Two Little Lights

In October of 1988, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Quite honestly I did not know that until this morning when I looked it up. I didn’t even really realize that this month was dedicated to remembering until a few days ago. Then my Facebook feed filled up with remembrances. It seemed a bit familiar like I’d seen this sometime last year and the year before. But I really didn’t pay much attention to it. Sorry, but it’s the truth.

So two weeks ago the stories, the articles, the remembrances started filling my FB feed and I started reading. With each one the tears began to flow. You see I have suffered from infertility for 21 years now. I had a miscarriage, my only known pregnancy in 1996. Two years ago I underwent fertility treatments that were unsuccessful. I know how you feel.

The fertility treatment process was such a blur, so much paperwork, so many needles, so many exams. I was giving myself 3 injections a day for awhile and my husband was giving me the fourth injection of the day. I was on the maximum doses of each drug due to not responding to the lower doses. Talk about hormones!!! I had them in abundance. It wasn’t easy for me or my husband. He was a supportive sweetheart though.

We finally ended up with two little embryos ready for transfer. I received a call each day letting me know of their progress as we awaited transfer. Then one day they called. One of the embryos is doing great. The other not so great so they discarded it. Something died inside. I didn’t know that was an option. I guess it was somewhere in all that paperwork we signed. I was devastated.

We still had one little embryo. It was transferred. Two weeks later I received a call saying your pregnancy test is negative. You are not pregnant. Once again something died inside. I was never the same… until now.

With all the stories, articles, and remembrances. Those dead places began to ache. I decided to talk to someone about it. First she listened and then with God’s leading she began to instruct me on what questions to ask God and let Him give me the answers.

I don’t feel the need to share all of what transpired. But the last question she had me ask brought life, healing, peace and joy again to those dead places inside. Here is the question?

“Ask God where those two embryos are now.”

I began to cry. I heard God’s voice say, “They are with Me.” I then saw a picture in my mind. It was God holding two little lights. I began to weep as I realized that in my mind they had been two little dead embryos. They are alive and not dead.

Because it wasn’t a baby that I carried in my body for weeks or months I didn’t stop to think about them being alive or dead. I didn’t allow myself to grieve as though I had lost a child. But in the absence of thinking about it and processing the grief I allowed a picture of two little dead embryos to take up residence in my mind and my heart.

As soon as I saw those two little lights I felt a great sadness lift. I felt the ache in my heart drain. I felt peace and joy again.

I’m actually a very private person. God and my closest friends know my struggles, but today I felt like I needed to share this because someone else needs to hear this. Someone else needs to replace that image of death and darkness with light and life.

I understand. I am praying for you. You are loved… whoever you are.

Unity of the Brethren

I woke up with an ache in my heart this morning. I couldn’t shake a heavy feeling that seemed to hang over me. I went about my morning routine, but something was missing… peace and joy. My husband saw me and asked why I looked so unhappy. I hadn’t realized that it showed. It made me stop and search my heart to figure out why I was unhappy. Then the tears began to flow. It was because someone I love, a fellow believer had said some unkind things about other believers.

I don’t believe there is a denomination that has perfect wisdom regarding God and His ways. My experience is that each one appears to have revelation of one or more of the beautiful facets of our amazing and multi-faceted God. For all the revelation each one has I find that it’s like looking at one star in the sky, for the one that we see, there are billions more we don’t see.

Also, within each of those denominations there are believers at all levels of wisdom and maturity. Each one has its men and women of God that have wisdom beyond this world. Each one has the one who hears the message, but doesn’t really get the spirit and heart of God behind the message and makes a fool of themselves and brings contempt from other believers towards a particular denomination.

When I hear a believer say something unkind about another believer or another denomination my heart sinks. There are many things we may disagree on. There may be many differences in how we worship and serve our God. But we have one very important thing in common. No, not one thing in common, One Person in common… Jesus Christ.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. (Psalms 133:1, KJV)

Our Father which art in heaven Hallowed be thy name… (Luke 11:1, KJV)

Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others]. (1 Peter 4:8, KJV)

Don’t look around and see the believer judging you or your denomination. Look within and see where you might not be loving others as He has loved you.

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalms 139:23-24, Amp)

Good Morning

I recently moved from the city to a very new neighborhood that for now is in the country. There are no buildings, tall or otherwise as far as I can see out my back windows… just a clear view of the horizon.

My very first morning in our home, I woke very early. I was too excited to stay in bed. I got up well before the sun. As I sat in my favorite chair in the living room I noticed something happening outside. The pitch black sky with tiny little dots like diamonds set in it began to change. Black was slowly becoming indigo and a deep, deep purple. Slowly the purple began to melt into a rich red and brilliant orange, but the main attraction was yet to be seen. I saw the brilliant colors but the sun was still hiding just below my fence line.

As I watched this amazing display, I thought to myself I don’t remember the last time I watched the sun rise. I sat on the edge of my chair waiting for what seemed eternity for the sun to peek over my fence, but even as the colors kept changing, still the sun remained hidden.

I’m sorry to say that I began to get a little impatient. I had a house full of boxes that needed to be unpacked. I didn’t want to miss this first sunrise, but it seemed to be taking its own sweet time. So, I decided to stand up on something to finally catch a glimpse of the sun and just as I was about to stand up, I heard God the Father gently say, “Wait.”

The Love of my life had spoken. So I sat and waited. The colors became even more beautiful. As I sat and watched a few scriptures began to drift around in my heart and mind.

Be still and know that I am God… (Psalms 46:10)

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength… (Isaiah 40:31)

Just before God had spoken I was impatient to see the sun because I wanted to start unpacking. Slowly as the colors grew more and more brilliant, I found anticipation and excitement growing in my heart. I could hardly wait to see the sun now because of the joy bursting in my heart and then God said, “You can peek now.”

The sun shone so brilliant and bright my heart was thrilled, but I was only able to look for a moment and then had to turn my eyes from the flaming light. It was amazing. It was special. It was a very good morning spent with God.

We’ve been in our new home just short of a month now and I put temporary shades up throughout the house, but not on my back windows in the living room. Everyday I have gotten up before the sun. Every morning I sit with the One Who made the sun. Everyday as they sun rises I am reminded that He is God. Morning by morning I sit and wait as He renews my strength.

Practice Makes Perfect

I love hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit. His words bring such peace, joy, faith, hope and love. With one word He can change my world.

So I sit in my prayer chair and I listen. I find myself in a situation where I need wisdom and instruction, so I stop wherever I am and I listen. Funny thing though is sometimes when I’m not consciously listening, out of the blue I hear Him speak and once again His words change my world. This brings me to something He said to me a few days ago.

I was riding as a passenger in a car. I was just watching the world whiz by. At one point I could clearly see the driver in the next car. His head was down and he was looking at his phone as he was driving. He looked like he was texting. I judged him for his dangerous driving behavior. Then I heard the Holy Spirit speak.

Don’t practice judging. Practice love.

I’ve meditated on this the last few days and studied the scriptures on judging. I don’t find that we are never to make judgements. For the many scriptures that tell us not to judge, I found others that instructed how to judge. What I found was that the manner or the heart with which we judge matters.

When God makes a judgement it will always be 100% from a heart of love. Love is not what was in my heart when I thought, “What an idiot.” The Bible tells us that Jesus only said what He first heard the Father say and He only did what He first saw the Father do. I didn’t hear the Father say, “Did you see that guy texting and driving? What an idiot. Judge him for Me won’t you?”

Practice makes perfect. Since that day, I have caught myself practicing some unloving behaviors on perfect strangers from afar. The texting driver. The parent letting their child run wild. So many opportunities in this crazy world to make a judgement. But each is also an opportunity to practice love. Choosing to love instead of judging with a prideful heart. Choosing to pray instead of complaining. This doesn’t just work for far off strangers, but it works with up close aquaintances too.

This may seem impossible, but it’s not if we continue to practice. What are we to practice? Practice hearing His voice and receiving His love. In His words and in His love is the power to love like He loves. In our own strength, our own ability, our own self-control, this IS impossible. But He has given us His Holy Spirit, His strength, His ability, His self-control and with God, nothing is impossible.

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control… (Galatians 5:22-23, Amp)

Praying for You

There are times when something quite silly suddenly propels me into a place of prayer for something quite serious. That happened to me today when a song from the 90’s began playing on repeat in my mind. It just wouldn’t go away and I was actually getting quite annoyed.

I decided that maybe if I played the song on Youtube it might finally go away. I began listening to it and the next thing I know, I’m praying. Here are the verses that had been in my mind all morning.

Tell me how am I supposed to live without you/ Now that I’ve been lovin’ you so long/ How am I supposed to live without you/ How am I supposed to carry on/ When all that I’ve been livin’ for is gone.

Yes, I’m a little embarrassed to say that all morning long I’ve had a Michael Bolton song from the 1990’s playing in my head.

But as I listened to that chorus my heart suddenly ached for everyone dealing with loss this holiday season. I prayed as my heart ached for the husband spending the first Thanksgiving and Christmas without his spouse by his side. My heart ached for the wife lost and alone because her best friend, her husband is gone. I prayed for the mother and father who lost a child, young or old. I prayed for those who should be holding a new baby this holiday season, but whose hearts ache with grief because of their empty arms, the empty crib.

I’m praying for you today. I am praying for His peace that passes understanding. I’m praying for the comfort that only He can give at this time. I’m praying for the healing of your heart that only He can bring.

You are not alone. You are not forgotten. I’m praying for you today because you came up in my heart. I’m praying for you today because He put you there. I’m praying for you today because you are on His heart today.

Life be, Love be, Peace be in broken hearts today. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen

To Love is to Pray

I’ve shared in the past about well-known people such as celebrities that were tabloid train wrecks, always in the news for the wrong reasons. I’d pass the magazines at the checkout and see their picture with a shocking headline. I’d see the headlines and photos of on-line articles that I never read, but there before me was presented their steady decline. Then finally the headline stating what we all knew was coming, that this celebrity train wreck had tragically died.

I’m so very sorry to say that many times that was the moment that I realized that I had watched this person’s decline and had never once thought to pray for them.

Lord, Help me to truly see them and not judge them but pray for them!

So this morning I was thinking about a person in my life. I won’t say who it is but I will say it is not someone I live with. This person seems to make a lot of careless decisions and their decisions always seem to be made to their benefit without regard for others. I’ve often had the thought this person is irresponsible and selfish. I don’t think thoughts like this often, but somehow when a person is directly in our lives or related to us we seem free to make judgements on them and their behavior. Probably because their poor decisions can have an affect on our own lives.

So as this person came to mind this morning I suddenly felt convicted. I have seen this person and his/her actions. I have judged this person and his/her actions. But I don’t recall praying for this person.

Maybe they’re not a train wreck currently on the road to a tragic death. Maybe they are just really annoying friends or family. But do I really see them? Do I see them through His eyes? Am I seeing them to judge them or to pray for them? Am I praying for their peace and well-being for their sake and not my own?

How do you see your spouse? How do your see your family members? How do you see your in-laws? How do you see your boss or co-worker? How do you see others? Do you judge or do you pray?

 Lord, Help me to truly see them and not judge them but pray for them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

PS… Thank you to those who truly see me and pray for me!

Love & Marriage

My husband and I have been married for 23 years. Like all couples we’ve had great times, good times, and not so good (bad) times in those 23 years. I sign us up for lots of marriage conferences and classes. Not because I think we have a bad marriage, but because I want us to have the best marriage possible. We recently started our latest marriage class. It has stirred up a few things in my heart regarding love and marriage.

We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19, NIV

Our latest lesson was entitled “Radical Love”. I believe to love radically we must first know that we are radically loved by God. Our love, security, identity are found in a loving God. But love is not idle and stagnate. Love moves and can’t help but flow. When we receive it, we then find ourselves having to give it. Our spouses should be the first to taste of this love. It’s good to love our neighbor, to love the widow and the orphan, to love the lost and broken, but sometimes the one closest to us, our spouse, is not shown this great love. I know from experience and there were many times I was the one not showing His love to my husband.

It’s great when you have two people receiving and giving this great love in a marriage, but that’s not always the case. I think it’s very important to realize that you are not responsible and cannot change the other person. The person you can choose to change is yourself. It can start with just one and you are the only one you can change.

Now, let me also mention that you can’t change you. God never intended for you to transform your own heart. He is offering to do that for you. You can’t make that decision for your spouse but you can make that decision for yourself. Choose to let God work in your heart and mind through time spent with Him and in His word.

…let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Romans 12:2, NLV

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:16 NLV

Here are two scriptures that I have found change my heart and mind allowing me to better love my spouse.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NIV

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Galatians 5:22-23, Amp

I have read these scriptures. I have studied these scriptures. I have meditated on these scriptures. I have taken time to let God talk to me about these scriptures. What was the result? When my husband and I disagreed or argued, when I was tired and hungry and not in a good mood, God’s Holy Spirit would tap me on the shoulder as I spoke or raised my voice to my husband, as I defended myself or my point and simply said, “Was that patient or kind?” “Was that gentle or peaceful?” “Was that love?”

I then had two choices, harden my heart and press my point or yield my heart and simply say, “I’m sorry.”

These two scriptures First Corinthians 13:4-8 and Galatians 5:22-23 tell you who you are and can be because of God’s work in your heart. Read them, study them, meditate on them. Let God talk to you about them. Look into the mirror of God’s word and let it transform you into His image. He is love.