Monday, January 4, 2010

Chapter Nine: Plans

The arrival of 2010 has especially provoked thought about what the future holds for my life. I feel a renewed sense of being. For this quiet girl who often, I admit, sees the glass half empty, I am unusually hopeful. I've never been much on making New Year's resolutions: getting in shape, losing weight, doing x y z, but this year I am actually going to make a list and write it down. A friend has started a blog on her 101 things to do in 1001 days, so following suit, I am doing the same - although I have only 78 goals so far for 2010. You can view my overly ambitious list of plans for 2010 here and I will add them as I imagine my (hopefully) better 2010 self.

After all the flurry of Christmas guests, parties and concerts, and over ten days of sickness that five out of six of us experienced, my family has had a few days to relax and my husband, the worship director of our church whose December is always full, is taking off for several days. We decided to experience a Saturday night worship service at Perimeter Church in Atlanta and were privileged to hear Steve Brown speak. One of the anecdotes he used in his sermon was this story about a man whose wheelchair became stuck to a semi and was driven down the interstate at high speeds for a few miles before the truck was stopped. Brown's point that I took away was that this life is not about self...

Considering all the plans I've made in the past and those I'm currently making, I am reminded that this life, this existence is solely about the coming of God's kingdom - the semi in the story. I am but a vapor... Now, the plans I make and keep during this moment of my life can and will often be thwarted and redirected by my Lord who, I deeply believe, is sovereign over every detail. In my bones I realize His perfect ordination of all life is one of those mysteries the human mind cannot comprehend and does not have even a syllable to describe. For doubters, or those convinced of their choosing Christ, all I can say is that out of my own sinful heart I would never have chosen Christ and firmly believe He dragged me away from being a child of wrath and carried me to life as His child. That being said, I have never experienced a breath that felt like I was a marionette made for His entertainment, but am confident that I was crafted for His very specific purposes even when I cannot always convince myself of that!

My current plans for 2010 are reminding me of my life just a few short years ago. In August of 2006 we welcomed our third child, a girl, into our hearts and into our little two bedroom apartment. We were content in that limited space, but the apartment complex required us to move into a larger apartment because of occupancy rules. Once again, in the rain we moved. This time we could see our new back door from our old one. The new apartment, also very beige, was a spacious three level apartment with three bedrooms.

Still carrying a bit of baby weight, anxiously waiting to see if history would repeat itself and nursing would melt away the extra pounds and then some, I bought a LBD - a little black dress that I'd found on a clearance rack. I bought it in the size I hoped to fit in soon. I was anxious to wear it, and even more anxious to feel comfortable in my own skin again. When my little one was right around eight or nine months, thankfully, I was able to start wearing my pre-pregnancy wardrobe again and was excited to model my new dress. We went to the beach and I didn't even try to avoid the dreaded swimsuit. Well, basically I was able to wear those old clothes for all of two minutes when I started feeling sick and realized I was indeed, pregnant again. I cried. While my husband and I knew we wanted more children, I was still nursing my baby and was totally taken by surprise at this interruption of my plans to have my body to myself again.

After a couple of days, I warmed up to the idea of a new baby - coming soon- and became excited to meet this new little one. This time I wasn't afraid to tell family (both my husband's and mine) who had in the past when receiving the news of a new baby cried, accused us of being selfish, or shaken their heads..I wasn't afraid because it was ultimately what I wanted and it certainly helped that the news was delivered over the phone since we were nine hours away from them.

Upon my first visit back to the doctor to confirm the new pregnancy, the baby could not be located on the ultrasound. My doctor said to come back in a couple weeks and "hopefully nothing sad was happening." Those two weeks slowly passed and the morning of my appointment I was ashen and running to hang my head over the toilet. I had no doubt that I was experiencing a morning sickness unlike I'd ever known. My doctor and I were relieved when the baby, heart beating swiftly was seen clearly on the ultrasound.

A few months into the pregnancy we decided to get out of our lease when we found a nice home - not apartment- to rent. The gracious landlord stretched our first month's rent out over a year, letting us essentially skip the first month's rent so we could pay to get out of our lease - a real blessing. Rent was less than the apartment and another big bonus was that the house needed to be painted, my husband had experience as a painter and the landlord let us choose the colors and even paid for the paint!

We welcomed our fourth child and third girl into our lives just seventeen months after our third child had been born. All this while I was homeschooling the older two and working as a freelance graphic designer to supplement our income. We really felt at home amid the chaos in our family and at home in Charlotte......for a little while.

Stay tuned as I fill in the gaps and connect the dots for His perfect story of my life....

Romans 8:28-39
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
"For your sake we face death all day long;we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 2:1-9
1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

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