Monday, November 16, 2015

Here I sit: Shaken for Others

There are not many moments when I find myself nearly suffocated with grief, fear and misunderstanding but tonight is one of them.  I saw this post recently and it has rocked me to my core.  Keeping in mind that this is in the wake of all the other violence going on throughout the world as well. 

Each picture I passed more tears began to well up in my eyes and my stomach continued to turn in knots.  Each picture I passed I said a prayer, "Thank you, Jesus, for our home. Thank you, Jesus, for our safety.  Thank you, Jesus, that neither my child nor I, have ever known this type of fear.  Thank you, Jesus, for medical bills that mean I can provide medicine to both Camden and my unborn baby.  Thank you Jesus, for soft pillows, blankets, heat and comfort."  How did you choose me for this life of privilege?

Yet, here I sit.  Hurting for these parents.  Hurting for these children who in their short lives have been exposed to and known more hardship, hurt, terror and violence than I will ever know.  I'm motionless.  I have all of this knowledge, and moreso I've always had a solid foundation of faith in which I trust that God is the creator and leader of this world.  Yet I can sit here like anyone else and say, Lord, how can you allow things like this to happen?  How can you allow your children, the youngest of your lambs, to endure such pain, heart ache, violence and cruelty?  I am frustrated, I am angry and I don't understand.

As I write this, I don't have answers and this side of eternity, I never will.  All I can do in my human frailty is choose, deep within my sadness, to trust the Lord and pray.  Just pray.  Pray for these children, pray for their parents.  Our hearts break when we see youth go through hard things but what we don't see are the parents out there, putting on a brave face each morning and each night, and fighting battles literally, physically, and spiritually for their children.

In my hurt and angst after seeing this I am reminded that my God, my Jesus, came and fought the battle on my behalf.  He bore pain and sorrow and put himself in my place so that I can one day be saved and be with him in eternity.  He is just like those parents putting on a brave face and fighting the battles on behalf of his children.  And that, THAT, is what I have to place my hope in right now.  I am reminded that this earth, this sinful place, is not our forever home.  Tonight I can't create peace and I can't take away pain but I can pray.  I can lift up these families in the most powerful way I know how and trust and remember that my Jesus who came before me and bore my pain, can do the same for these people.  I pray that someday these children will know a place where there is no hurt, no violence and no pain. 

I John 5:13
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the son of God so that you may know you have eternal life.  This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

Dear God, 
I beg you to hear me tonight.  Know my heart and teach me your ways.  Be near these families and these children.  Help me to be better, to do better, to be more to your children who are hurting.  Thank you for this life that you have bestowed on my family and me.  Thank you for your sacrifice.  I pray that these families efforts are not made in vain but that you hear their cries.  Be with your children and this world in these very dark days.  Help us who know you be a hope and a light of your love.  May others who don't know you realize that even your children struggle with fear, doubt and anger at the way this world is but in spite of these things we trust in your will and your ultimate plan.  May your love be my peace and your word be my guide.  Father, I thank you that you broke my heart and shook my comfort.  May I be reminded that this life you have given me is not one to take for granted but to make a difference and used for a purpose.  I pray each day you reveal your heart and purpose for me and my family and pray that we trust you and walk with grace on that path.  Be near tonight, Lord.  In Jesus name I pray, amen. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Now what? Perspective

Now What?

I received a thorough ultrasound this morning and the doctor came in after reviewing the results and said that the lump is my body fighting an infection.  It is absolutely nothing to be worried about so we can go home with clear minds that all is well.  Praise God!

I had received a peace from the Lord the past few days that this would be the news I received from the doctor this morning and I'm more than grateful for it.

Nonetheless, after being in a position throughout the past week that makes you consider the what ifs and how you would respond if the doctor came back with different news, I find myself saying, now what?

Not because I am ungrateful for the news but moreso because on more than one occasion in the what if process I thought to myself, if this....then that.  If I received bad news then there were ways I would improve on being a wife, being a mom, being a friend, being a disciple.

Here I am with a sound bill of health and I just don't feel like I should take this information and get back to life as usual.  Yes, life is going on but why wait on a few of those if this...then that internal discussions.

After a recent conversation with a close friend about goals in life and talking about ways that we like to "find center" I am noticing that this check-in on life process should happen in more ways than one and more often than I'm used to.

Why should I wait to get bad news to ask my husband, what are ways that I can love you more effectively?  To ask myself, how can I be a more patient mom?  What ways can I more visibly live my faith in front of my son, family, friends?  Why should I wait until I have a more sympathetic platform to be bold in my statements about God and His truth?

I often think that someday I will be called to public speaking but I always wonder, what will be my platform?  What will be the subject matter? This is an answer I do not have yet and honestly, I'm not actively seeking this scenario. I know it is not in this season but God will lead me to something.  However, why am I waiting for an official platform when God has been creating one for me my entire life?  My testimony is my platform.  No one can argue that.

Look back at the Bible.  Look at the people God used.  What was so special about them?  Truthfully, the one quality that every special person in the Bible had was they were real, human, broken, and loved Jesus.

I openly admit that I wait for times when I think that people will want to listen or be more interested in hearing what I have to say.  The truth is, ever since I started this blog, I said that it wasn't for me.  Yes, I love to use it to feel heard but more importantly, I committed using this blog to honor and glorify God's presence and faithfulness in my life.  I need to stop looking for something to make me special and remember that my love for Jesus is all the world needs to see.

Today I challenge you, I challenge myself, during the mundane, every day, plain life to stop waiting for a platform and just honor God.  Honor God in our marriages, in our parenting, in our friendships.  Let's let it be known and obvious, sick or healthy, happy or sad, strong or weak, God is real.  He lives, He breathes, and He is present.

Friday, November 6, 2015

hiccups, healing and My Heavenly Father

Hiccups, healing and my Heavenly Father

To say that my pregnancies go smoothly and without complication would be a lie.  Our last pregnancy journey started well before we actually conceived and most already know the path that led us on and at the end of it was a new beginning, Camden.

This pregnancy has been different in the sense that leading up to it was smooth sailing but there have been a lot of hiccups.  I won't use the word issues or problems because in comparison, our hiccups are small with regards to what some women have to carry, both mentally and physically, during their pregnancy.

If I am being honest, so many of these hiccups have seemed like such inconveniences and have really skewed my perception of the miracle that grows within me.  I've been annoyed that because of my body make-up I'm required to put in the extra effort to carry and maintain a healthy pregnancy.  Where last time I resolved to accept and treasure the way God made me because of my body, this pregnancy I've been looking at them as weaknesses.  I don't like that.  I mean, how dare I behave this way when I know full well what a miracle it is just to be pregnant in the first place?!  I don't like my attitude and I've noticed that I need to really snap out of it.

This pregnancy is almost halfway over and I don't feel like I've really embraced it or enjoyed it.

At the same time, I've really been thinking about how my life, my attitude, and my faith impact our son.  As a result of my attitude being in the wrong place, I worry that my son won't see me daily living out my love for the Lord but that is where I realize I've got it all wrong.  I need to be daily living out my love for the Lord in order for my son to be an everyday witness of God's love, presence and faithfulness in my life.  From that fountain, all other things will flow.

Leading a little one is the biggest responsibility I've ever been blessed with in my entire life.  There may be days that I take it for granted but I never take it lightly.

To circle back to our hiccups, a certain hiccup reared its ugly head about six weeks ago and just in the past two weeks has really tried to take a stronghold over my peace.  It's a lump.  I had it before in my last pregnancy and it went away but now its back.

Earlier this week I was so worried thinking about potential negative outcomes that tears would just well up in my eyes.  It is so easy to get caught up in the what ifs and what could happens that it becomes a black hole and you can get sucked in.

I've been sucked in by fear and debilitated by negativity before when I was depressed and ever since I came out of that I have made a conscious effort to never let myself go back there again.  The only way I know how to avoid that is to get on my knees, get in my Bible and get into conversation with God.

Amazingly, but not-so-surprisingly, since digging in and locking down on my faith, my peace has strengthened and insecurities have weakened.  It isn't a coincidence that in all my devotions and teachings lately the prompt has been to remember all of the miracles that God has performed in the past, remember what God has walked me through and remember the outcomes.  And what miracles I have to celebrate?!  I have two miracle pregnancies in my testimony, I have healing and renewal in my testimony, I have restoration in my love story and relocation in my life's path.  Whom or what shall I fear?  God is for me.

In remembering and reflecting on God's faithfulness, I now take time to tell Camden stories about what Jesus has done in my life, in our lives.  He may not fully understand them at his age, but the words are being said, the history is being taught and the stories are being passed down.  The name of God lives and breathes in our home and especially in our car rides. :)  In putting God back on the front burner, He is an obvious daily presence in our lives and we are working to keep that a priority.

With regards to that hiccup, the lump, I fully believe that the Doctors will say that this is nothing more than just that, a hiccup and nuisance.  Nonetheless, even if they don't, God has gone before me and will carry me and my family.  I declare God's power and victory over this body of mine.  How could I not?  I've already been healed and restored once before, why would I doubt that I am anything but healed and restored still?

If you would, in order to keep this victory march going strong and to help me avoid the what if black hole, I would humbly ask that you say some prayers that God's will is done.  I pray that He is continually glorified with each step we walk down and ask for peace, strength, and confidence in Christ.