living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!


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For Better, For Worse

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My husband and I just celebrated our 11th anniversary this past Saturday. When we spoke those vows of “for better or for worse” eleven years ago, we never dreamed that the “for worse” would mean saying a temporary “good-bye” to our sweet Heaven-born Nathaniel. God was so gracious and loving to us through the days and weeks that followed. His peace is continuously with us as reminders of our loss come before us still. Nathaniel’s due date is still a little over a month away and I know that day will bring more tears, yet even more of God’s peace!

In the difficult moments that came after we learned that our son had gone to be with Jesus, my husband and I spent time crying and praying. We are thankful for the moments when even though we don’t know what or how to pray that the Holy Spirit is there with us interceeding for us with “groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26) God gave my husband a strength that I could lean on through those days that followed, and this continues.

When we were in the hospital we were given opportunity to spend time with our son. This was truly one of the hardest times in our lives, but a time we would not trade for anything! In it we knew that precious peace that passes all understanding! We got to hold our son, our little Nathaniel, and sing to him and read Scripture and talk to him and tell him the things that were on our hearts. Even though he wasn’t “there”, being able to do these things helped us, and reading the Scripture reminded us that he was living those beautiful truths right now!

Someone once told me that I would not be able to think of my son without thinking of Jesus and I have found this true over and over again! In the familiar passage about the rapture in I Thessalonians 4:13-18, I wrote Nathaniel’s name in the margin because he is one of those “which sleep in Jesus”. This passage has a more intimate meaning to me than it ever did before!

On our wedding day, my husband and I were focusing on the “for better”, but we are so thankful that God knew about the “for worse” and gave us the grace and strength we needed (and still need) for those times. We still have sad days, but we know because of the hope we have in our Savior Jesus Christ and His shed blood and finished work on the cross of Calvary, our future can only be “for better.”

A dear friend who has two Heaven-born sons said this on Father’s Day and it truly expresses how I feel about my husband during our son’s Heaven-going:

” I truly believe that it takes more love for a daddy to graciously accept their children being taken away, than to love them here in this world.” – Honorah Stewart Deatrick

A verse that has been special to me lately is the one I’ll close with. May it encourage you today as well:

“My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” Psalm 73:26

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Let’s Go to the Park!

Some days, we just need to get out of the house and get some fresh air, especially, living in the city. We are glad there is a lovely park nearby where we can enjoy a creek and trees. We can hear the water running over the rocks, and we can see fish, bugs, owls, snakes, birds, lizards, frogs, etc.  We can feel the water with our feet, and feel the wind on the occasion that there is a breeze. We can pick up rocks and sticks and wildflowers in spring. See my beautiful bouquet pictured below. I’ve heard it said that you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.

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If it is hot, which it usually is where we live, we might stop and get half-price drinks to keep cool. Sometimes, our schedule becomes non-stop for days, and this is a way to stop the busy shuffle for a few moments. It takes time and energy, costs little money, yet refreshes our kids.  It is something to look forward to when the children have completed their schoolwork and chores required of the day. Most every time we leave the park, I will hear, “Thank you for bringing us to the park, Mom.” Of course, that confirms my thoughts that this is a good thing.

This is part of our jobs as moms – being sensitive to when our children need time away, a “stop” off the merry-go-round, a change of scenery, a breath of fresh air.

Sometimes, we can get Dad to meet us there. (It’s a good break for him, too!) Many times, my husband has taken the kids to the park to give me a breather at home. We also need to be sensitive to these times that WE need to STOP in our own lives. I’m still learning. Many times, I should’ve stopped the chores, the schoolwork, the race of life, and yelled, “Let’s go to the park!”

Enjoy a trip to the park this week! ~Jeri Lynn

“Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.” -Proverbs 27:23


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“For This Child I Prayed”

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It’s hard to believe but my little boy turned 2 yesterday! It has been a fast two years. It has also been two years of learning to trust that the Lord knows what is best for my little boy.

In January of 2013 God blessed our family with our first boy. We were overjoyed! After two girls, I knew I was entering new territory, but I was excited to see what God was going to do with my son.

I didn’t have to wait very long. When he was 7 months old, his pediatrician was concerned because he wasn’t gaining weight as he should. I was nursing him and was waiting to start him on baby food because he seemed content and was sleeping well at night. Our pediatrician wanted him supplemented with formula and for him to have some blood tests. When some of his blood test numbers came back slightly abnormal, the pediatrician wanted him tested for cystic fibrosis and also checked for kidney problems.

I don’t think I have ever been as afraid as I was the night before his cystic fibrosis test. I don’t think I’ve ever prayed so hard. When he was given the cystic fibrosis test the next day, it came back normal as did the kidney tests. To say the least, we were relieved.

In the next months he continued to grow as a healthy little boy should. This past fall my mother-in-law asked my husband if we were concerned about our little boy’s speech as he wasn’t saying any words other than making baby babbling noises. Once again, he has been such a content little boy, and this hadn’t concerned us. Recently, we took him to his pediatrician and asked about our speech concerns. At the time, he had an ear infection which the pediatrician said could affect his hearing and speech. We are set to go back at the end of February for a recheck of his ears and from there we’ll decide if he needs to see a hearing specialist or perhaps even a speech therapist in the future.

I have to admit as a mother I struggled (still do) for a time, worried about my little boy, BUT God has been faithful even when I was fearful. He has used these situations in my life for me to see my need of praying more specifically for my children and their needs.

I remember how I prayed in the spring of 2012 for a son and found out a couple months later I was expecting. When I found out that fall I was going to have a boy, I wondered just what plan God had for this special answer to prayer. I’m just getting a glimpse now of the plan God has for my little boy.

So many times as parents we think God gives us children for what we will teach and train THEM about Him, but God gives us children so often for what He wants to teach US as parents about Himself.

God loves my little boy. He gave him an infectious laugh that fills my days with such joy. God knows why he isn’t talking much yet. God has all the details worked out. I need to wait and trust Him as those things unfold in HIS time. I can rest knowing He will give me strength for whatever lies ahead. I am so thankful I serve a God Who loves my little boy so much more than I do!

“For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of Him:” -I Sam. 1:27

“And therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him.” -Isa. 30:18

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because He trusteth in Thee.” -Isa. 26:3Praying woman hands