Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Daily Grace

Our Wednesday morning Bible study, Seeking Him, has a workbook that asks very revealing questions. Through it I have been receiving a more accurate picture of myself. It has helped me to acknowledge my shortcomings which has been quite humbling. However, it has not left me to wallow in the corruptness of my character.

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A few weeks ago the topic of our study was grace. I realized that I understood the concept of Jesus' saving grace but had failed to grasp God's daily grace. I have often struggled to live the Christian life in my own power not realizing that I am not equipped to do so. Every time I have tried to "become a better person" on my own, I have failed. God's grace reminds me that I cannot be a Christian without Christ. Not just accepting Jesus as my Savior and then continuing on in my own power but instead asking him each day to give me his grace and fill me with his power to do the things God has called me to do through his Word.

A verse from that week helped connect it all together for me. Philippians 2:13 says God is the one who enables you both to want and to actually live out his good purposes. (CEB) It is so freeing to realize that it is God who first gives me the desire to do what is pleasing to him and then provides the power and ability to do so. If I am not asking him to do these things for me then I am trying to do them myself and am living with the mentality that I have to do things in order to be pleasing to God. The fact is that I am already pleasing to him because Jesus' blood covers me. 

Now I am not saying that I can continue to do whatever I want because it is God who has to change me. I still need to be looking for his guidance and seeking to live according to what he has told me through his Word. At the same time I don't have to beat myself up every time I fail in some aspect. I can be confident that God is working these things out in me. Paul reminds us that God's work in us will be finished at the proper time in Philippians 1:6 - being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Have you fully grasped the significance of God's grace in your daily life?

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Joys and Perils of Pregnancy and Babies

We are less than two weeks away from my little man turning one. As we are currently planning on him remaining our youngest I thought it would be fun to recap the good and bad of being pregnant and having a newborn baby.

Me and my "babies".

Things I Will Miss About Being Pregnant and Having a Baby

*Feeling my baby kick from the inside (until the last month when he/she kicked my bladder, ribs, etc and it seemed like they were training to be MMA fighters).
*Seeing my baby kick on the outside (a little freaky but overall pretty amazing; also, see caveat above).
*Preferential treatment (being offered chairs everywhere, first in line for food, a pass on lifting things and emptying the litter box).
*Deciding on a fun way to announce the pregnancy to my husband, family, and friends.
*Seeing the baby for the first time (such an amazing moment!).
*Showing off my baby and hearing how adorable he/she is.
*The downy baby hair (LB still has soft hair but I know my days are limited).
*Seeing the baby smile/laugh/clap/roll over for the first time (just about all of the milestones).
*The toothless grin.
*Baby babble (they sound so cute when they're making no sense and aren't yet professional whiners).
*The tiny clothes.
*Watching my baby sleep in my arms.
*Witnessing my body growing an actual person and then being its sole/main source of nourishment.

Things I Will NOT Miss About Being Pregnant and Having a Baby

*First trimester nausea (I only vomited once in two pregnancies and I imagine that is much worse but feeling like I had to vomit all day was still pretty bad).
*The last five weeks of pregnancy (unable to get comfortable to sleep, heartburn, millions of bathroom breaks, sciatica; generally it's the last month but my special boy thought I needed an extra week since I missed out on the full experience with BB).
*The inappropriate comments and intrusive questions ("You know how that happens, right?" "Was it planned?").
*Dietary restrictions.
*Hearing horror birth stories.
*Not being able to make plans in the four(ish) weeks surrounding the due date.
*The glucose test.
*The uncertainty of when the baby would arrive and how my body would handle labor and delivery (um, yeah, still don't know what labor's like).
*C-section recovery.
*Not sleeping through the night for the first two, four, six, eight, twelve months...
*The breast pump (no additional information needed).
*The first 40 days of breastfeeding (ouchie!).
*The amount of time spent breastfeeding each day (thankfully this decreases over time).
*Teaching babies how to fall asleep on their own.
*Having to plan my day/activities around feedings (there's still nap times to plan for but they are a bit more flexible and there are fewer of them).
*My house crammed with large contraptions for the baby's stimulation (now we will just have lots of tiny toys to injure feet).
*Changing diapers (oh wait, I still have another year or two...)

Did I miss any of the joys and not-so-fun parts of pregnancy and babies?