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2015 Reflections

To say 2015 has been a difficult year for me would be an understatement. Through choices, circumstances, and health issues…I’m overwhelmed with the thought of being here to celebrate another year.

In the last 12 months, our family has endured heartbreaking moments that quite honestly would have destroyed us if not for the love and grace of Jesus! The tears that have been shed, the groans of pain only the Holy Spirit understands, and the prayers pleading for intervention have been countless. Days of not being able to get out of bed, unable to take care of my kids, nightmare after nightmare.  My “normal” was being angry at God! Angry that He would “make” me this way, angry that He didn’t stop me from making the choices I did, angry that our finances were worse than they’ve ever been, angry that we didn’t have a more “glorious” life, after all, we’ve been in ministry almost 20 years! I felt entitled, I was angry, cold, and numb…throwing a temper tantrum like a child.

And through all of it, God was and has been faithful! God has been faithful in His goodness, His love, His kindness, His forgiveness, His grace, His mercy…never for a moment turning away from me…always loving me…always being my Daddy!

My 2015 did not fulfill all of the resolutions, hopes, and dreams I had. I chased my own dreams, my own desires and I was left hopeless and empty. Completely drained and exhausted chasing after things that were worldly all while battling a non life threatening disease that was finally identified by a doctor who refused to give up! My 2015 plans didn’t include falling in love with my husband more deeply than I ever thought possible…but I did. For Chad, I am forever grateful and blessed! Chad is a rock I never knew existed! Chad is a man I have never known! Chad has shown me what loving someone truly means!  Being a pastors wife makes it extremely difficult to have a “real” friend and my 2015 plans didn’t include discovering that true friend who has never left my side, battled with me, took care of my house and kids, and still chooses to love me and chooses to be my friend…my bestie!

As my 2015 comes to a close, I choose to be thankful! Thankful I’m here to enter another year, thankful for my amazing husband and wonderful kids, but most of all thankful to God for His unending love and for the tender moments He has spoken to me, “you’re my daughter and I will always love you…my best is all I desire for you…you are my pride and joy…I have always loved you and I’ve never given up on you!”

 

 

 

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This blog has been in the works since the night of the NBA Draft 2013. The very night we found out we were expecting baby #5! I’m not quite sure shock even begins to describe the feeling of being pregnant again. Shock, disbelief, terrified, the question of seriously? Notice excitement wasn’t used….why? Because we had our complete family, we didn’t want more children, we are 35, our kids are past the point of diapers and bottles! But God saw our lives completely different. He knew from the very beginning that in the midst of our lives, He was going to give us a precious little reminder that He is in control and we are not!

We are almost 15 weeks into the pregnancy and from a health perspective things are perfect. But my heart still struggles! You see, as people have found out about our new miracle, these are some of the things we’ve been faced with:

*Don’t you know what causes that yet? Ummmm….for the record, yes we do! And God created sex to be enjoyed and celebrated within the confines of marriage!

*Wow! And you just lost all that weight! Yep, 53 lbs to be exact and trust me, I think about it every time I put something in my mouth or when I go to my closet and realize I can’t wear my clothes!

*We actually made Topix again because apparently we only have more kids so we can receive government assistance, which by the way we don’t receive any!

*People have been angry, hurt, completely ignored the fact we are having another baby, and quite frankly some have been plain ole’ rude!

One thing I’ve come to realize though is this, the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy! And boy is he crafty! I never thought the miracle of having a baby could ever cause resentment in my life but it certainly has! I’ve found myself battling depression, resentment, feelings of guilt, selfishness…you name it, I’ve experienced it!

All the while, Jesus is whispering this to me, “before I formed this child in your womb, I had a plan for its life”, “I love this child equally to the love I have for your other children”, “this child is a blessing, not a burden”, “you have sought My will for your lives and this is it!”, “I didn’t make a mistake!” “Don’t fear!”

Today I am choosing to embrace the miracle of life that is growing inside me! Today I choose to stop being negative and resentful! Today I am proud to announce that coming February 2014 Baby Bles #5 will be making its grand entry and I am excited!!

I am so thankful for those that have been supportive and that have offered sincere congratulations and prayers! The old saying is so true, “it takes a village to raise a child”!

This is the next chapter in our lives and I can’t wait!!

Chad posed a question today on Facebook; flowers or chocolate? The most common answer was…neither! The majority of the responses indicated women desire quality time with their husbands!

This is huge!! Our lives are filled with so many things that we have begun to ask for quality time!! In most lives, a gift is a “bonus”. As a kid, what did you ask for on your birthday? Typically, you asked for things you wanted because your basic needs are being met. Quality time is a NEED, not a want! Without it, relationships crumble!

When did we evolve into a society that a husband or wife ask for quality time? At what point did our marriages become so hectic that a flower or a box of chocolates that should symbolize I was thinking of you, turn into, please don’t spend any money…just turn off the cell phone, tv, computer, etc. and let’s spend time together?

A significant number of marriages could be saved everyday if we would realize time with our spouse is something we cannot buy! A price tag cannot be put on the security and comfort that come from conversations and time spent with our spouse!!

If we don’t spend quality time, meaning alone with no kids, with our spouse…someone else will!!!! So, for Valentine’s Day this year, give the gift of time! You’ll never regret not spending ridiculous amounts of money on things that die, make you fat, and collect dust!

Renewed Bliss Begins!

Today’s the day! The Renewed Bliss Series begins at Terra Nova Church.

This series is for everyone. Married, single, widowed, divorced, young, and old! Those with great marriages, those with struggling marriages, those with no marriage, and those who wish they were married. Regardless of which category you are in, God wants to speak to you!

This blog started about 3 years ago and it is time to recharge it! So follow it, share it, and most importantly – pray for it! Next to salvation, my biggest ministry passion is marriage!

I am so overwhelmed with excitement and fear heading into this weekend. Our Renewed Bliss Series kicks off tonight with me sharing our story of complete destruction to God-sized restoration. I am going to be sharing very openly about our struggles and our triumphs. I’ll talk about issues that are taboo and generally avoided within most churches. You’ll hear about deception, depression, loss of a child, pride, arrogance….and then come to the realization “You’re Not Alone”!

Bring all of your pain, confusion, and heartache! Bring your insecurities, your failures, and your successes! Your “mess” is welcome! Don’t leave it at the door! God wants to begin something huge in you tonight! Invite your friends, family, and co-workers. Grab your spouse and go on a date to church! If they refuse, take a stand for your marriage and come by yourself! If you won’t stand for your marriage, no one else will!

Join us tonight at 5:00 or tomorrow morning at 10:00 at Terra Nova Church, 1209 E Malone, in Sikeston.

I can’t wait to see what God does!!!

Jennifer

I’ve been asked on several occasions when my next blog was coming. Well, my dream last night sparked a lot of thoughts for me today.

I woke up really upset with Chad, and he had no clue. I found myself stuck in the middle of a dream that seemed impossible to wake up from. I remember being with my family and being asked where Chad was. The dream progressed from bad to worse. The next significant memory is Chad telling me he just wasn’t that into me anymore. What? After all we’d been through, he just up and decides he’s not that into me? The rest of my dream was filled with trying to get his attention and to do all I could to win his affection again.

My dream sparked my thoughts for today. What am I doing to still keep his attention? We are all guilty of thinking since we married them they aren’t going anywhere. While this may be true, admit it, we like to know someone is head over heels for us!

I recently had a Facebook conversation about whether or not it was pathetic to sit in the same room and “chat” with your spouse. Here me loud and clear…ABSOLUTELY NOT! It’s not pathetic, it’s sweet! It’s almost like passing love notes in class! You do realize it’s easier to say things when you write them down.

 It breaks my heart to know that there are couples that are struggling simply because they quit trying when they said, “I do”. Don’t give up! Even if it looks like you’ll never get their attention, I promise, it’s the little things. It will add up! Start small, be meaningful, and most importantly…DON’T expect anything in return. Reach deep down and discover what really gets their attention!

I’ve listed some ideas below, let me know some of yours!

Challenge #1: The next time you’re in the same room, start texting! Use your imagination! You might be surprised to find out exactly what your spouse is thinking :)!

Challenge #2: Where his favorite perfume…even if it’s not your first choice!

Challenge #3: Men – Give her the remote; Women – don’t assume they have other motives!

Challenge #4: Men-Find out what her favorite flower is, buy just 1, put it in a vase and sit it in front of the tv, computer, or cell phone and give her your undivided attention. This will let her know she’s cherished and valued above all else. Women – don’t assume they have other motives!

Use your imaginations, men and women! Love each other, continue to chase each other! Fall in love all over again, everyday!

  

I have put this blog off for 5 days now. I don’t want to write it because it brings back so many painful memories, but I know this is exactly what I should share. As a precursor, it is lengthy.

January 21, 2007, we were blessed to find out we were pregnant with #4.  We were so excited, scared, nervous, all the emotions that go along with having another child.  We knew though that God was in control and this was His will. 
Just 2 short weeks after the joy of being pregnant overwhelmed me, I started having problems.  I had started bleeding and the doctor confirmed that it was an impending miscarriage.  We were devastated.  Heartbroken doesn’t even begin to describe how we felt.  We knew though, that even in this God had a plan.  We didn’t and still don’t understand it, but it isn’t for us to know. 

We were in the healing process of losing a child, healing some areas in our marriage, and healing our spiritual lives.  I had truly grown closer to Chad and to God.  I was now staying at home, not working, and loved every minute of it.
Sunday, February 18, 2007, I was scheduled to sing with a trio that morning.  The song chosen was, “Gentle Healer”.  How appropriate to sing at church following the heartbreaking event of losing a child.  We also sang, “He Knows My Name”, another song that is very emotional even to this day.  We had chosen the name Josiah for our child if it were a boy, the literal translation of his name is, “Healer”.  (Do you see God in this anywhere?)  The guest speaker that spoke that morning talked about why some Christians are afraid of death.  This is an issue that I have dealt with for a long time.  I wasn’t scared to meet Jesus; I was scared of how my family would make it without me.

Monday, February 19, 2007 6:00 am, Cana woke me up because she wasn’t feeling well.  I got up with her and got her back in bed and laid down to get a few more minutes of sleep.  As I lay down, Chad woke from a sound sleep and asked me if I was feeling alright.  Confused by the question, I said, yes, why?  He had no explanation, he just felt like he needed to ask.  As I laid my head down my chest began to ache a little.  Thinking it may be some gas build-up, I decided to go to the bathroom.  As I was walking toward the bathroom, I felt really weird.  When I got to the toilet, I yelled for Chad and he came running.  A pain unlike any other I had ever felt now filled my entire abdomen through my chest.  As he knelt down beside me I told him I felt like I couldn’t breathe, felt like I was going to pass out, and was scared. Immediately, I passed out.  Chad laid me on the floor and called 911.  (From the time he asked me if I felt ok to this point, it was only about 3 minutes.)  I began throwing up and he couldn’t really get me to come to.  I told Chad, if I die; please take care of my babies.  I was at peace with dying that day, I was certain I was going home to be with the Lord.  Chad prayed and claimed in Jesus name my healing.  I was propped up against the bathtub as the ambulance arrived.  They were unable to get my blood pressure because they couldn’t hear it.  I was loaded in the ambulance on my way to Missouri Delta Medical Center in Sikeston.  In the ambulance, I tried to tell them to take me to Cape not Sikeston, but I was unable to speak.

 I arrived at the hospital and was rushed in.  Chad kept telling everyone I had just had a miscarriage, but I was sure it didn’t have anything to do with what was happening.  I was so weak I was unable to open my eyes.  My blood pressure was around 50/30 and I was going downhill fast.  Still, they didn’t know what was happening.  I went to have x-rays and they showed nothing.  While there though, I passed out again and began convulsing.  I was then moved to a different room to have a pelvic exam done.  Again I passed out and the doctor determined that my uterus was clear.  Then I was sent to ultrasound, there the tech found something he thought was a ruptured cyst.  A lot of fluid was in my abdomen.  Chad began to tell them that my ob doc was in Cape and he would like for me to be transferred there.  The hospital tried to contact him and found out that he was on vacation for the next two weeks.  The doctor told Chad there was no time to transfer me; he needed me to have emergency surgery and gave Chad two options for doctors.  He chose one and within 10 minutes she was there and I was being wheeled to the operating room.  Scared because I didn’t really know what was going on, but I knew God was totally in control.  When I came out of surgery, we were told that I had a ruptured tubal pregnancy and I was bleeding profusely into my belly, almost 2 liters.  My right tube and ovary had to be removed.  As the surgery began, I only had about 10 minutes left to live.  Reading over my story, the hand of God is seen all throughout.  I realized after my surgery, that God wasn’t finished with me.  He still has a plan and a purpose for my life. 

As tragic as this story is, there is good that has come from it. I have had the amazing opportunity to be in the hospital w/parents as their 10 day old baby lay dying and be a silent source of comfort for them. I never want to get tired of sharing our story with others. In the 3 years since losing the baby, we have been blessed with Jon Luke!

Even when things are grim and the light of day is nowhere to be found, God is still on the throne. Embrace Him today and allow Him to comfort you!

So, I have to confess something…We are less than one week away from Valentine’s Day and I haven’t bought my sweetheart anything. Actually, until a few minutes ago, I hadn’t even thought about it. Now that I am thinking about it, I am somewhat disturbed.

I am overwhelmed at the “Love” section at Wal-Mart, our nation is obsessed with it. From huge teddy bears that no one will ever do anything with to fake roses that are actually underwear, and everything in between. It’s crazy!

Plain and simple, buying something for your spouse on the one day of the year designated to celebrate love will not enhance your marriage. Marriage is work, it’s exhausting, but it is the most amazing relationship you will experience on earth.

Chad and I have planned a date night for couples this weekend, Saturday, February 13 at 6:00 pm at Creative Edge in Jackson. This is a FREE event that will provide you and your sweetheart an enjoyable night with other couples. There will be table games, group games, couples games, and time to reflect on the gift God has given you in your relationship. (Babysitting will not be provided)

Just a heads up, be ready to share with everyone something about your spouse that made you fall in love with them!

Can’t wait to see everyone! And remember…don’t just celebrate “love” one day a year, daily express your love to your spouse!

Click here to RSVP via the Facebook Event Page.