Friday, December 31, 2010

Tithing Testimony

I wrote this testimony two years ago. It is so good to go back and see the good things the Lord has done!
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I was raised on the principle of giving 10% of my income to God. I have godly parents who instilled that in my sister and I from early childhood. Whatever we earned, we gave 10% back to God. My husband was not raised this way. I wanted to tithe, but he couldn’t see how we could afford it. So I started out with small amounts. I would put $25 in the plate. Every year I would ask him if I could put more in. As he saw the faithfulness of God, he agreed and every year we went up about $25 a paycheck, until he was convicted to tithe 10% of his income to the Lord. God was not done yet. As we continued to read God’s Word, he showed us that He wanted us to start giving our “first fruits”. This was a stretch for us! Ten percent before taxes? That was a lot of money! Especially, when we had 3 young children. But we were faithful to this and started to give. Boy, did God prove Himself faithful!

Five years ago we were about $8,000 in debt from student loans, credit cards, and a home equity loan combined. We had worked hard to pay off our vehicles, but still had this debt hanging over our heads. We were living in a 926 square foot house with three children and wanted to move. We put our house up for sale after finding (we thought) the house of our dreams. That house was lost to us because we didn’t sell our house in time. We felt the Lord telling us to take it off of the market and to focus paying off our debt. He told us He would provide for us. Even though that house was small and I was pregnant with our 4th child, I experienced a spirit of contentment like I’d never had had before. When Andrew was born, we really got serious about paying off our debt. In one year, God enabled us to pay off $20,000 of debt! Our debt had gone up because we had to purchase a vehicle that would fit all of us. Some people might ask us, “Did you stop tithing during that year, so that you could pay more toward your debt?” The answer is, “NO!” We did not stop tithing. We continued to give first fruits, and God BLESSED us!
After paying off our debt, God moved us into a 4 bedroom house that has tons of room! He doubled our space both inside and outside!

Since we started tithing our first fruits here are just a few things that God has provided for us.

A larger house
two paid off vehicles
free sod
$5,000 worth of homeschool curriculum for just $250
a brand new mattress
A trundle bed
A play structure
A nice computer desk
A monitor
A miniature horse
A goat
Baby equipment
Clothes, clothes and more clothes!
Free beef
Free food
A $250 pool for $25
Unexpected checks in the mail to pay unexpected bills
Educational Therapy

These are just a few I can remember from the top of my head! Believe me, there are more!
Put your fear aside, trust God to do more than you think He can.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The More I Seek You

This song keeps going through my head. I can't embed it, but if you click on the link, you can hear it. It is beautiful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NI_1YliutzA&feature=related

This song completely describes where I am at spiritually right now. Because of not being on my feet, I have had lots of time to think and contemplate the things of the Lord. He has loved me enough to encourage me to look into some of my old wounds again. He wants me to heal from the inside out. It has been hard to look back when I just want to "push it down". It isn't fun dealing with it over and over again. But as I have looked deeper than I ever had and repented of my own sins in these situations, I am feeling washed and cleansed by my Savior. I feel closer and closer.


It is true...The more you invest in your relationship with the Lord, the more return you will recieve.

"Believing God" by Beth Moore, has been an extraordinary Bible study. I AM experiencing a fresh explosion of faith. I am believing God for things that I had given up for dead in several areas of my life.



The more you seek Him, the more you will find Him.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Nursemaids and an Update

After my surgery, my sister was able to come up and help me. Hailey and Jessica put on their "nursemaid" costumes and waited on me hand and foot. It was precious. These two girls are really starting to play more together despite their age difference.
Lily got into the cupcakes! I think she even had frosting up her nose!
Jessica in her full "uniform".
And just for extra fun, Hailey woke up with a protractor stuck on her finger. Praise the Lord, Steve was actually here, or I probably would have had to take her to the doc's to get this thing off. Soap didn't work. Steve ended up getting a blade off of his recip saw and carefully cut the plastic around her finger. I still can't believe he didn't cut her finger. She was so incredibly brave, I just about had a panic attack watching. As Steve was cutting, she looked up at him and sweetly said, "Thanks for cutting this off my finger, Uncle Steve." So sweet! I think we might have a little bonding moment between the two of them.

I am still recovering. I'm kind of at a standstill with it. My stitches are healing, but the I am still having lots of pain where the spike is in my foot. I don't know if it will go away until it is taken out in several more weeks. I am able to take a shower by myself now, which is the highlight of my day. I am also able to get on the computer a bit more and putt around in my walker a smidge.

Please pray for Steve. He is under incredible stress right now with holding down his job and mine. I am praying that He will turn to the Lord and ask Him for His strength. I ask that you would pray that and anything else God lays on your heart. It has been hard on everyone.

I don't know how I would have gotten through this without an incredible support system. You know who you are and I thank from the bottom of my heart.

Hope you all have a Happy New Year!
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Godly Parenting Devotion


Dear Mothers,

I was reading the Bible one morning and I came across some wonderful nuggets in Micah. I honestly didn’t know how much I would get out of reading this minor prophet, but I found that God has something to say to mothers in this book.

The first nugget was “Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul”? -Micah 6:7b. God is telling us that the life of our children is precious. He hated that His people in the Bible days sometimes practiced the evil art of sacrificing their firstborn children. They thought that it would save them from their sins or bring them “luck”. It was considered the “ultimate sacrifice” back then.

The last part of that verse, “The fruit of my body” was a sweet reminder of how God views our children. If he considers our children “The fruit of my body”, then I need to think of them the same way. Many people ask why Steve and I want to have a large family. This is the main reason. We consider them “the fruit” of our lives. The only thing we will take with us when we leave this world is our redeemed souls and the redeemed souls of our children. We consider them a blessing and not a hindrance. It is not an easy life, but God gives us strength and has miraculously provided for our needs many times. I would like you to view your children as the “fruit” of our bodies today. It will change your attitude if you are struggling with a difficult situation.

The other nugget I found was when I kept reading this wonderful book. Micah 6:8 says, “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” How can we apply this? So many moms call me and ask me, “What should I do, my child is doing such and such?” We can go to the Word. God says He will show us what is good! So let’s break this down.

He requires us to act justly. This means we need to judge situations fairly and without partiality. Many times one child is acting up more then the other. I make unfair and rash judgments when I don’t think things through and that child gets blamed for more then he or she actually did. We need to pray before we punish. This means that it’s OK to tell you children that you need a few minutes to think about the situation.

He wants us to love mercy. Many times when our children deserve a punishment God leads us to give mercy instead. This shouldn’t be all the time; otherwise our children would go wild! But if you are in tune with the Holy Spirit, He will guide you to give mercy to teach a sweet lesson on how our God deals with us.

He wants us to walk humbly with your God. If you can do this, walk with humility before God, you will be able to admit when you are wrong to God and to your children. You will have a more peaceful life if you do this. Your children will see that Mom makes mistakes too, and they will be taught to forgive as they long to be forgiven. The moment I think I’m doing “pretty good” at this mom-thing, is the moment that I fall flat on my face! I have to be humble. I have to remember that my strength comes from God. I am but a weak vessel that has amazing potential because of God’s grace and mercy. He is the one that gets the glory for any of my victories.

So there you have it. Who knew Micah would be speaking to moms in this day and age! Go with God and present your lives as living sacrifices to our Savior. Serve your family with humility, mercy and love. He will BLESS you, immeasurably!

From One Mom to Another,

Stacie

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Foot Surgery Pics -What I had done


Warning: Graphic
I've been struggling with my bunion for as long as I can remember. When I started running this past year, it all seemed to come to a head when I couldn't find any shoes that didn't absolutely kill my feet. Then I had more and more problems with finding comfortable flat shoes. I felt the Lord prompting me to see a doc about it. They confirmed that I qualified for surgery. Even though this is the worst possible time in my life to have surgery, being at 100% on our insurance, I made up my mind to do it before the first of the year. If you are squeamish, I am warning you the next few pictures are pretty graphic. But I am so excited to tell you that the surgery is probably a success.






There were two incisions. One in between my toes to correct to break the bone and remove scar tissue so that my big toe will be straight instead of sloping to the right. The second incision was to remove the excess bone that was sticking out. The pin the the toe is about 4 inches long and goes straight into my foot and holds it all together.
This is the day after my surgery. The boot has been a problem because of swelling. My big toe is extremely sensitive and can't stand any pressure. I have to wear the boot though or my Achilles tendon might shorten during the six to eight week recovery. The pin absolutely grosses me out. I can hardly stand to look at it and break out in a cold sweat when I think of them removing that with me being awake and no pain killers. God alone is going to get me through that one. I've never had stitches before and he got me through the removal OK. It stung, but glad that one more step is done.
This picture shows the difference in the shape of my foot. My toes are no longer listing to the right and my foot is narrower. I'm praying that when all is said and done all of this pain and hassle of not being on my feet will be worth it. I look forward to walking and even running again.

My church family has been such a big help with meals. I am so thankful! My husband has had to step out of his comfort zone and do many tasks that he has never had to do. My sweet sister came and spent a week with me. She did an outstanding job and I can't tell you how much it meant for me to have her here keeping me company as I was feeling so lonely and blue. My friend, Margaret has been a huge help and even gave Jackie a break so that she could have a nap. She also took me to my doc appointment on Friday. So thankful again for all the friends and family that are willing to help me. Grandparents are scheduled to help out a lot in the next two weeks. It will be nice to have company, since I can't get out.

Even though the surgery and recovery time was a lot harder that I expected, I know God is teaching me things and I will grow because of it. I am trying to have a positive attitude and have only had a few "emotional" moments (mostly when I feel helpless and frustrated as I rely on others to meet my needs).

Thank you for all your prayers. I can't tell you how much it means to me to have all of you praying and lifting our family up in this difficult time. My sister would print out the comments for me so I could read them and they encouraged my heart so much. Thank you so much! Love to all and have a Merry Christmas.

(I need to go put my foot up, I've been really naughty to do this. I just had to let you know how I was doing. You all have been so wonderful!) Forgive me for not proofing. I need to get off of here! LOL!
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Two Older Boys

Josh looks so grown up in these pictures. I can hardly believe it! I am seeing huge changes in this young man. I have to tell you, I am proud of him. He has come a long ways in his reading and math skills. He has worked very hard for it.

Marcus is really maturing, too. Marcus probably has the strongest personality among my children. Although we butt heads the most, this kid has the greatest spiritual understanding of them all. The questions he asks and the things he figures out in his head are pretty advanced. We enjoy doing Bible trivia together. We are always trying to stump each other!
He is so helpful with Lily. He really has a heart for little ones. He is patient and he likes to play with them. I think this boy would be an excellent missionary.
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Two Younger Boys

Isn't this little guy darling? Jacob is such a happy child. He is also very easy to discipline. He has a very tender heart and doesn't like to fall out of favor. I have to be very careful not to damage his little heart and go overboard. It doesn't take much.
Almost every day he comes up to me and says, "Mom, your my best friend". I always get a sweet little hug and kiss to accompany it. Sigh...Life is good!
Andrew is growing by leaps and bounds. He is still as curious as ever. I still think he will run an excavater when he grows up. Tearing things apart seems to be his speciality. He is really working on being truthful and kind.
I get lots of hugs from this little guy, too!
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Update On Stacie

Hi there! This is Stacie's twin sis, Jackie. I'm staying with Stacie this week while she is recovering from her surgery. She wanted me to get on here and give a little update.

Her surgery went well and she is now at home recovering. It has been difficult to keep the kids out of her room, especially the little one, Lilly. Since I got here, she's been doing better and calling me mama. Good thing we are identical twins because I think she feels really comfortable with me. I'm getting lots of "sugar" from her this way ;)

Stacie is still in a great deal of pain, especially at night, but hopefully that will get better soon. She basically had her toe broken, bunion shaved and now there is a pin sticking out of the top of her bid toe, holding it all together. It is hard not to bump the pin. Please pray the swelling will stay down.

She feels that God is providing all her needs through meals, a nice walker and help when she needs it. She wants me to thank you for all the prayers and asks that you continue to pray because it is going to be long road to full recovery.

God Bless,
Jackie

P.S. She wanted to clarify that when she said "It's a boy!" She was referring to the birth of Jesus ;) So no she is not expecting another child. Sorry for the confusion.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Foot Surgery Today-Please Pray

So today is the big day. I am off to have my bunion removed. I am trying to not freak out over all of the logistical things that I haven't been able to plan ahead of time. I have to trust God that meals will be made and delivered, laundry will get done, house will get clean, chores will get done, homeschooling will continue, children will get all the rides they need to their activities, and that I am NOT dispensable. Christmas this year, will be much more simple. Is that a bad thing? I think not...
Life will go on, it will just be different. These two boys are going to have to really take up the slack. They are going to have a lot of responsibility in the next six to eight weeks. I know they can do it. Hubby and I have trained them well.
The will all learn that they must work together as a team. Cooperation is going to be essential.
I thank the Lord that we are at 100 percent on our insurance. This whole surgery will be paid for. What a huge blessing! Even though everyone tells me that this is an extremely painful surgery, I am sort of looking at it like childbirth. The end result will be worth it.

Pray for our family. We are going to need it.

PS, don't know how much blogging I'll be doing. I've scheduled some posts, but I will try to keep you updated on how we are doing when I can.

Love you all!
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Girls

Even though Lily is 20 months old, I can hardly believe I can say "my girls". I love having two girls! Here are a few pictures that our friend, Becky took in the park.
Jessica's teeth are starting to fill in. I'm going to miss that toothless grin! She actually let me blow dry her hair and curl flip it out. She hasn't let me do it since, but at least she knows I won't burn her with the curling iron (her dad accidentally did, and now she is totally gun shy!)
Here is little Miss Lily Pie. She has such a personality! I wish you could see the funny faces she makes and listen to her snort like a pig!
She seems the opposite of Jessica when it comes to the hair-thing. She is constantly bringing me things to put in her hair and she leaves it in most of the time. They have very different personalities. Jessica is more shy and not very affectionate. Lily so far, is very outgoing and very affectionate.

They absolutely adore one another! Lily is starting to play dolls with Jess now, and Jess is always dressing Lily up in all of her pretty dresses. They put on the Nutcracker the other day and were dancing ballerinas! I'm so thankful for a sister for Jess. It used to be Andrew and Jacob that she dressed in the ballerina suits! LOL!
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Are They All Yours?

I get this question a LOT! Yes, and no, it wasn't an accident. We did mean to have all of these children.
The next question will enivitably be, "Your hands are so full!" Yes, they are. As you can see, they are full of blessings.
I pray that each of these children will grow up and make a difference in their world. That they will follow wherever God leads them. God has given each of them special gifts and I want to be a tool in discovering what they are.
I love my children and even though each day presents it's challenges, if I keep these long-term goals in mind, I know everything is going to be OK.

"Thank you, Lord, that I said "yes" to you. I would have stopped at two, but you had a much bigger plan for me. A plan that I couldn't have possibly imagined. A plan that I would have thought impossible for me to do. Thank you that you go before me, leading me every step of the way. I don't want to go anywhere without you, Lord. You are my strength and my song!"

I pray that when all is said and done, that they will be all Yours.
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Friday, December 3, 2010

Righteousness

I wanted to share some highlights from Nancy Campbell's latest devotional series on "Righteousness". Some of her thoughts were powerful and I pray that you will be blessed.

Righteousness is associated with Joy

Hebrews 1:9 says, "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."

Because Christ Jesus the Son loves righteousness, He is anointed with the oil of gladness (Psalm 45:7). Righteousness is the opposite of looking pious. It is the opposite of misery. If we walk in righteousness, we'll abound with joy. We'll laugh and sing! Our homes will resound with laughter and gladness. Can you imagine the joyful atmosphere in the homes that are pictured in Psalm 118:15? "The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous." Psalm 68:3 says, "Let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice."

Righteousness is associated with Boldness

Proverbs 28:1 says, "The righteous are bold as a lion." Don't you love that? Righteousness is the opposite of timidity and fear. If we are walking in righteousness we will not fear, but will be bold to proclaim God's truth and salvation. We will speak out like Peter and John did when they were commanded not to speak about Jesus, "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:18-20).We will be like the disciples who spoke boldly for the Lord, whether they were in the synagogue or in the market place.

Righteousness is associated with Thankfulness

Psalm 140:13 says, "Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name." The spirit of righteousness exudes thankfulness. It is a spontaneous overflowing of praise to God, in the good times and in the bad. It also shows gratefulness to others. It is the opposite of grumbling and complaining.Instead of grumbling about your circumstances, thank God that He is in control and will never leave you or forsake you.  Instead of
complaining about your husband, appreciate him. If he takes out the garbage, thank him. If he doesn't, praise the Lord anyway. If he helps you with the dishes, thank him. If he doesn't, be grateful for him anyway. Thank him for working hard to provide for you. Thank him for choosing you to be his wife. Thank your children when they help you. Forget thinking you are righteous if you have a complaining spirit.

Righteousness is associated with walking in Light

Psalm 37:6 says, "He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light." When we walk in righteousness, we walk in the light. We are transparent before God and before one another. The woman who walks in righteousness in her home has an open face, shining the light of the glory of God before her family. The righteous woman is the opposite of the one who thinks she is "righteous" but looks as though she has been baptized in lemon juice instead!

Righteousness is associated Authority

God gives His authority to the righteous. Proverbs 14:19 says, "The evil bow before the good; and the wicked at the gates of the righteous." The righteous woman guards over what goes on inside her home. She watches in prayer. She constantly checks her home for all inroads of the enemy. She knows that she will lose her authority if she lets the devil have even one little inch in her home. When our homes are filled with righteousness, we can walk in the authority God gives us in His name. When the enemy comes to the gates of our home, he skids to a stop! There is no foothold for him to enter. Do you remember the story in Acts 19:14-16 where certain men tried to cast out evil spirits like Paul, but instead they were overcome by the enemy and had to flee for their lives? We cannot have authority over the devil when there is unrighteousness in our lives; nor can we push back the enemy from our home if we allow unrighteousness to harbor in our home.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Grace Mothering


Dear Mothers,

I have to tell you how thankful I am that my mothering is covered by the Blood of Jesus. So many days, I have the best intentions to be a kind, patient, Holy-Spirit-filled mother, but fall flat on my face in the first ½ hour of the day! Some days, I even get a little prideful and think to myself, “I’m doing pretty good!” Watch out! That’s when the enemy is going to move in for the kill!

The Bible says that the enemy is a “prowling lion, roaming about the earth, seeking whom he may devour”. Remember this! He is seeking to devour you, your children, and your home! He doesn’t want you to succeed. He doesn’t want you to raise godly offspring. He will do whatever it takes to get you to lose sight of God’s Vision for your family. He will keep you busy; he will distract you (sometimes with good and godly things). If he can destroy just one home, think of the effects of that. If he can destroy one marriage, one relationship with a child, or keep your home in constant chaos, he is winning!

“How can I stop him?” you cry! Pray!!!!!! Pray for your marriage, pray for your children, pray for peace in the home. Pray for wisdom of how to make your home a godlier, peaceful place to be. He will grant it! He promises us that He will! Pray the Blood of Jesus over your home. Pray that when people sin against each other within these walls, that true confession and repentance will take place. Be a godly example to them. When you blow it, confess to them, then pray and confess to God and ask for forgiveness. Be reconciled to each other and to God. God’s Grace is infinite, it’s huge! He gives us a clean slate every time we come to Him.

Yelling is one of the main problems in our house. If we are upset, we yell at each other. We have been praying about this and asking God for wisdom to overcome this problem. God has given us a creative solution. I made a sign that is red and in bold letters, it says “STOP yelling!” If someone is out of control and yelling, anyone can go get the sign and hold it up. The person doing the yelling HAS to stop yelling. He or She will take a small “time-out” until they are calm enough to talk in a normal voice. This has made for a more peaceful atmosphere within our home.

Sometimes, moms need “time-outs”, too! If things are just getting out of control, I will send everyone to their rooms for a 20 minute break. Also, if one child just can’t stop offending or picking on another child, they lose the privilege of being with the family for an extended period of time (I usually make them go to their rooms for a half-hour). This helps keeps peace within the home too. Sometimes, you just have kids that are grumpy and in foul moods. Well, they can be grumpy in their rooms!

God’s mercies are new every morning. The sun rises again and I remember that I don’t have to act the way I did yesterday. I can ask Him instead to give me grace in my mothering and allow Him to change my heart, mind, and soul. This will in turn, change my mothering. Halleluiah!

From One Mom to Another,

Stacie
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