Category Archives: My Thoughts

God’s Design in Detours

I read a great devotion yesterday that really struck a chord with me. When you’re in the midst of a period of life full of trials it’s often easy to use that as the lens through which you view and interpret almost everything. I try not to let the last 2 years affect my view of
the world but it’s almost impossible not to and sometimes it’s really helpful to apply a certain sermon, verse, or devotion directly to this season in our life. John Piper really spoke to me through this devotion.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

Have you ever wondered what God is doing while you are looking in the wrong place for something you lost and needed very badly? He knows exactly where it is, and he is letting you look in the wrong place.

I once needed a quote for a new edition of my book Desiring God. I knew I had read it in Richard Wurmbrand. I thought it was in his devotional book, Reaching Toward the Heights. I could almost see it on the right hand side of the facing pages. But I couldn’t find it.

But while I was looking, I was riveted on one page, the devotional for November 30. As I read it, I said, “This is one of the reasons I have had to keep looking for my quote.” Here was a story, not for me, but for parents of broken children.

Having broken children is like looking in the wrong place for what you have lost and cannot find. Why? Why? Why? This was the unplanned reward of “wasted” moments.

In a home for retarded children, Catherine was nurtured twenty years. The child had been [mentally handicapped] from the beginning and had never spoken a word, but only vegetated. She either gazed quietly at the walls or made distorted movements. To eat, to drink, to sleep, were her whole life. She seemed not to participate at all in what happened around her. A leg had to be amputated. The staff wished Cathy well and hoped that the Lord would soon take her to Himself.

One day the doctor called the director to come quickly. Catherine was dying. When both entered the room, they could not believe their senses. Catherine was singing Christian hymns she had heard and had picked up, just those suitable for death beds. She repeated over and over again the German song, “Where does the soul find its fatherland, its rest?” She sang for half an hour with transfigured face, then she passed away quietly. (Taken from The Best Is Still to Come, Wuppertal: Sonne und Shild)

Is anything that is done in the name of Christ really wasted?

My frustrated, futile search for what I thought I needed was not wasted. Singing to this disabled child was not wasted. And your agonizing, unplanned detour is not a waste — not if you look to the Lord for his unexpected work, and do what you must do in his name (Colossians 3:17). The Lord works for those who wait for him (Isaiah 64:4).

This detour in my life is not a waste. In fact, as agonizing as it is to wait and wait and wait for a pregnancy that will make it out of the first trimester, God has shown me that blessings can come out of even the most painful experiences. If I had never experienced loss (and may very well continue to experience) how would I ever be able to see that the gain is something he has gifted me? So as I continue to take the detour from my carefully planned life, as I travel down this road of complete faith and trust I can know that whatever I find at the end is a gift from him. And the process to get there is a way for me to grow in immeasurable ways.


Indulgence

I indulged this week.

And wow has the definition of indulgence changed since become a mama. Yes, my indulgence was going to the library by myself. I was just planning on dropping our nearly overdue library books off in the drive-by drop slot but instead I walked in. I zoomed right by the children’s section and into the grown-up area. I strolled around, even stopping to look through some “recommended reading” binders at the resource desk. I actually looked up a book in the computer catalog. And then I browsed…and kept browsing. It was wonderful.

If you have a toddler you know that the library experience is almost exactly the opposite in every aspect. I do love going to the library with D and he looks forward to it as well, it’s just never a relaxing experience by any stretch of the imagination.  Although, I’m happy to say that he no longer takes all the books of the shelves as he runs along. He also is out of the phase where he’d run away from me, find an inconspicuous corner and fill his diaper. I don’t know why he would do this but it happened several times. Perhaps the library was a bit too relaxing and comfortable?

When I’m at the library with my boy I rarely find books that I’m really excited about, mainly because I’m just trying to grab something as quickly as possible. But I picked up some good reads this time as well as some good movies (I know I’m a little behind considering Babies is from 2010 and Food, Inc. is from 2008).

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Have you read any of these? What should be next on my reading list?

 


Praying with Purpose

Ooh I’m really excited about what we just put up in our living room. After Christmas I was kind of sad to see our house looking so bare. I was keeping my eye out for some wall decor to put up. Jeremiah was actually the one to find some things to put up when we were at Goodwill, he’s got a good eye for those types of things. I kind of just skim over all the shelves and shelves of stuff but he’s really good at finding those little things.

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So this is the beginning of our little prayer corner. I had a silly picture in the frame but after I put D to bed I noticed that Jeremiah had switched the picture out for one of our Christmas cards we got (this one from my parents). It was a shame to throw all those nice cards away so every week we’ll put a new card in the frame and pray for that family. Once we run out of cards I’ll print off other pictures we have of our friends (or nab them from Facebook). So if you get weirded out that when you visit our home we have a picture of you up on the wall, don’t be too worried we’re just praying for you that week!

I’m really excited to share this with D. He’s beginning to understand little things about Jesus and God and it’s the sweetest thing. This will be another way to teach him how to pray for others. One of the ways in which I want to live with intentionality this year.


Thankfulness

Isn’t that what makes life so beautiful? That God in His artistic perfection ties pain and sorrow and joy and laughter all together to make this extraordinary tapestry, full of such beautiful colors. The suffering adds depth whereas the bright fragments of intense joy make it something to stare at for hours. What a shame it would be for someone to try to cut out all of the deep richness that pain brings into their tapestry, in fact if they do this, even the brightness of their joy will lose it’s vibrancy. No, you need both. A life with both suffering and joy is one that people will admire. It’s one that will be made into an heirloom and passed down from generation to generation. It will be hung on the wall, pointed at, and the countless inspiring stories that it holds will be told during large family get togethers as well as small intimate moments of openness and growth. It’s one that will not be forgotten, but will continue to change those who see it. It will live on through the people it touches.

I think I copied this from a friend on Facebook.  It was awhile back and I regret that I didn’t attach a name to it but the words are so beautiful and are so fitting for this past year.  On Thanksgiving I want to reflect on what has made this the most horribly difficult year of my life and also the most beautiful and life-changing year.  As a family we experienced heartache and loss that no parent should have to encounter.  Simply heartbreaking and and at first I felt like there was no reason to have hope, that we would simply live under a dark cloud with no possible chance for healing.  But as the pain began to dull and the wounds began to heal an amazing thing happened.  I began to have a vision of the wonderful ways in which God could use our loss to bring people near to him.  It takes a lot of trust, almost a superhuman amount of trust, but His plan is both immeasurably greater than my own and also unknowable.  So, even though I often fail I try to give thanks to God in all circumstances, praise him for all blessings and come alongside those who are hurting and need to see His love through me.

Some days it seems an impossible task, to look beyond the pain and see the greater picture.  But how beautiful this tapestry will be when God is finished creating it.  This year has added a lot of depth and I know there will be more years of depth woven into my life but I also know there will be bright fragments of intense joy.  I do not know where the joy will come from or even the pain but I anxiously await the ways in which I can use them to bring glory to His name.

Thank you God for every blessing you have given me, for every lesson you have allowed me to learn, and for the grace you extend to me daily as I continue to discover what it means to live a life pleasing to you.


Being Dieter’s Mom

Two things brought me to writing this post. The first is all of the links on Pinterest I’ve been seeing lately about the “25 things every child needs”, “10 ways to raise a happy child”, or the hundred other variations. I’ve really enjoyed reading them and even taking a few notes to add to my mental parenting handbook. I started wondering what I would write if I were asked to come up with a list of surefire ways to raise a happy child and you know what, I don’t know.

The other circumstance that led to this post was our chiropractor. Him and his wife are expecting their first child in a month and he tells us that we need to write down everything we did with Dieter so they can do exactly the same thing. He has always loved Dieter and thinks he’s the greatest (until his little one arrives I’m sure 😉 ).

What I was realizing is that although I have no idea what 10 things every parent should do to have a wonderful child I do know what things I must do to have a happy, healthy, well-adjusted Dieter. I only know how to be a mother to one child and this is what it entails:

How to be Dieter’s Mom
1. Kiss and hug excessively
2. Hold him whenever those little arms reach for me.
3. Whisper when I feel like screaming.
4. Crouch down to his level when I want to tell him something. Especially when I am trying to redirect his actions.
5. Hold onto my schedule loosely and adapt it when possible to meet his needs.
6. Let him freely explore his surroundings even if it means cleaning up after him.
7. Use the word “no” sparingly and “good job” excessively.
8. Rock him before bed at night and always make sure the pray over him.
9. Do not minimize his fears or tears even when the cause seems so trivial to me.
10. Allow him to freely express his frustrations and place him in a safe environment to do so if need be. Usually this is in my arms.
11. Converse freely with him but use simple words when I need him to understand.
12. Don’t forget that he is little and needs extra attention sometimes.
13. Thank God daily for the miracle He has given us.

 


Letting Go

Sometimes life is all about letting go. I am learning that the hard way but I suppose there isn’t an easy way to learn the lessons of life. Sometimes you have to let go of people, perceptions, dreams, desires, plans. But the best part about letting go is that there is someone who will replace the emptiness and loss with a feeling of hope and a feeling that there is something better waiting to happen. I may feel that I’m letting go of something that I needed so badly but really all I’m doing is making space for what was supposed to be there all along. What is it? I have no idea. When will something better come along? No one can tell me. But the most comforting thing is that there is someone who knows and because he knows the desires of my heart I can trust that he also knows what is best for me.


Good Things

I’m in a rut, hence no post for the last three weeks or so. You should see the drafts I have…they’re piling up. I decide to start writing something and then abandon it halfway through. So instead of lamenting over something really creative to share with you I’m just going to keep it simple and tell you what has been really good lately.

Good things:

  • Smiles from Dieter (especially the ones that are so big he has to close his eyes)
  • Having Jeremiah home for an entire week. We really enjoyed our time together last week before he started his new job in Sioux Falls.
  • The signs of spring around our yard. The perennials and hostas are coming up and the birds are singing so beautifully.
  • My little seedlings I’ve started that will soon be going into the garden for us to enjoy all summer.
  • Laundry that can be dried on my clothesline.
  • Completing my very first 5k last Saturday and being able to do it with my dad. A huge highlight of the past few months and something I never in a million years thought I would enjoy doing.
  • Seeing the look on Dieter’s face when he saw his Easter present (a Little People parking garage). Unfortunately, that was probably the only highlight for him on Easter since he got sick shortly after.
  • Having a completely remodeled bathroom and kitchen (pictures to follow shortly).
  • Finding new recipes to share with friends and family.
  • Neighbor kids for Dieter to play with (even if they drive me crazy sometimes, he really loves them).
  • Life in general…it’s pretty good right now!

 


A Different Kind of Year

I’ll be honest, I’ve never understood the hype around the New Year’s Eve celebration. Hence the reason I went to bed at 10:30 on NYE. But this year I’ve been asked to look at the new year differently first with a devotion from The Upper Room and then our sermon at church.

LOVING GOD, journey with me this year

so that I may feel your presence,

abide in your forgiveness, grow in your strength,

and dwell in your love.

Give me an open heart,

an open mind,

and open eyes

so that I may sing your praise

and follow your path always and everywhere. Amen.

– Larry James Peacock
Openings

This prayer sums it up so well for me.  How different would my year look if I fervently pursued God in everything I did and glorified him through all of my actions?  I can tell you without a doubt that my family would notice!  And I pray that others would see a change as well.

One specific resolution I want to make this year is to eliminate all the favoritism in my life.  This was the subject of our sermon this Sunday and I have to say I had never thought about it before.  Favoritism, I think of a teacher showing more interest in one student over another.  But really favoritism can also be described as discrimination, judgement, and prejudice.  Whoa, convict me now because I am guilty of all these things every day.  Without even realizing it I know I place more worth on people that I feel deserve it.  But who am I to decide the worth of a person?  Especially a person that Jesus died for. All I am called to do is love…everyone.  Again, how different would my year look if I eliminated favoritism from my life?  Much different.

So will this year be different for me?  I sure hope so.  I know that I will fail, probably everyday, but thankfully I have a God who sees my heart and a Savior who died to make that heart pure.


To my Child

My dear sweet baby,

From the first moment I laid eyes on you I knew you were special and your heartbeat put a smile on my face that I couldn’t wipe away.  You are a gift from God and a very special part of our family.  I have dreams of you playing with your older brother, him teaching you all the things he has learned and being so proud when you accomplish them.  You will be the best of friends, two peas in a pod.  I dream of holding you at night while you sleep so peacefully, not a care in the world, safe in my arms.  I dream of your daddy tickling you just to watch you giggle, you will make his day with those smiles.  You will be a wonderful addition to our family, fitting in perfectly.

For now though we must wait.  We will be waiting much longer than any of us hoped or ever imagined.  Life doesn’t seem fair in that way because heaven is so far away and we cannot choose when we get to go.  I know that God has welcomed you, my sweet child, with open arms.  You will never have to know pain, disappointment, hurt or any earthly feelings and what a blessing that is. You get to spend all of eternity rejoicing in the sweetness of our Savior and praising his name and one day we will join you and be the family that God has planned for us.  We are so excited for that day and I cannot wait to see what you look like, if you have my curls or your daddy’s pretty eyes or your brother’s beautiful smile.  Until then I find comfort in knowing that you are in the most beautiful place, growing and thriving.  I’m sure there is a mommy taking care of you just until I can be there, perhaps a mommy waiting for her child to join her.  I am so excited to meet you and until that day I will do my best to comfort other mommies patiently waiting to meet their babies and use your story to show how God loves all of his children so dearly.

Love,

Mommy


The Beginning of Your Story

Forgive me little blog for I have been ignoring you.  That is all over, at least for today.  I’ve been thinking a lot about what I would like to share and alongside that I have also been thinking a lot about July 30th.  The best day of my life.  I often think about the day Dieter was born and how amazing and spiritual the whole experience was.  Before too much time passes I want to record the day.  For my memory as well as Dieter’s since it is the beginning of his Story and he should now about it.

Dieter’s Day

There had been a lot of preparation leading up to this very special day.  This included 12 weeks of Bradley birthing classes so Mommy could bring you into the world the way thousands (maybe millions) of women had done before me, naturally.  It also included moving from St. Louis to Cedar, Minnesota.  This was a difficult decision but we wanted you to know your Daddy and that was only going to happen if we lived in the same state as him, so after thinking about it in those terms it really wasn’t all that difficult.  Because we moved only two weeks before you were born the decision was made that we would stay at Grandpa and Grandma’s house until you were born so that we wouldn’t have to worry about looking for a house amidst all that was happening.

At the time you were born Daddy was working over three hours away in a town called Worthington.  He had to stay there Monday through Friday but came home on the weekends to be with Mommy.  She missed him very much but was so thankful that he was working and had a very nice friend, Josh, who let him live at his house during the week.  Well, one Thursday night (the 29th of July to be exact) Mommy was feeling unusually tired.  She hadn’t had much of an appetite all day and was feeling a bit out of sorts so she decided to go to bed early.  In the morning she woke up at 9:30, which was much later than usual, feeling very refreshed and ready for the day.  It was Friday and she was looking forward to seeing Daddy that evening.  Daddy had already called Grandpa and Grandma’s house wondering why Mommy hadn’t answered her cell phone.  “She’s still sleeping,”  Grandma told him.  While eating a very delicious breakfast of oatmeal and checking her e-mails Mommy felt a very strange feeling in her tummy.  “What did he just do?  That was very uncomfortable.”  Mommy felt a ‘pop’ that felt like the little baby inside her had done something really crazy.  And yes, as you may have guessed, her water had just broke.  It took Mommy a good 10 minutes or so to realize what had happened but once she did she told Grandma and they started getting ready for what would be happening very soon.

Mommy decided not to bother Daddy at work until she had called their midwife, Amy, to talk about what to do next.  Amy told Mommy to drink lots of water, go for a walk, and definitely call Daddy and let him know he should be heading home.  So Mommy called Daddy right away and told him he should come home.   Well yes I’ll come home but I have to finish work first.  “No,” Mommy said, “you should start driving now because my water just broke.  We’re going to have a baby, probably not anytime soon but you should still come home.”  This brought tears to both Mommy and Daddy’s eyes.  Their lives were about to change forever.

During the time that Daddy was driving home Mommy and Grandma went for a walk around the neighborhood.  When they got back Mommy started feeling some light contractions but was still able to enjoy some lunch around noon.  Around this time Mommy also called her doula, Dee, to let her know what was happening.  She told her no need to rush, it would be awhile.  Through all of this Mommy’s contractions were becoming more regular and she could no longer talk through them.  Grandma did a great job of helping Mommy stay relaxed.  At about 1:45 they timed Mommy’s contractions.  Five to seven minutes apart!  Oh, things were sure moving along!  Now was about the time where Daddy really needed to get home fast because this baby wasn’t going to wait much longer.

At about 2:15 Daddy arrived much to the relief of Mommy.  He called midwife Amy and she told them it was time to come to the birth center.  The only thing left to do was call Dee who drove over to Grandpa and Grandma’s house.  Around 3:10 they were on the road for the 45 minute drive.  Mommy was very uncomfortable during the drive and had a very strong feeling that Daddy might be delivering the little baby on the side of the road.  Thankfully, he didn’t have to because they made it to the birth center in record time.

Now, Dieter, this is where it gets even more exciting because it’s almost time for your big debut!  Mommy started getting a little scared because you were coming so fast but the midwives did a wonderful job of keeping her calm, relaxed, and focused.  Dee gave Mommy wonderful back massages between contractions and Daddy was kneeling right next to her whispering encouraging words.  The tub was ready and Mommy was so relieved to get in.  It felt so nice and warm!  Just two pushes later and, “grab your baby!”  Mommy was concentrating so hard with her eyes closed she didn’t even notice that you had been born!  But she quickly scooped you up and held you close.  What a beautiful baby boy.  You were born at 5:13 in the evening and weighed only 5 pounds 12 ounces.  Perfect.