Monday, December 31, 2012
Posted by misty mac at 12:37 PM
Friday, November 30, 2012
I spent some time in 1 Peter this morning walked away feeling refreshed. As we approach Christmas time and we celebrate Christ's birth, I am reminded of the gift of OUR rebirth. We have been given a gift of CONSTANT newness (yeah that is a word) as a direct result of His resurrection. Our eternal perspective sheds a new light on all things of the earth. We have a party awaiting us in Heaven. Our names are handwritten on beautiful place cards and our King awaits our arrival. I cannot tell you how badly I need HEY! DON'T FORGET ABOUT HEAVEN tattooed on my arm.
1 Peter 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
We have been given a multitude of opportunities to praise and honor our Jesus. We grow weary and forget that these are OPPORTUNITIES. We forget His hand NEVER lets go. We give satan credit where credit is NOT due. What if every day I woke up and looked at my day as an opportunity? Each "bad day" for Justin is an opportunity. Each time one of the boys has bad aim and gets pee all over the bathroom floor = opportunity. Each time I miss my mom = opportunity. Each time the laundry basket is full AGAIN = opportunity.
I am humbled and honored to be surrounded by people who see the result of our broken world as OPPORTUNITIES. I get to live among people who recognize that their "calling" in life is to life like Jesus. Because we are "called" to ALL things in the Bible. Not just the pages that sound best/easiest/most convenient. Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. WILL be done. WILL BE DONE. I didn't see a question mark at the end of that sentence.
Posted by misty mac at 8:48 AM
it FINALLY happened. justin and i had our very first grown up trip (ever.) and it was AMAZING. thank you so much to each of you who prayed over this trip. for justin's health, for the weather, hurricane damage, travel and the boys. we had 5 days of fun and loved every minute. we didn't plan much and just did WHATEVER WE WANTED! justin felt great almost the whole time. it was actually a blessing to need to take things slow. we were able to soak up so much and we didn't return exhausted. trip highlights: saw WICKED (incredible), ate delicious pizza, shopped in soho, ate at nobu (omg), got treats from magnolia bakery, rode the subway (fail), went to FAO, had frozen hot chocolate at serendipity, ate in little italy, got harassed in china town, hung out in times sqaure and visited central park. we celebrated justin's 30th birthday AND our 5 year wedding anniversary. we reflected on the past 9 years we have been together and feel nothing but grateful. justin and i never know how many days we have left together. we don't know how many "good" days lie ahead and how many "bad" days will try and drag us down. but we do know that we have each other and our boys and we are wrapped tightly in a blanket of love and redemption provided by our savior. and that it all we need.
thanks again for the prayers and for those who loved on the boys. they were so loved on by my aunt & meme and our super crazy awesome friends.
pic overload starting now:
Posted by misty mac at 8:08 AM
As our boys grow, we are always looking for ways to focus on Jesus during Christmas time. We are blessed to live in a community that provides us with several Christ centered activities during Christmas. Our church will be doing the Celebrate Christmas drive through again this year and St. Helenas does this really fun Bethlehem walk through that the kids love (with REAL camels!). I mean do not get me wrong...we make gingerbread houses, stand for an hour in line to see santa and elf on the shelf it up! BUT those are just "extras" the REAL stuff takes a front seat. Last year we implemented a new advent calendar which is basically our Christmas Countdown. Each day has a Christmas "activity" rather than candy or a toy. We have things like read from Luke, go see the camels, make hot cocoa, make an ornament for the Harkriders, put on Christmas jammies, write a thank you note etc.
Posted by misty mac at 7:31 AM
Friday, November 2, 2012
Justin and I pray daily that a window will open for us to bring an orphan HOME. That time may not come as soon as we would hope and we may always run into red tape regarding Justin's health...BUT we sure can advocate for orphans in the meantime. We have been so blessed to watch many of our friends adopt, promote adoption and fundraise. This community we are part of is rising up to father the fatherless. For now, we have found a small way to advocate for Damon.
Reeces Rainbow is an adoption ministry that rescues orphans with downs syndrome and other special needs and connects them to their forever family. International adoption is VERY expensive. Many families who want to save an orphan are discouraged by the price tag that comes along with adoption. Reeces Rainbow has found a way to raise money for children during the holiday season, so that when families choose a child from the waiting children list they can be ENCOURAGED that total strangers have helped to make that cost less daunting. You can of course give money at ANY time of the year, but the Angel Tree program is a special time that individual families get to advocate for a child. We have chosen to advocate for Damon. We pray that we raise LOTS of money for him (our goal is $2,500) and we also pray that as people donate they will share this information through blogs, facebook, email and whatever so that someone will come across his adorable little face and choose to be his forever family. Please click on the button to the right of the page with his yummy little face on it and it will take you to the donation page (i believe you have to do this from your computer...dont think it works from your phone). Give whatever you are able to. All donations are anonymous, but I encourage you to PLEASE share this page. A $35 donation will allow you to receive a super cool Christmas ornament with Damon's picture on it so you can pray for him year after year.
We are nearing Christmas time. This is the time to GIVE. Let's not let our Christmas season be about receiving, and toys, and electronics, and dodging the in laws. Start it out with a gift that could last a lifetime.
Have questions...PLEASE ASK!
**PS: If you have QUESTIONS NOW please plan to visit the RECLAIMED Adoption Ministry meeting TOMORROW (Sunday 11/4) 5pm @ the Boerne YMCA. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. They will be discussing all aspects of orphan care.
God is moving. He is so very good.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
Posted by misty mac at 6:54 AM
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
When I get way bummed...I look back through old blog posts. I try to pick out posts from when I knew the day was worse than this. And if on THAT day I could put my chin up and shout some praise to my savior...than I can sure do that on THIS day.
With Stupid Sandy getting in our "honeymoon" plans way... (and thats what i am calling it. stupid sandy. you cant make me stop.) I have had to dig down to archives and find this post: my date with jesus it was sure one of more popular ones of last year. and while i never understand why people continue to keep stopping by here when there are legit people who use legit punctuation writing legit profound things...i am grateful for this forum to collect my thoughts and feelings. i am grateful that it isnt just my dad and nana that check up on us :) i am grateful for my community that continues to grow all the time.
soooo...i was having a pity party last night. (which i am great at fyi) i was huffing and puffing about my RUINED vacation. i was mad that the fancy river boat we were supposed to eat at flooded. i was mad that all the taxis and subways are under water. i was mad that a big fat stupid hurricane was ruining yet ANOTHER exciting time for us. i was mad that justin wasnt as mad as i was. i was mad that we were finally going on our first vacation alone and that it was now going to be the WORST TRIP EVER.
then i remembered how i had so maturely sat with my mentor and told her "i am just not going to have expectations, i know justin may not feel well and i will be content with whatever we may or may not be able to do"
Well thank you very much self. I didnt mean I wasnt going to have SOME expectations! I mean who was I kidding? My dear friend Laura and I had every minute planned out. Every restaurant mapped! I was going to be OK with the possibility that I may spend time in a hotel watching my sweet husband rest...but I was NOT ok with a stupid natural disaster stepping in and being STUPID.
Yeah. You can say it. BRAT!!!
So, my large slice of humble pie was served and I mourned the loss of my "perfect trip" and then I got over my self. I remembered that last year when we had this crazy out of nowhere date night together in a hotel...I spent this intimate time with the Lord that I couldnt have planned if I tried. What could I be standing in the way of this time? Justin and I will spend more quality time together than we have (outside of a hospital that is) just on the airplane ride. I quickly retract all of my whining and replace it with gratefulness. The fact that we are going anywhere at all is a gift. I can be assured that there is a bridge in New York City with hungry people under it. I stand in awe at my selfishness.
Mourning just goes that way. I wish we could see it before it hits. And before you think I am a loon for "mourning" a few itinerary changes on a trip...please know that I am pretty experienced in the mourning department and use that term lightly here.
I have mourned many times since college. I mourned when my parents divorced and the picture I had of a family changed forever. I mourned when we chose to have a baby before marriage. We had changed our lives with one decision and the picture perfect image of my life was changed. I mourned when Brody was born and our family dynamic became new and our perfectly mapped out family had become different than I had planned. I mourned deeply at the loss of my mom. My life will never be the same now that she is gone and is a daily work in progress to deal with. And now I mourn daily for the "new normal"...I am the odd man out 98% of the time. I have been blessed to the ends of the earth and back, but Justin's illness has changed our lives forever. I understand mourning. I understand that we ALL do it differently. I understand that Christ begs for our burdens, but sometimes we want to just clinch them in our fists for just a little bit longer. The sweet release of those burdens is like a big bowl of chocolate fondue. Sweet and rich and flowing with goodness. I feel so relieved in knowing that no matter how long I choose to be stubborn and sad and act like a tough guy...He is waiting patiently to carry that load for me. I have an opportunity to carry his easy yoke and light burden. I have the option to be new each day. hallelujah to that folks.
happy trick or treat day friends. please pray for our trip. pray that i carry His yoke while we are there...and not my own.
Posted by misty mac at 1:28 PM
Posted by misty mac at 12:53 PM
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Posted by misty mac at 6:52 PM
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Today I am reflecting on seasons. No...not "fall" or "winter" aka "summer" in Tejas. The kind of seasons that relate to what we are walking through. We have big seasons in life: high school, dating, college, falling in love, being broke, being pregnant, being up all night with kids, fighting kids, pooping kids, screaming kids. You get the point. We have these little intervals of life when things are different. Phases when things are hard and then phases when things are even harder. Blah blah blah. We have all heard this. The reason I am reflecting this today is because I am in the early stages of studying Esther and the word cherished came up today. I love this word so much. Matt Carter used this word a lot at family camp in describing how he wanted his wife to feel. Cherish means to care about DEEPLY. Admire, adore, appreciate. I am thinking of times that I have CHERISHED different things.
There have been times (namely when we didnt have kids yet) that I absolutely cherished everything about my husband. I got butterflies at the mention of his name. Don't get me wrong, I love that guy's guts...but you know how it is after 8 years. We sometimes find ourselves on a merry go round of this thing called life and all those butterflies get shuffled around in the mix a bit. I get the butterflies still and Lord willing I will get butterflies around Justin for the next 80 years, but let's face it. I do not get them at the mere mention of his name.
There was a time that I CHERISHED my mom more than anything. I valued her opinion over any others. I sought her approval daily. I wanted to please her at all times. I think we are all like this when we are young, but then I lost my mom and I didn't know how to feel like I was doing things right. She was the one who built me up and encouraged me. When she was gone I wasn't sure who would acknowledge my strengths and forgive my weaknesses.
There have been many times that I have CHERISHED friendships. From a very young age I always thought the more the merrier was the way to go! I never went anywhere without 15 of my favorite people. I was an only child, but for some reason being alone was never comfortable to me. I brought this idea into my adulthood and slowly God showed me that quality heavily outweighs quantity. I have learned that people pleasing gets you into more trouble than it could ever be worth. Helping turns into manipulation and honesty turns you into a moving target. Being the girl "that likes everyone" can leave you feeling very lonely. It has taken a lot of prayer, tears and frustration for me to come to place where I realize that LESS is MORE. I wish I would have learned this 15 years ago! I have made so so so so so so so so soooooooo many mistakes as a friend (and as a mom and wife and daughter too!). I am so flawed. I am so sinful. I am so so many things. I am able to see the long journey that I have been on and this time of reflection when things are so clear is when the Lord has brought me a core of sisters that cannot be beat. Perfect timing. Why am I surprised by this?
You see, there have been times where I CHERISHED lots of things more than I CHERISHED my Father. Through the years I have been stripped down to a whole new me. A me that CHERISHES Him above all others. Above my husband, children and friendships. It has taken losing a lot to realize what I have gained. A real and precious relationship with Christ, a deep and meaningful relationship with my husband and friendships that are based on love and truth and honor.
I cannot have butterflies with my husband and I cannot feel adored and forgiven if I have not put Him first. It just doesnt work. I know this because I learned it the hard way.
And because my God is a God of all that is good and beautiful and amazing and redeeming...I walk through my most difficult time of life with this little nugget of info in my pocket: HE CHERISHES ME. More than I will ever ever know.
Posted by misty mac at 11:44 AM
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Posted by misty mac at 7:53 PM
Monday, September 10, 2012
When I was 9 I met a little girl at school who had downs syndrome. I wanted to be her friend and I didn't understand why she was different. I couldn't figure out why she had to be in a different class and why she had to eat lunch at another table.
When I was 12 I met three boys that were 7th graders just like me. They all had downs syndrome. I wanted to be their friend. I left my "cool" friends in the lunch room and sat with them once a week at their table. I did not understand why they were different. I just knew they were.
When I was 13 I read a book called The Man Who Loved Clowns.
I went home and told my mom..."I do not know why some kids have downs syndrome, but I hope God let's me have one."
At that point in my life (age 13) I did not have a relationship with Christ. I knew Him. I knew He made me. I knew He was good. I knew we got presents on His birthday...but that was really it.
Fast forward 10 years. During this time I accepted Christ to rule my life (post on this coming soon), I got married and I had a 2 year old. I sat down with Justin one day and said can we PLEASE have another baby. He said "um yeah...i guess." So we blinked (or something like that) and then we were pregnant. From the moment I was pregnant I thought something was different. I knew nothing was wrong...but I felt like something was just different. During my 6 month of pregnancy, I was drinking a glass of water in the middle of the night and I heard very clearly the Lord say to me "this baby is going to be very special" I had forgotten all about downs syndrome pretty much. I didnt go to school anymore so there was no life skills class to eat lunch with. I worked in an office and took care of my two year old. I forgot all about what the Lord had laid on my heart ten years before.
On September 11th 2008 Justin and I had the most perfect little angel baby boy named Brody. We just stared in amazement at him when he was born. He was so beautiful and so perfect. We felt undeserving of such a perfect baby. 12 hours later (and in the midst of hurricane ike...you can dig back on the beginning of the blog for that crazy story) we were about to evacuated to another hospital when a doctor came in and told us "your baby needs surgery, he has downs syndrome, he is on his way to another hospital. you can see him later... if you can get there on time" (seriously, its a LONG story) Our world had just been rocked. We had about 15 seconds to mourn the loss of our "perfect" child and then drag my post partum/had a baby 12 hours ago butt to another hospital. We were devastated. I cried out to God and said "please Lord let them be wrong. let them have our baby mixed up with someone elses!"
When we finally got to him...God hadnt mixed anything up. Brody was ours. He was in one of those little domes, so we could not touch him. He had an IV in his forehead, tubes in his nose and one down his throat. I felt like that saying "God doesnt give you anything that you cannot handle" was a crock of poo. I COULD NOT HANDLE THIS! Justin was speechless. We just sat there and cried.
I called my mom to tell her the news and she said "oh good honey, God answered your prayer."
I am pretty sure I hung up on her.
Then I prayed. Then I remembered that I did specifically ask the Lord for a baby like this over 10 years ago. I realized in one big rush of emotion and tears and heartache and flat out hurricane ike chaos, that God had given me what He had already promised me. I got my Brody...and I had ALWAYS wanted him.
I simply cannot write this without giant tears rolling down my face. If you know me personally, then you know how GREAT Brody is. You know his laugh is contagious. You know that when he bosses you...you are pretty much going to do what he says. You know that when he is around...there is just no chance of a bad mood. You know that God gifted our family with him. It is just indeniable.
Dear Brody - Tomorrow is your 4th birthday. You have brought joy to our lives. You have brought laughter to so so many. You have taught us that patience is important and that a hug can fix ANY problem. You have shown us that determination can beat ALL odds. You love strangers. You love to eat. You love mickey mouse. You love school. You are one very special boy. You have taught us lots little buddy, but the MOST important thing we have learned from you is that God doesn't answer ALL prayers...but He sure does answer some. Thank goodness for that. We love you.
Posted by misty mac at 11:19 AM