Monday, April 21, 2014

God has Grown Our Family


This is the family that God so graciously blessed us with.  Family that is connected through blood.














And this, this is the family portrait God continues to paint. We are missing Maggie, Scott's lovely 6 year old.

God has brought each one of these individuals to us in a very unique way.   We met Bridget and her family at camp.  She absolutely loves children and babies so our family drew her like a magnet.  ;) Bridget started to hang around us when I became pregnant with baby number 6.  She would come over on weekends and help me with laundry, food preparation, play/craft with the children and just hung out with us.  This was all her idea and at the age of 15.  I was so impressed with this young lady!  She is a worker and would do circles around me.  We began to joke that she was our Alice from The Brady Bunch.  But Bridget was always more to us than an Alice.  She became like a daughter, dear friend and sister.

Next there was Scott.  He is a redeemed recovering drug addict who desired discipleship.  It wasn't until after a short relapse that our bond was strengthened.  Scott has a servant's heart and can't keep still for long.  He likes to team up with Bailie and clean the dishes after supper and carry in wood or any other project that Jeff needs him to do.  Scott is also very good with our children.  It can get pretty loud and crazy in our home and he seems to take it better than we do at times. ;)   Scott continues to grow in Christ every day and it is a joy to watch him surrender the past and walk forward in God's abundant grace and love.  Our relationship with Scott has become more than discipleship, he is like a brother to both Jeff and I.

Then God brought Kaleb to us.  Kaleb grew up in Guinea, Africa as a MK {missionary Kid}.  His parents and sister are still there serving.  Kaleb and his twin brother Ben have both found jobs back in the states... for now.  Ben lives with his grandparents in another state and Kaleb practically lives down the road from us. I think Sam adopted Kaleb before we did.  They are pretty good buddies.  He is learning at a young age how to handle lots of children and all the commotion that comes with a large family {he probably doesn't realize how beneficial that will be when he becomes a father}.  He too is great at helping Jeff when needed like splitting wood and working on our four wheeler and dirt bike.  Even though we have only known him for about 6 months, he is one of us!

The girls and I were at a ladies event last weekend and I sat there listening to Shannon Martin as she gave her testimony and how the Lord has grown her family in a similar way.  One thing she said that I'm still pondering, and I'll paraphrase,

"We think we know what our family portrait looks like, but when we get to heaven God could have a very different one."

How thankful we are that God dreams bigger than we do.  When either one of these family members are missing, we feel the void.  They have brought us so much joy and revealed to us a love that we didn't know was even possible.  Sure we may have to get a new septic system, but they are totally worth it!!! ;)

Disclaimer:  The septic system was inevitable and didn't have anything to do with them.  ;)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Hibernation

Winter seems to be the season for Hibernating and that is just what we have been doing.  We have been moving at a slower pace and enjoying each other and new discoveries.  

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire. And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” ~Isaiah 55:10-12


















1 & 2.  Jack creating with K'nex
3. Maddie and Sam playing on Starfall.  This keeps them busy while the rest of us make new discoveries in science and history.  They don't even realize they are learning too.  :)
4.  Sam takes a break from playing and pulls out a workbook from time to time to practice his letters.
5.  Bailie made goo with the little ones.
6.  Bailie making her stuffed crust pizza for our Friday pizza nights.
7.  Lillie chopping vegetables for our salad bar.  I find that the kids eat more salad when we present it this way.  They each can choose their own toppings.  :)
8.  Lillie working on her All About Spelling.  This is a very inexpensive multisensory reading/spelling program.
9.  Jack working on his explode the code.
10.  Bailie working on a research paper about the Atomic Bomb.
11.  Children keeping themselves busy.  :)
12.  Rylie and Lillie observing the birds.
13.  The four older children are creating their own bird books this year using a note-booking journal I found on CurrClick.  They read about birds, observe them and then write down their discoveries and there is also room for drawings.
14.  Rylie and Lillie rescuing 1 of 5 birds that found themselves stuck on our back porch.
15 & 16.  Some of Bailie's most resent drawings.
17.  Our newest visitor... meet Mrs. Flicker.  She has a male friend that joins her at our back window.  So fun!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Gatherings




Wrestling match with Grandpa Warner
 




 




Saturday, December 14, 2013

Adorning Our Tree – The Vine



I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John15:5)
This verse is a very well known phrase in the Christian world.  If you have been in the Church for even a short period of time, certainly the idea has been covered.  It is a simple concept that we can easily relate to.  We can identify with the importance of a branch being connect to the vine.  The life giving sap from the vine flows to the branches, without that connection the branch dries up and withers.  Or take it a little further, if we are connected to the wrong vine, we would bear fruit in accordance to that vine.  Unwanted fruit, for after all we will be known by our fruit. (Matthew 7:16-20)  The illustrations could go on and on, but I would like to draw your attention to why Jesus gave us the illustration.  Jesus did not exhaust the illustration because it is only used to explain in simple terms a bigger idea.  Reread the verse above again.  Did you notice Jesus also said “and I in Him?”  You mean Jesus wants to abide in us like we abide in Him? Yes, and in order to understand it fully we have to back up into the chapters of John to see what Jesus has been building from.

In John 13 Jesus spends His last meal with His closest friends, His disciples.  They are more like family, that was how the Passover was celebrated, with your family.  At the end of their time Jesus tells them He is going away and you will be there also (John 14:1-3).  This troubles the disciples, because it does not make sense that he would leave and that they would be there to. Follow the dialog between Jesus and Phillip.

“Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Jesus continues…

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also, from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

“Philip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”

Jesus said to him, Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know me, Philip?

                                                                                                            (John 14:6-8)
This is a heart piercing question.  Do you know Me?
If you are perceptive to the writing of John in his gospel you will see an underlying theme.  Jesus only does what He sees the Father doing. (John 5:19)  Over and over Jesus is motivated by the Father and the Father’s work.  Jesus is not self sourced, He is sourced by God.  Even when asked to satisfy His hunger needs by turning stones into bread (self sourcing), Jesus declines the offer.  (Math. 4:3-4, This will be a later study, Adorning Our Tree- The Bread)  If inclined to read all the verses that Jesus comments on being sourced by God, then read some in John:
John 3:27; 4:34; 5:17-21,30; 6:29,38; 7:16; 8:28,42; 12:49; 14:10,31; 15:24; 17:4,7.  

If you were to camp out in John chapter 14, you would find Jesus describing this abiding relationship with God.  Abiding: meno in Greek, means to remain, to sojourn, continue to be present, to last, to remain as one.  Not to become another or different.  “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me…” (John 14:11)  Sounds familiar to the first verse we covered in this post.  he who abides in Me and I in him…” (John15:5) The reason Jesus told Philip “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9), is because of that abiding relationship.  Jesus did only what the Father does. Jesus communicates the Word, which we know from the last post is God’s mind.  Jesus’ actions, speech, prayers, teaching, life, and death all communicate the Father.   The same abiding relationship that Jesus shares with the Father, He wants for us. “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” (John 14:20) Can you imagine the life like that? 


When you walk,

He walks. 
 
When He walks,

you walk

When He fills a need, you fill the need.  When you fill a need, He fills the need. 

When He is patient. When He is Gracious. When He looks on someone with compassion.

He gives

He blesses

He encourages

Speaks

Forgives

 Loves

Dies,

  to gain life..

..You?


When you think about the natural progress of sap moving from the vine to branch and the fact that the branch has no life at all apart from the vine, Jesus says so it is with us as well. 

Our representation of The Vine
 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. (John 15:4)

~Jeff Warner

To start this series at the beginning please click here.

A Quiet Heart

"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength."  Isaiah 30:15
It is always weakness to be fretting and worrying, questioning and mistrusting.  What can we do if we wear ourselves to skin and bone?  Can we gain anything by fearing and fuming?  Do we not unfit ourselves for action and unhinge our minds for wise decision?  We are sinking by our struggles when we might float by faith.


Oh, for grace to be quiet!  Why run from house to house to repeat the weary story which makes us more and more heart-sick as we tell it?  Why even stay at home to cry out in agony because of wretched forebodings which may never be fulfilled?  It would be well to keep a quiet tongue, but it would be far better if we had a quiet heart.  Oh, to be still and know that Jehovah is God!


Oh, for grace to be confident in God!  The Holy One of Israel must defend and deliver His own.  He cannot run back from His solemn declarations.  We may make sure that every word of His will stand though the mountains should depart.  He deserves to be confided in; and if we would display confidence and consequent quietness, we might be as happy as the spirits before the throne.


Come, my soul, return unto thy rest, and lean thy head upon the bosom of the Lord Jesus.

~C.H. Spurgeon {Faith's Checkbook}