Monday, December 30, 2013

where feet may fail : a testimony


I have often lived my life, this life, attempting and hoping to dodge pain. Mostly subconsciously. 
But, just the same, I have tried to tip toe and hope my way out of it all.
Painful experiences, physical pain, the pain of loss, the pain of grief, the pain that fear brings.Who likes pain?
 I have come to the conclusion that life is not about making it through without experiencing pain and discomfort in some form and in some way.
Matter of fact, I would dare to say, it's not about "if I experience pain" but more so "when I experience pain." 

These last couple weeks, quite unexpectedly, I got to experience the "when" part of pain. 

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness..." (James 1:2-3)

The husband and I went in for a fetal specialist appointment to check in on our baby girl.
And in the midst of an in-depth ultrasound, the doctor discovered a large tumor on my left ovary. 
About the size of a grapefruit large.
And in those beginning moments of trying to figure out and understand if it was real and what it was I could feel the heat rising into my cheeks and all the panic and fear rushing in.
There was no tip toeing around this. 
And in my mind all I could manage was to ask the God of strength to give me that same strength. 
I was teetering on an edge. 
Walking a fine line at that moment between faith and despair that would follow me for many days to come.

This tumor had to come out. We couldn't rule out 100 percent if it was cancerous or not.
The danger lay in the fact that baby girl was going to keep on growing. And she would eventually pop the tumor. If it was full of cancer, those cells would spread rapidly and wherever.
We were submerged at this point. It was Friday, and the surgery was Monday.

The possible risk of losing our baby girl in the midst of this was the hardest and most painful thing I have ever had to swallow.
The thought was unbearable. 
The only thing, and I mean the only thing, that brought comfort was believing that God, my God, had knit her together. He was and is the author of her life. And mine.

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made..." (Psalm 139:13-14)

You know that worship song, the one called Oceans?
Where it talks about feet failing?
I have sung that song a lot in church the last few months.
But, I couldn't quite get that imagery out of my head during those few short days before surgery.
I was walking through a storm, out onto the water with all the waves rushing about.
And there He was. Calling me to come, in faith, and hold onto Him.
And my legs were buckling under the weight. My feet were failing.
I would have never chosen this Lord. I would have never chosen to grow my faith like this. 
Isn't there any easier way?

"Come, I will carry you. I will give you the faith and peace to look above the storm."

And with shaky legs and moments where I felt like I was crawling, I clung to Him.
I asked God to do the miraculous on our behalf. On my behalf. On my baby's behalf.
 I asked for His glory to be shown in this. I cried for healing. I asked for peace.

Though my feet failed He never did.
Two weeks ago, I walked into a hospital clinging to the Word of Life and His words.
And four days later I got to walk out with a baby girl that is still alive and well and growing inside me.
And a tumor that has been completely removed with preliminary results showing it as not cancer.
And though there is healing. Physical healing that is painful in some regards.
He never let go.

You see, I am convinced we can not carry ourselves when the pain comes. And others can not either.
Where can we go when our legs start to give way and break free under us?
Where can we look when those storms roll in?
Where does all our hope and trust begin and end?
Are we ready?

Jesus.

He died for me, to carry me when the pain comes.
He experienced the ultimate pain so I would never walk alone in mine.
There is a greater hope and a greater story and all this world and life has meaning now because of the cross. Even the pain. Every pain. It has meaning. He works good out of the things that try to destroy.

Your feet may fail you at some point in your life. Mine did.
He has been waiting to walk with you, maybe even carry you, through the pain.
That's where His glory is shown the most.





In case you haven't heard Oceans by Hillsong United

And I also want to say "thank you" again to all those that were praying so faithfully for me, Erick and baby girl these last couple weeks. Some of you I have never met face to face and I am humbled and so very grateful that you carried our burdens with us. Our God is full of mercy. Thank you.



Wednesday, December 11, 2013

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas




 Can it be possible that in only two weeks it will be Christmas?
I just want to absorb the whole season a little longer.
And if I am honest, I feel like sometimes I am grappling for the Christmas of my childhood in the midst of the busyness that creeps in to this season as I get older.

I am being more intentional this year. 
Taking time to appreciate the small things wrapped within Christmas.
Like those first few snows that we have received this year (crossing our fingers for a white Christmas) and the little prints you find undisturbed and imprinted in it.
It's those simple things that point to something greater: the heartbeat behind Christmas. 
I've been reading "The Greatest Gift" by Ann Voskamp. 
And it has been such a powerful reminder of the reason we have hope during this season. 
The reason we have hope for this life. 
Jesus.
I need that reminder.
One of my favorite quotes from the book so far:
"The answer to deep anxiety is the deep adoration of God"
Seems so basic. But, how often do I misplace this idea, not just during this season, but throughout the year?
 I am keeping it close and letting it filter how I view Christmas this year.


(p.s.the advent cards are from the talented Naptime Diaries. I purchased them last year and I love them so.)












Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Wish List for Him



1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 

 Thankfully, the guys in my life are never too difficult to shop for. 
And that's about five guys total. Including the husband.
But, none the less, I thought it would be helpful (not to mention interesting) to allow an actual guy to compose this wish list. 
Might as well go straight to the source, ladies.
So, I asked my brother-in-law (Kory) to give me a list of what he would ask for during this Christmas season. 
And he delivered. 

There's a mug for the man with a little inner nerd. 
Which, according to the list maker, fulfills that need in his life.

And if a man is going to be lounging around in sweats, he might as well be doing in it in a slimmer, more festive version.
Personally, I don't think you can go wrong with a good pair of Chuck Taylor canvas shoes. 
And that's partially because I have the same pair. No big deal.

So, enjoy the fruits of Kory's labor when it comes to this list.
(Hey, thanks Kory)
And do tell, what are you getting the man in your life this Christmas season?

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