God’s Gracious Guidance

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The March of Time

This little girl was the highlight of my February.  My sister Kristy and Emma came to Michigan for work purposes, and I got the joy of babysitting her a few days.

Spending time with my sister Kristy and her little girl Emma was a big highlight of my February. They came to Michigan for work purposes, and I got the joy of babysitting Emma a few days.

Time seems to march on ever so quickly, doesn’t it?!  Even with a long and lonesome, bitter cold, and rather snowy–the snowiest since I moved up here eight years ago–Michigan winter, which kept me home more often than not, the days have literally flown by.  Six months ago, when I first learned I was pregnant, never did I dream the days would go by so speedily. You see, today marks Week 31 of my pregnancy, leaving me just about two months away from my due date of May 31.

Now over the course of these six months, I’ve been through alot of stress between my first trimester food aversions, nauseousness, and increased anxiety issues to my second trimester midwife problems, but the Lord has been so gracious and kind to me throughout.  Not only has He continually assured me of His ultimate control over the life of this baby He is creating within me, but He has also so graciously and miraculously directed me to a “real” or old-fashioned midwife not submersed in and relying on or pushing the typical things of today’s “modern” medicine.

All of my problems began though with just “assuming” that hospital midwives were your typical midwives of the past–simple, natural, holistic, and not promotional or pushy as far as testings, shots, medicines, and such–but I was very wrong as I discovered too late.  So after my last dealing with one of today’s modern, medically-indoctrinated midwives in early January, I set out on a quest to find one of those rare relics of the past, if such a woman even existed however.

I was sad to see them go

I was sad to see them go, and Emma looks sad too.  I love that little girl so much.

Life Out of Death

Never did I imagine that I’d find my relic or my dream come true so soon after my quest began though and by way of a funeral of all things!  You see, back in early January, after my last midwife appointment, I called our local Child Evangelism director to seek new teaching materials for our Good News Bible Club over the winter.   Well, as we were talking, she mentioned that she had two funerals to attend over the next few days.

Thinking that was a bit unusual, I asked her who died, and much to my surprise, she said the first funeral file00020091143was for Penne, a very dear, sweet, radiant Christian lady I knew who had been struggling with cancer and whom I had been trying to keep track of as far as her health was concerned.

I initially met Penne at her small church I believe when I first moved back to Michigan in 2005, and then she turned out to be my neighbor after Micah and I got married in 2010.  Like me, Penne had a great heart for evangelism and children, so we even did a Good News Bible Club at her home for the neighborhood kids over the course of one fall.

I had not contacted Penne or her pastor’s wife, whom I am friends with, to check up on her in awhile though, but I had been meaning to, so it was truly divine providence that I learned of her death and was able to attend her memorial service on Saturday, January 11, held only a day or two after I found out.

At the luncheon following the service, however, I sat next to a girl named Amber, whom I had met before but only about once.  She was the relatively-new wife of a guy I knew from Penne’s church, and since Amber was pregnant as well, we started talking about pregnancy stuff and my midwife frustrations.  Amber then told me of her midwife and how she wanted to get together with me and Micah and go over some stuff seeing how she is heavily involved with natural medicine and childbirth.

So the following weekend Micah and I had Amber and her husband over for dinner which led to them inviting us to go with them to their next midwife appointment on Friday, January 24.  We went and talked to their midwife Jeannie for at least a good hour after their appointment, and I left feeling joyful and very much at peace for the first time.  I was just impressed with . . .

  • Her proficient knowledge and successful and extensive experience in delivering babies, both as a hospital nurse and as a midwife (She has delivered over 2,000 with rarely a problem!)
  • Her view of labor as a joyful, beautiful, and sacred experience, and thereby, her treating it, not as a dreaded, painful disease, but as a gift from God
  • Her calm and non-paranoid, non-pushy demeanor
  • Her common bond as a fellow follower of Christ

That night I could not help but want to seriously celebrate, and since then, I have been further reassured of Jeannie being the woman for us by her minimalistic, simple methods and mindset.  I mean, do you realize how weighed down our medical personnel  and system today are with the fear of getting sued or “covering themselves” so that they want to perform every test imaginable and warn you and treat you like a worst-case scenario?

To prove my point, remember my whole fear of my hypothyroidism early on due to the hospital midwife I initially went to wanting me to do everything from 1.) taking a chemical drug called Synthroid to 2.) having monthly $200 bloodwork tests done for my thyroid to 3.) finding a regular medical doctor to regulate my thyroid.  And all of this because I had “mild” hypothyroidism!  Do you know much money that would equal over the course of my pregnancy?  A lot!  The medical system seriously thinks they can charge or perform whatever they want on you because “Oh, medical insurance will take care of that!”  They easily forget that they we do have deductibles to meet which are not always low for everyone.

And on top of that, this hospital midwife added the emotional trauma of telling me my child could have “mental problems” if not treated.  Okay, what do you immediately think of when you hear those words?!  I don’t know about you, but for me, it meant “mental retardation” which no parent wants to hear.

But then I went to Jeannie for my first appointment on February 13 and showed her my bloodwork results, and how did she respond?  Basically, that I had nothing to fear because my thyroid was not “that” bad!  Wow, do you realize how much of our culture is driven by fear and darkness?  It’s so sad to think of how many lives are negatively affected and how much money is needlessly spent on things people do not really need.

Home Sweet Home

home-sweet-home-wonky-witch-needlecraft-counted-cross-stitch-chart-350x300Anyways, another way the Lord has been so gracious and kind is allowing me to do a home birth.  Yes, you heard me right . . . We are having my labor and delivery at home, Lord willingly, and it won’t be the first birth in our home as Micah’s youngest cousin was born in this house.

I never thought I’d be open to this route, especially with my first child, but that’s what Jeannie does and of course recommends.  After talking to her and several others though, I am more and more convinced and at peace that this is the way to go.

Jeannie has even assured me though that she is not a risk-taker and will send me to a hospital if need be, such as for delivering a breeched baby.  And thankfully, she can even tell before your labor if a hospital will be necessary.  She will also have an assistant mid-wife along to help which is good.

One really cool way though that God confirmed to me or gave me more peace about having a home birth is by having a very friendly lady, and a total stranger at that, stop me at the gym one morning.  I was about to walk my usual two to three miles on the track when she excitedly stopped me and commented on my “baby bump” and inquired about my pregnancy.

Come to find out, this sweet lady named Susan is a labor and delivery nurse for the very midwives I left at an area hospital.  When I told her I was going to potentially have a home birth with another midwife, she was wholeheartedly and enthusiastically supportive of it and said “they all” (I’m guessing she meant the hospital nurses) would recommend it.  Needless to say, I was shocked!

She went on to say how it has not been until the last 100 years that ladies started having hospital births and that I’d be totally fine.  What a confirmation from God that was for me that I was on the right path.  When I saw this lady again on another day, I curiously asked her why she recommended a home birth over a hospital birth seeing how she was a hospital nurse of all things.  She gave me the following reasons which I thought were so good and enlightening and some of the same ones that Jeannie gave me:

  • You are in a familiar, comfortable environment being that you are in your own home instead of a morbid hospital.  (Micah is thankful for this as he does not do well in hospitals himself.)
  • You have less risk of infection.  (Just this month I learned of a toddler who got a staph infection when he was born at a hospital three years ago and has not been doing well since then.  I had no idea such things happened.)
  • You don’t have doctors trying to rush you in labor and perform needless operations.
  • You don’t have nurses trying to give you IV’s or drugs you don’t need or want.

Now since we made this decision to have a home birth, it has not been easy to tell people as we’ve gotten mixed reactions and as we have seen childbirth can be such a sensitive issue.  While most have been very supportive, like my own parents and random people like this nurse, others have not been.  This has been very hurtful to say the least as we are doing this only because we feel that this is where God has led us personally and given us the most peace about.  We don’t condemn those who choose to have a hospital birth by any means as God equips and directs each of us differently.  I think so often it is easy to forget God works in vastly different ways in each of our lives, or in other words, He can’t be “put in a box.”

A Most Unusual Birthing Class

Moving on though, not knowing anything really about labor and delivery, Micah and I felt we should educate ourselves by taking a natural birthing class as I’d really like to go through this experience without any drugs as much as the pain people always talk about scares me.  I have heard that your after-birth recovery is so much better and quicker when you don’t use the drugs though.

So in later February, I asked Jeannie whom she’d recommend, and she told me of Pat, a Mennonite lady in the city right next to us of all things.  What a blessing as I was afraid she’d recommend someone farther away as Jeannie herself is in a city about an hour from us.

I called Pat the next day then and found her to be very refreshing–such a joyful, encouraging, knowledgable, and easy-to-talk-to woman of God–and once again, I felt very much at peace in the path God was taking us on.  Pat even said she could be our doula, a woman trained to assist another woman during childbirth.  This brought me much comfort as it was recommended to me to have a doula, especially at your first birth, and as Pat lives much closer to me than Jeannie does and could be at my home in the matter of 15 minutes.

Shipshewana, a big Amish community, has always been a favorite place for me to visit.

Shipshewana, a big Amish community, has always been a favorite place for me to visit.  While the Amish live radically-different lives than modern society, they are a much more relational and probably content people because they are removed from the technology, materialism, and conveniences of today.  While I’d never want to be Amish, I think their close ties with family and friends is especially wonderful!

Now what is so interesting about our childbirth class is that we are meeting at the home of a young, very kind Amish couple in Shipshewana, Indiana, about an hour from our home.  Pat told us she could meet us at our home or at their home, and we opted for theirs because how often do “the English” (the non-Amish)  get to interact with the Amish?!  Some people may think it strange, but I’ve found it to be rather exciting and interesting.  I am always up for a new adventure though and love simple, down-to-earth, friendly people which is what the Amish are known for, so I’ve heard.

We have been meeting now then since early March but just once a week for two and a half hours.  Since we started, we have learned much about labor–from what to expect in its mounting stages to its different breathing, coping techniques to its preparatory exercises to be in our best shape possible when it comes.

We even watched, via video, a couple of births, which none of us had witnessed before and which were rather eye-opening and kind of gross to be quite honest.  I felt especially sorry for the guys having to see all of this, but I guess they need to be prepared.

A Continual Learning but Strengthening Process

So life is definitely a continual learning process with new and challenging experiences, isn’t it?  And based on what the mothers from the birth video said, childbirth is an empowering or confidence-building experience.  Seeing how I have a low tolerance for pain and can often lack a lot of confidence in my seeming weak abilities, it shall be most interesting to see how God uses this childbirth to change me.  Lord willingly, it will only make me better and much more confident in myself and in my God.

There’s the story of our baby journey so far then.  It did not start off easy or pleasant by any means last fall, but I can look back on the hardships now and praise the Lord for them because without them we would not be on the current path we are on and see God’s tender care, faithful provision, and gracious love for us and even the baby.  As that Christian song Through It All so accurately states:

I’ve had many tears and sorrows,
I’ve had questions for tomorrow,
there’s been times I didn’t know right from wrong.
But in every situation,
God gave me blessed consulation,
that my trials come to only make me strong.

Through it all,
through it all,
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus,
I’ve learned to trust in God.

Through it all,
through it all,
I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.

I thank God for the mountains,
and I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the storms He brought me through.
For if I’d never had a problem,
I wouldn’t know God could solve them,
I’d never know what faith in God could do.

 

Me and Micah as of yesterday, on our last day of Week 30

Me and Micah as of yesterday, on our last day of Week 30 . . . God has been so faithful to us by bringing us this far, that is for sure!  Please pray the next 10 weeks will go smoothly and well as March as been a very hard month for me as I’ve been sick a lot between having a sinus cold, an ongoing cough that’s been hard on my body, and the stomach flu this past week.  Thank you!

P.S.  Just to let you know and help explain my background, I have the viewpoint of today’s modern medicine that I do because I started dealing with a lot of health problems in college and was never really helped by regular medical doctors.  My greatest help or solutions came through the means of alternative doctors but ultimately through the Lord.  Because of my health problems also, I have done quite a bit of research on modern medicine and not been impressed.  I realize everyone has different experiences though and once again that God works in a multitude of ways.  This has just been my own experience, and I just want to be clear that in no way do I want to be offensive.

P.S.S.  Remember Amber, the girl who first told me of Jeannie our midwife?  Well, she had a handsome, healthy baby boy this week at her parents’  home, and everything went so well and just beautifully I heard.  Praise the Lord!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Great Compelling . . . Will You Join?

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Our Adopted Child

Srey Vet at school

Srey Vet at school

Since May of 2010, a month before we got married, Micah and I adopted a child but one who would never live with us in our home or bear our last name as most “adopted” children do.  Knowing this may sound rather odd, we adopted our child, not to rescue her from an orphanage, but to help rescue her from the poverty of her family and community and to share God’s love with her.

Through World Vision, a wonderful Christian humanitarian organization, we began sponsoring a cute, little girl in Cambodia named Srey Vet, who was eight years old at the time, but who has quickly grown up over the last three and a half years to be 11.  She, along with her two older sisters, are the daughters of farmers who grow corn and rice as well as lots of banana trees along with papaya and jackfruit trees in their yard.

They also raise at least two cows, dogs, and cats, and Srey Vet helps out with both house and farm work alike.  She does not sound like a typical American child of today, does she?  Like many American girls though, her favorite color is pink, and she likes to read before going to bed at night.  Her favorite animal/pet is a black bird though which I found to be quite interesting.  :)  I mean, how many kids do you hear say that?!

One of Srey Vet’s first letters to us in September 2010 though related how her sisters were students while she never went out but how she had recently returned to school.  I believe it was our sponsorship that allowed this change, which is such an honor and joy to be a part of.

When she first wrote us as well, she said she wanted to be a medical doctor, but since then that dream has changed to being a teacher which is cool since that is what I always wanted to be after my second grade teacher made a big impact on my life through her love and care.  Lord willingly, her teachers are also making a positive, big impact on her life.  Another interesting fact is the last I knew Srey Vet’s class size was 37 students . . . That seems like alot of students compared to American elementary school classrooms!

A Great Burden

In the spring of 2012, I felt led to start giving an extra monetary gift for Srey Vet and her family out of birthday money I received in April. This extra income directly goes to her family and community to purchase their current basic needs. Well, the first year Srey Vet's family purchased this water pot along with basic necessities such as shoes and school clothes.

In the spring of 2012, I felt led to start giving an extra monetary gift for Srey Vet and her family out of my birthday money which I received in April. This extra money goes directly to her family and community to purchase their current, most basic needs. Well, the first year Srey Vet’s family purchased this water pot along with personal necessities such as shoes and school clothes.

I share Srey Vet’s story with you today, however, because after reading World Vision’s latest magazine, I was very burdened for the children it told about . . . from the one million precious children of war-torn Syria being forced to flee to refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey who are now crying for their country . . . to the innocent children of Bangladesh brothels forced to see their dear, young mothers trapped in an evil slavery of selling their bodies to men’s lusts.

It was very heart-breaking to read of children so young go through so much heartache and evil that I felt compelled to encourage you to reach out to at least one of these poor and needy children around the world who desperately need love and support from people who will tell them of their great worth and importance to God.  It only costs $35 per month to sponsor a child, which is about $1.13 per day.

To see the powerful life transformation sponsorship can bring, read (by clicking on the orange link above) about nine-year-old Maya whose life dramatically changed for the better in the slums of Delhi, India, when a lady in Washington state simply took an interest in her and started sponsoring, praying, and writing letters to her.  You can even write emails and send electronic pictures to your sponsored child via your World Vision sponsorship page, so your writing is not limited to postal mail.

Conclusion

From my heart to yours then, will you please, please read at least one, if not all of these stories, and look over all of the wonderful, heart-touching, beautiful photos at WorldVisionMagazine.org?  From seeing the tear-filled eyes of a mother weeping for her children’s condition to the sorrowful, big, empty eyes of children without a real home, I believe your heart may just be moved as mine was.

Then will you please really pray about how God might have you possibly invest in the life of one of these World Vision sponsorship children for eternity?  You can see their pictures and read their stories at WorldVision.org.  God cares even more deeply for these children and their physical and spiritual poverty, and He has given us so much that helping one of these little ones in Christ’s name is the least we can do for Him.  “But Jesus called the children to him and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these’” (Luke 16:18).

If you do decide to sponsor a child, please let me know as well as it would bless my heart so much, and I would love to give thanks and praise to God on account of you.  Thank you!

 Last April, with my extra gift, Srey Vet's family bought a latrine for their home, part of it pictured here.  Wow, there is so much we take for granted!


From my extra gift last April, Srey Vet’s family bought an “Easy Latrine” for their home.  These three cement rings actually make up part of it which I found to be very intriguing and confusing, so much so that I looked it up and found this interesting article on the latrines, which included this insightful video on sanitation marketing in Cambodia.  Sadly, the people there don’t buy latrines for the main reason of them being too expensive.  Wow, there is so much we take for granted!

Last year the community got more new chairs with the extra money given.  They have to share their gift with the community, by the way, so their neighbors don't get jealous.

Last year the community got more new chairs with the extra money given.  By the way, the family has to share their gift from me with the community so that their neighbors don’t become jealous.

The Freedom of True Love

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“You’re precious.”  “You’re a treasure.”  “I love you!”  “You look beautiful today.”  “Just admiring!”  These are words I hear almost daily from my dear and wonderful husband Micah.  To be quite honest, it’s hard to believe such love for me could possibly exist, but Micah’s love is definitely genuine as I’ve lived with him for the last three and a half years and seen him faithfully, humbly, and sacrificially live out gentleness, patience, forgiveness, kindness, and so much more to me.  As you should only know too well, actions do speak so much louder than words.

The Inner Child Released

Stock-Images-Valentine-Girl-Vintage-GraphicsFairySuch love though often makes me wonder why God would ever give me such a good, loving man when I feel like such a poor, wretched sinner in comparison.  You see, marriage has brought to the surface my sinful, child-like, foolish, selfish nature in greater degrees than I can remember as an adult, and well, it’s very humbling and scary to say the least.  At times, I even wonder, “Where on earth did this inner, hidden child come from after all these years?!  I’m an adult and should act better than this!  Is this really me?”

But I know where this child comes from . . . it comes from my heart which is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9).  It also comes from living with a new and fearless freedom to release that inner child  because I know deep down that this precious man really loves me and won’t reject me, shame me, or leave me.  After all, “There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment” (1 Jn. 4:18).

Love Without Conditions

Being who you really are then–the good, the bad, and the ugly–is what true love allows because such love is unconditional and everlasting.  As God’s Word says, “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails” (1 Cor. 13:7-8).  Now God doesn’t want us to use such love as a license to be childish and sinful, but through Micah, God has shown me that His love for me is so perfect and so real because . . .

  • Like Micah but in much greater heights, God’s love surpasses or looks beyond my foolish, ugly, outward behavior to see the real me, my inner heart and soul, which are of immeasurable worth to Him.  God thought of me in the first place, then made me, and now continues to sustain me after all of these years, even when I’m not always faithful to Him as His child, so it’s like how could He not love me?!
  • Like Micah but in much greater depths, God still amazingly thinks I’m precious, a treasure, loved, beautiful, and admirable even when I don’t feel or think that I am.  His love for me is truly without conditions, forever, and perfect.  I mean, if my husband, who is only a sinful human being himself, can love me so much and still think I’m wonderful, when I totally don’t feel or act like it, then how much more must God love me?!

1aaaaaahands

Humbly Thankful 

So even though such unfailing love is seriously mind-boggling and hard to accept–especially to a perfectionist who  always wants, and thinks, she should have her act altogether to be accepted and loved–I’m thankful for it.  And I’m thankful that God gave me such a godly husband who truly loves me as Christ loved the church, His body of believers, because Micah’s love has given me this new-found freedom to live imperfectly in this imperfect world and know I’m not rejected or worthless.  Why? Because God’s love, which I believe fills Micah’s heart, is perfect and will never fail me or forsake me.  

Happy Valentines Day, my dear and precious Micah, my gift from God!  And Happy Valentine’s Day to you from God who loves you perfectly and will never fail or forsake you as well!

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“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body.”  (Eph. 5:25-30)

“The LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.” (Psa. 32:10)

Authorship Denied

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The Human Ego

Have you ever created or done something and then not been credited for it?  By not being credited, I mean not being noticed, applauded, rewarded, or at least thanked for it, or worse yet, someone else getting credit for your work!  Now that would be really annoying, wouldn’t it?!

We definitely like being the center or apple of people's eye!

We definitely like being the center or apple of people’s eye!

And such a thing could happen in a wide range of accomplishments–from your writing a touching article or poem, capturing a unique photograph, or making a delicious homemade dinner to proposing a successful business plan, singing a beautiful song, or scoring the winning point for your sports team.

Being glory seekers, we naturally love creating or succeeding, so if such an oversight dare occur,  we’d definitely be hurt or angry.  After all, we as humans, not known for our humility, want to look good and feel worthwhile, and so we do everything we can to make sure glory is accredited toward our account, don’t we?

The Ultimate Insult

Well, do you know that God, the One who deserves all of our worship and praise, is much more often than not denied His authorship of creating not only His majestic masterpieces of the heavens, the earth, and the whole universe but also of His own glorious image bearers, called men and women?

Sadly, God’s people, these precious eternal beings He created for relationship with Himself, have turned against Him by wanting to limit Him or deny His existence altogether.  They do so because if they acknowledge there is an Author of life or Sovereign One, then they will be held accountable to someone greater than themselves, and then they won’t be able to call the shots on their lives.  So they try to wipe Him out so they can be “god” and be in control, or at least feel they are in control, of their lives.

I have seen this desire for control, stemming from denying this authorship of God, amplified in the last four months since discovering I was pregnant with a child.  I mean, I’ve had everyone from medical professionals to friends, intentionally or unintentionally, seemingly put on me the heavy responsibility of creating a healthy, happy, whole child. Needless to say, this has been very overwhelming as the human body is complex and beyond my understanding or ability to fully manage, let alone create!

Not of Our Own Making

Well, it has been neat to see how in the midst of all of this turmoil, God, the real Author of life, keeps reminding me that HE is really in charge.  Just consider some of the following truths God has given me that have greatly encouraged and relieved my burden over the past two months especially:

“Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”
  (Psa. 100:3)

So do you mean to tell me, God, that I don’t have to focus or solely depend on my super-healthy eating habits, my regular exercise routine, my watchful care every month over my hypothyroidism, my getting up-to-date shots, my supplements, my getting investigative ultrasounds, and more for the baby to turn out okay??  I mean, You don’t need me to worry or stress out about doing all of these things or doing them perfectly?!

Whenever I look at tho photo of our baby at 12 weeks, it still fills me with a holy fear or reverence of God.  Wow!

Whenever I look at this photo of our baby at 12 weeks, it still fills me with a holy fear or reverence and awe of God. Wow! Now that is something I did not create!!

“No!” whispers God, “because you don’t make yourselves.”  That’s right, because “You [God] created my inmost  being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psa. 139:13).

After all, “Your eyes saw my unformed body” and “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psa. 139:16).  In other words, God had my body and the length of my life, and those of my baby, all planned out in His mind’s eye before we even came to exist.

Of course, that does not mean I should outrightly abuse my body or not do my best to care for it as God directs, but ultimately, I’m not, nor is my baby, “my” creation or product.  That little one is God’s, and God is going to do the major work because He had its body, and life in general, planned out long before I even knew of it.  I’m even reminded of God’s sovereignty over creation seeing whole, healthy babies come from mothers who were on drugs or mothers in third world countries.

And because we are “his people” and “the sheep of his pasture,” we have nothing to fear!  After all, Jesus is called the “great Shepherd of the sheep” (Heb. 13:20) who “lays down his life for the sheep” (Jn. 10:11).

God’s Repeated Cries of His Authorship

Now you wouldn’t expect this, but in Isaiah, a book of prophecy nonetheless, God repeatedly cries out through Isaiah that He is our Creator.  People get upset with God about claiming His authorship of us and creation (they’d rather credit Mother Nature, whoever she is), but ironically, they as mere creatures have no problem crying out about their own authorship or declaring their rights.  How God must laugh and grieve at the same time over our pettiness and foolishness!

Anyways, one morning, that of Tuesday, January 7, when I was very discouraged, I came upon the following five cries referencing God’s authorship, and these came from just a matter of a few chapters in Isaiah.  Read on and see their amazing implications for us as God’s handiwork:

HandNoticeVintage-GraphicsFairyCry 1:  “Everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”  (43:7)

Since the whole idea of each individual originates with God in the first place (if not, then who?) and since He created us for His glory, otherwise known as His honor and magnificence, then why would He need our puny help in forming and making our offspring?  And so is the case if He could make the first, perfect man out of the helpless, insignificant dust of the ground of all things (Gen. 2:7).

How does He form and make us then?  Well, in Psalm 119:73, it says, “Your hands have made me and formed me.”  Just think–the very hands of God Almighty touched you before any human hands ever did!  And to think that God did not just speak you into being as He did, and perhaps still does, with the rest of His creation, but instead, He so gently takes nine long months to weave you together with His hands into a fearfully and wonderfully-made individual.

Cry 2:  “The people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise.” (43:21)

So not only are we created for God’s glory but also for Himself to be “his treasured possession” (Deut. 7:6) and for singing and declaring His praises to a lost and dark world (1 Pet. 2:9).  Now do you think that if we felt we had any part in His awesome creation of babies or new human beings, do you think we’d feel much like His possession (that we are not our own), let alone feel like giving Him praise?  Probably not!

What is another way God forms us then?  Job 33:4 says, “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”  Thenceforth, the origins of our spirits and our continued dependance on God’s breath for life.

Cry 3:  “This is what the Lord says—he who made you, who formed you in the womb,
and who will help you: Do not be afraid, . . . “ (44:2)

We as women especially like to take charge and don't trust, so we rush off into our own plans.

We as women especially like to take charge and don’t trust, so we rush off into our own plans instead of waiting for and trusting the Lord as Isaiah said he’d do in chapter 8, verse 17. 

Since God is completely in control and the One who’s really helping me, I don’t have to fear what people say could happen to the baby if I don’t do such and such.  As I told one of the midwives at my last appointment in early January, my trust is not in medicine or doctors but in the Lord.

In regards to not fearing though, on Monday, January 13, as I was really seeking or wanting the Lord to direct me in His paths, I was reading Isaiah 8 and was deeply touched and comforted by its message in verses 11-14:  “The Lord spoke to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people.  He said: ‘. . . Do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.  The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.  And he will be a sanctuary.”  

Did you hear that?  God wants us to fear Him and not what the world fears.  Not only that, He promises to be a sanctuary for us or “a place of refuge or safety,” but we have to let Him.  Isaiah went on to say how Israel did not fear or reverence God and let Him be their safety though, so not only did they stumble and fall, but they also became trapped and ensnared.

We pity those Israelites, but if you think about it, that is where many people in America and around the world live today.  Since we don’t seek the Lord but so often consult and depend on the advice of others, who for the most part do not speak according to God’s Word–how can they when they are too busy to read or know it?–they have “no light of dawn” says Isaiah in verse 20.

So we, like those Israelites, are distressed, hungry, and roaming about in darkness and fearful gloom.  As an example, just look at our medical system today.  Even though it has gotten so big and powerful and has spent tons of money on researching diseases, they are still without solid solutions.  It’s so sad, but I highly doubt this highly-sought-after medical community, which is highly scientific and anti-God, are seeking Him, who alone has the light of dawn or the way, the truth, and the life.

Cry 4:  “This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:
I am the Lord, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens,
who spreads out the earth by myself.” (44:24)

Doesn’t it make sense that if God can create such vast things such as the heavens and the earth on His own, He has made us on His own?  And if you’re thinking, “Well, He didn’t make the heavens and the earth–they just evolved,”  may I challenge you to consider how foolish evolution really is?  I mean, it’s like saying a masterpiece painting, a classic musical composition, or great architectural building “poofed” or just came into being on its own.  Now if that is not insane, I don’t know what is.

Cry 5:  “Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born.
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”  (46:3-4)

Making and then upholding and carrying your people from birth until old age!  That is a big task God has put upon Himself, but it really goes to show how fragile we are yet how powerful and all-sufficient He is   And to think we so often ignore or deny His existence!  How that must break God’s heart because He obviously cares about us so much.  I mean, how many parents, let alone the most loving ones, really want to hold their children all throughout their lives?!  On top of that, God reminds us that He Himself will rescue us.

The Faith of Mere but Magnificent Flowers

“And why do you worry about clothes?  See how the flowers of the field grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?” (Matt. 6:28-30).

Water lilies are one of my favorite flowers to photograph because of their splendor and beauty.

Water lilies are one of my favorite flowers to photograph because of their splendor and beauty.  I took this photo in Naples, Florida, in January 2011.

Do you realize how comforting these words were, and continue to be, to me as a new mother?  I mean, if mere flowers,  in all of their intricate beauty and fragrance, do not have to “labor or spin”  to reproduce themselves or clothe themselves and their seed with wholeness and beauty, then why should I?!

How awesome is that, and to hear God whisper in my ear that morning of Wednesday, January 15, that it would be ridiculous to think He wouldn’t care for and clothe me or my “seed” (our baby)  in much greater ways has been so reassuring in spite of what the noisy, fearful world around me says He can’t or won’t do on His own.

Like God said, our “little faith” in His character, provision, and power is the cause of many of our fears, sorrows, and destruction in life.   As the hymn writer Joseph Scriven wrote in 1855, “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”

Conclusion

I know this has been long, but I hope you’ve seen the authorship of God declared loud and clear throughout these verses, which are only a small portion of what the Bible has to say about God’s authorship of all creation though.  I pray today that they will give you hope and the assurance or faith needed to confidently “stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting” and shout, 

“Blessed be your [God's] glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise.  You alone are the Lord.  You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.”
(Neh. 6:5-6)

Discouragement Defeated, Victory Assured

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I don’t know about you but I get discouraged very easily, and so far this month, discouragement has been hitting me hard in multiple ways.  I won’t go into all the details, but all I can say is that the biggest discouragement has been the world screaming out that I need to be in control for my child to be happy, healthy, and whole.  And needless to say, this is all a bit overwhelming for my weak and timid soul and limited and failing fleshly being.

The Peace & Courage of David on the Run

Well, on Thursday, January 9, after a most distressing Monday, which I spoke about in my last post, the Lord greatly encouraged me once again through His Word.  Psalm 3 was part of my devotional reading that morning, and wow, if we think we have troubles, we should only consider King David’s great troubles.

As he wrote this amazing psalm to the Lord, he was running for his life from his own son Absalom.  Such conflict, rejection, and heartache to have your son trying to kill you but such hope, peace, and trust in God displayed in the midst of it all!  Listen in as I share his heart to God’s, and eventually to our hearts, by God’s providence.

2  Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.”  

Isn't it amazing how we can behold the majesty of creation but then deny there is a Creator God?!

Isn’t it amazing how we can behold the majesty of creation but then deny there is a God, let alone a Creator?!  (Photo from Flickr/blmiers2)

Isn’t that the truth?!  In our society that screams out, “There is no God!” or at least that He is not good or all-powerful, there’s no doubt that they are saying there’s no way He’ll deliver you or me.  And sadly, you yourself may be thinking and feeling that way as well right about now due to your many or deep troubles.

It is so easy to let discouragement settle into our hearts as we set our eyes on physical limitations instead of on supernatural spiritual truths or realities, such as conveyed in God’s great and precious promises from the Bible.

Thereby, we fall into Satan’s original trip for Eve of doubting God’s love, faithfulness, power, wisdom, and provision for us.  Such doubting is sin, believe it or not, and sin always leads us down dark, winding pathways to depression and defeat which often take over our hearts, minds, and words so that we turn to our own foolish devices.  After all, we think we cannot trust God, but unknowingly, our devices will only bring us more sorrow and death.

3  But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.  

Did you know that the Lord’s faithfulness is His shield or protection for us?  In Psalm 91:4, it says, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”  And when someone has been faithful to you, that usually means they’ve been trustworthy and constant in their good character and deeds towards you like a faithful marriage partner or a faithful parent.  They are committed to you no matter what, and so there is a lot of security and safety in that, just like in a shield.

Now hasn’t the Lord been so good, gracious, and faithful to you throughout your life?  I know the Lord has been so to me.  I could list off blessing after blessing such as God undeservedly giving me godly parents; a loving, humble husband; a beautiful home; food to eat every day; an able body and one that can heal itself when I burn a thumb or bruise my leg; and so much more!  Yes, I wish there were things that were different, but I need to rejoice in all that I do have and trust God that He will only continue to give me good things as He sees fit.

I hope you can list off many blessings in your life as well and thereby count on God’s faithfulness to carry you through your troubles and the rest of your life.  He says He will never leave or forsake you, so take courage and trust Him!

 4  I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain.

Have you been calling and not heard an answer yet?  I understand, but often times God is working on an answer but is just not ready to reveal it.  He loves to have us “wait” as well because waiting always shows where our trust really is, and if He is worthy enough to wait on.

And waiting in periods of silence is good because it teaches us so many things about ourselves and God, if you’re willing to learn that is.  I know there have so many things in my own life even that I’ve had to wait long and hard for in God answering, such as for a husband, but looking back now, I’m so glad God did not answer right away because I would have missed out on so many blessings along the way.

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“He [God] grants sleep to those he loves” (Psa. 127:2). (Photo from Flickr/Cornell2010)

 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.

You may think that you just naturally fall asleep and wake up every morning on your own, but no, it is God’s great mercy and sustaining power that gives you those blessings each day.

So if you could not think earlier on of any ways He has been faithful to you, now you have a way because the fact that you are still alive today is because of God’s great faithfulness.

6  I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.  

Wow, now that is a lot of enemies and something none of us probably will ever experience.  In light of this then, our struggles are so minor that we have nothing to fear.

I wonder where David got such confidence from though?!  Perhaps it came from experiencing God’s sustaining grace and deliverance throughout his many struggles, especially during his years of fleeing for his life from King Saul before he became king.

Or perhaps at one point he got a glimpse of God’s insurmountable number of angelic horses and chariots of fire surrounding him, as Elijah’s servant did in 2 Kings 6:17.  After all, the Bible says that “the chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands” (Psa. 68:17).

Oh, may our spiritual experiences or senses exceed our physical ones so that we’d have the grace to trust God more and not fear!  For as Elijah assured his servant, “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (2 Kings 6:16).

7  Arise, Lord!  Deliver me, my God!  Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.  From the Lord comes deliverance.  May your blessing be on your people. 

"He [God] determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.  Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit."  (Psa. 147:4-5)  (Photo from Flickr/John Lemieux)

“He [God] determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.” (Psa. 147:4-5) (Photo from Flickr/John Lemieux)

Such confidence or bold faith in first of all calling, or almost commanding, the Lord to action and then in proclaiming His deliverance yet unseen or experienced!  The Lord must love David’s words though because He loves to be trusted and praised for His goodness and might, just like any of us would.

For “a good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:45).

Go ahead then and declare the Lord’s goodness to Him and others, along with His victory for you!  God, of course, already knows His almighty power, but He needs or desires to hear you believe it and declare it. He wants to see you demonstrate your faith, and one of the most significant ways we do that is through our words.

Conclusion

So when you are at the end of depending on your own resources for help, like Hannah facing agonizing barrenness or David facing an insurmountable giant named Goliath, why not cry out to Jehovah Sabaoth, the LORD of Hosts, for your deliverance.  Humbly but confidently, both Hannah and David did, and guess what, Jehovah Sabaoth came through mightily for them.  After all, this name does mean that God has all the hosts of heaven and earth at His command, and on top of that, the Bible declares,  The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah” (Psa. 46:7).

Yes, this same LORD of Hosts who delivered Hannah and David from their humanly-impossible situations, is with YOU still today for “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).  Below is another song from David Wesley which I love and have repeatedly played and sung lately.  With such a loving God on our side, and a God of angel armies at that, discouragement has to be defeated and victory assured!  Praise the Lord!

 “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Rom. 8:37)

 

 

 

Salvation & Strength Restored

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“Quietness & Trust!” & “Grace & Compassion!”
Shouted Loud & Clear

The day after I first learned I was pregnant, I remember sitting in our hall stairway bewilderedly thinking, “God, how on earth am I to care for a baby within me when I don’t even know how to care for myself?!”   You see, I have had food sensitivities and off-and-on digestion issues since March of 2012, without any resolution to the cause or cure, and so I have just dealt with it but sought the Lord at the same time.

Now it’s one thing if it’s just yourself you have to worry about, but completely another thing when you have a new child forming within you to care for as well.   I mean, who doesn’t want the best for their child?!  Well, the first Scripture verse God brought to my mind that first day of October 2013 was one which says, “In quietness and trust is your strength.”

Just as a flower looks to and trusts God for light and nourishment, so are we to look to Him.  (From Flickr/tiltti)

Just as a flower looks to and trusts God for light and nourishment, so are we to look to and trust Him for grace and compassion. (Photo from Flickr/tiltti)

I could not think of where exactly this verse was found, but that night I just happened to open up a new inspirational calendar a girl from my Bright Lights group had recently given me.  Well, much to my surprise, the verse for that very day was none other than Isaiah 30:15, which was the same verse God brought to my mind earlier, plus verse 18 which so sweetly states, “The Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion.”

I could not believe it and knew this was not just coincidence!  It truly had to be God’s personal word for me, especially considering that I came across those same two verses two more times that week, amounting to four times in one week!  Now what is the likelihood of that happening?!  The Lord was definitely pouring out His wondrous grace and compassion on me already.  Praise the Lord!

Peace & Joy Disturbed

Now as you probably know, our “quietness and trust” does not last very long in our fear-ridden, fear-driven world.  And for me, after my third appointment on January 3 with the midwife, and a new one at that seeing how there is a group of four who work together, my quietness and trust were shaken.  Not only was she very pushy but also of the mindset that “Mother Nature” makes babies healthy and whole . . . very Eastern mysticism-minded it appeared which did not settle well with me.

Well, as you may know, I already was not happy or comfortable with some of the practices of this group of midwives, so this last appointment drove me further and firmly away from them.  I left on a mission to find not only a Christian midwife but also one who would not be paranoid, pushy, or prescription-oriented.

This all really stressed me out though, as most medical stuff does, and instead of heeding the Lord’s warning to be quiet before and trust Him, I called and talked to several people the following Monday, January 6, about what to do or where to go which further stressed me out.  As you know, everyone has their own opinions due to different pregnancy experiences with males vs. females, doctors vs. midwives, chemical vs. natural remedies, medical issues vs. non-medical issues, etc.

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God cares for His creation in nature so faithfully and beautifully, so why we can’t trust His faithful care for us as His image bearers?  (Photo from Flickr/Rudolf Getel)

Admonishing but Passionate Words of Love & Desire

By Tuesday morning, January 7, then, after a most frustrating Monday and distressful night of sleep and pain throughout my body, which created greater fear, I was desperate for the Lord.  So I opened up my Bible and went back to Isaiah 30 and was humbled to read that immediately following “my original word from the LORD” in verse 15 were the following admonishing words:

15  This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strengthbut you would have none of it. 

Ouch, those words “but you would have none of it” stung because they were so true of me.  Instead of resting in and seeking the Lord about all of my problems, I was talking to this and that person about what to do.  I was not quiet and remembering and trusting in the Lord’s over-ruling power and His former, original words of encouragement to me–those sweet, comforting, beautiful words of wanting to pour out grace and compassion on me.

Thereby, I was giving into fear and losing all mental and emotional strength.  I was an overwhelmed, leaning-on-my-understanding mess, and believe me, it was not fun.  The baby even kicked me for the first time that stressful Monday night after I had not felt it since it was 12 weeks old.  Hmm, maybe babies in the womb can think!  :)

16  You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’  Therefore you will flee!  You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’  Therefore your pursuers will be swift! 

I was trying to flee, that’s for sure!  For some crazy reason, we think we can solve our own problems in our own feeble ways and think they’ll offer us swift or quick solutions.  But what happened instead?  My enemy, Satan, quickly came upon me with fears, confusion, and just a plain lack of direction.  Because I did not quiet myself and wait on God, I was being overcome by discouragement.  Could that be from the God of peace and grace?  I don’t think so!

17  A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.”

When we are not trusting the Lord, we do stupid, foolish things because we see the enemy as bigger or greater than God.  Before we know it, we’ll be left alone, left to fend for ourselves, because we rejected His help.

God is so beautiful if we would just look for that beauty!

God is so beautiful if we would just look for His beauty!  So often though, we just look for ugliness in Him, but it won’t be found for He’s perfect and righteous in all His ways.

18  Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.  For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for him!

Isn’t it unbelievable that the perfect, holy, almighty God l-o-n-g-s to be gracious to us poor, miserable sinners?!  How many of us long or intensely desire to give grace or unmerited, lavish favor to our enemies?  Not many!  God wants to amaze us though by His love and wonder, but we need to WAIT for Him, meaning we need to once again be quiet before and trust Him.

19 People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more.  How gracious he will be when you cry for help!  As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 

When I returned to Isaiah 30 on Tuesday and saw this verse, which I don’t remember reading before, I was moved that once again that the Lord is crying out, “Grace! Grace!  I passionately desire to give YOU grace, but you need to call for Me!  I want to be wanted!  I want to be trusted!  I want to be earnestly sought after and obeyed!  Why?  Because then I can pour out blessing upon you.”

20  Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 

Did you hear that?  God in His sovereignty is the One who sends us our troubles, but only to teach us and to draw us to Himself.  “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Cor. 4:17).

21  Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Such lavish grace!  Such desire by God for His creatures to be guided by His heart and voice alone.  Yes, we serve a God who is intensely jealous for our hearts . . . so jealous that He went to the greatest measures to save our hearts for Himself for all eternity by going to the cross and dying for us.  Yes, you are that important to Him, like it or not.

Conclusion

With such knowledge then of our great God, may your heart be captured and strengthened  today and always to wait upon, rest in, seek for, and trust in God for He alone is our salvation.

In closing, I’d like to share a beautiful song called “Speak, O Lord” by an amazing acapella singer, David Wesley, whom I discovered this month on YouTube.  I fell in love with his voice because it is truly so soothing and beautiful!  May you be richly blessed by this video as I have been.

 

 

 

A God-Sized New Year’s Resolution

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An Unordinary New Year’s Celebration

fireworks-clip-art-5This week Micah and I decided to do something out of the ordinary for New Year’s Eve and Day.  Since we are normally wondering what on earth to do, before Christmas we decided we would  attend a Resolution Retreat at Life Action Camp in nearby Buchanan, Michigan, from December 30 through January 1.  It was a little awkward at first seeing how most of the 31 other families there had children, but it turned out to be a good, refreshing time with each other and with God.

We arrived at the camp Monday evening, just in time for dinner, which was followed by a time of worship and a service where Tom Harmon, a former Michigan State trooper and pastor and a very popular, regular speaker at Life Action, candidly shared from his life and God’s Word.

Tom is easy to listen to because he’s so humble and transparent, easy-going and light-hearted, and biblically-sound and insightful due to being a diligent student of God’s Word.  He has even memorized several whole books of the Bible, one of which he quoted for us.

Our High Calling

Well, the first night and throughout the rest of our meeting times together on Tuesday and Wednesday, Tom challenged us from 2 Chronicles 29:11 which states: “My sons, do not be negligent now, for the LORD has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense.”

Not to be negligent–that means we are to be diligent right now right where we are serving God by serving others.  And we serve others by ministering or caring for their needs and praying for them, which is what it means to burn incense.  What a calling!  And just to think that as Christians we were each individually chosen or hand-picked by God to be His own child, ambassador, and intercessor here on earth.  How can we neglect this?!

Earthly Treasures

Well, one way to easily neglect this high calling is to be consumed with our treasures here on earth bag-of-money“for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21), and one way we become consumed is through our financial debts, which Tom often spoke about.  You see, by staying in debt, we are tying up time and resources that could be used to serve God and others.

Tom shared how he and his wife were in debt for their home but eventually paid it off in their earlier years, and thereafter, stayed out of debt for good.  He emphasized Proverbs 22:7 which says, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.”  A couple other verses I found that were really encouraging in this area are:

  • “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”  (Rom. 13:8)
  • “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:11)

Now since we’ve been married, Micah, being the wonderful, conscientious, financially-conservative husband that he is, has wanted to get out of debt for our home, but being overwhelmed or intimidated by the size of the task, he has not put much effort behind his desire.

So for the last three and a half years now, we’ve poured a lot of time and money into improving our home and yard instead.  We’ve also lived comfortable, but far from lavish lives, and not really sacrificing much so that we could be free from our bondage to the bank.

Our God-Sized Resolution

Well, New Year’s Day, at the close of the morning service, Tom challenged us all, not to get out of debt, but to write down what God would have our family resolution be this new year.  Micah immediately told me that he felt we should get out of debt for our home which is the looming amount of a little over $29,000.

This was a little scary for me, knowing it would require sacrifice on many fronts, but I was really encouraged after hearing another couple I know share the night before how they are almost out of debt on their home, only after this last year.  And what’s crazy is that I “just happened” to overhear them tell their story to another couple earlier while sitting at our table, and without having heard it, I am not sure I would have had the faith to go through with Micah’s idea.  Isn’t God good and amazing in the ways that He prepares us for His will?!

And what is amazing too is that this couple is not only in a full-time, support-based ministry and have three children and one on the way, but they also had at the beginning of last year about the same amount due on their house as we have due on ours.  After continual prayers and significant cut-backs on their spending though, they saw God come through in amazing ways so that today they are below $10,000 in debt.  Wow, now that is exciting!

An Exciting Adventure Ahead

And since we’ve made becoming debt-free our resolution a few days ago, I’ve seriously become more and more invigorated and excited about it.  It became especially invigorating when I found out the next day that we are paying about $66 per month in interest to the credit union.  What a waste and loss of precious money, and what’s sad is that our interest rate is not even that high.

cowboyBut regardless, this whole goal, which is truly way beyond our human abilities, current income, or our feeble understanding of how it is going to be accomplished, is also exciting because it is going to require God’s powerful help or intervention.

God loves our IMpossibilities though because they  then become HIMpossibilities, and He has faithfully shown Himself to provide during such circumstances in our lives, whether it was bringing us together or now giving us this child.  I am just excited to put into action our desire to honor the Lord in this area, along with our faith in His power, and see how God shows up because when we draw near to Him, He promises to draw near to us (James 4:8).

We have already pooled together some extra money we had sitting around, so that we were able to put a significant dent of $4,500 towards our debt on Thursday.  Then yesterday I canceled the car insurance on my car because we rarely use it seeing how Micah works from home and seeing how it is not good on the winter roads.  This will save us $86 per month which is very exciting, and then we will probably sell it come spring so that will hopefully give us another $2,500 to $3,000 to put towards the debt.  On top of that, we are both wanting to find part-time or side work.

The Reasoning Behind Our Seeming Madness

Now people will probably think we are crazy for trying to achieve paying off $29,000 in a year, but we are doing what we are doing because . . .crazy-nerd-md

  • First of all, we want to be free . . . free of man and free to serve God more fully.  You see, we don’t plan to continue ever living in debt again for anything, not even a car or home.
  • Secondly, we want to be wise stewards of the money, time, and life God entrusts us with and not be in bondage to material, earthly, temporal things as life is so short, fleeting, and uncertain.
  • Thirdly, we want to set forth a positive example to our children that living debt-free is truly possible and the best, most joyful way to live in a consumeristic, debt-ridden culture.

Conclusion

In closing, I just want to say that I’ve shared our story with you today to encourage you to step out in faith in some new exciting but perhaps scary way this year, whether it’s getting out of debt or some other way that God leads.  Just do something that will stretch your faith and prayer life so that you can see God work powerfully in your life because “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Heb. 11:6).

We would also greatly appreciate and covet your prayers in our new adventure/personal calling because as much as it is exciting, it can also be scary and challenging.  As you pray, I will try to keep you posted throughout the year as we see God work.  Micah and I both do see all of this though as God just preparing us for parenthood, come May or June, by teaching us now the disciplines of more conservative spending, strict saving, and less self-centered living.  As you can imagine, these will require much grace!  :)

Well, thank you all for reading, and may you have a very blessed, God-centered new year because without Him, “you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5).

happynewyearfauxbois