My Little Babies In Heaven, Your Lives Mattered

This is the article I never wanted to write. I dreamed of an announcement with a little miracle baby onesie, I dreamed of twin pregnancies that would have given old ladies in church cause to laugh and warn me of the “double trouble” coming my way. Instead, my announcement is sharing that, while we are not parents of children we were able to hold in our arms, we are parents of four beautiful babies in heaven. Babies who were made in the Image of God and babies whose lives mattered deeply to us and to their Maker. Here is my letter, my hello, goodbye, and expression of a mother’s love, to them. My Dear, Precious Little Babies in Heaven,  I have dreamed about you all my life. A part of you, I have carried inside of me since I was born. I carried you through all the little years I spent playing dress-up and carting my little baby dolls around in their carriers. I carried you through high school, I watched others’ babies and dreamed of the day I’d hold my own. I carried you until last week when the doctor retrieved that part of you from me and the embryologist joined God in the mystical, beautiful work of fusing two together into a beautiful new life.  Then they called and told me there were four of you and I had no idea how it would feel to carry you in my heart without carrying you in my body.  I was terrified. I knew a lot of big, frightening, perilous steps lay ahead for you and I wanted to do everything I could to fix things perfectly. But I was no longer carrying you and there was nothing I could do.  My friend reminded me that while I couldn’t control anything, I could rejoice that four little lives were created that would have never been otherwise. So rejoice I did for every minute of your lives.  Your aunt and I cried because neither of us was prepared for how much we would love you and, oh, did we love you. I wondered whose eyes each of you would have and what sort of people you would become. I went out on a celebratory shopping trip and bought a little, tiny newborn gown, covered in pineapples. Even with the fear, I knew I wanted something to hold tight and remember you…

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What Is Ordinary Time And How Do I Celebrate It?

Ordinary time. It sounds so, well, ordinary. Simple. Plain. But Ordinary Time matters deeply, both in the Church Calendar and in our personal spiritual walks.  Ordinary comes from the same word as ordinal, it is time that matters, time that is to be counted and treasured. It is common, daily time measured in common, daily life that matters deeply to God.  Ordinary Time begins after Pentecost.  The Church is empowered in Acts 2 to go into the world and spread the good news of Jesus. Ordinary Time reflects what that has looked like.  Traditionally, the season of Ordinary Time is the season where we remember anew the works of the Apostles and the saints that have followed them. As a Protestant, most of my knowledge of Christian history was post-Reformation. Ordinary Time is a season in which I try to dedicate myself to learning about how God has worked in His Church through all time, not just the last few hundred years.  This season, the longest one in the Church Calendar, is a celebration of how our work for God in daily life matters. It is not a season of big events like Christmas or Easter nor is it a season of preparation. It is a season of doing, each and every day, the little things that Christ has called us to do. If the rest of the year is Sunday morning service, Ordinary Time is the moment when we leave the pews and go out into the world, living the life we have been re-commissioned to live.   For me, Ordinary Time is lived out in a few different ways.  Ordinary Time leads me to a renewed vigor for the Great Commission. After Pentecost, I am reminded of the power of the Holy Spirit’s work in my life and how that should lead me to spread the word of God. Ordinary Time reminds me of the call to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all.  Ordinary Time reminds me of the importance of the Church. When the Holy Spirit came, He did not descend upon them independently as individuals, but together, as a united Church. Ordinary Time reminds me of how God equipped us together as a Church and called us to be His Bride. During Ordinary Time, I am reminded that I am not an island but that I’m meant to live out my life in the…

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I’m #Blessed When I Am Meek

Read the previous article in this series I’m #Blessed Because I Grieve With Hope We live in a culture that views meekness as weakness. The bold are prized. Those who take what life “owes” them are applauded as the successful, the champions. We don’t value those who serve, but those who are served by others.  That is the dream we are programmed to strive for from a young age. That is the definition of success we are given.  But like most of the standards we are given from childhood, Christ has also turned this one upside down.  He didn’t say that we are blessed when we are bold, daring, and take what we think we’re owed – He said we were blessed when we were meek.  Meek.  I don’t know what your image of meekness is, but mine involves a Puritan girl sitting at the table, knowing that she needs to be seen, not heard.. and maybe also not seen.  Thankfully, Jesus didn’t speak in meekness in terms of silent, stoic people, but in terms of people who were noticed for their love and humility.  Not only did Christ speak of meekness, but He gave us the ultimate example in Himself.  Christ didn’t display meekness in quietly letting others walk over Him, but in actively serving others to fulfill His God-given mission.  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:45, ESV Christ came and served. He didn’t insist upon what He deserved, but insisted instead upon letting fragile humans baptize Him and washing the feet of His disciples.  He demonstrated for us what meekness looked like – a heart that is humbled before God and content with honor Him, instead of man.  We don’t see this type of humility often. We see people clamoring over position, power, and notice.  But when we still our hearts, when we shut out what pounding fists of the world and listen to the quiet knock of Jesus, when we invite Him and share our table with the one who offered His very Body and Blood for our sustenance, we have all we could ever need.  When we humble ourselves and show the meekness of heart Christ talked about, we are blessed with the promise that we will inherit the earth.  Blessed are the meek, for they shall…

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How Facebook Almost Ruined My Marriage

My husband is not perfect. Don’t get me wrong, he is wonderful and I love him dearly, but he is far from perfect. He lashes out sometimes when he’s sleep-deprived and stressed. He forgets to take out the trashed or change the oil in the car when I’ve asked at least 1,000 times. And for some strange reason, he doesn’t magically read my mind and bring home flowers when I’ve had a hard day. Despite the obvious shortcoming of not being telepathic, I love and respect my husband. He’s earned it both through his behavior and by his nature of simply being my husband. But Facebook marriages often threatens this love and respect I feel. I log on and see post after post of seemingly perfect husbands and perfect marriages. There are memes telling me what I “deserve” and what I shouldn’t ever put up with. I’m reminded that if a man can’t handle me at my worst, he doesn’t deserve my best. I fall prey to jealousy and start doubting the relationship I have. My eyes and heart are flooded with lies that eat away at my marriage and set up false expectations. On social media, we see the best in others without the counterbalance of seeing their miscommunications and bad moments. Shortly after we got married, I was disappointed in my husband. I saw friend’s marriages and how thoughtful and wonderful their husbands were. Through Facebook, I witnessed overwhelming amounts of unexpected flowers and waking up to clean kitchens and breakfast in bed. Jealousy and discontentment weaved their way into my pliable heart. You can imagine my shock when I saw several of these seemingly perfect marriages fall apart and file for divorce only a few short months later. There were various reasons but, in a shocking turn of events, Facebook wasn’t actually a credible measuring stick for their marriages. Their Facebook marriages didn’t actually reflect what was happening in their lives. The smiling couples in their beautifully edited photos gave me simply that, an edited version of their lives. That’s when I realized, I needed to stop looking at social media, at Facebook marriages, and start looking to the relationship God had given me. While there are many people who flatter me, my husband is the one who puts in the hard work of loving me, day in and day out, even when I’m grumpy. Anyone could…

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I’m #Blessed Because I Grieve With Hope

Blessed are those who mourn #grief #hope #christianliving #devotionals #beatitudes #blessed

Read the first part of the Beatitudes series, I’m #Blessed Because I’m Poor In Spirit here.  Blessed are those who mourn.  It sounds more like a warning than a word of blessing.  My level of grief in somewhat mediocre. I have had my fair share of pain but there any many who have experienced much more than I have. But my life has not been void of grief. I’ve battled the grief of infertility, of longing for a child to hold in my arms and grieving the loss of babies in heaven. And I have fought the daily fight with depression and anxiety that cripples my ability to speak truth to myself. I have witnessed friends lose children and spouses and dreams. I’ve watched lives crumble under the pang of sin and destruction in the world.  But I’ve also seen the abundant blessings that only come when you are in the pit, when everything seems to fail you and your only recourse is to fall on your knees before the Throne of God.  Mourning often brings us quite literally to our knees. It’s the word we use to describe lament in its strongest form. When we mourn we weep, we wail, we can’t eat, and we sometimes just sit, numb, unable to process what is happening around us. We beat our fists at the ground below us and shake our head at the sky above us, wondering what a good God could possibly be thinking to allow such grief to befall us. But yet, the same good God told us that we are blessed when we mourn told us we will be comforted.  “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you” – Matthew 5:4 ESV When we are at the end of ourselves, the only one we can turn to is God. We are blessed, not because of the grief itself, but because it leads us to a place where we turn to God in a vulnerable way. When we grieve, we are forced to go to the only true source of comfort.  Our mourning brings us face to face with the weight of the Fall. We grieve because we see the sin in the world.  But when we see the full picture of the shattering effects of sin, we can gaze at the…

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