Friday, January 16, 2009

Psalm 60, "Clay Pup", and a "Questionable" Girl...

My heart has been heavy this week.

The struggles that God has seen Gary and I through have become fresh in my mind as 3 of my friends, and 2 friends I follow in blog-land, are facing much of the same pain. I continue to praise God for His faithfulness, for choosing to restore my marriage...for the sake of His glory, not my "happily ever after." But I am hurting for these friends and pleading with God to do what only He can do.

I had spent Tuesday morning in prayer especially for these husbands and wives and when I was done I opened up my Bible to read. Now, if you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know that last year I decided to read through the Bible in a year. This year's resolution is to finish! I'm somewhere in Sept. but I really want to finish. I didn't want to start over on Jan. 1 just for the sake of getting it done in 365 days, so I'm just working a day at a time and we'll see how long it takes me! So, on Tuesday, I checked my reading schedule and opened up to Psalm 60.

Rachel was sitting with me so I started to read it out loud and it didn't take long for the tears to come. I bawled all the way through it and for several minutes afterward. The weight and reality of the desperate state of our souls just overwhelmed me. I saw so clearly how deserving we are of all of our pain and suffering and how undeserving we are of God's presence, help, and deliverance. And yet, that's what He offers. That is what He longs to do for each of us...deliver us!

And the last 2 verses read, "Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless. With God we will gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies." (Psalm 60:11-12)

And that is what I go before the throne and humbly plead for my friends.

I am also praising God for all that He gives. Even in the midst of a heavy week, I have been blessed with great joys.

Wednesday morning, I told Rachel to let the water out of the tub when she was done with her bath. As the water was draining, I went into the bedroom and I could hear her start singing :o). She sang "clay pup! clay pup! clay pup!" over and over. When I went to see what she was doing, wondering what "clay pup" meant, I found her tidying up the bath toys on the shelf. She was singing "clean up."

Later that morning, I picked Aly up from school and we met Gary at the clinic for our 20 week ultrasound. Watching Aly was fun. This was the first time we've brought her to an ultrasound. I loved watching her squint and try to figure out what she was seeing. Then Melissa started explaining what she was looking at and that helped a lot! We watched "Ollie" moving and kicking and got pictures of 2 sweet little feet and several toes (I hope there's 10 of them!). "Ollie" reached his little hand up to the side of his head and we got a picture of a little ear.

We found out that our little "Ollie" is a girl! And then my ultrasound tech (and good friend from church :o) added the word "questionable." Grrr. "Ollie" cooperated just fine and looks like a girl, but because I was a few days shy of 20 weeks (19w 3d to be exact) she said that there is a slight chance that there are boy parts there that haven't fallen yet. Grrr. Now. I'm confident that that is not the case. But with just a seed of doubt planted I still feel like we don't know...oh, the frustration!! Fortunately, she was unable to get a picture of the cord attaching to the placenta that she needs and they told me to schedule another appointment in 2-3 weeks!!! Yay! She said by then, she would be more confident about her assessment. It's going to keep making me crazy for 2-3 weeks but at least I don't have to wait for the 32 week ultrasound!!!

The best part of course, was that everything looked perfect! "Ollie" is healthy and right on schedule! And I give God all the glory for His work!

I am just in awe of a God who walks with me in pain and delivers me, who also blesses me with joys beyond measure even in the very midst of a breaking heart.

God is good, all the time.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Where Have I Been?

It has been a whole month since I last blogged!

It's been driving me crazy not writing, and yet, we've been so busy that the time has flown by. So, my first post will be my month in review and then I'm back!

How do I wrap up the last month?

We had our absolutely best Christmas ever! Gary was in the choir Christmas program, "I'll Be Home For Christmas". We made our gingerbread kit, but sadly, time slipped away and the big gingerbread project never happened :o(. Christmas break started a day early...thanks to a lovely snow storm :o)! Our refrigerator broke the day before Christmas Eve and Gary got to shop for a new one on Christmas Eve! All I could say was "Thank you God that it's the refrigerator and not the furnace!"

Mock chicken legs for Christmas Eve dinner (if that was the only thing we had done, it might still have been the best Christmas ever!). Santa brought everyone just what they asked does he do that? A weekend at my Dad's not sledding, but watching him take the kids out on the lake. (That was nerve wracking, I must admit, but "Ollie" and I were much safer indoors!) Sleepovers galore. In the evening on Dec. 30th, "Ollie" kicked me!!! (which also happens to be the same date that I kicked my mom for the first time, pretty cool.) New Year's Eve dinner with Kristin and her kids. Marble cheesecake for breakfast on Jan. 1 (because I didn't make it early enough, so it wasn't' ready until midnight or so and we were NOT up at "midnight or so"). Actually, I could go for some right now...but I'd have to make it.

We topped off the Christmas break with a weekend away with my mom, and brother and nieces, at my little cousin's wedding! I say little, because it just seems like yesterday that I was babysitting her and she was cheating at Pretty, Pretty, Princess, or maybe it was Guess Who? Rachel now refers to her as "my princess", except of course when she saw her the next day in her sweats and t-shirt...then she was shy and asked where her princess went? Aidan sat unhappily through the ceremony, claiming that "weddings scare me," but got over it when we headed to the hotel to swim before the reception. Garrett and Aly had a conversation as they went to sleep that went like this...Aly - "My favorite part was the dancing." Garrett - "Yeah, the dancing. I love dancing, and I love these cashews."

And Monday morning, life returned to "normal." We all settled right back into our routine.

And yet, the best part of Christmas is something that does much more than stir up life for a month. This part changes life...forever.

The celebration of Christmas is a remembrance. God told the Israelites numerous times in the Old Testament to "remember," He was the one who told them to celebrate Passover every year and told them to tell their stories to their children. Why? Because He knows us. He knows we forget.

This past month, we remembered.

We remembered that a young girl and her new husband traveled a long way in the last days of her pregnancy. They found no place to stay. She went through labor in a stable with only Joseph at her side. Well, that's not entirely true, God was with them. Mary gave birth to a son, and they named him Jesus.

We remembered that it was lowly shepherds that witnessed the heavenly birth announcement.
The angel declared, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today, in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." And if that announcement wasn't amazing enough, "Suddenly, a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

"And Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."

Can you imagine? Can you imagine that night?

And consider that all this took place so that God's Son could be sacrificed in our place, take our punishment, that we might be spared and have a relationship with our Creator. This was God's plan, He had been preparing everything for this moment. He spoke of His Son's birth to the prophets, He told His people that He would come, that He would save them.

Can you imagine? Can you believe all that God has done for us?

Do you remember? I do. And I will teach it to my children, and their children. And pray that we will not forget.

"The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

(and the story of Christ's birth is found in Luke 2:1-20)