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Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Letter 2011

I love this time of year: Christmas letter writing season. It’s an opportunity for me to reflect on the year that has been in our family’s life. In looking back at this year, I’m not sure I have adequate words to voice the beautiful year it has been. Once again God has been faithful to our family and has poured out rich blessings into our lives and we are so graciously thankful that we are able to share them with our dear family and friends.

Highlight of 2011

Early in January our plans for 2011 took a drastic shift. Our anticipation of a baby in May was dashed with news of our miscarriage. This was a season of sorrow and loss for us, but also, a season of growth in our relationship with one another and those that surrounded us in support. We learned much about the limits of human-planning and were well embraced by God’s love. During this time I learned of God’s desire to bless His followers and of His faithfulness, even in times of loss and then of waiting. And now we rejoice with expectant hearts for the arrival of our baby in March! We are so thankful for this gracious gift.

Family

Our year has been filled with much celebration with family. Early January travels brought us to Maui with my family where we watched Rachael (our niece) delight in digging in the sand and Isaiah (our nephew) beam that the ocean is his favorite color: blue! Three weeks after returning from Hawaii we were off to Florida to spend a week at Ryan’s parents’. This year in Florida we made no plans and used the time as a much needed simple time of warmth and relaxation. It is always nice to enjoy simple pleasures such as swimming outside in February, running in shorts and tank-top, shopping, and visiting.

It had been a year and a half since we first introduced my parents to our new home of Chilliwack, so it was a much welcomed visit when my parents arrived in April for Easter. We enjoyed a lovely Easter dinner together with both sets of our parents graciously hosted by Ryan’s mom. Also, my dad’s favorite sport was always baseball, so I wanted to take him to a Major League Baseball game in Seattle as a Father’s Day present; we all enjoyed an exciting game (though not in favor of the Seattle Mariners)! We also visited some of our favorite local spots including the Othello tunnels and Bridal Falls.

Our July long weekend was spent at my sister’s place in Okotoks where we were able to spend lots of time with the ever growing Isaiah and Rachael. My close friend Rahimay and her husband, Joseph, also drove out from Calgary to have dinner together and a marshmallow roast one evening. This was all just a “bonus” since the primary reason for the trip was the celebration of Ryan’s cousin’s wedding in Carstairs where we were able to connect with family we hadn’t seen for a while. Shortly upon our return we were off to meet my family at Revelstoke at the Noah’s Ark “Resort” for a second year in a row. It was a long drive for a quick trip, but we were beaming with the exciting news of being pregnant!

August was Saskatchewan month. Ryan and I decided to make our trip home, a road trip. We stopped en route for a night in Okotoks before continuing to Swift Current where the highlight was celebrating Mom’s 60th birthday. We organized a BBQ in the park with lots of family in attendance and had a wonderful time catching up with relatives we hadn’t seen for a year. The road trip continued as we headed to Palliser Beach at Diefenbaker lake to meet up with Brad and Ashley. We had a brief visit with Ryan’s Uncle Darryl and Auntie Shelley in Herbert before settling in at Ashley’s parents’ cabin at the lake. The weather was terrific and the guys wakeboarded all day long as us pregnant wives cheered them on from the boat. Next stop: Saskatoon. We enjoyed catching up with Ryan’s family and some friends before making our way back to Chilliwack.

August also brought the arrival of Josiah William into the Rostek family, born to Ryan’s brother & sister-in-law Josh & Cassie. Ryan’s parents celebrated their first grandchild and we have enjoyed being able to watch him grow from 1 day old, since they live so close by.

Friendship

This year has also been filled with numerous wonderful times with friends. We spent the first weekend in March in Whistler with a group of friends including our friend Brad who flew out to join us. The girls cross country skied while the guys hit the slopes to snowboard and in the evening we cozied up in our rustic cabin for dinner and games.

In March I had the pleasure of a visit from my good friend, Erin, from Saskatoon who was celebrating the completion of her PhD. We soaked all our worries from the previous months away with a visit to the Harrison Hot Springs Hotel, made a trip to the outlet mall near Seattle and hiked the classic Chilliwack hike: Teapot.

Our summer was rounded out by numerous activities with Chris and Vicky. We hiked some classic Chilliwack area hikes (Lindeman, Elk, and Sumas mountain) topping off the season on September long weekend with a getaway to Squamish including hiking The Chief. This is one of the most spectacular hikes we have done so far with dramatic views of the area and sheer drops that had me cautioning Ryan not to get too close. Our only camping trip of the summer included white water rafting down the Thompson River by Lytton, BC in July; a fun trip not too far from home! Now as I wrap up writing our Christmas letter, it is one week away from Christmas and we are enjoying the company of Chris and Vicky in Whistler. The snow is melting outside, but the guys are still snowboarding and Vicky and I hit the downhill tube park for some excitement since the cross country trails are too sloppy.

We have also enjoyed watching our friends’ families expand and continue to pray with those friends who desire the joy of children. Of particular note, we were able to meet Raymond, Brad and Ashley’s little guy, as they stopped en route to California in November. Of course, 2 month old baby Ray was adorable and we appreciated his visit as the next one may be a long time coming.

Other Highlights

It was wonderful to open up our home to both Erin and my parents this spring and they politely accepted that our toilet situation was a little strange. You see, Ryan initiated his operation toilet train Fritz. You can ask Ryan about all the details of his successful cat toilet training, but suffice it to say that our visitors were okay to share a toilet with us while Fritz monopolized his own during training. It is now lovely that we are litter-box free and we have a toilet with auto flush so Fritz can do his business with no clean-up required. Indeed, this is one of Ryan’s biggest accomplishments of 2011!

One of my biggest accomplishments of 2011 was completing my first half-marathon at the Run for Water in Abbotsford on May 29. I knew this was a goal I wanted to accomplish soon, but with a knee set-back in December I was unsure when I would be able to. With support from my awesome running partner Sarah, massages, and chiropractor visits I was in great shape and completed it in 2 hours 47 seconds! Ryan also ran in the 10Km run at this event, so it was fun to be able to participate in this “together”.

In May we officially solidified our commitment to our church by becoming members of Central Community Church here in Chilliwack. It is great to have made Chilliwack home, and great to have the support of and be a support to a fabulous church. If you are interested our video testimonies can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/23182704

We have both been blessed with great work opportunities in the past 2 years, and in June we were both able to enjoy new “positions” with work. After much hesitation to apply for the position, I finally applied for and became Pharmacy Manager of the Pharmacy at Walmart. I have enjoyed the position more than I even thought I would and though my work days are busier it has also increased my work satisfaction. Ryan and his friend Nate created Persona Blinds here in the Fraser Valley (personablinds.ca), an offshoot company of The Blind Factory in Saskatoon. At first it was a lot more “work” than Ryan was used to on a daily basis, but the business is really taking shape these days and holds an exciting future.

The Last Hoorah

With summer wrapped up we began to plan for what we called “Our last Hoorah.”: our last vacation just the 2 of us. We love Hawaii and had wanted to see the island of Kauai, so that decided our destination. We celebrated my 30th birthday with an Aloha party (aloha--goodbye--20’s, aloha--hello--30’s) and were off the next weekend to one of our best holiday’s yet. Everything about our Kauai vacation was spectacular: our beach front room in our hotel, the complimentary daily buffet breakfast, our adventures all over the island (exploring various beaches, hiking in the canyon, river kayaking, hiking in mud to a waterfall, taking a catamaran ride along the secluded Napali coast, snorkeling) the lovely warmth of Hawaii sunshine, and an opportunity to really connect as a couple and get excited about the upcoming changes in our life.

Indeed this year has been full of so many good things. I too easily forget what we have been given and despite trying to keep this letter as succinct as possible the blessings of this year are too numerous to limit to a page or even two. We thank you all for sharing in our lives and welcome a new year and a new horizon of opportunity.

This Christmas we celebrate Emmanuel, God with us, and we pray that each one of you would be able to experience the LIFE that having God with you brings.

Merry Christmas with love from

Ryan & Cheryl & “bump”

Fritz

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Rediscovering Passion

Yesterday morning I had a mini epiphany. I was drinking my tea thinking about the prior day, enjoying a few moments of relaxation before heading to work for 8AM. Work these days has felt just like that: work. I find myself daydreaming of being back in Kauai, I struggle with having a good attitude about going to work ready to work, I have to push myself not just to coast as much as possible, and I’ve glanced at the clock to count down the hours numerous times when that’s not usually a habit of mine. So I am trying to have a good attitude about work, but it is hard and I feel tired from the culmination of being busy beyond the hours of my full time job.

So yesterday in my brief moments before I headed out the door a conversation from my previous work day played through my head. One of our regular patients told me she was glad I keep working at our pharmacy. My reply was an unhesitated “of course!”. We had a lovely conversation in which she voiced her appreciation of me and the service I provide to her at work. We further spoke of family and the anticipation of my own. It wasn’t until nearly a day later that I realized the significance of how she phrased her words and how I quickly replied. She was glad I continue to work at Walmart pharmacy in Chilliwack. You see as of late I ask myself sometimes why I keep working. But ‘of course’ the reason is my opportunity to serve well and interact with people so special like Mrs. D. I feel like God used this woman’s words to encourage me in my work and remind me of the opportunities my job affords me.

This interaction with my patient makes me think of what’s been on my mind and heart lately. My heart has been pulled with compassion for the elderly. This is a demographic I have long been fond of, but I have been so busy lately that I haven’t made opportunity to focus on this passion. I strongly believe in the great value of elderly individuals and fully acknowledge that our society is structured to view them as inconveniences. The result is that if an elderly person does not have a strong advocate who can navigate our fast-paced, information overloaded society well, their needs are neglected and their quality of life is diminished. There are so many elderly individuals who need stand-in advocates for them, or simply need a friend to share company with. So what is the answer? It’s a big question, but I know what my answer can be. Befriend one senior at a time. You see, one of my dearest friends of my lifetime was an elderly, blind woman who has impacted my life immeasurably. I am rediscovering my passion, and isn’t that what life is all about? As I’ve read through the scripture this past year, verses that remind us to care for the poor, love the underprivileged, have bothered me. Because I ask, what am I doing? But these verses mention a wide group of people: poor, homeless, widows, disadvantaged and neglected. I am starting to see what these verses are spurring me to do. Love my elders, and find even just one person who needs some extra love and dish it out.

(Thank you mom for fostering a love of seniors in my heart and for teaching me through your words and actions compassion that is both practical and meaningful. The older I get the more I see I have much yet to learn from you, mom. Love you!)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Savoring Paradise

How lucky am I to be in this beautiful hotel in this luxurious bed listening to the waves crash outside our room, soaking in the view on this paradise island, Kauai. Beside me is my husband of 9 years, whom I grow to love more with each changing season of life, and within me grows our child, a miracle from God. There have been times leading up to this trip where I have felt like a spoiled child. Vacation to such a location is luxurious and with the amount we have been able to travel, I began to wonder if it is also frivolous. However, sitting here this morning, I set those notions aside and simply praise my God the creator of this beautiful place and ask him (as I have been leading up to this trip also) to use this opportunity of time away in nature “alone” with my husband (the last hoorah, I like to call it!) to bless us and build us. I thank God for this opportunity and for his goodness.

Two days ago I started to read Out live you life by Max Lucado. Normally, Lucado’s writing isn’t my favorite style. However, 2 chapters into this book, he has me hooked. To be honest I wasn’t quite sure what this book would all be about, but I figured it was something to do with making the most out of your life and that is a topic that interests me. The book is about making a difference with our lives and about making an impact so the effects of your life extend beyond your lifetime. It’s got me thinking, like really thinking. And in this act of reading and thinking it driving me to write, and I am reminded again of what my English teacher in high school had posted at the front of the class: “why do we read, why do we write? To learn what we think.” And indeed, this is exactly why I love to read and exactly why I love to write. Both are such gifts granted to me and I am excited to embrace them on this vacation in paradise.

Mmmm, in anticipation of the moments that lie ahead this week, I savor what it means to “get away” and enjoy leisure; to reflect and renew and think about life from a different perspective. To think about what God is doing in my life and how that can change the way I live instead of living in a set track of the day in day out paradigm expectations of our society. And this moment right now, writing in Hawaii listening and viewing the ocean, oh I savor this, having often dreamed of taking a “sabbatical” to come to Hawaii and write. This here, right now, is a dream moment!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fall Beginnings

Romans 12:1-2 (The Message and NLT)

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life - and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Then you will know what God wants you to do [and that] God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

It has been so long since I’ve blogged, and even longer since I’ve really blogged; you know, from deep in my gut. It’s been that I’ve been exhausted and it’s been that I’ve been busy with all the fun things of summer. But really it’s been that I’ve been dry. My passions waned, my dreams lulled into the void of unconsciousness or sub-consciousness, or a place at least where I didn’t access them nor assess them nor live them. And so as the summer has wrapped up and a new season has rolled out, I’ve decided that it’s time for me too, to roll out with a new game plan in hand. Being fall it is fitting to look afresh at the past, the present, and the future. Fitting, for the simple reason, that I love fall and that this particular fall brings with it 2 big events: my 30th birthday and a growing tummy to accommodate the growing baby within me!

To me there is no more refreshing season than Fall and as long as I have recollection I have loved the onset of Autumn. There is something revitalizing about the change in the air when it takes on crispness and a new sense of freshness. In Saskatoon, this change coincides with the riverside Meewasin trail (my favorite place to run in Saskatoon) turning glorious with the vibrant shades of changing leaves. In Chilliwack I enjoy the dampness that begins to return to the air bringing with it the most wonderful smell of nature that I love to inhale deeply.

Another reason I have long loved September is the start of a new school year. Though I am no longer a student, I thoroughly enjoyed and am thoroughly grateful for all my years of education and I found the first day of school exhilarating. I clearly remember my first day of University walking at 8AM across “the bowl” at the University of Saskatchewan for my first class. I was so nervous I would get lost or be late sometime through out the day; but, I was thrilled to be surrounded by all these building of learning on such a beautiful campus and I had a thrill of equal magnitude my “last first day of school” nine years later when I entered my final year of pharmacy school.

Now as an adult who has (finally—wink, wink) “outgrown” school, my love for fall extends beyond the physical change of the season. It is a time to anticipate the year ahead and strive for personal growth. It is with this mindset that I organized a “retreat” with some close girlfriends a week ago. We spent time alone reflecting, giving space for God to speak and space to think about life. It was a jumping point for passions to begin to infiltrate our minds and hearts and souls and for dreams to come alive with vision. And we wrapped up the “retreat” with an invaluable time of prayer for one another.

From this retreat, the words of Romans 12 came alive and I feel so grateful to have the direction of scripture in navigating this race course of life. These verses explain that if you live with full acknowledgement and deep graciousness for what God has done for you, you will think differently, live differently, and act differently and this way of living will enable you to know what God wants from you. I have asked repeatedly since January, “God what do you want from me?” This scripture answers my long sought question.

You see, at youth we were talking with the students about how we are asked to “collide” our worlds, to let God and what He’s taught us flow over into all realms of our life. And I see this irony because in science and general life, it seems like Murphy’s law takes place and collisions occur naturally. However, when applied to spiritual life, causing collisions of my internal faith with that around me, well, it has to be orchestrated and it requires an input of energy. And so, I have not been so good at creating these collisions nor even knowing how to create these collisions and so I’ve been asking God “What do you want from me?” But, in Romans 12 God voice reveals the answer to the question: I want you to live in deep gratitude of what I have done for you and allow that to transform you and then through that daily transformation you will understand and see what I want from you. That’s how God gives sight and insight.

I think of Eve as she eats the forbidden fruit. She was promised by the Deceiver that the fruit would open her eyes. Just like Eve, I want my eyes opened too, that I can know how to get more out of this life. But the answer is not what our deceitful world teaches. I will not get more out of life when I have more money, more comfort, more prestige. I will get more out of life when I fully accept and live the acceptance that Jesus has given and claim his promise that he will give “more and better life than [I could] ever dream of.” (John 10:10, The message).

Romans 12 further asks me to fix my attention on God. And I found that the answer to how I fix my attention on God is quite simple: Read scripture (I’ve been doing quite well at this since January when I implemented my journey through the bible with a reading plan, if you exclude July and August), create space for God to speak (I naturally love reflection), and pray (here’s the kicker- I’m not so ‘good’ at praying). Clearly, to fix my eyes on Jesus takes a specific discipline that I must be willing to implement, however that looks in my life.

And this all links back to what Ann Voskamp has been saying in her book, 1000 gifts: live a life looking for God’s blessings in the hum-drum of daily life and it will transform you. And why can Ann write a whole book about this subject, when it is summed up in 2 verses in Romans 12? The answer is simply because it’s a struggle and a well-worth while one.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Summer Vacation

It is hard to believe that August is wrapping up and soon fall and all the programs it brings will be ramping up. And as I title my blog entry today, I reflect nostalgically on the days when my summer vacation was 2 months long! Well I’m not that hard done by, but I could have handled a few extra days off this summer to embark on more adventure and build into relationships; but the 13 days off that I mustered (working 9 days in a row to get the extra days off felt like it nearly killed me this go around!) were filled with much warmth and friendship.

It is always good to go back home. Saskatchewan. Home. And this summer Ryan and I enjoyed making a road trip out of it. We charted new territory heading to Swift Current. In fact it felt odd to enter Banff from “the other side”. On the way we popped into Okotoks for a free bed and to give our nephew and niece hugs and kisses; my sister and her family are quite well situated for a mid trip visit. Rolling into Swift Current you realize why “life makes sense” (their slogan) there: it’s because not much changes in 9 months. It’s a thrill to spot the one or two minor changes that may have occurred. This year there was an addition to the regional college and *gasp* an LED sign placed at the bottom of the overpass (my mother has decided this sign does NOT make sense to her).

We had a great time celebrating mom’s 60th birthday along with many relatives by having a BBQ and cake in park. I had fun organizing the BBQ and it was a big success. It was good to reconnect with aunts and uncles, cousins, and new additions to my cousins’ families. We later were able to head to our friends’ place for dessert; friends that we met in Saskatoon, reconnected with in Chilliwack, and now who live in Swift Current!

Pack up the car from Mom and Dad’s place and next stop Palliser Beach on Diefenbaker lake. Pit stop: Ryan’s aunt and uncle’s place in Herbert. We enjoyed a nice visit (and delicious cheese and bacon biscuits!!!) at Ryan’s aunt and uncles before connecting with our dear friends Brad and Ashley at Palliser Beach. Our time there was beautiful, including 3 straight days of mysteriously calm south Saskatchewan weather. The guys ripped it up on the wakeboard and all our bellies were so full from the delicious eats that they felt as big as Ashley’s belly (she’s 8 months pregnant!) We cleaned up the cabin at Palliser Beach (thanks Ashley’s mom and dad!) and headed up to Saskatoon: last stop on our Saskatchewan journey!

In Saskatoon we had supper with Grandma Braun one night, another night was dinner with the whole Rostek family and some extra alone time visiting with Grandma Rostek. I was able to visit my good friend Erin. And Ryan and Brad even managed to get tickets to the Rider game and drive down to Regina for an evening (Ashley, Erin and I enjoyed the game from the comfort of the couch)! Nice to visit family and friends in Saskatoon, but we sure do find it to be a busy city these days.

Then it was pack up and drive home time! More quality time with my awesome hubby, a brief one night stay in Valemount on the drive home and arrival back to our welcoming kitty cat in lovely Chilliwack!

And that was my summer vacation!

Monday, July 18, 2011

My New Favorite Place

I have a thankful heart. This book I’ve been reading really is helping me to savour the beautiful in my life. One of my favorite places/experiences is to run on the trails in the trees at Cultus Lake. I am so thankful for my dear running partner, Sarah, for introducing me to them and loving going there with me (she is also the one who lent me this book to read!). So what I have been learning about the last few days started on the drive back from Cultus Lake after a run last week. In that drive I began to learn more about TRUST.

As I was driving, feeling fabulous from my run in the “forest”, I was simply overcome by a strong sense of trust: trust in my God. I experienced trust in Him because I knew that He would care for me no matter what happens in the days ahead. It was comforting. It parallels the same experience I have with my earthly father; I know that my dad believes in me no matter what path of life I choose to take. I can see it in his eyes, hear it in his words, and sense it in his hugs. My dad loves his girl, his daughter, and I can trust in that love. However, even more than my earthly dad loves me, my Heavenly Father loves me so much more. I trust with a knowing trust, that God believes so deeply in the work of my life because I am His child and He is so deeply invested in me. When I understand this it compels me to practice trust in Him and to feel safe in that trust.

It was a day or two later that the book I am reading, 1000 gifts, turned from talking about giving thanks in everything to look for the small and wonderful blessings through out the day, to talking about trust. And she coherently linked these two concepts in such a way that as the pages speak on and on about trust, I had to stop and think: “my God is speaking to me about trust this week!” Why trust? Why is God speaking to me about trust? I don’t know. But He has also helped me to experience it this past week. And that is a beautiful place to be.

Listen to the words of Ann Voskamp.

Thanks [to God] is what builds trust [in Him]. (p150)

Much of the worry in my own life has been a failure to believe…a wariness to thank and trust the love hand of God….

I make soup and I bake bread and I know my supreme need is joy in God and I know I can’t experience deep joy in God until I deep trust in God. I shine sinks and polish through to the realization that trusting God is my most urgent need. If I deep trusted God in all the facets of my life, wouldn’t that deep heal my axiety, my self-condemnation, my soul holes? (p149)

If God didn’t withhold from us His very own Son, will God withhold anything we need? If trust must be earned, hasn’t God unequivocally earned our trust with the bark on the raw wounds, the thorns pressed into the brow, your name on the cracked lips? How will He not also graciously give us all things He deems best and right? He’s already given the incomprehensible. (p155)

Now I don’t know why these words and experiences of trust have come to me, but I do know it is a concept and an experience I haven’t explored much previously. Perhaps it follows that I’ve cried out to God to bless me and He replies, “give thanks and trust in me and you will see your blessings already present, and you will see your abundant blessings to come.” I invite you to explore trust in our good God together with me and discover one of my new favorite places.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Psalm 139 and then some

If you don't already know that I would love to write a non-fiction book, today should clarify that intention! It's a lengthy post, but Mmmm life is too good not to share :)

Today I read again Psalm 139. It is on my reading track for June 21, but I have fallen behind and so I read it a few days ago. I pick up my bible again. I admit my moments in the bible and in prayer have been sparse these days. But I revisit this Psalm. It is a good one. Let me share God’s words and my own.

O Lord you have examined my heart and you know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my every thought when far away.

My God is so incredibly present in my life, even in the days when I scarcely acknowledge His existence. He takes my heart on as His own. He knows what vies for my time. He knows what challenges my balance. He knows the struggles of my mind and the struggles of my hands. He knows that which I don’t take time to think about because I don’t want to elucidate the thought. He knows what breaks my heart and He sees the simple joys of life that bless my soul. My God is present in my workday, He is present in my trail run, He is present when I scramble to make supper, He is present when I kiss my husband goodnight.

You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD.

My God charts my path. He charts this path that looks so questionable to me. He charts this path that doesn’t make sense. And why is this good? This is good because it means the God that controls the laws of the universe, is guiding my trajectory. It is good because it means that when I just don’t seem to know about the future I don’t have to worry about having the answers; when I feel lost I can know that I am never lost because my path is determined by the One who breathed human life into existence.

You both precede and you follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head.

God wants to bless me. Over and over the last few months God has spoken in whispers, in steady voices, in strong resonations: I want to bless you, Cheryl, my child! My grandmother said to me, in front of the whole congregation, at my baptism: Your God will never leave you or forsake you. My God has preceded me. And I have the confidence, the assurance that He will follow me into the lives I will touch. So I ask tonight of my God, “Pour Your blessings into my life! I open my arms and I look to the heavens and I ask You to rain Your blessings in and through me. Saturate me. Soak me with your blessings that anyone who sees me will see that I have been blessed. Let me drip with your merciful blessings.” I thank my God for His desire to bless me; I think myself small and then I remind myself of course I am small, I am a child, but I am GOD’S child.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to know!

How I struggle with my friends who battle infertility. It doesn’t make sense, does it? But even though God has my path mapped out and knows my heart and wants to bless me, what that looks like, is too incomprehensible.

I can never escape from your spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; If I go down to the place of the dead you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there you hand will guide me and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night- but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are both alike to you.

No wonder God’s ways don’t make sense. God can penetrate the darkness. Darkness cannot be dark when God is present, and God is present with me wherever I go.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous- and how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Oh the preciousness of life in the womb! At this I cry out that God would knit a child in my womb, a child that I can love and raise to love God! I love to teach and I long to watch my children learn to love their Jesus as their Savior. I long for children that, even with my awful singing voice, I can teach to sing God’s praises. I long to have children that can themselves teach me, their mother, about God’s love and His simple joys and blessings. I long for children that will show me what really matters.

I pause. I get teary eyed here. I know I want to be a mom, but as I think about the day I got to spend with my niece and my nephew, and the joy and curiosity of my 3 year old nephew and the preciousness of these vital years for him to learn, when I think of this and the family (sandwich) hug Ryan and I gave him before bed, and when I put my words on paper, well, I really know I want to be a mom.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

There is much for me in the present day. Time marches on month by month. And over these months blessing fill me. I thank God for these moments of opportunity to remind myself why I want to be a mom. In the loss and the waiting, I haven’t taken time to listen to my heart, my mom-heart. Not being a mom, I can forget what compels me, because I get locked in the world without children. It is easier to live in that world. Indeed, it is the world I have lived in for 29 years and it a world that hasn’t disappointed me. It has not disappointed me. Oh the blessings I have received in my little life!!! I am so thankful for my beautiful husband of 9 years. I have a marriage united in friendship, adventure, love, respect, and a mutual love for God our Saviour. I am so thankful for my awesome community. I have shared already about the joys of relationship in this place of Chilliwack and beyond. Similarly, I am thankful for my great relationships with my family. As we came home from Okotoks we both felt this compelling desire to spend as much time as possible with our family. I am so thankful for my wonderful job. Oh how blessed I am to have opportunity to receive not 1 but 2 University degrees. I am so thankful for my education and for my opportunity to be (hopefully!) a good leader at work to my coworkers, and to make a difference in the lives of my patients. I wait to be a mom, but oh as I wait the life of today is lush with blessings if I take time to look at them.

I am reading this book 1000 gifts by Ann Koskamp. It’s all about looking at the ordinary moments in life and seeking out the beautiful in them. We are surrounded by moments of wonder if we choose to look for them. Life is made up of ordinary moments sprinkled with extraordinary. Capture those moments by living in them and loving them.

So on that note I thank God for the moment yesterday where I paused on the pathway to watch the leaves flutter beautifully in the wind. They danced on their short stems dazzling me. Simple. Beautiful. Ordinary.

And so, it is good to reflect on ever wise scripture (oh to meet David in heaven!), it is good to remember why I want to be a mom, it is good to look at the blessings granted me thus far, and it is good to look for the simple blessings of today.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Prayer of Jabez revisited

Today in reading the scriptures Psalms 127: 3 makes me stop. “Children are a gift from the Lord.” It almost hurts to read these words when we are surrounded by miscarriage and barrenness in so many relationships. The words of my dear friend reverberate in my mind: barrenness is not of the Lord. I agree. It is not the Lord’s desire for us to be barren. And so I think of the little book that was popular a few years ago, which my mother gave me a copy of: The Prayer of Jabez, by Bruce Wilkinson. This book builds a message on the verse I Chronicles 4:9 “Oh that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil.”

So today I pray with scripture to support me: “Oh that You would bless me and I ask that you bless me with the gift of a child! That you would enlarge my family and my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, and remove this barrenness.”

I know that God wants to bless His children! I know this and yet, I hesitate to pray with confidence this prayer for blessing into my life and into the lives of those so dear waiting for children.

Bruce Wilkinson says in his book (p23):

When we ask for God’s blessing, we’re not asking for more of what we could get for ourselves. We’re crying out for the wonderful, unlimited goodness that only God has the power to know about or give to us.

In the past months it has come to my attention that I cannot create a child on my own accord. Sure my husband and I can try and it seems that a child should be created. But month after month, we still wait. Our friends still wait. The science of it is well known, and yet it doesn’t always work. A child is a miracle of God. This has become so evident!

In a way this reminds me of when I was first learning to drive. My mom took me to a large parking lot. She spoke to me of the power of the vehicle I was about to drive. She cautioned me that she thought I was over-confident, that she thought I didn’t fully grasp the position driving this vehicle placed me in. She instructed me that I was driving a vehicle with much capability and that was to be taken seriously to avoid harm. Now too, I think back 10 months, to first trying to have a child. I was confident, cocky even. We’ll have no problem with this. We’re healthy, we’re educated, we understand science. We can make a baby, and in fact I think we can make one in quick time. Sure I prayed for wisdom to raise a child. But did I pray for the procreation of that child? No. Without realizing it I felt I didn’t need God’s hands to create the child. Ten months ago I did not grasp that the procreation of life is a blessing and complete miracle of God. So as my mother sought to speak words of instruction into my life that day in our mini-van to help me grasp that which I, in my over-confidence, didn’t acknowledge or understand, in these 10 months the Lord has spoken wise words into my life which have humbled me.

Perhaps the parallels of these 2 examples seem somewhat weak to you. However, I spend time on a weekly basis with teenagers as a youth leader. Getting your drivers license is HUGE when you are in high-school. It is, for most of the students, the biggest accomplishment yet of their lives. It is a token of growing up, of independence, of capability. I remember clearly getting my drivers license. Next comes graduation, then (for me, this order) marriage, convocation, passing a stressful exam to become licensed as a professional. Next step: start a family. As our lives pace forward there are these momentous steps and at each step there is much to be learned. Much to be learned.

So today I pray expectantly. I pray that God would bless Ryan and I with the gift of a child. A gift that only God can give. I ask that God would expand our territory, our opportunity zone to share His great goodness. I pray that God’s hand would be on our family. I pray that He would protect us from evil. I pray that He would fill us with the Holy Spirit and that we would have ears to hear and eyes to see.

And in this prayer, I pray the same thing for those dear to me. For those who have lost children in the past and await the cries of their child in their arms: for CF & VF, for JW & AW, for RF & TF, for NT & MT, for RM & MM, for MK& AK, and for BG& JG.

And for those dear to us who await the birth of their child, who have not endured miscarriage and loss, but who hope for a healthy child growing within them and for wisdom to raise them well: for JR & CR, for CS & ES, for BM & AM.


"You know beyond a doubt that you were redeemed for this: to ask Him for the God-sized best He has in mind for you, and to ask for it with all your heart." (Prayer of Jabez, p91)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The joys of life:Half marathon and patio furniture

Here I am enjoying my new place of “retreat”: the deck. We got this fabulous outdoor furniture and our whole family loves it, Fritz included, in fact there he is sitting on a chair beside me having a bath! So though the day is cool and overcast and I am wearing 2 sweaters, have a blanket, and have my fluffy lamb slippers on (truly why not wear them outside since I haven’t had much opportunity to don them since my mom gave them to me in April), I am thoroughly enjoying this opportunity to retreat to the outdoors, while enjoying the convenience of being at home!

This is a blog of a different sort for me today. Perhaps it is more of what you expect from most blogs: an update of the past days in my life. I am excited to take this opportunity to sit down and write. It feels I have been away from my word documents too much lately, caught up in the busyness of work, I suppose? Whatever the reason, it is good to write, but at the same time I don’t know that I have any pearls to share and so it will be.

Race Day: Race day was more than I had hoped it to be. I felt great that day! My legs were strong, my lungs were fit, and as the race progressed I experienced the fuel of competition and race day excitement that drove my performance. I finished well and am proud of my first half-marathon time of 2 hours 47 seconds.* At the finish line I was greeted by Ryan and friends, how fabulous to do this together! And my friend gave me a lovely card at the finish line which she had made. Its words were perfect for that day, it read: “prayer for a symbolic day, persevere, strength to endure, comfort in His love to rest”. I called the day a beautiful ‘distraction’ but it was more than that and I am glad my soul was well that day.

Now to hope that summer weather will actually come. Regardless of the weather, however, I look forward to watersliding, white water rafting, hiking, camping (if we get organized enough), and putting the zodiac boat in the lake. And of course, enjoying time in the fresh outdoors, even while at home!!!! Ryan and I stop to acknowledge how lucky we are to live where we do on many occasions. I walk to the grocery store and I soak in the view of the mountains. I wake each morning to look out my living room window to see how much snow has melted off Cheam mountain. If we want to go for a hike, it’s minutes away to the trail head. I was out at Cultus Lake this morning running in the forest (aka the horse trails). I take one step outdoors and I can immediately smell nature. The air out here smells so green. You can smell the trees and water and air. I love it! This is where I live! Day in day out, this is home! Breathe deep the blessings!

(*I am thankful for my running partner, Sarah. There is no way I could have done this race without her. And to boot she’s an awesome personal trainer/group fitness instructor to help anyone with their fitness goals, whatever they are. Check her out at lightenupfitness.blogspot.com)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Race

Race day preparation and motivation:

On May 29 2011 I am running 21.1 Km in the Run for Water Half-Marathon. This is the day I was due to give birth to our child. It is because May 29th was my due date that I want to run this race even though I’ve been behind in training due to my knee injury this past winter. At first I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to go for it. I now know I can go for it (accepting that completion may require some walking). So today I have registered for this very symbolic race which has become an accomplishment of much importance for me on a very significant day for Ryan and me. Consequently, this half marathon has been weighing heavy on my heart because I so badly want to complete it even though I can feel my knees aren’t 100% and I’m pushing my distances.

The Pep-talk:

This past Wednesday I was able to sit down with my dear friend who is a prayer warrior. She not only prayed for my knee and for the race on the 29th, she also prayed that God would be with me in my car on my drive home and that I would experience Him. Well God spoke very briefly, but pointedly and profoundly. God told me He will run the race with me. He knows my desires to complete that race and why it is so important to me. He understands that the race and the condition of my knees are not trivial for me. He will run with me. He will be with me with every stride I make, every step I take. He will be there with me on the very emotional day that should have been the birth of our child. He will give me the physical strength I need to complete that race and the spiritual and emotional and mental strength as well.

God told me he will run the race with me. This race of life can be challenging. I said to my friend why can’t our bodies just be able to do what we want them to do? I’m trying to be healthy by running, why should my knees prevent me from doing that!? The race path isn’t smooth. Striving for that finish line may produce injuries, will likely result in fatigue, and will hopefully provide moments of adrenaline driven highs. And God will be running with me when I’m slowed to a walk, when I’m elevated to a sprint. He will be with me on the plateaus (where I am now). He will be with me on the steep uphill out of the valley that’s slippery (where I was a couple months ago). He will be there when the “rush” of the race is so profound it bubbles out me and I can’t contain it. He will be there in the mile marker accomplishments. He will be there at the finish line.

And in these words that God has given I am reminded of the verse in 1 Timothy 4:8 “Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart.” You can easily replace ‘in the gym’ with ‘on the trail’ and this verse speaks directly to me. Yes it’s good to be physically fit, but how much better it is to be spiritually fit. I don’t really know what to expect in the coming 2 weeks of this race of life, but I do know that God will be there with me in it. I do know that in the end what really matters is that I am “[running] with endurance the race that God has set before [me]” (Hebrews 12:1).

The Prize:

For the most part Ryan and I have not fully grieved the loss of a child. Our miscarriage has felt like the loss of a pregnancy and the loss of hopes and dreams that came with that. However, as our due date approaches (and the bellies of our pregnant friends grow), I find myself thinking more of the loss of our child. So as I prepare to run that race on May 29th I know that regardless of what placement I finish at, I will feel like a winner. All participants who complete the race receive a medal. When I complete that race, I will be obtaining a medal of memorial for our child, for the blessing of his or her life that was too brief. This medal will also be my earthly parallel of the prize that God has called us to press on towards. The prize of LIFE that is available through Jesus Christ. The prize all Christ followers receive when they cross the finish line of the race of life (Philippians 3:14).

Saturday, May 7, 2011

God's Pharmacist: Opportunity

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I guess I haven’t been overwhelmed in the last while with any emotions that have stirred me to want to share my thoughts. Life has been relatively even keel. Spiritually I feel like I have been in a place of living off of the past. God was so very present when I cried out to him in our time of miscarriage. But in the last weeks, I feel like I haven’t learned anything new about God. We became members at our church and my testimony spoke of all the things I learned of God over the last months. But here I am feeling like if I’m not still learning, and if I’m not still hearing God’s voice, then where am I? I think of the story of Gideon in the bible. He was a man who started his journey with God well, but in the end his passion faded and thus his leadership failed. I want to start well, continue well, and finish well. So I suppose I am learning! I am learning that I need to daily call out to God and ask for Him to speak into my life, even when life is traipsing along well.

Aside from my relatively neutral heart lately, I have been provided with opportunity. The position of pharmacy manager became up for application a few weeks ago. I hesitated to apply. I wasn’t sure the extra responsibility was worth the promotion. However, after much encouragement at work to apply for the position I sat down and talked with Ryan and his wise words reminded me that when opportunities are granted we ought to take them. So as of September I will be pharmacy manager at Walmart pharmacy! This comes in the month when I was expecting to go on maternity leave. The dichotomy that I was looking forward to this year away from work to focus on other pursuits (family!) and here I am ready to pour myself into my work more was difficult at first as the congratulations started coming my way (this was not really a big deal to me and not what I had hoped to receive congratulations for)! However, I’m sure it’s an irony not lost on God, because he has been showing me that He uses opportunities, in fact He creates them! Go figure. As we wait to become pregnant, as we wait for a family, God has other plans. I am now interested to see how these plans will unfold and I am trusting that God will provide me the ability to manage well.

Speaking of my role as a pharmacist, I want to share something I wrote last December. It’s about how God has called me to be His pharmacist.

Revelation 22:2 “The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.”

I am a pharmacist. I deal with drugs and medicine on a daily basis. I see how people want medicine to heal them. Often times it’s a desire for something to heal them so they don’t have to put any effort in. My blood pressure is high, but if there’s a pill that can bring it down so I don’t have to exercise - great! I don’t like to see this. I like being healthy and promoting healthy living so as to minimize the need for medicine. And then to have the option of medicine when lifestyle is not enough or when misfortune has it that it is required (I think of my father). (But even when we do all the right things, guess what? We are human and so lifestyle and medicine will always fail in the end…it’s inevitable. We can’t live forever, even if we exercise, live balanced, eat organic and treat our ailments.) But God has a medicine to heal. And he has a medicine to give us eternal life. And it doesn’t even require any work on our part. Isn’t that exactly what more people are searching for? (Think of weight loss in a pill.) God’s medicine is healing for the soul; it is the message that we are loved and forgiven of all our wrongs and failures if we only choose to accept. God’s medicine is the acceptance of a Saviour who is awesome, who is revolutionary, who is relevant, who is God himself. God’s medicine requires no effort. (This is good, because effort has ended in heart ache and failure all too often for so many people.) Simply believe. I need to get in the business of being God’s pharmacist, dispensing God’s medicine to all the sick, hurt, lonely, depraved people out there. Hmmm. That’s exactly what my “job title” is as Christ’s follower.

Friday, April 15, 2011

God's word speaks

Psalm 84
5
What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,
who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to
Jerusalem.
6 When they walk through the
Valley of Weeping,[b]
it will become a place of refreshing springs,
where pools of blessing collect after the rains!

In reading What good is God by Philip Yancey, I appreciate how he discusses that God can take any horrible situation and redeem it. It’s not that God makes these bad situations happen to teach lessons, but he utilizes every situation for his benefit for good. Romans 8:28 makes more sense to me in this perspective: God uses every situation and so even when awful ones come our way, he uses those “to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose” Likewise the above Psalm creates imagery of our tears of weeping become the rain that blossoms beautiful fields of blessing and rain that creates these pools of blessings in our lives. As a Christ follower I have the wonderful hope that whatever comes my way, my Savior, my God, will redeem it and utilize it to create blessing in my life. I journaled and emailed with a friend a few weeks ago about perspective, mainly about having perspective on others’ situations so I don’t become self-absorbed in my own situation. Well I am continuing to learn about perspective, this is a freeing perspective: freedom from fear or worries of the future and what trials may be out there yet for me to face or that maybe I am facing right now. Freedom to fully live in today because God takes care of my present and my future and will work both today and tomorrow for his glory. And how do I know this? I know this because God tells me this in his word!

Yes, God speaks through his word! I want to acknowledge my appreciation for the work that Brian has on the Daily Audio Bible (dailyaudiobible.com). Through his on-line community that reads through the bible each year I have gotten on board to read the bible on a regular, consistent basis. And the word of God is speaking richly and deeply to me. Yes God's word speaks. It is timeless. I love learning, I love thinking. What better way to do this than through reading the Bible, praying and reflecting/journaling (and now blogging!). It's life transforming. So thank you Brian at Daily Audio Bible for being just what I needed to start consistently reading God's word.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Full Circle

My heart has come full circle today.

Yesterday I was so deeply impressed with the preciousness of life, in particular with the miracle of the birth of a new life, of a child. This idea of preciousness is innate and yet it has taken root inside me in ways I cannot adequately put words to.

It has been a season of our own loss of a baby and the subsequent season of waiting for a healthy pregnancy and a child to hold in our arms. However we are not alone. It also has been a season of sharing in so many other journeys of women and families, losing the baby they have already grown to love, of women and families longing for the birth of a child. I suppose as one watches that life slip away and as one waits for that life to be given it creates time to reflect on what it means to wait for the arrival of a child into one's life. I have come to truly acknowledge that the blessing of my children will be from my Lord alone, the giver of both life and abundant, fulfilling life. And as I wait, I hear God's quiet voice speaking to me, telling me how beautiful a gift it will be when I hold my child in my arms. And as I wait for a child I am growing to love that child; I feel my parent-heart growing within me, a heart so full of passionate love and protection that all I can do is pray because I feel so helpless to do all I want to for my child.

It is in my prayer for my children that I feel such a thankfulness for my ancestors. I am thankful for my parents who were diligent in guiding me to know God. I am thankful for their passion for the Lord. I am thankful for my grandparents whose teachings through their characters still live on deeply in my heart. And for Mrs. Peters who was a friend like no other (how wonderful to have a 80 year old friend when you’re a teenager). I thank you God for Ryan’s parents and grandparents that have become my own. I want their stories to live on, because their stories long for children to love You. Bless the godly faithfulness of our grandparents in the lives of our children and their children and beyond. May I honor my parents and grandparents by teaching my children well. I thank you God for the gentle faith of my Grandma Elias, for the bold faith of my Grandma Krahn, for the meek faith of my Grandpa Krahn, for the diligent faith of my Grandpa Elias, for the generous faith of Mrs. Peters. I thank you for the tender faith of my father and the devout faith of my mother.

From grandchild and child, to hopeful parent and future grand-parent. My heart has come full circle today.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Brother in Law

So my brother in law (my sister's husband) gave me a hard time after I wrote my blog about my sister: "when are you going to write nice stuff about me on your blog?" I joked with him that I would write nice things when enough had been accrued to warrant a blog and in that case he might be waiting a while. He's the joking type of person, in fact it makes him easy to be around, and so I'm certain he's long forgot about that conversation. But being the kind, compassionate, thoughtful sister-in-law that I am, I've been thinking about that conversation I had with Jason. So while I'm not sure how he figures he's next in line to get a blog post (sorry Mom and Dad, I do realize you are my next of kin not blogged about thus far), I thought perhaps I ought to set the record straight right here in public. You see, I do love my brother-in-law and he is a great husband to my sister and a good "second" brother to my husband. It's wonderful to have Jason in the family; his spontaneity is refreshing. Though I must mention that sometimes his lack of planning nearly pushes me to frustration. And of course he does make playing word games with the family much more irritating. Strike that, he makes playing word games with the family irritating. They were never irritating before he entered the picture. And honestly, couldn't my sister really use someone who helps keep her car clean, as opposed to multiplying the grime? (Though I suppose his promotion of her cooking as gourmet makes us for that a bit; except for the fact that Carmen is now too nervous to have company for dinner because Jason touts her cooking as gourmet to all their friends!)

But, I do appreciate that Jason has taken me under his wing. He enrolled me in his MIT program in August when we were camping in Revelstoke and I fell absolutely smitten with my niece. I have high hopes that I will soon graduate from my Mother-in-Training program since I am anxiously awaiting to be an expectant mother. (Though I think perhaps Jason is equally as excited as us for us to have a baby sometime--hopefully--soon. Indeed he was the person I was most excited to tell that we were expecting, back in fall. And now that the secret that we're ready to start our family is out of the bag, well the pressure for us to procreate has subsided. It is my hope, however, that Jason's prayers for twins or multiples for us have also stopped. I think he and my sister said that they hoped we had twins or more just because Ryan and I plan life too much and some things (aka children) are not always supposed to planned to such a T. Well here I declare that I fully acknowledge that having children does not go according to plan. My plan has been thwarted and twins would, I think, be just too much :)

There you have it. My brother-in-law Jason, is a stand-up guy. And if any of you readers live in the Calgary area, he's also a phenomenal finishing carpenter. And he sells these snazzy garage cabinetry. See Jason, I've got glowing things to say about you and indeed, I, we (Ryan and I) would absolutely love it if you moved out our way. We can't get enough of you! (and your children are adorable and perhaps I'd progress more quickly in my MIT program if I had more hands on time with the kids)

So Jason, you get Auntie Cheryl's big stamp of approval, and a blog post to go with it. And I think you deserve it.

Go Roughriders!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Congratulations Dr. Erin!

I've been very tired for the past couple weeks; perhaps going too hard at life all at once or just the result of enjoying a nice full schedule. Whatever the reason it has been very nice to enjoy a 4 day weekend. My friend Erin arrived from Saskatoon on Wednesday night. Friday was relaxing as I was able to show off a bit of Chilliwack with a hike up Teapot at Cultus Lake and a stroll along the Vedder Rotary trail. In the evening, I tried to hone my skill at the game The a-MAZE-ing Labyrinth, to no avail. Erin remains the champion of her game in our relationship! Saturday we unknowingly decided to fight the crowds on a trip to the Seattle Premium Outlets; I was absolutely shocked at the hour and a half wait at the border - that's what spring break does, I guess. However, the "stress" of the line-up dissolved on Sunday as we soaked all our cares away in Harrison Hot Springs: a great mini retreat (and a congratulatory one-night trip for Erin) as both Erin and I have come through a bit of stressful times lately.

Now I will send (well, drive) Erin to her next destination on her little getaway (hello Vancouver). How wonderful to be able to celebrate with friends in their accomplishments. Way to go Erin, PhD!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Awfully Confusing

I think I get now why some people wait a long time to try again to get pregnant after a miscarriage. Having a miscarriage hurts deeply. And then there is the fear that takes root thinking of being pregnant again. I have fear of going through the same hurt again. Fear of not being ready to be a parent. And then there is the feeling that it’s just not right, because I should be allowed to be so excited to get pregnant, but that uninhibited sense of joy and excitement has been zapped. It’s not the same. No matter what. I am excited in a very guarded way now. I want to be pregnant, but I want to be excited to get pregnant, and then I’m fearful of the pregnancy and of the idea of being a parent (those feeling weren’t there in August when we started trying!) and then to top off these feelings that I don’t know whether I really am ready to get pregnant, I look at the number 29, my age that is getting bigger and so I better get on it regardless of how I feel, and then I have moments of jealousy that pop up when I share with others in their pregnancy and when I hear others talk of their pregnancy. How can I have this hesitancy inside about getting pregnant and still have jealousy? It’s awful and awfully confusing. I want to be excited about my own future pregnancy and at the same time I am excited for those dear people around me who are pregnant. And just weeks ago I had this sense that in the waiting for a baby there is greater joy in the blessing of that child. I’m waiting for that greater joy, patiently. In the meantime, what can I do but trust God and use my head when my heart feels so mixed up.

So amidst this confusion this is what I know. My God is good. My God is love. My God provides. I love my husband. I trust God will give Ryan and I wisdom in raising our family. I want children. I love my family and friends. I love the unborn children of my family and friends. Children are a blessing, whether mine or not. I have been blessed with such amazing support and I am confident that I will continue to be blessed with support as life unfolds. I will love my children regardless of whether they are born in 9 months, 2 years, 5 years, or beyond. I have learned much in the past months about myself, about human emotions (it is interesting that the number of emotions I am learning about continues to grow), and about God. I continue to learn. God was there in the disappointment, hurt, frustration. Certainly He is here in the jealousy, the fear, the confusion. Certainly He is here to remove the jealousy, the fear, and the confusion.

Ps 51:8,16

Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me- now let me rejoice. Unseal my lips, O Lord, that I may praise you.

I have to share what I read in scripture today and what I learned from it.

Numbers 13 and 14 discuss the scouting expedition that Moses sent out to scope out the promised land of Canaan. This is the land that God has promised his people of Israel. It was his promise to them as He brought them out of Egypt, out slavery, out of the place where they cried to God from because they were oppressed. From this expedition there were 2 reports. The first said:

“We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” 32 So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. 33 We even saw giantsb]">[b] there, the descendants of Anak.

The second states:

“The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! 8 And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. 9 Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land.

This is the Promised Land they speak of! God has promised these people this blessing and the first group simply sees the giants in their way of getting there. It makes me think; what blessing does God have in store for me that I only see the giant hurdles required and miss out on what is behind those obstacles? God wants to bless me. God will give whatever assistance is required to overcome giants. Right now I see my land of milk and honey being the family I believe God will bless Ryan and me with. There are some obstacles to getting to that “land”, including the “awful confusion” of the present which I have discussed above. But in reading this story of Canaan, I don’t want to focus on the giants before me. I want to focus on that rich land ahead and the dependence on God that will get me there. (Besides if you read the whole story in Numbers, by not trusting God to take out the giants, those people who voiced response #1 never did get to step foot in the promised land. I think this story parallel a very real reality for today as well: focus on the giants in your road and you may get detoured that you may never see the promised land God intends for you further along the road.)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Majesty

My God is more majestic than the sunset reflecting off the snow-laden Cheam mountain range. (If only I was photo-savvy like my friend Vicky, then I could show you how awesome the view out my living room window is!)

Psalms 39

I've never read this Psalm before. It struck me as I read it. David's words are fitting for today's society and they are so very clear and full of truth and need no explanation.



4
“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.”

6 We are merely moving shadows,
and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
We heap up wealth,
not knowing who will spend it.
7 And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
My only hope is in you.
8 Rescue me from my rebellion.