Experience Life

Let me be honest. In November I pretty much had reached my limit. I’m a homeschool mom with 5 kids, 2 with learning challenges and special needs, I was going through my fifth miscarriage in 2 years, had made several life-altering adjustments, had endured one of the most devastating trials of my life during the summer, and then was struck with the horrible effects of topical steroid withdrawal. I was at my lowest point when the Lord rescued me by giving me grace, hope, and a renewed desire for life with much prayer and support from dear friends and family. During this time, I didn’t realize that I had allowed the stress to strain every aspect of our family life. I was just surviving with a lot of checklists and schedules but little grace, much prodding and pushing without gentleness, deadlines and results without beauty. Awakening from my pain-filled stupor, I craved to bring order, beauty, and restoration back to my family.

Thanksgiving was around the corner and it was the perfect opportunity to reflect upon the blessings rather than continue to dwell on the difficult. We spent hours brainstorming about our dreams and desires. We made plans for travel, for read-alouds, for activities, for goals. I knew we would forget the sweetness of these slowed-down days and eager chatter. I wanted us to continually be reminded of God’s goodness to us through our struggles and hardship and to mark the wonders and joy of the life He gave us. I wanted it to be beautiful.

I came up with a mural covering a large wall in our foyer. The kids all contributed their talent to the work. After 100+ hours and a lot of paint, our Experience Life wall was done. Our unfinished bucket list lines the stripes and our completed experiences are scattered in the leaves throughout. What a delight to walk by it or fill in another leaf!

Oh, how cliché but through it all, I was reminded that every detail, every stroke, every colorful event – whether it represents bright happy times, or the darkest, blackest shadow – has the Master’s touch. What tremendous hope it is to know that He who started a work in us will see it to completion! Firmly believing in the truth of Romans 8:28, I find courage to face these challenges because of Christ and His unfailing love for me. I want to share this truth with my children and teach them to draw strength from Him who is able. I want them to know that everything in their life isn’t just random meaninglessness rather it is beauty in progress. 

(Inspired by artists Karla Gerard and Chrissie Grace. Thank you.)

Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/5solasmom/experience-life-wall-mural/

My newest finds 5-19-09

I’m always finding new links, blogs, articles, stores, deals etc. and I would like to list them here regularly so that they are not just lost in my growing link sidebar.  So, very Challies-like, I’ll be regularly listing some interesting finds (without quite as much detail as Challies indulges us with!).  Hope these will bless you!

 

TIM CHALLIES

Since I’ve mentioned his blog already, let’s start with Tim Challies’ blog.  Interesting blog entries, great (and extensive) book reviews, latest discussions on current issues, conversations, anything that is sure to create a stir in reformed circles.  Definitely a must-visit!

 

NEXT

Here’s a webzine called NEXT that looks interesting.  In the line-up this week are theological heavy-hitters like D.A. Carson and worship leader extraordinaire, Bob Kauflin of Sovereign Grace Music. 

 

TITUS2TALK

For the Discovery and Recovery of Biblical Womanhood.  They have a post this week for Pastors’ Wives on 10 Questions for Pastors’ Wives.

TRUTHS WE CONFESS

Truths We Confess: 3 Volume set by R. C. Sproul on sale for $34.50 (50% off) at Monergism.  I ordered this for our church library and I think this will be an excellent resource.  I want one for my own library!  I might not agree with everything (i.e. eschatological or paedo-baptism views), I always benefit from Sproul’s writings and this extensive one looks like one to delve into! 

 

CHAPEL LIBRARY

I don’t think enough people are aware of this wonderful ministry called Chapel Library by Mount Zion Bible Church in Florida.  If you would like a taste of Puritan writings, Spurgeon, excellent reformed theology … for FREE then you must contact this organization for some of their resources.  I have been so blessed by their publications as well as their online material.  The website is a bit primitive but they are a non-profit group.  They also have free and extensive Bible studies that are reformed and very well done.  Bookmark this one!  And consider partnering with them so that the Lord can continue to bless many through this unique ministry!

 

If you find something noteworthy, I’d really love for you to share them with me!

 

*I’m having a hard time formatting this on WordPress. The spacing and underlining has come out all strange and I can’t fix it. Oh well!*

 

 

 

 

“Run in With Robbers”

Oh my. Please read this account of this man getting attacked and robbed.  

After that, read the latest update here.  I am in tears to see not only how God takes the scum of the earth (me!) and does a life-changing work, He gave His precious Son, Jesus to do it! 

Thank You, my Lord and my God!

Prayer for Joni Eareckson Tada

I’ve been thinking of Joni Eareckson Tada all morning.  What grace the Lord has shown to me through her life!  I have much to be challenged by considering her suffering and her understanding of God’s sovereignty.  Justin Taylor has a video of one of her latest talks on his website and you can see her struggling to breathe: Between Two Worlds

Justin Taylor:  I asked her how readers of this blog could pray for her.

 

She wrote: I’ve been doing better and feeling much stronger since that presentation at the Dallas Theological Seminary chapel. If I were to ask for anything, I would say…

 

Pray that my very thin fragile bones gain bone mineral density from the quarterly Boniva treatments.

 

Ask God to help my family and care givers “be careful” when lifting me in or out of bed and other transfers onto airplanes.

 

Ask God to infuse courage into my heart daily! Pray away anxiety and fear of the future.

 

Help me not to become me-centered when I’m in pain!

 

Ask God to bring a helper who might be able to assist during nighttimes once a week — I’d like to give Ken and my friend Judy a break.

 

Ask God to alleviate the side affects of the pain medication I take… eventually I would like to wean myself off of it!

 

Plead to God that I might know Jesus better through all of this and not “waste” my sufferings!!

 

So would you consider taking these requests before the throne of grace? I know that she is deeply thankful.

Please join me in praying for this dear sister in Christ.  She has ministered to so many over the years.  The Lord has strengthened and inspired His people through her courage and dependence on her Savior.

Why I Love Puritan Writings

If you know me, you know that lately I am reading through many of the Puritan Classics. I want to encourage you to pick up a book by Thomas Watson or Richard Sibbes or John Bunyan and be prepared to be brought to your knees in worship of the One they served and adored. Their faith is one that brings tears to my eyes when I consider my own frail rendering of love for God. The un-modernized versions take careful concentration to collect the precious gems from every paragraph, even almost every sentence. But it is worth the effort and time. They loved the Word: their writings drip with scriptural references and illustrations and undergird every thought and expression. I’m greatly impressed and moved by their high view of God, their love for their Savior, their sacrificial care of others, their unshakeable faith in eternal future grace (Piper), their careful study of the Word, their worship and acceptance of God’s sovereignty in all things… the list goes on. But most of all, it draws me closer to the Christ they love and uphold. I will read 10 books at a time written by them if I could. So much better than the ‘spiritual junk food’ that’s being shoveled into modern churched people. That’s why I love Puritan Writings so much.

 

Read Rutherford: “I am half content to have boils for my Lord Jesus’ plaisters. Sickness hath this advantage, that it draweth our sweet Physician’s hand and his holy and soft fingers to touch our withered and leper skins: it is a blessed fever that fetcheth Christ to the bedside – I think my Lord’s, “How doest thou with it, sick body?’ is worth all my pained nights.”

“Glorify the Lord in your sufferings, and take his banner of love, and spread it over you. Others will follow you, if they see you strong in the Lord; their courage shall take life from your Christian carriage.”

“I am in as sweet communion with Christ as a poor sinner can be; and am only pained that he hath much beauty and fairness, and I little love; he great power and mercy, and I little faith; he much light, and I bleared eyes.”

“I find Christ the most steadable friend and companion in the world to me now; the need and usefulness of Christ is seen best in trials.”

“Learn to believe Christ better than his strokes; himself and his promises better than his glooms… ‘For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God’, ergo, shipwreck, losses, etc., work together for the good of them that love God: hence I infer, that losses, disappointments, ill tongues, loss of friends, houses, or country, are God’s workmen, set on work, to work out good to you, out of everything that befalleth you.”

Some Great Deals Going On

I have to post this somewhere! I hope some of you will take advantage of the great deals going on in cyber space. Some more notable ones are:

 

Truth for Life Attic Sale (Alistair Begg)

They even have Jerry Bridges’ “Respectable Sins” for half off.  The Gettys’ CD called “In Christ Alone” is a great deal!

 

Sovereign Grace Ministries is having a whopper of a sale on their books and CDs.  Excellent chance to stock up on great music and CJ Mahaney’s books!  Included in the deal is Carolyn McCulley’s newest book: “Radical Womanhood“.

 

I just received my huge copy of Richard Baxter’s “The Christian Directory” from Reformation Heritage Books that I bought for half price at $30!

 

Also, download your free audiobook of the month: David Batstone’s “Not For Sale”.

 

If you know of a good deal going on, please share it with me! I’ll be sure to spread the good news around. 🙂

Read the Puritans!

Oh boy, look what I found!?  This was a 2008 challenge but why not for 2009?  Don’t know when I would be able to do this but what an excellent idea! 

Puritan Reading Challenge

JanuaryThe Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes (128 pp)
FebruaryThe Mystery of Providence by John Flavel (221 pp)
MarchThe Godly Man’s Picture by Thomas Watson (252 pp)
AprilPrecious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks (253 pp)
MayCome and Welcome to Jesus Christ by John Bunyan (225 pp)
JuneThe Mortification of Sin by John Owen (130 pp)
JulyA Lifting Up for the Downcast by William Bridge (287 pp)
AugustThe Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs (228 pp)
SeptemberThe True Bounds of Christian Freedom by Samuel Bolton (224 pp)
OctoberThe Christian’s Great Interest by William Guthrie (207 pp)
NovemberThe Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter (256 pp)
DecemberA Sure Guide to Heaven by Joseph Alleine (148 pp)

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