Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Guest Post: From a Friend

I am very fortunate to have some wonderful women in my circle of friends and family that spend countless hours praying for me and my family. A few of these mighty prayer warriors have started sending emails to my sister or myself. With permission of my friend's mom I would like to share her uplifting and encouraging email from this morning:

“Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall praise Him, my Help and my God.” Psalm 42:5 
Think about God first thing every morning and throughout the day--think about how much He loves you and how powerful He is.  Send every other thought through the filter of His love and His power and remember Nothing is impossible with Him!  (Luke 1:37)  Don’t allow discouragement to overwhelm you, change your thoughts!  Remind yourself by saying out loud: I believe God and His Word!  Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (That’s a command--which means we have a choice to take hold of His strength and obey Him!)  John 14:27  There’s an old song that says, “Jesus, I am resting, resting in the Joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart!”

Quote from Battlefield of the Mind, by Joyce Meyer:  “God’s word teaches us that our minds must be renewed so we learn to think like God thinks.  Satan is the father of lies and he constantly lies to us, trying to make us worry and doubt.  He tells us things about ourselves, about other people and about our circumstances that are just not true.  He does not, however, tell us the entire lie all at one time.  He begins by bombarding our mind with a cleverly devised pattern of little nagging thoughts, suspicions, doubts, fears, wonderings, reasonings, and theories.” 

Satan is a liar and he wants to steal your joy because the Bible says “The joy of the Lord is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10

“The truth is that, although we lead normal human lives, the battle we are fighting is on the spiritual level.  The very weapons we use are not human but powerful in God’s warfare for the destruction of the enemy’s strongholds.  Our battle is to break down every deceptive argument and every imposing defense that [satan or] men erect against the true knowledge of God.  We fight to capture every thought until it acknowledges the authority of Christ.”  2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (Phillips translation)

A stronghold is an area in which we feel trapped due to a certain way of thinking.  The weapon we use against the evil one to avoid his traps is the Word of God. (See Ephesians 6: 10-18) Every time he tries to make you think about something negative, start speaking the Word out loud, even if it’s the same verse over and over again.  Continue to use the Word to keep your mind set on the peace the Lord gives you.  Sing praise songs and thank the Lord for every blessing you can think of.  Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of your blessings if you start feeling discouraged.  Choose and continue to choose right thoughts: “I will never give up!  God is on my side, He loves me and He is helping me!

“Delight yourselves in the Lord, yes, find your joy in Him at all times...never forget the nearness of your Lord.  Don’t worry over anything whatever; whenever you pray tell God every detail of your needs in thankful prayer, and the peace of God, which surpasses human understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus...fix you minds on whatever is true, and honorable, and just, and pure and lovely and admirable.”  Philippians 4:4-8

You are His precious daughter in whom your Heavenly Father takes great delight.  He loves you with His everlasting, perfect love.  Give your worries and concerns to God and Rest your mind in thoughts of Him!  It takes constant practice, but the more we do it, the easier it becomes!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Work in Progress

I have been filtering through a lot of different problems lately. I find myself snappy when people come up and congratulate me on my sister's "good news." I can't possibly process that there is anything good about having stage 4 terminal cancer. Yes, I am thankful for her 3 month vacation from chemo, but I want REALLY good news. I have been spending some early morning hours begging for God to heal my sister and provide us a miracle. I know that what Bronson shared with me (the outcome will be good no matter the outcome) is true, but I want her here for a VERY long time. As I struggle through this inner turmoil I think about other things that my friends and family share with me...I process daily conversations.

One topic that keeps being brought to the surface is that marriages are a constant work in progress. I would honestly say that Kyle and I are experiencing a blissful and peaceful point in our marriage right now. We have both been blessed lately and told each other how much we appreciate the fun times that we are once again having with each other. We both feel that this has afforded us the opportunity to lift some of our friends up that have asked for prayer. This has also allowed me to be brutally honest with a few friends/family members in regards to their marriages. No one is perfect and sometimes you have to give a little to make the relationship work. I have also had to say hard things like, "if it was broke before you got married why did you think getting married would fix it." Do I believe that people can change? Yes, of course I do. My dad is the perfect visual example of change; however, I don't think that marriage will make someone a better man or woman than they were before marriage.

I am struggling as I watch some men and women in my life treat their spouses with disrespect, anger, and general meanness. It breaks my heart that they can't depend on their spouse to be the man or woman that they are called to be. Instead of spending countless hours worrying about them I am spending countless hours praying and listening to what God speaks about these problems. I am using this opportunity to count my blessings and look at what God is capable of bringing us out of. I don't have the perfect marriage; I have a work in progress. I am learning to love those that hurt my friends and family. I am learning to pray for those that make me angry. I am still a work in progress.

1st Corinthians 13: 1-13
New International Version (NIV)
13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Perfect Man

I saw a post yesterday on Pinterest that said Dance with God and He will let the perfect man cut in. Is anyone really perfect besides Jesus Christ? I happen to believe that Kyle was wonderfully and perfectly made as part of God's perfect plan. He is PERFECT for me. No one is truly perfect; however I believe when you follow God's direction you can find the perfect partner to walk this journey of life.

December 27, 2012 we celebrated our 9th anniversary and I have to say that it was one of the best dates that we have had in a very long time. Nothing was planned ahead of time. The only thing that was certain is that we had an entire evening to spend entirely with each other. At the last minute we decided to eat at The Ram in Salem and then grab a movie and relax at home. Our dinner conversation was EXACTLY what my heart needed. Kyle and I both spent time being open and honest with each other about the scariest time in our life and how that period of time had changed us. We talked about our son in heaven and how that tiny moment in our lives when we laid eyes on him our hearts stopped for a brief moment. Neither of us had ever imagined such pain and sorrow. Kyle admitted that although he felt guilty saying it his darkest time wasn't until nearly a month later when our miracle boy Bronson coded in his arms. I love that this man has seen me at my worst moments and still holds my hand and prays with me during our rough times.

As I look at this picture above it speaks to me on so many levels. You can tell by my eyes that I am not sure of the situation. I had just learned that I would be having twins. I did not know if they were boys, girls, or one of each. I was sick constantly. The only thing I did know was that I had a husband that was beyond excited to be having twins and that I knew without a doubt in the world would be the BEST daddy ever. We have both aged so much in the past 5 years emotionally, but I can say that even with the hurt, pain, and tears I am so thankful for each of the memories with this perfect man for me.

Friday, January 11, 2013

2012 in Review

Celebrated Ashley's new house with Oaklen
Bronson was sporting his bowl cut for a whole month!

We went and stayed at the coast.

Easter 2012

Oaklen turned 1

March of Dimes 2012

Trying out a WOU camera to photograph my favorite model

Austin's graduate

Relay for Life: Polk County

Stayed at Beach for 4th of July: Bronson got sick
Spent hours at the pool

Bronson made his own spaceman costume

Tiffany got married and Oaklen was a dancing fool

Family Camp at Triangle Lake

For my birthday they had to be my photography models

Bronson started preschool

Bronson's 1st day of school

Ashley's cancer came back and we all used this little guy to bring smiles to our hearts

I started the Wear Yellow on Wednesdays for the Praying for Ashley Page
Mike and Darcie got married

Bronson was a mummy

We spent Thanksgiving in Redmond and stayed at Eagle Crest
Ashley carved the turkey
Bronson had his "fake" birthday at school
Bronson got a real spaceman costume from Nana

Hanson eased my heart on Christmas
Bronson joined the Army on Christmas day
Bronson turned 5

Bronson turns 5

For months leading up to Bronson's birthday he was adamant that he did not want a birthday party. He asked if we could go down to Yaya and Papa's house and have dinner and eat cupcakes. Rather than pushing him into having a party or stressing myself out I decided to grant his wish. At the beginning of December we attended my niece's 6th birthday and suddenly there was some appeal to having a birthday party; his friends and family could come and shower him with gifts and lots of attention. I explained that birthdays weren't just about gifts, but that if he wanted a party I would plan one. He then made sure to mention that he didn't want any kids at his party because they always break his stuff and mess-up his room. Last minute I decided to invite a few close family members and one of his friends to join us at Izzy's for a little dinner and celebration. He had a great time receiving his first $20 bill to put into his new wallet from Sheila along with a sled, PJ's, coat, and lots of neat toys!

On his actual birthday his Yaya brought him home from his overnight visit and we waited patiently for Papa to get off work. He wanted to just sit around and relax and we were happy to oblige. Once Yaya and Papa came over we had Mexican food at home (his request) and then finished with an adorable camo cake hand-made by Yaya. Bronson's biggest surprise was his own set of wheels that were parked in the garage. He was SO excited to see in person his dream gift in real life. He immediately pealed out of driveway and proceeded to pretend that he was giving us all tickets in a high speed chase. I say overall that Bronson's birthday was just what he wanted. Lots of love was showered on this kiddo.

His stats:

  • Stands over 45 inches tall
  • Weighs 45 pounds
  • Wears all 5T clothes
  • Can say ANYTHING! 
  • Loves anything Army, police, space, or science related.
  • LOVES dress up!
  • Favorite foods: pizza, chicken nuggets, and most of all McDonald's
  • Has several little phrases that he says over and over again:
    • Love you SO much!
    • Everything is gorgeous.
    • You are my best friend!
    • Can I do a science experiment?
  • Loves watching Jessie. I think we have seen all of the episodes at least 100 a dozen times.

What is normal?

I was driving to work the other day and found myself pouring out praises to God. I had the realization that even though some might be hiding under a rock right now or curled up in bed for days on end that He had given me the strength that I needed to get through each day; one step at a time. God is so good to me! I know that things are crazy and I wish and pray more than anything that my baby sister can be miraciously healed, but I also believe that our Lord has plans and that no matter the outcome He is taking care of this.

Don't get me wrong; I am sad. I look at pictures like the one above and I feel my chest tighten and my mouth proceed to smile at her love for Oaklen. My sister is beautiful and the biggest blessing in her life is to be a mommy. It hurts to know that without a miracle that he may not have his mama around forever; but I know that it is not the end of the world. My sister believes in Jesus Christ. She lives her life reading His word and believing in the truth of His salvation. Despite the outcome of this terrible sickness I know that the Lord reigns. I do not know what is in the future, but I will continue to praise God in all of my storms. Thank you Lord!