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.

IMG_5481

Brown spots.

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

IMG_5484

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.

TheAnthonyFamily (229 of 330)

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.

IMG_4517

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.

 

Ellie Bells

So, my baby is two.

There, I said it.

Ellie is like space mountain fast going through her life, right in front of my eyes.

This post is just an outrageous amount of photos (and a few videos) of her over the last couple of months, a photo-montage without the music, if you will.  However, if you put Bon Iver on Pandora, it might be super cute.

Here is our first beach trip.  I took the kids alone.

IMG_3242 IMG_3257 IMG_3267 IMG_3269

IMG_3277 IMG_3356 and pizza of course from Pleasure Point Pizza (in close contest for worst bathroom ever…)IMG_7887
IMG_7891

dress up at a birthday party
IMG_8035

She enjoys being my coffee date when the twins are at preschool.

IMG_8128

She loves to say the following all the time:

“Mama, I’m SUPER hungry.”

“Mama, I’m SUPER tired.”

“Mama, I’m SUPER ______ (fill in the blank)”

Ellie is always SUPER something, because not only is it her favorite adjective, it is her only adjective;-)  At first I would get concerned, like oh no, she is SUPER whatever it was, and I’d get right to action on whatever it was she needed.  Now I know a little better.  She also loves to yell, “NO THANK YOU!” if she is less than pleased with the given situation.  Ahhh, the two’s~

Ellie loves putting her babies down for a nap
IMG_8143

My all time favorite Ellie noise that I cannot replicate – it’s magical.

This is what she does EVERY time I make a smoothie.  She yells at the top of her lungs, “SMOOOOOMEEEEEE”  then “NOISE!!!” “Headphones!”  Then she has both of her siblings trained to go into the pantry and get these for her, and put them on her ears…

IMG_8334

When she turned two earlier this month, we celebrated and took her to the beach.  That was her party.  It was totally fun, and very exhausting, because the beach isn’t exactly next door – but my family is an adventurous bunch, so I am blessed.

Ellie loves her gramma Lyn.

IMG_8345

And her papa.  Sitting in one of her happiest places.IMG_8349

Presents at the beach.IMG_8370 IMG_8469

Those little feet

such tiny legs

she will go so far someday

but for now she is still my big girl in her tiny self.

IMG_8374

Here is what I will call the chocolate face realization photo-lapse…IMG_8376

the first step is awareness, followed by disgruntlement (why’s my face look like that?!?)IMG_8378

sadness, such pity
IMG_8379

then acceptance.IMG_8381I just followed her around for two minutes.


IMG_8392

photo IMG_8419 IMG_8429 IMG_8431 IMG_8452 IMG_8460 IMG_8464Cousins and best buds.
IMG_3859

a brother is one of the best gifts in this life.  Everyone should have at least one brother.

IMG_3861

and a sister.IMG_3868

IMG_3896 IMG_3932 IMG_3944

such a fun day.

IMG_3961

And now… professional photo time!  A few weeks ago, we had these taken.  One of my former 8th grade students took them.  (http://www.dannymontemayor.com/ ) He is so great with kids, that when they asked him to stay and watch Micky Mouse Clubhouse, he agreed!  Nicest grown-up move ever.  Notice how Ellie makes herself RIGHT at home next to Danny;-)

IMG_8651 IMG_8657

Here we are around 8:15 in the morning, it’s not even 50 degrees outside… I was willing to make the sacrifice for the early morning shadow light.  Ellie complained zero times about being cold. I think the kids were too distracted by the fun to even consider it was freezing.

TheAnthonyFamily (5 of 330)

Ellie trying her best to keep up with her older brother and sisterTheAnthonyFamily (18 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (20 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (42 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (18 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (42 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (49 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (54 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (68 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (82 of 330)

sisters.
TheAnthonyFamily (89 of 330)

and a hug from a brother.TheAnthonyFamily (91 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (92 of 330) IMG_9830 TheAnthonyFamily (128 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (160 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (164 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (194 of 330)

this girl loves her daddy.

TheAnthonyFamily (207 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (216 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (217 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (223 of 330)

and while Davin and I were taking these…

TheAnthonyFamily (245 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (255 of 330)
TheAnthonyFamily (279 of 330)

Ellie was doing this…

TheAnthonyFamily (277 of 330)

Well that’s just fine
TheAnthonyFamily (285 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (291 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (292 of 330)She knows she’s loved.

 

I was blind, now I see

So, I feel like I should update the world on the migraines I was having.

I purposely have given it some time, time enough to have gotten at least 12 to 16 (or more of them) by this point.  That’s a generous underestimation, but I’d rather underestimate than over-inflate.

As I’ve explained to a few friends, had I not physically written about having such intense pain, I might feel a slight doubt that they were ever that bad, or that I really ever had them that often.

Because I don’t have them anymore.

I. don’t. have. them. any… more.

Where do I put that in my box that I made to contain God?  What room does that go in, in the house I’ve made for God and how he operates?

He blew the roof off my house.

I kinda feel like the guy in the bible times when Jesus healed him and the Pharisees questioned him intently (because they were super angry – Jesus wasn’t the Messiah they were looking for) and the guy who was healed said in John 9:25, “…One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

He didn’t have a good explanation.  He just stated the facts.

I always thought that was lame, that someone who’d experienced such power and freedom would surly be able to give a really solid answer about who God is and how he works.  Really nail it in the answer.

I always thought to myself, if that were me, I’d totally have a better answer.

I don’t.

Except that I prayed, and others prayed and I was obedient mostly obedient to ask for prayer when I felt him lead me to do so.

And, one of the last times someone prayed for me to be healed, I felt tingles up my back, the kind you get when you hear really, really good news, and the right side of my head felt warm, and I had this incredible sense of overwhelming peace and happiness and excitement all in one.

That’s it.

I used to have consistent, horrible migraines, and now I don’t have them anymore. And the only thing I can chalk it up to is prayer, and not even my own prayers.  It was the prayers of others.

Occasionally I start to feel the very, very slight beginnings of a migraine, and then I will say to Jesus, “Thank you Lord that you have set me free from migraines, thank you that you have healed me by your power and I don’t need to be afraid that they will come back.”

And then it’s gone, so quickly in fact that I’ll forget most of the time that I even felt any beginning of pain at all, until I feel it again a day or two later, and then it goes away as quickly as it came.

I wish I could give you this amazing thesis on God’s healing and how it works.

Honestly, I had planned on it.

But, I don’t have one.

All I can really say is that I used to have migraines and now I don’t have them.

How freeing is it to write that sentence?

You have no idea.  Or maybe you do, maybe you’ve been healed.

It makes me want to jump, and kick my legs really high to the side in the air like a newsboy.  It makes me want to do fist pumps and say, “I knew it!  I knew God was right!  I knew he’d heal me!”  And then yell, “God rules! (O’doyle drools)  I just got a little piece of heaven here on earth and I’m going to hang onto it!”

I hope I do.

I hope I never forget what God did in my life regarding migraines.  Because it might be the memory I need to have the faith to walk through the next trial in this life, trusting Jesus.

I was so excited in writing all this, I decided right then and there to have a party about it.

Some of you might be thinking, “you’re ridiculous Rebekah, who makes a party for God when they get healed of migraines?”  THIS girl does.  Party-hearty-city all up in he-ah.

When I told my kids why were were having a party (WITH cupcakes), Eli said, “Yes, and Mommy, Jesus made my bad dreams go away, and Jesus healed the men with scabs and he said go to Jerusalem and the teacher had happy faces on her fingers.”  Ellie yelled, “I no cry”, which is in reference to a few weeks ago when she randomly started crying when we’d drop her off for kids church.  After a few agonizing drop-offs, I decided to pray for her, and then have the kids lay hands on her and each pray a three-year old adorable prayer.  When we dropped her off, she didn’t cry.  God answered a tangible prayer right in front of my little kids. We celebrated in the hallway and ever since have prayed for Ellie, and she says, “I no cry.”

So it turns out we had lots of reasons to celebrate some of the beautiful things God is doing in our lives.  Here are the photos;-)

IMG_4449 IMG_4448 IMG_4450 IMG_4458 IMG_4464 IMG_4467 IMG_4469 IMG_4473 IMG_4493 IMG_4497 IMG_4505 IMG_4507 IMG_4508 IMG_4514

God is so good guys.  He loves us so much, that he doesn’t stay in our boxes or houses we make for him.  He’s bigger and better and more awesome than that.

Thanks for reading.

Don’t Underestimate the God you Follow

So I’ve been hearing the same message lately these past few weeks.

Some might chalk it up to coincidence, others like myself might say, “Hmmmm, I think perhaps God is trying to tell me something, and apparently I’m NOT listening, because he feels the need to keep telling me.”

By the way, each time I hear this message, I start to tear up.

Guys, I’m not the cryer in my family.  I won’t say who is, but it’s not usually me.

Each time, this message hits me like a brick right to the center of my soul, to the core of who I am, and then it sends resonating waves of truth throughout my whole body.

The last version of this message came to me in the car this morning, as I was pondering my life and if it mattered that I try to be a mom and ALL that entails while balancing what I really want to do for myself; invest in friendships, write, spend time with the Lord, pray,  row, paint my nails and pick out outfits, organize my closet and put on makeup, try to do my hair, and snuggle kids past bedtime, and make top-knots in my oldest daughters hair, and put piggies in my youngest even though she pulls them out five minuets later and make a home and have healthy dinner on the table and smile at my husband when he looks at me.

I feel it all pull in each different direction, and I can’t do it all at once.

I haven’t worn makeup in two three days, I’m wearing the same clothes I wore YESTERDAY (it was a decent outfit actually).  I did however make an entirely plant strong delicious menu, grocery shop with three children, get all the laundry done and serve dinner.  I even played a little bit with my kids and gave each one a bath, and snuggled one of them well past her bedtime.

Last night I was so tired by 9pm that I finally decided to stop working and just do my nails.

If I just stop, and let God direct me, like a sailboat in the wind – it’s not so hard.  But when I try and start my engine and get somewhere, I find that even though I’ve gotten somewhere, it’s not the twenty other places I wanted to be as well.  And I keep trying to get somewhere.

So in the car, as I was sweeping up all my frustrations into a big pile of grouchy leaves, God blew them all away with this same message, again.

I was listening to K-Love and Josh Wilson’s song, Pushing Back the Dark came on:

    One million reasons why, you shouldn’t even try.

    After all you’re just one heart, a single candle in the dark.

    And there are shadows here, feeding on your fears,

    That you don’t have what it takes – who are you to make a change?

  But oh, oh, don’t underestimate the God you follow.

     Whatever you do, just don’t look back.

     Oh somebody needs the light you have.

     Whatever you do, just don’t lose heart.

     Keep on pushing back the dark,

     Keep on pushing back the dark.

How can that make anyone NOT want to tear up just a little bit?

Saturday I heard the message during worship when God spoke to my heart and said he wanted to use me to speak to others even though I think I’m unqualified, afraid and not very eloquent, and lacking in pretty much every other way.

And then it was there again in the sermon, when our pastor shared how all the apostles were regular guys, ordinary people in whom GOD did extraordinary things.

I keep thinking that if God is going to use me, I’m going to feel different.  I’m never going to doubt myself or my abilities, my thoughts will always be organized and clever, I will have more than enough time to write and share my inspirations.  I will never get grouchy at my kids and yell, “NO!  NO YOU MAY NOT PLAY BUBBLES OUTSIDE because I am still cleaning up your mess INSIDE!  I am still sweeping up all your crumbs from lunch and I don’t want to clean up ANY more of your MESSES!  ALL I DO IS CLEAN UP YOUR MESSES!  NO MORE MESSES.”  <insert very sad toddler eyes>.  This comes from a mother who has wiped an excessive amount of bottoms and noses and what-not the past four years of her life… and she is tired, and God says in spite of herself, he still wants to use her.

And that makes me want to cry.

Because I am so very, very, very imperfect.

And I’ve believed that God would REALLY, REALLY be able to use me… ONCE I was perfect.

That is not what is actually happening.

Before that it was Wednesday night when I was questioning if anything I was doing in life really mattered and I got a text from a good friend and I felt like Jesus said, this message of encouragement is a reminder from me.  You ARE serving me, what you do matters.  I AM using you.

I feel like God is saying, I am going to use you in the grocery store as a stay-at-home mom, in the preschool drop off’s and pick ups, in the sweeping of the crumbs and the wiping of the noses, in the phone call with a friend and the everyday, ordinary stuff.  

I struggle with the desire to be a REAL writer, and like, full time write.  How dreamy does this sound to me?  VERY.  I see people leaving for work with a briefcase in hand as I drive my kids to preschool and I think, “Wow, what must it BE like to get to wake up and know you get to go work ALL day at something you love?”  Now, that person may have a job they hate, but they get to drive in the car – in silence, if they like, ALL the way to work.  #mycarisneversilent. They get a REAL lunch break #igetup20timespermealtohelpsomeonelittle, and maybe they even have a job they love.  My dream is to someday become a writer, and have that be my REAL job.  To fill out my productivity schedule that I downloaded from the storylineblog.com and actually GET TO DO IT.  I fill it out now, and I’m lucky if no one interrupts me during the 45 minutes I woke up super early for just have time to myself.  I’m trying to get somewhere and go after my goals but I get stymied at 7:45 in the morning until about 8:30 at night.  And if that little genius schedule is right, my brain should only work about 30% to it’s creative capacity by then:-(  But God doesn’t care about brain capacity.

I am a mother and I know I want to be home with my kids, and besides, no one has hired me yet to be a writer, so that also makes things complicated.

So today, my goal for the rest of the day is just to try and serve Jesus in everything I do.  Even though it seems like a job that is not important, and no one says, “hey, I noticed you just spent the last two hours in the kitchen prepping food, giving handouts to little kids, serving a meal and cleaning it all up while kissing boo-boos and refereeing the plasma car race in the backyard, even though you’d rather be writing, putting on makeup, taking a nap, doing pretty much anything else for yourself and not others…”  Well, actually, my husband thanks me ALL the time, but I digress…

Trying to have a good attitude by serving Jesus in smoothie prep

IMG_8747

Serving Jesus in playing trains

IMG_8754

IMG_8763

Serving Jesus in cleaning dishes

IMG_8738 IMG_8750

Serving Jesus in being an audience to my little girls performances

Look out youtube, this duo sensation is coming to your hit list soon!

And, serving Jesus in writing, currently one of my most favorite ways to serve him.

All I can give him is myself, and although it’s not much, he made man out of dirt, so he’s obviously good at working with what I would see as an general lack of adequate supplies.

Thanks for reading.