Thursday, April 14, 2011

Grateful for Gideon

I went to the doctor today because of concerns about possible thyroid issues and not being able to conceive after 11 months of trying. Several friends and my sister in law have all been to this particular doctor and have had very positive things to say about him. This was actually my second visit, but today he had a more profound impact on me than my first impression. Before I get into what I really want to write about, I didn't get any definite answers to why I'm tired all. the. time. But, he wants to do blood work soon to rule out thyroid issues and anemia. And he was really encouraging about us starting a family, even though it's taking longer than I ever imagined. We're going to give it a few more months before moving forward with a specialist.

During our visit, the doctor kept quoting Scripture and relayed the story of Gideon to us. He said, "If you had gotten pregnant right away, you might have taken the glory for yourselves, instead of giving the glory to God. Gideon started out with an army of 32,000 men and the enemy had an army of 135,000. God knew that when Gideon defeated the Midianites, he would take all the credit himself. 'Look what a good leader I am! I led these men to victory against this huge army!' But God had different plans. In the end, God whittled down Gideon's army to just 300 men and led them to victory in a battle that would have been 450 men to 1. God got all the glory for it, too." Our doctor encouraged us to trust God and relinquish all control to Him so that He gets all the glory when we become parents. I like the sound of that a lot.

He also quoted Isaiah 40:31, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength...they will run and not grow weary...". He explained that the word "wait" in this scripture was talking about someone with their hands bound together, unable to break free or do anything. They have to wait for someone else to come and set them free. We are helpless except to wait upon the Lord to move. When He is ready, He will come and set us free, but in the meantime, during the waiting, we must hold on to hope and be renewed! We must trust that He will be faithful to rescue us! Through the waiting, there is refreshing. Strength rising as we wait upon the Lord. The part about running and not growing weary ties right in with another Scripture that I've been standing on: Hebrews 12:1-3, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

Throughout this past year, I have had such highs and lows. Twenty five of my friends, family and co-workers have either had a baby or become pregnant. It's been a hard pill to swallow at times, seeing them so full of excitement and anticipation, preparing for the changes to come. It's especially hard to listen to them complain about feeling like a whale or having indigestion or getting to those last few weeks and praying that the baby would come early so they wouldn't be miserable anymore because I'd give anything to be big, fat and pregnant right now if it meant I'd have a sweet baby in my arms as a result. Sometimes I've thought my pms symptoms were those of pregnancy and have enjoyed feeling nauseous because it meant that my dream might be coming true.

Even though I'm still in the process of waiting and my hands are tied until God says, "It's time!", I want to give Him the glory now. If it weren't for these past 11 months, I wouldn't have this compassion for women who struggle with infertility. I wouldn't have this kind of relationship with God and started praying Scripture over my family and myself. I wouldn't have met this wonderful doctor whom I'm greatly looking forward to delivering my baby. I might not have cherished these last few months of "singleness" with Alex and let them slip by, taken for granted. I wouldn't have learned all the many lessons that God wants me to understand through all of this.

Thank you, Lord, for the times of waiting. Even though it's so hard to be patient and it's so easy to get caught up in a pity party of despair, You give me hope. You have good plans for my life, not plans to harm me. I rejoice in You in the midst of sorrow because You are still in control. I give You all the glory and praise for being with me in this season, because a time of harvest is coming and it's going to be awesome!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

And This Week's Memory Verse Is...

Our church just finished up a four-night production of Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames, a drama depicting different scenarios where people die and either go to heaven or hell. At one point, Satan comes out and talks to the audience and quotes a scripture (I can't remember which one!) and then says, "What? You're surprised I know scripture? I know lots of Scripture - way more than you do!" I knew that Satan knew scripture because he manipulated it to try and tempt Jesus in the desert. But this part of the play convicted me. Satan does know way more scripture than me and I need to memorize more of God's Word so that I have weapons to fight spiritual warfare.

"10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6: 10-17

The sword of the spirit is the Word of God, the only piece of armor that can be used to fight back against the enemy. I can't waive my helmet of salvation at the devil and make him flee. If anything, that puts a bigger target on my back. He hates that I'm saved and wants to see me turn my back on God.

"10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10

The word of God is the best weapon I have to defeat the lies of the enemy. When he whispers little "white lies" to deceive me, I have to speak the truth of the Word so that the lies don't take root in my heart.

I came home from watching the drama on Tuesday and wrote down probably 10 scriptures on index cards that I want to memorize right away. My goal is to memorize at least one verse a week (52 a year). I took the first note card to work with me, leaned it up against my computer monitor and memorized a scripture on the first day. Not only do I want to have God's Word in my heart to fight against Satan, but I want to be able to teach it to my children, pray it over my family, and encourage other people with the Truth. No more "garbage in, garbage out" mentality. I want to speak hope, truth, life into other people's lives. I want to stand firm in my faith. I want to fight the good fight and not grow weary and lose heart. Sometimes battles seem like there's no end in sight, but the Word says "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours" Mark 11:24

"With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26

"I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?" Jeremiah 32:27

The Bible instructs us to hide God's word in our hearts that we "might not sin against God" (Psalm 119:11) and also says that the word is "sharper than a double-edged judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12). The Word is powerful! It keeps us from sin, convicts of us wrong attitudes, strengthens us in weakness, connects us to God's heart, gives us instructions on how to live our lives. I don't know about you, but I want more of that in my life!

Friday, April 1, 2011

We're Debt Freeeeee!!!!! (except our house)

Sometime at the end of 2010, Alex and I started listening to The Dave Ramsey show on the radio. Then I bought Dave's book, The Total Money Makeover, on cd along with a cd about cash flow from his Financial Peace University for Alex for Christmas. We started using a cash envelope budgeting system in February and as of March 30th, we've paid off a car, a motorcycle and a credit card. Now we only have a mortgage and are working on saving up 6 months of living expenses. We're (practically) debt free!!!! It feels so wonderful! If you've never read The Total Money Makeover, I highly recommend it. It's geared more towards people with tons of debt, but so many of his principles apply no matter what state your finances are in. I'm so excited to see where we go from here! We have so many ideas swirling around in our heads. Now, to figure out how to fit some money in the budget for curtains...