Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Surrender, Obedience, Blessings...

Late October/November last year, 
my husband and I were sitting in church listening to
a fabulous sermon by our pastor, JP Jones.

I remember the sermon being about
our purpose and our calling and what we are
responsible for as committed followers of Christ.

It was in that sermon that the Lord
spoke to my husband and I in a very clear way.
He was calling us to be adoptive parents.

Over the last 10ish years,
we have struggled with infertility.
We have been through the range of emotions
over the past decade.

During this time that my first blog was born
It was a blog started on the superficial and generic.

It morphed into a place where I could
I was feeling at the time.

The Lord used this avenue to
speak to me through other bloggers.
This then planted the seed of friendship that
over the past 6 years have developed deep roots and
establish a line of communication
with Him that I had severed out of stubbornness and anger.

My dear friend, Lissa
wrote me a long letter in our early friendship
and taught me about surrendering.
It was a foreign concept and *exactly* what I needed to hear.

It took many many years for me to fully 
Surrender my dreams, my marriage, my parenting,
my friendships, my activities.
Surrender to His will.
To His way.
Completely trusting that HE is in control of my life.

The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; 
it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.

Cut to February this year.
We have researched, prayed and lead to
amazing people to walk along side us, doing the Lord's work
to bring another child into our family.
A prayer that has been answered after so many years of
praying, aching and yearning for our family to grow.

We were in a world of adoption that was completely unknown.
We knew we were called.
And that's all we needed to know.
Not always knowing the path,
but trusting the path is there by walking in faith.

Blessed are all who fear the Lord
who walk in obedience to him.

And then, we are surprised.
in AWE.

I am excited to share that we are pregnant.
14 weeks.

We knew that 2014 would grow our family,
our hearts with adoption.
But, again, the Lord had other plans.

As soon as we surrendered to His will,
obeyed His instruction,
the blessings abound in unimaginable ways.

All these blessings will come on you 
and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God

Here is a bit of the journey over the years of our infertility:

Monday, February 3, 2014

Two years old ~

Two years ago, a word entered into our life
that one can never be prepared for:

We were then introduced to more (equally scary) words:
Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.

My husband was diagnosed after 
discovering his white blood cell levels were way too high
for his 'routine' appendicitis.

What we know now is how blessed we were for
the appendicitis, and the doctors we were
surrounded by then and now.

The Lord has his plans, and they seem to be
different enough from ours that we are
constantly surprised by how He uses the broken for His glory.

These past two years have been an adventure for our family.
Nothing has come close to the low one feels
after hearing their dear one has been hit with the cancer stick,
but since we have relied on the Lord through this
process, we have been able to see His hand
at work at all times.

We know that over these last two years, He has been grooming us.
We have really solidified our little family unit,
we have learned to lean on Him in ALL,
and we have found that our frequency to His calling(s)
resonates clearly for us when we are prayerful.

We have been able to give up on our small dreams
in exchange for His big plans.
We have been able to take news of friends and family
in difficult situations in a very peaceful and prayerful way.

We are able to see how He uses the 
ugly, sin, disease, and brokenness
for HIS glory and how we get to play a role in that.

It is a privilege to be called a child of God,
the Heavenly Father whom cares about the details in our lives.

We can now praise the Lord for this cancer diagnosis.

Thank you for the medicine that is working so well,
we pray that it continues to work as well.

Thank you for the doctors that we are able to interact with,
blessed with such brains and bedside manner only
an Intelligent Creator could create.

Thank you for the perspective that we are able to
have and rest in the comfort of His plan and control of our lives.

Thank you, God for my husband.
I cherish his passion for providing for our family
in a very difficult business with high pressure and high expectations.
I adore his deep love for our family and big arms to wrap around us.
I honor his commitment to being a man of God
with integrity, honor and chivalry that is not often praised in this society.
I love him so much, Lord.
Those words seem so shallow compared to the depth of the reality.
I thank you for introducing him to me when I was 14.
I thank you that our relationship was built on a solid foundation
of friendship and growth.
I pray that we continue grow very old together blessed
with watching our grand babies have babies
leaving a legacy of Your love behind
for generations to come.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A response to Amy Glass

As I was waiting to pick my daughter up from her
weekly youth group at Church,  I was reading through Facebook
and this post that the High Calling linked to caught my eye.

I believe it was Amy Glass's intention, to be provocative
in her title, and sure enough - I had read through the entire article before
I had to reread the title, and the article to check for
any satire, sarcasm or abstract metaphors before I formulated a response.

Since it seems as if she is intentionally engaging
in a vexing rant post, not really sure if she cares or wants a rebuttal,
I feel one is absolutely necessary - for me -
and anyone who happens to google her name.

Glass's post I will be responding to is entitled:

Well, Amy - I applaud you!
You're exercising your free speech, the brain you were born with
and your socioeconomic freedom 
to express yourself in such a way that is sure to generate a lot of chatter.

I have to say that your assessment of how 'average' it is
for anyone to get married and get pregnant is SPOT ON.
There is nothing unique, since it has been happening
literally since the beginning of time.

Certainly complainers have been around just as long,
coming back from the water well with the day's worth of water,
scrubbing laundry in the river with rocks and animal fat,
I'm with you - what do women today have to complain about?
Turn on faucet: water whenever, wherever.
Turning on a washing machine certainly isn't labor intensive.
Also, like you pointed out, anyone/everyone can do it.

I think the biggest thing you're missing is what is unique
about this group of women that you look down upon
IS exceptional.

I think the culture of today has really mucked up
or even jaded your vision of what *really* goes on
with many (I won't generalize and say ALL, or even MOST)
married stay at home mom's.

I can only assume by your tone that you're not
married and certainly not a mother as you state:
"you will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility 
to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids."

Since you have a quest for exceptionalism,
I really would like to enlighten you to what *actually* happens
when married stay at home mom's are doing their jobs.

I can safely speak for hundreds of women that I have met, 
personally or read as published authors, and amateur bloggers who seek a community
for exactly what you say we lack: to be exceptional.
And the truth is, not ONE of these women would ever admit
to EVER feeling exceptional. 

But here's what I know:
Just as the doctor and engineer and business builders
seek extra education, join networks and engage with other like-minded individuals
to help grow, stretch and build their careers -
We married stay at home mom's do the same thing.

We have shelves full of books on all aspects of marriage and parenting,
an insatiable appetite for knowledge of how to be the best, 
and surround ourselves with women we admire in hopes we can be great via osmosis.
We attend conventions, read articles, meet regularly with mentors
to make sure we are on track.

We are not only vessels for the future of humanity 
with our bodies for 10 months - which most female mammals are = average -
Us married stay a home moms are committed to
shaping and building the hearts and minds of our children
 to BE the best of humanity for the future.

We are voraciously seeking out the best for our children,
not in stuff - which, again - anyone can do with a few bucks - 
but making sure our children ARE the best
by building their character and cultivating their life's purpose.

Yes: feeding, clothing and driving them around is average.
Its the hard stuff: self sacrifice, discipline and many sleepless nights
in prayer agonizing about HOW their child will
greatly affect their world now and in the future.

Do doctors, business builders and engineers experience the same things?
You bet!
Stress isn't anything new, and certainly not unique to those earning a paycheck.

I think being an exceptional mother can successfully be boiled down to a word:
Sacrificing our personal passions to cultivate the purpose of our child(ren).
{And I'm not even going to complicate things with the fact that
many of these exceptional wives and mothers have
founded, and manage very lucrative businesses, too.}

Now, there is the staying married part.
Anyone can get married.
Vegas knows that.

Staying married is the hard part.
It truly doesn't matter how beautiful, fit or "put together" you are as a wife.
Hollywood knows that!
Even the most beautifully fit and seemingly put together 
women have failed marriages.

Staying married is all about 
Being a maid?  A cook?  A housekeeper?
Not that kind of service.
It is about the attitude of your heart.

Does the wife wake up with the attitude of:
"what can I get FROM this man today?"
"what can I do FOR this man today?"
This breeds a culture of service within the marriage
where both spouses are serving each other.

THAT is the secret to a lasting marriage.

Do engineers, doctors and business builders know sacrifice & service?
I would assume all the great ones do.
Sacrificing time with their families or vacation time for their business.
Servicing their customers to the best of their abilities.

So, perhaps we have more in common than you think.
Perhaps you don't have a woman in your life
that embodies the sacrifice and service that it takes to be 
an EXCEPTIONAL stay at home wife and mom.
If that is true, then I am sad for you.

I'd like to extend my hand to you and introduce you
to some of these women who embody this model.

I don't expect this post to change your mind...
...but perhaps the ledge you're on that looks down on us
will get a little closer to the ground.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Learn -

This year, I chose the word LEARN. 

2013 has been a year of growth and security and The Lord has been working on my heart. He has been preparing me for 2014 and while there are many passions and directions that are possibilities on this second day of 2014, it will be amazing to see what He develops throughout the year and how He uses me.

I am open, willing and excited to see what direction He will lead me in His purpose this next year!

Do you have a word for the year?  What are your thoughts/hopes/projections for this year?

Have a happy and blessed 2014!

Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments. 

Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in your word. I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. 

Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant. 

Let your mercy come to me, that I may live; for your law is my delight. 

Let the insolent be put to shame, because they have wronged me with falsehood; as for me, I will meditate on your precepts. 

Let those who fear you turn to me, that they may know your testimonies. 

May my heart be blameless in your statutes, that I may not be put to shame! 

Psalm 119:73-80 ESV

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bumps, bruises & badges

I was in a heartfelt conversation with my cousin
the other day and we were discussing
how hard life is sometimes.

Looking at another person's life
through our own vantage point is Satan's way of trying our faith.
And it works, nearly every time.

Except this one.

Our conversation took its typical route
but where it ended was different...
The Lord used this conversation we frequently have
(fueled by the evil one)
for His good.

We all have people in our life that always seem to land on their feet.
Receive their innermost prayer.
Have it all together.

And while the Lord may be the One to only know differently,
there are some whose life really isn't a struggle.
It *actually* is an easy life.

And while He doesn't want us to be jealous of these people,
He wants us to learn from them.

Through my quiet time, He pressed upon my heart
what a blessing struggles can be.
Certainly not while you're struggling,
but for who you become BECAUSE of the struggle.

Struggles are like a blister on the skin,
painful, raw and oozing.
But once that temporary pain 
and discomfort go away, what is left is a callus.
A toughened part of the skin that will serve as a shield 
from the elements in the future.

People who are callus-free
will not have a defense against another struggle.

He also impressed upon my heart about
how these calluses bear testimony.

I have this great vision of Heaven:
we are all huddled around each other comparing
our scars, wounds and calluses.
The Lord and His angels are right there with us 
explaining how each trial/bump/bruise/struggle worked for His glory!

They are no longer signs of pain, struggle and trials...
but badges worthy of rejoicing.

We will see how His plan was perfectly woven,
who came to know Jesus because of each trial
of our hearts and lives.

And we will meet them and praise the Lord beside them for all eternity.
What a party it will be!

People who are callus-free
will not have much of a party in Heaven.
Sure!  They'll be there, happy and in perfect peace.

Their party will just look different.

So, while it is Satan's lie to be envious
of those whose life is 'picture perfect' on the outside,
its time we wear our bumps and bruises
like badges of eternal glory.

And if you think you have struggles,
check out the book of Job in the Bible and see what trials
a *blessed man goes through - 
and what blessings come because he remained faithful.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for my struggles. 
I know that a life with trials, bumps and bruises 
are a part of living.
Thank you for this Christmas season
that we stop and celebrate 
the birth of your one and only son, 
sending Him to Earth as a living sacrifice
so that WE may live with you.
I will be in Heaven 
because of the struggle Jesus went through.
What a joy it will be to celebrate with Him: 
face to face for all eternity.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Our Christmas House ~

This year, Christmas has come faster than ever before.
It truly is the most wonderful time of the year
and I have felt cheated since I've been so off my game.

But that's ok!
Especialy when the Nester says
It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful
this Christmas.

While there are dishes in the sink,
Christmas cards to be sent,
Packages to mail and dust and dog hair out the wazoo,
It is still a very Merry Christmas 2013.

the Nester

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Touch of Love & Happiness *Giveaway* on Instagram ~

atouchoflove on Etsy
'Tis the season to give..away!

Resolutions, goals, intentions, plans.
Whatever we call it - the beginning of a year is always a
logical and easy place to make a start.

Allegra has such a great plan, read a book a month.
1 whole book in 1 whole month.
That is doable, right?

Don't know what to read?  
Use this list, borrow from this list...
OR make your own.

In addition, Allegra has a fabulous Etsy shop.
She has the most beautifully unique handwriting that she has 
turned into fonts (plural) for your benefit.
Sending handwritten notes, using a handwritten return address stamp
make that snail mail into a ray of sunshine for someone.

So, Allegra has generously offered to jump start your 2014 reading with 


Rules of the giveaway!
Winner will be randomly selected at 
noon PST 
Friday, December 13, 2013

1.) rush to  atouchoflove 
and start dreaming how you'll spend your winnings

2.) follow seeking_refinement 
on Instagram

3.) tag a friend in the comments section
along with how you'd spend your credit in her shop

repost this link with the hashtag

Good Luck!