Monday, May 28, 2012

My Week in Photos and A Season of Loneliness

Tomorrow is one week since I've had my surgery. It's been quite the challenge to do nothing. I'm finding a theme woven throughout my circumstances the past couple of months. But before I share that, I thought I'd share my week in photos (I'm an excited, new instagram user).

I registered for my overnight stay the day before my surgery. Upon close inspection of my bracelet, I noticed the number 39. Don't they know it's not nice to reveal a lady's real age? :)

And this is, yes, me before surgery. I was so nervous but of course I had to stop for a pose. My husband wanted a pre-surgery pic and I'm a good sport so I consented. I'm having second thoughts about the cap.

My mom strategically placed a vase of pretty flowers beside my bed after I came home.

 Friends and family have been delivering pans and platters and bowls of nourishment.
 I've even been served dessert in bed.
 Our garden continues to birth life.
And I have lots of time to sit outside gazing into this canopy of blue and green, my outdoor ceiling painted by the Master Himself.

This last picture leads me back to where I started. This reoccurring theme is one of separation and aloneness. I am a social person by nature and love to hang out with friends but the past few months I have found myself more and more alone. This week while recovering, the silence has been undeniable. I have been asking God why. Why am in this place? Why have my friendships seemed distant and my usual busy days been replaced with quiet? And today He answered. Today His voice thundered through the silence and rained grace.

And He said to them, " Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest awhile." (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves. ~Mark 6:31-32

So tonight begins the journey to understanding this place I'm in. I know there is purpose here.  No matter how alone I feel, I know He is present. And I know He is speaking.

Have you ever found yourself in a season of loneliness?

Are you currently in a place contrary to or different from your "normal?"

Linking today with my online community of sisters for Soli Deo Gloria.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Quick Note & A Sweet Moment

Tomorrow is the big day. My surgery is at 9:30. I went to get my blood drawn this morning and also registered at the hospital. I am big baby with all the needle and blood stuff. I asked for anesthesia before they pricked my arm, but my request was denied. The nurses laughed and thought I was kidding. I totally wasn't. Thanks for your prayers, friends! xoxo

I am packing for the hospital and making other last minute preparations, but I wanted to share a sweet moment I had with my lil' man in the grocery store today.

Him: Mom, do you know why I love you?

Me: No, why?

Him: Because you're so thankful.

Me: Aww, that's so nice! Thank you!

Him: And you're giving. You're so giving and generous and thankful. That's why I love you, mom.

Totally melted my heart. (And I'm almost positive it had nothing to do with the two cans of Pringles I let him put in the buggy.)

Praying YOU have lots of sweet moments this week!

Big, big hugs!

Linking with Jen and the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Make Adjustments Where Necessary

(Update: I am linking this post from a few weeks ago to Soli Deo Gloria for 6/11 because still, I find myself here. Thank you for grace as I make adjustments. And I would love to pray for you, my friends. Please leave your request in the comment section.)

I read this prophetic word by Marsha Burns this morning:
"Refuse to allow discouragement to kill your faith. Stay strong and bolster your faith through reading, hearing, understanding, and agreeing with My word, says the Lord. Keep close tabs on your thoughts and make adjustments where necessary to maintain a strong and undeniable faith. Faith is your greatest asset and must be protected at all cost."

The phrase speaking directly to my heart is "make adjustments where necessary."

It is insane to think we can ever get things 100 percent right and never have to change. Crazy to think we can arrive at a place and never leave.

There is so much of God to know. My knowledge of Him cannot ever be complete on this earth, but must continually grow and evolve and expand.

I often get bogged down with routine, distracted by unnecessary tasks, and overwhelmed by my own expectations and demands. It is hard to grow and move in this place.

I find that, periodically, it does me good - strengthens my faith, encourages my heart - to stop and start again or start over. Make adjustments where necessary.

Old habits, false beliefs that I previously walked away from, and legalistic tendencies that once ruled my life all have a way of sneaking back in when I am preoccupied and not paying attention.

Having been set free and placed in a large space, I am able to dance and run and live. But many times I find myself backing into a corner or re-building fences that once held me captive.

And I remember that beyond the fences is grace.

Make adjustments where necessary.

This is where I am today.

God is speaking.

May we have ears to hear and courage to keep dancing.

"At the command of the Lord they remained encamped, and at the command of the Lord they journeyed..." Numbers 9:23

(Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons - Saucytech)

Linking with Jen and the Soli Deo Gloria sisterhood.

Friday, May 11, 2012

How Your Facebook Status Can Change the World

Do you believe what you say and do affects others?

It does.

Do you want your life to make a difference?

It can.

Everything in your life (yes, down to your Facebook status) can make an impact on someone's life.

Today we have a greater opportunity to influence and reach others than ever before. Social media sites, blogs, YouTube - it's CRAZY to think about how much power is at our fingertips.

Just this morning while writing this post my blog was being viewed in three different countries. And in the last twenty-four hours - Germany, Canada, France, Israel, India, Russia, and the US.

It humbles me to think a mother in China is being encouraged by my words. Or that someone in South Africa is starting to believe God really does love them because they read it here.

Without a passport, I have traveled into homes across the world. The Philippines, Malaysia, Aruba, United Kingdom, Netherlands, China, France, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, Japan, Thailand.

And my #1 referring site?


Even if you don't have a blog but you have a Facebook page, what you say matters. What you write has power.

Your words are affecting someone. Your family, your friends, your community, your school, your co-workers, your children, your children's friends, your parents, your teachers, etc.

When I post a scripture on my fb status, it's like opening the Bible with possibly a thousand other people or more. And if they decide to share my post on their page or copy my status to their status, the influence grows. Good news travels fast.

Unfortunately, so does bad news.

Ever notice how quickly people respond to a negative fb status?

What you say matters.

Your fb status really can change the world, or at least a part of it.

  • Open the Bible with your friends
  • Spread good news
  • Be encouraging
  • Speak the truth in love
  • Refuse to criticize, judge, and condemn
  • Live a life set apart - out loud
  • Choose joy
People are watching, listening, and reading.

Someone is having a bad day.

Someone feels hopeless, alone, and afraid.

Someone is contemplating suicide or abortion or abandoning their family.

Someone is searching for truth.

What are your words saying?

Linking with Jen and the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Biopsy Results, Surgery, and On Making a Difference

Update: Thank you to everyone who prayed for me recently. My biopsy results came back clear. Thank you, Jesus. I am moving forward with a hysterectomy and biopsy of my left ovary in two weeks. It is nice to know you will be praying for my surgery (I'm a big baby about needles and such). I am looking forward to complete recovery and putting this all behind me. I am not good at slowing down and much prefer operating at 100 percent. :)

I read a status on Facebook this morning from a friend (thanks, Pastor Carl) that said:

"I used to be afraid I would not make enough money, now I am afraid I won't make enough difference."

It's funny how our goals and objectives change as we get older. I have spent a large part of my life with goals like
  • build a new house
  • drive a new BMW
  • finish my college education
  • go to Europe
Not that any of those or wrong or that I don't still want to accomplish them, but they have moved down a little on my list. And really, if they don't happen, it's not a big deal anymore.

With my children becoming adults and my husband and I getting older, my thoughts now drift to how my life has made a difference and what things are still left to do that will impact those around me for good and for eternity.
  • Have I loved my children enough?
  • Have I said I'm sorry enough?
  • Have I been a good friend?
  • Was I kind to strangers?
  • Did I show mercy, judge less, offer grace?
  • Did my words build up or tear down?
I don't want to live without making an impact on the people in my life. If I err let it be because I've been too good to others and not too evil. If I fail, let it teach others and myself a valuable lesson and let the experience make us better and help us find God more. If I make a mistake, I pray my children and others can avoid the heartache because of consequences I suffered.

So whether or not I ever build a new house, I will choose to love.

If I never drive a new BMW, I will forgive more and judge less.

If I never walk across the stage with diploma in hand, I will refuse criticism and offer grace.

And if I never use a passport, I will choose to be kind.

Let this life of mine make a difference. Let my husband be a better man because of my love for Him. Let my children love God more because they know their mother does. Let my family relationships and friendships be filled with joy and peace and goodness because it is not I who lives but Christ in me.

Instead of finishing another semester of college, I sit at my desk and write. I pour out my heart through these words and pray that somehow they make a difference to those of you who read them. I pray that I can be more vulnerable, share more struggles, be more transparent...for His glory alone.

How have your goals changed? Have you noticed a shift in your thinking and focus?

(Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons-Lindsay)

Linking today with Jen for Soli Deo Gloria

Sunday, May 6, 2012

When Mothering Feels More Like a Burden Than a Blessing

Flickr Creative Commons - Jhayne

In my last my last post, I talked about our roles as mom and wife and how they are beautiful and how they are ministry.
But how many times have we been overwhelmed and the pressures seemed too much and things did not feel beautiful and we didn't know if we could go another day? Can you think of a specific time you have felt more burdened than blessed by this place God created for you (wife, mother or both)?
I shared this on Facebook:
I remember being 19/20 and becoming wife and mother all within the same year. I remember being so overwhelmed with a crying baby in the middle of the night and feeling like I wasn’t going to be able to do this whole family thing. The responsibility was great and the 24 hour care was unending. I was selfish and immature and not prepared but God was. I also remember having my second child at 23 and how the terrible 2’s lasted until around the age of 9. He was strong-willed and a professional fit thrower and there were days I thought surely I would lose my mind. Thankfully, I still have most of it. J I have made many mistakes, but God has given me grace to walk through those times too difficult to even consider standing on my own.
And my friend, Staci, shared this:
As a mother of four biological children and two step-children, I find myself feeling overwhelmed ALL of the time. It’s very difficult to balance your time and attention to each child. The two that live with us full time now are by far the most difficult and I find myself many times asking God, Why? I have not yet received an answer but I do know I love them unconditionally. I just need direction and encouragement. I recently took a break from the regular routine and just spent quality time with them and amazingly they were totally different children….wow isn’t that what God wants from us…..quality time?
We, as wives and mothers, no matter how different our circumstances, often experience many of the same emotions, feelings of inadequacy, too-tired-to-go-another-step days, and don’t-even-want-to-try-anymore moments.
Flickr Creative Commons - iamtheo
If you find yourself in any of these places today, be encouraged that you are not alone. We all have good days and bad days. We all have days we feel like throwing in the towel or crawling back in the bed. Let’s encourage one another! If you see someone who looks like they could use a friend, be one! If you are going through something and need a shoulder to cry on or someone to pray for you, pick up the phone and let it be known. You are no less because you can’t do this alone. We weren’t mean to travel this journey without each other or without God. Let’s not try it, ok?
I am grateful God can get the job done when we can't! And when we fail, we accept His grace and try again. And He's there to replenish and refresh if we will just position ourselves to receive from Him. We position ourselves by spending quality time, as Staci said...time in the Word, time in prayer, and time just being still and quiet before Him.
I am saying a prayer for all of you today, that God would give you peace in this place, grace to walk through victoriously, and the courage to acknowledge that you can't do it without Him. Take His hand, sister, and where you've been overwhelmed with circumstances. I pray you will be overwhelmed with His love!
Rom 15:14 - And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.
Gal 6:2 - Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
James 5:16 - Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
How can I pray for you specifically today?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

This Knowing...It Changes Me

I stand at my sink and scrub potatoes dug from beneath the earth in dad's garden.

I slice squash and zucchini and take chicken from the oven and I know.

I know this mothering really is ministry. This loving of family with dinner cooked and laundry folded is more. This serving my husband is not just physical.

It's all things I know but as the words form my heart grows.

It is in this making of a home that God is seen.

It's in this loving that God becomes known.

My husband arises while it is still dark and kisses me goodbye and this daily sacrifice for our family is worship to our God.

I listen to the sound of our children sleeping, tucked in beds warm and safe and theirs. I count my blessings and thank God for this ministry.

This knowing changes me.

Suddenly daily frustrations take on new meaning and I ask forgiveness for my unseeing eyes.

Like yesterday in the grocery store where my flesh ruled and my heart followed and this unsettling affected my spirit and took my joy...but I had provision to buy everything I needed.

Or at the doctor's office when things didn't go as I imagined they would and though my smile was present my heart was polluted and my thoughts impure...but my son is healing and my family is whole.

Or the pile of dirt by the front door from shoes thrown inside without dusting...but the game of front yard football was fun and we laughed.

Or this house that is too small and these dishes that fill the sink daily...but this family fills the table and my arms are full.

These things aren't meant to take our joy, although they can if we choose. They are for growing and reminding and changing and thanking.

I begin today with my eyes open and my heart bowed.

I stretch these hands wide and worship my God who causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

And, oh, how I do.

Linking with beautiful Emily today.