Sunday, February 27, 2011

Friday: Picture Day!

Friday, I combed my little guy's hair, ironed his shirt, and washed toothpaste out of the corners of his mouth. It was picture day! At virtually the same time that I was at my first a Kindergarten Open House as a prospective parent, Jeremiah posed in his cap and gown as a soon to be Preschool Graduate! A day with a little tear in my eye, but a great day to rejoice.

The big block letters on his photo order form stood out to me, I thought...J E R E M I A H.

If you don't mind, I'm going to grab some tissues (sniff*sniff) and tell you the story of how Jeremiah got his name. Many friends have heard the story before, but I have never "written" it. Join me as I give God praise for answering me like only He could...and still continues to do.

This is the chair that I sat in when I asked God to speak to me.

The house was hot. Sun came in every window and winds blew the two large maples in our yard. Yes, it was spring, but I knew no life was in me. I thought it was cruel humor to endure our second miscarriage on April Fool's Day. I vividly remember exactly what the picture looked like on the ultrasound monitor that day. Many days after that, I don't remember, but there is this one....

I was angry. I had done all this before. I had cried until I had no more tears. I accepted God's sovereignty and comfort last time. I had made the phone calls just a year and half ago. I had endured the pain before. But again! Really?!

The house was quiet except for my footsteps, I was stomping toward our dining room table. I grabbed my Bible and a concordance, and sat and cried in my tattered bath robe. Not little light tears, but the huge hot ones that burn when they run down your contorted cheeks. Why would we have to endure this again?

As I LOUDLY poured out tears and my heart, I TOLD God, "I am not getting up from this table...I WILL NOT get up from this table until you tell me how I am suppose to go on with so much sorrow!! Until YOU tell me everything I need to know about MOURNING and how to get over it, I will not move!!" And I meant it!

I was worried that I would never stop crying.

I searched, read, and wrote out every verse in the Bible that had to do with mourning. I still have the papers. God loved me enough to not focus on my tone or attitude, but on my heart. I was so hurt and needed comforting like no other time in my life. Verse after verse, I was reading but nothing was resonating with me. I wrote and read half the day. Worried that my grief was immovable, I was feeling hopeless. However, in His Wisdom, He lead me to words that I needed to hear.

For the second or third time, I read Jeremiah 31:13, "...for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow."

I wiped my eyes and asked, does it really say, MAKE THEM REJOICE
With that I had no choice. I could not carry the grief, sorrow, and mourning. It was too great to bear. But, if God said that HE would turn it into joy and HE would MAKE me rejoice, then I would get up from the table and TRUST. I did.

He did not tell me how I would rejoice, He just told me that I would. And at that time, that was enough.

For over a year through tons of blood work, lots of testing, hope in a third pregnancy, daily Heparin injections, an inuetero EKG, ultrasounds, biophysical profile ultrasounds, 6 doctor appointments EACH week for the last 6 weeks, fatal monitoring, and an inducted pregnancy, I TRUSTED God's promise from that verse EACH AND EVERY SINGLE DAY.

In the throws of labor, breathlessly I wanted to tell my story. No surprise if you know me, right?! I hollered (yes, "hollered") at the doctor to "come here, I want to tell you something!" I laugh now, but at the time I was serious! I made him come all the way up to my head and looked him in the eye and said, "We don't know if this is a boy or a girl, but I want to tell you if it is a girl, her name will be JOY and if it is a boy then his name with be JEREMIAH because after our second child died, God spoke from Jeremiah 31:13 and said...." There were tears in that room, too

My friends, get a kick out me sharing that when they laid Jeremiah on my chest for the first time, I erupted in the Doxology..."Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise Him all creatures here below, Praise Him above ye Heavenly Host, Praise God Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen!" I didn't even leave off the "Ahhhhhhhhmen!"

He caused me to rejoice.

Today, look who sits in that chair ready for picture day.
I guess mommas never really stop crying.

God, thank you for collecting my "happy tears" in the same bottle as the sad ones.

Just this week, I was blessed and excited to have a friend share a new verse from Jeremiah 23:29 with me, "'Is not my word like fire,' declares the Lord, 'and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?'"

Again, I answer "YES!"

That verse in the chair at the dining room table was the hammer that broke through my grief and built up my trust. What is yours?

I never assume that my blog is of any new revelation. All wisdom and revelation is from the Father through the Holy Spirit. I just share stories of how I see God in my daily walk with Him offer a blog in praise. But if you are experiencing "rocks" in your life or in your heart today, I pray that the Word will break them.

Father, for all the women who have children in your arms, I pray and ask that you comfort those parents, mommies and daddies, on special days and in their tender times. Illuminate your Word in their Wilderness as you did for Jesus. For those facing adoption, Father make a way for them to be Your Hands and Feet to your precious creations, not only do you know where they are, but you know the hairs on their heads, and the arms you want to place them in. Hold them tight until you are able to unit them with their parents. Thank you for the special place we have in You, where we abide and know only love and acceptance. In name of My Rock, Redeemer, and ever Restorer Jesus, Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhmen.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Did you hear the news?

The sun is shining here today. A cool breeze blows a homemade yellow swing in the neighbor's yard. I can see it from where I sit and type. For such a bright day, I feel like I have been getting a lot of bad news lately.

Funny how we see what the wind blows, but not the wind itself. Ever thought about what we see as bad news might be someone else's blessing. Or have you ever be blessed by somone else's bad news? How does that work?

I remember when the only way I would be able to go to college was to get a scholarship. I agreed to sit on a Waiting List (disappointed that I wasn't first choice) for this scholarship and a few weeks later, a girl declined it (I don't know why), and it was awarded to me. Free tuition for four years.
What if I had not agreed to be "waitlisted."

Fast forward from July 1992 to February 2011.

Last week, I needed to find out when Liberty University would be holding its graduation ceremony because I am almost done with my coursework. PRAISE YE THE LORD! HALLELUJAH! Wonder why I haven't been getting any information about this? I am just a few units from completion. It wasn't good news.

Learning that even though I made a self-established deadline of May to complete everything, the university must have everything completed by March 15. Ouch! The good news is that I will get my diploma as soon as I finish. The bad news is that I will not get to participate in the graduation ceremony in the spring like I had hoped. The gentleman's voice turned soft over the phone, "Now, April this isn't something you want to rush just to get it done."

Rush?! Are you kidding me?! I have been working on this since September of 2007! That doesn't sound like rushing to me! How about to you, blogger friends?!!!! But, I replied (a little deflated), "Yes, sir, I know. I don't want to miss anything that the Lord might have for me." He clucked, "Ahhh! That is the right attitude." We hung up and I just sat there. I am sure people got worse news than that last week. But, it was a personal disappointment for me. Shhh! Don't tell but I was totally bummed! TOTALLY!

So yesterday, as I drug myself to put in the 24th out of 48 lectures (in just THIS series) in the CD player, to listen to the 2nd of 8 lectures equalling over 8 hours of lecture (in just THIS unit)on the Doctrine of Salvation (again, NOT anywhere near rushing), I was at it again. And, I guess I should confess that the only I did that was because a dear friend held my feet to the fire (also known as e-mailed and asked, "How are your studies going?"). That is when I heard new sweet peace from God's Word.

Listen to this good and bad news as my professor explained the meaning of salvation:
The bad news is someone needs to be saved. There are sick, accused, and drowning people out there.
The Good News is that there is someone ABLE and WILLING to save them.
That is the short of it.

It would never be Good News unless Jesus Christ were both WILLING and ABLE. Why even be able, if you are not willing? I thought. How frustrating is it to be willing, but not able? I felt. The Good News is that Jesus was ABLE to accomplish God's Will and WILLING did for the ones that today still need it the most.

So, I know many of you KNOW that. But, I applied it to my own bad news. Dean Harold Wilmington said this and I stopped in my "tracks" (Track 12), "Perhaps the greatest ability after all is availability."

What kind of mindset is that to always be available to our Heavenly Father? Never rushing? Never behind? Not sulking in disappointments? Just available. Readily available. Consistently available. Willing available.

If you are feeling defeated today, I can relate...see above story. But, more importantly that relating, I have renewed revelation: GOD IS ABLE. I can type that even though I don't know if you are sick, accused, drowning, or lost. Whatever work you need Him to do, He is ABLE. But, don't forget it is HIS LOVE for YOU and HIS own OBEDIENCE to the Father that makes Him WILLING!

Have you ever heard this verse in Jude about Jesus's ability? "And now to him who can keep you on your feet, standing tall in His bright presence, fresh and celebrating" (v. 24).

The bad news is I am not able. That frustrates me.
But the good news is but He is. That encourages me.

How about you? Do you feel that you have been knocked off your feet? Are you not celebrating? Not fresh, but more like worn plum out?! Go before Him, He waits to lift you tall into the bright warm presence of the Father and celebrate YOU right where you are. Make yourself available for Him to move.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A "REAL" Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day, blogger friends!

Many of you have followed our
Valentine Countdown and seen how we've been celebrating. I think I should have coined it a Valentine Challenge, instead of a "countdown"...

Yes, at the end of last week, we made homemade Valentines.

Yes, we played Chopstick Candy Chase from our Valentine Countdown.
And, yes we even read new Valentine books.
But, I have to be "REAL with you. Our 14-day countdown has been a challenge. Why has it been so hard to complete these simple activities to look for love, extend love, and express love?

Let me be "REAL" honest with you on some hasn't been all XOXOX's (hugs and kisses). I think some days when I have marked the calendar with "X," it has symbolic meaning! Don't get me wrong, I have loved all the fun we have had, but it hasn't been easy. You know, can't find the glue, an extra run to Wal-Mart because you forgot that one thing you need, the library didn't have THAT book on the shelf, but they can get it for you, etc.

Today, the carpet isn't covered in rose petals, but Kleenexes. "Momma, I just can't use the same one twice!"

The florist didn't ring the doorbell, but more about that later...

To be "REAL" frank, I am not in even in red or pink, but in a black t-shirt, no shower, no make-up and my little guys is in his pajamas sleeping on his "sick bed" on the couch. Ouch, is right! This is not how I thought our Valentine's Day would be celebrated when we started our countdown. I had plans!!!

I think, the hardest thing, was not letting Jeremiah (100.1 degree temperature this morning at 3:38 a.m.) go to preschool and exchange Valentines today. He works so hard in preschool. Loves all his classmates. And wrote his name and the names of his classmates on EACH Valentine (x20 - that's a big deal). But just what do those valentines symbolize? Love, right? The very thing we are suppose to celebrate today!

But wait! Love did arrive today.

Didn't the doorbell ring to find a special friend delivering all of Jeremiah's preschool "valentines" from his preschool buddies filled with a treat bag full of candy?! Yes, we read each one. Sweet...just isn't the word!

Didn't the doorbell ring to find a hand extending a VENTI regular...not decaf?!! Yes, I'm still savoring "the love!"

This Valentine's Day, I am reminded that "REAL" love is from "above." What love was lavished from these Valentines!

Yes, we have been counting "down" and making efforts to celebrate here, but as a friend encourages me, "look up!" REAL love finds us. REAL love is perfect. If God is love, how can it be anything less? So even if our best made plans fail, our creative efforts flounder, lofty expectations foil..."REAL" love doesn't fail. I can hear Jesus, the Lover of my Soul say, that His Love, that "REAL" love from above, it just DOES NOT FAIL!

Do you think that a "REAL" Valentine's Day seems a little like Thanksgiving? :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Love is...

So, how is that Valentine Countdown working out for ya?!

That is what I have heard in my heart every day since we started our Valentine Day's Countdown.

Day 1. Read 1 Corinthians 13. That kinda stung after I lost my patience with toys not being picked up in the living room Tuesday night. I was not proud of my own irritation. I had asked for all the toys to be put away AND all the cushions to be put back on the couch ( was a fort building night). Reading what God had to say in those verses was so convicting. God's Word about love made me see where I was loving and where I wasn't. LOVE IS PATIENT.

Day 2 - Wear Red & Pink...was totally met with resentment from a 4 year old who thinks pink is just a "girl's" color, wants to dress himself in turtlenecks everyday (What is up with that? Someone please explain that to me!!), and my hubby who was running late for work (I didn't even offer "a friendly reminder" that morning as he hurried around the house). Instead, I grumbled under my breath as I put on my pink shirt and wondered why was I even trying to do fun family things, am I the only one who wants to do this?! But later that evening when I met "the boys" at church, to my surprise and without "reminders" each of them had on red. LOVE IS NOT SELF-SEEKING.

Day 3 - Decorate the House...are you kidding me? Today? Of all days? Don't know if you can relate, but let's just say "home (cleaning) was not where my heart was" today. Just yesterday, I was "pulling teeth," today I am the pain! :) I needed to do the dishes, laundry lingered, and I had even mentioned playing outside to a very eager son before my morning coffee. Now, I even needed to dust where the decorations would go! We did go outside. We did play. I did do the housework, laundry, dust, dinner...even fried it up in a pan!! As more and more got done today, how sweet it was to hear, "Momma, NOW are we gonna decorate for Valentine's Day?" We got it done! LOVE NEVER FAILS.

So, how is THAT Valentine Countdown working for me?


The whole purpose was to look for remember to show love throughout the be mindful of what God's love looks like. And how I have especially needed to be reminded....the "calendar planner" has needed it the most!!

Tonight, I was reminded of love in a surprising way.

My hubby came home with these...

....the table decorations were already on the table (see above story! :) ), but the flowers were a surprise. He said they were for "no reason or occasion." But I knew what they were for...see where the leaf was naturally pointing?! LOVE IS KIND.

(To be continued...)