Monday, July 13, 2009

Read With Us - Chapter 1

Join us with Holly's reading group as we continue with our chosen book In Faithfulness, He Afflicted Me. See my left sidebar for book details.

Chapter 1

I wanted to share something that was weighing on my heart while I read the first chapter of Lynnette's story.

I was very drawn to what Lynnette was saying about being a "charity case". God using the love and generosity of other people to shed rays of kindness onto Lynnette and her husband. I recently read Bob Lenz's book entitled Grace. Bob is an international speaker for Life! Promotions. I had the priviledge of unknowingly attended a sermon presented by Bob at our church Pathways, he spoke about God's grace. He illustrating his passion about how we receive grace and how it has nothing to do with what we can offer to Christ. He has one specific chapter of his book entitled Charity Case (Chapter 3). I was pulled right back to this book when I read Lynnette's closing in chapter one. Being a charity case is all about becoming a christian. While Lynnette used the name to describe the state of her well being when receiving such generous offerings from church peers - Bob expresses Christians as needing to be a charity case in order to receive grace from God. We need to admit that we have nothing. Nothing that we have can give us a pass into heaven. It's about accepting His unconditional love. It's about allowing ourselves to receive the gift that He is offering - a gift that we do not deserve and have not earned. I highly recommend reading 'Grace', it's a book that tells it like it is!

"When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners." Romans 5:6

Now backing it up a bit to Holly's questions:
If you are married, what was your marriage like in the beginning?
Paul and I were married Catholic in 2007. We decided to get married in a Catholic church because Paul already was confirmed catholic, however I was not. Honestly, at the time getting married Catholic was the easier thing to do rather than finding a church that we wanted to belong to. Another thing that we are not proud of, was willingly waiting to join a church until we had kids. We knew we wanted to instill religious values into our children... however we assumed that we didn't need them. Poor choice there! I remember on our "FOCUS" training, a program you need to complete in order for the catholic faith to marry you, we had to take a 100 question multiple choice "survey" - really, it was a test. It was to see if there were any areas/factors in our lives that might become a problem for us. These tests are a tool that the church uses to bring up issues that could potentially cause a marriage to fail (ie. children, family issues, finances, religious beliefs etc.) They want you to discuss the issues prior to marriage. Paul and I scored the poorest on our religious beliefs. Paul and I never really discussed them before. We knew that we both believed in God and that Jesus died for our sins, we knew we wanted our children to believe the same... but that was about it (much like Lynnette described). Even though that test spelled it out that we needed to have a good long talk... we didn't actually have that talk until just recently!

When did you first decide you wanted to have children? Was it planned or unplanned?

Wanting children was a big thing for us. We definitely were on the same page about wanting to start a family. When we were married, we had decided that we wanted to start having kids within three years. However, two months after we got married, Paul's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Paul and I made the decision that we wanted our children to know who their grandmother was and when it came down to it - what were we waiting for? So within four months after we tied the knot - we were pregnant. It took only one attempt!

What feelings did you have for your child when you first found out you were pregnant?

Oh my goodness - the feeling was overwhelming. As I mentioned earlier in the post, it was feeling that was completely out of my control. I found out we were pregnant within 10 days after we conceived and I was so excited. Read that crazy story here! It took about 4 weeks before I started to think about all the bad things that could happen (I let myself go to the hormones). I took several pregnancy tests within the 1st trimester to alleviate any doubt. But I was more exhilarated than worried. I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mother and I am so priviledged to have the option to be one.

At what point in your life did you start searching for God?

Lynnette begins to talk about her happy marriage with Kyle and the moment that they decided they needed more in their lives. It was a similar experience for me. Although Lynnette became a christian while still pregnant, I had my awakening after my child was born. I saw that I could not do this on my own, nor did I want to do this on my own.

Lynnette had commented on my Taking The Back Seat post, saying "God used my first son to draw me (and my husband) to himself. There's just something about having a child depend on you...look up to you. You have this huge amount of love, but you also have a sudden awareness of needing the guidance of the one who really knows what that little life needs...what you need. I'm so glad that God gave you that baby to draw you closer to his side." There is something remarkable that happens to you when you become a mother. This greater level of emotions take over your whole being, you can't control it. I had to say to myself, "If I have this overwhelming amount of unconditional love for this little boy, then God's love for me must be beyond fathomable."

Has there been a time in your life that God provided?

Paul and I became a "charity case" in the summer of 2005. Paul had been unexpectedly let go from his job. We had a decision to make about our future, should he go find a job elsewhere - or go back to school to finish an uncompleted degree. While we chose the latter, it left us in a difficult financial position. Paul's parents graciously invited us into their home while Paul completed school. My income alone could never sustain the two of us in an unnecessarily expensive deluxe apartment in downtown Milwaukee. So, we moved out and moved into Paul's parents house. We are very grateful for the selflessness of these two people that allowed us to save our money, and give their son a chance to finish his degree. We wouldn't be where are today if they hadn't reached out kindly to help us along. At the time I didn't give thanks to God for his mercy in providing for us, however now I looking at my life through a new pair of eyes. I recognize his glory now.



Holly said...

I like how you mentioned how Bob talks in his book about us needing to be a charity case for God. It sounds like a pretty good book and that's really neat you were able to hear him speak.

We went through one of those test type things too and went over it with our Pastor. We must've done well enough because he married us! lol

I can definitely understand your decision on wanting to go ahead with having children instead of waiting. I would've done the same.

It was definitely kind of Paul's parents to take you guys in but if they are anything like mine they didn't mind a bit! I know my mom would've probably enjoyed seeing me every day. :)

stitchndeb said...

I agree with what you shared at the beginning of this post. With the whole world saying you’re a big loser if you can’t make it on your own without help from anyone, it is an incredible step of faith when you can actually admit to God that you do need him badly. (The thing is, God relishes being needed.) I love how you were able to understand how much God must love you after you felt how much love you had for your child. It’s cool realizing God feels compassion for me when I get hurt (like you do with your child) and truly isn’t pointing a finger saying “HA-HA” like Nelson on the Simpsons. (That's still how my husband perceives God, like he's out to get him.) ~Debbie

croleyc69 said...

Such a great post & thanx for sharing. I like that it only took one try for a baby. I so wanted children & yet I have lost 2 I feel so blessed. Just know that in everything we do the Lord is there forever. Thanx also for the nice comments on my blog. :0)

MommyIvy said...

Thanks for sharing with us.