Friday, December 26, 2008

His Wonderful Light

We are headed home from our time in Michigan. We are so thankful for the time we got to spend with Tim’s family. We ate way too much AMAZING food (recipes to come), laughed, played the player piano, cried about God’s goodness to each of us, celebrated the birth of Jesus, sledded down hills so big that I couldn’t even scream I was going so fast, watched movies, opened presents, drank coffee, snuggled under the warm electric blankets, watched the fire crackle in the fireplaces, and just savored every second of being together. It really is like a dream having such wonderful family on both sides.
On Christmas Eve, we had a birthday party for Jesus. We had a strawberry cake- red representing the blood that He shed for us and white icing representing the righteous and sinless life that He lived in our place. We put candles on top in the shape of a Cross. This all kind of accidentally fell into place as we were thinking of how to help the boys understand the true meaning of Christmas. It will definitely be our family tradition from now on. It was so great to stop and focus during such a busy season.
Over the past 6 months, I have seen a change in Reece… a hunger to know God... A tenderness very genuine when He prays or talks about the Lord. It has been so awesome to watch God doing a work in his little heart.
After the party celebrating Jesus, he told us that he wanted to give his heart to Jesus. We talked with him about it and then asked him if he wanted to pray and do it then. He said, “no, I want to give my heart to Jesus as a present for Him tomorrow…on His birthday”. These words may seem insignificant to you but I am telling you, they were some of the most amazing words I have ever heard. He knew this was a significant decision and it was one he had thought through. On Christmas day, Tim and I went with him downstairs alone and talked with him about what it meant to give your heart to God. We really wanted to make sure that this was an authentic desire and that the understanding was there about what it means to be a Christian. We held hands and prayed with him. His words were so innocent, so faith-filled… so amazing to hear. He said, “Jesus, I really, really want to give you my heart. Please come and live in my heart. Help me to obey You and love people”. I was stunned with thankfulness to God. I have prayed that God would draw my children to Himself at young ages and that they would hunger and thirst for Him… that they would “get it” early and be warriors for Christ. Sitting with Tim holding Reece’s hands and hearing his words will be one of my memories on my death bed. I know that this is just the first step in Reece’s journey to follow Christ. He is such a little leader and will make a big impact in the lives of his little brothers. I am just blown away by the realness of God. I know that He was in that room, hearing those words and that the angels were celebrating.
There are different thoughts about ages of accountablity and things like that. All I know is that “God preserves the simple at heart “. I trust God that He is good and reveals Himself to children in ways we may never know. It was ‘time’ for Reece and I am so excited that he responded to the call of God on his life. It was plainly a work of the Holy Spirit drawing Reece to HImself. I do want to create the best environment possible so that my children hear His voice when He calls them by name. This is their decision, their response. Just like it was mine. It has to be a work of God or none of it matters- its just empty words. So, that was definitely the highlight of my Christmas.
When Tim and I were on our honeymoon, I was just crying and crying during my quiet time asking God why He had blessed me so much… I couldn’t believe that God had given Tim to me. It was so much bigger than any dream I had ever had. I felt so humbled that God had given me a Christian husband after I had prayed, hoped and waited…. (But never really believed something like this!) That morning in Maui, I was reading straight through the Bible and was in Malachi. After I had finished asking God why He had been so good to me in giving me Tim, I opened my Bible and read…
“Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because He was seeking godly offspring.” Malachi 2:15
I knew at that moment, that God had a bigger picture. I felt like God had given me a glimpse into the future and that future involved our kids. I had not even started thinking of children. We had only been married for a matter of hours. I felt like the Lord was saying, I have a plan that is much bigger than you. I have a plan for you, your marriage… and for your children.
I had a flashback of that Maui morning while holding Reece’s little hand in front of the fireplace and listening to his words.
I am not saying our family is perfect or that we are perfect. We are shockingly imperfect. It is astonishing how God uses imperfect people to accomplish His perfect plans. But, just as God has a plan for us and our children…. So He does for you and your family! He summons YOU by name. He desires for you and your children to know Him and be loved by Him. He has a perfect plan for YOU.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood…a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
I love that…. “out of darkness and into His wonderful light”.
Be blessed~ Steph


gillian said...

what an incredible Christmas present! thanks for sharing!

Stephanie said...

I just stumbled across your blog. And I'm so glad I did. It is a real blessing to read about your family as you serve the Lord. God is real. And good.

lots_of_love_four_kids said...

Hey Steph!

So glad to hear that you had a wonderful Christmas. What an awesome story about Reece. What a blessed time for all of you.

I hope that your drive home was safe and that you are feeling well. Take care friend!
Love, Jenni

Angela said...

WOW!! I am sitting here crying like a baby! That is so amazingly wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a safe trip home and can't wait to see you on Sunday! :)

Nicole said...

First of all that was a wonderful story and I know you and Tim are so proud!!!

Second I know you hate this stuff but I tagged you on my definately have one of the best blogs that I love reading!!!

Mary T said...

I'm crying like a baby, too. This is beautiful! What a precious moment and a blessed memory. Reading this is something I will always remember, too.

Alicia said...

What great pics from your trip to Michigan! It sounds like you have had a wonderful time. I'm picturing you having the traditional White Christmas that you find in the old movies or in Christmas songs about sitting around the fire, enjoying the snow outside, and being with family.
HOW PRECIOUS and WONDERFUL that Reece has given his heart to the Lord at such a young age, and you all will never forget his spiritual birthday. I was just thinking about what would be the greatest gift one could give to Jesus, and that would be their heart. Welcome to the family of God, Reece!

The Sandefurs said...

As the mother of 2 boys, I love the story of your son, giving his heart to Jesus. I cannot wait till that day with my babies.

Be blessed today....