Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Redeemed

Sometimes when I think of the word redeemed, I often associate it with a new Christian, a baby believer, a just made a decision type of person.  I don't think of it applying to me. 

Here is what good old Webster says about redeemed...
1. to buy back, repurchase
2. to get or win back
3. to free from captivity by payment of ransom
4. to release from blame or debt

Yep, I have been redeemed, I just don't say it enough or truly accept at times.  I think of it as a one and done, it's not, it's a daily redeeming I receive from the Lord.  It's daily that He pays for my sins, it's daily that he purchases me back from this world, it's daily I win, He wins, the kingdom wins.  Every.single.day...wow.

"But as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave." Ps. 49:15

"He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies." Ps. 103:4




Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Heartbroken

I wish I had something really uplifting to share with you all, but I don't. In the last 2 days I have learned of two dear friends experiencing baby loss. I am just heartbroken for them, for their families, and for their babies.

Please pray for them. I know God has these dear babes close to him, but it still hurts here on earth.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Grace for the Journey- A Day of Encouragement and Remembrance

I first started blogging after my cousin, Holly, did.  Many of you know Holly and her beautiful story of her daughter, Carleigh.  Holly has since had 2 more beautiful baby girls, God is incredibly faithful.  After blogging for a couple of months I met, Kelly.  She and her husband are the founders of Sufficient Grace Ministries.  After dealing with the loss of multiple children they decided to start a ministry to minister to those who are hurting from the same loss.  There really isn't a lot out there for people to join or connect to after such a devastating loss like losing a child.  I am from where Kelly lives, and trust me, there is nothing like this going on except what her and her husband are doing.

This year Kelly has teamed up with some people to host an event for grieving families.  They are calling it "Grace for the Journey- A Day of Encouragement and Remembrance."  It will be in Harbor Springs, Michigan on Oct. 13 and it will go from 5-9pm.  Go HERE for more info!

I beg you, if you are anywhere near this area and you could benefit from this, please go.  Or if you know someone who lives near this area and they could benefit from it, please invite them.  Better yet go with them.  Anyone who is grieving, no matter how long needs support.  Support is important from day 1 of the loss till the day 700 million.  You can never have enough support. 

This event is free, but a free will donation/offering will be taken up to help cover the costs, like when they do a lantern release in memory of those babies lost.  And truthfully this is not for families who lost babies, it's for anyone who has lost a child no matter what age.

Please read more about the event, and spread the word.  It's so important that our country, our cities, our families get past the stigma and awkwardness that is known as loss.    

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Keep Fighting The Good Fight

Lately I have found myself having pity parties, more often then I would like to admit.  Right now we are just in a very busy season of ministry and life.  It just is, but I still get overwhelmed, like lay in bed and cry overwhelmed.  I sometimes find myself getting frustrated with people and how they expect you {like you and me} to react to things, or how they treat you after you have just poured your heart and soul into something.  Or after your heart and soul are in it, they change it.  It gets frustrating and defeating.

Do you ever feel like you are banging your head on the wall, yea, me too.

Then one day I stopped and asked myself and God why do I get so mad, why do I take it so personally, why is it that what this person says or does not say hurt me so much?  And I have come to this conclusion with God's prompting: they don't meet His standards, and sometimes neither do I.

This mainly goes for people who are not followers of Jesus, or people just starting out on their spiritual journey...I expect them to act a certain way, in the sense of do unto others, or lend a helping a hand.  But truthfully they are not there, and I forget that.  I forget it a lot.

I wish I could be more clear on this subject, or give personal examples, but I am still learning this.  I feel like I am learning a lot right now, Jesus is still wrecking me.  Maybe 2012 is the year of the wrecking ball for me.  Anyways, here is my take away...

1. Do not expect people who are not followers of Jesus to act like they are, and they are not going to, so lower your expectations and set the example for them.
2. I am a follower of Jesus and sometimes I set a terrible example for people who are not there yet, so set a better example.

I think just knowing and being at peace with this verse helps...
"Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work." Col. 3:22-25 {MSG}

Sorry if this is a little muddy, this is just what is on my heart right now.  Life can be trying and defeats may happen more then victories, but continue to work for God, keep the perspective that we were created for so much more than the troubles of this world, and know in the end you are earning a lot of jewels in your crown in Heaven. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Always a Mom

Today is Monday, and I am linking up with other bloggers in the Parent 'Hood.  Click here to join and read more posts about being a parent in the 'hood. 

I wanted to write something so brilliant, so touching, something thought provoking, but truly what's been on my heart is something simple, I will always be a mom. 

Becoming a mom was a long hard journey for us, getting to that moment of carrying a baby for 40 plus weeks, thank you children, was truly incredible.  I love Jesus with all my heart, and honestly after I got pregnant I loved him even more, and was puzzled how some could carry a baby on their inside and not believe in God and his miracles.  I was that nerdy lady that totally celebrated mother's day and father's day while I was pregnant.  I truly feel like you are an official mom when that urine stick turns pink at the end.

From the moment I gave birth till I die, I will always be Molly and Lucy's mom, and I will meet our other baby in Heaven when I die.  But through it all, I always be a mom.  And isn't funny how moms seem to do it better, or at least seem to know how to just do things.  Like in our family we have a mom and a dad {my husband and my myself}.  Yet some how when we are both home the girls always ask me to do something that my husband is totally 100% capable of doing.  Say, get a drink, make a snack, tie their shoes, etc.  Not so much the hair, poor Molly and her big curly hair.  Daddy can handle a ponytail, and that's all! 

But seriously, I am the go to person.  Which is fine most of the time, but yes, there are days I do mind feeling more like a maid than a mom.  But it's on those days that I try to remember the most precious early on days when I did everything for my littles, and even before that I craved to do anything for a baby.  I try to remember how incredibly blessed I am and how some women don't have these chances, and how thankful I am to God for him entrusting me with these precious gifts.  I am not successful all the time in turning that frown upside down, but it helps.  It helps me remember they are only 5 and 21 months for a very brief time.  People tell me some day they won't want my help.  We'll see about that. 

And in the mean time I will hold onto this, 2 weeks ago when I crossed the finish of the half marathon I ran, you know the one that was incredibly hard and took everything out of me, I literally just crossed the finish line, grabbed my medal and was looking for the closest water station.  Molly came running up and said "I like your medal, too bad you couldn't get a trophy."  Thanks kid, and then followed it up with "I have to go to the bathroom."  Yep, always a mom, on the hardest and easiest of days.     


Saturday, September 15, 2012

My Heart is Full and My Soul is Renewed

Where have I been all week?!  I left y'all hanging after Monday.  My plan was to be super prepared and have all these posts scheduled and ready to go before I left for the airport on Tuesday morning.  Well, clearly that never happened!  I tried writing a post on my phone while at the airport, but I didn't get it finished in time before my next flight took off.  Then the WI-FI was $12.95/day where I was this week, and I love you, but not $12.95/day worth!  So I went without and honestly, it was awesome.  My phone went really slow all week, and truthfully it was one less thing to stress about. 

So where did I go?  I went to a retreat for Pastor's Wives and Women in Ministry.  It was hosted by the fabulous ladies at Leading and Loving It {L&L It}.  I have been part of L&L It for over 3 years now, and it has tremendously helped me, our ministry, and my spiritual journey.  It's made up of other ladies in ministry who just get you.  I can't really compare it to anything because I have never not been in ministry my adult life.  I have connected with and met such wonderful, Godly ladies through L&L It.  I have also been part of a Virtual Community Group for the last 3 years, and I got to meet some of the ladies in my group for the first time!  I was so excited to see them in person.  We have been talking via Skype and Google+ for years now once a month, but to meet them in real life was incredible.  I would not be the person I am today without their influence in my life!

So although the 2 days of the retreat were refreshing, and filled my heart, I am now processing everything we heard and learned.  I am feeling incredibly blessed because we came home with so many books, Cd's, DVD curriculum, and more, all free!  Well, it was all donated by different churches, publishing companies, authors, and artists.  Wow!  I mean we got it all!  I was so blown away by every one's generosity.  I am also blown away by being in the company of some of the most wonderful pastor's wives there are.  I feel like I gleaned so much from being around them.  It's like being star struck in a good way!

So today I find my heart incredibly full and my mind incredibly on overload, ha!  I am trying to journal and be in the word so much to help figure it all out.  I will write another post with some of the things I learned while I was in OKC, and I will also share some pictures I took.

Have a great weekend!  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Welcome to the Parent 'Hood

Today I am linking up to a new series called "Parent 'Hood."  It's hosted by a bunch of different blogs whose authors write about the ups, downs, joys, heartaches and all that in between we call parenthood.  Go here for more info!  For the kick-off of this new link up they challenged us to re-post something we have already written about.  Which was really hard for me to pick one, well really even find one that didn't randomly ramble on about my kids or our crazy life, ha!  The one I did pick was originally posted on Dec. 23, 2010.  So little Lucy was only a couple weeks old!  Now she is almost 2, craziness?!  So welcome if you are here for the first time, and enjoy for a second time if you are a regular!   

Monday, December 21, 2009 I found out I was pregnant.  I stopped on my way to work to by a test, and took it right when I got there.  Up until that point I never really trusted my instincts, but for some reason I was convinced that I was pregnant.  I didn't want to believe it, since I had seen that negative sign so many times before, but I took the test believing it would be positive.  I didn't tell anyone at work, which was really hard for me to do.  Later on in the day I went home so Eric could go into the office and work a little bit before I had to go back for some counseling appointments.  On my way back to the office I stopped at the Hallmark store and bought Eric a "Willow Tree" figurine of a dad holding a baby, and I was so excited to give it to him.  Sitting through those counseling sessions was so hard to do, not that I didn't care, but that night I just wanted to get home to share the wonderful news.  We had been trying for a while, so I couldn't wait to tell Eric we were finally successful :)

Of course when I gave him the gift he totally guessed it before even opening the present.  I am awful at surprises because I get too excited and the other person can totally tell that I am "hiding" something.  We went back to Ohio for the holidays and shared our wonderful news with everyone.  We were so happy.

Less than a month later we lost the baby.  You all know what we went through.  It was hard.  I then entered into a winter season of my life.  Everything was dark, cold, distant, and it was tough.  Then we found out we were expecting again.  I was cautiously thrilled.  We didn't tell anyone until 12 weeks, and it wasn't until after our 20 week ultra sound that I truly allowed myself to love this little one.  I was always fearing the worst and preparing for something awful to happen.  Clearly I trusted the world more than I trusted God.

When trying to decide what to name our new baby one day sitting on the couch the name Lucy came to me.  Literally out of nowhere, it just came to me.  Not Lucille, not Lyla-which we once liked so much, just Lucy.  I texted Eric "what about Lucy?"  He texted back "sure."  It was set, she was to be named Lucy.  Then a couple weeks later out of curiosity I looked up the meaning of Lucy online.  It means "light."  At first I was a little disappointed because that meaning seemed boring to me, too simple maybe.  Then after thinking about it, and God hitting me over the head, it occurred to me that Lucy is my light, she is my olive branch, she is my rainbow, she is every sign that God needs to give me that he didn't forget about me, he didn't forget my pain, and he always provides for our needs.  He is the light.

So one year later at Christmas time having a baby makes me think of Mary and baby Jesus that much more.  I feel overwhelmingly thankful, grateful, blessed, undeserving, and just in plain awe of God's plan.  Lucy has truly brought light into my life.  I am out of my winter season and I think I am moving into spring.  I know God has big plans for our family of 4 and for my little light, Lucy. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Cutest Soccer Player

Today was Molly's first soccer game of her soccer career!  She is playing in a U6 league on a co-ed team.  There are 3 boys and 3 girls on her team, and her daddy is her coach.  Unfortunately Eric had to miss today's game.  He had a group leader training scheduled for church, and since he is the groups pastor, he couldn't miss! 

The kids were funny because they clump and all run together.  Molly's team scored their first goal about 1.5 seconds after the kick off.  It's not supposed to be a competitive league, and no one keeps score, but if someone did keep score, it would have ended up 18-2, Molly's team being the winner.  But I mean, no one was keeping score, nope, not me!

It was fun to watch all the kids try to work together, yet at times they were working against each other.  Kind of like a lot of adults at times! 

I look forward to hopefully many more years of watching our girls play sports.  I am definitely that mom that yells, would totally ring a cowbell, and may be a little embarrassing at times, ha! 

  

Friday, September 7, 2012

You may be wondering...

Do things look a different around here?  I sure hope so!  I've been sensing a change for a while now, since y'all know how much I dislike change...it was a big decision for me.  I grew up a little in the blogging world and bought a domain, hired a designer, and bam, you are now looking at my new web home...The Ferguson Family 4. 

Too bad things didn't go that smooth!  I contacted my wonderful, very talented, blogging, hopefully one day in real life friend, Lauren to do the design for me.  Little did we know she would be entering into a life changing world with her son, and soon to be resting in her arms daughter.  But through it all she was so much and really easy to work with!  However, not to rub it in, but I think I am her last blog client for a long time, and I am so glad she fit me in!  Didn't she do a wonderful job?!  A HUGE thanks to Lauren!

Things may still look a little different from time to time.  I am trying to update, relabel, and add new things daily, so bear with me, I am a work in progress, and so is my blog!

I pray y'all have a great weekend!  Miss Molly has her first soccer game tomorrow!  Happy Friday!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

My Brother Died, and I Ran a Half Marathon

This past Saturday I ran in my first ever half marathon.  I set a goal back in January to run a half marathon, and on Saturday I accomplished that goal.  I am not going to lie, it felt good, it felt awesome crossing that finish line, and it was also one of the hardest things I have ever done.  I love the fact that you are never too old to set a goal and achieve it.  Sometimes when you are a busy mom, wife, or chick, you get caught up in the day in/day out stuff, and goals seem like something you will set or do when your kids are older.  I look at my stack of books that I have piled on my nightstand, I will hopefully one day read all of them, but right now, I am lucky to make it till 9pm with my eyes open. 

Throughout the training process I had setbacks that I wrote about here, and there were days I wanted to quit.  I am not a morning person, but the only time I could run during the week was in the morning at 5am.  I am also not what you would call a natural runner, running up my street is still hard for me!  I think part of this goal working was having a training a program that laid it all out for me.  It was easy to follow and adapt to my schedule, and I loved not having to be in charge of it, because if I was I am sure I would have cheated on a few days.

Most importantly this half marathon meant doing something I never ever thought I would.  Again, I am not a runner, I hate running, but I did it, I ran for 13.1 straight miles.  This half marathon also meant something numerically, I turned 28 this year and my brother died when I was 14.  I have now lived half my life without him.  Something at the time I never thought I would be able to do.  You can read more about that here.

I am still processing my thoughts and emotions from the half marathon.  I was not mentally prepared to run those 13.1 miles.  I felt like quitting at mile 4.  I was so nervous and stressed that I couldn't eat or drink anything before the race, I do not suggest that.  You need all the energy you can get.  I think I got so caught up in the whole not wanting to disappoint the people supporting me, or who have encouraged me, and I lost focus on the whole goal and reason why I wanted to run in the first place.

I won't go into every mile of the race because truthfully for me, this race was like child birth, you try to forget the pain as quick as possible, and move on to the accomplishment.  But I do want to take some time to say thanks.  Every single comment, prayer, status like or picture like on Facebook, every message, email, text, you name it, I read it, and I am so incredibly thankful for it.  A lot of people had a hand in helping me cross the finish line.  I didn't train with anyone, or run the race with anyone.  Physically I was by myself, but mentally you all were with me.  My music on Saturday kept getting interrupted from all the text messages I was receiving during the race.  Normally I would be annoyed, but on Saturday I was so thankful for those little dings!

I know my brother would have been proud of me for doing this.  And no, he was not a runner, so it's not like I was trying to fulfill a dream he had.  Andy was the kindest person you would have ever met, and he believed in people.  He saw things in people that they would only recognize years later to be true.  I am sure he would have been in the front row the whole time cheering me on, and although he would have found the cowbell to be obnoxious, he would have been ringing one himself.  Because that's who he was, my brother.  




Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Molly's 1st Day of Kindergarten

Today Molly started kindergarten...all day long she will be at school.  Part of me is happy, I am excited to spend one-on-one time with Lucy, and also have nap time ALL to myself.  The other part of me feels lost.  My little companion for the last 5 years is missing.  I feel like I need to be doing something, yet I am aimlessly wandering.  I am excited for Molly to start this new adventure for herself.  She will do great, she loves school, and she loves new things and people.  Today she stood in along amongst new friends, old friends, and screaming children and moms, and just looked so grown up to me.  She knows the routine of waiting outside the classroom door, even if the routine means not saying good bye to mom or dad.  She just ran up there like no big deal, totally unaware that today she is starting her 13 year journey of school.

Before we left we captured some first day pictures...







I didn't do the ugly cry like I thought, but I still have a little knot in my stomach.  Everything inside of me wants to sneak down to the school to check on her, make sure she knows what to do at lunch time, and also to just give myself reassurance that is she truly fine.  But I will stay home, wait till 3:30 when the bell rings and hopefully give my new kindergartener a hug as she walks out from her classroom, that's unless she is now too cool for her mom.