Friday, December 30, 2011

Fantastic Fun with the Fam

On Christmas day, Stephen and I drove to Florida to spend time with our families. We head back to the land of Louisiana tomorrow, but we have had a fantastic week. I have enjoyed seeing my parents, sisters, father-in-law, bother-in-law and many others. I have relished the opportunity to spend time with my nephew, Calvin, who is 7 months old and the most adorable baby I have ever seen. Don't you agree?

I also enjoyed getting to see and talk to old friends. I loved getting to visit our "home church" (the church we attended before going into ministry). I was blessed to get to talk to some ladies who are also on the miscarriage/infertility road.

I loved seeing my husband lead a time of family worship before we exchanged gifts.

I was ecstatic to get to go horseback riding with my sister and husband. If you didn't know, I love me some horses. My sweet sister arranged for me to go riding, and I was able to be on a horse for over  2 hours! Below is a video of my and Stephen's ride.

Most importantly, I was blessed to have some conversation with family and friends about God, the Bible and Christ.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Center of the Celebration

This year, Stephen and I spent much time analyzing why we do what we do at Christmas. We have known that we did not want to “do” Santa when we have kids, but we also asked about the other traditions of the season. 
Why do we put up a tree and lights? 

Why do we give gifts?
Why do we use the credit card to try to buy a better gift than last year?
Why is the focus of Christmas morning what we get?
These questions led us to do research on the origin of these traditions. It amazed us that the traditions we put so much effort into, are actually pagan in origin.
I know I sound like an awful cynic. But, that is not my intention. I am not asserting that any of the aforementioned things are sinful in themselves. I have no problem with families that “go all out” for Christmas. But, if you have read my blogs for any amount of time, you know that I am a thinker. It is how I am wired. I try to analyze if my actions line up with my theology.  Cause, after all, if I don’t live it, do I really believe it?
This year, the biggest question was, “Is Christ the center of my Celebration?”
As I was sitting in my living room a few weeks ago thinking about this, I looked at my Christmas tree. It was big, beautiful, bright and easily seen to those who walk in the front door or even just drive past my house. Then, I shifted my gaze across the room to the nativity scene that was set up on a shelf, off to the side of the room. When I put up my Christmas decorations, I thought, “Where will I put the tree?” I moved furniture so that it could be in the “center” of the living room. On the other hand, I gave no thought to the nativity. And, if you had visited my house, you would have noticed the tree, but you probably would not have noticed the nativity.
I don’t think there are any special powers in the figurines of a nativity. But, I realized this was a reflection of how culture has taught me to view Christmas. The tree and the presents took up such a big part of my celebration, that Christ was more of an after-thought. 
In our home, we want Jesus to be the visible center of Christmas. So, I moved the nativity to a spot right in the middle of our living room. It served as a visible reminder of the miracle of the Word becoming flesh.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14

I am not yet sure what we will do differently to celebrate next year, but I do know we will be very intentional about making Jesus the center of our celebration.
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. I pray that you aim to make Christ the center of all you do, everyday.

Friday, December 23, 2011

What the Doctor Says

Monday, I went to my RE (reproductive endocrinologist) for a hysteroscopy. This is a procedure in which they use a scope to look for any abnormalities in the uterus.

The RE said everything looks "beautiful." He was looking for any abnormalities that could be to blame for my repeated miscarriages. But, everything was perfect.  I was glad everything was normal. I did not fancy the idea of having a corrective surgery, should something been found to be wrong.

After the test, the RE talked to us about doing a progesterone test. He also said that nothing he has seen thus far has fully explained the lost pregnancies. This news illicited some strange feelings within me. I almost wanted something to be "wrong" so that I would have an answer. If something were wrong we could fix it, and know it was fixed.

But, I had to remind myself that God does't owe me answers. In fact, God owes me nothing, but I owe him faith, obedience, and praise. I owe him everything.

I am blessed to be healthy. I am grateful to be a daughter of the King. I know that His plan is all about bringing Him glory, whether I get "good enough" answers or not. I praise God for using my silly self for His glory.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Do What is Biblical

Finding the will of God is not chasing "peace."

Christians (myself included) are guilty of saying things like, "I know it was the will of God because I had a peace about it." This is a poor method of decision making that has been indoctrinated to us by the wave of spiritualism and mysticism in our culture.

We have quit trusting our Bible and, instead, have opted to trust our emotions. We "follow our heart" or search for "feelings of peace." We did not get these methods of decision making from the Bible, they came from our mystic culture. God never promised us that we would feel peaceful in the midst of His plan for our life. I doubt Peter felt peace about being crucified upside-down. I don't think James was at peace when he was thrown from the southeast pinnacle of the temple (over 100 feet high) then beaten to death with a club. It seems that Jesus' sweat drops of blood were a sign that he anguished over the will the Father. 

We can't decipher God's will based on whether we have "peace."  I do not have peace when I try to share the Gospel with a family member who is hostile towards it. I do not have peace when I must approach my sister in Christ about her sin. But, I know these things are the will of God.

So we must use our brains to determine what aligns with the Word of God. We do not trust how we feel. We trust what God has spoken. 

This is an area in which God is growing me. He is teaching me to quit looking for some magical "peace," and instead focus on being obedient to his Word. That also includes KNOWING his word. Godly decisions are made by being so permeated by the Word of God that we think Biblically about everything. 

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

We discern God's will by having a renewed mind, and our mind is renewed by Scripture.  We cannot discern the will of God if we think as the world thinks. Our world is feeding us messages of inner peace, relativism, and mystical signs. We must not be conformed to this!

What we feel is "best" is not always Biblical. Obedience requires risk. Obedience is scary. 

So, let us not do "what feels right." Instead, let us read and devour the Word of God. Let us pray and seek Godly counsel.  Let us do what is Biblical, no matter the cost.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Door Decor

I just wanted to share a picture with you of my classroom door decor.  I am praying my students see and hear the gospel this Christmas season.  I am blessed to work in a school system where I can do things like this:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Grief Regrets

I wish I had done things differently.

I wish I had grieved differently.

When we had our first miscarriage, I hung on to our ultrasound pictures for a about a month. Then, I threw them away. I did not make it far enough in the second pregnancy to have any pictures. I threw away the ultrasound pictures from the third pregnancy on the same day the miscarriage was confirmed. I thought, "I am not going to be the weirdo who holds on to the pictures of her dead babies." I regret that now. I wish I was that weirdo.

For some reason, today, I yearned to look at those pictures, to reminisce and to validate those pregnancies and those little lives.

I wish I could go back to my first Facebook pregnancy post and read all the comments that were filled with excitement and encouragement. But, I deleted those too.

I don't know why I thought I needed to purge the pictures and Facebook statuses. People don't throw away pictures of their parents after they die. Parents don't throw away pictures of their child if it passes away at the age of one. Suddenly, it seems I am the wierdo for throwing those pictures away.

But, it is not really about the pictures. Having those pictures would not change anything, but they are symbolic of how I tried to deal with my losses. I tried to "toss" them out of my mind and start over. But, there is no such thing as starting over. God ordained for me to lose those pregnancies and, therefore, ordained for that to be a part of my story.  Even if I start a new chapter, those chapters of loss will still be a part of the book that is my life.

I now see that I put too much pressure on myself to "get over it." I expected too much of myself.  I regret not embracing the grief.

I still struggle with this, because even as I started to write this blog, I almost talked myself out of it saying, "Don't write about the miscarriages AGAIN. Your readers will think you are pathetic, and that you should be over it by now." The truth is, I am pathetic. I may be over it, but I will never forget.

So, for those of you dealing with grief of any kind: don't make my mistake of trying to force yourself to get over it. You are human. Grief is human. Don't try to run away from grief, it will eventually catch up with you anyway.

Today, I was ready to reminisce, not grieve, over the happiness of positive pregnancy tests and expecting. I was ready to remember all the plans that we made and the naive excitement Stephen and I shared. I had no saved ultrasound pictures or Facebook posts to help me reminisce, but I did find one picture, taken 3 days after my first ever positive test.

I remember. We were ecstatic to be parents. It was wonderful.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Love my Job (Somedays)

Today was a wonderful day in Mrs. Powell's classroom.

Learning happened. Kids added, subtracted, simplified, and compared fractions.

Almost EVERYONE participated.

I kept my cool. Even when Ms. "I hate you and this school"  went on a complete rage.

I got to hug some teary-eyed babies. Yes, I call my 6th graders babies.

I spent my planning period with my kids that were in ISS. I brought them in my class and taught them the day's lesson. It was wonderful to get some one-on-one with the "trouble-makers." I was able to talk with them about their dreams, which included professional football, civil engineering and law. It was a great opportunity to build rapport with them and keep them caught up.

I got this note from one of my special ed kids. P.S. I teach him MATH not english! :)

I am so grateful for the love of God that has changed me and enabled me to really love these kids. Yes, even the "bad" ones. It is NOT anything in my flesh, it is the grace of God.

 Today was a GREAT day!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


We have had a wonderful Thanksgiving visit with my mother-in-law. We have spent the week in the absolutely beautiful north Georgia mountains. 
Pictures from the front porch!

Stephen has three very young half-siblings (Noah 9, Leah 6, and Samuel 5). 

We were so blessed to get to spend time with them this week. We even got to go to Samuel and Leah’s basketball game on Tuesday night.  However, I am pretty sure the kids were more excited to see Oscar than us....

Samuel and Oscar

Noah and Oscar

I know my husband hates that we live so far away from them. He wishes he could be more involved in their lives.
Stephen and Leah enjoying some pumpkin pie.

As I have watched my husband interact with them this week, it makes my heart swell. He has been so intentional about sharing the Gospel with them. I have watched him explain sin and its penalty, the holiness of God, and the provision made in Christ. Even though they have not been receptive, it was beautiful. In addition, he led us in a time of family worship on Thanksgiving day. 

So, as I count my blessings this Thanksgiving, I am so thankful for my husband and my marriage. It is awesome to see my husband passionate about the gospel and worship leading off of the stage. As I watched him this week, I can’t help but think of this as a preview of what is to come when we have children. I know he will strive to make the gospel the center of his parenting. I absolutley cannot wait to raise children with this man. 

The whole gang.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Taming the Troublesome Thyroid

After six weeks of medication, my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels are PERFECT.

My TSH is 1.15 down from 3.35, which it measured 6 weeks ago.  

In case you don't know much about thyroid hormones and TSH, the lower the TSH number the better the thyroid is working. The body produces TSH to "beg" for more thyroid hormone to be produced. So, you could say it is an "inverse" indicator of how well your body is producing thyroid hormones. My doctor (RE) wanted my level to be below 2.5, but from what I have read, the closer your TSH is to 1, the less your chance for miscarriage.

This was such an easy test. I can't help but wonder why my regular doctor never checked it. Thyroid hormone is necessary for maintaining a healthy pregnancy. This hormone not only helps sustain a pregnancy, but is also important for the neurological development of the baby. Studies have found that even women who carry their babies to term with a shortage of thyroid hormone were more likely to have babies with low IQ. In addition, high TSH levels have also been linked to difficulty conceiving.

In addition, most doctors will say you are in the "normal range" if your TSH levels are somewhere between 0.5-5.0. However, endocrinologists agree that the maximum level should actually be 3.0. My levels were between the two, and perhaps why this was not caught earlier. My TSH, at 3.35, was within what a regular doctor would consider normal, but above the newer guidelines. 

I am grateful for one piece of the puzzle being put into place. Plus, I feel so much better! Before, I could sleep 12 hours and yet it would be all I could do to drag myself out of the bed. I was feeling depressed and crying ALL THE TIME. I just attributed all this to grief, but now I believe it was related to my thyroid issues. Since starting the meds, I have more energy and feel much better. 

It is interesting how this whole process has taught me to take charge of my health. I have learned to research, learn and be a part of my healthcare. I encourage you to do the same!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

No Guarantee

Today, I had my blood re-drawn for a thyroid test. This test will reveal if my thyroid medication is sufficient, or if my dosage needs to be adjusted.

I have been eager to get to the day that we can try to conceive again. Especially eager, since it seems I am surrounded by positive pregnancy tests, big bellies, and precious babies EVERYWHERE. (Hello, miscarriage and infertility phenomenon.) I just can't wait to join all you moms and moms-to-be! However, today, my eagerness to try again, was replaced with some apprehension.

As the lab tech drew my blood, and I told her about all my test results, it hit me: there are no guarantees.

I have not gotten the impression from my doctor that they have "found it."  There hasn't been one specific test result to which they said, "Oh, no wonder you miscarried! This is it; this will fix it."  Instead, it has been results of borderline issues, which, if controlled, could decrease my chance of miscarrying some.  Now, don't get me wrong, I am excited about this. I am blessed that they have found some things to try, because I know some individuals get no answers.  I am optimistic about our next pregnancy. But, still, I realize that there is no guarantee that my pregnancies from here on will be perfect.  

So, I wonder if the vitamins, baby aspirin, levothyroxine, progesterone, and heparin shots will be enough? 

I realize I must sound like a worry-wort. Honestly, I don't know if it is worry, or just coming to terms with the truth. I think these thoughts are probably normal for someone who has had multiple miscarriages. It is also possible I am just weird.

I am a thinker. As such, I tend to think about these scenarios. How will I respond? How will I cope? This is how I put my theology to the test. Will I trust God knowing that there is no guarantee?

As I think these thoughts and ask these questions, I find myself coming to a place of peace. I trust my sovereign God. I don't have to worry because His plans (whatever they may be) will not be thwarted. I am ready for whatever the future holds, not because I am strong, but because my God is.

Friday, November 11, 2011

His Mercies are New

Wednesday was one of those days.

I felt like a complete failure as a teacher.

My students were not understanding.

My students were not doing their work.

They seemed apathetic.

I was frustrated.

I did not keep my cool.

On top of this, I also found myself dealing with unresolved grief.

I, quite literally, spent the whole day fighting back tears.

But, praise the Lord, His mercies are new every morning.

His compassions fail not.

He is faithful.

[It is of] the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not [they are] new every morning: great [is] thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Thursday was better.

I apologized to the kids.

I celebrated the small learning victories.

I was observed by someone from the school-board and was encouraged by the note they left.

I am letting myself deal with the grief.

I am accepting that I don't have to have it all together.

The LORD [is] my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
Lamentations 3:24

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Stinky Day

The moment my alarm rang, I smelt it. That awful, makes you want to hurl, burnt rubber and onions musty smell of fresh skunk spray. Smelling and seeing skunks has been a regular occurrence during our 2 1/2 years of living in Vidalia, which MUST unofficially be the skunk capital of the world. I didn't think too much of the smell as skunks spray around our house often. So, annoyed, I sauntered off to shower.

After exiting the bathroom, I realized the smell had gotten even stronger. I literally gagged. My next morning task is to let the dogs out.  As I opened the door to the "bonus room" (where the dogs sleep), I immediately noticed three things: 1) the smell, even stronger, kicked me in the gut, 2) the door  to the outside world was wide open, and 3) one dog was missing.

Not really sure what to do, I ran to rouse my hubby. That's basically how I handle all emergencies... run to Stephen. So, he woke up, walked outside, and called the dog. The pooch came running home, but had a big, smelly yellow spot on her chest. Seeing that this was going to tie-up my morning, I called my principal to let her know I would be late. She asked if I wanted to take the day off and take care of things. I decided I should.

So, first things first, we bathed the dog. First with a dish soap, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide formula. Then with regular soap. Then with the "formula" again. Repeat 4 times. Next, I cleaned up the piles of puke that she had left in the room (I guess getting sprayed by a skunk makes you sick) and scrubbed the floors in the areas that had what appeared to be skunk oil on them.

I have opened all the doors and windows and am trying to let the house air out. While the smell is much better than this morning, it is still pretty stinky.

Only Oscar knows what really happened...
I am sure this afternoon will include another dog bath and floor scrubbing, but, for now, I had to take a break to inform you of this craziness. Plus, I am about to eat lunch with my man, which makes things much better!  :)

I still don't know if the skunk came in and sprayed the dog or if the dog went out, got sprayed and returned to be sick. Whatever actually happened only our little Chiweenie knows. Lucky for him, he was crated and therefore spared from the whole getting sprayed by a skunk ordeal.

This day will forever be remembered as the stinkiest day off. Yuck.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Submission. This is a counter-cultural word. Our society has so influenced us Christian women that we cringe when we hear it. Society has so influenced the church that often pastors "dance around" or "sugar coat" the issue if they mention it at all.

Our society has taught us to be egocentric to the point that we no longer desire or even understand Biblical submission. We have allowed cultural views to impact us, and as a result our marriages look less and less Biblical. We no longer look for opportunities to submit to our husbands. To the contrary, we look for every opportunity to justify our lack of submission.

But, despite what our culture would have you believe, submission to our husbands is a beautiful, God-ordained thing.

I hear women say, "I can't submit because my husband is (insert some character defect here)."  In other words, we believe we don't have to submit because our husband does not deserve it. Newsflash: He will never deserve it. There is only one man in all of history who could ever deserve it. This is the beauty of it! We willingly submit to another sinful human, not because he deserves it, but because Christ deserves it.

As we look to our husband and begin to follow him, we can't focus on our spouse. We must shift our gaze to see past him and focus on Christ. If our focus is on our husband, we will be disappointed. Instead, we focus on Christ who does not disappoint. Our submission to our husband is in obedience to Christ. Our submission to our husband is our submission to Christ. If we are not submitting to our husband, we are not submitting to Christ.

This is a big deal. I saddens me that so many in the church have swept it under the proverbial rug. The Bible clearly calls wives to submit to their husbands. We are modeling for our children and the world what submission to Christ is about. Mothers, you teach your children how to submit to you, as a parent, by modeling it in your submission to your husband. Your children are watching. The world is watching.

Would you join me in praying that God would transform our minds in the area of submission? We can not buy into the lies of our culture and think it is ok for us to ignore the call to submission. We must not take this lightly, we should take it seriously. I desperately want to be obedient in this. I want my marriage to be a testimony of the Gospel.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Ephesians 5:22-23

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Laying Down the Dream

Do you ever ponder what you would give up for the gospel?  I do.

I wonder how far I would really go in obedience to God. How radical would I be? What would I actually give up? What would I actually sacrifice? Why am I not sacrificing more for the sake of the Gospel? Would I really go anywhere?  Would I really give anything?

This pondering has led to one conclusion: I am far too comfortable.

How could I say I would give up my life if it came down to it, yet struggle everyday to give up the "American Dream" of prosperity and success?

So, this is me, desiring to lay down the  "American Dream," but not really sure how to do that.  I don't need a nice house, nice car, great career, and 2.5 children. I need the gospel.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Birthday Thoughts

Today, I turn 26.

It is interesting to think back to where I thought I would be at this time in my life. It is proof that I could never escape God's sovereign will for the future.

  • 10 years ago, I thought that I would be celebrating my 26th birthday as my first year out of the University of Florida Vet School.
  • 5 years ago, I thought I may be finishing up in Seminary and beginning a career in full-time women's ministry.
  • 3 years ago, I had no idea where I would live or what I would be doing on my 26th Birthday.
  • 1 year ago, I thought my 26th birthday would be my first birthday as a mother.

Despite all those plans, here I am.

I am not doing full-time women's ministry, but I am the wife of a God-fearing minister who strives to live out the Gospel in our marriage. I graduated from a tiny Baptist College with a degree in Christian Studies, but gained indispensable knowledge and theology. I am a resident of Louisiana which is 10 hours from family, but have some of the best "Miss-Lou" friends I could hope for. I have a secular teaching job, but I have learned to love people who look, act, think, and talk differently than me. I have no child, but have have been blessed to laugh with, cry with, pray for, encourage (and be encouraged by) women who are struggling with infertility or pregnancy loss.

By the providence of God, none of my plans came true. He has me exactly where He wants me on my 26th birthday. I am rejoicing that I serve a God who is in control, and has brought me right here, right now.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Test Results

The test results are in! So, here's an update of what we know so far:

Thyriod: Slightly hypothyroid, began thyroid medication.
Prolactin: Normal
Genetic Karyotype (mine): Normal
Genetic Karyotype (Stephen's): Normal
Phospholipid Antibodies (causing clotting): High normal. Doctor wants me to start heparin injections upon conceiving to prevent any clotting.

So, that is where we are now. I am still waiting to have the hysterosonography. My thyroid levels will be tested again in about 4 weeks to see if my levels are "optimal."

Thanks for all the prayers.

Monday, October 17, 2011

There's no "Christian Luck"

What is the providence of God?

We hear people say things like, “By the providence of God, she lost control of her car and missed that pine tree by inches.” But you rarely hear people say, “By the providence of God, she lost control of her car and hit that pine tree dead on.”  Why is this so?  Isn’t God in as much control in the second situation as in the first?

Yes, He is. But, we respond this way because we incorrectly define providence as “Christian luck.”

God’s providence is not Christian luck. God’s providence is how God uses every event – both the good and the bad – to accomplish his purposes.

So, we see the providence of God in EVERY event. 

In disaster. 

In catastrophe. 

In tragedy.

Sometimes, we Christians think we need to protect God. (Like we could.)  We think we shouldn’t attribute the atrocities of life to God, and try to find another answer. We say things like, “God did not do this Satan did.” We blame our difficulties on the economy, sickness, other people, national leaders, nature and a host of other things.   But, nothing can happen apart from what God permits, and God only permits according to His providence.

This is a truth that Naomi knew well. Her story is found in the book of Ruth. She and her family had moved to Moab (land of pagans) to escape the famine that was ravaging the Promised Land. While there, Naomi’s husband died.  Then, her two sons died. She was left alone with her two Moabite daughter-in-laws, and a foreign land.  Can you imagine? Naomi experienced tragedy upon tragedy.

  • Famine – With the famine she probably experience hunger and the stress of not being able to feed her family.
  • Move – She moved with her family to a foreign land, away from the Promised Land and to a land of pagans.  She was away from her land, her family, and everything familiar.
  • Sons Marrying Moabite Women– This would have been a travesty to devout Hebrew parents.
  • Death of Her Husband – The death of a husband in Naomi’s culture was far more tragic than it is even today.  She would have been left with very little, and would have to rely on her sons to care for and provide for her.
  • Death of two sons – Naomi was now without a husband and living children. She had no one to provide for her, she would have been akin to a homeless person in today’s society. 

Think of all she went through. I cannot begin to imagine. But, what she says after she returns to the Promised Land demonstrates that she understood the Providence of God. She says, "I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty." She did not say, "I ran into some bad luck," or "Everything went downhill because of the economy," or it was just a "natural disaster." She did not ask God why this had happened to her. She simply said the Lord had done this. It appears that she faithfully and humbly trusted that He had some purpose for it, and she did not demand He explain that purpose to her. She trusted His providence.

Many times when we find ourselves in a painful or difficult situation, we quit talking about the providence of God. We only talk about things being providential when they have the outcome we want. Let’s not be so self-centered; God is providential in all things.  Nothing happens apart from what God wills/allows. God will use every event to accomplish his purposes. He will use all things to bring glory to Himself. That’s providence.

So, whenever famine, disappointment, death or any other tragedy befalls you, cling to this: God has a purpose for it. His purpose is not centered around you, but on His will.  If you are there now, God doesn’t promise you things will get better in this life, in fact, they may get worse. However, He does promise that He is in control and His purposes will be accomplished.

There is no such thing as “Christian luck.” There is only the providence of God.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

An Update

Poor blog. You have been so neglected. Sorry. So, it is time for an update.

Stephen and I went to the reproductive endocrinologist on Monday. We had a fantastic experience and loved both our doctor (Dr. Isaacs) and his nurses. It was such a relief to talk with them.

They ran several tests on me and also took blood from Stephen for a karyotype (the test that will show if either of us have genetic flaws that would be causing miscarriages). So, now we are waiting for all those results to come back. On Tuesday, the nurse called and told me my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) was higher than what they would like; meaning I am on the hypothyroid end of the spectrum. My levels were within the “normal” range of .5-4.2. However, apparently, in the endocrinology world, they want your levels below 2.5 for optimal pregnancy health. From what I have read, the closer your TSH is to one usually the less your chance of miscarriage or neurological problems.

So, I began thyroid meds ASAP. The drug is not supposed to take effect for quite a few weeks. After 6 weeks we will retest my levels and see if I need a higher dose. 

In the meantime, we will wait on the other test results. This may not be THE answer, but it could be a piece of the puzzle.  So, for that, I am grateful and excited.

On another note, I have had several blog ideas swirling around in my noggin. But, for some reason all the topics are so controversial that I have been hesitant to write about them. So, I am pondering them and may try to find a less “in your face” way to write them. Or, maybe I will just write them and take the heat….. hmmmm.

I have started running again. Why I ever let myself get our of the habit, I have no idea. But, it has felt so good to be back out there. The plan is to train for a half marathon the first weekend of December. Hopefully, my body will cooperate!

School is finally starting to go a little more smoothly. It takes so long to get the classroom management stuff in place. I feel as if I am getting back into the "groove." And it is about time!  The first nine weeks is almost over! Lately, I have been pondering how to get the gospel to my kids. I realize it is pretty much against the law, but it feels so purposeless to only teach them math. So, that's on my mind right now.......

Well, there you have it an update on what is going on here. I apologize for the randomness, but my life is a little random right now. Stay tuned!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Refocus - Back to Work

It was back to work today for me. I took Wednesday and Thursday off (besides 3 hours of training), but went back today to give a test on prime factorization, exponents, and order of operations. Do you hear that? That's the sound of my students groaning.

And, the devil tried to break me today. I got called the first racial explicative of the year. Ugh. I hate dirty words.  

But, other than that, the day went well. I am starting to emerge from the “haze.”  The past couple weeks have felt like I was just surviving. I guess my mind was constantly preoccupied. If you have been around me lately, you probably noticed I was forgetful, introverted, and slightly lethargic-acting.  It was all I could do just to get up and drag myself to work.

Today, as I watched those little furrowed brows stare with confusion at their tests, I realize just how “absent-minded” I have been. Bless those poor babies, my heart has not been in my teaching, and that has had a bad impact on their learning. Even though I tried to “fake it,” my mind has been elsewhere.  Mrs. Powell hasn’t been the motivating, loving and inspiring teacher she should be.

So, it is time to refocus! But, not to refocus on my work or my students, but to refocus on God who has placed a calling on my life.

It is not easy to be a good teacher under normal circumstances, throw in some stress and grief and it seems almost impossible. I want to make each child feel smart, special and capable.  I want to love the unlovable.  So, I am praying to be refocused. As I refocus, the Lord reminds me:  It is not by my strength, but by His.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

God is Sovereign Still

I have debated about writing this blog, or, more specifically, how to write this blog.  During the past few weeks, I have searched for others who have wrote similar blogs and found encouragement from their stories. So, I write this hoping that someone may be encouraged, but praying, above all, that God will be glorified.

This has been a difficult year. Last September, Stephen and I decided to start a family. We conceived immediately, but lost the pregnancy in November.  We waited several months before trying again. When we did, we had a very early miscarriage, what the doctors call a chemical pregnancy  (a miscarriage before anything could have been confirmed on a sonogram).  So, we tried again. We conceived in July, and are going through another miscarriage.

This one has been physically and emotionally draining. We have been through a couple weeks where we were back and forth between “we are losing it” to “it’s going to make it.” The waiting has been difficult. This morning, the doctor confirmed that a miscarriage is “impending.”

Of course, this has been difficult for us. Grieving a miscarriage is a very lonely place. And now, I find my head swimming with questions: Will this continue to happen over and over again?  Will I ever be able to carry a baby?  How many miscarriages will I be able to take physically and emotionally? Will I get to experience the joy and excitement of expecting, or will I constantly guard my heart for fear of getting “too attached?”

I realize there are many people who have experienced much worse than this. I have read stories of miscarriages numbering 6 and higher, or the loss of pregnancies in the 2nd or 3rd trimester. I can’t even imagine. We are blessed our experience has not been worse. Still, it is tough.

I never fathomed this struggle would be a part of my life, but God has used it to teach me so much. I have come to realize the self-righteous thinking that is lurking in my heart. I have learned God’s grace doesn’t show favor and it cannot be earned. 

So, this has been a very humbling experience for me. I find myself praying for God’s grace and mercy, instead of expecting it. As I look at others who are pregnant, or who have children, I repent of my jealousy and envy and praise God for his grace in their lives that he has allowed them to have healthy children and pregnancies. I am still VERY much a work in progress. God is still growing my faith in this area, and I have not “arrived” yet.

A week or so ago, someone told me, “I hope that one day you will get to stand and say how good and faithful God is.”  They implied that I would carry a pregnancy to full term, have a healthy child, and thus proclaim that God is good. When they said this, I wanted to respond, but couldn’t get it out for the tears, so I will say it now:

God is good. Today. Right now. He doesn’t have to bless me to be good. He is.

A few days later I heard, “God is good, and when it seems he isn’t it is because He is GREAT.”

It isn't easy. But, I am clinging to the truth that God is sovereign still. I know He is good. I don’t understand why or how, but I know all of this is for His glory.

Please, Lord, use me for your glory. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Much Comfort

It has not been an easy month. I have desperately needed comfort. Much comfort.

It has been a month full of…

Starting a new routine

Asking tough questions

Resolving to trust God, but

Realizing the weakness of my faith

Praying for friends who are broken, hurting, lost, and grief sticken

Feeling like I  don’t have the words or strength to comfort those friends

Moments of hope that turn into grief

Periods of grief that turn into confusion

Feeling alone

Yearning for more faith

I have no idea what your month has been like. Maybe you also have found yourself in need of comfort. There are so many places to turn for comfort, but there is only one that truly satisfies: the God of all comfort.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

He is our comfort. Through Him we can share comfort with others.
I am seeking to lay all my desires at the feet of Jesus. I wish to honestly desire Him more than I desire anything. I know it may hurt to give some of these things to him, but I know I will receive comfort. Much comfort.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Honduras Update - Post Trip

We had an amazing week. I know that I can’t even write words to explain how awesome it was!  We saw God work in our lives and the lives of the Honduran people. God provided everything we needed to do ministry.
I am not going to go into much detail on this post; I don’t want to spoil all the stories before we share with our church in a couple of weeks.
But, I can say that the gospel was shared with hundreds of people.
 This is really ALL that matters.

It doesn’t matter (much) that we gave away shoes, food, toiletries, mattresses, medicine or anything else. These things were opportunities to show the love of Christ to poverty stricken individuals. But ultimatley, if we were to comfort, provide for, and even better or extend the lives of the Honduran people, and not share with them the gospel, it would be for nothing. I am humbled that God would use me as a vessel to share the gospel.  I was blessed to see people share the gospel for the first time. It was awesome to pray over people after they heard the gospel that God would open their eyes and grant them faith to believe. And that is my prayer still.
Sure, we got to see some awesome sights, feel strong emotions, hug beautiful children and meet physical needs. However, I don’t believe these things were the primary reason God put us there. They were great opportunities, but not the main objective of our trip.  We were there to tell them the greatest story, the story of Jesus.
Please pray that the seeds God planted will be watered, will grow, and will produce the fruit of salvation.
Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Honduras Update - 33 Hours

Supplies not including Bible story, games and crafts
I haven’t had much extra time to blog this week. Between packing and planning for Honduras and trying to do a few things to get ready for school to start, there just hasn’t been much extra time. However, I wanted to give you a super quick update on our trip!

I can’t believe how God has allowed everything to happen. Several church members had expressed much concern that we would not be able to take all the supplies we had collected. To be honest, I was a little concerned myself.
Tuesday night we spent about 3 hours packing Bible story, craft, and game supplies, along with 180 care bags, over 400 pairs of flip-flops, clothes for the orphanage and lots of candy.  Our fellowship hall was crazy! We had people sorting clothes, flip-flops, and assembling care bags. Then we packed and weighed and labeled all of our bags…..

Praise the Lord, we packed ALL of our supplies and still have 6 empty suitcases. We still have a few odds and ends to pack, but how amazing is this?  All the glory belongs to God!

We leave Friday at 5 pm and will spend the night in New Orleans.  Our plane leave sat 6:40 am Saturday morning!
If you have me as a Facebook friend, check my note for a list of our team members so that you may pray for them by name.
33 hours and counting!
Keep praying.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Honduras Update

This time next week myself, my hubby and 13 other FBC Vidalia church members will be in Honduras preparing for our week of ministry.   As my fingers typed that sentence, my heart skipped a beat. Can it really be only a week away? Wow! After over a year of anticipation, it is surreal that it is actually about to be reality.
During our week we will visit an orphanage, build a wall at a school, do VBS-type programs in schools, cook a meal for a community, and lead a women’s Bible study.  We have collected flip-flops, school supplies, clothes, and personal hygiene items to take with us.

I already asked you to pray for both the Honduran people and our team in my last Honduras update post.  In this post, I urge you to continue your prayers!  Below, you will find some specific needs for which to pray.
  •      Pray that everything we say and do will shine the Glory of Christ.  This is the most important! We desire for the Honduran people to realize the truth of the Gospel.  Pray that we would be bold to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  •      Pray for the children, teachers, and families we will come in contact with. Pray that God would prick their hearts with the Gospel and draw them unto Himself. Pray that these people will be able to recognize truth and will not be swayed by the many false religious groups that are also proselytizing there. Pray that they will realize the God’s grace is enough to meet their needs, whatever they are.
  •      Pray that we will stand strong against any attacks of Satan. Pray that our team will remain unified. Pray that we would not give into anxiety or nervousness.
  •      Pray for our travel. Some on our team have never flown. One has trouble with motion sickness. Pray that these things will not hinder us in any way.
  •       Pray for the missionaries and the International Mission Builder Organization. Pray that God would give them the grace, love, strength and patience to continue God’s work in Honduras.

Your prayers are so appreciated. We want nothing more than to bring glory to God through this trip. It is going to be a wonderful week, and I can’t wait to tell you about everything!

Until then, please, keep praying!
Seven days and counting....

Friday, July 22, 2011

Don't Listen to Lies

Last night, a precious Godly friend spoke encouragement and blessings over me. What a blessing she was to me! She knew the struggle I am currently in, and by the grace of God, knew exactly what to say.  She was a embodiment of Hebrews 10:25,  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

She stirred up my heart and encouraged me with her words.

The two thoughts that stuck with me after our conversation were, “Don’t listen to the lies of Satan,” and, “Don’t doubt God’s goodness.”

Of course, I began to ponder these questions. The question that really stumped me was, “How do I know when I am listening to lies from Satan?”

This one stumped me because, my sinful SELF tells me some pretty dumb lies. I don’t know about you, but I catch myself thinking things contrary to the word of God, often. Obviously, sanctification is still happening in the area of “taking every thought captive.” (2 Cr. 10:5) Are these lies implanted in my brain by Satan himself??? I do not know.  The distinction between thoughts that originated with me and those that originated with Satan is not nearly important as identifying all thoughts that did not originate with God. We must identify thoughts and beliefs, regardless of their origin, that are contrary to God’s word and combat them with truth.

Still, I wondered, what would Satan want me to believe? The answer to this question led me back to the Garden of Eden, to the very first lie.

But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Gen. 3:4-5)
I believe these are the same lies we still battle today.

First, Satan said, “You will not surely die.” With this lie, Satan wanted to convince Eve that God would not follow through on the judgment He had already promised. Today, we hear this lie said with different words, but it is the same lie. “God is love, so He wouldn’t send anyone to hell.”  “I know this is wrong, but God will forgive me.” These are lies. These types of statements reveal a heart that does not take the judgment of God serious. Satan wants us to doubt that God’s judgment is real.

As a side note: notice that, usually, these lies are half-truths, a muddy mix of something true with something false. Satan himself used half-truth in the garden, knowing they are easier for us to swallow. We must rightly divide truth from lie!

Second, and the lie that I am currently battling, is the lie that God is keeping something good from us. I know Satan did not come right out and say this, so let me explain. Satan’s statement was, “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Satan wanted Eve to believe that God was keeping something good from them, which knew good and evil. Satan wanted them to believe that they deserved to have what they wanted, and that they could get it by their own efforts.

This lie is so dangerous because it also convinces us that we are a better judge of what is good than God is. We think, “I desire ______________ so much! This is good thing, that I deserve to have. Surely, if God was good He would give this to me,” or “Why? Why, God, did you let this happen to me?” Oh dear friend, can’t you hear the selfish, me-centered way of thinking in these statements? Lord, please forgive me for thinking in such a sinful way!

So, I am calling out these lies in my life. In light of the truth, I change my thoughts.  I pray, “God, You are ultimately and supremely good. You know the desires of my heart. Lord, I trust that your plan, whatever it is, is best for bringing you Glory.”

I encourage you to recognize the lies you are listening to.  Maybe, your situations are prompting you to doubt God’s goodness. Maybe, you doubt God’s judgment.  Or, maybe you are listening one of a thousand other lies that are contrary to who God is and what His word says. Let’s expose those dark lies with the blinding light of Jesus. Let’s repent and replace those thoughts with truth from God’s word.