Psalm 50

14 “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving
And pay your vows to the Most High;
15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.”

23 “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me;
And to him who [j]orders his way aright
I shall show the salvation of God.”

Proverbs 16
1 The plans of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.

9 The mind of man plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps.

It is hard to write this blog post. It is hard because I am up all night with baby twins. It is hard because I am so sleep- deprived. It is hard because starting Endless Gifts… when we have been so overwhelmed in so many ways- good and hard- leaves me almost stuck with “where” to even start… and
it is hard because Todd and I just received an answer we had been waiting five months for… and the answer was “no” and that is hard, too. And I know, I know… that this is the place- a quiet place in God, a place of “seeing” with eyes of grace- that I have/had to run to… run… and I think that the deepest spiritual lesson I have been learning over these past several years- has been this concept of praise and thanks. Praising God in the storm, Praising God in the hardness, Praising God when the answer is “no”, Praising God when facing rain, turning, blinking eyes, opening insight to “see” in a different way and find thanks… and offering it sincerely. Offering. Offerings. Really all of life is worship.

I knew as soon as I had a real minute to realize our disappointment- that I had to “offer a sacrifice” of thanks and praise… and I know I need to- in more than just this… also in this hard birth recovery, this stressful family time, this all night wakeful baby twins, life pressures that are whelming us…
sometimes giving thanks really is a sacrifice- and that is hard, too.

Months and months ago- the Lord encouraged me with the above Scriptures from Proverbs 16. Then, even underscored it by having a several friends share it with me at different times unknowingly. Finally, yesterday, when having that “real minute to realize” the Holy Spirit reminded me of it yet again… and it hurt a good hurt to see the outcome as the Lord’s answer is different from my preference. Everything is complicated. Nothing is cut- and-dry. There were pro’s and con’s in every scenario that was before us.

I have been greatly encouraged, since the twins have been born, by soaking up sermons online in the wee hours of the night while caring for them. It is hard to estimate how much this has helped me through the past 4 1/2 weeks of body transitioning, baby feeding, health issues, and no sleep. Sometimes- I feel this yawning ache of… “I miss Jesus. Miss.” And I so do. I have never really written about it. It is a common thing when so swamped with baby needs… but it is also a heart cry I have experienced here in these beautiful mountains. I am thankful for online sermons and worship CD’s- but I ache with ache for corporate worship I have never experienced here and I miss, miss, miss it. And in frank honesty- I don’t play those CD’s as much as I should, and except for this postpartum period, I don’t usually listen to those sermons like I should. And that is my own fault. And some of that deep, utter, missing is what is tied up in the heart cry of my sadness over this answer. All I can do is plant my face (symbolically) to the ground and worship because He knows and His dealings with me are good.

And so- as I have tried a little to process-

I offer- these gifts of grace. I praise.

– a perfect spinal, perfect
-nurses who utterly and totally went out of their way to care for me at the hospital
-everyday laughing with Todd in that hospital and I found a little of “us” again. Just us. And it was sweet.
-my parents who were able to arrive the day I was admitted to the hospital and care every day for our kids as I even had to stay an extra day- for a total of five days in the hospital… for running our household, feeding our kids, and loving them.
-Perfect, beautiful babies and every favorable outcome even in the midst of scary high blood pressure/toxemia, being so very pregnant (40 weeks 1 day when they were born), blood typing issues, etc.
-Full term twins who came out breathing well and nursing well. For this we worked so hard and prayed. Thank You God.
-an OB who cared enough for me to stand right in front of me and help me through that spinal, answer endless questions patiently, every time, and prioritized to protect me during surgery
-friends who have brought us food, brought me flowers, cared for our children, cleaned our bathroon, folded laundry, prayed for me. Prayed and still pray. I have been suprised and blessed by the hearts I have seen. Generous, christian-love hearts.
-back to that perfect spinal- how kind the doctor and nurse anesthetist were and careful with me… they really were and I appreciated it that they took my concern seriously. This and the nursing care were night and day different from my last experience. Direct answer to prayer.
-my sister who stayed up through the wee hours of one whole night and cared for babies with me. Who went “on call” for me while she was here- offering to take babies in the early morning hours so I can sleep. My sister. There is not enough space on this blog to ever try to convey what that she is to me and all the ways she blessed while here (love her ham, lettuce, tomato, cuke sandwhiches!)There is no one like her. I am better when I am around her and I think that is one of the highest praises you can offer about someone. They lift you up in every way.
-It hurts too much to try and offer thanks for everyone who helped us through the crazy weekend/ beginning week we had last week- so I’ll just say- to those who gave for us to take the chance in time and money and energy and prayers- deep thanks. And we’re sorry, too.
-for God sovereignly breaking down our van in our driveway rather than on the way to Atlanta or back.
-cousin time, they had the best time together
-Sammy, hearing his words has shown me more of who he is. Precious.
-our new to us, 12 passenger Ford Econoline.
-being able to fix our mini-van and have two cars again… I am thankful.
-black swallowtails and my butterfly bush… I barely see what is out there right now… but it lifts my heart to see them on my purple bush. They are beautiful.
-My hummingbird feeder all full courtesy of my mom and ficus repotted and doing so well.
-Soft newborn heads pressed against my cheek
-being weaned down to one blood pressure pill a day and soon to wean off that, too, I think…
-my Dad who reminds me of the beautiful place we live… one of the most beautiful places in the country, the the wonderful provision of our house…who also faithfully makes the trip (with mom) to see us.
-Sarah’s flowers and friendship, Elizabeth’s prayers and dinners, Geo and Dan’s summertime meal, Geo’s weekly ministry, Becky on the deck with my kids and her care of me- such a great friend, Debbie’s meal organizing, prayers, and care
-the friends who took the time to visit me at the hospital

I am sure I have missed so many, many. I type hurriedly with three year old interruptions, and nurslings who need me and…

I soak grace. I cry for God-ministered comfort and peace, direction… and HOPE.