Monday, March 30, 2009
today we were talking about how close she is to birthing her second baby. and we were working through the nerves that rise up when childbirth nears. and she told me about a song she sang at a church she visited this weekend: Whisper His Name. that's the song. it says - whisper his name, call out his name, shout out his name...and He will run to you.
really think about that. we did.
just do it. right now. whisper his name: jesus. call out his name: jesus. shout out his name: JESUS!
do you feel it? do you feel the nearing presence of the savior? i do. and i have so many times in my life. but i don't recall those times nearly enough. but today i did. i love this friend. she evokes that - the desire to be near to the One who comes when we even just whisper his precious hallelujah name: jesus.
so i want to list for you the times that i've called out his name and he came. and then i hope that you'll do that same. make a list, if just mentally, of the times that Jesus has come to your aid. he's ever present but when He arrives in ways that, and when, you take notice. it's breathtaking.
two dogs were chasing me. i was on foot. i screamed, "JESUS JESUS JESUS!" and he came. a man on his bicycle with his dog came racing down the road and ran the dogs back. i just stood and cried. knowing that jesus rescued me from danger by an angry pitt bull and his other mix-breed friend.
i prayed in my hand-me-down twin bed, growing up, that Jesus would save my family. my save and his were different. but saved we all are.
in the throws of laboring during childbirth, i called out: Jesus: and he came. peace covered me. he healed my wounds.
when my dad died, all i could speak through anguish was: ABBA! FATHER! Jesus. and he came. he gave me visions and led me to Himself through his word.
when my grandad was dying and i was caring for him alone, and desperate to have one last conversation with him, though his mind was slipping away and his body wasting, i called out: please Jesus. and he came. he gave me one last conversation. an exchange of I love yous and never another word from my grandad.
when my neice was being operated on and her recovery seemed daunting, myself and a group of prayer warriors called out his name: Jesus help! and he came. she recovered, she drank a bottle, she took a first breath, she slept, she smiled, she cooed. he came.
when a boyfriend broke up with me and i was tempted to take antidepressants to dull the pain, i instead called on his name: hold me Jesus. and he did. and he covered me in a renewing peace.
when my friend told me she was pregnant again and feared losing her baby for the nearly fifth time, myself and other prayer warriors called on his name to heal her bleeding uterus and to make the life inside of her thrive. and so we called on his name: Jesus! and he came. and life is growing within her.
when dark hands held mine above my head, pinned to my bed, in the middle of the night and i couldn't move, i shouted his name: Jesus. and the hands disappeared as though his name held some sort of power that even they couldn't resist.
there is power in the name of the One who sat at the right hand of the Father when the world was spoken into being. He reigns. and He loves. and all we have to do is call on his name because it is by his name that we are saved, through his grace, through faith.
I was so glad to be reminded of his love for me today. remind yourself of when you called on him and he came.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
advice: i used to be completely in love with reduced fat peter pan creamy peanut butter. i was crushed when, while pregnant, peter pan was taken off the shelves because of a salmonella outbreak. and when it came back, i remember calling todd (while i was at the grocery) with pure glee as i held my first peter pan jar in more than a year. i thought, surely, God had blessed just me that day. until this weekend. one of my best friends is pregnant and going to have her baby any day now. and after her first baby was born, she lived off of peanut butter and graham crackers. so i called her, this week, to ask her what her favorite peanut butter was - i want to make sure she's got plenty of peanut butter and graham crackers to eat after the babe is born. and she tells me that she loves anything 'natural.' so off i go to the grocery and i pick up a smucker's jar of natural peanut butter with honey. i thought i'd keep it in our pantry with the graham crackers, until the baby was born. but naturally, i got curious. and so i opened that jar of peanut butter. and i stirred it up - pretty much because you have to. it's so thick and there's the natural peanut oil on top. i wouldn't go on about something like this if i didn't think it was just the best. but this junk is the best! i'm serious. i never thought i'd say goodbye to peter pan, but i think i might. because now, peter pan tastes like the candy peanut butter filling in a reese's cup and the natural stuff just tastes...i don't know. you have to get some and taste it...and i highly recommend spreading it on a graham cracker. that's delicious. and apparently makes great breastmilk - if you're in the business of making that stuff ;)
insight: here's a little peek into our life this weekend. loralai stood up in the bathtub last night, looked at todd all concerned-like look on her face and then...pooped in the bath. so the bath toys got washed in the dishwasher. and today we went to church and then to a friend's son's birthday party and then for a bike ride and to our neighborhood park. and then home. and i vacuumed - and while sucking up dog hair and oak leaves that make their way into our house, mainly our kitchen, i screamed. and i screamed because as i went to vaccuum under one of our kitchen cabinets, something moved. a lizard. dang lizards. this must be lizard birthing season, because we have more lizards than we can handle...that, and squirrels (thank goodness it wasn't a squirrel. i don't suppose they're as easy to catch.). so i scooped the little guy up in two cups and out he went. he was the lucky one. the last two that made it into the house, apparently made it in with some towels that our dogs had been lounging on on our back porch. they didn't fare to well when i washed the towels. and i nearly gagged when i went to put towels into the dryer and found two drown lizards. yuck.
request: i have a good friend who is experiencing a miracle. and it's beautiful to watch. it's also beautiful to be blessed by her miracle. you might be wondering how i can be blessed by HER miracle. because i love her. because i prayed for her for years. and because for a week now, many of us have been praying the exact same thing - the same request - to God and He answered our prayer. that's huge! read her blog. she is a blessing and her life is blessed. she's beautiful inside and out. her husband is precious and his love for her is priceless. and their little girl is one of the most sweet, funny and cute little girls i know. and the baby they're growing right now, is already blessed. already a miracle. already a loved child of God. pray with us that this baby grows fully, and perfectly. read her blog. (blogger isn't working right - so if this link doesn't work, just click on peanut and poppy under my blog list to the right)
and please keep praying for baby stellan. he's struggling and needs you to storm heaven, to ask God to move in where doctors don't know where or how to move, to bring him comfort and rest, to bring his family peace, to fully and completely heal stellan's heart. i'm desperate, for reasons i can't put my finger on, to see this sweet boy healed. i think God has big plans for stellan's life.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
we got back from florida about two weeks ago - a much needed vacation. much needed down time for the husband and wonderful time for he and the babe to bond. times together, like that, are priceless.
when we got back, we'd made our minds up that i would begin to ween loralai from nursing. woah is me. that's what i say about it. i know i can't go on nursing forever, but i love it. and my little talker loves it, too. if uncomfortable or nervous, she walks up to me and pulls at my shirt saying "muk muk." i know. to some of you squimish on nursing or thinking that her asking for milk is yucky, well let me set your minds at ease. it's neither yucky nor squimish evoking. instead, it's heartwarming and affirming to know that your body was created to help grow and comfort your baby - and it's done its job. i'm blessed to have a little one talk so early; it lets me know what's going on in that sweet little mind of hers.
which is why it's so hard for me to take away that little piece of comfort from her. but i know, i know. changes are sure to happen and changes are good (most of the time). it's part of letting go and nudging her towards a little more independence. but let me be honest - that's hard. it's hard to have been needed so much for a year and then not needed at all anymore. sure i'm needed for other things, but not to sustain her life anymore. i'm guessing you're picturing me with my hand on my forehead in a gone with the wind kind of pose - i'm not. but i'm just trying to be real. it's hard learning to let go - especially with your first baby.
so there's that. no more nursing during the day. just first thing in the morning and right before bedtime. those will be the last to go.
and i thought that was all the changes i was going to have to work for over the course of march and into april. but apparently my two nap a day (approx. 2hr each nap baby) baby has decided that she's not going to take two naps anymore. total shocker to my routine-oriented system. so yesterday was the first day of one nap. bad news. backfire.
she made it until 11:15 and then i put her in her crib where she firmly crashed into a deep sleep...for all of an hour and fifteen minutes. do whaaaat?! oh dear. i knew i was in for it. for the next three hours, it was fun time. but after four p.m., you could kiss our day goodbye. she fell three times over her own feet. one time she fell flat on her right cheek. she called for mommy, daddy, hewwwooo, bye bye, muk, cAt, maaaoowww...you get the picture. it was like loopy girl entered the room and started saying all of her words. so we ate dinner at 5 o'clock and lights were out at 5:45. blessed be.
changes are a comin' and they're wearing me out - emotionally.
though in the throws of the wound up one, yesterday, i did get one thing accomplished. a good workout. we were able to miss the insane afternoon crowd of big kids at the gym and go play with the little kids, in the morning, and i got to sweat. aaah sweat. but as we walked back into our house, my sweat turned to ice cycles on my skin. our heating unit broke. go figure. so that will be fixed....friday. not to worry, though. we have a fat little baby who was bundled in two warm layers of clothes on top of a thick fleece blanket. we knew she wouldn't freeze. and the house never dropped below 65 degrees. and we have great friends who loaned us two space heaters for tonight.
but what a wrench to throw in my already changing day.
and then there's the snot. which i attributed to more teeth coming in. how many teeth do these kids get, anyway? it seems like we should be done by now. right :) so in the middle of the night, twice, the little one wakes up, unable to breathe through her nose holes. and these holes are crucial to a good night's sleep since she does so loooove her middle and ring finger to suck on during sleep. and i figure it's impossible to suck when your nose is snot-filled. so maybe it's a cold and not teething or maybe it's pollen. i don't claim to know jack, at this point.
so the cold night's sleep was interrupted. aaah change.
where are you predictability?
i think the only thing predictable is change. it's inevitable and sometimes we have to roll with the punches. because really, these are small punches. and today, she's already slept an hour and forty minutes. so we're getting there....i suppose.
thanks for listening.
and while you have time, since you've the time to read this blog, click on the side button and pray for Stellan. he's in dire need of healing.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
He has a plan for us, uniquely.
He knows the desires of our hearts.
The Holy Spirit utters on our behalf when our hearts can't find the words.
God knows every hair on our head - by number.
Nothing happens, not a leaf falling in the woods or a bird dying, without God knowing it.
He knows the place in which we will be born and die and where we will live in between.
He created us to love Him and to love.
He gave us each unique gifts that help glorify God and further his kingdom.
And I look at my sweet little sugar lump of a daughter and I wonder - what gifts has God given you? Already I see so much in her sweet little spirit. She's tender. A pleaser. She loves to talk and help. But what else? She's so young and so impressionable.
But when we're talking, I can ask her where Jesus is and she finds him. She looks everywhere until she finds a cross...and then she walks to it with her arms lifted up and says "Jeeee". I do not make this up. And if I had a video of it, I'd post it. (maybe i'll do that soon). It makes my heart get so excited when she smiles at that cross. While I know that the cross is just a symbol, I know that her heart is already being formed for Jesus.
While I was pregnant, I would pray that God would put in her a spirit that longed to be in His presence; a spirit that found the greatest joy to be with Him. I prayed that he would make her a woman after his very heart. And I claim that and I know that she will be. But what will it look like? Will she want to teach? Will she be a natural encourager, a singer of his praises, a writer, a prophet, someone who heals the sick, a woman whose compassion feeds the hungry...what gifts has God given my sweet little girl so that his kingdom will be glorified? I'm so excited to see how she grows into the woman that He's called her to be. And I'm so honored to be along side of Todd to get to fan that fire that he set in her long before Todd or I even dreamed of being her parents.
How amazing is our God? He weaves together life so beautifully, knits it in our wombs so perfectly and sets it before us in just the right time so that we can receive his love. So that we would be able to pour out his love so that others might see him a little more clearly. There is no mistaking that our God reigns. And when I look at my brown-eyed baby as she comes in for a smooch or lays her head on my chest for a hug, I praise God for the woman she's already becoming. Already she's pouring out love - love that was set in her by the One who is Love.
I wonder what your gifts are. Do you know what your gifts are? I'd love to know. It's a beautiful thing seeing the body come together as God has created us all to work in harmony for his kingdom. And I wonder what your children's gifts are. Do you know what they are? How do you fan those gifts to encourage them to grow in their natural talents in Christ?
God is just...amazing. I'm at a loss for words.
Maybe these few pictures will pick up where I left off. Here are some pictures of what God's working on for His kingdom...
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
every now and then grief creeps up on me. i think i'm good and solid and then it just hits. not unexpectedly, this time, though. my brother and i are seeing tangible blessings that are coming from my dad's death - and i'm watching my brother be a man who i'm incredibly proud of. it's rare that he cracks and breaks. but sometimes he does. we all do. and so i pray that while he's handling the huge amount of work that comes with selling our childhood river home, that God will meet him where he is and lavish himself upon my brother. i pray for wisdom and peace. i pray for a calm when things are overwhelming and i pray that he knows that no dollar amount will ever matter to me, that there will never be a divide between us. death has no grip on the living and so i won't let the left over stuff hinder my joy. our joy.
and so last night after talking to my brother and then finally finding some quiet time to get back in the word and just allowing myself time to process, i found myself falling. and i just cried. it really snuck up on me this time - or at least in a way more than i thought it would. because it's just confusing and perfectly clear. you see, my dad left us with a historical mess of stuff. and it's been on my brother's shoulders to sift through the mess because he was the executor of my dad's will. and i'm thankful that he was, executor, because it's his methodical thinking and knowledge of handling his own business that has him pushing through the rubble like a champ. and dear jesus it's been an extra full-time job for him. and i don't know what else to do except encourage him and pray for him and love him for the time he's sacrificing from his family to tie up loose loose ends to a life that gave him his.
while i thought about all that my brother was doing, i started thinking about how we were benefiting from our loss. and part of it is financial. we're blessed beyond measure. and last night i kept thinking, 'God, you wouldn't have taken my dad for nothing and given us money for nothing.' so i'm overwhelmed with joy that i'm able to leverage money to help others for the sake of the kingdom of God. it makes me get all giddy knowing that i'm holding hidden treasure that some blessed child of God will get to receive - that a prayer is being answered through the death of a man i called dad. somewhere, i believe, a family is praying for money or groceries or help with their mortgage or clothes for their family...and the little bit of money that we'll be able to share will help.
that's so perfect. so beautiful.
it's just like our God to work out a grace that makes no sense and yet makes all the sense in the world. it's beautiful.
but there's part of me that keeps trying to shake off myself. i miss my dad. and i remember people saying, in past, that when they lost someone that it just seemed like they were on vacation and would return at any moment. i used to scowl at that - that's just ridiculous. but it's not. it's really pretty accurate. death is a mysterious thing - loss is. and last night i had this thought - that i'll share some other time - and i caught myself as i thought 'ooh, i need to call dad and ask him if he knew that happened.' but as soon as the thought entered in, so did the realization that i can't call him anymore. and i know that the reality of it all is that if he was still alive, the conversation would be difficult anyway. i know this.
but hear me on this. my dad was a stubborn and prideful man. but his heart was beautiful and kind and he had a compassion that i just miss. he had a heart for the poor and the lonely - probably because his heart could share in their desperation. dad, like all of the lost, was desperate for reconciliation, but pride got in the way. and he was desperate for acceptance and affirmation that he was good, but pride got in the way. his pride ate at what God called him to be. until the end.
and so here is my struggle. and here is where 2 corinthians comes in. my weakness is in staying in a place of praise for the salvation of my dad. and while i don't want to stay here forever, in weakness in this area, i know that Christ is sufficient. that his grace is enough and that to deny God of the grace he extended to my dad would be to deny the very essence of who He is. and so i know that in my weakness, my mind's feable attempt to understand the loss and to move forward for the rest of my life without a dad, means that Christ will extend a covering over me to fill the hole that sits in despair and grief.
because some nights, like last night, i sit in my bed and cry and i'm pretty certain that i remember a few things: how dad ties his tie, the feel of his hands and the rough callouses, how thick his hair feels, his pudgy cheeks and his hugs. i know i've said all of this before and you've read it before, but i want you to know something that's real. and that is that grief isn't just one blog or one day or one year. sometimes it trickles throughout a lifetime. it's not always painful and dagger stabbing. but it's still reminiscent and you find yourself still longing to be in the presence of the one you love.
after my cry, there was peace. i think crying is God's way of helping us mend our hurt. crying is good. and the peace i felt was the Holy Spirit reminding me that God's grace is enough. that when my mind can't wrap around loss - and all that it encompasses - God can. and it is through his spirit that i start to understand. it's in my weakness that Christ's power rests on me. his compassion, his mercy, his wisdom, it rests on me. and through my heartbreak and desperation to just hear my dad's voice one more time or to hug him and make absolutely sure he knows that i love him with every cell in my body, i feel a nudging from the spirit reminding me that if he lived, he would be pained. but if he died, he would live. it was only through death and the final reconciliation of a life of pain that my dad was able to live. he lives.
and i rest in that and i praise God for that and through his redemption, i know that nothing is impossible. nothing. that in dad's weakness, Christ's power was magnified and shown in ways i've never seen. and it was beautiful and glorious and full of splendor and far greater than any war ever worn or story ever told.
therefore i will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
...so that i'm not so caught up in hiding my grief or being embarrassed of how i've been blessed or feeling stupid about repeating the same emotions more than once. so that i'm able to freely say to a broken world that there is a beautiful peace when we come before the feet of the One who saves and we lay it all down. we leave nothing out and try not to cover anything up. but we lay it down and let it out and let Jesus start to mend and heal the broken places and praise him for revealing the secrets of eternity to our hearts that so desperately long to be Home in paradise.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
as am i when i try to speak my own words of wisdom to a friend in need or trouble. i walk away kicking myself and regretting and knowing i sugar-coated or fluffed her with nothingness. but when i don't speak on my own, but i just feed a friend with something simple and true, then i know there is nothing more i should or shouldn't have said. but that God's word is enough. it never departs from his mouth and returns empty. even if the person isn't yet ready to receive his word, they will...in time. in time God will reveal his love by the words spoken. sometimes years later. but as for us, the speaking, the speakers, we are to just have faith that God's word is enough. that his command for us to love each other, is enough. we aren't to add salt to the pot, or a splash or pepper for flavor. his word is enough.
his word is full of flavor.
and it is enough. and all we must do is take some little obedient steps. instead of offering our ideas to what is happening to the world, we just need to start telling the world what God has said. i need to start telling the world what God has said. i need to start being more obedient. to not be afraid of God's word spoken to the world but to remember that i was called to love the world so that it might see Jesus instead of letting the world love me so that i might see a lie called pretty, or convenient, or rich, or status, or good hair, or nice skin, or wrinkle free. but so that the world will see holy, sanctified, glorious, heavenly, peaceful, truth, salvation.
so today, i'm reminded of what God told Ezekial. what if we lived like this. what if we saw the world as it is, rebelling against God, and we spoke to it truth. beautiful, sweet, perfect truth. the world would be changed.
1 He said to me, "Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you." 2 As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me.
3 He said: "Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day. 4 The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says.' 5 And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them. 6 And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house. 7 You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. 8 But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you."
Sunday, March 1, 2009
monday i went to the dentist, anxiously, to have a cavity filled. a minor thing, right? i thought so, too. but i was still anxious because i've had trouble with my jaw, in the past, and i was scared that holding it open for the cavity would bring back the TMJ pain. but i was assured that it would be a quick procedure - from first needle to last fill, it was to take twenty minutes. and it did. it took no time at all.
but five hours later, and after having called the dentist to see what the problem was, my entire left side of my face was still 100% numb. they assured us that the numbing would subside and life would return normal. so i ate a milkshake for dinner and went to sleep. though the weird thing wasn't so much the numbing sensation as was the pain my jaw. it was a heavy feeling.
and the next morning, while i could feel my face again, i could barely open my jaw. todd and i both attributed it to the holding of the jaw open. but then the next day when my jaw was worse, we wondered what was going on. and by wednesday night, i could open my mouth wide enough to maybe fit a slice of bacon in it. i was miserable and the pain seemed intolerable. or so i thought. because on thursday, the pain increased with a fierce kind of sting. i had pain shooting into my ear and behind my eye. by this time, both todd and i had been on the phone several times with todd's dad (a retired dentist) and our dentist. todd's dad was really concerned and kept giving us ideas to help with the pain. and while that was kind, all of our real concerns were why? why was this pain even occuring? i just had a stinking cavity filled! after four days of screaming pain - and i'm not kidding, nor exaggerating - the pain began to subside. and the doctor determined/guessed that he more than likely hit a tendon and/or muscle when giving me the novocaine - and the pain was a result of that tendon/muscle freaking out while trying to heal.
and i. i haven't been so pleasant to live with.
i've realized that i feel really sorry for myself when i don't feel well. and i want someone else to feel sorry for me, too. but it doesn't always work that way. especially when you're on mommy patrol 24hours a day. there's no day off. no sick day to call in and rest. there's no one to fix you soup or run to mcdonald's and bring you a milkshake when the thought of getting in the car and driving just wears you out. and so, you tough it out.
but in the midst of toughing and keeping a smile on your face for your one year old, your patience runs thin to anyone else around you.
and so as the jaw pain subsides, i realize i have more ailments. i have a cainker sore under my tongue where the doctor nicked me a small bit. but the problem here is that it hurts to talk. and eat. and swallow. and brush my teeth. mouth pain really really stinks.
and then. and then i get this cold. this stinking cold. i cough non-stop and the burn in my chest frustrates me. and i'm nearly done with my box of tissues. and i just downed some chicken, rice and stars. doesn't chicken broth cure colds? i'm hoping so because me and cold medicines don't mix. they make me feel like i've taken some weird form of alcohol on crack. it's a crazy loopy feeling. so i always forego the cold meds and suffer through the colds.
but again, i'm a grump. and i find myself wavering and teetering between happy, peaceful and nearly biting the head off of the man who calls himself husband. though, at this point, he may not want to call himself that. but maybe he's happy since he's excused himself and gone to check the surf. and i, i'm here with my snotty tissues, my laptop (now completely covered in cold germs - which i'll disinfect later), some sunday afternoon movie, a sleeping baby and hopefully a little peace before we run much needed errands.
and oh, did i mention that i'm accompanied by a total grumpo mood?
and so as we sat in church, hours ago, i felt it again. the wavering. teetering. to and fro of emotions. and i repented.
and i keep repenting.
and i keep reminding myself that there's no guilt associated with my behavior through repentance, but there is responsibility to my behavior even though i feel like i've been dished the biggest plate of poo this week. and so i think about the book i'm reading and i remember how the author quoted Paul in the book of Philippians. and i'm feeling the guilt start to push out.
as Paul is finishing his letter to the church of Philipi, he says this:
3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
and i'm reassured that God means something specific in his words through Paul. he's trying to build up the people in the church to remember that we are precious. we are formable, usable and not yet complete. wheew. because if i were, what a mess of a creation i am!
but i'm not complete. God says that when i accepted Christ as Savior, he began something awesome in me. he's using me for his purposes and forming me daily, as i surrender, to become more of Christ and less of me. and so i rest in that. just right there. today, that's where i'm landing. i'm reminding myself that while it isn't ok that i'm a total grump, it's not the end of the world. and the good part is that i'm realizing that it isn't ok to be a grouch all week and that it's ok to have emotions and be teetering here and there...with the realization that God is working out something beautiful in me, in spite of myself.
i know it's just pain from the neck up, but this week was a tough one, relatively speaking. trying, anyway. and i guess it took a little bit of pain for me to be reminded that it's not through my own grace, or todd's, that i grow. but through God's.
God's peace to you - and your household. may you be cold-germ free.