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Category: My Musings

Reminders about sin from the Duggar situation 

You’ve probably heard about Josh Duggar and the scandal associated with him. If not, a quick google search can give you more info than you will ever need to know. I have only read a few articles but it was enough to give me a quick synopsis, though probably not the complete truth. I really don’t think it’s important for me to dwell too much on it. It’s a shame. But it’s always a shame when people choose sin and it always hurts. So I started thinking about what I can take away from this situation and a few things came to mind.

1. Sin is powerful and dangerous 
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 NIV

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but agains the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 NIV

Sin is real and since it is our nature we will always struggle with it. With Christ, we have the power to overcome, but that doesn’t mean it still isn’t a struggle or that we don’t still fail. We all struggle in different areas and none of us is immune to the temptation of sin. A good reminder of why we need to “put on the full armor of God.”

2. No one is infallible

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 NIV

The bible is full of stories of great heros of the faith and also their sins. And these weren’t just what we might consider trivial sins. Several were actually murderers. Even those whose heart is close to God can be pulled away when sin gets the best of them.

3. Sin always affects more than just yourself

Justification of our sins is something we are so good at. We tell ourselves that it only affects us. But that is just a plain lie. Sin ALWAYS affects us and those around us. We don’t think about the consequences or those that may get hurt along the way. Some sins can even affect generations. But that is what sin is – selfish.

4. Why we need a Savior

So we’ve seen the power of sin and that no one is immune to it’s pull. We all can fall prey to it and will at some time or another. Our actions hurt God and hurt others. Who can save us from this evil?

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Colossians 1:13 NIV

I am so thankful for grace and forgiveness. We have hope in Christ to stand firm and to choose to live for him. No longer slaves to sin. We will still fall and won’t be perfect this side of heaven, but we can rest assured that our sins won’t separate us from His love and if we repent He will always welcome us.

 

Our Latest Blizzard and How It Reveals A Problem in Our Culture

blizzard15Chicago’s 5th largest snowfall hit Superbowl weekend. It started Saturday evening and ended early Monday morning with snowfalls around O’Hare reaching 19.3″ Sunday was when the worst of it hit, and the afternoon/evening was especially brutal with high winds creating white-out blizzard conditions.

And yet…people would not be deterred from going about their business. I’m not knocking you if that is you. It’s not completely your fault. You live in a culture that pats you on the back and says, “Way to Go!” if you can carry on in the face of anything mother nature throws your way. I’m not saying that we should hibernate all winter either. For some reason, people wanting to be out and about in the blizzard this year really bothered me and as I pondered why I came to the conclusion that it’s because it reveals an attitude in our culture that I despise, even though I fall prey to it myself. Read more

Love Is…

menjonIt has been a challenging year to say the least. The birth of our baby changed our lives in more ways than I ever thought possible. Not only have we lived on less sleep than any other year, but we have faced physical challenges that were completely unexpected. My poor husband had to adjust to having a newborn and a wife who could barely walk all at the same time. Thankfully my physical limitations have improved, but I still have some limitations. And I’ve been an emotional roller coaster since April. Our marriage has been put to the test. Not that it’s been bad, but it’s not been easy. I am so thankful that we communicate well.

But even beyond words, I know my husband loves me because he has shown me in so many ways. He has loved me when I had nothing to offer him but tears, again and again. He has loved me when I have been harsh with my words and impatient. He has loved me when I’ve done nothing but complain. He has given me space to work through my mess. He is giving my body time to heal, even though I know it’s really tough and taking a long time. He has given me grace and forgiveness time and time again. He encourages me and serves me. He helps with chores and with our daughter.  I honestly don’t know what I’d do without him. He’s not perfect, but he loves me well despite myself.

My prayer for this year is that God will give me the strength and energy to love him well and be as gracious to him as he has been to me.

Humans: Created in His Image

Image courtesy of  ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What makes us human?

What a loaded question! Some would have you believe that we are just evolved animals, that somehow time and evolutionary anomalies have created an intelligent species such as ourselves. I find this extremely hard to believe, and not just because that’s not at all what the bible teaches. I find it hard to believe because humans are so different from animals that I don’t have the faith to believe that time alone could create the differences. Read more

Creation Shouts Creator

Image courtesy of By Idea go] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of By Idea go at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As a child I wanted to be a scientist. First I think it was an astronomer, then astronaut, then marine biologist. I just really loved science. I nixed the astronaut thought after space camp and science and I grew apart as far as a career goes, but my fascination has never ended. I think what I love most is that the more we learn about the world around us and how it works, the more amazing it becomes. The intricacies of the universe are simply astounding. And I find it impossible to believe it was an accident. I am ok with not knowing everything because there are some things that are just impossible to know with 100% certainty. But I do know that there had to be a Creator.

I also know that it takes way more faith to believe this was all some random accident billions of years ago. I don’t know exactly how God did it. Did he create the world in literal days, or over lots and lots of years? One day I’ll ask Him. All I know for certain is that He created it and He created us. We did not evolve from any animal, but more on that in another post. Read more

Forgetting the Why

Thank you so much to those of you who commented on my last few posts. It has been a reminder to me of why I enjoy writing and wanted to write in the first place. Sometimes it’s easy to be generic with everything and there’s a time and place for that kind of writing but I definitely want to bring so much more. I want my writing to be genuine and courageous. I don’t want to hold back for fear of what others may or may not think. Thank you for reminding me that honesty and transparency is always best. It’s been a challenge and encouragement!

A Baby’s A Baby No Matter How Small

ultrasound 20 weeks 5-1

We had our 20 week ultrasound yesterday and though the baby was uncooperative as far as a gender reveal it was such a blessing. I think I will treasure these moments forever. I feel like an ultrasound is a glimpse into the sacred, a window into this miracle world where life is forming. It’s is so beautiful and amazing! Little hands, fingers, arms and legs and toes moving about. Our little one was very active. It’s still amazing to me that this little human is actually growing inside of me. So far so good – healthy heartbeat, healthy weight for me and baby. What a beautiful miracle life is!

Thoughts on the the First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I am a little confused as to how something somewhat straightforward often gets misconstrued and used to prevent freedom of worship and expression rather than protect it. It seems rather ironic, don’t ya think?

I think we have forgotten in our country what it actually looks like to have our freedoms stripped from us. What does it look like to have a governing body establish a religion? Does that mean any mention of God by a public official, on public land or in a building purchased by public tax dollars is somehow establishing a certain religion? Seriously, if you think that we are not reading the same language.

Because we have enjoyed our freedoms for so long in order to see what this actually means we either need to go back to history or look outside ourselves to the world surrounding us. There are many countries where the governing bodies have established a religion, and even though their constitutions may protect religious freedom the actuality is much different. In those countries it is no crime to believe and act on your faith, so long as it is the same as the governing body. However, if you act on your faith and it is different, you are in danger of harassment, job loss, beatings, imprisonment and even death.

On the other hand there are countries where it is illegal to worship or freely express yourself at all. Religion of any kind except what is government sanctioned is strictly prohibited. You can be imprisoned for sharing facts and many journalists and lawyers are. You can be imprisoned for meeting with other people of like faith, and the list goes on and on.

In both cases these countries clearly violate our first amendment. The first clearly has a government established religion that the laws of the land are built around and the second clearly has prohibited the free exercise of religion, not to mention the freedom of expression, etc.

So I would like to ask again, how is a public prayer or a display of the ten commandments or the like a violation of the first amendment? If anything, this amendment is in place to protect such freedoms. No one is being forced to pray. No one is being forced to believe anything. No one is getting arrested if they do not bow down. No one is going to lose their government job because they don’t close their eyes during a prayer. No one is getting hanged if they abstain and share a different set of beliefs. Prayer in the public domain, by public officials, in public buildings does not equal an establishment of religion, merely the freedom to exercise that religion, and that right is very much protected!

I am awaiting the Supreme Court decision and while I do not put my faith in their decision, I am hoping that they will correctly interpret this amendment that is in place to protect rights more than prohibit.

 

Pregnancy is not for the faint of heart

Pregnancy is a crazy ride. There are some things you expect – morning sickness, fatigue, achiness. Then there are other things that can happen and completely throw you for a loop.

Friday was one of those times. I started bleeding – alot. It was a pretty traumatic experience as I was at work and it was pretty messy and I was sure I was having a miscarriage. Thankfully I had two heaven-sent co-workers who helped me call the doctor, get cleaned up enough to drive home and let me cry on their shoulders. I let John know I was on my way home and he was taking me to the ER. As soon as he saw me we both started weeping. He knew. I was a mess in every sense of the word. I cleaned up and then we headed out.

Thankfully our hospital is literally less than 5 minutes from our house so we were there in no time and before I knew it, I was in a wheelchair waiting to be admitted. I was pretty freaked out by everything I had seen coming out of me at work and even at the hospital. Again, I was certain we had lost the baby. As we waited we cried, we prayed, we talked, we cried more and assured each other that no matter what this little life was in God’s hands and regardless of the outcome – we would trust in His plan.

Finally I was admitted and after much more waiting finally was sent in for an ultrasound. It was nerve wracking. She did her thing for a while and I could not see the screen. I wasn’t sure what was taking so long, I figured she must be searching for the baby. Then I heard what I thought was a heartbeat. I was looking around to see if could have been from another room or from the other computer. But then she showed me – our baby was there – alive and healthy as ever. I was relieved and surprised and grateful and cautiously hopeful all at the same time. Should I still be worried and concerned? What was going on with my body? John was wondering the same thing but we both shed a few tears at the news that for now our baby was still with us. Even our nurse on duty said she was so relieved to hear that and it made her night.

Apparently it’s something that happens sometimes in some people. A subchorionic hemmorhage – that’s the medical term. The doc is hopeful that it bled out and is now gone.  But I guess they’ll just have to check me more carefully to make sure. Seeing the baby alive and well sent me from devastation to elation in a few seconds. I knew that having kids was going to change our lives forever. I just had no idea how much it would start changing our life before the baby was even born.

My faith muscles have gotten a great workout these past 11 weeks and I imagine that trend will continue. I have been continually stretched to trust God with ALL things, especially baby related. He has proven Himself faithful. I am grateful our baby is still with us, but I know that if that wasn’t the case God is still good. My heart aches for all the moms who have had the the opposite experience of me and had to face that devastating news. I have a tiny taste of what you have gone through. It’s no fun!

But I think the thing God continues to hammer home with us is that He is in control – not us! And we either trust Him with this truth or we don’t. He is author of life. He is knitting this baby together. He gives and takes away. He is good. And He loves us. He is trustworthy. Even in the midst of our darkest moments He was there with us – giving us peace, comforting us with his love. That doesn’t mean hard things – very hard things won’t happen. That doesn’t mean it won’t feel like our hearts are ripping apart and we can’t take the pain. But He promises to never leave us or forsake us, and I believe that with all my heart!

Gratitude in the Storm

0918131853Last night we were supposed to meet up with a friend across the street. It seemed silly to drive when it’s so close, but it was storming pretty bad. We waited it out and when it seemed all was clear we headed out.

We did not time it well. About 1/2 way there it began raining again, then pouring. By the time we got to our friends porch we were soaked through. She ended up not being home, but were inside the hallway door to her condo building and at least could wait out the storm a little before heading back. And that’s when the hail started.

I wasn’t too happy with our decision to walk and get stuck in the rain, but I was extremely thankful that God provided shelter just when we needed it most. It was pretty large hail, and quite a bit of it. That would not have been fun to have been stuck in! On the way home, after the storm passed for good I found a larger piece of hail and it was spiky too. The thought of that raining down on us was not a good one.

Thank you Lord, that even in the midst of being in the storm we can still count on your protection and care.