I wish I could.

I wish I could tell the 8 year old girl who felt left out as the oldest sibling that her mother would one day be her best friend.

I wish I could tell the 10 year old who got made fun of for her shoes that she would look like a princess on her wedding day.

I wish I could tell the 12 year old girl that felt out of place at church that she’d someday be an assistant director at a church.

I wish I could tell the 14 year old seemingly incompetent babysitter that she’d someday teach classes to new parents how to care for their newborns and help fragile NICU babies during their earliest days.

I wish I could tell the 16 year old who was so viciously bullied and abused that she had to leave public school that she would one day heal and find more happiness than she could ever imagine.

I wish I could tell the 18 year old who failed her first college English class that she would someday write an article for a prestigious medical institute.

I wish I could tell the 20 year old with the broken, battered heart  how close she was to finding the love of her life.

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The trials we face only get bigger as we get older. I’m looking at the trials I face today, while they are so much bigger than some of the ones I’ve faced in the past, I know the triumphs will be even greater, too.

My prayer is that you, too, might find peace in reflection, knowing great victories are to come.

To the woman grieving this mother’s day

To any woman who turns down the radio when talk about mother’s day begins,

To any woman who feels guilty for grieving this day,

To any woman constantly aware of an absence,

To any woman whose heart is longing,

To any woman hopeful that this month will be her month,

To any woman constantly in prayer,

To any woman angry at God,

To any woman whose baby felt no fear and knew no pain,

To any woman who loves another child like her own,

To any woman who is saving every last penny for a single shot at conception,

To any woman who feels alone in her suffering,

To any woman whose baby had a heartbeat,

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I see you. I see your perseverance and I feel your pain. I see your unending love. The perseverance and love of a mother.

This day is also for you.

Life can be beautiful, but it can also be really cruel. This is heavy – but these aching hearts should not be forgotten this Mother’s Day.

On Mother’s Day, I can think of no one more deserving than a Mother who had to give one back.”  Erma Bombeck

love,

cheyenne

Beauty blooms along the way

Today I noticed the most beautiful bush beside my front door. I don’t know if it’s always been there, or if it just bloomed.

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When we moved into this house, it was a wreck. There was so much work to be done, and I felt like it would never get accomplished. There’s still a giant box in my living room, my wedding dress still isn’t in a dust bag, there are probably a dozen or more totes still to be unpacked or moved to the attic (which still needs to be opened and finished), and this beautiful bush is surrounded by overgrown grass and weeds. We’ve come so far fixing up our little home, and this silly little bush reminded me today that there is beauty in the progress.  I’ve never even noticed it before to know if it was beautiful then like it is now.  If it was, it’s a shame that I overlooked it amidst the chaos and mess surrounding it.

Beautiful pieces of life bloom unexpectedly when we are patient, purposeful, and joyful.  I am learning this in more ways than one during this season. I am blown away by of the season of life that I have entered. So much is changing so quickly, and each and every day I am reminded that I am not in control.

While I may not be able to control different aspects of my life, I will definitely be making more of an effort to find the beauty in the small parts of my every day life –  knowing that eventually they lead up to glorious and long awaited things. There is beauty along the journey, so much more than the end goal, and I’m learning to embrace that.

Side by side – obeying your husband?

Ah, Biblical submission. Obedience. Whatever you want to call it.

I’m no pastor, just a lighthearted theology student. But I am a new wife – and I wanted to dig deeper into what God expects of me as a wife.

GUESS WHAT!

I found a case of “misinterpretation” in more places than one by many spiritual leaders I grew up hearing.

What my spiritual discernment showed me is that the context of the words “obey” and “submit” as we use them today is not what God intended to wives to uphold within marriage.

Let’s look at Eph 5.

“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

Colossians 3 –

“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

1 Peter 3 –

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands

Ouch. Upon casual glace, it looks like the odds are against us. That might even make some of us angry. They don’t make me angry, because I am able to read them in context. I’m not angry because I am able to see that “submitting” and “obeying” are not synonymous and NONE of those commandments say to “OBEY”.

There is a mention of “obey” later in 1 Peter 3 – so let’s look at that.

“They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master

Here’s the kicker – this part of the scripture is addressed to Christian women with unbelieving husbands. That’s not me, but I will explain deeper incase that is you.

Here, what we should be seeing is that the arguments of a Christian wife are not going to convert her husband to know God. It is her grace, faith, and gentleness that will reach him far better than any argument she presents. Women in these situations were advised to be subject to their husbands in hopes that someday they would know God. In the Old Testament, such “submission” was the mark of a Holy Woman.

This is the best part…

In Sarah’s time, it was the norm for wives to submit to their husbands in all aspects of life. Christian women were called to stand up for their religion even if they stood without their husbands – HOWEVER, in every other aspect of life, they were to be wives that “blended in”, model wives, wives that compared to the wives of that culture. That is what their husbands would command and expect – and the wives would “obey”. They would stand alone on the rock of Christ and worship him, but in all other aspects of life, would submit to their husbands as not to allow Christ to ever be blamed for the result of what came from obedience to their unbelieving husbands.

There it is.

That’s the sound of the police.

God’s like, “NOPE. Not today, Satan. Not going to be blamed for THAT one. Won’t be blamed for what someone who didn’t believe chose.”

Hehe. Just kidding. He didn’t actually say that, probably ever.

I believe it was God’s heart to avoid situations where the blame of these husbands’ choices could be placed on Christ so that someday, these men would see the grace their wives had, the mistakes they made as husbands, and messes they created when they commanded their wives do XYZ – and turn to Him for hope and salvation, finally trusting her that he is the Way. They would admit they were wrong, they would be humble (LIKE THEIR WIVES EXEMPLIFIED) and see that they too, needed Christ. Peter’s instructions here were for special cases/mixed marriages.

So what was Peter saying for my marriage? In my Christian marriage? Where we both love the Lord? It ends up being presented as a MUTUAL SUBMISSION and MUTUAL RESPECT model.

In 1 Peter 3, Peter tells us that husbands should treat their wives with respect and honor as he had exhorted wives to treat their husbands. Emphasizing they should view each other as recipients of the grace of life and the same inheritance in what is to come. By emphasizing the wives’ spiritual equality, Peter prevents husbands from using his instructions as grounds for the husbands to subordinate their wives.

EQAULITY.

What does that look like? That is going to look like me respecting Zach in moments he doesn’t respect me. It is going to look like him giving me grace when I am being a butthole. It is going to look like him reaching down to where I am to pick me up and forgive me. It is going to mean me forgiving him when he forgets how sensitive I am. (hehe) It means doing something he wants because I LOVE him. It means him doing something I ask because he looooves me.

BONUS –

Head of the household?

Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Marriage is a partnership. Each part is different but equal. Where would Zach be without me to pick up his dirty clothes and do his taxes? Where would I be without him to pick up spiders and answer the door? Different, but equally important!

God created us so differently – certain strengths and weaknesses. Sure, I could kill spiders and Zach could organize our home, but each of us is happier when we do the things we are good at and not necessarily the things that challenge us.

Leadership – not dominance.

Zach is the “headship” of our marriage. That does not mean he has power over me or I am to follow him around like a clueless sheep. His headship does not make him superior to me. Eph 5 tells us that,

“Husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church.”

Even the Trinity, one person is head. God the Father is head over Christ – but none is greater than the other. Headship examples may vary from marriage to marriage. Zach leads us in prayer. He leads us to repentance when we have strayed. That is how he leads me right now, and I am 100% accepting of that. He listens to me, and I listen to him.

Ask him any day of the week a question about our finances, home, or plans, and he will probably say, “I don’t know, ask the boss!” I’m not really the “boss” (despite my “boss lady” coffee mug) but this is an example of differences and equality. He is so good at leading me emotionally and spiritually – and I am so good at budgeting, decorating, and dragging him around with my friends. 🙂 We both work our BUTTS off in different ways. We have mutual respect for the way each of us works so hard. We mutually submit and “choose our battles”.

 

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PC- our wedding photographer, Lisa

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Actively Involved God

This is a paper I wrote recently for a theology course. I received an almost perfect grade – so I figured I would share! Much more formal than my posts usually are, but hopefully this can help someone asking the questions of how God is actively involved in our lives.

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Part of the Christian faith foundation that we hold is the belief that God is actively involved with his creation. How does this belief, or doctrine, impact the way that those called to work with both children and adults interact with people within their vocation? Someone like me, who is called to work with young children, in the medical field with people much smarter and further educated than me, and then with parents who have never taken care of a child in their life that I am called to teach, has a very complex way of communicating with all of these types of people. How does my belief that God is actively involved in my life, as well as the lives of the children and adults that I work with, impact my everyday life while I do my job? To answer these questions we will have to first dig into scripture to see how God is actively involved in our lives.

Genesis 1:4-5 tells us that God saw the light, that it was good; God divided the light from the darkness. Got called the light day and the darkness night. What does this tell us? This tells us that our God created the world to accommodate our needs. God created our circadian rhythms and the world to work together so that we would be able to serve him and do our work during the day while it is light and rest at night while the sun is down. Our God literally tilted the earth’s axle [1] to cause seasons, giving us changes in weather and time, changes in darkness and light, to allow us to different work throughout different times of the year.

How does this passage impact the way someone called in to my vocation should go about their day to day life? I think the first thing to take into account is that God created this world with light and darkness because there are supposed to be times of rest. In my line of work, it is not always an option to rest at night, often, we are working at night, and resting during the day – if that. God meant for us to rest, we cannot serve others if we are overworking ourselves. This cannot only be applied to my job as a newborn care specialist, but also to a stay at home mom, a doctor, or a construction worker. There will be times when we are excessively tired or weary, God does not want us to lose hope, but he wants us to remember that he created this world to give us rest when we need it, and by coming to him, he can give us rest. Today society so often is portrayed as a “go, go, go” society, almost frowning upon those who rest or work shorter shifts or take a day off. It is important for us to have grace for ourselves and for those we work with. Whether they work for us or above us, or we are working for them – we need to have grace remember that everyone needs to rest.

Exodus 3:7-10 says, “And the LORD said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows…So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians…Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me.” God called the people in Egypt who have not yet given their lives to him, they had not yet repented [2] of their sins, yet God still called them His people.

It is my belief that this passage is especially important when dealing with the question of how God is involved in our life. He considered us his people then, and we can be sure he considers us his people now. It does not matter what we have done or what we will do, we are his people. We are his children. This also means we should look to others as God’s children as well, in the workplace with our vocation and outside of it. Treat them as brothers and sisters in Christ and go about our daily lives with that attitude as opposed to the attitude of someone who may be irritated by a person that’s different than us or someone who doesn’t believe what we believe. It doesn’t matter what someone believes, they are still His people; His children.

The last scripture that we will look at is in 2 Chronicles 23-6. “And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. (4) So Judah gathered together to ask help from the LORD; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. (5) Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, (6) and said: “O LORD God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?” So again we ask ourselves, is God actively ruling his creation? The shows us that he is sovereign [3] over all of his creation, though we often take it for granted. It is not rare that someone would greatly discount the involvement of God in our lives and his willingness to intervene for those who live by faith. God’s activity regarding His plans should be taken into account because His Word declares to be true that He is directly involved in our lives. We know his plans are good! The events God brings about are to better shape us into his image and fulfill his plans for our lives and the lives of those around us.

This passage, I feel, deals with many different aspects of many different vocations. There will be situations in your life, and the lives of those around us, that do not go the way that we think they should. It is important to keep our mindset based on the fact that we know that our God is actively involved in our lives. So, we didn’t get that job, it went to someone we didn’t think deserved it. Clearly, having that job was not in God’s plan right now. God is actively involved in our lives and is working nonstop because there is something else in our future better for us than that job would have been. Whatever the trial may be, we can be sure God is actively working in our lives. We can be sure that God has good plans for us and they are greater than we can imagine. We can’t fathom the way that God works, because his ways are not our ways. It is not only our job as Christians to remember this and to take into account that God is actively working in our lives but also to remember that’s our responsibility to remind her brothers and sisters in Christ, the ones mentioned in the passage above (Exodus), that God is actively working in their lives, even through times of disappointments. Through financial struggles, family planning struggles, not feeling appreciated or needed in the workplace, not getting that raise, the list goes on and on; as children of the most high God we can be sure that God is actively working in our lives. It is our responsibility to remember this every day. Disappointment can wreak havoc on our productivity and effectiveness within our vocation, by keeping these truths at the forefront of our minds and and keeping our eyes on the prize, so to speak, we can do our work the best we can, to best enable God to work his plans in our lives.

These are just a small few of the passages and interpretations throughout Scripture that show us how God is actively involved in our lives. There are countless others, and they can vary from vocation to vocation. The three stated above, I believe, I can be applied to most vocations and walks of life, if not all. Whatever the vocation may be, our responsibility as Christians is to keep the mindset that our Father’s plans are good and that he is always actively working in our lives and the lives of those around us. We must continue to hold to the widely accepted, easily forgotten, belief of our Christian faith foundation that our God is actively involved with His creation.

[1] (1934-1997), Earl L. Henn. “Genesis 1: Fact or Fiction?” Bible Tools. N.p., 01 Jan. 1996. Web. 20 Feb. 2017. <http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/ARTB/k/496/Genesis-Fact-Fiction.htm&gt;.

[2] “Unleavened Bread and Pentecost (Sermon).” Unleavened Bread and Pentecost (Sermon). N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2017. <http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Audio.Details/ID/260/Unleavened-Bread-Pentecost.htm&gt;.

[3] Ritenbaugh, John W. “The Sovereignty of God and Human Responsibility: Part Eleven.” Bible Tools. N.p., 01 Aug. 2000. Web. 20 Feb. 2017. <http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/PERSONAL/k/72/The-Sovereignty-of-God-Human-Responsibility-Part-Eleven.htm&gt;.

 

Norovirus – the winter nightmare

Kids and adults alike are dropping like flies with this “stomach bug”. It’s nothing new, but we do have a less commonly known name for this “stomach bug” or “stomach flu” – Norovirus. Like the name suggests, it is a virus – not the flu or a bug. As recently as 2016, it was believed by doctors that only 100 particles were required to infect a person; we now know that the number may actually be less – around 18. Norovirus is the “best of both worlds” (sarcasm) with vomiting and diarrhea – which makes gastroenteritis the main presentation. Gastro = voms and enteritis = poop. Put those two together and we get gastroenteritis. People that fall ill with this virus are contagious for much longer than many other viruses, meaning the common “24 hours after last fever/vomit episode” placed in most schools is not working well. A person is contagious from the onset of symptoms to up to three days after symptoms are completely gone. This highly contagious virus is also resistant to most common household disinfectants, meaning unless you are using bleach or a hospital grade disinfectant – you may not be killing the virus.  Norovirus, if not properly dealt with, can live on surfaces for up to a week, meaning the chances of recontamination and spreading are high. Between the close corridors we share to keep warm in the winter to this virus’s long “shelf life” and ability to infect efficiently, each person’s chance of catching it is very high during the winter, but it can be caught anytime throughout the year. So, what can we do?

  • Stop using that lemon scented cleaner and break out the bleach, at least during the winter.
  • Wash hands regularly and use hand sanitizer when soap is not available. Try to be sure you are washing  your hands once for every two times you use a hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer is not the “magic soap” we think it is.
  • If someone in your home is sick, clean EVERYTHING. Just because the surface wasn’t vomited on, doesn’t mean there aren’t 18 particles with the ability to infect. This is the time to buy extra paper towels, too. Don’t try to use your microfiber cloths for this one.
  • STAY HOME if you are sick. Aim for 3 days to “de-contagious” yourself before going to work or school, especially if you will be around children. This isn’t always possible, but do your best.
  • Clean with a solution of up to 25 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water, per the CDC’s recommendation.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

-Cheyenne

A year’s difference

imageI remember the night of September 19, 2015 like it was yesterday. My heart was shattered, torn, stomped on, and left alone in a hotel room hours from where I lived. I had put all I had into something that was giving me nothing. That was the worst pain I have ever felt. I remember crying to my best friend. I remember crying to my mom. I remember the constant pain I felt for the week that followed, the kind of pain that shoots up your left arm.

Today, a year later, I’m finishing a road trip across the country with the most incredible man. A man that loves me and shows me he loves me. A man that is perfect for me; someone that is literally everything I have spent my life praying and looking for – in all the wrong places. I would pray that God would change the different “men” I dated into my dream man. Little did I know, God had everything I wanted, needed, and a little bit extra, wrapped up in a man that was halfway across the world at the time. Jesus has transformed my life in so many ways this year, and Zachary is one of the biggest and most unexpected ways.

But, kiddos, it’s not all about finding Prince Charming – no matter how sweet it may be. I started a business, finished a college degree, found passions, dropped negativity, and grew as a strong and independent woman that don’t need no man. I learned to embrace intelligence. I learned to embrace the fact that I am an introvert instead of being ashamed and forcing myself to hide it. That was one of the best things I did for my relationships and my mental health.

I went places alone that I never would have gone alone before. I learned how to get my car fixed in the shop without getting taken advantage of. I worked with doctors. I delivered a baby. (seriously) I learned how to stand up for myself. I moved furniture alone. I painted rooms alone. I traveled by myself. And I met an amazing man that loves that I can hold my own when I need to.

God can use a year to change a lot.