Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Christian Moms Unite

{Two blog sites you will love}

“Push, Melissa, PUSH. This baby needs to come out right now.”

It was September 9, 2005. After nearly 22 hours of labor I had a fever and my baby’s heart rate had dropped. My husband held my hand, brushed the hair from my eyes, and lovingly said, “You can do this.”

Seconds later I was holding a beautiful, Heaven-sent little girl.

And suddenly I carried a new title: Mom.

My husband and I had been praying to be parents for years. Since God’s timing was different than ours, we had plenty of time to envision this day and prepare for parenting. And, yet, when our hospital stay was complete and I buttoned the final button on her sweet little pink dress (that was my going home outfit as well), I wept.

Overwhelmed by God’s generosity, I praised Him that we were taking home our child. Quite honestly, I wasn’t sure the day would ever come. However, I was also humbled. When we strapped that small five-point harness together and had her security bands cut off, we became responsible for EVERYTHING. God was entrusting her life to us. Whoa.

For most significant responsibilities in society we have to prove ourselves first. Before I could drive I had to prove my skill on the road. Prior to college admittance, I had to show academic success. And, to achieve post-college employment, I had to meet specific qualifications. The list goes on and on. The world is full of preparedness checkpoints that we must pass before undertaking tasks and roles of importance.

Except parenting.

Before me was a human life. My husband and I were responsible for meeting all her needs: making sure she is in a safe place, has appropriate garments, learns manners and values, has an understanding of her life in Christ, learns right from wrong, appreciates boundaries, demonstrates respect, becomes loving and nurturing….need I go on? He’d given us - two fallible people - the awesome responsibility of parenting this innocent little girl into a person that would glorify Him. And, He did it without a test. God simply whispered, “I chose you.”

That is more pressure if you ask me.

Tonight, as I write this, there are two little girls (God blessed us with another daughter in 2007) sleeping in their new bunk beds in the room next to ours. When 7:30 hits that will all change. Bright eyed and eager for the new day, both of them will run towards me with their morning hugs and ask me the simple questions, “Mommy, can we have breakfast?” “Mommy, can we do a puzzle?” But, I also anticipate the more difficult moments where they have their listening ears turned down and I have to say a mental prayer for patience while I teach them the importance of paying attention and explain why we have rules. Furthermore, there will be the difficult questions, “How did God make our bodies? Like our hair and skin and stuff?” “How does God get our bodies to Heaven?” “Why wasn’t that kid nice?”

Some of life with children is simple, but much of it is complex. As mothers (and fathers), it is our job to dig deep into Scripture so that we can instruct them in a Godly way. With the Lord as our teacher, this doesn’t necessitate the need for others. However, as we navigate through the parenting journey, being surrounded, encouraged, and perhaps given new ideas or perspective from other Christian mothers who are also relying on Christ and striving to raise Godly children is a valuable gift.

Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

Through community with one another, we experience the living company of the very same Lord that first whispered, “I chose you.”

Recently, two new blogs were formed by Christian mothers looking to network with other moms in His name. For those of you raising girls like myself, MODsquad (Mothers of Daughters squad) has a website, Facebook, and twitter. And, for mothers of boys, The MOB Society (The Mother Of Boys Society) has its own site, Facebook, and twitter. If you have boys and girls, you are welcomed by both groups!

In the quiet of one’s day, women across the country are coming together in His name. We may be in separate homes, but we are gathered together around the same Christ-focused readings, uniting us in an online experience that will empower you as you encourage your children to walk the right path in life.

Who doesn’t love that?

Monday, July 26, 2010

God in a Frog

The outpouring of prayer for Sam’s family has been so tremendous that I needed to share this follow up.

Many years ago Sam’s parents were given this frog statuary.

While frogs are hardly the most beautiful of God’s creation, Jeff and Erin quickly came to love them because of their special meaning. Fully Rely on God.

In today’s culture, relying on Christ should feel our greatest gift but, oftentimes, it runs contrary to our fleshly nature. We live in a society where timeliness and answers are expected and to rely on Christ is to lay down our worldly ways in favor of trusting a God whose plans we cannot foresee and ways we may not understand. Challenging….and a choice we must make each day, minute to minute.

Confident that Christ’s love would supply an endless spring of hope, promise, and energy for their days, Jeff and Erin chose to fill their lives with this visible animal reminder. Frogs decorated Sam’s blanket and pillow. Cards, scrapbook pages, and multiple other items featured cute little cartoon frogs that portrayed powerful purpose. And, adorable frog posters filled Sam’s room with warmth.

When Sam passed away Thursday night, Jeff and Erin rejoiced knowing that Sam was healed and set free of earthly limitations through the promise of Heaven. However, as they anticipated moving forward, they couldn’t help but wonder, Now what? Do you see me right now, Lord?

With these questions swirling through their minds, we started packing up Sam’s room. Once enough was gathered for a trip out to the vehicle, Jeff opened the door and this little guy was right there to greet him, filling them once again with hope, promise, and energy for the future.

Isn’t God AMAZING?!

St. Augustine once said, “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” This frog was not happenstance. It was affirmation from an intimate Lord who knows the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7) that He saw them, knows how they are feeling, and will help them in the days to come.

And He does the same for you. No matter what you are going through today, you are NOT alone. The God of the Universe will make His presence known (in a way unique to your relationship with Him) and guide you through whatever personal experience you face. All you have to do is look outside yourself and Fully Rely on God.

Shared at A Holy Experience

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Greater Love Has No One Than This...

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have it all figured it out. While my faith guides my life, there are certain Scriptures that I look at and wonder what does that mean? This is one of those Scriptures. Whenever I’ve crossed it there was a question mark. What does this look like in our everyday world?
Until now.

My dear friends have an eight year old child in hospice. Recently, hospital staff visited to make impressions of his hands and feet. These molds capture the size of a small child who will be greatly missed. They represent precious hands and feet that have been held and kissed for eight years. They are permanent mementos of a much loved child to parents whose arms will soon be empty.

Now I get it.

Since Sam has been born, my friends have dedicated their life to caring for him. They’ve not only met all of his physical needs, but they’ve rallied around him in love and cheered him on as he defied one odd after another.

From sun up to sun down, they’ve been flexible with their schedule to make sure that Sam is happy and thriving before doing anything for themselves. And, that is the way that they wanted it. Sam’s life has brought them so much joy and to be chosen to be his parents has been a 24/7 experience that they’ve both welcomed and cherished.

But as Sam’s body is deteriorating, they are trusting God and letting him go even though everything in them wants him here.

In recent years I’ve wept over the words of MckMama and Angie Smith who also chose life for their babies diagnosed with life-threatening challenges in utero, but I’ve not lived this until now.

Frankly, my friends could choose to be selfish. They could try to medically fight the inevitable, or refuse to let others hold Sam, or make it about them and their happiness, but they aren’t. Rather, they are celebrating Sam’s life and finding comfort in the healing power of Heaven.

This is laying down one’s life – and embracing pain - for the sake of another in action.

I’m privileged to write this tribute in honor of their ministry that shines through even in the darkest of days.

My eyes are opened, friends. Look around you. Every day, in a multitude of ways, people are sacrificing earthly contentment to live out Christ-like love.

Shared at A Holy Experience

Monday, July 19, 2010

Welcome to "Fill My Cup"

Have you ever sensed God calling you to a certain action and struggled to follow through because of personal insecurities?

*waving my hand wildly in the air* That would be me.

Recently I’ve felt called to join the blogosphere. Several of you have asked if I have a website to follow and up to this point I have not. But, as my twitter followers have grown and articles have been published the demand has grown.

I’ve known the need is there and, quite honestly, I’ve wanted to follow through with God’s calling to create a “central hub,” but inside I’ve reverted to the elementary school girl that got a “B” in art and from that point on vowed to avoid it at all costs. As much as I dislike admitting it, I’m a perfectionist. And, my fear that the site would not “look cool” or have the “perfect” features for you as readers hindered me from building it.

Thankfully we serve a God willing to meet us in the midst of our fears and show us Truth. And, the truth is that it is not about me. It is about Him.

So, with that in mind, I am choosing to let go of fear and hesitation to create the space that God has called me to establish .

For those who are just getting to know me, my name is Melissa Nesdahl, and I’m sold out for Jesus. My faith guides everything about me. In addition to being a church-goer and active Bible Study friend, I am actively involved in crisis pregnancy center ministry.

I’m blessed to be married to my high school sweetheart and together we have two beautiful girls. Staying home with them to mold their childhood experience and faith is one of my greatest joys.

When they are playing or resting, I write. In April Proverbs 31 ran “Don’t Fight the Mask” and in May SUSIE magazine published “The Perfect Gift for Mom.” I also wrote the leader’s guide for Pam Stenzel’s (International Abstinence Educator) “Love Lessons: Purity is Possible” and together we have a book entitled “Nobody Told Me” that is being published by Regal Books. Stay tuned here for more about release dates and other exciting writing opportunities on the horizon.

All of this takes energy and that brings me to this blog title: “Fill My Cup.” I am just your average girl living God’s dream for me. But, the submitted life takes energy, does it not?!

John 4:14 promises, “But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

I LOVE this. Whether you feel winded by the joy of life’s mountaintops or exhausted by valleys that we as Christians walk through on this side of heaven, God vows to give you – personally – exactly what you need to step forward in faith when you seek Him.

In this space, my prayer is that God will use me a vessel to point you towards His truth and a life of fullness. I will share with you my heart, my projects, and updates on my written ministry. So, with that, welcome to Fill My Cup.
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