Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Ringing in the New Year

So! Have not done any better keeping up with the blog...many transitions...but now settled into our "new" place, and hopefully establishing our new "normal." Whatever normal is, anyway. Facebook really has taken my time more than the blogging...but, hope to get better with it with the new year.
Thanksgiving came, right after we moved into our new place, along with everyone in our family getting the flu. It was a rough transition. Thankfully we moved in slowly and were able to get things settled in. Our first night here, Bethany started sick, then it went through each of us one day apart up to Thanksgiving day. And not only that, but spread to my extended family and their friends who came home with them too...out of 14 of us, 12 of us had it. Thankfully, it was only a quick bug and was done in about 8 hours tops. There really were some bonding experiences over it. Lots of opportunities to serve each other during the sickness. And a great reminder to be thankful for our health. It was one Thanksgiving we won't forget for sure!
Christmas was so fun, with the 4 girls. And I'm grateful we were able to really enjoy and celebrate together without being in the hospital having baby. It was a "quieter" Christmas, in that it was only our family on Christmas day. That's never happened before- we always have other people to share the celebration with. It was different, but we all agreed very timely, as this could very well have been our last Christmas all together...there's a great possibility of my brother and his girlfriend getting married soon, and most likely, they'll spend Christmas with her family. So it was a sweet time with just us. Of course, the weeks leading up to Christmas are full of parties, activities, and preparing for Christmas- baking, crafting, wrapping. This year I was preparing way in advance, just in case baby came early. I'm so glad I did! It helped things go much smoother and me be able to enjoy all the preparations. As we read through the Christmas Scriptures in the couple weeks before for our devos, it was fun to be pregnant and imagine being Mary going through all of that. Watching "The Nativity Story" really makes it real too- can not imagine walking/riding on a donkey for over 100 miles, ready to give birth! No wonder she had Jesus when they got to Bethlehem- all that walking! Anyway, it was neat for me to be able to really "feel" and imagine Mary's position as a full term pregnant woman. I think this year was just rich in celebrating all the way around. The gifts were all so thoughtful- Gary especially went all out, and with every package I opened, had a coordinating envelope with the gift that had Scripture and the reason for the gift, to help point me to Jesus. That made each thing more special than just the gift itself. Bekah made cards for each of us, and that was so sweet, giving what she could, making something for us from the heart. She was also eager to help in getting everything ready and excited to be a part of all the surprises. It was so fun!
Now we're getting ready for baby. Here I am, the eve of birthing him, trying to catch up! :) I've been contracting well for a while now, but especially these last few days. I keep thinking maybe this is it...and then they'll slow down a bit. I do know that by January 1st, we will have baby Kaleb James to hold and cuddle! To see the light at the end of the tunnel has made it more bearable. We still cannot believe that there will actually be another little Hirsch baby...and that this one is a BOY. Though it's not really become real for us- probably not til we get to actually SEE him- the reality of raising a boy is sinking in. The difference in how to point him to Christ, how to challenge him to lead (the girls we challenge to lead by being the first to submit!)...he will have to be challenge to take risks, walking in faith. It will be different in seeking the Lord for what it means to parent a boy...channeling his aggression, passion to conquer, etc, for God's glory and not just his self satisfaction. All of it has got us thinking and praying. Praying for more wisdom...for our girls, for this new little boy.
All in all- what a way to end the year! 2009 was a good one! Full of change and lots of excitement yet again. More seeking the Lord and just doing the next thing He leads us in. And now, we'll start 2010 in the same position. Ready to hear, humbled before Him to see what things He has in store. He's so good! Have a Happy New Year! and post coming soon! :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Long Time, No Blog...

Oh my, are we behind, or what?! ...okay, life with 4 children and one on the way has made blogging a bit hard...even for a journaler like me. Facebook has stolen the time...if I have a minute, it's a LOT easier to catch up on fb than on here! BUT...I still want to document certain things, and I know some of you have mentioned my lack of writing, trying to catch up on what is going on here with us...SO, here it is!
We celebrated our 8th anniversary on May 5th. I am so blessed. I am more in love with my man every day. It's just starting to get good!...I turned 30 on May 10th, and that was "monumental". Or not. Really, didn't feel much change except that I have to remember to say "30" now when asked how old I am. I remember thinking that was really old when I was younger. I am SO NOT old!...we have celebrated Bekah's 7th birthday on May 21st, Belle's 3rd birthday on June 6th, Bethany's 2nd birthday on August 16th...found out that this next baby is a BOY...and will be celebrating Brie's 1st birthday next week, October 29th.
We've also had some MAJOR ups and downs...just life. You know what I'm sayin'...I mean, just cause I'm totally in love with my man doesn't mean it's always pretty. Yes, we're committed. But yes, we're also very human. So, we've gotten to see God be God and do some major work in our hearts through times of high stress with our family, businesses, church life, and the like. It's life. I am grateful that I am freed to feel. Feel the pain and the hurt and the everything...and know it WILL be okay in the end. It's so wonderful. Thing is, I get to feel the joy so much deeper too. God is so good!
We have started some major changes with our businesses, Kosh Wholesale and Home Matters...lots of internal changes and just better managing...with the help of our friend Casey. Praise God for those who can be outside of the situation to help guide us that feel overwhelmed at the moment. It's exciting stuff that's being implemented. Now have a website...check it out!
Oh yeah...and we've moved...again. Our friends whose house we were staying in came home from Australia and we packed up and moved out, stayed with my parents a little while getting their house ready for them, and now living with friends of ours for about a month before our rental comes available. Yes, we're crazy. But you see, God's provided. So we can be out here where so much of our life is and be able to be close by. Someone's come and expressed interested in our house in Thayer, so praying it will work out. We'll see. God always works it all out in the end anyway. We're just trusting Him moment by moment. Do what He says to do for now. Then now will turn to then. We don't have to worry about it. (I know, sometimes way easier said then done. That's why I've asked God to increase my faith in Him too. Maybe THAT'S why we're in this season of our life!)
So, the Hirsch family is once again, busy. Busy and crazy. What' s new? Like I had to update the blog for you to know that! I guess not that much has changed...LOL! God is good! Glad to catch up a bit.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Anniversary! Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Today is Gary and my 8th anniversary! He's giving me the afternoon to go take Melissa for her promised birthday mani/pedi (from last year!) and then we're out to dinner at El Charros. We always do Mexican food, since it's cinco de Mayo...and we'll sport our t shirts from Lis that she gave us for our wedding day like we've done every year so far.  :)
Eight, it hasn't slowed down either! Mercy! I am SO thankful for our marriage and how I get to grow and see God through it. It's been a wild eight years, with lots and LOTS of ups and downs...I'm so glad I get to do this life with you. Thank you Lord, for a man who doesn't complete me, but points me to You, who does! God is good!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Reflections on Easter

Happy Easter from the Hirsch family!

It may be a little late, but...I guess, better than never?! Well, the weather on Easter was cold and yucky, so our family picture was taken indoors- but our celebration was warm.
Well, not at see, we had big thoughts on preparing the family to celebrate what we consider the biggest holiday as a christian. Christmas, when we celebrate Christ's birth, and Easter, when we celebrate Christ's death and then resurrection from the dead, are the two biggest holidays for our family. While Christmas is a celebration of God sending His son to Earth, Easter is the celebration of His purpose fulfilled on Earth- to die on the cross and raise again to have victory over sin and death and thus saving His people, the Church, for Himself. Easter is SO exciting! And yet, we failed.
Here's how. And how, as a wife, God worked me through my husband's failure to lead us as a family  in really focusing on the meaning of Easter. Usually we'll do some sort of preparations towards Easter to get our minds and hearts set on why we're celebrating- reading through the Piper book, 50 Reasons..., reading through the gospel accounts during family worship, some activities like Resurrection eggs or making something together. I was waiting on Gary to lead us in what he thought best for our family. One of my biggest fears is if I don't do it, it won't get done. God's teaching me that sometimes, because I'll react in fear and make sure it gets done, my hubs doesn't have to- or think he doesn't need to- or whatever. Now, hear me. Gary is a WAY godly leader, wonderful husband, and is faithful to lead us. But he is human. So...Easter came quickly and nothing except our daily readings were planned. We talked about doing a couple things with the kids in prep for helping them to grasp why we celebrate Easter, as best as they can at a young age. After I'd suggested a few things, I waited. And the waiting turned to Easter morning...and I was way disappointed. Now, we usually do gifts for Easter, since it is big like Christmas. So, we had gifts like a worship dvd, journal, some outfits. Problem is, without them being taught why we're celebrating, Easter becomes about the gifts they get. I'm all for Easter baskets and things, as long as it's an overflow of joy in why we truly celebrate. If that's left out, all the kids remember or begin to think is that Easter is about chocolate and jelly beans. So I was hurt. Disappointed. 
This time, though, I went to God. Many times I get mad in my hurt. Want to hurt know, I've journaled on it here before. Thankfully, this time, Grace brought me to remember that Easter is about victory over sin and death, and to surrender my hurt to Him so that I can share in that victory, to not let it ruin the celebration. I can celebrate through the hurt. And so, there we were. I prayed quietly to the Lord as we went to join my parents at their church...and oh man, were we blessed. An awesome time of worship for us as we were reminded of why we celebrate- while surrounded by many people God's used very specifically in our family. God blessed us to have Dave and Amy here with us for 5 days, including Easter. Amy and I grew up together, and used her and another friend Tammy to deal with some specific sins that eventually caused my heart to turn back to Him. So we had them on one side, my family on the other, and surrounded by friends like the Igos, Scisms, Zellars...all of whom God's used in specific ways in our life. It was a joyful celebration, even in the midst of my hurt.

Dave and Amy

We enjoyed a big dinner and hanging out time that day. Later on in the evening, I was able to express my disappointments with Gary without anger, who was also feeling the same way. My words were- okay, so I was really hurt, because...and I need you to listen to me and believe me that I'm hurt. Just cause I'm not freaking out, doesn't mean I'm not hurt. It means God is having victory right now. So please hear me so I don't have to yell. :)  Really, there was some seriousness to that, but I know I choose to yell...
Anyway, so after talking through it, and forgiveness had, I was reading in Luke 24. I was totally encouraged by the story of the women going to the tomb to prepare Christ's body to find angels and the body gone. The one angel tells them to go tell the men...and when they do, the men basically tell them they're idle and don't believe them. My version- stupid women, you're crazy. But Peter went and ran to the tomb to see for himself. I was struck with the reality that it isn't bad that they didn't believe the women right away. It was wrong that they didn't go check it out for themselves after they'd heard. I realized I'm married to a Peter. He listens and goes back to check it out himself. Then he marvels with me. That's the sign of the Spirit. The other men who didn't go back and check it out for themselves could've been spared much depression, sadness, etc...over Christ not being the Messiah they though he was if they'd gone to see for themselves. BUT...the rest of the chapter is on Jesus going and revealing to the two on the road to Emmaus and then to all the disciples for Himself. So, they saw that the women were speaking the truth eventually. They just missed out in the meantime. 
All this has regrounded my trust in God. My biggest fear is being misunderstood. Even as I write this, I think, maybe I shouldn't, cause someone's gonna take it the wrong way or not understand what I'm saying. But I'm supposed to share what God shows me! I don't have to make things happen or get people to believe me or try to not be misunderstood. I just need to walk in obedience. Sometimes that means sharing what I've seen of God. And God will show who He wills to see it eventually too. My trust is in Him. Personally, for me, that's mainly with my hubs. God revealed the unfolding of His plans first to the women in this passage. Even though the men are the leaders. The women were to help point the men to the truth. The men didn't believe. The women didn't have to make them believe, just share. I am beyond grateful for a husband who is filled with the Spirit and runs to see for Himself. Who is humble and will allow me to help him. And for a God that changes my heart that naturally wants to take the lead to follow.
Praise God, He is Good!  And hopefully, next year, we'll be ready to get prepared to celebrate BEFORE Easter's here! Even if not, He is gracious!

Party at the Park and field trips...

April has been loaded with lots of activity already. The warmer weather has been a welcome change to get out of the house. We enjoyed another friend's birthday party, this time at the's always interesting for me to go somewhere by myself with all 4 girls. Thankfully, most all our friends are more than helpful.

Enjoying the park with friends.

We also got to go on a couple field trips, which are more frequent as the days grow warmer here and we're able to get out and about. Our home school co-op got to go on a nature hike at a nearby conservation. It was a long 1 1/2 hour hike, but all did very well. It was nice to be out enjoying God's creation and actually have someone there to point out different flowers and such that we may otherwise overlook. God truly made all things amazingly, pointing to His glory as Creator. We were even careful not to "kill the parents" as our guide said concerning not stepping on the plants. lol.

Our home school co-op group at the conservation...minus three other families that joined us that day

Bekah has read the first two of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods and Farmer Boy. She's in the middle of the third one now, Little House on the Prairie. We were able to go visit Laura's house in Mansfield, which is only about an hour from us, while Dave and Amy were here visiting. It was fun, and way more interesting than I'd thought it'd be. Bekah enjoyed seeing Pa's fiddle, which they annually take out and play at a festival. I was going to have her just read the first 3 books herself to expose her to the stories, but after visiting Laura's home, Bekah said she'd really like to read all of the series, which is fine with me! That same day we also went to Bakersville, a little old time village set up that is home to Baker Creek Seed Company, which sells seeds that have no GMOs, and are all heirloom seeds. After having done a 4 week gardening seminar, this was a cool place to visit. Really amazing, how many seeds they have- they had over 190 varieties of just tomatoes! Isn't God amazing?! 

The girls in their bonnets, enjoying the Little House

The amazing Baker Creek Seed Store- all those little bins hold packets of seeds

We also hit Silver Dollar City again, this time with Poppy, Gammy, and ChiChi. It was World fest time, and worked out perfectly with the geography we've been doing. It's a stretch at times to find some cultural things here where we live, so this was a welcomed event to expose the kids to other cultures, even if limited. We got to see a steel drum band from Trinidad- awesome!- and the Irish feet of fire dancers- pretty amazing. We all ate different foods from other countries and got to see a ton of flags and such. It was a fun, beautiful day of learning in a non-book form- welcomed any time!

We are in fact, part Irish- I am half Irish, half Korean, which makes our girls a 1/4 of each. 
You should see OUR Irish feet of fire! lol!

On the big 'ole rocking chair

This is a kid's roller coaster, with Poppy in the front, all by himself. haha. Bekah chickened out last minute and ran back out. Belle enjoyed the roller coaster with Daddy in the third cart. After riding a bunch of different rides for the first time, Belle said- Rides crazy! They're fun! Guess you know who will be our thrill seeker!

ChiChi was a good sport and was Bekah's riding buddy a lot.

All the family enjoyed a full day at SDC Worldfest!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

March Madness

A little behind on posts, but here's some of the Hirsch March madness. We enjoyed the start of spring with a few different Spring Breaks-

First Spring break was when Tiffany, Taylor, and Daniel came to see us. It was cold, nasty weather, but we were able to go to the library together and hang out at different times through the week:

Then, the next week, Jonathan and Christina came to visit, and it was beautiful. We hit the park and got to hang out for a few days:

Then we had our family Spring break mini vacation for the weekend. We went to Silver Dollar City- it was cold, but we had fun. Then we went to Springfield to shop and hang out with the Wallaces. We got to go to Jump Mania for the first time. It was so fun! 

1,2,3,4...Packed up and ready to go in the van.

Silver Dollar City, Daddy gathering the herd at the farm.  

It may have been cold, but Bekah was so looking forward to the frozen strawberry/lemonade!

The girls enjoyed the hotel just as much as anything else!

Bethany and Jude at Jump Mania.

Belle's face was priceless- she had that panic look every time she went down the slide...for like an hour!

The June girls, Haven and Belle. They're only a few days apart.

Bekah enjoyed the slide too!

Bekah and Jadon enjoying Jump Mania!

We also enjoyed celebrating Natalie's birthday with the chaos of friends at her butterfly surprise party, and the Nielsen's adoption with a baby shower. A few pics:

Natalie's birthday crowd

Baby Rachel!

I made the diaper cake...Leigh Ann made the pretty flower ball.

Lots of activity and celebrations in March...we've been busy! God's been good. The newness of Spring has often called to mind the newness of life in Christ. Feels like a reason to celebrate! More posts to come very soon!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I Hate Sin and the Consequences Thereof

This is one of my mother's many sayings that I've adopted as my own. Something I've heard her say and tell me and teach me through since...well, since I can remember. I have been thinking much over this as God's brought me here recently dealing with pain and hurt myself. (See a couple blogs before this about pain.) Feelings of being so hurt that I am tempted to close off, shut down, so I can't feel. Not completely...just keep "going" in life without really "doing" life, if that makes sense. 

I hate sin. Not just dislike it. HATE it. I've grown tired of it. It makes me sick. sad. hurt. I look forward to the day it heaven. For now, I'll hate it.  I hate it in me. I hate it in you. I hate seeing it all around us. I don't care what it disguises itself as, I hate sin. Sin is sin is sin. I hate sin. 
Not only that...I hate sin's consequences. I hate what sin causes...what it brings with it. I hate the pain. guilt. shame.  I hate what it cost to get rid of it.
And yet it is. What is the purpose? Why? To make us feel bad? To make us drown in sorrow and guilt? Oh no!  What joy there can be, even in the midst of sin...when we see it as the backdrop it is. My hubby often says that sin is the backdrop for God's glory. Sin helps us see God's glory even clearer. Like black velvet behind a diamond ring. When forgiven, cleansed, set free...we see the depth of His love.
And THAT is glorious!
And so, in the midst of the fight against sin...not against each other...I will praise God. I am seeing more and more how the real enemy is not someone else. It's not even myself. It's the sin in me. The sin in you. Ultimately, Satan himself who rules this world and uses sin to his advantage.
Sin gets in the way of knowing God...not knowing about Him, KNOWING Him. The experiential knowledge of Him, what John 17:3 says eternal life is: knowing God and Jesus Christ whom He sent. I want to KNOW him this way more than anything else. What keeps me from this is what I hate most- sin. Not so and so who...or that one who...or somebody else that...Sin. That is it's name. Sin keeps me from my Treasure. 
But praise be to Jesus! We're not left alone with Sin! We're set free from it's bondage through Christ Himself! He fights on my behalf. That is a hallelujah!  Free from and victory over my own sin. And free to truly love those who sin against and therefore hurt me.
Help us, Lord. Help us to treasure you most and to hate sin and its consequences. For your glory. For our joy in You.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Week in Review: Fun with Gammy and more

So, this past week, we:

  • Had a fun date night- dinner at subway, a long talk, good laughs...and a few rounds of games in the arcade section at Super Walmart. (I know...but we live HERE, so it's something to do!) And anyway, it really was fun, even if I did get whooped at Ms. Pac Man and air hockey.
  • Had dinner with the Wiehes and made some battle plans for the flower selling bus. Yes, you heard correctly. 
  • Took advantage of Gammy's day off and the beautiful weather on Wednesday and headed to the park. It was so pretty and we had a great time.
The only way to get them all to be still and get a pic was to feed them, keep 'em coming! 

My girls took up the whole swing set!  What will we do when we have more? haha.
  • Had a final dinner with our friends Adam and Shannon before he left for his final training and then heads overseas to Afghanistan with the National Guard. Pray for them these next 18 months. But, it was a fun night, tough steaks and all. Good laughs.
  • Took a really spontaneous trip to Springfield- Mom, Me, and all four of the girls. We're crazy. But it was so fun. We hit Target (woohoo!), Hobby Lobby, and the mall. And were blessed with a surprise- Todd, Heather, and the kids walking our way while in the food court enjoying Chick-fil-A. So, we got to eat and visit a bit. I was so glad to see them!

    In the play area...Bethany wanted out. She ran around in joyful circles, squealing the whole time.

  • Celebrated Taylor Igo's 10th birthday with a little bowling. It was Bekah and Belle's first time bowling for real. Wii doesn't count in Bekah's opinion. They're hooked. They're asking when we can go as a family. It was fun.

Belle and Bekah in their first pair of bowling shoes. 

That was our week...lots of fun things going on, lots of learning going on. It's good stuff. God is faithful! Hope yours was a blessed week too!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Free to Feel...Pain that Turns to Joy

So, this is what I'm learning now: If we are free to feel the depths of pain, and walk through the pain by the power of the Spirit, the measure of that depth of pain will be turned to joy in His presence. 

I think of Philippians 3, where it talks about sharing in the fellowship of His sufferings by becoming like Christ in his death, that we can also experience the resurrection. Notice which comes first. We like to talk about and share the joy of sharing in the resurrection. But if we're not willing to go through the sufferings first, there can not be resurrection. And if we dare to only go through a little suffering, that will be the shallow amount of joy we experience after we go through it too. I want more.
Psalm 16:11 talks about joy in His presence. I want that joy! I want His presence! He has brought me to a place where I now value that and desire that more than most things in this world at most times. Except pain. I run. I don't want it. I'll do whatever to get away from it. Now hear me: I'm not talking about being a martyr, conjuring up your own "pain" or going after it. We don't really even need to do that. There's enough pain to deal with already there without us having to make up our own. What I'm talking about are the things we ignore, take drugs or drink or overeat or ______ to dull, the things we act like aren't that big of a deal, the things that make us mad because it hurts too much to face that it really hurts us so we just get mad instead. Most of these things are everyday types of things- expectations we have that are unmet, unkind words spoken at a hard time, etc. Some of these things are things we've experienced in our past that may be horrific- some type of abuse, the pain of adultery, etc.  Each of us has experienced some type of pain. What do you do with it? Stuff it? Pretend it's not there? Freak out and then go on like it never happened? Constantly bring it up just to let everyone know why you're the way you are?  What have you done with your pain?
Me: I tend to do all of these at different times. But mostly, I freak. I mean, I'm a pretty outward freak out type of personality. If you've known me for any amount of time, I'd say some words you'd use to describe me would be: boisterous, expressive, extreme, etc. I know that God made me VERY out like that. And yet, you may be surprised here, but I don't even express all that I'm feeling inwardly outwardly. Scary, huh? I bet you're glad too.  :)   
So, I've asked God now what. In my outwardness of dealing with pain, I've often found myself hurting others. I want them to feel some pain. They're hurting me, so let me dish out a little, so they know what it feels like. Or, I'm just getting out my pain and in the process hurt someone back unintentionally. This is not quite right. I've gotten tired of being the source others pain. Life hurts too much on it's own. I don't want to be yet another source of hurt for people. How can I learn from the pain I've experienced and learn from those situations so I'm not doing the same things to others? And now, I'm asking, how can I express the intensity of the pains I feel without hurting those around me?
If you've seen my shelfari on the sidebar, I read the book Shopping for Time by Carolyn Mahaney recently. Through it, I went before God and asked him for what to do next with what I read. Basically it's a great tool for making the best use of the time God's given you and helps with a strategic plan to do that. Having four kids, home schooling, and being a business owner, I can use a plan. Of course, the first thing is making time with God number one of the day. If nothing else, just being with Jesus. Duh. I know that. Yet, with a new baby, etc (and they are very gracious to moms to be and new mothers) it's not always easy. But my newest has been sleeping through the night and I knew that meant it's time for me to get in the groove again. I am so not a morning person. So, this is absolutely God's grace for me to get up while it's still dark. However, He's been faithful...sometimes I'm not so much, but He is. All this to say, that since I've had about an hour of complete quietness before the house starts to stir, much has been coming to my mind. I mean, I have had time to be in stillness. And because of that, I can think straight. And because of that, things are surfacing to my mind that I've kinda been able to ignore by keeping busy or rushed through healing to quiet the pain. At first, I was thinking a lot of my past, things I'd done, things done to me. Then I started having dreams. I was like, what Lord?! Why is this stuff coming now, when I'm having times with you? Shouldn't that be keeping this from happening? And you know what, He answered. It just wasn't what I'd imagined. I believe these things are coming up BECAUSE I've had the time to be still and go before Him. He's bringing things to the forefront that need to be really dealt with. Felt. So I can go through them, not around them. Not stuff them quickly as I "claim" His healing. Most often, deep wounds take lots of time to heal. How do I think mine can be healed quickly?
So, here's where it's left me right now. I can stuff it again. I can get busy again. I could overeat or go wild and dull the pain with drugs or drinking and people say I've lost it. Or I could get really busy with churchy stuff and serve others so much that people say I'm so dedicated. Either would be wrong. Both will leave me unhealed. I am sensing the Lord has something way bigger. Maybe painful. But in the end, way worth it. Because I know that He is worth it, I'm willing. I may lash out at times when in the midst of walking through it, something happens or someone does something that feels like salt in the wound, but I'm hoping God will be strong to get me through that and forgiveness had and a bond made with that someone. 
I wish we'd see that when someone else does something hurtful, it's probably because they're going through something themselves. Often times, I'm so self centered, I can't see the possibility that what someone said or did or whatever is probably them going through their own hurt and struggling through it. Probably, if I'd just expressed that hurt to them and listened to them, I'd see that they're experiencing some of their own pain and we'd be able to walk together through our pains instead of causing more to each other. This is my prayer right now for myself and those around me. We're all in this same boat. There is reason for all the hurt. While we cannot use that to excuse sin, we can be understanding with each other and then go to God together. And then we all get to share in each other's pain and eventual healing. That's mourning with those who mourn and rejoicing with those who rejoice. Sharing in it. That brings real unity. 
God, help us! We're such a mess. And we desperately need You. Thank you for your Hope. Thank you for Your grace. Help us to go to you together. To walk through it together. And then, to see You together. Free us to feel the pain that You will turn to Joy, for our good, and Your glory. Amen!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Warning: I am being oh-so-for-real, extremely vulnerable. Read cautiously.  :)

I woke up this morning kinda groggy when my alarm went off to spend time with Jesus, the ultimate Lover of my soul. I had some pretty understandable reasons to sleep in this morning, at least in my mind, being that we'd dealt with sick kids for the last week and I ended up with the stomach bug Wednesday night through the wee hours of Thursday morning. We've been getting lots of rest and taking care of our bodies to kick this...and then we were able to go celebrate Kara's birthday at her party last night. I was taking temperatures before leaving, trying to be extra cautious. I know, I think I have a problem.  :) All this to say that I was tired and not really "feeling the love" to compel me out of bed to spend time with the Lord who died for my sin and showed me the greatest love in all the world. Our flesh is still very here, isn't it?

I laid back in bed for a few more minutes and then the Lord graciously got my butt out of bed after the baby woke up a little earlier than normal to eat, so I was up. I went downstairs and was greeted by a small arrangement of roses with a heart and a note from my husband with scripture written out on it. As I went from coffee pot (God's grace to make me more than the walking dead in the morning) to my little spot I've made my morning meeting place with the Lord, to later on to the computer, my hubby had left little rose arrangements with scripture on it for me. After I'd seen the first two and sat down to journal and be with Jesus, I was struck with a sobering reality. Had God's grace not gotten this ungrateful, spoiled brat out of bed, I would've missed the blessing of love from my husband in the way he intended it to be received. I mean, Gary set those out in those places for me to find and be surprised. Had I not gotten up and gone to those spots, I would've missed the intended act of love from my husband...who is one avenue that God displays HIS love to me. Here's the point: God's grace is more than we can even begin to know. Apart from His grace, we'd totally miss out on it all. Every act of love from others is an outpouring of His love towards us. We don't deserve any bit of it. What we really deserve is hell. That He chooses to show us any kind of favor is a miracle in and of itself. 

After my time this morning, I decided to make heart shaped pancakes with chocolate chips for breakfast. Okay, people. Sometimes it is totally the thought that counts. I don't know what on earth I did, but those things looked like anything but hearts. And yes, I was using a heart shaped form. Am I the only one who can't use one of those things? My mom makes it look so easy! And then I couldn't get the dern syrup bottle open. I'd gotten maple syrup, it was in a glass container and the lid wouldn't budge. I had pieces of the slip grip thingie on my counter from twisting so hard. So we ate retarded heart pancakes without syrup. Happy Valentine's Day, kids. HA. And my sweet Bekah was being so kind- they're really good Mommy, even without the syrup. I told her she didn't have to lie and it really was okay. Then she said they'd be really really good with syrup on them.  I gotta make more sometime next week when we get that bottle open.

Anyway, this may be one of the best Valentine's days in my life yet. Gary has to work...when you own a business that's open on Saturdays, sometimes you don't have a choice.  We are spending tonight together as a family, making heart shaped pizzas. (Hopefully this will go WAY better than the pancakes!) We're doing a romantic dinner alone a different night. Valentine's day isn't about the stuff or the big fuss. What it is is just a day the world has created to show love, or in my brother's opinion, a conspiracy to make a ton of money...he may be on to something. As a christian, I'm not going to just act like it doesn't exist, cause it does, so I'm not going to lie. At the same time, we're not going to fall into the materialism trap. Yet, there is a way that it can be God glorifying. Just like any other day. Is the answer for us as believers just to trivialize it? Act like we're SUPPOSED to show love EVERY day, so I'm not making a deal about today. That'd be fine if we really did express love EVERY day, but we don't. It's not even about stuff. If I get mad because I didn't get STUFF today, that'd be wrong too. Here's the reality- it's about a day set aside to express our love to those we love most. When that doesn't happen, it hurts. I get mad. Some of us then call the day stupid and act like it doesn't exist. Not because we really think it's stupid, but because it hurts too much to admit that we don't feel loved by the one(s) that are supposed to love us most. This is what I've experienced in the past, whether on a Valentine's day or birthday or anniversary or whatever. There were times that Gary did get me something, maybe even expensive, but it still hurt me. Because he made it about just making sure I got something. What I really wanted was to feel loved. It may be something that is actually pretty cheap or would seem stupid to someone else, but to me expressed that He knows me and loves me, appreciates me. It's a woman thing to want that. This is the way God created us. It's not bad. It's bad when we react wrong because it doesn't happen. That's what I've done in the past. Instead of running to God in the midst of the hurt and knowing that He alone fulfills, I've gotten mad and hurt Gary as much as I was hurting. Since the garden of Eden, woman has had a desire for her husband. According to Ephesians 5:29, husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, nourishing and cherishing it. That's what we desire as women. To be nourished- our needs, loved by our husbands similarly as our children. To be cherished- our desires, what makes us different from our children. What distorts this is a lot of wrong perspectives- that love is to be made much of, to have a feeling only...that love is all about me. That love means you're going to...insert whatever wrong thinking you've dealt with.

Here's why this is the best Valentine's day ever for me this year:  God's grace has finally brought me- maybe just for today, so when I struggle with it again, remind me- that each and every act that expresses love towards me that really does touch my heart because it's done out of love and not duty, happily and not grudgingly, knowing me and not just anything to say it got done- this too is an outpouring of love from God. What I should TREASURE isn't the feeling of being loved or even the person expressing it to me. These are simply arrows pointing us to the one who is to be fully treasured, God Himself, who IS LOVE.

So if you feel loved by those around you today- thank them, show appreciation to them, but don't treasure them, treasure God. And if you don't feel loved by anyone around you today- hurt, don't hurt them,  and treasure God. And in all things, let's give thanks for His gifts!  Happy Valentine's Day! 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Celebrating New Life!...and Health after sickness!

We are SO excited for our friends, Jon and Robin, who have just adopted their newest baby girl, Rachel Joy, who was born on February 5th around 12:30ish am. There is much to their story of coming to this adoption that testifies of God's incredible grace. We are glad to have a tiny part of that in prayer, walking with them through it. 

After a lot of ups and downs and having to rest in the Lord as they got word this baby would be theirs, to not, to theirs, etc, last night they met their baby girl and were able to hold her and take her "home"- to a nearby hotel, until the papers they need to come home are in their possession. 
After talking with Robin today, I can NOT wait to see this little baby girl. She said she kind of looks like a Hirsch baby, but with darker skin. She has lots of dark hair (not just on her head)  :)  and slanted eyes. They took her to the doctor today and she is perfectly healthy.  To think of all the joy in anticipation and waiting and holding loosely their desires, this baby girl now has a home with a loving dad, mom, and two big sisters.
Rejoice with us in the beauty of God's grace to us revealed through adoption. What a small taste of our getting to be in the family of God! Thankfully, God never had to wait and go back in forth in limbo if we were His or not. :)  I so hope that one day we can experience this within our own family. For now, we will rejoice greatly with those who get to right now!
We are also rejoicing...though cautiously...over healing of yucky sickness within our family. Poor baby Brie was a tad sick with belly aches- I thought it was something I'd eaten, but then a couple days later, little Bethany was sick with the flu, and then Belle til yesterday. So far, no one else has come down sick with the bug, and we're hoping to be spared. For now, we're steering clear of sugar and faithfully taking our immune stimulator and getting lots of rest. We have a party to go to Friday to celebrate Kara Igo's 1st birthday! It would be very sad to not be well enough to go. So, we're nursing everyone to get over this. We've experienced lots of love from the Lord expressed through family and friends during this craziness- help from my parents, food from friends. It's helped lighten the load and keep me semi sane. Let me tell you, at one point, as the baby was screaming to eat, Bethany was crying just because she felt so bad, and Belle was crying, having had just thrown up across the kitchen floor, I  thought- OH BOY! Lord, near!   I am MOST DEFINITELY in need of your strength today. And He was faithful. We all made it. And He's bringing us through today too. 
So...that's the latest within our home. Hope you are getting to experience God at work around and within you too! He is so good to open our eyes to be aware of His presence, in the midst of great joys like adoption, and not-so-great things like sickness. Even if you're not, know that there is hope, because HE CAN and HE DOES. He is good!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ice Ice Baby: Part I

If you hadn't heard, we had a big 'ole ice storm here in the Ozarks, and it was pretty nasty. That would be why we've been "offline" and no blog updates for a while. A tree took out our phone line on Tuesday and it just got fixed Saturday afternoon. Thankfully, most people have weathered it fairly well and God spared us from losing electricity for any extended periods of time. We are beyond grateful to live where we are right now and not back in our Thayer home, as most of Thayer is without electricity, which means no water either because we have a well. 

This week, because of the ice storm, we have been feeling the pressures. We had someone wanting to come look at our Thayer house this week, interested in buying it. I laughed, like, come on, Lord! Really?! The week you send a huge ice storm?! Knowing who controls the weather helps us rest in His sovereignty and not freak out. Gary ventured out to Thayer on Thursday to check on the house, business, and family members, and said it looked like a bomb went off, a mess everywhere. Gary's dad who lives only a couple miles from our house rode his tractor with front end loader on it and cleared a path of limbs and debris, taking over 2 hours to get to our house! It's a big mess. We have TONS of trees in that yard...well, now we have TONS of limbs down. It'll be okay, though.
Also, our main store, Kosh Wholesale, has been out of power since Tuesday, which means the store's been closed since then. Hard thing for a small business owner to be closed so much, especially in these times. BUT, God's been faithful to remind us that He is wise. The Bible curriculum we're using for home school talked about God is Wise: He works all things out perfectly. The text was about Joseph. We've been reviewing the curriculum as part of our family worship time each evening, and it was such a good reminder for us in the midst of this time, a time when little money is coming in and many bills are due. One way God is providing is through our insurance which is going to help out on loss. It is good to know that God is still in the midst of these things and we get to allow our children to see how God is providing for us. 
Another cool thing: our home fellowship couldn't meet at the home we usually meet in because of the ice storm- too hard to get there. Instead, this morning, we broke up and met in 3 different homes. We hosed one of them here and had a big breakfast together, then had worship time and then worked on cleaning up yards and such. Well, the worship time was sweet in intimacy and sharing. One of the things shared was James 1, about suffering- consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds...this was a passage that Gary had mentioned to me and we discussed just last night as he's doing a study on James with a friend. Anyway, it was really neat. And all the sharing and adding to and encouraging was so sweet. And the house here is all cleaned up, trees all taken care of- only need to haul off the piles of debris now. It was such a blessing to have the church body together helping. Here are a few pics of the ice storm and the clean up in progress. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

God is near

So, I have been really busy...I know, not really anything new with that. We have taken the month of January to re-evaluate and look at some things, and work on setting up some better "systems", organizational type stuff that may take the month of January to get going, but will make our life smoother for the rest of the year. This had led to a little less blogging, but necessary. Having four children, two businesses, and being involved in others lives takes real purposefulness in order for all of them to be done well.

God has been really near in this past week. I don't know about you, but there seems to be seasons of life when His presence seems more near- that I'm more aware of Him being actually involved in my life than at other times. Probably because I'm taking time to slow down and be aware. Anyway, I wanted to share a few ways we have known His presence very clearly this past week specifically.
Well, one of those happened this past weekend. We'd gotten into an argument over something little- laundry- that was really about something bigger-communication, or the lack of good communication. It manifested itself through the laundry, specifically a load containing the baby's car seat cover which she'd exploded in the night before. (There's a reason I mention this so specifically.) Well, anyway- so we were getting ready to go to fellowship in the morning and it'd carried into Sunday's time of getting ready. We'd gotten into this disagreement so strongly, that Gary said forget it, I'm not going. He didn't want to be around people and try to act fine when everything wasn't, and needed time away to meet with God. He'd been around people lots, especially with him gone last week to Dallas for Market. Anyway, so I was like, well, I REALLY need to be around people. I've been home all week with the kids, some of it by myself, and I'm so tired, I need help to meet with God. I was just so tired that I felt like I couldn't even go to God on my own. He was gracious to understand and said, then you go and I'll stay home with the kids. Then we got into it a bit more, and it got late, so I told Bekah to tell her daddy I was going to FBC instead. As I drove away, I was convicted that I just told my husband where I was going through my daughter, when the last we'd talked he'd told me to go to our church fellowship. So, I decided it'd be best to just go where he'd told me. Then I started freaking out inside, thinking about how I explain that I'm there and he's not and how much to say that would explain we're in need, but without disrespecting my husband. Just cause they can act a little bit jerky sometimes doesn't mean their a complete jerk, ya know? It's more like sin at the time. It doesn't define us, it's just that we're living a lie for the moment, not living as free in Christ. Anyway, so I quickly called my mom, tried to get ahold of my parents various ways til finally my dad answered his cell phone. I asked him to pray for us and he talked me through some things, giving some really good wisdom for the situation through a man's perspective. In the meantime, I'd pulled over to talk with him and when we were done it was already 10:55- 25 minutes past our starting time, and I still had at least 15 minutes to get there. So I called Gary and asked him if it'd be alright to just go to FBC, where my family attends and we used to go. He said sure. So, I walk in to this: the chairs in a u shape, with partitions around the back except for a huge cross and Scripture posted on either side. So, you have to walk through the cross in order to enter, reading Scripture. Very cool...prep for worship. We sing a song that I often sing all by myself on the top of my lungs to Jesus, Sing to the King (or whatever the name of it is) and I know God's telling me he really is near and really is very in control. Then we sing a song I'd never heard before, Hosanna, with words that talk about God's grace being enough for us to make it through just today (I REALLY needed to hear that, cause I was just trying to get strength enough for the day!) and about God's presence being near casting out all fear. And I was reminded of the scripture in 1 Peter 3 that talks about being Sarah's daughters if we obey doing good and do not fear anything that's frightening. I realized then that all my responses toward Gary were based on fear, not in trusting God. Out of my fears, I was getting mad and responding in sin. So then we hear a sermon on 1 John, talking about if we walk in the light, we have fellowship with God and each other. So, if there's broken fellowship, there very well be sin...and that if I say I'm without sin, I'm a liar. So, I realize then that Gary's not the only one at fault in our specific situation we'd been arguing over. Here's what is hysterical. As I'm sitting there, the baby blows out her diaper. The car seat cover is again a mess. And I just started cracking up. It was like God saying...okay Lynette, I'm giving you opportunity to do this over again, this time do it the right way. I laughed out loud thinking about God sending me back home to deal with the "crap."  :)  I got to share this with some of the people who plan the service, how God used it to show me more of Himself and get me ready to go home and work through it with my hubby. It was then I found out that the music had been changed the last minute. It was so great. I know it definitely wasn't that God did it all for me. Oh my, how self centered that is! However, I do know He spoke very clearly to my heart in order to restore fellowship and then now we're able to share with the rest of the Church and hopefully it's encouraging to others too. When I got home Gary asked me how it was and I got to share it all with him. I asked for forgiveness for specific things and then asked him about his time at home and what he heard. He said to not isolate himself. I asked him how he heard that, cause that seems pretty wild to hear those words specifically. He said- Proverbs 18. (we're reading through Proverbs this month and Sunday was the 18th.) In our ESV translation it says- "Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment."  I was cracking up. He said it made him laugh when he read it. And verse 22 says- "He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord." And he smiled at me. It was so funny...and sweet...and wonderful to restore that fellowship and then get to talk through and deal with the situation. It was so encouraging to us- hope it encourages you to go to God too.
And this morning, as our new President, Barack Obama, leads us for his first full day, I was reminded of these words from Proverbs 21:1- "The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD: he turns it wherever he will." We could not vote for our first African American president. Not because of his race. Dern, that would've been so stinking awesome to get to be a part of that history making. Because of our convictions of life, we couldn't vote for such an outspoken very extreme pro choice candidate. Some things he stands for...or doesn't...get me worried. I think about living in America now and wonder what kind of change he really is going to bring. I was so grateful that God reminded me that God really is in control- STILL. Barack Obama's heart remains in the Lord's hands. There is reason in God's placing him in our leadership. Obama's leadership is still in submission to God's. And so we pray. And trust God. No worries. 
God is gracious to pour out his presence to us, to allow us to see that He is near. Spend time being still enough to hear Him. He is speaking. And it's oh so refreshing!