Friday, July 18, 2008

A Collection of Stories

I haven't posted in a while, but that doesn't mean that I have not experienced or have not seen everyday graces. Our lives have been full, as my husband was away for an entire week and will be leaving again in a few days. So I will share a few of the stories or experiences where God's grace has been abundantly sufficient and a blessing.

Single Moms

While Casey was away this last week, I was on my own with two little ones, and a household to maintain. I'm not complaining, but God laid some things on my heart that week.

I realized that I need to be praying for moms who are single. They have a daunting task before them to provide for their children's' basic needs by working, and balancing that with providing an active presence in their lives, disciplining and training, loving and discipling.

I found it difficult simply being home the whole time! I couldn't wrap my mind around that day in and day out of taking the kids to childcare or school, getting to work on time, and picking them up, packing lunches, cooing dinner, and getting errands done!

Oh, how the single moms in our lives need to be encouraged and supported! They need to be lifted up in prayer and given extra doses of grace to accomplish the mighty tasks ahead of them. God is good to remind me of these women- especially having been raised by a single mother myself.

Little Me

My daughter Norah is three. And these past few weeks she wants to dress like me, put her hair up like me, etc. The other day she asked if she could get a hair clip like the ones I put my hair in (one of those claw-looking things). One day I was wearing sneakers- so she wanted to wear sneakers. Today, I braided my hair in two braids and am wearing a royal blue shirt. Norah wanted to know where her royal blue shirt was so she could dress like me, and of course, her hair is in two braids today also. She doesn't have a blue shirt, so I had to convince her that both of us wearing tanks tops (though mine is underneath a shirt) is just as good.

Although it's something that I laugh at because nearly every day Norah finds some way to copy me, I am keenly aware that my little girl is watching me. She watches what I wear, what I say, and what my attitude is. She has already identified me and the parent that she is to model- just as Haddon will target my husband one day. It is very sweet to me to have a little girl, and as much as she challenges me, she blesses me. I only hope that I am a woman worth imitating.

Hugs and Kisses

Haddon, my 2-year-old, is a very cuddly guy. Even as an infant, he was the one who wanted to snuggle and cuddle. He would nuzzle into your neck or shoulder and was happy to be curled up in a person's lap. He is still like that- at least to the degree that a toddler can be snugly and cuddly! He is a very affectionate little boy, loves blowing kisses and laying his head on a loved one's shoulder. So you can only imagine how precious it is to get little kisses from him every day.

Norah, on the other hand, has never been a cuddler. Her dad held her in the hospital, and instead of wanting to be swaddled, had her arms and legs stretched out stiff. She has been on the move as soon as she knew how to be. But a few nights ago, I was given a rare treat by my little independent girl. I was telling her good night, and reached down to give a hug. To my surprise, she didn't just gently put her arms on my shoulders, but she actually embraced me and held me there for a moment- just a moment. As a walked away with a warm heart, I heard her little voice say, "Good night mom." And then my heart melted.

So there it is. It's really just a little bit of the joys that I've had in the last few weeks, but I was finally able to write something.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Across 3 Julys

Two years ago on July 2, 2006, our family welcomed Haddon. There's just something about my son's birthday that reminds me so much of God's provision.
When he was born, we were living with my husband's parents. We had moved from Woodland, California to Oregon after experiencing a very hard church split of sorts. Although my husband was wanted to stay on at the church there, we were faced with a choice of obedience to the Word or compromise. We stepped out in faith, choosing obedience, and in doing so, we were in a less than ideal financial situation. But God provided. He provided a home with family.
Haddon wasn't planned either. Our daughter was about 7 months old, and it had been about a month after moving, when the pregnancy test was positive. We had a month to go before health insurance started, but because I had Norah, I was on medication that was safer for pregnancy. God planned Haddon, and provided safety for him.

During the time in Oregon, my husband pursued different ministry positions, but one stood out as the place that he felt we should go. After months of contact, interviews, waiting, and a visit. It was clear that we should go to Grand Junction, Colorado. God provided a ministry.

But we still had to wait. Haddon, due on July 26th, needed to come. Then we could move, for if we stayed in Oregon for the birth, we wouldn't have to pay anything out-of-pocket. God paved the way for us to have our new baby surrounded by family, and gave patience to the church in Colorado.

My husband had scheduled to go to Grand Junction with his parents in search of a home. They were to leave on July 2nd- plenty of time before Haddon was due, and enough time for us to move in the middle of August. My water broke on the evening of July 1st. God ordained just the right time for Haddon to enter the world and labor to begin. The next morning would have been too late for his dad to be there for his birth.

When Haddon was born, they whisked him away, and my husband followed. Our baby's blood sugar was too low, and it took about 5 days in the NICU for him to level out. Because we were on state health insurance, and because we didn't move to Colorado before he was born, we didn't pay for anything. God took care of my son. God cared for our family.

A week later, my in-laws, along with my husband, left for Grand Junction. They returned without a home. The housing market in Grand Junction was highly competitive at the time. Houses were being sold in a day. The evening that they returned home, we received a call. There was a house coming on the market... it seemed perfect. After members of our new church looked at it, and described it to us via the phone, we put an offer in... so did two other potential buyers. The house didn't even have a "For Sale" sign out front yet. Our offer was chosen. God gave us a house, less than 1 mile from the church and the church offices.

Now I can sit here in our God-provided home, having been in Colorado for nearly 2 years, and I know that I could write so much more about the sovereign grace given us across these last 3 Julys.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My Friend Becca

We are coming up on our two-year anniversary of being in Grand Junction, Colorado. Since moving here, we have face many trials and have experienced new ways that God blesses us. One way that God continues to bless me is with the church.

When you live far from family and folks that you have known for years, only the body of Christ can fill in a gap like that- at at least come close! We have celebrated Thanksgiving in others' homes, and welcomed others into our home. We celebrate birthdays, and minister alongside dear members of the body. How sweet it is to recognize the church as a family!

One person that has been an immeasurable blessing is my friend Becca. As fellow stay-at-home mom, she and I can relate to one another. We can call each other during some of those long days, and make each other smile. We can laugh at the funny things that happen in the day-to-day, wonderful grind that is motherhood.

She has a heart for youth ministry, and it is easy to share with her the challenges that I face as I work with young people. Our children are similar ages, and they love to play together. She is an example to me and challenges me as I watch her raise her three young children in a God-glorifying way.

So I am thankful for Becca. Having a simple conversation with her can brighten my day, keep me sane, and bless me as we share about the truths of Scripture and the joys of walking with the Lord. She is one of the everyday blessings that God has given me, and I praise Him for the work that He has done in my life as a result of her friendship.