A Life for His glory

As moms, each of our children are precious to us, beyond comprehension. But there is a special place in many of our hearts, a place where we keep the memory of those babies we don’t have on earth with us. While I know loss has not touched every mama, it has touched many. Whether once or more, a shared or private grief, the fact that the life was here and given is a blessing. It is a sorrow and heartbreak when it quietly slips away. When you hold a little life in your womb or your arms and that life you love is now gone, a part of your heart breaks and will never be the same again.

But, what do you do with that brokenness? While it makes us sad, we cannot allow it to become bitter; while it forever changes your perspective, let that changed perspective be beneficial to you and those around you. So many who suffer an early pregnancy loss grieve in silence, and this makes me sad. We need our families, our friends to not just rejoice with us in the life but to grieve alongside us in the loss. We can encourage each, help heal hearts and remember those short lives, calling them by name, remembering their lives and acknowledging their live was precious and a gift.

“If we choose to let the moments make us and not break us,

motherhood leaves an imprint of beauty, even when brokenness formed us.”

As we take the hearts that have been broken, what is the imprint left in our lives. Will we allow it be used and form us for God’s glory and His use? Will we let Him break us and mold us to be more Christ-like”? Is it possible that little life was designed and given to shape our perspective and allow our lives here to reflect His glory more?

“But without walking through the long, deep places of release,

our view from up high would never be the same.”

As I think of my own “glory babies”, those little ones gone before we were ready, I often wonder “why”…. Why would God give their lives to us, and then “take them away”. I have come to realize it must be for His glory, He is glorified in their short lives and I must see their lives as for His glory and then live in such a way that reflects that.

My life will never be the same since having their lives in mine, but that is a good thing. Their little lives have shaped mine into who I am, still an imperfect wife and mama but one with a clearer sense of mission and perspective, a longing for heaven and a greater desire to be the mother I need to be for my children here. Through their lives, my life has gained much and I will be eternally thankful for each one and the impact they have on my mothering.

And not just those little ones, my 6 precious ones here are faithful to remind me often of the treasure they each are, how much I need Christ daily to be able to mother them well and give me reason to be intentional, purposeful and humble each and every day. 

And so today, I remember with each of my mama friends, the countless un-named little ones and the ones I do know….. Gedaliah, Aderyn, Tristan, Violet, Whitney, Jonathan, Peter, Noah ….. They are not forgotten and each are precious in His sight.

 

Quotes in burgandy above are from the book {Why} Motherhood Matters by September McCarthy, a read I highly recommend to any mom

More on my thoughts on miscarriage…..

 

 

Who is your ‘everyone’?

everyone1

 

As I read this verse a couple weeks ago, I was struck by the words in these few sentences. “Christ in you, the hope of glory” is the overarching theme, this is bottom line, Christ is in us and we have the hope of heaven and glory with Him.

And then I was struck by the “everyone” that is repeated 3 times….. “warning everyone & teaching everyone” – this pretty much sums up the life of a homeschooling mama 😉 Most days if I am not actually teaching the kids something at any given moment, it seems that I am disciplining, training or reminding of rules or manners…. and yep, “everyone”, all 6 kids, going from one to the next all. day. long. From keeping the bigger boys on track to complete tasks, school and chores, to spending time teaching the kids and making progress there, to training them in words, actions and attitudes. It never ends.

And yet, keep reading….. what’s the goal dear mama? “to present everyone mature in Christ”. Honestly, this is my bottom line goal with my kids. Yes, schooling and learning is important. It is good that they know to flush the toilet and wash their hands, they need to be motivated to complete tasks and take pride in their work. But at the end of the day it’s growing these little souls into strong, deeply rooted and mature in Christ and that their hearts and souls belong to Him.

It seems to be an overwhelming task. But I love how the verses close out….. it’s with HIS energy that HE powerfully works in me. Yes, we toil and yes, we struggle but He gives us the strength to complete the task He has set before us. In His energy and His power He chooses to work through our lives to reach their little lives.

As I read this and saw my children in “my everyone”, they are my focus and task in this season of my life, but perhaps you are in a different season. Maybe your “everyone” is different from mine. It doesn’t change the fact that God desires for His energy and His power to work within you, to reach those in your sphere for Him, to show His glory and truth to those around us.

Who is your everyone? How can you be encouraged today by these words?

Perspective {10 years after a miscarriage}

Perspective

Perspective…… so much of what we see depends on the perspective we have. We may not see the big picture of all that is happening around since. “You cannot see the forest for the trees in the way” or “Hindsight is 20/20”, pithy little sayings reminding us that our view of life is limited.

 

I remember my second pregnancy quite well. It lasted just 10 weeks. Exactly 10 years ago today. And when it ended in a miscarriage, one Tuesday afternoon in the doctors office there were many different emotions playing through my brain and body that day. Driving home that day with my 10 month old firstborn in his carseat and a small specimen container holding the remains of our baby, I was sad and yet at peace, the miscarriage happened in the best possible scenario; my husband was with us, able to drive me to the doctors office, everything happened quickly and completely with no complications. We were given the option of keeping the baby and we able to bury him in a special spot. This provided good closure and completeness to his short life. As we drove home, we talked about the fact we both were both fairly sure the baby would have been a boy and choose to treat him as such. I asked if we could name him, without realizing it at the time, this was a big part of the healing process and allows us to treat this child as that…. one of our children. All of our kids know who he is and that they have a brother in heaven. 

As we talked about it, a song came on the radio. It was a popular one at the time, “Great is our God” by Chris Tomlin. As we listened to the song play, Kieran asked if we could find a name that meant “great is our God”. Once home I started searching through names, I found one, Gedaliah, that meant “God is great” and so that was his name. 

While we mourned the loss of this baby, God in His grace gave us another just a short time later and we welcomed our second-born 11 months later. When the kids ask about Gedaliah and how old he would be, it’s hard to comprehend that had he lived we wouldn’t have our Colm. God knew who we needed and He is working His good for His glory in our lives and each of our children.MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Gedaliah’s short life has given me a great appreciation for the sanctity of life. Seeing his small body, just forming, yet with head, arms, legs, belly and even the start of fingers and toes able to be seen, I was given a glimpse of the hand of God as it forms each little person. And it has given me an empathy I can share with other moms who experience a miscarriage, it’s a hard process to go through, yet I am thankful for the growth and strength that comes from it.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:12-16 ESV)

And perspective; Gedaliah’s life gives my life perspective….. it’s a reminder that heaven is real and I can look forward to the day when we are able to see him again….. it’s a reminder that life is precious, each and every life….. it is a reminder that our God is great and greatly to be praised, that He holds each detail of our lives in His hands….. that little life accomplished much in my life and I am thankful today to have experienced it and be able to share him with others.

great is our God

This photo above was taken from near the spot where we buried Gedaliah, a peaceful piece of ground with a pretty view as a reminder to us of the greatness of our God.

Have you experienced a miscarriage? Tell me about your little one and what you learned through their life in the comments below.

 

Behold the Beauty: a book review

Psalm 274-2

A few weeks back I received an email from a friend of mine; a lady I don’t know super well but one that I am always glad to hear from ’cause she is a wonderful woman of God and someone I admire. We met many years ago – now that I am thinking about it, I cannot believe it’s been that long! – but her boys were all still so young at the time, her youngest not even born yet. But I always loved her ready smile and encouraging words even as a young woman myself, not yet married or having kids.  As life does however, our lives somewhat drifted apart as I got married and moved around but we continued to stay in touch through our respective blogs and the occasional emails. So, when she emailed me about a book she had just written and published asking if I would like to review a copy….I said yes; I definitely wanted to see and hear her words of wisdom and thoughts on life!

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The title of the book, Behold the Beauty, is based on the verse in Psalms 27:4: “One thing I have asked from the Lord, that shall I seek; That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.”

As I read that verse, I stopped and just contemplated that thought…. ONE THING, this one thing I have asked…THIS is the one thing I seek…. to dwell in God’s presence and see His beauty…… what a wonderful thought to contemplate.

This book is an easy read, with short chapters and inviting stories and thoughts, as Monica delves into the concept of being in the Word, allowing the Bible and God’s Word to impact every area of our lives and to seek hard, to seek faithfully, and apply the truths given in God’s Word. As I was reading it, I realized this would make a wonderful read for my oldest as well. As he is beginning His own walk with the Lord, this book offers good direction on the “how- to” of Bible reading and study. It gives some great ideas on various ways to read a passage, different views to take to glean from the words given there. But at the same time, I was challenged as well, as a more ‘seasoned’ Christian, to look at my reading perhaps in a new way. It challenged me to think more about the time spent in the Word and to make that time more meaningful.

I think this quote from one of the chapters sums up well the heart of the book…..

“…..to feed my excitement over God’s love for me, and to be more and more convinced of His greatness, I look carefully into the details of His Word. To see each story, to immerse myself in the detailed events of the Bible, and to hear every word of each conversation in the Scriptures is to grow my understanding of who God is….”

Written from a first person standpoint, like you are sitting and conversing together over a cup of tea, each chapter is summed up with questions and ideas for applying the truths, making this book very practical and a wonderful addition to your daily reading.

I do highly recommend this book, not just from the truth of the content and it’s validity and well-written truths, but also from a knowledge of the person who penned the words, whose life is seen living out the words she shares, a life worth looking at and emulating.

As we close out this year of 2015 and are moving into the new year, may I encourage to renew yourself in the coming days by ‘pushing pause’ and assessing where you are spiritually? What changes would you like to see in the coming year? What is a small step you can take this week to help you achieve that goal? If spending more time in the Word, or increasing the quality of your reading time is on your list, this book, Behold the Beauty would be a wonderful read. I would also highly recommend Feeding Your Soul: A Quiet Time Handbook. This has been another book that has impacted my reading time as well as Jean’s latest book, Pursue the Intentional Life.

You can find the book in print or Kindle here on Amazon {aff link} – and you can enjoy more of Monica’s writing in her blog or Facebook & Twitter.



He loves to love us…..

posted in: gracewords, thoughts | 1

rainbow 3

I was reminded again this week how much God loves to love us. It was my youngest daughter’s 4th birthday. As the weather is approaching fall now the weather forecast was for cloudy skies and a chance for rain most of the day. Somehow the topic came up and I recall casually mentioning we had a good chance for rain that day – I was probably encouraging them to go play outside for awhile since we did start the day with a little sunshine 😉sunrise

A little while later, mid morning, little A came up to me and told me “I just prayed and asked God to send a rainbow today”. I told her that was great and we’d have to watch and see what happened with the day. And then it totally left my mind as I went about the school day, grocery shopping, making a birthday cake and wrapping a few presents.Ailish

That evening as things settled down after we had “birthday time”, I gave the girls a bath. As we were cleaning up and combing hair my older A remarked about the rain falling outside and the cool clouds she could see out the back door. There was a light but steady rain falling and as the sun was setting that area of the sky looked really yellow and red. I suddenly remembered the rainbow and started looking. As I looked out the front door, this is what I saw! I quickly hollered for little A to come and see. As I held her and we looked at the rainbow, she was so excited “God sent me a rainbow for my birthday!”, how could I not agree! We snap some pictures quickly as the sun continued to set and the colors faded.rainbow1

As I continued to think on this, I realized how excited I was as a mom that my little girl got a seemingly small and insignificant prayer answered perfectly. And I realized that just as I love to give my children things they ask for, the little things that mean so much to them, God does as well. What joy it brings to Him to answer those little requests and show what a big God we serve!

He Is Sufficient !

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I KNOW I am not alone in this struggle and my heart to be encouraged by others moms on the same path and encourage them to ‘keep on keeping on’ and at the same time be encouraged BY them that we can keep on…..my latest “mantra” to myself is “HE IS ENOUGH” – it’s not me, I can’t do it. I can’t be the mother and teacher these kids need – but with Christ in me and thru HIS power I can….in His strength and His grace HE is enough for me. H.I.S. MOMS – He Is Sufficient – “But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for MY power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of MY WEAKNESS, so that the POWER OF CHRIST may rest upon me……FOR WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN I AM STRONG.” 2 Cor 12:9-10 ——–>>>> Mama’s we are weak, we struggle, we cannot do, but let us rest today in HIS grace, in His strength and let us keep walking the path He has for us and give HIM the glory for all we can accomplish in his power. Love and hugs to you all

Come…..

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“Come, Come Ma, Come.”

Words from the 1 1/2 yr old boy….barely talking, understands everything. This is his “new word”. Come. His expressions when he says it are just indescribable. Something a combination of excitement and urgency coupled with a confusion of “why aren’t you here yet”. Often said with his little hands held palms up and open. Oh my, it’s just impossible to describe but so incredibly cute and precious.

As I have been thoroughly enjoying him being able to say these words this week, I was struck at the irony when while reading the other morning in my devotional, a focus on the word “come”.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)

What a wonderful reminder for a mama’s heart. Come, come to Jesus, He gives rest. It might not be long, sleep-filled nights, but He is gentle and gives rest to our souls. But first, we must come. We must come to Him. He is standing there and like my little boy, looking at me and saying “Come”. You know in your mind that answering and responding well to those little children is so important, much more important then finishing the last couple dishes and picking up a few more toys on your way. The joy and smile and love that the little ones give as we love on them is so precious. And like that, so is making that time to come to Jesus. To take even a couple minutes and read a Psalm or Proverb. To keep that Bible open on the table. To jot that verse down that encouraged you last Sunday at church and stick it on the fridge or the steering wheel or the mirror in the bathroom and just meditate on it. To know – and then do it – to allow the pressings of the day to wait for just a few more minutes and just come. It is rewarding. It is encouraging. It will improve your day.

And then, as I have been contemplating these verses and thoughts this week I was reminded of the end of Revelation, the last book of the Bible.

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.”

And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
(Revelation 22:17-21 ESV)

These are the last words God has given us for this time on earth. And how precious are last words, those words we remember always. When you are able to know what a loved ones last words were, they can be so encourgaing and precious. That is how I see these words. They are plea. They are a reminder. Come. Come those who are thirsty. Come, the rest, the refreshing, the promises of life are without price. And then it closes “Come, Lord Jesus”. Each day could be the day He returns. As we come to Him and find rest and peace and encouragement for the day ahead we should also be echoing that prayer of “Come Lord Jesus, come”.

Coming Soon
Coming Soon

Matt 11:28-30

 

(click the photos to purchase these prints!)

grace words

Grace to those who hear
Grace to those who hear

The story behind the picture……. this photo is of my oldest daughter on her 5th birthday. She had on a pretty new dress, new pink bow in her hair and her favorite black boots….. we headed outside – in the cold November air – so I could take some birthday pictures. I had her start over to a spot on the other side of the yard and see danced and spun her way over that direction. Of course, I realized that these “un-posed” photos were going to be some of the best ones and it so captured her girly, happy state of mind. I coupled these verses with this photo because I really liked the pictures but also for me it was a good reminder of what these verses are saying – to be loving, to be kind, to be forgiving, to have that Christ-like attitude with my with kids. The phrase “to give grace to those who hear” is a phrase I hear often, while I seem to often fail at it, I desire that my words are full of grace and love and kindness. That what I say gives grace to those that hear – and especially to my kids!

I think this print makes a great refrigerator magnet in either the 4×6 or 5×7 size – though with the longer verse on this one, I personally like the 5×7 better! And it’s also available in either of the card options, both sized at 5×7 as well!

this moment

posted in: gracewords, thoughts | 0

the story behind the picture…..

This moment
This moment

 

This photo is of my youngest little boy, he now 19 months. Born as #6 in our family, he joined his 5 other siblings who at the time were 7 1/2 and under. My youngest 4 were all under 4 (till the 3 year old turned 4 a few weeks later!). Needless to say, life in our house was a little hectic and busy. I was tired. I was homeschooling my older ones, the days were filled with feeding kids, nursing a newborn, keeping up with the housework and laundry (kinda!), my husband was working out of town the months surrounding his birth, so he was often gone Monday-Friday and just home weekends. In my haze of day-to-day life with the many little blessings running around, this quote I had seen kept ringing in my head “we have this moment”, as I would snuggle a couple extra seconds before laying the baby down and moving on with the next thing that needed done, I would sometimes just snuggle him close and think “we have this moment”, it might just be a moment, a couple extra seconds, five minutes in the quiet darkness of a midnight feed as I held him close and nodded off to sleep,MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA I treasured those little baby moments. I loved the little tiny baby weeks so much with all my babies, but I think I especially appreciated them with him more. I still snuggle him and rock him to sleep. He’s my only one I haven’t gotten to the point of putting in bed and just leaving and letting them fall asleep. He cuddles in and falls asleep in my arms and then I lay him down. Or sometimes, he does the same with his daddy….which honestly, he – both of them! – really like 😉 This was one of the first prints I made, and it’s still one of my favorites.

This moment 2

 

 

 

I recently made a couple new ones with the same quote on it….at this time, this is the only quote I have on multiple photos 😉 But I realized I wanted some more girly, other stages of life with this quote, so here’s a couple new ones!MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

These prints would make great baby shower or new mama gifts. While the color version of the original is rather boy…the black and white would be great for either, as well as the pencil sketch in the new version. Which in color is girly! By the way, the new ones of the baby girl are my oldest daughter and the new ones of the girls are my two girls in our front yard a couple weeks ago. They are finally getting to be good friends as the younger one is getting old enough now to actually play along. They are currently 5 1/2 and 2 1/2. MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

 

(As you look at these, I would love if there is a design you like, quote that you love, if you would use the social share buttons on each page and share them around a bit! Thanks ;-))

Why this?

posted in: ESV Bible, gracewords, thoughts | 0

I thought I would tackle the “why this” question – why do photos with words, verse or quotes on them? Why stick them on your fridge? Why hang them on your wall or mail them to your great-aunt or best friend or lady you met at church last week?

Well, a couple reasons. One, I have many young children running around my house. I am pretty limited in my space to put pretty knick-knack type items or decorative pieces. Plus, living in a rental house, I try and limit the things I hang on the wall so we don’t leave too many nail holes behind. But, I found I really need the reminder of good verses, encouraging quotes and pretty pictures nearby so I can be reminded often of their truths. I discovered combining the pretty with the encouraging and sticking them somewhere I end up often thru the day with little ones and people in my house that need at least 3 meals a day – (please tell me mine aren’t the only kids hungry all the time!)  – really encouraged me. Using photos of my kids – the cute and precious little ones that I love dearly, captured in that moment, remind me when they aren’t in that “precious, photo worthy moment” of challenging child training and disciplining to keep on keeping on, to keep putting the next foot forward and take another step. To cherish that moment, to be okay with serving them often in the mundane of peanut butter and oatmeal.

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Two verses that really prompted me to take this beyond my own fridge were:

    “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
(Ephesians 4:29 ESV)

    Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 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.
(Hebrews 10:23-25 ESV)

I want to encourage others, I want to encourage YOU, I want to help you love those around you, I want to remind myself to use words of grace, to give grace when I speak and all the more now as we continue to see the Day approaching when Christ will return. My hope and prayer is not that these little reminders will be a blessing to many, to encourage mamas and others in their day-to-day life.

I would love your feedback, encouragement and creative ideas. All the photos you see were taken by us, all the kids are ours. Unless noted otherwise, all Scripture is from the ESV and quotes are from the original person, as best as I was able to find.