He is El-Shaddai

Disclaimer: If talk of the pregnancy and reproductive health bother you, this post is not for you.  

Seven and half years ago, our youngest child was born.  After he came along and the circumstances surrounding our house and jobs, we did the “sensible” the thing and JP had a vasectomy.   I was pretty worn out from eight years of being pregnant and nursing. My body did not handle my last pregnancy all too well.  It all made sense.

We have always said that we were open to adopting, and have made no secret as to that fact.  We have looked into the foster care system, and we have looked into adoption from time to time. So many children need someone to love them.  Nothing has fallen into place yet.

Two summers ago, we got a the shock of shocks. I discovered I was pregnant again.  I could not believe it and I walked around crying.  I knew our family was not complete, but I really did not think God was going to grow it THAT way.  Well, as soon as I started to adjust to the idea that we were indeed pregnant, I miscarried.  The emotional roller coaster started.

JP went back to his doctor.  His doctor is convinced that JP is an idiot and his wife is sleeping around.  He told him he was 99.9% sure the baby was not his.

I dealt with the guilt and pain.

We went on.

I have continued praying about our family, and have long felt that it is not complete.  About a year ago, I started praying in earnest for another child.  (I would really like two, and God knows this because I like even numbers) I do now know how this child will be coming to our home, and I do not know when this child will be coming.

Now, I know, the logical part of my brain has a lot to say like.. “Are you crazy? Your life is already insane!”

“You are already so busy with the four incredible kids you are blessed with!”

“You can not really afford all this now!”

and countless other arguments.

BUT, I do know that God has allowed this desire to stay in my heart.  I do know that God has told me that He will grant me the desire of my heart… OR He will change them to be according to His will.  I do know that God has given me peace on this very subject.

In the last couple years, a few young children have passed through our lives with chances that they might come into our home.  My heart leaped, yet only to fall when things fell through. A couple months ago, God changed the way I prayed.  He reminded me He was in control, and when it was HIS time, this would happen.

Well, in the last couple weeks, I noticed again changes happening in my own body.  I began to suspect the condition I know very well.  I am a pro at it, after all.  I was hesitant to test because my body does not like to stay pregnant.  But at a couple weeks late, I decided it was time to find out.  Indeed, JP and I were staring at a faint blue line.

He was so excited, and I was so scared.  My body is not good at staying pregnant.  I told him not to be excited, but he could not help it.  I dreaded what everyone would say.

The very next day, the end started.

I know that He is in control.
I know that God can heal my hurt- physical and emotional.
I know that God can heal my husband’s hurt.
I know that God will do with this family what He wants.
I know that God has not changed the desire of my heart.
I know that God has given me peace that our family will grow again.
I know that there is a child who will  need a family to love him.
I know that God can use us to change the world for a child.
I know that God can use a child to change us.

He knows.

Tonight, I sit.


Tuesdays are always tiring, and today was no exception.  The weekend has been busy, so that has added to the weariness.  I sat down, and stared at a blank page wanting to write, but unable to really put my thoughts together. Thoughts were running about my head; my heart was unsettled.  I knew that putting them into words would help me deal with them.

The Holy Spirit nudged me. Maybe instead of writing, I needed to listen.  I needed to hear from Him.  This is what He gave me, and obviously exactly what I needed tonight.

Psalm 139 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

you discern my thoughts from afar.

 I don’t have to figure out exactly what I am thinking!  He knows each thought running about my unsettled mind!

3 You search out my path and my lying down

and are acquainted with all my ways.

4 Even before a word is on my tongue,

behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.

5 You hem me in, behind and before,

and lay your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;

it is high; I cannot attain it.

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?

Or where shall I flee from your presence?

8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!

If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

9 If I take the wings of the morning

and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

10 even there your hand shall lead me,

and your right hand shall hold me.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,

and the light about me be night,”

12 even the darkness is not dark to you;

the night is bright as the day,

for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;

you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works;

my soul knows it very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you,

when I was being made in secret,

intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

in your book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me,

when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!

How vast is the sum of them!

18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.

I awake, and I am still with you.

19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!

O men of blood, depart from me!

20 They speak against you with malicious intent;

your enemies take your name in vain.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?

And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?

22 I hate them with complete hatred;

I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!

Try me and know my thoughts!

24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting!

What comfort for my soul!  He knows it all.  He has known it all from long before I was around.  He knows what is coming.  I do not have to worry any of it.  He is in control.

He knows me.  

He loves me. 

Dreams Dashed and Lessons Learned

When I came home this evening to my toppled greenhouse, my heart immediately sank. At this point of the season, my dreams of wheelbarrows of veggies and rows of jars are all wrapped up in those little plastic cups inside that plastic greenhouse. I wanted to cry.

We immediately went to work in attempt to save whatever we could.  The plants that could be righted may not survive, but I will try.  As I was silently fretting, #3 was not-so-silently fretting.

“What are we going to do for food?”

“What about the marigolds you plant around the garden? You had 72 in just this ONE tray! The bunnies are going to eat everything!”

“We are going to have to eat tomatoes from the store! Can we afford tomatoes from the store? They don’t taste the same.”

“How can we make salsa? or spaghetti sauce? or….

“These were ORGANIC!”

She went on and on…

I finally grew weary of her verbal expression of my own thoughts and told her to hush, but every few minutes her lamentations would break free from her lips.

Of our children, she is the most like me, and I sometimes sit in shock at her reaction to things.  It is like looking in a fun house mirror.  Same person, different body.  Tonight, she was voicing all the things I was thinking.

I started to tell her the Biblical classics like, “Be anxious for nothing” or the Bible says that worry is a sin,but I could not quite bring myself to spout the hypocrisy.  At least she was not hiding her worry! How could I hide my worry, and give her verses on why her’s was wrong?

I know that in the grand scheme of things my green house debacle is truly not that big of a crisis.  I am not fighting cancer, reeling from the death of a loved one, or losing my house. I am blessed beyond words.  It still makes me sad.  I do mourn the loss of my tiny little white cups of gardening dreams.   I also know that I can not sit and worry about it.

As our daughter was annoying me with her obsession over the demise of the plants, I could not help but think about how much I much frustrate my Father.  I know in my heart that the plant thing will work out.  It is a bump in the road.  My Father knows EVERYTHING is going to work out.  He has is all planned out. And yet, there is Tancy, wandering around worrying about it all – obsessing over anything that I think is out of my control.

So often I can picture Him just shaking His head at my folly.  I wonder if God sighs? If He does, I am sure I cause Him to do it often.  I am so thankful that His mercy is new every morning. That concept has been on my mind lately. How grateful I am for that. His mercies are never ending!  Great is Thy faithfulness!

He has mercy on me in my lack of faith and my constant worry, and He will have mercy on me tomorrow when I mess up again.

I am blessed.

The Mad Mom

I have been fighting a new battle for me.  I have often fought feelings of depression, anxiety, defeat, inadequacy, or even lethargy, but rarely have I fought feelings of anger.  Sure, I get mad about things, but I can usually get over them fairly quickly, and move on.  Lately, I have been dealing with lingering feelings of anger.

I find myself angry at times, and I  can not even pinpoint the exact reason that I am angry.  I am just mad about a lot of things.  I know that most of the time the anger surrounds our ministry and my husband.  I know, I know.  I can just hear the gasps, but I am a real person, and I won’t lie about it.  Can the pastor’s wife just admit that she is mad about the ministry?  Oh my.

I  hate how intrusive our ministry can be at times. I hate how demanding our ministry can be at times. I hate that my husband is pulled in every direction and used up and I get what little, if anything is left at the end of the day.   That hate leads to resentment.  That resentment breeds anger, and Tancy is walking about mad at the world.

Yes, I know you nerds in the crowd are all quoting Yoda, and trying to figure out how I could have put those exact words into that line…even I thought about it. 

When I am walking around mad at the world I am not walking in the Spirit. I am not listening for His prompting.  I am not open to the opportunities that He is setting before me.  I am not being obedient.  My focus is wrong.

When we started down this journey, we said we were unwilling to sacrifice our family on the altar of ministry because we had witnessed that ourselves.  But saying that we don’t want to do that, and knowing how to do that is so difficult!  How does my husband tell a dying man that he can not go sit with him again because he needs to be home with his family some time this week?  How do I say that I don’t have time to help you right now because I have things to at my own home? How do you train people that they don’t need to call you for every little thing?  Where is the line?  How do you know?

This is the place we find ourselves in.  Defining our boundaries.  This battle causes conflict  This battle causes division. This battle causes anger.

I know that the anger is wrong.  Even if there IS a problem with the balance, anger isn’t the answer.  I keep begging God to deal with it.   I know the resentment and anger comes when I take my focus off of what is important, and that is Christ.  However, that doesn’t mean that the need for balance in our life isn’t real.

I keep begging for wisdom for both of us.  We need it.  We both need to find that balance and be wise about our time.  We both have to find a way to minister while preserving the first ministry God has given us within our own family.  I have keep my focus on Christ, and what He is accomplishing. The second my focus shifts to my own pity party, I am wrong.

God keep my focus on you, and please help us define the lines.  We can not do it alone.



God is bigger than the pundits

Yesterday, we celebrated fifteen years of marriage.  It is crazy how fast it has flown, and yet how it seems to be all I can remember at the same time.

As I scrolled down Facebook yesterday, I saw the mushy post he left for me, and it made me smile, cry and snort all at the same time.  I can’t help but think that it really a composite for our marriage.

I look back and I think about how people were do adamant that we were nuts getting married. “You’re on the rebound, and shouldn’t be in a relationship so soon.”  “He was previously engaged to what’s her name.”  “It’s too fast.”  “He’s a dork.” “You fight too much.” “You’re too young.”   “Are you settling?” and the list could go on and on….I realize that people just thought that they were helping, but they were wrong.

No, we haven’t arrived, but at least we are still on the train!

I think about fifteen years, and we have had our struggles.  We have had years we almost did not make it.  We have both been selfish, rude, mean, idiotic, and wrong.  People look at us and shake their heads sometimes, but GOD IS GOOD.

HE has pulled us through!  Even through the years that we weren’t exactly His best disciples.  HE stuck by us.  He has brought people across our path to encourage us when we needed us, and smack us when we needed that too.  He has given determination and strength and wisdom when we had none. He is good.  Tancy and JP would have never made it fifteen years.  The pundits would have been right, we would have killed each other years ago.

                    Well.. I am pretty sure I would have won…


God did a pretty amazing thing.  He gave us this great gift.  Fifteen year together and we pray that it is many more.  I am not a mushy,gushy person, but I love that man with everything I got. We have been blessed with an amazing family and pretty amazing life that we get to lead.  

I want to say thanks be to God for this indescribable gift, but I think Paul stole that line in Corinthians when talking about grace.   My marriage is a gift, and I am pretty sure it is indescribable…

Thank you God.