Friday, March 28, 2014

She forgets truth:(

Sadly I haven't been getting my bible study emails this week and just now got the assignment for the week. This week was so busy trying to be crafty and celebrate a certain special girls birthday I didn't even realize it til the day of the assignment. So here's my way late take on the second half of Jonah. Jonah 3 and 4.

Gonna just give you a list of thoughts to think about on this one. Then ways to apply those thoughts. Wanna switch it up a bit.
- God's got this. No really, whatever it is, He's got this. Promise.
- God is compassionate and ultimately longs for us to come to repentance.
- God's way/plan/will is ALWAYS best. Pinky promise.
- God's in control. We are NOT. 
- God will speak in whatever language we need to hear it. Analogies, parables, life lessons. He is cool like that. 
- The older brother and Jonah were not very different. 
- We ALL need God's patience and forgiveness. Even if we think that big need is just for "those people". 

The applications:
- Stop trying to control things. You can't . God can. No really, stop it.
- Jonah got mad at the plant. We think it's silly yet we often get angry ... In a very passive aggressive way...but angry nonetheless when we think something in our life is not fair. But the truth is the truth. If we were working on fair we'd all be in hell one day. So start living thankful not bitter. 
- Comparison with others is counterproductive. Run a daily assessment before The Lord about MY relationship with Him. Pour the energy I spend thinking/stressing/worrying by comparing with others into studying God's Word.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

It Can't Be!!

It just can't be days from sweet SelahBelle Ruth's first birthday! She was just born a minute ago, right? This last year has been one of the hardest yet greatest years of my life. Adding a 3rd baby has been a blessing, no doubt but even yesterday I was rocking SelahBelle to sleep and I thought about how "easy" life would be with just 2 sweet babies...gasp! I just put that in writing, didn't i? Don't judge, I'll get to the good part. But I had put the other 2 in bed and just wanted to get SB to sleep so I could go watch a show with Mick and she wasn't having it! I thought Lord, please just help a sister out! But then I almost heard Him laugh and then I got it. That's just it. It'd be easy, I'd not be sitting in that dark room meeting with my Jesus at that very moment...or the hundreds of nights this year when I've done the same. This little girl has fought hard this year to be apart of the Harper 5 and we've fought and prayed hard to keep her here. Over and over again The Lord uses a child to remind me of my continual need for Him. I have been looking back over my scrapbook/Instagram and I love seeing in weeks and pictures all that God has done in and thru SelahBelle's little life. 

These next few weeks will be a little emotional for me remembering what happened a year ago. But for this week we simply celebrate her birthday and give God all the glory for making that possible. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Everything I need to know... I learned from a snow day.

During the snow days.

Update on FB Hiatus.

Well, I think I'm past my 30 day trial period off Facebook and I made it. I have thoroughly enjoyed being more present day to day and not needing my phone at all times. I actually haven't even been counting the days or super excited to get back on. That is victory friends;)! I got on a few times to check messages but otherwise I really wasn't tempted. It turns out I CAN live without it and I'll be alright...even if I did almost miss one of my best friends birthdays! 

Now the question remains, do I head back down that spiral of time sucking or do I find away to be wise on the book  oooorrrr do I just leave it behind. Hmmm. I'd love to hear how you balance it. Not that you have a super addictive personality like mine; but I'm sure I could learn a thing or two from some of you wise women out there.

My plans as of now are to get back on, see what I've missed, get overwhelmed then stay off again for a while. I have a feeling when I tell my kiddos (especially Micah) their opinion will be to ditch it for good. I know Mick feels I've partially replaced it with Instagram, sorry for my multi picture days! But Instagram doesn't have the same stronghold/sin issues for me that fb does. Granted I still waste time there instead and am working on that. Technology. Grr.

I know this is boring but wanted to update my progress;). More excitement coming next few posts... SelahBelle is turning ONE this week!

Friday, March 21, 2014

I love my people.

Warning: this is for me to read on a day when I'm thinking "my people are gonna drive me to the crazy bin". So don't be pegging me to be one of "those Momma's". We both know who I'm talking bout and I'm not her. I'm not. 

These people are where I've been spending all my time lately. Like the last 7 years kind of lately. This week especially we've been having lots of togetherness because all 3 of them refuse to share anything til they get the stomach bug, then they share it likes it's their job. I've been getting one on one with each of them due to pukefacetime...and then more time recovering and quarantining so we are just bonding away over here.;) in between trash can runs and underwear changes! But seriously what I've noticed on this time is that I really like these people God has I entrusted to me. They are fun. They are funny. They make me laugh at and with them. Twice today we gave to strangers in need. They loved it. Micah actually insisted we give to a guy asking for money. Their hearts are on it. Even when mines not. They've got flaws...aplenty. But I'm sure glad God doesn't focus on all my junk all the time so I'm choosing to see their good too and not be so hardcore on them at times. SelahBelle continues to grow and change. I have no inkling who she's gonna be, but I can't wait to see! SadieJane continues to throw glitter at the world. Dancing, cartwheeling and intermittently becoming Mary Poppins in between. Hilarious and precious all rolled into one. Acting could be her thing if I wasn't far too afraid she'd become vain or a drug addict by 7. Yet, who knows who Shea's gonna be either. It's why I love these people. I do my best to teach, mold and disciple; but they are gonna be whoever God ultimately makes I pray they accept Him on their own one day. Then there's Micah, sweet baby bird. He is more like me than all the rest. I can hear the wheels turning in his head when anything the slightest confrontational takes place. I love to watch him play ball. Play with friends. Play anything really. He is so handsome and polite. 
That's enough. I want so badly to end this post with lists of their flaws because there are a few. And this is (almost) to sunshine and roses for my liking but there was that whole puke tmi so I think we're good. I wanted to just bask in God's goodness given to me in pint size refining packets. So I'm gonna stop there. God is good.

My BIG God is in the Details

Scripture for this weeks #shereadstruth lent assignment
Jonah 1 and 2

I'm a detail person. Having 3 children has made me less concerned with the details but I'm convinced I'm genetically predisposed to analyze, well, everything...conversations, actions, situations, get my point. Details matter to me. Maybe that's part of the reason I'm so wordy. Oh mercy, this isn't supposed to be analyzation of my analyzing. 

Back to God's word...the story of Jonah is an oh so familiar one to a lot of us but Gods Word is living and active; actively teaching us new things. Reading Jonah fresh for me had me noticing God's careful interest favorite...the details. You see, in my experience if you're a "big picture" person, you have little concern for details. I appreciate big picture people because I'm not as genetically predisposed that way. I love the way they often see great things far off when I, too concerned with the details, can't seem to get passed a few minor snags in the plan. It hit me in reading the story about "big picture" God's plan and Jonah's disobedience but the "details" of pagan sailors conversions and repentance songs in the belly of a fish. This is not news to most, but to me I am thankful for the newness of God's word shouting to me in the wee hours of morning "Stephanie, I'm your great BIG God and I care about the details too" So refreshing to see that even my great Hod who knows the big picture of my life by heart, He too cares enough to orchestrate details in the belly of a fish to show this girl He loves details too. In fact they are what make up that big picture, duh.;)

It thrilled me to be reminded that the Huge, Mighty, Amazing, Holy God we serve is not only concerns Himself with the big picture; but with the small details too. You see, we all see the overarching theme here in God's story. Jonah's lesson in obedience. His repentant heart and God's patience with his slow learning curve. We get to see how powerful God is in his display of storms and large fish. Not only that though, I noticed afresh God's purpose in the storm also converted many sailors... 
These sailors were details in God's big picture plan. As a detail person, I love this. I love seeing Him working in the storms. 

Lastly, being a detail person I cling to a "big picture" verse. Romans 8:28 talks about that God is continually working for good. There are times when the details tell us otherwise. Like in Jonah 2 as he sat with weeds around his head, he was thinking of the big yet small issue of being swallowed by a fish. When God knew that this detail would continue to work for Jonah's good in the long run. 

Our family is about to celebrate our youngest daughter's 1st birthday. It's a huge moment and we are so grateful for her. But you see a little over a year ago she was placed in the hospital with a life threatening diagnosis. At the time, "the details" were daunting and like Jonah did in the belly of the whale, we cried out to God to save us (her) and He did! In those weeks at the hospital when I concerned myself with too many details I could barely see straight. But as I clung to who God was and His truth I knew He was concerned with both; my details and His big picture. Regardless of the outcome I was convinced God deserved the glory for rescuing us in those circumstance.

I am amazed at how God continually teaches and preaches to us in our weakness. This lesson is a practical one for me today, and in the years to come. I hope He uses it to bless you and to remind you of not only His greatness but his tender loving care as well. 


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Doin' Some Updatin'

There once was a post all scattered and scared, leading up to Micahbird entering kindergarten. Then there was no update in sight. I wanted to document a little about our year. I know you are all dying to hear this Iwantedtohomeschoolmomma eat her words...I mean, has to say about the dreaded public school system. I have lots  of thoughts, what's new? So I'm gonna bulletpoint them:
-we Micah's school, principal and teacher. They love him and work hard to help him do well.
- after our first full week of homework I did (temporarily) eat my words about homeschool. Homework continues to generate great angst and gnashing of teeth. Ugh, only 12 more years of homework to go.
-going to bed at 8:30 is hard for night owl children, although I think it's improved our marriage.
-Micah loves PE, recess and that order. He would be fine if they dismissed directly after those 3.
-sight words are a beast and while I see the purpose they have played a hard part of our first year of school.
-some kids are really cut out for learning, love to learn and play school, Micah is not one of those kids.
- I am so thankful we held him back. Biggest parenting decision we have made and it is confirmed over and over this year, it was the right one. Thank you Jesus!
-kids love Micah. Girls LOVE Micah. Like want to marry Micah. Ugh, this is worse than homework.
- I do love that he is well liked. I like him a lot and I'm glad to validate my opinion outside of Momma blindness. He has made tons of friends and loves his boys...and a few girls. Argh.
- Micah's teacher got injured and was gone for a looong time. Boo hiss. But after talking with the Principal, he agreed to step in and work with Micah. It has made a WORLD of difference! I am so grateful for that kind of love and help Micah is receiving. His teacher is back now, but the principal's still meeting with Micah!
-I am afraid of common core and all the silly standards. I miss the days of satisfactory, unsatisfactory or needs improvement. I have a college education and cannot read the "report card".
-despite the above facts it appears that Micah's school marches to the beat of it's own drum and I like what I've heard this far. They are teaching to standards more than I like, but they see Micah and teach him...not just to pass a standard. This is a slippery slope and don't know how long we will be able to stand it. Prayers Ga changes their thinking on cc.
- thankfully my perspective on the year and Micah's are vastly different. Meaning he doesn't think it's as hard as I'm making it sound...or at least he doesn't know it.
-I could go on like this forever but I'll stop here. For now.

Overall this year has been a huge adjustment. Quite possibly more for me than Micah. Change is hard. School is work. But I do feel like we made the right choice. (For now) The resources that we have at Micah's school far out way my abilities and capacity to teach right NOW. That could change. But I'm not a fan of change. Bottom line whatever we did this year was gonna be hard because we added a whole new person to the family and started realdealalldaylongschool. So we've all learned a lot and are planning on finishing strong. Which will be better than how we started...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


We Read Psalm 38 

Yikers, tough stuff ahead. 

We all long to be whole, complete and filled. But the truth is there is much to be learned in the emptyness and broken parts of our souls. 
When is the last time we were broken about our sin? It may have been a while, a week or you may be sitting amidst great anxiety and angst as we study now. Repentance, examination and confession is key to our relationship with Christ. 

David was surely a man after God's heart but even he wasn't immune from great sin and in that; great brokenness. I don't know about you, but it is often torturous to walk around and "do life" when God is dealing with me about a stronghold or sin in my life. Perhaps that's why I try to avoid such raw exposure. But the prayer David is praying, while raw, is real and honest and a place we could all learn from and go to when an area of sin should be dealt with...big or small. (Not that God sees them as either. Sin is sin.)

God calls us to examine ourselves. Who among us, truly, deep down as believers wants to walk around with sin that we haven't both dealt acknowledgement as well as repentance? There are but a few.
We all long for healthy bones, sound flesh and a light yoke. But those things come from a contrite spirit that is laid down as we confess and receive fresh grace and mercy. 

I spend an awful lot of time trying to "grow" and learn and "do" in my life with Jesus, but I often skip over examining my heart for sin. It's not pretty. It brings anxiety. It even stirs up conflict. These things make my pits sweat. Seriously. 
But if David humbled himself this way...moreover if my Jesus died on the cross for MY would serve us all well to bow down (way down)and confess, repent and get real about ugly sin in our lives. 

I don't say all this because I think sisters should spend more time calling each other and themselves out (no thanks). I say it because Gods word teaches us and gives us these living examples like David to learn out of this place of brokenness, just as we learn from our victories and God's faithful miracles.

All of this to say, we know David didn't keep his nose to the dirt and neither should we...we've still received that abundant redemption and we can lay claim to that and give up the claim to our sinfulness. We lay empty before God, not to enjoy emptyness, but so that we can experience true FULLness in Christ.

We ought not look at sin trivially, but seriously. We ought to deal with it not pridefully, but humbly. We out to be broken by it, but not wallow in it. We ought to cry out to our Lord Jesus to "make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation". Then REVEL in forgiveness and wholeness that only being BROKEN and redeemed can bring. 

I pray I'm not misunderstood on what I think God is revealing through His word here. I don't feel that we should be condemned or live in a place of continual sadness. But I do feel myself steering away from true examination of sin. This might just be me. But I feel a reminder to "go there", because if not we could develop severe strongholds. David surely saw a need to be there. But at the same time God doesn't call us to live in a continuous state of anxiety or condemnation. Freedom is in Christ as we lay bare before The Lord. The light is good. Bringing our sin into the light frees us from sins power over us. So that we can LIVE life closer to Him. That's what we are all after, isn't it?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Abundant Redemption

This isn't my usual, here's pics of my babies, or here's my latest realization blogpost. I am doing a Bible study through and their challenge for lent was to write our own study on Friday's. So this is my go at doing just that. Would love your feedback and am excited about the next few Friday's. God is so much more than words on this screen could provide, but I am grateful for the opportunity to share my heart and His through His word.

Loving. Kind.
These attributes are salve to my oh so weary soul.
Because my list lately looks like this...
Quick to anger.

I haven't gone around all angry and such consistently. But the woes of this world have been getting me down. This Psalm, this prayer, this cry for help,  from David in Psalm 130 is one of great impact on my life. Time and time again the Lord brings me back to it. It must be a lesson that I need a reminder of quite a lot. You can tell by the dates in my Bible, this isn't a lesson for a season or for a specific time; this is for life. (isn't that true of His word as a whole?)

The Lord keeps no record of our sinfulness. Of our weariness. Of our anger. He forgives. Let. That. Sink. In. Feels freeing, doesn't it? To know that the same God who spoke the world into existence and who breathed the very Word we are reading forgives us...the tired Momma, the tired-of-the-dating game sista, the infertile Sarah's, the working ladies...ALL of us lay equal at the foot of the cross. We kneel down sinners and He forgives us and we rise up ABUNDANTLY redeemed. We must simply come. Ask. Confess.

While we wait patiently like those waiting on dawn He redeems us. God doesn't stop at redemption, He redeems fully, abundantly, more than we could ask or imagine. David tells us to PUT our hope in the Lord. Don't put our hope in our husband, our job, our babies, or our longing for any of these. Put our hope in the Lord and HIS unfailing love. It's an action though, this putting David tells us. We can't sit in carpool and will it upon ourselves with positive thinking. We have to consciously put our trust in Jesus and take our ultimate trust from the things of this world. Easy peasy, eh.

That's where we rest sisters. In the hope, in the love, in the abundance. Oh, if we could stay here. If our longing for more, or our comparison with the next didn't lead us elsewhere...we could rest. We could stay. That's my prayer for me, and my prayer for you. That the God who is oh so kind and loving to redeem us can lead me (us) here time and again He too, longs for us to rest and stay HERE. In His word. In His peace. Let's give it a go, shall we? And when we come up short let's put another date next to an old worn out passage and let it sink in anew. AGAIN.