Christian Walk

Don’t Forget

Thursday, October 27th, I battled with anger. I didn’t know exactly why I was angry. Little things were making me frustrated and those feelings of frustration flipped a switch in me and I wanted to throw a fit and maybe even break something.

It had been a normal morning. My grandmother had even called to encourage me after hearing about the miscarriage. It was sweet and made feel loved.

Things went downhill from there. At lunch I wanted to shut myself in my room to pray and fight off the negativity and anger billowing up inside of me, but I couldn’t leave my daughter so I texted my husband partly joking, but not really, that he should come home and switch with me.

In his thoughtfulness he prayed for me over Marco Polo. Some of my anger went away as I prayed along.

Later when I tried to escape for a few minutes into Instagram land I was surprised to see some stories with quotes about anger. They reminded me that we have a helper in the Holy Spirit. I also saw a story about a new podcast on miscarriage. I flipped quickly to the next story thinking maybe I could listen to it another day.

It wasn’t until nap time when I sat down to do my devotions that it hit me. October 27th marked a month since the miscarriage.

When my mind had not remembered my heart had and it responded in anger and hurt. Realizing what day it was made me deeply sad and I felt so alone in my grief.

However, I realized my grandmother unintentionally had encouraged me when I needed it. Even God, Himself, had ministered to me through godly council on Instagram and through my husband’s prayer.

Even when I had managed to forget I was on His mind and He knew what I needed. What a blessing.

There are three reasons why I write this post today:

#1 to journal my experience through this chapter of my life–I want to be able to remember and grow from this.

#2 to encourage those who are experiencing loss and grief–I acknowledge your pain whether it is fresh or decades old. Your Creator sees you and knows your pain. He is ministering to you in ways you may not yet know.

#3 to remind those of you who have family or friends that are hurting–life gets busy, but try not to forget. They have not easily moved on. Let that hurting soul know that you care even if it is months or years later. You don’t have to bring it all up, just remind them you are thinking about them and that you are praying for them. They don’t expect you to remember the exact date, but don’t forget them. When you have told someone you will pray for them pray for them until there is a conclusion. Are they still waiting? Are they still hurting? Are they still ill? Continue to carry them to the feet of Jesus.

Christian Walk · Uncategorized

No one tells you…

Not many people talk about their miscarriage experience.

No one mentions how the ache in your heart mirrors the aches you feel in your physical body.

No one tells you what it feels like to realize what’s happening with your body and have no control over the outcome.

No one describes what it’s like to tell your mom and sister over the phone what’s happening and hear their heart breaking along with yours.

No one tells you how the event isn’t over in a day….it’s a process. While those around you share in your grief you are the one left to feel the pain and clean up the mess. Every pain in your back or abdomen and every trip to the bathroom is a reminder of what you’ve lost–not just the loss of that specific child, but also the plan you had dreamed of and prayed for.

No one describes what it feels like to have family and friends share in your grief and pray for you.

No one tells you what it’s like to finally get to go to the doctor for an ultrasound only to see an empty womb on the screen.

No one tells you how it feels to tell your 3 year old daughter there isn’t a baby in mommy’s tummy anymore. Or what it’s like to watch her beautiful eyes well up with tears while she tells you she wants it to come back.

No one describes the anxiety that bedtime brings, a reminder of the nights when you were afraid of the dark as a little girl. But these nights you hold tightly to your childhood bear and your husband’s hand praying for sleep to help you forget, for a few hours, your new reality.

No one tells you how this grief can bring you closer to your husband, if you let it. How through this great loss you will hold each other and weep. How you will whisper your prayers for peace together, forehead-to-forehead. How you will cling to each other and seek wisdom and strength from the only One who sees the big picture. No one tells you that you will fall more in love with your husband as you watch him work SO hard to keep the house and your family afloat while you distract yourself with yet another movie.

No one mentions the physical and emotional tiredness loss brings.

No one tells you what it feels like to share your loss on social media and wonder if it’s the right decision as you hit the “share” button…..maybe that’s why they don’t tell you….maybe that’s why they keep quiet.

What someone should tell you is that writing down your thoughts and feelings and sharing it with those who care about you helps. It is encouraging to hear from others that they are praying. It can strengthen you. It can bring you out of isolation.

What someone should tell you is that you aren’t alone and many women around you have gone through what you are going through now. They grieved in their own way and you will too.

What someone should tell you is that God loves you and He sees you. He will never leave you or forsake you.

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To the child we will never hold…

We only knew about you for ten short days, but you brought us joy.

We rejoiced with a few family members and friends when we learned about your existence.

Your big sister jumped up and down and her eyes lit up when we told her the news. Each day she asked me if you were still in my tummy and smiled when I said yes. She hoped you were a little sister because her friends have little sisters.

We were counting the days until the doctor would confirm our hopes and dreams. We were trying our best to calculate the time when we would get to meet you in person.

We will never know how big you were or your gender. We will never hear your heart beat. We will never feel you move and stretch within your small confined space. We will never see a picture of you.

We will never hold you in our arms.

A moment changes everything.

And a life changes everything….even a life as short as yours.

“For by him ALL THINGS were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and INVISIBLE, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1: 16-17 (emphasis mine)

Christian Walk

Psalm 18:30 “As for God, his way is perfect…”

“His way is perfect.” I cannot begin to comprehend this statement made by the Psalmist. While I’m doing all the things that take up my time and attention the Creator of the universe is in control of the big picture. I wish I could continually have the big picture at the front of my mind instead of getting so focused on the little things that often feel like huge things in my life.

I recently finished The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. It was my second time to read this profound book. In the midst of my own struggles the last few weeks, I was reading a book about a woman who put her own life in danger to save those in need. She went through horrors I cannot fully imagine and overcame obstacles I will never have to face. In one moment I found myself grumbling about something, now insignificant, and in the next I was reading about Corrie and her sister praising God for fleas in their living quarters and the one piece of bread they were each issued daily.

What impresses me continually about Corrie and her sister Betsie is their faith and trust in God. His word was a lifeline to them. Jesus’ life was their blueprint for their own lives. Their hardest circumstances were a catalyst for them to fall in love with their Savior in a new way.

In the moments of frustration, discomfort, pain, waiting, and worrying trusting God is not easy.

I was encouraged my Corrie Ten Boom’s words… (quotes from The Hiding Place” coupled with my thoughts)

“In darkness God’s truth shines most clear.” From the woman who experienced true darkness and evil.

“This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.” Oh that I would remember what God has done for me and see His hand in my life!

“Dear Jesus…how foolish of me to have called for human help when You are here.” How can I think to go to a single human being before calling on the name of Jesus? Like the children of Israel in Exodus, I forget how God has taken care of me in the past so I am quick to vent to family or friends, complain, or run to someone I trust for help.

“If God has shown us bad times ahead, it’s enough for me that He knows about them. That’s why He sometimes shows us things, you know – to tell us that this too is in His hands.” How I pray that I would have this perspective. To have peace just knowing that my Father knows about the circumstances I go through before I do.

I recently listened to Psalm 18 through my Bible app and it spoke to me now, in the circumstances I am going through, but my thoughts turned to Corrie.

My imagination paints a picture of Corrie, Betsie, and a group of women crowded together in a flea ridden building, hungry for God’s word. In the concentration camp their only hope is contained in the tiny Bible Corrie reads from. I imagine tears running down emaciated cheeks as they connect to the words like they never have before. Prayers are being whispered throughout the room. Hearts aching for God to hear them.

Psalm 18: 1-6

“I love you, Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;

my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,

my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.

The cords of death entangled me;

the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.

The cords of the grave coiled around me;

the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help.

From his temple he heard my voice;

my cry came before him; into his ears.”

Psalm 18:27-30

“You save the humble

but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;

my God turns my darkness into light.

With your help I can advance

against a troop.

with my God I can scale a wall.

As for God, his way is perfect;

The Lord’s word is flawless;

he shields all who take refuge in him.”

“As for God, his way is perfect.” In the midst of the pain and suffering Corrie and Betsie went through He was there using them to share the gospel to the women around them. Who knows how many souls were saved because of these two faithful women.

“As for God, his way is perfect.” In the midst of the uncertainty, discomfort, frustration, waiting, and worrying He is here with me….and with you. He is working all these things for my good…and for your good. May we put our trust in Him alone and allow Him to use us to spread His truth in the darkness.

Please take time to read or listen to the rest of Psalm 18. Remember Corrie and her faith in the God whose “way is perfect.”

Christian Walk

Help Me Trust (An Update)

I never know how to start a blog post after I haven’t written in forever. Words are hard. When I try to come up with an interesting title and introduction my brain draws a blank. Can anyone else relate? Maybe blog posts should come with a warning.

Warning: this blog post won’t be eloquent or profound…it might be a little random and spacey. Grammatical errors guaranteed.

When I look around I see a lot of moms working a side business. They may create something with their hands, take care of additional children, deliver food, promote a product, or maybe even get up before sunrise to teach children English online (the list goes on).

I always thought I was a good multi-tasker until I found myself in the middle of a multi-level marketing company trying to adopt the new lifestyle it promoted while sharing my story, while sharing the products I was hoping would change my life….all while raising a toddler. I wanted to be like the fellow mother I’ve been observing who can take care of their family while bringing in am extra income. Extra income would change a lot for us….the products could change a lot for me personally…the business would give me an opportunity to use my talents and encourage others. Then one day I realized the stress was heavy and the distraction was a real. In less than a month I went from stepping out in faith and dreaming of a different future to closing up shop and learning to be content with where I am…again.

We all face our fears in different ways (at different times in our lives). Sometimes acting courageously may look like starting something new (that freaks you out), but you feel called to do. Other times being brave is surrendering a dream and pressing into the unknown.

When an opportunity comes up and you take time to sift through the pros and cons, pray and seek wise counsel, and you finally make the leap. It’s hard to understand the purpose of the experience when it ends up falling apart. I like to think I trust God a little more now than I did before.

Shortly after this small roller coaster another opportunity came up. Something that would allow me to teach a class without pulling me from being a stay at home mom. I asked all the questions and did some research. I got excited, but then we remembered COVID-19 and I decided it was wise to sit this year out to watch how the virus affects education from the sidelines.

What is the purpose of being shown an opportunity only to feel God telling you to turn it down? Once again I hope that I trust God more now than I did before the opportunity was put in front of me.

This morning I contemplated trusting God as I lay on a gurney having an ultrasound done of my thyroid. Two or three weeks ago a Nurse Practitioner I visited, for the first time, suggested blood work and the ultrasound after I listed off my symptoms and she felt on my neck.

It is strange to have someone hold a wand over your throat snapping images of your thyroid and not being able to tell you if they see something that could be wrong. The technician told me “don’t lose sleep” as I wait for the result. Three weeks after a blood test I still don’t have answers, hours after an ultrasound I still don’t know what is going on in my body. So I wait and ask God to help me trust Him and help me to take every thought captive so they don’t start spinning out of control.

Whole real foods. No gluten or grains, no sugar, no processed foods, no dairy, no caffeine, no soy or corn. This is what my new diet looks like. Since I have not found answers about why I am experiencing daily headaches, fatigue, hair loss, etc, I am changing my diet. It scares me. It takes me out of my comfort zone. Withdrawals from sugar may make me feel worse before it makes me feel better. But I want to feel better. I want a day without a headache. I want an afternoon with energy. I want to be healthy. So here I am eating scrambled eggs with spinach and mushrooms for breakfast instead of muffins or oatmeal. I am eating bowls with tons of veggies and quinoa for lunch. I am not reaching for the leftover birthday cake that is on the counter mocking me. I really hope this discipline shows some results! I am asking God to help me consistent, patient, show perseverance, and trust Him through this process.

My daughter is 3. She turned 3 on Friday. She now sleeps in a toddler bed instead of a crib. She is playing more on her own instead of needing me to constantly entertain her. She is sitting at the dinner table in a booster seat instead of her highchair. Her face looks more girl than baby. I am happy and sad. I am asking God to help me trust Him while my daughter continues to grow “bigger and bigger and bigger”.

Help me trust you, God.

Christian Walk · Recipes

Things aren’t always what they seem…

July 4, 2020: Friday I posted a picture of a gluten free angel food cake I made. I received some likes and praises on my post. Some of my friends told me that it looked great or commented “yum!”

What they didn’t know is that when I went to cut the cake I found out I had under baked it. Paul Hollywood would have been quite disappointed.

As the day progressed I felt a lesson emerging.

How many times do we judge something or someone from outward appearance only to have the inside revealed to us and realize it is less than ideal?

I connected this thought with the times I have seen someone who looks like they have everything together, but then you find out they are really struggling. Their struggles could be anxiety, secret insecurities, infertility, gut issues, depression, marriage strife, job stress, or financial difficulties. Or in a lot of cases more than one!

Whatever the struggles, when you hear about them you are taken aback because you prejudged the person.

This cake was a great reminder for me not to judge someone on the outside, but to take time to observe and be there for that person. Because we all have hardships we go through at some point. We just need to be ready to help and encourage those around us.

Or in my case, be ready to help separate 11 more eggs for yet another angel food cake!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

July 5, 2020: Update on the cake! My second attempt at this gluten free angel cake was a success (see the end of this post for the recipe).

Baked the cake for the max time. Looked for a more golden color.

Another lesson I learned…make a plan before you start creating a trifle. The trifle turned out quite tasty and pretty, but I completely forgot to add a layer of strawberries I chopped before the process began!

Gluten Free Angel Food Cake https://www.veggiebalance.com/gluten-free-angel-food-cake/

NOTE: When the recipe says use a toothpick to check to see if the cake is done DON’T BELIEVE IT! Toothpicks with lie to you when it comes to angel food cakes. Make sure the cake is golden brown on top and bounces back when you touch it.

Recipes · Uncategorized

Favorites

I’m not sure if this post would be helpful to anyone out there, but these are a few recipes, activities, and books we have been enjoying at our house.

Crack Chicken Burgers. These are AMAZING!!! The first time we made them we used two chicken breasts and made 5 patties. We ate them without buns and had a side salad and roasted sweet potatoes. I love that they are really good cold the next day…this makes for a really easy lunch. https://www.plainchicken.com/crack-chicken-burgers/

Magnolia Table (Volume 2) Waffles. DELICIOUS! I don’t know if I am allowed to share the recipe since it comes in Joanna Gaines cookbook, but I definitely recommend the cookbook as a whole. If you purchase it make sure you make these waffles!!

The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game. Last month I asked my Facebook friends for game recommendations for our soon to be 3 year old. This game was mentioned by several people. Our daughter loves it and we actually have fun playing with her too. We bought it from Amazon.

Zingo. Another fun and easy game that even the adults will enjoy playing. Thank you to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law for letting us borrow this one. You can find it on Amazon as well.

The Mercy Watson Series by Kate DiCamillo. Our daughter has actually loved these for more than a year. This series is about a pig named Mercy and her human adoptive parents, Mr. & Mrs. Watson. There are 6 of these short chapter books in the series and each one includes fun, colorful pictures and hilarious characters.

A Fish Out of Water by Helen Palmer & P.D. Eastman. This book has been read over and over and over at our house. It is a funny, cautionary tale about a little boy who feeds his fish too much.

Onyx Professional Glass Pumice Stone. This is the best pumice stone I’ve ever used. I asked my husband to grab me one at Walmart because I was desperate and he brought this one home. It is so good! So if you are in the market it is right under $5.

Good Bones is a HGTV show about a mother/daughter duo who buy houses in Indianapolis, demo them, and make them into something beautiful. My husband and I had been watching the show on Hulu, but when we ran out of episodes we found we could watch the newer seasons on HGTV’s website (I think they may have an app too). As fans of Fixer Upper, we have really enjoyed this show. We don’t have to think much why we watch it, the hosts have good personalities, and we always enjoy a good demo day.

Sweet Home Sextuplets is a TLC show about a family from Alabama who have 9 kids! 6 of them being sextuplets. I’ve been watching this show on the TLC Go app. The couple seems down to earth and REAL. They share their struggles, their faith, and their Southern values. If you feel like your life is chaotic just watch this show!

*I was not paid to promote any of these items .

Christian Walk

Covid-19, Fear, & Thankfulness

Don’t you wish you could sit down and read something that did not mention COVID-19? I mean, the virus has already consumed almost three months (is that right?) of our year. It affects our daily decisions, it shifts our future goals, and it bends our dreams out of shape. I wish I could write something COVID-19 free, but often a blog post is used to tackle the issue at hand. Not for the reader’s sake necessarily, but for the author’s. By writing down my feelings and thoughts I can deal with them, hopefully.

I hope that good comes from this pandemic. I hope that it has allowed us to pause our busy lives and take a look at what really matters. I hope that things don’t go back to normal.

For the most part my world hasn’t changed during this chapter. I stay at home with my two year old daughter. We haven’t been able to run errands or go to my husband’s office for lunch. We haven’t been to any friends’ houses for play dates. Compared to how some individuals’ lives have changed my version of change seems small. I’m also an introvert. However, nothing like this quarantine has changed my view of staying home. I miss going places and seeing friends. I miss going out for date night. I even miss shopping at Walmart (my husband has been doing all the shopping–can I get a Whoop Whoop?!).

On the outside my world hasn’t changed much, but on the inside it has. I have dealt with a lot of fear and worse case scenarios playing in my head since everything started. (Any fellow Enneagram 6’s out there?) Fear for my sister’s safety (she is a nurse), fear that my husband or I would get sick, fear that my daughter would get sick, etc. This time my fear is not the result of me not trusting God (as sometimes it is). This time I have struggled with trusting other people. The results of this pandemic has largely been left up to the decisions of others. I don’t want to get into all of it, but how other’s have perceived this pandemic has stressed me out. When a friend or family member on social media writes that it’s all a conspiracy or rants about how they won’t wear a mask because it is uncomfortable and they have the right to choose not to….my distrust rises. It has been hard watching the world not use common sense….not care about others. I know there are many levels to it, but when you have a close family member in healthcare who is living it out and then contracts the virus (and recovers) you see things in a more serious light.

I am thankful…

I am thankful that numbers are decreasing.

I am thankful that the three of us are well.

I am thankful that this time of quarantine is teaching us a lot. My husband and I were talking the other day about how we are realizing the areas in our lives that we need to mature in and we are making goals to do just that. We have also taken the time to evaluate what are family goals are and we have started drafting a plan to make those goals happen.

I am thankful for my family, my husband and our daughter. I am thankful we enjoy each other’s company and we don’t find each other a nuisance.

I am thankful for our new Sabbath tradition (future blog post to come).

Most of all I am thankful that God cares to teach me at all. He doesn’t want to leave me where I am. He wants me to grow and mature and become more like Jesus.

Being thankful in the midst of fear & anxiety…maybe that is the key to finishing well?

Learning something and maturing in Christ no matter what circumstances I am walking through….maybe that is my calling?

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Change is Coming

Exhaling shakily, I placed my hands at my hips to help my lungs take a more controlled breath. I breathed through the burning sensation in my legs and continued to walk down the road slowly. My feet plodded along as I waited for my breath to come more naturally.

Thoughts of victory and defeat swirled in my mind simultaneously. I had accomplished more in my exercise routine today than I had in months, but the reality was I had only walked 1.5 miles with three or four minutes of jogging in between. Here I was with burning muscles and a pounding heart and I really hadn’t done much.

I swiped at the sweat on my brow and sighed. It was an accomplishment, but I wished it was grander.

I noticed the sun, which had previously been pounding on my neck, had gone behind the clouds. Clouds were beginning to grow darker, but not due to the time of day. The air seemed to have changed as well. It was muggy and heavy; more than just the humidity I had felt at the beginning of my walk.

I checked my phone and decided to head back towards home. There was change in the air and I didn’t want to get caught in the rain.

I liked rain storms. The gray-green of the sky, the water dripping from the branches and house, and the cooler temperatures that followed were enjoyable. However, this period before a storm could be ominous. It gave a taste of the change to follow as the sky turned gray. The heavy humidity in the air was not inviting like the coolness would be after the rain.

I paused to make sure the road was clear before crossing the street. I heard a rumble of thunder. Since my breathing had returned to normal I picked up my pace so I could get home before the rain came.

I wasn’t sure what this storm would entail. A couple of weeks ago we had been watching the weather app for signs of a tornado. Some friends had their power go out, others had waited in their bathroom for the storm to pass. Would this be a friendly rainstorm bringing a chill to the air and washing the pollen away or could it be a thunderstorm with wind that would knock down powerlines, litter our driveway, and send hail?

Whatever the weather was doing I could tell change was coming. As the sky grew darker and more thunder sounded, I was determined to get to my safe place before it began.

Christian Walk

Coping

This virus has taught me a lot about people. Especially how differently people cope with fear and a lack of control.

Some people are constantly researching and talking about it, some people are stocking their homes with supplies, some aren’t really phased about the situation, others don’t know much about what is going on and mock those who are worried (and buying up toilet paper)….

There is a lot of fear going on in the world today and I bet no matter what category you fall into you can feel it. This is a chance for us to show empathy and love to all people. We don’t have to understand or agree with how they are handling the situation. We know they are fearful and trying to find control where they can.

Let us respond out of love.

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-8

What a unique time where the Church can truly show what God’s love looks like. As Christians we can show the world that we may experience some anxiety and fear, but we know we are HIS and we surrender that fear and anxiety to HIM daily. Christians are often described as judgmental because we call out sin, but this is actually a time we can leave judgement, of how other’s deal with fear, at the door by loving them and pointing them to JESUS.

“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:11-12