ALWAYS FAITHFUL

By Sarah Langness

In six or so short weeks, things are going to start looking a little bit different at our house. I’ve got a laundry basket of purple and pink sleepers, onesies and pants sitting on the couch waiting to be folding testifying to that change. Our little boy moved into a big boy bed two weeks ago, allowing us to move the crib across the hall into the room affectionately known as “Baby Sister’s room”. The quickly accumulating empty buckets of ice cream bear witness to one of my favorite (and most indulged in) pregnancy cravings.

In just six or so short weeks, our lives will once again be turned wonderfully upside down.

Upon reaching the 34th week of pregnancy, my local doctor sent me to another doctor in Bismarck where Baby Sister will – hopefully – be born. (I say “hopefully” because I never want to give birth on the side of the road. Or in my house – more power to those of you who do, though!) When I was pregnant with Ezekiel, the transition to a doctor in Bismarck proved . . . eventful, to say the least.

In short, at that initial appointment, I was measuring smaller than the doctor liked to see; as a result, weekly non-stress tests and ultrasounds were performed to make sure our baby boy was growing as he should. And praise God, he was and did and was born healthy! So when Jordan and I traveled to Bismarck on Monday, I was expecting similar events to take place.

And, they did.

Once again, I was measuring smaller than the doctor liked to see. He ordered a growth ultrasound to check on Baby Sister. The next day we had not one but two ultrasounds to check baby’s growth and the blood flow to her via the umbilical cord. Today we received a call informing us that baby is simply small, but otherwise growing well. Again, praise God!

I’ll never forget the fear in my heart during that first doctor’s visit in Bismarck when I was pregnant with Ezekiel. Seeing – or sensing – the doctor’s concern as well as hearing phrases like, “If the blood flow from you to baby isn’t good, we’ll have to take this baby today”, made me fearful for what could be. I didn’t know what to expect. Simply waiting for the ultrasound results was agonizing, not knowing what news we were going to get about our baby. I can still remember the fear, the tears, and the prayers Jordan and I shared that day.

But we were not alone.

My brother sent me a text that day with some of the most comforting verses in all of Scripture to remind me of that truth:

“But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the watersI will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fireyou will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior . . . You are precious in My sight . . .You are honored and I love you,'” – Isaiah 43:1-4, NASB (emphasis mine)

I love those promises. And I am so glad they are not simply words on a page.

This week, there was none of that fear. Okay, maybe just a little bit for a short amount of time. Especially after receiving a call only ten minutes after our first ultrasound saying another one had to be completed. But in comparison, that fear lasted only minutes and wasn’t nearly as intense.

Because we had walked this road before.

I was confident that Baby Sister was doing fine. That I simply carry more inward. That different doctors measure differently. That, as her brother before her, our little girl would be found growing as she should.

And while all this is true – I do believe different doctors have slightly different techniques at measuring, hence the difference that spiked the concern of our Bismarck doctor’s – I realized last night that my trust was completely misplaced.

I was trusting in what knew. In what had experienced before. In what believed.

Instead, I should have been trusting wholly, completely, utterly dependently, upon the One who was faithful in this same situation two years ago. In the One who is knitting together our little girl. In the One who has never left us and has guided us through every step of each of these pregnancies.

“Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.” – Lamentations 3:19-25, NASB (emphasis mine)

No matter if the path we are walking seems familiar or completely uncharted – we are not alone. The Faithful One is there, ready to prove Himself once more. Ready to sustain. Ready to strengthen. Ready to carry.

Prepared

By Sarah Langness

I always wondered what heartburn was like.

Back in the day, when I lived in a house with a TV that did more than take up space and commercials for Zantac or Prilosec came one, I was struck with curiosity. Wonder what that feels like.

And now, I know. Oh boy, do I know.

The first time I ever experienced heartburn was during my pregnancy with Ezekiel. I’d get heartburn from any and everything. Thankfully, though, it was decently contained to the evening hours, particularly when I’d lie down for the night. Nothing some Tums couldn’t handle.

Pregnancy ended, baby boy born (with a full head of hair), and there goes the heartburn.

Until two years later.

Except this time, my heartburn isn’t as nicely contained to a certain time of day. Oh, I still get heartburn from any and everything. In fact, it rears its fiery head after my breakfast bowl of Cheerios and a banana. And Tums alone can’t fight it.

Let’s just say, I’m hoping Baby Sister has as much – if not more – hair than her older brother did at birth.*

A couple of weeks ago, I went to bed with heartburn like any other night. But, since I had popped a couple of Tums, I didn’t think much of it and figured the heartburn would dissipate in a few moments time. Except it didn’t. I woke up choking on my own bile from the acid reflux . . . and spent the next hour kneeling by the toilet as wave after wave came.

After that incident, I knew I had to check with my doctor in regards to what more I could take besides Tums and ice cream. But even after learning which medications I could take, it took me about a week and a half to go buy some. (And actually, I wasn’t even the one who bought it; my husband did.) Because after my midnight wake-up, the heartburn didn’t seem as intense; it didn’t seem to warrant more than Tums. (Or ice cream.) Until this last Saturday night – when I lay awake wishing I had something on hand I could take besides Tums; because Tums wasn’t cutting it when I woke up every hour.

As I lay awake Saturday night, readjusting pillows to elevate my head more, I shook my head at my folly. Why did I think that this wouldn’t happen again? Why did I seem content sticking with the status quo, when I knew that in the worst moments, the status quo wouldn’t suffice?

And then I thought how often I do the same thing with Scripture.

A certain chapter or book doesn’t seem to speak to me, to where I am on that particular day or season. So I neglect the Word. Or I just glaze. Never suspecting that what I read today could be just the words I need a month from now, half a year from now, or even three years from now.

The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” –
Hebrews 4:12 
 NASB (emphasis mine)

So right now, what I’m reading in Ecclesiastes isn’t exactly the “breath of fresh air” that I may need. It might not seem to be teaching me something earth-shatteringly amazing or leave a particular conviction upon my heart. But if I let the Word take root, it’ll work. I don’t exactly know when something from such a lamentful book will be just what I need for that day, but the Lord gave us Ecclesiastes for a reason.

And so, I’m going to keep reading. Not just Ecclesiastes, but through the Word. Because I don’t want to be stuck without it, desperately wishing I knew the promises within.

I’ve been there, and it’s no fun.

“Your word I have treasured in my heart . . .” – Psalm 119:11, NASB (emphasis mine)


*An old wives tale claims that heartburn during pregnancy means your baby will have hair. 

 

INTENTIONAL

By Sarah Langness

I waste a lot of time.

I hate that I do, but it’s true.

The local garage sale websites on Facebook always reel me in; thinking “just in case” I find something we “need”. I aimlessly scroll through the Yahoo news feed, learning nothing of real importance. I look through recipes I have no intention of ever making, but the whole process of “looking” makes me feel like I’m accomplishing while my brain can zone out.

At the end of the day, I usually realize how much time I wasted. Time I could have – should have – spent doing other things.

I usually realize this in the sweet moments of bedtime with my son. As he cuddles on my lap with his sock in hand, thumb in mouth, arm wrapped around his giraffe (or other chosen cuddle animal of the night), and his little blue blankie on his lap. Whether it’s just he and I reading from his Rhyme Bible or if Daddy is able to read a chapter from the Bible to us, those twenty minutes are oh-so precious to me. As we read through a Bible story or a book about Johnny Tractor or Good Night Gorilla, I realize how short twenty minutes is. I wish I could extend this story time, cuddle time, hold-him-close time. I wish I could freeze time and that such moments will never end.

And then I think, What did I do today that I could have cut out to make more time for Ezekiel?

Yeah, there are certain things that need to get done.

The laundry needs to be folded.
Supper needs to get made.
Groceries need to be bought.
Dishes need to be washed.
Baby’s room needs to get de-cluttered.

And wonderfully, these things usually happen with my little man right at my side! He loves to “help” fold clothes, play in the spice cabinet, go to the grocery store.

But so often, these are my agenda items. Why is it that when I sit down to play with him, or to simply watch him play and learn, I feel like I have to do something else?

If I’ve learned anything in the past 20 1/2 months as a mom, it’s that the time goes too fast. That I need to make the most of every moment, enjoy every day and every stage, to cherish every laugh and giggle.

But it’s not just time that should have been spent playing with and enjoying my son that I waste.

It’s time learning how I can better serve and love my husband.
It’s time investing in real relationships.
It’s time reading my Bible (instead of a Facebook news feed).
It’s time making a meal for a hurting family.
It’s time praying for the lost.
It’s time challenging my creativity and patience by learning to embroider towels.
It’s time reading something of worth (sorry, Yahoo News).

More to-do lists isn’t going to change me. Setting time limits on screen time might be beneficial. But what’s really got to change is my heart, my mindset, my desire to be intentional.

“Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” – Ephesians 5:15-17, NASB (emphasis mine)

 

 

 

ONE MOMENT AT A TIME

By Sarah Langness

One of the most significant moments in my walk with the Lord happened on a faded yellow movie-theater style chair in the Reusch Auditorium on the YMCA of the Rockies campus. The year was 2003 and I was enjoying the summer bliss following my freshman year of high school. The week at FLY was soon coming to a close; one of those weeks that seem so long on Monday but by Friday, you’re trying to find out how the days passed so quickly. I was gathered with other high school students listening to a message from a passage in Matthew 14:

“[Jesus] made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray . . . The boat was already a long distance from land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night, He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.’ 

Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ And He said, ‘Come!’ And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?'” – Matthew 14:22-31, NASB 

That night, the speaker challenged us to be like Peter. To follow Jesus. To get out of the boat. To get out of our comfort zone.

I don’t remember if she specifically said anything about doing “big” things for Jesus or “exciting” or “crazy” things for His name; but I’ll  never forget the prayer that I prayed. I committed my walk and my way to the Lord, promising that I would go wherever He sent me – even if it was in Africa.

Now, 11 years later, I sort of chuckle at that prayer. Well, maybe not chuckle. But I certainly shake my head. 

Because I guarantee you that I never would have prayed, “Lord, I’ll do whatever it is You want me to do, even live in Beulah, North Dakota.” Who would? I mean, in those moments, in those prayers, we’re thinking BIG stuff. Exciting stuff.  The kind of stuff that you read about in a Voice of the Martyr’s magazine or a Samaritan’s Purse Prayer Point bulletin insert. It’s the stuff that Katie Davis does in Uganda or the impact that Mother Theresa left. It’s the stuff that is seen, the stuff that is recognized and that fills us with a sense of awe and purpose.

I didn’t realize then – and have only begun to realize now – that following Jesus is done in the everyday, ordinary moments of life. That just because I’m “only” a stay-at-home mom and ministry wife doesn’t make what I do for the Kingdom any less significant. That following Jesus, getting out of the boat of our own comfort, is lots of little things.

It’s opening up my home and my heart to that new mom who feels alone.
It’s making a meal for that family who just experienced a loss.
It’s waking up countless times throughout the night to soothe a sick child.
It’s supporting my husband in his ministry even when it means he’s gone for the fourth night this week.
It’s considering the impact of my words before I speak them.
It’s setting aside my preferences to make time for others.
It’s holding my mouth shut when it really wants to spew that gossip or speak bad about someone.
It’s baking cookies for our bachelor neighbor – not just at Christmas.
It’s practicing patience when our little boy decides the bathtub is a scary place.
It’s not holding onto a hurtful grudge.
It’s redirecting funds in our budget to feed the hungry instead of buying myself another new pair of jeans.
It’s not being jealous of a close friendship between family members or friends.
It’s making my husband a chicken potpie even though I don’t really like potpies.

Serving the Lord in the everyday, ordinary moments of life probably won’t make ministry magazine headlines. In fact, it may even go unnoticed by the world. But following Jesus, serving Him, is done only for One. And it’s done one moment at a time.

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom who serve.” Colossians 3:23-24, NASB (emphasis mine) 

Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into joy of your master.” – Matthew 25:21, NASB (emphasis mine)

 

COME, EXPECTED ONE

By Sarah Langness

Come, Thou long expected Jesus; Born to set Thy people free.
From our fears and sins release us, Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King.
Born to reign in us forever, now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit, raise us to Thy glorious throne. 

My favorite part of the Christmas story isn’t found in what we typically think of as “the Christmas story”. My favorite part doesn’t involve mangers, magi or Mary. It doesn’t involve shepherds, angels, or inns.

 My favorite part of the Christmas story involves a priest, a prayer, and a promise:

“In the days of Herod . . . there was a priest named Zacharias . . . and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren and they were both advanced in years.

Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division, according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering. And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias,for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. For you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord . . . it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah . . . so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.‘” – Luke 1:5-17, NASB (emphasis mine) 

Zacharias’ prayer in the temple was not, as we may believe based on how the text reads, a prayer for a son. He was not standing before the Lord on behalf of himself and Elizabeth, begging God to open her womb. Zacharias was standing before the Lord on behalf of the nation of Israel, begging God to send the Redeemer. His prayer was the priestly prayer for the redemption of Israel.

 So when Gabriel comes to him and says “Your prayer has been answered”, Gabriel is saying, “The Lord God has heard your prayers and the prayers of others before you. He will send the Redeemer. The time has come. And you are going to play a part.”

 Next to being Mary herself, I cannot think of anything more humbling, more awe-striking, more fear-inducing.

 From the beginning, from the fall of man, God has promised a Savior. A Redeemer. A Messiah. The prayers of the nation of Israel was, “Come!” The Lord heard those prayers. And He answered them. In His timing.

As we celebrate His coming, His humble birth and wondrous love, may we anxiously await His return. May the prayer of every believer’s heart echo that of the Israelites, “Come!”. The Lord will hear those prayers. And in His time, He will answer them.

 

GIVING GOOD GIFTS

By Sarah Langness

Our son loves tractors. Well, to be honest, he loves trucks and cars and machines with a motor of any kind. But tractors are definitely on the top five list of coolest things he’s ever seen. So the other day, when I was flipping through the Shopko ad and came to the “TOY SALE: Buy one Get one Half Off!” page, it was no surprise when Ezekiel instantly spotted the “green tractor!”. There were many other toys sprawled across these two pages of magazine, but Zeke only had eyes for that tractor.

And to be honest, I really wanted to buy it for him. Because I know how much he loves tractors. And how that tractor (which was pulling a trailer!) would bring him joy.

But I didn’t. Because we have plenty of other tractors, trucks and cars in our house. Because I don’t want our son to think that he can have everything he wants and/or sees. Because Christmas is a little over two weeks away and I am confident there are a couple of Grandma’s who probably bought our little man some new trucks. So Zeke kept the magazine for a couple of days, looked at the tractor, and when we went to Shopko to get gifts for the Angel Tree, we made a mad dash through that toy aisle.

As I thought about this desire I had to buy Ezekiel that new tractor, I couldn’t help but think of these words from Jesus:

“‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him?'” – Matthew 7:7-11, NASB (emphasis mine)

Our God is good. We need look no further than a manger in Bethlehem and a cross on Calvary and an empty tomb to remember that.

He knows our needs. He knows the desires of our heart. And He knows what is best for us. Just because He withholds does not mean He is absent, deaf, or unloving. Our Father is simply doing what is best for us.

Teaching us as we wait upon Him. Learning to be content with what we have. Leaning upon Him for strength. Looking to Him to provide grace for the moment. Trusting Him to meet our needs.

“Every good thing and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” – James 1:17, NASB (emphasis mine)

GRATEFUL BEFORE ITS GONE

By Sarah Langness

I don’t know what it means, by actual definition, to “throw your back out”. But I may have done that last Thursday afternoon. If it wasn’t “thrown out”, my lower back was definitely stretched and strained to the point of extreme pain in a way I hope to never endure again. The problem is, sometimes I forgot that I’m a) pregnant and therefore my body is already stretching and pulling in all sorts of different directions; and b) that even if I wasn’t pregnant, it’s never a good idea to hold a 24-pound weight on one side of your body while leaning down in the opposite direction to lift a nearly 10-pound purse. The result? I walked around with an ice pack stuck in my pants and could barely stand up straight due to the pain in my lower back.

I never really realized how vital the use of my back is to every day, ordinary actions. Like rolling over in bed. Like being able to sit on the floor and change my son’s diaper. Like putting on a pair of pants.

After last week’s incident, I realized how often I forget to be grateful.

And so often, I think we all forget. We get so used to what we have, with the people that we are blessed with in our lives, that we begin to take it all for granted. It seems like, more often than not, we become grateful for something only after it’s gone.

As you celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I encourage you not to forget. To not just take a moment to thank the Lord for the “big” things, the “obvious” things, the “generalized” things. But take a moment to consider the little ones, the less-noticed blessings. For the fact that the furnace is working. For being able to roll over in bed without pain. For the blessing of hearing laughter. For fridges to store that abundance of leftovers in. For the inventor of disposable diapers. For soft toilet paper. For electric mattress pads.

And whatever you do, don’t just be thankful on Thursday. On Friday, as you brave the Black Friday crowds or pull out your Christmas tree or simply enjoy the presence of family, remember to thank Him. Because all good things, all blessings, come from Him. And we have so many reasons to be thankful.

“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the God of gods, for His lovingkindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” – Psalm 136:1-3, NASB

 

 

LIVING IN THE MUNDANE

by Sarah Langness

My days are fairly predictable. I can roughly tell you what time Zeke and I will be out for our morning walk and down for our afternoon nap. I usually do my grocery shopping on Mondays after lunch. I can tell you what days I typically do laundry. Day-to-day, my life tends to look extremely similar. Sure, there are days with a few surprises, like when my husband decides to be spontaneous and come home from work early. Or like last week when Zeke pooped out his diaper for the first time in months and I had to rinse his pants off in the toilet. Or when I’m able to grab coffee with a dear friend back for a short visit.

Yesterday, though, I broke the mold. I skipped my morning walk, left the men at home and headed to Bismarck to run a few errands. (I know, I know: real exciting. But hey, I live in western North Dakota; cut me some slack.) As I was driving across the familiar 79-mile stretch of farmland, I did something I rarely do: I listened to the radio. Family Life Today was on, and my apologies to the name of their guest whose name is lost on my mind somewhere on I-94. And actually, apologies to Family Life Today as I hardly even recall what the broadcast topic was about. Something about loving your spouse. I forget because of something that forgotten guest said that rang over and over and over in my mind:

“We only make three or four big decisions in life. But we live in the every day, in the mundane.”

It’s so easy to seek Christ in the big decisions, the big issues. Where we should go to college. Who (or if) we should get married. To take that job far from family or stay closer to home.

But what about the every day? The ordinary, mundane things? Jesus doesn’t want just a part of the “big” things in life – He wants the little ones too.

Not that I need to pray about switching my laundry day. Or that there is anything wrong with a fairly predictable routine. But in those every day, mundane, day-to-day tasks, who am I living for? Am I living selfishly, putting my desires over those of my families? Do I have eyes of compassion for the hurting around me, or am I to focused on me to notice them? Am I content with what I have, with who the Lord has made me to be, or am I envious of that other mom who seems to have it made?

“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spiritlet us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.” – Galatians 5:13, 24-26, NASB (emphasis mine)

It is in the mundane moments that I choose to put Jordan’s needs over my own. It is the every day moments that become Kingdom teaching moments for little Ezekiel. It is in the ordinary moments that I live for the Extraordinary One.

“For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” – 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, NASB (emphasis mine)

No matter how ordinary, how everyday, how mundane our daily tasks may seem to be, may we ever be guilty of living for Jesus.

 

Precious Life . . . From the Start

By Sarah Langness

One of the scariest moments of my life happened when I was pregnant with Ezekiel. I was about 11 or 12 weeks along. We had just released the news of our coming little one to family and friends. Although initially scared and shocked, I was excited and already in love with that little baby. One morning, I had a tiny bit of spotting. It wasn’t much and I almost didn’t even call the doctor about it. But the doctor was unable to find baby’s heartbeat, which heightened concern because just one week prior she could find it. I was petrified. The drive to the hospital in Hazen was the longest seven-mile drive of my life. Praise the Lord that the ultrasound revealed a kicking, squirming, heart-beating baby.

But I know that many are not so fortunate. I know many who have dealt with the pain of miscarriage.

I remember telling my mom after the scare with Zeke, “I know he’s only 12 weeks old, but it was still really scary.” To which she replied, “Of course you were! That is three months of falling in love with that little baby.”

12 weeks. Three months. Our baby was the size of a plum. But still loved. Still valuable. Still a child. Because life begins at conception.

“You formed my inward parts; you wove me in my mother’s womb . . . I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works . . . My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in secret and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was none of them.” – Psalm 139:13-16; NASB

Recently it was National Infant Loss and Remembrance Day. A difficult, but important day for those who have lost babies, whether through miscarriage, a stillborn birth or other tragedy. Because life does indeed begin at conception. And no matter the size of the child, loss is hard.

To my friends who have lost those little ones, my heart goes out to you. Not just tomorrow, but when you hear news of others’ pregnancies. When your baby’s due date rolls around. When you see the joyous smiles of other little ones.

And my prayers are with you. You have dealt with a pain I cannot imagine nor fathom. My prayer is that you will cling to the One who knows your heartache and pain. That you will find strength for each moment and every day in Him. That in the midst of the pain, you are able to remember His great lovingkindess.

“Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.” . . . If He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness.” – Lamentations 3:19-24, 32; NASB (emphasis mine)

Wasps and the Love of God

by Sarah Langness

I know there’s going to be many who don’t like me for saying this, but truth is: I’m ready for a good, hard freeze.

It could have something to do with the fact that I have tomatoes coming out of my fingernails and toenails, and if it freezes, well, I guess we’ll just have to be satisfied with the 30+ pints of salsa and 10+ pints of pizza sauce already made. It could have something to do with the near 100 degree heat last Friday and me feeling tired of feeling hot. Mostly, though, it has to do with bees and wasps and flies: it can freeze so they all die. (Harsh, I know.) But  one of my biggest summertime nightmares as a momma came true on Sunday: Ezekiel was stung by a wasp. Right on his temple.

Poor little guy.

I’m grateful that since it happened, it happened at a time when Jordan was home. While Zeke cried in pain and I cried because my baby was in pain, Jordan was the logical, level-headed one. And thankfully, nothing more happened to Zeke: no allergic reaction and within fifteen minutes he had stopped crying and began playing with his trucks like nothing had even happened.

All the while, I kept wishing that the stupid wasp had stung me instead. I would have gladly taken away that pain from my little sixteen-month old.

And then I started thinking about God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the pain bestowed upon Him on my behalf.

God the Father allowed His Son to be beaten. To be humiliated. To be become sin. To die.

Because He loves me.   

What kind of love is that? 

 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16, NASB (emphasis mine)  

 

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all . . . ” – Romans 8:32, NASB (emphasis mine)  

 

“But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” – Galatians 4:4-5, NASB (emphasis mine)

I’m grateful God loves us the way He does. Not the way I love. Because I would have protected my son. I wouldn’t want to see him suffer. Praise God He loved us enough to let His Son suffer in our place so that we have a home with Him.