Sunday, January 27, 2013

26 weeks down, 14-ish to go!

Little mister is all about movement these days!  The other day at Cade's ballgame, I thought he was going to punch right through my side.  I can tell his hearing is getting more developed...the more loud it is, the busier he gets! 

26 week stats: 
*Asher is somewhere around 2 pounds and about 14 inches long.  Time to fatten this sweet boy up! {Wish he would suck it right off my thighs!}

*Asher's eyelids start to open this week!

*Asher's hearing should be fully is even possible that he can move to the rhythm of music!

*Asher is taking tiny breaths/swallows of fluid that make his lungs start to practice breathing...this is simply of God because he still only gets his oxygen from the umbilical cord and my circulation. God is preparing him for something that he has no need of yet...amazing.

26 weeks stats for me:
* I can't stop crying.  I am so dad-gum emotional with this pregnancy.  Maybe they have all been like that, but this one seems worse. It is hard to walk by faith and also live in what is real when everything seems to be clouded by emotions and hormones.

*I seem to be right on track gaining what I have gained with all the others...I guess this is good...I was expecting to gain a ton more since I am older.

*I don't have a lot of cravings anymore, but I must say the pecan pancakes are mighty delish at Cracker Barrell.  I do love meat still, but I don't feel like I am going to start World War 3 if it doesn't make a fast appearance.  I am feeling full so much faster and feel bloated for awhile after I room in the inn!

*A lot of symptoms have been heightened with this pregnancy...hello indigestion.  Sometimes when I lay down at night, acid starts to creep up into my throat.  Grody!

*My SI joint was acting up, but seems to be settling back into place for now.  I also have started having Braxton Hicks contractions when I go grocery shopping. 

*I found a cute maternity tank top at old navy for only $.49!!! 

*I don't really need naps, but that doesn't keep me from going to bed early if I can!

*I am so so so thankful to be pregnant during the months I am...and not have to go through the HOT summer!!!

*I am still sleeping really well...and so thankful for that, too!

*The stretching pains in the upper rib area are about to do me in!

Asher's new things!
* a Ju-Ju-Be diaper bag in backpack style (hoping to save my neck muscles!)  These usually retail for a TON of money, but God made a way for me to have a brand new one for way more than half thankful!

*a car seat and stroller!
 I have had my eye on this one for awhile and it finally went on sale, yay!

Well, at least we know we can bring him home from the hospital now!

Friday, January 18, 2013

God of Angel Armies

I really can't get over it.  Not really.  Every once in awhile, God opens the veil that separates the physical realm from the spiritual and in those moments, I am pretty much dumbstruck. 
I certainly believe God protects us every single day.  I know there are countless times when the enemy could have easily injured me or someone I love.  Most of the time, I don't see these occurrences, so I just praise God for His protection and move on.
But, the other day, God's hand of protection was so obvious that I just can't really get over it.  The snow had hit and I was on my way to get the boys from school.  I was slowly approaching an overpass.   A car behind me apparently thought I was going too slowly, whipped around me, proceeded to fishtail into my lane (hello slippery roads), did a 180 coming straight for me, managed to get into the other lane of traffic (which it was now headed, ha!), and missed me by mere inches.
I can replay that situation over and over again.  The driver crossed three lanes of traffic, all of which were busy since it was the noon hour.  She could have hit me at least three times (one of those being head-on), but the God of Angel Armies simply didn't allow it.
I started crying immediately.  I mean, if we (as in Asher Tate and myself) had been hit head on, I don't think his little 1 pound 11 ounce body would have made it.
I am reminded that God has this child set apart for His purposes.  I am reminded that even though I try to do what I can to aid in Asher having a  healthy life (yucky vitamins, limited caffeine, on and on...) it is only God who truly protects his frail yet perfect little self.
I see his sweet cheeks filling out and I praise the God of Angel Armies...for being on our side.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cure for the Heavy Laden

I've been pondering the concept of peace for awhile.  Certain things have snuck in to steal the stability and rest that I so crave.  It isn't just within my own life; I don't have to look far to find friends or family that are heavy laden and waiting on a little rest.

There is a new song by Tenth Avenue North called Worn that seems perfect in times like these.

Are you feeling overburdened?  There is hope for us yet.

Sometimes, I feel like the Bible can offer magical words that seem surface driven.  We love to memorize and cling to them...but do we understand them enough to recognize why they are so important?

I have felt this way with Matthew 11: 28-30 for some time.  Sure, it all sounds promising, but what does the HOW look like in my own personal life?

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Sounds delicious, but what does it mean?

I think possibly, there are three levels of application here.  First, and most importantly, Jesus is saying that we don't have to be slaves to trying to become righteous.  Our most amazing efforts are filthy.  All we have to do is accept his sacrifice and we are covered.  We trade in our efforts and sin for his yoke of salvation.  It is a parable for salvation.  There is eternal rest available to all who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus.

Second, I think the story points to the time and era.  The Jews were under horrible religious and political persecution.  Ironically, the Jewish people had been shackled by their own religious leaders, the Pharisees.  They were under the crushing weight of all the extra and made up rules that the Pharisees said they had to live under.  The Jews were carrying the burden of trying to earn salvation by good works and they knew it was simply impossible.  Their souls were in anguish.  The had no rest and didn't see how it was possible at all.  Jesus made it easy:  accept my salvation and become my disciple...and you will have rest.

Third, I wonder what it means for us today, for Believers who are trying hard in this world to find peace amidst crushed dreams, desires not realized, blatant worldly sin, epidemic viruses, financial setbacks, and the beginnings of oppression from government.  The yoke is too heavy. 

Come unto me.  Jesus says the first thing is to come.  He isn't exclusive.  He invites all.  But, it is a command...and it means to come now, at once.

He immediately gives rest to those who are overburdened or heavy laden.  We obey by coming.  He in turn, fills us with rest (anapauo:  refresh, take ease, rest.) The "rest" is complete because Christ is offering it.

Still, the passage continues and insinuates that it doesn't stop there.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart.  I think this is where we refuse to get to, therefore our initial rest doesn't last very long.  Jesus tells us to throw off our yoke but to put on his.  That doesn't make sense, does it?  Why would we need another yoke?  And what exactly does it mean to learn from Him?

This is key!  Jesus is gentle (meek) and lowly in are examples:

*He seeks the good of others
*He denies self
*He never expects to be treated well
*He doesn't aim at being honored
*He is always saying "not my will but thine" to His Father
*He doesn't strive or cry out, wanting his voice or opinion to be heard

We are to learn from Him and His character.  We are to put on this character.  His character must become my own in order for lasting peace to occur.  This requires learning His character and unlearning our own.  It is a spiritual classroom.  Whatever is burdening us is to be brought to Jesus, where we ask to see things with his meekness and humility, then rest becomes ours.

I think "rest" is mentioned twice because first, we cast off the burden and can receive rest.  But, second, we can learn and find rest In Christ. Rest from something, and then a learned rest in Someone.

Spurgeon says it well, "The rest which we are to find is a rest which grows entirely out of our spirits being conformed to the spirit of Christ."  In other words, rest is a process of sanctification.  We grow in grace, become more like Christ, and experience more rest despite the circumstances because we are thinking and acting like Jesus Himself.  We have learned to.

Here is an example of how in my own life, this can be applied.  We are in a small three bedroom house that we have loved and been so thankful for...but, we are simply out of room.  The past ten years here have been a constant decluttering, trying to find space and room for three growing boys. 

Our house is on the market, but with no lookers.  We know it is time to move, because Eric feels right about it and because there is simply no where for little Asher to go.  Now, if you have ever had a baby, you know the internal motherly instincts that creep up around the 6 month mark.  Your baby must have a place to go!!!  You want to set up the crib, changing table and rocker/glider, start collecting necessary items (hello, diapers!) and simply go into the room to daydream about your newest blessing.

Right now, Asher's space consists of 5 square inches in my closet that house his diaper bag.  He doesn't have bedding, a set up nursery, or a single diaper.  I am pretty sure that he could care less, but his Momma is about to have a conniption.

Now, I can go to Jesus anytime I want and receive some rest.  God promises that.  But, I also know there is something deeper.  In order for me to receive some lasting rest, I need to take on the character of Christ in this situation.  I need to take on humility and meekness and ask to see things from the point of Jesus.

You know what He showed me?  He showed me that He was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and yet he was humble enough to not just come in human form, but to be birthed in a dirty barn amidst manure and hay.  His bed was a feeding trough, covered in leftover grain and livestock slobber.

I can learn from that.  It is humiliating, for sure, but that is something I can take from the One who is lowly and meek.  I can apply that situation that I learned from Him and remind myself of it every time anxiety threatens to overturn the peace He gave.  When I feel overburdened by not having a place for Asher, I can take on the character of Christ (meekness and humility) and wonder just why I think my son deserves more than God Himself.

The next time we are heavy laden, let us go (at once!) to Jesus.  He will fill us with rest, but let us also linger and ask to take on the character of Christ so we can view things from His perspective, where rest always abounds.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Withdrawal from the Common

I feel like in order to possess whatever God wants me to possess this year, there is something that has to take place first:  dispossess.  Sometimes you have to clear out the old in order to make room for the new.  Many of you are doing this around your homes.  You may be clearing out some old clothing or home decorations in order to make room for a few new things. 

Perhaps the same can be true spiritually.  In order to possess faith, it seems that fear would have to be let go of.  In order to possess joy, it seems that defeat and discouragement might need the boot.

I've kind of been tossing around the idea of what I might need to let go of in order to obtain whatever God has for me.

I ended up having some church in my little Jesus chair this morning.  Right at home.  The best kind of church!

Hebrews 10:10 says "And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."  Looking up "Sanctified" in Greek, I was a little surprised.  It is the word "Hagiazo" and means what we might think...hallowed or sanctified.  But, it was the explanation that I found so interesting.

The word "hagiazo" (to sanctify) cannot be accomplished without someone separating himself or withdrawing from fellowship with the world.  Hagiazo means to withdraw from fellowship with the world and from selfishness by first gaining fellowship with God and toward God.

Now, I believe that we have a progressive sanctification going on at all times in our Christian walk if we are abiding in Christ.  Was Christ's sacrifice complete at the cross?  Yes, but verse 14 says that "For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified."  Did you catch that present ongoing verb, "who are being...?"  It is the Greek present participle and it allows for something that is progressive and ongoing.  Yes, Christ's sacrifice was sufficient and complete...that is why He can sit down beside the Father.  And yes, Christ's character is being worked out in us after salvation. Somehow, it is both.

Here is the part I found interesting:  the word "hagiazo" stands in CONTRAST with the Greek word "koinos".  Koinos means defiled, common, can mean "common or belonging to several or of which several are partakers." 

Sometimes, the process of sanctification in our lives means we have to be set free from what is common.  You know, what everyone else is doing.  Being sanctified means withdrawing from fellowship with the world.

I know in my own life, this could look a trillion different ways.  How is it that I look just like the common...what do I do that everyone else seems to do as well?  Is it a form of social media like Facebook or Pinterest or blogging?  Is it how I spend money?  Is it how I parent?  Is it the desire to entertain oneself instead of sacrificing oneself?  Is it how I spend my time?

Jesus fully earned my redemption and perfection the moment he laid down his life for me.  Will I surrender/consecrate myself and agree to allow Him to continue to make me look like Himself?

The question I need to ask if I can muster the courage is this:  "What am I fellowshipping with or associated with that is common or defiled that I need to separate from in order to possess what God longs to give to me?"

Once again, I could use a dose of courage.  Becoming more and more like Christ is not for the faint of heart.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Needing Something Powerful?

Call me old, but they wouldn't let me in the doors of the Passion Conference even if I wore my best flannel shirt and skinny jeans.  Apparently, there is an age cut off and I don't quite make it.  But, good news for me, they have been posting livestream videos of the conference...where I can catch up with goodies like Francis Chan, Beth Moore, and John Piper. 

I just can't stop thinking about John Piper's message.  I haven't heard him speak often (just read a ton of his sermons)...but boy, howdy, that man is anointed.  It was the most powerful, beautiful, joyful sermon I have heard in a long time.  And go figure, it has to do with suffering

Piper is like that...takes the truth of God's word and makes it so appealing that you want to weep in gratitude for days on end.

We are both in luck...they are leaving the sessions up for today only...I highly recommend session 7 where John Piper speaks.  {You know, if you need something powerful to kick start your year.}

Here is the link to the on session can also fast forward to where he starts speaking...but I don't recommend it cause you will miss Kari Jobe's most powerful rendition of "Revelation Song" yet!

Be blessed...and remember, they are saying the link is only good for today!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013: {Possess}

I am standing at the threshold of the unknown.  2013 will bring exactly what God has ordained and called good.  I just have to remember that His definition of good doesn't always match up with my own.  Nevertheless, He has gone before me and stands guard behind me.  I am hemmed in by grace this matter what this year may bring.

I sense a lot of change coming with this new year.  Some of it is obvious...a new baby, a teenager, a move.  But there is a whole lot of change I sense that I am not sure of yet. 

While praying over this year and wondering what direction God would have it take, I was also reading Deuteronomy chapter 30.  One word kept jumping off the page throughout the chapter:  POSSESS.  This word occurs three times more in the book of Deuteronomy than any other book of the bible. 

"And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good and multiply thee..."

"...and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it."

This word scares me a little because it is a verb.  The act of possessing something requires action.  The Hebrew word for possess is "yaresh" and means to occupy (especially by driving out previous tenants), to seize, or to inherit.  In a legal sense, it means to become an heir.  In a military sense, it means to invade for the purpose of settling in the territory.  Both meanings are dominant with regard to God's covenant with Israel.

The word possess occurs over and over again in Deuteronomy because the Israelites had to be reminded of their legacy after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. 

I wonder if there is something out there for our family to take hold there a spiritual legacy that we need to be reminded of and seize with all our mights??

I feel like Judges 18:9-10 is some sort of commission for us...

"And they said, arise, that we may go up against them, for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good, and are ye still?  Be not slothful to go and to enter to possess the land.  When ye go, ye shall come unto a people secure, and to a large land:  for God hath given it into your hands; a place where there is no want of anything that is in the earth."

I don't know what 2013 holds, but I know that change is coming.  I feel like my word for the year is possess because as children of God, we are to march forward and take whatever He is giving to us (instead of cowering in fear or being lazy or apathetic.) 

I feel like it will be a challenge, but if I can look back at the end of 2013 and see that we were able to seize our inheritance and leave behind a legacy, then God will be glorified.

Here is to the word possessThis heart could use a little courage.