Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Reflections on 2014

The beginning of a new year is always so exciting. I love thinking about what God has in store for us in the next 12 months, and reflecting over the previous year. In the years passed, my resolutions would go something like this: lose weight, get out of debt, read the Bible more. Which are all good things, but if I don't stick to them, I get into a negative mindset and feel like I've failed. This year, I've been feeling compelled to drop it all. My resolution is to simply enjoy. Enjoy time spent with my kids and my husband. Enjoy the mundane and the seemingly ordinary. Appreciate the things I normally would take for granted. Slow down and spend time on what really matters.

I feel like I am finally comfortable with who I am and have learned to let go of who I am not. I'm learning to stop allowing other people's opinions to affect my own convictions or to make me insecure. I've let go of friendships that needed to be let go of. I've realized I'm much more introverted than I used to be, and have embraced that. It has given me a lot of time to be able to recharge and focus on the important things.

My due date is in the same month that I miscarried last spring. This is so symbolic to me. God has turned my sorrow into joy, and literally not one day goes by that I don't thank Him for this gift. When I found out I was pregnant with that baby, I remember fearing what other people would think about us having another. That miscarriage changed me, for the better, if you can believe good can come from something so tragic. This pregnancy, I haven't worried at all of what anyone thinks. I am so happy and so, ridiculously grateful. It's unfortunate that it took something so sad to make me truly appreciate the things I took for granted.

We also had quite a lesson in finances. Justin had unexpected surgery in July, which consequently kept him out of work for 9 weeks. Thank God we did receive benefits through his work during that time, but it was still less than half of what he normally makes. It was a hard, but much needed lesson in how we have been handling our finances. We had the head knowledge (we took Dave Ramsey's financial peace university) but needed a wakeup call. Since then, we have been humbled and have really changed course for the better.

We celebrated 10 years of marriage shortly after his surgery. We had already booked a short getaway and decided not to cancel. I'm glad we didn't. It wasn't quite what we had imagined (a beach vacation with a water-loving husband who can't go swimming because of his stitches!) but it reminded me of our vows. In sickness and in health. I wasn't going to let surgery get in the way of us celebrating a milestone I think sometimes even we doubted we would reach.

Our wedding day August 7th, 2004 as an 18 and 21 year old

Justin & I on the beach celebrating our 10th anniversary. Like a fine wine, I think we get better with age! ;)

All in all, 2014 has made me more grateful for what I've been blessed with. Even though it may not be where I thought we would be right now, I feel a deep peace that we are exactly where God wants us.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Lord our Healer

Recently, I was experiencing some pain from an issue I have dealt with for all my pregnancies. Nothing serious, but the pain had been bothering me for at least a week or so, and I knew it would just get worse as my pregnancy progressed. I had an appointment with my midwife and talked to her about it, and also did some looking around on the internet. A few nights later, I was driving by myself to do errands. The pain was still bothering me, so I was thinking about what do about it when a sudden thought came into my head - pray for healing. It was a lightbulb moment. I've talked to my midwife, and searched the Internet, but I never even thought of taking this request to my God (who, by the way, also goes by the name Jehovah Rapha, or "the Lord our Healer".)

Do I believe God can heal? Of course I do. So why isn't it my first instinct to ask Him for healing? I've been challenged by this question for the last week.

A large part of it is lack of faith. I believe God can heal, but I don't necessarily believe He will heal me. Or I believe my problem is far too small for Him to even care about. An even bigger answer to this question, though, is that I am afraid of being disappointed by God. And isn't that an issue for many believers? We don't want to ask for anything from Him because we are afraid He will say no. Because we are fearful that His "no" will affect our faith.

But believing in God doesn't mean we will get what we want, or what we think we need, or even what we deserve. It means we trust that He is sovereign over all, and that He has a plan that we may not fully understand yet. We have faith that His ways are above our own. His answers to our prayers (whether 'yes', 'no', or 'wait') do not determine whether He is good or not. Our faith should never hinge on whether His answers match up with what we want.

Back to my car ride in the dark....

I prayed that if it be His will, that the Lord would heal this issue, or at least take away the pain so I can enjoy my pregnancy more fully. Hours later, the pain was gone, and it's now a week later and it has not returned. Praise God! I'm honestly in awe over it. I wonder now, how many blessings do we miss out on because we simply don't have the faith to ask? Don't be afraid to boldly approach God for all matters of your life. He has a plan, and always trust that His answer to your prayer is a part of that plan, no matter what that answer is.