A good day!

A good day!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Neat video...

I saw this video yesterday and really liked it. Just thought I'd share and hope it encourages someone. :)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Moving on and moving through...

Words to Live By, Hope


I have hope.

Yes, I'm sick.

Yes, I hurt really bad today.

No, there is no cure for my illness.

But, I must move on.

I must not dwell.

I must LIVE.

So with the gift of perseverance that God gave me I will do just that. It may not be the way other people live when they are in pain every single day or have a neuromuscular illness, but I can't just sit and ignore life and feel the pain. I need to live life and try to ignore the pain.

I have hope that the days ahead will not be as hard as the days past. I have hope that I will be able to enjoy my life that God has so chosen for me. I have hope that He will take me through this and I will build a character that is more like His. I have hope for the day when this will all end and I will forever be pain free. No more pain, no more suffering. I suffer here, but I will not when that Day comes. When I see my Savior face to face. Oh what a day that will be!

Until then, I hope to make a difference in this world for Christ. I will continue to be the helpmeet He created me to be, to love my son, to be a keeper at home, and to love and see others as He does. It won't all be easy, but I will seek after it so that He may be glorified.

I am so grateful to serve a loving God who cares so deeply, to have a family that loves me tremendously, to have loving friends that have invested their life into mine to help me be more like Christ, and to have friends that love me just because they want to love me.

I am truly a blessed woman. I have hope.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Back from the doctor...

Here's a little update.

Although my Myasthenia Gravis is progressing, we decided that a treatment would be the VERY last resort due to the ill effects I have had with both IVIG and plasmapheresis. So, he has doubled my immunosuppressive dose. This will slow the progression. I showed him my research on the supplement Moducare and he stated that he didn't care if I took it or not. He said he wasn't sure if it would work or not. But, it's worth a shot.

I think it helps as patients to have an understanding of your disease. We need to keep updated on things and the best treatment options for ourselves. We need to know our limits and our strengths. In all this, we need to keep God centered because He is after all the Great Physician. He knows best. I will try the experimental supplement and hope for the best. If nothing else, it should lessen the side effects of the immunosuppressive. It could however, modulate my immune system like the IVIG would and I could potentially start to feel much better from that. Either way, it's worth a shot. :)

Thank you all for the prayers. I really appreciate the prayers/concerns from strangers that care and share a love for the Lord. His will be done.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Going to the doctor tomorrow...

I didn't have an appt until Sept 9th, but I ended up needing to go in sooner. I'm having a lot of weakness, pain, choking, exhaustion, etc.

They may want to do a treatment, which I'm not looking forward to. There are a lot of side effects to it and some dangers. BUT, if that is what God wants for me then I'll do it. I was looking at the IVIG info today again after not really thinking about it for several years. It has been 8 years since that particular treatment and that particular 14 day hospital stay being close to death. While looking, I found that it is meant as an immune system modulator. The plasmapheresis is meant to remove antibodies so they don't attack me anymore. :) Well, there is a supplement called Moducare that is an immune system modulator. Most supplements are immune system boosters, which I cannot take. This would be similar to the IVIG but would take more time to regulate than the IVIG would. It looks promising though. I am going to take the research to the doctor tomorrow and see what he thinks. I still may need a treatment, but we'll see. I just know that I'm in a decline of health right now and it's not good at all. I need to do whatever it takes to pull out of this.

I will post tomorrow and let you all know what happens. Finding peace in the storm...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hurting...

I haven't posted the last few days because I have been hurting. It takes all I have to do my daily chores. I love this song so much. It gives me a lot of hope for that day. It's kinda long, but enjoy!




My husband was sick with an upper respiratory virus last week, also. I don't like when I get behind posting. :(
Here are some updates...

Hunter has started 4-H robotics. It's a great thing for him to do. He is extremely interested in technology and computers. He will be doing the programming for the robot. He's excited about that!

Our kittens are 2 weeks old. :) They are getting so cute!



I lost my cell phone while doing yard work this week. :( I have learned not to do yard work with your phone in your pocket. I've never really lost anything and not found it before. I have misplaced things and then found them. But, this is GONE. I feel horrible about it. Now we have to buy a new one. Not really cheap. My husband ordered me one the other day. He ordered me a nicer one than I had to begin with. That was really nice of him.

We have another chicken laying. :)

Let's see what else...

Hunter will be starting up homeschooling this Monday. He doesn't want summer to end. Me? I'm looking forward to September and October. I love to watch the leaves turn and hear them crunch under my feet. :) Have a great day everyone!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Getting things done...

John Bull, Cleaning Housewives Dusting Polishing Products Magazine, UK, 1953
John Bull, Cleaning Housewives Dusting Polishing Products Magazine, UK, 1953


I've been working on cleaning the inside of the house really good for winter. I like to deep clean around this time of year and maintain in throughout the fall. Sometime during the winter, I will deep clean again. The woodstove puts out a lot of dust. :)

I like to clean the windows, too. Living in the country, I like to see what the Lord created. LOL. Not raindrop marks, etc.

Housewife Cleaning Glass Window Slats
Housewife Cleaning Glass Window Slats


The next task is going to be cleaning the office. Ugh. I'm terrible at organizing! Ah!

John Bull, Messy Rooms Housewives Cleaning Products Magazine, UK, 1959
John Bull, Messy Rooms Housewives Cleaning Products Magazine, UK, 1959


I'd better get busy! LOL One thing at a time, right? I don't want to exacerbate my Myasthenia Gravis any more than it already is. It may take me a while, but I'll get it done. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A silly pleasure of mine...


I like coffee. There I said it. lol. I like to drink it in the morning while on the computer. I like to drink it in the evenings on the porch when it's cool outside and relax. I drink decaf. It's ok. :) Now that my heart acts up from the Myasthenia Gravis, it can't take regular. My favorite coffee is Ethiopian Harrar. It is soooo yummy. But, I can't get it anywhere but Gevalia. No thanks. It's too expensive. I may have to start searching harder in other places. :)

I've got some cleaning to do today and laundry to fold and put away. That's ok. I love a clean house. I feel so much more "together" and not irritated or discombobulated. LOL.

I pray everyone has a wonderful day. Just remember to slow down and enjoy what God created. The time of year where the leaves change and the trees are beautiful are coming up. :) What a gift. I'm so very thankful for my sight.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Getting ready for winter...


Today my husband and I are doing some work to get ready for the winter. We have some wood to split and stack. We have some already done.


We also have some trees to cut down and the yard needs mowed. It will be a busy day, but I love to work side by side with my husband. I love to watch him work. :)


And I just plain love him. :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pottery fun...


Hunter started a new pottery class for homeschoolers this week. It runs once a month through December. He was very apprehensive at first. He didn't know any of the kids there and the one kid he thought was going to be there, wasn't. He just wasn't quite sure about it at first. After a while of working with the clay, he loosened up and enjoyed it. He's looking forward to going back next month. :) I enjoyed watching him create something.


Here he is after rolling out the clay and putting a template on it. He is making wind chimes with a sun decoration.



He pulled the template off and now he is painting the sun.




The almost finished product. :) He is done painting it, but they cut it into strips and then they have to fire it. I think he did a really good job! :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Animals on the homestead...


These are our kittens that were just born last night. Aren't they adorable! They came from a stray cat that adopted us a couple months ago. She did a really good job and is such a good mama. This was a neat experience for Hunter. :)


This is our dog, Magnum. He's a Doberman. He is such a good dog. Very well tempered and quite the family dog. Loves to be on the couch with us! He is so lazy. lol


These are some of our chickens. They are still fun to watch and now most of them are laying! :) Yummy farm fresh eggs!





I love the country so much and I am so blessed that God allowed me to have this dream of mine. It is so peaceful and so fulfilling I can't imagine anything else. There's nothing like watching the country. You never know what you're gonna see!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Living with Myasthenia Gravis...

Now I didn't title this post "Coping with Myasthenia Graivs" or "Dealing with Myasthenia Gravis". I titled it "LIVING with Myasthenia Gravis" for a reason. This is an illness that I have and I live with everyday. I was diagnosed shortly after Hunter was born.

Myasthenia gravis is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease characterized by varying degrees of weakness of the skeletal (voluntary) muscles of the body. The hallmark of myasthenia gravis is muscle weakness that increases during periods of activity and improves after periods of rest. Certain muscles such as those that control eye and eyelid movement, facial expression, chewing, talking, and swallowing are often, but not always, involved in the disorder. The muscles that control breathing and neck and limb movements may also be affected. (Also, they found in a handful of people, the cardiac muscle can be affected. I'm in that handful.)

Myasthenia gravis is caused by a defect in the transmission of nerve impulses to muscles. It occurs when normal communication between the nerve and muscle is interrupted at the neuromuscular junction - the place where nerve cells connect with the muscles they control. Normally when impulses travel down the nerve, the nerve endings release a neurotransmitter substance called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine travels through the neuromuscular junction and binds to acetylcholine receptors which are activated and generate a muscle contraction.

In myasthenia gravis, antibodies block, alter, or destroy the receptors for acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction which prevents the muscle contraction from occurring. Individuals with seronegative myasthenia gravis have no antibodies at all to receptors for acetylcholine and muscle-specific kinase, which is involved in cell signaling and the formation of the neuromuscular junction. These antibodies are produced by the body's own immune system. Thus, myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease because the immune system - which normally protects the body from foreign organisms - mistakenly attacks itself.

This is just fancy talk for "I get really weak at times." lol. My symptoms started during labor giving birth to Hunter. It took all I had to deliver him. They handed him to me to hold afterwards and I couldn't. I was just too weak. I didn't think anything of it at the time. When he was six weeks old, I had to take him to his six week appt. I was so weak that I could barely carry his carrier. His doctor told me to get a check up with my doctor. I did. They sent me to a neurologist. I couldn't brush my teeth without taking a break, I couldn't go up stairs, I couldn't wash my hair without taking a break, etc. They did some testing and found that I have Myasthenia Gravis. It has been a difficult road. I have had surgery to remove my thymus glad which sits atop your heart. I did very well after this for about 2 years. Then I declined again and have been ever since. My Myasthenia Gravis is what you call unstable. (Mind you, I have a lot of stable times). I have had plasmapheresis treatments. This is where they put a port in your chest and hook you up to a machine, not unlike dialysis, and take out your blood and remove the antibodies and then put it back in. The last treatment I had did not go so well for me. I had a very bad reaction and lost my sight for a while. BUT, I have many good days as you all know from reading my blog. I take an immunosuppressive to reduce the antibodies that attack my cardiac muscle and the rest of my muscles for that matter. I also take medicine for the neuromuscular junction to fire. With these medicines, I have been able to LIVE with Myasthenia Gravis.

I take it as easy as I can most days. I have a lot of chores that need to be done for my family and I strive to get those done. I want to enjoy my life and not just "rest" all day in a chair and watch life go by. That's not living to me. I hang out with friends, go to cookouts, go to fairs, do chores, cook, vacation, etc. But, I do these things in stride. I am in pain every day of my life. You just get used to it and when it's unbearable, I rest in my beautiful rocking chair. :) I can't dwell on the pain or weakness. That's not what my life is about. My life is about loving the Lord and loving people. That's hard to do if you are always thinking about your pain and weakness. :) God has been so good to me that I have been blessed with perseverance. I am a strong woman when it comes to hard times. God has shaped me that way. I thank Him for that. This is His will for me. Who am I to complain?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Busy week...

This week was kinda busy. On Monday I went to the church to do some data entry and then went to the grocery store. Make that 3 grocery stores. The rest of the week was filled with laundry, vacuuming, dishes, scrubbing the kitchen, cleaning the coop, visiting friends, bible study, mowing, and canning green beans.



Don't get me wrong, I don't mind doing these things, it just seems like it came all at once. I'm so worn out. I feel better when it's all done, but I pay for it. I need to learn to pace myself better. It's just that there is so much to be done and so little time. I think tomorrow I will rest up, do dishes, and laundry and that's about it. :) Well, I'll cook supper of course. lol. My weeks are usually not this busy all at once. How do you relax after a busy week?

Lesson 17 on biblical submission...

Proverbs 31:23 - Three Wise Women

This Scripture-Picture was lovingly created by
Lori @ I Will Take It Lord, All You Have to Give


In our first lesson on Proverbs 31:23, we saw a real-life picture of what an ungodly, unbiblically submissive wife looks like. We witnessed her sinful and wretched prayer life as well as her "holier than thou" attitude against her husband in which Satan so skillfully used to cause much strife and division in her household. Yes, we discovered in our last lesson that I allowed Satan to use me as a baseball bat to beat my husband and recklessly tear down my house with my own hands.

"The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down."
~ Proverbs 14:1

Therefore, it is fitting that we now turn our attentions to three women in the Bible that truly understood what biblical submission was all about. In His righteousness, the Lord our God saw it fit to use these women as examples of what a Princess of the King really looks like: beautiful (inside), calm, confident, quiet, peaceful, and a humble servant ready to act on behalf of others when necessary with no regard for her personal well-being. Who are these wonderful women? They are:

  1. Zipporah (Moses' wife)
  2. Ruth (Boaz's wife & great-grandmother of King David)
  3. Elizabeth (Zechariah's wife & mother of John the Baptist)
Zipporah
Read:
Genesis 17:10-14 (highlight v. 14)
&
Exodus 4:24-26 (highlight v. 26)

A biblically submissive wife protects: LIFE

When we read this passage, especially the verses that come right before Exodus 4:24, it seems a bit out of place. Right before verse 24, we see that God has called Moses to be the one who saves/leads His people out of bondage. So what does this have to do with circumcision and why did God make sure these three tiny little verses were placed right after Moses' commission from the LORD and right before Moses even had the opportunity to enter Egypt?

To understand the importance of these three verses, we must first understand the Lord our God and His ways and what is most important to Him concerning man ~ to reconcile man into a right relationship with God the Father. God used the life of Moses to reveal to us the shadow of the things to come. Moses was given the Law and was kept by the Law through the old covenant of physical circumcision. But when the Son, who is the Christ came, the old covenant was dissolved and the new covenant in the blood of Jesus restored, saved and led all people who trust in Christ into a right relationship with God the Father by circumcising one's heart ~ separating the soul of man from his dead flesh and binding it with the life of Christ. In fact, the actual Hebrew word used in this passage for "covenant" is bĕriyth that comes from the root word bara' which together mean: to cut; to create something new; to make a treaty, alliance.1 This is why those of us who have repented and fully trusted our lives to Jesus, are called a "new creation". We have been "cut off" from the old self which lived in and for the flesh with its wicked passions and desires that war against God; and have been granted to enter into a "treaty, alliance" with God to live in and for His Spirit that now dwells within us.

"Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn."
~ Deuteronomy 10:16

"For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God."
~ Romans 2:28-29

Why did Zipporah, the wife of Moses suddenly choose to circumcise her son, touch Moses' feet with the bloody knife and then speak those words [Exodus 4:25]? While it is not written in Scripture, it is obvious she was well-taught God's holy commandments and what was required to remain in a covenant relationship with Him [Genesis 17:14].

Now, Scripture doesn't say who's life was in danger, Moses' or his son who had not been circumcised up to that point, but God is clear in His word, that He intended to take one of their lives that day.

In God's awesome mercy, He chose to reveal to Zipporah her husband Moses' error and great sin against God. Our heavenly Father knew Zipporah had a submissive, humble and reverent heart towards Him, so He graced her with the knowledge of the impending doom (eternal damnation) that was to come upon one of her family members.

And what did Zipporah do with this knowledge God so generously granted her? Did she puff up with pride because God revealed something to her that was not revealed to her husband? Did she think she was better or more holy than Moses because God showed her her husbands error so she could lord it over him, correct him and expect something in return, i.e., respect, reward, her husband's submission to her judgment, etc.? No, this godly woman did no such thing. Instead, without any concern for herself, what she might lose or gain, she acted out of her love, reverence and gratitude towards God and her family, by quickly doing what her husband should have already done; pleading for their life, and submitting herself to her husband (even though it was his sin that caused this) by throwing herself at Moses' feet while she spoke those gracious words that moved God's heart to relent.

Contrary to popular belief, the Lord our God does not help those who can help themselves. Instead, He is always faithfully seeking to help those who humble themselves. Like Zipporah did. Just think sisters, your humility could be used by God to save someone's life, both their physical and more importantly, their eternal.

"For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward Him."
~ 2 Chronicles 16:9

Ruth
Read:
the entire book of Ruth

A biblically submissive wife sows: HUMILITY


Ruth 1:16-18 → Ruth makes a declaration of saving faith. These words of hers are not emotion-led, circumstantial, temporary words. She does not make this statement of her trust in the God of Israel to merely feel better and in hopes of a better life here on earth, as we will see this in the following verses as Ruth's faith is proved by her godly and humble actions.

Ruth 2:2 → Ruth didn't sit around feeling sorry for herself (which she could've easily done, especially in her situation, i.e., lost her husband, moved to a foreign country, doesn't' know anyone and lives with a bitter and depressed ex-mother-in-law). Instead, she takes the initiative to ask Naomi for permission to go find a humble job or rather, a humiliating job in order to feed and care for the both of them. Ruth already begins to display her humility, kindness, wisdom and honor for others above herself; which are all attributes of a biblically submissive woman. Ruth doesn't have an "I'm in charge!" attitude, but more of a "How can I help?" attitude. Although Ruth was in no way truly obligated to Naomi, she chose to commit herself to someone who was utterly of no use to her in any way. Think about it. If anything, Naomi was "dead weight" more than she was a blessing. But because Ruth esteems herself not, all she can see, all her heart perceives is the destitute and sorrowful state of her mother-in-law and compassion for Naomi overtakes Ruth; this is the same compassion that overtook Christ's heart for us - providing us eternal salvation by His wounds.

"When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.' "
~ Matthew 9:36-38

In this world, there are spectators who only talk about what should be done, what they plan to do, and point out error in others. And then there are the laborers who only talk when necessary because they are too busy working and about the Lord's business instead of the world's business.

God is gracious and He is sovereign. And in His sovereignty, He gives us free will to choose whether we will be chatty spectators or humble laborers. Ruth, was most definitely a humble laborer who was mercifully welcomed into God's fold, although she was a Moabitess.

It is easy for us to seek God's face when we are in need or distressed. Not only is this fact true historically in the Bible, but I've found it to be true in my life as well. As with God's children of old, I too have cried out to God for deliverance and found it easy to be grateful when He provides refuge, comfort and grace in my time of need. But it seems that when we're doing well, when we're comfortable, we tend to forget the God who so generously provided us with His awesome presence and His glorious riches. We take God and His gifts for granted as if we somehow deserved or earned all that we have. Ironically, it is not in the difficult times that our humility is tested, but in the times of pleasantry.

"Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments and His rules and His statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God...Beware lest you say in your heart, 'My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.' "
~ Deuteronomy 8:11-14(a) and 17

Unlike many of us, Ruth didn't forget the Lord her God who gave her her husband, then took him away. Instead she desired to stay near to Him, even if it meant that she would live in poverty, with an embittered, depressed mother-in-law in a foreign land where she might be belittled and mistreated because she was not an Israelite, but a Moabitess.

She then labored intensely in a field, gleaning like a beggar from what was left from the harvesters who had gone before her and already reaped the best of the grain from the field. Except for a short and necessary rest, she did not stop until she had reaped an ample amount to bring home to her mother-in-law, so they may eat and be satisfied.

And even when she caught Boaz's eye, she did not consider herself worthy. When Boaz spoke kindly to her, she did not do a "Yay me!" dance, but fell to the ground in humility and wondered why such a man like Boaz would dare to even notice a girl like her.

Ruth 4:14, 17 → Ruth's love, trust and full devotion to the God of Israel, allowed her to receive a rich and glorious blessing she could never do anything to deserve - she became the great-grandmother of King David and ultimately was privileged to be included in the earthly lineage of Jesus Christ, our Savior.

When we allow our pride to take us over, then we are actually choosing to step out of God's will - His protection and gracious blessings we could never dream of, earn or deserve. But when we humble ourselves, we willingly submit to God's authority, obey His commandments (which is love to God [1 John 5:3]).

The humility of a wife/mother tends to breed humility in those around her. Not because she boasts of this, but because the evidence of God's work is clearly manifested in her life a she decreases (humbles herself) all the more so that the life of Christ the Lord may increase.

For the perfect example of unnecessary honor and submissive obedience rendered, read: Luke 2:48-52


Elizabeth

A biblically submissive wife exudes: FAITH

Although both Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth were found to be righteous before God and walked "blamelessly in all the statutes of the Lord", Zechariah began to lose faith that a God would ever grant them a child. This fact is evidenced by his response of unbelief when the angel of the Lord, Gabriel spoke to him about the birth of John. Because Zechariah was hasty to utter anything before God (Ecclesiastes 5:2), Gabriel close his mouth of unbelief until it was time to name John (nearly an entire year).

When it was time to name their son, the other priests had been aware that Zechariah could not speak, so they were going to name him after Zechariah. But Zechariah's biblically submissive wife, Elizabeth humbly spoke up and said, "No; he shall be called John." In her time it was not seen as "proper" for a woman to speak up in such a manner, especially to correct other men. But she did not speak from her own, but only that which God had given her before-hand.

Elizabeth's faith exuded from her every being. She immediately accepted God's blessing of a baby when it seemed impossible, she prophesied when Mary came to see her in her six month, and she spoke only when necessary, with words from the Lord.

Her faith, built up her husband's faith and his speech was restored when he humbly agreed with the the words from his wife, because he now saw, that truly, it was the word from God.

Was it Elizabeth's words from much study and eloquence in which she expressed herself or her knowledge of spiritual matters that restored her husband's faith? No. It was by her good conduct that proved the work of her faith in teh meekness (humility) of wisdom (James 3:13)

In this lesson, we were blessed to visit with three sisters of old, who exemplified what biblical submission looks like in very different situations. We saw that a biblically submissive wife protects life, sows humility and exudes faith. And we also saw that these godly attributes were God-given gifts to each woman so that through her biblical submission generations after her will be blessed.

Homework:
  1. Don't rush through this lesson. There is a lot of Scripture to cover and it will not benefit you to merely skim through it. Meditate deeply on each Scripture/passage and write the Scripture/passage in which God quickens your heart to obedience and write everything the Lord reveals to you in your journals.
  2. Continue with your next day in your Love Dare Journal. Prayerfully consider any area in your life that is not fitting with these women we studied today and write a prayer of repentance and request to the Lord to make you the woman He has created you to be. Commit to work with the Holy Spirit and not against Him or "for" Him.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lesson 16 on biblical submission...

This is the second to last lesson from Sunny that we have. I appreciate her doing these studies and being able to pass them along to you. :) They are very thought provoking and challenging.

Proverbs 31:23 - The Crown of Her Husband

This Scripture-picture was lovingly created by
Lori @ I Will Take It Lord, All You Have to Give.


Much like our previous study on Proverbs 31:22, this verse seems a bit out of place, doesn't it? In our last lesson, we had to stop and consider why this wonderfully, biblically submissive woman, that is so priceless and precious in the sight of the LORD God Almighty, would only provide bed coverings for herself. But after we began to meditate on God's word and turned up our Holy Spirit "hearing aids", we could hear Him gently explain to us how it is that a woman of such noble character is covered: first by the blood of Jesus, the Son of God; second, by the seal of the Holy Spirit until the day of Redemption; and third, by her earthly husband, to protect her from the deceptive schemes of our enemy, the devil.

But unlike our last lesson, this one appears to carry even further away from what we've been studying up to this point. How is it that an acrostic poem about such an excellent woman, included an accolade regarding a man, her husband?

For those of you, who have steadfastly traveled with me thus far on the road to biblical submission; probably already have a keen sense of what God plans to teach us at this junction.

So let's get out the Sword of the Spirit, our pens, colored pencils, and/or our archival quality highlighters and get ready for a beautiful stroll with our Lord and Father in Heaven!

To get a glimpse of what we’ll be studying today, take a good look at the Scripture-picture our sister Lori created for us. Tell me what you see. This is what I see:
  1. A Gate;
  2. Pure, white snow;
  3. Both, facing the sun
We’ll come back to these three observations at the end of this lesson.

Before you read on, I would like to ask you to stop for a moment and pray. Ask God to reveal to you, what He wants you to see in the above Scripture-picture. After you’ve prayed and listened intently to the Holy Spirit, jot down what He told you, so you’ll be prepared to receive what He desires to reveal to you.

At this time, I’d like to direct you to an excerpt from a sermon John Piper gave on Sunday, May 10, 1981 that brings some light as to why verse 23 was included in an acrostic poem about an incredibly godly woman, who fears and loves the Lord.

“Verse 23 seems out of place in a song of praise to women. It says, "Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land." How is that a word of praise to the wife who fears the Lord? Proverbs 12:4 gives the answer: "A good wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is the rottenness of his bones." A wife who fears the Lord increases the esteem of her husband at the gates of the city. In twelve and a half years of marriage my wife has never done or said anything in public that would have caused me to be ashamed. She has my absolute trust as a representative of what our family stands for. There is no place I might go where I would be ashamed to take Noël. She is a crown to my head and a signet ring on my right hand. She is for me 100% because she is a woman who fears the Lord. And I pray that every wife here will, under God, give that kind of support to your husband.”

~ John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

What our brother John Piper said about his wife Noël, is what every man who is married to a daughter of the King, should be able to say about his wife. Has my husband always been able to say this about me? Absolutely not! During the first years of our marriage, I was a very strong-willed, opinionated, Pharisaical, loud and boisterous woman who demanded to be heard, respected, romanced and highly esteemed! Okay, I know you want to laugh, and you can. Believe me, I do. When I remember how ungodly I behaved, yet expected to be well-loved and cherished, it really makes me laugh. I was basically questioning why my husband couldn't and wouldn't snuggle up to a thornbush! This only confirms that when someone is not walking with God and disobedient to His commands, they are completely illogical and out of their minds. I can say this with assurance because, as you can see, I’ve been there.

Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
~ Proverbs 28:26

I’ve said this before and I will say it again; you will never know and appreciate how sweet, sweet is, unless you’ve tasted sour.

With this in mind, I’m going to do something a little bit different with you today. I’m going to give you a little break from thinking you’re a horrible mess, by allowing you to see what a horrible mess really looks like. You have all been working so hard up to this point; bearing your souls, naked before God and confessing your sins so that we might pray for one another and be healed of our sickness: the desire to rule over our husbands.

I think the most appropriate and beneficial thing I can teach you today is what a contentious, unsubmissive wife looks like. Not just on the outside (because she may look quite “holy” on the outside). But I want to give you a glimpse of the heart of the most contentious, unruly, merciless woman I have ever personally known. I know that she will gladly allow you to view the deep recesses of her heart in the hopes that you will be so utterly repulsed by it, you will not venture that way yourselves and will run to our Savior with every breath you have at even the slightest likeness of becoming what she once was. This woman was once truly, the epitome of a modern day Eve.

I have her permission to share a personal journal entry in what she has affectionately called her “complaint journal”. No, not a prayer journal; a complaint journal. She was such a horrid woman, that at some point, knew it, and thereby had a complaint journal in which she journaled all her complaints to God, her Father, about all the things in life that irked her. She was sure that she was pretty much as close to perfect as humanly possible and was constantly annoyed that others were so blind they could not see this truth themselves. Doesn’t she sound like someone you’d want to quickly make friends with? I think not! At one point in her life, she even bought a book entitled: The Perfect Christian by Tony Evans because she was sure, not only might she be mentioned in the book (although she didn’t know the author), but also thought the book must be about someone like her! It’s amazing how arrogant we allow ourselves to become. I’m sure we can all say we’ve thought similar things – we just don’t want everyone else to know about it.

Before I share the journal entry she wrote, she wants to make sure that you understand where her heart was and what she was thinking at the time she wrote this. You see, she’d been praying for years for God to change her husband. She wanted God to make her husband into a man who was worthy of her. But after four years of praying this and receiving no answer from God, she changed her prayer for the next two years. She felt he was “dead weight” and was holding her back from her potential to becoming the most holy and perfect woman alive.

Finally, after two years of praying of praying a "new" way and still not getting any response from God, she wrote the following entry in her complaint journal. She wanted God to change her husband or get rid of him, and she wanted it to happen now! By this time, they had two sons and she did not want them to grow up, learning to be such ungodly men as she believed her husband to be.

Before you read this, I want to point something out to you. In the second paragraph, she writes, “I know I can’t change anyone, but You can.” She is referring to God changing her husband. I want you to see how our awesome God changed this bitter and ungodly woman’s heart, from that sentence to the next.

November 22, 1998

It is 8:10 a.m. and I am as sad and lost as can be. You’d think I was dragged through a long day, but I haven’t. I just feel like I have although it is early in the morning.

Lord, where do I go from here? I know I can’t change anyone, but I know You can. So change me, Father. Guide me to be less human, and more godly. Help me to “pursue righteousness and love” so that I may find “life, prosperity and honor.” (Proverbs 21:21)

Lord, I have so many wants and expectations. Why? Why do I? Could You, Father, create in me a new heart that works hard and expects nothing? So that I may turn from anger and hostility against those who give little? Lord if You create in me a new heart and mind that is completely focused on You and not myself, I know I will have fewer disappointments in my life here.

Guide me O Father, regardless of circumstances, to always be a good witness and example of Your love, power, grace, wisdom and righteousness. May I spend the rest of today, and every day (one day at a time) focused on my Lord and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I know You know sweet, loving Father, that through my Savior, Your Son, Christ Jesus, You fully understand what it is to love and give so much with no or little return of it back. I know Jesus has walked more than a mile in my shoes. He did nothing wrong and EVERYTHING righteous and Godly, yet He was beaten, mocked and crucified, so that my life…my eternal life could see Your Glory. Oh Father forgive me for my selfishness and complaining. Release me O Lord of my natural want to complain and grumble of all that I do not have, and place in me a supernatural want to serve, love, persevere and to be humble in all and every situation. I love You Lord with all my heart, all my soul and all my mind. Use me today Father for You.

Praise be to the One and Only God through my Christ, Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. AMEN”

WOW! Is our God awesome or what?! Who would ever believe that such a horrid, filthy woman could ever be cleansed and made whole again – only in and through Christ’s love was this possible. Who was this woman? It was me.

Why did God change my heart in an instance, after six excruciating years living rebelliously out of His good and perfect will? Because at this point in my life, I had emptied myself, of myself. Although my thinking was still in error, God saw my heart; broken and willing to receive whatever it was that He desired to give me. That day, the Lord of Hosts rebuked me and disciplined me. And when I could not stand, due to enormous shame, He held out His hand and lifted me out of my miry pit and set my feet upon the Rock (Psalm 40:2). He comforted me and reminded me that now, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1-2). But only hope, and the truth that we are all unworthy wretches, deserving of eternal damnation in Hell, but it is finished. Jesus Christ took the shame of my sins and He nailed them to the Cross. O glorious God, who is abounding in compassion, who will not deal with us according to our iniquities, but mercifully grants us the everlasting life in His eternal Kingdom! This is why we praise Him!

"The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will He keep His anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to His children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust."
~ Psalm 103:8-14

This is why I can share this for all the world to see. Do I like who I was? No. Do I have guilt and shame over it? No. Why? Because I believe my Father God’s word that says that He has forgiven me and will refine me through and through, conforming me into the likeness of His brilliant Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Do I have regret over this? Yes! This is why I and others who are committed to our Savior, sin less. Christians are not sinless, we just sin less – and less, and less, until the Day of Redemption (1 John 3:6-9 and 1 John 5:18-20).

What happened after that day? Well, God not only opened my heart, but He opened my eyes as well, and I saw my husband, like I’d never seen him before. He was the man I’d been praying for. I was just too blind to see it because the mirror I was looking at, only pointed to me – and I could see no one else; the imperfections I thought I was seeing in my husband, turned out to be the imperfections in me. God is compassionate, merciful and gracious, even to the wicked and ungrateful. I know, I’ve been and sometimes still am, the wicked and ungrateful. Yet our faithful Father God restores me, every time I seek Him with a humble heart.

So why did I notice the gate; the pure, white snow; and that they were both facing the sun? Because this is what God has done for me and I can’t help but see my life, the way He sees it. Jesus Christ is the Gate I must enter – the Gate that was broken and opened, so that I might find eternal life and salvation. And as I came to Jesus, filthy, unworthy, yet repentant, He washed my sins, with His precious blood; as white as snow. And now, both my flesh and my spirit can face the Son and drink from the Living Water, so that I may never thirst again.

I pray that you learn from my sin, and run far from it. I know for certain our God is a mighty God. He is awesome and there is no sin you or I can, or have ever committed, that is too great for Him to forgive and cleanse you from. God took me from being a woman who was a snare to my husband, to a woman he now wears proudly as his crown, his jewel, his greatest earthly treasure; all because our King Jesus is refining me, so that I am free to shine His glory!

I’d like to close this lesson with the chorus from the Casting Crowns’ song entitled: In Me.


“ ‘Cause when I’m weak, You make me strong
When I’m blind, You shine Your light on me
‘Cause I’ll never get by living on my own ability
How refreshing to now You don’t need me
How amazing to find that You want me
So I’ll stand on Your truth, and I’ll fight with Your strength
Until You bring the victory, by the power of Christ in me.”



Homework:
  1. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to all the Scriptures our Father wants you to see, to turn you from the desires of your flesh, and also to restore you in His love.
  2. Continue with your next day in your Love Dare Journal. Please do not stop, please do not take this lightly and please do not linger on one day too long. I've heard some people (not in our study) saying because patience is so hard for them, they'll wait until they get that mastered before they move on. Then they share it's been three weeks, since they've started, then laugh. It is different if you're actively working on a certain sin issue with God, but it is quite another to lightly consider your marriage and how it looks in the sight of our holy and awesome God.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Going to Arthur today...

Crossing Sign of Amish Buggy, Pa


Arthur is an Amish/Mennonite community about a 1/2 hour away from me. Hunter and I are going there today to visit one of his Mennonite friends, Joe. Joe's grandma, Esther, is the one who showed me how to sew cape dresses and headcoverings. She is a very wise woman. Joe's mom hasn't seen me since I stopped covering and wearing dresses. They both wanted to talk to me today. :) I think Esther is disappointed that I stopped covering. It will be interesting to hear what they have to say after I explain to them why I stopped. I respect them a lot and don't want to disappoint them or want them to think I have slipped away from Christ. I have grown closer to Him. :) I will admit, though, that there are some days I miss wearing my covering and cape dress. It was easier to find something to wear that's for sure. It's so hard to shop for modest clothing at the stores. My husband prefers that I wear jeans now. I think if we grew up Mennonite it wouldn't have been so different for him. But, I am a country girl and the jeans do come in handy. :) (Even though I did everything I do now in a skirt/dress, it's easier in jeans)

While we are there I am going to stop by the Amish bulk store to gather supplies to make laundry soap. I'll pick up some spices and meat, too. I'm hoping the Amish grocery store has fruit on sale again. They have really good sales. :)

Off to enjoy the day with some friends and brainstorming menu ideas. lol. Hope you all have a great day!


*UPDATE* Well, Esther had the reaction I figured she would. She was disappointed that I was not covering or wearing a skirt/dress anymore. She hopes that may change in the future. She understands, but wishes it was different. Joe's mom was very understanding and gracious. I told her the reasons and she said that I should do what my husband wants. I should stay under his authority and not to ever be out from under that authority that God put in order. I agreed. She said he was a Godly man and a good husband. That was so sweet of her. She then blessed me with a homemade angel food cake, green beans, beets, broccoli, and a cookbook written by Esther's husband's sister. I can't wait to use it! Hunter and Joe drove the 4-wheeler around, played on the combines, and jumped on the trampoline. It was a good day. :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Back home from camping...


We stayed at Leiber State Recreation Area in/near Cataract, Indiana. It was an interesting time. :) We got there later on Friday than we wanted to. I just couldn't get things together before we left the house on Friday. I was scurrying around trying not to forget something. We got about 10 miles down the road and I remembered that I hadn't fed the chickens for the weekend! So we turned around and went back and fed them. Then we got back on the road. Where were going was about 3 hours away. We met some of my husband's family there. We got there and set up the tent and then cooked hot dogs over the fire. We were exhausted that night, but sat around the fire for a while before going to bed.

As a result of the hot dog (my body does NOT like those) I spent most of the night here.




The outhouse that had no door or sinks. It was ok. Really. No. I lied. It was gross! lol It was so fun watching all the spiders making their attack plan to get me as I sat there. lol. Where was I gonna go? Well, I killed 4 of them that night. I won! HA! (There's gonna be one in my bed tonight now, right?)

In the morning when we woke up we found that raccoons had eaten all our food out of our cooler! I couldn't believe it. I mean, we're not stupid, we put our food in our tent so they wouldn't get it, but the cooler? I would never have guessed that they could open the latch on that and help themselves to our eggs, lunch meat, deer steaks, grapes, cheese, bacon, butter, etc. It was a mess! We had to go into town to find a store to buy our groceries all over again. :( We outsmarted them the second night. lol The showers there were community showers. Yuck! No thanks. I'm not doing that. I waited til I got home. :) I cleaned up while I was there of course, just didn't take a shower with a bunch of strangers. 0_0

We enjoyed sitting by the fire at night (in the morning, too for that matter) It was nice.








The falls were pretty. We walked down by them to get a closer look.





This is the covered bridge that went over the water. Ryan carved our initials inside. I thought that was really sweet of him. Kinda romantic. :)





More pics of us by the falls.








I am really tired from this weekend. ;) It was nice spending time with family enjoying one of God's beautiful creations. I always enjoy that!

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"There is no place like a farm for raising children, where they can have in such abundance the fresh air and sunshine, with pure living water, good wholesome food and a happy outdoor life" -Laura Ingalls Wilder