Cooking with my Grandmas: Olie Koeken

Olie Koeken (oil cakes) are a traditional Dutch treat similar to a doughnut, and usually served on New Year’s Day. Grandma Vlietstra often made them on New Year’s Day, but Grandma Balkema would make them in the fall when we would go to her house for trick-or-treating.  I also remember them being made at the high school  for the annual fall sale, the mouth-watering scent of olie koeken wafting through the hallways. They go perfect with a cup of coffee.

Comparing the recipes of both grandmas, I found they were quite similar.  This recipe is adjusted to be a combination of the two.  Specific instructions were added as well.

Olie Koeken

  • Servings: 2-3 dozen
  • Time: 2 hrs
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1  3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 quart oil for frying
  • white or powdered sugar for rolling

Heat oil in saucepan to 375 degrees (or use your deep fryer). Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add buttermilk and eggs and mix well.  Dough will be very thick and sticky. Fold in raisins.  Drop into the fully heated oil using two tablespoons, taking care not to over-crowd the pan.  Cook until golden brown, usually 7-8 minutes.   Roll in sugar or powdered sugar and serve. Makes 2-3 dozen.

eet smakelijk!

This recipe is linked up at The Loft, where we are sharing our favorite fall recipes this week. Come check out other recipes as well!

The Loft

Come to God

Come to God, then, my brother, my sister, with all thy desires and instincts, all thy lofty ideals, all thy longing for purity and unselfishness, all thy yearning to love and be true, all thy aspiration after self-forgetfulness and child-life in the breath of the Father; come to him with all thy weaknesses, all thy shames, all thy futilities; with all thy helplessness over thy own thoughts; with all thy failure, yea, with the sick sense of having missed the tide of true affairs; come to him with all thy doubts, fears, dishonesties, meannesses, paltrinesses, misjudgments, wearinesses, disappointments, and stalenesses: be sure he will take thee and all thy miserable brood, whether of draggle-winged angels, or covert-seeking snakes, into his care, the angels for life, the snakes for death, and thee for liberty in his limitless heart! For he is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

-George MacDonald

Untitled (2)

I was going through a file and found the above quote from a sermon of George MacDonald.  It was something I hand-wrote, word for word several years ago, but don’t remember my source at the time.  Thanks to Google, I found the entire sermon written out, so if you like, you can see the context here. I believe that it matches well with The Loft theme for this week:  Intimacy with Jesus.  

The Loft

It’s October Twenty-Eight

This is a beautiful fall day in Michigan.  The sun is shining and the leaves are vibrant.  I’m busy homeschooling, cooking and running errands.

But I’ll admit it. My heart is feeling a little broken inside.

  1. The anniversary of my first marriage was 10-28 and it would have been twenty years today. God has worked all things for the good, and I am utterly blessed to be remarried to a kind, wonderful man.  However, 10-28 was significant in my life.  While I no longer mourn the ending of the relationship, I am reminded every year of the death of a marriage.
  2. It was on 10-28, a few years ago in the doctor’s office that we learned we were having a miscarriage, and would never meet our third baby.
  3. Our fourth baby was also a miscarriage and today was a possibility as a due date.

I wonder why God arranged for those losses to be remembered on the same date?

I don’t know a specific reason it happened that way in my life, but God tells us Himself:  It’s not a bad thing to grieve.

 October 28 or not, there are days where we are called to mourn.  Perhaps for ourselves, perhaps with others.

Despite the pain, mourning comes with promises.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.  Matthew 5:4

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18

Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. Psalm 55:17

Probably for the rest of my life, October 28 will be a mourning day.  Yet it is also true that there are beautiful ways that God has “turned my mourning into joy”. I have been comforted by Christ, the sure hope of eternal life, and the kindness of friends and family.  I sure would love to have a newborn to welcome into our home this month.  But I will see my babies someday.  I long to hold, snuggle them and kiss their faces.  Bliss! 

Today I can also remember that someday there won’t be anymore October twenty-eighths.

How about you?  Do you have any “October 28’s”?  How has God comforted you?

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  

Pan-a-cakes with Grandma Vlietstra (part 1)

It’s Saturday morning. You wake up at 3:30 am in the middle of a hard Michigan winter.  You put on your mud boots, work pants and stiff flannel shirt, jump into your truck, and head out to the barn.  You set up the parlor for the day’s milking, and then walk up the snow-covered hill in the dark to fetch the cows.  It’s freezing cold, but you feel sheltered in the cow barn with the heat-radiating Holsteins.  After herding them down the alley  to the holding pen, you and your cousin methodically milk two hundred cows; one-by-one, over and over, opening and closing the gate, hooking up the hissing, sucking vacuuming machines to their udders, steaming in the morning cold.  While the machines whistle and click in unison, you warm your hands on the milk jar.

By eight o’clock when the rest of the world is waking up, the cows are milked and you’ve been on your feet for several hours. Working quickly, you chase the last few cows back to the barn. Then you scrape the parlor and hose it down.

Shall we go down to Grandma’s?

You nod and gratefully walk out the door and trek down to the farm house. You jog part of the way because your feet are freezing in your barn boots. You see light coming through mud room window.  Your stomach starts to growl.

You walk in the mud room and through the small window you see her bustling around the table.  There she is, your short, sturdy grandma with her white hair.  The smell of bacon warms you to your toes.

Oh!  You’re here!  Come on in…..

She smiles and waves you to come into the kitchen and ushers you to an empty spot at the table, where a few other cousins and farm workers are already eating. She loads the pancakes onto the platter in the middle of the table and pours you a fresh cup of milk.

Come on, take another pan-a-cake!  You must be hungry from working.

She has a way of bustling, almost jogging through the kitchen. Back and forth between the table, the griddle and the sink.  At eighty-five, Grandma is full of pep and happy to see you.

A favorite hymn of Ada Vlietstra

Words from a favorite hymn of Ada Vlietstra


The following are excerpts of an interview with Ada Vlietstra that I wrote for a college class in 2004.  At the time, she was 85 years old.  

My grandmother, Ada Vlietstra was born in Kalamazoo, MI in 1919 to Dutch immigrants  Hendrik and Rikste (Engberts) Doorlag.  Her parents came to America through Ellis Island and Hendrik worked at the paper mill to earn money so that he could bring his parents to America as well.

As the second born of thirteen children and oldest daughter, Ada was expected to help her mother starting at a young age.  She helped with whatever chores she could handle and watched the younger children.  In those days they did not have kindergarten, so Ada started first grade at the age of 4.  She walked one mile to attend William Street Christian School.  When they were learning the alphabet, the teacher would write the letters with a piece of chalk on the top of their desks.  Then they would use dried corn and put it on the lines to help them learn each letter.

Ada graduated from 8th grade at age 13, and then took two years of high school.  At that time, the high school only went up to grade 10. If she wanted to finish her high school diploma, she would have to commute to a high school in Grand Rapids.  Just a few of her classmates did that.  At the age of 15, when she finished her schooling, her parents told her that she should get a job.  They did not have a phone in her house, and in those days people did not create resumes.  When she applied for a job at the Grace Corset Company, she had the company call her aunt and uncle’s home, who in turn told her parents. She was allowed to keep her wages for her own use. Her mother had twins during these years and she had a great deal of responsibility to care for younger siblings when she wasn’t working.

One Sunday afternoon, Ada and her cousin were walking home toward Paterson street, when a man named Fred pulled over and offered to give them a ride in his car.  (He later teased Grandma that she was hitchhiking, but apparently they agreed to ride with him after he introduced himself.) Ada, age 23, married Fred in 1942.  He was eleven years her senior. Ada said that in those days there would be a “shivaree” where they would try to take the bride away from the groom on the wedding night.

It was war time (World War II) when she was in her early twenties and there were many activities related to that.  She says they would have parades on Armistice Day and that people were more patriotic.  There were many jobs related to making parts of airplanes.  Fred did not go to war because the government felt it was more important for him to continue farming.

Her husband was dairy farming with his dad, and she moved into his family home on Ravine Road, which included Fred’s dad and sister. Fred’s mother had died at a young age. Ada remembers when she first moved into the house, it was a sometimes difficult to get along with her sister-in-law because she had run the home until Ada moved in.  That lasted for several months, but then her sister-in-law moved in with another sibling until she married. During those days Ada would have to wash the equipment/dishes for the milking barns and alternated doing this with another sister-in-law next door.  Ada did a great deal of canning and preparing food to last through the winter. They did not have any indoor plumbing in the house the first few years.

Ada and Fred became parents to six children.  While raising her own family, she also provided meals for her father-in-law, who lived in the same home with Ada and her husband until he died in 1960.

Ada Vlietstra serving cake at her weekly Sunday afternoon tea time.

Ada Vlietstra serving cake at her weekly Sunday afternoon tea time.

 

Stay tuned for part 2 of my interview with Ada where she shared more about her childhood and her life as a farmer’s wife.  I will also include favorite memories of my kind, hard-working and hospitable grandma, who lived to be 92 years old. 

Further information:

Thanks to my cousin, Sara VanDyk and my brother, Fred Vlietstra for helping me with details of the pancake story. I also added a few details from viewing a DVD interview of my grandparents by my aunt, Lois Ailes. 

 

Your comments are always welcome.

Josephine’s Birth

“I see death standing at the door, but God will take care of the baby.”

These were the last words Anna Runia VanDyk spoke to her husband, Meindert.

Anna and Meindert were Dutch immigrants.  The couple arrived in the United States in 1920 on the ship Rotterdam along with their three young children in hopes of opportunity and freedom.  Sidney, the 3 year old middle son had cerebral palsy. They carried him off the ship onto Ellis Island covered in a blanket, hoping that no one would look at him too closely.  John and Anna feared that he would not be allowed into the United States.  They were relieved when he made it through immigration without being noticed.

The family settled in Sully, Iowa so they could live near Anna’s twin sister.  A few years later, Anna was expecting their fourth child, but there were complications.  Anna had toxemia of pregnancy.  Baby Josephine was delivered on April 30, 1924 weighing less than five pounds.  Sadly, Anna died on her 35th birthday, two days after giving birth.   Meindert was left alone with a premature baby in the hospital, children at home and a job working on a farm.

Twin sister, Josie and Anna Runia.  This picture was taken in the Netherlands before they came to the United States of America.

Twin sisters, Josie and Anna Runia. This picture was taken in the Netherlands before they came to the United States of America.

Meanwhile,  Dick and Jennie VanSant had been married for ten years and were managing their farm in Oskaloosa, a couple of hours away.  They had prayed for  years that God would bless them with children of their own, but now they were in their thirties and hope was fading.  They heard through their church about a tiny baby who would require careful attention.

Dick and Jennie hurried to make preparations. When they arrived at the hospital the doctor warned them not to get too attached, because the baby was very small.  There were not intensive care units for premature babies in 1924.  Her survival was uncertain.

Jennie took Josephine in her arms, the smallest baby she had ever seen.  The doctor’s advice (not to get attached) was ignored. Josephine was dearly treasured by Dick and Jennie.  She was so tiny that she could not suck from a bottle.  For weeks Jennie fed her cow’s milk from a glass dropper, every hour around the clock.  A month after her birth, she weighed just over five pounds.

God took care of the baby, just as Anna Runia VanDyk said He would.  Josephine survived.

Josephine VanDyk, age 1.

Josephine Grace VanDyk, age 1.

Within a couple of years, Meindert was making plans to remarry, but this also meant he would be moving hundreds of miles away to Kalamazoo, Michigan.  He had a difficult time leaving Josephine behind.  Before he left, there were two things he wanted to tell the VanSants:

  • You may keep Josephine and raise her as you see fit, but you may not adopt her.  Her last name will still be VanDyk
  • I promise I will never take her away from you.

Josephine was my grandmother.  She lived to the age of 82, having been married fifty-nine years with five children, nineteen grandchildren, and  (at that time) thirty great-grandchildren.

Josephine and Karen in 2005.

Further genealogical information and related links:

  1. Toxemia of pregnancy is now called pre-eclampsia.
  2. Anna Runia VanDyk death record information.  The record says she died at Mercy Hospital, but family members were told by Josephine that she was born at the hospital in Oskaloosa.
  3. Josie Vander Weerdt (twin sister of Anna Runia VanDyk) death record information.  She lived to be 90 years old.  That’s how I realized Anna must have died on her own birthday and what age she was. Anna’s death record only gives an (incorrect) estimated birth year.
  4. Sidney VanDyk, the brother of Josephine who had cerebral palsy resided at the Christian Psychiatric Hospital in Cutlerville, Michigan (now called Pine Rest) after Meindert moved to Michigan to remarry.  He died in 1950 at the age of 33.
  5. The ministers that may have been involved in placing Josephine with the VanSants would have been Rev. Ralph Bolt of Sully Christian Reformed Church and  Rev. Charles Spoelhof of First Christian Reformed Church based on where their charges in 1924. Source:  Christian Reformed Church Ministers Database
  6. The Statue of Liberty- Ellis Island Passenger Search  provided information about the ship and year that Meindert VanDyk arrived in the United States.
  7. Josephine Balkema’s obituary.
  8. Previously on this blog I wrote about Edith Stek.  She was the sister of Jennie (VanSant) Sjaardema.
  9. Also wrote a little story about Henry and Josephine here.

Stay tuned!  In the future I hope to share more stories about my grandma’s remarkable life, including how she reacted when her dad, Meindert came to visit her when she was a young girl and how she met my grandpa.

Special thanks to Josephine’s daughters (Mary, Esther and Joanne) and Jean VanDyk (daughter-in-law of Meindert), who helped with several details of this story.

The Loft

My heroes

A hero – The classic idea of a man who gallantly rescues a damsel in distress.

In some way or form, all of these men have been heroes in my life:

Heroes I’ve met:

  • My husband. With his calm, quiet ways, taking on this crazy, up and down, enthusiastic and sometimes troubled wife, working all day and coming home to help with the dishes at night. He always prays with and for me.
  • My dad. Hard working and STRONG. He has had some physical struggles the past few years, but is still that strong dad– and always will be in my mind. I think of His fortitude and dedication to his faith, my mom and the farm.  Perhaps the only person I know as stubborn as myself. (Well, maybe brother Fred, too?)
  • My Grandpa B. Another super strong man but with the greatest personality and so generous. He will get his own blog post some day, but it’s hard for me to think or write about him without a few tears, because I still miss him.
  • Steve Schlissel. I first heard him speak when attending “Concerned Members of the Christian Reformed Church” meetings. He spoke up bravely in the middle of a dark time in the CRC. I spent a couple of weeks visiting with him and his family in Brooklyn when fresh out of high school.  The experience opened up my world and changed my life.
  • Uncle Dave B. He faced cancer with courage and faith. He lost the battle at age 39, but won the victory. He comforted others (including myself) in his last days. “The Lord is my Shepherd…”
  • My brothers. When it all boils down, they are there for me. They have rescued me off the side of the road  with car trouble at one time or another, and helped me financially when I was going through the divorce. My former childhood arch rivals.
  • My friend Greg. Greg was a hero to me after my divorce. He was kind to me and brought me back to the  gospel and who I was in Christ. He kept insisting I attend his single’s group, where I met other guy hero friends and eventually met my husband. Also a former arch rival.
By chanter Angelos Akotandos (1400 - 1457)

St. George the Dragon Slayer by chanter Angelos Akotandos (1400 – 1457)

Heroes I haven’t met (yet):

Three of my great-grandfathers. They made the brave choice to leave their home country in the Netherlands and travelled by ship to the United States in search of freedom and opportunity.  I met one of my great-grandfather-heroes and remember visiting him as a child, but the other three died before I was born.

C.S. Lewis, my author hero.

St. George the Dragon Slayer.  His story has always intrigued me.

Heroes of the faith.  If I had to pick a few favorites out of the list they would be Abraham, Gideon and David.

Jesus.  My ultimate Hero of all heroes.

In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. -Psalm 18:6 (ESV)

If you don’t know Jesus, here is a good place to start:  The good news

 Note: Don’t think I am neglecting my heroines!  I am currently working on a couple of posts about my grandmothers, and look forward to sharing them soon.

Thank you to The Loft for the topic for this week – Heroes.

The Loft

Favorite Books

 

This week on The Loft we are sharing our favorite books!  Here are just a few of my favorites, in no particular order.

Adult Fiction:
A Daughter of the Land by Gene Stratton Porter
Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
St. Elmo by Augusta Jane Evans (a favorite of my grandma that I enjoy)
Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss
The Song of Albion series by Stephen R. Lawhead
A Sweetness to the Soul by Jane Kirkpatrick
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (young adult)
Journey Through the Night series by Anne deVries (young adult)
Any of the classics by Jane Austen (I found it helpful to watch the movies before reading.)

 

Children’s Fiction:
The Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Piggy’s Pancake Parlor by David McPhail
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (series) by Maryrose Wood
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney
Little Britches series by Ralph Moody
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery
A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond

Biography/Autobiography:
Things We Couldn’t Stay by Diet Eman
What is the What by Dave Eggers
Joni and Ken: An Untold Love Story by Ken and Joni Tada
The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot

Poetry:
If by Amy Carmichael
Before the Palm Could Bloom by Patricia Jabbeh Wesley
The Complete Works of Christina Rosetti

 

This list does not include non-fiction or children’s picture books. That would require another post altogether!

Do we share any favorites in common?  Would you recommend any  fiction/autobiography or poetry books I would like to read, based on this list?  Please share in the comments below!

The Loft

 

Image source for picture in the Jane Austen quote above:   Cassandra Austen (1773-1845) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

God’s Amazing Lake Michigan: Four Seasons



Lake Michigan Summer

Lake Michigan Summer



Lake Michigan Fall

Lake Michigan Fall



Lake Michigan Winter

Lake Michigan Winter

 

Lake Michigan Spring

Lake Michigan Spring

 

Lake Michigan Sunset

Lake Michigan Sunset

 

The them for The Loft this week is “My town”.  We live just four miles from this beautiful beach.

 

The Loft

 

 

At the loft this week: Practical Advice

The topic at The Loft this week is “Best Practical Tip”.  I hope my fellow Loft folks don’t mind, but I’m going to cop-out on writing something fresh.  In addition to this blog, I write articles at Hub Pages.  These can best be described as “practical advice for tough times.”  Here are my five top advice hubs, in order of popularity:

  1. Coping with Separation:  Surviving the First Few Days
  2. Dating after Divorce:  Why should you wait?
  3. Surviving Unemployment: A guide for the stay-at-home mom
  4. Planning Your Move on a Tight Budget
  5. Preparing for a Natural Miscarriage:  Supplies

This past week I finished another hub related to moving:

Top Ten Hints for Organizing Your Next Move

Truthfully, I hope none of these apply to any of you right now, but if they do, I hope you will find something helpful! :)

Some treasured every day practical advice comes from the words of a poem, often quoted by one of my favorite authors, Elisabeth Elliot:

The Loft

How do you trust after a divorce?

So how do you trust again after your heart has been ripped to shreds by the person that you committed to live life with till the end of your days?  Would you dare remarry again? For me, these are the thirteen not-so-easy steps.

  1. You tell your friends that you need hugs.  You, the person who has never ever been a “hug” kind of person.   It’s awkward at first, but after awhile, it’s a normal part of greeting and you soak in every hug at any opportunity from friends and family that you trust.
  2. You get some solid Christian counseling. You face your own issues and take responsibility for your own sins related to the marriage that broke up.  When your counselor tells you to wait a year before dating again,  you do that, even though you feel horribly lonely, and you think it’s not fair.
  3. Sometimes  in that first year you are grieving so deeply that you bawl and scream at God when you are alone in the car.  The emotional pain is so overwhelming, that occasionally you wish you were dead  (though you are not suicidal),  but you yell it out, because your counselor reminds you that God can handle that.  Because when you are alone yelling in the car, God is all you have left.
  4. You go to college (a dream you’ve had for several years) and you study diligently and do well in your classes and find something you love to do.  You find that your days are filled with studying and working.
  5. Some creep–you realize later that he’s a creep– from a college class asks you on a date, and you are so lonely, you hang out with him after class one evening. But he directly informs you that he has other motives, and you remember what the counselor said (see step 2) and you call your best friend and ask her to hold you accountable so you don’t do something you’ll regret.  And you resist temptation despite the opportunity, and  a few weeks after the flood of emotions is past, you realize that perhaps you might be okay being alone!
  6. You cling to the Psalms in your Bible.  You pour your aching heart and tears along with David, the ancient king of Israel.   Then you write miles of words in your journals and you pour out your aches and pains before God.  You write until your hands hurt. Then you close the journal and walk away, and realize you feel  lighter.
  7. You often call your best friend, your mom, and the one cousin you know who also went through a divorce.  You tell them how lonely you feel and that a funeral would have been easier than this.  After you stop seeing your counselor,  you find a small support group and you share and they hear you. While you aren’t paying any attention and are just trying to survive,  your heart heals every week because you are processing your grief and not avoiding it.
  8. You find things in your life to look forward to.  You let your mind wander back to long-neglected hobbies and passions that have been smothered by the chaos of a difficult marriage.  You pick up your crochet needles and make something pretty. You keep going to your church, even though you feel weird walking in all by yourself and jealous to see all the happily married couples.  You worship, you take communion.
  9. And then a friend invites you to attend a meeting with his church single’s group.  You are baffled at the idea after being a married woman for eight years, so you politely say no.  So he invites you again, and you say no again. And one night when you are studying that same friend shows up at the coffee shop with a bunch of the people from the group.  You sit by them for an hour and  you realize they are friendly. A few weeks later you walk in to one of their meetings with your heart hammering in your chest. On the way home that night,  you bawl your eyes out with gratitude, thanking God in the car, because you found some genuine Christian fellowship.  So you jump in with both feet.
  10. You hang out with this group so much that they become like brothers and sisters to you.  And particularly you notice  the brothers treat you kindly, and you realize that not all men are out to treat women the way you were treated.  They could care less that you are divorced and weigh over 300 pounds–sure they will sit in the coffee shop with you and talk and play board games and watch movies and discuss all sorts of things about life in general and they ask you how school is going and encourage you and treat you as a sister in Christ consistently and -oh-so-kindly.  You actually find yourself laughing and it surprises you because you forgot that you could laugh. A few of these friends become aware that you have post traumatic stress syndrome, and that sometimes you have panic attacks and become nearly paralyzed just from riding in a car or watching a movie scene, and they still like to hang out with you and accept you as you are.
  11. And then about a year and a half after the first meeting, one of the guys in that group—who happens to be the most kind of them all (and wasn’t actually one that you had been hanging out with very often), surprisingly asks you out on a date. On your first date he gives you a card that says he is praying for God to guide the relationship.  And you remind him (even though he already knew) that you are a divorced woman, because he has never been married. But he still wants to date you.
  12. So you go on your second date with him and he takes you to Lake Michigan and walks on the beach with you and holds your hand,  and you didn’t imagine you could feel those butterflies again, but you do! So you go on your third date with this fellow, and you tell him that you have been infertile for eight years of marriage, and that you have had tests and procedures, and that you were the one with the problem, and that you may never be able to have children, and he says that he still wants to date you.
  13. As you continue to date, you share more and more of your heart with this man, the good and the bad, and he shares with you too, and there is lots of walking and talking and sharing and you find yourself wanting to trust again. Still, you don’t trust your own judgement, because obviously you have made poor decisions in the past. You ask your pastors and your closest friends and family if they think this is a good idea. Then you ask his roommates and his co-workers and his pastor and his family if he is a man of integrity as he seems to be, and you realize that he is, so there is nothing stopping you from marrying him.  So you take a deep breath, walk down that aisle and make a new vow til’ death do you part.

That is how you trust a man again.

But really, the only way you can trust a man again, is to trust GOD and His workings.  For you realize it is His book and His people that have healed your heart to the point that you are ready and willing to trust again. Then you see “He works all things for the good”, and that isn’t just a trite saying in Romans.  And that God can take what has been the most painful experience of your life and turned it into something beautiful.
God Bless the Broken Road

Prologue:

And this same man continues to show you, through all your hurts and insecurities and weight loss and weight gains (not to mention having a baby(!) born 9 months and 2 weeks after your wedding day—and  another baby just sixteen months later—and two miscarriages–and unemployment, and four moves in 8 years) that he loves you.  He calls you beautiful every day, still gives you cards, and reminds you that he’s not going anywhere.  And you realize that God loves you too, you didn’t earn any of it, it’s all grace, and you know it more and more and more.  How much you have been forgiven, and how much Jesus sacrificed to save you, and how you much you are loved.  And you still have occasional bad days where there is grieving, anxiety and even some panic attacks, but you always know you are loved.  And you know that the “happily ever after” is not here on earth, it’s still coming.

 

This week on The Loft,  our topic was trust.  When I started to write on the topic, this is what poured out of me.  It’s heavy stuff, and a little scary to hit the publish button, but it’s my story.

The Loft