Thursday, October 14, 2010

Boys Only...Girls Only

"Girls Only!"...."Boys Only!"

These were signs that managed to get past me and taped to doors upstairs at my house. Then, being the great mom that I am, I never stopped to really read what was on these signs. Then yesterday my sweet, innocent little 4 year old daughter asked for help spelling out "Girls Only! No Boys in my room!" Her big brother actually helped her spell it. Then she got some tape and proceeded to hang it on her door. Since she wanted me to read it I finally discovered what was on the doors upstairs. All the signs went in the trash.

I want my kids to learn that we don't exclude others because they are different from us. We spent the day talking about how God gave us all gifts and that even though we are different it is because God wants us to be different. They seemed to at least start to understand. I know this is going to be an ongoing lesson with many set backs, but it has to start somewhere.

Diversity is not something to be scared of. God made us all unique and then to add on top of that we have all had unique lives that we have led to this point. This was made so very clear to me tonight. At the Bible study that I attended we split into 5 small groups. For us it was a random selection, but for God it was very intentional.

The group I selected was based on the fact that I knew one other person in the group and I knew the leader. Every other face was brand new to me. As we went around the circle and shared a tiny bit about our lives some tears started flowing. Some prayer started happening. And some walls started to come down. When we got to the last person I just knew that God had already started a work in our group. The last woman didn't feel like she belonged in our group because she thought she had nothing in common with us. Nothing, that is, until the woman right before her shared. Some of their life journeys were similar enough to make the last woman ready to share. I go into this only because it is such a picture of how God works. We thought we were a random group of women but God knew that we were meant to be together and grow together. Something very special happened tonight with a very diverse group of women.

We have all led different lives, but we have a few things in common. A desire to know God more, to know who we are in Him, and to do this with like-minded women who can become friends.

How can we grow if we are all alike? If we exclude others because they are not just like we are?

Acts 2:42-47 says
42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

See, we may be different, but we should be TOGETHER. The early church would have fallen completely apart if they had split themselves based on differences. But they were together and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

So, there will be no "Boys Only" and "Girls Only" in our house. Because, you see, we girls have a lot to learn from those boys, and I am pretty sure it is the same the other way around!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Good Guess...Wrong Answer

"Good guess!...Wrong answer!"

I don't know how many times I heard this come out of my 7th grade science teacher's mouth. He was a very encouraging man, and someone that we all could trust. He was also one of the few Christian men that I knew that was the real deal. And he, by God's happy coincidence, was also my youth pastor. Richard McGovert and his wife, Donna, were my first mentors. And they were just the right people to plant seeds of truth inside a tiny, scared, and insecure 12 year old. (me, if you didn't guess that one.)

Often during science class Mr. McGovert (as we called him at school) would ask us tough questions and we were never scared to try an answer. Because if we got it right then we were right. If we got it wrong we would hear, "Good guess, wrong answer." Then he would use it as an opportunity to teach us and encourage us at the same time. In his living room, McGoo (as we called him during youth gatherings) would also ask us the tough questions. Sometimes we would get it right, sometimes we would hear, "Good guess, wrong answer." Always, though, he was encouraging.

Sometimes I think I hear God whispering in my ear, "Good guess...wrong answer." Often this is when I am expecting one thing but get something else. A different response, a different attitude, a different anything than what I was expecting. And sure enough disappointment sets in. Discouragement settles into my heart. Frustrations rise at unmet expectations. Surely what I wanted was the right thing. Surely God would side with me on this one... But alas, no. I hear, "Good guess, wrong answer," whispered in my heart.

And then, yesterday He expounded on this simple thought. In that still soft whisper in the deepest part of my heart I heard, "Just do what I tell you to do, and I will take care of the rest." All God wants from me is me. He isn't worried about things not going the way I planned, even if my plan aligns with His word. See, all He wants from me is to do what He asks me to do, and He will take care of the rest. God doesn't disappoint, and he never gets the wrong answer!

Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fingerprints of God

Our sweet Julia is a miracle. Period. But, so as not to leave you with a confused expression, I will explain. :) First of all we did not plan her, God did. Then she decided to slide into our world 8 weeks early. Well, she didn't really decide, the doctors did because she was shutting down my kidneys. (Remember this because we will touch on kidneys again here in just a bit.) A day or two before she was born the doctors ordered an ultrasound to check her vitals and to see if her lungs were working. (I had received those beautiful shots that make the lungs work sooner and my hiney hurt a lot.) When the ultrasound technician came in and got settled she grumbled that she didn't understand why she had to check the lungs because the lungs never work at 31 and 1/2 weeks, or 32 for that matter. I looked right at her and said, "You don't know how big my God is." She looked a little stunned that I would say that to her, but then just settled into her work. No less than two minutes later I heard her say, "I can't believe it, her lungs are working." HA!

So all my blood work got a little out of control and the doctors decided to induce. I say Julia slid into the world because that is how it happened. One big contraction, no pushing, no doctor, and the nurse just put her hand in the right place to catch Julia at the very last second. She got one puff of oxygen because I had drugs in my system to lower my blood pressure, and she was breathing/crying like a healthy full term baby. A true miracle!

Not once did I fret or worry about her or myself during this whole ordeal. I knew that God was in control and when she was able to eat on her own and maintain her body temperature I would get to take her home with me. God had this one covered and I wasn't about to take it from Him!

16 days later, on December 6th, almost 6 weeks before she was due, I got to take my little girl home. Not even 4 pounds and the most precious thing in the world!

She has not had to endure many of the trials that pre-term babies have to go through, but when there have been bumps in the road I would just plead for her to be left alone. I know there was one time when I got really mad at God only a few weeks after she was born because she got sick and ended up back in the hospital. But I have always claimed that I have never worried about her. And I think at the heart of it that is true. I have always known that God could and would heal her. I have never doubted that she would be healthy and grow into an incredible woman of faith.

But now, in the past couple of months, we have hit another bump in the road. Julia has some problems with her kidneys. Her right kidney is enlarged and her left ureter has a swinging valve and is letting fluid back up into her kidney. We got the official news on Thursday that Julia has grade II Vesicoureteral Reflux (VUR). When I heard this news I was fine. I knew God was going to heal her, either by a miracle of His hand or with modern medicine. There was not a doubt in my mind that God was bigger than this and that this was an easy one for Him. We had prayed God's word over Julia, and His word is truth.

And then I went to a women's event at my church. As I began to worship God in song I started to get mad at Him, like I did when Julia was in the hospital as a bity bity infant. I couldn't contain my tears I was just so frustrated. Why was God letting this happen? Why couldn't she just be left in peace to grow up healthy and strong and perfect?

At the end of the evening I had two very wise women speak straight into my heart. I am forever grateful to God that these two women took some moments to pour truth over me. You see, I hadn't learned to recognize the fingerprints of God. His word says that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus came to give life, and life to the full. (John 10:10) If it isn't life giving, it isn't from God. I shouldn't be mad at God because Julia is sick, I should be thankful that He came to this earth to give her life. And not just any life, but life to the fullest. I honestly cannot tell you what that looks like, but I can trust that God does. And because of that, I can rest in Him, knowing that He is totally in control.

I am still on this journey of discovering the details of God's fingerprints, but it is a journey that I am excited to be on. I am enjoying the real rest that I have discovered in knowing that I don't have to have all the answers, because my God does. And He loves my little girl more than I ever could.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Give Thanks

So, a friend sent me a message asking if I blog. I said I haven't in a long time, then I thought...why not? Life has fallen into a rhythm that is comfortable and there isn't any reason why I shouldn't blog, so here I am.

My life is full to overflowing with blessings, but, sadly, I haven't written them down anywhere. Then my mentor asks me to write out a list of 100 things I am thankful for. How often do we take time to think of the things we are thankful for? Being thankful is more than just a once a year thing. I Thessalonians 5:18 says "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

In all things? Yes in all things. In good times it is easy, though sometimes we forget that every good and perfect gift comes from God and we forget to give glory where glory is due. And in the bad or sorrowful times. Lately it seems like death is all around me. No one close to me has died, but death has been very close to people that I love, and so therefore it touches me too. But these times are not excluded. We need to be thankful at all times. I am not going to sit here and say that this is easy. We need time to mourn. But we cannot sit in our grief forever. If you are hurting, start by giving thanks that you have this day to live. Find something, anything, to be thankful for and watch as your eyes begin to open and see all that there is to be thankful for. Being thankful is a habit. It is a place that we choose to be until we are just naturally there.

I was going to list my 100 things in this blog, but things change, and in the last 48 hours I have heard of 5 people that have passed away. This is a time of hurting for many people that are close to me. I will not say that you need to just get over it. I know the pain of losing someone I love very deeply. But I will say that God knows how it feels to watch His son die. He knows your every hurt. Lean into Him and thank Him for being God. Thank Him for knowing how you feel. Thank Him that our life on this earth is not all there is. Thank Him that it is ok to be sad and to grieve. We can give thanks in ALL circumstances. Thanking God turns our thoughts from ourselves to Him and He is the only one who can comfort us in a time of loss.

My heart goes out to you if you are one who is in a time of suffering right now. I will leave you with this.

Romans 5

Peace and Joy
1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Now that is something to be thankful for!

Monday, May 25, 2009

If you don't live for something, you're gonna die for nothing!

Okay, so strange the things that you can learn from a cabbie, but this was a song that one of ours blared after a nice romantic 10 year anniversary dinner. I have much to write about, but will just say this for now. That was one wild ride! Will journal more about this most amazing weekend with my husband...probably tomorrow night. We'll see...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fun Day

I had such a great day with my kids! We played in giant mud puddles in the church lawn and got so wet they all came home in underware. Then it was showers and a movie with popcorn. Then they all did my hair up really pretty! After this we played with neighbor friends and then off to church for Caleb and Julia while Draden watched another movie while we had lifegroup. I'll post pictures tomorrow. But, ahhh, what a great day!
I love my family!!!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Daddy/Daughter date

Last night Russell got to take Julia on their first Daddy/Daughter date. With her being number three, it took a while to get to a point where he could take her. They both loved it! The first picture was from before the date. They went shopping and then out for ice cream!
This was one of the outfits that they picked out. Didn't they do a great job! Oh how I love them!