Monday, February 28, 2011


I am loving getting to know my smallest neice since my sister and her three girlies are visiting. In my family of 7 kids she is the only one blessed with girls - everyone else has boys! So, it is fun to play with the girls - dress up and make believe. Her youngest is only 10 months old and a doll baby for sure. When I picked her up for the first time this visit (I had met her last summer) I was surprized at how relaxed she was - she just threw her legs to the side and her arms way back and leaned against my chest. She is the most relaxed baby I have ever met! I love holding her because she just is a cuddle bug and so much fun to give kisses and hugs to! She is a picture to me of how we should be with Jesus - totally trusting and relaxed in His safe and strong arms. This little girl doesn't know the bad things in life yet (and I pray that God protects her from so much) - but I pray that even with whatever suffering will come her way (we all will face some sort of sadness or pain in life) that she will always be able to rest and relax in the arms of the Lord.

And I pray that all of us will learn to relax like this sweet baby girl in the powerful and gentle arms of God.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

complaining or rejoicing?

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Psalm 33:1 Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------Habakkuk 3:18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------Corinthians 6:10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------Philippians 3:1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------1 Thessalonians 5:16 Be joyful always;

It is easy to complain. We all do it from time to time - we want sympathy and so we say things to make others see what a hard place we are in with our lives - physically, emotionally, socially, financially etc. he facebook phenomenon makes me very aware of how easy it is to complain. Sometimes I go online to see what my friends and family are up to - and I come away just shocked and saddened at the lack of rejoicing I see from status updates. I fall prey to this too.

Today, I was struggling with the sudden change of plans my husband and I faced for our weekend. We planned to head over today to my parents and spend the night (relatives are in town so we want to spend as much time with them as possible!) BUT - Joshua has too much homework and I am not in good enough shape to walk across the ferry which is what I would have to do if he didn't come. We decided with the help of my sweet mama to wait and head over in the morning tomorrow - so that he has a day for homework and I have a day to sleep and law low. I was so excited about spending the night away and getting to hang out with my sweet little neices and sister tonight - maybe watch a movie and eat pop corn. But it didn't work out. I was temped to be angry about these circumstances and feel horrible because I hate that my health is so unsteady that I don't know when I will feel good enough to do something or not. But God reminded me today that He is still God. He is still with me. And He has plans that are beyond anything I can plan.

I know that some of you are reading this and are mad at me because this story is relatively nothing compaired to the reasons you have today to complain. I know that some of you are facing horrible circumstances in your life today. But I also know what the Bible says: that we are commanded (not a light suggestion) to rejoice always. The reason we can rejoice always is because we rejoice IN THE LORD. We can look at a painful circumstance and even though our flesh is sad we can choose to rejoice because of the Lord and that we know He will work all things for His glory and our greatest good. Even a horrible circumstance can be used for our good and God's glory if we are willing. This goes against so much of what is popular these days. Complaining is popular in a way, as people are encouraged to just say how they feel no matter what. The change from complaining to rejoicing needs to come first in the heart and the relationship of trust in God and then it will begin to see seen by those around us.

I really don't think that to rejoice in the Lord always means that we should be dishonest about what is going on in our lives. I think honesty is needed. But I do think that it means we need to choose the atitude we have in responce to the hard circumstances around us. There can be honesty with rejoicing rather than complaining. Stating a fact about what is going on with your life is one thing, seeing sympathy and pity is quite another.

This is a lesson I am learning right along with all of you! May we all dig deeper in our walk with God so that we can choose joy in every circumstance.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Let my words by pleasing


They are so easily said and so hard to retract. We teach babies to talk as soon as possible - right now I have several neices and nephews who are learning to talk and explain things and communicate. I love that state of baby-hood and childhood. I love the cute accents, and words that only mama can understand. We want to communicate with others - it's part of being human. God cmmunicates with us - in the book of John it say that "the WORD became flesh and dwelt amoung us." meaning Jesus. I think one reason that John calls Him the WORD is because when Jesus came it was God's best way of communicating His love to a lost world. Sending His Son to die for the sins of every human ... a very powerful expression of His love for us even when we didn't and don't deserve it on our own. People always say that "actions speak louder than words" and it is so true! The way we say something and the things we do for others show (or don't show) our love for them in powerful ways.

I've been reminded about how simple little words said in haste can be very powerful lately. When my husband looks at me and says: "You are so beautiful" - it melts away years of not feeling beautiful. And when words are said that discourage or make fun of someone it can do great damage as well. It's so true that some people without chronic pain do not understand what it is like day to day ... and in their frustration can say hurtful words about those of us who are living a different life. Those with kids can say hurtful words to those of us who would give everything to have a baby. BUT - those of us living in pain can also say things that are hurtful to those who are not in our shoes. We can make them feel guilty for being healthy - or for having kids. Every human is capable of either using their words to encourage and bring others closer to worship of God or to discourage others and make them believe that God is cruel as well.

Here are some things I am trying to put into practice in my own life:

1. Turn first to God for my encouragment and joy. People will disappoint and turning to God never will let me down.

2. When others say kind and encouraging words tell them! Just being told that you can encouraged someone can be a huge help to creating more kindness in the world.

3. When others say hurtful things - give it to God. Many time others don't even know that the things they say are hurtful. But God sees the tears you don't cry. Ask Him to keep me from being bitter toward this person. If needed confront the person privately and tell them that what they said was hurtful. Be honest in love.

I'm just learning like all of you ... if you have ideas write a comment! Let's grow together to be more like Jesus in showing love with our words.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Our Hope Endures by Natalie Grant

Several friends have shared this song with me .. the words are so powerful. We ALL have pain of some sort in our lives but God gives us hope that endures no matter what. Whatever you are facing today hold on to God and that hope.

Emmanuel God is with us.

In everthing.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


It hasn't been an easy few days for my silly body. Been spending a lot of time just breathing through the pain and trying to keep up on running the household for my sweet husband and working on wedding floral work. Thankfully I have been able to do some resting, but it's been hard to even sleep with the pain I'm in. Joshua had a horrible day on Tuesday - horrible day at school and work, and just feeling very discouraged at this place in life that we are in. We both have turned to God in our rough week, and just knowing that He does know what is best and that He is faithful even in the pain and disappointments of life. We just got a reminder of God's faithfulness in a very tangible way.

Today, my Grammie got the mail and dropped it at the top of the stairs for us. I went up and picked it up while switching a load of laundry into the dryer. I openned a couple things - some regular bills and then a larger pill from a heart test I had done. My heart sank: how are we going to pay this bill, I thought. Then I openned a package that was sent to us which had a smiley face and our own address for both the mailing address and return address. Hmmm I thought. When I openned it a pile of gift cards fell out: Olive Garden, Home Depot, Kohls, and Visa gift cards all adding up to $400!!!! My heart is still in my throat. When Joshua got home from school just now I showed it to him and we sat and prayed together thanking God for this provision. He said that we need to get our car worked on and a spair tire and now maybe we can do that since we have a little breathing room. AND we can go out to dinner (which is kind of rare for us)!! We are just overflowing with gratitude!

Several weeks ago we were hurt by annonimity. And we are still hating the feelings of questioning people in our lives, and not knowing who to trust because of this situation. We just want our friends to be honest when coming to us with advise or critique on our lives. Today, we were greatly blessed by an annonomous friend or friends - and going through the people we know questioning who it could be! It is such a different feeling from so much of what we have felt lately. Joshua and I were saying how stange it is to receive painful things and wonderful things annonomously. How different it feels to be questioning in todays case. I guess it's a good reminder to us to always be as honest as we can with those we love, to confront people in person (which is so hard) but to not look for thanks when being generous.

We are just so grateful - SO SO SO grateful to whoever did this act of thankless kindness. We are also so amazed (as always) at how God provides for us in amazing ways in our time of need. Without even speaking of our need He provides. I do wish we had a way to thank whoever(s) did this - to tell them how much it meant and how perfect the timing is for our need. But I understand and appreciate the humility of not looking for thanks. If YOU are reading this today - please know how thankful we are and we pray God blesses you greatly for your generosity!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Be Mine

I'm always shocked around Valentine's Day. The bad attitudes abound - people spending so much energy hating this day that is dedicated to love. I do understand at least some of the reasons that people hate this day - loneliness, lost love, failed relationships, not loving the one you're with ... it can be a day full of emotional pain for many people. OR - can it be a day that God redeems just like He is able to redeem ANY kind of pain we lay at His feet?

I believe it can.

When I was about 19 -21 and many of my college friends were finding love and getting married, I felt very alone especially around Valentine's Day. But, I didn't want to waste the day feeling sorry for myself or moaping around because I didn't have a date. So, I started making Valentine's cards. I poured every but of love I had in my heart into those cards - writing love notes to ... to my Joshua. The funny thing is - at the time I had NO clue that He was the one I was writing to! I sealed and addressed the cards (and letters which I wrote for years whenever I was lonely or dreaming of being married someday) to "My Man". I put all of those Valentime's Day cards and letters into a chocolate box saying a prayer with each that someday God would bring "my Man" to me - in God's timing not mine.

I watched as 3 of my siblings got married, 2 of them younger than I. I watched as both of my best friends from college got married. One year I was in 5 weddings in one summer! I wondered if God had forgotten about "My Man". But all the while, He was preparing me for my Joshua and Joshua for me. We were neighbors and youth leaders, and co-workers at the farm, and God knew that we would be good together. God knew all along that Joshua was the one I was writing to - and in His perfect timing He gave us to each other as husband and wife.

I am so thankful, soo thankful that God used that time and that pain of being alone and that He redeemed every one of those days. He used those times to turn me to Himself (the truest and deepest love any of us can experiece) and to create a deep love for the man that I would marry someday.

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you and may you be filled with the love of God and those around you today!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

You're All I Want

On Superbowl Sunday something far more exciting than the big game happened. A man was born. A precious little Italian-looking baby boy with beautiful eyes and a head full of black hair as soft as a baby chick's feathers. He's not even 9 pounds and not 2 feet long - but someday this little baby boy will become a full grown man. The moment I saw him I loved him. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love babies.

During the birth of this little nephew, my husband and I were in church with baby Adam's big brother Benny who we were babysitting while his parents were otherwise occupied. The worship team lead us in singing the song: "Draw Me Close To You". As I sang I glanced over at my husband whose arms were holding Benny up so that he could see the "GU-tars" ... the words: "You are my desire no one else will do - You're All I want." My heart pounded in my head to the music - "YOU'RE ALL I WANT" ... No matter how much I want to see my husband holding our little child someday - "YOU'RE ALL I WANT." ... No Matter how much I want to be well and not in pain ... "YOU'RE ALL I'VE EVER NEEDED."... No Matter what: "HELP ME KNOW YOU ARE NEAR."

My husband and I are looking into adoption. We pray that God will bless us someday with a baby. We believe He will. We are so thankful for the moments until then where we get to enjoy the babies of those around us - our many nieces and nephews and friend's kids. I'm aware tonight of others out there who are longing for a child of your own. Being unable to have a baby is a suffering all it's own ... and my heart goes out to you who are walking through this right now as my husband and I are. But just as I claim that God is here to bring a different kind of happy in the pain of illness - the same God is here to bring joy in the midst of the pain of wanting a baby you can't have. He really is "ALL I'VE EVER NEEDED".

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Knight

I used to dream of my Knight in Shinning Armor - who would come and sweep me off my feet and carry me away on his white horse to a castle were we would live forever and he would protect me from everything.

Well, I was a hopeless romantic in some regards. I guess I still am.

When we got married one day I looked on my husband's night stand and was surprised to see the hatchet from our wood stove sitting there next to the alarm clock and Bible. Hmmm. I was not sure what he needed a hatchet for while he was sleeping, so I asked him. "I want to protect you" was the answer that made my heart flutter like a newly smitten bride’s only can. Now, (disregarding the fact that my husband is kind of confused when he is awoken from a deep sleep so I hoped he wouldn't use the hatchet on me someday) I was very touched and I felt instantly safe knowing that he was prepared to protect me from intruders or anything that might threaten us in our little home.

Thankfully, I haven't had to see my husband using the hatchet to protect me, but recently I saw my husband protect me in a different way.

We all have times when for some reason or another words are said that are either untrue or hurtful in delivery or content. In those moments it is easy to question everything in our lives - and some questioning is healthy and good, as we can always learn from every situation. But, there are also lies that we can begin to believe about ourselves and others that can take any opportunity to take hold - even well-meaning advise can create questions and make us doubt ourselves, those around us, and even God. Satan uses any situation he can to feed lies to us – and he uses our most vulnerable spot to let those lies take hold. He wants to paralyze us by the fear or lies that we believe, so that we cannot be used of God in the unique place He has put us. Those lies are not from God as God is the Author of Truth. There is a great book called: "Lies Women Believe and the Truth that sets them Free" that discusses this in detail.

I was faced with a situation that made me question everything about myself and my relationships and my health and my ministry through this blog ... and I was beginning to believe lies about everything. I was beginning to believe that God couldn't use my pain. I was beginning to believe that there was no one I could trust in my life (well, I’m probably going to be working on this one for while). I was beginning to believe that I was a torment to those closest to me because of my health. I felt useless and like hiding away forever. The only thing I knew was that I needed to turn to God because I knew that He would show me the truth and that He was where healing would come from. I have gone through things like this in the past, but this time it was different. Because as I went to God with my tears and feelings of helplessness - I saw that gentle hand holding mine, those strong legs walking beside me when I was too sad to stop walking, those loving arms holding me while I cried myself to sleep, those sure words telling me not to believe the lies that were creeping in.

It isn’t just me and God anymore in those deepest moments.

I have a Knight beside me, walking with me when I feel alone, fighting for me no matter what, and protecting me from the worst enemy of all: lies that Satan whispers to me in my moments of weakness or pain. He is willing to fight for me even if that means being honest enough to tell me when I am wrong. But to also tell me when others are wrong in their concerned (even well-meaning) assumptions, or judgments about me. To remind me of where God has brought me, and where God is leading me … no leading us, because this journey isn’t just God and I anymore. To tell me not to give up on what God has led me to do to encourage others through this blog or any other way. To not hide away from life because it hurts sometimes. My Knight works for the KING of all the Universe and I am so happy that the best thing He does for me is continually bring me before the throne of the King where I find everything I need and more.

I have my King and my Knight. And that's why I will keep on writing.