Friday, July 30, 2010

First Gifts!!!

In honor of the day that Magdalena came into this world, August 6, 2008, we are celebrating by collecting new, unwrapped gifts for the children's hospital where Magdalena received her care after birth. Children from all over the state go to this hospital from small ailments to cancer treatment. We received by mail the very first gift (really multiple gifts from one person)!! Thank you, Allison, for being SO thoughtful!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Week 7 - Life

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us; For in him we live and move and exist. - Acts 17:24-25, 27-28

Wow! This week was a hit to the heart, and made me really evaluate my heart on so many levels. Just because I write what I have learned does not mean that I am perfect in these areas! As I write I pray that God will change my life in such a dramatic way that every ounce of me glorifies Him. I am still so selfish with things that come to my life and the lives of my children. I want to squeeze them in my arms and guard them as though they are mine to keep forever.

"One was that the value of a life is not determined by how long a person lives or by how much that person contributes. Every life is valuable because God himself gives life and breath to everything. He is not only the source of life; he is also the source of satisfaction and meaning in life. "in him we live and move and exist" (Acts 17:18)."

This quote was so comforting because it is a sweet reminder that Magdalena impacted this world, but look closer at the quote when reading it again. This entire chapter is to remind us of our purpose on this earth. Unlike our initial thoughts, our purpose is not to have children, to help keep the earth clean, or to marry a handsome prince. Our number one thing that we should all be doing is glorifying God (John 6:22-71). He calls us to do all of these other little things while we are on this earth, and they are important, so in every step we should be doing it to God's glory! Yet, those things cannot take the focus off of God. What does my life revolve around? Who is the center of my decision making? What is my purpose for getting out of bed now that my heart has been shattered by the loss of my girl? I continue to pray that God will always keep m in check of my motivation for doing things and that although my heart is sinful (full of hurt and anger from loss), that it will praise Him (Deut 30:6). Our standing next to our graves or reflecting on our pain is in the fact that he has saved us from our sin!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Celebrating Greek Mexican Style

Noah has been taking Greek, which is part of his program while in seminary, but along with an intense class we have moved. Through all of this Noah has done an AWESOME job! He finished his first exam yesterday, and we are so proud! Still there are many weeks to go, but we had to celebrate his great job so far! My little men are dressed in their Guayaveras, and we ate some delicious fajitas.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Week 6 - Why?

As far as I am concerned, God turned good what you meant for evil. - Genesis 50:20

With our situation, as I am sure it is with you, we asked the question why? many times while in others God's presence was much more obvious. For me, the times that I questioned our situation Satan was attacking me to question God, but I know that God is in control of all situations. Nothing happens against what He will allow. What I liked most about this chapter is that it is for all who have suffered in different ways. It doesn't have to be due to the loss of a child. The reasons that given in this chapter, and supported with scripture are 1.) natural consequences for your sin or someone else's sin, 2.) the result of a living in a fallen, broken world, 3.) suffering Satan has brought, or 4.) discipline through hardship. My hope is that so many of you are reading this book along with me, and if you aren't, I would really encourage you to read this chapter along with the scripture in The Bible.
Scripture has always been a constant reminder of how God is in control of all things. If that were not true, there would be no hope. Without Christ there would be no hope. And so when I ask the question why? I find my hope in Christ because of our sin and this fallen world Magdalena suffered, and because He loves us and we have a relationship with Him, we are saved and to be reunited together.
Nancy asks at the end of the chapter to reflect on why we (the reader) think we suffered, and I would say that it is because we live in a world "where sin has taken root and corrupted everything - even our genetic code."

I have a friend who is in labor with her first child right now, and I wonder if she is wanting to have a strong discussion with Eve and how she wishes that she hadn't eaten that apple! Sin should get us fired up! Why is it that we have become so immune to the sin that we don't put it in the same category as our suffering? I know that I have done this on my occasions. I am not saying that because I sinned, Magdalena had a genetic disorder. I am frustrated that Adam and Eve sinned which caused the world to be broken, and therefore, Magdalena had a genetic disorder! But God has continued to show us grace and mercy, and He sent his son so that we could be reunited with him despite the sin in the world. This is our hope in the midst of our suffering, our rainbow after the rain.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Birthday Balloons

To celebrate the day Magdalena entered into this world Noah and I are hosting Magdalena's Birthday Balloons for Batson. It will be a time to play games, cook-out, and all people that are coming are asked to bring a toy for the children who receive treatments at the Blair E. Batson children's hospital. Of course we have to have t-shirts too! I have posted a pic, and they are $10 for children and adult sizes. I will place the order at noon on Friday, July 15th.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Scrapping Walt

Although these are not super clear pictures, I wanted to share what Walt's scrapbook is looking like so far. I am scrapping the first year of each child, or at least that is the goal right now!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Walt at 9 Months

Every month we have taken a picture lying down in his diaper so that we can scrapbook his growth. Well, although it didn't work out because Walt wanted to show-off his skills, we still got some cute shots! He is growing so much, and I am loving this fun stage of life!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Sufferers - Week 5

God offers compassion to those of us who are suffering. If you had said that to me while I was having to say goodbye to Magdalena, I am not sure if I would have agreed with the word compassion because my heart was torn into pieces, but I am truly learning that God knows much more than I do. He sees things on a grander scale than I could ever imagine. I am going to be quoting Nancy directly a lot during this chapter because I don't want anything missed when these are such sweet reminders of how truly awesome our God is.

"Worshiping God does not require that we understand or approve of what God has allowed into our lives; it simply requires a heart that desires to trust God and a will that is bent toward obedience to God regardless of our feelings. We worship God because he is worthy, not because we necessarily feel like it. And as we worship in the midst of our pain, we are able to gain perspective on that pain. This is a costly worship - which makes it all the more worthwhile and precious to God." (pg.34)

Job was chosen to suffer "because of his great faith". God does not cause suffering. It is the sin in this world, but He does allow it to happen. In the midst of this suffering God "remembers His promises to you". He is compassionate. Do you doubt this because you think that if He were he would not have cause you to suffer? Compassion does not mean that God is going to fix every situation as though we think it should be. Nancy gives us John the Baptist as an example of this.
"I assure you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist." - Matthew 11:11
"And yet when Jesus says this, John the Baptist is languishing in prison as a result of his prophetic ministry and bold calls for repentance."

By basking in God's presence you will truly be able to see God's grace in your life in the midst of your suffering. I know that this is true for me. I have had many times of anger, but when I truly recognize God's presence I am given peace and joy.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." - 2 Corinthians 12:9
"It (God's grace) is enough to generate joy in the midst of great sorrow. It is enough to help you endure the loneliness of your bed and the reminders of loss everywhere you turn. It is enough to enable you to continue believing that God is good and he loves you."

My prayer for all of us is a combination of all that Nancy asks us to pray for this week. I pray that we will be open with God in our pain so that we may truly come in His presence. I pray that we will come to recognize His grace in the middle of our sufferings, feel His compassion in the midst of our sufferings, and to allow peace in our lives instead of doubting God.