Tuesday, May 31, 2011

God Is Good, All the Time...

and all the time, God is good!

As we like to say down at Ponca Bible Camp. Which is where we will be in just three short weeks. I was playing outside with the kids today and thought, "Man, it's hot out here." Then I realized that it is going to be a lot hotter come June and July when we are at camp, and I am more pregnant. Plus, I will be outside for a lot longer period of time and doing much more strenuous activities than drawing with sidewalk chalk.

Anyway, I was saying that God is good, ALL THE TIME! Right now the goodness is seen in His provision regarding our computer. We were thinking we would have to get a brand new computer. EXPENSIVE. However, one of Lawrence's student's dads works on computers. He volunteered to take a look and see exactly what the problem was, for free! He suggested we try a part that would cost around $100 and see if that would fix what was wrong. $100 sounded a lot better than paying for a new computer, so Lawrence got the part (plus a warranty, an external harddrive so we can back stuff up, and a recordable DVD) all for about $150. The dad is going to put the part in soon, possibly tonight! I am so very grateful for his generosity and his willingness to help us out in this way. God is so good in placing the exact right people in our lives at the exact right times. And providing for us, above and beyond what we could ever even begin to imagine!

Like I said, God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Things We Take for Granted

Our computer at home won't turn on. We can't figure out why. Fixing it will cost money. Money is something we don't have a lot of right now, so we are praying it will miraculously fix itself and come on this weekend :)

I haven't been able to run downstairs and check e-mail or facebook while the kids are napping. I haven't been able to blog or use the internet. It's amazing how much I use the computer every day, without realizing it. Now that it's gone, I realize how I took my technology for granted. It has made me appreciate my computer all the more.

And while I am thankful that God has used this opportunity to teach me patience and to fill my time doing other things that are probably more beneficial, I would really like to have my computer working again, SOON!

So if you would all join with us and pray that our computer turns on today, that would be fabulous! Or if you just want to give us a new one, that would work too :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mourning into Dancing

The past 5 months have been a roller coaster of emotions for us in the Young household. We have been delighted at the idea of a new baby only to have those hopes and dreams dashed with a miscarriage. We have been devastated and grieved at the loss of our baby whom we never got to meet here on earth. We have been challenged to step out of our comfort zone and live epically for God, in such a way that we reach out and make a difference in those around us. We have remodeled our house to get ready for the foster kiddos who will come to live with us at some point in the future. We have gotten excited about the possibilities all that entails, but also scared about all the what ifs and the unknowns that come with the territory of foster parenting. We have been stressed as our schedules got busier and the bills increased but our income didn't. We have been anxious to see what God has in store for our future as we follow Him, trusting Him because there is no other way. We have been extremely thankful for our very lives, having come within inches of our lives but leaving the scene of the car wreck completely unharmed. We have been confused and frustrated as I struggled with health issues that didn't seem to have an answer. We have been thrilled at the opportunity Lawrence was given to start an after school program for the 4th and 5th grade boys at his school. We have been nervous and excited at the same time as we prepared for the Shave to Save event; we were really praying God would use this experience to impact people in a huge way, a way that we never could without going through this adventure.

The big event has come and gone. Yesterday, I lost all my hair. I donated 3 ponytails that were each about 18 inches long to Locks of Love so that someone can have a wig. With the help of my family and friends, over $5,600 was given to the Hope Lodge to provide cancer patients with a place to stay for free while they receive treatment, meaning they can focus completely on getting better and winning the battle against cancer.

It was a bittersweet moment for me as Lawrence cut off my ponytails and then made a Z with the razor. I thought I would be more saddened by the loss of my hair, but that really didn't seem to matter. I was kind of nervous about what I would look like as a bald woman, but everyone kept telling me I looked great, so I guess they were either being really nice or they actually meant it. Either way, I feel fine about my new doo. Although I do keep going to move my hair out of my eyes or pull my ponytail out from my shirt and then remember that I don't actually have any hair. :) I was kind of anxious to see how people at the gym would respond to my new look this morning, but I just threw on a dew rag and was ready to go. And getting ready this morning was a breeze!

I had planned on sharing more about why exactly I was shaving my head, but I was overcome with emotion as I told about our miscarriage last December. The pain just seemed to well up and was so fresh, even though it's been almost 5 months and I haven't cried in weeks. I think I was actually more nervous about sharing our GOOD news than I was about having my hair shaved off. I do hope that people heard not only our announcement that we are expecting a baby once again, but that this is the result of God's goodness. He is so faithful. Our baby is due almost to the day of when we miscarried. There couldn't be a more redemptive pregnancy. Plus, I think telling about our newest family member helped ease the pain of my extreme haircut for my parents and in-laws. And everyone seemed to be more focused on congratulating us on the baby than on my haircut, which I didn't mind one bit!

As I sit here and think about the past 5 months, I am blown away by God's lovingkindness. I have been feeling sick and tired since the beginning of the year. I had my blood drawn and tested positive for anemia. So I took iron, lots of it. I added vitamin C to my diet to help absorb the iron. Nothing seemed to help, and after 4 months of this I was getting very discouraged. Towards the end of April I had my blood tested again, and this time I was not anemic. Which was good news, but I was still very concerned because that meant there was still something wrong, and I didn't know what that was or how to fix it. I got scared and started thinking about the worse case scenarios. I wanted so badly to be pregnant, but was too afraid to take a pregnancy test in fear that if it was positive I might miscarry again.

God kept trying to whisper to me and quiet my fears.
On Easter Sunday Pastor Michael spoke about the peace and rest that comes as a result of the resurrection. I felt like God was telling me to stop worrying, that everything was going to be okay. And in fact, I might just have that Christmas baby I had prayed for after we miscarried. (Side note: I have always thought that December is one of the worst possible months to have a baby because of the busyness of the holidays and I didn't want my child's birthday to get overlooked. BUT after we miscarried I told God that the best Christmas present ever would be a baby next year.)
Two days later I read Psalm 116 in my personal devotions. It begins, "I love the Lord because He hears and ANSWERS my prayers. Because He bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath." The psalmist goes on, "I saw only trouble and sorrow. THEN I called on the name of the Lord...How kind the Lord is! How good He is! So merciful, this God of ours! The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and then He saved me. Now I can REST again, for the Lord has been good to me."
That same Tuesday I read in Romans 15, "So I pray that God, who gives you HOPE, will keep you happy and FULL OF PEACE as you believe in Him. May you OVERFLOW with HOPE through the power of the Holy Spirit."
Two days later I had an appointment at the birthing center where Coralyn was born. I was hoping that if my sickness was somehow related to my miscarriage or some kind of female problem, the midwives there would be able to help me. I figured I would take a pregnancy test too, just in case. However, right before I was leaving to head to the appointment, I got a call that the birthing center was going to be closed and my appointment was cancelled. I was so bummed! I decided though to pick up a pregnancy test at Hy-Vee since I would have found out that day anyway if I was expecting or not. I waited until the kiddos were sleeping and then got up the courage to take the test. 3 minutes later I took a deep breath and went to check on the results. A very dark line was there indicating I was indeed pregnant! I was overjoyed! That explained why I was still feeling so icky even though I wasn't anemic anymore. In that instant being sick didn't seem so bad after all. And if this pregnancy is like Coralyn's, then I will be sick until December, but I am more than okay with that because I will have my Christmas baby!
The following Sunday, Pastor Michael's message was titled, "Read 'Em and Weep" as he taught from Luke 6 and explained how the Bible speaks of people's mourning and weeping being turned into comfort and laughter. I thought of the verses about how weeping may go through the night but joy comes with the morning (Ps 30:5,11). Or how our grief is turned into dancing. About how God exchanges our sorrow for rejoicing (Jer 31:13). Again, God was reassuring me that everything is going to be okay. I don't have to fear about miscarrying. He has everything under control. Just like Pastor Michael said on Easter, "God writes every detail of the story, from beginning to end." If He can arrange the ark to rest on Mt. Ararat on the same day that Jesus was raised from the dead, then He can take care of the baby growing inside of me!

About 8 weeks pregnant...

the very dark middle line, letting me know I am definitely expecting a baby!

I decorated our bedroom with Christmas stuff as my way of letting Lawrence know I was pregnant and due in December. The pregnancy test was his present in the bag!

So here I am about 10 weeks pregnant, expecting a baby in December, almost to the day of when we miscarried. When we lost our baby last year, I likened myself to Job -- how hard times happen and we go through trials without knowing why or understanding what God is doing behind the scenes and so we just have to trust Him no matter what. Well, I feel like Job again, only this time at the end of his story -- when God blessed him and gave him back all that He had lost. Only Job didn't just get back what he had lost, God gave him double of everything! I told Lawrence if we are like Job, then we might just have twins! :)

Friday, May 6, 2011


Coralyn getting a horsey ride from Carson.

She loves the Pooh Bear someone from Lawrence's school gave her.

Sportin' the shades my mom got her last Easter!

Our precious gift!

Today Coralyn is 19 months old. Seriously, I think the time keeps flying by faster and faster. And my baby girl keeps growing up more and more.

Last weekend we got to visit some friends who were in our childbirth class and actually ended up having their little girl on the same day as Coralyn, at the same birthing center! The Popps now have another baby girl, so we took them lunch and stayed to chat and watch the birthday buddies play together. They were so busy: go, go, go. They would run into the play room and bring out some toys into the living room. Then they would race back to the play room and get more stuff. I think they had emptied the entire play room by the time we sat down to eat lunch! Surprisingly, they did a pretty good job of helping clean up their huge mess when it was time for us to leave.

As I watched Coralyn and Sylvia play together, I thought about the friends Coralyn will make once she is in school. I pray that she is the kind of person who is kind to everyone and compassionate too. I hope that other people are drawn to her because of these qualities. Also because of a special something they notice in her, a joy, a peace, a hope that are all because of a relationship with Jesus. I pray that my daughter is able to share His love with her classmates in a way that is supernatural. I long for her heart to be so fully given to Him that she can't help but live for Him in all that she does. And that she does so in such a way that people want to be around her, that they want what she has. As she continues to grow up, I pray that as she faces peer pressure that she will have the courage and boldness to stand firm in her faith. Even more, I pray that people wouldn't even ask her to do things she shouldn't because they know she will say no. I want her to be respected, to have a reputation for doing what is right, but not in a goody-goody-too-shoes sort of way. Never do I want her to point her nose in the air and think she is better than others. Rather, I pray that she befriends those who are lonely and perhaps not the most popular or well-liked. I hope she treats everyone the same, showing them the love that Jesus did in His day.

I have lots of hopes and dreams and prayers for my little girl. I have no idea what God's plans are for her, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are good. I am excited to see them unfold and watch her grow and mature into the beautiful, radiant woman God has created and designed her to be. I am eager to see what her future holds, but for now I want to enjoy every single second I have with her because that future is seeming to unfold quite quickly these days. Which is why yesterday when she felt sick, I was soaking up every moment that she sat STILL on my lap and rested her head on my chest. I couldn't quit kissing her head or whispering to her that I love her. I know these times will be few and far between, especially as she keeps growing up. But I hope she knows that my lap is always there for her, that she will never be too old to cry on my shoulder or for my arms to wrap around her. She will forever and always be my Baby Girl, no matter how old she is!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

One Week Away

Next week at this time, I will be bald. I will have gone to the Shave to Save luncheon at the Midland Theater and shared with everyone why I decided to participate as a shavee this year. My hair will have been cut off and donated to Locks of Love. Lawrence will have taken the first swipe with the razor and a professional will have shaved off the rest of my hair. One week from today, I will be bald.

As I count down the days that I have left with my hair, I have been thinking of some of the things that I will miss:
*being able to put my hair into a pony tail
*brushing my hair in the morning
*trying out different hair styles
*fixing my hair extra nice so that people pay attention to it and not my mid-section about which I don't feel too confident that particular day
*using my hair as a wig for Coralyn (it's a game she likes to play when I bend over to put the mouse in my hair and it hangs down...she comes underneath it and then it looks like my hair is her wig...lot of fun, lots of laughs)

Of course, there are some things I will not miss at all:
*feeling the knot that my hair has become by the end of the day
*brushing out the rat's nest that is a result of the knot
*spending money on shampoo
*finding loose hairs on the kitchen floor after I have already swept four times that day
*pulling my hair out of the vacuum sweeper when it gets clogged (oh the joyous memories from college when there were like 57 girls' hair caught in the floor vacuum cleaner...NOT!)
*not knowing what to do with my hair and feeling like it's a frizzy mop of a mess
*getting my hair caught behind my head when I lay down
*getting my hair caught in the car door

I can say that I will not miss these things, but I probably will once I don't have any hair and go to pull my hair out from my shirt or put a blob of shampoo in my hand out of habit.

Whatever the case may be, one week from today, I won't have any hair. Getting ready in the mornings will be a breeze. Showers will take less time, as the bulk of it is spent washing my hair. Then, I won't have to brush my hair or put any mouse in it to keep it from frizzing and turning into a scary monster or figure out how to wear it for the day. I can just throw on a bandana or opt for the bald shiny look. Every once in awhile, when I feel like dressing up, I can figure out how to wrap a scarf around my head.

As the day of the luncheon gets closer and the reality of being bald gets bigger and bigger, I am kind of nervous. On Thursday morning I will go the gym with hair. Friday morning I will be bald when I go to work out. What is everyone going to think, seeing as how I haven't really found a way to announce to everyone that I am shaving my head or explain why I am doing such a crazy thing. I wonder what people will think when they see me in the grocery store or at a restaurant. Should I make a T-shirt that says, "Yes, I'm bald. No, I don't have cancer. But I did volunteer to shave my head to raise money so that people with cancer could stay at the Hope Lodge in Kansas City for free while they receive treatments." Would people take the time to read it or would they just look at me funny? My biggest concern is how Coralyn is going to respond. I certainly don't want her to be scared of her mama! She is going to be at the luncheon though and see the whole thing, so hopefully she still recognizes me! I am her mama after all! :)

Whatever the case may be, one week from today I will be bald. I have no idea what that is going to look like or feel like. I just pray that somehow God uses my bald head to bring people to Jesus in ways that my red hair never could. Maybe I could write Bible verses on my bald head. I am sure that would cause some interesting reactions! Or I could go so far as to get a tatoo (don't worry, Mom, I'm just kidding!). But once my hair grows back, it wouldn't be nearly as affective. Guess I will pass on that idea. :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

But He Deserved It

As I reflected on the death of Osama Bin Laden, I caught myself thinking, "but he deserved it."

And in a way, justice was indeed served, in that a person who was responsible for orchestrating such horrendous acts of terrorism paid for his crimes.

However, my mind wasn't at peace. I don't know for certain where Bin Laden stood with Jesus. I am going to assume that He had not trusted Jesus as His Savior, purely based on the life choices he consistently made. That means that Bin Laden is in hell, forever separated from God. He will be there for all eternity, suffering in ways that I don't even want to imagine. Again, the thought, "but he deserves it," jumped into my head. And once again, I was troubled, because of the next thought I had.

"So do I."

Whoa! Wait! Hold on a minute! I have never ordered people killed. I am a good person. Yeah, I mess up now and then, but not with big sins like murder. I'm not like Osama Bin Laden. No way! I have a relationship with Jesus. I am God's child. He chose me to be a part of His family. He loves me.

Yes, all that is true. But I don't deserve any of it! And that's hard to swallow. I want to think that I deserve God's love, that I have earned my place at His table. I like to believe that I am a good person and that God chose me because of the potential He saw in me. But I would be lying to myself.

The Bible tells me that no one is righteous or good in and of themselves.

God lets me know that even my best works are like filthy rags compared to His holiness.

God's Word also reminds me that I am saved by grace, a free gift from God, and not by any works that I have done.

Just today I read in 2 Thessalonians 1:12, "This is all made possible because of the UNDESERVED favor of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ."

What I deserve is hell, right along with Osama Bin Laden, and everyone else for that matter. But because of God's love, and only because of Him, I get eternal life instead. I am forgiven of my sins; my debt is paid in full. I can stand before God pure and complete. Not because of anything I have done, but because He sees me through the precious blood of the Lamb. And that is what I must remember as I try to figure out my thoughts and emotions about the death of Osama Bin Laden.

Yes, he deserved it.

But so do I!

And that brings me to my knees. All I can say is thank You, Jesus! Thank You, thank You, thank You! I know we remembered Your death last Friday, and celebrated Your resurrection on Sunday. But in light of what has happened in the few days since then, the reality of what You did on the cross and the meaning it has for me and my eternity means so much more. So, once again, thank You.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Over the Top

Yesterday was the deadline for me to reach $5,000 in order for my head to be shaved at the big luncheon at the Midland Theater as part of the Shave to Save event. I wasn't too worried because I knew that my mom, like always, would come through for me and make sure I would be a part of the big celebration. She wasn't going to let me have my head shaved and not be at the Midland to do it. But I really didn't want her to have to donate a whole lot of money. It's already a huge sacrifice on her part to support me in going bald. For her sake (and mine, I guess!) I hope my hair grows back at an outrageously fast pace! Anyway...I still hadn't made it to $5,000 yesterday afternoon. But, thanks to many friends (both mine and my mom's) we not only reached the goal, but surpassed it!

As of right now, people have donated $5,541.94! The 94 cents came from some of the students at Northern Hills Christian Academy, where I used to teach. The 113 students there brought in their pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters to support me. They ended up donating $224.94! I am forever indebted to Cheryl Simmons, the secretary, for counting all those coins (many of them pennies!).

I am humbled by the generosity of those who gave. Thank you for joining with me in this crazy adventure. Some of you, like my mom, probably don't completely understand why I would volunteer to shave my head, especially when my long red hair is my favorite thing about me (physically). That's okay; you gave anyway. You looked past my weirdness and realized that God has His hand in this, that He is going to do something big through all of this. At least that is my hope, my prayer.

In 9 days I will get up on stage before a large crowd of people. I will only know about 20 of them. The rest will be strangers. The majority of them have been affected by cancer in some way. They may be fighting cancer or be a survivor. Someone in their family may be going through treatments, or perhaps they have lost a loved one to this terrible disease. I am the odd ball out. Thankfully, no one in my immediate family has suffered from cancer. I am at Shave to Save for a completely different reason. I signed up to shave my head after we had our miscarriage and I realized that rather than having a daily pity party for myself, I could reach out to others who are hurting. I could comfort them as God has comforted me.

But really I am doing this for a much bigger purpose. Yes, I would love for the people who benefit from the funds raised and stay at the Hope Lodge for free while they receive cancer treatments to be cured from their illness. In that way, I certainly am willing to "shave to save." Many of these people may need another kind of saving as well, and that is my true reason in shaving my head. Before they cut my hair and Lawrence takes that first swipe with the razor, I will get to share about why I volunteered as a shavee this year. And I will have the opportunity of a life time to share the love of Jesus. I pray that everyone in attendance would see past my long red hair and into my heart. I pray they wouldn't see me at all, but that they would see God Himself on that stage. And that if they have never opened their hearts to Him, that they would that afternoon. I pray that my sacrifice points to the much greater sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. We just celebrated Easter so maybe that will be fresh in people's minds. Whatever the case, I just want to pour out God's love and pray that people are filled to overflowing with the hope and joy and peace that only Jesus can bring.

So, thank you for donating. You went over the top, BUT I still need your help. I need your prayers (and those are free!). Please pray that God gives me the words to speak on Thursday, May 12. Please pray that the people hear my heart, that they see God's love, and that if need be, they accept Jesus. That is the real reason why I am shaving my head. Shave to SAVE!