Saturday, June 22, 2013

When You Can't Run and Hide


"Mama, I'm scared," whispered softly from the steps for the umpteenth time one night.

"There's nothing to be afraid of.  Get back in bed," I say, not so whispered, and not so softly, from my place on the couch.  I wish she would stop stalling and just go to sleep, I say to my husband.

Then, I hear them, the muffled sobs of my precious girl as she tries to calm her fearful heart.  In frustration I walk up the steps, trying to muster up some type of compassionate mommy face to minister to my little girl.  I sit on the edge of her bed and gently ask her, "What are you afraid of?"

Her response, "I {sob} don't {sob} know {sob}, Mommy {sob}."

And immediately I see myself, just a few days before...

The music for Vacation Bible School had been playing in the van for about two weeks and we listened to the songs over and over again.  I needed to learn them in order to teach the kids this summer.  On this particular day I was actually listening to the message of the song.  It begins:

"Sometimes, when I'm scared, I want to run and hide.."

I became undone.  I was afraid.  Terrified might be a better word. Unlike my daughter, though, I did know what I was scared of.  Fear had been creeping at the door of my heart for about seven months and the closer I got to the end of my pregnancy, the more I struggled with it, and the more I wanted to run away from what was coming.

I remember all too vividly what it was like 14 months ago to be told that my precious baby boy most likely had Down Syndrome, just hours after he was born.  I remember the fear, grief, and turmoil I felt for most of last summer as I wrestled with the new reality our family faced.

I was afraid of something like this happening again and I didn't want it.

Please, don't misunderstand me:  I love my son!  And, I'm learning to rejoice in the challenges that come with Down Syndrome.  However, if I can be completely honest, I don't want to have another child with special needs.  It's hard, on many levels, but mostly for me it has been hard on my heart.  {I shared some of this last October in my 31 Days series}.

The reality is that our little baby girl will be arriving any day now, it's happening, and I can't run away from it. I'm thrilled to meet her, hold her, and welcome her into our family.   And as I continue to struggle with my fears about what might happen in the hospital {or even after that}, I've been reminded that although I can't run and hide from my circumstances, I can run and hide in the arms of the Lord.

He is a refuge {Psalm 46:1}.

He is the stronghold of my life {Psalm 27:1}.

He is a fortress {Psalm 59:16}.

As I trust in Him, He provides peace that I can't even understand {Philippians 4:6-7}.

Regardless of what I might face, His grace is oh, so sufficient for my every need {2 Corinthians 12:9}.

His goodness is abundant.  {Psalm 31:19}.

We never know what the Lord might allow to come into our lives, but what we do know is that He has planned it and He will carry us through whatever we might face if we but trust in Him.

The Sunday after I had the crying spell in the car, Psalm 16 was read from the pulpit at church and it was such a good reminder to me, so I leave that with you today,

"Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 
I say to the Lord, 'You are my Lord; 
I have no good apart from you.' 
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, 
in whom is all my delight.  
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
 their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out 
or take their names on my lips.  
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; 
you hold my lot. 
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; 
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.  
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
 in the night also my heart instructs me.  
I have set the Lord always before me; 
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.  
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; 
my flesh also dwells secure.  
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, 
or let your holy one see corruption.  
You make known to me the path of life; 
in your presence there is fullness of joy; 
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

We may not be able to run away from our fears, but we can run to the Lord, our portion and our refuge, and we can be filled with joy in His presence.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Beautiful Ways to Arrange Hydrangeas

We've lived in our house now for over two years, and the yard this spring has been blowing us away with beauty!  Most of our plants started out in Bradley's parents' yard up in PA, and then were transplanted to our yard.  It's taken some time for them to grow, but this year they are finally coming into their own.  I love sitting outside in the evenings just looking at the beauty of God's creation--He truly is an amazing Creator!  My hydrangea bushes have been slowly coming to life over the past few weeks, and just this weekend burst into full bloom.  Gorgeous, I tell you, is the only word to describe them.  We had company over on Sunday night, so I cut some flowers and made a little arrangement for the kitchen table.  I added some lemon balm leaves as fillers {I read a great article about incorporating herbs into flower arrangements for scent and added greenery--it's a great tip!} and the only coral bell flowers left from my one small coral bell plant.

I thought I'd round up some beautiful hydrangea arrangements for you, in case you, too have some blooms that you want to display in your home.  I hope these lovely works of art will inspire you to bring some fresh beauty inside.

Hydrangeas make a beautiful statement, whether as a single bloom in a teapot or combined with other flowers.  Have fun being creative with your flower arranging!

And, for a quick tip, I read this post over the weekend about making a store bought bouquet not look like a store bought bouquet.  The same principles apply to arranging flowers from your yard.  I'd highly recommend reading it.


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