Saturday, July 30, 2011

A turn in the path

God changed our lives on April 16, 2011 when he brought Judah Gray Cook into the world. Since his birth God has shown us even more changes are in store.. watch what he's doing and travel down the plain path with us.

Friday, January 21, 2011

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

There is something special about being pregnant during Christmas, especially with a son. I find myself thinking about what Mary had to have been going through. If you know anything about history you know that there were no hospitals, no epidurals, no nurses holding your hand and no doctors to oversee it all (my own views on this are a totally separate blog). In the best of circumstances women came together when it was time for a friend or family member to deliver and walked her through it, in the worst it was like Mary. There she was, young (possibly as young as 13), tired from traveling, alone with her husband who would have had limited knowledge of birth since he was a carpenter at trade, I'm sure more than a little nervous if not down right scared, with no where to give birth and in pain, yes pain, I have no doubt that Mary wasn't spared the pain of childbirth just because it was Jesus. It cracks me up that every picture of Mary and Jesus is like the one I have to the left, calm, collected beautiful Mary with every hair in place holding baby Jesus, a baby that looks like it's at least 1 month old, not a red, crying squirming baby. I don't know about you but the pictures of me after the kids were born are not some of my favorites, my hair is wild, my face is flush, there are tears from joy and pain, and the kids, well we're talking newborns here, and even days after there are very few pictures of a wide awake, cooing infant. I know, tangent but still, think about it. Anyway, back to Mary, like I said, I'm amazed at what Mary must have been going through. I wonder what she pondered.
The knowledge that Mary carried with her is overwhelming. I have to believe one of two things, Mary was stronger than any other mother on earth or God chose someone pure in heart but with limited knowledge of what the prophecies meant. Can you imagine carrying a child that you knew would become the Saviour of all mankind and knowing all that would have to happen to him to attain that goal? I don't think I could do it and I have decades and centuries of Christ followers before me leading the way. I would do anything to protect this little one growing inside me from pain, I don't know if I could even be as strong as Abraham and trust God in a very real physical sense. And yet there is a very real possibility that from the very beginning Mary knew enough about the Messianic Prophecies to know that her son would have to die for the worlds salvation. She was seeing all she had been taught coming true before her.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2

and if she knew these to be truth then she probably knew at least some of the other prophecies, especially this one:

Isaiah 53

1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Read that and tell me you don't get the big picture. Wow. I don't think I can know these prophecies and know that Mary might have had at least a limited understanding of them and look at what she went through with anything other than awe.She would one day go from the mother gazing with love at a newborn full of promise to a mother gazing with love and sorrow at a Son giving his life for people who didn't care. I don't think she is a Saint in the sense that others do but I do believe that she was touched by God in an amazing way. I wish there was more about her in the Bible, I would have loved to know more about what she thought and pondered. And I firmly believe she treasured each and every day of Jesus' life, holding each one as a special memory for what was to come. If I don't learn anything else from her it's this. Each day with my children are to be treasured and looked at as blessed.

Lord help me to enjoy the good days and the bad, to see your hand in the mundane and to praise you each and every day. Help me to treasure all your Son did for me and to teach your truths to my family.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A phone call out of the blue

On July 4th 2010 we got a very unexpected phone call. A friend that I have never talked about adoption with called to tell us about a family friend who was expecting and wanted to know if we might be interested in giving the baby a home. Needless to say we were a little floored. Adoption has been something we've talked about off and on at different times in our marriage but wasn't something we had decided on doing.

After the miscarriage it had been on my mind and as God began showing us the ministry He wanted us to follow it became even more in my vocabulary but was still not something Matt and I had talked about, yet.
Well, during the weeks that followed, we learned all we could about private adoption so we could feel like we were making an informed decision. We kept saying, unless God says no we feel we should proceed as if this is what we are supposed to do. Trust me there were lots and lots of conversations, "what if" became a daily part of our lives. And then God threw us a curve ball...

We had spent a week on vacation with Matt's family like we do each summer and came home ready to get right back into things. I had a mammogram scheduled for the Monday after we got back but knew that I hadn't started yet ( I was about a week late) so figured I better test to make sure I wasn't pregnant... well I was! So now we weren't just looking at adding one child to our family but potentially two in less than a year.. did I mention the baby we were looking to adopt was due in mid September... yeah, we would have been looking at babies seven months apart in age. And then the mom disappeared. We had no way to track her down, the family we had been using as intermediaries didn't know where she was. We began to feel like God was telling us we had been faithful to listen to him but now he had other plans. Knowing me do you think that went over well?

I'll be honest, I still mourn that little boy (we found out it was a boy). We don't know where he is, if the state stepped in, if the mom had got her act together or what. I have to trust God daily that he is watching over that little one and has a plan for him. I wonder and ask why a lot, Why did we have the miscarriage, why did we start this adoption process and then have it all fall through and why did it take this long for us to reach a point where we are closer in what we see our family as. We still don't see eye to eye, I'd still fill our house with kids that need us and God's love, either full time or part time but our pages are much closer than they used to be in the book. I look forward with joy to the birth of the little one I'm carrying, getting to participate in this miracle again is such a blessing. I wonder what God has planned for us in the years to come.  I hope it involves more children but am learning contentment in the wait and see.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

How many people can you fit in a small house... or what Matt and I feel is God's mission for our lives.

So this spring brought us a new experience. We had a friend of Matt's from high school need a place to stay with her young girls. She needed the opportunity to get out of an unhealthy relationship. We chose to trust God and open up our home to them. We moved furniture around, blew up multiple air mattresses and went from a family of 4 to a family of 7 in one weekend.
It was amazing what God showed us during that time. Unknown to me God had plans for me to be thrust into an unknown... my own foreign missions as it were. I have always been a behind the scenes person, preferring to do the organizing, cleaning, feeding etc. and Matt is much better at the inter personal part of relationships. Let's face it the man can talk, he thrives on conversation with others, hearing their hearts, hurts and joys. Well God wanted me to grow in the areas of talk, he placed in our home someone who needed to hear my story, my heart and what he has done in my life. Matt and I had already been praying together but not real consistently. God impressed upon Matt the importance of starting our day in prayer for some days it was the only thing that kept me going. I had for all intents and purposes a stranger in my home and at times I was still dealing w/ the loss of our baby in the fall... I didn't feel like I could have bad days. He also made it very clear to both of us that this was his mission for our lives, meeting the needs of women and children in crisis in many different ways. We have talked almost daily about what this will look like and we quickly realize that there was going to be no set pattern. Do you know how hard this is for two people who like to plan and have all our ducks in a row. God keeps reminding us that His ways are the only way and that we will have to rely on Him daily to show us the next step.
Since then we have become ears and arms for several friends along the way, people who are hurting, who are going through life changes and need to see Christ in the flesh just to get through the day. It has been such a blessing to us both to walk along side them and to be allowed to be part of their lives. We are trusting God daily to show us how He wants us to work with Him in this life and believing that we will have a positive impact on many lives around us.
Through it all we hold fast to this one concept: We don't know what the future holds but we know (trust and believe in) WHO holds the future.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Pool Day instead of a Birth Day

As the summer crept closer I was starting to worry how I would handle the day that would have been our due date. I knew that God had done quite a bit of healing already and I was super blessed to see where He had opened our lives in ways that might not have happened had the pregnancy continued but that date was looming large. I decided to do what they tell you to do when your pregnant and plan something fun on my "due date". I emailed all my closest friends, my sisters in Christ who had been carrying me through this past year in prayer, love and support, and planned a pool day. Bring the kids, your lunch and help make it a positive day.

Yet again God blessed my socks off that day. Not only did I wake up feeling at peace but the time spent w/ my sisters was a bonus. He made sure that I never felt despondent or sorrowful that day.. there were one or two moments of sadness but not the possible depression I was worried about. Each day after there were less and less times of wondering what if and what might have been. I still every now and then question why I had to have a miscarriage in the first place but I'm trusting God to know it all and it's okay now if I never know why. I am so blessed in my life with the the things He's shown us about our mission field and look forward to the years ahead.

Next.. How many people can you fit in a small house... or what Matt and I feel is God's mission for our lives.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How quickly life can change

My sweet husband pointed out to me I hadn't posted in quite a long time.. truth is I really struggled over this past year with wanting to share with anyone but my closest family my pain and hurt and even what God was showing.. plus my eldest accidentally wiped my hard drive this summer and I've just gotten around to finding passwords and links and such. So what has happened in our life you ask? Well I can sum it up w/ one verse...

Joel 2:25
And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.

God has brought the miracle of life to our home yet again... it's been a long saga and over the next couple of weeks I hope to be able to step back in time and share some of what happened. I know he took me away from this forum for a season so I could focus on things he wanted me to learn and relationships he wanted me to strengthen. I am back now and pray that His Glory will be revealed through my plain speech. Hope you meet Him more through our story.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Actively looking for Joy

My sweet sister in love Bethany posted on her blog the other day about joy and has inspired me to make my own list of things that bring me joy. I'm with her and I'm tired of tying my joy up in my circumstances and my future desires. So here goes, things that bring me joy:

1. The love of my life, Ryan Matthew Cook, he desires me when I'm feeling less than desirable, he loves me when I feel less than lovely ( or lovable) and he blesses my socks off with his devotion to our family.

2. My two miracle children, because all children are a miracle when you think about all that has to happen for conception to even exist.

3. Being able to stay home with them each day and to provide a growing, nurturing environment for them.

4. Seeing not only their growth educationally but most especially spiritually.


6. The family of friends and fellow believers that fill my life and days, I couldn't have travelled through these ups and downs without them. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives.

7. My monday nights... starting with loving on kids at Agape while their parents are learning about God and ending with an amazing group of ladies who have loved me and prayed me through it all.

8. Clothes hanging on a line in the sunshine.

9. Sonshine... and Sunshine!

10. A great glass of red wine and some dark chocolate.

11. Playing worship music at full volume while I clean my house.

12. A perfect day at the beach.

A good dozen is good for now.. I think I could go on and that is a good thing, for me anyway.. Thanks Bethany for the reminder of all he has blessed me with. Love you sis!