Tuesday, December 18, 2012


"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
Micah 6:8

So, what's not required?
You're not required to successfully convince someone that they're wrong.
You're not.

Act justly? Yeh, that's on there...
But are you required to have convinced others that their actions lack justice?
Act justly - speak out on issues of justice, but know that we are required only to... act justly... it's only God who can change hearts and minds and brings others around to a different way of thinking.
Not you.

Love mercy? Oh... just love her to pieces...
That mercy whose scales of justice seem forever skewed in favour of those who deserve destruction. Love her. Make her your sweet pet, your known weakness, your greatest strength... In light of God's great mercy - it's almost impossible not to look at her without a degree of adoration, isn't it?

Walk humbly? Sure... walk that beautiful walk...
But are you required to see the world change through your humility?
Does walking in humility mean that everyone will automatically like you?

And so you'll do and you'll be and you'll love.
And others will twist your intentions, bend your words, misconstrue your actions...
But are you required to convince them?
You're not.

Keep going anyway...

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. hebrews 12:1-3

Monday, December 17, 2012

in the beginning

Another delayed post... but i want to share it now - to tell about His Great Love. :)

Peeking ahead as i creep up to that 16 week mark... i'm still feeling pretty bad - but i'm having good days mixed in with the barfy days, so i think the end is in sight...
i'm hoping to blog more in the New Year - but for whatever reason, i'm whispering blog posts instead of shouting them these days. i'm tip toeing through pregnancy rather than dancing. i'm clinging rather than soaring. i'm changing and i'm aching to be transformed.
So for those few who still read this much quieter place - that's where i'm at - and that's where i'll be till He leads me out.


i was between 4 and 5 weeks pregnant when there was a "pro-choice" explosion on the facebook wall that i look after for 40 Days for Life.  i had only just found out about my wee one... and was a mere 3 months past miscarrying Tiny... and they posted images of a 6 week abortion and angry diatribes attempting to deny the humanity of little ones - just like my little one - because they are "smaller than an m&m" - as if size somehow miraculously decrees our worth.  Some, i had to delete - but most i left - testament to the violent chasm that exists between the side that fights for life... and the side that fights for death.
i felt weak and vulnerable. i didn't feel suited to battle - i felt tired and insecure.
That was the day my Papa stepped in front of me and sheltered me underneath His wings.
Believers began posting on my personal facebook wall, sending me messages, texting and emailing me... (These are actual quotes...)
"i'm praying for you for rest for your spirit."
"i'm praying for you, that He'll lead and give you strength and courage."
"i'm praying for you that you will stand FIRM."
"This scripture is for you, Joshua 1:9..."
"This is the scripture i'm praying for you, Psalm 37:23 and 24..."
"i'm praying for protection - both for you and for your family..."
"Father, I pray for assurance... for protection... for strength... for Your church to be lifting her in prayer... protection in her marriage and in her family life... see that her love for you changes the lives of others... i come against the evil at the Kensington clinic and pray for the protection of the unborn."
People that were on facebook and knew what was happening in that tiny prolife corner reached out to me, but also individuals who weren't and didn't know what had gone on. Nobody but Neil and i knew about the new little life - and yet without my asking, so many messages seemed to speak directly to protection of my family - and i have no doubt that my Papa  was showing me that even the little sparrow in my womb didn't escape His watchful eye...
THIS song ministered to me as i pressed into my Papa's heart - and told Him how i longed to be a beacon that showed His Great Love. i read THIS scripture and realized again and again and again - that i was held, protected, ransomed and claimed.
There's more - but some of it was just so personal and intimately for me that i can't bring myself to share it here...
One of the days i went to the clinic that week, a post abortive - grieving -  friend came with me - and i found i could hardly stand. This hadn't happened to me quite so powerfully ever before. i had always been able to stay, to stand... but that day, i couldn't, and we ended up leaving early.
And the next week - almost as suddenly and strangely as it had begun, the attack ended... (Maybe one day i will blog about that too?)
And i was perplexed in the weeks that followed, *why* that sudden little outburst of spiritual battle, the promptings to pray for protection, the outpouring of prayer from a body of believers who didn't know the whole story. But in it, i saw His hand, and His ability and willingness to step in front of, and protect me in my vulnerability. In it, i heard His instruction and in that week, i taught my reflexes to obey. Through it, i understood that He's got His eye on each one - and that in His Great Love is where i want to be.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

hero worship

i've always been a little prone to hero worship.
i grew up the youngest of three girls - i was born with average smarts to two really brilliant parents.
There was always so much to admire - so much to aspire to - so many beautiful qualities in so many available heroes!
This morning, in church... i was remembering the little girl i was. i had poker straight pale blond hair - cut blunt for most of my childhood. i had enormous glasses and a gap between my front teeth that my mom told me looked glamorous.
Our pastor was talking about how faith is such a necessary part of the Christian walk... He described faith as "choosing the eternal over the temporal..."
And i thought of that little girl - worshipping the temporal, the human, the frail and the sinful. And i wanted to whisper in her ears; "Just a little higher... fix your eyes a little higher up, farther in... The eternal is there.  HE'S the one worthy of your hero worship, HE'S the never-failing, HE'S the consistent, HE'S the one who sees your soul and knows your very being. HE'S the One whose love is real and whose promises never fail."
And i think too, of my own blondie girls and boys - looking to their mama and papa and siblings and maybe finding a hero - an imperfect, fallible hero who instead of absorbing that praise, wants to reflect Him and point continually to the only One worthy...
God, give us the faith to choose the eternal over the temporal! 
And it's not that there aren't qualities in humanity that aren't admirable - it's not that these qualities don't point us to our Father, who bestowed them as gifts on the broken human vessels who bear them... but worshipping the temporal will only bring you pain. Thinking that other human beings are capable of flawless agape love will devastate you when you see that it's not true - that they lie, their promises get broken, their words are true sometimes - and at other times they're empty and false, so it's like you're walking along one of those wooden bridges in movies with half the boards missing. 
And i smiled at God as we talked during the service and i asked Him, "So, what's the point then? i know that relationships are important, *people* are important... How do i reconcile that knowledge with my desire to just give up on all humanity - to shut my eyes and my heart to everyone around me and to only love You?"
And i see myself clinging to my Saviour... starting with just the tiniest threads that i know to be true - and in faith, building from there.  i see myself opening up again, trying again, failing again - because in this life we'll have trouble, and being a believer is a life of sacrifice. i see myself believing with faith that Truth will prove to be better - the the eternal can be chosen over the temporal and that my Papa will continue to grow me.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

watching your kids struggle and fail.

Would you believe that watching your kids fail is one of the very best things about being a mama?
i have a hard time believing that sometimes...
Ugh - my horrible pride getting in the way... wanting ease, success, the best, smartest, brightest, most talented, successful kid...
Yes. Believe me. i do.
But then i learn to let go. To let them do, be... to own their own successes... and even their own failures. Being a mama to a big family has been a huge blessing to me in that i have been unable to micromanage my troop. i couldn't do everything for everyone even if i wanted to (which i no longer do). i've watched my kids struggle. Each child has different barriers in their paths - and i watch them climb, scraping hands and getting dirty - putting mind to the task at hand and making every effort to overcome.
But sometimes... they don't... overcome.
Sometimes they fail.
And i feel like kicking and screaming and blaming everyone else under the sun just as much as any other sinfully proud mama. i feel like pointing fingers and, "hush, darling, mama's gonna make everything ok"-ing my kids.
But i don't.
Because miraculously i found out that failure hasn't killed my children. Yeah, it has hurt - and yeah, it gives a little kick in the pants to pride... and yes, yes, yes - it has put a magnifying glass on the areas that i wish we could all do better in.
But sometimes... it has given me an opportunity to sit back and watch grace and humility in action...
And in those moments, instead of failure - i see enormous, towering success.
A child who is able to accept correction without reassigning blame?
A young woman who is able to accept disappointment with poise and maturity?
Parenting WIN!
A little one who begins to recognize that maybe minimal effort won't bring about the beautiful fruit they've been hoping to see?
And so i'm learning (when i can get my pride to shut up and take a back seat - which i'll admit - isn't as often as i'd like)... that watching my kids struggle... and sometimes even fail... hasn't been the end of the world.
It's the beginning...
And what a beautiful beginning it is.

Monday, December 3, 2012

miracle at 9 weeks

i wrote this in the first part of November, as this unfolded - but i'm gonna post it now as part of my pregnancy journey with this tiny one who was designed and knit together with a purpose and a plan.


It's 3pm and i haven't been able to form a clear thought all day.
It's Monday now - and this story started last Wednesday... and i don't know how to tell it - because really... mostly people would think it's a story of over active worry and then relief.. (& that's ok!) but it's more than that to me.
So i will post it here for my littles to read even though i don't know what to think myself.
i have been really sick with this little baby - like - wake up in the night sick, roll over waves of nausea 24/7 from week 4 of my pregnancy. Early on - like - at 7 weeks, feeling a fullness in my pelvis, i reached down with my hands and felt the tiny ridge of my fundus peeking up. i thought this was miraculously early since the only time i felt it early was with baby hope and the doctor had suggested that maybe that was an indication that there was something wrong... and that's why i lost baby before the end of my first trimester... (with all my other children, it was around 11-12 weeks).
Every night, i would try to get comfortable in my bed - waking up several times in the night to fight with nausea and discomfort - until last Wednesday... At the end of the day, i started to feel better. i hadn't felt ok for almost a month, and i noticed it right away. i felt quiet and worried and i went and layed in bed - my fingers probed my stomach - but it was perfectly flat - no tiny peeking fundus to be found. No bloat. No nausea.
"Oh, Papa..." i pleaded, "i can't do this again... please don't take this baby too..."
i woke up in the morning, having slept all night - the scale told me that the couple of pounds of early pregnancy bloat were gone and my belly was as flat as a pancake. i showered and dressed and ate - with no nausea, no pregnancy symptoms... nothing.
i wrote to friends who didn't even know i was pregnant - as i had been guarding my treasured secret:

"I'm around 8 weeks pregnant. Suddenly my horrible morning sickness disappeared and all pregnancy symptoms are gone. I feel certain I've lost the baby. The timing is exquisite in its painful obvious extension of 40 days, (finding out I'm pregnant at the start, finding out I'm losing baby at the end)... We have our closing celebration on Sunday and I can't stop crying. I don't know how I will help sing - or speak. My heart is broken... Will you pray that my Papa will meet with me and make straight my path as I finish this 40 days with my wee one still tucked inside?
I'm afraid too because my miscarriage with hope (who was 9-10 weeks) was my hardest one physically. It was really scary, I lost a lot of blood, passed out and needed a d&c months after because I retained a piece of placenta and got infected. Neil has a trip planned to Chicago & I'm afraid that it will happen while he's gone...
There's also a part of me praying for a miracle, 'cause God raised Lazarus, why not my child?
But if not..."

i grieved.
Yes... i prayed for a miracle, but mostly i cried - sobbed at my piano and shrank into Neil's arms. i wish i could explain to you how certain i was. It was the mirror image of my miscarriage with Hope - right down to the disappearing fundus. With Hope, i had gone to the doctor for confirmation - the ultrasound the next day confirmed what my mama heart knew already and 2 weeks later, my body finally managed to let go and i miscarried that much longed for child...
i was afraid.
i went to the doctor on Friday and described my symptoms - and again, was referred for an ultrasound... which they couldn't book until Monday morning.
i didn't care.
i knew what the results would be... and despite my desperate cries to Neil, hiding in his office sobbing that i couldn't wait and do another natural miscarriage - i knew i would try...
In the middle of it all, i wrote this blog post:


The end before the beginning

It's not supposed to go that way... to see the end before the beginning... to be unable to bring your child into the world... to say goodbye before you even got to say hello...
Do i ever know that.
i feel such incredible shame having 2 miscarriages in the period of 4 months... What a dangerous place, my womb... Yes, i brought seven safely into the world, but four were lost.
And it's probably a dumb time to start blogging again - in the middle of this horrifying pain, but the thing is...
i know He's gonna show up.
And so i'll start here because one day i'll look back at where He met me, and point to this despair and be comforted that He didn't leave me here...
But He's not here yet... At least... i don't see Him, feel Him or even hear Him... But maybe He is - watching me from the corner, eyes on my broken heart, whispering love to my wounded spirit...
i've been crying out to Him - begging Him for life, telling Him it's not too late, the bleeding hasn't started yet - i know that the One who called Lazarus out of the tomb has the ability to breathe life into my little one whose form is still nestled deep in the secret place.
Oh, Father - please don't put this road in front of me again.
i read THIS post this morning... and it made me cry in frustration and desperation... even though at my very core, i agree with what she wrote.
And maybe that's all i'll write today... as i try to grasp the truth that this is my Father's world...

This is my Father's world. O let me ne'er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world: why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!


That afternoon, i created a sign to take to the vigil. It was my testimony of God's faithfulness during my first pregnancy at 19, and it read, "i was scared too, she was worth it."

It was freezing cold on that sidewalk, but i found my place. Soon, a little old woman came to stand next to me - and i asked her if she would please pray out loud. She seemed perplexed, but agreed and i faced away from her and let the tears stream down my face as i watched that door open and close - and prayed for Life. Her voice never faltered or wavered as she prayed her rosary - and every time she would get to Our Father, my own trembling voice would join hers and we'd pray - two strangers on a sidewalk - for His Kingdom to come.
Still, i was panicked about our 40 Days for Life closing celebration... i was going to lead two songs of worship - and i didn't think that i would be able to voice my praise without breaking down.
The couple friends that i told, prayed. They sent comfort and love - and they couldn't suppress the idea of hope that refused to take root in my grief stricken heart... until Saturday night... That's when i woke up at 2am... and i remembered that God didn't say, "no".
The next day, i wrote my friend:

"booked an ultrasound for Monday morning. Will you pray with me till then? For life - for a miracle? Last time i lost a baby at this stage - i prayed immediately for God to give that little life back - for Him to breathe life into that little one & i felt certain in that moment that God said 'no'...
i did the same thing this time - because even though i have never seen the dead given life back - the bible talks about it... and i know He is able...
i woke up in the middle of the night last night & realized that God didn't say, "no" - specifically, He has said nothing - i have heard nothing from Him, felt nothing, seen nothing... i have been reading in Hosea and praying and crying out to Him & nothing...
So maybe... He will say yes..
My ultrasound is booked for Monday morning... i feel certain that even though i haven't heard from Him... i want to continue to pray for life until then. The past 2 days, i have been praying a bit... but mostly just grieving and crying. Today i feel different... like i want to pray with faith, believing that God can do what i'm asking Him to..."

And this is the part i don't understand. Because i don't believe that i didn't pray with faith (nice double negative there? *smile* - bear with me) when i lost baby hope - i did. But once again - even though i thought i already knew the outcome, i began to pray.
And i was prayed for.
And that night i knew that i was going to be o.k. at the closing celebration - regardless the outcome for the little one i carried. i woke up in the morning hungry - and not feeling quite myself. After several days of energy and health... i wondered if it was only wishful thinking that made me feel nausea and exhaustion.
i shushed hope.
i got ready and went to church... i felt distracted and thoughtful. Our day was full and busy - and i was grateful i had little time to think about the ultrasound that was waiting for me in the morning.
At the closing celebration, we shared stories of God's LOVE and faithfulness. We sang of His Holiness, and we celebrated what was accomplished in the past 40 days... both seen and unseen. At the vigil, i spilled my confusion to my friend Fawne - and she cocked her eye at me and said thoughtfully, "i'm curious what we will see tomorrow..."
Monday morning - this morning, i guzzled my lemon water. Neil - who hadn't decided if he could come with me or not, blew through the door in time to take me - and my appointment - on time - was suddenly upon us.
i went in by myself, but the lady who ushered me to the change room said, "i'll go get your husband. He can come in with you..." So Neil came in and slouched his large frame in the tiny back corner of that darkened room. His hazel eyes met my wide blue ones and he winked at me, like, 'we'll be ok'... i closed my eyes and turned away.
A kindly man put a jellied wand to my belly and after a moment said, "There's the fetus... nice heartbeat... 176 beats per minute..."
Neil, slowly stood up in the corner, "So... there *is* a heartbeat?"
"Yep. See here? Look at it, just going like crazy... Your baby measures 9 weeks 2 days."
We looked... and there was our baby - our tiny bean- with furiously beating heart. Living.
i couldn't speak.
The kindly ultrasound tech was finished in less than 5 minutes - and Neil expressed our thanks since i was still silent...
And we came home.
And i know... i know... that this is one of those stories that seems like a lot of words for a short message. And sure, maybe i experienced a glitch of morning sickness - and an undeserved, unexpected reprieve in first trimester pregnancy symptoms. Maybe my baby was fine all along - and my worry was misplaced and my reactions to it over the top. Maybe in my eleventh pregnancy it has been made obvious that i sure don't know everything... or much about anything...
Or maybe...
i got to see a miracle.


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