Category Archives: Endurance

What was, What is and What might have been…

Friday night high school football…there’s nothing quite like it!

Last night I attended an exciting game where two of my worlds collided. The high school where we joyfully invested over a decade of our early years of ministry was playing against the high school that Dan and I were given a vision for starting and have passionately served for the past 14 years!  It is in moments like these that are filled with memories, emotions and reflections on what was, what is and what might have been.

In 1986 as a single young woman, serving as a youth pastor and just months away from becoming “Mrs” Dan Lambdin, the high school that rented our church building was in need of a part-time girls PE teacher.  They had just completed their very first year and were getting an influx of students from another local high school that was merging with them.  I eagerly took the position as it would provide me another opportunity to minister to youth (my passion and calling), it was flexible and convenient to my current position as a youth pastor and it didn’t hurt that I could use the extra cash to pay for my upcoming wedding. Little did I know how much that one decision would dramatically change and shape my life.

It was during that year that I fell in love with the ministry of Christian education!  It was like having youth group everyday.  I could pour into the lives of young people, mentor and disciple them in such a greater and often more effective way than I was able to as a youth pastor, where I often only got to see the kids two times a week for a couple of hours at the most. (and a bonus: the students couldn’t just leave if they got mad at you for something you did or said or if they decided that they were “done” with being a believer….so you actually had the opportunity to walk them through the hard things instead of them disappearing, never to be seen again like what often happened in youth ministry) I soon realized that it was not only the students who I was able to minister to but their entire families as well.  I was excited about the unlimited opportunities to impact others for the Lord through this avenue of Christian education. 

After we were married, Dan decided to go back to school and get his Bachelor Degree in Bible & Theology.  Besides renting out a room in our tiny apartment to pay for his tuition, he became the school janitor to help pay for college.  Before long he was coaching, became the athletic director and was even teaching a class. He too became passionate about the ministry of Christian education and after graduating became a full-time Bible teacher at the school. 

For over a decade we faithfully served the school, giving wholeheartedly of our time, our talent and our treasure.  In fact the positions we held were vast and various (little did we know that God was preparing us to have the experience and tools to actually start a school years later!) Believe it or not we did all of the following jobs during our years at this school:

  • Teachers – Physical Education (we both taught this!), Bible, Typing (yup…those who can’t “do”…teach!), Government(no laughing Class of ’91), Leadership, Journalism & Yearbook
  • Support Staff – Janitor, Secretary, Bus Driver
  • Coaches – Volleyball, Softball, Soccer
  • Advisors – Student Council, Yearbook, School Newspaper, Christian Club, Class Advisors
  • Administration – Athletic Director, Vice Principal, Principal, Dean of Students, Director of Admissions, Director of Student Affairs, Guidance Counselor, Director of Development

Yes, we pretty much did everything. We basically lived at the school. Our children even had a small room off my classroom to play in while we spent many after school hours working. It was our heart, our soul and our passion! And the results were phenomenal!  We saw the school triple in size during that time and the programs, athletics, activities and academics flourished.  We had a very close and united staff who were our dearest friends.  We developed life long relationships with students and families that continue to be strong and steadfast today. (In fact we are now teaching & ministering to many of our former students children!) We saw God move in amazing, miraculous and life changing ways during that season that we affectionately refer to as “the glory years” at BCHS….some of the best times of our lives.

And then the unthinkable happened. On March 6, 1997 I was fired. Dan (along with many other long time staff members) subsequently submitted his resignation.

Without getting into all the murky details that led to that fateful day (suffice to say I had done nothing immoral, illegal or wrong that would be deserving of this termination), it was shocking, heart wrenching and simply unbelievable.  We felt as if everything we held dear was being ripped away from us. We felt betrayed, attacked and abandoned. We grieved deeply and questioned God’s will in it all. We also found ourselves in a desperate situation – instantly going from two incomes to none (with no opportunity for unemployment benefits) with four young children to care for and a home that was partially owned by our former employer, unsure of  God’s will and direction for our lives and dealing with heartache and depression.  It was truly a moment in time that left its indelible mark upon our hearts and lives.

However, this seemingly horrific – trial by fire – in our lives was used by the Lord to burn several principles into our hearts that will not only “stand the test of time” but reap amazing benefits to us, our children and our children’s children as we walk through this life.

God Alone is our Provider

I have written a lot about this paradigm over the years (you can read several posts here) so I am not going to say too much as this could be an entire book.  This one experience was the beginning of a true change in what we really believed about God and His provision. Of course, like most Christians, we said out of our mouths that we trusted the Lord to provide for our needs….but in reality we mostly trusted in our own abilities and actions as well as in others to provide a paycheck. When that was ripped out of our hands and we were left standing with nothing…..but God….we came to the harsh reality of how truly small our faith and trust really was (and I don’t say that proudly).  We worried about losing our home, feeding our kids and having to declare bankruptcy.  We fretted. We stressed.  We cried. We prayed.  And slowly the Lord began to use His Word (see Matthew 6:25-34, Philippians 4:19, Philippians 4:6) to penetrate our unbelieving hearts and change the way we see things and the way we live. 

And we have remained changed!  We have had seasons of prosperity since that day and seasons of poverty and yet we know, that we know, that we know that God IS OUR PROVIDER!  He will meet every need.  He will not forsake us.  Even now as I am looking at the realities of an empty gas tank, an upcoming property tax bill and an unpaid gas & electric statement…I have simply not an ounce of anxiety in my heart or mind because I know who pays my bills and meets my needs.  If simply learning this lesson and having this type of peace was the only lesson we learned from that experience…it would have been well worth it all.

It’s not what happens to you in life…but how you respond that really counts!

I read a quote on facebook the other day that said“Everyone wants to be an overcomer but no one wants anything to overcome”  Ain’t that the truth?  We all admire people who face trials and adversity and come out victorious.  We hear stories about them and our eyes well up with tears. We watch movies about them and wildly cheer them on. We read books about their lives and are inspired to be the same.  And yet when we are faced with challenges, obstacles and trials we shake our fist and look up to heaven and shout (or whine depending on your personality)…”Why me?” Or we get mad, bitter and angry allowing our lives to be ruined by our challenging circumstances.  We admire and aspire to be the overcomer and yet when the very trial that comes our way giving us that opportunity we let it bury us.

It was very easy for us to get angry and to allow bitterness into our hearts.  After all we had been faithful and loyal.  We had served and sacrificed.  We had given up the better part of our youth and helped build a dynamic and successful school only to be cast aside, wronged and betrayed by those we loved and trusted.  Didn’t we have the right to be angry? And there were plenty of people ready to feed that anger.  It was a recipe for disaster. Thankfully we both had a pretty good handle on the scriptures that are very bold at pointing out that there is no place in God’s kingdom for bitterness and unforgiveness. And since we wanted a place in the kingdom both here on earth as well as for eternity we knew we better quickly get it right. 

During this season the Lord taught us that when bad things happen in your life (and they will….you can count on it!), He is not caught by surprise (nope God was not shocked when I was fired) and that He is wanting us to have a right response for His glory!  After spending some much needed time away a few weeks after my termination (I am so grateful for a godly husband who saw me spiraling downward and knew that I needed some alone time with God to “get it together”), the Lord showed me how I was to respond as an overcomer to the trials of life.

  • Give thanks!    Really God?  You want me to thank you for this?  No, Beth I want you to give thanks in this and for that matter in everything!  “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Simple yes…but very hard. He doesn’t tell me I have to “feel” thankful just “be” thankful.  So I began to thank the Lord in the midst of my circumstances.  (and guess what after just a few days of thanking Him…I felt better! hopeful! encouraged!)
  • Forgive fast and often   If you want to be forgiven then you have no option but to forgive. period. end of story.  It’s basic Christianity (you all know the prayer..forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us) Forgiveness is simply releasing someone else from your judgement. You don’t have to “feel” like forgiving them. It is an act of your will.  I release them from my judgement.  One of the things I found with forgiving though is that I can choose to forgive and then I find myself remembering & taking back my forgiveness (I am sooooo not like God)…so the Lord told me to keep forgiving over & over & over.  And you know what?  I have not one ounce of unforgiveness in my heart for those who hurt & betrayed me all those years ago.  Somewhere along the line of forgiving daily it stuck and I truly was able to walk freely in forgiveness!  Since that trial – forgive fast & forgive often has been my goal whenever the Lord gives me the opportunity to be wronged, hurt or betrayed (yup! It is an opportunity to be an overcomer and I seem to get them often)
  • Pray for those who mistreat you   If we all prayed for those who are a “thorn in our side” we would be amazed at the change in our hearts. “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” Matthew 5:44-45 “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:28  Even as I type this I am being reminded of those I should be praying for right now. I hear you Lord! 🙂
  • Sow seeds of kindness & love into their lives  Ok so I forgive them, I am praying for them and now you want me to do something nice for them?  What???  “Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them…Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable…“If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads. Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” Romans 12:14, 17, 20-21  It was pretty clear to me that if I really wanted to overcome I needed to do acts of kindness to bless those who had hurt me.  I gulped hard and I began to brainstorm what I could do and then despite how hard it was I did them!  I am sure that those simple acts did something profound in my heart as well as opening up avenues for the Lord to bless my life.

It’s True…God really does work everything out for good! 

The scripture often quoted in Romans 8:28 – “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” is not just a “nice” thought…it is truth.   When I think about the end of that era of my life, like I did last night at the football game, with a “what might have been” perspective I actually shudder at the thought of NOT being fired on that day in 1997!

Out of the ashes of that trial by fire came some of the most amazing perfect blessings of my life!

  • The creation of Jim Elliot Christian High School that stands out as a beacon of light for God’s glory.  A place where lives are being impacted for eternity.  A school that two of my daughters have graduated from and two currently attending who have benefited from the amazing staff who have taught, cared for and mentored them as well as given them lifelong Christ honoring friendships.  A place that has provided my husband with his “dream job”…teaching Bible all day and speaking into the lives of young people as the school chaplain.
  • Homeschooling my children!  I can not even begin to imagine how different my life would be if I had not begun to homeschool my children after my termination (my eldest at the time attended the school’s private Christian elementary as a result of the tuition benefit which of course we lost).  My relationship with my kids would be vastly different. My impact and influence on their lives would be vastly different. My children’s relationship with each other would be vastly different. I might even still be a “control freak” and not in recovery!  In short everything would be dramatically different and since I LOVE the way it has played out I shudder to think what we would have all missed out on.
  • Running a successful home business.  I never ever considered working from home. I never knew the freedom and joy of being my own boss.  One of the blessings of my life being turned upside down was running a successful profitable business from my home for over a decade. It was amazing! It was fun! It was fabulous! I did something I loved, got treated to unbelievable incentive trips all over the world with my husband, made friends who will forever be a part of my life and was able to perfect the gift of speaking, writing & motivating others as a result of my business.   I simply cannot imagine my life without this business.

And those are just the really “BIG” life altering things.  There are countless other blessings that our greatest trial has brought into our lives.  I can honestly now say that getting fired was one of the single best moments of my life!  Of course hind sight is 20/20…right?  Now I strive to actually stand on that promise in the midst of the trial knowing that God has a plan and that I will one day be able to look back and see the blessing that it has brought into my life!

If you are currently “walking through the fire” in life may these words encourage you today, build your faith as well as giving you practical and scriptural ways to overcome! One day you too will be on the other side looking at what was, what is and what might have been….and rejoicing in it all!

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Filed under Blessings, Endurance, Jim Elliot Christian High School, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Overcoming

911: Remembering & Recommitting

September 11, 2001…where were you?

911 002I was actually in the Washington DC area on a business trip on that fateful day in American history, along with my then seven-year old daughter, Kristen. (she is now 17 and a senior in high school!) We were getting ready to fly home on that very morning the planes were flown into the twin towers in New York City.

And ironically I am in Virginia again on this 10th anniversary of 911.  This time I am here by myself without my precious Kristen.  I am here to help my mother who has recently had some intense health issues that require her to need assistance.  When I first made my reservations to come to the East coast it did not dawn on me that I would once again be in the nation’s capitol on September 11.  I believe this anniversary is an appropriate time to remember, to reflect, to honor those whose lives were lost and who gave sacrificially and to renew our commitments to our faith, our family & friends and our country. How significant then that the Lord would orchestrate the circumstances of my life to be in the same place I was on that fateful life changing day.

Here is an excerpt from my photo album written shortly after September 11, 2001. (I am so thankful that I took the time to write this down back then, one of the many bonuses of being a scrapbooker & journaler!)  –

911 003From the moment I turned on the television at my mother’s home in Springfield, Virginia…everything began to become surreal. I sat frozen alone on the couch as I realized the atrocity and severity of what was happening. Terrorists hijacked  two airplanes and crashed them into the twin towers in New York City. As the events unfolded I watched with horror, along with millions of Americans who were glued to their television sets.  It was like we were watching a nightmare and wondering what might happen next and if we would ever feel safe again.

All I could think was that I wanted to be home with my family. I was 3,000 miles away and with all air traffic being suspended indefinitely, there was no certainty of when I could get home. I called Dan who was still unaware of what was happening on the East Coast (It was still very early in California). He prayed for me & told me how much he loved me. He also shared how relieved he was that I was at home at my Mom’s and not on an airplane at that moment. As I sat back down to watch the unfolding drama I learned that another plane had crashed just down the freeway from where I currently was staying — into the Pentagon. I was stunned! 911 005What was happening…and what would be next? It was at that point I looked down at my confirmed airline itinerary dated September 11. 2001 from Washington DC to California. The full impact hit me. My daughter and I could have easily been  passengers on one of those airplanes heading to California. I began to cry & praise the Lord that it was not my time to die and that I was not on an airplane right then being diverted to another city somewhere in the United States.  Instead, I was safe at my mother’s home with my sweet daughter. I had a lot to be thankful for that day. We finally did get home five days later. (but not without several delays and obstacles including getting stuck in Minneapolis for a night and being graciously taken in by a business associate, Leanne Anderson, who rescued us from having to sleep in the airport) When we finally touched down in San Francisco, I cried. I had never been happier than to simply be home with my precious family.

911 001In the aftermath of 911, it was inspiring to see patriotism come to life in America. Everywhere you looked people were wearing red, white & blue, flying flags, putting up signs & showing their love for their country & fellow citizens. Flags were everywhere – on every home, hanging from bridges, on cars, on buildings, on clothing…it was overwhelming & emotional. I found myself with eyes filled with tears and getting choked up several times a day as I witnessed the love of others and the patriotism that had been sorely missing in the daily life of most Americans. People also began to give of their time, talent & treasure in abundance. On every street corner money was being collected & people gave freely. Many volunteered their time and stood in line for hours to give blood. It was an incredible moment in history to witness this outpouring of love & generosity.

911 004This tragedy of 911 also turned many hearts back to the Lord and to faith. Everyone was in desperate search of answers and in great need of peace, hope & security. People were coming together in droves to pray and seek God. Our common faith in God became evident to all. The cross rose up out of the ashes of the towers and became a symbol of hope for those at Ground Zero in New York. We all knew that we desperately needed God. No one was offended by people praying or evoking the name of Jesus. There was a National Memorial Service broadcast worldwide where Billy Graham boldly proclaimed the gospel.

September 11, 2001 was truly a day that changed everything. 

911Were you changed by the events of September 11?

Did you stop everything & order your priorities aright?

Did you have a renewed sense of patriotism & love for the USA?

Did you weep with those who lost loved ones and hold your precious family closer?

Did you give blood, donate your time or money in the aftermath?

Did it draw you to the Lord?

Perhaps on this anniversary of 911 it would do us all some good to recommit to these same things today.  In this ever-changing and turbulent times we are living…none of us knows what tomorrow will bring.

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  I Peter 5:8

It is so easy in the years following a disaster or life changing event to lose your resolve, be lulled into apathy or even forget the things that you thought would stay with you forever.  Take the time today to remember and recommit yourself to loving God, loving others, loving life and loving our country with the intensity we did after 911.

I will be re-committing my life to these values as I attend a memorial service in Washington DC on Sunday. I want to live my life as if each day could be my last –

  • ready to meet my Lord by humbly living a life pleasing to Him
  • loving my dear family & friends and spending time enjoying each other
  • reaching out with kindness and compassion to strangers, those in need and even those that I find challenging
  • not stressing about the small inconsequential things that try to irritate or distract me from the truly important things in life
  • joyfully serving my church, my community, my country and my world using my God-given gifts & talents to benefit others

What do you remember about the way your life changed after September 11? What values will you recommit to on this anniversary of that horrific day? Don’t let this moment pass you by without some reflection on the past and commitments for your future…in just a blink of an eye we will be another decade away from this fateful day…let’s be changed for the better!

God Bless America!

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Filed under Blessings, Endurance, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, My "take", Priorities

And after you have suffered….

“I have never felt better in my life!”

“You are simply glowing!”

“You’re eating for two now…enjoy!”

“You look so cute!”

These are words said and heard by the majority of pregnant women during their season of childbirth. And so they should.  After all pregnancy is a normal & natural condition that women’s bodies are built for….right? Right! But not so much for me.  (I felt worse than ever, I never glowed, I could barely eat a thing and I looked more like “death warmed over”)

When I first became pregnant back in 1989, I fully expected to breeze right through pregnancy with energy and enthusiasm, never “missing a beat”.  After all, I was a high energy, “type A”, driven young woman who could run circles around many including the teenagers I taught in my job as a PE teacher and student council advisor…why would something as simple as a pregnancy slow me down? Despite my own mother sharing stories about her difficult pregnancies, I never anticipated being anything like her.  Was I ever in for the shock of my life!

Just a few weeks after announcing our good news to the world, I woke up one morning and found myself feeling very nauseous and immediately began heaving over the toilet.  Still I thought…”Oh just a little morning sickness, I can handle that”. Wrong! From that moment on I was nauseated 24/7, feeling like I was on a very bad roller coaster ride with no option of getting off.  I got sick morning, noon and night (why do they call it morning sickness anyway?) I tried every cure known to man and implemented advice from everyone I knew – eating small meals, crackers before rising, sucking on ginger, sea bands, lemons, Vitamin B6 shots and more…nothing worked.  To top it off I also had a rare and unpleasant symptom of pregnancy called Ptyalism – producing an incredible amount of excess saliva – and I had to carry around a cup or napkin that I spit into every few minutes (I know my Brookside students from that era are thinking…”ewwww, I remember that!).  It was simply….awful!  As the weeks turned into months I sunk deeper and deeper into sickness and despair.  I was weak and tired, losing over 20 pounds before finally being admitted into the hospital where I was on IV’s for five days and then being released to go home with my IV pole in tow and have home health care for another week.

The doctor kept saying that most women begin to feel better after 12 to 16 weeks so just — “hang in there” and it would soon be over. I had high hopes but after the 16th week came and went he simply said to me…”Well, a very few number of women continue to experience sickness until half way through their pregnancy.”  When I continued to be sick all day long after my appointment during my 22nd week he sighed and said with compassion…”Beth, unfortunately a very small rare group of women continue to be sick the entire 9 months of pregnancy” (less than 1%…lucky me).  At that point I quite expected to be sick the rest of my life and could even picture him saying after I gave birth..”Oh I am sorry, did I not tell you? Some women never get better until they die”.

Questions and depressing thoughts screamed in my head:

  • What had I gotten myself into?
  • Was this really worth it?
  • I do not know if I can actually do this for several more months?
  • I can’t do this another minute!
  • Why me God?
  • I would like to curl up and just die.

I was truly suffering everyday and every night for the entire pregnancy. Despite serious doubts to the contrary, I did survive and gave birth to my precious first-born daughter, Michelle Jennae (a day before her due date….and was I ever thankful for God’s grace in that circumstance as I was sure I would deliver a month late and have to suffer even longer).  When I held that beautiful baby girl in my arms and looked into her pure loving blue eyes the horror of the past nine months melted away and I whispered in her ear…”You are so00000 worth it!”

In fact she was so worth it that I have endured the same suffering six more times since that day (although I did experience some mild relief during my 7th pregnancy…thanks to newly approved pharmaceuticals for pregnancy sickness or maybe it was because I was pregnant with a boy that time, I will never know).  Besides being a great self-esteem builder in my children (who would not believe that they were deeply desired, loved and “soooo worth it” when they know the great suffering their momma endured to give them life), these awful pregnancies have truly molded and shaped me into who I am today.  I have learned great life lessons through those 63 months including:

  • Perseverance “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character and character produces hope and hope DOES NOT disappoint us because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”  Romans 5:3  I have truly learned patience and to persevere despite hardships, trials and tribulations. This has given me the strength and fortitude to persevere in my personal life, family trials, ministry and business hardships. I have in a sense developed very strong perseverance muscles. 🙂
  • Dependance on God  The apostle Paul was inflicted with a “thorn in his flesh” that he asked the Lord to take from him multiple times and He did not.  We too prayed and prayed and asked others to pray but the Lord did not choose to remove this sickness. Paul’s response was “God’s grace is sufficient for you for His power is perfected in weakness” 1 Corinthians 12:7-9.  I have always been an independent strong-willed person – relying greatly on my own strengths and talents.  God used my pregnancies to bring me to my knees and become more dependant on Him alone to be my strength.  I shudder to think who I may have become without being forced to rely on the sufficiency of Christ.
  • Compassion for others  Unless you have experienced a long-term illness, treatment, pain or disability that consumes your every waking moment you cannot truly relate to those who have suffered through it.  Having walked that road for a total of over 5 years of my life (nine months at a time) has given me a true compassion for those who are going through health and physical hardships as well as for their loved ones.  I pray for them with deep conviction.  I offer them practical help and service.  I simply let them know…I truly understand (and sometimes that is really what someone needs to hear from someone else who has “been there, done that” and lived to see another day).  2 Corinthians 1:4-6 says “God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”
  • Life is…Hard! <get over it>  Somehow I thought I deserved a “pass” on the hardships of life, that bad things shouldn’t happen to good people. Wrong!   “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:44  If I am going to ask  “Why me?” during the hardships of life…I need to ask “Why me?” in the midst of my many amazing blessings.  Hmmmmmm…there’s a thought.  Life at times is just plan hard….end of story.
  • Children are sooooo worth it! While I am confident that we all have our moments and sometimes even seasons when we would seriously question this statement and yet…..it is truth.  Our children are the single greatest blessing in Dan and my life. The love that I have for them is like none other…the closest thing that I can experience to God’s unconditional love.  I would sacrifice my own life for my children. Yes, they are worth every hardship, every pain, every disappointment, every challenge…they are my precious children.
  • Suffering will come to an end  No matter what I am going through, no matter how hard it is or how much I do not think I can take another minute…the fact is that it will come to an end.  With pregnancy sickness I knew more accurately when that end would arrive but in many other situations we do not have that comforting knowledge.  And in the midst of suffering we often can not imagine that there will ever be an end to it all.  But rest assured, it will end.  We will wake up one day whether here or on the other side with no more pain,  no more tears, no more disability, no more depression….no more suffering!

 “But after you have suffered for a while, the God of all grace who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you”  1 Peter 5:10

And so in hindsight it is easier to be thankful for my years of sickness. It is easier to see the fabulous end results.  It is easier to look back and appreciate all the good things in my life because of the suffering.  I wish I could say that in the midst of the suffering I was thankful, appreciative and could see “the big picture” or that I was filled with faith and hope.  While with each pregnancy I did a little better at being thankful, seeing the purpose in it all and being filled with faith…I still limped along trying my best to be a godly example and mostly failing and falling into the loving arms of the Lord who indeed carried me through.

If you are suffering today…fall into those same loving arms and let Him carry you!

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Filed under Determination, Endurance, Faith, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Motherhood, Overcoming

Times of Refreshing (Part 2)

Life….is hard.

When I look over my current prayer list and think about the many different circumstances that my friends, family and I are dealing with it can become overwhelming:

  • Horrendous, ongoing  and painful health issues
  • Loss of income, jobs  and financial worries
  • Broken and deeply damaged relationships
  • Challenges and changes in life and both unrest & fear about the future
  • Dealing with the gut wrenching pain of death & dying
  • Overall  exhaustion, weariness and stress

Can you relate to any of this happening in or around your life today?  Yes, life is hard.

Even as I sit in the comfort of a lounge couch on a cruise ship smoothly sailing over the open seas I am well aware of the depth of despair all around me as well as my personal current life challenges.  And yet I have peace in my mind, joy in my heart and satisfaction in my soul as I enjoy this amazing time of refreshment that is like a tall ice cold glass of fresh lemonade on a searing hot summer day.

It is because life is hard and often full of overwhelming exhaustion, worry and stress that we need to be refreshed regularly and the harder life is at any given moment the greater relief that refreshment brings.  This cruise however will all too soon come to an end and while the extended time away has been a blessing (see Times of Refreshing Part 1), I know that we all need regular times of refreshment in the midst of the craziness and often hardness of life.

What brings you regular refreshment?  Have you ever made a list of those things that refresh your spirit, nourish your soul and bring relief from the struggles of
life?  It would likely look different for each of us as we each have individual tastes, personalities and bents as well as different cultures and backgrounds.  As you think about what brings you refreshment, let me share with you my personal list:

  • Prayer – for me there is nothing better to bring peace than simply talking to God and listening to him speak to me through His still small comforting voice.  Now I can pray at anytime but if I truly get time alone to commune with the Lord….it refreshes my soul & lifts my spirit like no other. (Acts 3:19 – “times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord”)
  • Praise – I get completely lost in a perfect heavenly place when I sing praises to my Lord – it might be in church on Sunday, in the shower, on a walk or in my car driving with the volume turned all the way up in my CD player – but praise and worship always does an amazingly divine thing in my heart and life!
  • My morning coffee – especially if I get to actually sit down and enjoy it while reading my daily devotions.  For me coffee is a relaxing experience not a “buzz” (really! I can drink Espresso at 11pm at night and go right to bed…in fact I actually think it puts me to sleep…strange I know)
  • Afternoon Tea – a beautiful china tea cup along with delicious Paris tea and some mouth-watering cookies or scones listening to classical music nourishes my body and my soul. Whether I am alone with a good book or enjoying the conversation of my girls it is a perfect respite in daily life.

  • Walking in a beautiful place – now for some of you daily exercise brings you refreshment and that is great!  I however am not one of those people…but taking a walk in beauty does do that for me.  Just this morning I walked over a mile on the deck of the ship looking out at the massive ocean, rocky shoreline and occasionally seeing a porpoise splash through the waves. Now that was refreshing! (and yesterday we went on an amazing hike in Ketchikan)

  • Sleep –  yes just simply sleeping  in comfort and without interruption (quite an accomplishment if you are a mommy) for seven or eight hours straight is often all that is needed to be refreshed. Sounds easy and yet….
  • Touching  – one of my “love languages” is physical touch so snuggling in bed with my toddlers, walking hand in hand with my daughters, cuddling & kissing on the couch with my love and warm loving  hugs from dear friends and family all refresh my heart & soul

  • Massages – my all time favorite way to check out for an hour…if only I had more money (trying to convince one of my girls to become a massage therapist)  Of course I must tell you that my amazing husband does give me a foot massage almost every night of my life…I am blessed!
  • Hot Showers & Hot Tubs – for me there is something about hot water that clears my mind.  Since we don’t have a hot tub (on my dream list) the showers work on occasion (it is a rare thing where I can actually take an entire shower without someone needing something…but that day will come all too quickly when I will no longer be interrupted so I try not to let it bother me)
  • Candlelight & Fire Glow – If you have ever been to our house for dinner, you know that low lights and candles are a “staple”.  It is because candlelight for me brings everything down a notch.  All the craziness or loud noise of the day seems to settle down under the glow of the candles.  If I ever need to relax I find that of I turn off the lamps and light a few candles I feel the tension releasing.  Of course a glowing fire in the winter, soft music, a warm blanket and a good book is almost instant refreshment(especially if I am sitting next to Dan)

  • Lunch with a Friend – I am blessed with a dozen friends who I regularly enjoy a lunch or coffee date with.  They are uplifting, encouraging, passionate people who both renew & refresh me. I always come away from these times with great joy and fulfillment. (and so yes, I schedule them regularly)

  • Date Night – When I wake up & look at the calendar that says – “Date Night”, I instantly feel excited and look forward to a night of perfect relaxation & refreshment.  There is nothing better for me than a night out with the man who is not only my love and my partner for life but truly my best friend.  The deep conversations, the connection and the love shared fills me to overflowing. Falling asleep at night after praying with this man is also one of the most satisfying  & refreshing moments in my day.

  • The Beach – this is my place of pure delight and refreshment.  Of course if you know me at all, you already are well aware of this! The sand in my toes, the crashing of the waves, the breathtaking sunsets, the exhilarating walks, the gentle breezes…I love it all.  The sights, the sounds & the smells of the sea! Thankfully I can be there in a 2 hour drive from my front door as well as finding a true “refreshment & renewal” beach retreat where I actually get to live there for a month each year. (Lord willing)

Wow!  What a list….even as I was writing it all down I was amazed at the number of ways (and I even forgot to include dark chocolate, writing, flowers and album making on my list of things that bring me refreshment!) that I have on a regular basis to be refreshed and renewed even in the midst of “normal” life (ie: not on an amazing refreshing Alaskan Cruise with my love that included just about everything on the above list). And I am sure that your list is or will soon be just as plentiful.

If you are in the midst of life being hard or you are feeling overwhelmed with worry, exhaustion or stress…take some time out today or tomorrow or this weekend to do something to refresh your mind, your soul and your spirit.  Let the Lord touch your life and His perfect peace fill you to overflowing in the midst of your challenging circumstances.

Some scriptures that may encourage & inspire you as you seek to be refreshed –

  • “Do not worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God your needs & do not forget to thank Him for His answers. And  the peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your heart & mind in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4:6-7
  • “You will keep him in perfect peace,Whose mind is stayed on You,Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3
  • “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You;  My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You  In a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary to see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.” Psalm 63:1-5
  • Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired.  His understanding is inscrutable.  He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power.  Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly,  Yet those who wait for the LORD  Will gain new strength;  They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired,  They will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:28-31

May you be richly blessed with  “times of refreshing that come from the presence of the Lord”.

If you want to post a comment and share some of the things that refresh you…we would all love to hear!

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Filed under Endurance, Faith, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Overcoming

Deep breathing

I finally figured it out!

Yes, after twenty years of motherhood it has finally hit me what the real purpose of the Lamaze classes were, that I took prior to the birth of my first child.  Just in case you have not yet experienced labor & delivery and you think that the purpose of these classes is to help you get through the pain of childbirth by implementing breathing & relaxation techniques, let me set the record straight.

Now, I am sure that there are a precious few who would “swear” by the effectiveness of  these breathing methods – but I am not one of them.  Just a few hours into labor after almost hyperventilating and after being given pitocin which effectively slams you into intense labor instantly, I screamed nastily at my sweet husband — “YOU BREATHE!” , as he was trying to coach me in these techniques. (a few minutes later I spit water in his face – nice, huh?)  I have never taken those classes again but have used various ways to get through my six following labors, including but not limited to – squeezing the living daylights out of my husbands hand, digging my fingernails into his arm, grabbing the nurses by the shirt (truly embarrassing), moaning, groaning, griting my teeeth, writhing and of course my personal favorite – EPIDURALS!

But just this past week it became perfectly clear to me why up & coming Mommies need to learn breathing techniques and it has nothing to do with the birthing process.

It is much more useful for the parenting process that will follow.

This last week I had an opportunity to put those breathing techniques into practice when, in the blink of an eye, our peaceful morning turned into a disaster.  After cooking the kids a delicious breakfast of french toast for a Friday morning treat – we were happily going about our morning routine of chores and school work when…..CRASH!  I looked up and saw that my beautiful 21 month old baby boy had pulled our 19 inch  TV & stand down onto his head. I jumped up from my seat just five feet from where he was lying and immediately began to panic as he started screaming with blood pouring out of his mouth.  My pulse shot through the roof (as I am sure my blood pressure did too), my mind began to race and I tried to make a quick decision as to the best course of action.  Do I call 911? Do I rush him to the ER? What do I do with the little ones here at home?  Do I take them with me? Should I call a friend or rush over to the neighbors and ask them to drive me to the hospital or watch the kids? As my robe became soaked with blood and the sobs of baby boy increased I began to panic and then…..breathe.  My clear minded 13 year old daughter called her Dad and in an instant he was headed home to take us to the hospital.  And during that eternal 15 minute wait….I breathed…. and breathed…. and breathed along with calling on the name of Jesus for help.

After it was all over (and we are praising the Lord that the worst of his injuries were five stitches, several bruises and a lost front tooth – no head injuries, concussion, facial fractures or permanent damage), my ten year old was recounting the story of the morning and sharing how Mommy was breathing really heavy during it all.  That is when it hit me – Lamaze!  That is really what those classes are for – all the crisis times you are sure to have for years after giving birth to a child!

And it is probably a good thing they don’t tell you at that time in life when you are anticipating the birth of your first child,  that you will truly need to learn to “breathe”  as a parent, because you just might have to –

  • wave goodbye as they wheel your child down the hall behind closed doors into surgery
  • listen to a life threatening or terminal diagnosis for your precious child
  • watch your child writhing in pain after an injury or accident
  • get a phone call from the hospital informing you that you need to come down right away
  • see your star athlete go down for the count and not get up
  • hold them in your arms as they cry after a heartbreaking disappointment or defeat
  • feel like you are going to go mad with all the bickering, stubbornness or bad behavior you deal with daily
  • sit by the clock that is slowly clicking, hours past their curfew and wondering if they are dead or alive
  • watch as rebellion, disobedience  or bad judgement bring them tragic  or life altering results
  • kiss them goodbye as they leave to fight for their country
  • endure being separated from them by distance, disappointment or disagreement
  • or God forbid if you lose them to death at any age (we as parents are suppose to go first!)

In fact, I never remember anyone sharing with me that children would bring into my life such intense heartache and pain.   Would I do it all again if I knew the pain and suffering I would have to endure?  Would I do it again even if it turned ugly or tragic?  Would I do it all again even if I lose my child to death?  

  • Absolutely!
  • Definitely!
  • Without a doubt! 
  • In a heartbeat!
  • No questions asked! 
  • Yes!  Yes! Yes!

Why? Because the love, joy and utter fulfillment my children have brought to my life is worth every bit of pain, heartache, dissapointment or suffering I have ,or will in the future , have to endure.  They are worth it all!

I will just have to remember my Lamaze training and my faith….breathe deeply and call on the name of Jesus! (and perhaps get a relaxing massage – I sure could use one after Friday – Whew!)

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Filed under Endurance, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Motherhood, Parenting

Just another Monday morning

Just another Monday morning…..

….coffee brewing, exercises looming, chores to be completed, phones ringing, bags to be unpacked from the weekend scrapbooking event, a very full weekly calendar staring at me, hundreds of emails to answer, the girls whizzing about the house getting breakfast, doing school work, fussing with each other and wanting me to referee and of course the never ending list in front of me of “things to do, people to see, and places to go”!

Yes, just another normal Monday morning at the Lambdins yet something is very different in my heart.  With each and every mundane, routine part of my morning, I am reminded of how very blessed I am on this Monday to be here at home living my “normal” life.

You see for the past week life has been anything but routine or normal.  Our precious 17 month old baby boy Daniel, contracted a serious staph infection that turned our life into one filled with doctors, nurses, medications, IV’s, monitors, blood draws, testing, hospital gowns, masks & gloves.  I spent four days in the hospital  – holding him, comforting him, sleeping with him and praying, praying, praying for his complete healing.

And as of this Monday morning, Daniel’s health has been restored, Dan the man has headed back to work, the high school girls are in school, the rest of us are here at home, life is back to normal….and am I ever glad!  It is at times like these that we can  really appreciate the normalcy of our everyday lives.  Things could have been much different this morning – we could have still been in the hospital, Daniel could still be sick or worse yet he could have not recovered.  I am so glad that I am sitting here with chores needing to be done, multitudes of things needing attending to, errands to run, phones that need to be answered and even girls who are fussing with each other over chores.  I can’t help but smile through all the “normalcy”.  Daniel is home! Daniel is healthy! Daniel is happy!

Just another Monday morning?

No…not quite, today despite everything on my plate – the never ending “to do list” and the often exhausting, overwhelming and even at times mundane job of being a Mommy and manager of my home, while also working my home based business – I am full of gratitude as well as a realization and reminder to not take the “normal” for granted but to embrace each and everyday with all that it brings.

As you walk through the routines, embrace the challenges and enjoy the journey of your life with all its twists and turns today – take a deep breath, look around you and thank the Lord for this day that He has given to you with all its “normalcy”.  We truly do not know what tomorrow may bring – so let’s all enjoy just another Monday morning.

P.S. – Thank you for all of your wonderful prayers, notes, emails, phone calls as well as the practical support of bringing meals, driving the girls to their many activities and taking care of business for us.  We are so very blessed by you all!

 
 
 
 
 

 

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Filed under Attitude, Blessings, Endurance, Life at the Lambdins

The peaceful progression

This is how things have progressed since my post yesterday –

  • Daniel’s abscess became worse
  • Went back to the doctor who took one look and admitted us to the hospital
  • Stopped by the house for an overnight bag and to kiss the sisters
  • Checked into the hospital (always an ordeal)
  • IV’s inserted – which is a major feat with an infant
  • Antibiotic drip started
  • Surgeon comes in to explain what they will be doing to drain abscess
  • Family members stop by for support & prayer
  • Daniel is wheeled into the Operating Room – not very happy about leaving Mommy & Daddy
  • We wait on the floor outside OR
  • Surgeon comes out – reports surgery went well and that Daniel has 3.5 feet of packing inside the wound….where can 3.5 feet of anything fit into a 23 pound, 31 inch baby…that is what I want to know?
  • He is in recovery, we wait in the hallway

  • Back in his room post op – they hook him up to heart monitors, oxygen reading thingy, bp cuff – none of which he is happy about.
  • Mom takes pictures…why?  Because she takes pictures of everything (well almost – I have yet to take photos of my dirty dishes – but I am sure the day is coming)

  • He is groggy and doesn’t feel well – a very sick little guy
  • 11pm – Daddy heads home to take care of the sisters

  • Mom gets to “sleep” in a hard recliner while trying to comfort sweet baby in between getting poked and prodded all night by the nursing staff and having machine alarms constantly going off (what is the point of an alarm anyway if you don’t respond to it for 30 minutes? If I didn’t respond to my kitchen timer alarm – I would burn the dinner.  I do not get it.)
  • Mom does not sleep
  • Mom prays – for family friends and strangers – one whose baby is facing much more serious health problems, another who is having several post partum complications, others with finacial woes and relationship strains, wisdom for the single mom raising her teenage daughter alone and my mom who had knee replacement surgery yesterday
  • It is morning now – Daniel is still fairly fussy, mostly sleeping and is not interested in eating or drinking
  • We await to see what today will bring
  • Mom could use a Starbucks coffee (so much for the “fat face” plan this week – good thing I’ve learned to be flexible)
  • The perfect peace that passes all understanding continues to permeate my heart and mind….thank you Lord! Thank you all for your love, support, concern & prayers

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Filed under Endurance, Life at the Lambdins, Lifes Challenges