Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Storm is almost Gone.

Thank you so much for praying for our family... especially for Crew. This has been terrifying for me. I have never had a newborn sick... especially a newborn who struggled to breathe. My nerves are shot. My adrenaline is crashing and I just want to cry. I am still up most of the night with him as he has coughing fits that he can't seem to get out of. It is so sad. My heart breaks as I watch my little baby suffer. I could barely stand to look at his tiny tummy when his rib cage would show as he fought to breathe. I know this isn't a big deal compared to what some moms are going through. I have never seen suffering like this sweet momma, Courtney, is going through. Please pray her and her beautiful son, Tripp. I also have a dear friend, Sarah, who just lost her twin boys when she was 20 weeks pregnant.
 As hard as it is for us to watch family and friends suffer, I wonder how hard it much be for God to watch a WHOLE WORLD that He LOVES suffering. He knows this isn't the way it is suppose to be. Sin has wrecked everything.
I think we see the heart of Jesus in Scriptures like this one...
" A deaf man with a speech impediment was brought to him, and the people begged Jesus to lay his hands on the man to heal him.
 Jesus led him away from the crowd so they could be alone. He put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then, spitting on his own fingers, he touched the man’s tongue. 
 Looking up to heaven, he sighed
and said, “Ephphatha,” which means, “Be opened!”  Instantly the man could hear perfectly, and his tongue was freed so he could speak plainly!
 Jesus told the crowd not to tell anyone, but the more he told them not to, the more they spread the news.  They were completely amazed and said again and again, “Everything he does is wonderful. He even makes the deaf to hear and gives speech to those who cannot speak.”
Mark 7:31-37
He sighed.  It doesn't tell us why he sighed but I know He isn't impatient.

Those two words help me to draw close to Him during trial. He understands!
The boys and I are memorizing Isaiah 53. It says Jesus was a man of many sorrows and acquainted with suffering. He isn't a God who doesn't understand. He CAN relate to us. He hurts with us. He SIGHS with us. He understands.
But, He also heals.
He may not heal all our diseases but He can definitely use them for beauty and glory.  ASK Him to heal you. To heal your marriage. To heal your soul. To heal your body... whatever is sick.
You never know if He will say yes. And His timing is perfect &
Everything He does is WONDERFUL.
I have been thinking a lot about Christmas and how Jesus left heaven to come here in a baby's body. What love. That He would leave heaven for us. Taking the very nature of servant. Being made in human likeness. He humbled Himself.   (Philippians)
I have been reminded that just as He came once, He is coming again.
There were prophecies. There were signs. There were people who were ready and people who weren't. There were people who looked for Him and people who didn't.
He is the only way to heaven. There is no other way to God other than through Jesus Christ, this mysterious baby born in a manger.
 If you do not know Jesus Christ, today is the day you can repent of your sins and enter into the greatest love story ever told. You do not know how much time you have left. Do not reject His Proposal to come away and be His Bride any longer.
"My beloved speaks and says to me: "Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away"
Song of Solomon 2:10
His love is better than anything you are hanging on to.
His love is better than LIFE.
"Because your love is better than life..."
Ps 63:3
He came once as a baby in a manger. He is coming again as a warrior with fire in His eyes...
As our Jealous Husband. 
 But you first have to accept His proposal.
(*Single girls- it is the love of Jesus you want, not the love of a man.)

His Second Coming will look very different than His first:
 "I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.  His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns."
Rev 19:11,12
Ask Him to forgive you of your sin and give Him your life.
He is worthy of our all.
There is no fence. The fence makes Him puke. :)
 "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth."
Rev 3:16
He knows you can't possibly change. He knows you can't stop sinning without Him. That is why He gives us His Holy Spirit and His Word.  Just run to Him, today. Take your sin and all. Don't try and hide it. He knows. He loves us while we are sinners. He didn't come for the righteous... He came for us-SINNERS.

"But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners."
Romans 5:8
"On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Mark 2:17
I ran from God for years. I knew He was pursuing me but I thought the world had something better to offer. I decided I would give my life totally to Christ LATER... not now. I believed the lies of the enemy that God wanted to take from me- not give.
I was afraid of God. I believed He was mad at me-- only wanting to punish me for the years I had ignored His calling on my life. It was when I OPENED THE BIBLE and realized His great love for me, that I was brought to my knees in surrender.
Beautiful surrender.
Funny how when we surrender, all of heaven opens and forgiveness, grace, and blessings rain down.
It is then that we walk through the wardrobe doors into a world we never knew existed.  A world where we are the Beloved Bride of the King (of Kings!) and have been given super powers to demolish evil...
 and keys to unlock prisoners.
"to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness."
Is 42:7
When we finally begin to live and to do what we were created to do...
"for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."
1 Cor 1:7
You are invited. You aren't forced. You don't have to go. If you don't have a relationship with Christ, it isn't because He doesn't love you. It is because YOU DON'T LOVE HIM.
Respond to Him tonight and walk through the "spiritual wardrobe" as God opens you eyes to a whole new world full of forgiveness & purpose-
I am going to be hosting a conference call Bible Study for anyone who wants to learn more about life with Christ, studying the Bible, etc. It is perfect for a new Christian or for someone who wants to learn how to disciple a new Christian. You just call in and listen. No childcare necessary and No reason at all to be nervous. We will go through a 9 week workbook together. Jennie Edwards (Uh-mazing girl), Mellette Johnson (Uh-mazing girl), and I will take turns leading the calls. You don't want to miss this! It will start on Sunday nights some time in January. Write me for details.
I have done this before with some of you. It has been so exciting to watch all God has done in the lives of the girls who have been a part of one of these in the past.
A couple random last things I wanted to write about.
A friend of ours who heads a ministry to men struggling with addictions said that almost every time a man is in the program struggling with sexual sin, it all started with Victoria's Secret.
Be careful about having the magazines in your house. Protect your husband and sons.
 Cancel the magazines, girlfriends.
Some ideas I have been thinking about in order to help my kids find Jesus in all the madness of Christmas...
1. The Christmas tree being in the shape of a triangle-relating it to the trinity.
And that Jesus Christ died on a tree for our sins.
2. The lights on the tree and houses- sharing with them that Jesus is the Light of the World!
3. The Candy Cane-  White reminding us that Jesus lived a life without sin because we couldn't & our sins have been washed away/white as snow! Red for His blood shed instead of ours. And, by HIS STRIPES we are healed. Candy Canes are also in the shape of a "J".
4. The Star on the tree as a reminder of the sign of the Messiah. And that the Word says Jesus was the Creator of all the stars and knows them each by name.
5. Hang FRUIT on your tree and talk about "bearing fruit" on our trees for Jesus.
"...in order that we might bear fruit to God."
Rom 7:4
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last."
John 15
"He will be like a TREE planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."
Jer 17:8
6. Feasts and family gatherings as a reminder of the great Banquet in heaven that we have to look forward to with our HUGE family. :)
Life is crazy around here. I lost total control of everything while Crew has been sick. God has helped me regain some control today and yesterday. It is so funny how my emotions can swing so quickly from
"Tim, we are in too deep- way over our heads! We are failing at everything. We are losers. :("
"honey, we had a GREAT day in homeschool. Having 5 kids isn't that hard after all. :)"

I have learned that raising children is a MARATHON- not a sprint. Just have to keep my eyes on Jesus the author and FINISHER of my faith... and theirs. (Heb 12:2)
Having a large family is HARD WORK. But, it is so SO worth it.
God has richly blessed us.
"but whoever loses his life for me will find it."
Mark 16:25
Be Blessed~


Anonymous said...

oh, I just love you -- ever grateful for every word you share!

b in va

Erin Southwell said...

steph, i am so glad that crew is on the mend. i can't even begin to imagine how scary the past week has been for you.

i want to do conference call again, it is so encouraging.

love to you guys, e