Saturday, December 15, 2012

Tragedy Wrapped in Tragedy

As so many did, I spent the entirety of Friday afternoon in tears.  Trying to wrap my head around such a horrific event now making its black mark on history and failing at being able to do so.  The Bible speaks so clearly on how much our loving God feels about children and I believe His heart was aboslutely shattered at yesterday's actions.  We will spend countless days, months, and years trying to figure out how to keep this from happening again, as is the case with every tragic event.  After so many other tragedies, we have yet to figure out how to stop it, and perhaps we need to face the fact that we are looking at the wrong areas, trying to fix the wrong thing.  Yesterday, I saw so many people post about gun control, violent video games, the media, casting some blame at the shooter's parents, and settling that he must have very simply been an inhuman madman. 

Don't get me wrong about the last part of that sentence, you do have to be mentally or emotionally very unwell to do such a terrible thing.  What I am getting at is that is not simply the problem.  There have been far too many instances of this for it to be that we has a human race are just genetically producing more people who are crazy murderous maniacs.  I believe with all my heart that God mourns the life of every person lost yesterday, even the shooter.  He was once just a little boy, someone's brother, son, friend.  Perhaps instead of looking to pass more laws about guns and being quick to pass the blame to the media and other areas, we need to look more relationally.  There are countless things in this society that affect children and people negitively; and everyone reacts to those things differently.  Maybe we need to be investing more time into people, stop judging someone because they are different or "a little off" and show kindness, love, and acceptance.  Perhaps the real prevention lies in reaching out to others and recognizing and responding to the warning signs they see in others. 

My mother-in-law once told me, you'd be surprised how many "normal" people are walking around with homicidal thoughts in their heads.  Everyone has a breaking point, everyone is suseptible to feeling hopeless and detached from humanity.  Please understand, I am not blaming anyone but the shooter and the very REAL EVIL that exists for this tragedy.  What I am saying is that prevention does not lie anywhere but in hearing and seeing people, paying attention to the warning signs, and showing each person we encounter that we "see" them.  "The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10)  We will only find a way to prevent this if we can find ways to make every person feel as though they MATTER and that they are loved by a God who wants to give them hope and strength for every tomorrow.  No person should feel like they "have" to do anything for anyone to KNOW THEY EXIST. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Very Mickey Birthday!

Saturday we celebrated Caleb's first birthday!  My labor of love was preparing for this party and wanting to make it special for my little man, as well as for everyone else who came to help us celebrate.  In an effort to save money, I was determined to make everything, this included a lot of printing, cutting, and glueing!  Here are some pictures to highlight the event.

 His birthday shirt...I did not make this!
 Smash cake, you can also kind of see one of the food labels behind the cake.  The plate we made for our anniversary this year, it is our birthday/celebration plate.
 Red velvet and Chocolate/Oreo cupcakes. The black trays were my $1 pinterest idea that was a great success!

Another picture of the smash cake.

 High Chair Banner and the birthday boys mickey ears birthday hat (which he would not have on his head.)
 Monthly pictures.  I got little clothespins and painted them and decorated them to hang the pictures with.
 Table decorations.
 Kids craft table: Make your own mickey ears and coloring pages.
 Behind us you can see the birthday banner.
Family picture!

We had a great time and Caleb was in a GREAT mood the whole time. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tears and Turkeys

As you may have realized, I have failed to post the past week or so.  **SIGH** Life seems to get away from me sometimes.  November is quickly passing me by.  I been busily trying to get the last bits of Caleb's birthday party together, which is this weekend, AAAAHHHH!  I am not ready for this in any way.  I have realized in the past week that, even though I am excited for his birthday party, it won't stop.  After this first birthday, he will have another, and another, and another.  It brings tears to my eyes every time I think about him growing up, this usually launches me into irrational land, where I am already thinking about him getting married; he is only turning one.  I am just not ready to give up my little boy. 

One thing that I already miss SO much is our morning cuddle time.  Since he was a month old, in the morning when he would wake up around 5am, I would bring him in the bed and we would have cuddle time.  For the first 6 months it was just mommy and Caleb cuddle time, the most cherished memories I have of those months.  This week I have ended my sad attempts to recapture cuddle time.  He has no interest in cuddle time in the morning and is just ready to jump off the bed and start a day of little boy adventures.  I tried desperately to hold onto cuddle time but had to realize that it was only making Caleb, Wes, and myself frustrated.  He is already outgrowing me.  :(

I would like to think that it will get easier, but I just don't think it will.  Eventually it won't just be birthdays, but starting school, the ever interesting teen years, sports, and on it goes.  **SIGH**  And so that is my joy and my misery this whole month so far.  On a happier note, his birthday is going to be so special; I will blog about that, with pictures after Saturday.

The other piece of interesting for this post is Caleb's thanksgiving shirt!  For those who remember my FB post about sneaking in and tracing Caleb's hand while he slept to make a hand print turkey, this is what it was for.  I got the idea from no where other than the wonderful and exhausting Pinterest, I only improved it just a little!  

I traced his sleeping little hand on paper, cut the thumb and hand out and then each individual finger.  I then traced those pieces on to brown, red, yellow, and orange felt (I do apologize if a certain finger stands out a little much, it truly was unintentional).  I cut out a little red giblet and a yellow wing.  I glued the pieces onto a little brown shirt and added a little wiggly eye.  I am so excited to see him in this for my favorite holiday!  One week to go! 

Friday, November 2, 2012


Trying to think of a favorite fall memory only reminds me of how old I am getting and my memory seems to be going.  Being that Caleb was born before the official start of winter, I could easily write about my favorite fall memory being the day he was born, but that seems obvious and I think it would be fun to write about a memory from my younger days (besides, I plan on writing about Caleb closer to his first birthday). 

I guess the time that most stands out in my mind was Homecoming week of my senior year of high school.  I look back on that time with my wonderful friends and always smile!  I am so blessed to have had those girls in my life, and some to have still in my life.  So let me share a little about that amazingly fun week.

I don't remember all the dress up days we had but I do remember a pajama day.  There was nothing I looked forward to more than the day I was able to wear my PJ's to school!  It drove my step mom crazy though, as she did not think it was all that great. Another big thing I remember was working with my friends as we created our outfits for School Spirit day.  All the sewing, fabric painting, accessory shopping all to have a unique, wild, and fun orange and black outfit is a memory that will always bring joy to my heart!  I remember sitting out in my friend's driveway using what should be an illegal amount of fabric paint and glitter on some fabulously modified black pants and tank tops! (yes, tank tops in Minnesota in October, another thing our parents were not thrilled with but it was in all in the name of school spirit!) 

(I apologize for the not so great quality, I had to take a picture of the picture from my high school scrapbook)

Finally, our night of TPing!  Now before you get all noble on me, it was in the name of fun, we only TPed friends, and would not ever do more than TP.  Most parents understood it was in all in good spirit and would not get mad about it.  It was a long standing tradition (or maybe not that long standing, I don't really know for sure) for the seniors to TP houses of our Junior friends and vice versa.  I remember hearing all the stories my Sophmore year and looking forward to the days when I could be included.  Junior year was fun but I most vividly remember the fun we had my senior year.  After unloading, again an amount that should be illegal (oh wait, I am pretty sure it is), of TP on our friend Christy's huge front yard tree, we all headed to Perkins, a local restaurant in MN, and spent the remainder of the night talking and hanging out!  At 6am we headed back to get our stuff and head into school.

We wore our crazy outfits to the homecoming game and froze our butts off but had a ton of fun!  I guess it's not a fall specific memory as much as a memory that happened during fall.  But I do think about it every year around this time and miss all my girls.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


We celebrated Caleb's last first event before his birthday last night, Halloween.  It's kind of bittersweet to realize you have celebrated all his first events, obviously not all his first things (of those there are many more to come), but in the calendar year, all those first milestones, holidays, and events.  I have so enjoyed this first year with him and feel so blessed to have been there for everything, but on the other hand, it means he is growing up.  Before I know it, he will be driving, moving out, getting married...perhaps I am letting my mind wander a little to far in the future.  I need to continue to be able to enjoy each day with him, one day at a time, and not worry about those days to come. 

Anyways, back to Halloween.  He dressed up as Frodo Baggins, from Lord of the Rings, a costume I made, you can see the details of which here: costume construction.  I was so proud of my first home made Halloween costume that we had his portaits taken of him at JCP, this was a whole new adventure since he is now walking! 

For the actual holiday last night, we opted to take him to the mall here and let him trick or treat for a little bit.  We entered him the 0-2 years costume contest, sadly, he did not win but it was still a lot of fun!  He was so cute standing on stage in his little outfit!  We did get a lot of compliments, so that was fun!  One store employee gave him a small handful of candy instead of one piece because he was a LOTR fan as well!  And one girl wanted his picture because he was so cute!  That's my boy!!

My in-laws, Mimi and Papa, joined us for the fun and we had a great time!  Caleb was not so much into carrying is bucket or walking up to get the candy.  He did have his sword in hand, and as any guy would tell you, a sword is far superior to a pumpkin bucket!  And whenever we tried to let him walk, he would start running through mall, in no real general direction.  At one point he took of running into Gordman's jewelers...I guess he was interested in purchasing his Mama some jewelry ;)! And the cherry on the whole night was Caleb getting to meet Mickey Mouse!  He loves him some Mickey Mouse!!

We stayed about an hour and then headed home, in the car, he was squeeling and laughing!  It was such a blessing to hear!  We watched Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin when we got home while Caleb took all the candy out of his bucket and put it back in, several times!  Overall, it was a great evening and though I am little sad that it is passed, it was a great "first" milestone with our little man!


I have blogged before about how being a mom has made more evident my weaknesses but I have learned that it has also brought out many strengths, some I didn't even know I had.  I have learned this as I have been getting Caleb's first Halloween costume together.  I had originally imagined we would do something store bought and easy.  When I ventured into Dad-land and asked Wes if he had ideas of what Caleb should be for Halloween, he chose very quickly Frodo Baggins.  For those of you out there who are not a junior high boy, don't know a junior high boy, or someone who was a junior high boy at some point; Frodo is the main character in Lord of the Rings, a hobbit. (This is a special set of movies for Wes individually and also for us as a couple, it was the first major movie watching series for us when we were dating.)

As any normal, not particularly crafty mom would do, I began searching the internet for a costume just Caleb's size that I could purchase.  Not only did I not find any for smaller than child size, they were all also over $40.  So, I decided to attempt to make this very important first costume.

My first stop was at JoAnn's Fabrics, the remnants section.  I got a great deal on some dark green fleece for the cloak and a mustard yellow fabric(I know, it's not the same color as the picture above but it worked) for the vest; they were also 50% off!  I knew Caleb already had some brown shorts/pants and white dress shirt.  I found a leaf button for the Leaf of Lorien for the cloak, some brown trimming ribbon and brown buttons to add to the vest.  I already I had a plain gold ring and chain from a play I was in and Wes found a small toy sword.

To make the vest, I used a sweater vest of Caleb's as a template and traced on paper the shape for both the front and the back of the vest.  The hood of the cloak was a little trickier, I again used a piece of clothing as a model for how to create the hood and how to attach it to the cloak.  After only about an hour on my mother-in-laws sewing machine, a stomach bug, and about 10 minutes worth of button sewing I was able to transform this...
                                    into this...

Add a few accessories and an 11 month old and you have this...

As a solute to my hard work and complete success at this first Halloween project, we took Caleb to JCP for some portraits in his costume.  At first the photographer, Wes, and I were excited and having fun as Caleb was his super cute self and wandering around babbling and getting into things (particularly the plastic prop pumpkins).  By the end of this short photo shoot Wes and I felt like this...
After chasing Caleb and desperately trying to get him to stand still for enough seconds for the picture to be taken.  It didn't help that our photographer didn't seem to understand that he was not going to stand still and to be ready to snap away the second we let go of him.  Despite the craziness we did manage to get a few good pictures.  All this to say, as a mom you just might find a dormant skill/talent you didn't even realize you had.

Happy Halloween!!


In honor of Fall and, most importantly, Thanksgiving, I am going to try to write about something related to those to things each day for the month of November.  I am already doing a daily what I am thankful for on FB and I figured a blog post about the same thing might become redundant and bit overkill.  This is my first time doing something so ambitious, I hope I can find the time to keep up. 

Day 1

For a long time now Autumn has been my favorite season.  Though I have never fully been able to pinpoint why.  One of my favorite things about fall is the leaves, I know, how bland of answer.  But it goes beyond the colors for me, though they are breathtaking.  I also love the crispness, the sounds, the smells of fall.  There is also this buzz or energy in the air.  I feel as though I come alive when the leaves start changing!  And for me, I feel a season of renewal coming. 

The beginning of the year wrapping up, with all its highs and lows, signals the coming days of rejuvination and renewing!  It's such a life cycle, for everything living.  We all need times of hybernation and inward reflection before we venture into a new cycle!  It's almost like the leaves bright colors are giving forth their last bit of magnificent life before succumbing to the necessary dead of winter and I am soaking up every last bit of that energy and life!  Perhaps it is the introvert inside of me that loves this season so much, but whatever it is, it consumes me.  God is uses His beautiful creation to reach into the depths of my soul and recharge me.  I feel God's love and blessing so much during Autumn (I know many people feel that way about spring or summer so I am a bit odd).  I appreciate all the wonderful things about the other three seasons, but for me, Fall is the very best season, no contest!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

Today we took Caleb to the pumpkin patch for the first time!  Joining us was his Mimi and his cousin, Tia.  We had so much fun setting him up in all sorts of places, trying to capture just the right picture...he did everything in his power to keep us from getting a good fall picture.

 He refused to sit on top of this pumpkin!  And refused to look at the camera!

This is what a mama who has completely given up on the super cute mother/son picture, and when he finally decided to look pretty cute and mostly at the camera!

I know most of these look like I was the one preventing good pictures, but bear in mind, these were what resulted after numerous attempts to either get him to look at the camera or to sit semi-still!

 Despite his best efforts, we did manage to get a couple of good ones!

   We picked out a couple of pumpkins, mainly for our own enjoyment later.  Since Caleb has no desire, knowledge, or skill to actually carve a pumpkin, Wes will carve it and I will make roasted pumpkin seeds and possibly a pumpkin pie (or two!).  Though, I may need to find a friend to help me eat the pies, as Wes does not like pumpkin pie! 

It was a beautiful 70 degree and sunny, albeit slightly muddy, Sunday afternoon!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

It's Personal

As much as I love how technology and social media help me to share my life and share in the lives of so many friends and family, if I am being perfectly honest with myself, I hate it sometimes also.  As is the nature of a lot of women, and some men, I find myself falling into the trap of comparing myself and my life to others, and sadly not measuring up.  It's so easy to fall into the trap of being disatisfied with myself or my life.  What's amazing is how God speaks to you about things as you need to hear them.  Just this morning, thinking about this, I was reading out of Love and War by John and Stasi Eldridge.  They address this very issue in regards to our marriages, but it applies to every aspect of our lives. 

He quotes C.S. Lewis from Mere Christianity, "A car is made to run on gasoline, and it would not run properly on anything else.  Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself.  He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to run on.  There is no other.  That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way...God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from himself, because it is not there.  There is no such thing."

He refers to human beings as leaky cups.  Each day, we strive to find that which will satisfy us, make us happy and give us peace, then the next day we wake up and need it all over again.  Only in a deep personal relationship with Christ can we find enough to make us truly fulfilled every day.  No one or nothing else has enough to provide that which we need every single day, especially since others are needing their portions as well.  "We cannot trade empty for empty, we need to go to the waterfall." 

This is not just merely knowing where the "waterfall" is or that it exists, but it's a complete dependency on it, visiting it daily.  In other words, it isn't enough to just believe in God or Jesus, it's a personal relationship.  It's not about anyone else, being a "good person", or doing the "right" things. 

He is also the only one who can fill us completely and make us satisfied.  It is too much pressure to put on others or on ourselves to do what only God can do.  And I need to always remind myself, that though my life may look different than others, my journey is meant to be different, personal, and strengthen me in my weak areas.

We have been talking in our community group about sharing the Gospel with others and more specifically, this past week, about the barriers that keep us from doing so.  I find that, for me, it is easier to share the Gospel in a third world country than it is here.  The reason for this is that majority of people in this country know the name Jesus.  I struggle with how to communicate the Gospel to people who believe in God and Jesus.  How do you effectively convey to someone that it's not about just believing, it's about the PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP?  James 2:19 says that "even the demons believe in God and shudder."  Don't get me wrong, belief is important, but it's only the first step. 

Relationship is defined as :
  • The way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.
  • 2. The state of being connected by blood or marriage.

    How am I connected to God personally?  How are you "connected" to God in your own personal lives?

    Saturday, September 29, 2012


    For the past two months or so, I have been wrestling with a question/idea that took root after reading If Grace is True: Why God Will Save Every Person By Phillip Gulley.  As a whole, the book presented very little in the way of acurate theory, as well as, failed miserably to back up any thoughts with sufficient evidence or reasoning.  The book however did provide me the opportunity to look closer at what many people believe.  I was confronted with the question of how to respond to the questions aroused by this book so I could be prepared if someone were to ask me.  The main one that I struggled with knowing how to answer was that if God was so loving, why would he demand blood/death as payment for sin, or one step even further why would sin require any kind of payment at all and not just forgiveness.  I knew the answer lied somewhere in that God cannot be in the presence of sin because of His pure wholiness and that doing wrong requires a punishment (think of how all criminals, regardless of how sorry they are, still have to pay their debt to society).  But I just couldn't find an explanation that seemed to tie it all together and not leave a lot of room for argument on the opposing side.  The worst part was, I felt like I should know it, like it was going to be something so obvious but couldn't get my finger on it. And it was.

    Last Sunday, in Church, our pastor talked about the Gospel and how it is the single most important and indispensable thing about being a Christian and a Church.  In the midst of this great refresher message, God gave me the clarity I needed. 


    This is not a new idea.  In fact, I had heard this within sermons and Bible verses so many times, but failed to really think through it.  Sin, not God, requires death because it is the nature of sin.  Sin is the thing that separates us from God.  From the very beginning, in Genesis, God says "don't eat of that tree or you will surely die," we know they did not physically die, no poison apples here, but their disobedience led to spiritual death, they were forever separated from God.  Why was that sin, the seemingly innocent act of eating a piece of fruit?  Well, after eating the fruit, knowledge of evil entered mankind.  And who of us, is not tempted by the knowledge we have of certain evils?  They were susceptible to the temptation of sin pre-fruit, they were pre-dispositioned to it post-fruit, along with all of mankind.  So, in the rejection of God's one rule to protect mankind, there was one giant step taken away from God, a momentous step, that would require something momentous to bridge that gap that separates us.

    God is life.  Just like you can't have two opposite things exist at the same time, for instance, pure light and pure darkness cannot exist in the same place at the same time, so the God of life and the death of sin cannot exist together in the same place.  God is not being hateful or unloving, it is just the nature of the situation, of God and of sin. 

    So, apply this to what we know about the Bible.  In the Old Testament, a pure animal sacrifice was required as an atonement for sin.  Sin itself requires death, the sacrificial lamb took on that death so mankind wouldn't have to pay that price themselves.  The sacrifice having to be the best of what they had, they couldn't just go get the sickly of their flock, but in showing true repentence, the sacrifice had to be of the best they could possibly offer.

    In the New Testament, the sacrificial lamb was Jesus Himself.  Not only did he take on the death that sin requires, his desending into Hell and rising back out of it conquered death so that through our faith in Him, we no longer have to be held captive by the death from our sin.  In doing this very thing that no previous animal sacrifice could do, an animal sacrifice was no longer required, as Jesus said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them," Matthew 5:17.  The nature of things did not change, but Jesus came to fulfill that sacrifice once for all (1 Peter 3:18).

    God doesn't want punishment for His children, no more than any parent wants punishment for their children.  Our separation from Him breaks His heart.  He has made it as easy as possible on us to have eternal life with Him.  He doesn't expect our perfection, He just wants our faith and love.  We don't have to jump through hoops to have eternal life with God, we just have to believe in Jesus and what He did for us. 

    Sunday, September 9, 2012

    Tiptoeing Through the Minefield


    I feel a little like I am living in a mine field the past week.  Wes stopped smoking last Saturday and his mood is less than ideal and Caleb, well, Caleb is 9 1/2 months and very much at an age where is mood can change rather quickly at times.  Trying to balance life where I am trying to keep one calm so as not to upset the other has been a little tricky.  And ultimately this little balancing act is making for one exhausted wife and mama.

    Let's start oldest to youngest.  Wes and I both want him to be a smoke free man.  This, however, does not come without some trials and hard times, much like most things in life that are worth while.  Last Saturday, he stopped smoking, I had to work, so we left Caleb with his Mimi and I babysat his debit card to prevent any breaking down and buying a pack.  Needless to say, I am somewhat glad I wasn't home on Saturday.  Sunday and Monday we were all home together and despite Wes' best efforts to not be too irritable, he had his moments and my PMS attitude didn't help things.  I am surprised me feet didn't start bleeding from all the egg shells I had to walk on for the past 8 days.  On top of all the effects of nicotine withdrawl, he has been very sick the past three weeks with an upper respiratory infection.  I know, its been a party at my house!  I am so proud of him and all the effort he has been putting in to quitting.  I am sure it will be in the top of the list of most difficult things he has ever done.

    This leads me to the youngest member of our little trio.  Mr. C is quite a challenge to keep calm so as not to stress a very irritable Daddy out.  He wants to play with Daddy's books, guitar, computer, tries to climb into the dishwasher, wants to play in the bathroom everytime anyone goes in there (getting thoroughly upset when we close the door on him), doesn't want to go down for his naps at times.  Saying no, and taking things he can't have away from him generally result in a whining and crying fit.  Whenever I am trying to get his bottles or meals ready, he gets very impatient and begins fussing while I am in the middle of it.  Most of the above mentioned things happens daily.  Normally, his tendency to fling himself into a tantrum can amuse me, but with Wes being in his rather shaky moods, it is no longer amusing to me and I find myself stressing about how to get Caleb calmed down in a hurry, and trying to find ways to keep him from getting upset in the first place (not easy). 

     Now, I don't want it to sound like either my husband or my child are unbearable all day, everyday.  They are not, for the most part, they are usually a delight and I enjoy them both so much.  It's just this past two weeks have been a little trickier than usual.  Trying to navigate moods everyday, its a lot of work and, quite frankly, exhausting at times.  I feel for those guys who have more than one or two women/girls in their homes.  I know how moody we can be but I am not usually the one who has try to navigate the moods.  Wes is learning the other side of the coin as well and understanding a little of what PMS is like. 

     On the bright side, it is all temporary and it will all be worth it.  But in the meantime, if you see me on the road or at the airport, I am probably making a mad dash for a vacation away from my moody men! :)

    Thursday, August 9, 2012

    The Broken Bone

    So I was thinking about my pasts posts and realized they aren't particularly upbeat, though hopeful (I hope).  So I wanted to write about something much more positive this time, though the title does not lend itself in that direction, but trust me, this will be good. :) 

    I was thinking about how when you break a bone, they say it grows back stronger.  I heard that so many times after Wes and I decided to work on our marriage after having been broken so deeply.  But I am here to testify to the truth behind it, and the truth that holds for all of us in areas of brokeness in our lives.  There are quite a few times in my life that I can testify to having been broken.  Broken hearted, broken in spirit, broken in faith.  Some were deeper levels of brokeness than others but working through each thing and coming out on the other side, I have become stronger.  Stronger in heart, stronger in spirit, and stronger in faith. As the brokeness healed in each of those areas, the healing created a much stronger me in many ways. 

    As we work to put our marriage to rights and our family back together, we are stronger than ever, stronger as individuals and stronger as a couple.  Though the world and our spiritual enemy have tried to created cracks in our marriage again, our foundation is strong.  We are truly a team and face everything as such.  There is complete openness and honesty.  There is complete love and acceptance of each others "bad days."  It seems like an impossibility some days, but as God tells us, nothing is impossible for Him. 

    I am so thankful for God's continued faithfulness to us.  He has built a new, stronger, marriage out of the shattered peices of what had been our marriage before.  I am not going to go on to suggest that my marriage is perfect, none can be with imperfect people, but I am proud of my marriage, of what God has made of it.   I think of how marriage is a play act of God's relationship with His church.  In so many ways, I feel closer to that idea than ever before.  God brings about a marriage between Himself and His church despite the brokeness of that relationship as well.  Through sacrifice and perseverance, that relationship is restored, as is my own. 

    This idea of becoming stronger through brokeness is true for every area of my life.  As God wants to bring about that truth in all our lives.  Finding a way to work through the brokeness leads to the healing that God wants to give us.  Running away from or hiding from our pain is not healing and it is not going to make us stronger in the long run.  Eventually all those hurts we run from will catch up and we will find ourselves trying to deal with them all at one time instead of taking one at a time, as they originally came to us.  Could you imagine trying to use every workout machine at the same time?  You might eventually get stronger but it would take longer and be much harder than if you dealt with each area one at a time. 

    The next question is "how?"  How do we do that?  Well, I am not a professional but I can say for me, what has worked.  Letting myself feel the brokeness, to process it.  Prayer, constant, unceasing prayer.  Being honest with myself, being able to discover my role, whether good or bad, in the situation.  This gives me the wisdom to not make the same mistakes again.  Forgiveness, complete, permanent forgiveness.  Forgiveness of myself as well as others, this is a choice not an emotion.  Learning to move on, this is also a choice.  Not staring back at the hurt, allowing it to affect my hour, my day, my week, and so on.  And by finding someone to talk through it all when needed.  Even if I am not looking for advice, it helps just saying things many times.  And in the case of my marriage, finding a professional was helpful.  I have never felt that there was any shame in getting professional help when needed, but I just always thought I could find a way to work through things myself, my foolish pride.  But there really is no shame in not being able to handle everything or work through everything with out the help of a professional. 

    With perseverance and faith, brokeness can heal and we will be stronger in heart, faith, and spirit!

    Sunday, August 5, 2012

    Unexpected Imperfection

    As I discussed with my husband this morning, one of my biggest failings is the pressure I put on myself and those I care about to be perfect.  Not that I have ever thought myself perfect, I just expect it and am disappointed in myself when I fail.  The weird thing is that I don't expect strangers to be perfect, just those who I am closest to, mainly myself.  Along with this I also project their expectation on me as well to be perfect, whether or not it actually exists.  I could go into a whole bunch of theories as to why I do this, but those would just be excuses.  The feeling of not being good enough for anyone and the perception that my striving towards perfection and excellence will ultimately change that, affects me almost daily.  But here is the real failing in this battle, my failure to recognize that my imperfection is God's glory.  For many, this isn't a new idea, and it's not for me either.  I have heard it many times before, but fail many times to let that resonate in my life.  If not for our imperfection there would not be any need for Christ, no need for God's abounding mercy and grace; all of which glorifies the God who loves us.  And that love is the salvation of man.  That love,when we choose to pass it on, comforts, encourages, defends, and changes lives in profound ways.

    Sometimes I find myself getting frustrated at my 8 month old son because he doesn't understand.  He does the things that I have already expressed my disapproval in and I think, "why can't he just stop doing that."  I have expectations for my son to behave perfectly at 8 months old (this is insanity).  Not only is he unable to always understand, sometimes it is just his humanity that comes out as well.  We push the boundaries and test the limits.  When told "no" we sometimes don't think whoever told us that really meant it for us and attempt to do the wrong thing over and over.  Imperfection.  I fail.  I disobey.  I struggle.  

    But even though I expect more of myself, and others, than I can ultimately achieve, God does not.  Unexpectedly, He expects us to be imperfect.  In fact, He counts on it.  What a relief this should be to everyone.  Why do I expect more of myself than my own Heavenly Father expects of me?  He, my Creator, knows I can't achieve perfection and yet I think that I can and should.  Fail.  As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9: "And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."
     May I learn to revel in my failings so I may boast about God's power conquering them.  I must learn to expect my own imperfection and the imperfection of others and strive to expect God's perfection.

    Monday, July 23, 2012

    Don't Mistake the King for the White Rabbit

    One of my least favorite holidays is 4th of July.  I love living in America.  I love having our freedoms here.  I even love the cookouts on the 4th.  I just don't really understand why we must celebrate all this by lighting rockets on fire in our back yards!  Every year it seems there is at least one rocket that doesn't seem to blast off as planned.  Someone will light it and everyone runs back to safety and we all watch (me from the living room window) and wait.  and wait.  and wait.  Expecting something awe inspiring.  And when it doesn't happen like we think it should, someone always slowly approaches the seemingly dud firework.  They either try to light it again or end up completely giving up on it. 

    I'll admit I feel this way in life many times.  I expect God to do something by a certain time and either try to take over or end up giving up when it doesn't happen when I think it should.  I have so much hope for the future of my little family.  We have come so far and have witnessed God do some really great things so far and are still waiting on God to move in some areas.  I have God's promises on which to stand, as did God's people throughout the whole Bible.  But so often I act just like they did many times.  I doubt, get angry and frustrated, and ultimately try to take things into my own hands.  I have had to remind myself this week to continue in faith and trust.  I need to learn to wait on the Lord, as He tells us so many times in scripture.  How many times did the Israelites choose not to wait on God's timing and ended up making a royal mess of things?  How many times in my own life have I?  How many times have we all? 

    What does God promise us?  Hope. Future. Provision. Salvation. Love.  He has always kept His promises and delivered provision when needed, so there is no need for worry or doubt.  There is also no need for my intrusions and trying to take over the plan myself. God's plans are perfect.  So when I feel like going all white rabbit on God and telling Him He is "late for a very important date,"  I take a step back and remember, the King is always on time.