Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Enjoying life: a gift from God

Ecclesiastes 5:18-19 (NIV)

 18 Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him—for this is his lot.19 Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God.

"The Bath" Mary Cassatt

It has been a busy, long, stressful, tiring, hard month or so. Don't get me wrong, it has been full of great blessings and joy, but difficult nonetheless. 

Lately, I've found myself mostly tired and lacking joy in many areas. You would expect me to be tired of course, weary from the call of mothering a newborn and a 2yr old, and a 4 yr old, and a 6yr old with this body of mine that is slowly recovering from it's fourth major surgery. Sigh. I look around me though and KNOW that this calling, these precious possessions (if I can even call them that since they are the Lord's and not my own) are the wealth, the riches, that God has blessed my life with. I want to enjoy every minute with them...even the hard and weary ones. I don't want my lack of zeal to rub off on them. I don't want them to be burdened by my weariness, or worse feel that they are to blame for it. 

A friend of mine shared this verse from Ecclesiastes with me about a year or so ago. I don't even remember what the discussion was that brought the verse to her mind, but I do remember that this verse has stuck with me ever since then. I've been meditating on it all day today. Really, I want to paint it on every wall in my house to remind me to simply and fully enjoy and accept what the Lord has given me. I lack nothing that God in His grace can't give me to allow me to accept my lot and enjoy it too. "Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul." God is so good. What a gift that not only did He give us life, but he wants us to enjoy it as well. 

Are you enjoying the life that God has given you? What is keeping you from enjoying it? I have lots of good reasons I could give you, but really no valid excuses for not having that joy overflowing in my life right now. I know that my sinful attitudes are to blame. I'm so thankful for being able to see this because now I can take the next steps to move from the darkness to the light. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Multitude Monday


Honesty...Hunger... Heroes...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Multitude Monday

122. Green leaves glowing in the light of the afternoon sunshine
123. Fading colors of late summer flowers hinting at the arrival of fall
124. Hard work of swimming lessons

125. Reaching the milestone of going off the diving board even if you have to be lowered from it. :)

126. Rewarding feeling of accomplishment

127. Snack Time

128. Little girls who love to kiss everything...even trees when no one is looking.

129. Big Chairs...big eyes...

130. Generations

131. Grandparents
132. Story time

133. Daddy's lap...there's always room for everyone.

134. Little bundles
135. Little hands
136. Little blankets
137. Big dreams

138. Funny pictures
139. Memories
140. Family

141. Brothers who know how to work a camera. Didn't he do a great job?!

Thank you Lord for these good gifts!

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Friday, August 20, 2010

A Good Little Read

All the Places to Love
by Patricia MacLachlan
paintings by Mike Wimmer

Looking for a good book to read to your little ones? This one is great. I could hardly read it without crying the first time. It is definitely Charlotte Mason approved! (That is the homeschooling method we are planning on using which I'm sure you'll hear more about in the future.) This book, which we stumbled upon, at the library (...and by stumbled upon, I mean Mayme pulled off the shelf along with a handful of others) is full of beautiful painting and gentle conversation that pulls your heart into the story of an American family and their love for and ties to the land they live on. Only someone who has spent hours loving and living in the nature around them could describe it so gently and beautifully and in such a way that makes it come alive to you. Anyway, it may have been the post pregnancy hormones, but this book is one that Lucy and I both fell in love with and wanted to share with you. Hope you can find it at your library too!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The highest reward for a person's toil 
is not what they get for it, 
but what they become by it. 
-John Ruskin

Monday, August 16, 2010

Multitude Monday

101. Open windows
102. Park Picnics with family
103. Crickets chirpping (outside)
104. The smell of a campfire
105. Baby squeaks, squeals, and grunts
106. Tiny baby hands

107. Being able to carry and snuggle with my Mayme girl again

108. Little boy feet...even if they are smelly
109. That "...we have the mind of Christ." 1 Cor 2:16
110. That His mercy is new every morning
111. That I cannot be separated from God's love. Rom. 8:35-36
112. Morning walks
113. Dreams of evening walks that someday Tyson and I will be able to take alone
(just the two of us...alone together)
114. Stain remover
115. Baby wipes
116. Ice Cream
117. Pig tails...on little girls, not so much talking about the animal's tail here

118. Hearing about the world from a child's perspective
119. Curtains
120. A great high priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses. Hebrews 4:15
121. Hope does not disappoint us because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:5

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Tyson took Jude and Mayme along to watch Lucy at her swimming lessons today, so that leaves me at home alone with a sleeping baby. :) Let's see if I am capable of gathering some thoughts together that I've been wanting to share. By the way, it feels good to be back online again.

Having a baby is such a wonderful blessed event. Even if one's life circumstances aren't ideal, I truly believe that having a baby can still be a wonderful blessed event...this isn't coming out the right way, but hopefully you know what I mean. It is amazing how a baby can bring so much joy and can change your life. I believe that our babies/children have changed me for the better. For one, I'm not nearly as selfish as I used to be! Or at least, I finally realize how selfish I really am.

Women often long and dream of having babies for years. And when getting pregnant proves to be difficult, or miscarriage occurs, babies often become coveted dreams to us. So, if having a baby is such a blessing, as the scripture assures us it is, why would I title this post "Despair"?

Having babies, bringing home those cherished bundles, and raising them, is HARD! The reality is, it really is hard- at least at times. This I'm sure in part is due to the fall of mankind and sin. However, I also think it is part of God's great plan. Some of the greatest blessings and good brought about in our lives are only wrought through the most difficult and painful trials.

So we had our fourth baby. We brought home a beautiful healthy little girl. Our family is now a family of six. This was my fourth c-section. Tyson and I were both prepared (from experience) for many of the difficulties that we would face due to my recovery, the other children adjusting, and our own adjusting to life with a newborn. This was a benefit to us in many ways, but there were still many hard moments. Pain, lack of sleep, and overwhelming hormones have a way a quickly sending a new mother, even an experienced mother, into despair and depression. I tried to remind myself at those times that I was just overtired and things REALLY weren't as bad as they seemed. I kept quoting an Andy Gullahorn song in my head, "Give it time, give it time, you have to wait through the winter cold for the spring sunshine..." I tried to fill my mind with the hope found in the Living Word of our Great God.

Then, one night, Tyson set up his computer so that it would play this live concert on our TV, so we could all watch and hear. The artist: Andrew Peterson, another one of our favorites. Honestly, I wasn't nearly as into it as Tyson was. I was also trying to help out with the kids as much as I could so that he could enjoy this well deserved treat. Then, Andrew said something that totally grabbed my attention. I can't remember exactly how he said it, or which new song he was setting up when he said it, but it was something like this:

"When we despair, we are assuming that 
we know how the end will go." 

Whoa, did I ever need to hear that! Back I went to my Bible to read more about despair and hope. I read through Romans 8, and Hebrews 6 and some other scattered verses. Then I came to Psalm 77. In this Psalm, the author is crying out to the Lord in desperation during a "day of trouble".  The first part of the Psalm is filled with hopelessness, despair, and utter distress. Then, in verse 11, the author turns around and says, "I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds." From then on, his focus shifts from despair to renewed hope at the remembrance of God's greatness and goodness. This is what I too needed to do.

Psalm 27: 13-14 NASB
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. 
So many times, we find ourselves overwhelmed by our circumstances...all we see are the huge trees blocking our way, and we forget that the Lord sees the forest in spite of the trees.
I encourage you to remember God's promises, his "exceedingly great and precious promises" 2 Peter 1:4 NKJV. Remember that, "No matter how many promises God has made, they are "YES" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Cor. 1:20.
God's promises are great. They come from a great God. 
Psalm 145:3 Great is the Lord; his greatness, no one can fathom."
Jeremiah 32:27 "I am the Lord, is anything to hard for me?"
The promises are great because they cover the great issues: fear, doubt, despair...
The promises are great because they give us great comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-11
The promises are great because they lead to a great life. 
His promises are greater than human wisdom. 
God's promises are greater than white-knuckled obedience. There's a restfulness and a confidence that allows us to go on. 
God's promises are greater than wallowing in self-pity. 
His promises are the BEST thing! They will get you through the darkest night, the longest day, the deepest valley. God made some promises, hold onto them.

Here are some of His promises:

1) God is always with me
Hebrews 13:5b-6, Deuteronomy 31:6

2)God is in Control
Proverbs 3:5-6

3)God is always good.
Psalm 27:13, Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28

4) God is always watching.
Isaiah 43:2, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Titus 1:1-2

5)God is always victorious.
Isaiah 54:17, 2 Corinthians 1:20, Romans 16:20

Taken from James MacDonald, Walk in the Word Ministries, series "Always True"

Now, I don't want anyone to worry. We are doing just fine! We had the expected struggles, but overall are adjusting very well. I'm feeling better and better everyday...and hoping that will continue. Selah is a great baby! She is making things so easy for us. The older kids love their new little sister! We are so thankful for all the Lord has done in our lives, even during the difficulties of the last few weeks. I'm especially thankful for how near the Lord is during those hard times. Despite how we may feel, God is never so near to us as when we are struggling. I'm so thankful for His presence in those times and how He is always right there to show me and teach me again of His great love for me. 

May you feel His great love for you today!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Multitude Monday

If we will only think,
We shall begin to thank.
                     -C.H. Spurgeon

91. Selah Mae

92.  A van full...a table full...a house full...our full family

93. Our wonderful health insurance
94. Great doctors and nurses
95. A four day/three night "vacation" with my husband and baby girl at the hospital :)
96. None of my fears were realized during Selah's birth
97. Helpful and delicious meals (and generous gifts) from friends and family
98. Naps
99. A husband with a servant's heart
100. Our Great God
Psalm 145:3
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.