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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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The story I don’t tell people, ‘cuz I’m honestly not crazy

Disclaimer:  I have, actually, told this story to very few people, mostly because I feel like they either won’t believe it, or they’ll think I’m crazy if they do.

God has given me lots of gifts.  I’m sure all of you would say the same.  When asked to list them people usually say God has given them: wonderful spouses, beautiful children, health, jobs, etc.  And I would be no different.  In fact, I believe everything I have is a gift from God.  But sometimes . . . every once in a while, He gives you something in such a way that stuns you.  It makes you think, “Wow, God.  I know you’re always here and all, but you just showed up right HERE and did that . . . for me.”  And it makes you warm and fuzzy, and it makes you realize He really is a Father to you – who likes to give you things just because He loves you.

Well, one day, God gave me this:

Copper Scrubby-Thing

Yep, one of those copper pot-scrubber-things.  And I treasure it.

I was in my early 20’s.  I was in a time in my life where I was really trying to draw closer to God, and learn more about Him.  After loosing my earthly father a few years earlier, and feeling that loss very keenly, I was trying to let God fill that void and really feel Him as my Heavenly Father.  And I was struggling with it.  I was also trying to be better about managing money.  I wasn’t bad at it – but I was in a phase where I was really trying to cut spending and impulse purchases.

Also, as you can read in my About Me, I love copper – pretty much anything made of it.  I think it’s just divine.  I’m not big into jewelry, or handbags, or very much of anything, for that matter, that a lot of women are into.  But anything copper catches my eye like a fishing lure to a bass.  And I have a nice little collection of things now, from kitchen gadgets, to art, to jewelry.  But at that time I was just beginning my collection.

So I was shopping at the grocery store.  And – I know you’ve seen them dangling along the sides of the cereal aisles – the little scrubbers were hanging in little individual packages, all bright in their coppery-goodness, and calling to me.  I had always admired them before, but never felt so strongly called to them as I did on this shopping trip.  I WANTED one.  And there was really no reason not to buy it.  I was not hurting for money at all, it was only a purchase of a couple dollars.  But as soon as I selected my coppery treasure and plunked it in my cart, I felt like I shouldn’t do it.  I needed to be disciplined, I thought.  It was the ultimate in “impulse purchases” – just the type of thing I was trying to avoid doing.  And so I put it back, congratulated myself on my proper choice, and didn’t give it another thought.

I bought my groceries, put them in the car, and drove home.  And as I came around the curve and approached my house I saw something in the road, something coppery looking, directly in front of my driveway. I shook my head in disbelief. Then I got out of the car, walked down the drive to the road, and just stood in the middle of the road while the cars drove around me and stared. It was a copper pot-scrubber-thingy – in the package nonetheless!!!! Say WHAAAAT?!?!?!

I really couldn’t believe it.  And this is where I expect people to totally think I’m crazy, or lying or both.  But I felt like God had plunked that thing down there just for me.  Like, wherever all that manna came from back in the day, there was a coppery pot-scrubber-thing up there too, and He let it fall there for me.  He knew I wanted one.  He saw me agonize over the decision.  He watched me put it back.  And He wanted me to have one.  It was actually a different brand, and nicer than the one I had just been looking at in the store.

What is amazing is that it’s not like He provided one for me two weeks later – this was immediately upon driving home from the store – less than half an hour later.  He didn’t give me an old one – like fell-off-the-back-of-the-garbage-truck old.  BRAND NEW.  In the package!  And He left no doubt in my mind that it was from Him – right in front of my freakin’ driveway!!

I picked it up like it was a newborn kitten and took it in the house.  And I set it on the counter and cried.  Yes . . . I cried . . . over a silly little object that’s purpose is to scrub scrambled eggs off my pans.

I have it still, obviously, and I’ve never used it.  It is a reminder to me that God is with me.  That He sees everything I do.  That He cares about all the little things in my life.  That – just like the good father that He is – He wants to give me nice gifts, even when they’re just little copper pot-scrubber things.

I’d love to hear about the little things in life that remind you of God’s presence and never-ending love.  I’d love to be inspired by your stories of times that God showed you He was there – in big or little ways.  Please comment below so we can revel in God’s grace together.

God’s plans for us are awesomeer than car-carts!!

We have been blessed with a little extra spending money this week.  And since we haven’t gotten out much lately, my husband decided he wants to take our little one for a special outing tomorrow.  We want it to be exciting, and special and different – but we’re still not sure exactly where we want to take her.  We’ve even asked her where she would like to go, but anyone who has ever asked an open-ended question to a toddler (albeit a highly intelligent toddler) knows pretty much what you get.  And it made me smile to think how excited she is going to be. 

She knows we’re planning to go do something tomorrow.  But in the mind of a 2-and-a-half-year-old the idea of a great outing is probably the play-place at Chick-fil-A, or scoring a car-cart at the grocery store.  You know – it looks, kinda, like this . . .

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. . . stuck on a cart so that the cart is too small for your groceries.  It’s primary job is growing strains of bacteria previously unknown to man.  And it’s completely, ridiculously, difficult to maneuver.  I really need to add “car-cart” as a covered auto to my insurance policy.  I ran over an old man just last week . . . but I digress.

So what gave my heart a thrill was this . . . Her sweet mind cannot even conceive of the amazing choices available to her: the big city zoo, a fancy lunch in a restaurant (yes, even at 2-and-a-half, she loves that), driving to the mountains to play in the snow.  Whatever she could come up with to wish for, my husband and I could come up with so many more, better, exciting things to offer her.  And that is what God will do for us!

“But as it is written: ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.'” 1 Corinthians 2:9

No matter how grand are the dreams we cherish in our hearts, God’s plans for us are so amazing, so new, so much better that we cannot even imagine them.  Imagine the best things for yourself and your family that you can possibly imagine . . . God can blow that all away!  Make it seem like nothing.  And that is His desire for his children.

My prayer is that nothing else I may ask for would stand in the way of God’s best plans for my family and me.  And trusting in that – I can look forward to the future with excitement and hope, even in times that may seem disappointing, or feel like doors have been closed.

I can’t wait to spend tomorrow with my sweet family.

A Brand New Day!

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“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” 

That is one of my favorite quotes from literature.  I loved Anne of Green Gables as a young girl, and sometimes I still re-read it because of the wonderful peaceful feeling it brings.  Here is a girl, who despite her own flaws and many obstacles, set out anew with fresh hope and perseverance.  She followed her dreams.  She didn’t listen to the naysayers.  She determined her own future.  And through many dark moments, she knew that each new day was an opportunity to shake off everything that came before and start over.

For many, myself included, that is what a new year brings.  A time to do things differently, shake off the old, put on the new.  I have a few “New Year’s Resolutions” myself this time.

But a year is a long time to wait for a fresh start.  And I sincerely doubt that I’m gonna make it very far through the year without deviating from my well-laid plans somehow.  So I like to give myself a fresh start every day.

Don’t wait for January 1st to change your life.  Whenever I think of this quote from Anne I think of the Bible verse that I feel pairs perfectly with it: “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:22-23

Let your heart be renewed each morning, and know that when the sun comes up nothing that happened before matters now – no failures, disappointments, doubts, challenges, fears, missed opportunities . . . Today is where we live, and God makes each one new for us.

For God’s sake . . . Hold Your Peace!!

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Recently, I heard the phrase, “Hold your peace.”  But for some reason, it meant something entirely differently to me than the usual meaning.  The standard definition is, “to keep silent, or not say anything about something.”  But to me, it instantly brought to mind God’s admonition to seek His Peace.

Isn’t that what we’re all trying to do, after all?  HOLD onto our peace?  God very much wants us to be in Peace in whatever we do.  2 Thessalonians 3:16  He is Peace.  Isaiah 9:6  And if you search all the verses the speak about God’s gift of Peace for us, and all the ones that reference how we are not to fear (basically, the opposite of peace) it is clear how important this is.

“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace . . .”  1 Corinthians 14:33  So when we experience confusion, fear, stress . . . anything that is not peaceful, we can know that it is not from God, and that we do not have to honor that in our lives. 

I have struggled lately with feeling like doing the right thing is hard, like trying to figure out His will for me was difficult, and my path was fraught with struggle.  Now these feelings have to do with many things, such as truly accepting God’s grace.  But God’s answer to me has a very important message about peace.  Over and over in the past year God has spoken to me these words of Jesus: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30  And I asked why?  Why?  Why do you keep giving me these verses?  Why does it seem so hard and so heavy?  And yet I knew that despite all temporal appearances, God’s Words are the Truth.  And that Jesus’ way is easy, and light, and peaceful.  And the answer is that you have to hold your Peace.

“Seek peace and pursue it.”  Psalm 34:14  And as I began to do that more and more I really, really and truly, felt the truth of what God had been telling me. 

Don’t add commitments to your schedule that cause you stress and anxiety, or cause you to neglect things you know are more important.  This is a big one.  I have always loved the quote that goes something like – and I’m paraphrasing here – “You have all the time in a day to do everything that God wants you to do.”  Profound.  If God doesn’t want you to be all stressed, and crazy, and not getting enough sleep, and yelling at your kids to hurry up, then why would He have a to-do list for you that makes you that way?  So if you find those things creeping into your life . . . just follow Peace.  He has given you all the time you need for those things which are needful. 

Don’t – and now this one is just for you guys, ‘cuz I NEVER mess this one up (ah-hem) – create unnecessary conflict in your relationships by having to argue points that don’t need to be argued, or have the last word, or even a.l.w.a.y.s. have an opinion at all.  Follow Peace.  Now I’m not saying never put your two cents in, or stand up for yourself.  But if you practice this you will feel the difference between saying something to satisfy your flesh, and saying something because it’s honoring to God.  Regardless of whether or not what you say causes a conflict with another person, the former will bring strife, and grief, and guilt – the later will bring truth, and inner peace (if not greater peace to the relationship as well).

And don’t worry.  If you are holding onto your Peace – that’s your job.  Everything else is God’s job.  He is in control.  He will work everything out.  Romans 8:28 

Holding our peace does not always mean that our outside circumstances will be forever peaceful.  “I have learned the secret of being content (peaceful) in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:12-13  But our hearts and minds will be at peace.  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:7  And I believe it will translate to greater peace in your circumstances as well.

So this Christmas, as we are called to ponder the things in life that are most important, and look toward the start of a brand new year, I wholeheartedly encourage you to Hold Your Peace.

Merry Christmas!

My first post! Drum roll pleeeeeease. (Drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrm) TA-DA! Er, um . . . sorry that was disappointing. I’ll do better I promise.

So your first post on your new blog is supposed to be something profound and well thought out, right?  Well, not here.  If I wait around for that it will not get done.  My new mantra is “Just do SOMETHING, and stop waiting around to be perfect ‘cuz the laundry’s never getting done like that,” or something like that but shorter.

ANYWAY,  I have about 50 million urgent (and I mean URGENT, like yes-it-really-will-matter-in-a-year-if-I-don’t-do-it-so-get-out-of-my-way urgent) things to do today.  So what a perfect day to waste take five minutes to say “Hello” and reiterate the whole reason for starting this blog, which is . . .

There is NO WAY I’d be making it through today without God’s grace.  And I am excited to see how He is going to work everything out for His wonderful good, as He always has for me.  So let’s all raise our coffee (with rum, or without) to the One who actually gets it all done.  Thank you Lord!

Aaaaaaaaand, GO!

P.S. Please click here to read a little about me if you have a sec. And now I’m out, for real this time.