Saturday, March 23, 2013

Passion Prayer Week

I want to tell you something that God has laid on my heart (I really am not a fan of that phrase because it sounds so "churchy", but I can't think of a better way to say it).  I was thinking about how often I pick up my iPhone and just mindlessly flip through the apps or look at FB for the umpteenth time that day.  That led me to wonder how different it could be if I used that same amount of time in prayer.  I read from a online newspaper based out of the UK that people are spending about 1.5-2 hours of time per day on their smartphones beyond time that is spent in calls or texting, so basically, checking social media, listening to music, watching videos, etc. That's a lot of wasted time!  I'm not saying that any of those things are bad.  I love FB and I listen to Pandora a lot, but what if, for one week, we took that time and devoted it to prayer?  What could that change in your life?  What could it change in someone else's life?

That's what this post is about, this is what I have been inspired to do, and I want to ask you to join me.  This upcoming week is Passion Week.  For this week, I want you to take the time you would normally use to play Family Feud and check Pinterest to pray.  It may only be a couple minutes while you are waiting on a friend to arrive for lunch or ten minutes before a meeting starts and that's fine.  Just use that time to commune with God.

Right off, I know some of you are saying "I can't pray that much".  Most of us don't pray that much in a day, but we are supposed to be constantly in prayer (I Thes. 5:17).  This is one week, arguably the most important week of the Christian calendar.  Prayer is a skill, it needs to be exercised and stretched like a muscle.  Stretch your prayer muscles this week.  To help though, here are a few tips.

1.  Pray for Easter.  A lot of people only come to church once or twice a year; Easter is one of those times.  Pray for your pastor as he/she prepares the message.  Pray for the people's hearts to be open and receptive.  Pray for your heart to be open.  This will be my 19th Easter as a Christian. I've heard the story over and over.  After that kind of time, you can get to the point where it loses some of its wonder so pray for a new perspective and for your heart to respond like it's the first time you heard the story.

2.  Thank and praise God.  We tend to get so caught up in ourselves and our worries that our prayers can become a litany of "Please help..." and we never stand in awe of the God who created us.  Thank God for blessings, and they don't have to be big things.  I find myself thanking God often for beautiful sunsets.  He didn't have to make the sky light up in an array of colors every evening.  He didn't have to make it different every night.  But God created us to appreciate beauty and He is a creative God.  Thank Him for the splendor He made.  That is just one example out of thousands upon thousands of things you can find to thank Him for.

3.  Be still and listen.  When you can't think of one more thing to say, just don't!  I was always taught that God was a gentlemen when it came to salvation.  Meaning, He won't force Himself on anyone who doesn't want Him.  I think God is a gentlemen in prayer as well.  As long as you are monologueing, He won't interrupt you.  Listening is hard sometimes because we are rarely still as a culture (part of that can be attributed to those phones we are abstaining from).  God wants to have a dialogue with us, but He won't shout over our incessant chatter.

God has promised that where two or more are gathered He will be there (Matt. 18:20).  Let's take a broad view of that verse this week and join together as a community of believers and pray.  Let's fill the halls of Heaven with the sound of believers joining in prayer because we are in awe of the God we serve and because He deserves our time above Angry Birds.

Here's what I want you to do, any/all/none of these things.

1.  Commit to pray and follow through.  Remember, this isn't a big lifestyle change, just one week. And, I'm not even saying not to make calls and take text messages.  Absolutely do, those things need to happen.  All I'm saying is take the time that would be wasted by piddling around on your phone (not even your computer, just phone) and give that to God to prepare your heart and mind for Easter.

2.  Put a prayer request in the comment section of this post.  Please don't post it on my FB page, put it here so others can see.  Let's pray for one another, let's love on each other like Christians are called to.  You can put as little or as much detail as you feel comfortable with.  Just remember, the benefit of the internet is that you will probably never meet these people so sometimes it is easier to lay your soul bare to strangers than to people you are close to.  But, I get that some things are intensely personal, so if you just want to put your first name and "unspoken", that's fine too.  Even if I am the only person praying, know that I am praying for you.

3.  Tweet about it #passionprayerweek, FB about it-either link back to this blog post or just give a synopsis, tell people.  Look, I am just one woman with a teeny, tiny blog following, my impact is minuscule  but I really feel like this is important, if you agree, get other Christians involved.

4.  Watch for God to move.  Even if it is nothing more than feeling closer to your Savior, that is amazing and wonderful.

Don't forget to put your requests below!  Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Post Surgery Life

So it's been about 11 days or so since I last blogged.  I kept meaning to update you guys and tell you that I didn't die during surgery or anything, but then I kept getting distracted by things like naps and Mad Men.  I've been a real a go-getter these past few days.

Yeah, obviously I didn't die.  That's a plus.  I didn't hallucinate about demons so that was a big plus (also, if you just read this post, that is not a normal occurrence, just an anesthesia thing).  Thanks for the prayers!  They were definitely felt.  The anesthesia was still hard on me.  Shew, my body just does not like drugs at all.  I was thrashing around and having a general meltdown when I came out of it so the nurses kindly broke the rules and went and got Josh for me.  I could not for the life of me figure out where I was (normal) or who I was (not as normal).  I finally decided maybe I had just been born and thus did not have a name yet.  Then I thought, no kidding, "man, I have a Fabulous vocabulary for a newborn!".  The surgery wasn't until midafternoon and I had had no water so I was parched.  They brought me some water and I said "Water was one of God's better inventions.  And giraffes.  Giraffes were good too."  About five minutes later I started to figure things out and I looked up at Josh and said "Why did I say that, giraffes are nice, but they aren't my favorite animal, elephants are."  I was pretty nauseous and generally icky the rest of the night.  The soreness lingers on and on, but otherwise I am pretty okay.  I wasn't healing as quickly as the doctor thought I would so I got an extra week off work.  Oh darn!  Don't you just hate that? ;)

I have pictures of my diseased ovaries.  I have no idea why the doctor gave me a copy, but Josh says it is going to be this year's Christmas card since it will be our most expensive purchase this year.  I sent a picture of the picture to my brother and he about hurled up his toenails.  Haha, ah, gotta love sibling affection.  The doctor was very confident about the outcome of the surgery.  I did have stage 2+ endometriosis.  I had several places on my ovaries and a tiny bit of it in my right Fallopian tube, but it's all gone.  He says I have a 70-80% chance of getting pregnant in the next six months and if I don't then we will have to look into some bigger guns.  Still, the numbers are on our side.

All this week I've tried to cut back on the naps and get up and do some stuff.  Yesterday I cleaned out a closet.  Geez oh pete when did I accumulate this much stuff?  Do you want it?  You can have it.  Except for the diamond earrings I found.  No joke.  I asked Josh about them and he's all "oh yeah, I forgot about those, they're for you." and I'm going "how do you Forget about diamond earrings???"  Anyway, score!  I've also finished my spring wreath that was languishing and started work on a great big collage/gallery type thing for that wall I hate.  Because that was what was suggested and I listen to you guys (when you comment, which you should).

I have also watched an obscene amount of Mad Men.  This show is incredibly addicting!  Also, I want everything in Betty Draper Francis' closet.  Please and thank you.  The fifth season isn't on Netflix and I am DYING to know what happens.  It is dramatic and wonderful and subtle and smart and fashionable and you should watch it, but be warned that there is a lot of extramarital sex.  Lots and lots, seriously how did these people ever get anything accomplished when they weren't sexing or drinking?

So yeah, that's life.  I'm here.  I'll try to blog something funnier/wittier soon!  Here's a picture of my wreath too because I like it.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Surgery and 5 Things I've Learned

Tomorrow is my surgery.  I’m actually looking forward to it as much as anyone can look forward to being cut open.  I’m glad that we are finally moving forward and getting this taken care of.  Woo hoo!  I also get a week off work.  WOO HOO!  You can find me on the couch watching Mad Men and being incredibly lazy ;)  Please say a prayer that all goes well.  There is no reason for it not to, but you never know.  Most especially pray about the anesthesia.  That is the part I am dreading the most.  Other people go under and they think that it is grand.  They come out and feel delightfully loopy and happy.  Not me.  Nope, I would have to be different and difficult. I hallucinate about demons trying to claw me and drag me to hell.  Yeah…it’s a heck of a good time!  So let’s everyone pray that I don’t see any demons (and that I wake up, because Mom and Josh keep pointing out that dying while under is a possibility…um…thanks?).

When I first wrote about getting this surgery done and the infertility debacle that Josh and I have gone through I said I would write the five things I learned.  Here they are, not so briefly:

1.        You need a support group to talk to, one person is not going to cut it.  It doesn’t have to be formal or anything, you don’t need tshirts, but you do need people to talk to for whatever “stage” you are in.  For example, Josh is incredibly upbeat and I talked to him whenever I was feeling low on hope.  My mom had been through a similar situation and I talked to her whenever I needed advice and words of wisdom.  A couple of my friends were just there to listen to me rant about how it wasn’t happening and how “Everyone else in the Whole Wide World had a baby, but ME, what is wrong with me???  Sob sob sob”.  You need those people.  You need someone who can sympathize and you need someone who will say “quit your whining and have some ice cream”.

2.       There really are more pregnant women around.  When we started trying I saw pregnant women Everywhere. I couldn’t go out without running into a woman who looked like she might birth that very moment.  I thought was going crazy.  I wasn’t (well, at least not about that).  It seems like every other woman is pregnant, but you really are seeing more pregnant women that at any other time in your life.  Think about it.  If you are my age, give or take a few years, most of your friends are popping out kids left and right.  Your Facebook page is blowing up with announcements and baby pictures.  Even going to Target has you confronting more pregnant women.  It’s just that stage of life.  It’s easy to understand when you consider FB and Sunday School classes and places you are around other women your age, but even places like Target or the mall apply to this same logic.  Most 20-30 year old women aren’t shopping in Rue21 and Claire’s.  They aren’t at the mall at 9:30 on a Friday night or Midnight Bowling on Saturday.  They are shopping on lunch breaks, early evenings, or even during the day.  They are at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby, the bookstore, the salad bar, all these places and times that you are there because you are in the same demographic.  You aren’t crazy, the pregnant women…they’re out there.

3.       You have to know when to put it aside.  It is easy, especially when you first start trying and you still have bubbly enthusiasm, to get caught up in the Pinterest Kid’s section or searching “Thomas the Train nursery ideas” on google or whatever.  None of that is bad, it’s preparing, and it can be exciting, but you have to know when to say “no more” because it can get depressing as time goes on.  The same goes for charting.  If you are charting, that chart can become an obsession, especially if it is readily accessible.  Mine is on my phone and I would find myself checking it way more often that was necessary, counting til the next time we try, counting to when I would know if I was pregnant, reading possible pregnancy symptoms, yada yada yada.  Put it down and step away.  Nothing is gained by obsessing.  In fact, it will make you more stressed and stress is a baby making enemy.

4.       Get a system/pat phrase/don’t even touch the subject look for people.  Gah!  People!  I am not a people person, I’m just not.  I’m super introverted.  When it comes to pregnancy people can be nosy, insensitive, and mean.  Nosy is the easiest to deal with.  Having now tried for so long, I have a new appreciation for how nosy the question “When do you plan on having kids” is.  It seems like simple conversation, but at the wrong time, it can be taken poorly.  Get a pat phrase for those people.  They aren’t trying to mean or call attention to the fact that you STILL aren’t lugging around a stroller, but you don’t have to give them the whole spiel of “oh we’re trying and not having any luck”.  It’s none of their business, give a response and move on.

 Insensitive people take that nosiness just a step farther.  These are the people that can’t take a hint that you don’t want to talk about your family plan.  They usually launch right into some story about either their cousins who were never able to have kids and died alone and were eaten by raccoons or how very “modern” it is that you are waiting til “later in life” to have kids.  I’m rolling my eyes with you sister.  You may have to be a little more pointed with these people.  Honestly, sometimes I make up an excuse to leave the conversation.  If you can’t do that though, say they have you trapped in a literal corner, turn the conversation to those dead raccoon eaten cousins because these people usually want to talk, so let them run with a topic and mildly nod your head while planning anything more pleasant to do later as a reward for not being snarky. 

The third people are in a class of their own, the downright mean. I have had people say that God is punishing Josh and me, that I would make a terrible mother, and that I don’t deserve to be a mother.  None of those are nice and none of them are true.  These people are rarer, but they are there.  Ignore them.  They don’t deserve to be credited with a response.  If their lives are so empty that they have to stoop to that level to make themselves feel better, let them wallow in that muck, but don’t get down there and start slinging mud with them.

5.       Finally, you have no bargain with God.  At one point I was talking to someone about not getting pregnant and I said “I did what I was supposed to do.  Josh and I waited til we got married to be intimate, we waited until we were financially ready, we waited until we had a house, we are in church and doing the things we are supposed to, so why has God not given me a baby?”  It was a completely subconscious thing that built up until it overflowed out of my mouth.  I was shocked to even confront the fact that I thought that I had some “arrangement” with God where if I was good and did was I supposed to do as a Christian then He would hold up His end of the “bargain” and give me a baby.  This is NOT true!  The only thing I deserve from God is punishment for my sins.  God has given me grace to cover all the bad things I have done in life, but He didn’t have to do that, and He certainly doesn’t have to do anything more.  I think it’s a common trap that Christian’s fall in, especially those who have been saved a long time.  We start to think that there is a give and take between yourself and God.  You give time, money, praise and He gives blessings.  God doesn’t require anything we give.  We give because we have already been blessed, not to earn a blessing.  It stems too from wanting to have some sort of control.  It’s a simple system we use in life every day.  If I give you X, you will do/give me Y.  That system doesn’t work with God.  I had to spend a lot of time in prayer getting to the point where I completely gave the baby situation to God, where I was able to say “I am okay with never being a mom if it means being in Your perfect will”.  Now, I do think I will be a mom, but if you get in that place, remember that God doesn’t owe you anything for being “good”, but you owe Him everything for being Him.

If you read all that then you get a gold star!  Pat yourself on the back!