Expecting . . .

I’ve been learning and writing a lot about faith.  It’s really on my heart, because I have a lot of things right now for which I am expectantly waiting on the Lord.  And I’m trying to wait with faith . . . expect with faith . . . hope with faith.

I am both terrified and excited beyond belief, because later this year my husband and I have decided to do this . . .

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. . . all over again.

This will be my first time being pregnant where it was not an . . . *ahem* . . . “unintended consequence.”  And I am so excited to have this experience of planning, and waiting, and hoping, and praying (Yes, yes . . . I just started singing the Dusty Springfield song in my head, too.) beforehand.  I have had the OMG, SURPRISE! experience.  Now I’m excited to have the other experience as well.

We are not telling any family or friends about our plans until I am pregnant and we actually know the gender of the baby.  So . . . since I am dying inside, to tell someone, I want to share it with all of you!

And boy, oh boy, do we have a lot to get in order beforehand, everything from finances (which are a little haywire), to help with our toddler (which we have n.o.n.e), to just about everything else . . . I mean, we have a crib.  And that’s about it.  But no sweat, right?  I mean, I am a everything-will-work-out / plan-and-prepare type of person.  And I know these things will be just fine.

But THIS is what keeps me up at night.  I am about to undertake the herculean feat of attempting to beat H.G.  For those of you unfamiliar with H.G. I will tell you what it is, by first telling you what it is not.  It is NOT morning sickness.  (Which many an ignorant innocent lady likes to make-believe it is so that they can feel like they sympathize with those who have it.)

H.G. is debilitating, sometimes life-threatening, severe, SEVERE, SEVERE, unrelenting vomiting and nausea during pregnancy.  Those with H.G. are usually hospitalized for some, if not a large portion of their pregnancy, usually have difficulty working, or even caring for themselves, usually require IV fluids on a regular basis to try and prevent miscarriage, are typically given powerful anti-nausea medication developed for cancer patients to “take the edge off,” often become anemic and malnourished due to a total inability to keep food down.  The cause of it is unknown, there is no “cure,” and no reliable “prevention.”  And if you have H.G. the chances are in the 90th percentile that you will have it every time you get pregnant.

And.I.am.going.to.beat.it.

There is some evidence that liver cleanses and vitamin therapies pre-pregnancy can hold it off.  And I am going to try it all – wage an all out offensive attack on this.  But my hope in this must be (as should be everything else) in the Lord.  My clock is ticking with seven months left before we TTC.  And I can use all the prayer I can get.

If asked to describe my past pregnancies in one word, I would say: hell.  I felt absolutely certain that this is what it feels like to be dying.  Not in a drama queen, “OMG, I’m, like, dying!”  I mean, literally, the life force being sucked out of you, my body is slowly shutting down, dying.  And so I am, naturally, a little terrified of intentionally walking into this lions’ den.

But thank God . . . well, maybe that’s all I need to say.  Thank God!  THANK GOD that He is, and He is faithful to me.  May He have mercy on me this time around.  Amen.

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Forgiveness Is Hard – 4 Ways To Keep From Even Getting There

Feet in Sand

As I move along, slowly, in my quest to walk where God wants me to be and learn what God wants me to know, He has revisited with me the weighty matter of loving and forgiving others, and its imperativeness for experiencing the full power of His Spirit, and His blessings in my life, the full expression of His gifts 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, and the simple truth that if I claim to love God, I will love and forgive others.  1 John 4:20 

But, let’s face it, once I start harboring bitterness, anger, resentment, or even common annoyance against someone it is difficult to uproot.  It’s hard to even want to uproot it.  I am very comfortable in my annoyance with some people – and isn’t it funny how resentment begets resentment, or anger begets anger?  Because when I’m allowing annoyance with someone to fester, I just look for more reasons to be annoyed with them!  Happily tending my little garden of petty, ugly wrongs.  Blah!  So not a 1 Corinithians 13 attitude.

So instead of the yucky, painful, dirty work of pulling up all those thick-rooted weeds of annoyance, there are a few things that I do to keep from letting them grow in the first place.

1.  AGREE QUICKLY – PURSUE PEACE.

As much as you can, live in peace with all men.  Romans 12:18

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone . . . Hebrews 12:14

Agree with your adversary quickly . . . Matthew 5:25 

I love how the different aspects of God and His Spirit all fit together.  And here love, and forgiveness merge seamlessly with His teachings on peace.  When I am tempted to argue, or be un-righteously opinionated, or to have the last word, I remind myself that I am to seek peace first and foremost – not to be right.  Merely checking myself and reprioritizing my goals in a conversation avoid so many hurtful words.

2.  SPEAK YOUR MIND (when appropriate).

. . . be ready always to give an answer to every man who asketh you a reason for the hope that is in you . . .  1 Peter 3:15

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom.  Colossians 3:16

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God. 2 Corinthians 10:5

This may seem contrary to #1, but this is where some Godly discretion comes in.  It is not good either to say all that’s on my mind, or never to say anything.

Sometimes, when lead by the Holy Spirit, I must speak my mind – or rather God’s mind, and be a witness for His truths (in gentleness and meekness – 1 Peter 3:16).  When I fail to do this, it often leads me to bitterness and resentment as I re-live in my mind all the things I could have/should have said, and those things become warped in my mind into the things I wish I had said.

When I speak my mind in a God-fearing attitude, and then move on, I feel that – no matter how the other person responds, or what hurtful things they may say – I have done my part, and can leave it where it lies.  No bitterness, no resentment, no residual anger.  I have done what God asked me to do, and He will take care of the rest.  Several times a day a pray this verse – “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD,” my strength and my salvation.  Psalm 19:14

3.  DONT LET THE SUN GO DOWN.

Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.  Ephesians 4:26

Pretty simple, huh?  I know that, no matter what, by the end of the day – even if a hurtful topic will have to be readdressed at a later date, even if I know the offender will re-offend, no.matter.what . . . by the end of the day, I must turn it over to God and let Him be God.  I have until I lay my head on my pillow (at least that’s my cut own personal cut-off) to get all the getting-over-it done with.  NOT easy.  But it is a lot easier than giving the devil the foothold and trying to yank up that ugly un-forgiveness later.  I have seen how toxic not letting go of the “little things” can make life.  And I am here to say that, for me, it is not worth it to sit in my comfortable chair of self-righteousness, surrounded by my cushions of undeserved wrongs.

4.  RE-FOCUS.

But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing  2 Thessalonians 3:13

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think . . .  Romans 12:3

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

Whenever I feel the roots of resentment, un-forgiveness, or even a critical spirit creep in I re-focus on three things: (1)  I am not busy enough doing what God needs me to be doing if I have time for this nonsense. (2) I am very, very, very, very far from perfect, and if I’m gonna think about somebody’s mistakes, maybe it should be my own before pride maketh me a’fall.  And (3) Jesus DIED for me while I was still a sinner, when I didn’t even know that I needed His help.  So maybe I should cut other people just a little bit of slack too.  Maybe I should take all this free time I have to be hating on people, and think about THAT for a second.

I find that the more I walk in love and try to head off these hurts, and wrongs, and grievances in the first place, the less I have to forgive (or maybe I should say – the easier it is to forgive them before they fester), and the more I keep myself in God’s peace.

Fear and sin

A beautiful article on grace versus fear.

daily meditation

face-113177_640Nehemiah 6:13: For this purpose he was hired, that I should be afraid and act in this way and sin, and so they could give me a bad name in order to taunt me.

Nehemiah was sure that his enemy’s tactics was to make him afraid, not just for the fun of it, but to get him to sin. He was supposed to be moved to panic and make errors of judgement that will compromise his leadership position. And when his leadership position is compromised his vision for building the wall of Jerusalem would suffer a setback and may even be stopped. The bible reveals that when the shepherd is struck (in the case of Nehemiah, with fear) and the sheep will scatter (Matthew 26:31).

When fear enters, the right sense of judgement goes out through the window. Fear is the worst motivation there is. It is the…

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Lord, Help my Unbelief! – What Happens to Our Prayers When We Doubt?

doubt-300x276A father came to Jesus with his son, desperate.  His son had long been tormented by a demon.  And he had watched in agony for years as his son suffered.  He probably often felt like there was nothing that could be done to help his child.  But in Jesus, this father saw a glimmer of hope.  He wanted to believe that Jesus could heal his son.  And, in faith, he approached him and asked him, “Master . . . if you can, have mercy on us, and help us.”  Mark 9: 17-22  To which Jesus responded, “‘If I can?’  All things are possible to him who believes.”  And then – something remarkable.  The child’s father, in tears, cried to Jesus, “Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief.”

How many times I have prayed that same prayer.  I know that I know that Jesus can do all things.  But when I ask Him to do something for me, in my worldly eyes the problem seems so big; I seem so deep in it.  And, although I know that He can fix it – take it away in an instant – turn it into good for His glory – I waiver, and doubt, and think, “But will He do that for me?”  And then when I consider my own doubt, it makes me doubt all the more that it will be done for me – after all, I’m not supposed to doubt.

Jesus promises that all things are possible to those who believe.  Matthew 17:20  The importance of not doubting in prayer is stressed to us.  James 1:6  So what happens to our prayers when fear and doubt creep in?  Do they become of no effect?  I believe no – when we hold to Jesus’ perfect faith.

I believe that prayer is an expression of faith.  Coming to God and presenting your problem, asking for help, is an action.  It shows that somewhere inside – even if you doubt – you know that it is worth appealing to the Lord.  The father of the tormented son obviously doubted – asking Jesus to help if He could.  But he didn’t let that wavering stop him from stepping forward and begging Jesus to help him.  He wanted to believe.

That is exactly how I feel.  I know I am supposed to approach the throne boldly and confidently, without doubt.  And many times I can – but what do I do when the doubt is there?  Jesus knows we are not perfect, even our faith.  And thank God, nothing depends on our perfection – not even the answers to our prayers.  If it did, nothing would get answered.  It all depends on Jesus.

I believe that Jesus’ response was not an admonition for us to not doubt in our prayers, although that is something to strive for, but it was a reference to Himself.  “‘If I can?’  All things are possible to him [Jesus] who believes.”  Jesus believed, without doubt, that He could heal this child.  And He did just that – despite, or I believe because of, the father’s confessed unbelief.  Jesus’ faith is perfect and unwaivering at all times. In fact, He is called the “author and perfecter of our faith.”  Hebrews 12:2  His perfect faith can stand in the gap of our unbelief, if we will let Him do so.

We know that we can accomplish nothing through our own effort and striving.  John 15:5  Yet many times, when it comes to believing, we take the burden on ourselves to be perfect.  We feel that the miracle we are looking for rests on our own ability to never doubt.  Nothing rests on our own ability, everything rests on Jesus.

Jesus never doubts that He can do what He has promised you He will do.  And when that fear and doubt creep in, we have to hold to His perfect faith.  It will “perfect” our imperfect faith.  I believe that the father’s cry for Jesus to help his unbelief was the key to Jesus healing his son.  The father knew and acknowledged that he waivered.  He asked the only One with perfect faith to help him – not only with his son, but with his unbelief.

The next time Satan tries to steal your hope that your prayer will be heard because doubt has crept in – remember that it is not because of you that your prayers are heard, it is because of Jesus.  Cling to His perfect faith, and let it fill the gap of your unbelief.

Photo credit here.

“Faith” is a Verb

Faith

I’ve been trying to learn a lot about faith lately.  And I have a lot of thoughts on it.

Faith is a noun. It means . . .

1.  complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
2.  strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

Pretty straightforward, right?

But what does it mean when Jesus tells us to have faith?  Well, to me it is a verb – an action within all of my other actions. When I think of faith I think of the scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where Jones knows that he is supposed to step out into the chasm, but he can’t see how he can do that and not fall to his death.  Trustingly, yet still fearfully, he takes the “leap of faith” and steps out, only to be caught by the path of stone that was there, but he couldn’t see.

I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who thinks of this.  As I searched for an image on Google, I found this amazing clip of that movie, set to the song “Walk by Faith” and overlaid with incredible verses.  I highly recommend it – here!

There have been a few times in my life where I felt like I had to do that.  I’ve been so glad I did every time.  And I’m thankful God gave me the opportunity to do it.

I’m sure I’ll be blogging a lot more on this topic soon.  But for now I’ll just watch the video a few more times, and revel in the fact that God is always there to support us in our walks of faith.

Photo credit here.

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

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For the second time in a week, I was surprised and honored to be selected for an award.  Keishawna from The Jolly MOMents nominated me to receive the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.  Thank you so much, Keishawna!  It is even more of an honor coming from you, because I admire you and your beautiful bog so much.  Your blog is so inspiring, and your comments are always sweet.  I’m so blessed to have found you in the blogging world!

Now, I must share seven things about myself – This was a hard one! I’ve tried to pick things that I have not already discussed elsewhere.

1.      I have a pet peeve about leaving the plastic or label on anything I buy.  This is because when I was a kid my mom left the plastic covers on the lampshades (so they wouldn’t accumulate dust) and put the remote controls in plastic zip-lock bags (so they wouldn’t get sticky), and various other odd things that now I strive never to emulate.

2.      I love cats.  I had my doggie love of my life when I was a kid – a standard collie (Lassie dog), named Georgie Girl, but I called her “George.”  And she was the greatest dog ever!  I fear I will never love another dog, and now I prefer the independence and aloofness of cats.

3.      I don’t believe in washing cars.  I’m a bit of a neat freak about the inside of my car, and pretty much everything else – but I see washing cars as a big fat waste of my time.  Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear said it best – “Washing cars is for the simple-minded, and people with bad marriages.”  Just kidding – LOL.

4.      I met and fell in love with my husband in circumstances more romantic than any movie I’ve ever seen.  He was moonlighting as a guide for trail rides on horseback.  I went to the ranch for a trial ride, and ultimately came to board my horse there.  We fell in love spending hours and hours riding and having adventures through the Texas countryside.

5.      I am a direct descendant of the man who invented the Ferris wheel – it’s a shame I don’t get royalties for that.

6.      I talk in my sleep, and walk, and eat, and pretty much anything I’d do when I’m awake – but I haven’t left the house yet . . . that I know of.

7.      Gosh, I can’t think of anything else, so I’ll give you another major pet peeve – crooked pictures, and also spots on mirrors – OK that’s two.  And I promise I don’t judge at other people’s houses . . . just my own.  LOL.

Here are seven bloggers that I follow and love:

Fragrant Grace 

Forty, c’est Fantastique! 

Lucky Mama 

My Life Lived Full 

Deeply Rooted in Him 

Drifting Through My Open Mind 

Journey Through L 

The following blogs, in no particular order, have encouraged or inspired me in some way.  I hope that if you visit some of them, you are encouraged as well.

Thank you, again, Keishawna!  I had fun with this, and I hope others enjoy it as well.  Be blessed!

Liebster Award

liebster_award

I was so honored yesterday morning to have been nominated for my first award! The word liebster comes from the German, meaning beloved (That’s what my name means! I wonder if that means my name would be “Liebster” in German??), lovely, dearest, valued. It is given to up-and-coming bloggers with fewer than 200 followers.

I want to thank Tilly Hawkins for nominating me. You should check out her b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l blog at http://tillynailart.com/the-girl-behind-tillynailart/. I am blown away by the amazing art that she can put on the tiny tips of her fingers. But her blog is so much more than that. It is sweetness, and encouragement, and great reading too!

Now, in answer to Tilly’s questions:

1. Why did you start blogging?
I started this blog, because I saw God doing amazing things in my life. I mean, I have always seen Him do that – but in new and amazing ways. I began to see how truly everything I have I owe to Him. I began to see His amazing providence for me and my family on a daily basis, and feel Him moving in my life – spurring me on to bigger and better things. And I felt like I needed to shout it the world! I felt like I needed a platform to share some of these things, and other thoughts, with people, and to allow them to share back with me. You can read more about my reasons here.
2. If you could go to any three places in the world – one for a week, one for a month and one for a year, where would you go?
I would go to Hawaii for a week. I would go to France for a month. And I would go to England for a year.
3. If your life were a movie, who would play you?
I don’t really watch many movies, but I read a lot! And I would have to say I would be Dagny Tagart from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. (This isn’t really cheating – they actually made a movie from the book. LOL) Whether you agree with Ms. Rand’s philosophy or not, I love that character. She is strong and independent. But loves fiercely and truly, and never gives up on her dreams. My favorite female character of all time.
4. If you could spend a day with one person, living, or dead, who would it be and why?
It would be my Dad. He died when I was 19, and I have so many things I would like to tell him.
5. Describe yourself in three words.
Stubborn (I’m working on that), loving, smart.
6. What’s your happy song? (i,e. Can’t help smiling when you hear it)
It’s “Build Me Up Buttercup” by the Foundations, because it makes me remember a day I was riding in the car (I was about 20) with my mom and aunts, and this song came on the radio. My mom, who was driving, started singing lead, and so I started singing back-up, as LOUD as we could. And my aunts were looking at us like we were crazy! Good times. I miss living near them. I smile every time I hear it.


7. What do you want to accomplish in your life?
I feel like God is calling me to do something for Him – which I know sounds ridiculous, ‘cuz He calls all of us to do things for Him. But I feel like He is preparing me for something new in my life at this time, and I don’t know what it is – but THAT is what I want to do.
8. If you could have one super power, what would it be?
Tough one! I think invisibility. I think. Maybe, flying. No! I don’t like heights. Invisibility. Yep.
9. When was the last time you did exactly what you wanted to do?
I’m a blessed person – I do this pretty much every day.
10. Who is the one person who can always make you smile?
My husband! Always, no matter what is going on. I love that about him. ❤

For my nominees – if you decide to accept, here are the rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
2. You must answer the 10 questions given to you by the nominee before you.
3. You must nominate 10 of your favorite blogs with fewer than 200 followers and notify them of their nomination.
4. You must come up with 10 questions for your nominees to answer.

My nominees (should they choose to accept) for the Liebster Award are:
DeeJourney of a Fab Mom
Life and Loveliness 
Sacred Motherhood 
The Painted Rogue
Peace in the Pod 
Shining a Light in the Darkness
Lauryn the Magnanimous 
Cabin Pressure May Change
Not Quite Home 
Fi’s Mutterings

My questions for you are:
1. Why did you start your blog?
2. What is your favorite hobby or activity – one that really makes you feel happy and peaceful?
3. What is your favorite book?
4. Tell us something about you not many people know.
5. What was the most magical day of your life, and why?
6. Do you believe in love at first sight? Why or why not?
7. What is your favorite childhood memory?
8. Describe yourself in three words.
9. If you could spend a day with one person, living, or dead, who would it be and why?
10. Who is the one person who can always make you smile?

I can’t wait to read your answers!