- Today signified an end to our week at the beach. As we drove back towards home, we once again passed through the tunnel in Mobile. The children were all sleeping, and as we passed silently through the millions of tiny tiles, I was reminded of a book I read as a teenager. I retold the story to my spouse as we drove. It had stuck in my mind over the years, more so than other parts of the book, because I found the thought of it personally terrifying. In the story a worldwide epidemic broke out, killing the majority of population earth. As survivors, immune to the outbreak, began to emerge, the main character is found fleeing Manhattan. His only way to exit the island is through the Lincoln Tunnel. The tunnel is completely blocked by abandoned cars that had tried to flee the city, and also bodies, as dying people tried in vane to escape the sickness. The tunnel is roughly 8,000 feet long. To escape the island, in an attempt to find other survivors and rebuild a semblance of existence, he must make the journey through the tunnel, blind. It’s interior was pitch black and he had brought no flashlight in his haste. He made the entire trip through the tunnel, climbing over vehicles, bodies, and no telling what else, in total darkness, feeling his way along, but with no truly clear idea of what direction he was going in, or even if he was heading successfully towards the exit. The way the tunnel curves down before coming back up does not immediately allow a “light at the end of the tunnel” to be visible. The thought of traveling in absolute darkness, with no light to guide you, is beyond frightening to me.
- My husband and I usually keep each other awake on a long car ride by talking and telling stories to each other. In addition to the tunnel story from my book, he told me about a movie he watched at the theater this past week. I initially asked him about it just to get him talking, as I could see his eyes growing heavy, but once he got going, I was drawn into the plot-line. It was a movie about astronauts in space. A series of unfortunate events led to us finding the heroine in dire straights. She was disconnected from her space station and was sent hurdling through space. With no gravity, and nothing to tether her in place, she was on an out of control trajectory through a vast space. She was spinning and hurdling, and would continue this course unless something could grab hold of her and anchor her to safety and stability. With nothing in sight but endless black, she was in a panic. And I imagine I would be too.
- Both situations to me signified what life must be when you live outside of God’s presence. Even if you don’t acknowledge Him as the one true God, He still reigns. But I imagine a life completely without God would be just like hurdling through a vast, endless space, out of control, with nothing to keep you grounded. Hell must be like that, with no sound, spinning on and on pointlessly.
As we drove along on our journey home, the baby awoke from a long nap. Her car seat faces the back of the van’s seat, so when she woke, she could see no one. The car seat canopy was up and effectively blocked her view of her sister beside her. Both of the other girls were silently asleep, and even my husband and I had fallen silent at the time. When she awoke, feeling alone, she cried out in fear. I reached my hand back to her, over the side of her seat and placed it one her arm. She stopped crying immediately and began to laugh. All she needed was a presence, to know she wasn’t alone after all.
I often think of those who don’t know Jesus, or are unaccepting of God as their creator, and I imagine it must be so lonely, so empty feeling to not have anyone who is in control and keeps you tethered safely. I imagine it must be like making your way blindly, in complete darkness, just feeling around to find your way. Once you accept Jesus as your Savior and give God control, He fills you with a light to lead your way, and makes all your paths straight. There is no more spinning pointlessly or struggling to find your way on your own. You are never alone anymore. When you cry out in fear, His hand is there. He comforts you. Always and forever, keeping you from spinning out of control.
That is all 🙂
- The tide was really high today. A storm was in the forecast, and the dangerously powerful waves proceeded its arrival in a magnificent foreshadowing of force. I had the opportunity to take a walk by myself this morning, along the shore, allowing the high tide to wash upon my feet as I strolled across the wet sand. I absently scanned for seashells, but mostly was just enjoying the quiet, silent other than the sound of the crashing waves and occasional gull’s cry. I enjoyed this rare quiet time. It’s far and few in between with little ones afoot. As I walked I listened, not only to the surf, but to God’s voice around me, within me. I didn’t do much in way of prayerful petition, but rather I simply listened to what He might want to impress in this moment of absolute, glorious silence. I was frankly surprised when I felt like my Lord said to me, “I’m proud of you.” I wasn’t sure what special thing I had done of recent, and quickly pushed away the comment, but again I felt the Holy Spirit impress those words to me, “I’m proud of you.” I was not aware at the time how I might need those words throughout my day.
- Later, after returning from my seaside stroll, I kissed my husband goodbye as he left the condo with the other men for a guy’s day out (we ladies had already had our day). The women set about stuffing goody bags with candy, baking, and other tasks to fulfill plans for seasonal fun, simply because that’s what we women do. After some time of playing inside the children became restless. It was apparent that some time outside might do them well. My three year old had stopped running fever, and although she definitely wasn’t back up to par, I made the decision that some fresh air might do her good. As I was feeling able, I encouraged all the children (nine in all) to accompany me to the beach. In retrospect… I was a little too confident in my abilities, and less cognizant of my limitations. After arriving on the very windy beach, where children would be unable to swim, my baby let me know in her trademark style that she required a nap. She began to fuss, root around, and attempt to jump into the sand. My children feed off each other, so when my three year old saw her sister’s distress, she realized she too required my full attention. She requested water to drink which I had forgotten to bring. This revelation caused a complete meltdown of her already fragile state. Many tears and snot poured into the sand below, while the baby began to scream in earnest. I looked around at the other children, and noticed one was not present. Had she come down with us?! No one seemed to know, or seemed half as concerned as myself. I felt myself teetering on the edge of insanity as my children cried and my hair whipped into my mouth, while I bent to retrieve my cell phone from the sand below. An angry baby foot had kicked it there when I attempted to text the other moms for a head count amidst the absent girl issue. Sadly there’s no time-out for a momma, no matter how the Calgon commercial may beg for one. As I carried my screaming children back towards the condo, my sister-in-law came outside, as if beckoned to spell me by some physic, mommy connection. As I trudged up the steps, and the three year old refused to wash off her feet with indignant tears, I felt as if I might burst. I felt like the end of my rope was there. I was reminded of the high tide, and how if you stepped into the surf too deep, you would be pulled under. Life is like that a lot. It feels like if you take one more step, your feet will be lifted out from underneath you, and you’ll get carried away, never to return.
- In my moment of frustration, feeling like I wanted to scream at my children, and realizing with a wince that I had, I felt like a terrible mom. And I’m wanting to have more!? I thought. I felt like a “can’t hack it, failure,” as if I couldn’t handle even simple parenting on a mundane, routine issue. I felt terrible. Then I remembered God’s words. “I’m proud of you.” I thought back to my morning walk. I had been enthralled by His mighty power displayed in the awesome ocean waves. As I walked, though, my eyes had been drawn to the tiniest seashell sitting on the sand. It was beautiful in its delicate intricacies. I knew this tiny shell, as much as the huge waves, this minuscule shell, it was also His doing. I serve a God of details, who sees every single thing as precious and deserving of His mastery. Often times we can feel as if we don’t quite cut it. We can feel different, small, insignificant in the grand scheme of things, or in our actions, or even our inactions. I am reminded that no matter what I can do or can’t do, how I perform, or how I think I perform, God sees me, and He is proud. He forms my life in great detail, taking pleasure in me, and He is proud. No matter what I can do, or even what I can’t, He sees me, and He is proud. When I think I have failed, whether I have, or even if I haven’t, He sees me, and He is proud.
That is all 🙂
- As I stroke her fine blond hair, feeling her hot cheek as it rests upon my leg, I am overcome with the love I hold for her, and concern over her fever despite reason telling me it’s nothing major. I make slow circles on her bare back with my fingernails, feeling her rhythmic breathing rise and fall against my arm, and I am also reminded of a father’s love. In the van, returning from dinner, my spouse had whispered to me, “I just can’t be happy when she’s sick like this.” Our three year old succeeded long ago in wrapping a lasso around my husband’s heart. When she was just a tiny baby, they spent most of the day together. At that stage of her life he worked part time and I worked full time. Those two were thick as thieves, inseparable, two peas in a pod. Even now, she eagerly anticipates her daddy coming home from work, and when he does they stay up late together building forts, playing ball, and many other imagination games. The week prior to going on vacation, they set up a beige blanket in the living room floor and pretended they were going to the beach each night, playing volleyball and having picnics on the sand. After the baby was born, my three year old and her father became bosom buddies, and I often overhear her say to him, “You’re my best friend!”
- Late last night, my husband nudged me awake. As usual, our daughter had fallen asleep comforted in my arms, but had set-up her nightly residence burrowed into his side. It was with this close-quarters sleeping arrangement that he woke and noticed her skin radiating heat. He whispered to me across the bed, “I think she has a fever.” We got up together, moving and speaking silently since our vacation accommodations meant the baby held residence in our room as well. We worked together checking our sweet girl for a fever, making her comfortable, and giving some medicine for her symptoms and discomfort. After our finely tuned parental concert, he would offer to take our sweet, sick girl for the night, not wanting to contaminate the baby or me. I fell asleep in a king bed, all alone, thinking of my sick girl and her good daddy. I fell asleep eventually, but knew he would stay awake until her fever broke and he was certain she would be okay for the night. He is always protective, and selfless in his love for his little princess, the keeper of his heart.
- The night before I had watched those two walking hand in hand down the beach directly in front of me.
She and I had decided to take a walk down the beach together. We had a shovel and a bucket, and a mission to collect some fine shells. We made our way down the beach, stopping frequently, enjoying the scenery, and finding seaside treasures. At one point, I looked behind us and saw my sweet groom coming along to join us. He carried our baby daughter. Upon seeing me, the baby leaned towards me, calling for me with a gentle whine. On the other hand, our three year old eagerly asked her knight in shining armor to pick her up. “I’m tired of walking Daddy. I can’t walk anymore. Can you hold me?” He obliged quickly, managing to tote her and her treasure and excavation tools. As I watched him carrying her down the sandy beach I was reminded of our Heavenly Father. I enjoy seeing the character of Father God in my husband, watching God’s love manifest in how my spouse cares for our little girl. When we become weary and can go no further, our God carries us, often taking our baggage along. When we are low, or sick, He holds us, and cares for us in our time of need. He delights in us, seeing us as His little princess or prince, of whom he is very fond, and so in love. It’s easy sometimes to forget that God loves us this way. It’s difficult sometimes to imagine that someone so mighty can love someone so small, but He does, and so very much. We hold a special place in our Father’s heart, just as my little girl does with her earthly father here. We are all Daddy’s girls (or boys) whether we realize it or not.
That is all 🙂
- We had made the decision to drive through the night in our quest for vacation splendor. Traveling by night makes for easy travel in regards to traffic, but dangerous in regards to other sleepy drivers you encounter or dodging the plethora of deer who choose to graze on the shoulder of the highway (I seriously saw at least 40). After working a twelve hour shift at the hospital, then driving over seven hours on just a one hour cat nap, I was beyond exhausted when we arrived at our seaside destination at 4:30 this morning. The sound of the surf, and the smell of the salty air made it seem worth it, even if it was still too dark to go see the ocean (I considered going anyway, but one little 10 month old kept me from making the twilight trek). After settling into our rooms, we all fell asleep quite easily and soundly. As I got up from the chair at 5:15 this early morning to lay down the sleeping baby and then myself, I could hear the initial stirring of other family upstairs.
- The baby woke three hours later, unable to sleep through the excited stirring of children outside our room. It was just as well, and I got up easily enough, for I too was excited to see the ocean blue. The balcony called to me, and even before the coffee maker, I made its worn deck my first stop. My breath was taken from me as I stood elevated above the expanse of the sea before me. It was perfect in every way, the waves mesmerizing in their rhythmic motion. The sun glinted off the water and sparkled like a million diamonds just beyond my reach. I looked as far as my eye could see, but saw no end to the turquoise water. I began to cry silently, tears coursing down my face, nearly as salty as the rushing waves in front of me. With my baby daughter in one arm, I grabbed my three year old with the other. I pulled her close, and then pointed to the horizon. “Do you see?” I asked her. “Can you see where the ocean ends? You cannot. That is God’s love for us. Endless. Stretching mightily beyond what we can even see.”
- My body was weary today. It was a wonderful day, but I still felt my fatigue. My body’s reserves had reached their limit, and I came to a point in the late afternoon, as the baby finally succumbed to a nap, where I realized I needed rest. I had no more in me. I decided to lay in a lawn chair by the water’s edge to nap. There was a cool breeze that late in the day, but the sun warmed me, and the surf’s sound lulled me. I could feel His presence. Unlike my body, He is limitless. Like the ocean horizon I viewed, His love is endless. It goes on and on, pouring out for His people in all times, and especially in times of need. As a young woman confronted with the ability for human relationships to fall short or cease, I was very aware of the vastness and unconditional character of His love. I had experienced an earthly father withdraw his love from me, and also the cessation of spousal love from my first husband, but God is the lover of the rejected. He picks the broken-hearted from their ashes and gives them a crown. How great is His love. I was reminded today of its infinity and felt its weight upon me magnificently.
That is all 🙂
- Sometimes it’s something as simple as feeling the warmth of the sun’s rays on your skin. The day can be overcast and bitterly cold, but in that brief moment that the sun makes an appearance through the dark clouds, and rests its beam on your face, you can close your eyes, basking in its glory, and feel a little piece of Heaven here on earth. The glory of God, His Holy Spirit can settle on you unexpectedly just like that, bringing peace without explanation, but simply because it’s there.
- Her mom was doing okay, she was stable anyway, but definitely a decline from the last time I had seen them. I had seen this same patient three weekends in a row, for various reasons, and always in a different location in the hospital. Last weekend she had looked better, even smiled at me, so I was saddened to see she had been moved to the critical care unit. Despite obviously feeling unwell, and being in residence in the unit, she seemed “stable.” That’s always a loose term in critical care and can change in a moment. Usually after you have updated a family member via phone of a continued stable condition, as I had in this instance, it will change shortly after hanging up the receiver. She changed quickly and it was indeed a turn for the worse, bringing a hoard of staff into the room quickly (which is never a good sign). When the poor lady was thankfully stabilized once again, the family was updated and brought back to visit. Seeing their mom in a state different from the one in which they left, there were naturally a lot of questions. Answering questions, even when you know the majority of the answers, is never easy because you will never know them all. You can hypothesize intelligently, but you may never know the answer to the ever elusive “why.” This was no different. They needed more answers. They needed to understand why it happened and give something specific the blame for the decline. I can understand that, even if I can’t answer as I would want to. Sometimes there isn’t an answer, no matter how hard you grab for one.
- Anyone with a child can tell you that is true. Children are famous for questions, and especially ones that start with why. My own three year old asked questions last night for the entire two hour car ride home. We laid out the plan for the road trip and which coarse we would take, but she wanted to know every detail, and a contingent plan if ______ happened (even when we explained that it would not). Medical professions like myself often need the answers to things, specifics as to why something has occurred. My baby had a fever today, but no symptoms of infection. Why? I wanted to know. It went away, and if she’s like her sister at the same age, it may likely not return. I may never know what caused it, and a part of me will cringe with the dissatisfaction of not knowing. I have a dear friend who is very analytical. I watch him study things, with a scientific approach. He wants evidence and solid data that proves something to be what it claims to be. This often causes him to be distrustful of others, and unable to simply enjoy something for what it is rather than having to prove that it is. I see this in religion too, maybe too much. I do believe in discernment and testing of the spirits. I personally rely on that a lot. But asking the Holy Spirit to help you discern the root and basis of an issue may need to come before exhaustive research of quantifiable data. I think you can test things against the Bible for sure. If it contradicts God’s word then naturally there’s a problem. I think researching what others have discovered in their own studies is a good tool also. But never forget the first line of defense which is praying and asking for God’s guidance and discernment in the matter. Don’t become consumed with proving a theory incorrect because you don’t see rock solid evidence. Sometimes the answer isn’t easy to find, and you may not know for sure until you stand before Jesus himself. We unintentionally separate ourselves from other believers when we’re so busy trying to prove that we’re absolutely right. We lose out on the joy of fellowship, and the joy of spending time simply believing. Sometimes, when God’s word says it is so, you just have to belief and accept that you might not fully know the answer to all the why questions. It’s faith, remember? I was reading this today and thought, I definitely don’t want to be like that!
25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
An inquiring mind is a good thing, but when you keep asking to know “why” rather than to know Him, you may find yourself consumed with getting answers and selling yourself short on just enjoying the sun on your face.
That is all 🙂
- When I think back on it, I just shake my head. I am a little amazed at my twenty year old self, as I’m sure a lot of you are in your own reflections of youth. Actually there’s probably a lot of things, too many really, that could cause me to shake my head in disbelief over my twenties, but this post in particular is relating to my experiences free climbing. When I was twenty years old I lived in Barbados, a small Caribbean island. I was there attending a school for missionaries, but honestly adored the surrounding setting of my campus life. I frequently would awake before dawn, jog to the ocean, and spend my quiet time on top of a cliff, watching the sunrise and praying. There happened to be a lot of cliffs bordering the island, and a classmate and I used to spend our free time hiking, swimming, and cliff-jumping. She had a friend who had died from jumping into the ocean off of a cliff, but though she shared this with me, it never hampered her own drops into the salty drink, nor did it mine. As we spent more time scaling the cliffs, and in turn became more adept at it, we also gained confidence, bravery, and a thirst for adventurous risk. I can still remember the adrenaline coursing through my veins as I pulled my body up the side of a high cliff, while the cords stood out on my neck, and my upper arms supported and held the weight of the rest of my body. I remember hanging there, my hands dug into a crevice, holding tight, and my body dangling off the ground, so high, and so far to drop to the hard, wet sand below. I remember realizing that I had no choice but to pull my body weight up to the shelf of rock above me, for there was no going back, only forward. What I remember most, though, was that I was not afraid. I felt excitement definitely, but not fear. I somehow lifted my sweaty body onto the lip of the cliff, looked down briefly, and turned back upward, continuing my climb until my friend and I reached the top, greeting each other with huge smiles and high fives.
- I think back sometimes to moments like that and I wonder for a moment, where did that girl go. As a child I was always in a tree, always at the very tip top. I loved the roller coaster, especially the ones that went upside down. I played miles deep in the woods, with no concern for the wild animals I knew that were there, watching me silently. I know that as you get older, it just somehow changes. You stop taking the chances, and only take a risk if it’s highly calculated. You develop a healthy fear of keeping yourself safe. I suppose it’s good that you lose the carefree, cavalier attitude. I didn’t really mind until it began to affect me negatively. Especially after having my first child, I realized that I had developed fear for things where no fear had previously existed. A perfect example was my career. I am a nurse, and have been in the medical field for approximately fifteen years. In the Navy I saw a lot of things I would rather forget concerning the medevac of soldiers from Afghanistan, but those images didn’t frighten me. After I became a RN, I gravitated towards critical care. While it was fast paced and serious work, it never caused me fear. I came to a point a couple of years ago where I realized I was having fear at work. It had come suddenly it seemed. I had taken a break from critical care nursing, trying other faucets of the field, and had returned to it after a three year furlough. A terrible thing happened when I found myself back in the uncertain action: I was terrified! Try as I might, I couldn’t shake my fear. It is like riding a bike, and it did all come back to me quickly, but I couldn’t relax. I was worried I would make a mistake, do something wrong, and hurt somebody. Little occurrences, (well little for a critical care setting), would occur, and I would feel my heart rate accelerate, and my bowels feel like they were threatening to loosen. It’s embarrassing really. Most critical care and emergency room nurses love that adrenaline rush, and I had been one of them. I couldn’t understand what had happened, what had changed about me. I was a nervous wreck, like a cat with my hair standing on end, waiting for the ball to drop so I could jump out of my skin. And I was miserable! I’m too old for this! I thought. I just can’t do this anymore! I found myself in a awful position. I wasn’t happy with what I was doing, but I wasn’t sure what else I could do. I didn’t want to bolt, and in essence go from the frying pan into boiling water. So, I stayed put. I dug my fingers in, and I prayed. I prayed and I prayed. I didn’t like being afraid. It made me feel helpless. I didn’t know what to do about my fear, how I could make it go away. So, I just kept praying. Every day.
- I can’t pinpoint a specific day that things changed. I just realized one day that they had. I stood in the shower one morning getting ready for a day at work, and my realization gave me pause. I stood there in the hot spray and realized I wasn’t afraid. I had spent so many mornings just like that one praying for God to go before me and make the way. So many mornings I had proclaimed scriptures out loud as I got ready, stating them as truths in my life, and using them as armor to ward off the fear that threatened to overcome me. Really, it was fear of the unknown I think. In critical care so many unknown things can occur. For some reason, though that had never bothered me in the past, it had become an issue. As I realized that there is no unknown to God, the fear could dissipate. As I believed that He would take care of me, the fear lessened. As I began to truly trust that He had my best interests in mind and would effectively direct my hands and thoughts, fear left me. I could perform my work, in the area God had placed me, and perform it confidently without fear of failure. He had essentially freed me from a fear I thought was overwhelming.
I read this verse this morning, and it just resonated throughout my spirit.
26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
It is so true. I serve a King who can say to the raging ocean, “Stop,” and the waves heed His command. How can I have fear when I serve a God like that? How can I have fear when I am in a relationship with a Savior who commands the wind to cease its blowing gale? Being in communion with my Heavenly Father is a relationship journey, where I continue to climb to higher heights. Like my cliff climbing days of my twenties, I can’t go back, for I must go forward. I must press onward and upward to the reward at the top. The difference this time around, though, is that I don’t carry my weight alone. I’m not free climbing now. I am being carried.
I have blogged on fear before. It’s relevant and worth repeating the subject, for it’s a weighty issue. But I don’t think it has to be. It doesn’t have to be as big of a problem as we allow. I’m enjoying my journey to the complete shedding of fear. I pray you will join me. There is no fear in Him.
That is all 🙂
- In case you were wondering, it’s not that I simply get a wild hair to pull skeletons out of the closet for sheer entertainment value. No, that’s not it. I usually feel compelled to share something, even ugly, embarrassing things, because I need to put them down. I need the story to be told so maybe, just maybe, someone can benefit. This particular post today has details that my mother gave me permission to share, freedom to share in the event that it might help someone else, and save them from a fate similar to hers.
Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I have many friends and family members who have experienced the detrimental loss of a baby. I cannot, nor will I try, to imagine the ramifications of such a loss on a mommy’s heart. I am witness to the strength and resolve of these beautiful, strong women, who while grieving the loss of their infant, are able to stoically care for their other children, or continue their quest for the gift of motherhood however God wishes to bestow it, or love and support their husbands, or simply smile a genuine smile at the other women around them. For some reason on this day, when I am unable to relate to the personal loss of a baby, yet sympathize fully, I was reminded of my brother. You see, I have a handsome, strong brother here on earth, but I also have a brother I have never met, who sits in the lap of Jesus. While today is a day to remember infants lost by miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, and other causes, I was reminded of my mother and the many, too many, women just like her.
- I remember as a young teenager waking in the middle of the night. As I came back from the bathroom, I swore I could hear crying. It was slightly muffled, but I knew it was sobbing, yet it was more than that. It sounded heart wrenching. As I made my way into the living room, I found my mother there, her hands to her face, hidden behind a sheet of raw tears. It is a night I won’t forget, for it is the night she opened her heart to me, admitting a terrible secret in her own eyes, one she had kept buried for so long. She told me that when I was still very small she had gotten pregnant a second time. What should have been a joyous occasion was smothered by the reality of an absent father. My biological father had disappeared from the picture taking any accrued savings with him, and leaving her in debt with a three year old. She told me of trying to obtain government assistance, but being told she would need to quit her job and medical school and apply for welfare to be eligible for the assistance she desired. Feeling unable to do these things, or place her existing daughter in such circumstances, she made a decision. She felt up against the wall with no where to go, and no one to turn to for assistance. She made the decision, and she followed through with it. She had an abortion. Years later, as she told me her secret, the hurt she felt had not lessened with time, but had actually intensified. She admitted that every time she saw her then toddler son, she grieved for the son she had given up, and allowed to die. Her action had followed her, and tore at her on a daily basis. It even affected me. While it wasn’t her intention, her admission made me feel partially responsible, as if a baby had died so that I could live a better life.
- As I grew older and eventually learned of the power of Christ’s forgiveness, I wished this for my mom. I had watched her suffer the backlash of self-hatred and condemnation over her decision to abort for far too long. I discussed it with my pastor’s wife, and they gave me a book by Frank Peretti titled Tilly. I recall my mother was initially angered at me sharing her buried secret. But she read the book anyway. It didn’t magically transform her from a woman who hated herself to a joyous mom after she closed its pages, but it was a start. Over the next decade God would reveal to her that she could be forgiven. I know over time she received some peace over the horrible situation, but she was never completely healed. She once told me, “I know He forgave me, but I can’t forgive myself.” My mother lived with the regret of abortion until the day she died.
There are so many women who deal with this same loss. They are unaware of the truth and ramifications involved. They are lied to about the procedure, and how it will follow them always. You end up left with a baby gone, never able to live the life intended by God, and a shell of a woman remains, constantly weighted down by a grief that is difficult if not impossible to be healed from. I suppose if anyone could heal the wounds of abortion, it would be my Jesus, but such a sad state it is for all involved.
Today we remember children lost to this world, children who sit at the feet of Jesus now. I attended a remembrance ceremony and I was humbled before God, feeling so unworthy and incredibly blessed that I have not experienced loss personally. My heart broke for these mothers who have suffered, and I still can’t fathom such pain. While my heart, thoughts, and prayers are with those sweet women, I think of all women who have suffered the loss of a child, sadly, even if it was their own decision. It’s hard to think of abortion on a day like today, but I believe we should remember them all. May we not forget the ones who leave this world at the regrettable decision of their mother. May we also not forget the mothers who felt it necessary to make that kind of decision. I can promise you that they regret it every day. I can only pray that God can heal their hearts as He heals the hearts of mother’s whose children leave this world without their consent, but simply because the Father calls them home.
I would pray that women could see the truth of abortion and the lasting impact it will have on so many.
I will include a link to purchase the book Tilly for anyone who knows someone who might need it. I also found my mother’s copy and would love to share it with anyone who needs to read it. If you think sharing this post may help someone out there, then you have my blessing to share away. If anyone can be helped, or harm can be prevented by any word I write, then I smile, and I know my mom would smile too.
Buy Tilly here.
That is all
- I have this terrible habit of misplacing things. I will pick up the nail clippers, with it completely in my head that I’m finally going to trim my nails now that I have a minute. Then I think, “Well, I’ll need the file too. Can’t have jagged edges.” I set off in search of my nail file. “I know it’s in this kitchen somewhere!” (Isn’t that where everyone keeps their nail file?) While in the kitchen, I see the creamer is still out on the counter. I pick up the bottle to place it in the refrigerator. While the refrigerator is open, I notice the cooler bag of my breast milk on the top shelf. Realizing I need to bag it up and freeze it before I forget again, I grab the cooler pack quickly. Not wanting to leave the dirty bottles to have remnants of milk dry inside, I decide to put them in the dishwasher immediately. When I open the dishwasher, I notice it’s full of clean dishes. I have to empty it before I can put the dirty bottles in there. So I put dishes away. Now that the dishwasher is empty, I might as well finish cleaning the kitchen. If I do it now, I won’t have to later. Halfway through rinsing plates, the baby wakes from her nap and starts to cry. I dry off my hands, and rush off to scoop her from her crib before her cries wake her two year old sister from her own nap. The baby is hungry, and I settle into the rocker to feed her. After she’s fed, I realize I better start thawing chicken for dinner. So glad I already cleaned out the sink! The two year old enters the room, and I decide to go ahead and fix her dinner. While she eats, I cut some potatoes to put in the oven. After I put the seasoned and foiled potato cubes in the oven, I figure I better give the two year old her bath. I hate waiting to the last minute, plus she’s got macaroni all over her face. I go ahead and bathe the baby too. Just as I’m putting pajamas on the kiddos, and putting the completed dinner on “warm,” my husband walks in the door. After too brief of a visit, the baby starts to whine and rub her eyes. It’s bedtime. As I rock my bundle to sleep, I stroke her little head. As I finger her tiny curl, I notice my finger nails. I really need to trim them! But where in the world are the nail clippers?!
- Sometimes the day can get so hectic, it’s insane. In the middle of all the busy chaos, you lose something. As you hustle and bustle, back and forth, here and there, you misplace your joy. You can’t see it anywhere. All you see is a huge “to-do” list that has yet to have a single thing crossed off of it. You don’t have peace, you have frantic tasks to complete. You don’t see joy, you see discontentment. You almost find your joy when you finally get that disgusting floor mopped, but then the crawling baby throw-ups and decides to finger paint with it, on your clean floor. Sometimes you can’t find your joy because your life in no way resembles what it once was. Once meticulous about everything, you watch in horror as the baby pulls out strictly alphabetized DVDs off the shelf, upsetting the ABC order. In the back of your mind, you may realize a beautifully categorized home isn’t true joy anyway. Simple annoyances may steal your joy into hiding. Like, why does egg always stick to the pan after being washed, like the dishwasher only cements it into place? Even present day conveniences seem intent on sneaking away with your joy. Why do they jump on the bed when it’s made? Why does the husband seem determined to squirrel away balled up, dirty socks throughout the house? Why does the phone ring when babies sleep?
- I’m of the opinion that we can find our joy. It’s there to be found. It’s simply a matter of perception. How do you see the chaos, turmoil, or busyness that works so hard to shield your joy from your sight? I think we can make a pledge to find our joy, to see it shine through every situation. Earlier today, the two year old wanted to swim, but I wouldn’t let her. I couldn’t watch her at the time, and told her to play in the sprinkler instead. She commented, later, about the sprinkler, “I don’t like it, but when I’m in it, I love it!” The sprinkler wasn’t her first choice, she wasn’t even particularly fond of it, but loved it in the midst of the spray. Do you hate your job? Sometimes people will say, “at least you have a job!” That comment may not always bring you the joy. Instead, look at it this way. God has you there for a reason right now. I once was forced to take a 4 hour break during the day at work (in the restaurant business) because it was slow. I had a bill due and really wanted my hours. I wasn’t happy, but spent my break at a park by the river. While there, I came across a girl and struck up a conversation after the Lord’s urging. It so happens that she was intent on jumping over a rail onto the rocks below, along the river that day. I came along right when she needed someone to talk to. You never know when or where God can use you. But He can’t use you if you’re too busy grumbling. Find your joy as you wait on His leading. See each situation as the joy it truly is. When you’re trudging through the house with clothes in your hand to put on your child after they peed on the first set, and you find them outside standing on a upside down tricycle, with a plastic golf club in their hand, naked as the day they were born, smile. That’s joy in disguise. When there’s a cup of water spilled on the floor, wipe it up, and you can feel accomplished saying you mopped today. That’s joy in hiding. Don’t let the enemy steal your joy. Hold it tightly, and don’t let it out of your sight. A wonderful thing happens as you view each moment with joy. You realize that it truly is joyful, even the moments you didn’t think you could count as such.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
So, if you can get past the rush, the schedules, the frustrations, the inconveniences, the disappointments, and find your joy, you won’t regret it. As you view your life with joy and see the gifts, you will discover you are indeed blessed, and open the floodgates for more of Him.
And, if you were wondering, the nail clippers were in the refrigerator beside the creamer.
That is all 🙂
- Today my two year old and I went out to the swimming pool in our backyard. We haven’t been out there in a while with the rain and cooler weather. It’s only been about a week since we last swam, but it seems that was enough time for the water to get cloudy. Sometime in this past week of idle use, it was neglected that the filter system was not working properly. The chlorine I had loaded in the filter was not being disseminated into the water, and therefore a stagnate mess awaited us. I glimpsed pieces of “I don’t know what,” algae maybe, floating in the water. After tinkering with the pump, and hopefully fixing it, I realized I needed to get in the water with the net and get busy cleaning it if we were going to be able to use it for the remainder of the summer. I also decided, that while I was getting in, there was no way I’d let Chloe get inside. This left a little girl in her swim suit standing on the sidelines, and very disappointed. It was at this point that I recalled the incredibly, nasty pond behind our house that I swam in as a child. It was a glorified mud hole really, originally dug by my grandpa for his cows to drink out of on a hot day. I smirked a bit at my protectiveness for my baby. I also winced.
- It occurs to me often, that what I have in mind for my children is different from the life I lived or even how I was raised. This is to say nothing negatively about my upbringing. I was indeed loved immensely, and can find no fault in that blessing. I think if we’re all honest, though, we’ll admit there are a few things, at least, that we plan on doing differently with our children. If this hasn’t occurred to you, then perhaps it should. Raising future generations is a mighty task. I am confronted with a world that is far different from the one I grew up in. Technology is just a scratch on the surface of how things have progressed. Ideals that once held importance, have taken a back burner on the stove top of life’s agenda. I see small children being taught that the brand of their clothing is far more important than remembering to say “yes ma’am”. I personally had a teacher that only responded to “yes ma’am” and if we neglected to use it, a wood paddle would find our behinds. I’m amazed that a seven year old has to be disappointed when they can’t have a closet full of Under Armour shirts. I am guilty of passing my child my phone to play with before taking her outside. Are you? What of chores? And I’m not talking about “clean your room or no allowance!” I’m talking about teaching responsibility, like, “if you want to be able to play, you have to feed the dog and do the dishes first.”
- My oldest child is only two, and I’m a little concerned. I don’t know all the answers. I’m just trying to figure out what happened. I can’t understand why I look at the world around me, and it seems to be falling apart. I actually cried today when I saw stories of my tax dollars funding the murder of innocent babies. I can’t understand why people can’t find employment, but we keep making programs to satisfy the jobless and keep them appeased. If you didn’t have assistance, would you try harder to find something? I’m just taking a shot in the dark here. Why are we not praying at school, but shooting in them? Since when is it common place to take the Lord’s name in vain on regular television that my kids can walk in on, but the same kid could get suspended from school for using any term that might offend someone’s sexual gender preference. What is going on when my small home town experiences a rape and shooting in a week’s time? Today I had to put a baby gate up to prevent my 8 month old from crawling into her sister’s room. It’s dangerous in there for a baby who puts everything in her mouth. The thing is, I can’t put up a gate from the world. It’s dangerous out there folks, and our kids are going to want to figuratively “put everything in their mouth.” It comes down to you and me, trying our best to raise up that next generation, but is our hardest even good enough? We can’t do it alone. It’s gotta be Christ-centered parenting, or we will fail. I’ll say that again. WE WILL FAIL. Today I cried to God, “Please forgive us Lord. Deliver us from evil. There’s still good folks here who love your ways!” A good friend told me earlier, “I think God will protect those who follow Him, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be without struggle in a Nation that has turned its back on Him.” I believe she’s right, and I take comfort in knowing He will protect my family as we follow Him. I can only pray for this Nation. Well, that, and prepare the next generation. How grand it would be to raise prayer warriors, Godly men and women, ready and eager to do battle for God’s will. How wonderful to raise a generation that will bring revival to our land. I cannot keep my child out of the murky water forever. She will eventually venture into the depths. My prayer is that I’ve helped prepare her, and her siblings, for the dangers seen and unseen, so they may hold firm in Jesus and emerge from this world victorious, and having left it better than when they came.
That is all 🙂
- In the midst of a parental moment of frustration God humbled me. It’s like God affectionately said, “Whatcha talkin bout Willis?” It’s been coming for a while, but cumulated with the nighttime rush. Sometimes it seems like the bedtime routine is the equivalent of having your toenails removed one by one or sliding down a bannister made of razor blades into a wading pool of lemon juice. Painful, right? The moment I lay the baby flat on the changing table to put her sleeper on, she screams like I am breaking her tiny bones. She equates bath, lotion, and footsie pajama application with going to sleep. In my house of insomniac wannabes, this is simply torturous. The two year old loves a bath in the morning, but suggest one at night, and I might as well be suggesting we cover our feet with lighter fluid and put them near a flame. I’ve tried to explain that bath and pajamas doesn’t mean you have to go to bed yet! Here’s what she hears of that sentence: bed. So, needless to say, it’s painful. Why is it when the going gets tough, the tough gets going in my mind?
- I realize that I’ve been performing this weekly game of dread for some time now. I truly enjoy my time off with my children. Truth be told, I love it. If it were up to me, I would do nothing but take care of my kiddos and husband. Well, I’d probably write too. That seems to have found a place in my heart. But being a Mommy is where my heart thrives right now. For some reason, I began to dread the coming days when I would work. On a Wednesday, I would think, “It’s getting closer. It’s almost time.” It got so bad, that I was missing out on the joy of the moment. I was so busy dreading the future that I was unable to enjoy the now. I was fretting like a child, dreading my bedtime. I was so busy on my countdown of doom, that I couldn’t live my blog title. I was a hypocrite. I wasn’t “savoring the essence of life”. I was smothering the essence out of my life.
- So, why do we do this? Why do we inadvertently wish away the present while we’re dreading the future? Are you guilty of being unable to fully engage with your family on Sunday evening because your thoughts are on Monday morning? What about trying to rush through a block of time, longing for something better? I’ve known a couple of Moms lately who wished the summer away for some peace and quiet, but missed their babies an hour after they were out the door. Or do you rush through work, wishing the work week away? Maybe God has you there for a reason. I remember once as a kid we were on a family outing. I didn’t get my way about something. It was so mundane that I can’t even recall the specifics now. What I do know was that I pouted the rest of the day. There’s a picture that immortalized it for all time. My cousin and siblings are all grinning at the camera, but I’m looking down in imagined anguish. So what does my present attitude look like? Is my dread and unhappiness with the moment being forever remembered in the photo that is my child’s memory? What am I teaching them about perseverance, joy, and faith? How can I expect them to trust God in all circumstances and treasure each moment He gives, if I’m looking down in imagined anguish? I have heard a story about my Mom when she was a girl. Her and her sister would receive lollipops for a special treat. My Aunt would eat her lollipop quickly, worrying that her little sister would want a bite. My Mom would have no concern for anything other than her own treat. She would slowly lick, lick, lick, enjoying each prolonged flavor with no worry over how long the sucker would last or when she might get another. Guess who ended up the happiest? I guess sometimes it comes down to worry and anxiety. You’re unhappy with the way things are. You’ve prayed about it, so why hasn’t a resolution come yet? All you see is the unsatisfactory situation. You become anxious and discontent in the current circumstance. You worry what will come next, rather than embracing what’s right in front of you.
Matthew 6:28 (AMP)
And why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field and learn thoroughly how they grow; they neither toil nor spin.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.
I want to love the now, even the hard parts. I want to go to bed when I’m supposed to, without complaint. I don’t want my picture taken with a scowl on my face. I don’t want to toil and spin. I want to believe there’s a time for everything and a season for every activity. I don’t want to miss the joy because I’m weighted down by uncertainty. I want to lick and lick and lick, enjoying every flavor available for my palate.
That is all 🙂