Friday, October 30, 2009

Please pray!

Well tomorrow is the day!! The Rise and Shine Women’s Retreat will be taking place and I’m asking that you keep it in your prayers. I believe God will be showing up in a big way and am excited to see how the day unfolds. He has been faithful thus far as details have come together over the last 10 months! Renee Swope from Proverbs 31 is our speaker and I know He will be speaking to the hearts of the women with the words and stories she shares! Thank you for your prayers and I look forward to sharing details of the event real soon…

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Something I've waited to share...

This past June 20th, I sat alone at the computer and put these words together, but have waited until now to share them with you. It's a glimpse at how God has worked in my life and shown himself real. There are certainly times when life seems to make no sense and moments when His plan seems far from perfect, but He is present and He is working. While He does just that He never asks for me to figure things out (though all too often I try), He simply wants me to seek Him, trust Him and never lose my hope in Him.

So with that here's my story of "Hope"...

Last August we experienced a miscarriage – pain and loss you never understand until you’re in the midst of it yourself. I only knew I was pregnant for 15 days – doesn’t seem long, but once you’ve connected with a child it is a bond you share for life. I never felt the baby move, saw her face or heard her voice, but yet the baby is mine.

The days following the loss were difficult; tears would come in ways I never expected. I’d see a baby toy and wonder if we’d ever need that again, I’d look at the kids’ pictures on the wall and realize I wouldn’t need to rearrange them 9 months down the road, and once my 3 year old asked me to read a book and handed me one titled, “We’ve Lost our Baby.” She didn’t understand why it made me cry.

During the time of sadness there was also strength, not mine, but God’s. He lifted me up in ways I hadn’t experienced. The loss was real, but His comfort was too. In this difficult time, I experienced a side of God I never had before. Even when I wasn’t seeking Him, He was holding me. When the hurt created questions and caused me to push away, He drew me close.

Looking back it’s still hard to understand and thinking about our little one who should now be 2 months old still brings tears. But God’s word is true, He has a plan and it’s one for good. Now I would never say losing a child is good, but what God did through the experience has been.
He made Himself real and proved His word to be true. He worked through others and lifted me up. He reminded me why we have hope and how heaven is real.

And nearly 6 months following, He unexpectedly blessed me with another pregnancy. Early on the fears returned, what if I lost this baby too? That wasn’t a road I wanted to walk again.

As our pregnancy reached the 6-week mark, thoughts turned to the baby who should have been born in 6 weeks and feelings of joy turned to ones of guilt. I really struggled with God’s ability to give and take away. I rejoiced for the baby to come, but felt like I was forgetting the one who already was.

Time went on and God continued to walk me through this journey we call life. I would cry and He’d dry the tears. I would question and He would answer. He assured me my pain was OK, the loss was real and He knew, He’d lost a child too.

So as the pregnancy progressed I found myself thinking about names. And as a family of all J’s, thoughts started there. Janelle, Judson, Jordan, Jace, Jared, Julie…the list went on, but I always came back to Jenae. I’m not sure why, but it seemed to be the name God had for our little one.
Eventually I looked into the meaning of the name and found it to be, “God has given.” Since this wasn’t a baby we had “planned” (are any?), I thought the name fit.

Then it was time to move on to the middle name and instantly Jenae Hope entered my world. It made sense - God has given hope, and what a gift that is!!

My husband still wasn’t sold on the name; he claimed it sounded too much like one of the other girl’s. I assured him all names that start with J would be similar. We continued to discuss possibilities and had plenty of input from the little one’s older siblings, but still without even knowing the sex of our baby I was sure we had a little Jenae Hope Beran.

Well that confidence only lasted to the halfway point of our pregnancy. We had always waited for the Dr. to announce the baby’s sex in the delivery room, but this time my curiosity surprised me.

At the completion of our ultrasound, the radiologist handed me an envelope with the answer to my question. I waited awhile, but eventually took a peak and pledged to a 20-week secret – it was a boy!

I wasn’t totally surprised as there had been similarities in the pregnancy with that of our other son, but because of the name, it seemed God had given, I was prepared for a girl. I can remember thinking, “What about Jenae?”

And though I didn’t hear God’s voice, it was as if He said, “I’m already holding her.” And then there was peace – it all made sense - that name was on my heart during the time she should have been born. I thought I was naming baby number 5, but God knew it was number 4.

The name doesn’t make it any easier; actually it brings the tears right back. But I’m learning that’s OK, though her life was short, her presence was real and the pain is too. She’s one I won’t hold until heaven, but I’m thankful for her life and that I know her name. I’m also grateful God has given us His hope! Mommy loves you little Jenae Hope Beran.
"I Will Not Forget"
Though it seems
the world has forgotten
and even I have went a day
or two without remembering,
"I will not forget."

The role you played was pivotal
and your presence powerful.
You touched my heart
and changed my life,
"I will not forget."

I think of you often and
still miss you just the same.
You will forever be
a part of me,
"I will not forget."

No one will ever take your place
or do what you have done.
You alone are special -
a gift only God could give,
one, "I will not forget."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

He's here!!!

Well, my last post spoke of waiting for our new arrival and now today I'm thrilled to tell you the wait is over!! Little Jedidiah Jay Beran arrived early Monday morning weighing in at 7 lbs 6 oz and measuring 20 inches long! We were able to come home this afternoon and he was greeted quite well by his big brother and sisters! I think they could be a little more helpful than I was anticipating!!

All in all though we are very excited and thankful - children are truly a gift from God! And it is amazing how He has watched over us all every step of the way and though I came home to a bit of a chaotic house, I know He will continue to walk with me thru this journey we call life. Thanks to all of you for your prayers! And please stop back soon for a story I've been waiting to share.

Friday, October 9, 2009

While I'm waiting...

I'm beginning to feel I can relate to John Waller's song, "While I'm Waiting" in a whole new way. But really I guess the song relates to any waiting periods we have. In this life we have various situations and circumstances and the last 10 days we've played the waiting game in our house.

You see we are expecting our 4th child on the 29th of this month, but last week after my check-up, the Dr. told me things were progressing. So I travelled home expecting the baby to be born soon...

After a couple of normal days, my patience was growing thin and I was growing frustrated as I attempted to figure out when this little one would arrive. Yesterday I returned to the Dr. and she told me my body is half way there, but yet now 24 hours later nothing has happened.

Now it's not only my patience that is growing thin, but so is that of my oldest 2 kids who are anxiously awaiting their new little brother or sister. Today as I've been frustrated with our time of waiting, I heard the song, I've listened to numerous times, but related to it in a whole new way.

Regardless of why we need to wait, God has a purpose for these minutes, days, weeks and sometimes years. And today He has simply reminded me I'm not the one in control, life isn't about my plans, but His and since they are perfect while I'm waiting I pray this is the song of my heart...

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait

I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting on You, Lord

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Good enough?

Lelia at Write from the Heart is hosting her next Yes to God study and this week we take a look at the opening chapter of Lysa TerKeurst's book, Becoming More.

I can relate all too well to thoughts she expressed as she wrote about trying to be good enough. All my life it seemed my goal was to be good enough - to be the good girl, to make everyone happy, to win other's approval...and at times I accomplished that goal, but the results and feelings that achievement created never lasted very long.

You see the phrase, "you can't please all of the people all of the time" is so very true. I'd have a bad game and feel I let my coaches and teammates down, I'd struggle on a test and feel I'd failed my teacher, I'd say something harsh to my little sister and think I'd ruined that as well.

As time went on all this striving left me empty and wondering who I really was - this person expected me to do or be this, so I'd try to live up to that, but then someone else had other thoughts of me, so I'd play a new part. Not only did I fail in making others happy, I usually left myself feeling rather empty.

It seemed as though I'd never be good enough and the realization of that hurt, at times it hurt bad. Because you see, I didn't just relate this fact to the people in my life, but to God as well. I grew up attending church, but never really knew Him. My understanding of salvation was I had to do more good than bad, so with every failure and feeling of worthlessness I not only thought I was letting others down, but really thought I'd failed God as well.

Years went on and my attempt to live this "good enough" lifestyle continued, but the pain of failing only grew stronger. So much so that I seriously considered the thought of ending my life, but again the thought of not being good enough entered my mind - "What if I failed at this too? How would I deal with everyone knowing? Then what would they think?"

Now looking back I see God had a reason for my struggle with not being "good enough" because that night over 9 years ago He changed me. The process of me understanding who He really is and the relationship He wants began and it's been a constant journey ever since.

Though at times my mind falls back into old ways, I don't have to be good enough for God, in reality as a human being I never will be. He loves me, accepts me, forgives me and has a plan for me just the way I am. And the way you are too.

Does that mean we are to cease striving? No! Instead think about the motivation behind your efforts - are your attempts to be or do good to please your spouse, children, boss, friend or even yourself? If so it will never be enough! Or are your works because of your faith and desire to glorify God? If so, keep it up, work to make Him famous - in the world's eyes that may not be good enough, but in God's it will be a picture of beauty. There's nothing He likes to see better than His girls living for Him and being who He made them to be!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

How will you be remembered?

Yesterday I was meeting with the Rise and Shine team and as we put details together about an up-coming women's retreat, we spent some time discussing music. We listened to a few songs, and since then one line has really been on my mind, "How will they remember me?" from Nicole Nordeman's song "Legacy."

I have been blessed by some wonderful individuals living a legacy in my own life. I know I will remember these men and women and the special role they play. Not just for the things they've done and how they've made me feel, but more so because they've allowed God to use them. I pray someday I will have a similar legacy myself and hope someone following in my steps will share similar words -

"I Will Remember You"
For the things you do
and the words you say.
For the smiles you share
and the hugs you give.

I will remember you,
For the example you set
and the blessings you provide.
For the woman you are
and the one you've helped me become.

I will remember you,
For the difference you make
and the love you give.
For pointing me to Christ
and helping me follow in His steps.

I will remember you,
and God will too.

Take a minute and think about the question - "How do you want to be remembered?" Live in a way so you, and even more importantly God, will be satisfied with the answer!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

God is good...

It seems the last week or so my mind at times has been too quick to focus on the negative, worries and struggles this life has to offer. But yet thru it all God has continued to draw me closer to Himself and remind me of His truth.

He is good...
His faithfulness endures forever.
His mercies are new every morning.
He has a plan for good - one for a future and a hope.
He loved the world (me) so much, He gave up His only Son.

Lord, Thank you for turning my eyes towards you and reminding me of who you are and all you have to offer. You are good and I am thankful! Continue to work in my life along with the life of everyone who reads this - may we know you more everyday and strive to be like you more every moment. In your precious name, Amen