Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It Really Hits Home

There are moments when things just really hit home. How about everytime I look back on this past February and remember losing Ethan? How about the moments when I look at any windshield recalling the wreck where I went through mine? How about the pictures I see of my Nana holding me as a little girl, knowing that she didn't know me for most of my life? How about when I walk past the pew on which I called out to the Lord and He saved my soul? Do you have moments like those? The ones that just really cause you to stop and think.

I'll admit I don't always look at everyone of those situations the way I should. It's easy to say that I thank God for the way He guided me in all of those circumstances, but it's much more difficult to admit that maybe, just maybe I disregard the fact that God had a hand in all of them. And he did.

Reading a certain Psalm this week really spoke to me. Beth Moore is teaching me (through her studies) that I must look deeper into these scriptures. Every single one has something to say to me, and God intended every word to hit home.

1-5 If God hadn't been for us —all together now, Israel, sing out!—
If God hadn't been for us
when everyone went against us,
We would have been swallowed alive
by their violent anger,
Swept away by the flood of rage,
drowned in the torrent;
We would have lost our lives
in the wild, raging water.

6 Oh, blessed be God!
He didn't go off and leave us.
He didn't abandon us defenseless,
helpless as a rabbit in a pack of snarling dogs.

7 We've flown free from their fangs,
free of their traps, free as a bird.
Their grip is broken;
we're free as a bird in flight.

8 God's strong name is our help,
the same God who made heaven and earth.

Now, I've not been swallowed up by anyone's anger, or thrown into a pack of dogs. I must say I've never once been in a flood or been tossed among waves. I certainly haven't been in ANYTHING'S fangs. But on the contrary, I HAVE been swallowed up in my own pride. I have been thrown into situations I wouldn't choose for myself. I've also been in some powerful storms in my life, and I have felt more than once that I was drowning in despair. Satan has had a hold on me, and his grip is more powerful than I am willing to confess.

That's not the point. Do you see what it says?! IF GOD HAD NOT BEEN FOR US... That's me. If God had not been for me... I've learned to think that one thing through. You know all of those scenarios that really hit home to me? Well, think of them like this...

If God had not been for me when I lost my child to miscarriage, I would still be lying in my bed weeping.

If God had not been for me when my head went through that windshield, I would no longer enjoy the breaths that I take.

If God had not been for me when my Nana was struggling from Alzheimer's, I would always question His purposes.

If God had not been for me on April 10, 1994, when I was saved, I would have never known Heaven as home.

God is for us. He's not against us. And though these trials continue to come, God is still for us. He's molding us into HIS image, and that cannot feel good. It's like putting a broken arm into a cast intending for the bone to heal, the means aren't pain-free. He's going to have to break us. He's going to have to tear me down. He's going to have to get me on my knees. Usually, it's in those moments that God really hits home.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Living in a Great, Big World

I cannot help but look at the world around me differently. Something about the fact that I am carrying one of His very own within me makes me view life in a fascinating way. When I was pregnant for the first time, it seemed so surreal, yet I never could have understood then what I realize now.

Sometimes I take so many things forgranted. I complain so often about how I have very little purpose in life. I find myself wishing I were back at school just to hear NOISE all over again. I hear myself saying how lonely I am. I notice how I have come to enjoy simply being alone.

When God told me to leave school, I thought it was the best and worst thing that could have happened to me. Best because I was so unhappy, so burdened, and so emotional being in front of 20 little children. Worst because when I reached the solitude of being in a room all by myself, I would be forced to face the silence that I, for so long, tried to avoid.

Yet, I see now that God was working out His plan for my life. I could have never understood what it meant then, but now I realize that He was expecting me to bring life into this great, big world. I sit in the house alone now and simply breathe in. I wake knowing that life has changed. I cry with little reason. I know deeply that it is the little one inside me that excites me to no end. I live with a great understanding of what God is capable of.

And as small as I am, He has chosen me for this reason... To live for Christ, and to love as He does. It's really as easy as that.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


There's a picture somewhere of a blonde-haired girl running through the front yard of her small, red-bricked house, holding a brand new Barbie she had been given at her sister's birthday party. In that same picture, a brown-eyed boy is following closely behind her trying intently to get his hands on that doll.

There's a video somewhere of a party at McDonalds where a little blue-eyed girl gets skipped in line while waiting to throw balls onto a target at her own third birthday party. In that same video, a brown-haired boy puts his hands on her shoulders and helps her back in line.

There's an old tape somewhere of a little girl singing her heart out on some old Judds' classics. On that same tape, a young boy joins in and shares giggles as they attempt to recreate their own country duet.

There's a memory somewhere of that same blonde-haired, blue-eyed, little girl, who is now a woman, calling her best childhood friend to tell him that she was pregnant. In that same memory, the brown-eyed, brown-haired, young boy, who is now a grown man, tells his friend that his wife is pregnant too.

There will be a place somewhere in that woman's heart that breaks as she steps into the room in less than 48 hours to see that man's baby girl for the first time. In that same place, that man will not understand the love his best friend has for his baby already.

Because there is another child somewhere in Heaven who God had planned to take. While that brown-eyed boy will be getting his very own doll, the blonde-haired girl lived through the loss of the child who would have been born in this very same week. But as she steps in to see this newborn baby girl, her blue eyes will be filled with the tears of an expectant mother celebrating the birth of her best friend's child.

Anxiously Awaiting Addyson,

In honor of the Clark family,
Jimmy, Amanda, and Addyson

Friday, September 5, 2008

When He Speaks

A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

For three days, I worked diligently on a painting that would be given to an expectant mother. I watched as the colors fell into place and became one of the most unique things I had ever done. The baby's name soon was creatively decorated onto the canvas, and finally, the decision on which scripture to use was finalized. As I wrote the bright pink verse on the pink and green polka dotted canvas, I did not know then how true they would be for me in the next few days...

Just a week before I began this gift, I had applied and been accepted to Western Kentucky University's online Master's Program in Elementary Education. I was overjoyed at the possibility of pursuing a purpose in my life. The door opened for me so quickly to go back to college; I never once took the time to really pray it through. It just seemed as if it were the right thing to do.

In my heart though, I believe I knew better. Just like the pink and green dots so brilliantly corresponded, a teacher with a year off should take the time to get her Master's degree. Or so I thought. We joke about it now, but my husband questioned me one afternoon about going back to school. The anxiety about it was overwhelming me, and with such clarity and conviction, I told him, "I would rather be a mother, than have a Master's."

For the past nine months, I have longed for a child. In December of 2007, when I learned we were in fact pregnant with our first child, I knew God was answering my prayers. Just two short months later, when that same God took the baby into His arms, I asked Him over and over why it had to be this way when He had just given me all that I wanted. When we didn't get pregnant in the next few months and knowing I would not be teaching in any school in the upcoming fall, we decided that God wanted us to further our education. I shared the information with family after being accepted, and as excited as they all were, my dad said the most peculiar words after learning of the news, “I thought you were calling to tell me you were pregnant." He even seemed disappointed (don't take this wrong because my father would love to see me graduate again).

I'll be honest... I was too. Two years ago when I graduated from Western, I was so thankful to be leaving and had no intentions of going back. God seems to have His own ideas and plans, and He actually wasn't keeping them from me. You see, as I was busy making my own plans to head back to school, God was speaking His plans for me loud and clear through paintings, family, and in my heart. I would not be going back to school because 1) the cost is currently too expensive, and 2) we are pregnant with our second child.

Now, I don't know the specific plans God has for me, and I'm not sure that I will ever meet this child that is within me. What I do know is that, through the steady sound of a heartbeat on an ultrasound monitor, God speaks clearly. He speaks directly. He speaks with great wisdom. When He speaks, we must listen. Our lives are not our own, and our decisions are not ours to make. So with a humble heart, I write to express my deepest apologies for misinforming you about my returning to college, and I meekly ask you to pray for us as we anticipate the plans God has for our future...

The bright pink words on the canvas stand out now. They are so plain yet now incredibly beautiful, as I know that God was using them to speak to my heart. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." How awesome it is when God speaks!

(See the “Bright Pink Canvas” here.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

When God Gets Your Attention

It wasn't long ago that I was told by more than one person that I had to have ADD. My sister would laugh and say that she was positive I had it when the radio commercials would often talk about Adult ADD, and she would say, "Jenna, that is so you." I never took it seriously because I know I am as active (not physically) as a 5 year old... That would be my exact reasoning for wanting to teach Kindergarten.

I even took the online surveys and questionnaires... One of which said I was moderately ADHD, claiming that "You appear to be suffering from a moderate amount of attention and concentration difficulties..." While another said, "The responses you have provided indicate that your symptoms may be consistent with Adult ADD." It's always good to know that a computer fill-in-the-blanks can quickly diagnose me.

Oh, don't worry, I'm not concerned at all. In fact, I'm fairly certain that I could be, but the truth is, my attention is focused in one direction lately.

God has gotten my attention. Has He ever done that for you? It's as if He simply has gathered all of the thoughts and fears I've had and given me a clear picture of what it is He's doing. Now, I don't understand it, and I don't ever hope to. However, I know what He's up to, and I like it. Not because it's grand or spectacular but because it could only be happening this way if He truly was in control. And He is!

I tend to be distant, with my mind wandering in all sorts of directions, never finishing tasks, and quick to answer without thinking of what the question actually was, but I know how much better it is when God has your attention. All of it.

I'm also aware that I was rambling in the post, but for those of you I've spoken to in the past 2 weeks, you know exactly how God has gotten my attention.