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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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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.