God’s Promise to the Ordinary Person

AuthenticVirtue.com

Now thanks be unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the fragrance of his knowledge by us in every place. 

Ah … isn’t God so good? In us fragile, weak people He makes us to always triumph in Christ and to share His beautiful fragrance in every place.

Christian, you are lovely, you know that right? And not by your own doing. No, you are a light and a bit of salt in a dark and rotting world and it’s simply all God’s good work in you.

Wife, you are a light to your home — even when the floors are sticky with jam and the children seem to be the only social contact you have. Husband, you are declaring Christ through your faithful work and effort each day; whether you’re the local plumber, prison guard, pastor or mailman you are declaring Christ simply by doing what you’ve been called to do: provide and protect.

Sometimes, we think we need to do big and awesome things to declare God. And sometimes we do.

But most of the time, it’s the little, everyday activities which God uses to reveal His delightful fragrance to the world.

Never forget that.

Love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

Grief and Beautiful Life Lessons

Grief in Your Miscarriage with AuthenticVirtue.com

Thankfulness equals healing (so do donuts and coffee but that’s a different story) in the grief of a miscarriage.

Losing something is hard. Two weeks and four days ago we were told our baby had died; over the last eighteen days God has rained goodness without end … and with little of my help.

Within the past two weeks I’ve done little to further and grow my walk with the Lord. I’ve been busy with out-of-town trips, preparing to move and settling into our lovely new rental. When I have been  home I’ve ran errands, unpacked, cleaned, and been down with flu-like symptoms. Spiritually speaking, I’ve done so little of what so many advised me to do: worship and draw close to the Lord through prayer and His Word.

I have done so little to draw close to my Maker and Keeper of my soul.

Yet, He loves me still. I haven’t done much to grow closer into His image, yet, He holds my soul in the safety of His nail-scarred hands. I haven’t done anything — yet, He carries me along, providing me with what I need to simply be. 

I haven’t done anything.

Yet, he does everything.

Thank You, LORD, for carrying us through the past two weeks. Thank You that despite my little effort You continue to hold me safely in Your arms. Thank You that you have given me the ability to do life through these last two long, sick-filled weeks. 

I do nothing for You, yet, You give everything to me. 

If I were to give advice to anyone in our situation I would tell them to simply be. Simply be what you are as you push your way through grief. The spiritual thing would be for you to read God’s Word and pray your way through grief. But that might not happen.

So, in those times, simply be. And, instead of being afraid that you’re not doing enough spiritually, choose gratefulness. Choose to see that you never could do enough to be enough. Even when you were pregnant you weren’t able to do enough.

But God is enough. He is enough to carry you through your grief — even when you don’t feel like reading His Word. And through Jesus, He has made you enough. I’m so thankful God is big enough, strong enough, and good enough to carry me through this season of life. 

Aren’t you?

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Losing Baby Duncan

You’re never really prepared for your pregnancy to end in miscarriage.

But that’s just what’s happened to our little baby. I haven’t really known how to share this with the my friends and readers (who are like family). As a blogger, I like to wrap my writings similar to Christmas presents: darling presentation full of glittery, exciting beauty.

But this is the furthest thing from exciting.

We went in for our 8 week ultrasound; the midwife and I chatted about her flower garden and about blogs and writing as she jellied up my stomach and began probing around with her expert hand. Almost immediately she saw that things were missing and not growing properly.

Folks, this is the hard stuff.

It’s been several days since we heard this news and adjusting to not expecting our baby this year is hard. It’s really, really, really hard.

But you know what?

God is so very, very good.

It’s been a hard week but God is the same God Who created Baby and then took him home. Jesus is the same Intercessor Who understands my numb experience like no one else. My Abba Daddy knows what it is like to lose someone precious to you. He’s carrying me like a mother lamb — even though, technically, I’m not caring for a young one any more.

I believe that God is great. And in the midst of this sadness and loss He is still great. He still knits people together and He still welcomes little one’s who never met their parents into his arms and kingdom.

I believe God is good so I believe, amidst all my sadness, doubts, fear and sorrow that this miscarriage is good. It is good because God promises all things to work together for our good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Here are some good things God has already wrought from our loss:

The first face our baby saw was the Lord’s. 

Increased understanding and relationship between Dalton and I 

An overwhelming amount of prayer and support from friends and family

Friends who have miscarried are seeing the Lord work through their loss 

Our compassion and understanding for women with loss is growing

My understanding of what good sympathy is and isn’t is changing

We now know that we can indeed get pregnant

My appreciation for Dalton is growing and growing (because he’s simply the best and the loss of his first child is proving that — he is honestly the strongest, best man and he gets more gem like every day. How blessed am I?)

Our baby is with the Lord — that means he or she is walking, talking and rejoicing in the presence of the best One Who ever lived. He or she is already far more sanctified, glorified, and purified than Dalton and I. He or she is already conversing with people like Moses, John the Baptist, and Corrie ten Boom. He’s singing with angels. He’s enjoying everlasting life and praising God for His great goodness. 

We haven’t lost anything — we just have to wait longer to meet him.

Don’t think I’m not hurting. It’s just that I’m called to rejoice in all things — even in the midst of intense grief — and I guess this is what it looks like.

Thank you to all the people who loved our baby with us. Carrying Ollie for 7 weeks (short for Oliver or Olivia) was one of the greatest privileges I have known. I’m glad God let the last week be filled with joy and maternity shopping and hope instead of the fear I had been experiencing. I’m glad for the people who are loving us and blessing us through the aftermath.

I’m sad. But I’m also glad because God is good and He has given us good things … even in our loss. It took me a while to feel at peace with sharing this intimate part of us — but I’ve had a quiet day full of tears and rest and simple, household chores and God has sent a tremendous freedom in sharing what is hurting most.

For others who are needing healing read my friend Angel’s words. They’re just right for someone needing to heal in the loss and gain life’s sufferings bring.

But the God of all grace, who hath called us to eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:10,11

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Resting in Jesus Means Letting Him Refine Us // Coffee Series

Coffee With You Series

Ah … it’s a good day at the Duncan house. Coffee is poured, candles are lit and, best thing of all, my heart is finding a place to rest.

You’ve all been such gems listening to my worries and sending encouragement my way. Thank you. Thank you for being the Body of Christ and being such a good friends.

We went to our first ultrasound and saw our little one, all seven weeks and four days growth of him. We couldn’t hear the heartbeat but our midwife felt confident that baby’s positioning and size were marks of a healthy, growing baby.

Isn’t God good?

The funny thing was that I left the clinic still worried. It’s like my heart had become addicted to worrying because worry is the only thing I can control.

Dalton challenged me to do something different.

He challenged me to trust in God. To place my trust in His great goodness and love and power. He challenged me to rest in God’s care, let go of worry, and enjoy this time.

You know what? He’s right. He’s 100%, perfectly, wonderfully right. Giving up worry and control isn’t easy for me — I like holding the reins on my life. But I’m starting to suspect that the 2+ years of waiting to conceive and now disconcerting spotting aren’t accidents.

God is placing me in circumstances I wish I could control but can’t. As one friend said, “God has a way of allowing or giving us exactly what we need in our life to help refine us.” I think it’s time I let Him.

So, first step? I’m going to start celebrating Baby Duncan like he/she will be arriving December 28th instead of thinking of the worse possibilities. I’m going to start literally preparing for my little one. I’m going to start giving thanks for baby’s future instead of dreading what I fear is his/her present.

I’m going to have a friend over for coffee and cinnamon rolls and we’re going to laugh and celebrate our good God.

How are you going to start trusting God today?

Love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

When Your Love Affair with Getting Your Way Gets Out

Dealing with not getting your way with AuthenticVirtue.com

Have you ever been completely wiped out by your self-will?

Today was one of those days. One moment I’m rejoicing in life then something deep, emotional and fearful sweeps over me. Suddenly, I’m agitated, grumpy and morose. I start fighting Dalton over the most ridiculous conversations. Today’s argument: Do animals sin?

You should have seen the ugliness coming out from me over that unique conversation. (Wait, no, I’m glad you didn’t.)

Dalton pressed his way through the store aisles with his business while I slumped behind feeling like I was out of control and didn’t know why. What’s wrong with me? Am I hormonal? Emotional? Tired? I’m a child of God, I know better then this. I know better then this.

We talked on the drive home. Dalton, I don’t know why I’m acting like this; I don’t know why I’ve been arguing with you all week, I just feel like I have to win even if it’s dumb.

His gentle response? Maybe it’s because you haven’t been getting your way this week. 

Ouch. He’s right. I haven’t been getting my way this week. I’ve had a lot of issues going on this week that crossed my will: a dispute with a family member, Dalton not able to get work off for my mother’s birthday, my relatively tight work schedule which keeps us away for Mother’s Day, plans postponed … and my flesh is hating it.

I feel like I keep my requests to a minimum; as a realist personality I know life has limitations and it requires you to be careful with budgets, making plans and scheduling work. I know these things because I’m a by the rule book kind of gal who respects boundaries and black and white possibilities.

So I’m careful about most of my wishes — I don’t request wild, expensive, impractical things (normally). And in my mind, my frugality deserves being rewarded. When I ask for something I expect to get it. 

UGH. How did that bit of old man survive the sanctification process? How in the world did I miss crucifying that bit of fleshly thinking? How did I allow such selfishness rule my thinking and behavior, unseen, for so long?

It does no good to pout but that’s what I want to do; it feels good to mourn my sinful nature. But I need to fly to the mercy seat of God and let Him pull this ugliness from me. I need to let Him complete the work in me and address my love for my getting my way. He alone can let godly sorrow work good things in me — not days of binge cookie-dough eating and pouting.

I learned relearned a few things today:

  1. Even if you feel justified in getting your way God requires His people to have submissive, meek hearts to His revealed will — even when it means not getting your way.
  2. I’m not there yet. I still have a lot of growing, maturing and sanctification to go and that’s okay.
  3. Marrying husbands who gently point out truth in your life is an absolute gift. (Go for guys like that.)

Friends, can you relate? Tell me what God is revealing in your heart and life right now? Let’s grow together and pray for each other. Leave a comment so we can get started. 

Choosing joy, forgiveness and coffee this evening,

Frannie