Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Post-Christmas Surprise

In my Christmas post, I wrote about how Christmas takes on a fresh meaning each year as the Holy Spirit puts life anew into its powerful story. Well, this year our family has another added meaning to this special occasion. We were blessed with our best gift the day after Christmas: a positive pregnancy test! The early signs and symptoms had me thinking that we might be expecting, but it was the 2 First Response Tests that confirmed it for us. Being able to share the news of an extra special present after the all the gifts had been unwrapped was something we will never forget!
The nurse in me knows that we are still early in the game and that a lot can happen between now and Sept 5 (tentative due date), but I don’t think God wants us to wait until then to thank and praise Him. After the extensive infertility work-up and treatment we did just before conceiving Dylan, we are in awe of the blessing that God allowed to happen so easily and quickly. With Tim leaving tomorrow to start Army Chaplaincy training for 12 weeks, there is a little something in me that wonders if the timing of this is right. But we have written a blank check to God with our lives and are allowing him to fill in the address in the top left corner, the amount in the “for” blank, and the timing in the date field. We are trusting his timing and his judgment.
Thank you, Lord, for this Christmas blessing. Thank you for sending your Son to us as a baby, so tender and mild. And thank you for sending this child to us!Yes, they are positive (both of them)!!

Happy Blog-iversary

It has been 1 year now since I started this blog, and I wanted to write a special post in that honor. This blog has done alot for me. At times it has kept me going. At other times, it has kept me in touch with family and friends that I otherwise might not have. At still other times, it has helped me to express the thoughts and stirrings of my heart as God has led us through quite a journey over the past year. It has been great to journal on this journey. Thanks to all of you who stop by periodically to peruse. Special thanks to those of you who occasionally leave comments or send me e-mails.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Thoughts

Each year I am amazed at how God brings to light a new piece of the Christmas story and sheds a fresh light on its glorious message. This year I have found myself drawn to the seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against the prospect of the Messiah's birth occuring.

  • Too young - Mary was of too young an age to have been engaging in marital relations with Joseph, and therefore would not have been able to conceive.

  • Too old - Elizabeth was too old to be carrying and child and had been barren her whole life

  • Too far - the prophets told of the Messiah being born in Bethlehem, but Mary & Joseph were living no where close to there.

  • Too crowded - Joseph could find no place suitable for his family to stay and for the birth of the child.

And yet, Mary did bear a child, born of the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth, too, bore a child who would prepare the way of the Lord. And who but God could arrange such a timely census which would bring the gestating Messiah to the proper place? Joseph may have felt he was "settling" for second or third best by bunking in a stable. But God ordained that birth place and took note of it for the angels to proclaim on high. Proving once again that he excels in the unlikely and the miraculous. Proving that he is indeed mighty, sovereign, glorious. This Christmas season, like no other, I need to know this. I need to know that I serve and worship and surrender to a god like that; the Old Testament calls him El Shaddai. I call him "Father". Thank you Lord for humbling yourself into the body of a helpless, frail, and vulnerable baby and subjecting yourself to the hardships of this sin-infested world. All so that we may know you through your suffering and death. Immanuel --"God with us".

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Commissioning Service

Today was Tim's Commissioning Service where he took the oath to become an officer in the US Army. His ranking is that of 1st Lieutenant, and he is officially on his journey to become an Army Chaplain. The commissioning was performed at our church by Commander Saunders, the seminary professor that first brought to light in Tim's mind the idea of Chaplaincy as a ministry.
Babe, I am so proud of the man you are and the heart you have. To God be the glory for what He is doing in our lives!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A December to remember

December 4th hit me a ton of bricks. Not the kind that hurt, but the kind that definitely get your attention. I realized at that point that we were one month out from Tim's departure to CH-BOLC (Chaplain Basic Officer Leadership Course). The Lord has granted us the privelege of being able to afford to have Tim quit his job early (the week before Black Friday, none the less!) so that he might have more time to spend with his family and say his farewells. God was so gracious to us through this, as it has proven to be such a beautiful gift. We took Dylan out of daycare for a month to spend time with his dad, and so day in and day out this month they are making memories.

So many things are up in the air right now and my mind sometimes feels like it is swirling. Our house is for sale (great time to be selling Real Estate, huh?) and our possessions are being sold and boxed up. Questions arise like: When should I quit my job? What will it be like to be a single mom? What will it be like to be single for 12 weeks? How will Tim fare? What will Dylan think, and more importantly what will he remember? When and where will we move to? How will we adjust? The thing is - I HAVE NO IDEA. But one thing I do know...I know God's heart. I know that He will show himself mighty to those who are faithful to Him. Scripture says that "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it." Phil. 1:6 God is definitely the originator of what has transpired in our lives, so we are trusting him to keep us going until we reach that place of completion. Our motto in this home is DEFINITELY "One day at a time".

Tim's Commissioning Service is this Sunday afternoon and we are excitedly anticipating that. He will thenceforth be known as Lieutenant Raburn. That will take some getting used to! In all seriousness, I just have to say from the bottom of my heart that I am so inexpressibly proud of Tim in general, and doubly so in light of the sacrifice he is going to make. Lately I have been asked quite frequently if I am sad about leaving or if I'm "okay" with moving. My answer is and has been this: When you see someone that you love dearly find what it is they are called to do and run toward it, unafraid, with enthusiasm and passion, your heart has room for nothing but pride. I love Tim and support him whole-heartedly in this endeavor. Does this mean there won't be days of sorrow and nights of tears? No. Even though my heart is filled with pride for Tim, does that mean that my mind doesn't try to fill with fear? No. The best way I can think to describe my thoughts about this is to quote from the book I am (STILL) reading (I'm a reeeaallly slow reader) "Lies Women Believe" by Nancy DeMoss:
"Joy, peace, and stability come from believing that every circumstance that touches our lives has first been filtered through His fingers of love and is part of a great, eternal plan that He is working out in this world and our lives."

I believe that part of my preparation for this journey is what God has led me to through life experiences and studying His word over the past several years. I have many times found myself drawn to passages, verses, and books that speak to the suffering that we are called, even priveleged, to endure for God's glory and Christ's sake. This ideal is clear to me, that it is not 'will I suffer?' but 'when will I suffer?'. Again to quote from the aforementioned book:
"By convincing us that our suffering is undeserved or unnecessary, the Enemy succeeds in getting us to resent and resist the will and purpose of God. The message that was preached by the Lord Jesus Himself and by the apostles who followed Him was a call to take up the cross; it was a call to sign up for battle; it was a call to suffer."

Please do not take me to be saying that I am going to be laying out in the street, homeless and hungry, suffering for Jesus. I realize that what we are going to endure as a direct result of accepting this calling is a different sort of suffering. But it will be a struggle of sorts that will challenge our family. I think the view God has revealed to me on suffering has made me better able to accept my husbands calling and more willing to embrace my own. Arthur Mathews, missionary to China 1938-1949, wrote that:
"We tend to look at the circumstances of life in terms of what they may do to our cherished hopes and convenience, and we shape our decisions and reactions accordingly. When a problem threatens, we rush to God, not to seek his perspective, but to ask him to deflect the trouble. Our self-concern takes priority over whatever it is that God might be trying to do through the trouble....An escapist generation reads security, prosperity, and physical well-being as evidences of God's blessing. Thus when he puts suffering and affliction into our hands, we misread his signals and misinterpret his intentions."

I know my "insight" may seem rather cavalier to some, but as Nancy DeMoss says in the book, the truth is that God is far more interested in our holiness than in our happiness; for He knows that apart from being holy, we can never truly be happy.