Thursday, April 23, 2015

Nadia is TWO!

My sweet girl turned TWO on Saturday.  She has had my heart since before she even existed.  She is fierce.  She knows what she wants.  She loves hard.  She smiles big.  She catches every detail of the activities of her sisters.  She is my precious baby.

We named her Nadia Faith.  Nadia means hope.  I wrote a little about what hope means to me in my last post. This girl really does define hope for me.  It was my hope to have another child.  It was my hope that she would be healthy.  It was my hope that she would show happiness.  It was my hope that she would walk soon.  She has done ALL of these things!  Yes, she has walked!

Isn't that just wonderful to see?!?!  We found out at the last therapy session what may be going on with her.  So your movement and anxiety pathways are right next to each other in your brain.  Sometimes, the signals going down the pathway overlap to the other.  The therapist believes that some movements cause great anxiety for Nadia.  I agree!  I was telling Michael about it and we think Julia deals with this a bit too.  We just need to keep her moving to get her used to it.  She suggested ballet or gymnastics as she gets older, even though she probably won't like it!  

I am just so thankful for this girl!  She is God's gift to us and I know He has grand plans for her future.  She has taught me so much already and I'm humbled to be her mother.  She gives me great hope!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Jesus and Boats

The Anchored Cross, a symbol of hope.

It's the way of this world.  It happens to everyone.  No matter your age.  No matter your race.  No matter your gender.  No matter your location.  Storms will come.  When you are on the waves of the open seas, storms are all the more frightening.

I was reading the story of Jesus walking on the water to Audrey one night.  I saw something in the story I have never noticed before.  So the disciples are on the boat and they are fighting against a strong wind.  Jesus had sent them away while he climbed up a mountain for some quiet time. They had been in the boat most of the night, trying to get to the other side of the lake, but this wind is making it very difficult.  It must have seemed like all of the sudden, out of nowhere, Jesus is just strolling along the lake.  The disciples are terrified and cry out.  Jesus hears them and tells them to have courage.  You know the rest of the story.

To me, it seems like we are sometimes told by God to go do something really, really difficult.  And it may even seem like He isn't going to come with us on this mission.  So we go against the wind and we fight all night long.  We are tired and just want to give up.  But then, we look up.  We see a miracle happening before our eyes!  Jesus is with us, doing things we never thought possible!  Sometimes, our journey is hard so that we can see miracles unfold before us.  Sometimes, we feel alone, but God can show up in an instant.  Sometimes, we cry out in fear and God hears us and tells us to not be afraid.

And then, there is the story of Jesus calming the storm.  Again, Jesus leads us to a place of turmoil.  The disciples are afraid, and rightly so.  They have to WAKE JESUS UP!  He stands, "Quiet!  Be Still!"  And that was it.  This time, they know Jesus is right there.  This time, they go to him.  This time, they are wondering why he isn't acting.

This is my story most of the time.  I know God is there.  I go to Him in prayer.  I look around, wondering where the answers to my prayers could be.  Then God steps up, blows my mind, and asks if I have faith.  Um...sorry, Creator of the Universe.  I know it's all in your hands.  My bad.

And now, I see this little gem in Hebrews.  God is telling us that His word is solid.  He can not lie.  There is no one more powerful than He, so His oath is as good as it gets.  We can trust Him and the hope He has given us.
  Hebrew 6:19 "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."
It is a part of nature for our soul to get nervous, to question, to fear.  The winds and waves may be knocking us down.  We are beaten and bruised.  We may be desperately waiting for our miracle.

God reminds us that He has given us great hope.

He encourages us to keep the faith.  He knows that there will be storms in our lives that rock our boat.  He may have sent us out on that boat into that scary storm.  He created the wind and the waves that beat us down and He knows of their power.
God reminds us that He has given us great hope.

This hope is firm.  It isn't going anywhere.  It is secure.  It will not be broken.  The storm will pass and the boat will hold steady.

God reminds us that He has given us great hope.  Hallelujah!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Julia and Nadia's Birthday Party

 The past few years, we have celebrated Julia's (and now Nadia's) birthday on the Saturday before Easter Sunday.  It is great because there are a bunch of cousins in town for Leadership Training for Christ.  Sometimes, all of the cousins can make it.  Other times, the timing of their competitions doesn't make it possible.  The younger ones are able to come party instead of hanging out at the hotel all day.  It works out pretty well.
  This year, we celebrated Julia turning five and Nadia turning two.  My parents, aunt, Michael's parents and all but one of his nieces were able to come.

5 Years Later

  Saturday marked five years since I got Pemphigoid Gestationis.  You may remember that this is a pregnancy-related autoimmune disease I got just a few days after delivering Julia.  It is hormone-driven and your body attacks your skin, creating extremely itchy blisters and plaques all over your body.  It is insanely hard on you physically and emotionally.
  One thing that I remember about this time were the looks I received when I went out in public and I didn't cover up my arms and legs.  I longed for clear skin and swore I'd never be ungrateful for normal-looking skin ever again.  How quickly I forget!
  Body image is such a hard thing for us girls.  I have this gorgeous friend who is amazing.  After meeting her, my dad asked if she was as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.  My answer was, "Oh, yes!  If you can believe it!"  We were at dinner one day and we started discussing what we didn't like about ourselves.  I was floored!  She has insecurities just like me!  I truly believe Satan attacks women in this way.  We are beautiful creations of God.  It is time to stop believing the lies Satan spews at us. We are only going to grow older and gain more problem areas.  We must make a decision.  Will we be critical of each new wrinkle or added pound?  Or will we see ourselves as our Creator does?
  God loves us like crazy and wants us to love ourselves.  He also wants us to love others as ourselves.  That's hard to do when you are being critical of yourself.  May each of us cast our eyes off of ourselves, look on the One who loves us the most, and be on the lookout for ways to uplift the people around us.  Our insecurities may came off as silly, or even selfish, when we open our eyes to the world of abuse, trafficking, persecution, disease, or hunger.
  Today, my prayer is that I will embrace each new day and love myself fully, so that I can minister more effectively for the Kingdom.