Oct 21

Where Prayer Got Me

The Lord is Good.
My God sees me, knows me, and answers me specifically.
I have been “a Christian” for a long time. And by “Christian” I don’t mean I’ve gone to church for a long time… I have but, that doesn’t make me anything but a church-goer.  When I was young I was began to catch onto what a relationship with Jesus was.  I began praying from the heart of an 8 year old to a God I didn’t quite understand but He was always quick to let me know that He was there and He was listening.
23 years later it’s still the same way.
For those who follow my blog you already know of my higher risk pregnancy and for those that don’t, click those blue words and read a little bit about it.  Well, due to my hereditary blood disorder I needed my little baby girl to be born at 39 weeks.  It was dangerous to carry full term even if that was only a week later. In my struggles with inner strength, acceptance of what could happen, and trust that the Lord would do what was best no matter if I liked it or not; I made a very specific request of Him.  “Lord, I need You to have her come on her own at 39 weeks.” My due date was August 28th, 39 weeks would be Sunday, August 21st.
August 21st at 12:01am my water broke.
I looked at the clock and laughed. I love and serve and pray to a God that knows me and my needs inside and out. He does these little things to reassure me that He is listening. He brings things about in a way that there is no denying that He made it happen.
But baby girl wasn’t born on August 21st.
At the beginning of my 2nd trimester when my due date (August 28th) was determined by the ultrasound tech, my young friend declared, “That baby is going to be born on my birthday!”  She prayed for 5 months that our baby girl would be born on her birthday, August 22nd.
scarlettScarlett Elizabeth Riesco was born on August 22, 2016 at 9:02am on Mackenzie’s 16th Birthday.
The Lord is Good. My God answered her prayers specifically.
Scarlett is absolutely perfect. They told me in June that there was a “high risk of stillbirth” but at her first cry I sobbed as if all the fears were released in that one loud newborn cry.
Is He listening?
Does He care?
I think, as children sometimes it is so easy to just throw up prayers in blind trust and our young innocent eyes search for His answer as if He is real and personal.  Then, as adults, we learn about real life and about cause and effect and we become wise and independent.  Our prayers can become general and often out of duty- or we save our prayers for when we can’t control things anymore. We arrange and plan and manage our path. Everything is so controlled and decided that we don’t actually need Him to answer our prayers. If He doesn’t we have a backup plan ready.
I had a backup plan in the works. A scheduled induction at exactly 40 weeks at a nearby hospital was logical. I tried. But nothing worked out the way it was supposed to and I was left to just trust Him.
Which is a good thing because He never fails.
Have you arranged your life in such a way that you don’t really need Him to answer your prayers? Do you save your specific prayers for when you’ve exhausted all of your ways and resources and you have nothing left but to trust Him?


Aug 16

Modern Medicine and the Great Physician

20160810_154824_resizedModern Medicine says this tiny little pill will keep my blood from killing my baby.

A few months ago I tested positive for a blood disorder that is responsible for stealing small unborn babies from my family for generations. (Praise the Lord for modern science that can find unseen problems that for generations were unexplained. “We’re sorry but sometimes these things just happen.” And also find remedies for those problems so that tiny, unborn babies can grow, and be born, and live long normal lives.)


Past 38 weeks I cannot take this tiny pill that is keeping my blood from killing my baby.

That is today.

I suddenly feel like a trapeze artist whose safety nets have just been collected and stored- but I must keep on with my tricks and routines.

To prepare for today and every day until our Baby Human decides it’s time to come, I reflect on the journal entry I made 6 weeks ago when the diagnosis was made and the repercussions were explained.


Lord, You have always been in control. You formed me 31 years ago and when all the tiny pieces were in place you knew that one day I would sit here in tears over the little baby we prayed for that I was afraid to have and now I am afraid to lose. Little Baby, you are so loved. You are so wanted.

Nothing at all has changed between today and yesterday except for that now I know what You knew all along.

“High Risk of Still Birth” how does anyone calmly receive that diagnosis?  But I did, partially because I am my father’s daughter and also because You are here whispering,

“I know, but- I AM me still. Despite the words you are hearing and the fears they are stirring, I am here- and I am still who I am. And if your very worst fears do come true, will I not walk with you until you can see light again and even further beyond?

And just the knowledge of that gives me peace.

Dear Lord, the creator and keeper of life. You have blessed us with this tiny, precious child. I beg You not to let my body attack her or starve her… With all that is coming or may come, I don’t know that my body, or mind, or spirit can handle it but, You are strength when there is no strength.

Even my midwife today, who is not a Christian, told me that with all of their monitoring and tests and even the medicine they can’t guarantee that nothing will go wrong. As she told me this I smiled slightly because I was reminded of Who is really in control.

Modern Medicine has it’s remedies and it’s answers but it is still my Father who is the Creator and Keeper of life.  He is Strength and Hope when there is no strength or hope.  At the end of the day my trust cannot be in medicine or the wisdom of doctors because only my God is the sovereign Great Physician.


Aug 04

The Chapter I’d Never Write

I was almost exactly 5 months pregnant.

We had fallen into a routine… morning sickness was gone, I had a bit more energy. I had finally seen her on grainy ultrasound screens and we had fallen in love with her long feet and tiny wiggling fingers. She still did not have a name so we called her Baby Human.  Part of her routine was morning gymnastics.  She is her father’s child- she moves, A LOT.

This one particular morning I woke up and there was no gymnastics routine, in fact, she didn’t move at all. After about an hour or two I began to worry.  We did all the things that would normally wake her up… Ice water, sugar, music, her daddy’s voice, laying down on the wrong side, everything and there was no response.

One of those fears that crept up and sat on my heart that morning after the positive pregnancy test was “What if I fall in love with him or her and then I lose them?  What if I’m careful and do all the right things and it isn’t enough? I don’t want my own stories of secret pain that never goes away. That is symbolized in a necklace, a few pictures of a baby bump, and a tiny grave.” In my family “She (or He) is not moving” is a sign of bad things. I will not expound as those are not my stories to tell. There are incredibly strong women in my family who have experienced deep pain. I am a product of these women- their blood runs in my veins.

And that morning after two and a half hours of no movement I laid on my bed and wept and prayed, hands pressed on my stomach holding the tiny thing inside that I didn’t know whether she was dead or alive… the words to a song my dad has been teaching our church choir came slowly, “Raise your hands when offering up a sacrifice that you want to claim as yours, Raise your hands.” (Heather Sorenson, Raise Your Hands)

And then He asked me- “How tightly will you hold on if it is My will to take her? Is she yours or is she mine?  Are you truly yours? Or are you Mine?”

“She is Yours. I am Yours.” I confessed through tears.

“Then Trust Me.” He replied

Are our children ever really ours to begin with?  Or have they only been loaned to us by their true Father to be cared for and stewarded until their Father takes them back home?

That morning, I unclenched my stomach, I got up from my bed. I cautiously proceeded with my morning, counting the minutes- praying for wisdom. And then, with phone in hand, prepared to call my midwife for further instructions, She (our Baby Human) kicked me good and hard. And she kept moving.


If we were ever to write our own stories they would never contain those chapters that leave us with deep pain. Many women and men tuck away these deep hurts and scars left by loss. Maybe it’s infertility or a miscarriage or the loss of a child, a sibling, a nephew or niece, a parent…

But- God writes our stories and those particular chapters are so connected to who we are, who He is to us and the strength and peace and trust He is weaving in to us. We would unwrite these chapters if we could, cut them from the final draft but- if we did- who would we be?

open-handsHow much do we trust Him with the writing of our lives?  How tightly will we hold on if it is His will to take what we think we can claim as our own? Will we let Him weave His strength in us and embrace the suffering along with the joy that this life brings us?

And looking back on these chapters that we didn’t choose- the ones that still live on, sometimes too vividly. Can you see Him working? Did you ever let Him? Can you see the different you that moved on after those chapters were written?

Jul 28

So Very Wanted

I will begin with an apology. 

I’m sorry I have been silent for the last 7 months.

I’m sorry you may get a slew of posts and information in the next few weeks via this blog.

And I’m sorry if all posts for the next month or so all deal with one subject.  These are the thoughts that have been swirling in my head that I never wrote down and I never shared… Even though God had told me specifically to speak. 

The last post I published was on the changing seasons.  I had mentioned that I knew something big was coming and at the writing of In This Season I had received the initial step to my next season in life… I just couldn’t share it with you yet. 

Now I can share- though most of my readership probably knows already.


{Begin actual blog post}  My desire for children over the last X# of years has been bittersweet. There was even a long stretch of years where I had decided that biological children weren’t for me.  And then I got married and I started to catch on to what the draw was. Parts of me wanted the joy found in searching for traces of me and the man I love in the face of the child we had made.  And parts of me weren’t ready for that.  Besides, even as a little girl the Lord placed “adoption” on my heart and one of my prerequisites for marriage was that he had to be 100% ok with adopting some day.

Seven months ago the early morning test came back positive. We both knew already- the signs were all there but we’d been through that before.  False or phantom pregnancies are no joke, especially not for the thousands of couples who hold their breath waiting for a plus sign after weeks of symptoms only to receive a soul crushing negative. And they (like we did) collect their hopes and dreams off the floor and wait for next month.

This time, for us, after two years of praying, it was positive.  He smiled big. I quivered as every possible anxiety and fear crept up onto my shoulders.  All the very possible “What if’s” that I had been setting aside because that bridge hadn’t come yet, lined themselves up one by one that morning. And then came guilt… because I should’ve been happy, but I wasn’t. I was scared.

This is what we had been praying for! This is what we had been waiting for!

I wanted to be happy.

But I was miserable and sick and scared.

In that first month or two I could understand the thoughts of women who choose abortion.  I had no proof of a child. I was moody and nauseous. My throw-up average was 4 or 5 times a day. The only time I wasn’t completely exhausted and sick was when sleeping. If someone had told me “There is a remedy for your particular sickness!” and 1. I didn’t have a supportive husband 2. I was not raised in a Christian, truth-filled home and 3. I didn’t have a relationship with God at all… I would have taken the remedy.  If I faced what many other women face I could have bought the lie that “this isn’t a child, it is a sickness”.

And that is why Crisis Pregnancy centers, and Mobile Ultrasound Units and ministries that reach young expectant mothers are SO important.  We as Christians can’t condemn when we do not seek out ways to effectively help.  We preach that “it is life!” and “there is hope!” but how often do our sermons reach their ears in ways and a time that they desperately need to hear it?  

Put your money and your time where your convictions lie.

And dare I say- take it a few steps forward.  Foster. Adopt.  Mentor. There are so many children born who were never wanted. But if we believe that each child is a gift. That no life is an accident- we should be willing to fill in the gap and be the person with the hands and feet of Christ that makes this child feel wanted and loved.  I won’t scare you with statistics or numbers. If you can only reach one… Reach that one.  Whether it’s the young, unwed mother or the unwanted child. Reach that one.


You-are-so-loved-lattedesignAs for the life inside of me-

She is so very wanted.

She is so very loved.



P.S. After a month and a half of daily, all day long sickness- I asked God to help me to enjoy this pregnancy. To find ways to get past what I was feeling and embrace this journey.  His quick answer was, “Stop eating these certain things” and it worked. I went from all day long to just normal morning nausea. Praise be to the Lord of all knowledge.  “If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of ME who gives to all men liberally”  James 1:5

Jan 15

In This Season

four seasonsI’ve been reflecting on how life has different seasons much like the years do except the seasons in life don’t rotate on a set schedule like Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall do. The seasons that come in life are not always anticipated, neither their beginnings nor their endings.

When looking back I can see the definite seasons in my life.  There was the part of childhood where I was clueless and happy and another part where I was very aware and very concerned (though probably unnecessarily). There was highschool when I was oh so very different and didn’t like it. Then college when I was oh so very different and embraced it. That was also the time when I was trying to figure out me and life and failed miserably so that led me into the season of travelling. Travelling and figuring out God, His grace, and the diversity of His world and His people. (Oddly enough that resulted in me understanding me… And meeting my future husband.)

Corporate America followed my season of discovery. And there I found that I loved it’s money and security but I hated it’s demands, it’s greed, and it’s stress. This is also the season that overlapped marriage. I left corporate America and hung on to marriage.

Then came a season of want. Not for material things and not like we lacked anything but- children had always been in “the plan” and the “timeline” suggested that the time was now. But, that wasn’t God’s plan so we waited for what we wanted. There was a short time where waiting grieved us just as many who have struggled with the same process. I read and heard story after story of women and men who did everything in their power to alter this same “season of want”. They exhausted energy and resources, they cried in hopelessness for years.

And I decided that trust in God’s plan would conquer my frustrations in this season. I no longer would label this season as a season of want but a season of trust. I decided to trust that there were reasons and this wasn’t a fluke or a mistake on mine or God’s part.  He has proven faithful in every other season in my life why would I begin to doubt Him now? And with this I am not saying that I expect He will soon fulfilled our desire for children but that I know that He is good. I know that I am loved. I know that His plans and His ways are higher than my plans and my ways. I know that this season will change into the next season and only God knows what that season is. But I trust Him.

And for you… I encourage the same. In whatever season you are in- whatever season you are waiting to come or the season you don’t want to let go of- make it a season of trust.

Know that He is Good.

Know that you are loved.

Know that His plans and His ways are better than your plans and your ways.

This season will change into the next but He will never fail you, that I guarantee.

Dec 28

Lost In The Right Direction

I don’t know what comes next.

Somehow I thought if I could just get the blog title out, the rest of the words would magically flow from my fingers through the keyboard and onto the screen. But, writing doesn’t work that smoothly for me.  So I sit here on my couch, laptop in front of me, fingers poised, praying that the Lord gives me words.

I don’t know what comes next.

Have you ever had the feeling something big was coming? Some change was on it’s way and you just had to figure out what the change was and what to do with it when it comes?  That’s me- right now. I’ve been this way for the last couple months.  Is it a job change?  A family change? A life path change? Am I making this all up?

Floundering. Is that even a word? That’s what I feel like these days just waiting with my eyes wide open praying that I’ll have the courage to accept whatever is coming. In the mean time we’ve looked into different career opportunities, businesses for sale, entrepreneurial ventures we’d love to start up and nothing has turned into a solid lead.  And I keep asking the Lord, “What do you want me to do next?” So far, no answers have come.

In the right directionWhile Christmas shopping a few weeks ago I noticed a saying on a t-shirt and I had to snap a picture of it because it was a tiny reassurance. “It feels good to be lost in the right direction.”

and then I just knew, I may feel a little lost but, I’m trusting the all-knowing one so I’m definitely lost in the right direction.  Oswald Chambers once said,

“We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God…Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading.”

As children in a close relationship with our Father we are never truly lost. We should never be in a panic about what comes next or which choice to make. We are His, and He knows the best way.


It sure feels good to be lost in the right direction.


Nov 18

Meltdowns and Dehydration


I had a meltdown the other day. The full, complete, pathetic, self-loathing kind.  I don’t seem like that kind of person, now do I?  But Monday was just not my day, I guess.  If I was to tell the full story it would sound as if my husband was a horribly mean.  But, he’s not. He made a couple comments and I came head on into the realization of what a train wreck my house keeping skills are.

At some point I was lying face down on my bed trying to sob and he was apologizing up a storm.  I say “trying to sob” because there were no tears coming out. He continued explaining and apologizing and I’m trying to figure out why and how I’m crying without tears.  And then it hit me… I hadn’t drank water in almost 3 days…. THREE. DAYS.

(Don’t tell my mom she’s always getting on me about these things.)

How is it that I’m thirty years old and I can’t even figure out how to hydrate myself on a regular basis?

thirty years old, kids.

Adrian MonkI’ve been married for almost four years and I still struggle to keep a tidy house. And by tidy I mean where you can see surfaces of tables and chairs… I’m not even striving for Adrian Monk level clean.  To add onto that- I don’t even have kids to blame it on!  I know it’s all me.

I hated myself all day.

After my visible meltdown, I was sitting in the laid back passenger seat of my husband’s car whining to God.   My conversation went something like this…

Me: “I don’t understand- I try every day and never get anywhere!  I could clean that stupid kitchen five times a day, every day, and the dishes just seem to grow from the pastel pink counter tops!  I stink at this!  I’ve gone through stack after stack of papers and the next day the table is covered… again.  I can’t do this! I’ve read books and blog posts and bought the little organizational bins and none of it has helped!!”

And the Lord whispered back “If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of ME who gives to all men liberally.”

Me: “oh.”

Me: “That applies to cleaning my house too?”

The Lord: “If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of Me.”

Me: “Oh.”

Me: “Well then, You’d better help me with this because I suck.”

I think I whined more after that but you don’t need to hear all of that.

Later on in the day when I got back home I accomplished a million things and sat and ate lunch (like a human, which I usually forget to do) and I DRANK WATER (like a human, which I haven’t gotten figured out either) and I sat on a hill for 20 minutes just enjoying air and leaves and grass and a goofy dog.

I had a horrible day but the Lord redeemed it- and he even let me have Salmon for dinner. I don’t know why I’m telling you all of this. This has nothing to do with you.

But maybe you can find courage in the fact that I’m a mess.  While I work diligently on a few certain areas in my life other areas run a muck.  I doubt you’re like me.  I’m sure you have all your “areas” spinning with wild success. But maybe you are like me, and in that case I can only say two things.

  1. Take heart, dear one, you’re not alone.
  2. “If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of Me who gives to all men liberally.”




Author's Note: The scripture quoted here is James 1:5 and evidently Jesus quoted it in the first person and not in the third person. I can't fault Him for that.


Nov 10

Denying Your Gifts

I was standing over a box of novels in the basement of Amazing Grace (the bookstore where I work) one day trying to find my newest two-day read.  Every other month or so I get into a habit of reading any book I can get my hands on.  They are generally Christian novels and I can finish them in two to three days.  Normally, they are those “fluffy” feel good stories that don’t take much energy or brain cells to read.  I stopped reading such novels when I was 14. And now… X number of year later they are once again attractive… somehow.  I don’t know, maybe it’s a mid-life crisis. I can read 3 books in one week. Then I’ll feel bad about wasting my time and wait another half a week or so before picking up another book.  Then I’ll finally kick the habit, for about another month before another book cover draws me in…

So, as I was explaining, I was standing over a box of novels deciding what I should read next and the Lord said to me, “Lizzi, why are you spending all your time reading other people’s writings when I want you to write your own.”  I stood up straight and thought back- “Me write? But Lord, I don’t even write well, I’m just ‘Ok.’ Just another one in the masses that thought it would be neat to have a blog and secretly daydreams about really getting published someday.” The Lord didn’t respond right away. I figured that was my answer.  God doesn’t even think that I’m a good writer, that’s what hesitation before response means, isn’t it?

I didn’t choose a book that day I just left. I didn’t write anything either because God hesitated and that was my proof.

An evening or so later Facebook reminded me of my memories from the that day the past few years. One of my memories was a blog post I had written about me and Jonathan and the love that we had.

“We confess sins and give and receive more than we deserve in grace and forgiveness. Because fighting through makes us a stronger ONE, me forgetting me and you forgetting you…  Day by day we run with each other through life. Each joy and sorrow and frustration and smile as we carve along making a love, making a life.”

I couldn’t believe that I had written that. How had those words come from little Lizzi that knows nothing, that says nothing, that has nothing to offer! And then the Lord said “I’ll give you words, I’ll give you something to offer.”

A day or two later, as if by some weird “coincidence” my boss handed me a book that “everyone needs to read” and in chapter five I found these words,

You are good at something for a reason. God designed you this way, on purpose. It isn’t fake or a fluke or small. These are the mind and heart and hands and voice you’ve been given, so use them.” (pg 33 For the Love by Jen Hatmaker)


And that was too much coincidence for me. So remember this with me. When life encourages you to bury your calling, to hide your talents and resume filling your days with the  busy that everyone else demands of you or of meaningless activity that does not edify… your calling is still there. You may feel that you have nothing good to offer but He has so many good things to offer through you. Make the space to give Him that chance.





Oct 22

Ask Good Questions


If this was an instagram picture I would hashtag it #latergram.  I wrote this some time ago (last December to be exact) and never posted it. And Now that I’m re-emerging into “blogdom” again I deemed this post suitable.

A week ago I got up before dawn on a work day, dressed myself up, made my husband change into a suit jacket that actually matched his suit pants, and drove 30 minutes away from my house to eat breakfast with 330 other people who had done the same.  It was called a “prayer breakfast”.  We were invited by my employer to eat breakfast, rub elbows with Christian business men and women, and hear a speech/message given by Mark Whitacre of whom the movie The Informant was made.  Mark’s testimony was very good and compelling.  We laughed and we cried and we praised God for the work He had done in Mark’s life.

But, it was actually the woman sitting next to me that made me think the most.  She was a former pastor’s wife, a widow.  She asked what church I went to and if there were many people in my church my age.  The truth is that there is no one in my church my age.  Just my hubby and me, party of two!   Then she asked me why I thought that was, which I responded to very thoughtfully. She followed up with a question about what women her age in my church had done to encourage me to stay with my faith.

I reviewed my entire church life in the next five seconds and had to respond, “Nothing.”

And that was sad.

Then I remembered one lady in my church that writes notes to college students at church and slyly passes them gas money when they are home on break.  She seems to somehow remember what position I hold at the current time and asks me how work is going- in a specific type way. Not a “How’s work?”  but a “Are you still having trouble with your one coworker?”  As I think of all the kids in “my generation” that I grew up with in church and are no longer in any church- how many would have stayed if they felt like church was real? If there were real human christians without painted smiles showing their vague interest, who had genuine interest in them as a person and their relationship with Christ… maybe they would’ve stayed.

In the days that followed that question I turned it around to myself. “How do I encourage the younger generation in my church to ‘stay with their faith’?”

Do I show personal interest in them – that goes beyond small talk?

Do I teach them when I have the chance?

Am I honest, genuine, and sincere?

Am I available?

Do I listen and remember?

Do I show joy in my ministries?

Do I direct them to the Bible?

Do I make time for them?


And here’s to Carol Reed who, in the sketchy years of 18-23 when all my friends were wandering away, was interested and real.

Oct 12

The Real Question Is…

I work at a Christian Book Store- so you can imagine I meet a lot of pastors, pastor’s wives, ministry leaders and other “Christian-y” people.  And, thankfully, they’re all really enthusiastic about their church, or non-profit, or ministry, or (fill in the blank “good thing”).  In their “Brother in Christ” friendly sort of way they get out of me that my husband and I both studied to be “in the ministry” in some capacity.

Their next question is… “Well, what church do you go to?”

Once I answer that question, the followup question they ask is always the same.  No matter who they are, what they are ahead of, or what denomination (or non-denomination) they are a part of, they all ask the same question with one variable…

Are you being fed there?

Are you able to serve there?

Are you able to worship there?

How is the teaching?

Are there many people your age there?


All depending on what that person deems is most important about a church.

In the last year I’ve been asked this many times. Sometimes, depending on the variable I can answer yes, sometimes I can’t.

If the answer to their question is “Yes” they say a quick “Ok, That’s great- that’s wonderful!” If my answer is “No” theeeen comes the business card and the invitation and the wonderful things I could do and be there in their church/ministry/non-profit/group/biblestudy/blahblahblah.

I generally thank them and say, “But… I believe God want me where I am.”

They stare at me confused. Blinking their eyes rapidly as they try to understand what that means.  How could God want you there if you aren’t having all of your needs met? And they leave shaking their heads.

And really I think they all ask the wrong questions.  We all do probably, when we ask anyone else the reasons behind their life choices.

Are they paying you enough?

Do you like the teachers?

How much does it cost?

How much will the mortgage payments be?

Do you even know anyone there?

How close to home is it?

Are they a (certain denomination)?


Maybe we should first ask, “Do you believe God wants you there?”


Because in the end, that is all that really matters anyway, right?


Author’s Note:

My husband read this post a while ago and said, “it ends weird” and suggested that I should make correlations to Biblical stories to further make my point.  Well,  if you need that like he does…
If you were a human living in the days of…
Moses, would you have told him to risk his life advocating for an enslaved people group, going up against the most powerful dynasty in the known world? Those Israelites couldn’t pay him much and they were ungrateful and whiney.
Esther, would you have forced her out of Persia as the king was rounding up beautiful young girls to choose his bride?  A Gentile, moody, partying king, really?
Joseph, how strongly would you have advised him to forget about Mary once it was found she was pregnant?
I won’t even mention Hosea and Gomer…
And we know how God used these people, in His plan to bring about HIS will in the world. And there is your tidy little ending. :)


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