I have wanted to sit down and blog more during the last month but my heart hasn't come on board with the idea. Sometimes it is easier to not write down what is happening in your life than to write it and see reality. Then there are the predictably crazy people who send me anonymous messages that I need to confess my sins so that the suffering will stop. The enemy has used those people since the beginning of time.
“Stop and think! Do the innocent die?
When have the upright been destroyed?
My experience shows that those who plant trouble
and cultivate evil will harvest the same."
(Ouch. Just what Job needed, right?)
Remember the response of the prideful/immature disciples to the man born blind?
“Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”
I am so thankful God is a compassionate God. He is not an accuser. Our enemy accuses and blames.
"But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—"
"Do not gloat over me, my enemies!
For though I fall, I will rise again.
Though I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be my light."
It is in our sinful nature to criticize those who are suffering. To find fault. But what if we didn't try to find answers as we sit with a suffering friend? What if we didn't say crazy cliche's like "God won't give us more than we can handle. You must be really strong"?
Yes, we know God works all things together for good. God always provides a way of escape (1 Cor 10:13).
"Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters— a pathway no one knew was there!"
We believe that by faith not by sight.
Ask God for the pathway through the mighty waters.
He is FAITHFUL. He provides a way out when it looks impossible. You see that in Scripture over and over! I have seen that in my life over and over!!
Wouldn't it be so helpful to just sit and cry with someone and say, "I have no idea why this is happening but I know 2 things for sure...
God is powerful and He is loving."
"God has spoken plainly,
and I have heard it many times:
Power, O God, belongs to you;
unfailing love, O Lord, is yours."
He is powerful and loving and He will give you a pathway you don't know is there. You can't figure this out. You can't fix this problem. You can't get out. But, GOD can get you out of this pit and set your feet on a rock.
Our comfort in our suffering are His promises.
"My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life."
Where do we find these promises?
In His Word.
We flee to Him for refuge. It is there we find HOPE.
"Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the HOPE that lies before us."
In this world, you WILL have trouble but take heart because Jesus has overcome the world. He does not delight in our suffering. He has gone to prepare a place for us where there is no more death, no more tears, no more suffering.
Thank you, God.
Thank you God that you can REDEEM all things.
Fear not... for I have REDEEMED you. I have summoned you BY NAME. You are mine.
That passage says we PASS THROUGH the waters and we PASS THROUGH the rivers.
My precious children are growing up.
My oldest is having a great year pitching. I made a video of him for my dad and my grandfather to watch since they can't come.
Reece Pitching 2 from Stephanie Blackiston on Vimeo.
He threw something crazy like 65 strikes that game. I am so thankful I got to be there. Our kids only have us at their games. And sometimes it is only one of us because the babies need to nap at home. We hire a babysitter to watch the little ones so we can both be there.
Life without family is painfully sad.
But those are our date nights now and we love it. Tim cheers (with a country accent ??) while I video. We hold hands while our stomachs are tied in knots before every pitch.
Bubba is doing well too. He has struggled some this year but got a triple in the last game that ended being the winning hit.
We have been praying about talking to the boys in more detail about purity as they have been in camps this summer. We haven't known what they would be exposed to and just pray God protects them. This is a hard issue as I want to preserve their innocence yet prepare them for the lifelong battle of purity. I also don't want some goofy 13 year old to give them false information about sex. "They" say their first information about sex leaves a mark. Tim and prayed for wisdom and talked one-on-one with the boys about God's design for marriage.
We talked about how God makes 2 people one and how COOL that is that Tim and I are no longer 2 people in God's eyes. We are one. That there will be a girl who will be a perfect fit for them if they wait on God to bring her into their lives. There is a workout place here called "The Rush" that has put up the WORST billboards on the interstate. It gets ON MY NERVES as a mother of 5 boys. We memorized Matthew chapter 6 a couple years ago. In that chapter it says,
"Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness."
That is why the enemy goes after EYES. If he can get your eyes, he can cause your entire body to be filled darkness. Yikes.
I was so thankful to be able to just sit and talk about basic truths and beauty and God's design for marriage with the boys. I am thankful we have been memorizing passages about this since they were 3 and 4 years old so they have a solid framework to put information in. We opened the door for conversation so they know they can come to us with any questions. It is so weird that I have boys old enough for this.
Tim and I look at each other during our 30 minute conversations at night (between 10:30-11:00) and try to figure out what is best for the kids. People ask me ALL the time how long we are going to keep homeschooling. My answer is, "as long as God leads and the children continue to thrive". We have no idea what we are doing or where God is leading. We love having the children home. They love being home and being together. The Abeka DVD program is AWESOME and so academically they are rocking it.
There is a house for sale that Tim and I are considering remodeling. I go from one extreme to the other. Part of me wants to have a project so I won't dwell on things I can't control. I have loved imagining a big kitchen and a big bunkroom for the boys. Looking at pretty paint colors and fun rooms on-line makes me HAPPY! No wonder we all love pinterest! Thinking on things that are "lovely" brings peace!
I love that this house we are looking at has a place for the boys to workout and play. I love the community.
But I also love our house and the simplicity of NOT having a project. I can talk myself into either choice but staying here would definitely be the EASIEST.
I wish HG TV would video it if we do it because this house is super cool and would make for a great show. If you have any connections, email me. It would be so fun to document it if we do it.
Tim and I want our kids to have the best childhood possible but that is dictated by love... not stuff. Houses can burn down. Love can't.
"Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love."
1 Cor 13
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal."'
The house would be awesome for ministry though. We will see. Yesterday, I decided NO WAY. The house looks like it was abandoned. The amount of work it needs is so overwhelming. But I like making things go from bad to good. I like to make things beautiful.
Because I am made in the image of God.
He does too.
That's why He sent His Son. To make YOU beautiful.
"He has made everything beautiful in its time."
To turn something abandoned and broken into something lovely.
God has a world-wide project. He is building His Church. One stone at a time.
My babies are growing. God is making them beautiful.
Tim had ANOTHER birthday this month. I told him I don't have to wish to grow old together anymore because we ARE growing old together. He is still my hunk. My prince. The passage that probably reminds me most of Tim is...
"When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”...Jesus said to them,“Come and have breakfast.”
Tim is constantly serving. He loves to cook for us. His entire life consists of serving me and the children. Don't feel sorry for him though. He finds joy in it. Just like Jesus must have when He cooked for the disciples.
But as great as he is, he can't be Jesus to me even when I expect him to be. I have been pressing in to the Lord so much lately. That is hard during suffering. My tendency is to pull away but I have chosen to stay vulnerable. I believe it is a choice just like Peter...
"From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Even when Peter did bail on Jesus, Jesus forgave him and restored him and gave him ministry. If that is you, run back to Jesus.
Our pastor (Wayne Barber) says "return to where you departed".
I understand the temptation to allow your heart to harden and become cynical. To not want to be vulnerable to the Lord or to people. I don't understand why bad things happen. But I know 2 things. God is powerful and He is LOVING.
He is our refuge. The place we FLEE. Our strong tower. Where our hope is found.
He will makes sense of it all one day.
If you don't know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you can right now.
Confess your sins, believe that He is the only way to be saved. You can't get there by good works. If you have sinned once, you are guilty of every sin. You can't clean yourself up and then approach God. You realize you are a mess and ask Him to clean you. Like the leper...
"A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
God wants to redeem you from the curse of sin. He wants to remodel YOU. He wants to make you beautiful and be WITH YOU as you pass through the waters and the rivers.
And, remember, we are PASSING THROUGH. No matter what it is. You are passing THROUGH it.
"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."