Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Right quick,

Welcome folks, to my third trimester! I cried twice today, can no longer bend over without grimacing, can eat all day without skipping a beat, and am often interuppted during my day by a foot in my ribcage.

This little one is sooooo active! I was truly appalled about a week ago. I had no idea the kicks and wiggles could be so strong--no one told me it was like this!--and thought surely something had to be wrong. But no, I'm just a novice.

Is it strange that I can't get over the fact that my baby is swimming around in water right now? Is it weird that sometimes I feel like I'm smothering the baby?

Anyway, the big gender reveal is on its way! I will finally be able to share with my husband whether we're having a boy or a girl this Saturday, which means I'll then be sharing it with everyone! Which also means, yes, I'm hoppin on a plane to Georgia in just a few short days. If I can ask for your help again, please pray for safe and the most comfortable travel possible (I can't seem to get comfortable *anywhere* these days) but mostly pray that the Gospel be put on display through me this weekend. That is what I desire the most. (I also can't wait to get out of this 100 degree weather but that's secondary.)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sixty Days. Don't Hold Your Applause.

    Today marks 60 days since I have seen my husband. I wish I could eloquently describe what that's like but....words fail me.
   What I really wish I could eloquently describe is what the past sixty days of my life have been like. I have in fact lived a lifetime in the past 60 days. I look older, there's no doubt; and so does my little peanut baby.

   The wretch that I am, sixty days ago I was riding a rollercoaster of emotion, none of the least of which was anger. Sadness prevailed at first. The night before I left Georgia I sat outside on the steps of my friends home and had to call my mommy in an attempt to stem the tears. It was, after all, my anniversary. And I was, after all, getting on a plane without my husband.

   But the overwhelming anger I felt towards God....now that was a new thing for me. God let me down. God left me in a ditch. God was driving the car and God sank it in a river. God's plan for me was misery. Or at least, that's what I thought.
   I spent far too many days unable to pray. My faithless, wretched heart did not know what to pray for. Well, I suppose that's not entirely true. I sent up many a word of pleading. Incoherent pleading.

   I don't know when everything changed. It's like CS Lewis said, "Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different." Maybe it was the first time I was able to pray for Thad. Maybe it was when I began to dig myself into the Word again. But the Lord took my hand and allowed me to see. See things that I've always mentally known but never had to emotionally sink my teeth in to.

   Life is not over.  Every day the sun rises. Every day my child grows.
   Every day is filled with blessings, none are too small to not be of comfort, if only I'm willing to put them into perspective.
  I do not control today. No amount of exertion on my part will command the outcome of all of this. My job is to glorify God in all of this. No excuses.
   I have hope. Because I cannot see it does not mean it does not exist.

   How many times have I sang "tis to sweet to trust in Jesus" but spent all of my breaths trusting in myself to get myself through? The fact is is that until now, until God opened my eyes so that I could see, I had not one iota of understanding of what it is to truly trust in the sovereignty of God. The peace that flows from this is beyond words.

   The scriptures bite into my soul like never before. My prayers have taken on a new tone. The Lord has scooped me up off of the floor and given me an entirely new life--both literally and spiritually. What a testament to the mercy of God that he uses evil for good. What a testament to the depravity of man that we so often must be brought to the dirt before we fully lift our eyes to heaven.

  The road before us as a family is a long, winding one, and I don't know where it leads. But I don't need to. I only need know the God that built the road and keeps me safely on the path. And I was oh so wrong just sixty days ago. God's plan for me is not misery and I have not been left in a ditch. I have been lifted up and protected and cared for. This life I live, this next breath I breathe, is mercy. So if what little I've shared of my story crosses your mind, I hope you think of all the love and mercy and protection and wonderful things that have come from the Lord's hand--and don't bother to hold your applause for the God of the universe.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Brief Explanation of Why "Over The Rainbow" is an Awesome Song.

1. It answers the question of "where is all this coming from?" ("Somewhere over the rainbow/way up high"). According to the song, it's coming from the Lord. Mmm, providence. Delicious.
2. It references lullabies, which let's face it, most of us don't have extremely sweet memories of but doesn't it sound fanciful and wonderful? C'mon mom, why didn't you sing me more lullabies? ("There's a land that I heard of/Once in a lullaby")
3. It puts to rest that age old question, 'is the sky blue?' Yes, as the song explains, "somewhere over the rainbow/skies are blue."
4. It answers "when am I going to start getting what I really want?" You are going to start getting what you really want when you get to heaven, dear. While here, we will struggle with remaining sin. We will suffer, but our hope remains. ("The dreams that you dare to dream/really do come true" and "troubles melt like lemon drops." There's no crying in heaven!)
5. It addresses the unfortunate reality of our battles with the flesh and reminds us that the best is yet to come. ("Blue birds fly over the rainbow/why oh why can't I?") We aren't fully sanctified yet, but we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the promise of an eternity spent in the presence of the Lord.

Okay maybe that's not what the writer of the song meant, that's just what I hear when I listen to "Over the Rainbow."

Tag this under "Calvinist Filter" and "What I'm thinking about at 2am"

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What is a 'Bully', anyway?

   I am absolutely confused with our culture's somewhat recent fascination with 'bullying.' From Lady Gaga tweeting things about "bullies" and Dateline NBC doing entire specials on teens who have committed suicide--supposedly because the kids at school were mean to them--I seriously feel like I cannot get away from the horrors of bullying. If you were to believe the media, bullies are everywhere!

   Particularly disturbing to me is that if you google "bullying", the first thing that pops up is a government website. The fact that our tax dollars have gone to the creation of a website--let alone the people behind it--dedicated to "stop bullying" should worry you for several reasons.

1. "Bullying" is subjective. I see examples of this at work all the time. The lazy folk that don't like to work find those of us in management to be "bullies" because we attempt to get work out of them. Even this government website admits that bullying can be "real or perceived." Since when is it the government's job to control or in any way interfere with the perceptions of its contituents?

2. Is this country so dumbed down that we need an entire website to explain the concept of someone who is 'mean'? Are we such a rich country that we can afford to be footing the bill on such an inane project?

3. The most worrisome issue for me is this--how in the world is it the government's job to parent our children? I.E., explain to them what a bully is, how not to be one, and how not to be a 'victim' of one?

    Well here's my theory on all of that. Our culture has become one of such absolute dependence on the government that yes, absolutely, my generation *does* believe that the government should have at least some role in the parenting of our own children. There may be a few reasons for this, but I would postulate that the number one reason for such a sad, dismal, pathetic, minimal view of parenting is that our parents neglected to parent us.

    You see, I was one of the minority in high school in that my parents were still married. Or even that my parents ARE married, or that they LIVE TOGETHER, made me a minority. Is it really such a shock then that we are a generation of kids who do the most minimal work possible, and believe that the government should step in and buy us the things we can't, because we don't want to put in the work to get better jobs and better our own lives? Is it such a surprise when we have children with our summer flings and an entire generation of people is being murdered in the womb or raised by single mothers?

   I hear adults lament the stupidity of my generation constantly and yes...we are incredibly stupid. Look at the suit and tie that we elected to the White House all because he had an artsy poster and MTV subliminally told us to. But, may I ask, what was our example? Was it the generation before us, that screamed loudly from the rooftops that they didn't care what their president did to that intern, it's his business! Was it the parents who stayed together, honored marriage, and taught us responsibility?

    I am surrounded by girls my age whose hearts are broken over their father's desertion. An entire generation of men who refused to raise their children--and then we act surprised when the children act like they were never raised.

   I am surrounded by girls who feel 'empowered' to take on single motherhood because their moms did it. These are the same girls who feel 'empowered' to have sex with whoever they want and to party all weekend because our society has tried to tell them that they can have it all. Their hearts aren't scarred. Their fatherless children aren't affected.

What a bunch of lies.

Anyway, I digress.

   The point is, it should be *in the home* that children are raised. Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." It is the parents job to teach children the difference between right and wrong, how to behave, how to interact appropriately with other children, not our school system. I find it hilarious that the same people who scream for education reform are the ones gagging the system with seminars on "bullying." When did it become the government's job to train our children how to be nice?

 I would submit to you that the "bullies" I knew in grade school were often the kids I watched linger on their walk home because "home" wasn't so much of a great place to be. Bullies often learn how best to bully from their parents....and by parents I mean, mom and this week's "boyfriend." Or mom and dad on the verge of divorce. Or how about....just mom?

    We are a culture of no-responsibility. No responsiblity for the parents to train their children, no responsiblity for the children to own their actions. Is it such a surprise how many of our neighbors live off welfare? Living a life of no responsiblity comes now with a government check attached, and when their kids turn out to be lifelong members of the jail system, we get to pay for their kids, too!

    The culture of self-love has turned us into a bunch of hateful, lazy, government dependent, undereduated and overfed people who constantly have our hands out for everything. The culture of 'me' has made us the kind of parents that can't even raise our own children with some semblance of respect for others, and then we turn around and wait for the government to "fix" it for us.

   My recommendation? Parents: get married, stay married. Demonstrate respect for your spouse in your home, and I bet the kids you send off to school will be much less likely to be "bullies" or to be a victim of bullying (also less likely to be a victim of bad grades and jail time). Kiddos: Show respect, get respect. Don't like what your classmate says about you? Congratulations, welcome to the real world, where not everyone you meet is going to want to be your friend.

    Ultimately, any 'goodness' to be found in any person, no matter how they are raised, is a sign of God's grace and restraining hand. This must be acknowledged. I do believe that no matter how much training or discipline or Godly parenting anyone undergoes, ultimately the 'good' in any person is a blessing from the Lord.

I am thankful for my parents, who stayed together, who showed each other respect and love in the home, and thus taught my brother and I respect.

Please don't get me wrong....I feel for children. Being a child is hard, especially considering that children can often be so harsh and mean to one another (Psalm 51:5 "Surely, I was born a sinner..."). Mostly I just wanted to address what the government's role in all of this is....and how it's disturbing that think they have a role in 'parenting' children at all.

On a completely different note, I want to say thank you to everyone (and there were a lot of you, so I'm sorry I didn't get to say this to you individually) who have poured out your prayers after reading my last blog post. The support and kind words have been so invaluable and comforting to me. Please continue to pray, and thank the Lord especially for all the wonderful work He is doing.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Second Most Difficult Blog Post I'll Ever Write

Dear blog readers,

I do not know who you are. I know you're pretty faithful, and I appreciate that. So this is why it's so difficult for me to write what I'm about to.

The end of June through this very day have been the darkest days I have ever endured. Some of you know the story, and some of you don't. The simplest breakdown I can give right now is this: My husband will be here for the next 9 months: No Longer Bound. I am hoping that this is the 2nd most difficult blog post I ever write because a year from now, with the Lord's hand, we will arrive safely on the other side of this darkness and I hope that we can be a testimony to His work, and we can share our story with other families affected by addiction.

Until then, I am very much a struggling servant of the Lord. Thankfully, my wonderful parents are providing food and shelter to my baby and I while Thad is away and I am a single-income parent. They also provide love and emotional support that is and will continue to be invaluable as Thad will not be here for the arrival of our child. 

I am writing this all to ask for a blessing. I found out today that I have been dropped from my insurance due to not having worked a sufficient amount of hours between June and now. Unfortunately, I am only physically capable of working part-time with the pregnancy, and the month of July and much of August was put on hold in an effort to get Thad sober and into the right program. Between the baby's prenatal visits, and Thad's trip to the ER, I have over $15,000 in medical bills staring me in the face. 

I applied for something called COBRA benefits today, which means a $300 a month payment to apply coverage to the months that I was uncovered. However, that payment equals half of my monthly income and I will not be financially capable of continuing to pay for that coverage.

I am uncomfortable asking for financial support. I like to work and earn my wage. So instead I must thank God that he is using these life events to teach me some humility. Obivously, the Lord knows I need it. Furthermore, I find myself capable of doing things now that I have someone else to look after that I would not have been able to do before, and not having medical coverage for my child well....as a mom, that spurs me on to try any avenue to remedy the situation possible. 

If the Lord so moves you to bless us in this way, I am humbly and with more gratitude than I can express, adding a button that would allow any size donation to be made possible on the right hand side of the page.

Please know that any dollar amount will be put strictly towards re-establishing medical coverage for my baby and I and towards our medical bills.

All for His glory,


Monday, September 3, 2012

Dear Baby in my Belly,

I have never seen your face but I imagine your little shape laying next to me all the time. In fact, I look forward to the moments we will have alone, laying side by side, more than I have ever looked forward to anything this side of heaven. So you'll forgive me if sometimes I wish you would just be born already; but don't get me wrong, this is fun, too. I love when you wiggle and squirm and kick and punch me and let me know how feisty you are--already.

I promise to honor and protect every precious inch of you that is in my charge to the best of my ability for all of my days. I read somewhere the other day that all children belong to God and we (parents) just get to care for them for awhile. As sad as it already makes me to contemplate the idea that you are not 100% mine, how much better is it to contemplate the fact that you are 100% God's FIRST, and then you are mine? What a comfort. I'm so glad God chose me to have you. I don't think you'll know until you have your own children just how blessed that makes me feel.

You have never breathed in air through your own lungs and yet you have already saved me in many, many ways. In fact, sometimes I think you get me out of bed in the morning. As tired and cramped and out of breath and nauseous as I may feel, you keep me moving. You remind me to eat and to drink water and to take care of myself like I may otherwise have been incapable of doing at this time in my life.

You aren't just a blessing to my body, no matter what the stretch marks and headaches may have to say, you are a blessing to my mind. You make me think happy thoughts. You keep my mind busy with plans and dreams and hopes for you. You make me see a happy future, when no one else could possibly do that for me right now.

You have also blessed my soul. In my desire to be a good mommy to you, I see a yearning in my heart to be closer to God that is made of something completely other. A yearning that is completely new. I can't lead you to the Lord if I can't draw near, either, and this has spurred me on to a much more disciplined thought and prayer life. It is a totally new thing to "take every thought captive" when I know I have a little human being depending on me and my soundness of mind.

Can I just say that I have never wanted to impress someone more in my ENTIRE life? Man oh man do I hope you think I'm just the coolest. I remember how I used to think my parents were like, insane. Like, no one could possibly be as strong/smart/funny/intelligent as they were. I remember when my mom would pick me up with one arm just thinking, I bet she can do anything! Ever!

I want to be the mommy that can do anything, ever, for you. And not just in the daily ins-and-outs of being your mom--although I hear that it's the "daily" part of motherhood that is the hardest--I want to do the hard things for you, too. I want to cultivate the kind of relationship with you that is going to leave a lasting impression on you--in a good way. I hope you can say the kinds of things about me at my funeral that my dad had to say about his mom. Things like, maybe you didn't grow up with the nicest house on the block or all the money in the world, but you grew up seeing the fear of the Lord demonstrated. That you grew up in the knowledge of the Lord. I hope all of that is true while simultaneously you'll be able to say that I never chose a pinterest perfect home over getting in pillow fights, that I never cared more about doing the dishes than helping with homework and that I never made you feel guilty for spilling on the carpet.

I hope when I fail you, or let you down, as I inevitably will do, that you know my heart better than you know my mistakes. I hope you'll be able to see past any grumpiness or moodiness and know that no matter how tired or spread thin, I love you and I am imperfect creature.

I hope you share your heart breaks with me and your joys. I hope you'll always be annoyed when I put your grades on the fridge and when I'm 50, I'll still have something you draw for me five years from now. Because that's what parents do. We're annoying and we're superhuman and we're imperfect and we love you til our bones break. Aren't we just the worst sometimes?

I hope you get to have the kind of relationship with my parents that I have gotten to have with my grandparents. They are crazy, but they love you, too.

Basically, I can't wait for you to get here. I don't care that it's gonna hurt, I don't care that I'm gonna lose lots of sleep and will probably be covered in a myriad of different body fluids, I don't care that I won't have this awesome head of pregnant hair anymore, I just want you to be laying next to me and I know this is weird but I can't wait to find out if you have my feet. I'll explain one day.

So, I hope you're comfy in there (one of us should be), and please stay in for as long as you have to, but know that the next 15 weeks are going to crawl by for me. I just can't wait to be the mommy that God planned for you.