Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Three job interviews!

Ryan has two job interviews on Wednesday and one on Thursday. We covet your prayers that our journey through unemployment might come to an end as a result of these interviews.

I am praying this from the book Power of a Praying Wife:
I pray that You will be Lord over Ryan's work, and may he bring You into every aspect of it.  Give him enough confidence in the gifts You've placed in him to be able to seek, find, and do good work. Open up doors of opportunity for him that no man can close.

It's really not up to the hiring director, HR manager, or anyone else at these companies. It's up to you Lord. So God we are asking that you would hear our prayers and listen to the words of our mouth.
We are approaching your throne of grace with confidence, trusting that we will receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. We call out to you, believe in you and ask for your Hand to move mightily this week. It's in the name of your son Jesus that we pray, Amen

Here's a message from Lauren to her daddy on the eve of his big day:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Waiting here for you - listen now!

A friend texted me today the name of a song that was released in March on the Passion 2011 Album: Here For You. The song is called Waiting Here For You. It was written by Chris Tomlin and is sung by Christy Nockels (who was part of Watermark and sings Glorybaby which ministered to me powerfully after my first miscarriage).

What a sacrifice of praise to tell the Lord in the midst of our waiting that we adore Him. That we're waiting here for Him. On our hardest of days, when it takes everything in us, we can lift our hands in praise...as a prayer of surrender to God acknowledging that we are waiting for Him. Yes we long for our heart's desire...be it a baby, a job, a spouse, healing, finances, or other. But ultimately friends, ultimately, we are waiting for God.

As I'm repeatedly watching this I'm praying for and thinking of my friends waiting: Jenn, TCIE, Jelly Belly, Becky, Patiently Waiting, Kim, Perfect Power, Tea, Elizabeth, Amber, Tasha, Marissa, Sarah, and so many more.

This is a live video from Passion. It's 6 minutes. Watch it in full screen mode, turn it up and make sure your hands are free so you can lift them high in praise....

Waiting Here For You
If faith can move the mountains
Let the mountains move
We come with expectation
Waiting here for you, I’m waiting here for you

You’re the Lord of all creation
And still you know my heart
The Author of Salvation
You’ve loved us from the start

Waiting here for You
With our hands lifted high in praise
And it's You we adore
Singing Alleluia

You are everything You’ve promised
Your faithfulness is true
And we're desperate for Your presence
All we need is You


Singing Alleluia
Alleluia, singing alleluia, alleluia


Waiting here for you
With our hands lifted high in praise
And it's You we adore
We're singing Alleluia

I'm singing Alleluia
Waiting here for you
With our hands lifted high in praise
And it's You we adore
Singing Alleluia
Singing Alleluia

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's strange

I'm somewhere that I've been a number of times before.

About 8 times if I'm counting right.

The last time I was here I was pregnant.

With a baby I never got to meet.

And now I'm here with my two children.

And it's all very very strange.

The resort Ryan and I are staying at on vacation this week is one that we would come to with our young adult church every Labor Day weekend for the first 8 years of our married life. I got baptized here and saw a lot of friends get baptized here as well. Some of our very best couple friends we met during our weekends here. I really do love this place.

But I'm also experiencing a strange mix of emotions because the last time I was here I was pregnant. Our second pregnancy. 24 months of trying after our first pregnancy. We were just two weeks into it. Our hearts were full, although somewhat nervous after our long journey. Our first ultrasound showed the heart beat of a very tiny baby.

We told just one other couple. Ryan and I would catch each other's eyes and smile. It was our secret. We were finally going to be parents. We had friends with us who were pregnant and due in February. We were so very excited to be starting the journey to parenthood with them.

But God's plans were not our plans, and as you know, we never got to hold or meet that sweet baby. Just two weeks later we had our second ultrasound that confirmed our baby had died.

And now here I am. Last time I looked at this blue Minnesota lake surrounded by pine trees I was pregnant with one baby. And as I type this, there are two different babies sleeping in our cabin who call me mama - one from my womb and one from the womb of a teenage birth mom.

And I'm having an unexpected trip down memory lane.

Life is funny like that. I have my days and my moments when I know I'll be remembering my little ones that were born to Heaven. But it's days like today - with unplanned moments - when I didn't expect for my heart to be recalling these tender memories.

It's with a large lump in my throat that I think of the little life I never got to meet, much less hold in my arms. I know that the Lord had a different plan for our family and I'm OK with that. But it's during times like this that I long for the day when I will get to meet the One who knitted my baby together. It brings me great comfort to think that He'll be holding my baby - whole, healthy and having known nothing but love.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Can I go to Heaven someday?

The following is a conversation that took place on Saturday, June 18, at 12:13 p.m. while dad, mom, Samuel and Lauren were riding in the car to papa and gma's house. Samuel - 2 1/2 years of age.

Samuel: Can I go to Heaven someday?
Dad: Yes Samuel you can go to Heaven someday.
Mom: Who lives in Heaven Samuel?
Samuel: God
Samuel: I'm going to ask God.
(Five seconds of quiet)
Samuel: God said, "Not yet."

Mark 10:13-16
"People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them."

Oh Lord you have granted Samuel wisdom beyond his years. Please grant us the wisdom to train him in the way he should go. He is so observant. He questions everything. He wants to know all about you and where you live and about all the people who loved you and followed hard after you. God, my greatest desire is that one day Samuel will indeed go to Heaven with you. But thank you God for telling him 'not yet.' Please Lord, we know that he is yours and that every single day of his life is already numbered, but I pray that you will continue to say, "not yet" for many more years. I haven't loved him long enough. Thank you for his child-like faith. May he always converse as freely with you as he does today. Open my ears to hear you the way Samuel does. And thank you God for giving us a glimpse of what it means to have child-like faith.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

We’re on vacation!

Hello dear friends,
Our sweet family is on our first vacation as a family of four! We are In northern Minnesota where the temperature is a cool 58 degrees and the grass glistens with rain drops.

We borrowed a friend’s mini van, packed it full and we are enjoying five days in a cabin. Our view is one of pine trees, a beach, and a beautiful lake.

We were gifted a week at this glorious resort (Eagle Beach to all my friends who have been here) and we are so thankful.

I have two prayer requests for any of you that would be willing to intercede on our behalf:

1 – Selfishly, I am in need of some sun. When one is at a cabin, on a lake, with a gorgeous beach just steps off their deck, the desire for warmth and sun is high. The forecast is not looking so sunny. Please pray that God might move the clouds and reveal the beauty of the sun. I am desperately hoping to see a couple sunsets while sitting on my deck looking at the lake. We have just five days to vacation together and I’d love to see my kiddos enjoy the outdoors while we're here.

2 –  This is an unexpected request that filled my heart 3 minutes after we arrived. The resort is owned by a couple and helped run by their adult children and spouses. One couple is about the same age as Ryan and I, and they have 6 children. Only 1 child is biological. They have fostered and adopted numerous times. The children are ages 16-10 weeks.

For whatever reason my heart is desperately searching right now about the future of our family. Will God lead us to adoption again? Might He give us the go ahead some day to pursue conceiving another child and bless us that way? Should we even ask God for another biological child when there are so many in desperate need of loving families? Is God drawing us toward foster care and possible adoption that way? My heart is restless over this friends and I have absolutely no understanding why.

So the end of this very long prayer request is that we would have an opportunity this week to talk to the couple that lives here, hear their story and see if what they have to say resonates with our hearts. I want to learn from them – why have they chosen this path to grow their family? How has God directed them to make the choices they have? How can we seek God for wisdom as a result of hearing about their journey?

I hope to blog a bit more frequently this week and post some pictures of God’s gorgeous creation and my darling children!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Adoption conversation

On July 17 Ryan and I are hosting a Sunday Conversation in our home. These Sunday Conversations are about any topic people at our church are passionate about. Individuals come up with the idea and schedule a conversation. July 17 we will be talking about adoption.

There is a couple attending who has two boys and are interested in adopting a girl to expand their family.

There is a young couple attending who cannot have biological children, and want to talk through adoption options.

And my hope is that we can encourage some couples to attend who have never considered adoption, but might be open to learning more about it

I've been thinking about adoption even more lately because I'm currently reading Choosing to See by MaryBeth Chapman. Who, in case you aren't aware, is married to Steven Curtis Chapman and has adopted three daughters from China.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about the process that led them to adoption and their experience of adopting internationally. Reading their story and hearing about these sweet baby girls they flew across the world to meet, has made me fall in love with adoption all over again.

While reading I've been contemplating our upcoming adoption conversation and what that might look like.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about adoption: If you were having a group discussion about adoption (with people who have adopted and with those interested in adoption), what would you want to ask? Or what would you want to know from others? Or what would you want to share with those interested in learning more about adoption?

Please share with me!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In the morning

It's 7:29 a.m. Ryan took Samuel on a 'fun adventure' to go get a donut (while picking up something at the store for me), Lauren is still sleeping and I am sitting on my porch. Bible in hand, warm sun shining through the windows, cool morning air. It's the perfect summer day.

I'm soaking in every minute of the precious quiet before the day starts.

I'm claiming and believing and praying out loud the words of Psalm 5:
Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing. 
Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.
In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

I love the word picture this verse presents. Whenever I read it - which had been many many times in the last 5 years - I envision someone on their knees, in the wee hours of the morning, seeking God and praying to Him. I always picture hands palms up as if saying, "I lay my requests here Lord before you. I wait in sweet anticipation of what you are going to do with my requests today."

Praying this verse in the morning seems to straighten out my heart. It gets my priorities in line. It takes my plans and replaces them with the Lord's plans for the day. These words give me confidence that God is listening to my cry, hearing my voice, giving ear to my words.

What does it mean for me to lay my requests before the Lord? I see it as offering Him my desires, my prayers, my longings, my hopes and my dreams. Not just for me, but for those I love.

Some translations use the word eagerly at the end of this passage. This makes me wonder how different my attitude would be if I chose to eagerly wait in expectation for the Lord to act. Would He act more clearly in response to my requests if I had a greater expectation of His hand moving in my life?
I don't know. I don't have answers to my questions.

But today as the bright morning suns warms my skin and the words of Psalm warm my heart, I am asking God to consider and listen and to hear me. I am praying for my husband today, that he could rise above his circumstances, be filled with hope and energy and trust in the midst of this trial in his life.

Oh God we eagerly anticipate you to move in our lives today. We wait in expectation. You are our King and our God and to you we pray.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

6 lessons from a year of unemployment

We're a blogging family. 

My husband has a PR (Public Relations) blog, and Friday's post was about his lessons learned during unemployment. I'm so proud of him for being willing to share his personal experience from the past year.

It's worth the read!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Over under

He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge.
- Psalm 91:4

In my Bible I have written next to this passage in Psalm the words, "over under." I once read an explanation of verse 4 and as a result I have felt particularly drawn to its words. This passage is a reminder that I am covered by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. There is not a hair on my head that doesn't have the protection of the Almighty.

He covers us with his wings and His wings protects us as we hide under them and He offers safety.

The words over and under speak to me. They help visualize that the Lord is both over and under me.

Oh that is sweet.

Under his wings I find refuge from the pain, heartache, loss, and judgement of this world. I find freedom and grace and forgiveness. His wings - His arms - are my refuge from the world.

I can hide here.

That doesn't mean I'm running away. Instead, I'm running into His arms. I'm seeking shelter from the world.

Over under. Over under. Over under. He's over me - covering, protecting, securing me. I'm under His arms. Safely. Securely. Resting in Him.

Oh Jesus, thank you for the words of truth and unending wisdom found in the Psalms. And thank you for your arms that are both over me and under me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Plan B quote

Read this quote this morning....

"I've noticed before that people often don't feel like they have any choices when they're going through Plan B. They feel as if all of their options have been taken away. And that's true to a certain extent - but only to a certain extent.

You may not have had a choice on whether you could have kids or whether your loved one passed away or whether you got fired or your husband had an affair.

But you do get to choose how you respond.

And in that choice lies an amazing amount of hope."

- Pete Wilson, Plan B

Sunday, June 5, 2011

One year of unemployment

This week marks one year of unemployment for Ryan.

One year.

It was 12 months ago that I wrote a post titled Jesus I Trust in You.

Just like my journey to parenthood, I'm so thankful I did not know a year ago what our journey through unemployment would be like. Because, of course, we knew Ryan would get a job quickly. He would absolutely have a job by summer's end, if not before. And certainly by the fall. Most likely he would get hired by the end of 2010. Possibly he will get a job post-Christmas. Well maybe by spring. Hopefully by summer.

And here we are.

12 months later.

Sometimes I can still hardly believe my husband doesn't have a full time job. He is so skilled. So talented. So educated. So connected. So willing and desiring to work.

How is this possible?

Other times I think about God and what He must be thinking up there in the Heavens. And how with one gentle whisper or one slight move of His hand, he could give Ryan the job of his dreams.

And I wonder why He hasn't done that? What is He waiting for? Is there a lesson we need to learn that we're not learning? Is this a path we need to walk because we are being refined? Am I over-spiritualizing this trial and it's really just a result of a bad economy and we're suffering the ongoing effects of the recession?

I mean, c'mon! The guy has had close to 40 interviews. He's met with agencies and large companies and recruiters and every size business in-between.

It seems strange to me. Just as it seemed strange when God said no to us and we felt called to wait for our babies. God has clearly been saying 'no' to us....instead of through pregnancy tests and doctor's visits, it's been through emails and phone calls and HR reps.

What has amazed me is how similar this road of unemployment has been to the infertility journey. While the latter was so much more painful emotionally, the rollercoaster of emotions has been very similar. Hopeful, wait, wait, wait....no.

This season is much like our previous season in that it has involved a lot of waiting. Actually, it hasn't involved waiting. It is waiting. We are waiting. It's all waiting. Waiting on God.

This season is similar in that we've experienced dark moments and hard moments and challenging moments. And yet we've also experienced sweet sweet moments and tender moments and joy-filled moments. We've seen God work in tremendous ways and we've been loved by a community of people that has been the hands and feet of Jesus to us.

We are different people today than we were in June 2010. We are better people. We are more compassionate people. We are stronger people.

And, yet, better, compassionate and stronger has not landed Ryan a job.

I feel like I should end this post with some hopeful words. Some Biblical insight. Some wisdom or encouragement.
Not tonight friends. Tonight it's just raw honesty. Tonight we're just here. We're walking through the valley. We're being refined by the fire. We're developing perseverance. We're running the race.

We're still trusting in God. We're still crazy about Jesus. We're still loving each other and laughing every day. We're still keeping our eyes fixed on our Savior.

We don't know how this story ends. We don't know how many more pages until this chapter comes to a close. But we know the One who is writing our story. We know the author and perfecter of our faith. We know that grass withers and flowers fade, but the WORDS of our God stand forever. And we know that our God makes everything beautiful in its time.

Friday, June 3, 2011

My blog got me a job

I'm not totally sure, but I'm fairly confident my blog landed me a part-time writing job.

For a good great company in downtown Minneapolis.

In early May I got a call from my girlfriend's husband. He said his company was looking for a writer. A female writer. Who was probably in her 30s or 40s. Who could write to a Christian audience. And who might possibly know how to blog.

So he called....me.

That was Monday. He connected me with the right person and I interviewed with her on Thursday. She looked at my blog samples, my resume and my samples from past 'real jobs.' Then she looked at my blog samples again. On Friday they called and said they wanted me to be part of their team.

I started last week and I'll work about 15-20 hours a week. Writing. Blogging. Faith-based content. Doing exactly what I have a degree in and I get to write about Jesus.

There are so many emotions and thoughts involved with this. Heavy on my heart is the fact that my husband has been searching for a job for a year and in one week I land a fantastic freelance writing job.

He has been amazing. Totally and completely supportive. Encouraging. Helpful. And very excited for me.

No resentment. No jealousy. No anger.

Who is this man that I married? So much better than I deserve.

Then there's the absolute gratitude that fills me from the tips of my toes. God continues to provide. I worked at church for 6 months and just as that time was coming to a close, this opportunity presented itself.

Great pay. Wonderful schedule - a couple days a week and I still get to love on my kids most days. And did I mention I will get to blog? About Jesus?

The flip side is that I'm feeling a tad overwhelmed....learning how to be a working woman in corporate America while still being a dedicated mom, a supportive wife, a homemaker, friend, sister, daughter....so many roles. So much to learn. 

But this is God providing. Not how I thought he would. Not how we planned. But in a way that seems right.

And I'm left feeling incredibly grateful. To God for providing this opportunity and for a husband that amazes me daily in how he loves me. Even when it's got to be gut-wrenchingly hard for him.

So I think about this blog. And the story God has written and continues to write about our lives. And how, it seems to me, my blog got me a job.

I smile. Because really, God got me a job. But He used this blog to do it.

I think that's pretty sweet. And so like God.