Friday, November 30, 2007

Pregnancy Update #3

Yesterday was a Dr's appointment. It went well. Baby's heartrate was in the upper 160's lower 170's very very fast!!!! I am beginning to doubt my first inclination that this is a girl, because my boy heartrate was faster than my girls (usually the girls were in the 150-160 range), so I am alittle anxious to find out what this precious baby will be.
I am starting my second trimester and am doing so with some trepidation. I struggled emotionally with my first trimester miscarriages, and while I didn't have a hard time emotionally with Nathan, I am fearing a second trimester loss again. It was sooo physically hard to deal with, and with this busy season, I am quite anxious to get through it with no difficulties. Nathan's loss still seems so close (even though it was over 2 years ago) and the thought of going through it again brings fear to my heart.
This fear is coupled by my overall down spirit with this pregnancy. Part of it is probably a fear of living through loss again...I hate the thought of it. Another part is probably that I am pregnant with family and friends and want to enjoy the experience with them. Another part is the fear of doing 4 children 5 and under. There are so many thoughts in my head...sometimes they hurt! As I sat in the waiting room, I read my pregnancy journal. I read the hymn I had determined to focus on during this pregnancy and found myself crying to God to make these words a true part of my life.
"All the Way my Savior leads me what have I to ask beside
Can I doubt His tender mercies who through life has been my guide
Heavenly peace Divinest comfort here by faith in Him to dwell
For I know what 'ere befall me Jesus doeth all things well
For I know what 'ere befall me Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me cheers each winding path I tread
Gives me grace for every trial, feeds me with the LIving bread
Though my wary steps may falter, and my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the rock before me, lo, a spring of joy I see;
Gushing from the rock before me, lo, a spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savoir leads me; Oh, the fullness of HIs love!
Perfect rest to me is promised in my Father's house above
When my spirit, clothed immortal, wings its flight to realms of day,
This my song thro' endless ages: Jesus led me all the way
This my song thro' endless ages: Jesus led me all the way."
by Fanny Crosby

I want Jesus to satisfy me. I want Him to fill me with the spring of Joy while I am faltering. I want to see Him leading me throughout this pregnancy. Pray with me, that I will be filled with knowledge of His presence and see His hand in this pregnancy. May I be filled with the hope, peace, and joy that comes from knowing and loving such a great God!!!!

PS. Next view of this little one is in a week and a half or so! They are doing cervical checks again (though only 2 rather than 6!), so I look forward to seeing this little one again real soon!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Recent Ponderings

I have soooo many thoughts going through my head...sometimes it hurts. So many things the Lord continues to put on my heart and mind. So many things I wish I had the courage and guts to say, and so many times I fail. I know God has given me a voice to be used for Him, and sometimes I feel guilt singing "Take my Life and Let it Be" because I pray "Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee" and yet, when I know God is speaking to my heart...I neglect to follow. So I am going to ponder aloud on various topics that are on my heart...and I would love to hear any of you speak up as well (I pray to have a teachable spirit and an open heart for God's Word!).
Thursday night, my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the film "Amazing Grace" the story of William Wilberforce. (As a funny siden note, I am trying to convince him that Ioan would be a great name for a son if that is what we are having...that is the name of the actor who played William Wilberforce and I was intriqued by his I researched it. It means "Gift of God" and is pronounced yo-an. I love it...anyone agree with me! :) ) This movie was amazing in its account of his life. I have read only a little on his life, but want to read more as I was encouraged by the way God used him to make a difference in the lives of so many people and even the world. William struggled with how to use his life for God. Should he devote his life to the church, should he stay in politice? He wrestled with the fact that "God found Him" and what that meant in His life.
I too sometimes struggle with how I can best bring God glory. I often feel like I am overwhelmed with a million things. There are so many people God has brought into my life (some needing more time and attention than others), but how can I make the greatest impact in my life. I want to encourage other women (especially the teens with whom I spend time with) to focus on living for God, but what does that entail? What does God want for us?
I want to say that while William's life is amazing, I was impressed with his wife in the film. She served her husband and supported and cheered him. She was a balm to the sickness of his life. He was frail and she provided a great deal of health to him. Amazing what that woman could do, not because she was out rallying with him, but her service,love, and devotion to him at home impacted him in a great way. Wow! I was humbled by this.
These days there are lots of opinions and dicussions on our roles as women. Are we really called only to serve our husbands and children and those who enter our home, or can we be in leadership positions in the church or even preach if we are gifted by God in the areas of teaching and preaching? This is a huge battle among women today. Many feel like some Christians put shackles on women simply because they are women and certain things are taboo. Others are now finding so much freedom in Christ because we are equal in Him and therefore can be free to do what we feel God has called us to do (be it even preach or teach) because of the equality and love we have in Christ. What does God want for us, for me as a wife and mother, for my daughters? I believe strongly in the inerrancy of Scripture and that all things written in it are for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (II Timothy 3:16) How does His word work out in my life?
I very strongly believe that God calls us as wives to focus first on being pleasing to Him- to love and adore Him above all else. Paul gave us an example to follow in seeking to be well pleasing to God. We are called also to be to the praise and glory of God. How can I as a wife bring honor and glory to God? Firstly, I believe by keeping His commandments. Scripture says that if we love Jesus we will obey His commands. (I John speaks alot about it as well as Jn. 15. Please note that I am not being exhaustive on this). Secondly, I believe that as a wife I bring glory to God by honoring and submitting to my husband. I love that Prov. 31 says that the virtuous woman does her husband good and not evil all the days of her life. He doesn't have anything to worry about, because he knows that his wife has his best in mind. I love the example and admonishment in Ephesians to be submissive to our husbands just as the church submits in everything. Christ is our chief just as our husbands are. (The word head in this passage means chief or master lord according to Strongs Concordance.) We are called as wives to look out for our husband's good and to submit to him in everything. (I do not believe in disobeying our Lord to follow our husband's leadership and in cases of abuse God has set up authorities such as the church and even our local, state, and federal government for protection in such cases.) I also love the example of submission in I Peter 2 and 3. Christ submitted Himself to God when treated unjustly by those who abused Him it says at the end of chapter 2, and then it says for wives to likewise submit themselves to their own husbands in everything. Wow! What a powerful picture of what we as wives need to do. What about our place of service outside of our husbands? There is also our children. As parents, we are called to train our children to be like Christ and to follow and obey Him! We are called to be teachers of our children!
I also love the Titus encouragement for what we are do do if we are godly. Older women are called to teach the younger women to "love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled." God's Word is clear about what older woman are to encourage younger women in. But I ask ~Where are the older women who can train the younger ones? These character qualities are not found often in the lives of older women in the church. I find it interesting that there are inward characteristics mentioned (self-controlled, pure, kind), but there are even more inrelation to others and they have to deal with one's own home (love husband and children, work at home, submit to own husbands). What about outside the home? It is not there. It is not in I Timothy 2, I Peter 3, Proverbs 31 has her purchasing outside of the home, but everything else is home centered! If that is what is stressed to women in Scripture (loveing and serving one's husband, loveing and caring for one's children, watching over the ways of one's household, showing hospitality in ones home) why do we argue and demand that something that is not mentioned (working/serving outside of one's home) is okay and can be focused on? I mean, if we have all that we are called by God to do in a glorifying way and excellently, then doing above and beyond would be no problem in my book, because they are not mentioned in Scripture as beoing sin. But I see the family and church struggleing often to bring glory and honor to the Lord in these specific callings because if they were done well, churches and home lives would be drastically different. Families are failing (not just in the secular homes, but in the Christian homes)and churches are falling apart. I do believe part of it is our fallen sinful world, but I also believe it is because we do things God doesn't call us to do and we neglect the things He specifically calls us to focus on.
If you can't tell, I am passionate about this one! I love reading about women who made a difference in their homes, like William Wilberforce's wife and Sarah Edwards. I don't think that all those who have chosen to serve/work outside the home are sining. But I do think that there is a problem in our culture and in our churches when the home is neglected and things that are specifically spelled out in Scripture for us to do and ways for us to live are sorely neglected. We are called to reach a dying world for Christ. They will not see Christ in us if we tear down one another and we dont' start looking at God's word and live how He has called us to live. Whether it be in 70AD or 2007 AD, God's instructions do not change with the Times. Pray for me. Pray that I will seek to fulfill what God has specifically called me to first-and do it excellently-before seeking to follow something that is beyond what God has said.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

True Life

Today was such a fun day in our household. Our family took a field trip and headed down to the Indianapolis Children's Museum. A long drive, but soooo much fun! In our homeschooling, we just fininshed Dd Dinosaur, and so I planned a trip to the Museum to go through their Dino exibit. The girls loved it (Ethan did too, although not nearly as much) and we really enjoyed our time spent there. I would have loved to take them to the Creation Museum, but it was much further, but what we talked about made a good follow up to school!
They have an exibit about children who made a difference. They focused on Anne Frank, Ruby (can't remember her last name right now, and Ryan White. The had interactive videos and replicas of scenes from their lives and it was incredible. I began to think of all the things that these young people did, especially the fact that each one of them were discriminated against and yet, they set and example for their generation to follow. Ryan faced fear and rejection because he was given AIDS through a medical procedure when AIDS was such a new disease and yet he had such strength that was shown through the glimpses of his life. Ruby faced oppression as she was one of the first African American girls to attend an integrated school when racism was prevelant in that society. They had a neat little clip on forgiveness that I liked. She said something like praying for and forgiving people isn't for the one who needs to be forgiven, it's for the one who gives the forgiveness. I was reminded that we need to be in the habit of bestowing grace and forgiveness even to those who don't recognize the need for asking for forgiveness. We need to be quick to forgive so that we don't allow bitterness and anger to overtake us. I have really had forgiveness and our response to others on my mind alot lately. I know that it is hard to forgive sometimes, especially when people don't seem to care about asking for forgiveness, but Christ calles us to follow His example and love our enemies, do good to them, pray for them, and ultimately trust that God is the righteous judge. It's hard, really hard, but I was reminded on the importance of following this, especially as a believer in Christ, because we can make a difference in our generation by the way we live and act as well as the way we respond to the difficulties we face.
Anne Frank, I must admit, impacted me the most. I have read her diary a very long time ago, but when I think of the fear she must have faced while she and others lived in hiding, and then the fact that she lost her life really shook me in my spirit. She was an example of strength in her generation...and she was soooo young! I was reminded of the verses of Christ in Scripture that talks about us taking up our cross and following Him. If we want to find full life, we must lose our lives for Him, but if we keep following our own hearts and our own fleshly desires, we will lose our life. I want to be one who dies to myself to live life for Christ. I want my life to impact my generation and younger generations for Him. I have come to realize that means going against my feelings and my wants and even what I think should be, and instead I am comming to understand the importance of surrendering myself to the One who loved me and gave up His life that I might truly live. And that is not easy. It is not always the way "I" think things should be, but if I want joy and a life that is truly abundant, that means I need to surrender me- all of it.
So, you see, today was a great day for me. A good day for remembering that we all face struggles, we all face great hurts, we all face difficult trials, but we can be a light to our generation (and even those who are older than us) if we live the way Christ calls us to live.
Lord, may we all live lives that are surrendered completely to you and to the plan that you have given us in Your Word. Our lives and struggles are not the same, but you have given us instructions that fit each life and circumstance. May we live abundantly in You.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Pregnancy Update #2

I am officially 10 and a half weeks pregnant!!! Yeah!!! I still have a few more hurdles I can't wait to cross, but over all things are progressing well.
Last Tuesday was a very busy day for me...and it really wore me out. But it was a good day, because we were able to see our baby on the ultrasound, and heard/saw a very good heartbeat! It really made me relieved to see everything look good, and I am hopeing that we will continue to see things go well.
I am starting to really think more about what life will be like when we add #4 to our family. The girls are thrilled and I must say I have enjoyed Ethan so much these days, that the thought of another little one gets me excited. Sometimes, I admit there is some nervousness as morning (all day) sickness has made my days seem long and I am exhausted alot of the time. It sometimes makes me wonder, how will I ever do 4 children! However, I look forward to the excitement and joy we will recieve from this little one.
That is all the pregnancy news I have now...I have other thoughts floating around, and hopefully I will get around to posting them.