living on pb & j

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


1 Comment

For Better, For Worse

DSC_1534

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

1a

 

 


Leave a comment

What Are You Doing With Your Seeds?

Recently, during our STEPPING UP Bible study, Beth Moore told us a very sad story.  While she was in Angola doing relief work, she saw too many little boys and girls so bloated that she wondered how their little legs held them up.  The effects of starvation were sickening, but she was told an even sicker fact.  The dear people had been given seed to plant a harvest but instead of harvesting that seed they had eaten it because they were so hungry.  Which of course led to having even less food.

This story presents a stark comparison to Christianity.  We have so much seed at our fingertips. We have the Word of God in our hands. We can listen on our I pods to speaker after speaker sharing from the Word.  We have more Bibles and books and material than we can read in a lifetime.

…and we read it.  We go to church and hear.  We listen.  We cry.  We feel “moved” …but what do we do with that seed?

Many times we eat it.  We don’t plant it or try to harvest it.

Let’s just be real.

We are taught to forgive (Matthew 6:15), but do you know how hard it is to forgive?

“I have feelings too and that person never asked me to forgive them.”

We cry that our marriages are falling apart but yet ignore the Bible when it tells us in I Corinthians 7:4-5 to not “defraud” our husbands.

I am tired, I have a headache, it’s not the right time…

The Bible commands us to love God and love others (Mark 12:28-31) and that sounds GREAT.

except when it comes to my unreasonable boss or THAT teacher or our loud neighbors… 

WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN????

Dear friend, we simply are not harvesting the seed that has been given us.

Do you want to have REAL joy?

…Want real peace in life?

…Want to be a successful wife, mother and friend?

Harvest it!  .

What does God say to do about that neighbor?

What does God say to do for my husband?

What does God say about “white lies”?

What does God say about your finances?

What does God say about raising children?

HARVEST GOD’S TRUTHS. In other words. Let’s DO what God tells us to DO. Let’s not just sit there, listen, nod our head. Let’s carry out what God has commanded us to DO. 

Rejoicing,

Joy T.

 


Leave a comment

My Favorite Job

As a child, when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew-up, I would usually say “I want to be a mommy.”  Or a “cash register”–meaning I wanted to be a cashier.   🙂

For as long as I can remember, I just wanted to have my own family and my own babies and to take care of them. That desire was always there….but it got repressed.

When I was in high school, I got a piece of mail that advertised adoption.  The letter informed me that “age wasn’t a problem”.  (Of course, they meant that you could adopt even if you were older).   I took it to mean that I could adopt while I was in high school.   Ask my mom–I had it all worked out.  I was going to adopt a baby (while I was in high school).

I was soooooo upset at her that she wouldn’t even consider it.

Yes, I was that child.  I loved kids, especially babies.

I was so happy when my first nephew arrived.  I couldn’t wait until I had my own.

However, I also realized that children came with a husband and, after a few rocky relationships, I decided I would just be family-less.  Thus, that desire got pushed down farther and farther.

Those growing-up years were really full.  I volunteered at the library, was a Candy Stripper at the local hospital and worked as a shampoo girl at a hair salon.  I played violin in a county orchestra.  I had TONS OF FRIENDS, lots of parties.   I went to college, working as a telemarketer (don’t hold that against me) and as a secretary for that college.  I went to Europe three times and spent one summer in Africa.  I coordinated a ministry team that traveled around the States.  I counseled teenagers at a Christian camp four different summers and then, after graduation, became a school teacher.  Really, I had a FULL life.

During that whole time, my parents prayed for me.  They prayed that I would find a friend whom I could love as my future husband.  They prayed for that family I had shut out of my mind and heart.

To cut the story short, my husband and I met, were friends for three years before we knew we were mIMG_3257eant for each other, got married, had baby #1 two years later and then, another two years later, had baby #2.

That was a lot of introduction to say this:  In all my years, in all my jobs, in all the craziness of my life, I have NEVER had such an amazing job.  I LOVE being a mommy.  THIS is my favorite job.

I love that God gave me my two favorite kids to be MY KIDS.

I love the funny conversations my son and I have.

I love the giggles and kisses I get from my daughter.

I love coloring with my son.

I love to tickle his belly.IMG_1440 - Copy

I love stomping in puddles with my boy when it rains.

I love making my daughter giggle.

I love the way my daughter chatters.

I love dressing my daughter up in bows and frills.

I love our walks.

I love the way our family hangs out together.

I love mommy-hood!IMG_3267

I’m sure it helps that I have an absolutely amazing husband who is also called “Daddy”

I don’t know where you are in life, but I want to encourage you to think about something.  God created most of us to be help-meets, to be wives and mothers.  There is no 2nd place or shame in that.  Don’t let the world tell you that.  We are our sons’ first love.  We are our daughters’ first best-friend. We have the best job out there. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Is it easy?  No.

Is it the hardest job I’ve ever had?  Yes, probably.

Is it sooo worth it? YES!

Let my husband handle the workplace, the drama and stress.  Give me the little fingers and toes.  Give me the giggles and hugs. We are creating the next generation. What a privilege!

Give me mommy-hood because the best bonuses come in X’s and O’s.

Rejoicing,

Joy T.