Showing posts with label truth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label truth. Show all posts

April 15, 2014

this baby had a 79% chance of survival in our country

This little guy is 8 months old.

I'm so thankful for his sweet little smile:

He is greatly loved.

At 8 months, little Zane:
learned to stand and move along his playpen
will work so hard to get something he wants
is getting taller/thinning out from all his MOVING :) {He still weighs about 23.5-24 lbs.}
still nurses mostly
ate and loved avocado, sweet potatoes, bananas, applesauce, oatmeal, kale, and carrots
caught his paci as it fell out of his mouth - he has lightning fast reflexes!
kicked the chair in front of us at church as I was holding him and nearly knocked me down :P
waved "bye-bye" and said "buh buh" with it for the first time {and several times after}
loves to kiss his mama {a.k.a. chew on my jaw}
is getting his first bottom teeth- the earliest of any of my children!
is starting to assume crawling position but hasn't moved yet
slept through the night for the first time
loves to jump in his jumper
is a good, easy baby :)

 There's just nothing like watching a baby grow up and learn new things. It just doesn't get old. :)

I love him so much. I don't know why, but when I hold him and love on him, I can't shake this heavy feeling.

So many babies don't see the light of day. 

Millions of pregnancies happened last year, and 21% of those precious babies were murdered by abortion.

Thinking about that number, Zane could have been placed in a room with four other tiny, innocent babies, and one out of the five of them would have been torn into pieces before he even had the chance to cry.

I don't understand it. It's such a great evil, and it's so powerful- so covered in darkness and deception- it's unfathomable that in our time and day, we kill babies in the womb.

Our people- our neighbors- are committing the most treacherous act humanity has ever seen. 

Is there anything worse than brutally killing innocent people? 

What about the tiniest, most fragile, most incapable of all people?

It's sickness. It's the worst kind of tragedy. And it's happening every single day in our cities.

Why? Why does God not destroy us for this kind of atrocity? Why does He wait? 

He must be so very patient with us- giving us more time to repent. He is not slow as some count slowness:

8But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,a not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodiesb will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.c 2 Peter 3

His glory will be made evident in the end.

The people of this nation will face a final judgment. The works done on this earth will be exposed. And Christians, we will have to stand before Him for our deeds, good or bad. 

Satan wants us to go about our business, ignoring the fact that people are stumbling to the slaughter every single day. {Proverbs 24:11-12}

Why do we not care more? Why do we not stand out in the sidewalks of these places and beg these women to stop this? Can we not at least pray without ceasing for the lives of the innocent? Are we not responsible for our own lack of action?

Proverbs 24:
11Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
12If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,
and will he not repay man according to his work?

My heart aches, because I know I haven't done this for the least of these. I've been so distracted by my own life that I've forgotten about the lives of those perishing every 30 seconds. It's evil. It's sinful. 

Oh Lord, God, please forgive me!! Please keep this at the forefront of our minds- help me to be willing to give up my own life and comfort for the sake of those precious babies.

abolish human abortion

There are a few on the front lines, trying to hold back those mamas and daddies from killing their own children in person- and sadly, I've seen even other Christians mock them for it-  yet they are doing what no one else will do. 

Perhaps they are holding back even one person from the slaughter house- who are we to say? We are called to love, and yet many claim it is more loving to never say a word, but to show them love in other ways. Loving them with our actions is wonderful and right, and the truth is that abortion is a great deception- and killing innocent life is a sin. It would only be loving to try to stop someone from committing murder with my words and actions both, in love. If it were my own sister or mother or daughter, I would probably physically try to restrain her- why do I not care with that kind of passion for the lost?

How many women who've chosen that route regret it with all their heart? How many wish someone- anyone- would have stopped them, even if it hurt them to hear the truth? Wouldn't it be more loving for me to tell to my child to stop running out in the road while I run after him to stop him?  By speaking up, I might stop him with my words before he gets there, and save him from terrible pain or even death. And unspeakable sadness. 

I believe we can speak up in love and with grace, through the power of the Holy Spirit- knowing that so many have walked through this nightmare and are hurting and need Jesus just like we do. We are all- ALL- desperately in need of a Savior.

Oh sweet friends, please know- if you have had an abortion, there is absolutely grace and mercy and peace for you when you repent from your sin and turn with all your heart to Jesus Christ for salvation. His blood covers our sin and washes us clean. If you have been saved, there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. You are forgiven, only through the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, who takes away your sin! Confess it before Him, bring it into the light, and find peace in Christ alone. 

And please know this- no matter who you are, or what you've done or haven't done- every single one of us has sinned and fall short of the glory of God {Romans 3:23}. And if you have never known salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, judgment and eternal condemnation await you. 

We all equally deserve this punishment for our sin. One day, you will stand before God, and be condemned because you didn't believe. John 3:17-18: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 

Repent from your sin, believe in the Lord Jesus- whose blood paid the ransom for your sins and be saved. {Acts 3:19-20, Isaiah 55:6-7, Romans 10:9-13} There can only be one master in your life- will it be yourself or the Lord Jesus Christ?

Christians- we know that we have been called to abide in the Word of God and obey the words of our Father and walk in love {1 John 3}. Are you walking in truth? Is the Lord Jesus the master of your life? Do you desire to please Him? We will all give an account! What are you doing with your talents? We are called to run the race and fight the good fight of faith. Are you growing in love for the Lord and others? Consider your own heart, and seek hard after God while you are still living. He will not turn you aside when you seek Him with all your heart.

We who believe in Jesus can be light and a witness to those who are going to the abortion mills- there are groups like Abolish Human Abortion and websites like Sidewalks 4 Life, who help us to learn how to pray and go out and love others like Jesus in some of the hardest places to go.

Maybe you can't physically meet with those who are at abortion clinics for some reason, but you can pray for and support those who do go. There are ministries where you can pray for women who are still deciding- Facebook pages and Abolitionist groups where you can see the faces of those out in the streets as well as those who are trying to share the Gospel with them. You can help them buy tracts and support them in prayer and with words of encouragement in a very dark and difficult task.

If you have had an abortion in the past and found forgiveness through Christ Jesus- would you please consider sharing your testimony and being a light as well? You know from experience what happens in the darkness of those places, before and after it's over- perhaps your story might make another woman reconsider? 

You have a testimony to the healing power of Christ in your life that is firsthand- and your story is invaluable to reach the lost. How did Jesus change your life? I'm praying about a way that we could make those anonymously public if you want to share them, so that we can bring light to the darkness. Abort 73 will also share your testimony anonymously. There are so many ways anyone can get involved listed there.

Even the smallest of babes, the tiniest of cells in the womb- is a blessing from the Lord. May the Lord give us the eyes to see and the ears to hear what is going on around us so that we can fall on our face before Him, crying out for Him to save us from our sin.

Oh Lord, God we come to you, our hearts broken for these women who have been through and are going through with abortions. We know that loss of a little life affects every single one them, forever. We know your healing is the only hope they have, and that your love is greater than all of our sins, because it is the only hope any of us have, no matter what we have done. All sin is evil in your sight, Lord, and we know that our very best righteousness is as filthy rags in comparison to your holiness. Please forgive us for what we all have done, Lord Jesus. We have all gone our own way.

Jesus, we need your Power. We need your love to overcome our selfish desires to please ourselves and avoid hard things. This is an overwhelmingly hard thing- so much spiritual warfare and deception  has pervaded this culture, but we know that you have overcome the world. We take heart in You, Lord, that You are in control, and that your glory will be made known to every nation, tribe, and tongue. Please give us direction- clear direction for how we can stand up against this great evil in your name, and rescue the perishing innocent life as well as the lives of the men and women involved in this darkness. We ask that you would help us to fight our tendency to keep our heads in the sand because it is easier. Please forgive our apathy, Lord Jesus. We desperately need your help. Please send out laborers into the field, in our country and in other countries so that some might be saved. In your glorious name we ask these things- please let us do your will, God, and not our own. 

abolish human abortion

a video to share:

January 23, 2014

the most important video you will ever watch

This is the most important thing you will watch on video:

Oh friends, I want to live in this truth. I so want to be what God wants me to be- His love is overwhelmingly good, and I am so undeserving of it. I love Him so very much. He is so very good, and  the more I know Him, the more I see how much I am not good.

Truthfully, the last few weeks have been pressing on me. My heart keeps going to places I'd never expect, in a hard {and good} way. I can only tell you from my own experience, but Jesus has been so very good to me to lead me to places where I didn't want to go, and hold my hand and walk me through it all.  I wrestle with fear and anxiety on a daily basis, but I know it isn't from God. He is so kind to give me peace when I seek Him. Every single time, He is faithful, yet so often I forget to do it. 

I want Jesus to be at the forefront of everything I do in this life. I am so sad to see how selfish I am, and how much I cling to my flesh and the ways I know and love, but I know that the things He has prepared for me are so much better than my silly plans and fleshly pursuits. I long to walk in Him in these few years I get to live, and oh, how I long for the same for you. 

Before we know it, our short days will be over, and what will we have left? It is on that final day that we will fully understand what Jesus has done for us. I want to rejoice with all my heart that I ran the race well on that day. Oh, that we would walk in Him and have faith in the work of Jesus on the cross while there is still breath in our nostrils...

Oh, friends. I want to give up all of this world for the pearl of great price. 
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Matthew 13:44

January 22, 2014

Jesus gives victory over death: finding healing after abortion

Today, January 22, is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It is the anniversary of one of the darkest days in our nation.

It is so easy for me to get lost in the numbers, in the sadness of millions of deaths, and the grief of it all, but the thought that I am dwelling on today is this:

He already won this battle.

Right now I see a culture- generations of women who are carrying the weight of their decisions with shame.  Women longing to know what true peace is, and what forgiveness in Christ could be.

Oh, that they would truly know His sweet mercy. That they would give all of their burdens to Him, and know His overwhelming love. 

He knew all of the things that we would do before we were even born. And yet, while we were still sinners, Christ died for each one of us. He died so that we could live in Him.

Jesus is my only hope. My only salvation. The only source of truth and forgiveness comes from believing in Him, and I long for the women who have lost part of their hearts to abortion in the last 41 years to know Him and His sweet love. He is good, and merciful, and so gentle with the broken-hearted. Psalm 147:3 says this: He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

If your soul has been wounded by the effects of abortion, I long for you to find healing in Jesus too. Through His blood, we have been given a new heart and white robe of righteousness that covers all of our sins. He takes what is broken and makes it new again. It is too incredible for words, but I know it is true with all of my heart. 

Sin steals our joy and robs us of life. Things kept in the darkness become wounds that fester and never heal, but when we bring them to the Light who is Jesus, their nature of shame and death has no longer has power because Jesus defeated death on the cross. Through faith in Him alone, sin no longer has any power over us! Isn't that amazing? We are no longer condemned when we believe in Him:

John 3:16“For God so loved the world,i that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

If you don't know Jesus, the Son of God, I long for you to know Him. If you want to know Him, please email me. I would love to walk through it with you.

And if you have walked through abortion, I want you to know there is so much forgiveness, healing and comfort through the Holy Spirit because of the gift of salvation. In Christ we have hope, and we can give Him all of our shame, because "He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not."

He was despised by men. He knew what it meant to be rejected. He knows our grief so very well, and yet He promises to bear our burdens each day. We can give them all to Him. We can bring our pain and sins to the light, and find forgiveness in Him. There is so much freedom in Christ, and we can give these burdens to Him, and it is so encouraging to know that others who have walked in our shoes have done the same. And even more amazing- we are never alone in Christ, because His body of believers is a living extension of Him.

I am so thankful for all of you- thank you for praying and fasting with me for the little ones, and for God to do great things in our culture, and for these women who are healing from their past. I know He can and will do it if He wills, and that whatever we ask in His name, He will do. 

It is such good news, isn't it? We have so much joy because of what Jesus has done for us! 

And even on the darkest of days, when the sting of death and sin is ever so present in the world, we hold on to this hope- that Jesus gives victory over death:

1 Cor. 15:56: The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

All glory and praise and honor be to the Lord Jesus Christ, for He is worthy. He has overcome the world. Oh praise our merciful Lord, for He has saved us and redeemed us from our sin.

If you're looking for an intimate Bible study setting, there is a one called Surrendering the Secret happening all over the nation. I would love to hear your experiences with that if you have been through it before.

September 12, 2013

fill me up...

I love, love, love fall. This coming season will be different with five little ones and homeschooling. It feels like there are important, God-given priorities that I have no doubt I'm supposed to be doing, but I don't want to get so lost in doing them {even good things} that I forget the Source of life in the first place. I don't want to start going my own way. I don't want to seek after stupid things like pleasing myself on this earth in the very few years I get to live.

If there's a theme song- a prayer on my heart- for this fall, I long for it to be this:

Fill me up God...

Jesus, empty me of me- make me forget myself- my insecurities, my own desires, the things I love more than you, and fill me up with YOU, Father. Jesus, I want you. Nothing else is worth my life. Fill me up with your Spirit. Become my joy, my passion, my only reason for living, Jesus. Your name is written on my heart- in the depths of my soul, and I have nothing else to cling to but you in this world. Make me overflow with your Spirit, to reflect your glory and your love, not my own. We praise you for this day, Lord, for it is yours, and yours alone. Thank you for giving us life- may it be for you, Lord Jesus.

Do you have a theme song or big prayer for fall?

June 4, 2013

what can your God not do? {when you feel afraid or alone}

There's nothing like riding miles above the clouds to make you realize just how small and insignificant you really are.

Before you even leave the city you're flying out from, the cars on the road start to look like the tiniest, slowest little ants, and by the time you're at full flying altitude, landmarks become imperceptible- you start to see just the colors and patterns of the land that is underneath you.

Looking out on what the Lord has created like that just feels so incredibly humbling. Something about having your feet on the ground back at home gives you a false sense of security- like you are the big one, and in control of your circumstances, but being up high in the heavens makes you realize you are actually closer to the size of a tiny microbe.

It reminds me of what David wrote in Psalm 8- I couldn't get these verses out of my head as we flew:

1O LORD, our Lord,
  How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
  Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!

2From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength
  Because of Your adversaries,
  To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.

3When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
  The moon and the stars, which You have ordained

4What is man that You take thought of him,
  And the son of man that You care for him?

5Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
  And You crown him with glory and majesty!

6You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
  You have put all things under his feet,

7All sheep and oxen,
  And also the beasts of the field,

8The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,
  Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.

9O LORD, our Lord,
  How majestic is Your name in all the earth!

He made all of the earth and the sky... the oceans, the moon, the stars... what can our God not do??

And this is even more incredible to me- as we were flying, here's what I read in Psalm 103:

Oh how amazing it is- our Lord is compassionate and gracious- slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness.

But do you see it??

Oh my goodness- as high as the HEAVENS are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him!!!

Do you know that's how deeply He loves? Did you realize that's how much our Father loves you TODAY?

You are His beloved- His child, and nothing can separate you from that love!

And get this- as far as the east is from the west - that's how far He removed our transgressions from us!!

Oh, the depths of His mercy- we cannot even fathom the mercy He has bestowed upon us- the microbes that will vanish in mere decades- He has given His Son for us, so that He could show us His great love and forgiveness. Who are WE to deserve that? 

What an incredible, awesome God we serve. He loves us so much He removed our sin far from us- He didn't deal with us according to our sins, or reward us according to our iniquity!!! We didn't get what we deserved in any way. Oh, what mercy He gives us!!!

This GOD is who we love, the ruler and master of the universe in all it's majesty. Can you do anything but respond with love and trust when you realize who your God is and what He has done for you?

Oh, friend, what can our GOD not do in your life today? I promise you can trust Him!! :)

May 7, 2013

who is your Jesus??

Oh my goodness, I've never cried so much before 7 in the morning.

This video is such an amazing way of presenting the Gospel.

It's about our Jesus and is worth every minute of watching....

{ht: tim challies blog, sermon/voice by John Piper}

April 23, 2013

walking through dry season with God: 6 symptoms of growing away from Him

Have you ever felt like you were in a dry season with God?

I have. It felt like there was a thick brick wall between me and God. I would try to lift it but always gave up because I was way too tired to try.

I've tasted the joy of walking close with God all day long- of Him being constantly in my mind, of songs of praise going up all through the day. I've walked with Him in prayer all day in short little conversations, and my heart was full to the brim.

So when I felt the arrival of a dry season a few weeks ago, it was all the more devastating to me.

Like a physical season, it didn't come on all at once. It wasn't hot one day, and cold the next.

It was a slow change...just barely noticeable.

My heart started feeling a little more distracted and a bit less focused on God, and before I knew it, it really felt like I started to lose joy in Him too-  but just a little each day. And then after many, many days later, I realized how much different I felt than the month before.

I'd walked right into the dry season without even noticing.

Looking back, here were my symptoms that had developed very slowly:

1. I started reading less of the Bible.
I started reading my one-year Bible in January, and I started 7 days late because- get this- on January 1 I tried like 4 times to either use a daily reading app or to find my special Bible and I couldn't get any of them to work. I made the joke {and the realization too}, I guess God doesn't want me to read it like that, because He sure isn't making it possible. And so I went back to my regular reading for a week.

But you know what I did? I finally found my one-year Bible a few days later and started reading it because I wanted to be able to say I read it through in a year again.

Now- it isn't bad to read a daily Bible by any means, but for me each day had less reading time than I would normally spend by at least 1/2 or maybe more, and I started reading it differently than how I normally would.

I used to spend an hour or more in reading and prayer and would soak up the words. When I started the daily Bible, I started reading it to get done instead, and I effectively put myself on a starvation diet of God's Word. I had been hungry before, and I shrunk my stomach- my desire- for the Word by not listening to the Holy Spirit's leading that I shouldn't be reading it like that, and that I needed more.

2. I started praying less.
My time in the Word became so efficient {ahem} that I felt less need to spend as much time in prayer as I had before. I wanted to go on and get on with my busy day since I was done early, and slowly my prayers got shorter and shorter.

3. I became restless and started focusing on other things.
When I started reading less and praying less, my heart started looking for things to do and my mind for things to think about. What am I not happy with here? Hmmm... what can I fix? What projects can I work on? Previously, I'd been extrememly {and unusually} content, and slowly I felt the contentment grow into discontentment in so many areas.

4. I felt my prayers start to hit a wall, and I knew it without a doubt.
I prayed and asked God to show me what I was doing wrong, and I knew He hadn't left at any time, but that it was something I was doing that was breaking fellowship. My heart felt tired and stubborn, and I didn't even feel like trying. {BIG red flag for me then}. I knew God wouldn't forsake me in this time- and for that I kept asking, even though I felt like I couldn't communicate with Him and didn't know for sure why.

5. We missed church for a few weeks due to sickness and commitments.
Without fail, when I feel my heart start to harden, I remember that we have missed church for a Sunday or two. I promise you, no matter what season I'm in, when I miss church my heart feels parched. The Holy Spirit is filling and He always refuels me even more in the presence of the body of Christ. 

When I miss being in that refueling, I can tell every time. I'm kind of dumb and I forget this constantly, and it always takes me a while to remember it. ;) And what I've found even stranger? My heart can long with all of it's being to be back in church on that first Sunday morning we return, and Satan has a full out war on my spirit that very morning. I kid you not. Every time. It testifies to the fact that the Holy Spirit is there, because Satan sure does hate it like nothing else.

6. My attitude changed.
After having all these symptoms, they all seemed to lead to my joy starting to wane in every area. My heart was feeling more stubborn, more irritated, more unloving, more unhappy- because I wasn't walking in the joy of the Spirit of God. I had let myself get farther away from Him, and my fruits started to look less and less like His.

I hated it. There's nothing like being self-aware and knowing what your heart normally feels like versus what it does when you're away from God. You've tasted the joy of the Lord, and nothing compares to it. You want it back, even though you feel powerless to get it back.

when things started to change
So realizing that about my attitude just felt like my breaking point. I realized over a few weeks my heart was steadily losing joy, but I didn't know why. I cried to God, and told Him I am weak and I have nothing to offer you, Lord. My heart is failing, and my flesh is weaker than weak.

And I wish I could say I instantly got an answer, but I didn't. I kept crying, I kept feeling the wall, I kept trying to figure it out. I was too tired to keep pushing. I even told Him I'd pretty much make the worse martyr/sufferer ever because I give up so easily. I'm pregnancy-tired and I want to quit already. I am terrible at suffering.

But to no credit of my own, I kept offering up those weak, sad little prayers, and God was faithful to answer me in His time.

I didn't know what was wrong- I thought I was merely being discontent, or irritable, but He slowly revealed all of those symptoms to me, and where my outward symptoms had started in the inner person- in my lack of fellowship time with Him. I had wanted to repent- to turn away from seeking after myself, and I needed His help to even see where to start.

I had been neglecting the most important thing in my whole day- soaking in His Word and in His Spirit, for the sake of getting it done and for the pride of reading it through in a specific way, in direct disobedience to what I felt Him leading me to do.

Ick. But I wanted to know what I was doing wrong more than anything. It got to a point where I would rather give up anything than to lose fellowship with Him, and I told Him that. I couldn't stand to be away from Him, even for a little bit at a time for a few weeks.

I really started to understand even more what David meant when he said, "Better is one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere."

It really, really is. Better is one hour in fellowship with God, than getting more time to myself in the morning. Better is one morning in the house of God than a whole week without the refueling of the Holy Spirit's presence.

Oh, I hate screwing up. I used to cry for hours even in kindergarten when I got a 95 on a test- I cried to the point of having to go to the principal's office. Seriously. I hated being wrong, and I beat myself up for it like crazy.

I still hate messing up, but God is so good to me still. He is faithful when I am faithless.

I see more of who God is, and how much He loves me when He teaches me what I'm doing wrong. Losing fellowship with Him in my disobedience was part of His discipline, and He teaches me through His discipline, because He loves me:
Hebrews 12:3-11
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?  For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

I can't deny it was painful- being away from God, even just a little when you've tasted the good, is extremely hard. I didn't want to walk through something like that, but He loved me enough to show me where I messed up, and how I was seeking after myself rather than Him.

Oh, friends, our God is that good. He is so full of grace. I would give up on myself in a heartbeat, I am so weak and sinful. I can't praise Him enough for showing me my sins- for making me a new creation, and giving me a new heart that longs after Him. He is like water to my soul.

When we are dry, He is the living water. When we are hungry and faint, He is the bread of life. He will not turn away from you, His precious sheep- He loves you with an everlasting love, and longs to pick you up and carry you when you're too tired. I was too tired, and He showed me and carried me through it, even when it was I who wandered away from His care in the first place.

If you're walking through a dry season, I want to pray for you. You are so not alone, I promise you that. Every believer will walk through them, but our God is so faithful to carry us through, even when our strength fails and we don't even have the energy to try. Don't stop believing He can do it. He can, and He will. He is faithful, even when we aren't.

2 Timothy 2:13
if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself. 

Oh, look to the faithful one for strength, sweet friend. He is good. He will show you where you need Him more. :)

Have you ever experienced a dry season? 

What were your "symptoms"?

Are you in one now? I would so love to pray for you today, as would many others! 
oh, it's too hard to try to do it on your own.

April 2, 2013

a confession + regaining perspective

confession: yesterday was really rough around here- I think we were all coming down from the sugar highs and activity of the weekend. Homeschooling was hard- one had lots of extra work to do, the house was a mess, and attitudes were bad all around {including mine}. It was one of those days where you only see the bad things, you know what I mean? And then after lunch it was all downhill. :(

Forget that I have an awesome blessing of house- I'd much rather focus on how many projects still need to be finished before the baby comes or how many things I have to pick up over and over again.


I'm praying for God to help me because I so desperately need it today- my eyes have been focused on what I don't have instead of who and what I do. 

So today, I want to share what I'm thankful for right now. :D

1. This man.

rob holding ava this weekend
When I was a teenager I used to dream of a man who loved me and I pictured him holding our babies and being strong and sweet to them. I was given the most amazing man on the planet {and I even found him when I was a teenager! ;)}. 

I don't deserve him, even a little bit. He never complains, and last night he worked through dinner until 9 so that he could finish painting our fence, then after hours of painting, he went to the gas station to fill up my Tahoe so I could use it today. 

He reads to the kids, washes and combs hair, and does the dishes for me all the time. But more than all of that- when he looks in my eyes, I see such love. He loves me with everything- and he loves me more than he loves himself, which he proves ALL the time. I have no idea why God gave me this man. He is amazing.

2. These munchkins.
right before our ultrasound last week :)
They might have driven me crazy yesterday, but I do love them so much. It's so easy for me to get lost in the small stuff- how badly they're behaving or how much work they make for me, but I know I'm not seeing the big picture. They are only here for a season- and neither I nor they are guaranteed this time together. A crazy, unexpected death of a local mom my own age with 4 kids last week reminded me of that.

I want to say it wasn't fair for her to die when she has only lived 31 years and has little kids who need her, but I think the truth is that those 31 years of her life were a gift from God. I don't deserve to have 30 years of life- or 9.5 years of having these children, but God has given them to me. And I shouldn't take them for granted like I so easily do.

Every moment- even the hard ones- are a mercy from the Lord Himself to be given a chance to see His handiwork and experience His glory. Nothing in this place is guaranteed.

3. Getting to see Jesus in little things.

The kids did lego scenes of the cross and resurrection this weekend. This was Isabella's {5}:

I am so amazed at how differently each of my children think. I gave them ideas of what to make, but they all created their own versions of it. I love her pink lamb and yellow donkey and the guards by the crosses and tomb. :)

Noah {7} is our funny kid- he is such a ham and makes us all laugh. 

He made his lamb, and when we talked about the lamb being the perfect sacrifice, he said "wait, mommy" ran into the other room, then came back, turned the lamb on it's side and added red legos {blood} to the top and bottom. Oh, it made me laugh. Yes, very good, Noah, very good. The blood was poured out! :)

Elijah {9} is our serious guy- and just like his dad. He notices the details. All of his crosses matched, of course. :) He opens my car door- every single day, and he wants to do it! He gets upset if someone else does it before he gets there.

If you tell him to do something, he is diligent to keep working until you say it's okay to stop, when the other {and most} kids will get distracted in 5 minutes. He loves deeply, and wears his heart on his sleeve. He takes care of things just like his dad- like charging batteries, putting his shoes up in his drawer {every single day}, and making sure everyone has what they need.
He's going to make the most excellent husband someday. I just know it. :)

Ava {3} keeps us on our toes. She is my little shadow all day long- especially when the kids go to school mid-week. I love how cuddly she is- sometimes with the business of taking care of the older kids, I forget just how small she really is. She still loves to sit in my lap, and I love that. :) She's quite the actress- she can play the role of baby, puppy, baby horse and more...and she is very good at it! :D

We even foam rolled together last week:

We have lots of fun together. :D

And this little munchkin hasn't made his appearance yet of course, but he's pretty good at kicking his siblings and dad:

I have been so blessed to have a healthy, easy pregnancy. I can pretty much go about life as normal, just a little more tired/hormonal. Sometimes I forget what a blessing that is in itself.

I'm also reminded of his presence on a daily basis now. :) Besides the kicks and the tiny bowling ball feeling in my belly, thanks to his growing little body, I'm now sporting the latest accessories: stains on my shirts that I have no idea where they came from...  :D It's cute, right? LOL! 

{How do stains get under your belly, anyway?? :P If you see me in public, please ignore the food or random stain on my shirt. I never saw it and will be blissfully ignorant until later that night. ;)}. Pregnancy is such a weird and cool thing. I still can't believe I can grow a child in my body! :)

4. Getting to make food and treats for my family.
Though I tend to think it's a chore most of the time, I really am blessed to have enough food to cook, a place to cook it in, electricity for a stove, a family to enjoy it with, and running water to wash the dishes with. I'm incredibly spoiled, and I don't even enjoy what I've been given because I'm too busy focusing on the negatives.

lentil chicken pot pie that most of the children ate on Saturday! whoop!
 We get to enjoy special desserts that make life even more fun...
triple berry dump cake + vanilla ice cream on friday night

strawberries and angel food cake with vanilla icing on Sunday
Really and truly, I love making treats for my little ones- they get so excited when we have dessert. It is honestly one of my favorite mom things I get to do. :D They are always so thankful for them.

5. A yard {and house} to care for.
We spent a few hours outside on Saturday enjoying the lovely weather and doing yard work.

I tend to get overwhelmed by just how much yard work there is to do. We have a big yard that needs a major redo, just like our house. I know how far away it is from where it "should" be, and I let it get to me sometimes. But I forget, again, that I have massive trees and azaleas and gardenias, and roses, and dogwoods... things someone planted for me to enjoy 50-115 years ago! I get to see the beauty in it's full maturity that they hoped for when they planted tiny bushes and trees.

If I had a new house, I would probably never have a massive magnolia tree right in my front yard, or azalea bushes that are taller than me. And they are so beautiful!

I wish I could say I always set my eyes on Jesus, and what He has done in and for me, but so many times even though I know the truth, I lose sight of Him and start to dwell on my situation- and the negative parts of it to boot.

But God is so merciful to me, and when I cry out for his help {like this morning}, He gently nudges me to see Him- and what He has given me because of His grace. I want to stay there. I want to be thankful and content for what I do have- not upset because of what I don't.

If you're feeling like I did/do- overwhelmed and/or dissatisfied, maybe it's because we're focusing on the small rather than the big? The now rather than the eternity?

Oh, if you are feeling overwhelmed, leave a comment or email me or facebook me, and we can pray for each other! I know that the Holy Spirit can overcome our weakness- because the work was done on the cross. I don't have to rely on myself to get it together- He gives me the strength and changes my focus when I ask Him to. It's incredible, and such a testament to the love of this God we serve. He redeems the broken, and the sinner, and makes us new again. And thankful too.

Thank you, sweet Father, for all the gifts you have given us. Please forgive my ungratefulness and help me to walk in the light with my eyes on you.

Have you felt God turn your discouragement into thanksgiving when you cried out for help?

What do you notice about yourself when you're feeling overwhelmed?
I know I'm neglecting to see the good, and it's usually when I'm extra tired or have a lot on my plate.

Psalm 118:28 
You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you.

Psalm 75:1 
We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks, for your Name is near; men tell of your wonderful deeds.

1 Chronicles 16:8 
Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.

March 31, 2013

the most thrilling words

Oh sweet friends, it doesn't get more exciting than this, does it?!! Jesus is ALIVE!!! :D

He is not here, for he has risen, as he said...
Matthew 28:6 

March 19, 2013

on letting go of your dreams

Oh, I used to have so many dreams.

I dreamed of having a big house, a nice car, a degree, lots of money... of traveling the world, taking sweet vacations, being super fit, being a labor and delivery nurse and then later getting my certification as a midwife...

Then somewhere along the way my dreams started to change.

Some of them were fulfilled over the years, and for some I've lost my desire completely.

The ones that were fulfilled always came with a surprise at the end. They were great and all, but in the end, were so meaningless after they were done. They were nice, but in the big picture, what did they really matter?

I really never expected that reaching a dream goal would be unsatisfying. But like getting a big house, there's always more to chase after with each one. There's always a better car, getting more education, more recognition, a more exclusive trip, becoming more fit... it's never ending.

And over the last few years, I feel like God has been so, so good to me to show me just how unfulfilling each of those things are. And part of me {the human part} has been a little sad to lose those dreams. I really don't want any of them anymore because I know they are empty. And that feels a little weird for this American girl.

I think in part of this culture, we are drilled and taught to dream big dreams- to go for what you want. To know that you can have it if you work hard enough. And even in Christian circles, so many times you'll hear all of your dreams can be fulfilled if you ask God to help you and you believe He will.

But the more I study the Bible, the less I see of people's own dreams being fulfilled, and the more I see of God's glory being revealed in their less than ideal situations.

The human part of me wants this relationship with God to be kind of a give and take. God, I give you this, but I want this to happen because I followed you. For so many years, I said I will follow you, God, but please don't let me die while my children are young. Please protect my children from harm. But lately, I think He's killing that kind of prayer in me. And it's a very good thing.

When I look at the people of faith in the Bible, I see over and over a life given to God completely....human dreams lost and then replaced with the desire to do the will of God.

I mean, even thousands of years ago, a girl would never dream that she would lose her husband and follow her mother-in-law to a foreign country to be gleaning grain in fields with the poor, only later to marry a very rich man and be part of the lineage of Jesus and the great-grandmother of the king of Israel.

...A wife of a great man would never dream that she would be 90 years old before God gave her a single child.

...A humble man afraid to speak publicly would never dream that he would lead millions out of slavery to wander in the desert for 40 years, and never enter the promised land.

...A favored youngest boy would never dream up that he would be sold into slavery to foreigners by his brothers, then be thrown in prison for years for something he didn't do, only later to become second only to the Pharaoh of Egypt and later save the entire nation of Israel.

...A prophet would never dream that his call would be to tell his people God's message they would reject over and over again until they were ruined.

...A sweet young girl betrothed to marry a carpenter would never dream she would become pregnant before she was married with the very Messiah, the Son of God.

...The disciples never dreamed they would leave their house, their family, their jobs to follow this Messiah who was so greatly loved and so greatly despised, only to see him beaten and die a tortuous death on a cross among criminals, and rise from the dead on the third day.

...A devout Jew who persecuted and killed those followers of Jesus would never dream he himself would later give his own life up for Jesus, and be imprisoned and beaten for the sake of the very same man.

Over and over and over again, we see that God is completely sovereign in every single situation, and that His plans are not our plans. Our dreams can't compare with what He has in store for us. And sometimes {most of the time even?} what He has in store for us looks nothing like what we dreamed of.

When I look at these stories, I don't see people begging God to fulfill what they dream of in life, and Him answering. I see God taking regular people and giving them faith- changing their hearts to willingly do what brings God glory, and His plan being fulfilled through them in the strangest of ways, and often at the loss of their comfort and even their lives.

But that is such good news, because God's ways are so much higher than our ways- His wisdom so much deeper, so much wiser than ours:

Romans 11
33Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”

We can trust God with all of our lives- even all of our dreams and hopes!

You see, our own dreams are tainted with our fleshly desires. We seek our own comfort, our own protection, our own loves.

Our dreams don't involve our hearts being broken, or losing the way we like our lives. We don't dream of losing our husbands, our children, our homes. But that might be what God has for us in this life.

Yet God's ways are so much higher, so much bigger than ours. We can rejoice that His plan is so much better than ours, because we not only have those human examples in the Bible- we also have one perfect example of God's plan and glory at work:

The Son of God came to live on this earth, and His purpose was this:
John 6:38
 38For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.

Jesus, the Son of God- the one we worship, humbled Himself as King of the Universe to being without a home, to being beaten and mocked and killed by sinners for the sake of the will of the God. Remember why:
Hebrews 12
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

It was for the joy that was set before him that He endured the shame. He was doing the will of His father so that all might come to believe in Him and be saved!

Hebrews 2:8-9
Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

So God's plan asked His own Son, the Lord of hosts, to become lower than the angels, so that He might redeem all of mankind through His suffering and death. I think we can all agree that is not one human's dream.

If God's plans for His Son include giving up His life to horrible suffering and death, are we not called to the same?

Romans 8
12So then, brothers,d we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sonse of God. 15For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Future Glory
18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

We have to give up our own desires, our own will, our own body here on this earth like Christ did. We are heirs with Christ if we do the same. And we can do this, because when we believe, He gives us the same Spirit He gave Jesus!

Our dreams, our hopes, our desires- we can lay them all at the feet of Jesus. Jesus did the same, and gave up His own will so that He could do the will of His Father and save us!

When we set our eyes on Jesus, and give our hearts to do His will, He changes us to long for the things He wants instead of what we want for ourselves.

When you look to Him, what is so amazing is that He gives you faith to believe that His way is truly better than our own. And His way might be painful for a time- we might not see why He is destroying all of our old dreams. But He is doing it for our good, and for His glory.

I love the way C.S. Lewis puts it:
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
You see, God is so much wiser, so much more wonderful than we ever could be. Our human dreams are so, so small- but God has so much bigger plans for our lives! We can trust Him with everything!

Give all of your dreams to Jesus- ask Him to make your heart long to do His will and not your own. Don't worry- we can't do it on our own anyway! His Spirit will help us, will give us faith. Beg God to help you give up your own desires so that His will can be your desire instead of your own.

You never know what might happen. He might end up fulfilling some of those very dreams when you give them to Him, or He might have bigger or different plans for you.

Like all the stories of the faith in the Bible- you might not see the end result of His plans in this life, but you can trust that He is good and His plan is sovereign. Your God is worthy of your heart and your life. 

Oh, sweet friend. Dreams are nothing without Him. Nothing here on this earth will satisfy you. Better is one day in the court of God, than thousands elsewhere.

When you give your heart and your life up in submission to God, there is no happier, no more satisfying place to be. No earthly dream can compare to walking with the Lord of Hosts. He is so good, and He wants all of your heart, your soul, and your mind. All of your trust.

Oh, that we would give it all to Him. His dreams are so much better than ours. Our decent little cottage has nothing on His palace. :)

How have you seen God change your dreams over the years?

What dreams has He fulfilled? Which ones were you glad He didn't fulfill?
When I was a teenager, I dreamed of having no children, or at least not any until I was 28. I'm so glad He didn't let me have that dream fulfilled! Instead, I had 4 children by the time I was 26, and He's worked in my life in so many ways because of that different outcome. :)

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