Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Normal and Held

In one week we will celebrate what would be the 4th birthday of my niece, Samantha.  Since Micaiah was only 10 months older than she was it is easy to imagine what she'd be like now as far as development age and activities.  I always think that the two of them would've been best buddies and picture what the mischief times two would be.....Most days there is a general acceptance of what has past - months in a wheelchair, weeks of sitting in hospitals, both chairs and beds, moves, pain, decisions.  I can't even let myself go there very long or the memories overwhelm me.  But now looking back the lyrics of a Natalie Grant song still rise in my mind.....(somewhat reworded)

Four months is too little, we let her go, we had no sudden healing

To think that providence would take a child from her mother while she prayed is appalling

Who told us we'd be rescued?  What has changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?

We're asking why this happens to us who have died to live, it's unfair.

Yes, it all seems very unfair.  During my morning devotions I was reading through the book of Job and thinking on how many things in life are just unfair.  The age old question of 'Why do bad things happen?' 

This is what it means to be held, how it feels when the sacred is torn from your life and you survive, this is what it is to be loved and to know that the promise was when everything fell, we'd be held. 
How soon we forget His promises.  Not that life would be easy, but that it WOULD BE HARD.  He promises that to those who love Him. Not in such a way like a threat or snide remark, but in love.  Life on earth will be hard, full of hurt and sorrows, but those that are faithful even to death will be given the crown of life! (Revelation 2:10).

As life goes on and discussions arise about some of the things we went through there is usually a collective sigh at the end of the story that ends with a "Wow." or "you should write a book." My response has always been that we need to get through it first, we need to see what's on the other side, what tomorrow holds.

The wise hand opens slowly to lillies of the valley and tomorrow.....

Tomorrow.  It is here.  We are normal again.  We are living every day lives of hustle and bustle.  Work, school, activities that threaten to overwhelm our calendar.  Children getting sick with normal things like colds, sore muscles, messy house.  We even finished paying off our medical bills last month.  These were the things I longed for. 

Yet in the world around us, the families we know and love, the suffering continues.  As some say, "it's our turn, I guess."  There is a certain panic, survival mode and numbness to the world around you, that can only be understood when you are in this thing of "held".  There is a longing for the lives of others and desperately wanting not to be compared to as the tough case at that time. 

If hope is born of suffering, if this is only the beginning, can we not wait for one hour watching for our Savior?

On the other side there is a greater empathy for the whole of human suffering.  There is an understanding that can only be gained through suffering and watching and praying for our Savior. 

This is what it means to be held, how it feels when the sacred is torn from your life and you survive, this is what it is to be loved and to know that the promise was when everything fell, we'd be held. 

And now the normal.  Let us never forget that it is through our sufferings that He draws us closer to Him. It is through our sufferings that we are given the opportunity to participate in something beyond ourselves - glorifying God, through our sufferings.  During this time of Lent as we remember what Christ suffered ultimately for all of us, let us ever be thankful for our normal.  Our normal everyday lives of bills, aches and pains, chores and messes, joys and sorrows; and let us be thankful that through it all we are held.



Saturday, April 5, 2014

Update Time (but no pictures)

We are all moved in to the parsonage!  We are loving our new home and feel so settled and happy.  We stand in awe of God's goodness in bringing us full circle and for placing us in such a wonderful, caring church home. All signs of spring are in the air - the flowers are blooming, our garden in growing, the trees are budding.  What a blessing to be reminded of new beginnings.  God is faithful and sees us through even the darkest days.  I'm so thankful for the struggles we still feel and experience as they remind us that we still long for our eternal home with Him someday. 

Mark is busy with getting to know our new congregation.  The season of Lent is especially busy with extra services and he is enjoying spending time getting to know the people here.  His most recent MRI showed that everything continues to look good.  His doctors are very positive that his health should continue to be great. 

Allison was busy with doing a long term sub at the girl's school when we first moved, but is now enjoying getting things settled and finding 'homes' for everything in the house. 

Eliya is growing like a weed and is now past mom's shoulder!  She continues to do well in school and loves the outdoor space to ride bikes, scooters, roller skates, climb trees, etc. 

Gabie is doing well with her burns, our next Galveston appointment is on Monday.  She is hoping to be done with compression garments.  She loves that we have a huge garden here and is always outside doing something. 

Rachel has had a few struggles since the move and even ended up spending a day in the hospital with a bad kidney infection.  She is still doing great in school and also loves playing outside.

Micaiah has been missing being so close to Nana, but is thankful that she's willing to make almost weekly trips to come see her.  She likes to help mom with Joey and loves daily tea parties which gives mom a nice break from the unpacking/organizing.

Joey is growing a lot!  She scoots around in circles, but does not show an interest in crawling yet (whew - that gives us a couple more days to get things child-proofed!).  She loves eating all the fruits and veggies and is starting to babble (sometimes I little too loudly when she wants to compete with daddy in church!). 

I have been trying for over an hour to update with pictures, but either something is wrong with blogger, our internet or our computer as it will not let me upload pictures here.  Hopefully I will figure this out and be back to blogging soon!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Thrill of Hope

A Thrill of Hope the Weary Soul Rejoices

I remember something I heard once from the movie Facing the Giants where the coach tells the players "We're going to praise him when we win, and we're going to praise him when we lose." We are praising God. We praised him when it seemed like everything was falling apart. We praised him when Mark was sick. We praised him when I broke my pelvis. We praised him through Samantha's life and death. We praised him through Gabie's burns. And God is faithful. 

We praise him for healing. Mark's health is fully restored. He has been working two jobs for the last few months. He continued his work at 1st Choice Hospice while also serving a vacancy at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Brenham, Texas. He will now transition into being the full time pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Brenham as they extended him the call and he has accepted. 

We praise him for endurance. Even after having a plate put in to help my bones heal almost three years ago, I was able to give birth naturally and continue running, completing a 5K this December and getting 1st place in my age group.

We praise Him for growth. Eliya has grown so much both in height and maturity this year. She was excited and honored to stand up as a godparents for Joanna at her baptism.

We praise Him for comfort. God has healed Gabie's burns extensively. She still bears the scars, but has lost no mobility. She has endured months of compression garments that have aided in minimizing scars and maximizing mobility.

We praise Him for joy. Rachel's antics and fun personality have often brought a smile when we simply wanted to cry. She also is a wonderful reader and reads with great expression and joy.

We praise Him for love. Micaiah is always ready with a hug and often comes in at night and asks for her "nuggles". It warmed my heart to watch her interact with Nana this afternoon blowing her both a hug and kiss.

We praise him for new life. God has brought a beautiful little miracle, Joanna Peace, into our family on September 6.  We are amazed every day at the beauty of life and love in a precious baby. 

We were a family torn and battered by life's storms. God is faithful. His faithfulness does not depend on our faithfulness to him. After months and years of wandering and wondering about what He had in store for us we are overwhelmed with His goodness to us. 

2013 has been a blessing to our family. A thrill of hope in a world on it's knees. If perhaps your 2013 has been something else, let your weary soul rejoice in that tiny baby come down to save us two thousand Decembers ago.....for yonder breaks a new and glorious mourn!

Saturday, November 9, 2013


We had our family Christmas picture done and Santa was already at the mall - wow, so we stopped by to say hi.  When he asked what the girls wanted they all just said "um, we don't know." and when he asked if they'd been good their response "kinda":) at least they're honest!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I did try to lay her across like the previous months, but she's just too big now!
2 months
1 month

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Reformation!

After all the fall festivals and a ton of rain we decided to hang out at home tonight.  The girls dressed up to pass out candy, and we enjoyed sitting out on the driveway until it got dark.  Micaiah was getting mad when we first went out that no one was coming so in her exasperation she held up the candy bucket and yelled, "COME ON NEIGHBORS, I'VE GOT CANDY TO GIVE YOU!"  It was pretty cute.  We didn't get our usual 100+ trick-or-treaters but did get quite a few which satisfied Micaiah :)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Snuggles with Stephanie

Stephanie was holding Joanna today and it was so cute, Joey was trying to figure out how someone looked and sounded like Momma, but wasn't quite her - she would reach out and touch her and then scratch her head :0)