point, so her message was out of nowhere. It hit me that this was God, confirming what he told me. The science told me that I probably wouldn’t get pregnant in December, but the fact that a couple of spiritual friends brought it up to me in those last days of December and early January confirmed it to me in different ways really hit home, and I prayed very hard that God would show me how He was speaking to me. I want to hear Him more. I didn’t want this idea of December to be of me, I wanted it to be His plan or not happen, so prayed a lot about it. Then, I started having all sorts of symptoms that made me think perhaps I was pregnant. But still, I had felt all of that before and it was just PMS. So, I continued to pray. I waited to take a pregnancy test until I was sure my period was late, since mine is never that reliable. I took a test on Saturday morning, and I remember being so excited. I remember suddenly feeling hot and my heart was pounding as I went to tell Michael the news. He hugged me, but cautioned not to get my hopes up. I went to the gym and while I was running it started snowing, just a little bit. That right there was a sign to me from God, confirming this miraculous gift He was giving us. I have always loved the snow, and recently I have felt that God gives me snow at special times to let me know of His love. On the way home from running errands I got some more tests. I waited for Michael to get home to take them, and I could tell he was as anxious as me. I was trying to stay cool, putting off taking it, and he wanted to hurry up and do it. He read the results of the second one – positive again! We were so excited, went to dinner with friends trying to figure out how to hide the fact that I wasn’t drinking. Sunday he asked when I was going to take another test. At first I wasn’t going to, thinking I should just trust God and not need a confirmation, but then I thought ‘Why not, God wants us to enjoy this and this is fun!’ So I took it, and for half a second had Michael going that it came back negative.
That Monday I was so excited to call the doctor, thinking they would want me to come in that day. I was kind of disappointed that they don’t want to see me until 8 weeks! But, I left a message with some questions, got a call back with some answers, and found out, because of the Factor V (a blood clotting disorder I have) they want me to see a specialist sooner. Yea! Factor V is good for something! Then I started to question my motivation behind it- did I force this to happen- but Michael assured me I did not. If they had said no need for anything special I would have been fine with that. Then I was worried that the specialist they were recommending might not be on my plan. I searched the website and couldn’t find him, started to let that worry me. But Tuesday morning I prayed about it and asked God to please let him be on my plan. Finally found his name on the Christ hospital website and then searched him on Cigna and it looks like he is fine. God is so good! Everything is working out so well.
I am praying away fear, sending away the evil spirits that are trying to attack me and make me worry about every little thing. This is God’s child, and He can take care of him or her better than I can if I just let him. Psalm 27:1 says “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” And Philippians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” I trust Him, and I am so thankful!