Thursday, November 25, 2010

Jar of Gratitude

I wrote this recently to a person who has done an amazing job of blogging about Thankfulness. I wrote to the author about a gift that I received from a dear friend. I wanted to share this only because it has been such a blessing to me and to the others that have participated in the Jar of Gratitude. Thank you Sarah K. for your inspiration that has inspired me to focus on God all year round. I am indebted to you more than you will ever understand. 
This is what I wrote: 
"As I was prepping my house for tomorrow morning (Thanksgiving 2010), I brought our jar to the kitchen table... This jar is the Jar of Gratitude. A dear friend made me this as a Christmas gift and has been a year of blessings that I have received from it. The whole family, even the kids, would write down a blessing or a thought of Praise and Thanksgiving. It has a year of answered prayers, a year of heartaches but reminders of how good God is, a year of scripture that the Holy Spirit used to encourage, to heal, to sharpen us with, and a year of growth for our family. Tomorrow as we gather around our morning breakfast we will go around and open the jar. We will read, or help a child to read them out loud... (some might be paraphrased for young ears). I am excited to be reminded about the grand wonderful things God did and also reminded how He faithfully met us in the small and day to day things. A funny thing happened with this jar. I started out using it all the time something good happened or something made me joyful. But somewhere along this journey I began writing in it when times were tough, were scary. Now don't get me wrong, I still talked with God. But it became this thing that no matter what was going on, God would bring to mind at least one thing to be joyful of. And somehow writing it out made me release the other stuff I was focusing." 


If you haven't a jar or notebook or bulletin board of thanksgiving, wouldn't Thanksgiving Day be a perfect day to start a visual praise and thanksgiving???

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gianna Jessen... What is my life's sermon?

     
        This is the story of Gianna Jessen, and yet as she speaks, somehow it surpasses the issue of abortion or Pro-Choice. Yes, that is the umbrella she speaks under... but when listening to the video I hear the battle cry for all Christians to stand up and take ownership of their faith with God. 
         "... I did not survive so that I can make everyone comfortable". 

Not a people pleaser. There is a battle of life and death. And when you step back and examine your own life, which side do you really truly stand on? I am speaking beyond the issue of abortion. I am speaking and asking about the spiritual life? Are we apathetically walking through our faith and allowing the silent holocaust to continue on with our loved ones? What I am asking is what is your life story, or sermon?
         " ... I am hoping to be hated... not that I look forward to being hated but along my journey I know that I am already hated because I declare life..." 

Can I really say that? Do I really stand up in the morning and say today I will not compromise my God. Can I honestly say I will not be PC about the God of the universe? Speaking as a first class People Pleaser, I know I have staid silent too many times in the name of not wanting to offend. Not wanting to be 'judgmental'. But where is my line in the sand? Maybe the issue is not abortion or Pro-Choice, it could be another issue... the point being do I stand up? Do I speak a life of boldness of who my God is. A God of love, a God who has a purpose and creates purpose into his creation. At the end of the day am I willing to be hated, or do I make it all about me or you? 

My arrogance in thinking that I am in complete control. It is the mercy of God that sustains me. I do NOTHING in this life on my own power. 

Gianna touches on how she is weaker and yet it is I who crumbles. Look at this woman of God. Look at her strength! She has rooted herself firmly on the promises of God. It is clear that she has a living relationship with God. He is not merely knowledge or a distant thought. He is her Father. He is ACTIVELY moving in and through this amazing life called Gianna. And the mind blowing part... He desires to do this with all of us. Not so that we, ourselves, would be glorified, but so that His Glory may be known. I weep at the thought of how this God who created this universe, this world, this very being is patiently waiting for me to tell my sermon. My sermon of my GREAT MERCIFUL GOD. 

"We misunderstood how suffering works... God has a way of making the most miserable things beautiful". 

Men you are made for Greatness, for kindness, to defend what is right and good

Women you are made to know your value, to be fought for

Do you want to be obsessed with your own glory or to be obsessed with the Glory of God? 

Lord may I love you and stand for You with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength. God, write my sermon for YOUR Glory. 

Gianna Jessen Abortion Survivor in Australia Part 2

Gianna Jessen Abortion Survivor in Australia Part 1

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Beautiful For Me

I took the kids to a movie today ($2.50 a person score!). The movie was Sweetpea from Veggie Tale. It was about what true beauty is all about. Good movie. Highly recommend it. However, there was a song that really struck me by Nichole Nordeman called Beautiful For Me. If anyone has a daughter, this song strikes a cord. In fact, if anyone is a daughter, this song will hit your heart. The longing to hear that we are beautiful and was a made out of purpose, is something every girl desires to hear. There is a reason that the princess theme markets to the masses so well. here are the lyrics. You can click on the link included in this blog and scroll half way down and see/hear the video of Nichole's Beautiful For Me


BEAUTIFUL FOR ME Lyrics
Nichole Nordeman
Every girl young and old has to face her own reflection
Twirl around, stare it down
What’s the mirror gonna say
With some luck, you’ll measure up
But you might not hold a candle to the rest
“Is that your best?” says the mirror to the mess
But there’s a whisper in the noise
Can you hear a little voice
and he says

Has anybody told you you’re beautiful?
You might agree if you could see what I see
Oh
‘Cuz everything about you is incredible
You should have seen me smile the day that I made you beautiful for me
If it’s true beauty lies in the eye of the beholder
What my life and what’s inside to give him something to behold
I want a heart that’s captivating
I wanna hear my Father say

Has anybody told you you’re beautiful?
You might agree if you could see what I see
Oh
‘Cuz everything about you is incredible
You should have seen me smile the day that I made you beautiful for me
Close your eyes
Look inside
Let me see the you that you’ve been trying to hide
Long ago, I made you so very beautiful
So I ought to know you’re beautiful

Has anybody told you you’re beautiful?
You might agree if you could see what I see
Yeah
‘Cuz everything about you is incredible
You should have seen me smile the day that I made you beautiful
You’re so beautiful
Beautiful for me
So beautiful for me
Has anybody told you?

Monday, July 26, 2010

when I am weak...

As many of you know Greg is in Uganda Africa until Aug. 6. He left the 21st of July to help lead a team to serve alongside with DELTA ministries. I ask that you continue to pray for the team to be open to what God's agenda is and that the Holy Spirit will have room to challenge all that are involved with these ministries during these next two weeks.

Now... moving onto more of the point of why I am writing. Today, Monday July 26 was hard. Today, I felt weak. Today, I felt inadequate. Today, I felt incompetent. Today, I felt that I lacked in every possible way. Today, God and I conversed all day.

I have to start off by saying, my children were great. They were patient with me. They were sweet to me. It was a joy to watch them play with the water outside while the weather was hot and sticky. And yet my heart was distracted. I was distracted at how I couldn't meet the needs of my youngest. For some reason she has been throwing up after each feeding for the past 24 hours. For some reason today she was desiring to eat all day and yet not being able to get much from me. She was still unwilling to take a bottle from me when I began to feel desperate. Here I am, as a woman, and I couldn't meet my baby's basic need... Food. So though there were moments of great delight, I was continually haunted by the fact that my body wasn't working the way it should. I can only imagine that I am not alone in feeling that something must be wrong with me. Today, I felt broken.

I have tried a bunch of different things to help with milk supply and getting my daughter strong enough to work on her mouth muscles so that she can eat, which in turn would help her grow. I have been to the lactation specialist every week, except for 3 of them, since my daughter was born. Zoey is 11 weeks old. That means I have gone 8 times. 8 times!! And it is only  2 1/2 months in! My mind is tired. The desire to quit is starting to creep in, and yet my heart wants to fight to the death to be able to breast-feed. This is my last child. I want to cherish that bond as long as I can. To be more honest, I want to hold onto the perfect picture of child-rearing that is still in my head. Yes, I understand there is no such thing as perfect child-rearing... but my heart is having a hard time of letting it go.

So, here I am, tired, frustrated, concerned, annoyed at myself and my body; and then God does something amazing. I finally put a bottle together walked out to the courtyard and asked a friend to feed my baby. And as the two women began to ask how I was my eyes filled with tears and told them that today I was struggling. They patiently held my baby and fed her. In that same moment a dear friend of mine called and was checking up on me. I began to cry again as I told her of my heart's struggle. She listened. She prayed on the spot for me and Zoey and Mak and Zeke. When I finished that phone call I went back out to the courtyard and I saw a husband of my neighbor was holding Zoey and feeding her the bottle. I sat down on the grass with my friends and I watched as one person after another took turns taking care of Zoey. And in a moment that could have made me feel like everyone else was taking care of my child why couldn't I... I didn't. What I felt was joy, honor, and humbled by these people's love for my child. God was so gracious to me and to Zoey in that moment. In that moment He reminded me gently that He sees me, He remembers me, and He is taking care of me.  Who am I that He would remember me? I felt so loved in that moment.

God thank you that you remind me daily that You have not turned Your face away from me. You have not promised me an easy life, but You did promise to be with me. Thank you that you tangibly love me through human hands. Thank you that you have designed a system where, we as humans, can be your hands and feet, and mouth and ears. God I love you. Lord, I am weak please grant me the strength to remember who is in control and to bend to Your helping hands.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Feeding our kids

There is a new show w/ Jamie Oliver, "Food Revolution". There has been a growing response to what kinds of foods our children are eating. It is sad enough that as adults we can KNOW that something is wrong for us and decide to make our bodies sick with the junk. ( I am guilty of this). However, it is tragic when we sub-come our children to eating not just "bad food" but food that is actually making our children sick. I encourage you to check out the following sites.

Food Inc: http://www.foodincmovie.com/
Processed People: /http://www.processedpeople.com/
Food Revolution: http://www.jamiesfoodrevolution.com



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fear

Revelation at Church during worship time on Sunday: 


I've been struggling w/ fear about having this 3rd baby and if I even remember how to have a baby around 24/7...  how to swaddle a baby, to understand her cries, to be up at all hours (though I do that now), will I be able to breast-feed, will I be 'the mom I am suppose to be' by society's standards, and the list of fears goes on. 

And this is what was pressed upon me during worship: I experience fear when I am trying to take control in a situation where I am not in control. If I realize that I am not the one to be in the spot of control and release that to God THEN He will grant me peace for I've let go of the struggle for control. 

This came back to mind today as the end of this pregnancy is drawing near. This pregnancy has not at all been what I imagined it to be. When I was pregnant w/ my daughter, around the 3rd month we had been told that we had lost the child. Given a 99.9% chance of survival. But God proved them wrong, and graciously granted me a wonderful pregnancy from that point on. I in fact loved being pregnant. She had to spend a week in the hospital after she was born at 4 lbs 12 ounces, four weeks early. That was one of the hardest weeks of my life. My son was born 2 weeks early and also had to stay in the hospital for one week after being born 7 lbs even. That time it was even harder. Had a child at home, child in the hospital, and thoughts of 'what is wrong w/ me why can't I bring babies home right after they are born?' clouded my mind. 



So, w/ this being my third and last pregnancy, I had these great thoughts. I was older now. I knew more of what I personally wanted during my pregnancy. I was going to have a midwife. I was going to exercise hardcore the entire pregnancy. I was going to have tons of energy (ok, I do think I hit my head on that one... I mean I HAVE been pregnant before). But you get the idea. But no. This pregnancy I spent the first 16 weeks throwing up, then finding out there was a problem w/ our little girl's heart, then hearing how AWESOME God is by closing her hole, then moved from the midwife clinic to the High Risk clinic w/ the hospital (which has turned out to be a huge blessing), then struggling w/ partial bed rest, high blood pressure, headaches, seeing spots, not having energy, not being able to serve those who are close to me the way I want to.... and now having to have steroid shots to help the baby's lungs develop in case she comes in the next couple of weeks. 


But in all these disappoints I question myself , "why did I have these expectations?" And the truth is... being totally honest... Image. A girlfriend of mine this past week, hit that on the head. The struggle to maintain an image. I'm in control. I can do such and such on my own. I have it together and life is easy. Bologna! That's non-sense. When did I start buying into that junk?! I know, oh too well, that I can do nothing on my own. I am NOT in control. I do NOT have it together. And in no way is life easy or comfortable. 


My prayer now is to rest in the knowledge of the God I serve. To allow the head knowledge to guide my emotions... not my emotions guide my knowledge of God. 


My God defines my circumstances not the other way around. 



Monday, March 8, 2010

God's graciousness

I know... I stink at blogging. With the world of Facebook it is way to easy to do small little updates on the family w/out taking the time to really sit back and write about what God is doing in & through this little (but ever growing) family.

However, God has been abundantly faithful and gracious to us as of late and I would love to share with you all.

First thing: Baby G's little heart

As many of you know we are expecting our third child this May (if she stays in there that long). I believe it was November that we were told that we would be expecting a little girl to add and to complete our family. We were also told that she had a hole in her heart. The news was hard to hear, but we immediately felt God's grace and comfort as we spoke w/ the doctors and what steps would be next. In January, when we went back to meet w/ a specialist and they did an EKG on our little girl's heart, the doctor discovered that the hole had completely closed up! Praise GOD! He didn't have to chose to do that for our girl, but He did and we are so thankful. We had an ultrasound this past Friday (March 5th), and her heart and kidney's look great. She is a healthy weight and the doctors are very pleased. So are we. God is good!

Second thing: Greg and Internship and Job

In 2009 Greg and I had applied with a missions agency to work over in Senegal, Africa. The plans were to leave the fall of 2010 and Greg would work on short term team planning while living in Africa. We made it through a lot of hoops, however in the end God said No. There were a lot of different reasons, one being that the job we thought we were applying for wasn't open for hire, it still left us with some hurt feelings. We had confidence that God had said no for a reason, but we also knew that we may or may not ever know the reason why God said no. However, He has been gracious to us these past few months and has revealed some of the reasons why we were not to go, and has been faithfully molding Greg and preparing him for the next steps in his career. After a lot of talking with God and waiting on Him, Greg was assured that switching his masters degree was the next step. We would have been done this coming May 2010 at Multnomah, however, Greg has been given the huge gift and privilege to remain at Multnomah for at least another two years to finish a Master's in Divinity. Without the support of our family, this would be extremely impossible. But all of our parents have been supportive and encouraging along this journey and continue to blow wind in our sails as we continue this adventure here at Multnomah. God opened a wonderful opportunity for Greg to do his internship with an organization called DELTA Ministries. They are a group that focuses on coming along side churches to help them prepare, send, and debrief short term missions teams. Greg is so thankful for the mentor that God has granted Greg. He feels that he is and will continue to learn valuable tools for organizing short term teams. They are skills that will be able to transfer into whatever God may chose for us down the road. We are also excited because God has opened a door for Greg to come onto staff and to continue to learn and be groomed in this area of ministry. We are so humbled by God's graciousness. We were so disappointed to have been denied this past fall, and now we are so grateful that God told us no and allowed us to feel disappointed. He truly knows what is best and what we need. God is good!

Third thing: 2nd Car
We moved to Oregon with our mini-van. It has served us well. With Greg not working and able to walk across the street to his school, there was no need to have a second vehicle. We had had a second car while living in California and sold it before we moved so we could pay off our van. Not having a car payment was wonderful. However, with Greg now working alongside DELTA the need for a second car arose. DELTA's office is in Vancouver, WA while we live in Portland, OR. We knew that we needed just a point A to point B car that could get good gas milage. We also knew we desired not to have a car payment. Once again God came through in a huge way. We were recently given a chunk of money to put towards a second car. This allowed us to pay for a 2003 Pontiac Vibe out right. No loan, no debt. We are so blessed and amazed at how God continues to provide more than our basic needs. God is good!

Well, that is the Weaver family as of now. We are looking forward to a season of guests this Spring. We were blessed to have Karen Williams and her two kids come out our way this past January. My (Jen's) mother, Mary N,  was here this past weekend. My youngest sister, Desiree',  will be out here March 24-29. Then hopefully the Grummon family will be able to make it up here in mid April. Then we are blessed to have the Kugelberg's make it up late April. I am praying that my other sister will be able to come up sometime in May. We are just so blessed by our family and friends. God is gracious, faithful, and so good!

Thank you for walking with us all these years. We can not tell you how much we thank God for you and how special you all make us feel. Looking forward to what God has for you this year and praising Him for His faithfulness in your own lives.

Much love,
Wacky Weavers,
Greg, Jen, Mak, Zeke, and Baby G'

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New bedroom...well sort of

Hope you all had a great Christmas! Greg and I were blessed w/ some money this Christmas. Most of it was put aside to help w/ the up coming baby. However, I had been dying to get the kids real bedding for a couple of years now. Mak, being 5 1/2 now, had been blessed with a hand-me-down flower bedding when she was 18 months old, and also a wonderful flannel blanket that her Nana had made her. However, when we moved we to Portland, we realized that the bedding had many holes in it and decided it was time to let it go. We have been using the wonderful blanket and some Good Will sheets for the past 1 1/2 yrs. Zeke had been still using his "Car's" crib blanket and some random flannel blankets. So, w/ a little extra cash I decided to treat the kids to some bedding.









The kids got to pick them out... w/ some stipulations. No character blankets. Not because I'm anti-disney or some other company. I just know that kids go through phases, such as which Princess, or Boy character the like at the time. These had to be sets that would last some time. I was very happy w/ how well the kids did. And w/ having mix genders sharing a room, I thought I was doomed to have the room look like color and pattern barfed all over the place. But I think they did great. Here are some photos to show their choices. It makes me happy that they were able to chose and express themselves. Also notice in the pictures some shelving over the dressers (which Mak had painted w/ me about 2 years ago). My studly husband put those up for them. I had had one of those plywood shoe shelves in my closet. It broke about 6 months ago and I had figured out a way to keep it in somewhat workable condition, until this past week when it finally gave out for good. Greg reused the materials and found a great use for them. Love the savings on that! Oh, and after doing some research on pricing for bedding, I found a great deal at Target! For one set: comforter, sheets, and pillow case= $64. Compared to $179 for one set.

Very happy kids, and very happy mommy!