"Behold, children are a heritage frm the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward." Psalm 127:3

I love bringing forth children... and this is my journey in training them for the King

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dr. Fus

I once knew this guy, when I was in High School, who referred to himself as "Dr. Fus". He was a pretty nice, good-looking guy, but mostly he liked helping people by giving them good advice.

Well, I haven't heard from him too much since I graduated, but this morning he showed up at my house out of nowhere, scooped up my two older children to go to work with him, and left me a hand-written prescription for a candle-lit bubble bath, as much sleep as I can get, and lots of time alone in God's Word.

So, as it turns out... Dwight's not only a wonderful husband, he makes a pretty great "doctor" too!! :)

I am abundantly thankful for his partnership in life and sensitivity to this extremely hormonal pregnant Momma...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Where Did May Go?

So I just signed onto my blog for the first time since mid-April. It's almost June now... so where did May go?

We have been busy finishing up school for the year, growing new children, and playing outside.

I attended my first ever Homeschool Book Fair Mother's Day weekend and was totally blessed to spend the day pouring over endless curriculum opportunities with a wonderful friend I don't visit with often enough!

I have recently ordered Corbin's curriculum for next year, and with the help of friends (and the Lord's provision) got most of it for a great deal... Love it when that happens!! :) I now realize it's a good thing I've already planned what I feel we need to learn next year since we'll be welcoming a new baby in just one short month or so.

Now I can focus on getting things in order for the new blessing and spend the rest of the summer loving on him/her and recovering rather than fretting over silly lessons before September.

This past week we attended TrueLife Homeschool Groups Recognition Night where many of the students presented what they learned throughout the year and we celebrated another year of honoring the Lord with our lives through learning and family. I made Corbin and Hayden a display board to show some of the things we did together for pre-K and Kindergarten. I think they were pretty shocked when I put it all together and they saw just how much they had learned during the past several months of school! They had originally said they wanted to go on stage to present something special they learned. Corbin wanted to recite the books of the Bible in order and Hayden was going to sing Jesus Loves Me. However, when they saw the size of the crowd, I think they began to question whether that was still a good idea. They chose to pass on the wonderful opportunity but we recorded Corbin on video. As a good friend said, "The point is, he knows them... that's all that really matters!"

I am looking forward to summer and slowing down a bit, but I do have some things planned for Corbin to keep up his reading and math skills. I have borrowed some books for young readers on Christian Heroes from our homeschool library. He will get need to read each story and create a notebooking journal page about each one... maybe draw a picture of something that stood out and write a few sentences about that person. I'm thinking of allowing a couple weeks to complete each book and notebooking page before moving on to the next. We'll see how it goes...

Sometimes I can't believe my children are growing so fast! Here's to cherishing the moments... those of soaking up the hot Texas sun and how cool the water feels when it hits you in the face, those of super relaxed "summer learning", those of the final kicks and twists this baby will share inside my womb before I hold him/her for the first time...

*I didn't take the time to proof this post, so forgive me if there are typos! :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"God's will isn't always easy, but it's always right."

God is definitely using Sally Clarkson's books lately to confirm what He's trying to convey to my spirit!

After two late nights in a row for my children, they are all three napping this afternoon. I thought about taking a little nap myself, but decided to read through the next chapter in Seasons of a Mother's Heart instead, before hopefully dozing off... WRONG! I think I'm more awake now than I was before laying down...

Ok, I'm just going to confess it. I've been back on Facebook for what, two months? And already, I've felt convicted of spending too much time on there when I should be devoting that time to my children. Honestly, I've struggled with cutting it back again, because I have received encouraging comments one after another from people who say my posts, links, etc. have been such a blessing and encouragement to them... they are so happy I'm back on FB... and so on. I have felt torn between ministering to needy mother's hearts and meeting the needs of my own children! Afterall, Ephesians 2:10 says:

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do"

Now, I don't have near the influence that Sally had when she was publishing a Wholehearted Mother Newsletter, and even then, God led her to sacrifice the influence she had on other women through that avenue to devote her time to her family. I never realized that until I read this chapter today. Why would He not be asking me to sacrifice somewhat of the same thing?

The Lord has been teaching Dwight and me to live for the here and now and not what we think He may have for us in the future. We can completely miss out on the blessings He has for us now if we're always waiting to 'do His will' until we think we have reached that unknown perfect place in the future!

So, with that said, I can't wait until we have our own place to limit the amount of TV my children watch. The truth is, I have every ability to do that now. I simply have to be obedient to the Spirit's leading and TURN IT OFF, don't give in to their whining desire to 'watch one more episode', don't turn it on so I can waste precious time piddling on Facebook... just set the boundaries I feel led to give them and stick to it. I really am the one in control of how much they watch it. I just have to be willing to do what it takes to get over the hurdle of pacifying them with 'candy' when what they need is pure spiritual milk.

"God has already dedicated my life in eternity past to do good works. His workmanship created me as a mother, and that is the work he has prepared me to do, especially at this time in life when my children are young. How can I ignore that calling on my life and expect to find blessing and fulfillment somewhere else?" -Sally

These are my thoughts for right now... a trial and error kind of proposal for myself and my children.

1. Resolve to feed them God's Word every day, preferably first thing in the morning so the day doesn't get away from us.
2. Use God's Word when correcting their attitudes/behavioral issues rather than just my 'opinion' of why they should or shouldn't react a certain way.
3. Only 'reward' them with the privilege of watching cartoons and/or movies for special occasions, weekends, or when the more important tasks have been completed.
4. Likewise, for myself, Facebook and blogging will be reserved for those times when the more important tasks have been completed.

I believe God's will for me to this dilemma is pretty simple. The real question is, will I obey His will for me? Am I willing to set aside the lure of media for my family's sake? Is it really that important in the grande scheme of things? Getting captivated by media is not... obeying the Lord most certainly is!

This final quote pretty much rocked my face off, so I will leave you with these few statements by the lovely Sally herself. If you have to, take a seat (if you're not already), read it slowly... then repeat! :)

"God's will isn't always easy, but it's always right." 
"If I want to be set apart for God's purposes, then I need to have an intimate knowledge of the God whose purposes I want to serve. The more I fellowship with him through prayer and reading his Word, the more clearly I will begin to know and recognize his will for my life. While other trusted believers may provide some needed wisdom or perspective, God's will is primarily a personal matter discovered through prayer, reflection on his Word, and daily obedience. God's will is not something hidden that needs to be found out but, rather, something revealed that needs to be done."



Friday, April 6, 2012

'Great Friday'?

"Why do we call it 'Good Friday' if Jesus died?" I have heard this question asked before, and even wondered about it, myself, when I was younger. The short answer?

Well, BECAUSE Jesus died, he took our place of punishment, pardoning us of what we truly deserve... making a way, by faith, to be reconciled to God the Father.

I'd say that's not just a 'good' thing... it's a GREAT thing!!

Thankful that Jesus "considered the joy set before him" and endured in obedience.

Thinking about Him today... How did He feel as he awoke this new day knowing what the day would hold?

"For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, SO THAT YOU MIGHT FOLLOW IN HIS STEPS. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed." 
-1 Peter 2:19-24
Maybe we should all start calling it 'Great Friday'!!

Thank you, Jesus, that you had me in mind as you faced the darkest day of your life on earth! I'm so thankful you endured such hostility, suffering, shame, and torture for the sake of the future joy (and hope) it would bring about in MY life... Help me not forget the example you left for me. Thinking of you, especially today...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

You're A Mom, You're Kind of a Big Deal...

You're A Mom, You're Kind of a Big Deal...

The above link is one of my favorite stories told at the MomHeart Conference I attended back in February! I wanted to share it on here when I returned, but knew I wouldn't be able to relay the story quite like I heard... partly due to the emotional wreck I was when hearing it for the first time. If you're a mom, please take a few minutes to click the above link and find out exactly why YOU are a big deal!

Even if you're old enough to be a grandma, or you're a 'young mom' and your children are not even walking yet... read it... you're still a big deal!! :)

Blessings today as you consider just how much impact you have on the people in your life...

Monday, April 2, 2012

"Attitude Reflects Leadership" Can I Lead Like Jesus?

It's Monday... again. There are a plethora of things on my 'to do' list today. Will I accomplish them all? I don't know. But I'm learning the more important question is: How will my attitude be if I DON'T accomplish them all?

My children are 5, 3, and 20 months. There are bound to be a myriad of interuptions as I go from task to task! I am needed at every turn... beginning from the very first person awake.

"Can I please have some milk, Mommy?"... "I'm hungry, what are we going to eat for breakfast?"... "Babe, do you know where my work pants are?"... (Baby talking) "Poo Poo!"- (translation: diaper change)... "Mommy, look at these 'pity' flowers I pick for you! Can you get them a 'nink' of water... in a jar?"... "Mommy, can you help me on this word? I don't know what it is."...

And the list goes on and on and on throughout the day!

I am CONSTANTLY needed by my husband and children. But the truth is, that is the role the Lord has given me! Can I serve my family with the heart of a true leader?

"Jesus called them to him and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." - Matthew 20:25-28 (emphasis mine)
What Jesus was trying to say to his disciples is that the position of 'servant' isn't what they had always known. In light of the Kingdom of God, being a servant brought about high honor! Jesus left his royalty and riches in Heaven so he could be born into poverty, choosing to come to earth to serve others... not use His position of authority (in Heaven) to rule over us. He chose to serve others around Him so we can have an example of 'servant leader'. He kept His mind on the eternal, knowing after His time on earth was complete, He would be exalted to the right hand of the Father!

I remember a quote in Remember The Titans that said "Attitude reflects leadership". Can my attitude of leadership be reflective of Christ's today as I seek to give my family a visible, tangible example of what it means to serve others with joy? Can I set aside my earthly desires and keep my eyes on eternity, knowing my choice to serve them now will bring my Father pleasure? That is my prayer for today!



Father, I pray you would set a guard over my lips today as I speak to my family and minister to their heart needs. Help me to speak words of life and not death. Help me to be mindful of how Jesus served others with joy and humility... choosing to put the needs of others before His own. I need an extra dose of the Holy Spirit's power today. I can do nothing apart from you and the guidance Your Spirit brings me!! Amen

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cherishing the Moments

It's April now. The time is flying by, as usual... never stopping or slowing down for me to enjoy the precious moments in life! As I reflect on how fleeting this life is, I am reminded how easily we forget those precious moments we swore we never would.

That is why, against my better judgment, I am posting a picture of myself. It's early in the morning... there are still some sleeping in this house. I look like I rolled out of bed and snapped this pic in my pajamas. But the memory of what is underneath my clothes is what I wish to keep.

I am now entering my third trimester... for the fourth time. Twenty-eight weeks and going strong! This is the hardest leg of the race to endure, for me, with my pregnancies. I'm "all out front", unevenly distributed weight, tired, achy back, sore feet, lack of breath when I walk, no room when I eat... and so on. However, I choose to cherish this time when my tiny baby thrashes about inside the womb, kicking, hitting, hiccupping, rolling, swimming, dancing... whatever it is that he/she feels like doing in the security of the Lord's creation! All too soon, we will welcome this precious gift into the real world, and while we will attempt to re-create a safe, secure environment where our children can be nurtured and grow, the reality of the cold, dark world we live in simply cannot be altogether escaped!

And once again, I will grow to miss those kicks, hits, and rhythmic hiccups and the time I spent watching with amazement as my belly moved around and I marvelled at the magnificant creativity of the Master Artist of Life.

So without further delay...

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Marks of a True Christian?

Something that's been bothering me... there is a mentality among so many, even in our churches, that retaliation or self defense is a justified reason to hurt someone. The other day someone told Corbin it wasn't OK to hit his brother with a laundry basket, I agree! But they went on further to say, "It is never OK to hit... unless it's self defense." Now, we teach Corbin (and our other children) that hitting is NEVER OK... EVER... even if you want to defend yourself. You can try to get away so you don't get hurt, but you shouldn't desire to hurt someone else, despite what your flesh wants to accomplish.

I understand this concept is not accepted among the majority today, at the least, it's probably "pushed back on" by many Brothers and Sisters of faith. However, I can't help but read time and again in the New Testament Scriptures where the idea of retaliation or self defense is spoken against. So many before us, Peter, Paul, Stephen, Jesus, etc. lived out those Scriptures themselves choosing to neither retaliate or defend themselves by physically harming someone else. How is either mentality justifiable, then, when compared to the Word?

The apostle Paul outlines for the Romans in chapter 12:9-21 the marks of a true Christian. I will be the first to admit, I simply don't exude these qualities on most days, but I should be striving to reflect these marks not just in my actions, but also in my thoughts and attitudes toward others... even non-believers.
"Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing so you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Now that particular passage speaks more to retaliation, but "What about self-defense?" you ask. Well Matthew 26:47-56 gives the account of Jesus' arrest when Judas had betrayed him. The chief priests and elders came to seize him with swords and clubs. When they put their hands on him and seized him, Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest's servant. He was trying to defend Jesus from the hurt these men wanted to cause him. But what did Jesus say to Peter in response?

"Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword."

Jesus then reached out and touched the servant's ear and healed it. Why? Why wasn't He proud of Peter for defending Him? Why did He change the things many of His disciples had been taught through the Old Testament law... 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth' or 'love your neighbor and hate your enemy'? Perhaps Jesus was thankful that Peter was willing to stand with Him (I don't honestly know), but the truth is, He had already taught His followers to not seek retaliation and to love their enemies. Jesus himself said this:

"But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you... But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven... For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?" - Matthew 5:38-48 (not all verses written here)

The point is this: If we seek to harm those who harm us, how does that resemble God? He chose to show us love, mercy, grace, and compassion when we were His enemy! He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be rejected and abused beyond recognition, to die a horrible death in order to make a way for us, His enemy, to be justified in our sins and reconciled through faith, to be in His presence for all eternity. He could have retaliated and given us what we deserved, He could have defended His name and wiped us all off the face of the earth... again... but He didn't! When we fully grasp how much pardon He extended to us while we were His enemy, we should desire to do the same to our enemies because that would make us the most like our Father.

Can I live out what I'm teaching my children? Can I bear in my body the marks of a true Christian? If I am unwilling to do so, I am merely teaching my children hypocrisy. I must crucify my fleshly desire to defend or retaliate... I must choose to walk in the Spirit as Jesus did, showing mercy and grace to my enemies as my Father did.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Announcing a Mission of Motherhood Book Study

Announcing a Mission of Motherhood Book Study

I said earlier in the week that I wanted to do a book study on this very book with some of you via online methods. Well, what do you know? Sally is hosting one herself... starting NEXT THURSDAY! I'm thinking we can just do the study with her and still link up on Skype for 'face-to-face' discussions. I plan to do this study whether you wanna join right now or not (if you can't join me now, maybe we can do another one in the near future?).

If you're interested, order yourself a copy of the book TODAY. You can enter for a chance to win a copy of the book next Thursday, but you may not get it in time for the first discussion... I don't know. If you wanna link up with me for Skype discussion, let me know so I can add you to my Skype account. Who knows, maybe we can schedule a time for discussion on Saturday mornings or in the evenings and you can slip away to a coffee shop or somewhere quiet so you can have space to think and be free to talk! Oh! I am SOOOOOOOO excited... can you tell?! :-D

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Celebrating Life

Today I'm going to pull some excerpts from Seasons of a Mother's Heart by Sally Clarkson because it just so happens to be the book I read just before falling asleep last night. Her words slapped me around a bit before growing weary for rest, but they left a great impact on my heart... my heart for my children and the OBVIOUS bad attitude I've had lately in training/teaching them!

"I am more convinced than ever that even in the midst of the mundane, burdensome, and oftentimes frustrating tasks of life allotted to me as a mother, God wants me to find his joy. He wants every single day of my life to be a celebration of life - the life he has given me.
But what does it mean to "celebrate life"? Does it mean that I let my house be a wreck so I can enjoy my children, or that I never entertain negative thoughts or attitudes, or that I never discipline my children? Does it mean that I simply overlook the myriad difficulties that inevitably spoil the best days, or that I ignore the burdens I carry as a stay-at-home mom, or that I close my eyes to intractable sins that won't go away?
Of course not! The joy-filled life is not found by diminshing my God-given responsibilities as a woman, wife, and mother, nor can I find joy merely by refusing to face the hard realities of life in a fallen world. There is a tension that God is asking me to acknowledge and accept - the tension between ideals and realities. That is where Jesus meets me, where his Holy Spirit empowers, and where I learn how to live the Christian life with supernatural joy. To celebrate life is simply a choice."
Sally gives two practical exercises to help us learn to "celebrate life".
  • Choose to be thankful
  • Learn to be content 

Paul told the Thessalonians to, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Sally goes on to say:

"When I pout instead of being joyful, grumble instead of praying, or complain instead of giving thanks, I am in effect telling God that he is mishandling my life and I don't care for the way he's doing his job. At that point, I have ceased to put my faith in my sovereign Lord, choosing instead to put my faith in my circumstances. In other words, I am telling God - and myself- that if and when my circumstances change, then and only then can I be happy. Until then, I have nothing to be thankful for. And that, according to Paul, is when I step outside God's will.
My sinful heart might try to counter that it is the lousy circumstances that have forced me to wander outside of God's will, but that's just rationalization; it is my response to my circumstances that moved me out of God's will. That is why God admonishes me to be joyful and to give thanks in all circumstances. When I do that, no matter how bad the situation, I am acknowledging that he is in control. It is an act of faith. I can choose, by faith, to see God's hand within any and every circumstance of my life."
Paul also said in Philippians 4:11, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances."

"His honest testimony is a forceful reminder to me that contentedness is never a gift or a given, but rather it is a learned condition. If I learn to be content, joy will naturally follow. Like thankfulness, though, I have to choose to be content before I can know joy. It is an act of faith."
"It all comes down to this: Joy is the result of the choices that you make. If you are choosing to be thankful and learning to be content, then you are opening your heart to joy. Joy is not a a supernatural feeling that God pours on you from heaven but a gift of the Holy Spirit that is released by faith (see Galatians 5:22). You don't have to wait for God to give you joy. You simply need to get your self out of the way and let the Spirit fill your heart and mind with his truth. That is exactly what you are doing when you choose to thank God and be content in all circumstances. You are exercising faith, and that faith releases the joy of the Spirit in your life. Only through the Holy Spirit can you truly celebrate life and find the joy God wants you to know."
Today I resolve to be thankful and content... as a wife AND as the mother of three small children! I choose joy! Will you choose joy? Can you find something to be thankful for? Can you be content with the things God has given you rather than wasting time wishing for more? God Almightly is sovereign and always in control, even in difficult circumstances! And for that alone, we should find contentment... being thankful that we have no need to worry. Celebrate life today! Celebrate life EVERYDAY! :)
 



Saturday, March 24, 2012

Latest Update on Forney House

I got a call yesterday from our realtor. I was hoping she was going to tell me great news... that all the buyers paperwork was being completed ahead of schedule, and we would be able to close before April 12th.

But...

Not exactly the news I was hoping for. Unfortunately, the buyer has run into a snag retreiving the necessary paperwork for his third-party financing and needs a couple more weeks.

So we are now looking at closing on the house on or before April 26th.

A little disappointed, but I rest in knowing the Lord is still in control and wasn't surprised by this new development! :)

We would appreciate your continued prayers, not only for the close of this house, but also for our next steps in ministry. In case you haven't read my previous posts, we are currently praying about if we should move to Alaska and how to start a global MomHeart group.

Thanks friends!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Joining Hearts Across The Globe

Ok. So... I have been feeling led to do this sort of thing for a couple months now, but in the past couple days, I really feel an urgency in my Spirit to start a MomHeart Group! I don't know what it will look like, and I don't know all the details right this moment. The only thing I know I feel led on, is to open this group up to my mommy friends who are spread out across the country... even the world!

*Deep sigh*

I'm kind of at a loss. I am going to get with my husband for discussion and blessing... and pray -HARD- for guidance. Other than that, I would like to know if anyone of you (whether you consider us 'good friends' or not) who would like to be included in something like this??

My very limited and tenative vision is doing a book study together (I'm thinking of Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson, for starters) and meeting together for discussion, prayer, and encouragement via Skype or something like that. Those details may or may not change... it's just a few ideas I have swimming around in my head.

If you find yourself at the end of your rope most days with your children and need encouragement... please consider joining. If you feel like the Lord has given you much grace in training your children and has been teaching you so much lately, you are bursting at the seems to share it with others... please consider joining. If you are simply going through each day teaching and training your children the way you feel like God would want you to, but you would like to have a network of friends you can laugh, cry, or pray with... please consider joining.

Begin now praying about whether the Lord would have you join a network of other moms so you can encourage and BE encouraged. The enemy wants us to isolate ourselves, as Moms, so he can prey on our thoughts and insecurities. But God designed us for community, fellowship, 'sisterhood'... so don't let the enemy steal the joy such camaraderie can bring to your walk!

Please leave me a comment if you think you might be interested! Bless you all as you mother those precious blessings!! :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Making Homemade Yogurt

I learned how to make homemade yogurt from Dwight's Aunt Darlene who lived as a missionary in Haiti for 25 years or so. Today I ran across this recipe from a blog I follow, and figured since it's so close to the recipe I use, I would just post a link to Mary's blog for those who have wondered about making their own yogurt but didn't know where to start... or perhaps you've tried different recipes and everything seems difficult... or maybe you had no idea you could make yogurt on your own but your family loves to eat it, & you're finding the price of store-bought yogurt puts it in the 'luxury item' category rather than on the 'necessity item' list.

Whatever your experience, feel free to check out Mary's very simple recipe here... and be enjoying your homemade yogurt by morning! :)

A Week in Review

The past several days have been a bit busy for us. I have wanted to sit down and write about many things, but time just hasn't been on my side to do so. For the sake of my own memory bank, and those of you who keep tabs on my family through this blog, I am going to do a 'week in review' sort of thingy...

Last week we got a call that Dwight's grandpa passed. He lived in Pennsylvania, so we had to make a quick decision about whether or not to make the drive for the funeral. At the last minute, it was pretty clear to us that, while we wanted to be there to say goodbye, we felt led to stay behind.

A few days later, we got word that there was an 'exciting opportunity' to move to Alaska to become part of a church in Palmer... still praying about God's will for us on that!

Over the weekend we had our sonogram appointment with Tina, our midwife. We found out everything looks great, and the baby is developing wonderfully. We also found out that I'm a little further along than expected, so the sonographer moved my due date up to June 25th (two days before Dwight's 31st birthday)! :)


The scanned sono pics turned out a little smaller than I'd hoped, so in case you can't see them real well, the top photo is a side profile of the baby's face and the bottom is a frontal view of the baby's face (chin pointing toward the bottom right corner) with his/her arm underneath the face... just like a beautiful sleeping baby... Aww! :)
 
On the way home from the appointment we decided to take advantae of Burger King's St. Paddy's Day promo of free fries with green Heinz ketchup and stopped for lunch. We don't eat out that often, so it was a special treat!! We scored 5 bugers, 5 fries & 3 sodas for only $10... Thank you, Jesus for great sales!
 
Since we scored such a great deal for lunch, we thought we'd hop on over to Dairy Queen for some dessert. Afterall, they were having a Blizzard special of buy 1 get 1 for only $0.99... :) So we grabbed a couple to share between us!
 
Later that night, Dwight had an idea for some more family fun...
 
As a kid, he would create a tent indoors with a sheet and 'camp-in' with his siblings. So, he re-created this make-shift tent in my parents' living room. We all huddled inside (in front of the massive air flow of fans) to watch The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and eat some popcorn. The next morning Dwight and I could barely move for the pain in our backs from sleeping on the floor, but it was worth it to us to make some special memories with our children!!
 
 


The weather has been gorgeous here in East Texas, so we've been spending a lot of time outside during the day! The other day Dwight and Corbin made a cross out of some scrap pieces of wood and I snapped this picture yesterday of Corbin and Hayden taking turns carrying it around the yard.


Jesus said in Luke 9:23, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." I'm not sure my children understand this concept to it's fullest, but it makes me happy that they understand that Jesus died on a cross for THEM!


On a side note, I snapped this adorable picture of Elijah while he was playing with Dwight the other day. He loves hats, but only if they belong to someone else. Lol! He is wearing Dwight's hat in this pic.



I am exceedingly grateful for the Lord's blessing of this family! I love them all so very much and LOVE making memories with them... :)

Make a point today to make a special memory with YOUR family!


 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Seeking Guidance, Praying for Direction... please join us

So once again, it appears the Lord is giving us an opportunity to "go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you." Only this time it's to Alaska. That's quite a journey!

We've been made aware that there is some doctrinal differences in the church we're being ask to go to, yet again. I'm not really sure why the Lord keeps putting us in these situations, but one thing is certain... He's consistant about it! We are, right now, diligently praying for Him to give us clear direction.

As I was reading this morning, I came to Acts chapter 7. "What does the stoning of Stephen have to do with us going to speak Truth, in the face of (what seems to be) opposition, to a church all the way in Alaska?" (You may be asking this, but I was asking God this, too, this morning.)

This is what He showed me through Stephen's speech to the high priest (in the face of opposition):

First of all, how many times did God send someone to proclaim a message that probably wouldn't be received?

Secondly, He is all-powerful! Many times He granted favor to the messenger with those in authority who, in OUR (limited) understanding, should have been completely stopped in their tracks before ever even getting the chance to proclaim the message God had given them.

God oftentimes takes the methods others use to oppose Him and His truth, turns it against them, and as a result brings glory to Himself and the name of Jesus!

  • He gave Joseph favor and wisdom with Pharoah, who, in turn, made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household!
  • He asked Moses to go back to his own people who had already rejected him, and ask the current Pharoah to release all their nation's slaves. You know he was thinking, "Really, God? There's no way Pharoah's going to let his slaves go free... and those people don't even LIKE me!"
  • Even after the Israelites were free from slavery in Egypt, they didn't listen to Moses. They "refused to obey him" and "thrust him aside" desiring to actually turn back to their state of slavery.
  • God sent Jesus into this world to save a people who, knowing beforehand, would reject His message, revile and persecute Him, even crucifying Him for it all... and this was GOD'S PEOPLE... they claimed to love God and the things pertaining to Him. It was a "new message" they were unwilling to accept!
Now, I don't want you to think I'm comparing Dwight or myself to any of the above mentioned people. What I think God is saying to me (to us) is to free my soul (my mind, will and emotions) from their limited understanding, and instead, be led by the Spirit He's made to dwell within me... TRUST just like David did when he fought Goliath, that even when the chances seem bleak, God is on my side... have FAITH just like Joshua did when he approached the 'indestructable' wall of Jericho with a plan that seemed silly, at best, to OBEY, without hesitation, without fear, without even a clear understanding of how it'll all work out!

If we face this opportunity with our Spirit leading the way, and allowing our soul and flesh to FOLLOW behind, we can know (with confidence) that whatever direction the Shephard says to go, we'll be following Him... whether that means move or stay! 

Please join us in praying diligently for the Lord's direction for our family...

Give us clarity and guidance, Lord, as we seek to do your will. We are humbled and honored that You find us worthy to be a part of Your great plan! Your Word says, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me." We trust Your plan to be the greatest one for our lives. *sigh* Quiet our souls, in this hour Lord, that we can clearly hear Your voice and follow You into all the world...

Monday, March 12, 2012

What is truth?

"What is truth?"

This was Pilate's question to Jesus (John 18:38), but I believe it's also a relavent question many ask, even today. I wonder if he was asking as a sarcastic response to what Jesus had just told him?
"... For this purpose I have come into the world- to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice." 
Or perhaps it was a ligitimate question Pilate was asking. If so, why didn't he wait for Jesus to answer?

I thought this was odd when I was reading this morning so I looked up some commentaries to glean other people's perspective on Pilate's quick exit after asking such a poignant question. Now, I understand that commentaries are merely man's opinion, but I can't help but think they had some pretty valid insight. I just wanted to share them with you all in case you, too, have ever asked the question "What is truth?"

Adam Clark explains it like this,

"Among the sages of that time there were many opinions concerning truth; and some had even supposed that it was a thing utterly out of the reach of men. Pilate perhaps might have asked the question in a mocking way; and his not staying to get an answer indicated that he either despaired of getting a satisfactory one, or that he was indifferent about it. This is the case with thousands: they appear desirous of knowing the truth, but have not patience to wait in a proper way to receive an answer to their question."
Matthew Henry had much more to say, but I am only going to quote the part that pertains to this question. What he said was similar to Clark, but he goes into greater depth of the meaning behind Christ's death.
"When Christ said, I am the Truth, he said, in effect, I am a King. He conquers by the convincing evidence of truth; he rules by the commanding power of truth. The subjects of this kingdom are those that are of the truth. Pilate put a good question, he said, What is truth? When we search the Scriptures, and attend the ministry of the word, it must be with this inquiry, What is truth? and with this prayer, Lead me in thy truth; into all truth. But many put this question, who have not patience to preserve in their search after truth; or not humility enough to receive it. By this solemn declaration of Christ's innocence, it appears, that though the Lord Jesus was treated as the worst of evil-doers, he never deserved such treatment. But it unfolds the design of his death; that he died as a Sacrifice for our sins. Pilate was willing to please all sides; and was governed more by worldly wisdom than by the rules of justice. Sin is a robber, yet is foolishly chosen by many rather than Christ, who would truly enrich us. Let us endeavour to make our accusers ashamed as Christ did; and let us beware of crucifying Christ afresh."
Now I have the priviledge of having the Scriptures in full, Pilate did not. I can clearly see that Jesus answered this question himself during his prayer to the Father in the previous chapter.
"Sanctify them in the truth; YOUR WORD IS TRUTH. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth." - John 17:17-19 (emphasis mine)
However, even with the Bible being so easily accessible today in America, there are thousands (even those who say they are Christians) who are quick to claim 'truth is relative'. This is a lie from Satan himself! God's Word is the one absolute truth (John 17:17)... it's living and active (Hebrews 4:12)... it's applicable for everything we need (2 Peter 1:3)... it's given by the very mouth of God and equips us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16).

May we be diligent in our pursuit of Truth! May we persevere as we wade through the murky, fallacy-filled waters of this world! We all have need of endurance because the father of lies is not giving up. He desires to destroy our foundation and kill our soul!
"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the BELT OF TRUTH, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the SHIELD OF FAITH, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declair it boldly, as I ought to speak." - Ephesians 6:13-20 (emphasis mine)



Saturday, March 10, 2012

Corbin's First Date

Today was supposed to be Mother/Son day with the TrueLife Homeschool Group we're a part of. We had planned to have a miniature golf tournament at Fire Mountain in Tyler, but unfortunately the weather people were predicting a windy, rainy day so it got cancelled.

However, Katie said she would cancel only on one condition with strings!

We had to agree to still do something fun with our sons and snap a picture or two in the process. So that's just what Corbin and I did today.

He had been eagerly anticipating our 'date' for a couple weeks, so right after breakfast, he informed me he was going to go shower and then we could get ready for our big date. It was adorable how he showered, put on some of his nicest clothes and his daddy's cross necklace... all for me! He and Daddy had secretly talked about being the gentleman on the date and how that meant he had some extra special responsibilities like opening the doors for me, leading the prayer over the meal, holding my hand as we walked and so on. He did a fine job, too! :)

Per his request, we had lunch at Burger King, where he donned his crown with pride!


Then he decided we should head on over to Dairy Queen for some ice cream for dessert. I thought that was a wonderful idea considering the commercial I saw the other day for the current blizzard special they're having... buy one get one for $0.99!

He told me he just wanted plain ice cream in a cup (go figure... my vanilla ice cream boy!), but one taste of Momma's oreo blizzard and he quickly changed his mind. "He would save his ice cream for Hayden and we could share the oreo stuff!" Lol

So that's just what we did...




On the way home we saw a near head-on collision right in front of us, so it was a great opportunity to discuss the Good Samaritan. I mentioned how we would've had to stop and help those people and at first he didn't understand why... we didn't know them, afterall. But Jesus said that's how we love our neighbor. We should help those in need with the resources He's blessed us with... even when we don't know them! Jesus was the best example of that concept for us when He walked the earth.

Once I was finished with the story, he quickly added, "Oh! I know that story... it's right after A Snoodle's Tale." Lol! Gotta love VeggieTales... :)

It was a great date with my son... much needed alone time that he and I rarely get together!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Visiting the Forney House and Maternity Shopping with Littles

Yesterday the children and I headed to Forney early in the morning. The buyer's inspection was taking place so we had to have the utilities turned on for it, and apparently someone has to be present to let the techs in for various reasons.

The children were super excited to go to the "Forney House" since neither of them really remembered what it looked like! Their energy and excitement about drove me crazy, but it is what it is... you know? Lol! My mom came to meet me when she got off work, and we planned to go to the maternity store at the mall when we were finished.

As it turns out, we waited around for the gas man until noon for no reason because the gas was already on, but on the bright side, we don't have to pay the full reconnect fee. Praise the Lord!!

So off to the mall we went...

I quickly learned that Corbin isn't a shopper, Hayden can say the most inappropriate things when you are shopping because she doesn't realize those things might embarrass her mother, and Elijah just doesn't like to sit in the stroller. We don't go shopping much so, yes, it's taken me this long to figure all this out. :)

We were in Motherhood all of about 10 minutes (our very first store, mind you) when Corbin begins loudly saying, "Mommy, please don't go take all your clothes off to try that on! I'm ready to go..." Then Hayden busts out equally as loud, "Mommy! You need these panties (maternity panties) because they are SO much looonnnnnggger..." Let me just say that I am thoroughly glad the only lady in that store other than my mom, at the time, was the employee. Luckily, she thought it was cute and just laughed. All the while, Elijah is very unhappy to be in his stroller so Mom rolled him into the dressing room with me. The only problem with that is that they have curtains rather than a door and he continued to pull them aside so he could also see Mimi. Lol! I'm laughing rethinking all these events (although I don't recall laughing at the time). You're probably laughing too... especially if you've ever taken little ones shopping with you!

Before we could get to the check-out counter, Corbin was pleading to leave the "panty store" and Hayden had commenced to see just how the nursing pads fit her.

All this to say, after Mom was finished in JCPenny, I was ready to leave the mall with only two stores under our belt. My children needed a nap and I was ready to take advantage of the hour drive home. Lol!

Whew! What a day... fabulous memories made, though. :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Forney House Update...




What a journey it has been up to this point, but we have finally agreed on a sales price with a buyer for our house in Forney! We should be receiving "official contract" paperwork today to be signed... yay! :)

We are at the tale-end of three months with it on the market, and while we thought we would just prayerfully wait on a buyer, the Lord had a different plan for us. I'm not really sure why I am continually surpirsed that the Lord shows up big in the final hour, but time and again, this seems to be the case for us.

Through waiting, praying, listening, fasting, praying, waiting, and praying... and waiting... and praying (you getting the picture?), God had to bring us to a place where we were content with letting this house go and not taking much away from it, financially speaking. This is fitting considering we convinced ourselves that this house would be a "great investment and allow us to someday sell it, profitting more from this property than we did the last." Apparently that was part of the justification we used to disobey what God really wanted for us.

I admit, God moved us to a better place (spiritually) while we were in Forney! It was a needed transition. We got back involved in a church body after years of being 'homeless', gained much-needed fellowship (outside the church walls), developed a hunger for the Word and His Truth, and made WONDERFUL friendships who, through their growth in the Lord as well, have been faithful to love and cover us in their prayers (Thanks guys! We cherish your friendship and brotherhood more than you know!!)

However, this house was, deep down, a desire for more things 'worldly'... a bigger house, more pristine neighborhood, etc. Oh the joys of chasing the Joneses!! (I hope you can sense my sarcasm.) The pursuit, we found, is exhausting, never-ending, and not as fulfilling as we expected it to be! We chose to sacrifice precious time together as a family so Dwight could work long hours to provide us with this luxury. Praise the Lord, He spoke loudly to our heart-needs! We are forever grateful for His wisdom and pursuit of our attention.

The same day our two-year contract ended with our tenants, some very special friends stopped by the house to lay hands on it, praying for God's miracle to take place. He apparently found them faithful, and in His perfect timing, already had this buyer on his way over to view the house for a second time. That evening he submitted his offer.

Now, about six weeks ago, some buyers submitted an offer pretty comparable to this guy's, but we were not in a content place, spiritually, to accept it. So our gracious Father had to take us on a journey of 'letting go' so we could get to that place. LOL! I can laugh now... but trust me, it didn't always feel like a laughable moment getting there. Faithful obedience isn't always fun, but the joy it reaps on the other side is beyond comparison!

And just when I think we've learned that lesson, God gives us another opportunity to walk in it with confidence in Him... (spoiler) We don't always pass the test the first time around! Living out our faith has been an amazing journey. One of growth, and stretching, and pain, and joy... of abundant adventure, and letting go of ourselves for the sake of Christ... But more than anything? It's one I wouldn't trade for all the things this world can offer us!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Recouping with Imagination

Yesterday was apparently too much for this pregnant momma to handle! I baked fresh bread, made a batch of homemade yogurt, cleaned my bathroom, and completed roughly four loads of laundry. I was on my feet most of the day, and even though I put my supportive tennis shoes on, my feet were KILLING me halfway through the day!!

So, today... I'm recouping. No formal school assignments for us. Just basic chores such as dishes and yes, laundry from yesterday. Other than that, we're reading books and playing outside. Speaking of which, my children have been trying to recreate Roxaboxen lately... too cute! I tried to capture some pictures of them in action today *sly grin* (and yes, I participated) :)


Corbin has a restaurant... He's selling Hayden macaroni and cheese (go figure!)


I ordered a cup o' tea :)


Hayden went for apple juice


My tea got stolen... like usual


This is their serving counter?? I believe it was tea, apple juice, and crackers... Yes, everything has been burned. They went digging for treasure. Only theirs was extra crispy instead of desert glass, lol.


 Apparently, Corbin is also grounds keeper. He's airing up the tires on his mower so he can take care of the lawn...


And filling it with gas... ahem, I mean grass :)


Look out! There's been a raid... Corbin (aka Prince Caspian) is wearing his "warrior face"


And Hayden I mean, 'Susan' (The Fierce?) That's a bow, but she's showing it off like a shot gun... LOL!

 

"Run 'Susan'... 'Caspian' is after you!" (I'm not really sure when they switched from Roxaboxen to Chronicles of Narnia, but it was all happening so fast, I was just trying to capture the pictures. :)


Everyone should read this book to their children! This book is the re-creation of a city that was birthed out of the imaginations of children many years ago. There is a park in Yuma, Arizona you can visit, even today, where Roxaboxen lives on for the generations to enjoy.


*Please note: No children (or Mommies) were harmed in the use of their imaginations today! :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

My Testimony Is Still Being Written...

What a treasure to sit in a living room with sweet, young, moldable hearts and share what God has created as my 'testimony' so far. Rest assured... My testimony is still being written! I feel alive and growing... overflowing with nutrients at this point... being stretched, in a way, as new fruit begins to develop underneath.

I wish I could recount all the wonderful things God poured from my lips last night, but I simply can't remember. Dwight says those are the best times! "You know it was Spirit-led when you can't remember, because it wasn't you speaking at all." (I just adore his encouragement!) :)

I do know, that everything just felt right during that time. I am humbled that after all the messes I've made through the years, He still WANTS to use me to bring others to Him. He is still creating a testimony in me... one that continues to grow and change... gaining more depth of His beauty, grace, tender mercies and compassion for the hearts of His created ones. I am thankful the Lord is redeeming the time I traded in for the world!

Thank you for your prayers... They were felt! :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ministry Opps & House Update

I'm about to head out to share with some 'young women' for a Titus 2 ministry a friend of mine is leading at her church. I'm excited... anxious... (and to borrow from Fox and the Hound 2) as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers! LOL

I thought I was ready, but at the last minute was kind of asked to share about something I hadn't planned. So I asked the Lord this morning to clarify what HE wanted me to share. He gave me a couple other passages that tie in the majority of what I had already felt led to share... so I go prayerfully!

Lord, let me speak only the words You have for these ladies! Let my speech be gracious and seasoned with salt. Set a guard over my lips that I may only speak Your words & not my own. Give me boldness to share Your truth with love and tender mercy...

Please pray with me as I step out in faith for what may be the beginning of ministering to other women. *If you don't know what I'm referring to, see my previous post about the Lord telling me about this ministry opportunity.

On a side note...

We just got a call from our realtor. We have an offer on the house, praise the Lord! We haven't decided if we will accept or counter back. Stay tuned for more updates on closing this chapter of our lives! :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Guarding the Deposit

You know how when you're pregnant, you're so cautious about what you take in... the things you eat, not drinking too much caffiene, not eating too much salt... or sugar, trying to not inhale second-hand smoke, and so on?

As a Christian, with the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, shouldn't we be the same way? Shouldn't we be just as cautious about the things we allow into our hearts and minds... the things we watch, listen to, the people we allow to speak into our lives, the counsel we seek, etc.?

Now I'm not necessarily speaking about foods. Jesus himself said:

 "Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person... Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes through the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person." - Matthew 15:10, 17-20a
The apostle Paul gives us a guide, or filter if you will, for us to use in determining whether or not something is benefical for us and our walks with Christ.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me- practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." - Philippians 4:8-9
 I like to use this guide for myself and my family. I admit, there are times when something seems to fall through the cracks, but thankfully God extends grace and forgiveness in time of repentance!!

Oh that I would be just as cautious about protecting the Holy Spirit within me as I am about the growing baby in my womb!

"The good person out of the treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." - Luke 6:45
  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Endurance

I'm reading Seasons of a Mother's Heart by Sally Clarkson right now with some of ladies in the home school group I'm a part of. In this book she corrolates the four different seasons of a year with the different season of life we go through as mothers. I just finished reading the last chapter of the winter section entitled Enduring with Grace. While I thought I was ready to move on to the spring section of this book on the heels of Sally's conference, because my cup is overflowing with excitement about cultivating and nurturing growth in my children's lives, the Lord had a different plan... naturally. :)

This chapter on endurance was exactly what I needed to hear, and what do you know... the perfect timing for it too!... Thank you, Father, that You know what I need better than I do... I would like to highlight some of the wonderful encouragement I gleaned from Sally's book today.

"When strong winds buffet a tree, it develops strong fiber and relies on its deep root system to withstand storms. This is how we develop fortitude, persistence, and the strength of heart that enable us to meet adversity, pain, and persecution... There is no greater challenge, no higher calling than to persist in the things of God."

-William & Nancie Carmichael in Lord Bless My Child

"...if I am doing the will of God by choosing to homeschool my children, then I need to endure. If I throw away my confidence in God- the confidence that he will work in my life and in the lives of my children- then I am throwing away the rewards God wants to give me for doing his will. When I feel like giving up, I may think what I need is divine deliverance, when what I really need is endurance."

"For the Christian, endurance is bearing up under the weight of persecution, difficulties, or suffering. Although that may sound like gutting it out, true biblical endurance is never just a passive or meaningless exercise. It is always forward-looking. It always has in view a desirable end, a worthy goal, or a divine reward. Biblical endurance is active and purposeful."

"I knew deep in my heart that God designed me, as a mother, to be at home with my children. To even think of settling for something else would be to step out of his will. No matter how difficult the homeschooling lifestyle might become, my commitment was to do God's will, not my own. Even though I could selfishly choose an "easier" lifestyle, I would have to disobey God to do so. I know in my heart that God has called me to homeschool and that there is no turning back, no matter what today or the future holds."

"We don't much like the word today, but during the Victorian era "duty" was a valued virtue. To perform one's duty meant that a person did what he was supposed to do because it was the right thing to do, regardless of his feelings or the personal cost associated with that duty... In a sense, endurance is the duty of living by faith. It is doing what I should do, regardless of how I feel or what it costs, because it is what God wants me to do... I don't know exactly what lies ahead of me in this life, or even how my children will turn out, but I know with certainty what my duty is before God. Despite the certainty of difficulties and struggles along the way, I must faithfully endure. If I do, I will find, at the end of this path called life, the God who has faithfully walked with me every step of the way. And then I will see the eternal fruit of my faith."

This chapter for me is more than just a band-aid... it's not even a soothing sauve... rather more like the peroxine you put on a cut before you try to protect it. These words go deep into so many feelings and thoughts I've been struggling with internally. They are, in essence, cleaning out the dirty, ugly thoughts and feelings that began to infest my heart... toward homeschooling... toward my children... toward myself and my inabilities. Sally's transparency and encouragement have helped me to see that my struggles of late have been a buffet of lies Satan has offered me to feast on.

I could really keep quoting her... probably just type out the entire chapter, but I don't want to ruin it for you. You should read it for yourself because the Lord may have something in it just... for... you!

"Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."
 - 1 Corinthians 15:58






Gentle Reminders

This morning I was sitting with coffee in hand studying the Scriptures, asking the Lord for words to share with a group of ladies this weekend, when my little early-riser appeared next to me. It was barely after 6, and I hadn't even been awake for very long.

As you might imagine, I was a little irritated... at myself for not getting up earlier... and at Corbin for getting up so early. He knows the rule is to stay in bed until his clock says 7:00 specifically so Mommy can have alone time with Jesus.

I was on my way to some 'alone time' (I was going to lock myself in the bathroom), when Corbin peeked out the living room curtains. "Wow, Mommy... Look how beautiful the sunrise is this morning!" he said.

His excited expression and sweet words kept running through my mind while I was in lock-down. I couldn't escape him even in there! Then gently, the Spirit spoke to my heart, "Don't miss out on an opportunity to minister to his heart for the sake of ministering to women you don't even know... Go spend time alone with him!"

So I emerged from lock-down to find him sitting outside the bathroom door waiting for me. I asked him if he'd like to have some coffee, tea, hot chocolate... something to share with me while we sat looking at the sunrise and talking. He decided on his 'usual'... a cup of cold milk with a straw. :)

I am so quick to dismiss my children sometimes... To brush them aside when I'm doing something 'important'. Thankfully the Lord has given me a couple sweet friends who are quick to remind me of the 'Good, Better, Best Rule'.

Not everything we do or choose not to do is so black and white. There are things we do that are not good. Mostly, I think, we strive to do the good things in life. However, often times we settle for the 'good' when we could've chosen the 'better' thing. There are even times when we should pass up both the 'good' and the 'better' to go after the BEST choice.

This morning, this rule fit perfectly to my selfish delima. The 'good' choice was to get up and read my Bible period, even though I was tired. The 'better' choice was to study and pray that God would give me words for the sweet ladies I will be speaking to this weekend... but the 'best' choice was not missing out on an opportunity to first minister to my child's heart-need, which just so happened to fall in the same time frame as my 'time with Jesus'. I realize now that I am spending no less 'time with Jesus' by sharing the Father's beautiful, creative sunrise over a cup of something fabulous with my precious son!

Thank you, Katie and Robin, for being faithful to remind me of this practical rule... and thank you, Holy Spirit, for nudging my heart to follow you this morning. It sure was a great memory to create with Corbin!


This wasn't this morning, but from the other day. All three of them crawled up in my dad's old recliner to watch a movie together. Such a sweet picture! :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Change in Perspective

One of my favorite passages regarding children:

"Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. 
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate." -Psalm 127
This morning I was disgussing this passage with my dear husband, when he gave me a whole new perspective on this beloved Psalm of mine. On the heels of the MomHeart Conference this weekend, and what my friend, Jennifer, spoke about there (and later blogged), he approached this Psalm with a new outlook.

Allow me for a moment to divulge.

The first two verses (the first paragraph above) eludes to the Lord building the family, watching and protecting it. When we, as mothers, have a mentality that we MUST do all these things to keep it running smoothly, we enslave ourselves to a mentality of 'sacrifice'. "Oh this mothering thing is so hard... and I'm not any good at it... I try to keep my house clean, but my children are always coming behind me leaving messes... I try to keep the laundry up, but someone is always changing their outfit... I try to teach my children, but they just don't seem to be getting it!... I don't think I'm cut out to be a great mom..." And so goes all the lies the enemy wants us to believe and wallow in. We have to release ourselves from the bondage this mentality can create. We have to give ourselves grace, knowing we're human. Yes, we strive to live our lives wholly unto the Lord each day... but try as we may, we just won't be perfect... at least not everyday! ;-)

We must renew our thinking and take on the attitude of the last three verses (the second paragraph above). We need to see motherhood as a gift and a blessing... our children are our heritage- enjoy them! We are blessed with a reward we can take to heaven with us. Yes, motherhood is hard work-  no question about it!- but what we work for on a daily basis has ETERNAL value, Ladies!! Let us not labor in vain.

A few notes I took away from Sally on 'opening your child's heart with grace':
  • My job, as a mother, is not just to teach my children the facts of life. Rather it's to light a fire in their hearts!
  • I can't make my children righteous, holy, or godly, but I can show them, by example, what those characteristics look like.
  • I am the Bible my children are reading now.
  • The key to opening my child's heart is a loving relationship.
  • A relationship always requires patience, time, and work.
  • Yes, I will have to correct my children... but do it in love!
  • I have to take time to listen to them when they're little so they will WANT to listen to me when they're older.
  • To be a heartshaping mom, I have to embrace Jesus, and learn to be Jesus in my home.
The truth is, training and teaching my children is going to be a long, drawn-out process. I will probably have to repeat myself more times than I care to. I will have to demonstrate attributes and characteristics over and over again. I will even have to referee arguments, manage to keep my cool when my children act like mere children, and probably even get embarrassed a few times when they say or do something in the company of others that they know they shouldn't.

Just like training a baby to feed himself is messy and watching them learn to walk on their own can cause some pain, preparing my children to stand strong in the midst of battle and weild their sword with great strength and precision will sometimes look messy and be painful... but I might as well enjoy it at each season of their lives! Afterall, someone is going to train them for life whether I do it or not. It just so happens that God thought I was the perfect one for the job! :)

And God blessed you with your children because He thought YOU were the best one for the job, too.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Change Has Come

Last Thursday I wrote a post titled A Change is Coming! Well, Friday evening the Lord brought about a change. Not the one I was expecting but a welcomed one nonetheless.

Allow me to rewind the story for a moment.

My husband had been called to fast for a period of time we weren't clear on. One of those 'just until I say it's been fulfilled' kind of things. We thought maybe it was until we got an offer on our house... perhaps God wanted sacrificial obedience before He was going to sell it? We didn't honestly know, but I am SO thankful my husband loves Christ enough to be willing to obey in such a capacity... What an example he is to me and our children!

Well, last Monday morning my sweet little Corbin told me that God asked him to fast for three days. I try not to minimize the Lord speaking to my children, but I also wanted to make sure he wasn't saying that just because Daddy was fasting. So Dwight and I talked to him about the purpose of fasting, the sacrifice it would take, and the importance of obedience until completion. He said he understood all of that and he still knew God wanted him to fast for three days. He even said he wasn't supposed to eat any food... just juice and water.

Monday evening, Dwight told me that just the night before he'd prayed for God to send him help... he was growing weary and needed some encouragement. So he believed God spoke to Corbin to bring about that help.

Three days came and went, and Corbin courageously obeyed and completed his fasting period. I was so encouraged by his sweet sacrificial obedience! At five years old, he has already fasted longer than I have in my lifetime. I am ashamed to admit this, but I say it to show just how amazing God is that he can affect the hearts of our children from such a young age if we foster that in them! I am extremely proud of Corbin!! :)

Friday evening, as I was returning to the MomHeart Conference from a dinner break, Dwight text me that he felt like God was releasing him from his fast. He was brought to a place where his perspective about the fast was realigned, and the worry and anxiety about what might happen to the house was lifted. The truth is, there is nothing that can happen to it that will affect our eternal destination if we are simply obeying the Lord's leading. What a freedom that brings to both of us!

For the sake of misrepresenting his revelation and feelings upon receiving it, I have decided, with his permission, to just repost his Facebook status from that evening...

"A while back God called me to do something and walk in obedience not knowing an end. That day has come to an end but not the way I thought it would. Today I felt a release from the burden God asked me to carry but the reason I share this is because of my 5-year old son. Monday morning he came to us and said God asked him to fast from food for 3 days. To our amazement, we explained what it was ...and he confidently said he would...because God told him to. His fast ended Thursday and I am proud to say he was faithfully obedient. But there is more! Today, my burden came to an end. You see, Jesus, the Son of God, was faithfully obedient during His 'burden' He carried and after the 3rd day, He conquered in order to fulfill my release through faith in Him. I was awestruck today with tears as we were praying as a family and God gave me this revelation...Corbin, my son, fasted those 3 days in faithful obedience, so that I could have my release. You see, my son was fasting for ME!!! I have no words to explain my emotions right now except to say I am just captivated, and overwhelmed by love!!"
So, no we haven't sold our house. We don't even have an offer on our house. But what we do have is far greater than that... we have a clear understanding of God's love for us through the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus... we understand that our house has very little bearing on our walk with Christ... we are reminded, once again, how much bigger God is than our temporary circumstances, yet He has control over it all!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Desperation Doesn't Have to Mean Isolation!

So this weeked I attended my first MomHeart Conference with Sally Clarkson. I had been feeling great anticipation and yet a heavy, heavy burden the entire week leading up to it, but I didn't really quite know why. All I can say is, "Wow!" You should get to one of Sally's Conferences next year! Go with a friend, your sister, your mom, your neighbor, go alone if you need to... just GO!

I also attended the PossibiliTea with Sally on Friday morning. I had no idea what the tea was about until I was on my way there. I just thought it'd be cool to have tea with Sally Clarkson!! (Can you sense the 'star struck' tone in my words?) It wasn't until my sweet friend told me what the purpose of the tea was that I realized God had orchestrated me to be in that place, at that time, to confirm something He placed in my heart a few days before. Well... really several months before, but I had forgotten about those puzzle pieces until the weekend was over. :)

Long story short, God told me a year ago that He wanted me to share a message with other women. Did He say what that message was exactly? Of course not. He wasn't finished revealing it to me yet. But this weekend Sally said something that resonated with my very soul...
"Mothers must prevail again Satan because they need to continue protecting and training the souls of the next generation... We cannot give up!"
You see, John wrote in Revelation chapter 12 that the devil had come down with great wrath because he knew that his time was short. So what did he do to make the best use of his time here on earth?
"And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child... Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make WAR on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus." (emphasis mine)
Satan knows if he can steal the souls of our children, he can begin taking entire generations away from God's Kingdom hand over foot! He also knows that we, as women, are vulnerable when we are isolated... especially when we don't have like-minded friends to hold us accountable and encourage us to endure the seasons of drought and despair!

Ladies, Mothers: We MUST get together to admonish and encourage one another, we have to lift each other up (sometimes even physically), we have to take each other before the Comforter, Healer, King of all Kings... to the Throne of Grace and plead for Christ, who is able to sympathize with all of our weaknesses, to intercede, on their behalf, to the Father of all creation!!
"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." - Hebrews 10:23-25
We MUST "teach what is good and train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled." (Titus 2:3-5)

So I am praying that God will show me what He wants me to do to be obedient without delay. What is His will for my life as a woman, my role as a wife, my calling as a mother RIGHT NOW? Lord, what is the message you have for the women you've placed in my life? What is the message you have for the next generation? How can I reach them and not neglect my own children... because I know they are my top priority? I'm listening God...

Please share with me. What are you struggling with as a woman... as a wife... as a mother? I want to know the heart-needs of the women in my circle of influence. I want to know your burdens. I want to know how to pray for you. I want to encourage you, if you'll let me.

 
 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Change is Coming!

There is so much going on inside my soul right now. I have wanted to sit down and type out several posts about various things lately, but when I do, I just can't seem to find the words. My mind rambles on and my fingers go to work... and then I just delete it all because when I proof it, it just doesn't sound right. Every had that feeling?

Well, know this, friends. The Lord is doing something. There's a breakthrough on the horizon, and while I can't see what it is yet, I know it's coming! I am reminded, just now, of Elijah's servant going back to check for the cloud over Mount Caramel... 7 times... he saw NOTHING until that 7th time. Then he saw a cloud like a man's hand rising out of the sea. The rain was coming just as Elijah said it would... after 3 years of drought.

Rain often symbolizes hard times or a dreary season of life. But what about rain in the Spring? It fosters growth and new life... change is evident with every falling drop. The flowers go into bloom, the grass becomes green and lush after many days of ugly, brownness. I can usually tell when it's coming, too, because I can SMELL it.

Well, change is on the horizon... and I can smell it!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Powerful Video, A Must See!

The other day I shared a guest post over at The Kindle Crew about why Dwight and I have chosen to homeschool our children. I understand that not all people will agree with us, whether we have come to this decision based upon Scriptural conviction or not. However, I wanted to share this little seven minute video with you that I came across this morning. I feel it is the very heartbeat of our desire for our children... to disciple them, and teach them the sanctity of marriage and family in the context of God's plan. We feel completely responsible for making sure our children are fully trained to know and understand the Gospel before we send them out to fight on their own. The war Satan is waging against their soul is very real... and VERY vengeful. His desire is to destroy our children and the generations that follow. Until our childern are fully armed, we will not stand by and watch them be slaughtered by him or his demons. We resolve to fight... with the Word, with prayer, with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit... trusting the Lord is also fighting with us, if we obey His leading... knowing victory awaits us because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross! Hallelujah!

Please take a few minutes to stop and watch this short video clip. It is an excerpt of Voddie Baucham's speach at the D6 Conference. I promise it will be worth your time! :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The 'Good Things' in Life

"If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!" - Matthew 7:11


I have often wondered what those 'good things' consist of. Many might interpret this verse to mean material possessions, but I think it has a deeper, hidden meaning. The Father's thoughts and ways are higher than ours, so we must put on an eternal perspective when considering what He may deem 'good things'.

I think Sally Clarkson is on to something in her book, Ministry of Motherhood! In it, she talks about the gifts we give to our children, as mothers. But how can we possibly give these gifts if we've never received them ourselves? How can we possibly begin to know what grace, inspiration, faith, training, and service are like without experiencing them first-hand?

The gift of grace: Grace leads us to know God and His unconditional love and to extend it to others.

The gift of inspiration: Inspiration leads us to follow God's purposes.

The gift of faith: Faith leads us to stake our lives on God's truth as revealed in His Word.

The gift of training: Training leads us to share in God's holy character.

The gift of service: Service leads us to share God's love with the world.

I believe these five gifts are just a portion of the 'good things' the Father will give to those of us who ask Him. Once we have sought Him, asked Him, searched His Word, and waited faithfully for Him to give us these things, we can then give them to our children. Once we receive and experience them, we MUST show our children, by our example, what these gifts look like. And what a wonderful set of gifts to give the generations that follow us! It's a legacy of eternal value, promising reward, and victory over the enemy's schemes to steal our children and our children's children... the ones not yet born.

As we receive 'good gifts' from the Father, let us freely give them to the sweet blessings entrusted to us by the Giver of ALL good things...