23 November 2017

It's not a thing...

moving on. 

Its not hard. It's impossible. It isn't even a thing. Just when you think you might not be over IT (that thing, event, person, situation, whatever you are trying/wishing/hoping to move on FROM), but can actually get through a small period of time without IT overwhelming you, taking your breath away and forcing you to relive the moments (painful and joyful alike) that surround IT, that's when IT sneaks back out in all it's glory and let's you know it's still there... 

What's your IT? 

for me and my family, we all feel IT to some extent especially on Thanksgiving because that's when IT happened: we lost dad and grandpa only days apart. It was 11 years ago but it may as well have been yesterday. Their presence is missed on holidays, but Thanksgiving is the hardest. 

Sometimes you don't even realize IT has taken over... you feel lethargic, grumpy, irritable, off but can't figure out why. Today it was my 5 year old that reminded me of the other IT that makes me hate holidays... 

I was arguing with Jake and told Amelia playfully "Don't ever have a brother!" 
She stopped and looked at me. "Mom, I already have a brother, he's in heaven, remember?" 
I stopped stirring whatever Thanksgiving dish I was creating at the time. My breath caught. 

"Yah, baby, I remember." 

And the memories hit me like a flood. 

Our thanksgiving table feels so empty now. 

Her bedroom feels like a dark void. It took so long for her to fall asleep... she hates being an only child. sleeping alone. 

She was made to have siblings... 4 of them. But they didn't get to stay with us.She never even got to meet them. I didn't get to hold them. 

So she tells me tonight (after the 4th "GO TO BED, CHILD!") 

"I had a HORRIBLE Thanksgiving, Mom."  Me, too, baby, I think as I tuck her into bed (again).

Maybe next year will be better, maybe not. Probably it will in many ways. Matthew will be employed again, Our health situations (probably) won't be scary and unpredictable. Amelia will be older and less defiant. I'll plan dinner better so we aren't eating 3 hours after we said we would be eating... But will the pain of loss be less? Will we have moved on from IT? Will the table feel less empty, the quiet less eerie? maybe. I don't know. I lost Dad 11 years ago but I still catch myself wanting to call him and tell him Happy Birthday or Merry Christmas. I still dream that I wake up back in my house in Colorado and he's there and all this has just been a long weird dream... But it doesn't consume my every waking hour. The tears don't come in waves anymore. The pain has settled in. Moved to a deep place in my soul. It's become familiar, like an old scar. It's part of me now. 

So forgive me if I don't feel like celebrating this year. It's just a little harder right now. I'm weighed down by IT and all the worries of our current situation. There's too much hurt in the world. Too little love. Too little community and life and joy. But I don't feel like doing anything about it today. I don't feel like wrapping it up in a nice little bow for you, dear reader. I just want to crawl back into bed and fall asleep with the glimmer of hope that tomorrow will be better - not perfect, just manageable. 

Tomorrow I might visit our new neighbor and make sure she's doing OK while her husband is deployed. I might call a friend just to say hi. I might encourage a mom on Facebook who feels scared and alone and doesn't know what to do next. I might do something to bring life, and light and joy, and hope into my world to outshine the darkness and the ITs. But not today. Today I grieve. Today I sit with the mourners. Today I sleep through the sharp ache in my heart that reminds me it is good to love and be loved no matter how long...

31 January 2015

late night ponderings

tonight as i sat with amelia while she fell asleep, wild thoughts accosted my fragile, exhausted mind.
thoughts about our future. thoughts about my dreams and aspirations for amelia's future.
i had always pictured my life (since before i can remember) as a wife and a mom with a little house with a white picket fence and a dog. nothing fancy or special, but i wanted something i didn't have a lot of in my formative years: stability. the sense of being able to say where home is and to go there after a long hard day.  sure i had nice houses and was always well taken care of, but where we lived changed often, especially as i got older and life got complicated. i wanted amelia to have a sense of continuity in her education ... not moving from school to school like my brother and I did...
but tonight as i sat by her bed and watched her breathing slowly as she fell into a deep sleep, i realized that maybe i was wrong.  not wrong to want stability and a good life for my daughter, but perhaps... just perhaps... i could be wrong about what that stability should look like.
do i want her to be safe and comfortable in her community of friends and small town life? or do i want her to be comfortable in her own skin, sure of herself, of who she is and what she wants out of life?  do i want her to have a solid education without any gaps or do i want her to be educated, cultured, by experiences like travel, making new friends, trying new things?
i don't want to move around always trying to find the next best thing, always dissatisfied with where I'm at, never content. i want to learn, and eventually be able to teach and pass on the skills of being content in all situations, of adapting to new situations and being flexible with all life  throws at us.  i want to learn how to be a good traveler in life's journey and for my daughter to gain a love for adventure and an appreciation for the beauty and diversity in our vast and yet small world.
maybe this realization is really just me letting go a little of my idea of how things should be, a shedding of my old dreams and hopes for my family and an embracing of a new and possibly better future. we can't move forward until we've let go of the past. this is me. letting go. moving on. it's the best i've got and i'm praying it's enough.

18 November 2014

Is it enough?

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NLT)

I came across this verse this morning while reading my daily devotional subscription from Rest Ministries. (If you haven't checked them out yet I HIGHLY recommend it!  They have great Christian resources for caregivers and those suffering chronic illness.) Immediately the question rose up in me:  
Is it enough?  
Is God's grace REALLY enough? 
Is it all I need?  
Is God really all I need? 

These days I need a lot of support to make every day life possible... daycare for  Amelia because I lack the strength and energy to keep up with her vibrant two year old self, medications for prevention and medications for pain management, a house cleaner every few months is turning into every few weeks as the fibromyalgia flares become more frequent and more severe, not to mention the emotional support of friends and family to get me through the fibro fog and depression that threatens to consume me every day... 

How can I say His Grace is all I need when I also need all of these things?  What about the healing that my body needs?  What about the rain my whole state needs since the drought has been so severe this year? What about the empty pews at church that need to be filled? What about Amelia needing her mom to get out of bed to play with her so she doesn't have to spend another long day at daycare?
Is His Grace sufficient for all of these needs?

But then I remember how God has provided for us financially these last few months. And I remember how much Amelia loves to play with her friends at daycare and the incredible Christian women who work there are doing a fabulous job of teaching her not only great social and academic skills, but imprinting on her young mind Biblical Truths and Spiritual Disciplines.  And how can I forget the way God has orchestrated all of my meetings in the past few years to put sweet friends in my life that can pick up the slack for me on my hardest days... taking Amelia to daycare or cleaning my house or just coming over for a chat when I can't get out of bed and am smothering in depression.  

These are the gifts of a good Father.  These are the ways He displays His power in my weakness. His faithfulness in my doubt.  His mercy in my pain. It is here, while I am stuck in this bed, that I read stories on facebook that encourage me and lift my spirits. It is here that I type out notes of encouragement and hope to others. It is from here that I can see down the hall and into the living room and watch my husband develop an unshakable and beautiful bond with my daughter as they learn to work and play together. It is here that my daughter learns about compassion and care for the chronically ill. It is in this bed that my body is still and my eyes look toward the heavens and I can have long talks with my Father. This bed that was a generous gift from my in-laws. That is comfortable and supportive and ... enough. 
Just like God's grace.
All I need. 

Yes, there may be pain in my body today, but this is only an opportunity for God to display His power, His Grace, His love. It is here in my weakest hour that I am strongest because I rely fully on His Strength. On His provision. On His Grace.And yes, it is enough for today.

"Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?  Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.  And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."  Matthew 6:25-3 NLT

15 August 2013

Letting Go and Looking Up

We have decided to postpone our Vision Trip to Indonesia indefinitely.

My health has continued to decline to the point where it would be impossible for me to go.

Unable to follow the dream, I am letting go of all I had planned for the future. But I am looking up because I know where my help comes from.

I believe God has a plan and that He will use this illness. I believe He will carry me through the dark night and that I am not alone.  I may feel alone and I can't see clearly all the time, but I hold on to the TRUTH:  He is GOOD. He is FAITHFUL. He is With Us. He is Healer. He is Provider. He is Good.

Since I started this blog I've been sharing about one thing... following a dream God gave me to go to Indonesia.  But it was never really about following a dream... I was just following God and the path He was showing me. The road may be changing, but the One who leads me never changes.

I don't know what this new journey will hold but I'm sure it will be interesting!  So keep following and let's see where He takes us!

17 July 2013

believing God for what we cannot see

I know it's time for a new blog post ... and I want to give you all a good update... but I also believe in being honest about where we are because we are a community built on trust and faith and prayer.

so this is an update filled with prayer requests.

this is what has changed since the last update:

The fibromyalgia and chronic migraines have gotten worse. Like severe, bad, horrible, emergency room visits kind of worse. I'm bed bound more days than not. And I'm broken, humbled and hurting but trusting, hoping and waiting because even though my body aches my heart is believing that the healing IS coming.  And I believe it will come before we leave for Indonesia this October. I don't know how or when but I KNOW it IS coming. "The Darker the Night, the Brighter the Day" as Kristene Mueller's Song Redemption says, and I can see the Dawn is coming!

Healing has happened!  I have been completely healed of endometriosis.  There is NO sign of it in my body!  The doctors cannot explain it. There are no scars from my previous surgery. My uterus is whole and healthy!  We are PRAISING God for this miracle and believing it is a sign of more healing coming to the rest of my body!

We are still planning our vision trip to Indonesia this October, but we are no longer going with a team... it will just be the three of us, so our cost for going has decreased significantly.  We are also planning a simplified trip which may mean we stay on only one island for this trip. But we will have the same goals: to seek God regarding our future calling to Indonesia and to serve and minister at every opportunity.

We will be launching a fundraising campaign this Sunday so watch for more updates on how to give and please be praying with us that we will be able to purchase plane tickets SOON!

07 May 2013

God Math


That is how much money we need to raise if we are going to go on our Vision Trip this October.  

That is a lot of money. 
No....  That's a lot of money to me. 
It's not a lot of money to God. 

That is what I have been wrestling about this week ... God Math. 

If God says go, I go but how do I do that?  How do we save that much money when we are just barely making it every month to pay bills and buy diapers?  Do I find another job? Do I sit and wait for a magic check in the mail? These are the questions that have kept me up at night. 

And the real question: Will we ever get enough money together to go to Indonesia or will I be disappointed again?

After talking with Matthew last night and praying again this morning I feel so strongly that this is the year that we do this!  This is the year of Redemption.  This is the year of God’s promises fulfilled.  My devotional this morning was from Micah 4:10.  “You will soon be sent into exile... but the Lord will rescue you there, He will redeem you from the grip of your enemies.”  Although I have in many ways felt like coming to Woodland was like being sent into exile (away from all that I had known... all my family and friends) I know that God has used this time to do an amazing redeeming work in my whole family.  He has brought us many new friends and brought so many good things into our lives through this time.  But Woodland is not home for us.  It is not the promised land.  This is the time.  It is time to go home...

My heart was sick. Very sick. Because for so long hope had been deferred.  So when Matthew said “now is the time” I was apathetic.  I didn’t want to hope again. But wrestling with my doubt has produced a new fire in me.  A renewed desire to go.  A fresh calling. A renewed commitment to the people of Indonesia. But my heart and mind is clearer now.  I know this is not just me this time.  This time The Lord is leading us just as He led the Israelites out of Egypt to the promised land. I’m following His leading.  Trying to not run ahead.  But my heart is excited again!  I am alive! I am ready! Let’s go!

Okay, so I'm ready but  the question remains: HOW? Well, friends, this is where YOU come in.  
There are five members of our team. (including our precious one year old Amelia).  Each of us needs to find 20 friends who are committed to partnering with us for this vision trip.  It is a commitment to pray and a commitment to give.  If each of us has 20 friends who can commit to giving $20 every month for the next five months then we will have all that we need.  20 friends is not that many. $20 is like a trip through the drive through with the family. Or One Starbucks a week. It is nothing. And yet it could change everything.  I am calling this the 20-20-5 plan.  20 friends. $20. 5 months.  So now there is a new question: Will you be One of my Twenty?

That, my friend, is a question for you to answer!  You can let me know your answer by replying on the blog or emailing me.  We are still putting together the tax deductible giving plan so I will forward you that information as soon as I have it.  But if you want to pledge your $20 let me know! And Thank You for being One of my Twenty! (if you'd like to be one of Matthew or Amelia's Twenty that's great too!  Just let me know in your message!). 

10 April 2013

Vision Trip 2013

What else do I need to say?  We are finally going on our vision trip to Indonesia in October of this year.  All the years of praying and waiting and planning and dreaming ... and now the time has come.  We have an awesome couple from our church that are going with us to support us as we seek God as a family and travel to the islands I have seen only in my dreams for the past 10 years...

Your prayers are appreciated as we continue praying, planning and fundraising for this adventure.
So far it looks like we will be gone about three weeks in late October/early November.  We don't know exactly where in Indonesia we are going yet.  We are still praying about the details.  We need to raise a LOT of money because airfare is expensive (although much cheaper during our travel dates because it is the off-season).  But everything seems to be working out for us to go this year, so we are trusting God for the provision for our whole team to go!