Although it has been years ago, I still remember the day when I heard I was going to be a mother. What excitement as my husband and I began planning for this addition to our family.
I read books on child care. We began shopping for a crib, a baby bed, and tried to decide if we should use cloth diapers as our mothers did or go with the modern throw away kind. We picked out a new paint color for the nursery. I enjoyed a baby shower given by friends and had such joy finding a place for all the gifts.
After a few months while I still found joy in the waiting for this child, I also began to really long for the nine months to end and the child to come. There was morning sickness that seemed to never end, back aches as my stomach got bigger and bigger. The closer I got to the expected delivery date it seemed the more active my child became. It was hard to sleep at night as no matter how I laid, she seemed to move and turn and I was miserable. Sometimes I could feel what I realized must be a foot or a hand and my excitement grew.
The time for her delivery came – and went. Now my anticipation grew stronger. Come child, come. I am so tired, so miserable and long to be delivered from this stage. But even more, I am so anxious to meet you.
For nine months I have thought about nothing much but you. I have wondered if you would be a girl or boy. I prayed that you would be healthy and have all your toes and fingers. Often I tried to imagine what you would look like. Would you have my red hair or my husband thick, dark hair? For nine months you have been the center of my thoughts. Everything has evolved around “when the baby gets here.”
As the delivery date passed, my anticipation grew much stronger. Every morning I would wake thinking “will this be the day?” Every night I went to bed thinking “will the baby come tonight?”
Then it happened. Sitting in my living room with my husband, my water broke. What excitement as we grabbed the bag we had packed a few weeks before for my stay in the hospital. Thankful that we lived only a few blocks from the hospital, we hurried to the car and were filled with such excitement. The baby was finally coming!
At the hospital there was still a time of waiting. The doctor said “yes, the baby is almost here. Just a few more hours.”
My husband paced the floor as I prayed the baby would come soon. It was painful and I wanted the pain to end, but more than the pain, I longed to finally hold this child in my arms.
After a few hours, the baby was born! I still remember as if it was yesterday, the moment I held her in my arms. To finally see her face to face. To be able to count her toes and fingers, to look into her beautiful hazel eyes, just like her Daddy’s. To whisper to her how much I loved her and how I had longed for her arrival.
It’s Christmas time. We are excited about the day. Seeing family members, opening presents, enjoying a great feast.
But I wonder, do we really understand what this time of Advent should be about? How much do we anticipate the return of our Lord? Do we even think about it?
Does the thought of His return fill us with excitement? Do we count the years since His promise and wonder “When will you return?” Do we think about what it will mean to see HIm face to face? Does that thought fill us with wonder?
There is such chaos in our world today. Covid has created health issues, and divided people on what our response should be. Politics have beoome so ugly, so divisive. Many are suffering financially. Fires in California, tornadoes in Kentucky. Almost weekly we hear of a shooting in a mall, in a factory and now even in our churches and schools. We are like a woman in the last months of pregnancy, hoping for deliverance soon.
But where do we turn for deliverance? Some are thinking if we can just get Donald Trump back in the White House all will be well. Others think if we can just get rid of Donald Trump and keep Biden in the White House all will be well. Some are hoping Congress will pass some legislature that will solve it all. Just the right action by them and suddenly the Covid crisis will pass, the economy will get better, the violence will be controlled.
As for me, while I have no idea when that day will come just as I did not know the exact day my child would be born, I live in anticipation.
“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Just as I did not sit around doing nothing when I was told I was pregnant, so must we not just sit around and wait for the day of His return. I was busy preparing. How do we prepare for the Lord’s return? He told us in HIs parables. We work to help others, to make our world as much like His kingdom as we can. To be His hands, his eyes, his arms to those in need until He returns and makes all things right.
This season, I encourage you to seek to do all you can to reach out in His love to the hurting world as you wait for His return.
And in all the dinners, parties, family gatherings, please take time to remember what this season should really mean to us. And in all the chaos, frustrations of daily life right now, remember our Lord will return. While we wait, work to be His hands and feet to help those in need.
There’s a light upon the mountains, and the day is at the spring, When our eyes shall see the beauty and the glory of the King; Weary was our heart with waiting, and the night-watch seemed so long, But His triumph-day is breaking, and we hail it with a song.
In the fading of the starlight we can see the coming morn; And the lights of men are paling in the splendors of the dawn; For the eastern skies are glowing as with lights of hidden fire, And the hearts of men are stirring with the throb of deep desire.
There’s a hush of expectation, and a quiet in the air; And the breath of God is moving in the fervent breath of prayer; For the suffering, dying Jesus is the Christ upon the throne, And the travail of our spirit is the travail of His own.
He is breaking down the barriers, He is casting up the way; He is calling for His angels to build up the gates of day; But His angels here are human, not the shining hosts above, For the drum-beats of His army are the heart-beats of our love.
When I was a little girl I had beautiful red hair and my mother fixed it in curls like Shirley Temple. Everywhere we went people would comment on my hair and I felt special.
As a teenager I always felt like I was not “pretty” but I still took comfort in the thought that my hair was “pretty.”
Then as an adult cancer came and took my hair.
After cancer treatment ended my doctor told me my hair would grow back – possibly even thicker than before. But it did not. After a year or so he ran various tests to see if there was something else wrong as his cancer patients had always seen their hair grow back. We eventually found out that one of the three chemo drugs I took caused more permanent hair loss.
I did not really mind too much as I had worn wigs during my treatment and no one knew it was not my own hair. Slowly a little bit of hair came back but it was very thin and grey. So I just continued to wear my red wig and enjoy being that “special” redhead. My husband said he loved it when we were at ministers’ conference and someone asked him who was his wife, he could just say “the redhead.”
As time went by I realized it was probably time to accept that I was no longer a young redhead and join my husband with grey hair.
So I found a beautiful grey wig and made the adjustment to losing the “special” way I felt as a redhead.
Still, grey can be beautiful, right?
After accepting my grey hair I had to get hearing aids. With aids and glasses it became hard to get my wig adjusted and the ear tabs aggravate me. The last few years my hair has come back some but is still thin. I wonder if wearing a wig all the time is preventing it from growing back. So I am going without the wig and praying it will grow back. I always loved being a redhead and it was hard to go grey. Now I struggle with having little hair.
It has been hard for me to go out in public with my thin hair, but people tell me it looks good. (Of course what are they going to say – “you look terrible.”) 🙂
I am using different essential oils with lots of vitamins and nutrients and massaging my head each night. I will give it this summer without a wig and see what happens.
In the meantime I’ll just keep playing the Cowsills song and make it my prayer.
For some time I have been denying that I am having trouble hearing. Watching a movie or listening to my pastor on Sunday there are times when I will miss a complete sentence or two because I just cannot hear well. When listening to friends I find myself asking them “what” “huh” or just trying to guess what they said from the part of the sentence I did hear.
This is not good for meaningful conversation. Trying to “fill in the blanks” when you do not hear everything someone said can lead to real miscommunication.
My husband, who has worn a hearing aid for several years now, has pleaded with me to get a hearing test. I found myself turning the TV up louder and louder until he insists we must turn it down.
While I recognized I was not hearing well, I hated the thought of needing a hearing aid. Hearing aids to me were for old people and I did not want to accept that title for myself.
Still, I knew I could not deny my hearing loss much longer. Some days my husband would not put in his hearing aid because we were just staying at home and he did not want to bother with them. However, before much time passed I would insist he put them on because he kept denying he was not having trouble hearing – but I just needed to speak up.
When we began having that same conversation – but this time it was me who was insisting he was mumbling, I found it hard to deny I needed help in hearing.
The straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak came on Easter Sunday. My youngest daughter and her family joined us for lunch. After lunch we took communion as a family. When my husband finished leading us through the sacraments, I thought he said he was going to pray. Bowing my head I kept waiting to hear him pray.
When several seconds had passed and no sound was coming, I looked up to see my family all looking at me. My daughter said in that exasperating tone that told me I needed to listen, “Mother, he asked you to pray.”
I quickly prayed and I knew I was going to be in trouble when I finished.
Again in that very exasperated tone my daughter declared, “Mother, you have to get a hearing test.”
I agreed. So – I scheduled an appointment.
No surprise – I failed the test. So now there’s the cost to consider. Good hearing aids are not cheap. I checked out different models. This one was the cheapest, but probably not the best.
Now that my husband and I both have hearing aids, buying Christmas presents for each other will be easier.
Only one thing wrong with having hearing aids. Now I can’t excuse myself from not listening to others by saying I just did not hear.
I have been planning with some of the women in my church for a game night. Just a time for us to get together and have fun with one another getting to know each other better.
Not a time of Bible study
Not a time to do a service project
Not a time to fix a meal for the church
Not a time to “do” anything
Just a time to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
So many times when we go to church (or to any other type of meeting) we sit in our same spot, talk to those who sit near us or who are in our small circle of friends and only give a nod and “hi” or “how are you” to the rest. We know each other’s names, but do we really know each other? I must confess that after attending my church for almost three…
It’s Breast Cancer Month – and every year at this time I remember my own story of the battle with breast cancer. It was in October of 2002 that I discovered a lump in my breast that led to a battle that thankfully, with God’s help, I won. People may get tired of hearing my story, but I will never get tired of being grateful to be alive – now celebrating 18 years cancer free. And a reminder to all my female readers: do a monthly breast exam.
In November 2001 my husband and I moved into our new home. It had no trees or flowers anywhere on the property. In the backyard, a deck opened onto an above ground swimming pool. The backyard was ugly and hot with lots of concrete and rock around the pool. Two metal sheds sat on large slabs of concrete. My husband, who loves flowers and trees wanted to get rid of the pool. But I wanted to try to learn to swim so I convinced him to keep the pool for our first summer in the house.
The next summer I was only in the pool three or four times because every evening when I came home from work all I wanted to do was just lie down. I was constantly exhausted.
In November 2002 we discovered why I was feeling so badly. After a visit to the doctor and then…
The whole point is that we are quick to find things about our self we do not like, things we want to change, things that make us feel less than satisfied about who we are.
Why do we never look at our self in a positive light? So she encouraged her followers to take a look and see the good qualities they possess.
Here goes my list:
Five Things I Like About Myself
I am a good musician and use my talent to help others. Since age ten I have been playing the piano. Over the years I have played for worship in church, played for weddings and funerals and written and performed Christmas programs. For the last 35 years I have been a volunteer at local nursing homes and assisted living facilities providing musical programs for the residents.
I am a good cook. While I have never mastered the skill of making cookies, my pies and cakes are always welcome at a pot luck. My husband will testify that my meals are not only delicious but usually healthy. (Although I do probably cook too much pasta.)
I am adventurous always taking the road not well traveled. When my husband suggested we do a two-year commitment teaching in a Bible college in the Philippines, I said “why not.” Sold everything we had and headed off on an adventure. In our 70’s when our youngest daughter took a position as pastor in a new state and moved with her family and my husband suggested we sell and move too, I said “why not.” On our road trips we always get off the interstate and follow the local roads just to see where they go. Our trips are always more interesting than following the well-marked roads.
I am a positive person. While I have had my times of depression and discouragement, basically I see the glass half-full rather than half-empty. Life to me is a blessing from God to be enjoyed even when difficulty comes because my faith tells me that He will never leave me.
I love to teach the Bible. Teaching Bible classes both in church, in homes and in the Philippines, my students tell me that I make the Word of God simple to understand and show them how it applies to the “here and now.”
So there – I challenge you to take a positive look and share five things you like about yourself. Then share them with me and/or on Cyranny’s blog. We’d love to know you better.