“Bad Women Drivers” was probably our most popular Friday Funnies ever...even if it was a little “self-deprecating.” We hope you’ve enjoyed our little Year In Review. We’ll see you on the other side of 2006 with lots of thoughts on the New Year. May God’s faithfulness in 2005 fill you with joy as you look back and hope as you look forward!
Carolyn, Nicole, Kristin, and Janelle
Well, I’m still there, where you found me six months ago—“in the middle of motherhood”—and as happy as can be. This post on June 23 was in response to Janelle who wondered “out loud” why I still hadn’t contributed anything on our third day of posting. (The “Best of” the Friday Funnies to come later today.)
Where am I, Janelle?
Here’s where I am…
I’m in our bedroom, trying to stay awake during morning devotions.
I’m in the kitchen, pouring bowls of Rice Krispies.
I’m in the car, running errands to the soundtrack of my children’s worship cd.
I’m at the mall, and Liam is hitting Owen with his shoe.
I’m in the candy store, endeavoring to buy some peace and quiet.
I’m at the townhouse, unpacking all our stuff from the move.
I’m in the playroom, picking up Legos and army men.
I’m at the changing table, disposing of another stinky diaper.
I’m in the kitchen again, preparing cheese and watermelon for lunch.
I’m on my hands and knees, wiping up Andrew’s spilt milk.
I’m on the bed, catching a nap while the boys sleep.
I’m at the park, running after Liam who is trying to escape.
I’m on the couch, comforting Owen who fell and bumped his head.
I’m in the living room, trying to keep Liam’s dirty feet off the furniture.
I’m back in the playroom, picking up more Legos.
I’m in the kitchen, making dinner.
I’m on the phone, arranging a play-date with another mom.
I’m at eye level with Andrew, correcting him for complaining, and reminding him that he needs a Savior.
I’m in the bathroom, giving three cute boys a bath.
I’m in the boy’s room, reading The Gospel for Children. (I’m thankful it’s for mommies too.)
I’m in bed, wondering how many hours of sleep I’ll get tonight.
I’m in the laundry room, changing wet sheets. It’s 1:00 a.m.
Where am I? I’m in the middle of motherhood.
And there’s no place else I’d rather be!
If you’re in the middle of motherhood, I hope this quote my Mom passed along to me encourages you too.
“A mother…by her planning and industry night and day, by her willfulness of love, by her fidelity, she brings up her children. Do not read to me the campaigns of Caesar and tell me nothing about Napoleon’s wonderful exploits. For I tell you that, as God and the angels look down upon the silent history of that woman’s administration, and upon those men-building processes which went on in her heart and mind through a score of years;—nothing exterior, no outward development of kingdoms, no empire-building, can compare with what mother has done. Nothing can compare in beauty, and wonder, and admirableness, and divinity itself, to the silent work in obscure dwellings of faithful women bringing their children to honor and virtue and piety.” Henry Ward Beecher
Gene Fedele, ed. Golden Thoughts of Mother, Home & Heaven, (Gainesville, FL: Bridge-Logos, 2003), pp.75-76.
When I posted these thoughts in August, I never could have imagined how many women I would hear from—women who are also struggling with infertility, women who have adopted, and even singles whose hopes for marriage and children are unfulfilled. Although I’m still not pregnant, I have experienced God’s encouragement through many of you. Thank you! And with each passing month, God grows more and more wonderful in my eyes.
With each month that goes by, the question mark gets bigger: will Steve and I be able to have more children?
After the birth of our first son, Jack, in February of 2003, I experienced some serious, life-threatening complications that required two surgeries and a dump-truck load of antibiotics. Thanks to God’s common grace through modern medicine I am 100% healthy today, and able to fully enjoy my adorable little son.
Except…there is a chance I may not be able to conceive again. The antibiotics and surgeries, the doctor told me, may have damaged my reproductive system. That is not for certain. No tests have been run yet. But the more time passes, the more I wonder.
I wonder what will happen if I can’t have any more children: What will I feel? Will it be really hard? Will I always ache to carry another child? I desperately want to be a mother again, but most of all—what will it be like for Steve? He loves kids, and the only reason we may not be able to have more children is because of me. I know Steve has forbidden me to even think these thoughts, however—if he had married someone else, he could have had as many children as he liked. But he’s married to me. And because of me, he may never be a father again.
My sinful, self-pitying thoughts (which I excused as being on Steve’s behalf) were abruptly interrupted by two words: How arrogant! Who did I think I was? Was I God that I could create (or not create) life? God’s question to Job certainly applied to me: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge….shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it” (Job 38:2, 40:2).
God, and God alone, is the “Author of life” (Acts 3:15). My life is in His hands and He has graciously allowed me to live another day. The creation of a new life is in His hands as well. He has already determined the number of children Steve and I will have. And if we don’t conceive another child, it won’t be “because of me.” It will be because the sovereign, wise, loving Creator of the universe has decided that is best—for my good, for Steve’s good, and for God’s glory.
What comfort and freedom conviction brings! By repenting of my arrogant aspirations to be life-creator I now possess a peace that flows from simply resting in the Author of Life. And I can say with the psalmist—whether or not I have another child: “Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:14).
Reading this post again brought back some pretty traumatic memories for me. Quite a few of you seemed to identify with me and this experience. Don’t read on if bugs are not your friends…
I hate bugs! I don’t just find them annoying or a little gross. I’m the kind of girl who will see a bug when I’m home alone and with half closed eyes, stick a paper cup over it until my husband, brother, or dad arrive to flush it down the toilet. I will then rush to the bathroom to wash my hands with soap and water even though I don’t actually touch the bug. Are you getting the picture? Well, this picture should set a pretty good scene for my nightmare experience the other day…
Mike and I are moving into our town house this week, so I was busy cleaning out our bedroom at my parent’s house. I was home alone (of course this would happen when I was alone!). I pulled out my drawer that housed my candy collection and as I was going through it, I popped a piece in my mouth. All of a sudden, a million tiny moving brown specks caught my eye. My candy drawer was covered with baby ants. As you would expect, I panicked. I had no idea what to do (aside from spitting out the piece of candy in my mouth). I knew that I needed to get the drawer outside. However, as I didn’t want to touch anything with my hands, I grabbed a trash bag, picked up the drawer and ran it down to the front porch. When I ran back upstairs, I discovered that not only were the little guys in the candy drawer, but also in the other drawers, as well as on the floor around the dresser. I continued running up and down the stairs, using paper towels and bags to carry all of the infected articles to the front porch. My neighbors were having a party that day and I can only imagine what they must have been thinking. Next I grabbed the vacuum and began vacuuming them up. Even when I didn’t see any more ants, I kept the vacuum running because I was afraid that they could crawl back out. Things seemed to calm down at this point and I began to recover from my ordeal.
Later that day, my sister Nicole came to pick up Jack (my mom and I were babysitting), and I was helping her put the car seat in her car. All of a sudden, I noticed that the car seat was covered in black ants. Yes, this is a true story. This did happen to me twice in one day. I wonder if the Lord is after something? I was no less grossed out, but a little more prepared this second time around. I dragged the car seat to the porch and turned on the vacuum. Those little guys didn’t stand a chance!
Needless to say, for the rest of the evening, I constantly felt like I had an ant crawling on me. I finally made it to bed, and had dreams about ants all night long. It was a day that I wasn’t sorry to see come to an end, and it’s a day I hope not to repeat in the near future.
I know that Proverbs tells us to observe the ant to learn about diligence. This command has been a difficult one for me to obey. I would prefer to read about these little guys in my Bible or watch a special about them on TV, but I can pass on the living demonstrations in my own home.
It’s Christmas cleanup week. Time to take down the tree, put away gifts, catch some post-holiday sales, and exchange that shirt that didn’t fit. It’s also a time for counting down the last few days until the New Year.
Because we are busy doing all these things that you’re most likely doing, we’re going to take a blogging break of sorts this week. We’ll still be posting every day, but instead of new material, we’ll have a “Year in Review” where we will share the posts from the last six months that have received the most response from you, our readers.
If you had asked me in January of 2005 what a blog was, I would have looked at you with a puzzled expression on my face, “A blog? I have no idea what that is!” I could not have imagined that come June, I would actually be maintaining one of these blogs along with my daughters. How much changes in a year!
As I reflect over this past year, one of the highlights, and true privileges, has been posting on this blog, and in the process, hearing from so many of you. Your encouragement has been over the top—exceedingly meaningful. And we want to say “thank you” once again for all of your kind emails. We have read and been blessed by each and every one of them. We are full of amazement and gratitude to God that he has allowed the GirlTalk blog to encourage you in some small way.
And as we anticipate the coming of this new year, our desire and my daily prayer is that by God’s grace, He would continue to use this blog to bring glory to Him, and that we all may grow in biblical womanhood and love for the Savior.
We hope you enjoy this little retrospective.
It was only our second day of posting (June 21) when I shared these thoughts on “Interruptions.” We heard from many of you who had experienced interruptions of your own that day, both big and small. I hope this reminder encourages you as you head into the New Year.
I wanted to get up early, but C.J. encouraged me to stay in bed a little longer. I had been up quite late the night before. He thought I needed a little more sleep.
By the time I arose, the demands of the day came rushing at me in rapid succession. There was breakfast to fix. Conversations to have. The unexpected phone call. Family members to shuttle from point A to point B. One interruption after another.
It was 10:00 a.m. and I still hadn’t taken a shower, much less made progress on my to-do list. I was struggling. This wasn’t the way my morning was supposed to go. I wasn’t completing the tasks I thought were most important. Peace and joy had vanished.
Then I recalled this perspective-altering thought from C.S. Lewis:
“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination. This at least is what I see at moments of insight: but it’s hard to remember it all the time.”
—The Letters of C. S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves (20 December 1943), para. 5, p. 499; quoted in The Quotable Lewis, (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 1989), 335.
It is hard to remember. But what a difference it made when I called to mind this biblical truth.
All these interruptions—they weren’t interruptions after all. They were “sovereign deliveries.” These “unpleasant things” were God’s perfect plan for my day.
Contemplating this bit of wisdom brought a smile to my face. And from that moment on, I met each subsequent “interruption” with joy. The shower could wait.
My prayer is that, next time, God will help me to remember this truth. Because Mr. Lewis was right. It’s easy to forget.
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
We all had a wonderful Christmas with our husbands’ families! Here are a couple of pictures from our time. Kristin left her camera at her mother-in-law’s house so we don’t have any from her. (We were just glad that she didn’t forget one of the kids.)
Mike opening his new grill
Me with Mike’s grandma, mom, sister-in-law
Me posing with one of my great presents
Mike with his grandpa, dad, and brothers
Christmas Day To Do List
Steve’s dad, mom, and sisters
Steve’s mom and sis playing a Christmas duet
Steve and Jack opening gifts
Some people (like my mother) take their Christmas decorations down by 5 a.m. on December 26’th; and others (some of my neighbors) seem to like to stretch things out through Valentines Day. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, this message is the perfect companion to your “Christmas take down” project. This sermon by my dad entitled “Sovereign Grace” is one of my favorites! I have listened to it more times than I can count. So, turn it on and enjoy!
May the good tidings of our Savior’s birth bring you great joy this Christmas!
Here’s a Christmas greeting from our family to yours!
Carolyn, Nicole, Kristin, and Janelle
Lemons have assumed a rather prominent place in my life of late. No, I don’t just eat them by themselves; they have to be squeezed into a glass of water with lots of ice. The little girl living inside of me who has learned to love Cherry Coke has recently been subjected to glass after glass of ice water with lemon. I used to drink hot tea upon waking up in the morning. Not anymore. The first thing I want is, you guessed it, a giant glass of lemon water! Last weekend, I ran out of lemons. It was horrible. I checked my mom’s fridge. Nope, I had already eaten all of her lemons. I decided to see if my aunt had any. No, she only had lemon juice and that wouldn’t cut it. It has to be the real thing. For two long days, I didn’t have any lemons. I tried many substitutes, but my body wouldn’t be fooled. Enough was enough. I finally drove to the grocery store and bought three huge lemons.
If you are a dentist, just skip over the next paragraph, but aside from drinking the lemon water I have to chew ice (a habit most appreciated by my sister, Nicole). Who craves ice? I thought it was supposed to be pickles and ice cream. Anyways, I assumed that this strange craving was a phase, but I found out otherwise. My Doctor recently informed me that I have an iron deficiency and proceeded to put me on about 75 iron pills a day. I was telling another pregnant friend of mine about this deficiency and she proceeded to ask me if I was chewing ice. When I told her that ice was about all that I was consuming these days (along with lemons) she explained that she had just learned that a craving for ice has been linked to a lack of iron. Sure enough, I looked it up online and she was right. The website also said that some people crave other non-food items such as paper and clay. Scary, I know. I’m hoping to stick with ice.
There has been much to laugh at and enjoy over the last seven months! I will keep you updated as our countdown continues. Nine more weeks to go…
This Advent poem by John Piper—the final in our series of our favorite author’s and teacher’s thoughts on Christmas—is a beautiful description of one woman’s hope in God. Written over 20 years ago (1982) it is one of many poems composed by Pastor John Piper for his church to “bring understanding of the importance of the incarnation” during the Christmas season. May God give all of us the spiritual eyes of “Old Anna.”
by John Piper
At eighty-four her eyes were dim.
In Israel the days were grim.
The Roman overlords would spit
Upon the temple steps and sit
Across the court and watch the priest
On duty leave his feast
And put a towel on his staff
To wipe it up. And then they’d laugh
To see the prelate mount the pyre
And burn the towel with holy fire,
And wash his hands and cast a glance,
As if a spear, which said, “The lance
Of God omnipotent, unprized,
Unfeared by you uncircumcized,
Will hew in pieces every dog
That fears him not and feeds on hog!”
Old Anna spent her days in prayer.
She grieved to hear the Levites swear
And plot behind the temple doors
To take revenge or visit whores
Or give out prophecies on whim.
In Israel the days were grim.
Her eyes were dim but not yet blind
And daily she would come and find
Her place, as close as women could,
Within the court and there she stood
With open hands to God, or knelt
And poured out everything she felt
Of love to Him and hope within
For One to come and bear the sin
Of priests and soldiers, dog and Jew,
And, she confessed, of Anna, too.
Sometimes the priests would jeer and say,
“You’re blind, old woman, stay away.”
Old Anna loved to smile and state:
“You don’t need eyes to pray and wait.”
In fact, she thought, you don’t need eyes
To live in love or make you wise
Or give you joy or bring you light.
Sometimes old Anna woke at night
And saw, within, the Coming One
As brilliant as the rising sun.
O, Lord, grant us the same to see
As we light advent candle three.