Thursday, August 30, 2012

He is embracing His walk with you.

“Do not say that it is impossible to receive the Spirit of God. Do not say that it is possible to be made whole without Him. Do not say that one can possess Him without knowing it. Do not say that God does not manifest Himself to man. Do not say that men cannot perceive the divine light, or that it is impossible in this age! Never is it found to be impossible, my friends. On the contrary, it is entirely possible when one desires it” (Hymn 27, 125-132)

- St. Symeon

I have searched for God while He has guided me.  I trust Him to show me when things are right and when things are wrong.  I have felt awakened by God but it doesn't mean I don't go through times of not so much doubt, but desiring and craving more.  Where what I have is not enough.  Christ is enough, but to desire Him more closely.  If Jesus was a drug I most certainly am addicted.  I have opened my mind to others opinions on Him.  I have read every red letter in my Bible, I have read countless of peoples desire to be closer to Him.  I have read the gnostic writings (although I didn't agree with a lot of them but still gained an understanding on what they believe and could probably carry a conversation with one who believes this way now).  I have tried to gain and understanding of Him through the eyes of so many.  In the end it is Him that satisfies my soul.  He pours out His love and I can say it is well.  He always just brings me to Himself.  All the knowledge in the world, will never amount to knowing Him personally.

When I have a question about God,  I seek Him more.  I seek Him in the strangest of places.  He is always waiting for me there.

I couldn't write out my theory of how to approach God, or what my firm beliefs on how to interpret the Bible are.  I desire to understand Hebrew and Greek.  Its on my bucket list.  I am fascinated with the studies of original writings.  I find the language to be beautiful and I respect it highly.   I cannot identify myself in a certain denomination or non denomination of Christians.  I see beauty in all of the churches.   I find absolute beauty in the tradition of the Catholic church, the knowledge and understanding of Scripture from the Baptists I have been in fellowship with.  I find such awe of the love for Christ that the Christian Mystics have,  I have a deep understanding towards the gatherings of Christians who meet in their homes, in their backyards, in their gardens.   Holy Spirit guiding in many forms to bring us closer to Jesus Christ our God.

I keep most of my study time with God to myself.  I am afraid to share a lot of the times what I search and discover, what I find truth in.  I don't think anything that I find to go against Christian beliefs, but I guess my fear of man still hasn't fully vacated this vessel.   All I know that the more I peel apart and the more I seek the more I love God.  I sometimes share the end result, but the way I come to the end result during these times of picking apart the entire universe I think I sometimes hide.  I have shared before, and been put down because how I interpreted a moment in my walk with Christ was not how someone has interpreted or known as okay... does this make sense?  Has anyone else had this happen?  I have been terrified to experience God in certain ways because I have been afraid of what people think...

But I question that tonight because if how we have discovered or how Christ has shared something with us is hidden, someone else who is seeking Christ the same way might be afraid to share as well.   

Where am I going with this...  I honestly am not really sure, this is probably going to be a lot of rambling.  Just my heart tonight. .. had a bad day and in the end realized going to God with it at probably around five would have been a lot better than at 9... when I pour out my heart finally to Him and He pours His love out on me... after a few hours of complaining to the entire atmosphere that life totally has sucked today...

Seeking Christ. ... I wanna scream dont let any man or woman tell you you are doing it wrong. Ofcourse there are teachers and pastors and leaders who can help guide you but always remember Jesus said HE is the way... so seek Him.  Seek the Kingdom of God... seek His opinion.  Call upon His Spirit.  Holy Spirit will guide you through a whirlwind of awesomeness.  Don`t let people take your testimony of what He shows you.  Get into the Bible, get Him to open it up to you to more than just a old book with stories in it.  Before the Bible was so boring to me, now words jump off the pages.  Dont expect your friends who aren`t following God to understand either.  They are going to think you are nuts.  Let them, and pray that God will open their eyes too.  And Thank God everyday for what He shows you.  When a scripture pops up and says just what you needed to hear thank and praise Him.  When you feel His presence while listening to a song, thank Him.  When (this ones for me) you feel the most amazing breeze hit your face just right and you just feel such a peace thank Him.  When someone speaks words of life to you, and prays with you, and shares their testimony with you, thank Him.

Embrace your walk with Him because He is embracing His walk with you.

He is loving when you have your ``ah ha`moments about Him.  He probably laughs right along with you and says `I KNEW she`d love that!` He loves when we come to Him with our stuff.  He loves to love on you.

God longs to just love on you and teach you things and show you things and make you smile.  He does take us through the valleys but remember during those times He is still there and He still encourages and loves on us (even when you wanna pull your hair out.)

And if you don`t know how.. pray... that is the `how` I think.  Call out to Christ.  Seek and you shall find... 

Friday, August 24, 2012

When Autumn comes early and confusion turns to joy

My autumn came earlier this year.  Not the season, but autumn for me is a time I thought has always been a time of confusion spiritually.  Its when I yearn to feel God strongest yet always feel a struggle to make things I wanna make work work.  The first evening that the breeze felt cool and I poured tea instead of something cold, I began to feel a pull.  I always come out of the journeys closer to God, but the journeys themselves are something I struggle to embrace because they are hard.  They cause me to question, they cause me to seek hard and press in strong.  I'm glad God presses in hard too.

At three am when struggling to stay awake while feeding the baby, there is the Word calling out.  I have read so many different parts of Gods word in the past few weeks in the weirdest hours of the night than I think I ever have.  While the newest babe of only three weeks nursed contently I was in proverbs, John, Genesis, Job, Luke, Isaiah... I was everywhere.  I downloaded a concordance for my phone.  I find myself learning Hebrew meanings while the sun is peeking out over the horizon and the Son is rising up inside...

Wisdom... that one word... chokmah, sophia, took me on the most massive journey this past 72 hrs...  He gave me one word, it turns into a whirlwind and then a calm.

I went all over the place. The internet can be a very helpful tool or a very huge danger zone for anything.  I opened my eyes and I took Gods hand and I feared and I cried, I giggled, I anticipated, and I just knew God was taking me somewhere.  I've always said "Just trust Him for even a day and see what He does."  Christ is phenominal.  I'd read some things and then get back into Scripture, I'd get into the Hebrew and the Greek, I would pray... oh how I prayed-  Holy Spirit guide me and don't let me go-  I learned... a LOT.  I learned from many perspectives, and while I fear this, I still felt Gods comfort and His gentle guidance.  I discovered, I unraveled, I embraced, I let go.. I sought. I asked many friends questions via text, phone, random moments.  I hit up  Google and Wiki and was in the Bible like I probably should be everyday.

I learned things I dismissed and picked up treasures from Christ that I have treasured now deep inside.  There were nail biting reads, there were sighs of relief, there was history, culture, language, physics, mathematics, colours, spirals, pauses, reflection, love, strength, singing, worship, fear, knowledge...

I regained the wisdom in knowing the one thing I now know I once again needed to understand and grab hold of-

Christ is huge.

And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together)- Colossians 1:17 amplified.

I struggle every year because its this time of year I feel a presence of divinity in nature.  I struggle because I have feared year after year that to feel His presence in the wind or to smell something Holy in the Autumn air is somehow horribly horribly wrong.  That when it rains on an October morning and I feel a cleansing and a peace that I somehow am not following a Christian way.

Tonight I sit here with a tea and a smile and tears of thankfulness because after reading page after page after page I have that release from the Holy Spirit, one peice of Scripture to save my aching head to say that in Him, my Jesus, all things consist and are held together... everything.  Its all about Him and its all through Him.  This is something I knew but didn't...if that makes sense.  When these emotions or feelings rise up and I feel joy, He's telling me I dont have to repress it because He created it all, for us, to enjoy and as creation all gives the glory to Him, so do I.  Praising Him along with it all.

Job 38:5-7
Amplified Bible 
Who determined the measures of the earth, if you know? Or who stretched the measuring line upon it? 
Upon what were the foundations of it fastened, or who laid its cornerstone,  when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Three becomes four and the household shifts...

Its been one week since Tehillah-Joy made her way out of my womb and into a warm pool of water in our dining room, surrounded by love and joy.  I prayed for this little girl for a year before she was conceived, I prayed for her through the entire pregnancy, the ups and the downs.  Surrounded by support and love, the frustrating times became easier and the joyful times were beautiful.

Her relationship with me is one that requires warmth, security, protection and a breast.  I cannot take my eyes off her, she has totally captivated me, and totally activated awe towards her small hands and feet.  When they are that small, and so dependant on you, ones life becomes one easily sacrificed to tend to their every need.  Through exhaustion that I cant even call exhaustion because its such a negative word.... I am tired, very tired, but its a tiredness I don't even think I can complain about today.  Its a tiredness worth had because I spend the night cuddling a nursing one week old tiny girl and got up early to take our children to play at the park.

She is our fourth.  And I feel this way towards all of them.  When our three year old begins to do something hillarious (or something sneaky but with one eye brow raised) I cant help but feel so in love with that kid, even if it is something he does that is wrong.  While he needs to be disciplined, afterwards one cant help but chuckle... sometimes from the fact that there is just nothing else you can do! 

Our five year old learned how to ride his bike without training wheels this week... on his own, without the help of my husband and I.  Now he books it around the neighborhood, going over tree roots as jumps, a plastic bottle stuck in the back wheel so it sounds like a motor bike.  The smile and determination in his face as he shares all he has done brings so much joy.

Our seven year old.  What a help she has been since Tehillah-Joy came into our lives.  She is very willing to help with her, and even more willing these days to help with her brothers which before was a bit of an eye roller for her.  She loves to assist in the little things and it just seems she is growing up so fast before our eyes.  Looking at her baby book the other day makes us realize just how far Alexis has come.  Her love of Christ grows more and more, her questions and smiles make us proud parents.

There are days I want to pull my hair out.  There are nights where bedtime cannot come fast enough.  But it doesn't matter.  These four children still bring me so much joy.  My patience gets better each day.   I have said it before that I firmly believe God has put this calling of being a Mother and a wife and homemaker in my lap and while I may need a bit of help in the homemaking department I want to use these relationships in my life to glorify the Lord.  He gave me these gifts.  And they are gifts...

Psalm 127:3-5
The Message (MSG)

 3-5 Don't you see that children are God's best gift?
      the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
   Like a warrior's fistful of arrows
      are the children of a vigorous youth.
   Oh, how blessed are you parents,
      with your quivers full of children!
   Your enemies don't stand a chance against you;
      you'll sweep them right off your doorstep.

Its almost as though this little girl has renewed that within me, within the entire household.  A shift has clearly happened in our home.  Things are much busier, more laundry (especially with cloth diapers!), less sleep, more cleaning... but it feels as though things are easier.  Perhaps its because I am no longer hugely pregnant and running to the bathroom every ten minutes... whatever the reason I am so very thankful to God for blessing us with these beautiful children who I get the privilege of having a relationship with.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Tehillah-Joy- Birth Story- August 1st 2012

She is finally here.  Fearfully and wonderfully made, and so wonderful.
This pregnancy was different.  Her birth was as well different from her three siblings.  I promised so many people her birth story so I figure this is a good of way as any.

July 28th I woke up and knew my body was preparing for birth.  I also had mild contractions during the day and night, so much that on the 29th at around 3:30 in the morning I was begging my husband not to go to work.  He assured me that he'd be back long before anything would happen as he was only going in for a few hours.  Sure enough he was right, the contractions eventually stopped and I was able to sleep.  However the next night again they began to pick up. These were not braxton hicks, these were painful.. and again I figured this was it.  I spent most the night sitting on a birthing ball doing hip circles.  They were seven minutes apart for the most part, then spread to 15 and eventually again stopped.  I was beginning to now see a trend I wasn't overly pleased with.  Two nights of no sleep and I was starting to get a bit worn out.
On the 31st I paged my midwife and her and my secondary were both unavailable due to other child births.  I spoke with another midwife who I explained my exhaustion and how my labour seemed to be starting and stalling and I was wondering if Tehillah's positioning was off.  She told me to come in and be checked.  I was 2 cm's dialated...and I was a bit discouraged.  Baby was fine and I was fine, I was ordered to go home and sleep so I did and when I woke up I felt much more refreshed and not so emotional.
On the 1st of August I went to see my midwife at 10:30, and sure enough she checked Tehillah's positioning and she was a bit curved.  I was up again that night with contractions and when she checked me I was 3cm's.  She asked me if I wanted a sweep to see if things would jump start again.  I never was so excited to hear that question.  I came home and my friend Carly and I went for a huge walk that I think took about 45 minutes to complete, out on the bike paths and streets in our neighbourhood.  I had a few twinges and such but no contractions.
At about 2:30 pm I started to notice contractions and while they were much like the ones before I kept telling myself this was it and started to walk around the house trying to keep vertical.  I washed the dishes and tidied, and at about 3pm I started to realize that the contractions were rather close together so I figured I best time them.  They were about 5-6 minutes apart and I decided to text my friend Dawn who was going to come be my doula/support for the labour and birth.  It was funny because I texted her "don't go to Toronto any time soon" as a joke, and it turns out she was leaving for Toronto the next day. I also had my husband call his Dad and step Mom to pick up our boys who were not interested on being at the birth.  They came within the half hour to pick them up for the night.  
Dawn showed up as well and the contractions were still the same.  I had to breathe through them, but I could laugh and joke, so I had not really thought of talking to my midwife at all yet.  At 3:45 I had two contractions that were 7 minutes apart and I started to get a bit doubtful.  Were they going to go away again?  Then they jumped to 3-4 minutes apart and I remember leaning over our computer desk timing them on my phone and after each one I would say "Im paging Sarah" (my midwife).  But after it was over I would say that I'd wait and see.  At about a quarter to five I told my husband and Dawn I wanted into the pool and they began to fill it up.  My daughter took pictures and was very excited.  I then paged Sarah at about five to five and she said she'd make a few phone calls then be on her way.
When she got here I was in the tub focusing on breathing.  Im not sure what time she arrived but when she checked my cervix I was at 5cm.  I was still able to talk and chat between without much fear of the next one.    She began to bring in the gear and see who was going to be my secondary midwife since my secondary was unable to come.  Turns out Annette who was the midwife I had seen the day before was on her way along with a student midwife also named Sarah.  They were all wonderful.  When they got to our house it was about ten after seven.  I don't know if at this point or not I was getting into more serious business, I know there came a point where I didnt know who was coming and going.  My Mother in Law and Pat had arrived, my friend Carly was there as well.  My daughter had gone outside at this point for a bit as seeing me in pain was something she needed a break from.  It was also around this point the ice cream truck came by playing its ice cream truck music and I said a few choice words about its timing ;)  Very annoying to hear Pop Goes the Weasle when you are in labour.  The contractions were hurting so bad and I wasn't sure what position I wanted to be in so I tried a few, and I made more noise then any of my other births.  I think I probably frightened the neighbours.  But it felt so good!!!
At about 8pm my midwife asked if I wanted to have my water broken or not since I had with the other ones. I decided I would have it done since I knew it can help it go faster and at this point I just wanted it to be over (Between arguing in my head to go to the hospital and "get the darn drugs" and begging God to just take the pain away because He is fully capable I was not a happy camper) apparently I have very strong membranes and we were not sure she even broke them. I felt pressure and I wanted to push, so I did small pushes with contractions and grunts.  I dont know how often I opened my eyes, answered anyone's questions.  I remember Dawn applying a cold cloth to my head and telling me to drink.  I remember hearing people telling me I was doing an amazing job and I remember hearing something about banana bread.
At 8:20 my midwife asked me if she could check me again to see how close I was to being 10cm's.  She checked me and told me there was just a bit of cervix covering the path and at 8:25 I think she helped move it.  I'm not sure.

With that it was on.  I felt the burn and I felt her come down fast and I thought "oh great how long do I have to deal with the burning ring of fire for.  I forgot how much this stings!!!"   Then all of a sudden her head came out.  I was told to stop pushing so the baby's body could be rotated just a touch and out popped Tehillah-Joy at 8:26.  She floated into the water and I remember seeing her big eyes looking as she was brought up out of the water and onto my chest.  She didn't cry but was so observant.  She was so calm.  They rubbed her a bit and she made some noise but was quite calm.  She was little compared to our others who were 9lbs-10lbs.  When the weighed her she came in at 7lbs 12 oz!  I guess London Ontario water is not as fattening as Ottawa Valley water! ;)
Things with four children is pretty fun.  Besides the hormone change and a bit of breastfeeding trouble we have been adjusting very well.  She looks so much like our son Tayven when he was a baby and he is very proud of this.  He has been telling us that she "looks just like me."   Zayden keeps rubbing her head and telling us she is "so ute!" (cute).  Alexis loves her little sister and holds her lots and lots.  Tehillah really likes to be held by her too and cuddles in.  It really makes Alexis feel special.  Today we got to wrap her up and take her for her first babywearing adventure.  We only went to the corner store and back but you have no idea how wonderful it is to be babywearing again!  So thrilled.  Dylan is such a proud Daddy, taking pictures of her on his phone all the time, holding her and talking to her about life.  Its so amazing.  God really blessed us with four amazing children.  I cannot thank Him enough.