Saturday, June 16, 2012

Before You Were Born

I am always in one of two opposite states of mind lately: either I am completely at peace with still being pregnant, or I am impatiently frustrated that the baby isn't here yet. Tomorrow the little one will be full term at forty weeks; while I'm not counting on him/her coming on the due date, every day is still full of anticipation that it might be THE birth-day. Keeping myself occupied with small tasks, relaxing hobbies, and everyday routines is the best way to not worry about the baby coming or not.

As I was reading through the Psalms last night, a particular passage from Psalm 71 leaped to my attention.

For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from before my birth;
you are He who took me from my mother's womb.
My praise is continually of you.

While certainly making use of poetic language, these verses make me ponder God's incredible plans that He has for us. What joy there is in trusting the God who cared for me even before I was born!

86. A dining room table from a garage sale, big enough to seat guests finally

87. Witnessing God's powerful mercy working in a man's life at church

88. Surprise of extra money coming from an unexpected lottery ticket; God works in mysterious ways

89. The blessing of being a two-car family

90. Dried herbs sweet-smelling

91. An entire day spent with Chris

92. Wonderful books and dvds to rent at the local library

93. Em getting a job within a few days of job-searching

94. Tasty pregnancy tea (iced) from Cheryl's Herbs

95. Our church beginning a summer of memorizing Scripture together

96. Extra hours at work for Chris when his schedule is sparse

97. Evening walks with Chris in the cool almost-night air

98. Watching a documentary about Michelangelo with church friends

99. Beanbag pillow making our bed mattress more comfy, as pregnancy makes sleeping difficult

100. New baby raccoon visiting my patio!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Coming to Rest in "Mystery"

Most people like a good mystery. At least in stories or movies, as long as the mystery has a definite solution to provide closure and satisfaction at the end. But what about real life mystery? What about the kinds of mystery that involve our own lives, the mysterious questions of "who am I", "what is my purpose", "why do these things happen to me"? Even deeper than that is the question "is there Someone out there who has planned these Mysteries, and knows the answers to them"?

I've been pondering "mystery" this week. Our church has been meditating on the first fourteen verses of Ephesians, with verses nine and ten being used as a passage for memorization:

"In all wisdom and insight God has made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth."

It's a relief to realize that some things are MEANT to be a mystery, because in spite of my imperfections and mistakes and confusion, God has a purpose for all things in His perfect wisdom. Even if I can't understand all the ups and downs of my life, there is comfort knowing that "for all those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose."

71. Surprise gift card from grandparents

72. Learning to focus on the sweetness of my blessings by deliberately choosing gratitude over resentment in the tough places

73. The love of my Heavenly Father

74. Five bottles of my favorite barbecue sauce on sale for less than a dollar each

75. Finding a surprise stash of yarn for sock-knitting that I'd forgotten about

76. Date night with Chris seeing Shakespeare in the Park: Othello

77. Rainstorm cooling the air

78. Bedroom organized and rearranged, with bassinet all ready

79. Midwife visiting our apartment for my prenatal appointment

80. Raccoon friends from the forest

81. Messages of reassurance from God when I lie sleepless

82. Alec's beautiful guitar playing at the benefit concert

83. Fresh vegetables at the Soulard Farmer's Market

84. Good wishes from everyone for my and the baby's health

85. Chris's employee discount card at the grocery store

Sunday, June 3, 2012

With Thanksgiving

I've been meditating on the book of Philippians lately. Two passages have been standing out from chapter four. Here is the first:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. 

Reasonableness can also be translated to mean "gentleness", being "considerate in all you do", "gentle spirit", "moderation", "gracious attitude", "humility", "fairness", "modesty", or "forbearance". I don't see much of those virtues in myself, partly due to my stubborn personality and partly because I have not made it a priority to submit my will and desires to the Holy Spirit, who has been given for my edification. I've been pondering a lot what it might mean in different areas of my life to be reasonable, especially in my interactions with others.

Here is the second passage that has resonated with me:

The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 

Again the emphasis on giving thanks is making an impact on my heart. How often I approach God simply with petitions or even demands for what I think is best. Yet that's not the way our prayer relationship with God is designed to be: prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING. And from that position of thankfulness to proceed into worship, communion, application, pleas for mercy, wisdom, truth, and much, much more.

56. Final medical tests for prenatal care coming back clear

57. Lavender plants blooming

58. My eyes open to seeing and rejoicing over many blessings

59. Dress shirts that actually fit Chris at the Burlington Coat Factory

60. Surprise mixed CD of music from a fellow blogger I've never met

61. Our church's talented music director

62. Hearing one of my favorite British musicians on the radio in the car

63. Second knitted baby sweater complete

64. Singing thankfulness for God's blessings at small group

65. My mother joining me in the capturing of one thousand gifts

67. Delicious new baked beans recipe

68. Little girl's silly faces

69. Back issues of Real Simple magazine given free by a friend

70. Knowing that I am deeply loved not only by my family, but also by Chris's entire family