Friday, August 29, 2008

In memory of Christian "Dozer" Drews

My heart was torned open this morning when I stopped by Heart of the Matter to see what today's meme was and instead found a sweet homeschooling friend of mine had lost her precious baby boy, I was completely shocked and left in a place of disbelief. I couldn't wrap my mind and heart around the pain that Marsha and her whole family must be experiencing. As a mother my heart truly mourns the loss of their baby "Dozer" as if I were there with them and oh how I wish I were. I do not know Marsha and her family personally but I have been truly blessed and beyond inspired by her heart through her family blog, she personified the mother I so desire to be and I love listening to her proudfully brag and gloat over her precious boys.

Please... lift this family up to the Father in prayer. Let your heart spill over in love for them and if you would like for them to know you are in prayer for them:

Cards or Correspondence can be mailed to:
David and Marsha Drewsc/o Rachel Harris
12830 N. Cypress
LaneTomball, TX 77377

JOYfully in Him,
post signature

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

He is NEAR...

The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he
increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall
renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

While we were away on traveling vacation the Lord continually encouraged my husband and I with these verses, it was amazing. He brought these verses into our view as if to say to us... I am HERE with you and I will give you strength. And let me say, we needed it. We were not able to get much sleep or many moments of solitude to just be in His presence to renew our strength like at home. At home you can retreat to your own room and be quiet with Him but during our stay away from home it was difficult to find that time. Butterfly struggled with sleep each evening only allowing a few hours each night and sicknesses plauged us as well as just late nights with family and new friends. When God does this and He does this a lot with me, shows me a verse and then brings it continually to my attention I try to meditate on it and understand what He is trying to show me. Sometimes I don't figure it out, I realize a deep sin in my life that He is convicting me of, sometimes He is just encouraging me in our relationship or guiding me, sometimes He is giving me wisdom for a certain situation or He is just letting me know that He is near and that He is all I need.

I wanted to encourage you today with the reality that God is near and to just encourage you to open your ears and eyes to Him in your day and realize His presence. Be in His word. I believe that God is truly with us, let Him encourage you, lead you, guide you and instruct you in His ways as you walk this sometimes difficult, lonely, overwhelming, stressful path of life and just know that He has not left you here to endure it on your own and with your own strength.

JOYfully in Him,
post signature

Sunday, August 17, 2008

God my Father... Hallowed by Your Name

I believe and have always believe that we serve a very personal and holy God but just recently I have come to know Him in an even more personal way; as Father, my Father. This is very significant for me because I have never had a father and to this day I do not know my real father. I believe that his absence in my life has had a major affect on my relationship with God as my heavenly Father. It has been a life changing realization for me to know Him in such a personal and intimate way, it has changed how I approach His throne of grace and how I understand who I am. In realizing this I truly understand my adoption and that Jesus as my brother and friend. I am apart of His eternal family.

On the 6 hour trip down here we listened to 3 different sermons by Piper and Washer and one of them struck a major heart cord with me that has continued to wring in my ears. So often we or I live with the deceiving idea that I do things simply in service for man in service for God when the reality found in the Lord's Prayer is that I do everything to hallow His name, to honor His holy name . That is what I live to do first and foremost, to hallow His most high and glorious name first and out of that flows the service of others. It is such a profoud reminder that there is no other like Him, He is set apart, He is the I am and I long only to serve and honor Him and in that everything else such as saving souls will follow in it's glorious shadow. Know what I mean?

We are getting ready for our "interview" this evening. They will have a meeting where all of the parents can ask us questions (scary) and then later Expresso will lead a devotional for the church and a devotional for the youth. We were both very encouraged by this mornings interaction with the youth and the church. We so long to just seek the Lord's direction in this, for His will not our own and it is so hard at times to seperate our thoughts and realize how much of them are ours and how much are His but we are deep in prayer and meditation.

JOYfully in Him,
post signature

Friday, August 15, 2008

Traveling Thoughts...

We are getting ready to leave for 11 days, to visit family and interview at 2 different churches. My heart is in a state of mourning for just wanting to be home, to just dwell here and wait on my amazon homeschool package. We start school here on September 7, I am very excited and can't wait to get started! We will be studying all kinds of cool things as we live and learn together. I was really hoping that all of my curriculum would have come in already so that I could take it with me and plan out our year but I will have to wait until we get back.

I have a lot of thoughts about homeschooling and if you were to ask me about homeschooling I would leap at the opportunity to express my overzealous heartfelt love of it and importance of it. I am a huge homeschool advocate. I do not feel that it is something to be pushed onto someone but I do feel that it is something that ALL Christian parents should take into serious consideration in the perspective of eternity and a Christ centered education. I personally am in love with it, I can not imagine sending my children to the system of goverment education, I wholeheartedly believe God's design for children is to be at home with their parents, learning from them. I know that this is not the majority view, it is considered crazy that common "uneducated" parents could "teach" their own children but I think it is crazy to give my chilren to an "educated" stranger to "teach" them. Who's children are they? Mine or the government? The teacher's or mine? How can I allow someone else the responsibility of raising the children that God has intrusted to me? Homeschooling or home education is a life of sacraficing in many ways but God always provides, always! The blessings of teaching our children at home in the refuge of Christ far out ways the struggles and the ridicules.

I don't want anyone to read this post today and think I am judgemental in anyway towards those who choose not to teach their children at home, I am not. I simply want to encourage those who do not to dwell in the holy scriptures and pray about the opportunity to teach your children at home in a Christ centered education.

I found this little clip the other day that explains a sliver of my thoughts:

JOYfully in Him,
post signature

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Gospel in Parenting~Piper

We are all better, praise God.

With my mind being pretty much consumed in thoughts on parenting I want to share these encouraging videos by one of my favorite preachers, John Piper. Sometimes I think that it is easy to put to much emphases on the law and not on the gospel, on works and not on grace, on discipline and not on training, on ourselves and our anger and not on God and His mercy and love. There has to be a balance between them, but most importantly we as parents need to realize that the gospel should be the foundation of all our parenting efforts.

Spankings don't save kids...

The gospel saves kids...

JOYfully in Him,
post signature

Monday, August 11, 2008

Home of Sicklings

So how do you take care of your sick husband, your sick child, a messy house, your needy baby girl, show your oldest attention who is somewhat left alone and yourself who is holding back everything in her stomach?

JOYfully in Him,
post signature

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lead by Example

"The children will follow the example, instead of following the advice." ~Lord Palmerston

Lord, let our words of encouragement and direction to our children not only speak to them but be a strong reality in their life as they see them living actively through us day to day.

JOYfully in Him,
post signature

Friday, August 8, 2008

Our "Sacred" Time

I get asked the question a lot: "How many children do you want to have?" My response is usually a stumbling of words because my heart is a little unsure right now. I have not come to a complete understanding of what I feel God's will is for us as a family. There was a time that I felt that God was calling me to be one of the few "be fruitful and multiply" women but I have since come to the conclusion that this is not His calling on my life. When we first married I always had a quick anwser to the how many question, it was always 7. Why 7, there was not reason behind it other than it was the number of completeness and I thought a good number of children, well since then I have had 3 and struggle in motherhood as we all do for the most part. Don't misunderstand me, I LOVE being a mother!! It is an amazing privilege but one of the things that I really struggle with in having more children is spending time with them all individually. I know that it is not necessary but I long to show my children, all of them, the love and devotion that I never had. When I lay my head down at night I want to have a feeling of complete peace knowing that I have given all of my children an undivided peice of me and my time and part of it is for selfish reasons. I want that time, time to talk privately, time to connect, time enjoy a sacred moment together, time to worship, time to simply dwell in eachothers thoughts, dreams and imaginations and a time to just love them and be with them in the precious gift of time alone and uninterupted away from all of the noise and complications of life. A sacred place for us to just be us. I love all of my children equally and I just hate the thought of letting all of those possible sacred times slip away simply because I didn't make the time and then take the time for them. So I am commiting to make and take the time each and every day that God allows for us to have.

As for right now I think my plan is to dedicate 15-20 minutes a day of "Our Time" right before naptime. Today I experimented with it. Before I layed Butterfly down today I sat on the floor and just enjoyed some time playing with her, which was reading or flipping through as many books as she wanted to. Her face when she saw me sit on the floor and tell her to get some books to read was so sweet and priceless and I just knew that this was definetly something that I wanted to make a habit of doing every day. I figure I can do something of the same thing with T-Rex when I lay him down right after Butterfly and then spend some time with Superman while they are both resting.

My children are amazing and very eqaully their own person and sometimes it is hard to appreciate who they are, who God has made them to be in the midst of each day as their unique God given personalities clash together. I pray that God will bless this commitment and give me the perseverance and the desire and unselfishness to do it even on those days when all I want to do is lay them down so that I can have some "me" time.

JOYfully in Him,
post signature

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Family Photos

JOYfully in Him,
post signature

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Ministers at Home

The convictions that flowed through my heart and mind after my dark room of self examination have made me yearn to do something, to truly live for Christ, forsaking everything else. I began to pray fervently and deeply that God would grant me a bolder ministering spirit and a willing heart to serve and labor in love and for Him to lead me in the right direction. After thinking a lot about being a ministering spirit to those around me and laboring in love for Christ I realized something, I must start at home. Home is my calling, my ministry, my battle ground, it is where my laboring in love for Christ must begin.

My husband has been just as convicted as me and probably more. He called me the other night after struggling with what to do... study or minister... he chose to minister but one thoguht he had was maybe he should come home and minister to his children and then it occured to him, there is already a minister at home that he trusts with his children... me. I quickly realized that he is right and began examining myself as a minister and mother to my children. I found a lot of things that I needed to pray about and begin working on with this new perspective in mind. I have been thinking a lot lately about parenting and one thing that I just realized from my husband's sermon this morning... how would Jesus parent my children? Talk to them? Encourage them? Love them? Discipline them? Respond when they willingly and rebelliously sin? React to the constant demands of the day? How would He show them to be peacemakers, to love one another, to obey, to serve, to be respectful and to simply live to glorify His Father?... how have I been?

Here is the thing, I am a minister. A minister to my children and all those who enter my home. I have a very high, holy and crucial calling! It may not seem very important on most days but when we have our perspective focused on His will we will recognize the truth. With this idea or fact of being a minister at home I am refreshed and encouraged in my calling as well as stricken with immense responsibility as I serve His kingdom. It is not that my calling has changed in anyway but my perspective has which for me changes a lot of things with in my mind considering my calling as a joyful wife, mother and homekeeper.

JOYfully in Him,
post signature