Friday, October 23, 2009

Big News Announcement!!!

We announced our big news a couple of weeks ago. I've been meaning to announce our big news here to my friends in BlogWorld (those of you on Facebook may already know my news!), but the days seem to slip away from me. :) Believe me, it's not because I'm not excited to share our big news! And it's not that I don't want to share our big news with you...and well, everyone! :) And it's not that our big news isn't big. lol

Okay, okay...I hear ya, "Enough with the "big news" already, just tell us!!" :) Right?!

We are expecting a baby!!! I am almost 14 weeks along (entering the 2nd trimester). Our baby is due April 24th!

Went for my first OB checkup on October 12th. My doctor couldn't pick up the heartbeat with the handheld monitor. Because she knows that I experienced a miscarriage last time and didn't want me to be nerveous about not hearing the heartbeat, we did an ultrasound there in her office. I got to see my little baby's heart beating and it moving around on the ultrasound. It was so reassuring to see and brought tears to my eyes. I left her office praising the Lord!!! AND I was ready to tell our family!! Alan and I are both very, very excited!!

First, we told our little Andrew (2 1/2). We sat him down and explained things to him. He's been very excited ever since. He got to announce it to the grandparents and some other family members too. He told them, "There's a baby in my mommy's belly." lol Love it! Since then, he has been telling random the cashier at the grocery store. :) Plus he's been asking a lot of questions. He's told people, "It's not here yet" and "Mommy's belly has to get bigger and bigger and then the baby will come out" and "I'm going to teach it to play with blocks." It's going to be a fun journey with our smart little man!!

Children truly are a blessing from the Lord! We are feeling overly blessed and grateful!

I would appreciate your prayers for Baby Beran and it's mama (me). Trusting the Lord for a healthy baby in April!

Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like sharp arrows in a warrior's hands. How happy is the man whose quiver is full of them!
Psalm 127:3-5a

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Step Out

I have been pretty scarce in BlogWorld lately. My mind has been pre-occupied and much of my time filled with Rise & Shine Women's Retreat...not to mention all the other demands of a busy wife and mama. :) The retreat is only 2 weeks away now!!!
Being part of the planning committee for Rise & Shine has "stretched" me and increased my faith in a number of ways. Back in January our team met for the first time. My good friend Jill felt the Lord's leading to start a women's conference. She had felt this prompting for a couple of years, but wasn't sure how she could ever pull something like this off. She kept praying about it, until it came to a point that she knew that it was definately His idea and not hers. She shared the idea with her husband and a couple of friends (myself being one of them). Long story short, Jill and her friend/mentor, Leanne, decided to take the idea to Orchard Hill Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa. They opened their doors...and offered a lot of support!
Our little team was put together and we began planning a women's event. We were thrilled when Renee Swope, a national speaker and author with Proverbs 31 Ministries, agreed to be our guest speaker. None of us had ever done anything quite like this before...or at least not to this extent. We didn't know exactly how all of this was going to work or what it was going to look like. Yet, God did! He kept opening doors to lead us in the right direction (and continues to).

Interestingly enough (and you may not believe this, but it is absolutely true) almost 3 years ago, I sat in a women's conference listening to a women's speaker when I felt the Lord speaking to my spirit. It wasn't an audible voice, but I knew Who it was. It was like He said to me, "You're going to be part of something like this." And I knew what He meant. Yet, there I sat...I was pregnant, a farmer's wife living in rural Iowa. I thought, "What? ME? How could I ever do something like that?" I have to admit that I questioned the Lord. Did He get the right girl?! Yet, joy rose up within me and I remember praying in my mind, right there in the midst of this huge conference, "I don't know how, but I believe that you will make a way, Lord." I never told anyone about this. I actually shoved it to the back of my mind for a some time. Every once in a while I would recall what He said, but still didn't see a way. I would say a little prayer about it and shove it back to it's little corner in my mind.

Back in December when Jill first told me her idea about starting a women's conference, I wasn't shocked. I knew that I was suppose to be part of it, yet didn't say a word about this to Jill. I just told her that I would pray about it...which I did. I was thrilled a few weeks later when she asked me to be part of the Rise & Shine Team . Isn't this just the way that the Lord works? He opens doors where there doesn't even seem to be a door!!!

I'll be honest with you, there were some times along the way that I doubted myself (which I guess is really doubting God's ability to work through me). There were a few times that I wanted to quit (so thankful that I didn't!!). There were times when I felt in over my head (which I probably was and still am, but God always provides!). There were times when I wondered why on earth God chose me (ME!) for this job. Yet, each time, I felt God's prompting to carry on...and trust Him!

Now, I could tell you one story after another about how God has revealed His provision and faithfulness to me personally throughout this planning process...and I'm sure that I will have more to tell you in the next couple of weeks.

I'm thankful that Jill and Leanne stepped out in faith...and that Judy and I have had the opportunity to do the same.

I'm also soooo thankful...
For my part in Rise & Shine and all that I have learned.
That God continues to show me what He is capable of...and what He can do if we are obedient.
That it's not about me or my abilities, but about Him and His abilities!
For all the doors that He has opened.
For all the people who have come on board to help.
For the relationships that it is building.
For all the women who will attend (and I am praying that they will be blessed on October 31st).
For the doors that it is opening for others to use their talents to glorify the Lord.
That God is working through each person involved to pull this off.
Plus many other things!!!

However, I'm mostly thankful that I know that all of this is pleasing and glorifying to the Lord! It's a lot of work, but it's a pleasure to do the work of the Lord.

Let me ask you, where is God asking you to step out in faith in your life?! Is there something He's specifically calling you to do? Have you prayed about this lately? What's holding you back? Maybe it's not the right time yet, but maybe it is. What are you doing to prepare while you wait? Remember two things: God WILL use those who are willing and obedience begins in the seemingly small things!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:20 & 21 (NIV)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Too Bad, How Sad

The other morning I told my 2 1/2 year old son, Andrew, "Mommy is just really tired this morning." Andrew quickly replied, "Too bad, how sad!" I was surprised by this response, but chuckled and said, "You're right, Andrew. It is too bad, how sad because Mommy can't just go back to sleep." Honestly, I decided he was right and decided to just get over it. :)

I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised by Andrew's words because, "Too bad, how sad" is something I sometimes say to him. Little ones always repeat what they hear. When Andrew doesn't want to finish his food or whines about an order I've handed out to him, he will say, "I don't want to." Sometimes I will say, "Too bad, how sad." Many times this is followed by an explaination which in turn is often followed by, "Mommy's the boss." :) (I'm brutal, I know!)
P.S. I think the saying most people use is "too bad, so sad", but whatever. That's not what we say at ourhouse! :)

Maybe "too bad, how sad" isn't the most politically correct response. Still, it's pretty effective. He "gets it." He normally doesn't argue his point any further. In fact, today when it was nap time, he said, "I don't want to take a nap." Then, without missing a beat he answered himself, "Too bad, how sad." LOL (I loooooove this kid!!!)

Today, I was thinking about Andrew's very innocent response to my whiney statement of being tired. I thought of how glad I am that the LORD doesn't respond to our groanings in this way.

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus said,
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Then there is I Peter 5:7:
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."

I'm so grateful that He wants me to come to Him with all of my weariness, sorrow and burdens. Not only that, He offers a solution. I don't have to bear my burdens alone. He will carry the burden for me. He cares. He hears. He offers me rest.

He is a gentle and merciful Father. A faithful companion. A kind and loving friend. He knows me...the details of my life; my personality; my past. He understands the desires of my heart. He sees my weaknesses, yet He gives me the strength I need to plunge past them. In fact, it is through these very weaknesses, that He proves Himself strong! He upholds me with His victorious right hand. There's nothing that is impossible with Him by my side.

When I go to Him and say, "I'm tired and weary, Lord" He doesn't say, "Well, too bad, how sad" or "Not you again" or "It's too late. You've messed up too many times." Nope, His arms are open and accepting. He listens AGAIN. He is gentle and loving because I am His and He is mine.

Unlike any other friend or comapanion on earth, I know He always has time for me. He is a safe place to run. He doesn't get tired of hearing from me. I can cast my cares and anxieties on Him knowing I can trust Him with my every thought. He will never leave me. He will never forsake me. He won't talk behind my back. He won't turn His back on me...or turn me away.

Think about how cool this is: When you have a personal relationship with the LORD (meanining, you've accepted Jesus Christ as your saviour) you can go to Him, trust Him as a friend, and lay down your burdens anytime that strikes your fancy. He will accept you. You can pray to Him anytime and in any place. You can pray out loud or in the solitude of your own mind...either way He hears because He is God. He walks with you all day, every day. There's no time restriction; no limit on the number of times you can pray. He loves you like no one else does...unconditionally and without limits. He WANTS you to come to Him. Why needlessly carry those burdens and anxieties alone? What an honor and privilige to have the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the One and only God as your Father, companion and friend!!!

Psalm 37:23:
"The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives."

You can go to Him with EVERY:
weariness, longing, fear, burden, thought, question, doubt,
heartache, anxiety, tear, prayer request, dream or
broken dream.
You can even share your:
joy, gladness and praise with Him
...anything and everything!

What are you waiting for?
Your Faithful Friend is waiting!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Weariness Turned into Praise!

Excuse me for taking so long to post again. After my last post titled Weary, I know I left some of you wondering how I was doing. Thank you so much for your prayers! I'm so incredibly thankful to post that my weariness has turned into PRAISE!

The words of David in Psalm 30 echo the praise in my heart. I'll share a bit of it with you here:

2 to 5 Oh LORD my God, I cried out to you for help, and you restored my health. You brought me up from the grave, O LORD, You kept me from falling into the pit of death. Sing to the LORD, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name...Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes in the morning.

11 & 12 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever!

It has been an incredible journey. A year of my back, neck, right shoulder, arm and hand due to a herniated disk in my neck. There have been many ups and downs. Many doctor's visits. Some short-lived bouts of relief and then relapses. Never really feeling well. A lot of frustration, tiredness and weariness...and even more prayer!

Then, there was a breakthrough last week. I visited a chiropractor who does some alternative treatments. I had known of him for quite a long time. Someone had actually referred me to him several months ago. His office is 1 1/2 hours from my home. I had gone through so many ups and downs...and had visited a few different doctors so I wasn't sure going there would be worth the trip. Then, desperation really hit me. My husband, Alan and I, were praying so tearfully. Honestly, crying out to the LORD for help. It felt like this doctor was where God was leading us next.

To make a long story shot, I walked out of this chiropractor's office feeling better than I had in a very, very long time. There were tears in my eyes as I left his office...and my heart sang the LORD's praises all the way home! To be honest, I have had so many set-backs throughout the last year that I was almost afraid to move, in fear the pain was going to come back on full force. I hated to even mouth the words that I actually felt better. I didn't allow the fear to consume me. I chose faith instead. I couldn't be silent! I praised the LORD...and have continued to praise! I will continue to give Him the glory!

I should make it clear that I am NOT completely pain free. However, I feel such incredible relief. I go back to see my new chiropractor friend next week. I praise the LORD for leading me to him. Health is something I took for granted more!

Thank you, LORD, for hearing our prayers! Thank you for restoring my health! I know it's only going to get better. My weeping went on all night, but joy came in the morning!!! I will continually sing Your praises!!! I will give You thanks forever!