Monday, January 21, 2013

The Sanctity of story

In honor of “Sanctity of Life” week, I would like to share my first pregnancy story as a 16 year old. I actually found out I was pregnant just before I turned 16. 

I didn’t tell my Mom right away. Actually, I didn’t tell her at all. I was sitting at the kitchen table, my mom was cooking and no one else was in the room. That didn’t happen often because growing up we had a full apartment of 7. My mom and 7 children total. My older brother was not home often so I assumed the role of an oldest sibling. Anyway, as my mom was cooking, right out of nowhere, she says,”Dinora, are you pregnant?” I was shocked she knew to ask but relieved I didn’t have to confront her.
To this day the words she said after I said, “yes”, have not left me and changed the way I view life today. She said, “Well, it’s not the end of the world. It only makes things harder.” She asked me a couple of questions and told me to make myself an appointment with the doctor to start prenatal care and that was about it. Abortion was not a word ever mentioned. I knew where she stood on the issue and her life was evidence of it.  

When I found out I was pregnant I was scared. I had no idea how my life would turn out if I had this baby. And I knew the relationship with my boyfriend was over. I didn’t mind that. For some reason that didn’t make me scared and I didn’t chase him down. It was actually a relief. I did consider abortion for a brief moment but I knew that would never be something I could ever live with and dismissed that thought right away. 

My whole pregnancy was great. I had the usual morning sickness but no problems to take note of until, my routine lab. Test came back abnormal. They said it should that would probably have a down syndrome baby. That really scared me and for the first time was really nervous about things. I thought I could handle a normal baby but how could I ever do it with a downs baby. 

They told me the percentages of how like the test were accurate and they asked if I wanted an abortion. I knew I didn’t want an abortion but how could I actually take care of this baby now. They suggested I have an amniocentesis done to get back results that would give me a 100% accurate result. I agreed to that.
I remember that day so well. I was so very nervous and scared. My mom went with me to that doctor’s visit. We talked. I kept telling her my concerns about having a downs baby. I told her I was considering an abortion if the results were positive to a downs baby. She stayed quite. I knew that decision was totally on me. I carried the weight of this all by myself. 

Before the procedure, I was given a standard counseling class to make sure I understood everything that was going to be done and the risks involved. Out of that whole meeting one thing that was said stood out to me. If my due date was wrong all my lab work would be wrong. I signed the papers, changed and walked into the room where the ammnio would be done. I met the doctor that was going to perform the procedure and lay on the table. The doctor started walking me through everything he was doing. The ultrasound was first to find the position of the baby and would serve as a window for the doctors to see. As he moved the wand around, he had a peculiar look on his face. He asked what my due date was again. Asked if I was sure and looked at my records again. He said, “The dates are wrong, she is not 26 week she is 22 weeks”. I said, “I am not 26 weeks?” doctor says, “no”. He went on doing what he was doing. I said, “So, since I am not 26 weeks that’s why my blood work showed a problem”, doctor says, “yes”. I say, “I don’t want to do this anymore”, “it’ll be okay, don’t worry, you don’t want to take a chance”, “no, I don’t want to do this, I’ll take the chance, the test are wrong”. I got off the table and all I could see was the frustration and anger on the doctors because I wasn’t going to go through with the test. My mom stayed quiet the whole time and just stayed by my side. She let me speak for myself and she let me make the decision. What a blessing.
My whole pregnancy family, doctors and professionals looked at me with pity. Poor dumb little 16 year old girl, is what they thought. What a wasted life. To some extent that was true. I was poor. I was 16 but I never thought I was dumb. I never believed my life was wasted. 

By the grace of God, on September 16, my healthy sweet little baby girl was born. God planned her to be born. He planned her to be my daughter and he planned that she would be raised with a mom and dad that would teach her the ways of the Lord. 

God plans parenthood not man. God directs our path not man. Sin in our lives and rebellion can and does lead us down roads we regret. But repentance leads us to everlasting life. Only God can take a wasted life, in the world’s eyes, and make something useful of it. Only God can take foolish things and make them wise. Only God can use a 16 year old girl to glorify himself. 

The best thing to happen to me happened in July of 1997. That was the day God opened my eyes to the truth and I have never been the same. May I never be the same again. May I be more like him tomorrow than I am today. May His story in my life continue in my 8 precious children’s lives until he returns!
To God be the glory, forever!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sorrow, Godly Or Worldly?

SOR'ROW, n. The uneasiness or pain of mind which is produced by the loss of any good. or of frustrated hopes of good, or expected loss of happiness; to grieve; to be sad.

When we think about sorrow we think about pain. Pain can be physical  or emotional but sorrow is strictly emotional. It is a heartfelt type of pain. When it comes to our children, when we see them in pain, whether physical or emotional, we ourselves hurt and experience a degree of pain because we can identify with the pain of our children. 

Often times our hearts go out to such a degree that we wish the pain could be transferred on to us. We want to ease their pain. We want to stop whatever it is that is hurting them. We might offer them a candy, a day out, a toy. We watch the tears streaming down from our child's eyes and we ourselves might cry. We don't know what to say or what to do to help them, sometimes. Worse still, is if we were the cause of this pain.

I think of the sorrow that was felt in the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve felt shame for the first time. I can imagine the sorrow that filled their hearts. When God banned them from ever entering the garden again, what sorrow must have filled their hearts. The grief, of the death, of a son that was murdered by the hands of another son. What horrible sorrow.

The story of sorrow has filled the earth since that day and it hasn't relented. All the sorrows of the garden have been replayed like a rerun that is unending and we are still experiencing this sorrow today.

In the new testament, we read in the first letter written to the Corinthians that they had been made sorrowful. In 1 Corinthians, Paul writes about disunity in the body of Christ, spiritual immaturity and pride in worldly wisdom, all sorts of sexual immorality, lawsuits and how to handle these issues. 

Paul clearly and decisively addresses these sin issues and in 2 Corinthians 7:8-11, he commends them for how they responded to his letter.

Read this slowly...

  I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while. Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways.  

It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have
so you were not harmed by us in any way.   

For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.
 Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.

 When Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers he was sorrowful because he had to say hard things to them and he was not happy with them. He wanted to commend them but he couldn't. 

In this same way, we parents need to approach our children. Because we want the best for them and because we are their shepherds we need and must confront sin. We will have to give an account for how we handled the sin we see in our children's lives and how to address it. 

Eli and his sons were punished severely. Eli for not disciplining his sons and disregarding the Lord and Eli's sons (Hophni and Phinehas) for disregarding the Lord and treating sacrifices to the Lord with contempt. He new what his sons were doing but did not remove them from their responsibilities and give them their due consequence. He rebuked them but he did not discipline the Lord did. (1 Samuel 2:22-35)

How many times have we rebuked our children by saying, "don't do that, stop, no, I'm telling Dad, didn't I say..., 1...2...3..." and then, nothing. No follow through. No discipline. No consequence. We allow them to continue. Or maybe we try to distract them and move there attention on to something else. Has the issue of the heart been addressed?

Now, we cannot change the heart of a child but we can use discipline to get their attention. We know our children want to please us and when they see that we are not pleased they are filled with sorrow. (If they are not filled with sorrow at all that is an other issue to be discussed at a later time) But what kind of sorrow? Is it the godly kind or the worldly kind? 

The feeling of sorrow is not enough to produce a change. That is why we can see a child full of sorrow, remorseful and regretful over a wrong done but in no time, back to the same thing that they were so grieved over. 

It is the same with us as adults. Godly sorrow leads us away from sin and brings eternal life. Worldly sorrow leads us to death. It is the same with our children. 

Sometimes, when sin is pointed out, our children receive the correction easily and obey (like the Corinthian believers) but other times when sin is pointed out (like was the case with Eli's sons) they do not respond and we must discipline them.  

Proverbs 13:24 tells us:
 Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children.
    Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.
Hebrews 12:10-12 tells us:
For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
We do the best we know how and God does the rest. 
Let's ask God to give us wisdom, discernment, an understanding to what is really going on and most of all, let's ask God to grant our children (us) godly sorrow that leads to repentance and eternal life. If we cause sorrow, like Paul did, may it be godly sorrow and may we see what godly sorrow produces in our children. God wants us to experience this type of sorrow, godly sorrow, so that we might share in his holiness.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Called To Remember

All throughout the bible God tells us that he is a God that remembers his promises.

How many of them can you remember?

Here are a few scriptures that tell and remind us that God remembers his promises:

 I will remember my covenant with you (Noah) and with all living creatures~Genesis 9:15

 ...he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob~Exodus 2:23-25

Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant.~ Exodus 6:5

For their sakes I will remember my ancient covenant with their ancestors, ...that I might be their God. I am the LORD.” Leviticus 26:44

 God is not a man, so he does not lie.
    He is not human, so he does not change his mind.
Has he ever spoken and failed to act?
    Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
Numbers 23:19

Since we know that God does not forget his promises, what does he expect of us? Does the Lord ask something of his children? What does he require of us? Why does the Lord ask us to remember and what should we do to remember

 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one from each of the tribes of Israel. He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. We will use these stones to build a memorial. Joshua 4:4-6

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: Throughout the generations to come you must make tassels for the hems of your clothing and attach them with a blue cord. When you see the tassels, you will remember and obey all the commands of the Lord instead of following your own desires and defiling yourselves, as you are prone to do. The tassels will help you remember that you must obey all my commands and be holy to your God. I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt that I might be your God. I am the Lord your God!”. Numbers 15:38
 Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’  Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’  For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over.  He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.” Joshua 4:21-24

Stones of remembrance... 
We are to set up reminders that will last from generation to generation. So, what do you tell your children? What is your reply? How do you answer them? What are your "stones of remembrance?". Are your children asking questions? What questions are your children asking? If they are not asking now God tells us they will.
God wants us to set up reminders so that we do not do what we are prone to do...follow our own desires and defile ourselves. If we still live in the body of flesh we are still prone to the desires of the flesh. Our children are prone to the same desires. Why? They live in the flesh just like mom and dad. Even if we, take them to church every Sunday or they say the "sinners prayer" or we have family devotions every day or we are baptized or are home schooling or we are isolated on a 100 hundred acre farm or don't have a TV. The list goes on and on.

Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”  
Genesis 4:7

More often than not, when we look at the past we want to forget the sin that had us bound, but by doing this we rob ourselves and our children of the awe and wonder of God's power...

and we rob God of his due glory in our lives.

Isn't that the truth when things are hard? When we are discouraged? When we allow Satan's age old lies to fill our thoughts. We look back at the days of our slavery but instead of remembering our deliverance we want to forget the misery of being a slave not realizing we are robbing God of his due glory and honor. We want to forget or live like those things never happened. So without realizing it we are saying to ourselves and our children, I am "good" and I have always been this way, you should be this way too. At the very least that is the message we are sending, even if we do not want this to be true.

Now , I don't mean to say we should live as if our past defines us. Or as if we have not been given a new identity.

 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

The Israelites were able to begin a new life in the promised but but they were commanded to remember the past.
I also do not mean to say we have to  start wearing tassels on the hems of our clothing or piling stones (though I like the idea) but what I am asking you to consider is, what are you setting up to arouse the curiosity in your children? What are you doing to remember? What will your children be able to tell their children, your grandchildren, of the Lord's deliverance? What did you see and experience?

If you grew up in a christian home your parents deliverance is part of your testimony and your past just like it was for the Israelites. It is God's desire that the deliverance that began with your parents or grandparents, whatever the case may be, continues with you! It has not ended with your parents it continues with you until the day we have reached our eternal promised land that will be lit up by God himself. You are just as prone to the lust of the eyes and the desires of the flesh because you live in the same imperfect flesh with the same sinful nature. By the grace and mercy of God in your life the taming of your flesh began at a young age but if your parents had not restrained you, you would be no different then the rest of the people in this world that walk in darkness. Be honest with yourself and test yourself to see whether or not you are in the faith. 2 Corinthians 13:5

God remembers the promises he makes to us. We must remember the deliverance he has given us or we (us and our children) will "follow our own desires as we are prone to do". We like to remind him of the promises he has made to us and claim them but do we do what he requires and commands us to do... remember how and what the Lord has delivered us from.

In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you.
Exodus 20:24

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Mother's Call

“I am a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!' "
 Is there more to being a mother than just discipline and correction, tears and dirty diapers or noses to wipe? Do you ever feel like you aren't sure how exactly you are to be used in the life of your child?
As I was talking with a sister, last night something inside me was being stirred. We talked about motherhood and the discernment needed for the grand task of raising children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I have long been of the conviction that it is the will of God that the children of believers, in Jesus Christ, should expect to witness godly offspring come from their marriage union. God tells us in Malachi 2:14,
You cry out, “Why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why!
Because the Lord witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows.
 Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his.
And what does he want? Godly children from your union.
So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”
So, back to the question, what is a mother's motivation or wind as she builds a home environment that is full of joy, forgiveness and loving kindness? After all that is what discipline, correction, tears, dirty diapers and dirty noses are all about, right?
Many times we might look at the world outside our doors and think we are missing out on proclaiming the truth to the lost and dying world but all the while unaware that we are blind to the task set before us in our very own home with the children God all mighty in his sovereignty and by his providence has entrusted us with.
We, mothers, are like and are to be like John the baptist. Read John 1:6-23.
God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might
believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a
witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone,
 was coming into the world.  He came into the very world he created,
but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.
But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.
They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. So the Word became human and made his home among us.
He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds,
 “This is the one I was talking about when I said,
‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’”
  From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.
For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us. 
 This was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistants from Jerusalem to ask John, “Who are you?”  He came right out and said, “I am not the Messiah.”
 “Well then, who are you?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?”“No,” he replied.
“Are you the Prophet we are expecting?”“No.”
  “Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“I am a voice shouting in the wilderness,
    ‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!’”
We have been sent by God!
We are a witness to tell about the true light!
We are to point out the true light, the Messiah, that came into the very world He created.
We are to help our children recognize Him.
We are to help our children come to a saving belief and acceptance of Him.
We are to bring them to an understanding of a rebirth that comes from God. 
We are to help them understand that God became human and He is full of unfailing love and faithfulness.
We are to shout, this is the one I was talking about when I said...
We are to say, He is far greater than I, he existed long before me.
We are to tell them that from his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.
We are to say, God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.
We are to point out, Jesus reveals god to us.
We are to be the one's that SHOUT in the wilderness...
Clear the way for the Lord has come and is coming again!
Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand!
We have a great mission and our call was secured when we were given the title, mother. Go forth in the power of the Holy Spirit and proclaim the truth to the ends of the earth!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What A Blessing

October marks the last meeting of Daughters Of Destiny until February 2013. The next time we meet so much would have happened.

Next time we meet...

...will know who the president of  the United States will be for the next four years...President Barack Obama for a second term or Mitt Romney.

 ...we would have celebrated Thanksgiving with loved ones and we would have enjoyed a special time of giving thanks to God our father in heaven for all HE has provided and done for us...for the work he has done in us and through us by the power of his Spirit.

...we will have celebrated Christmas, the day Jesus Christ the son of God introduced himself to the world in human form who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;  rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself  by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Phillipians 2) HE HUMBLED HIMSELF AND BECAME OBEDIENT TO DEATH for us. This is why we celebrate the birth of our savior Jesus Christ! the grace of God we will welcome in the new year and pray for the continued work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and through our lives.

...hopefully we would have spent time with one another, enjoying the sweet fellowship, encouragement and sharpening only the saint of God can experience.

This fall the start of the group for sons (of all ages) started and in January they will be officially meeting and inviting others. We pray blessings on their time and ask that this group of men would become the role models needed in this world. That by their example they would, "do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will  prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life". (Phillipians 2)

When we meet again we will be able to learn from other mothers and daughters as they share with us a lesson from the study guide to "The Princess And The Kiss" and we look forward to adding a craft to our meetings to help reinforce our study.

It has been such a blessing and an encouragement for my daughters and I to gather with you all in the name of Jesus. We look forward to seeing familiar and new faces as we continue meeting together.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Starting Off

In September our mother daughter group, Daughters Of Destiny, began to meet in an effort to create an atmosphere where the younger and the older are encouraged to learn from one another, love one another and encourage one another in the love of Jesus Christ and to motivate one another to love God and others.

We started off by going through the study guide for the book "The Princess and the Kiss" by Jennie Bishop. We meet once a month and share a light breakfast before we begin the teaching time. There is always encouraging conversation as we seek to honor God in our speech and bless others with the words of our mouth.
So far, over the last few months, we have covered lessons:
1. God loves you
2. You are a unique and special treasure
3. God gave you a very special gift
4. God offers the most precious gift
5. God is pleased that you are growing up
6. Guard your kiss as you grow
Some might believe these lessons are only for young girls but if you didn't have a mom and dad that taught you these things you might want to consider what a lack of understanding in these areas can or maybe HAS had on your life. Don't close yourself off from learning these simple truths and miss out on filling in the gaps you might have missed as you grew up.