Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in review~Brave

For several years I have been focusing on a word for the coming year instead of a New Years resolution. Because you begin but always have it in the back of your head that you will eventually quit. The past few years my words have been grace and intentional/purpose. Grace was for myself, for others, not expecting perfection in anything. Purpose was as I learned how to manage this massive family. I felt like I had been just surviving. There is a Jim Gaffigan quote, he says, "you wonder what it is like to have 4 kids? Imagine you are drowning and someone hands you a baby." Perfect. The first time we heard that we could not stop laughing. (He is a great comedian for large family parents.) That is exactly what I felt like. I didn't feel that I was bringing glory to God for the work He had done in our lives because I felt like our lives were a mess. So I took that year learning and planning. Getting rid of clutter and junk that filled my house and my mind. It was amazing and I still operate in everything I learned. It is still crazy at times but I can whip it all into shape in just an hour or so. I learned so much about myself both of those years.

Coming out of 2014 I was dealing with Gideon just having come through RSV that was life threatening. As we were entering 2015 I felt the Lord impressing in me the word brave. I think that everything I went through I realized that there is much for me to learn about being brave. I'm not sure I have ever really seen myself as brave. Usually shy, quiet, easily intimidated. Not brave. In public people see me with my children and comment that I am brave. It is usually a snide remark, nothing I have ever taken seriously. 

Brave. I assumed that God as going to just reveal to me what we had walked through with Gideon. Or that He would keep teaching me what it means to be brave as a mother of so many boys. As the months have gone on I have felt small nudges to new things that I had not considered before. 

Some of the things I have walked through this year where I sensed the Lord calling me to be brave were starting a facebook group for Bible studies, just as a facilitator, leading worship more freely at a retreat for the women of my church and being more brave in my prayers. Also, I started this blog and facebook page on prayer called Breathing Prayers. It all has been terrifying. Blogging has come from going through the Bible study Breaking Free by Beth Moore. As I sit to write, things I have never realized about myself flow through my fingers. Just knowing the freedom I am receiving from that makes the level of vulnerability worth it. 

As the end of the year came, God began calling Mike in new ways. Realizations of the calling that God has placed on my life have shocked me. God remembered that longing. And so many years later He is bringing this to pass. We are having to be brave in ways I never expected this year. It is hard. In employment, ministry, friendships, our children and their friendships. Stepping out in faith and trusting that the Lord has to catch us, otherwise we will fail.  It is terrifying. 

2016. Over the past 14 months, since Gideon's birth, the Lord has been reminding me constantly that He is my peace. Also, during the Names of God Bible study peace resounded within me. Peace, He is my Peace. My hope is that as I focus on this through the year, that my mind will be stilled and silenced of the chaos. And that it will overflow into my family around me. I can't wait to see what He will do with me during this year as I focus on Him as my peace. 

Luke 1:45
"Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promise to her."

Oh Father, my hearts desire is found in You. 

2016 goals

For 2015 the two main goals I set were to begin waking up earlier to actually have time in quiet and to do some sort of exercise routine. I did well with waking up early. I began waking up early with Josiah for school, then in June I began waking up with Mike to get his coffee ready and send him out the door. We went to a marriage conference and he has shared with me how he felt to wake up and get ready for work all alone. So we set out to change that because I want him to feel loved and not feel alone. For the exercise part I was doing well but it reduced my milk supply so I decided to hold off for little while. I think I did pretty well. I was determined and I had accountability, which is huge for me. 

So for 2016 I know I can accomplish my goals. Right now I have just a few goals.
1. Begin an exercise program (since Gideon is almost ready to wean).
2. To write through the books of the Law, almost a fourth of the Bible, by hand.
3. Hug my boys more.
4. Read 6 books/Bible studies, I haven't picked them yet.
5. Practice my guitar a couple times a week and begin to refresh on the piano a little.
6. Work on our savings.

There are a couple that are more personal.   I am a bit nervous about some larger things we face, but we are trusting that the Lord is leading us and we are obeying. I know He is doing a new thing and my desire is run hard after Him. If we fail, it wasn't because we were afraid to jump. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Crazy 5 year goals

For about a week I have been fighting the urge to start writting the Bible word by word. 

I am afraid because it is enormous. I know it will take years. 

I'm not really sure this desire came up in me. To copy every word of God. I want to know Him more. I want to desire Him more and to know His word better. 

I bought a pink moleskine and and I have a black felt pen and my plan is to begin in January 2016. I'm hoping to finish by my 40th birthday in 5 years. 

Father, as you have placed this desire in my heart, I ask you to give me this love for Your word. 
Psalm 119:114 You are my hiding place and my shield, I hope in your word."

Thursday, December 17, 2015

35 reasons

35 reasons he is amazing. 
Today the love of my life turns 35. Words fail to describe him. 
At my 30th birthday he wrote me a list and I need to make one for him :)
I could go past 35 but will save them for future birthdays. 

1. He loves Jesus.
2. He is kind. 
3. He loves deeply. 
4. He doesn't waiver from his convictions. 
5. He is strong. 
6. He is brave. 
7. He is a dedicated father.
8. He loves his boys. 
9. He leads his family well. 
10. His wit and dry humor, he always makes me laugh. 
11. He is a hard worker, very driven. 
12. He is spoils me in any way he can. 
13. He has never spoken a harsh word to me. 
14. His heart is always for my good and the good of our boys. 
15. He always surprises me how much Scripture is in his mind. 
16. He doesn't give up when a thing is too hard. 
17. He is quick to apologize. 
18. He dreams big, God sized dreams. 
19. He is self motivated and disciplined. 
20. He is so handsome. 
21. He listens to my heart. 
22. He values my opinions and makes hard decisions. 
23. He is comfortable to sit in the quiet with me. 
24. He helps me in the home even after he works so hard outside the home. 
25. He provides well and is wise with our money. 
26. He never treats me less than. 
27. He makes it easy to submit to him, because he is a kind leader. 
28. The way he laughs crazy. 
29. The way he smiles when he is being sly. 
30. The way he sniffs from across the room and I know it is to get my attention. 
31. His prayers and the way he leads worship. 
32. Soft heart. 
33. His knowledge of random facts. 
34. He protects and defends, he is brave. 
35. He trusts and he obeys God's calling in His life. I know I can trust him with our family. 

I am so in love with this man. It is an amazing thing to love a person so deeply. I am so thankful God gave this man to me. 
Happy birthday! I am so thankful God gave you to me! I can't wait for the next 35!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

God's will for my life

My job is not to know God's will for my whole life right now. 
If I did, I would not be able to bear the weight of all the things I knew God would take me through.  
My job is to lean in so closely to the Lord and know Him, so that I can know His every move in my life. Abide. He is in me, Emmanuel, God with us. God in us. He will not fail me. 
Genesis 28:15 "I will not leave you..."

Friday, December 11, 2015

standing on a swaying limb

Yesterday I shared the Facebook page on prayer that I started a bit over a month ago.  It is a pretty terrifying feeling to put myself out there.  What will people think? Will they even really care? Do I really have anything that will benefit anyone? So many doubts fill my mind and heart and I even consider deleting it all so that there is no proof of stepping out and sanding on a limb that is trembling.

What a strange time in my life to be putting myself at risk.  Risk of judgement, risk of failure, or being made fun of or being doubted by the decisions that we are currently making. Hard decisions. To change what we have known for 2 and a half years.  To change what my kids know and love.

It feels like we are standing on these thin branches and they sway under us.  Are they going to crack and break completely or will they slowly bend down until we just are on the ground...
Will these branches grow strong and into this big dream that we have.

I guess dreamers have to be a little crazy.  Humble, because we know failure is so close.  But if I am stepping out like Abram to a land I do not know, I have to be ready for the crazy questions. The more questions we get the more waves of "am I sure?" flood my mind and butterflies fill my stomach.  And questions of "why do people care so much about what we do?" Because of the feeling that we don't truly affect anyone deeply.

I do know that God has always asked us to do things that don't make sense. I've asked Him to give me His dreams and His desires since I was 12.  I don't know what else I would expect of my life.  I will follow Him.

I know and rest in 1 Thessalonians 5:24 "Faithful is He who called you, He will also bring it to pass."

He is always faithful and when I am found in Him, He will never bring His own to shame.  
This is where I run.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

30 day challenge. Do you collect anything?

Pretty funny question for a large family mom. 

That was one of the questions I have been asked. Sure, I guess I collect children. 

I love my children. They are so sweet as babies and they are handsome boys. Who wouldn't want them? 

I never really thought I would want so many before I was married. I think when we got married we knew we would want a few children but we never really had a number in mind. 

Our plan was to wait 5 years before we began having children in order to serve on the mission field more easily, but our first was a honeymoon baby. Honestly we were pretty upset and our pride was shattered. 

As we had babies we were so in love with our babies and wanted more. My HG pregnancies were horrible though. That is always what made me say never again. The sadness in his eyes when I would say that was heart breaking. But then when the baby was about a year we would always feel like someone was missing. Like we wanted another one. 

For years I always wondered if we would know when we were done. It was always guessing and feeling like we would always want to have more. 

The sixth baby came and there was a feeling of fulfillment. But acceptance at whatever came next. So we gave it to God again since we were settled after our move and things were smooth. 

The first month life was given. Amazing gift of a life. I think we both knew. Just knew with no explanation. So as doctor appointments go along we begin to receive confirmation that is is our last baby. 

I think we have slowly gotten closure  about it. It comes in waves. The first wave was mourning the loss of G's newborn days at home. It was supposed to be perfect but it was the hardest experience of all. The next wave was G growing out of each different size of clothes and me having to go through them and make space. The first time I did it I bawled. Each time it gets easier and I  happy to be freeing up space. Another step was letting go of all the little girl things. I have boxes of stuff away to sweet friends having baby girls and I saved two things. (That story is in another post).

We have both begun to see the future and the things God has in store as our sons grow. We are excited and expectant. 

But if someone offered me a baby I would jump at the chance. 😉

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What is in a name?

Bernice. Bringer of victory.

I was born to a 18 and 17 year old. What people would consider a mess. Failure.

Poverty, abuse, drugs, alcohol, infidelity. 

And here I came. Beloved Bringer of Victory. Because Mama knew that victory had to come out of the loss. Loss of dreams, loss of innocence, loss of choices. Victory had to come from the broken mess. Or so she believed. 

The story is long and winding, I'm sure I will get to more of it in time. One bite at a time feeds. Chewed and processed is the best way. Healthy. It has to be out of my mouth before I can bite the next thing. 

I am so thankful that my Father is opened my eyes to see this. The slow acknowledgement of all the pain heals and fill empty broken places. 

He will use that fullness in time... For His glory. So that I can be poured out as an offering to Him. 

He will get all the victory. We know the end.
Christ redeems. 

Believing and Trust

It is time for me to make an appointment for  G to see the cardiologist. I keep putting it off. I realized today that I have anxiety when I think of it.

I don't want to make the appointment.... I don't want to know if the hole is still there in his heart. 

I am afraid that God has not healed my little warrior. 

I don't want The Lord to take us down a new road.... Of heart surgery. 

But we are His. There is no other option but to trust. 

Though He slay me, yet will I trust.