Tuesday, November 22, 2005

What I am Thankful for ~ Part D

"Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays aawake in vain...Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, and the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate." Psalm 127:1,3-5 (ESV)

Today I received some good news. My husband and I had some tests done after we lost Nathan in September. I was hoping that they would give us some idea of why we were no longer going to meet our precious son on this earth. However, all the tests came back normal. There is nothing wrong physically with either of us!!!! I am so grateful for that. However, it has left me puzzled. What happened? How could our son be growing normally and then suddenly be comming without any warning or reason? While my flesh puzzles at these questions, my spirit is at rest knowing that it is God who holds my precious son now, even as he knew and held him then. And that is the same God who holds my life in His hands. So, today I am thankful for the heritage of children that the Lord has blessed me with.
I love Psalm 127. It is a great comfort to those who have children and those grieveing over the loss of children or the lack of children because of the first verse, "Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain." We do not build our homes...the LORD builds them. Not only does he provide the building, but the family within. If we try to build it in our own time or in our own way, we are building in vain. That is how I know that as long as I keep surrendering each area of my home to my LORD and allow Him to build and add, it will not be done in vain.
The Lord has blessed us with 5 children, 2 on earth and 3 in heaven. These are the LORD's additions to our home. They are a heritage from Him. They are to bring glory to Him here on earth. They are testimonies of HIS faithfulness and love. Not only that, but if we allow the LORD to build us and them, perhaps the LORD will use them to bring honor to my husband and I even with our "enemies in the gates". What an incredible responsibility and honor.
Our children who have gone before us, are giving glory to God personally as I write and they can bring glory to Him here on earth through my sharing of what He has done through my experiences in losing them. Our children are a great gift from the LORD.
I want to encourage you if you are single to not waste any minutes pining over not having this special treasure. God is in control of your life and if you surrender to Him and let him build your life, it will not be lived in vain. He has treasures immesurable for you!!!!
If you are reading this and you have no children or have experienced loss, God is building your family in His time and way. This season/ life He has you in is a blessed one as well. Surrender to Him and see how FULL your life will be even while your arms are aching or empty!
If you have children and are reading, let the LORD build them. Surrender yourself to be used of the LORD to train them in HIS ways. Let Him use you to shape their little hearts and minds for HIM!!!
Oh the fruitfulness of letting HIM be the master builder. He already has the plan, let Him build freely in you and me!!!!!!!

Oh, as an aside, the LORD has expanded our home this year, not by children, but in providing our first home!!!! It has been a blessing...so in gratefulness for God building our home with our two precious girls, let me compliment that with gratefulness for the LORD providing a home for His use!!!!!!

Monday, November 21, 2005

What I am Thankful For ~ Part C

Today has been a relatively restful day. We all have been recovering from sickness. My dear husband was still not feeling well yesterday. Today, he spent the entire day doing homework he was hoping to have done sooner. However, he spent all of Friday night either at work or helping me and Lillian who were very sick until 5am! Then, he cared for us all day Saturday until he got sick! Today I am going to write about the thankfulness for my Husband.
As different as we are in many ways, the Lord has truly matched us. When I was in Jr. High and High School, one of my favorite quotes was, "God gives the very best to those who leave the choice with Him." I cannot remember where I heard it or read it, but it stuck with me...and I know I got the very best!!! He loves the Lord and his family with all his heart. He is very selfless in that he always is looking for ways to encourage and help others. He sacrifices time for sleep to be with his family all while working many hours a week and taking a full college load. He loves others and we have people in our home continually. Others know he is special and I always enjoy hearing him praised.
I love the passage in Ephesians 5 that talks about the roles of husband's and wives. It talks about wives submitting to their own husbands as they are the head just as Christ is the head of the church. Then it continues on to talk about how the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it so that it would be pure and holy and blameless when it is presented to Himself. I love that passage because it gives a clear picture of complimenting roles in the home. It is also challenging because it is a high and holy calling God has given to those of us who are married. The husband is to love his wife in the same selfless-giving of himself-act that Christ exemplified when he died on the cross. Not only that but Christ did it to present to himself a pure and holy people-without spot. In this same way, husbands are to make sure they have a pure and holy wife. That would completely scare me!!! And yet, I write all this explination to praise my husband who takes his responsibility seriously. He repremands me when I need it, lovinly comforts me when I see my failtures, and loves me with such a selfless love that I know comes only from his dependance on the Lord and His Word. We have only been married for just over 4 years and my love for him continues to grow greater as I watch the Lord work in his life.
My Beloved, know that this comes from a woman who is so grateful for the husband she has been given. We may not be perfect until we see Christ face to face, but there is no one I would rather be journying heavenward with than with you. I love you so very much.

Here we are on our wedding day. How grateful I am for our marriage!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

What I am Thankful For ~Part B

I haven't blogged since Friday as I have had a really bad case of the flu!!! In fact our whole family has had it. Ariana was sick Thursday night, Lillian and I on Friday night, me all day Saturday, and my dear husband Saturday night. I feel like it is taking us forever to get back together. I am still so weak and still not quite back to normal....
However since I am feeling okay right now, I wanted to write something more I am thankful for.
I am most grateful for the Lord's saving grace in my life. I had the privilage of growing up in a home where living for the Lord was encouraged and exemplified. I trusted Christ as my Lord and Saviour at the age of 7 and while I believe I knew what He had done for me and why, I didn't seek to please Him in every area of my life. When I was 10, through some silly childhood fight, I realized I didn't desire to please God and that made me question whether I was really going to heaven or not. I talked with my mom and that day I made sure that I was- not only did I reaffirm that I believed Jesus was God's Son, sent to die for my sin and then came back to life 3 days later, but I also surrendered my life to Him. I can honestly say that I saw such a great change in my life after that. I really wanted to follow Him and obey Him in every way. I know that was the Holy Spirit working in my life and making me more like Jesus.
The Lord has taught me so much and daily I am seeing areas that I need to keep surrendering to Him. I am not completely like Him yet, but I know that He is making me more like Himself everyday. "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6 I know He began this work, He is continuing this work, and He alone will finish it!!!

Thank you Lord for so great a Salvation!!!!

Friday, November 18, 2005

What I am Thankful For~ Part A

I have already shared this week a few of my treasures and things that I am thankful for. Crystal has encouraged us to blog about what we are thankful for and so I will attempt to do the same each day for the next week. I am surely thankful for many things, but in light of the day today I am going to write something a little different than what I might normally start with.
Today I am most thankful for my mother-in-law.

Here she is with our youngest, Lillian.

I am so grateful to the Lord for giving me such a precious mother-in-law. Seeing as I live a few hours from my own mother, and she is close by, I have appreciated all that she has done for us and for the time I have been able to spend with her (especially our tea times). She is a glowing example of what a godly woman is which has been set forth in Scripture. She loves her husband, children, and grandchildren selflessly. Even in the midst of trials of her own, she is available to listen, hug, hold and cry with you in the midst of yours. She is the crown of her husband and seeks to do him good everyday of his life. Many women would have thrown off such a burden as caring for a bed-ridden, sick husband, however, she does it with such grace and love that you see Christ at work in her. This woman homeschools, encourages others in her church and friendships while caring for her husband. She has trained her children well (I know because I am reaping the benefits of a godly mother through being married to her son.) I know she would say it is by God's grace alone. I desire to be like her in so many ways and pray that the Lord would teach me through her. I love her dearly and want to wish her a very special Birthday.

"Her children ( and daugher-in-laws) rise up and call her blessed..." Proverbs 31:28

Happy Birthday Mom!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Blessing of Children

"And she (Hannah)said, 'Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the LORD. For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the LORD. As long as he lives, he is lent to the LORD." I Samuel 1:26-27

Often times, I feel like Hannah. I have wanted to have many children since I was young and when I got married I was anxious to see the LORD fulfill the desires in my heart. Hannah may have felt the same way...desirous to the recieve the blessings of children. However, the LORD didn't fulfill that desire of hers when she thought it should happen...it wouldn't be fulfilled until the LORD determined it was time. And when God satisfied her longing, she returned her son, Samuel, back to the LORD to serve Him.
I am young and have two beautiful girls. However, I do understand the praying for my children and surrendering them back to the LORD. And what great joy there is for a mother to see her prayers fulfilled and what peace when she is willing to put them where they belong-back to the LORD!!! I didn't understand it much before and as I grow in the LORD I am sure I will not undestand it fully until I reach heaven, however my children are teaching it to me yearly.
With my first, Ariana, I concieved easily and didn't have too much trouble until the end when we were induced 3 weeks early because of blood pressure problems. Then I concieved again before she was a year and the Lord took that baby to be with Him when I was only 6 weeks pregnant. A month later, we found out we were expecting another blessing and while I was nervous due to my loss before, things went surprisingly well for awhile. I didn't however know that the LORD would use this child to teach me of His grace, soverignty, and even more what it means to surrender my children into His great hand.
We experienced normal pregnancy ails until 30 weeks. When I reached 30 weeks, I was very busy involved in the JR. High ministry in our church. We had a teen event on February 28th which I was heavily involved in. Later in the day I began contracting alot. I had alot practice contractions since 20 weeks, but these were diffrent. We left the event early and went home. I called the doctor and he assumed, as did I, that I just overdid it. My friend who was a massage therapist came over to our home and gave me a massage to try to relax me in hopes that the contractions would let up if I took it more easy. A couple who are good friends of ours stayed over since we are closer to church and that proved to be a great blessing.
Early in the morning on February 29th,2004, I woke hemorraging and we went to the hospital. They checked and our daughter, Lillian Grace ( we chose the name just a few weeks before), seemed to be doing well and they decided I was in labor and tried to stop the contractions. I was quite anxious and my husband kept reminding me of what I had been learning from a great book titled "Calm my Anxious Heart" by Linda Dillow. I had been working on controlling my thoughts with God's Word. He had me quote the verses I had been learning and encouraged and prayed with me that I would remember them. Not long later, both Lillian and I began having some problems and they decided to deliver her via c-section. Praise God for giving them clear thinking because after she was delievered we were told that I had severe preeclamsia (complication in pregnancy involving high blood pressure, protein in urine, severe swelling and other problems) and over a 50% placental abruption. If they had waited, we may not have lived, but we know God was in control over that!!!!
She was born weighing 3lbs. 1oz. and was beautiful (although I didn't see her other than pictures until 2 days later because I had been put under for the surgery and needed lots of care and she was taken to another hospital to be in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.)

Here she is just over a week and being compared to a beenie baby.
She was in the hospital for 6 and a half weeks and came home alittle over 5lbs. While she was there, I was encouraged by II Corinthians 4:15 ~" For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God." I know God gave great grace and we wanted all the praise and glory for the things He'd done to go to Him.

Here she is just a couple days after going home.
It's been almost 2 years and in those years we've experience the loss of two more children, one at 10 and a half weeks gestation, and our son, Nathan Joel, who went to be with the Lord at 15 and a half weeks gestation this past September 11th. In all this, the Lord continues to pour out His grace and teach me more of Himself. Oh the blessings that our children bring, blessings of joy with them here with us and blessings of showing us the Lord here and also while they are at home with Him. May we each continue to seek after the Lord and learn of Him even through some of our greatest blessings- children.

I know this picture is old, but it is one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

My most precious earthly treasure

The Lord has richly blessed me with an incredible husband. I can't even begin to describe how grateful I am that God's plan included him!!!! There is no one on earth that I would rather journey life with than him.

A few of the treasures in my life

These are my precious girls. They are testimonies of God's hand in my life. Especially my youngest, my little Lillybug. Soon I will have to share her story.
Here they are enjoying our new backyard. They especially love the teeter totter. Arn't they adorable.

Peace and Joy Divine

I really love to study theology. I believe that good doctrine is an essential part of living a life that glorifies God. So while I love to read about applying God's truths to my live, I also enjoy reading books that discuss pillers of faith. I am currently reading Desiring God by John Piper. I have desired to read this book and was able to purchase it at a discount Christian book store for a few dollars while on vacation. I am only at the beginning, but I think it's neat how the Lord convicts us on truths in His Word through His word and then uses other believers, whether by word or print, to encourage us on these truths. Such has God been doing in my life in the area of His Sovereignty.
This year has felt like such a long year for me. I experienced sorrow in my life earlier this year that left me wondering whether I really believed God was in complete control or whether it was mere chance that this happened. I questioned "Why?" and for what purpose had this happened. The same sorrow repeated itself 5 and a half months later and through God's word and other avenues, when I faced this sorrow again, I experienced a peace and joy that I can only explain was God at work in me. I do beleve that part of it was due in part for the lessons He has taught me in the area of His sovereignty. Today as I was reading John Piper, I was greatly encouraged by his definition of God's soverignty. He states, "'Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases'(Psalm 115:3). The implication of this text is that God has the right and power to do whatever makes Him happy. That is what it means to say that God is sovereign." (Desiring God page 32)
God works everything in our lives for His purpose and for His pleasure and ultimately for His glory. That alone can be what gives us joy and peace even in the midst of challenging situations. I know that my life will continue to contain aspects which will be sorrowing and troublesome. I know that pain will come to my life again. It is my prayer and hope that I will never cease to remember that it for God's purpose, God's pleasure, and God's glory. That alone is the place where I know I can find true joy. That is the place where I want every moment of my life to be lived.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Information on some of my links

I just wanted to make anyone who comes here aware of some of the great resources I've been blessed to locate through various avenues.

~ a great resource for families. It encourages incorperating the Word of God in eveyday life and provides encouragement in fufilling the God-given responsibility of raising children who bring Glory and Honor to Him.

~ Today even movies that are entertaining and have good morals often have things which makes it even more difficult to watch or recommend. If you enjoy a good movie and want to rid yourself of some junk, Clearplay offers a great alternative. Check it out.

Biblical Womanhood
~An awesome encouragement for young women to become the kind of woman that pleases the Lord and brings honor to the headship in her life. Crystal offers encouragement through articles, books, audio, and also in her life's testimony. I have been greatly encouraged and challenged by both her resources and her blog. Make sure to check them out.

WholeHeart Ministries
~I can't even begin to tell you what an encouragement this ministry has been to me as a wife and mother. I read Sally Clarkson in January of last year and soaked up her godly wisdom for the rest of the year as I devoured her books. As a young mother, I have found her encouragement to be pertinant to applying and living out God's Word. I had the privilage of hearing her as well as meeting her at a homeschooling conference in October of 2004. Her family is a testimony to God's great grace and what can happen to a family that surrenders to Him. Take time to check their website out.

Ladies Against Feminism
~In a world where feminism filtrates every aspect of life, including the church, there is a need for women to encourage other women in following the Biblical roles set forth in Scripture. This place offers encouragement as well as seeks to unveil the deceptions modern feminists make. I have found great encouragement here.

Vision Forum
~Here is a website with a God focused vision. I have been greatly encouraged and challenged by this minstry as well as by their cry for Biblical vision and daily living out God's commands. They offer great resources for families.

I hope you will take time to check out some of these great websites. They will offer encouragemnt to you as you journey Heavenward.

note: I want you to know that I tried to link to the websites in my post, but I am afraid I am computer illiterate and am just learning how to do this. Make sure you use the links on the sidebar. Thank you.

Sovereignly His

I have been reading the book of Ephesians since last week. Once again I have been completely amazed and overwhelmed by God's Sovereignty in my life. As I read chapter one of Ephesians last week, I was amazed at how God has chosen to bless us in Christ just as He chose us to be adopted children and to be holy and blameless before HIM. And it wasn't an aimless decision either, it was for the "purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace..."(vs 5-6). Now, I am reading chapter two and once again I can see God's great soverignty once again. Even while dead and living in obedience to my sinful nature, God, rich in mercy, loved me and made me alive in HIM through His great grace. That grace wasn't due to any merit of my own, but to show "the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." (2:7) Not only that, but I am His workmanship-I am not making myself, but He is making me- created through His Son for doing good works which "God prepared beforehand". He planned it all!!!! So that I would do them!!! I am completely amazed. While I, in my flesh and sinfulness, choose to go my own way, how humbled and grateful I am to know that God is at work in my life, making me into what He wants me to be for the purposes He has for me.
This thought encourages and strengthens me as I journey on this stream of life. There are many branches and rocks that sometimes make my way bumpy and many rageing rapids that often times turn my world upside down. However, because of God's mercy, grace, and love, and in His sovereign plan for my life I know that He is working all things for His glory and praise and that in the end it is working His glory and grace in my life according to His purpose for me. Oh, that I were more eternally minded that the situations of life would dim with these thoughts.
May we live certain that God has a purpose for our lives and certain that we will one day see His glory more clearly than we do today.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Grace and Peace

Hello. My name is Amy and this is my blog. I titled it Watered Spring based off of one of my favorite verses in Scripture, Isaiah 58:11
"And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail."
That is what I want to be...a watered spring that doesn't fail and I know I cannot be that apart from the great Grace of God. I hope that this will also be a place where others too can see God's grace at work in me and that they too will be refreshed and encouraged. I don't know how many will read this, but I hope that if you have found me that you will find these things to be so.