Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Desert

I wrote last Sunday about how the sermon that week had really spoke to me. The same is true for today's sermon. Pastor Steve talked about the Israelites time in the desert. The thing that moved me the most was when Steve pointed out "the entire time they wandered, all they prayed for was deliverance". He then compared that to Jesus' time right before the cross, about how Christ knew what was coming, and He asked God "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:42) Scripture goes on to say "And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground"(Luke 22:44). I mention that so we can truly appreciate His feelings at that time. This was real. He was in anguish.
Jesus was both man and God. He felt the anguish there of a man. Being also God, He had the ability to make the choice to side step the cross. But out of His Amazing Love for us, He did not.
But He did ask God to take the cup, if it was His will.
Our sermon spoke about how it is ok to ask certain trials to be removed from our lives. Jesus did. But, we need to follow Christ's prayer fully. Yet not my will, but yours be done.
Pastor Steve also talked about how God didn't intend for the Israelites to wander forever. He DID want them to get to the promised land. It's easy for me today, sitting here knowing how the story ends, to look at the Israelites and think "what a bunch of whiners!!". But really, how different am I? How many times has God delivered me from a trial in my life, and I turn right around and complain about something and doubt His goodness?
Steve encouraged us to ask God "If it is not in your will to remove this cup from me, what do you want to show me while I am here? What can I do for You while I am here? What lesson can be learned during this time?", instead of just constantly asking to be removed from the situation.
It can be difficult to see the Grace of God answer our prayers when we are only allowing Him one option to be considered an "answer".
It bears mentioning that we shouldn't just ask those questions listed above simply to be removed from the desert. Earnestly seek what God is wanting to show you, to teach you. I firmly believe if you truly ask Christ to reveal, in His time, He will.
I don't know who all reads this, but I do know I have found an amazing network of blogging women who are walking the same road I am. Waiting for God to bless us with a baby. And these women have poured their hearts out, and it has blessed me beyond words. I mentioned before, it has been like therapy to me. They have put words to feelings that I could never fully articulate until I read their stories, and I am grateful for the insight I have gained from them.
A desert, a season, a time of trial, pruning it whatever you want. This has been a difficult time in my life. The last 2 years have included a lifetime's worth of emotions. I have asked countless times for this cup to be removed from my life. Very few times have I added the "not my will, but yours."
I read other women's stories and they write about lessons Christ has taught them during this journey, or things He has asked them. It has inspired me. This summer I really began asking Christ what He was wanting me to learn, what He was wanting from me. Instead of constantly telling Him what I wanted from Him. He is moving in my heart...
I don't know how many of you out there have struggled to get pregnant, but if you have, you understand the complete obsession it can become. Some people handle it better than others, but for me, as the weeks became months, and months became years, it became all consuming. It had really taken a toll on my faith and walk with Christ as well. I kept asking God to bless us. For me, it has never been a struggle of doubting God is able. I read other women's stories about how they just wish they had more faith that God can do this in their lives. My faith struggle is no better or worse, just different. I believe the Bible to be true. Every word. I believe that God created a pregnancy in Mary while she was still a virgin. If God can do that, He can certainly bless me. I know He is able, I don't doubt that. This, has almost made my struggle more difficult in a way though, because it seems cruel that He can, He just doesn't. I have dealt with anger and sadness wondering why He doesn't. I have begged Him to just hurry up and teach me whatever it is that I am lacking so that I can get my prize.
This is not what God desires of me. That is not a heart of willingness and trust.
This summer I finally asked God what His will for me right now is. For a long time I had been struggling with properly identifying what things He had put in my life as walls to be broken down - trials to persevere through, and what things were doors He was closing. I needed answers. So I set aside some time, I humbled myself, and worshiped Him, and He spoke to me. He asked me -quite clearly- to let go. I argued (He loves me anyways! You know you argue with Him too sometimes!!) and said "But God, I can't!!" And I really felt Him say "Not forever Kendra, just for now". I love it when He calls me by name. In 27 years I have only felt it a handful of times, but it is a something beautiful I treasure when it occurs.
So I began a season of letting go. For awhile now I have sensed this battle is not a physical one. Due to the fact that we have gotten pregnant once before, and the limited testing we have had done has all come back just fine. I have sensed it is more a timing problem. I felt the Lord say "Now is simply not the right time. How are you going to choose to spend it instead?". I am ashamed to admit that most often my time was spent trying to control the situation anyways and being bitter and complaining during the wait. I am working on letting Him help me change that...I do not want my time in the desert to be in vain. I am not seeking His will simply so I can be led into the promised land, but so that I can truly please Him during my time in the desert.
Let me be clear. I do not think my desire to be a Momma is unGodly. Quite the opposite in fact. I believe He is the one who placed these desires in me for as far back as I can remember. What I have let these desires become however, well, that is unGodly for sure.
A blogger I read recently wrote about how she had let her desire become an idol in her life. That resonated deep within me. In my new Beth Moore biblestudy she talks about the same thing, how we can let something consume our thoughts, let something take over our lives and become obsessive thinking, and Satan uses it to distract us from the Kingdom.
I have listened to and read countless stories from women who have struggled with fertility issues. Some still struggling, and some on the other side. One thing that has intrigued me is that most of the women on the other side of it have some "point" to their story. Some specific thing God was teaching them or trying to make them see in their life. One blogger writes about how God asked her "Am I enough for you?" while she was waiting for children. As I mentioned above, other women have said they felt God ask "Do you have faith I can do this?". I recently started really listening to what God was asking of my heart...
"Do you trust me Kendra?" Well, sure I do!! Instantly I start to think about great praise songs that sing about trusting Jesus, or start quoting scripture about trust... "I mean, really trust me. Trust me with your life? With your hearts desires?". I humbly admit today the answer has been a meek no. I haven't. I haven't really believed with all my heart that He knows what's best for me. That He knows my needs better than I do. That He loves me so much more than my earthly father (and that's a whole lot -Hi Dad!) and wants to bless me, wants to bless my life. I have held this desire with such a tight grip because I have been so scared that if I really just let Him have it, He will decide that it is not in fact what is best for me, and if that is the case, then He must be wrong, so I better just hold on to it tightly... so ridiculous. Like I have ever really been in control. Like my God is ever wrong about what is best for me.
Jesus wants my heart. My whole heart. Yes, I asked Him to come into my heart two decades ago one summer at Camp Tadmor, but now as an adult, and in the desert, He asks me for it again. I have to give Him my whole life, all of my heart, and every hope and dream. As another blogger so perfectly put it: Not because He is my genie and if I do so I will get what I want, but simply because He is worthy of it. He wants more for me than just my desires to be granted. He wants me to know Him better. He wants my relationship with Him to be more intimate. I am learning to be so grateful for this desert, because when I finally let Him, He shows me so much about myself, life and Him while I am here. He is teaching me a reliance on Him that I need, that I want. This journey in time will make me a better mother- one way or another- because I will, by His grace, be able to show my children what submission and reverence to Christ really means, to really walk with Jesus and trust Him with my life. Because He is teaching me the blessing of living life in this manner.
Thank you Lord, for wanting more for me than I do.
So, for anyone out there walking in the desert, either the same one as me, or a different one, I urge you today to change your prayers. Instead of constantly begging for deliverance to the promised land, ask God to allow His grace to be sufficient for you while you are there. Ask Him to show you what you can be taught while you are there. And let your hunger not be a distraction, but a driving force to the foot of the cross.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Halloween anyone?

I know it is over a month away, but I am wondering, are any of you dressing up? And if so, what are you dressing up as?
I ask because this year I am dressing up. I haven't dressed up for Halloween in over a decade. Wait, scratch that. When I taught preschool a few years back I guess I did dress up for our Harvest Parties. But that's it. The last several years have involved me sitting at the house with a giant bowl of candy, and like 5 trick-or-treaters. So I end up eating wayyyy too many fun size Snicker's bars. *Note to self- by Mounds or something else nasty this year.*
Why is this year any different? It's my sister in law's birthday. Well, I mean, it's her birthday EVERY Halloween, as she was born on October 31st, but this year she and her husband (Dave's brother) and a bunch of their friends are coming up to Portland to...."go out on the town". And apparently everyone is coming in costume.
I am having a really hard time finding something!! First of all, I refuse to spend more than about $20. Because, I mean come on, it's a costume people. It will be worn once. Even I can't justify that splurge and I am the queen of justifying $20 splurges (Hello Old Navy clearance!!). Also, I am having a hard time finding something age appropriate. I am approaching 30. Yes, I am currently only 27, but my Jessica Simpson math tells me 30 is right around the corner. Can someone who is almost 30 really go out as Raggedy Ann?? But at the same time, I would like something semi-respectable. I do not want to look like I am headed to the Halloween party at the playboy mansion. Not only for modesty issues, but it's OCTOBER. In OREGON. Seriously. Some of these costumes are so skimpy with so little fabric...I would freeze! Not to mention get arrested for public indecency. And why spend money on something if it is just going to be covered up with my big wool coat?
Hmmm.... to be continued...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Kendra H and 2 of the 7 dwarfs...

This morning when I woke up, I looked like this:
Slightly blonder, a smaller nose, but the exact same disposition.

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Which -side bar -is odd, because I am married and share a bed, and have woken up on the same side for the last 4 years. Anyways, this morning it was the wrong side for sure. Our neighbors had a wild party which made it's way on to their back patio at about 2:20am. I do not do well on interrupted sleep. (I trust the Lord will help me with this when He blesses us with babies.) I especially do not do well on interrupted, angry sleep. Thus, I was extremely grumpy when I woke up this morning. I growled at the alarm clock as it dutifully did it's job, I snarled at the shampoo bottle when it did not dispense shampoo in a timely manner, and I downright cursed my hair when no matter how much gel and scrunching, it simply would not curl the way I wanted it to.
So how is it that, at 4:15 in the afternoon, I am now this?? :
(That's Happy in case you didn't know =-) )
Several reasons! The first reason, is this:
My handsome husband, who was tolerant of my unreasonably foul mood. I mean seriously, how can I stay grumpy for too long when I get to be married to this?!
Also, this:
God bless the coffee bean.
A good cup of coffee, with the perfect amount of fat free vanilla creamer makes me happy. Apparently, it goes along way in getting rid of Grumpy.
Also we had a good Sunday School this morning, and then a really great sermon. It really, really spoke to me.
I told David on the way home from Church that I can't help but think Satan knew the message today would really speak to me, and he was trying to thwart my desire to go. He is sneaky, that Satan. This morning all I really wanted to do was pull the covers over my head and spend the day in bed. But, I am so glad I didn't, because I really feel like I needed to hear this sermon.
Add in an invitation to join a friend and her 5 year old daughter for a $3 showing of Kung-Fu Panda, and a half nap (attempted to nap, but instead laid in bed and watched a movie in my sweats) when I got home, a pizza in the oven, the aforementioned cute hubby next to me, and I am officially one happy camper!
Happy Sunday evening to all of you in Bloggerville.

Friday, September 19, 2008

It's Friday!!!!!!

Somebody say AMEN!!!
Haha. I was watching the video for this weeks bible study and Beth Moore kept saying that and it made me giggle. So I thought I'd try it out. What do you think? Can I pull it off? =-)
Oh how I love Friday. And tomorrow is...Saturday!! Another favorite. And what makes this Saturday great is I don't have any plans until 2:00pm. Double Hoo-ray! I would love to say I am one of those people who do what the professionals say, and try and keep a routine throughout the whole week which includes getting up at the same time on the weekends. "They" say it is better for your body. Well, my body is just gonna have to deal, because I heart sleeping in. I really do. It used to be that on any given Saturday I could sleep in until 11:00 or so, easy. But now I find myself waking up around 9:00am or so, which is still glorious!
Tonight we have uber-fun plans as well, as my little sister Natalie and her friend are coming up to P-town for dinner. We are going to try a new place tonight, a brickoven pizza joint...yum!
Oh and I will end on this funny story: so I had this patient today who had this button that said "How can I pray for you?" on his shirt. How sweet, I thought. Well, then he proceeds to be extremely difficult to deal with. Our entire interaction he was just...difficult. I so much wanted to say to him "And in regards to your button, you can please pray for me that I will have much more patience with difficult patients I have to interact with today". But then I thought about our lovely townhome and how I would miss it so if we weren't able to pay the rent due to my I decided not to take him up on his buttons offer.
Ok, I guess maybe it wasn't that funny...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Immeasurably more...

Ephesians 3:20-21 says "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen."
Yesterday, God went above and beyond...
On Monday my sister Amanda and brother in law Noah met with Cadence's surgeon. They were told she would need either a valve repair or valve replacement. If the replacement was necessary, then Cadence would be required to be on a blood thinning medication called coumadin for the rest of her life. This would entail having her blood levels checked daily, and would also mean she would be more likely to bleed heavily when her knee is scraped on the playground, or when she gets a run-of-the-mill cut. Now, as inconvenient at that would be, in perspective that is a small price to pay for having Cadence here on earth with us!! But still, we spent yesterday praying that she would only require a repair.
Then the surgeon told them something that caught them off guard...he said that either way she would require a follow up surgery at the age of 5-6.
Well, it appears God had other plans.
Yesterday evening I received a text from my sister that said "Successfull surgery!" Have you ever seen two more beautiful words?! =-). When I tried to find out if Cadence had a valve repair (requiring a ring inserted around the valve) or a replacement (a mechanical valve), the short answer I received was "neither". It turns out what was causing Cadence's mitral valve regurgitation was a cleft leaflet, which required suturing. Done. Mitral regurg taken from severe to mild. Praise God!! But He wasn't quite finished yet...
This means there is only a 15% chance she will require heart surgery again.
Fifteen percent.
Think God is done yet? Nope =-).
Cadence has also had a small VSD (ventricular septal defect) that her cardiologist has been monitoring monthly. The surgeon yesterday thought since he was already in there, he would look at repairing that. Turns out that he expressed "frustration" (=-) ) because he wasn't able to find it, it had become so small. (sidebar- I told Amanda to please pass on our condolences for this! HA!)
Oh God is so, so good!!!
Sorry for such a loonnnggg post, but scripture says:
"But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." Exodus 9:16
"Sing praises to the Lord, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what He has done" Psalm 9:11
"I will not die, but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done" Psalm 118:17
"Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted." Isaiah 12:4

So you see, I have a job to do!!!!!!!!! How does one proclaim to an entire nation the goodness of God? Is there a bullhorn loud enough?! Well, I will start with this public blog, with an email to our prayer chain, and with telling everyone I run into today...
Praise be to God! Great things He has done!!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Prayer request

I am pretty sure that the only people who read this blog are family and a few family friends, so you people most likely already know this. But just in case you don't, or if you happen to stumble across this blog in the tomorrow or in the next few days, I have a request of you.
Tomorrow, September 16th, my sweet niece Cadence is having heart surgery. If you do not know Cadence's story, it is my pleasure and honor to introduce you to her...
This, is Cadence. Precious, breath-of-Heaven, Cadence.

That is a picture on her first birthday, August 26th 2008. Such a wonderful day!!!
This sweet baby was born at 26 weeks gestation. She weighed 1 lb, 11 oz at birth. One pound. She is an absolute miracle baby. Those of us who know Jesus have known that all along, and medical professionals have confirmed it =-)
Here is a picture from her earlier, NICU days:

Sweet, sweet baby. This picture was taken when Cadence was getting ready for her first heart surgery, at 4 days old.

We are so grateful for the mercy that God has shown Cadence and our family. He has seen Cadence through many trials, and we trust that her surgery tomorrow will be no different. God has had His hand on this precious life from the very beginning...after all, her middle name is Malulani, meaning "Under Heavenly protection". Whenever I am tempted to doubt the goodness of Christ, I remember Cadence, and all that He has done.
If you would like to know more about her story, "the Rowan blog" is linked on the right side of my blog.
In the mean time, please say a prayer for my adorable niece, and for her amazing parents.
Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow.
Blessings and love,


Here are a few things I have learned after my week attempting WW's:



Is SOOOO not the same as this:

Alas, it is macaroni and cheese. My very favorite meal.

I have also learned that I am completely incapable of going to the movie theater and NOT getting popcorn. It simply can not happen. And when the lady asked "do you want butter?" my mind said no, yet she proceeded to put butter on the top....curious, I think to myself. Then I realize that while my mind said no, my mouth said "yes please". Oh well. =-) Rome wasn't built in a day, right?!?
While eating that popcorn, we watched "Burn After Reading". Too funny!! Have any of you seen it?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

T minus 3 months and counting...

So The Husband and I decided we needed to take a vacation. We wanted to have something really fun to look forward to on the horizon. We are leaving for Hawaii on December 11th and will come home on the 17th. We are soooooooo excited! Dave has never been to Hawaii. I went once in the 7th grade with a friends family and LOVED it.
Exciting, right? Fun, right? Something to look forward to, right?
Yes. Absolutely yes.

So what's my dilemma??

That ladies, is my dilemma.

No, that is not a picture of me (HA!) but rather a picture of the Target model off their website. It is however the swimsuit I have ordered for our vacation.

It had not been 10 seconds since we pressed the "enter" key to officially book our trip before my husband says "will you please wear a bikini in Hawaii??". Yikes. I have not worn a two piece bathing suit since our honeymoon. And that was 4 years and 14 pounds ago. Yup- 14 pounds. Yikes again!! Instantly my mind races to think of colder, long sleeve-requiring places we can vacation instead... "I hear the Arctic is quite nice that time of year" or "how about an Alaskan cruise instead?" Come on snowsuit!! Alas, it's too late.

Now to be clear here, I have an AMAZING husband who is very complimentary of me. He is always saying wonderful things about me. He tells me I don't need to change a thing and to just throw that old bathing suit on and strut my stuff. But I know for a fact there is a little too much "stuff" to be strutting right now!!

So, enter my new BFF here...

Hello lover.

Chocolatey yumminess. And only 1 point- yahoo!! I am way too cheap to pay for the actual ww's classes and program, but thanks to the internet I have access to all I need. Between ww's and the gym there is a chance I will actually wear the swimsuit I have ordered on a beach in Hawaii!!
Here goes nothing...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Inaugural post!

Yup. I caved. I am a "blogger" now. Why you ask?? Well, several reasons. One, I am the only one of my sisters who does not have a blog. Time to get on board! Two, because recently I have been realizing more and more how much I have LOVED "meeting" bloggers. I love reading their blogs. They have made me laugh, made me cry, kept me from being bored, and most importantly, often they have put words to feelings in a way I could never articulate properly before reading their posts. Reading people's stories have felt like therapy to me!!! And I have a feeling blogging myself will only add to the therapy. =-). And hey, isn't the Internet much cheaper than an actual therapist?!?
As for the title...the real credit goes to Steven Curtis Chapman, who has a song by that title. But why I chose it is because more and more I feel like God is trying to show me to slow down and appreciate the moment. The here and now. I have a serious tendency to ignore the present and worry about the future. OR even look forward to the future too much and neglect the things going on in my life right now. God wants to show me sooo much today. And I am trying to be better about letting Him.
SO....welcome to my blog. Don't expect too much. My parents used to say when I was awake my mouth was moving, and that could very well transfer over to blogging wayyyy to much with nothing really to say. Also, my husband has the English degree, not me. So be prepared for run on sentences and poor punctuation. Oh, and I like to start sentences with "And".
And that'll be all for tonight!!!!

Oops -one more thing. If I listed you on my blogroll and you didn't know I read your blog until you saw it there...sorry. I do not know blog etiquette, so if this was wrong, I'm sorry!! Some of you I have chatted with via email, but a few I haven't. So, again, please forgive the newbie if this was wrong!