Joy

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“If we are really following Jesus, we will go to the hard places. Being a Christ follower means being acquainted with sorrow. Because we must know sorrow to be able to fully appreciate Joy. Joy costs pain, but the pain is worth it.” Katie Davis

My knee is torn in two different places. It will most likely require surgery. I will find out next Tuesday for sure.

My husband and I are so weary. We have tried time and time again to earn more money and get our debt paid off and each time something happens and we get one step ahead we are thrown two steps backwards.

Our house needs repairs. The tax return money will be going to surgery or living expenses instead.

We long for children. Our house seems empty and quiet. My heart is still broken from the loss of our three babies. A friend had her second child today and another friend announced she’s 10 1/2 weeks pregnant.

A dear friend is lonely and her church is splitting. She is desperate for a hug and lives 1/2 a world away. I wish she were closer.

Im sure that to you, it sounds like I’m complaining. But they are not complaints. This is me, where I am today, choosing to rejoice in the Lord and in His kindness in my life, in the sorrow and pain, right now.

You see, I am grateful that my knee wasn’t hurt worse. I’m thankful for a comfortable place where I can rest and hopefully heal. I’m grateful for the time to spend in prayer. And through this time God is strengthening me and showing me hope that is deeper than what happens in my day. He has provided me with a husband who sacrifices to care for me. He’s provided me with an amazing church family who is giving us meals and helping to meet our physical needs. I’m not going through this alone. I can cry with my friend who is living through loss and constant pain. I can rejoice with my friends who God has given the gift of new life in children. And they help me as I struggle with the whys.

He has been so good to me. My heart knows this. I truly believe it. An that truth brings joy. Joy in the weariness. Joy in each pain. Joy in each breath.

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Day six

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Six days on crutches feels like a long time. The dr has given me permission to walk on it as much as my knee will allow. So I put that to the test tonight at our Super Bowl party. Based on the swelling, burning, aching, throbbing, spasming, nauseating numb lump that is my knee I’m going to venture a guess and say I’m not ready for that yet. The pain hasn’t been this bad since I first dislocated it. Here’s hoping I can get a couple hours of sleep sometime tonight. And since it doesn’t really seem to be any better yet I’m still praying that if something is torn that it starts to heal on its own soon.

God is not surprised by fluke accidents.

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Aka. Be careful what you ask for. :)

I came home from the Created for Care Adoption Moms conference full of information, strength and hope for the future. Unfortunately I returned back to work the next day feeling like I had no time to really process through and pray about what I learned at the conference. So I prayed that God would help me to know how to balance my time and what to focus on in the coming weeks. That same evening while working out I did a lunge, dislocated my knee and have been in pretty severe pain since. I’m out of work and pretty much stuck to a couch for the next two weeks, not able to put weight on my left leg at all.

While praying through how to handle the unknowns of parenthood and the financial strain that can bring, God put me smack dab in the middle of a situation that I cannot control… where financial strains are once again in the forefront and where I am forced to trust.

But somehow the trusting is coming easier this time around. God has proven himself faithful. I am choosing to look to the unknowns with confidence of His goodness not with fear of how is this or that going to get taken care of or paid. This random fluke of a pretty life altering injury (at least for the moment) is just a blip in my life. And I can choose to have hope in this blip.

I can sense God’s power at work in encouraging me when in my sin I would easily give in to fear and despair. One of the things God reminded me at the conference was “in this world you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world.”.

What hope that truth brings! Troubles have come. More are probably coming. My faith that has been tested over and over is being tried yet again. And through His Spirit I can overcome the discouragement or hopelessness of not being in control and choose to rest in the arms of the One who ordained this day.

Yup. This day where I haven’t taken a shower because I can’t get into the bathtub alone. This day where the sun is shining beautifully and I so long to go on a walk or a bike ride. This day where the house is a wreck and I can literally sit here and count crumbs on the carpet. God ordained it. So I’m just gonna sit here, sip on my sweet tea and remember His goodness to me. He will provide. He knows my needs. If even a sparrow finds a place to rest and even the lilies of the field are clothed, our bills will get paid. If our adoption is delayed because of the financial strain this could cause, He knows that and has a reason why.

My heart still wants to break as I look around and see all that’s wrong. But how can I keep from singing his praise? He’s proven His faithfulness. He knows my needs. And He has overcome the troubles of this world.

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Careful! Lunges are dangerous!

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At the beginning of January, Ted and I started a Biggest Loser Challenge on Facebook. It’s been going well so far. We are both down several inches overall and have each lost about 5-7 pounds. We’ve tried to change up the workouts and part of that included doing a Jillian workout DVD.

Well, yesterday while doing the warmup on the DVD, I went to do a lunge and dislocated my knee. My kneecap was stuck out of joint and Ted described my response as worse than bloodcurdling. After about a minute or so, while Ted was dialing 911, I was able to get the knee back in its normal not contorted position. We called Ted’s dad (who’s an ER doctor) and decided after talking to him to forego an ER visit last night and go see an orthopedist today.

We went at 1 today, he did X-rays of my knee and the good news is that nothing is broken. The bad news is that an injury like this can take a while to heal. At this point, he’s not sure if anything is torn so I have to stay completely off of it (aka crutches) for two weeks and keep it fully immobilized in a brace that has steel rods, is set at a 20 degree angle bend and goes down my entire leg. :(

So that’s been my last 24 hours and I’m already bored of being stuck on the couch. I’m off work completely for the next two weeks and then I go back to the orthopedist to see how it’s healing. If all is well, we will evaluate how long I’ll need the brace and crutches before physical therapy. If its not better (or worse) then he will do an MRI to see what additional damage might be there.

Please be praying that God would calm my heart as I see medical bills yet again combined with the lack of my income. God has always been faithful to provide and I’m excited to see what He has in store this time around. Pray that I can be focused on Him and what is right as opposed to what is wrong. Also, pray that my knee heals quickly and won’t require surgery. Thanks! :)

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Created for care

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I’ve spent the last two days at the Created for Care adoption moms retreat. Even though it’s not over yet it has been such a great time for me. It’s been such an encouragement to talk to moms who are ahead of me in this process and can offer insight to the things we are praying through in regards to our process.

I think the most encouraging part of the conference though has been the reality of God’s faithfulness to these moms in the midst of unimaginable trials. I am starting to pray for God’s protection over our children differently as a result. I’m praying for God’s deliverance for their children as well. And if even just a little bit, I’m seeing a fresh hope in God’s goodness to me. Going through nearly two years of infertility, three losses and such times of hard grief has made it easy to be introspective and lose hope. But seeing God’s faithfulness to my new friends reminds me of two things … 1. I am not alone in my struggles. And 2. There are trials we will face in this life but God has overcome the world and we can take heart in that promise.

I want to be able to recount God’s faithfulness in this process to my children one day. I want to remember it for myself as well, not look back with regret wishing I had learned what He was trying to teach me. He has done great things for me. My soul knows this very well. I’m so grateful for the reminder because quite honestly since my heart hasn’t felt it for a while, I’ve nearly forgotten. God, give me faith to persevere until I have the hope in You again.

We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

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welcome to the craziness of 2012. jump right in.

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wow! 2012 has started of to be a busy year. I sat here thinking through this post while a pot of soup was apparently burning on the stove. I started to type and smelled that oh-too-familiar scent of burning beans. whoops. Since switching to dried beans and getting a cast iron dutch oven I can’t tell you how many bags of beans I’ve destroyed. They are so much cheaper than the canned beans, but its easy to let them go and forget about them until your whole house smells like burntness. Time to light a candle and plan something else for dinner tomorrow night. :)

well, back to my original ramblings. 2012 has started out quite busy around the Riley household… we were in PA the week between Christmas for a cousin’s wedding and to visit my extended family. We left New Years Eve to drive home and after a few hours of sleep and a visit to the hospital (Ted’s grandma had a mini stroke but is doing okay now), we started on the Extreme Riley Home Makeover project. There have been several projects on our to-do list but we’ve decided it’s time to go ahead and get some of them done. Ted’s office has been upstairs in the 3rd bedroom and the room downstairs where our TV has been is kinda small when friends come over. So, we decided to rearrange… move the office downstairs into the room where the TV was, move the TV to the living room & the futon to the 3rd bedroom, move the drums from the living room to the new office, etc. Also included in this has been a significant amount of decluttering. :)

Well, I took two days off work to work on the projects and then Wednesday we finished the major reshuffling. We went to care group and almost immediately afterwards I started feeling sick. I caught some bad combination of a head cold (or sinus infection, not sure which) and a stomach bug. So, there went the rest of my week (and weekend)… spent between the bed, the couch and the potty. :( Finally today I’ve started feeling better. Which is good because tomorrow I go back to work.

Ted and I have also started a Biggest Loser challenge group on Facebook. We both would like to get back to where we were when we got married, and especially for me, last year was hard on my body… I’d love to just have more energy and feel better overall, so our goal is to workout 4 times a week. We’ll be doing weekly weigh ins and challenges. :) So far, I’m down 4.4 lbs! I’m sure some of that is due to the fact that I’ve been sick the past few days, but we’ve also really been monitoring our food & going to the gym (earlier in the week before I was sick). I’d love to be back to my goal weight during this season of Biggest Loser. Its something we talked about last season but never had the motivation. I figured nothing motivates you more than posting your pictures, weight and measurements to a whole group of 30+ friends! Yikes. humbling to say the least. But hopefully this time we’ll see results ;)

Our adoption training is this weekend! YAY! I know its only been 3 months since our orientation, but it feels like so long! We are praying that God continues to open doors for DSS adoption and we are praying that He leads us clearly to the children he wants for our family. At this point we are looking for a sibling group of 2 or 3, ages 7 and under. After our training this and next weekend, we’ll have to have a physical, get fingerprinted, turn in our paperwork and then wait for the homestudy and home inspections to be scheduled.

So, lots going on here. God seems to be at work in many areas. We’re looking forward to seeing what He does…

Christmas cookie yumminess

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Thanks to God healing me of my gluten allergy back in April, this was the first year in many that I was able to have Christmas cookies. So, I volunteered to be the one to make Christmas cookies this year for my family. Here was what we got! yum!