Thursday, December 28, 2017

Growing Old Together

I joke with Tim that when I told him I wanted to grow old together, I never thought it would actually happen! Well, it is happening!!!
And I am SO thankful to be by his side every step of the way and every season of life.
I fall more in love with him every day.

Today is my birthday. I don't look forward to birthdays much anymore. I just can't believe how OLD I am! I still feel like I am in my 20s. I think because I gave my life to Christ at 20 and that was the most significant event of my life. It's like my heart and soul will always be 20. So, if we go by spiritual birth years, I AM 20. I remember the day after I gave my life to Christ, the sky was bluer, the grass was greener. Everything was alive. Not just me... creation was vivid and the Word of God became ALIVE and began speaking to me.
How I wish I would have walked with the Lord all of my days. Someone asked me recently, "aren't you glad you had that time of rebellion because it makes you who you are?". "NO WAY!". I would take it all back in a second. I squandered away so much time and missed years of walking with Jesus. God didn't need my sin to make me who I am. That sin grieved His heart.
This morning as I woke up beside my prince-in-real-life, feeling my baby girl kick, hearing Worth sing through the monitor, and hearing fast footsteps around the house... I was overwhelmed with all the LIFE God has given me. He truly did come so that we may have ABUNDANT life. 
That (Zoe) life begins in us when we accept Christ as our Savior and then continues for all of eternity. My life is no longer my own, it is Christ's. I was created by Him and for Him. 
The verse that popped in my head this morning was "the steadfast love of the Lord NEVER ceases".
Memories of my life began swirling in my mind and the one theme through it all was God's steadfast love. He loved me WAY before I loved Him. He was/is faithful when I am not because that's just WHO HE IS... Faithful and True.

Some things I have learned over the years:

1. There is nothing better for spiritual growth than reading/memorizing Scripture every day. Reading books written by man and listening to sermons by man should be about 5% of your "spiritual food pyramid". If you read books, blogs, listen to podcasts twice as much (or more) than you read your Bible, you are not spiritually healthy. Go "organic" and get rid of the processed foods. Throw them away and commit to spending time with the Lord everyday allowing the Holy Spirit to teach you.

"I have not turned aside from Your ordinances,

For You Yourself have taught me."

Ps 119:102

2. The Pudendal Block is the best way to have a baby. Believe me, I have tried it all.

3. There is no formula to raising children. Most people either duplicate how they grew up without thinking about it or err too far on the other direction. For instance, I know people who were homeschooled who think homeschooling is the worst thing you could ever do so they put their kids in school trusting that will have a better "result". Or people who went to public school decide to homeschool because surely that will produce godliness, right? I do not believe there is a "right way". Every "way" has different pitfalls.  I think there are wiser ways but if you are trusting in any system other than Christ, it won't work. The beautiful thing about parents who walk with Christ is that He leads SPECIFICALLY in each family. Don't be led by fear or by others, be led by Christ as you shepherd over your children. I just knew our oldest was going to go to school this year and as we prayed and sought the Lord, He clearly led us that it was His plan to keep homeschooling him. I was so encouraged by the involvement of the Lord in that decisions because it is HARD and scary to know what to do. But now we can move forward by faith and with confidence because God directed us by His Spirit! God has a plan for your kids life. Ask, seek, and knock and He will show you what to do! I, personally, have LOVED having my children home. Yes, it is hard. Yes, some homeschooled kids are socially strange. But so are some kids who go to school. The bottom line is POUR GOD'S WORD into your children no matter what education you choose. Disciple them, pray for them... love them with all you've got. We don't know how long we get to keep them this side of heaven. 

4. My identity has to be in Christ, not motherhood. It isn't healthy for me or anyone around me if I find my identity through my calling to be a mother. Jesus has to be my true vine or I will suck the life out of everyone around me.

5. If you don't walk with the Lord, you will be manipulative and controlling. When you trust the Lord to be your portion, you don't obsess and try to control people, things, and money. James says where there is envy and selfish ambition, there is all kinds of other sins. 

"For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice."
James 3:16

6. It is not love to hide someone's sin. Whether that is in marriage or friendship. True love goes in to rescue. It doesn't help operate the prison cell.

7. Adultresses are REAL. They are lurking/ticking time bombs. The two biggest roots to being an adultress are unconfessed sexual sin and/or it has been modeled to you from your family. If you have those seeds in your heart, beg God to forgive you and free you from being controlled by adultery. Otherwise, you are a ticking time bomb. Adultresses don't find true love outside of their marriage or in someone else's... they find someone with a matching "spiritual magnet" and are drawn together by sinful gravity. We have a friend whose step mom had an affair with the only other man within 100 miles when they lived on an Indian reservation for a brief time. It's gravity toward sin. An adulteress and adulterer will find each other and build a life on sin. 
It is NOT love. It will ultimately destroy your soul and the souls around you. If you are struggling in your marriage or with lustful thoughts, get help. If you have a history of sexual sin and have never truly asked the Lord to forgive you, RUN TO HIM in humility. He can make you white as snow and CLEAN (1 John 1:9). If you come from a history of adultery and divorce, ask God to free you from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers (1 Peter 1:18). Start a new legacy of integrity and faithfulness for your children. Jesus Christ can break the chains or generational sins. 

8. Serving in the Church brings life and health and purpose! Get involved in a Bible teaching Church. You will thrive and so will your children. If your Church isn't teaching the Word, find one that is. There will always be a healthy spring of clean water. God is actively building His Church and watching over it. We were created to be a part of the family of God! We each have gifts to be used together to help His KINGDOM COME and HIS WILL BE DONE!!!

9. The "holistic movement" is gaining momentum and can quickly turn into New Age religion/self-absorption. I have seen people drift so far into weirdness when it comes to this stuff. Food becomes an idol. Health becomes an idol. Before you know it, you are worshipping something that cannot save and into hypnotism and eventually witchcraft. I am all about some healthy eating but stay out of the dangerous ditches. I have seriously seen this cost people their LIVES. Tim and I are purposing to get healthier in 2018 because our bodies are God's temple and we want to be able to serve Him in greater ways! Just use discernment in this area or you will get duped by something that looks safe but isn't.

9.  How many babies should we have? Again, there is no formula. God specifically leads in each couple. God led us to have a vasectomy reversal after number 6. Talk about scary!!! But God has blessed our obedience and has given us two children we would have never known. Pray, fast, and know that it has 99% to do with the spiritual strength of your husband and your marriage.
Pray for your man. He is your biggest ministry. God can/does change hearts. 
"And He will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers"
Mal 4:6

You don't have to manipulate anything (re-read #5). :)
Let your husband lead you in this area and trust God.
 Don't have babies just to have babies. Have children to raise up the next generation of leaders in the Church. It is so incredibly hard but Tim and I know God has called us to this. Just like He calls missionaries to the jungle. I think it is a specific calling and we have NO IDEA why God chose us for this. We are incapable apart from His empowerment to do what He has called us to do. If you choose to have one child, raise him/her in the Lord! If you choose to have 10 kids, raise them in the Lord! There is freedom in Christ. 
No condemnation. 
No competition. 
Just follow Christ where He leads you! It is a delicate balance of wisdom and FAITH!

10. God will be faithful. He will protect us from every evil attack and lead us safely home. Evil attacks come and I have seen that they come in groups or "arrows". Stand firm. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Don't speak to the enemy. Speak to Christ who has authority over him and all of his tactics to destroy. Hide behind your shield of faith and ask God for an upgraded/bigger shield as you take new ground. 
Be alert. Don't take anything that alters your ability to discern or react in the spiritual realm. We are in a war. I believe the final battles. Don't grow weary. Soon, we will be seeing Jesus face-to-face... laying our crowns at His feet. 

I am still learning and still seeking wisdom above all.
I am failing daily and clinging to God's grace.
Be encouraged.
He will never fail you. 
The steadfast love of the Lord NEVER fails!

Now that Christmas is over, I am counting down to the birth of our precious daughter.
I have prepared a place for her. 
I have decorated it and now I wait! 
Just like Christ does for us!
I bought her and hope some coordinating outfits (what a dream!).
I stare at her ultrasound pictures.
I rock in her rocking chair dreaming of holding her.
I savor every kick as this will be our last.
Our quiver is now full. 
Extra full. :) 
FULL of world changers who individually need to be loved, taught, and cherished.


Her name comes from two verses...

"You shall be a CROWN OF BEAUTY in the hand of the LORD,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God."
Is 62:3

 bestow on them a CROWN OF BEAUTY instead of ashes, 
Isaiah 61:3

I wish my dad was here to see her and hold her.  He loved children.
 I miss him and my grandparents every day. 
I can't wait to be with them again.
I miss hearing my grandfather's voice and him praying for my family.
I miss his example in the faith.
I miss his kindness.
How I pray I take the torch that has been handed down to me and RUN.


I hope you are encouraged. 
If you need prayer, write me!  

I can't do much right now but I can PRAY!

Much love from one weary momma determined to hold on to Jesus with all her might.
Knowing it is really Him holding on to me with a hand that will NEVER let go.


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