Bringing children up in the fear of The Lord is getting harder and harder. My grandparents said it, my parents said it and now I'm saying it...the mountains we face are getting rockier and steeper. The issues I dealt with in school will look like child's play to the moral and spiritual battles my children will engage in. The task ahead is daunting isn't it? But today my heart is deeply encouraged because of 3 words-" It Is Finished" ! Today we remember the mountain that Christ climbed. It was only He who could drag that cross to Golgatha and only He who could bear the immeasurable burden of our sins. Because on that mountain it was only He- God made man- that could cry out "It is finished". No matter what mountains are coming our way, be it persecution, hatred, and loss, Christ has completed the task for us. Every sin and every wrong has been paid for!
He rose again and sent His Holy Spirit to dwell with us and help us up our own mountains until He returns for us.
Hallelujah what a Savior!
Before all the snow melts up here we wanted to take the boys sledding one last time. My parents were so kind to watch Grady for the weekend so we could play all day and spend some quality time with our big boys. We packed them up and headed up north. Not much snow was to be seen along the way so we weren't so sure if sledding was going to happen. We had lunch downtown Flagstaff- such a fun city! Can't wait to go back and explore more. Then we drove about 30 more minutes until we found the white stuff! BUT everywhere that looked good for sledding was off limits!! So daddy came to the rescue- we pulled to the side of the road where we were allowed :) and he hiked until he found a snow covered hill! We worked about 30 minutes and built and awesome sled run! Whoohoo! And the best part we were totally alone- just our little family in the pines to play as long as we wanted. SO. MUCH.FUN.
After sledding we dropped our stuff at a motel and jumped right into the little indoor pool. Dinner was delicious- dessert from a local candy shop to be enjoyed in bed with a movie was the ending to our fabulous day. We asked the boys what their favorite part of the trip was and Weston said multiple times that eating dinner out in the restaurant was his fav. We asked him why and he said " because we were all together". His heart is becoming so soft and he really values time with eachother. That made this trip worth it :)
Getting out and seeing God's beautiful creation is always refreshing. It made me think of this portion of the Belgic Confession that I read recently in a devotional:
" We know Him by two means: First, by creation, preservation, and government of the universe; which is before our eyes a most elegant book, wherein all creatures, great and small, are as so many characters leading us to see clearly the invisible things of God, even His everlasting power and divinity, as the apostle Paul says (Rom 1:20). All which things are sufficient to convince men and leave them without excuse. Second, He makes Himself more clearly and fully known to us by His holy and divine Word, that is to say, as far as is necessary for us to know in this life, to His glory and our salvation."
It's really fun to be in a place with such dramatic changes in weather. Today was very warm in the low 70's but these pictures were taken just a couple weeks ago from our back yard when the sky still looked smoky gray and the ground was frosted with lingering snow and ice. I'm beginning to realize that I like change- it's a fresh start in a way, no matter what kind of change it is. Good or bad, there is a new beginning within every change. Night to day, year to year, life to death, season to season. And if you are a follower of Christ your life is defined by change. You were once dead in your sins and then raised to life by the power of the resurrection on your behalf...a new person from the inside, born again! Nothing is more important than this kind of change. BUT the One who accomplished this change within us He Himself NEVER changes. Mind blowing
Anyone with little children know about change- little people surprise you every day with their new words and achievements. Grady started walking and Gabriel's vocabulary is blossoming in a most hilarious way. Weston is making new friends and is confident being a big school boy.
I am so thankful that things don't stay static- hard times are hard, but in them I learn dependance on God and am more thankful for the good times.
After some of us catching the recent germs floating around, it was nice to get out into the clean Prescott air! We have had so much fun exploring our new city. It has so much to offer, yet is small and comfortable. People smile and chat like you have known them all their lives. Despite it's perfect outside, underneath people are lost without Christ. I was so saddened last week overhearing the conversation of some pre-teens at the park. The topic and the ease they talked about it was shocking.
But just as the Lord changed my heart- He can change anyone's heart!
This weekend our new baby church officially opens it's doors to this community that has captured our hearts and affections. Please pray for us- that the message of Christ would reach those that have never heard it and that people would be changed for the glory of God!
Read this convicting, food-for-thought parable from pastor John Drescher
"Now it came to pass that a group existed who called themselves fishermen. And lo, there were many fish in the waters all around. In fact, the whole area was surrounded by streams and lakes filled with fish. And the fish were hungry.
Week after week, month after month, and year after year, these who called themselves fishermen met in meetings and talked about their call to fish, the abundance of fish, and how they might go about fishing. Year after year they carefully defined what fishing means, defended fishing as an occupation, and declared that fishing is always to be a primary task of fishermen.
Continually, they searched for new and better methods of fishing and for new and better definitions of fishing. They created witty slogans and displayed them on big beautiful banners.
These fishermen built large, beautiful buildings called “Fishing Headquarters.” The plea was that everyone should be a fisherman and every fisherman should fish. One thing they didn’t do, however: They did not fish.
In addition to meeting regularly, they organized a board to send out fishermen to other places where there were many fish. The board hired staffs and appointed committees and held many meetings to define fishing, to defend fishing, and to decide what new streams should be thought about. But the staff and committee members did not fish.
Large, elaborate, and expensive training centers were built whose original and primary purpose was to teach fishermen how to fish. Over the years courses were offered on the needs of fish, the nature of fish, where to find fish, the psychological reactions of fish, and how to approach and feed fish. Those who taught had doctorates in fishology, but the teachers did not fish. They only taught fishing. Year after year, after tedious training, many were graduated and were given fishing licenses. They were sent to do full-time fishing, some to distant waters, which were filled with fish. Many who felt the call to be fishermen responded. They were commissioned and sent to fish. But like the fishermen back home, they never fished.
They engaged in all kinds of other occupations….Some felt their job was to relate to the fish in a good way so the fish would know the difference between good and bad fishermen. Others felt that simply letting the fish know they were nice, land-loving neighbors and how loving and kind they were was enough.
Now it’s true that many of the fishermen sacrificed and put up with all kinds of difficulties. Some lived near the water and bore the smell of dead fish every day. They received the ridicule of some who made fun of their fishermen’s clubs and the fact that they claimed to be fishermen yet never fished.
Imagine how hurt some were when one day a person suggested that those who don’t fish were really not fishermen, no matter how much they claimed to be. Yet it did sound correct. Is a person a fisherman if, year after year, he never fishes? Is one really following if he isn’t fishing?"
Oh these babes. Sometimes I wake up and look in wonder at their little faces and can't believe that I have 3 boys! We haven't had pictures taken of us since Grady was a few days old and we thought it would be fun to have them taken right after our move to remember this special time. It was quite easy to find this location- right behind our house!
It's amazing to think that a few short years ago these little people didn't exist, and now their souls will live forever. It is a heavy responsibility and a joy at the same time to have been entrusted by the Lord with their lives for this time. Andrew reminded us today of the priority of evangelism, especially to our own children. I am freshly encouraged once again to make Christ the center of all that we do and say inside our home and out and pray that one day these seeds will take root in the hearts of our little men.
"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see" Hebrews 11:1
I think this may be one of my verses for this year! What a year it's been and what a year it will be! So much growth and change to be thankful for for all of us this year. These pics were taken on a walk near our new home- It has been spiritually and physically refreshing for me to be removed for a bit from the busy city of Van Nuys. After this weekend things will pick back up but now I feel ready. The quiet country has provided for deep sleep and calm days. Weston starts school on Monday and the routine is actually looked forward to. How kind of God to give us this time of quiet and rest. I am also thankful that we were able to move during this season of Joy- it helped my heart to be continually reminded of our Savior and all that He did for us!
We have been making some sweet new friends and had them over to decorate sugar cookies
Grady has become so much more playful- I just love that he thinks you talk on the phone behind your head
The boys were thrilled to make their own gingerbread trains. I loved watching their concentration and little fingers carefully placing the candies (and they aren't completely naked I promise)
And then we had our first meeting with the folks coming to the church plant at a cozy Christmas party. It was so much fun to meet all the smiling faces that we will soon know very well.
Christmas Eve Grady sprouted a fever so just the big boys and Daddy headed off to church
All squeaky clean and ready for bed in new jammies
We had a quiet Christmas morning and then headed to my parents after breakfast and presents- Grady slept until 11am!
Playing with the nativity at Omie and Grandpas
Grady wasn't so sure about the singing hat though
Omie and Grandpa spoiled us all rotten!
So much fun to be with Ryder, Auntie Leah and Uncle Bryan! Wish we could be together all the time
Now to New Year's Eve! It has been snowing and snowing all day much to all of our delight! The whole place has been transformed under a blanket of white and the boys spent the entire morning playing outside in their rain boots and new winter coats.
So a night in was in order. I made a pot of chili and then we had a dance party and silly photo booth :)