Emotional Roadblock

Yeeyum is turning three. Another mother would be happy about it. Another mother would be proud. I am neither. And I am torn.

When Cupcake turned three, she had a three month old baby to fuss over and love. If not for the Incident, Yeeyum would have an eleven or almost twelve month old shadow trying in vain to keep up with his older brother. But he doesn’t.

I cried myself to sleep last night. I’ve spent the day stifling my emotions and saving face, because I’ve been shopping with my mother for the birthday. I can’t explain that I’m sad about a baby who doesn’t exist in front of a child who does. It’s not right.

When I was sixteen, my mother and I shared a car. I would drop her off at work and head to school. When school was over, I’d pick her up. One day, as I approached the same road that my house was on, I thought, I should drop off my backpack. Then I thought, That’s silly. I’m going to drop off my backpack, get back in the car, and go get mom? I should just keep going. Even as I drove past the road, I felt like I should go, but I ignored it. I ended up getting hit by a car full of drug impaired people who had just bought drugs from someone. I was hit across three lanes of traffic. Two cars hit me before I ended up hitting a car in a parking lot. The wrecker who got my car gave my parents his condolences. When my parents told him I was alive, he could hardly believe it. The entire car was smashed. The back end of the car was occupying the back seat. I thought, God kept me alive for a reason.

Now I don’t know.

Am I making a difference? Have I helped anyone? I have no idea.

But that is not for me to know this side of heaven, is it?

All I know is the solitary thing keeping me from coming completely unglued is the knowledge that God loves me completely, deeply, unconditionally, and unfathomably. The love for me that led Jesus to die on the cross is still in effect. Even when I am fighting against the riptide of sadness.

Thirsty Thursday: Pink Roses

I am not a gardener. I am not all that great with indoor plants, either. I think my orchid is dead, but I can’t let it go. It was a gift from Hunny! When I saw rose bushes in the Aldi seasonal aisle, I really wanted to get one. But I wanted to be smart about it and wait until they went on sale.

Towards the end of the season, they still weren’t on sale. I love roses and even though I knew it was too late to plant them, I caved and bought two: a pink rose and a yellow rose. I’m not a yellow gal, but I thought it might be nice to try something different for a change.

The miniature rose bush my father gave me for Mother’s Day three years ago is thriving under my minimal care and attention. It had already produced a multitude of tiny velvety red roses. I had a feeling the rose blossoming season was over when I asked Hunny to plant the new additions, but I asked God if He would let the pink rose bush bloom just one flower before fall. Just because He loves me, the rose bush bloomed several pink flowers that filled the air with their perfume.

My dad happened to drop by when one of the flowers bloomed. I wanted him to see how well his present was doing, and I wanted him to see the pink rose. I didn’t want to tell him that I had prayed for God to make it bloom. It felt embarrassing. Shouldn’t I be praying about grander, loftier things? I can’t tell my dad that I asked God for a rose. It’s so stupid! In spite of my embarrassment, I added, “I prayed God would let this one bloom,” after showing him the roses. My dad didn’t laugh at me. He nodded his head and said, “Oh.” He’s a man of few words, in case you were wondering.

A month or so later, a friend came over to visit with her children and a tag-along. After Cupcake took them to see the chickens, I felt like I should say something about the roses, even though I really didn’t want to say anything! I wanted them to see how lovely they were, but I didn’t want to admit to yet another person that my prayers were so goofy. But I did it anyway. “I asked God to make this rose bush bloom, and He did. See how great they look?” My words were bolder than my feelings inside. “Cool!” My friend didn’t laugh at me, either.

DSC08229

My rose bush is still blooming! This picture is from today!

Mini Roses from My Dad

Today’s picture of the roses from my dad.

Don’t be ashamed to share the small victories in your life. Any and every prayer answered is a beacon of Light. It is additional proof of God’s Love, Existence, and Mercy. We don’t know what other people are praying for and about. They may be praying for healing or salvation for a loved one or transportation or that the clothes they need will go on sale so they can afford them. God really does care about us. He cares about our big and small worries. He wants us to come to Him with everything. Even the things that may seem like nothing to others that may mean everything to us.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you; casting all your anxieties upon Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7, emphasis mine

Thirsty Thursday: Beyond Death

This is my second year reading through the Bible. I’m not reading it for the second time. I’m not even halfway through the Bible. I’m slowly but surely reading through the Bible while still getting the most out of my reading.

The past several days I’ve been meditating on a phrase from the final verse of Psalm 48:

that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever. Psalm 48:14 emphasis mine

He will guide us forever.

Isn’t that beautiful?

Forever is such an interesting word. For me and my finite human brain, the word forever is ethereal and poetic. It is almost like a pretend, made up word. What does forever really mean? What does forever feel like?

There was a reference beside the word forever in the text, so I had to look at what was written about this beautiful phrase. The footnote read: Septuagint; another reading is (compare Jerome, Syriac) He will guide us beyond death

Beyond death!

Now that really resonates with me. I am no stranger to death. I have had numerous loved ones die. I see death in the changing of the seasons. I also see death in more banal ways such as light bulbs going out and the blackening of my phone’s screen.

God will guide us beyond death! That is exciting. That gives more meaning to our life after this one. It also gives us reassurance that our trust exercises in this life on earth will help us in the next. God will be guiding us through it. No matter what we’re going through in this life or the circumstances we meet in the next, God is leading us. Jesus told us He would always be with us even to the end of the age, and it is even more comforting to know that God is guiding us from this life into the next.

Thirsty Thursday: Forgiven Much

I have two newly pregnant friends. One is married. One is not. I have been sharing as much as I can with both of them, because being pregnant is hard and scary and everyone deserves support. I’ve been through some serious stuff, so I know I have the ability to be a comfort. I message them both with things that are relevant to pregnancy and sent both of them Mother’s Day cards. One is extremely thankful and the other one doesn’t give me the time of day.

Which one would you guess is the thankful one?

It is not the married one.

I am not reaching out to these pregnant ladies for applause or for attention. I do not expect any thanks. I am doing it out of a genuine hope to be helpful and ease the pain of a stressful time. But it brought something to mind.

Jesus was invited to dinner at an important, religious man’s house named Simon. While they were dining, a woman who was known to have a bad reputation, came into the house. She cried so hard at Jesus’ feet that His feet got wet. She wiped His feet with her hair, kissed His feet, and even broke an expensive bottle of perfume and poured it on His feet. Simon thought, If Jesus was who people say He is, He would KNOW who this woman is and He would NOT let her touch His feet.

Jesus then told him a story about two people who owed debts. One owed 500 denari and the other owed 50. Neither could pay their debt, so the moneylender decided to cancel their debts. Then Jesus asked him which he thought would love the moneylender more. The religious man answered that he thought it would be the one who had the greater debt.

You have judged rightly. Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven–for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.Luke 7:43b-47

When I was younger and dumber, I mean, less perceptive, I thought, Oh no! I don’t sin that much, so my love for God isn’t going to be great.

Wow.

I would find it funny if it weren’t so shamefully embarrassing.

I read that we have on average 82,000 thoughts a day. Let’s say all your thoughts for a single day are sinful. Jesus paid the price for 82,000 sins. Let’s say your thoughts are sinful for a week. That’s 574,000 sins that Jesus paid for with His blood. Let’s say your thoughts are continually sinful for a month. 2,542,000 sins covered by Jesus. Let’s go crazy. We’re going to suppose your thoughts are sinful for a full calendar year, 365 days. Jesus wiped away 29,993,000 sins through His death on the cross.

That’s just thoughts, people! I’m not even going into words you say or actions.

I know that I wrestle with my thoughts on a daily basis.

We should not let our socially acceptable sin blind us to the fact that they are sins and that we are sinners in need of a Savior. We all have fallen short. We all have been forgiven much. Don’t let pride get in the way of seeing how good you really aren’t and how great God really is.

Thirsty Thursday: Socially Acceptable Sin

Sexual sin as a whole used to be social taboo in puritanical North America. Unwed mothers used to give their babies up for adoption, leave them on doorsteps of churches, or have their families raise them as a sibling. Marital infidelity was something shameful and if such a behavior were found out, it would cost the adulterer their job or their position or even an election as a political official. Homosexuality was seen as perversion. No one would admit to being homosexual and if they did, a person could be arrested or worse. All manners of sexual sin are socially acceptable today. The only two I can think of that are not socially acceptable are bestiality and incest.

My sin is socially acceptable. No one can see or hear my thoughts. Because of this, I am perceived as a “perfect person.” As a “model citizen” no one is going to point their fingers at me or wave signs of hatred in my face. My doubts and my fears go under the human radar, but blip loudly on God’s.

All sin is unacceptable to God.

ALL sin.

That is why Jesus had to die for us. God cannot associate with sin. So when you’re sitting over there lusting at the girl behind the counter, God sees it. When you think mean things about a family member, God hears it. When you break the laws of the land by surpassing the number on the speed limit sign, He knows. And it hurts Him. Having sex with your boyfriend is practically encouraged in American society, but you are disobeying God and breaking His heart. Only Jesus can wash your sin away.

Jesus has washed my sin away, and I ask for forgiveness when I stumble. I ask for forgiveness when I am not faithful. He is just to forgive me every single time. Have you asked Him to wash your sins away? He can even take your socially acceptable sin.

Thirsty Thursday: Peace

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27

These are the words Jesus spoke to His disciples before His arrest, before His crucifixion. How could Jesus be so calm? How could He tell His closest followers to not be afraid or troubled when He knew the horror of what was coming?

Jesus said to him,“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Because Jesus is God’s Son, He knew the BIG picture. He knew He had to die to save the world. In order to save you and me, He would die.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

I cannot have a relationship with God without Jesus. You cannot know God without Jesus. Jesus is the only way. We cannot have eternal life without Him. We only have eternal death.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

There’s one catch. You. You have to pray. You have to trust. You have to admit that you are not perfect and you will never be perfect. You have to admit that you do the wrong thing. You sin. I sin. Everyone sins.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Believing that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and for my sins will save you. Only then can you truly know peace.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Thirsty Thursday: God’s View of You

Cupcake was playing in her Grandmother’s living room. I was mindlessly sitting there waiting on Hunny.

A little voice floated up to me, “Would you rather be a grown up or a doll?”

I’d rather be a doll.

“Why?” she asked, concern flashing in her giant blue eyes.

Everyone likes to play with a doll. 

“Well, everyone looks at you and they see just a mommy, but when I look at you, I see a princess. When God looks at you, He sees a princess. He sees someone He can use.”

I was unprepared for the wisdom that spilled out of her. Thankfully, Hunny arrived in time for me to hide my tear brimmed eyes.

I don’t know how the world sees you. Maybe you’re just a mommy, just a student, just a co-worker, just a guy, or just a passenger. But you are more than that. You are never “just a -” to God. You are EVERYTHING to Him. Your worth is so high that He sent His Son to die for you. Your worth is beyond measure because God’s love for you is beyond measure.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerers through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37, 38 (emphasis mine)

Rest in His love and remember:

Thirsty Thursday: The Greatest Bond

I saw an article about addiction on The Huffington Post website. In the article, the premise as to why some people become addicted to substances and others do not is because of their need to bond. According to the article, humans are bonding creatures that crave bonding so much that they will bond with substances if needed. It hypothesized that if people with addictions had families and friends that loved them and people who did not judge their actions, they would not use substances.

I was totally 100% in agreement with the findings of this article until God reminded me of someone. Someone who had a successful business. Someone who had a loving wife and loving children. Someone who was respected in social circles. This person had everything the article said a person should need to refrain from addiction and yet this person abused alcohol. This person was my Grandfather.

The one bond this person did not have is the one bond that can save him. It is the only bond that can save. It is the bond between us and God. A bond that can only be achieved through Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me.” John 14:6

We can’t love anyone enough to help them. We can’t love ourselves enough to change. We need God to do that. We can’t get to Him without Jesus.

A Word on Healing

Why is it always your most well intentioned friend who cuts you down or throws you into a depression spiral?

One of my well intentioned friends messaged me on facebook (you know I love facebook!) that she had a miscarriage and that even though it was sad, her heart was now healed. I messaged that I am glad that she was happy but that I cried over her baby. I get a message back that I need to let God heal my heart and that I can’t go on like this and to promise her I will let God’s love heal me.

Am I not letting God heal my hurt? Is it my fault that I’m still emotional about miscarriages and lost babies? Am I defective?

I messaged her back. I recounted everything I had gone through and what God has already done to heal me. One of the things God did was free me from being afraid of sex. I was terrified that I would become pregnant and not survive a second miscarriage. I didn’t want to go through the literal hell I went through losing Jason. And I haven’t even shared the half of it.

Stories of drug addicts who welcome Jesus into their hearts and never touch drugs or alcohol again are fantastic stories of the awesomeness of God. Then you hear stories of people who are saved and battle addiction their whole lives. It is easy to think, Geez, that guy is doing it wrong. Maybe he’s not saved. Maybe he’s not letting God work in him.

Maybe.

But maybe something greater is happening there. Maybe the constant day by day struggle for survival makes that person dependent on God and dependable for God. Maybe that guy is growing and becoming more like Christ every second they flee from temptation. Maybe that guy’s treasures in heaven will outweigh his chaff. Maybe that guys struggles make him more accessible to a group God wants him to reach. Maybe that is God’s plan for him – to shine His love and His light and His glory into dark souls and the dark corners of the earth. Maybe the places he can reach cannot be reached by the guy who was instantly healed.

Most likely.

Emotional pain is difficult. Unlike physical wounds, you can’t see them. You can’t gauge how much longer it will take to heal. There’s no cast for broken feelings. We are all wounded soldiers: arms in slings, bandaged up, and limping through life. It is why God wants us to bear one another’s burdens and to share our joy and grief with one another. It helps healing.

A Birthday Letter to My Son in Heaven

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!

One year ago today, you were born into heaven. I wish I could be there to celebrate with you. I know you are celebrating with our Father and my grandparents, Daddy’s grandfather whom he misses dearly, my uncle, your great uncle also born into heaven, my friends’ children born into heaven, and most recently a baby girl named Evelyn. You are so loved there. I want you to know that you are loved here as well.

After I lost you, one of my friends asked me what your name was and I didn’t have an answer for her. I asked Daddy and he didn’t have a name for you in mind. I looked at a calendar and noticed that the first letters in the months from July to November spelled “Jason.” I thought that was interesting and I immediately looked up its meaning (name meanings are important to your father and me). It means “Healer.” Even though at the time I was completely broken from losing you, “Healer” seemed to fit. I had no idea why at the time. Your Daddy liked it and we agreed: Jason Harris.

Months later, I spoke to a woman who needed to talk to someone. I listened to her. She talked to me with an air of contempt. How could I understand what she was going through? How could I realize the depth of her hurt? Did I even know pain? I told her about you. I told her that I almost died losing you. I told her that there were times I felt the crushing weight of guilt for surviving. I told her that I didn’t understand why you had to die and I got to live. I told her that I was confused and lost and ached almost continually. She cried. I told her that even though I didn’t understand, I KNEW God loves me. God has a plan. I told her that God’s love for me, what He did for me by sending Jesus to die on the cross, was the only thing that got me through the day. She cried harder. I prayed with her.

God used you to bring healing to that situation.

I don’t fully understand the cloud of witnesses and I don’t know if God allowed you to see that moment, but I wanted you to know. I am not holding a five month old in my arms. I am, however, holding you in my heart. You will always be a part of me. I know Cupcake will be so excited when she meets you in heaven. She wanted me to have another baby so badly. Your brother is too little to understand, but I know he will be happy to meet you and have a best friend waiting for him in heaven.

Thankfully, I asked God to give me a vision about whether or not I was pregnant. I took a pregnancy test that confirmed it before God gave it to me, so I wasn’t expecting one from Him. He gave me one anyway. He showed you to me. A baby with brown hair the same shade as his Daddy’s, with a smushy face, wearing a blue onesie. Just like the first time I saw Cupcake and like the vision God gave me about being pregnant at your uncle’s wedding, I will always treasure the vision of you in my heart.

I love you,

Mommy