Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Year

Do you ever feel like somthing's coming? Do you ever wonder what God has planned? As I think about 2009 and what it holds for me and my family I feel a sense of excitement, like something's coming....I have no idea what that something is. I so desperately want to be in God's will and make decisions that honor Him. I want His plan. But, I wonder how I can be sure it is His plan and I am walking out His plan.

Well, today I listened to the perfect sermon while I was running on the treadmill. It is from North Point Ministries out of Springfield, Minnesota. It was exactly what I needed to hear and goes right along with my previous post about abiding with Christ.

The pastor mentioned things I had heard before. He talked about knowing God's will by being in His word daily, seeking wise counsel and circumstances directing us. The revelation came when he talked about God's Fatherly advice. As a Father, God will walk us through our spiritual infancy, but as we mature and our desires match His, God will let us make some decisions on our own. He did not tell his disciples, "Travel 25 miles and preach to the people in Asia for 21 days, then travel by boat to....etc...". Instead Jesus said, "Go and make disciples." It was their job to pray and use every opportunity the crossed their path to tell others about salvation. He gave each of them talents and said you go figure out how to make much of what has been given to you.

God works all things together for the good of those that love Him. So, when we love Him where we are, when we abide with him and consider others better than ourselves we can be assured that we are in His will. Maybe this is in part, what Paul was talking about when he wrote Hebrews 5:11-13. We need to move beyond asking God to make every decision for us and use the knowledge and abilities He has given us to make some wise decisions that line up with our heart's desires, which should line us up with His plan and His desires (Psalm 40:8)

All of this to say, that my desire for 2009 is to make the most of every situation, to do my best with what has been entrusted to me (husband, kids, neighbors, job as a PA) and make some mature decisions after I have spent time abiding with Him and meditating on His Word.

I will end with some pictures of our first Christmas as a family of five in no particular order. Happy 2009!



Christmas Eve church service in Lincoln

The Baeder cousins

Hallie's new doll, Addy

Zac's new leapster

Jacob's Nintendo 64

Katie's side of the family!

Jacob sledding

Building snowmen with Poppie

Christmas in Kearney

Poppie's idea to make the snow slide extra fun!

My boys sledding

Kenagy Christmas picture

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Six Years Ago Today...

...I was holding my first child, a brand new baby girl. Hallie is my precious daughter. I am so thankful for all the fun we have playing dolls, doing hair, dancing together and so many other girly things. I am thankful for her loving, kind, compassionate heart. I am thankful she is growing into such a polite, caring, thoughtful girl. I am thankful for her child-like faith. Hallie, is a treasure to me.



Happy Birthday, sweetheart!

Monday, December 22, 2008

No Wasted Moments

Tonight Hallie and I headed off to a Daisies Gingerbread House display in the snow. I had the truck so I figured the snow wouldn't be a problem. I got the directions and we were off to 30th and State Street (really far away from our house). When I realized I was on the complete wrong side of town and traffic was not moving, I got frustrated! After calling for new directions I finally realized that Hallie and I were not going to make it to see her Daisy friends or the Gingerbread houses.

In all this, my sweet daughter remained calm and accepted the disappointment very well. I, on the other hand, could feel my body temperature rising and my attitude quickly declining.

That's when I felt a little nudge from the Spirit. I told Hallie, "Mommy, really needs some patience right now." She responded with a cheerful rendition of our patience song...

"Have patience, Have patience. Don't be in such a hurry. When you get impatient you only start to worry. Remember, Remember, that God is patient too and think of all the others that have to wait for you!"

This brought a smile to my face and an idea to my head. We spent the next forty five minutes in the truck singing and reciting all the bible verses we knew together. We laughed and when we finally arrived at Grammy's house (we needed some place fun to go) Hallie said, "that was fun, Mom!" Can you believe it! An hour and a half car ride to no where and I wouldn't have traded it for anything.

I am so thankful for my daughter's patient disposition, go-with-the-flow attitude, her singing voice and tender heart. I am thankful that God can turn anything to good!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Abiding in Him

Can I just tell you all how much I love Jesus! The last few days have been so sweet with Him. Let me tell you why...

I have had something in my life that I have been praying for so much and I have just not seen the answers coming. So, I stumbled (ha!) on to a sermon series by Beth Moore on-line about how to have a powerful prayer life. She was referencing John 15 and talking about how He will answer our prayers, but our job is to abide in and with him. My question immediately was, so what does it look like to abide with Him? She talked about how sometimes a pet will just sit on your lap, your not necessarily interacting, but there is a constant awareness of the pet's presence and vice versa. When the owner is ready to get up and go for a walk the pet is ready to go to. Well, even though I am not an animal lover that picture worked for me.

So, I asked God to help me be more always aware of His presence. WOW! Does that make all the difference in the world! Immediately, I was more open to His plan than mine and within a half hour I was sitting at lunch with an aquaintance discussing her relationship with God.

This weekend has been full of joy and answered prayer (which is promised in John 15). Our family was able to celebrate helping some people this weekend that were in need, AND I began to see an answer to my biggest prayer request of all.

Last night, I should have been exhausted, but God had other plans. He kept me alert and awake and instead of going through the motions of my day with no regard for His presence and guiding, I woke up and ended up having a very significant conversation with someone I hold so dear. What did we talk about? Jesus.

Life is fuller, more joyful and less disappointing when I abide in and with Jesus. That's the whole reason he came to the earth. Thank you, Jesus for the gift of more of you this Christmas. I love you!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I got tagged

I got a tagged by my friend, Jen Conant. The rules are: go to your picture files and find the fourth picture, then post it. Here's mine...


Pretty sweet picture of Zac when he turned three! Now I am tagging...
Lindsey from Our everyday blessings, Carey from A Russian Fairytale and Carrie from Big Happy Family.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jacob's Preschool Program

Last night we got to attend Jacob's first official preschool program. He looked so handsome and sang along with his classmates so well. The highlight of the night was when the pastor was giving his sermon and Jacob chimed in. The pastor said something about Jesus being born, living and then dying for us. He asked something about why he died and Jacob shouts out, "He died for our sins!"

I was so happy to hear that some of the truth we are teaching is getting into his head. I pray it will plant itself deep in his heart.
video

Monday, December 15, 2008

My little helper

Tonight, Ryan had a late appointment so my sweet Hallie helped me with the bedtime routine. After reading Zac a bedtime story he cried for endless hugs while I was trying to read Jacob his bedtime story. Believe me, he got plenty of hugs and he really wasn't in need of genuine affection be was simply trying for "manipulation hugs" as we call them around here. So, I told him he would have to go to bed and wait until I was done with Jacob. Hallie heard him wailing and politely asks, "Mom, can I go try and make him feel better?" I say sure and she goes in with the sweetest mommy voice and says, "hey sweetheart, can I give you a snuggle?" She then proceeds to calm him down and "read" him a book. By the time I was done with Jacob he was asking for special Hallie time too! So, she obliges and then turns their light off, says, "sleep tight, boys" and closes the door. They didn't even try to come out after that!

She looks at me and says, "Wooo, that was hard work getting those boys to bed!"

Hallie is such a delightful, loving girl full of sensitivity towards others and compassion. It is a joy to see God at work in her heart!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Adopted and Changed

Yesterday, our Nanny decided to call Zachary, Pasha. We do that sometimes as well because it is such a cute name and for so long he called himself Pasha (his Russian name). When she did this Zac's response was, "No, I not Pasha. I turned into Zac!"

I found this so fascinating. At three, he did not forget that he used to be Pasha, but he knows without a doubt that he is now Zac. I am so thankful that he proudly and joyfully calls himself Zac, the name his parents gave to him. We always loved the name Zac and when we found out it means, Remembered By God, it was the perfect name for our son.

I am always delighted when my kids teach me and remind me about God's truths. When I heard this story I was reminded about my joy in being called by God as one of His daughters. We are adopted into his family and as a believer we are a new creation. I haven't forgotten my old life of sin, but rejoice because I have a new identity in Christ.

"For God chose us to be adopted as his sons and daughters through Jesus Christ." Eph 1:5
"If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old is gone and the new has come." 2 cor 5:17

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Snuggles

Zachary has turned into the best snuggler! Each morning he comes into our room (sometimes a little too early) with his pillow and asks, "Mama, little snuggle?" Of course I oblige and he crawls up next to me. This morning he snuggled in close, put his arm around me and gave me a kiss. Then he said, "Mama, I love you. You are cute and adorable." How precious is that!! What a great way to start an early day!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Creator

I just finished a book club with a group of wonderful, diverse women. We got together to discuss the book, The Shack. We had differing ideas and thoughts but we all enjoyed the discussion and time of fellowship.

I am thankful to God for blessing me with opportunities for "girl time" and deep discussion about Him. One of the themes in the book was the idea that He is the Creator and I am the created. Even though I sturggle with that role at times, when I contemplate that the satisfaction and joy I get out of reading, learning, "girl time" and simple things like book clubs is because He created me that way I am so thankful to Him for being my Creator.

It's only in this last year that I have discovered a love for books and reading. It's so fun to think that God, as my loving Creator, will continue to bless me with surprise interests and friends as the story of my life unfolds.

So, I am off to bed to start next month's book, The Glass Castle. God, my Creator, knows what I will learn and discover and enjoy and I picture him delighting in me just as I love watching my kids learn and delight in discovery.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Scripture Memory

I have to thank my friend, Mindy for challenging me last year to teach my kids scripture. I initially thought that 3 and 4 years old was too young to memorize scripture. Mindy was telling me how she decided that if her kids could memorize music and so many other things that starting to memorize scripture made sense. Well, it made sense to me too! Putting the truth into their heads and praying for it to sink into their hearts at a young age is so important.

In the last year our kids have memorized about 15 verses and each has it's own song or action to go along with it. We usually make it fun by passing around a candle at dinner time and the person holding the candle gets to say or sing the verse and then blow the candle out to finish it off. Then he or she picks the next person to sing the verse. I know this is a huge fire hazard, but in one year we have not had an injury!

Anyway, the verse for this month is Genesis 1:31..."God saw all that he had made and it was very good." (set to the tune Yankee Doodle). We are so proud of Zac for starting to pick up this verse memorization too. Below is a video of Zac singing the verse. It wasn't his best effort, but when the camera is on you never know what you are going to get!
video

Friday, November 28, 2008

Giving Thanks

I can't let this weekend pass without expressing thanks to God for...


...His unfailing, gentle love that teaches and guides me daily.
...the husband that He gave me.  A man that pursues God with passion, leads our family with integrity and prayer and lets me know he loves me every single day.
...the children God has blessed me with.  Hallie, Jacob and Zachary are miraculous gifts from my merciful and loving heavenly Father.
...my parents that never cease to be some of my biggest fans.  They are always encouraging and loving me with their generosity and servant hearts.
...my big brother.  His honesty, time, friendship and his protection and love for my kids is one of the greatest gifts this year has brought me.
...my beautiful sister and her family. That I could be with them to welcome God's amazing gift of a new son into their family is a treasured memory for me.
...for my good, good friends.  Distance has not changed the bond that ties us together in Christ.  I will forever be grateful to God for answering my prayers for these precious friends.
...each breath, each moment, each day that he mercifully sustains my life for his good purposes.  That He uses my mistakes and works them into His plans for good purposes.

"for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."  Philippians 2:13 

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  Romans 8:28

 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Moments

Today was great! Not perfect, but great! I managed to stop auto-pilot mothering long enough to catch some sweet moments of my children.

As we were walking home from school I watched my 3, 4 and 5 year olds strolling down the path enjoying the day and each other.

We started to put up Christmas decorations and found the box with all our Christmas books. This is Zac's first Christmas at home and he found our favorite children's book about the birth of Jesus right away. I got to watch him turn the pages and delight in the pictures and sounds the book makes.

Jacob helped me put up some outside lights today. I got to witness the most beautiful, delighted grin on his face when we turned the lights on tonight.

Watching Jacob proudly singing his songs at his preschool's Thanksgiving Feast.

Jacob singing, "God is Love, God is Love..." under his breath at the playground today.

Walking in to find Hallie had put her Precious Moments Nativity scene up in her room. All the animals and people were facing baby Jesus, not facing out for her to see them. Is that perfect or what?

As I approach Thanksgiving I am overwhelmed by God's tender mercies and abundant gifts to me. My salvation was more than I could even have asked for and yet his love is so deep that he lavishes moments like these on me every day. I saw Him working and present today in my life and I am grateful!

"Give Thanks to the Lord, for He is good!" Jeremiah 33:11

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Covering My Children in Prayer

This idea was inspired by http://audreycaroline.blogspot.com/2008/11/7x7. I decided to find verses to pray for my kids each day. My goal is to pray this scripture out loud, over them each day as they are getting ready to start their day and each night before they close their eyes to go to sleep. I believe in God and His promises so completely that I want my children to hear his truth and be blessed by it. My hope is that in doing this I will see God working in their lives more clearly and they might begin to recognize Him too.


Morning prayer taken from Psalm 143:8-10

Lord, let this morning bring ________ word of your unfailing love. I pray she/he will put her/his trust in you. Show her/him the way he/she should go. Rescue her/him from her/his enemies, Lord and teach her/him to do Your will.

Evening prayer taken from Psalm 4:8

Lord, I pray that _________ will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make her/him dwell in safety.

Endurance

I find myself too often feeling spent at the end of a day.  My nerves are shot from repeating the same things over and over to my children and trying desperately to catch them doing good instead of always finding fault.  Today, was one of those days.  Our sweet little Zac seemed to have spent a large majority of his day whining, grabbing, crying and disobeying.  It is so frustrating to me.  I question whether it is him being three, a boy, adoption issues, sibling rivalry, poor parenting...and then I try to balance doing laundry and cleaning our home with quality play time with all the kids.  It's hard to figure out the balance, give each child the love and care I want to give them and manage a home.  So, what is the solution?  


I am so glad I have a place to write this down.  It is a way for me to be more accountable to myself.  

First...I need to hand over my day to God first thing EVERY day.  I know this, and yet I so often fail to do it.  It's a lot like my children having to hear the same discipline and lessons from me day after day without ever seeming to learn the lesson...hmmm, maybe God is trying to teach me something about myself through my parenting.

Second...I need to pray God's Word over my kids in their presence each day.  I plan on finding some verses to share with all of you in the near future.  

Third...Remember that I am broken and they are the offspring of brokenness.  Letting my heart become more tender and compassionate as I put selfishness aside.

"Praise be to the God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts me in all my troubles, so that I can comfort those (my children) with the comfort I have received from God.  If I am distressed, it is for my children's comfort and salvation; if I am comforted, it is for my children's comfort, which produces in them patient endurance... (personalized for a mother).  2 Corinthians 1:3-6

Days of distress and suffering in parenting are guaranteed, and there is a purpose in every day and every situation. Knowing that suffering produces perseverance and is filled with hope actually fills my heart with a heavenly joy and drives me to endure and enjoy moments of difficulty as opportunity.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Why This Blog?

I wanted a place to write some of my reflections and thoughts about seeing and knowing Jesus in the midst of mothering my three children, Hallie, Jacob and Zachary. Too many times, my focus shifts away from Him as I go through my days and my heart's desire is that I would set my mind and heart on Him at all times and see him in all things. So, this is my attempt to journal about the moments in life that I, or others too often dismiss as mundane, routine or attribute to chance and instead see Jesus knitting all those moments together for His glory and good purposes in the lives of others and for me.

My prayer...

Lord, I pray that You would go before me. That You would guard my way and hem me in Your perfect plan. That I would know and say and do all you've prepared for me, to accomplish Your good purpose and bring glory to Your Name.