Archive for May 2008

Saturday, May 31, 2008

No Time To Blog (and other stuff)

Ok friends, things are getting a little crazy around here! Not that I was posting all that regularly anyway, but given how busy the next several weeks will be, I'm not sure how much time I'll be devoted to blogging.'s some stuff that's going on. We'd love your prayers!

* We got back from New Attitude on Tuesday, exhausted but grateful to God for the work that He did in our hearts. It was an incredible time of soaking in rich truth unpacked by some of the most gifted preachers & humble men of our day. Thanks for praying for my trip down there alone w/Owen; it was pretty uneventful and I'm grateful to God for that!

* This Monday we're moving to Sandwich to live with my parents for a while. We'll physically start living there at that point, but for the next several weeks we'll be packing up the place we're living in now. In the meantime, this house is going on the market so it'll start being shown.

* We're in the process of looking for a home. Though we've put an offer on a house that was foreclosed, we've now been waiting 8+ weeks to hear if our offer was accepted and it's time to put an end to that and start looking elsewhere. We've seen several places we're interested in and are praying for the Lord's guidance as to which house will serve us & serve the church best.

* This Thursday Tali has an appointment with a neurologist to follow up on some of the shaking that she's been experiencing for a long time now upon waking up (you may remember me posting on this about a year ago). Blood tests have determined that it's not blood-sugar related. We're praying that it's nothing serious and that she will not need further testing.

So that's a bit of what's going on around here. We could use prayer, as always. Please pray for us as the Lord leads you, and especially that we would look to Him and joyfully trust Him during this busy season with uncertainties and changes. I like order and I like consistency and we'll be having neither but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I want to hold fast to that truth and seek my peace in Him and not in anything else.

Here's some pictures for fun!

Thank you for your faithful prayers for our family!

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Trusting God

Tali & her friend, Caleb

It's not too hard to trust God when things are going well. But when the circumstances around me are a bit shaky, I can quickly default to trusting in myself and my very limited understanding rather than seeking to trust God. As I reflect back on this week, it is all too clear to me that I have grieved the Lord by my failure to trust the only trustworthy One. God has once again been faithful to me, bringing about good in all circumstances even when I haven't recognized it at the time.

This week, Tali has been sick, the worst of which was when her temp hit 106.9 and we took her to the Emergency Room. Most of the week I have felt sick to my stomach with worry, been sharp with Josh, slow to pray, and quick to rack my brain for what I could possibly do to help Tali feel better. All the while, God has been with me, waiting to give me peace and rest but I didn't seek it from Him.

Here are some ways that He was working all things for good:

* Our dear friends, Ben & Angie were here w/their son, Caleb. While we were hoping that we might be able to serve them & that the time would be spent fellowshipping, instead they served us. What a kindness from God! Angie selflessly served me by helping with Owen, cooking, cleaning, and I'm sure many other ways as well. (And all of that after on top of traveling for weeks and being pregnant!) I was able to care for Tali in a way that I otherwise would not have been able to without Angie's help. On a week where my mom was out of town, the Lord knew that I would need reinforcements and He faithfully provided. (Angie, I'm so grateful for your care!)

* Tali's sickness happened early in the week and not this weekend when Josh & I would have been out of town. Had it have happened on Saturday, Tali would have been at my parents and we would have been miles away.

* The Lord answered our prayers and that of our friends on Wednesday night (thank you Johnsons, Gary&Jamie, Kruegars, & Trainors!) and by the time we got to the ER, Tali's temp was down to 100. She did have to get some uncomfortable tests, but since the temp was down no spinal tap was necessary (this was a huge answer to prayer).

* Tali kept drinking the entire time that she was sick and never got dehydrated.

Those are just a few of the ways that I can see God working good out of this situation. Though I failed to thank and trust Him during it all, I am seeking to repent and thank Him now. He is worthy of all our trust and praise!

Side Note: Please pray for Sovereign Grace Church as many of us will be at New Attitude from Sat-Tues. Owen & I are heading down tomorrow morning if Tali seems to be recovered fully. I'd love prayers for a safe and uneventful ride there with my baby boy.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Yes, I'm a Complainer. How Can I Change?

I'm a complainer. But I don't want to grumble, I want to honor the Lord by living a thank-based life. But how? How do I get from here to there?

"Rather than just saying to ourselves, 'I can't grumble anymore, and I'm not going to let any grumbling out of my mouth,' or just rending our garments, we need to rend our hearts. Begin with heart confession. Say before the Lord, 'Yes, Lord, I have had a complaint-based lifestyle. I want my life to be easy. I curse obstacles. I don't like moments of trust. I've tried to find life in the creation. I have forgotten my inclusion in the family of faith, and in Your presences, power, and grace.' " (pg. 52)

If we want to change, we must repent. As always, I wish there was a three step process for change and that it would take about 10 minutes and I'd be forever sanctified...but it doesn't work like that. Change takes time and it does take effort on our parts, though it ultimately happens by the power of the Holy Spirit. But it starts with honestly confessing to the Lord where we've sinned against Him and pleading for His help to change. And once we've done that, we can have faith that God will indeed help us grow in thankfulness! Why?

"'He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth (Is. 53:7).'

This is the hope of the gospel: Jesus refused to grumble, so that in your grumbling there would be forgivenesses. Isn't that precious? We ought to praise the Lord that Jesus wouldn't be a grumbler in His willingness to go silently to the cross. Embrace that hope. Jesus not only forgives: He delivers. He not only delivers: He reconciles. He not only reconciles: He restores. How can you move from a complaint-based lifestyle to a thank-based lifestyle? He has already provided everything you need for that." (pg.52)

Doesn't that just fill your heart with praise and thanks to our Savior?

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Thank-based Life, Part 3

It's been a while, but I'm still thinking about the awesome article by Paul Tripp that I've been outlining on here. (If you missed the other posts, they start here.) I want to be a thankful Christian, not a complainer!

When we complain, we aren't living in the truth that God has sufficient grace for us. We're so busy looking at our circumstances that we fail to see the grace that covers our lives. The third aspect of the thank-based life that Tripp describes is this: it lives with a powerful awareness of God's grace.

"It is an amazing truth that where sin abounds, grace abounds even more. There is no pit so deep that Jesus can't reach deeper to get you out of it. There is no human condition, thought, word, or action that is beyond the rescuing power of the glorious grace of the Lord Jesus. Even complainers can receive grace!" (pg.5)

I want to be living aware of God's grace! There is so much to be thankful for, how can I possibly complain? No matter what my situation is, God's grace is abounding and available for me. He will help me even when I seem stuck in my sin.

Ok, so we see that grumbling isn't good and we want to be characterized by thankfulness. But does it really matter that much if we utter a little complaint every now and then? I mean, how serious is it really? Here's a quick run-down that Tripp gives of some bad-fruits that a grumbling heart produces:

(note the utter seriousness of this negative fruit)

-grumbling always blames others and, in so doing, destroys relationships
-grumbling rejects ministry (grumbling doesn't want to hear truth, because grumbling doesn't want to be comforted. Grumbling wants what it wants.)
-grumbling forgets grace because the grumbler wants to be strong, ready, and prepared
-grumbling questions the Lord
-grumbling produces rebellion (it's hard to follow someone you don't trust)

Grumbling is serious. Complaining is not a little thing because it reflects that we are discontented in our hearts. We're not satisfied with Christ. Today, I challenge myself and you to take a closer look at our hearts and see if there is grumbling present. If so, let's see the seriousness of this sin. It's a sin that Christ had to die for.

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Little Chatterbox

I love reading "Maddie-isms" on my friend, Christy's blog. And are some Tali-isms for your reading pleasure. Keep in mind that everything is said very emphatically and with much drama.

"Tah-YEE" (Tali)

"Cov-uh-up" (cover up)

"Pee-YEEE!" (Pe-ewe)

"Mo mo" (one more)

"Oh no, Tah! Mass, Tah!! Mass!!!" (Oh no, Tali! Mess, Tali! Mess!)

"All none. All none." (All done)

"Oh, MAMA!!! ANS! ANS! Oh, no, MAMA! ANS! Wise. Teen-em-up, teen-em-up."
(Oh, Mama! Ants! Ants! Oh, no, MAMA! Ants! Wipes. Clean them up, clean them up.)

Here is my favorite conversation of the day. She was talking to her babies today when she took them into her tent for the first time:

"Oh, baby. Tent. Tent. Yook, babies. Tent. Cuv-uh-up. Wear-eese tent? Boo, tent!"

She is such a funny little thing. I love hearing her talk.

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The Thank-based Life, Part 2

Well, it happened again. Yesterday I had a raging headache, Owen was having one of his worst reflux days in a long while and the temptation to complain was looming large. I've got to keep renewing my mind here with the truth as I am all too quick to grumble. So, how can I live with a thankful heart?

The second characteristic Tripp gives for the thank-based lifestyle is that it allows us to "look at life from the vantage point of God's power." I love this because it's in direct contradiction to what I usually do-look at things through the lens of my puny little supposed power. How big is God?

"'Who measured the waters in the hollow of his hand?' (Is.40:12). Imagine that. Pour water in your hand and see how much you can hold. God can take all the water in the universe, hold it in the hollow of His hand, and it won't spill. God is the only one who has never had a counselor and never had a teacher, whereas I only say things I've learned from somebody else." (pg.50)

When I'm looking at life from the vantage point of God's power, suddenly things aren't so overwhelming. It's not just that I'm not alone; I have the all-powerful God guiding my steps. And it's pretty clear from scripture that nothing, absolutely nothing, is too hard for Him. Complaining seems a bit ridiculous when I've got this mighty God on my side.

I'm seeking to apply this when the thoughts, "This is just too hard" come into my mind. I'm trying to turn my thoughts to what's true about God instead. He is all powerful! Nothing is too hard for Him! He has given me His Spirit and that means that His power is in me! Looking at my day from the vantage point of God's awesome power at work in me? What a wonderful weapon in the battle against grumbling.

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Almost 5 Months

Our little guy is almost 5 months old. I am shocked! The time has been zipping by.
Since I haven't given any updates on him lately, here ya have it:

Hair: still not red
Eyes: a beautiful shade of blue
Temperament: Generally very cheerful. He smiles whenever he is smiled at, grins if Tali comes within 5 feet of him, loves to be held, and is just a very sweet guy.
Favorite Things: His sister, getting his clothes changed (he's ticklish), chewing on his hands, being held, going outside.
Reflux: Praise the Lord, there has been improvement!!!!! He is still in pain, but he is spitting up less and he doesn't seem to be in as much pain as often. We still pray for continued healing for him, though, as he is still hurting.
Sleep: Praise the Lord, he is actually sleeping through the night!!!!!! He sleeps from about 8pm until 7:30am. He is much better rested now and I am finally able to carry on a conversation without drifting off to another planet.
Stomach: He's got a really sensitive one. After months of yucky mucusy diapers (sorry for the detail) and his pediatrician believing it's due to some kind of food allergy, I'm on a really restricted diet. (And I mean REALLY restricted.) The prayer is that this will give his tummy time to heal and then I can add back in foods to see what the culprit(s) is. Please pray that he starts having normal poop and that we can determine what he is allergic to.
Teeth: He's getting 2. Tali got hers even earlier than Owen but he seems to be in much more pain than she was. Poor little guy.

We can't thank you enough for all of your prayers for Owen and for us. This has been a rough season but the Lord has given us much grace and we've felt so cared for. Thank you!

Back to the posts on thankfulness tomorrow. :)

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Friday, May 2, 2008

The Thank-based Life, part 1

I'm all too familiar with what a grumbling heart looks like, but what does a thank-based lifestyle consist of? Tripp gives three reasons and the first is this: a thankful heart is one that is resting in the presence of the Lord.

If I was actively doing this on a moment to moment basis, everything in my life would be so different! When I am at home cleaning up messes, training Tali, wiping up countless spit-ups, I am doing it all in the very presence of God. When no one else sees me, He does. I am not alone trying to "get through" the day. God is with me; His Spirit is inside of me!

"My little pea brain can't imagine it, but the bible tells me that this God of glory and power has come by His Spirit to indwell me. How near is God? He is literally inside of me! The Redeemer has come and has made us His dwelling place. Therefore, we can have a renewed faith and courage and a different way of looking at life because now we look at life from the vantage point of the presence of the Lord." (pg.49)

God has not made life easy, but I am not going it alone. He is with me. Even when circumstances aren't necessarily fun, there is a purpose to them and it's about His glory and my sanctification. As I walk through my days, I can live with a thankful heart because God is with me, enabling me to do so. I am not destined to complain! The Holy Spirit lives within me and can give me grace to be thankful.

"God's work of progressive sanctification is not easy, and it was not meant to be. God is reforming us with hammers of redemption. He is turning complainers into thanksgivers." (pg.49)

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

True Life & Satisfaction

Unfortunately, writing a couple of posts on grumbling hasn't made me a 100% thankful woman. And so, on with this little series!

The third point that Tripp gives for our complaint-based lifestyles is this: we seek to find life in the creation rather than in the Creator.

"It begins to believe the lie of lies from the garden of Eden-that somehow outside of the Lord I can find life. The lie is that life can be found in human acceptance, in human love, in position, and possession. In this way, I deify the creation and forget the Creator." (pg.49)

Here is what that can look like for me: in my heart I believe that true satisfaction/life comes from an orderly house, smiling children, a husband who completely understands me, a healthy family, and getting a shower in each day (I'm being serious here). When Tali dumps out MORE toys or Owen has another concerning diaper or I'm going on the third day without a shower, I start complaining. I begin thinking, "If only Tali would learn to pick up her toys on her own without me having to train her...then my day would be so wonderful." Or, "If Josh could just read my mind without me having to tell him what I'm thinking, then marriage would be so much sweeter!" Can you hear what's underneath it all? I'm looking for satisfaction & life outside of my Creator and looking for it in His creation. And when the creation doesn't give me what I want, I grumble. What does God say about this?

"The Bible tells us that the blessings the Lord gives us in this physical world are meant to hook us to a deeper sense of need. Christ gave bread to fill the stomachs of people so they would understand that their deeper need was the bread of life: deeper blessings that can only be found in Him. Romans 1:25 says we tend to exchange worship and service of the Creator for worship and service of the created thing." (pg.49)

The more I look for life in the things of this world that won't satisfy, the more I grumble. This is where change starts; I must acknowledge the fact that I complain. I seek to find life in other places instead of in the one place where true life is found-Jesus Christ. But, there is hope for change! We grumblers can become thankful worshipers of God!

Tomorrow I'll share some elements of the thank-based lifestyle.

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