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Monday, December 31, 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR Y'ALL!!!!!!!!!


I can't wait to see what God is going to do in 2013!!!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

When December Slips Away

Just a couple days left and then we will step into a new year. It's an amazing thing to watch the changing seasons and to see the years go by. Every year brings new changes and new experiences. Sometimes they are wonderful, and other times they are simply dreadful. However, each one helps to shape and form us into the creation that God intended us to be.

December is one of my favorite months of the year. I love celebrating Christ's birth. I had intended to post frequently about our Christmas season, but as I mentioned in past posts, my laptop died and I had a season of learning to be content without my own computer. I realized that it is very easy to become attached to material possessions. :-) Then Christmas came, and did I ever mention that I have the most amazingly generous parents ever? So, now I just have to figure out how to get around Windows 8 properly and I'll be set. :-)
Anyways, here are a couple of highlights.
We were able to attend a Christmas Ball early in December. I've gone to lots of dances and "balls" but never to a formal ball, and when I say formal I mean modest prom dress formal. It was great fun! I got a custom order for a drawing - my first commissioned piece. I'll post a picture sometime. We had a Christmas party with some friends that we've known since I was a baby and we all decorated hats that were themed after our favorite part of Christmas. I love Christmas carols and I had some fabric with a Christmas carol on it, so I made a fascinator with a small lace veil and bow. It looked a little odd with jeans, but hey, I love old fashioned things and I LOVE fascinators. We went Christmas caroling at two different nursing homes, one with our 4-H group and one with families from my brother's Alert Cadet group. We celebrated three birthdays in our family. Mom had a wonderful birthday and we had some of her friends over....she picked one of the tastiest, most complex breakfasts I have ever made and let me tell you, it was tasty!! Rachel turned 13.....ahhhhh, another teenager! No, she's wonderful and I love her. We've become the best of friends over the years, which if you knew us when we were younger you would know is a big deal! Jared turned 9, which as he loves to point out, is only half of my age. I took him to Starbucks as a birthday gift and he said it was even better than he had imagined. He also informed me that he was going to be one of those "coffee guys" when he was older. Yep, little man after my own heart. <3 p="p">Probably the best thing we did all Christmas season was go caroling at the homes of some different people we know that are hurting or lonely this holiday season. One elderly man was confined to his wheelchair and he was so delighted to have us come. He orchestrated our singing the whole time and let out a "Yah -Hoooo" after every song. We had some fun fellowship afterwards, but nothing was as fun as seeing the smiles and the tears of the people we sang to.
Then of course we had Christmas. We played musical chairs to figure out which order we got to open presents in. That was funny. :-) The next day we celebrated with some of the grandparents and then Mom and I went to see Les Miserables. I know there are differing opinions going around concerning this movie, but it was the most amazing movie I have ever seen. (I will readily agree that it is a mature film though.)
And today is my students Christmas recital. Somehow I think that January is going to feel like I'm sitting on a cloud compared to the craziness of December.

One other piece of new before I go, if anyone is interested in the above picture, I am working on getting copies up on Etsy.  If you would like to purchase one - with a frame - let me know.
God Bless to all!!!
 
P.S. How was your holiday season? Any exciting new or old traditions? Please share. :-)

 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Where the Flowers Bloom

There are moments of time in each person’s life when they must decide who they are and who they are meant to be. There are moments when the mind is made up and knows its course. And there are moments when dreams turn into the ambition which drives us along life’s winding road.


When I was young I had life figured out. I knew who I was and I knew who I was to become. But I had doubts which I would toss to and fro through my mind. I had a full proof plan, but yet it lacked the adventure and the peril which I so hungrily sought. I wanted a life of value and meaning, but was bored by the plan that others laid out so clearly before me. What glory and adventure can be found in following the status quo? How can a person find the value and meaning of their own life when they are told to live the lives of all those around them?

In the last couple of years I have battled many decisions in my head. For some perplexing reason, graduating high school seemed like the end of my present life. It loomed before me like a cliff, waiting for me to jump to certain death or board the only plane around. Now that graduation truly is nearing, I do not see it as a cliff, but rather as a fork in the road where one path is broad and well trodden, and the other rugged and narrow. Many have chosen the path well worn and walked on. I do not wish to argue that they are wrong, or that they have chosen unwisely. Many are called to walk down that path, but for me it seemed too normal, too good, and too predictable. And so I have chosen a path less trod.

I love my home. It is the place that the Lord has placed me. For me it is the entrance to the less traveled path. As I have sought the Lord’s will on where He is sending me, the answer repeatedly has been, here. For a very long time I yearned for exotic lands and foreign countries. I wanted to learn Hebrew, Greek, Russian and Italian. I wanted to save the world. But, He didn’t send me to exotic lands. He taught me to tread on the unknown lands of this life. I did not learn to fluently speak four different languages. But, He taught me the language of love which is more universal than any other language. He has not allowed me to save the world. But, He has used my life to impact others around me. Here in my home with my family, the Lord has placed me. It is not a dull life here. It is a vibrant, jubilant land of laughter and love, whispers and tears, dreams and learning. God has fulfilled more of my dreams here in my home than anywhere else in the world.

Some may look at me and see a wasted life. I do not try to combat them. My mind is made up. My heart is at peace. My vision rests solely on the One who has given me life and breath and has directed me upon this path. I am not some weary damsel that sits wilting away in a hole. On the contrary! I have a future ahead of me full of teaching kindergarten through high school, continuing my current love of teaching music, learning business management while helping to run a family business as well as run my own, polishing my seamstress skills, writing up a storm, learning to pay bills and taxes like every other small business does, and studying an endless list of subjects such as first aid, history, theology, science, art, missions, etc. not to mention learning how to care for children of all ages and run a household. The Lord has filled my life to the max with endless opportunities. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The Lord has given me a ministry far beyond what I ever could have imagined, and the ground zero for the whole thing is in my home with my family.

John Piper once wrote, “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.” Friends, there is nothing on earth as wonderful as being satisfied in Him. Whenever my heart begins to fear the future or feel waves of doubt, I find peace in knowing that the God of the entire universe and of every living thing has ordained, before time began, who I am and who I am to become. My past, my present, and my future are all in His hands. I have nothing to fear. What can man or life do to me outside of God’s will? I think L. M. Montgomery said it best when she said:

“…But if the path set before her feet was to be narrow she knew that flowers of quiet happiness would bloom along it.”

-from “Anne of Green Gables”

The best place on earth to be is where the Lord has placed you. And if that place seems hard and barren, know that it is He that walks beside you and wills the flowers to bloom along your path.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!!!!!!!

Sorry about the lack of posts lately. My laptop has died. :-( Very sad!

Anyways,
I just wanted to say that I have the best Mom ever! And it's her birthday! I cannot tell you how much I have learned from her. So much of who I am is because of her.
I would put up a beautiful picture of her, but I can't get to any of my normal files. :-) But I can tell you that she is beautiful and wonderful. I am often reminded of Christ's love for me when I see how my Mom loves me unconditionally. She is one of the most forgiving and enduring people that I have ever met. I love her so, very much!
So, I'm sorry to all of you who think your Mom is the best, but.......... mine wins! :-)
(But, I'm sure yours is the best one for you.)

I love you Mom!!!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Little People

Do you ever think of how much God uses little people? Mary and Joseph were little people. Outside of Nazareth, not many people knew who they were. They were not famous or "important".
Look at Nazareth.....little town, little people, yet we recognize that town because of two little people who were willing to follow Gods call. In this vast world, with billions of people, it's easy to feel like a little, unimportant person. I'm sure Mary didn't feel like anything spectacular and Joseph, he was just a small town carpenter. They were just simple, little people, but God had a purpose for those little people, and He was able to send His Son to the world because those little people were willing to obey His call. I don't think it is accidental that God placed His Son into the home of two very little people. God sees man's heart. He was not looking for a palace of splendor, but rather hearts of humility and obedience.

So, if you are feeling like a little, unimportant person, take heart. God uses the smallest of people to accomplish His biggest plans.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

O Thou of Little Faith

Do you ever feel like Peter walking on the water?
There have been many times that I have felt like Peter, wanting so badly to prove my trust and devotion, and yet I sink because I take my eyes off Christ. When Peter went to walk on the water to Jesus, it was storming. There were waves big enough to toss their ship around. If Jesus hadn't been there and Peter decided to walk on those waves, I'm assuming he would go down pretty fast. But when Peter had his eyes on Christ, he was above those waves. When his eyes were on Christ the storm could not pull him under. It was only when Peter's faith fell and he saw the wind and the waves, that he fell.
In life, there are different types of wind and waves. There are different storms that hit us, but those that keep their eyes on Christ will be lifted above the waves. Peter did not have the faith and trust in his own strength to keep his eyes on Christ. That's why he went under. But Jesus didn't let him drown. He immediately stretched out His hand and pulled Peter up.

Yes, there are many times that I feel like Peter walking on the water.
There are many times that I have looked away at the storms and been pulled under.
Every time, His hand has reached in and pulled me out.
And then He says to me, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Bit of Christmas Cheer

I love making things  and I especially love Christmas, so I thought that throughout the Christmas season I would share some of the things I've been working on with y'all.
We always decorate the house the day after Thanksgiving, which I usually just let Mom take care of and I find something else to do....for example, read a book.
Then came Pintrest
...and Martha Stewart
...and of course, the ever present example of my Mom.
So, now I'm into the whole "decor" thing and I'm lovin' it!
Once the Christmas music was cranked and decorations were out I just couldn't contain myself.
I had asked my Mom if we could do a gold themed tree this year. One of my grandmas gave us a couple boxes of beautiful, gold, house ornaments. I think they are famous houses or doll houses. Anyways, they're pretty and I like them. My Mom liked the gold tree idea and we had a ton of fun decorating it.

Now, enter my new best Christmas decorating friend.......gold spray paint.
Yup.
You heard me.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
The rest of the family figured it out when the smell floated in from the garage door, to which the response was, "Save the bunny!!! She's gonna kill the rabbit." Yeah, I was too cold to spray paint out in the below freezing weather, (gotta love Wisconsin) and I just did it in the garage without thinking about the fact that the rabbit might not appreciate my creativity.

I spray painted a whole bunch of darling pine-cones gold. Then I used hot glue to attach ribbon. You can hang them from anywhere you want. I tied a loop in mine so we could hang them from the tree. They have such an amazing vintage, outdoor look!



Of course, once I did the pine-cones I was addicted to the spray paint can.....not the smell!!! the color and the novelty!
I just had to find something else to paint. Then, I remembered this pathetic basket that all the green pain was flaking off of. I found it out in our screened in porch, wiped it off and, "Wha la!!" gold basket!
We filled it with gold and purple ornaments and I won't deny that I thought it was the coolest thing!
Isn't that perty?
That woven bow....let me tell you, that was not easy!
And here is a "Behind the Scenes" moment: Somehow, I missed a spider web when I was cleaning up the basket. Don't ask me how I missed it. It must have been my excitement at the prospect of finding another spray paint victim. My sister found the golden web and found is rather disgusting. I thought it looked really neat. Needless to say, it is no longer there.

Ahh yes, and what would a Christmas tree be without bows?
 Just ribbon and floral wire. They really give the tree a vintage look and the fill in holes quite nicely.

There's my bit of Christmas cheer for the day. 
Now I just need to work on making a new tree skirt and a whole bunch of other things that I'll tell you about later.



Thanksgiving

I didn't write on Thanksgiving...sorry 'bout that, but I wanted to share what I'm thankful for this year because it means a lot to me. So, here goes...
1. I am thankful for my Savior. He has saved and redeemed me, freed me and drawn me closer to Him. I know He has made Himself more real to me. I'm learning to trust Him more and it's beautiful.
2. I'm thankful for my family. I love seeing how my siblings and I have grown closer, and how God is using our family in mighty ways...though they don't always feel mighty.
3. I'm thankful for 18 wonderful years of life that God has given me. Each one of them is a blessed gift. (Don't ever be afraid to ask me how old I am. My life, every year, month, and day; they are all huge blessings from the Lord, and are a testimony of His great love and mercy in my life.)
4. I'm thankful for a Dad who protects and cares for me, who wants to teach me about the Lord, and help me learn all of the skills and knowledge that I will need to my future.
5. I am thankful for my Mom who amazes me with how much she can accomplish and get done while teaching school and caring for children. She is an inspiration to me. I have learned so much about life from both her her and Dad. I don't think I understood how difficult homeschooling was until I started helping out by teaching some of the "classes."
6. I am thankful for my brothers and sisters in the persecuted church. I have learned so much from them this year. Their faith and perseverance has inspired and convicted me so much.
7. I am thankful for godly friends that I've known for years and those that I just met this year.

8. I am thankful for life! It is precious. It is fragile. It is short. But for right now, I'm here to enjoy it and serve the Lord in it.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!


...now for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I Dreamed A Dream....

...and it came true!

I went to see Les Miserables in Chicago, with my Grandma Cheryl and Grandpa John. Oh, words cannot express how breathtakingly beautiful it was. The music. The sets. The VOICES!
Anyways, if you have never heard of it, you should really read the book, listen to the audio version, watch the movie, or something. It is one of the most redemptive stories I have ever read, heard and seen.
I don't want to spoil the story for those that may not know it, but it starts with a convict being forgiven and shown great grace by a priest that he had stolen from. This single act of mercy and forgiveness changes the life of this convict completely. He promises to be an honest man from that point on.
After I recovered from the beauty and excitement of the play, I was thinking about the importance of a single act. One act of forgiveness on the part of one man changed the entire course of another man's life. The convict did not deserve mercy from the priest, but that act of mercy taught him to be an honest man.
I wonder how many life changing acts I've missed. I wonder how many times I've impacted a person unaware. Sometimes we never know. We may never see how a life was changed because of a choice we made. God, in His sovereignty, often uses things we don't expect to change people around us. So many times, I have heard that people were impacted by someone else simply because they smiled. Just a simple smile. Maybe it was just carrying someones groceries for them. Maybe it was taking the time to listed to them. Maybe it was forgiving someone who really didn't deserve it.
Whatever it was, it made an impact; perhaps only a small one, but it made an impact nonetheless.

Never doubt what God can do with your life. I know sometimes it's hard and you may feel discouraged at times, but live for Christ. Shine brightly for Him. People see. They notice someone with the love and grace to forgive, listen or help. It changes lives.




P.S. "I Dreamed A Dream," is the name of one of my favorite songs from the play, hence the title.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pray for Hobby Lobby

http://www.lifenews.com/2012/11/01/obama-admin-tells-court-hobby-lobby-must-obey-hhs-mandate/
Please read the above article. We Christians need to be keeping Hobby Lobby and other Christian run companies in prayer over this whole Obama-care issue! This is going to hurt a lot more companies than just Hobby Lobby.

"I think we should all shop at Hobby Lobby for Christmas" - my Mom. I wholeheartedly agree!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Make sure y'all go out and vote today!!!

One quote for the day...

"If we want better politicians, we need to have better voters."
Russel Stendal

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Sovereignty of God for Toddlars

This last Wednesday I took Nathan(5) and Andrew(2 1/2) on a walk down to the lake a couple blocks from our house. It was rather chilly, but it was the perfect day for playing on the swings and throwing stones into the lake. Because of the drought we had this summer, our lake is really low. There's about 10-15 feet of sand on the shore that is usually completely covered in water.  We decided to walk the sandy shoreline, since usually it's all covered with water. As we were walking I noticed that Andrew kept turning toward the lake and would smile really big. Finally he turned to me and said, "Kaiya, why da lake keep following me?" I looked at the waves and couldn't help but laugh. The wind was blowing in the perfect direction, so as the waves lapped up on the sand it appeared that they were following us. We walked a little further and Nathan asked, "Kaila, how do the waves follow us?" I looked down at him and said, "Because God made the wind blow and He wanted the wind to blow this way today so that the waves would follow us and we would have so much fun looking at them." He smiled so big, grabbed my hand, and said, "That's cool!"
We had lots of fun playing at the park. They actually had a teeter totter, which personally I think I had just as much fun as they did. I haven't played on one of those in years. But, I kept thinking about the whole wave encounter and how the faith of a child works. My little five year old brother doesn't doubt or give it a second thought that God made the waves blow in his direction so that they would follow us. Nathan totally and completely trusts that God is the reason for that wind blowing. Of course there are scientific explanations that I could have told him, but he doesn't need those explanations to understand how it works. He totally trusts that God made those waves roll up on the shore to follow him.
The whole incident really made me look at my own walk and look back on how many times I have doubted God's sovereignty. It's so easy for me to complain and question God. "Why is this happening?" "Why do I feel this way?" "Why didn't this work out?" Why, why, why...... And His answer is, because He has a big picture plan in mind. Because when I feel that pain, I draw closer to Him and have more compassion on others. Because His plan is infinitely greater than I could ever imagine.
I so easily doubt God's loving sovereignty over all things. Nathan and Andrew don't doubt God's sovereignty.....not yet that is. When they hear me say that something is happening because God wanted it to happen, they completely believe it. They don't question me on it. Some people might call it being naive, but I call it child-like faith. Every day my little brothers teach me a little something. Often they teach me about my lack of patience, :-) but on Wednesday, they taught me about having faith in God and in His sovereignty. 
Andrew and Nathan at the Creation Museum.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Redeem the Time

5:00a.m. My alarm clock rings......ugh. I get up, turn the lights on and climb back up into my bed. In a perfect world I would immediately, without hesitation, open up my Bible and begin reading. But I'm still tired this morning and somehow I fall back asleep only to wake up 45 minutes later in frustration that I did it again. See, I'm not a morning person at all. I literally can easily stay up till 2-3 in the morning reading a good book. But I've noticed that my morning devotions are often slacking because of being too tired, so I am trying to go to bed early and get up early. You know, "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. " Well, easier said than done. It takes 28 days to form a habit and I get the impression that I still have a rough couple of weeks to go. When I was finally awake enough to read my Bible, I read Colossians 4, and verse 5 jumped out at me. It says, "Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time." Then it cross references to Ephesians 5:16, "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Now the whole point of getting up early was so that I could "redeem my time" and start forming habits that would give me more time to spend in the Word. This morning God gently reminded me of the importance of doing that in my own life, which starts with rising early. I'm not trying to say that since I get up at 5a.m. you should too. Not at all! That doesn't work for everyone, but I think it is important that we claim the time we are given and figure out the very best way to use that time to glorify the Lord. These moments here on earth are not our own. They are the Lord's. I am held accountable for how I use each and every moment. That is actually a rather frightening thought because, although I may not normally waste large amounts of time, I often waste a minute or two here and there. Those moments are time that I need to be redeeming.

Redeeming your time probably will not be a piece of cake. (Well, it wasn't for me. Y'all probably already have this one down.) But, Christ redeemed His time here on earth and He set the example for us all.

So, go redeem some time, eve if it means...*sniff* that you have to take a break from my blog. :-) (Just come back really soon!)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Need For A New Man

It was a garden; fresh, peaceful, beautiful. Different animals of different patterns and colors were placed around. It was an Eden. Actually, it was a replica of Eden at the Creation Museum and my little 2 1/2 year old brother Andrew LOVED it. He wanted to see all the different animals. Sweetly, he would stop me and say, "Pick me up, peeeeeessss," because he wanted to see everything and touch the dinosaurs. I must admit, I really liked the garden too. I really got a sense of what a peaceful, beautiful place the real one must have been. We passed a waterfall......gorgeous....and then stepped into a hallway.
The walls were painted black, making the journey to the next room a dark trek. We saw the serpent, and Eve giving Adam some of the forbidden fruit and then we stepped into a room with pictures displaying the pain and depravity of sinful man. For me, it was a very saddening moment as I saw the stark contrast between the beautiful paradise of Eden and the world of sin and death. Andrew had tensed up as I held him. He didn't like this room. It was scary. But he was terrified.....and I mean terrified.....when we stepped into the next room which showed a dinosaur, now in a fallen state, that was growling and snapping as he turned his head from his lunch of another beast to Andrew. Little Andrew's fear really helped send the message home to my head a little further. We are a lost people, living in a world gone very far astray. The difference between God's ways and man's ways was quite clear, and it was heartbreaking.
There were several more exhibits and lots more info, but they ended the museum walk with a movie about the last Adam, which is Christ. I didn't actually watch the video there at their theater because I've seen it a few times at home. After seeing Eden and after seeing man's sin, I was greatly reminded of the hope we find in salvation. I am that sinful, broken man (lady...you know what I'm tryin' to say), but when Christ saved me, He made me a new creation. Colossians 3: 9 &10 tell us that "...ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:" When Christ saves us, He gives us the new man which is made in the image and likeness of His own self.
Friends, that is GLORIOUS!!!
But, we have to see the need for a new man. If we look at our lives and see "good" people, then why would we need a new man? We are not "good" people. We are bad; very, very, bad. We were born with hearts full of sin. That is why we need a new man. We need Christ.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Picture of Adoption

She was alone in the world. All had abandoned her. There was no one to love her, no one to care for her, no one to tell her that she was special because she was made in the image of God. Destitute and dying, physically and spiritually, she was left to bear the weight of the world on her own small shoulders.
Then a miracle happened.
Someone stepped into her world and loved her. They wrapped their arms around her. They told her that she was their child and that she was something special because God had made her. They took her from that destitute place and brought her to a home and a family. They gave her a new name and a new life.

But, she could not comprehend this love. She could not erase the memories of the darkness of her past. And though she cried in frustration that she wanted to love, she could not because she did not understand. The dark one was standing like an evil eclipse, blocking her view of the light.

Still they loved her. Still they fought for her. Everyday they sought to win her heart. They loved her unconditionally, even when others would ignore and pay no heed. Until one day something happened.
It did not happen when they had thought it would happen. It took much longer.
She opened her eyes.
She saw the light.
She saw the miracle of her life.
And she saw it because He was there and because They had shown her.


Adoption is a beautiful thing. It is not an easy thing. On the contrary, it is a hard thing. But it is beautiful. It is one of the most wearying battles you can fight, and one of the most painful. But it is beautiful. It is one of the greatest tests of faith and the greatest test of true unconditional love. But it is beautiful. It is a mission field, often without the support and without the outside care. But it is beautiful. It will maximize and show you every flaw in your being. But it is beautiful. It will make you wonder how you can love in the face of rejection.
But it is beautiful.
Why?
Because it is the most accurate picture of our relationship with Christ.
We are the broken and lost child. Jesus fought that wearying fight. It was painful, beyond what we can imagine, to bear the sin of the whole world on His shoulders as He was hung on the cross. He has loved us unconditionally through all of our wanderings and sins. He has loved us always even though we constantly reject Him. Every day He pleads with us to give up our past and see the light of His glory.

That is what adoption has taught me.
Adoption isn't "pie in the sky." It's easy to get a messed up conception. If you want to see a picture of adoption, look at a picture of Christ nailed upon the cross, bruised and bloodied, rejected and abandoned. That is adoption.
But don't forget to look at the empty tomb. Because there is victory. It may not come right away or  whenever you expect it. But there is victory.
 In Christ there is always victory!


Friday, October 26, 2012

Hello there!
Yes, I'm still here. Just got back from a vacation to the Reformation Day Faire, Creation Museum, and U.S. Air Force Museum. It was an amazing trip and I have lots to write about, so you can look forward to some posts coming soon. :-)
God Bless!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Vote

One of the joys of growing older and becoming an "adult" is getting to vote. (A privilege that I take quite seriously.) I've been hearing lots of things about this election, mainly because people are disappointed with both the Republican and Democrat parties. Many Christians I know are not happy with Mitt Romney, but are still planning on voting for him because he's "better than Obama." I've heard several complaints and lots of articles, thus, I have been inspired to write a post about my thoughts on this election.

The first thing I want people to understand is that I am not trying to persuade you that I am right and you are wrong. I can't stand how some people will vote for someone simply because somebody else said that they should. I think it is the duty of every citizen to research their options and vote for the person that they believe should be in office. It is not my duty to inform you of the best candidate. That is your duty. What I want to write about is some ideas and principles that I have about voting. I am not going to tell you who I am voting for, although you will probably be able to figure it out if you do your research. So, here it goes.

For as long as I can remember, my parents have taught us children the importance of voting. Every election they would take us with them to the ballot box and show us who they were voting for. As I got older, I started listening in as they would research different candidates and decide on who they would vote for. For a long time I was very excited to be able to vote....that is, until this year. 

You see, I am a firm believer that voting is not only my duty to my country, but it is my duty before God to vote for officials that have godly morals and uphold the foundations that our Country was based on. That is becoming  very hard to find - though not impossible. I am not a Republican. I am not a Democrat. I am not an Independent. I am an American citizen. I am also part of the next generation of voters in America. I don't know about you, but I am very concerned for my Country. We are headed in a very wrong direction economically, but even more important, morally. If I do not vote for men who uphold what our founding fathers laid down for us, then we will lose it. No doubt about it. 

I said I wouldn't tell you who I am voting for, but I will tell you that I am not voting for Barack Obama, or Mitt Romney. 

That is a stunning blow to some people. MANY people strongly disagree with me, but here's my point. I am tired of politics being the way they are. We have traveled so far off the path of our Founding Fathers that the future is truly looking quite bleak. I care about my children and grandchildren, and I know that if we don't start stepping outside of the box and taking a stand for what is right, we will never be able to get back on track. I may only have one, single vote. But, it's my vote, and I will not give it to someone who does not uphold the Constitution, the family, and the life of EVERY human, born or unborn. 

Several people have told me that if I am not voting for Romney then I am helping Obama. I see their point, but here's the thing. God is an all sovereign God. He has already ordained from the beginning of the world who will win this election. When this life is over and done, and I stand before God, He is not going to hold me accountable for who was elected, but rather who I cast my vote for. My Mom has a new maxim which is, "She did what she could do." I can't make someone become the President. I just can't, simple as that. But, I can vote for godly men who stand for the truth. I will be held accountable for who I vote for. 

I know that the man I am voting for will not win, apart from a miracle from God. But here's the thing; men like him will never win unless we begin to take a stand and quit voting for people just because they have a better chance of beating so-and-so. Politics will never change unless we change them. If no one ever votes for a godly man because he has no chance of winning, then guess what? He will NEVER have a chance of winning. I want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to be able to vote for godly men who WILL have a chance at winning. And that will only happen if we start standing for what is right.

The Pilgrims weren't afraid to stand for what was right. They left everything they had ever known and came to a new a desolate world in order to find freedom. Our Founding Fathers risked their lives to make this land free. It was the Providence of God that allowed us to beat the British in the Revolutionary War. We shouldn't have won, but the men who fought were men of principle that were fighting for something bigger than the here and now. They were fighting for their children, grandchildren, and all the future generations that would follow them. That's what I want to do. I want to fight with the future in mind....the long distance future.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Verse

Genesis 15:1
"After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying,
Fear not, Abram:
I am thy shield,
and thy exceeding great reward."

He is our shield.
 He is our reward.
 He is the one we must put our trust in.
Rulers and Kings will fail us, but He will be God forevermore.







Election post soon to come. :-)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Happy Birthday Nathan


Happy Birthday to one of the sweetest little boys ever!!!
(This picture is from last year when he still had the curls.)

I love this little fella so much. 
I am so thankful to God that He has given me Nathan as a little brother. This little guy has taught me so much about love. He is always very forgiving and loving.

Happy 5th Birthday Little Man!!!

What would I do without you?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Rose

I have lots of plans, goals, and ambitions.
One of the biggest downfalls in my life is that I don't like to give them up.
On Sunday, our pastor read a very profound quote.
"It's more fun to search for the truth, than it is to accept the truth"
I don't know who said it. It was a quote that he read in a book.
That quote represents a huge part of my life. I search for the truth, I really do. I want to know God's will for my life. I want to know His plans. My aim is to follow where He leads me.
The problem is, usually the answer is sitting right here in my lap, but I don't like it. I would rather keep searching in the hope that there will be another answer, because I'm not content with the one He has given me.

I've always wanted to write a book - I still do. I've always wanted to be the kind of person that would be able to get up on stage and talk to hundreds of people about God. I want to be the kind of person that impacts hundreds of thousands of people for Christ. 
I don't think any of those ambitions are necessarily wrong. What's wrong is my desperate, prideful attitude that says I'm not glorifying God unless I do all those things. I was listening to a Paul Washer sermon last night and he painted one of the most beautiful pictures of the Christian faith that I have ever heard.

He asked if God took the most beautiful, perfect rose that He had ever created, and He placed it in the middle of a dense forest where no man would ever walk by, would it be a waste of that rose?
He said that some would answer yes, it would be a waste because it would never bring glory to God from where it was because no one would ever see it.
His reply was, "You fool."
God, the Creator who placed that rose there would see it every day. And every day that rose would bring glory to His name. 


Even if God is the only one who sees me and my broken attempts to bring glory to His name, it is enough. He sees and that's all that matters. I don't have to write that book to bring glory to His name. If He wants me to write it, He'll make a way, but if He doesn't, that's okay. I don't have to speak to hundreds of people about the gospel to bring glory to His name. Right now, I am being called to bring glory to His name right here, even if no one ever sees but Him.

You Raise Me Up

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Oh blogger, it seems so long since I have seen your layout and typed on these keys. Has it really been but a week?

Yeah.
We were camping for a few days, then we came home for a day of piano lessons, then headed back out to  Christian camp for a work weekend, and now I'm home and I've just made some puppy chow because tomorrow is dessert Sunday at church and there was no other dessert that I could think of to make.
Being away from home for a week reminds me of how much I do love our home. Sometimes I get restless and take this home for granted. But it is home, and as Dorthy said, "There's no place like home."
I'll try to get back to posting in the mornings again. Forgive me if it takes a day or two to get back into the swing of things.
Here are a couple beautiful pictures that my Mom took while we were camping.

A fall view from our campsite.


Wood pile. I love wood piles, don't ask me why, but there is just something rustically wonderful about them.


My Dad faithfully reading us devotions as he always does. <3 p="p">

There are more, but these are my three favorites.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Praise the Lord

The sun is coming up. 
It's a beautiful day. 
Don't forget to praise the Lord. 

David knew how to praise the Lord. 
He praised the Lord in the evening in the morning and through out the day. 
That's what we need to do. 
If I spent the whole day praising the Lord, well.....that doesn't leave much room for sin.

Praise the Lord!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Eva

"Eva Abdullah, 17, welcomed Christ into her life three years ago, though she grew up Muslim. After her conversion, her parents disowned her. A group of radicals in her hometown of Bagamoyo on Tanzania’s coast sought to convince her to give up her new Christian faith. When she refused, they falsely accused her of urinating on a Quran, Islam’s holy book. Eva was arrested and put in prison and many Christian leaders were too afraid to get involved in her case because of Muslim dominance in the district. At her trial on July 23, the judge, who was allegedly bribed by the Islamic militants who accused her, sentenced Eva to two years imprisonment." -taken from prisoneralert.com


Although God has shown me that my mission field is here, I still believe that God is calling each and everyone of us to pray for our brothers and sisters over seas. This young lady is facing imprisonment for her faith in Christ. Her story leads me to ask myself, "If I were in her shoes, would I be as bold as she was?"
Please keep her in your prayers!
If you would like to read more and find out ways that you can encourage her, click here.

These brothers and sisters need our help. We need to keep them in our prayers.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

His Strength

There are days when I feel tired. Not just physically tired, but mentally and emotionally tired. This morning was one of those mornings. I would rather have slept than spend my time in the Word. Shameful though it may be to admit, it's the truth. Sometimes we go through what I call a "spiritual high." That's when I'm on top of the world. There are no worries or cares, Christ is my all-in-all and that is all that matters. And then the emotional part fades away, and I learn that my faith still has a great deal of strengthening to do. So many people become discouraged when they go through a spiritual high that begins to wear off. The problem is, so often, we rely on our emotional state rather than relying on Almighty God. How I feel does not change who God is or what He is doing. When I am tired, I learn to live in His strength. When I am weary, I learn that He is enough. When I am frustrated, I remember that His ways are far better than my ways. Then I learn how to have faith. Because it is not when I am living in my own strength that I learn how to trust Him more. It's when I'm tired that He teaches me the most about His wonderful self.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Passage For The Day

Deuteronomy 10:20-21

"Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; 
him shalt thou serve,
and to him shalt thou cleave,
and swear by his name.
He is thy praise,
and he is thy God,
that hath done for these these great and terrible things,
which thine eyes have seen."

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

All In My Head

"What is the point of this? I'm tired of trying to be content with all of this."
"The point is that God has called you to do this. "
"But, I don't get it. I feel like I'm not accomplishing anything at all!"
"You are. You are accomplishing exactly what God has called you to do at this moment."
"What if I don't like what God's calling me to do at this moment."
"Then you aren't living a life fully devoted to God. You're still holding back what belongs to Him. You're still trying to control your life."

Sometimes I feel like I have two people living in my head, like the cartoons with the angel and devil on either shoulder. I have the one person who loves God with all her heart, has a passion for serving Him, and wants to fully devote her life to Him. Then I have this little annoying person that is always trying to discourage me and get me to believe that this life, this beautiful life God has given me, is really not what I was meant to do.  (I know that sounds bipolar, but it really isn't. You must believe me.*grin*)

A friend and I were discussing the uncomfortable conversations that come about when people find out that we aren't going off to college after graduation. It's difficult to stand and watch a persons good opinion of you drop several hundred feet. But for me, the one person I battle the most is myself. The culture all around me is screaming at me to follow them. I'm supposed to ditch this keeper-at-home thing and go off to the world, get a degree, find an amazing job, land an apartment, and live life selfishly seeking all the things that this world calls success. I see it, I hear it, and I know that this is what people expect. The silly thing is for some odd reason I don't even need anyone to tell me that, because I tell myself that every day. And everyday God asks me the same questions. "Am I enough to satisfy your heart? Do you trust My perfect plan for you?" Then, somehow, everything becomes clear again and I know the truth.

The truth is, being a stay at home daughter, serving her family, helping her father, and contentedly following the path that her Savior has chosen for her, is way more successful than what the world calls success. Why is it that we trick ourselves into thinking that the hand that rocks the cradle is somehow less than the hand that attaches a PhD to her signature?  It's not. Doing what God has called us to do, and doing it joyfully is success. Nowhere in Scripture am I called to go to college and get a degree. However, I am told to love the Lord with all my heart soul and mind (Matthew 22:37). Sometimes, loving God that much means being willing to step outside of the box, and I mean really step out of the box. Here's a quote my friend sent me that I think is so incredibly powerful!

 "The heroes of the Bible did not emerge from a cookie cutter factory. They were all unique and distinctively different. The world is full of mimics. Fearing the opinions of others, we fall into the rut of conformity. We need mavericks.  When I read the Scriptures, I see pages full of mavericks. They would not let the culture or the times define them. They refused to fit into a religious box, even if it was an acceptable box for most folks. What made them mavericks? Faith. They weren't afraid to leave a country, walk on water, confront false prophets, rebuke kings, or pray for miracles." Michael Catt

College isn't inherently wrong. But, the idea that you have to do it just because that's what everyone else does, is wrong. We have to do what God has called us to do. Sometimes God calls people to go to college and sometimes He doesn't. I believe God has called me to serve in my home, under the protection of my parents until He brings the husband that He has planned for me. I am NOT sitting on the couch eating bonbons! In fact, there are so many ways to serve, things that need to be done, and people that need my help, that it would be absolutely ridiculous for me to leave it all behind to go off to college! This is where God has called me to be. And I am not sorry if this upsets people. I am getting a huge college education here at home. Trust me, if you love to read and you are the daughter of a book seller....there you go; college education. That's only one teeny aspect of my life. God has filled my life with so many opportunities to learn and develop new skills that I honestly think I would find any other life boring. My mission field is here. All these doubts and all these fears; they're just in my head.  God did not give me a spirit of fear. (2Timothy 1:7) I'm tired of being afraid. God's doing something big in the heart of families across America. God's doing something big in the hearts of daughters! We're getting a vision. But we have got to stop fearing man and start fearing God. We need to ignore these doubts and lies in our heads.

Psalm 18:2-3
 "The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies."

I'm Scared of Mistakes

"Do not fear." I read it over and over. Each verse a different example of a moment where someone was told not to fear. Every verse a message to me for the same. "Kaila, do not fear." I'm not a fearful person....most of the time. But, as I read a bit from Grace Mally's book, "Will Our Generation Speak," (about our generation being bold for Christ and witnessing) a wee bit of fear creeps up. I read about how our inadequacies should not stop us from sharing the gospel, and how when we make mistakes that helps us learn. I don't like being inadequate, and I don't particularly enjoy making mistakes, especially when I am witnessing. Suddenly, I feel afraid.....which doesn't make much sense being that I was lounging in bed reading it. Nonetheless, reading about inadequacies and mistakes brought more fear than the thought of witnessing to someone. But God tells me "Do not fear," the moment I pick up the Bible. And as I read His word, I am reminded of how He used people's inadequacies and mistakes to bring about His glory, over and over and over again. Believe me, I'm all for the "always be ready to give an answer," verse in the Bible, but you don't always know what a situation may present. You could be the best theologian around and someone with the right question could stump you. But, we can't afford to let fear of mistakes stop us. (I just keep telling myself that.)
Really, if I get down to the root of the problem, the only reason I'm afraid of making a mistake is because of pride. And that my friend, is a very humbling thought.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy


Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and power.

I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms.
Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.

View Him prostrate in the garden;
On the ground your Maker lies.
On the bloody tree behold Him;
Sinner, will this not suffice?

Lo! th’incarnate God ascended,
Pleads the merit of His blood:
Venture on Him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Not of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pray for Them

Do you ever walk into a store, look around you at all the people, and wonder about them and their lives? I have a habit (not sure if it's good or bad) of wondering about different people. I wait in a Starbucks line and see all the different people in line and around the room. There's a group of girls laughing and giggling, an old man by himself, a few different men and women rigorously typing on laptops, and I wonder who they are. I wonder if they know the Lord, if they are struggling right now, or if they are celebrating.  It really is none of my business what their lives are like, but somehow this wondering helps remind me to pray for them.

I wait in the check-out line at Walmart. The lady keeps swiping different cards; none go through. She had to take her groceries to the customer service desk. My heart goes out to her. I pray that God will provide for her. I don't know her situation, or why none of the cards worked, but I know it's frustrating and I pray.
The cashier mentions something about getting back from maternity leave and the man in front of me says, "Did ya have twins or triplets?" She replies that she only had one to which he replies with sarcastic shock, "What! Only one. You should have had twins or triplets." She looks away. He leaves and her face is downcast. She looks sad and discouraged. I pray for her and her baby. I pray for the man that needs to learn a little tact. There's not much I can do to help her. So I pray and make sure I congratulate her about her baby. She smiles.

Everyone has struggles. Even the toughest cookie you meet has struggles and moments of discouragement, regardless of whether they hide it or not. It's not my job to pry and make their business mine, but I can pray for them. It's not that I have some amazing, compassionate heart. No, it wouldn't be hard for me to just ignore them like I used to, but God has changed my heart. Rather than dwelling on my own circumstances, He has helped me to think about others and pray for them. I will probably never know if that lady was eventually able to pay for her groceries. I will probably never know how the cashier and her baby are doing. But I can pray for them. I can pray that God would lead them and that they would come to know Him if they don't already. God doesn't always place witnessing opportunities in your lap. Sometimes you only have 30 seconds to tell someone something before they're gone. But that doesn't mean we can't pray for them. They need our prayers and love. We need to get over ourselves and start thinking about others. Sometimes it's hard. I know, I've been there. Let me tell you though, it is far more fulfilling to spend that time praying for others than thinking only about yourself.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Living Every Moment in Light of Eternity

I hear a lot of stuff about "moments" these days. It seems that thanks to Ann Voskamp's book "1000 Gifts," more and more Christians are starting to catch the vision of living every blessed moment we are given full of gratitude. Then there are those who are also living in the moment, but in a pleasure seeking, whatever-feels-good-now sort of way. Each feel they are living in the moment and living life to the fullest. But it just can't be the same. There has to be a difference between the mother thanking God for the gift of the sweet grubby face of her little boy, and a homosexual who lives in the moment, satisfying his messed up desires whenever he wants. They both claim they are living in the moment, focusing on the here and now, and living life to the fullest. But it can't truly be the same thing, can it?
I think not.
I think what we need to keep in mind as we focus on living in the moment, is that while this moment is beautiful and a gift, it will affect our future. What we do now will shape us into who we will become. We need to live in the moment, but live the moment in light of eternity. What will this moment in our lives look like at the judgement seat of God? Will it be a moment where we can know we were basking in our Father's love and praising Him for all His gifts? Or will it be a moment that causes God's heart to grieve over our sin? If every sin will be brought forth, what will that small complaint look like?

It is so very important to live a life of love and gratitude towards our Savior. Every breath that we take, and every moment that we are given to live is a gift from Him. We need to live in the moment, but live it with a view of heaven in mind. The world's version of living in the moment is so badly corrupted. They don't realize that giving into every pleasure and doing what makes them happy now, will only lead them to a empty, fruitless life of a hunger and longing that can never be satisfied. They will destroy their own selves in an attempt to live in the moment, because without Christ there is nothing to live for in any moment. It is only in Christ, that we find a purpose and calling that will fill our heart's deepest yearnings.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Please Read and Pray

http://www.charter.net/news/read.php?rip_id=%3CDA1DNBT82%40news.ap.org%3E&ps=931

Let's keep this school in prayer. These kind of "small" issues in small towns tend to grow and become huge nation wide issues.

It Starts At Home

Witnessing is not my forte. I always feel rather awkward about it and unsure of where to begin. I've been thinking about it a lot lately though, and I know that God is calling me to be bold in my faith, I just need Him to help me overcome my own fear. I have begun praying more that God would open opportunities up for me to witness to others. I know you have to start somewhere, but my question was "Where?"
Although I wasn't expecting it at all, God's answer for me was "Here". In one 24 hour time period God gave me two different opportunities to witness in my home, to my brothers and sisters. That may sound strange because we live in a Christian home where we are taught about God everyday. But that doesn't mean that all my siblings are saved. That doesn't guarantee assurance of salvation. God very quickly showed me that if I want to witness to others, then I need to start here at home. One of my sisters and I spent an hour crying together and praying (the Swiss chard only got a little burnt...). I knew she was struggling, but I never cared to see how deep the roots of those struggles were. We are called to go out and make disciples. We need to be witnessing and sharing out faith with others, but we can't afford to ignore the ones in our own homes that need salvation. Really, if you think about it, we should so desire for our siblings to go to Heaven and to know the Lord, that their salvation should be a HUGE burden on our hearts. But so often we don't even bother asking because after all, they heard the same sermon we did, they read the same Bible chapter, and they memorized the same verse.
God loves using us for His glory. Maybe, God wants to use you to reach out to your siblings. Witnessing starts at home friends. If we can't witness to the people in our home, how can we ever witness to the ones out side?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Liberty

Just a note - I was told to make sure that those looking for the post I wrote about Joy scroll down, it's the one I wrote yesterday. Supposedly there was a Facebook link error. ;-)

Now for today...
Galatians 5:13 "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another."
So, how many presidential candidates do you suppose use this verse as their campaign slogan? I haven't seen any and its a huge shame. What if all of our politicians had a goal to use liberty to serve one another and the people rather than use their office to fulfill their own ambitions? What if we used that liberty to serve one another? I don't want to get started talking about the election or Democrats and Republicans, but I do think that before we cast a vote we should be thinking about how each candidate is using the liberty that God has given our country. Are they using it as George Washington did, to serve others? Or are their using it for their own flesh? It really is something we need to think about and consider.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Please Pray for Joy

Photo Credits Samantha McIntyre

This beautiful little girls is one of my dearest friends. She has taught me so much through her life and I am so blessed to know her personally. Right now she is heading into open heart surgery, and I would like to ask for prayers for her and her family.

There is something very special about Joy that's hard to put your finger on. I've always loved being with her as she comes up to me and says, "Hi Kaila, can I sit next to you? You're my friend." Then she smiles really big as she sits by me. Her name is so perfect because Joy is so full of joy that it just shines from her smile. And it's her smile that makes her so special.

I was working on a drawing of her. I kept switching the picture that I was using as a guide because I just couldn't get it right. Something just wasn't working and it was frustrating me. When I draw faces I always start with the eyes. I like to give them a little sparkle and make sure they're both looking at me. Then I work on the nose, which is usually very hard for me to get just right. Once the eyes and nose are drawn the rest always feel much easier. But for some odd reason, I was able to draw her eyes and her nose, but I could not draw her smile. I have tried over and over again and I simply cannot get it to shine as brightly as hers naturally does. You see, Joy's smile doesn't seem to be a fake, "someone's taking a picture" smile. It's a real, radiant smile. It's so far from fake that I'm struggling to capture it with a pencil. As I worked I thought of what a testimony the little girl is. For me, Joy's smile is what makes her stand out. Not her down syndrome, not the way she talks; it's her smile. A smile that I just cannot draw, but that draws me closer to God. 

I'll still be working on that smile today, maybe longer depending on how long it takes, but I've realized that I will never be able to draw her smile as beautifully as God did. Only God can draw a smile as big as that on someone's face. Mine is only a cheap imitation that just doesn't compare. God can give you that smile too. If He can fill Joy's face and heart with that much joy, He can fill you up too. You just have to be willing to let Him.

So again, I'm asking for my friends to please pray for Joy today. Please also keep her family in prayer. 
I pray you are inspired by Joy like I am. 
God Bless!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Trusting in Him

I've been doing a word study lately on the word trust. I really enjoy doing word studies to see what Scripture says about a particular topic. I always learn a lot from it. The word trust is one of those beautiful words that I knew I would find lots of verses on, but just didn't realize how many.

(Gracious!!! I hear gun shots coming from the lake.....has goose hunting started already?)

Anyways, one thing that has really stood out to me so far is that nowhere in Scripture thus far, have I found a verse telling us to trust in anything other than God. He is the only one we are ever told to place our trust in and  we are told of the blessings that come from trusting Him.
One of my Grandma's favorite passages of Scripture is Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."  This verse really sums up what many of the verses on trust say. God is the Author and Creator of the world. With a flick of His hand He could wipe out an army. It almost seems silly when you think of it, to trust anyone or anything besides Him. Sometimes it's hard to take in, but the fact of the matter is, even our godly Christian friends will let us down at some point. The people we love the dearest will frustrate us. The ones we trust the most will break our hearts. That's life because of our sinful state. But God is bigger than all our unrighteousness. He conquered sin and the grave. He will not let us down. In Him our trust is secure.
Learning to trust wholly on Him has been a journey. I really think it's a life long journey of learning to let earthly things go and learning to cling completely to Christ.
But it is truly beautiful to know that the One you have put your trust in will never, ever let you go.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

All Things DO Work Together

My, my, yesterday was the first day in a couple weeks that I missed posting. Sorry 'bout that y'all. We were in the lovely land of Madison for the day and since we had to leave around 5am, I just couldn't do it. I'm back this morning, though I won't deny that I'm a little more sore and achy, and I am so excited to share what God has laid on my heart this morning.

Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose."
 It's a verse that I tend to read in one of two ways. 1. Read it while basking in the awesomeness of who God is and His perfect plan, or 2. Read it with frustration and skepticism, wondering how on earth everything could possible work out for good because this situation is just too awful!
Now obviously, the first one is much more honoring and glorifying to God, however, when in the midst of trials and tribulations it is very easy to lose sight of who God is and what He has done and what He will do. (At least for me, maybe y'all don't have that problem.)
As I look back on the past year - something I enjoy doing at birthday time - there was one particular trial, a midst others throughout the year, that lasted nearly all year and that I questioned God about continually. It would come in spurts, but I found each one just as frustrating as the next. What I did not see as I was going through it, was that God was using this trial to make me question a lot of things about life and about my future. In fact, I was so confused about what my future would hold as I headed into the week of my 18th birthday, that I was struggling to hang onto the vision that my family has had for a long time about older daughters staying under their father's protection and working with their families. I did not see that God was preparing my heart for all the answers to all the questions that I had asked Him in the last year. Then on Thursday night He dropped them on my lap. (The last post explains all that.) Had God not taken me through these emotional, frustrating situations my heart would not have been ready to hear the answers, nor would I have ever asked those questions.
At this moment in time, I am reading Romans 8:28  as I bask in God's awesomeness! But I have not forgotten how I struggled with this verse before. God really does work ALL things together for good. The verse does not say that "all things are good to them that love God," nope, it says, "all things work together for good to them that love God." God takes a bunch of "things" (good things, bad things, uncomfortable things, frustrating things, emotional things) and He works them together. It reminds me of when my Dad and I were constructing my loft bed. Some parts were easy to put together, some of the bolts were really hard to get in, some we extremely frustrating, but in the end they fit perfectly in place and I have a wonderful bed that I am writing from. My Dad took all those different pieces and frustrating moments and he worked them together to create a bed. That's what God does for us. He takes the tears, the confusion, the pain, the pathetic cries of, "What are you doing here?????" and He creates something beautiful.

My brothers and sisters, if you are struggling through a time in your life where you don't see how God could ever work this situation together for good, let me tell you that oftentimes the bigger the trial, the higher the hurdle, the more exhausting the excursion.......the bigger and better the end results. Other Christians have struggled. Other Christians still struggle. There are things that my family still struggles in seeing how God can work it all for good, but we know He can.
Although I may not know the situations that all of you face, I am praying for you. Because of this sinful world we live in there will always be trails and temptations, but who can ever find a Friend so faithful? God will lead and guide you through these times. He may have to mold and soften and confuse, but in the end you will find out why.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Best Gift

I received an early birthday gift last night. It was not wrapped and it was not handed to me, but it was the greatest gift I could have asked for today. For the past couple of months I have really struggled knowing where the Lord was taking me. I was really aiming towards graduating and going into missions of some sort. There were a few different ideas going through my head of what I might be interested in doing, but it really didn't seem like God was giving me any clear direction in that area. My parents went to a marriage conference last weekend that Scott and Deborah Brown (from NCFIC) did for our church. While there, my Mom had talked a lot to Mrs. Brown about me and my frustration with knowing where God was leading me. Mrs. Brown really gave my Mom lots of advice about what I can do and how I can continue getting an education and being a missionary right here in my home.
I won't lie, when Mom got home and told me everything, my brain went on automatic overdrive. It was actually almost frustrating to me. I knew what my Mom and Mrs. Brown were saying. I've watched, "Return of the Daughters," and I've read all the books, but when I would look at my life, I never saw how I would fit into that role. I would look at other dear girls around me that were staying at home and living under their Dad's protection, but I just never saw them as being me. Don't get me wrong, they lead beautiful lives, just very, very different lives. This really frustrated me because I do want to remain under my Dad's protection, but this culture we live in does not make it very easy and it is especially hard to know what God is calling you  as a young person to do.
So, my Mom had seen a poster at Culvers on Monday night advertising a bluegrass concert at a nearby church. She didn't write anything down she just remembered the church name. For some very strange reason, she went home and went on this goose chase trying to find the info for this concert. We shouldn't have been able to go to that concert. With as crazy as our lives have been, and with the rain.......it just shouldn't have happened. But God somehow got my Mom and I out the door and to the church. The concert was actually a Christian school fundraiser, but the family that did the concert was a homeschool family with 10 children. As we found out, even the Bontrager's found it humorous that a Christian school would have a homeschool family like theirs do a fundraiser for a school. (Their family actually puts on the Homeschool Family Camp with the Wissman family and their oldest daughter has worked with Sarah Mally at Bright Lights conferences.)
The concert was so amazing. God has really worked beautifully through their family in their music and in their lives. As I sat listening to their music and watching their children I was very suddenly struck by their oldest daughter. I watched her and listened when they introduced their family and suddenly God showed me what it would look like for me to be a stay at home daughter living under my Dad's protection. I cannot describe to you the feeling that went through me since never before have I seen something quite that clearly, but it was as if God just dropped my future in my lap.
The way Chelsey Bontrager served her family was such a testimony of what God can do through daughters. Their whole family was a testimony!

I wanted to see what it would look like for me to serve in my home. God let me see someone that I could see myself in.
I wanted to know how to get my family to use our singing for God's glory. He sent a family that has done so and I saw how the older children taught the younger children music in such a beautiful way.
I wanted to start memorizing Scripture, something I have really gotten away from. Their 16 year old son has a goal to memorize the whole Bible by the time he is 20. He memorizes 5 chapters a week. If that's not inspiring I don't know what is.
I wanted to know how I could be a missionary from my home. The Bontragers spent the whole evening sharing the Gospel in some way. I also bought a book by Grace Mally on witnessing that looks so full of Godly wisdom in the area of witnessing.

So much info hit my head last night. Talking with Mrs. Bontrager and their oldest daughter was delightful. I cannot express my thankfulness and gratitude for them. God has given me a vision and a goal far bigger than I ever thought. I finally got a chance to see what it would look like for me to serve the Lord at home, just as my parents have always hoped I would.

Friends, seek the Lord. He WILL give you the answers that you long to know, but He has to do it in His timing. Trust me, God had to allow some pretty frustrating circumstances to break me down so that He could give me these answers. Wait on the Lord, He will give you a new song.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

One Day More

Today is just a day. Tomorrow is just a day. The bridge between the two is just one day more to be added to my life, but in essence it is a much larger bridge. Our culture tells me that in crossing this bridge I will be taken from childhood straight to adulthood. And although I believe becoming an adult is a process of time and maturity, I do look at tomorrow as an important day. The number 18 has always seemed to large and far away. Now that it's here it seems even larger, and yet in a way smaller. In all reality, tomorrow I will simply be one day older than I am today, but if I let my mind step back to when I was 6, 11, or 14, suddenly the day seems bigger. Turning 18 is a goal way too many young people just can't wait to reach. So much time can easily be spent dreaming of the day when your life can finally start, that it's easy to miss the fact that your life has indeed already begun and what you make of the first 18 years, will determine who you will become in the years to come. A person cannot assume that it's okay to be a lying, rebellious, child who hates living under authority, and somehow by turning 18 and moving out on their own, they will have solved all those problems and now be headed to glory and fame. It just doesn't work that way.  Yes, I will officially be considered an adult tomorrow, but I will be no more an adult then as I am now. Becoming an adult is a process of time, training and much work from my parents and the Lord. I have so much room to grow and improve.I pray that the Lord will continue to work in my life, molding me and shaping me for His glory.
Today I'm 17.
Tomorrow I'll be 18.
It's simply one day more.
It's what I do and who I am today, that will determine who I am tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Life is a Poem

The sun hasn't risen just yet. It's working it's way up, sending bursts of light through the clouds. I'm still a little tired, but in a good way. Last week I was listening to a talk by Becky Morecraft . She said something extraordinarily profound that has really made me think a lot these last few days. What she said was that our lives are like poems being constructed by the Master Author. His goal is to make a beautiful, flowing poem of our life. Sometimes that means taking out or adding in a noun (a person, place or thing in our lives. Sometimes He crosses out a verb (something we would have done). As He writes, He strategically places "words" in whatever place necessary to make the poem flow better. Somehow I find this picture of my life very comforting. I have a bad habit of wondering often why God allows the things He does, why He puts certain people in my life, why He allows hurts to happen, etc. Perhaps the answer I have been looking for all this time is simply that He is writing a more beautiful poem. To me that is such a great and wonderful honor. To have a gently flowing poem, with all the beauty and emotion that poetry holds, all written about me is an almost incomprehensible thought. To think that He can take something as messed up as me and turn it into poetry is amazing.
He is amazing. Let His pen flow. Trust that the words He adds and removes will in the end, make up a more beautiful poem. He's making you a beautiful piece of poetry.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Live Like You're Dying

What if you were told you had a month left to live? What would you do? 2Corinthians 6 is a beautiful passage of Scripture. One of the verses tells us to live as if we were dying, but are alive. I always wonder how people with occupations that see death frequently live. Does seeing death so much make life more valuable to them? Or does it become just another part of their lives? When I think about death it makes life seem so fragile. I start to feel a strange urgency about life. We only get one chance to live for Christ. One life, that's it. Once it's over, it's over. There's no part 2. We need to feel that urgency for the lost. We don't know when they are going to die. It could be tomorrow or in 80 years. Either way, just as we only have one life, they only have one life. And just as we need to being living that life to the glory of God, they need to be living their life to the glory of God. We're running out of time. Some days life seems very slow, but when I look back at how much time has passed I realize how quick it will all end.
Don't waste your life.
You only get it once.

Monday, September 10, 2012

To My Brothers in Christ

Genesis 3:16 "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden of Eden,  it was made clear that there would now be issues between man and woman. Since that day, women have had a desire to be over men. We're born with that desire embedded in our sinful hearts. The hard part is, not only do we have this desire, but in today's culture we are surrounded by people who tell us that this is okay and that since guys are slacking we should be taking charge. It's a messed up world.

For young ladies like myself, it is a huge struggle to fight that feminism that rages inside. Following the Biblical role of womanhood is a battle of overcoming that desire to be over men that we are born with. I struggle the most because I read Proverbs 31 that tells us that a Godly woman is far above rubies, but in the church setting I don't always feel this way. In many of the epistles we hear mentions of Godly women in the church who were hospitable to the saints, were supportive of their husbands, who raised children, and who sewed clothing for widows and orphans. These women were doing things in their homes. They weren't going out and preaching the Gospel like the apostles were, but yet when you read the letters from the apostles you see that these women were highly valued. They were far above rubies.

We young ladies are told that we need to encourage our brothers in Christ to be men. We try to encourage our brothers in Christ to be leaders. All I'm asking is, could you do the same for us. As we work on being encouraging sisters in Christ, would you encourage femininity? I think most young men miss the battle going through young women's heads. Often, it's easier to become a valuable woman in the world's eyes than it is to be a valuable woman in the Church's eyes. In the world we can go to college, get into the business world, get high up careers, and pick up slack left by unmotivated men. Today's culture tells us that this life is way more valuable to our country and economy than the life of a Proverbs 31 woman. Sometimes, this makes it really hard to be content with taking a back seat. We have to bury a lot of plans and dreams in order to help our brother and fathers in their visions. And it really is worth it if we are still equals in Christ and far above rubies.

Being a man that follows the Lord is difficult; I know, I have five brothers. Being a woman that follows the Lord is difficult; I know, because I am one. We need each other. We need to work together, and we need to encourage one another. If a boy is treated like a man, he will usually act like a man. If a girl is treated like a lady, she will usually act like a lady. If a man is treated like a leader, he will usually lead better. If a lady is treated like she is valuable, she will usually embrace that God given role. That's all I'm asking of my brothers in Christ. Yes, I have made huge mistakes. I have been unladylike, I have undermined young men, and I have  have lost my patience with them. But I have also repented and the Lord has forgiven me. Just as you are being shaped and molded into Christ's workmanship, I am too. We don't live in an easy world. We really do need each other to make it through.

I don't want anyone to think that I'm trying to rebuke and undermine you by writing this. I simply want to make a plea. Guys have struggles and battles too, I know and I pray often for the young men and young women that I know.  We're not looking for praise and glory, just for a little encouragement. We can go back to the Biblical roles of manhood and womanhood. It's an uphill trek, but we can make it in the strength of the Lord. God has not given us a spirit of fear. He has made us strong and given us the ability, in Him, to overcome the wicked one. Let's not try to do it all on our own. Let's encourage one another as we go.
Then we can advance the Kingdom of God at a much higher speed.

~Just as a side note, I live in a wonderful household where I really do feel very valuable to my family. I am tremendously blessed to have parents that go out of their way to let me know that I am a blessing to them. I love them so much!!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Desiring the Greater Things in Life

I'm a dreamer.
I love to look way past the present, into the future, and think about all the things that will happen to me.
I like to plan things.
I like to plan the way I think my life should go from now til I die.
I want to to do big things.
I've always dreamed of bigger, better things, of stepping beyond the average life and going to heights and depths that seemed impossible.

But maybe, just maybe, there's a chance I've been wrong. Maybe the greater things in life are really quite small. Maybe the big dreams have to be started with a small seed. Maybe the simple life is sweeter.

It's hard to think that I've been wrong. It's hard to face that all my great plans for spreading God's Kingdom were wrongly based. Then again, they were always my plans and I was still waiting for an answer from God about them. I try to swallow back frustration and see the truth. The truth that God might be choosing to answer contrary to my plans. After all, He is the Creator of the universe, the Author of all life. It is He who writes the story of my life, not me.

So maybe I need to quite stacking my hopes upon my dreams.
Perhaps I need to learn to simply live day by day and not in the dream world I've created in my head. Life is not about pawns and pieces, it's about real people and real events that happen ever day. I can't control other people or their future, just like I can't control my own.

Maybe, desiring the greater things in life, means embracing the smaller ones.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Don't Limit Yourself

Life is full of limits. You can do this, you can't do that. Some limits are very good and are put in place for my own safety. Then there are the limits that I put on myself because things are too hard or I am unsure of myself. I place up limits because of fear and pride. Sometimes life is scary and sometimes I am just afraid to fail. This is often the case in my walk with the Lord. I see people that write books, speak at conferences, have ministries and I would truly love to do all that. But I hesitate and I am unsure of myself. I doubt what God can do through me. Why? Because of fear. Because it's a lot of work. Because it might fail. Because my ideas might be rejected

My favorite Bible verse that has helped me through many times is Joshua 1:9 which says, "Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest." 
No matter where God leads me in life He is there. He is leading and guiding. He is making the impossible happen. I don't need to have a spirit of fear. What I really need to do is quit limiting what God can do through me because of fear. God didn't limit Himself. So I don't need to either.



Here are two videos that inspired this morning's post. The first one is of a professional pianist playing a song that he arranged. My little brother Andrew loves watching it over and over and tells me that he wants to play it. Actually, I really want to play it, but it looked rather intimidating to me......that is, until I watched the second video of a little boy playing the song. I was instantly inspired. Surely if this little fella could play that song, I can to. That's when I started thinking about how I so easily limit myself and think of things as impossible when they are not impossible. I thought about how I could apply this spiritually and the above is what God gave me. 
I thought you would enjoy watching the videos too.