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18 Months

8 Sep

It’s been eighteen months since Dad died.  Some months the 8th passes by just being another day.  Sometimes the milestone brings another wave of grief.

Yesterday brought a new milestone of grief.  It was the first time someone visited our blog by searching for “Joe Lemsky cause of death.”  It sent shivers down my spine.  When I removed the veil of secrecy last month regarding the circumstances of dad’s death, I anticipated someone would google about it and I would provide fodder for gossip.  I knew that would happen.  I just wasn’t prepared for how I would feel.  

Today I’m reminding myself again that I am not defined by this.  My identity does not lay in this one event.  I am not a suicide survivor.  I am not left behind.  

I am beautiful and enough.  I am worth it.  I am a daughter of God.  The King.  That makes me a princess!  My identity does not lay in the grips of Satan’s lies, but in the King who gives me a hope and a future.  

Quote

The difference between desperate and hope

27 Jan

The difference between desperate and hope is that one life lacks meaning and is just filled with endless, meaningless work. The other life has the same amount of work, but is filled with the anticipation of working hand in hand with God for an eternal result that will truly shape and protect generations. This work fills a heart with the fire to live the impossible. -Sally clarkson

Ezekiel – God Strengthens

26 Oct

In the days before Ezekiel was born Mike and I were still hashing out names.  We typically don’t have a name picked out for our babies until we meet them face-to-face.  Really, the final days of pregnancy are the best days to pick out a baby’s name–Who is this person going to be?  It really adds to the excitement and anticipation of meeting your Little One.

So, we had settled on our girl’s name and were still hesitant about any boy’s name.   I wanted a name that honored the life and New Life of my dad Joe.  I had wanted a name that conveyed the Lord’s plan in each of our lives.  I wanted this child’s name to show that God is so great that He brings Life from Death and that this life is about Him.

Ezekiel – “God strengthens.”

Throughout my pregnancy, my time in the Bible kept leading me to the book of Ezekiel.  It’s not a book I would typically spend my time in.  It’s a book of God’s judgment on Jerusalem and Judah–His people have been unfaithful to Him.  Ezekiel speaks of destruction and devastation.  But at the end of the book Ezekiel sees a newness of life, a new covenant, and the glory of Heaven.   This is what I want to be reminded of.  God is faithful–both to carrying out his judgment on sin and to giving us new life and restoring us through Jesus (Ezekiel’s coming Messiah).  Our lives here on earth are painful.  There is suffering.  There are tears.  There are consequences to our sinful state.  But God restores us and breathes life into us.

The Valley of the Dry Bones

The most well-known verses from Ezekiel are when the Lord leads Ezekiel to the valley of dry bones.  These bones are beyond dead.  God tells Ezekiel to prophesy flesh and breath into these bones.

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. – Ezekiel 37:7-10

The sight of this!  God is restoring life.  We are helplessly dead, we need God’s help, we need victory over death, and He offers that help–that promise of life–through the person of Jesus.  It is Jesus who breathes life into our dead bodies.

Ezekiel Joseph

Ezekiel Joseph

God gives us a new name

16 May

Those of you who know Ambrose know him to be a wonderful, outgoing little boy…who throws some out-of-this world tantrums.  He’s volatile.

Yelling

Yelling

I love him with a passionate heart.  But my love is imperfect.  If he screams through the middle of the night, I’m tired and grumpy.  If he screams in the car I’m irritated.  If he screams in the store I’m embarrassed and annoyed.  These are not qualities of a perfect love.

But God’s love is perfect and unfailing.  His love is unconditional.  His love is relentless.  His love is beautiful.  His love is enough to fill in the gaps that my parenting leaves.   His love gives us a new identity.

When I call Ambrose “Mr. Crabby Pants,”  God calls him Delightful.  When I call him “Grump,” God calls him Joy.  When I call him “Ambrose David,”  God calls him “Beloved for Eternity.”

Celebrating the New

31 Dec

I love reflecting back on the year.  We experienced lot of changes this year.  We became members at a new church, we bought a new house, Mike got a new job (and new initials after his name–he passed his Quality Engineering exam!!), and we continually experienced New Life.

As I look back on 2012 I am reminded of how far the Lord has brought our family this year.  He’s lead me through one of the darkest seasons of my life through desperation and much anxiety.  It’s no secret that we’ve struggled to maintain joy in our household.  We brought in 2012 with turmoil in our hearts but are ending the year with beauty and celebration.

As we close 2012 I’m very mindful that this suffering.  This struggle.  This desperation we experience.  It’s all temporary.  It’s not the final verdict.  It’s a path to victory.  In the end Jesus wins.

We are not who we were December 31, 2011.  We are being made new.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Do not be Anxious

11 Dec

It just seems unfair that the post-partum depression screening is at 6 weeks.  I love the 6 week mark because Baby is smiling and interacting.  But 6 weeks is also the peak for fussiness, and Baby seems to never sleep.  Ambrose would sleep a maximum of 2 hours at night (often waking every 45 minutes), he would only sleep in the swing (which is a major no-no for Baby’s long-term health!), and he was just so fussy.  Of course I was anxious and depressed!  I was exhuasted!

I’ve never been good at handling stress.  I am an anxious person.  Mike often tells me that I’m going to kill myself with stress.  I’m certain he’s right.  Stress is the number one killer today. Here’s a great NG documentary on stress.

If that’s not enough for you to stop stressing, you can take a look to see what the Author of life has to say about it.  Continue reading

Blessings in an Unexpected Bill

28 Sep

We have a boiler and radiators for heat in our house. It’s really efficient heat, and we actually like it a lot. One of the weird things about having hot water heat is that we need to have a plumber come and service our boiler each year.  Friday we had the plumber out for a standard boiler service check.

The standard check turned into a 2 1/2 hour visit (at $150/hour!), the discovery of 2 serious gas leaks, and a $700 bill. Imagine the wrenching feeling as I wrote out a check for $700 when we were only expecting to pay $100. Ouch!

I had some words with God. Basically I told him that I’ve been faithful with the money He’s given us and that I’m not asking for prosperity. “I’m content with our living situation. Why then, would you hand us this bill when we just pre-paid out-of-pocket for our birth and you know we don’t have the money?”

Clear as day the Holy Spirit said to me “First off, you have the money. Second off, you’ve not been faithful with My money. And lastly, this plumber saved your life, and you’re complaining?”
Me – “Wait, where is this said money? And how haven’t I been faithful?”
God – “I’ve given you much lately and asked you to give it away. You know where My money should go and you’ve chosen to selfishly pay off your debt. My people needed you and they still do. Take the money I’ve given you and give it away, pay this bill, and the rest is yours.”

God was right. We had the money. Cash from birthday presents, garage and craigslist sales; property tax refund; and an unexpected check from an overage in our mortgage escrow. All this money totaled up, (to the dollar) of our plumbing bill and the amount that we both felt God wanted us to give away. He’s amazing!!!

It is a joy to see God provide for us.

Love your neighbor as yourself

16 Sep

It says in Mark 12:30-31 that after loving God, loving your neighbor is the next most important commandment.  “Neighbor” refers to all others, not just the people who live next door to you.  Lately, we have been trying to take this to heart.  Where do you start?  How do you love people who seem unlovable?  How do you not get discouraged when you see so much sorrow and despair and destructive choices and habits?  One small way that I’ve decided to show love is to stop and help people who are broken down on the side of the road.  I’ve always felt bad for driving by when people are in need.  A few weeks ago I stopped to help somebody whose car had broken down on I-94.  Traffic was going by nonstop, bumper to bumper, in three lanes over the course of about two hours.  Out of those thousands of passing cars, how many stopped to help?  Zero.  Are we really loving others as ourselves?  It is a challenge to step outside of your own thoughts and needs.  I’m just as guilty as anyone else.  Last night I drove past someone in need because I had an appointment to make.  What would the world look like if Christians actually loved their neighbors as themselves?  -Mike