As someone who loves writing, I most of the times have this unquenchable thirst for it…
However, there are times, moments in life that are so painful, or overwhelming that I feel that I can not write, there is too much I want to write and too little that I should.
And yet those are not the hardest times to write. The hardest times to write are the numbing times. I have rarely experienced these times. But there is this sort of numbing, detachment that I feel. Like I don’t even know what I am feeling. I am looking on at my own life in a movie screen and it is moving on without me.
These times it feels like I have lost my voice, and yet its strange because I somehow am still living life, even while feeling like I can’t possibly be…does this make sense to anyone. What am I saying? It doesn’t even make sense to me.
And yet here I am and though it us hard I still write….but it is hard and it still feels like a lost voice.
Where is Jesus in this? He is here. We believe though we can’t see. We trust when we can’t feel, and walk on when we can’t see the way ahead. He is with us. He hears and understands us when we can not understand ourselves, and He understands and hears you…you! That is all. It is enough….it is more then enough.
What questions do you want to ask God when you get to Heaven? Do you have a list a mile high? How did you make the color yellow? How does a humming bird fly? Where were you when this happened? What was your plan for me then? How come you choose heal her? But have chosen not to heal him? Why did you choose to make me? When you knew I would disappoint you? Do you really love me Jesus? I want to hear you say the words too. There are so many questions I have. But maybe when I finally get there My questions will all be answered. Maybe I won’t even care. But one thing I long for more, Is too look into His eyes. And to hear Him say, “Well done my child. You were faithful even in the ‘Why’s.'” #hopewriterlife @hopewriters
When I think of the word “Middle” to be honest it is a tough word for me to write about. I had several ideas rolling around in my head, none seemed very good. But the thought that kept coming back to me was. Middle is hard. The middle parts of life whatever that may be. The middle of a project. The middle of a journey. The middle of a trial.
During the birth of all my 6 children, that middle part was the hardest. In the beginning, the pains aren’t as bad, and it’s just exciting. In the end, you are so close and you know it the progress has been made and that child, your reward for hard labor will be there any minute. The end may be more painful, but it was never the hardest part of labor. The hardest part was indeed the middle. The pains are more intense, you have been laboring for quite some time and you have no idea how much longer this will go, it could be hours or days. That’s the time when it was tempting to give up. You most definitely felt like you couldn’t go on.
I think this is true of hard times as well. The beginning is intense, shocking, some what numbing, but people tend to be more proactive to be there, and there’s this denial that acts as some what of a shield or numbness. In the end of a trial you tend to be more adapted to it. With Christ you are more clearly able to see the growth that it brought, and how it can be used for good in God’s Kingdom. But the middle, when reality sets in that life will never be the same again, and the numbness wears off, and there is an intense pain that comes. Others have moved on because their lives have not been affected like yours have. They may not even understand why you are struggling which adds to your pain when you don’t feel understood or cared for by your friends.
In life that middle time is when we feel the most like giving up, and yet perhaps the most important to keep persevering. It’s like when you are hiking to the top of a mountain and you just have that steep part up ahead and then it’s down hill the rest of the way, but all you can see ahead of you is hard, and all you can feel inside of you is the inability to make the climb.
It’s in these middle times that we most need to lean into our Savior for strength, laying down our pride and letting Him carry us the rest of the way. In life in the middle times, whatever they may be, Christ is still there…even when we can’t see Him or see the way ahead, or see through the middle hard. In our weakness He shows Himself strong, and it is in these times that He is working really working in us. The patience that is needed in the middle brings forth that perfect work in us. “That we maybe perfect and entire wanting nothing.” -James 1:4b So if your in that hard middle keep climbing that middle steep, cling to Jesus, it will be worth it.
Everyone has a story to tell and every day had a story if we will open our eyes to see it, and open our eyes for the learning. Stories happen in the little details of our days the pictures that we form in our mind come to our heart if we will but paint a story with it then with the story comes the learning. The story behind this picture was a little boy who wanted a fishing rod so badly. He begged and pleaded and tried to manipulate his parents into getting one at a garage sale, and his parents said, “No”, and to “Stop begging.” So he did, though his little heart yearned for a fishing rod.
His parents said,”No” not because they didn’t want to get him a rod, but because that particular fishing rod was not one that they thought would work for their boy. They said, “No”, not because they knew what was best and they had another plan. The little boy was disappointed with his parents,”No”. But he obeyed and quit begging. Later that day that day that little boys daddy took him to a store and got him a fishing pole that was just right for him. Later he came to his mom his eyes where shining as he said, “Mommy, guess what? I got my heart’s desire. A brand new fishing pole.” And His mommy’s heart melted into a giant puddle right there.
The learning is sometimes our Heavenly Father says,”No,” to our requests, our most earnest prayers not because He doesn’t love us or wishes to withhold our hearts desire from us, but rather because he loves us and knows us better than we know ourselves and His plan is the best, our true heart’s desire.
His story for our lives is much greater then we can imagine. We need to trust and obey, learn and grow and let our story be His story because His gifts and His stories are always the best.
Often. I have longed for this a refresh, a reset, a time to relax my spirit, mind,body, and soul, and let the peace of God fill me once again. But these times are few and far between and sometimes as a mom of 6 with so many things going on in church,etc, getting away for a week or even a few days can feel almost impossible. And when we do get away, it feels like it is never long enough and scarcely do I feel satisfied. I confess I have cried many a bitter tear over not having enough time to refresh. Over time I have come to realize that this time to refresh must be intentional, and something that happens on a regular basis. I tend to be an all-or-nothing per person. I will go and go and go totally wearing myself out and then crash. Often in my world now there is not even a time for crashing. It’s not a healthy way to live. In fact my medical doctor has told me my health is greatly suffering as a result, and I must do something to change this. So I have been trying to be more purposeful about refresh. Stepping outside and taking a walk whether I feel like I have time for it or not, reading a book, or a poem, spending time with the Lord, and noticing the seemingly small beautiful in everyday. Sometimes it looks like going to our new favorite pond to fish with my kids while the others are doing their piano lessons. Sometimes it means a quick trip to one of my favorite places to refresh– the Oregon coast. Sometimes its planning a trip away and making it happen. I have not arrived. But I hope that I can remember that refresh is not necessarily a week long retreat( though that would be nice) rather something that can happen every day., several times a day. So take time today to refresh, you can….
Have you ever felt as if you did have a voice or that your voice didn’t matter? Maybe it wasn’t loud enough, or important enough, or pretty enough. Maybe your voice was too different kind of like a purple or red tulip alone in a sea of yellow. Have you felt that no matter how loud, articulate, or beautiful you try to make your voice heard, that it won’t matter. What is it that makes us feel like our voice doesn’t matter or isn’t heard? Perhaps it lies deep within the wounded parts of our heart…places we don’t want to go. The lie that the enemy of our souls wants us to believe that our voice doesn’t matter, that we don’t matter. I admit that I have often felt like that lone tulip, and I have often felt that my voice doesn’t really matter. It’s a lie that is easy to believe. Because sometimes certain people in your life will encourage it. But its an awful revolving, unhealthy merry-go-round ride to get on. Because the more we believe the lie that our voices don’t matter the more we act like our voices don’t matter-the more others don’t think our voice matters which makes us feel the lie even deeper….and on it goes this vicious lie digging its way into our hearts. So we must come back to truth, the Truth who is Jesus. Jesus never shied away from different, or ugly, or hard, rather He embraced it. He heard the voices that felt unheard, unloved, and unwelcome. He stopped and He heard, loved, and welcomed. He heard the blind man even as people around tried to quiet him. He loved the unlovable, the lepers who everyone else feared. His perfect love had no fear and he loved them and healed them. He welcomed the little children when others would have sent them away. He hears and He cares and He stays close always. Your voice matters, it matters to others, and it matters to Jesus. He has put you wherever you are for a reason. You are a beauty all your own. And He has a plan for the lone purple tulip in a sea of yellow. Your voice is a beauty all its own, a one of a kind creation, and your voice matters. #hopewriters @hopewriters3rd
” How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me. ” –Psalm 13NIV
This Psalm was in my listening time today…so expresses what I was feeling. The Psalms often start with laments, questions, even great sorrow at times. David is honest with his feelings. One of my teachers at SMBI told us that the Psalm is really the heart of Scripture and I would agree. It deals with the depth of what the heart is feeling. One thing David does with his heart and emotions is to instruct them. He will say this is what I am feeling, and yet,… but, …I will hope, I will choose to praise. He goes to God for strength and healing. He doesn’t say someone else’s suffering is greater then his own or live in some sort of amnesia to his pain, or to medicate it with alcohol, or work, or food, etc . He doesn’t harden his heart. He brings his heart with all its hurt and ugliness and asks for comfort for healing. May we all choose the Psalmest way to healing… God’s way. I acknowledge the temptation to ignore, or stuff, or medicate, but it always comes back to bite me in the end, so I go on embracing the pain as God’s workmanship in my life, coming to Him for healing…” and I choose trust, and I choose praise, and I choose healing.
“I trust in (His) unfailing love; my heart rejoices in (His) salvation. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for He has been good to me. ”
“You’re still the hope of Christmas, you’re still the light when the world is dark. You’re still the hope of Christmas, and you’re still the hope of my heart.” This was a song by Matthew West that Marcus sang this year at our little Christmas program. Is there hope and joy this Christmas as the Carols we sing, I believe there can be…for the child of Christ there should be because we have this hope in Jesus. Joy doesn’t always mean laughter, sometimes it means smiling through the tears. Joy doesn’t mean, I feel like singing, but it means I choose praise despite the hard, and hope…Hope is Jesus that is enough.
This year was not always filled with happiness and laughter for the Nice family, unlike what our family picture would suggest. Did we have fun and laughter? Yes, but along with that was one of the hardest years we have ever experienced as a family, and I am sure we are not alone in that. I had a hard time wondering if I should even attempt to write a letter this year because what do you share and what do you leave out? But then I thought, if pain and struggle teach us our life’s deepest lessons and draw us close to our Lord and Savior, shouldn’t we be willing to share those things even more? Because we all need to know we are not alone in our struggles and to know that Jesus is everything. You know this in good times, but you KNOW it in hard times.
In November of 2019, we found out that our oldest son had irregularities in his leg bones, specifically his femur. We found out later that they were twisted 40 and 45 degrees outwardly.
We had noticed certain irregularities in his gate and posture for a while, but had no idea it was so severe. I guess it happened gradually enough that we didn’t really see it. I had to take him in for a routine appointment, so I mentioned this to his doctor. He acted as though it wasn’t going to be a big deal, so I was thinking, “therapy.” He referred us to a bone specialist,(that should have been my first hint) and I was stunned to find out that this was not an issue that could be fixed with physical therapy. They did some x-rays and the doctor told us that it was vital to do a surgery which involved cutting his bones and twisting them forward than inserting rods and screws. He told us that Jenson’s knees and hips would suffer tremendously if we didn’t do something within the next year or so. I was at that appointment by myself with Jenson since we had no idea it was going to be such a serious diagnoses. I called Justin immediately when I got out to the car, overwhelmed by all that the specialist had told me. The doctor had told us that Jenson would not be able to walk for 6 weeks, and that recovery time after that would be much longer 6 months to a year. Jenson was sober, but optimistic as he had been experiencing pain and frustration especially when walking for a long time, and was eager to see that changed. As a mom I felt terrible that I hadn’t checked into it sooner.
After much testing and appointments, the surgery was scheduled for March 20th. Jenson was disappointed that it was so far into the future…to have something like that hanging over your head for 4 months was hard. He struggled with anxiety over what was to come. The week of his surgery he had done a lot of prep including a Covid test. 3 days before his surgery I got a call that it had been cancelled due to Covid. To say this was difficult would be an understatement, but everything happens for a reason. In hindsight, though it was hard , we were glad it happened when it did.
.After this we had weeks that turned into months of shutdown. I began homeschooling my children. As a deacon Justin began to seek out ways to stay connected with the church. While everyone else’s lives slowed down ours sped up planning online services, juggling homeschooling with housewife duties, checking in with church members, etc. It was busy, but what a privilege to serve God in this way! We also did a lot of fun things at home with our children that and I enjoyed being a teacher again to my children.
In May we got a call that we would be able to reschedule Jenson’s surgery. It was scheduled for June 12th. So on June 12th we headed into the hospital. Jenson’s surgery was much longer than we thought it would be, 4 hours turned into 8 hours, but everything went well and we were so grateful.
What would follow would be days and weeks of pain. The struggle to just get him up out of bed, to do anything was beyond challenging. I remember leaving the hospital thinking there was no way we were going to be able to do this at home. But did it we did day by day, hour by hour. Meds were given around the clock, and still there was much pain. Even now the memories of seeing my child screaming in pain, and being so helpless to do anything to help him….is hard to think about. So much had to be relearned, and help was needed around the clock. Sleep was a luxury it happened at night in 1-2 hour increments. I joked that it was like having a teenage newborn. We had to do things we never thought we would be able to do, and yet we did. I remember many times crying out to Jesus in exhaustion, and somehow He would give us what we needed for the next moment. I wondered at times if Jenson would ever be able to walk or run again, and yet somehow he did. Physical therapy was intense and hard, but so helpful in his recovery.
Now 6 months later, Jenson is doing so much better, and we are seeing things that are better than before his surgery. The progress is sometimes slow and painful, but we are seeing it more and more every day. We are so thankful.
In September the fires came…. A dry extreme east wind swept over already out of control fires and fueled them. Fires randomly began popping up everywhere it seemed. One evening I counted over 10 fires being reported in our county. People were caught randomly starting fires. The air was oppressive, thick, and smoky, and an eerie, orange glow settled across the land. There was a kind of spiritual heaviness…that many felt over that time. I really do think there was a spiritual battle going on.
For some reason this felt a bit like the straw that broke the camel’s back…. I personally just really was struggling to keep my head above the clouds…smoke clouds in this instance. We were warned to stay inside as much as possible as the smoke could do a lot of damage to our lungs. My eyes were burning and I could no longer wear contacts. Air filters were nowhere to be found, and it was difficult to keep the air clean in the house. People were wearing masks for more reasons than Covid. One day I remember listening to a podcast and on it the speaker was encouraging us to thank God for even the hard things that he gave us. I decided thank God for the smoke and praise Him for what He was going to do through it and that evening for a couple hours. It sprinkled a little and the air cleared for a bit. It was such a blessing. I was reminded of the power that comes through praise and thanksgiving, and God’s measure of grace in the thorns. The smoke finally did clear and when the rain came down we all went out in it and breathed in the clear air, more thankful than ever for it. That measure of grace is really the theme of this year. “ We are so blessed to always be in His care.
You heard a lot about Jenson in this letter already. This surgery was extremely hard on him in many ways, but I continue see growth in his life and commitment to follow Jesus no matter what. We are so proud of him! He loves music more than ever. He has really developed a love for classical music and is taking piano lessons and loving it. One thing he did this year was the Walk for Life for our local Pregnancy Center. He was able to raise over 600 dollars for them. We were so proud of him because at that point walking at all was quite hard and painful. His goal was to walk once around the loop and he did it!
Marcus was our right hand man through Jenson’s surgery. Taking on a lot of Jenson’s chores and helping us lift him, etc. He continues to amaze me with his servant’s heart. He also had a small crisis when he went with Grandpa fishing. He got a hook stuck in his finger and Grandpa had to take him to the emergency room to get it out. He was none the worse for wear and was ready to get out fishing again. His love for hunting and the outdoors continues to grow.
Karina gave us a scare in October, when she got a terrible case of poison oak. Her face was so swollen she could hardly see or eat. This was even on steroids. Thankfully, after an allergy shot and increased steroids she began to improve. We are still a little paranoid about letting her go into the woods. 😉 She also loves the outdoors so this can be difficult . She sang a very complicated song in our Christmas program this year. She worked very hard on it and nailed it.
Chalita is our bubbly talkative lady. She still has us splitting in laughter some times over the things she says. She also has been such a big help to mommy. Her and her sister love to surpise me with extra tasks they do. She loves singing as well and truly sings from her heart. Recently when she was asked in school what her favorite part of Christmas was, she said turning on Christmas music really loud in my room and singing with it. She is our “soul” singer 😉
Trenton is our steady Eddie very calm and easy going for the most part. He loves music and anything with wheels these days. He is very good at Math and loves school. In November, he had to get his tonsils and adenoids removed. It was a difficult week, but we are very glad to get that over with. He is such a blessing in our lives.
Aliyah is everyone’s favorite as the baby in the family. She is incredibly artistic already and amazes everyone with her ability to pick up on songs. She is mommy’s buddy right now as her older siblings are all in school. We are so thankful for the blessing of her.
Justin is continuing to serve faithfully in the church as a pastor\deacon. We have been going through leadership transition for the last year. That has been challenging, but Justin continues to serve faithfully, and I am so proud of him.
I continue to be a mom and homemaker to my children. One of the things that has helped me during this time is art and poetry or song. Writing them has proved to be a balm. The Lord has given me words this year, and I was able to write a number of songs and poems. I have included one of those songs and pics in this letter. Hope it can encourage you!
Here we are at the end of 2020, no one but God knows what tomorrow will hold., but what a comfort to know that He knows. He has tomorrow in His hands. This Christmas season we are so thankful for the loving God we serve. This gives us hope and joy this season and every season of life.