Bread Pudding in a Pinch

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The other day I was craving breakfast for dinner and, more specifically, French toast.  But with about 1 1/2 hours until the kids needed to be getting ready for bed I was in no position to make that happen!  Not to mention I only had 4 slices of bread….which I think my son alone would've easily consumed! So, I just dove right into "making-it-up-as-I-go-along" mode and this was the result.  I'm happy to say that it was a hit with the whole family. (Even my husband who claimed to not be a fan of bread pudding!) Oh, and I even got the kids to bed at a decent hour! Yay!  

 
***Note: I made this with half vanilla soy milk and half vanilla coconut milk and it turned out delicious! Also, it reheats in the microwave quite nicely, although it is always better fresh. 😉

Ingredients:

3 eggs
1 cup milk(soy, coconut or almond for non-dairy options)
3 tsp cinnamon
1/4-1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 slices of your favorite sandwich bread, approx 1 inch cubed
Maple syrup
Powdered confectioner's sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Put eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl and beat well
Place cubed bread in 3+ inch deep baking dish
Pour egg mixture over bread and stir until coated; Set aside for about 5 minutes to allow bread to soak up egg mixture
Cover and place in oven for 20-30 minutes or until bread puffs up and egg is mostly cooked. 
Remove lid and cook about 5 more minutes until tips of bread are lightly browned
Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with a little confectioner's sugar
Best if served hot and fresh.
Makes approx 4-6 servings

5 Minute BBQ Chicken

Christina's Kitchen

I have fond memories of coming home from school to the wonderful smell of an amazing dinner permeating every inch of the house….and even into the front yard. 🙂  My Mom used her slow cooker so regularly that I thought every family had the same love affair with that little appliance.  It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized exactly why my Mom loves her slow cooker so much!  How else can you provide a healthy and delicious meal when you only have 15 minutes in the morning to throw something together while still getting the kids off to school and yourself off to work?  So, when Mom passed this recipe on to me I think I actually went out that same day and got everything I needed to give it a try. I've made it dozens of time since then and my husband still oohs and aahs every time. 🙂

If you haven't discovered the simplicity of slow cookers or if you lack inspiration or know-how, this is the perfect recipe to get you started. Ok, so it might take you a little more than 5 minutes, but shouldn't take much more than 15. (Unless you choose to make your own BBQ sauce. But even still, it is SO simple it is almost sure to find it's way onto your menu at least once a month.)

***Note: Since the chicken will LITERALLY fall apart in the cooker, you can also use boneless/skinless chicken pieces so you don't have to sift through all the bones to find the meat and veggies.

Pour the drippings over the meat and use as a main dish with rice and some greens,  or arrange the cooked meat on your favorite toasted bread with fresh slices of onion, fresh spinach or lettuce and a little mayonnaise to make a yummy BBQ chicken sandwich. 

Also makes a great soup: Once cooked, carefully pour (sifted)slow-cooker contents into a large stockpot and add about 6 cups of water and bring just to a boil. Pour over cooked Quinoa for a high protein BBQ chicken soup. 

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Ingredients:
1 whole chicken; rinsed 
1 medium onion cut in 1-2 inch chunks
1 cup sliced mushrooms; any variety(optional)
2-6 cloves fresh garlic; chopped or pressed 
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce or about 1 1/2 cups homemade
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Remove giblets and neck of chicken and place rinsed chicken in the slow cooker
Add onions, mushrooms(optional), garlic, and salt and pepper
Pour BBQ sauce over all ingredients and cover
Cook on high 4-6 hours or until internal temp of chicken reads 180 degrees

Serve and enjoy!

Dairy Free, Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

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Ok, so before you turn your nose up at these cookies you simply MUST try them. 

I am always on a quest for the perfect cookie as in my family I am famous for my chocolate chip cookies. When we discovered that my baby girl was lactose intolerant, that quest became more of a mission to satisfy my sweet-tooth without making her sick. So imagine my excitement when my friend shared this recipe with me! Suddenly my plain ol’ cookie recipe (you know, the one on the back of the yellow chocolate chip bag????)  was all but retired because this recipe is ridiculously simple and so yummy. Beware, you may not have any leftovers…..unless you make a double batch like I always do! 

It literally takes about 5 minutes to throw the batter together, no mixer required, has only 5 ingredients, and can easily be modified about a million different ways for variety.  Did I mention they are so good you’ll have a hard time not eating the whole batch??  As a way of warning, these are very sweet so they are a perfect match with bitter tea or even coffee.

They take a little longer in the oven than some cookies so I like to use my half sheet baking pan so I only need to do 2 or 3 rounds in the oven.  Their texture will vary depending on what kind of peanut butter you use.  Here are some examples:

Natural or fresh ground pb=very crumbly and light in flavor
JIF or Skippy (creamy)=a little crumbly on the outside and chewy in the center
For a little more chocolately flavor try 1/2 peanut butter 1/2 Nutella
My favorite thing to do is 1/2 JIF, 1/2 natural. They come out chewy but crumbly and almost melt in your mouth. Mmmmm, yummy!

***Note: To ensure they are gluten free and dairy free(if those are an issue for your family) make sure to use gluten free items like baking soda(I’ve been told Arm and Hammer is a good option), and peanut butter(I’m told Adam’s) and dairy free chocolate chips(which many of the store brands are). 

Hope you enjoy them!

Ingredients:
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350
In a small-medium mixing bowl lightly beat egg with a fork or wisk, until just smoothly combined 
Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
Place on cookie sheet about 1-2 inches apart 
Bake on center rack for 12-14 minutes or until lightly brown and texture appears dry; let cool on sheet 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack
The texture is best fresh but they keep well in an air tight container.

Enjoy! …..no really, that’s all there is to it! 🙂

Japanese Pickled Vegetables(Tsukemono)

In keeping with my family’s unique tastes, I thought I would share another favorite Japanese dish.  We almost always have some in or refrigerator for snacking on or any number of other uses.

Many traditional Japanese meals include at least one little dish of “tsukemono”, otherwise known as pickled vegetables or simply a side dish of prepared vegetables.  My husband is a sucker for any dish that includes onions. So when my master-of-the-kitchen-mother-in-law introduced us to this recipe my husband made sure she taught me how to make it.  It has quickly become a staple in our household, and, true to form, I have found about a million yummy ways to use it besides just “tsukemono”. 🙂

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Enjoy!
Ingredients:
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
3 heaping tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup white vinegar
3/4 to 1 cup sesame oil
1/2 cup mirin(sweet cooking sake)
1/2 cup sake
1/2 cup soy sauce 

Directions:
Slice onions and let them rest at room temperature for about 40 minutes.(I’m told this is to allow the sulfuric acid/gases escape, the gases that make your eyes water, but I cannot confirm this.)
Place rested onions in sealable container and add the remaining ingredients.
Carefully mix and slightly compress onions to ensure they are covered by the liquids.
Seal container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before eating.

Serve as a small side dish or try pouring some over chicken breasts and baking it for a tangy, sweet and very moist chicken dish!

Homemade Laundry Soap

Soap

With two small children, a dog, a household to manage, a part time job and ministry to juggle, I don’t have a lot of spare time.  And with a limited budget to work with, I have found myself becoming more creative, even adventurous in order to save a few dollars and valuable time I could be spending with my family.  I have tried (and since given up on) making my own shampoo and hand soap.  I have made the switch from disposable diapers to cloth(and I will never go back!).  I have, for the most part, gotten rid of most cleaning solutions and instead use things like vinegar($3 for 2 gallons at Costco…can’t beat it!). And the list goes on! 

After a few different…uh, adventures(aka: failures), I began to formulate a few simple rules about “alternative” and homemade products:

1)  Ideally, making a product will cost less and take less time than getting the kiddos loaded in the car and driving to the store and back. 

2)  It is worthwhile if I can do 5-10 minutes of work at a time and multi-task the rest(ie, laundry, reading my kids a book, vacuuming).

3)  It MUST work as good or better than what I can buy off the shelf.

4)  If it costs more, but the health benefits for my family outweigh the extra few dollars by a large margin, it is worth it. This comes in the perspective that the long term health benefits will cost us less money in medicine or doctor visits because the product will be that much higher quality.

5)  If my 5 year old couldn’t do it, with a little bit of help, it is too complicated.

6)  If I can’t pick up the ingredients while picking up a loaf of bread and some toilet paper on a usual stop at the store(or at least on the way there), I need to re-evaluate the above rules. 😉

One of the best things I ever did was to start making my own laundry soap.  My friend, LaVonne is one of the “greenest” people I know, so she often is a wonderful resource for eco-friendly and inexpensive alternatives to common household items. She is the one who got me started and I have since taken her recipe and made it work for me.  I love how easy and quick it is to make, and I love how well it works.  And at around $9 for 6 gallons, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the price tag. 🙂 Just know that it takes some trial and error to get it to the right consistency. But once you get it (took me 2 tries) it’s super easy and fast. If  it isn’t quite right just heat it back up and stir it until it melts again. Easy peasy! Yes, it’s lumpy.  Yes, it is also a little runny.  But who says laundry soap has to be pretty?????  

There are a whole lot of recipes out there but they basically use the same ingredients, just in different quantities. Some people find they have to make adjustments because of hard or soft water. Here’s the recipe I use.  
 **Note: Scroll all the way to the end for some commonly asked questions.**

Ingredients:
*1/3 bar of Fels Naptha (5.5oz bar). You can use other soap but make sure you aren’t using a beauty bar, which is what most bar “soaps” are that you find in normal grocery stores.

*1 1/2 cup arm and hammer WASHING soda (NOT baking soda, although you can add it and some recipes do)

*1/2 to 1 cup borax 

*1/4-1/2 cup white vinegar

*1T essential oil or glycerin (optional)

*2 1 gal. jugs or other container to store soap. If you have an old detergent container or empty vinegar jugs, that works great. You can also use a bucket, allthough, if you have kids you’ll want to make sure it has a tight fitting lid and is very durable.

Directions:
Grate the Fels Naptha soap and put it in a large stock pot with 6 cups water over medium heat; stir constantly, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot. Heat until soap melts. (You’ll know it’s melted because it won’t stick to the bottom of the pot as much.)

Add washing soda, borax, vinegar and oil (if desired) all at once, stirring constantly until all has dissolved.

Reduce heat and let it sit for 5 mins. over the heat stirring occasionally.

Slowly add 1 gallon of hot tap water to mixture. If lumps appear, stir over heat a few minutes to incorporate.***

Remove from heat and let it cool for a while. Remove any bubbles and stir, slowly, occasionally(every 20mins or so to keep ingredients from separating) until cool enough to touch. Make sure it’s fairly cool because once you put the cap on the jug, it will expand and blow the top off if it’s too hot. If you are using a bucket, it should be fine to pour in after only 5 or 10 minutes.

Using a funnel put half the mixture in each gallon jug and shake well.

Put aside until cool.

This gels up and looks like egg whites.

Shake well before each use. Use about 1/2 c. per load, depending on size. It won’t suds up like most detergents but the clothes smell wonderful.

***If you don’t have a stockpot large enough, after dissolving all the ingredients in the 6 cups of water, let cool and stir as above, then add half of the mixture to each jug and then fill the rest of the way with hot tap water and shake well.

FAQ:

Q: Where can you buy the ingredients?
A: I have seen them at WinCo, Fred Meyer and Safeway.  Next time you are in your favorite store, take a look in isle with the laundry supplies. 

Q: Can this be used in front loading and HE(high efficiency) washers?
A: Yes and yes.  I have an HE front loader.  Since this soap doesn’t suds up like other detergents it is perfect for HE and front loaders.  You may find that you can use even less.  I actually only use about 1/4 cup per load.

Q: Can it be used to wash cloth diapers?
A: Yes.  We use cloth diapers and have never had any trouble with it.  I actually started adding a little extra vinegar(for the disinfectant quality) to the soap. So I use 1/2 cup to a full 1 cup of vinegar.  You may find that you need less of the Fels Naptha for diapers if your baby has sensitive skin or your washer doesn’t rinse clothes well.

Q: Can I use this if I have sensitive skin?
A: Honestly, I am not sure.  I would assume so.  But admittedly, my family is blessed to not have sensitive skin.  But, that being said, since I use it to wash my daughter’s cloth diapers, I assume it may be ok for most people. Again, don’t give up if it doesn’t work the first time.  Try tweeking the recipe to see if reducing or increasing certain ingredients will help.   Please leave a comment if you have sensitive skin and try using this recipe.

Q: Is this soap toxic?
A: Like any soap, it should be kept out of reach of children.  The Borax box says to keep out of reach of children.  (I believe borax can be used to kill ant nests so I would assume that should tell us something!) So please keep this where you youngest and dearest won’t be tempted to play and explore. 😉

Q: Should I use special tools to “cook” it?
A: I use the same stockpot I use to cook spaghetti, and I use the same grater I use for veggies and cheese.  It is soap.  I actually find my stockpot is cleaner after I use it to make this soap!  Just make sure you rinse it well so there isn’t any residue.  …but hopefully you do that with any soap you use to wash dishes! 😉

Q: Can you make it dry instead of liquid?
A: I have seen many recipes for this online but have never tried it as I prefer liquid.  But do a quick internet search and you should easily find something that will work.  I’m not certain, but I think this recipe can be made dry by just finely grating the Fels Naptha and mixing it with the other dry ingredients, adding the vinegar, etc directly to the washer.  Leave a comment and let me know how it works if you give it a try.

A Paradigm Shift Moment….


“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.” Lamentations 3:25

These words strike me on a deep level. It is the message I was taught in the middle of the agony of my third miscarriage. It was a paradigm-shift moment in my faith and it ushered in a revival of the soul.
How, in the midst of my deepest emotional valley, could I begin to say and believe that God is good? I mean, He could’ve prevented it, right? But here’s the point: God IS good. If I only loved my children when they behaved, then there would MINIMALLY be a 50/50 ratio of love to loveless. (And all the parents say a resounding AMEN!) So, if I can view my children with forgiveness and faith in who they are, in their immaturity and selfishness, with almost no wisdom of their own, how can I not trust the Lord in His infinite love, wisdom, and maturity? If I don’t let circumstances determine my love and commitment to my husband, why would circumstances determine my faith in the Lover of my soul? My Creator and King? My Lord?
With that in mind, we must acknowledge the two ways this verse might be interpreted and applied. The first is probably universal at a glance: God does good things for the people who’s lives please Him. Isn’t that the first thing that came to your mind? Well, while that may hold a nugget of truth within it, what about the times when that doesn’t seem, in our finite understanding of both our circumstances and of God, to fit or circumstances? Maybe it has nothing to do with what we might receive from Him, but have everything in the world to do with simply gaining an understanding of Him. An understanding that resonates in our spirit that God IS good regardless of my present circumstances. And maybe, just maybe, I can only understand His goodness when I resolve to wait on Him and seek Him….
Just a thought……

Counting days



So here I sit, with my belly so big I can barely reach the keyboard and breath at the same time. How is it that time in pregnancy flies by so quickly…until the last few days??? Haha, it’s a silly thing to complain about, but I really miss bending over with ease!

What a journey this has been. It’s easy to forget what miracle this little girl truly is. A year and a half ago, I would have laughed in your face had you told me that I would have such a problem free pregnancy. Sometimes I wonder if I’m just imagining it all…not just this pregnancy, but all the tears leading up to this time of my life. I feel like the woman I was a couple years ago almost doesn’t exist anymore. I have learned infinitely more about myself than I ever thought I would in a lifetime…and even more importantly, I have learned infinitely more about my God than I ever dreamed. There were days that I felt completely rejected and betrayed by God and now there are days that I am in such awe of Him that I can hardly utter a prayer for fear that I will ruin that sense of awe. How can such a huge change happen in such a short time? I still don’t fully understand.

As I look back on it all, I remember a few moments that I’m certain were pivotal and I’m not sure if words can truly capture them, but I’ll try. A Sunday when I knew that the Lord was calling me to stand in front of my church and, tearful and trembling, give an impromptu testimony of what the Lord was teaching me in my bitter and hurt state. I found myself begging the rest of our church family to let go of whatever it was that they were holding against God or each other and to stop allowing fear or anger to control their lives. Uttering the words brought conviction on my own soul that I still had so much to release into His capable hands and yet, it seemed that the Lord was showing me, through my own testimony, that He was going to follow through on His promise to never leave nor forsake me. It was as if He was using my own words to reaffirm His promise of deliverance to my still frail and fragile heart.

Again, about 6 or 8 months later, I found myself sitting in church. This time it was a church we were visiting. I was praying and suddenly felt a fear come over me that I had never felt before. And then, a question. The kind of question that every parent dreads facing. The kind of question that Abraham must have asked while walking Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice. “Will you completely release all of your rights to your child’s life into My hands? And if I choose to allow the end of that life, will you still trust Me and follow Me?” It was as if I was sitting there in the church service and my precious son was dying as I struggled with this question. I felt compelled to go peak at him through the window of the classroom door….and in nearly hysterical tears I did and stood watching helplessly yet relieved to see him happily playing and laughing. My answer to the question? I knew I couldn’t go look at my son without first releasing him into the only hands that can truly carry him through any given moment of life, and so release is what I did.

Why would such moments of utter and complete brokenness be so pivotal? I can only imagine that they are moments where I let go of things that were never mine to hold so tightly. What is that famous saying from Jim Elliott? “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Whatever the case, I am so thankful for each day. I am so full of life and freedom. I am experiencing the power of my God in ways I never dreamed possible and I am fully aware that it has nothing to do with me…except that I was willing to let it all go.

Oh the freedom and joy of a life lived for a greater purpose than success or money or even happiness! I am truly free indeed! I am forever broken for the good of my own soul….and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂

8 weeks and counting

Well, I think it’s been WAY too long since I last posted anything so I thought I’d share some of what has been happening in our lives.

I am now 32 wks pregnant and feeling about as big as a house! The other day my Grandma asked me how I was doing and we laughed together over my first response: “I forget what my ankles look like NOT swollen. I’m hardly sleeping at night because I have to pee 4 times every night. I can’t get a nap because every time I lay down the baby gets excited and starts kicking the living daylights out of my hips and ribs, and, oh let’s see….I can’t really eat much because everything gives me heartburn! Oh, and did I mention that I have almost constant leg cramps regardless of how many bananas I eat or how much exercise I get? So, basically, I’m exactly how I’m supposed to be at this point!” (giggles followed)

It’s a journey, that’s for sure, but it’s a wonderful blessing too. So many people have told me that I’m crazy when I tell them that the 3rd trimester is my favorite part of pregnancy. What can I say? Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but it’s the time that I start to feel like I’m getting to know the baby’s personality and natural schedule. It’s the time that I truly start to appreciate the simplicity of life that we so often take for granted. It’s that time that it becomes a real and present reality that there is a little tiny person growing and developing…not just the adorable “alien baby” that earlier months reveal on the ultrasounds. She has a personality. She has likes and dislikes. She sleeps. She gets the hiccups. She is truly her own wonderfully created person.

What’s hard is suddenly realizing how little time we have to take care of all the details of preparing our home for her to come. It’s been rough to be so busy with crazy and unexpected life situations that I feel like we haven’t been able to just enjoy the pregnancy and the miracle of this little blessing. I just keep reminding myself that, after she comes, her newborn fragility will necessitate a month or so of slowing down and focused family time. (Which, for me, also usually means a MAJOR case of cabin fever!)

What’s amazing is not feeling all of the anxiety about how this will change our lives or how we will be able to afford all that comes with a new baby in our home. I still have anxiety about giving birth(seriously not a fun part of the whole deal) but at least this time I have an idea of what to expect. I still know that my husband and I will be paranoid about her health through her first Winter season, but at least we know how to handle just about anything normal that flu and cold season can throw our way.

This time around I think I have more anxiety about how in the world to help our 3 year old through the whole process. I’m not the most patient mom and I wonder how the early days of total sleep deprevation will affect my ablity to patiently guide him through this major transition in HIS life. I wonder if he will be as excited to “help” as he is now? I wonder if we will get lucky and avoid him trying to hurt her out of pure jealousy or even from trying to “help”? Or will we be among the lucky ones who have a child so protective of the new baby that the only thing we worry about is him hurting someone else! 😉

*sigh* I guess the worrying and wondering of parenthood never really goes away, but rather, it just shifts and changes as the journey continues.

As for past miscarriages and heartaches regarding having children? God’s healing has been complete. My fears aren’t linked to that history, but to the normal emotions of welcoming a new family member. Have I forgotten? Nope, but I think that is God’s way of reminding me of the great and miraculous healing He has accomplished in my life. I know that He doesn’t always choose to bring about that healing by giving another child, but in my case He did….and I am thankful. Those whom He chooses other ways of healing have a much harder road in some ways, but no less blessed or full of wonder. I still can’t claim to begin to understand why these things happen. Nor can I begin to think that I have all the answers. I’ve hurt people along the way. I’ve been angry with God and man. I’ve screwed up and made a fool of myself and others. But I also know that God won’t waste any of it. (Though I am certain I’ve given Him a little more work because of my foolishness.)

So, to those I’ve hurt or wronged along the way, I truly apologize. I pray that you will find it in your heart to forgive me. I am but a foolish little girl with only very little wisdom and I pray that you will be able to look beyond me to see the amazing Savior who has saved and redeemed my junk.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for leading me even when I tried to get away from You. Thank you for healing me and helping me to learn what it truly means to “praise You in the storm” and to praise you in the sunny days. Please continue to grow me and make me into a tool that is useful in Your amazingly capable hands.

This journey isn’t over….just moving on to a new chapter! 🙂

Health and Life!!!!!!!!!

So now what do I do? How do I take this new challenge to expect life and health and wholeness and walk forward in faith?

As we went to bed that night, my husband and I prayed again. We reminded ourselves of what we had learned and we asked for much of the same healing and wholeness that my friend had prayed and proclaimed. What was this??? With our hands on the little “bump” I had already begun to grow I felt something I’ve never felt before. My tummy was hard as a rock, a few inches bigger for a brief moment and then warmth…warmth that seemed to come from somewhere I can’t explain with simple words.

And it was complete. I knew it in my spirit. My body was different again…different meaning pregnancy “sensations” returned. Where hours ago I wondered if there was life, I suddenly KNEW that life and wholeness had been restored. This baby would be fine.

The next morning as we got ready to go to the doctor, my husband asked me if we needed to get a babysitter for our son. My response shocked even me, “Nope. Everything is going to be fine. He needs to see his new baby sister or brother.”

Wow! Where did that come from??? I don’t know, but it was fun watching the ultrasound tech’s response to the same tentative type of questions. Then, as if to reward our faith, it took only a split second to find and clearly see the tiny beating heart.

Life. A new, tiny heart beating strong as an evening wind.

Newness of heart. A new kind of faith, consuming the depths of me like I never dreamed possible.

A renewed spirit. A hope for the future without fear or doubt. And joy like I have never known before.

“The Lord on high is mighty.” (from Ps 93)

…and mighty is HE!!!!!! 🙂

A New Heart….A New Heartbeat

Cold winter months are slowly turning into warm Spring afternoons…and I’m not just talking about the change of weather.

The end of February brought news that has both warmed my heart and soul, and challenged my faith to new depths. A baby. Yep, I’m pregnant again! Now I’d love to tell you that the news brought immediate joy and excitement but that would be a lie. The first month I was in constant turmoil. Do I want to cry or allow myself to smile? Can I start planning for this baby or should I wait? Torture. Pure, emotional and physical torture. ….or was it simply an exercise I needed in order to grow and trust the Lord…to TRULY trust Him?

So everything was going well for a few weeks. I successfully kept myself emotionally detached from the baby. No signs of problems, nothing that reminded me of any past miscarriages. Then, just like when the last precious life slipped into eternity, at 10wks I suddenly stopped feeling sick, food tasted good again and I had more energy…as if overnight. Most might call this a blessing, but to me, it meant something was wrong and something in my spirit told me that something truly was wrong. So, where do you start? Call the doctor. Spend some time praying. Call a few friends and ask them to pray. And then simply wait and “hope for the best.” But something told me that simply “hoping for the best” was not going to be enough this time.

The doctor couldn’t fit me in until the following day so that meant 24 hours of heart wrenching waiting and each hour brought me to a place of feeling like I was no longer pregnant. I was trying desparately to hold my emotions back and not allow myself to feel anything for fear that the emotions would overtake me and I would go to a depth of despair that I might not recover from. Five hours into waiting and I could no longer hold back the fear….or the flood of tears.

“I’m scared.” I confessed to my husband through a tidal wave of emotions. “I just can’t help but feel that something is just not right with this baby and all of our hopes for growing our family are gone.”

What is a husband to say??? “Just try to trust. Try to give it up to God.” He was trying to hold it together so that I could have a rock to lean on. What I would learn in the next couple of hours would remind me that there is a greater Rock to lean on and He has the power to change anything…and everything, but He needs me to exercise the faith He created in me.

I couldn’t stop thinking about a dear praying sister-in-Christ from my Bible college days and was compelled to try and contact her to ask for her prayers. Desparate for ANYONE who might have more faith than me to ask for the ridiculous. And so I found her and “hoped for the best” without expecting to hear from her directly. Then the phone rang and I KNEW it must be her.

“Can I pray for you guys? How are you? What is going on specifically? How are you feeling?”

Then she went on to explain how she felt led to pray:
“Look at this situation with eyes like a dove; fresh, pure and untouched by past pain.”
“Focus so hard on Jesus and His cross that you even forget about the baby.”
“Remember that we have been given power on this earth to reclaim God’s territory and to walk in His victory without fear or doubt.”
“Remember that this generation has a great calling and the enemy of our souls knows it, and hates it. The enemy wants death but God never intended for the womb to be a grave. God desires life and health.”

….and so she prayed. She asked for my fear to be completely gone. She asked for the pain of past miscarriages to be healed entirely. She asked for victory and proclaimed life and health and wholeness. She prayed for vision and hope for the future and joy in the meantime.

…..and moments after hanging up, the flood of healing began. Suddenly my fears were gone. Suddenly I knew that, although something still didn’t feel quite right with the baby, that by the time we saw the ultrasound the next day that the baby would be fully right, whole and healthy. Suddenly, I had hope for the future. It was almost as if I could feel my spiritual healing in my physical body. The Savior of my soul was bringing life and a new heart of faith into the very fiber of my being. He was mending the brokeness of my spirit and showing me how simple it can be to take Him at His word so much so that I am willing to be a fool if I am somehow wrong.

Faith to move a mountain??? I thought that was for those people who were radical in faith by NATURE…not nurture. Faith to believe for physical healing and spiritual wholeness despite past trauma? Isn’t that for those people that live in some wild jungle and encounter funky diseases and stuff like that??? Or could it be? Could it really be true that God might want to give me that kind of faith to live out in suburbia? To live out as I homeschool my 3 yr old boy? To live out as I rock the babies in the infant room during Sunday worship services? And the answer came as clear as a July afternoon sky….YEEEEESSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!! I want that for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow! What’s next was amazing!……………………