Thursday, September 27, 2012

Our Lunch at the Waffle House

Occasionally, God gives us the eyes to see.  And if we are walking with Him, looking for Him, finding Him in His Word, we realize He frequently and continually gives us these eyes to see.  Because He is at work.  Always.  And He deeply desires to give us the gift of His vision. 

So often, it is life’s “small” occurrences that awaken me to this, sharpening my gaze and increasing my fellowship with this tender, loving, involved God.  After the church service a couple of weeks ago (that I wrote about in “Three Years”), our little family decided to grab a quick lunch at the Waffle House, a Meade and Mary Elizabeth favorite.  It may not be fancy, but it is consistently good and always homey.

Meade and I each ordered our usual: a grilled cheese with bacon and a side of hash browns.  We requested the kids’ waffle for Daniel (it is amazing how easy it is when they start eating table food; who knew?!).  And on a whim, we decided to order a scrambled egg for John.  Yes, you heard us right… the parents who have only fed this child homemade, organic, non-dairy, non-gluten, no sugar added, no salt added food for almost three years ordered him a greasy egg at the Waffle House.  Granted, eggs are on his diet, but this was a first for us. 

And it was WONDERFUL! 

We ate, laughed, talked, managed our boys, ate some more, and left as quickly as we blew in to take Daniel home for his nap.  Yet as we sat in that cozy booth as a family, spoon-feeding John his scrambled and diced egg, it hit me.  We are living.  Really living. 

I reflected on that morning’s sermon, when my childhood pastor talked about “joining the party,” proclaiming we have been invited… graciously given a place in the Father’s house.

In our seemingly insignificant Waffle House moment, I was given the opportunity to praise God.  To lift the silverware and lift hands.  Despite the residual pain, I realized our family is now in a place where we celebrate more often than not.  We simply loved our time as a family at the Waffle House... all participating, all sharing in the feast.  What did this quick meal represent?  Healing.  Restoration.  Normalcy.  That our family’s time had come.  In that moment at least, we had joined the party.

A few days after our Waffle House lunch, my mom came over bearing the gift of eggs (in a bag with tissue paper and all) for John!  A fun way to celebrate his 3 years of seizure freedom and God's continued healing in our family.

Pain undoubtedly remains in this broken world, stinging even as it simultaneously gives us the Lord’s eternal perspective.  However, God IS making things new and right.  There is great hope that we have the privilege of being in the Father’s House.  The feast is prepared.  And we are all invited.  Let’s join the party.  Embrace life again.  There is much to celebrate… at the Waffle House and in God’s Kingdom.

But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are His house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.
-Hebrews 3:6

Classic Daniel... marching down John's slide (where John works on his army crawling), holding his truck, ball in his mouth, and carrying a big stick.  :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

That'll Hold Ya!

Image via Pinterest
The other day a rare thing happened. Both my boys slept in. Typically their meeps and grunts serve as my alarm clock in the morning. But on this particular morning, they slept in and I actually got up before them.

I didn’t know what to do with myself!  After a few minutes, I realized I could have a real “quiet time” (i.e. uninterrupted time reading the Bible, journaling, praying).  As a mom (or perhaps it is just a lack of discipline!), these moments are few and far between.  

I curled up in the unused chair in the corner of our bedroom, dusted off my Bible, journal, and Oswald Chambers (I highly recommend My Utmost for His Highest), and the Lord was gracious to meet me right where I was... even though it had been awhile!
There are pictures other than food and furniture at the bottom.  :)
A real breakfast consumed at a decent hour can also be a rare occurrence. 

What do breakfast and the Bible have in common?  Well, my mom and I have a saying after we eat a hearty, protein-rich meal (think loaded omelet): “That’ll hold ya!”  Truly, if you don’t skimp on the meals, especially breakfast, energy typically flows in abundance, carrying you throughout the day.

Getting in the Word is like eating that wholesome, energizing breakfast.  Starting off with Scripture provides the “manna” we need for the rest of the day.  We need our Daily Bread, not yesterday or even last year’s stale portion… but the Lord’s portion for that very day. 

Like I said, dust had collected on my quiet time items that particular morning, however the verses jumped off the page.  Beth Moore and Oswald Chambers’ words seemed sent straight from God for me.  Here are some excerpts: "God has not forgotten. He has seen your battles.  He has gathered your tears and blotted your brow. God always finishes what He begins.  Stand in God's Word and ever resist the temptation to panic."

And once again, just like that, I am utterly amazed.  Shocked, even, that God is still there, that He can still be found in those pages penned so many years ago, and that He still speaks into my current reality despite my perceived feeling of being too busy or too tired to spend a brief moment with Him.

Why do I so often opt out of this daily blessing?  The blessing of the Lord in my midst, speaking into exactly what I’m facing?  Why do I wonder at the end of another day why I felt frazzled all day long and couldn’t muster the strength I needed or command my heart and mind to be at peace?

Just as we need a hearty breakfast, we must also feed our faiths, because we are going to be fed somewhere whether we realize it or not.  Do we want to be fed by the world, by our own insecurities and shortcomings, by our already-dwindling energy?  Or do we want to opt in, choosing the Word that nurtures, the Word that is life?
Daddy and John reading from Mark 11:22-25 on John's 3 year seizure freedom anniversary!
Let’s get in the Word.  Not out of sheer discipline.  Not to prove anything or to feel good about our spiritual health, but because we desperately need our portion.  Because we know we have no chance of surviving, let alone thriving, without the manna.  And because we know the Word of the Lord is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12a), spilling forth from His divine love and never returning void.  Always accomplishing His purposes in you and in me.  Every. Single. Time.

     *Check out this great post on nurturing our faith on my friend’s blog, Long to Love.

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty,
 but will accomplish what I desire 
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
-Isaiah 55:10-11

Recent picture of John on Pinkie.
Daniel kept himself entertained with the rocks near the riding arena.

Swim therapy with Miss Kate!  What a gift!
One of the exercises John does... he squats and then pushes off one of us.
He does this in many different positions !  He is getting so strong!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Three Years!!

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. 
Then it was said among the nations, ‘The LORD has done great things for them.’ 
The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”
-Psalm 126:2-3

That's right!  This week we have been celebrating 3 YEARS of SEIZURE-FREEDOM for John!!  We can hardly believe it!  God is so good.  We went from counting minutes between seizures to now counting and celebrating YEARS: 3 seizure-less years.  Amazing.  Truly amazing. 

It is good and right to celebrate milestones such as these and rejoice in this HUGE miracle while we continue to hold onto hope for the additional miracles God has in store.  Reflecting on His faithfulness and professing what He has done build faith for the future while fighting fear of the unknown. 

We have had some truly special moments this week.  Monday, John basically laughed all day.  All through horseback riding.  All throughout swim therapy too.  And even while eating his dinner, to the point we were afraid he was going to choke on his food!  This child’s joy is simply contagious, and we are grateful for the reminder that the joy of the Lord is our strength and it is not dictated by circumstances.  It seems Daniel has the “happy gene” too! 

To go along with his laughter, John has just started to clap!  I think he picked this up from his little brother… we’re so grateful they have each other.  John cannot put his palms together yet so that they are flat against each other, but he is purposefully clapping in his own way!  A definite gift and sign of improving brain pathways.

Lastly, my childhood pastor was in town this past Sunday; it was a joy to hear Pastor Wood preach and see him and his wife.  He is one of the few people who met Warren this side of heaven, something I will always cherish.  The Woods also have a son with medical needs who I grew up with, my dear friend Paul. He is now 34 and continuing to beat all the odds and bless all who know him.  Pastor Wood commented that if our sons had been born in the 1950’s, they wouldn’t have made it.  And with that in mind, it is easy to thank the Lord, remembering how each and every day with our precious children is a GIFT.  Praise God! 

Pastor Wood also reminded me of the beautiful poem found in Corrie Ten Boom’s inspiring book, The Hiding Place.  I couldn’t agree with Pastor Wood more: If anyone has credibility and the authority to speak perspective into hardship, it is this woman who suffered through Nazi Germany by both protecting many the Nazis targeted and also enduring a concentration camp herself.  What a testimony!  I hope this poem challenges and blesses you, as it once again did for us (And note the images at the bottom):

My Life is but a weaving
between my Lord and me;
I cannot choose the colors
He worketh steadily.

Oft times He weaveth sorrow
And I, in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper,
And I the under side.

Not til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver's skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

He knows, He loves, He cares,
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives His very best to those
Who leave the choice with Him.