Monday, November 11, 2013


We've been traveling a lot, and I mean a LOT in the last month. Probably too much for some people, but for me/us it's been good. I feel like I'm finally getting back to normal. My head feels clear, I feel joy again. That could be from the marriage retreat we attended this weekend, the thought that the hubby and I are finally getting back on the same page, or that doors are reopening for ministry opportunities.

My thoughts are all over the place. I feel like I have too much energy as I think ahead to the holidays with eager anticipation rather than fear or dread or anxiety even. My heart swells with joy and my eyes with tears as I see the evidences of God's grace and loving faithfulness invade my friends' lives. My heart breaks and bitter tears stain my cheeks as I mourn other friends' tragedies and difficulties. I want to help with everything, but know that my priority lies with my family.

I've recently been accused of putting too much focus and priority on my family. I've also been complimented on being family focused. That's just how life is I guess? Some people will despise what you're doing, and others will admire it. As long as I maintain my goal, and listen for God's calling, and respect my husband's leading, I will be happy with the fruits of my life. I want to plants seeds in my life, my husband's life an my son's life that I will ultimately be proud to reveal at harvest time!

A friend recently blogged that saying no to something is saying yes to another, and vice versa. I've been asking myself daily what I'm saying yes to that is causing me to say no to others. How can I be more productive with the time I have been so blessed with, and how can I manage and plan better for my future by listening to God's calling?

I was so cranky last week, and when the hubby asked what was wrong, I told him that God must be preparing my heart for something big. Scattered thoughts, that will hopefully culminate into a calling so beautiful that it is from The Almighty!

Thursday, August 9, 2012


How do we decide that a three letter word is acceptable to describe our Savior?  Sure there are words like huge, awesome and omnipresent, but the word big implies something that everyone can understand.  When I was a child learning shapes, colors, and sizes, I learned the difference between big and small just as I learned the difference between the colors orange and purple.  I learned songs as a young Sunday School scholar that went something like "my God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there's nothing my God cannot do."  I understand big.  Everyone understands big.

Recently, I have replayed some of my favorite songs that made an impact on me through adulthood; lyrics such as "All the heavens cannot hold you Lord, how much less to dwell in me" in All the Heavens by Third Day, and even "the same hands that created all of this, they created you and I" in Beautiful by Shawn McDonald offer up flowery awe of God's big-ness.

I think back to my conversation with God when He called me to be a nurse.  When I told Him I was scared of needles, He said to me "I am bigger than needles."  I now start IVs, give shots, and help with needle filled procedures every day that I'm at work.  He is big!

So, why do I worry about the small stuff?  Oh, because sometimes, in my not-so-infinite wisdom, I somehow look around me at this incredible world that He created in 6 days with an added day for rest, and I  forget how very BIG my God is!  However, I am thankful every day that He doesn't forget about small me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


At any given time in life, when there is a change that rocks your world, someone is bound to get hurt.  It can be something beautiful, happy, ugly, or devastating.  I have lost friends over such instances, and while this makes me sad, I have learned to go to the Lord in prayer for discernment.  How am I supposed to react?  What do I say or not say?  How do I still love, or rid myself of hurt?

When my husband and I decided we would begin trying to get pregnant, we kept it mostly to ourselves.  As time wore on, our emotions ran rampant.  We were always excited for those around us... announcing their planned, and not so planned, babies to be.  However, we wondered through it all why it was not yet our time.  This was the lowest point in my life.  I found myself hibernating.  I asked my husband to do things that I never imagined I could ask of another person...  "open my mail, if it's a shower invitation, RSVP no please...  I don't even want to know who it's for."

I remember being in a similar fragile state when I was single.  While it is not the same, I remember saying to "Mr. Wrong" once that "the next wedding I attend had better be my own!"  Well, as you can imagine, ultimatums are never the answer.  It took me almost 4 years and about 50 weddings later for Mr. Right to burst unexpectedly into my life.  At that point, my heart was so embittered toward marriage that it was the last thing on my mind.  Many of my friends' marriages were struggling or had crumbled around me, and this man who God so carefully, and lovingly, designed for me had his work cut out for him!  He listened to the Lord and pursued me with all his heart, and I pursued him right back.  I had some pretty big walls for him to hurdle, and he gently came alongside me and pulled them down until they were rubble that formed the road that we walk hand-in-hand today.

I praise God for the man He so blessed me with.  This man who has survived the trials of his wife going through nursing school.  And now, the trials of morning sickness, fatigue and extreme mood swings.  Yes, after 19 months, God has blessed us with a little life growing inside of me.  While we are completely stunned, and in awe of God's perfect timing, I still feel the need to tiptoe around the friends and family members that I ran away from during their happy times.  I could not psychologically handle so many situations, and now, I feel like those feelings should have all just melted away.  However, I still feel a awkward holding babies, and asking about other women's pregnancies.  Knowing that these women watched me capsize, and now, somehow, I'm back on top of the water.  It's as if my oars still have some large holes in them.

I have friends that have been trying to adopt or get pregnant for 3 months, for 1 year, and for even 5 years!  Seeing and hearing the sadness in my friends' faces and voices, knowing they are still hurting in that place I was just months ago, I hope I can be as gentle with their feelings as my husband was in tearing down my walls of brokenness.  I pray every day that God would bless them with the children they so desire.  I pray for peace, and perseverance as they wait and trust the Lord.

It is such a strange place to be.  Overjoyed at the little blessing that is going to be part of our family, and at the same time, tiptoeing with my holey oars around this shift in my life.  I am sad that I have already lost family members, and a few friendship bonds have been loosed over this announcement.  However, I continue to pray for discernment in handling this world-rocking, crazy new chapter of life!

Monday, May 21, 2012


Every time something breaks in our lives, I have this major hesitation to let my husband know.  The look of disappointment that crosses his face does not compare to any other look he makes.  This look is a mixture of dissatisfaction and disapproval with a little sadness thrown in.  I dislike this look.

It seems that I somehow blame myself though, and take this look to heart.  The sadness and guilt overwhelm me.  Only recently have I let my husband in on the secret of my self-flogging ritual.  He, being the unparalleled husband that he is, has prayed over me many times since I let him in on my dark habit.

So, what am I getting at here, and what does this have to do with leaks?  Where is the place where self-loathing and sadness are overcome by bright lights and disco balls of gladness?  First I must tell you the sad, but comical, tale of the plumbing, the migraine, and the bitter root...

One day, I was in the shower after Nate left for work.  I heard this bubbling, glubbing sound coming from the toilet.  It was unusual so I peeked my face out of the shower & lifted the lid to find air bubbles, boiling in my toilet.  Hmmm...  Strange, if I'd watched horror flicks at any time in my life I might have expected some demonic slime monster to come out and drag me through the pipes.  However, I instead thought "how weird, I wonder how to make THAT stop." I decided to finish my daily cleansing ritual, and as I did I noticed the tub had stopped draining.  Then, without hesitation I heard a loud gulp from the toilet and then the tub drained quickly.  Hmmm... again!  We've had a leak in the guest bathroom, but there's no way that could be related.

I told Nate about this since it was so bizarre, and then nothing came of it for a few weeks.  Then, one fine Friday morning, I was laying in bed while HE was in the shower and I heard it again... that familiar, haunting sound of Mr. Bubble Toilet!  Then, I heard Nate plunging the TUB!  This could not be good.  I sunk lower beneath my bed covers and thought simultaneous thoughts of "now he believes me" and "oh no, what next?!"

Let's just say we had a long weekend ahead of us.  I will leave out all the disgusting, stomach wrenching details of Nate's migraine and having to vomit in the kitchen sink since both the bathrooms were inoperable!

We had a plumber come out first thing Saturday morning since we just could not find the clean-out drain to fix the apparent clog somewhere in the line.  Our plumber was just as stumped, and after dismantling a toilet, he took a shovel to the front yard in front of the master bath.  He dug, and dug, and dug until "thump" he hit the large PVC pipe that connects the plumbing to the sewer. Then he started digging along the pipe away from the house, until he found our clean-out drain.  It was buried about 3 feet down and about 5 feet away from the house.  He did not have to unscrew the lid to the clean-out because the whole clean-out pipe was not attached!  He slowly lifted the dislodged pipe. and within this pipe, buried away from sunshine and air, was this large, independent from any other living thing, root!  It was in a perfect cylinder of poo and dirt and had been surviving within my plumbing.

As the amazing, talented, wonderful plumber pieced our pipes and toilet back together, I felt the Lord tugging on my heart.  It was our bitter root.  Deep, buried, without proper nutrients, it was still growing.  It caused "minor" leaks here and there that we stuck ineffective bandaids over until we had to dig it out, 3 feet down, 5 feet away, where it lodged itself.

I am so thankful for God's grace, and the fact that He is the only effective means of removing bitterness from our lives.  Nate and I set to work digging out our roots of bitterness, and while we know that God is not done with us yet, we have felt more freedom and joy since that disgusting event!

"Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God.  Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many."  Hebrews 12:15

Monday, January 30, 2012


That’s how my physical body feels right now, better.  Mentally?  I'm still to be determined.  After a week of being “laid up,” as my husband keeps telling friends & family, today is the first day that I did not wake up with excruciating pain in my shoulders and belly.  The shoulder pain is what they call “referred” pain, but it hurt just the same as “real” pain.  As a nurse, I learned that “pain is whatever the patient says it is,” and my husband, without ever being told the same mantra for two years, believed me every time I was squirming and writhing and trying to get comfortable.  He offered me pills, pillows, blankets, hot tea, a heating pad or a hand with re-positioning.  It was three days before he felt comfortable letting me walk down our short hallway to the bathroom without supervision, and I still have yet to shower while home alone.

Nate has always been a faithful caregiver.  During nursing school he did the laundry, cooked all our meals, and cheered me on during those late night study sessions when normally (had I been single) I would have given up entirely and tried my hand at cooking burgers in some greasy establishment.  The last few weeks have been no different in that he has waited on me like I was a queen that held his life in my hands.  One wrong move, and off with his head!  At least, that’s how I feel when I hurt.  However, Nate took my pain-filled, sometimes snippy, mean words and replied politely out of love.  I have told him countless times in the last week that this is the “worse” part of the “for better or worse” vow that we took.  He agrees.

I wish with my whole heart that nursing school was something that happened in our distant past (rather than just releasing its grip a few short months ago), and that we had experienced a season of better before the last 34 days.  During that time, I had an HSG, an ER visit, and a surgery.  Two out of three being what we hope is forward movement toward becoming parents.  

When I was in nursing school, I would tell Nate, “remember our first year of marriage? I promise our lives will be like that again after I graduate…”  We had an incredible first year as newlyweds.  We traveled, we worked together, we gardened, we cooked, we laughed, we enjoyed better.  However, our time has not quite circled back around yet, but we pray for it every day.  We also pray that God will use this time, and not just let it slip through our fingers only touched by things that we consider to be disaster.

We even tried vacationing over New Year’s to “just relax” and to "get away" from reality.  We booked a trip to Cancun and, without travel insurance, and changed it to Kauai just three days before we flew out.  We did not have peace about going to Cancun, and ultimately decided to change plans out of respect for Nate’s family.  The first 24 hours of our vacation were a mind-boggling, exhausting, catastrophe.  We missed our connecting flight due to a weather delay, changed airlines and ran from terminal 7 to terminal 4 at LAX the day before New Year's Eve, could not check into our room (at 2am) due to a miscommunication, and were switched to a different hotel (at 3am) and were almost charged for it.  When things finally started to look like they might get better I grabbed Nate’s hand and prayed “Lord, please let the rest of this trip go flawlessly because this is too much… And please give us free breakfast.”  Well, God heard our cries and He not only let the floodgates of grace open, but He also gave us an upgraded room, gifts of apology from the resort, and two vouchers for free breakfast!

So, let’s face it, no one makes it to the ripe age of 31 without hitting a few walls along the way!  I know that things will get better, because I have seen it happen so many times throughout my life, and even as recently as our trip to Kauai.  As Nate and I pray about our next steps, we surrender them to the Lord wholeheartedly.  I am always thankful that he is my husband, and that we will get through this together on God’s sovereign promises and everlasting faithfulness. 

Tired of the worse, and waiting on the better. Nate & I decided last night that this is “too much.”  We want to resume having conversations about fun, happy things with our friends and with each other.  We want to leave behind the heartache, fears and sadness of what we think might/could/potentially happen in our future.  We also decided that on February 6th, after what we hope will be my last health-related doctor’s visit for a long time, we will have a “do-over” of New Year’s Eve, and we will officially leave the worse in 2011, and look only for the better in 2012.

Friday, January 27, 2012


For most people, today is the end of the work week and the hallowed beginning of the weekend.  For me, however, today is the first day of the weekend. For the last two years, I have had almost every Friday off from school or work.
In the beginning, I claimed this day as mine. My own day to do what I pleased since, of course, I earned it. It usually included coffee with a friend, something stupid on Netflix, lunch with another friend, and probably a nap or something else entirely lazy and unproductive.
I realized after a while that I was more stressed, selfish, and unfulfilled than I had been in a long time. As I looked over my hectic weeks, and the things I was doing to fill my time, I realized where the problem was. I didn't want to admit it at first. I wanted to continue my self-absorbed lifestyle. So I asked the one person that would give me an immediate, unbiased answer: my husband -
"When you come home at the end of the day, knowing I've had the day off, what pleases you most when you hear what I've done with my day?"
I truly, honestly hoped he would respond with an easy answer such as: a clean house, a smiling wife, or dinner on the table.
If I can be real for a minute, I will admit that those things are easy for me. Cleaning, cooking and smiling run through my blood. They happen when I am in my happiest places in life. When my heart is full of joy and giving. 
However, as I suspected, my husband answered "knowing that you had quality time with the Lord makes me happier than anything else."
As always, when my husband's words pierce my heart with truth, tears welled up in my eyes.
Since then (I can't say every Friday, since I am fallible and imperfect), as soon as he leaves for the last day of his work week, I turn on the worship music, I grab my bible, my journal and a cup of hot tea, and I sit in front of the fireplace in my living room to bow before my King, and lay my selfish, unfulfilled, stressed cries at His feet. 
While this time before the Lord has proved difficult on different occasions, He has blessed it richly by putting a smile on my husband's face when he arrives home from another crazy work week and hears the words "I had an incredible time with the Lord this morning."
Being married has challenged me in so many ways. My favorite is this: my husband knows me so well, that he knows how important a few solid hours with the Almighty are to my well-being, and he holds me accountable to my needs. I have this time out of obedience to God and out of encouragement from my husband. God makes and fulfills promises during the times that I have with Him, and I am so blessed to have a husband that understands the importance of my personal relationship with our Lord and its affect on our marriage. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I don't know if I was totally oblivious before, or if this is something new. Something in the last year only?
It seems as though our church is teeming with new moms and their precious little bundles of joy. 
While my husband joyfully helps with the slides for worship and sermon notes every Sunday, I sit protected in the sound booth, behind the little plexiglass "sneeze guard." I am safe from the hugs of the expectant bellies and the offers to hold newborns. I stand in my box, behind the swinging door, with a forcefield between me and what I desire to be. Finding that I can only become vulnerable through emails to this particular crowd, I can fake my smile and offer a "good morning" and "things are great," without the pressure building too tightly in my chest that screams at me to run out the door and not look back. 
At the end of the service, families are asked to retrieve their little ones from the nursery so that the Sunday School teachers can set up for the incoming crowds that are the next service's population. This is where I fall apart. This is the time where the things around me become more than I can bear. As the worship leader strums the last few chords of the last song, and the pastor reaches the pulpit to give the final convocation, it begins. The voices and instruments slowly fade and a new sound is heard. All around, as if the volume on an intense surround sound system is turned up to the point that it screeches and squeals, the choir performs and resonates all the way to my soul. It always begins with a slight whimper or whine, and then the peers join in with their cries. By the end of the pastor's prayer, there are at least ten babies crying their eyes out as loud as their little lungs can manage, and I sit, clenching my husband's strong hand as tightly as a broken woman can. The cries remind me of what I don't have yet, and my soul cries to the Lord "You are good, God, but why do I have to go through this in a place that I should be able to leave my grief at your feet? Why do you let them cry so loud... And so many?!"
Today was different though. I was not allowed to sit in my little cage to hide behind the shield of the sound booth. My husband was training a new person, and there is just simply not enough room for all of us. 
I sat close by, in the back. I made it through half of the first worship song when an Ergo wielding new mom asked if the seat next to me was taken. As the song faded, and the worship pastor encouraged everyone to "turn around and meet someone" a new sound was heard. Nursing. The sound of a little life bonding with Mom.
Instead of being polite and introducing myself, I ran. I ran right to my husband and said I would be in the car. I grabbed my things without making eye contact with the new mom who knew nothing of her infraction, and I walked as fast as a person who is holding back a full fledged sprint can walk.
So, here I am in the car. Pouring my heart out into a journal entry that I'm pretty sure only two people, other than me, will ever read. My dear husband has text messaged me the verses that the pastor is giving his message on today so that we can discuss them when he arrives at the fort I've built in the car. Doors are locked, and my eyes are ever downcast to avoid seeing anyone we know passing by. 
Sometimes coping skills and tools I've learned to use to guard my heart, are just not enough and I must retreat to solitude with my Lord, to cry and scream and release the choir of my own sadness.