Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jehovah Jireh

Today was awesome.  

That one sentence could have been my entire post tonight.  It was THAT awesome.  Actually most of the day was pretty routinely normal, but there was this one thing that elevated it to awesomeness.  That thing was God being God, which for some reason always sort of surprises me still.  

So I know I told all of you a while back about the scholarship we got to pay for Joshua's ABA therapy.  And that because the insurance was going to start covering it as well, then the scholarship would only be paying for our co-pays so the fund would last us about a year longer than it would if they were covering it at full price.  Well what I haven't updated about was that the insurance did agree to pay...they just hadn't started actually paying yet.  We (naively) assumed agreeing to pay for it meant they would send a check the next day or something.  They didn't.  So all this time the scholarship has been paying out at full price (Thirty hours a week at $50 an hour, compared to a $50 co-pay per day), and depleting much more quickly than we had anticipated.  

This issue quickly became something that was nagging at me in the back of my mind so I would pay attention to it and freak out.  Like, "Hello, don't forget, the money is running out and you might have to add $1000 a month to your bills, or cut back on how much help your child gets."  I hate those stupid thoughts.  So, I partially went into ignore/denial mode and partially went into faith/expectant mode.  I thought, "Surely God didn't orchestrate this entire situation just to drop us now..."  

And guess what??  He didn't.

We'd been waiting on someone to contact us when the insurance finally started paying, but hadn't heard a word about it in probably over a month.  So, like I said, I've been walking around thinking and praying about the situation off and on since then, hoping that I wouldn't instead end up with a phone call to let us know the scholarship had run out and the insurance still hadn't sent any money.  And then today when I picked up Joshua, I noticed a note in his backpack.  I opened it up and at first my heart dropped because the first line read...

"Dear Mr. and Mrs. Pevehouse,

We have received your last scholarship payment this month from F.A.C.E.S..."

In the minuscule amount of time it took to read that sentence, I had about eighteen million thoughts about what our next step would be and how we would be able to get Joshua the help he needs.  But then I kept reading...

"The insurance company has also begun to reimburse us.  We will use the scholarship funds to go toward your daily co-pay...You shouldn't owe anything until January of 2013."

What happens is when the insurance finally reimburses, the money goes back into the scholarship fund, because the school has already been paid.  The organization that gives out the scholarship then agreed to use that money to cover our co-pays until it runs out.  So what really happened is we used all we could use of our amount paying full price, and now we will get to use our full amount in only co-pays.  We got a double portion!

I seriously cried before I was even done reading the letter.  As many times as God has shown up for us, I'm still always amazed when He does.  Why do we do that?  It's not that I didn't really think He would faith has become more real to me than I ever thought was possible since this journey began.  

But there's something about that moment when you realize your faith was just validated.  When the confirmation arrives and the weight is lifted and you see your belief wasn't for nothing.  All of a sudden something you were expecting arrived and now you can add it to the long list of stories you can tell about the unfailing faithfulness of a God with a relentless love for His children.  And the next time you have to demonstrate your belief in who He is, your faith comes back a little stronger, and a little more girded.  

Today was awesome.

Mark 9:23
And Jesus said, [You say to Me], If You can do anything? [Why,] all things can be (are possible) to him who believes! 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Telling on Myself

One of the most common compliments I've gotten in my life has been that I am so "real" and "transparent".  I appreciate this as I appreciate any compliment, but it always feels a little strange to hear because it's not something I associate with being a skill.  It's not something I make any conscious effort toward, as a matter of fact, it's more due to my lack of skill at covering up my emotions.  At any rate, I think it's good to share our faults and downfalls with others, ya know, so we don't get all caught up in measuring ourselves against other people who are probably measuring themselves against us.  It's part of the reason I love the Bible, all those people who screwed up so majorly but were still used by God.  David's my favorite example, by the way.

So anyway, I thought I would share a few things I've done recently and things I do on a regular basis and probably shouldn't.  Judge me, if you dare.

  • In case you didn't know, Joshua is on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.  If you aren't familiar with it, it's very strict, and definitely doesn't allow popcorn.  I happened to make some popcorn for Caleb, assuming Joshua wouldn't want any, and guess what?  He wanted some really badly, I felt horrible like I was teasing him with food, and I let him eat the dang popcorn.  But don't worry, I've already done penance for that one in the way of cleaning the worst poop ever out of the upstairs carpet (bad poop is what happens when he eats things he shouldn't).  I thanked God for the inventor of the Rug Dr. today.
  • So what had happened was...OK, I have been trying to work on my language lately.  It's gotten progressively worse over the last year or so and I am having the hardest time I've ever had in getting it reined in.  It doesn't help that I feel extra guilty about it because Bobby is one of those Old School types who thinks it's a turn-off for women to cuss.  Well, the other day I was in the car and for some reason or another, I let a four-letter word slip.  Of course, like something out of my nightmares, my sweet little baby Caleb promptly decided to repeat me.  I can't get the kid to say, "Momma" for anything, but this he says right away.  Needless to say, I immediately knew my foul language days had to be over, because I definitely can't have the first word Joshua ever says be...well...ya know.
  • Any time we have orange juice, I never pour a glass.  I always drink it straight from the jug.  Unless Bobby's around and then I humor him.
  • I text and drive.  I know, I know.  I don't need a lecture, this is also something I'm working on and know better than to be doing.
  • I eat Taco Bell.  And I love it.  I know it's garbage, but that Cheesy Gordita Crunch owns me.
  • I watch so much T.V., it's embarrassing.  Seriously.
  • I spend way too much time on the internet.  Equally embarrassing.
  • I care too much about what people think of me.  But not only that, I attempt to pretend like I don't care at all.  Because of this, it's really hard for me to take criticism, especially from the people I really love the most.  I have battled insecurity my whole life, and I am still trying to recognize it in the small areas it creeps into.
  • I make zero effort to conserve water.  Like, none.  As much more green as I've gotten (than I was, not compared to people who really are green-living), this is one area I just don't have the concern over.
  • I love my husband too much.  OK, OK, I had to have one of the fake ones in there.
  • I really love sleep.  If I was still 27, but without kids, I would still be sleeping until noon every chance I got.
  • I have a major sweet tooth, and ice cream is my favorite.  Actually, just add all junk food to this one.
  • Even though I quit smoking way back when I got pregnant with Joshua, I still want it on an almost daily basis.  If I walk past someone smoking, I start to salivate.  For real.  I'm not just exaggerating.  
  • I rarely get a load of laundry finished without having to re-heat it in the dryer about three times before I can fold it.  And then it takes me about a day and a half to get the folded stuff put up.  

Well, that's a start, but I'm sure I'll have to do more of these in the future.  What are some of the things you could tell on yourself about??

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Just Weight

This week has been weird.  I don't know how to explain it, it just has been.  And not in a definitively good or bad way...just weird.  And by this week, I mean this week in my brain.  It feels like my mind just will not slow down.  I have so many things I'm thinking about...constantly thinking about.  But it's not just the typical list of things I need to get done, or things I start to stress over and then have to remind myself to have faith about.  It's deep stuff.  And again, not "deep" as in, "Oh, look how profound I am.", deep as in the deep things in me.  The heart things.  The stuff you might ponder between yourself and God, but never really discuss with other people, but not for any particular reason.  I am probably making no sense right now, but there it is.

The main theme of everything in my brain lately has been balance.  I use this word a lot, but that's only because I struggle with it in my own thoughts so much.  My natural, flesh reaction to most things is an extreme.  I lived in these extremes for a long time, so long that now I crave the peace and stability you find from being equally weighted on all sides.  Personally, one of my biggest wars for balance is in my own perceptions of parenthood. This morning I was reminded of the balance between being grateful for God's blessings and allowing yourself to admit that everything about being a parent isn't traipsing through a field of daisies, and then also the balance between being a good housekeeper and remembering that quality time with your kids is just as important to fulfilling your role as "homemaker".  It's the difference in juggling a bunch of balls in the air as opposed to carrying them around in a basket.  That's a pretty big difference if you ask me.

It made me wonder why we are so inclined to look at things from one angle.  And it got me thinking, REALLY thinking about how much we lack balance in the church (and obviously the world) because it is so easy to fall into a mindset that is locked into one facet of God.  And it's so easy because the only way not to is with the Holy Spirit.

Let me explain.

I believe (despite what many would say) that it is possible to have scripturally-based beliefs, to speak truth, and to not water down these convictions and still walk in love and compassion and mercy toward other people, even the ones who don't agree with you (after all, Jesus did it).  But to do this, you have to have the balance of the Holy Spirit in your life.

Let me back up.

I think the issue the church (and non-believers) have that causes extremism (the bad kind) is not really knowing who God is and understanding His WHOLE person.  Most of the time this happens because the Holy Spirit gets pushed to the side, and left out of the trinity all together.  People don't feel like they understand Him, so they ignore Him and stick with the ideas of God that they are comfortable with.  This is how I see it.  Either people (remember this is including the church) see God as the Father, who they equate with the Almighty, the Judge, the One who rebukes, and disciplines, and smites.  Or they see God as Jesus, the One who loves unconditionally, so I'm alright and you're alright.  Neither of these views are accurate mind you, but it's the overwhelming opinions you would receive.  The problem with these views is that the trinity doesn't mean we have three gods, it means we have One God, who reveals Himself in three forms, but has always been wholly God in all three.  Before the beginning, God was always, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Likewise, people get confused about Jesus because they base their beliefs on Him either being only all man (so He was just a man), or only all God (so that's why He could do all those things), or half of each.  The truth is that he was all man AND all God.  It's the basis of His mystery.  We call Him God's Son, but we forget that He was also God with us, God in a man's body.

2 Cor 5:19
19 It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself...
I personally think this verse repudiates a couple of doctrines but that's another blog for another time.

Stay with me, I have a point.

What I'm getting at is that Holy Spirit is the Great Equalizer of God.  He's not only God on the throne, and God with us on earth, He's God IN us.  The Holy Spirit is the only reason anyone ever comes to receive salvation, because without Him we don't have the revelation that we need a Savior.  Despite this, we somehow think we can attempt to know God without Him.  We become either hateful and judgmental or we become people who have a misconstrued idea of what God's love is.  The fact is the Father is also the Son and Spirit.  Jesus is also the Father and Spirit.  Holy Spirit is also the Father and Son.  You can't pick and choose, because He is all of those people.  If you take away one aspect, you become off balance.  Not only in beliefs, but in life.  How you treat people.  How you talk.  How you view the things going on around you.  If you only know the Old testament God, then you won't understand the necessary mercy and grace of Jesus, so you won't extend it to others.  You will live and die and be judged by the law that the Bible says wasn't fulfilled until Jesus came.  If you only know Jesus, then you won't have a full understanding of why He came in the first place, and everything that He accomplished with His sacrifice.  If you know both, but not the Holy Spirit inside you, then there is no power to access what the new covenant brought with it.  And that leads me to ask, if we aren't accessing the power we were given, then just what in the heck are we doing anyway?  (By the way, I'm not suggesting you can be saved and not have the Holy Spirit inside you, just that people don't always recognize Him.)

I know this may seem like pretty elementary stuff to a lot of you, I just thought I would put it out there.  We need balance so desperately in the church today, because I believe that a church who knows God more deeply and intimately is a church that is more effective in bringing Heaven to earth.  A church that is more in unity with each other and therefore better equipped to go out and be the "body".  Presenting a gospel that is not fragmented, but whole...truthful but loving.

Prov 11:1
1 A FALSE balance and unrighteous dealings are extremely offensive and shamefully sinful to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Littlest Pevehouse

I feel like every time I sit down to write, I start to begin with, "It's been a while...".  I seriously have to get better at this.

After reading my more recent posts I started feeling bad about the lack of blogging devoted to Caleb.  Even though this blog did begin as a way for me to write about all the stuff going on with Joshua, I don't want it to seem like Caleb gets pushed to the side.  We really try and give both boys equal amounts of attention.  So, I've also thought about writing some bios on each of us and this has led me to today's post which will be all about the littlest Pevehouse.

Caleb Brant was born May 25, 2010.  He had a head full of hair and looked like he might belong to some other (more ethnic) family.

First, let me go back a little farther to when we picked his name.  I have a huge thing with the meanings of names.  If I find something I like, but it has a weird meaning or no actual meaning, then I have to keep looking.  I always liked the idea of doing Joshua and Caleb, but most of the meanings you find for Caleb say 'dog' or even 'rage like a dog'.  Needless to say I wasn't thrilled.  I found a couple that said something along the lines of loyal but mostly they revolved around other dog-like qualities including tenaciousness, which to my momma's mind translated to stubbornness. Not exactly what I had in mind.  Besides, he would get plenty of that from genetics alone.  We looked at lots of names but Bobby kept bringing me back to Caleb so finally I agreed we would just go with the name representing who Caleb was in the Bible.  Not to mention at the time we still lived on "The Promised Land" so that was hard to pass up.  Then one day my mother-in-law reminded me of how the Bible says that Caleb had "a different spirit", and she believed God was saying that's what our Caleb was going to usher in to this season of our lives.  That was plenty of confirmation for me.

The word about the 'different spirit' has never left me, but it's just been recently that I've realized what it's been all about.  Caleb has added so much joy to our lives.  He is our constant source of comic relief and I have a feeling he will always have that spot in our little family.  In the moments when the road with Joshua has seemed overwhelming, and dark, Caleb has remained the little ball of life and light that keeps us smiling.  None of this is said to diminish the joy Joshua also brings, because for all of our grief over him, he is an extremely happy child and is always reminding me that he isn't having as hard of a time as we are.  But Caleb has offered us the joy of seeing our child develop the way typical children do, the opportunity to delight in milestones we still haven't reached with Joshua.  At first, this was actually very bittersweet.  Almost more sad, than happy.  But eventually we came to a place where we weren't going to let our hurt over one child, stifle the excitement over the other.  Caleb has brought us a glimpse of that light at the end of the tunnel and I can't imagine this stage without him.

He is the busiest of toddlers.  He never stops moving, and he never stops grabbing.  He climbs, and pulls, and squirms and runs as fast as his little turned in feet will allow him to (he's still wearing the braces at night). He talks and talks and talks, although most of it is in a language only he speaks.  He is easily amused and just as easily irritated.  He is independent and particular and doesn't need your help with anything (or so he thinks).  He loves baths, music, and letting Joshua bounce him all over the trampoline.  After almost 20 months of life, he still fights having his diaper changed or putting on clothes, probably because he has to be still longer than he likes.  He laughs and laughs and laughs and makes us laugh even more.  Joshua's baby nick name was Pork Chop and if we're a family of pig names, then Caleb is definitely the Ham.  He's already a ladies man and accomplished flirt and I pray for what this means for us later on in life.

I love our little Caleb boy more than words can express, and I am so thankful that God blessed us with him when He did.  He was our extra dose of joy right when we needed it.

Numbers 14:24
But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.