Sunday, November 22, 2009

Be faithful

As Danica woke me at 6 am this morning with her usual "MAMA" call my heart felt discouraged. I am tired and a little bit depressed. The days all seem the same and my hours are full of he mudane. After I got her settled I opened my email and "Grace Gems" had this encouraging word:

Nothing more

(J. R. Miller, "Life's Byways and Waysides")

"Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master's happiness!" Matthew 25:21

No higher praise can be given to any life--than to say it has been faithful. No one could ask for a nobler epitaph than the simple words, "He was faithful." This will be the commendation given in the great account, to those who have made the most of their talents: "You have been faithful with a few things!" Faithfulness should therefore be the aim in all our living.

It is not great things that God expects or requires of us--unless He has given us great gifts and opportunities. All that He requires of us, is faithfulness. He gives us certain talents, puts us in certain relations, assigns to us certain duties--and then asks us to be faithful--nothing more. The man with the plain gifts and the small opportunities, is not expected to do the great things which are required of the man with the brilliant talents and the large opportunities. We should get this truth fixed deeply in our mind--that God asks of nothing more--than simple faithfulness.

Faithfulness is not the same in any two people. In the man who has five talents, there must be a great deal more outcome to measure up to the standard of faithfulness, than in the man who has but two talents.

Faithfulness is simply being true to God--and making the most of one's life. Of those who have received little--only little is required; where much has been received--much is required. Never does God expect anything impossible or unreasonable from anyone. If we are simply faithful--we shall please God.

Jesus said of Mary, after her act of love, when men murmured at her, "She has done what she could!" Mark 14:7. What had she done? Very little, we would say. She loved Jesus truly and deeply. Then she brought a flask of precious ointment and broke the flask, pouring the sacred nard upon her Lord's tired feet--those feet which soon were to be nailed to the cross.

What good did it do? We know it wonderfully comforted the Savior's sorrowful heart. Amid almost universal hatred, and maddening enmity--here was one who sincerely loved Him. While other hands were weaving a crown of thorns for His brow, and others still were forging cruel nails to drive through His feet--Mary's hands were pouring ointment on His head, and bathing His feet with the nard. Who will say that Mary's act did no good? It seemed a little thing--but we cannot fathom how her sweet, pure, loyal love--blessed our suffering Savior in His bitter anguish.

Thank you God for calling me to be faithful. Give me the grace to be faithful in dishes and laundry, Reading books and giving medicine and changing diapers. Help me to know you are glorified by these simple repetitive tasks done in the right spirit and always seeking to glorify your name.

Monday, November 16, 2009

How the miracle began

March 23rd, 2007 is the day I found out I was pregnant. It was a Wednesday, and I stopped and bought a pregnancy test on my way to work. I had a private bathroom off my office and as soon as I peed on the little stick it was as positive as could be. We had been trying to have a baby. Delaney was four and a half, and I felt my career was stable and our family was very ready for an addition. Two days later I began running a fever and had horrible flu symptoms. I was a very busy lady and this illness took me completely down. I was hosting a birthday party for a friend at a wine bar in DC and was also supposed to attend an important open house that Saturday. The next week I was to leave for a week long work trip to Phoenix. By Sunday I began to bleed and after calling my OB knew I needed to stay completely in bed until the next morning when he could see me in his office. Dan took me and they did an ultrasound to find a very large subchorionic bleed threatening the sac. They told me my chances of miscarrying were about 80%. I went home and crawled in bed and cried my eyes out. I canceled my Arizona trip and stayed in bed but by Wednesday was barely spotting so I tried to go into work. As I walked up the stairs to my office I began to gush blood, and so Dan took me directly to my OB's office. The ultrasound showed what I had feared. The sac was gone. I had miscarried. He wanted me to go over to the hospital and have a DNC. I refused. I was too distraught. I told him I needed to go home and rest. He reluctantly gave me a prescription for methergen to try to get me to pass any other tissue left and sent me home. That afternoon I did pass a very large clot of something. I felt like it was the baby. So I took the next few days off work, grieving and trying to pull myself together. I told Dan I didn't want to try to have children anymore. We had our Laney. I couldn't do this. I would focus on my career and be thankful for what we had. Monday morning I went to my OB's office on my way in to work for a quick ultrasound to make sure I had nothing left inside that would cause an infection. I climbed upon the table, and she stuck the wand inside me. As loud as could be we heard it--the thumping of a tiny heart. I screamed "WHAT IS THAT?" and she got tears in her eyes and said softly, "You still have a baby inside you. It's a miracle." From that moment on I became one of the most remarkable pregnancy stories in their office. I still had a very large bleed and they reminded me my chances of losing the baby were still great but there had been no more baby just 5 days ago and here it was. (They explained I possibly had twins and lost one and the bleeding was so great they just missed the other baby.)

This is the beginning of Danica's amazing story. As I sit here in the hospital watching her sleep after almost eight hours of thrashing and screaming last night I have been crying and praying and remembering she is here by God's design. I don't completely know what I believe about miracles. I grew up thinking they were something we wouldn't really experience in this day and age because God doesn't choose to work that way anymore. I know now they are more common than we acknowledge. Just because we don't always have the eyes to see or the heart to give the glory doesn't mean they aren't here. The verse I claimed during my pregnancy was from Job 42:5 "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You."

The miracle continues in a coming post . . .

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

When I can't pray

I know I should be blogging, writing in my own personal journal and praying during a week like this, but I can't. I am tired and weak and numb. I read this yesterday and it was exactly what God wanted to say to my grain of mustard seed faith.

I tried to pray this morning. I needed to pray. But the words just weren't there. I couldn't think. Was it because of the injury? The medications? I don't know. I don't know. I felt like someone in a little canoe out on a lake in a heavy fog. I would paddle first one way and then another, but I could never seem to go in a straight line or get any closer to shore. Everything seemed muffled and strange, and I couldn't see any landmarks to guide me.

And then I just got tired of paddling. Tired of even trying. So instead of reaching for words that wouldn't come, I just started thinking about Jesus: Walking the earth doing miracles. Touching the man at Bethesda. Holding the little children in His lap. Hanging on the cross. And now, lifted up so high. Beautiful, like the morning star just before sunrise.

That's when it hit me. Jesus was with me in that canoe, out in the fog. My landmark wasn't out there somewhere, He was in the boat. And I didn't need to talk just then. I could rest, feeling Him close, knowing He was there.

-Joni Eareckson Tada, A Lifetime of Wisdom

I know He's here. I don't need to patch words together. He is interceding. I can rest.

Monday, November 2, 2009


"As I reconsider my own assumptions about relating to God, I now see them as misguided and simplistic. From childhood I inherited an image of God as a stern teacher passing out grades. I had the same goal as everyone else: to get a perfect score and earn the teacher's approval. Cut up in class and you'll be sent to the back of the room to stand in the corner or to a vacant room down the hall.

Almost everything about that analogy, I have learned, contradicts the Bible and distorts the relationship. In the first place, God's approval depends not on my "good conduct" but on God's grace. I could never earn grades high enough to pass a teacher's perfect standards - and, thankfully, I do not have to.

In addition, a relationship with God does not switch on or off depending on my behavior. God does not send me to a vacant room down the hall when I disobey. Quite the opposite. The times when I feel most estranged from God can bring on a sense of desperation, which presents a new starting point for grace. Sulking in a cave in flight from God, Elijah heard a gentle whisper that brought comfort, not a scolding. Jonah tried his best to run from God and failed. And it was at Peter's lowest point that Jesus lovingly restored him.

I tend to project onto God my understanding of how human relationships work, including the assumption that betrayal permanently destroys relationship. God, however, seems undeterred by betrayal (or perhaps has grown used to it): "Upon this rock," Jesus said to unstable Peter, "I will build my church." As Luther remarked, we are always at the same time sinners, righteous, and penitent. The halting, stuttered expressions of love we offer may not measure up to what God wants, but like any parent God accepts what the children offer."

AMAZING GRACE!!! Living in this truth today!

-Philip Yancey, Grace Notes