Saturday, July 16, 2016

On Faith and Suffering


Suffering....it is not an easy thing to bear up under. I feel that as life goes on, I am seeing more and more suffering around me. I have recently been through a tough season in my life. In the midst of difficult circumstances, it has caused me to look to God and question at times. I think sometimes in the Christian life, we are told, “Don’t question. Just believe. God is good all the time.” This, of course, is true but I think there is true beauty in the wrestling. In the coming out on the other side having a deeper faith because of where God has taken you on the journey. I have recently been reading in Hebrews and like God does, He somehow lined up the Scriptures and where I was reading to answer some of my questions right in the face. Questions like...

“Why do people who love you have to suffer?”
“I understand suffering is for your glory, but we already love you and are about your glory so do we have to go through it?”
“Are you really big enough? Good? Faithful?”
“Is it about just praying harder?”
“Do you really see me where I am?’

Hebrews 11:1 says that “faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see”. I read a line from a devotional that I am reading currently that there is a difference in amazement in God or the things of God and actually walking in faith. In John 20, we see Doubting Thomas in a moment of struggle. A few of the disciples have reported that Jesus has risen from the dead but he just cannot grasp this and says “I won’t believe it until I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers in the them and place my hand in the wound in His side.” The disciples had understandably been through a rough couple of days. The man they viewed as their Savior and best friend just died on the cross which is not the way they pictured things to end. I imagine they had a wide range of emotions, thoughts, fears, etc. 

But, you see Jesus show up so tenderly here. 8 days later, Jesus appears to the rest of his disciples. Jesus tells Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side”. I think this moment is so beautiful and shows what a tender, kind, intimate God we serve. Jesus meets Thomas in the middle of his doubts. He does not overlook Thomas in his struggle of faith, instead, he loves him right in the middle of it. Jesus then says “Don’t be faithless any longer- BELIEVE!” (vs 27). 

I thought about this and wondered to myself, how am I like Thomas doubting Jesus and His power. In what areas do we say, I wont believe Him unless ______. We tend to put such conditions on God in the middle of hard circumstances. What God has been speaking to my heart is that He is never changing, He does not shift like shadows, He is the same yesterday, today and forever. There is no darkness in Him. So, like the old hymn says, this is the meditation of my heart when doubts arise: When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace.

God’s ways are so much higher than our ways. We cannot comprehend the picture He is creating in our lives. There is pain, but there is beauty. And when the doubts come in, that is where we are called to faith. Believing in what we cannot see. Which at times is no easy task. But be encouraged with Jesus’s words after Thomas believes, “You believe because you have seen me. BLESSED are those who believe without seeing me.” Believing God at His word is a choice. It is an act of our will and we have to choose to trust at times when doubt is screaming from within. But, He is faithful and holding all things together. Prayers and love for all of us that are still fighting the good fight of faith and clinging to Jesus all the way.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Lesson in the Messes

I am having a moment where I need some blogging therapy....been so long since I have hit the blogging scene but today I just felt the need for some bloggin'.

At 9 am today, I was covered in poop and headed down the road of a full on melt down (me, not my 2 1/2 year old or my 10 month old---ME). We are in the throws of potty training and my type A self is taking accidents way to personally....am I alone here? I pray not.....Anyways, Jackson says he has to poop but I cannot get there because I am changing my 10 month old's poopy diaper and I tell him just to go in his Pull Up. Which I am going ahead and embracing Pull Ups after an accident soaking the entire couch and another one involving a fairly new rug!! Anyways, I finally got him out of his chair about 30 minutes later and there is poop everywhere- I mean EVERYWHERE...covering the chair, my son, his feet, his legs but I do not realize how much body surface is covered until I get him into his room and start changing him. It was really impressive for a 2 1/2 year old child. And I am really having an emotional battle of anger and frustration in this moment. He starts screaming about getting changed and I am yelling louder! Finally Jackson is cleaned and I move back to the den. Then, I see the RUG! 4 big stains and I still haven't cleaned the chair. Needless to say, this took quite some time and by the end of it, I really thought I was going to lose my mind. Jackson looked at me at one point and said, "It's fine, Mama? You still love me?" And, my angry, selfish heart began to settle down as I said, "Of course I still love you, Buddy. It is just an accident. You will have another chance tomorrow."

So, this story got me thinking about God and how much more he loves Jackson than I do (and Clark of course:)) He states he forgives us 70x7 times and that Jesus died for us while we were STILL sinners. When we sin and he sees the enormous mess and stain of what we have done, He still looks on us in love...Thank you, Jesus! I have this internal battle in motherhood that I face where I let the enemy speak the words "You are a failure" over me. At times, it feels like I might ruin my children and they will never sleep and they will never know how to use the potty and I am going to miss my chance to do God's will on the earth and I am not doing enough ______. But, here is the truth of the matter:
"Christ is before all things, and in Him all things hold together"- Colossians 1:17
This means that the same Jesus that left Heaven and came to Earth to live as a man and eventually died the death I deserved and now is seated at the Right Hand of God Almighty is holding it all together. He is for me, not against me. I can trust Him; He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and He never changes. His mercies are new every morning. So, today, when I felt like a failure, I decided to turn this into a prayer....
"God, I am so inadequate in so many areas. I want to be a woman of God. I want my life to be a light for your Kingdom. I want my children to love you more than life itself. Please help me to be the mother You would have be to be."
And, God is continuing to remind me that He always sees me as righteous and holy because of the blood of His Son. So, on good days, bad days and in between, in the mundane details of cleaning up messes and washing bottles and changing diapers and keeping one child from beating the other child in the head and the temper tantrums and the sleepless nights, I can trust that Christ sees it all and that HE is holding it all together and that He will help me. God loves me and all of us regardless of how well we perform for him, what all we think we can do for him, if we have had a quiet time today--He is love and He is calling me to a relationship with Him That means we are in PROCESS- one day at a time. And He is in the details saying "I love you, keep going, one step at a time. You will have another chance tomorrow".

Sunday, December 16, 2012

He is finally here!!!

Sweet baby Jackson was born last Friday at 5:37 pm. He is such a sweet, precious gift from above. He weighed in at 9 pounds and 3.9 ounces and was 21 1/4 inches long. I went into the hospital Thursday night for induction. After medications and breaking my water, Jackson still was not coming so we had to do a C-section. I am continuing to heal and we are adjusting to life with a new baby.

He has the most kissable cheeks ever and we are falling more and more in love every day. He loves to swing. He has a bit of a temper and gets mad when we change his diapers, when he is wet or dirty and when he is hungry (who can blame him, though). We have been so blessed by all the kind words and thoughtfulness people have shown us during this special time in our lives. Here are some pictures....

In the operating room, Jackson's first picture

My little boy

Daddy and Jackson

My stepdad, Big Ken, meeting him

Sal and Tay came to visit

 Aunt Britt and Uncle Matt

Sweet cweep

Love this precious family!!!

Matt and Britt holding their first nephew!


Mama and Ken 

Aunt Liz

Daddy and son

Ms. Cindy....still working on the grandmother name...

The two proud grandmamas

 Cory and Ash

Meme

Angie came for a visit too all the way from Chicago

Caroline meeting little Buddy

Sweet Maggie

Daddy Mike

4 generations of Reese men!!

Grammy and Jackson

Heading home

Ready to get out of the hospital!!!

Enjoying his swing

Susan and Mark enjoying meeting Jackson

Thank you to all of you for all your kindness and thoughtfulness you have shown us so far. We are learning so much and trying to take care of this precious boy. We are so thankful for God's goodness shown to us through this life.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Baby Jackson's Nursery

We are awaiting baby Jackson's arrival right now at 39 weeks and 4 days:) so, why not pass the time by sharing a few pictures of his nursery? We cannot wait to meet him and Ryan thinks that with the zoo/jungle theme we have going on in the nursery, Jackson is destined to be a zoo keeper.....we will see! I have had so much fun decorating and putting together his little room and I hope he loves it!!!

Here is his crib with letters we made and a mirror that i love!!! His crib is from Target and the bedding is from Serena and Lilly

 We got the letters from hobby lobby and then hot glued zoo animals onto the letters and the orange ribbon

I was really into bamboo shades and love the way the windows turned out with the brown and white combo. His changing table is a dresser we got from the Pottery Barn outlet and then we got the cover from a shop on Etsy

Ryan's dad repainted this rocking chair for Jackson. It was the chair that Ms. Cindy rocked Ryan and his brothers in and Mr. Mike refinished and painted it...I love the way it turned out. The wardrobe is from Ikea and the little storage containers on top of the wardrobe worked out perfectly for his books and toys

 Love this cross we got at a shower....so special and sweet

Ryan picked out this rhino at Anthropologie. He is made out of recycled Haitian newspapers

My mom requested we have a bed in the room for when she comes to visit. We only have 2 bedrooms so we tried to fit a bed in so she would be able to stay. It is a trundle bed which is great because when Jackson gets older, his friend can sleep right beside him in the trundle. The monogrammed pillow is made by a sweet girl, Liz Ann and she did an awesome job. And, I love my little orange Ikea lamp.

It was a lot of fun to put everything together and see how it all turned out. I can't wait to watch him sleep in his crib and play with his toys and change him on his cute orange changing pad. We are playing the waiting game now just hoping for the little one to come soon and praying for a safe, healthy delivery!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Showering Our Baby!!!

Can I just say that we are so excited to meet baby Jackson??!! I am at 35 weeks today, so it may be only 5 weeks away.....woo hoo!!! One of the reasons that I am so excited is that we have had so many kind, generous, thoughtful friends who have given us wonderful gifts and showers for this baby boy. We have had a fun time celebrating him with all of these sweet, sweet people!!!

Our first shower was a work shower that the people at my office threw for us. It was really sweet. They made wonderful food, complete with a baby fruit display :) They gave us cute clothes, gift cards, diapers and wipes and the Snap and Go stroller!!! They really were too, too generous!!!

Baby fruit :)

Beautiful ribbon for the hospital door

Delicious cake!!! Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate....mmmmm!!!

Sweet basket full of goodies from them

The whole crew after the shower

Some of the people of our community group and that we have gotten to know through church threw us a couple shower. It was perfect because there was pool volleyball and cornhole for the guys and the girls talked and unwrapped gifts. We had yummy hamburgers and cake. We are truly blessed to have gotten to know our friends the Ratchfords, Maggie, Sallie and Caroline and it was a blast to have different groups of friends come together and meet for the first time. We got some great clothes, cups/bowls, towels, the Boppy and the baby Bjorn!

Sweet banner they made....so cute!

Sallie, Maggie and me....gotta love a bubble necklace!

Cute little lion outfit from Aunt Ashley and Uncle Cory

All the girls

The whole crew!!!

Another weekend, we went to see the Grannies and celebrated with them as well. I really just wanted some time together, but they made it into their own mini-shower. They gave us a portable swing for baby Jackson to play in and Sally's parents gave us a beautiful monogrammed blanket. It was good for my soul to be with these guys and just have a couple of days to hang and relax. They are the best!!!


The Granny Group

We found this teepee that was set up for Daye and decided to have a little photo shoot!! 

Little snug for a pregnant lady

Wow.....

Today was a "Ready to Pop" shower given by my sisters-in-law, Ashley and Brittany, and Ryan's aunts, Elaine and Jo-Annah. They truly thought of everything. The entire shower was themed and they used all the colors in Jackson's nursery...orange and turquoise. It was adorable!!! The food all was themed as well from popcorn chicken to fruit pops to poppyseed muffins, completed with a popcorn cake. I am telling you, it was so, so cute!!!! We got some great things, including our carseat, playpen, bedding, clothes, diaper bag, changing pad, tub, towels, outfits. We only have a few things left that we need for this little guy!!

The popcorn cake made complete with M&Ms (if you know me, you know this is perfection!)

Orange and blue booty mints

Ready to pop favors...ring pops, Pop Rocks, Blow Pops, Tootsie Roll Pops

Gorgeous flowers and food display

Orange Izze drinks


Diaper Cake....so beautiful Mama Scott was wondering when we she was going to get a slice...not sure if she had ever seen a diaper cake before!

Britt, Ash, Ms. Cindy and me

The 3 great-grandmothers

Cute Tigger towel...Ryan picked this out :)

Super cute outfit!!

Love Willow Tree!

Diaper bag

Love this bedding!! Cannot wait to snuggle Jackson in with all his little zoo animals

Amber and me

My sister

Ash and Britt

Sweet hostesses

My family..Mama, Mama Scott, Liz and Rosy

My mom, Ms. Cindy and me

We have truly had a blast celebrating this baby boy and are so, so thankful for all the generosity and thoughtfulness that has been shown to us during this special time. We can't wait for him to use all these great gifts!!!!