Look What God Has Done

Look at what God has done–
He has given me a son.

Look at what God has done–
He has given my son oxygen.

Look at what God has done–
He has delivered Caleb from the evil one.

Look at what God has done–
He is the Strong and Might One.
He is the Ancient of Days, the very present One.

The Lord contends with those that contend with me.
He will save my children.

The Lord plants my son by the waters.
The Lord pours His Spirit out upon my son.
The Lord is my Son’s strength.

Look at what God has done–
He has given me a son.

In recent weeks I faced a struggle feeding my son. While toddler feeding battles are nothing new, for us it is particularly hard given our history. In some way or another I have struggled on and off to feed my only child since his first hour of birth starting with the inability to nurse correctly due to his undetected tongue tie. This has been traumatic for both of us, with feeding, breathing and swallowing difficulties that seem to manifest in so many different ways. An extreme sensitivity to textures, flavors and to the experience of the spoon or the cup is common in tongue tied toddlers. For me the trauma of everything we have been through creates an emotional tangle and a world of weariness that is hard to get out of when I face yet another fight in determination for my son to continue to thrive which is in accordance to God’s will. To continue to eat and to drink. Something so simple can become so hard.

Sometime during the twilight of this battle I heard or I read the verse in Psalms “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” The desire of my heart was for my son to eat and for his gut to be healed with GAPS so he can eat all the foods God has given to him to be blessed by and to eat in abundance without fear or trauma. I have to admit I have spent a lot more time raging at how something that should be so simple as eating has been so hard and how it stole the what was supposed to be a delightful newborn away from me and so forth…When Lazarus died Jesus wept. Even though He had known Lazarus would die and He knew Lazarus would raise from the dead He still wept. He wept as He saw Mary and Martha weep. The brokenness of death. Life wasn’t supposed to be like this in the beginning. The curses we live under, including death, they create sorrow, they create anger and rage because they aren’t supposed to be that way. We know when something is wrong. When it isn’t right. However, God has convicted me that anger and vengeance belong to the Lord. I suspect that God is angry too every time a newborn baby struggles to breathe or to eat because of a tongue tie. Every time a mother becomes trapped in a swirling vortex of a screaming, projectile vomiting, sleep deprived nightmare this is not good, this is not a blessing, this is not from God. When my little one was about 6 weeks old is when I realized this was not from God and I sought deliverance versus just trying to cling to Him to get me through. There is a difference between enduring and escaping. Jesus was trapped on the cross so we could be set free, by His stripes we are healed. He became a victim so we could have victory. When I “woke up” to the need for deliverance versus endurance is when God revealed to me that my baby was not sleeping because he was hungry and that he was hungry because he was cutting off my milk supply. God provided the special needs bottle that Caleb needed to thrive. But the anger, the vengeance. They belong to God. Judgement belongs to God. When I take the anger into my own hands and rage at my situation then I become guilty because righteous anger and judgement belong to God. He alone I feel can “rage” in perfect love and perfect judgement.

Anyway, I need to spend more time delighting myself in God. No matter what. No matter how the day went. I am to delight myself in God. Well I finally spent time delighting myself in God after two weeks of struggling to just try to get my now toddler son hydrated enough each day, and God provided. He showed me a way and Caleb started to and praise God has continued to eat again. Life is not perfect and I have to spend time every single day delighting myself in God, without him life is certainly to harder than it should be, and there is much to delight in.

Martin Luther once said “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer”. I used to think he was exaggerating, or that just ’cause He was Luther he could somehow have a prayer life like that, but I am starting to realize that Luther got it. He truly got it. He got that the more he had to face, or the more he had to surmount that day, the more He needed the Holy Ghost. The more He needed to move and groove in the Spirit…He needed God’s very present help. God taught me a long time ago, when I was just a teenager how when I would sacrifice something in order to spend time with Him, especially when it required faith to give up that time to pray and also be able to finish a research paper or something…God always helped me to get everything I needed to get done on time, but when I skimped out on God and chose not to walk with faith or sacrificially in prayer then I truly struggled! We can get to the finish line, but Jesus said His burden was light. We make it heavy and burdensome when we don’t delight ourselves in Him. I seem to have faltered in that die hard commitment to sacrificial prayer somewhat. I have been staying up into the wee hours or all night pumping, cooking, cleaning, doing everything within MY power to get me son’s situation straightened out…But the thing is –MY power is never going to be good enough and quite frankly is waning thin into weariness. I don’t need to and should in fact be intentional to not spend all my time on MY power, I need to spend time with THE POWER, the ONLY power that really will help, to spend time with God. He knows the way. Just like He knew how to get Caleb back on my milk when I was told it would be like winning the lottery. God knows how to heal Caleb’s gut and how to get him to eat. God’s way. God’s leadership. Me spending time with Him.

Whether the desire of your heart is for your baby to eat and to thrive or something else just know this, God loves you and desires to bless you and your children. Spend time with Him. Delight yourself in Him and He will give you the desires of your heart. When we delight ourselves in God He transforms us by the entire renewal of our minds and our desires come into alignment with His and His will is able to manifest in us. When we delight ourselves in God we are no longer fighting against the goads. We cannot successfully hold up the rage or the sorrow in us, railing and fighting and shaking our fist in confusion and at the same time be blessed. We need to release everything to God. We need to let Him be our Shepherd, including letting Him use his staff to fight our enemies on our behalf instead of running between Him and the bear bleating in fear. Let Him fight your battles.

So I realized I needed to start being intentional about “delighting myself in the Lord” but wondered exactly how I should go about it, this intentional practice during my time with God. Then I heard the answer in passing on the radio (ok God is so awesome in His grace to answer my heart’s query like that isn’t He!?):

“How amazing are the deeds of the Lord!
All who delight in him should ponder them.”
Psalm 111:2

So there we go: ponder the amazing deeds of the Lord.

Delight myself in Him.
I delight myself in Him as I ponder how He:

  • Gave me a baby boy to grow within my womb after 5 years of unsuccessful attempts at conception.
  • I delight myself in the Lord for giving Caleb the breath of life after his first intubation failed at birth, hallelujah!
  • I delight myself in the Lord for gifting Caleb an Owlet oxygen monitor through an Instagram contest right before He was born ’cause God knew his oxygen would be affected by his tongue tie!
  • I delight myself in the Lord when I reflect on the velcro swaddles God gave Caleb through the same contest because He knew the struggles we would go through trying to get Caleb to sleep as a newborn, God knew ahead of time.
  • I ponder with great amazement and eternal gratitude that God provided a professional grade oxygen and heart monitor that literally saved my son’s life, waking me up with it’s alarm to audibly hear and find my son choking on his back in his bassinet, then again in his rock ‘n play.
  • I delight myself in the Lord as I ponder how amazing it is that He healed Caleb at 12 weeks of age from whatever it was that was specifically causing the low oxygen, whether it was narrow airways, or whatever, God healed Caleb!
  • I ponder in amazement and immense gratefulness that God revealed to me that my son was tongue tied after many medical professionals including a lactation consultant and ‘feeding therapist’ missed it! God showed me, I kept on praying and He showed me after generations in my family have suffered on a spectrum from this in one form or another, the veil has been removed!
  • I rejoice in the Lord and remember that God told me not to give Caleb omeprazole. Even though I did, God warned me. He warned me, even though He knew I would disobey, He still took the time to warn me…
  • I rejoice in the Lord as I reflect on how God provided a free hospital grade breast pump to me even when my insurance referral was rejected time and time again.
  • I rejoice and give thanks to the Lord for prodding me forward to keep on pumping even in the middle of the night for 40 days and 40 nights without my baby drinking any of the milk because it turns out my milk has essentially “saved my baby’s life”.
  • I rejoice and give thanks to the Lord as I reflect and remember on how He led me to an online retailer for grass fed grass finished water processed lamb that would ship all the lamb we need for Caleb to Alaska for only $7.50, for real!!!!
  • I give thanks and rejoice in the Lord for providing free ready to feed alimentum to get Caleb through the time when I was pumping and storing.
  • I give praise and delight myself in God for revealing and showing to me that my baby had food allergies and intolerances at just 12 weeks of age even when a medical professional scoffed at the idea until my son’s oxygen improved the rest of the way and his lips turned red and then he tested positive for corn and a trace for wheat.
  • I delight myself in the Lord for giving Caleb shoes as a newborn through a gift that have turned out to be the only type of shoe we own so far (without having special ordered) that fits Caleb’s feet and his orthotics and keeps his feet warm at the same time.
  • I rejoice in the Lord and give Him eternal praise for providing corn free soy free goat kefir grains for breastmilk kefir, which has turned out to be a MAJOR key for healing Caleb’s gut.
  • I ponder with great thanksgiving and wonder that amazingly God has provided some corn free soy free goat colostrum for when his body is ready to handle it in order to further bless his immune system healing.
  • I rejoice in El Roi, the God who Sees who showed me that my son needed the prebiotic in my breastmilk to defeat the pathogenic bacteria in his body.
  • I rejoice and give thanks to God for increasing my milk supply with the hospital grade pump and for helping me to wake up and cluster pump etc. and still have energy to cook for Caleb’s gut healing diet and for therapy.
  • I rejoice and give thanks to God for showing me the GAPS diet when Caleb was just 5 months old to heal his gut and to reverse all allergies and intolerances as well as neurological sensitives.
  • I ponder in amazement that 7 years ago when we purchased our home in Alaska from Okinawa, Japan that we purchased a home without a smart meter attached to it and in a bit of a dead zone for a meter given our city location. This is a blessing of providence. There are so many examples of God’s providential love that I could continue to think of them forever and write them down.
  • I reflect in amazement and thanksgiving on how God has give me and Caleb life, in the image of God himself. I now choose to walk humbly before God in holy stewardship of this image of God that I reside in.

I delight myself in God for giving Caleb everything He has ever needed. For healing my son. For being our strong and mighty Shepherd through the rocky, craggy, high places. He is leading us to green pastures where we can rest and thrive. I rejoice and I delight myself in Him.

Hallelujah.

Naomi’s Baby Story

I told my baby story at my shower – I didn’t know if I’d every have a baby shower, and I’m so thankful to God that I did. I hope you find the story of my journey through infertility encouraging to you no matter if you face infertility or not. We will all face something that feels crippling or overwhelming at some point in our life. We are all busy with the building of our household whether it has children in it or not – who will you trust with the building?

Childbearing Hips

As one negative pregnancy test led to the next and to the next, each cycle became less of an exciting wait and more of a dreaded encounter, hoping against all odds that this would be the month, only to have those hopes dashed be a single pink line and those telltale cramps. Agonizing cramps that seemingly mock me from within my own body. Taunting me that I have the body parts but that I’m broken, that I don’t work, that I might look like a perfectly fine woman on the outside-but that I’m not. Cramps that I still have to suffer. Suffer every month for what-for nothing my mind cries out. The frustration at “being broken” can feel overwhelming at times. Questions of “why was I created to be a woman if I don’t even work” flit across my mind as cruel reality brings jarring pain to such a crescendo that my infertility cannot be ignored–not today. I can go for a few weeks acting like everything is normal, but then the cramps, then the reality. The empty womb crying out at me–”don’t you dare forget!”– a war between my body and my mind, between my hormone levels and my desire to be a mother.

The identity crisis of being a woman with infertility is real and it was unexpected. It caught me off-guard when I began to feel trapped in my body, a body that didn’t work. A body that looked like it should work-but wasn’t. My childbearing hips were helping me carry in the groceries, or a box up the stairs, but that wasn’t what they were supposed to carry. They were supposed to help me carry a baby, my baby. Like I’d carried brothers and sisters growing up. Instead here I was all alone with no baby and these childbearing hips. Watching the diagnostic ultrasounds of my womb, finding out the exact measurements of these body parts that remained vacant, lifeless. I felt like I was useless, like I was defective. Betrayed by my own body it felt like there had been a mistake. Life wasn’t supposed to be like this. I was supposed to be a mom. My dream of raising children, homeschooling, making homemade bread, my body didn’t match up. It wasn’t right. Something was wrong.

Something is wrong. Things are broken. There is sickness. There is disease. I’m not the first person to feel trapped in, or betrayed by their body and I won’t be the last. In the end our bodies will fail each and every one of us, expiring to return to the dust because of the curse of sin that is upon us and all of creation. A curse that we’ve inherited and that we perpetuate. A decay that renders our ability to stay young, strong and healthy out of our control as time marches forward until we breathe our last. And when we breathe our last it will surely matter what or who we identity with and as. It matters because if your identity is founded only in the life that you spend in this body then you are guaranteed to be disappointed, to be betrayed by your body and by your idolatry. But, if your identity is rooted in Christ Jesus then you are guaranteed life eternal. Whenever I feel frustrated with my body, whenever the sorrow washes over me I cling to Jesus and I remember that my identity is in Him. I am His. I belong to Him. I am His daughter. I am His bride. He satisfies me with His Living Waters and comforts me with His strong arms. He holds me and He sustains me. He is my confidence. He is my Rock. He is my salvation. He is my hope. I will never be disappointed when my eyes are on Him, and they will be on Him forever–for when I leave this body I will be going home to a place that He is preparing for me. A place where He is the Light, where there is no more sorrow, no more tears, no more shame.

I refuse to agree with the lies of Satan that seek to take my eyes off of Jesus. I speak the Truth of God’s Word over myself. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am carefully made by the hands of my loving Father Who knew me in the womb, Who knew me even before He formed me. God made me a woman, God has given me the heart of a mother and I am so thankful for these things. I rejoice because of His tender love, He is my Victory. I am so incredibly thankful for my body. I am thankful for every part of my body. Yes this creation may be under the curse of our sin, but God is the Redeemer and He is making all things new. God is my Redeemer! He is my “dream-come-true-Boaz”, He has paid the greatest price so I can be with Him forever and ever and I gladly give myself over to Him, to His authority, to His will. He can–and is–making something beautiful out of the mire clay. I am free to dance in joy as He lifts me up from the ashes. He has brought me into His glory and I look forward to be taken into the full measure of His glory. His strong arm upholds me, His strong right hand defends and protects me.

I need thee every hour Lord. I need Thine Righteousness to revive me for Thine power to course through me, for You Holy Spirit to wash and cleanse me, for Your Word to lead me. For every part of me to be enveloped in Your presence, under Your guidance and authority. Every lie, every doubt hold no power over me-for I sit down under Your shadow with great delight and Your fruit is sweet to my taste, You bring me to Your banqueting House and Your banner over me is love. You satisfy me and embrace me, You come leaping and bounding over the mountains and hills and lead me into the Cleft of the Solid Rock, through Your pasture among the lilies. (See Song of Solomon 2).

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,  being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.  2 Corinthians 10:-6

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.  Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.  I Thessalonians 5:16-24

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”  Revelation 21:1-8

ANT-PEOPLE!

So you mayBugs have seen either seen the preview for, or the actual movie Ant-man recently. I haven’t seen the movie but I have seen the preview, in 4D at Disney’s California Adventure! I was just waiting in fear for when the “creepy crawler” sensation would come upon me from the chair to match what I was watching on-screen. When it did I couldn’t help popping up and exclaiming out-loud, MY BUTT!!! Haha, that is just what popped out of my mouth, it was really funny. Lately God has been placing Psalm 113:4-6 on my heart, I read it awhile back and was struck by it in my heart but then forgot where in the Psalms this passage was. Recently the Holy Spirit impressed it upon me again as I’ve meditated on scripture about God “keeping a list” of all that we say and do (see post “The List”) Thankfully I was able to Google what I remembered of the scripture to find the passage again and meditate carefully upon it as God continues to impress it upon my heart and mind.

The Lord is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, Who dwells on high, Who humbles Himself to behold The things that are in the heavens and in the earth? Psalm 113:4-6

What really is striking to me here is that God actually has to humble himself to regard us. This may not seem like such a big revelation, I mean we mere man, filthy in our sin, before an almighty, holy God. But really we tend to lose sight of this and it has been impressed on my heart. I’ve been pondering this, chewing upon it and allowing it to humble me. Then this morning during praise and worship as we sang song after song about how forever Great and Mighty God is He helped me to see and understand just a little bit more. You see, this week at work something out of the ordinary has been going on. When I get out to my car at the end of the day my driver’s side handle area has been teaming with super tiny bugs, smaller than ants. It is really disgusting, I’m repulsed and just hoping that when I open the door that they haven’t made it through the crack and begun crawling all over my seat. I quickly open the door, sigh with relief and then forget all about them by the time I get home. That is until this morning. Right there in the middle of worshipping majestic, awesome God, He brought this picture to my mind. That before Him I am like a little ant, but even smaller than that, kind of like those bugs on my car. We all are, and we are repulsive, creepy crawling in our sinful ways all over the earth. BUT, God who is holy chooses to regard us. Instead of ignoring us or wiping us out like we deserve, filthy bugs that we are, He allows us to continue to team around on earth for now, and He regards us. He pays attention to us…and….He considers our ways. From His dwelling place He looks upon all the inhabitants of the earth—He Who fashions the hearts of them all, Who considers all their doings. Psalm 33:14-15  As I was singing and considering how infinitely small I was compared to God I couldn’t help but have a big smile break out on my face. In part I was smiling because of the joy that poured over as God was taking the time to use these experiences in my life to teach me, like a tender loving Father teaches His child. At the same time I couldn’t help but picture the whole sanctuary of people this morning like a tiny little patch of ants organizing themselves to praise God. Then it came time for God to become really serious with Me as He pressed His truth upon my heart even further. Although in comparison to Him we are like these microscopic ants, we are at the same time very valuable and very much accountable. How can this be? Because God assigns us value and responsibility when He creates us.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:26-27

When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas. Psalm 8:3-8

So it is with fear and reverence that we must come before God, not spurning His holiness and the calling to worship Him instead of ourselves. We each will stand before God for judgement, but will it be with or without the protection of Christ? Will it be as one who dared curse the name of God and to His sorrow spurned His grace? Or, will it be as one that was once filthy but was born again, becoming a new creation, an adopted child of God through Christ? Christ the Lord Who rescues us from our filthy ways and puts upon us the new identity of co-heir. Mind-shattering is this mystery, this business of ransoming us from the kingdom of darkness through the blood of Christ. O praise Him, the King of Glory who from the beginning of time has known each one of us, unworthy as we are, created us in our mother’s womb and Who calls us each by name, who in His great love and mercy seeks reconciliation with us.

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:25-27