June 28, 2013

Noah's Story

If you haven't noticed yet, I am the worst kind of blogger. I am a blogger who doesn't blog. With the best of intentions, I set this space up, but life gets in the way, and before you know it, a whole week has gone by and I've yet to write a word.

Except for Friday. I am always sure to write my Five Minute Friday post.

As I was getting ready to "link up" yesterday, I realized that every Friday, I seem to be writing about the same thing. Maybe that's what a writer does. They have a subject that they write about the most because it's what they know. It's who they are. And maybe that's what I do when I sit down and receive the prompt and more weeks than not, it some how always comes back to Noah.

I've never told his story here in this space, and the blog that I wrote the year after he went to Jesus is now only kept as a personal journal of my grief. So, I thought it was time that I told you who Noah is, and how he changed me forever.

 ***

In early 2010, I learned I was pregnant for a second time. It wasn't too long before we learned it was a son. He was to be named Noah. He had a slight umbilical hernia and we had elected to deliver by c-section for his safety.

So the morning came, when I was 39 weeks pregnant, and we left the house to go meet our son. When we arrived to the hospital I gowned up and they put on the electronic fetal monitors. But no heartbeat was heard, and after some time, they brought in the ultrasound machine to confirm what in the depths of my soul I already knew. My sons body lived in my womb, but his soul lived with Jesus.

We cancelled the c-section and I was able to deliver him about 12 hours later. It was revealed at this point that he had gotten badly tangled in his cord, likely while I was sleeping the night before.

It's all kind of a blur from there. Decisions were made and rivers of tears were shed. It took all I had to remember to breathe. But I do remember what he looked like. I remember holding him and singing him the songs I had sung to his sister.

"Jesus, lover of my soul. Jesus, I will never let you go. You've taken me from the miry clay, set my feet upon the rock and now I know that I love you. I need you. Though my world may fall, I'll never let you go. You're my Savior, my closest friend. I will worship you until the very end."

And we never did let Him go. We never did look away. We clung to Jesus with what little strength we had. And He was faithful. He never left us. He comforted and provided and He redeemed.

***

As I read through the comments on my FMF posts about Noah, I notice that I receive condolences and tears. But, please!

Don't say you're sorry. Don't feel bad for me. Don't cry tears of sorrow.

Because my son, He LIVES! And I know that one day I will hold Him in Paradise.

My son, He is the single biggest influence on my relationship with God. He points me back to Him time and time again. He showed me that God is good and faithful and that He loves me. That His plans are better than mine. That His promises are true. That when I am not enough, He is. That He is MORE than enough for me. That when my world falls, He will not let me go. He never fails.

You see, my son, He changed me for Eternity.

Even when my heart aches, and my arms are aching with emptiness. Even when I long to have that almost 3 year old boy annoying his sisters. Even when my family feels incomplete and I'm homesick for Heaven. Even then, I know that my son is a blessing. And sometimes God's biggest blessings are the ones that are hard fought and well cried over. Because you have to die in order to be resurrected. The Lord has resurrected my faith and my soul and He will resurrect my sons body on that Glorious Day!

So please, don't feel sorry for me. You don't need to offer condolences, because I didn't lose anything.
I know right where my son is. And it's all been for the Glory of God.

"And the storm may swell even then it is well and You are good."



June 27, 2013

Five Minute Friday: In Between

It's Friday! So here we are, hundreds of us, bravely writing for five minutes flat on the same prompt given by the lovely Lisa-Jo Baker. "No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real."

This is Five Minute Friday, where writing gets real.

This weeks prompt is In Between

GO!



The redhead came first, five years ago. And just this past fall, that chubby blonde girl. How I love her thighs, like ham hocks. 

In between those two beauties was the boy.



In between was the aching arms and the empty cradle.

In between was the heartbreaking and the earth shattering and the gluing of it all back together.

In between was the revealing of a God who is good and faithful.

In between was tasting and seeing that the Lord is good.

In between was the beauty rising from the ashes and the joy from the mourning.

In between was the revealing of a longing for Heaven; a homesick never before felt.

In between was where Hope anchored my soul. 

For a while I lived in the land of in between. Trusting that one day He would lead me to  the land of milk and honey. And He has. It's in the hard places that He shows up and He shows His face and His grace and His love. 

And even though it hurt, I am grateful for every second I had carried that boy. And I am grateful for every second I had a God who carried me while I walked through the land of in between. 

STOP!   


Five Minute Friday

June 21, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Rhythm

It's Friday! So here we are, hundreds of us, bravely writing for five minutes flat on the same prompt given by the lovely Lisa-Jo Baker. "No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real."

This is Five Minute Friday, where writing gets real.

This weeks prompt is Rhythm

GO!

I sway back and forth. Back and forth. The beat of my heart matches hers. The sweet scent of her silken skin overtakes me. 

Blessed.

In these moments. In the everyday. In the wake up, change a diaper, flip a pancake, slap some lipstick on your face and try to drink your coffee before the third reheat. This is where I stand.

This is where that toothy grin captures my heart. Where the infectious laugh brings joy that explodes in my soul.

There was a time when I thought I would never know this rhythm. A time when I longed to pace the halls with a screaming babe. I ached to sing lullabies and to feel the breath of a babe on my chest. 

And here she is this perfect little miracle. This amazing gift. Heaven sent.

As I sing that lullaby. As her eyelids fall and her head begins to sink. The rhythms of our heartbeats meet.

Blessed.

STOP!  

 
Five Minute Friday

June 19, 2013

Roots For The Journey {A Review and A Giveaway}

All my life I have struggled with Scripture memorization. I have apparently passed this on to my children too! Try as we might, my biggest just can't do it. The apple doesn't fall far...

It's not about whether or not she can spit out any specific verse called out to her in the King James on command Jack VanImpe style. It is most important to me that my children know the word and the promises of God in their hearts. That they have them to carry with them wherever they may be.

I am always trying to find unique ways to teach her. For myself, song was always a great way to help my memory. I can actually name every book of the Bible, in order! The catch is, I have to sing it! So what better way to etch the Word of God into my children's hearts (and my own) than by singing it!

Yancy had done just that in her new album "Roots For the Journey".


I have so loved getting to know the songs on this album, and through them, getting to know God's Word better. One of my favorites, Safe, is a beautiful lullaby that I have begun singing to my children. The diaphanous melody combined with lyrics pulled from Scripture are like honey to my soul. And knowing that I am singing the promises of the Lord over my children brings joy to this mamas heart.

If that wasn't enough, Yancy has dedicated "Safe" to the Oklahoma tornado victims and is donating 100% of the iTunes sales to Conduit Mission.

But, wait! Not only did Yancy create this beautiful collection of songs, but there is also a FREE app available  for iPhone, iPad, and Android, that includes videos about each song, as well as family devotionals and activities. The devotionals are simple and understandable for children of all ages, but thought provoking for the parent as well. Some of the activities include small crafts and games to encourage the family to come together and share in God's Word. If you have been looking for a way to connect your family spiritually, this would be a great way to start! 

My family has loved listening to this album, reading the devotions, watching the videos, and doing the activities together. I have enjoyed it just as much as my daughter has! And we want YOU to enjoy it too! 

I am so excited to be able to bless one of you with a copy of  "Roots For the Journey" ! I know you will fall in love with both Yancy and God's Word just as we have!



a Rafflecopter giveaway *No compensation was given for this review. The words and experiences are all mine. Other people may have different experiences or opinions.*

June 13, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Listen

It's Friday! So here we are, hundreds of us, bravely writing for five minutes flat on the same prompt given by the lovely Lisa-Jo Baker. "No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real."

This is Five Minute Friday, where writing gets real.

This weeks prompt is: LISTEN

GO!

It's almost unbearable. Most days, it seems impossible to drown it out. The voices that come at me from every direction. 

When Pinterest tells you that your house isn't clean enough and your pictures aren't hung correctly. 

When Instagram highlights days full of crafting and swimming and your day is full of laundry and spilled milk. 

When your feeds are full of how-to's and should-do's and you are just trying to keep your head above water

When the noise that pollutes your head and your heart is telling you that you aren't thin enough, pretty enough, talented enough, mom enough, wife enough, friend enough...

The deafening stream of your not good enough can beat you down and strip you  bare. 

But if you listen...

Listen closely and a still, small voice will tell you that you are loved. A quiet whisper will say you are beautiful. And the words of Truth will cover you in fearfully and wonderfully made because you, friend, are just that. 

If you listen, the noise of this world will fade away and the only thing you will hear is the voice of the Good Shepherd calling his sheep by name. Calling you by your name. To tell you that in him, you are enough. 

Listen...

In him. You are enough. 


STOP!



Five Minute Friday

June 10, 2013

To Stay in the Hard

Community is hard. 

That's exactly why I've never had real community in my life. I was always the girl who had friends for a season. But when dreams changed or things got hard, I found new scenery. I have been wounded by community, and found early on that running was much safer for my heart. 

When we transitioned to middle school, I left my elementary friends in the dust. When my "new" friends got too cool for me after sixth grade, I found a group of friends who accepted me in. 

When they decided in ninth grade to pull me aside in the hallway to tell me "the group" had decided that I was out, I survived by befriended the new girl. I also made friends with the PK (pastors kid) and immersed myself neck deep in youth group friendships. But my junior year, when I started dating a non-Christian boy, I was quickly made to feel unwelcome in my unevenly yoked sin. When me and that boy broke up, his friends, who had become our friends, went back to being his friends. 

I stumbled through my senior year, secretly alone. With a co-op that meant I only spent a few hours at school, then left to spend my afternoons in trade school and my evenings and weekends at my job, I'm pretty sure that no one noticed just how alone I was. 

A new boy came on the scene just before graduation and I dove deep into his world. He went away to college so I spent nights on the phone and weekends heading off for a visit. I managed to reconnect with a childhood friend and was convinced that I had finally found "the one". You know, that friend who you grow old with. That friend you know you'll have by your side when you get married, have your first baby, battle tragedy...

And she was that friend. She was, until I got mixed up in a lifestyle that was no good to anyone. A life full of late nights that turned into mornings and some less than desirable company. She wanted nothing to do with the trouble I was getting into, so she walked. Again, I was secretly alone and this only drove me deeper into the party as I searched for someone to love me. 

Then again, I thought I found it. I thought I had found someone who loved me and accepted me for me. Maybe he did. I don't really know. What I do know is that he loved his addictions much more. Leaving him, might be the one time in my life that running was the absolute right thing to do.

Then it happened. I realized that all my life I had been searching for someone to love me, and God had been there, loving me all along. As I placed my life in His hands, He pushed a man to the forefront of my life who had also been there all along. A man who would love me. A man who would commit to me. To never leaving. And we spoke that commitment before God and our families 2 years later. 

Yet even though I had an amazing husband, fast forward to 2 children later,  I was still lonely. I had one friend, and she had moved to Europe for her husbands job. 

So I prayed. I prayed for friends. I prayed for community. I prayed to no longer be lonely. And God gave that to me. He dared me to step out of my comfort zone and when I said "Yes!" He provided me with exactly who I needed in my life. 

It all seemed so wonderful! We got to really know each other on a deep level, we shared dreams and fears. We laughed and shed tears. We ate popcorn and cheesecake. 

Then it happened. 

It got hard. Feelings got hurt. Sin and pride got in the way. And this girl wanted to bolt. I wanted to turn off my iPhone and forget it all. I could find new friends. I've done it before. 

Then I remembered how we had promised we would always be honest. I remembered when I said "I commit to you that I will stay." I remembered the tears as we dreamt of something so much bigger than ourselves and I knew that I couldn't run anymore. 

Instead, I did the opposite of what I wanted to do and I stuck my heart on my sleeve and I entered back in. 

Community is hard. It gets messy as we walk with each other hand in hand through life. But running is not the answer. Staying is what we are called to do. To love. To confess. To forgive. To rebuild. To encourage. 

To stay. 

Even when it's hard. Even when it hurts. 

Commit to staying. Choose to stay. 

To stay is true community



June 6, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Fall

It's Friday! So here we are, hundreds of us, bravely writing for five minutes flat on the same prompt given by the lovely Lisa-Jo Baker. "No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real."

This is Five Minute Friday, where writing gets real.

This weeks prompt is FALL

GO!

I don't want it to be like this. I wish I could make it stop. But the ugly... It keeps creeping in. 

Just when I think that I've got it together. Just when I think I've overcome this flesh, I fall. Time and time again. So I do the only thing that I can do. 

I run with my sin-soaked heart in my hands and take all of the dirty, all of the pain, all of the sickness and I fall at the feet of my Healer. I ashamedly confess that though I try, I've failed, and this skin that I wear has once again won the battle. Broken and filthy, I ask for Him to take this heart of mine and make it His. 

Then this Great Physician, he picks me up with arms of love and dusts me off. Wipes me clean. He heals my heart and gives it back to me new. And like a baby learning to walk, I toddle away, unsteady on my feet. 

Until the next time I fall. 

STOP!


Five Minute Friday
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