Sunday, November 21, 2010

Winds of Change

Well, we have made a decision. We will no longer be using MFW come January. We will begin using Heart of Dakota for everyone starting after the holidays. It is something I never thought that I would say, but I am leaving My Father's World Curricula.

It has been a journey to get to this point, but I feel like it is where God is leading us right now. I first found Heart of Dakota through Jessica's blog and fell in love with what I saw going on in Kindergarten and Preschool. MFW doesn't have a formal preschool curriculum and I really felt like I needed something more open and go. I bought Little Hands to Heaven for my 4 year old son. Then decided just to check out, for curiosity's sake, what else Heart of Dakota offered.

I recieved a catalog, and found myself engrossed in it for over an hour. Everything I read was speaking to me and inside I was starting to feel excited and loving everything I was reading and discovering. I spent the past month reading up everything about HOD. I asked questions on the phone and via forums and boards. One of the main things I liked is how much more God's Word is woven through this curriculum. I love that each year builds on the next in skill level and encourages independence while providing a structure that guides independent work. I love that one of the goals is to teach our children how to have their own internal filter using God's Word as the base. I love so many things about what I saw I don't think I can put it all together yet in words.  And then I prayed that the Lord would provide the funds and give me a peace if it was His will.

The funds came and I ordered the Teacher's Manual for Preparing Hearts For His Glory. I got the Manual this week and dug through it for hours looking at everything. I prayed hard and asked the Lord to give me a peace. And He did!!!

So starting in January, Squirt will be using Preparing Hearts For His Glory along with Singapore Math US Edition, Intermediate Language Lesson, Rod and Staff English 2 (beefing up on grammar), and Heart of Dakota's Drawn Into the Heart of Reading; while Buddy will be using Little Hands to Heaven; and Bubba will be listening in and participating where he can. I look forward to blogging about our new adventures!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Wilderness

I have been reading for over a year now Elisabeth Elliot's devotional A Lamp Unto My Feet (The Bible's Light for Your Daily Path). It is amazing to me how many times the Lord has used these writings to encourage, refresh or even challenge me. Right now I feel like I am walking through a wilderness- a wilderness of the physical, emotional and spiritual. But even today God used this to encourage my heart and remind me that His Plan is always perfect.

by Elisabeth Elliot

    "There are dry, fruitless, lonely places in each of our lives, where we seem to travel alone, sometimes feeling as though we must surely have lost our way. What am I doing here? How did this happen? Lord, get me out of this!
    He does not get us out. Not when we ask for it, at any rate, because it was He all along who brought us to this place. He has been here before-it is no wilderness to Him, and He walks with us. There are things to be seen and learned in these apparent wastelands that cannot be seen and learned in the city-in places of comfort, convenience and company.
   God does not intend to make it no wasteland. He intends, rather, to keep us-to hold us with His strength, to sustain us with His sure words-in a place where there is nothing else we can count on.

God did not guide them by the road towards the Philistines, although that was the shortest;... God made them go round by way of the wilderness towards the Red Sea. (Exodus 13:17-18)

Imagine what Israel, and all of us who worship Israel's God, would have missed if they had gone by the short route-the thrilling story of the deliverance from Egypt's chariots when the sea rolled back. Let's not ask for shortcuts. Let's keep alert for the wonders our Guide will show us in the wilderness."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Splendid Purpose

"Long-suffering is sometimes the only means by which the greater glory of God will be served, and this is, for the moment, invisible. We must persist in faith. God has a splendid purpose. Believe in order to see it." -Elisabeth Elliot

Monday, November 15, 2010

He is our hope

As I hear of another sister-in-Christ going through yet another deep loss and mourning, my heart is heavy. So many things have weighed it down these days, there has been so much loss, sorrow and even rejection and my heart feels heavier with each one. But yet I know that His burden is light; which means that if my burden is heavy then it must belong at my Jesus' feet. It is there that I lay down my heavy burdens of hurts and heartaches and pick up His burden which IS light; for "He lifts the burdens from those bent down beneath their loads" (Psalm146:8)

So I will share with you a sweet encouragement that was given to me, literally in my midnight hour, it gave me encouragement, reminded me that I was not alone, and got my focus back where it needed to be- on Him.

Zechariah 9:12- Come to the place of safety, all you prisoners, for there is yet HOPE. I promise right now, I will repay you two mercies for each of your woes."

So in the words of my sweet friend (who has gone through more than I can ever imagine or comprehend in terms of pain, heartache, and trials)-

  "The Lord is our stronghold. He is our hope. Choose to be a prisoner of hope- not a prisoner of darkness." 

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Music has been such a huge way to allow God to heal my heart. Any time I come before Him and praise Him, I always come away refreshed. These are two songs that have been going through my heart and mind the past week or so. 

The first is a song with Nichole Nordeman and Selah called Glory. You can hear it here.

The second are the lyrics to a new favorite song of mine, unfortunately I can't figure out how to load music on my blog. So here are the lyrics and a video to hear this beautiful song from Selah.

"The cruelest word, the coldest heart
The deepest wound, the endless dark
The lonely ache, the burning tears
The bitter nights, the wasted years

Life breaks and falls apart
But we know these are

Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
They may be unfulfilled, they may be unrestored
But when anything that’s shattered is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see it will not be

For every choice that led to shame
And all the love that never came
For every vow that someone broke
And every life that gave up hope

We live in the shadow of the fall
But the cross says these are all …

Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
They may be unfulfilled, they may be unrestored
But when anything that’s shattered is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see it will not be


Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
They may be unfulfilled, they may be unrestored
But you never know the miracles the Father has in store
Just watch and see it will not be
Just watch and see it will not be....


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Lord Gives And The Lord Takes Away

"The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."
 Job 1:21

Once again I find myself saying these words. I have said these words as we lost our daughter Chloe in the first hour of her life. I have said these again as I lost our son Nathaniel when he was delivered stillborn. I  said these words as I cried over a miscarriage between Nathaniel and our now four year old son. And once again I find myself saying these words here and now as I mourn over another miscarriage. But do I really mean them as Job did? Do I expect to receive only good things from my God and never anything difficult or painful, or even what seems in my finite mind to be unjust? If I claim to serve a God who creates all things, is All Powerful, All Knowing, and All Loving then I must be willing to say that I WILL see things given me or taken away from me by My Heavenly Father. So, yes, Blessed is His Name.

As I thought about writing or not writing this post I struggled with the transparency that would be required, the honest and even painful things that I might write; but yet if I serve a God who is so real and near to me, then how can I not share that with others? So I share with you my heart and the journey that Jesus has taken me through in the past eight weeks.

In the beginning of September I went in for a routine ultrasound. Everything looked normal that day, but it simply appeared that what was seen on the scan was not as far developed as the Doctor had estimated. No one was surprised by that, and they simply scheduled me for another scan the following week. 

I returned the following week for my second scan. Now having been through five pregnancies before and being considered high risk after the first one, I have had a lot of ultrasounds often a dozen per pregnancy or more. So when I saw the second scan on the screen I knew that something was not normal. The tech wasn't allowed to tell me anything, but I could see that the gestational sac that the fetus should rest in was empty. They bundled me off to the next examining room and told me to wait for the doctor to talk with me. I sat in chair wrestling with my emotions and silently praying that whatever the Lord had planned for this pregnancy that He would give me the strength to endure. The doctor came in and confirmed what I could see, there was no fetus just an empty sac. He then told me that I could wait and allow my body to go its natural course, which could take up to a month. 

So I left the doctors office heart broken and called my husband to share the news. We cried and prayed together in the parking lot. I went home needing to get before the Lord. I lay on the floor of my bedroom and cried out to God. Now I serve a God who I am not afraid to tell every emotion to. He is not too small to hear my anger or my frustrations or my tears declaring Him unfair. And that is what I did I cried out to Him and told Him everything that was on my heart. And He showed me in His Word a verse to hang on to that day and filled me with His peace that passes all understanding.

Now the thing is that in some ways if I had miscarried that week life would have been so much simpler; but instead I remained pregnant for another six weeks. I remained incredibly nauseated, where medication could give no relief. And I still had three children to take care of and a house to run. Not to mention homeschooling. 

All that time my husband and I prayed and asked God to intervene. We asked Him to place life where there was seen to be no life. And each new ultrasound I went in believing that God could do it and that I would see it with my eyes. But each time there was still nothing but an empty sac. But yet each week God spoke to my heart and gave me peace, He led me to scripture that reminded me of His promises to me, and He taught me of His love and faithfulness. Each night I would struggle to hold on to His peace and often found myself back on my knees crying out to Him for strength and peace. And each time I cried to Him, He was quick to come to me and wrap me in His love and His peace and remind me that I could trust Him.

So in the end after six weeks I went into labor for miscarriage and went through the most excruciating pain of my life. I ended up in the ER, after I couldn't stop bleeding and bled non-stop for over an hour. I came home the next day from the hospital and faced complete bed rest and a long recovery from such extensive blood loss.

And you ask me, why would you believe in a God who didn't give you the answer to your prayers and still call Him good and bless His Name?

I would tell you, it is because I serve a God who sees the whole picture. He tells me that He wrote down every moment of my life in His book before I was even born (Psalm 139). He is a God who is always just, always good, always loving, all powerful, and Holy. He sees something in all this that I can't right now. But I can say this, His word says these things to me:
"Everything comes from God alone. Everything lives by His power, everything is for His glory. To Him be glory forevermore." (Romans 11:36) and "His loved ones are very precious to Him and He does not lightly let them die." (Psalm 116:15.  And if He says these things to me in His word, then I can trust that He chose to withhold life or even take life because He loves me and those that will be affected by that choice of His. So then I must say, if that is so, then I can say just as in 2 Timothy 2:10 "I am more willing to suffer if that will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ to Jesus to those God has chosen."  

So where is the victory here? The victory will be in the eternal. I may not see or understand why in this life, but I will see all things clearly when I am with Him in eternity.

So I write this all for this one purpose, I only hope that my life and what I experience will be a testimony to the Real and Living God whom I serve. It is not by any strength that I have in myself that I could have endured all of the heartache and loss that I have and not ended up in deep depression or even suicidal. I have come out from each of these losses a victor because of the work that Christ does in me and strength that He gives me by His Holy Spirit. 
I serve a God who understands my heart ache and He doesn't begrudge me when I yell at Him and tell Him He is unfair and that I'm angry and don't understand. But He also shows me that He is always fair and that I will understand one day. But for now that all I need is to be enfolded in His Presence and His love and that all that happens to me is because He loves me and every other person on this planet. And that what He allows to happen to me that is painful is to refine me into the image of Christ and to give Him glory and draw others to Him through His work in me.

I will end with this. This is not the end of the story. I will see each of my children again and I have the assurance of joy eternal with my God at the end of my life. Because He loved me enough to come as a man (Jesus) and die for my sins and all the sins of mankind on a cross so that I could be with Him for eternity and walk forgiven. If you don't have that assurance and you want to meet the Mighty God that I serve. Simply ask Him to show Himself to you. (He promises that He will if you seek Him earnestly). If you want to know more or have questions I would love to talk with you about Him. And if you seek Him you will find, just as I have, a God who is more than able to see you through every moment of your life and give you a peace in the midst of the most difficult circumstances and you will be able to say as I can this day- "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD!!!!"