My Mommy Secret to Surviving in the Overwhelming Moments

When Lydia was a baby, I was a supermom. I did everything: kept the apartment spotless, hosted guests, tackled projects, learned new things, and spent time with my baby. Abby came along and our world was turned upside down with several weeks in the NICU that stressed us beyond anything we’d ever known before. It was horrible. So, when Abby came home from the hospital, I stubbornly thought I had to prove it’s easier to have two at home than to have one at home and one in the NICU. I tried to “do it all” again and be a good mom to both girls all at the same time.

Do you know how that went? I broke. I snapped. I realized that I was acting in pride and living a lie. When I started being honest with myself and others, I found a lot of freedom. Being a mom is HARD.

During my pregnancy with Paul I was praying for the transition to three, but also preparing myself to be overwhelmed.

It’s just a season.

The house will be messy at times (most of them!).

I won’t be able to do projects the way I used to.

Taking care of three will be almost all-consuming, but we’ll survive.

Do you know what happened? The transition was not nearly as difficult as I anticipated. We do survive. In fact, sometimes the house is tidy and clean (rarely). Sometimes I cook meals with side dishes (special occasions only). I still have a quiet time alone (although, at 5:45 AM). I teach the kids, play with the kids, read to the kids, and I still manage to clean the bathroom, change the sheets, and vacuum. I still have time to plan meals and cook them, spend time with Dan, and read books (grown up ones, even). But, it’s still hard.

I have sat down on various occasions to seek advice from more experienced moms, ones that I really respect. I think one of my favorite pieces of advice that I try to put into place daily was on how not to be overwhelmed.


One mom in particular told me about Susanna Wesley, mother to nineteen children (ten survived to adulthood), including two sons who eventually founded Methodism and wrote a lot of hymns still being sung today. As the mother of so many children, Susanna would get overwhelmed too. Then she would throw her apron up over her head to have a moment “alone” to pray for help.

Since the day I first heard about Susanna’s “apron prayers”, I’ve started to try to do the same, though, not with an apron since I rarely wear one. 🙂 Sometimes I go to my room, and sometimes I gather the kids around me and we pray together. Often I just stop whatever I’m doing, close my eyes, and let out a short, desperate, completely sincere prayer for help.

Well, last week I was encouraged when I was reading about King David and I saw him put the same tactic into practice.

David (not yet King David) had been running away from Saul for months and months. He hasn’t done anything wrong, and had, on several occasions, proved his loyalty to King Saul even while fleeing his persecution. Finally David fled to the Philistines and lived among them for over a year. One day he gathered his troops together and made a journey to help the Philistine’s fight their battles. However, the Philistine lords doubted David’s loyalty, so the king sent David and his men home. Bummer.

David and his men arrived back home only to receive devastating news. The city had been raided. Their homes had been burned down and their women and children carried away as captives.

As overwhelmed as I sometimes get as a mom, I can honestly say I’ve never had a day that bad. Can you imagine coming home only to find your house burned, your possessions destroyed or stolen, and your family kidnapped?

And what did David do? Well, he wept. I probably would too.

Things got worse for David when the people grew bitter against him. Then they started talking about stoning him. Do you know what happened next? (I love this part!)

“David strengthened himself in the LORD his God”.

And then…

“David inquired of the LORD, ‘Shall I pursue after this band? Shall I overtake them?”

God told David, “Yes”, to go pursue and overtake the band. David and his men pursued the band. They didn’t find it right away, but they found an Egyptian who pointed them in the right direction. Then David and his men went on to find the band, struck them down, and recovered “all that the Amalekites had taken”. When he got back home nothing was missing and no one was missing. With God’s help, David saved the day.

(See 1 Samuel 28 and 30)

So I’m no future king and my home isn’t being attacked and burned with fire, but I worship and follow the same God as David, and He is just as able and willing to help me with my little flock of Munchkins. Not only can I seek God for strength when I get overwhelmed, but I can also seek his direction in what to do in those moments when I’m tired and emotional and not sure what to do next.

I was going to post this last week but I just couldn’t get it to come out right. The next days were terrible. The kiddos were difficult and I was tired and overwhelmed. I realized God was not only preventing me from posting this in pride, but He was also giving me an opportunity to practice. (And I do need more practice.) But now a week later I can come more humbly and share the lesson I’m learning.

God hears us when we are overwhelmed (for big reasons or small). He wants us to come to him for help. He will strengthen us. And He can direct us in what to do next.

PS – For all you creative people out there who make words into pretty artwork, I think 1 Samuel 30:6 would totally make a mom-worthy print.

But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.

The Strong Bridge

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For the past several years I have been haunted by a strange fear. The strange thing about it is that this fear always grips me just as I’m waking up from a nap. In that short amount of time when I am waking up from sleep, starting to remember where I am but not really conscious enough to control my thoughts or actions, the truth hits me like a bucket of ice cold water: I am going to die. Someday, sooner or later, I am going to die. In that conscious moment before I fully wake up, I know that heaven is for real, but so is hell, and one day I will go to one or the other.

Now, there is another reason why this fear is strange for me. When I was a very little girl, not much older than Lydia really, I learned about heaven and hell. Afraid of going to hell when I died, I asked Jesus to save me from my sins and began in a childlike way to try to live for and please Jesus. My belief wasn’t perfect, but I do believe that even as a little girl with very little knowledge, God saved me and began to change me too.

Yet, for the past several years I’ve been haunted by this fear. It’s so intense, so very real and so very dreadful. But, what’s baffled me for so long is the question: why am I still afraid?

I have tried to respond to this fear appropriately. I’ve prayed and prayed, talked it over with Dan, and tested myself to see if I really am “in the faith” (1 Corinthians 13:5) only to conclude over and over again that, yes I am. I am led by the Spirit of God. I am becoming more like Him day by day. I am depending on Him as my hope for eternity. And yet, many days after my nap, I wake up with that terrible, sometimes nearly overwhelming fear. Why?

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When Dan and I were first married, we read a book aloud together called Justification and Regeneration. It sounds old and boring, but it really isn’t. The author writes this paragraph that has always stuck in my mind:

Imagine two bridges crossing a chasm: One is very weak and untrustworthy, the other is very strong. A man may have a very strong faith in the weak bridge and confidently step out onto it. His strong faith will not keep him from plunging to his death. On the other hand, a man may have a very weak faith in the strong bridge and only barely manage with fear and trembling to venture forth upon it. The bridge will hold him securely, regardless of his weak faith. All that is necessary is for him to have enough faith to get him onto the bridge!

I love that quote. It has stuck with me for so long, because I feel like that man. I am the fearful man slowly crawling on all fours across that bridge, though I don’t need to be fearful at all because the bridge is very strong. For a long time I thought that maybe this was why I was still afraid of death in a way that seemed to be completely out of my control.

Several weeks ago I had another one of my episodes, waking up after a nap terrified of death. I was able to get up, move on, and forget for a while. But that night as I lay in bed I prayed through everything all over again and I suddenly was given a different reason for my reoccuring fear. I cannot keep this to myself.

There is a connection between my haunting fear and God’s command for me to share His truth. I realize this blog post is anything from a lighthearted story or page full of cute pictures of my little Munchkins. I realize, though sadly, that there are some who normally read my blog who won’t even make it this far because this is not what they want to read about today…or ever. The shy, people-pleasing part of me wants to preface this post: Please don’t get angry! Please, oh please, don’t leave nasty comments or stop talking to me because of this. I really don’t even want to write about something so heavy. But love and fear and Truth compel me to share this, even though in many ways, I’d rather keep it to myself.

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I will die someday. You will too. And suddenly in that moment when your life is over you will be hit with the terrible and awesome reality that you will have to stand before an Almighty God and answer for your sins. Just think about it for a while. Just sit and think about that moment when it’s too late to change your mind, when your philosophizing will mean nothing, and you will stand before God and you will have to answer for your life. Does it scare you? Or are you ready?

The only way you can be ready at all is to trust in Jesus, that Strong Bridge, to be your goodness and your hope for salvation. No other bridge will hold your weight no matter how confidently or carelessly, or even politically…you walk across it.

And, friend, if you do believe in Jesus, I challenge you as I have been challenged many times before and now in this new way, are you telling others? It is not ok to coast through this life trusting in Jesus for yourself, posting happy pictures of your cute little family and keeping to your own happy routine within your own four walls. It is not ok for me to coast through my happy life posting pictures of my Munchkins and just keeping to myself and my own little family.

I realize that God won’t let me keep it to myself. Even if that means waking me up from my naps terrified of the reality of my coming death and judgement, God won’t let me keep Him to myself.

Now I’m coming to the end of this post, one I have honestly been avoiding for quite a while, and I feel like my words just can’t express the earnestness of my desire to share this in a way that will get through to you. In love and sincerity and urgency I ask you to take some time today to think about this brief life and your position before God. Think about eternity and imagine how real it will all be, how real, in fact, it is. And ask yourself and ask God if you are really ready. And if you are, ask yourself if you will be ready on that day to see the ones you love most, and even the ones you hardly know at all. Will you be ready for some of them not to be ready, knowing that at least you did your part in sharing with them that great and wonderful good news that there is hope for a happy eternity only in Jesus Christ.

“The bridge of grace will bear your weight, brother. Thousands of big sinners have gone across that bridge, yea, tens of thousands have gone over it. Some have been the chief of sinners and some have come at the very last of their days but the arch has never yielded beneath their weight. I will go with them trusting to the same support. It will bear me over as it has for them.”

Charles Spurgeon

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He Called Me Susie

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It was a warm summer day when Dan drove down winding roads to take me to meet his grandparents for the first time. I was nervous. Meeting Dan’s parents hadn’t been to nerve-wracking because we had grown up attending the same church and I had known who they were for most of my life, but I had never met Dan’s grandparents before. What if they didn’t like me? The only thing I really knew about them was that Dan’s “Gramma” was the biggest University of Michigan football fan ever. Once when Dan was little, Gramma Dexter’s…enthusiasm…during a televised football game had scared Dan enough to make him cry. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this visit. I was planning to attend the University of Michigan myself, so at least I had that going for me.

Dan called ahead to let Gramma and Grampa know we were on our way. I could hear Grampa’s voice through the cell phone as Dan told them he was bringing his friend to meet them, the one they had heard all about. “Heh? So we finally get to meet Susie?” Grampa asked. He was teasing, but for several months he continued to refer to me as Susie.

We pulled up to the house at last and a short, smiley lady welcomed us into her home. I needn’t have worried about Gramma and Grampa not liking me. They welcomed me in like family. Grampa gifted me with a small stained-glass University of Michigan ornament that he had made himself. “You made this?” I asked in surprise. He pointed out the light above the kitchen island. The stained glass light fixture was also blue and maize. “Gramma saw one of these lights in a store and wanted it. I looked at the price tag and said, ‘I could make that'”. So he did.

Dan and I were treated to an impromptu dinner of steak and potatoes and I felt right at home sitting at that island and watching blue and maize candles burn in their centerpiece as we chatted with Dan’s grandparents. Time flew by and all-to-soon, it was time to leave.

We enjoyed several more visits to Gramma and Grampa over the years as Dan and I went from being friends, to dating, engaged, and married, eventually bringing the great-grandkids for visits whenever we were in the area. But I will never forget that first visit when even Grampa’s teasing made me feel like family and the months that followed when he would always call me Susie.

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Dan’s Grampa has had several health problems and knew his time on earth was coming to an end, so it wasn’t uncommon to hear talk about his final plans and what he wanted for his funeral. On one occasion, I learned that Grampa had a certain song he had adopted as his own and would often sing for others at church. When I found out he wanted to show a video of himself singing this song at his funeral, I told Dan, “I have to ask him to sing it for me the next time we’re up. I don’t want the first time I hear him sing be at his funeral.”

Sure enough, on the next trip up, we made our way to that cozy little home and I asked Grampa to sing for me while Gramma played the organ. For someone who had long struggled with almost every health problem you could imagine, and for someone who loved Jesus, the song was perfect:

If this earthly tabernacle should be dissolved today
I’d trade it for a finer one, that would not pass away.
But till the day arrives when it’s time for moving out
Tis such sweet peace to know the Lord still lives in this old house.

The sweetest fellowship I’ve known has fortified these walls
And peace has reigned since he’s been walking up and down these halls.
With snow upon the rooftop now and these hinges near worn out
It’s such a joy to know the Lord still lives in this old house.

To him it’s been a dwelling place where he kept my hand in his
To me a home away from home, is all it really is.
It sure ain’t fine and fancy and all I can boast about
Is after all these years the Lord still lives in this old house.

Now there were times he had the right, just to up and move away
And there were times and days I knew it took God’s amazing grace to stay.
But he never left this old building once, that’s why I can sing and shout
Cause after all these years the Lord still lives in this old house.

To him it’s been a dwelling place where he kept my hand in his
To me a home away from home, is all it really is.
And it sure ain’t fine and fancy and all that I can boast about
Is after all the years the Lord still lives in this old house.

After all these years the Lord … Still lives in this old house.

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Grampa passed away two weeks ago.

In the time I have known him, Grampa has spent many weeks in the hospital. He always came home again. That’s just how it was with Grampa. He kept fighting and kept working as long as he could. Dan and I used to have a small reclining couch that was given to us from Gramma and Grampa’s house. More than once I cried in Dan’s arms, curled up on that couch, thinking for sure this visit to the hospital would be Grampa’s last. Many times I wondered if he would make it to our wedding, or until we had our baby, or until that baby came home from the NICU, or until he could meet his tiny grandchild. But every other time Grampa recovered and made it home again. He kept loving us, teasing us, and remaining cheerful through a lot of pain and difficulty.

Grampa would often connect with our little ones because they all had to be hooked up to wires, poked and prodded, and needed help breathing. It’s true, Grampa’s loud voice scared both Lydia and Abby the first time they each met him, but once they were placed on his chest they curled up snug and happy. One of the saddest parts for Dan and I in saying goodbye to Grampa now is that he never got to meet Paul. We only pray that Paul will also come to love Jesus so that he can meet Grampa in heaven.

A week and a half ago, Dan and I took the kids in a whirlwind trip up North to attend Grampa’s funeral. Although the goodbyes were heart-wrenching and I couldn’t stop crying for most of that afternoon, I looked at that “old house” of Grampa’s and knew he wasn’t there anymore. He wasn’t hurting or sad at all. He finally got to go home to Jesus. It’s only those of us left down here who have to suffer the sadness of the goodbye. When the time came for the casket to be lowered into the grave I just kept thinking, “Grampa doesn’t even want that old body anymore. Good riddance!” No more hospital stays, dialysis, breathing assistance, medications, cancer, heart attacks, surgery…

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There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to end this post because it feels like another goodbye. Day-to-day, Dan and I don’t feel the depth of the loss because we didn’t see Grampa that often, but at moments the reality sinks in and it’s just so hard to believe he’s gone. Only Lydia has been able to fully appreciate the victory in Grampa’s death as she has reminded us a number of times, “He’s in heaven with Jesus”. Grampa’s hope for eternity was in Jesus. He arranged his funeral to be reminder after reminder of the hope he had in Christ and the message that was shared was indeed the Gospel.

We all will die someday and we will have to account for our actions on this earth. The only hope of heaven is because Jesus died on the cross. Although he was buried, he rose again and offers enteral life to all who will repent and believe in him.

The Lord no longer lives in Grampa’s “old house”, but Grampa has gone up to live in a new heavenly mansion.

Grampa, if you could read this now, I’d want to thank you for welcoming me into your family. Thank you for teasing me and calling me Susie, for encouraging me when I was hurt, for making me laugh sometimes when I was crying. Thank you for loving us so much, for loving Lydia and Abigail and Paul, even though you never got to meet him. Thank you for singing for me before your funeral. Thank you for keeping your youthfulness and sense of humor even when you were suffering far more than you ever let on. Thank you for loving Jesus and for not being afraid to die. We love you and we miss you. Until eternity.

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My 10 Favorite Things About Being Pregnant

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I realize not everyone gets to experience the miracle of pregnancy. And for those of us that do, it’s far too easy to list all of the hardships that come along with these months of waiting. Since I don’t know how long I’ll get to enjoy having Baby safe inside of me, I wanted to list a few of my favorite things about being pregnant.

1. Baby is safe.

I know bad things can still happen before or after Baby is born, but I am enjoying this time when Baby is where s/he should be. Every morning I wake up and thank God for another day before Baby is born. Every time I have trouble sleeping because Baby is kicking, my joints hurt, or I just can’t catch my breath, I remember how much better this is than watching Baby hooked up to all sorts of tubes and wires in the hospital. Stay in there Baby!

2. Snacks. All the time.

Right now I eat sort of like a cow and no one really gives me a hard time about it. Breakfast, morning snack, lunch, snack before naps, snack after naps, dinner, bedtime snack. And, if I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep, sometimes I get a snack then too.

3. Sleeping through the night.

My kids have a pretty bad track record as far as sleeping through the night. Although, God really answered my desperate prayers when we found out we were pregnant, and Abby was still getting up twice a night. She was weaned and sleeping through the night by the time I hit 17 weeks. Lydia, on the other hand, didn’t sleep through the night until she was almost two, so I am savoring these sleep-filled nights before Baby comes.

4. Quiet.

Our kids aren’t really quiet, but there are certainly moments of quiet throughout the day and during the night. I’m fully aware that our babies usually come with a nice long fussy time in the evenings, something we don’t have to deal with right now. Our girls enjoy eating dinner and playing before bedtime, then go down pretty easy so Dan and I get some time to ourselves. As much as I’m looking forward to having Baby here and even hearing that little cry, I’m enjoying the quiet for now.

5. High hopes.

As long as Baby is in my belly I can imagine anything I want for his/her birth. Maybe I’ll make it to 32…34…36 weeks. Maybe I’ll get to have an all-natural delivery where we don’t have to rush to the hospital in a state of emergency because my water broke at 28 weeks. Maybe we will, but for now I get to hope for the best.

6. Our routine.

We’ve settled into such a lovely routine around here. I look forward to starting each new day, the moments with the girls, moments to myself, everything running more or less like clockwork. I know once baby comes that routine is going to be out the window, NICU or not, and my main focus will be keeping everyone alive and getting enough sleep.

7. Always having something to talk about.

I don’t get out much. Sundays are church and Wednesdays are Hope Group. Since I’m supposed to be “taking it easy” I try to stay off my feet in the minutes or hours following the service/study, and during that time different people usually stop by to chat. Small talk isn’t always easy for me but with Baby on the way I always have plenty to talk about. 🙂

8. Taking it easy.

Lately I’ve been taking a long nap almost every day. In the afternoons I sometimes take a moment to decide what to do next. Then I remind myself that I’m supposed to be “taking it easy” so I’ll curl up and read to the girls or listen to Adventures in Odyssey with them. No guilt. I’m taking care of baby. And I’m fully aware that when Baby comes, especially if s/he comes early, I won’t be nearly as able to take it easy.

9. Time with our girls

When Abby was born, Dan and I were suddenly torn away from Lydia for long periods every day. Even when we were with her we were busy with NICU things, necessary chores, and napping. Mentally we were distracted and stressed and it affected her too. So I am enjoying this season to enjoy my girls, snuggle them, love on them, and give them my time while I have time to spare.

10. The anticipation.

It hit me just the other week that we’re going to have another little person in our family! It may seem strange, but with all the focus on prenatal visits, extra ultrasounds, steroid shots, and preparing for a potential NICU stay, there hasn’t been a lot of time left to think about actually having another baby. So the other day I pulled out the Newborn clothes and separated everything that was gender neutral. Soon we’ll have a little one to snuggle, feed, and play with. Soon the girls will get to enjoy another little baby in the house and Abby will get to be a big sister for the very first time. And soon we’ll have to actually decide on a name! (We’re pretty much down to four names, two girl and two boy.) We’re enjoying these moments of quiet and routine, lying low and hoping for the best, but we’re also excited to meet our new little family member, whenever the time comes for him/her to arrive.

How Trials Have Changed Me

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During the four years that Dan and I have been married, we have gone through more trials than I ever would have imagined. I used to look up to people who went through hard times, thinking that the hard times would somehow instantly make them into patient, gentle, and incredibly godly people. I also used to rank “trials” by my understanding of their difficulty. I’ve learned, in the past years, that everyone goes through trials, and all trials are hard. It’s not up to me (or anyone else) to rank someone’s level of trials, but rather, to encourage and pray each other through them. And just because you are going through something hard doesn’t instantly make you a more godly person, although God can and often does use trials to sanctify us.

This past year has been especially full of various trials for us. As we have made our way through them I have often been discouraged by how ungodly my response has been. Patient? Gentle? Try angry and frustrated. I would desperately pray that God would use the situations for some good, because I certainly couldn’t see the good happening in my life.

I have been sick with about three viruses back-to-back during the past few weeks and have often found myself lying helplessly in bed while others take care of the dishes, laundry, and my girls. During one of those helpless moments, I started to reflect on how I have changed during the past six months, and I was blessed to see that God was indeed using the trials to teach me some good things, and to change me in some good ways.

I’m sure there are some out there reading this who are going through their own difficulties. I hope that you may be encouraged by my sharing some of the ways God has used trials to change me this year.

I have been humbled.

Before Dan and I got married I was convinced that I was better. I was a better wife. I was a better mom. All of these moms that were overwhelmed or frustrated, I would not be one of those. After Lydia was born I started a schedule. I kept things clean and got things done. And I stubbornly held on to my expectation that I would always be in control.

Once Abby was born, all of that fell apart. I have learned that I don’t need to be the best. In fact, it is far better to be humbled because then you can ask others for help, encouragement, advice, and prayer. This summer I have gone to moms asking their advice or just asking for prayer (or a hug!) more often then ever before. There is no reward for those who have it together. Those who are broken and humble will be blessed.

I am at a point now where I try, but know I can’t do it all. I can’t be a perfect wife or mom. I can’t do everything I want to do. I have to sacrifice and prioritize and ask God and Dan what things to let go. Then I have to be ok with messes, ok with unfinished projects, and ok if I never learn to do all the things I want to. And I am at a point where I have no idea how other moms do it with more than two kids! But I’m also at a point where I am open to learn willing to make mistakes as long as I am doing my best to fulfill God’s calling on my life.

I have cried out to God.

I have cried out to God many times in my life, but never quite like I have in the past year. I specifically remember one evening when Abby was still in the hospital. It was dark and raining and we were riding in the car. No one was talking. I was crying, feeling completely hopeless. All I could pray was, “God, help me.” over and over again. I didn’t even know what I needed or how God could help, and I didn’t have the strength to think of anything else to pray. And it seemed like no answer came.

Sometimes in moments like that, things have felt so dark, God has felt so far away, that I haven’t wanted to tell anyone about it. It felt like God was failing. It felt like I had to make God look better than I thought He really was.

Sometimes people have commented on God’s faithfulness or answered prayers with Abby in the hospital and I have smiled and nodded and thought, “I don’t see it.” I would pray, “God, people are watching. Show Yourself strong!”, but He wouldn’t answer, wouldn’t show up in any way that I could see.

So why do I share all of this now? It turns out that I’m not the first person in history to struggle in times of trial. (Read Psalms) By faith, I know that God heard my prayers and was even carrying us along, though I couldn’t see it at the time. But, through it all, through the darkest moments, I have cried out to God. Even when I thought it was hopeless and He wasn’t listening, I cried out to Him because He was all I had to cling to.

And when all hope did seem lost and I felt I was just getting depressed and angry, I would pray, “God, keep me close to You whatever it takes. Even if You have to drag me kicking and screaming, keep me close to You. And make me more like Jesus.”

And do you know what? Through it all, He has.

I have learned to cling to scripture.

There have been plenty of times when doubts and lies have filled my mind.

“I’m suffering and no good is coming from it.”

“This is all ruining our family and making me a worse person.”

During those times I have stubbornly read and re-read various verses and clung to them desperately.

“tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

I would cling to those scriptures and others and declare to myself, “It’s true. It says that. It must be true!” And I would declare to God, “You said it God, I’m going to believe it!”

I long for heaven.

A month or so ago I memorized Revelation 21. When I was stuck in bed sick I would find my mind wandering to heaven. I would imagine the wedding banquet. I would imagine a heavenly choir welcoming the saints in with celestial music. I would imagine what the holy city would really look like. I would think about eating the fruit from the tree of life while walking on the new earth and talking to Jesus face-to-face. I know my imagination falls far short of the glory and reality of heaven, but the point is, I actually think about it now.

I actually look forward to heaven. I look forward to an end to sin and suffering. I look forward to when God will wipe away every tear. There will be no more death, no more mourning, no more crying and no more pain.

(And as a small bonus, there will be no more night. This can only lead a sleepy mommy to assume that there will be no more tiredness because there will be no more need for sleep.)

What is coming next?

Sometimes there is a cynical part of me that wonders, “What’s next?”. We are planning to close on our new house in six days and move in shortly after. Then what? What trials will God bring next? I try to correct myself and remember that God works things together for good. He’s not out to get us and make our lives miserable. And even when trial after trial comes our way, God still offers joy for His children. He is good, isn’t He?

Go, then, earthly fame and treasure!
Come, disaster, scorn, and pain!
In Thy service, pain is pleasure;
With Thy favor, loss is gain.
I have called Thee Abba, Father!
I have stayed my heart on Thee.
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather,
All must work for good to me.

Man may trouble and distress me,
’Twill but drive me to Thy breast;
Life with trials hard may press me,
Christ will bring me sweeter rest.
O ’tis not in grief to harm me,
While Thy love is left to me;
O ’twere not in joy to charm me,
Were that joy unmixed with Thee.

(From the hymn: Jesus I My Cross Have Taken)

Snuffly Quotes

 photo Lydia_zps5c76fb9d.jpg

Last night, after Lydia was all tucked into bed, I heard her crying, “I don’t want to be snuffly. I don’t want to be snuffly!”. This morning she assured me that she was no longer “snuffly” because she was only snuffly when she was sleeping.

In case you don’t speak “Lydia”, allow me to translate. We’re sick. Snuffly-gooby-runny-nose-sick. So, rather than write an Abby update today, I’ll postpone that for when she’s looking a little less…snuffly. But in the meantime, I’ll share some encouraging and though-provoking quotes that I’ve read lately on the topic of difficult circumstances.

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”
Helen Keller

“If we cannot believe God when circumstances seem to be against us, we do not believe Him at all.”
Charles Spurgeon

“God’s ways of answering His people’s prayers is not by removing the pressure, but by increasing their strength to bear it.”
DL Moody

“O Lord, by all thy dealings with us, whether of joy or pain, of light or darkness, let us be brought to thee. Let us value no treatment of thy grace simply because it makes us happy or because it makes us sad, because it gives us or denies us what we want; but may all that thou sendest us bring us to thee, that, knowing thy perfectness, we may be sure in every disappointment that thou art still loving us, and in every darkness that thou are still enlightening us, and in every enforced idleness that thou art still using us; yea, in every death that thou art still giving us life, as in his death thou didst give life to thy Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Phillip Brooks