Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pregnancy again. :) part 3

I meant to post more than this but somehow I have been out of the mood. Something about feeling nauseated and exhausted for most of the time really takes it out of you.

I think I'm approaching nine weeks now and I will be so glad when this sickness stuff is over. Also will be glad when I have a legitimate belly. It's weird because I have felt sensitive in my belly area, and I'm already starting to kind of pop out (I heard this happens more when it's your second baby and everything is already nice and stretched out:)) but I just sort of feel like I look like I ate too much for lunch. I can't really rub my belly yet... I don't know.

I'm also realizing I can't take certain medications as well. I have to watch out that I don't eat certain foods... I had forgotten about all of this stuff. It is totally and completely worth it, but still, it kind of stinks when you have a really bad cough. I think my trip to San Francisco really took it out of me. I took two naps today and laid on the couch for the rest of the time. Finally Ben got me to go on a walk with him. It's so good to have a husband who helps in that area.

It's amazing to me to think of women who have had lots of children and who have done this over several years of their lives. Just to think that the majority of their time they had a little someone dependent on them. Even after you have the baby, you still nurse and the care for that little one is even more intense. I'm praying that my heart will be right in all of this. Praying that I won't become selfish with my time or my rest, praying that I will do what I can and be okay with not being able to do the stuff that I can't. Praying that I will be able to sleep at night, praying that I will be able to pour into Levi, praying that I will have the right heart in loving Ben...

Oh yes, and one more thing, I have noticed with my cough recently that I can feel where I had my C-section when I cough really hard. I'm wondering in what other ways I will be feeling the C-section in the future. Anyone have any thoughts on this? Would love to hear them.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Random thoughts from an abstract person part 2

I haven't been on the internet much this week. It's been a good thing. We don't have wireless internet in our rooms here in the hotel so all afternoon yesterday I just listened to the fragments of songs I had written and added to them, organized them. I realized, how often do I actually have time to do this kind of stuff? How often do I have to just shut off or get away from all distractions. The internet and facebook and everything like that can be such a distraction for me.

Some thoughts I have been having:

Many people have told me how to write songs. I have tried to follow their advice and it's pretty much like putting on lead boots. I realized I don't want to write songs that sound like everyone else's songs. I want to write songs that tell a story, that touch people's souls, The songs that I write will never be top 40's songs, molds just don't fit with them. I don't care if they are ever played on the radio, I just know that I have something to say.

I miss my son. I miss his little fingers holding my hand as we go into the grocery store. I miss our little "conversations" we have about what we are eating or where we are going. I miss his spontaneous dancing to whatever music comes on the radio. I miss him shoving books in my face as I lay down on the couch. I miss our walks, I miss him laying his little head on my shoulder as I put him to bed. I'm excited to see him tomorrow.

I forgot how hard this part of pregnancy is. It's like your whole body is going into "I'm having a baby" mode, and it just changes. I will be excited to be in my next trimester. I haven't had any huge cravings or anything, just feelings hungry a lot. I threw up the other morning but that was because I accidentally took two prenatal vitamins I think. (Don't ask me why I did that, I have no idea. I'm going to blame it on my pregnancy brain).

Speaking of pregnancy brains, I opened up a water bottle wrong and broke the cap. I put it back on thinking it was secure and put it back in my bag. I was walking along and then felt water on my leg. Oh crud! My bloggie camera was fine and so was my phone, but my regular camera is ruined. It won't even turn on. So mad, Ben got it for me for my birthday several years ago and I had gotten such good use out of it. I am again reminded that everything in this earth will break, fall apart, crumble and fade. I look forward to the permanence of heaven.

With those thoughts I have been walking through the city, wandering around. The buildings are amazing. Looking up at them you kind of get overwhelmed with the heights. It reminds me of the tower of Babel. Man's attempts to be great. We attempt to make our mark and make things last. What's interesting is that all of this will crumble someday. We are always amazed when a building is several hundred years old or something. The truth is that the earth has been around a lot longer than that. Acheologists dig up all kinds of cities. All of man's attempts to last are put to shame. We are all going to die and be buried and our bodies will decay and be eaten by worms. Sorry, that's really depressing isn't it? The thing is that we weren't meant to live in this world. We are meant to live in a place of permanence, in eternity with our Father where moth and rust can't destroy. All of these things that we think are important, they are not important. What is important is where our souls are going to go for eternity.

Why must we be so blinded by the physical? I struggle with being blinded too. I hate it that I care so much about how things look and not about the things that are eternal.

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 16:20

“All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord stands forever.
And this is the word that was preached to you. 
1 Peter 1:24-25

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thinking too much :)

I've had lots of fake conversations in my head lately. The kind of conversation you wish you would have had or one that you know you are going to have later or something. I hate those. I mean, it's okay because I'm kind of sorting out my thoughts. But they kind of come on at 5 o clock in the morning when I don't want to think about anything.

Lots of things are rolling around in my head right now. I need to straighten things out... or I just need to let the Lord straighten them out for me. Yes, that's a much better idea. 

I know that the Lord is speaking to me. Yesterday I was on a city bus here in San Francisco for about two hours and just seeing people and hearing from the Lord.... I was crying because I had tried to seek him earlier (kind of tried, not really) by opening up my Bible and trying to read. (The Bible has been kind of difficult for me lately, for reasons I can't explain here) and later that day I got on a bus and rode it the whole way. I saw all kinds of people, mainly lower class though. It was beautiful and intriguing and heart breaking. I think to see people who are just real, just struggling and not trying to put up any kind of front. Seeing little babies made me miss my own, seeing the driver wave at everyone we passed by, watching an elderly man in a wheel chair be loaded onto the bus, the teenager with the book get on and just solemnly stare straight ahead. I knew the Lord wanted me to come on this business trip with Ben, I knew God would speak to me intimately, but I had no idea how.

I've been pretty torn up lately and I still need to have conversations and prayers and stuff, but right now my conversation is with the Lord.

It is good to feel small.

It is good to feel helpless.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pregnancy again. :) part 2

Of course I don't feel like blogging.  I just can't help it.

I have to admit, the past two days haven't been that bad. I've had moments of smelling something or feeling exhausted or hungry and nauseated at the same time (this is always a weird phenomenon because you don't want to eat and you want to eat at the same time). In general, it's been better than Monday.

I was thinking this morning about how thankful I am that I don't have to get up and go to work every day. Granted, what I do is hard work at home, but at least I don't have to worry about being late or have to worry about looking good and being dressed nicely. :) Haha! I worked part time when I was pregnant with Levi. I remember trying to find ways to work as little as possible. All I wanted to do was lay in bed. I was also very fortunate then because we were living with Ben's parents and his amazing mom fixed all of our dinners. I didn't have to cook at all. I think I tried to load the dishwasher when I could. But really, I was totally a pampered. Now I've got my own household and my own little person to take care of. I remember asking my sister in law how she took care of her two kids during her first trimester and feeling terrible. She said, "You just do what is necessary and what you can't do, don't worry about." I'm realizing that with each kid my standards of "clean" are probably going to go down a bit. Thankfully I have a husband who doesn't mind vacuuming and helping clean up the kitchen, but I'm realizing that my house doesn't have to be spotless during this time and my meals don't have to be incredible. Really, it probably just needs to be decently healthy food. We're having frozen pizza, broccoli and ranch tonight. :)

One weird thing is that it's almost as though Levi knows I'm pregnant. Maybe it's because I've been acting strange lately, maybe it's because I have been home more these past few weeks, but he has become extremely clingy. Not that I mind it, it makes me feel needed and wanted. I know that he values me, but sometimes it is a little bit annoying. He definitely likes to get up on the couch with me and cuddle and get as close as he can, loves to be held and especially wants to be held while I'm making dinner. This can be difficult when you are already tired. I love him so much. Disciplining him is becoming more challenging with me being tired and him getting older and craftier. Help me Lord. I need You.

If you all would pray for me. I'm hoping for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) for this little one.  I'm excited to have a very pro VBAC Dr and a good support system around me. I feel like the medical community has a difficult time with this one because in some cases birth can be a medical emergency and in other cases it's a natural part of life. I'm praying that I will have the right perspective, the right heart. I want what is best for my baby and I believe that is a VBAC. I would covet your prayers for me in this area.

Thank you.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pregnancy again. :) part 1

I keep having this inner dialogue with myself about stuff. That's what I love about blogging. I don't blog so that I can post pictures, I don't blog to tell everyone about my latest purchases, I blog because I enjoy letting other people in on my thoughts. I invite others to join me on my journey and participate in my struggles and triumphs.

Well, some of you may know this, but I wanted to let you all know that I'm pregnant. My husband and I are very excited about bringing another new life into the world.

So I'm going to start another series in my blog about this pregnancy in comparison with my last one, the things I'm experiencing, how my life is different (it is VERY different), the spiritual struggles, the physical struggles, the emotional and mental struggles...

Alrighty then, here goes.

I'm about 7 weeks along. I'm not positive about gestation, but will know more when we go to the Dr in the first part of June. Just a few days ago I started to experience morning sickness. Now, the name "morning sickness" is, in fact, deceptive. Maybe it's stronger in the morning, I don't know, but for me it's an all day long sickness. I don't get it terribly. I have friends who throw up all day every day, but the best I could describe it is just this general feeling of nausea. Not cool. And then add being incredibly tired on top of that and you have some no fun days. I'm trying to do my best to just lay down for a few minutes then get up and do some housework, then go lay back down and rest some more. Levi sees this laying down time as an ideal time to just crawl all over mommy. So I get little knees and elbows poking me as he crawls up on the couch. It is adorable that he wants to cuddle and just be with me. He loves to be hugged and touched in general.

I feel like in this first phase of pregnancy we as moms are reminded that our bodies are not our own. It's the first act of sacrificial motherhood as we carry our new little baby.

Lord, help me to continue to serve my son and my husband. Give me strength and patience and endurance as I keep the house and fix meals. Thank You for my husband who is so gracious to me. Help me to love him as I should.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Places of Pain

It is good to be in a place of pain.

"There I will give her back her vineyards
and will make the Valley of Achor (pain)
a door of hope."
Hosea 2:15

I feel like I am being stretched and refined and broken down. Each day is new in this. Each day is good and difficult. Each day I am tempted to go to an old habit, an old coping mechanism. I'm the queen of coping mechanisms. I tell people that if I hadn't been raised in a Christian household and hadn't known better I probably would have been into drugs and alcohol. I'm guessing the Lord just protected me from it. I'm so thankful for His work in my life.

But if I simply cope without the Lord I will just end up empty. He is the only one who can heal me. Yes, He has ripped me apart, but only He can put me back together again. One of my favorite books of the Bible is 1 Peter. It's an insane book really. :) It's all about persevering through trials, submitting to masters even when they are not good, suffering for doing good, submitting even to husbands who are not believers... Peter writes to the church in the midst of the oppression of the Roman Empire. Christians were hated, mistreated, literally thrown in among the lions to be ripped apart.

This is the verse that really gets me.
"But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear his name.
1 Peter 4:13-16

This blows my comfortable American mindset away. My people-pleasing, I want everyone to think I'm cool mindset is just floored. I want to get this scripture into my DNA. If you haven't read the book of 1 Peter you totally should. It's only 5 chapters but they will challenge you in such a way... I can't even describe it. I was reading it a few years ago and literally could not move on. I had to read it three or four times through because the Lord kept bringing me back.

I love the Word. I LOVE the life and the light that it brings. It is the most diverse, truth-filled, mindset-challenging book that you will ever read. If you want to be turned upside down and read the most poetic, painful, beautiful words, you need to read the Bible. I've been starting in Genesis lately and God is speaking afresh in my life through it. I mean, this book was written thousands of years ago and is completely relevant in my life. The Psalms speak to my soul, Song of Solomon romances me, the Prophets astound me, Jesus convicts and amazes me... I could go on.

Deep calls out to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls,
All of Your waves and Your breakers crash over me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Submission... a dirty word?

This morning on my walk I was thinking about submission.

I have been wanting to write on this topic for a few weeks now but haven't been able to get my thoughts together. Not only has God been teaching me through His Word, but he has also been communicating and teaching me in my own life.

I am not a natural submitter. (Is that even a word? Spell check didn't correct it...) I am more of a natural leader, natural teacher, I'm outspoken, I like to go my own way... all that jazz. I'm amazed by the vastness of personalities out there. I know there are all these tests you can take and there are four main categories and then tons that span out from there, and then there is the way you act with your family, the way you are with your friends, the way you are in your job and interacting with co-workers. I was really quiet and shy when I went to public school. Pre public school I would literally walk up to and talk to anyone. I had no fear. But for some reason going to two different schools in three weeks and having to adjust to different friendship groups, different classes and just a lot of social upheaval,  my confidence took a beating. I would say that I faced a 50-75 percent rejection rate. Just because they are stupid high school kids and haven't been trained to interact and I hadn't grown up with them since elementary and most of them were from broken, unstable homes...

Okay, really this post is about submission. I'll try to stay on task here.

All throughout the Bible I see submission. Our main example is how Christ submitted to God. I'm about to say something controversial here because of the feminist movement... I honestly don't care what people think because in the end all scripture is God breathed, but it's clear in the Word of God that women are to submit to men. That men are to be the head of the household, head of the church and the women are to be the helpmeet. That's my favorite word. Helpmeet sounds better than helper. Helper sounds kind of dinky I think. As a helpmeet I am a supporter of my husband. I get to run alongside him and help him in his decisions, help him and support him in his job, in our finances, in the end I am to submit to his authority in our household. If we have a disagreement he is the ultimate one who makes the decision. The weight is on his shoulders. In a way it's kind of nice because I don't have to bear the burden :) ... ya know? Haha! I'm just kidding. It means that I get to act in my gifts and responsibilities under his headship. I go by groceries, keep the house clean, raise Levi, do art and music and it's all under his headship. Ben doesn't micro manage me, but when it comes to a major decision the buck stops with him. (I feel like I have to explain this a lot because I don't want people to misunderstand me and this is a concept that has been very warped in our culture and in other cultures as well, I think some can go the other way and oppress women... but we live in America and our struggle is this). Now, as the head Ben's call is to love me and care for me. My calling is to respect him and submit to him. He has never made a big decision without asking and discussing it with me first. In that way he is showing me love. He wants my contribution. In the end he is the one who decides.

In this, I can pray for Ben and ask that the Lord would lead him. God set up this order and so therefore I can cry out to God if I have a problem with the way Ben is doing things. God is the ultimate authority in which I place my trust.

Here's my example I learned about in Genesis. I'm just going to tell this story as best I can, it'll have a Jody slant on it and I encourage you to look it up in the scriptures. It's the story of Abraham and Sarah. Yeah. :) So Abraham gets called out from his hometown by God. God says, "I've chosen you, I'm going to set you apart from everyone else, you're going to be a great nation and I'm going to bless you so that you will be a blessing to all nations." Sweet deal huh? So Abraham faithfully follows God for a long time. He has a wife named Sarah and she's pretty hot. :) They aren't able to have kids. Now, this doesn't make any sense because children are considered a blessing from the Lord. God said He would bless them, but really? What's going on God? We're just going to die and there will be no nation. How is this supposed to happen? So they keep moving and walking in faith. There was a famine and so Abraham took his wife and went down to Egypt. But Abraham was afraid that the Egyptians would kill him so that they could have his amazingly beautiful wife. So he told Sarah, "Tell them I am your brother and I'll say you are my sister so they won't want to kill me." At this point, I wonder what Sarah was thinking... Okay, sure that sounds like an okay idea, but what are they going to do with me? Pharaoh took Sarah as one of his wives. What?! Seriously? I'm sure at that point Sarah was thinking, bad idea Abraham! Now I'm going to be in Pharaoh's harem, great, this is just great. Then an amazing thing happened. Pharaoh's entire household became inflicted with diseases and God revealed that Sarah needed to be given back to Abraham. So even when she submitted to a faulty man God was still her protector. This wasn't the only time this happened. It happened again with another king. Same song, different verse. Another king took her into his household and then God protected her. As she was under the authority of her husband she was under the ultimate authority of God.

In the middle of this we have the story of Hagar and Ishmael. Sarah was a hero in that other story, but not so much in this one. Aren't we all like that? We have these great moment of doing amazing, faith-filled things and then we go and do something stupid? I do that all the time.

I'm not going to place all the blame on Sarah in this one. Abraham could have rejected her idea. But Sarah had an idea that they could just manufacture their own little blessing. "Here Abraham, sleep with my maidservant Hagar. Everybody does stuff like this, it's part of the culture, surely it's okay, God probably wants this to happen this way." (This is what I think she must have said, not a quote). Women can be good at manipulating can't we? Sometimes we are good at convincing our husbands or controlling them or nagging them in the direction we think they should go. When I see something that needs to be done I think it should be done NOW and the way I would want it done. How many times have I tried to control my husband? How many times have I tried to control or manipulate the Lord? Man, Sarah, I know how you feel. This looks a lot like the way Eve sinned that first time. There's no way I would way if it had been Adam and me that I would have done anything different. Lord, please help me in this. Teach me, I want to learn!

Then of course Sarah regretted giving Hagar to Abraham. Jealousy can take over our hearts so easily. Envy, comparison... oh man, to not have been able to conceive for so many years and then to watch Hagar conceive so easily must have been hard. And so Sarah mistreated her, so much that Hagar fled. A friendship between the two women was ruined. Abraham was passive and said, "Do whatever you want Sarah." Both of them shameful at not following and waiting on the Lord.

I feel like that is what can happen when we try to take control. When we manipulate we can mess things up. I feel like I need to say more, but right now I need to be quiet before the Lord on this.

I will leave you with that.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The power of words

I don't write because I think I'm an amazing writer. I'm not. I'm honest, but not particularly skilled at this art form. I don't write because I think that I just have tons of wisdom to give out, I am only a young 26 year old.

I write because I live and learn. And then I learn again. And again.

A wise woman builds her house,
but with her own words a foolish woman tears hers down.
Proverbs 14:1

I am reminded today of how my words can build up and cut down. I had the opportunity to encourage a friend the other day, it was really cool to just build up that person and help them see how God had ordained them. A friend encouraged me the other day. Her words were like a healing balm. Seriously, that's the best I could describe it. Walking away from our encounter I was literally lifted up and felt like I had a soothing balm rubbed on my wounds.

I was thinking this over in my mind today as I was doing laundry and I thought of the converse of encouragement. Thinking of ways that I have "torn down" my household or others around me... my brothers and sisters in Christ. Words have the power of life or death. (Proverbs) The tongue is like a flame and it can start a great forest fire. (James)  I think too often words come a little too quickly out of my mouth... the truth is that I wish I could just suck them right back in, but you can't. It's like they are gone, never to be taken back.

My friend texted me the other day and said she felt like God was telling her she needed to be more silent. What a good reminder that sometimes it is good to be silent before the Lord.

Not that it is terrible to speak or that you are automatically a fool if you do, but I think I need to begin to weigh my words. Man, I want to speak some life over my kids. I want to speak way more life than I do death. I've seen parents speak life and I've heard them speak death and the results are pretty astounding. I'm praying for wisdom in this area. Praying that I will be gentle and patient and kind. That I will discipline and be firm, but I will have love coming out of my pores for my kids.

Dealing with Levi this morning, there were moments when I wanted to scream. When he was whining at my feet as I'm trying to put together my grocery list and the kitchen is a mess with crumbs crunching under my feet (this is after we swept just two days ago) and I am stressed out and hot and sweaty because I'm not used to this humidity yet. .... Lord, help me to be gentle in spirit towards my kids. Help me to hear them and love them. Help me to have patience.

Let me be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19

Friday, May 6, 2011

Am I too much?

I want to be quieter.

I have always struggled with this. My personality is loud and outgoing, I love to talk, to laugh and to have the attention on me. Yes, sadly, I do like attention. My older brother was always good at pointing out when I had gone too far or was too loud. This often resulted in me just shutting up for a while. I have this fear of people hating me or dreading being around me. Do you ever have that fear? So sometimes I just do my best to play it cool. I have tried to be aloof or guarded in certain situations. In those settings when I finally do become comfortable enough to speak up people are often surprised by what I say. I'm too blunt, not good at gentling the truth, I easily offend.

I want to be gentler.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The love and the joy come naturally, the peace I have had to seek out, patience the Lord has taught me, kindness, I'm still working on that, faithfulness was modeled well for me in my parents, gentleness... that's difficult, self-control the Lord is really teaching me, has taught me, it's been so good. None of these things can truly be done without the Holy Spirit. I cannot do them on my own, I need the guidance of He who created me.

I often ask, "Am I too much?" Am I too loud? Too hard? Too silly? I have asked this of the Lord very often. I have asked this of my husband too. I have to just say here that this is why I thought I would never marry. I thought: as soon as a guy gets close enough to see who I really am and what I really look like on the inside he is going to run for the hills. I seriously thought that. I never thought I deserved a man. Each time I have been surprised by the response. No Jody, I love who you are and the way God created you. Ben always told me I was a "priceless gem in the sky" (ridiculous, I know) even when I was overweight and struggled with acne and was loud or silly.

The Lord's response has always been the same too.

For I am fearfully and wonderfully made,
wonderful are Your works and my soul knows it full well.
Psalm 139

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Psalm of David.
    The LORD is my shepherd,
         I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures;
         He leads me beside quiet waters.
    He restores my soul;
         He guides me in the paths of righteousness
         For His name's sake.
    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
         I fear no evil, for You are with me;
         Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
    You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
         You have anointed my head with oil;
         My cup overflows.
    Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
         And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Scripture is speaking to me

Remember, O Lord, Your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to Your love remember me,
for You are good, O Lord.
Psalm 25:6-7

"Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces
but He will heal us;
He has injured us
but He will bind up our wounds.
After two days He will revive us;
on the third day He will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.
Let us acknowledge the Lord;
let us press on to acknowledge Him.
As surely as the sun rises,
He will appear;
He will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.
Hosea 6:1-3

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.
1 Timothy 2:11

My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline
and do not resent His rebuke,
because the Lord disciplines those He loves,
as a father the son he delights in.
Proverbs 3:11-12

Like a city whose walls are broken down
is a man who lacks self-control.
Proverbs 25:28

These scriptures have been healing my soul. I am thankful for the teaching and instruction of the Word of truth.

Monday, May 2, 2011

I don't want to post out of my emotions. I am a deeply emotional person and sometimes I hate it. I think I hate it because I know that sometimes I will be misunderstood. Most of my life I've felt misunderstood.

Deep calls out to deep
in the roar of Your waterfalls;
all Your waves and breakers have swept over me.
Psalm 42:7

I posted on my Facebook status and I hate doing that because it tends to be so vague. I can't really honestly sit with someone on Facebook and weep and pray. I think that's what drives me crazy about it.

Have you ever just felt cut open and laid bare? I know that the Lord will heal me I know that He is faithful. I know that I am human and will always be prone to sin. I hate my tendencies towards sin. Sometimes I just want to run and hide, but I don't want anger or bitterness to take root in my heart.

Lord, please help me to be open to what You have to say to me. Thank You for Your Spirit. I am amazed at the grace You have in my life. Help me to submit to my authorities. I want to live a life of pure submission to the men You have placed around me. You are so good to allow me to work in my giftings under the authority of these men. Please give me discernment.