A few weeks ago, we were surprised to receive an encouraging letter from a couple in North Carolina. They had stumbled upon our church website through a carousel image I had promoted on Pinterest. In addition to their kind words, they sent along these gifts. Pretty cool, huh? Apparently, the husband is a blacksmith, and they sell cross and fish jewelry and keychains created from bent nails.
God has been so kind to our family through others. Moments like this really make me excited about heaven. It's a taste of what it means to be part of the body of Christ. It's a taste of the perfect unity we will have one day in heaven... the unity we are striving towards now as the Church. As believers, we are all connected through Jesus... young and old... black and white... pastor and blacksmith.
Awesome. I know.
Check out their company "Ironfish." They do great work!
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
For those of you are Christians... do you feel "saved" most days, or do you go through seasons where you just believe but don't really "feel" anything? I've been stuck in a terribly dry season for a while now. Don't get me wrong. I love Jesus, but emotionally, I've been leaning towards empty. I've been journeying through a spiritual desert while I have seen God working all around me. It's an odd place to be. It makes me think about the Israelites as God led them to the Promised Land. They walked through the most desolate of places but all the while experienced miracles like never before. I'm there.
I know I have shared about this before, but when I was pregnant with Pax, I really felt anything but pregnant. I just felt miserable most of the time and sometimes scared. The frequent gallbladder attacks were maddening to my Type A personality, because I couldn't be productive most days. I could only endure. I often fought against guilt, because we had wanted this baby so badly. When I couldn't take living in the moment anymore, I would live for the delivery day. I imagined what it would be like to hold a healthy baby boy. That hope is what kept me going. In the end, that hope didn't disappoint. Having Pax with us now has been the greatest joy. I can't thank God enough for this precious gift. My heart is so full.
Transition to today. I'm not feeling too spiritual. My quiet times are completely random as I adjust to life with two sweet kids on not enough sleep. I've been out of church more than in church in the past few months for reasons I couldn't control. All of that adds up and contributes to this season. I am just not on a spiritual mountaintop. It's more like a valley. I'm guessing I am not alone. I think it is safe to assume that some of you feel this way now or have been here before.
What keeps me going? Hope. Hope in what is to come. Right now, in the trenches of life, heaven seems so far away. A place where we will become all we are supposed to be as believers. A place where sin's sting will be no more. No more suffering. No more crying. No more death. A place where Jesus will fill our hearts with a joy that will never end, and we will find rest in His arms. It seems far away, but it's not.
When life becomes too much or when the Enemy accuses you and condemns you again and again, focus on heaven brothers and sisters. Imagine the joy we will have when we see Jesus face to face. Drink it in. Taste it. Let it wash over you. As believers, we have no reason to be ashamed or discouraged- we have been rescued. With the joy set before us, let's endure our cross and finish this race well.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
|Pax minutes after birth|
This past Easter Sunday was Pax's official due date. Having him here almost two and a half weeks early has been wonderful. Even though this is almost 2 and a half weeks later, I wanted to share our delivery story with you. God's hand is all over it. Seriously.
A week before I delivered Pax, I began to have prodromal labor. I went from no dilatation to 4 cm in a day or so but then stopped. Even though I wasn't dilating any more, I was continuing to have contractions day and night with only a few hour breaks in between. All of the while I was having gallbladder attacks at the same time, and I was miserable. After a week of trying to get my labor to progress naturally, I became discouraged and gave up. My ob scheduled for me to be induced the following week, and I went home in tears. I wasn't sure how much more I could take, but I wanted Pax to be delivered at a safe time for him. I was trying to wait as long as possible to be induced. I really wanted to go into labor on my own.
That night we had community group at our house, and when we went to bed, I was woken up at 3 a.m. with a gallbladder attack. I tried every trick I knew to deal with the pain without any success. By 6 a.m., I was vomiting uncontrollably, and I couldn't keep any of my medicines down. By 6:30 a.m., I had a good cry about how I couldn't do this any longer, and at 7:30 a.m., we had loaded Abby up in the car and were on our way to the ER for me to get pain meds and fluids IV.
When I arrived at the hospital, my ob was already there about to do a c-section, so he came by to check on me when he finished. Because my gallbladder attack had pushed me far over my pain threshold, I was shocked when he told me that I had dilated more and was almost a 6. I was hurting so badly that I had no idea my labor had been progressing. At that point, I was given pain meds and fluids IV to help me rest so I would be ready for the labor ahead. By 12:30 p.m., I was in the labor and delivery room and was started on pitocin to get things moving faster. Amazingly, the pain meds had stopped the gallbladder attack, and because so many people were praying for us, I recovered from it faster than I have recovered from any. I went from being slightly delusional from pain to being mentally ready to finish labor and have our son.
|Introducing Pax to Abby|
Because I wanted labor to be as short as possible, I labored without any more pain meds or the epidural until I felt myself going through the transition period. A little before 3 p.m. I told the nurse I was ready for the epidural, and the anesthesiologist came up and started it exactly when I really needed it. When he finished, I told the nurse I wanted to take a short nap, because I knew I was at the end. I slept for about 30 minutes then was woken up and knew it was time to push. I called my nurse, and she was shocked to feel Pax's head crowning already. She quickly set up for the delivery and called my ob who was already in the parking lot coming in for another c-section. Within minutes of his arrival into the room, I delivered Pax at 3:57. He had perfect a Apgar score and weighed exactly 7 lbs. Nothing about his delivery seemed early. None of the pain meds I had been on affected his vital signs. God was gracious.
God had safely brought our son into the world when I physically and emotionally could handle no more. For such a rough start to the day, I had the best delivery experience I could have hoped for. Months earlier, I had worried that I wouldn't have the strength to deliver Pax without a c-section, and that day, I delivered him with minimal assistance as I had hoped. My experience at Ocean Springs Hospital was ideal. I had a great nurse that day, and my doctor was there when I really needed him to be. Most of all, God's peace was with me the whole time, and I knew that He was with us as we delivered Pax.
|My first photo to pose with Pax all showered and prettied up 24 hrs post delivery.|
Having our son with us now is such a blessing. My heart couldn't be fuller with the precious family God has given me. I couldn't be more thankful to be holding a healthy baby boy now.