Saturday, February 27, 2010

Who Told You That You Can Do It All?

As women, I think we somehow get into our little heads the thought that we can do it all. Maybe it's because we are responsible for so much. Or maybe the world puts this on us, I don't know. But I hear and see so many women struggling to do more than they are supposed to and then beating themselves up when they don't meet their own expectations. They are suffering mentally, physically, emotionally, and I suspect spiritually. I am speaking from personal experience here; been there, still there, still learning, okay?



You are one person, uniquely created by God, to glorify Him and to do the good works He has planned for you.

You have a body that can only go so fast and so hard for so long. As much as you hate to admit it, you need rest. You need to slow down. I know you are more than likely thinking, 'right, how do I do that?' I am telling you, you had better listen, because it will catch up with you. You cannot keep pushing yourself. You will probably try, but you will crash if you don't learn this lesson.



Accepting the fact that you are not invincible and capable of doing everything will actually make your life easier, and you are wiser and stronger to admit this, not weaker and more foolish.

When you read Proverbs 31, you might want to remember that this is likely a picture of her entire life, not a day. You cannot do all the things listed in this passage everyday, in every season of your life. You just can’t, and that is okay! Do you hear me? You are not expected to and it is okay!

When you peruse other woman’s blogs or listen to other women at church, you need to realize you are getting a teensy glimpse into their whole life. Teensy! When you read or hear that ‘she’ (this fictional woman meant to torment you) . . .




makes candles . . . reads all the classics to her children . . . grinds wheat for homemade bread . . . knits . . . crochets . . . sews her family’s clothes . . . starts her seeds early in spring . . . tends a huge garden all summer (with no weeds, I might add). . . cans enough food for the whole winter . . . is well versed in herbal remedies . . . never eats sugar . . . stays on schedule (everyday and every minute) . . . trains her children diligently and perfectly . . . milks their goat . . . makes goats milk cheese and soap . . . irons her husband's shirts . . . never misses a field trip . . . cheers at the soccer game . . . has healthy dinners served by 5:00 sharp . . . has a well decorated, well organized and most definitely well cleaned home . . . has devotions daily . . . exercises everyday . . . speaks softly and wisely, never raising her sweet voice . . .




Remember this is just a glimpse, a snapshot into her life. Most likely she does not and has not done each and every one of these things every day of every season of her life. Also, she most likely didn’t begin each of these things on day one of her marriage. So, let me assure you, that you cannot do all of those things every day of every season of your life. You cannot do it all! And that is okay! You are not supposed to!

We all do not have the same “good works” to do, the same upbringing, the same walk with the Lord, or the same energy levels so let’s stop trying to do it all. We simply cannot.
I’ve told you what you cannot do, Let me tell you what you CAN do.



You can get up, praise God, look to Him for what He would have you do today and then just do that. Let go of your expectations and all the things you think you “should” be doing. It might not include making bread or canning tomatoes, and that is okay!

The sooner we realize what we cannot do, the sooner we can start doing, well, things we can. Repeat after me, "I cannot not do it all, nor am I meant to, and it is okay!"




Lord Jesus, teach us to slow down, to hear Your voice, to stop trying to do what everyone else is doing and simply do what You would have us do. You gently lead us, You do not drive us. If we are feeling driven and beaten down it is not because of You, it is likely us doing more than You expect from us. Teach us discernment. Teach us to be gentle with ourselves. Forgive us for running ahead. We love You, Lord!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

God is in the Darkness!

Are you overwhelmed by the circumstances that are pressing on you just now? All you seem to see and feel is darkness? So dark you wonder how it will ever be different. How will this ever get better? Where is the hope? You certainly can't even muster it up. It may be so dark right now that, even though you know God will never leave you, you wonder if maybe He has because, try as you might, you can't even see Him.

You cry out, "O Lord, where are you?" The darkness is so thick it consumes you. You feel desperately alone, all alone.

My word to you today is, God is in the darkness! He is, I promise, but don't take my word for it, take His.

. . . thick darkness was under His feet . . . He made darkness His secret hiding place . . .the Lord illumines my darkness . . .

. . . Even the darkness hides nothing from You . . . the darkness and light are both alike to You .

These are just a few examples of the Lord actually being in the darkness. Creation began with great darkness, but God was right there creating and speaking. Read the story of Abraham in Genesis 15. Thick darkness had come upon Abraham, but God was right there in the midst of the darkness making a covenant with Abraham! Over and over in the Bible when there is darkness, God is there! He even creates the darkness.

You may not 'feel' Him, but He is there!!!

My child, My love, My little one, do not let your heart be discouraged.

I am nearer you than ever in the past.

I have brought you up to a place of constancy,

and I will hold you firm regardless of what you are feeling.

You do not need always to see My face to know I am near.

You may touch My hand by faith in moments when it is too dark to see anything.

Never let darkness frighten you.

My Spirit is everywhere . . . even in the darkness.

(From 'Daily Moments in His Presence by Frances J. Roberts)

For further reading, Psalm 18 and Psalm 139

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How Marvelous! How Wonderful!

Monday night into Tuesday morning were some of the darkest hours for me in the last seven months of this adrenal fatigue. Not only was I exhausted, emotional, irrational, but I was also angry. Not a very pretty emotion, especially for a Christian.

I was so discouraged and hopeless that I was getting just a little ticked that I wasn't getting better and that God and Brian (poor Brian)weren't making it all better. Looking back, I see what a spoiled brat I was being, the opposite of the 'give thanks always' sweetie I desire to be.

Brian was struggling to hang on amidst my crying and discouragement and taking care of eight children, bedtime and a two year old, when he asked me to just stop so he could regroup. Well! That is all I needed to fume all the more. I decided I was going to not say another word! It just brewed inside me all night. I woke up with such a sore jaw from clenching my teeth all night trying to hold back the tears and stay angry. I just kept saying in my mind every time the emotions would start to rise, "I don't care! I just quit! I'm not going to fight anymore! If I don't get better, it's not my fault, I quit!" (so irrational, I know)

Finally, my sweet husband who was beside himself trying to figure out what was wrong with his wife, came to me in the bedroom while I was doing my quiet time. I knew I couldn't resist his compassion, but I tried to stay mad. He called me down to the floor (where he was sitting) and held me in his arms while I cried and cried. I could smell his cologne, which is so comforting and I could hear his heartbeat, in between my sobs. It was so precious. He just held me.

He encouraged me to stop trying to 'do it right' and just ride out the storm (the raging hormones as well as the spiritual battle I was in) and hide under the Rock. When you are in a huge storm you don't try to figure out what to do, you duck and cover! Hide myself in Him, that is what I needed to do. Stop fighting, stop fussing, just hide myself in Him.

Later that day the hymn "I stand amazed in the Presence" came to my heart and as I listened and sang I was overwhelmed by His love for me. That morning, in Brian's arms, I didn't realize the significance of it, but it was my Father loving me through him.

Certainly there is a time to fight, a time to wield my sword of the Spirit, but then there are times to just stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.
Please enjoy this hymn as much as I did.


I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean
.

Refrain

O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
Is my Savior’s love for me!

For me it was in the garden
He prayed: “Not My will, but Thine.”
He had no tears for His own griefs,
But sweat drops of blood for mine.

Refrain

In pity angels beheld Him,
And came from the world of light
To comfort Him in the sorrows
He bore for my soul that night.

Refrain

He took my sins and my sorrows,
He made them His very own;
He bore the burden to Calvary,
And suffered and died alone.

Refrain

When with the ransomed in glory
His face I at last shall see,
’Twill be my joy through the ages
To sing of His love for me.

Refrain
Praying you know the love He has for you today. Do you need to just 'hide in Him' today and wait out the storm? How marvelous, how wonderful is the Saviors love for YOU!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Story Of God's Faithfulness

*This post is a bit long, for this I apologize. I think you will understand why I couldn't make it into more than one post. I hope you find time to read it. Thank you.*

Today is my Sarah Grace's birthday. She is a beautiful nine year old, and to use another line from one of my favorite movies, 'there's a story there' (said with southern drawl). It is a beautiful story of God's love and faithfulness that I want to share with you today.






A few days more than a year before Sarah Grace was born, we experienced the most devastating of all our miscarriages. I was 17 weeks pregnant and, once again, just like the February before, I was lying on an exam table with my midwife unable to find the heartbeat. I was shocked. How could this happen again? Just one year ago we had lost another baby at 17 weeks! How could this be

My midwife sent us to the hospital for an ultrasound, as the office didn't have one back then. The drive to the hospital was so intense. I was terrified it was true, that my baby had died, but I was also trying to muster all the faith I could to believe that maybe she was wrong or that God could bring my baby back to life! This could be an amazing testimony, I thought. The battle in my mind and heart raged for the whole drive. I was fighting the tears, trying to hope.


While on the table I thought 'this guy is going to see a miracle, I just know it'. When we saw the screen with my lifeless baby just floating I screamed. I was so angry. This couldn't be! The ultrasound tech remained quiet, doing the exam while I cried and fumed.



I think this loss was so much harder than the one just a short year earlier because I really believed it wouldn't happen again. I mean, what are the chances? Exactly 17 weeks? One year to almost the date? I was inconsolable. Brian was hurting too, but I didn't notice, I was so wrapped up in my anger and grief. I remember one night, February 13, Brian tried to console me, but after a long and fruitless attempt, he prayed for me and rolled over and went to sleep, entrusting me to my Father. I remember that night like it was yesterday. I wept and wept. I could feel a physical ache in my arms. I can almost feel it now. I was done with God, in my mind. How could He let this happen again? We trusted Him with our family size and this was the reward? I didn't want anymore of this. If following and obeying Him was going to cause me this much pain, well, I didn't want it. This went on for a couple of hours. I believe it was the battle of my life.

Little did I know that across town a sweet friend, who had four little children at the time and wondered what she ever did for the Lord, was on her kitchen floor praying for me. Not just praying, but actually travailing. She had never experienced this before. At one point she said she just felt a release and went to sleep.

Back over at my house, in the dark, through the tears I heard in my heart my Father singing over me. It was a song that I love by Dennis Jernigan called, Daddy's Song. The words were switched around as God singing to me. I heard, "here in My arms, you'll always be, at rest in the precious love I have for you. I love you, oh how I love you" Over and over these words washed over me until the sobs stopped and tears began to dry. My breathing slowed and I fell fast asleep with my Daddy singing over me.



Sarah Grace's first reading lesson.

The next day was Valentine's day and Brian had made a fire for me, made my tea, and positioned my chair right in front of the fireplace for me to have my quiet time. I can tell you that the Lord speaks to my heart every day, and I adore Him, but I have never, ever experienced His healing word going into my very soul and speaking to me in the way I did that morning. Verse after verse washed over me, healing my hurt deeper and deeper with each verse. I wept and read and journaled. It was the most incredible experience. I walked away from that chair completely and utterly healed of all my sorrow. I mean it was GONE!



Later that morning I was sitting at the counter writing my grocery list and I felt the Spirit welling up in me and decided to go sit at my computer and just type what I felt like He was saying to me. I began to type, 'you will have another child' . . .'oh, Lord, is this You or just my emotions' . . .'you will have another child'. I was scared to believe it because, come on, surely it could be my own thoughts. I shared with Brian and we 'tucked it away'.

I was still carrying the body of our precious baby. We decided we would let God determine when I delivered. It was so hard still having a swollen belly and needing maternity clothes while my baby was no longer alive. So many awkward moments when people would ask about my pregnancy. Finally, about eight days later we were checking into the hospital to induce labor, as my midwife was concerned about infection. I wasn't worried, but I think I just wanted this done.


Sarah Grace with her nephew, Levi.

We immediately requested one more ultrasound because we serve a miracle working God. It confirmed, yes, the baby was still dead. We were so okay, emotionally. I am telling you God had done the miracle, it was just in my heart, not the baby. Our nurse was so sympathetic, we kept telling her we were fine. I was inquiring about the other women on the floor. I wanted to get out of bed and go pray with them. I knew the hurt they were feeling, but I didn't know if the knew the Healer like I did. Our nurse was quite taken aback by us.

Several hours later I finally delivered our precious Ephraim. (We didn't look at him, as I didn't want my mind to mess with me later. My heart was healed, this was just his little body, my real Ephraim was already with Jesus.) I started weeping, loudly. The nurse kept trying to comfort me and I was trying to tell her I was fine, I was not crying because of grief. I was crying because the grace (for lack of a better word) was so thick in that room that if you were there, I bet you could have physically felt it! It was the most incredible feeling. Such love, such grace!





Fast forward to a year later. February again. I was due with my Sarah Grace. I think my due date was actually around the 14th. As the days passed I was getting very anxious. It had been a difficult pregnancy due to fear. I battled it so intensely due to the previous losses. There were times that I would shake trying to battle the fears. I would hold my head and make it think right thoughts. I was impatient with God, wondering when would this baby be born?! I couldn't take it any longer. I was dilated to 5-6 for about two weeks before she was born. Finally, labor started and I delivered her safe and sound and perfect! As you can imagine, we were overjoyed and in awe of the faithfulness of our God.
It wasn't until weeks later when I was cleaning out a desk drawer that I realized just how faithful God is to keep His word. I 'stumbled' on the little birth card the hospital gave us with Ephraim's weight and length. I replayed everything that had happened in the last year, and was on my knees crying when I noticed the date of his delivery. It was February 22, 2000! I had given birth to our precious Sarah Grace exactly one year to the day that I had delivered Ephraim. I had not been 'overdue', for God had her exact birth date planned! I would not be surprised, if I could get my hands on both records, that Sarah Grace may have been born at the exact time of day as well.

So, that's the story I wanted to share with you. Our sweet Sarah Grace is such a precious reminder of the FAITHFUL GOD we serve! Today our baby girl turns nine! She has always had a special gift to memorize scripture. When she was younger, she couldn't wait to learn to read so she could read God's word like the rest of us. Each morning she can be found curled up in a chair with her bible in hand, and often times, her journal too. Such a hunger for God at such a young age. Praise the Lord.


Great, GREAT is His Faithfulness!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Overwhelmed! Exhausted! Angry!

Does that about sum it up? I think I know full well what you are feeling. Can I offer you some advice? Please know that while I share this to encourage you, it might as well be a 'note to self' also.

This calling, this role as wife and mother, is so utterly demanding of all you have. It can drain you to the dregs! From babies who don't sleep, to children who try even the most patient of saints, to husbands who are less than sacrificing, to housework that piles up every time you leave the room, all of this and more can really wear one down.

Can I tell you something? I really think this just might be how it is supposed to be. Don't we want to decrease so that He might increase? Don't we want 'less of me', more of Him? Isn't this what Jesus meant when He said, "we must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him"?

Ladies, all that it costs you to fulfill this calling is more than worth it! He is worthy of all we have, all we could possibly give. Yes, it is so hard and literally demands all, but do we want our 'sacrifice' to cost us nothing?

This body that is so worn out and stretched in a million directions is just flesh. It will return to dust one day. Can you think of anything more worthy to spend your life, health and strength on? Any 'One' more worthy than Jesus?

We can do this ladies, we can, by His grace, which you know is sufficient. So easy to lose sight of, but you know that it is, sufficient. I wish I could tell you that all you need to do is get through these couple of years and then it is smooth sailing from there. This has not been my experience. Until we are perfectly reflecting His image back to Himwhich I suspect will not happen this side of eternity, there will always be something to give, something that needs molding. I suspect once the babies start sleeping there just might be something else He uses to mold us and make us into His image.

Can we just get to the point where we fall on our knees, bow before our Master and say like Mary, 'be it unto me according to Your word'? You know, He doesn't owe us anything, yet He promises our work will be rewarded! Imagine the day you see your Savior face to face and hear Him say, 'precious daughter, I saw all you gave, all you sacrificed and I am well pleased.' All we do is for Him really, right?

So, yes, you are overwhelmed, exhausted and downright angry. It is to be expected It is okay. Step back, take a breath and bow. Just bow before Him, pour out your heart. Let Him pick you back up, infused with His Spirit and go right back at it. Let your life be an offering poured out to Him.

Can I just say, I know that I know that I know it is hard! You are going to be okay! You can do this! I promise! I know your God and Father, He is faithful. While you feel you can't and you just might burst, know that He keeps you and His hand is right there holding you.

Is your place a small place?
Tend it with care!
He set you there.
Is your place a large place?
Guard it with care!
He set you there.
Whatever your place, it is
Not yours alone, but His.
He set you there.
John Oxenham

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Flirting 101


Today I hope to touch upon a subject that is very near and dear to my heart, as well as my husband’s. We have so much fun in our marriage and we both think fun is important in a marriage. This subject can be a bit sensitive and some might find it uncomfortable to talk about, but I am going to take the risk because I feel it is so important.

I want you to know right up front that I believe that the marriage bed is an unbelievable gift that is holy and pure. I pray what I write today will reflect that.
My husband and I flirt, I mean a lot of flirting! (with each other, of course!) It makes our marriage so much fun, and the intimacy only grows between us. When I say intimacy, I mean the closeness and oneness between a married couple, not just what happens in bed.

Below are just some suggestions of how to incorporate ‘flirting’ in your marriage. You know your husband better than anybody, what works for one might not work for others. I am merely suggesting that you prayerfully find ways to ‘flirt’ with your man!

Flirting 101

Passionate kissing! Find moments to surprise your husband with a passionate kiss. Maybe on his way out the door in the morning. Imagine his surprise if you never do this! F.Y.I., brush teeth first.

Love notes/emails are a way to let him know you are thinking about him. We used to write love notes to each other all the time, we still do some, but emails come in handy too. Don’t be afraid to have a little fun with these. You can always ‘destroy the evidence’ if need be. (wink) Sometimes it is easier to write things that we might be uncomfortable saying. Things we might like to do, or have him do. Be romantic, it is okay to make him blush!

‘Flirty looks.’ Apparently I have what my husband calls a ’saucy, come hither look.’ He loves when I cast him one of these from across the room. You should see the smile on his face.

Dance in the kitchen, the living room, where ever! We have been known to grab the other person right there in the middle of making hash browns and eggs, spatula in hand and all, and just start dancing! He has even dipped me a few times. I squeal with surprise and the children all laugh and get excited. They see all the time that Mama and Papa love each other so much!

Whisper ’sweet naughties,’ I mean ’sweet nothings’ in his ear. Use your imagination and don’t be shy, as long as you make sure nobody else is listening.

We have lots of ‘private’ words. They are just normal words, with special meaning. Nobody has a clue what we mean, it is our little secret. I of course can’t tell you them because they are secret. Are there words that only the two of you know the real meaning of?

Be hands on! Touch him more. It might be a simple, gentle stroke on his shoulder or a tousle of his hair, (if he has hair . Or, if nobody is looking, you might think of other places you could touch. Sometimes you will find us walking closely together at the store, even just brushing up against each other, so casually and non-chalantly, of course. This is a good time for that ’saucy, come hither look.’

Admire his physique. This is easy, yes? Find something you like about his body and let him know you like it! I will grab hold of his arm and swoon over his ‘guns,’ as we call them. Maybe it is his derriere, or legs or smile, whatever! Frequently tell him how simply amazing he is!

Initiate a game of chase. We do this and somehow he catches me right at our bed and we plop down in each others arms laughing and kissing. Of course, in a millisecond we can occasionally have several small children on top of us. Everybody is laughing and squealing with delight.

Shower together. We have ‘grown’ into this one. I can promise you that in our early marriage I would not be caught naked, in the bathroom, with Brian, with the lights on! I promise. But, as our marriage has grown and walls have come down, we love a long, hot shower together!

We have found recently that we talk or reminisce about our times of intimacy. We have also noticed at times we are doing more talking about times of intimacy than we are having times of intimacy, if you know what I mean. Funny thing is, it seems like we are having more times of intimacy because of all the talking! Works for me The whole next day we might be reminding each other of certain things, or thanking the other for certain things. You get the idea, right?

Okay, I am going to step out just a little bit more here. I want to talk to you about how us women dress. I mean under our clothes or when we go to bed. I am all for modesty in all ways! But, I do think there is value in being just a little bit ‘immodest’ under our clothing. Do you know what I mean? I don’t think there is anything ungodly or unholy about swapping out the stained, cotton, ten year old nursing bra for a pretty, lacy little number for date night! Or, some slightly uncomfortable little dainties to wear under your very modest skirt or dress.

Also, there is nothing wrong with having an especially ‘immodest’ nightie to wear on special occasions. Hide it under your big fluffy robe while the children are still awake and then give him a peek before you crawl into bed. You do know that men are very visual, right? I really do believe we can do these types of things in a tasteful and pure way.

Now, procuring these items are a bit difficult for a home schooling, mama of nine! I mean really, how comfortable is it to even buy bras at your local department store? Now, this crazy woman wants you to go buy little, lacy dainties? It can be done ladies, just be careful not to tuck them in your coat on the way to check out for fear you might get stopped by a security guard! Also, leave the children at home and wash your dainties secretly, I mean separately. Just a little FYI.

This concludes our lesson on Flirting 101. If you have any questions or suggestions of your own, please feel free to leave a comment or email me personally. Please don’t throw any tomatoes, I am just sharing my heart here. I am fully aware that we all come from different backgrounds, have unique marriages, and different levels of convictions. Trust God, your heart, and your husband’s wishes, not mine.

This was also not meant to put one more ‘burden’ on your already full plate, just a way to encourage some ‘fun.’ I personally find it is much easier to ‘be in the mood’ more often when my mind is there, and flirting is one way to put it there. Blessings and love!


Michelle


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

OPEN YOUR EYES, SHELBY!



I adore the movie Steel Magnolias. Brian and I have so many 'one liners' that we use from this movie. Like, 'here, hit Weeza' or 'you're too twisted for color TV'. Our favorite, though, is when Sally Field's daughter, Shelby, is in a coma and during an emotional ourburst she begins yelling, "open your eyes, Shelby, Shelby, open your eyes, open your eyes!" Crazy as it might seem, we say this quite often. Whenever we are telling someone to open their eyes we always throw in there, "open your eyes, Shelby" I know, we are so weird!





Why do I tell you all this not so pertinant information? I am glad you asked. We finally watched Food Inc. and I am wanting to shout from the rooftops, "OPEN YOUR EYES, SHELBY!!!" We are being duped and we don't even realize it!










I am pleading with you to watch this movie with your family. Watch it for school if you home school. Fit it in whenever you can.



As you know, encouraging others to feed and nourish their familes well is a huge passion of mine, and I just know if you all watched this movie it would forever change the way you purchase food and feed your family. I think it is so vitally important to see where our food comes from! Please, I am begging you to watch this movie. I know many library systems have it. It is available on Amazon for a good price. You can even 'rent' it for only $2.99 on Amazon. I am sure video stores have this for rent. If I could, I would buy them by the box and send them to everyone I know. That is how important I feel this is!





Go to Food Inc. The Movie and watch the trailor.



Please let me know when you watch this or if you have any questions or comments! Please believe me when I say this is important!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Precious In His Sight

I hope you have taken the time to check out the Bible Study called,
God...who are You & what can You do for me?

Photobucket


Please know that you don't need to have been there the first week or be able to do all of the weeks. Just do what you can, even a week here or there. It is free and you can download the bible study and do it in your own quiet time.

Today's discussion questions are as follows.


1. What does it mean to you to know that you are precious in God's sight?
2. Can you think of a time in your life when you've experienced, firsthand, the LORD's faithfulness? Share your thoughts.


What does it mean to you to know that you are precious in God's sight?

This can simply overwhelm me! To know that the God Who created the universe cares for and loves me literally blows my mind. I think I only become more and more in awe of this truth as I see His very hands all over my life. There are times when I am brought to a heap in tears when He speaks to my heart or is so patient with me. I am humbled and bow my head and mutter, "Your love for me is too wonderful."

It has really only been in the past couple of years that I think I am coming to grasp with this most amazing concept. Years of trying so hard to please Him and just 'do it right'. I think it was about four years ago now that I was doing a bible study and something, I don't remember what, flipped that switch for me and I was struck to my very core with the revelation of His love for me and that I was truly precious in His sight! I will never forget that feeling and how that has changed how I see everything. It's not that I don't still fall into the performance trap from time to time, but He is faithful to remind me of this truth.

Can you think of a time in your life when you've experienced, firsthand, the LORD's faithfulness?

Oh my, there are so many that come to my mind. Many unique and obvious displays of His faithfulness. The one I feel led to share might be considered a strange one, but it is His faithfulness to disciple me. I am learning to cherish His faithfulness as He deals with me by discipling and correcting me. My "verse" for this season of my life would have to be Job 5:17-18

"Blessed is the man whom God corrects;
so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.

For He wounds, but He also binds up;
He injures, but His hands also heal.

I find it easy and all 'ooey gooey feel good' when I can marvel at and praise Him for His faithfulness when He delivers me or does something the way I want it done. But, I am finding it extremely difficult to express the same praise when He disciplines and corrects me!
I am reminded that Hebrews 12 says 'that He disciplines us for our certain good, to become sharers in His holiness'. And that, 'no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.' So, I need to endure hardship as discipline, He is doing it BECAUSE He is faithful and loves me!
So, of the many things I could choose to write about His faithfulness, I choose His discipline, knowing that He does so because He loves me and I am His own.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Would You Do Me a Favor?


I am wondering if you would give me the honor of praying for you. I already do pray for the readers of this blog, in a general sense. What has been on my heart lately is to be able to pray more specifically for any of you who would be willing to share a need.

You may email me privately or post a comment, which ever you feel more comfortable with. I hope to have a button on my sidebar in the future because I am not just talking about a one time deal here, I want you to know that you may always ask for prayer.


I know sometimes it can be hard to ask for help, but I am giving you permission to ask, okay? I think it is so easy to ignore the power of prayer and the beauty of 'bearing one another's burdens'.



I would be honored by your request. The readers of this blog touch my heart in so many ways and it would be a privilege to lift them and their needs before the throne of our Almighty Father in the precious name of Jesus.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Why Am I So Passionate About Nourishing My Family?

I believe that we, as keepers of our home, have a great responsibility to nourish and train our children in the area of “diet”. When I look at my children, I don't just see them, I see their children and their children’s children. What I put into them today will have an effect on their children.


I am a perfect example of a woman whose heart is to serve the Lord, to yield her body to bring forth as many seed as He desires, to have strength to raise the children He has given her, but have been handicapped, at least in part, because of health related issues that are a direct result of 'diet'! I want to shout, all that I have learned in the past several years, from the rooftop! I wish more than anything that I had known then what I know now. God has given me a passion to let others know before it is too late, or at the very least, so that they can effect the next generation and turn things around.



My children's health is affected by what I ate growing up, what I ate while pregnant and what I feed them today! Their children's health is affected by the same and on it goes. Brian and I are first generation Christians and we want nothing more than to change forever the spiritual direction of our family. Same goes for health and diet. We desire this generation to be the one that it all got turned around and turned back towards the way the Lord intended it!


I also believe we have been lulled into eating things that aren’t fit for human consumption. Our diet is filled with chemicals and adulterated foods that do nothing to sustain us in a healthy way, never mind build strong disease free bodies.


Yes, we live in a fallen world and there is just going to be sickness, but, I do not need to give into the fact that obesity, diabetes, cancer, depression, hormone imbalance, autism, ect., are just a part of life. This is a lie! These are all relatively new diseases, and if not new, new is the fact that these diseases have reached epidemic levels and are now seriously affecting children. I mean young children.

It is not a fluke or a fallen world, it is our diet! Talk about lambs led to the slaughter! We need to wake up and see what is going on. Stop accepting the diagnosis, popping a few pills and hoping to hang on till Jesus comes.


Start questioning why so many people are sick. Question why, if the powers that be have the answers, why are we only getting sicker? Start reading your labels. Find out what is in your food. Find out how the meat you eat is raised, what it is fed! Stop eating chemicals.


So, why am I so passionate? Because it is so important and about so much more than what I put on the table tonight for dinner. It affects my future children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and so on, should the Lord tarry.



While the Lord has given me a passion for this area, I regret I don't have the 'professional' blogging ability with perfectly presented thoughts. Sorry. I am just going to do my best letting my heart spill out, and try and provide lots of links so you can search out what the Lord would have for YOU, and your family. Please, do not rely on me as some expert, I am only sharing what I believe and have learned. Take everything to the Lord and your husband, please. This is not about me trying to get my agenda accomplished, it is about encouraging others to do their very best and do what the Lord calls them to.


One last thing. I don't for one second believe that we somehow 'control' our destiny and that there is no place for faith and reliance on Christ to be our health and strength. I am merely addressing the things we can and should be doing in the natural to take care of this temple of the Holy Spirit.

I once heard a Christian comedian joke about this saying, "Dear Lord, please bless these Cheetos on the way down and turn them into a carrots, in Jesus Name" That's kind of what I'm saying, we can't eat junk and expect the Lord to make us healthy and strong.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Who Is God To You???

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Hi Ladies,

There is what looks to be an awesome bible study going on over "At the Well". It is a study on getting to know God through a study of His names. If you are at all interested, please head over there and check it out. Don't worry if you can't do it all or are late in joining, join in whenever you can, that is what I am going to do.


Today we are supposed to introduce ourselves and answer the question of "Who God is to us?"


My name is Michelle and I am first and foremost deeply in love with my Jesus! I am a wife to a wonderful man, Brian. I am a Mama to nine precious children here on earth and six babies at the feet of Jesus. We home school our children and generally just try to keep our heads above water, to be entirely honest!

I am an extremely passionate person about the things the Lord brings in my life. I strive to nourish my family the best I can physically, emotionally and spiritually. I am an extremely flawed individual, which by the way, is only becoming more and more apparent as I grow older.


Feel free to 'look' around my blog to find out a little of what makes me tick.


Who Is God To Me?



Oh my, I cannot fathom how to do this question justice. As I type with tears running down my face, I can assure you He is everything to me. He chose ME, saved me and filled me with His Holy Spirit. Me! He chose ME! I wasn't looking for Him. I didn't really know Him. He drew me out of a deep pit and put my feet on a wonderful path.


He has given me a life that is truly beyond what I could have ever dreamed of. When people ask 'what were your dreams as a little girl?' The only thing I can remember ever really wanting was to be loved. I have a God who loves me so much, who gave me a husband who adores and cherishes me, nine children who love me even though I am so, so unworthy of their affection.


Lest you think that I am one of those women who seem to have it all with no troubles, let me assure you that is NOT true, and nothing could be further from the truth! We have had our share of tremendous heartache and struggles like most people. BUT GOD! Through it all, He has been so faithful, so there, so merciful, so gracious, so unbelievably everything we would ever need!

I am blessed with an extremely intimate relationship with Him. I have rich quiet times that I sense His presence everyday. I love His Word. I cannot imagine, I actually shudder at the thought of traversing this life without His Spirit leading me, without my Father ordaining my every step and without my Jesus with Whom I live and move and have my being! He is my LIFE!


I look forward to this bible study as I have always loved studying the names of God. Jehovah Shammah has been a favorite for years. I believe it means "the Lord is There" He has always been "there" through all the ups and downs! Please join in the bible study if you can. May God bless you as seek to know Him more.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

How Do I Decide?

It occurred to me that I should probably share my core values as they relate to how best to nourish my family. I can promise you that I do not always do this perfectly, nor do I strive to be perfect. I simply have a goal or a vision I aim for.

Eat Things Created By God For Food

First and foremost I do my best to choose things that were created by God for food. There are varying opinions on this I am sure. Personally, I believe it can be as simple as fruits, vegetables, meats, grains and legumes. Things that you can grow or raise. Things like Twinkies, Cheetos, white bread, processed items, you get the point, God did not create these, man did.

I also personally believe that things like shellfish or pork is best to be avoided. I do not for one second believe that my salvation is dependent upon obedience to the Law, I simply believe God had a purpose in making these restrictions and I believe the scientific data that backs this up. Now, let me also say that I LOVE bacon and do occasionally have it. If I came to your house and you served me a luscious BLT, trust me, I would receive it with thanksgiving and enjoy every morsel of it!

Eat Food Prepared As Traditionally As Possible

Secondly, we try to prepare our food as closely to how it has been prepared traditionally. Meaning, how did my great-grandma prepare this? Or how was this been prepared before man got so smart and decided he needed food fast! This is where Nourishing Traditions has really enlightened me as well as the works of Weston A. Price.(check out their website and have a field day, tons of information) This knowledge has forever changed the way I prepare our food. Again, am I perfect at it, by no means. If I forgot to soak my rice, I don't freak out, we just eat it without having been prepared properly. I don't like it, but it just encourages me to remember next time. I don't worry that I have somehow poisoned my children.

Obviously, within these two criteria, you also have many choices. For instance, you now may decide if you should buy organic or not. Another choice, and this one might just put you over the edge, does this beef I am eating come from a cow that was fed grass or grain? The reason this is important is because God created cows to eat grass! not grain, and certainly not corn! More on this in another post, just whetting your appetite!

I hope it has benefited you to see by what criteria I choose the foods I feed my family. Please share your thoughts, opinions or questions.

Fill Thou My Life

I have the most wonderful little hymnal that Brian and I bought at an antique store. It is about 4 by 6! So dreamy and comfortable to hold. I am a 'newbie' when it comes to hymns. I did not grow up on the good, old hymns, I am sad to say. The past several years I have done my best to learn them and teach them to my children. Lord willing, they will have a different testimony! Did you know there is a website called CyberHymnal.org that has tons of hymns and the music playing so you can hear the tune? This is great for a Mama who is clueless about music!


I love, love, love this hymn! I have been praying it for weeks now. It's my new favorite! (this changes when I discover a different one ;-) I recently pulled my laptop out during morning devotions and the children and I sang it over and over trying to learn it. Read through the words, they are so much what my heart desires! My whole life, every part filled with praise!

(below is the link if you want to sing along)




Fill Thou my life, O Lord my God,
In every part with praise,
That my whole being may proclaim
Thy being and Thy ways.
Not for the lip of praise alone,
Nor e’en the praising heart
I ask, but for a life made up
Of praise in every part!

Praise in the common words I speak,
Life’s common looks and tones,
In fellowship in hearth and board
With my belov├Ęd ones;
Not in the temple crowd alone
Where holy voices chime,
But in the silent paths of earth,
The quiet rooms of time.

Fill every part of me with praise;
Let all my being speak
Of Thee and of Thy love, O Lord,
Poor though I be, and weak.
So shalt Thou, Lord, from me, e’en me,
Receive the glory due;
And so shall I begin on earth
The song forever new.

So shall each fear, each fret, each care
Be turned into a song,
And every winding of the way
The echo shall prolong;
So shall no part of day or night
From sacredness be free;
But all my life, in every step
Be fellowship with Thee.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Delicious Healthy Homemade Mayonnaise

I probably don't need to tell you that store bought mayonnaise is really just horrible for you. Now I really don't think if you occasionally have mayo that you should spend all your energy on this area.( but then again, it is so easy, might just be the place to start!) You would be better served to focus on getting the chemicals and processed foods out of your diet.

I have never really liked mayo, I have always been a Miracle Whip kind of gal. To this day, it is still my preference, but, have you read a Miracle Whip label lately? I would have never dreamed of making my own mayo a few years ago, but now I do and I LOVE it! When we have burgers and oven fries for dinner I put more mayo on my fries than I do my burger. I lick the spoon that I serve it up with, I love it that much!

I also use this mayo recipe as a base for other dips, therefore making the dips healthy too!

HEALTHY HOMEMADE MAYONNAISE

Ingredients:


2-4 egg yolks (Please only use farm fresh eggs from a local farmer,or organic!)
½ tsp. mustard
2 Tbsp. lemon juice (I like this much, my friend uses less)
3 tsp. white wine vinegar (I have used apple cider or rice too, or a combination)
1 tsp. Celtic sea salt
dash of garlic powder and/or onion powder (to taste, go lightly)

I do add a tiny amount of sweetener to balance out the flavors, like maple syrup or even sugar.

¾ c. oil- Safflower oil (I have started to substitute some Olive Oil, I keep inching up the amount because it is far healthier than the Safflower. I did NOT like all Olive Oil at first. The goal is a neutral flavored oil for starters)



I make it in my food processor and it is super easy! I put all the ingredients in, except the oil, blend for a few seconds. I then drizzle slowly the oil while the machine is on. Taste and adjust the flavor if need be. (I have gotten lazy about measuring, so I am always having to fix it;-)


That’s it! This mayonnaise lasts about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.


The possibilities are endless at this point.


Garlic-Feta Mayo

Add some chopped garlic, lemon juice and feta cheese. The amounts may vary according to taste! This is delicious!


My version of Ranch Dip

Mayo, yogurt, sour cream, a little lemon juice, garlic and onion powder, lots of dill, salt and pepper. Dried chives if you have them. I don't ever measure this, I just taste as I go along. The children love this with veggies. I also thin this out with a little buttermilk, water or milk to make a 'Ranch Dressing"


I hope you enjoy this basic recipe for mayonnaise. If you have any questions, please ask. Remember to read your labels. Go check out your mayo or salad dressing . . . scary, isn't it? ;-)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Check Out What is New

As some of you know I am a contributing writer for a wonderful website called,
It is At the Well's one year anniversary and they have made some exciting changes. Head on over there and read all about it. Help spread the word, surely there are many women out there in need of encouragement. Blessings!

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