Sunday, August 28, 2011

She's HERE!!!!!!!!!!

Josh and Jemima's beautiful baby girl has arrived: Cherish Mercy!
All 7 pounds and 4 ounces of sweet perfection.
How did God come up with a creation as wonderful as babies?!
I love her to pieces and can't stop nuzzling her soft face and kissing her!

Friday, August 26, 2011

I Shall Wonder That Ever My Eyes Turned Away....

"Looking off unto Jesus," my spirit is blest;
In the world I have turmoil - in Him I have rest;
The sea of my life all about me may roar,
When I look unto Jesus I hear it no more.

Soon, soon shall I know the full beauty and grace
Of Jesus my Lord, when I stand face to face;
I shall know how His love went before me each day,
And wonder that ever my eyes turned away.

~ Verses 2 and 5, sung to the tune of "My Jesus, I Love Thee"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How Fortunate Infinite Wisdom Prevails!

I love, love, love Ruth Bell Graham's poetry... Mom introduced it to me in fourth grade when she gave me a copy of Ruth's book, "Sitting By My Laughing Fire" and told me to learn to write poetry. {I never did write anything worth saving.}

At the time, I thought her poetry was annoying and hard to understand.

Then I grew up a little and lived a little life and started to savor some of her Ruth's words.
And now, there are few things I like more than a Ruth Bell Graham poem. The realness just oozes from it... and her words say what my heart never managed to put into words.

I'll share one of my all-time favorites tonight.

Had I been Joseph's mother
I'd have prayed
protection from his brothers:
"God keep him safe;
he is so young,
so different from
the others."
Mercifully she never knew
there would be slavery
and prison, too.

Had I been Moses' mother
I'd have wept
to keep my little son;
praying she might forget
the babe drawn from the water
of the Nile,
had I not kept
him for her
nursing him the while?
Was he not mine
and she
but Pharaoh's daughter?

Had I been Daniel's mother
I should have pled
"Give victory!
This Babylonian horde-
godless and cruel -
don't let them take him captive
-- better dead,
Almighty Lord!"

Had I been Mary -
Oh, had I been she,
I would have cried
as never a mother cried,
"...Anything, O God,
but crucified!"

With such prayers
my finite wisdom
would assail
Infinite Wisdom;
God, how fortunate
Infinite Wisdom
should prevail!

-- RBG

Monday, August 22, 2011

Days When I Hate Being a Midwife

It's been one of those days when I hate being a midwife. If I wasn't an adult, I would have jumped up and ran out of the office today and said I wasn't coming back.

Why do mamas who don't have many years left to have a baby and who've tried so hard to get pregnant for years and years and years have to be so bitterly crushed and disappointed... told that the little one growing inside them is no longer alive or growing?

And why do I have to dread answering my phone when I see it's a client... hoping that certainly, certainly nothing ELSE could have gone wrong today?!

And why do I have to hope that this woman's husband isn't abusing her and the kids behind closed doors?

And why does it seem like the whole world of mothers and babies and midwives is falling apart today? {I know it isn't really.}

And why do I have to meet with a doctor who hates midwives' guts and try to convince him that I DO care about these mothers and babies?

And why do liability and legality have to matter when all that should matter is if a mama and her baby get the best care for their situation?

And why did I ever want to do this in the first place??

Because I love them too much not to.
{Sometimes I refrain from signing off professional emails to them as "Love, Mary"}

I guess that's why my clients' awful days leave me heartsick, too.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

When My Needs Are Worship

It seems that I've had a lot of needs in the past couple of years. Things that send me crying to my Heavenly Father, begging Him for help, for wisdom, for what I need. Sometimes I don't even say what. I just sigh and say, "God, you know..." Some things in my heart are just beyond words.

Sometimes I feel ridiculously needy and wonder to myself, Does anyone else have a heart that wanders as much as mine? Does anyone else find themselves needing the Lord Jesus to change their heart as much as me? Does anyone else beg God for so many things? Does anyone else have so many loved ones with so many big problems that all need prayer?

Sometimes I feel like I should pull myself together and be a triumphant Christian, not such a desperately needy one... One who fails so often. Doesn't God wish that I'd come to Him more often with as a joyfully obedient Godly Christian, instead of being the always-nearly-falling-apart-person? Doesn't He wish that I had more days of smooth sailing, of radiating His Grace and Love? Doesn't He wish I had less of the days where all I can think is, "I need God... so much!" while I stumble through the moments and the problems and struggles and try (and fail) to speak and think as He would have me to?

Several nights ago I was driving home from a long day at the office, tired but happy with a mostly successful day of prenatals behind me. As the miles rolled by and the stars shone overhead, I was listening to the Gospels when the little word "worship" jumped out at me.

Speaking of Jesus: "There came a leper and worshiped Him, saying, 'Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean'! " (Matthew 8:2)

The wretched leper-man didn't come and ask Jesus what he could do to show God's glory to his generation or kneel down and tell Him he would dedicate his life to service in the temple.

He didn't come to Jesus for his friends.

He came for himself.

He came, consumed by his messed up, broken life and his sad heart, living the life an outcast. He wanted his own skin made whole, the ugly stumps of his fingers to work again, to caress someone, to tend vineyards and build houses like other men did. He wanted to walk the streets without calling out, "Unclean! Unclean!" as little children screamed and ran. He wanted life again, not this existence.

He couldn't will away the ugliness that pervaded his life, and maybe his soul.
Was he a bitter man because of what had happened to him?

He came to the only One Who could make his life better.

He came because he thought Jesus could.

Bringing his own needs to Jesus was worship.
Because He came, acknowleging God as the One who could meet His needs!

In all of my beseeching God for wisdom and begging Him for things like knowing what to do with difficult relationships and cars with problems when I'm alone on the road at 2 am; things like keeping babies alive and stopping hemorrhages and dealing with people with severe mental problems; things like not knowing how to interact with certain people and knowing when to say "no" to people that never stop taking and seemingly wasting my time and energy; things like not knowing what to do for or say to friends who are going through horrible things in their marriages and families and homes and churches; things like feeling irritated with people and begging, "Help me to be nice, anyway, God!"; things that are deep in my heart.... aches, hurts, nagging worries...

In all of this asking, I don't tire God?!

He calls it worship?!

He delights in it when I see myself as the mere mortal that I am.
When I come as such, falling down at His feet, broken and hurting and worried and lost,
because, and only because
He is GOD!

He knows I'm just a broken, messed-up person anyway. We all are, if we'd admit it.

He never thought I was successful or victorious... He knew that I wasn't anything, and all I needed was Him.

When I fall down at His feet and utter, "Help me, Lord! My heart is so wrong today!"

He calls that worship.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Happiness Is....

... A new book stand in the kitchen window so I can sing all 21 verses of "Immanuel's Land"
while doing dishes

... Watching a friend in love

... Seeing my little sister grow up into somebody really sweet and Godly

... A brother who is tender and thoughtful and misses us so much

... A sister with a swelling belly full of wiggly baby

... A whole quiet day at home by myself (bliss!)

... A new blue dress with brown polka dots that I adore

... Godly men who live lives of faithfulness day in and day out

... Not answering the phone sometimes

... Reading many chapters a day {it's been too many years since I've read much}

... An office assistant who is so reliable and prompt and cheerful

... My mom... here, alive, happy

... My dad, faithful as clockwork

... Pens that work well

... Laundry all done!

... Jana's homemade cheesecake ice cream

... Clean floors

... Miles to run and walk

... Friends who love me more for pointing out how off-track they've become

... Friends who exhort me, instead of just flattering

... Whole nights of sleep

... A car that has been running without a problem for over two months!!

... Really hard, scary births that end really well

... People that understand schizophrenia and cancer

... A strained checkbook, reminding me that less money isn't less joy, happiness or living

... People that come over and love you even when you're hot and sweaty and the house is a mess and tomatoes are all over the table and floor

... Really old holey bathroom floor replaced with new

... Things that make me think, like: "Whatever humbles me, helps me."

... And for all of the other things that are horrifying, depressing, overwhelming, scary, and worse than I even imagined ~ God is still the same unchanging, just and merciful God.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cool Breezes

Without air conditioning, there's no escaping the warm stickiness that pervades everything from morning til night all summer. After a week of triple digit temperatures, it's been lovely to wake up to cool breezes and a few raindrops blowing in the window. It's been more than lovely. It makes me smile as soon as I'm conscious and thank God for the little blessings He sends my way!

Tomorrow it's supposed to be 102 again. I'll thank Him for a long drive in an air conditioned car. :)

In other news, Jemima is going to be off bed rest next Wednesday! After that, her baby can arrive whenever it wants to.... between then and early September.
Of course, we're all just a little bit excited and everyone is eagerly anticipating finding out if it's a....
Boy! :)

Abe and Sam have been in Africa for a few weeks. They say that everyone only gets one meal a day there because of lack of food. Abe says that he's sure Sam will gladly eat anything we serve him for the rest of his life when he gets home! Sam flies home next week, but Abe has been asked to stay longer. We hope he won't shrivel up on one meal a day!

As for me... I shouldn't blog at 2 am. I should go to bed. I think I will....

Doing the Unthinkable

To love means loving the unlovable.
To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable.
Faith means believing the unbelievable.
Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.
- G. K. Chesterton

"If God can bring blessing from the broken body of Jesus and glory from something that's as obscene as the cross, He can bring blessing from my problems and my pain and my unanswered prayer. I just have to trust Him."

Anne Graham Lotz