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Wonderfully Made is dedicated to encouraging women and their families along their journeys of faith, motherhood, marriage, and special needs. We believe wholeheartedly that you, your precious children, and your own unique journeys are wonderfully made by God and look forward to walking the journey with you. "You formed my inmost being; You knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise You, because I am wonderfully made." {Psalm 139}

An unfolding answer to prayer

Motherhood is not an easy journey. It often pushes us and makes us wonder where God is in the chaos, but there are times when God's goodness is tangible. When we see His answers unfold before us...

Approaching the crosswalk, I turn to Jack and say, “Hold my hand, baby.”

“Why do I need to hold your hand?” he asks.

“Because we have to cross the street to get to the church,” I reply.

“Ok,” he says and places his small hand in mine.

We cross the street and make our way over to the church, nestled in the heart of our neighborhood.

“Alright, sweetheart, are you ready?” I ask.

“Yes,” he answers.

I open the door for him and we are greeted by kind smiles. I grab a bulletin, cross myself with Holy Water, and enter the sanctuary with his hand still in mine.

We choose the back row, which is empty and inviting. Jack’s eyes grow wide as we sit down and he hears singing. “Where is that coming from, mommy!” he half asks, half announces.

“From the choir loft, sweetie. See?” I point above, “That is where they sing. And we join them down here.”

He sits back, amazed, and begins singing his own words to the music, harmonizing with the voices we cannot see.

I pick up a missalette and rest it in his lap. I remember thumbing through the pages each week as a little girl. Feeling communion, even then, with brothers and sisters around the world who were reading and singing and worshiping Him through the very same words I held in my hands.

Jack holds the book and listens to the prayers, Scripture, and songs, and I can tell he feels it. That sense of belonging. That peace I have longed for him for years.

After the first 15 minutes of the service go by, I ask him if he is ready to leave. We are taking baby steps and I don’t want to push him too far.

He says he wants to stay, so we do. He continues to listen and look with wonder, and I can see he no longer feels overwhelmed, no longer feels frightened, no longer feels lost as he once did at church. And that the answer to dozens of prayers I have raised to the heavens for my son is unfolding before me.

After another 15 minutes, I ask him if he wants to stay or if he is ready to leave. He looks at me calmly and says, “I’m ready to leave.” So, we pack up quietly and walk out, hand in hand.

As soon as we exit the church, Jack smiles brightly and says, “I loved the singing, mommy!”

“Jack, you were a rock star,” I tell him. “Give me five!” He releases my hand for a moment to offer this shared gesture of pride, then places it back in mine again.

We cross the street together. Hearts in our hands.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
    delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him and be radiant,
    and your faces may not blush for shame.
This poor one cried out and the Lord heard,
    and from all his distress he saved him.
The angel of the Lord encamps
    around those who fear him, and he saves them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the stalwart one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy ones;
    nothing is lacking to those who fear him.
The rich grow poor and go hungry,
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

(Psalm 34: 5-11)

Questions for Reflection:

1. This Sunday was an unfolding answer to years of prayer. How might God be unfolding an answer to prayer in your life today, perhaps in ways unseen until now?

2. Motherhood is not an easy journey. It often pushes us and makes us wonder where God is in the chaos, but there are times when God’s goodness is tangible. When was a time you could taste and see His goodness?

3. What are you longing for today? Write it down and offer it up with open hands. Let your heart unfold so His answer can, too.

When ‘I do’ means ‘I will suffer with you’

I recently read this beautiful post – The Most Overlooked Characteristic of Who You Want to Marry – and these words leaped off the screen:

Few people consider sickness and suffering when picking a mate.

They consider how the other person might look in the morning or what bad habits they might have.

They consider what offspring they could produce or what extended family they might bring to the reunion.

Yet few people ever consider what is a vital question — can I suffer with this person?

When we think of the words 'I do,' we often think of beautiful dresses, bouquets, dancing, family and friends, all gathered to celebrate the wedding of two people on a perfect day. But do we think about what we are saying 'I do' to? Read this post to learn more about what those two words really mean, and how they have the power to create a love that endures all things.

A month before my husband, Jeff, and I got engaged, I collapsed from pain, dehydration, and what I would find out later was my colon filling with disease and infection. Jeff caught and carried me to the car, sat in the front seat while my mother drove and I dry-heaved in the back seat as we sped to the emergency room. After being sent home prematurely from the ER, the next day my condition worsened and I was taken by ambulance to the hospital where I stayed for eight days. During that time, I was not able to eat, almost lost my colon, and was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease.

Jeff was visiting from Austin, TX where he was starting a life we thought would be ours together within the year, and when he had to leave the hospital to return to Austin, my focus shifted from the pain in my abdomen to the pain in my heart.

What if he leaves me, Lord? I thought. What if this is all too much for him? 

I stayed in the hospital for several more days after he left and it wasn’t until I returned home to recover that I saw I had an unheard voicemail from him.

In it, he told me he was coming home to me because home was where I was. He loved me, was praying for me, and wanted to be by my side through this ordeal and through anything else to come.

My parents had divorced only a few years before and my father and I had a strained relationship. When he came to visit me in the hospital, he pulled out a breakfast burrito and began eating it in front of me. When I asked him if he would visit with me and then finish the burrito outside the room, he looked at me with disdain and said, “You know what? I’ll just leave.”

And he did. He left. He left me for a burrito. Or, at least, that’s how it felt.

And yet, God had given me a man who had carried me while vomiting, dry heaving, and dying, and who wanted to stay with me. Who wanted to build a life with me. Who didn’t want to leave.

In the years to come, our family would endure suffering that extended far beyond what we experienced during the weeks surrounding my diagnosis. We would struggle to put food on the table, to pay for soaring medical bills, to take on new illnesses and conditions that extended from Crohn’s Disease, to provide and care for our son’s special needs, and to move time and time again, each time hoping for better opportunity, and much more.

Our lives have been messy. Our marriage has been messy. But we love each other through the pain and the trials, and we choose not only to love one another, but to suffer together.

Our marriage is not perfect, but it is founded on love that is deeper than what the world teaches us is deep enough. It has been forged through suffering and I am grateful for that.

I am grateful to have a partner who holds my hand when the doctor presents bad news.

I am grateful to have a friend who listens to the inner-struggles I face from my own past.

I am grateful to have a husband who loves me and our children fully and deeply for better or worse, in sickness and health, rich or poor.

I believe this is the kind of love God meant for us to have. A kind of love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. A love that never fails. (1 Cor 13: 7-8)

Questions for Reflection:

1. If you could go back in time and share something with your young, pre-married heart, what would you encourage yourself to seek in a partner?

2. What has been an unexpected joy in your marriage? And, conversely, what has been an unexpected difficulty?

3. Has your marriage endured suffering? If so, how has it affected your marriage?

Taking Off My Shoes and A New Direction

Taking Off My Shoes and a New Direction | wonderfully-made.net

Recently, I sat down, opened up a new devotional and this is what the first entry said:

If God ever speaks to you out of the flames take off your shoes and allow the prophet within you to be born. For the Egypt in people’s lives demands that you see the burning bushes all around you aflame, burning wildly, calling you away from the comfort of well-protected feet. – Macrina Wiederkehr, Seasons of Your Heart

What are your shoes?

My shoes are fear. I constantly worry about what I share, even when I angst and pray over what I write, because my journey is not an easy one and it is layered. There are people in it. Souls. Not characters. What I tell is not fiction, it is life. My life. But the lives of others I write about may be affected by my words.

As I take off my shoes and delve further into the layers of my story, I ask that you, as readers, when coming across a soul in my writing, will see them as that. My sharing is in no way intended to harm anyone, but rather the desire to remove my shoes, my fear, and share the story God is calling me to share. I may change names along the way out of love and respect for the persons I am sharing about. If you know the people to whom I am referring, please keep their identity private and remember that they are first and foremost souls who are making their way along the journey they have been given, too. If you feel inclined to judge, I ask that you instead pray. For them, for their hearts, for the ones they love and the ones who love them.

To the souls who may appear in my writing, please know my intention is to always write from a place of love, not anger or resentment, and to share stories that God has placed on my heart to share. Some of which I have prayed over for months and, in many cases, years.

To those who know me, you will see parts of me that may be surprising, maddening, upsetting, or a combination of all three. Sharing these parts of myself will be difficult and I ask that when you feel any of the above to say a prayer for me, those I love, and those who love me just as you would the people woven into my story.

My sincerest goal is to write to heal. Heal from past wounds and old hurts. And perhaps in sharing these parts of my story, the Lord will bring you healing, too.

With love, affection, and praise,

Katie

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