Saturday, August 29, 2009

blessed hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 15: 13 (emphasis mine)


more than optimism, more than positive thinking, more than wishful thinking, more than a dream



hope that will not disappoint, hope that will not put us to shame, hope that will overflow


The online Bible I read found 166 verses containing the word hope.  


hope on the living God, hope of eternal life, hope on the grace that will be brought to you, hope of righteousness, hope laid up for you in Heaven, hope of salvation, hope of the glory of God, hope for your future, 
hope of steadfast love


Hope that will not put us to shame.


Resting in the God of hope tonight. Though my circumstances disappoint and confuse me, though my feelings mislead me, our hope remains constant. 
Because our God is constant. Because we have his Spirit in us. 
Because of Jesus.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A more 'exciting' ending to my day so far

Y'all are too funny. I'm glad my day wasn't so uncool after all. 
The funniest thing about the last post and our Friday night is how it all ended up. When Chris and I left the library...
oh, I'll just continue with my previous post...

7:51- still contemplating if anyone will read my blog again
8:50- ride scooter down to the new building on campus
9- decide to take a walk through and check out the new building
9:15- watch two guys get thrown off a bull on the top floor (a mechanical bull, that is)
9:25- wander around watching kids set up tables, food, a rock climbing wall and a bouncy thing
9:45- talk to one of the desk attendants about what the heck is going on in said new building
10- wonder if we could pass off as students and stay for all the fun
10:05- get back on the scooter and head home
10:10- hear distant yelling and look behind us to see a police officer running after us down the road
10:10:45- pull scooter over and prepare ourselves for a massive ticket
10:15- ride off into the sunset without said massive ticket (whew)
10:25- safe at home... Praise God
10:30- Chris joins me in some PJ dancing to celebrate our escape from the law
THE END


Salivating for more information than that? Hmm...

Oh, okay. 

On our way home we get stopped at a red light where the police just happen to have check point (probably a sobriety check). We are stopped perpendicular to the check point and are patiently waiting for the light to change. Did I mention we're the only ones on this particular road? Waiting, waiting, waiting. The light opposite us changes to red and we get ready for our light to go green. 
Nope. No such luck. The other light turns green again. We watch with confusion as cars stream by in front of us. 
And so, we're stuck there (or so we think). This particular light is a 'no right turn on red' intersection and we can't very well run the red light in front of the police.

What to do? What to do? 

We get the brilliant idea to turn around and head down the sidewalk (it's a one way street), because we realize our scooter is not heavy enough to activate the sensors. Thus, we're never going to get a green light. 
So, there we were- riding our little green scooter down the sidewalk, on a one way street, away from a police check point when we hear it. "Hey! You on the scooter! STOP!"

We brake and look behind us to see a police officer actually running down the road toward us with his flashlight in one hand, pointing straight at us. 
Yep. He caught us. 
We were driving on the sidewalk, going the wrong way on a one way street, AND it looked decisively like we were evading a police check point. 
We, I mean Chris of course, explained the situation (I just apologized like 10 times) to the police officer and he let us continue on our way after he ascertained that we were not drunk 18 year olds out for a joy ride on a scooter and then attempting to evade the police. 

We were just dumb.

Yep. That was our night. Definitely a more exciting ending than we had anticipated. 


____
Chris and I have been reading Romans 5 and 6 this past week and we are working on memorizing some of the passages that are especially encouraging and will be beneficial to recite when we are struggling. 
So we started with Romans 5: 1-2 and now we're through verse 5. I'm sure you all know what passage I'm referring to- you know, the one people always use when you're going through s*&^. I'll admit that I've always kind of disliked it, but only because of how people have used it. 
I think they're using it incorrectly. I can't say for sure (I'm no scholar), but this is just my take on it. 

I think that the 'hope that does not put us to shame' is not hope that we'll never again experience hardships or pain, and then because we have all this character and endurance and hope, we'll be 'better' and not struggle and not have suffering again. 
I think the hope at the end of the passage is connected to the hope at the beginning of the passage: 
'hope in the glory of God'. 
That hope will never put us to shame. 
And that is encouraging


Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 
Romans 5: 1-5

Friday, August 21, 2009

My day so far

11:30am- kitten uses my stomach as a sleeping bag, roll over in bed and decide I've slept long enough
12- *yawn*...that's what I get for taking a Tylenol pm...
12:30pm- make lunch for hubby and breakfast for myself
1- take long awaited shower while listening to Michael belt out 'When a man loves a woman' on my favorite cheesy FM station
1:30- dance around the house in my PJs (need to do this more often)- the cats stare unashamedly
2- throw in a load of laundry
2:30- call a friend and chat for a bit about getting together to make a rag quilt next week
3- collapse on the couch and watch 3 episodes of a very '90s' Irish television show
5:30- hubby comes home from work
6- dinner out!! Chick-fil-a is calling...
7- take the scooter out for a ride around town
7:30- stop by the library to get some books and check my email
7:45- speed write a post about my very boring day and wonder if anyone else's day was as exciting as mine
7:50- contemplate if anyone will ever come to my blog again after they read this post...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Learning my new default

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 
Romans 5: 1-2 (emphasis mine)

Chris and I memorized these verses the other night. I have been reciting them to myself over and over again- thinking, 'Yes. Yes, this is true about God. True about me. This is my solid ground.'

Thank you all for the encouragement and love you're sending. I can truly feel it. The past few days have not been all that easy, but reminding myself of Romans 5 does help. It is something that I can hold onto when I feel no peace or calm or hope. 

Yesterday I had a pretty long talk with my doctor's office NP. She's been really helpful to explain the stuff I'm not quite sure about (in terms of my cycle and 'stuff'). In short, I was kind of 'freaking out' about something. When you're a worrier, there's always something to freak out about. God has been gracious to send me reminders of his love and faithfulness by his Spirit through others this week. And the NP was no exception. For that, I am extremely thankful. 


There is so much to be thankful for.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

.

Does the title say it all? 

I have been having a fat daddy pity party since Saturday. ugh.
I hate to even type it all out. It just sucks...it SUCKS!

I wanted to come here and tell you all such different news. You, who have walked with me, who hope with me, who pray for me. 
I want to tell you that I am hopeful; that I trust our Father and believe he is good.

Friends, I am struggling. Really badly. 

(big sigh)

But that doesn't mean that God isn't good or that there isn't hope. Because there is hope, there is HOPE! God is good and our Father loves us tremendously. I may not feel that way, but my feelings have proven (time and time again) to be less than trustworthy. Our Father is always trustworthy. He is always good. 
I just don't understand him. Or his ways. 

There is much to be said of Psalm 131

I had a long talk with a good friend today about what it looks like for us (as individuals) to hope. I don't think we came to any conclusions, but she pointed me to Jesus. And that, friends, I needed more than answers. In talking with her, we both decided that we tend to have the same default. We worry. 
We worry and fret and go to the worst case scenario. We may have valid experiences that point to the worse case scenario, but that doesn't mean that we are doomed to it. Worry, for me, is definitely a type of control. It is such a good thing to be aware of our default settings, because that is where Satan and my sin wreck havoc.

When I told Chris about our conversation, he lovingly pointed out the obvious. Our default should be the Bible. The Gospel. 
Not the hope in some benevolent God who doesn't allow bad things to happen. Not in an obscure picture of who we think God is-
but the Bible should be our default. The Bible tells us who God is and shows us how he is always faithful, forgiving and loving towards his beloved children.

That is pretty obvious, isn't it? 

I guess I lost sight of this truth. I've been feeling so weary lately. Weary of trying to figure out God. Who is he? Is he good? Is he good for me? Can I trust him? 
I've been spending so much time in prayer...or is it worry?...pleading with God to open my womb and allow us to raise our children here on earth. I am so fearful of losing more children. I am fearful of not being able to get pregnant again. I have been so lost in worry and anxiety, trying to will God into doing what I want, into seeing things my way. 
Haven't we been through so much? Haven't we lost enough children? Haven't we suffered enough?


I cannot express how thankful I am for the Spirit in me. The Spirit, who never forgets, is never confused and who intercedes for me with groanings too deep for words.

Even in my thankfulness for the gift of the Spirit, I am sad. I'm frustrated and afraid. 

A silent question creeps into the back of my mind...does he care?


Romans 8: 35-39
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Two sides

I've gotten a few questions about what happened after the sermon I posted about here. I don't really have anything new to say. We haven't talked to our pastor. Chris called the associate pastor for help and got some good advice about reconciliation. Basically, he said that sometimes reconciliation comes in two forms. If we felt we were going to hold something against our pastor by not talking to him about the sermon, then we should talk out our feelings with him. But if we could reconcile the situation without talking to him and not have a 'personal voodoo doll' for him, then we were fine in not talking to him.

I still don't know where I am. Chris, I think, is fine in not talking to him. I haven't decided if I want to approach him. It must be hard to get up in front of a church of 500+ people and preach a sermon that will reach everyone. I know he meant no harm and I know I am really super sensitive and vulnerable. So...that's where I am right now...

Maybe one day, I will talk to him about it. I don't have a 'personal voodoo doll' for him (that's my favorite way of saying that I don't hold anything against a person), but I still think I would like to talk to him about the imagery he used.


The other side to this story is that through the sermon I have made a new friend. A very unlikely friend. One that will probably make your jaws drop open. 

She came looking for me after I went running (well, fast walking) from the sanctuary with tears streaming down my face. She sat with me in the floor while I cried. Ever since that Sunday she has made a point to talk to me and call me when she can. Yesterday, she invited me over to her house. And I went. And I actually had a good time. 
Where's the part where your jaws drop open?

She has an infant son. 

He's two months old. He has black hair that sticks straight up on his head and looks a lot like I imagine Owen would have looked like at this age. 

I know. I know. I seriously can't believe it myself. I know it is the work of the Holy Spirit that is enabling our new friendship. I know it is the grace of God. 

And I'm thankful for this friendship. I'm thankful for this little boy who is helping to restore my joy around babies. She left the room yesterday to change her other child's diaper (she has twin girls too) and it was just me and this tiny baby boy. I sat down beside him and looked at his wriggling little legs. I put my thumb against his foot to measure the size of Owen's feet against his (Owen's foot was exactly the height of my thumb)...R.'s feet were not much bigger than Owen's, which again proves my theory that my child had some huge feet! 
As he grunted and cooed, my heart was sad but somehow lighter too. I know how this is going to sound, but it is such a burden to hate babies. I know you know what I mean.

We sat there together (I still can't hold babies) and I felt the reconciliation I have been longing for. Reconciliation with her living baby and my baby in Heaven. I felt reconciled with his cute button nose and chubby knees and my longing for precious Owen. 
It is okay to adore babies. While stroking his soft little feet, it is okay to have joy and sorrow; happiness and jealousy can abide side by side in my heart. I can still struggle with the jealousy, and I can smile a baby too. 


I am still 2ww-ing. Thanks again for praying.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I speak for myself

but sometimes I feel the burden of speaking for all of us.

I know grief is personal. It affects us all differently. It manifests itself in our lives in different ways and on a different timeline.

But sometimes, I feel like I must speak for all of us. 

I had a conversation today with someone who very much loves my husband and me and loves the Lord. He was only trying to comfort us (how many times has this ended badly?) and make us feel better (there is only One who can do this). 

I didn't respond at all. My eyes teared up and I struggled to keep myself calm as I prayed for the right words and for the Spirit to help this man understand. 
But, really, I know you just can't understand unless you've held your dead child in your arms and felt your heart break wide open.


So, I didn't say anything. It wasn't the right time. It wasn't the place.
I will speak to him though. I feel like it is my responsibility. I don't want to make him hurt the way his words (unintentionally) hurt me. I don't want to 'put him in his place.' I want him to see and understand as much as he is able. 

Studying and reading about grief is different from living with grief. The grief for a parent is different from the grief of a child. The grief you live with may be different from the grief I live with, but one thing remains constant-
we live with it.

We live with it for the rest of our lives and no amount of time will take it away. 

I think where people, for lack of a better phrase, 'get in trouble' with us (the grieving) is when they try to make us feel better. Put a positive spin on our tragedy and 'help' us see that things could be worse or rank tragedy/grief and make ours less than another's. 

I've had 20 months and 30 days to get used to my role as an educator and some days I don't like it at all. But it's something that I take very seriously. 
I would love for this role not to be necessary, but in God's providence He's given me experience and words and a love for Him that compels me to move forward with this.


I'd love for everyone to see and understand. 
It sucks! It sucks! It sucks for the rest of your life! 
But that doesn't mean that God doesn't love you or won't comfort you or has deserted you. He loves you deeply. He is the Great Comforter. He will never leave or forsake you. 
But that doesn't mean that grief won't be a constant in your life, shaking you when you think you have it all together, making you feel lost or misunderstood- grief points you to Jesus, to the only One who can comfort you and give you hope. It points to your desperate and growing need for Him.


"Needs are my best riches, for I have these supplied by Christ." Samuel Rutherford

And He loves us too.
 

_____________________________________________________________

I have been absent from the blogging word lately. I guess I haven't had much to say, until today.
And it seems today, I have A LOT to say. ;)

Please pray for me (and Chris too) as we are entering into the 2ww. I am feeling really emotional about everything this month. I have been constantly crying out to the Lord for help in trusting Him. I haven't decided whether or not I'll share the result of the 2ww on my blog right away. I may or I may not. If you're crazy with curiosity when the 2ww is over and you haven't heard from me, then please email me and just ask. I am happy to oblige. 

love you all and missed you terribly!



oh, my email address is ebe.mnly@gmail.com just in case...