Tender Poem

I thank Thee for Pain,
the sister of Joy.
I thank Thee for Sorrow,
the twin of Happiness.
Pain, Joy, Sorrow, Happiness.
Four angels at work on the Well of Love.
Pain and Sorrow dig it deep with aches.
Joy and Happiness fill it up with tears
that come with smiles.
For the seasons of emotion in my heart,
I thank Thee, O Lord.

by Chandran Devanesen

One Month

We are due with baby number 4 in one month. Wow. I am so excited about our little girl soon to arrive. What I am even more excited about is our decision to have a home birth. After the first three children being born at hospitals, with epidurals and other medications, I have wanted to experience the joy of natural childbirth. “Joy?” you ask… well, yes. I shared in a past blog about being down cast and how through our sufferings, God brings hope. See Romans 5:3-5.

So… since we discovered we were pregnant, we have been on a quest, so to speak, to figure out our ideal birth for this baby. A friend suggested we watch a documentary called, “The Business of Being Born.” This was truly helpful for me! Learning the history of birth in America and seeing it played out in our culture today… it truly has become like a “business” instead of a gift that God created women to be able to do. After watching this, we decided to look into having a home birth. We found a wonderful group of Midwives here in Gainesville, called the Midwives Cooperative, and we’ve been meeting with them (in the comfort of our own home) since I was 9 weeks pregnant!

One of the fun things is preparing everything that we will need for a home birth, including ordering a birth kit, which the Midwives give a specific place to order from. The place to order our birth kit from is called “In His Hands.” God has just been all over (and around) this pregnancy! So, we ordered our birth kit and once it arrived, it was such a blessing to receive a prayer bookmark on the very top of the package. I’d like to share it as it truly has become my prayer for our labor and birth of our baby girl. We long to bring glory to God and I am counting on joy from Him through any pain during the birth process.

Labor Prayer
Dear Father,
thank You for this new baby.
Would You protect and nurture
this baby and bring
this pregnancy to full term.
In labor, would You remove all
fear and replace it
with faith and expectation.
Please give those attending
the birth wisdom to take the
best care of mother and baby.
Please let this baby be
born normal and whole,
healthy and strong,
and at home with no
complications with
baby or mother.
Father, thank you for
Hearing my prayer, for
I pray in the name of
Him who is called
The Mighty God,
The Everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace.
by Donna Wilson

Overwhelmed with Blessings

This past weekend, I was immensely blessed and loved on by dear friends and family. I am still soaking in all of the sweet words and prayers that were shared to encourage me on our upcoming labor and birth of baby number 4. Friends from my old “hometown” of Ocala and new friends here, as well as my daughter, mom, grandma, mother-in-law and aunt gathered to celebrate and shower me with blessings and prayers this past Sunday. There was this part of me that felt so unworthy to receive such love and pouring out of themselves all for the sake of a baby being born. And yet, God revealed Himself through these ladies who truly care and love and wanted to bless and encourage in the Lord.

A scripture jumped out at me yesterday as we were doing Bible for school. We are reading through Romans right now, and in Romans 9, Paul quotes from the prophets Isaiah and Hosea. I decided to look back in Hosea and stumbled upon this verse that speaks to me.

Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord;
his appearing is as sure as the dawn;
he will come to us like the showers,
like the spring rains that water the earth.’ -Hosea 6:3

How showered and covered by gentle rains did I feel after this lovely, intimate event. Isn’t it amazing how God appears to us in so many ways? I thank Him that He can show a smiling face through a dear friend… a precious giggle from my daughter… a tender embrace from my mother. He is longing for us to know Him… I pray that I press on to know the Lord and look for His love and appearing throughout all my days!

The God of our Salvation

By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas.

By your strength you established the mountains; you are girded with might.

You silence the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples.

Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs; you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy. -Psalm 65:5-8

I had high hopes of being able to share afresh what God had shown me this morning during my time in His Word. But alas, children awoke early, and time ran out. Here it is, 10:15 at night and I’m wiped out, yet feeling led to share. In remembering and finding the scripture that spoke to me this morning, how perfect that it says, “you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.” At my beginning and my end of the day, I can shout for joy! I suppose God is thrilled if I am able to be joyful at the beginning and end of the day… but what about the middle part??

I’m 30 weeks pregnant and am feeling quite tired and overwhelmed with the nearing life change that is approaching for our family. There is much excitement and anticipation for this baby girl… all of us are expecting and awaiting the day when she arrives! However, there are things to be finished up, wrapped up, and prepared for before our bundle of joy arrives. Yet, somehow, I know and realize fully that if things don’t happen or get “checked off” that all will be fine. God works and answers our heart’s cries and needs and desires through His awesome deeds, He is the God of our salvation and just having that secure in life is all that I need in order to take the next breath (or sigh) and move forward with my day.

So what about the middle part of the day? Is there shouting? Yep, sure is. Not always of joy. Sometimes of disbelief or frustration at children. Sometimes at myself for messing up again. The reminder in this scripture to me, is that God, in His awesomeness, saves… again and again and again. He is the “hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas.” I pray that He be my hope in all parts of my day. The morning, mid-morning, lunch time, afternoon, evening, bedtime, night… all hours and moments, may He be our hope and the God of our salvation.

“What is a Girl?” by Alan Beck

Little girls are the nicest things that can happen to people. They are born with a bit of angel-shine about them, and though it wears thin sometimes, there is always enough left to lasso your heart—even when they are sitting in the mud, or crying temperamental tears, or parading up the street in Mother’s best clothes.

A little girl can be sweeter (and badder) oftener than anyone else in the world. She can jitter around, and stomp, and make funny noises that frazzle your nerves, yet just when you open your mouth, she stands there demure with that special look in her eyes. A girl is Innocence playing in the mud, Beauty standing on its head, and Motherhood dragging a doll by the foot.

God borrows from many creatures to make a little girl. He uses the song of a bird, the squeal of a pig, the stubbornness of a mule, the antics of a monkey, the spryness of a grasshopper, the curiosity of a cat, the speed of a gazelle, the slyness of a fox, the softness of a kitten, and to top it all off He adds the mysterious mind of a woman.

A little girl likes new shoes, party dresses, small animals, first grade, noisemakers, the girl next door, dolls, make-believe, dancing lessons, ice cream, kitchens, coloring books, make-up, cans of water, going visiting, tea parties, and one boy. She doesn’t care so much for visitors, boys in general, large dogs, hand-me-downs, straight chairs, vegetables, snowsuits, or staying in the front yard.

She is loudest when you are thinking, the prettiest when she has provoked you, the busiest at bedtime, the quietest when you want to show her off, and the most flirtatious when she absolutely must not get the best of you again. Who else can cause you more grief, joy, irritation, satisfaction, embarrassment, and genuine delight than this combination of Eve, Salome, and Florence Nightingale.

She can muss up your home, your hair, and your dignity—spend your money, your time, and your patience—and just when your temper is ready to crack, her sunshine peeks through and you’ve lost again. Yes, she is a nerve-wracking nuisance, just a noisy bundle of mischief. But when your dreams tumble down and the world is a mess—when it seems you are pretty much of a fool after all—she can make you a king when she climbs on your knee and whispers, “I love you best of all!”

By Alan Beck

Birth Days

We have had some birth celebrations in our home over the past week… I celebrated a birthday on Saturday (March 7th) and Jonas celebrated his 9th birthday on Monday (March 9th). We have had some enjoyable time as a family and are grateful for the time Ian has been able to take off from work to be home with us. It is difficult for me to remember and know that my birthday is not just about me and the day I was born. As a parent, I now see and understand the sentiment and love that comes from my parents remembering my birth and the anticipation of arrival in this world! In reflecting on the day, I believe I hear the Lord whispering… I was there, too. From the very beginning… He saw me.

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
-Psalm 139:15-17

All of these thoughts stir such an excitement and anticipation for the arrival of our fourth baby! I have 3 months to savor the pregnancy and miracle of a life growing inside of me. We are having a home birth… when we share this, there is the usual and expected question, “why?” Ian may have some different answers than I do, but here are mine:

1. I would honestly like to experience what childbirth fully feels like… without drugs. With our previous three children, I had hospital births with epidurals. Now, I obviously could still have a “natural” birth at the hospital, however, I fear that I am too weak willed and would possibly wimp out in the end and ask for drugs.

2. I would like for our other children to be a part of the birth experience… in whatever way they are able. Jonas and Evelyn are very excited about this baby and are wanting to be there to watch her arrival into the world.

3. Last and not least, I desire for this labor and childbirth to be focused and centered on God. We are blessed to have 2 Midwives who are delivering this baby and we have enjoyed getting to know them and they are supportive and encouraging of where my focus will be during labor and birth.

I am working on memorizing scripture to help me/us through the birth and will share some of those here as I learn them. If you have any scriptures you would like to suggest for us to memorize, we’d love to hear from you! Comment with the scripture address and I’ll add it to our list!

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. -Philippians 4:13

Ending Your Day Right

I have this book by Joyce Meyer that I picked up at a Yard Sale called, Starting Your Day Right: Devotions for Each Morning of the Year. It’s a quick daily devotional on beginning your day with God and focusing your heart towards Him and His ways. I usually read it every morning and enjoy the encouragement… there is great truth each day. What I learned yesterday, though, is that even when I may begin my day “right” a lot of things can go wrong. We were on a time crunch to all get moving yesterday morning for our field trip to the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire and… whew!!! Just trying to get out the door was a huge struggle! Evelyn couldn’t find any shoes she wanted to wear (even though she has enough hand me downs to last her for years!) and Elliot was having a meltdown because he wanted to wear short overalls. I was already stressed as I was the one who helped organize this field trip for our Homeschool group that we are a part of. I had to meet all the other families at a specific time and collect money, give name tags/tickets to all of them. Needless to say, I was feeling pretty tense at this point.

So, with a morning that started out right, it soon took a turn and I, sadly, have difficulty controlling my frustration in moments as this, began to boil. I then proceeded to yell and say please move along as we HAVE to go, NOW! I am obviously being very transparent about myself and appreciate your understanding as I share from my heart. I despise this part of me that loses control too easily when things aren’t going the way I think they should or I’ve planned. This is a battle I’ve been fighting for years… and yesterday I felt God remind me that He can make me new at any moment… I shed tears on our way to the Faire and did my best to release my anger to God in our van with the family all witnessing my sobs.
From that point on, the day was not perfect (what day is, other than all the days in God’s Kingdom?), and there were definitely some more intense moments throughout the afternoon.

Once we were back home for the night, I saw the daily devotional book. I sort of laughed to myself as I read the title, Starting Your Day Right. Then God whispered, “You can end your day right.” I thanked Him for His knowing and understanding of my day. I didn’t jump up and do something super-holy or anything… I simply went to my two youngest children (the older child and my husband were camping) and asked them to snuggle and come read together in bed. I also asked them to forgive me for my anger and the yelling I had expressed that day. It was a day ended well.

I am sharing all of this to say that I believe there is great importance to beginning our day “right” or with God as our focus. There are many scriptures that encourage starting our day with the Lord. Here are just a few…

In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. -Psalm 5:3

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. – Psalm 59:16

But I cry to you for help, O LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you. – Psalm 88:13

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. -Psalm 90:14

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. – Psalm 143:8

I also now am realizing that there is great importance to ending our day “right” with our focus and priority on the Lord. So, I decided to look up what I could find for “ending our day right” in God’s Word. Here’s what I’ve found so far…

Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. -Psalm 55:17

Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well. -Ecclesiastes 11:6

Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple. -Luke 21:37-38

I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. -Psalm 16:7

By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life. -Psalm 42:8

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. -Psalm 63:6

The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon. -Psalm 74:16

…to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night… – Psalm 92:2

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry… -Ephesians 4:26

Wow… the Lord truly calls us to focus on Him morning and night… throughout our days to place Him first in all things. Even when we become distracted and our day is out of focus, we always have an opportunity to come back to what should be our priority. God is faithful! His love endures through all of our mistakes and crummy days! As we face the last day of the first month of 2009, I hope you are encouraged to both begin and end your day with the Lord as you continue on your journey!


Ultrasound Appointment…

Well, we got to see a healthy baby growing inside me! We saw the baby sucking it’s thumb and moving around a lot… very active! However, the precious little thing would not let us see if it is a boy or a girl! Apparently the Lord is not ready for us to know! The kids were very excited to see the baby’s heart and face, and especially liked seeing him/her sucking it’s thumb… they were very sweet and I’m thankful they were able to be with us during the ultrasound. I am truly grateful to just know that the baby is growing well and is going to be here in 5 months!!