Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lessons Learned

Wow. I make trusting God a focus for the new year, and He makes me exercise that trust almost from the get-go. I'm loving it because it reminds me how present the Lord is in my life, and that He is lovingly watching over me and guiding me.

In the past, well before Michael's diagnosis, I did not know how to trust God. I thought in order to have the "blessings" I wanted in life, that I needed to work hard. Not just work hard at work, but work hard at anything that meant something to me. So, I strived for what I wanted. I pushed. I pulled. I persuaded. When the object of my desire did not move as quickly as I wanted him to (yes, I do mean Michael), I experienced anxiety, insecurity, and angst. It was awful! It was no way to live, and it really was no way to live for the Lord.

Presently, I am experiencing the need to trust and wait upon the Lord. The old me would have kicked my powers of persuasion and communication skills into high-gear. The older, perhaps wiser, me is content to trust and wait.  Younger me would have thought that approach was too passive. The older me finds peace in this.

And each day as I'm learning to trust Him more, He gives me beautiful truths like this:

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Psalm 34:8 

And this excerpt from Jack Kinsella:   

Trusting in God's promises is like putting batter in the oven. If the combination of ingredients, temperature and time are correct, I don't need much faith to know I'll be pulling a cake out shortly.

There are two kinds of promises in Scripture; conditional and unconditional. An example of an unconditional promise is the promise of eternal security. It is unconditional in the sense that, once you take the step of giving yourself to Christ, He keeps you, unconditionally, until He takes you Home to be with Him.

Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath BEGUN a good work in you will PERFORM it until the day of Jesus Christ.  {Philippians 1:6}

First, we are told to be 'confident' of the promise, then a statement of fact, and then the unconditional promise is laid out for us. The statement of fact is that it was Jesus Who began a good work in us at salvation. And the promise is that, having begun that good work, He will continue to perform it 'until the day of Jesus Christ' when we stand before Him at the Bema Seat.

The second kind of promise in Scripture is conditional. We opened with a discussion of a conditional promise. If one seeks a multitude of counselors, then one is promised safety. If one seeks out godly counsel, and then follows that counsel, one is promised a blessing.

I have no idea what blessings the Lord has in store for me in the year ahead, but I have peace about His ways and His timing. And that peace is a by-product of trusting Him.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Michaela @ Twenty Months

Last Friday, Michaela hit the twenty month mark! We are just four more months from her second birthday. Amazing...

Almost overnight it seemed she outgrew much of the winter wardrobe I'd hoped would see us through February or March. The feet in her fleece jammies were just too small, and her onesies were too short for her long torso. So on Saturday we headed out to take advantage of some good sales and to use Mommy's coupons to buy clothes in 24 months and 2T sizes for the rest of the winter. We were very successful! Halfway through our shopping trip, we stopped for lunch. Michaela made herself very busy with the crayons they provided to her, but she didn't eat much.

Michaela's vocabulary is very large, and she tries new words every day. "Gammy" and "Gamma" are the names she calls my mom and Michael's mom. She loves to color in coloring books, and she will ask for her "cuhlors". "Brah-gee" is broccoli. I am not "Mama". I'm "Mama, Mama, Mama!" When I tell her to do something, she answers with "Okay!" Too cute. Anyway, her words and phrases are too numerous for me to recall at this point. She just talks all the time, and she makes a good effort to be understood.

At bedtime she will now allow me to read a book to her. We just have to stick with the same book each night. If I try to change it up, she gets a little silly. So, we've been reading Goodnight Moon almost every night. We still co-sleep, and most of the time we both sleep well.

So, yeah. Twenty months. Lots of sweet memories behind us now, and many sweet ones yet to be made.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

One Word 2013 - January

I was invited last month to participate in One Word. It's a personal and spiritual focus for 2013, and a blogging event. You can read more about it here. On the 15th of each month, I'm supposed to blog about my reflections on the previous month in light of my One Word, and link up to the hosting blog. I missed yesterday's deadline, but better late than never. Right?

I chose TRUST as my One Word because I tend to trust in myself and my abilities/capabilities more than I trust what the Lord can do. I know I shouldn't do this. The Bible is very clear that our trust belongs in the Lord, not ourselves or in other people:

And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. {2 Corinthians 3:4-6}

Trusting in ourselves is kind of like driving down a dead-end street. There's only so far you can go. I have found in my life that when trials come, I don't always know what to do, or have the power to do what I think should be done. That kind of situation can quickly cause me to become overwhelmed. And it's not always the big things that throw me for a loop. It can simply be too many things to do, or a difficult parent at school, or a fussy toddler.

So, as 2013 gets started, I'm focusing on trusting the Lord with the big things and the little things. Nothing is too big or too small for Him. Nothing takes Him by surprise.

Just since my first One Word post, where I mentioned my concerns about our Social Security application and my desire for a godly man to come into our lives, I have seen the Lord working in both of those areas of my life. I was contacted by SS on Tuesday. They asked to see a copy of Michael's will. I'm sure they are looking for reasons not to approve our application, but I'm trusting the Lord with that outcome. And I've been enjoying getting to know a Christian widower in the last couple of weeks. Not sure where that is going, either, but I am trusting the Lord to guide me in that. Whatever happens in either situation, I am reminded once again how faithful God is, and that it is good for me to trust Him.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

One Word

lbukun, a reader (check out her blog at She is out of control...), suggested I consider participating in One Word hosted by Melanie at Only a Breath. So, I visited Melanie's blog today to get a sense of what One Word is all about, and here's what I learned:

What do you want to focus on in 2013?
It can be something tangible or intangible. It can be a thought, a feeling, an action, or a character trait. Your word will be a reminder, a nudge. Something you can reflect on, that will challenge you, that will inspire you.
Your word can be anything you want it to be. All that matters is that it has personal meaning for you.
This is your word. It needs to resonate with your heart, no one else’s.
Melanie went on to say that instead of coming up with a list of resolutions that One Word can be one's personal "theme" for the new year. Sounds good to me.

So here's mine: in "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; And lean not on your own understanding" {Psalm 3:5}.

I chose this one word because there is so much uncertainty in our world, and in my own life. I have absolutely no control over the unsettling things that are going on around the world, and not as much control over my own life as I'd like to have. However, God is sovereign and He is mighty to save {Zephaniah 3:17}. I don't mean to sound pessimistic, but hard times could be ahead. I want to focus on trusting Jesus with all of my concerns instead of perseverating on them.

What kind of concerns? Well here are a couple:
  • Will we receive a favorable decision from Social Security that will allow Michaela to receive Michael's benefits?
  • Will I spend another year alone? Or, will this be the year in which God brings a good man into our lives?
None of those things are too big for God, of course, but sometimes they are things that worry concern me. If we were to receive Michael's benefits for Michaela (as I believe we should), I could eliminate the rest of the debt I incurred from our fertility treatments, and then be able to afford to send her to a private Christian school when the time comes. As for remaining single, that is something that burdens my heart. I want to share my life with a wonderful, godly man, and I want Michaela to know a father's love. Furthermore, while I know that the Lord is my protector and provider, I would like him to send us someone to be that for us. I so appreciated the ways in which Michael was that for me when I was his wife. In my opinion, marriage and family are a shelter for women and children, and I want that for Michaela and myself.

So, as 2013 debuts, I will trust the Lord with the things that presently concern me, and the things to come. Each month, on the 15th, I will attempt to update how my One Word {trust} has helped me in the previous weeks, and how the Lord has proved Himself worthy of my trust.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Currently {January}

Listening: to all the new words Michaela says. It's so exciting to hear her expanding vocabulary. "Okay" and "all right" are a couple things I like to hear her say. She is putting "a" in front of a lot of her words. She will tell Grammy that she wants to go "a-bed" when she wants a nap, and today she told me she wanted to go "a-home" when we left the grocery store.

Loving: this vacation time. It has been very relaxing, and I love being with my girl every day. I love staying up as late as I want to, and getting up after 7 in the morning.

Thinking: about my goals for the new year. I don't make resolutions, I just use the beginning of the year to reevaluate what I'm doing, and what I could be doing spiritually, financially, physically, etc. 

Wanting: to weigh a little less. Thus I'm starting WW Online again this weekend. When my produce delivery arrived yesterday, instead of just shoving some of the veggies in the fridge, I researched some lowfat/low points recipes I could make with them. I've been thinking about canceling my membership with that service, but if I can better incorporate these beautiful organic veggies into my diet, I'll stick with it a while longer. My grocery bill was lower just by taking the time to plan my menus.

Needing: to make the most of these last few days off. I want to get some things done, but I also want to have some fun. The weather is warming up, and Michaela and I should take advantage of that.

Music: Since the Christmas music ended, I really haven't been listening to much of anything. One of my speakers in the car is blown, so we've been listening to classical music when we're in the car. The bass on almost any other kind of music makes that speaker buzz, and that drives me crazy.

Happy New Year!