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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Isaiah 32

I had a sweet message this morning waiting for me on my phone. It was a message of encouragement to me, referencing Isaiah 32. It's one of my favorite books in the Bible because I feel so challenged and motivated when I read, and this scripture really got my attention this morning.

It's a call to the women of Jerusalem to prepare for the coming of the Holy Spirit. It's basically calling them to give up their lives of complacency because the righteous King was coming to disturb their land. This scripture paints a scary image of what they were about to endure, but I'm sure it was a great lesson of what it really means to trust in the Lord. God was about to take them through some serious desert times, and a season of real mourning, but it was all in order to prepare them for the outpouring of His Spirit. And you see, that's the good part! Because you know what happens when the Lord lavishes His Spirit upon us? The things barren and desolate before will then become full of life and fruitful. And I love that! I need that! We all do.

So take a minute and read Isaiah 32:9-20 this morning. The NIV is great, but the following is from The Message:

"Take your stand, indolent woman!
Listen to me!
Indulgent, indolent woman, listen closely to what I have to say.
In just a little over a year from now, you'll be shaken out of your lazy lives.
The grape harvest will fail, and there'll be no more fruit on the trees.
Oh tremble, you indolent women. Get serious, you pampered dolls!
Strip down and discard your silk fineries. Put on funeral clothes.
Shed honest tears for the lost harvest, the failed vintage.
Weep for my people's gardens and farms that grow nothing but thistles and thornbushes.
Cry tears, real tears, for the happy homes no longer happy, the merry city no longer merry.
The royal palace is deserted,
the bustling city quiet as a morgue, The emptied parks and playgrounds
taken over by wild animals, delighted with their new home.
Yes, weep and grieve until the Spirit is poured down on us from above
And the badlands desert grows crops and the fertile fields become forests.
Justice will move into the badlands desert. Right will build a home in the fertile field.
And where there's Right, there'll be Peace
and the progeny of Right: quiet lives and endless trust.
My people will live in a peaceful neighborhood - in safe houses, in quiet gardens.
The forest of your pride will be clear-cut,the city showing off your power leveled.
But you will enjoy a blessed life, planting well-watered fields and gardens,
with your farm animals grazing freely."

I hope you've been as encouraged by this scripture as I am. Lets lift our heads today and know that this isn't just a cliche message of "everything happens for a reason..", but a true message and promise from God that He hasn't left us. Let us prepare ourselves for the outpouring of His Spirit, and trust Him that He is going to bless our lives.

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's gonna be alright...

Allowing people in, and sharing the details of the journeys we're on can be good and bad:

Good: to have an army of people surrounding you who support, love and pray for you,


Bad: there will always be those people who ask probing questions, insert their opinions without being asked, and forget to use their verbal filters when making unnecessary statements in your presence.

Obviously, I prefer not to deal with the latter, but I know and understand it's all part of the process. I would venture to say that I deal with those people better now than I did in the beginning. I will go even a step further and say that I appreciate them.

I had someone ask me yesterday how things are going for Jeremy and I (you know, "baby-wise"), and if we had given up hope. Even though I was annoyed with the way the questions were phrased at first, I welcomed the conversation. It felt good to talk about things. I was thankful that God let us cross paths yesterday, and even thankful for the awkward way such a very personal conversation came about. I think both parties learned some things:

For the other person, I think it taught them that unless you are, in some way, relationally close with someone struggling with fertility, starting conversation with questions like the above is probably not the most appropriate way. It can make for an uncomfortable environment, it can be off-putting, and could possibly offend.

For me, it sort of reaffirmed that where my husband and I are in this process is okay. It's kind of at a stand still (we have medical options that we are not supposed to go through with right now), and we know that is exactly where God wants us. We are taking this time and strengthening our relationships with the Lord, and with one another. The longing and desire is still evident as ever, but we also know that we have a beautiful future with children on the horizon. We still pray and ask God for our miracle baby, but we are content in knowing that He hears our cries and has already answered our prayers...but our answer doesn't always look like His answer. We rest in knowing that God is bigger than this. Bigger than we can ever understand. And yes, we still have hope. Everyday we have hope. And everyday we have to choose to lift our eyes unto the hills and declare where our true hope comes from in order not to lose our hope.

It was good for me to re-evaluate some things yesterday. It helped to hear myself say it. Sometimes, if things aren't happening, it's hard to keep focused on the fact that it's okay. And then one of those people come along and stir up the dust. You might be annoyed at first, but you might also walk away with a calming peace that has just reminded you once again that it's all gonna work out.

"So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever." II Corinthians 4:16-18 (The MSG)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I don't know what to write. Sometimes a song speaks more than a blog post.

Who can hold the stars
And my weary heart?
Who can see everything?

I've fallen so hard
Sometimes I feel so far
But not beyond your reach

I could climb a mountain
Swim the ocean
Or do anything
But it's when you hold me
That I start unfolding
And all I can say is

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
Help me to sing hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
I'll choose to sing hallelujah

The same sun that
Rises over castles
And welcomes the day

Spills over buildings
Into the streets
Where orphans play

And only you can see the good
In broken things
You took my heart of stone
And you made it home
And set this prisoner free

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
Help me to sing hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
I'll choose to sing hallelujah

~Hallelujah by Bethany Dillon

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My heart and flesh may fail...

Sometimes I feel like I just have to accept being infertile for the rest of my life. It's like the more days, weeks, months, or years that go by without a positive result, the further away my belief in the possibility of having a baby becomes. I hate that. I hate that I battle so much with this unbelief. I've seen miracles with my own eyes, and I've heard SO many stories about the unthinkable becoming a reality in the lives of so many people. I believe God can heal in such supernatural ways, but for whatever reason I haven't believed it for myself. It's like I've made God in my life a God who is only there for others. Not for me. He's been a good story to tell, however, the story never includes what He has done in my life. Or I treat Him like a cute accessory that doesn't go with anything I have to wear, but goes with everything on someone else. I've dumbed down the things He's done for me as if they're too small to matter. I've chosen not to tell others about His majesty and redemption in my life because I'm afraid it's not going to be convincing enough to turn someone towards Him. And all I can come up with for all of that is...What the heck am I thinking?? How dare I do that to such a glorious and worthy being??

I cannot begin to describe the pain of the conviction I felt envelop me when God punched me in the face with this. The realization of the injustice I've done against my Creator was crushing. It broke my heart. It still saddens me to the point of tears as I sit here and write about it.

I don't know at what point or time in my life when I thought it was better not to share with people about the God I serve. When did I convince myself that the only parts of MY story that might mean something to someone are those parts that involve prosperity? Somehow I've accepted the lie that God hasn't been really working through my infertility diagnosis - the pain, anger, sadness, bitterness, and all else that comes with it. Somehow I've let myself believe that this road that I am walking will only be effective when I am holding my baby in my arms. I've let myself believe that God cannot use the ache for a child inside of me to witness to someone. And somehow I let myself forget all the other things I've overcome in my life ONLY because of Christ:

-the pain and chaos of finding out my dad, who had been my knight in shining armor my whole life, was terribly addicted to drugs...
-the extremely bitter divorce of my parents which was a direct result of my dad's addiction, when I was just entering middle school...
-being raped by a stranger just before my freshman year of high school, and accepting the advice by those closest to me that it was best not to talk about it...
-seeing my mom off to a rehabilitation center due to an ugly battle with alcoholism...
-continuing to watch my dad's life spiral out of control...
-finding out 6 months after getting married that my said husband had been lying to me about a horrible porn addiction...
-watching nearly every relationship within my family dissolve away because of stubborn choices to just continue to sweep years of pain and suffering under the rug...

And those are just bullet points. Through all of that I've never really let it sink in of how much God has redeemed my life. When I realize the weight of His impact in my life, I am almost left speechless. The love, mercy, grace, compassion, and blessing He has bestowed upon me is incredible.

-He's bringing my Dad out of that pit of addiction and slowly but surely turning his life around. And He's given me eyes to look upon my Dad with compassion and understanding, and our relationship has been strengthened.
-God has worked within my parents, teaching them to forgive one another. And although they're no longer together, they love each other from afar, respect one another as parents, and lend a helping hand to each other if needed.
-Through the rape, God has healed my heart, and I've learned to forgive. Through the pain and darkness of that tragedy, God gave me a heart for abused women and I've been blessed with opportunities to share my story with many. That was also the time in my life when God gifted me with my voice and a heart for worship.
-He healed my mom and brought her out of an alcohol addiction, and broke down the walls in her life that prevented her from letting anyone in. I've watched her grow and flourish in her relationship with Christ over the years, and she's able to talk about that time in her life now with a victorious tone, rather than defeat.
-The Lord restored my marriage even though I thought I couldn't continue. He healed my husband and is molding him into a man of God. God gave me the strength I needed to not give up on my husband. Everything in me wanted to quit, in fear of another man letting me down. However, the pain and despair was worth it all as I look upon a beautiful husband and marriage.

I say all that to say: God has brought me through it all. And He was glorified when I chose to still say: God is good. God is enough. God will take care of me. My heart and my flesh may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. I don't have to accept infertility as the outcome of my life as a mother. I don't have to believe the lies that tell me I'll never have a child. The lies that say it's impossible. I have to choose to glorify God through the pain of loss. Because the God I serve has already spoken over my destiny. The God I serve brought me out of darkness before, and He is doing it again. The God I serve has placed a word in my mouth that He is holding me accountable to share with the world. And that word is that the circumstances may want to hold me back, but The Lord is still good. His promises remain.

"Whom have I in Heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:25&26

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Power of Compassion...

My heart is breaking today. Breaking over the life of a beautiful woman who passed away Saturday night. A beautiful, vibrant, mother, wife, sister and child of God. My heart is breaking for her family, but even more for this woman herself. She and I didn't know each other that well, but we knew each other enough to care. Enough to speak and give a hug every time we ran into each other, enough to know a little background of our stories. And now that she is gone, it's ripping me apart knowing that it wasn't enough.

My stomach churns to even think that she will no longer be sitting in her familiar seat at church on Sunday. And it just reminds me of how loosely we throw around those "How are you"'s, and "How ya doin"'s, and responses like the typical "fine" and "good". When really, if we took the time to be intentional about conversations with people, and intentional about getting to know people, we might actually start to get honest responses. People might begin to open up more. We might actually start to share our hurts with each other. And then we might be able to recognize those windows of opportunity to really listen and be there for one another.

You see, I never took that opportunity with this woman. And I know I had SO many. She jumped at the chance to speak life into me...several times. I took it for granted. And she took her own life. I don't say all this to say that I would have been able to change the outcome. Maybe she would have never opened up to me. But it just sinks in how important it is to let people know you care. We can't continue to shut ourselves off to the hurts and struggles that the person next to us is quite possibly dealing with in secret. I've underestimated the power and importance of compassion.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."
-2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cheery Tunes...

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am in love with music. Always have been from as far back as I can remember. Music has always been a source of comfort for me. I've always been a worshiper, and nothing brings me more joy than to sing to The King. It's definitely a passion of mine. I've always been that person who may not always have the right words to say to encourage, but I sure can point you in the direction of a good tune to lift your spirit a little bit. Sometimes I even pray in song =) It's my favorite way to pray. Or how about my favorite times during the day: driving down the road by myself with the stereo volume blasting. <-Which leads me to my love/hate relationship with the radio...

There's not much I like listening to about the radio. I'm definitely a listen-to-my-iPod-in-my-car kind of girl. But most of the time my pod is dead, so I resort back to my love/hate relationship with radio stations that overplay the same songs day in and day out. Every once in a while, though, a tune catches my ear and grabs a hold of my heart and makes me want to throw my head back and sing at the top of my lungs. This is one of them:

I cannot express in words how happy my heart feels when I hear this song. The words are simple, the melody is catchy, and I. Just. Love. It. Yes, I know KLOVE plays it about 2,349,870,000,000,000 times a day, but I don't even care. It's a favorite of mine these days, and I recommend you like it too =)