Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Blessed Beyond Words

Last night, I had the amazing privilege to hear Sandy Day's testimony. She made me laugh in the midst of crying with her sense of humor and VERY strong southern accent! She is the founder of Caleb Ministries, which ministers to women and families who have lost a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, early infant death, or women who struggle with infertility or who are post-abortive.

My main reason for blogging about her ministry is because it is a huge resource for women who have been through one of these things, and I most definitely think it is something that EVERYONE should know about! We ALL know people who have suffered through at least one of these things, and I know that some of you reading this have been through something like this yourself.

Sandy Day's testimony blew my mind away....and she will tell you that the Lord carried her through ever hardship she faced, and made it for good. She said she is thankful for EVERY extreme difficulty the Lord gave her, because through each trial she grew tremendously in different areas in her walk with the Lord.

She aborted her baby at the age of nineteen, right after she became a believer. She was widowed at the age of 23 after being married for two years, to a husband who committed suicide. She was remarried to her current husband and a couple years later lost her perfectly healthy, James Caleb, at 8 months old in the womb...she delivered him stillborn. They then had trouble getting pregnant again, and after finally giving her burden to the Lord, and realizing the LORD ALONE is more than enough and always enough, she got pregnant. At about 26 weeks pregnant she went into preterm labor, and was on bedrest for 3 months. Through these things she learned to be wholly dependant upon the Lord; the incredible sufficiency of scripture; the importance of purity; the great beauty of complete forgiveness and blamelessness through the lense of Christ; the importance of memorizing scripture and taking your thoughts captive; the importance of obedience to God...and many other valuable things. Her joy eminated in the room as she gave her heart-wrenching tesimony.

I sat their and thought, "Lord, I want to be like her...I want to have memorized 7 books of the Bible by the time I am 50 (or way more, because God has graciously saved me so young!), I want to be so in love with your WORD every day of my life, I want to look back on everything in my life and praise you for it!" I have no idea what God will use in my own life to make me more like Him, but my prayer is that I would always take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5), by knowing his Scriptures intimately, and that I would exult greatly in my tribulations, knowing that they produce perseverance, proven character (Christlikeness), and hope , which does NOT dissapoint, because the love of God has been poured out within my heart through the Holy Spirit whom He gave me (Roman 5:3-5).

I encourage you to check out the Caleb Ministries Website! Her testimony isn't avaiable on the web, but you can order a copy. She has some great resources available here, and also beautiful gifts to encourage thouse who have lost a baby. Her ultimate desire is to give women hope, and if they don't have Christ, to give them the gospel. Praise the Lord to see someone USE their sins and sufferings as a great means to minister to others. May we all do the same thing!

Friday, April 23, 2010

San Diegp

"Weather you eat or drink, [or go on vacation] or whatever you do , do it all to the glory of God."Aaron, Linnea and I all had the privilege of taking a family vacation to San Diego the weekend after Easter...kind of as a regroup after a really busy time. The weather was absolutely beautiful there (as I hear it usually is), and it was wonderful just to be away from "real" life for a few days and to leave all responsibilities...well, not ALL responsibilities. That is pretty much impossible when you take your daughter with you (Not to say that I think she is just a "responsibility"...she is one of the greatest joys in my life, as well as one of the greatest difficulties)! :) Honestly, I think it was a small taste of what "family vacations" are going to be all about: serving your family, even on vacation, and taking great delight in doing so.

The whole delight thing didn't exactely come naturaly for our first "family vacation." Neither for Aaron or I. I think both of us selfishly wanted to get rid of our daughter for the weekend....I know, not very kind...I guess you could say we wanted to be able to go to the beach for more than 30 minutes :), but when you have a daughter who was distraught with the feel of sand (shouldn't have put her in it!), and tired from not napping, that isn't exactly a reality. :)

So, yes...vacation was an eye opener...to our sin of selfishness, and to our need for total dependence on God (yes, even on vacation), and to what exactly a family vacation will entail (and I'm sure it only gets crazier with more kids :), and hopefully more fun too!), and also to the fact that my hubby and I will have to make time away just the two of us a priority once we have the option (my daughter does not take a bottle).

Saying all this brings to mind a couple of terrific posts by the Mahaney ladies on the subject of vacation. I encourage you to take a few minutes out of your day to read them. I'm so thankful that my dear friend pointed me to them, and I literally should read them before I go on any vacation!

My hubby and I still had precious time talking during walks, in the car, during the occasional naptimes, and in the evenings...so it was still so refreshing for us as a couple! I praise the Lord for such a wonderful partner in life, and a beautiful daughter who God has entrusted to us, her parents.

Some of our discoveries on vacation:

1) Linnea loves onion! She is pretty picky when it comes to food.....so when she grabbed an onion off of Aaron's salad and started chewing it...again and again, we were shocked....what baby likes onion?!? I don't even like raw onion by itself! I tell yah....sometimes I wonder about that girl! :) (She tends to look very concerned when she discovers something new, even when she likes it)
2) Linnea very much dislikes sand! Her hands and feet were sticky from sunblock, so the sand stuck to her....she tried to get it off, and was quite upset when she couldn't! Note to self: do not stick daughter in the sand!
video

3) She loves her sunhat and has not once tried to take it off! What a doll! ;)
4) Vacationing in San Diego is most definitely the way to go when you have a cousin who would probably pay US to babysit our daughter...thank you Laura! What a blessing!!

Photo Shoot With Cousin Hannah

Linnea loves her cousin Hannah :)
Linnea: "Wow! That hair looks like a lot of fun to play with...should I go for it??"

Linnea: "What a silly question! Of course I'm going to play with it!"

Linnea: "What? I'm not doing anything"

Hannah: "Mommy, she is touching me."
Linnea: "No, I'm not (tee hee)!"Hannah: "She is definitely touching me!"
Linnea: "What? Touching her? Where?"

Linnea: "Ok, now you put me ON her lap?? You people are crazy!"Ahhhh.....much better.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Eastesr and More

I'm sure some of you were disappointed with my last post, as it contained exactly zero pictures of you know who :). Sorry about that....actually that post was supposed to just be a catch up of pictures and activities of the past few weeks, so I'm not even sure where all that writing came from....it sort of just happens sometimes :). It really is evidence of the Holy Spirit's work, though (which is SO cool!), because I didn't even know I had all that to say, but after writing it, my own heart was incredibly blessed, as well as some that have read it. What an awesome God we have!

So....here are LOTS of pictures (I may split it up into a few different posts)....you will probably look at these and think she is just the most adorable child in the whole world (just admit it), and you probably won't believe me when I tell you she enjoys screaming instead of napping and whining instead of eating and crying instead of playing by herself....but yes, she is cute enough to cover all that up for the "outside" world. She is going through another phase of not wanting to nap, which means another phase of serious sanctification for me...or shall I say sinning....unfortunately, there is definitely a fair amount of both (the sinning being the unfortunate part) that goes on during my days. Praise the Lord for His grace and unending love.

This is how I found her after a nap one time...clinging to her doggy and as happy as can be...see, Linnea! You are HAPPY when you actually take a nap....who would have thought???

Enjoying her umbrella stroller now!

Bath time! We wanted to see what she would look like with hair...
She had fun trying on her dresses! :) (Ok, ok...I had fun!)





Easter Sunday! We had a wonderful time of worship with our church body in the morning, and then spent the afternoon with my sister-in-law's family. Thank you so much Fujitas for inviting us to celebrate Easter with you! It was SUCH a blessing!

Linnea's cousin, Hannah, playing dress up on Easter :)

Our little "Pooty Bear"

Monday, April 19, 2010

Which Race are YOU Running?

Where do I even begin?? It has been quite some time since I have posted (well...before the post about my Dad :) Who by the way is home and on the road of recovery!)...I guess you could say blogging has not exactly been at the top of my "to do list" recently. I'm not really sure what has, though. To be honest, sometimes I feel like I am in a race and there is no finish line in sight...I'm just trying to keep up and catch my breath when I can. Other times I feel like I'm totally on top of things and really do have time to take it easy...but then I end up doing something like take a nap, or organize that long forgotten drawer, or catch up on other peoples' blogs.

You know what is kind of sad about what I just wrote, though? It's the fact that I truly often don't see a finish line in sight! And that is because I often am running the totally wrong race. I run the Kimberly's Agenda race, and not the race of Christlikeness with the finish line being eternity. Paul..........oh Paul...........my hero, my role model. If only I could be like Paul. Paul admits to being a sinner. In fact, he even calls himself the foremost of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15)...wow! that is humility. He admits to being imperfect (Phil. 3:12), weak (2 Cor. 12:10). But never do we hear of Paul being apathetic. Never do we see him doing his own thing and running his own race. No....Paul always did the will of the Father, and he ran the race of Christlikeness. He was always "pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14)

He knew what Christ had called Him to: to become like Himself. Paul went through more than I could imagine as far as persecution goes, all for the sake of the gospel, glorifying His Father and becoming like Him. He was committed to doing God's will and understood that all that happened to him was a part of God's will (Rom. 1:10; 8:27; 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 8:5; Eph. 5:17; 6:5-6).

I lose sight of this race. I lose sight of what I am actually supposed to be doing during my daily activities. I am supposed to be worshipping Christ in all that I do (Rom. 12:1-2). By loving Him while I love others. By serving Him while I serve others. By meditating on Him during those thoughtless times. By praying throughout my day...praising Him, confessing to Him, lifting up requests before Him. By seeking ways to encourage and serve others, even if I have to go out of my own way. By bringing to mind the truths of what is to come...glorious eternity with my Savior. There will be rewards, but the greatest reward will be meeting my Lord and worshipping Him.

I am a citizen of heaven. This is NOT my home. I am waiting for my Savior. I will someday be like my Savior.....

All these things were made possible because of the gospel. The death of my Lord....

Yes....may I run the race of Christlikeness and live in light of these prescious truths.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Update

Dad's surgery went well!! He ended up having quintuple bypass surgery...crazy! Praise be to our Heavenly Father for sustaining him and the doctors and nurses!!! Thank you so much for your sweet prayers for our family...we couldn't thank you enough. The Lord's peace had definitely overcome my worry throughout the whole day, and I am so thankful!

Please continue to pray, as the first 24 hours after the surgery are very critical...and recovery will be a long process....

Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that's within me praise Him. Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all He's done.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Man Who Taught Me Jesus


"Daddy" is a precious word and filled with SO many memories. "Daddy" is not a word that everyone has the privilege of saying. "Daddy" is a word that I LOVE calling my dad. "Daddy" is what Jesus is to me....my precious Abba Father, because He has adopted me into His family. So really, I feel liked the most blessed girl in the whole wide world because I have two Daddies!! One daddy showed me I was an orphan and my need for adoption, and the other Daddy gave me an eternal home, and made me His very own child.

Daddy, words can not express how the Lord has used you in my life.....you have taught me Jesus...by being like Him and showing me my need for Him. For that...I am eternally grateful. I love you SO very much. Seeing you grow in your love for the Savior and your desire to serve Him by loving the saints has been such a special gift for me. There are so many Sundays I wish I could sit under your teaching (my favorite teaching!...not to say I do not love my own pastor's teaching!), because your words capture my heart and show me more of who Jesus is. My understanding of the scriptures and the desire to know more has come in great part from you. You have always been true to the WORD, and even been persecuted for it...I feel HONORED to be called your daughter.

It's easy to let one's mind wander....but the Lord doesn't give us grace for mind-wandering....He gives us grace for today and promises it will be sufficient for EVERYTHING he gives us. So why do I feel the pain of losing my Daddy would be unbearable? Because I havn't lost him, and therefor have no need of that grace yet.

Praise be to the Lord Almighty for his beautiful sovereign control over EVERYTHING! I praise Him for causing my Father's appendix to fail...for causing him to have a mild heart attack during the removal of his appendix...for causing the doctor's to notice this and have him taken to Portland for further testing...for finding blockage in all major arteries...I praise Him because the doctor's now have a very good chance of giving my dad many more years of life and service to Him. You can read more of what happened and my Dad's heart on my sisters blog.

Tears come to my eyes knowing that my dad will be going through an extremely serious surgery tomorrow, but joy is in my heart, because we have a Savior who is SO good!! If it were not for his appendicitis, my dad would have probably had a severe heart attack in the near future...so yes, I am very thankful for that. But even more than that, I am so thankful for the beauty of glory...eternity. The fact that I am going to live FOREVER is truly incomprehensible. My mind can not grasp what that means, but I know that I will be worshiping my precious heavenly Father alongside my precious earthly Daddy....along with the rest of the precious family of God. I am SO thankful to be a child of the King!

Dad....how beautiful it is to think about how many lives you have touched...hundreds (if not thousands...seriously) of people are praying for you and will be praying for you tomorrow. And yet I know this doesn't bring pride in you heart, but rather glory to God. You see yourself as an instrument of the Lord, and you have most certainly been just that. God has used YOU to convict and grow SO many people, not to mention bring people to their knees in repentance. Thank you for your years of service to your heavenly Father.

It is because of you, Dad, that I have so much peace right now...because you are the man who taught me Jesus.

I love you Daddy, Shepherd, and Friend!!
Please be praying with us for his open heart surgery, which will start between 12:00 and 1:00pm tomorrow, and be anywhere from 4-6 hours long. Thank you!!