Monday, March 2, 2009

I am His.

It has been a very busy few days. Between homeschooling, laundry, Bible Study, housecleaning, blogging... there is just not a whole lot of time!! But, my life is exciting, wonderful, and blessed.
Here are the boys in their clubhouse eating Pringles. That is a treat for good behavior in school.

















We just confirmed that Lake has pretty bad allergies. Peanut Butter and Egg. It makes me so sad. Sad for him. He gets bad eczema and rings around his beautiful blue eyes. This has been really difficult for me as I was too sick to nurse him and I worry this is due to that.




But, I know God has His sovereign hand upon this little one's life and is going before him to prepare good things.
Hopefully, by taking egg out of his diet, it will control the eczema. Pray God heals him. I know He can or maybe Lake will grow out of it! There is about a 1 in 5 chance.
What a gift he is to me. He turns 2 this weekend.
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Last weekend, I had the opportunity to go on a Women's retreat in Pigeon Forge. I haven't done anything like this in years. It is really hard for 1 person to watch our boys so we just haven't had much freedom to do things like this. Tim was so dear to bow out of a men's retreat he had planned that same weekend to watch the kids and let me go.
I couldn't wait to get alone with the Lord and listen for His voice. I desperately need Him these days as I am stepping out into uncharted territory with ministry. I also need strength to survive this trial.
Here is a gift basket my friend Val's husband put together for her as a surprise. It was full of goodies and love letters to her. Way to go Brad!! The girls were all so amazed by such a sweet thought... the other husbands were not so happy with Brad. ;)
I cried my makeup off in all these pictures. I cried most of the time just because I was blown away by God's goodness to me and all that He is teaching me through suffering. I sometimes feel as though I can't take everything in that He is teaching me. (Drinking out of a fire hydrant kind of thing.)
I taught the boys Isaiah 43:1-3 not long ago. One part of those verses kept coming back to my mind all weekend. "YOU ARE MINE". It was as if the Lord was telling me that over and over and over. That I am His, that He loves me with a love I cannot begin to wrap my mind around.
"YOU ARE MINE".
I would hear that when I woke up in the mornings and as I was going to bed at night. Isn't it incredible that nothing can snatch us out of His hands? If we have believed in Christ as the atonement for our sins, WE ARE HIS. He is an over-protective, loving Father. I don't think it is by accident that in Isaiah he reminds us "YOU ARE MINE" right before the trials come. We must know our position and our identity when we are in the midst of a storm. He will never leave us or forsake us. It says He has summoned us by name. He knows us intimately. This is very different from all the other religions. It is a personal relationship with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords Who knows my name and sacrificed His life for mine. WOW.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; YOU ARE MINE.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."


Now the boys and I are memorizing a huge chunk of 1 John 4. I LOVE this passage. There is also a verse in this passage I cannot get out of my head...


"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love." (16)

Isn't it so comforting that when the storms come, we can rely on the love God has for us?
1. God IS love AND
2. I am His!
2 truths that every child of God must know.

He has written a map on our hearts and He is leading us home. I wish that map didn't involve suffering but it usually does. BUT God is faithful. He meets us in the valley. He anoints our head with oil as we walk through the darkness!! He fills us so full of His love, that our cups overflow. He sings over us. (I love it when I wake up with worship songs in my head because I KNOW He was singing over me as I slept).
"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zeph 3:17

God blessed me so much at this retreat reminding me of His love for me and His PURPOSE for me and His ability to REDEEM suffering. He takes great delight in us, is mighty to save and quiets us with His love. HOW COOL?!?!?!? I hope you know that He is singing over you in your trial too and that you are quieted by His great love for you.
Meanwhile, I am still on these horrible medicines and they are causing me to have headaches and feel terrible.
"YOU ARE MINE."
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Suzy and Valerie.
I could NOT do life without them. The speaker talked about how geese fly in a V-formation and compared it with fellowship and the body of Christ. She said that geese can fly 71% faster when in formation than they can alone. That they honk at each other when the others get tired.. to encourage one another to KEEP FLYING-YOU CAN DO IT! And how cool is this... when a goose is wounded or sick, 2 others fall out of formation to be with the wounded one until it can fly again or dies. WHAT A COOL PICTURE OF THE CHURCH BODY!!!! If you are not connected in a local Church body, you are flying at 29% capacity. We each need fellowship so desperately . I cried (I am telling you I cried pretty much the whole time) as I thanked them for leaving formation to be with me during the last 4 years. Not that they are the only ones, but they are definitely 2 that immediately left the formation and have stayed with me the whole time I have been wounded not leaving my side.



My super-cool friend Crystal! Also very dear to me. She is such a groovy trend setter. I tried to cut my bangs like her one time and I looked ridiculous. She is just plain cool and loves Jesus.






Worship is such a gift to us.









Surrounded by AMAZING women.








Lisa is my friend who no matter how bad life gets, she makes me laugh. Tim says I should hang around her more often. You just can't take life too seriously around her. I have known her since 7th grade. She is becoming a fantastic photographer. She is so fun.















This is Tracy. Tracy is my spiritual momma. She has discipled me from the beginning. She allowed me to live with them when she had very small children and poured into my life. I look back on that now and realize how sacrificial it was. I am not sure I am loving enough to stay up till all hours of the night discipling someone while having little ones. But she did and because she was selfless and willing, that investment into my life changed me forever. Her love for the Word and people is so inspiring.

This is her doing what she does best, leading people closer to Jesus. I am so so thankful for her.




















Found my new haircut at the retreat!!!! I think I am going to do this after I get a tan. How cute is she??
I started the new Conference Call Bible Study last night. I am so excited about this I am about to explode!! 35 incredible women from across the country coming together to draw closer to the Lord. It is just awesome to be a part of. It is not too late if you are interested but you would have to decide today or tomorrow in order to jump in.
Last night's call was recorded if you would like to hear a powerful testimony and understand more about discipleship.
Have a great week!
><>
"This is love.
Not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
1 John 4

8 comments:

Bryce and Lisa said...

Stephanie, I can see God working through your life and so many others. Your heart is so faithful and desiring for others to inherit HIS Kingdom. There will so many souls in Heaven because of your faithfulness to spread his word. I am thankful that you are in my life !!! It was such an awesome weekend worshipping our Lord. It is such a wonderful feeling being surrounded by children of God and learning more and more about our Savior. Sign me up for the Bible Study, I will call and order my book today. I love ya Girl, and YEAH that I was the 1st to leave a comment. PS, thank you for all of the sweet comments !!!

Taylor said...

Aww. I wish I could have been there! You have been on my mind lately more than normal... I am praying for you. I had a dream we finally met in "real life" and we became GREAT friends! I hope someday we can.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you had a blessed weekend, and I love the Mark Harris music!

Wish I could be there for Lake's birthday.

Erin said...

Aw, poor baby Lake. If it makes you feel any better, I have a peanut allergy AND eczema :( and developed both as an adult and was a breastfed baby. Praying for Lake.

CUTE HAIR!!!!!!! GO FOR IT!!!!

I have awarded you a blog award :) stop by my blog to pick it up if you are interested. :)

Maggie said...

Don't beat yourself up over your inability to breastfeed Lake. I tried so hard to breastfeed Kate and never got a drop (not surprising considering how early she was). But, she never had a drop of my milk and does not appear to have any kind of allergies. I know of other children who had breastmilk for a year and have all kind of allergies. I realy don't think breastmilk determines that. Let yourself off the hook. You are a wonderful mother to your boys - no matter what they drank as infants.

Emily said...

Hey, Stephanie! Thank you so much for taking the time to blog. I'm always so encouraged by you and. Your love for God and His Word is contagious!
I just wanted to let you know that my son has food allergies(egg, peanut,treenut,and shellfish) as well and was breastfed. He was diagnosed with an egg allergy when he was 15 months old but after completely eliminating it from his diet, he outgrew it after a year, PRAISES!!! Unfortunately, his peanut allergy is life threatening and the doctors have basically said he won't outgrow it b/c of the severity. But we pray for a miracle!! I have a couple of great allergy mom websites with some great ideas and support. If you are interested, just email me ebportman@hotmail.com

gillian said...

I am always so encouraged by your posts Stephanie! and I was SUPER encouraged by Susy's testimony on the conf call Sunday night! I was thinking yesterday about the people and events that led me to your blog, over a year ago, and I am so thankful for His faithfulness for being drawn to your blog and to this bible study! My mom works for Ariel Ministries and she's been trying to figure out a way to get all the regional directors connected somehow with a bible study online or on the phone and this conf. call study is it!!! HOW COOL IS HE!?!? that I was led to your blog, to this study, which led my mom to your blog, to this study and now they have the tools to start this! Check out the website http://store.arielpawleys.org/
there is a retreat in Pawleys Island/Murrels Inlet April 30-May 2...I've been to 3 and they are AMAZING!!! sounds like the retreat you just went to is very similar! Thad and Erilynne Barnum are amazing, gifted, on fire teachers!!!! Erilynne discipled my mother, and still does... PRAISE GOD!!!! If you have a time (ha ha ha) check out one of Thad or Erilynnes teachings.

Praying for you girl! and Happy Birthday to Lake! My son Owen has a birthday this weekend too, March 8th, he'll be 5!!!

sorry for the long winded comment!

Skamamama said...

i TOO love that haircut. i've sent your blog address to my lovely hair cutter. i think she will love your blog too. i always love checking in on you & your guys. i especially appreciate your positive outloook even through your trials.
I've awarded you with a lemonade award for your blog! If you can participate check out my blog for details.
i would love to pray for you as well. i am confident that HE is your source of strength.