Friday, November 18, 2011

There is no Darkness in Love

I don't know if I have ever seen God move as strongly as He has been in our lives over the past five months. Maybe I wasn't paying attention. Or maybe He wasn't moving because we simply weren't letting Him. But now, when He moves, it is powerful and life changing, and honestly, it really can't be otherwise!

Abby, who lives in our house with her husband Nick and daughter Brielle, has been coaching the Cheer team at our local high school these past several months. The reason she started coaching Cheer in the first place (never having had any cheer experience in the past) was simply in response to a desperate need at the school and a chance to bring some Light into a vast area of darkness. Over the past several months, though, God has been revealing to us more and more that our motivation for serving MUST stem only from Him, and not out of a human desire to "help" anyone. Our lives must be completely 100% Gospel driven, centered, and powered. Then we join God where He is already working, and live out the Gospel wherever we are, in every aspect of our lives.

With the Cheer team, we have been given a wonderful opportunity, and God has been slowly revealing His heart to us for these girls. While on school grounds everything has to be politically correct and "non-religious," outside of anything school related, we have free reign. So once or twice a month, Abby has a no practice day. Instead of practice, the girls have the open invitation to come over to our apartment and talk about God, faith, and whatever is going on in their lives. The past two times they have been here, several girls have opened up and shared some really difficult personal struggles. Some of these struggles stem from someone else injuring them, others stem from a soul that is desperately hungry and void of all love and truth. And both times, as I have prayed for wisdom and the words to respond, God has answered.

The words that I shared were simple, but they are Truth. Possibly the only Truth that these girls have ever heard. And I take comfort in the fact that maybe, just maybe, that Truth will not be forgotten. And that one day, that tiny seed of Truth might just blossom into a Love so great that it cannot be quenched or stifled. A Light that the world and all of its darkness can never snuff out. My prayer for these girls is simple. That they would be surrounded and filled with and come to fully know the Love that IS God, that is IN God, the Love that is greater than all darkness, and that transforms and renews our lives to the very core.

"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:9-10

"God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us." 1 John 4:16-19

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Truth

So here's the real reason why I suck at writing on this blog lately (also the reason why I have several postings under the same date..). For three months solid I have been sick. Pregnancy-sick, yes, but still. It's terrible. So terrible, in fact, that I am on prescription medication in order to keep me from throwing up everything that I manage to get into my stomach.

The upside? The medicine works for the most part. I still feel sick all the time, but I only throw up about twice a day instead of all day long.

The downside? My digestion is slowed. Which means that I have become a fatty. I hate it so much. I hate the way I look right now. I hate standing on a scale. I hate being on the medicine. I hate throwing up. I hate feeling sick all the time. I love my baby, but it just doesn't seem quite fair this time around.

I haven't said much about this, because I don't want to sound like a complainer. But the reality is, I am getting so discouraged. It just doesn't seem to be getting better. I know it is temporary, but in the present it is still hard. Waking up is never anything to look forward to (since it consists of dashing to the bathroom several times before I can even make it to the kitchen to find some breakfast). Cooking is a complete drag. And if I eat, I get fatter. But if I don't eat, I feel sicker.

I do have better days than others. Days that I feel almost normal for part of the day, and then a fresh wave of nausea hits simply to remind me that I still have five months of this to go. It really puts a damper on life, if you know what I mean. Being in the second trimester, I have been hopeful for a change, but now I just don't know if I can believe that it is coming.

And then I remember all the women out there who struggle to conceive, struggle even worse than I am to carry their babies to term. Who have had miscarried and had complications and dealt with very unexpected issues.

It reminds me to be thankful in the midst of my illness. It doesn't make it any easier, but it puts things into perspective a bit.

And Lexi. She brings so much joy into my every day that how can I not be thankful for the new little life that is growing inside me?

So here's to hoping that April comes really really quickly...and that sometime soon I will break my record of puking my guts out every day for 3 months straight. And that I will find an end to my discouragement. Because it really makes life pretty gloomy.

Movin' and a-Groovin'

For those of you who know Lexi, you know that she rarely (if ever) stops moving. She is always running here, there, and everywhere in order to explore and try things and then switch to something else 15 seconds later.

Lexi has been moving like this since I first felt her flutter in the womb. I started feeling her little kicks at 15 weeks, which is incredibly early for a first baby. Since then, she continued to be the most active little baby in-utero that the Midwives had ever experienced.

Once born, she was holding her head up by day one. Pushing up with her arms when lying on her tummy during the first week, and rolling over by week two. She was crawling by 5 months, standing by 7, furniture walking by 8, and then decided to wait to walk independently until the day of her first birthday. At her birthday party that afternoon, she took nine running steps and hasn't stopped running and dancing and climbing since!

Funny thing is, Baby that is currently in-utero, is beginning to show some similar traits. At 13 weeks I felt a flutter. I brushed it off as being way to early. But then at 14 weeks it kept happening. And then by 15 weeks I was feeling very defined pops and kicks that could in no way be mistaken for anything other than a moving little being in there. And now at 16 weeks, the strong little movements occur several times every day! My conclusion? Eric and my calm, laid back personalities combined and backfired on us. We are destined to have only the MOST active and "alive" biological children... Which is pretty cool, I guess, since Lexi is smarter than I am already and will probably be running the government by age ten. If she can ever sit still long enough, that is. ;)


This year, I discovered the true fun of Halloween. Preach at me all you want about how evil and weird of a holiday it is (which is true), but seriously, I had so much fun! You see, when I was about six years old, my family decided to not celebrate Halloween anymore. Which inevitably meant no trick-or-treating for the remainder of my childhood.

This year, since I no longer live under my parent's roof, and since Eric was so adamant about dressing up like Mr. Tumnus, I couldn't say no this year. After all, Lexi makes one super cute Aslan! And who can refuse giving free candy to a little blue-eyed-lion baby?!? We thrifted and sewed our costumes to create not only Mr. Tumnus (Eric), Susan (me), and Aslan (Lexi), but we also had Lucy, the White Witch, a Minotaur, and Reepicheep the rat....a rather odd Narnian combination, but it worked.

Lexi and I made a killing on candy (Eric had to cop out early due to being a bit chilly in his shirtless condition). Afterwards we had a dance party at a friend's house, complete with pumpkin pie and apple cider. So I am pretty sure that until I am convicted otherwise, we will be hitting the streets on Halloween night next year....this time as Lord of the Rings characters.

I think Lexi would make a good Gandalf.