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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Church

When we walked into church today Tessa caused quite a stir. It seemed almost everyone had heard of how our baby was born Christmas day. In the service a couple of women were talking about the group that crochets and knits blankets for people, praying over them as they work. Then they turned to us, asked us to stand and show Tessa to everyone, to much oohing and aahing. 😉 After the service they brought us a bunch of blankets and asked us to pick one. The one I picked was made by the woman’s 86 year old mother. 🙂

I also met the lady who leads the Tuesday morning women’s Bible study I signed up for. We’re doing Beth Moore’s Esther study.

Tomorrow night I’m going to the monthly women’s night. One of the women on the leadership team used to be in church college group with me back in the day, and has been eating gluten free since 2002. We had a long conversation about food, and she offered to make us some “safe” meals. Have I mentioned they serve gluten free communion at church? 🙂

I’m not quite sure how to process all my emotions related to changing churches, but I do know that we are enjoying where we have landed. I love that people will know my children. I love seeing the same people every week. I can’t wait to get acquainted with some older women at Bible study. We’ve been so amazed at how people have reached out to us and been kind to complete strangers. It’s just what we have needed…

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The Plan

Though some people may be surprised by this, I almost always have a plan. Often, my plan is to have no plan. But that is a plan, just the same. If my plan is to have no plan, and you try to make me have a plan, um…good luck. (Incidentally, if there’s one thing Nick and I argue about the most, it’s probably that! 🙂 He loves to have a plan. I love to have no plan!)

Ever since I found out I was pregnant with this baby, people’s responses to my due date, December 22nd, were things like, “Good job.” “Ooooohhhh…a Christmas baby. (With a sympathetic look)” “My sister has a birthday the day after Christmas. She’s always hated it.” Seriously. To a person, that’s been what we’ve heard. People, it wasn’t like we planned this for that date! We’d been trying to 6 months!

Anyway, I started telling myself, for HER sake, we’d do what we could to help her come earlier in the month. And we did. And it didn’t work. And well, here we are, 2 days before her due date, and 5 days before Christmas. I’ve had so many “is this it?” moments that I have quit counting them or even timing contractions, and just slept through contractions all night last night. To be quite honest, I have been so absorbed in thinking about my baby coming, that I haven’t given much thought to the Christmas season. It was irritating to me. Why did I have to be doing this at this time of year anyway? Couldn’t I just have her, so I could think about Christmas?

I started having this conversation with God a couple of days ago, and really got hit with conviction this morning. God likes to ask questions, I’ve found. He started asking ones like, “What if I wanted to give you and your family a baby for your Christmas gift?” “What if being born at Christmas is part of who she is, part of the calling I have on her life?” “What’s so wrong with being born at Christmas anyway?” “Aren’t you and Nick perfectly capable of still making her birthday special, no matter the time of year?”

Oh. Right.

Then we headed off to our new church (something else we had resisted God about for awhile – are You SURE, God?), where someone I didn’t even know walked right up to me, and asked if I was feeling better, and said she’d had a tooth problem like that before, and knew how bad it hurt. I guess I got added to the prayer list this week. I have no idea how she knew who I was. After the service the woman down the row, an older woman with a kind smile, came up and asked when I was due. When I told her, she looked me right in the eye and said, “This is a great time of year to have a baby.” I almost burst into tears, and thanked her. Maybe someday I’ll know her well enough to explain why I responded that way? Maybe she already knew?

The fact is, physically I feel fine. Of course carrying a baby is heavy and I get tired, but I have almost no aches and pains to speak of. The baby is in perfect shape. I’ve had no pregnancy issues whatsoever. My family is healthy and strong. My teeth are fixed. (I got a tooth AND a baby for Christmas. Ha!) I know this baby will come in the next few days. The midwife says the baby and I are very ready, and that labor, once it starts, will most likely be easy and fast.

It’s a bit like being in the midst of a temper tantrum, opening your eyes and realizing everything is really just wonderful, and feeling a bit sheepish that you were throwing the fit to begin with. God is so patient with us!

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Beware. This is one of those “vomit all over you” posts. Well, that sounds too negative for what it will be. What I really mean is that I’m feeling rather cooped up, rather cut off, rather lonely. Haven’t had many people to share my thoughts with, as of late. This always eventually produces a long blog post.

I think we’ve finally done it – decided to change churches. It has been a long road, and something we’ve considered more times than I can count. Our hearts are being drawn away from New Life and, thus far, toward a little tiny church that is 3 minutes from our house. It’s a (rather loosely) Presbyterian church that is pastored by an ORU grad, of all things. There are about five children in the nursery with Hannah and Audrey. They LOVE it, and come home reciting their Bible verse and talking about how much fun it is. They eat up the focused attention from the older lady who teaches their Sunday School class. Nick and I are relieved and refreshed by the friendliness of the people, by the age span (we’re dying to have some older people around us, as well as peers and younger people), by the openness and sincerity of the pastor, by the possibility of using our musical gifts…by so many things. Obviously there’s more to this than I can convey very easily here, but I don’t see us changing direction. After visiting twice, the pastor stood and chatted with us for 20 minutes, even asking if we needed meals brought to us after the birth of the baby. We love New Life so much, and our hearts will always be tender toward it and the people there…we’re just feeling….lost there. I never thought I’d be the one to say that… Anyway, to all of our New Life friends – we love you and want our friendships to continue for years to come! Though we haven’t been around much in the past few months because of Nick’s insane schedule, please don’t count us out. 🙂

I continue to have tons of contractions, some hard and some not. At this point I’m pretty physically tired, compounded by the fact that Nick is still working 60 hour weeks. Rabbit trail: I keep toying with drastic measures we could take to get him out of this. Everything from going to one vehicle, to drastically changing the way I grocery shop, to me working again… People often ask us when we plan to stop this crazy schedule, and we just honestly don’t know. Something needs to give – a raise at his main job, a major break of some kind on the debt…something. We are sooooo blessed and have everything we need, in spite of being on a tight budget. But the choices we made, mostly related to college, have simply left us with too much debt. In spite of our progress the past few months, we don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel yet. Frankly, we’re both tired of it, and so are the kids. End of rabbit trail.
I had my 38 week appointment with Laura the midwife on Friday. I’m 2cm, 60%, and baby’s at 0. Laura says that once labor really starts, it’s likely to be quick. I had lots of pre-labor stuff with both other kids, but honestly hoped it would be different this time because of my nutrition changes. Apparently this is just the way my body works. I know she’ll be here soon, but MAN, do the days ever drag on and on at this point! On the other hand, I keep hearing stories from people I know and people I don’t, of babies born way too early. Let me just say that I’m very thankful to still be pregnant rather than having to leave my tiny baby in a NICU somewhere. SO very thankful.

When I went to Dr P for acupuncture yesterday, he asked me about Audrey’s skin. I told him it was a still a struggle, and he said, well, next month when I get my new machine, we should be able to pinpoint exactly what’s going on and fix it. Um, WHAT??!! He didn’t have time to go into all the details, but he will be able to figure out precisely what is causing her reactions, whether they are environmental, or food, or bacterial, and fix them. Can I just say that is the best news I’ve had all week? Like, I could actually let my kids eat some things again without Audrey scratching herself bloody, and Hannah wetting her pants 6 times a day?

Kind of along those same lines, a very kind stranger sent me his extra water kefir grains for free! Our first batch was finished yesterday afternoon, and I’m happy to say it’s a big hit with Nick and the girls. I like the flavor just fine, but found it to be too much sugar for me, so more experimenting is in order. A longer ferment time will yield less sugar, or I could just use less, or I can also experiment with other sweeteners. I’m confident I’ll find something that will work. I have also been daily incorporating homemade broth into my diet, either by drinking it as a hot drink or cooking with it (or both). I ended up eating out twice this week, something that usually leaves me in pain for about 24 hours each time, and…it didn’t! I also indulged in mayonnaise a couple of times this week. The eggs always bother me if I overdo it. But I’d say my symptoms were cut in half. I’m pretty excited about that, after only a couple of weeks. I told Dr P about that, and he suggested also adding sauerkraut and naturally fermented pickles. I keep reading about those and cringing, but I guess will give them a try anyway. Nick grew up on that kind of food, being of Eastern European descent. He got all excited about eating sauerkraut…

Alright. I think I’ll drag my huge, contracting self upstairs for a nap while my kids sleep. That’s what’s up around here. Too much to put into a FB status. 🙂

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Family Principles from Scripture

I’m really loving this kind of thing right now. I remember one time asking God why, if raising children is so important, He didn’t tell us more about how to do it. I have to laugh at myself about that now, as I am discovering the vast amounts He has to say on the subject!

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Grocery Shopping and Contentment

My life is very different from this blogger’s, and therefore we do not always agree. But, I love her post today. This is how I am trying to approach our grocery shopping now. You can feel the place of peace and trust that she speaks from, even as you read her words.

She touches on something I’ve been pondering as I slowly read John Bevere’s “Drawing Near.” Many times when we are unhappy or restless, what we’re craving is intimacy with God. But instead of seeking God for our fulfillment, it’s easy to become disappointed with God in some way, and sometimes it’s hard to believe we will find what we need there, or maybe we just don’t want to slow down enough to spend the time. So instead, we fill our spirits with spiritual “junk food,” and eat, or shop, or watch tv, or read away the desire. We’ve filled ourselves up, but it doesn’t satisfy.

When Nick and I went away overnight, we had bought tickets to see a movie in a few minutes, but I was starving. We walked several blocks downtown, trying to find something relatively cheap that would be gluten-free. After having no luck, I settled on Taco Bell, because there are a couple of menu items with some protein that I know to be gluten free. I’m not used to eating that kind of food anymore, and as I ate it, I could totally sense that it was filling my stomach, but not nourishing me. I’m so used to nourishing food that I could tell the difference!

Being a mom is hard. Sometimes I’m tempted to do whatever it takes to survive. But I don’t want to just survive – I want to thrive! I wonder if life will always be a struggle because I refuse to resign myself to “good enough.” But I can’t bring myself to believe that good enough, “junk food,” is okay for us.

I was challenged by an email I got yesterday from a mom looking to join our mom’s group. She said she was, looking to get connected with other young moms in the area who are walking with the Lord in an intimate way and looking for other women to share life with.” A simple statement, and yet it communicates so much. She doesn’t just want to be with other women, she wants real deep connection with Godly women who will encourage her in her walk with God. Oh, that we can be that for each other!

What do you ladies think about this?

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"Famous" Worship Leaders

We got the opportunity to see Matt Redman lead worship at the Desperation Youth Conference tonight. He is a huge hero of mine. I was so excited to see him actually play. I’ve never heard of him being in the US to play, and I just read that wikipedia article that says he has just moved over here from England. Cool! His gentle voice and manner has this affect on people, taking them to a place with God that is unique. I have this whole theory about how different worship leaders take people to different places with God, because they have had different aspects of God revealed to them. But, that’s a post for another day.

As I thought about the excitement I felt to see this man play worship songs, it struck me as a little weird at first. What is the job of a worship leader, but to point to God? If the worship leader becomes famous, does that mean they have failed in their attempt to bring God glory? Some people would say yes, I suppose. It’s not about the musicians. I know. Sort of.

Here’s the thing though: I don’t think God has a problem with heroes. He told the story of so many of them in the Bible! People like David, Noah, Joseph, Paul, Esther…the list goes on and on. They were just people too! It is GOOD to have people to look up to. Looking up to someone does not make them God. They are still human, and they will fail us. However, Matt Redman has become known because he has consistently sought God through the years and therefore has been able to write genuine songs that express a person’s heart to God, with a musical style that opens hearts. If he did not daily make the decision to do that, he would not be where he is today.

I also think of Glenn Packiam, who today posted that he is leaving Desperation Band. Sad – his songs are some of my favorites, and his worship leading is a favorite as well – and yet exciting that he is taking another step toward what he feels called to do. Glenn, Jared, and Jon are more examples of men who have daily made the decision to follow Christ. People who make that decision ARE WORTHY OF BEING HONORED. Not worshiped, but honored. And God is honored through the honoring of Godly people.

I just couldn’t get this concept out of my head tonight. I was blessed to be in the presence of God tonight, under Matt Redman’s leadership. I was also blessed to be in Matt Redman’s presence.

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Honor

A while back I talked about reading John Bevere’s Honor’s Reward. Here’s an interview with him about that same subject. This is a principle that we try our best to live by. It’s difficult, and sometimes we do it better than other times, but I just feel this is such a rich teaching, full of daily application. Part one and part two.

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