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Friday, October 31, 2014

Waking Up Early: Closure

I felt like I needed a better ending to all those posts.  So here it is:

Waking Up Early was very profitable for me in my teaching-first-grade season of life.

It is not profitable to me or my family in this breastfeeding, raising little ones season of life.  I realized that on Day 18.

Instead of focusing on time, I am focusing on accomplishing tasks, and renewing my mind in Christ to be able to prioritize during the awake hours to better glorify him. I began that on Day 20.

I didn't really have peace about it though, until Day 22.

Thursday morning Jonah did all of these things in a 20 minute segment of time:

- Bit the baby's finger (corrected, spanking and time out)
- Climbed on top of the couch and turned the air conditioner to 62 degrees (corrected, put down on floor/redirected)
- "Poured" milk from one full cup to an empty cup, spilling about half of it all over the table and floor (corrected, time out)
- Pushed the stool up to the bathroom sink to run water and put my mascara under the running water (corrected, time out)
- Tried to go out the back door and walk outside alone (corrected, time out)
- Threw multiple items that were not balls (corrected, we tell him "We throw BALLS, nothing else!")
- Screamed at me (corrected, time out)

Whew.  All this as I am trying to get us ready to walk across the street to go to Community Bible Study.  Corrected means I say something to the effect of, "No.  We do not insert offensive behavior here.  We insert correct behavior and modeling here. instead."  It's exhausting and annoying.

The baby had a rough night with lots of waking up and crying/nursing/crying and was now following me around the house with a snotty nose.  I had a cute outfit picked out for her, and it never got put on.  She came to CBS in her pajamas, in the ergo, because I didn't want her to pass around her little cold or make the sweet nursery ladies miserable.  I nursed her in the main opening session and then wore her in the ergo and she slept the next hour and half, until we went to pick Jonah up at the end.  They said he only tried to escape once.

If I had set my alarm clock for 7:27am today, and tried to get up, I would have been even more exhausted, probably woken up both kids because the baby was in our bed, and Jonah on the floor next to our bed in his little flip out sofa bed for nights when he wakes up and runs in our room, and I would not have had the mental or spiritual clarity to respond to my kids in patience and love.  Instead, I slept until they both woke up around 8:20, and then prayed in my head and heart and sang praise music when I wanted to scream.  This is renewing my mind.  I had somewhere to go, so my morning tasks did not get accomplished.  No laundry or clean kitchen, but my kids had a more Christ-like mommy, and that's what counts in eternity.  A sweet friend of mine tagged me in a Facebook post to read this fantastic article about this exact struggle.

I fell asleep for about twenty minutes while I put them down for their nap, then jumped up to do my quiet time as soon as I realized they were both asleep.  I came downstairs and did this:
Just when I'm crying out to God, complaining about others (possibly including my children), He sends me to his word with the #shereadstruth app and I am reminded of this:  
"Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, "How can I help?" ~ Romans 15:1-3 The Message. I know this is aimed at adults, but I read a great quote once that said something to the effect of, 'People say the Bible doesn't give much parenting advice. But your children are just little people, your children are your neighbors, your children are the 'others' you are called to love when they are the least deserving. Anywhere the Bible instructs us in how to treat 'others' can also help us on how to treat our own children.' It's all about perspective. #thrivewhereistand

I am thankful that I participated in this challenge because a lot of memorable things happened this month, that I am glad I have on record.  I was also reminded how much I do love writing, and this helps me to feel more like me again, and less like a milk cow.  I am now going to enjoy going back through the other 31-Day Challenge posts and read other lovely ladies' perspectives on all sorts of things.  You should check this out!

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Waking Up Early: This Challenge is OVER.

Because our family is going through this stuff with the church right now, and last week I came to realize this time challenge is just not effective for us right now, I have decided to call this finished.  I have enjoyed getting back to blogging, and keeping track of memories and things I learn, but trying to do it every single day has been a little bit too much.  We are also having some computer problems on our laptop, so I can't put up any pictures unless I swipe them from social media.

Today was exhausting.  I did manage to do some laundry, but the kitchen did not get clean, and no clutter was picked up.  Instead, it felt like I had mini-battles with Jonah all day long while the baby has also decided I am her pacifier.  This is what I decided to be honest about today:
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We often only post the cute moments, or the clean rooms, or the pretty things. Today my 2 year old kid is refusing to eat the last half of his eggs, and also repeatedly throwing the plate down, refusing to put them back on the plate. Lots of yelling the word "NO!" Lots of tears and snot and head shaking. I just had to keep walking away, giving myself some distance, letting him calm down, and then calmly presenting him with his 2 options again: eat it or put it back on the plate. There is no reasoning with this irrational age. I had to keep repeating to myself the great line I learned at the #d62014 conference: "You will not provoke me, and I will not provoke you." From Ephesians 6:4 and @loverespectinc
Much harder said than done, but oh my, how much time we waste with worry and stress that accomplishes nothing. Pray, give it to Him, and bravely wait for His answer.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Waking Up Early: Day 25 - Pumpkin Patch

I taught my exercise class today.  I made this little meme last night in hopes of attracting some more people to join us:

There were 3 of us.  And I couldn't get the sound system to work for the first half of the class.  Then John came in and he introduced me to the mute button, that I needed to unpress in order to hear the sounds.  It shows the funny way social media distorts reality sometimes.  This picture got a total (between Facebook and instagram) of 28 'Likes.'  2 people showed up besides the person who posted it (moi).

My in-laws are visiting for the weekend and we all wanted to do something fun together, so we took the kids to a Pumpkin Patch.  This is my social-media summary:
We had fun at Falcon Ridge Farm this afternoon. "Fun" as in, one kid slept most of the time and the other kid tried to run away most of the time, but both were mostly happy. I'm thankful for my sweet in-laws helping out with the running kid, and for capturing this picture of all 4 of us!
Right at the end she woke up. So I put her down next to this cute little pumpkin display. Clockwise from top left, she progressively warmed up to the idea.
He rode a pony, climbed on hay bales, held pumpkins, petted some animals and went on a hayride. Photo credit all goes to the grandparents because I was feeding his sister.

Tomorrow is our lead Pastor's last Sunday.  I'm praying for our church. I will be getting up extra early in order to hopefully go to the first service to hear his farewell sermon.

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Waking Up Early: Day 24 - Sweet Morning

I didn't set my alarm.

I awoke to Jonah serenading me with this little play keyboard that plays random songs.  As it played something obnoxiously loudly that sounded the 'Row, row, row your boat' tune, Jonah just kept saying over and over in the sweetest little voice,

"I wuv you so much, so much, so much.  I wuv you so much, so much, so much."

Then, he KISSED my cheek!

At least FIVE times!

If you don't know my kid then this probably is like, "Whatever. Her kid gave her a kiss."

But, people, Jonah is NOT affectionate.  He is not a kisser.
He is not a cuddler, save for the first 5 minutes after he wakes up from a nap, he will cuddle then.
On days when he is really being  a total jerk face butthole strong-willed with leadership potential, I actually make him repeat after me, "I love you Mommy." because I need to hear his little voice say it to help me not be so mad at him.  I sometimes will bribe him with chocolate chips to get kisses.

Today they were FREE!  All free and given so sweetly.  How could you not wake up in a good mood after that?

It was so incredibly, uncharacteristically sweet.

It was 8 something and it was worth every second, every kiss.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Waking Up Early: Day 23 - All Things Well

I have been going to this cool thing called "Community Bible Study" that happens every Thursday morning with at least a hundred women from the surrounding area at our church from 10:30-12:30.  It reminds me of Bible Study Fellowship.  I'm not sure about the exact differences, because I was in BSF in High School and I don't remember a ton of details.  They do great lessons with the kids, while the moms are also learning.  We are going through the book of Mark.  Last week CBS helped me conquer my fear of Ebola.  This week CBS helped me to conquer my fear of all the craziness happening in our church right now. I honestly have told the Lord, "Why did you give us such a mess?"  However, this part of Mark 7:37 just jumped off the page at me today:

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Even if it looks like a mess to us, this is not a mess to Him.  One day He will look at me and say, "Do you see what I did there? Do you get it now?"  It would be fantastic if that day was on this side of heaven, but it may not be.  I'm okay with that.  He has done everything well.

I was also invited to go to a revival in another town with a few people from our church leading worship.  I got to ride with a sweet lady who comes to my Ladies Bible Study group, but wasn't able to this week.  She said such a sweet profound thing, that went something like this,

"I was talking to my sister the other day and we both realized that a lot of our memories about our mom, when we were little, are of her cleaning.  I distinctly remember her cleaning during the morning while I played by myself, and then being so happy during lunch because we would fix lunch together and then eat together at the table.   Then she would fold laundry while I played by myself again. I just wanted to tell you that."

Wow.  It was such a beautiful way of reminding me that my kids will grow up and remember what I spent my days doing, and I do not want them to remember me cleaning instead of playing with them.  It was such a blessing. It was such an affirmation.  It was just God, using His people, to strengthen each other.  It was exactly what I needed after yesterday.

Worship was also wonderful. I haven't had the chance to relax into worship lately because I've been running the powerpoint slides.  It's hard to raise your hands and close your eyes and not mess up the slide progression.  It was so good I just got on my knees and cried a few times.

I was introduced to this sweet song called "Unstoppable Love":

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Waking Up Early: Day 22 - 8:07 and Happy

I woke up with both kids in bed with me.  Both kids smiling and cuddly, with pink cheeks warm from having all 4 of us in the bed.  It was 8:07 and I did not care one little bit. I mean, how cute are these kids?

I thought about all the mamas who have lost their precious children and how much they would give for one more morning of cuddles.  I thought of how these two kids will grow up and not want to cuddle with me one day.  I prayed for God to make me the kind of mama they need today.  I prayed for God to fill me with love for them even when they are difficult to like.  I prayed for their hearts to be soft toward each other as they grow.  I prayed for them to stay healthy and strong in body, and for their hearts to become strong in the Lord.  I prayed for God to help me fit in some Bible time later.  

You know what I did not feel the need to do?  I did not feel like I should ask God to forgive me for not waking up 40 minutes earlier and sneak out of bed to spend time alone in His word.  I thought that maybe I would on days like this, but I didn't.  I felt distinctly like I was honoring God by loving my children well.  I was breathing in deep long breaths of their hair and their baby breath.  I was being thankful for my children while they were being sweet for once.  

I did get up and accomplish 2 of my before-nap tasks: I cleaned the kitchen and we went outside for a long time.  No laundry was done.  I don't have a problem with that.  They did both take a great nap, and I had a good long Bible and prayer time.  God answered my prayers with a much-needed 'yes' today.  

I guess this means that I failed my 31 day challenge.  However, I feel like I've been learning so much lately about how our actions don't really matter if our heart is not in them. My heart's desire for this challenge was essentially to be more purposeful in my parenting, housekeeping, and quiet time.  I thought that waking up earlier would accomplish that.  For some people, I think it does.  For me, in this current season of my life, it does not.  

I am flexible enough to try new things, stubborn enough to push through when they get tough, but smart enough to realize when they are not accomplishing anything. 

I'm letting go. 

My relationship with God is more about me making the choice IN EVERY MOMENT, to glorify Him by choosing to let the Spirit renew my mind and choose to love, choose to be kind, patient, peaceful, good, gentle, and self-controlled.   

My favorite life verse passage is Romans 12.  Specifically, Romans 12:1-2:
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One of my good friends brought my attention to this article about how we ARE a Spirit, who Have a Soul, In a Body.  She reminded me that it's all about the renewal of our minds, in order to let the Spirit take control. It was such a great message for my heart.  

Waking Up Early: Day 21 - Ladies Bible Study

I woke up early because Jonah woke us all up.  I had a pretty good day, despite Jonah being especially difficult with lots of meanness and whining.  It's a good thing he's so cute.

The baby is just as sweet as ever.  She even ate a little bit of vanilla yogurt today! She is crawling, pulling up, and standing constantly.  However, she has awful balance, and falls down often.  Jonah used to fall and just sit down really hard.  She falls straight backward like a crazy trust exercise between her and the floor.  Poor baby hits her head all the time.  It makes me sad for her.

Then I spent the afternoon getting ready for my evening group.  I love my ladies Bible study group.  We have 2 sweet ladies who volunteer to do childcare so we can do a Bible study time for 45 minutes and then exercise for 40 minutes.  5:30-7:00 is a delightful girl-time of growth, accountability, wisdom, and encouragement.  I seriously love them.

I admitted that I was trying to prune out my current desire to do 'allthethings' during the day and feeling inadequate when so many things are still left undone.  Then we got kind of deep, and talked about some deeper pruning, and did this:
Tonight in my ladies small group we wrote down the things we need to let God rid us of, as we more deeply explored 'pruning' from John 15 in conjunction with the ‪#‎ntdabide‬ journal. We wrote them down, then ripped them up and threw them away. Now we are looking up scripture to help us fight these personal pruning battles. Scripture is our sword as we fight against anything that prevents us from truly abiding in Christ. In order to renew our minds as Romans 12:2 asks us, we must give our minds the 'things above' to focus on, not the 'earthly things.' Done any pruning lately? Find some scripture to stand on for when you feel weak and tempted to go through the trash and pull it back out!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Waking Up Early: Day 20 - Plans Trump Time

I'm a few days behind on writing.  The whole pastor resigning thing has really rocked our world, and made us very exhausted at the end of the day (when I usually fit in blogging), and so I could not put coherent words together.  HOWEVER - I AM still working on this "Waking Up Early" challenge I have given myself.  So here's how Monday went:

Jonah got up at 6:54.  I gave him my phone on airplane mode and he stayed quiet playing "Endless Reader" until 7:30.  I'm sorry people who insist your kids shouldn't play on your phones.  I get apps that I feel are educational and sometimes we go with it.  You do what you gotta do to keep the kid from setting the house on fire/breaking bones.  Then the baby was up and we went downstairs so John could get a little more sleep.  I decided that I MUST clean the kitchen before I did anything else.  SO I DID!  Then I made banana/egg pancakes:

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I felt like singing that "This girl is on Fi-Yah!" song, but those are the only words I know.  Instead, I ate those pancakes up!  I add a tablespoon of gluten-free pancake mix, and a tablespoon of milk, and a big sprinkle of cinnamon and they're not so chewy. We also put maple syrup on top.

All this before 9 am on a Monday. It hit me.  It doesn't matter what time I wake up.  What matters is that I have a PLAN for when I wake up.  Today's plan was: Clean the kitchen immediately. Use the bananas before they go bad.  I realized, I am so much more task oriented than time oriented.  This is why I am late to places because I give myself more tasks than I have time.  This is why I feel inadequate at the end of the day, because I have so many tasks I haven't completed and I feel like I didn't have enough time to do them, even if I tried.  I'm 29.  How did I miss this about myself?  Whew.

So, I am not setting my alarm clock.  Instead, I am setting my task list for the three biggest portions of my day.  Every day it looks something like this:

Morning/Before Kids' Nap:
1. Clean the Kitchen
2. Get Outside (this would be walking/running/park or even just front porch playtime)
3. Either fold or wash ONE load of laundry

During Naptime:
1. Quiet Time to meet with Jesus, pray, Bible
2. Blog or E-mail
3. Call/message someone to encourage

Afternoon/Before Kids' Bedtime:
1. Pick Up Upstairs Clutter
2. Pick Up Downstairs Clutter
3. Clean one thing (Vacuum/Bathrooms/etc)

I feel like this will allow me enough wiggle-room to still go places and do things, and not put myself on a time limit as much as a task goal.  I'm excited about this!

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Waking Up Early: Day 19 - More Questions Than Answers

Jonah was up and slamming doors this Sunday morning at 5:30am.  John had gone to bed sometime between 2 and 3am, working on the D-Now weekend videos for church.  So I got up and managed to successfully transfer the baby to her crib, then followed Jonah to his room.  Yesterday morning when I went to teach the exercise class, John found Jonah sitting on top of his dresser, calling the last 17 people on John's phone 'recent call' list.  Jonah is no longer to be trusted awake by himself in his room, and is strictly cut off from phones unless we are sitting right beside him. So, it was necessary for one of us to follow him.

As soon as I walked into his room, the smell hit me like a pungent invisible wall.  I decided he was awake because he need a diaper change.  I laid him down on the floor (because we have never really used our diaper changing tables, FYI - the floor or bed is just fine, most of the time, and I try to grab a small baby blanket or towel to throw underneath the kid first).  It was 5:30 in the morning, and I made a grievous error by not finding something to put under this kid.  As soon as I opened the diaper in the front, I could see the diarrhea sludge simultaneously oozing out the back, and so I quickly "closed" the diaper and carried Jonah to the bathtub where I then stripped him down and continued getting the diaper off, and then wiping him and the bathtub off with baby wipes before filling it up with warm, soapy water to clean the kid.   Once he was in the bath, and all of the diaper filth was in a trash bag, I had to go downstairs to get cleaning supplies to attack the frisbee sized poo puddle on his carpeted floor.  *This is why you should put something under the kid before changing the diaper*  By the time I cleaned that up, his water was not even warm anymore.  I washed him off, put clean pajamas on him and fired him to cuddle with me on the couch to try to get him back to sleep, now that it is still only 6:25am, and he needs more sleep.  The baby woke up ten minutes later, and I moved our snuggle fest upstairs, putting him in his flip-out couch bed next to ours, and crawling into our bed with the baby.  We went back to sleep for about 2 hours.  John got up and got ready for first service, and left.  At 8:30 I got up and put in my contacts and woke the kids up so I could also get them dressed and ready for church.  Jonah seemed totally fine.  No fever, no pain, so I figured he just had a gross diaper from teething, and was safe to take around around kids.

John came home from the first service very upset.  Our pastor resigned from the pulpit, and gave his 2 week notice.  There is a LARGE story behind this that is not appropriate for me to share via social media at this time.  People in our church can ask me in person, or someone else, because I really don't like talking about it all.  If you are not in our church, all you need to know is that we would appreciate it if you would Pray Like Crazy for our church body right now, please.

So, as the Associate Pastor's wife, I walked in the doors this Sunday morning around 9:45, wondering where this leaves us. Our Sunday School class is going great, and our teacher read a quote from the lesson that helped to center me a little bit:

"Jesus does not send us to a holy place,
But instead, He sends the Holy Spirit to make us a holy place."

Then we had a sober, serious, exhausting afternoon and evening.  We went to bed with rather tired and heavy hearts.  It feels like we are right back in the land of the question mark again.  What happens next?

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Waking Up Early: Day 18 - Tired

I can't tell you, honestly, that getting up earlier is really helping me in any way.  I'm tired all the time again, and I still struggle to fit in my quiet time mostly during the kids' naptimes.  I feel like I had good intentions at the beginning of this challenge, but then Jonah started getting up just as early or earlier than my goal time, so my plans are foiled again.

A good friend of mine who has been through many trials,  has been saying so often lately how ridiculous it is for us to make plans, because as humans we just have no idea what is going to happen next.

I wish I had some golden nugget about how fantastic my life has become from getting up earlier, around the same time every day.  I really thought that this one little change would result in a domino effect of more productivity and time to do other things.  It does not so far.  However, because I am a flexible rule-follower or "ENFP" personality type, I am more interested in ideas than actually carrying them out.  This is a great example.  It was a good idea in my head.  Carried out day to day, it's not that great.   Saturdays are busy and tough as we prepare for Sunday.  I am tired.

Jonah was tough to deal with behaviorally today.  I remembered that Karis is 9 months old right before I got them ready for bed.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Waking Up Early: Day 17 - Instagram

I was awake from 6am to 6:30am because I had to pee, but was holding a sleeping baby and every time I moved, she latched on again.  So I spent that time trying to get out of bed/praying/trying to fall back asleep.  I turned off my alarm because I figured I had been awake early already.  Jonah woke us up at almost 8am.  I do not regret turning off my alarm.

Jonah was a real pill today.  He had lots of whining, tantrums, hitting, requesting foods then refusing to eat said foods.  Karis also cried a lot.  I am hoping this is just both of them cutting some more teeth and not a 'new normal.' 

In other news, I have been enjoying Friday Introductions (#fridayintroductions) on Instagram for a few months now!  If you are on Instagram, it's a fun way to connect! Over there I am 'honeabeemama' and I'm pretty new at this, just starting to use IG since right before the baby was born. 

Speaking of the baby being born, I told several people today that she is "going to be 9 months soon." Ummm, that would be TODAY.  She is 9 months old TODAY.  WOW.  I'll have to catch up and take pictures to document that tomorrow.   

These are her other month pictures so far though: 
4 Days Old (I didn't take a 1 month pic, sorry!)

It was Jonah's 2 year birthday, so I had them 'together' on this one.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Why Ebola Should Not Freak Out Christians

Yesterday, I spent a lot of my time fearfully reading articles about how Ebola is super disgusting, deadly, and spreading.  I was unable to focus and give all of my attention to the things in life that really matter (family, friends, that entire life's purpose thing where I'm supposed to be all about glorifying God), and instead, I let my eyes slip off of Jesus, and onto Ebola.

Today God reassured me through several people that it is my job to ABIDE in Him, and it is Not my job to be afraid.  My husband read this article from Wisdom Hunters aloud to me this morning.  I've been doing the Naptime Diaries Abide Journal with a Ladies small group at my church, and this really reminded me that I am not abiding in Christ when I am living in fear.  I went to Community Bible Study and our lovely speaker shared the message from Mark 6.  She pointed out how Jesus needed rest and prayer, and how if He needed rest and prayer, even more so do we!  She said many other inspiring things, but I was unable to take notes because I was nursing my bottle-refusing baby on the back row.   This chapter in Mark covers Jesus feeding the five thousand, walking on water, and healing the sick! She finished her whole message by even commenting on Ebola, and how we should not be afraid of things like this, because we serve a God who is so much bigger!  Talk about a reality check for me.

I can be a pretty bad germophobe.  I was really worried about Whooping Cough last year, when I had a baby in the middle of January, and I literally stayed home for about a month straight and only let people who had their TDaP vaccine hold her.  Then we came to this little town and had to let a bunch of strangers hold her because we were interviewing for a position in a church, and how can you say no to nice church people who are considering hiring your husband?

Ebola is so much scarier.  It's not just my baby I fear for, but my son, my husband, my parents, my friends, and me! 

Guess what, though?  

My fear of Ebola does not glorify God.
My fear of Ebola does not save any lives. 
My fear of Ebola does not calm any hearts. 
My fear of Ebola does not remedy any situation.
My fear of Ebola only serves to separate me from the peace I should be able to claim through my relationship to Jesus Christ.  

The Bible speaks many times about fear. Almost every single time, it is God telling us NOT to fear. Here's a few of my favorite examples:  

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Although Mark 6 does not talk about Peter's experience at walking on water, Matthew 14:22-23 does.  I have heard it preached so many times that Peter was only able to walk on the water as long as he kept his eyes fixed on Jesus.  When he looked down at the water, the circumstances he was in, he immediately began to sink.  

There will always be something new to fear.  I don't usually struggle with fear, but I hate the thought of losing people I love to a painful death with lots of blood.  Today, I had to come to grips with this:

People lose their children all the time.  
October is for remembering so many things - Breast Cancer, SIDS, Pregnancy and Infant Loss, Down Syndrome, and Spina Bifida, and a slew of others.  
People lose people they love all. the. time.  
People have to serve loved ones experiencing illness and disability all. the. time. 
I could lose people I love at any second, from any number of accident types or cancers undiscovered, or heart disease, or car wrecks.  
Why should I chose to fear Ebola more than any of these other things?  
I shouldn't!  
I shouldn't fear any of them.  I serve a God who is Good no matter what.  He tells me not to be afraid.  Even if my kids or my husband or I contract Ebola, God can use it to bring Him glory - whether we live or die.  *Please understand that I do not mean in any way to trivialize people who have lost children or family members or are currently fighting cancer or living with one of the above mentioned disabilities.  I am just recognizing that it is futile for me to live in fear of Ebola, because so many other things are happening and could be happening to us as well.

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God does not call us to live in fear.  

Now, I will still wash hands religiously, and carry hand sanitizer, and stay indoors with my kids if it gets bad.  I will NOT go around with a heavy weight of anxiety on my mind, allowing it to distract me from my life, and to worry about it constantly.  I will wash my hands, bathe my children in lysol (just kidding, kind of), pray for protection, pray for God's will, and carry on trusting.  

I will trust that the God who hung the moon and created the sun and the universe, knows how to direct my life to glorify Him in the best way possible.  If that means I contract Ebola and die, then so be it.  I will die singing "It is Well With My Soul," because Ebola will not steal my joy.  

(This is one in a serious of posts where I am attempting to wake up earlier for 31 days straight- so it should be noted that today, when God really spoke to me about not being afraid, I did not wake up on time.  My phone died overnight and so my alarm did not go off.  I had a rushed morning as I cut up fruit for my class at CBS and John had to help get the kids ready, and I was still 15 minutes late.  Check out the link below for more on this topic.)  

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