Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Seasons and Timing

This is a picture of a tree in our January!

My body feels a little like this tree.  Confused and out of season.

This tree is preparing for new life before its time.

My body, my heart and my family were preparing to welcome new life into our family.  Sadly, winter is not over.  The knitting together in my womb will not continue long enough for me to labor to hold.  My Creator knows what is best for His creation and His created and their seasons.

It is not the season for new growth for the tree.  It is not the season for our family to grow.

In this time of loss, there is much pain.  Pain reminds me that this world is not my home.  One day I will be with my Jesus and with this precious life gone on before me.

Until then, I find comfort in knowing that I am not on this journey alone.  I am thankful for my family and friends.  I am thankful for the prayers and actions of others showing love and support.  I am thankful that in there being a time for everything, there is a time to mourn.  My soul is mourning but I know there will come a time to dance...
in another season...
in God's perfect timing.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The cost

I'm in a place of deep thought with the Lord.  You know those times when something that God is working on in your heart seems to come up everywhere?  I am currently taking a discipleship Bible study at church while simultaneously reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship.  So many words from Bonhoeffer's book are resonating in my soul.  I have much to ponder.  The cost of grace.  Christians love to talk of God's love and grace and how God loves to lavish us in His grace.  Now, I believe that He does.  But...that grace that God gives us cost Him everything.  Bonhoeffer says:

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession.  Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.  Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has...Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow...Jesus Christ.  What has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.  Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us.  Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.

Am I really willing to pay any price to follow Christ?  I don't know for sure...  Does God's lavish grace mean that I should be comfortable all the time?  Certainly not.  Through difficulties I can have abundance and I can have joy.  I can have peace that passes understanding.  If my peace must be beyond comprehension, then it seems that the peace within my soul will not always make sense to others. For it is just for my soul from His Spirit.  More from Bonhoeffer:

The cross is laid on every Christian.  The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world.  The cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise god-fearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ.  
When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.

The sermon this morning talked of cheapening God's grace.  The special music was about becoming stronger in our weakness.  Asking for God to show up in our suffering...even asking Him to bring us to a place of weakness and suffering so that we can be stronger in Him.  When my life feels stormy and painful what I need more than calmer water is, simply, Jesus.  What I need when following Christ seems too costly is to remember the cost my Savior paid for me. I have been looking for the Stronger for It song lyrics but cannot find them online.    Please listen to this song.  

Saturday, January 5, 2013


My family was at church for the children's choir Christmas program.  Bruce and I were settling down in the balcony to enjoy the presentation.  We were playing with our new video camera that we are sooooo excited to have now!!  There was commotion below and several friends were waving at us and indicating for us to come downstairs.  My heart sank on the way to the stairwell because I thought something had happened to one of my children...  Dear friends met us in the stairwell and told us they were on the phone with my grandmother who had fallen at our home.  She could not get up and thought she had broken something.  Bruce heads out immediately.  Upon reaching her Bruce realized that it wasn't safe for him to try to get her up and he had to call an ambulance.  Well, Gma did break something.  Her left humorus.  Meanwhile, friends were making sure our children were cared for, videoing our children singing, giving me a ride to get a vehicle so I could take said children home and offering to help in any way.  We are truly blessed by our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Long and absurd story shortened, Gma was released from hospital and then taken by ambulance to the ER a second time, admitted to hospital, and finally to inpatient rehab.

After getting Gma settled into rehab and taking care of necessary things in addition to family Christmas, I realized that I was receiving a time of respite.  Despite Gma's husband, Chuck's trip to the ER on Christmas Eve things were a little quieter at home.  We weren't doing schoolwork.  I had to stay at home so that Chuck wasn't home alone.  With no school and no Gma at my house I was being given the perfect opportunity for projects!  I made a long list of household projects that I had not been able to get to. 

End of year stuff and subsequent computer and Quickbooks backup
Balance 4 checkbooks
Prepare for my new scrapbooking adventure
Find the best place for the big girls' hanging clothes since they don't have a closet
Under the purge and organize category:
  • computer desk/bookcase/business filing cabinet
  • school room
  • coupons
  • sunroom (currently big girls' bedroom a.k.a Lego heaven)
  • my bedroom
  • Madelynn's bedroom
  • homeschool association stuff
  • shoe closet
(Gma comes home in 4 days and I have about 4 1/2 projects left...)
[res-pit] noun, verb, res·pit·ed, res·pit·ing.
1.a delay or cessation for a time, especially of anything distressing or trying; an interval of relief: to toil without respite. relieve temporarily, especially from anything distressing or trying; give an interval of relief from.

Don't get me wrong, I still had tons of other things to do too, but I had not realized how time consuming it was to have Gma at our house especially during school time.  I felt I could breathe.  I honed in on my projects with the help of my 18 month old, of course.  She's quite helpful!  I also enjoyed catching up on some reading and catching up with friends.  Even though I was beginning to feel slightly bummed about being "stuck" at home, I took advantage of my time.  God was giving me rest.  He was redeeming my time.  Gma was in safe hands.  I was in God's hands, thankful for my respite.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ketchup, mustard, and glue

Recently read a book called Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst.  It's about making godly decisions in the midst of raw emotions.  In the two months it took me to read the book, I had lots of opportunities to practice godly decisions in the midst of raw emotion.  God's timing is perfect and I needed the overall message of this book just as I was reading it.  Time to put the principles into action because no wants to see me go to the ketchup and mustard place.  That's right, the ketchup and mustard place.

During the process of moving my grandmother and her husband into our home there were countless physically and emotionally draining moments.   Emotionally, not just because it was a major family adjustment but also because of the nature of the relationship (or lack thereof) with my grandmother.  Physically, because of packing up their house and moving everything around in ours.  We put our big girls in our sunroom and gave Gma and Chuck a bedroom each.  Most of Gma and Chuck's possessions are in storage (or the dump!!) and a few of our things are also in storage.  Deciding what would come to our home and what needed to be stored was exhausting.  Especially exhausting was all of the paperwork.  When I say paperwork I mean drawers and drawers and drawers and cabinets and drawers worth.  Their record keeping (or lack thereof) was maddening to decipher.  Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out what taking care of their affairs, medicines, appointments and being their advocate looks like and requires.  To say that I was overwhelmed with the addition of even the smallest box or piece of paper would be an understatement.  I would laughingly tell my husband and parents that nothing else was to come to our house.  They would laugh, but we all knew that more was coming.  But I meant it.  I was coming unglued.   I told my husband not to bring anything else to our house.  Nothing.  Nothing!  He was so kind and sensitive to me and did his very best to support his crazy wife.  One day,  he innocently mentioned that in Gma's fridge was an extra ketchup and mustard...could he bring them to our fridge when I was ready.

I said, with tears, no.  Nothing meant nothing.  Did I know that I was overreacting?  Yes.  Did it matter that, as a couponer, I can be giddy about cheap or free condiments?  NO.  Too much.  Ketchup and mustard broke the proverbial straw.   I was unglued.  And my sweet husband knew that he did not have the glue to put humpty dumpty back together again.  I needed God.  I need God.  Obviously I was not upset about ketchup and mustard.  I was processing the changes we were making.  I was stressed out and felt like I was drowning and didn't even have time to reach for The Life Preserver. 

Throughout Lysa's book she reminds you that "feelings are indicators, not dictators".   "Holy restraint is the seed that produces the fruit of self-control."  "I'm reminded in the Bible that out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.  When my happy gets bumped, what's really going on in my heart is on display.  In those times I will either add to the authenticity of my love for Jesus or, sadly, negate it." 

Wow! But with God, there is always a way to make beauty from ashes.  Lysa says, "He allows the unglued moments to make us aware of the chiseling that needs to be done."

As painful as this growing, chiseling, refining, and pruning from the LORD can be, it brings me closer to Him.  He gives me rest.  He is my refuge.  He is my ever present help in times of trouble, including when ketchup and mustard are just too much! 

I do not have it all together.  You know what? I never will.  And that's okay!  What's important is that I walk through this life together... 

Together with my heavenly Father.
Together with my husband.
Together with my children.
Together with my family.
Together with my friends.
Together with my neighbors.
Together with my enemies.

with the help of a little Heavenly Glue, of course!