I am clearly not trying to have a baby, although my heart has always ached for those who are....I can imagine the dissapointment and longing. I saw this article called Don't Waste your Infertility and thought I would share. It's a good point for any trial, really -- don't waste the pain.
Its no secret that I don't exactly love birthdays. Getting older stinks, and particularly so when you are single or waiting for a baby or waiting for a job...or maybe just when you are still figuring out life. Even if you love your life, which most days I do, I think the natural inclination is to look at the past year and see if you did anything worthwhile.
But, recently, my ideas for birthdays have changed for several reasons...
(1) This sweet boy never got a first birthday, so how can I complain about 28 birthdays? I think about this family alot and how no matter what we all are going through (and I know some of you are going through a lot!), few of us probably know this level of pain...So, my few blog readers, please (as my birthday wish) stop and pray for this family today...and every day.
(2) How gracious is our God to understand that although He is infinite, we need beginnings and ends. Closure, limitations, definitions. Isn't that what people always say about a relationship ending? "I want closure" 27 was a tough year, not the worst year, but difficult. (22 is clearly reserved as the worst year of my life thus far) -- lots of challenges with dating, work, church, etc. It certainly had many many wonderful moments and as a whole, it was tougher than 26. Is anything different about me today than yesterday? NO, not actually....I am the same me, and my God is the same God. But, I have a sense of closure and a sense of beginning. God knew that much about humans -- that I needed to see things end and begin, sometimes. So I am excited for 28 to begin.
(3) I am hopeful for 28. The Lord promises to go into this year with me, so why wouldn't I be hopeful?
I have much fun celebrating to do- including dinner with friends, a trip to Nola, and dinner with my family. Oh yeah, and I am wearing my beautiful David Yurman bracelet that I got for my birthday :)
Here's to 28, I hope its a good year. Glad to know the Lord's mercies are new every morning, including the mornings you get older!
I loved this article about the God you least expect. Failed expectations are sometimes God's hang of protection. Such a hard pill to swallow, but would I really want my expectations met if it meant I was outside of that protective safe cave (as the author puts it...). It may be dark in the cave and even quiet and lonely, but it is safe and so quiet that you can communicate with and hear the Father.
Scotty Smith is a preacher in Nashville. I follow him on facebook and he always posts good quotes. The past few have really hit home. I thought I would share!
"God is at peace in himself, and in his presence there is peace. The most repeated negative command in Scripture is ‘fear not.’ It appears 365 times — one for each day of the year — and is usually followed by ‘for I am with you.’ God would have us understand that factoring in his presence always changes the equation." - Ramon Presson, "When Will My Life Not Suck? "
“It is a safe thing to trust Him to fulfill the desires which He creates” - Amy Carmichael
"Self-pity is a death that has no resurrection, a sinkhole from which no rescuing hand can drag you because you have chosen to sink." - Elizabeth Elliot
“When you love someone, you love the person as they are, and not as you'd like them to be.” - Leo Tolstoy
"Never underestimate the capacity you have to harm someone's heart, and Jesus' capacity to heal a heart, including yours" - Scotty Smith
"You can't test courage cautiously". - Annie Dillard
“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart." - Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
"God doesn't give us second chances; he give us Jesus. His name is Redeemer, not Re-do." - Scotty Smith
"God has a plan to help bring justice to the world -- and his plan is us." - Gary Haugen, founder of International Justice Mission
I don't want y'all the past few weeks of my life have only been talk of advent, life verses, Tim Keller Books, etc. I also managed to squeeze in a little fun.... The first Christmas with Jack was so much fun for all. He, like most babies, had more fun with the paper than the gifts, but he humored us and wore many costumes and outfits....I'm sorry kid, neither your mommy nor I would look good in a smocked outfit or reindeer pj's so you have to humor us :)
Also there were several parties like the Singing Christmas Tree Party (my roomies and I throw that one...)
and the Mistletoga party.....
I went to Dallas for New Years and wore "big texas hair" and sequins...
I spent lots of time with family.....
I saw one of my small group girls in the Nutcracker....
And I wore plenty of costumes...including tacky Christmas sweaters, togas, and finger tatoos (so maybe thats where Jack gets it from....)
I am enjoying a slower January (although its not staying slow for long with the National Championship game Monday, the Inaugural Ball next week, Jackson's Bread Pudding Throwdown, and a Birthday Weekend in Nola all coming up!) -- but even while enjoying the quiet and a day to fold clothes and clean, I appreciated December in all its craziness...just glad December only comes one month a year!
Hope everyone is having a restful holiday recovery weekend!!
I rarely buy into these "articles" attacking why our generation is still single. I did at first, but the older I have gotten, I have found that although some points are good, they generalize, attack, and make it sound like "silly kids, if you got your act together and fixed all these flaws, you'd be married. It is your fault." Sometimes people fit into the theories these articles portray, sometimes they don't.
All that introduction to say, take these articles with a grain of salt....I think its a problem of lot of singles face, I think its a problem many marrieds have too -- expecting marriage and a spouse to fit a list of criteria that shouldn't have been placed. However, I know many men and women probably don't fall into this category. I, just happen to be a girl that sometimes does.
My unwritten list is certainly a lot shorter than when I was in college, but the truth is, maybe it should ONLY say: 1. Must Love Jesus
I have had friends emailing this article to me today, I have seen people talking about this subject on facebook and blogs, It seems to be the HOT topic......All this hype is over Keller's new book on marriage (written with his wife). My friend Nikki talks about it on her blog, and mentions another article on the book.
I don't read a lot of stuff on marriage other than the occasional article or chapter in a book. I know some people take the approach of reading about marriage or parenting or career (or whatever their next step might be) way ahead of time. That's honorable and I fully support it! But, I take the approach that I want to spend a whole lot more time reading about ways to live my life to God's glory now...so the occasional marriage book is fine, but my focus is usually on how can I glorify God now, at 27, single, living in the city (I use that term loosely), working as a lawyer?? Marriage books usually don't spend a lot of time telling me how to be a godly woman now.
However, I plan on reading this book...why? Why this one and not the others? (1) because its by Tim Keller who I generally really agree with what he has to say because its biblical but practical. He doesn't approach the world with Christian Blinders on, so I doubt he approaches marriage in any different way and (2) because I think some of the things he emphasizes about our generation(s) - married and single-- is true and can affect you whether already married or dating...
If I can strive to treat men less like a checklist and more as someone I am getting to know who also loves Jesus, then dating can be done in a more Christlike fashion, even if we don't end up together. I hear that crazy talk all the time -- even from Christians, especially from Christians -- about someone who will fulfill you, will be so compatible, that God made just for you (as if God is making someone to bring me glory and satisfaction, its more like He is blessing me with someone though I don't deserve it) and I don't buy it....I think that there will be some basic attraction and similarities that may draw you to one Jesus-loving male over another Jesus-loving male, but truth is, the basis for marriage is a common faith in the same Lord....so many different men could be "right"
Also, friends who are getting married in the next year or so, if I like this book, you may receive it as a wedding gift. Fair Warning.
I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. (Jeremiah 32:40)
So this is not one of my 3 original verses. I had it all narrowed down to "Nothing is impossible with God." (very much true and I also hope very much a theme in my life this year.
Then, after a very intense discussion with my mom about how I am not trusting that what God does in my life is good (I didn't completely agree with everything she said, but it is the truth that what God is doing in our lives is good or can be used for good) and after reading this article an The Blazing Center yesterday, I knew that Jeremiah 32:40 had to be my verse for the year.
See, sometimes I doubt God, sometimes we all do....but if I am honest, what I doubt isn't that God can do good things in our lives, I doubt that he DOES good things or IS CURRENTLY DOING good things in our lives. I told that story yesterday of my friend who was told she would lose the baby. I think if I am honest, I knew God could save the baby (as He did), but I doubted He would.
As a good little reformed girl, I know God is sovereign, but I want to also know He is good. I trust God is in control, I just often doubt that He is yielding that control for good. It's hard to see goodness sometimes...on top of my own pains, I know others who have been through divorces, who have lost children, who have been raped, who have spent years waiting for a husband or children or both, who have been unemployed, who have lost parents. How do I believe that's good?
I don't believe evil is good, that individual actions are good, but my goal this year is to learn to believe that despite that God is good. Because how horrible is it to have faith in a God that is sovereign but not good? If God is good, he allows hard times in a way that can one day be redeemed for blessing and good.
Also, how wonderful would it be to face those times or pray for others facing those times knowing God is good, that none of this pain will be wasted in our/their lives.
Just a thought. I like my 2012 verse. Everything I am going through today -- from the many many blessings to the trials is God doing good to me. How refreshing. How true.
I think I shared this quote before but I will share it again because I think it goes perfectly with my new life verse:
God will not turn away from doing you good. He will keep on doing good. He doesn't do good to His children sometimes and bad to them other times. He keeps on doing good and He never will stop doing good for ten thousand ages of ages. When things are going bad that does not mean God has stopped doing good. It means He is shifting things around to get them in place for more good, if you will go on loving Him. - JOHN PIPER
So I have narrowed down my 2012 life verses to 3 good choices:
1. "The Lord will do great things for me, and I will be filled with joy. I will sow in tears then I will reap with songs of joy."Psalms 126:3,5
2. "For Nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:37
3. "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9
I am leaning to number 2 & 3 - (a) it was between 2 & 3 until yesterday when a friend shared verse 1 with me. (b) I love verse 1 and the reason I love it is because it sums up the past several years of my life -- and although I am sure I many many more sorrowful times ahead of me, I am not currently sowing tears. I have plenty of frustrations, hardships, moments where I feel God is silent, but not deep deep sorrow as so many others are experiancing. I have seen the Lord bring Joy from bad situations and although this verse touches my heart so much, I want one that sums my life up now..
Verse #2 really hit home when studying advent. There are so many times that I believe God is not in control over every circumstance. I pray for myself and for others, but I don't really believe God could or would step in to the circumstances. I had a friend who was supposed to lose a baby this year and it is literally a miracle that she is still pregnant, but she knew all along that she would be. I must admit that my prayers for her were a little less hopeful, I expected the worst. Why don't I go through life expecting the best from God, even if the best ends up not being what I thought it would be? I hate to think how many prayers for those who are sick or dying or struggling with sin I have prayed with doubt?
Verse #3 - I heard a sermon by Tim Keller talking about how important this verse is, because it doesn't say that a man planning his course is wrong (I always read it that way). The verse just points out that when making decisions, we make an effort to do things (go to gym, sign up for college, go to church, apply for a job) and we are responsible to take steps towards our goals, but at the end of the day, God is soverign...so yes, we have responsibility to live decisively and consciously, BUT no one bad decision can destroy God's plans, He is over them all. That hit home for me. I always wonder if I chose the wrong city to live in or the wrong church to go to or the wrong career. What if ending things with that boy was a mistake? or not taking this career path was wrong? Yes, I need to make good decisions, but at the end of the day, God is in control....what a comfort.
So, as I said, most likely between 2 and 3, any votes? Whats your 2012 life verse?
In the words of counting crows, "It's been a long december and there's reason to believe that maybe this year will be better than the last..."
December began good and didn't end very poorly, but God certainly knew what He was doing by drawing my attention to advent because the last couple weeks of December were stressful and frustrating at times....and I was relieved to see it end......and after reading people's facebook statuses on New Years, I realize that most people felt the same way I did about 2011: Ehhhh..... not the worst year but certainly nothing special. It was filled with challenges in relationships, church, work, frustrations, etc.
I also noticed two sentiments: unbridled hope that the number of a year or a new years resolution could change one's life so drastically (not that goal setting is bad) or continued pessimism that the next year would be as uneventful or as hurtful as the year before.
I don't want any of these sentiments. I want to hope, but not in my own abilities, in my Lord. And, I don't want to pessimistic....I want to believe the Lord is working in me and that there will be changes in me a year from now....So on top of my "I am going to start running" and "bill more hours at work" type of resolutions, here are some of mine for the new year:
1. I want to go forth each day, each month, each year -- believing that we have a God that can bless, heal, provide and most importantly, work for our good (even when it doesn't feel that way). I want to trust His timing.
2. Although advent has ended, I don't want to leave the manger at Christmas. I want to constantly be aware that God is with us, that as I watch families mourn sick ones or try to encourage a friend struggling with temptation or loss or loneliness, Our God knows that pain...and felt it.
3. I want to live in constant prayer -- for myself and others....prayer that believes; prayer that is immediate and constant; and prayer that is true relationship with my Savior, not just words and formulas and checklists.
4. I want to live very aware of my sin and God's grace- but also, making an effort to put sin to death on a daily basis.
5. I want to live more aware of how to love others well, even better than myself-- striving to care for hurting friends more and striving to even pray for my enemies (this last one is the hardest for me). This will be hard - loving others well and praying for those who hurt me -- but the Lord loves us well and hopefully through Him, I can care for others.
6. I want to be aware of God's faithfulness and protection- even in the smallest measures....the friend who happens to call on a day where you were feeling down or the way you barely avoided that wreck on the interstate. We look for His provision in so many ways and feel dissapointed but sometimes He provides for us daily in small ways and we often don't notice those.