"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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Storms of Life

I felt a connection to Peter this morning like I never have.

He's just been with Jesus, witnessed His miraculous faith and power as He once again took a small amount of food and fed four thousand. I've been there too... not feeding four thousand mouths, but experiencing His presence and provision in my life in a big way. And then what happens? I go on my way, and a storm starts forming. The clouds begin to darken, the wind's force gains strength, and before I know it, I'm in the middle of a raging sea, fighting the waves that just won't seem to relent. I'm tired. I'm weak. What I need most is a break, some rest for my weary soul; I need someone to step in and tag me out of this fight. And then He appears. "Is that really You? Have You come to help me?" Of course He has. He is a very present help in time of need!

Suddenly I feel courageous, bold, full of faith. His presence alone can give me an energy like nothing else. It's almost like He's filled my spiritual gas tank... I'm ready for the long-haul now. So I ask Him to do something that takes GREAT faith... something I didn't feel strong enough to endure before I felt His presence. "If that's really you, Lord, ask me to..."

You know He delights in showing Himself BIG in our lives! So, I step out of the boat of security... confident at first with my decision to leave the only thing keeping me afloat (or at least I think). And as I go, I grow closer and closer to my Lord. "Wow! What a rush this brings," I think. "This is amazing, God, I feel like I could take on the whole world right now!" (At this point, I'm sure the enemy is fuming and conspires to attack me in a new and clever way. He does NOT want me in this place, at this time!!)

Why do I have to look away? Why does the enemy have to be so good at distracting me? It's only when I loose my focus and take my eyes off of Him that I begin to doubt what's taking place. I know it disappoints Him when I do this time and again. But he doesn't let me drown.

Out of His compassionate mercy and grace, He reaches down to help me up.

I'm SO thankful He extends me grace time and again! In my head, I know that "His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness." Sometimes it takes me falling on my face for this become a reality in my heart, though.

I heard someone say once, "If you're not going through a storm right now in life, you likely just came out of one or you're heading into one." I find this true, at least in my own life!

Regardless if you're at rock bottom right now, in the midst of a torrential downpour, or communing with the Father on the mountain top, rest assured, this life is temporary!

"For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen, but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."
- 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Changing My Perspective

You are stirring my soul.
You give me a hunger to know your Word, Your Truth.
I seek to know You more; to know Your purposes and plans.
Can I trust in Your sovereignty alone?
Can I rest in You, even if You don't give me the missing pieces to this puzzle?
You know my anxious thoughts. 
You know the form of my inward being because You knit it together with Your own hands.
You brought everything into existance by Your very words.
I can't even fathom Your majesty and grandeur!
Of all the crisis in this dark world, You concern Yourself with me... with my life and that of my family... even with my thoughts.
And who am I?

 I am like a tiny finch going from tree to tree... no lofty home, no storehouse of provision to fall back on when the season of bitter cold comes.
Just like the tiniest of birds, I am invisible to most and loved by few.
You care for every little bird You created... and Your Word says You love me even more than them.
Thank you for allowing my eyes to be open to the birds of the air, especially the tiny birds who joyfully sing, oblivious to their 'bleak' state of living!
I trust You, Father!
I do not ask for bread. I do not ask for prosperity. I ask for Your peace that passes all my understanding.
I want my soul to find rest knowing Your thoughts and plans are far above anything I can ask or think up.
Grant me this one request as I seek Your face, Lord Jesus. Speak Your quiet Words in my heart... Confirm Your presence in my Life... I am waiting.

Friday, January 27, 2012

When The Lord Speaks To Your Children...

So early yesterday morning, Corbin came out, and I was still reading my Bible. He warmed himself in front of the gas heater for a few seconds, and then sheepishly said good morning to me. Then he stood a little straighter as he said, "Mommy, God spoke to me last night in my dreams."

He had my attention now! I was a little taken back, but seeing as Corbin has said some strange, 'random' things before that later came to pass, Dwight and I have learned not to disreguard things like this as mere 'ramblings'. So I swallowed hard and replied, "Really? Well, why don't you come over here and tell me all about it!"

He crawled up on my lap and infatically said, "He told me that since you and me don't do it that much, we should start talking to people more." Ok... I'm not really a shy person, so there had to be a deeper meaning to this message. So I asked him if God told him what we were supposed to say to these people? "Well, not really," then he paused, "...just that we are supposed to read them God's Word."

Ah! Now we're getting somewhere. I knew immediately what the Lord was conveying to my sweet five year old. I asked Corbin if he understood what that meant, to which he replied a simple no.

You see, Corbin is pretty shy around others until he gets comfortable with them. Even then, he is REALLY hestitant to say anything about Jesus to them because he's simply afraid. In this respect, he and I are alike. Many of you might not think that, seeing as I publish posts about Jesus and how He affects my life on this blog... but in person, that's not always the case unless I know you are a believer.

I know. It's sad. I feel ashamed that I am afraid to just come out and talk to others about Jesus!! And I know I shouldn't be. God is calling me to be more bold in sharing His Truth with others without fear... and He's confirmed that through my son.

I am reminded of what Jesus said to the Twelve Apostles before sending them out in Matthew chapter 10...

(14) "And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town... (16) Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves... (20) For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you... (28) And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell... (32-33) So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven."

I know I skipped over several verses, but those were the ones that stuck out to me as I read through them... as if they were being highlighted by the Lord.

I thought it was cool that God used my five year old son to speak to me, so I just had to share! That's simply proof that He can use ANYONE He desires to get His message across to you. I hope this is an encouragement to you, also, to stand firm and be bold in proclaiming God's Truth while you show the love of Jesus with those you come in contact with today... :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

'Child Training' post Update

In case you all are wondering how our first week of chore charts went, I wanted to give a little update.

First of all, I just have to say that, while there were days they might not have completed all the 'required' chores, they did most of them, and their help last week made my job of housekeeping so much easier and more enjoyable! :)

I am extremely proud of them to say the least! Their reward for this week was a dollar menu meal from McDonald's Sunday evening and a Family Movie Night of popcorn and "Dolphin Tale" (which was a very good movie, by the way). We had a wonderful time together as a family!! I LOVE memories like that...

In case you have been thinking about creating a chore chart for your own children but aren't quite sure how to go about getting started, I will share a little bit about what I did. I highly recommend you choose chores and a structure that suits your family's needs and schedule. I just thought, if needed, you might be able to glean a jumping off point by seeing a visual of mine. Feel free to take what you need and disreguard what you don't. :)

I separated out their chores into two categories: those required daily, and some optional ones, from which they had to choose four to do in addition to the required ones (giving them a total of twelve chores to complete daily).

The required chores are: Make Bed, Brush Teeth, Get Dressed, Brush Hair, Bible Reading & Prayer, Pick Up Toys, Put Dirty Clothes in Laundry, Organize Shoes (We take our shoes off at the back door, and by the end of the day it looks like a shoe factory if they don't get organized!)

The other chores to choose from are: School w/o Whining (We don't have school everyday or else it would be required daily), Unload Dishwasher, Load Dishwasher, Clean Bedroom, Clean Bathroom Sink & Toilet, Empty Bathroom Trash, Set Table, Sweep Under Dining Table, Fold Laundry & Put Away, Clean Up After a Meal

They seem to really enjoy having chores and getting to put stickers on their individual charts. This week their goal is to beat the number of stickers they earned last week! I really enjoy having help with housekeeping so I can devote more time to staying organized on school assignments and spending time in the Word. The house stayed WAY more organized and neat this week, and I think the children had a sense of satisfaction that they contributed to it looking so nice! :)

*Please know that I have not created these chore charts as a way to neglect my duties to housekeeping. I do not just 'supervise' their work while I sit in the overstuffed chair eating ice cream and reading the latest suspense novel, lol. I work alongside them... and there is ALWAYS plenty to do! :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Don't You Just LOVE When Children Worship?

Last night as we were getting our children ready for bed when Corbin picked up his little guitar and began playing. He wanted us to have family worhsip time.

He seemed to be having quite a fit about being able to hold it or something, so what he started quickly turned into the Hayden Show, lol! She is way more outgoing than Corbin ever has been. She loves to sing and dance... and sometimes she even does it around complete strangers. Well, she took over his guitar, pulled up her little purple Tinkerbell chair, and began singing "Jesus Loves Me" while strumming a rhythm that was... well, let's just say if she wasn't singing, you wouldn't have been able to tell what song she was doing! However, it was the absolulte sweetest thing! When she couldn't remember the lyrics that came next, she would just start all over without even missing a beat. :)

We were able to capture a little of it on video, but unfortunately, it is taking forever to load on here. I guess you'll just have to imagine what it was like. I'll give you a little hint: It's super high on the cute factor scale! :)

I am so blessed by my children! Thank you, Jesus, for such wonderful gifts each day!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Lord Speaks Again... So Why Am I Afraid To Obey?

*Deep heavy sigh* "Why am I so afraid to say it?", runs through my mind over and over again. And then the Lord says, "Do not be afraid. I am with you." This is a spiritual battle I have been fighting all week (and longer really)! It exhausts me; I feel defeated when I don't obey; I try to occupy my mind with other things so maybe those feelings will escape, but each morning the Lord keeps bringing me back to the same issue. He's giving me another chance to obey Him. So I am here at the computer... typing... fighting internally. I desire to be obedient, but honestly, I'm afraid of the backlash I may have to face as a result!!

So here goes...

Have you ever done something in your life thinking there was nothing wrong with it (even for a prolonged period of time), only to later find out just how ignorant you were to what the Lord said about the issue? I have (and I'm sure to some extent still do at times).

Go back with me, if you will, about 5 years...

I'm overwhelmed with joy that we FINALLY have a baby! I'm sleep deprived because of the night feedings, and frankly, I'm exhausted from the constant crying my son does. (The Lord knew I needed Corbin first. If I would've had a 'non-colic' baby first I would've been out of my mind with him. But because I didn't know what colic even was, I continually reassured Dwight that there wasn't anything wrong with him... that's what babies do... they cry! Right?? Lol!)

Anyway, I go to the doctor for my six-week postpartum check-up and the Dr. asks me if I want to get back on birth control. "Of course I do! I mean I don't wanna find myself in this situation again within a year... that'd be a nightmare!" (Yes, this really was my attitude. And after all the crying, Dwight was thinking the same thing.) So the doc recommended the mini-pill. He explained that it was called that because it only had the artificial progestin hormone and lacked the estrogen side like the 'regular dose' birth control pill. He explained that it was safe to take while nursing. And that was it. No warnings, no side effects, nothing more. Of course, I didn't ask any of those questions because I was young and completely ignorant to 'self research'. I have always been pretty naive!

Now fast forward about a year and a half...

My crying infant is now a very busy, very handsome little blonde-headed boy who runs around the house with his sippy cup of milk and nothing on but a diaper. :) I am pregnant again, but this time around I desire to check into having a midwife because I just wasn't real happy with my 'hospital birth' experience. (This began my journey in learning how to do some research on my own.)

I find a wonderful midwife whom I love, and she begins teaching me all about what goes on inside our bodies during pregnancy, how the baby develops, and many great homeopathic methods to health, etc. One day we got on the topic of spacing between babies, and she tells me about this book "The Art of Natural Family Planning". It really peaks my interest so I go check it out from the library and begin reading about some VERY personal things about my body and how the Lord designed it to do certain things during certains times throughout each month.

Then I get to the chapter about the pill and IUDs.

I was reading along and WHAM! (my jaw about drops to the floor and the tears begin to flow). I found myself weeping on the floor, crying out to the Lord for forgiveness for all my ignorant, evil choices. "I promise I wouldn't have chosen those things if I had known...", I say over and over again. When Dwight came home from work that evening, I asked him to sit down so I could share my new revelation. I could hardly read without choking up. When I was finished I remember looking up at him with tear-filled eyes and said, "How many babies have we killed?!... I am SO ashamed!!" He held me while I cried, and that night we decided to (finally) turn to the Lord to see what He had to say about life and children. We found that He has MUCH to say about this topic, but for starters, He showed us Genesis 38:8-10 and used Onan as an example of what He thinks about deliberately thwarting His plan for offspring. (You should go read the passage for yourself, but in case you don't, please know that Onan's brother was dead when Judah gave him this message.)

"Then Judah said to Onan, "Go in to your brother's wife and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother." But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his. So whenever he went in to his brother's wife he would waste the semen on the ground, so as not to give offspring to his brother. And what he did was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and he put him to death also." (emphasis mine)

If you are unaware of what I'm talking about and have been using either an IUD or taking birth control, please read the following with an open mind. I pray the Lord will soften your heart as you do and please keep in mind, the Lord knows we make 'ignornant' choices sometimes. Even in the Old Testament, the priests were to make regular sacrifices for the unintentional sins of the people... and Jesus gave His life as the ultimate sacrifice once and for all... Yes, even for our unintentional sins of ignorance! Thank you, Merciful Savior!!

I know it's widely promoted by doctors and physicians alike as a 'healthy alternative'. It is not preached out against in our churches. In fact, it's very common among our Christian friends...even our pastors and their wives. So there can't be anything wrong with using a form of regular contraceptive, right? Wrong.

God Almighty is the Author of Life... He LOVES life, and He takes great care in every detail leading up to it! Our enemy hates life. In fact, he comes to steal, kill, and destroy life any way he can (John 10:10). That's why God said what Onan did was wicked in His sight (Gen. 38). He gave men semen for the very purpose of bringing about life! When God ordained the very first union of marriage between Adam and Eve, what was the first commandment He gave them? "Be fruitful and MULTIPLY and fill the earth..."- Genesis 1:28 (emphasis mine). Malachi 2:15 reiterates this point regarding the purpose of marital union, "...And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring..."

Psalm 127 is one of my favorite passages. I often quoted verses 3-5, but when I found out the original word used for 'builds' in verse one, this passage took on a whole new meaning for me.

"Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain... 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."

'Banah' is the word used in the original Hebrew text and means to establish a family; bring about an increase of offspring. You see, God says if we aren't allowing Him to be the one to establish our family and decide when to increase our offspring, we labor to build our family in vain!

Society's ideas and views of children and family building are in stark contrast to God's Word. Sadly, even in some of our churches, children are viewed differently than God does... but they weren't always.

In 1922, Margaret Sanger became a common household name. She fervently championed for sexual freedom and its sisters- birth control, sterilization, and abortion. She organized the Birth Control League, the foundation for the later worldwide Planned Parenthood. Her ideas are (at least in part) now accepted without argument by non-Christian and Christian alike. Margaret Sanger didn't like Christianity and she despised every race expect the 'superior Aryan race'. She was quoted as saying, "Birth control appeals to the advanced radical because it is calculated to undermine the authority of the Christian churches. I look forward to seeing humanity free someday of the tyranny of Christianity no less than Capitalism." Sanger was used greatly by satan to infiltrate our thoughts, our homes, even our churches and change our ideas about the children given to us by the Lord. We've been trained to believe we can actually 'control' when and how many children we have as if we can phyically cause conception to occur or not.

However, even with birth control and IUDs, conception CAN occur! The Combination Pill stops this process most of the time, but studies reveal that about ten percent of the time, there is break-through ovulation allowing conception to take place. However, the Mini-pill generally doesn't suppress ovulation at all. So how does it prevent a baby from being conceived? There is another mechanism that takes place. The progestin in the combo and the mini pill cause the lining of the womb to become thin and shriveled, so when a newly conceived baby tries to implant, it can't because the endometrium is shriveled up. This causes the new little life to be aborted!

Oh, sweet mothers, if you're like me, this goes against everything in your heart! I know how devestated you can feel if this is the first time you're finding out this bit of information... how betrayed you may feel that no one has ever taken the time to tell you the affects these contraceptive methods can have on your sweet children! That is exactly why I needed to share my story. I would never want you to come to me later and say, "Why didn't you tell me?!"

If you have been using the Pill or an IUD unaware of its possible abortifacient affects, and the Lord has spoken to your heart, please take some time to repent of these unintentional sins. Remember, Jesus died to pay the penalty we deserve, and He's ready to forgive you if you will just repent before Him.

If you would like some more information about these methods and their potential destruction, you can check out:
 "Birth Control and Christian Discipleship" by John Kippley. It is available from The Couple to Couple League, www.ccli.org.
"Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?" by Randy Alcorn. It is published by Eternal Perspective Ministries and can be downloaded from www.epm.org/bcpill.pdf.
"Be Fruitful & Multiply: What the Bible says about having children" by Nancy Campbell. It can be purchased at www.aboverubies.org or www.visionforum.com.

Ok, so I've said what I felt I was suppose to say. I understand this information may not be well received by all of you, and I apologize if I have said anything in an unloving manner. My intention was not to be harsh, but boldly proclaim Truth... and for that I will not apologize! If you know this information already, and the Lord's been asking you to courageously share it with others... don't be afraid! I have stood by scared for too long. I hope my fear of sharing has not caused others to continue down this path and unknowingly abort their blessings from the Lord!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Above Rubies Retreat & Mom Heart Conference

It is with great sadness that I make this announcement!!! The Above Rubies Retreat I had my heart set on going to this April has been postponed until April 2013 due to some major medical issues in the families of the ladies hosting it. The Lord knows the perfect timing for me to finally get to attend one of Nancy's retreats, so I will continue on knowing He is in full control!

I plan on attending another retreat next month with other moms from the FABULOUS homeschool group I attend... Sally Clarkson's Mom Heart Conference. I am really looking forward to this weekend to get refreshed about how to shape my children's hearts!! I know my Father has much in store for me to learn about loving my littles the way He does. :)

If you aren't aware of Sally Clarkson or her ministry, The Wholehearted Child, you should check them out! Sally also blogs at I Take Joy. One more thing... here is the link to the Heartshaping Mom Conference I'm attending. The conference will take place in three different locations: Colorado, California, and Texas. Registration is going on RIGHT NOW for all three... So don't wait if you think you could learn a thing or two about shaping the heart of your children!!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Be Proud of Your Calling!

Today I want to share a poem that I love so much, I have it framed. I like to display it where I will see it often as a reminder to have the proper perspective and right attitude daily about this role the Lord has blessed me with. It was written by Nancy Campbell. I have mentioned Nancy and her ministry before on here, but just in case someone missed that post, I'd like to say a tiny bit about her ministry again. Nancy is the founder of Above Rubies- a ministry encouraging women in their high calling as wives and mothers. She is also the editress of their absolutely FREE magazine, which always finds its way in my mailbox when I need encouragement or a reminder the most... but we know who's in charge of that timing! :)

Be Proud of Your Calling!

Dear mother in the home, beloved of the Lord,
Your power as a mother cannot be ignored,
You are the heart and the Queen of your home,
Making a haven so your children won't roam.

As you nurture and teach your children each day,
Discipline, train, and watch over their  play,
May your heart fill with joy and overflow with love
That God gave you these 'gifts' from heaven above.

Each dear child is a 'blessing' from the Lord,
No longer will you ever have time to be bored!
You have the greatest career in all of the land
As you teach your children to heed God's command.

Lift of your head; be proud of your calling,
It is work for eternity - totally enthralling!
I know that you often feel tired and worn,
But claim God's promise, His truth He has sworn.

"The joy of the Lord is your strength," God has stated
Whatever He's promised cannot be negated!
As you shine with His joy, you will be a beacon to all
That embracing God's children is His will and call.

Do not be intimidated by those who ignore God's way,
Who limit their children and leave them each day,
As you receive God's 'rewards' and at home with them stay
You will be a light to save others from going astray.

Your sweet, gentle spirit is precious in God's sight.
As you serve in your home with all of your might
You are revealing the spirit of Jesus the King
Who showed by example to serve in everything.

May God bless you and strengthen you each new morn,
May you know His faithfulness with each new dawn,
May God's presence be with you in a mighty measure
As you train your 'arrows' for God's purpose and pleasure.

I hope this poem has blessed you as much as it does me each time I read it! Be blessed today as you, once again, share the love of Jesus with your family as you serve them with a joyful heart. :)
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith."
-Galatians 6:9-10

Friday, January 13, 2012

Training Our Children with 'Life Lessons'

I LOVE when the house is clean!!! I love when things are organized and easy to find. Everything should have a home, and I feel so much better when it's all in its proper place.

Yesterday the children and I spent most of the day tackling our rooms, the clutter that was encroaching our personal space since the holidays, and defeating the dreaded laundry monster that haunts me when I've had the 'I don't feel like it' syndrome for a few days. That doesn't sound like it should've taken that long when I type it all out... but believe me, I wasn't finished until Dwight called to say he was on his way home, and it was time to start making dinner!

I was so proud of my little three and five year olds! They LOVE to clean... no joke... they really do. Give them a swiffer duster and a list to accomplish, and it's like watching ants get to work on a monumental task. I can't help but smile when they are so eager to make my load easier! They made their beds (not perfectly, but very well for their age... practice makes perfect, though, right?), dusted their bookshelf, picked up their room, and then moved on to our bathroom. They cleaned the toilet, sink, counter, bathtub (somewhat), took the trash out, and replaced the trash bag.

I finished what they left behind, cleaned the floors, and cleared away all the clutter that had collected on my dresser. They later helped me fold and put away four loads of laundry. They love to put the hangers on their clothes!

They love to help me clean, and I love it when everything is clean. So why do I wait so long to get things in order this way?? I hate it when I do that! So, I have resolved that today I will make a chore chart for all of us. Something easily attainable for them, and a reminder to keep our home in working order. I'm thinking about letting them put stickers next to the completed chore if they can do it without whining. If they can get stickers for the whole week, I'm thinking of rewarding them with something fun to do either as a family or something they can do alone (i.e. pick their favorite evening meal and help prepare it, go to the library, watch a special movie, etc.).

We don't just teach our children reading, math, and science. We should also be teaching them, responsibility, self-discipline, obeying instruction, and keeping a home (for our daughters especially). What are some ideas you have for involving your children to keep your household running smoothly? How do you use those 'life lessons' to relate to your children in a Biblical sense?

"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

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What? It's 6:30am... already?

So, it's been...(thinking)...(still thinking)...Wow, it's been a long time... since I slept through the night without getting up for any reason!! I can't even remember the last time. It has to be somewhere between 18-24 months. Even then, it might've been "every once in a while". But it happened last night... a full night's sleep and my body doesn't even know what to think. I woke up when my alarm went off at 6:30 this morning and thought, "What? It's 6:30... already?"

Elijah is 17 months old now. Yes he still loves to nurse, and I love that he 'needs' and loves my comfort! I've never nursed this long. Honestly, I'd always thought I would hate to be 'needed' or 'confined' (as I referred to it) for so long. Now I believe that was my flesh yelling louder than the Spirit within me.

In Isaiah 66:10-13 God is talking about Jerusalem, but he likens her to a nursing mother. When you read this passage, you can see God's understanding of a nursing mother.

"Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her; that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious abundance." For thus says the LORD: "Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem." (emphesis mine)

Modern trend is to nurse your baby (if you want to; if it's not too inconvenient for you) for the first few months because it's the best nurishment for your newborn, but after that point, well you should just do whatever suites you and your lifestyle. I can see that (maybe) for an unbeliever, but if you say you are a follower of Christ, you should be seeking to do things His way. And yes, He does have a few things to say about what He created you for... including breastfeeding.

I bought into the lie of popular trend with my first baby. I told myself it was inconvenient to go anywhere because then I'd have to 'expose' myself for his sake or go out of my way to go find some place private to nurse my baby. I took formula supplements with me when we went out in public, and by 5 1/2 months, he no longer desired nourishment and comfort from me. In fact, he didn't even want me to hold him to rock him to sleep. I resented the nights I was disturbed of precious sleep, and wished away so much of his first year of life because of my own selfishness.

Thankfully, the Lord sent some godly women my way to show me, through Scripture, what the Lord created my body for and how much He delighted in me when I chose His way instead of my own! I've also learned that, while breast milk is the best nourishment for my baby, it also brings them great comfort to suckle. God designed our body so amazingly! When our baby nurses, our bodies release the hormone prolactin which is a very strong 'love hormone'. It helps us bond with our baby. Our bodies also release the hormone oxytocin, which is what stimulates the milk's let-down. This wonderful hormone has a calming affect on Mommy which is generally why we always get sleepy when we're nursing. This hormone is also effective in helping to keep postpartum depression at bay.

In addition to these immediate benefits to Mommy, nursing also has long-term health benefits for her, as well. Studies show that prolonged breastfeding can be a preventative measure again breast cancer. I won't give all that information here, but if you're interested in learning about the findings, I'd be happy to point you in the right direction! :)

Now, I understand there are times when a mother strongly desires to nurse her baby, and for some reason, they can't get their baby to latch on, their milk never comes in, etc. I don't have all the answers to those unknown issues, but I know that the Lord is in control. If you find yourself in that situation and still can't successfully nurse your newborn, seek out a trusted source who knows many tricks to stimulate either your baby or your body. La Leche League International is a great source as well as any lactation consultant or midwife. Sometimes it takes a lot of diligence, but please don't be quick to give up hope so easily. There will be times when you aren't successful in nursing your baby. In which case, the Lord has graciously made a way for us to still nourish our baby using other forms of food which are designed to be as close to mother's milk as they can possibly get it.

I am abundantly thankful for this time I've had to nurture and comfort my sweet Elijah! I try to cherish every moment together while I have it. You never know, there may come a time when I myself will be unable to nurse my baby for some unknown reason.

Blessings today to all you Mommies... whatever it is you have to do, do it all for the glory of the Lord! :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Happy Birthday Princess

Today is my sweet Hayden's 3rd birthday. I sat this morning thanking the Lord for giving me such a precious and joyful baby girl this day three years ago! What a blessing Hayden has been to our family!! She was happy and smiling even as a baby. She rarely cried unless she was hungry, dirty, or beyond sleepy. I affectionately called her "my joyful" when she was a baby. :) I jokingly said we should've made her middle name Joy instead of Grace.

In great Hayden fashion, my princess slept in until 8:30 this morning and then requested pink and purple homemade donuts with sprinkles for her birthday breakfast. :)

(Please don't judge the look of the homemade donuts... I promise, they tasted way better than they looked! And the pink and purple food spray didn't turn out quite like I'd hoped. :-/)

(I asked Hayden to say "happy" and this is what I got. Honestly, it's more like her normal picture cheese anyway. Lol! Gotta love that girl...)

(I had intended to finish this quilt for Hayden for Christmas, but I didn't. It's complete now though, and I think it'll make a great birthday gift! I'm sure she'll love it... simply because it's pink!!)

I could go on and on about all the things I love about her and how I want so many wonderful blessings for her! I'm sure most mommies have tremendous love and aspirations for their children. Truth is my greatest desire for her is to know and love Jesus more than any other man that she will ever meet; to look to Him alone for all her emotional and spiritual fulfillment; to allow Him to shape her view of herself. I pray she will learn how to rely on Him for these things from an early age and not waste many years looking in all the wrong places like her mommy did! Jesus loves her more than I ever could. I pray I can teach and show her that starting now!

Happy Birthday Princess... I'm so thankful Jesus gave me such a precious gift!!

Benefits of Bearing Children

Today I'd like to share a little bit from a book I'm studying, "Be Fruitful & Multiply" by Nancy Campbell. Nancy founded Above Rubies ministry 30+ years ago and is the editress of their free publication, Above Rubies Magazine.

In chapter 6 entitled "Build The Home and Leave A Legacy", Nancy gives these spiritual and practical benefits of bearing children. I LOVE what she writes... so I just had to share them with you.

"To bear children ensures that your name continues.

To bear and raise godly children is to build a home that will affect the destiny of the nation.

To raise godly children is to leave a legacy for future generations. The legacy of homes, land, and wealth is great, but these can be destroyed and vanish away. The legacy of children will last through the generations.

To bear children is to lay up treasure in Heaven. God is not only interested in populating earth, but in populating eternity. Parenthood has eternal rewards. It is not something that fades away. It lasts into the generations to come and also eternity. We need to guard ourselves from the trends of our day that lure our attention to "things" that will not last and pull us away from the tasks that are lasting, such as raising children."

I'm sure we all know these things in our head, but it's great to have periodic reminders for our hearts! If you're not familiar with Nancy or her ministry, you can check them out at here.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

God Spoke To Me Through My Garden

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world."
Psalm 19:1-4a

A few days ago, as I was out in our garden, the Lord brought this verse to life for me. He used our garden of all things to speak to me! Many who garden probably don't even have anything growing right now because it's gotten too cold. But my dear husband (who finds it fascinating to watch things grow and produce fruit... including people *grin*), has made sure we go the extra mile in protecting our own garden from the bitter cold this season can bring. (I admit, sometimes I wonder if all the extra work is worth the little bit of fruit we're harvesting from it right now.) So, that's why I was out there... uncovering the plants so they could get some sun.

It was then, God gave me this revelation:

Why in our Christian walk, and even as parents, do we not go the extra mile in protecting our children and those we love from the bitterness that the spiritual darkness can bring? We choose to homeschool our children because we feel that's what the Bible tells us to do based on Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (specifically verses 6-7):

"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently  to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." (emphesis mine)

I don't know about you, but I'm not sure I could talk about the Lord's commands that often if my children were away from me 40 hours a week under the direction and instruction of someone else... in an institution that is completely anti-Christ!

Homeschooling is just one way we choose to "protect" the growing seed we've been given from the spiritual darkness. This choice is not widely accepted among our families, but God confirmed this decision in me through our still-producing garden. For that, I am thankful!

Do you receive ridicule from others for "sheltering" your children or being an "over-protective parent"? I believe the Lord calls us to first protect and train those in our care until they reach a state of maturity in which they are strong enough to stand on their own. Think about this for a minute. During the winter, the temperatures drop when it gets dark. The cold that comes in the night can stunt the growth of the plants, causing the fruit to appear much later than normal, or if it's a hard freeze, the plant can be killed altogether. Why then, in a spiritual sense, would we send our "seedlings" or even our "baby plants" into a time of bitter darkness without protection? Is it because it's "what everyone else is doing"? Is it because that's just the culture we live in?

When the Lord blesses us with seed, He requires great care and diligence on our part to protect, nurture, teach, and train that seed until they are stable enough to produce fruit and their roots are strong enough withstand the darkness that looms all around them. We need to "uncover" them when they are surrounded by the light of the Son so they can flourish and grow!

This job isn't easy; it may not always seem rewarding... but He calls us to it. And He says that it not only affects us and our children, but generations to come after us. He desires to give us a heritage!

I love this next passage of Scripture! I go to it often as a reminder of the promise the Lord has for me...

"Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God."
Psalm 78:1-8 (emphasis mine)

I exhort you to go the extra mile to give adequate "protection" to your seed from the spiritual darkness around them and not grow weary in doing so, even if it doesn't seem like you're seeing much fruit right now. God is faithful, and He promises to reward those who diligently keep His commands! Be blessed today as you fulfill your role as Mother...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Humbled To Be Awarded!

Yesterday my precious friend, Katie, over at Intentional Pursuit awarded me with the Liebster Blog Award. Frankly, I'm not even sure what to say... I'm surprised... I'm thankful... I'm humbled!

I'm not sure of the origins of this award, and apparently they are hard to find. However, Katie says she learned that "liebster" is German for "dearest"... Aww, thank you Katie!! :) This award is for "small" blogs (under 200 followers), and I certainly fit into this category, LOL. The purpose is to spread awareness of a "small" blog you love with others so they, too, may have the opportunity to enjoy it.

Their are a few rules to passing along this award to other fellow "small" bloggers.
1. Show your thanks to the blogger who nominated you by linking back to their blog.
2. Nominate five other happy little blogs by posting a comment on their blogs.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Now you get to stop by and see what these up and coming blogs have to offer.

I would gladly oblige to these rules. Unfortunately, I only follow two "small" bloggers, one of which nominated me. But just in case you aren't familiar with them, let me tell you a little bit about them...

1. Intentional Pursuit by Katie

Katie loves Jesus! She is very intentional in her pursuit of the things of God, and desires to train her children to do the same by example (hints the name of her blog). When she blogs, she generally always makes me think about a concept in an abstract way. I love her use of Scripture in her posts as well... Katie LOVES God's Word!! She inspires me to dig deeper, pray harder, and be more intentional in my own pursuit of the Lord! If you don't know Katie, take a few minutes to listen to her heart.

2. The Kindle Crew by Jennifer

Right now, Jennifer is on a hot pursuit to see the Lord work in new ways in her own heart and that of her family. She desires obedience to God and to share the love of Jesus with those she comes in contact with. I admit, I'm a little drawn to Jennifer's blog because her children remind me of my own childhood: 3 boys and then a girl. :) Jennifer writes in a compelling but down to earth manner. So grab your coffee and share a cup with her. She's a great friend to listen to!

Thank you both for being such an inspiration to my walk with Jesus! I cherish your friendships!! :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Closing This Chapter of our Life

For those of you who don't know, we own a home... but we don't live there. The Lord asked us to leave our home in Forney, TX in November of 2009. After prayer and much fear of taking the first step, we sold many of our earthly treasures, packed up what was left along with our two children (at the time) and moved to Pennsylvania.

We knew the Lord said He would take care of the house, but in our limited understanding of His ways, we immediately assumed that meant it would sell. However, after a month of absolutely NO interest whatsoever, not even on the internet, we thought God might've had a different plan... so we went back to ask Him.

We felt the Lord leading us to try to rent it out using a leasing agency who would handle everything from finding the renter to repairs and random home inspections. Within a week of going this route we had three appointments to show our house, and one of the three quickly signed a two-year lease.

That lease is coming to an end in about a month... and then what?

Honestly, our desire is to sell the home and cut all ties to it. It has been like a dark cloud looming over us for the past two years. It reminds us of a time when we weren't really seeking the Lord, but the world. It was a time when family time suffered to pursue earthly treasures. We are thankful God's grace drew us out of that mire into the light of His Word. We have been so blessed by living more on faith an serving others than paychecks and shopping trips since leaving that season of our life.

OUR desire is to end that chapter of our life! But what is the Lord's desire for that house? That is the most important question. Is His will that it sells? Are we ready to move on to new adventures... in new places? Does He want us to rent it out again to someone who needs a place to stay? Or (and this would be my least favorite option... but like I said, HIS will is most important) is His will that we moved back in there, rent out the entire upstairs (which is the only way we could afford to do so) and love on, serve, and disciple strangers out of our own home? Perhaps He wants something entirely different than any of these choices...

But, we're praying! And praying... and praying... and, well you get the idea. Our deepest desire is to stay on the Lord's path. It's easy to carve out our own way, to run ahead of him, or even to lag behind because we're afraid of what He's asking us to do. We've been in all of these scenarios, but we've learned that it is most rewarding and joyful to walk WITH Jesus!

Please pray with us that that is exactly where we will stay, and we'll be willing to joyfully choose His will for this house. We feel a peace about putting it up for sale right now. So, as of January 1st, it's officially on the market. We will see what the Lord does between now and mid-March. Here is the link to see our house: www.127stone.info If you know someone looking to move to the Forney area, please feel free to pass along the web address.

It's all in Your hands, Lord. I know Your will is the best one for us. We desire to obey, even if it's hard. Thank you that You remain in control of our circumstances... thank you that You already have it all worked out!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Lord is Speaking

Ok. I don't really like to make New Year's resolutions because, well frankly, I'm horrible about keeping them for 12 months! So don't consider this set in stone.

The Lord has been speaking to my husband and I for the past few months about prayer... A LOT!! Then to put icing on the cake, He confirms to me on the last day of 2011, that YES! He wants me to communicate with Him more... to be a visual example of that communication for my children... to not only pray with them at bedtime, but pray OVER them throughout the day... to stop and do the most important thing I can at any given moment: set aside the temporal "urgent" stuff to invest in eternity! I believe Father is asking me to resolve to come to Him more and bring my children with me. He desires for us to draw near to His throne of grace for more than just requests. He wants us to bless Him, worship Him, thank Him, intercede for each other and those not in our immediate family... He desires for us to grow closer to Him in relationship, not just knowledge ABOUT Him.

I know He's been gracious in allowing me to slowly examine our relationship together. I admit, I've been found wanted. My Father wants more of me in His presence, sitting at His feet, letting Him speak to me and sing over me. He wants me closer so I can feel His comfort, hear His whisper of love, correction, and exhortation. He's drawing my heart... I just need to discipline this ugly flesh of mine!

Maybe you have a very healthy prayer life. Maybe you're like me, and it leaves little to be desired. Either way, take some time to ask you Father if He is pleased with where your relationship is currently and where it is heading. Or does He miss those talks you once had together? Have you told Him you'd meet Him routinely, only to allow the temporal "urgent" business to draw you away momentarily?