He’s a Great God

We are down to the final weeks of preparations before our baby boy arrives. I’m starting to waddle and feel the normal aches and pains of being in the last month of pregnancy, but overall I have felt incredible this time around. Despite how good I’ve felt, though, this pregnancy has come with multiple challenges–some that are minor, and some that could potentially have major effects on the baby and his birth. And, I’ve discovered in the process of dealing with these things that my faith is way, way smaller than a mustard seed many times.

How often I believe God in the abstract, but struggle believing Him when something touches me personally! I’m ashamed to admit that, yet it is true. It is much easier to believe that God will heal someone else, or intervene in that other circumstance, or give direction to them. But what about me?

God is graciously teaching me to come to Him as a little child and to just ask. Like the centurion. Like the blind man. Like the lame man. Our pastor has been preaching through the Beatitudes and talking about what “poor in spirit” looks like–recognizing our absolute spiritual poverty and inability to bring anything to the table in return for what Christ has done and can do for us. It has convicted me to practice that poverty of spirit–not to live like I need to prove that I am somehow worthy to receive anything from God. Not to do all I can first, before coming to Him.

And then when I come to Him, I need to just ask. Ask in faith, believing that He can do it, if He chooses, and then trusting in that choice.

My God raises people from the dead.

My God makes blind people see.

My God makes deaf people hear.

My God makes lame people walk.

My God takes hearts of stone and turns them into hearts of flesh.

My God delivers from demons.

My God creates things from nothing, with simply a word.

My God moves mountains.

My God loves me.

Who am I to live as if He is anything less?

He fills my life with good things!

This week and next, all our fall activities start back up again! As much as I love this time of year and the busy rhythms it brings, we have had some medical things come up lately that have overwhelmed me and made it seem impossible to fit everything into our schedule. It has pushed me to a new level of dependence on the Lord because there is absolutely no way I can do it all. And it has revealed some areas where my faith is really, really small, and where I need to remember how big of a God I serve and how much He loves me and extends grace to me, especially when I have nothing to bring to the table but my own sin, anxiety, frustrations, and tears.

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Genesis 18:14

“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear.” Isaiah 59:1

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

“I know that you (God) can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2

In the meantime, I am thankful for all the good things He has filled my life with! A sweet baby boy soon to be born, a husband who loves and cares for me sacrificially, a kitchen/dining room renovation that is almost completed, nine weeks of school in the books, beautiful fall weather outside, children to love and a house to clean…He has truly filled my cup to running over and I am so grateful.

Fun Pics

Today is the first day back to school for all the kids in our county. We are on week eight of school already, so we took advantage of the beautiful weather and empty outdoors to enjoy a picnic and take some pics.

In about nine weeks, we look forward to welcoming the newest member of our crew–a new baby brother!

I am so grateful for each one of these precious children. I am so grateful for the ability to spend every day with them. Being a mom of many is hard, and homeschooling is hard, and we have good days and rough days like anyone. But I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing with my life, or anyone I would rather be pouring myself into. God is very gracious to give me these blessings and to help me each day.

“Kid Night”

“Kid Night” has become sort of a tradition that has evolved through the years as my husband’s work took him away many late evenings, and I wanted to keep things fun and upbeat for the kids even as we were missing daddy. So, I present “kid night.”

Basically on kid night, we know daddy will be gone for the evening, so we make something fun for dinner. Anything leftover in the fridge becomes fair game for fun finger food–little smokies, cubes of cheese, sliced hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, meatballs on little toothpicks, cheese crackers…for children, anything on a toothpick or small enough to be eaten with fingers becomes a feast and a delicacy.

We lay out all the finger foods and everyone helps themselves. Then we have a huge bubble bath so everyone is clean and sweet-smelling.

And finally, we make a huge bowl of popcorn and watch a family movie. Sometimes we put the little ones to bed and the older ones will play card games with me. And that is kid night!

She did what she could

“So…what are you doing these days? Besides having babies?” The question was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but behind it was a definite confusion and skepticism of my life choices. “What about your writing? Have you done any more of that since college? Do you use your degree?”

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been asked questions like these, or who has occasionally come to a sort of crisis point where you may find yourself asking, “what am I doing with my life? And is it enough?”

Mark 14:3-9 was part of my Bible reading last night, and the story of Mary pouring out her offering to Jesus struck me as I was thinking about these things.

And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.

And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?

For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.

And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.

For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.

Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

What a beautiful passage! Particularly verse 8: “she hath done WHAT SHE COULD.”

She gave something precious and costly.

No one could mistake the overwhelming fragrance of the perfume she poured out. It had cost a fortune–and now it was lost in the dust of the floor and the sweaty smells of all those who had come to the feast. Was it a waste? There are so many other ways her gift could have been used that would not have seemed so…wasteful. 

We all possess gifts of great price. Perhaps God has asked you to spend your life and talents in a way that is precious to Him, but looks foolish to the world. Remember that whatever you are doing for the Lord, it is not wasted. It pleases Him.

She knew and believed who Jesus said He was and what He promised He would do. 

He told them He had come to die. She knew He spoke the truth, though she did not know when or where that dreadful day would come to pass. The disciples did not understand; but Mary, she knew. She anticipated it. And she wanted to be part of it. She anointed Him in anticipation of His burial.

Believe that God is who He says He is. And believe that your obedience to Him is of great value. Believe that His promises are true. Remember that your whole life is to be an offering to Him, and that there is SO MUCH waiting on the other side of this brief flash of life we are living now. There is a kingdom coming.

She pleased the Savior, even though her offering was criticized and scorned by even those close to Jesus.

Her offering was messy. Its scent was overwhelming in the small room. She laid her dignity aside as she used her own hair to wipe Jesus’ feet. The bottle cost her dearly–a year’s wages saved and spent on this one moment. Perhaps she could have spent it other places rather than on something so…frivolous. Impractical. Intimate. Temporary. 

And yet. Yet, the Savior gives her highest praise, and declares that the story of her gift will be told for generations. Because she gave something precious to Him.

She did what she could. 

The missionary lost in a sea of words and faces and smells and tastes different from anything they’ve ever known. The man making the long commute to his office, taking an extra few minutes to talk to the homeless man on the corner and buy a newspaper from him. The mama jostling her baby and humming quietly in the middle of the night, both to soothe him and to keep herself awake for just a few more minutes. The teacher keeping a smile on her face and a lilt in her voice even as she works through the same problem set with her student who doesn’t understand and has no help at home. The neighbor who shovels the walkway for the grumpy couple that lives next door.

David dancing before the Lord. The widow giving her last mite. Joseph of Arimathea donating his tomb. Miriam breaking out in song after the defeat of the Egyptian army. Pouring out offerings to the Lord–a sweet-smelling savor.

Sometimes I overthink my offerings; I become paralyzed wondering, “is it good enough? Am I doing it right? Will God accept this?” And while it is good to take care that our offerings are the best they can be, I don’t need to become consumed by fear that the Lord will not find me acceptable. Many times, I need to do what I can. I have children to love and disciple; I can do that. I have a home to keep in order; I can do that. I have a voice and I know songs and can read Scripture; I can worship. I have neighbors who need Jesus; I can open my home and my heart and tell them about Him. I have friends who need encouragement; I can bless them. I have a God who loves me and loves when I present myself a living sacrifice; I will do what I can.

Wherever God has placed you, whatever He has called you to do, whatever it looks like–do not let fear of what others think or fear of your own worthiness or potential for failure get in the way of you doing what you can to serve God and prepare the way for His kingdom.

(for more encouragement on this passage, see http://www.reformedreader.org/rbs/merck01.htm, which I found helpful!)



It has been a loooong time since I last wrote here! And a lot of life has happened that would be impossible to relate here. So, the recent highlights:

1. It’s a boy! God is giving us a new little baby this fall–this will make four girls, four boys.

2. Vacation in Florida–we had another fabulous time with family. Hubby and I even sneaked away for a day to celebrate our eleventh anniversary!

3. Piano recital–our oldest performed at her first piano recital and did a beautiful job!

4. Double birthday party–since I was struggling so hard with morning sickness and fatigue earlier this year, we couldn’t have timely birthday parties for two of our girls. So, this past week we celebrated belatedly with a Fancy Nancy party for my 4yo and a Spa Day party for my 10yo.

5. Next week we finish preparing for a backyard VBS we host at our home every year. Please pray with us that the Lord would use us to reach the families in our neighborhood with the gospel!

Fall is here!

We are so enjoying the cool weather and beautiful days.

We took a day trip to one of our favorite area farms for their harvest day. And then we enjoyed a quick tour of Fredericksburg with cousins home on furlough.

We’ve made time for family fire pits and baking and crafts–the kids learned how to make braided bread and I’ve been sewing quilts from my grandfather’s clothes (he passed away earlier this year) to give to the grandchildren.

I love this season of harvest. It reminds me of all the good things the Lord has given us because HE IS GOOD. Every gift comes from Him, though none of them can compare to Himself. I am so grateful for these precious people He has given me, and I pray that the parenting seeds my husband and I are planting will reap a harvest of righteousness in our children’s lives!

“Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in good season we shall reap a harvest if we do not lose heart!”

Breathe it in

It has been a full few weeks. My sister got married this past weekend, and I was her matron of honor. As I was writing my toast, I thought back to all our childhood memories of growing up together. How vivid they still are, even though some of them are thirty years old! It is incredible how fast time goes.

After the wedding, we drove a few hours to a timeshare so we could spend a week of much-needed vacation with my family. If you’ve ever taken a vacation with lots of little ones, you’ll know that sometimes vacation isn’t the most restful. 🙂 Someone always has to stay home with whoever is napping or be constantly watching to make sure no one drowns in the pool. It takes kids longer to fall asleep in a new place and you don’t have all your trusted fallbacks for entertainment when it pours rain and you’re stuck in the unit without the comforts of home. But for all of that, it is a sweet season. As I put my bouquet in a vase of water and breathed in the heady scent, and then sat down with our youngest baby and breathed in her sweet, sweaty baby smell, I thought about these moments between childhood and adulthood,- between holding on and letting go. And I want to breathe them in deeply.

Someday, our babies will be grown up and flown to make their own nests. Someday, it will be the last time it is just “us”–the two of us and our children. Spouses will be grafted in and grandchildren will arrive,- and that season will be beautiful, too. May I savor the “Now” that God has given to me.

Now and eternity

This week has been a rougher one for our family. My grandfather passed away last week, and my uncle passed away this week. Both were believers; it is a strange mix of joy and sorrow we feel right now as we grieve our loss so deeply but are so happy that now they are beholding the face of Jesus and are in perfect health.

We also celebrated our sweet girl’s third birthday a few days ago–the same morning my uncle left earth for heaven. Life and death, juxtaposed. A birthday and a homegoing–both mark the ending of a season and the beginning of a new one.

I heard a song on the radio this morning called “Dream Small” by Josh Wilson. If you haven’t heard it yet, take a listen. It expresses what I’ve been contemplating this last week. Am I viewing even the everyday, seemingly insignificant and mundane things in life as opportunities to serve Jesus? I pray that I will. All those little things, from changing diapers to kissing my husband to texting a friend to opening our yard to neighbor kids matter. I want to live and love well, so that when I get to the end of my life, I won’t have wasted it. No regrets. No missed opportunities. Living life to the fullest for the glory of Jesus.