January 16, 2015

Just say "no"

Today, I took a first step... A first step to knowing my limits and just saying "no."

Acknowledging you have lost a child is hard, feeling like you have to stuff your emotions or hide them in tough situations is hard. Baby showers are hard, birthdays are hard. But you know what? Lying to yourself that it isn't hard, is even harder. It's like suffering inside your own brain with no way out. 

So as I struggled through the emotions of going to yet another baby shower this weekend, I decided to just say "no." And rather than letting me feel bad about also making that decision and upset I am so emotional and selfish and letting down a friend, Marc gently leaned over and said, "losing a child is something you never get over, so don't try to. You don't have to." He gave me the grace to be ugly and selfish, while still letting me protect my feelings from further heartbreak and frustration. 

Sometimes I get a glimpse of God in Marcus. God wants me, just as I am. I do not to have to put on a show or wear my church clothes. He is cool with me in my sweatpants and hoddie and mascara running down my face. He says "comes as you are and stop pretending like I don't already know!" And He allows me to not forget Peyton, no matter how much it hurts sometimes, because sometimes I just miss my baby. 

January 11, 2015

Thirty


How can this be? How can the eighteen year old that I fell in love with be hitting a new decade? Thirty always felt like such an "old" age, but now we slowly creep into this new norm and it doesn't feel different than twenties felt. Thirty years old and I have been blessed to spend 12 of those years with him. I could not be more proud of what an amazing man God has blessed me with. He is my best friend, my encourager, my supporter, my favorite. Happy birthday my love!

A celebratory birthday corn dog at the National Western Stock Show, plus deep fried Twinkies. Yum-o!


January 3, 2015

Rest [promise #1]

I sit here today, only 3 days into the new year and my heart is already wrestling. In my flesh, I want to just sit here and cry out, "How much longer Lord?! I am sooooo tired of waiting, of wanting, of not getting. I am tired of my plans competing against your plans, or of me just waiting on everything as if my life will somehow take shape eventually. I don't have hobbies anymore, all my friends have moved on in life. I have nothing Lord, but you. Is that what you want? Because you have all of me, stripped down to nothing. Naked before you waiting for you to act mightily, to give us a breakthrough. Lord, you say....'Come to me... and I will give you rest (Matt. 11:28)'.... I want that rest, why don't I feel it? Lord, I am tired."

"Over the holidays and through all the parties, you granted my soul such peace, a peace that passes all understanding and comes only from your hand. So why now? Why now does my heart feel so burdened and upset? Why must comparison rear it's ugly head again and again. Will my heart ever learn to find true contentment in You and you alone? Why must my heart be so deceitful and wicked?"

"Grant me rest, grant me continual peace...don't let Satan have a stronghold over my contentment, my mind, my life. Be King and rule over it. Put to death those ugly pieces of my old self that clings so desperately for my way, my plans. Remind me again and again that your ways are better, always better. Keep teaching me about who You are in the midst of this pain, in the midst of this struggle. Help me to just stop struggling anymore and just rest!"

"Today, this week....I will remember your promises to REST in You alone. In this current moment, you call me to rest in you, to hide myself in you, to find comfort in you. Thank you Lord, love your daughter."

"Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28

December 31, 2014

Twenty-Fourteen Recap (in photos)

Top Moments of 2014
Looking back over all the good memories from 2014. Twenty-fourteen didn't include many of the moments I had hoped for, it was full of a lot of lonely, quiet moments but even in those I saw God's faithfulness and comfort. Yet, 2014 felt very full of life and meaningful love. Twenty-fourteen will go down as one full of sweet moments alone with my Savior, fun photo shoots for Little1Paperie, designing our dream farm house (and changing our minds about 100x), picking a home site, clearing load upon loads of scrub oak from the farmland to bring in power (and a driveway), Marc getting the streetrod on the road, Restless ladies Bible Study, lots of business travel, coordinating the NILMDTS Remembrance Walk, girls trip to Santa Fe, countless days exploring the land, putting in a driveway, getting lasik, refinishing our kitchen cabinets and family time full of unlimited laughs. What a beautiful, messy, blessed year. Can't wait to see what 2015 has in store!!!


Favorite Images from 2014

Goodbye 2014!

Awkward Family Photo of 2014

December 28, 2014

2015 Word - REMEMBER


Remember my good 'ol word of the year?

This year, God is calling me to "remember" and not just to recall our past, recall the lessons we learned in waiting, recall His faithfulness. This year it is more about the special nature of memorizing Scripture, being able to recall His Word when lies are thrown our way. To recount His truths when we face obstacles or we need to encourage. Psalms 119:11 says, "Your Word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You." How often is my heart not focused on Truth and seeking answers from my own experience or the world around me?

We are commanded, "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things" (Phil. 4:8). I don't want God's very Word being the last thought on my mind. I want it front and center speaking to my heart while the pages may be closed, reminding me of His ways when I need it most.

This isn't a new concept. Continually throughout the Bible, God calls His people to "remember". Time after time, the Israelites are called to remember their time in Egypt and the mighty acts that God completed in their salvation and deliverance into the promised land. The Israelites were commanded, "these commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates" (Deut. 6:6-9). They were serious about keeping the ways of the Lord. They didn't have multiple Bibles per household back then, but they were studious about recounting, reciting and remembering what God did, His commands and His promises. That was all they had!

I believe I take for granted the written Word. It is there at my fingertips. Websites and Bible apps now help us easily navigate the Scripture without having to remember verses. We just need concepts. However, that can be so dangerous if we alter the written Word only for parts that we want to recall. I want to know more, remember more this year. I want the Word written on my heart, becoming part of my conversation, on replay in my brain when I am on the road or laying down. I want it bound to my mind, solid and firm. So this year (2015), my brain and memorization skills may be put to the test, but my word and goal will be to REMEMBER.


December 27, 2014

Christmas 2014

Our Christmas movie 2014

Our Christmas 2014 was simple, busy but fun. Marc and I both agree, this was one of the best Christmases in a long time. I had to work all week except Christmas day, but we seemed to fit in 2 large parties, Christmas morning with Marc's family, Christmas night with my family and my annual Hobbit date with my little brother Gregory. I love when Christmas isn't about the presents, but is all about Christ and family.

As Christmas day progressed, a huge snow storm came in. By dinner time, the flakes were starting to fall and falling fast. By 9 PM, Marc and I could hardly make it home as 8-10 inches of glittering white snow covered the streets. It was magical!









December 21, 2014

Before the throne

Lately, I crave time to listen to the old hymns. There is something about the truth that is oozing from each and every line of these songs. I have started running, working, cleaning to these beautiful reminders of Gods goodness, my sinfulness and the amazing work that He accomplished on the cross. Currently, this one is my absolute favorite. It brings me to my knees, wants me to just scream AMEN. Who is this God we serve that He is this amazing and loving? He is the Almighty and yet He cares for Me! I broke every rule, I broke His heart yet He fights for me day and night in Heaven. He is my advocate when I truly don't deserve it. He sees me through the eyes of His Son, His perfect Son. I can't even understand the amazing works that He does or the reasons He chooses to do this. It is just amazing. This season, as Christmas is upon us, I stand in adoration of our King, who came as a baby to save us all. Emanuel, God with us. 

Before the throne of God aboveI have a strong and perfect plea.A great High Priest whose name is LoveWho ever lives and pleads for me. 
My name is graven on His hands,My name is written on His heart.I know that while in Heaven He standsNo tongue can bid me thence depart.  
When Satan tempts me to despairAnd tells me of the guilt within,Upward I look and see Him thereWho made an end of all my sin.  
Because the sinless Saviour diedMy sinful soul is counted free.For God the Just is satisfiedTo look on Him and pardon me.  
Behold Him there the risen Lamb,My perfect spotless righteousness,The great unchangeable I AM,The King of glory and of grace,  
One in Himself I cannot die.My soul is purchased by His blood,My life is hid with Christ on high, With Christ my Saviour and my God! 
 Before The Throne of God Above, by Charitie Lees Smith (or "The Advocate")


 

oh the sweetness of submission

This morning, as the house still slept quietly while I started getting ready for the morning, my heart got to thinking. I love those still moments, when everyone else seems oblivious, but God, He is working hard on your heart. As I ironed my clothes for the day, as He challenged me. Today's topic, work, children, Him. You see, for so many years children have always been my salvation from having to work. I saw children as a means to an end, my excuse to stop working...and all for good cause, to raise them to love the Lord. But how often, in the heat of the moment when I wanted to give up at work, did the pain of my lack of children become so much more painful, only pointing out what I lacked. 

When I got pregnant with Peyton, my heart quickly jumped to that conclusion...."this is my out. Work is hard right now, my heart is weary and I can't wait to be a stay-at-home-mom! God will soon bring me that rest from working." I couldn't wait for 9 months to pass and work to be no more. Yet, we all know that isn't how the story ended and God kept pressing me deeper into working. After Peyton, God helped me to pursue another job opportunity that is so similar to what I had done before. Until this day, though, it was still seemed like another little bandaid until children come around. However, I know God is working there. I have seen so many amazing things come out of my job, come from the work my team is doing. I see Him daily using me to encourage my direct reports and from them I also hear of what God is doing to strengthen and grow them (and I don't work for a Christian organization!). Today, I realized that God took me from a comfortable, familiar work environment to a new one, that many times doesn't feel comfortable but that's okay. He knew what He was doing. He took me from a business that worked with babies to one that works with adults. I can honestly say, that has probably saved my heart more than I know, constant reminders of babies are on my mind enough without having to hear more stories about babies. 

Today, I see a fraction of some of the silliness of our planning. Before we started on this journey, our plan was to save, save, save and pay off all our debt so that I could stay home with our kids. But maybe, that wasn't really God's plan. Sure, being financially stable and wise is an honoring quality and something that was not foolish in the least; however, maybe we wanted me to stay-at-home more than God did. There is a reason He still has me working, and maybe, just maybe He wants me to continue when we have kids. Maybe us buying the land and moving to the country will prepare us for the place God wanted us in, in debt and reliant on Him, trying to raise a family while still needing to work. Maybe me working is doing more good for His kingdom than I would be staying at home. My children are not a means to my end goal or something to stop where God has placed me for 10+ years in the workforce. What if he wants me to do both, hand-in-hand trusting Him every step of the way? He is asking me to trust in this season, but what about the next? In what area will He ask me, "do you trust me here?"

I don't know if this is truth or not, obviously my heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9) and can lead me astray. But life is good. My life is good. God has given me more than I could have hoped or dreamed (Eph. 3:20). Life might be so different than I could have imagined, but it is so much better. 

For years in my early 20s, my heart longed for God. It was distant, off course. Growing up in a Christian home and knowing Christ as my Savior since I was young, didn't make it easier in those times that I felt distant and had no desire for praying or church. Those times were quiet and honestly, I wasn't seeking God. No wonder they felt so empty! Yet, God has a beautiful way of using trials to refine us (James 1:2-3). Things had always come easily to me, so God knew I needed a kick in the pants, a dream and plan deferred to bring me back into His fold, into His plan for my life. Infertility has been just that. Oh my, I would have never chosen this for myself, but He is gentle and faithful. There have been times that I feel like just flat out giving up hope, but in those moments He restores my soul. There are times when the only thing I have is His presence. Oh how sweet my Savior is. I wouldn't trade these lessons for the world. While everyone else sees the ongoing struggle or delay, my heart is renewed knowing He isn't finished with me (Phil. 1:6), His plans are always more perfect than my own (Hebrews 11:40, Romans 12:2). He came so that I could have life to the full, oh how I want to live each day, each moment in that abundance (John 10:10). Only in Him is fullness truly found. 

God doesn't make mistakes. He made me perfectly wonderful as He desired (Psalm 139:14). As I lean into Him, He directs me where He may. May I humbly submit as His servant, praying "May it be to me as you have said" (Luke 1:37). Lord, you have all of me and I love all of you.