Heart of Esther

"And who knows but that you have come to this position for such a time as this?" –Esther 4:14

GRIEF HAS CHANGED ME October 3, 2012

I wish I could say the past year has been horrible but I’ve been able to just bounce right back. I’ve always been a fighter, I’ve always looked at the positives in life, I’ve always felt I could take anything and come out on top. I’ve always been resilient…

But not this time. I’ve felt as if this past year has been me struggling for air, trying to find who I am again (because I honestly don’t know anymore) and trying to move on past all the heartbreak and trauma but never seeming to really be able to. This year has been a year of loneliness-mostly my fault because I’ve pushed everyone away because I feel so all alone-that no one understands me. Almost all my friends who became pregnant after our loss decided in their own heads that it would be hard for me to know they were pregnant, so they just avoided me.  Don’t they understand, hearing someone is expecting doesn’t change that my baby is gone. I want my baby, not theirs! 

All I really want to do is close the blinds and snuggle deep into my bed covers.  But there is no rest for a weary, grieving mother of children.  There’s no escaping myself.  It’s hard to explain, maybe unless you’ve been there, but going through almost losing your life and losing your baby’s life, has left me with so much anxiety, at times I can hardly handle life.

I feel like I need help-but what can anyone do?  All of this is so very deep in my heart.  I keep waiting on Him to fix me.

Grief has changed me.

 

KISS HIM FOR ME November 21, 2011

Sometimes other people are frustrating.  They may say things that aren’t very thoughtful.  I know their intentions are good.  Sometimes people just don’t know what to say.  Someone said I didn’t have years with him and loose him.  Yet others have said I will come out of this stronger or that God has a plan. 

That doesn’t lessen my pain.  We DID loose a child-no matter how brief his life here on earth.  He was still our precious child.  We still miss him.  We still long to hold him and plant kisses on his sweet cheeks.  To gaze into his eyes and know him.

My son said to me today that Andrew is in a beautiful place and that God has a special place for him.  Then, Lord will you hold him close and kiss him for me?  😥  I miss my baby so!  My arms ache to hold him and nurse him.  All the plans and dreaming of him-GONE.  

And I’m helpless to change it.

 

GLORY BABY November 17, 2011

I have no words to write at the moment…at least none you would like to read.  And certainly none that would be inspiring.  I feel as if I’m drowning in tears.  But, here are beautiful lyrics a friend sent to me today…

GLORY BABY WATERMARK  

Glory Baby lyrics
Glory baby, you slipped away
As fast as we could say baby, baby
You were growing, what happened dear
You disappeared on us baby, baby

Heaven will hold you before we do
Heaven will keep you safe
Until we’re home with you
Until we’re home with you

We miss you everyday, miss you in every way
But we know there’s a day when we will hold you, we will hold you
And you’ll kiss our tears away, when we’re home to stay
We can’t wait for the day when we will see you, we will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you, until mom and dad can hold you
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do
Before we do

Sweet little baby, it’s hard to understand it
‘Cause we are hurting, we are hurting
But there is healing, and we know we’re stronger people
Through the growing, and in knowing

All things work together for our good
And God works his purposes
Just like he said he would
Just like he said he would

We miss you everyday, miss you in every way
But we know there’s a day when we will hold you, we will hold you
And you’ll kiss our tears away, when we’re home to stay
We can’t wait for the day when we will see you, we will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you, until mom and dad can hold you
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do

I can’t imagine heaven’s lullabies
And what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing
Heaven is your home
And it’s all you’ll ever know
All you’ll ever know

We miss you everyday, miss you in every way
But we know there’s a day when we will hold you, we will hold you
And you’ll kiss our tears away, when we’re home to stay
We can’t wait for the day when we will see you, we will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you, until mom and dad can hold you
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do
Yeah, you’ll just have heaven before we do
Before we do

 

THERE ARE NO ANSWERS November 15, 2011

Nothing makes sense to me right now.  I know things in my head but my heart does not comprehend.  Everything I believe has come in to question.  But my spirit knows the truth and though I lost my way (temporarily) I know my way back.  I could allow bitterness to take root, but I refuse to.  My heart is still His.

I saw this quote (based on Colossians 1:15) on Facebook today and I know I was meant to see it:  You were made by God and for God and until you understand that, life will never make sense.  

Andrew was made BY God and FOR God.  Though I desperately want his life to be here with me, he’s not here.  But God still made him.  Somehow, there is comfort knowing that Andrew was made for Him.  I don’t know his purpose, but his brief life meant something.

Maybe this will help bring me some level of acceptance…

 

Another truth I know-the devil cannot take what I freely give.

So as much as it hurts and as much as it’s not what I want-Lord, I give baby Andrew to you. 

He is yours now, to keep and to love.  

 

NEXT BREATH November 12, 2011

When I think there are no more tears; I find them.

I’m in a pit of despair and I cannot find reason to crawl out.

I wish there was no air to breath.

I feel the heavy weight of grief upon on my chest-pressing down on me.  It’s nearly impossible for me to inhale.

I want sleep to come-to somehow escape the pain.

But sleep evades me.

My arms scream for a baby I cannot hold!

My womb is as empty as my heart.

I don’t know how to endure.

I don’t know how to take the next breath…

 

BROKEN November 11, 2011

(Click link to view):  Broken by Lifehouse

I have no words to write or speak right now but this song somehow helps me.  I’m stripped.  Undone.  Broken.

 

HELD November 9, 2011

Click to watch:  HELD BY NATALIE GRANT

Lyrics

Two months is too little, they let him go
They had no sudden healing
To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling

Who told us we’d be rescued
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
We’re asking why this happens to us

Who have died to live, it’s unfair
This is what it means to be held
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive

This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We’d be held

This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive

This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We’d be held

If hope if born of suffering
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait for one hour
Watching for our Savior

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive

This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We’d be held

 

 

SIMPLE PARENTING HELP November 4, 2011

We as mothers make our job so much harder when don’t realize that the way our children respond is due to how they are taught to respond…(clearing throat) by US!  Being consistent with anything you want to train them is essential. So how are you talking to your children consistently? Do you use a soft voice laced with manners? Does your tone change when you are out in public and you know you are being heard? How are our children talking TO us and to others?

A pastor’s wife shared her story of how embarrassed she was to be caught yelling at her children in the middle of the living room when someone from their church dropped by for a visit. There she was, windows open, in full view of her unannounced visitors, screaming at her children. After that, she reassessed: if my children listen to me when I yell, I’ll train them to listen the first time, to my soft voice. That meant lots of disciplines when requests weren’t followed promptly, but it didn’t take long before the children caught on and were TRAINED to listen the first time to her “nice” voice. I realized when I acted out of frustration the third or fourth time I’d repeated myself by yelling or disciplining, I was unconsciously instructing my children to obey at that point, instead of the first time I asked. Now, there are consequences for not obeying the first time, and to be honest, I feel like a nicer Mommy because I’m not getting angry and yelling. I’m sure I sound nicer to those who listen to me, too! 😉

I also found myself saying something and often getting no response.  Toddlers are GREAT at ignoring.  It’s a testing time.  I found making them respond to me by saying “Yes, Mommy!” (cheerfully) was making them pay attention, and proving to me that they DID hear me. We also think it’s a good way for children to learn respect. Some people insist their children respond with a “yes, ma’am” or “yes, sir”, but we have always been okay with just a “yes, Daddy,” or “I’d be happy to!”.  I do like them to answer adults with their titles or names, such as “Yes, Teacher” or “Yes, Miss Laurie”.

We’ve also faced problems with jobs getting done halfway. First, be sure the thing you are asking your child to do, they are mature enough to handle! We also have a rule in our house “if you don’t know something-ASK!”.  It’s simple enough but let’s them know its always alright for them to ask a question or ask for help.  But after that, sometimes jobs get done halfway out of laziness or hurriedness. So listening is also doing the thing you were asked to do all the way!

One thing we try to reinforce in our home is working and obeying with a cheerful heart. The Bible says a joyful heart is like medicine. One of the scriptures our children know well is:

“Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars!” Philippians 2:14-15.

We encourage them that if they learn to cheerfully obey; they will shine like stars-at home, at work, at play!! We often may need to remind them: “Are you obeying quickly, cheerfully, and all the way?”  It makes for a pleasant atmosphere in our home when there isn’t grumbling and complaining.

If we reinforce at home obeying in these ways, our children will learn to hear God’s quiet voice. Our children will have struggles their whole lives, but if they learn to obey God early on, they will lead a blessed life! 

 

RID ME OF MYSELF November 2, 2011

My daily journey, my struggle, is to learn not to despise when things do not work out for me-when I am hurt, or when I am in a desert place.  When life is easy, good, or moving at a busy pace; it’s harder for me to see God in the details.  I love how God is in the details. He loves details!  He shows Himself strong in the small. It’s the little things in my life where I want the big changes. I want to respond His way instead of my own.  For me, each time I’m in the process of an even deeper, more intimate relationship with the Lord, He begins to reorder my life. It seems He is shifting and re-adjusting me and replacing even more of me with Him. He is also so clearly laying before me two choices in my response to happenings in my life: respond His way, or my own. I am learning not to despise the awkward or hard things because I am learning to see God in them, allowing Him to grow me.

This week has been a real challenge for me, but He is showing me He is teaching me through hard things. I don’t feel adequate. I feel helpless. I feel I am not good enough for my children, cannot meet my own expectations of myself, I’m not reaching out to others enough, not spending enough time in His Word…

In these moments, I find this is where I often grow the most.  Instead of feeling sorry or bad for myself because I lack so much, I am surrendering to Him who can do immeasurably more than I ask or think. I am totally committed to doing things HIS way. My prayer is that my heart would remain teachable through these struggles. That He would use them to show me how utterly inadequate and hopeless I am without Him!  If His Word says He uses the low things, them make me low.  If he uses the despised things, make me despised.  If he uses foolish things, then I shamelessly humble myself before Him!  I desire to live my life in full surrender of what He wants to do in it and with it.

May Romans 12: 9-21 remain on my heart:  clinging to what is good, honoring others above myself. Never lacking in zeal. Being joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Blessing those who persecute me. As much as it depends on me, living at peace with everyone. Not taking revenge, but leaving judgment and revenge to the Lord who takes care of me. He is my Defender! I will not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good!

I don’t rejoice because of the struggle or because of my failures, but I rejoice that I can grow in the struggle.  That somehow in my failure, He is able to show his strength!  I want the hard things to remind me that I must never lose my zeal, or my dependence on Him. When I am in full surrender, I realize this: if I’m being challenged, it’s because I need to be!!  May my heart and will remain always bendable before Him.  May I allow Him to do His work in me.

LEAD ME TO THE CROSS

 

CHEERIOS MADE ME LOOSE IT November 1, 2011

Do you ever have those days where just ONE more thing will send you over the edge??  Yeah.  That was me the other day.  It was just those little things that added up all day.  It started out by being woken up early (4am early) by a little one that is learning to live (and sleep) without a pacifier.  With a nursing baby, my sleep is interrupted as it is.  Still, I woke up looking forward to a little shopping trip without any children-excited to have some space and thoughts to myself (which is rare) for a couple of hours.  You have to understand, I am NEVER w/o my children.  Honestly, I don’t crave time away or frequent breaks.  When money is tight, we have date night at home after the kiddos are in bed.  My husband works long hours and we don’t have any family nearby.  We are also extremely careful about who we allow our children to be watched by.  SO, I do not get time alone (you know what I mean, Mommy’s-not even in the BATHROOM), mkay?? 

Anyway, myschedule was already too packed this week and I was stressed.  Not to mention not feeling well.  It was little things all day like my toddler unrolling an entire roll of bath tissue and proceeding to tear it up in little shreds and spread it all over the house.  Yes, I was getting more and more anxious for my outing ALONE!   I wish I could say something major happened to make me lose my cool and you could relate, but it was something so small and silly…

Ready to walk out the door, I’m running around like a mad lady sprucing up the house (no easy task after a long home schooling day and sports after) so we don’t scare away the babysitter and I get the call that I would NOT have childcare after all and that if I wanted to get a few things I had planned to get done, I had to bring all the children with me.  Sigh.  To be honest, I usually don’t mind taking all the kiddos with me and really and truly enjoy their company.  But this had been a particularly rough week.  I was tired.  I needed a break.  I had even fallen asleep the night before imagining myself with my coffee in hand, being able to casually rifle through a favorite store before getting my “have to have’s” at my not so favorite store.  I literally at that moment felt as if my day had been ruined.

I wish I could say it was something major that put me over the edge.  It really wasn’t that big of a deal.  My toddler spilled a bowl of Cheerios (dry-thank goodness) on my sofa.  IN my sofa.  And crushed them in between my cushions.  Yeah.   And I lost it. Let me reassure you, ladies, it wasn’t pretty. 

Still cleaning up crushed up Cheerios and beginning to feel ashamed for loosing it, I kept praying, and I realized that my day was probably going so awfully because of my attitude and because, in my head, I had planned for things to go my way that day. 

Then, in His soft and gentle way, I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me and gently ask how often do we this in our spiritual walk?  I began to evaluate my heart.  It’s not that I had a bad day.  It went much deeper than that.  How often do we say a prayer or expect God to do something, or even put limitations on Him as to how we allow him to work in our hearts; and then become frustrated or even bitterly disappointed when things are not as we think they should be?  It’s not just our daily happenings we get easily upset and frustrated over, but major things like money, relationships, even death of a loved one.  Often, we even let a part of our hearts shut down to Him because we cannot understand why things aren’t going our way.

The only way to make it through is to be utterly abandoned to myself and completely open to what His desire is for me…even in the small things.  If I’m not, do I really trust Him?  Do I really believe He is a loving God who wants good things for me?  Do I know who my enemy is? (Hint:  the Word says that satan is the one who comes to kill, steal, and destroy). 

I cannot always control what happens to me, but I can choose my response to them, and ultimately, my response to HIM!  After all, life big or small, is lived daily.  Especially as mothers and wives.  That’s why the Word says in Mathew to not even worry about tomorrow and to “Be careful, then, how you live-not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”  Ephesians 5:15-16. 

“Now listen, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

And, when Paul writes in Philippians 4:12-13 “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength!”

So, if I can learn to lean on the One who gives me strength and respond the way I know He would have me to respond first, if I can somehow squash this ME that gets in the way of what He is doing in my life (even if its responding well to spilled Cheerios!) then I can be refined and somehow reach toward the prize…

 

TRAINING CHILDREN EARLY October 31, 2011

These early years (about 1-3 years old) are essential in training our children.  You know the verse in Proverbs:  “Train a child when he is young…”  This is when they learn many boundaries. Let me reassure you from the beginning, training little ones can be exhausting!  Little ones have to be dealt with immediately because they do no remember later that they are being disciplined for what they did hours, even minutes ago. It’s always when you are in the middle of doing something else that they need correcting!  Often, I have even had to put down a nursing baby to correct a toddler!
If you’re exasperated, wait!  While training IS hard work, it is also not as hard as you think. Young children love to please. You see it on their beaming face when everyone claps for them! Praise is an important part of training. Correction, without praise when they get it right, only frustrates a child. And the Bible warns parents to not frustrate your child to anger. “Yea!! You did it!” with a smile and clapping hands and they will love to attempt a reaction such as that again! I have found that with just a couple of days of consistency and you will see results!
Teaching no, of course, comes quite easily as it seems toddlers are never too tired to explore the world around them-even it means exploring one cupboard or drawer at a time by emptying its entire contents out and somehow managing to spread it all over the house in a matter of minutes…always while you’re cleaning up…and especially if you’re expecting company! 🙂

Teaching young children to not throw tantrums or scream and cry for what they want by teaching them instead to ask for it (even if they are too young for words, it’s an opportunity to teach words and also teach them to respond in other ways, such as pointing). They are never too young to learn to respond right! One of my slow talkers could never respond to “Yes, Mommy” she could nod her head.

This age is also the perfect time for teaching little ones to help! My toddlers have always “helped” me put laundry in the machine, or fold it, even put it into their own drawers. When I dust, I often hand one of them a clean cloth and they joyfully polish the furniture alongside me. Teaching them to pick up their own toys along with you and this stage is more time-consuming (especially when you know you can do it yourself in a minutes time!), but all my children could easily manage to put their own toys in a basket (and usually they were cleaning their own rooms) by themselves before they were 3 years old. When they work alongside you, it’s an opportunity to teach them not only to do a job cheerfully and all the way, but also to spend some quality time with mom! Little ones love to help-use this to your advantage! It’s a great way of teaching the teamwork that comes from being in a family. We often say in our family “everyone in a family helps out” and “teamwork” or “many hands make light work”!  I always talk about how much we love to live in a clean house or how it makes so much less work when everyone learns to pick up after themselves.  My older ones still talk about how nice it is to live in a clean house (since they’ve heard it since they were young)!
Teach them to obey in public, as well as at home. I remember several times giving little ones “time outs” in the middle of the grocery store aisle (regardless of the stares or sometimes comments from others). Shopping with children is no small task and I felt they could easily learn to control themselves in a store as well as they knew how to at home. Stores are the hardest for parents because we feel (and are) being watched. Don’t give in just to get them to stop! Yes, its embarrassing but honestly, you’ll have many more embarrassing moments if you don’t train them now to stop!  Trust me!  It’s hard at the moment but its much more pleasant when you know you can take your children anywhere and trust their behavior when you’re there. Church is also an excellent place for them to learn self-control and how to sit quietly when needed, at least for short periods of time. Practice at home first! You can have them practice sitting next to you on the sofa or in your lap. Begin with small time periods, 5 minutes or so, then increase the time little by little.

Training your children to respond to commands such as “no” and “come here.” And please, ladies, no counting! Children should learn to respond to your request, not your threats, “1…2…I mean it!…2 ½…”
I have seen first hand how training early on makes the latter years much easier and more pleasant. When my children were trained and knew what was expected of them, instead of being irritated or tired of constant correction, I found I was able to enjoy them and the unique personalities God gave them so much more!

 

HONOR October 30, 2011

Honor one another above yourselves.”  -Romans 12:10

The other day, my husband and I overheard an advertisement for a popular “family” show on TV.  My husband commented to me, “On TV, they always have to make the Dad the idiot.”  I asked what he meant but quickly saw as in the 30 second clip of the show, the wife and the children all treated the father as if he had no clue, turning their backs on him and rolling their eyes.  Even the children were openly making fun of him.  That sparked a discussion between us and we reminisced about the older shows on TV-“Leave It To Beaver“, “My Three Sons“, “The Andy Griffith Show“.  In all of those shows, the father figure was respected and the one who gave sound advice and helped the children figure it all out in the end of the half hour.  Even the title of an older show “Father Knows Best” says it all.  Since when did our culture take a turn from viewing the husband/father with such disrespect and even disdain?

As we talked, we realized that from the time those shows were aired until now, two significant things had happened.  The first, the 10 commandments was taken out of school; reflecting the culture’s change and turn away from God and His Holy Word.  Second, the feminist movement.  The movement that said women are not only just as good as men, women are better!  The fact is, the Bible is very clear on both the male and female roles.  It is the Christian view, in fact, that always reveres women and respects men.  The Bible says that “man is not good alone”.  In the New Testament, women are to honor their husbands, but men are to treat their wives with love and even as they would themselves!  Only in cultures where the Bible is not followed are women treated as property…and worse.
I think, the demise of society and all the problems we see now (homosexuality, broken families, fatherless children, men who seek admiration outside the marriage and lead to infidelity, pornography, even the drug and prison problems) largely stem from society as a whole telling men they are not good enough, not admired, not respected, and ultimately less than women.  We have told them they must be like women to be worthy.  They must behave like women, think like women, get in touch with their emotions like women, act like women…

We wonder why they aren’t standing up and fighting for their integrity and that of their families.  We wonder why they aren’t taking spiritual leadership in their homes.  Women are taught not to respect their husbands, then wonder why men don’t respect themselves and why their children aren’t honoring them.
Raising boys, God has placed a deep purpose in my heart to show them how men really should be treated, contrary to the message culture is bombarding them with.  God made men to be the head.  To lead.  Deep in their hearts, they are warriors, wanting to fight a battle.  What battle?  Ultimately, the battle of the ages-between bad and good.  (P.S. If you’ve never read “Wild At Heart” by John Eldrigde-check it out!)  Men are made to do spiritual warfare and God made them to want to win because He wants us to conquer evil.  They are to protect and provide for their families.  They are to compete in the business or trade world.  They are to fight for the hearts of their wives and children.  They are made to do things that must be done that women cannot “emotionally” handle.
The feminist movement has changed women’s roles from being revered and treated as different because we were DIFFERENT then men, and has instead, set us up as men’s competitor-trying to battle for the head of the marriage, the children, the home, the church, the office, etc.
Our children are watching how we are treating our husbands.  Ultimately, our sons will learn how to treat their wives and our daughters will learn how to treat their husbands by our examples.  Are we respecting our husbands?  Do we watch what we say to our children about their father?  Are we building him up in front of them?  Or tearing him down and belittling him?  Do we complain and argue with his wishes or do we do it cheerfully because he asked of us?  How do we treat him when he comes home?  Do we respect him when we feel like it-or no matter what because that’s what the Word says?
The other day, I caught myself saying out loud in front of my children, “I wish your dad would remember to do ____ chore!”  No sooner was it out of my mouth, that I felt convicted.  I tried to correct it and said, “You know, Mommy shouldn’t have said that.  Your dad always works hard and takes good care of us.  Isn’t it helpful that he takes out the trash every morning so Mommy doesn’t have to?  That shows how much he loves Mommy.  What can we do for Daddy when he comes home to make him feel special?”

Are we respecting our sons?  Are we training them to lead well?  What about letting them take turns leading the family in Bible reading or prayer?  Are we equipping them to make sound decisions later?  Are we training them to guard their eyes and hearts, to be good with money, to work hard, to lean on the wisdom of the Word?  What about the way they treat their mother or sisters or sisters in the Lord?  It’s good practice at a young age to teach them to look out for their families.  Do they protect their sisters and help their mothers?  Are they using manners and considering others around them?

Men can learn to lead in ways that aren’t dominant and destructive.  The Bible never intended that.  That’s why it was clear that men are to love their wives as their own bodies and to treat them as a weaker vessel.  The Hebrew translation for that means “a beautiful vase”.  I don’t feel belittled when I’m treated as a beautiful, fragile vase.  I feel honored and special and very feminine.  Just as our hearts yearn to be treated that way, men’s hearts yearn to be respected, needed, and admired.  How can we purpose today to honor and show respect to the men in our life?

Check out this article:
http://www.ladiesagainstfeminism.com/?p=984&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Ladiesagainstfeminismcom+%28LadiesAgainstFeminism.com%29

 

 
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