Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tears & Mascara

This morning, as I sat in Colectivo Coffee, formerly known as Alterra, I caught myself off guard as tears managed to make their way down my face. Not a lot, but enough to try and hide myself. It's been evident this week that suddenly the very early loss of a pregnancy this summer is hitting me harder now, than it did when it happened I think. I just keep thinking how far along I would have been today. Almost 17 weeks. Almost half way there. The sight of that woman's beautiful and perfectly round belly gave way to this mascara stained napkin right in the middle of Colectivo.
And yet somehow, there's a sense of guilt over feeling sad about it.
I feel like I shouldn't be allowed. I have three crazy adorable children and in the past five years, I've become increasingly aware of the struggles other people go through to have children, if they ever even get that chance. And somehow I feel like in comparison, my heartache shouldn't matter.
I should be thankful. Yet, I know I am beyond thankful.
I can't say my tears today were the same as my months of tears when I lost Naomi at eighteen weeks. My very first pregnancy I was naive at best. I remember hearing myself say after months of morning sickness and vomiting "I don't want to be pregnant anymore." Of course I didn't really mean it. I just wanted to feel good. But those words still haunt me at times. And some days I still have to fight the need to blame myself, because suddenly weeks later, I wasn't.  To wake up each day for four and a half months,  pregnant, and then suddenly know it's over, is beyond devastating. And then to lose another baby just months later, it scared me. I wondered if this was my fate.
Perhaps you know. Perhaps you remember similar feelings. Perhaps my pain seems mediocre in comparison to what you have been through.
Obviously, my situation turned around. My faith in God's promises grew. I knew that he commanded us to be fruitful and multiply.  I knew that children were supposed to be a blessing.  I knew that He had given barren women in the Bible the desire of their heart. 
And I knew He is no respecter of people.  So I let myself heal. Then I let myself believe again.  And now I have three goofy, wonderful, completely different children, which three incredibly unique personalities.

So, why did I feel like I had any right to feel sorry for myself? To feel just a little bit sad this morning? To mourn the loss of what could have been?  It is ok for me to cry about this after I have three, when so many others struggle to have one? I battle this.
But in the end, I know that every person has their own set of struggles. What hits one hard, may depend on the season of life they are in at that time. Or it may depend on what they have been through already.  To judge others pain isn't fair, so to judge my own shouldn't be either, I suppose.. It is what it is. I'm not overwhelmed in emotion. I simply had a moment.
Just a moment where I missed what should have been.
And I'm always thankful for what I have and where God is bringing our family to next...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Simplicity of A Child

The simplicity of a childhood is something most of us wish we could get back.
Before life got bigger than going to the park and hiding from monsters,
learning to ride a bike and then falling off.

Life was just life. And we didn't even know it.
We didn't know it would ever get hard.
We didn't know we would ever look for 'meaning' or 'more.'

And when we prayed, we didn't pray for terrorism to stay far away from us.
We didn't pray for a better job so we could take care of our family.
Instead, when we prayed, it was simple. 
Our faith was big wrapped up in simple words.

Last night before bed, my daughters each had a turn to pray.

Jada prayed this,
Dear Jesus. Thank you.for this day. Please help me dream about suns with happy faces 
and flowers with happy faces and all the pets in the world. In Jesus Name. 

Leila prayed this,
Please help me dream about hippos and rainbows and butterflies. I don't want to dream about 
deer or Satan. I just want to dream about dogs and cats and people and houses and God. 

Jada and I got a good laugh about Leila's prayer...deer and Satan...
hippos and rainbows...
I wish I could think more like her.
Life would be so fun. 

But to be honest, I think I might be a little creeped out dreaming about
suns and flowers with happy faces... 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Keep Our Kids Safe, Lord...

This morning I was going through the 50 zillion papers that come home with my kids every week. I don't know about you, but I need a few quiet moments to process everything that is coming at me. I need quiet. Between sports opportunities, music opportunities, hot lunch, cub scouts, volunteers needed, PTA meetings, school policies, homework, field trips and everything else, with three kids, in two different schools...well, its just ALOT. I'm still trying to grasp that the fact that the public school system does stuff online, has resources, student workbooks online and they regularly use ipads in the classroom. Reports are done with technology. It's just so different that the school life we remember.

The one thing that caught my eye and made my heart stop for just a second was a letter that talking about the school's safety procedures. The letter said that this year the school will be practicing "intruder" drills and gave the alternate school location they would be at in case of an emergency evacuation. To be honest, I tried to hold back the tears a bit. I don't know why. When the Sandy Hook shooting happened last year, I think we all hugged our kids more, prayed a little more, snuggled a little more, but then time goes by and we forget just a little bit that we are sending our kids off into a world where things like this happen. At least in this day and age. And it hit me like a ton of bricks. It's very easy to be afraid, especially after we see that it happened again, this week. It's a scary world we live in and in case you haven't noticed, it keeps getting worse.

So what do we do? Do we live in fear? Do we keep our kids home where we can see them all the time? Where they are constantly under our watch and protection? Or do we trust in the hand of the Lord? 
I wanted to offer just a few scriptures for you to pray over your child and claim for your lives and families.

Deuteronomy 7:9 says 
Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.

and Isaiah 55:11 says
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

So we can see, that God does not offer up promises in his word and take it back. He is faithful to his word.  He says it. It just takes faith to believe it, obviously!
When you pray over your family and your children and yourself, remind the Lord what his word says. His character is revealed throughout the entirety of the Bible, so even if you have to google scriptures on protection for them & peace for you, it can help. But here are a few to start with...

You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 37:2

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by. Psalm 57:1

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me Psalm 138:7

The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. Proverbs 29:25

But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the LORD; their vindication will come from me. I, the LORD, have spoken! Isaiah 54:17

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3

 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Proverbs 30:5

…For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makes me dwell in safety. Psalms 4:8

and probably one of the absolute best scripture passages on protection is Psalm 91

You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who spend your nights in the shadow of the Almighty, who say to the LORD, “My refuge! My fortress! My God, in whom I trust!” – 
He will rescue you from the trap of the hunter, and from the plague of disease. 
He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge; 
His truth is a shield and a protection.
You will not fear the terrors of night, or the arrow that flies by day, 
or the sickness that roams in the dark, or even the destruction that lays waste at noon. 
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it won’t come near you. Only keep your eyes open, and you will see how the wicked are punished. 
For you have made the LORD, the Most High, who is my refuge, your dwelling place.
No disaster will happen to you, no calamity will come near your house;
for He will order His angels to care for you and guard you wherever you go. 
They will carry you in their hands, so that you won’t trip on a stone. 
You will tread down lions and snakes, young lions and serpents you will trample underfoot.
“Because he loves Me, I will rescue him; because he knows My Name, I will protect him. 
He will call upon Me, and I will answer him. I will be with him when he is in trouble. 
I will rescue him and bring him honor. 
I will satisfy him with long life and show him My salvation.”

These are just a FEW of the hundreds of verses that can bring you comfort and you can pray over your family. I hope they help you, like they do me. If you need to, where it says "me" you can say "my family" or where is says "your" you can say "my."

Also, I wanted to mention this. When you have a personal relationship with the Lord, he is wonderful  at letting you know things to come. Sometimes we call it intuition. It's just a quiet small voice inside of you letting you know not to do something or be somewhere or go that way...and you cant really give a rational reason as to why you would be feeling like that. But I've heard dozens of stories of people escaping accidents, even 9/11, because they felt like they weren't supposed to get on that plane, or take that turn, etc...
Sometimes we don't listen to that, because we think we are imagining it, but He is trying to help...
 John 16:13 says this:
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.

If you want to have a closer connection to the Lord and to feel his peace, and not just know about him or know what other people say about him, I really want to encourage you to invite him into your life. It's not as weird or religious as you might think. It's simple. It's just doing life...with God.

If you have any questions about this, never hesitate to ask me. I can even tell you what to pray if you want. It's between you and me... and God of course!

Friday, September 13, 2013

An 8 Year Old & The Bible

Last night Jada asked me to read her a book and ended up bringing me a kids Bible Trivia book her Grandma had given us. This by far was one of the best decisions I've made all week, because I can't stop laughing at her answers. If you know anything about the Bible at all, you will love me for this....

Q: When Jesus visited Peters house, a woman was sick w a fever. Who was this woman.
A: I know her name. It was Sally. I mean Sinner.

Q:This baby made a crying face. A princess found the baby in a basket floating on the river Nile. 
Who is the baby?
A: Moseph?

Q: This man & woman are very old, but they are happy and holding a baby. It's not their gran dson or great grandson, its their son Isaac. Who is this man and woman? It starts with an S & A.
A: Sacrifice & Animal

Q: It's a place where a boy is about 12 years old is teaching older men who are like teachers. A man & woman come in concerned and say "Jesus, we've been looking for you."
 What is this place?
A: Um, a cinnamon? Thats what my teacher said.

And this is coming from a preacher's granddaughter & a christian school student.
Looks like we need to brush her up on her Bible Trivia a little bit more at home.
I will say, I'm gonna make good use of this book though, pretty much for my own entertainment.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Break My Heart

I had no plans to write this week, but how could I not say something on a day like today. As I scroll through my Facebook feed, all the reminders of this very day, twelve years ago. People being reminded of where they were when the heard the news about the attacks on our country. Of course, I remember. But what I remember was my mom calling me and saying "Paris bombed the World Trade Center." Obviously that's not what she said, but as I turned on the news, in that moment realized how life suddenly became that much more real to thousands of people. I don't remember if I cried. I don't remember my emotion in that moment. But I remember the emotion in the weeks to follow.

I remember.

I wrote more, but decided to leave it at this. Compassion. For those who are victims and for those who cause the pain. Our world needs it no matter who they are or what they've done. Not just in the major tragedies, but people every day are hurting and confused and they hurt others because of it. My heart aches for those who are so lost in this chaos we have made of our world God gave us. Honestly, humanity has made quite of a mess of this place. But if we see this world through God's eyes and love them with God's heart, suddenly our heart breaks for every person out there.

My prayer is today that you would stay close to God. Yes, He is always with you, but that you would stay in constant awareness of his presence with you. That you would talk to him and listen when he speaks to you. And when you do, suddenly your vision is clear, your ears are open and your heart will notice people every day that need hope. They need healing. The need love.

And you can be that connection to them finding it.
That is the call God wants every one of us to answer.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Character vs Reputation

I read this brilliant quote today on facebook and it spoke volumes to me.

I was the queen of getting my feelings hurt. And this week alone, I felt like I was spoon fed several opportunities to be offended at what people might think of me, of my "reputation."  In all honesty, my hearts cry is to remain humble. And in my heart of hearts, I want to be a balanced person of God's grace, his wisdom, and his love...and at the same time, I still want people know that I'm real and messy and fun and sarcastic. I'm not religious. I'm not fake. And I don't pretend to be better or worse than I am. I'm just me. And it hurts when it seems like people don't see that. It hurts when people see something they don't like. 
But that's me. That's how I roll.
I have to try my hardest not to let little things people may think about me bother me. At the same time, I've been working harder at not being a doormat, and not doing things just because people will or won't approve of me.

I want to be true to who I am. 
I want to be who God made me to be. 

It isn't always easy to defy the rules that will give you a generous reputation or to defy the art of people pleasing.
 But at the same time, there is something about standing up for yourself that helps define confidence in who God says you are. It defines character and loyalty and honesty within yourself and everyone around you. When I say standing up for yourself, I don't mean a haughty outward defiance to the world and those who hurt you, and I'm not talking about a giving yourself an ego boost or a "you deserve better" pep talk,  
I'm talking about developing true character, which somehow in contrast to pride and ego, brings about both humility and strength at the same time.
On the inside of you.

 All I know is I have to be happy with who I am. And I am happiest most when my allegiance is to Jesus.
I've found that I''m not always well liked because of it. Jesus comes before everything and everyone.
My relationship with him beats church, ministry, family, rules...everything. It sounds harsh, but if I have no relationship and intimacy with him, I don't feel like I'm much good in any of these other areas anyways.
If I'm in love with him, then I do so much better at everything I am doing in this life.

Don't you hate that when you know in you're heart how genuine you are, when you know how much you love people, how much you want to help others and love God....but someone else sees you differently?
It's hard. And it sort of breaks little pieces of you when it happens.

But what do you do then? 
I was taking a walk the other day and sort of chuckled to myself as I heard myself say, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." But I know that is so out of line. I am no better than any other person.
But it was funny, because that's sort of how I felt. It was honest. For a minute, anyways.

Truthfully though, I've had to ask God to show me if I'm wrong somewhere, if was out of line at some point of time. My first step is to get myself right before God, not right in someone else's eyes.  
I use the opportunity to grow in strength and to grow in character. I want to care more about who I am in the eyes of God, than what people think about me. And I want to be everything God says I am. 

Humility and forgiveness is key. It's not easy. I've drudged up the same hurts in my mind over and over and over again. And over and over and over again, God has taught me how to forgive and let go. I ask for his strength to let go of it...because sometimes, it can kill you slowly and it wants to suck the life out of you.
I've experience life suckage. In major ways.
And not only is forgiveness key, but something else I heard today that I should have known but haven't done a whole lot of to be honest, but praying for the person who hurt you. It can actually build more love in you for that person. This is humility and love in its truest form. Praying for those who have hurt you.

My prayer this weekend is that if you've been hurt in any way by someone, in the smallest of ways or the biggest, that you ask God for his grace and his strength to look that offender in the eye (at least in your heart) and love them with the biggest of loves. His.

  But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!   In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.   If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.   If you are kind only to your friends,  how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.   But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Matthew 5:43-48

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Losing My Cool On The First Day Of School

Somebody should have warned me how hard this be. I love my kids so much. But I am one of those
parents that looks forward to school starting again. Just a little bit of breathing time. This is the beginning of a new era for me. This is the first time in 10 years that I am a stay at home mom with no kids at home...
well for four hours, three mornings a week anyways.  I mean, I work at home sort of, but for these three days, just a few hours a day, I will be on my own schedule. The thought of this excited me.
Until I dropped Leila off for school this morning. She flipped out, clung to my leg. I had to walk away with her screaming, hanging onto me, while the teacher pried her baby fingers one by one from my legs. It was the worst thing ever. I stood in the hallway and listened to her scream for about ten minutes and then I heard her cry,
 "Can I have mommy now?" My heart....
Another mom came up to me and told me she went through the same thing yesterday and said "It will be ok"
and I just lost it right there in the school, with random friendly strangers hugging me.
I need her to be used to time away from me before school starts full time next year. I knew this was how she would be, so this is my exact reasoning for getting her used to preschool. But it's so hard.
Nevertheless, its a nice change, sitting here. I have a work load of stuff to do for my church, web banners and facebook banners and flyers and advertisement, etc... but for now I am just sitting.

Jada is way too easy. I mean what can I say. She cried a little bit last night. She asked me if she could be homeschooled. She asked me why God didn't just make us automatically smart. But that was the extent of her fussing about school. She went to school happy and quiet, smiled and waved as I left her classroom.
This is my Jada. So laid back. Everything is so chill for her. Either that, or it's a joke. Everything.

What now? 
To be honest, we want another baby. You would think I would be happy having all my kids at school, being a "work at home" mom...and finally getting a break. Sure, I enjoy the "break" but I don't think I am done. I am hoping by next year I will not be sitting here alone, but with a little newborn. I am praying for this. We have been "trying" for five months and I had an early miscarriage over the summer.  I didn't tell many people because I barely found out and within days it was over.
I know this isn't the longest time anyone has tried for a baby. Trust me, I understand the hardships people go through. But I'm creeping up on 38, and I just don't want this to be it for me.

My heart is aching one more little person around here.
And I am holding to God's promises...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Growing Up Is Hard (for Momma)!

The tears were definitely evident as I walked away. This may be the first time I cried dropping a kid off at their first day of school. Wes was excited and nervous. He explained it like this, "Kind of like when you go on a rollercoaster... and you know what I mean." Obviously, I do.

I'm not sure why I cried. Maybe it's because of the new school thing. The boys gave him a high five when he was introduced so he seemed welcomed. I think it was mostly just looking at him and how old he looks with his new group of friends. I keep trying to avoid the fact that he is quickly creeping up on being a teenager.
Or maybe I cried because he is finally able to wear normal clothes to school! No uniform! Yay! Haha!

I love this kid so much.

I layed with him for almost two hours last night trying to get him to fall asleep. Going to bed at 8pm is unreasonable after three months of going to be at eleven. But I promised him I would lay there and rub his back and I would NOT fall asleep before him. This is a common complaint with him.

Tomorrow I do it all over again. Jada starts second grade and Leila starts her very first day of preschool.
That's gonna be a tough one. Leila. She is a mommy's girl all the way. I don't know what I will do for four hours a day with no kids whatsoever. It's like I'm the one all grown up! Tears....

But I still can't wait.

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