I Shout for Joy

“You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done.” Psalm 92:4 (NLT)

Surreal.  It’s honestly how I feel about all of this.  We are a few weeks into the second trimester and are completely overjoyed.  The fact that this is happening is such a miracle in more ways than I can explain.  God is so good and faithful!  He truly amazes me at His works, His timing and His love.

You see, I just knew God had promised me another baby; I just didn’t know when.  I tried to hold on to the sign He had given me but it got hard and I doubted I had heard Him right.  But then, when I least expected it, a baby.  The fulfillment of a special promise He made to me; a precious gift I cannot wait to have placed on my chest.  Maybe then it won’t seem so surreal, maybe then I can breathe…because I’m not going to lie, the anxieties still creep in from time to time.  But my, how the Lord is teaching me during this time about my anxieties, where to cast them and where to turn with any worry no matter how big or small.  I am grateful for this time of teaching and dependence solely upon Him, His promises and His peace.  May I take away lessons that last my lifetime.

“For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation.” Psalm 100:5

I am praying the further into the second trimester I get, the more my energy returns.  Although this season of rest has been good, it has been difficult to function some days and my meeting Jesus in the mornings (or anytime) hasn’t happened as much as I desire, and my how that affects things!

As I get back into some consistency, I hope to encourage you with several posts from myself and family members about someone we love very much who we lost 9 years ago this month.  Someone whose legacy will continue in our family as we will name this precious baby after him.  Oh God is so good.

As always, friends, thank you for the prayers.  This baby is not only a testament of God’s faithfulness but also the power of prayer.  I cannot thank you enough.

Panic

“My heart pounds in my chest…fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking.” Psalm 55:4,5

It started the minute I put my car in park at the doctor’s office.  A wave of nausea not associated with the pregnancy but with pure anxiety and panic.  I had 30 minutes before my appointment and already couldn’t breathe.

Praying and practicing breathing techniques kept me from throwing up or passing out but the panic overwhelmed me.  It wasn’t mental either, but something physical overtaking my body.  I realized in hindsight this is normally the week the baby’s heart has stopped beating with previous pregnancies and possibly what brought on the mini panic attack.

At one point my 4 year old put his hand on my leg and said, “Oh Mommy, it’s going to be OK.”  Jesus had him say that I just know it (out of the mouths of babes…).  I kept praying for peace and for the feelings to stop…finally they did.  When I saw a gummy bear-looking image on the monitor with a steadily thumping heart.  “Praise Jesus!” I kept saying.

I have the same ultrasound tech each week, and bless her.  She’s been in my shoes before and I’m so grateful God gave her to me this pregnancy.

I don’t mean to put so much hope into this tiny baby’s heart, but I do.  I know my main hope is in Jesus Christ and His Word but there is so much in this sweet baby growing in my belly, too.  And not just for me, but for my whole family.  Jesus is the one to complete our souls.  This baby is the one to complete our little family.

God’s word tells us over and over not to fear (because it is a huge, natural emotion), but what to do when a physical fear overtakes your body?  I realize as I get older I struggle more with anxiety and fear…I don’t like this about myself but I know God can use it and work in it and make me more dependent upon Him.

I go back to the doctor today and I am prepared now for a panic attack but praying I am armed enough spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically for it to stay away.

I know God is good and He is for me and this baby.  He knows what He is doing and I cannot forget that in any and all situations.

“Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” Isaiah 41:10

To Him Who is Able

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20

“There’s no heartbeat, is there?” First words out of my mouth as I saw the ultrasound on the screen.

“Now calm down,” the tech responded, “…I see a heartbeat!”

“And the yolk sac?! Is it smaller!?” I asked anxiously after noticing the circular sac looking smaller than last week.

“It’s perfect,” she said with a smile on her face.

WHAT?!  Wow.  JOY. Relief. Praise. Tears.

Even though my insecurities rose to the surface initially, I really did think we would see a heartbeat.  What I didn’t expect to see was a normal sized yolk sac.  I, of little faith, had honestly gone through every scenario except the one that actually happened.

In early pregnancy, the yolk sac is responsible for providing nourishment to the growing fetus.  At my ultrasound last week, the yolk sac was enlarged which isn’t always a good sign.  This was the red flag that gave us a 50% chance with this baby.  We’ve experienced this before and it didn’t end well; I will share more about that one day.

I truly believe the Lord performed an amazing miracle and we are overjoyed!  I thank each one of you for your prayers.  I don’t know what next weeks ultrasound will show but I do know that God in His awesome grace and love gave us tangible hope by lifting this “red flag”.

I couldn’t quit thinking of Ephesians 3:20 after seeing the beautiful sight I saw.  The Lord went above and beyond my human thoughts and did what He is best at, miracles.  I think sometimes we forget He still does this.  Everyday.  He is able, we just doubt.  He is willing, we just don’t ask.  He is able to do more than we can think or imagine, in any situation.  Let’s start asking Him to do something bigger and better with our prayers than our minds can grasp.

Now to Him.  Be the glory forever and ever.

Just because God can doesn’t mean He will. But just because He hasn’t doesn’t mean He won’t. The bottom line is that He is able~Pricilla Shirer (God is Able)

 

And So We Wait

Waiting: stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or until something else happens; used to indicate that one is eagerly impatient to do something or for something to happen.

A few weeks ago, I was up at 4am busily getting ready to travel to a conference. I had almost forgotten about the pregnancy test I had taken that early morning, but thankfully, I happened to glance at it before walking out the door. Expecting to see only one line, I did a triple take when I saw not one, but two obvious pink lines. I didn’t even have to tilt it a certain way or put it under the kitchen counter lights to kind-of-maybe see two lines, but there were two lines, as plain as day, staring back at me.

Shock was my initial reaction coupled with great fear. But then I found myself smiling at Gods amazing timing of it all. I then reminded myself of my past and immediately would be fearful again, not allowing myself to get excited or hopeful.

You see, I’ve had experience studying pregnancy tests (anyone else?)…this is my 7th pregnancy. I hold two of my precious babies here on earth while Jesus holds the rest of them safely in Heaven.

The road of miscarriages is not one I would wish upon anyone, but through it all God has been good and faithful. Even when I’ve wanted to turn my back to Him through the pain, He is good, full of grace, and loves me more than I can comprehend. Even when I have lashed out in anger at the loss I have felt, I know I am not alone nor do my tears or prayers fall empty. They fall into His mighty hands that hold all of me. 

We’ve gone through miscarriages publicly and we’ve gone through them privately and either way it is hard. But I know when I don’t talk about what is going on in my life or when I’m not real about my hearts desires or the pain I have experienced, God can’t get the glory.

So. There is a tiny heart beating inside of me; a life growing rapidly inside my body. This life is a precious gift from God. Just in the few short weeks we have known, this pregnancy has been such an amazing blessing, such a joy; and for that I am grateful. Grateful that the Lord chose me to carry this baby. Whether it be to full term or just a few more weeks, it is a life. A God-given, God-ordained life. And I will praise Him no matter what. Of course my prayer is that this is our baby #3 to have and hold, but I know that God’s ways and plans are not always my ways and plans. I trust Him in this journey. No matter what.  Even when the doctor says there is a 50/50 chance this baby will make it, I will put my hope in the Author of life, leaning into Him and not my own understanding.  I will remember the beautiful sound I recently heard of a strong thumping heart and will never forget the awesome sight of it beating away.

And so we wait.  

His Ways are Higher

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”‭‭. Isaiah‬ ‭55:8-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Tomorrow we will go to my daughters school to see who her 2nd grade teacher will be.  I have gone back and forth on whether I should request the teacher I wanted her to have or not.   So many people told me I should do it but something just didn’t feel right.  I also heard the sound of a quiet voice saying “Trust Me, Sarah.”  

The Lord knows my heart and my daughter’s heart and knows who we would like her to have as a teacher. We have prayed ferverently on the matter (at times I think I may have begged), but I know in my soul that whoever our little E gets this year is who she is meant to have.

Before 1st grade, we drove by her school once a week and prayed for her teacher and classmates. Her teacher turned out to be a perfect fit,  just who our E needed. She had a great year and we are so thankful!  She made new friends, learned school, life and faith lessons, and we knew, because of our prayers and because of the goodness of our God, that she was exactly where she was supposed to be.

This summer as we have driven by and prayed, I have found peace in knowing God already knows the plans He has for her 2nd grade year.  He was faithful last year and I know for certain He will be faithful this year, too.  This doesn’t necessarily mean we will get who we have been praying for or that everything will be perfect this year, but it means we will be exactly where He wants us … and that is so comforting!

So we are trusting and believing and praying big and bold. But we are also confident God has His mighty hand on this and our baby girl will be in the class He deems the best for her.  I am reminded that as our Heavenly, perfect Father, He truly knows what is best for His children.   And in this, and all situations, I am called to not only trust Him but to listen and let Him guide me.  Never do I want to take matters into my own hands that are better left with the Lord, and this, for us, was one of those situations.

His thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways.

Father God may we let this verse reside deep in our hearts, souls and minds. Sometimes it’s hard to not think we know what’s best for our children but You, oh God, are the one who knows all, sees all and you are good and love our children bigger and more perfectly than we ever could. Guide us as we parent them and make decisions for them.  Help us look to You, give you the reins in all areas of our lives and to trust You as a new school year is approaching.  Be with the teachers, staff, students and parents all over our city, state and nation.  May we all know how deep your love is.  In Jesus precious name, amen. 

*Please know I do not think it is wrong to request a teacher for your child.  I feel God calls us all to do different things with our children and in your case He may be calling you to specify a teacher. In our case, this year, He has called me not to. 🙂

Give Them Grace

17925949_mlGIVE THEM GRACE

We never know what someone is walking through…but we can give them grace

We don’t know what they have been through…but we can give them grace

We may not know why they do what they do…but we can give them grace

If God looks at the heart…then shouldn’t we try to, too?

Just give them grace, just give them grace

By praying for them, not whispering about them…we can show them grace

By lifting them up, not putting them down…we can show them grace

Being tender-hearted, kind and forgiving…we can show them grace

With humility, compassion and love…we can show them grace

If any of this we lack, we can ask of God…who gives us grace and shows us grace

Unending

Unfailing

Abundant

Grace…after grace…after grace

So give them grace, just give them grace

“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34b

Into Your Hands

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Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Luke 23:46

According to Luke, these are the last words spoken by Jesus right before He breathed His last breath on the cross.  What beautiful words to leave us with and what a humble picture of Jesus’ life on earth; He lived the ultimate example of a life surrendered to God’s will and not His own.  This, of course, was His purpose…but isn’t it ours too?

Surrender: to cease resistance and submit to authority, give up, hand over, abandon oneself entirely, give in to, yield, to agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting; to give the control to someone else; to allow something to influence or control you

When we surrender to God, we ultimately are saying, “Yes, Lord, I TRUST YOU.”  The true Christian life is lived most full when it is lived surrendered, when it’s lived trusting in Him and His plan for our lives.  This doesn’t mean it will be easy, in fact, it pretty much means it will be hard.  Through circumstances He will continually be asking us if we trust Him.  Do you trust Me?  Do you love Me?  Do you know that I LOVE YOU and can help you live this life free and full of grace, forgiveness and wholeness?

God’s intent for us is to not only to love Him but to trust Him.  There’s the kicker- that trust word.  Sometimes we have an easier time trusting our own ways or friend’s ways than the ways of the Bottom Line (HIS way), and that requires surrendering our spirit into His hands.

So picture yourself, your spirit, your body, your will, your soul and mind in His hands…it’s comforting isn’t it?  There’s not a safer place to live than in His hands.  Fully committed, surrendered, yielding to the work He has for us here, the plan He has laid out specifically just for each one of us.  What an honor to be chosen by God to fulfill His purposes and further His kingdom.  But how often we miss it…let’s not miss it any longer.  Let’s commit our spirits, our wills, and our lives to the ONE who died for us. He will guide and direct us.  He will lead and comfort us.  He will if we will let Him.

The mark of our salvation for those who trust and believe was His blood shed on a wooden cross, the mark of our sanctification and growth is the continual release of entrusting our spirit to Him.  Surrendering, yielding, trusting and believing.  Daily, hourly, momently.

Oh I feel the struggle, though, do you?  Yielding to His will isn’t always the easiest road.  Our flesh often tells us differently, and the norms of society certainly goes against how the Bible instructs us to live.  BUT, our surrender to Him is for our benefit and His glory; our gain, not our loss.  He is in it for US!  Let’s trust Him today and commit our spirits into His mighty, faithful and loving hands.  They are big enough for all of us, thank you, Jesus!

Every day, surrender.  His will, not ours.

Every day, trust, for He is oh so faithful to provide everything we need if we will only commit ourselves to Him.

Father, into your hands, we commit our spirits.  Amen.

Now go.  Go in faith and live like never before.