Monday, November 29, 2010

The Cardinal

I realized I never blogged about the cool ways that the Lord was involved in our move.  This has been such a busy, intense time, but I want to pause and tell the story.

So, let’s back up quite a bit.  When we moved to Houston in 2003, we moved across the street from good friends of ours, in a golf course subdivision.  A few years later, our friends ended up moving to Colorado.  Also, the backyard was small and we weren’t allowed to walk on the golf course.  And if our trash can was in the wrong spot, we’d get a letter.  J  We longed for a home on some land in a country setting, so the children could play outside and dig in the dirt.  But the years passed without our pursuing it, as we watched the economy slow down and homes sit in our neighborhood with ‘for sale’ signs in the yards.

Last November (a year ago), Mark and I were blessed to have some prophetic words spoken over us by an older couple that we’d never met before.  They prayed over us and shared four things that they felt the Lord was impressing on them about us.  They were all right on – concerning the baby we were expecting, a ministry the Lord had placed on both of our hearts, an upcoming time of confusion, and about our desire to move.  Regarding that, they said, “we’re getting that you’d like to move to a new home.  Not out of state or anything, but a different home.  You’ve been cautious for a long time.  The Lord wants you to know He’ll be in the details.”  Wow, that was encouraging to hear!  We had been cautious, so it was nice to have that invitation.

That week, I got online and set up a simple search on a real estate site.  Not many homes came across my email, because I made the search pretty specific - over half an acre, one story (or no bedrooms upstairs), etc.  In early March, a home came across that looked interesting.  We called a real estate agent that friends of ours liked, and set an appointment to see the home that weekend.  The night before, I prayed and asked the Lord for a confirmation.  Knowing that we could love the house, but He could have a different home in mind for us, I wanted His guidance.  I hadn’t thought about a specific confirmation, but a cardinal came to my mind when I paused in my prayer.  So I prayed that while we viewed the home, we would see a cardinal if it was the right home for us.  I hadn’t seen a cardinal in two years, and that was when we were out of town on a camping trip. So, that was my fleece (Judges 6).

The next day, we pulled up to the home and I joked with Mark as I got out of the car “let me know if you see a cardinal…” (I hadn’t mentioned my prayer to him yet).  The house was just right as we walked through it.  At one point, I looked out a back window, and a cardinal flew down and landed on a bird bath in the back yard.  I called my son Pierce over to see it, and Mark as well.  I shared my prayer with them – how exciting to have a confirmation!

We weren’t doing things in the typical order – but we hurriedly did months of house projects, decluttering and cleaning in about a week and put our home up for sale.  Knowing that the Lord would be in the details, we figured a sale would be quick and easy.  We decided it'd be best for me to take the children to my parents’ home in Louisiana for a few weeks, to allow the house to stay in order and sell.  How funny to think that things would be quick & easy.  If we’d really thought about it, we’d have known that things may just be very difficult and slow, because that builds character!  Seven stressful months followed, with many house showings, while homeschooling five children and having a new baby.  During that seven months, we faced very difficult times with our business.  Three times stand out in our minds when buying a home looking downright impossible.  By human wisdom, we would have taken the ‘for sale’ sign out of the front yard.  Yet each time, we watched the Lord clear the obstacle.  How sweet to have a confirmation in order to keep us on the path we were on.

All the while, it was amazing that the home we found didn’t sell out from under us.  At one point, the owner (who was also a realtor) found that the agency that sets up showings was denying all showings on the home!  Our realtor joked with her that her clients were really praying about the home, so we had a lot of power on our side.  The other realtor joked back, “well, tell them to stop praying!” 

Eventually we had a reasonable offer from a sweet family that wanted to buy our home, and we were able to close on both homes exactly 7 months after listing our home.  Mark & I are still looking at each other in wonder – we can’t believe we’re here – in the ‘cardinal’ house!  The Lord truly was in the details, and He used the slow, challenging process to build our faith and teach us more dependence on Him.  He is faithful – always.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

His Voice

I’ve had a little lesson lately on hearing from Him. For the past several years, I’ve longed to hear His voice more. Part of my ‘baggage’ from the past was boxing the Holy Spirit in… for example, He is the seal of salvation, but He doesn’t ‘speak’ to people or work supernaturally as you’d read about in Acts. My experience has knocked that belief right off the shelf, which is refreshing. Of course, there’s still a growth process – a journey that I’m walking through, learning to experience Him more deeply.

So, a frequent prayer of mine over the years has been to hear from the Lord. There were two events recently that showed me that I am hearing from Him – how encouraging! In late August, a group of ladies came to my house one Thursday night. We spent some time in worship, shared needs and ministered to one another through prayer. For myself, I prayed about my recent struggle with frustration and anger toward the children. The last several months have been so stressful – I’m already in over my head the first year with a new baby. Add to that having our home on the market, business struggles, and other stresses, and WOW! Overload! So, I requested prayers for that, because I don’t like it one bit when I’m raising my voice at my children. I also asked for prayers regarding hearing from the Lord, as that would of course be a comfort during times of stress.

One lady prayed for me, and while she was praying, I thought – “My grace is sufficient for you… my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Then another lady prayed for me, and toward the end, she said that she was getting something for me from the Lord – “My grace is sufficient for you… my power is made perfect in weakness.” Then she said that she was also getting that I’m hearing from the Lord often, but not realizing that it’s Him.

I just had to laugh! What a fun confirmation. First, it was just what I needed to hear regarding my struggle with my children. I’m hard enough on myself – I don’t need ‘training advice’ or more pressure. I need to know that He’s got me covered with His grace, and His power is made perfect in my weakness – my brokenness. At the same time, He showed me that I am hearing from Him, but I assumed that I was hearing my own thoughts. Knowing that He lives inside of me, that only makes sense. The Holy Spirit is in constant communication with me – His truth is constantly poured over me. I realize that as I grow up in Him, I’ll learn to discern more and more what is coming from Him and what is truly from me. For now, I’m just thankful to know that His words are freely poured out on me, encouraging, guiding and teaching me as I go.

Just 6 days after this confirmation came another, if you’d like to read about it!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Keeping focused daily

We've been using a book called "Daily Light on the Daily Path" for daily Bible readings as a family.

I'm really enjoying how it's grouped into morning and evening readings for each day, and how each reading is on a central theme.  Here's a taste:

He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.
1 Corinthians 1:31

Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD. Jeremiah 9:23-24

I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. Romans 1:16  I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God. Romans 15:17

Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. Psalm 73:25 My heart rejoices in the LORD;… I rejoice in Your salvation. 1 Samuel 2:1

Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your mercy, because of Your truth. Psalm 115:1

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Still too busy to blog, but here are more pics!

Ezra playing by the mirror.

Silly Pierce.
Havilah playing dress up.
Elijah "holding up" the nice gal from Candelari's Pizzeria, for our Groupon photo contest entry.

Friday, June 4, 2010

More Pics!

June is here - we can't believe our Ezra will be 6 months old on the 11th.  It seems like he was just born.  We're still plugging away over here with our home on the market.  I look forward to when I get to blog about that whole story, when it's said and done!

Pierce makes a fancy sign - maybe fresh baked cookies will make them want to buy our house, right??

Hava enjoys dressing up.  Usually she ends up looking like a princess.  This time, she got into the boys' closet...

Hooray, summer's here in full force!  The forecast shows that we'll hit 100F this week.

Family movie night means white popcorn popped on the stove top and caffeine free Dr. Pepper.  Ezra & Hava lounge on the sofa together...

Peeking through the play tent window

Pierce enjoys painting.  He's been spending a lot of time drawing with his new set of pencils as well.

Jaden working on his painting of a rocket.
Ezra doesn't know how to not smile, it seems.
Jaden's a wonderful big brother.  They all are, really. 
Doing the laundry is more fun when Ezra can sport an underwear hat.  We're easily entertained.
We're missing the bolts for Hava's new (used) toddler bed.  The barriers we put up didn't do the trick.  We found her sleeping like this!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Time's Flying

I really haven't kept up, have I?  With five kiddos, homeschooling, a family business, trying to sell our home, etc. life has flown by this last five months, without a post!  Here are a few pics to fill in the gap:

January 2010

January 2010 Braids by Elizabeth

Elizabeth our wonderful helper for a few weeks - come back!!!  :)

Ezra's hand - pic by Brittney Stanley

Elijah & Jaden playing

Sleeping in the sling - Jan. 25th, 2010

Crazy about Ezra - Jan. 26th, 2010

Growing boy - April 22nd, 2010

Our smiliest baby yet - April 24th, 2010