How I miss blogging on a regular basis! Life is so wonderfully full. We are juggling school, baseball, ministry, marriage, and all that it takes to keep a family of 8 healthy. I feel like I spend most of my days going in circles because there is so much to be done, I never know where to start.
My baby is so busy. Like, I need a full-time person to watch him. He loves toilets and to just GO... anywhere... by himself. So I chase him or ask a kid to chase him every minute. He is outgrowing his morning nap so I am in trouble! Life was easy when he slept most of the day but he is growing up & not needing as much sleep!!
I am in a sweet season. A very peaceful one. Last year was the worst year of my life. But God was with me and I am so thankful that He walks with us through every season. It felt like I was walking through all the bad verbs in this passage last year...
"For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace."
Now, I feel like I am experiencing all the happy verbs in that passage. Praise God for
a time to HEAL, a time to BUILD UP, a time to LAUGH, a time to DANCE, a time to MEND, a time to LOVE, a time to SPEAK, etc..
I don't know if you are going through a LONG hard season where laughter and joy feel foreign but you will laugh again! You will dance again! You will heal and mend!
How? because our God is a HEALER.
I got to teach last weekend at a DARLING Church in Mississippi and one of the teachings was on HEALING. Well, actually it was titled "Intimacy in Relationships" but as I prepared, I realized that we cannot have intimacy in relationships until we have been healed of past wounds. ONLY GOD CAN DO THAT. We have to take our wounds to Him! Believing that He can heal us and make us whole again. Able to love FREELY again. Able to be vulnerable again.
I don't want to love from a wounded heart. I don't want to love my husband and my children with a love that holds back. I don't want to love PEOPLE with a love that holds back. All because of wounds that God can heal! And, here is the deal... HURT PEOPLE TRULY DO HURT PEOPLE. We need God's healing touch so we don't hurt others.
I praise God for the healing work He is doing in my life. Sometimes I can just feel Him doing it. He pours His ointment right into our wound and it starts to develop new BABY SKIN. The infection and the sore doesn't hurt as bad. Like when you break your ankle and after 6 weeks, you get your cast off. It doesn't hurt like it used to. God can do that with your heart if you ask Him to.
I love serving God and speaking to younger girls. It is hard for me to leave home though. My heart is here. God has given me the heart of a HOMEMAKER. I know some moms feel like they need to go outside their homes to fulfill their calling. I'm not judging... I just DON'T. I told Tim that I have never felt more like I-AM-DOING-EXACTLY-WHAT-I-WAS-CREATED-TO-DO than when I am pregnant and when I am home teaching my kids the Word. I know God gave me that desire so I am not bragging. He gave me the heart of a mother. I didn't have that before He re-created me. I am so thankful God creates us and then He re-creates us.
I had just gotten home from the beach the night before. We sold our (rental) beach condo and had to go get our personal stuff out of it. Hope and I were very sad about it. I loved it there. It has been a refuge for us all. I feel close to the Lord there. We have had it for 8 years.
8 years... since Lake was a baby.
Since I started blogging!
Here are some old pictures...
So... here we are. 8 YEARS LATER.
Packing up and getting all of our things out. Thanking God for all the memories and time we had there. Holding everything loosely... except for what matters:
God's Word, the gospel, and people.
We went and made a plate to remember out last trip.
Packed up our favorite things...
and enjoyed our last trip there...
My sweet Hope....
She has been the biggest challenge for me as a mother so far. I don't know how to raise a daughter. I feel like I have *kind of* figured out boys.
Hope came into this world bright-eyed and ready.
She loves life. She loves people.
She gets in trouble a lot.
But, she has been getting in less and less trouble and we have really seen God softening her heart. I have always said that God is tempering us both at the same time.
She is a joy to me but her ENTIRE BODY wants to do the wrong thing most of the time.
I was teaching her brothers the Bible. They were not paying attention and getting in loads of trouble. That's when Hope snuck in the bathroom and chopped a huge CHUNK out of her hair. I didn't know it for a while until she climbed up on the bed where we were. I seriously almost HAD A HEART ATTACK when I looked at her.
I was so sad, mad, shocked, stunned, and wondering what on earth she could have been thinking!!! I sent her to her room where she got in big trouble and I asked her...
"Why did you do that?"
She said, "I thought it would be fun."
I said, "We are going to have to cut ALL your hair that short now."
She said, "Maybe I could get a wig?"
So, she started to cry. She didn't want to cut her hair. She LOVES long hair. No more braids. I think she realized she did a really dumb thing. Her brothers didn't love it either and what they think REALLY matters to her since they are her heroes. She started to cry and cry and cry. We tried to figure out how to hide it...
But there was no way we could hide it for 2 years while it grew back!!!!
I couldn't cover this one up for her.
She told her brothers
"It's ok if you don't say you like it. I don't like it either."
She knew her sneaky decision hadn't turned out like she thought.
So she sat there sobbing.
I was so aggravated. I thought to myself, "Lord, I am trying so hard to teach the boys the Word. It is HARD. I feel so defeated.
Her crazy hair is just evidence of that."
Then the Holy Spirit began to show me what He was doing as I looked at my daughter in her brokenness over her sin. He showed it to her every time she looked in the mirror.
I began to explain to her God's love and forgiveness and that we all need a new heart that only Jesus can give us. We need a heart that wants to do what is RIGHT instead of what is wrong. She was tracking with me. I mean really tracking. That is what she wanted... A new heart. I asked the boys to go get Tim. Tim came and I told him what was going on. He wrote the gospel out in picture on the chalk board. He put a door on the Cross and told her that Jesus was the DOOR and the only way to God. She GOT IT. She understood. We were following the lead of the Holy Spirit.
We told her how much God loved her but she needed a Savior... like the rest of us.
She said she was ready to give her life to Jesus and get a new heart.
She proceeded to pray the most beautiful prayer. I wish I had written it down. I know she asked for forgiveness and I will never forget her saying,
"God, I want to be on YOUR team."
“Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me,
and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.
We were all face-down with her. Even her younger brother, Crew, was there. Tim and I prayed over her. I asked the Holy Spirit to fill her and help her walk with God. Her brothers welcomed her into the family of God. They were so proud of her. They love her so much and I am excited to watch their relationship blossom through Christ.
I realized that, if I had known, I would have stopped her from cutting her hair. Yet, she needed to know her NEED for a Savior. God used His Word to expose her heart and convict her. It wasn't a controlled environment on my end but I believe God was in total control.
We told her that God had given her a new HEART and a new haircut as a reminder.
He truly does have to cut back our hearts. He just happened to cut back her hair too as a picture of what happened in her heart.
"And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart."
"It's the mark of God on your heart, not of a knife on your skin"
I was so thankful that God was teaching her such big things at a little age. LIKE THE TIME SHE HID FROM US AT MAGIC KINGDOM AND GOT LOST when she had just turned 3. She was lost in the crowds, in the dark, for about 20 minutes. It was every parent's worst nightmare. She thanked God every night after that... that when she was LOST, He found her.
Because she could have been 16 coming home with a positive pregnancy test while our jaws hit the floor. The answer to WHY?? would be the same... "I thought it would be fun". Now, I am going to have to walk out the consequences. I am thankful God taught her a lesson with hair that will grow back. That what may seem like fun for 1/2 of a second can have lasting consequences.
She said, "Everyone will think I am a different person with short hair."
I said, "YOU ARE A DIFFERENT PERSON".
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
2 Cor 5:17
I prayed and asked God to be merciful with her hair to somehow salvage it and HE DID! She is so cute with her fun new haircut.
I think she has a new radiance. The old was truly cut away and the new has come.
"I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation."
2 Cor 6:2
She wants me to tell everybody that God gave her a new heart yesterday. She even wanted me to tell the checkout lady at the used book store. I thought I was evangelical. I think I met my match yesterday :). I encourage you, mommas, to talk to your children about the Lord. USE THE BIBLE. Follow the lead of the Spirit. He may let them mess up to see they need Him. 4 of our children have received salvation.
Reece was 5. Evan was 4. Lake was 5. Hope is 5.
Children have FAITH. We over-complicate things.
The key is daily discipleship and teaching them to know God and His Word.
Hope won't be perfect. She will mess up. But I hope she remembers what I told her over and over yesterday.
"OUR GOD IS A FORGIVER".
Hope says God gave her a new haircut along with her new heart.
I love her SO much.
Do you have a new heart?
Is He showing you your need for a Savior too?
God can give you a new heart today.
Hope Louise Blackiston
Born on 2-13-2010
RE-born on 4-29-2015
"Salvation belongs to the Lord."