Faithful Servant – John Izenbaard

The world lost one of the most admirable men I have ever known today, and heaven welcomed a saint.  His name was John Izenbaard.  There is no irony in the fact that he died planting flowers, with a shovel in his hand.  If ever there was a man who touched more lives and planted more seeds of the Kingdom of Heaven, it was Grandpa.  He left the lives of people he touched more beautiful than before they encountered him.   He worked at the same hardware store, nestled in the heart of the city of Kalamazoo for 75 years and 2 weeks.  He started on his 16th birthday.  Yes, he worked there for that long.  He was at work this morning.  He sought no recognition for his (I’m sure world-record breaking) loyalty and dedication.  He faithfully served, giving of his expertise, fixing anything and everything that was brought his way.   I have known him for the past 14 years and his loss feels like losing my own grandpa.  I loved him dearly and admired him greatly.  One of the greatest things I admired about him was that he genuinely loved Jesus and unabashedly spoke of God’s faithfulness.  I remember talking with him one time when he was in the hospital about a year ago.  He was fighting pneumonia and was in good spirits as he was recovering.  He said that the doctors had asked him about what lengths he would like them to go if he needed to be revived.  He said something to the effect of “Don’t bother.  I know where I am going and I am not afraid.”  I had all I could do to hold it together that day in the hospital as he said this.  I believed him 100% and wondered if I had the same unwavering hope as he.  I saw his strength and his solid faith and I was inspired, but the thought of this world being without him was heart-breaking to put it lightly.   Death, and its finality and unknown territory, is difficult for anyone to face.  We all have to[…]

Opinion or Judgment?

I have been mulling over a topic for quite some time now, so I decided to blog about it.  I am wondering what the difference is between opinion and judgment.  I looked up the definitions of both “opinion” and “judgment” and found each word used to help define the other.  Thus, I was no closer to understanding the true difference.   When I googled this topic, one claim stood out to me over and over again:   “All judgments are based on opinions, but not all opinions are judgmental.”  In other words, you need to first have an opinion of something to form a judgment, but merely having an opinion does not mean you are being judgmental.   If this is true, then what makes an opinion turn judgmental?  I am convinced that there is no clear line one may cross from opinion to judgment.  I may share an opinion with one person and it is perceived as nothing more than opinion, but then I may share the exact same opinion with someone else, and it is labeled judgmental.  I think (my opinion) that whether or not an opinion is deemed judgmental depends on the perception of the person on the receiving end of the opinion.  In this case, we can not really do a whole lot about whether or not someone thinks we are being judgmental.  What we CAN do is search our own hearts to know whether or not we are seeing clearly.  We can also decide whether or not our opinion needs to be shared.   An opinion is a way of seeing.  It is a choice to look at a topic from a certain perspective.  Jesus warns us not to judge (Matthew 7:1).  He also warns us to see clearly (Matthew 6:22).  The Kingdom of God operates differently than the world in which we are currently living.  The person who is operating out of the Kingdom of God (and not from the eyes of society) sees through eyes full of love and seeks redemption and life for everyone they encounter.  Their opinions are based on the[…]

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day.  A day to celebrate the hard work and selflessness of moms everywhere.  It is a day for her to be appreciated and maybe even pampered a little bit.  It is a day to honor her.   Her.   What if you long to be “her,” but you are not, yet?  If that is you, I wish I could give you and big hug and encourage you that you ARE a mom.  You do not need to have given birth to a child to be a mom.  There are so many boys and girls that need guidance, love, encouragement, nurture, and attention.  You have all of that in you to give.  I am sure you already give so much of your motheringness away to those God has put in your life.  So I will be celebrating you today along with all of the other moms.   At the same time, if you are waiting for a little life that calls YOU, “Mom,” I understand that Mother’s Day can have a shadow over it.  It can be difficult to celebrate others when they have the very thing you so deeply desire.  It can be difficult to have an entire day set aside to honor a circle of women when you feel on the outside of that circle and you can’t do anything about it.  Having me tell you that I genuinely believe you are a “mom” already does not really meet that deep longing in your heart.  I get that, and I am sorry for that pain.   Whenever I am struggling, I try to ask myself, how does God see my situation?  Often, he sees much differently than I, and if I can figure out how to see his way, I know I will feel a lot better.   How does God see Mother’s Day?  This is a good question for anyone to ask – whether you are a currently a mom or you are waiting to become one.  I will first address the question from the perspective of the one who is waiting…   God is all about[…]

Renewed Focus…for this blog

I have not blogged in a couple weeks.  In part, I have been busy, but I have also been taking a step back to catch the vision for why I invest time in blogging.  It does take a good deal of time and energy.  Here is what I have come up with as I have mulled it over.   We were not meant to walk this path of life alone.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says it well, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:  If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”   Pity the one who falls and has no one to help them up.   We need each other.  The struggles of life are overwhelming if we do not have others around us to encourage us and lift us up when we have fallen.  I see blogging as an opportunity to encourage and build up.  And thankfully, as we offer encouragement to others, we ourselves find encouragement.   I firmly believe that the lessons we learn from the battles we fight are not limited to the specific obstacle we have fought.  I started this blog because I have passion for encouraging those who are struggling with infertility, but I have chosen not to dwell specifically on infertility as I have written.  I plan to continue putting infertility in its place.  I do not believe it is healthy to keep our mind focused on the challenge we are up against.  I believe we are better served by focusing our energy on the One who can help us overcome the challenge.   So I hope that if you have found your way to this blog because you, too, have struggled with infertility, that you know that my heart is with you.  I hurt with you and for you (in a healthy way).  I will trust God to fill in the pieces and help you apply the truth you read to your specific circumstances.  Occasionally, I will use the[…]

Pursued

In one of my earlier posts, I wrote about how blogging feels a bit vulnerable.  It is like journaling in public.  Most of the time, I am happy as a clam to “journal in public” because I firmly believe that if we are free to be raw and honest, we offer others the opportunity to learn with us and get to know us.  Our experiences may not be the same, but the lessons are similar.  In the end, God wants us all to realize his passionate love for us and have the freedom to express our growing love for Him, wherever we may be at on the journey with Him.   I want to let you know up front that this post, in particular, feels vulnerable.  In many ways, I feel healed from the lies and questions I have wrestled with over the years when it comes to this topic.  But today I am grateful that God is thorough and does not want to leave even the tiniest piece of decay (lie) in my heart.  Maybe he has a little work to do in your heart, too?   This weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a 27-hour Christian youth event called Acquire the Fire (ATF) in Lansing with our youth group.  The theme of the event was “Relentless Pursuit.”  God is relentlessly pursuing each one of us and he longs for us to pursue him with that same relentless passion.   The word “pursue” has always evoked emotion for me.  I have not known what it looks like to be pursued by a person until recent years, so I found it difficult to grasp the concept of God pursuing me.   As women, one of the major ways we learn what love and pursuit are is through the men in our lives.  If those men set poor examples of love, it can be more difficult to imagine the great and powerful love and pursuit of God.   My story:   I have a dad, whom I dearly love and I know loves me; however, he has lived a 3-5[…]

Welcome to unwaveringhope.com!  I am so glad you are here. This space was created when my life story was not following the path I expected.  For years, infertility was the main topic of my wrestle.  These days, I find myself sorting through the mental chaos of mothering, wife-ing, friend-ing, teacher-ing, daughter-ing and what-is-my-life-purpose-ing.  As I try to steady my thoughts and park them in a healthy place, God has made one thing clear:  maintaining hope in Him is the key. Check out my blog for a window into my story.

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