Monday, December 30, 2013

He Encourages

As I look back on 2013, I think about all the heartache, bitterness, loneliness, and hopelessness that Simeon and I have gone through. You all know the story, you all know the pain. However, as I look back on the very same year of desolation, I also see whispers of encouragement, hands giving blessings, arms reaching out in love, and the tiniest of slivers illuminating each truth we have needed  oh so desperately in our souls.

As I look back on it, I also look ahead. Not to my own life, but to others. As I look on friends I hold dear, and friends that I would like to know better, leaders, helpers, mentors, and my families, I also see the same desolation--not in the same area, but Satan has an ever changing face--an ever changing persona. He comes to seek. He comes to steal. He comes to destroy.

I have felt God bless me with encouragement from others. I have felt His comfort in the love others have shown me. I have felt Satan coming seeking to make my relationship with Christ a desolate wasteland. I have felt the hopelessness and the hope, the pain and the joy, the heartache and the balm.

If you have reached out to Simeon and I in love, please know that your efforts were not in vain, because we, in turn, are doing something about it. As of January 1st, a portion of our giving budget (to clarify, this is not part of our tithe, completely separate budget), will be going towards encouraging someone, or multiple someones each and every month of 2014.

We had thought about sponsoring another child through Compassion International (which is a great way to sponsor a child, please pray about doing so). We had also thought about saving this money for our own possible adoption of a child (undecided). We had thought about giving to our church more, or missionaries, or for wells of drinking many thoughts and ideas went through my head until I finally settled on this (with Simeon on board of course). You see, in this decision process, it was all so easy for me. Since Simeon does most of the bills, I never feel the sacrifice of giving to church. I never feel the pinch of finances like my obedient husband does. More importantly, if it's a habit, it isn't hard, and it requires such little work. I feel God wants us to be more of a blessing. I feel that God wants us to be aware of who needs encouragement and/or a blessing--and this is the way that we can do this. This will be hard to change our mindset to actively thinking about who we see needs encouragement, or a blessing in their lives. However, I think having to be so active in such a way, will be the greatest blessing of 2014.

So, this is a challenge to you as well. Maybe you have a budget for extra giving other than tithing. Maybe you don't. Either way, please take time and pray about this next year. Where you can take someone's heartache, bitterness, loneliness, and hopelessness, and whisper words of encouragement, reach out with arms of love, hand out blessings, and ultimately, illuminate the Truth.

I know what 2013 looked like. I don't know what 2014 will hold--and that, my dear friends, is an adventure waiting to happen.

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching."
Hebrews 10:23-25

"See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end."
Hebrews 3:12-14

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

He Gets It

This past Sunday, my heart was heavy but at the same time light. The Holy Spirit was alive and well in my heart--something I have sorely missed. I have a confession, these past few months, I have found it increasingly difficult to have an attitude of thankfulness and joy. I know that I have many things to be thankful for, but being thankful is the challenge. I have been in this pit of joylessness, and hopelessness. But this week, a spark of understanding has taken root in my heart.

This Sunday, I was looking for verses about the barren woman that conveyed hope--there are quite a few, but something that totally astounded me, was all of the verses that conveyed understanding. They didn't convey harsh critical words for being a failure for my hopelessness. They didn't convey disappointment. They didn't convey judgement. They conveyed understanding. For so long, I have been living in disappointment and blame of myself. No more. In Proverbs 30:15b-16 it says that there are four things that are never satisfied....four! 'The grave, the barren womb, the earth that is never satisfied with water, and the fire'. Four things, and God understands my unsatisfied desire. Four. The number blows my mind. Granted this passage was written by a man, but it was put in the Bible by God. It is God-breathed. There are so many more references of not only barrenness, but miscarriages also. In Job it mentions how "he preys on the barren, who do not bear, and does no good for the widow". Simeon and I are preyed upon, as well as many others in our situation--no wonder our marriage, our relationship with each other, as well as with Christ, have needed copious amounts of effort, and work. No wonder our marriage has suffered and has needed so much wonder.

Aside from understanding, some verses bring joy right where I am, and hope for the future. What a marvelous Father, who not only understands the heft of not having children, but also knows in advance what is needed--reasons for joy now, and hope for what will come to pass. Omnipotence is truly a potent thought. The verse for the future? Psalm 113:9 "He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children." I am clinging to this verse...holding on with all the desperation in my soul. At this point, I was crying, because for once, I found hope again. God gave me the gift of hope. Then He gave me another gift--the gift of understanding and joy with Isaiah 54. The very chapter starts out with, " 'Sing, O barren, You who have not borne! Break forth into singing and cry aloud, You who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman,' says the Lord". This undid me, because it is the truth. The scales fell off. The truth lit the way to the source of joy.

You see, I began thinking about it--if I had my own children, would I be babysitting and miss out on the treasure of the little ones there? Would I have time for them? Would I receive all the blessings they give me on a daily basis? Would I have so many young ones telling me they love me? Would I be such an integrated part of their lives as I am now? I can pretty easily say that I wouldn't be where I am. And where I am, is right where God wants me. Trusting, faithful, joyful, and hopeful.

The rest of Isaiah 54 is ripe with joy and hope for my circumstances. Even my verse that I have thought about with our children in heaven is in Isaiah 54. "All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great shall be their peace." I have always remembered this verse and the comfort it brings.

So finally, after many dry months, after so much darkness, after so many valleys, I can see the joy and hope that I can have in where I am. Does this mean that I am no longer sad about my children? No. Nor does it mean that the desire for children is quenched. All this means, is that I can now see hope and joy where there was none before. This means that I don't have to be so hard on myself, because my Father isn't looking at me with disapproval, He is looking at me with understanding and sadness. He gets it.

For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with deep compassion I will bring you back
In a surge of anger,
I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
I will have compassion on you,”
says the Lord your Redeemer.
(Isaiah 54:7-8)

Friday, October 25, 2013

He is Just

This past month, my mind has been imposed upon by so many thoughts. Thoughts from the enemy, thoughts from man, and thoughts from the Lord.

For a few more days, it will still be Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. I did some research on how it came to be and it astounded me. Did you know that Ronald Reagan was the man to proclaim this month as such?

October 25, 1988
 By the President of the United States of America: A Proclamation

      "Each year, approximately a million pregnancies in the United States end in miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of the newborn child. National observance of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, 1988, offers us the opportunity to increase our understanding of the great tragedy involved in the deaths of unborn and newborn babies. It also enables us to consider how, as individuals and communities, we can meet the needs of bereaved parents and family members and work to prevent causes of these problems.
       Health care professionals recognize that trends of recent years, such as smaller family size and the postponement of childbearing, adds another dimension of poignance to the grief of parents who have lost infants. More than 700 local, national, and international support groups are supplying programs and strategies designed to help parents cope with their loss. Parents who have suffered their own losses, health care professionals, and specially trained hospital staff members are helping newly bereaved parents deal constructively with loss.
       Compassionate Americans are also assisting women who suffer bereavement, guilt, and emotional and physical trauma that accompany post-abortion syndrome. We can and must do a much better job of encouraging adoption as an alternative to abortion; of helping the single parents who wish to raise their babies; and of offering friendship and temporal support to the courageous women and girls who give their children the gifts of life and loving adoptive parents. We can be truly grateful for the devotion and concern provided by all of these citizens, and we should offer them our cooperation and support as well.
       The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 314, has designated the month of October 1988 as ``Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month'' and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this month.
      Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of October 1988 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I call upon the people of the United Statesto observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.
      In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirteenth."
                                                              Ronald Reagan

I know that was long, and I apologize that I will even continue to write out my thoughts even more. I just was unsure that you would read that if I just posted a link to it and realize how much more respect he deserves...he got more from me! I digress. 

Something that I consistently struggle with is criticism. I am critical of others, of my husband, and of myself--hugely myself. This does not excuse the behavior.

I remember being critical of people that would let miscarriages ruin their marriage. I see myself being critical of those who have't had loss. I have been super critical of ones who never try to come alongside Sim and I to encourage us. unfortunately, the time I have been most critical of everyone, has been this month. 

I have felt like shouting at people, out of frustration, "Sharing this photo on Facebook (on your timeline and to no one in particular), and not trying to actually connect with the so called friends you know that have gone through this does not make you great! It doesn't make you  remember, it doesn't make you kind! It doesn't make you important for all to see, it doesn't make your friends that have experienced this loss feel loved on this day, in this month. This picture does nothing but show that you are pretending!" Aren't I just horrible? Although these frustrations stem from true emotions, and realization that the human race is just plain selfish, it still doesn't make it right. Do you want to know the worse best thing about being put through this hurt? You see how much others fail at what you would like and realize that you, yourself are no better. It kills. Your emotions are justified, they are fair, they make sense, but you are still being forced to mature, to change, to become more like Christ and less like others. It's so hard....not that many others would care to know. See, I am so selfish and mad, because others are selfish...if that isn't rough, I don't know what is.

What am I trying to say with this post? Essentially that our Father is Just. Who cares if someone doesn't ask me how I am doing? Who cares if they don't realize how ignorance hurts? Who cares, because ultimately, they will have Christ to answer to, just like I do. I will be held accountable for who I could have been helping when I wanted to be helped. I will be held accountable for my fleshly selfishness, I will be held accountable for my actions for not encouraging, for not loving, and for not meeting others the way Christ meets us.

I have also been thinking about how Christ is Just in pointing our our own lackluster areas. I remember, there was this one couple with a family, and they were separated. Through the grapevine, I heard that it was primarily because of a miscarriage. Of course this was when I went through the first one of ours (which I didn't even know I was pregnant for, until after the fact), and I thought how stupid and immature it was that this couple, older, and married longer, would just throw it away.  I was the walking epitome of 1 Corinthians 13:11, "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me."  Looking back, I am appalled by my behaviors and judgement I had. Sadly, it isn't because I have just realized it, but because through these trials, there have been many temptations for divorce. I have seen and experienced first hand how easy it is to want a divorce because it feels like your spouse doesn't have the same emotional hurt that is life-altering and paralyzing at the same time. You feel so alone, and he doesn't get it, doesn't understand. He doesn't see the loneliness, he just sees the anger and he starts to despise you for it. You start resenting that he just doesn't understand--that you are daily, constantly in a whirlwind of pain, that every little thing is a reminder. I ache inside that I so quickly criticized, knowing next to nothing. On top of that, it was essentially gossip from where I got my information from. I judged and I regret. I walked in their shoes for a little bit--if those were even the shoes. I judged, and now, I bet, others are judging me--for how I react, what I write, what I say, my overbearing desire to let others know what this path is like to help help me. 

God is the only one who is simultaneously just and loving. Most humans tend to lean one way or the other, never fully exhibiting those two traits of our Father in perfect synchronization. These days, I realize that when I criticizing others, I am ultimately, making it harder and harder for Christ's ultimate completion in my heart. I must always remember, that being righteous will always be more important than being right. 

"For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

To 4 Adventurous Years!

Dear Simeon, 

Today is our 4th year Anniversary! I was just thinking about all the adventures, good and bad we've had the last few years. For one, we got married...that was fun.  I think of Ruth 1:16 "... Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me" 
I think about our honeymoon, and the adventures that entailed--Duane, the ER in a different city, trying to ward off the Jamaicans to not keep asking us to buy stuff, the ridiculous rainfall, watching Mall Cop on the boat whilst sitting in the hot tub, Dunn's River Falls, the museum, the aquarium, and last but not least, the buffets! It was our first great learning adventure, and I treasure it because of that.I remember our first year anniversary--going to Colorado for a few days by our selves, shopping and relaxing. I remember in our second year, we went on a trip with our friends instead.  I remember having to put our arguments away for a change (at the time). I remember how much fun we had exploring together, Pike's Peak donuts, shopping, Jamba Juice, I remember our first vacation like adventure that we had planned.

I remember buying our first house and being able to celebrate our third anniversary in our house! I remember going to Beauty and the Beast, I remember you surprising me with Maximus (a legit surprise). Unfortunately, I still remember arguing with you all the time too. I was not a nice wife, that's for sure. Learning how to deal with each other is another we may never stop being on.

In the midst of this third year I remember being excited to announce this little joy. I remember taking the pictures, telling friends and family, I remember the happiness and completion we felt. And I remember it all crashing down in a day. I remember the hurt, the pain, the ache in our hearts that we had lost our little Nathaniel. I remember the utter despair I felt.  
 I remember acting on faith with the nursery, and the morning we found out that there was hope again. I remember the flood of emotions, fear at first, then the ultimate calming from our Lord. I remember dreaming, hoping, praying. I remember preparing, I remember being happy, I remember how much we clung to each other in love. Something that we did just a few short weeks later, when we learned that this child too, had found their home in heaven. I remember thinking that the despair I felt before was no comparison to having to decide to terminate the pregnancy. I remember the roller coasters of hope that it was a misdiagnosis,and the reality that it probably wasn't. I remember the world crashing down with it's weight on me, and me crushing it to you.

In between these two pregnancies, I remember going on a trip of a lifetime with your family. I remember the delicious salmon, the delectable food (right babe), I remember the jokes, and the laughter around the table every night for supper). I remember seeing whales for the first time in Seattle--orcas no less! I remember seeing so much wildlife, and going on so many adventures! The jeeps, the canoe, the shopping (because with me, that's always an adventure), the bears, the ocean, the hiccups, Chuck Swindoll, the entertainment. I remember so much. "Your people shall be my people". Your family is my family, and I am so blessed that you have brought me into it so willingly and lovingly. I remember your words of love to me on the trip, to encourage me, to strengthen me. I remember you gaining a lot of weight (sorry, too funny not to mention). I remember feeling relief from the weight of the world. 

 I remember after losing our last child, you surprised me with Maci. You don't particularly like dogs, but I remember you going out of your way to give me her, to help heal my broken heart. I am so thankful for her and Maximus. They have soothed me many times, when you don't even know. They have a sense of knowing when something is wrong. Thank you for her and Maximus. 

Our fourth year has brought even more adventures than I could ever imagine! The Color Run--something I thought I would never be able to do, either physically or just ever get you to do it! It was a blast doing it with you, and doing it with our friends. I was so thankful that you did it with me, even though you had been struggling with running. If you haven't got me figured out yet, anything that involves getting messy for fun is one of my favorite things! That's probably why you planned a water fight for my birthday this year. It was the most fun party I have ever had, and the fact that you planned it down to the last detail (getting me coconut milk ice cream) was so special to me. Thank you.

Over the last 4 years, I look at our adventures. Some in the valley's, some on the mountains (actually quite literally). I think of the vows we took, "For better or worse". Simeon, you have been my better. You have made me better. Ultimately, you have stuck with me through my worse yet, even when I was pushing you away. Our adventures may not always be grand. Our adventures may not always be pleasant. Our adventures may not always be so dismal. Our adventures will be just that--ours, no one else's. One thing I know, because of the love that Christ gives us to actually love each other, that we will be looking forward, with delight, and with readiness at whatever adventure comes next. I love you and words cannot describe how thankful and happy I am that I get to face our adventures to come, with you. I love you. Happy Anniversary.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

He is Gracious...

I am sincerely troubled about writing this, because it is so close to a situation happening, and I fear that some may take it very personally. However, this is my own struggle dealing with it.

Last night, someone told me, "Just wait until you become a mom". These seven words were heart wrenching to hear. Like a stab of hurt. A slice of pain. You see, in those 7 little words, the truth that I am a mother, was diminished. The truth that I have been trying so hard to hold onto, that I have children, was attacked just once more. An innocent statement, but a hurtful one. In a mere matter of seconds, it showed that since their child was alive, mine did not matter. A slew of words, making me matter less than them because they are mothers, and I, apparently am not. I had to really struggle to be gracious in that moment. I opened my mouth, and said, "It is hard for me to hear you say that. You don't understand, but when a miscarriage happens, the desire grows stronger." I had to struggle to not say, "Hey, thanks for asking how I am doing. Did you know that I got to have an appointment with an infertility physician and your comment is totally rude and careless." I thought about Proverbs. How many times it talks about being silent, and a wise man listens, and everything else. I was more than likely foolish to speak, but even now, I think, "Do you know what it took for me to come over and speak to you about how you are adjusting to motherhood? Do you know what it takes for me to not avoid you? All you can talk about is yourself? Have you even bothered to ever ask me how I am doing? Why do you want everyone to rejoice with you, but you can't mourn with me?" I am still hurt, still struggling with graciousness.

I keep thinking about how gracious I have to be all the time. I wonder how often people have to be gracious with me. I know that I am not above it, just because I have a harder road to walk. I still have to watch my words. I still have to watch my actions. I wonder if anyone can understand the courage it takes to muster even seeing another's newborn child. I wonder if anyone knows the strength it takes to babysit every day. I am selfish. I know. I wonder if anyone knows the pure tenacity it takes to see children growing, that should be right alongside mine, and to not blow a gasket. Yet, I still wonder. You see, there is a pain that goes farther down than any mother can actually know, unless they have been through miscarriages. I feel that there is even more to urge...because I know. I understand.

Dealing with miscarriages doesn't end at a certain time. It doesn't end at being pregnant again. It doesn't end. There will be a day, with no more pain and no more fears (thanks Jeremy Camp), but that's hard to get to that day. Obedience doesn't mean that day will come in this lifetime, nor does faith or trust. They alleviate, they help, they heal, but they don't cure. Care for someone you know when they deal with this, please, I beg of you. It doesn't have to be me. But their heart cries, their heart hurts. Help them, be gracious with your words, with your time, with your prayers, with your actions, and with your thoughts.

I keep thinking about Ephesians 5 as I write this. Particularly verses 1&2, and 15&16. "Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.....Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.".
I know that I struggle with bitterness and jealousy on a daily basis, yet I also know that I try to set aside my feelings and love others. I try to "mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice". I also know that I am not stellar at it. I know I fail...a lot. I know it isn't good enough a lot of the time. I know that I probably make people uncomfortable. I know I am not really that great anyways. I know, but I try. 

A long time ago, while listening to Brett teach, I wrote this note. I don't remember his teaching, but I remember writing this. "How can we fix a broken world, when we, as fellow Christians are broken and few are willing to spend the investment to help others heal". I am fairly sure that came from me, but it could have come from Pastor Brett, I honestly don't remember. I still think about that often though. How many of us are broken, torn apart, begging for healing, asking for healing--yet hardly anyone notices, sees it, and even if they do, responds to it? Is this living as wise and making the most of every opportunity? Is this mourning when others mourn? Is this iron sharpening iron? I am awful at this, I am so selfish of wanting everyone to validate my feelings that I don't even realize that someone else may be in just the same amount of pain as I am--maybe with a different issue, but pain is pain. Hurt is hurt.

I have been rambling a lot lately, no clear focus to my writing. My only thought, is dealing with miscarriages, and now infertility--and no one asking. No one caring to know. The hurt that happens with the pain of circumstances, is magnified by others. I don't want someone else I know to go through that. I am thankful for this period of life, because it has given me a perspective for the hurting that wasn't there before. I was wrapped in my own little cocoon of selfishness. It isn't an easy cocoon to break. I am thankful to experience God's love in a different way. A way, that transcends myself. A way that I get to say, "It isn't because I loved, it's because God loved" every time I visit new parents. Every time I babysit. A way that I get to value children more because I desire to have them more. A way that God lets me invest in children's lives, and a way, that although it's hard many days, I can say, "God loves me, so I am loving you. You do not deserve the bitterness, anger, or jealousy I struggle with.". Ultimately, it's simple. I love, only because God allows me to love beyond myself. I frequently wonder if friends that become parents are disappointed with me. That I didn't do enough to show that I am happy for them. I wonder if I am not a good enough friend because I don't always put my feelings aside. I say stupid things. I am harsh. Sigh, but I am trying. Be gracious because He is gracious.

Friday, September 20, 2013

He Remembers

I am sitting here on this fall day, enjoying my pumpkin chai protein smoothie for breakfast. I have been in a contemplative mood as of late, maybe it's the weather, maybe it's all the children being born, I am unsure. I sit here and wonder if anyone can truly understand my heart--if anyone would try. I sit here wondering, how much time is reading this blog of mine worth? How many of my actual friends read it? How many of them take the time to know my heart, my struggles, my sorrow, and even my joy? Although this sounds selfish, I wonder what am I worth--what are my children worth?

A few days ago on Facebook, I had written a status wondering why, we, as followers of Christ, determine others' value. Just because a child is born, does that make them more valuable? The simple answer, is no. Just because a homeless man is at CrossRoads, does that make them more worthy of my donation? Once again, the simple answer, is no. Just because there are living children that need adopted, does that make the leftover embryos from IVF worth less of our thoughts for adoption? No. Just because someone publicly announces their hurt or pain, does that make their pain more valuable than someone who may not? No. 

This is my struggle lately, the struggle that everyone, myself included, has no time for others. The value of life is oh so little for each other. I can write this through a lens of miscarriage upon miscarriage, because it is what I know, what I have experienced. In our "Christian Culture" there is a massive epidemic of selfishness. Even in our hurt we have selfishness. We want everyone to lay down what they are doing just to let us know that individually, we are cared about, we are loved, we are not forgotten. God remembers the sparrow, but do we? God knows every hair on our head, but do would anyone be able to spend that much time with one friend to know how many hairs on their head they have? (I know that sounds awkward, sorry). 

You want to know the hard part? Essentially, we are too busy to care about anyone but ourselves. Even if you are serving in your church with 75% of your time, are you truly serving to minister to others, or are you serving just to serve? Are you serving because it's the right thing to do, or are you serving with others' interests at heart more? Are you serving as Christ served, making yourself low, doing the lowly things, so that others may be held higher in the love of Christ? Are you even serving at all? Are you "too busy" to serve? Christ came to serve others. He spent 33 years serving others, he died just to serve others, His Father turned His face away from Jesus, and He still served. He stayed on that cross, even though He had the ability to get off the cross. He stayed. He remembered the broken, He remembered the hurt, He remembered the ones separated from His Father. 

Nothing makes one life more valuable than another. Nothing. So why do we treat it as such? Although it may be easier to focus on joy and new children (once again, my lens is on) I ask that you consider this. When a woman becomes a new mother, why are they delivered meals, whereas one that has had a miscarriage, or dealing with infertility, is not. I completely understand giving meals to new moms, I have done it quite a few times, it's good for them, useful, helps them. But what about someone like me? Someone who may just have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning because she failed, again, to carry a baby full term. What makes joy more valuable than grief? Even in the adoption process, people pass over embryos leftover from IVF, to adopt a child that has been born. Is it wrong to adopt a child? No. But who are we to say that an embryo--WHICH WE BELIEVE IS LIFE--is worth less than a child in Uganda? Why can we give nothing to the mad standing on the corner by WalMart, but we can donate to CrossRoads? Just because we KNOW they aren't trying to just get money for alcohol? We could sit and talk with them, we could give them a bag a personal toiletries, and brochures to churches, we could give them a meal--what makes the homeless people at CrossRoads more important? None of these things are wrong, but the wrong thing is what we outwardly do to show that one is more valuable than another. Christ died for all, not just the ones we decide He died for--so why do we treat each other differently?

On a little bit of a side note, I am struck by just how few people take the time to truly check in with me, or know the due dates of Myka, Nathaniel, and Hezekiah. I am struck by how alone I am in remembering these days that are so important to me. I am struck by how, not even Simeon, recognizes when these things happened. In the midst of being alone though, I remember that My God remembers. It isn't a fix all thought, I still feel alone in my musings, my hurts, my self blame for miscarrying, my failures to deliver a healthy baby, and my thoughts on what they look like, what they would look like, what their laugh would sound like, what color are their eyes, what color is their hair, would they be fast movers, or go slowly, would they delight in destroying toys or building them? What would I do for their first birthday (Nathaniel's would have been on Wednesday, if he was on time)? How many people would be present for it? How many people are present for it now? God remembers. God knows. Some days it's enough, other days it isn't. Are we, as the body of Christ willing to step up to care, love and encourage others on the days where God seems so far off? On the days it seems He has turned His face away from us? As my rambling comes to a close, I have learned to challenge myself. I will not be the status quo in the Christian Culture. I will take the time to invest to others. I will take the time to grieve with them, rejoice with them, cry with them and laugh with them. I will serve others, so that they may be lifted up with encouragement and love. I may still have a lens of pain and hurt, but I can say one thing. Through wishing and essentially being selfish in my pain, I now know, what I believe to be missing from our lives as follower of Christs. Ministering to others' pain. Some pain is but a moment, but some lasts a lifetime--I will not treat it as if all pain is a moment, I will remember, just as my God does. I now know the heartache of pain that doesn't leave. It ebbs, it flows, but one thing is constant, it will always be there. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

He Watches

This past week I have started babysitting full time again. I love it. It's easy to love it, when you love these kids. All of them with their own personalities, but all of them have one thing in common. I have noticed that they all want attention. If I could get a quarter for every time they said "Watch me!" or "Look at me!" I would be a very rich woman. Each time they ask me to watch, I do. Each time they are proud of what they do (and it isn't dangerous, or completely messy) I treat them with beaming pride saying "Good Job!". Each child wants the attention, but not only the attention, but the approval, and the desire to be something great in the eyes of an adult. This doesn't mean that they aren't getting it at home, because they easily are, but they just want it.

It made me think about my relationship with my Heavenly Father, which has been suffering as of late to say the least. How often do I want God to "Look at me!" and "Watch me!". I believe He does, unfortunately when we don't want Him to look or watch, He still does. But each time we serve without wanting in return, there is a treasure in Heaven stored up. He beams with love and pride at His children. He looks upon us with favor saying "Well done My Child, you are a good and faithful servant.". 

Not only did it make me think about my own relationship with Christ, but my relationship with others. I am always comparing myself to others. It's an awful characteristic of myself. Usually, I am comparing how I fall short to others. How terrible of a friend I am, how I look, how good of a Christian I am, ect. Every once in awhile when I do something good, I think of how good I am, then think of how awful I am to even think that I am awesome. Ultimately, I need to stop comparing, that much is evident. But there is so much more. Every time I am comparing myself it is just me. Just that. I am focusing on myself, whether good or bad, I am being selfish. I am going to say something pretty controversial here, but whether I focus on the good of me or the bad of me, I am being prideful. Prideful that Christ cannot create new traits in me because I am so awful or prideful that I am the best. 

To dive in even further, if I continue to do so, I am not even coming close to esteeming others more valuable than myself as Philippians 2:1-4 urges me to. Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,  then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Notice it doesn't say "better", just more valuable. The other thing I realized about this passage, is the very beginning, it says "if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ". Do I have such little encouragement that I think of myself so lowly or so highly? God has given each of us individual traits, spiritual gifts, if you will- why can't I just be confident in the mold He has created me in?

In Philippians 4:4-8 there is a whole portion that we always use as separate verses for different circumstances, but upon some reflection, I think they all go together. I am going to break them down in the way I read it this morning. 
 v. 4 "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" What's the first focus? Rejoicing in the Lord. That takes my selfishness off of me, and puts my focus where it should be. 
 v.5"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near."  Our Lord was gentle. Am I going to be gentle with myself and others? Including their traits? 
v. 6. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."  Why should I be anxious about what I think of myself or what others think of me? If I am following Philippians 2, then my petitions would be for others and not for myself. Just a thought. 
v. 7"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." If I am doing all of the above, then the enemy will not be able to plant the lies of being worse or better in comparison. 
 v. 8 "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." This is pretty self explanatory. Obviously, stop thinking about what might be better or worse and start thinking about what is the best. Look at others with love, not being critical. Encourage them. Praise them. Love them.

So those are my thoughts for this morning. I am off to play with little girls again!

Monday, July 1, 2013

He Stayed...

Over the past month, I feel that I have been put through the ringer. Wrung nice and tight. To be completely transparent with you, there were a few symptoms of pregnancy this month. At first, I believed, then every test I took came back negative. How does one keep believing, when everything physical points to the opposite of the desired result? The answer? Easy, believe in the truth--the words directly from God's heart written down for us. Is is easy to do? Nope. Is is easy to focus on the truth and not the physical realm? Nope. Can it be done? Yes.

There have been numerous things on my heart as of late. One of which is focus. As stated above, when I focus on the truth and trust the truth, everything else fades away. It's so hard to continually worship in the midst of hurt, pain, and bitterness, but it is oh so worth it. I still cry. I still wonder. I still question. But now, now I worship in thankfulness as well.

The other thing on my heart? How I treat and react to my husband. Something that has been on my heart, is how do I honor him. Do I treat Simeon like he has my full attention? As a woman, I think it is extremely hard to not fall into the trap of wanting other men to notice you--whether innocently, or not, it is a dangerous slope. When I work out, put on makeup, choose my clothing, do I do it for others' (including other women's) attention, or for my husband's? Honestly, I tend to err on the side of "above reproach". Even though I know that I will not do anything to cheat on Simeon, I know that it's a slow fade and that others watch my actions as well. I do not expect for all the women I know to do what I do, and hopefully none will take offense. Hopefully, even some teenagers can gain some insight from this. Please understand that I am not bragging about this either. I am a lowly sinner, whose only good attributes are gifts from the Heavenly Father.

I remember, very early on in Simeon and I's relationship, I loved being the center of attention. He told me, very specifically, "I like you, and I am not trying to be mean, but I have seen that you are flirty. If we are going to be in a relationship, I want you to only need the attention you get from me, not other guys." That blew me away. I remember literally from that conversation on, I watched myself like a hawk. I asked Simeon to point out when he saw something. I have certain rules that I hold myself to, in order that I may stay above reproach.

1. I do not hang out with one guy alone. I know that I would not do anything to hurt Simeon, and he is my love. However, I do know that other people may be noticing things. Hopefully, most would know me and believe the best, but this situation, not only allows room for gossip, but also criticism--and deception.

2. I usually do not text one guy at a time. Thankfully, this isn't a huge issue with me, but when I text a guy, I either make sure that Simeon is included in the text, another person, or that guy's wife. The exceptions to the rule are Keith, Jakin, and Josh, but even then, I hardly ever have to text them individually. Reason for this, is because if a guy's wife saw numerous texts, that could potentially ruin multiple relationships--no matter how innocent each one is, ESPECIALLY, if she feels her spouse doesn't make time to talk to her.

3. I do not usually call a guy. If a guy needs to be called, I will ask Simeon to do it, or if there is a very small reason for texting, I will ask him to do that as well. I do not want to talk on the phone with other men other than my father or my husband. Once again, if a wife were to look at her husband's phone, would she feel okay with the frequency of calls between me and them? I wouldn't, so I would venture to say no.

4. When in groups, I tend to stand next to Simeon. In my humble opinion, I feel that this may be one of the best ways I can honor Simeon. I do not usually stand next to another guy for the simple reason, that I want Simeon to know that he is the only one I need attention from. Also, since I am standing by him, I can flirt with him.

5. I try to leave arguments in privacy. I do not mean petty (funny) bickering between Simeon and I, but true arguments are left at home. If we need to be somewhere, then we put it aside, do our thing and come home. More times than not, if we have the option to stay home, then we do and work it out. If we are somewhere else, we go where there is privacy and work it out. My husband does not need to be criticized in public, nor embarrassed by or for his wife. This is not always what happens, but I try often.

6. I try to be careful of my words. This is my hardest thing. I have a huge sense of sarcasm for humor, and many times, I cross the line. This is what I work on the most, and I can always tell when I have hurt or embarrassed Simeon in front of others. I have spent many hours apologizing for this one.

7. I choose my clothing for him. If I go shopping with him, I ask his opinion on EVERYTHING! I want to bless him with how I dress--even if a few pieces in my closet are not my style. If I know he likes something, then I will get or wear it for him. Every now and then, I ask him to pick out a shirt or an outfit he likes on me to wear. I think that this is something he secretly dislikes, but it is important to me that he likes what I wear. On the same subject, I try very hard to be modest. The other part of blessing him when I choose my clothing, is that I am not on display for other men, HE is the only one that gets to see the rest of me.

8. I make food for him. Duh, I am a wife....and a cook. However,  I will make sure that in the midst of all of my planning, I will ask him what he wants or what sounds good and include it. If it is something that is unhealthy (which is mostly always is...) then I try to adapt it or make something on the side that is to even it out. Many times, I buy him candy that I know he likes for him, just as a way of letting him know that I was thinking about him.

9. I do what he likes. I hate football, however, I help host football parties. I clean and make whatever food for them, so he can relax and enjoy the time he has with the Huskers (he practically swoons every time...). For our anniversary one year, I got Husker tickets for him (bad idea--next time, he can take someone else). I kind of like disc golfing, but I do it with him because I know he enjoys it. I enjoy video gaming (to an extent), but would be totally fine with one day of a LAN, but we do 2--because it is yet another way I can bless him. I don't sacrifice, I give--in these areas.

10. I remember what he has to say. Most of the time, I remember when he says he likes or wants something. I keep a mental note of it so that I can surprise him. I remember one year he lost his favorite disc golf disc. I ordered a new one without him even knowing...that was fun.

Those are the 10 things I do. There are so many other areas where I fall short as a wife (no pun intended), but marriage is a continual growing process. I feel that these are ways I can bless him as a wife. It may look clingy, but it is what I choose to do. I continually choose Simeon, so that I don't even have a thought or opportunity to choose someone else.

The last thing on my heart is hurting. When I have been hurt, or am hurting, I have a tendency to confront, then withdraw. Usually trying to walk away (physically and emotionally). This morning, someone had hurt me deeply, unintentionally. When confronted with what they had done that hurt me, they made no move to rectify it. I walked away. As I was crying out to God saying, "I know I should go back, but it hurts, I just want to walk away", He floored me with His response: "I never walked away from the cross". There was so much in just this small statement. Imagine all the physical pain our savior had and imagine him knowing it before he was convicted! Imagine all the pain He endures every day from rejection, or believers being angry or denying Him! Imagine all the pain He feels looking down on the world, laden with sin. Yet, He never walked away from the cross. I think that I can set aside hurt and do the Christly action, and not walk away when I am in pain.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

He Gives Us Opportunities

Hopefully, I can get across what I am wanting to communicate in this blog post. I want to start with a word picture, to kind of set what I feel the Holy Spirit is trying to communicate with me, in a more palatable way. You with me?

OK, now imagine your going on vacation, but instead of carefully packing and planning each outfit every day, you just throw all your dirty clothes from the hamper, some are nice ones, some are hang around at house clothes,  into your bags and go on your merry way. The vacation you planned out was one where there would be lots of stops and sights to see, and lots of souvenirs to get (in the form of T-shirts, of course!). You start your trip, and are at your first stop. You sight see, buy a shirt, get back on the road. You continue to do this at multiple stops, until you realize you are running out of space for all your new "I went to _______ and all I got was this lousy shirt..." shirts. And not only that, but each stop has had it's own little problem, a car tire went out, you have no more wiper fluid, you got carsick, ect.

Okay, so now that you have that visual, lets bring it around to the spiritual laws. I feel like I have been carrying around dirty clothes (characteristics, attributes, thoughts, ect.) for an awfully long time. While some things that I have been wearing are "nice" (initially good, intended for good, ect.) for other's to see, others are my paint stained clothes around the house, the ugly ones. Each stop on the "highway of life", brings new changes, good, new things, but ultimately, if I pack my new attributes, with my old dirty ones, my new ones will be dirty too.

I know that God has been at each stop in life (bad and good). But I sense that each time He has been  offering to clean my dirty laundry. He has been offering to throw away my ugly clothes, in order to make room for the new ones. And at each stop, I have ignored, been oblivious to what He was offering, or downright refused--until now.

That is the beauty of His grace, love and mercy. He is constant, always waiting for you, always offering to you. Lately, I have just been so aware of one particular piece of clothing he wants to clean and scrub up for me. I call it, "Opportunities to Trust".  Every month for the last few months, I have been fretting if I am pregnant or not (as far as I know, I am not.). We have a roof to pay for (possibly, if insurance doesn't cover it), we have a furnace to pay for. I am full time at HAFH now. I will be babysitting in the fall again (woot!). People have criticized me (there will always be someone about something criticizing me). There are certain things about my side of the family that hurt, and are always stressful. I could go on and on and on with all the things I have time to worry about. God has just been saying "Kristen, this is an opportunity to trust in Me, your Creator, your Provider, are you going to take it?"

Each instance has come with a verse or a phrase that just make me so aware of how much I don't trust the Lord. I am writing these from my journal, so they may be a little less polished for a blog, but it's okay.

Pregnancy? "Does my word not say I will give you the desires of your heart? What does it matter? No matter how many sticks you pee on, praying for it to happen, won't make it happen. I am your Provider, Kristen. I am The Giver Of Life! Your focus is off of Me and onto your uterus. Focus on Me. This is an opportunity to trust Me regardless of the result of that test. Trust Me. I am the Giver of Life and I will give you life, I HAVE given you life, focus on Me. This is an opportunity to trust Me with the greatest desire of yours and Simeon's heart dear one. Take this opportunity off of a child, onto being My child. Trust Me with no questions."

Roof and Furnace? "Does not My word say I will provide for you? You are cheerfully and obediently giving Me your first fruits. You are looking after My orphans in the way that you can--financially. You are blessing Me with the finances I have allowed you to have, being obedient. I will provide for you. This is an opportunity to trust Me, and not your money accounts, Kristen."

Working 2 Full-Time Jobs come this fall? "Does not my word say, 'be still and know that I am God'? I am entrusting these jobs to you. This is a small taste of the blessings I have in store for you more abundantly than you can fathom. I am entrusting you with more responsibilities, because one day, you will have many more as a mother. This is preparation, my child. This is an opportunity to be still and trust ME, Kristen. Without me in your daily life, you have very little hope to not be bogged down by worry and time. Trust me, that I will give you the time you need, that this is for your betterment. Even this, my little girl, is an opportunity to trust."

People Criticizing Me? "Ah, Kristen, this is your greatest upset. You want others to like you, but focus on what I think of you. Does not my word say 'Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears  Me is to be praised'? Other's opinions and criticisms of you are fleeting and come from a deceptive heart. Gossip is not in my plan for my children's lives. It is in MY enemy's plan to seek, kill, and destroy! My plan is to give life, and love. When others say things about you, come to Me! I love your heart, with all of it's flaws. Bring your focus to me. Do not get bogged down by the weights of the enemy, whether directly or indirectly placed upon you. Focus on Who I Am, and your relationship with me before your relationships with others, be above reproach to the best of your ability. Someone will even find a flaw in perfection--look at my Son! You are amongst greatness, when your relationship with Me, your True Father, is challenged. This is yet another opportunity for trusting me. Trust that I will take care of it, and trust that I think the world of you. Trust me, Kristen, just trust me."

As you can see, each big(ish) thing that I have had an opportunity to worry about, God has responded with saying  that it is an opportunity to trust. So I guess that is the biggest theme God has been placing on my heart.

Monday, May 20, 2013

He is Gracious...

After my Mother's Day post, I almost wanted to do a Father's Day post. However, I am not my husband, and honestly, his feelings and struggles are his to share, not mine. I am not about to interview him, or ask him to write a post, because frankly, that's awkward.

However, as Father's Day is approaching, I want to take time to not only honor and love my husband, but respect him as well. In the last post I referenced a Bible verse in Genesis 25:21, " Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant."

As I wrote that excerpt, I was reminded on how obedient Simeon has been to the Lord. I hesitate to say some of these things, because it is an ugly time I will be referencing, and possibly unintentionally hurtful to some. I pray that you do not look at my past spiritual ugliness as much as you look at my husband's spiritual steadfastness. I am scared to write this, honestly, because it requires great humility and transparency on my part. 

In the early months after our third (and prayerfully, hopefully final) miscarriage, I was bitter. I was so bitter in fact, I would listen to no one. I would hate pregnant women. I would even hate their children. I hated people for what it seemed like not caring. I hated Simeon for not understanding. Most of all, I hated God. Oh how I hated him. Many nights I would throw things, break things, hit myself, want to commit suicide, shove Simeon to the side if he tried to comfort me, oh how I hated life. I was broken and miserable and I wanted everyone in my world to be the same--including my husband. I hated that he still trusted God. He still believed God wanted the best for us. I can't even count how many times I tried to convince Sim otherwise, and how many times I became even more angry and bitter, that he still believed what the Bible said. I was angry at Simeon! I was blaming him, blaming our past, blaming everything that I could as to why, we, of all people, were continually being crushed. I blamed Simeon for not being the spiritual leader he was called to be. (Ironic, isn't it? I was blaming Simeon for the very thing he was trying to do...spiritual leadership).

As I look back at how awful I was, I am reminded though, that Simeon stayed obedient. Even when he was torn apart with grief, even when his wife was screaming at him to not trust God anymore, even when it seemed that friend after friend was going to be parents, even when Satan used our past to deceive him, Simeon remained steadfast. There were probably a few stumbles along the way, but he was a man of God through it all, whilst I allowed Satan to have my heart and mind. Simeon didn't know how to deal with me. Once again, as I look back, I am so disgusted by how easy it was for me to not care about God. I am appalled with myself. I am completely and utterly broken by how much of my stuff my husband had to deal with.

Still, he obeyed. He prayed over me when I didn't know it. He read the Bible aloud when I wouldn't pay attention (I didn't want to, so I didn't). He pleaded with God over me. He said so much truth in the face of my hatred. He remained calm (most days) in the face of my outbursts. He begged with me to trust God, when all I did was refuse. He asked me one final question. He asked me if I would be willing to go to counseling. That even if I couldn't trust God, to please trust my husband. 

It was by the utter pure, loving, wondrous grace of God that I agreed. Every fleshly fiber in my body was screaming "NO!", but there was one tiny whisper, that pleaded, "go...". I don't know what made me agree, other than the fact, that Simeon needed a better wife. What I was, was awful, terrible, disgusting, debilitating, and dreadful to have to come home to. Frankly, I needed help. I felt like I was drowning in anguish. The more I clawed to get out, the deeper I was being pulled under. 

It has been 6 months since we have gone to counseling. We don't go every week, but we do Skype, and it is  perfectly blessed each time. Our mentors in this hard time have been nothing but encouraging, challenging, and trusting with us. God has shown Himself to us in ways we didn't even know possible. Every time we struggle, we read what we need to hear in the Word, or our mentors will share what we need. Sure, we don't have a child (yet). Sure, we still struggle with being thankful for the opportunity (and future ones) that God has given us through miscarrying. But we trust. We laugh. We cry without bitterness. We care without anger. We learn through a lens that most others may never have the opportunity to. We can learn through the lens of anguish, sadness, and trust. 

This time in our lives will more than likely never be looked upon with fondness, or "oh hey, remember when...". However, I will always look upon this time as a 'worse' in the vows we took-- a 'worse' that God turned into a 'better', because of the steadfast obedience of my husband. I will look upon this time, remembering when my husband was the spiritual leader, in the face of the biggest opposition--his wife. I will remember God's grace in this time.

I would hate to know where Simeon and I would be if he had listened to me. If he had given up. If he had allowed Satan to win this battle, through me. My husband became a warrior of God in my eyes, when he refused to bend a knee to the enemy, and that deserves more of my respect and love than anything he can physically do otherwise. I love my husband and as Father's Day approaches, I could not be more thankful, loving, or respectful, of who Simeon is as a husband, and as I know, a father someday. 

I am doubtful many men read this, (really many people at all), but this is my challenge to you. Please be such a strong man of God, that even when everything around you crumbles, and your wife may be the strongest opposition you may ever have to face, that you will remain strong in the Lord. Be such a strong man, that no matter what Satan throws at your family, you have the discernment, wisdom, and love for the Lord, that you will be able to lead your family in the right direction. Be an Isaac. Pray on behalf of your wife, for your wife, for the heart's desires in your wife, for your children, born and unborn, for yourself. Become Mordecai's and Daniel's  in sea of people who bow to the enemy of the Lord. 

"And all the king’s servants who were within the king’s gate bowed and paid homage to Haman, for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage." Esther 3:1-4

"Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days." Daniel 6:10 (after a law passed to not petition anyone but the king for 30 days)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

He Comforts...

As Mother's Day is fast approaching, I find myself thankful that I am working instead of celebrating. As much as I would love to be celebrated as a mother, I find it difficult to even view myself as one. In my mind I know that I am one, I believe that I am one, but how do I view myself as a mother when there is no child here? No child I have had to care for. No child I have had to teach. No child I have had the pleasure of building memories with. No child I have been able to see grow, either in my womb or outside of. No child to watch smile, laugh, cry. No child to hold, hug, love, cuddle. No child to kiss away ouchies.

We are not pregnant. This is the only ultrasound we have from any of the pregnancies that show life. This is Nathaniel. 

As I have found myself looking at the negative, I have decided there are some things that I would love to say to all the mother's I know.

First of all, Happy Mother's Day. I pray that this day you recognize how blessed you are. I pray that you can prepare for the year/s ahead. I pray that you are truly blessed by someone on this day, because the calling of being a parent, is by far, one of the highest callings God has given anyone. Being responsible for the teaching of God's Word, with every action being watched by the little eyes of your child/ren, is a massive calling that God has chosen you for.

Second of all, I would love to emphasize how blessed you are. Take time to think of your children, and how amazing they are, from the very first signs of pregnancy to now. It doesn't matter that your house is a mess. It doesn't matter if they make you stressed. It doesn't matter if they have hijacked your body and have not yet given it back. It doesn't matter if they are the most stubborn, disobedient child. What matters is that God has entrusted the care of this living being, to you. What matters is that you are called to love this child as Christ loves us. To direct them. To teach them. To show Christ in your daily life. What matters is that you are blessed beyond measure with a child.

Third of all, I pray that you reach out to someone hurting, or yearning for a child. I am not saying this for my own benefit, please understand that. But I pray that you recognize the pain of this holiday for mother's that never got to hold their baby for the first time, or had to give their child back. If you know someone like that, please reach out to them. I challenge you to think of someone that ISN'T me and recognize them for being mothers. I pray that you find the Sarah's, Hannah's, Rachel's, Rebekah's, and even Mary's and bless them for being Mother's. Although Mary was not barren, she was more than likely shamed. Be a blessing to a Mary you know--show her that a child is a blessing, not a shame, not a curse. Show her the design for motherhood.

Lastly, I ask that you pray for each of these women who come to mind. Pray for their husbands to be strengthened in the Lord, so that Satan has no hold on the women on Mother's Day. Pray that God moves each and every one of them into His Will. (That is the prayer from my heart to the Lord's ears, and is quite possibly the safest thing to pray for, because you are asking for His Will to be done.)

As I finish this, I find myself not necessarily focusing on the negative, as much as I realize how God has entrusted me to carry these miscarriages.

Would Sarah become the Mother of Nations if God did not have a specific time for Isaac to be born?
 Genesis 17:15, "God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah."

Would Rebekah be the matriarch of the 12 tribes of Israel if she would have given birth sooner?
Genesis 25:21, " Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant."

Would Rachel be able to be the mother of Jacob (who saved Israel) if God's plan was interrupted?
Genesis 29:31, "When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless."

Would Samuel be so attuned to God and His word if his mother, Hannah, had not asked the Lord for him?
 1 Samuel 1:5, "But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb."

In each of these women, God entrusted them with not being able to give birth. While there were times of bitterness, jealousy, and yearning, in each of these women's lives, God entrusted them to not turn barreness to bitterness, joy to jealousy, caring to yearning. Would any of these women have impacted the world, and Christian faith as we know it, if they had given into their flesh completely? Would any of these women have impacted the world or our Bible, if they did not have upstanding husbands? Would any of these women have been able to have compassion and comfort for other women in their lives, as Christ does for us on a daily basis? God entrusted each of them, to somehow, someway, impact the world--even to this day. Pray for the women you know, to have an impact worthy of God's calling. Whether mothers who have their children right now, or not.

"All your sons will be taught of the LORD; And the well-being of your sons will be great." - Isaiah 54:13