Sunday, January 28, 2007

Real Life

I’ll be honest. I didn’t want to write on this blog ever again. I am doing it because I believe it to be the right thing to do. I have wrestled with God over this issue, but He has assured me that He doesn’t want me to miss an opportunity to share with others who He has been for me through this very painful ordeal. I protested that it shouldn’t be so easy for everyone to know all of these personal things I’m dealing with just by visiting a website…. “They should call me if they want to know,” was my selfish thought. It seemed so impersonal. And I’ll admit, those emotions are still there a little bit, but I believe He wants me to share some of this journey, and I truly want to go there with Him and let Him fulfill His purposes in this way. I’m choosing to obey, trusting that emotions will follow at some point. It already forces some accountability, and I know that is a good thing. I don’t presume to know how God will use this, and I have no idea how it will hit anyone reading this, but I’m just going to write about it as I feel led by Him to do. I have no idea if this will be a venue that I will use very often or not – I may write on here every day, or it may be every few weeks. I don’t know how He will lead in that way, but I want to be willing to be vulnerable with you all, even if it hurts like crazy. I still want to use this blog to celebrate the little joys of life with Jonah and update you on his sweet little life, and I plan to continue doing that. There is a place for writing about those kinds of things. But the Lord will have to show me when that is, because I feel that, for now, this blog’s purpose is entirely different.

There are a lot of real girls in this world. But not every real girl is edifying. I believe very strongly that we do not have the right to complain about anything. We can be real about our struggles, disappointments, and pain, but how we represent the Lord in that “realness” makes all the difference. It has everything to do with whether or not we will be effective in our purpose here on earth. I am not about to say that this hasn’t been the hardest week of my life – it has. I’ve known no pain, so far, like this. That is just a fact. But I also am not about to say that Christ hasn’t been everything to me this week – He has. If He hadn’t taken me on this journey of a love-relationship with Him that He’s had me on the last several years, I would be nowhere near prepared for this tragedy. But He has graciously taught me, in the past, truths that in this moment, as I am being tested, have provided me so much strength and hope. I cling to those truths with my life. Truths such as these: He is perfect and holy and sovereign and ALWAYS RIGHT. He LOVES me like crazy and is not allowing suffering as a punishment but as a means to draw closer in intimacy with Him. His PRESENCE will comfort me even if no one else can. He has a PURPOSE in this pain and considers us worthy enough to go through it so our lives will look more like His. There is beauty in sharing in Christ’s suffering because there is a FELLOWSHIP with Him not known apart from that togetherness with Him in pain. He wants me to live SURRENDERED to His ways, and He plans to use this to help get me to the place where my THOUGHTS are taken captive to truth, my mind is solely trusting in Him.

I do not know how someone endures this grief if they do not have truths like those to hold onto. My heart breaks for those girls. It is painful for anyone to endure, but to only know the pain and none of His grace in the midst of it would be absolutely heart-breaking. I believe that is how people completely lose trust in God – by neglecting truth and only living by the difficult emotions we find ourselves dealing with many times in life. I can see where it would happen easily. It is why I am so grateful that He will not let go of me and that He keeps sending me voices of truth, even if they are hard to hear. I hope that, over time, I will be able to share more and more of this experience. It would be impossible right now to show you every glorious thing God has done this week because in order for you to understand that, you’d have to know every dark place I’ve been this week. I can’t take you there; it would be impossible. But I do hope to increasingly share it. It will just have to be little by little. I’ve learned that the particular experience of miscarriage is a very isolating one. There are other types of loss that are similar in this way, but this is definitely one that you find yourself pretty alone in. In the moment, no one else can experience what you, as the mother, are experiencing. No one is feeling the exact same loss or grieving in the same way. It is great to be comforted by those who have experienced it before as well as by those who never have – comfort is good, regardless of the giver’s own personal experience. I’ve lost some people very dear to me before, but in those situations, there have always been others, family members in my case, who are experiencing the same loss. (i.e. When I lost my dear Nana, I had a brother and three cousins who also were grieving the loss of a grandmother that day). So this has been new for me. And it has brought about a whole lot of facets of grief that I’ve never known or had to deal with. But just as no one can experience the same pain I am, right in the same moment, over exactly what I have lost, no one can know the beauty and wonderfulness of being comforted by Jesus Christ Himself in the same way I am either. I know that God wants to reveal Himself in a big way to everyone, and I want that for everyone I know, but it also is extraordinarily comforting to know that He is so involved in my life that He has intended some very good personal things just for me to experience this week. And I would have missed those if I hadn’t also experienced the pain that only I could have over the loss of this child. I would have missed Him.

I am making a choice to trust the Lord with this, to stay on top of my thoughts, to wait for Him, to go through the grieving process in the right way, to fully engage in what He has for me through this, and to be transparent in this trial so that others can know how sweet He has been to my hurting heart. Please pray that that would be true of me. I know I am not the first person to endure this, and hardship is not new to anyone reading this. We all live on this earth and have journeyed through some type of valley. I’m sure many of you have also experienced His perfect love and abundant life while in those valleys. If not, my prayer is that you have that experience and know Him in such a deep, meaningful way. If these things I write on this blog can help you in any way to get there, I’d count it the highest privilege to help show the way to His throne.

As God has repeatedly demonstrated to me numerous times this week His ability and willingness to answer prayers, I am becoming more in awe of Him and hungrier for more of those prayers. I am so grateful for the ones you have already offered in my behalf and ask for continued prayer.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Terrible News

I don't even know how to write this. I have just learned this afternoon that I have had a miscarriage. I have no words to describe how crushing this is to us, and I beg for your prayers. I know that the Lord is near to us, and I want nothing less than for Him to use this for His purposes and to make me more like Him. I have no choice but to trust Him. If you know people who know that I was pregnant, it would be very much appreciated for you to contact them and let them know this has happened. That would be the biggest help to us at this time, as we want people to know yet, as you can imagine, it is very hard to do so right now. It has been a very dear blessing to already have family shower us with their love and comfort this afternoon, and for that, I am very thankful. Thank you in advance for your prayers...we know God will answer them and take care of us during this very painful experience.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Prayer Request

If you don't mind, please pray for David Husband. He's the 3 and a 1/2-year-old (I think) nephew of my sister-in-law Amy, and he got very sick yesterday and has been hospitalized. He's been diagnosed with some disease that should be ok but takes several weeks to go away. I don't know the name of it....I got the info passed on to me from a not-so-details-oriented person. I'll try to find out more later when I talk to my brother. But I do know that it is supposed to be very painful. I do not know in what way, but I hate the thought of a child that age going through something so painful. And it must be scary for him. Anyway, if you think of them, I'd sure appreciate you lifting up the Husband family. His parents are Chris and Summer - they are the sweetest people and have been through so many hard things in the past having to do with the health and well-being of their children, even losing two of their babies. Amy, whenever you read this, feel free to post a comment with more info or an update, if you have one.

And as an answer to Courtney's comment, asking how I'm feeling....I'm feeling great! I'm tired, but surprisingly, not as tired as when I was pregnant with Jonah. This time, I have only thrown up a few times and have had very little nausea. As long as I keep food in my stomach, I'm ok. Wish that had been the case the first time, but oh well, I'm thankful for this MUCH easier pregnancy! I'm twelve weeks pregnant today. Tomorrow I go in for a check-up - can't wait to hear this baby's heartbeat! This one is so little trouble, I can hardly remember he's there! But the weight gain is there to prove I'm really pregnant! Seriously, I'm five months ahead of schedule with weight gain compared to my first pregnancy. But I'm ok with that - being able to eat is really really fun! =)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Rainy Day

It's been raining most of the day, but it has been a great day for us. Joel has been out of town, so it's just been me and Jonah hanging out. The Lord has been so sweet to give us a great time together. Jonah has been very pleasant. He usually is, but if he ever acts really difficult, you can be sure it's when Joel is out of town and I have him on my own! So I'm a very thankful girl today. Last night, we ended up spending the night at my parents' because my aunt Jan was in town and spending the night there. It was great getting to visit with her. This morning, Mom and Dad took Jonah to a basketball tournament. They said he played with his cars on the bleachers for most of the time, but he had fun. During that time, I went to the grocery store and then to Lifeway to pick up a book for the Bible study I'm going to be doing at church, starting in a couple of weeks. And I didn't leave with any other books, that's a big accomplishment for me! My husband probably won't believe me. My goodness, there were probably at least 15 women's Bible studies to choose from at church this semester! I love that there are so many women in my church who love being in the Word with each other. I'm going to be taking "He Speaks to Me" by Priscilla Shirer, and we're going to meet at a lady's house and have brunch together each week. The Bible study I took in the fall was mostly young women, which was so great - it was the first time I'd been in a church Bible study for women where there were so many women in their 20s and 30s who not only were passionate about it but also committed to it. It was very encouraging to connect with those girls. This time, however, I think I am the only youngish one.....and I'm excited about that too. I really was blessed by spending time with my "older" lady friends on the women's leadership team at Grace in Bartlesville and miss that time with them so much. So I think it will be really good to have some mentors and for me to be intentional about making Titus 2:3-5 a reality in my life again. I'm probably pretty weird, but I really enjoy being friends with women in their 50s and 60s! I just learn so much from them. And some of them are pretty psycho-fun too! (i.e. Betty!)

Earlier tonight while I was talking on the phone, I caught Jonah after he had taken out every dirty clothing item of my overstuffed laundry hamper, and he had put them in the drawers of the chest with all of the clean clothes. Evidently, he thought he was helping to put away laundry! He made the cutest face like he was really proud of himself. Aw man, I forgot to take a picture of this little mess. Oh well. Also this weekend, he has begun to walk around with a play phone up to his ear, saying "hello" a bunch of times. Actually, it sounds like "hwo, hwo?" It's so funny. Tonight, I asked him who he was talking to, and he said "Amy" - so he was thinking about his Aunt Amy! He also has been talking about Nanny and his uncle Eric (Urck") a lot lately. He always starts saying family member's names and wants me to tell him everybody's names and then asks "wort?" (which means "work") to know if they are at work or where they are. He loves his family! And he knows who goes together. If he sees or talks to Gigi, he immediately says "Papa" and vice-versa. He does the same with Blake & Amy, and Jen & Eric. All right, well, I'm off - just thought I'd share a few of the cute things Jonah is doing right now! I just talked to Joel, and he's less than an hour away, so I'm happy about that!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Emergency Room Fun

Yep, this afternoon was spent in the ER.....Joel cut his hand while opening a box with a pocket knife, and it was a pretty big cut. He had to have stitches, and he was such a brave boy. He said it hardly hurt! It was hurting me just looking at it. Good news is that he didn't pass out. When he first came into the room to show me what had happened, he got really woozy and felt like he was going to pass out. He has a history with that, so I got a little worried about what I'd do if he was passed out on our kitchen floor. So I started shoving cereal bars in his mouth. Seriously. It was the closest food, and I knew he hadn't eaten yet. Oh yeah, and when he very first came to tell me that he might need me to drive him to the hospital, my reaction was "Are you playing a joke on me?" I didn't believe him! He's such a practical jokester, I didn't know. And he is not going to let me forget that I didn't trust him. Anyway, the cool thing is that Joel really hit it off with his ER doctor and talked to him about the Lord. This guy said he doesn't go to church, but he was really interested when Joel started talking to him about it. He was asking questions like why Joel wanted to be a minister and what our church is like. So maybe the Lord started planting a desire in his heart to check it out. Anyway, Joel was being really funny and talkative, so the doctor and nurses thought he was really fun and said they were really happy to have a patient that is not whining. So they were talking to us for a long time. So it sounds weird, but it ended up being a kinda fun experience, minus Joel's hand pain. Oh yeah, and because of the sleet we got this morning, I hadn't been out of the house and hadn't planned on being out of there, so when the accident happened, I was about to be asleep on the couch, wearing my husband's pajama pants, which are the only pants that are comfortable right now. Well, I didn't even think about changing before we rushed out to the ER, so they probably thought I was the frumpiest girl they'd ever seen!! I mean, I didn't realize how messy and unmatched I was until after we were there. It was quite a sight. I'm just glad I had a bra on, because I haven't been wearing one at the house lately! Lucky for all of us!
Tonight we are going to mom and dad's and making tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Sounds very yummy....I'm so excited to eat all of the time now.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Actually Feels Like Winter

It's been such a mild winter this year for us, but wow, it's cold now. We had freezing rain on Sunday night but nothing stuck to the roads here to make them bad or dangerous. We had spent that night at my parents' house because we watched 24 then stayed up to beat them in Spades. They are on a bad losing streak to me and Joel, and we are enjoying it quite a lot! So Joel went in to work yesterday morning while Jonah and I got stuck at my parents' without power for a few hours. Jonah kept saying "sorrrrry" over and over again, we think we thought he had something to do with the lights going out! But we stayed warm by the fire and then went to our very warm and toasty house. We've just been busy playing at the house today; it's way too cold for me to want to get out. Springtime will be nice. =)

Church on Sunday was so wonderful....I feel so blessed to be a part of such a good church. Because our church is a multi-site church with 4 different locations, Joel's job requires him to attend church at each campus periodically. We went to the one in Lindale on Sunday, and I was so blessed by the authenticity and warmth of the people, the sweet spirit of worship that tends to accompany that kind of authenticity, and the message of truth on the need for us to all be disciple-makers. I was really challenged to disciple more people and was encouraged to hear the Lord's prompting in some specific ways to do this. I just love meeting with Him with His people!

Jonah has been so funny. Since he has now mastered all of his colors (and is still obsessed with them), he has decided to move on to an interest in numbers. He always wants me to count, but I don't think he understands yet that when you count, the numbers go in a certain order! But it's a start. This morning when I was changing him, he started saying, "six, nine, six, nine," and then later he was saying "nine, three, nine"....I guess he loves multiples of threes! It's pretty funny. A second ago, I looked up from typing, and he was pulling Kleenexes out of the box and spreading them all over the floor! He's getting into everything but it hasn't been bad, because he's very responsive to discipline. Not sure how long that will last! But for now, I realize it's my own fault when little messes like that happen, since I'm sitting at the computer when it does! He's just learning so much so fast...It's amazing how many changes happen between 16 months and now. He's a different kid than he was even a few weeks ago! It's a stage that I'm really enjoying. I'm tired, for sure! But having a blast with him.

Joel is going out of town a few times in the next few weeks, so I am trying to get a life scheduled for while he's gone! I'm about to call some girls about a playdate later in the week and will probably make a trip to Dallas one day next week to do some shopping. I was thinking that I could go to Houston next week and stay with my cousin Lacey and get to see my friend Angela, but we decided it would be best not to do it just yet. I got nervous about making that trip by myself with Jonah. I don't know how he'd do, or how he'd sleep at her one-bedroom apartment, so I'll have to reschedule that. If anyone wants to "road trip" with me to Houston sometime, let me know!

I love that first pic of Jonah in the dirt.....can you tell he is ALL BOY?! He loves to play in the dirt!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

It Feels So Good to Get Organized

We have had the most productive Saturday. It has been raining hard all day long, so we have just all been inside, getting stuff done around the house. I finally went through the last of the boxes that still needed to be unpacked from the move, and I re-organized and put away all of the Christmas decorations. They had been taken down but were all over the guest room. Now the guest room looks like an actual room, window shades hung and a new bedskirt on the bed, and no more mess in there! And my, it feels good. I think the "nesting" instincts have already started with this pregnancy, and I'm not even out of my first trimester! That's crazy, I know, but I just feel like I have so little time to get organized around here before baby #2 comes. Of course, now I am exhausted from doing so much today, and I'm sure I'll go to bed as soon as Jonah does.

Yesterday, Jonah and I went over to my friend Kate's house for a playdate with her little boy Brantley who is 2. He and Jonah played so well together!! I mean, they actually played together, not just beside each other, which is what playdates are usually like at this age. Kate just had another little boy, Brayden, in December, so it was fun seeing and holding him. It made me really excited about this baby on its way to our family!!! Reminded me how much I love newborns and the whole baby stage. I mean, I'm glad it's still 6 and a half months away (we need the time to prepare Jonah!), but I'm really excited for a new baby. I've been excited all along, it's just different with your forget you're pregnant a lot of the time, whereas with the first, it's on your mind all day long!

Oh, the joy.....tomorrow is the season premiere for the new season of 24. I think it's my favorite day of the year. =) We are going to my parents' house to watch it with them - for us, it's a reason to party! If you've been wanting to join in the obsession too, tomorrow would be a great time to start watching. I so love Jack Bauer.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Book Recommendations by me

Besides my three all-time favorites (Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers; Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas; and The Modern Girl's Guide to Bible Study by Jen Hatmaker), here are a couple of books I've read in the last couple of months that I highly recommend:
1.) 30 Days to Understanding the Bible by Max Anders - It's great if you want a better understanding of the basic framework of Scripture. There's not a ton of heavy reading, just mainly filling in charts and stuff like that, which really helped me to learn the info more quickly. It's great if you've never really studied the Bible much or if you have for a long time but really need some questions answered. It's been an excellent resource for me. It says it's 15 minutes a day for 30 days, but it took way less than 15 minutes, so some days I doubled and tripled up. It was exciting!
2.) Nice Girls Don't Change the World by Lynne Hybels - It's a teeny-tiny book with a big message. Seriously, it's one of those really short books, perfect for those who are short on time, but it's a great subject to think on, especially for people who are really wanting to engage in the role God has for each of us in our local churches. Our group of pastors' wives at church that meets monthly will be talking through the message of this book at our meetings the next couple of months, and I'm really looking forward to the discussion.

I'm always up for hearing book recommendations from anyone!

And I forgot to of yesterday, Jonah is 19 months old!!! I can't believe it. We're closer to his 2-year birthday than to his first.....crazy.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Oh, to have smaller tonsils

Yep, they're pretty swollen. I've always had big tonsils though, ever since I was little. Bet you didn't know that about me. =) I went to the doctor yesterday and finally got some meds and am feeling a lot better....just annoying everyone with my lingering cough. But we finally got out today, and Jonah was so excited about that. When we left Wal-mart, he seriously did not want to get out of the shopping cart. He was probably so glad to be out of his house that anything, even Wal-mart, sounded good to him. He's been so good lately, I decided for us to all go out and get ice cream after dinner. It was a great family moment, but right now, I am regretting it, because Jonah has been in bed for almost an hour and has still not fallen asleep. Oops. Guess we need to limit sugar in the evening. Lesson learned.

Tomorrow night, Jonah is spending the night with my parents, and Joel and I will be going on a date. Can't wait for that! Hope I can stay awake for it though. I'm already way past my bedtime right now, and it's 9pm. If that kid would just go to sleep....=) I need my rest, because tomorrow...I'm going shopping! I've been holding onto gift cards and Christmas money that I haven't been able to spend because I've been sick, and I'm picking out bamboo shades for the guest room windows tomorrow. I've been waiting for this for a long time, and I'm excited it's finally here. =)

Sunday, January 7, 2007

My Sweet Son

A couple nights ago, Jonah and I had our first real conversation....we were on our way home from my parents' and I said to him, "You had a really fun day today, didn't you?" to which he sweetly replied, "ye-ahhhh." I asked him what his favorite part of the day was, and he said "tars" (translation: cars). Playing with his cars (which is what he had done most of the day) was his favorite. It was funny to talk with him like that and him really understand what I'm saying and be able to respond. He's getting so big!!!

Today we said a prayer about something, and he exuberantly shouts "amen!" at the end of our prayers, and he kept saying "again" and wanted me to pray more. So we kept thinking of things to pray about. It was so sweet. I've just fallen even more in love with my precious boy the last few days. Being a mom really is the best thing I can think of.

My brother went back to Kentucky earlier in the week, but Amy, Nathan, and Maggie just went back today. They spent another couple of days in Tyler on Friday and Saturday, and it was fun but sooooo hard to see them leave. I can't believe I won't see those kids for almost three months. Joel probably won't see them until late May, at the earliest, when they visit again. Joel finally won Maggie's heart (she hadn't been so sure about him ever, wouldn't go near him) about an hour before they left. She just bossed him around, and they talked on their cell phones and had a really fun time. And my big accomplishment of the week - I highlighted Amy's hair! I'm so humbled by her trust of me to do something like that! I don't think she thought about it much. But it turned out really good! I'm pretty proud of myself....I didn't know I could do that. I used to have this secret dream of being a hairstylist, so I felt like I was partially fulfilling that! It was fun. I felt like I did something important. =) What does that tell you about my life right now?!

So sad the Cowboys lost.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Happy New Year

I can't believe it is 2007. Unreal! We just got back in town last night from a great trip to Bartlesville. We celebrated Christmas with Joel's family and had such a good time. Jonah and I were sick for most of it, but it was still nice to spend time there with family. My mother-in-law's new condo is starting to look real cute....she's done a lot of "fixin ups" that have inspired me to get back to being more focused on updating our house. I still have not completed the walls in our hall bath, but once that is finished, it's on to replacing light fixtures in the kitchen. That's my plan for this month. Jonah's big gift there - an entire cowboy outfit, with real wranglers, boots, hat, belt, and shirt. I'll post pics of our little Texan cowboy soon.
It looks like Jonah's ear infections from a month ago hung on even after the antibiotics, so we're still fighting that. He's had some fever today, and the annoying cough of mine has returned. We want to be well!!! I guess if I didn't forfeit my doctor's appointment today for a hair appointment, that might happen sooner. But what can I say? Sometimes a girl is desperate for highlights. There ya have it, my real priorities. =)
One really fun thing that happened today....I was the 100th customer at Chick-fil-A and got my lunch free! I'd never actually heard of that happening to anyone, but I must admit, my odds were good. I've been eating there so much lately. I was so sad that all I had ordered was a could eat up to $10 for free, but they don't tell you until after you've already ordered. Sad. But I never "win" anything like is quite thrilling.
Ok, off to rest....