Selah~Day 365 “Our God is Amazing”

On Monday, February 18th of 2013, grief knocked on the door of my heart. For the second time in a sixth month time frame, my husband and I would say goodbye to a baby we were so excited to meet. Having miscarried a baby at 6 weeks, I never thought that it would happen again.

I was 13 weeks, 6 days along. My belly was growing and life was abundant on the inside of me. It was a rocky start, but the doctor’s interventions seemed to be working. We were making plans to announce our exciting news and had something special planned for Kids church that coming Sunday. Our precious 3-year-old son, Judah, was going to wear a shirt to church which read “Only child expiring August 2013.” So, on Monday evening, February 18th, I was in utter shock and denial when I felt my body contracting. I knew this pain all too well, but despite the symptoms and the signs, I refused to believe a miscarriage was in this baby’s future. We finally decided to go to the ER at Mercy hospital. I knew the prognosis was grim when they had a Chaplain come to my ER room. At approximately 10:50 p.m., I delivered our precious, lifeless baby. My sweet husband held our baby for a time. At only 13 weeks, 6 days, our baby was fully formed.  Its tiny foot laid softly on the tip of my husband’s fingernail. Through tears, Gary exclaimed, “Our God is amazing!”

I will never forget my husband’s response. It was a statement of audacious faith that would change my life forever. You see, our faith does not guarantee a life free from hurt, pain, loss, despair, and crisis. But, our faith does enable us to seize the opportunity to see God’s glory in the midst of every hurt, pain, loss, despair, and crisis in our lives.

So many thoughts and emotions were swirling around in my head as I laid in that hospital bed. But, one thing was very clear. My faith and my fears had met in a head on collision that night. I knew that I had a decision to make.

I could allow this crisis to cripple me and keep me from moving forward in the things that God had for me and I could just stop expecting anything good from God at all. This option would have proven fatal to my faith. I would have slipped into a deep sleep spiritually, trying to escape the pain of loss. I would have lost my way.

OR, I could look at my crisis and convert it into one of the greatest opportunities of my life. I liked option two better and I am so thankful that I chose the better path. You see, our God is amazing. Just because of who He is, He deserves to be glorified and praised.

Judah loves the story of the Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. We read it often. It is a cool Bible story for kids because it involves really hot fire, bad guys, and a super cool rescue from Super-Hero Jesus. But, my favorite part of the story is the declaration of audacious faith from the 3 Hebrew children. You see, they stood up to King Nebuchadnezzar and said in Daniel 3:18, “But even if he doesn’t (rescue us), we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” They had determined in their hearts that even if God never did another thing for them, they would still worship Him and declare His glory because He is Amazing! And, so will I.

Even in my darkest of times, He was there. He never walked out on me. He never turned His back on me. He never gave up on me. He was holding me so close all along. Psalm 34 declares, “The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; His ears are open to their cries for help…The Lord hears His people when they call to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.”

He came to my rescue.  And, my life is more alive now than it has ever been before.  So, reader, choose to cry out to Him in your darkest moments and allow Him to write your History and bring beauty from the ashes and strength to your inner most being. He is faithful to complete the work that He started in you. You are His most prized possession and He loves you with an unfailing love. He said so, in James 1:18, He states, “And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.

Miscarriage was not God’s idea or His plan for me. I live in a sinful and corrupt world where bad things happen. I don’t need to know why because I will never truly understand, but I do know that I trust Him with all my heart and know that He has my best intentions in mind. His thoughts are so much higher than mine and His ways are so much greater…in that, I rest in complete peace knowing that He loves me and I am His prized possession.

Finally, In January of 2013, the Lord spoke to me and told me that I was going to have a Selah. I thought He was giving me the name of the child in my womb. But, He had plans to birth something else in me as well. Soon after I started this blog journey, I realized it would not be a year’s worth of writing centered around the need to get past loss and grief, but rather, it would become a journey of finding beauty in the ashes and seeing God’s great Hand at work in even the darkest of time. He wanted me to take a Selah. There are several words used to describe the meaning of Selah. I choose to describe it as a  “pause or moment to meditate, a time of transition, or a moment of change in the course of History.” This 10K reasons journey of thankfulness definitely changed the course of my history. And through it, I allowed HIS-STORY to become my beacon of hope, of life, of love, and of redemption. So, from this day forward and then forevermore, these words will be the cry of my heart:

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

Through tears and butterflies in my tummy, I write my list to 10,000:

9,973. My husband. He is my best friend and my biggest fan. He supports me with all his love. It is a great honor to walk beside him. He has read every single one of my posts.

9,974. My Judah. He makes my heart smile. He is both my pride and my joy and the one who gave me the title, “Mommy.” He has great purpose and promise written all over his life. What an honor it is to be entrusted with his care.

9, 975. My mom. She is brave. She is strong. She is my passionate, ever-caring mom. She has encouraged me and prayed me for relentlessly. She has never forgotten about me.

9,976. . My dad. He chose me. One time, I heard him talking to someone about me. I heard him say the words, “Kara, she makes things happen. If you want it done, give it to her.” He believes in me.

9,977. My mother-in-law. She is gentle and kind. She is one of the most selfless individuals I know.

9,978. My father-in-law. He has the sweetest of hearts. He would work tirelessly to help out someone in need.

9,979. My siblings. Kyle, Jake, Haley, Meg, Madison, Laura, Kelli, Eric, Robert, Nate, and Laci~I love you all and what an honor it is to call you family. Each of you holds such a special place in my heart. I pray God’s overwhelming blessings upon your life and that you would know Him as He desires to be known by you.

9,980. My church family. The local church is the hope of the world. I am so glad that Gary and I choose to be a part of a church family. We choose to be faithful, to serve well, and to walk in love with others. My church family does the same too.

9,981. My job. I get to show kids the heart of Jesus and teach them about His unfailing love and His great purpose for their lives. And, I get to serve alongside the best kidmin leaders in the world. They serve with such passion, faithfulness, dependability, and love. I love my team and I am so thankful to be their leader.

9,982. My husband’s job. The Oklahoma City Fire Department takes great care of us. My husband loves his job and is excited to serve and protect every time he goes into the station. He is trained well and has a wonderful extended family. I have made some pretty awesome friends too in the process.

9,983. My journey inspired others. Nothing excites me more than to learn that other people have been challenge to do a 10K reasons journey of thanks. Thankfulness changes your life.

9,984. My friends. From California, to Ohio, to Indianapolis, to Oklahoma, you all are loved. Your friendship blesses my life. Sweet text messages, hand-written cards, phone calls, lunch dates, and simple smiles in passing have meant so much to me. I am so thankful that God blessed our lives with friendships.

9,985. My health.

9,986. God has not forgotten about me. He is faithful to complete that which He started in me.

9,987. Even when I don’t understand, I have learned to trust Him with all my heart.

9,988. Hope. It is never lost. With God, all things are truly possible. Luke 1:45 states, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” I believe. I have hope.

9,989. Strength. I can be brave and strong because greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.

9,990. Men and Women in the Bible who had audacious faith. They leave us such great examples to follow and learn from.

9,991. Pastors who speak into my life. Pastor Ted has followed my blog journey faithfully. He has encouraged me, supported me, and believed in me. Pastor Marcia loves me with a motherly love. She speaks such sweet words of wisdom and love into my life. I am thankful for my pastors.

9,992. The Holy Spirit. I am so glad God decided to send you to us when He took Jesus back up to heaven. You are my power source. The Holy Spirit has changed my life. I am so glad I met Him at a young age.

9,993. The Word God gave me about Selah. God speaks to us. And, He always knows what to say and at the right time.

9,994. I have a new perspective. God is truly good ALL the time. Regardless of the situation, I can always find glimpses of God’s glory and give Him thanks.

9,995. All of the people who read my blog and encouraged me along the way. I am so thankful for your support and encouragement.

9,996. I did it. I really did it. I completed my 10,000 reasons journey.

9,997. The Word of God. It does not return void. It is with me through both the brightest of days and darkest of nights. It truly is the Word of Life.

9,998. My story. I am so glad that I chose to seize an opportunity to turn a tragedy into triumph. Because I shared my story, 11,314 people have viewed my blog over the course of a year and have heard me proclaim that “My God is Amazing.”

9,999. My two babies who I will hold in heaven. Your lives had purpose. You mattered. You mattered to me and to your dad. You mattered to God. Although you never took a breath outside the womb, your lives made a colossal impact in our hearts. Thank you for giving me Selah.

10,000. Jesus. Words could never adequately express my love for my Lord. He paid it all for me. He is the lover of my soul. He is the beginning and the end. Forevermore, I will bless Him.

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Selah~Day 364

I can’t believe it is the post before my final post on my 10K reasons journey. Wow, what a ride it has been. I will have found and documented 10,000 reasons to bless the Lord upon the completion of my post tomorrow. But, as the song (which started all of this) 10,000 Reasons states, “Still my soul will sing your praise unending. Ten thousand years and then forevermore,” I will never stop finding reasons to Bless my Lord.

Sunday, May 25

My 27 Thanks:

1. Judah was highly motivated to get ready for church because he knew we got to go by the donut store and pick up 120 donuts for our donut party that morning.

2. Abby and Arizona helped carry in all the donuts.

3. The kids were so excited for their donut party in KidMotion.

4. We had high attendance numbers for Memorial weekend. The kids were super pumped up too.

5. My team leaders are awesome. We had lots of kids and many leaders out for Memorial weekend. However, my team held it down and still executed successful ministry.

6. Our ending small group activity was so fun that kids were making their parents wait on them to finish the activity in its entirety.

7. We had several new kids in KidMotion today. Growth is the will of God.

8. A friend of mine rededicated her life to the Lord today.

9. God’s unfailing love and grace.

10. Judah and I shared lunch together at McAlisters. He is such a cute and fun lunch date. He wanted to take a silly face picture to send to his daddy. Then, he asked his daddy to send him a silly face picture. When Judah received the picture back, he laughed so hard and so loud. It was such a cute moment.

11. Judah and I were able to rest up some for the evening church activities.

12. Judah is a great helper. He has such a sweet, tender heart and loves to help me out.

13. Mr. Smallwood, one of the most influential teachers in my life, wrote the sweetest comment on my Facebook page. He continues to invest in my life.

14. I didn’t feel well today. My mom told me that she would drive up to OKC and take care of me if I asked her to. She was serious too.

15. Moms are so special. I have a very special mom.

16. We had a great crowd at the Ice Cream Scoop Off at church.

17. The church paid for everyone to have all you can eat free ice cream. Everyone, especially the kids, loved it!

18. I love watching the church body hang out and spend time together socializing and building relationships.

19. My new friend, Lan, told me that she was praying for me. Her sweet smile sure does light up the room.

20. Judah had an absolute blast playing with his friends. He didn’t want to leave. I love watching him with his friends. It’s too cute.

21. I was able to visit with several church friends. Usually, I only have time to say, “Hi,” in hallway passing, but tonight I was able to visit.

22.  Tonight, I am officially on vacation for an entire week.

23. Judah wanted to take a shower tonight instead of a bath. Showers are so much easier!

24. My mom called me again this evening to check in on me and see how I was feeling. She prayed for me over the phone. My mom knows how to pray the Word and she declared Phil 1:6 over my life, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” 

25. Tomorrow will be my last official blog entry for my 10K reasons thankfulness journey.

26. God has not, nor will He ever forget about me.

27. Jesus declared in His Word, “It is Finished.” Because He finished, so can I.

Selah~Day 363

Saturday, May 24

My 27 Thanks:

1. Gary is home from the station. He got to stop by 8s on his way home and see our red shift family. They all are doing well.
2. Judah was so excited to have his daddy home and immediately encouraged a wrestling match.
3. Gary is Judah’s hero! He already wants to be a firefighter like his daddy.
4. I want to be like Gary too! Ha ha ha…I am so honored to be his wife.
5. Gary and I shared such a funny moment today. It is so much fun to laugh with your love.
6. Gary took Judah and me to our favorite lunch place…Pei Wei! We love our Pei Wei.
7. Gary got two pairs of great sunglasses for the price of one. He looks so handsome in them too.
8. Old Navy had an awesome Memorial Weekend sale and we took advantage of it.
9. We tried a new frozen yogurt place and enjoyed it big time.
10. Judah refuses to branch out and try anything else-he is faithful to orange yogurt. I Personally think it tastes like medicine, but he loves it.
11. For some reason, my least favorite thing to do, next to getting my BP taken, is putting up laundry. Today, I put it all up!
12. Gary and Judah took advantage of the warm rain and played in it.
13. They had so much fun and I captured awesome video!
14. The rain has been so peaceful and somewhat gentle. What a blessing to see it!
15. I have wood floors, so clean up from water, mud, and grass is pretty easy!
16. Judah is such a conversationalist. He is forming sentences so well and even uses conjunctions!
17. He loves to talk on the phone too. I love listening to him.
18. I made baked potato soup for dinner. It was so yummy and the perfect meal for our rainy evening.
19. Judah fell asleep quite early this evening. I had time to study my lesson for kids church and hang out with Gary. 
20. We are wrapping up our endurance series tomorrow with the bottom line: I Can Stick with It because God knows the End of the Story! Yes, He does and for that I am thankful. 
21. I spent some time reading and thinking about John’s revelation in Revelations Ch. 21 and 22. God gave John such a beautiful picture to paint with words in His Word. 
22. In Heaven, there is no more sadness, no more pain, no more disappointment, etc…
23. Jesus is preparing that place for us too. 
24. God reveals Himself to us. 
25. My parents taught me the principles of hard-work, dedication, and determination. 
26. I can stick with it even when things get tough. 
27. Endurance. 

Selah~Day 362

Friday, May 23rd

My 27 Thanks:

1. Judah and I slept in. We woke up so refreshed from a busy week.
2. Judah asked if we could snuggle for a while. Absolutely! He is my snuggle bunny, for now anyway.
3. Even though I work full-time, I get to spend so much time with my little boy. I take advantage of every moment I am with him.
4. Today is my brother’s 32nd birthday. Kyle is so special to me.
5. Kyle is a successful doctor of chiropractic medicine.
6. He is a hard worker and a great dad and husband.
7. Judah’s full name is Judah Kyle Hendrickson. Kyle and I share so many wonderful childhood memories and I wanted to honor our relationship by naming Judah after him.
8. Judah was very understanding when I told him I had to do some work today in order to go on our vacation next week.
9. Judah let me work all morning! He was so cooperative.
10. We took a break and went to Mom mom’s house and he got to play with his cousins.
11. In the eyes of Judah and my nieces, I am an amazing side-walk chalk artist.
12. Old fashioned fun.
13. I love visiting with my in-laws. Spending time with them is so refreshing and peaceful.
14. My father-in-law is responding well to physical therapy. He continues to regain use of his hand.
15. Judah and I sat outside and watched the gentle rain fall to the ground.
16. God didn’t miss anything in His creation! Rain is just another marvel of His great work.
17. We are scheduled to receive a large amount of rain over the next few days. I hope we get saturated.
18. I love my back porch. It is big and I have it outlined with my potted flowers.
19. My Lillies are in full bloom. They grow each year. Unfortunately, they only bloom for a week or two, then they are gone for another year. Yet, their root system and stem is so hearty and strong.
20. Gary loves his job. Every Friday, whichever shift is on duty has the responsibility to wash the rigs and other vehicles. Gary is now assigned to the chief’s car. Even though the duty probably could have been excused due to rain for the next several days, Gary washed the car. I love his work ethic.
21. Gary is a man of integrity. He doesn’t cut corners.
22. School is out for most of our kids. It’s Summer!
23. All of the teachers are getting a much-needed, well-deserved break!
24. My neighbor pulled up my trash cans for me. I was super grateful because it was raining when I got home.
25. Judah told me today that Jesus died for us, but He rose again and now lives in our hearts.
26. From the mouths of babes lives are changed!
27. Truth.

Selah~Day 361

Thursday, May 22

My 27 Thanks:

1. I didn’t sleep at all last night, but thankfully I worked a full day without much side effect.
2. The joy of The Lord is my strength.
3. When I am weak, He is made strong in me.
4. Gary made me his famous eggs for breakfast once again. He spoils me.
5. Gary and Judah came to the church to help me with some to-dos.
6. Gary is super handy!
7. He made a small boat out of pallet wood for Mrs. Lori and our preschool summer series about Pirates!
8. They started hanging lights in our praise party room today.
9. Lori came up and finished out the June curriculum crate!
10. Lori is an amazing help. She didn’t feel that great, but she is so faithful.
11. Gary ran and got us all lunch. I love having lunch with my boys throughout the work week.
12. I almost got all my tasks accomplished before I take a week off for vacation.
13. Pastor Marc is such a help and a support to me in Kids ministry. I really appreciate him.
14. Both CYM interns are going to serve with me at Sports Camp.
15. So many of my Kidmin kids received awesome awards at their end of school ceremonies. I have so enjoyed reading all the posts and seeing the pictures!
16. Judah loves listening to praise music. Right now his favorite “church song” is Alive by Hillsong Young and Free.
17. Judah loves to sing too! I love hearing him say, “You are alive in us…”
18. When I got home from work, Gary was mowing our lawn. He is such a handsome lawn boy:)
19. Our yard looks so good. Both Gary and me love to work in the yard.
20. Judah took a nap. This gave Gary an opportunity to work quicker and Judah woke up rested.
21. We made a family ice cream run after dinner.
22. Judah wanted peppermint ice cream from Braums. He is definitely our kid. We all love peppermint ice cream.
23. Family bond.
24. Judah makes us laugh.
25. I laid down in bed at 9:00 p.m.
26. I am officially on vacation from my “office” for a week and a half!
27. My job.

Selah~Day 360

Wednesday, May 21

My 27 Thanks:

1. Gary has a great job that he loves.
2. Mom Mom watched Judah for me today. He loves being at her house.
3. He got to play all day with Morgan and Abby.
4. God’s creation is so beautiful.
5. I spent some time just thanking God for his beautiful earth.
6. Car ride convo with God.
7. Dustin helped me send out an important email for Sports Camp.
8. Lori came up to work on the Preschool Summer Series. I love working with Lori. 
9. I put in a Full day of work and still had time for a brief power nap before Wednesday Night Kids Ministry. 
10. I got a Pizza discount for the Ranger boys pizza party. 
11. More people signed up to help me with sports camp.
12. Pastor Marc’s end to color wars was super successful and tons of fun. 
13. My friend, Lucy, confirmed today that she can house the rest of my athletes.
14. More kids signed up for Sports Camp-they are super pumped.
15. Judah and I ate Chinese food at Mom Mom’s and Pa Pa’s house before heading back to church.
16. Mom Mom and Pa Pa paid for it!
17. Our good friend, Tom Hoover, bought Judah a chocolate milk tonight from the coffee shop!
18. The boys got to stuff their faces at the Ranger’s pizza party.
19. Mr. Greg’s Ranger class needed to complete a service project, so they cleaned up all the pizza party mess.
20. Helpers!
21. Abby did a great job presenting the vision for Crossroads Jr. Academy to the Wednesday Night church crowd.
22. Christian Education and Preschool development.
23. Pastor Ted called to check on me and wanted to make sure I made it home safely.
24. Thoughtfulness.
25. Rest after a very long day!
26. I am never alone. Jesus is always with me.
27. The ability to pray in the Spirit!

Selah~Day 359

Tuesday, May 20

My 27 Thanks:

1. Judah and the girls woke up excited and ready for the day. They were so happy to still be together.
2. I loved sleepovers as a kid. I had such a great group of girlfriends who made sleepovers an absolute blast.
3. Gary brought us all donuts on his way home from working out.
4. He brought me an apple fritter and I only ate two bites!
5. Will power.
6. I made it to work on time and with 5 minutes to spare.
7. Tuesdays are staff chapel days!
8. Pastor Marcia and Dorothy invited me to have lunch with them.
9. They took me to Charlestons!
10. They paid for it too!
11. During lunch, we talked about the amazing health benefits that come from living a life of gratitude.
12. Pastor Marcia listened as I shared my heart about my 10K reasons thankful journey.
13. Pastor Marcia is going to lend me her analytical expertise and help me with a big project.
14. Teamwork.
15. Even though my day didn’t go as planned, I got a lot of work done.
16. Patrick and Rochelle Sims donated ALL of our needed snacks for Sports Camp.
17. Natasha, Dori, and John all helped me unload the snacks!
18. I got permission to host the ceremonies for sports camp in the event center. This location change will be so much better!
19. Mrs. Bandy is going to join us for Sports Camp. I am so excited to see her for the week!
20. I get to go home everyday to the sweetest of husbands.
21. Judah greeted me with a great big smile and hug.
22. Gary had dinner ready for all of us when I got home.
23. Mom Mom and Pa Pa came over and picked up the girls for their turn. We enjoyed a nice visit.
24. Judah went to bed early. He was tired from two full days of non-stop play.
25. It has been one year since the devastating events of the May 20 tornado. Beauty has come from the ashes. 
26. The community of Moore is better and stronger because of the storm. 
27. I received an amazing email from my friend, Ava, who lost EVERYTHING in the storm. Today, she is building a brand new home and has a new perspective on life. She is soaring after tragedy.