Friday, October 15, 2010
So....it's been such a long time since I blogged and let me just tell you that God has been doing some good stuff in the life of my family that I have failed to share! The passage above is a quote from Jesus- he tells the Pharisee's this as the Disciples are shouting and praising Him as He entered Jerusalem for all the amazing things that they had seen Him do in His ministry. As Christians part of our witness and ministry here on Earth comes from the sharing of all the good things He has done in our lives. To me, this is especially important when it is an answered prayer or the continuation of Him revealing His perfect plan for our lives. In our case, there were many people who prayed for us during the times that I have previously posted about on my blog- wading through the loss of another sweet baby and trying my best to make lemonade out of the lemons of heartache and loss. In other cases, some of you were in the thick of it yourselves after a similar loss. We drew encouragement from one another- we shared our stories with one another, and the Lord used that as a tremendous blessing in my life.
Shame on me for taking so long to share with you what God has done in an answer to many of yours and our prayers...the rocks must have been crying out for sure on our behalf for not proclaiming His goodness in our lives! So, here's the good news!....I am 22 weeks pregnant with another sweet little man that is due to arrive on February 10th! We are so excited and so thankful that once again God has shown His goodness in our lives, not only through pain and loss but, also through tremendous blessing! A lot of you reading this probably already know about Anderson, but I just felt compelled to put in writing that the God we serve is so good, so sovereign, and always right on time! If you are in a valley right now, know He is with you- as He was with me during those dark days this spring. But, take comfort in the fact that joy comes with the morning!- and He will be there too! (so don't forget to recognize Him in those times as well!) As I laid looking at my sweet little boy dancing and wiggling around on the ultrasound screen yesterday I for a moment remembered those sad times when all there was on the screen was stillness- I was overcome with gratefulness to the God I serve, for He knew exactly what He was doing all along...
Thank you Lord for our 2 little boys, for your faithfulness, and all of us always having a reason to give you praise!
Monday, June 14, 2010
...And we are just in awe of all God is doing in our lives and the lives of our family! We are learning that sometimes the waiting on God for what the future will hold can be quite a challenge, you know that He's brought you through the past, and the right now is, well pretty darn good...so, we are just hangin' on to His hand and trying to enjoy the ride! There's lots more I could say here- but, that will come later! The thing I really wanted to share (and what I titled my post about) is a chapter I read in my devo. this a.m. I'm reading "Out of the Spin Cycle- Devotions to Lighten Your Mother Load", by Jen Hatmaker. AMAZING applications, with some pretty entertaining stories and humor- would highly recommend it to all you Momma's out there! Anyway, the chapter that I read today was call "Nacho Average Bunny". Hatmaker tells a story of a little Hispanic boy in a street VBS program that draws a picture of a cuddly bunny rabbit holding a knife- go figure! She paralleled this to a passage in Matthew 10:16...
"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be
as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."
Jesus said this to his disciples while He was commissioning them to go out into the world. Hatmaker goes on to say that "shrewd" in the original Greek meant "wise and prudent"- constant awareness, discernment, saying the right thing at the right time. She goes on to compare and apply that to how we should be as Mommy's ....
"It's the opposite of clueless. It's the mom who sizes up a situation and watches for social cues and red flags...It's the Mom who realizes she's parenting in an ever-changing world full of landmines and trapdoors. Shrewd parenting is ever diligent, never allowing apathy or naivete' to blind us while the enemy claims our children."
Wow! That was so powerful to me- I've been learning a lot about specifically praying for William, for his future plans, his health, growth and protection. But this made is very black/white to me that even the smallest of our children are a target of the enemy! Hatmaker then addressed the next part of the verse that refers to "being as innocent as doves". The meaning of this passage can be misconstrued and used in making the decision to, "avoid the landmines, raise their children in innocence and choose to be "shrewd" by simply sequestering them from the world. If we create a Utopian environment, bubble-wrapped in Christian sub-culture, then perhaps our kids will emerge as Jesus Juniors."
Ouch! Isn't this often times what a lot of us try to do with our children, only socializing with our safe church friends, at church pre-school, church play groups...This seems like the right thing to do, right? This paragraph caused me to look back over relationships I've had in the past- some of these were "bubble wrapped" children, and unfortuately, because they were not exposed to what Jesus intended for the rest of this commissioning purposed, when they tore off their bubble wrap and entered in to the real world, they became everything but "Jesus Juniors". They were devoured by the enemy through things that were unfamiliar and interesting to them. The innocence mentioned in this passage refers not to all the things we as Christians do or do not do, but that we are "inoffensive".
As the devotion reads on the author points to the very first passage of scripture that very explicitly states that He is sending the disciples OUT! Not to the church next door, or to a different Christian school (although there are definite needs there). He was sending His disciples (which we now have the privilege of being) out into the places were He went. She goes on to say, "Jesus sent us into this broken world not to defend him, but to represent him. We are to talked to those he talked to, say the kinds of things he said, and love those he loved- without polluting our message with judgment and offensiveness. We have missed the point if our worldview involves fighting against culture as our enemy; we imitate our Savior when we fight for culture as loved people who have yet come to know their Creator."...that statement got to me big time. It's just so much easier to live our separate lives away from things we don't understand or agree with. But, Jesus sees these people as broken and lonely and desperate for Him.
Okay, so I realize I have not actually written the majority of this post myself, but just felt led to put it out there! I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and reactions to it- I will close with the most impacting part of the chapter for me- this is the kind of Mama I want to be, so that William with be a man of God that sees the "God-shaped" hole in the hearts of people, before the differences in the way they choose to live.
"We do our children a tragic disservice to raise them in a seclusion, falsely detaching them from the world they've been sent to help redeem (that's why our kids are here!). What kind of disciples are we making when our children enter the real world as shocked and clueless young adults, ill-equipped to connect with the spiritually disoriented and unable to make sense of their environment? In an effort to protect their innocence, we send them out naive and unprepared: bunnies without knives, vulnerable, defenseless. Your kids should be praying regularly for the kids in the school and neighborhood. They should learn to befriend the loner, the loser, the lost. They need to hear from you, "we don't judge. We love." Be the happy home where people apart from God feel welcomed. They will learn innocent shrewdness-or not- from you. It is not your responsibility to raise perfect prototypes of holiness, fir to set on a pedestal and admire. Your job is to send your children into this world as disciples who understand their mission and who will contend for God's glory!"
Whew! Can I get am amen!
Saturday, April 17, 2010
I spent this Wednesday morning with 2 of my favorite Mommies playing with our boys in the backyard, watching them play with dump trucks and venture up the ladder and down the slide more times than I can count. William and I sat on the bench swing and sang “The B-I-B-L-E” together. The sun was out and good conversation abounded. Before I knew it, I looked at my watch and realized the morning had already passed and it was time to leave for my doctor’s appointment. One of my friends had graciously offered to keep William while I was gone, so I left all of them in the backyard to go in hopes of being back in enough time to get in on the fun again before nap time.
I got in my van and made my way down the road, and as I pulled into the parking lot of my OB-GYN, darkness descended. This office had become a very sad place for me. Watching women with round watermelon bellies waddle in and out - while remembering the last time I was there I left through the doors with tears streaming down my face, at the loss of another sweet baby. I walked through the doors, signed in and sat down to read my book until my name was called. As I sat there I just felt hopelessness and heartache seeping into my soul- something that really frustrated me, I had victory over this, I hadn’t felt this way for weeks! Why did I have to be here now? The answer was, because the doctor likes to make sure everything is okay 4 weeks after your loss. And, little did I know, God had a great lesson for me within the walls of this building I had grown to loathe!
My name was called and I got “comfy” in the little square shaped room waiting to see Dr. Tope. I sat there playing the questions over in my head that I wanted to be sure to remember to ask her. She came in and we began to talk about all that had happened, how I was feeling…etc. etc. My main question was, “Is there anything I can be doing to help prevent this from happening again?”…When I had my first miscarriage I thought, well this is a pretty common thing, it’s horrible and painful, but happens to a lot of women. Then, when the second one happened I began to really wonder if I was doing something wrong, or if there was something wrong with me..? Dr. Tope’ responded by telling me to take prenatal vitamins and that they had a panel of tests that they usually give after 3 miscarriages to narrow down causes that she would go ahead and run on me. The list of tests was about a mile long! So, I walked down to the little “lab” section that I have become so well acquainted with- going twice a week for 3 weeks until all the pregnancy hormones had dissipated for 2 lost pregnancies, you get pretty cozy with the lady with the needles…seriously, she and I are good friends! She understands that I am a wimp when it comes to needles and she’s seen me “grow up” through all the blood I’ve had to give! She used to make me lie down so I wouldn’t pass out, and now I sit up in the chair like a big girl! (that may sound silly to some, but my sisters will appreciate it- especially since they used to make fun of me, but have both recently passed out in a doctor’s office- or was it the elevator right outside? Haha!) Anyway, she came at me with 9 vials to be filled with my blood- seriously, 9! Anyway, as I say there having the “life” drained out of me- or it sure felt like it- that peace that passes any and all of our feeble understanding came to my heart and filled me from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. It was a moment where I could literally feel His presence- and with it came that joy that can only come from Him. It was as though He was just pouring it out of a pitcher (guess this could go back to the whole lemonade analogy) onto my head…it ran into every crevice and corner of my heart until I was filled to bursting. As I sat there I just began to share with the phlebotomist the promises and hope that my God had for me. That I was praying and hoping and confident that the next time we would meet would be for happy reasons! Then and there it became so clear to me that my joy and the future of my family did not rely on, and would not be changed by any vitamin I could take, or any of the 25 tests that would be run on all that blood she was drawing . All the answers were being held in His strong, mighty and more than capable hands. Modern medicine is a blessing and I believe a gift from God that betters our lives- don’t’ get me wrong. But at that moment all I could think of were His promises- to give me a hope and a future. At that moment, being still I just knew that the plans that He has for our family are so much more amazing than I could ever dream up or fathom (watching William everyday is pure evidence of that!) or control and change with my own efforts and plans…and without our surrendering to Him being Lord over those plans, we would have nothing but mediocre results!
"When God comes down, He removes the immovable difficulties. When God comes down, the impossible becomes reality. God moves on behalf of the one who waits. " Anonymous
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you…" –Jeremiah 29:11-14
This passage has become very “popular” in the Christian world…it’s printed on everything and when that happens I think sometimes we can lose the amazing message that are in the Word. This passage is from a message from Jeremiah to the people in exile- in it, God tells the people that although where they are is not exactly where they thought they would be, or maybe even where they would choose to be if given the chance, to go on with their lives. He wants them to continue to live as they would have in Jerusalem. Get married, raise children, build homes and pray for the prosperity of the area in which they now live- in other words He was telling them to just move on and embrace the journey! He encourages them by the verse we are all so familiar with – a promise and a plan for hope and future! These people must have clung to that for the 70 year “detour” they took from the place they called home. I guess I say all that to say this, the detours are where we find the hope and promises of God. He gives us these detours in life because He loves us, and desires for us to seek and find him! I guess our family is kind of in a place of hangin’ out in Babylon like these guys, instead of where we thought we might be (with a baby due in October). But, I am so thankful for the promise of His plans! He is here with us, with our best interest at heart! Isn’t that all we really need, I’d say so.
When God comes down, He removes the immovable difficulties. When God comes down, the impossible becomes reality. God moves on behalf of the one who waits.
Monday, March 29, 2010
So, I've been waiting for the Lord to show me what my next entry would be about and as I was driving to Target with my mom beside me and my little boy in the back seat...He spoke! When I told my sweet hubby the title of this blog- he immediately said, "well, that sounds positive"...but, like he has for the last 9 years...just bear with me! God can do amazing things with holes in umbrellas....
I was talking to my mom about the last 3 years of my life. She was asking questions, in a loving, motherly sort of way, to try to figure out how I "really" was doing and dealing with all that has happened in the past weeks. This was the first time she's seen me in person, so she was watching all my facial expressions (all of you who are close to your mom know EXACTLY what I'm talking about; and I consider having a mom that loves me enough to watch me in that way one of the greatest blessings in my life!) As I was driving, along with the sun beaming through the sunroof, something suddenly became so clear to me about the last 3 years and where I am now, God painted a very specific picture on my heart and I will attempt to share just that in the paragraphs that follow...
The short version of the blessings and awesomeness of the last 3 years is asleep in the room down the hall. His name is William Calan. He has blond hair highlighted by the sunshine. and beautiful eyes that are the color of chocolate pudding! His laugh is music to my soul and his hugs and kisses are warm and cozy (and maybe a little tight) like your favorite sweat shirt from college. Really, he is amazing! After he was born, our lives changed. Our hearts changed. Our marriage changed. Our home changed. Everything changed. We had a full year filled with hurt and heartache and all that comes along with it before we found out he was on the way. And when William came into our lives it was as though it began to rain blessings, straight from God's heart to ours. It was a slow and steady rain, the kind that lulls you to sleep on a Sunday afternoon, it was a healing rain, and a rain that brought unspeakable joy that can only come from God. I was able to work part time, Jason loved his job, we got to spend lots of time with our families...and the rain kept coming down(remember, this is good rain, showers of healing and joyful blessing)!
The picture that I saw in the car Saturday, while talking with my mom, was me standing in the middle of a path with rain pouring on my head, it soaked my hair, my face, my clothes...so, I got out an umbrella and put on some rain boots. I'd lost my appreciation of the refreshment we can receive in blessings from God. You know, I'd kind of just gotten used to all the showers He was sending me...a healthy and smart little boy, time at home with him, close relationships with friends, a marriage relationship that was growing, a beautiful home, trips to the park, not wanting for anything, another baby on the way...and so on. The blessings kept falling, but I just began not to even notice all the "water" I was standing in...it was still just pouring off the sides of my umbrella. I'd gotten comfortable wading around in the puddles, and wasn't really taking the time to stop, recognize and thank the One who authored this joy-filled season of my life. Then, all of a sudden, on March 1st...I got a hole in my umbrella!
The water started to, "drip....drip...drip..." right on the tip of my nose. Did my heart ache? Yes! But did I come to the realization that I was standing knee deep in blessings that had fallen straight from the hand of God? Definitely! I have come to the appreciate the fact that I may have gone through many more days and seasons standing in water without even noticing how many blessings were in my life, but, I serve a God who loves me so much...he poked a hole in my umbrella! So, I'm going to "consider it JOY!" (James 1:2) and start playin' in the puddles!
Isn't he the cutest, most beautiful "rain drop" straight from heaven????
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
So, in light of where I am in my life and walk, I was thinking today about all the little scrapes and nicks and bruises we get on our hearts just living and going through everyday life. Whether they be big, huge life altering "wounds" or just small ouchies, I am a firm believer that all of these things happen for a reason- and we are the ones responsible for the outcome...like I said in my last blog- the throne or the pit? When we are handed a set of circumstances it's so crucial to remember that they have passed through His hands before our own. His desire is that we become more like Him!
10 years ago my baby sister was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is a hereditary disease that causes severe inflammation of the joints. It usually requires lifelong treatment, including medications, physical therapy, and possibly surgery. That was a pretty big pill to swallow for a young 15 year old girl, don't you think? She began a long road of doctor's visits and many medications, some which would later be taken off the market because of found dangerous side effects. Several years ago she began taking an injection 2 times a month that was $1500 per shot! But, it managed the side affects of severe pain and serious fatigue so that she could pursue her career in nursing. Now that's the background info....stay tuned for the miracle!
Over the last 10 years "HOPE" has become Ellen's motto. We all buy her all the little nick nacks we see with "hope" on them. She has claimed in prayer for the last 10 years for God- Jehovah Raffa- to heal her body, as have many of us who love her. I know sometimes praying for "healing" can sound so cliche'......but let me just tell you, the amount of conviction that she has prayed with would put many to shame. It was part of her everyday conversations, "Well, when God heals me this ...and that." She never doubted that this heartache (or entire body ache) was in the hands of an Almighty, holy and fully capable God!
This past August she and her husband moved all the way to San Fransisco for Colby to attend seminary, after which they will follow God's calling on their lives to South Africa. As a result, insurance changed, and she had to find a new doctor. Which, as many of you know, is such a waiting game. She went a month ago to her new doctor and he decided to run an entire new panel of tests to re-evaluate the progression of the disease. This past Monday Ellen went back to the doctor- and guess what? She has NO arthritis! Now, THAT is a God sized Band-Aid!
So, if God has a Band-Aid big enough for a lifelong battle with a disease, He most definitely has one just for me that fit the broken pieces of my heart exactly. That has been my prayer this week, that He would be the healer my heart and the insecurities that continue to try to take root there- what if it happens again? what if you can't have another baby?...what if? what if?....and on and on! Let's face it, we have all tried to patch up our pain with things that we think will "help"...but the truth is those are like the cheapo Band-Aids that peel off as soon as you put them on! God size Band-Aids have some serious lasting power- they're like the ones you get at the doctor when they draw your blood that you have to practically rip your skin off to remove- the healing is there to stay!
Here's one more band-aid miracle I just had to share- it has encouraged me to the core! ...Just a few months ago one of my best friends called and just said pray! Her sister had suffered from a miscarriage early in her marriage, much like I had when I lost my first baby. It gave me an opportunity to pray in way for her and reach out to her in a way that I couldn't have if I didn't have those little patched up, band-aid covered spots on my heart from that same loss. And you know what? I heard last week she was expecting again- so exciting! But, then, I heard yesterday she's not only going to be getting one special little bundle but 2-TWINS! Now, isn't that just like God?
I will close with a quote from one of my favorite women of all time- Elisabeth Elliot. Her entire life was a reflection of living under the grace and healing of God. For those who don't know, her husband, Jim Elliot, was a missionary to a people group in South America who murdered him and several of his collegues. Just a few short years later- and a God sized Band-Aid, Elisabeth returned to the tribe who claimed her soul mates life. The Lord used her to win their village to Him!...incredible!
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Well, after reading several tonight, I thought to myself...I'm just going to look back at mine and read what I had written. God got me all over again! Let's just say that the Davis' have been handed kind of what you might call a bushel of lemons over the last week! Have you ever tried to pick up a bunch of fruit, or toys or anything small really and balance them all in your arms- only to drop all of them on the floor and watch them roll under the couch (never to be seen again!)? Well, I've been "juggling" the lemons this week for sure! When really- I need to just hand them over to the One who can make something sweet and refreshing out of them! On February 24th- my 27th birthday- I woke up at 5:30 to get ready for work. I had taken a pregnancy test the previous week, only to get a negative result...but the left over test was just staring at me....so, I took it. When I got out of the shower- MUCH to my surprise I got my best birthday gift of the day! It was positive! I was so excited!
I should add here that this was not planned and was truly a huge surprise! I had been struggling over the past weeks after finding that my part time teaching position would no longer be an option next school year whether or not to go back to work full time or to stay at home with William. I told my sister that I had prayed for a flashing neon sign to come from the sky and instead, God sent me a baby!
So, needless to say, this was one of the most exciting birthdays...ever! As the next few days passed we began to tell our family and just a few other people (we lost a baby at 16 weeks in 2006, so with good reason proceeded with caution in telling everyone we met on the street we were pregnant...although, it was pretty tempting!). We began to dream of what a great big brother William would be, planning for rearrange and make room for another Davis in our cozy little abode, what would we name them...and Jay was absolutely sure that it would be a girl! He even had William talking all about a baby sister! And of course, anyone who knows me knows I was dreaming about hair bows, smocked dresses, nursery decor and all things monogrammed! They were just those good days when you wake up and for those first few minutes you just can't help but smile and give glory to Him who gives us life!...and all the wonderful things that go along with it! Then, at the beginning of the following week, I began to feel so uneasy. I could just really sense Satan's attack on the insecurities of my heart. I was asking everyone who knew to just pray for peace- I told my mom that I didn't remember feeling that way with William- but we had already had 3 ultra sounds by this point and had heard his little tiny heart beat. My appointment was still almost 2 weeks away-and that would just have to be soon enough. Trust Elizabeth, trust in Him! We had already learned the hard way that babies never really belong to us- we have to trust God with their care from the very beginning of their lives. I went to bed Thursday night with some strange cramping and I told Jay that I just knew something was not right....but, somehow, slept like a baby praying that God would just "do His thing!"...I awoke the next morning with an alarmingly familiar feeling in my abdomen. Cramping...I think I knew long before this morning the road that would lie ahead...piled high with those lemons I had promised to hand over....but I just couldn't swallow that- not now. I told God while I was in the shower...we'd already lost a baby, we learned a lot, we don't need to go there again, right God? As I drove to school I pleaded with God to let me keep the baby- with tears pouring down my face I talked to my mom and just told her over and over "I can't do this again, I just can't". I did not want to descend into that deep, dark pit that I had fallen into 4 years previous. It was such a dry and desolate time for me- but a time of refining none the less. As I pulled in to school I tried to compose myself to go in and face a room full of 5 year olds- until I could make my escape to go to the doctor. As I walked into my room, my parapro and my neighbor teacher knew something was not right. Shelley teaches in the room next door and we began @ Strong Rock together 3 years ago....she coached me through my pregnancy with William- and is just a precious friend. When she found out what was going on she was already getting her purse and keys to take me to the Dr. so I wouldn't have to drive there alone. I'm so thankful that God gives us friends like that! Instead she arranged things in my room so I could be in the office when they opened. The symptoms continued to worsen- and I braced myself for the news I knew I would hear. It was like a dream....a horrible alternate route for the dreams that had been floating through my mind for the past week! After an ultrasound it was confirmed that I was in the process of miscarriage...and so the journey began- at that moment I had a choice to make....would I go to the pit or the throne? (or for the blog's sake..the lemonade stand!) My arms were beginning to be piled with lemons, they were about to spill over and roll all over the place into every area of my heart and mind- making things sour....So, I chose the throne- begging God to help make our heartache into something sweet, refreshing and glorifying to Him! I can't really explain it- don't know if it's because I have William and he is absolute pure love and sunshine to my soul...or that I just know we will make it through but the peace of God reigned in my heart through that weekend and weeks beginning. I don't know if you've ever had a time in your life when you could almost tangibly feel God just holding you up- knowing all those who were interceding on your behalf for His peace. It was awesome. As the week has gone on Satan has pummeled me with a few lemons-especially Thursday. But,...there is much comfort to be found- and even more to be given from what I've learned and continue to learn.
Psalm 22 was written during a time in David's life when he was definitely juggling lots of lemons..in verse 1 he asks God why He is so far away. Times like these in our lives it can often feel that way...but, I've come to the conclusion that it's because we are running from Him in the opposite direction with lemons flying everywhere.....while He sits and waits with sugar, and ice.