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.