Category Archives: Bible Verses

Stand Still.

I was listening to a sermon this morning on the radio… I almost changed the channel because I have less than a 10 minute commute and I just wanted some tunes.  I felt compelled not to.  It was from Exodus.  Which my church is also studying… think the Lord is trying to help me get some major points? haha

Well 20 minutes later, I’m sitting in the parking garage praying, crying, scribbling notes and being late to work.

The Lord has definitely been speaking to me lately, in a way that I haven’t felt or experienced in a long time.

I won’t speak too much to the many ways He is doing this right now… I feel like it’s probably too soon and I want to use discretion and wisdom in speaking on such topics (even on my own blog).

I will say though, this both scares and excites me.  I have a feeling my standing still won’t actually physically look like standing still and yet… I will be, and God will be doing the moving.

Who knows?  Only Him in reality!

I do know though that if He moves the way I think He is moving, I want ya’ll to see it.

I want to document it.

I want His glory seen and His salvation known and people to see that He is Lord over my life.

He is Yah.

Meditate on this today (I know I will be):

If the Lord tells you to move forward He won’t let you drown, what if you never see a sea in your life part, because you are too afraid to step forward?

You are praying about it?  Great! (Me too)

Don’t use prayer as an excuse not to proceed…

Exodus 14: 13- 15

And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.  The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”  The LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.

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Great Expectations.

“while we wait for the blessed hope the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, who gave Himself to redeem us from all wickedness.” Titus 2:13-14  

I can’t help but think of the millions of lives that were saved from the wrath of Sandy thanks to social media and technology.  I know many are suffering today and will be for a while but seriously, think of how much worse it could have been without warning.

How weird would it be if tornadoes, hurricanes, etc came from seemingly out of nowhere?

No stocking up on food.  No inviting people over to ride it out together.  No preparation.

We live in a day and age where Facebook can inform us just as much if not more than watching the news.

We can warn each other and update each other in less than a second.  How amazing.

However…

I also can’t help but think of Christ’s return when these “events” make us all a little more expectant.

I don’t know a lot about eschatology but I think I can make the following conclusions from what I do know:

  • There will be no time to update Facebook and warn our friends.
  • There will be no time to do things differently.
  • There will be no “protecting” our things.  They won’t be coming with us.
  • There will be no helping our friends AFTER the event (like in natural disasters where we can provide relief and aid).  We must help BEFORE the event.

REPENT therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out  ACTS 3:19

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 2 Peter 3:10

“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:3

“Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go to heaven.” – Acts 1:11

“as you eagerly wait for the Lord Jesus to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 1:7-8

“Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” Hebrews 9:27

“You turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, who rescues us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:10
“They will be punished with everlasting destruction on the day He comes to be glorified in His holy people, and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.” 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10
“Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of His mouth and destroy by the splendor of His coming.” 2 Thessalonians 2:8
“Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:16

“Behold, I am coming soon. My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” Revelation 22:12

Companionship.

by Micah.

Have you heard the question posed to a married couple, “what’s your favorite part about being married?” I have. Sarah asks me what seems to be tri-annually.

My go-to answer, and I think it’s accurate, is companionship. This is often the answer that I hear from others as well. It’s sometimes fleshed out by the newly married individual saying “it’s just so nice not having to leave at night.” I’ll never forget Dan Bergey talking to me about him and Simone before Sarah and I were married and he described it as being a lost puppy dog when Simone wasn’t around!

This week has confirmed that. Haddon in the equation adds to the love of others’ presence factor. I’ve been in Delaware for training all week and it’s Sarah’s first week back at work. It was so nice to be able to go home to Sarah…even if she’s occupied and can’t converse or do anything that has to do with me at all!

Being away does help me appreciate my wife, and therefore comprehend the unity that God has molded us into as well. It is difficult to live as “one-flesh” while states away from one-another. It helps my sympathize for those in the military all the more as this is barely a taste of the mouthful that they must stomach.

 

Sarah and I are meandering through Galatians with one another from afar. She wisely picked it as we as a church are going through the law in Exodus and understanding our ability to apply it through Christ. There is in Galatians a consistent theme of “without faith in Christ, your efforts are futile.”

It has been a blessing to learn lately that

A.                    Part of the law’s intentions (as a gift from the LORD) are to point us to our need for Christ

B.                    Paul writes the Galatians to reveal that those who put their faith/trust in the Gospel of Christ will be led to rely on another

C.                    God created the concept of marriage (me and Sarah, for example) in order to image-forth the future relationship between His Son and His followers (me/the church and Jesus)

Of course I can break many of the commandments by relying on Sarah’s companionship too much…but Jesus’ commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3) and I’m thankful for marriage helping me understand the Gospel and the Gospel helping me understand how to miss Sarah while separated during marriage.

Haddon, if you ever read this sorry there’s a lack of mentioning of you but I do smile every time your wonderful mother sends me pictures of you and I can’t wait change your diapers while you scream because you’re on your back….and then smother you with my bearded kisses!

A Joyful Mother.

I almost didnt publish this because it has been a good day but I want to be honest.

These past few days have been rough.  Rough is an understatement really for the emotional turmoil my son’s digestive track is wrecking in my heart and mind.

While I am so thankful he is eating…

This week Haddon has been SO fussy, will only take naps if I am wearing him, needs to be held constantly, hardly smiley during his play/wake time, etc.

This morning is different.  I feel happier.

Circumstantial happiness:

He slept pretty well last night and even though I am wearing him right now as he goes on 2hrs of a nap I am getting lots of stuff done (today that includes doing my hair, makeup, two loads of laundry, making up two beds, sweeping three floors, moving some boxes, bringing in the cloth diapers from the line, and brushing my teeth).

I read in My Utmost for His Highest this morning this devotion

Whew.

My joy has to come in doing this parenting thing because it is what the Lord has given me.  It is a great reward despite the difficult days.  The Lord’s will for my life is sanctification.  That has come in many ways including marriage and now mothering.

I’ve called Haddon, Haddon the handful (and Mr. grumpy pants) more than once this week to different people.  The truth is though he is human and some days his belly is going to hurt, he’s going to be gassy, or just plain in a bad mood sometimes.  Don’t we all have those days?

If I cant be joyful in my duty when he is an adorable baby, how will I handle the yucky stuff as he grows into a boy then man?

I am choosing to be joyful.  I want my son to feel that he was always loved and sacrificed for unconditionally no matter how he acted.

Hmm I guess I’m learning a little about the Father’s love for this wretched sinner that I am.  I sure am glad He parents me through the hard times and for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross.

Not because it made Him happy, no, but he counted it as great joy.

Just as a disclaimer, I do have plenty of happy moments with Haddon, but this parenting business is no easy feat and despite the adorable pictures I might post there are some crazy times.  Maybe I will have Micah take a picture of those. hah

Haddon’s Birth Story.

Haddon’s due date was June 18th.  Really those dates are guesses and I’ll tell expectant mothers from now on not to bank on them.

“How long was your first child’s labor?”

I have no idea how I will answer this question some day.

Sunday night, June 17th: we went to a friend’s wedding and joked that maybe the cupid shuffle would bring him out.

Monday morning, June 18th: I had some stronger contractions not just Braxton hicks.

Tuesday morning, June 19th:  around 2am I woke up with even stronger ones and told Micah around 8 am today might be the day.  We even made Haddon’s birthday cupcakes to take to the hospital.  Contractions continued to intensify but were not consistent at all.

Wednesday morning, June 20th:  around 2am I again woke up with strong contractions and this time closer together.  I texted my mom to go ahead and head down our way whenever she got up.  Mom and dad got here and while the contractions were intense they again were not consistent.  We had a doctor appt that day and I wanted to skip it.  I didn’t think I could handle it if they told me I still wasn’t dilated after all these contractions.  Alas, I was almost completely effaced and 2 cm dilated!

Thursday morning, June 21st: around 3am after having contractions all evening long I told Micah I wanted to go to the hospital.  He woke up mom and dad and we packed the car and got ready to leave.  The last thing on my mind was eating but they made me eat oatmeal and fresh pineapple.  I am so thankful for that.  I had no idea how long it would be before my next meal.

We checked into the hospital around 5am and triage said I was 4cm dilated and they were admitting me.  I was so excited that it was time!

Micah’s parents were called and they headed down too.

We were assigned an amazing nurse who had been through two natural childbirths herself and had also used the Bradley Method.  Unfortunately she had to leave at 7 am for her shift change but made sure to put me with another great nurse.

Up until I was about 6cm dilated I was “okay”. I could handle the intensity with lots of concentration, meditation, prayer, and encouragement from my birth support team.

Then came the transition.

At times I didn’t think it was possible for me to move at all and someone would encourage me to change positions and somehow the strength would come.

I asked for intermittent monitoring, and the craziest thing is that when they would hook me up to the monitoring I would watch Haddon’s heartbeat for a minute, make sure he was okay, and then by God’s grace drift to sleep.  Sometimes I would sleep for 45 minutes at a time and only wake during the really intense contractions, apparently I would breathe heavily through the others.

Now, “they” say you should dilate about 1cm per hour.  That was clearly not the case for me.  After a completely textbook pregnancy my labor was not turning out to be predictable at all.

By this point a new doctor had come on and my first nurse had come back!

They asked to break my water (which I had requested in my birth plan I didn’t want).  They were very respectful about it and let me choose but essentially explained that I just wasn’t progressing.  I agreed even though I knew the pain was about to intensify.

Haddon’s water had a little meconium in it, but they weren’t terribly concerned.

When I hit 7cm I turned animalistic.  I’m talking noise I’ve never dreamed of and movement like I’ve never imagined or thought I was capable of.  One thing that Bradley Method teaches is to constantly change positions so that the baby can descend and the mother can open up.  I used the ball, squatting bar, shower, handrails, my mother and husbands hands, you name it!

To make a long story (of an extremely long labor) shorter –

I never progressed from 7 ½ cm, but my amazing doctor and nurse who were completely on board with how I wanted to deliver naturally, manually moved my cervix to a 10 (yes ouch, but really at that point, what didn’t hurt).

They then realized that our little boy was face up.

Alas, a reasonable conclusion for the delay in progression, progress, etc.

I pushed for 45 minutes and on Friday morning, June 22, out he came.

Haddon Isaiah Downs

6:47 am

8lbs 1 oz, 20 in

 

He hadn’t swallowed any of the meconium so was allowed to be put on my chest right away.

“Was it love at first sight?”

It was more like relief at first sight, and I love him more by the minute.

One of my first questions afterwards – did I tear?

I heard the amazing answer of: oh you don’t need any stitches.

Praise the Lord for Him, mineral oil and an amazing doctor and nurse (and food).

Haddon had a true knot in his cord.  It wasn’t tight enough to put him in distress.  Another praise the Lord.

I kept thinking about how His grace is sufficient, His power is made perfect in weakness, how women do this every day, some in fields in hot sweaty conditions not with hot showers and air conditioning and people cleaning up after you, mom, dad and Micah were constantly encouraging me.  One verse in particular Micah kept saying is “in the Lord your labor”… and I always had to answer “is not in vain”.

Maybe a little out of context, but it certainly wasn’t in vain…

We are blessed.

Thank you Abba.

And Micah, mom, dad, Dr. Madella, and Carla!

I love you son.  You were worth every second.

Two Years.

since the beginning of the most amazing adventure…

This is going to be a short post darling because, well our anniversary present for this year needs to be fed!

You amaze and inspire me daily.  Thank you for loving me so well.

Happy Two Year Anniversary darling!!  I love you more with every moment.

Positioning.

This past Sunday we had the privilege of hearing from the word of God. 

Our church is going through the book of Exodus and our pastor Kevin brought a lot of attention to a certain matter… positioning.

Do you know how God asked the Israelites to camp after they were brought out of Egypt?!

By the sea, with their backs to Egypt

 “You want me to backtrack to the worst strategic place possible, march back to the kill zone?”

God wants His glory to be seen, again, and for the Egyptians to know that He is Yahweh.

10 plagues weren’t enough.  He is for His glory, He wants to be known.  So He positions the Israelites to help Him see through with His plan.  This isn’t about them; it is completely about Him and His name.

Their positioning put them in a great place of fear when they saw the Egyptians coming.  There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.  There was a whole lot of trust to rely on.

How often does God have us somewhere, with someone, for His purposes and all we can think about is the way if effects us, makes us comfortable, or uncomfortable?

He sometimes has a different plan than our plan.  His plan is always the right plan.

We have to believe that.  We have to trust that.  We have to walk in His calling and fear NOT.

The strongest negative imperative in the entire Hebrew bible is in this verse and it is to fear not.

And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”  Exodus 14:13 & 14

Hopefully, you know what happens after that… God clears the way, makes one obvious path for His people and uses that same path as one of destruction for those trying to hurt His people.

All this positioning of the Israelites has me thinking even more about Haddon’s positioning (I know I connect dots in weird ways).

If you aren’t new to this blog you know that I have a birth plan hope.  Sometimes I fear that it won’t go AT ALL as I hope and that I’ll have to get surgery (which I know, isn’t the worst thing). 

Sunday night Haddon changed positions into a very uncomfortable for mama one.  He didn’t stay in it.  In fact, I feel fine today (praise the LORD, seriously), his positioning makes all the difference in the world in how I move and feel.

I know he is getting cramped in there… we have a 3 day shy of full time baby so poor thing doesn’t have a lot of room.  He hasn’t dropped though and so still moves “as free as can be”.  I’m praying that he would be in the right position for his mama’s body to move him down to welcome him into this world without crazy amounts of intervention.

Would you join me in some prayers on position?  We would greatly appreciate it.

That Haddon would be physically positioned perfectly to have labor progress and come out on his own? 

On a more long term note…

That God would position his little heart to grow in the knowledge and wisdom of Him and position Micah and mine’s to be able to humbly serve and teach this little boy and each other?

Anyway, regardless of how Haddon decides to lay, and what happens with Micah’s work situation, and where we live, and yada yada yada. 

I need to be still, watch, and know that He is God, hoping someday my faith will be counted as righteousness. 

  • In case you’re interested in more on God’s positioning of the Israelites, check out our sermon from Sunday
  • In case you’re interested in more on baby’s positioning and how much it affects birth, check it out (how come no one talks about this stuff?!)

 

Definition of Marriage.

Disclaimer: I am not writing this post to argue with anyone, so please save your energy for another blog if you do not have the same beliefs and that is your desire at the end of this post.

I use this blog as a platform of my faith and as a journal for my family.  That is what you are reading if you visit here.

I believe in the truth of scripture.  I believe that all of it is profitable. (2 Tim 3:16-17)

I believe you have to read it very carefully and have direction from the Holy Spirit to understand it fully.

I believe that marriage is as serious a covenant as can be- almost as serious as the one God made with His children (I said almost, after all, it is just a picture of it).

I believe that marriage is a God-ordained covenant that God defined and uses to refine and sanctify us.

I believe in God as creator and sustainer of the entire universe and all things in it, including and especially people.

I believe that God gave the first definition of marriage. (Genesis 2:18-25)

Thus, I cannot bring myself to believe we have the right to give marriage a new definition. “A definition of marriage that was established on Day Six of Creation and has been the benchmark of civilization for 6,000 years.” – Doug Phillips

Taken from John Piper’s blog (which I encourage people to read, which is in no way hateful, but very factual, according to Piper’s and most conservative Christian’s beliefs):

“God ordained marriage with the words: “A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).  It is one thing to tolerate sin. It is another to build society on it.”

I do not believe in hating on people for their sin.  I would despise being hated on for my sin.

I do believe in loving people.  I do believe pointing people towards Him is the most loving thing we can do.

I will always think its interesting/unfortunate we talk about “certain” sins more than we do others.

What about pride, selfishness, covetousness, etc.  How come we don’t get in fueds and uproars about those things?

I do not believe in judging unbelieving, unrepentant people by God’s standards.

However with all of that said –

Just as public laws wouldn’t get changed or made if people didn’t speak out, God’s laws wouldn’t be remembered if people did not continue to tell them.

I have a responsibility to teach my son about God and call to remembrance the things God has done and said.

He is not going to grow up in a world where they are the most popular (obviously).

And so, with all this talk/fighting on the internet.  This is my very small way of standing up for what I believe God meant when He made marriage and why I will not vote otherwise.  Even if I get hated on by the people that tell me to stop judging/hating/etc (John 15:18–19)

I hope I have honored Him and His word like He commands 1 Peter 3:15

15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect

1 year, 9 months.

That’s how long I’ve been married to my sweet husband.

Today he woke me up like he usually does.

With sweet kisses and getting back into bed even though he has been up for 2 hours, to cuddle for a minute until I can actually open my eyes.

Then he did what he does sometimes,

him: “do you need some coffee?”

me: makes a sound that resembles mhmm

him: back with the coffee, holding it up to my nose, “come on make your noise”.

me: mmmm (you have to hear it in person to understand)

While he took a shower I prayed, and sipped my coffee, and rubbed my belly thanking God for our son.

He came out and we read a letter from a book called “Note to Self”.  It is an excellent quick read, good for devotionals, etc.  We highly recommend it.

This morning’s was a note to self about pride, the instigator of all sin.  So good, humbling, and convicting.  Wonder what I’ll do with it today? 

Portion of 1 Peter 5:5 God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

Yesterday, Micah’s co-workers threw him and another lady a surprise baby shower.  I was invited to come be part of the surprise.  It was our first “shower” and as I saw him hold up those mini shoes and onsies, open the diapers and say he is going to try and change all of them (apparently our pastor gave him this advice, Kevin Hass- thank you.period.), hear his co-workers talk about how nice, sweet, helpful, and humble he is, and hear Micah talk about Haddon’s upcoming arrival with a sparkle in his eyes, I felt more blessed by the second.

Who am I that I get to spend my life with such an awesome man of God?  It is evident he has an awesome reputation because of the transforming work Christ has done in his life, and it’s not only obvious to me.

We were learning about qualities of elders on Sunday and my heart literally felt like it was getting bigger and more grateful with every characteristic taught.  I don’t care if Micah is ever an official “elder” of a church.  He embodies so many things biblical men are supposed to look like.  I am more than proud of him.

I am also humbled that he is my leader.  I can’t wait to see him father Haddon.

We’ll spend our 1 year, 9 month anniversary by going on a Riverside Hospital Tour for labor and delivery and then scootin on over to bible study.  When we get home we’ll eat Kate Sacra’s wedding cupcakes as is our monthly anniversary tradition.

I am thankful for one more day of waking up by his side, and one more month of marriage.  I hope for many more.

Thank you Father for my sweet husband who teaches me and makes life so full.

Forsaken.

Not a word used commonly these days.

The meaning behind the word happens far too often though.

Forsake: abandon, desert, leave in straits, leave helpless, totally abandon, to leave behind

(the word occurs many times in scripture, do a search and read all the different contexts!)

I’m sure at some point in our lives, every human being can relate to feeling forsaken for some reason from some situation by someone.

Or you know someone that has been forsaken. 

Oh that word sounds so harsh though doesn’t it?   We can hear the responses flow…

–          “Well you should know what they did”

–          “How they treated me”

–          “What I had to deal with”

–          “How they really acted”

The list goes on and on.

In my daily bread promises this morning I read, “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Some stories on the news are insane right now.  That’s not really anything new I suppose, but three have really got me thinking…

–          The soldier who went on a killing spree

–          The neighbor who shot the harmless teenager

–          A mom killing her babies and putting them into a river

It’s repulsive, heinous, sickening, and evil – no matter what the intent.

Without forgiveness shouldn’t these people be forsaken, shouldn’t our justice systems forsake them and lock them up for life (or worse), shouldn’t these people get what is coming to them, what they deserve.

It would make perfect human sense for their families and friends to forsake them.

A wife of one of the men that killed said: “It wasn’t like him, I still love him”. 

I have no idea of that woman’s standing with God or where she gets the strength to say that and feel that way.

When I read that verse this morning I got to thinking about how we all deserve to be forsaken.  None of us deserve forgiveness.

We all deserve death.  The wages of sin is death and we are all sinners.  Through Christ we have forgiveness of sin and reconciliation with God.  Thank the Lord (literally) we don’t always get what we all deserve.  That we don’t have to be forsaken.

Have we all not also forsaken at some point in time, someone, no matter for how long?…

I hate to use specific examples running through my mind right now; in fear that if you have forsaken someone for one of these things in mind that you are somehow worse than someone else that had the strength to forgive.

….

I was so comforted and challenged at the same time this morning. 

He does not forsake me.  I am His.  How comforting.

He does not forsake me.  I am to act like Him.  How challenging.

I am so blessed to have a husband.  We get to show each other Christ daily by forgiving and forbearing.  Is there anything he could do to make me want to forsake him?  Sure.  He is human and I am human.  We vowed not to though, in sickness and in health, in poverty and plenty, in good times and bad.  Those fit almost every circumstance in life, no?       

I am so blessed and feel more challenged than I ever have in my life to live like Christ to this son who will be entering the world in a few short months.  I am to teach him character.  Who will he learn that from but by looking to his father and I?  Will I show him someone who forgives and loves unconditionally (no matter what)?  Or will I show him a short wired fuse and when he _________ (insert whatever mistake here), and even for a moment or second let him forget that we are for him not against him?

I am so thankful for this reminder of truth today.  I pray it causes you to ponder and consider as well.

If you want a song to be blessed by, Matt Wertz’s I will not take my love away has been on repeat for a while.

Here are the lyrics:
I will not take my love away
When praises cease and seasons change
while the whole world turns the other way
I will not take my love away
I will not leave you all alone
When striving leads you far from home
And there’s no yield for what you’ve sown
I will not leave you all alone
I will give you what you need
In plenty or in poverty
Forever, always, look to me
And I will give you what you need
I will not take my love away