29 December 2010

Patience

"To wait is not merely to remain impassive. It is to expect--to look for with patience, and also with submission. It is to long for, but not impatiently; to look for, but not to fret at the delay; to watch for, but not restlessly; to feel that if he does not come, we will acquiesce, and yet to refuse to let the mind acquiesce in the feeling that he will not come."


- Dr. A.B. Davidson, Waiting on God (quoted in The Hidden Life of Prayer by David McIntyre)



I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and I would love to hear from you through comments!Teresa (Tracy) Dear

10 December 2010

Generational Pattern

My daughter was in counseling for a while to help her deal with anxiety (fear). I was considering taking my son to the same counselor to help him learn techniques to deal with anger. Who do they remind me of?

No matter my struggle to deal with fear Biblically, my daughter still does. No matter what I try to teach him about anger, my son still slams doors and clenches his fists.

We hung out with a nice Christian family (I don't consider us to be a "nice" family, I guess) yesterday. Their three year old stared in shock at my 5 year old when she didn't come the first time I called. Their ten year old stared in confusion when my oldest two were sniping back and forth and bickering over Lego game rules.

I'm tired of people praising me with the modifier "for your situation" all the time.

I am just always surprised to see how disfunctional we are sometimes. Argh. This morning I took my youngest two to the grocery store on a bagel run. No, they hadn't had breakfast yet. Two meltdowns. Not a pretty picture walking back to the car.

But then James came home from his VA disability appointment. He had a sleep study to verify if he had sleep apnea. The nurse told him that they would monitor him for three hours and then wake him up and put him on a CPAP machine if neccessary. When he was awakened he asked her if he passed. She said that, no, he actually failed miserably, that only 30 minutes had elapsed and he had stopped breathing so many times that they were putting him on the CPAP then.

That is great news! He will get a machine next month and it's nearly certain that his disability will be adjusted. But BEST OF ALL, he got a full night's sleep last night and woke this morning refreshed and optimistic. When he did so poorly on the test he realized anew that I've been keeping him alive for 9 years.

I didn't know this till recently, but

Major signs and symptoms of sleep apnea:


  • Loud and chronic snoring
  • Choking, snorting, or gasping during sleep
  • Long pauses in breathing
  • Daytime sleepiness, no matter how much time you spend in bed

Other common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Morning headaches
  • Restless or fitful sleep
  • Forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
  • Moodiness, irritability, or depression

This sounds JUST LIKE James. How exciting to think that a CPAP could improve our lives so much! He was cheerful, hopeful, and laughing. His face was open and inviting. It was so nice.

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!Teresa (Tracy) Dear




08 December 2010

Early to Rise


God making us a beautiful sunrise each morning and us sleeping through it is like making a cup of coffee for a loved one that it is left to become cold.

God longs for us to meet with him each day and pour out our worries and hopes. If we slighted our friends and family like that for months soon we would be left alone.

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and I would love to hear from you through comments!Teresa (Tracy) Dear










05 October 2010

Good Pride

I am so proud of my man lately. He has been taking steps that are really adding up! Let me brag on him for a minute.

  • He watched all four kids for the first time ever while I went away on women's retreat for 2 days!
  • He took the kids to small group for church- by himself- when I had a homeschool meeting- and it was "our" first visit!
  • He spontaneously helped some guy unload chairs at church
  • He has been serving on the usher team for over a month!
  • He signed up to be a part of the breakdown team for the local elementary school's harvest party- from 9:30 till midnight
  • He's been home a ton- not out wandering
  • He's been parenting the kids and loving on them.
  • He's been cooking for me! (want more of that? read these cooking love stories)
On a sad note, he interviewed a week ago for a job and we were really hopeful. It turns out he did not get it. I'm hoping we can learn what God's plan is on this side of heaven. Oh that I could KNOW the truth of Psalm 27:13,14

I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.

Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.


I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!Teresa (Tracy) Dear

22 September 2010

Human Trafficking


I'm honored that you would read
New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!Teresa (Tracy) Dear

14 September 2010

Hermine

Tropical Storm Hermine: the story of the flooding of my house last week.

Tuesday morning it was already raining when we woke up... and it continued to rain all day, all night, and into the next day. The creek behind our house was full again, and the chickens were miserable. We put a tarp over their coop and went to bed. At 11:30, my husband and I put on our rainjackets and grabbed the flashlight and went in the back to see how the creek looked. So, it was still full. Racing by, but not overflowing the banks or anything. We headed to bed.

At 1 a.m. we jumped up because someone knocked on our door! There was no one there, so my husband "checked the perimeter," peeking out the windows and checking the locks. We went back to bed. I got up briefly at 1:30 a.m. because I thought the sprinklers had gone on. At 1:45 our computer speaker started making a popping noise and James got out of bed and his feet landed in about 3 inches of water. Soon it had doubled. We moved the four kids (ages 9, 7, 4, 2) and two of the dogs (the old dog sat on his chair the entire ordeal, barely noticing as we raced back and forth) to our bed. I put the kids scrapbooks up to higher shelves, and then moved paper-wrapped bags of wheat and rice to the top of the piano and kitchen table until the water started receding after 3 a.m. Then, my dad arrived from across town and we went with him to his house, where we are still staying.

Our house is one story and inside, the water got to about 6-7 inches. In the backyard, it was a raging, 5-6 foot deep river and in the front it was about a foot deep but really fast. When we looked across the street at our neighbor's dry yard and house, we wondered if we'd have to carry the kids over there if the water continued to rise. In the backyard, our 12 X 20 shed moved 60 feet, plowing over the chicken coop and smashing it against some trees. Then it landed on top of the disc-gold goal and stopped. Thankfully, the doors didn't open and it wasn't washed clean.

We went back "home" Wednesday morning to survey the damage. The force of water is so impressive! We didn't recognize the backyard. As we approached the shed, we saw the disc golf goal peeking out from underneath like the Wicked Witch of the East, but not before we found an intact egg. Six of our 8 chickens survived, looking more miserable and waterlogged than we had last seen them (envision those wet cat pictures on the internet).

We have been overwhelmed by the situation and the action of our church family and homeschool group. I made one call Wednesday morning at about 8:30 and had a steady outpouring of help and love all day. I think about 35 people personally helped us from the body of Christ. Our Real Life group (a new group that met for the first time last Wednesday) came by and served us as we met for the first time. Our homeschool group has been amazing. All our bedding, curtains and the clothes have been taken and washed. Then, so many people took all our books, framed art, scrapbooks, pictures and files to a friend's empty apartment (up 17 steps two times!) to be kept dry from the humidity. We have a lot of books and only lost a few shelves' worth. A man we didn't know, yet, Scott, vacuumed silty water from our house for about 6 hours. Another friend ran the show like a capable general all day because I was sort of useless and slow. Friday, Steve and 17- year old Tyler took all the heavy, wet carpet and padding out of the house. Saturday, men from the church came over and emptied my husband's shed and city workers and volunteers cleared debris and stripped the siding off the shed.

I can't explain really well the feeling you get when you see building debris, ruined furniture, and trash in your friend's and neighbor's front yards. To see front-end loaders dumping it in construction dumpsters parked beside familiar cars. To see police, firemen, church volunteers, disaster specialists, and neighbors asking how they can help and what they can do. Little kids pulling wagons loaded with cold water and sandwiches.

Michelle, Angie, Leslie, Shalanda, Kevin, BJ, Niesha, Nina, Carla, Karen, Jeff, Tina, Jessica, Christine, Christina, Sommer, Barie, Laura, Mike, Kevin, Chris, Blake- new friends I can't remember their names and all the kids who pitched in- its so many to thank. Just their presence, their words, their box of trash bags- they are so appreciated. It's not that it was a big or small task, but that they took the effort to do it for us. As the house has been manhandled in the name of drying it and preventing mold, we have been figuring out what our plan is for the next few weeks... more later.

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!Teresa (Tracy) Dear

06 September 2010

Powerpoint Prayer Presentations

Joan of Arc by Dante Gabriel


Tomorrow is my girls' first Keepers meeting (their scouts) and you may recall that I am the "spiritual leader" for the older girls. For September's scripture, I decided on Joshua 1:9.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

It's pretty short, so I'm going to bring index cards and have them write it out twice. Once to keep in the car or their purse and one for home as a bookmark. I'm going to tell them about how courage is important in so many aspects of their lives: witnessing to others, making new friends, befriending new/unpopular kids, dealing with pushy people who try to change your values or convictions, or for when you have to stick to your beliefs when it is hard.

This next part is sort of blog cheating because I didn't come up with this post. But it was so good, and so fun to read (I like humor) that I had to share an amazing post with a lesson for all us bloggers who think we need to catch God up on the background details before we actually get down to what we'd like to pray about. "Lamb"



I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments! Teresa (Tracy) Dear

31 August 2010

Listening

The school and its extracurricular clubs have started up. As homeschoolers, we meet not so much for the club aspect as the friendships that accompany them. One of the clubs we do is called "Keepers of the Faith" and the other is "Contenders for the Faith." They are the girls and boys versions, respectively, of a kind Christian scouting program.

This year I am the "Spiritual Leader" of my daughter's Keepers group. I will spend the next week listening for God to tell me which scripture I should propose for the girls to memorize. This group is ages 9-16.

I need to do a concordance study for the word trust too. I've been relying on myself when I shouldn't. Was reading John 15 and felt a little like the dried up vine. Just need to abide more consiously!

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!Teresa (Tracy) Dear


12 August 2010

Wonderful Praises

Well, hello... thanks for coming back! I have gotten some comments recently- even a note on Facebook! from readers that actually wanted to interact with me. Wow. It's so exciting to hear from some of you. It really encourages me to come back and write again.

Here's the latest news: James, who lost his job last November, found out about something called the post 9/11 GI Bill. In addition to paying for your school costs, it also pays a stipend to cover bills so you can focus on studying. Ours is enough to cover the rent and the car payment! So half of our problems solved.

Hopefully, the other half of our problems will get fixed as the weather here in Texas (heat index of 110* lately!) cools off and more people have weddings that need catered, so the catering companies will call him to work more often.

I know you will rejoice with me when you hear THIS news: James went with me to a foster care certification class this month!!! He is getting his TB test (ok, it's for his college course, but we need it for foster too!) and talking much more readily about it with me.

I actually went and talked to the girl who teaches the class to ask her if I am crazy. I feel a maternal, crazy strong pull to a sibling group in Dallas. It's a brother and sister, I've never met them, but I think about them all the time. I even looked up how to get an extra seat for my van so I can fit everybody. She said many times, those are the kids you are supposed to have, and many times they are just the tool that finally gets you to come in and start the certification process. I don't know, I just know that they updated their picture online and they are so big now, I feel like I'm missing important parts of their life.

When my firstborn smiled up at me one day and I saw a little white line of her first tooth, involuntary tears sprang to my eyes as I realized how fast the time was passing. The same thing happened when I saw the new picture of these two online. *Sniff*



I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!Teresa (Tracy) Dear

04 August 2010

Still Here!

Not to much to say that I can put into words before bed. Bedtime comes so quickly when I'm this tired. I donated some sleep time to the maintenance of my home and I'm just done for the day. I wanted to just say hi, I'm still here, to those of you that mentioned that you miss new posts when you check back. Glad to know that there is someone out in blogland reading me! I have a little list of stuff I'd like to share, and I'm going to get on it this week. Thanks for thinking of me!

I've been working full time at a local daycare until James starts school Aufgust 23rd. The GI Bill gives us a housing allotment so hopefully our struggle with unemployment will ease some. My heart has been hurting with all I have been seeing in the daycare system, how the parents and kids (and teachers too) struggle.

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!Teresa (Tracy) Dear

28 June 2010

My Dream Car


What does it mean that I desperately want a white 10-passenger van? What is the underlying desire that makes this behemoth car so appealing to me? I've been pondering it, and have come to some conclusions.


The external, easily enunciated reason that I want such a van is so that I can fill it up with children. MY children. The children I've had myself, and the sibling groups I've adopted from the foster care system in our country. So they'll all have a safe spot to sit, and we can go places together.

However, this is such a "Pipe Dream" right now that I was delving a little more deeply into why on earth I cling to this desire... and I decided that having such a van would be a visible sign of God-ordained spiritual and emotional growth in my husband. Having a van this "out of the ordinary" would mean that he doesn't care what others think of him. It would mean that he would welcome children who need a home into ours. It would mean that he was providing for our needs. It would mean so many things.

And that's why I really want one.
I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!Teresa (Tracy) Dear

25 June 2010

Angry Moms


I am reading a good book right now... it's one about angry Christian moms.


Yeah, angry moms that are Christians. Uh-huh, women, with children, who love the Lord and yet still are impatient, frustrated, and MAD and sinfully direct those emotions toward their children.

The book is called She's Gonna Blow!: Real Help for Moms Dealing with Anger. I'm enjoying it, as much as I can, when it's hitting close to home. I'm comforted that I have many of her suggested scriptures already written on cards to help me keep them in mind... but then again, not so comforted because obviously I haven't had a total change of heart!

The author, Julie Ann Barnhill, quoted a friend who said this: "Many Christian moms feel guilty about being 'bad' mothers because they are angry with their children, but they don't always connect their anger with their sinfulness-- and so they miss out on the remedy."

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8,9

Another thing she said, which I have to keep in mind all the time with my strong-willed third child, is that "God did not give you your (child) so you could 'fix' him or whip him into shape. God gave you your (child) to make you more like Jesus." This is exactly what the pastor of our old church said. Mind-blowing to think He planned it! He knew that these exact children would put us in situations that would give us opportunities to become more like Christ.

Most of the time when I put myself in time-out, or send my kids to their rooms to give myself a break, I'm not even angry at them or something they did. I'm angry that my life isn't the way I envisioned it might be; I'm angry at my husband for not sacrificing for our family; I'm angry at so many things.

Lest I focus only on the negatives, I have managed to bypass a generational legacy to become bitter. I recognized it early on and read a ton about forgiveness and the dangers of bitterness, and I think that for now I have avoided it. But I still struggle with anger and using it properly.

Barnhill cautions:

"The combination of our parental words, actions, and deeds will affect their perception of their heavenly Father over the course of their entire lives... Our task as parents is not just to teach our children about God, but to model for them,, to the best of our ability, what God is like. The Bible teaches us that God is kind, slow to anger, merciful, gracious, righteous, abounding in loving-kindness, a stronghold, a shield, a protector, a defender of the weak, perfect, sure, pure, true, strong, and good. And those are just a few of His incredible attributes! It is here that I have to ask myself, "Will my children be able to believe these truths about God as a result of their earthly mother's life and behavior?"


I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!Teresa (Tracy) Dear

21 May 2010

Mental Work

(chirp) (chirp)

uhhh.... Hello? Anyone here?

It's been a while. No excuses. I'm going to just jump in.







James has been in CA chasing work for the past 5 weeks. You know that ratcheting noise the roller coaster makes as it pulls itself up the hill? I think that's what he's been doing, this whole agonizing 7 months of unemployment. One ratcheting, nerve-wracking hitch upwards after another.

"He's doing a lot of mental work," I keep saying when people ask how it's going. And it's no lie- he is. It's hard to be patient and supportive while he grows. He stayed with family when he was in CA and they are very family-centric. Plus, his aunt works in a bowling alley and last I heard, one of his cousins worked at a grocery store. He says he's ready to come home and work at FedEx or the PO or where ever. Time will tell!

For better or worse, in sickness and in health, in poverty or wealth. That's what we said. Whew! and that's what we've done!

What does my arm say?

JOYFUL.
PATIENT.
FAITHFUL.

Here goes.

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


04 April 2010

Hello (sheepish)


I must confess. I realized through a few interactions that I have some blog lurkers who I actually know and see in real life. Then when things went downhill last month, I realized that they would read about it here. Now, these people seem to love me anyway, but it was a little startling to realize they had read the contents of my heart and not left a comment or anything to let me know. A danger of blogging. Also I was so exhausted that I couldn't even stay up past 9 or so. So these things combined to prevent me from posting at all recently.


I'm trying to do better.

My husband is still not working, so I have begun to watch two little kids, a pair of siblings, during the day. I do not understand why this is so tiring. Then I was talking to my husband and I realized I sounded like a person dealing with the unpredictable behavior of an addict. I don't know if my husband is an addict, but he acts just like one. Maybe he is addicted to serving himself and his own needs. Read this. It's my life, especially lately.

"Living and dealing with a drug addict can be devastating. There's no easy way to find out, no way to soften the blow. Deciding how to proceed with your friendship or relationship with someone who is addicted to drugs and alcohol is tricky, and it often feels like all the pressure is on you to figure out a way to not only save your relationship but the person who is suffering. Unfortunately, this usually ends with both of you living in pain and perpetuating a never ending cycle of abusive behavior-the addict abusing him or herself and you.

Whether or not you share a home with the addict in your life, you are subject to the instability and unpredictable behavior that accompanies their addiction. Lies about their drug use and whereabouts, stealing from you to pay for their habit, abusive behavior when they're under the influence or when they are recovering from a stint of using followed by profuse apologies and promises that everything will get better... It's an endless cycle, and it's one that can keep you in a whirlwind. The only way to end this cycle is to guide your loved one to the help that they need to get better. They can't do it alone and you can't do it for them.

A codependent relationship occurs when you are involved with a drug addict or alcoholic and enable their behavior. That is, you lie for them or cover for them when they lie, make mistakes or don't show up for work due to their addiction. You make excuses for their behavior, give them money or in other ways take care of them even though they can-and should-do it for themselves but don't because of their addiction. You believe you are helping them but ultimately you are only enabling their addiction and depleting your own resources, resources that you have no energy to renew." (From the Canyon.)



I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


26 March 2010

Winning Him Without Words


I have been enjoying these ladies and their encouragement on Facebook. Their fan page is called Spiritually Unequal Marriage, and they have a blog of the same name. The book isn't due until next year, but you can get a lot of great words from their blog.


I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


18 March 2010

Timeless

Hopefully, what I've written here is timeless and you can enjoy a lot when you surf my topics from the sidebar. Sorry it's been so long; a few posts are percolating...


I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


16 March 2010

Steward

I've been trying to look on "the bright side" of doing childcare again. I'm trying to look at it like someone is paying me to look after my own kids in a better fashion.


When I do childcare, I am really conscious of doing a good job. I want to always feed them breakfast by 8:30, I want to change their diaper at least every two hours, I want them down for nap at a regular time. I wash their little faces and give them healthy snacks. In short, my kids get more structured care because I am stewarding someone else's.

But when I figured that out, the Lord spoke to me and asked why did someone have to PAY me to better steward the children he is asking me to watch? My own children?

Yikes... I was humbled and fought off overwhelming feelings of guilt. My own children are only here for me to steward into Christ's image- they don't belong to me. At the end of my time with them, God isn't going to check and see if their faces are clean or their clothes match. He's going to look at their hearts and their choices and how well they submit to his will.

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


08 March 2010

Unrequited Love

Although I am usually loathe to refer anyone to Wikipedia, it had a few good poems about unrequited love, and this nice quote:


"Unrequited love has long been depicted as noble, an unselfish and stoic willingness to accept suffering, though contemporary western culture may give greater weight to practical, goal-oriented and self-assertive behavior."

I feel lately like I have an unrequited love. It really doesn't fill the definition, but I am "unfulfilled" all the same. I am in love with four kids, two siblings groups, from the Texas foster system. This is not the time of life to get 4 more kids; but if we wait for the perfect time, we'd never get anything done.

"She looks away from the troubles and miseries and obstacles of life that seem to make the future bleak, and she focuses her attention on the sovereign power and love of God who rules in heaven and does on earth whatever He pleases." John Piper

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


02 March 2010

It's Hard to be a Big Girl












So it is Tuesday night...
and once again,
I have been given
the opportunity
to be patient,
forgiving,
and to forget offenses in love.

*sigh*

Supposed to go to the Daniel Bible study but James has to help a friend. grrr.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Matthew 6:14-15

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Bible study is good. Fellowship with other Christian women is good.

Anger is bad. Resentfulness is bad.

Forgiveness is good.

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


26 February 2010

Pregnancy Watched by God: Part 2


So we went to the local ER and they whisked me to the back. A nurse asked how many weeks I was, and looked dismayed when I said I thought I was 9 weeks. Usually, she said, when a miscarriage starts that early, there's nothing they can do.

I forget some details but I remember sitting alone with James in between people coming in and out. In the silent, silent foreign room we mainly stared. It was hard to be intimate when we were still repairing our broken marriage and people were coming in and out. I think we were waiting for an ultrasound tech to be available.

As we went to the sonogram room, a young man put the cold clear jelly on my stomach. When I laid down we could see a little grapefruit under my skin... I was anxious and scared to definitively know if we had really lost the baby. He put the wand down and moved it around. When I heard the swoosh-swoosh-swoosh-swoosh and saw the little moving heart I broke into the sobbing breathing laughing cry right away, and moved so much that the heartbeat sound was overwhelmed and covered by my own noises. Oh, what joy I knew. I had a carefree visit with my baby as the tech looked all over everything, making notes and taking pictures. He said he knew exactly what the problem was, but that since he was only a tech and not a doctor, he wasn't allowed to tell me. He did say the baby measured 12 weeks.

This made me very angry, because then I had to wait for the doctor to come in and explain what the tech found. James found some chocolate somewhere and we ate a few... a small treat to distract us from the wait. The steady fast heartbeat sound had faded from our ears and seemed far away.

The doctor said I had complete placenta previa. The bleeding was from a partial separation of the placenta from the uterine wall. If it loosened further, there was nothing anyone could do and we would loose the baby. If it healed and re adhered, it could do one of two things:

-seem to move upward as the uterus got larger
-stay low and necessitate a C-section delivery

So. He said stay on complete bedrest until you can see your OB/GYN (which I didn't have yet- remember I've always had flawless pregnancies). But... but I had 3 small kids! I had no husband living with me to help me! And my dad didn't even know I was pregnant! How was I going to spend the weekend on bedrest, no steps, no lifting?!

It was a long week. I went down the steps one by one, on my butt. I lifted nothing. I barely raised my hands... I changed diapers on the floor. I didn't push the cart, a bike, nothing. I spent lots of time trying to get in to see an OB/GYN so that I could be reassured by the swoosh-swooshing again. My insurance (or lack thereof) was making it take longer than I wanted.

However, the time was well-spent.

Have you ever fasted? I was fasting when I got pregnant. I learned a lot about it. The goal of fasting is to force our attention off of ourselves and onto God. I learned that each time I would feel hungry, I would say "God, I want you more than I want food. God, I want you more than a marriage." Well, each time I had to scoot down the steps, or roll over before sitting up, or kneel down to hug my daughter instead of lifting her, I was reminded to pray. "God, I want you more than a baby. God, you hold the stars in their places. God, nothing is impossible for you."

When I read up on placenta previa, I kept coming across phrasing that said things like 'the placenta doesn't move; it is attached to a point that is stretching upwards; it seems to move but really the uterus is.' The book "What to Expect when You're Expecting" put it like this: "Now, the placenta doesn't actually get up and move" and it gave me a silly picture in my mind's eye of a caricature of a twisty umbilical cord, untwisted at the ends to make two arms, which lifted up the placenta like a tutu from Swan Lake, and walked over to a new spot. Suddenly that image became my prayer- God can raise the dead! He holds the atoms together! He heals the sick! He sends angels to guard his missionaries! He can do anything!!

After being told by the doctor and the books that if the placenta separated from the uterine wall, that the baby would have no source of oxygen and would die, I began praying for a miracle. I prayed "God, you have the power to lift this placenta and move it, really move it, to a totally new place. God, you have the power. God, move this!" Oh man, I prayed.

I finally got in to see the OB/GYN and have another ultrasound. She had the pictures and file from the ER. She also did all sorts of measurements and pictures and looking, while I relished the swoosh-swooshing again. Finally, she said

"I don't know what that tech was talking about! You don't have anything at all like placenta previa- look, this dark spot is the placenta, and you can see that the wand is way up here at the top of the uterus! He must've been wrong!"

I would like to tell you that I praised God then and there and told her about my prayer, and how clearly it had been answered. But, no, I was so overjoyed and relieved and glad that I floated out of there. It was a day or two later ! that I was suddenly struck, literally suddenly dumfounded in shock and awe that God had done exactly what I had asked him to do: to pick up the placenta and move it! To really move it! And he did it.

I think about why God let me keep my baby Nathan- which is a Hebrew name that means "God has given" and I know.

I was at a point where a miracle, a one-time act, would most bolster my faith. Like a glass of cold water on a long and dusty, winding and rocky trail, my Nathan was a gift to me. I am forever grateful for the big miracles of God on the hard path of learning to glorify God through whatever comes.

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


23 February 2010

Pregnancy Watched by God: Part 1

I wanted to tell you the story of how God watched over my last pregnancy. As my toddler furrows his brow to me and is learning how to potty-train, I think back to his time in the womb, and his delivery, and thank God for watching over him. It's a long one, faithful readers, so grab your coffee and settle in.

I was separated from my husband when we became pregnant. We decided to reconcile and began building our relationship up again after a year apart, on Thanksgiving Day 2006. In April of 2007 I knew I was pregnant. I put the kids to bed, (then they were 5, 3, and 1) and left them with my dad (I was at his house) and went to see a dear friend who had been supporting me during this season. I stopped at the store on the way to her house- it was after 9- and bought a test. I planned on taking it to her house, but then I couldn't wait. I peed on the test in the store's bathroom but I put it back in the bag. A few minutes later I was sitting at the light, waiting to turn left. I turned on the interior light and pulled it out of the bag- it was so clear. Two lines- pregnant!

"Holy Mary, mother of God." It just came out of me, I don't think I've ever said that before or since. The Catholic just popped out. I drove to my friend's house high on adrenaline. She was expecting me. She opened the door and I said hi to her husband, who was watching tv. She knew why I was there and we just stared at each other expectantly until she just grabbed two couch blankets and we slammed the front door behind us and went out on her front porch.

I remember lots of pauses. I love babies and love being pregnant, and my husband and I were committed to our marriage, but the timing- sigh. I definitely didn't want to tell my family. They are not believers and did/do not understand why I do things the way I do.

I didn't know how James would react to the news, especially since our life was just becoming more calm. It was a silent few days before I could get him alone- I didn't want to press it and say something like "I need to talk to you, now." Finally we went to a noodle restaurant. It was one of the first times he paid for my food and ate at the same time as me in a long while. I didn't beat around the bush, I just told him. He said "Perfect!" and put down his napkin or drink, I don't remember. But then he said "No, really, perfect." I was surprised and pleased.

Then in June, the seventh, I took the kids to the grocery store and lifted my 3-year-old into the cart. In the middle of the motion I thought "he's just too heavy for me to be doing this anymore!" but I managed to get him in there and we shopped and everything like normal. We went home and I put the baby down for her nap and I laid down too. As I rolled onto my side, I felt a twinging feeling or felt a snapping or something, but I thought, man, I need to lay down! and I dozed for a while. When I woke up I felt like I had to go to the bathroom but when I did, there was a big rush of bright red blood.

Now is the time to mention that I'm one of those pregnant women you may love to hate: no stretch marks, no morning sickness, no fat ankles, none of the unpleasant things- just the growing hair, the big round belly, the kicks and the eat eat eating! I have been blessed to never live in fear about spotting, viability, health, or gestational diabetes or anything. So this bleeding threw me for a loop. I called James and freaked out and he was going to come and get me. I waited a little bit and then thought, he doesn't understand- he's not coming- and I drove to the house James was living at.

I stood up to get out of the van and felt that awful rush again. I left the kids in the van and banged on the door and he finally answered- He had been asleep. I flew past him into the bathroom and saw that the bleeding had happened again. I fairly lost it. I made him take me in the van back to my dad's house.

So, because of the place I was in at that time in my life, I still had only told a few Christian friends- not my family or other friends. So I called my neighbor and sort of announced in a shaky voice, "Uh, I'm pregnant and I might be miscarrying and can you come and watch my kids for a few hours while I go to the hospital. Yeah, I'm about 12 weeks." She came over right away and James drove me to the hospital where our one-year-old had been born. As we sat at a red light, the wonderful awful song by Mercy Me, Bring the Rain, came on. You may know it, but try to imagine me, still shaking from a year of pruning and new growth during the breakdown of my marriage, and our separation, and then me sitting at that red light, not knowing what was going to happen with the precious baby I was carrying, and so in love with already:

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that
I've gone through…
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You?

Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray...

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings
You glory! And I know there'll
be days When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to
praise You, Jesus, bring the rain.

I am yours regardless of the clouds that may
loom above because you are much greater than
my pain. You who made a way for me suffering
your destiny so tell me, whats a little rain?

So I pray…
Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings
You glory! And I know there'll
be days When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to
praise You Jesus, bring the rain…

Holy, holy, holy…
Holy, holy, holy…
is the Lord God almighty
is the Lord God almighty
I forever sing
Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God almighty
is the Lord God almighty
everybody singing
Holy holy holy…
is the Lord God almighty
is the Lord God almighty!
you are holy (holy, holy, holy)
you are holy (is the Lord God almighty)
Is the Lord our God, is the Lord our God...

I just had tears streaming down my face. I just was falling apart, silently, because although I was pregnant with another child with this man who sat beside me, my husband of nearly 10 years, I was unable to voice the thoughts that were running through my head.

I was stunned. Was losing this baby to be my next trial? Why was everything so hard? Why did I have to endure so much? I didn't want to have any more rain in my life. I didn't want to learn any more about how God was enough. I wanted a breather from hard lessons. I wanted to learn something in the classroom, from the book, not from the heart-wrenching, gut-tearing, sob-inducing street I had been wandering. When I heard the lines

"Bring me anything that brings You glory!
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to
praise You, Jesus, bring the rain."

I was just falling apart in rebellion. Did I give the baby to him then? No; I think it was when the long, long celebration of God's holiness came at the end of the song. My mind was a swirl of questions and complaints and then the words broke into my consciousness again-

Holy, holy, holy…
Holy, holy, holy…
is the Lord God almighty
is the Lord God almighty
I forever sing
Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God almighty
is the Lord God almighty
everybody singing
Holy holy holy…
is the Lord God almighty
is the Lord God almighty!
you are holy (holy, holy, holy)
you are holy (is the Lord God almighty)
Is the Lord our God, is the Lord our God...

Oh, ladies, the Lord our God is holy- he is holy! He holy, just and pure even if we lose our baby. He is the Lord God Almighty even if our marriages dissolve. He is holy. He is holy. He is holy.

Our situation and how we perceive it does not change God's character. He is, He was- He will forever, BE. We can bring him glory no matter what our situation. We can rage and shake our fist and clutch the things we hold dear- even good things like babies and marriages. But He can get more glory when we trust him and know him to be good and holy- even when we are losing everything and falling apart.


I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


22 February 2010

Great News

Hey there you faithful few! Guess what- James got a job! Woo-hoo!


It's at the grower he wanted all along! It is a place that supplies plants to landscapers.

Thanks for your prayers!

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


19 February 2010

New Phase


I have to tell you, James and I are doing really well right now. Although there are the stressors of lack of income, and his method of job searching, I know we are on the same side of the fence. It makes me glad. He threw the most excellent party for me for my birthday last week. I invited everyone; he was in charge of the food. Oh it was great! Here's the menu:


Mingling Food:
  • tortilla chips
  • guacamole
  • mango-jalapeno salsa
  • hummus
  • cream cheese-pesto ball
  • fancy flatbread-cracker thingys with sesame seeds
Main Dish:
  • Tom Kha (Thai soup- chicken, lemongrass, cilantro, mushrooms in coconut milk broth
  • Thai appetizers (frozen from store); black rice rolls, 2 kinds of seafood rolls
Dessert:
  • Chocolate cake with chocolate icing
  • Italian rainbow cookies
  • Pepperidge Farm cookies
  • shortbread
Snacky-talking Food:
  • m&m's
  • Thai-seasoned cashews
  • citrus blend jelly beans
Wow! So James is out tonight, and this is what I assembled to feed myself: Sliced pickle, slices of queso blanco, Thai cashews, hummus and wheat things, apple and peanut butter, vanilla yogurt, and pistachio-flavored muffin (full of food coloring and preservatives).

Guess what I had for lunch? Frittata with mushrooms and three kinds of cheese. Who do you think made it?!

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


18 February 2010

Please pray for me. I am feeling a little underwhelmed. I'm hoping that you will be distracted from my quietness by exploring the new navigation bar and the new layout... Thank you.


I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


16 February 2010

New Look!

As my first year blogging comes to a close I decided to do some renovations.... what do you think?! I'm pleased, floored more like it. I LOVE the new layout. There is only one sidebar now, and all the helpful info can now be found in the navigation buttons at the top of the page! Take a look around- become a subscriber- enjoy the new look! And tell me what you think!


I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


15 February 2010

Courageous!


Listen to Mary Kassain, author of a blog called Girls Gone Wise:

"When it comes down to it, I believe that living out biblical submission in this culture requires far more backbone and brains than acquiescing to popular reason. It’s one of the most radical, courageous, and intelligent things a Christian woman can do."


(link to entire post)


I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


10 February 2010

Revisit with Me




Enjoy this post from last April with me....


"Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" Hebrews 12:1


Persevere: verb; to persist in a state or undertaking in spite of opposition or discouragement. Synonyms: to carry on, persist, hang on, follow through. Antonyms: quit, yield, falter, hesitate, give up.

"One of the most disastrous tendencies, that seems to be gaining strength year by year, is giving up too soon when life gets tough. What is happening to perseverance? Well, homes can't be homes at all if they are dissolved when problems come. If they are to endure, it means sticking to homemaking when it all seems bleak. Everybody feels unhappy at times... We all admire and enjoy those who have accepted life's boundaries, built within the framework, and become rich and wise, full of love." (From For the Family's Sake: The Value of Home in Everyone's Life by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay.)

When James and I were separated, and the months stretched on and on, only two women of all the women who played a part in supporting me through that time-- only two counseled me to stick with it, be true to my vows, trust in the Lord, suffer for a time, be faithful... persevere. The women in my life had a lot of ways to love me- silence, an ear; angry on my behalf, vengeful; confused, questioning; weeping with me... one of my dear friends at long last said something like 'divorce him and never date again until your children are grown!' in such a voice of conviction and certainty that I was silent and shocked. Well, when you ask for advice, you get it!
Both of these dear women who counseled perseverance had known both James and I for at least a half dozen years. Knew us in the AF, before we moved to Texas. Maybe that had a part in it. But they each started their counsel with phrasing along the lines of 'This is so painful and awful, and isn't God's will for you or James or your marriage. But in the Bible I read, it says to stay. It says to love. It says to wait and trust.' The pain in their voices on my behalf, yet their faith in God and his Word-- it put sandbags against my faltering resolve. It bolstered my ability to wait and trust. It gave me strength to continue the race that had been marked out for me.

Is there someone in your life that needs bolstering? Is it an uphill race for someone you know? Please comfort them with a Godly comfort. What does this person seem overwhelmed by? Is there a way you can step in for a moment with relief?

"He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." Prov. 11:25

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison an you came to visit me... I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25:35-36, 40

"For if you remain silent at this time, relief... will arise from another place... and who knows but that you have come... for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14


I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


08 February 2010

Own it!

copyrighted by MPC643

I feel at times like I am waiting for the hundred-year bloom of a rare plant in some far-off desert. Did it bloom while I was napping? Did I somehow miss it? Or is it going to bloom mere days after I die?

I look at my husband and I think similar thoughts... what is he waiting for? When is he going to grow up? Or... are my standards too high? Is this what I get? How will I know? So many of his generation are fighting adulthood, clinging to their youth in a heels-dug-in attempt to avoid responsibility. What may frustrate me the most is my husband's head knowledge of what needs to be done. What he should be doing. How he could be doing different. I get mad and impatient because he talks so well... he knows what to do. Then what is stopping him?!

To me, in the black and white world I live in, if you know what to do, you do it. There might be some mumbling or groaning but you get it done. To not do it is a choice. Straight out of the boundaries book, and today's sermon at church, is this idea:

-Passing the buck wrenches control over your life from your hands.

-Owning your sin gives you power to change your life.

If you say that your parents, your surroundings, your education, whatever, made you do it, made you sin, then you were forced. You can't change who raised you- it's done. You'll never be able to choose a different way if that were so. Adam and Eve had no parents, and were in the garden of Eden. They still chose the wrong way. We have to own our own sin. Our problems are mostly due to our choices. If we say, "hey, I made the wrong choice, and it got me into this mess, but hey- I can make new and better choices today and in the future, and avoid this mess next time" then WE are in control. I like to be in control, and there's very little I am really in control of, so I should be glad to.

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


05 February 2010

Bleh Bleh Bleh

Dear readers, I am pretty tired.


I was writing a lot for my son's Contenders of the Faith club. I started a blog describing starting up his club and about our activities so that others can have an easier path. It's a club for Christian boys and it's like a scouts program.

I'm also the Austin Homeschool Examiner. That is homeschool + local Austin area-focused writing, less theory, and more of a challenge to me.

Since I'm telling you everything I do with my time, my etsy shop, mama4x, isn't doing that hot this month and if you need a handmade greeting card, a crocheted baby blanket, or some antique photos, check out my store so I can pay my bill this month! That would be great. {:P

Yesterday the repo guy came and served us our past-due bill for our van. My husband is still unemployed and all the bills are waay adding up. *sigh*

But God is faithful and we're not going hungry... He has some sort of (secret for now) plan for us... repeat that again...


I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


03 February 2010

No Smell of Smoke

I am meeting with friends each Tuesday to study Beth Moore's study called Daniel: Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophecy. Tonight was so excellent... here's a recap.


"Fiery trails can burn the fake out of us."

While we live in a world similar to Babylon, we should remain separate from it like Daniel did when he was in captivity. Tonight we talked about the fiery furnace. (Remember, the three Hebrews who would not bow down to the 90-ft golden image that the king of Babylon raised, so the king threw them in the furnace.) Beth said the people of God find themselves in one of three scenarios when faced with a fiery trial.

1. "We can be delivered from the fire and our faith is built." (the tumor disappears or is benign)

2. "We can be delivered through the fire and our faith is refined." (the chemo works and we are healed)

3. "We can be delivered by the fire into his arms and our faith is perfected." (we die)

The story of the fiery furnace ends with Daniel 3:27 the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men nor was the hair of their head singed, nor were their trousers damaged, nor had the smell of fire even come upon them.

Beth explains how this is paralleled in our lives today... by not coming out of a fiery trial smelling of it... by not bowing down to the god of anger, bitterness, unbelief borne of our trial. She says we must make our "circumstances become a servant of the Gospel." We must make our circumstances bow down to the Most High God. Her phrasing was along the lines of knowing someone for a while, but then when you heard about their trial, you look at them in awe/shock and say, 'I would never have known! You don't even smell like smoke!' (ie, you're not bitter, you're not angry...)

WOW. I realized that maybe my calm peace during this uncertain time of unemployment is probably evidence of refining I underwent! I don't smell like panic!

Beth made sure to point out that the four figures were walking in the fire. In Isaiah that I quoted earlier this week, Isaiah 43:1-11, we also "walk through the fire." She said we are not to lay down in the fire, but not to run in circles either!

How's this little ditty:

When in fear, when in doubt,
run in circles, scream and shout!

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


01 February 2010

HEY, TODAY'S MY BIRTHDAY!


I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


Something Beautiful

In your ocean, I'm ankle deep
I feel the waves crashin' on my feet
It's like I know where I need to be
But I can't figure out, yeah I can't figure out

Just how much air I will need to breathe
When your tide rushes over me
There's only one way to figure out
Will you let me drown, will you let me drown?

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, 'cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I'm in reach
'Cause I am down on my knees.
I'm waiting for something beautiful
Oh, something beautiful

And the water is rising quick
And for years I was scared of it
We can't be sure when it will subside
So I won't leave your side
, no I can't leave your side.


That's a band called Need to Breathe singing "Something Beautiful" - Man, the lyrics are great, they're what make the song, but the way he sings it, the lines roll into each other and it's just amazing. It's my next favorite song. The uncertainty, the line... "how much air will I need to breathe when your tide washes over me" is so me.


Can you just see your child, standing on top of something, and you have your arms raised to catch them, and they just want to hear again and again, 'are you really gonna catch me?' I'm so that way with God... "ok, just tell me how long I have to hold my breath, and sure, I'll go under, just as long as I know how long." Yeah, God doesn't work like that... he's more into trust and dependence- dependence on HIM.

We have to cling to him. I just watched Narnia again today and there was a scene where Peter had plunged his sword into an ice floe and he held onto it through a raging river. That's just what we have to do; hold onto our Savior as tight as we can while the water rages around us. Focus on him and we can get through.


Isaiah 43:1-3

But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.


I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


29 January 2010

Choose Life!

Here's the notes of how I spent my evening- with my latest copy of World magazine. I love it, it gives me a Christian take on today's news- but this pro-life issue was a tiring if riveting read.


-Three pages discuss how saving the habitat of a 2-inch fish (Delta smelt) are ravaging our food supply (CA farms aren't allowed any water) are followed by 16 pages about the abortion debate in our nation. WHAT? A tiny fish is found to be more valuable than the 50 million babies killed in the "silent holocaust" that is abortion?!

-Oh, oh, how my heart breaks... in an article about RU486, "The feelings of guilt can be more intense for women who have undergone chemical abortions, since they themselves administered the pill while they were fully conscious." For (someone) who went and lay on a table, somebody else did it. Yes, I made the decision but I was always able to rationalize that I didn't kill my own baby- somebody else did..." After women expell their unborn babies, they have to dispose of them. Massey said she once got a desperate call from a woman who said, "My baby's floating in the toilet. What do I do now? Do I flush it?"

-an excellent review by Susan Olasky, of a book called At the Center: "Rosen, sympathetic to her characters, sees through their mixed motivations and is unblinking in her depiction of what goes on in an abortion clinic. Her characters may think they are doing noble work, but the story tells a more tormented tale. Don't look for any sympathetic pro-life characters: They are nothing more than slogan-spouting voices on the story's periphery. But if you want to experience fictionally the grimness of abortion even for its advocates, this is worth slogging through."

-I'd like to end with an excerpt from Ronald Reagan's final State of the Union address, delivered January 25, 1988.

"Well, now we come to a family issue that we must have the courage to confront. Tonight, I call America--a good nation, a moral people--to charitable but realistic consideration of the terrible cost of abortion on demand. To those who say this violates a woman's right to control of her own body: Can they deny that now medical evidence confirms the unborn child is a living human being entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Let us unite as a nation and protect the unborn with legislation that would stop all Federal funding for abortion and with a human life amendment making, of course, an exception where the unborn child threatens the life of the mother. Our Judeo-Christian tradition recognizes the right of taking a life in self-defense. But with that one exception, let us look to those others in our land who cry out for children to adopt. I pledge to you tonight I will work to remove barriers to adoption and extend full sharing in family life to millions of Americans so that children who need homes can be welcomed to families who want them and love them."

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear