Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Because sometimes being empty is the only way to be full...

I've been away from the blog for some time. Life often happens and needs our attention most.  
I am not a person who makes New Years Resolutions. I do make goals for each year but that is another post. :)  I also am not a person to  make a to do about the year past. This year, I feel God wants me to share about the year past because while a year of trial, it was by far a year of great faithfulness from the Lord.  Psalm 118:17 " I will not die, instead I will live to tell what the Lord has done."  The ONLY reason I am able to sit and pound out this post is because of Him.

Isaiah 63:7 "I will tell of the LORD's unfailing love. I will praise the LORD for all he has done. I will rejoice in his great goodness to Israel, which he has granted according to his mercy and love." 

The past 4 years have started out pretty rough!  2010 started January 3rd with my husband in the hospital due to ruptured discs in the L4 and L5 of his spine. I was expecting our 5th child at the time and ended up with a stay in the hospital and concerns for him. 2011 began with a car accident on January 3rd that left me with a broken wrist and one of my children with severe whip lash.  2012 began with getting a phone call on January 3rd that someone had stolen my debit card number and was having a grand time in Miami Beach draining our bank account. 2013...well you can read that below. 2014 will not be any different as 2 weeks before Christmas my husband was told he would be losing his job and his last day would be....January 3rd, 2014.  Some of my kids have decided that January 3rd is an evil day.  While one could be inclined to agree with that given our history of the past 4 years. I know that isn't the case. I can not look at these years without seeing God's hand in each and every circumstance we faced. He used each circumstance we faced to show us His power, His faithfulness and His love.  He did this through provision, security, other people and so much more.  The stories are endless.

Here is what I KNOW!!  In 1 Peter 5:8 Scripture tells us "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." I know satan is seeking to destroy families who are trying to live for Christ. This is no surprise. We should expect assaults as followers of Christ.  The beautiful part in this though is that while we can expect those attacks from satan,  we also have a refuge, a safe haven, a protector... God. Psalm 61:3 "For you have been my refuge a strong tower from the enemy" Psalm 91:2 "This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God and I trust him."These are verses I have held onto. When the devil creeps in and tries to make me believe otherwise, I pull these reminders out and claim them.

January 2013 began with anticipation as we awaited to arrival of our 6th baby.  We were excited! It had been a difficult pregnancy (as most of mine are) but with the addition of being toxic and extremely sick this pregnancy had taken a large toll on me as well as the rest of the family. There is a lot to this story but that is for another time. Finally, on January 29, 2013, we welcomed our sweet little boy into the world.  I only got to see his feet, they were so tiny! He was in respiratory distress and needed to be checked out a bit so they wisked him away to the nursery. I stayed in the OR so the doctor could complete the c-section. We would learn that our baby had to be transported to the local Children's Hospital NICU.  Unless you are aware of problems or your baby is coming early, this is not news a parent anticipates at all!  I would remain in the hospital for nearly a week so I could be put on Mag to detox my body from how ill I was. God was so very faithful during this time.

As they were wheeling him to transport.

Throughout 2013 God used people to minister to us in ways I find hard to articulate. Throughout our nearly 2 month NICU stay many sweet ones from our church brought meals and groceries. There were so many people praying for us. Someone came daily, DAILY from the church to see us at the hospital. These people are our family. They mean more to us than we can describe. In particular, my a dear friend...I don't know what I would have done without her.  She kept the church folks informed, road my roller coaster of emotions with me, prayed, gathered an army of prayer warriors, encouraged me, stayed with me in the hospital and more. There are not words to adequately describe how much this meant to me. 

2013 was a year of joy, pain, brokenness, growing, stretching, learning, living and being still in God's presence.  If you think about it, we are born broken. The only One that can make us whole is Christ.  Once accepting Him, we spend the rest of our lives, if lived right, on a journey to completeness in Him.  The fact that I nearly died and my baby nearly died was not lost on me. The day I was put on Mag to detox my body was a really rough day. I felt terrible and was not well. The night before that, Wednesday, I had a tough night. It was when I began to feel even worse. My blood pressure was so high it was dangerous. I began to have strange things happening with my body and strange spinning like I was dizzy but definitely different than dizzy.  I began to pray.  As I was praying I could feel God's presence with me. The Lord brought a song to mind we had heard in choir from Regi Stone when he came to do a worship weekend with us.  It is based on Zephaniah 3:17. I began to just pray this verse and I felt as though I could hear this being sung to me.

I have no doubt that God orchestrates everything in our lives. This has been evident to me since I was a small child seeing how God was in everything in our family then. 

2013 was a year God used to empty me of unnecessary things so He could fill them with His grace. God has shown us where we need to make changes in our lives, relationships that need changed,  where our focus needs to shift and so much more.  Our story is a story of faithfulness from the Lord. We are looking forward to 2014 being a  year of deeper relationship with the Lord and building on what God has taught us in 2013.
Our sweet little miracle boy is doing so well! He is a daily reminder of God's grace and faithfulness.

“I can bless, pour out, be broken and given in our home and 
the larger world and never fear that there won’t be enough 
to give. Eucharisteo has taught me to trust that there is always 
enough God. He has no end” One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

“But one thing I doforgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead…
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”