Jessica's Jottings:

On faith, food, family and frugality

Found Poems

As the ongoing mission to clean my house continues, I found these within the sheets of a miscellaneous legal pad. From almost a year and a half ago, I’m not sure about the context. I only know they are about infant loss, both miscarriage and stillbirth.

 

12/13/14

Earlier I gazed
On Sorrow’s face
Born whole and round
And full of days
Yet no breath he drew
No cry he raised
He went fresh from womb
To final resting place
Oh Sorrow, Sorrow, Sorrow

************************************

When four are whole
And one is dead
Where shall I fix my gaze?
On the living?
(For sure, for there’s living to be done.)
Or on the one who slipped quickly through this place?
The mortal coil did not hold him fast
He had no need to cry “At last!”
No, he passed straight through to final repast.

Where shall I set my wandering eye?
On the ones who lived or the one that died?
This knowledge is too lofty for one such as I
To high for me to attain.

My heart is split
Cloven in two
For four are with me
And one is with You
Will You give me grace
To see me through
Ere to the other side?

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

A Chronicle or Confession – I know not which

A Chronicle or Confession – I know not which

Children are mileposts in the stream of time.
(Yes, really, Mother!
For sure, Father!
Compare your past and your present and your future with me.)

When I walked alone
(Though not by myself – thank God!)
Time meandered along
Days blurred one into another
As I lived for my (and His) pleasure.

When I married
My pleasure took on new dimensions
Sometimes soaring, sometimes falling,
As the two of us began the beautiful
and awkward act of becoming one.

(Becoming one forced encrusted layers off of me:
Selfishness, willfulness, independence –
All things that I thought myself to be rid of –
These things did rise to the surface
Like trash when the tide slunk silently away.)

Then, children –
O, children!
The loss of our first sank deep claws in my heart –
The fruit tossed before its time.
Despair rode me wild like an unbroken horse
Twin spurs of fear gouged me again and again
When the monthly reminders of my failure as a woman
Announced my lack with a bloody regularity.

And then–
Then Joy was born.
Conceived in Love and carried ‘neath my heart
Through fierce battles of Faith versus Fear.
(Many a prayer was said and sung,
For this woman wages war through worship.)
Before we knew her, held her, caressed her,
Joy was earmarked for her middle name —
For we knew that she would be a harbinger,
A herald, a living proclamation,
“The Joy of the Lord is my strength!”

Her escape from my womb was traumatic,
But the sight of her, the smell of her, and
At last, the touch of her made everything else
Fade
Away.
A vision she was — and a propellant.
(Truly, Mother!
For sure, Father!
Screw up your face and your courage and remember!)

Time, that once gentle river that I had mostly mastered,
(Foolish woman I am, but my day planner bears witness!)
Began to distort in the most curious of ways:
It simultaneously sped up
and
slo-
-o-
-o-
-owed down.
Its rhythm ceased to be such
And turbulence engulfed my perfectionist heart.

Before I could get my bearings
and know my way around this nursing babe,
she nursed no longer,
had a birthday,
and then a sister.
Where did my baby go?

(Pictures tell me she existed,
but my memory –
Lo, my memory sees but through a glass darkly
and thick, gray fog blankets all.
But for the digital imagery tucked away —
It could have all been a whiff of imagination.)

Now, two – an infant and a toddler and
The law of entropy kicked in to overdrive.
Long days, sometimes longer nights –
Months pass by even as time stands still.
A brother joins us and another sister —

And, my Joy is now eight.

I stand in the center –
A maypole
A merry go ’round.
They (these children mine!) spin, dance, cavort
and grow
So fast and yet (!)
Sometimes not fast enough.
(How I long to be through with diapers!)

So fast and,
“Won’t you please slow down?”

“I can’t, Mama,” she sings and dances and grows,
Up, up, and away.
Her time with me, sliding away through my fingers —
If only I could grasp it!

So, I tell you, Mother,
And I urge you, Father,
Look into those eyes.
Look down deep —
See the heart beating within.
A few short years
(“Such long years!” my selfish soul cries)
to teach and impress upon and to lovingly instruct and correct,
Such a short time to lay down your life
For those who come after –
Those grandchildren that you would not sentence to the fate of Hezekiah’s.

Mother, do the hard work now
So the harvest may come in —
Father, acknowledge that you matter.
Model what you want them to be —
that when young ones are grown
With young of their own,
When you have joined in with
That great cloud of witnesses,
You, too, can rejoice with Paul,
“I did not run my race for nothing!”

Yes, children are mileposts
In the non-stationary stream of time.
We rise, we fall, and
More come after – Selah.
Let it not be for naught.

Follow me, young ones,
Follow me as I follow Christ!

 

Leave a comment »

A Litany for Today

I woke up with these lines beginning to form in my head. Here, I will attempt to give them voice.

 

Oh God of the wind and the rain,

Help me overcome my unbelief.*

Oh God of mountain-moving fame,

Help me overcome my unbelief.

Oh God who really knows my name,

Help me overcome my unbelief.

 

Oh God who sent His Son to die,

Help me overcome my unbelief.

Oh God who breathed my soul to life,

Help me overcome my unbelief.

Oh God who gives me strength to try,

Help me overcome my unbelief.

 

Oh God who tidal waves my sin,

Help me overcome my unbelief.

Oh God whose strength I can rest in,

Help me overcome my unbelief.

Oh God, please help me once again,

Help me overcome my unbelief.

 

 

 

Leave a comment »

Miscellaneous Goals for 2013

I know that this a little later than most of the 2013 goals posts. I’m okay with that. 🙂

I’ve been juggling sick kids and sadness, 2 Chronicles and sleepless nights. I’m okay with that, too. At least I don’t have to worry about what we’re eating at our next meal, right?

I’ve been absolutely enjoying our “Eat Down the Pantry” Challenge for multiple reasons, some of which I know I’ve mentioned before:

  • There’s soooo much less stress involved with meal times. Knowing what we’re going to eat in advance allows me to prepare necessary ingredients the day before, be it pulling meat out of the freezer or soaking oats. Less stress = happier Mama!
  • We’re spending less money at the grocery store because we have a list we can stick to. Since moving to Georgia a few months ago, I’ve consistently blown my grocery budget. I haven’t figured out the least expensive places to get the types of food we’re trying to eat, leading to paying premium at the big box grocery stores.  This is getting better as I’ve made headway in locating the local version of a Farmer’s Market, but I haven’t actually ordered anything from their website yet.
  • We’ve been having SO. MUCH. FUN trying some new foods! Well…Nathan and I have been enjoying it, anyway. 😉
  • And, last but not least, this was the kick in the pants to start meal planning again. I’ve been meaning to for quite a while. In the past, I’ve purchased printable calendars, a meal planning guide book (“Plan It, Don’t Panic”), and even pre-made meal plans, hoping against hope that by closing my eyes and opening my wallet, I would mysteriously have workable for our family meal plans magically appear. Uh…yeah…I’m not always the sharpest tool in the shed. And, let me hasten to add there’s nothing wrong with any of these solutions – I purchased the Life As Mom calendar pack again for this year – but, and it’s a BIG but, if you don’t put the time into using the solution you’ve purchased, you might as well have flushed your money downa ze toilet.

So, with regards to goals for 2013, I feel like I’m already off to a great start because I’m meal planning again and have been for the past four weeks.

That doesn’t mean I want to rest on my laurels, though. Hubby and I started the Couch to 5K program on December 31 and we’ve been faithfully following it, fully intending to run a 5K later this year. Which one remains to be seen as we’ll need to look up the annual races for our new locale.

2013 Goals

As I did with my 2013 Reading List, I’ve loosely modeled it upon what I’ve seen work for Money Saving Mom.

Relational:

  • Actively take steps on a weekly basis to build community in our new community.  (Some weeks, this may look like a Birds on a Wire meeting for me. Other weeks, it will be playdates with the new homeschool group or, Lord willing, a community group.)
  • Send two cards a month to loved ones, friends or family, to keep the channels of communication open. (Relationships are like muscles – if you don’t give them attention, they will atrophy and die.)
  • Write a love note to my husband at least once a month.

Fitness

  • Complete the Couch to 5K running plan with my husband, shooting for at least a 15 minute mile.
    • Run at least one 5K this year.
    • Continue to run 3-5 times a week.
  • Complete a T-Tapp boot camp.

Financial

  • Finish paying down my college loan. (Almost there!!!)
  • Pay off our mini-van.
  • Ideally, we’d also like to sell a house (or two)! However, that’s not something I have any control over, so we will continue to pray for a buyer.
  • Continue researching local food options, with two purposes in mind:
    • Cut our food budget, and
    • Send more of what we do spend to support local farmers.

Mothering

  • Work through one of our “Five in a Row” books.
  • Keep going to the library every two weeks.
  • Be intentional about spending at least 10 minutes alone with each child per day.
  • Make at least one play date a month, as able, so that the kids can start making some new friends.
  • Continue to daily fill out our Family Gratitude Journal.
  • Include the children in more chore and kitchen activities.
    • I find that I’m naturally doing this as I start to get more energy back, but I would like to be more intentional about it. 🙂
  • Continue working on Scripture memory verses.
    • Finish up Psalms 1 and 23.
    • Review verses they’ve already learned.
    • Work through oh Amanda’sArmor of God” and “Truth in the Tinsel” studies.
      • I actually purchased “Truth in the Tinsel” last December, but didn’t dive into it except to print it out. The kids colored the ornament pages, but that’s about as far as we got.

Personal

  • Start and finish a web site that I committed to design and build a few years ago. (It’s a long story…/sigh)
    • Watch the Learnable classes that I purchased to assist in said design and creation before my access expires.
  • Purchase a domain name and hosting. If I’m going to be writing anyway, it would be nice to use affiliate links within my posts – something that wordpress doesn’t allow in their free hosting.
  • Re-do the “Scripture Memory” book I wrote for the LifeGroup I led last year. As we were working through the book, I felt several times that I could have done better in my Scripture selection – targeting some of the basics that were such a HUGE help to me as a new believer.
  • Memorize Romans 1, 8, and 12 with this plan.
    • I have it printed and cut out. Now I need to paste and read.
    • Ideally, I will include my children in this practice. I want them to see how much it means to Mommy to hide God’s word in her heart.
  • Learn to knit.
  • Finish up my participation in the 2013 Pay it Forward Creativity Challenge.
  • Determine a home school mission statement, a home school name, and get all of the necessary paperwork filled out before August.
  • Get a new will and power of attorney filled out for the state of Georgia.
  • Write at least one “Faith” post per month. These take so much longer and require so much more than most of my posts!
  • Finish the shirt that I started making for my sister’s 2012 Christmas present before this Christmas. 😉
  • Pull out my guitar and play at least once a week.
    • Finish two songs. Attempt to determine what chords they use. (Ahem. This will be a challenge I’ve always been able to take my songs to some highly skilled guitarist friends. That’s not really an option now.)

Some of these have been long time goals that I’ve never made traction on. Some of them are goals that I’ve attained in the past, but have lost ground on due to one thing or another and just not making it a priority. Some are moving targets that I’m trying to pin down and some are brand new. Regardless, as the late Zig Zigler said, “You hit what you aim at and, if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Even if I don’t accomplish 1/3 of this list, I’ll have accomplished 2/3 more than I would have without writing it out and taking aim.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Your own goal lists? Bring ’em on! I enjoy hearing from you. 😀

3 Comments »

My 2013 Reading List and Follow Up from Last Year

Last year, I posted my desired reading list. I was, as I am now, in an itchy, “I can do more with my time if I will just be intentional” spot.

And, ahem, after re-reading said list, I was rather appalled. Of the 33 books I listed, I only managed to fully read four of them. Uh…yeah. (/blush) I read more than four books last year, but I definitely did *not* stick to the list.

I am going to extend myself grace, however, and try again. There was the whole “having a baby and recovering from a C-section” and “packing up our family of 6 and moving to another state and then living out of boxes for awhile” parts of last year that likely won’t be happening again this year. Also, when re-reading that list, I was reminded that I still don’t have several of them…making it rather difficult to read them. 😉

So…some of the books from last year’s list are re-appearing in this year’s (much!) pared down list. I’m still working through the Old Testament and it is my hope to read through the New Testament twice this year. I’m eliminating the Tech section entirely and intend to focus on some online courses to further my skills there.

Without further ado, I present my slimmed and trimmed 2013 reading list. You’ll note an extreme focus on homeschooling and parenting books – our oldest turns seven this year and we will have to officially start homeschooling. I need ideas for what that is supposed to look like! 🙂

January:

  • This Earthly Pilgrimage by Walter Wangerin Jr. – if you’ve never read his book “Ragman and Other Cries of Faith”, included in this compilation,  it’s beautiful. I’ve been reading his short story “Lily”  to my kids, hoping to root within them the reality of the resurrection – even when surrounded by naysayers.

February:

  • Read “Part 4: Coming Home: How to Educate Your Child at Home” of The Well-Trained Mind by Jesse Wise and Susan Wise Bauer

March: 

  • A Healer in Every Home by Begabati Lennihan – I actually did read this last year, but want to read it again.

April:

  • Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend – started and got stuck. My husband really recommends it, though.

May:

June:

  • 50 Books to Enjoy with Kids by Veronica Getskow with daughters Jessica Fisher and Janel Piersma – this is found at the fabulous Life as Mom blog.

July:

August:

  • Good to Great by Jim Collins – I absolutely loved this the first time I read it…back in 2005. Time to re-read! And, since we’ve moved, I don’t have to re-purchase it – it finally turned up! Hooray!

September:

  • Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel – I bought this last year, knowing that I had it in my reading list.

October:

  • One Thousand Gifts by Anne Voskamp – After buying it twice and giving it away both times, I’m finally going to read it! Anne’s blog is amazing and oozes with the grace and poetry of communion with Christ.

November:

  • Home by Choice by Brenda Hunter – I’ve read this before, but a refresher won’t hurt! 🙂

December:

Want to make your own reading list? Here’s a link to the printout I downloaded from the Money Saving Mom website.

*I don’t own this one yet. I’ll be checking betterworldbooks.com and our local library to see if either of them have it.

4 Comments »

The Pictures Aren’t For Me

Can I bare my heart with you for a few minutes?

I don’t really like to look at myself in the mirror. Unless I’m brushing my teeth or putting in my contacts, I usually avoid it. What’s reflected in the mirror doesn’t match up to the way I see myself in my head.

I also really, really, really don’t like to have my picture taken right now. While I don’t meet the definition of morbid obesity, I’m definitely bigger than I used to be. The thought of my, ahem, largesse being recorded for posterity bugs me. And before you tell me to get off the couch, I’ll tell you that I have. It doesn’t seem to matter right now. The experts who tell us that nursing helps you lose the pregnancy weight – well, that doesn’t seem to be my experience. Am I going to stop nursing because of it? Nope. I know that this season will end soon enough and then weight will start to come off.

So…we’ve established that I don’t like to have picture taken while I’m large(r) and that I’m likely to be a little larger for a little while. Does that mean I just stop allowing myself to be in pictures? Nope.

Like so many other parts of parenting, it’s not about me. If I die while my children are still young, I want there to be a visible record of my love for them. I don’t want the only pictures they have of me to be pictures without them. Pictures that show me young, skinny, happy and childless. What kind of message would that send to them?

So, kiddos, I love you. And I want to go on the record and say:

The extra pounds? Worth it.

The sleepless nights? Worth it.

The exposure to more types of bodily fluids than I dreamed possible? Worth it.

I love you. I love you. I love you.

(I started this post a few months ago, so the pictures are a little out of date. The essence of the post hasn’t changed though. 🙂 )

Me and my girls

5, 4, 5 months and me

Me and my middle two

My middle two at 2 and 4

3 Comments »

Draw me ever closer…

That when I hurt, I will pray.

That when I am overwhelmed, I will pray.

That whenever circumstances rub my raw heart til it bleeds tears, I will pray.

And…in so doing, make me a greater blessing away than I ever could be while still here.

To God be the glory…

“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. May the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:21b

“My times are in your hands…” Psalm 31:15a

And it appears that it is time to move.

“The path of least resistance makes both men and rivers crooked.” – American proverb

And I cannot (WILL not) ask him to be less than he is so that I can stay in my comfort zone for the rest of my days…

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”(Matthew 11:28-30, NIV 1984)

“The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

Earlier this evening, I was sobbing and wondering out loud if Sarai cried when Abram told her they were leaving Ur. Did Lot’s wife process everything that was going on as they were racing away from the life they knew – twisted though it was, it was familiar and that made it comfortable. She did not know where they were going and that was uncomfortable.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.” Prov. 3:5,6

I do not have the excuse of being unprepared as this has been in the making for at least six months now. At times my heart has been harder, at other times, I’ve been a emotional quicksand or black hole.

To the few of you that will receive this post because you know me and graciously subscribed, I covet your prayers as I seek to move from dramatic ups and downs to a steady, peaceful path.

“Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.” Isaiah 40:4

Many thanks to you,

Jess

1 Comment »

My 2012 Reading List

In the interests of accountability and after being inspired by Crystal of Money Saving Mom‘s success with her 2011 list, I decided that I’m going to follow suit.  😀

In addition to my desire to read through the whole of the Bible this year using this plan, each month I also want to read at least 1 non-fiction, 1 fiction and 1 of the Sitepoint books that I’ve been acquiring over the last several years. I may read more, but I don’t want to read less.  🙂

So, without further ado, I present….the list!

January:
Nonfiction: Finish up Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey
Fun/Fiction: Freckles by Gene Stratton (This is being loaned to me and I need to read so I can return!)  🙂
Tech: HTML Utopia: Designing without Tables Using CSS by Rachel Andrew & Dan Schafer

February:
Nonfiction:
The Money Saving Mom’s Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a Year by Crystal Paine
Fun/Fiction: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (Another loaner that I need to read to be able to return.)
Tech: The Principles of Beautiful Web Design, 2nd Ed. by Jason Beaird

March:  So…as I’m having a baby at the end of February, I’m giving myself a pass here. As long as I keep up with my Bible reading, I’ll be a happy camper.
Nonfiction:
Fun/Fiction:
Tech:

April:
Nonfiction: Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend
Fun/Fiction: The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
Tech: Build Your Own Database Driven Website with PHP and MySQL by Kevin Baird

May:
Nonfiction: Seven Secrets Women Want to Know by P.B. Wilson (I’ve read this before, but it’s been a long time, so I’d like to re-read it. Her book “Liberated Through Submission” is amazing, too!)
Fun/Fiction: Tramp for the Lord by Corrie ten Boom – I love, Love, LOVE her book “The Hiding Place” – she’s such an inspiration.
Tech: Build Your Own Wicked WordPress Themes by Allan Cole, Raena Jackson Armitage, Brandon R. Jones and Jeffrey Way

June:
Nonfiction: Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie Davis
Fiction: The Emily Trilogy by L.M. Montgomery (Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs, Emily’s Quest)
Tech: The Principles of Project Management by Meri Williams

July:
Nonfiction: Prophetic Worship by Vivian Hibbert
Fun/Fiction: A Foreign Devil in China: The Story of Dr. L. Nelson Bell by John Pollock
Tech:  Online Marketing Inside Out by Brandon Eley & Shayne Tilley

August:
Nonfiction: Good to Great by Jim Collins (I absolutely loved this the first time I read it…back in 2005. Time to re-read!)
Fun/Fiction: Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours by Dr. Kevin Leman
Tech: The Art & Science of CSS by Jonathan Snook, Steve Smith, Jina Bolton, Cameron Adams, and David Johnson

September:
Nonfiction: The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming our Passion, Purpose and Sanity by Dr. Meg Meeker
Fun/Fiction: Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel  – Yes…this sounds like a fun read to me – laugh all you like.  ;D
Tech: HTML5 and CSS3 for the Real World by Alexis Goldstein, Louis Lazaris & Estelle Weyl

October:
Nonfiction: One Thousand Gifts by Anne VosKamp (After buying it twice and giving it away both times, I’m finally going to read it! Anne’s blog is amazing and oozes with the grace and poetry of communion with Christ – I just had to share it.)
Fun/Fiction: Letters from the Land of Cancer by Walter Wangerin Jr. (If you’ve never read his book Ragman and Other Cries of Faith – do yourself a favor and read it. Ah-mazing!)
Tech: The CSS Anthology by Rachel Andrew – I’m not sure if this is the same edition as the one that I have…we’ll see.

November:
Nonfiction: Do It Gorgeously: How to Make Less Toxic, Less Expensive, and More Beautiful Products by Sophia Uliano (Just in time to be able to make some Christmas presents, eh? 😉
Fun/Fiction: Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider
Tech: Create Stunning HTML email that Just Works by Matthew Patterson

December:
Nonfiction: Loving God with All Your Mind by Elizabeth George
Fun/Fiction: The Kingdom Agenda by Tony Evans
Tech: Sexy Web Design by Elliot Jay Stocks  (Uh…yeah. This is about developing well-designed user interfaces. Really.)

Want to make your own reading list? Here’s a link to the printout I downloaded from the Money Saving Mom website.


3 Comments »

To everything there is a time, to everything there is a season (Or: Life is short. Heaven is long.)

A Time for Everything

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, NIV)

This was brought home to me the other day. Not so much the full passage, but the first verse – definitely.

You see, I was in the hospital a few weeks ago.

The last day of 2011, our scheduled Christmas festivities with my in-laws, ended with my husband driving me back over the mountain to our local hospital. I was a little over 30 weeks pregnant at the time and experiencing some pelvic pain and bleeding. Uh…scary? You better believe it! Especially after being on bed rest for 2 1/2 weeks with my last child...especially after seeing our son hooked up to feeding tubes and wires and breathing apparatus when his scheduled delivery didn’t go exactly as planned. I was a mess on the inside – “Lord, I don’t think I can bear to watch another one of my children go to the NICU.” and “Lord, I’m scared. Why am I bleeding? Is it all going to happen again?” as well as other internal incoherent prayers offered up as I struggled to trust in His grace and His sovereignty. My in-laws kept all three of our children at their house for the night, so that we knew they would be okay. My husband held my hand as he drove.

After five or six hours hooked up to the machines, and only 1-2 real contractions during that whole time, I got to come home. However, the pelvic pain occasionally starts back up and – and – to see me walking right now is an exercise in absurdity. I’m 33, yet to watch me walk right now would bring to mind 90 year old ladies and people learning to walk again. Halting. With obvious difficulty. With pain.

I’m not upset about this. And, I’m not posting this to make anyone feel sorry for me. It’s okay. It’s a season. It’s a painful season, but still…just a season. And, hey – I get a baby out of it. That helps make it all worth it.   😀

Which brings me to the point of this post:

This life, this time that we spend on this planet – it’s a season.

I was leaving LifeWay the other night after helping pull a publication together. I shuffled myself out to the van, opened the door and carefully lifted myself in to the driver’s seat. I was feeling a bit exasperated about the whole walking thing and I was talking to myself (I’m sure no one else ever does that, right?). “Okay, Jess. It’s going to be okay. This is just a season. Yes, it hurts, but it’s just for a season.”

Out of the blue, a couple of thoughts bubbled up inside of me:

  • This life? It’s just a season.
  • Yes, it hurts. Life does that sometimes. But, it’s just for a season.

I was reminded of a C.S. Lewis quote that I saw someone post recently on Facebook: “If you think of this world as a place simply intended for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place for training and correction and it’s not so bad.” (Another Source for the quote.)

As Christians, Heaven is our home. Earth is the way station…the training grounds…the place where we are born in flesh and blood and, through the power of the Holy Spirit, reborn through spirit, water and truth, granting us an eternity with our Master and Maker. Pain is but part of the birthing process. It’s part of the natural birthing process and part of the spiritual birthing process. Jesus, the almighty and amazing Son of God, endured suffering – the author of Hebrews said that it was “for the joy set before him”. (Heb. 12:2, NIV) May it be the same for us.

My current season of pain will (Lord willing!) end with a baby born and another healing C-section scar. There will be more pain after that. It’s a given. It’s part of living in a fallen, sin-filled world. (John 16:33, NIV) But…take heart! We’re only here for a season.

My prayer is that I, too, walk joyfully through the pain, looking at it as part of the labor pains of being slowly, surely formed into a new creation – one fit for heaven.

Let’s walk joyfully together.

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Heb. 3:13, NIV).

Shuffling forward in joy,

Jessica  🙂

Leave a comment »

FB Food for Thought: Why we *need* to read to feed

heh…alliterate much, Jess?

A young lady that I know was asking why we need to know God’s word, why we need to read the Bible daily, why we need to pray, why we need to learn all about God to have/walk in relationship with him…basically, she was curious as to the basics of growing as a Christian.

I took a little time (and it took a bit of time as there were babies running around and screaming, etc. , hehe…  🙂  ) and responded to her post. Another lady read my response and said I needed to print it out and post it. I’m not sure about the printing, but, as I have my own little corner of the internet here, I figured I could handle the posting part.  ;D

So…here goes:

Her post:

“why do we need to know God word? Why do we need to read Gods word every day? why do we need to need to pray every day?why do we need to know everything about God to have a realtionship woth me????? just wondering!?!??!?!?!!??!???!”

My response:

“How often do you need to eat? How often do you need to sleep?

As a Christian, you are made up of 3 parts: spirit (the part of you that was born when you accepted Jesus), soul (your mind, your will, and your emotions), and body (uh…yeah, pretty self-explanatory).

You feed your body 2-3 times a day, usually. You rest your body 1 or 2 times a day/night, usually.

You need to feed your spirit, too. The food of the spirit is the bread of life – aka Jesus. Jesus is also called the Word. By taking time to daily read the Bible (God’s word), you are feeding your spirit what it needs to both survive and thrive. It’s the spiritual equivalent of eating our fruits and vegetables. We can get by without it, but that’s all we’re going to do – get by. We won’t walk in the vibrant spiritual health that God desires for us. Instead, we will wither up and barely make it and “Oh, woe is me! God must not care about me.” Or, because we don’t know God’s word (because we haven’t been reading and studying it!), anyone that comes along and sounds spiritual will turn our heads and we’ll fall away from God’s ways and follow someone else. The Bible specifically warns us about this happening to people who are more interested in making themselves feel good than they are about following God. 😦

You also need to rest your spirit. We rest our spirits when we take moments to pause and reflect on spiritual things – God, his plans and purposes for our lives, and his word. We rest our spirits when we worship him, when we recognize that he’s in charge and we are not, when we let the weight of the world fall off of our shoulders and into his capable hands.

Your soul, however, is a bit different. How do you feel your mind, your will and your emotions? Well…it’s in the same basic way that you feed the other parts of yourself – by what you put into it. Except, that instead of using your mouth (used to feed your body), you’re using your other senses. What are you allowing your eyes to watch? What are you letting your ears hear?

When you become a Christian, there are years of well…garbage, generally, that have been fed into our minds and our hearts. Self-esteem issues and bad habits, faulty thought processes and unrealistic romantic ideas, etc. that we have nurtured within us for years. And, now, Christ has come in and made us new! Old things have passed away – HOORAY!

So…now that the initial buzz has worn off, why am I still struggling? Why do I still want to fight with my mom or call my brother names or do this, that or the other thing? It’s because of the state of our soul. In order for our souls to walk in the passion and the purpose that Jesus died and rose again for, we have got to re-build our souls.

How do we do that? By feeding and nurturing our spirits every day, as many times a day as we need to. By learning his word, so that when the same old situations arise, we can cling to what he says instead of what we used to think. This is what allows us to win at life.

Jesus talked about this when he told the parable of the Good Shepherd. He said that his sheep know his voice and follow him. When we spend time in the Bible and prayer everyday, we are training ourselves to be able to recognize His voice. He describes his voice as being still, small…something that we have to be still to hear. There are lots of other voices that we have to be able to sift through…ours, our parents, our friends, our culture, our coworkers, etc. Daily time in the word helps us to train our ears to hear.

Hope that helps, dear. 😀 ♥”

It blessed me to write this for her. Hopefully, it will bless (and encourage!) you, too.

2 Comments »