Minding My Miracles

~ and finding new mercies every morning

Archive for the month “November, 2011”

When miracles are sleeping

Good Morning Dear Ones –

I am grabbing a few minutes here while my miracles are still curled up in their beds to share with you some thoughts that have been on my mind.  Like a freight train America is careening towards Christmas and in some places it seems like we could miss Thanksgiving altogether.  It does appear that there is one “holiday” (and I used that term with all the sarcasm I can muster at this early hour) still to arrive before Christmas and that is Black Friday.  Oh sure, I love a good deal as much as the next mom, but there is something special about Thanksgiving that seems to be rushed past.

It’s almost like the whole idea of being grateful has disappeared.  Oh, not necessarily in word, but in pace.  It feels like in our hearts we no longer take the time to slow down, look around and see what we truly have.  Often we don’t even take a short minute.  I have been oh-so-guilty of this.  And it’s true, I do have some valid excuses.  Being hugely pregnant, chasing around 2 active boys, trying to get a house moved and cleaned and closed on before baby comes, trying to get a new space organized and the list goes on.  This list of excuses that tempts me to complain rather than praise.  This list of excuses that draws me into the dark rather than shining the light.  This is where I could focus.  I could forget about all the amazing things that are happening and in fact for a period of time this weekend I did.  I allowed the frustration and hormonal imbalance to take over.  I stepped off of solid ground into the quicksand of depression.  Things weren’t going my way.  I hurt.  I wasn’t getting everything I wanted.  Nobody was listening to me.  I hurt.  I feel alone.  There is so much to do and I have no energy to do it and if I don’t do it, well, there is nobody else to do it.  I just need a break.  I just need some peace and quiet.  I hurt.  Not quite sure why I was wanting to spend my time focusing on these things.  They did nothing but drag me deeper.  Sadly, I wasn’t even looking for a rescue rope to pull me out of my pit.  I think I may have a had a shovel to dig myself in deeper.

I was not looking for blessings.  I was not grateful/thankful for anything.  Have you been there?  Please tell me I am not alone.  Please tell me that in some form or another you have been there and done that.  Well, even if you haven’t it’s possible you might find yourself there and I just want to encourage you that not drowning in the hole of self-pity (justified or not) is way better than drowning there.  If you are looking for a place to drown I can offer a suggestion.  Take a dive off the highest cliff of pain you have in your life right into the amazing sea of love that waits for you.  Suck in the water of life.  Literally breathe it in.  This, my friends, this is drowning.  This is where you allow everything you’ve focused on to be pushed out with only the one thought…”I want to live.  I want to live free.”

Thanksgiving is a choice.  Our American ancestors could have spent that first thanksgiving mourning their losses and looking at all the things they didn’t have.  They could have argued and complained their way through the beginnings of their new lives and probably some of them did opt for that route. The life they chose was not easy.  They gave up more than I think many of us can even imagine.  They lost more than many of us may ever know.  And yet, they took the time to count their blessings.  They refused to let go of the promise that God had given them of freedom.  Some things are worth the most valuable treasure we have.  Some prices are worth paying.

And the counting.  That is the most miraculous part.  Somehow, when you being to count your blessings; when you begin to turn your complaints into thanksgivings all that is truly of value seems to multiply.  Suddenly the list of garbage does not seem so big.  Suddenly the mountain of pain is not so insurmountable.  Suddenly, you are soaring with eagles wings over it all.  Imagine this – Light begins to surge through your darkness…just a small flicker at first.  Maybe it’s the flame of a candle in a large dark room.  Then suddenly you are holding a flashlight in your hands and even though shadows are all around you can see.  Next you find a lamp and it drives the darkness from a corner or two of the room and then…oh, then comes the pure joy.  The floodlights are thrown on and hope releases the aroma of freshness.  There is no more darkness.  Not only can you clearly see your blessings, but you can taste them and feel them and dance with them.  It’s a new day.  This is what thanksgiving is all about.  This is what Thanksgiving Day can be all about.  This year instead of rushing through to get to the next “holiday”, stop and live in this moment of grace.  Think on the sacrifice that was paid for your freedom.  Find at least one little thing to be thankful for and allow it to grow.  Let yourself dive into love and drown in it.  I can tell you that this light of thanksgiving is much more satisfying than any darkness of mourning.

If you haven’t gotten it yet, Ann Voscamp has a free APP for One Thousand Gifts that I encourage you to add to your phone.  Maybe it will help you take that first step out of darkness.   http://bit.ly/vG6I6O

Praying you find the freedom of thankfulness this holiday.  Matthew 11:28

Miraculously Blessed,

Jessica

Advertisements

Slowing down so I don’t miss the stop sign…

Dear Ones –

My family has been moving into a new house for the last month.  Between the old house and the new house there is a road with a stop sign that could be easy to miss.  It’s one of those very low traffic roads.  I have been in the car with another family member who missed it and drove through the intersection without stopping.  Another admitted to me that they have also missed that particular sign.  To be truthful, I can see how one could miss this sign and I don’t really know why it is at the spot it is.  There is a street right after it that seems the same and has no stop sign.  So far, even with my driving distractions (kids), I have not missed it, but if I don’t stay slow…it could happen.

I am 36 weeks pregnant this week.  This pregnancy has flown by.  Part of it I’m sure is that we didn’t tell many for so long and in the not telling some of the realness of the pregnancy didn’t hit us for quite some time.  Yesterday we had our 36th week appointment and a tour of a possible hospital we could have the baby at.  On the drive home Jordan said to me, “It just hit me that in 4 weeks I am going to be a father of three boys.”  Talk about a stop and take notice sign.

We have been trying to sell our old house and in fact close on the 23rd of this month.  YAY!  Thank you God for getting this done for us before this baby comes.  (My prayer of hopefulness.)  Which has meant moving into the new location and out of the old during this pregnancy, not to mention all the construction going on.  It has been exhausting things have been speeding along.  Lately it seems I can barely keep my eyes open longer than the kids at night.  There is so much to do, but time is ticking away.  When the piles add up and we have so much to do, how do we stop working our way through them to stop when we see those little red signs in life?

I wish I was better at slowing down and appreciating life.  Seems like when I slow down I get stuck.  Have you ever read the book Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr, Seuss?  Seriously, one of my favorite books.  Part of it talks about “the waiting place”.  This is that place that it is easy to get stuck in.  You start waiting around for something and then you just wait and wait and wait, becoming stagnant.  No thank you.  I really want to work on my stops becoming intentional times.  As in, I intentionally stop to notice things, to become more aware, to appreciate and value things.  I think you get stuck waiting and get lazy when you aren’t intentional about the stopping.

Sometimes, it is really hard to live life intentionally.  Jordan and I were talking the other day about the beautiful scenery we were noticing as we were driving.  I said to him that there was a job I used to have that had around 30 minutes of beautiful scenery driving everyday, but some days I would get to work and I did not even remember driving at all.  Scary, huh?  When routine, mundane or the busy-ness of life makes things disappear we miss opportunities to really live.  It’s funny how a simple stop sign can make you wake up and notice.  I’ll tell you what though, if you’re the one driving the opposite way and somebody else misses one it can be a real wake-up call to you.  Suddenly you can find yourself swerving, honking or worse.  Your blood starts pumping and for the rest your drive you notice everything.  Wouldn’t it be great if life was lived more that way…intentionally stopping and taking notice?  Really feeling alive and not from fear, but with intention.

For me I really want to see my kids.  I don’t want their childhood to be the background noise to everything else I have going on.  I was watching Michelle Duggar this week talk about how she stays calm with her kids and why.  She said she wants her children’s hearts.  Those simple words impacted me so much…because that’s what I want too.  I want my children’s hearts to be turned to the Father.  I want them to know love…real love.  The love their Creator and their family has for them as well as how to give love.  I don’t see how they can know this without being a priority.  If we are driving through life like maniacs and never slow down and stop to listen to their voices, their needs, their hearts how can we ever expect them to stop living at a break neck speed and experience the wonder life has to offer?  How can we ever expect to capture their hearts?  I contend we can’t.  So for me, once again, I am stopping at the stop sign I see on my horizon and re-prioritizing.  Everything about the house will be done at some point.  This baby is going to come when he is ready to come and no amount of preparation will ever change that.  If my heart is full of love and my tank is full of gas (to get me to the hospital) nothing else HAS to be done.

May I ask that you take a look and see if there are any stop signs in your life you’ve been speeding through.  If there are, be encouraged that stopping is a good option.  Make the most of your slow down and be intentional in seeing life around you.  If this is something you are already good at, I would love it if you would lift me up in your prayers that I wouldn’t lose sight of what is most important.

Miraculously Blessed,

Jessica

Love: A Guest Post

Dear Ones –

Today’s post will find you reading a story that is more than a story written by my mother-in-law.  I asked her to write it down a while back because I knew it was a story that had the potential to touch your heart and draw you closer to the One who loves you more than you can imagine.  So, grab a steaming cup of tea, pull your favorite cozy blanket around your toes and settle in to be loved.

Within the core of every human being is a deep longing of knowing that they are “known”, truly loved and have worth.

My story, as coming from a very large family of 8 children, 2nd oldest, was one of “assumably” knowing you were loved, but never hearing it.  As an adult, I was on a deeper quest to fill that deeper hole in my heart.

After becoming a Christian, that yearning kept growing and growing, as I was empty, hurting, and longing for a real Revelation of knowing that “SOMEONE” really knew “ME”, and loved “ME” and that I was seen as precious.

Little did I know that My Heavenly Daddy would use something as little as a ring to turn on the light into the dark and hurting place in my heart.

My husband (currently of 39 years) had given me a “pre-engagement” ring back in 1971.  They called them Lindy Stars in those days, a very striking cornflower blue, marquis stone with a little diamond on each side, very simple, but beautiful.  The star in it when held in the sunlight, was brilliant!  It was a treasure to me and I would soon come to find out why I so treasured THAT ring.

Fast forward a number of years and 3 sons later, still having the ring in my possession, wearing it off and on, until “the day” of discovering it was gone,  Instant panic set in and the hunt for finding my ring began to consume me.  I looked everywhere…and I mean everywhere.  Followed by endless questioning of my husband and boys – “Have you seen it?”  “Can you remember the last time you did see it?”  “Please, please help me find it.”  I can remember, like it was yesterday one time, of sitting in my attic, after thoroughly searching for, I don’t know, the umpteenth time, alone and sobbing, begging the Lord to show me where my ring was.  “If it’s gone forever, please just let me know in some way and I’ll let it go”, but at the same time not wanting to let go and knowing that He knew right where it was, because He is ALL KNOWING, and nothing is hidden from Him.

We had been going to the same church for a number of years and it was April of 1999.  We had a speaker in from England, whose sole message was on God’s Father Heart and His love.  I remember the words I was hearing touched me so deeply and moved me to just even thinking the thought, “Oh God, it would be the ultimate show of Your love for me if You would bring my ring back to me.”

Also, at this same time, I was in a women’s Bible Study and the second to last lesson , we had to tell of an experience where someone had tried to give you a gift, and you had a hard time receiving it.  When it was my turn to share, I began to open up and tell the story of my ring, what it looked like, how it was lost and how the previous summer, it being our 25th wedding anniversary, my husband had heard through my mom, who had seen another Lindy Star ring at an antique store, had borrowed the money to purchase it (having just lost his job).  When he brought that little package to me, I was inwardly hoping that he had found “the ring” and had kept it for just this occasion, but my heart sank, as I opened it and found it not to be my treasured ring.  To hide my disappointment, despite his sweet gesture was very hard.

While listening to my experience and description, our church secretary was stunned, thinking, “I have had Jean’s ring in my desk drawer for years and never knew who it belonged to, until now.”  Needless to say, she contacted all the ladies, and planned “the surprise” for me putting the ring in one of those big plastic Easter eggs filled with the grass and they were to give it to me at the end of the last study which happened to be on Good Friday.  Now as I’m writing this, tears in my eyes, thinking how awesome the timing of a loving Heavenly Daddy who gave His all, His only Son, Jesus, to show the whole world, all of mankind just that…HOW MUCH HE LOVES!

Well, needless to say, when I opened that egg, I could scarce believe what I was seeing, sobbing in utter joy in TRULY KNOWING that my Daddy in Heaven who created me to know Him, intimately knows my every thought, and holds every tear I’ve cried in His loving hands, knows what brings me joy, makes me sad, knows every single detail about ME had demonstrated that Awesome, precious love for me, and from His Holy Heaven also hears every uttered and un-uttered thought, cry and hurt of every person, and longs desperately for all of mankind to know that life-changing Powerful Love!

And I pray that Jesus will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you, as you trust in Him.  May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and UNDERSTAND as all of God’s children should, how long, how wide, how DEEP and how HIGH His love really is, and to experience this love for yourselves!  Ephesians 3:17

Thank “Mom” for sharing your story of being touched by His love.  My prayer today is that it encourages my readers that there is a touch of His love waiting for each of them.  Dear Ones, if you have been waiting and praying for something oh-so-dear to you, do not lose heart.  He knows you and has GREAT LOVE in store for you and His timing is perfect.  You are not forgotten and you are not alone.  Feel free to leave a comment or question here and I will pass them on to my MIL.

This is not her ring, but gives you an idea of what it looks like.

Miraculously Blessed –

Jessica

November Dawn

Dear Ones –

It has been so long since I’ve posted.  I wanted to get all settled into our new home before I tried to get back into the swing of things, but that seems to be taking much, much longer than I planned so I thought I could put a few of the scattered thoughts running through my head onto the page and share them with you.  Nice of me, huh?

So, here’s a quick recap of where things in my life are standing right now.  As of today, my due date is 36 days away.  Firstborn was born on his due date and number two came a week late.  This one seems to be working hard at getting out so I would not be surprised if he popped out early.  Early is okay with me as long as he’s not too early.  Of course, if he decides November is his month and doesn’t come Thanksgiving Day he will miss being a holiday baby.  And even though every day seems to be a national something or other day December 6th (his due date) is Saint Nicholas Day (not one I’ve ever celebrated, but I’d take it for a holiday baby).

We’ve moved into our new house partially.  We’re living here, but we still have a bunch of stuff at the old place.  Right now the closing date is November 23rd so we have a little bit of time to get some things straightened out.  It is hard being eight months pregnant and trying to move.  Not highly recommended.  My poor husband has to work so hard cause there are things I just can’t do.  I am eagerly awaiting just having to do things in one house though.

The boys are getting so big.  They love the new place.  Last night they went on an adventure walk date with their dad and I got to hear all kinds of stories about waterfalls and sticks and jungles…totally a father/son adventure.  I am looking forward to when the new place is no longer “under construction” and we can really live here.

Just a few short months ago I was a bit concerned about Mr. F’s vocabulary, but it has taken off.  Somehow though his favorite words seem to be “NO – I DO IT.”  (Yes, that is all in caps because he yells it every time.)  He is definitely a strong-willed child and I need to pray everyday that God channels his strength into a productive outlet for HIS glory…because this mom is exhausted just trying to figure out which battles are worth fighting.

I think so many days that Liam is just bubbling over with energy.  He is my energizer bunny.  It seems like the more tired he gets, the more active he gets.  It’s too funny (and hair-raising at the same time).  Some days I have to admit I am a little afraid of having three boys under one roof.  Not mention the dream I had a while back.  I dreamed that it was shortly after having this current babe and I was talking to God and telling Him that it was okay with me if He wanted to give me another boy.  Suddenly I found that I was pregnant with another boy again…very soon after giving birth.  Needless to say that since I woke up from that one I have been considering not talking to God for a while after this boy is born…just to be on the safe side.

Well, time to head off for another project.  If you, like me, woke to a dreary November 1st I just want to encourage you that you can choose to rejoice in the Lord because it is indeed the day He has made and we can not only rejoice, but we can be glad in it.  We can look for His hand and find that we are sheltered in His love, protection and delight.  You are His treasure.

Look for my next blog post coming.  It’s a guest post from my mother-in-law that I know you are going to love.

Miraculously Blessed,

Jessica

Post Navigation