Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A walk down memory lane...

This week I got to deliver balloons to our office of the week winners at UAMS-- which is housed in what used to be the hospital where all 4 of my babies were born. it's been at least 5 years since I've so much as driven by there, much less been inside the building. As I pulled into the parking lot I was hit with wave after wave of memories from nearly 15 years ago.

I remembered June 6, 1994--rushing to the emergency room in fear that I was having a miscarriage only to be shocked to learn that we were carrying not one, but two babies. That night was the first of many trip to the hospital over the next 5 months. Multiple ultrasounds, extensive blood work, and visits for IV fluids because of weight loss and dehydration. The worst visit was October 31, 1994 when I was admitted for pre-term labor. At just 31 weeks gestation we were terrified, Not helping matters at all was the meanest nurse on the planet who told me to go home and stay in bed because if my babies were born this early "they would surely die".
Two days later my water broke and the only thought running through my head was "they are surely going to die".

Twenty four hours after that I saw for the first time the two most precious baby girls ever. Weighing in at just over 3 pounds each the question of whether they would live or die was still unanswered.

From November 3rd until mid December we all lived at the hospital. The twins in NICU. Jimmy and I in waiting rooms, the cafeteria, and the occasional unused hospital room. And those girls showed everyone. Not only did they survive-- they thrived.

And they still are. This fall they will turn 15. Now instead of worrying about their pulse ox levels, and apnea monitors we worry about getting drivers licences and how to handle boys.

During those weeks we lived in NICU I thought that season would never end. But it did, so quickly. James says that we learn to endure by having our faith tested. And that we must endure to become mature and complete.

I remember while I was pregnant telling God that I couldn't handle it if there were complication with my pregnancy. But, there were complications. My faith was tested. And I endured. Did I enjoy it? NO! Would I want to do it again? NO! Am I thankful for the fruit that was born of it? YES! Yes! A hundred times- Yes!

Today, I am so thankful-- for life, for miracles, for my baby girls, for the trials along the way, and for the God who never leaves my side.

Friday, July 3, 2009

To Do:

Sent: 7/3/2009 8:44am
To: Jesus
Subject: To Do List Review

Dear Jesus,

I was wonder if you had some time today to review my To Do list and tell me what you think. As you can see it's an impressively long list. I've even broken it down into categories to make it more efficient.

You'll see that there are categories for work, home, marriage, parenting, church ministry, women's ministry, girlfriends, etc. Each of these areas has it's own extensive list of things I'm responsible for. I'm trying really hard to be about the work of the Kingdom. I know you'll be impressed with all that I am doing.

If you don't mind, could you give my To Do list a quick look over? Is there anything missing? Have I forgotten something that would bless You? Really, I want to know. I truly do want to please You and make You proud.

Thanks for Your time. I look forward to hearing from You.

Your child,

Sent: 7/3/2009 8:45am
To: Keri
Subject: RE: To Do List Review

Dear Keri,

Thank you so much for inviting me to look at your to do list. You're right it is impressively long. I know you want to be used by Me to do great things for the Kingdom of God. I want that to. In fact, I knew long ago that you would want to do great things for Me. So I already left you a To Do list. Here it is:

Keri's New To Do List:

1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength

2. Love your neighbor as yourself

I hope you don't mind, but I deleted your list. Please try this one instead. I think you will find it equally as challenging as the one you wrote, but much more rewarding. Please let me know if you have any questions.

With all my Love,

Thursday, July 2, 2009

There and Back Again

This is a week of goodbyes. A chapter in my life is closing. It is a chapter that brought much joy to my life, and I am saddened to turn the page and see it end.

I've learned through the years that most of us don't look forward to endings, to goodbyes. I try to face them as little as possible. I'm one of those individuals who sits in the movie theatre watching the ending credits roll just to linger in the moment a little bit longer.

As much as we try to avoid "goodbyes" or "the ends" they still come. Sometimes suddenly and unexpectedly. Sometimes slowly and with plenty of warning. Either way it is difficult to face.

Last night, as I was finally embracing the emotion that accompanies "the end" I was reminded of one of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite movies.

In this scene Bilbo Bagget, with great flare, puts the finishing touches on the story of his life in his book of adventure. Sadness fills my heart as I realize the story Bilbo is recording is drawing to a close. But then.... Frodo enters the scene. The book changes hands. A page is turned. A new story begins.

I've often thought that our story with Christ is like a Fairy Tale. It begins like most fairy tales do....Once upon a time I was lost and alone and afraid, then the Handsome Prince left his castle to come and rescue the damsel in distress. The thing that's different with this story is that there is no... The End.

If we are in Christ there is no goodbye. There is no ending to the story of our lives. Yes, the story may change. There will be twists and turns, adventure and peril, love and loss. But there will not be The End.

And so today I say goodbye, not forever, but for now. And I turn the page, pick up the pen and wait for a new adventure to unfold.

Crazy Love

We are reading the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan as a staff. One of the concepts that he raised in the book is that we should approach God as our Father. I’ve heard that many times before. But, for the last week or so I can’t get the thought out of my head about God as my Father. And I’ve wondered…. what does that really mean?

I started thinking about my kids. Especially when they were little. How they acted around me. I loved it when they would run up to me and grab my legs, just because they wanted to be near me. I loved how they wanted to tell me about everything, because there wasn’t any part of their life that they wanted to be separate from mine. I loved how they would call my name whenever they saw a spider, or the lights went out, or it thundered, because they knew that I would protect them and keep them safe.

I loved that they loved me. I loved that they needed me. I loved that they wanted me. I loved that they trusted me.

And I wonder, can God say those things about me.

Time changes everything and it definitely changed the way my kids act towards me. Teenagers now they are developing their own personalities, discovering their own opinions. Gone are the carefree days of loving and laughing. Now there are moments of eye rolling, whining, complaining, pulling away, keeping secrets, talking back, arguing, and doubting that my way is the best way.

Do they still love me? Sure.

Do they still need me? Yes. But don’t tell them that.

Do they still want me? Sometimes. Sometimes not so much.

Do they still trust me? Maybe, depending on the situation.

It’s made me question my actions towards my Father. In my relationship with Him do I act like a little child, or a teenager?

Am I willingly obedient, or willfully defiant?

Do I need His presence in my life? Or can I take care of myself?

Do I want Him always? Or just when I’m in over my head?

Do I trust Him when it requires me to step out in faith? Or just when His plans is easy and comfortable for me?

The truth is: God is my Father. Nothing can change that. The variable is: am I acting like His child?

Mark 10:14&15 Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.