the hard decision

The hardest decision is to let someone else decide, sometimes.

I’m so thankful my husband makes decisions.


We both make decisions all day. Some big. Some small. Some important. Some just preference. Some of our decisions effect each other and our family. Some don’t.

It is a great responsibility & accountability to defer to my husband.

 It is responsible for me because scripture calls me to acknowledge and respond to him as the head of our family. It is responsible & accountable for me to defer to him because I am called to teach and exemplify what it means to be a biblical woman in my marriage. Scripture calls me in Titus to show younger women. I’m also responsible & accountable to defer to my husband so that my children grow up with a discerned view and understanding of their role in marriage…and life.

There is great unity in trusting my husband. 

Trusting my husband draws me closer to The Lord because I’m ultimately trusting The Lord IN my husband. There is great unity in trusting my husband because this shows him, above all the voices and chatter of the world and my deceitful heart, I choose to believe & follow him. There brings great confidence for his present decisions and whatever may come in our future. I intentionally married a man with whom I agreed with in the realm of money, sex, theology, and calling. Within those realms are vast degrees of opinions and preferences. Where we don’t agree or even know if we agree, we talk, pray, think, and talk some more. Of course we have intense moments in our marriage. We have moments of frustration and confusion. Then, like all other areas of my life, I’m convicted and humbled. We come together and talk again. After the strife. After the rebellion of my heart.

Other times-it’s easy to defer to my husband. There are just some decisions that I’m glad I don’t have to make. My role as the female in our marriage bears great responsibility.

 I don’t have to assert myself and take control in places where I’m not called to in order to be important and necessary in our marriage. I am already necessary.

 I am already valued and worthy and needed. For the places I don’t have to or need to be responsible and the decision maker, I will gladly turn to my husband.

For all the ways this culture and world speak up about how men are not men and they are boys and they aren’t stepping up, I question whether they’re being asked or allowed to? We judge them for not being leaders. Yet we aren’t acknowledging the training and support it takes to be a leader. Anyone can be a bulldozer & tell others what to do. It takes a servant with humility and grace to lead well. Those are not qualities that come naturally, nor are they attained by a “just be it” attitude. It is a difficult, weighty opportunity to lead…peers, employees, a family.

So for all the ways women wrestle with their biblical role of what a wife is called to be and do, the men in our life have an equally valuable and difficult calling on their lives and responsibility. 

Our journeys and calling as women and men are very different and vary individually, but are deeply necessary.

When we are obedient to Scripture’s defintion, we are satisfied.

Advertisements

sphere of existence

today i saw a plea from a few different people on facebook. it was a request for prayer for a mutual friend who was having a brain tumor removed today. and i’m upset my flat iron bit the dust. i mean really.

i went on with my day. my husband took the boys to my parents, where they go every tuesday morning. around lunch my mother in law picks them up and they spend the day with my in laws. after they take the boys to dinner, they bring the boys home. it’s my day “off”.

i take a LONG time to get ready and enjoy no interruptions. today was a day i realized in this process i was out of a LOT of toiletries, make-up, beauty items, etc. i started pondering how and if i would be able to replace those with where we are in our budget.

i have no idea why or how the Lord pricked my heart, but He did.

she’s having a brain tumor removed. i was brushing my hair and looked in the mirror as to ask myself, “who? what are you thinking about?!”

then i remembered the few posts i saw about this woman. so i stopped and prayed.

i prayed. intentionally. fervently. for her, her husband, if she had children…healing, recovery.

not only did i want to pray for her. but i wanted to honor her testimony. she and her family are going through something so hard. if and when i go through hard things i ABSOLUTELY want others to be encouraged. i want the gospel to be very present. i want the gospel spoken and experienced.

we are humbled and faithful when we LET others impact us. when we open our hearts and let someone’s story speak to us. everyone’s sphere of existence is useful. it is meant to be used. there is purpose to my sphere of existence. if i desperately want others to benefit from my story, i most definitely want to be accountable to let their story and journey speak to me and stir my affections for Christ.

so i’m still praying for her. i don’t know her or her family. but we have mutual friends on facebook. i just saw an update that she is doing well. praise the Lord.

don’t worry about being involved, even if it’s just through proximity, in someone’s life. don’t worry that it will be messy. relationships are messy. walking with Jesus and seeking to be like Him is messy. that’s where the joy comes from, He chooses us.

a bum eye & the aftermath

i was finally in town and without scheduling conflicts to make it to the neurologist for the follow up appt to my lumbar puncture. I had to reschedule the original appt because we made an unplanned trip to Colorado for my grandfather’s funeral. I wasn’t all that worried. Call me too trusting, but if the results required immediate attention, I assumed (I know. Risky business) that I would have been notified immediately. 

 

Here’s  a quick summary. He was looking for 3 markers. Only one came back that “usually” indicates multiple sclerosis. and that indicator was negative in the blood work. 

So he’s planning to call UT Southwestern, where they have a neuro dept that specializes in MS, to ask about my eye manifestation as it might relate to MS and the markers in the spinal fluid.

He definitely does not want to diagnose MS with such little evidence and gave me the freedom without being offended to seek out UT South for a second opinion.

We’ll wait to hear about his consultation with them to decide if we’ll continue to investigate. There are a lot of avenues that could come from them or a simple wait and see if more symptoms appear.

I’m okay with this. If we’ve learned anything from our recent history, it’s that doctors can’t fix everything, we put too much hope in them, and prayer fixes everything (including our hearts). I’m confident with the doctors we have and will continue to pray for direction as they advise us and ultimately praying for healing.

Thank you for walking this journey with us!

so you think this is hard.

many of our college students, friends, family, and even ourselves are going through some really hard things.

just today….

i visited with a friend who just said good-bye to their Ethiopian daughter they will never bring home. you can read their story HERE.

a couple from our church lost their sweet twin boys. you can read their story HERE.

my husband’s journey. you can read that HERE.

my most recent trial(s). you can read that HERE.

i received a text from someone on the verge of divorce. their last ditch effort is a conversation tonight after their kids are in bed.

a girl lost her grandmother last night and she’s grieving while comforting her mother.

various and serious medical issues for 3 men in our family.

a girl being inconvenienced by check fraud. and violated.

hospital visits and death in our family over the past 3 months.

fostering and adopting families on journeys with only unknowns, nothing predictable, and the emotional roller coaster it is

just today i prayed over all of these. these people. these journeys. these seasons. these questions.

as i was praying, the Lord pricked my heart. He reminded me of a situation…..a circumstance…….a heartache…….a shift in my journey…..a turn i wasn’t expecting…….a decision that seemed abnormal for me……….

while He flooded my memory and heart with these, i realized they were all memories NOW. at the time of their dramatic descent on my rather “perfect” (rose colored glasses are deceiving, eh?) life, these were not memories, but very real interruptions. they brought me to my knees. sanctified me. sanded and sifted in very painful, real ways. i had no choice but to walk through these moments. to experience them. to hurt through them. to ache.

when we’re faced with the tragic, aching, seemingly unfathomable….we have no choice but to walk through. He brought us to it. the moments i’m talking about are the ones we didn’t choose. we didn’t create. the deaths. the steps of obedience that seem painful. the miscarriages. the end of a dream for adoption or fostering. the call of a minister and family to a far away place that is exciting but hard all at the same time. an unexpected pregnancy. a diagnosis.

while remembering many of these in my own life, He also revealed me to myself. who i am today is a direct reflection of all the hard. the joy is there because the hard was there. the shiny exists because He has sanded….and sanded….and sanded. when the difficult comes now, i can say,

experience this season for all it’s worth because there are diamonds coming out of this rough.

it has taken a lot of hard times, trials, hurting, and sifting for me to be in a place that welcomes the hard and difficult moments of life. because i see now that those only lasted for a minute in His eternal perspective. some of them are still working on us. He sees the end. He’s working in and with me now to grasp all that i can from the difficulties of each season.

we’re all in a season. and each season has it’s own unique description and purpose. He has ordained our story. before we were born, He knew us and our story. i want to walk through each season, getting everything out of it that it’s truly worth. i want to gain everything from each sanctifying time that i can because there is something coming in the future that He will use this sifting experience to prepare me for and it will be more bearable and more intentional if i grow and ache through this now.

James 1

New King James Version (NKJV)

Greeting to the Twelve Tribes

1 James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad:

Greetings.

Profiting from Trials

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

The Perspective of Rich and Poor

Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.

Loving God Under Trials

12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

Qualities Needed in Trials

19 So then,[a] my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Doers—Not Hearers Only

21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

26 If anyone among you[b] thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

what i’m not taking for granted.

Image

we left saturday at 9am to travel to colorado with our two boys and my parents. we were headed there for my grandfather’s (my dad’s father) funeral. so many have asked about the circumstances. he was ill, but it is never expected and it is always grievous to experience loss.

we lost my grandmother (my mom’s mother) in december. she was buried christmas eve while i was in the hospital.

having experienced loss and a temporary goodbye, my heart is in the place of receiving grace and giving thanks for the now…

salvation. 1. i am redeemed & expecting eternity with Christ. 2. my loved ones will not have to ache in wonder about my eternal destination. for the sake of the cross, your eternity, and your loved ones…accept the sacrifice and blood covering for sins of Jesus.

my husband. 1. he’s the greatest person i’ve ever known. 2. he is redeemed. 3. he loves me like Christ loves the church:::sanctifies me and leads me.

Ephesians 5 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

4. an exceptional father. he is intimately involved in every aspect of our children’s lives.  from morning until night he is top notch and top request (DADDA!!!) for both of them. 5. his sacrifice:::for me and the boys. he sat in the backseat with an uncharacteristic gigantic fit throwing baby so that i wouldn’t get car sick. needless to say his chronic pain didn’t do him any favors, but he calmed a baby and saved momma’s stomach. i cried the entire time.

my children.

Psalm 127:3

New Living Translation (NLT)

Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him.

1. i know what it is lose a child. i love all three of mine, including our baby not here with us. 2. i grew to appreciate all moments with my children this weekend (locked up in a car with them screaming in car seats, in a small hotel room with little space for little adventurers, no media for entertainment, no privacy for sleeping for them, happiness when we can make small luxuries for them happen, joint bath time for them that seemed like a bath tub birthday, a grandparent induced chuck e cheese visit, the list could go on and on). 3. the richness of hearing “i love you momma” over and over and over from my 3 year old. i’m not sure if all kiddos do this, but it sure does wipe away the screaming fits of disobedience when i hear this.

understanding. 1. sometimes we ask questions about our family circumstances. i’ll leave that broad. but in reality, it’s God’s design for you to be with the people you are with and related to your specific peeps. i got to see some family this weekend i haven’t seen a while. we may not see each other for a while. it’s cleansing and bonding, though, to grieve with others who you are confident understand your ache and hurt. we shared the ache of losing someone recently, losing my grandfather because we all love him, and hurting for each other as we walked through this.

motivation. 1. to love more intentionally and specifically. i feel confident i do this well with my children. 2. i have taken this area too much for granted concerning my husband. i am not taking for granted the motivation to love him more intentionally and to show him more often.

friends.

Proverbs 11:25

New Living Translation (NLT)

25 The generous will prosper;
those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

1. i never realized what a definition in my head for what a friendship is or should be. that has been butchered and redefined as i have received hugs, texts, facebook messages and posts, cards, etc. people watch, care, pray and meet our needs. that is friendship. even if it’s “just” through facebook. they took the time and shared their heart. that’s vulnerable and compassionate. that’s a friend.

i could go on and on about what i’m not taking for granted especially since i’m not in my big, warm, comfortable home in the quiet while the boys are visiting their other grandparents. but i’m going to rest and relax while i can and then eagerly pick my boys up and squeeze all of my friends and family i see today.

though the sorrow may last for the night, His joy comes with the morning.

i had a few moments of feeling a bit like David recently. (i mean, seconds. especially once i got to the end of this psalm and read his resolution). this psalm has followed me since Shane & Shane released a song utilizing this particular psalm. i was listening to their cd (yes, we did use cds at one time) and while i was listening i was reading this psalm and the corresponding song came on at the same time. that was a time of the Lord’s deep moving in my heart and i forever remember the time i spent with Him then. i thought things were very difficult at that moment. i had no idea how NOT difficult it was and what a preparation of my heart that time was for me.

Psalm 13[a]

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to me.

disappointment and loss. grief. grace.

i woke up desperate for relief today. ever need that? crave that? and the worst part about our flesh is that we can “FEEL” like we need something, go to the ends of the earth for it, and not even know what we’re searching for….we just KNOW “it” will make us “FEEL” better.

i know what i need. i need Jesus. at all moments and at all costs. so this morning my desperation for a relief was not only a cry for mercy and grace but a plea for something different. so much had piled up over the last two years that i admitted today i wanted, needed, craved a “break” and i have no idea what that looks like, but here is my reflection.

on december 23, 2013 i decided (after 4 days) it was time to call the doctor. i had attended a family christmas out of town, cared for my boys, gone out to eat, and done various other things with most of my left eye out of commission. the best way to describe it was that everything was shiny, fuzzy like watching the tv with no cable, and just blotchy. i wouldn’t drive because the peripheral vision was nonexistent. so i decide, it’s the day before Christmas Eve at 4 pm. if i’m going to look into this, no is the time. i start realizing it’s no aura with migraine because i’ve had that a few times and went it away in at least 30 minutes and sometimes with a headache. neither had happened here. my husband had been on vacation and he was using this time to take care of our boys while i lay in bed. not an ideal vacation in that his whole family wasn’t present.

when i talk to the doctor he says that is not normal and he’s calling an ophthalmologist. the one he contacted was so gracious to meet me at his office after hours. he does a complete eye exam and several tests (that i’ve never had because i’ve always had perfect vision) and said my optic nerve was swollen. he says i need steroid infusions to get the swelling down and that’s a pretty normal outpatient situation. however, all of the infusion therapy clinics are closed and will be until thursday. oh man. the dreaded words. you need to be admitted for iv steroids.

my husband had been driving around with the boys after he dropped me off. through dilated eyes i tried to text and then just called. we have to implore grandparents. my grandmother’s funeral was the next day (Christmas Eve) but my mom was so gracious to help and picked up the boys. one of my best friends spend the night at our house with our boys and then my in-laws stayed at our house the whole time with our boys with a few breaks from my husband and my parents. and my father-in-law was ill most of the time and i’m pretty sure my mother-in-law was too but all of our parents are so kind to us. we are loved well.

so disappointed. Christmas in the hospital. without my children. my sweet husband who suffers from chronic pain slept on those uncomfortable chair/recline/pull out beds they have in the rooms. we were visited, showered with flowers, gifts, sweet words, facebook messages, texts, etc. the redemption? my husband (who is the most gifted and sensitive to what redeeming means) brought Christmas decorations to the room and my gifts. i opened up a necklace that i have wanted since Drake was born. it had a pearl and a hand stamped initial for each of our boys and the sweet first child we lost through miscarriage. perfect and perspective and healing.

i missed my grandmother’s funeral. my eye waited until the 11th hour to start getting vision back. right before the last dose of steroid in the iv i started to see better. i went straight to the ophthalmologist after being released. my eye was doing better. i had to go to my regular doctor to get a blood sugar test kit (steroids can mess with blood sugar. a new low—-pricking my finger for blood. thankfully brady did that. and i never had to give myself a shot).

i was told to take oral steroids for several days. i was so messed up. brady and i will probably remember for the rest of our lives how i acted those days. i tore our house apart to clean and reorganize. i only slept from 330-6:30 am most days.

we will also never forget what happened when i quit them. cold turkey. i had flu like symptoms. i was “depressed”. i started crying so hard at one point i was weeping and convulsing. i looked at him to try to explain and probably laughed the hardest and loudest i ever have because i had no words. no idea why i was crying.

this condition i have now been diagnosed with is a precursor 40% of the time in women age 32 for Multiple Sclerosis. so, in the hospital the neurologist said when the steroids had cleared my system i had to have a lumbar puncture. i’m pretty laid back, but those words sent me into a frenzy of anxiety and fear. my husband has had two and assured me if i had endured labor i could handle this. we’ll see.

two weeks ago i had the lumbar puncture. it was terrible. i was dehydrated. it took way too long. and the next day i got a spinal headache that lasted five days. i text everyone i knew who had one and asked what “normal” was for these headaches because i didn’t want a blood patch.

last night we received word that my grandfather passed away. my dad’s father. my last living, blood related grandparent. i had not received closure from losing my grandmother, is my assumption, because i cried longer and harder than normal for myself when finding these things out. no matter who it is, how close you are, what your life is like, death of someone or something is sanctifying.

loss brings perspective if you’ll let it have it’s toll and work on your heart. i fessed up to myself that i had feared so many unknowns and so many possibilities that just aren’t reality right now. what if i experience this with my eye again? what if i lose my vision? what if i have MS? and i won’t list out allll of the history we have with my husband’s medical history recently…you can read that here.

there is so much grace for the loss, for the sin, for the hope, for the disappointment.

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?

today’s demands teach tomorrow’s grace

the day is nearing the end. the pressure to meet the demands is over. did you meet them? what is success?

define success for yourself so you know your own expectations for yourself. evaluate them. make yourself some benchmarks. no one hits their success of huge goals immediately. it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

in fact, that’s what usually keeps me from making goals. or making attempts at my own expectations. i have failed before. i have hit the evening (it seems every day) with a miserable gut check that i accomplished NOTHING i set out to complete that day.

the reality? i didn’t set out to complete anything. i had a mental to do list. and a child woke up too early. he demanded specific items for breakfast. said items ended up all over my sheets. youngest child wakes up screaming, too. they both have pungent diapers and soaked clothes. now to more food and bottles and cups full of milk. toys spread everywhere. fingers touching dangerous things. tiny bodies climbing to high places that cause immediate danger and panic. they’re quiet now……interrupt productivity to find the children. toys everywhere. one wants to paint. can i watch a show? let’s have a snack! momma we miss dadda. why are you screaming? snack? milk? diaper? align the cosmos?!?! oh it’s lunch. what are we having (that would have been on my mental to do list—meal planning, maybe at naptime). oh you don’t want to eat anything on your plate? out of the 7 options i put on there? hm. time for nap. no one wants to take a nap? momma does! can we trade?! WHEW. youngest is down without a hitch. spanking. screaming. gnashing of teeth. compromise. promise. spanking. screaming. gnashing of teeth. no sleep today. no nap=nothing accomplished for momma. every one up. snacks. milk. more milk. they drink milk all day. could i be a dairy farmer? nope. i’d never make it. thought detour. clean up kitchen. get ready to start dinner. MASS HYSTERIA AND EVERYONE LOSES THEIR MINDS. momma is going to cook dinner? act like a crazed maniac! because….she doesn’t cook dinner ALMOST every night??! i mean, what a shock! cooking to the music of screaming, yelling, fit throwing, ……. DADDA IS HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we’re the happiest boys alive! oh? that screaming? we just wanted to see how many decibels she could take! and dinner. bath. clean up rooms. bed.

the end of the day. i survived. but i did i thrive? was there joy emitted? today’s demands have made me aware that it’s night’s end and i must accept the grace for the moments that were not beautiful and walk into tomorrow with grace for the moments that will be challenging.

for where i felt like a failure today, i can only make a goal for how to approach that situation again and what it would look like to be a success. i was never a failure. feelings are NOT Truth.

progress, not perfection is the strategy with which i’ll run this marathon.

i want my husband and children to see grace. lived and offered. not the cranky, i’m short tempered with the world because of my own shortcomings, attitude i’ve exhibited lately. they don’t need to be effected with emotions for where i THINK i’ve failed, they need to have me fully present in my calling as a wife and a mom and the TRUTH of what that calling is—that’s where i am seeking my identity. not the 10 absolute best aspects of 10 people that i expect myself to be all wrapped up in one individual.

marathon. not sprint.