Thursday, December 31, 2009

Not Because of Sin


A verse hit me this morning during my quiet time. John 9: 1-4
1 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth.
2 “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”
3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.
4 We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us.
Of course I have read this passage many times but I was struck by the third verse.
3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.
When "bad" things happen, it isn't because you did something wrong. God allows those interrupted expectations to occur because He wants to further His Kingdom. He wants to be gloried in our rough times.

As I have blogged, I struggle with the why-me attitude. Why did I have to lose a sister? There is one thing that I can hang my hat on - there were approx 20 people saved at my sister's funeral. That's right - 20 people are going to Heaven because of my sister's death.

When I start stomping around feeling sorry for myself, the Holy Spirit taps me on the shoulder and says "your pain is not in vain."

You maybe don't have knowledge of people becoming Christians because of your Interrupted Expectation. But, that doesn't mean that God doesn't want to use you.

- Is there someone around you who is experiencing the same thing? Go and encourage them.
- Is there a ministry at your church where God could use your story?
- Blog about what God taught you. Use this or your own blog to encourage people?
- Send a card in the mail to a person who is hurting. Put a smile on their face when they open the mailbox.

What are you doing to let God use your story?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Review: The Sweet By and By

544890: The Sweet By and By

The Sweet By and By

Combine an upcoming wedding, a hippie mom, and a haunting past. A beautiful story of forgiveness is created.

I was sorry that I started the book The Sweet By and Byover the Christmas season because all I wanted to do was read! Authors Sara Evans and Rachel Hauk drew you into the book with luring descriptions and emotions created on each page. About the time that I felt I had the ending figured out, a new twist to the plot occurred for the main character, Jade.

In a past post, I quoted this book. Many more blogs could have been written because this novel is filled with Interrupted Expectations. Unlike the typical current Interrupted Expectations written about on this blog, Jade learns to deal with past hurts. Items that she and her fiancĂ© agreed to leave in the past and not mention – every. Traveling life’s journey, the “back-burner” experiences always boil up.

This is a book that needs to be read. But, I want to preface that statement with – this could be a very difficult story to read for people who have had similar circumstances in life. The amazing thing is that through all of the emotions that this book evokes, you too can find God’s love and forgiveness.

Momma C Rating:

View at:Amazonor Christianbook.com

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Food for Thought



No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another

- Charles Dickens


What are you doing to encourage someone else?







Image from Faithclipart.com

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas



My prayer goes out to each of you today as Christmas can be so hard when you are in the valley of Interrupted Expectations. May you feel God's love holding you tight.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Send Jesus Back on the Cross

544890: The Sweet By and ByThe Sweet By and By

I was asked to review the new release The Sweet By and By written by author and recording artist Sara Evans. Although the entire review will come later, I was struck by a conversation two characters in the book have.

"I can't imagine what angst exists between you and your mama. Were you abused? Pardon my frankness."
"No."
"My granny, bless her soul, used to say, "Whatever ill you have against someone isn't worth sending the Lord Jesus back to the cross."
"I don't even know what that means...but I am not sending Jesus anywhere."
"It means Jesus' love and forgiveness is sufficient for any wrong or voilation done to us, Jade. Don't you think it's powerful enough for you and your mama? This I do know...you need to forgive your mother for whatever it is that she did to you. Belive me, holding a grudge does nothing but deepen and widen your hurt."
This lead me to think about a situation in my life right now. I am mad at God that we have to deal with it. But who is my anger and bitterness hurting? Me. All it does it provide a road for satan to entire my thoughts.

As Christmas is around the corner, we are all thrown into situations with people who have hurt us. We have expectations as to what a family should be.  We have expectations of how the holidays should go.  We gave expectations of how people should act.  But life throws us yet another Interrupted Expectation. 

People do and say some really stupid things. Feelings get hurt and walls get built. But is it worth "sending the Lord Jesus back to the cross"?

View at: Christianbook.com
or Amazon

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Listen to the Christmas Story for Free - Created by Matthew West




Christian recording artist and author of 101 Ways to Give This Christmas Away, Matthew West is offering a free download of the Christmas story from Luke read by the singer/songwriter himself. You can also download a free copy of the Gospel of John in the New Living Translation.

Here is the link:  The Christ of Christmas

Some ways this download is being used:
- Family time listening experience (hot cocoa, fire place, Christmas cheer)
- Christmas E-cards (include a link to the download in your Christmas card this year)
- Posting the link in the comments sections of other blogs you read to spread the word
- Embed the audio file into your Facebook page or website so it plays automatically
- Spread the Gospel though Twitter
- Send the link through a text message or through your smart phone so you can download the file and play it all around town

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Emotions of Grief

In October I wrote about a day set aside as a day of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance. The Remembering Our Babies Foundation like this site desires to help those who are hurting.

On their website is a wealth of information about grieving. Below are three emotions that they target during grief.

Anger is a common emotion following a death. You may find yourself angry at a situation, at a person in particular, or just angry in general. You will often find that you take out this anger on those closest around you. You cannot choose to be angry, but you can choose how to express it. Try holding an imaginary conversation with the person you are angry with, or write them a letter that only you need to see. What is making you angry with this person? Talk or write out all of your feeling about that person or situation. Understanding your anger is the first step toward dealing with it. Hit a pillow, kick a bed, play tennis, or scream if it makes you feel better! The experts claim that exercise is an excellent stress reliever.

Whether rational or not, appropriate or not, almost everyone experiences guilt. Guilt can be triggered by almost anything, but usually comes under the heading of “I could have, I should have, I wish I would have...” Acknowledge guilt, by looking at each situation, write it down if you need to. If you feel your guilt is warranted, write an apology--even if you are the only one to read it. Vow to learn from your mistakes and move on.

Depression - Sometimes feelings of numbness and shock go on longer than the first few weeks. Although it is common to experience some of these earlier symptoms from time to time, it is not a good sign to have these symptoms constantly. Be sure to have at least one person that you can discuss your feelings with. Even better, join a bereavement group. Talk to your doctor about how you feel, and perhaps seek a counselor for further treatment. Call a crisis hotline if you ever feel that you may consider suicide.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Infertility is Real

Everywhere I turn I find people who are or have experienced infertility. The God-given desire to have a baby is strong and real.

There is no getting around it. People you don't even know ask when are you going to start a family. Friends around you are "surprised" by a pregnancy. High school girls are getting pregnant. Mother's Day comes once a year to remind you...you are not a mother. Is God really saying "no" or "just wait"?

I can look back and see God's hand in our 1 1/2 years of infertility. I realize now how His timing was perfect. Easy to say now that God has said "yes" three times to my husband and I. But being in the middle of it, your heart aches.

Here are a few things that I learned in that year and a half:

- People are stupid and nosy. Don't ever ask or tease someone about starting a family. You never know how many doctor visits that they have gone to.

- Don't assume anything. You don't know what happens behind closed doors.

- Infertility can draw a husband and wife together or pull them apart. It is up to you whether you allow bitterness and anger to take hold.

- Statistics mean nothing to God.

- It doesn't matter if you have the best doctor and the best that medicine can offer, God creates life in His timing.

- Infertility doesn't mean that you are doing something wrong in your life. Spend time on your knees but not with blame. For some reason - which may have nothing to do with you - God is saying "not now."

Hannah's Prayer Ministry is a wonderful ministry to provide Christian support for fertility challenges and miscarriages. Included on the site is a forum, links to other sites, and recommended books.

Is there a book or website that you can suggest?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Review: Treasured

074815: Treasured: Knowing God by the Things He Keeps
Treasured: Knowing God by the Things He Keeps

By Leigh McLeroy / Random House, Inc

* If God had a box of souvenirs to remind him of things that matter most, what would it hold? Blending personal stories with Scripture, McLeroy examines the mysteries of heaven through tangible symbols of God's goodness, grace, and mercy---a fig leaf from Eden, Hagar's waterskin, a blood-stained strip of fabric . . . .
As I read the book Treasured: Knowing God by the Things He Keeps, I knew immediately that this book needed to be put on the Interrupted Expectations website.

Grief has a way of monopolizing itself. You feel overwhelmed in every area of your life. It is easy to feel like the world is falling on top of you. Leigh McLeroy opens your eyes to the little treasures that God gives us each and every day. As I read the book, I felt the layers of yuck peel off as I climbed out of a pit of lies. I was reminded of God's love for His "most precious possession" - me!

With thirteen short chapters, this book can be used as a personal devotion or group discussion. It even includes discussion questions and scripture to help you dig deeper. McLeroy uses similes and metaphors like I have never read before. The imagery comes to life on each page. This is not a deep book. The message is very simple. So grab a cup of coffee and allow God to show you that you are His precious possession and climb out of that pit of lies.

This book was provided to me for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Fragile Existence

This was November 12, 2009 devotional from Our Daily Bread written by Julie Ackerman Link. May you be encouraged...

Fragile Existence
READ: Job 1:8-22
We should not trust in ourselves but in God. —2 Corinthians 1:9The geological features at Yellowstone National Park fascinate me. But when I walk among the geysers, I’m aware of how close I am to danger. I am walking atop one of the largest, most active volcanoes in the world.

When I read the book of Job, I feel as if I’m walking through Yellowstone on a day when the volcano erupts, exploding the earth’s fragile crust and bringing disaster.

Like tourists at Yellowstone, Job was enjoying life. He was unaware that only a hedge separated him from disaster (Job 1:9-10). When God removed that hedge and allowed Satan to test Job, his life exploded (vv.13-19).

Many believers live in circumstances where it seems as if God, for some reason, has removed His hedge of protection. Others, also for reasons unknown, live in relative calm, seemingly unaware of their fragile existence. Like Job’s friends, they assume that nothing bad will happen unless they do something to deserve it.

As we learn from Job, however, God sometimes allows bad things to happen to good people. Although disaster can strike at any moment, nothing has the power to destroy those who trust Christ (2 Cor. 4:9). No disaster can separate us from God’s love. — Julie Ackerman Link

Though darker, rougher, grows the way
And cares press harder day by day,
With patience in His love I’ll rest,
And whisper that He knoweth best. —Pentecost

God’s love still stands when all else has fallen.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sometimes We Don't Know the Whole Story

I received this as an email forward and thought it was a perfect reminder...







Monday, November 16, 2009

The Childless Man or Woman

An article from Christian Mommies.com of encouragement written by Elisabeth Elliot.

Children, God tells us, are a heritage from Him. Is the man or woman to whom He gives no children therefore disinherited? Surely not. The Lord gave portions of land to each tribe of Israel except one. "The tribe of Levi... received no holding; the Lord God of Israel is their portion, as he promised them" (Joshua 13:14, NEB). Withholding what He granted to the rest, He gave to Levi a higher privilege. May we not see childlessness in the same light? I believe there is a special gift for those to whom God does not give the gift of physical fatherhood or motherhood.

I have known many women (and a few men) who have sorrowed deeply over being childless. My brother-in-law Bert Elliot and his wife Colleen, missionaries in Peru for more than forty years, longed for children of their own. They asked the Lord for children if that would best glorify Him. His answer was no. They wondered about adoption, which would not have been nearly so difficult there as it is in the States. Again the answer seemed to be no, but God has given them the privilege of fathering and mothering hundreds of Peruvians, both white and Indian, in the jungle and in the high Andes, where they bear on their shoulders the care of dozens of little churches.

A woman of about fifty wrote, "Each Mother's Day became a little harder for me as I realized another year had gone by and after many years of marriage I am still childless--the only woman in my Sunday School class who is not a mother. The morning service started... I could not see the pastor for the tears in my eyes. Almost at the end of his message he said, 'I know there are some of you women here this morning who would like to be mothers, but for some reason God has chosen differently. Don't question Him. He has a reason."

Childlessness, for those who deeply desire children, is real suffering. Seen in the light of Calvary and accepted in the name of Christ, it becomes a chance to share in His sufferings. Acceptance of the will of the Father took Him to the Cross. We find our peace as we identify with Him in His death and resurrection.

Look around your church. If you are a parent, look for those who aren't. Might they not be ready to "father" or "mother" you or your children, to be adopted as a grandparent, for example, or an aunt or uncle? My life was enriched by unmarried aunts and friends who paid attention to us children, celebrated our birthdays and sometimes even helped us with homework. The love they would have poured out on their own children had God given them marriage, they poured out instead on us, and we were blessed as we could not have been had they had children. Their loss was our gain, and, as Ugo Bassi a young Italian preacher, said many years ago, we are to measure our lives "by loss and not by gain, not by the wine drunk but by the wine poured forth, for Love's strength standeth in Love's sacrifice, and he who suffereth most hath most to give."

What of the thousands who have not had the mothers and fathers they desperately longed for while they were growing up? Is not God calling all whose ears are open to Him to recognize the wounds of the world and to pour forth His love to the lonely young man whose relationship with his father seems to have destroyed his fitness for manhood? Or to the expectant mother whose own mother is far away, or indifferent, or dead, who longs for a mother to share her joy? Whose will be the strong shoulder of sympathy (the word means "to suffer with") ready to bear another's burdens?--not with the tepid sentimentality which only weakens, but with the burning love which gives hope and cheer and strength?

My correspondent says God has given her "several kids adopted in my heart to pray for, whose mothers say they haven't time to pray." Another girl asked her to be grandmother to her new baby. "Well, what a blessing and how this has changed my life!" she says. "If I had sat around and felt sorry for myself look at the above blessings I would have missed. What a thrill on Mother's Day this year to get a Grandmother card!"

And what of the young childless woman? Is she merely to mark time, hoping against hope that someday she will be given a child? There are always younger people who need a boost, some encouragement in their struggles against the pull of the world, a listening ear when they face hard decisions, someone who will simply take time out to pray with them, to walk with them the way of the cross with its tremendous demand--the difficult and powerful life of glad surrender and acceptance. As the branches of the wine pour out their sweetness, so young women may see their opportunity, as branches of the True Vine to pour out their lives for the world.

Elisabeth is the author of a number of books, including Shadow of the Almighty, Passion and Purity, A Path Through Suffering, The Shaping of a Christian Family, and Keep a Quiet Heart. For many years she hosted the radio program Gateway To Joy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Guest Post: Pregnancy Lost

Thank you so much Sandra for allowing me to share your story. This is a blog that she orginially posted January 25, 2009

There Will Be A Day...

Today my mind drifted back to the day when I drove home from my appt. I had heard the news from my OB that I was losing you...my little baby

I was listening to KLOVE on the radio and heard a beautiful sung by Chris Rice called "Come to Jesus." Tears flowed from my eyes and I broke down. I pulled the car over to the side of road. I wanted to cry out...I wanted you with all my heart and I did not want to lose another child... In that moment I felt God's love and His arms around me. The words from the song comforted me that I was able to continue to make it home.

In the days that followed, it was the song. "Walk by Faith" by Jeremy Camp that spoke to me. I had my spirit renewed and my faith tested...
I held on to God during our storm. God called you home in July of 2008.. and I kept hope that one day we'd be reunited in Christ.. I still believe...

Months have past since then and my heart thinks of you both in heaven often. This week especially since it would have been my due date. I surrounded myself with work in hopes of moving forward but it wasn't helping... what helped was music.

Music has been a large part of my life for so long. For the Lord to speak to my heart through music is a wonderful gift. It was not surprisingly when today as I sat feeling sad thinking about tomorrow's due date that I heard music speaking to again...It was Jeremy Camp's "There will be a day."

It reminded me of God's word...
Revelation 21:4 (New International Version)
(4) He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

Romans 8:18-25
(18) I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (19)The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. (20) For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope (21) that[a] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. (22) We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. (23) Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (24) For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? (25) But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.


I am waiting for what God has prepared for us. I hold on to the hope that when I enter the gates of heaven I will see my children and my loved ones...
Thank you God for drawing me to your light and love... for bringing me your love and word once again to my heart for it is my lifesong that I will sing to you....

I will always love you my baby... God's word promises There will be a day...

Sandra blogs about her life at Little Sprouts and about homeschooling at Monkey See, Monkey Do.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Burden

No one ever sank under the burden of
the day. It is when tomorrow's burden is
added to the burden of today that the
weight is more than a person can bear.
Never load yourselves so, my friends.
If you find yourselves so loaded, at least
remember this: it is your own doing,
not God's. He begs you to leave the
future to Him and mind the present.

George Macdonald

Friday, October 30, 2009

Our Daily Bread: How to Help Those Who Hurt

This is the October 20th daily devotion from Our Daily Bread. If you are not familiar with this devotional, I highly suggest you take a look.

When I have asked suffering people, “Who helped you?” not one person has mentioned a PhD from a prestigious seminary or a famous philosopher. All of us have the same capacity to help those who hurt.

No one can package or bottle the “appropriate” response to suffering. If you go to the sufferers themselves, some will recall a friend who cheerily helped distract them from their illness. Others think such an approach insulting. Some want honest, straightforward talk; others find such discussion unbearably depressing.

There is no magic cure for a person in pain. Mainly, such a person needs love, for love instinctively detects what is needed. Jean Vanier, who founded the L’Arche movement for the developmentally disabled, says: “Wounded people who have been broken by suffering and sickness ask for only one thing: a heart that loves and commits itself to them, a heart full of hope for them.”

Such a love may be painful for us. But real love, the apostle Paul reminds us, “Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7).

As is so often His pattern, God uses very ordinary people to bring about His healing. Those who suffer don’t need our knowledge and wisdom, they need our love. — Philip Yancey

O brother man, fold to thy heart thy brother!
Where pity dwells, the peace of God is there;
To worship rightly is to love each other,
Each smile a hymn, each kindly deed a prayer. —Whittier

They do not truly love who do not show their love. —Shakespeare

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tears

Your tears aren't unnoticed...

Psalm 56:8 Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll - are they not in your record?

2 Kings 20:5 "I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you."

Jeremiah 30:11,17 "I am with you and will save you," declares the Lord.
"I will restore you to health and heal your wounds."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Excerpt: When Life Takes What Matters 2

Here are two quotes from the book:

WHEN LIFE TAKES WHAT MATTERS    When Life Takes What Matters by Susan Lenzkes
Sometimes we need to ask the questions "how?".
"How, Lord, are You going to bring good for me and glory for You out of all of this?"
God's results are not limited by His raw materials! He works - first in me, then around me.
Our first response to interrupted expectations is "why". I love how this book reminds us that our next needs to be "how". We need to be always looking for where God wants to use our story.

Is God asking you to share your interrupted expectation with someone who is hurting?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Trials Will Come

I Peter 4: 12-13, 19 TLB

12-13 Dear friends, don't be bewildered or surprised when you go through the fiery trials ahead, for this is no strange, unusual thing that is going to happen to you. Instead, be really glad - because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterwards you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory in that coming day when it will be displayed...

19 So if you are suffering according to God's will, keep on doing what is right and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Good Purpose

Philippians 2:12-13

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

After looking at a blog that I follow called Monkey See Monkey Do , I learned that yesterday was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance. October 15th of every year is a day "to promote Support, Education and Awareness for grieving parents nationwide (and worldwide)."

Remembering Our Babies Foundation's goal is to "help others relate to our loss, know what to say, do or not say, not do and to help families live with their loss, not "get over" their loss." Their objective is to "give parents one day to openly remember, as parents NEVER forget."

Everyone is invited to light a candle for the "Wave of Light" at 7 p.m. in all timezones all over the world in remembrance of babies who are now in Jesus' arms.

Various states also have different activities and information is posted on a site concerning dates and places.

I am going to be looking over the site's website more as I see that there is a wealth of information available.

To all of you who have had a miscarriage or lost a baby, God bless you.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

This Side of Heaven cont.

956787: This Side of Heaven


Here is another excerpt from the book This Side of Heaven

"Grandpa Ted told me sometimes things don't go the way we want this side of heaven."
"That's true.... This side of heaven can be pretty sad sometimes."
"So here's what I want to know.... How do I get to that side of heaven?"
"If only there were a wak to make it happen."
"Grandpa Ted said there was.... He told me if I loved Jesus, then one day I'd go to heaven, too. So, then I'd be on that side with my daddy."

Praise God that this is not the end!

View this book at: Amazon or www.christianbook.com

Monday, October 12, 2009

This Side of Heaven

956787: This Side of Heaven


I just finished reading a newer book by one of my favorite authors - Karen Kingsbury. Whenever I start a new book, I ignore the back synopsis because I don't want to know anything about the plot of the book.

This Side of Heaven threw me for a loop. What I wasn't expecting was so much wisdom on life's interrupted expectations.

"Wondering is part of life. As long as it doesn't keep you from living."

Why is it that we spend so much time wondering that we can actually stop living. The "what if's" of life can strangle healing. This quote goes right along with the book of Job in the Bible. Ask God why, but don't stop living.

View at: Amazon or www.christianbook.com

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Guest Post: Back in Time?

Motherhood is hard. Especially when you are knee deep in diapers and timeouts. I have talked in the past about how being a Mom might just well be your "Interrupted Expectations". In fact it isn't what you thought it was going to be. Quite frankly, if you had to do it all over again, you would maybe think twice.

A dear friend of mine, wrote this wonderful post on her blog Yes, and So is My Heart. I encourage you to let her wisdom sink in by remembering and dwelling on those sweet moments.


Back in Time?
A few weeks ago, my sweet four year old, Ann, asked me something about what age I'd like to be once more. I thought about it and decided I wouldn't really like to be any other age as I like where I'm at right now.

Later that night, I started thinking some more I realized there is a time in life I wouldn't mind reliving if just for a bit. I wish I could take back the first four months of Ann's life.

Ann pretty much destroyed my hopes of what life with a newborn would be like. She wasn't the type of baby who slept away the first two weeks and then got just a bit fussy. No, she fussed from day four which was conveniently the day we got to bring her home from the hospital. In fact, she fussed the whole way home from the hospital.

As new parents, we spent most of those first months just figuring out exactly what it meant to be parents. (We're still doing that.) I can remember laying Ann on the floor and lying beside her as I played a lullaby CD very loudly in the hopes that it would somehow drown out her incessant screaming.

Another time, I recall putting Ann safely into her crib and heading out to the front stoop where I called my friend long distance and told her that "I didn't really like this mommy thing." She understood and told me that it was just fine to sit outside for ten minutes and get a breather from all the crying. She was right and I felt much better upon returning inside the house.

I could tell you stories of how I paced from the front door to the back door and counted how many times I would do this in the hope that Ann would fall asleep or at least stop crying.

I invented errand after errand because I knew she would fall asleep in the car and I could enjoy just a bit of peace and quiet. (Good thing gas was a bit cheaper four years ago.)

As I recall those days, I think of all the time and energy I spent fretting about something not being right with our parenting or worse, something not being right with our sweet baby.

Nearly five years later, Ann is incredibly smart and unbelievably strong. (I know all parents think that about their offspring, but with her it is absolutely true!) Sure, she has her moments and can be less than loving to her brother and sister, but I wouldn't trade her for the world. In other words, Ann is just fine and so are we.

As I thought about that time in our lives and how I wish I had savored it a bit more, I don't have regret so much as a realization that I could have enjoyed that time so much more if only I'd known. Isn't hindsight a tricky thing?
I'm at a similar point right now. In all my five years of parenting, I'm in the midst of one of the hardest times yet, but not because of anything terribly tragic. (Does that even make sense?) Rather, it is the daily challenges that make me weary. We almost always have some sort of meltdown before 8 in the morning. One of our children doesn't sleep well so we haven't actually slept through the night in more than three years. Our house is in a constant state of disarray and sometimes destruction despite our best efforts. Our children sometimes show no signs of the effort we take to train them and instill godly character traits in them. I worry when I see them be the bullies on the playground or in the play place. The list could go on and on and on...

Still, there is a place deep inside of me that knows that one day I would probably gladly take back the sleepless nights, tempter tantrums, potty training, diaper explosions and the rest of it, if only to rock my babies just one more time.

So, I'll continue to count my blessings (even the ones that wake me in the middle of the night) and I'll try to look beyond the everyday challenges and see how I can be a blessing to those I love both inside and outside of my home. It might not be easy, but then again, nothing worth doing usually is...

Visit Lizz's blog for other stories of raising three - 3 years and 2 months apart!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Call Out

Call out to God just as David did.

Psalm 142:1-2 (New International Version)

A maskil of David. When he was in the cave. A prayer.

1 I cry aloud to the LORD;
I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy.
2 I pour out my complaint before him;
before him I tell my trouble.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Intercessor

Jesus is our intercessor

Job 16:19-21 (New International Version)

19 Even now my witness is in heaven;
my advocate is on high.

20 My intercessor is my friend
as my eyes pour out tears to God;

21 on behalf of a man he pleads with God
as a man pleads for his friend.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Excerpt: When Life Takes What Matters

Here is an excerpt from the book:
WHEN LIFE TAKES WHAT MATTERS    When Life Takes What Matters

And what about life's land-mine losses? These are the explosions we never expected, didn't deserve, and couldn't prevent. They rip our world apart, leaving gaping holes where something, or someone, important used to be. They strike at our foundation and leave us lonely, lost, frightened, angry, insecure, and needy.
How do we deal with these, life's worst kind of losses?

If we're wise, we treat them with tenderness, patience and God's help. We are hurting because we have serious wounds that need healing. And healing takes time. It also takes cooperation with God.

He whose hand formed us knows how to put us back together when life's losses have left us in pieces. Whether we are being pruned, tested, or have simply been caught in the rain that "falls on the just and the unjust," He will bring us through. He is the great Healer. He is unequaled at creating something from nothing. He even knows how to bring life from death. So certainly we can trust Him with our pain, our loss, our brokenness, our very lives.

Perhaps too it will help to realize that we are more practiced in dealing with loss than we know. After all, we've made it this far.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Keep On...

This is the scripture for my Quiet Time. I love the Message translation.

 3-5What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we've been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you'll have it all—life healed and whole.

 6-7I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it's your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.

 8-9You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don't see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you'll get what you're looking forward to: total salvation. (1 Peter 1:3-9, The Message)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Joni Eareckson Tada

You may be familiar with the story of Joni Eareckson Tada.
In 1967, at the age of 17, a diving accident left 17-year-old her a
"quadriplegic in a wheelchair, unable to use her hands. After two years of rehabilitation, Joni re-entered the community with new skills and a fresh determination to help others in similar situations."

But this determination didn't immediately happen. Joni wanted to blame God and ask "Why?" her paralyzing accident occurred.

A turning point came the evening that a close friend, Cindy told her, "Joni, you aren't the only one. Jesus knows how you feel - why He was paralyzed too." Cindy described how Jesus was fastered to the cross, paralyzed by the nails.

A reminder that Jesus is along side us as we travel through life's interrupted expectations.

If you are not familiar with Joni, I suggest that you read her story as she learned to use her paralyzing situation to bless others and praise God.
40019: Joni: An Unforgettable Story
Joni: An Unforgettable Story

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Excerpt: Why Would a Good God Allow Suffering? 3

Excerpt from : Why Would a Good God Allow Suffering? (Discovery Series)

We can see that pain could be God's way to alert us that
1. Something is wrong with the world - sin
2. Something is wrong with God's creatures - As free creatures, people have made and will continue to make many bad choices in life. These bad choices often affect other people. For example: Cain and Abel, Saul who became Paul. Suffering can also be caused by Satan and Demons - Think of the story of Job.
3. Something is wrong with me - Job's friends mistakenly thought it was because of the sin in Job's life. Jesus' own disciples jumped to the wrong conclusion when they saw a blind man. With these cautions in mind, we need to deal with the hard truth that some suffering does come as a direct consequence of sin - either as corrective discipline from God for those He loves, or punitive action by God upon rebels in His universe.

Suffering has a way of showing how weak our own resources really are. It forces us to rethink priorities, values, goals, dreams, pleasures, the source of real strength, and our relationships with people and with God. It has a way of directing our attention to spiritual realities - if we don't turn from God instead.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Honeymoon is Over

One Interrupted Expectation you may be experiencing is your marriage. You got married thinking it would be all bells and whistles but the honeymoon ends quickly and life hits you dead in the face.

On Sept 21th and 22nd, Focus on the Family aired a program - Removing Excuses from the Bedroom. On this show, Dr. Julie Slattery discusses her book No More Headaches.

Take a moment to listen. Once at the Focus on the Family website, click on the Family Media Center button at the top. Then choose "Shows" and find the correct one. Also check out Dr. Slattery's book.

5011433: No More Headaches: Enjoying Sex and Intimacy in Marriage
No More Headaches: Enjoying Sex and Intimacy in Marriage

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Excerpt: Why Would a Good God Allow Suffering? 2

Excerpt from : Why Would a Good God Allow Suffering? (Discovery Series)

As I sit here thinking of all the suffering that my friends, co-workers, family, neighbors, and church family have experienced, I can hardly believe the length of the list - and my list is incomplete. So often these people have suffered through no apparent fault of their own. An accident, a birth defect, a genetic disorder, a miscarriage, an abusive parent, chronic pain, a rebellious child, a severe illness, random disease, the death of a spouse or a child, a broken relationship, a natural disaster. It just doesn't seem fair. From time to time I'm tempted to give in to frustration.

How do we resolve this? How do we live with the cold facts of life without denying reality or being overcome with despair? Couldn't God have created a world where nothing would ever go wrong???? Couldn't He have made a world where people would never have the abiltiy to make a bad choice or ever hurt another person???? Coudn't He have made a world where mosquitoes, weeds, and cancer would never exist. He could have - but He didn't.

The first and most basic answer to the problem of the existence of suffering is that it is the direct result of sin's entrance into the world. Many times our troubles may be merely the side-effects of living in a fallen world, through no direct fault of our own.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Excerpt: Why Would a Good God Allow Suffering? 1

Excerpt from : Why Would a Good God Allow Suffering? (Discovery Series)

I am not going to pretend that I fully understand the suffering that you personally may be experiencing. Although some aspects of human pain are common, the particulars are different. And what you may need most right now is not a four-point outline on why you are suffering or even what to do about it. What you may need most is a hug, a listening ear, or someone who will just sit with you in silence. Sometime along the way, however, you will want and need the truths of God's Word to comfort you and help you to see your plight from God's perspective.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Guest Post: Bend in the Road, Part 3

I found this sermon while surfing and wrote Pastor Boerger for permission to share this message that he preached May 27, 2007. Pastor Boerger's wife Vonda had breast cancer 7 years earlier and she had just received the devastating diagnosis of the cancer returning as non treatable bone cancer. Pastor Boerger is the pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Texas.

BEND IN THE ROAD 2 Corinthians 12:7-11

SOME PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: You say, well I’ve not had many disruptive moments - just hang on - you will! And that’s not a morbid outlook on life. Optimist or pessimist? Realist!

1) Disruptive moments are often divine appointments - Satan's angel did his best to get me down. Reality is that God gave him permission. When Satan wanted to buffet Job, he could only do what God gave permission for him to do. Satan can only do the damage that God will allow. These moments come from God! Not clear? Then we’ll feel violated.

A letter from God to a child: I have a message for you it is short, only 5 words, but let it be a pillar on which to lean, “This thing is from me”. When temptations come, “this thing is from me”, Finances? “This thing is from me” I will give supply. Sorrow? “This thing is from me” I understand. Friends forsake you? I’ll never leave you! Divine Interruptions are divine instructions. As long as you can see me you’ll make it. “This thing is from me”

“This thing is from me” Was God caught off guard when the cancer prognosis came? Did he turn to an angel and say, look what happened to the Boerger family? What’s going on? No! From the very moment a cancer cell developed in her body God was there.
This principle I do not like - but I share it!

2) Progress without pain is NOT possible - It’s easy to get caught in our own agenda, but until a dynamic intervention comes it’s hard to hear God. I’ll get to it tomorrow - today is busy. Friends this is not a convenient time for my wife to have cancer. I’m convinced her influence and ministry as a hospice nurse is more needed and important than ever. I need her. We have future plans.. But maybe this is the best time in God’s bigger scheme of things.

One of the great tragedies in life is people getting caught up moving faster and forgetting the important things. A lot of jobs I had as a carpenter in Austin was in newer homes that had been hastily built - and not correctly.
But you see, there must be a way to get priorities straight. It’s hard! And so God zaps.... Once again I’m reminded that things don’t matter. That family is important, that my relationship with God is paramount.

When someone has no trouble, then I’m looking at a shallow person. When a storm comes it reveals loose shutters, rotten posts, loose shingles.

3) Promise of God is the provision of his grace. - God walks with us. He sent his son to die for me, to be my savior, your savior, and that’s the big deal, the big priority.

4) Disruptive moments produce growth - plants need a bit of wind, a few storms to send down the roots into a deep and good places.

5) What we receive depends on how we respond - We can be mad. We can give up, lie down and quit living. Or we can say, Lord teach me; teach me things that I could never have learned any other way. Not “why me?”, But Lord, I will not be the same person. I will learn from this.

I can tell you that you will never see life the same again. When Vonda first got cancer it changed everything. The moon is brighter. The sun is more brilliant. The golden waving wheat is more wonderful.

Helen Steiner Rice, “Bend in the Road”:
Sometimes we come to life’s crossroads and we view what we think is the end. But God has a much wider vision and he knows it’s only a bend. The road will go on and get smoother and after we’ve stopped for a rest, the path that lies hidden beyond us is often the path that is best. So rest and relax and grow stronger. Let go and let God share your load. Have faith in a brighter tomorrow. You’ve just come to a bend in the road.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Guest Post: Bend in the Road, Part 2

I found this sermon while surfing and wrote Pastor Boerger for permission to share this message that he preached May 27, 2007. Pastor Boerger's wife Vonda had breast cancer 7 years earlier and she had just received the devastating diagnosis of the cancer returning as non treatable bone cancer. Pastor Boerger is the pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Texas.

BEND IN THE ROAD 2 Corinthians 12:7-11

Disruptive Moments:

1) Have Purpose: 2 Cor. 12:7 [is writtne] so I don’t get a big head. Paul had seen the glories of heavens as no man had ever seen before. Can you imagine if that had happened now, his press agent reporting, “come hear the man, the only man that has ever seen heaven and come back to talk about it. But God knew it could be his downfall. So God sent a problem into his life - that he not be exalted above measure - that was the purpose

2) Involve Pain or “thorn in the flesh” (Lit.: stake) Infirmity, reproach and distress. Often disruptive moments are quite painful! Some suggest Paul's "thorn in the flesh" may have been eye trouble, or epilepsy, hysteria, gastritis, leprosy, deafness. Williams Ramsy said malaria. My studied opinion? NOBODY knows! It applies to all of us. Maybe a bankruptcy, or family breakdown, or loss of a job.

No pain? - maybe you need to check about your relationship with God - Heb 12 talks about discipline comes to those considered children. No poverty, no disease, no pain - NOT from the word of God! But God has a purpose. When you feel the pain you can know you are in the family. And God is in the pain - the walk - with us. After all Jesus, God’s son understands pain better than any of us...

3) Provision - Three times Paul asked for his thorn to be “taken away”. [Instead Paul wrote], “my grace is sufficient...” In midst of pain, the Lord came down and walked with Paul in the bend in the road so he would not lose his way. Three times I did that, and then he told me, “My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”

John 15 - Jesus is the vine dresser. He prunes in order for there to be fruit.
“The Vine dresser is never nearer the branches than when he is pruning them” Out of that pruning comes greater holiness.
–when Vonda first got cancer, I remember the words of one of our members, “God loves Vonda far more than any of us could.”

4) Product - What is God producing? God says, “Your weakness will serve to glorify Jesus in such a way that nobody can explain that in human terms. Paul, you will be made different - becoming a receptacle for the power of God.” Paul was like a lot men, thinking he was indestructible. How can you have “power” when you are weak?

For Vonda, she’s always been a strong lady - never sick, never even a tooth ache. And now - for me I can’t begin to imagine being a pastor and father without Vonda at my side. You want to talk about weakness - I readily admit my emotional dependancy on my wife; But God is waiting to walk into the empty place and fill us with his power and strength.

5) Perspective - Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer Paul was saying, “I will boast in my infirmities, now looking back, if I could go back I wouldn’t - I glory in it. What God has done in me is amazing”.
- well I am not at this point! Job cursed the day he was born - even wanted professional cursers to curse it. Can’t say I feel any different about that Wednesday morning...But hopefully later I can!

I don’t want to despise the chasening. Parallel in Heb 12:5 writer says, “don’t make light of the discipline” learn from it. Don’t hang head and give up. V 11 - to those trained by it produces a harvest. “I don’t want to waste this suffering...”
Now, you see my wife has terminal cancer - but friends, we’re all terminal! So we can spend the next days our married life dragging around moaning and groaning or we can live life for all it’s worth.

I suppose I could write a book over the things not to say when people are going through rough times. I still remember some of the things that folks shared when Vonda first got breast cancer 7 years ago: “I had this friend who had breast cancer, but oh, well she died, but I had another friend who had CA, but oh she died too.... (OK, anything positive, anyone?) I wasn’t too sure what to think about that - I just know when she left I wasn’t too encouraged!

So we’re going to laugh more, worry less. Listen folks, you can’t take life too serious. You will not get out of it alive! Now you might think a funeral is the wrong place to laugh. I’ll tell you, when you are a child of God and know where you’ll spend eternity there never is a wrong time to laugh. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer

Don’t be discouraged with those disruptions. To those trained by the disruptions and have learned from them you can make it! Once again, we are finding that we read the Bible in a different way. We pray in a different way. We see life differently. We’re again reminded not to sweat the small stuff - and certainly reminded that most everything really is small stuff.

Continued...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

FOF: Help for Angry Moms

While folding clothes or paying bills, I love to listen to Adventures in Odyssey and Focus on the Family. I can never catch them on the radio and am thankful for the opportunity to listen on the web.

This past week was a recording that every Mom needs to listen to: Help for Angry Moms 1, 2 (click on Family Media Center at the top/center of the page to listen). It is based on the book - She's Gonna Blow by Julie Ann Barnhill



I have not read this book, but appreciated so much Julie Ann Barnhill's honesty as she talks about the pressure and exhaustion of being a Mom. If you are a normal Mom, there are times that you blow up with anger. This recording helps you start to release anger and begin loving on your kids. It may be that your Interrupted Expectation is that Mommyhood isn't what you thought it would be.

Depending on when you read this post, you may have to find this program on the FOF website. You can search under the "Shows" tab.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Guest Post: Bend in the Road, Part 1

I found this sermon while surfing and wrote Pastor Boerger for permission to share this message that he preached May 27, 2007. Pastor Boerger's wife Vonda had breast cancer 7 years earlier and she had just received the devastating diagnosis of the cancer returning as non treatable bone cancer. Pastor Boerger is the pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Texas.

BEND IN THE ROAD 2 Corinthians 12:7-11

Gordon McDonald has written a book, “The Life God Blesses” - he writes about the things that God brings into one’s life in order to bless them. In one chapter he writes about a tool called a “disruptive moment” - unanticipated events that we usually dislike because they are associated with pain and humiliation - like “bends in the road” which we cannot see beyond.

A young man named David wrote about his disruptive moment in college - that the “football was my god - and one day in a championship game I was hit so hard they had to carry me off the field on a stretcher. And the first thing I heard when I came to was the crowd cheering for another runner. My god was in another man’s hands and the crowd was off to another hero. My whole life changed”

You might have heard that Vonda and I have had a disruptive moment. It was more than a bump in the road - it was a crater. A week and half ago we found that Vonda’s cancer had returned to a full blown non treatable bone cancer. Since then we know that it had not yet reached vital organs - but is quite serious.

In this time we have both been drawn back to wonderful scriptures like the text for this morning, 2 Cor. 12:7-10.

Dr. David Jeremiah (with “Turning Point” [and author of a Bend in the Road]) - also preached on this text following his time of cancer surgery. The outline in your bulletin comes directly from that sermon. When you hit a bump in the road you have to talk about it. I hope I can be of encouragement to you as a congregation even as you are to me. I’ve learned things I probably wouldn’t have learned had it not for the “bend in the road”.

The text from “The Message” [2 Cor 12:7-10] translation of the Bible (by Eugene Peterson)
Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, “My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size - abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.


Continued...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Book: Rain on Me



Several of the "Guest Posts" from this website have come from writings of Holley Gerth. Her devotional "Rain on Me" is listed under my favorites. I love the encouragement and hope that is written throughout the pages. In the form of a journal, this book makes an excellent gift for a friend or loved one who is grieving or anyone who personally is working through life's interrupted expectations.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book: Let Me Grieve But Not Forever



Here is another book that was given to our family that I would suggest giving or reading yourself. I appreciated the authors honesty and realness about grief and the process of healing.

Book description:
On June 28, 1987, four Dallas-based Christian leaders were killed in an airplane crash as they were returning from a Focus on the Family retreat in Montana: George L. Clark, chairman of the board and CEO of MBank; Dr. Trevor E. Mabery, a surgeon who helped found Humana Hospital-Medical City; Hugo W. Schoelkopf III, an entrepreneur and sporting goods manufacturer; and Creath Davis, founder and director of Christian Concern Foundation.

Among the losses their families shared, Creath's wife, Verdell, also lost part of her identity: No longer was she a pastor's wife, and no longer was she sure what she believed. This deeply moving book, gleaned from parts of journals that she kept during the loss of her husband, offers a source of hope and healing for anyone experiencing grief. With remarkable honesty, courage, and generosity, she shares how to examine grief and ultimately find healing in the process.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Guest Post: Taking Hope to Heart



I wear two rings. The one on my left hand is a symbol of love for my husband. The ring on my right hand is a small silver band with one word on it…HOPE.

This month marks the five-year anniversary of the reason I bought that little ring. My husband and I have been on the journey to starting a family all that time. In a way it feels like forever and in another it seems incredibly short.

When we started down that road I thought hope meant believing God would give us a child. As time went on I discovered true hope is believing God is good no matter what He decides to do. Let me tell you, getting to that place is not simple, neat, or easy. But it’s worth it.

I used to think hope was a fluffy, faraway feeling—like cotton candy for your heart. I’ve learned real hope is gritty, real, and raw. It’s strong and wild, unpredictable and fierce.

I’ve had so many conversations with God along the lines of, “Lord, no more with the hope thing. Just answer the prayers already.” (Haven’t you had those too?) He lovingly responds, “Lean into me, daughter, lean into me.”

When I listen and lean rather than resist, I find rest. I have the hope my heart craves. And (dare I say it?) I even discover joy.

We tend to think what we need most is whatever we’re asking for in that moment. God knows what we really need is more of Him in every moment.

I’m holding my ring up to the light as I finish writing these words. I can see scratches on the surface. The edges are rough in places. It still needs some polishing.

But somehow, despite it all, in the center HOPE remains.

HOPE is more than just a word—
it’s a state of being.
It’s a firm belief that
even if you don’t know how,
even if you don’t know when,
God will come through
and better days are ahead.
Life sends rain...
Hope dances in the puddles
until the sun comes out again.

Taken from: Rain on Me by Holley Gerth

About the author: Holley Gerth is an award-winning writer and editorial director for DaySpring and is the editorial director for (in)courage. She is also the author of Rain on Me: Devotions of Hope and Encouragement for Difficult Times. Visit Holley online at Heart to Heart with Holley Thank you Holley for allowing me to share this article with others!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Road to Blessing

I read this devotion from Our Daily Bread. It reminded me that God's plans are always to further the gospel. May I have peace in that...

On a map in the back of my Bible, each of Paul’s missionary journeys is shown by a colored line with arrows indicating his direction of travel. On the first three, the arrows lead away from his place of departure and back to a point of return. On the fourth journey, however, Paul was traveling as a prisoner, bound for trial before Caesar, and the arrows point only one direction, ending in Rome.

We might be tempted to call this an unfortunate time in Paul’s life, if it were not for his view that God was leading and using him just as much on this journey as He did on the previous three.

He wrote: “I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the Word without fear” (Phil. 1:12-14).

Even when our journey in life is marked by confinement and limitations, we can be sure that the Lord will encourage others through us as we speak His Word and trust in Him. — David C. McCasland

The journeys that we take in life,
Though unexpected they may be,
If we commit to follow Christ,
His work through us the world will see. —Sper

For the Christian, what looks like a detour may actually be a new road to blessing.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Life's Lessons

For the most part, I really hate forwards. Over half of them aren't even true! Every once in a while though you will read one that has some pretty good "life wisdom" in it. I felt like these were good enough to pass along. Maybe simply as a reminder.

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and
parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey
is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never
blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up
to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an
answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't
save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will
this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or
didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's,we'd grab
ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Prayer

I just received an email asking for prayer for a family who just lost their 20 year old daughter. Please join me:

Dear Jesus, my heart breaks for this family. The pain that they are experiencing right now if beyond anything that anyone should ever have to endure. I pray peace, comfort, and love on these parents, siblings, relatives, and friends. I ask that You would not allow satan to use this situation in anyway. Protect the marriage of all those around this situation. Protect them from others who would want to use this situation for personal gain. Lord, please send those people who have been in these circumstances to ministry to these people. I pray that they would feel the body of Christ surround them like never before - not just now but in the coming weeks, months, and year. Hold this family so close that they can actually feel you carrying them through.

In Jesus' name...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

God's Will for Jesus

Luke 22: 42 In the Garden Jesus said, "Father, if you are welling , please take this cup of suffereing away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine."

I have talked a lot in the past about God's will and the struggles that I have trusting fully. In my QT this verse really struck me. If Jesus could trust God's will - knowning what he knew would happen - why can't I truly trust God's good for me?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Joy

Luke 6:21b
"God blesses you who weep now, for the time will come when you will laugh with joy."

Psalms 30:5
"Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Find Peace

"It hurts like crazy but the Lord knows exactly what He's doing, and He's sure not going anywhere in the midst of it."

Unknown

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Beauty from Pain

I found these lyrics to a song called Beauty From Pain by a group called Superchick. These words describe a grieving heart so well.

The lights go out all around me
One last candle to keep out the night
And then the darkness surrounds me
I know I’m alive
But I feel I like I died

And all that’s left is to accept that it’s over
My dreams ran like sand through the face that I made
I try to keep on but I just grow colder
I feel like I’m slipping away

CHORUS
After all this has passed
I still will remain
After I’ve cried my last
There’ll be beauty from pain
Though it won’t be today
Someday I’ll hope again
And I’ll be beauty from pain
You will bring beauty from my pain

My whole world is the pain inside me
The best I can do is just get through the day
When life before is only a memory
I wonder why God lets me walk through this place

And though I can’t understand why this happened
I know I will when I look back someday
And see how You’ve brought beauty from ashes
And made me as gold purified through these flames…CHORUS

Here I am at the end of me
Trying to hold to what I can’t see
I forgot how to hope
This night’s been so long
I cling to your promise there will be a dawn…CHORUS

Monday, August 17, 2009

Helping Children Through Grief

Here are some books suggested by Focus on the Family to help children through grief and loss.



A children's book colorfully illustrated to help a child understand death and grief.



Intended for children ages 8-12, this book uses the Bible to explain Heaven to children.



This book helps an adult understand how a child perceives death in different developmental stages. Examples are given to help the adult answer the child's questions.



"It’s Okay to Cry offers practical help for parents. It explains the symptoms of loss and unresolved grief so that parents can recognize them and walk alongside their children on the path to recovery."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Come Along Side

I just found this verse and thought it was so perfect for this website. Will you be that person whom God has chosen to walk along side a hurting person?

"He comes alongside us when
we go through hard times,
and before you know it, He brings us
alongside someone else who is going
through hard times so that
we can be there for that person just
as God was there for us."

- 2 Corinthians 1 (The Message)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Miscarriage

Finally there is a positive mark on the pregnancy test. Maybe a surprise or maybe after months of trying, you are pregnant. The anticipation builds with dreams of holding this precious gift from God. Too soon, the dreams of shattered when deep in your heart you know that this will never happen. You join a club of other couples who have experienced a miscarriage. A club where membership is not an option.

Free Pamphlet: Permission to Grieve: Finding Healing and Hope After Miscarriage


I'll Hold You in Heaven: Healings and Hope for the Parent of a Miscarried, Aborted, or Stillborn Child by Jack Hayford


Emtpy Arms: Hope and Support for Those Who Have Suffered a Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Tubal Pregnancy by Pam Vredevelt

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Books for Bereaving Parents of Miscarriage, Stillbirth, Abortion, or Tubal Pregnancies


Empty Arms: Hope and Support for Those Who Have Suffered a Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Tubal Pregnancy by Pam Vredevelt


Holding On to Hope - After losing two children to a rare congenital disorder called Zellweger syndrome, Nancy Guthrie takes her own story to lead you to the heart of God.


I'll Hold You in Heaven: Healings and Hope for the Parent of a Miscarried, Aborted, or Stillborn Child by Jake Hayford


When God Doesn't Make Sense by Dr. James Dobson


A Bible Study for individuals or a group to help those who have lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, or any infant death including SIDS.


Suggestions from Focus on the Family

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My Handicap

I found these verses by Paul. I love the translation of The Message.

2 Corinthians 12:7-11 (The Message)

Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations.

Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty!

At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it's all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift.

It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks.

I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

Is Satan getting you down or driving you to your knees?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Do the Next Thing

A dear friend of mine sent this devotion to me from the Proverbs 31 Ministries. This is a great reminder for those who are in the middle of an interrupted expectation and grief, when life is so overwhelming that you don't know what to do next.


Do the Next Thing

Marybeth Whalen
May 29, 2009


"Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: 'Give careful thought to your ways.'"
Haggai 1:5 (NIV)

Devotion:

When I was a new mom, I often felt overwhelmed by my circumstances. The crying, the whining, the mess. I would look around at it all and just want to sit down and have a good cry. At some point during that time, I heard Elisabeth Elliot speak on the concept of "do the next thing." She talked about how, after her husband Jim died, she would have been overcome if not for this simple concept. When her emotions would start to run away with her, she would simply ask herself what the next thing she needed to do was. And then she would do it. And then she would do the next thing, and the next, and the next. And all those little "next things" made up her days.

I adopted this principle and began to whisper to myself, "Just do the next thing." Sometimes the next thing was to change a diaper, or start dinner, or return a phone call. Even now I move through my day doing the next thing. Sometimes my next thing is to homeschool my children. Sometimes it's to tidy the house. Sometimes it's to sit down and hammer out an article I have due. Whatever it is, I focus on that one task until it's done. And then I ask myself what's to be done next.

I always knew I learned this concept from a godly woman, but I never thought about this concept being from God. My reading in Oswald Chamber's timeless devotional, My Utmost For His Highest has helped me see that it is indeed a spiritual truth that God wants us to learn. Consider these two quotes:

"We look for visions from heaven, for earthquakes and thunders of God's power... and we never dream that all the time God is in the commonplace things and people around us. If we will do the duty that lies nearest, we shall see Him."

"When the Spirit of God comes, He does not give us visions, He tells us to do the most ordinary things conceivable... whenever God comes, the inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things--the things we would never have imagined God was in, and as we do them we find He is there."

Chambers referenced the scene in I Kings where Elijah is running from King Ahab. He is hungry and tired and very depressed. (Ever been there?) In that scene God sends an angel to him who says simply, "Arise and eat" (I Kings 19:5). What was Elijah's "next thing" he needed to do? Get up and eat something! Sometimes just moving forward in the most basic way is all God needs from us. With our obedience comes the solution we are seeking.

I hope this thought will help you or someone else who is feeling overwhelmed and even depressed. What "next thing" is God asking you to do? Get up, do whatever it is, and find Him there.

Dear Lord, help me to do the next thing when I feel overwhelmed. Help me to remember that You are right there waiting in that next thing. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Application Steps:

Make a list of things you need to accomplish today. Now, instead of getting overwhelmed by your list, pray over it and ask God, What is the next thing I need to do? It might just be to cross some of those things off your list!

Reflections:

What is a "next thing" you can do right now?

Power Verses:

Jeremiah 10:23, "I know, O Lord, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps." (NIV)

Proverbs 20:24, "A man's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?" (NIV)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Using Adventures in Odyssey Episodes to Help with Grief

Adventures in Odyssey is a radio program presented by Focus on the Family. It has been a favorite of mine for over 20 years. "Created for children ages 8-12 (but loved by listeners of all ages), Adventures in Odyssey is a 30-minute drama that combines the faith lessons parents appreciate with characters and stories that kids love."

Several Adventure in Odyssey adventures hit the hard topic of grief and loss. These would be excellent resources for children and parents to listen to together. Adv. in Odyssey programs can be found on the radio, web, or by purchasing audio sets.

Greater Love - by Phil Lollar - 5007956 - A Time Of Discovery
Theme: Grief & Jesus' Love. At long last, Whit hears the full story of how Tom Riley's son died...from the young man who claims to be responsible. You'll be deeply touched by this story about the impact of sacrificial love.

Karen - by Phil Lollar - 5009447 - Heroes
Theme: God's comfort and promises in times of trouble. Donna Barclay discovers the importance of faith when her best friend becomes desperately ill from cancer. Through her joy and trust in God, Karen may teach her a very important lesson.

The Very Best of Friends - by Phil Lollar - 5009447 - On Thin Ice
Theme: God can turn our negative feelings into something wonderful if we let Him. Donna struggles with anger and bitterness after the death of her friend Karen.

...But Not Forgotten - by Phil Lollar - 5008045 - Wish You Were Here
Theme: Grief and loss. Eugene, Connie, & Tom are having a difficult time trying to keep Whit's End going since Whit's departure. When Jack Allen takes over Whit's End, Connie becomes upset because she feels Whit is being replaced. In this episode, Connie learns that change is necessary for growth and how to handle her feelings of loss.

Eggshells - by Marshal Younger - 5008110 - No Way Out
Theme: Grief. Connie returns from Washington D.C. after becoming "unengaged" with her former fiance, Mitch. Whit and Connie's other friends struggle to try to help her cope with the sudden loss. Alone with Whit, Connie shares how God helped her in Washington and that His love is much greater than her circumstances.

It is Well - by Phil Lollar - 5008105 - Flights of Imagination
Theme: We are able to withstand life's tragedies because of our faith and the strength we receive from God. Whit recounts the true story of the writer of the hymn "It is Well with My Soul," Horatio Spafford, a man of great faith in the midst tragedy.

Where is Thy Sting - by Phil Lollar - 5007864 - Risk And Rewards
Theme: For Christians, death can be a joyful experience. The death of Connie's grandmother highlights the joy of death for a Christian that her unbelieving father cannon share. The themes of prayers and forgiveness are also explored.

Forever. . .Amen - by Phil Lollar - On Earth As It Is In Heaven
Theme: Grief. A young man named Danny learns about death and eternity in a very unexpected way when his mother suffers a miscarriage.

Source: Focus on the Family "Helping Children Through Grief" and other favorites of mine.


PS - I listen to Adventures in Odyssey during most of my web and blog updates! :)