Friday, September 28, 2012

need you now

I heard this song tonight while on a long drive home in the rain.  The radio was blaring (because that is how I roll when I am alone in the car and singing loud to the Lord) and the faces of so many weary loved ones came to mind.  Are you feeling heavy today in need of God's strength?  He will fill you up.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

change of plans

I still hope to have time to update soon as there have been lots going on and changing around here this week...  But for now you just get a schedule change.  Babydoll's MRI has been postponed until Monday at 7am EST due to staff illness.  His ways are not our ways, people.  Thanks for your continued prayers for our family.  Stay tuned for an update about the EEG that she had on Tuesday.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

going well

I hesitate to even write this because I am sure we will probably be spiritually attacked as soon as I press 'publish', but things are going well here.  We have felt your prayers and have seen God working out in us some big changes.  The best way I can describe it is that our heart attitudes toward each other are being remolded.  It isn't so much that we are "doing" much different.  We are just responding and talking and loving each other with a different motive.  One that is to please God.  My women's Bible study on marriage has come to an end.  Our summer book study with our Life Group has been completed too.  Next on the agenda around here is the group DVD study of Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas with our Life Group.  Yes it is based on the book that My Love and I have been slowly reading together since the beginning of this year.  Last week was the first video session and man are we in for more work.  It is a tad bit overwhelming and yet comforting that God thinks we are both ready to take on a study like this now.  Before now, we weren't ready.  So we are moving forward on the path before us as God brings our focus off of the other person and back onto our First Love, HIM.  I am also excited to be doing a Bible study on James by Beth Moore with my sister for the next several weeks.  The Lord continues to bring gems from this book in the Bible to my attention lately and I know he has much to teach us as we meet over Skype to discuss it together.

Keep us in your prayers as we try to more quickly prevent the Devil from gaining any kind of foothold.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

appointment update

I am hopeful that I will have a good chunk of time to write about some of what God is doing soon.  But until then, I did want to update you all on Babydoll's upcoming appointments regarding her seizures.  

Tuesday, September 25th, she will be getting an EEG at 9am up at Walter Reed Medical Center.  It should only take an hour and she will be awake for the procedure.  

Friday, September 28th, she will have a sedated MRI at 7am again up in Bethesda.  The scan will take 45 minutes but My Love and I will be with her there all day as they monitor her after waking from anesthesia.

The pediatric neurologist will call us with the results when he gets them.  We are very grateful to have My Love's parents in town visiting this week so Brother will be well taken care of in our absence.  Thanks for praying for our Babydoll.  Please remember us again on Tuesday and Friday next week. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

swift action

Last night I watched Titanic with a bowl of popcorn on my family room couch.  It has been several years since I have dusted off our copy of the epic film and nestled in for 3+ hours of entertainment. 

100 years ago 1500 people died on that ship while only 700 survived.  We sometimes choose not to think about such horrific moments in our recent history because it distances us from the feeling of pain that they experienced.  One of the worst parts in the movie for me is from the perspective of those who managed to escape in a life boat.  They watched the whole thing play out from a safe distance.  The images, the screams...  Yes, I can understand why we don't dwell there in our minds long.

Something struck me while watching this time though.  There is a playful scene where the main characters, Jack and Rose (if by chance you have lived under a rock and not yet seen the movie), are running through the hallways of the ship trying to evade capture from her fiance's henchman.  They are laughing while they close doors behind them to unknown pathways.  At one point, they enter the boiler room (is that what it is called?).  Instantly there is this juxtaposition of the elegance in the floors above to the noise/sweat/heat/filth/darkness of what is the team of workers that keeps the ship afloat.  Her gown flows behind her as she runs, glowing in the light of the steam and coal (or whatever it is) burning and filling the room they are darting through.  The men are strong and the room is dark.  They are working hard at what they were called to do in THIS moment without much thought (I am assuming) to what was going on above them until these two blissful intruders enter their world.

The movie progresses.  The watchmen on the ship see an approaching iceberg (in case you are still somewhere under a rock) and the man in charge takes action to avoid it.  He slides a handle on a dial that communicates to the men in that deep, dark, unseen boiler room to STOP the ship.  IMMEDIATELY they halt their tedious efforts.  They close the dampers.  They change course from faithfully keeping the engines burning to shutting them down all together.  What struck me was their swift action.  They didn't question the command.  They didn't call back to the captain to find out if this was a drill or even a mistake.  They didn't pause to wonder what must be going on up there.  They didn't (audibly) ask, "Why the sudden change of direction?"  They just obeyed.

Oh how I want to be like that.  I don't want to be consumed by what others are doing (or not doing).  I don't want to linger in thought about my circumstances and how some one else seems to be living a more desirable existence.  I want to work hard at what is before me.  I want to be focused on heaven and serving God in this moment (even when it seems dark where I am).  And I want to take swift action, not asking the why but merely obeying the command for what it is.  I don't want to question the point of my tiresome efforts until now (if it was just going to be stopped abruptly) but  rather understand to my core that obedience is one thing I can only do in the present. 

You see, there will be moments/seasons of our lives where it seems like suffering is as common as breathing in our days.  When the darkness surrounds us and we have to work hard just to do the next thing.  The enemy will tempt us to question what the point of all of it is.  To doubt.  "Nobody up there" even appreciates what I am doing to "keep this ship afloat" while they wine and dine and live in the light of day without a care in the world.  He would like us to give up and walk away leaving an empty space where God has asked us to serve (our husbands, our children, our employer, our neighborhood, our church).  Some days just suck.  But alas His mercies are new every morning when we abide in Him.  And if I can obey him in this hard thing oh how much easier it will be to obey him when he says your time of waiting is over.  Stop now.  Act now.  Speak now.  And I won't have to hesitate or question the validity of the command.  I will trust because I know that God will lift me up out of the mire and bless my obedience with far more than "fine china and elegant gowns".  Eternity with him in heaven.  Oh, Jesus please come.  And speak loudly so I can hear you over the noise/sweat/heat/filth/darkness as I serve you faithfully in this moment.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

today is the day

While cleaning this morning, I heard this song over the radio and have been praying it for this day specifically. 

Thank you for praying for our family these past few weeks.  We feel it and God is working.  We are blessed to be walking through this season to bring us to THIS day, more united and connected then in years past.  Whatever this day brings, I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Friday, September 7, 2012

a new thing

A friend reminded me of this verse tonight while at our Cycle Breakers Life Group.  She encouraged us that God doesn't want us to dwell on the past but to see/perceive the good new thing he is doing.  

I tend to gravitate to the New Living Translation for easy application, but there are many words found in other translations that I just loved.  Enjoy!

Isaiah 43:19 (NLT)

18 “But forget all that—
    it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
 19 For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.


18 “Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.


18 “Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.


“Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.

neurology appointment

Babydoll's appointment went well this morning.  Thank you for your prayers.  We made it to the hospital in two hours after dropping Brother off with a friend halfway there.  

There were two neurologists present in the room and they listened extensively to the details of each of her seizure accounts (which I had typed up and brought with me) really trying to understand the individual situation. They allowed our exhaustive questions and even offered up information that we didn't ask about.  What a concept!  We really felt like they were trying to understand our whole child and not just what was written down on paper.  

So what happens next?  The neurologist does think that she may have a minor seizure disorder based on many factors.  Particularly that the last two episodes did not include any kind of real fever.  I guess a temp of 99/100 doesn't count. :)  We have to make appointments for her to get an MRI (with sedation) and an EEG on separate days.  My Love mentioned that the clock is ticking toward when his medical benefits will run out and the doctor assured us that we will have the scans and results by then.  He gave us his card to contact him and asked that the clerks try to make the scans on days when he is in town so he could be available to us.  What a concept!  There will be a couple more long days ahead of us with commuting to the appointments but we are so thankful that this might be all taken care of before My Love is officially separated from the Air Force.

After the results from the scans come in, the neurologists will be able to determine the right course of treatment which may include medication.  There is a good chance that she could grow out of them especially if she responds well to the meds.

We would appreciate your continued prayers lifted to our Great Physician for our Babydoll Silly.  I will post dates and times of her scans when those appointments get made.  Thank you for your prayers today.  We felt covered by them.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

opportunity for great joy

James 1:2-4
 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

1 Peter 5:8-9
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.

1 Peter 1:3-7
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

Romans 5:3-5
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

appointment made

Thank you for your prayers.  Babydoll will be seen by a pediatric neurologist this Friday at 10am EST.  We are hopeful that the long drive to the doctor's office will be fruitful.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

follow up on her dr. appt.

After Babydoll's fifth seizure in six months, we decided to take her in to see her pediatrician again to get another opinion on her care.  We hadn't seen him since after seizure #2 and her second ER visit.  He thought this time that there was enough cause for concern to get further screening.  The majority of children who experience a febrile seizure might have just one or two.  At this point, Babydoll has moved into a very small percentage of children that have them reocurring.  So far every episode has been the same/predictable which has not caused us to be alarmed after being educated on the topic.  But we have had to be more vocal with friends and care givers about her special needs especially since the last two seemed to be only caused by a fever associated with teething (note: I am not a doctor but am just reporting her lack of symptoms.).

Babydoll's pediatrician gave us a referral to see a pediatric neurologist at Walter Reed.  It will be a long drive to see them but we are hopeful they will be able to get us in before My Love's active duty benefits expire in October.  The doctor suspects Babydoll might rather have a seizure disorder (with fever present) and not febrile seizures.  Whatever that means.  There are many scary reasons that seizures may reoccur but God is shielding our minds from that right now.  We are praying that the neurologists will be able to see what is really going on and give us some insight into what to expect for her long term care.  If they are in fact febrile seizures, then we can expect her to outgrow them by five years old at the latest.  (all the episodes seem to model how febrile seizures work)  But if it is something else, she may have to take medication to manage the seizures.  The neurologist will probably do an MRI and EEG during our visit.  Our sweet Babydoll has no knowledge of anything she has experienced and we hope this battery of testing doesn't freak her out.  After accepting some wise counsel that we previously ignored, we told Brother about Babydoll's seizures today.  We explained in age appropriate words what was going and in her body and what she would look like when it was happening and what he should do if it ever happens while he is present.  I thought it would be too much for his little mind to grasp but he took on the information and responsibility with ease.  He really is a special boy.  Although we have tried to shield him from the worry associated with her situation, I am actually thankful that we chose to explain to him about her seizures before he saw it for himself. 

So please keep this situation in your prayers.  You know, on top of everything else.  I will pass on the exact date of her appointment with the neurologist once I get it scheduled after this four day weekend.  God is good.

me: Do you know who love's Babydoll even more than Mommy and Daddy?
him: God!
me: That is right.  He created her little body and knows everything about who she is and what is going on inside her.  We can trust him!


the marriage scoop

Let my life be the proof, the proof of your love
Let my love look like you and what you're made of
How you lived, how you died
Love is sacrifice

I have heard my son singing this song at random times to himself lately.  He is mindlessly repeating lyrics heard while riding in the back seat of the car.  If he only knew how often God uses his sweet voice to speak directly to my heart.

That is my desire.  For my life in this marriage and family to be the proof of God's love.  That it might reflect his love and what he is made of.  That is would be defined by sacrifice and would model the life and death of Jesus.  I so long for this and God knows my heart because he put that desire there.

A few months ago God had me join a Bible study with the ladies in our church reading a book by Judi Rossi called Enhancing Your Marriage.  It has been SO good and SO hard at the same time.  At the start of the book God revealed to me that there was in fact a core sin in our relationship that all the other issues really revolved around and were attached to.  For years we were busy putting Band-Aids on a gushing wound only addressing the symptoms.  Eventually the bleeding spilled into many other areas of our relationship and really couldn't be stopped.  We created a hot infected mess for ourselves.

Not long after that, My Love and I joined a Life Group which is doing a study focused on marriage.  And the two of us are still working on Sacred Marriage on our own (reading and discussing together one chapter a month).  It seemed clear that God had us focused on our relationship and through all of this study and looking in his word he opened our eyes to our own ongoing sins.

It has been overwhelming at times.  God has allowed many topics to  rise to the surface so that he can work them out.  He is asking us to let go of the pain and resentment and trust that his plan for our marriage is better than what we have created ourselves.

Cue job transition.  My Love is home.  For a long time.  At first I really struggled with the thought of him impeding on this little day time routine I have created for my kiddos and me.  I asked close friends to pray over that fear with me as his separation from active duty drew closer.  A funny thing happened.  The fear was lifted.  The desire for control faded and despite what I will share next, we have really been treasuring these many weeks carved out by God to share as a family during this season of life.  There are times when I have to maintain stability for the kids (particularly our son who is like me in this way) so they can predict some parts of their day.  Other days we throw caution to the wind and go on adventures or run errands.  Yesterday the Bundles joined My Love in the back yard right after breakfast to help him dig holes for planting trees while I stayed inside and cleaned house in peace.  It was a precious time for us all.  This morning My Love took Brother out for breakfast at Cracker Barrel for some time to connect as guys.  I can't imagine there being another opportunity to live this moment again when they are this small.  The gifts abound and we aren't letting the Enemy steal the moments from us.  My friend asked me tonight what we were doing on the weekend.  "Every day is a weekend for us," I said with a smile.  It really feels that way.

So remember a minute again when I said that God has brought topics to the surface and kept them boiling through the process of keeping our minds set on his plan for marriage?  Well imagine living with two boiling pots 24/7.  Fires we sparking all over the place because frankly we were both raw and exposed and on edge at the state of our marriage.

Monday morning came the breaking point.  Angry hurtful words were flung in both directions and for the first time I felt hopeless to pull us out of the gutter we had found ourselves in.  To be honest, you can't make another person try.  You can't take away another person's expectations of you.  And you can't point out their sin to them in a way that will pierce their heart and make them want to repent.  THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN DO IT!  PERIOD!  I had a vision of living like this forever and didn't see how that would be emotionally possible.  I felt drained.  During the "intense fellowship" (as a pastor called arguments in his marriage at our retreat last weekend...was that really only last weekend?  It has been a LONG week.), I heard a ding on my phone downstairs.  Of course I didn't leave the situation then but later picked myself up after crying behind a closed bathroom door and went to retrieve my phone before returning to my hide out.  You know who showed up at just the very moment that I felt the most helpless in my marriage?  GOD!  He showed up big time.  He always does.  He is there in the midst of the storm and he whispers to us not to give up and to keep fighting the good fight.  He reminds us of his many promises and he gives us words that we can cling to in his word when we don't feel like we have a place to put our foot on.  A friend text me the verse I shared from Job 23:10.  She had no idea what I was in the middle of at that moment.  I burst into louder tears over how much God loves me.  He loves me so much that he has led me by the hand to and through this season for his good purpose and he still holds my hand.  He squeezes it every once in awhile and reminds me that even though the Enemy wants me to think I am alone I never am.  He is with me in the pain and the sorrow and the tears just as much as he is in the new house purchase and beautiful babies and money in the bank.

The line my friend (who is going through the same Bible study I am) shared after the scripture reference was, "Trust the fire of affliction will not consumer you."  I wept because in that moment before I read it I thought I might actually burn up.  But the Lord was there.  He prevented me from slipping into despair and really showed me that I had to find myself in the gutter before I could really surrender to him for all he has planned for my marriage.

Things have been looking up.

In fact we have both me amazed since then how covered in prayer we feel.  The sparks keep coming up (I mean we are together every day, people) but for the first time ever we are repenting to each other almost immediately afterward because it is the Lord who is convicting our hearts.  It has been overwhelming to watch the beginning of healing and prayer has been a big part of that so THANK YOU.  God is good.

I hope that cleared up the vagueness for some of you who have had heavy hearts on our behalf lately.  Thank you for all the loving emails and texts telling me you are praying for my marriage and family.  I NEVER thought I would be able to say this before but even while still in this storm I am thankful for it.  To watch how God has orchestrated so much to bring us to this point.  How he made it so My Love would be home for 78 days during this season.  I mean, who has 78 days of leave to use?  He made it so the pots would be boiling and then he put us in the room and said "deal with it".  Oh how thankful I am.  God knows what is for us right around the corner and he chose for this time to be spent on strengthening our marriage and allowing him to form it into what he wants us to be.  He also felt this was the time we were ready to see it to victory with him.  Maybe before now we would have failed.  We were failing.  But this is the time to conquer the root sin because Christ already did it for us.  I have been in constant prayer for a dear, dear friend who is beginning her foster care journey this week.  I am so thankful that I know just how to pray for her specifically but I am also selfishly thankful that God has not started that journey for us quite yet.  We thought we were ready.  We weren't.  But he is working in us and the burning desire to open our home and perhaps adopt has not be extinguished.  His ways are not our ways and oh how thankful I am for that.

So where are we now?  My Love and I have decided to commit some time to prayer and seeking God's word individually to really glean what God commands of us.  It might take some time but really there are so many areas of our marriage that we are flat out disobeying him in and we want to make a plan of his desires for our relationship.  I am talking things as simple as be kind (yes I need to work on that) and as complicated as submission (which isn't really hard to understand as a believer just difficult to walk out with a personality like mine).  My Love will obviously be seeking God on ways his Creator wants him to obey him according to scripture.  Because once again people we can not be the voice of the Holy Spirit to our spouse no matter how hard we try or how in tune with God we think we are.  Pride anyone?  At this point we are just sick of the cycles and living in this rut.  And once again I am thankful that God brought us to a place where we are disgusted by our own sin and know that obedience is all he wants from us.  It is time to break free in Christ and FULLY TRUST who we know him to be and learn to obey him in ALL things.  Especially because we feel strongly that the seasons ahead of us will require obedience so we can be fully used by God.

Keep praying dear ones.  There is power in prayer and we literally feel them. 

Let my life be the proof, the proof of your love
Let my love look like you and what you're made of
How you lived, how you died
Love is sacrifice