Monday, November 21, 2011

Birth Days

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. "

They say wisdom comes with age. Sometimes I'm very grateful for that wisdom, and sometimes I wish I could go back to when I didn't have a care in the world (except what was for breakfast, lunch, or dinner or how late I could stay outside playing "3 flies up" or "butts-up 7-up.") Ah, the good old days!

Now, at 40, I love most of the wisdom I've received and learned over the last 4 decades. One thing I've learned in the last 8 years is how incredibly important it is to pray over pregnancies and those little ones that have taken up residence inside their mommies. As soon as Taylor was born, I realized healthy Birth Days are not to be taken for granted. I pray constantly when I find out someone I love and care about is pregnant. Actually, I pray constantly for anyone I see who's pregnant, but the truth is if I know you personally, the whole family is praying for you! In fact, when I know someone is in labor, I can hardly wait to hear the words, "Healthy Baby!" I'm on pins and needles the whole time. Once I receive the word, I breathe a heavy sigh of relief and Praise GOD!

I realize how special that day is. I realize it doesn't happen for everyone. It didn't happen for us. I realized how anxious I now become until the phone rings (or the texts flood in). I realize that those prayers can't stop when the announcement comes.

I've been blessed with several nieces and nephews since Taylor was born. Those nine (ten) months are covered in prayer! Each morning, Mike and I are praying for our nieces or nephews, and each evening the girls and I are praying for their cousins. I know I can't stop praying for them when I hear the words, "He's here!" or, "She's here!" No matter what, I'll always pray for these sweet treasures and be thankful for their Birth Days!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Walking in Darkness

Last year I had the "privilege" of experiencing blindness firsthand on a "sighted guide walk." I've had multiple opportunities to do this walk in the past but wasn't up to it until last year. I've always been afraid of experiencing Taylor's dark world first-hand for fear I'd slip into a depression of sorts that I had when she was first born.

The first part of this walk was to be blindfolded. The second the blindfold went on, my world changed. My sensitivities changed. My senses changed. I was using everything I could to make sense of the world around me. The shade felt so nice and cool, and the slightest bit of sun scorched. Cold-hot-cold-hot immediately! I also immediately tuned in to the voice that was to be my guide for this walk.

There were so many distractions all around...traffic, voices of other walkers and guides, children in the neighborhood, waterfalls, people working on their cars and homes for the weekend. You name it, it became "white noise," but I had to learn to tune into my guide's voice. I don't even remember her name, but I knew that voice within seconds. I knew my life would literally be in her hands for this walk.

After taking this walk and getting through the fears, the hesitations, the beauty of "THE voice," I started seeing how much this walk relates to walking daily through life. I was reminded immediately of how easy it is to be distracted by "white noise." You know, the stuff that isn't as important as we make it out to be. I was reminded of how easily I am afraid of what I don't understand. I was reminded of how much I try to do things by myself without asking for a helping hand.

Most of all, I realized how much I have to listen to THE VOICE. When I listened and trusted in her lead, in her guidance, I felt safe on that walk. Much is the same in my life. When I listen to Jesus in His Word, when I trust in His lead, His guidance, His plan and path, I feel safe. It's when I try to do it all without trusting Him or listening to Him that I get off track. I've got to listen to Him, trust in Him, and walk with Him each step of each day.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Grandmother's Legacy

"Grandchildren are the crowning glory." Psalm

Each summer we try to make a trip to Big Bear with Mike's parents, brother, his wife and 2 young children. Well, we just started making it an annual tradition last year! It's been so much fun both times, and lots of memories are being made. It's a one bedroom cabin with some extra space where we attempt to comfortably fit 6 adults and 4 children. Works for us just fine!

In the last 3 years, Mike's parents have really had their share of physical challenges. Mike's dad, Russ, had a stroke nearly three years ago and has been limited severely on his right side as well as in other ways. Mike's mom, Bev, has been doing much of the caretaking for Russ while dealing with a lifetime of arthritis and most recently losing her eyesight to macular degeneration. There has been so much change that it's become overwhelming at times for Bev.

While in Big Bear, I was watching and admiring this woman from afar. We spend a lot of time together regularly, but I realized while in Big Bear, Bev has always been the spiritual leader for her 3 sons and step-daughter which has been her legacy passed on to her grandchildren. She was the first born-again Christian in the family and marched her boys to church each week alone. It wasn't until decades later that Russ would come to church with her and get involved in Bible Studies himself. Each of Bev's boys have been heavily involved in their churches since their childhood. Each of her sons married Christian women, and now she has several grandchildren being raised in Bible-believing Christian homes. I marveled at this revelation watching her move about the cabin and was brought to tears when I saw my own daughters, niece, and nephew with her sitting on the couch. I am blessed to see her legacy living on in my children, her choice many years ago being lived out in her son, in my life, in my daughters' lives. Thank you, Bev. I love you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

On the Heart

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." 1 Peter 3:3-4

Yesterday I officially entered the 4-0 club. What a day for celebrating...and celebrate we did. I definitely have noticed in the last decade many physical changes...wrinkles, sags and bags (despite how many crunches or lunges or stairmaster steps I do). For the most part, I'm OK with it all. I mean, I do work out, I do eat moderately healthy, and I do try to take care of what I've got. I do love new clothes...and looking presentable on the outside. I definitely can't complain, and I'm not trying to kid myself when I know the next decade will bring many more signs of "the aging process."

About a month ago, Taylor and I were chatting about me turning 40. She can feel every lump, bump, wrinkle, crease, scrape, scab...basically EVERYTHING! She was asking about her many new "discoveries" upon my face, and she said, "I know I can't tell what you look like, but on the heart-you're beautiful." Thank you Taylor for the reminder of what is really important.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Challenge

Yesterday was such a special day in the Cox Household. Lauren had her first scrimmage for this softball season, and she did a great job! I celebrated finishing my Braille class, and Taylor attended her first Braille Challenge.

Sometimes just finishing something we've started is a challenge in and of itself. That's how I felt Friday when I turned in my final Braille assignment. I figured I'd better finish my one-year class (that took me a year and a half to complete) in time for Taylor's Braille Challenge. Learning contracted Braille has been like learning a foreign language and is about as hard as some of my Master's classes in college. The joy of completing the challenge was HUGE for me! I wanted to finish before Taylor entered her first Braille Challenge which wasn't anything anyone else was going to celebrate, but I did in secret.

Now, celebrating Taylor's success and Lauren's yesterday were so special. Taylor came out on top of her age group (though she's got a year on the other two contestants) which happened to include a dear friend of ours in the blind community (Brennan) and one of Taylor's "new best friends" (Evelyn) as of yesterday! It was an amazing day celebrating these kids who have put in countless hours cracking the Braille Code.

It makes me think of all the "codes" we're trying to crack all the time. Most importantly, so many people struggle with trying to find the answer to their life's purpose. I am so grateful I understand that I don't have to have the answer on my own. I am just trying to live in obedience to God's Word and along the way I get the answers in so many different forms. What a joy to understand that I don't have to have all the answers or complete a challenge to enjoy my purpose.