Saturday, November 30, 2013

Treasure

  It's been a hard month filled with lots of challenges with my kids and with lots of reminders that Everett won't be here. All the reminders make it hard to keep smiling, hard to hold the tears at bay and hard to breath sometimes. Grief is sometimes so very conflicting. Some days I really do want to be fine, but I keep finding my heart is still broken.
  I sat a little while ago at my table with my coffee and my bible trying to read and find some joy, but as I reviewed the last weeks and thought about facing this next month, the hardest one of all with Christmas minus 1 and then my due date, all I managed was to question, "God, can you see? The pain just keeps mounting, and I have no idea how I'm going to face it." But with my head in my hands and the tears making a nice pool on the table, He faithfully answered, "Yes, I am here, and I see you, and you are blessed because you mourn for I will comfort you." His answer to me got me thinking. I'm not blessed because I have to go through this hard thing, woe is me, where's my gold star. No, He said I'm blessed because in this hard thing I get to experience His unexplainable comfort, and his comfort is precious. He sees, and He knows, has known pain of His own we cannot even imagine. He cares, and He promises to be right there in the midst of it.
  Maybe its ok that some days are heavy, and it's hard to breath. Maybe joy doesn't always look like I thought it did. There's treasure to be found in pain that's more valuable than ease and lightheartedness. I should be less eager for the painful reminders to end and more eager to know the comfort of the Father, to experience his precious capacity to draw near to us and help us bear our burdens.
  It's been hard and confusing. I have felt so often alone and so very heavy, but I have also had His words come alive to me during my pain as a life line of hope and direction when I am lost. I have felt the arms of the body of Christ come around me for support. I have had a clearer view of what is not important and who is. These are things I have uniquely experienced through my pain and heartache. I know these are treasures worth seeking after.
  So maybe just maybe, when my days are heavy and the tears don't end, when every step is hard and the challenges keep mounting, maybe that's ok; I can stop trying to escape it or hide it or fix it, because he promises that in that pain I will know more of His love and comfort and therefore more of Him.
  So maybe I'll just sit here with my bible and my tears and wait to be blessed a little longer.


Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Psalm 34:17-19 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hearsand delivers them out of all their troubles.The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.Many are the afflictions of the righteous,but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

2 Cor 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Music Freebie

I have a really great freebie to share with you. I heard about Seeds Family Worship from a friend who uses it as a scripture memory tool with her kids. I found their webpage and loved their music. All the songs are scripture passages, and the music is really great (for adults, too). I can't endure the kids sing alongs for very long in the car, but these CDs I can do. So from now until Thanksgiving they are having an awesome giveaway. Follow this link to receive your free digital copy of Seeds of Praise Vol. 3. Once you are on the page select Buy Now and then enter $0 in the name your price box. Select Checkout Now and then Download. From there hopefully you know how to drag the folder on your computer into itunes or your other music player. I had to ask my husband :-) Hope you enjoy the album! Check out their others on their webpage or you can also find them on Amazon. Happy listening!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Higher

I've been lately questioning how much pride and vanity have taken over in my life. My beginning struggle against them, though, has only made me realize how tightly bound I am. I recently read some questions... Do you often compare yourself to others and how they look? Do you frequently wonder what other people are saying and thinking about how you look or how successful you are? Which is your higher priority, gaining the positive opinion of others or pointing others to Christ? When you walk in a room (that assumably has other people in it), who do you think about most: Christ, the other people, yourself?  Um yeah, I got an F. (Yes, I am still grading myself with school letters. Yes, I need to work on that too. Yes, I do wish life was as easy as a school test. Those I can do. Life is way harder.) Anyway, I've been thinking about it a lot and realizing just how deep the rabbit hole goes.  Then I remembered something my Dad had done after God had changed his heart and life so completely. He set a timer on his watch, and every hour you would hear him say 'Praise the Lord' to help set his mind on Jesus, to remember the sweet blessings God had given, to testify aloud to God's grace. Super idea. So I decided I would try every time I went somewhere new or met someone to think, 'May they see You,' to remind myself to quit being obsessed with myself and be praying that Christ would be lifted higher than me. Right...again F. Apparently I'm going to have to buy a watch. Most of the time I forget to remember, and even when I do remember, 5 minutes later I still find myself wondering if everyone liked my new tights, or worrying that I just laughed ridiculously loud, or realizing I just talked on and on about my life for 20 min never once thinking to ask someone else about theirs, let alone pray with them. Yes, I am the definition of a me monster (thank you Brian Reagan.) So I still have A LOT of enduring and hard working to do on this one (thank you Greg Sykes.)
In the midst of my meager struggling, however, my Aunt-in-law, if there is such a thing, Von, has had her own struggle. She has been wrestling with cancer for a few months now, but Jesus went ahead and claimed the victory over disease and death and brought her home with Him. I love Von a lot but only knew her a little since we have lived pretty far away from Kevin's family. She ministered to and loved college students, and she had a passion for missions. She loved Christ and completely loved her family, anyone who spent any time at all near her knew that. She passed away on Monday, and already I have read so many sweet stories from people who were impacted by her, everyone honoring Christ through their memory of Von. Every time I think about her, I end up in tears. Tears because she was a beautiful and kind person, and I will miss her a lot. Tears because another piece of my family is missing. Tears because I hurt for my Uncle Mike and cousins, Alyson and Phil. Tears because she gets to see Everett before I do. Tears because its just hard when ones we love are here and then not. But also tears because I want to be so humbled before Christ that He is able to reach through, impacting others with the same message of the cross that He has spoken through Von's life and death, even. I think about the excellent example she has lived out in front of everyone who knew her of lifting Jesus higher above her self. And so even in the tears, I have hope and joy. Hope because Jesus conquered death. Hope because He is Life. Joy because He has made Von's heart, has made my heart, too, white as snow. Hope because I know He will continue to bring victory in my struggles with selfish pride and vanity. So as I strive to lift Him high, I'll remember Von's life and I'll remember Christ's sacrifice and I'll have hope and press on. Thank you, Von. Thank you, Jesus.


I sat in tears amid the crowd on long
and lonely pews, choking out words in song
I could not understand, of life that's after
life, where all her tears are changed to laughter.
Now was all I knew about and pain
was all I felt, and all I heard was rain
upon the roof, falling steady as my
tears, and then there came a voice, a sigh,
an earnest moan in low and whispered breath.
"Life," it said. It was the voice of death.
This solitary word became vibrations
within my soul. Emotions and sensations
of guilt and hope, of fear and peace all pulled
my heart in mixed directions. Youth had fooled
me to believe that time was never ending,
and minutes could be wasted, vainly spending
and never savoring that softly spoken word.
Death breathed a sigh, and life is what I heard.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Both and

It's weird how both grief and happiness can coexist, how at the same time you are hurting, you are thankful. You're having fun, and yet the tears still fall. You are staying busy but still feel the moments move in slower motion.
  My heart is still heavy a lot, but it comes in shorter spurts at random, mixed in with all the other loud, chaotic, happy, busy times. I miss the exit for Chickfila because I'm randomly reliving the moment I saw Everett. I'm sitting playing with the boys and then wondering if Everett has pretty eyelashes like Beckett. I'm chatting with my gals then over hearing Beckett tell his friends that mom had a baby in her tummy, but he died. It's hard in the middle of the fun in the middle of the normal. It's weird. 
  Some days seem back to normal, and I don't know how I feel about that yet. Then other days, I know I'm different. Life is different. And I want to hold onto that. Maybe I hold on to different because I want Everett to be real even though he isn't here. Maybe because I don't want to forget. Maybe because I don't want everyone else to forget. Maybe because I've known His presence in a way I never have, and I still need His peace and hope and love and purpose to face the day. Maybe because I don't want to go back to living without leaning into His Word. It has changed me, and I am so thankful. Already God has used Everett to make His name great in my heart and mind. I'm eager to see what He will continue to do...

  A friend sent me this song, and I have loved it. It comes from all the scripture I've been reading and rereading these past weeks, so I wanted to pass it on. I tried the best I could to find the references so maybe someone else could find that same strength and hope, purpose and comfort from the Word that I have found.



I come, God, I come - Ps 71:1-3, Heb 4:15-16
I return to the Lord - Is 30:15, Deut 4:29-31, Jer 24:6-7, Hosea 6:1
The one who’s broken - Ps 51:8,
The one who’s torn me apart - Hosea 6:1
You strike down to bind me up - Job 5:18, Ps 147:3
You say you do it all in love - Ro 8:28, 32, 38-39; Ro 5:3-5; Lam 3: 31-32
That I might know you in your suffering - Phil 3:10

Though you slay me - Job 13:15
Yet I will praise you - Ps 43:5, Hab 3:17-19
Though you take from me - Job 1:21, Ps 96:2
I will bless your name - Ps 100:1-5
Though you ruin me - Job 2:3
Still I will worship - Job 1:20-21
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need - Ps 96:1, Phil 4:19

My heart and flesh may fail - Ps 73:26
The earth below give way - Ps 46
But with my eyes, with my eyes I’ll see the Lord - Ps 27:13, Job 42:5
Lifted high on that day - Ps 27:5-6, Job 5:11
Behold, the Lamb that was slain - Rev 5:12
And I’ll know every tear was worth it all - 1Pet 1:6-9

Though tonight I’m crying out - Ps 57:1-3, Ps 69:1-3
Let this cup pass from me now - Mt 26:39
You’re still more than I need - Eph 3:20-21, Phil 4:19
You’re enough for me - Ps 23, Lam 3:19-24
You’re enough for me

2 Cor 4
[Not only is all your affliction momentary, not only is all your affliction light in comparison to eternity and the glory there. But all of it is totally meaningful. Every millisecond of your pain, from the fallen nature or fallen man, every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar glory you will get because of that.

I don’t care if it was cancer or criticism. I don’t care if it was slander or sickness. It wasn’t meaningless. It’s doing something! It’s not meaningless. Of course you can’t see what it’s doing. Don’t look to what is seen.

When your mom dies, when your kid dies, when you’ve got cancer at 40, when a car careens into the sidewalk and takes her out, don’t say, “That’s meaningless!” It’s not. It’s working for you an eternal weight of glory.

Therefore, therefore, do not lose heart. But take these truths and day by day focus on them. Preach them to yourself every morning. Get alone with God and preach his word into your mind until your heart sings with confidence that you are new and cared for.]

Though you slay me
Yet I will praise you
Though you take from me
I will bless your name
Though you ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need

Friday, August 9, 2013

One Month

One month ago today we had a miscarriage and delivered our sweet baby Everett at 14 wks. It's been a hard month, and I'm sure it will continue to be very difficult. I miss him deeply. And yet as I remember the last weeks and feel the loss, I know I have been given so much. So very thankful that sweet Everett is. Thankful I got to carry him for a short while and hold him for a moment. Thankful for a faithful Father who is love to hold him forever. So thankful for His word that has been my light and my path and my comfort and my joy. So thankful that He has drawn near in our sorrow. He has been so faithful to be my hiding place on days that are dark, my hope and my purpose, and my strength to press on. Read somewhere recently that Everett means 'courageous and unending praise'. I am thankful my baby will spend his days in unending praise, so today it is His praises that I will also sing.

"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. “Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth. Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 12:2-6

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39 BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pocket reading that packs a punch




Yes I know it's been a billion years since I blogged. Toddlers. Life. Enough said. I should post pictures and fill you in on what's been going on...maybe later. I really just wanted to share some books (actually booklets) that are changing my life. In case someone out there in webspace needs changing too. Best pocket change you will ever spend :-) Happy reading. Let me know what you think...
Christ and Your Problems