10 years

10 years.

This past week we celebrated 10 years of marriage.

A marriage that we embarked on, young, energetic, incredibly in love…and ready to change the world.

A marriage that we prayed over-that God would fulfill his promise in Psalm 67

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us…”

but we didn’t just want the blessing….we wanted the purpose of the blessing….

“so that your ways might be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. “

And the evening we went to celebrate that 10 year long marriage, God showed his blessing and he enabled us to see a tiny glimpse of Him using it to make His ways known on earth, in real people’s lives.

~~~~~~~~~

10 year anniversary celebrated with baby #6 along as a chaperone....or because I'm his food source

10 year anniversary celebrated with baby #6 along as a chaperone….or because I’m his food source

The day had filled Danny’s inbox with 120 sweet memories of our 120 months of marriage, and countless recountings of situations that God has provided in, shown His faithfulness in, and delivered us in, times of laughter and tears, accounts of being led and directed by the same Spirit that had brought us together to begin with.

The evening had brought a demand to be dressed up and ready to go by 6:30, childcare was lined up and reservations had been made.

When we arrive on site, a table had previously been spread with flowers and a poem.  While I had been typing out all those memories and emailing Danny every half hour during the day, that husband of mine had also been reflecting over these past ten years….and had penned a poem.

~~~~~~~~

Seasons of Joy and Seasons of Tears  By Daniel Iverson IV

 The days of gazing into your beautiful eyes

Have slowly turned into beautiful years

We have walked through the valleys and flown in the skies

In seasons of joy and seasons of tears

 

We discovered our children through passion and love

Their voices of magic still filling our ears

Their laughter and weeping remind our hearts of

These seasons of joy and these seasons of tears

 

For better or worse, in sickness and health

Through thunder and rainbows we’ve learned how to steer

In danger or safety, in wanting or wealth

These seasons of joy and these seasons of tears

 

The sunrise remembers the light of His grace

As we walk through the dark without any fear

His promise unites us, our hearts set ablaze

Through seasons of joy and seasons of tears.

 

In every encounter, my beautiful wife

My joy is unleashed, when your face appears

To have and to hold you beside me for life

In seasons of joy, and seasons of tears

 For my Beautiful Bride Kimberly, on our 10th Anniversary – September 18th, 2014

~~~~~~~

And while we chatted, and talked about the past and looked ahead to the future, every time our waitress came by I couldn’t help but sense that she was carrying some sort of weight around with her. After our lovely dinner, and our sweet time together I planned to ask her if she had anything we could pray about for her.

But he beat me to it.

Once again, right there on the anniversary of the Spirit leading us together in marriage, the Spirit would impress upon our hearts and minds the same things….so that the Spirit could flow through us to make God known to someone who needed Him.

“Hey, Brianna, is there anything we could pray about for you?”,

my husband inquires as she fills glasses again.

Wow

She says.

Yes, actually there is! But let me go take those people’s order and I’ll be right back. “

After several minutes she came back, and but she didn’t just mention a grandma with cancer, or a dad that needed a job, or a desire to be happy and blessed.

No, she pulled up a chair to our table and started sharing her burden…

“Ok, so I’m in the army. and when I was at my last station out in California, some sergeants and I decided to go swimming in this lake while we were on our day off.  So one of the sergeant’s and I decided to go kinda far out to a set of rocks, and half way out he started dog paddling and looking worried. I asked him if he was OK and he said yes. 

So we kept going. 

We were closer to the rocks, but he still looked like he was really struggling. I asked him if he was OK and he said yes, so we kept going. 

We finally made it to the rocks, and I climbed up and he was about to climb up to, when he went under. I started screaming for help, and tried to reach down for him, but the algae from the rocks made everything murky. I screamed and screamed for the rest of our friends and searched for him, but by the time they got over there, and we found him, he had been under water for 3-4 minutes.  We tried to do CPR but he didn’t make it.  

Tears were filling her eyes…

It’s killing me inside…he had a wife and three kids, and I constantly replay it in my mind and think what I could have done differently.  I feel like I’m going to explode. 

Then, as if that isn’t hard enough, one of the my other army friends committed suicide this past week. 

I feel like I’m drowning in grief and guilt.  I just don’t know how to cope with all this. I feel like I have to fake being happy, and just keep going, but I’m dying on the inside. The only reason I got this waitressing job was so that I don’t have to go home at night and think about it all. 

So we sat there, on our anniversary date, and because God had been gracious to us and blessed us with ten years of fidelity and commitment and love through the storms, we were celebrating at the table of a waitress who desperately needed the face of God to shine in her life. He had indeed blessed us, so that His ways may be known on the earth, to Brianna.

We prayed with her there, thanking Jesus for his death that conquers all death. We prayed over her brokenheartedness and  grief and guilt.  And we thanked Him that He himself wept over death, and He himself knows all the pain and agony we face because he dealt with it on the cross. We prayed that because He rose again, Brianna’s heart would rise again as well.

By this time she was really crying.

When we ended she tells us

You have no idea how much I needed this…. I feel like I have no one to talk to about all this. I know I should go back to church and all, but ever since my mom and dad split up, and my dad was a bishop in the church, I just said, “forget that!” But all this that I”m going through has really shown me that I DO need God in my life.

And that disclosure led to a whole new conversation, about “church” not being a magic fix, but a hospital for broken people, and a place to meet Jesus in. And she wrote down our church’s name and meeting times, and I gave her my contact card, and assured her we would continue to pray for her.

And as we drove home, we once again stood in awe of God’s goodness and faithfulness to answer our prayer that He would use our marriage to make God known….even to a waitress who desperately needed to know His presence.

The sweetest anniversary gift

with which too celebrate

10 years.

~~~~~~~

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and cause His face to shine upon us

so that your ways might be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. “

Psalm 67:1-2

~~~~~~~

“Your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”  

Isaiah 30:20

**If you want to see what Danny did for our engagement, click here. 

If you want to see what he made for me for our five year anniversary, click here.

Forgotten and Forsaken, or Favored and Protected

IMG_9643e

Scripture prayers for Judah’s life.

There was a lot of weeping that week.  It had been the longest 9 months of my life. The exhaustion had completely overtaken me, and yet the new school schedules and homework and meals and children’s needs drove me on.

Labor seemed like a relief. A hospital stay, a chance to sit still ….finally. We had endured so much as a family to grow this little one in my belly, and I was desperately crying out for the fruition of our hard labors.

There was the false alarm two weeks before due date that sent me in to panic mode to set up an action plan should I go into labor before out of town family came to help. (that action plan was part of God’s plan, for it was to be implemented in an unexpected way).

And there were many more false alarms (NOT broadcasted over Facebook) that each got my hopes up that the end was in sight. My little brood of prayer warriors at home consistently begged the Lord to send me into labor. (DJ: Please Lord, Please let Mommy go into labor so we can meet Judah. Please help her have contractions today. Please help her to go into labor so she can be done being pregnant and not feel so bad.) And day, after long day, there was….nothing.

And my heart began to grow angry and bitter. Reflections on just how difficult the past nine months had been weighed my heart down. Yes, we had “made it” to the end, but it seemed like a cruel joke from God that the end was being dragged out so long, that He was not answering my prayers, and that I was too miserable to even function.

IMG_9503

A brief quiet moment, four days before Judah’s arrival. My sweet friend wanted to capture this pregnancy for me in photo, when all I wanted to do was be done with it.

That night when those fake contractions started up again, I tossed and turned in bed until I finally rose to catch up on my Bible Reading Plan.

And there, I found someone who had the boldness to declare the very feelings of my own heart…the ones I felt too ashamed of to express.

“Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit,

I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint

and speak out in the bitterness of my soul…”  

Job 7:11, 10:1

And I found freedom to present my feelings of being forsaken by the Lord…on all those long evenings when I desperately cried out for strength and energy and perspective and joy in the midst of the struggle….and it seemed like I was just left to blindly stumble on in the darkness and silence. And I laid out my feelings of being forgotten, as I begged for labor to begin, for release of my body from the strain of growing this child and it seemed as if it would never come.

And this God we serve, He is a good Father. And He endures our temper tantrums because He knows what is best, and He holds out to give it, despite our rantings and ravings.

And since those teasing contractions continued,  I ended up writing out a prayer in my journal in those wee hours of the morning:

Aug. 26, 2014  1:37 am

Dear Lord,

If you see fit to allow me to go into labor tonight and bring Judah into the world, I ask that with his entrance, all the nurses and doctors would experience Your Shekinah glory in the process. May Your angels stand guard in that delivery room and may they fight in the spiritual realm for me and for him. I ask that every nurse, attendant and hospital worker that we come in contact with would meet YOU in the process.  May Judah, even from birth, have your word like a fire in his bones (Jeremiah 20:9) and may we, as his parents, share the fiery presence of Your Holy Spirit with everyone we encounter. May 2 Corinthians 2:14 be true of our labor, delivery, and hospital experience: “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of HIM everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”

Little did I know that this was the Spirit helping me in my weakness, my little faith, and He himself was interceding for us, for Judah, in ways I was yet to discover.

Little did I know that we, indeed, would need angels in the spiritual realm fighting for Judah’s very life.

Little did I know that we would, indeed, be lead into triumphal procession, as Judah’s life would be protected, and his mamma’s rock bottom faith would be restored to overwhelming gratitude and trust.

~~~~~~~~~

After my measly 3 1/2 hours of sleep, I awoke at 5:30 to face another morning after a false alarm night. I awoke to another day of running around in complete exhaustion. I awoke despairing.

“Danny, this is just a cruel joke from God!”

My amazing friend from Florida who was staying with us for a few days agreed to watch these guys, while I took the rest to school (at least I didn’t have to get EVERYONE dressed and ready and buckled into their car seats  by 7:30)

Upon my return I took a quick nap (thank you, Amy!) and awoke just in time to make it to my doctor’s appointment.

At the office I discovered that I had lost three pounds in one week. My uterus was measuring that it hadn’t grown at all. The ultrasound showed a great decrease in amniotic fluid. And it showed that the chord was around the baby’s neck. The neck of a baby who wasn’t moving very much.

“The baby is no longer safe in your womb.  You need to go home drink a bunch of water and eat something and lie down and count the kicks. You need to call me within an hour and tell me how many you had and then you need to head straight to the hospital. We’re going to induce you today. “

Worry did set in. But overwhelming faith flooded in as well. All of a sudden I understood why I hadn’t gone into labor, despite the many false alarms. God was holding Judah in my womb until the doctor could see what was going on. He had been the One holding him in safety until the right time.

If I had gone into labor naturally, I would have waited until the last minute to get to the hospital. I would have held out so that we were just rolling in when it was time to push. Which would have put Judah in grave danger. Because I just might not have made it in time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Danny was phoned.  He left his meeting with his coworkers praying for the delivery. Food was eaten. Kicks were felt.  Relief was had. Arrangements for kids were made.  Last minute instructions for homework were given. The next day’s ballet uniforms were stuffed in book bags. Frozen meal for dinner was pulled out to be thawed.

We checked in to the hospital, eight million questions were asked and papers were signed.

10356202_10152266786095737_554875190871952999_n

 Pitocin was hooked up and the process began. Since it took a while for the contractions to really get strong, we got work done.

10623026_10152266943740737_6283261615006876712_n

My incredible doctor, who is also a Christian, came and broke my water.

10628011_10152267343840737_3684803090827408367_n

I then went from 2 cm to 10 cm in less than an hour. If I had gone into labor naturally, with labor moving that fast, I probably wouldn’t have made it to the hospital in time. I never would have known that with each contraction Judah’s little heartbeat was getting slower and slower. My trusted doctor wouldn’t have been ready and prepared to skillfully preserve Judah’s life.

But since the heartbeat was monitored, nurses and doctors were ready at post to do whatever it took to intervene in Judah’s life. They were good at not acting alarmed when I, who was focused on pushing, didn’t notice how drastically the heartbeat slowed.

But then I could hear it in her voice. There was an urgency in it, she called for help and asked for the vacuum. Then I realized it. The steady “thump, thump, thump” of the monitor slowed…to nothing.

I’ve never felt more powerless in all my life.

I couldn’t push him out fast enough, and I couldn’t keep his heart beating.

I started calling on Jesus out loud.

“Jesus, preserve Judah! Help him, Lord, help him!”

Danny, AND our doctor joined in the chorus of interceding.

“Yes, Jesus!”

“Bring him to us safely, Lord!”

Between the vacuum and mother’s frantic pushing knowing that her baby’s life depended on it, we were able to get him to the point where the doctor could get the chord out from around his blue head.

But then on the next push, again, his heart slowed to nearly nothing.

“He’s stuck…I think its around his arm…..oh, no, its his neck, the chord his around his neck again.”

The doctor was talking out loud to the nurses, but she worked quickly to unravel him.

Then his blue body emerged. 10:12 pm.

That little blue head started crying his lungs out.

And Mommy started crying too….tears of relief and thankfulness.

They worked on him a while, and then finally handed me a pale white little bundle…but a breathing, heart-beating white little bundle (he was still regaining circulation).

10645176_10152267624415737_3889757031024928693_n

And we sat and relished the “triumphal procession”.

This little bundle represented nine months of physical, emotional and spiritual sacrifice. He represented God bringing life out of all my deaths. He represented triumph despite the struggle, dark nights, and wrestling with sin.

With that little bundle I held triumph. A faith boosted. I held a tangible representation of the Father’s favor. A visible reminder of the Father’s protection. He represented to me God’s perfect sovereignty in all things…especially in the things I don’t understand.

~~~~~~~~~

Five hours later, after I had just dozed off after finally being moved to our recovery room, we received a phone call from my brother and sister watching our kids at home.

“I’m so sorry to call you guys, but the first floor is flooding and we can’t make the water stop flowing into the living room.”

And in my dazed state, instead of asking “why?” I told the Lord,

“I trust you. even in this.”

And that child-distribution action plan written up two weeks prior, was put into action as our home became unlivable until repair men and emergency water damage company came in to fix things. So, once again, God showed me his perfect sovereignty in all things….in a false alarm labor, in writing an email to friends to set up places for all of the kids to go, in these friends being ready to take on extra children at whim.

May this faltering faith be steadied by these “Ebenezers”…Markers of God’s perfect plan. His plan for His children. Children who are not forgotten and forsaken, but who are favored and protected.

~~~~~~~~

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!               1 John 3:1

~~~~~~~

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

 Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
 He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Psalm 91:1

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A Birthday Party to Defy Pinterest

Note: This blog post was finished up when I looked like this:

10623026_10152266943740737_6283261615006876712_n

 

And now I look like this:

photo

But I wanted to at least get this birthday post posted before I post his birth day post.

So here’s Trinity’s birthday celebration commemorated:

Mamma was tired.

A precious little girl was turning seven.

BUT, the birthday tradition in our household is that birthday child gets to help shop for, plan and make (homemade) everything for the birthday party with mommy.

Its part of the fun for them, and so despite utter exhaustion, we pushed through and put together this little girl’s birthday party.

The Birthday Girl

The Birthday Girl

Of course, she wanted a Frozen cake, and of course we put off making it until late the night before the party, and of course, the all-natural food dye that I bought LAST year for her birthday cake had not retained its “color” so all colors were…

BROWN.

How do you make a Frozen castle cake with no coloring, and its 10 pm and Mommy is so tired?

(Did I mention that it was the very first week of school, AND Daddy was out of town speaking at a weeklong conference?)

We improvised and Trinity and DJ took over and built a castle cake that they wanted.  Trinity still made Olaf out of marshmallows, and cake making time turned into creative expression time for the birthday girl and her big brother…

IMG_5043

IMG_5044

Those kids had so much fun getting to stay up late with Mommy, and create their own cake using their own ideas, and they were so proud of their final product.

 

IMG_5053

I told you it was a birthday party to defy pinterest…

 

I laughed to myself as we worked on it, while thinking of all the amazing cakes that moms spend hours making and then post on Pinterest and everyone is impressed. Well, this Iverson crew, we’re here to make everyone feel better about themselves.

I laughed even harder when Trinity and Daniel Josiah, in their excitement and pride over our creation said, “Mommy! You should take pictures of this cake and put in on the internet!”

Oh, honey, if you only knew how many other people do that exact thing…. (Daniel Josiah doesn’t really know about Pinterest so much)

So we  laid that cake in the fridge, ready for the next day’s festivities. And I prepared to lay my pride down.

The next morning the little guys helped mommy make a piñata while Trinity was at school (we ran out of time for her to make it with me) and then we scurried off to our simple party site at the park.

Trinity had so many of her dear friends there to celebrate with her, and we played simple games involving plastic spoons and ice cubes, and “snowballs” that were actually water balloons.

We believe in using our imaginations around here.

And we whacked at a piñata, and ate that lopsided cake, and played hard, and celebrated well, and mommy and daddy (the game coordinator) crashed hard afterwards….

but crashed with a very joyful, and contented seven year old in our home…one that has no idea that her humble birthday party was one that

defied Pinterest.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

From the Mouths of Babes…two year old arguments

While camped out in the Costco parking lot, awaiting the rescue forces of my husband and co-worker to a pregnant damsel in distress with five children and a lot of melting frozen groceries because of car trouble, I observed this dubious duo at it again, debating over the messiness of smoothies.

Each kid had one (thanks to the random lady that felt sorry for this pregnant lady with five kids and an overflowing grocery cart who shoved money in my hand and said, “Go, buy your babies some ice cream).  So the healthier option of smoothies were purchased and we marched out to the car, buckled everyone in, loaded an enormous amount of food into the trunk, and realized the car was going no where. In the brief amount of time when I kept trying to start it, and then call my husband to come rescue us, Malachi managed to spill his bright purple smoothie in his car seat.  As I was getting him out of the hot, non-moving car I chided myself “Why did I give you this. Smoothies are too messy for two year olds in the car.”

Boys hanging out in cart (contained!) and awaiting rescue from car trouble

Boys hanging out in cart (contained!) and awaiting rescue from car trouble

So as the boys sat in the cart while we waited, Benjamin says,

“Smoothies are a yittle bit messy in the car, right Ma-ki?”

And his two year old pipes up “Noooo”

The boys beginning their discussion of smoothie messiness

The boys beginning their discussion of smoothie messiness

“Yes, dey is.”

“Noooo…”

Benjamin pauses to think about it…

IMG_4889

And resumes his insistence that smoothies ARE messy…

“Ma-ki, smoothies IS messy”

“Nooo…” Malachi insists.

“Yes, dey is!”

“Noooo!”

“YES, DEY IS MESSY!!”

“Nooooooooo!!!!”

and this continued for several minutes…

And if someone doesn’t agree with you in a very obvious argument, you obviously should pinch their face so they can see the light of your reason…

 

Benjamin pinching "the reason" into his argumentative brother

Benjamin pinching “the reason” into his argumentative brother

After working THAT out, I tried to recapture the argument, and in this case, maybe the pinching worked for Malachi was much more agreeable this go round (of course, it always works that way…you can never quite capture the moment again on camera)

 

 

First Day of School Pictures

Since  I have NOT gone into labor yet (thank you, Danny, for alerting the entire Facebook world to our false alarm last Saturday), its about time I got caught up on some blog posting.

The first week of school at our incredible Charlotte Mason style school is exciting and exhausting and overwhelming. Parents commit ahead of time to be VERY involved in the education of their children (its the best of both worlds…like a homeschool/school morph), so when the first week roles around and you are handed three kids worth of commitments to sign up for….your head begins to spin….especially when you’re husband is out of town for the week for a speaking engagement, AND you’re 8 1/2 months pregnant.

Don’t get me wrong…I’ll take the head spinning (and later the tears) for the sake of getting to be involved in this incredible covenant community of education.

Since it was just the kids and me that first day of school, we got some very less-than-professional photos with my outdated iPhone and under-the-age-of-eight photographers.  But at least we have some of the memories captured…even if they are blurry…and no one is looking in the right direction.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

And in the meantime, I will NOT be attempting any type of homeschooling…it will just be survival mode with this dubious duo, and baby Judah when he arrives (In just one week of school there were MANY tears from returning school children as they got home and found rooms messed up, special belongings missing, favorite snacks already eaten, and lego castles destroyed by this pair…”Where was their mother?”  you might ask…well, she was busy growing a baby and recuperating from the 6 am wake-up-call and mad rush to get five children out the door for school by 7:30 am.)  Already, the family has unanimously voted to invest in large dog crates to keep their destructive forces contained…(throw a few matchbox cars, coloring books and snack in there, and then they can only do damage to one area, instead of EVERY area of the house) I’m JOKING….kinda. we really did vote for that…but we won’t end up doing it… probably…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Broken, just enough

Danny when he first got his motorcycle

Danny when he first got his motorcycle

He was to be the capstone preacher for the Young Leader’s preaching series this summer. He had several excellent sermons to follow. There is always the questions, “what do you focus on?”, “how will you be received?” “what do you wear?” when you preach for a 6,000 member church.  When a man prepares to bring God’s Word to a crowd it is a struggle to fight the intermingling motives of wanting to be faithful to the Word of God, and wanting to be approved of.

Thats’ why he had to be broken, just enough.

Sunday afternoon, one week before he was to preach, we finally both returned home after dropping off multiple people after service (we take two different cars because we have so many stops to make…God is working in people’s lives to want to come to Perimeter Church!)

“I feel really led to go back to the office and work some more on my sermon.”

He tells me when he gets home.

Three of the five kiddos had JUST fallen asleep, so I send him off to go listen to the Lord.

or get broken, just enough, by Him.

Thirty minutes later, moments away from me getting to lie down and rest this pregnant body, I get a phone call.

An agonizing voice on the other end,

“Honey, I’ve been in a motorcycle accident….I can’t move my arm, its dislocated. An ambulance is coming for me. Can you meet me at the hospital?”

Shock. Then disbelief. Then the adrenaline starts pumping.

As he groans in pain I pray over him and hang up the phone. Quick phone calls are made to find someone to dump five children off to while I go meet my who-knows-what-else-is-broken-or-damaged husband at the ER.

On the way there I see the sight of the accident, his motorcycle and the cop still waiting for the tow truck to come. I quickly pull over and talk to the officer.

“Ma’am your husband will be fine (i hear wailing coming from inside my car…”Daddy!!! Is Daddy going to be OK??? I want Daddy!!!”) but he sure got lucky.  He’s gonna be in some serious pain but he can be glad there were no cars right behind him…they would have run right over him. He got off real easy for a motorcycle accident.”

I get some more information from the officer and then continue on my trek to drop my sobbing children off at a friend’s house.

“God is so good, guys!  Daddy’s going to be OK. God protected Daddy so much, and even though his arm is hurt, there is so much more that could have happened to him!”

“But Daddy won’t be able to make cheesy eggs for us!! Daddy won’t be able to take us to the pool!  Can Daddy still play basketball with me?!?”

But they calm down as we try to name all the things God protected Daddy from, instead of what DID happen.

I get to the hospital just in time for the nurse to tell me, “Ma’am you’ll have to wait in the hall. We don’t like family members to be around while we pop joints back into place. We’ll come get you when he wakes back up again.”

Danny’s mentor had beat me to the hospital (he didn’t have sleeping children to load into the car and go drop of) and he waits with me in the lobby, calming my fears and keeping me occupied so that my imaginative worry doesn’t take over.

We finally get called back in.

Danny in pain after getting his arm popped back into joint and the gravel scrubbed out of his road rash.

Danny in pain after getting his arm popped back into joint and the gravel scrubbed out of his road rash.

The nurses are busy cleaning gravel and dirt out of his road-rash-ripped-up-arms and hands. I start breathing freely again as the doctor reports that there are no major head injuries, and no broken bones.

But God had done some breaking.

Danny being broken, just enough, to get his attention.

Broken just enough, to pierce through muddled thinking in order to get the Eternal Kingdom in clear view.

Broken just enough to disengage from caring about temporal things like what people think.

Broken just enough, to need an abundance of prayers…

which led to the healing of body and healing of heart.

A heart broken just enough, and healed just enough, to hear, discern, and then deliver the most powerful sermon I have heard preached.

Would you like to watch it  or hear it, too?

Be ready to be broken

Our summer to date

Where does a pregnant lady bury herself for a full month (besides, in bed with a bag of dark chocolate…or so she wishes) ?.  Well, here’s a bullet list of summer high-points so far (and a few low-points)

High Points:

-A MUCH slower pace (well…as slow as you can get with five kids to keep occupied), where this pregnant mamma didn’t have to rush kids out the door for school at 7:30 am. This has greatly helped her attitude and patience level.

-Because of not having to get up so early, we have lingered over and invited neighborhood kids into our evening family devotions. We have gone through Genesis and Exodus now and it has been SO COOL to see the kids “connect the dots” of sporatic Bible stories into one continuous narrative of peoples and events.  One neighborhood girl was playing at our house all day and evening and then when we were about to have devotions she decided that she needed to go home all of a sudden. We convinced her to stay and by the end of the chapter she was begging me to not stop reading…truly how sweet the Word of God is…food for our souls and excitement to our sense of adventure.

- reading books together, doing some school work with the kids, haircuts, and little excursions to parks, pools, and other fun places.

IMG_4703 IMG_4688 IMG_4658

 

photo 1 photo 3

-A trek West , stopping through Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi.  (a place where Danny spent three years of his life as a child, while his father went through seminary there) and a sweet visit some Japanese friends from Danny’s dad church, who are studying to be prepared to go back to Japan.

IMG_4711

 

- COUSIN TIME!!! Danny had to attend General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of America in Houston (because he is ordained now!)  My older brother, Ken, and his lovely wife Susan, and three kids live in Houston.  So while Danny was sitting in church meetings, Susan and I traipsed eight children on fun excursions around town: Children’s Museum, the Zoo, splash pads and parks, and eventually the beach….

IMG_4737

Cousin Bonding Time!

IMG_4746

Children’s Museum

 

IMG_4753

I got to meet my precious nephew for the first time! Loved having cuddle time with this sweet boy!

 

IMG_4760

Cousins enjoyed watching a super hero show and meeting characters.

 

IMG_4762

Katy-Grace and her cousin, Savannah Kate (both named after their grandma) Enjoying splash pads and sidewalk chalk.

 

IMG_4766

Houston Zoo…the girls wrangling the rhino…

 

IMG_4777

Benjamin and his FAVORITE…the tiger.

 

 

-And educational trip through New Orleans on the way back from Texas.  I have been reading to the kids these American Girl doll books that take place in New Orleans…So we went and saw where “Cecile and Marie Grace” lived, shopped and became friends.

AmericanGirlCecileMarieGrace

Because of these books that we have devoured (and even Daniel Josiah was really into the stories), we learned about location, racial relationships, yellow fever, medical practices of the day, orphanages, Mardi Gra and masquerade balls, and the foods of the day. It was wonderful to bring to life all the ideas and imaginations, with real places…

We did an educational kids tour that was excellent and reinforced and added to all that we had been reading about and learning:

IMG_4785

Learning about the dress and etiquette of the day

 

IMG_4787

Katy-Grace practicing her curtsy

 

IMG_4788

Trinity practicing her curtsy

 

IMG_4789

Getting to use tour props

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

-On our westward excursion we spent a over 30 hours in the car together…and surprisingly, we didn’t watch ANY videos the whole time, but were mesmerized by books on CD (Miss Pigglewiggle, Quake (about the San Francisco earthquake) Indian and the Cupboard, Odyssey and the book of Luke (from the Bible) AND WE DIDNT KILL EACH OTHER….It was actually a blessed time….based on how many snacks I had on hand :)

 

Some Low Points:

-despite the slowed pace, there are still many evenings that mommy feels overwhelmed, and therefore deals with it with it in a very mature fashion…by yelling……. Lord, change me .

-on ONE particular evening, Danny was off at church meetings, I was watching my kids, a friend’s kids, AND some neighborhood kids (9 kids to wrangle, feed, and get ready for bed! not to mention, the one I’m lugging around in my belly)

IMG_4674

BEFORE the mud pit fiasco

IMG_4675

Jaelle and Adrianna…things deceiving LOOK calm

So in an attempt to get them out of the way so I could get dinner ready for everyone, I sent them to play in the backyard….where they had the GREAT idea to dig a hole, turn on the hose, FILL the hole, and “make their own mud pit” and this all happened within the span of 15-20 minutes!!! Malachi really loved the idea and appeared in my kitchen (with a trail of mud behind him) looking like this from head to toe:

IMG_4671

 

So dinner was paused, all kids were stripped of socks and shoes and “caged” on the back porch while I bathed Malachi, scrubbed up mud from all throughout house (it even got all over my CLEAN clothes which Benjamin had dumped out of the laundry basket before leaving to go make the mud pit).  Well. We ate dinner at 8:30 that night. And mommy cried.  And is now laughing about it in hindsight (unfortunately, pregnancy hormones don’t allow for that type of perspective IN the moment)

IMG_4670

Malachi trying to drink the soap. AWESOME.

-And most of the other low points of the summer have been due to Mommy breaking down over similar situations…

-Stay tuned for a low, turned high point for Danny this summer…

From the Mouths of Babes….extra ones

My sixth child...greatly influenced by the rest of my kids...shopping cart out, nerd rifle in one hand, purse in the other...

My sixth child…greatly influenced by the rest of my kids…shopping cart out, nerf rifle in one hand, purse in the other…

This child is the Presence of Christ in my life.

Not because she is a huge ministering Spirit or represents great power available, but because of what Jesus said in Matthew 25:40

“And the King will answer them, ‘

Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,

you did it to me.” 

And to be honest, there have been many an afternoon in the past several months in which we arrived home from school pick up, all hungry, grouchy, bouncing off the walls or each other, and dying for a nap (usually it was ONLY me wanting the nap) and this precious little girl, like clockwork, would ring our doorbell within five minutes of us pulling into the driveway.

And the complaining, selfish spirit in me would sometimes moan…”Lord, don’t I already have enough kids to deal with?! This is one more mouth to feed, one more person calling my name, one more person who needs some of me, when I already feel like I have none of me to give (little baby Judah is selfishly claiming it for his development and growth) !”

But one afternoon, as she showed up, with her bright eyes and eager heart to hang out with me, (and sometimes my kids) the Lord whispered that verse, which He had spoken two thousand years ago, “as you did it to one of the least of these my children, you did it to me, ” and I knew I was suppose to view her presence in our home, in all the chaos of free play time and kid-herding during chore time, and attention-span reigning during reading time  and mouth feeding during meal time as HIS presence. And I have the opportunity to minister to Him by ministering to her. 

So, this little girl, who when I first met her hardly spoke English, is literally like a sixth child in our home now (first day of summer vacation, and our car wasn’t gone she was faithfully ringing the doorbell at 8:45 am).  And instead of being a burden, it is an opportunity, a blessing, and a privilege to be able to love my Lord, by loving her. Just as the call to love my own children faithfully each day is a constant falling upon the grace, power and Presence of Jesus available to me, I fall on that same power for loving her, another child to care for, shepherd, and pour into. And todays manna is never sufficient for tomorrow. But as surely as the sun rises, the manna will be available to be gathered .

So, in terms of her contribution to Mouths of Babes…In her broken English (but MUCH better than when I met her almost a year ago) she can say some funny, “mouths of babes” things just like my own little ones. And because she knows the rhythms of our home life, the other day she saw me putting on my running shoes, and says:

“You exercising now?!” (she likes to try to exercise with me…or at least watch me clumsily jumping around and sweating)

“Yup, I’m gonna try to do it real quick before I have to cook dinner.”

“You’re kitchen gonna break.”

I burst out laughing…I knew exactly what she was talking about.

I exercise to little youtube workout videos in the kitchen, and it often requires a lot of jumping and hopping around. which can be rather boisterous, loud, (and yes, I admit it…floor-shaking) when you’ve got a massive bump on your belly, and, ahem, maybe a few too many extra pregnancy pounds, to carry along with you.

“Oh, you mean because I jump around and it makes a lot of noise”

“Yeeaahhh….Your kitchen gonna breeeaaak.”

And that was my “you’re fat and pregnant” compliment of the day. Which, fortunately came from the mouths of a babe, an extra one…

so I wasn’t too offended.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My Man and His Ordination

Elders and grandfather, father-in-law, and uncle laying hands on Danny to pray over him

Elders and grandfather, father-in-law, and uncle laying hands on Danny to pray over him  *photo taken by Trinity :)

Last week, after 3 years of intense seminary study and another year of ordination exam study, my incredibly hard-working husband, Danny Iverson, was ordained as an “official” Presbyterian Church of America pastor.

As he is now a fifth generation pastor (his dad, granddad, great-granddad, and great great granddad were all pastors), I would say that he was probably ordained to be a pastor, long before he “officially” became one.

And as I shared that evening during that powerful ordination service, he has truly lived as one long before the education and the thesis and those 8 hour ordination exams.

For those who have asked for a copy of this, I’m posting my words here….the ones I typed up prior to the ordination while my children ran crazy in the McDonald’s play place, so as to buy me some time to think straight. I’m no fool, you never let an emotional pregnant woman up in front of a microphone to talk about her husband, without having already written out, and already cried out, the thoughts and emotions that come with this monumental event….

Today, we look forward towards the ministry God is leading Danny into.  Danny is being ordained to be a preacher and minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But today, I want testify that far before his education, far before his correct answers for the ordination “grilling”, far before his memorization of the dates and events of the spreading of the Gospel in church history, he has been living that Gospel. 

I first became acquainted with Danny in college, where although five years ahead of me in his college education (yes, he managed to “cram” his undergrad degree into five years, not four), he had left a marked imprint on the life of the college ministry I was a part of.  Every godly young man leading some element of Campus Crusade for Christ, could be traced back to Danny’s discipleship in the lives of his peers and younger students. 
Danny and I fell in love shortly after his move to Newark, NJ where he was helping his grandfather “love the hell” out of broken kids and individuals who had known nothing but the darkness of the “hood” their whole lives. It was here that he traded in his sports car (the one that he had used to give me and his younger sister rides in college) for a minivan so that he could give more street kids rides places. Not many 26 year olds I knew did stuff like that. 
He let the poor, broken and marginalized that he moved amongst (and eventually WE moved amongst as a married couple) break him, drive Him to Jesus, and reveal the dark and broken places of his own heart. Those first years of marriage, I witnessed him over and over move towards those who stole from us, used up all our time, and constantly needed something from us.  He moved towards them not just with the Gospel message but with the Gospel lived out. He loved deeply, he loved radically, and He truly spent himself on behalf of the hungry and stood up for the needs of the oppressed, as Isaiah 58 speaks of.
Then God called us to go to seminary to become better equipped. This was a very rough transition, for we were moved away from a ministry where we could find an identity in what we DID for the Kingdom, rather than resting in what the King has done for us. This breaking was so good, for we were freed up to find our identity in who were WERE in the Kingdom.  Again, Danny did not just drown himself in books in the “ivory tower” of higher education, but started discipling some young teens whose father had recently passed away. He found younger students and poured his life into them.  We had international students and Muslim young men live with us, and Danny loved them well, all while working three jobs, one of which was pastoring a small English speaking flock at a Korean church, taking a full load of classes, and being a supportive husband and loving father to our ever growing family. (you know, those three years didn’t just produce a masters degree but also two more Iversons) The Gospel was not just a Scripture or doctrine he studied, but a way of life he lived out. He pressed into the Savior and pressed into people’s lives, allowing them to taste the goodness of that Savior through him. He lived the Gospel
And now since we have lived here in GA, I have witnessed him love our neighbors (even when being betrayed by them), love the people God has brought into our lives, all while continuing to study for ordination and learn from Perimeter Church. And most poignantly, in the past 6 months I have witnessed him utterly pour himself out unconditionally for a very exhausted, moody, dysfunctional wife growing his fourth son and sixth child in her womb.  I have watched him move towards the chaos of five kids who definitely sense that mommy is only half functioning.  He has foregone “relaxation time”, personal schedules, and even some work events to come to the rescue of a de-energized mother of five very energetic children. And he moves towards those children and wife with the same loving, discipling, and Gospel-preaching spirit that he preaches from the pulpit. He lives the Gospel in our home.
Although not perfect, this man is quick to confess sin, quick to repent at the foot of the cross and the foot of those sinned against, and he is quick to grasp hold of and stand upon this Gospel message for his own hope and security. So, although none of us are worthy to carry this sweet message of the Gospel into the lives of anyone, if there ever was a worthy man, this one is. He has tasted the sweetness of forgiveness, and the life-giving power of grace, and he is quick to not just proclaim it with his mouth, but to live it out with his very life. 
So as we embark on this next season of living for a Kingdom not our own, my only charge, Danny, would be to continue to live as you have lived. Continue to live a life of falling upon the grace of Jesus to save and empower. Continue to make your life, your gifts, and your abilities available to the Risen Lord Jesus, as He conducts His business and builds his Kingdom through an available vessel. Continue to live the Gospel, because it is the Savior we proclaim that empowers and sustains you.  I love you, Danny, and thank you for truly living the Gospel to me every single day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

From the Mouths of Babes…Romance in the eyes of the little ones

When Danny and I were first married, we kissed at probably every stoplight…we called it red light romance.

2234743291_09795cc3bd

Now we can’t even kiss once in a blue moon at a stoplight without comments from the peanut gallery…the crew filling the back seats,

and most recently from our three year old, of all people.

We were headed to church and Danny and I kissed each other at a stoplight and we hear,

eeeeeewww, you’s kissin’ each uttewr! (“you are kissing each other!”)

and instead of turning around to see our eight year old who gets grossed out by kissing in Disney movies, we find our three year old, balking at our romance.

photo 1

photo 2

 

One day, son, you will be extremely glad that your parents, after nearly ten years of marriage and 5.5 kids, still love each other… and still kiss at stoplights.

IMG_4260

Previous Older Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 136 other followers