Worship in the Waiting

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It’s been awhile. 😀 There have been times I have been moved to write but let the urging go dormant. I am 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant. The above picture was taken at 29 weeks and 3 days. My belly is a LOT bigger needless to say.

I’ve never been so happy to greet August again. It’s the birth month of my precious Babe, my rainbow baby—the promise after the storm. It’s 9 days until my due date, and I am finding it difficult to be patient. I’m so anxious to meet my Little One, yet I know that it’s all in the Lord’s hands, and I must continue to worship while I am waiting. I am praying for a natural birth without any intervention, but I am trusting the Lord with the process. Healthy mama and baby are key.

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I am overjoyed because the Lord has really been doing a work in me throughout this pregnancy. Initially I was gripped with fear of how I will care for a child without the support system most people have, on top of my disability, Casey’s work schedule, etc. Then I began worrying about having the birth I desire in the hospital after running my questions through several of the doctors that may be on call when I go into labor. I broke down in tears three times with one of them . . . Insurance won’t cover an at home water birth or birth at a birthing center. So, I hired a doula who will help me to labor as long as I can at home before heading into the hospital.

Then it hit me . . .

I wasn’t trusting the Lord with all of this. I was frantically trying to have everything in my control, and the thought of it not being in my control sent me into a spiral of fear and anxiety (which of course would hinder any chance of a natural birth). With each day that passes, each day that I choose to worship Him during this period of waiting, I can feel the fear chipping away and peace like a river washing over me. He is faithful. He has brought me through SO much, and He will see me through this. That is key to breakthrough—remembering what He has already accomplished in your life.

The fear has turned to sheer excitement for what is to come! I no longer focus on what I am losing by becoming a parent (sleep, freedom, etc.) but on all of the JOY to come! I can’t wait to see life through the eyes of a child (and play with toys without looking like a weirdo, particularly Calico Critters)! 😀 The best truly is yet to come!

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So, what is it that you are waiting for? Perhaps it’s financial breakthrough. Perhaps it’s a restored marriage. A marriage period. Perhaps you are waiting for a child of your own after many miscarriages or years of infertility. Perhaps it’s a new job opportunity, or a loved one coming to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Perhaps you are in the process of adopting a Little One in need of a loving home. Perhaps it’s physical healing . . . Whatever the case may be, know that you are not alone, and that the more you worship in the waiting, as difficult as it may be, the more peace you will receive, and the easier the waiting will become. Trust. It all comes down to trusting the good, good Father that we have. He loves you, hears your every prayer, and hasn’t forgotten you. Worship while you are waiting my friend. That’s all we can do. ❤

 

Hiding Place

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Do you ever feel like you need a hiding place? A temporary escape from the word? Let’s face it, at some point in our lives (maybe several points), we may find the refrain from Ray Price’s “Make the World go Away” playing through our heads.

I’ll be the first to admit that there are times I need a hiding place. Often times I will just get in the car and drive to no place in particular, tears streaking my face, asking God questions I need answers to. Yesterday was one of those days. It was my “first” Mother’s Day, as I am carrying life in my womb at 27 weeks and 4 days, yet it was the first day fear began to grip hold of me. Will I be a good mom? Will I have meltdowns in front of my child? Will I have the help I need raising this child with Casey’s work schedule and family relationships that aren’t as close as they once were? What about mom’s care and all I do for her?

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The truth of the matter is that yes, I have my faith, but none of us have “arrived” yet. I am a lot better than I once was, but there is always progress to be made. I understand that being human isn’t an excuse to act fleshly, but it takes the pressure off of expectations that we so often place on ourselves. Do I trust the Lord, yes. Am I constantly being given more opportunities to trust Him, you bet.

During my devotional time this morning I was reading Psalm 32 and verse 7 stopped me in my tracks:

“You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” —Psalm 32:7

My eyes scanned the verse several more times. Hiding place. Protection. Songs of deliverance. The Free Dictionary defines deliverance as “rescue from bondage or danger.” So first the Lord will be a hiding place for us. I think back to when he hid Moses in the cleft of the rock with His hand. In Him we will find protection, and He will proceed to sing songs of freedom over us. Freedom from addiction. Freedom from depression. Freedom from fear. Freedom from guilt and shame. Freedom from whatever it is that is keeping us in bondage. The song “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music comes to mind. I know I have shared it in the past (It’s one of my FAVES), but I feel like it needs to be shared again.

“I am surrounded, by the arms of the Father. I am surrounded, with songs of deliverance. We’ve been liberated from our bondage. We’re the sons and the daughters. Let us sing our freedom.”

We have a Father. We have a hiding place. We have FREEDOM. Thank you Jesus. And thank you Mical for sharing this song with me way back when. ❤

Promise After the Storm

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Rainbow over my neighbors house. She recently lost her husband and I texted this to her.

“Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” -Genesis 9:14-15

It’s been awhile! I thought I should pop on for a quick post to update my follower’s on what is going on with me. I am back in school another semester but this will be my last . . .

My promise after the storm is on its way . . . I am 14 weeks pregnant! Casey and I saw the heartbeat at 7 weeks on December 22nd, and at 11 weeks and 2 days I heard baby’s heartbeat through a fetal Doppler! We are super excited and trusting the Lord completely as we know that we aren’t in the “clear” until that baby is in our arms.

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Our announcement on New Year’s Eve!

The Lord has really been working on me lately as I did a 23 day fast from FB and have been practicing spiritual disciplines from classes I am taking in school (Old Testament Survey, Theology 2, Evangelism & Mission, Christian Spirituality, and Isaiah). I’ve had so many “God moments” that it’s overwhelming at times. I want those moments to become so commonplace for me that to not have them is cause for concern.

God is good. And He is faithful.

No matter where you find yourself, no matter what storm you are going through right now, don’t forget the promises of God. He loves you. He is for you. Keep your eyes to the sky and watch for the slightest glimpse of your rainbow. It’s there just beyond the clouds. I’m looking to the sky intently until my rainbow appears (around) August 10th. Be blessed! ❤

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Thy Will

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Today, after a 3 hour appointment at the doctor’s office, I went across the street to Brandon Regional Hospital, which I have frequented often due to mom’s health issues. However, this time I went for myself.

The long drive up the parking garage felt different then all of the times I had driven up it before. This time, instead of checking in at security and heading to the elevators to go to mom’s room, I went to registration. I then saw the pre-op nurse.

April 23rd, after weeks of prayer, I tested positive on a pregnancy test. We weren’t trying. It was a total “God thing” that it happened. Really. I can share that story with you if you want to know. Casey wasn’t ready. I was. To my surprise, he was excited.

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We started making plans. I filled out a “Belly Book” pregnancy journal. I bought a shirt to wear and announce it. I read “The Healthy Pregnancy” book. We weren’t going to wait 12 weeks, because “that” wouldn’t happen to us. We discussed names. I ate organically, cut out sweets, artificial colors and flavors, high fructose corn syrup, etc. I took high quality prenatal, EFA’s, etc. I had the pregnancy symptoms.

Then at 6 weeks I spotted a little. No cramping, so there wasn’t much concern. Went in for my first appointment days later. Had my very first ultrasound, not under the circumstances I had wished. No heartbeat. It was still early though.

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I returned the following week and still no heartbeat and an enlarged yolk sack. “What is the baby measuring at?” I asked the doctor. 1 day larger than the ultrasound 6 days prior. It was no longer a viable pregnancy. What?? The doctor talked of having a D&C, going under anesthesia, having my uterus cleaned out of “products of conception,” etc. It was too much to handle.

I felt as though I was taking a walk of shame out of the building. So many expectant mothers sat in the waiting room, bellies protruding, and I walked out with a tear stricken face trying to hold it all in so I wouldn’t scare them. My eyes met a young pregnant mother who had two toddlers with her. I watched her unload them from her car when I arrived. As I pulled away she was loading them into the car. Our gaze met. I think she knew.

A fellow blogger, Vanessa Dionne says it best:

Miscarriage is one of the most painful kinds of death we can experience because it seems so unfair. Blinded to the sanctity of unborn life, our fallen world cannot offer hope to the woman who has lost her baby. We cannot find our hope in this fallen world. We must turn back to the Author who alone creates, cherishes, and sustains life according to His will.

My world came crashing down upon me. I was angry at God. He knew how long I had prayed for this. “We’ll try again honey,” Casey said as he tried to comfort me in the doctor’s office. We didn’t think this would happen to us. We scheduled another ultrasound to confirm a week out.

I spent three days grieving. I began to heal, although I felt so very alone. 1 in 4 women miscarry, and they usually suffer in silence. I wanted to go public with my story in effort to help those who have gone through this, but also to help those who haven’t gain a better understanding of it.

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I want to give some advice to those who have never experienced a miscarriage, as it truly is difficult to comprehend if you haven’t walked through it. I have found that I have needed to have a lot of grace. Those who have walked (or crawled through this) will be able to relate. I will make this a separate blog.

Jalene Browning, a fellow jeweler and Christian sister of mine shared a song with me the day before my follow up. It changed my outlook. I clung to this song as my anthem. Had I not, I would have come out from the next appointment angry and bitter. I returned at my 8 week ultrasound to have the miscarriage confirmed.

 

Today has been 28 days since my baby got it’s wings. Yes, it was my baby, heartbeat or not. I believe life begins at conception. I was holding up quite well, even Saturday when the spotting started. I wanted to pass it naturally, although I had heard how painful it could be, and the chance of needing to go to the ER due to so much blood loss. The memories came flooding back. This wasn’t over. It was like throwing salt into an old wound. Monday I went to the doctor and they recommended a D&C based on how much time had passed. I didn’t want to do it.

At 3:45am this morning on the way to the bathroom, I believed I passed everything. It was horrible, yet surprisingly painless. I thought to myself, “Could this be it?” I hadn’t had contractions or “labor” as so many describe. I went in today for another ultrasound and was told it wasn’t over. “Just do the D&C so you can begin to heal from this,” the doctor said yet again. “But it’s beginning,” I countered back. I knew it could take time, a lot more time, and then the risk of infection would be high. I also ran the risk of not passing it all, and needing a D&C anyway. I just wanted to be over it. 28 days later . . .

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The hospital was so cold. I felt so alone. Two ladies who worked there told me that I have such a positive outlook despite my circumstances. I gave God all the glory for this, because it truly is by His strength that I have been able to get though this.

On the drive home the tears came. I tried so hard to do this the natural way—to let nature take it’s course, but I’m tired. Tired of waiting, and not knowing when and where it will happen. I cried because I felt so weak in that moment. I am having surgery to remove the remains of my pregnancy . . .

I looked at the hospital bands on my arm and tears flooded my face as I drove home listening to “Thy Will” and trying to sing along through the tears. I gave in to the procedure I was so dead-set against. To me, it is essentially an abortion. It’s the same procedure. In fact, the doctor slipped up and caught herself saying “abortion” and quickly said “miscarriage”. I know my baby is no more. It’s just a scary thought, especially when you read the description of the procedure on the consent form . . .

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But, I know that this whole experience is nature’s way of saying that something wasn’t right. Chromosomally, something wasn’t right. God knows. He is God and I am not, just as the song states. Casey and I will get though this. We will trust our Father, even when we don’t understand and circumstances don’t seem fair. He has our best interests at heart.

I want to thank those who knew about this and have prayed for me and reached out to me to see how I have been holding up. I especially want to thank Kelly Spezzano and Jalene Browning, my fellow Premier sisters, as well as Mike Glenn of Premier Designs prayer team. Your love and support have meant so much to me. Also, thank you Jenny Cruz and Jessica White for your encouragement and support. May God bless you immensely. Momma Del, your texts meant so much to me. Cheryl Johnston, your tears and prayers touched my spirit deeply. And lastly, my sister Janet: Your calls, texts, and tears helped me during such a difficult time. Love you.

My procedure is at 10:30am tomorrow. I would appreciate all of the prayers and support I can get. I know I will leave feeling empty. But I know this isn’t the end of my story. As with my accident, this test will become a testimony. This season may take awhile to heal from, but healing will come.

 

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 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” —Psalm 34:18

 

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Persistence

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Forgive me for being MIA for awhile. Mom ended up back in the ER with another MRSA infection and needed immediate surgery. She is now back in a rehab facility on an IV antibiotic for 6 weeks.

Today I wanted to blog about prayer. My pastor talked about the topic this past Sunday, and although it seemed somewhat juvenile to me, I was able to take away a lot from the sermon.

Last night a friend messaged me about the very topic, asking whether it was okay to repeatedly ask God for something or if that showed lack of faith. My response was the above verse. I also reminded her of the parable of the persistent widow. However, deep down I knew where her question came from. I have been taught to ask for something once, and then step out in faith and thank God for it as though it were already done.

But this is hard. Especially when you have taken that approach for so long and not seen the manifestation of the healing, the financial provision, the restored marriage, the promotion, etc.

Satan likes to come in and cause doubt and unbelief. You may hear him whisper, “Your faith is too small.” Or, he may convince you that you haven’t done enough to earn what you are hoping for. He also may say, “It’s not your job to be trying to change this situation. Shouldn’t your spouse be the one praying?” Those are all lies. Yes, we are called to have faith and believe without doubting (Matthew 21:21), but I don’t believe it nullifies our faith to continue to ask God for that which we desire. If anything, it shows faith to keep pressing in and presenting our requests to Him rather than to simply stop asking.

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Photo can be found here.

Also, we must make sure that we are content in our current circumstance, trusting in God through whatever it may be. If we can’t trust Him in the tough times, why should He deliver us of them? Perhaps like Paul, He wants to display His power in our weakness, because otherwise He wouldn’t get to do so.

Some of the most valuable lessons I have learned in life have come through the desert seasons.

I will finish with this: What you desire may look different from what Papa desires. “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.(Proverbs 16:9, NASB). He ultimately knows what is best for us. Compared to Him, we have such a narrow scope of life. Let’s continue to knock on the door of heaven persistently for that which we are believing for, but let’s also be patient and trust that Daddy truly does know best.

What are you believing God for?

Taming the Tongue

 

I snapped this photo while making deliveries for my business. It looked so peaceful there!

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.” —‭‭James‬ ‭3:9-12‬ ‭

This morning the reading assignment in my Life Journal reading plan was the book of James, only 5 short chapters, but full of so much wisdom! Wow! Each time I read this book it seems I get more revelation and more and more color highlights my Bible. The tongue is such a powerful thing… I used to use it to destroy others, including my husband… I couldn’t believe that I had just praised God, listening to and singing worship music, and then resorted to my old fleshly ways of letting anger (and the devil) take hold of me. I’m in my Bible each day, I’ve been through deliverance, so what gives?

It’s a renewing of the mind, a recognizing of old patterns rising up that need to be suppressed (uprooted rather) and countered with Truth.

You can get rid of the demon but without closing the door that was opened to them in the first place, you can’t expect different results. It comes down to recognizing trigger points for the anger, the addiction, the depression, the anxiety, the (fill in blank) and taking them captive, because each time we give in, we give the devil a foothold, and soon it will become a stronghold (Eph. 4:27).

As believers, we CAN find freedom from that which has bound us from childhood. It takes some work on our part though—meeting God halfway. It takes 21 days to form a new habit. That can be difficult after a lifetime of acting/reacting out of the flesh, but it’s possible. It has been over a year since I’ve had an angry outburst that left me feeling like a failure and hypocrite (this is what Satan wants).

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Our first visit to the beach this year on Resurrection Sunday. FREEDOM!

Do I still get angry? Sure. Do I raise my voice at times? Yes. But I am now able to recognize it and repent of it before it goes any further to insults or throwing things… Repentance is key if you want to change. Don’t let pride get the best of you and go to bed angry holding on to bitterness. If you do, that stronghold will surely be formed, and it will be easier to keep repeating the same behavior.

I hope to some day not even get to the point of raising my voice, but rather be taken from glory to glory, becoming more and more like the Father. Humility is of utmost importance. It’s not easy, but it makes all the difference.

 
If you can relate to anything I have written, know that there is hope. Christ wants you free from the bondage of your flesh. No medication can help issues that are rooted in your childhood, your past. It may help by unplugging the “check engine” light, but you will likely find yourself fighting the same demons and wondering why you can’t have the freedom that God’s word speaks of.

We were meant for more. We don’t have to be our addiction, our disability, our depression, our disease, our anxiety. We don’t have to own it as our identity, our label. Jesus wants to take that from us and give us HIS identity. Oh beloved, we were made for so much MORE! Believe it. Receive it. Repent of ungodly thoughts, actions, and words spoken. Most importantly, forgive yourself. We are our own worst critic.

Here are some books I recommend for further reading:

The Holy Bible (Duh! 😜)

Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer

12 Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyer

Think like Heaven by Bob Hazlett

Root Issues by Mayra Leon

Disclaimer: I have been set free from depression, anxiety, fear, and a host of other strongholds through deliverance, prayer, and seeking hard after the Lord. This is not to imply that demonic influence is at the root of every issue, but I know from experience that it is for many. I assist with deliverance ministry and have seen people set free from things that doctors said they would struggle with for a lifetime and take meds for. I am one of them. For more information on this ministry, check out Above & Beyond Counseling Ministries.

Uprooted

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“He replied, ‘Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.'” —Matthew 15:13

I saw the strangest thing the other day on the way to visit mom. There was a field full of uprooted orange trees. My heart was heavy.

I had to pull over. As the sun was setting, I looked at the trees and questioned why they were uprooted. Construction was going on nearby. Perhaps someone bought the field and didn’t want the fruit, but was there any good fruit?

I had noticed the field before. There were oranges on the trees but they didn’t look as though they could (or should) produce fruit. Perhaps they were diseased. I began to examine myself. Am I producing fruit? If so, am I producing good fruit?

In the verse mentioned above, Jesus was referring to the Pharisees who were offended by Jesus’ teaching about what defiles the body (Matt. 15:11). Jesus went on to say, “Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit” (v. 14).

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The disciples didn’t understand the parable and asked Jesus to explain it. Jesus asked them, “are you still so dull?” (v. 16).

Ouch. The truth of the matter is that what is not of God, will not last. It will be uprooted. Sometimes all something—someone—needs is a little pruning, painful as it might be, but often the roots go deep and must be removed completely, but there is hope . . .

The uprooting, the removal of what is dead, and the tilling of the soil leaves opportunity for regrowth—rebirth.  Ecclesiastes says there is “a time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted” (Ecc. 3:2). Sometimes the old must go so the new can come. Bad trees can’t produce good fruit, but new trees can.

As I sat there looking at the damage before me, the heaviness on my heart began to lift. It was a graveyard of the old, the dead, the barren, but oh the possibilities of what’s to come! I believe we can deal with root issues in our lives such as anger, unforgiveness, negativity, rejection, and ungratefulness that may be causing us to be barren, so we can have fresh soil to plant new seeds, grow new roots, develop new mindsets, and blossom with fruits of the Spirit. Can you see the orange grove now?

 

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Orange Grove in the Botanical Park and Gardens, Fournes, Crete. Photo taken by Rolf F. Katzenberger.