Saturday, April 27, 2013

"Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?"

Note: This post is heavy on God's Word today. He has so many better things to say than I do, so I've been soaking it up this week. Hope it encourages someone else out there.
Tough question, Job. Very tough question. One I've been wrestling with for over a week now as I've watched very close friends grieve.

A verse that kept coming to my mind was Isaiah 42:2.

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall now overwhelm you..."

It rained a lot last week, which can alter my mood any day, but specifically on the days when all I seem to do is question. I had coffee with a friend this week, and afterwards she reminded me of a poem I wrote a while ago.

The First Rain: 40 Days of Grieving 

Caused by sounds, screams,
Others out there,
With their deaf hearts and ears,
Their living breath almost gone,
And you, in here.  

Trust, it is His reign. 

Precipitation, pounding, drowning,
Punishment upon punishment.
Shouts distance, fade
Judgment has won
Yet doubt appears:
Is justice this mysterious? 

Trust, it is His reign.
*Written spring of 2012

As you can see, there was lots of water on my mind this last week. Thank God for the warmth and sunshine we've had the last few days, especially today. When my daisy sprouted this week, it reminded me of Isaiah again, and then something else...

Not only does it take sunlight for growth in plants, but it takes lots and lots of water. The directions for these window plants actually say, "water generously." Wow. Do we think God is being generous to us when He allows the rainwaters to fall in our life, to the point where we feel like we're drowning in rivers of injustice? Do we trust He is reigning when He brings tumultuous downpour?

Then I read this passage this morning from Psalm 43:3-5:

"Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, o God, my God.

Why are you downcast, o my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God."

The note I sprawled in the margin beside this passage in my Bible was as follows:

"God can take our dark questions about life. He isn't scared of them. His response is sending out His light and truth to lead us in the darkness."

I can say I've seen God's Word truly lead my friends through darkness this week. God is the best leader ever. That's weird for me even to write now or think about, but it's true. He has the best strategy anyone could have as a leader: sending light and truth to us in our darkness. He sent Jesus. He sends His Holy Spirit. He uses His Word to guide us through fear.

God is SO big and powerful that He doesn't fear us questioning Him. He allows the rainwaters, rivers, and darkness to consume us, so He can lead us in His marvelous light, proving He alond is sufficient. It is a lie Satan wants us to believe when we think, out of not wanting to hurt God's feelings or whatever, we can't go to God with our deepest questions and doubts. Satan wants to stop open communication and block a venue for God to be able to prove Himself faithful to us. Don't let that happen. Be truthful with God so He can lead you in His truth.

Anyways, there are all of my ramblings and thoughts I just know you've been missing for the last week. ;) I'm praying God speaks to you somehow through it. Thanks for letting me share, readers!


Sunday, April 21, 2013

This baby's daddy.

I'm thankful for this baby's daddy.

And all the other godly daddies he gets to grow up around.

I'm thankful for these men who God has placed in my son's life already because they all know Jesus is the only thing we have to hold on to in this life. He is all we need. And because of that, I am fully confident my son will be equipped with everything he needs to grow up into a man of true masculinity, a man who is fully reliant on Christ.

"So, does this thing come with directions?" he says as he pulls the carseat out of the box.

"I don't know. I've never done this before."

"I figured you just know everything about babies."

Little does he know...;)

God can't give us moms everything there is to know about His kids He gives us to raise, or else we'd never have to rely on Him. What a scary place that would be. I've felt the fear and weight of giving birth and having a family this week in a very real and close to home way. But I also know the only safe place to quench that fear is at the feet of Jesus.

I'm thankful my husband, and the men in the body of Christ we have been placed in, know this same secret. They don't fear looking weak when placing their only true hope in Jesus. They trust, walk in truth by the Holy Spirit, and experience God's promises come to life. Those are the marks of a true man, and I'm praying these things for my little boy.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thank you!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you everyone who made it out to to the shower to celebrate our little baby boy with us! B and I truly were overwhelmbed by all the generosity, support, love, and kindness shown to us and the little guy that's about to arrive. It was comforting to see the support system we really do have, but often forget about in moments of stress.

I have a few pictures to share, but there were so many people who attended (40 plus people?) that I didn't get to snap too many.

The shower was book themed (how appropriate) so we could build a library for our baby boy. These cupcakes with the white cream on top are my favorite from Peddlers. I still can't remember what their actual name is, but they taste just like a pancake covered in syrup!! Since that was a major craving for me during this pregnancy they were just perfect! :) 

These fruit leather book were very yummy! (Thanks to my mother-in-law who patiently made the fun treats!!)

I found these tags to stick in the book on this blog. I just loved the animals. B used his photo editing skills and changed them up a bit to fit the occasion.

It's been over a week now since the shower and the debris from baby onesies, tissue paper, baby bottles, nursing clothes, and so many other generous gifts has finally settled. I honestly didn't think it ever would. haha My mom and dad were in town for the weekend of the shower and part of last week, so with them being here, me working, my house looking like a baby actually lives here, and my computer having a virus, I've been late in posting about the shower. There's so much to say about it, so I'll just blurt it all out there. :)

I wanted B there with me. I think I've talked about this before, but I went to a baby shower before we were married (the first baby shower I think I had ever been to) and the mom opened up all the cute gifts and was so very excited for this little person in her womb, but her hubby wasn't there to share in that with her. Now I know it's totally normal for guys to not go to showers, and I know why, but I just really wanted B to share in all the excitement with me. He was also a HUGE help to me physically, helping move gifts around, carrying bigger gifts out, keeping water and chapstick close by. Anyways, so there was that.

Also, we both felt so loved when we saw how many people showed up. That was also very overwhelming (just a warning for any peeps out there about to have big showers). Overwhelming in a good way I guess. It just all really sunk in for me that night, especially when my mom and her friend helped us bring everything home, and I couldn't see the floor of the living room or the baby's room anymore because it was now covered in gifts bags and tissue paper. Ha! I honestly wanted to climb in bed and think about anything except baby after that. It was a huge reality check for both of us. The shower was so much more surreal for me than I ever thought it would be. Literally, I felt like I was floating around outside of my body, watching the pregnant blonde lady sitting on the floor (since that was the only comfortable position to sit in), sweating while she opened gift after gift. Now that I've had a week to organize I don't feel overwhelmed. All my thank yous are written, we have everthing we NEED before this baby is born (thanks mom and dad for grabbing our last big need for us- the carseat!), and I'm ok with the reality that this house is never going to be spotless before we bring this little boy home because I have NO CLUE when we're bringing him home. haha

All that randomness aside, I'll have to share more pictures of the cute baby gifts later! But again, a big thank you to everyone who attended, helped prepare for, and traveled out to love on our little bambino!


Monday, April 15, 2013

In response to the Boston bombing: What am I called to do?

There are two things I know God has not given me a mind for: money and politics.

It truly is embarrassing how little I know about politics, especially coming from a military family. Terrorism and war have always been close to home, literally. We were stationed in D.C. when September 11th happened. We had friends die at the Pentagon. My dad has been deployed a couple of times. I can remember being curled up in a warm blanket in the back of one of my parent's friend's trucks on the flight line in New Mexico as we watched the stealths take off for the mission that would result in the first bomb being dropped on Saddam Hussein's palace. My friend's dad was the pilot who dropped the bomb. At one point, the flag that flew on that mission with the pilots was actually in my dad's possession.

I say that so you know I'm not disconnecting myself from everything that happened today. As I write this and process what I feel called to do in this time I feel I need to inform myself with God's word in light of the perspectives I grew up with. Since I really don't grasp politics like many around me do, I fall back on the one truth I can stand on.

First off, we've all seen the many comments about today. They're the same things people say when any tragedy happens. "The world is so screwed up." "People are evil." "Why are people so broken?" "Where is God? And why does He let this stuff happen?"

I am in no way about to tackle that huge topic of God being in control over all things and why the problem of evil exists (because that's another thing God hasn't really given me a mind for...philosophy. If you want details on that stuff, you should have coffee with my hubby. He gets it much better than I do.) I do want to share the verse God put on my heart as soon as I logged on to Facebook this afternoon and saw all the comments.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalms 34:18

The Lord is close...He is near. He saves the crushed.

These are two things everyone needs to remember today. I sometimes wonder if days like today are when we allow God nearest to us as a country.

It was a very unusual train of thought for me to have, but after posting that verse my thoughts immediately turned towards the President and all the stress he's probably under today. I felt a heavy burden for him and prayed for him.

And here's where I may get a little controversial.

I took this note down in my commonplace this year on the 21st of January, the day of the inauguration.

"Thinking of King Darius and Artaxerxes in Ezra and today's inauguration makes me wonder what would happen if we really prayed for our President and government leaders like we're called to. Would they want and support, even provide for our religious freedoms and practices like they did in the book of Ezra? True, I have no faith in the President apart from God, who turns the hearts of kings..."

These thoughts quickly returned to me again today as I realized the President will probably get tons of flack over the next few weeks and months about any decisions made regarding today. Any President is in the spotlight for these sort of critiques, not just the current one. I can't even begin to imagine being in the place where I have an entire country to steward. So, what am I called to do in light of today's events, evil in this country and world, and a President and government leadership that I may or may not agree with?

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings (presidents) and all who are in high positions..." 1 Timothy 2:1&2

Maybe I'm dumb, but it's that simple for me. I don't have to pick a political side to support to do this. I'm just called to pray and be thankful for the leadership God has placed over me in this country. Is that a challenge for you? It is for me. Be thankful? What does that even look like? I have no clue, but God calls me to it, so I believe He will show me what that looks like. The first thing I want to do is cast judgment, which is the exact opposite of what God calls us to do (Matthew 7:1). Vengeance and judgment belong to the Lord alone (Romans 12:19). But do I believe this enough to humbly lay down my political beliefs and trade them in for the belief that God has called me to pray for my leaders?

If you're feeling like that is sooooo not going to happen, ask God for help. He's calling you to it. He can provide for you to do it. Pray for the President and all his decision making teams as well as the government in Boston and Massachusetts and all the other government leaders who will be involved in this aftermath.

Again, my prayers are with those involved in today's tragic events and the leaders who are making decisions on how to deal with them. God is most near to them now.


P.S. Please note that I am in no way claiming to be a theologian or a political genius. I just wanted to share some of God's truth that was laid on my heart. You can take God's Word to the bank, even if you forget every single one of my opinions or comments, and please do. haha

Friday, April 5, 2013

What more could this girl want in a blog?

I recently found a blog about two of my favorite things, in one place!! It's called: Eat This Poem. Food and poetry equals love in my book. I love, love, love writing poems about food, breakfast dates, traveling and finding fun cuisines, as well as reading poetry about food. So, so fun! You totally have to check it out.

A poem about radishes. Now who would think to write about that!? Check out this post for the poem I loved. :)

While prepping for workshop tonight, I ran across this quote from one of my favorites, G.K. Chesterton:

Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.

Now, anyone who knows me knows I. love. cheese. Up until my doctor asked me to cut it out of my diet for part of this pregnancy, I would buy (I'm not even lying) AT LEAST six different types of cheese each week on my grocery trips. B and I loooove trying new cheeses. I feel like a high class snob at times because a lot of our late night snacking in bed includes fruit, cheese, and crackers. haha Anyways, Chesterton's quote was kind of a challenge for me. Maybe I'll be attempting a poem about cheese at workshop tonight. ;)

Happy poetry reading!


Photo credit from Eat This Poem.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A breakfast I think Edith Schaeffer would appreciate.

B got to stay home with me again this morning for breakfast. Since I'm on Spring Break and have nothing other than tons of cleaning and organizing to get done this week, you better believe I took the opportunity to make this super easy Dutch Baby Pancake. I love this recipe because it truly was so easy, and you could add any fruit or topping you have. I also used half whole wheat to boost the protein. I was so happy when I opened the oven to see the tall wall of Dutch pancake that I unknowingly created. I forgot how beautiful it would look once cooked!

While cooking it I was thinking about Edith Schaeffer. Specifically, I was thinking about the few recipes she shared in one of her books that were just as easy as this one.

I've talked about Mrs. Schaeffer and all her wonderfully creative books before. She truly is one of those Proverbs 31 women I look up to as a young wife and soon to be mom. It's amazing to me how many times I've actually been made fun of by brothers and sisters in Christ for absolutely loving being so homeward focused (while still working part time) and serving my husband. Yes, I do iron his clothes for him every Sunday night, even if it doesn't look like it by the time he gets to worship practice in the morning, and I do because God has given me a heart that finds joy in serving and helping my husband. One of the best gifts my husband can ever given to me is when I hear him sigh when he comes home from work or a long day of meetings and say, "I love being home." Mrs. Schaeffer greatly encouraged me in finding my God-given role as a homemaker through her writing. One topic I could go on and on about is art and Christianity, and she writes about that often as well, as the while keeping Jesus at the center of everything. That is so, so important, and she manages to do it, and do it well. So well that the Lord gave her 98 year to serve Him and others through her giftings on this earth!! I was so happy to see that number 98 pop up on the article announcing her death. 98 full years her on this earth, and I know she's dancing right alongside her husband right now in heaven for our King Jesus.

I could go on and anaylze her books like the English major that I am, complete with quotes, citations, and lengthy footnotes, but I'll leave that for another time. (Maybe I should start reviewing books on here?) I do want to share one of the things God has impressed on my heart over the two short years of being married from reading her books.

We are a ministry family. God's called us to that. As of right now we are praying about the specific things God has called us to as a family in the realms of church planting. But being in ministry as a young wife for the last (almost) two years now, I have had a few of those experiences where some hungry and hurting friend shows up at your door and you need to cook up some lunch for them, or you have to figure out how to accomodate space for 30 or more people in your tiny dollhouse sized home, as well as dinners, and oh yeah, where will the children play? :) It's always chaotic, but these times are looked back upon as fond memories where we did watch Jesus move. I don't remember the stress of the moment, or some ingredient I may have forgotten to ruin the entire dinner.

That being said, God really impressed a specific term ( I guess you could call it that?) upon my heart through Mrs. Scheffer's writings. It's not a term she ever used, it's just something God has called me to cultivate in my home, family, and in ministry. That term or calling He has been teaching me about through my journaling, reading, and many notes that I've taken over the last two years is creating a Jesus culture. I really felt God saying that's what takes places when you open your home for ministry to happen. You are welcoming a group of people from many different cultures and backgrounds to partake in a common thing, that common thing hopefully being a relationship with Jesus. It was my second to last semester in college when I first picked up her books and I really felt God asking me to be open and okay with many different cultures and backgrounds in my life. I'm still not sure what this means today, but God has again and again asked me that. He has also shared with me that I'm not simply opening up a room made out of paint and wood, but a place that needs to be inviting and welcoming for people to want to spend time there and share their hearts. More very recently God spoke to me again about this Jesus culture He is calling me to cultivate, and I took down another note about what He was telling me in my commonplace. Here it is:

"2/15: Jesus culture: creating a culture where people are able to grow, confess sin, repent, and be broken totally without fear of fear or judgment."

Due to lessons learned in my own life, God was showing me how desperately important it is to not be judgemental of people so they feel accepted and able to confess and repent sin. Acceptance was the word God was really placing on my heart. So, today all I know is Jesus is calling me to help encourage this creative culture through art, ministry, homemaking, and openly accepting and loving others in my home. Still not sure what this means for the future, but God is slowly revealing it to me. (I hope this made sense to someone out there.)

How does this relate to Mrs. Schaeffer? Well, she was really all about that. She is all about flowers at the table, for no other show but to display thought and love you put in to the preparation and meal for the people you are breaking bread with. She is all about encouraging loud laughter from little boys as they run around the house banging on pots and pans. Who knows, maybe God blessed you with a little psalmist from your womb and this is his way of glorifying Jesus with music from a young age. Just think about that: walking in to a colorful home where music is constantly playing, goodies are hot from the oven, and you are always, always welcome to come over and share some thoughts and tea. Who wouldn't want to hang out there? :)

So ladies, I highly encourage you to pick up one of her books. :) See what gifts God has given you to cultivate in your family for His glory. For more reading about Mrs. Schaeffer, these are two articles I've loved reading this week: my favorite being I Owe My Home to Edith Schaeffer and then Challies' article.

I also wanted to share this article on being married young. I married at 19, my husband was 20, and we're about to have our first little boy at 21 and 22. I'm learning how truly crazy we are for doing this, but God is so good and He is the one that sustains any marriage, young or old. Believe me, God is asking me to trust Him over and over again each day that it truly is better for me to walk this life beside my husband, than it would be for me to walk it alone (Genesis 2:18). Happy reading, friends!