Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Happily. Ever. After.

Katie + Jean-Paul

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The baby that wasn't and China

Baby A says that God has been talking to her.  She really wants a baby sister.
  I wish I could give her 1. 
This has been a month of thinking about the baby that wasn't. Most of you that visit my blog probably don't know that I was pregnant with quadruplets for the first 14 weeks of my pregnancy.  At the first ultrasound, I was pregnant with triplets and a fluid sac.  Then, on the second trip (to hear heartbeats), well, there were four babies instead of three.  The "fluid sac" was a baby.  But, I guess something was wrong because at 14 weeks, he/she was gone.  And I haven't ever really let myself really feel that loss.  I think it felt selfish to grieve for the baby that wasn't because I had three other babies still living inside of me. 
It's grief delayed.  
Maybe because baby A asks for something I can't give her.
Maybe because in watching my kids live, I can't help but wonder what Baby D would have been.
Was it a girl or a boy?
Would she/he have looked like baby A? Baby B? Baby C? 
Would they be funny like C?
Caring like B?
Silly like A?

 And since reading the book Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His trip to Heaven and back by Todd Burpo, my mind has been thinking heavily on my baby that wasn't.  
You should read this book if you haven't.  
It's truly faith affirming
And if you've ever had a miscarriage...it will bring you renewed hope concerning your loss. 
Then, there's Baby A...
She told me that God has been talking to her.
I said, "Well, what did He say?"  
"That He's going to get me a baby sister from China."
Well, it's not the craziest thing in the world if you remember my post HERE.
Or that far fetched if you know that adopting from Asia has always been in my heart.
However, it would definitely be G-O-D to orchestrate such a gift (not that He isn't always in charge of such things).    
The boys have offered their name choices: 
 Buzz picked: Sally
Woody (hoping for boy/girl twins) picked: Harry and Samantha
And Jessie...
...doesn't care as long as she is the one that gets to take care of them.

Monday, March 21, 2011

On power and prayer and how you were a part of it...

My brain is full.  We have had a loaded week with loaded conversations and my brain is in over-drive.  Is it even possible that this is only Monday! Cowboy take me away!
Yet seriously, I would never let a cowboy take me away because I absolutely dislike horses. And this fact is pretty irrelevant to this entire post, but I feel the need to keep typing.  I do like horse pictures though. They are pretty. :)
So, let's get on with it, shall we?  Let's talk about you. And this...
No, this is not an art project created by Baby A, B, or C.  And technically, we didn't actually make this, but if you follow me on facebook then we recently did this together.  
Prayer chains. 
 My friend Angela was discussing prayer on her blog a few weeks ago.  Angela asked several thought provoking questions about the commitment of believers and prayer.  For example, she mentioned when someone shares a prayer request on facebook and immediately people say "praying for you," are they really praying?  Of course there is no way to know what someone else does.  But, we can all make sure that we don't take those commitments lightly.  
So, back to you.  And this...
A few weeks ago on facebook I posted an urgent request about my mammaw's salvation. She does not know the Lord.  She was scheduled for knee replacement surgery and was really nervous about the outcome.  My aunts had been talking to her about Jesus and she flat out told them that she did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God nor did she believe in life after death...period. And with that period, my heart felt like it burst into a million pieces and I spilled some of that grief in this post. And here's where you came in. 

I asked for prayer for her and an overwhelming response from people on facebook that said they would join me in prayer for someone they didn't even know.  I was deeply touched. I also text my entire family and we all prayed at the same time for God to open her eyes and save her. Then, we waited.

 In a strange turn of events, my mammaw's surgery got put off for 1 month.  She did have surgery on March 3rd and is recovering well.  Last week, my aunt, who has been caring for her, also had to have knee replacement surgery.  Because they were both down, my mother went Sunday to help both of them.  And yesterday morning in the kitchen, my mammaw said this to my mom:

"So, Jamie, with all the things happening in the world, are they saying this is the end times? Because with everything going on, I just really feel like Jesus is going to come back any second.  You know it says that the trumpet's going to sound and it's going to happen in a flash."

Come again?!?!? My mom almost fell over.
  So, I don't know every detail about what has transpired in her heart.  But, I see the hand of God at work. His handi-work never ceases to amaze me. Six weeks ago, she was not open to Christ.  Today, she is talking about trumpet blasts and His return.  And she brought it up and wanted to discuss it.  And she obviously has been listening and reading about Him to know those things.  And because we know that it is God himself that draws us into a love relationship with Him, then we can be confident that God has visited her personally. Isn't that so exciting? I know that God heard my prayer.  He heard our prayer and I am grateful to you from the bottom of my heart. 
A door has been opened in her heart.
Please continue to pray that God will help her walk through it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Love and war

If you follow me on facebook, you may have noticed.  
We've been at war.

Well, not real war, but facebook war.  It all started when a certain someone saw that I was signed in to facebook.  Ladies, never leave your facebook open and unattended.  Bad bad things can happen.  It came down to this...

He posts on my page (pretending to be me):  "Oh how I love how the wind blows my hair. Aren't I so pretty?"  

Really?! Really?! 

My mind went haywire. What if someone thinks I'm conceded, stuck up, self-centered?  Surely no one that saw that actually believed I would write that?  Then, my mind drifted to all the people I am friends with but only virtually. Well, they don't really know me.  What if they thought bad of me? What if they said, "man, she's not exactly whatI thought?" 
Oh how the list rattled on because of the accidental hijacking of my wall.  

I threatened war.  The sleep-with-one-eye-open-crazy-wife-gone-wild kind.  

Then, today, I saw it. A blinking cursor...at an unattended computer.  So, I seized my payback with:

"Man, do I look good.  Look, how good my #9 Dallas Cowboy jersey looks on my buff body."

And what happened?  

Oh nothing but virtual fist bumps and "likes" from his little entourage of "peeps."  

Gotta love or despise  the differences between men and women! 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

1,015 miles

That's how far I chased Him. 
Last year, a friend recommended I attend a writer's conference in North Carolina called She Speaks
"But, I'm too sick for such a trip. What would I eat?  How would I leave my bathroom? I could never fly alone."
I was sick. Every meal I ate made me nauseated. Every doctor I saw was baffled. Every test they ran was negative. Everything from the neck down painful. Any hope of normalcy lay crumpled in a pile on the cold floor. I wanted to be able to name it. This thing. To write a diagnosis on paper and rebuke it. It would be a dream come true to attend such a conference, but my courage waned at the thought of leaving my corner.  This captivity was friendly as long as I didn't move. 
But, God kept whispering this passage to my heart:
"And behold a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak for she was saying to herself, "If I only touch His garment, I shall get well.  But Jesus turning and seeing her said, "Daughter take courage; your faith has made you well. And at once the woman was made well."  Matthew 9:20-22
Her story followed me everywhere. My Bible would fall open to the exact page, the preacher would remember her faith in church on Sunday, and the one time I let anyone guest post on my blog...she used her story in the post. What was God trying to tell me?  
That He could heal me?
I knew that...but healing eluded me.
That she had great faith?
I saw her faith...and I was trying to believe.
For some reason, I felt that my healing and attending this conference were somehow inter-connected but I wasn't sure why.
In theory, I knew all the biblical things to do.  I tried to hurl this pain headlong into the throne room for healing, but it felt stuck to me.  I was jealous of her, this bleeding woman.  She had Jesus in the flesh. If I had Jesus in the flesh, I would just touch His garment like she had. 
How do you touch someone invisible? 
But, those words stayed in front of me so many times that it became very apparent that those red letters were mine.  
Three people offered me money to go to the conference. 
I bought a plane ticket.
During each class, I waited for a miracle. 
 I was there because somehow, I felt that God's garment, His healing cloak, was in that very place. 
The last session had arrived and although my soul was renewed, my body still struggled. I thought of the bleeding woman as I waited for the speaker to begin.
To bleed like that must have come with such shame.  I wanted to hug her. I wondered what bleeding was worse, that of her body or her heart?  Mine was raw with embarrassment and disappointment. 
I understood her pain.
The constant desire to run from her circumstance.
It was the unmistakable disappointment that accompanied chronic illness. 
The isolation, the embarrassment, and the desperation. 
It was the last session.
Karen Ehman got up to speak.  She cried.  We shared many commonalities. She was ashamed that she hadn't learned as much of God's word as she should have.  Guilt surged within me as I hung my head. Me too. Me too. I could count on 10 fingers. I knew a battery of half-memorized verses, never with a reference. God had been knocking patiently. Instructing me to remedy the problem. Since my teens, He had been gently calling me to maturity.  I had not obeyed. Why?  I remembered the bleeding woman.
 I cried again, "Lord, how do I touch the hem of your garment?"   
 Karen pleaded to not be like her.  It was a call to maturity in the Word. 
 An implosion of clarity and knowledge exploded in my mind. A simple truth - to be devoted in the study of God's word. To memorize the truth, and quit being spoon-fed. To not just rely on prayer and church. 
The Spirit revealed to me: to know Him through His word is to touch Him.  To spend time in His word is to wrap myself up in the robe of His healing power. 
 I don't have to live when Jesus did to experience the gift of healing. I just have to call upon the Name of the Lord and bathe myself in the Word of God. The power that I lacked, the ability to RECEIVE healing, was physically found in those red letters. 
My own disobedience had hindered my healing.
Clarity. Repentance. Alter Call. 
 I promised myself if I got the chance for someone to pray for me, I wouldn't sit still in my seat.  My feet wasted no time in charging towards a prayer partner.  
With heaving sobs I was there. 
 The woman who prayed for me didn't even know what she said, but she mentioned her, the bleeding one. 
"Lord your word says there was a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. She touched the hem of your garment and was healed. Lord heal Jessica like you healed her."  
I promised God that I would not be a babe in His word anymore.  Prayer wasn't enough to sustain this body.  I couldn't take pieces of Him. 

He didn't want pieces of me. 
All of me. Wholly, fully devoted to Him.
I carefully unwrapped the folded slip of paper I had retrieved from the alter on the way back to my seat..."If you love Me, you will keep my commandments." John 14:15  
No coincidence.
My paper was soaked. 
Soaked with grace. 
"Yes, Lord, I love you.  I hear you.  Thank you for meeting me here in this place."  
Last year, I traveled 1,015 miles for healing.  This year, I hope to travel 1,015 miles to learn how to effectively tell other's about the mercy, grace, and healing that God wishes to pour upon all of us .  

"It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness and the light dwells with Him." Daniel 2:22

She Speaks is a Christian writer's conference for women seeking to give God glory through ministry, a place to connect with the very heart of God.   Ann Voskamp is offering a scholarship to attend She Speaks this year which will be July 22-24. If you are interested in her scholarship click HERE to read the guidelines.   You can find out more information about other scholarships on the conference website HERE

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Just a reminder

His promises...
...are never-ending.
"And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing." Genesis 12:2

Saturday, March 5, 2011

These words

These words are consuming my thoughts. 
Things are speeding up. And these words...

They echo. 
In the recesses of my brain at the oddest times, they speak of things to come. 

Of changing political seasons...
 These words say that time is moving. 
 Speeding towards fulfillment.
And in the midst of the echo, my heart is breaking. 
For so many people.
...for a friend that is now a declared atheist.
 ...for a family member that does not believe there is any life after death. 
...for people that hate Christianity because the only Christians in their life disappointed them greatly. 
...for the oppression I see in the Middle East. 
...for the rejection of truth in our own country. 
Tonight, I want to share some words that are on my mind.  
Words that muddy my thinking and long to get my attention and yours. 

"And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book." Revelation 22:6

"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years." Revelation 20:4

"For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son." 2 John 1:7-9

"If we say we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darknes, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin." 1 John 1:6&7

"And the Lord will strike Egypt, striking but healing; so they will return to the Lord, and He will respond to them and will heal them. 'In that day Israel will be the third party with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed saying, "Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel My Inheritance." Isaiah 19:22, 24&25

"It is He who changes the times and the season; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men, and knowledge to men of understanding. It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him." Daniel 2:21&22

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Itsy Bitsy Spider and Fear

Late last night I hopped into the shower before heading to bed.  As I was showering, I looked up to see a teeny-tiny spider walking on the ceiling above me. 

 I spent the rest of the shower moving strategically out from under the spider who apparently could not make up his mind on where he was headed. I spent the first five minutes enjoying my shower and the next 15 looking up, afraid that the teeny-tiny spider was going to fall on my head!  When I finally got out, I took a closer look at the spider and realized it was a...

mosquito...caught in a spider's web.  Apparently the indecision was the mosquito bobbing up and down in the web trying to get out.  
Oh how my eyes deceived me.  
What I thought I saw influenced my emotions. 
What I thought I saw and subsequently what I then felt (the fear), even made me alter my course. 
Isn't that just like fear.  Fear makes our imaginations take the wheel.
Fear changes our plans. We often alter our course in life to accommodate our fears. 
But, it doesn't have to be this way.
A pastor once gave me a good acronym for fear. He said fear is...

It always appears larger than it really is. 
I have dealt with some pretty entrenched fears in the past.  Some that I thought I would never be free from.  It's funny how you can see the fear in someone else's life as silly or irrational, but when it comes to your own fears they seem larger than life.  Fears are controlling. Sometimes suffocating.  Fear is a theft.  It takes up space in your mind that God reserves for Himself.  It steals your joy.  Many fears that adults experience are rooted in childhood.  They start there and are ignored through adulthood. They become entrenched. When a fear isn't dealt with properly, it becomes a stronghold. You might have a fear that began in childhood that completely rules your thinking.  Like so many others, you may be managing it externally, while internally falling a part.  

 Fear cannot be wished away.  Especially fears that have been with you for a long time - those are now strongholds of fear.  A stronghold must be actively uprooted by the word of God.  I have been guilty of wishing fears away.  Please let me be the first to say *wishing and hoping* fears away only gives a spirit of fear the right to stay exactly where it is.  But, in the name of Jesus - Fear must abandon it's post and move on.  
I challenge you today to identify your fear for what it is.  Don't let embarrassment keep you bound one more second.  
Here are some power verses to help you conquer fear.  
If you need prayer in regards to a fear in your life, feel free to leave your name below. 

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

"...that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heave, and on earth, and under the earth."  Philippians 2:10

"Do not fear for I am with you..." Isaiah 43:5

"Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold I will do something new, now it will spring forth. Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert."
 Isaiah 43:18-19

"The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, and to those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light dawned." Matthew 4:16

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do no anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." 
Isaiah 41:10

"Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. He will call upon Me and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him, and honor him. With a long life I will satisfy him, and let him behold My salvation." 
Psalm 91:14-16