Friday, November 27, 2009

Family Thanksgiving

This year for Thanksgiving we had my side of the family over to our home on Thursday and then went to Tim's sister's home on Friday to spend time with his side of the family.

We had a great holiday - very relaxing.

Here are some pics from Thursday: 

 This is my sister with her husband and 2 of their 3 kids

These are my grandparents (by the way my grandpa just turned 83 years old and is as full of life as ever!!)

 This is my grandma and adorable niece, Shayla

Here are me and my man - there aren't too many of these pictures of us alone! 
Here is my mom and step-dad Luke

And here they are with most of their grandkids

 This is my grandparents with my Uncle Todd 

For some reason I am having a hard time transferring a picture of my other sister, Skye and her family, but I'm going to try again later.

Here are some of our pictures from today (friday):

 Alexa playing around

 Dance Time for the kids

 Me and my cutie pie nephew, Sawyer

 My niece Ava - (Sawyer, Ava and Alexa are all within 6 weeks of each other it is so awesome to watch them growing up together!)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

This is the Way

The last few months of my life have been... unexplainable. I mean, seriously, I don't even know where to begin. I look back on my journal and I'm like - wow! "God, I know you know what's going on and I am thankful because I am absolutely overwhelmed by who you are."

For the longest time I felt as though I were going through a desert, a long painful journey. Since then the Lord has continued to take me on a journey that can only be explained as "life changing". I have heard and felt the Lord in ways I never have before and I have been required to have faith more in this season than maybe any other. The Lord is continually teaching me to trust and to stand on His Word rather than my feelings, this has not been the easiest lesson I have ever learned!

It has been during this time that the Lord has faithfully provided some clear cut "words" He had for me --- you know what I mean, those times that you seem to be hearing the same verse/word over and over again in the strangest places. And after about the 3rd or 4th time you think "hmm... maybe God's trying to tell me something"

For me it went something like this:
1. Wait on Me - Trust Me - not what you are feeling (Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 37:5, Jeremiah 17:7-8)
2. I love you & I am here- (Ephesians 4:14-19) (another post here)
3. I am: your everything - your strength, your provider, your healer: I have great plans for your life and it is through Me and by Me these plans will come to pass (Ephesians 1:18-20, Hebrews 13:20-21, Deuteronomy 31:1-8) call on Me and let Me do My work in your life.

4. Follow Me I am leading you (Isaiah 30:21)

The last week or so the verse that comes to me over and over is Isaiah 30:21... I had actually heard it for the first time over 2 years ago at a women's retreat I went to, and to be honest, I wasn't impressed at the time. But for some reason it just keeps coming up - so finally today I decided to go and read the section of scripture it was in and all I can say is....

God is faithful!

The entire section spoke to me and applied to the journey and the process that God is taking me through.

This is what Isaiah 30:18-22 says:
"Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore He exalts Himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of Justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.
For a people shall dwell in Zion in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as He hears it, He answers you.
And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.
And your ears shall hear a word behind you saying "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, "Be gone!"

The beauty of this verse is that even though there were main words that God was speaking into my life there were also little lessons and messages that God was teaching me through this time as well and some them included: getting rid of my idol (myself), that God was going to reveal Himself to me in a powerful way, and that God is True and Just - as I was dealing with some of my "relational issues" I struggled with the truth that God was the ultimate Judge and Revenger of my pain - not me.... these verses speak to those struggles and lessons as well.

I don't really know how clearly this is all coming out (if at all) but the real message I wanted to share with you guys this morning was that:
God has shown Himself to be a gracious God. I can't help but worship the King who is more powerful, more complex, more magnificent and more sovereign than we will ever be able to comprehend. He has not only the world in His hands, but our individual lives - He is certainly a God of detail and order and NOTHING, absolutely nothing is by coincidence. Go through this day looking for the messages and words that God has for your life He is speaking into your life... are you listening?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What's a Classifier to do?

Last week I posted the most adorable video of Treyton playing with what we thought to be a ladybug.
Later that evening my mother called me beside herself with the cuteness of the video and one small teaching moment for her lifetime student (me). "By the way" she says "it was probably an asian beetle that Treyton was playing with, not a lady bug. Asian beetles are more common, usually have more of an orangey color and another way you can tell is that if it is a ladybug their dots should be symmetrical."

"Interesting" I say, and I pass the information on to Treyton (who could care less).

So this morning I'm sitting here working on lesson plans for the next "spurt" of school and I look down and there crawls.... a lady bug.... or is it an asian beetle?

I lean in to take a closer look:

it's more of an orangey color so I'm thinking asian beetle
then I look at the spots and they are symetrical!

So which is it - asian beetle or lady bug?
What is a classifier to do when a situation such as this arises? 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

All About Treyton: November 2009 Edition

I feel like it's been forever since I've done a family update post.... (I was going to put us all in here, but after I finished doing Treyton I realize I just had too much to say for one post... go figure)

Treyton: Is now 4 years old going on 10 (!) I can't believe the changes we've seen in him since he's turned 4!

school: I started teaching Treyton 4-year old preschool at home in September, which you can follow at our refined metals blog (for those of you interested there is an e-mail subscriber sign-up over there as well). We don't have a set schedule but a typical week of school for us is 4/5 days about 2 hours a day. We work on a letter a week, though the past two weeks we have been doing two letters a week. We are almost finished with the curriculum I had gotten (for the year!!) and will start on the next level soon. Treyton has blown my mind with what he is capable of and his desire to learn, I will be honest, I didn't see it coming! He is flying through the stuff I have for him and what I thought would take us all year will probably only get us through the first 1/2 of the year.

~ He can now recognize 46 of the 52 letters (both upper and lower)
~ Can count rote to 12
~ Can count to 29
~ Knows basic shapes and can duplicate/draw any of them
~ Can write numbers 1-5
~ Can write nearly all the letters he recognizes... again this is upper and lower case.
~ He is learning to blend sounds (beginning phonics), and can read the "at" family (cat, bat, rat, mat, sat, etc.)
~ Memorized daddy's work number
~ Knows approximately 15 states on the U.S map (I say the name he points them out)
~ His coloring and artistic ability are AMAZING (if you ask me), and his ability to follow detailed instruction has developed tremendously this year
~ One of his favorite facts that he learned this year (thanks to dad) is that Alligators can not stick out their tongues!

I'm sure I'm leaving some things out but those are the basics that I can come up with (on the spot).

Developmentally Treyton is also doing well - he is so unbelievably helpful, always willing to do anything mom or dad needs and is able to complete most tasks around the house without any help at all. This may seem like a strange "update" but it's just amazing to me to watch my "baby" turn into a child who is both responsible and capable.
One of his favorite big boy jobs is getting the mail (all by himself).
He helps cooks EVERY night, there has been twice in the last month that I specifically had to ask to cook by myself (for a little break) but otherwise Treyton (and now often Lexie too) have their stools in the kitchen helping dad and/or I cook - let me tell you - our little kitchen fills up quick!
Even as I am writing this, Treyton came in and asked if he could get a rag and washcloth and wash the tables and chairs... "to help you" (his words) - right now he is cleaning a bar stool.

Personality: My absolute favorite thing to talk about when it comes to Treyton is his heart. I am obviously a bit prejudice when it comes to him (I am his mom and all) but many friends and family members have also commented so I feel safe saying: He has the most incredible, sensitive heart I know! He is so loving and caring. There are times that his sensitivity is just overwhelming too me (in a good way). Part of me wants to protect it but I know that nurturing is a much better way! He loves with everything he has, he is SUPER loyal and defends the ones he loves without persuasion.

I love watching him with Lexie - the other day for example we had some friends over and I had given the kids a snack. Lexie likes to "share" with others but in reality she doesn't want you to eat it all because she will probably want it back. After Lexie had given nearly her entire snack away Treyton piped in and said "Mom, Lexie is giving all her snack away, I told her to stop but she doesn't understand." (now Lexie was giving her snack too Treyton and his friend so it's not like Treyton was feeling left out). "Mom, we need to make sure and give her back the ones that are hers, right?"
It doesn't matter who it is, or even if they are a threat, or if Lexie deserves it :) Treyton will defend Lexie from anyone. It's awesome!

Typically speaking Treyton is very obedient, he is a typical first-born people pleaser, and while this worries me some, it is easy to teach him and most negative behavior is modified quickly and easily without much resistance.

Fun stuff:
Treyton's favorite things right now are
~ singing loudly - live performances (referred to as "church" by Treyton) are put on in our house on a daily basis. Treyton likes to use blankets in the middle of the living room floor as his stage and will use a screwdriver from his tool bench as his microphone. He dances, does magic, "teaches" from the Bible and most often SINGS (as loud as his lungs and mom and dad) will allow him.
~ watching movies - Treyton isn't much into TV shows, he usually requests to watch movies. He has "long ones" (your typical disney type movies) and "short ones"
~ bridges - this has gotten slightly less common but when we are driving Treyton will lift his hands up (and usually wants you to join him) under every bridge viaduct.
~ arts & crafts - Treyton loves arts & crafts. Drawing, writing, coloring, painting, play-doh, moon sand, window art, you name it, Treyton will more than likely enjoy it.
~ typical boy - he loves most boy stuff, like loud noises, demolition, building, wrestling, wrestling and wrestling. He is energetic and active ALL of the time but is manageable. We don't have alot of "rules" in regards to rough housing so he is always coming up with new ways to defy natural gravity or do "tricks" - just this morning while he was showering he thought it would be a good idea to stand on the side of the shower and jump down into the shower.... let's just say a slippery tub floor and 4-year old feet have barely if any friction between them, so what you would imagine to happen, happened.
~ games - he loves all games, but doesn't get to do them as often now that Lexie is more interested in them. we try to save these for when she is napping.
~ he no longer takes naps which was sad for me at first but something I've gotten used to. He goes to bed much easier and better at night which is a nice plus for the small sacrifice.

Upcoming News:
~ Treyton is going to be in his first ever Christmas Musical at our church - this may seem small to some but it seems monumental to me.
~ Treyton is excited about welsoming another sister into the family and says that he is really glad he is not a girl so that he doesn't ever have to have a baby in his tummy.

Want More?
Treyton is hilarious - I don't remember to write as much down as I used to but his "treytonisms" keep me laughing ALL the time. There will be some more Treytonisms coming soon!
~ If you want to read more about Treyton I post (at least weekly) on him at the refined metal academy blog just in our updates on schools, there are lots of pictures and stories over there that should keep you entertained for hours.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Video

Check out a new video of Treyton on the Refined Metals Site

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ultrasound Update

It's been a week, and after much prayer, some research and an easier decision than I expected, we are now ready to fill the rest of the "world" in on what we discovered during our ultrasound.

As I mentioned in my original post. Audrey looks beautiful and perfect - she moved tons during the ultrasound which is always fun :~) However, they did find something in/on my amniotic sac that was of some concern.
Originally the technician labeled it "amniotic band ?"

During our appointment with or OB, he told us what they had found and that he has seen 6 or so of these in his career and while they all turned out normal without complications, they can have serious risks associated with them - including amputation of an extremity. He also said that he would like to send us to a specialist to confirm/diagnose what they found, but if that was what it was there is nothing that can be done to correct or prevent it if something were to happen. He mentioned one other thing that it could possibly be, which they were able to rule out due to a normal/healthy baby at 20 gestational weeks.
As you can imagine, we were a little taken back by what he was saying. To say that we were confused would be a complete understatement.
The only questions I remember asking were (1) Are you sure that's what it is? (2) Could this be related to the Asherman's that I had and the scar tissue that is still there?
To both questions, he answered "no".

I am so thankful that Tim was with me, because he did think to ask "where is it?" and the doctor showed us (via a drawing) where it was located in the upper right hand corner.

We left the doctors office both confused and scared... but mostly just confused. I cried most the way home.

I did manage to call my mom on our way home, to have her start finding anything she could on Amniotic Bands; by dinner time she had called me back and with a reassuring voice told me "Amber, I don't think that that is what you have".

At this point I could bore all of you with a lot of medical information and jargon that you could care less about... but I won't. To put it as simply as I can the information that both my mom and I have found in the last week:
~ Amniotic Band Syndrome occurs in 1 out of 1200 live births (.08%) it is almost always diagnosed when a abnormality or deformity of the fetus is detected during an ultrasound. Rarely is it diagnosed without this. In the cases that they are detected in the sac without attachment to the baby these cases almost always end without any further complication to mother or baby, usually disappearing entirely. When found there is usually more than one. And most of your severe problems typically occur during the first trimester (which is why they are normally diagnosed at a routine 20-week u/s).
~ Amniotic Sheets (note the difference), however, are more common occurring in 1 out of 200 live births (.6%) and are more common in women who have had D&Cs and/or infection/scarring of the uterus (Having a severe case of Asherman's Syndrome, including some scarring that we were unable to get rid of... in the upper right hand corner of my uterus would qualify). An amniotic sheet (a.k.a. fold) is thought to occur when the membranes "fold over" or attach to existing scar tissue. What this basically means is smaller living space for baby girl to grow and live in. There are no real great risks to baby. Highest risks include preterm labor (before 37 weeks), low birth rate, and increased chance of c-section due to baby not presenting properly (head down).

These are the two possibilities that we have found, plus a few other ones which can be ruled out because of lack of other symptoms or abnormalities of baby.

Obviously, since we have done some research on our own, we have spoken to our doctor's office, I have actually spoken to an ultrasound technician as well as my doctor's nurse who relayed between my doctor and I. They have told us that there is no way that it could be the sheets, when I asked them why, they have only said that the bands are much more common, which I have not found anywhere to confirm. I have also asked of other possibilities of what it could be, to which they will NOT give me an answer, saying only that I needed to see the specialists. They have also confirmed, several times, that if it were the bands there is nothing other than monitoring that they can do for me.
My number one question for them has been: is there anything that it could be that is treatable? to which they have also NOT given me an answer too, but only replied that I would need to see the specialist.

Seriously now, I am not trying to rip on our doctor, I actually really like him, but I am struggling in this situation! I feel completely uninformed and have received some obvious mistatements from their office and even when I ask them direct questions I am always pushed to see the specialists and undergo more ultrasounds and test... after which he still may not even be able to diagnose what they find (told to me by my doctor's office). My other struggle is that when I have specifically asked about the Asherman's Syndrome in relation to this they completely rule it out as a factor which is clearly not accurate. Amniotic Sheets are a known risk in pregnancies following any scarring of the uterus (not to mention complete obliteration of).

Now, I will be the first to admit that I have no medical degree or expertise, and have no way of properly self-diagnosing.... but with the information I have found and the medical history that I not only know but lived through - I am more than comfortable with believing that I have amniotic sheets, and not amniotic bands.

The truth is, regardless of what it is, there is nothing medically that can be done, to prevent any problems from occurring. We do plan on monitoring as best we can (with at least one more ultrasound later in the pregnancy). With all this in mind and the peace of God guiding us, we have decided to NOT proceed with the specialist. God has given us an unexplainable peace about not needing a diagnosis, and in a step of faith we are trusting Him to be the protector and ultimate Physician to precious Audrey.

We would appreciate your continued prayers for this pregnancy, ultimately we believe that Audrey and our entire family rest in the sovereign hands of God and that He will work out all things together for our good.... regardless of what that may look like, we trust Him.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lexie's Unfinished Bedroom

Here are some unfinished pictures of Lexie's room. Keep in mind we do not have her dresser or toy chest in here (both of which are white) and nothing on the walls. I have a little white shelf, her name in letters on the wall, a plaque with a verse on it (white), a pastel pink and green flower, and some frames. Oh, and the table in the corner will not be in the finished room. This is pretty much just a picture of her bed spread with the walls.

His Part & Our Part in Victory

I spent some time this morning reflecting on a section of scripture in Deuteronomy 31. The verses were the some of the last of Moses to the nation of Israel regarding them taking possession of their promised land. In my own personal walk I am seeing alot of "promised land" talk and referral everywhere I turn, so it was another beautiful confirmation this morning when the Lord pointed me to this place in scripture.

I would really encourage you to read the first 7 verses of chapter 31, they're all good but for our purposes I'm just going to write out two of them here (verse 3 & 6).
"The LORD your God Himself will go over before you. He will destroy these nations before you, so that you shall dispossess them." "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."
We all have our own promised land, the place of victory and blessing that God has for us, this side of heaven. I truly believe that. Personally, I don't know what all mine entails but I can tell you this: it is a place where I have fear only in God and not in other things. Fear has been a struggle of mine for a long time and while I have had areas of defeat over it (like the fear of death), but I know that God is faithful in fulfilling complete victory in the entire area of fear in my life.

I love how this scripture clearly states that God will go BEFORE the Israelites (and before us as we enter our promised land) but it also clearly states we have a part to play. We must "dispossess them". I looked up the original meaning of dispossess in Strong's and some of the meanings listed for the original Hebrew word "to seize, dispossess, take possession of, inherit, disinherit, occupy, impoverish, be an heir, to destroy, bring to ruin, disinherit"

Our part involves an action of seizing, of kicking out and settling down!! And if you recall exactly what this meant for the Israelites, it involved some fighting, it involved some serious praying (recall Joshua asking the Lord to hold the sun still for 3 days until they could defeat their enemy), it involved some resistance from a defeated enemy. But the Bible tells us that the Lord went before them, and I believe that to be true, how else could this small, weak, doubtful nation have become one of victory?!?! They went in KNOWING that they KNOW that they were the winners. There was no question. All they needed to do was to be obedient and to follow their Captain into the promised land!!

Beloved, that's where I want to be. I'm confident that you do to.

So let's claim these verses for our own lives and the lives of our family. Our lives are filled with uncertainty and pain, no doubt about it, but we also serve a God who is far above anything we can ever comprehend and we can KNOW that we KNOW that He is on our side, not only fighting our battles with us but that they are ALREADY won! Praise God! We may not know what it all looks like, we may not like how it all looks at first, but victory is coming and possession is ours to take.

Let's storm the promised land with confidence!!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's a....


We are so excited to announce that little Audrey Ann will be the next addition to our family. We had our ultrasound yesterday and were able to see our little angel for over an hour and a half. We actually had a new tech do the ultrasound and then had another tech come in who basically re-did the ultrasound to double-check everything.
Audrey looks GREAT!!

We were able to see all her organs, legs, arms, fingers and toes. Even though this is our third baby, I can honestly say, God never ceases to amaze me with the pure awesomeness of his majesty and ability to create life. It was incredible. They were not able to get us a profile picture of her face (total bummer) because she was laying with her head down and backwards for most of the ultrasound - and though they said she was moving ALOT, rocking back and forth, she refused to flip all the way over.

We've been looking at the name Audrey for a while, but finally settled on it last week. We really wanted to settle on our names before the ultrasound so that nothing that we saw or found out would affect the name that we would choose.

Audrey means Noble Strength and Ann is my grandmother's name (though her name is spelled Anne) it means Grace, which was important to us.

During the ultrasound they found an abnormality - unrelated to Audrey (she looks perfect) but relating to my amniotic sac. They are not completely sure what it is yet, so I would rather refrain from making any assumptions on here yet, but we are scheduled for another ultrasound with a specialists in 2 weeks (November 20th) to try to determine what exactly they found and what the risks are associated with it.
We remain confident that God is in control and that we have nothing to fear. Though our minds wondered a little after we found out, it didn't take long for the Lord to calm our fears and help us realize what an opportunity this was for us to dwell in His presence and in the shadows of His wing! It's a great place to be.

I'll keep you all updated as we find out more information.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lexie's Big Girl Bed

Tonight is the first night Lexie is spending the night in her big girl bed... pray for us. I'll update you all tomorrow with how it goes!

I'm considering posting some pictures - the room isn't done we are still waiting for her dresser and bedding but it's looking great so far!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Caramel Apples

(I posted this on the refined metals blog too, but for those of you who may not get over there as often here are some pictures from making caramel apples this past week)
This past weekend while I was out with a friend Tim took the kids across the field and picked some apples from our neighbor's apple trees - they have a golden delicious and something else... I can't remember now. They were extremely juicy, yummy apples. We didn't have permission until recently to go and pick them but you can be sure next year we will go apple pickin' crazy!!

Here is Treyton dipping his apple
He really enjoyed doing this and has asked to do it again - big mama really enjoyed eating them so it's been hard to resist!!
Big Daddy, stepping in to get the job finished! (That's my man!)

Here's Treyton and Lexie munching on the goodies!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fall into Reading: A Dad-Shaped Hole in My Heart

So the posts continue for the "Fall Into Reading Challenge" I know that it's not even close to over yet, but I have to say, I absolutely love this challenge and I have plans to continue doing this type of a challenge for myself even though Calapidder Days does not host a winter challenge.

The newest book that I read was "A Dad Shaped Hole in my Heart" and it was actually given to me by a friend of mine who had started reading the book and never finished it. I didn't realize it at the time but it is the same author who wrote "Always Daddy's Girl" a book that I grew up seeing beside my mother's bed, a book she has recommended SEVERAL times to me. It has been such an amazing book for me and God in His sovereignty placed it in my path for such a time as this.

I have lots to say so let's just dive in - it's time for the the honest brutal truth: I have some serious 'Dad' issues (with both my dads), not to say that our relationships are bad, because they are not, and I have already walked through some healing and personal forgiveness with each of them, but the work is certainly not complete and there still remain some messages that I accepted and received during my childhood that were painful for me and that allowed a door for the enemy to use against not only me but my relationship with my dad and step-dad as well.
Along with that, (yes there is more) I have some serious issues with other people in my life that I have close intimate relationships with. This book was an eye-opener to me for some ways that I can move toward the direction of healing and restoration in many of these wounded relationships. Actually as I made my way through this book (slowly I might add) I was surprised by the names of people that would pop into my head as I read certain sections. I would literally have to stop and pray right there for that relationship. It was.... intense at times.

Sadly, for me, my initial emotion to most types of intense, painful, or even uncomfortable topics, relationships or people is anger and/or ignorance. I couldn't read this book very quickly because I often had to stop and "check myself" I would be unable to move on because the anger was too much. I had to learn to follow Beth Moore's advice and trace that anger to the emotion it was covering up.
For obvious reasons, I'm not going to go into to many personal details about my journey through this book, but I would like to give you some of the practical advice and quotes that I walked away with. I pick and chose and came up with 4 quotes/topics I just HAD to share with you.

1. "As I work with those in grief and trauma, I'm often given a window into a person's theology. What we believe about God really comes to the forefront when we are hurting. And so often what I hear is what people wish God would be rather than who He is according to Scriptures. But we cannot create God in the image we want Him to be inorder to satisfy our needs. He is who He is, whether that meets our approval or not." This is so huge - I hope you get this because this is something we ALL do. Next time you do this, stop, listen to what you are really saying and ask God to change it, find scripture that shows you who God really is and where you are believing a lie.

2. One of the chapters that really hit a cord with me was called daughter of divorce - I know this doesn't apply to all of us, it certainly does for my sisters and I and I know for a fact that divorce has touched your life. One particular section of the chapter talked about the some characteristics of a ACOD (A Child Of Divorce)
1. "Little Adult" - takes responsibility, but usually more for others than themself, with difficulty defining who they are
2. Control Needs - attempt to control everything, especially relationships
3. Fear of conflict
4. Need to take sides
5. Feelings of Abandonment - often times children of divorce "aren't even aware of their own needs or feelings and set them aside in order to stay in control."
6. Difficulty setting boundaries - ACOD has a hard time setting limits and personal boundaries.
7. Feeling Helpless
8. Idealizing or blaming your parents.
I give you all this list for several reasons - if you are contemplating divorce or see divorce as an option, I hope this list will make you see the reality behind the decision. Secondly if you are ACOD and you can see yourself in this list I recommend reading this book and possibly receiving godly counsel to walk you through some of these issues --- I'll be honest, I have several!

3. My favorite part of the book that I took away tons from I realized I needed to use in other "unbreakable" yet damaged relationships in my life. In the chapter called "Changing your relationship with your dad" it says
"Part of building a better relationships with your father is establishing better boundaries. If you dread getting together, but it's a necessity, don't do so with negative expectations; you could make them come true. Be different. Do the unexpected. Be friendly. Don't get hooked into old communication patterns. Ignore it when you're baited to repeat past issues or discussions. All families have unspoken rules of behavior and communication. Change them. Violate the rules in a healthy way." Is it just me or did this really speak to someone else?

4. And lastly, a point that Wright made, near the end of his book I felt also applied to several areas of my life. It was about healing and he said (and I'm paraphrasing) often we repress the memories that are most painful to us, pushing them down, ignoring them, numbing them the best we can; but if we want to experience true healing we have to face those memories - remember them - and losen the grip of control they have on our hearts.
From personal experience, I have found that as I begin to re-live and re-tell (either alone or with my husband to God) some of my painful memories and/or hurts, as the pain comes flooding back I have to relinquish it and give it to God. Just bringing up the pain is not going to help, but if we give that pain and those emotions to God and pray asking Him to take them and fill the place where they come with His love and His presence HE SURELY WILL - and that is when healing begins!!

I know this post seems a little choppy and that's partly because I am in a hurry - my children are awake and while I normally don't post while they're awake, I desperately wanted to get this out there (before I chickened out maybe). But it's also a little choppy because I really had to pick and choose the parts of this book to share with you all. There are many great parts and alot of practical, godly advice in the pages of this book, but like I mentioned in the beginning, it's not an easy read - I recommend it IF you're ready to be transformed and changed (even if it's hard) but if you're not ready to face pain and face your past to experience healing I would wait until God brings you to that place.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Resurrection Power

I recently started doing Beth Moore's "Believing God" study. I'm one video and 4 daily sessions in and I am.... amazed once again at how awesome our God is.

As you can tell by the title the study is about Believing God and faith. On the first day one of the primary verses we focused on was Ephesians 1:19-20 which says:
"and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand."
The first time I read and reflected on this verse it overwhelmed me to tears.

To illustrate the power of the truth in these verses I would like to share a little bit of my own (recent) testimony with you.
In the past 7 months or so, the Lord has been doing a major work in my life. I have had some of the lowest lows I have ever known and I have also had some of the most intimate loving moments with my saviour that I have ever known. The Lord is showing me so much at such a deep level that I have been unable and somewhat unwilling (at this time) to even share it with you all here. It has been a journey, a journey of unknowns (to me) but God knows what He is doing and He's allowing me to be a part of it.

During this entire process there have been two types of wounds the Lord has been adressing in my life - wounds of the most sensitive nature (wounds of loss, wounds of abuse, wounds of death) with these particular wounds the Lord has showed me that I had the freedom to feel. He is teaching me that pain is okay - that to weep before Him without holding back, to beat on His chest and cry on His shoulders without apology is okay. He showed me that these were areas that He was going to bring COMPLETE healing to.
Other areas in my life He was healing involved areas of bondage (to fear, to man, to myself, to my idols) and some wounded relationships in my past and present. In these areas He began to show me that the emotion and feelings that I was allowing myself to feel and dwell on was unhealthy and controlling. He showed me that these were areas that He was going to bring COMPLETE healing to.
I am no expert on healing, I have no experience beyond my own, and I only pray the Lord can somehow take this sinful life and these fallen words of mine and use them for His own glory. I am still in my journey. I don't know what the end will look like, but for me, right now, God has allowed me the freedom to feel pain in some areas that I felt guilty about feeling pain in before; and at the same time has begun to heal and remove the pain in other areas that I was allowing to overtake and control me.
Like any good story however, there was a twist. Somewhere in my journey the enemy began to distort these two valuable truths in my heart and he began to bring me back to the very place I was being freed from. Regarding my areas of bondage and wounded relationships I began to think "pain is just part of all healing.... pain is just something I have to live with... as a reminder of what the Lord has done." (I actually have a journal entry with almost these exact words) I began to allow the enemy to take the freedom God had given me in some areas and use it as a chain in others.

When I read Ephesians 1:19, and began to understand that God uses His power (the same power used to resurrect Christ from the dead) in my life.... I was floored!! I had some areas that I felt like were beyond saving, areas that I had accepted defeat in. I had literally called "time of death" on them and was allowing them to "rest in peace" in the painful ignorance of a hardened/dead part of my heart. If anyone could qualify as needing resurrection power, I knew it was me!!

The Lord is so faithful isn't He? So knowing how long it takes me to really "get" a lesson He is teaching me, this morning in my quiet time He reemphasized this again for me.

I came across a verse in Hebrews (13:20-221) that says:
"Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen."
When we believe and ask God to do the impossible in our lives for us He CAN through the same power that brought Christ from the grave and He WILL for those who believe and seek His will for their lives.

I can tell you, this journey has been one of the most difficult I have ever faced, but it has been worth it. The Lord is sanctifying me for His will and for the plans He has for me - plans far beyond what I can see or imagine. I choose to believe that He will complete His plans (Phil. 1:6), and that His plans are good (Jer. 29:11) regardless of what I am feeling. And I now know, that by believing His word and believing in Him - He is using His resurrecting power to bring it all to pass.... and this includes COMPLETE HEALING!!

Alexa - Too Fast

This past weekend we went and bought Lexie her own big girl bed. It's going to take about 6 weeks for it to come in - which will hopefully give me enough time to warm up to the idea that she's moving out of the crib.
Treyton switched over a little after 18 months because he nearly climbed out of the crib and freaked me out. He transitioned SOOO well. It was like nothing hardly happened for him. He fell out of his bed only a few times (even with the rail) and wouldn't get up out of bed even though he could and he HATED going to bed. I pray that the transition goes as well for Lexie.
She is 16 months now and by the time the bed gets here she will be 17.5 months. The baby will be here in March (about 20 months), everything I read says do your best not to take things from one child and give them to the new baby to close to when baby comes, it can cause jealousy between the older child and new baby.
I tried to transition Treyton the same way when Lexie came and it went PERFECT - I couldn't have asked for more acceptance from Treyton towards his new little sister, so I figure why change an effective system?
We have Lexie's mattress in her room now just next to her crib for her to get used to - so far she has loved jumping on it and laying on it with her dolls and animals. I am still shopping for bedding so right now she just has a lovely mattress :~)

Wow... how time flies!

Oh yeah, and in other Lexie news: she managed to take her own shirt off for the first time yesterday! One minute she had it on, she had spilled some water on herself so I went to get another shirt, when I came back into the room she already had the wet shirt off!! Then this morning when I went to get her out of her crib she had one arm out through the neck of her shirt. Treyton learned to take his own shirt off about 6 months ago! I was kind of expecting it though, for the last several months Lexie has been "helping" get herself dressed an undressed - offering a leg when it was time or pushing her own arms through her shirt.... again, Treyton didn't start this until he was well over two. Also, my niece, Shayla was taking all of her clothes off and putting them back on (during her "naps") when she was about two - my mom or sister would go in to get her and she would have her shirt on backwards or inside out! It's truly amazing the differences in development between boys and girls and even just different children.... I can only wonder what this next baby will be like!