Friday, June 29, 2012

Lessons from the pit

  It would be euphemistic for me to say that the past 10 days have been the most difficult days of my life. Last night was the first night I slept through the night for nearly three weeks, but I don't feel so very rested.
  It would be inappropriate for me to go in to detail here and quite frankly sound like a whole lot of finger pointing, something that Thad and I believe only increases misery and does nothing to ease it. But I have learned some invaluable lessons over the past week and a half that are worth, even if only for myself, writing down.

1. Prayer does not mean getting what you want. There's that awful tendency of Christians to overuse that "ask and ye shall receive" verse, and I think that even those of us who would say that's dangerous can sometimes live our lives as though we believe that praying over something means getting exactly what we want out of it. Our prayers asking for a future in which family and business were separated (Thad having been an employee at the family company) were answered--just not in the form we expected. The form being that Thad is currently dropping his 15th resume off today in the search for a job and us finding ourselves 4 months pregnant and unable to pay rent. Not exactly what we hoped for, but this being an answer to our prayers is undeniable.

2. People will always disappoint; and that's okay. I fondly remember one of the best pastors in the universe, Pastor Jensen in Long Island, telling me a story once about a person in his congregation saying to him, "Pastor I know you will never let me down." And he was quick to tell her that of course he will, at one point, let her down--he is a human being, he is flawed, he will err. The worst thing we can do is put pressure on anyone in our lives to never let us down, because not only is that an inhuman expectation, moving past the disappointment will be that much harder. I've told so many people in my life this story, maybe as a motivator to forgive someone, or to never put too much faith in me. It is time for me to practice what I've preached.

3. Not only will my dad always go to bat for me, he will go to bat for Thad, too. Thad and I have had our eyes opened to so many things in such a short amount of time, but I think the coolest (and newest) for Thad is having a father figure be 100% in his corner. And I mean...don't be jealous, but we're not just talking any father, we're talking about James White here. Kind of a big deal.

4. What God has joined together, let no man separate. Well, duh, you're probably thinking, that's like....in the Bible. But the "let no man separate" covers so many things we never forsaw--"no man" can reference family members, or even ourselves. While we believe that our marriage has only gotten sweeter and sweeter day by day, and is better now than a year ago, it has been all the sweeter to lean on each other for support during this time. We are truly learning the meaning of "leaving and cleaving" and for all the difficulty it brings, it has only just brought us that much closer together. One of the greatest joys I have ever had is fighting for my husband and I wouldn't trade one single tear back for an easier road.

5. What does 'giving it to God' mean?. Oh how many times have we all heard "just give it to the Lord!" but how freaking much harder is that to actually do?? We are learning that "giving it to God" is not something that is one and done; its something you must do--intentionally do--every day. The anger and hurt that I manage to give to the Lord today will require the same effort to be given up tomorrow. I know that I cannot continue to feel the stress and sadness or the creeping bitterness because I am not the only one that will feel it---so will our little one. And I simply cannot do that to my poor baby that I love more than life.

6. My husband is my hero. I can't say that's something I just realized recently, but it sure has been cemented. I dare anyone to watch him right now and call him anything but. The level-headedness, the clarity of thought and action, the motivation, the unwavering, the good mood he manages to stay in, his constantly being in prayer, the support he manages to give me, his good sense of humor, and his relentlessness in his job search are all so admirable. While I seem to have lost my appetite, his has quadrupled. He is a man on fire to get us back on our feet.

7. Just because it feels like the end of the world, doesn't mean that it is. I told Thad at the outset of this thing, "We are going to have bad days where we feel like it won't get better but just remember that it will get better. The Lord provides." Well as it turns out, I'm the one most in need of that advice, but the truth is that we are both at peace. Strange, strange peace. We 100% believe that once we pull through this thing that we will be happier, healthier, more in love, and in an even better place than before and we pull for that every day because we really, truly believe that not a minute of our lives has been left up to fate, or left up to us, but has been ordained by God.

Of course we appreciate any and all prayers. We have benefitted beyond words from the smothering of love from my parents and our fellow church members, and remain looking forward to many years of service with them.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Provides.

I haven't mentioned it yet, because the last time we went through this process it was such a horrific nightmare and we didn't end up with the house we signed for.....but as the close of escrow is only a month away, have I mentioned that Thad bought the peanut and I this bad boy?


P R E T T Y stoked. The floor plan is just, you know, my dream floor plan. It's so unique inside, I've never been in a house like it. And, I got my loft--something that I gave up as a requirement when the whole mess of looking for a house started.

I can hardly call it a mess, because the way that we got into this house has been absolutely nothing short of a miracle, from day one through today. We started looking almost as soon as we found out I was pregnant because it was make it happen soon, or wait until halfway through next year. And as we all know blah blah blah the price of houses is only going up and up and up. The average price of homes we were looking for this year was in the 130's, whereas a year ago when we were looking we were in the 110's. The second difficulty present this year that wasn't last year, was that demand was higher and supply lower, so houses on the market today get many, many offers before deals are closed, and our down payment amount was never going to be special.

All that being said, the first three weeks we were looking for houses, the second we expressed just INTEREST in one, it was sold. A house would go on the market, we'd tell our guy we wanna see it, he'd come back to us the next day after looking in to it either saying "It has 10 offers on it already with more cash up front than you do" or "It sold." This happened about 15 times before we decided we had to let go of some of our wish list. We raised the "year built", we opened the search area, etc. And then nothing after nothing happened, until I saw this baby on my phone during break at work one Saturday and immediately called Thad who immediately called our agent who immediately looked in to it. We went and did a walk-thru 4 hours later.

The second I walked through the door I was in love. The hideous linoleum floors in the kitchen didn't even phase me. The vaulted ceilings and the white banister on the staircase and the open loft and the island in the kitchen and the three full bathrooms phased me though. I just had this "I'm at home" feeling the whole time we were there. Our agent picked up on it, because he told me that we would put offers down on multiple houses. This wouldn't be the first house we'd want, and no tears allowed. I knew he was right but told him I'd cry anyway.

So over the weekend we worked up a contract and signed a million papers and we had an offer on the bank's desk Monday morning. Thad came home Tuesday afternoon when he should've been at work and he knelt down next to me with a grave face and told me not to cry (so I started to cry) and that he'd talked to our agent and THEY ACCEPTED OUR OFFER!! And I just about punched him, except I was too happy.

Our agent hasn't had a deal work out like this one has in this market, ever. According to him. He was just as astonished as we were. Then, when we asked the bank to pay a certain amount of our closing cost they said yes, and can we pay even more than the amount you asked for?
()*(&&*%^%$%^$^&**(()*#())(@()@&*@*!*!!!!!!!
Amazing.

And then, when all this stuff with loans happened that I think you have to go to school for to understand, and all the sudden we had to front even more money than had been planned on, I collapsed. And prayed and prayed a lot. I couldn't see a way to come up with the suddenly needed money, and then the bank agreed to roll another (and much, much larger) amount into the closing costs, and then my parents stepped in with help as well--help that all of this could not be possible without.

The amazing provision that has landed us with this house--because let's face it, we didn't make this deal happen, the Lord did--has been staggering. Every single door that we needed to get through has been opened for us, we didn't do it ourselves. From seeing the house the day it went on the market, to the bank not waiting for a better offer, to offering us more and more money to make it happen, to my parents selfless giving....I have found myself on my knees more than once. I just cannot believe that we are being blessed with this home, and in the way the Lord has done. It silences me, it humbles me.

I am reminded of Matthew 7:11: "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"

We wanted to get a house for our little peanut, but it was not us who provided the way--it was the Lord. We are so thankful for the people who helped make this happen--our agent, Sean Hahn (if you need a real estate agent just go on ahead and ask me for his number), some awesome lady named Tiffany at the bank, and peanut's grandparents (you can't borrow them though).

So, who wants to help us move on July 14th?


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Oh, hey!

I slept for maybe three hours Thursday night, so Friday was a bit of a nightmare. My 12 week ultrasound was scheduled for 145 in the afternoon after my early and longest shift of the week, and I was pretty darn close to calling and re-scheduling for another day....but I suppose that kind of ruins the idea of it being a "12 week" ultrasound. Also, I wanted to see the kiddo.

Between the heat and the exhaustion and how not cute my feet are when they're swollen and obviously the pregnancy hormones, I was practically in tears sitting in the doctors office waiting my turn. I know, its silly. Poor Thad. He just rubbed my hand and kept giving me water.

It was miraculous how seeing baby move turned everything around. I didn't think we'd get to see the baby moving for awhile, and I certainly can't feel it, but the second his little outline popped up on the screen and we saw him bouncing around (or as the ultrasound tech put it, "having a good ole time") I totally became a different person than I'd been for the previous 10 hours in the day. Thad, for his part, was giggling (don't tell him I told you).  I'm sure none of this is news for lots and lots of people, but for us it was mind-blowing.

And my personal favorite moment was when the tech was checking out his brain from a sort-of aerial view, and all the sudden we got a high five:


I know, I'm practically one of those moms who cries when their baby sneezes or something but it was only three weeks ago that our baby's hands and arms were best described as "buds". We even got to see a round belly and some legs!:


So, basically, I'm in love.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Breaking up is hard to do.

I haven't had caffeine since April 23rd. Of course I know the exact date that we broke up, it was a difficult parting....it's also the day I found out I was pregnant.

It was actually easier to let go of than I thought it would be, as even 'decaf' would upset my tummy. But over the past week, my morning sickness has transitioned into severe headache land. My food stays down but my head feels like it's bout to split. Not sure which I dislike more.

My headache this morning felt different though, it felt like the kind of headaches I used to get when I went too many hours into my day without coffee. So when I sat down at Oregano's to have lunch with my mama a few hours ago I went ahead and ordered ice tea, hoping the caffeine would help. I even put sweet and low in it, which is just...yanno...my favorite sweetener ever and it's also not that good for you. I gave that up even before I found out I was pregnant but today I just really really needed my tea.

Ah, how to describe that first sip? Probably somewhat along the lines of an alcoholics first beer of the day, it was like meeting an old friend I hadn't seen in forever. It was how I imagine I will feel when Anita gets back from the next two months in Europe.

In case you're wondering, my headache = gone. This could be a bad thing, now that I know the magical fix to my pregnancy headaches is just a little caffeine, as a little caffeine always turns in to a lot of caffeine for me.

On another note, I had absolutely zero idea the response I would get to my last blog post. It was not a premeditated work, it was a vent I sincerely needed to place in a wiser place than on someone else's facebook comments section and thus causing more anger than I did in the first place by refusing to put man's sovereignty before God's in a public discussion that clearly wanted to only glorify man, and not God.

I've gotten not a few emails asking that I continue to blog in the vein of that last post, and I respectfully can make no promises on that front. I can get very fired up about Biblical issues (obviously) and do not claim whatsoever to be any sort of authority on the issues. The Bible should be the only authority Christians look to, and it is all I depend on for any kind of response I give. Occasionally I get lazy and text my dad asking for a point in the right direction but let's face it, you would too if you were me!

However, do expect a few blog posts with my thoughts on the work of Rachel Held Evans. I do believe that her leadership has a potentially dangerous and an unbiblical influence on her readers and my sincerest prayer is that she would use her widely read platform to give the glory to God.

Monday, June 4, 2012

This will probably offend you.

Maybe it's my dad's fault, or my church's fault, or nobody's fault but my own, but I have never for one day in my life been offended if someone has disagreed with me and today, given the interaction I've had with some folks, I'm feeling a bit like an anomaly.

I have always been taught that if you're gonna go on ahead and be a Christian, which BY NECESSITY means that you are going to offend a whole lot of people, that you should know a little bit about what the Bible says. There is nothing that annoys me more than Christians who couldn't tell you up from down or stand on one leg when it comes to what the Bible teaches and yet they are the first ones to shake their Bibles atcha and tell you some nice fluffy things like "Be nice." This is why I left "Christian" school. But I digress.

If you are a Christian, and you don't think doctrine is important, I would encourage you to go on ahead read the New Testament. The writers of your holy scriptures would not have spent as many pages and pages and pages as they did on doctrine if they didn't think it was important. The Lord would not have breathed the words of the NT into these writers if it wasn't important to Him. And if you claim to love the Lord then what is important to the Lord needs to be important to you.

Dear Chistians the Gospel is OFFENSIVE to the unbeliever. True Christianity makes unbelievers ANGRY and uncomfortable and if it doesn't then the Gospel that is being given is a watered-down fake Gospel. No sinner likes to hear that they are a sinner in need of salvation, it offends the unrepentant. And it's supposed to. And how!! how is it??? how is it that so many Christians today waste their testimony by attempting to make unbelievers COMFORTABLE in their sin? How can someone who claims to have a changed heart be so heartless in their witnessing to the unbeliever that they do not confront them with their sin?

I remember when I was younger, telling my dad that what the Mormons were doing by going door-to-door wasn't right and thank the Lord he put it in perspective for me: "If you saw me standing in the middle of the road about to be hit by a car, would you tell me?" and I said, of course I would. So he said, "Well the mormons think that when we die, we aren't going to a great place. And the best thing they can do for us, is set us on what they think is the right path. It's the most loving thing they can do, at least in their minds." Of course, we do believe that mormon doctrine is dangerous and yes, they are a cult. But you get the point.

Christians, if you believe that those who have not been joined with Christ are going to spend an eternity in hell, how can you look them in the eye and tell them "God is love"? The unrepentant do not even know the meaning of that word.

And beyond that, how is it that we have leaders in our churches who are not concerned with the spiritual growth of the people that come every Sunday and Wednesday and sit under their teaching? Why is it okay to let them sit in comfort and remain ignorant? Did not Paul urge those who have spent time knowing the Lord to not be as children in their understanding of the Lord?

We look around us at our nation and wonder---wonder at the murder of the unborn by the millions, wonder at the breakdown of the family and the building up and glamorizing of sin and I gotta tell you, I don't wonder.

It's no wonder. This is not some mystery.

This is judgment.

And where are the majority of our churches? Feeding baby-milk doctrine to adults who couldn't Biblically define the word "grace" if their lives depended on it.

I digressed again.

My original point was that I think it is important, now more than ever, that Christians be okay--no, be better than okay with being challenged and having to support what they SAY they believe in. What is the point in believing in something if you don't know why you believe it? And how is it okay for any christian to be so insecure in what they believe that the second a person comments or calls them out or presents a differing viewpoint than what they believe that they label it 'offensive' and fritter away with their bibles held tightly to their chests? Is that what Jesus did when he was challenged?