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Posted on Jan 2, 2014 in Parenting, Spiritual Life | 0 comments

Mommy

Mommy

A little over a year ago, I got a new name.

Mommy.

It’s the best name I’ve ever heard in my life.

When Eliana was not quite six months old, she surprised me by crying out in extreme distress, “mmm-Mom!”  I thought it must be a fluke, but then I heard it again, and again, and again.  It was her first word.

She doesn’t use it often.  The main times I hear it are when she’s very scared, unsure of herself, or upset.  I don’t like for her to be upset, but it feels wonderful to know that when she is, my name is the one she calls.

She’s recently learned to say “Da da” and apply it correctly.  It’s become her favorite word.  She wakes up in the morning calling, “Da, da, da, da, dad-DY!”  She walks around the house calling his name.  Every noise she hears is thought to be him.  My name is still reserved for special occasions.

I don’t think it’ll be much longer before she starts to call me by name regularly.  But I know how I feel when I hear it now.  It’s as if the world stops and all my attention turns to her.  Tunnel-vision.  What does my sweet child need?  How can I relieve her distress?

I wonder if Jesus feels the same way about us calling out His name?  Does He immediately stop and turn toward us, eager to find out what we need?  Is it music in His ears?

From what I can tell from the Bible, Jesus loves to hear us call His name.  Today I’m imagining that when I do, He is filled with joy and ready to meet our need.  Even if He doesn’t meet it in the way we’d like Him to do, like the times when I have to allow Eliana to experience some pain for a greater purpose, I believe He still stands beside us.  He still makes His presence known to us – if only we’ll ask Him to show up and help us.  If only we’ll thank Him and praise Him and give Him our love.

It’s time to sign off now.  My daughter just woke up and is in her bed calling, “Da da da da, dad-DY!”

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Posted on Dec 5, 2013 in Love, Marriage, Parenting, Spiritual Life | 1 comment

GOOD

GOOD

Back in 2008, a couple came to my church and talked to the staff about what they felt God saying to each one of them.  I was suspicious, to say the least.  I trusted my pastor to keep the weirdos away though, so I tried to remain open to their words.

Our sound engineer recorded the couple’s words to me and I looked back at them today.  Among other things, they noted that I was a giver, but had a very difficult time receiving from others.  They said God was changing my heart and would teach me to be open to receiving, to enjoy the richness of His goodness.  At the time, I felt like receiving from others was weakness.  They told me I would come to see it as openness to God.

As I prepare myself and my family for Christmas this year, I’ve been struck by how much I’ve received over the past several years.  I don’t know what to put on my Christmas list.  I’ve been given a home to call my own, children, a husband who loves me and takes pleasure in taking care of his family, clothing, food, and many non-necessities.  What do I ask for beyond that?

The words of the couple came back to me this morning.  The truth of their words struck me.  After a season where nothing seemed to work out for me, where every road I tried turned into a dead-end, today I feel like I’m on an open, easy road.  Sure, I have a hard time with pregnancy and it really stinks to be sick so much.  It’s hard to make friends and I long for the deep friendships I left behind in Nashville.  My mother and her three sisters have all been through terrible struggles with breast cancer in the last few years.  But even with the difficulties, my life is so full and rich that I regularly find myself raising my hands in praise and thanks to God.

He has been good to me.

Last week my daughter had a restless night where she couldn’t quite seem to settle down, so we put her between us in bed.  She was so happy to be right there, quietly wiggling and flopping around from one of us to the other.  In the dark, half-asleep, I felt slobbery wetness on my chin.   Weird.  Then again on my cheek.  Huh?  It occurred to me that she was trying to kiss me.  It was too dark for her to see.  Overcome with love, I reached for her tiny face and kissed her sweet little lips.  Satisfied, she cuddled up next to me and fell fast asleep.

Is there anything better than when your child seeks you out for a spontaneous kiss?

I have learned to receive with gratitude and graciousness.  I don’t live in a mansion, drive a luxury vehicle, or wear designer clothes.  I’ve not yet achieved my desire to become a regularly published author.  But I’ve been given the most priceless, beautiful gifts imaginable.  I open my arms to receive them, recognizing the incredible value they bring.

He has been GOOD to me.

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Posted on Mar 16, 2012 in Spiritual Life | 2 comments

An End and a Beginning

Now that I’ve been married for 2 1/2 months and my new name is Kimberly Wyse, I decided it’s time to start a new blog.  Consequently, this is also my 100th post, which I did not do on purpose.  I hope all of you that subscribe will update your subscription to the new site.  I plan to write all about the transition from single, career-oriented, city-girl to rural farmer’s wife.  The first blog entry on the new site was posted on March 16, 2012.

Check it out here:  www.kimberlyswysewords.com

Thanks for reading!

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Posted on Dec 16, 2011 in Before Marriage Blog, Spiritual Life | 17 comments

You Have Multiplied

You Have Multiplied

 

$97.37.  Ninety-seven dollars and thirty-seven cents.

That is the amount of change that I’ve been able to save over the last few years.  I began saving it when I was single.  I wanted to be a bride.  When I was engaged before, I didn’t have much money to spend on a wedding dress.  I found a used one online and purchased it for next to nothing.  The dress was beautiful, but it didn’t fit.  It was not the experience I wanted for my wedding dress when I really did get married, so I decided to start saving money before I even had a boyfriend.

That was a couple years ago.  I was embarrassed to tell anyone what the money was for.   It seemed frivolous to save for something like that, but my heart longed for something beautiful.  Saving my change was so small and insignificant.  I knew it wouldn’t amount to much.  The act of faith was the point though.  Every time I put money in the jar, I whispered a prayer that God would multiply it and make it into more than I ever could.

God did multiply it too.  In May I got engaged to my Boaz (see the book of Ruth).  I received some unexpected money right around that time.  I was able to purchase the dress of my dreams and it was significantly less than I had budgeted to spend.  I continued with my small coin collection though, knowing it would be useful at some point in the future.

piggy_bankTonight I was talking to my fiance, Rick, about money.  Getting married is expensive and we are both in shock about how much it costs to have a wedding, set up a new home, and go on a honeymoon.  With two weeks until the wedding, I need to stop working so I can finalize all the wedding plans and celebrate Christmas.  Rick asked me if it was time to cash in my coin collection.  Stunned, my first thought was to tell him no.  I was saving that money!  But then I had to laugh.  I was saving that money for this!

As I gathered up my coins tonight, added up the totals, and put it all into a bag to take to the bank, it hit me hard.  God has answered my prayers.  Every whispered prayer that God would take my small contribution and multiply it has been answered.

I had small faith that I would actually get married.  In two weeks I will become a wife.

I had small faith that I would have the money I needed for the wedding dress of my dreams.  In two weeks I will wear a dress that takes my breath away and leaves me giggling like a little girl every time I put it on.

I had small faith that every bill I had would be paid, that I could continue to have my needs met even though I had lost my job.  In two weeks it will have been 18 months since I lost my salary and I have never had a bill go unpaid or a need unmet.  In fact, I’ve had more than I needed.

My God has provided for my needs.  What have I to fear? 

I waited patiently for the LORD;

he inclined to me and heard my cry.

He drew me up from the pit of destruction,

out of the miry bog,

and set my feet upon a rock,

making my steps secure.

He put a new song in my mouth,

a song of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear,

and put their trust in the LORD.

Blessed is the man who makes

the LORD his trust,

who does not turn to the proud,

to those who go astray after a lie!

            You have multiplied, O LORD my God,

your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;

none can compare with you!

I will proclaim and tell of them,

yet they are more than can be told.

(Psalm 40:1-5 ESV)

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Posted on Dec 2, 2011 in Before Marriage Blog, Love, Spiritual Life | 5 comments

The Countdown

The Countdown

December 2, 2011.  The date isn’t that significant.  But it’s FRIDAY, December 2, 2011.  And that means in just FOUR weeks, 28 days, I will become a married woman.  My heart races a bit just writing that.

This morning I ordered flowers that I’ll carry down the aisle, the only time in my life when it will be appropriate to carry around a beautiful bouquet of flowers.  There are final plans to be made, and so I spent several hours following that going over my schedule, sending emails, making phone calls, and trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together, wondering what I’m forgetting.  How much more money will I need?  How many people will be at this event, that event, and THE event?  When am I going to find time to hang out with my cherished friends in the final weeks of my time in Nashville?

My head is swirling with problems to solve, plans to finalize, and concerns about how it will all get done.  But earlier this week I slipped into my wedding gown and got the last few pins to make the dress fit perfectly.  With that gown on, all the difficulties of planning a huge, life-altering event faded away.  For those few moments, I remembered why I am doing all this stuff.  We are getting married.  We are each putting our best foot forward, hoping for a day that sparkles and crackles with life and joy, to stand before God and our family and friends and make a covenant to be one.  And the two shall become one.

IN FOUR WEEKS!

And then, the honeymoon…

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Posted on Nov 14, 2011 in Before Marriage Blog, Love, Spiritual Life | 21 comments

You Will Forget

You Will Forget

Throughout my single years, I’ve dreamed about this time in my life – how I’d feel, what I’d say, things I’d do.  It seemed so far from my reality that I knew I’d be the most grateful, kind, gentle, and gracious girlfriend/fiancée/wife anyone could ever imagine.  I’ve often joked around with my family that when I’m finally pregnant, they’ll find me throwing up with a smile on my face, just so joyful to be having a baby of my own.

And yet, as I’ve settled into this relationship and this new role in my life, it feels completely natural and normal.  I’m the same woman I’ve always been, just with a new set of responsibilities and relationships to nurture.  I’m very thankful for Rick, but I don’t find myself trembling in gratitude and overlooking every little frustration because I’m so happy to have that promised mate.  In fact, I may speak my mind more often than a younger bride.  I know that this relationship is IT, so I want it to be right and good.  I don’t mind sharing my thoughts on that with Rick – setting the record straight, making my feelings known, and standing up for what I have come to know is true.

The funny thing is the near offense I have caught myself feeling when well-meaning friends who prayed with me for years to be connected to the man God had for me congratulate me, or indicate that this situation is unbelievably good.  Something inside me tenses up, wondering what they thought was so wrong with me that they now have to congratulate me for finally landing A MAN.  I want to snap at them, “Hey! I’ve turned down a number of marriage proposals.”

But I know that isn’t what they mean.  They were so gracious to listen to me whine and complain about my frustration and pain, never feeling peace that the man who was interested in me was the right one, and then dealing with my fears that God didn’t want me to get married.  They prayed for me, anguished with me, and now they are thrilled for me that the time has come.  I accept their joy and am so glad to be able to share the obvious answer to our prayers with them.

Being single this long brought with it a sense of shame and a feeling that I could be married if I would just work out whatever was wrong with me.  If I could just love God more, have a better figure, wear the right clothes, say the right things to men, and so on – THEN the magical moment would come and I could be a bride.  But that didn’t make any sense.  I had single friends with near perfect figures, great relationships with God, killer fashion sense, and great personalities – yet they faced the same struggles.  I knew married women who were terrible messes and whose husbands adored them anyway.

I rejected the idea that something about me needed to be better before the time would come for the right man to love me.  Even in my rejection of the idea, the feelings came back from time to time.  How did THAT woman find a husband before me?  Why did he pick HER and reject me?  If that woman would just fix that one thing about herself, she could find a husband.   Ugh.

God’s been leading me back repeatedly to a Scripture He laid on my heart several years ago.  It’s Isaiah 54, which begins, “Sing, oh barren! You who have not borne, break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child!  For more are the children of the desolate than those of the married woman,’ says the Lord.”

Believe me when I say I began to sing!  Every time I had an opportunity, I sang.  I sang loudly.  Sing, sing, sing!  I sang as I worked around the house, as I walked down halls at church, belting out the lyrics in services.  Judge me if you want, I thought, but my God has told me to sing and I’m not going to do it half-heartedly!  I sang and sang and sang, thinking there are more types of barrenness than just those who are physically unable to bear a child.

During my engagement, God has repeatedly drawn my heart back to this chapter.  It speaks to my heart and stirs my emotions.  It goes on to tell me not to be afraid because God will make sure I’m not ashamed.

“For you will forget the shame of your youth, and will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.”

That phrase, you will forget, echoes through my mind.

God promised that I would forget the way I felt, ashamed and afraid, and He’s done it.  It’s hard to remember those feelings any longer.  I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was nothing wrong with me (or Rick), but God just had some things for us to do alone before we needed to be together.  God will make sure we have the things our hearts desire.  It’s just happening later than we expected it to, later than what many other people experience.

One final thought…  I was walking on the treadmill at the gym the other night.  There aren’t many treadmills there and they were all being used.  I kept having this thought that I was just taking up space for the real athletes as I plodded along, huffing and puffing at my slow speed.  But my heart rate was at a good pace, I was sweating nicely, and I was making personal progress even if I was moving much slower than most of the others.  I finally decided to tell the voices in my head to be quiet.  I made a choice to stop comparing my speed to the speed of those around me.  I decided just to pay attention to my own body and what I needed, do the best I could, and forget everyone else.

What I can remember about my years of singleness is that it was hard for me to make that same decision then.  It was hard to stop comparing myself, my progress, my barrenness to those around me.  Dear friends had been married for 10 years already and had gorgeous homes with handsome, faithful, hard-working husbands and several kids!  If I could’ve just told those voices to be quiet and focused on doing the best I could do, those years would’ve been much more pleasant.  I don’t think I would’ve gotten connected with Rick any sooner.  I do think I would’ve had a lot more joy in the journey to him.

I don’t want to forget it all.  I want to be able to encourage others who wait.  But I am thankful to forget the shame, the fear, and to move forward with my life.  I’m looking forward to getting married and filling our home with love and joy and yes, even at times, raised voices and challenging words.  It takes all those things to make a family.  I’m happy to have my chance.

In closing, I want to also acknowledge you all, my faithful readers.  I am so thankful for you.  I can see how many people read my blog every day, but I cannot tell who you are unless you specifically subscribe to my blog.  Then I only see your email address, so if I don’t recognize it, I still don’t know who you are.  But it’s such an encouragement to my heart when I run into someone who may have never commented on a post I’ve written, but who mentions something I wrote that touched them.

It’s such an encouragement when I see a jump in the number of typical readers in a day and I know that a group of you out there who I’ve never met are reading it together and discussing it.  It makes my day.  I haven’t been writing as much recently because I’ve been so busy preparing for married life and my upcoming move, but I plan to continue to blog and hope to have a lot more time to write once I’m a farmer’s wife.  I hope you’ll continue to read.

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