Monday, November 23, 2009

One Last Pint Sized Lesson...

This morning my hamster passed away. For those of you who know me well and for those who have been following this blog long enough, you know that, to me, Beanie was not just a hamster. She was an important part of my life and my story with Michael -- and God used her on more than one occasion to teach me more about Himself. I blogged on this once before. And this morning, on our last morning together, God taught me one last pint-sized lesson through my little furry friend...

Beanie was my very first pet as an adult living away from home. I had always sworn I would never have any pets after having lost my dog Baby who was by my side for 11 years through thick and thin. Though Michael and I had discussed eventually getting a dog, I made it clear that I was not sure I could handle losing another pet. I had already lost so many... Leave it to me to pick a pet with a 3 year lifespan when I finally felt ready to try again...

When we got Beanie, Michael and I were living in a one bedroom apartment in Arlington. We joked that she was all we could fit into that narrow a space. While we lived there, I played with her all the time. I lavished her with everything a hamster could possibly have -- material things. Beanie saw us through three moves. The first, to a slightly larger apartment in Arlington, the second to South Riding and the third to Leesburg.

When we moved to South Riding, Beanie began acting very strangely. For whatever reason she began building a nest on the top floor of her "rat palace," which created a terrible mess on our floor everyday. Whether it was stress or whether she was just adapting to her new environment, Beanie was very comical to watch as she tried to make herself at home in our new home. In the beginning, I played with her all the time. I loved watching her zip across our faux hardwood floors in her little ball. But it was not long after our move that I found out I was pregnant and everything changed. I was advised to steer clear of her for the baby's sake and for the most part I did. I still talked to her but I stopped making an effort to show her how much she meant to me.

I was in the second half of my pregnancy when we moved to Leesburg and by this time, Beanie and I spent very little time together at all -- if any. Once the baby came, I rarely even walked by her cage because I was upstairs with Noah most of the day. For the last three months, I felt nothing but guilt that I had failed to give her more attention. I kept saying to myself that there would eventually be time, but I never seemed to find it. I tried to no avail to find her a new home - a happy home - where she would get the attention I couldn't give her. And then, just last week, I took some time and held her and promised her that I would make an effort to give her a better life, never knowing that I would not be given the opportunity or the time to make good on that promise.

This morning, I held her -- what little was left of her -- for over an hour and told her I was sorry and said goodbye, the way I never got to do with my dog Baby, whose death haunts me to this day and perhaps always will. As Beanie lay in my hands barely breathing, I kept praying for God to take her but He didn't.

In those sad moments, so much occurred to me that I feel compelled to share...

Now, I know that there are some of you reading this who might think it's silly that I should care so much for a rodent. That's fine. I also know there are many of you who are quite certain that animals don't have souls and don't go to heaven. I don't need to discuss that right now... I try to have hope. But in realizing that there is no certainty, it made me realize how fleeting life is and how my experience with Beanie is a lesson on so many levels.

First, I learned that we should take nothing for granted. We may not have another day to tell the people we love how much we love them or more importantly -- we may not have the opportunity to show them. Though I gave Beanie all the material things in the world, I missed out on so much of her life. And it got me thinking... How many of us have estranged relatives or friends that we have been neglecting to call or write or bother with? How many of us have allowed nothing other than our own sense of guilt to get in the way of restoring damaged relationships? I know I have...

Second, I learned that God's timing is God's timing and sometimes we have to accept it when it seems that He is not willing to honor our requests. Sometimes we need to be patient and accept (whether it's easy or not) that God is trying to show us something and that He rarely (if ever) stops until we've learned it. I seem to only learn the hard way... but I'd like to think I learn nonetheless...

Finally, and most importantly, I was reminded that little losses prepare us to handle bigger losses. In those quiet moments with Beanie, God instilled in me a sense of urgency to talk to those people in my life who don't know Him -- People whose loss would hit me a hundred times harder than the loss of any pet if I did not have confidence that I'd see them again in Heaven. You see... I have no way of knowing if I will ever see Baby or Beanie or Peeps or any of my dearly departed pets ever again. So when they passed, it hurts that much more... because goodbye really MAY be forever. But when it comes to human beings, we DO have certainty. The Bible makes it clear that those of us who call on the name of the Lord, who accept Jesus Christ as our One and Only Lord and Savior whose death was the price for our sin, who seek a real relationship with Him and ask Him to come into our hearts and make what was once old new-- we CAN know with utmost certainty that when we die we WILL be reunited with those who walked with God to go on before us.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

When I was sitting there holding Beanie in my hands, I thought of those closest to me whose eternal fate I am just as uncertain of as I am hers. And I realized that I need to stop waiting for another day -- the way I waited to give Beanie the attention I should have months and months ago... And so I wrote a letter to one of those people. And I pray with all my heart that she is able to receive the message. I did not write this entry to document that - nor did I write it to merely remember my sweet Beanie Bear, whom I will never forget - I wrote it because I know that there are others out there that need reminding of what I learned today. And if it helps someone else even in the most minute way, then at least a blessing will come from my loss. Quite a legacy for one little hamster. I hope its a message that will be well received...

Rest in Peace Beanie. Never Forget You. HOPE I will see you again...

Friday, April 17, 2009

It's A.....

After months and months of waiting, guessing and speculating, M and I found out the gender of our baby last week!

We found out that we are being blessed with a baby ..........(CLICK HERE)............!!!!!!!!!!! :)

We could NOT be happier!

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Reminder of God's Provision in Uncertain Times

I posted this morning to my baby blog about the recent turn of events in my, Michael and Vanessa's lives. I hope this will be a testimony of God's power and mercy and provision. I know there are so many people in these uncertain times who are struggling as we have struggled and I hope this will be a reminder that God has everything in the palm of His hands, that He is intimately concerned with what is going on in our lives, and that He WILL provide... that no matter how grim things seem, God is in control and He is bigger than the problems of this world. We need only put our hope in Him.

(Read the post here).

Monday, February 23, 2009

The First Time That Ever We Saw Your Face... :)

This morning, M and I got an up-close look at our beautiful baby boy or girl. It is amazing how much he or she has grown in just a few short weeks. At our last ultrasound we could barely make out where the head ended and the body began but today we were able to see his or her face. I just keep reflecting on Psalm 139 and the wonder of knowing that we have a God who loves us and knows us -- and that even now he is "knitting" this precious child together.


1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, a]">[a] you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to b]">[b] me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.

19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!

20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?

22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An Unexpected Twist of Fate

On New Year’s Day, my husband, stepdaughter and I went to the movies to see Marley & Me. While I fully expected to see a movie documenting the hijinx of a naughty pup wreaking havoc on a young couple, I did not expect to watch a commentary on family, the futility of trying to plan out your life, and the changes that having children brings to a marriage. To be honest, I left the theater feeling a little shaken but very happy with the state of my life as it is.

After the movie, the three of us went out to coffee with our dear friends Dan and Melody, who are expecting their first baby this April. “I am just afraid to ruin what we have because I love our marriage the way it is,” I told Melody as she laughed and nodded her head. I shared with her the reservations the movie gave me about starting a family and, as always, she reassured me that God is in control and that all things work together for good. I agreed and laughed off my apprehensions, noting that it wasn’t anything I would need to worry about for a long time. I am in my third year of law school after all, I added, and M is still working on his engineering degree. And besides, I have endometriosis and there are no guarantees that we would ever be able to have any children of our own anyway. This settled my troubled mind and it was not long before this conversation (and the worries and concerns the movie had sparked in me) faded out of my memory.

You can imagine how ironic this conversation seems now, in retrospect, as I now know that at the time we were having this engaging conversation, I was already four and a half weeks pregnant. Here, I was discussing a movie, based on a true story, that clearly demonstrated that life happens in spite of all our planning and I was ignoring the central message I had clearly identified (and have written on before): “Man plans and God laughs.” I have to imagine that God was just sitting up in Heaven shaking his head and chuckling as He listened to me go on and on with my own ideas about what our life would and should be like. Apparently, He had bigger plans in store for us!

And so, M, V and I have spent the last few weeks adjusting to this unexpected news and preparing ourselves for all the things there really is no preparing for. It has given me a new perspective on so many things. Here, I thought I had it all figured out – but it was no sooner than I had come up with a master plan, that God shows me that His are always better.

I have been procrastinating for too long in blogging. I had been meaning to write an entry for some time now on the futility of fear, as I have finally conquered my fear of driving – something I could do with God’s help alone. In the past four months, I not only got my own driver’s license, but I got my own car (a gift from M for my 27th birthday in November).

Looking on all the drastic changes our lives have taken in the past year (moving from the city to the suburbs, from an apartment to a house, learning to drive and getting a license and a car and finding a Bible study group whose members have small children that are welcome to attend each Friday night), I can’t believe I didn’t see what God was preparing us for. And I guess, I still don’t know what the future has in store and I guess that’s the moral of the story (at least as I see it): We can only live day to day and seek God’s will in what we do and wait expectantly for God to show us where we need to be. That said, I am very happy to be where I am, in spite of the horrific morning (noon and night) sickness that at 7 weeks and a few days along, I have still not grown accustomed to!

For all the downsides of pregnancy I have been experiencing this early on, this morning changed my perspective yet again: when M and I not only saw our baby and his or her tiny beating heart, but we heard it! It was the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard. And while our baby looks like little more than a little blob, I can’t believe how much love I feel for something so very small. And for all the worries I have had concerning how early on my pregnancy is, I remind myself that God is in control.

“For you formed my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. My soul knows that very well.
Psalm 139:13-14