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.