Beth's Corner · September 25, 2007
On the Altar November 13, 2007
I saw a cross-post on an adoption chatroom digest today that asked for prayer for a family currently in China getting their first child.  Apparently the husband went into a diabetic coma and passed away while there.  I am in utter disbelief!  How does this woman reconcile God's love for her in the midst of this circumstance???  I am reading this post on the heels of narrowly escaping my own husband going into a diabetic coma last night while we were asleep.  Ahhhhh!!!!  Our daughter Mia just "happened" to call out around 4 a.m. and after soothing her, I went back to bed to realize that John needed to be woken up to test his blood sugar -- 31!  It only takes one incident in a lifetime to understand the full range of emotions and sheer panic caused by waking up next to an unconcious and convulsing husband.  I've been there, done that and it puts me on alert every minute of the day when I can't reach my husband on that first phone call . . .when he is away on business . . . . . . when we travel to China for our children . . .    John feels terribly that his diabetes (Type 1-- juvenile-onset) brings out this fear in me.  And yet it is part of living with diabetes -- no one can completely control their blood sugars to the point that you never have a low.  God often uses it to bring us to our knees.  Oh Lord, please help that woman and new daughter in China to fully feel your presence and comfort that only You can bring.  Draw them close to You.

This makes me wonder . . .Like Abraham, the Lord sometimes requires us to put our "Isaacs on the altar" (Genesis 22), but how would we respond if He didn't give that which is nearest and dearest to our heart back to us? Would we still believe that He absolutely LOVES and is taking care of us, working all things for good?  There have been points in time for our family where we surrender our status quos: the life of our children, the security of good health, the security of a well-paying job, the comfort of friends nearby, but I am not sure we ever question that of course the Lord will provide those good things in His time.  Our assumption is that the Lord will give those "Isaacs" back to us, so to speak.   What if He didn't?  Lord I confess that I tend to put my confidence in these worldly provisions from Your hand.  When You allow my husband to lose his job, when our children's lives are threatened by chronic diseases and heart defects, when my husband's constancy is interrupted by a dangerously low blood sugar, the record player screeches and our eyes are opened to our need to be desperate for only YOU.  Thank You that You are sufficient.  I am fearful for any of these things in this life to be taken away and I try to imagine those heros of the faith who had to walk through some seemingly unloving circumstances that You have allowed.  May you deepen our faith so that we cling to only You.  I Love You Lord!

"Praise the LORD!  Praise the LORD, O my soul!  I will praise the LORD while I live; I will sing praises to God while I have my being.  Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.  His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.  How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry.  The LORD sets the prisoners free.  The LORD opes the eyes of the blind; the LORD raises up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous; the LORD protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, but He thwarts the way of the wicked.  The LORD will reign forever, Your God, O Zion, to all generations.  Praise the LORD!"  -Psalm 146
Managed Emotions October 16, 2007
I had a dear friend recently suggest to me, "Invite Jesus into your pain."  I was like, "What pain?"  She said that there must be life circumstances that have caused me to feel unlovable, but that I needed to be honest with the Lord about what I was feeling and why.  She reassured me that He is big enough to handle it.  I know this and yet I am holding out on Him????

I fear I have learned to manage my emotions so well that I don't even know what I am feeling anymore.  So, at the suggestion that I wasn't completely surrendered to God in the area of my emotions, I started to pray for the Lord to show me where I was hurting and why.  All of a sudden, I find my stoic self bursting into tears at "random" times. 

Here's an example:  we just got cable "for the Red Sox playoffs" and I watched "Baby Story" for the first time the other day.  I watched a woman bear through labor and thought there was no way I would ever want to go through that, and then, when the baby was delivered, I bawled my eyes out and said, "Lord, I want to do that!"  There was nothing beautiful about the undignified process and yet everything was beautiful.  All of a sudden I am feeling rejected by God that He hasn't opened my womb to produce a child.  And I find myself so confused because I have never thought adoption was "plan B".  I LOVE my adopted children as my own and I LOVE the process of adoption.  But I realize I have never really grieved the fact that my body hasn't done what is was created to do . . . to bear children.  

As I have pondered this, I realize that since no one has ever told me it is impossible for me to conceive, I continue to believe that the Lord could open my womb if He so chooses.  Until now, I have never stopped to consider how I would feel if He said, "No."  But I know that the more children we adopt and the older I get, we will eventually be coming to the crossroads where I will have to face that reality, whatever the Lord chooses for our family.  I can see that He has an awesome plan for our family and yet I have never found freedom in expressing "negative" emotions to Him.  Whoa!  As I type this, I realize that this is where my limited mind projects my earthly parents onto my heavenly Father.  I grew up in a wonderfully loving home but one where we were not permitted to show any negative emotions -- the expectation was that for everything to be okay, we had to be happy all the time.  Thank You Lord for opening my eyes to this.  Please forgive me for defining You from my earthly perspective and, in doing so, not bringing all of me to You.  And thank You that You are so much greater than I have known!  Take this heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh so I can freely FEEL in your presence.  I love You, Lord!

"'And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them.  And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep my ordinances and do them.  Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.'"  -Ezekiel 11:19-20
September 25, 2007
Since it is often hard to quiet my mind, I thought I would start a place to journal.  I figure if my wrestlings with Scripture, life circumstances, struggles as a Mom, etc., could encourage someone else, then why not make it public?  You only live this earthly life once, right?  Here's a forewarning: I value truth more than just about anything and am very blunt at times so if the truth I share offends you, then please feel free to stop reading.  But I hope, above all, that what I write here encourages you in the pursuit of a wonderfully Holy God -- the one true God who sent His Son to die on the cross for the sins of the world and then rose again!  As I pursue His heart, I find myself shockingly loved and accepted, beyond my ability to comprehend.  If you have a void to fill, then be assured Jesus will fill it, but only if you ask Him to.  It's up to you.

I asked Jesus to fill that void and come into my life just over 10 years ago, and since then I have struggled to walk as though I am loved.  I think I am understanding the "trust and obey" part, but not the "you are forgiven and loved so stop beating up on yourself" part.  The Bible says,"There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."  So why does my mind continually condemn me?  I often feel I am not measuring up to some sort of warped undefined perfectionistic ideal I am holding onto.  Does anyone else out there do this?  I am convinced that everyone else out there is living this life so much better than me: a better wife, better mom , better cook, better homemaker, and the list goes on and on.  What is at the root of all this?  I think it must be sin -- pride that I could even possibly attain perfection in this life and hold myself to that standard.  Lord, I confess this as sin and ask You to purify my thoughts.  Will you help me to lay down my constant assessment of my performance and allow Your unconditional love to wash over me?  Thank You Lord!

"O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; nor do I involve myself in great matters or things too difficult for me.  Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me.  O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever." -Psalm 131