Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sweet Blog Friends

Since Magdalena has been here in my life and on this blog so many of my sweet blog friends have sent me things. After she passed away I got some special items to help to have a tangible memory of her. I don't know if I posted these items on the blog, but they are still so precious to me. About a month ago I received a package from Kyla who had my family on her heart. Every time I see it I will think of the family God has blessed me with, but also, I will remember my sweet blog friends who have been there with me in my greatest sorrow and rejoiced with God's amazing blessings. Thank you, Kyla, for remembering us and taking the time to send this special gift to us! I do want to add that the entire placing of the figurines was how she had imagined it, and I love it!
Our family of four

Monday, June 28, 2010

Our New Adventure

Noah and I struggled so much with me returning to work next year full-time. We feel called to begin Joy in the Morning and to raise Walt, but with Noah being in seminary, it has been impossible for me to stay at home. Last week, my work called me to sign my contract for the upcoming year, and so began our prayer journey. We struggled with it for days, and within 2-days time, work became available for me to teach classes online for a local community college! What a cool God thing! We have such a peace about this decision. There are still so many unknowns, but we are trusting in God's promises for us as He leads us in this new direction. Today we let go of financial security, and we are following where God will lead us. It is exciting, which is why I will call this "Our New Adventure". Today, Joy in the Morning made one step forward. Please pray for Noah and me as we make decisions. Right now, we are planning to use GriefShare as one of the ways we could reach out to hurting parents.

Through blogging, we have come into contact with so many hurting hearts who have lost a child. God has laid it upon our hearts to begin "Joy in the Morning", which is based upon Psalm 30:5, to offer support and hope to those who have lost a child. One way we are beginning is by giving me the time to commit to it (leaving a full-time job), and now we will begin to raise awareness and support to get the wheels moving. This blog is going to become one of the most important tools to glorify God by reaching out to those who are suffering. This is the reason I want to attend the Relevant 2010 conference in October. One of the sponsors, Country Bob's, is giving away one ticket, and here I am writing the reason I want to go: to show others who are hurting to their deep cores the hope that can be found in Jesus Christ through this blog. It is a really neat way to truly maximize all of this cool technology to make more of an impact in the world, and it all comes from a Christian perspective!

Thank you to Country Bob's for giving me the chance to win this ticket! They sent me two bottles of their fabulous sauce. You can check them out on Facebook and Twitter. I recommend baking chicken with the sauce and create a fiesta salad! YUMMMMY
"It is my new favorite sauce. It is better than John Boy and Billy Grillin' Sauce!" - Noah Roberts
We are looking forward to grilling out some burgers with this new, fabulous sauce!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Siesta Bible Study

Through the Baby Be Blessed Blog I found out about a cool bible study that has happened for the past two summers. Beth Moore does not write the books, but she facilitates online for small groups everywhere. It isn't too late to join! You can do it alone, but accountability in small groups helps for us all to stay on track! It is a six week study through the book of Ruth using a workbook by Kelly Minter from The Living Room Series titled Ruth:Loss, Love, & Legacy. Beth Moore posts a video with questions for you personally or for the group to discuss every two weeks, and if you are interested, and haven't bought your book, Chapter 1 is online! Have I put enough links up here for you, yet? Sorry about that, but there is just so much information out there!

Interested? Go to the Living Proof Ministries Blog and watch the introduction video! I am looking forward to going through this study! Just as it is stressed in this introduction, it is important that we stay in the word!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Walt Update

Walt is keeping us busy this summer, and he is into everything! He will be running around soon! In case you haven't hear, GYMBOREE is having their big sale! We got lots of winter clothes for him at Wal-mart prices! Thanks to all of the family members that are giving the clothes to him as a birthday gift! He is going to be looking stylish this fall and winter in his new wardrobe.

Here is Walt eating his first bitter biscuit.
You can tell that we were watching the World Cup at the same time!

His favorite part is the huge mess the biscuit makes!

Going swimming for the first time! He is loving to float!

Family picture in the pool

This was taken the following day on Father's Day when our family came over to celebrate the dads. Here is Papa swimming with the kids.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Week 4 - Holy Spirit, Comfortable

This week's study is going to be hard for me to write in one posting, but I am going to try. As I sit in my reading/writing chair, the sunlight is pouring in on me, my favorite time. I have prayed about what to write here because this a very important week. If you have been reading this book for answers to your pain or if you read my blog expecting to learn exactly how to deal with loss, then, you have turned to the wrong source. Everyone grieves differently, and if you don't feel the exact same way as I do, or if you are at a different place, I pray that you know it is ok. If you felt like you would find a simple, fix-it solution to the pain in your heart from this book, I am afraid to tell you that you won't. Both are helpful, but not the ultimate solution. The main comfort in the midst of your pain and sorrow is our God. That is why I am praying so intently that God gives me the right words to write here because if you do not know this God or his son Jesus Christ then I want so badly for you to learn about him here. This is a safe place.

The taste of your apple pie or your attendance at church does not determine your entrance into heaven. The way that you handle your grief does not determine whether or not you get to heaven. It is only by faith that someone can stand before the amazing God of the universe (John 3:5). God knows that we cannot handle all of these situations in a perfect matter, and that is why he sent his son to pay for our all of our wrong doings on this earth. And once you come to God through saving faith, you are "reborn" meaning you get a clean slate from God, and when you give your sins to Him, they are on his shoulders.
Did you grow up wearing Keds? I did, and I remember having a white pair that I wore a lot when it was hot outside. One day I was eating a melting red Popsicle, and I am sure that I was not being careful as instructed, the sugary, red liquid fell on my shoe. This was not coming out, and even after trying to get the red stain out myself, I could not get them clean! That red stain is nothing for God! He made the greatest sacrifice when he sent his son to die for us, so when we make mistakes that are undoable and have left scars, God can come and give us a fresh start.

Once the Holy Spirit truly resides in your heart, how you live your life will change. I like what Nancy Guthrie says on page 28, "many of us want God to save us, but we don't always want him to change us or control us." We may hang onto sins because we think that is what will make us be our best. Like we know what is better for us than our all-knowing God! When I write that I think to myself, "Well, duh! God knows better than I do!", but in my life my wanting to be in charge forgets to go before God, pray and give him my life. Even with having faith in God, I still need to bring my struggles, pains, and requests to Him daily.

When I read certain parts of this book it is obvious that Nancy was following God's will by writing this book. Some parts seem to have been written just for me, and one of those readings titled, "No Words" is one of them. While Magdalena was with us I struggled to pray consistently. Sometimes I would plead with him and beg him for a little more time or for certain little things, but staying on my knees for hours was not done as it should have been. I was hurt, angry, tired, and just like Nancy wrote, I wasn't sure how to pray every day. The Holy Spirit, who knows are hearts, intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27) to God in a way that is in accordance with God's will. Even when I was too weak to pray, others were intervening, praying for me, and the Holy Spirit was doing the same. I know that this may be wrong comparison, but so many times I have treated God as I probably would antique furniture. I have so much respect for such beautiful, quality things that are made so much better than plastic furniture, but instead of enjoying a beautiful and inviting piece because it is "untouchable" because I am not worthy of it. God is not like that! He invites us to come and fellowship with him through the Holy Spirit! And one day when we get to heaven we will bask in all of God's glory!

Whether you have truly suffered in the past or you are living your life with little loss, God will comfort us with the truths that we know about him, but we have to learn these truths. Seek after who God is through The Bible that he has given us here on this earth. God doesn't always show us why we have endured such trials here, but he will comfort us and give us the strength that we need. And when are weakness begins to overwhelm us in this life, let us turn to the continual flow of strength and comfort in our God.

During my reflection time I realized that the Holy Spirit was truly with me during the week that Magdalena left this earth. I don't see how I stood for hours greeting people during the visitation and funeral, how I listened to every word that the pastor said, or how my knees remained in tact as I saw her tiny casket for the last time. The Holy Spirit gave me the strength that was needed just for that day, and the next I needed to seek after Him again.

The weaker we feel, the harder we lean. And the harder we lean, the stronger we grow spiritually, even while our bodies waste away. - J.I. Packer

Please share any way that God may spoken to your heart through this chapter, or what you have learned by posting a comment.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Last Sunday I began my start on posting weekly discussions on the book One Year of Hope, but because this Sunday is very special I wanted to take this post to acknowledge two very important men. I will continue my weekly discussions on Monday morning!

My dad helped to form me into the person that I am and who I want to be in the future. He is an amazing man and set the standard for all future men to follow in my life, and I had once been told that I set the bar too high. It wasn't too high, but it was the exactly 5 feet 10 inches tall for Noah to walk right through and steal my heart away. I love to watch him with my children, and although he denies it, he is an amazing daddy. I watch him loving my children, and I know that God has blessed them more than they realize right now. I love you, Baby, and after years of marriage and losing Magdalena, you still make me giddy. I love you more each day!! Happy Father's Day!

Thank you, Andrea, for allowing me to post this picture of Magdalena and Noah on my blog! Because these days are so special but a bit sensitive to us, I gave Noah a copy of this picture tonight instead of tomorrow. He likes to have his children in his office!
Walt is excited to celebrate his first father's day with his daddy, and he has something to give him also!

Look at this picture of my dad and me. Can you see it? Look more closely. Do you know what the secret is that this picture shows?
I am a daddy's girl through and through.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dealing with "Those" Days

Did you notice that I added a button titled "Bring the Rain" to the side bar? That is the link to Angie Smith's blog, who held her daughter for only a few hours before having to say goodbye. Her book, I will Carry You, was released a few weeks ago, and I have had it sitting next to my reading chair for about that time. I knew what would happen when I read it. The time would have to allow my tears to flow because I would relive some of my pain by reading about hers. So it began two days ago over a glass of wine. I pulled my blanket over me and began to know Audrey, who entered this world on April 7, 2008. You may ask, "Why would you want to read about someone else's pain when you have your own?", and my answer would be the same reason why mothers who have lost a child can hug without words and feel like they have known each other for years. Losing a child is a pain that no one can understand unless they've experienced it, and through her book and blog I have been encouraged and felt as though I was not alone in my pain.

After Magdalena passed away I tried not to relive the day that I had to say goodbye, but it is all right there in my mind. Satan has attacked me this past semester as Walt reached some of the milestones that Magdalena did right before she passed away. When it was time to begin giving Walt rice cereal I could not bear to do it. It made me remember Magdalena's last days and how she ate it. I didn't even want a box of it in my house, and thankfully I had parents in town who helped Walt through that milestone while I avoided it. God has dealt with my heart over the last few months so that I could let go a lot of that pain and move forward instead of holding onto what only Satan could put in my mind. Reading this book made me look at those feelings and realize where they came from. Also, I have really began to think about that last day that I had with my sweet girl. Do you know that I went shopping that day? I had pushed it out of my mind that it was our last day with her, so I went across town to get some candles and a book. I don't even remember why I had it in my mind that I would get those particular items that day, but I did go. My sister stopped by that day to see her while I wasn't there, and when I got home I cooked dinner and invited my parents over to eat. Everyone held Magdalena, even my dad, who feels awkward with babies when they are so little. For so long I have held onto the idea that "why wasn't I there just enjoying Magdalena?" and "why didn't I realize that it was my last day?". I have put so much of that blame on my heart, and it has been weighing me down for too long. That last meal I don't even have the desire to cook anymore because it always reminds me of that last day. But I have been thinking that maybe God had my mind moving everywhere else because otherwise I would have sat there all day holding her refusing to let her go when her time came. I would have held onto what was not mine to begin with. Instead everyone got their last goodbye, which in a close family we all needed.

There is so much other pain that I am still having to deal with, and I pray that over time God will deal with me because he is ready to carry the load for me . I just have to give it to him. So easy to say, but at times so hard to do. The pain of losing her will always exist, but I am referring to the "what if" pain that does not need to remain in my heart. She is safe in the arms of Jesus now and so should my thoughts be.

On page 157 Angie says, "What the Lord has given us can either be taken into ourselves as pain or given back to Him as a holy offering, one that glorifies His name and gives meaning to our loss." May Magdalena's life continue to glorify God, and my prayer is that people will go to their knees to God when they hear or read about her....including myself. Imagine what she would think if I sat her and wallowed in my pain like I want to do some days! I am praying that I will no longer allow Satan to attack me at my weakest point, and that when I think of those last moments with Magdalena I pray to God and that I thank Him for what he gave us instead of allowing thoughts that would come from Satan to sneak into my mind.

John 16:20
Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Walt's First Beach Trip

This past week, Noah's family took their annual Florida beach trip, which took Walt by surprise. First, we went to celebrate Walt's great-grandma's 90th birthday, and while there Walt charmed all of his new friends with his big smile and sweet personality. After two days there, we loaded up again for a long trip to Florida, and Walt did not complain a bit, but was happy to be there. Knowing his personality, I never expected Walt to dislike the beach. I brought Pedialyte thinking that he would put it all in his mouth, and he would end up with a stomach ache. Between the sun and the sound of the waves, Walt was very unhappy at the beach, so after a few times we gave up. But one evening we went out much later in the day, and this is when Walt explored the sand, which he ended up enjoying!

Now we are back in the swing of things. I can't express enough how I love being at home with my sweet little man all throughout the day. He is such a blessing to have to fill the house up with his squeals, laughter, and tears. He has begun to crawl all over the house, stand up, and before I know it he will be walking. How did he grow up so fast? I do miss my sweet little man being all baby and needed me much more than he does now, but this is such a fun stage too. Each stage will be fun, but they go by too quickly! Noah is preparing for his month of Greek, which will begin in July. Even with preparing, we still get to have him around for play time much more than during the busy school year, and this has been such a refreshing time for our family.

Here Walt realizes that he actually does like the sand

Right before Walt burst into tears

Grandma and us celebrating

Traveling little man

Oh, how we love him!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Week 3 - The Father Heart of God

Yes, I have finally begun A Year of Hope again!
Some of you may be wondering where I went, but please don't give up, yet! Pick the book up again, or if you have not begun, it isn't too late! This is not just a time for me to give my thoughts, struggles, and prayers through the book, but for us all to share together and learn from each other's grief. Instead of just commenting on my thoughts, make comments on how God is changing your life or what he has laid on your heart through this chapter.

The word father brings different feelings to every person. For some, like me, I was blessed with an amazing father who set the standard for all men to follow. I picture God with a balance of love and discipline. However, the reality is that very few men step up to be the father that God has called them to be. These children have a scarred view of fathers, and their view of God as a father may not always be reality. In this week we looked at the different aspects of God as our father, his love and discipline. Through disciplining he continues to show His love. I really liked how Nancy pointed out the fact that as parents we know what our children need better than they do, and how we will give them what they need over what they want despite their pleading.

For some time now I have been chewing over the purpose of prayer. First, I know that I believe that through prayer we come to have a personal time with God, that we come to rely on Him more clearly, we recognize who God is and our need for Him during our time of prayer, and we bring God our requests. But does how we pray make a difference? Our hearts need to be centered on what God's will for our lives should be, and for this reason I think that before we bring our request to God, we should ask God to guide our hearts. "Would you be willing to stop pounding on heaven's door, to stop begging God to give you what you believe is best, and to open your hands to receive the good gifts your heavenly father wants to give you?" (page 20)

If God had wanted Magdalena to have been born perfect, this would have been achieved, but he is more glorified through her sickness. I don't remember a lot the few months after I received her diagnosis, but before writing this blog entry Noah and I discussed how we never felt truly led to pray for Magdalena to be healed. He definitely has the power to heal her. We never for once doubted that, but we knew that she had been created in a delicate, special way. Our prayer consisted of us begging him for time with her to be able to know her as best we could before we would be asked to let her go, and we hoped that she would be one of the few with this type of disorder to outlive the statistics.

The following questions are taken from the Heidelberg Catechism.
When we ask something of God, it needs to remember God as a loving parent, and through so many prayers answered in a different, unexpected way, we are being loved by God, and it is for His glory that all things are done.

Why do Christians need to pray?

A. Because prayer is the most important part
of the thankfulness God requires of us.^1
And also because God gives his grace and Holy Spirit
only to those who pray continually and groan inwardly,
asking God for these gifts
and thanking him for them.^2

^1 Ps. 50:14-15; 116:12-19; 1 Thess. 5:16-18
^2 Matt. 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-13

Why did Christ command us
to call God "our Father"?

A. At the very beginning of our prayer
Christ wants to kindle in us
what is basic to our prayer—
the childlike awe and trust
that God through Christ has become
our Father.

Our fathers do not refuse us
the things of this life;
God our Father will even less refuse to give us
what we ask in faith.^1

^1 Matt. 7:9-11; Luke 11:11-13