Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"I will take hold of your hand"

"I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand." Is 42:6

"Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand" Ps 73:23

"For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." Is 41:13

I saw Hope reach out for Tim's hand while we were at the beach and God spoke very clearly to my heart. I saw the love, trust, and adoration of a daughter reaching out for her Father's hand. It reminded me of my relationship with God. Especially right now in my life.
I am so nervous about God's calling on my life to raise these children to know Him. I know I can't do it in my own strength. I am UNABLE.
It is only by His strength and ability.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
John 15:5
This is a picture of our love relationship with God. We have to respond to His love and protection. We have to reach out our hands in recognition of our total dependence on Him.
He is faithful to help us and He is a Father who is so attentive to His children.
Overly protective. Abounding in love. Waiting for us to come.
He will not force you into relationship with Him. He has proven His love to you through the cross and His pursuit of you since your conception but you have to respond to such a great love and slip your hand into His.
He loves you. He will help you. He will keep you safe.
Reach out your hand.
He determined the exact time and place where you should live so that your hand would reach out for His. He is faithful and true and desiring that you come to Him today. He knows your sin and He still loves you. He wants to forgive and begin a relationship with you.
 "From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.  God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us."
Acts 17:26,27

I just put Hope down for her morning nap. The boys are upstairs in their room building a city out of big boxes and pillows and blankets. I have had so many things on my heart I want to blog about but my days are so full now with homeschool and sports and laundry, it is hard to find time to sit down and write. I am in my last weeks of pregnancy now. My tummy is getting BIG. My baby boy is moving a lot (praise the Lord!) and is in the head-down-ready-to-pop-out position according to the last ultrasound. I am starting to have random contractions. Some are strong. My pelvic bones are starting to ache because they are shifting.  I can't go on my morning walks any more because it makes my back hurt for some reason. So, reality of giving birth to a 5th baby is sinking in. I am starting to get very anxious. I have been "nervous baking". It helps me keep my mind off of things and I love to make desserts. Yesterday, I made homeade apple pie and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. Both of them were delicious. I can get lost in baking a yummy dessert.
For those of you who have followed my blog for a long time, you remember Hope's birth story. No doctor, no medicine. I still have PTSS from that. I am constantly asked, "Sooooooooo...... are you going to go natural again?". Ughhh. I just don't know. I don't want an epidural because of a botched spinal tap I had a few years ago that caused me to have a spinal headache and patch procedure to fix the hole that it left in my spine. That was excruciating and took months to heal. So, I am leaning toward natural again. My OB told me there is a shot called a pudendal block that is a shot that is given in the final stages of labor to ease the pain of delivery. I don't know if I want that either! (I just googled info about that and saw a picture of how and where that shot is injected. Check it out and tell me if you would want it! LOL) There really is no easy way out of delivering a baby. We will see what happens as I get closer to D day. Should be exciting. EEKS.
I have been having a lot of anxiety about delivery and about having 5 children with no family here.  Tim's parents are retired and live in Michigan. We see them about once a year and they just aren't involved with the children. My parents live 3 hours away. My mom is retired now so we get to see her once every 2 or 3 months. My kids are very close to her. She just spent 2 weeks with us at the beach. My dad is still very busy with his company and I am hoping he gets to retire some day soon.  Mom is going to help me with homeschool for a while after the baby is born. She was an elementary school teacher forEVER so this is a huge blessing to us.

Tim and I have become a great team. We have learned to depend heavily on each other since there is no one else to depend on. He is VERY involved. He does so much around the house and with the boys. I laughed last night watching him coach 2 soccer teams while holding Hope. She wants to be with him so he just picked her up and was running up and down the field coaching while carrying her. She loved it and I fell in love with him all over again. He is an amazing husband/father. He sacrifices so much for us.

We know this is our family and God has called US to raise the children so He will give us the strength to do it. But, when I think about meeting the needs of 5 children, I get very overwhelmed. Not with meeting their physical needs but DISCIPLING them and teaching them the Word of God.
There are 2 passages that are really ministering to me these days.
"This is what the LORD says—
he who made you, who formed you in the womb,

For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
 They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
like poplar trees by flowing streams.
 One will say, ‘I belong to the LORD’;
another will call himself by the name of Jacob;
still another will write on his hand, ‘The LORD’s,’"
Is 44:2-5

It helps me realize that His burden is light and His yoke is easy! That, yes, I must be diligent to teach my children but that HE IS THE ONE who pours out His Spirit on our children. He is the One Who pours water into their thirsty hearts and causes them to spring up like grass in a meadow and trees by flowing streams.
God encouraged my heart yesterday when Reece began teaching Lake scripture. I wanted to cry as I watched my oldest child disciple his younger brother with joy and determination.
It is God's desire and plan that our children know Him and walk with Him. OF COURSE, He will help us!
I was reminded that God will help me meet their needs and that He will do it in surprisingly beautiful ways.
I read this passage from Isaiah 44 to the boys and they have been writing "The Lord's" on their hands. It is a powerful reminder for all of us. You may want to do that today. Write "The Lord's" on the back of your hand. To remember Who you belong to and Who will help you do whatever it is He is calling you to do.
Tim asked me how he could help me and I asked him if he would start doing the boys' Scripture Memory with them in the mornings before work. This takes about 1 hour to an hour and a half so it would free me up to be able to teach them more new Scripture during school. I have been worried that I would not be able to continue teaching them the Word like I have been after the baby is born because I will be so tired for THE NEXT YEAR. Year 1 is very difficult for me. Sleep-deprivation and fatigue just about do me in.
 The past 2 mornings, Tim has been waking them up for "man time". They throw a sweatshirt on, jog to the end of the street to wake up and then sit on the back porch reciting their Scripture with their dad. Then, he makes them breakfast and they read their Bibles together and write down 5 verses that stood out to them. This all happens before 8 and I am still sleeping!
Wait for God to bring you a godly guy, girls- a man of character who loves God and His Word. It is worth the wait.

Another passage that spoke to me yesterday in homeschool while studying James is James 5:2-5
"Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near."

This speaks to me in many different ways. It is a great reminder in parenting to BE PATIENT. As we teach our children the Word we are to be like farmers and wait for the land to yield its VALUABLE crop. It will! Of course it will! We just must be hard-working farmers as we plant the seeds of the Word into the hearts of our children. God will provide the autumn and spring rains! Farmers are really patient if you think about it. No farmer would put seed down and in the same day or even week expect to see anything. He just plants, prays for rain, AND WAITS.  It is so easy for us as mothers to get discouraged thinking,  "THIS ISN'T WORKING. My kids just don't get it! This is too hard. Why am I not seeing results yet?????".
Pray for rain.
It also is such a beautiful reminder of the close return of Christ. I believe God has wanted every generation to think theirs would see His return. Why? Because 1 John says it is purifying! It keeps us holy. It keep us busy! It keeps us close to Him! Now, I believe with all my heart (based on fulfilled prophecy) that Christ's return is IMMINENT. I am so burdened as I watch the evil plan of the enemy unfold. I am burdened for our country especially with our current government leaders and the decisions that are being made that are stripping us of our GOD-given blessing and protection. I want to move to an island in the Caribbean and get my children out of harm's way because I believe we are about to see the judgement of God against our nation. I want to protect my children from the evil that is taking over but that is NOT what God has called us (as Christians) to do. We are to be lights and know that greater is He Who is in us than he who is in the world. We have been given weapons to demolish the enemy's plans and strongholds.
But, God judges sin and we are part of a very sinful, God-rejecting nation.  He has been so slow to anger with us but to see the blasphemy and the sin that is so prevalent, I believe His anger is mounting and I am fearful for people who do not know Jesus Christ or have respect for Him. I am specifically sad about the latest decision in our military regarding homosexuality.  May God have mercy on our country and may the gospel continue to go out in power through ministries like Franklin Graham and Greg Laurie. I pray God uses our family to spread the light of the gospel as well.
The only hope for our country is REPENTANCE. Not a new President. Although, I pray, by God's mercy, He gives us a leader who knows Him.
But, ME (US) repenting of my sin alone in my room and seeking the face of God is much more powerful than promoting a presidential candidate.
 It is "go time". Now is the time to repent of our sin and serve the Lord. Time is running out.
Run your races hard.
Repent from sin and serve the living God and maybe just maybe He will have mercy and heal our land.

"...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land"
2 Ch 7:14
"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done." Rev 22:12
We have not told many people our baby's name yet. We chose this name from a passage that I heard taught on in Isaiah...
"See, the Lord is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind;"
Is 66:15
I remember being in awe of the strength and power of Jesus Christ and what His return will be like...Total destruction of all His enemies and evil. Yet, how He speaks peace to us, His beloved ones. How can someone be so strong yet so loving and gentle? I loved thinking about His power and His love. It makes me feel so safe.
So, this baby's name means "chariot". Or, at least, that is what the baby name site said.
" He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind."
Ps 104:3
A chariot makes me think of the coming of royalty. Which is our blessed hope! The coming of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!
I know some people won't like this name so I am a little insecure about that but we love it and its meaning.
I also love this name because I pray that my children's generation will usher in the coming of Christ! WOW.
So, I have prayed that this little guy will be like John the Baptist. Preparing the way for Jesus Christ to come. Having an undivided heart to reach the lost and preaching the message of repentance in the last days. Our children are going to have to have an understanding of the Word and a resolve to obey for the days ahead that we haven't had to have. May we be faithful to equip them but it is the Lord's power that will give them victory!
"The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord"
Proverbs 21:31
I am almost done with the baby's room. It is SO peaceful. Tim just put a lamp together for me last night and I leave it on! Just waiting on baby now!
And I still need a mirror.:) I love decorating. I also love dressing Hope. I, seriously, have the best time dressing her every day. Her hair is getting thicker so her twigs are getting easier to put in. She takes them out so I am getting a lot of practice. She has a very fun personality. She loves sports, animals, and danger. LOL. She keeps us on our toes. Boot season is almost here (although I already broke her boots out!) and legwarmers! Oh, the fun of FINALLY getting to dress a girl.
The picture below of her cracks me up. No one would ever know what is really  happening in this picture....
She looks cute and girly and fun, right?
Well, when she sees bushes, she pulls up her dress LIKE HER BROTHERS DO WHEN THEY PEE-PEE!
Oh my goodness. I about died when I realized what she was doing. She is being raised by the wolves. LOL.

Be Blessed~


lots_of_love_four_kids said...

Thank you for blogging today. So many parts of your entry spoke to my SOUL and brought much needed tears. Thank you. -Jenni

Amy Jones said...

Wow - I am totally with you on the pudental block.

Anonymous said...

oh I just adore you - so inspiring! thank you.

this longtime elementary school teacher's gonna write those two words on her hand tomorrow...


Erin Southwell said...

Thank you so much Steph! For taking the time out of your busy day to share with all of us. Your testimony is such an encouragement. I have been listening to the His Proposal teachings from the Knoxville recordings. I just started to teach Sunday School to high school age students and it is a huge privilege and terrifying and I'm sure I am in over my head!

Love you and praying for a quick and safe delivery of "baby chariot" . . . I bet you get a GREAT sleeper this time around! Come on, you are so due!

Julie and Luke said...

Hope is gonna be one cool chick. (And she might be able to pee pee standing up!)

I love the Isaiah verses:
For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.

I am tattooing that to my soul.