Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Grace, Truth, Beauty

Grace Truth and Beauty

One of the joys of being a mom is teaching my children about God. Homeschooling has given me the opportunity to teach my children about the world, through the lens of God's Word. This is why my sweet friend Cathy and I began a class with our daughters, Lydia and Charlotte, which we call Grace, Truth and Beauty. Whether we are teaching our daughters at home or whether we have the opportunity to learn together, we endeavor to teach them about God and the World He created by looking for God's grace, truth and beauty in all He created. Through music, art, science, history, people, creation, writing, speech, crafts, sewing, exploring, field trips, catechism, Bible study, etc., we hope to lead them to the grace, truth and beauty of the One who created them and rescued them from sin and death and called them to shine for His glory.

It adds a special touch of joy multiplied when we have the opportunity to do this together. Of course what better way to start off Grace, Truth and Beauty than to have tea at the JH Adams Inn!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

11 Years Resting in Jesus

Today marks 11 years since Micah died and went to be with the Lord. He awoke in the presence of the Lord. Some of the scriptures I prayed for Micah when he was sick were:

Ps 3:5
I lay down and slept;
I awake, for the LORD sustained me.
Ps 4:8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep, For You alone, O LORD,
make me dwell in safety.
Ps. 5:3
My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD;
In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up.

Each night when Micah went to sleep he and I were more conscious of the fact that it is the LORD who gives him sleep and peace. It is the LORD who woke him and sustained him. It was only because of Jesus that when Micah was dying of cancer that he could have peace at night knowing that the Lord heard his cry and the LORD was his peace and only in Him alone could Micah dwell in safety. So Micah trusted in the Lord and directed his prayers to the Lord . He looked up to Jesus, the author and finisher of his faith, at night, knowing he might go to dwell in the presence of the Lord and rest in Him. He awoke looking to Jesus and the Lord put gladness in his heart.

Then 11 years ago today Micah awoke in the presence of the LORD, seeing Jesus face to face.
Lord, I pray that you would help me not to forget how You sustained Micah each day and drew him closer to you each day, gave him peace and help in such a glorious way to trust You and find joy in You because You put joy and gladness in his heart. Thank you Lord! Help me not to forget how you helped Micah through each trial and you helped Mark and I and our children. Help us not to forget and to continue to look up to You and direct our prayers to You knowing that You will continue to sustain us as we grieve and continue to miss Micah each and every year. Daily we are fully reliant upon you for everything.

Monday, November 28, 2016

So Much, So Much, So Much, to be Thankful For

So Much, So Much, So Much, to be Thankful For

Even though my dear friend Princess Ruby is with the Lord, singing and rejoicing, I can still hear her singing,"We have so much, so much, so much, to be thankful for!”

Sometimes we forget that. I know I do.
Sometimes, we get our eyes on the problems and circumstances in our life.
Sometimes we get our eyes on the things we want or don't want.
Sometimes we get our eyes on people who seem bigger than they should be and have a control over us, because we have put hope in them.
Sometimes we get our eyes on our hopes and dreams and how life did not turn out the way we had thought it would.
Sometimes we get our eyes on politics and begin to be deceived into thinking it would save us.

There is so much turmoil, fighting, struggle, rebellion, revolting, rejection and hurt in this world.
This is always true. More than ever I see that there are a lot of hurting people with no hope, no direction, no confidence, no Savior. Maybe their hope is in their job, family, vacation time, material things, homes, cars, traveling, finding that perfect person, doing whatever they want to do and not having to work for it, having their political candidate win.

When I look back on my life, I see a lot of disappointments, pain, laughter, joy and special memories of my children when they were young. Our swings in the back yard used to have children swinging on them every day. Now they are empty most of the time. This is kind of sad. I miss those days. There is more behind me than in the future. My life is almost over. I don't know what the future holds. I do know there will by pain and sorrow mixed with joy. But I can't put my hope in these things.

All these hopes, desires, dreams and people will fail us. They will crumble and fall and not lift us up. The bigger they become in our lives, the farther we will fall when they don't measure up!

There is a hope and Salvation that is a sure foundation! That hope is Jesus. He is our Light and our Salvation. He is our hope, peace and joy. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Only He can give me true lasting joy! Jesus is my treasure. He can never be taken away from me. His love is everlasting. Because He loved me, He died for me and because I trust in Jesus for my Salvation I have His peace, assurance of Salvation and a hope for the future.

So I put my hope in Christ. I fix my eyes on Jesus, The Author and Finisher of my faith. I don't focus on those things that don't give hope. I can rest, knowing He has it all in the palm of His hands. My past and future are all part of His Story and He is not finished yet.
The best part is, I know the end. Jesus wins!

So, I can look up and fix my gaze on Jesus and remember, I have so much, so much, so much to be thankful for!

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:11-14).

Saturday, May 28, 2016

True, Lasting, Satisfaction

Now godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Tim 6:6-12

Being content with who we are begins with knowing first how corrupt, totally depraved, guilty and condemned we really are.
This leads us to our one and only Savior, Jesus Christ, who is the only one who can bring us peace with ourselves and with each other.

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,
having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,
and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
Eph 2:14-16

Godliness and contentment begins at the cross.
We are content and can grow in the image of Christ because the penalty for our sins has been satisfied by the finished work of Christ.
We put our faith in the work of Christ.
Holiness is the outworking of that faith.
This is what brings true lasting satisfaction and peace in our lives.

No relationship can work in the long term without first finding our pleasure and satisfaction in Christ. We can’t experience complete emotional satisfaction and happiness in a relationship with a person no matter how amazing that relationship is.
The most loving thing we can do is to point each other to Christ and His word, not to each other, ourselves, or our circumstances.
People disappoint; Christ satisfies.
We are complete in Him. What truly changes our attitude, is a heart of gratitude to Christ Jesus for our salvation.

Our only hope is in Christ.
If our hope is all wrapped up in finding an amazing person who will meet all our needs and make us happy for life, we will be sorely disappointed.
We will be miserable and make the other person miserable as well.

Relationships take a death to self in order to work.
They take a surrendering completely to Christ daily. When we keep our eyes on Jesus, pursuing His glory in all we do, Christ is our goal, our prize, our joy, even in trials.

I love what Beth Moore says in her book, Breaking Free,

I ask Him to satisfy all my longings and fill all my hollow places with His lavish, unfailing love. This frees me from craving the approval of others and requiring others to fill my “cup.” Then, if someone takes the time to demonstrate love to me, that’s the overflow! I am free to appreciate it and enjoy it, but I didn’t emotionally require it! See how the love of God brings freedom? Not only am I freed; I am able to free others from having to boost me up emotionally all the time. Hallelujah! Where the Spirit of the Lord’s lavish love is, there is freedom!! Try it and see! If we’re not experiencing satisfaction in God, a hindrance exists, and we want to identify it and ask God to remove it. Ordinarily, the primary hindrance to satisfaction in our lives is refusing Him access to our empty places.”

Many marriages fail because they have not taken their commitment and covenant to God seriously.
Marriage is not about me or you. It is about Christ and His church and glorifying Him.
When couples become so focused on each other and wanting the other to please them and satisfy their every want and desire instead of focusing on the Lord, they will be disappointed and unhappy.
If your focus is off Jesus and onto yourself, people or circumstances, you will have problems in all your relationships.
How are your relationships at work, at school, with friends, with roommates and at home with your family? If there is not peace then look to your relationship with Christ.

The way we get satisfied in Christ is by feasting on His Word (Acts 20:32), prayer (Heb. 4:16), Biblical Fellowship (1 Peter 5:5,6) Serving Him (Rom 12:6), and Obedience (Phil. 2:12,13)
Are you getting fed daily in the Word?
Are you praying, listening to Him speak through His word, praising, thanking Him and confessing your sin before Him.
Are you in regular fellowship, hearing good biblical teaching and preaching, and serving each other and the community?
Do you submit to authority in your life and see spiritual authority as a blessing, protection and strength to help you, or do you resist authority and reject the authority of God’s Word?
Do you obey God's word and live holy?
We are like a “leaky cup” that will run out if we are not continually filling ourselves with these things. God expects us to daily be filled with his word, prayer and fellowship etc.
They are means of grace in our lives that flow through us and continually change and strengthen us.
Without these spiritual disciplines in our lives, we will drift away from the Lord and begin to see problems in many areas of our life, especially in relationships.

By the grace of God, we can focus on Jesus, glorify Him, find our needs and desires met by Him, and keep on going, pressing toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:14)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

God is enough~ The Sweet Surrender through Trials and Tribulations


Micah at Pilot Mountain two months and a day before he died. 
I remember this day clearly. Micah and his brothers got so far ahead of us on the trail that they went around the knob twice and came up behind us.

From the time Micah fell out of the tree, to intensive care unit in the hospital, to finding out he had leukemia, to 2 ½ years of treatment and then a relapse, to the bone marrow transplant and to Micah's death after 4 years battling leukemia, I can say God is enough. God was enough for Micah and He is enough for me. His grace is sufficient. It is hard and I miss Micah just as much today, 10 years later, as the day he died.

Happy 10 years in heaven with your Savior Micah! One day we will be joining you and I know you are waiting for us and interceding for us and cheering us on. I can remember you sitting on the window sill at the hospital looking out the window waiting for us to come in the morning. I can see you at the finish line cheering us on and encouraging us in our pilgrim's race. I am so glad you are with the Lord Jesus and free of pain and sorrow. Your misery is over and you are enjoying the Lord's presence face to face. It reminds me of Pilgrim's Progress.

“but be you faithful unto Death, and the King will give you a Crown of Life. He that shall die there, although his death will be unnatural, and his pains perhaps great, he will yet have the better of his fellow; not only because he will be arrived at the Celestial City soonest, but because he will escape many miseries that the other will meet with in the rest of his Journey.”
Although Micah suffered a lot in this life, he arrived in heaven sooner than us and has escaped a lot more misery. His journey is finished and I look forward to joining him in heaven one day.

God has been so good. I didn't think 10 years would go by so fast, yet so slow. My heart still aches and I still miss Micah so much, yet God's amazing grace abounds. God helped us through that terrible day for us that was so glorious to Micah. I still remember how he sat slightly up and lifted his head and opened his eyes and looked up and smiled. Then he was gone to be with Jesus. We said goodbye, but not forever. We knew we would see him again later.

Micah is now praising the Lord and interceding with the saints. Many have joined him since that day. Lat year Mark's dad, Granddad, joined Micah. Our dear friend Karise just recently entered into the glorious presence of our Lord and Savior and I am sure they had a joyous reunion.

I am thankful for God's work of grace in Micah throughout all his life. I remember how brave he was during the 4 years of suffering with leukemia. He hardly ever complained. When the doctors told Micah there was nothing more they could do, he put is arm around me and comforted me. His confession was, either God will do a miracle and heal me or I will go to be with Him. To live is Christ, to die is gain. Micah left us with a song he wrote to encourage us after he died. He also wrote other songs to encouraged other parents who lost their child and also for other patients. At the end of his life with not much strength to even talk, Micah spoke of God's goodness. Micah's life and death taught me that God is enough. He will never leave me nor forsake me. His grace is sufficient. Because He lives I can face tomorrow. One of the reasons Micah was able to face the suffering and trials he faced in this life so well was because of  his love for Christ and his focus on Him instead of all the things he was missing out on because of his sickness. He had surrendered his life sweetly and willingly to the Lord and lived in light of eternity. Jesus was his treasure, not the things of this world.

I am thankful for the almost 16 years the Lord blessed us with Micah and for all the things he taught us.
I miss him so much but I am thankful that because of Christ, we will see him again.
See you later Micah!
I love you.

Love, Mom

                                          All nine children after Lydia was born in 2004
Some old pictures of the children.

                                                       All the children when Lydia was born
                                                     Micah, Gabriel, Jesse and Josiah
                                            Gabriel, Micah, Josiah and Jesse at my brother's wedding
                                          Back row, Micah, Jesse, Josiah, Laura, Mark
                                    Front row, Gabriel, Priscilla, Hannah, Elisabeth and Bethany

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Attitude goes a long way

My daughters and I were just discussing today about how attitude makes a big difference in how we handle any situation. People can be going through the exact same thing, and one is grumpy and miserable, while the other is joyful, peaceful and enjoying life. I have seen it so many times with my children when we did something they didn't want to do or thought they would not like. Some were grumpy the whole day, complaining, angry and sullen while others decided if we were going to do it they might as well enjoy it .So they were happy and content and enjoyed the day.
When our son Micah got leukemia and he was in the hospital, there was a funny picture on the wall of a bird and a fish, illustrating how attitude can make a difference in how you go through trials. That poster made an impression on Micah from the very start and he decided he would make the most his hospital stays and his sickness. From that moment on he made an effort to be content and not to complain. He would joke around with the nurses and doctors and laugh and tell funny stories if he was up to it. But no matter how bad a day he was having he rarely complained. I learned a lot from him and sometimes when I am tempted to grumble and complain, I get a picture in my mind of Micah in the hospital smiling,content, peaceful even though he was so sick and had to miss out on so much. What a wonderful testimony he was to me.
Of course children are not the only ones who have bad attitudes. When we grumble and complain about our life's circumstances we will be unhappy. But if we decide to be grateful and content in every situation we can be happy.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Phil 4:11

Here is a beautiful story that illustrates this.

The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window. “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.  “Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room …. just wait.” “That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged, it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.” She went on to explain, “Old age is like a bank account, you withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing.” And with a smile, she said: “Remember the five simple rules to be happy: 1. Free your heart from hatred. 2. Free your mind from worries. 3. Live simply. 4. Give more. 5. Expect less.             ( Disclaimer I did not personally write this beautiful story but was blessed and encouraged by it. Photo by Dina Goldstein )