Thursday, February 24, 2011

More ramblings ....

In this culture we live in today, I find it interesting that everything is striving on perfection. If you were to flip through the channels on your tv right now I imagine you'd be bombarded with commercials directing their advertisement to point out each of your flaws that could damage you in society if you don't correct them with their magical product. I see it everywhere, clothes, shoes, food, and even toothpaste! Apparently white teeth is the answer we've all been waiting for in the endless venture for true happiness! I think not. Specially when in scripture it talks about in the end there being "weeping and gnashing of teeth." There goes those pearly whites. So evidently our teeth being white, clothes we wear, products we try, food we eat or how do our hair isn't going to last.

What about the feelings it gives us though when we do these things? Is it not the reason we do these things to ourselves to fit in and be happier people? We go to great lengths to achieve perfection. Some people are self conscious about the kind of car they drive so they buy a flashy one even if it might not be adequate with their budget. Others change their physical appearance by getting things augmented or diminished. Did you know they have implants for muscles now? I thought those where only achieved through discipline and hard work...I guess that's not apart of our fads. We change our hair color and style as often as possible. Everything is for looks even where we live and how many square feet you own. Never mind how often you clean it because you have cleaners that you hire to do that. My point is we continue to strive for this perfection that's only skin deep. That is why we can't stop at just a nose job or just a flashy car....its unsatisfying. Our culture cannot fathom any deeper than that. In fact even those who feel they are getting to the heart of things are only trying to lay down a comfy coffin when they die. They try to give themselves a quick one time deal injection of crap and calling it "I'm spiritual". They cling to the words of Deepak Chopra or other "spiritual advisors". Some go to church but its too much work to be hot and too damaging to the image to be cold so they stay lukewarm. The strive for perfection goes so far and yet it's so blind to know that the only lasting happiness and joy come from God. Seeking His perfect face is the only joy in this place but they go on blindly in their lives. Digging your feet in the sand on the shores of your death doesn't stop the tide from coming to whisk you away. Finding your joy in that minimal exfoliation isn't worth it. In the end you may have smooth feet but you'll always have a dirty soul.

It's so humbling when I look back when I was growing up how God even then shielded me from a much worse life that I could have had. I never had the desire to do any crazy things. I was all in all a morally good kid, I'd say. I was a brat none the less though. I lied and talked back to my parents all the time. In fact it really wasn't till I was saved when I was closer to 22 that I changed through God's earnest hands. It's funny though before I was saved my whole vision or understanding of God was completely warped. I imagine a lot of people have a false look on God. I mean, how easy you could with so many showing Him in the wrong light. A lot of people like your everyday t.v. evangelist doesn't show God as much but just a caterer to your every need and desire. I must admit that growing up my thought of God was like a sick puppy that followed you around everywhere saying "I'm knocking on the door of your heart aren't you going to let me in?". In my thought process, God was always there and you could let Him in at any time but it wasn't mandatory and even if you let Him in you could always put him out again with the cat so to speak. He was easily accessible for my image for anytime I wanted to turn to Him when the question of my religion was brought up.

I got baptized when I was 12. I was at a church camp here in Ohio. I enjoyed camp but it wasn't what I thought it'd be. I imagined church camp to be a place where people where nice to you and there wasn't a lot of grouping or popularity contests but just like anywhere else there were some. As I got older that was one thing that I became increasingly uncomfortable with. I thought when you went to church it was suppose to be a sanctuary from the outside world. Not until later on did I realize there were churches like that that did exist. So I got baptized. It was me and 2 other girls that got baptized. There may have been more that summer but I know that particular night it was just us 3. We made our proclamation of faith and each went into the water. My father baptized me which was special to me. Back track to that morning of my baptism though. I was in class listening to one of my favorite teachers. I couldn't tell you what else he spoke on that summer but I remember fully what he taught that day. He put the fear of hell into me. He told us that baptism was key for our own salvation. "If you don't get baptized today and your parents drive you home and you get into an accident and die you'll go to hell." Talk about making a kid sweat! I think I almost peed myself hearing that. So naturally I didn't want to go to hell so I ,through tears ,called my dad to come baptize me right away.

Did I do it out of love for God? With desire to bring Him glory through my whole life? Nope I did it because I was afraid of going to hell. There was no deeper issue that had suddenly become clear in my heart. It was survival. If I want to survive the flames of hell all I have to do is be dunked in some water, what's the choice in that? Anyone would do that if it were the simple choice in the matter. They'd check it off on their to do list. Okay, now I'm going to get baptized so I can get the whole go to hell thing taken care of. I strongly defended my thoughts on baptism and why I chose to do it as it was my choice out of hell, years later.. I got in a couple heated debates about this survival decision. If you think about it where does Jesus come into play in this choice? What, we create our own salvation by merely choosing God through baptism? No, I don't believe that now. I believe baptism is essential and there is a purpose for it but it's not the definitive right of passage that I grew up believing. It's important but not as I saw it as being the only importance. I know there are many others out there that might believe the way I use to but I pray that God moves their hearts to see the emptiness that thought process leaves you.

I too desired perfection in my life growing up as I mentioned above. I use to wear the tightest jeans imaginable. They were terribly uncomfortable but my mind would always drift back to the old saying, "pain is beauty". I use to work in a hoity toity salon. We had a eminent scale client base. I was directed to produce a certain image to the clients. We were ordered to wear some bracelets but not too many, to wear a few rings, always have your nails polished, hair impeccably done and your make up spot on. Image was everything in a prestigious salon. That was the worst place for me to work at, well really the wrong field entirely. I was very self conscious which most women are but I really took off with the hair and etc. I can laugh now and say that my hair was every color besides green. I was always striving to be as tiny waisted as the models on tv though I failed miserably at it. I felt pressure from every angle but even when I complied and attempted to better myself it never made me happy. Like so much of the world I was blinded to see that the only happiness I would ever feel was residing in God's hands.

"If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

"CrAzY LoVe"

I wanted to start a personal book review on here to add to the daily and sometimes weekly ramblings I do.:) Just my thoughts on some of the books I've read recently and how they've impacted me.

The first official book review ever is going to be (if you haven't guessed by the title)....<<<((((drum roll)))>>> Crazy Love by Francis Chan!

I had heard briefly about Francis Chan and fell in love with his encouraging quotes before I looked him up on youtube to watch some of his sermons. The sermons alone were pretty amazing. I learned from those how he really doesn't sugar coat anything and gives it to you straight. Crazy Love was no different and I don't feel he held back at all. It was extremely convicting.

Chan hits several convicting aspects of a believer's life but the main focus is on having a passionate love relationship with God. I know I fail miserably at loving God in my life. Even though He's blessed me beyond what I could ever possibly deserve and that's just with the sacrifice of His Son, never mind the daily blessings like the very breaths I'm taking as I type this out.

He starts out saying a very real truth about our culture and though it stings to hear it I truly believe it to be true; "We are a culture that relies on technology over community, a society in which spoken and written words are cheap, easy to come by, and excessive. Our culture says anything goes; fear of God is almost unheard of. We are slow to listen, quick to speak, and quick to become angry." Another thing he talks about is how we have spiritual amnesia at times. Where we are so often reminded of God's art around us (sunsets,rainbows,galaxies etc) yet we still forget.

In chapter 2 he hit on worry and stress and how God feels when we don't trust Him.
I know I have major issues at times when it comes to stress. In school and growing up I've always carried the label, worry wart. Like a high strung puppy I would easily freak out about the smallest things. Its really embarrassing to think back on it now but the sad part is that though I'm better than I use to be I still struggle with it a lot. Its a battle for me to just trust God. After all God created the world, mountains, leaves on trees, animals of the earth ,birds of the skies and knows exactly how many hairs are on my head. My worries or stresses are no large overwhelming task in His eyes. Chan says "Both worry and stress reek of arrogance." Wow! Honestly though when I worry it basically does tell God that He's not good enough to take care of whats going on in my life.

Chan also talks about the call to share the gospel. He quotes that " Christians are like manure spread them out and they cause things to grow but leave them in a pile and they just stink." God gave us this precious gift of the gospel why do we hide it? I know for me many times it was for my own comfort and not wanting to be in an uncomfortable situation or there is always the constant contender of our own apathy. To quote my friend, Debbie, who once spoke on this topic at a luncheon. When we don't share the gospel we sound like a little kid, you know the toddler age where everything is "mine mine MINE". I could go far more in depth on how awesome and how deeply changed I feel from reading this book but it would be like me writing a book!:)

One thing that seems to be a pattern lately that God wants me to hear it seems in the messages I'm hearing/reading is this call to mission and sharing the gospel. Like I said before in my last post, I'm very ashamed because I have done nothing surmountable in sharing the gospel for God's glory. My husband and I ,since before we were married, have had this desire to go to Ghana, Africa to help do mission work. A missionary that our church helps and hosts often is from there and he has done great things there in the Lord's name. We plan on going there when the time is right. So many things to work out first. We do want to try for another baby so we will see what happens but either way we will go to Ghana it will just depend on how soon. I would love to go the sooner the better, but we'll see what God has willed for us. We're really just going to put all our trust in Him as He truly deserves it. I feel like I've learned so much since we lost the baby. I can admit to myself and out loud that I buried myself in my grief for a little while after everything. At first I felt happy to be alive since I hemorrhaged so badly and we weren't sure if I'd have a hysterectomy or not. I lamented so much over the missed miscarriage. I feel deeply convicted over it now though when I see how my pain and suffering over losing her was a tiny fraction of the pain so many are bearing around the world. Somewhere right now a believer is in prison for his/her faith and being tortured. Some of them may have lost friends, family , neighbors. In 2010 925 million people across the globe weren't getting enough to eat. Every year 15 million children die of hunger. Every 3.6 seconds someone dies of hunger. That's insane! I've been writing this post out for around an hour so based on that around 960 men,women and children have died from hunger! In the Asian, African and Latin American countries, well over 500 million people are living in what the World Bank has called "absolute poverty".

What keeps echoing in my mind is
James 4:14- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
and Mathew 28:19...
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

I keep thinking that I could die tonight and I don't want to be in God's throne room and have done nothing great to bring glory to Him. He gave His Son for me and though I know there is nothing I could ever do on my own to repay that debt I owed there is one thing I can do and that is to obey Him joyfully, lovingly, and with a strong desire.

If you haven't guessed by now, I loved Crazy Love and high;y recommend the book but be aware that it may make you uncomfortable with the truths it will reveal in yourself and this world we live in. It was an amazing and powerful book! Prepare to be deeply convicted!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wanting more....

Lately I can feel the excitement of the counting down to ttc and the pressure. Yes, I said it, pressure. I'm not saying that I don't want to have more babies. I have always had the desire to be a mother and have lots of kids, but lately I've realized that's not enough. Just simply having a bigger family isn't enough for my life anymore. I want to do more with my life. Not just anything more like taking a cooking class or dance lessons(which I think would be fun to try) or even redecorate my house. I want to take more risks for God. The world would just say to reinvent myself but God has already uninvented me to be a follower of Him. I don't want to live a safe life where I don't take any uncomfortable crazy steps for His glory. I want to share and spread the gospel all over. You may think this sounds a little crazy but I want to feel the resistance of sharing the gospel. I would love to do some kind of mission work. I want to do and be more for God. I don't know what that more is yet but I'm hoping with constant prayer that God will open up a door to something..some where..some time. I ask for all your prayers during this time of growth and change. For once in my life lately there is something I want ten times more than anything I ever thought I had before.

I'm realizing that all the things I desire for my life right now don't seem to be lasting ones. Not that they are bad or anything. Having babies,being a wife and tending my home are not bad things for a believer to do/want but I've been thinking to myself "is that all you want, Jennie?" It's not even a want but more feels like a need. I need to make risks in my life for His name. Not crazy random risks that have nothing to do with Christ. I've come to realize through my life now as a believer that we love being safe. It's in our nature. We want to take some steps for God but not any giant leaps of faith. We'd rather tip toe from here to there without having any visual disturbances. At least speaking for myself that's how I have thought/felt before. I want to break that in me because its not enough anymore. My love and desire for God feels its reached a boiling point where it won't let me take the safe route anymore. Please keep me in your prayers, I am not sure where God will lead me to but I know this feeling burning inside for more doesn't exist by accident.

Thank you for listening to ramblings.:)

Friday, February 11, 2011

March for Babies

As some of my readers know I'm participating in the local March of Dimes March for Babies walk this year. It's going to be held on Saturday May 7th in Akron. I have created a team, Team Mazio, after my son. He was born 2 1/2 months early at 29 weeks 2 days gestation. I was due August 28th 2009 but had him June 14th 2009. I had developed a very scary, dangerous and common disease called preeclampsia. Preeclmapsia is an illness that pregnant women get. Some signs are headaches, severe swelling or edema, high blood pressure, nausea, blurry vision or spots, sudden weight gain, and protein in your urine. I had developed a severe case of it. Mazio was born via c-section after the doctors felt my symptoms and the risks of my health were out weighing my son's. He spent 6 weeks in the NICU but had a uneventful stay and came home fairly healthy.

My husband and I will always be continually grateful for the support and efforts of our NICU team and we know that March of Dimes helped make it possible that my little boy was taken care of so well. I always thank God for putting me and Mazio in this life because if we'd been in another lifetime we both wouldn't be here right now. Praise God for His intricate will!

If you'd like to make a donation to team Mazio please click on the March of Dimes sponsor me button on the right side of my blog. I sincerely appreciate any and every donation we get that can help more babies like my son! If you live nearby and would like to join Team Mazio and walk with us please comment below or email me. We'd love to have you join our team!

Mazio would love to walk with you too!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Learning to embrace change....

“For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

So much has changed in my life this past year. I celebrated the first year of a little miracle boy's life, hubby swept me away to a romantic country cottage for our 2nd anniversary, saw a blessing on an ultrasound, said goodbye to that sweet blessing weeks later, and welcomed a new niece to the world. It's amazing how much things can change!

But I'm learning to embrace change even though sometimes it's a really hard change. I can only wonder what else will change in the future.

I have been getting more excited thinking about trying again for another pregnancy. Tonight I was feeling happy about it and when those moments happen I just have to take advantage of them. Sometimes I get so scared but I don't want to be. I just want to put all my fears with God and just trust Him, but sometimes it takes a ton of prayer to make those little fears vanish. I know they really are never completely gone. I'm also learning how powerful prayer can really be.
On to what I was getting at here though, I was feeling happy and decided to look at some apps on my phone that I had hidden for awhile. All baby and pregnancy apps that I have I had hidden for a long while because I just couldn't handle looking at them. After the d&c there was already too many reminders of what happened that I just couldn't bare anymore. Tonight I decided to look at them again since next month I might need to use some of them. It was kinda sad, I looked at one I had been using before the baby died and it said I would have been 32 weeks this week. I can't believe it's been that long since we said goodbye.

Sometimes I feel terrible for getting happy or excited about trying again. I've been working out and eating smarter and trying to really just get healthy. It's all been for trying again though. It's been my goal, it's what's helped drive me to get healthy. Until recently I hadn't really thought about much else. Seeing little reminders like my pregnancy app on my phone though has brought my attention to that sweet dream that little girl was. How can I do that to her? How can I forget her so easily? Sometimes I feel terrible for being happy to try again because It's like she never was. In a sense, I don't want to betray that love I have for her.

Emotionally it's been a little tougher lately ever since my last blood draw. I know it's getting so close to the end. Three weeks now actually. I swore that next time , if there was a next time, that I wouldn't be so scared during the pregnancy. I promised that I would just be happy and if/when I got scared to just pray like crazy. I wish I could go back in time and not have been so scared with her.

This little Dr. Seuss quote I love, it reminds me of her.....

"A person's a person no matter how small."

When I ever doubt if she was real or not I just think of this quote the beautiful comfort in Psalm 139:13.

It's crazy to think that I could have been pretty pregnant right now and preparing for a new baby. My due date is fast approaching and I know that day might be a hard one. I'm trying to emotionally and mentally prepare myself for that. I know it was God's will. If you've had a miscarriage I really feel for you. I don't think people really understand miscarriages unless they've experienced one. Whether or not there was a heartbeat or not those babies were dreams. They were the dream of a beautiful baby.

"Níl go scór chomh beag sin nach féidir é a dhéanamh rian ar an saol seo."
"There is not foot so small it cannot make an imprint on this world."

Good Night- Oíche mhaith,

Friday, February 4, 2011

My 2nd Monthly Blood Work

I went yesterday for my 2nd monthly blood draw. As some of you know my last post from January was my first monthly draw and it was 1.5. When the office called me today to tell me my new result I was a little scared because this time it was a practioner who called and normally its just a nurse. I was thinking to myself "Oh no!, I bet it went up." but thankfully that was not the case. Now I'm......

Yay!!! Wow it sure feels good to be in the 0's! I can't believe I have only one more monthly draw after this and then it'll be all over. Of course since my dr. office is so unorganized the practioner told me " Okay, so now your negative so you don't have to get any more blood draws." They say that every time! You'd think that they'd look at my chart before they'd try to give me the wrong advice. Oh well atleast I'm trying to be on top of my

The closer and closer I get to this beautiful end of a very sad story the more I look back and remember what happened and what it took to get this far. I am so humbled at the process because I know that I couldn't have dreamed to be this far without God and His comfort. I can't lie though as happy as I am about this awesome blood work result, I'm also thinking about the beautiful dream that baby was to me and to all of us family. I miss her something terrible and will always love her and I know that I'll have days where I'll feel sad, but I know it was all apart of God's will and I feel very blessed to have gotten to carry her so long. I wanted to share a poem that I found and really liked the comfort it brings.

Precious Little One

I'm just a precious little one who didn`t make it there.
I went straight to be with Jesus,
but I`m waiting for you here.
Many dwelling here where I live,
waited years to enter in.
Struggled through a world of sorow,
a world marred with pain and sin.
Thank you for the life you gave me,
it was brief but don`t complain.
I have all Heaven`s Glory,
suffered none of earth`s great pain.
Thank you for the name you gave me.
I`d have loved to bring it fame.
But if I`d lingered in earth`s shadows,
I would have suffered just the same.
So sweet family - don`t you sorrow.
Wipe those tears and chase the gloom.
I went straight to Jesus` arms
from my loving Mother`s womb.

Author Unknown