Titus 2:11-13

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Love of Christ

As I continue to learn of more people who have been praying for Travis and me, I am humbled and blessed by the love and support of our Christian brothers and sisters.  How awesome it is to be a part of the body of Christ and a friend of believers who truly live out the gospel by loving God and others.  Words cannot express how much we appreciate all the prayers, meals, books, and words of encouragement; you knew how much we needed these things even before we did.  Thank you for demonstrating to us the love of Christ--it has meant more than you can know.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Emotional Weakness, Spiritual Strength

What is going on in this body of mine?!  I'm joyful one second, sobbing the next.  Last night my husband was trying to show me the affection that I would normally crave, but every time he tried to kiss me I started crying for no apparent reason.  Knowing how frustrating it was for me to not have control over my emotions, I can't imagine how frustrated my husband must have felt.  I don't suppose it feels too good when your spouse busts out in tears at a sincere show of affection.  It's hard for me to understand these emotions, so I would not fault my husband if he is completely baffled.  At times I almost feel embarrassed of my tearful displays.  There haven't been many of them, but they always seem to come at the most unexpected and inopportune moments.  I'm sure that whatever is going on is just a natural human (okay, maybe just womanly) response to a very painful experience.  And I think my husband understands that my sobbing is an involuntary reflection of pain, sorrow, and raging hormones.

Praise God that even through my instability and weakness, He remains constant and strong.  I will continue to seek Him as I strive for that endurance which will make me perfect and complete and lacking in nothing (see James 1:2-4).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

For When I Am Weak...

God has answered our prayers.  On Monday night, July 14th, with much physical and emotional pain, I gave birth to the baby we will never know in this life.  It seems that as each day passes I miss our baby more and more.  It's hard to understand such grieving over one whom we never knew; indeed, the loss of a baby through miscarriage is--and feels like--losing a loved one. 

Because of the time we had to prepare ourselves for the loss of this child, I honestly did not foresee having such feelings upon the time of the actual miscarriage.  God filled Travis and me with so much peace, comfort, and strength during those three weeks of waiting; and I guess I thought that would keep the tears and pain away.  I tend to think that I have to be "strong" in order for others to see God working in this situation and in order to prove that my faith is unwavering.  But as a dear friend encouraged me, mourning is okay and is, in fact, very important in the healing process.  She reminded me that we (believers) do not mourn like those who have no hope (unbelievers).  I have placed all my hope and trust in God, but that does not mean I won't experience natural human emotions.  It does mean, however, that my response to those emotions should reflect that hope and trust.  Furthermore, I am reminded that I do not have to be "strong" in order for God to be glorified.  "And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.'  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

I have prayed since the first ultrasound that whatever happened, God would receive the utmost glory.  May He continue to cultivate in me a proper and Godly weakness that He and not me would be shown strong.

I love you, my little baby, and I long for the day when I will join you in heaven to be with our Lord forever.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Through the Eyes of a Child

As my children grow, I am finding that it's the neatest thing to watch them discover their world with such awe and innocence.  Tonight as we sat on a blanket under the night sky preparing to watch Ankeny's fireworks display, Amariah suddenly pointed to the moon, making her grunt-like comments about what she observed.  After talking about it for a while, she turned her attention to a bright star, pointing with her whole body and making similar grunt-like comments.  As the fireworks began, both Abel and Amariah fixed their eyes on the beautiful display, Abel commenting nonstop and Amariah commenting only about the prettiest explosions.  I wonder what was going through her mind as the fireworks boomed and lit up the sky.  I wonder what would go through my mind if I observed the world with the eyes of a child....

Friday, July 11, 2008

$8 Prescription Eyeglasses?!

Okay, so I don't wear prescription eyeglasses, but when I saw that ZenniOptical.com's prices start at $8 per pair, I was shocked! My dad orders glasses from his local optometrist, and he spends hundreds of dollars for one pair! Wondering how this amazing price could be legitimate, I checked out the story FOX News recently did on Zenni Optical which posed the question, "Zenni Optical: Deal or Dud?" According to FOX News' investigation, Zenni Optical may be a dud for small children or people with more complicated prescriptions; but older children, adults, or people who have been wearing eyeglasses for a number of years will likely find ZenniOptical.com's incredibly low-priced and stylish products to be quite a deal. So check it out--maybe you'll "see" something that's right for you!

On to the Next Phase of Waiting...

This morning I finally had the follow-up ultrasound that I posted about a few weeks ago.  Based on what the doctor told us at our first appointment and on our confidence in when conception occurred, we were somewhat prepared for the results we were given this morning.  Again we saw an empty sack on the ultrasound screen, and that verified that a miscarriage is indeed pending.  As dreadful as the waiting and uncertainty is, we are hoping that my body will naturally reject this pregnancy within the next three weeks, thus avoiding the need for a D & C.

As emotionally tough as this time of waiting and disappointment is, I am so glad to say that I have complete peace that could only have come through knowing and trusting God.  Travis and I have been able to take great comfort in knowing that God knows the end of this matter and that somehow it will all work together for our good.  My only prayer this morning was, "Lord, whatever happens, may it be for Your glory"; and that will continue to be my prayer as we endure this next phase of waiting and wondering.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What Your Doctor Doesn't Know...

What Your Doctor Doesn't Know About Nutritional Medicine May Be Killing You.... That's the name of the awesome book by Ray D. Strand, M.D. that I am currently reading. After years of suffering from a debilitating chronic degenerative disease from which doctors could provide no relief, Dr. Strand's wife Liz turned to nutritional supplements in hopes of finding some help. Dr. Strand, admittedly knowing next to nothing about nutrition or nutritional supplementation, in spite of his doctor-like bias against nutritional supplements, consented, "Honey, you can try anything you want. We doctors certainly are not doing you any good."

Dr. Strand explains in the first chapter of his book that "only approximately six percent of the graduating physicians in the United States have any training in nutrition.... The education of most physicians is disease-oriented with a heavy emphasis on pharmaceuticals--we learn about drugs and why and when to use them" (pg. 5). But after witnessing the dramatic transformation nutritional supplements brought to his wife's life, Dr. Strand embarked on what would become a seven-year quest to research the facts behind nutritional medicine. His findings have completely transformed his practice, and he now prescribes nutritional supplements as a way to truly prevent the chronic degenerative diseases which are the top killers in our nation today as well as to improve the health of those already suffering from these diseases.

After explaining what free radicals are, where they come from, and the oxidative stress they cause, Dr. Strand outlines the importance of antioxidants and supporting nutrients in "winning the war within." And unlike what many medical doctors tell their patients, we truly are not able to achieve optimal levels of these nutrients which are needed to win the war within simply through the foods we eat. Recommended daily allowances (RDAs) when first started in the early 1920s were given as "minimal requirements of ten essential nutrients that could help us avoid acute deficiency diseases" such as scurvy, rickets, and pellagra (pg. 179). "In the early 1950s the definition of RDAs expanded to include the amounts of nutrients needed for normal growth and development" (pg. 180). RDAs are not the guideline for optimal health, and as Dr. Strand says, "have absolutely nothing to do with chronic degenerative diseases" (pg. 180). Dr. Strand says that if you desire to decrease your risk of developing a chronic degenerative disease, you must supplement your diet. That is, "you must take significant amounts of high-quality antioxidants and minerals (not multivitamins, which are primarily based on RDAs!) if you have any desire to prevent or slow down the chronic degenerative diseases described in this book" (pg. 182).

I highly recommend Dr. Strand's book to anyone even slightly interested in doing just that. And as for nutritional supplements, I recommend those by USANA which Dr. Strand endorses and which I personally have been taking for over four years.

Monday, July 7, 2008

You Will Know the Truth

Several different faith-based conversations that I've had recently with both family and friends as well as a realization of the numerous false teachings currently abounding in "Christianity" have spurred me on to re-evaluate why I believe some of the things I believe. Tough questions have been raised, and sometimes unable to articulate the basis for my answers to these questions, I have realized that maybe I've never allowed myself to really discover the truth from my own study of Scripture but have rather taken what I've heard from other believers and counted that as truth. I have therefore begun a quest to discover for myself the correct Scriptural answers to the tough questions that many believers often face.

In a day where so many false doctrines are popping up and leading astray unbelievers and believers alike, I am realizing even more the importance of really knowing what Scripture says. I remember a time in my walk with God that I became distressed about this, wondering how I was to recognize untruth. But then God revealed to me that if I know what is true, I will also know what isn't.

And God has not left us incapable of knowing the truth; for He has given us His very Word! John 8:31-32 says, "...If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth...."

God knows how important it is that believers abide in His Word. He has told us to always be ready to make a defense for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15); to let the word of Christ richly dwell within us (Colossians 3:16); to be diligent to present ourselves approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). And He has also warned us in 1 John 4:1, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world"; and again in 1 Thessalonians 5:21, "...examine everything carefully." And how else can we test and examine spiritual things but to weigh them against the Word of God which is from God and in fact is God (John 1:1)?

Beware, Christian, of the theologies that present half-truths or doctrines that are just a little bit off. Know the Word of God, abide in the Word of God, and test everything against the Word of God. That is my quest, that I might stand firmly on the Truth and not be led astray even in the smallest of points.

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