Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Most decidedly not emergent...

I just finished reading "Why We're Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be)" by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck. I've heard a lot about the "emergent church" but knew little about it. And I've heard a lot about "postmodernism" but couldn't even really tell you what "modernism" is, let alone realize that we're already past it.

Anyway, I am refreshingly enlightened and feel quite astute now that I have completed the book, and could probably participate in a mildly elementary conversation about what it means to be emergent and postmodern. I could probably apply the sentence, "Oh, how postmodern of you" in a witty exchange and have it make sense. Whilst sipping a frothy latte and wearing a tshirt with a picture of Bono on it.

But since I am not quite in the ballpark enough to engage in a cerebral tete-a-tete regarding the (apparent lack of) doctrine and theology of the emergent culture vs. the traditional church...I won't. I will say that I highly recommend the book to anyone who is wondering what it means to be "emergent" and even more highly to anyone in general who doesn't realize the impact it has on the culture of believers in particular. If you don't think it's having an impact, think again. It's having a good impact in many, many, many ways, and it's having a negative impact in many others. So buyer beware: still a good idea to search for and know Truth, as it is a precious gem. I have to say that it's a heady read with very large words, but about halfway through it I was starting to track with him. Kevin DeYoung has cred in my book. I know him from college. He was my boyfriend's roommate. This dude LOVED theology. Like, incredibly. He would spend HOURS poring over theology books and things about John Calvin and Martin Luther and all kinds of other dudes whose writings I can't wrap my mind around. His professors would put caps on how long his papers could be - usually 60-70 pages. He had, like, Jonathan Edwards action figures on his desk (can you picture it? This fiery preacher behind a pulpit whose eyes light up when you push a button and shouts exerpts from "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God??" I'm kidding about that. But wouldn't that be funny?). You think I'm joking. I jest not. So as much as we kind of sniggered over his Saturday night paper-writings (he was having an absolute ball at it, mind you), I can vouch for the fact that this guy is grounded and knows his stuff. His partner in crime is a journalist and his chapters are refreshingly down-to-earth and far easier to read. It's a good balance.

Anyway, I won't wax about the emergent movement or postmodernism because I still can't, so I'll just suffice to say that all the more I love and appreciate our dear church. Our unsexy, un- emo, very traditional church. Where there are still pews lined with hymnals, brass chandeliers (not gonna lie, we kind of balked and snickered the first time we visited), and coffee in the fellowship hall between Sunday School and church (you could probably make a latte if you use enough of those cheap little creamers, I guess). The Gospel is still central. Our church body cares for the poor, serves the underprivileged, and is becoming increasingly mission-oriented. While not perfect, we DO "do life" together. There is accountability. If Matt and I were having huge issues (or even small ones) in our marriage, I can think of several couples off the top of my head that we could call at any hour and receive counsel and prayer. If something in my life is off, other women have tenderly spoken truth to me to get me back on track. As soon as there is a need, people are climbing all over themselves to help fill it. Our pastors are grounded in sound doctrine. Even the music is carefully chosen to ensure it reflects sound biblical truth. I just appreciate that so much. I am so grateful for this evidence of God's grace in our lives.

On this side of heaven, no church will be perfect, least of all ours. It IS full of hypocrites, myself being the first in line. I am ALWAYS saying one thing and doing another, and then at the end of the day I'm like, "Oh my WORD - I did it AGAIN?!" But hypocrites like me are offered hope and forgiveness and eternal life through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ our Lord. I am so grateful that God tossed this little resource my way to help me wrap my mind around what a gift it is to be part of a body that is so precious and unwavering.


Maybe it's not the most rational, but I have my first OB checkup tomorrow, and I'm a little nervous. Just like I was nervous about the ultrasound because during my last pregnancy the ultrasounds were awful, I'm just nervous about my appointment because, well, last time I had an OB appointment I thought things were okay...and then they weren't. Clearly, this time I have a little more assurance that things are okay :), but still...will you pray for me? I don't even know what they do during a first trimester appointment, if I'll have to have another pelvic or what. And even if she tries to hear the heartbeat on the Doppler, it might not even be detected because it's still quite early and that baby is pretty teeny. (I'm nine weeks tomorrow!!!)

Nonetheless, I've been feeling okay, have plenty of "signs" that things are chugging along appropriately (nausea, strange feelings in my tummy, etc), and serve a God whose plans cannot be thwarted. So hopefully tomorrow goes just fine!!


Kind of makes me want to toss my cookies, literally and figuratively....


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Double yer pleasure!

Okay, so it's a double-post day. Double post days occur when I'm just brimming over with something to write, or I'm very bored, or just plain unproductive in any other area.

Now that I have made my confession, I have to admit that I feel supremely unproductive. I know I need to enjoy it and just go with it, but still....so supremely unproductive. Normally, I'm leaping out of bed around 6 on my days off, and I'm off and running and have my entire house cleaned, the dog walked, etc. by like 9. Now I haul my butt out of bed a little later than that (not a lot, though..."sleeping in" to me is 7 or 7:30), sit on the couch and sip my tea and stare dazedly into space and pet the dog, and hopefully by 2pm I've managed to spot-clean the house, walk the dog, and take a shower. And I understand that when there's a kiddo here, the last three things I mentioned will be a thing of the past as well, so I may as well get used to it!!

So a lot of people have been fussing at me to write a book. ;) Sorry masses, but I don't plan to write an actual book. You know, if I write a book, I'll have to throw myself at a publisher, and then millions of people will buy it, and then I'll have speaking engagements all over the country and everyone will want a piece of me, and I don't think I can handle that. BUT, I think it would be fun to kind of freelance. My friend Susanne and I spent an evening at Barnes and Noble a couple months ago poring over Writer's Market 2010, which includes the publications that are seeking manuscripts, who does and doesn't accept freelance writings, how much they pay, etc etc. But I left more overwhelmed than inspired...I mean, this is a totally different world, this writing world I'm looking at! It has its own code of etiquette, things that are totally cool and uncool to do. And I'm like, what? Doesn't nursing provide enough weirdness for my life, without me wanting to add more??

And then there's the problem of this persistent issue of writerus blockus, which all-too-frequently invites itself into my brain and kicks back for a nice long visit. I can think of a great number of things to write about - a few of them nursing-related, so I could probably get a neat little piece of real estate in a small nursing journal or magazine, but as soon as I sit down to do so, I freeze up. Like, I sit and stare at a blank screen. And then I flip my computer over to my blog, open up a "new post" page, stare at it for a few seconds, and the words fly. I guess my blog is kind of like talking to a good old friend, where no matter what you say, no one really cares how it comes out. Trying to write for something more specific, however, is like being on an awkward blind date where you really don't want to rip a hole in the universe by saying something fantastically idiotic.

So that's my dilemma as of late. If I could get into my groove, I totally might summon the courage to submit it. And from what I hear, a blog is a great place to start, because you already have samples of your writing as well as an audience. So for those of you who have been fussing at me to write something (I'm poking at you out of love, that's all!), I really am trying. My husband's been on my case about it since, oh, before we got married. I brushed him off, just like I've been brushing of all y'all. But I AM thinking of trying, it's just that I'm a little scared, a little shy, and...well, right now, a little less motivated. But it's on my radar. Just wanted to let you know.

Coming clean

I guess I need to come clean. I've been holding out on my online community, but most people already know....

I'm pregnant!

Eight weeks, to be exact.

I feel kind of dumb telling people so early, but after my friend Erinn and her husband told our church, I felt like we should too. We need prayers more than we need privacy...and if something were to happen again, it's not like I wouldn't tell you anyway!!

But I'm so afraid.

People miscarry all the time, and then go on to have healthy babies. I know that. It's just hard to believe that that would happen to me. I definitely feel differently this time, but it seems like if you're not dramatically ill, dramatically fatigued, dramatically pregnant...well, then, maybe you're not. It seems like everyone I know was throwing back handfuls of Zofran and wearing a Bella band by the time they were like four days pregnant, and, well, I'm not. Some days I'm really fatigued, but on most I'm fine. Some days I feel disgustingly ill, but on most, I don't. Sometimes I have zero appetite, and by the next hour, I'm acting like I've never eaten in my life! Some days, I feel like Dolly Parton. On others, I feel like Jennifer Aniston. Has anyone else experienced this? Or were you all dramatically pregnant too??

Don't get me wrong, I (and Matt) are VERY excited!! We've received so much encouragement, that that in itself has been a huge blessing. We saw a heartbeat on an ultrasound last week and Matt's jaw about fell to the floor. :) Flick-flick-flick-flick-flick...this little thingy inside of me had one distinguishable feature: a blinking little heart. So simple, and so profound. So....present! But the stakes are so much...higher. We so want this baby. We so want this baby to whole and here and well.

It just shows the utter dependence I have on Christ...to keep my mind from wandering. To keep me from fear and worry. To help me sleep at night (I had first-trimester insomnia for about three weeks, but it seems like it's getting better, thankfully!). I can do nothing to thwart His plans!!! He has been so gracious to give me "good days" when I so badly need them - when I'm on a road trip to see family, or when I'm working twelve hours and going into rooms full of people who smell like they've never washed their feet in their entire lives...and usually my most icky days happen to be when I'm at home. :)

So I know you're rejoicing with us! Thank you! Please also pray that I will be released from the burden of worry and fear and waiting for the other shoe to drop. I want to look back on this pregnancy and remember that it was marked with joy!! And no matter what, the Lord is in control, and nothing I can do will thwart His plans. He is the giver of ALL good things!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Romans 12:9-21

Let love be genuine.

Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.

Love one another with brotherly affection.

Outdo one another in showing honor.

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Contribute to the needs of the saints and show hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.

Live in harmony with one another.

Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.

Never be wise in your own sight.

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."

To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink, for by doing so you will heap burning coals on his head.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I'm so sorry it took me so long to write again! Sometimes I just hit a wall and can't think of anything fun or deep or intriguing to say. And sometimes what I do want to say is quite often snarky or sarcastic, and there's enough snark and sarcasm in the blogosphere. But believe you me, I could write some really funny, sarcastic posts if I allowed myself...but it would probably be a career-limiting move...

Anyway, life is pretty good over in this corner of the Midwest. The snow is melting, the rain is here, the temps are up, Matt passed his big CCNP test, my sweet friends are having sweet babies, Tulip Time is around the corner (I LOVE Tulip Time!), my clothesline is just BEGGING to be draped with laundry (soon! Very soon!)...things are just good.

But hearts continue to break around us.

One of my friends went through two miscarriages this past year. And not only were they miscarriages, they were ectopic pregnancies (you may have heard them called "tubal pregnancies"). With an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg doesn't travel down the fallopian tube and nestle in the uterus as planned. That naughty little egg might implant right in the ovary, in the fallopian tube, right at the tippy-top of the uterus where the fallopian tube empties into it, or in very bizarre circumstances, it might even detour to someplace OUTSIDE of the uterus entirely. Clearly, this is a problem. A baby cannot happily grow in any other place than the good ol' womb. An ectopic pregnancy always ends in a miscarriage at best, can render a woman's womb scarred and infertile, and can be life-threatening to the mother at worst. There is no way to salvage the pregnancy. Once the egg has implanted, it claims squatting rights and doesn't budge, nor can it be budged. It will continue to grow until the space no longer allows it, and then it will rupture its chosen surroundings. Not a good scenario.

My friend's first two pregnancies were ectopic. Devastating.

This past Sunday, it was announced that my friend and her husband found out that she was pregnant again. In an amazing picture of Christ's body at work, we as a congregation gathered around this sweet couple to pray for them, their baby, and a much better outcome.

Within days, she miscarried again.

I'm not in the driver's seat. I as the created cannot look at my Creator and understand why. I have to cling to the fact - the FACT - that God is good, and His ways are not ours. But why? Why? Why does this couple, in whose home Grief has already overstayed his welcome, have to usher him back in again?

But these dear friends already see God's kindness in this heartbreaking circumstance. It's not another tubal pregnancy. No, this time, it was...

...an empty sac.

Oh, that darn empty sac. It's like going to a party for someone you love more than anyone in the world...and you get in the door and the lights are on and the streamers are up and the cake is on the table...but where is the guest of honor? You look from side to side, up and down, and start frantically running from room to room. The silence is eerie. The wand keeps running from one side of your gelled belly to the next. Where did they go?? Where did th....oh. Oh. That's where they're supposed to be. The party was planned but the one you love never showed up.

But praise the Lord, there was something - something - growing in her womb. In her womb! Now, that is uncharted territory for them. Even in the midst of this loss, they are thanking God that this one at least ended up in the right place.

How like them to count it all joy, what they are going through. Losing a baby is NOT easy. The second you pee on that stick, you can't help but start to plan and dream and wonder. And then you lose it, but the world around you dares to move right on without you. But we can still count it all joy. I struggle with that. I tend to count it all fear when I face many trials.

But hope is blooming! The world brazenly does move on, but it does take us along with. Tulips are pushing up out of a ground that was just blasted with snow only a few weeks ago. Babies are coming out of mothers who were only a year ago told they might never have them. Our God is a God of victory over death, who proves that in spite of the fact that while things break down, life pushes back to the surface - and never in vain. Always perfect. Always exquisite. Always hopeful.


For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,

from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,

that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith -

that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have the strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the

and length
and height
and depth,

and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 4:14-21 (Susanne prayed that for me when we had our loss.)

I pray that the Lord will fill your house with children.