Thursday, February 21, 2013


My husband and I recently celebrated our 10th anniversary!!  We finally were able to plan our first  getaway since our honeymoon.  A long time coming!  I wasn't sure it was going to happen.  Given that my grandmother and her husband live with us, we have 3 girls to care for, and an almost non-existent budget for fun, odds were against us.  But we came up with a plan:  My parents could come and stay with the young and the old (and the dog).  Dear friends agreed to let us use their lake house.  I used coupons for our gourmet pizza rolls and Voila meals!  Plans came together.  Plans were threatened.  After suffering a miscarriage on January 31st, the day before our anniversary, I wondered if my heart could truly celebrate.  And days before our getaway a stomach bug hit our house hard.  The stomach bug won 5:2.  I gave up and didn't think we were going to be able to go and then...God!  (and my wonderful parents who are now, unfortunately, sick)

3 nights.
3 wonderful mornings with no alarm clocks.
 A retreat for my soul.  For my marriage.

A serene view but too cold to sit on the porch!

Boiled Peanuts!  (home grown peanuts)

How I kept my coffee nice and warm!  ;-)

We played Upwords.  I won!!  I'm not bragging, just stating the facts!  ;-)
More food.  Gift card = yummy dinner at Outback

We splurged for the onion!

Time to study and read and think!!!

We weren't far from my sister's so we went to see Kasen!  (oh, my sister was there too)

Pizza rolls by candlelight is kind of our momentous occasion meal.

All cleaned up and ready to go home!
Bye lake!  Until we meet again...
Ready to head home!
The welcoming committee!!!

Anybody with young children knows that an uninterrupted conversation is a rare event so to be able to share a complete thought with my hubby was fabulous.  We talked a lot about our future, our goals, our dream of having a farm and our budget.  We also enjoyed our silence.  I love the sounds of reality that welcomed us home and I cherish the time I had to be still and quiet. 

I cannot say enough about how amazing our weekend was.  Thank you, Mom and Dad!!  for taking care of everyone and braving the germs.  ;-)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Mustard Seed

Today was my first Sunday going to church since suffering a miscarriage.  Sitting on the pew during the service, I was bodily present but that was all I could bring.  Just a warm body.  A warm body grateful to be there but having nothing of depth to offer.  Emotionally detached to avoid weeping.  Present to avoid isolation.  And then...

I noticed Isabelle writing on a piece of paper which is not unusual.  When I realized she had been writing for quite some time I glanced at her paper and the moment I read her words I was catapulted into emotional reality.  She was writing prayer requests on the form that can be placed into the offering plate to then be prayed over by church staff.  

She, with childlike faith, listed petitions close to her heart.

Names of family that don't know Jesus
Aunt Tiffany's migraines
Her desire to find her lost Bible
She also declared that she was a Christian

Precious.  Just precious.

I often feel silly when sending petitions of my own to others.  I have over analyzed my neediness and allowed that to play into what I've asked others to pray for.  For a moment, today, I wondered if allowing Isabelle to place her requests in the offering plate was silly.  Not Isabelle.  Without abandon, she sought to ask if anyone would join her in placing her petitions before the Throne of Grace.  That moment passed, and so did the offering plate carrying my girl's requests on to any prayer warrior willing to bend a knee.  

"...if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you."  Matthew 17:20
"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me."  Matthew 18:5

I wish I had a copy of it.  In her words.  In her handwriting (which is atrocious; I blame her teacher...LOL).  But she humbly wanted to share her prayer needs with people offering to pray over them, so my mental picture and memory is what I have to remind me to have the faith of a child, a child of the Living God.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I'm complicated

I'm complicated.  Just ask my husband.  Not high-maintenance (I don't like that term), just complicated.  When I take the Love Language test to determine my love language, I have 3 that tie...see, complicated.

I heard a sermon this morning.  It was how to deal with loss.  The pastor described the 5 stages of grief. 
  1. Shock & denial
  2. Sadness
  3. Anger
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance & hope
Interesting that I would hear this sermon while grieving.  What is complicated is that I feel that I can be at any or all of these stages at once.   But I'm clinging to the hope when the other stages threaten to go beyond what is helpful.  These stages.  My feelings.  They are natural.  They are biblical.  As long as the first 4 do not reign in my heart forever.

Scientists have studied tears.  Emotional tears release toxins from the body.  So, I'm getting rid of lots of toxins. 
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  
When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food day and night

I will yet praise him
Psalm 42:2,3,5

When reality does not interest me at all, I will call on the Lord and feed on His word.

By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me-
a prayer to the God of my life.
Psalm 42:8

My Jesus is walking me through this.  He has sent me many hugs, helping hands, and encouraging words.

The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
 Psalm 118:14

My emotions are raw.  My heart is broken.  I'm a complicated mess. 

But, I know the One who has come to bind the brokenhearted!  I know the One who will comfort all who mourn.  He holds the oil of gladness and He is the best at making beauty from ashes.  How very dear to me that my Savior quoted these promises about Himself to those in the synagogue and told those listening that they were seeing scripture fulfilled before their very eyes.  (See Isaiah 61 and Luke 4:14-21)  How awesome!  The very Word of God made flesh reading the Word of God.  That gives me chills, comfort and joy!  

Hope.  I'm clinging to Him.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Loved & Redeemed

The story of my life's redemption was written before the foundation of the world.  My Redeemer chose this time and place for my life to be part of His story. 

Growing up the daughter of a minister I was, naturally, in church and around Christians all the time.  Oh how I loved going to work with my Daddy.  I knew the nooks and crannies of various church buildings.  I heard the Bible preached every week.  At the age of 7 I went forward with several other kids during children's church to be "saved".  Now, what I do know is that the Lord called on me at the age of 13 and I answered His call and I called on Him as my Savior.  My excitement for Jesus and mission work was palpable.  I can recall His Spirit speaking to me so often.  And then, slowly, I turned away.  Life happened.  Deep wounds.  Doubt.  Confusion.  Anger.  I was not prepared for anything difficult.  My foundation was Christ but everything I placed on top of that foundation was shifting sand.

Hurt and pouting, I did what I wanted to with my life from 18 to my mid twenties.  Please understand this.  I knowingly and willingly sinned, all the while knowing I was grieving the Holy Spirit who had sealed me until the day of redemption.  I am the chief of sinners.  I don't have a testimony of what God delivered me out of before I knew Him.  I am the testimony of what God can redeem when His child becomes the prodigal.  I have cheapened the cost of His love for me.  If you have ever experienced the Lord watching and waiting and then running to you when you return from a sinful journey then you know how faithful He is.

At the age of 22, living in Kentucky, I met Bruce.  He was a good man.  He loved me.  I loved him.  He wanted to marry me.  I wanted to marry him.  We met in June, started dating in July, engaged in November and married the 1st of February!!  Wow!  Bought a house in April and during the move discovered we were expecting our first child.  Isabelle made her entrance into this world in December.  16 months later, we welcomed our second daughter, Charlotte into our home.  When we married, Bruce was not a Christian.  Good man?  Yes.  Christian?  No.  Was I knowingly unequally yoked?  Yes.  Did God have a plan for redeeming my life and the life of the man I love?  Oh, yes!

Because God blessed us with children very early in our marriage, I started thinking...I know that this faith that I have, this faith that is weak, but real, is something I want to pass down to my children.  I was just hoping Bruce would be on board.  I began desiring to be around Christians again (see, when you're not walking with the Lord you usually don't want to hang out with those that are) and Bruce was interested in going to church.  My stubborn and wounded heart began to seek the Lord.  My Jesus.  My sweet Jesus called on Bruce's heart while Charlotte was in my womb.  Bruce accepted and was baptized when Charlotte was 3 weeks old.  Talk about a time of rejoicing.  Bruce began reading God's word.   His appetite for God's word grew and Bruce had a childlike wonder and faith at the things he was reading.  Bruce's fresh hunger for God brought to life all those Sunday school and children's sermons I had heard as a child.  I was looking at God's word through new eyes and with a renewed heart.  Wow, God is awesome!  What I messed up, He redeemed.

Slowly, forgiveness came and my faith grew even while being tested.  Oh, God, why did I ever turn away from You?  How foolish of me.  How faithful of You!

Not only did God rejoice over me returning to Him, He didn't stop there.  He blessed me.  He blessed my husband.  You should know that I could be on my face before the Lord every day thanking and praising Him for the marriage He has blessed Bruce and I with.  God designed marriage to be a picture of Christ's love for the church.  This picture is beautifully painted, flaws and all, in my life.  My husband loves me no matter what I have done.  He has a servant's heart.  He has willingly sacrificed for his family and continues to do so.  I remember a time when I asked Bruce to forgive me for something I had said and Bruce looked at me and said, "I already have.  I forgave you before you said it."   He meant it.  He just loves me.  I love him.  What I adore most is Christ in and through him.  Bruce will tell you that if any good comes from him, it's got to be God. I'm thankful that I get to, undeservingly, experience that love every day.  I'm also thankful that I get to see my husband grow in the Lord and display Christ to his family, friends and community.

I am loved and redeemed.  Thank you, Jesus!

Happy 10th anniversary Bruce!  I'm glad God brought us together.  I love you!