Armoured Up

Archive for the tag “Born again”

The Saddest Day Ever…

It was 16 years ago today, October 16, 1996, that I received the saddest, most devastating news of my life.  I left my office that day en route to my first visit with my newly hired OBGYN and on my way out the door, my boss yelled out “don’t let them remove anything they shouldn’t.”   Those words would prove to be prophetic, unfortunately.  As I sat in my doctor’s office, the huge smile on my face was erased the minute she interrupted our conversation saying that she wanted to do an ultrasound in order to make sure my baby “had landed in the right place.”  I followed her to “that room” where after some probing (it seemed like forever), she gave me the grim news I somehow knew she would be delivering.  My pregnancy was an ectopic one and I would need to have it terminated as soon as possible…like right now…get to the hospital, I’ll meet you there.  Not exactly the “delivery” I had expected and had prayed for for so many years.  Seeing the look of desperation on my face she offered up some slim hope by saying she would send me across the hall for a second opinion, to a specialist who would do a dye test so that her findings could be confirmed or denied.  She left the room in order to contact the specialist and the hospital, leaving my husband and I reeling with this bit of information.  I was speechless and my husband was full of questions, one which I’ll never forget…”What’s the problem honey..can’t they just move it?”  Jan, the nurse walked in with the saddest face and the only thing I managed to say was “I left the bag of goodies in the dressing room” – (Just an hour before, I had giddily filled a bag with goodies from my doctor….”What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” lanolin oil, cocoa butter, etc.)  “You’ll be back for it, honey,” she said.  I gave the room one last sad look as I walked away on my way to further heartbreak.

Across the hall I was met with a doctor who almost seemed hopeful that the findings would be positive.  He administered the test and began calling his colleagues over saying my case was a textbook case.  Thanks Doc.  Really bad bedside manner….bad!!!  I dressed quietly trying to hide the tears as we made our way to the hospital.  I was prepped for surgery and I recall laying my hands on my tummy and thanking the Lord for the opportunity to hear the words I had always longed to hear…”Congratulations, your pregnant.”  The last thing I recall before the anesthesia kicked in were the words my boss spoke as I left the office earlier that day.

I woke up in recovery to news that my doctor was able to save my fallopian tube and that I would be spending the night (another first for me and not the hospital stay I had looked forward to).  To make a hideous matter even worse, I was given a bed in the maternity ward where I listened to mommies cooing and babies crying all night.  My nurse Lily mercifully made arrangements for me not to have a roommate.  Now, that would have sent me over the edge for sure.  She was a comfort to me that night and the Lord used her to offer healing words…”Next time you come back here you will leave with a baby.”  I responded, “From your lips to God’s ears.”  With that, she closed the door to keep the happy sounds out and I turned my back and cried myself to sleep.

My husband picked me up early the next day.  He had a busy day and I was happy to be alone.  I was stunned that life could go on for him, when life for me would never be normal.  Would it?  Would I ever climb out of this hole?  I crawled up the stairs to our bedroom screaming at God.  I was so mad at Him.  “What have I ever done to You, I cried…I’m a good girl…Why do You hate me so much?”  We had been married for 10 years and had been trying for that long to start a family.  We had undergone a battery of infertility tests and procedures five years earlier with no success and I had given up hope and purchased a dog.  Now here I was five years later certain that I’d never bear my own child only to have one dangled before my eyes like a carrot and for God to say SIKE !!!! to me was more than I could handle!!!  Note to the reader…I was sooooo not born again…talking crazy and acting crazier!!  I was tucked away in my bedroom being tormented as I saw report after report of everyone in Hollywood giving birth to babies…I tell you the Oprah show almost sent me running into the Boulevard when I heard an artist sing a song he had written for his firstborn son.  Oprah and her audience were in tears and I was on the floor in a fetal position.  I thank God for my husband who was patient as I cried every night; for my sister who knew the Lord intimately and interceded for me.  For my other family members who knew just to give me space…I thank God that He was merciful and as I healed physically and emotionally, I was unaware that I was being positioned to receive the greatest miracle of my life.

A week later (on October 23, 1996) I received a call from my doctor informing me that not only was one of the tests suspicious and I’d have to come in for a follow up, but that the “fetus” as she called it…baby to me…got stuck in the middle of my tube which told her there was blockage and the likelihood of a successful pregnancy was zero to none.  She ended the conversation by saying that I should see her friend, a fertility specialist…get pregnant and come back to her for a better outcome.  She sounded so confident…I slid down the wall and landed back on the floor in a heap of tears.

I have known sorrow…I’ve been well acquainted with pain….both physical and emotional, but none greater than on this day so many years ago.  The details are forever etched in my memory.  I have also known deep gratitude…such joy…amazing grace…such love from a God who healed my hurt and made me smile again and I am reminded of His faithfulness each day when I look into the eyes of my children…the ones He gave me the privilege of birthing (with no lab assistance…a real miracle) and raising.  At some point I will share the events leading up to the miracle births of our children.  Each character mentioned above was present for both miracles.  God is faithful and His word is true!

I’m praying for those women who, like me, walked away with empty arms…the ones longing to be called mommy…who turn down baby shower invitations because it hurts too much to see others celebrating what should be an event all women should celebrate if they choose to…those who forsake their friendships with women whom they were once close with, but with whom they now have nothing in common.  Praying that our God would show Himself strong on your behalf as He so graciously did for us.

The Other Woman

Time stood still on the day that the other woman died.  I was deeply grieved that day.  I held my husband and cried with him.  I still remember the look on his face as I sat at the kitchen table doing homework with my son.  The look of utter sadness, shock, horror when he silently beckoned for me to meet him in the hallway to say, “she’s gone.”

The other woman I speak of was my blessed, beloved mother-in-law, Marie B. Nadall; otherwise known as Ma.  Everyone called her Ma; everyone loved her and vied for her attention. People who didn’t really know her were drawn to her because she was just so kind, so encouraging.  Those who knew her, knew her to be non-judgmental, loving, accepting and so peaceful.  I got to know her feisty side.  We giggled a lot and I love when she’d pretend to be scandalized whenever I’d say things to shock a reaction out of her.  “Oh Arleeeeeeeene” she’d say and she’d twist her mouth to the side and let out the laugh she couldn’t suppress.  I knew her to be a prayer warrior.  I recall the first time I visited my husband’s family during a 4th of July weekend.  I retreated to my room with a horrendous headache and was going to miss the fireworks.  My husband’s sister checked in on me and asked me if I had gone to Ma for prayer.  I did so hesitantly.  No one had ever prayed for me before.  Ma got her anointing oil, anointed my head, then laid her hands on me as she prayed and I felt the power of God released through her hands.  I stood up ears flaming and ringing with no sign of a headache.  Her response?  “Just Jesus,” as she sat rocking back and forth and smiling.

She didn’t blink when she found out her only begotten son 🙂 was marrying a Catholic girl.  She loved me and showed me the love of God.  When she found out I got born again her response was, “that’s nice.”  She loved me the same!  Her fast days were Wednesday and Saturday and she was faithful.  Her phone would be especially busy on those days with the numerous prayer requests she’d receive.  Everyone knew Ma’s prayers reached heaven!!!

She shared her heart with me and I felt really special those times when she’d ask me to agree with her in prayer.  I was good to her…she was royalty as far as I was concerned.  My husband appreciated our relationship and was so happy that I never made him choose.   I was not jealous of their bond..I encouraged him to visit her whenever he was able to and encouraged him to call as often as he liked.  I loved her, honored her and respected her.  I miss the other woman.

I’ve heard women speak negatively of their mothers-in-law; have heard the jokes, etc.  I’ve always opined that she had him first and perhaps that’s why it worked with us.  I released him to continue being a son and she released him to be a husband.  He was never forced to choose between us…he was free to love us both and that freedom made him a better husband and an amazing son.

I recognize that you reap what you sow; you get what you give.  Because I understand those principles and because I know that one day I will be the other woman, I expect to be loved, honored and respected too!

Perspective

Perspective:  a way of regarding situations, facts, etc., and judging their relative importance.

Perspective is a really interesting thing.  Interesting in that the same thing can be viewed by multiple people and each individual can pull from it a perspective completely different from everyone else’s.  People view situations from their perch bringing to the party their opinions born from their life experiences, their upbringing, their hurts, etc.  Perspectives can shift or change based on how often we do…at least this has been my experience.

Two major life changes turned my life upside down altering my perspective on a lot of things.  The first occurred in 1996 when I made the decision to make Christ the Lord over all that pertained to me (aka, I was born again or “saved” ) and the second came shortly thereafter when my children were born.

Having kids has opened my eyes to my perspective on things, especially in light of my desire to live a life pleasing to the Lord.  It’s been a process to put away the old patterns of thinking, behaving, relating, remembering…a process which has gotten easier with time as I have decreased and Christ in me has increased.  I find myself making a concerted effort to check myself when I  sense that I have or am about to “color outside the lines.”  I bite my tongue and catch myself before I slip into moments of past learned behavior, always choosing to do better since I know better and my kiddies deserve better.  So do I deny my past experiences – the hurts which have formed the person I am or the one I was?  No, I simply choose to not share my perspective so as to not alter theirs.  My memories or past hurts have dimmed quite a bit, replaced by the light of Him in me causing me to see myself, my circumstances and those around me in a more positive, loving, embracing, forgiving, compassionate light.  I see me as He sees me making my perspective a lot more positive which benefits me and those around me greatly.

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.  Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.  Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.  Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Romans 12:1-2 The Message Bible

Don’t Leave Me This Way

I will raise my hand and I’ll stand for You
Give up all of the plans that I planned for You
As I leave my seat and walk the aisle for You
I’m leaving my past behind
As the man of God starts to pray for me
Is that my voice I hear as I fall to my knees
Will I ever change…will the change be complete
Oh God don’t leave me this way
God don’t leave me this way
I’m confused by the things that I’m feeling today
Got me down on my knees can’t keep running away
Oh God don’t leave me this way
I will dedicate my life to You
Give You all that I have, sacrifice for You
Take this hurt, heal my pain, make me whole once again
Hear my cry, don’t leave me this way
God don’t leave me this way
I’m confused by the things that I’m feeling today
I need all that You have can’t keep running way
Oh God don’t leave me this way
Oh God don’t leave me this way
Got me doubting the things that I do and I say
Change my heart, set me free, take this burden from me
Heal me God, don’t leave me this way

I wrote this song in the wee hours as I was reading Keith Green’s biography “No Compromise” penned by his widow Melody.  She wrote about the day Keith said Yes to Christ and how she sat next to him in fear, not wanting to turn her back on her Jewish roots and wondering how he can back away from what he had learned in Christian Science.  She lamented not raising her hand thinking it was too late because the moment had passed and then continued recounting how during the week she asked questions, read the word herself and was convinced that Yeshua was in fact the Messiah and could not wait to get back to church as she said, “hoping that she would be asked to raise her hands again” only to once again be paralyzed with fear when the time came to raise her hand.

I took it a step further imagining what it would look like for that person who was in pain; who was being drawn by Him, but was unsure and afraid to make a commitment for fear that change would not follow her decision leaving her exposed and unchanged.  I admit to having similar doubts about my ability to change or be changed.  Part of me didn’t think there was anything wrong with me.  I wasn’t a bad person..so I cussed and smoked (big deal) and I probably would have been liquored up quite a bit if I enjoyed the taste more.   So I had a quick temper, could hold a grudge real good, “sorry” to me was the cuss word I never said. So?  Those were minor sins which I could deal with when I got around to church and confession.  I hadn’t killed anyone, so I was cool.  Like Melody, I was steeped in religion and the thought of change was something I had rejected.  I went to church every blue moon, was actually scared of God and figured if I left Him alone, He’d leave me alone.  All of that and everything about me changed when I said yes to Him.  Unlike the girl in my song, I said yes to Him all by myself in my bedroom.  People have challenged me asking me how saying a prayer (or reading it in my case – and it was called “The Sinner’s Prayer” which was cause for intimidation for someone who didn’t think she was a sinner…uh, that’s so negative!!) – could make a difference.  I believed what I read and I yielded my broken heart to Him and those beautiful words I read began the process of repairing all that was broken in my life and in me.  Simple words…big impact…big change.  I had a conversation with my younger brother once who accused me of having a boring life.  He said I couldn’t do anything fun…couldn’t drink, smoke or cuss.  I told him I could do all that, have an affair and kill my husband too, but the difference was, that I didn’t want to (not that I ever wanted to kill my husband, mind you)!!  🙂  Change had come…

“Change my heart, set me free take this burden from me, heal me God, don’t leave me this way; take this hurt, heal my pain, make me whole once again, hear my cry, don’t leave me this way.  He did…and He didn’t.  He’s a promise keeper!

“It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us.  This is the core of our preaching.  Say the welcoming word to God – “Jesus is my Master” – embracing body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead.  That’s it.  You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you.  That’s salvation.  With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!” Romans 10:8-12 The Message Bible

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