Hope

"Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."
Psalm 25:5


My intention was never to abandon this blog; nor was my intention for it to turn into a sad place. Yet here I am, many weeks between posts, coming to write again as my heart is heavy. The topic is the same as the last few times I've stopped in... mourning.

Most days I am good. Most days I smile, love on my child and husband, and I am happy and whole. Today, like a few other days sprinkled amongst the rest, I am sad. I am mourning a loss that was never really mine to being with.

I think this is the hardest part for me... this baby that I lost wasn't really there. There was no embryo, no fetus, no life. Just placenta and raging hormones. I cannot find comfort in the thought of a little one waiting for me in heaven because there was no little one. Yet my heart loved so deeply. And my mind raced ahead to create a new nursery in our little house. I day-dreamed of names and was aching to buy all things pink and girly.

At this point in the pregnancy we would be finding out if we were having a boy or a girl. I would be getting nice and round, being near 6 months along. I would be beseeching the Lord for a small child this time around (not the 11.2 lbs of my firstborn). I would be buying small things to hide under the tree for Jaron to open for his new sibling. As a family we would be making plans and buying a bigger car.

These days, when those thoughts fill my every moment... these are hard days. Days when bed seems like a good place to hide. When tears come and my heart struggles to remember the Hope I have found.

But I do have hope. I am confident in my gracious Redeemer, because He is gracious. He is compassionate. He is loving.* I am confident that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. I have no doubt that He is my Abba Father. My refuge, my fortress, my deliverer.

Someday, I will again hold a newborn in my arms-- one that belongs to me at least for a little while-- and I will see His goodness. I will see His love. Right now I trust in what I know to be true and I wait for the future. On a sad day, that is what brings me comfort.


*Did you know that is says that at least 6 different times in the bible? Here, here, here, here, here and here are the ones I found after a quick search.

,

You are still God.

"... yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!" Habakuk 3:18

Endless leaves fall. Today the winds have blown steady and the down pour of yellow, red and orange is almost complete. Mere days since a glance out my window made me gasp at the sea of lime green.

All things change. What is happening in the physical world around me is a dramatic representation of what is happening inside of me.

The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, yet my heart does not always bless His name in the midst of pain. One week into my mourning this is what was scratched into my journal, "I don't want to say yes to Your faithfulness if this is what it looks like. I AM ANGRY AT YOU!"

Tears fall even now, as I struggle to over come those same emotions. It is hard to make sense of loss. It is hard to understand why. Why? Why!

It is is hard to keep my heart soft. Daily I reach out, time and again, begging for mercy. Then begging for forgiveness for the words I have hurled at Him in my mind.

Daily He forgives. Daily He embraces. Daily He loves.

The gentleness of His touch calms me. Centers me. Fills me with courage to trust, love, hope.
"Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!"

Habakuk 3:17-18

The trees shed their leaves and they know they know they will be clothed again. Because He is faithful.

So, I will trust in Him.

This is my prayer in the desert
When all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be emptied again
The seed I've received I must sow

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship
(Listen here: Dessert Song, Hillsong)

His Song

"Show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely." Song of Solomon 2:14

Stepping quietly into His presence, I can feel His breath tickle my ear, "Be still."

Lids drop, thoughts slow. Deep breath.

"Hello, Lord."

"Hello, Beloved."


I feel Him close; my heart races... then slows as He draws near. I know this time is sacred, and so very, very needed. The peace that comes is overwhelming.

I rest as He sings His song over me.
"Show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely." (Song of Solomon 2:14)

"You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes."
(Song of Solomon 4:9)

"Find rest in Me alone. I am your salvation. I am your rock, your unshakable fortress."
(Psalm 62: 1&2)

"I am behind you and go before you. My hand is upon you. I surround you always. I created you fearfully and wonderfully. You are not hidden from me. I have ordained your days.
" (Psalm 139: 5, 13, 16)

"I take great delight in you. I will quiet you with my love. I will rejoice over you with my song." (Zephaniah 3:17)

His love is so real. Words true and life-giving. These moments, cherished. Precious. Sacred. Every blink, He knows. Every sigh, He understands. A heart full of wonder, once again about to burst.

"You are beautiful. You are my treasure."

His words, a treasure themselves. Buried deep. Kept in the secret place to always remember and hold dear.

I don't want to lose this moment. This quiet presence.

Your beauty surrounds me and I am overcome. Come, Lord, linger. Invade, walk the halls of this house. Holy Spirit, dwell here. Make this your home. My heart is set on you; my gaze is fixed on you. You are my desire, and I return to you, my first love.

,

Night Light

"You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light..."

Daddy was out of town so my little one and I slept at Nanny and Poppy's. When the moon was up, and eyes were droopy, we were getting ready to snuggle and snore together. As I turned the lights out, throwing the unfamiliar room into pitch black, my boy screamed, "Momma, where am I? I can't find me. Where did I go?"

Tears fell, his frantic voice cracking as he struggled to understand why the darkness had caused him to disappear. Even my nearness and touch provided little comfort. Solace could only be found when a night light was produced.

"I see me Momma. I right here and you right there." Big sigh. "Tank you for da light Momma. Now I can close my eyes."

"You O Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light...

As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord is flawless.
He is a shield
for all who take refuge in Him.
For who is God beside the Lord?
And who is the Rock except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle...

You give me your shield of victory,
and your right hand sustains me;
you stoop down to make me great."

Psalm 18: 28-36

Thank you, my Abba Father, for being my light in this night time. When darkness is overwhelming your Word is a constant lamp; a flame that cannot be snuffed out. And when my fears, questions, anger and doubt have weakened my pace, you stoop down to make me great. I am humbled by your affections. And in spite of the sorrow, I press on, following your light.

Rest and Restoration

by your still waters i rest
trusting in your faithfulness.
for your name you will make me whole;
you lift me above the pain
to the rock that is higher than i.

you are good.
you are good.
you are good.

your compassion is never ending,
you mercy overflows;
your love is bigger than the sorrow.
healing is poured over my soul
as you sing over me.

i can hear your song.
i can feel your gaze.
i am not alone on this road;
your foot falls next to mine on this journey.

hope is a declaration;
my hope is in you.
i declare your faithfulness.
i declare your glory.
i declare your goodness.

you are good.

YOU ARE.

,

Mourning

The quiet moments are the hardest. When my heart feels like it will burst and my mind wanders once again to that blank screen, that empty womb. I waited to see a tiny heart fluttering life. All I saw was stillness. All I saw was black.

No baby. Just hormones and placenta, but no life. No heart. No tiny fingers to hold someday. No sweet lips and cheeks to kiss. No beautiful eyes to gaze into. Just nothingness.

Then hours of waiting in the hospital. Misery. Then days of waiting for answers. Anxiousness. And now emptiness and normal life co-mingle. How?

How do I go on when this ache is so deep and constant?

How do I breathe when I choke on the raw emotion lodged in my chest?

How do I find courage to hope again when the image burned in my minds eye is so bleak?

I know I will find Hope in You, but I am so lost and shattered today. So empty and angry and filled with questions.

I know You are God and You never change. I know Your love for me is greater than all the pain and bleakness. I know you are trustworthy, steadfast, faithful, kind. Right now I speak these things in faith.

My head knows, but my heart aches with doubt.

Adrift

Life has been busy. Busy like the homework teachers give when they need to fill time. Or reach a quota. Seems like a lot of life is filled with this sort of busy.

In the midst of all this busy-ness I have allowed myself to drift from the safety of His shadow. Now I am struggling to get back.

Can I just walk back in, or do I have to wait for an invitation?

Sudsy Input Needed

We are in the market for a new washer and dryer. Our new place does not have them and we have been debating going the used/Craigslist route or buying new.

So, lovely bloggy friends, HELP!

- What brand do you like?
- How big?
- Where to buy?
- Front or top loading?
- What bells and whistles are worth paying for and which can I go without?
- Is Energy Star worth it? Does the payout in the end really justify the hefty up front price tag?

Also, one set we are looking at is made by Amana. I have never heard of this particular brand before but consumer reports and customer reviews are rating them high. Anyone out there have any knowledge to impart?

I need some beauty in the land of laundry as this is the task I dread the most. Help me find some laundry lovin'!!

Crazy

We move 1 week from today. My house should be declared a disaster area and the appraisal guy comes at 3 o'clock.

To top this off I have an almost 2 year old teething 2 year molars and throwing himself head first into all that is the so called terrible 2's.

Oh. Joy.

I want a margarita and the beach.

And a babysitter.

The Firstborn

Here's the thing, I'm a first born. Oldest of 3 kids and the only girl. I would say that my brothers and I all fit the typical birth order stereotypes pretty well. For the first half of my life I was content with being me; bossy, opinionated, organized, detailed, and so on.

As I got older I realized that some of the traits are not so much fun to have. Group assignments always found me stuck with the majority of the work because everyone knew I was good to get it done. Friends shied away from talking to me because my opinion was spoken with force instead of love. Work found me tackling the sorts of projects no one else wanted to do because I could solve the problem and figure out the details.

Internally, I longed to be the cheerleader. The popular girl. The homecoming queen. (Though in the spirit of full disclosure I was a homecoming princess, but I swear it was a fluke.) :)

As I am now a bit older, and hopefully wiser, I am learning the fine art of balance. Oh, it's so hard! But it is getting easier.

------------------------

This is a summary of what I learned on my internet "vacation"...

I don't have to be the first born anymore.

Jesus is the first born and He's got all the bases covered for me. I don't have to do more than what's in front of me at this very moment. And I don't have to "look good" for anyone but Him.

Can I get an Amen?!?!

Empty Vessel


So, I am less than a week away from giving up the internet for 40 days. Ugh! In the interest of full disclosure-- I am dreading it! This week I've been paying attention to when I log on to the internet and, well, let's just say it's staggering how much I rely on the World Wide Web.

** Need a recipe? Just jump on to Allrecipes.com and problem solved.

** Weird, unexplainable stomach cramp? Why, WebMD.com has the answer!

** Has the title of a book you read in 5th grade slipped your mind? Good thing Amazon.com knows which one it is.

** Looking for the latest theory on your favorite TV show? Well, take your pick.

Um, yeah, I need a break.

............

I want things to be different in my life and I feel as though I have lost a certain intimacy I once had with Him. That is what this season is all about for me. Not just a fast, which feels so… oh, I don’t know… obligatory. Rather I want this to be an offering. An act of worship. An empty vessel. (Yes, I know that’s what a fast is, but it’s all about how the wording plays out in my head.)

Please know that I am not telling you about this to make myself look good to you. I have mentioned it for 3 reason’s; 1) I want you to know where I’ve gone when I disappear for a while; 2) Maybe, maybe, I will inspire someone else in my journey; 3) Accountability.

I know that several have asked me to journal during this time and I am still thinking about it. Sunday's are not counted in the 40 days of fasting, they are seen as a celebratory time. So, I might post an update or two on a Sunday. I'll wait and see how it feels.

Either way, I will journal as I go, and when the time is over I will share with you what I can. (As a side note-- I will still be checking/sending email as that was not a part of what I am "offering" up. I can check it without logging on and email is a vital source of communication in our household.)

Is anyone else out there making an offering for Lent?

(Oh by the way, Lent starts next Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, and goes until Easter.)

Reality

I was just reading Meredith's blog and she posted on a topic that has been weighing on my heart lately. I am going to piggy back off of her topic with some of my own thoughts....

I would like to think that I have been pretty transparent on this blog. Actually, I think I am more real here than I am in real life sometimes. I find it easier to share the ugly parts with people who I only sort of know. Yet, in truth, I think y'all probably know me best.

...............

For about a year I had a little reminder written in lipstick on my bedroom mirror. Every time I put on makeup, checked an outfit, or fluffed my hair this little note was staring back at me. Day after day I would read it aloud and repeat it over and over, hoping that it would sink into my heart and free me from my perfectionism.

"I am who I am."

It didn't help. I windexed it off.

Here's the thing, I am ugly. I am messy. I am loud, and controlling, and I do not have all my sh*t together. (And I cuss!) I struggle with anxiety and depression. I HATE gloomy weather. I do not read my bible every day. I do not shower every day. Sometimes I only wash my hair once a week! (Heaven forbid!) I am overweight. I think judgmental thoughts. I gossip. I lie, to myself mostly, but I do lie. I envy, I have unrighteous anger.

And sometimes, okay A LOT of times, I do all those things (and more) in one day!

But that's just me. It's who I am and I have no problem admitting the bad stuff.

A few days ago I was looking through some old photos. I came across a series of pictures of myself that I had not seen in a long time. I stared for a long time, looking at each photo thoroughly, and I realized something.

I am beautiful.


Why is it so hard to admit the good stuff?

...............

Lent is coming up and I've been thinking about what I am going to "give up". I can barely even type the words, but I think I am going to give up the Internet. Blogs, Facebook, Youtube, People.com, Craigslist, All Recipes (yikes!), etc. All of it. For 40 days.

I'm getting all sweaty just thinking about it.

But here's the truth- the internet is just one more hurdle in my struggle to admit the good stuff. It's hard to read other blogs and think that everyone else has their sh*t together when mine has just hit the fan. I can't help but compare myself to the rest of the good mommy bloggers out there.

And honestly, this thing just sucks up my time. It is a distraction from making the changes in my "real" life that I need to make. I want to live authentically. Not just blog it, but live it.

So, that's what I am going to do. I'm gonna throw myself at the Lords feet and walk out my life, authentically, and as naked as figuratively possible.

And when I come back, if I come back, maybe I'll blog about it. ;)

Why I Love My Husband: Reason #756,859



After an especially long and hectic afternoon, he offers to bring something home for dinner so I don't have to cook. And, as an added bonus he plans on taking the toddler out for a while so I can let silence tickle my ear drums.

Ah, the luxury.

He's my hero.

Exercise

Me- Start the Winsor Pilate's 20 minute Burn work out DVD.

Jaron- Get head stuck behind furniture. Scream

Me- Pause DVD to help Jaron get unstuck. Comfort screaming toddler.

Jaron- Get head stuck behind furniture... again. Scream... again.

Me- Pause DVD to help Jaron get unstuck... again. Comfort screaming toddler... again.

Jaron- Disappear after a few minutes of "behaving".

Me- Pause the DVD after "hearing" silence for too long. Discover Jaron coloring daddy's pillow with a blue high-liter. Disciple toddler.

Jaron- Throw tantrum before the word "No" even hits Mommy's lips.

Me- Choose not to battle fit. Ignore fit. Clean up mess.

Jaron- Mad at lack of attention. Escape while Mommy's distracted. Find more trouble to get into.

Me- Back to finish workout. Can't find remote to un-pause DVD. Look to Jaron.

Jaron- Smile mischievously at Mommy's stern look. Offer no help.

Me- Tear house apart looking for remote while trying to remain calm. Repeating mantra, "Do not loose your temper at helpless toddler".

Jaron- Start giggling. Offer no help.

Me- Find remote hidden in empty box in Jaron's room. Finish 20 minute workout DVD in 45 minutes. Put toddler down for nap. Put self down for nap.


"Who me?"

Embers, revisited

This story starts a few posts ago, and it doesn't end with today's post. I think this is just the journey the Lord has me on right now. I can't say that I am totally thrilled about it, however I do think I am beginning to understand what it's all about.

Psalm 18 has been a bit of a challenge for me. I guess it has revealed in my heart some trust issues. Imagine that? A female with trust issues!? ;)

The psalm talks a lot about how the Lord will be my support and my shield. That he will enable me to stand and face my enemy. That he will, "stoop down to make me great" (vs 35).

Those are hard phrases for me, though the stooping down part gives me chills. I am lowly and he is lofty, yet he loves me. I am dark and he is light, yet he loves me. He is clean and holy and pure and because of his sacrifice I am too.

I guess it's the sacrifice part that is sometimes hard to accept. Does anyone else have a hard time with that? As a mom, as a perfectionist and someone who analyzes EVERYTHING, I find it very difficult to accept help. While studying this psalm I keep coming back to that.

I have the head knowledge of all this, but I guess sometimes my heart gets tripped up on pride.

Recently I read a corresponding passage (Psalm 91) that led to a bit of a breakthrough. Look at this....

"Because he loves me" says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him." (emphasis mine)

Simply because I love him, he will not only rescue me, but he will honor me.

Wow. Does that hit you like it hit me? I hope so. I hope the deepth of that sinks into you today. All you have to-- ALL I HAVE TO DO-- is acknowlede his name and call to him. Doesn't mean my problem will *poof* go away, but it does mean that someone far greater than me is on the job.

The Message bible says it so awesomely... "From his palace he hears my call; my cry brings me right into his presence- a private audience!" (Pslalm 18:6)

How cool is that?

If you are in need of help, or strength; or if you feel like your enemies [enemies can also be things like depression, anxiety, bitterness, unforgiveness, etc] are closing in an all sides then I encourage you to read Psalm 18 and Psalm 91 today.

And seriously, isn't it just breath taking that he stoops down to make us great???

And A Happy Holidays To You...

Being sick is the pits.

Taking care of a sick toddler is sad.

Having a sick husband is MISERABLE.

All of the above at the same time, during Christmas vacation, cannot be described in words I wish to publish on the blog. Use your imagination.

I'm going to bed.

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Casey
I am a lover of: God... my sexy husband... 3 of the cutest kiddos in the world... deep friendships... a good book... music that moves me... the beach... sunshine... cooking... and laughter.
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