Archive for December 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007

God Wants Me to Do Hard Things

I know that this is a little long, but it was really helpful to me so I'm passing it along. Below is an excerpt from Alex & Brett Harris over at the Rebellution.

"All of God’s commands in Scripture are hard. Of course, our tendency is to just say that God’s commands aren’t “easy” or that it’s only by His grace that we can obey any of them — and both of those statements are 100 percent true — but why can’t we ever come out and say that God’s commands are hard?

Everything God commands is hard. Repenting is hard. Forgiving is hard. Turning the other cheek is hard. Overcoming sin in our lives is hard. Honoring our parents is hard. Sharing the gospel is hard. Reading our Bibles is hard. We could go on.

In James 1:2, we’re told to consider it “pure joy” when we’re faced with challenges, trials, and obstacles, because they test our faith and makes us stronger. Think about that. The God who created you and loves you cares about your growth — and the way He has designed you to grow is through challenges.

In order to do hard things we need to get over the idea that God’s love means He wants us to go through life with as little effort or discomfort as possible. This is similar to the mistaken notion that we don’t need to change because God loves us just the way we are. God does love us just the way we are, but He also loves us too much to leave us the way we are. He wants us to grow.

Of course, none of this is to say that God wants us to live joyless and pain-filled lives, but it’s a joy that’s rooted in more than our temporary circumstances, and at times pain is necessary in order to gain something of greater value."

So when Owen is screaming in pain from his tummy hurting and I can't get him to stop or when he's still awake an hour and a half after his feeding and it's 3am and I'm exhausted, or when Tali is saying "Up, up, up, MaMa" but I can't lift her because I'm feeding the little guy, I can take heart. God calls me to do hard things. They aren't a mistake and they aren't something to run from. Hard things are good because they make me grow. They force me to see my need for a Savior instead of thinking I'm ok on my own. Hard things show me that I've got a lot more learning to do in this being molded into the image of His Son. Following Christ involves a lot of doing hard things.

Lord, thank you for the hard things today. Help me to praise You in them and look for what You want me to learn from them today.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Sweet Baby Boy

In My Arms (by Plumb)

Your baby blues
So full of wonder
Your curly cues
Your contagious smile
And as I watch
You start to grow up
All I can do
Is hold you tight

Clouds will rage and
Storms will race in
But you will be safe
In my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash around
But you will be safe
In my arms

Are full of fairytales
Of Kings and Queens
And the bluest skies
But my heart is torn
Just in knowing
You'll someday see
The truth from lies
When the...

Castles they might crumble
Dreams may not come true
But you are never all alone
Cause I will always
Always love you

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Always in Need of Grace

There is nothing like getting less than two hours of consecutive sleep a night to make you see your need for grace up close and personal. Hi. My name is Katie and I am a sinner.

I have this knack (otherwise known as the "sinful nature") to think that overall I am a pretty good person who reacts much better to challenging situations than your average Joe. After all, I'm a Christian! (And a prideful one at that.) But the truth is, when I'm trying my best to be a "good girl" all of my deeds leave me flat on my face, especially when the circumstances/heat around me get a bit rough.

Over the past week I have gotten impatient with my parents who are pouring out their own lives to serve us as we adjust to two babies. I have gotten angry with my husband who is waking up along with me to help with diaper changes so that I can rest more. I have gotten bitter at Owen for crying so much and thought that things were much better before this big change. I have spoken harsh words, been difficult to bring correction to, gotten discouraged and annoyed, and blamed others. Simply put, I am a wretched sinner, desperately in need of God's grace. And when I indulge in that remaining sinful nature, trying to "be good," I simply crash and burn, leaving others in the wake of my destruction.

But, thanks be to God, there is a Savior whose grace is greater than all of my sin. He poured out His own blood on the cross that I might be forgiven for all of the above sins and all the ones yet to come. The only righteousness I have or ever will have is found in Jesus, who purchased it with His very life. That is what I am clinging to today for that is my hope.

I would love prayer that I would seek to live for His righteousness and not try to conjure up any of my own. I want to recognize my absolute desperation for a Savior and lean hard on His grace.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tali & Bear

Tali and Bear

Tali loves bears. She is constantly putting her hand to her ear (her sign for "I hear something!") and when we say, "What did you hear," she smiles and growls. She does this off and on all day long. It's very sweet, especially considering that we live in Illinois where the only bears we'll be seeing are in the zoo.

Last Christmas, my brother, Jason, sent Tali this big stuffed bear. As you can imagine, she loves this bear and always wants to walk upstairs to her bedroom to see it. She will hug it, lay on it like a pillow, and "read" it books. A couple of days ago, my parents and Josh & I were in our room with Owen and Tali decided to do something new with the bear. It was hilarious! The bear is bigger than she is but she was determined to carry him all around our room.

We love our little girl so much. She continues to crack us up daily!

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Friday, December 21, 2007

More Pics of Owen

Just wanted to share a couple more shots of Owen for you. He's a cutie!

Also, I just wanted to thank you for your prayers. Last week I kept asking the Lord to surprise me in regards to the baby's birth. I was trying so hard to trust Him with the impending induction and with wanting so badly to go into labor on my own. God granted me much peace and trust in Him in the waiting. Then, on Monday evening, I went from eating a yummy dinner to suddenly wondering if I was sick, to quickly needing to rush to the hospital with contractions that were about 2-3 minutes apart. God did, indeed, surprise us!

My labor was only 4 hours long and so sweet (minus the pain, of course!). With Tali, the induction took an entire night and all of the next day and I was too out of it from the Staydol that I was barely even awake when she was born (I'm not even exaggerating). With Owen, I had an epidural around 7.5cm and was able to joyfully and alertly experience his entrance to this world. The two births were a night and day difference. On Monday, things went so quickly that Josh and I found ourselves a bit shocked. (Weren't we just at home having dinner? When did this baby get here? What do we do now?!) The way it happened was a wonderful surprise and we continue to thank God for His faithfulness in answering prayer and for the gift of this child. He is just such a faithful God and He does love to bless His children.

Thank you to all of you who were praying that Owen might come without an induction. I cannot begin to thank you enough! We can't wait for you to meet him!

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

He's Here!

Monday evening at 9:06pm our sweet baby boy, Joshua Owen (we're calling him "Owen"), was born! We are loving time with him and so grateful to God for the gift of this child. Hopefully a longer update to come. Thank you so much for the prayers.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Updated Prayer Requests

Thank you so much for praying! The Lord does hear and it is a joy and humbling privilege to come to His throne of grace. Just wanted to update you on the prayer requests:

1) Baby James Snowden is in need of continued prayer. He was taken by ambulance last night because of low heart rate and what they think are slight seizures where he "blanks out." He is scheduled for surgery Monday morning to have his g-tube back in as it is essential that he gets the proper nutrients to thrive. Please, please, please pray for James and Jimmy & Kristal (his parents). My friends have earnestly sought to trust the Lord and are examples of how the Gospel really does transform lives such that you can have peace even when circumstances are overwhelming. I would plead with you to pray for this baby and to check in on their blog to hear any further updates.

2) Tali is still sick, but it seems like a very small thing compared to what baby James is going through. She is much more chipper, eating a tiny bit more, and less clingy so those are good signs. Our little girl is still having stomach trouble but hasn't become dehydrated (praise God!). She will need to go in to the doctor on Monday if the diarrhea hasn't cleared up by then.

3) Baby boy has still not arrived. The Lord is giving me grace to trust that "This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him." Psalm 18:30. Though I would love to go into labor without being induced, if Cervidil and Pitocin are what God's way is for me, then it is perfect. I'd still love prayer that the little guy would come before then, though!

Thank you for praying!

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Coming to the End of Ourselves

I loved the awesome commentary that I was reading on Esther & Ruth, but alas, it's over. For this last little stretch before Joshua Owen or Connor David is born, my hubby suggested that I spend some time in Philippians. I have always loved the book of Philippians. The way that Paul is so centrally focused on the cross is always a compelling and refreshing reminder for me to do the same. Along with reading in God's Word, I've been using D.A. Carson's "Basics for Believers," a very helpful and applicable-to-life commentary of Philippians.

Check out this quote that I read yesterday concerning the incredible passage in Philippians 2 where we are shown the ultimate example of sacrifice and love:

"To take up your cross means you have passed all point of possible reprieve, all point of hope that you will once again be able to pursue your own interests; you are on your way to death...So for Jesus' disciples to take up their to say, in spectacularly metaphorical terms, that they are to come to the end of themselves-no matter how costly that death-in order to follow Jesus."

Compare this to Jesus' example in Philippians 2:6,7 "who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing...". When reflecting on this passage, Carson talked about how ultimately that means that Jesus gave up all of His rights (though He was still God). Are there not about a million ways that I can benefit from soaking in that example of humility? Jesus is God so He deserved everything; He actually had rights to comfort and honor and glory and praise. I am not God; I am a created being, a finite sinner. Any rights that I think I have are perceived rights because in actuality, I am now a slave of Christ since He purchased me with His own blood.

I cannot begin to count the times that I am angry or anxious or discontent because I feel that I deserve something that I haven't gotten (usually for things to be easy). But if I am following Jesus, then I must put to death the idea that I can ever pursue any of my own self-interests. As Carson mentioned in the quote above, I must "come to an end of myself." That doesn't mean that I need to live a martyr mentality of "suffering and taking up my cross" but it does mean that His interests must become my interests.

Oh Lord, help us to let go of these perceived rights that we think we have. Help us to follow Jesus who gave up all of His rights unto the point of death on a cross. Help us to live looking toward Your agenda, not our own!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Some Prayer Requests

As a dear friend reminded me today, God loves to answer our prayers and gets much glory as we thank Him for His answers. So...I wanted to pass along a couple of requests that you might share in rejoicing with me at however the Lord chooses to answer.

1) For little James, the baby of my friends, who has been struggling to live from the day he was born eight months ago. Pray especially that the Lord would help him to eat and that God would give sustaining grace to his parents as they care for him.

2) For Tali's health. After just ending her meds from the sinus infection she had, she now has something else. I think it's a stomach thing because she won't really eat or drink, is having some nasty diapers & gas, and is crying a ton. It's very sad to see her feeling so yucky.

3) That our baby boy would come before my scheduled induction next Wednesday. And if not, that the Lord would give me joy in trusting His sovereign good plan.

Thank you so much! May the Lord be glorified as we bring these requests before Him. I look forward to sharing how He has answered.

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

In Love at Christmas

After a very busy weekend, my husband blessed me with a special Christmastime date-day! Yesterday morning, we awoke to a world covered in a beautiful "blanket of white." Soon, we turned on the Bing Crosby and headed out into the snowy morning to see our friend, John, in "A Christmas Carol." The theater (Drury Lane) was all decked out for the holidays and filled with chattering children who were bursting to be on a field trip. The show was outstanding and especially fun because the kids were gasping and laughing out loud throughout (much unlike an occasional clap when adults are the only audience!). It was such a joy to just sit in a beautiful theater, soaking in the performance while holding my hubby's hand. What a blessing!

Later in the evening after Tali went to sleep, Josh & I sat down by the Christmas tree and popped in "It's A Wonderful Life"(one of our favorites). Last year we started a tradition of watching this movie to celebrate the first real snow that comes.

Now, neither of these productions are "Christian" per-say, but we enjoyed them and can definitely take important lessons out of each story, especially as we apply it to the true purpose of Christmas. The real thing to celebrate is not the snow or people being nice to each other or generosity overflowing, it's the miracle of the Son of God coming down to become a baby and growing up to die, saving us from our sins. That is a real reason to celebrate!

Thank you, Josh, for blessing me with such a fun Christmas date! It definitely is a highlight for me and I will always treasure the time that we had together, just being in love!

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

38 Weeks and Counting

As of Sunday, I am now 38 weeks pregnant and anxiously awaiting the arrival of the little guy (aka: Joshua Owen, or Connor). I feel so good that it's hard to believe that soon we'll have another little baby here. Last year with Tali, I felt wretched so all I could think about was the upcoming birth, looking forward to seeing the fruit of all the aches and pains. This time, it all seems surreal and I can even forget that a big thing is about to occur.

A part of feeling so good has been thinking that I can do whatever I want rather than resting. This has led to packing my schedule tighter than might be helpful. I was thinking this morning that if others looked in and saw all that we've had going on, they might either think that I am absolutely crazy or think that I must really have it together to be able to do so much. Let me go on record as saying that I very well might be crazy and I in no way have anything "all together." The fact is that I couldn't be serving in any way at all without the Lord's grace and mercy, my husband's care, and the invaluable help that my parents give me. I am so blessed to be receiving so much help! For example, in preparing for a meeting last week the Lord gave me peace and I didn't feel frazzled to make things just perfect. My parents vacuumed, cleaned bathrooms, cooked for me. Yesterday my husband did numerous projects and even mopped the floor! Anyway, I just wanted to acknowledge that there's nothing great in me to be impressed by; far from it! I am just receiving a lot of help and that is a gift from the Lord.

And still, amidst all of the help and care, I can lose focus and joy. I can quickly forget the gift that it is to be able to serve and start thinking about myself. I become overwhelmed thinking, "how am I ever going to be ready for this baby to come when I've got so much going on?" While it's true that I do need to be prioritizing rest a bit more, it's even more true that I need to trust God. He is always faithful and He will not stop being faithful, whatever the circumstances may be. So if I don't get some newborn diapers bought or the car seat cleaned or my hospital bag packed, it will not be the end of the world. God has all ready met my greatest need in sending Jesus to save me from His wrath. How will He not also, along with Him, graciously give me all things that I need? That is the truth that I want to rest in today.

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