Saturday, September 29, 2007

Eye of Wisdom

I try to read the Bible regularly, but most often than not, I fail to consistently study what I would tell others is “the most important book.” To jump-start my conviction, I open to Proverbs and begin to read about wisdom. I studied this book in its entirety many times before, but there is constantly something new when I examine these verses. So much of what I discover through life is affirmed in the 31 chapters of proverbs. Wisdom and knowledge ARE superior to everything else gained. I believe and honor the goal of finding the treasure of insight, and know that time spent learning to recognize godly intelligence is more valuable than most other things I could be doing.

Today I read chapters 5-7 and came upon an interesting verse in 7:2. I probably would have not thought anything of it if it weren’t for my Bible’s comment on it.

Chapter 7:2 says:
Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.”

Underneath this my Bible explains:

“The ‘apple of your eye’ is an Old English expression for the eye’s center, or pupil. The whole body is turned to protect that pupil from harm; eyelids reflexively snap shut at the slightest hint of danger; tear ducts bathe your eye with a cleansing liquid if any irritant enters; nerve endings scream ‘danger’ at the slightest pain or pressure. Proverbs urges you to take as much care of it’s teaching as you do of your eye.”

The thought of how our entire body moves or “turns” to protect the pupil from harm is an insightful thought. There is no decision to be made, or body instinctively turns to immediately protect our eyes from danger. I want learn how to preserve and protect the wisdom God allows me to have like I protect my body.

Monday, September 24, 2007

By the Fruit

“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.”

About 4 months ago Bryan and I actually had the opportunity to eat lunch with each other on a weekday. He works from 6 am to 2 pm so usually our dining schedules don’t coincide. But, this afternoon we sat at Bryan’s mom’s house, talked, and ate lunch. I love tomatoes and had several small ripe sweet cherry tomatoes on my plate. I didn’t finish them all and was walking to the trash to throw the 1 remaining lone-fruit away. Bryan grabbed it, cut it in half and gleamed with secret strategy. He planted it in the little garden by the back door and we pretty much forgot about it for a while. I mean it was a grocery store imported tomato, and this was relentless Texas soil and summer heat. The odds were unfair.

But one day a small green stem appeared from the dirt and seemed to be growing steadily. For a while I was not sure it was even the tomato because there were other weeds and plants growing. But we cared for it as though it were and hoped one day we would confirm our optimism.

Before I knew it, my leftover discarded tomato was growing at a surprising speed. We had to invest in a tomato vine wire support. We watered “Tomato” and checked on him daily to see the progress. I began to love this little plant. Maybe it was because it was nothing and then became something beautiful. Perhaps it was because when we don’t see things really small, we wonder if and what they will become and hope they will be what we are nurturing it for. It made sense to care for this plant so much.


Just two weeks ago, I brought Gracey outside for her morning sniff and brought the hose to water Tomato and I could not believe my eyes! I actually saw little budding tomatoes! You should have seen my face. It was like I just received the best present ever. The fruit I anxiously awaited was there growing and developing. I did not have to worry that I was somehow caring for a very lucky weed. It again came at a great time in my life where I needed to notice something small that was a miracle.

This plant was authentic because it grew its fruit. It was real. It took time and a lot of patience to see the outcome, but I did and it was just as important to allow that time to go by. It made the fruit better and able to grow. I guess sometimes I expect a direct result with my “fruit.” I want so bad to be used for the Lord that I sometimes forget the growing process that makes the fruit possible. It may not be fun, in fact it is tedious if you simply sit there and watch it. Maybe I need to have faith in the fact there will be fruit, and allow God to continue preparing me.

Tomato is still at Bryan’s moms. We could not transplant him at such a height. But we have a spawn of Tomato at our new place. It is in a shock still from the move, but we are hoping for the best. Plus, big tomato will be cared for and I am certain we will get to eat yummy red cherry tomatoes soon.

Things change. We grow. And hopefully with our attention and intentional actions, we too will produce the fruit to which we are made for to shine.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Moving

Bryan and I have been moving into our new place. We are blessed to have some extra time to do it, as opposed to having to move out in one day from an old place and then be at the new place with boxes at our feet and everything in disarray. So we are slowly unpacking and getting things ready at the new location, while we are still able to come back to this house and relax. Bryan’s mom let us house sit her home during the summer, so from April until now, we have been blessed to be here. She was mostly gone all summer at their lake house, so it was a perfect situation for everyone. But, it is definitely time to be around all our stuff again.

If you have moved ever in your life you understand the unfortunate moving tax. Something will go wrong, something will get ruined, and if you are lucky enough, everything whether in wholes or pieces will make it to the new site. I prefer the smaller less important things to be in this category, yet as of yesterday we may need a new couch. I guess we all need to be reminded of eternal situations. No, my couch won’t go to heaven with me.

As with any change, there is a lot to be done. All the boxes are just waiting there like unwrapped Christmas presents! We haven’t seen these things in about 6 months! We love the area and have wonderful neighbors that Bryan new before we even looked at the house to buy.

I desire this place to be peace to both of us, and we are both willing to work very hard to do this.

Here is a photo from our closing day!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Friday, September 07, 2007

Happy Birthday Gracey




Happy 3rd Birthday to our favorite Chawennie Dog!


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Malachi: A Messenger-Angel of God

A little while back I posted a quote that said “I’d rather have 3 minutes of something wonderful, than a lifetime of nothing special.” Prior to posting this saying I thought much about what it means to my life right now and how it parallels the character that said it. I too had a baby in my womb growing. I too had people and doctors’ telling me the risk outweighs safety. But it wasn’t something we decided to do overnight. We prayed and cried and laughed for months wrestling with this one issue. Were we to become pregnant? Finally in April we meet with our baby specialist as well as my team of 3 doctors and we began preparing for the pregnancy May 1, 2007. I had to switch a medicine that requires me to take a shot once a day, as well as discontinue several medicines that I needed and it was difficult to wean off of. We did all this and on August 2, 2007 we discovered that the Lord was beginning a blessing inside me. We rejoiced, prayed, cried, and laughed. We were nervous, but we knew the Lord was with us. So life continued a little more fragile now. Being pregnant can aggravate my lupus and cause many other symptoms to appear; yet with me, some of my problems began to disappear. So we began to tell our immediate circle, asking for prayers and encouragement to listen to the truth no matter what happened. We met with our OB, and scheduled sonograms and other check-up appointment with my other doctors to give this the best chance possible. But on August 24, 2007 I experienced unusual signs and we went to the ER that night to make sure everything was ok. They noticed there was a lack of a fetal pole and suggested that a blighted ovum was present. This means that at conception something was wrong genetically and a baby was not forming although the uterus and yolk sac was continuing to develop as though everything was normal. My HcG levels rose perceptively and we began to vigorously pray that everything would be ok and I would not miscarriage. For a week we were encouraged and prayed over. We cried and brought our request to God asking that He would intervene. We had another sonogram that confirmed again the status of development was abnormal and again there was no fetal pole. Our first year anniversary was coming up and the day before again there were symptoms suggesting a miscarriage. We went to the ER again and were sent home to expect a miscarriage. The next day was our anniversary, September 1, 2007. All day I was experiencing pain and by dinnertime full contractions caused us to go back to the hospital. They put me on an IV and had pain medicine in me immediately. We stayed for hours and at 11:30 pm we had a miscarriage. It was awful. I was in so much pain physically that my emotions didn’t even hit me yet. Bryan stood by my side the entire night and next day. I still had lots of pain throughout the week and even right now I am experiencing it.

This is what we wrote to our friends and family that will give some more details:

Dear Family in Christ,

This past Saturday was our first year anniversary. We had been looking forward to it since a lot of things in our life were finally coming together after such an intense year. We found and purchased our house in a nice area of town. We have leads on job opportunities that will enable Bryan to use his training and degree in ministry. And we found out we were pregnant. With Olivia’s illness (systemic lupus nephritis) we had been preparing for the pregnancy since May 1st, adjusting medicines and consulting with doctors to make sure we were doing everything we could for safety reasons.

However, instead of celebrating this weekend we spent our first anniversary at the hospital. We noticed some complications a week prior to this past Friday and have been to the hospital and several doctors were concerned about a miscarriage. We gathered prayer warriors around us and are so thankful for their ministry to us on behalf of our baby, throughout this past week of not knowing what was going to happen. Yet, Saturday, after hours of pain, we lost the baby. We were 8 weeks pregnant and feel a tremendous sense of sadness. Since this pregnancy was so high risk we had already had 4 sonograms. We had been informed of this possibility even before we chose to step out in faith with this pregnancy. But it does not make this any less excruciating. We are hurting deeply and ask that you will pray for our journey to healing.

We have much grieving to do. We are heart broken, as we know these things should not happen. We know that God mourns with us and can work hope out of a truly bad situation. This is what we wait for.

A part of what we are missing and what hurts is what will never happen. The memories we will never have. The hopes and plans we had and all of our love we were both prepared to cover this baby in. We have been told already “this is for a reason.” And although we see the comfort this phrase is meant to give, we cannot believe it. What we do believe is God is good. We had a son and now we don’t, and we are not going to call this death good or contribute it to a reason that would have somehow been better than getting to hold him and hear him laugh.

Yet in these times, for all the hours, days, and months we try to make sense of this, we have to use our faith to somehow believe that God is in control. We are choosing to believe God’s promise to us for a child will be fulfilled. We have to fight for this truth in our hearts right now because everything in us pleads to succumb to the pain and anger. It is our choice and we ask that you will fight with us, as this is really hard.

Olivia continues to recover slowly. Please pray her body will improve daily and her health will stabilize with no further complications. She lost a lot of blood and we are praying it won’t aggravate her lupus.

We have chosen a name for our angel. It is our confirmation in our belief in Jesus, who now holds our baby. We will bury him, mourn him, and we will wait anxiously for that day when we will see him in heaven along side all those we miss who have gone before us.

Though we had this miracle for such a short time, the Lord is using this to deepen our love and need for each other and our faith in Him. Jesus is still Lord. He is still good. And we will still praise His name forever.


In memory of
Malachi B. Brigham
(Hebrew: a messenger-angel of God)
September 1, 2007


Psalm 40:1-3

“I waited patiently for the Lord and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new son in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.”

In Him,

Bryan and Olivia Brigham



We planted a tree in our new back yard in memory of our angel. It is a symbol of life and growth. It serves as a reminder of beauty in a world that lacks so much.