Tough Lessons

There is a lot of stuff going on in my heart and in my mind lately. Some days are fabulous, and by fabulous I mean that there's not a lot of crying and I'm able to function quasi-normally. Some days are fabulous, and by fabulous I mean that friends show up at my door with iced coffee or coolattas. Most days, however, are marked by a copious amount of tears and mood swings that can make New England weather seem pretty stable. 

God is using this time to do some major heart renovations. Even though it's painful and thoroughly unpleasant sometimes, I know that on the other side of it I'll be grateful for the 'refiner's fire!' 

Getting my weight under control has been one thing that God has really been prompting me to do - for quite some time. Since Elizabeth was born 3 1/2 years ago, I have gained almost 40 pounds, which is about 80 pounds heavier than any doctor would tell me is remotely healthy. About 3 months before we found out we were pregnant, I had really gotten quite serious about losing weight, and had lost about 20 pounds. Mostly through exercising and eating healthy and eating the correct portions (moderation?! Go figure!...) I did not really enjoy any of it, though. Except that I was more able to fit in some of my pre-Abby pants. 

Last week, while I was trying to get back into the exercise routine, and I was complaining and trying to coax God to help me lose weight faster, He put a verse on my heart that I know and I've heard many times and even been more than happy to repeat to Will in many instances: "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ." [Colossians 3:23-24] 

Whatever you do. That includes, but is not limited to: losing weight, scrubbing the toilet, cleaning up poopy diapers, getting up at 1am...and 4am...and 5am...and 6:30am...with sick children to change bedsheets and diapers and jammies, doing dishes, reading to the kids, grocery shopping, and breaking up sibling fights (which can be awfully nasty!) So, in a few moments, I realized that my attempt at losing weight was futile, if it wasn't being done for the Lord. My motives were wrong. I wanted to lose weight so I could have more kids and the pregnancies would be healthier. That's not a bad bonus, but it shouldn't be the whole motive. 

The last couple of days, then, have been a little more enjoyable. As I'm faced with choosing healthy food or...say...cake (as many of you know, my husband is a cake-a-holic, and we always seem to have plenty of it in this house, which is not always entirely my fault!!!), or when I am contemplating whether or not I should exercise, being reminded that my ultimate goal is to take care of this body that the Lord has blessed me with makes those choices easier. So...here we go, Lord...20 down, a lot more to go! :) 

The other major renovation He is doing in my life is in regard to my children. Since I was about 12, I have always wished for lots of children, and especially after Will & I got married, I have said to the Lord on multiple occasions something like: "Lord, my desire is to have lots of children so that they can live lives that honor You!" and in the last few days the Lord has gently pointed out that that's really prideful. Like "Hey, Lord, aren't you so proud of me, that I'm willing to sacrifice my body and its ability to function normally so that You can have more kids on the earth who just love You so much? Isn't that amazing? I'm pretty awesome that way. Can you bless us with more kids? Twins, even? Triplets? Could I please be like Michelle Duggar?? [Note: she is the woman from the TLC show "18 & counting" that has 19 children!]" For a long time, my relationship with the Lord fluctuated based on whether or not I was pregnant or just had a baby. It's hard not to feel ashamed when I realize that my joy in the Lord was not necessarily what He had done for me on the cross, but what He was doing for the size of my family. 

God is showing me how to be content with the size of my family now. As I was reading and praying the other night, He spoke in the stillness of my heart that if He only ever gives me these two children, I need to be content with that. He is not concerned with the number of children Will & I have; He is concerned that we are willing to raise whatever children He gives us for His glory and in His nurture and admonition. What a freedom that realization has been over the last couple of days! 

This miscarriage, then, has been one of the most important events of my life. God has brought me face-to-face with two sins that I have been either ignorant of or unwilling to deal with for a long time, and I have found more joy in worshipping Him for who He is, not just for all the great things He's doing for me. 

Here is Psalm 66. I was reading it the other night. How timely and beautiful God's Word is, and how wonderful when I finally lay down my pride and allow His Word to teach and refine my heart! Enjoy! 

Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! 
Sing out the honor of His name; 
make His praise glorious. 
Say to God, 
“How awesome are Your works! 
Through the greatness of Your power 
Your enemies shall submit themselves to You. 
All the earth shall worship You 
and sing praises to You; 
they shall sing praises to Your name.” Selah 

Come and see the works of God; 
He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men. 
He turned the sea into dry land; 
they went through the river on foot. 
there we will rejoice in Him. 
He rules by His power forever; 
His eyes observe the nations; 
do not let the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah 

Oh, bless our God, you peoples! 
And make the voice of His praise to be heard, 
who keeps our soul among the living, 
and does not allow our feet to be moved. 
For You, O God, have tested us; 
You have refined us as silver is refined. 
You brought us into the net; 
You laid affliction on our backs. 
You have caused men to ride over our heads; 
we went through fire and through water; 
but You brought us out to rich fulfillment. 

I will go into Your house with burnt offerings; 
I will pay You my vows, 
which my lips have uttered 
and my mouth has spoken when I was in trouble. 
I will offer You burnt sacrifices of fat animals, 
with the sweet aroma of rams; 
I will offer bulls with goats. Selah 

Come and hear, all you who fear God, 
and I will declare what He has done for my soul. 
I cried to Him with my mouth, 
and He was extolled with my tongue. 
If I regard iniquity in my heart, 
the Lord will not hear. 
But certainly God has heard me; 
He has attended to the voice of my prayer. 

Blessed be God, 
who has not turned away my prayer, 
nor His mercy from me!

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