Tag Archives: baby

Built to Last

When trials are pressing in on me, it’s tough to remember that I’m built to last – built for eternity with God, to worship and to love Him, and to recieve His love for me. But it’s the most important time to pay attention to what God is saying! The lies of the world are always nearby, whispering in the background, clamoring for my attention.

“You are not loved.”

“This mistake is far too big to be fixed.”

“You’ll never get there. You might as well stop trying now, before you cause yourself more pain.”

Right now, we’re facing the possibility of losing our house, our safety, our car and our dignity. We’ve heard lie after lie from someone close to us who is in (earthly) control of some of these factors, and we’ve worked really hard to prevent this situation, but I don’t see a happy, safe resolution. I’m having a hard time loving this person whom God has not only asked me to respect, but to love. I want to scream and yell “God, don’t you see how much she’s hurt me?!” It’s then the lies kick in. “Well, Mandy, you’ve been mean before. This is karma, kicking your butt. You deserve this!” But I don’t. And my children don’t deserve it either. This will affect them far more than it will affect me.  I fear, and I try, oh I do try not to listen to those lies and those angry, unloving words from people who do not know me – do not care to know how much this hurts us.

But I will hold on to Jesus.

I will seek Him. I will chase after Him, and I will seek His Truth. I will Listen to Him, and when I fear – I will repent. I will daily study His Truths and lock them deep in my heart. This scripture came to mind recently as I was praying, and it’s stuck with me as a comfort when I’m tempted to fear what may happen.

For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.

Proverbs 24:16 (NASB)

It’s helpful for me to remember how far God has brought me, and that this is not to my ruin, but to my benefit! I am being tested and refined as silver is refined through fire (Psalm 66:10) so that God may see His image in me. This is a blessing! The more that stress presses in on me, the more I pray. My kids see me praying and they often catch snippets of those prayers. They have, in turn, began developing an active prayer life of their own. In fact, one of my most frequent prayers is that of thanksgiving for these beautiful children that God has blessed me with!

Theresa praying Chelsea praying

It’s during moments of pure blessing like these, that I remember just how amazing God is and that He alone can strengthen and prepare me for anything. I remember that our family’s house is built on The Rock, and it will weather any storm.  I stop and take a knee, thanking God and asking for what I need in that moment, for that day and He answers me, filling me with love, patience, wisdom, and Truth. He reminds me that I am never walking alone, nor am I expected to handle big problems alone. He enables to me to shine His Light, no matter how big that storm raging around me is.

The wise man built his house upon the Rock - and shone His light for ALL to see. Even in a severe storm.

 “All who listen to my instructions and follow them are wise, like a man who builds his house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents, and the floods rise and the storm winds beat against his house, it won’t collapse, for it is built on rock.

Matthew 7:24-25 (TLB)

And I will continue to shine His light, and proclaim His Truth from our house upon The Rock, when the sun shines and when the storm rages, for I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Gladness in Trials

It’s been a long time since I’ve written in this blog. I keep looking at it, thinking about it, and wondering when I’m ever going to make time to write again. The Lord has brought me on such a journey since I began writing for Nest Full of Birds. The entire vision has changed as I have changed. The structure of my family has changed as well. God has grown us into the people He has desired us to be at this time, and we have accepted that call, moving into His will and letting ours go. It has not been without a fight, and therein lie many of the struggles we have faced. Once we finally settled down and accepted that God can be trusted both in good times and in bad, we began to see the many blessings – the rich blessings which are far too many to be named,  bestowed upon us. If I tried to list every blessing we’ve been given in the last few years, I could not do it. They are too many. What I will do is list some of our greatest blessings. Some may surprise you. I know it has surprised me to consider some of them blessings, but they are! They are proof that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28 NLT)

  • We lost a baby 2 days before Christmas in 2010. This certainly took a long, long time to recognize any amount of blessing from this tragedy. What I learned is profound and deep. God cried with us. Our child was born into heaven and “Jesus wept.” John 11:35 (NIV)
  • My husband was deployed many, many times during the six years he was in the Navy. In fact, he was away more than he was at home. I learned that my husband is not an idol to be worshipped, but a flawed, sinful human like me, who needs love and prayer. Exodus 20:3 (ISV) “You are to have no other gods besides me.”
  • We moved many times and I met a diverse number of Christians who taught me that there is more than one way to love and worship our Lord. This opened me up to considering others’ needs, wants and feelings once again and I was stretched and grown in the face of my own sin, and that of others. Isaiah 1:18,19 (NIV) sum it up best, saying “Come now, let us settle the matter, says the Lord.“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land…
  • My husband was unemployed following his honorable discharge from the Navy. There were days when we went hungry. My stomach would growl loudly and painfully as I walked through the grocery store with a borrowed $20 to purchase food for my children so they could eat. Philippians 4:12 says “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”
  • I got a speeding ticket and was pulled over shortly before that for driving without my lights on during a time of darkness. Ever since I was a very small girl, I have been deeply afraid of authority figures, especially cops. When I was pulled over, I was shaking because I was afraid the cop would try to hurt me. I was a woman in a car alone with two small children. No man to protect me. The cop could’ve done anything he wanted to, and no one would’ve protected me. But the cop did not treat me unkindly. He was professional and kind. My fears were all for nought. I cried as I pulled away, and thanked God for reminding me that He can and will heal the hurts of the past. He sure did on those two occassions.
  • My husband told me I was a bully. He called me out on something I’d been picking on him about. For those of you who know Anthony, you’re well aware that he never says an unkind word to me, even when I’ve deserved it! But one day, he’d had enough of my nitpicking and called me on it. It shocked me, but I was glad to have heard the truth about how my behavior affected him. Proverbs 27:6 (NASB) says “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.”