Wednesday, August 12, 2009

He is our living Hope.



Us! Saying goodbye to trimester 1!!
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"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy..."
1 Peter 1:8






I have been dealing with a lot of emotions lately. I wondered if anyone could relate. Have you ever been in a nightmare that you never imagined you would be in and that doesn’t seem to have a light at the end of the tunnel? One that you wake up to and go to sleep to... for years? Hopefully not but I know a lot of people's marriage can be that claustrophobic nightmare.
That is how I feel as I deal with my chronic illness. I am actually starting to feel better (finally- I didn’t know if I would survive the last 3 months). The problem is we have been through this before (Lyme+ pregnancy) and we know how this will play out... unless God intervenes. My joint pain and blinding headaches will be back post-delivery.... unless God intervenes.
I HATE taking medicine when I am pregnant but have no choice. I don't know if I will be able to breastfeed or not because of my situation. I couldn't with Lake because I got so sick after delivering Lake that I had to go on high powered medicine that you can’t take while breastfeeding and because the Lyme disease bacteria passes through breastmilk. Instead of doing what most moms do, I was headed to NY and getting an IV put into my heart for 9 weeks. I HAD NO CHOICE. Choice has been taken away from me so often during the last 4 years. My life seemed to have spun out of control July 2005 and never stopped spinning. Sometimes, I just get angry about all that has been lost during those years- how I have been robbed. The suffering... the REAL pain... the scars I have been left with. How many of my boys birthday parties have come and gone while I have dealt with this nightmare. How chronic illness makes everything hard... and sad. How any chronic trial seems to steal YOU and the happy/ fun YOU you used to be.
So, I shared my heart with the Lord about this yesterday on a walk while begging for healing before this baby comes. Begging to be able to breastfeed. Thanking Him for this precious gift He has given me. He has been so faithful to give me 'joy in the mean time'.
Here are two verses that come to my mind often as I am angry...
That God can RESTORE years that have been stolen by hardship...

"I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten" Joel 2:25
“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day...” Gen 50:20
It is hard to come to grips with my situation because Lyme Disease is SO preventable... but God didn’t prevent it.
Tim and I become really popular during the summer months as everyone is finding ticks on them. Some get violently ill... some do not. We tell them all to get on antibiotics no matter what. So, they take a few antibiotics and (Praise the Lord)never know what I have known. I am so happy they don’t but, “God, seriously?, what about me? 4 years of chronic pain that you could have so easily prevented? What is up?”.
THE question that is constantly lurking is “WHY”?
And as weird as this sounds I believe the answer from heaven is... “so you would draw near to Me”. And, believe me, I have. He has taught me His Word. He has taught me about Hope. He has taught me His love. He has taught me His faithfulness. He has taught me that He is able. I have felt like a teacher’s pet during these years while sitting at the feet of my Teacher as He gently reveals to me great and unsearchable things. A lot about Who He is and how He desires to use me... if I will get out of His way. Depending on Him for every breath- every minute. Hanging on to the cloak of His robe with my all my might and believing Him for the impossible. I don't know why that is so hard. I have seen Him do the impossible OVER and OVER.
I want to encourage any of you that are in a chronic trial that Christ Himself will minister to you. He will heal your broken heart. He will restore to you MUCH more than your shattered dreams. Anything I have ever surrendered to Him has been a joke in comparison to what He has given.
And while we wait, WE HOPE. Hope in what? Hope in the glory that WILL be revealed through our perseverance in suffering... whether here or heaven. Hope in the fellowship (koinonia- truest, closest fellowship) with Jesus Christ during your trial. Hope in prayer. Hope in that fact that your faith, which is being refined by fire, WILL be proven genuine and will result in praise. Hope that He is bringing SUBSTANCE to your faith- that when you speak, people will listen and see Jesus. Hope that He can fill us with an inexpressible and glorious joy as we wait. Hope in the fact that we have an inheritance in heaven that can never perish, spoil or fade waiting on us right after our last heart beat. Hope because Hope in Christ is LIVING and it doesn’t disappoint. Hope that He gives us treasures in darkness and riches stored in these secret places (Isaiah 45:3- surely I have hammered this one in your brains by now!). Hope that there is no darkness at all in Christ- that He can brighten the darkest place instantly. Hope that as we are walking through the valley, He is annointing our heads with oil– pouring the Holy Spirit out on us, finding favor on us, equipping us for all He is calling us to do so that we will bear MUCH FRUIT.
So, if you have a broken heart tonight over dreams that have been shattered, I have good news for you... He is near. He draws near to the brokenhearted. Draw near to Him. Dine with Him at the banquet table. He is waiting on you to come.
“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”
Psalm 62:8


“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart-- These, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:17
I have posted this before but it is one of my ALL-TIME favorite things I have read in my valley. I hope it encourages you that God is at work... you are being broken and HE is being poured out like perfume spilling out of a broken alabaster box creating an irresistible aroma.
BROKEN THINGS
"By reason of breakings they purify themselves" (Job 41:25) God uses most for His glory those people and things which are most perfectly broken. The sacrifices He accepts are broken and contrite hearts. It was the breaking down of Jacob's natural strength at Peniel that got him where God could clothe him with spiritual power. It was breaking the surface of the rock at Horeb, by the stroke of Moses' rod that let out the cool waters to thirsty people. It was when the 300 elect soldiers under Gideon broke their pitchers, a type of breaking themselves, that the hidden lights shone forth to the consternation of their adversaries. It was when the poor widow broke the seal of the little pot of oil, and poured it forth, that God multiplied it to pay her debts and supply means of support. It was when Esther risked her life and broke through the rigid etiquette of a heathen court, that she obtained favor to rescue her people from death. It was when Jesus took the five loaves and broke them, that the bread was multiplied in the very act of breaking, sufficient to feed five thousand. It was when Mary broke her beautiful alabaster box, rendering it henceforth useless, that the pent-up perfume filled the house. It was when Jesus allowed His precious body to be broken to pieces by thorns and nails and spear, that His inner life was poured out, like a crystal ocean, for thirsty sinners to drink and live. It is when a beautiful grain of corn is broken up in the earth by DEATH, that its inner heart sprouts forth and bears hundreds of other grains. And thus, on and on, through all history, and all biography, and all vegetation, and all spiritual life, God must have BROKEN THINGS. Those who are broken in wealth, and broken in self-will, and broken in their ambitions, and broken in their beautiful ideals, and broken in worldly reputation, and broken in their affections, and broken ofttimes in health; those who are despised and seem utterly forlorn and helpless, the Holy Ghost is seizing upon, and using for God's glory.
"The lame take the prey," Isaiah tells us.
O break my heart; but break it as a field Is by the plough up-broken for the corn; O break it as the buds, by green leaf seated, Are, to unloose the golden blossom, torn; Love would I offer unto Love's great Master, Set free the odor, break the alabaster.
O break my heart; break it victorious God,
That life's eternal well may flash abroad;
O let it break as when the captive trees,
Breaking cold bonds, regain their liberties;
And as thought's sacred grove to life is springing, Be joys, like birds, their hope,
Thy victory singing
.--Thomas Toke Bunch
Taken from Streams in the Desert


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He has not forgotten you. Quite the contrary, He is showing favor on you so that you will have the privilege of being invited into the inner courts of the King. “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” ;)
If only we knew how loved we are and how Christ desires us to come to Him. To pour out our hearts to Him. To realize that He really is “enthralled by our beauty” (Psalm 45:11). That He wants to blow us away by His majesty.

I have had a really good few days. I walk in the morning listening to my Sarah Kelly CD, Born to Worship. I just love it. I love one lyric that says “I can feel the heat of your lamp on my feet... guiding my way” and another song that I rock out to is Beautiful God as I old-lady-speed-walk around our neighborhood at 7 am. She is super cool. I don’t know about her other cds but I really like this one. It has ministered to me a lot.
I copied this off her blog....

“There is nothing that moves my soul more than worshiping God. Jesus
Christ makes sense to me, plain and simple. When I embraced the
knowledge that Jesus did die for me, in my place, i became a
worshiper....and i only pray that my flavor of worship is the kind he
likes the best...IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH (john)
Worship is just a vehicle for our faith....the power is not in the
songs, but within the faith that we release into the center of the "why
God?" moments in life. All else is just karaoke worship. This is how
even though I lead worship everyday of my life, it never gets old.
There is always a new situation to "believe" through.

Next time you are entering a worship service...try taking all
the circumstances in your life into that church with you...instead of
leaving them at the door, where you pick up your "church gloss" mask.
Try to worship in the middle of the divorce, the miscarriage, the porn
addiction, the CIRCUMSTANCE. Then just like Paul and Silas, worshiping
from their prison cell in acts 16:25...not only your chains will fall
off...but those around you as well...

the faith of a mustard seed can move a mountain...so work it!” Sarah Kelly
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She is a COOL chick. I wish I could sing like her. I do while I am walking with my headphones ;). Hope no ones windows are open while I am singing.."singin in the streets, singin' in my Church, singin' out loud UNTIL IT HURTS!".
I find out in less than one week if I am having a boy or a girl. If it is a girl, I already have her name picked out. It is written MANY times in this post and most of my others.
See if you can guess it!
I have been homeschooling my butt off this last week because I don't want the boys to flunk out of kindergarten and 1st grade. It has been really fun. I am learning so much.
And, the boys bunk room is being constructed this week. Everything is out of its place for the next few weeks but they don't seem to mind. Lake loves sleeping in their room. It is making bedtime more of a challenge! This child will not leave clothes on. He is naked most of the time. He is starting to talk (FINALLY) and has us all cracked up constantly.


Have a great week & if you knew the plans God had for you, you could REST like in these pictures. ;)
He is singing over them and US as we sleep. How great the Father's love for us... how vast beyond all measure.
Be blessed.
Steph
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a LIVING HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."
1 Peter 1:3

24 comments:

Angela said...

I LOVE IT!!

FAITH BLACKISTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Steph, I was thinking about trials today and talking to my mom about them. Here is my take...for what it's worth.

I firmly believe that when God allows a trial to come into a believer's life, it is a test. It is a test of our faith, of our patience, of our endurance. A test to put God first. A test to announce to the world that THIS WILL NOT BEAT ME AND WILL NOT TAKE AWAY MY JOY. A test to put all those Sunday school lessons and Bible studies to practice. It's the REAL Christian life. It's like the exam.

And Stephanie Blackiston, you are passing with flying colors. I know it's all God in you, but it is YOU making the choice to get out of bed every day and not be defeated. It is YOU leaning wholly on the Word and God's precious promises.

God is just not finished using you to reach others yet. In a strange, God-kind of way, it's almost a compliment. Even though going through it really hurts and you mourn the life you once had.

But think how much fuller your life is because of this. How much fuller your boys' lives are. How much more many, many more people's lives are because of this stupid disease and HOW YOU ARE LETTING GOD WORK THROUGH ALL OF THE PAIN AND THE DISAPPOINTMENT.

I know that I am a stronger Christian because of it. Do you think you and I would have ever formed the bond that we have if you were just the surburban housewife with the picture-perfect life? That you would have been able to speak such words of wisdom to me after we found out Benjamin has Down syndrome? No. Earthly. Way.

I love you, girl, and I *know* this will all make sense one day.

You, in the meantime, just have FAITH. ;)

Angela said...

DANG! Now I just realized it's not Faith...it's HOPE!!

Well, even better!!!! LOL!!!

I swear, when I am pregnant, I am a total goofball and have NO brain cells.

Well, it still stands the same. You just have to have HOPE.

LOVE YOU!!!

Hope Blackiston. Love it.

Adrienne said...

Absolutely beautiful Steph. You have such a gift for writing, and such a Word for me tonight. Thank you. I am praying for you, and for your baby. Could the name be "Hope"? :)

I have missed you!
Adrienne

Anonymous said...

Faith or Hope :)

Anonymous said...

was going to write, "hmmm....does it start with an 'h'?" but I see others beat me to it! beautiful.

p.s. - do you recommend people get an rx post-tic even if no symptoms occur?

Victoria said...

Thank you, I needed to read this!
You are a true encouragement to me, Steph!

my guess is "Hope" somewhere in her name?

Erin said...

ABSOLUTELY AWESOME POST Steph!!!

Stephanie said...

Hi Anonymous it's Tim. Usually no, we would not recommend antibiotics in all situations as it certainly is possible to be bitten by a "clean" tick and get no infection. However unless you're allergic to the antibiotic there is no harm in taking a round to protect yourself. It's a calculated risk/benefit ratio. You play the "what's the worst that can happen?" scenerios.

Astrid said...

Great post, Stephanie. It was really good to read this morning as I can't sleep-again. Love you and praying for you.

Queen to my 3 Boys said...

"I have felt like a teacher’s pet during these years while sitting at the feet of my Teacher as He gently reveals to me great and unsearchable things."

Keep sitting there, girl. It's just where He wants you.

I understand what you mean about being close to Him among the illness. I went through a few years of chronic pain - another story for another time - and it was horrible. But...I cried out to Him, I clung to Him, I listened for His plan. What a closeness we shared!

I stumbled upon you...and I'll be back. In the meantime, I will pray for your pregnancy and your nursing desires for this baby. May the Lord bless you in this.

Julie said...

Steph - you are just beautiful! And what a beautiful post, although I wish you didn't have the chornic trial to deal with. I've been praying for healing for you...daily.

I'm guessing....Hope!

Remember..."Hope is what happens as long as we breathe..."

Just keep breathing... :-)

Anonymous said...

If you are just leaving the first trimester, isn't it a little early to tell the gender of a baby on ultrasound? You would be, what, 13-14wks? Your chance of error is much less if you wait until at least 16-18wks gestation.

just a thought...

April said...

Where is that belly you've been talking about??

You look amazing!

Love you and hope to see you soon!

Stephanie said...

Anonymous-
I have a really cool OB who gives me more ultrasounds than most preggos get. He told me with the all 3 boys at 14 weeks. If he doesn't know for sure, then I may have to wait a couple more weeks but he has known for sure every time before!! We will see! Baby may not even be in the right position.
Great advice.
Steph

Erin said...

I had to come back and post this for you!
Let us hold unswervingly to the HOPE we profess, for he who promised is faithful! Hebrews 10:23

Seriously that picture! Will you please take 10 lbs from me?? Maybe a few more???

Anonymous said...

With such gracious responses to anonymous commenters, you and Tim sure do walk the walk. Thank you for the example.

theclowers4 said...

i'm guessing it's our daughters middle name - hope!! i love the name and i love the meaning behind it.
praying for you, steph!

gillian said...

i'd bake you a pound cake to fatten you up if we lived closer! you're so tiny!!!

beautiful post, as always you leave me inspired and encouraged!
praying for you and your sweet family, and for this baby you've been blessed with.

Victoria said...

ha...first trimester looks fabulous on you!!

Curtis Kauffman said...

I love you! We're praying for you and Tim!

Lisa B. said...

Stephanie, thank you for this! For your honesty, openness and complete, unending dependency on our Savior! I can't begin to imagine what 4 years of this has been like for you - I've only endured about 1.5 weeks and it was sooo hard! But, you are right - God grows us during these times in ways we could not any other way and He uses us. How beautiful! Thank you for the way you choose to LIVE! ~Lisa

thegrijalvafamily said...

Stephanie,
A dear friend of mine told me about your blog because she had thought of me when she came across it. One of her neighbors follows it. I want to share with you what an inspiration it was to read what you have poured your heart out to us. I too have been faced with illness for the past 4 years and have 2 small children. It has brought me closer to God and I am continuing to grow in his faith and word. I too have a lot of questions to why things happen. I have always wanted to start a blog and because of you I am thinking about doing it. I just wanted to say thank you for your openness and wisdom. May God bless your family and your baby. I can't wait to find out what you are having!

thegrijalvafamily said...

I was wondering if you received my comment that I wrote under here the other day? The computer did something funny right before I posted it. I just want to make sure that you had the chance to read it b/c I want to let you know how thankful I am for you sharing your life with us. Please let me know so that I can resend the comment.
Thank you,
Heather

Stephanie said...

Heather-
I got your comments and I loved them!!!
Thank you so much.
Steph