Cornerstone

How’s it going?

This is a pretty normal question that lots of people ask me on a regular basis.  My answer is usually, “things are going pretty good, it’s been a nice summer…”

However, if I’m in a moment where I’m thinking about the baby we lost, I might say something more like, “Things are getting better.”  Sometimes I forget who I’m talking to, and if they knew or not.

Then I remember that not everyone reads my blog or knows what happened.

It’s strange to experience such a great loss, and realize that the whole world didn’t stop.

After the loss, we went to church a few days later on a Saturday night.  It happened to be celebration weekend at our church.  We were celebrating everything God had done and was doing for our church.  Lots of people were really happy.  There was an air of joy in the building.

I didn’t feel like I belonged there.

I wanted to leave and not ruin the party.

I didn’t feel like celebrating anything.

But I felt something in me tell me to stay, and decided that it was okay if I was sad and everyone else was happy.  It was still my church, and these people loved me weather I was smiling or not.  I was safe here.

During worship, we sang the song, Cornerstone by Hillsong.

Here are some of the words:

Christ alone, cornerstone
Weak made strong, in the Savior’s love
Through the storm
He is Lord, Lord of all

When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil

My husband sat on my left and held my hand, and my dear friend sat on my right and held my other hand as I sat and cried/ attempted to sing.

“This is the hardest part” she said.

She would know.  She’s had three miscarriages.

She knows my pain.  She’s cried these tears.

She held my hand as I sang all the words as full as I could with a lump in my throat.

My eyes were blurry with tears, knowing the words were true.

She was right.  This was the hardest part.  Believing that Through the storm, He is Lord, Lord of all.

But I was choosing to believe it.  Right there, right then.  In that very difficult moment.  I knew God had not abandoned me, and his love for me pierced something deep in my heart.

After a while, I felt God speak to me.  He said, “the angels are singing over your baby.”

I started crying, sobbing.

My baby was safe.  My baby was with Jesus.

I tried to sing again, and asked if maybe the baby could hear my voice too.  I sang as best I could, crying and cracking and singing, imagining that my baby could hear his or her Mama’s voice praising God among the angels.  I sang the words over my baby,

Then He shall come with trumpets sound
Oh, may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone
Faultless, stand before the throne

I will not sit in sorrow, refusing to believe what is good about God.  I will not let my sadness drag me into a place of misery, believing lies that God doesn’t care.  I will choose to take God at his word.  He’s been there for me before, he will be here with me now, he will never leave or forsake me.  Not ever.

I am His.

My Favorite Smoothie/Shake-ish of ALL TIME.

That is a tall order.

I drink this smoothie almost every single day.

It’s that good.

Now that I’ve talked it up, probably WAY to much, here’s the recipe with photos:

The Harry Belafonte 

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1 1/2 cups milk (I use TJ’s Almond Beverage, Original)

1 to 2 tablespoons of unsweetened coco powder

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla (no alcohol fake kind, gross-ee, as Ellie would say)

1 to 2 handfuls of frozen* spinach (depending on your spinach mood)

1 to 1 1/2 frozen chopped spotted to brown bananas**

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Put everything into your blender in that order, and then blend.  You’re all set for a great way to start out your day.  Or if it’s evening and you’re craving a milkshake, leave out the spinach, and add in a little extra chocolate and vanilla.  It’s a pretty decent substitute to a thousand calorie shake.  Now listen to this song… 

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*Spinach doesn’t have to be frozen, it just keeps MUCH longer that way, so I always keep a few bags in my freezer.

**I buy around 36 bananas at a time, let them brown, then chop and freeze them all in ziplock bags.  Then I’m set for a few weeks.  If you keep the bag thin enough, you can break off banana chunk sections and toss into your smoothie, guessing on the amount.  So far this is the easiest way of freezing, storing and using frozen bananas. Be prepared for the checker to make a joke about how many bananas you are buying.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

 

Bora Bora

What up y’all?

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Obligatory beach vacation photo.

I am fully embracing summer.  It’s like 100 million degrees here in sunny California, and I’ve decided to just go with it.  Should you come by my house at any unexpected moment, you might just find me in our pool, near our pool or making dinner while the kids are in the pool with Davin.  Bora Bora has taught me something, and that is: I take myself way too seriously, and I just need to chill.

Is the sun out?  Yes.

Am I at home with kids all day?  Yes.

Should I take my naps outside in the pool (while my kids are napping) and get a tan without feeling guilty that part of my everyday summer parenting experience includes me lounging in the pool every day for a half an hour to sleep and tan?  Yes I should.

I have brought Bora Bora home.  Also, my laptop might overheat because I am currently typing outside by the pool.  In fact, it just got sprayed by the pool cleaner thing.  Whateve’s I don’t even care it’s all good.

Here is my very best 4th Grade State Report summary of Bora Bora.  If that didn’t just get you way excited, I don’t know what could.  Also, I feel like when people take vacations, and don’t give me a play-by-play, I am deprived.  I want photos and stories.  I want to hear it all because I am vicariously enjoying your vacation.  Yes I am.  So, when you come home from Disneyland, Europe, Alaska, Weed… wherever, I want to hear ALL about it, because it’s fun.

BORA BORA!!!  Let’s go together through pictures!

Bora Bora is amazing.  And it takes like almost a full day to get there from the West Coast – but that matters not once you are there.  It actually felt short to us, but that is because we are parents of young children, and for me, the trip literally started the moment we walked through the airport doors.  I looked around and smiled, and then slipped into cruise control. Which actually looked more like me just staring and smiling and looking at everything.  A few times Davin had to say, “Are you okay? You’re so distracted.”  I was like, “Huh, what?  I actually get to look around someplace and just watch people… this never happens.  No one NEEDS anything from me.”  That in itself was amazing.  Visiting the airport.  Also, if your ever in the International Airport in LAX, hit up Ink Sack it’s delicious, then grab some wine in the wine bar next door, they will let you bring your samiches’ over.

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This photo says, “I have no children under my direct care right now.”

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Best airport food to date.

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Date night at the airport

Back to Bora Bora.  Here’s an ariel view, that is not pretend.  This is real life.  You get here after leaving LA, landing on Papeete, then taking a small (see: exciting turbulence) to this island.  If you sit on the left side of the plane, you are treated with a view similar to this.

Then you get a boat ride all the way around the main island to your resort.  So for us it was Airplane ride #1,2,3 and Boat ride #1.  22 hours of travel = that was nothin’.  When we arrived, they played us a song on a ukulele, blew a conch and gave us leis and coconuts to drink from. It was like lifestyles of the Rich and Famous all up in here.

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The song was called, “I’ve had no sleep and I don’t even care!”

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Free breakfast the first day? YES please!

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This was only my first plate. There were also crepes and other delights. That is fresh swordfish. Mmmmmmm.

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The water is a million different shades of blue and turquoise.  Every time the sky changes, the water does as well.  It’s like a constantly shifting piece of art.  There are also no bugs or animals that will kill you on the island.  I saw that as a natural plus.

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Sunrise in Bora Bora

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Waking up in Bora Bora

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I am partially convinced it was like a sneaky visit to heaven, like a preview of what it’s going to be like.  We were told it was once a volcano that collapsed on itself and made this amazing motu/reef surrounding it which makes the water almost lake like some days.

The air.  I have to talk about it, because it was amazing.

On our resort’s island, the air was a perfect mix of warm and humid but not too sticky.  The main island occasionally lacks the breeze, but out on the ocean we stayed nice and cool.

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Side view of our hut.

Once we realized there were no bugs, we slept all night with our windows and slider open.

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Romance in Bora Bora

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Drinks! We made our own most of the time.  Drink recipe below ~  you’re welcome.

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Behind our island is the Corral Gardens.  It’s one of the better spots for snorkeling with fish in Bora Bora.

Davin and I did a 4×4 tour one day, which happened to be private, only because no one else had booked it.  I totally recommend it, as we were able to see the whole island and get a lot of history in about three hours.  It was like serious Indiana Jone’s style though.  In ten days, Hawaii gets as many visitors as Bora Bora does in a year.  It’s a great place to be if you want to run into like 5 people and that’s it.

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Roadside coconut stand. Delish.

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Indy!

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View from the main island.

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These trees are so fun.

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And we went to a luau…

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Super fun luau. They all seemed like family and friends, and would laugh at each other while they performed, and make jokes.

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To quote the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, “Chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool”

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Night in Bora Bora.  Davin’s amazing photography.

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Night from the top of our island.

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This is after I smashed my face into a boat prop while chasing a lemon shark.  I am in pain but still happy in this photo.  See how swollen the right side of my face is?  See that scrape on my nose?  Owwww.

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This was the view from our bungalow, sitting in our lounge chairs.  It made me feel better.

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Drinks in the resort lounge.  “I’m SO FANCY! You already know!” – Iggy Azalea

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These are our RAD friends we met on our trip. We had them over for drinks. They kayaked over to our island because they are bad-A’s.

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Lastly we took a lot of photos and chilled.  The chilling was my favorite part.  Sometimes we’d wake up early to watch the sunrise on the top of the island, and other nights we’d hike to to the top to see the sunset.  It was just. So. Beautiful.  And I want to go back.  Someday.

To sum it up.  Sprinkle all of your magical dreams of a tropical vacation onto a sparkly unicorn, hop into the saddle and watch it gallop you over a rainbow and fly off into the sky.  That is Bora Bora.

Thanks for reading!

Bora Bora Beach Drink Recipe (stir fast with ice) - an accidentally modified version from the one I was taught by a fancy underground barkeep

2 oz. Rum (I prefer light, but either would work, we used Bacardi)

4 oz. Juice (mango, oj, sprite, your choice)

3/4 oz. Cointreau (& we tossed in 3/4 St. Germain bc I confused the recipe;-)

1 oz. Pineapple Juice (they sell this non-concentrate at TJ’s BTW)

Serve in a collins glass with a cup full of ice.  Enjoy~

our baby’s in heaven

IMG_4538A while back, I felt like I should take a break from writing.  We had a lot going on with birthdays, vacations and the end of the school year.  I felt the Lord whisper to, “take a break and just rest”.  Funny, a week after I decided to listen, we found out we were pregnant… with our fourth.  We were excited and a bit overwhelmed at the idea of four kids, but mostly just stoked.  I was really wanting another baby… and so was Davin.

These last few months have been gloriously free from most social media, blogging and all the “writing thoughts” that go on in my mind during the day.  I took a step back from all that I was engaged in and just rested with my family.  I played with my family, took naps and ate snacks.  Not much to worry about except what I should eat.  Pregnant ladies get really, really hungry… all day long.  It’s a serious business, that eating.

A week ago, we discovered that our baby had gone to heaven… with… out… our permission.  He or she most likely went to heaven around nine and a half weeks, because that’s what the ultra sound showed the growth rate at the day before our miscarriage, information we didn’t have until the following day.  I was fortunate enough to have a natural miscarriage, without any medical procedures.  Since we had never experienced one, and still didn’t have the news from our doctor that the baby had stopped growing, we at first were still hopeful that maybe the baby was okay even with the spotting, since it can be normal in pregnancy.  (Warning: the rest of this paragraph may be TMI for you… warning… warning!)  By 2:30 am when my water broke, we were pretty sure things weren’t okay.  By 4:30 am, after much bleeding and contractions we knew I was miscarrying our baby.  By 8:30 that morning, my contractions stopped, and the bleeding subsided, our baby was in heaven.

We cried when it was happening.  We cried when we realized our hopes for our little Dude or Lady in January were crashed.  We cried to think of the sweet child that we would never get to know on earth.  We cried just thinking about telling our kids that the baby they loved in Mommy’s tummy was in heaven.

It was sad.  But you know what else?  It was inexplicably covered in peace.  Literally just how the scripture that says in Philippians 4:7,  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  A peace really did come over us and that transcended ALL understanding.  

I know it’s early in the process, and I’m sure there is more grieving to be done.  I am not minimizing that.  I am just saying that in the midst of physically experiencing a miscarriage and not realizing what was going on right away, in the midst of understanding the truth that our baby wasn’t with us anymore, in the midst of grieving the loss – I still felt surrounded by peace.  If that doesn’t transcend all understanding, I don’t know what does.

Worldly logic says I shouldn’t be able to feel any peace in the midst of this sorrow.

Here’s something else.  The day before when I was getting the silent ultra sound, (I say that because the tech only asked me three questions, then never spoke again…) the tech finished and went to see if the radiologist wanted to share any information with me, which he did not. While I waited, I stood there thinking, hmmm, this wasn’t like all my other ultra sounds where the sweet lady says, “ohhhh, here’s the baby’s heartbeat!  Here’s the hands!” it was just some weird dude saying not a word.  Thoughts started to cross my mind that the spotting might have actually meant that something was wrong.  When I started to panic and get sad, I heard the Nat King Cole song, “Smile” on the speakers in the hallway.  It’s a pretty tragic song guys, if you start playing it while you read this, you might just cry.  So only do that if you want a good cry.  Once I heard the sound of Nat’s voice, I felt this crazy peace rush over me and I was back at my grandparents’ house, as a kid, listening to their records.  My grandpa is already in heaven and I felt like that was God’s way of saying, “Yea, this is rough, but it’s going to be okay.  We go way back, I was there with you then, and I’ll be here for you now.”

Guys, I didn’t walk through this miscarriage alone.

God surrounded me with his presence in so many ways.  Jesus showed up in Davin as he sat near me the entire night, holding my hand, taking care of my every need, being unbelievably supportive, loving, amazing and strong.  He showed up in the love and support of my family and friends through texts, muffins, flowers, cards and a friend watching our three kids so Davin could go with me to the doctors to make sure I was healthy the next day.  God was gracious to take the baby to heaven earlier in my pregnancy, when it wasn’t as difficult to miscarry naturally.  He timed it so we’d still have space to heal before we go on the crazy awesome tropical kid-free vacation we’d planned for this summer.  I even still get to  look forward to and celebrate a baby right around Christmas, since my brother and his wife will be having their second then (#babyfix)!  And, I felt his grace when I held my three kids the next morning in the kitchen, thinking that some women experience a miscarriage, and don’t yet have a child to hold and thank him for.

I keep thinking of all the ways that he was so gracious to me, even in the midst of this sorrow. And, it doesn’t make me not sad that my sweet baby is in heaven.  That I’ll never hear this kid laugh or see he or she smile on this earth.  But seeing God show up in so many different ways made me feel like there must be something bigger going on than my plans and purposes. Because those weren’t my plans and purposes.

God is sovereign.

Does that mean he wanted my baby to die and my pregnancy to end in a miscarriage?  No. Not at all.

We live in a non-Eden world.  It’s not a perfect heaven just yet.  God’s given us the power of free will, making our world a messy, sin-filled, sometimes crappy place that we get to bring light into through Christ’s love.

God is sovereign means that he has a bigger plan that he is working out in spite of sin’s effects on this world, making room for his love in the tough stuff.  And because he sent his Son to die for our sins, we know that his whole plan is motivated around his love for us.  Even when it doesn’t look like it.  Even when it doesn’t make sense to us.

We toss the word love around like it’s whatever, but when you really, really think about it – God loves ultimately, fully, completely and perfectly, each one of us.  And somehow, I think that truth resonates with you, somewhere deep, deep down in your heart.  And if you want him in your life, you don’t have to be perfect, it’s as simple as this prayer,

“Jesus, please forgive me for all the stuff I’ve done that didn’t honor you.  I’m sorry.  Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins.  Please come into my life and begin to make stuff right.  I want to see you transform my life into something beautiful.  Please be Lord of my life.  Amen.”

That’s kinda a, “Jesus Take the Wheel” type of thing, giving your life over to him;-)  It’s sorta a big deal, so If you did pray that for the first time, you should find someone who reads their bible and let them know so they can help you find a church.  Walking with Jesus is never an orphan experience, you need a big family around you, reminding you about God’s love and truth in word and action.  And, some churches are awesome and some are not, or can be super old-school and if that’s not your thing, keep looking until you find the one that feels like home.

And, like I told Davin after we’d finished crying, “Hey, that’s the BEST kid we ever raised!  That baby is in heaven!  SUCESS!”  God can bring good out of anything.  We high-fived with tears still running down our faces, knowing that there was still joy in our future.

Now I am a mom of four (actually maybe five, we thought we were pregnant before this one and then weren’t after a few days, so maybe number four has a sibling in heaven).  Either way, I have three little ones on earth to raise-up to know the Jesus that their little sibling or siblings are hanging out with right now.

And that’s a huge job.

Thanks for reading.

And for those of you who just love to cry… I give you

“Smile” by Nat King Cole

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile

Pinterest and Crushed Dreams

Pinterest.

It can be a discouraging letdown of false hopes and easy dreams.

It is so simple to pin something and, “make it mine” but then do nothing further.  Or worse, as in my most recent case, pin something and ACTUALLY try it, just to have it NOT work.

Twice.  Because I forgot I did it the first time.

Yep.

Scowlie face.

For the last two years, Davin and I have been landscaping our backyard.  We are nearly finished, and for two years, we have had no mulch or ground cover to block the weeds.  Since Davin is the one with the brute strength and backyard vision in our family, I have been appointed, chief weed puller.  I have poured hours and hours into pulling the weeds in our yard, just to keep it looking the way we planned it until we can put the mulch in (which happens to be in landscaping, unfortunately the LAST step).

However, I recently read on pinterest that spraying vinegar on weeds is an easy, cost-effective, organic way to kill weeds.  I was so excited!  The pin was from Bob Vila’s website.  Touted under the, “9 natural ways to kill weeds without harming mother earth.”  Now let me tell you, the first thought I had was, “Why doesn’t everybody do this if it’s so cheap and easy?  Why would Davin spend his hard earned money on toxic weed killer if he needn’t do so?  Why would he send me to pull all those tiny little annoying weeds if we can just dance around and spray them with natural herbicides?”  But alas, my enthusiasm was too great and I went for it anyway, excited to get my organic gardner on, I rushed through the house to find an empty spray bottle so I could awe the weed-killer-world with my new hippy ways!

Davin caught me mid-search for a bottle,

“What are you doing?  Why aren’t you taking a nap?”

“Babe!!!  I found this new thing on pinterest, where I can kill ALL the weeds in our        backyard with just vinegar!!!”

“Really?” (skeptical voice, which I dismiss because he’s finds toxic weed killer useful)

“You already tired that, six months ago, remember?”

“No!!!  I couldn’t have, BOB VILA SAYS it on his website!  Bob Vila wouldn’t lie!”

Then I ran out the door with a stinky spray bottle full of nasty vinegar ready to take on the weed world.

I was diligent guys, I followed the internet instructions precisely:

Apply vinegar with a spray bottle, pump sprayer or brush. Like other natural herbicides, vinegar cannot differentiate between weeds and other plants. Do this early in the morning – when there’s little wind – to avoid contaminating nearby plants. Vinegar’s killing properties are activated by the sun, so try this on a cloudless day, which also ensures that rain won’t wash it off before it works its magic. (link above).

“Vinegar’s killing properties…”

I was out in the hot, hot sun (it was like 90 trillion degrees last week somewhere, which made it feel hot here).  I carefully sprayed ONLY the weeds, because I was sure even one drop was going to destroy every single thing it touched within a two foot radius.  It took me over a half an hour, which in my world = almost all my personal free time in one day.  I was generous too with my spraying, like those weeds were soaking wet, as was the ground around them. Having spent many a weekend pulling those little stinkers, I was happy to douse them in poison, be gone you ugly little time sucks!

Here is what happened.

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Brown spots.

Then, a few days later, undaunted, they grew taller.

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And had babies.

IMG_5482Piece of junk!

Do those look dead?

HARDLY!  In fact, I think I made them stronger.  What happened to, “vinegar’s killing properties?”

And since I hate the smell of vinegar AND defeat.  I gave up.  A second time.

Davin was right, I had actually already tried this with equal enthusiasm six months prior.

And this leads me to the only thoughtful thought of this post.  It’s been said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” (author of this quote is much disputed between Einstein and Ben Franklin, neither of which probably said it.)   Which leads me to wonder, where else in my life have I done this?  If I can seriously NOT remember that vinegar didn’t work the first time (which is pretty pathetic if you ask me, and I will blame it on a solid lack of naps), what else am I still doing expecting different results?

Something to think about.

And don’t go wasting your time spraying your weeds with vinegar, Bob Vila’s website tells lies.

Radical Obedience

In bible study this week, we learned that Jesus did nothing except in direct obedience to the Father and that he obeyed immediately.  And in church we are learning about, “Being Jesus”.

It made me think, what if I tried this for one day?  Like for one day I was 100% obedient to the Father in every moment?  What if I really, fully tried to be Jesus for one whole day, in ONE aspect of my life: obedience.  I tried it yesterday for only half a day and discovered something very precious.

It’s not about me.

What?  I figured I knew that already because I’ve heard it a thousand times, and just heard it in a sermon but apparently it’s never fully sunk in because I still find myself constantly fighting for my own way, “dying to myself” but sighing a looong pitiful self-indulgent sigh as I do it.

James 4

Submit Yourselves to God

“4 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

Here’s the challenge I put out to my bible study group and now to you too if you like: to be like Jesus for one day.

He did nothing except in direct obedience to the Father.

He obeyed immediately.

He obeyed fully.

“If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” (John 15:10)

Two girls in my study totally took me up on it.  We are all going to pick one day next week and try it, then report back.

Here are the results from my half day:  Right away, God gave me the insight that it’s not about me and it wasn’t in the crappy feeling type of way, it was in the everything sits right now kind of way.  We were designed to be obedient to God.  As soon as I got in line with that mentality, snap did I feel better – that sounds absolutely the opposite of what you’d think, but I’m telling you I was happy – like way happy.  I was content.

It’s kinda like this picture of my oldest daughter.  When we trust God fully, when we give him 100% obedience, we let go of the tight grip we have on control, he can then toss us up in the air and when we keep our eyes on him the whole time, it’s totally fun – we’re not afraid of getting dropped, we know he will catch us every time, leaving us to yell, “more!  again!”  Our act of total obedience displays full trust in the Father.

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photo credit: Danny Montemayor Photography

But we have to let go of control for him to give us a good toss.

As soon as I decided it wasn’t about me, not much bothered me (and I have three little kids guys, they can do A LOT to bother a person;-)

Later, when Davin and I went on a date, my focus wasn’t about getting what I needed (talking time, connection) it was on, “Okay, God, you know my needs, I trust you to meet them in whatever form you like.”  Whaaat?  I was again so chill.  I think it might have been one of my favorite dates ever because I wasn’t trying to get what I needed out of it.  Later that night, we went to look at cars and the car guy had met Davin the week prior.  We all started talking and right away he starts sharing about his life and since I was so chill (trusting my Father) it didn’t bother me that it was a “date-night” and I normally wouldn’t want to be interrupted with other peoples lives, I instead enjoyed it.  He ends up sharing that he was raised Jewish and his wife a Unitarian, but that because we were cool people and really chill, and he wanted to know what church we went to, he was interested.  This guy was so rad!  We of course raved about our church and the teaching and community and gave him the website and maybe he and his wife will come with us on a Saturday.  How stoked was I after that?  So stoked!

So, that was a half a day.  I am going to strive towards this awesome feeling of, “it’s not about me” this whole week.  I am guessing I’ll screw it up somewhere, but hopefully, because of Christ in me, the hope of glory, I’ll get right back to it.  I seriously hope this insight and mentality stick with me, this is who I want to be.  I like being like Jesus.

So, maybe you’ll try it?  An entire day of obedience could look like almost anything: forgiving someone who’s wronged you, not holding a grudge, saying, “after you” in line, stopping your day to help a stranger, calling a friend you haven’t spoken to in awhile – only God really knows what your day might look like, but I can assure you from experience, it is WAY more fun to live in 100% obedience than 50% or even 20%.

God is not a half way God, and neither is obedience.

Good luck and I can’t wait to hear about the cool things happen when you try it out.

Let’s do this guys!!!

As always, thanks for reading.

God’s in your box

A while back, I started to read C.S. Lewis’ book, The Problem with Pain.  But at the time, I wasn’t IN much pain, so I lost interest and moved on.  The other day I was wishing I had read it.

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This last week, I was in a great deal of pain.  I had a four-day migraine.  It came and went, and was super bad at the beginning.  Like puke-in-the-sink my-head-might-explode bad.

All I could think of at first was, “whhhhy?”

“Why God, would you allow this to happen?  I thought I was healed?  I really was!  I’m so disappointed!”

Also, I just told like the whole internet that you healed me, soooo, that’s pretty awkward.  What am I suppos-to say?

Not like God is ruled by what goes onto the internet, that’s for sure, but I felt kinda crappy about the fact that I just finally announced my big healing news and was super stoked, and then I came back from a church retreat and I got a few headaches that week, and then one very enormous migraine the following week.

As my toddler would say, “supa lame.”

Here is what I do know, and why I am actually sharing this.  Because my life trails are not all that important in your world, however, some of the stuff I learn during them has been life changing for me, so I want to share.

On Tuesday, after I got over my pity party, I took some ibuprofen and thanked Jesus that he helped people invent medicine to make me feel slightly better when I’m sick. I then ate, and took a nap and threw away any guilt I was feeling that I wasn’t healed, or didn’t trust God enough to heal me and not take medicine.  I was able to go out to dinner that night with some friends, and felt mostly fine.

I woke up the next morning, at like 3:30 am, feeling nauseous and back in pain.

After praying for awhile for other stuff, I finally got the nerve to ask God what was up.  And although he didn’t answer me why I had to go through the pain I was going through, he did tell me the following.  It has changed how I see Jesus completely.

He showed it to me in a word picture, as he almost always does when he speaks to me outside of the bible or a sermon or whatever.

Here is the word picture followed by what I felt like was insight he gave me:

I am in like basically the visual of outer space, it’s black.  There is a clear very large box.  I am inside this box and it is able to seal completely, so nothing can get into it unless it is opened.  I can’t open it.  In the box, along with myself is what I call sunlight dust particles, the dust you see in the air when the sunlight hits it right.  In this word picture, they are pain particles.  Small particles, that God the Father allowed into my box, and is allowing me to feel.  He is outside of my box.  He said that he knows every single one, he knows the number, the size the weight of them all.  He didn’t let one more speck into my box than necessary.  He said he knows my pain better than I do, he can see it from top from bottom, from inside and out, every angle.  In moments where I forget my pain, he still is aware of it.  So I’m like, okay, but why?  I hate this box.

Then, I see Jesus in my box.

He feels everything I feel.  He feels the same exact pain I feel.  We feel it together. He allows himself to feel the same pain, every ounce, every nanosecond of it, so that he is always acutely aware of what I am feeling.  Even if I forget for a moment, he is always aware of it.

I have never thought of this before.  I always thought when the bible says, “he was a man of many sorrows, he was a man of great pain” it was just talking about his physical life on earth, which was indeed full of pain and sorrow.  I always thought he could relate to our pain, like, “yeah, there was this one time that one of my best friends totally betrayed me to death in front of all my bros, it was super lame, I got arrested and beat up so I TOTALLY know how you feel when you say that you can’t believe so-and-so tweeted blah, blah, blah about you and now everyone’s hatin’, I get it.”  And sometimes I’d think, How DO you know what those little kids being trafficked actually feel like, you were never actually trafficked as a kid.

Whelp.

What this word picture was showing me, was that no, Jesus actually allows himself to feel my very exact pain.  Now whether he really does or not, I do not know, this was a word picture to teach me something about how God works and who his son is.  However, I am inclined to believe that this is an actual truth.

If my littlest one had to experience something painful to make her well, and it was in my ability to feel it to, I would.  I would want to know exactly what it felt like, so I would know how to help her, how to console her, and give her the understanding that she was not alone, that truly, we were going through it together.  Any loving parent would do this if they could.

When Jesus says he walks with us through our trails, I don’t think he is just walking alongside us in ease, although he is God, it seems more like he allows himself to experience the very thing we experience, however painful, however sad, however deep and cutting to our soul.

In this word picture, he and I were head to head, and all I could do was put my head next to his.  At least we were together in this pain, I was not alone.  It seemed the more I focused on him, the less painful it became, he was almost a distraction from the pain, and then just like that the box was gone, and we were out of it together.

Here is what I have learned so far, and it’s really early, but it’s what he is showing me.

Jesus knows my pain, because he goes through my pain alongside me, with me. He’s not drinking a slurpee while I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, just holding my hand.  No, he’s walking alongside me, knowing my great suffering, we are suffering together.  He is choosing to put aside any luxuries he is given and rights as God and walks alongside me through everything.

When I pray, and I ask for God the Father to take away the pain, he sees his own son, Jesus bearing that pain as well, and his heart is moved to action.

Also, when I looked back at that box, I could see that there were times I’d sit in the corner of it and scream.  Totally unaware of Jesus’ presence.  I bang the box with my fists hard.  I cry and fight and yell at God, believing all the while that he is outside of my box feeling nothing.

Whether we want to recognize him or not, Jesus is still in our box.  He’s always been in our box, it’s just that so many of us fail to look up and see him there.  We are too busy looking at God the Father outside of our box and getting angry and feeling betrayed, doubting his goodness.  But he didn’t have to send his son.

It also seems Jesus the only way out of that box.

If God allows suffering to bring us closer to Jesus, than this would be true.  As we draw near to him, the one who knows our great pain, we can find ourselves rescued and delivered.  And, although he may not ever take away all the pain here on earth, we can find rest in the son, because scripture says it is so.

So, I was in pain for four days.  But I walked out of it seeing that Jesus is always with me.  That is a gift I could never have hoped to have been given.  I don’t know that I will ever walk through pain the same.

It’s one thing for someone to say, I can relate to your pain.  At least that’s nice, and empathetic.

It’s another thing entirely for them to take it on themselves and walk through it alongside you, when they don’t owe you a thing.

He’s in your box y’all.