The Bottom Line

Claire brings me pink nail polish and says, “Paint!”  I paint her tiny toes and fingernails and she is very pleased.

Lila brings me a handful of animals and we set them up in a parade…all tigers or all puppies.  She snuggles in beside me and tells me her thoughts on life, the world, her future plans.

Aubrey sits on the end of my bed and tells me about what she’s been working on in her room.  Her eyes are bright and she is excited and she has my full attention.

Julia and Deanna burst in at the very end of the day and they tell me their stories and we laugh and smile and their zeal hangs in the air even after they’re gone.

Friends come and fill my room with their laughter, their voices, their very presence.

John stops in throughout the day and we talk and he brings me food and coffee and tall glasses of ice water.  He nurtures so much better than I do.

Even Caroline bounds up the stairs and climbs into bed with me one night.

And when I’m making my gratitude list every day, these are the kinds of things that I am writing down.  My pen scratches across the paper, a flurry of ink because there are so many good gifts everyday.

My usual day to day life is busy and I don’t always have time to paint tiny nails or talk endlessly with my big girls or march the animal parade across the bed.  I am on the move, living life and doing things and getting the laundry done and cooking and sweeping and scrapbooking and getting groceries and going to appointments.

But right now?  My whole job is preserving these two babies, praying for them to grow, and waiting for the bleeding to clear up.   I am decidedly NOT busy, I am available to anyone who appears in my doorway.  I can sit and talk to a friend for an hour, because I have no other place to be and nothing else to do.  I can live that piece of advice I give to every mother of little ones:

If your child brings you a book and it’s at all possible, stop and read it.  It won’t take long and the rewards are endless.

I remember the dread I felt upon waking every morning when I was on bed rest five years ago.  It was a lonely, sad time and I just got through every day.  I didn’t know enough to look for gifts…I didn’t know enough to ask for people to come and see me, to ask for help. This is so different.  And I know that the gratitude work, the refining and the peeling away that God has been doing in my heart and in my life these past six months was partly in preparation for this season of rest.

He was training me up for a marathon of rest.  He was fortifying me with tools for this hemorrhage and twins journey.  He was teaching me to look for His good gifts in even the most boring of days.  To look for His hand of goodness in the midst of scary, uncertain things.

I am changed.

And while I have my moments of doubt, of confusion, of frustration…and while yes, sometimes tears and aggravation and restlessness do draw near…mostly I’m able to be right here, right now.  Thankful for two tiny beating hearts in little gummy bear bodies, thankful for a husband who cheerfully has taken on all the housewife and mom duties, thankful for my family and friends who show up day after day with food and love and friendship and joy.  Thankful for a God who is present with me all day, every day…even when I tell Him I’ve had it with this mess.

Because He’s the same good, gift giving, life sustaining God all day, everyday.  He doesn’t change with my moods or with my troubles. He doesn’t leave me, even when I act ridiculous.  He doesn’t turn His face when I’m embarrassing.  He is there.

And I’m finding that my desire to act ridiculous?  To have a tantrum?  To say how unfair it is?  It’s waning.  I don’t want to dwell on the negative or even on the things I can’t change. I don’t want to play “if only” or “what if”.  I don’t want to miss the good gifts. I don’t want to miss His presence in my circumstances.

He always promises to turn our mourning into dancing.  He doesn’t say sometimes, He says He will.  How often are we hindering that with our attitude?  Ouch.  How often do I remain in mourning when He’s calling me to dancing, just because of my attitude?

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.”  Psalm 30:11

Lord, let me be a person who Lets You.  Who makes room for you to do what You say You will do.  Make me a person who sheds that negativity and anger and lets You turn my mourning into dancing.  It won’t change what’s happened or what’s going to happen but it will change how it is right now.

And I think maybe that’s the greatest truth I’ve gained from all of this- ALL of it, the Big Life Stuff of the past six months, the collapse of my table1000 Gifts and the Joy Dare…that sometimes Hard Things happen, sometimes Awful Things happen, sometimes Stresful Things happen, sometimes Discouragement and Poor Me just can’t stay away…but…here is the bottom line:

God never changes.  He is always with me.  He is always giving Good Gifts.  In the middle of the storm, in the midst of a collapse, when things can’t get any worse…if we seek Him, we will find Him.  And even if we don’t look and even if we don’t see, He is still giving Love and He is still giving Good Gifts.  We have to become a people who look for them.

I feel so utterly transformed and so free from a lifetime of wondering where His goodness was.  It was always there.  I had just trained myself to look for the hardship and the negative so that I wouldn’t be surprised by it.  Well, guess what?  That plan didn’t work.  All I did was train myself to dwell in sorrow.  And now I dwell in joy and gratitude and the hard things, the bad things, the scary things come and we weather them.

 

 

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Love

From downstairs, I can hear Claire’s voice.  She’s learned to say, “Hey Daddy!”  and then Daddy says, “What?”  and she says, “I luh you!” and Daddy melts into a big puddle of sappy.

If you say it back, “Hey Claire!” she’ll say, “What?” and you say, “I love you!”  she’ll say, “I luh you too!”  It’s so cute and none of us ever get tired of hearing her say it.  From the oldest sister down to Lila, they all love to hear it.  Because LOVE is a common thread in the culture of our family.v

I look around this room I’ve been in since Sunday and I see echoes of Lila and Claire everywhere.


In our house, it’s not at all unusual to find plastic animals basically anywhere. (Examples: the refrigerator, the snack basket in the pantry, any windowsill, your purse, John’s desk, the toilet) Lila sets up these intricate scenes and Claire comes along and destroys them.  It’s not unusual to step painfully on a Littlest Pet Shop creature in the night or to trip on someone’s shoes or backpack at the bottom of the stairs.

In our house, it’s not all unusual to find books all over the place either.  We all love to read.  The older girls are always reading their Bibles or the Hunger Games or Jane Austen and they’re always leaving their books everywhere.  I’ve read two books since I got my Nook on Wednesday.  (I can’t leave those laying around though.)  John has eleventy million books and they are in piles and on shelves and all around.  The little girls love their books too and never tire of being read to.  I like that books are part of the culture of our family.

In our house, people don’t always remember to put things away, stack their dishes in the sink, return things they’ve borrowed.  It’s not uncommon to find water glasses on bedside tables or discarded jewelry on end tables, shoes in the hallway.  It’s not uncommon to have to search three bedrooms to find your hairbrush…or make up brush…or the good mascara.  It’s not uncommon to see big girls going from room to room searching for a shared article of clothing.

In our house, it’s hard to get a word in edgewise and it’s hard to hear the tv over voices talking and cracking up.  In our house, you might hear up to three instruments being played, one to five voices singing, or three girls squealing over Bollywood and K-dramas.

In our house, it’s weird and strangely quiet in those rare moments when just John, Claire and I are home.

Claire looks for the chaos when that happens.  She wanders the house saying, “Lila?  Aub-bee, Ju-ja, Duh…Bubby?”  She’ll try the next tier of loved ones, “Nonnie?  Gunkie?  Meema?”

I love that the culture of our house is relational and people oriented, that we worry more with loving well than having a super clean house.  That you can’t hear yourself think because everyone is buzzing with chatter and laughter and conversation.

I told a friend who came to visit yesterday that I’m happy as long as the house is at about a level six or seven and that’s really true.  I’d rather have a Calico Critters village in my bedroom and books everywhere and the shoes of teenage girls all over the place than a clean and empty home.

I listen to Claire, she’s singing now….”I luh you….you luh me….” and I think we’re teaching her something good.  That love comes first. That relationship comes first. That sometimes sitting in the kitchen floor with four teenage girls until 1:00am is more important than finishing the dishes.  That reading the Blues Clues pop up book for the nineteenth time today is nothing but a pleasure.

Our kids may not be spectacular housekeepers (well, except Deanna but we can’t take credit for that, she came that way) but they know how to love well.

Our household motto is “Love Well”. What’s yours?

See. Poor Me.

Last night, I dreamt that I got out of bed, made a pie, swept and mopped, cleaned bathrooms, vacuumed.

This morning, after a night of fitful, insomniac sleep, I awoke with a headache and my joints screeching.  I have to admit to feeling a bit downhearted too.

I’ve been trying so hard to remain positive.  But I think Discouragement and Poor Me leaned ladders against the window and climbed right in while I was sleeping.  They brought with them a migraine and joint pain and the feeling that all of this could just be futile.

When I called the doctor’s office this morning to make sure of my appointment on the 29th and to ask a couple of questions, she said, among many other things, “Remember, at this point in the pregnancy…there’s not much we can do but wait.” and   “Remember, on the 29th, they may just say to continue doing what you’re doing.”  And Discouragement just nodded her head in hateful agreement and even reminded me of all the sad stories I’d read a couple of days before.

Discouragement reminded me of the cost of all this to my family…little girls only able to “visit” their mother.  Big girls fending for themselves.  A son who I haven’t seen in a week and won’t see this weekend either.  No vacation.  My husband working so hard to keep all the balls in the air.

I can’t do anything but lay here.

Poor Me nods sympathetically.

And I want to fight them but this fight is not very much fun and anyway I don’t feel very qualified.  I just want to get up and clean the bathroom, do the laundry, push my kids on the swing.  I want to hang out with the teens and make them some popcorn and actually leave the house.  Heck, I want to just go downstairs.

See.  Poor Me.

This morning I read the status update of a friend I don’t know well but who’s faith inspires me.  She is due to get married in September.  Her house is on the market and she and her husband to be have chosen a new home to begin their life together in.  All of a sudden, in the eleventh hour, her buyer backed out.  So, they had to let the contract on their dream home go.  And she is not dismayed or discouraged.  She simply said she felt peace and she was waiting expectantly for what God was going to do next.

I want that.  He is giving me a peace over this whole situation.  He is even showing me purpose in my letting go of control and expectation and asking for help.  But I struggle with keeping my head up.  It’s an effort to keep a positive attitude.  It’s an effort to not sink in to Discouragement and Poor Me’s words.  A mighty effort.

So, this morning, I failed a little.

Luckily, I can start over.

I’m going to go and take a shower and then I’m going to take a nap.  When I wake up, I’m going to meditate some more on Psalm 20 and then I’m going to wait expectantly on the Lord.

He is the giver of good gifts, like this one.

And like this one too…with all that it has brought with it…

And He stands with me in this.  He’s not going to forget about us.

Psalm 20

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.[b]
May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory
and lift up our banners in the name of our God.

May the Lord grant all your requests.

Now this I know:
The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
Lord, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call!

Today’s Words

Last night I got a little stressed out reading success/loss stories.  Apparently, this subchorionic hemorrhage thing happens a lot and I don’t know how I’ve never heard of it before now.  And apparently, though it usually ends up okay, it’s more complicated with twins and sometimes it doesn’t end up okay at all.

It’s unnerving.  And so it’s an exercise in living in the moment, trusting Him and following Doctor’s orders.

I’m still really just praying it’s all cleared up when I go in on the 29th…I want out of this bed and back to my life.  But I want these babies safe and sound too.

So, today, I didn’t read any success/loss stories.  I stayed away from Dr. Google and read Jenny Lawson’s book instead on my brand new Nook Color.  (A gift from my mother in law.  The thing is so cool!)    It’s hilarious and it’s my favorite genre- memoir.  Or, as she says, a mostly true memoir.

I’m loving the book and I recommend it but not if you’re sensitive to cursing.  There’s a lot of language.  She’s very real and unapologetically who she is…and if I knew her in real life, we would be friends, for sure.

But, of course, if you haven’t read One Thousand Gifts yet, you have to read that first!

It did me good to laugh today instead of research.  I also took a nap so I’d say that was a day well spent.

In spite of my extra long conference with Dr. Google last night and the rest of the journey that lays ahead…I feel peace.  I feel your prayers.  I feel very supported by all who send texts, Facebook messages, calls, visits, food, offers of kid help.  We feel our community’s presence and it is good.

My husband is managing the household, getting people picked up and dropped off, taking care of the little ones and is doing it all with a positive attitude.  He brings me food 100 times a day (How am I so hungry?  I’m in bed, doing literally nothing.) with a smile every time.  He’s changing diapers, washing dishes, taking the dog out, reading stories and praying for me whenever I start to lose it.  One of the things I’m most thankful for right now is that this happened when he was finished teaching for the year.  What if I had gotten pregnant earlier in the year?  What would we have done then?

I keep feeling like maybe this time on bed rest is a chance for me to try out my thankfulness skills, to wear my new attitude through a bit of a valley.  Not that I’m being tested, necessarily…but maybe I’m being given an opportunity to exercise these new muscles?

 

We’ll see how tomorrow goes.  Nine days until the next appointment!

No Sulking Here

I am decidedly NOT sulking.

It’s a conscious choice.

I’m also NOT stressing.

It’s another conscious choice.

I’m not worried about Thing One and Thing Two.  They looked so good on Thursday and the hemorrhage is not actually a huge threat to them…if I follow these bed rest rules.  The things that threaten me with worry are these:
-Is the house going to fall to ruin?
-Is this just too much work for John? Is HE going to be stressed out?
-Is Aubrey going to have a crappy summer?
-Are the little girls too bored?
-Will I ever come up with a second boy name? (I think the answer to this one is probably no.)

These are the things that I think about while I rest in my bed.  Claire seems unfazed.  She brings me books to read and climbs all over me like it’s not the least bit unusual that I’m still in bed.  Lila brings in boxes of plastic animals and sets up villages on the floor.  Aubrey, Julia and Deanna visit me daily, sitting on the edge of my bed and telling me all about their days.  Everyone is coping Just Fine.

John is doing an admirable job managing the house and the little kids, though he’s said more than once, “I don’t know how you do this.”  But he’s doing it!

We’ve been blessed by community.  Friends to bring meals to feed my sheep and me and to take a little bit of the work load from John.  Mom, Dad, Sister and Nieces all came to see me yesterday and the rest of the week promises more visitors.

Apart from a  brief respite on Sunday that resulted in a relapse of bleeding…I’ve been in bed since Thursday last week.  That’s six days, with ten to go.  I am praying that the SBH is healing and will be completely gone by the time I go in on the 29th.  Praying and praying.  I want to do all the fun things we planned to do this summer.

In the meantime, I keep my eyes on the goal.  I read through the name book.  I pray.  I watch Netflix and check Facebook to see what people who are NOT on bed rest are doing.  I try to imagine what it’ll be like to have twins.  I don’t sleep because it’s impossible to sleep for long when you’re just in the bed all the time.

I’ve finished “Arrested Development” and need a new series to watch.  I tend towards the fun and light hearted and away from the serious or stressful.  Any suggestions?

 

Just Draw Near

I think I have a little PTSD about bed rest.

When I was on bed rest the last time, I had a thirteen year old, an eleven year old and  a nine year old.  I was married to someone else.  I was in bed for almost two months.  My internet didn’t work upstairs.  So mostly, I just laid in my bed and stared at the wall.  It was lonely…especially for a very relational girl like me.  My marriage wasn’t super healthy (and in fact, fell apart by the time the baby was about eight-ish months old) and it was really hard.

The highlight of my day would be when the kids would come home from school and come and visit me.  They would drop by, chat in the doorway for a few minutes and then go on about their days.  Aubrey once wrote me a poem about being on bed rest.  Chase brought me a cookie from school in various stages of crumbliness every day.  Once a week, my sister would come and spend the day with me and do my laundry…Little Addy, just a toddler herself, running wild and cracking me up.

I’m not great at asking for help and so I should’ve said, “I need visitors, come and see me.”  but I didn’t.

It’s not as lonely this time.  For one thing, it’s not going to be for two months.  For another thing, I’m married to someone else and that someone else and I have a healthy relationship and he’s home from school for the summer.  And he cooks all sorts of good things and brings them to me on a tray.  My kids are a lot older and then two of them are a lot younger.  The older ones are pretty self sufficient and also like to come and chat with me in my room.  The younger ones pile onto my bed and visit.  My sister lives just down the street and she doesn’t have to come and do my laundry because John and the bigger kids can handle it.

I feel guilty, of course.  Isn’t that a hallmark of motherhood?  Guilt.

I feel guilty for being stuck in bed, unable to do the work I normally do.  I feel guilty for not being able to do a million fun activities with the children like I’ve planned to do all summer.  I feel guilty that our vacation had to be canceled.

Then I feel guilty for feeling guilty because I want to do all I can to protect these two little ones.

Because in seven more months…I want to meet two more little people like this girl here.

Or like this girl here…

Or like these beautiful girls…

Or maybe even…like this young man…

And as I sit here and think about things and wonder at God’s purpose in this…I think about how he’s been training me in gratitude.  He’s been training me to look for the good and not only for the bad.  He’s been training me to say, “Thank you, Lord.” instead of “Why me, Lord?”  He’s been training me to combat those twin nemeses Discouragement and Poor Me.  And I know now how to do it…at least at a novice level…and I can choose that.

I can choose gratitude.

So, once again…I lay my this whole thing down.  I lay my babies down, I lay this hemorrhage thing down, I lay it all down.  I say thank you for another day of carrying these two sweet little blueberry sized babies.  I say thank you for the five I already have to hold and hug and laugh with. I say thank you for the bonus kids God has blessed my life with. I say thank you for a little niece who is already so in love with her two little cousins that she always asks, “How are the twins today?”  I say thank you for supportive friends who are offering to bring food and fellowship and prayers.  I say thank you for a comfortable bed in a mostly clean room with an open door…where people can drop in and say hey on their way downstairs.  I say thank you for my husband’s job as a teacher which has made him available to be Mr. Mom basically the moment this hemorrhage began.  I say thank you especially for this wonderful husband who has taken on the work of the house and the family with not one complaint.  Even on Father’s Day.

It’s going to be okay.

And I am thinking of that woman in the Bible with the issue of bleeding and how she knew that all she needed to do was touch the hem of His garment.  She had it for twelve years.  And I think of how that must’ve been for her because back in those days…you weren’t even allowed to be in society and living your life if you had bleeding.  How lonely were those twelve years for her?  How isolated was she?  Did she wonder what she’d done to deserve it?  And no matter what she did…no matter how much money she spent, no matter how many doctors she saw…she just got worse.

But then she heard Jesus was coming and she knew that all she had to do was draw near.  Just draw near enough to touch the hem of His garment.  And I want to feel that certainty that she felt…that all she had to do was touch, just a fingertip on fabric, to make the bleed stop.  She reached out to Him.

And (Matthew 5:29) “she felt in her body that she was freed from suffering.”

She was free, with just one touch.

Happy Wedding Day, Kristin…from my couch

Today, for the sake of the new, tiny, growing babies, I must stay home and rest…just like I’ve been doing for the past couple of days.

I’m getting a little stir crazy and a lot bored and I’m working hard at remembering thankfulness and contentment.  I’ve gotten a restraining order against Poor Me and Discouragement.  I can do this.

I’ve done bed rest before.  When I was pregnant with Julia, almost two decades ago…bed rest for three weeks towards the end.  I survived!  When I was pregnant with Lila, five years ago, bed rest for almost two months, when you added it all up.  It began around 19 weeks and came on with a vengeance at 29 weeks.

This is just for a few days and will be totally worth it.  Luckily there are still like twenty episodes of “Arrested Devolopment” for me to watch.

But the sad thing about today is…I’m missing Kristin’s wedding.  My family will go on without me and they will take pictures for me but it’s just not the same.  I mean, I love “Arrested Development”  but I love Kristin a lot more!

So, from my couch and from my bed, I give thanks to the Lord for Kristin and Drew and for what I am sure will be a glorious wedding.  I give thanks for my family, who will be in attendance.  I give thanks for the pictures I’ll have to see later.

I thank the Lord for my two new babies and thank Him for the healing work He is doing.

There’s more to be thankful for than to be sad about, really.  And of course, there will be a video for me to see!

Kristin, I love you! And I know today will be a beautiful day!  I’m so happy for you and Drew!!!

A Rollercoaster

I know you haven’t heard from me much lately.

It’s because I’ve had a secret burning inside of me and it was hard for me to write without sharing it!  But now, the news is public and so I can blog about this crazy last couple of weeks!

It began on May 20th.  Everyone knows that we’d been hoping for a new baby for quite a while.  I had a miscarriage late last summer, right at the beginning of the school year and hadn’t gotten pregnant since.  Even with charting and timing and wishing and praying…seven months had gone by and it was just not happening.  In the month of May, we decided to quit trying for the summer and worry about it later…just to take a break.  I told the Lord, “I’m laying this down.” and it was not without cost to my heart.

But on May 20th, I felt carsick all the way home from the Outer Banks.  Just felt yucky and tired and nauseated.  I mentally counted days, realizing that though it was early, I could test positive if I was pregnant.  Which is exactly what happened.

So…now after all these months, once I surrendered it all to God, I turn up pregnant.

I kept it close, a secret I held in my heart, I pondered it, I prayed over it.

And on June 6, I had a doctor’s appointment.  The doctor performed an ultrasound and here is what she found:  two gestational sacs, one teeny tiny baby with no heartbeat and two yolk sacs.  Limbo time.  Would I be having one baby in January?  Two babies in January?  No babies in January?

I said it again.  “I’m laying this down.”  I felt worry, I’m not going to lie.  I had concern…stress dreams and preoccupation with the possibilities…I felt excitement and dread and sadness and happiness and everything you can think of.  But I felt a peace, covering it all.  “I’m laying this down,”  I said to God over and over.  (Because the action had to be repeated.)  “I am thankful for every day I have these two babies in my womb.  I am thankful for their eternal significance.”

And then I began to bleed.  It started the same day as the appointment and I vacillated between believing God for life and wholeness for both babies to acceptance that I would only see them in heaven.

The bleeding eased as the days went on and I had another appointment on June 13.

“I’m laying this down.”  I said to Him.  “I’m thanking you for these two babies whether I get to see them or not.”  But I felt a peace, I really did.  An odd, all encompassing peace that covered every possibility.  I was not without concern, but always with peace.

The ultrasound technician laughed as she showed me two strong heartbeats.  Two healthy, tiny little gummy bear babies.  Fearfully and wonderfully made.  Two little souls filled with purpose and promise.  Two gifts with eternal significance.

What a joy and a relief to see those two teeny tiny little hearts just beating away.

I was over the moon and assuming the scary stuff had mostly passed.

Then, it was yesterday and I was going to get a pedicure with my sister and Michelle.  I got out of the car at the pedicure place and…this is not for the faint of heart…felt a gush of blood.  I looked down to see it coming down my leg.

I called the doctor, she said to come in at 3:00.

I said to the Lord, “I’m laying this down.  I’m trusting you with what’s best and I’m grateful for every moment I have had or will have with these two babies.”  I was troubled…but there was that peace again.  He was with me and the truth is…He loves me.  He loves my babies.  He knows more about them than I do.  And even if I lost them right then and there…He would still be God and He would still be Good.  Because He can’t change who He is.

The doctor immediately found those two little heartbeats again.  Two babies safe and healthy, fixed on the business of growing into themselves.

Dr. Curtis said, “Two hearts beating…”

And John said, “And now my heart can start again…”

She found the source of the bleed and it’s just one of those things.  We watch and we wait.  It’s called a subchorionic hematoma and it’s fairly common…especially with twins.  It’s no more than a very minor threat to the pregnancy.  I must rest, really rest…no really, really rest.  I am off my feet and housebound for a while.  I must rest and let my body handle the bleed.

I am planning on welcoming twins in January.  Will you pray for them?  Will you pray for me?  Will you help us come up with a second boy name?  We’ve got two girls named.  We’ve got boy/girl named.  But not two boys!

Here is what God has taught me in this.  That the fear of the Lord erases all other fears.  Believing and recognizing His sovereignty, power and authorship is the key to sacrifice.  I was able to lay this all down before Him…because He knows the plans He has for me.  He knows the plans He has for both babies.  He knows the plans, His plans are best…whether we can see that or not.  He is trustworthy and He is quick to answer my plea for help.

I will, I’m sure, continuously lay this down and I will, every day, say that I am thankful, thankful, thankful for every moment I have with these two babies.

He is Good.  He can be trusted.  Even when troubles come, even when life is scary, He is God.

Psalm 34

I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.

I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel[a] of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.

Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Who is the man who desires life,
And loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 He guards all his bones;
Not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.

No one who puts His trust in the Lord shall ever be put to shame.

So tell me- what would you name a boy of ours?  What experiences have you had that led you to surrender?

Peace in Surrender

It’s still a daily battle…combatting negativity.

But it’s a worthwhile one.

This week, there have been quite a few ups and downs.  They’ve been extreme.  But I’m determined to practice thankfulness, peace, acceptance, trust.  I’m determined to reject pessimism, negativity, self pity.

I think I thought that assuming the worst meant I wouldn’t be disappointed but it really poisoned all.  When the good did happen, I waited for it to be taken away.  I expected it to go wrong at the last moment.  My life was colored by gloom and doom and assuming the worst and it didn’t stop the worst from coming.

I have had three miscarriages in my two decades long career of baby making.  You always ask yourself…was there something I could’ve done differently?  Could I have prepared better?  Why did I ever expect it to be okay?  With the last one, my doctor said, “Early miscarriages are one of those things.  If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen.”

And isn’t that life?  Rain is going to fall.  Sometimes a lot of rain is going to fall.  Sun is going to shine.  Sometimes a lot of sun is going to shine.  And we must count it all joy, even the most awful rains.  We must because through it all, God guides and is present and He uses all circumstances to our good.

Learning to release negativity, control, self pity…it has changed my day to day life.  And it’s being tested just now but I feel an incredible peace.  That’s not to say that I’m naive about the possibility of an outcome I don’t want.  It’s not to say that I just know my magic genie god will come and save the day and give me exactly what I’ve ordered.  It just means that I trust Him to do what is needed. I trust His plan first and foremost.  I can rest, because I’m not in control. Really, I’m not qualified to make the plan.  I can’t see the end of the story the way that He can.

I can have peace, because I’m not in control.  I’ve given the reins to Him.  I’m letting Him drive.  And there is such freedom in releasing control, in surrender.  Freedom in knowing that by being pliable…He can do what He needs to do.  Because I’m not fighting Him, He can do some amazing things with me.

And did you know?  When we think we’re in control?  We’re not really.  Who are we to try and control things?  To try and orchestrate change.

I have never, ever regretted a choice to be positive in the face of trouble.  I’ve never regretted the choice to not respond in anger.  I’ve never regretted a choice to be thankful and look for the silver lining instead of wallowing in my poor circumstances.  I’ve never regretted a choice to not judge.  I fail regularly…I do choose negativity sometimes, I do snap back, I do wallow, I do judge….and that’s where I have regrets.

No one ever says, “I’m really sorry I spent time yesterday listing things I’m thankful for.”  Because it’s time and resource well spent.

And the thing that I’m trying poorly to say this morning is that the practice of positivity, of thankfulness changes your regular day to day.  When you choose it.

Thankfulness, Obedience, Faith and Positivity are excellent defenses against Discouragement and her friend.

Just try it.  Just start the Joy Dare.  Read it about it at 1000 Gifts.  Give it a week.

If you have already begun…tell me how it’s impacted you!

Today I am thankful for:
*My blooming hydrangea bush
*The crazy things Claire says
*having gone to bed at 10:30 instead of midnight
*My morning coffee
*all of my readers