Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Living with Chronic Pain

Note: I posted this to my Instagram and Facebook last week. I wasn't planning on pushing it out anywhere else, but I think it's something I need to share. I live with pain. I have a great life, but I don't want to hide the part of life that really hurts.  So, here's a little photo and caption I shared last week when I was living in the pain. ♥

I’m waking up to day three of limited mobility. My edema flared up majorly this weekend and has affected my feet and legs to the point of not being able to do much walking. As I sat on the floor to get ready Sunday morning, since standing was uncomfortable, I wanted to pout a bit. I prayed and poured out to God my frustrations and limitations. I don’t normally do Bible study on Sunday mornings. I know I should. The rush of getting ready for church and the busyness of the day means I prioritize other an afternoon nap. I also get spiritually fed really well on Sundays, but I’m starting to see that I need to be feeding myself that day too. While I was pouting, I ached for comfort from God. So I read my daily devotion, which happened to be about God placing us in hard situations for a purpose. Then I picked up my daily Bible reading, which was from Job and how God had a purpose in his pain that was not punishment as one of his friends believed. Those two readings sustained me as I spent most of the rest of day in bed, healing and resting. I’m still not very mobile, and I still have some aches, but this time has forced me to slow down, think, and ponder on what God is doing through my pain. I also have some really cute caretakers checking on me. We all have different pains and reasons for those pains, but God can sustain us and teach us through them all.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Joy in Creation

Humidity— the original filter. My lens wouldn’t defog this morning. The humidity was no joke, and I could feel the moisture in the air as we walked around the yard.

Do you ever sit and marvel at creation? Are you amazed by a sunset? Are you overtaken with love for your children? Do you feel joy from the beauty that surrounds you? Did you know that our emotions are similar to how God feels? John Piper says that Psalm 104 is a song expressing the joy that God has in His creation. As I read the psalm, I feel the greatness of God and how small creation is in comparison. The things in creation that overpower me and tower above me are completely within His control. The psalm shows His power and His handiwork. His words themselves can control creation. This pushes me to praise and adoration. When I marvel at creation, I’m really marveling at the Creator who brought it all into being, me included.
“He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. May the Lord rejoice in his works. Praise the Lord, O my soul.”
Go read Psalm 104!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Harlow's "Big Girl" Room

Up until a couple weeks ago, Harlow was sleeping in her crib.  Don't worry-- her crib turned into a bed! She was starting to outgrow it, and the crib mattress and springs just aren't as comfy as a regular bed mattress.  I have been looking for beds for a few months, trying to figure out what to get for her. My thought was we would get her a twin bed.  Colin and I were wanting to get a new mattress for our bed, so our final decision was to move our current queen mattress to the guest room and move the full size mattress from the guest room to Harlow's room.  It takes up more room than a full mattress, but it saved us from buying a second mattress and bed frame. The iron bed frame is an antique that I had growing up.  Even though it takes up more space in her room, I think the white bed keeps the room feeling fresh and open.  The bedding is what I had right before Colin and I got married and has been our guest bedding.  It was the perfect fit for Harlow's room.  So, it turned out we didn't have to buy anything new to transform her room!

In case you were wondering, Harlow was excited to come home to a "big girl" bed!

Here are a few posts on how her room has looked in different stages over the past almost five years.  These posts will have details on some of the furniture and decor in her room.

Harlow's room is small, but we've found that you can make a small room work for whatever you need!  She loves her room and doesn't know that it's considered small for a bedroom.  I hope this gives you some inspiration for your small spaces.

Here's a photo overload of her "new" room.  You can click on the photos to enlarge them.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Learning from Laundry

Learning from Laundry

Often the things we complain and grumble about are actually some of our greatest blessings.
Anyone prone to hating the task of doing laundry?
I can walk into a room that is temperature controlled and has electricity and running water to do laundry. I don’t have to walk out into a harsh climate and find water to bring back to the house or carry my laundry to a water source.
I can push a few buttons and have machines wash and dry my laundry for me. I don’t have to scrub my laundry by hand.
I have a pile of laundry that needs to be washed and folded, because I am blessed with clothes to wear, towels to use, sheets to sleep on.
I have small kid clothes to wash, somehow more frequently than my own clothes, because I am blessed with a daughter to raise.
While my husband washes his own clothes (we learned in our first year of marriage that it was best for us to do our own clothes…can go more into depth about that later😉), I can either grumble that he always seems to have a load sitting in the dryer, or I can see it as a constant reminder that I have him.
When we start to view the tasks we despise as actually blessings, we’ll no longer be resentful. We’ll instead rejoice at the gifts we’ve so graciously been given. The next time you have a basket of laundry to fold, use it as a time of prayer, thanking God for all He has given you. That’s what I’m working towards.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Lamenting for Moab (Isaiah 16)

Hiding from my pride over here ↑

After taking more three years to read through the Bible from beginning to end, I had a lot of questions. As I read, I would put a sticky tab on a page any time I had a question. I’m now going back and trying to find answers for all those tabs. Often I find that my questions have been answered by continuing to read the Bible. Sometimes, though, I just can’t quite grasp the depth of the Word or see past my own human reasoning. When I can’t use the Bible to answer itself (on my own), I turn to trusted commentaries and Bible teachers to help me.

One of my questions came from my own self-indignation and pride. In Isaiah 16:11, we see the prophet Isaiah lamenting for Moab.  Moab is a nation born out of sin (see Genesis 19). Isaiah notes that the Moabites are known for their pride and conceit. They’re an idolatrous people. My question that I wrote in the margin of my Bible was, “Why lament for Moab?” Why lament for people living in blatant sin and worshipping idols they made with their hands?

Maybe I’m the only one who has ever felt this way about people. I can be pretty hard on people. If they’ve done something wrong, they deserve punishment. Extending mercy and grace isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. Lamenting over the consequences they will face definitely isn’t something I initially feel.

So, why does Isaiah lament for a prideful, conceited, idol-worshipping group of people?

Note: Here is a very surface level, watered down answer. I’m only addressing one aspect of this passage. This isn’t the end-all explanation of this chapter, but this is an explanation that really hit home for me.

The Matthew Henry commentary gives an outlook on the passage that is pretty convicting. He starts by saying that at the beginning of chapter 16 that God has made it appear that he doesn’t delight in the ruin of sinners, and He tells Moab what to do to prevent that ruin.

God doesn’t get pleasure from our wrongdoing. We need to get that, because we first need a clear picture of God to have a clear picture of how we are to view evil.

Also, God doesn’t hide a secret formula for how to do right and how to be in right standing with Him. He lays out a clear picture of repentance and salvation. Spoiler alert: The faithful man who sits on the throne who seeks justice and righteousness in verse 5 is the prophecy of Jesus! We have a King who provides righteousness for our sin, and we need to let everyone know!

Jumping back to Matthew Henry, he says that in verse 11 Isaiah experiences an inward grief, inward trembling that feels like strings being played on a harp. He says the afflictions of the world should be afflictions to us. Isaiah is mourning over the destruction that is coming to Moab because of their sin.

Do I ever feel sick in my gut over the pain of the world, like my insides are being plucked? Do I write off evil, or do I groan and grieve for those living in evil, praying that they may know righteousness?

Searching for an answer to my “why lament for Moab?” question was a real slap in the face. It made me face my pride (because that’s what it is when I think I’m better than someone else). I’m supposed to share the good news about the righteous King and lament for those who are serving anything else. It’s easier to lament for Moab when I remember that I had to be redeemed from pride, conceit, and idol-worship myself. I need to be afflicted by the world’s sin and tell them about my righteous King.

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