Friday, September 5, 2014

I say Tomato, you say Tomahto

I found the first red tomato in our garden today!  It was quite the find.  After all, when you work so hard for something and finally see results, the joy overflows.

There was something unique about my first tomato. It reminded me of myself.

You see, it wasn't quite what I had pictured.  It was small.  It had markings of imperfections.  It was slightly dirty.  I could tell it had 'weathered' the test of time.

But, it was my first tomato.

This tomato had quite the journey to get to my mouth:

  • It started as a small seed.  I planted it indoors in late March/early April.  I then transplanted it into the garden in June.  Still it was just a small two inch plant.  
  • It withstood the floods of June.  
  • It grew, even though weeds tried to entangle it.  
  • We then worked so hard to mulch the garden and suffocate the weeds.  I found myself being so protective of my little plants.  They were so cute as they grew!

So, finally today, September 5, 2014, I picked my first tomato.

And while, this tomato wasn't perfect, neither am I!

It was still worth the journey - floods, weeds, mulching, dirt and all!

And in the end it was sweet and felt like a long awaited gift to me :)

Can you relate?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Finding Joy: Part 2

“I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart
down in my heart
down in my heart

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart
down in my heart to stay

And I’m so happy, so very happy
I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart
and I’m so happy, so very happy
I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart”

Do you know that childhood song?  I've got the joy

In my small accountability group this morning, we found ourselves singing this song.  Not because we felt joy, but because we desire it.

Its easy to feel joy when life is going exactly as we want.  Exactly as we had hoped.  

But lets be honest, when does life go EXACTLY as we want
or EXACTLY as we had hoped!?

After almost a year now of trying to have a baby, I haven’t always felt the joy of the Lord.  I get easily angered when people ask when we are going to have a baby.  I feel sarcastic comments come to mind and find myself biting my tongue.  I've gotten mad at God more this year, than I can remember in my life!  Frustrated that He doesn't hear me.  Or feeling like He is playing a game with me and withholding this good gift from me because of something I've done wrong.  (I know these are lies, just bear with me)
I've evaluated my body more than ever!  I've controlled things that Mike was previously doing ‘just in case’ they were affecting our fertility.  I've done so much reading and analyzing about things in order to try to get pregnant.  

My expectations of what I want, have overshadowed the hope and joy I already(!!) have in Christ.  

The last few months have also been a whirlwind for our immediate family.  Mike’s family (dad) has been going through many trials of pastoring and shepherding a church.  In June, we found out my sister Betsy, who just had a baby in January, had a brain tumor.  After lots of testing and months of wondering, she underwent brain surgery in July.

I've seen my sister and Mike’s dad rise up to fight these trials.  I've seen strength, trust and faith soar through them!  I've been humbled by their situations, wondering if I would deal with these testings as they have.  

I’ve asked the question, ‘where is hope found in the midst of all these trials, hurts and pains?’  

This week two separate people have read 1 Peter 1 to me!  I felt the need to share.  After all, I desire to be authentic about where my heart has been and where it hopes(!!) to be!  May these words bring you hope and joy, as they've done for me.

(Verse 3-9--emphasis by me)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

(Verse 13)
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.

This Scripture is FILLED with the hope that we can find in spending eternity with Jesus and the joy that fills our souls as we believe in Him through our trials.  

A reminder that our hope is NOT the situation we find ourselves in.  
Our joy is NOT what people do or don’t say about us.

At its deepest level…
Our hope and joy are purely. found. in. Christ.

As I attempt to wrap my brain around this, it brings me back to the song.  

Perhaps the song of my heart sounds more like this:

I pray for joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart
down in my heart!
down in my heart!

I pray for joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart
down in my heart to stay

And I’m so thankful, so very thankful
I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart
and I’m so thankful, so very thankful
I’ve got the love Jesus in my heart!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Desert Joy

I sat there in the middle of the desert.  Our second anniversary was not going as planned. From the 24 hour plane delays- to missing our RV pick up time- to Google taking us out to the middle of no-where, my expectations and frustrations had hit the roof!

As I sat there irritated and attempting to pray, what I didn't know was that all of our engine oil was leaking out of our RV. We would soon find out that the rock we hit on our 'off-road' boon-docking excursion would cause us more setbacks!  

Let me share why this moment was so perfect for me.

I started the year with a goal to be joyful and joy filled.  After all, as a follower of Christ, He gives us joy freely!  I had often found myself living into my negative thoughts and fear, so I was challenged to change a pattern of my past!


January and February were especially rough months.  Not only was I not living into the joy of salvation in Jesus, but I was not practicing what I preached!  After several months of trying, praying and begging God to get pregnant, my insides felt ‘crumbly,’ ‘thorny,’ ‘weary,’ and ‘dry.’   I had struggled to find joy in the midst of my pain and barrenness.  I questioned if the Lord even heard me when I prayed.  I was bitter at those who were getting pregnant so easily.  It was hard to go to work and church, only to be surrounded with babies and families.  I felt flames of anger sore through my body every time I heard, “When are you and Mike going to have a baby?” or the straight up “Are you pregnant” or the accusation “I bet you're pregnant and just not saying.”

The Lord could not have brought me to a better place to physically SEE what was happening in me, than the middle of a desert!

And as I sat there praying, hoping and begging for the Lord to be near, He delivered.  I heard a whisper, “Heidi, look up...look out.”

Beautiful mountains surrounded me!

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? 
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
Psalm 121:1-2

The Lord gave me a picture of His faithfulness.  He was doing something beautiful around my desert(ed) time.  I felt a promise that this time of emptiness (physically and emotionally) was being used for His glory.  A reminder that He heard me.  

What I did NOT hear was that I would get out of the desert quickly.  I did NOT hear God tell me that He was going to give me a baby.  I did NOT hear Him say that this journey of building a family would be free from pain and thorns.

BUT, I got to physically see a taste of His beauty, provision and faithfulness.  

James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

By the way, we eventually got pulled out of the desert.  We had a few more set-backs (!!) but eventually made it to Joshua Tree National Park where we spent an afternoon before heading to the airport the next morning!

Joshua Trees

Sunset overlooking San Andreas Fault

After weeks of reflecting on our adventurous and trialing anniversary trip, I've been able to share our story with much JOY and laughter!  I still have my down days, but the Lord always seems to come through, reminds me of this moment and picks me up.

I don’t share these thoughts for “I’m sorry’s” or advice/suggestions. I share this for others who may be or have been in the desert.  God is with you, friends!  Look up!  Look out!  He is using your dry time for good.