Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Priorities and Provision

I am certain that time will just escape me now that I am sitting down to write, but I am just shocked at how God has structured this day today. I have had many things to do, and, once I completed those tasks, I actually have time to sit and write! It is amazing to me! The children are napping! The floors are mopped and vacuumed! The carpet floor has been scrubbed for spots. The dishes are done and laundry is in the drier. The walls are wiped down and ready for painters to come in an paint an accent wall (courtesy of the apartment complex for renewing our lease. It also helps that there are crayon markings ALL OVER that particular wall from sweet children who took advantage of an ill parent one day last week!) Let me just run down a list of what God has blessed us with:

Time. I am finding more time in my days to do a daily quiet time and to spend time each evening in meditation, prayer, and reading. Nothing has changed as far as our work load. Nathan still is working two jobs and I have recently been promoted as a supervisor at my work. Nathan is also still taking classes, so this fresh sweet time we've been given to know Him better is a gift, and I do not know where it came from. Although I will add that the television has been disconnected from the antenna for over a month now, and we could not be happier about it!

The van is still a blessing to us. Because of the size of the vehicle, we have been able to fill it with other things that we'll need for the new baby. Just last week we were able to take home the following things that God provided:
A toddler bed for Benjamin so that the crib will be available for the new baby
A high chair for the new baby

It has been truly amazing how our needs have been met during this season. I could be searching for hours and hours on craigslist, and instead I have the honor and privilege of blogging about how God is faithful!

He is also showing me different ways that I need to rearrange my priorities at work and at home. On my refrigerator is a list (because I need constant reminders) of the things that are the most important responsibilities I have here on earth:

1. Daily Quiet Times (morning and evening). I can't be legalistic about having a quiet time two times a day, but there is nothing better than delighting in God's word and knowing Him and trusting Him. The most important thing we can do here on earth is to Know God, to accept His righteousness that has been given to us through Christ, to honor and enjoy Him all of our days in all of our circumstances. This has incredibly impacted my thought life, my awareness of spiritual warfare, my faith, and more. This scripture speaks plainly on the man who meditates on God's word day and night and cherishes His laws.

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
2But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
Psalm 1:1-3

2. Development of my Family.
Being intentional as a wife and a mother to encourage and support my husband and to train my children in faith and in life. In going through the Old Testament, you can find time and time again references of bad kings whose mothers did not love God wholeheartedly. Mothers have an incredible responsibility and influence on the direction of the lives of their children. We must be intentional to teach them about God while they are young. I am trying to understand what this looks like fleshed out and to determine what steps to take and how to organize our days so that this is number 2 in our lives. My husband also needs me to be a diligent helper, to be quick to encourage and slow to complain. He needs me to pray for him and with him and to submit to his requests without complaint.

3. Care of my Home. I have a responsibility to be a caretaker of the home I've been given. This will allow for ministry to continue to flow within our family without distractions from as much illness or clutter. This will give us the freedom to open our home to the community and give of ourselves in other ways. This is a work in progress right now, but Carolyn Mahaney is helping me to understand how to take great joy in working in the home, how to seek opportunities for teaching at every moment, and the freedom that exists when a home is well maintained.

4. Responsibilities at Work. Right now its my role to be an encourager to moms who work with me and to keep them organized and on task. This is something that I could spend all day every day working on. There is a black hole of progress that could be made in this area to lead these women and this child care center toward excellence, but because this is not my number one priority, I have been trying to put first things first. I still find myself doing more than I should and thanking God for showing me where I err (usually through the words of my mother!). I trust that He will grow the center and instill excellence in it as I devote myself to Him and His excellence.

Nathan begins his new job next week, and he is VERY excited about it. The kids are going to enjoy Him so much once he's home! I believe that is it for today! Off to work for the night!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

We stand in awe of Him!

What an adventure it's been lately! This family is just bustling, moving everywhere and in every way. So much has happened in the last few months, and my priorities for blogging have been low on the totem pole. Still even today, I want to limit my time here. There is always so much to do and so little time in the day. Not only that, but it's so important to be intentional in our relationships as well and to nurture into our children instead of just coexisting (or surviving!) with them. This is a daily struggle, as our life is paced at such a quick speed. I have stories to share about how God is bringing us a greater understanding, how He is slowing us down, how He is showing us more of Himself and making His name bigger. Let me start by explaining why I have been so absent.

1. My mother and father have both been in town for the birth of my little nephew (Cameron King). My sister was ill for several weeks, in and out of the hospital due to infections and high blood pressure, all of which created an unsafe environment for little Cameron.

Praise be to God that a healthy infant was born and is growing in our family now. Grace loves to visit with her Cameron and kiss him. It is quite sweet!

2. I have been working quite a bit and have had little reserve for anything but the home and the children. Within the last month, I have come to a fork in the road and have had several conversations with God about what He wants for us, why He is doing life the way He is and how we can be His through this experience and still maintain some balance, some sanity. I gave up control of my involvement in getting us a van. I told God that we needed a van because our family is growing, but that I physically could not do it anymore and still be devoted to the other responsibilities He's given me: a husband, a home, two children to grow and teach, a pregnancy, a job nurturing others' children. It was more than I could handle. It would have to be His miracle if He wanted us to have a larger car for this family that's starting to get a little on the big side (and hey, I'm not getting any smaller these days either!). God answered our prayer in a big way and brought us a van. We paid nothing for it. He did it. It was a gift. It was all His to do. He will help us with the repairs it needs to have done. I am in total awe at how He works, but more shocked in my lack of faith that He would do it. He knows the needs of His children. He hears their prayers, and He works in His timing. I pray that our family will not be forgetful like the Israelites in Egypt of the many miracles and blessings of provision that God continues to bring to us. He daily gives us food to eat and water to drink, clothing to protect from the elements, and so much more that we fail to recognize as His gifts to His people. Please take this as encouragement that ALL things are possible through Christ. This verse, I read just this morning, is encouragement that God hears His people:
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

In addition to the van, God has brought another career opportunity for Nathan. This is something that, we pray, will enable me to be able to invest more in the development of our children and family. This was another gift from God that we did not expect. Nathan had personally begun praying for God to allow Him to provide for us in a way that would bring me home and relieve some of my burden. This came through a phone call (Can you believe the van did too!), and it was an invitation to a field that Nathan has, in the past, performed very well in. I pray that we take each step, staying focused on who God is, what His desire is for His people, and who He wants for us to be. I pray that we do not become distracted by any ease on finances that may or may not come, but that we are solely focused on Kingdom building, in our family, in our church, and in our community and that we live our lives by faith.

3. Nathan continues his work at the church. We are so blessed to have joined this group of gracious people. They love and nurture us and our children in ways that we have never deserved. It is truly humbling. My busy work schedule and much exhaustion has taken me away from attending every Sunday, but God is faithful, and His people are, to bring sweet reunion every Sunday I return. Nathan adores investing in the youth there and teaching them how to dig into Scripture to know who God is and to be convicted by His Spirit into a full, sweet relationship with Him. He's seeing youth come to know Christ and is thrilled by the ways God is working in them and growing them.

4. My pregnancy is going well. I am now 24 weeks pregnant and have only one more once-a-month appointment left. From there, it's every two weeks or less until our little man comes home to us. The baby is growing so well and moving so wildly. He is having a blast in my womb. I believe he has created some sort of trampoline or something in there. I have been blessed to be free of many of the normal aches and pains of pregnancy that occurred early on with my previous two babies. Only recently have joints begun misplacing themselves. Only recently have I needed to take a break or slow down and rest from a task. I'm sad to say that this is now reflecting in our home! Grace is growing more and more excited about her growing little brother. We are all eager to meet this little squeaker!

I have so much more to update on, and I am so eager to continue to share what God is doing with our home and family, but this will have to wait for another time, as the children are napping, and I definitely need to rest before going into work tonight. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement to our family. We are in awe!