Thursday, December 9, 2010

When the Worrying Gets Tough

"So I tell you do not worry what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body as to what you will put on... who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?...So do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itself."

Worry is a common topic among Christian circles and we humans worry about everything. Our money...our relationships...our time...our investments...getting sick...losing weight...gaining and on and on. Worry has been linked to alot of physical problems the first being that chronic worriers often get sick more than people who are laid back. I have personally struggled with worry for as long as I can remember. It is a constant struggle to send my thoughts down a different path when they want to wander the halls of "what if".

Lastnight I went to bed with a sore throat. Nothing to worry about for the average person, but for me it threatened to consume me all night. You see October of 2009, I went to be with a sore throat that got worse all night long. By morning it was so raw I could hardly swallow. I called the dr and they asked me to come in right away for a strep test. While using the restroom at the office I began to bleed and I was rushed into a room for an emergency ultrasound. There I lay on the table and watched the dr and nurses glance at eachother with worried eyes. They talked in hushed voices and left me to stare at the screen showing a baby so small I could barely see her. The dr fumbled over her words and I had to concentrate to make statements like "too small" and "will lose the baby soon" out. My strep test was negative and by the time I got home my throat was fine. I however dissolved into a puddle of tears as the next 48 hours took me through the hell of losing a child. I relived all that lastnight and have watched for any warning signs all day today. Losing a child is unique in that it's the only time you watch someone you love die, from your own body. It is horrific. So in my mind, when Jesus commands us not to worry, why did he not put a clause in there for cases like mine where it seems impossible not to worry? Doesn't He know there's only so much a human heart can take?

I think the answer is found in 1 Peter 5:7
"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you".

The verses in Matthew command us not to worry, but then here God gives us something to do with our worry because He knows we still will. Here He gives us an action plan. When overwhelmed with thoughts of "what if" we need to bundle them all together and hurl them onto God's back and let Him carry it for us. That frees us up to crawl into His arms and let Him comfort us from what haunts us. That's what I did lastnight. Each time the memories of the past or the fear of the future threatened to choke all hope, I repeated the 23rd psalm to myself and let Jesus rock me back to sleep. Friends this is tough stuff. I share my story with you so that you can embrace the depth of what God asks of us and offers to help us carry it out. I have about six months left to go before I can hold my sweet baby and I know that there will be many more days filled with fear and worry. But it's comforting to know that the same God that commands me not to worry has also given me a way of escape when I do and it always leads me back to Him

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

To Delete...or Not to Delete

I, unlike 98% of the people of the world, do not have a facebook profile. Shocking I know...outside of it being a little too invasive for me, I feel panicky at the thought of having another thing to keep up with. My toddler, keeping my food down (still having some prego sickness), the odds and ends of the day, and two blogs is just enough for me thank you very much! I must admit though that while I do not have a facebook profile, I DO have the password to my moms (no I didn't steal it...she gave it to me). On occasion I get on there to snoop into other people's lives and see what pictures have been posted. I love my mother dearly and know that she never does this on purpose, but I am always aghast at the pictures of me that end up circulating online. While everyone else in the picture looks lovely, I am always left to look about 100 pounds heavier than I think I am. You see I have the face shape that hairstylists call "round". While it puts me in the category to try almost every hair cut and style on the planet, it also means that my face is where I gain weight first...awesome. It also means that if I look at a camera wrong...say lift my chin instead of pointing it down (thank you modeling and photography classes)...I instantly add about three inches to each cheek which equals to an easy 20 pounds. In other words, all those cookies I've denied myself...second helpings at dinner...extra time spent on the treadmill...POINTLESS from the tilt of my chin. And because it is not my facebook, I am not at liberty to post something clever like "Images look larger than real life" or "Don't believe everything you see". Sigh...

One of these lovely umpa lumpa pictures of me is also on rotation on our computer. It was taken... get this BELOW me...imagine the multiple chins from that one! I am holding Olivia and we are laughing hysterically. I glanced at it this morning and muttered the usual "hate that picture" and then stopped in my tracks. Yes, I might have about four chins in that picture and my hair looks like something a horse chewed on, BUT I am gazing at my daughter sharing a moment of bliss that I can never repeat. With all that the Lord has blessedly put on my plate, I don't have time to remember to "point my chin down" in every picture...shoot half of them I haven't had time to brush my hair or put on mascara! But that's ME...I am a mother of four with about 20lbs more than I'd like (pre current pregnancy) and hair that if it's not fixed will stick up all over the place. I can spend the next 10 years dodging the camera or making remarks about less than perfect pictures...OR...I can embrace the moments and forget about what people think when they look at the photos. I think I'd rather have an album full of pictures of me and my precious family where I don't look good, than not be in them at all. And chances are, by the time I have the time to tilt my chin, fix my hair, and put my mascara on...I WILL have four more chins than I do now! God does have a sense of humor you know...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Can't Say it Any Better

I was going to write something about suffering and the hope we have in Christ and then I read a post on one of my favorite blogs. I follow this one daily and have laughed and cried at so many things Missy has to say. I have never met her...have never carried on a conversation with her...but the blessing of internet
blog-os-phere has given me this dear friend whose gift of writing amazes me everyday. So without further ado let me introduce you to an awesome blog Please read the post for Dec 4th...I promise it will bless your heart!

Praise be to the God of all hope!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Our Father

Olivia is at the age where she does EVERYTHING I do. If I sneeze, she pretends to sneeze...if I put my hands in my pockets, she shoves her hands in hers too...and whatever I say she does her best to repeat. Although it can be a little tiresome, it is pretty adorable and is quite a compliment to me as her mom. Nothing makes me feel more loved than to have her try to be like me.
Yesterday I came across this verse,"Just as a father has compassion on His children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him" Ps 103 (fear meaning to regard)
So many people hold a view of God that makes Him appear angry and distant. They hold more anxiety about God than love. Sadly this fear was fostered by the anger and distance of their earthly father. This is the view that satan wants us to have though. He wants us to be afraid of God and hold back our hearts from loving Him and being loved perfectly.
People often say that they would come to God more easily if they could get their lives "together" first. The sad thing is that without God, we CAN'T get it "together". God is the only Healer for our soul, Rescuer for our hearts, and source of perfect and unconditional Love. He is waiting for us to come to Him regardless of how long it's been since we read our Bibles or prayed for someone other than ourselves. And this is what really struck me. When Olivia disobeys me or ignores the instructions I'm attempting to give her, it doesn't lessen the joy I feel when she reaches out for me. I love her for who she is...good trates and bad one too. I love Olivia with an imperfect human love. It's the best I can give so long as we live here in an imperfect world. Even still, my love for her doesn't change when she's doesn't change when she forgets the things I've told her...and it doesn't make me wish I hadn't been given her as my daughter. Now, revisit the verse from Ps 103. God likens His love for us to that of a human father. The picture that we get is of our Heavenly Father smiling adoringly as we read His word, help others around us, and attempt to be like Him. I think He also smiles as we make mistakes and fall into the very hole we dug for someone else to trip in. He knows our weaknesses and adores us anyway! Does it make His heart sad when we sin? Of course, but it doesn't change the joy He feels about us. Nor does it change how eager He is to spend time with us.
So, put away your fears dear friend and come to Jesus just as you are. He delights in His children even more than we could imagine. Run to Him and you will find nothing less than wide open arms.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Blessing Those in Need

I know I have been pretty slack in the blogging department lately. It has been all I can do to keep myself from losing the contents of my stomach ever since we found out I am pregnant. I was pretty sick with Olivia and am taking this as a good sign although I am ready to move on to another good sign as soon as possible...maybe feeling the baby kick or something? :)
Anyway, due to my state of constant nausea, I have had cancer patients on my heart alot lately. During chemo they feel the same sick stomach that I do...often MUCH worse. Rather than the hope of a baby coming in nine months, they are left with a simple hope that the chemo/radiation works. A dear friend of mine seems to be losing this battle. He will try one more round of chemo and if his body can't take it, he will go home within three months.
So where am I going with all this? Often when we feel sick or suffer something physically, it can seem pointless and like a waste of our time. It slows us down and gets in the way of our plans. However, when we take the time to pray for those around us that are experiencing the same thing or even worse, God redeems our time and blesses someone else. Along with prayer, reach out to that person you've got on your heart. Often a meal, a card, or the offer to come and listen can be the very encouragement that person needs to keep going. A friend of mine's sister volunteered at a hospital that housed newborn crack babies. Her only job was to sit and hold the babies...lavishing them with love and words of affection. Sounds like something Jesus would do! We live in a world with sickness and pain...often right down the street from us. Let's reach out and bless someone!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


A few weeks ago I sang a song in church for my dad. It's a song written by Cindy Morgan titled "How Could I Ask for More". The words highlight the daily blessings in life such as the greeting of daylight and the comfort of the moon...changes in season and relationships...even the blessings that come out of hard circumstances. It hit me very deeply. I am currently pregnant with our fourth baby. When Brian and I were engaged and the topic of children came up (and it did often) we always said that we wanted four kids. After having Olivia we were even more sure of it since we found even more joy in parenting than we could have dreamed. As I was singing the song, it really hit me that although life has turned out far different than what I had planned...God has given us four children. One here to physically hug and kiss, two waiting for us in heaven with Jesus, and one cradled inside my womb. How could I ask for more?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The goodness of God doesn't rest upon my circumstances....and I actually believe that now. I have been a Christian for twenty two years and I have just now come to this conclusion. Simple and basic religion right? Ah, but how different we tend to think when life (and God if you believe in His sovereignty) sends us something entirely different from "good". I walked my teens years down a lonely road as I passionately pursued a relationship with God. I didn't go to the movies that had foul language and sexual content; chose not to listen to music that preached the opposite of God's ways; I embraced the idea of courtship rather than casually giving my heart away to boys; and... I adopted the idea that God would repay me for these sacrifices. I don't even think I realized it at the time, but I envisioned God's goodness looking like a rewarding adulthood since I had given up so much for Him. The problem with this thinking is that what God possesses simply by existence, I degraded into the realization of my happiness. I took the God of the universe and made Him into the image of a genie. The marriage that I had waited for with longing crumbled just two years into it. With a broken heart I looked up at the sky and asked "why?" Was this the reward I got for saving myself for my husband? Three more years later, I found the evidence that I was miscarring a second time and did not even bother looking at the sky. I closed my Bible and shut down my heart. I felt disappointed, angry, and downright hurt. I had given everything for God and He in return gave me sorrow...or so it seemed. Thank God He didn't walk away from me when I did. Last Thursday was what would have been our third baby's birthday. I lay in the fetal position hugging a stuffed animal crying like I never have before. I neglected my husband and daughter, ignored the disaray that my house was in, left the dirty dishes in the sink, and cried. I wallowed in my sorrow in ways I did not know were possible. It was one of the longest days of my life. I went to bed completely defeated, feeling guilty for my attitude, and a little embarrased by my explosive emotions. But that day will turn out to be one of the most pivitol points in my walk with the Lord. You see in letting out all the anger, and bitterness, and downright ugliness that was eating away at my heart; there was nothing left to uncover. No more secret more acting one way because I knew I should while covering how I really felt. No, in bringing all my feelings to the Lord He tenderly separated what was true and ok from what was killing me inside. And He showed me His Goodness. God is good by nature...and that is indisputable. We were made in His image, therefore it is not for us to tell Him what He is and is not. But more than that, He is UNCHANGEABLE. This is where it hit me. If God was good back when I was a passionate young person with more dreams than sense in my head, then He was good when I spent my third anniversary in a counselors office...when I experienced the death of two children. Why? Because He is good and He is unchangeable. The true meaning of the word goodness is "excellence or value". When my circumstances are not as I would like them to be and I look at God and question His goodness, I am questioning His value. Whoa...takes it to a whole different level. Do you see how insulting it is? I based the value of my Creator and Savior on whether or not my life was going how I wanted! And He loved me anyway. You see God wasn't afraid of my questioning...wasn't afraid of my silence...wasn't afraid of my anger. Was He grieved? You better believe it, but He loved me right through it. And now that my feelings are out and I have confessed the sin that I was holding onto, I FEEL His love for me and I can honestly say that I no longer believe His goodness rests upon what happens tomorrow...or ten years from now. God is good because He is God...the Alpha and Omega...Beginning and End. Yes, friends He is good and excellent and the most valuable being in existence. Chances are, life is going to hold more hurt and sorrow than we ever pictured for ourselves; but instead of questioning God for letting it happen...let's run to Him for healing.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tears for Nadia

Today I looked out at the pouring rain
and I missed you
Tomorrow would be your birthday
I think God's crying too

He gave you as a gift to me
and I miss you
Your face and eyes I never got to see
and God's crying too

Some people say that I should try for another
but I miss you
Your place can't be taken by a sister or brother
so God's crying too

Time heals wounds...I suppose it might
I still miss you
I think about you day and night
God's crying for me too

I'm glad your safe with Jesus up above
yet I miss you
No pain, no tears, only surrounded by love
yet God's crying too

The tears that are falling off my face and from the sky
because I miss you
No break in the clouds and now I know why
because God is crying too

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Simple Commandments

The simple life seems to be the new American dream. TV shows, magazines, and blogs have been set up to help us down size, organize, and weed out things that complicate our days. I LOVE all these things because I did a HUGE clean out this summer and my house feels so much better! My closets are breathing again, Olivia's toys are no longer overtaking the house, and my excess things are being used by other people. Fabulous! I've also been searching to simplify my spiritual life and I have come up with some thoughts in regards to that. You know them by heart and will probably role your eyes at my epiphany, but here it is. Basically the Christian life can be summed up by the two greatest commandments.

1)Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul, mind, and strength.

2)Love your neighbor as yourself

Simple right? Then why do we make it so complicated? I often hear people say that they would read the Bible more if it would address specific areas of their life more clearly. But lets think about it. If I am truly loving God with everything in me (mind, soul, and strength) then I would be walking in obedience with Him, able to hear His Holy Spirit loud and clear. When decisions arise: Move cross country and take the new job, marry the person I'm in love with, end my marriage or go to counseling...yadayadayada...the answer won't be written in the sky, but my heart's devotion to the Lord will clear my foggy mind. On the heels of a tragic situation where you're forced to decide if you still trust God, a heart that truly and wholly loves God, knows that trust is the glue that keeps your heart loving Him. On a relational level, "love your neighbor as yourself" is sort of easy since we deduce that we need to love others the way we want to be loved. However, when you have been treated unloving by someone, the eye for eye things starts to give way to justifying payback. Jesus knew this and addressed it in John 13:34 by saying, "A new commandment I give to you that you love one another, even as I have loved you." Whoa! So now we're forced to love one another not out of selfish love, but out of sacrificial Christ has loved us. Slander, malice, hatred...we are called to respond in love. Accusations, lies, deceit...we are called to respond in love. This commandment leaves no room for payback, gossip, or the cold shoulder. Natural feelings? YES! But this is where the simplicity of the Christian life steps in. If I truly and wholly love the Lord with all my mind, soul, and strength then this second commandment is not that hard after all. In loving the Lord the way I should, I understand the grace He has given me. And in understanding the extent of His grace towards me, I am now able to offer on a small scale the same grace that ransomed my soul. If we try to live out the second commandment without the first, we will fail miserably because human love can only go so far. But by throwing ourselves into the arms and grace of our Heavenly Father, we love because we are loved...we forgive because we are forgiven...The Christian life only becomes complicated when we get our focus off of these commandments and try to do it on our own. Am I saying that life isn't hard? NO! Of course it is. Am I saying that living for Christ is problem free? Quite the opposite. But, when it seems overwhelming and confusion prevails, check your heart according to the commandments and see if the fog doesn't lift a bit.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Psalm from My Heart

Here I am Lord...on my knees...arms stretched wide
Only You know what's going on inside
My heart is Yours truly today and tomorrow
Learning that my heart will always feel sorrow

Hope...not a feeling...not a thought...but a truth
A gift from You Father...something absolute
I don't know what tomorrow holds
The future something I dread like a cold
Fear wants me dwelling..wants me hiding...always wants more
Death wants it's shadows to cover ever-more

But You are alive and You offer me this truth
Your love is everlasting, ever-faithful, the same yesterday
today and forever. I will praise You Lord, I will praise You.
Today can have it's doubts, but I will trust in You. My True and Blessed Friend. You hide me in the shadow of Your wings and there I will take refuge. So I say to you fear...You cannot come here. I say to you doubt...there is no room for you. I am in the presence of the Almighty. I am His and He is mine. King, Creator, Eternal, and Divine. Hope Spreads it's wings as He Himself takes me up away from here and gives me a glimpse of His glory. Amen and Amen

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ray of Hope

Nadia's birthday is coming up...September 30th. I had to go to Babies r Us today to get my friend a shower gift. I haven't been in that store in forever and was overwhelmed by the magnitude of emotions that I felt. As luck would have it there was a plethora of pregnant women there and I could only wonder if they knew how lucky they are. I'm not naive enough to think their lives any better than mine, but do they understand the beauty of what is going on inside them? Anyway, I let myself walk every aisle. Poor Brian chased Olivia while I aimlessly walked the swing aisle and dreamed of what Nadia would have looked like in them...would she have liked it...or preferred being held? I traced the baby outfits and remembered upon finding out we were pregnant, getting excited for her to wear Olivia's infant Halloween costume. And as I stood in front of the nursing items, I found myself cradling my stomach...probably weird to the average person, but for's all I've got. The only memory I have of my sweet baby and me together is the short time she was in my tummy. Pregnancy is such a gift. Although I will not see her face here, I can remember her being a part of me. Nothing...not even death can take that away. Finally, I picked out what I had come for, paid, and helped my husband separate our screaming toddler from the bike she had become attached to. I felt the healing power of God's grace in that I did not cry this time out of anguish...but rather peace. It was a welcome ray of hope

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

God's Will

The subject of God's Will is maybe the most talked about aspect of Christianity. Young people with a passion for God seek it while forming their desires for the future. People involved in tragedy search for the heart of God in the midst of it. Some people take it down to the very small daily choices like what to wear or who to talk to. It's undeniable that God's will is very important and thankfully the Bible talks about it quite a bit.

Micah 6:8 clearly states the will of God, "do justice, love mercy,and walk humbly with your God."

Romans 12:2 commands us to "not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove the will of God"

James 1:27 says that caring for "widows and orphans, and keeping oneself unstained by the world is pure religion"

These verses seem to put far more emphasis on WHO we are than on WHAT we do. Naturally, what we do will flow out of who we are. The thing is though, if you do not trust the heart of God, you will not passionately seek His will. It is impossible to seek the Lord with longing while still waiting in fear to see what He bestows upon you. And take it from me friends, I know all about it. I have lived far too many days seeking Him in His word, while fearing that His Plan for my life includes another miscarriage. But praise God He is renewing my mind and I have come to see the problem with the way I have been seeking His will. I have been looking at my life in a very selfish way. It's as though I have set up a meeting with God and asked Him to bring the blueprint of my life for me to look over. I've wanted to catch a glimpse of any future pain I might need to prepare myself for and also see if there is one more baby in the picture for me. The problem is that I am asking the wrong question. The question should never be "what is God's will for my life?" But rather, "How is my life going to fit into God's big picture?" You see I was created for God...not the other way around. If He had been created for me like a genie in a bottle, I think I would have fired Him by now for allowing so much pain! But when I look at myself being created for Him, even pain has a purpose. Sure, I miss my baby girls, but since they are eternal beings, I did my part in God creating them in my womb so that they might live eternally. The small picture is that I am here on earth missing them. The big picture is that I will have all eternity to spend with my three (or more if I am blessed) children! Placing myself in God's picture instead of mine takes the worry out of the future and it gives me that trust that I seek. Now that life is not about me, I trust God to accomplish His will...His big picture and take care of me in the process. Since personal happiness is part of the journey, but not the goal; I can take it off of being the goal I'm trying to reach as well. I guess my point is that I am focusing on the heart of God instead of the will of God. I find hope in the future not because "God has a perfect plan for my life"...who came up with that phrase anyway? No, I find hope in the future because I know God loves me...simple as that. Oh that we could grasp how wide and deep and high is the love our Savior has for us. I think it would change everything.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Sleep Trick Experts Don't Talk About

Olivia's first night in the hospital upon leaving my womb, she spent getting bathed and swaddled while I slept like a mac truck had hit me. The second night however, Brian and I chose to have her "room in" and thus got a glimpse of the wonderful world of sleeping with Olivia. We had dreams of her breathing deeply nestled in my arms and waking only to yawn and stretch and maybe make a cute baby noise...boy were we in for a surprise when our little bundle flexed her golden pipes for 6 hours straight!!! Walking, nursing, singing, swaddling, unswaddling...even a nurse coming in to lend us newbies some help did NOTHING to quiet our screamer. We figured it must be the hospital and hoped things would be different once we got home. In hushed anticipation we layed our sleeping newborn in her handpicked perfect cosleeper with the handpicked perfect propper upper thing in the handpicked perfect pajamas only to have her wake up screaming 2 seconds later. Thus began our sleeping (or not sleeping) for oh about two years. :) Olivia is 27 months old and has slept through the night about four times and yes this is the medical terminology for sleeping through the night which lends a whopping 6 hours to parents. I read every magazine, talked to endless different parents, and pleaded with Livi to please sleep! As time wore on, I grew frustrated with the typical "let her cry it out" spiel and began to keep my torturous nighttime problems to myself. When people would ask how she was sleeping, I would often smile and say "fine" which was true...for her. If you watched her level of daytime energy or observed her happy mood on any given day, she WAS fine...beyond fine and that is what scared me most! Maybe she really didn't need sleep! Maybe she could survive waking up every 45 minutes (yes...45 minutes) for 1 1/2 yrs and be fine. Maybe she would never outgrow it! Panic would overcome me as I filled my coffee cup and gazed at the only thing keeping me together. Truth be told I did try the "cry it out" method...for 20 minutes...couldn't stand her crying...sorry. I tried holding her. I tried nursing her. I tried not nursing her. I tried sleeping in another room (hard to do when you live in a 1 bedroom apt). I tried everything shy of medicating her..ok I did give her Benadryl once or twice...or five times. And then one day it hit me. Olivia is not a deep sleeper and I don't think she will ever be. I mean a plane could change course three hours away and she would sense the change in the air. There really honestly is NOTHING I can do about it! And suddenly, that's ok. Someday she will call me in the middle of the night to let me know that a dog four streets away was barking when she got up to use the bathroom and I will welcome her call. You see, God is giving me new eyes...eyes into the future and I know that someday I will look back and laugh at my little night owl. I will laugh at the tricks I tried to get my baby to sleep. And I will MISS IT. These days Olivia still wakes up about two or three times a night and although it doesn't take much to get her back to sleep, it does for me! But I am learning to take those awake moments (or hours) and put them to use. Somtimes I hold her and enjoy that she's not trying to get up and do something. Sometimes I sit and watch her breathe which brings me joy unlike anything else. And sometimes it is my greatest prayer time since I am not distracted. So I guess if a mother came to me and asked what sleep method I use, I would be inclined to tell her that I do my favorite method...the go with what your child needs method. Harder from night to night, but oh so worth it in the end.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Way of Tenderness

While this blog is about hope, it's also a place where I like to share what God is teaching me and address some of the things that Christians are facing. I am currently reading Abba's Child by Brennan Manning and have been challenged time and time again to rethink what it means to be a compassionate Christian. I'm not sure about you, but I feel like I encounter more angry Christians than compassionate Christians. Somewhere along the line, we have gotten so caught up in looking at what people DO that we've forgotten what they ARE.
In the second chapter of his book, Brennan says," The way of tenderness avoids blind fanaticism. Instead it seeks to see with penetrating clarity. The compassion of God in our hearts opens our eyes to the unique worth of each person." He later goes on to say, "Living in the wisdom of accepted tenderness profoundly affects my perception of reality, the way I respond to people and their life situations. How I treat my brothers and sisters from day to day whether they be Caucasian, African, Asian, or Hispanic; how I react to the sin scarred wino on the street; how I respond to interruptions from people I dislike; how I deal with ordinary people in their ordinary unbelief on an ordinary day will speak the truth of who I am more poignantly."
This is such an important truth as this was the way of Jesus. We often site Him being hard on the Pharisees while being tender with sinners, but the truth is He loved them all the same. People are difficult...this is a fact of life. Everyone in your life will hurt you, and you will hurt them! But, this is where the way of tenderness comes in. When someone responds to you in anger, choose the high ground of tenderness and watch as their feelings pour through the mask of rage that hides their pain. Let Jesus be who He is through you, and you will see something quite the opposite of the traditional Christian. People are unique. People are all different. And people are made in the image of God which wins them the ability to be treated as such. A hug after a mean word, a listening ear for an angry rant, and a kind word or prayer is the best gift you can give. Our world is filled with angry people...Christians and non Christians alike. If we truly want to be salt and light, we must embrace the way of tenderness.
Brennan ends the chapter this way, "What is indiscriminate compassion? Take a look at a rose. Is it possible for the rose to say, 'I'll offer my fragrance to good people and withhold it from bad people? Or can you imagine a lamp that withholds its rays from a wicked person who seeks to walk in it's light? It could do that only by ceasing to be a lamp. And observe how helplessly and indiscriminately a tree gives its shade to everyone, good and bad, young and old, high and low; to animals and humans and every living creature - even to the one who seeks to cut it down. This is the first quality of compassion - its indiscriminate character."

Saturday, September 4, 2010


A friend of mine has learned of a young teenage girl that is pregnant, keeping the pregnancy, and wants to give the baby for adoption. The day that I learned this, I spent in anxious anticipation praying and hoping that maybe this baby is part of God's plan for our family. While I was doing my devotions however, a thought hit me like a brick. This baby wouldn't replace Samara and Nadia...wouldn't fill the empty place in my heart that they have left behind...wouldn't make me happy. At first this was distressing to me since it seemed to propel me back to the sad place where I spend alot of my time. But on the heels of despair, hope sprouted wings and brought me to see the high ground. No baby will take their baby will fill their love hole.....and no-one but Jesus Christ will make me happy. This is a freeing realization for me friends. I don't have to fight being sad anymore. I don't have to push myself to be in a better place than I am. I am finally at peace with missing them for the rest of my life...and it's ok. The fact is that the longer that time goes on, the more I miss them. I still have days when I think I cannot possibly get out of bed. Sometimes I think something is wrong with me and that I do finally need to get on antidepressants; but each time I feel my grief is taking too long, I hear God telling me to let it hurt. God is near to the brokenhearted and by remaining in the place of grief, I can smile at the future while feeling the nearness of my Savior. So, maybe we will adopt this sweet baby yet to be born...maybe not. But my hope is built on this. I will miss my babies for the rest of my life....but Jesus is truly all that I NEED.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Choosing to Worship

Worshiping God does not require that we understand or approve of what God has allowed into our lives; it simply requires a heart that desires to trust God and a will that is bent toward obedience to God regardless of our feelings. We worship because He is worthy, not because we necessarily feel like it. And as we worship in the midst of our pain, we are able to gain perspective on that pain. This is costly worship - which makes it all the more worthwhile and precious to God.

Nancy Guthrie

"I Will Rise" by Chris Tomlin (with lyrics)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Gift of Living Without

I ran out this morning to go to the grocery store, post office, and drop off something at our realtor's office. As I got Olivia into the car, I felt EXCITED. Now this might sound strange to the average ear unless you know that I have not had a car in over eight months! I put the "home" in stay at home mom these past few months. Rain or shine, bitter cold or scorching hot; Olivia and I could only travel as far as our bike would take us! The first few weeks were awful and I thought I was going to poke my eyeballs out from boredom, but slowly God taught both livi and me to be content at home. Then two weeks ago some dear friends of ours offered to let us borrow one of their cars while the husband is deployed. What a gift! I used to loathe grocery shopping and getting Olivia in and out of the car, but living without a car has taught me the joy in getting out of the house! At this point you might be wondering why in the world I am sharing this with you. What I am learning is this. Sometimes the seasons in life when God calls us to "live without" are blessings in disguise. When we have to live without something we had become accustomed to having or something that we really wanted, we learn to be content where we are. The loss of a job can open our eyes to what a gift a job is, even if we didn't enjoy it. The loss of trust in a friend can open our eyes to what a rare gift a true friend is. I have often said that the greatest thing that Samara and Nadia taught me is to truly enjoy Olivia. When I think about how I will never get to nurse them, or rock them to sleep, or even put them on timeouts; it makes me treasure the days I have with Olivia. God knows our hearts and He knows how to take even the worst of situations and teach us something Good. Whatever you're having to "live without", ask God to help you be content and then know that the best is yet to come!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hope Stealers

In walking towards hope, I have stumbled upon two big obstacles in the road. I believe these two road blocks to be a few of satan's most powerful tools.

The first hope stealer is fear:
Fear is a feeling that gives satan and the angels of darkness more power than God. It leads us to believe that death, sin, or pain are great enough to break us. This feeling holds us back from fighting sin victoriously, embracing the freedom that trusting God gives us, or enjoying the life we're living today. By choosing hope, we give God our trust and place our confidence in what He can do instead of satan.

Fear leads to

Depression: The feeling of hopelessness that consumes everything. We often feel swallowed by the darkness and fear the power of that darkness.

Defeat: By believing sin to be greater than God, the battle is won in our hearts before we ever even face it. We choose to sin because it seems to be our only option.

Spiritual impotence: By giving fear more power than God, we surrender to satan as being in charge. When we give satan power, God cannot use us.

The second hope stealer is bitterness:
Bitterness is a root in our hearts that stems from a wrong done to us. Left unchecked, bitterness chokes out all joy and the chance to be merciful to others. It consumes us in a way that we cannot see, but everyone around us feels. No matter the source of the wrong done, bitterness always is directed at God. Bitterness makes us believe that God is against us, therefore He is not trustworthy.

Bitterness leads to:

Self absorption: Since bitterness keeps our eyes focused on the wrong that was thrust upon us, we often spend out time telling other people about it, meditating on it alone, and setting up every boundary we can in order to not be hurt again.

Judgementalism: Bitterness keeps us focused on the wrong done to us and the wrong done by and to others. In giving sin greater power than the forgiveness and freedom Christ offers, we begin to judge as only God should judge. Bitter roots always give room to the soil of pride

Spiritual impotence: Much like fear, by listening to satan's lies and focusing on the "power" of hurt and pain gives satan more power than God. When we give sin more credit than the mercy and forgiveness of God, He cannot use us.

Friends, I have seen both of these hope stealers at work in my life. Anytime I contemplate getting pregnant again, I am seized by an inexplicable fear of losing another baby. When I hear a pregnant woman complain about anything related to the child within her womb, I am overwhelmed with bitterness that she gets to be pregnant instead of me. These are satan's tools to keep me enslaved to my flesh and my feelings. God longs to set us free! By acknowledging fear to be a valid feeling, but proclaiming God to be bigger than any of our fears, we give Him the glory He deserves. This also opens our hearts to be encouraged by His Holy Spirit. By acknowledging the bitterness that longs to spread out in our hearts and asking God to forgive us, we open our hearts to receive His mercy and then extend His mercy to others.

The next time you experience fear, read this verse aloud. " if we live, we live for the Lord or if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lords." Romans 14:8

The next time bitterness threatens to choke out all joy read these verses aloud.
" Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you along with all malice. be kind to one another tender hearted forgiving each other just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:31-32

Monday, August 2, 2010

A song for my two girls

When I close my eyes I can see your face
See your soft lips and smell your hair
And I drink it in to fill the place
That your leaving has left open and bare

But in my tears and in my sorrow
I know this is true
Jesus holds you up in heaven
Waiting for me to come too

So, I'll wait; yes I'll wait
Though waiting is so long and so very hard to do
Yes, I'll wait; oh I'll wait
With my heart held open wide, knowing the emptiness inside
Is going to be healed soon
After all this waiting for you

Often in the moments when my grief calls me to cave
Despair leads me to think that all is lost
Giving in to thoughts of self pity, anger, even rage
My heart is weak and beckoned to forget the power in the cross

But in my tears and in my sorrow
I know this is true
When Jesus died He made a way
for me to come see you

So, I'll wait, yes I'll wait
Though the waiting is so long and so very hard to do
Yes, I'll wait, Oh I'll wait
With my heart held open wide, knowing the emptiness inside
Is going to be healed soon
After all this waiting for you

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I was reading Hebrews 3 today when something struck me. The passage refers to many different topics, but the verses that stood out to me were verses 18 and 19
"To whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief."
The primary understanding of these verses is in reference to the Israelites and their unbelief being the reason they were not able to enter the promised land. But today I read it a little different, so bear with me as we take off in another direction. If you backtrack to verse 12, the author is talking to Christians that have allowed their unbelieving heart to fall away from God. Belief is not referring to salvation here, but rather trust. These Christians did not trust the heart of God and in choosing not to trust Him, fell away from faith in the Living God. Now fast forward to verses 18-19 again and it seems to me that those Christians with the unbelieving (distrusting) hearts were told they could not enter His rest. Wow! But it make sense right? If my heart is wary to trust God, how can He give me His rest? Psalm 116:7 says, "Return to your rest oh my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you." Later in Matthew Jesus beckons us with His love by saying, "Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." The rest our God promises us is pure and safe. It is a place where we can lay our weary souls, minds, and hearts. Can you count on your hands the number of days (even hours) that go the way you planned them to? It's enough to drive a person mad! But Jesus calls us to true peace....true rest. Dear friends, if we honestly want the rest Jesus promises, we must TRUST Him. Even if we don't get what we want, or our spouse doesn't say what we need to hear, or the dr tells us something that is out of our control, or the number of our children in heaven is more than here on earth....we can trust HIM. And trust Him we must if we ever want to truly be "at rest". I pray that whatever you're facing today you will stop trying and striving and doing and choose to trust the heart of our God who loves you more than you'll ever know. Then your heart will truly be at rest

Unseen Faith

Faith is the evidence of things unseen....such a picture. I am a visual learner and am far more captivated by things I can see than things that I hear. This worked against me all during school and has been one of the biggest obstacles in my grief journey. I know that my babies are in heaven with Jesus....but I want to SEE them. I have often told God that if there was a way that I could get just one glimpse that they are there, safe and happy that it would put my mind to rest. But that is not true hope is it? Anyone can have hope and faith in the things they see. It is hoping and resting in God being the One we entrust with the UNSEEN that grows our faith.