Archive for January 2008

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Check Out Tripp's Poem

After writing my last post, I came across this poem by Paul Tripp that spoke to what I'm fighting for today-giving thanks to God because He has all ready shown me that He's good, no matter what my circumstances are. Here's an excerpt:

"I have learned
and I am learning
that confident living
always rests its foundation
on You.
I am confident
because of this solitary thing,
You are
and you are good." -P.Tripp

Check out the rest on his blog, Paul Tripp Ministries.

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Giving Thanks

"May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light."
Col. 1:11-12

More thoughts on Colossians. The next phrase that caught me was "giving thanks to the Father." I am not only to be strengthened by His power (not my own) for all endurance and patience with joy, I am to do it giving thanks to the Father.

My life has not been characterized by thankfulness lately. I haven't really thought about it this way until my husband asked me about it yesterday (thank you, faithful husband!) but I guess if I've not been thankful then I've been complaining. Why? I have been focused on my circumstances and not on the One to whom I must give thanks.

Colossians 1:12 tells me one huge reason that I have to give thanks to the Father: He has qualified me to share in the inheritance of the saints. Then, Colossians 1:13-14 goes on to say, "He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Giving thanks to the Father should flow out of my heart in light of this incredible redemption that Jesus has purchased for me! The strength that is available for me to endure, the fruit of patience with joy that I can possess is all available to me because of what Christ has done on the cross. I have great reason to be "giving thanks to the Father."

My temptation is to alter my level of thankfulness depending on my circumstances. We can so easily do that, can't we? I can consider it a great day until Owen starts crying or Tali disobeys or I'm running late or I don't get a nap or...fill in the blank. Lasting joy will never be found in our circumstances. Joy is found in savoring the truth that we are no longer under the domain of darkness but have been transferred into the kingdom of Christ! There is always, always, always a reason to give thanks to the Father because we are saved from His wrath by the blood of His Son.

Father, help us to be people who continually give thanks to the Father for this great salvation that Jesus has purchased for us. Help me not to see this day through the lens of my circumstances, but through the lens of your Gospel.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Endurance with Joy

A small picture of joy

Yesterday I read Colossians 1:11: "May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy..." There is just so much there that my soul was refreshed by.

First, the Lord convicted me that I've been seeking to have strength and endurance for this demanding season ON MY OWN. In other words, I've thought that I can muster up the strength to "make it through." I've actually been repeating to myself, "It won't be like this forever. Just keep going." That has been what I've gone to for some comfort when I feel like I can't keep my eyes open or like Owen is never going to sleep more than 10 minutes at a time for his nap. What a wavering stone to try and stand upon! In Colossians 1:11, I see that God wants me to be strengthened with His power, according to His glorious might. I have no strength or might of my own that can help me, and thinking that I do is simply pride.

Next, the Lord kindly made this phrase stick out to me: "endurance and patience with joy." I have been trying to endure (though in my own pitiful strength) and I have sought to do it with patience. But with joy? Um...I think I forgot about that one. The Lord wants me to endure (with the strength that He provides) and to be patient with joy! That verse is like a sweet slap on the face for me. Pleasing the Lord does not involve me merely "sucking it up" and trying to make it through. God will be glorified when I am relying on Him in joy. And if it's in God's Word as something that Paul is praying for God to accomplish, then God certainly is able to do it.

So, that's my prayer today. Lord, please strengthen me with all power, according to your glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy."

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

If You Need Some Encouragement


Are you feeling discouraged about the state of your home right now? Take heart. It could look like mine. (And you can't even see the rest of the room from this picture!)

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Grateful

I don't know about you but I find that I take for granted my good health until I get sick. Then, all that I can think about is how wonderful it is when I am well and how I can't wait to feel better again! Yesterday I had some sort of stomach flu. (I will spare you the gory details and just say that it was not fun.) Thankfully, today I am on the mend and praising God for the gift of good health that I usually don't even notice. It makes me wonder how many other kindnesses from the Lord I take for granted each and every day. Do I stop and thank Him for my loving husband, a warm home, yummy food, an incredible church, sweet children, clothes to wear, running water, and so many other blessings? Sadly, I usually just enjoy these gifts without remembering or recognizing the Giver behind them. It's sad when I don't stop to thank God for the gifts I listed above, but it's tragic when I neglect to thank Him for sending His Son. Every day, I must remember the Gospel and I must thank God for sending Jesus to take the punishment that I deserved. I don't want to thank Him out of duty but out of a heart overflowing with thanksgiving for so great a salvation. What else really matters?

Lord, forgive me for taking for granted so many kindnesses from Your hand. Let me not ignore Your loving hand over all of my life.

* Side note: Josh isn't feel well today so I know that he would appreciate prayers. So far, Tali & Owen seem fine & we're praying they stay that way!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Yay for Great Lighting!

It's been a while since I've put forth some effort in taking pictures. These days, I just point and shoot if something looks remotely important. But today the lighting was perfect in our kitchen and living room so we had a little photo shoot. Here are some of my favorites:






p.s.-The sweet pics of Tali that I posted a while back with her in her pea coat were taken by Josh & not me. I forgot to give credit where credit is due!

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Great is the Lord

"Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable." Psalm 145:3

I love that truth; His greatness is unsearchable! The Lord is so worthy of our praise. In the midst of all of these health issues that my family is facing, the Lord is still great and He is still greatly to be praised. To keep it brief, here are just a few of the things to praise Him for:

* My dad has been diagnosed with Diverticulitis, which according to Wikipedia is "a common digestive disease particularly found in the large intestine. Diverticulitis develops from diverticulosis, which involves the formation of pouches (diverticula) on the outside of the colon. Diverticulitis results if one of these diverticula becomes inflamed." To put it simply, it's not life threatening, though it has been very painful. He is feeling pretty well now and is at home resting. We praise God for this and for however the Lord is and will continue to use this trial for my dad's good and His glory.

* My grandma's heart is strong and that positioned her well for the quadruple bypass and recovery. She is trying to stay positive and is following all of the doctor's orders. Praise God for His healing hand on her.

* My mom's palpitations haven't evolved into her full blown AFIB heart racing (which is when it gets really bad and she needs medical attention). Praise God for helping her to trust Him and for keeping her from having more health problems.

Thank you for joining us in praying. I can't help but smile when I think of the glory it brings God when His people call on Him, humbly dependent upon Him for everything in prayer. Thank you for caring for my family by your faithfulness to pray! It means so much to us and it pleases the Lord.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

The God of Grace

Thank you so much for your prayers! We really were so aware of God's grace yesterday as we traveled to Iowa to see my dad. Tali & Owen were excellent in the car; we didn't even have to stop on the way home as O slept the whole way.

On our way there, we got a call from my dad saying that his procedure got pushed back to today (Saturday). So, as of 8:00am (unless something else changed), he is undergoing his colonoscopy. If the doctors don't find the source of the bleeding, they will go ahead and then go into his mouth with a tube to see if they can determine the problem that way. (We're praying there's no need for that as it's much more invasive.) He is in really good spirits as always and is grateful to be getting some help. They didn't have a lot of rooms available in the hospital so right now he's in the Oncology ward...nothing like being surrounded by those in severe pain or with a terminal illness to make you think about the gift that life is. Pray that the Lord uses that.

My grandma made it through the bypass and did well. I haven't heard from anyone today but yesterday they said that it will be a long road to recovery.

Please do continue to pray:

* For my grandma's quick healing
* That the doctors determine what's wrong with my dad
* For God to continue using this in the lives of my family members for His glory
* For my mom who is there caring for her mom while knowing that her husband is hours away at another hospital. She is looking to the Lord for strength and He is giving it. Please pray that scripture is brought to her mind and that much peace is given to her.
* For our friend, Jim Snowden, who is in the hospital after having some kidney stones removed. Pray for his healing and especially that pain would be removed and that he would stay hydrated.

Thank you!

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Updated Prayer Requests

Please do continue to pray. Here's the update:

Grandma: Is going to need a quadruple bypass as all four valves are blocked. Please pray for a safe procedure and quick recovery.

Dad: Probably has a bleeding ulcer but they aren't sure where. He will have a colonoscopy at some point today. Please pray that they can figure out what's going on.

Mom: Has had some palpitations (she has AFIB so this happens at times) so please pray that they quickly cease.

Thank you for your prayers!
---------------------------------------

9:30pm Update

What a blessing it is to know that people are praying! We feel the peace of the Lord and know that He is sovereignly working good in this situation. Here's the latest:

* At 10:00am tomorrow (Friday) my grandma is having her quadruple bypass. Please pray for her. She is a believer (as is my grandpa) and they are greatly encouraged by all of your prayers.

* At 8:00am tomorrow my dad will have a colonoscopy to hopefully determine where the bleeding that he's experiencing is coming from. Last time he had a colonoscopy, his heart had some trouble so please pray that God protects his heart. If the results don't show what's going on, they will have to go down his throat with a tube to do some other searching. Please pray that that is not needed. Please pray that the Lord would use this for good in my dad's life to show him the glory of the Gospel.

* My mom is feeling better. She'll be driving to Davenport late tomorrow afternoon. Josh & I are taking the kids there tomorrow morning to be with my dad. Please pray for safe travel and grace for our children & us.

Thank you so much for petitioning the Lord for us! We are strengthened in knowing that our God is the ultimate physician who created my grandma and my dad. He is perfectly in control and will not slumber or sleep.

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New Prayer Request


Well, my family is not at the peak of health at the moment. Prayers are much appreciated. My grandma is having a heart attack and is currently going in for an angioplasty. My dad was on his way to go be with my mom who is caring for my grandma and he had to check himself into the emergency room in Davenport. They are running tests on him but think that he has a bleeding ulcer. Please do pray:

1) That the doctors would discern what is wrong with my grandma's heart and be able to help her.

2) That the doctors would discern what is going on with my dad's health and be able to help him.

3) For peace for my mom as she is in Des Moines waiting to hear about my grandma while my dad is in the hospital in Davenport.

Thank you for your prayers. I will update as I get word.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Prayer Request

My grandma, Joanne, was taken to the hospital in DesMoines, IA today after being in the ICU yesterday for some sort of heart problem. They are unsure if it's a heart attack or something different. Please pray for Grandma's healing and for compassionate and quality care from the doctors. Also, please pray for my grandpa as he isn't feeling too well himself (bad cold) and is waiting to hear how my grandma is doing. Thank you!

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Read, Think, Pray

My hubby gave a very helpful and practical message on Sunday about prayerfully meditating on God's Word. The strategy involves reading the passage, thinking/meditating about the passage, and then praying through the passage (read, think, pray). Our pastors have challenged us to use the next seven days to try out this helpful strategy. Josh has encouraged me to do this before and I've found it very fruitful. Today I sought to do it again, except this time it went a little something like this:

1) Prayed that the Lord would bless my time with Him
2) Stopped to go put the pacifier back in Owen's mouth as he awoke screaming
3) Read 1 John 4:10-11
4) Stopped to go put the pacifier back in Owen's mouth again
5) Re-read 1 John 4:10-11
6) Stopped to keep Tali from pulling by Bible off of the table
7) Started to write out 1 John 4:11
8) Stopped to go put the pacifier back in Owen's mouth again
9) Finished writing out 1 John 4:11
10) Started to write a sentence to meditate on the passage, starting with "God..."
11) Stopped to keep Tali from ripping a page out of my Bible

It continued like this for quite some time until, at last, I had actually read, meditated, and prayed! The process took about 30 minutes but the actual invested time with the Lord probably totaled 5-10. I hope that God is glorified by my efforts!

p.s.-This is a good example of how much more fruitful my time with God is when I do it during Owen's 6:30am feeding, rather than when he's sort of asleep and Tali is running around the house like a crazy woman. Now, if I could just be disciplined at 6:30am rather than wanting to half feed him and half sleep at the same time...

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Family is a Gift From God


The past couple of days my grandparents have been visiting. It was so much fun to have Grandma playing with Tali and to see Grandpa hold Owen. I can only imagine how strange it must be for them to be playing with their daughter's daughter's daughter. :) It was another reminder to me of how quickly time passes. They made comments about when my mom was an infant just like it was yesterday, as it is still fresh in their minds. I hear it constantly from voices all around me, "Enjoy the time now because it will go by so quickly." To think that in the blink of an eye, Tali and Owen will be grown and before I know it, I may be visiting them to see their own children...

Yes, the shortness of the time continues to be at the forefront of my mind, as you can see. I just do not want to wake up one day years from now with an empty house and the thought that I wasted the time that I had to love my children while they were with me and to reflect to them the mercy and grace of God. One day all of the diapers and the a.m. feedings will be a distant memory. Today, I have the opportunity to speak and live with my children in such a way that I am a living message about Christ's saving work. I want to redeem the time!

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

He Does What I Can't Do

It's funny, the rich sense of accomplishment I feel when the day is ending. There's this resounding "I made it through another day...and it went fairly well" echoing in my head. I didn't do brain surgery (or even leave my house) but seeking to love and care for two babies is downright hard work. At this moment, all that I want is to go to sleep and not wake up until at least 6:00 but that's just not reality and it probably won't be for another month or so. And it's completely worth it; don't get me wrong. I would not trade this for anything but I am tired. Very tired.

A week ago I really didn't see how it was possible for me to take care of two needy babies at once. They both need things at the same time and there's only one of me. I can't be everywhere doing everything at the same time. Thankfully, God is helping me to see the situation in light of who He is, not just in light of who I am not. God is everywhere and He does everything that needs doing, even if I can't do it. So, I guess the sense of accomplishment is just the recognition of the grace that He's giving me to do what I can as I trust Him to do what I can't.

Every single exhausting moment is a blessing and I am grateful for it. But oh, do I need grace to have the energy to keep on going with joy and diligence! As always, I would love your prayers.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

My Beautiful Girl




Josh and I cannot get over how cute Tali is these days. She has a head full of curls and the things she says and does are just hilarious. We are constantly shaking our heads in disbelief at how just plain adorable she is! Here are just a few of the sweet things she's been doing lately:

*This morning when I went in to get her up, I walked into her room and she quickly stood up in her crib with a huge smile on her face and exclaimed, "Hi!"

*All day long, any time that she walks by Owen she nonchalantly waves at him and says, "Hi." Occasionally, she will stop long enough to shake ("rock") his bouncy seat or to give him a quick kiss on the the tummy.

*When we correct her for doing a "no-no," the first thing she says with tears in her eyes is "Baby! Baby!" (Her baby doll is a source of great comfort for her. Her baby never tells her "no.")

*She likes to walk backwards and say, "Beep, beep" like a truck backing up.

*She likes to lay on the floor and say, "N-eye, N-eye" (Night, Night) and pretend to sleep.

*Her primary form of entertainment is her myriad of dolls. She calls each of them, "baby" and she carries them around the house, gives them bites of her food, kisses them, plays peek-a-boo with them, reads books to them, rocks them in the car seat, and covers them with blankets.

I'm sure that my explanation doesn't even remotely capture how cute she is. Hopefully, we'll get our new video camera up and running soon so I can stick a video on here to better demonstrate the cuteness in action. :) But you've got to admit, that pink pea coat is pretty adorable on her.

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Monday, January 7, 2008

Is This January?


I can't believe that Christmas has all ready come and gone. Having a newborn near the holidays seems to make it zoom past even faster than normal. Now, we're supposedly in January but given that it feels like April, I feel really disoriented. Did Christmas really come and go all ready? Did Josh's family all ready come and leave for the holidays? Did the piles of snow that were outside last week really melt all ready? Where did the time go?

Having Owen has made me even more sentimental about the passing of time. I asked the Lord before my little guy was born to help me gain perspective about how quickly time passes. I prayed from Psalm 90:12, "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." Let me just say that He has answered that prayer a thousand times over. Each day, I get up and look at Tali and about cry. Where did my baby go? How is it that she's big enough to walk, talk, pretend, etc? Then I look at Owen starting to outgrow his newborn diapers and I'm in awe again. It just goes by so quickly! He's all ready sleeping 4 consecutive hours a night and starting to hold his head up more strongly. Time really does fly by...

I can't believe that I'm 26 years old, married, and enjoying two sweet children. Sometimes I still feel like I'm in high school. My days are numbered and only the Lord knows their length. I want to enjoy each day that the Lord gives me and live it to the fullest for His glory...because the time truly is short and every day is a gift.

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Friday, January 4, 2008

More Than I Deserve


My wonderful husband and my cute son

There's this old Sandra McCracken song that I love about marriage and our relationship with Christ that sings again and again, "And this is more than I deserve." That refrain is what my heart is singing to the Lord again and again for the gift of my husband. To think that God has given me the gift of my husband, despite the fact that I am a wretched sinner, is a breath-taking picture of the love of God.

Josh simply goes above and beyond in the ways that he serves me, especially in this new season of caring for two babies. Since Owen was born, Josh is gladly asking me to wake him up at any hour to help change diapers and rock Owen back to sleep. He is taking time away from his own morning routine to get Tali out of bed and started in on her day. He is constantly asking me if there's any way that he can be serving me better or any way that I need more help. He's been doing all of the dishes, helping me with picking up the piles of toys around the house, and has taken numerous last minute trips to the grocery store. He is compassionate when I'm overwhelmed, speaks loving truth when I need corrected, and has been encouraging me to spend time with the Lord even when I feel there is no time available. That is only a sampling of how he has been blessing me. I am just so grateful for my husband!

The thing that strikes me the most about it all is that I don't deserve Josh. Really, I don't deserve Tali or Owen or this beautiful home we rent, or the incredible church that we are a part of. I don't deserve to be breathing this minute but God, in His mercy, has given me all of these gifts. None of them would be possible apart from Christ dying on my behalf. If not for His sacrifice, I would still be an enemy of God, an object of His righteous wrath. What I deserve because of my sin is hell, but God has given me a right relationship with God and the hope of heaven. How can I not praise Him for this gift and so many others?

Lord, thank you for giving me so much more than I deserve! Thank you, especially, for my husband.

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