From the Mouths of Babes….Breastfeeding According to an 8 yr. old Boy

This kid, the one that loves babies, is obsessed with holding his little brother.

Sometimes to the point of harassing me.

There was a mini-war-turned-formal-schedule over which sibling got to hold Judah during family devotions each night.

And if Mommy actually has to be nursing during the scheduled hold-Judah-night there is no lack of impatience.

Mommy, can I hold him?

Not yet, honey, he’s hungry and I need to feed him.

Mommy, is he done yet? 

No honey, I can’t make him eat any faster.

Oh, now, Mommy, can I hold him?

No, honey I have to burp him and feed him on the other side….

and so it goes.

And after devotions that evening, he was pondering the “other side” of nursing.

Mommy, why does Judah have to eat on both sides?

Because they get full of milk and he needs to empty both sides. 

Ohhhhh, soooo….its like two nerf guns that are loaded and once you finishing shooting one, then you have to shoot the other one. 

Exactly.

Sort-of.

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Family Devotions…blurrily captured by a little set of hand playing with Mommy’s iPhone.

Judah David Iverson

To read the background story of this little one’s birth, click here

 

Our prayer is that you will have the Word of the Lord as a fire in your bones, that drives your life and you can't help but share with others.

Our prayer is that you will have the Word of the Lord as a fire in your bones, that drives your life and you can’t help but share with others.

May God be gracious to you, so that you might make His salvation known to all peoples

May God be gracious to you, so that you might make His salvation known to all peoples

God knew Judah David was to be part of our family all during those months of working on an adoption home study

God was planning on forming you, giving you to us, Judah David,   all during those months of working on an adoption home study, thinking our next baby would be an adopted one.

“Sweet Little Boy, that I love so much. “

That’s what I love to sing over you.

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But did you know that I pray your name over you, too?

We named you Judah.

Judah, because it means “I will praise the Lord” or “praised one” in Hebrew, where we first find it in that Holy Word. That Word in which we find our life and ourselves and our Savior.

and we pray that you would see the sweetness and holiness of God, and would be in awe and wonder, and that you, too,  would praise Him.

And you know, son, Judah was Abraham’s great-grandson. He was a promised descendant of Abraham, when God told him.

 “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”     Genesis 12:2-3

Our family, the one God chose to bring you into, is blessed because of that blessing, for that blessing of all the families on the earth was actually a foreshadowing of  Savior who would be available, not just to Abraham’s descendants, but to all people.

It is to this Savior, that your Daddy and I cling.  It is in the death and resurrection of this Savior that we find our hope for this life and the next.   It is under this Savior’s perfect performance and obedience, that we hide ourselves, because your Daddy and I, we are weak, and selfish, and we are sinful, and we will fail you.  But our prayer is that you, yourself, despite all our earthly failings, will cling to Him as well.

And do you know what family this Savior was born into?

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It was the family line of….

JUDAH. 

God gave Judah a promise,

“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”   Genesis 49:10

God was promising that the King of kings, and the Lord of lords would be born through Judah’s line.  A King with a scepter, not of an earthly kingdom but of an Eternal One.

But you know what, honey, that Judah, the one that received that promise, he did some really rotten things in his life. It’s all recorded  and right there out in the open in the Bible. All his shame, and disgrace, and rebellion.  And, unfortunately, one day you will also have to come face to face with your own rebellion, and shame and disgrace. But here is the beauty in it, my son, Judah’s failures didn’t nullify God’s promises for him.  And neither will yours.

Judah’s name, and his story, and God’s story through his story actually represents hope.  Judah represents salvation to come. Judah represents the promises of God, that shine all the brighter in the backdrop of our own stumblings and wanderings. Judah represents promises that may seemingly be left unfulfilled, but always come to fruition in their time. Judah represents the faithfulness of God.

And as you grow and develop and your mind expands, we pray it will expand to catch glimpses of that faithfulness more and more. We pray that your own heart will learn to praise that God, just like your Mommy and Daddy do.  And we pray that that praise overwhelms your heart so much that it moves you to share with others how great and faithful your God is.

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We also named you David.

Your Grandpa Jones’ name is David.  And that David prayed your Mamma through many tumultuous years. He faithfully cared for your Mamma and taught her to run to, and listen to the God of the David after whom he was named. Because he knew to cling to the Faithful God, he was faithful. Faithful in those early years to give us a glimpse of the Heavenly Father, and faithful in those later years, after your Grandma Katy died, and he was left to raise three kids by himself. If it weren’t for his constant consuming of the Word of God and his consistency in going before the Throne of God in prayer, your Mamma might not have made it through those tumultuous years.

You’re not just named after your Grandpa, but also named after the David that he is named after.  That David, he was a hero.  A mighty warrior.  A victorious king.  He conquered lands and gained territory, and expanded a kingdom. But he also expanded THE Kingdom. Do you know why?

Because He learned to praise.

And praise isn’t just a happy cry to God.  It can be a desperate crying out too.

For in both joy and in sorrow, the place where you run to, is the place you prize the most.

And David learned this well.  That mighty warrior started out as a humble, no-name, my-dad-forgot-about-me shepherd.  But out there in the quiet, he learned to commune with God. He learned where to run, so that when he himself was running (from persecutors), he ran right to the Faithful Father.  And when he failed, he ran to the Faithful Father. And our prayer is that you will learn to do the same.

Already learning to be a prayer warrior

Already learning to be a prayer warrior

May you learn the secret of his strength, both when his world was falling apart, and when the world was being handed to him in victory:

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For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord.

HE sang to the Lord the words of this song

when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.

He said: 

“I love you, O Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer:

My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.

He is my shield and the horn of my salvation,

my Stronghold.

I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,

and I am saved from my enemies

And this David that learned to praise, was born through a family line.

The family line of Judah.

David was a king and carried an earthly scepter, but it was not the scepter promised to Judah those hundreds of years prior. No, he was still looking ahead to the One who would carry an Eternal scepter, and because of his love for God, his heart that was after Him, God promised to bring the One who would carry that eternal scepter through his family line, too.

So you see, son, your name,

Judah David

really represents…..

……double praise.

Judah David represents…..

…….a double promise.

Judah David represents…..

……a double pointing

to a Savior who would come. A Savior and King and God who humbled Himself and came through families, Judah’s and David’s.

Have you ever heard of something so wild?

The story of a God, who does demand, but rather demeans Himself to the point of ugly death on a cross, just so he could derive a NEW family line out of the mess that Judah and David were entrapped in, the mess called sin.

And just as Judah…and David….and your mommy….and your daddy….were called into that new family, we pray you will be called into it as well.

But the prayer and the promise doesn’t stop with just your life, son.

No, just as Judah, and David, were chosen to be part of a family line that points to Jesus in future generations, .

your life is called to be a double praise, and a double promise and a double pointing of others to Jesus so that generations after you will get a chance to see Him,

because of Jesus living in you, and flowing through you,

and a whole family of Judah (all those you impact) will find themselves a part of the Eternal Family of God, sweetly being ruled under the mighty and loving Scepter of King Jesus.

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Dormant Prayers and New Growth that Emerges

It was like they had all laid dormant.

But then finally growth begins to emerge where simple seeds of prayer had lain buried in the soil of the will of God.

You see, I had met Tahra, a Muslim Bangladeshi woman about my age,  last December, while I was trying to coordinate hosting international students in people’s homes for Christmas. Her English teacher had told me she was really struggling with the recent death of her mother, and caring for her 4 year old paralyzed son, and the four year wait for her husband to be able to join her from Bangladesh.

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Bangladeshi women are always beautifully clad. The women that are able to immigrate to America are so thankful to be here, rather than there, generally. In Tahra’s case, her son would not still be alive if she had not had access to American healthcare.

So I called her up and asked if I could come visit her and bring her some food.

I remember pulling up to the small house, the one that housed not only her but several other Bangladeshi families, with all my kiddos in-tow, and saying “Lord, I’m nervous, but I’m showing up. You’re going to have to take care of the rest.”

We ended up having a great conversation, as I know well the overwhelming loss she was experiencing, and I prayed with her and promised to come visit her again soon.

Two weeks later, I found out I was pregnant.

I eeked out enough strength to make a couple more visits, even getting to read Scripture to her and pray it over her son, who lay there hooked up to breathing treatments.

But those visits were few and far between.

Most days I was just barely surviving, without even the strength and energy to feed my own family, much less reach out to Tahra and stay connected in her life.

The guilt pressed in, but the prayers bled out as I laid there on the couch, or bed, or floor and thought about her, and all I wanted to do for her.

Prayers from afar was all I had to offer her.

And in those long months of growing a child, those prayers seemed to lay dormant.

And I asked the Lord, “How is she ever going to know the love and power of Christ, if the people with the Presence of Christ never show up in her life?!?”

And those prayers mingled with guilt and frustration continued to be planted until…

until life started to sprout out of those dormant prayers…

In the slower-paced summer months, I started to regain some strength so I tried to reach out again.

One afternoon’s text: “Hi Tahra! How are you doing? I’m sorry I’ve been so out of contact with you!”

Her response sent my heart soaring….

What church do you go to?

was all she said.

“What?!?!“My mind started racing… “Why on earth is she asking THAT? What have you been up to, Lord?!?”

I quickly found out that she had actually gotten a driving ticket and needed to do 20 hours of community service and needed to find a church to do them at.

I most certainly did have a church where she could do them.

It wasn’t quite what I was hoping for, but I would take it!

The next two weeks, the Lord filled a tired, pregnant mamma with supernatural energy to make phone calls, give rides, and help Tahra her get all her community service hours done by the two week deadline.

It was her two week crash course on being a Christ follower.

Through a school supply outreach, she learned why we Christians serve the underprivileged…not because we are earning points with God but because He served us in the Person of Jesus Christ who went to the underprivileged and showed them who God really was, and then died for them so that they could know Him for themselves.

Through helping out with the kids program, she learned that we teach our kids very similar morals to those that her Muslim faith holds dear, but for a different reason….because those morals exhibit the holiness of God, and if His Holy Spirit lives in us, then those will be the morals that come out of our lives as followers of Him .

Through the helping at the food pantry for the neediest of our community…we spoke of our neediness being the best thing for us.  We can only truly know God if we bring him our neediness, not our best efforts.  Jesus died for sinners in need of salvation, not sinners in need of better rules to follow.

Through working with other Christians at a church dinner, she learned of the kindness of the people who claim Jesus as their Lord.

Through helping with a church service, and she sat and listened to Randy Pope explain how we can listen to God and why we can listen to God-because Jesus lives to intercede between us and a Holy God.

And she witnessed us taking communion in that church service, and as I ushered my kids up to go receive it, I whispered to her that I would explain it all later.

And I did.

But not just to her.

That night as I ate their post-sunset Ramadan meal with them, I got to share the reason Christians partake of communion, the Lord’s supper. with her extended family in that Bangladeshi bungalow. (it was all women…the husbands and fathers were at work)

Starting with the very beginning, in Genesis we talked of the need for death of animals to cover Adam and Even’s nakedness in their sin, then went on to the story of Abraham and the death of the lamb instead of his son, Isaac (not Ishmael, as the Koran says), to Moses and the passover as God delivered them from death and slavery. We talked of the night before Jesus’ death, as he celebrated the Passover with his disciples, and his declaration that all those hundreds of years that the Jews celebrated that feast, it was really all leading up to, pointing to HIM.  The Passover Lamb.  And we Christians continue to eat of that feast, to remind us, that none is worthy. That we need a sacrifice for us to replace the life-debt we owe for our rebellion.  That Christ was that sacrifice, but because He was God and man at the same time, he rose again from death, therefore conquering it once and for all, for those who trust in His Name.

We spoke of the difference between the Koran and the Bible, and the commands that Mohammed gave verses the salvation that Jesus freely offers.

I sang those women the Scripture song I made up for my children.

“Romans 3:21-24″

But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law has been made known, to which the law and prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe-there is no difference… For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace, through redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

 

And after our three hour discussion, I left that home, rejoicing in the power of prayer to a Living God.

Those prayers had lain dormant for a time.

But, God was waiting.

Waiting for a driving violation.

Waiting for a judge to assigned 20 hours of community service at a local church.

Waiting for some renewed strength for me, so I could show up again in Tahra’s life.

Waiting for the season that He ordained, for the message of his salvation and love to be planted in not just Tahra’s life, but her family’s life as well.

So, while those prayers seemed to lay dormant,

God was working all along.

Waiting for spring, when new life would emerge.

Prayer, too, has its seasons.

From the Mouths of Babes….A Big One

This kid LOVES babies.

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This kid, who, for the three months leading up to Judah’s arrival, did everything he could to help ease my life because it finally registered in his mind that out of Mommy’s misery, a wee little babe would emerge.

And he was excited!

He cleared out his own dresser drawers so there would be room for Judah’s clothes, he loaded baby toys into his closet and set up a diaper station. (I kept telling him, Judah wouldn’t join him in his room for several months but he just wanted to “be ready”)

The week of Judah’s arrival finally came, and because of a traumatic delivery, and a flooded basement, I hadn’t seen that firstborn of mine in five days.  All of his siblings would be going to the pool after school, but he decided to skip out on it because he could.not.wait to meet his new little brother.

The minute his head popped into the bedroom, to meet that tiny bundle, he started exclaiming

“Ooooh Mommy!!!!”

while he jumped around the room.

“Can I hold him? Can I hold him?”

So after a hand washing, and a settling down, we unwrapped that precious miracle and he held his new baby brother for the first time

“He’s so cute I could faint!”

That eight year old boy was absolutely giddy.

Over a baby.

And God knew, those many years ago, exactly what type of firstborn, what type of leader, what type of sensitive personality this Mommy would need as a right-hand man as Danny and I wrangle this now half a dozen kids.

 

Big brother LOVES his baby brother

Big brother LOVES his baby brother

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His love of babies even motivated him to keep refilling Mommy’s water and bringing me food in bed!

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Giddy over the tiny bundle!

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Lovin’ on his little bro!

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Once he learned about skin-to-skin time he started taking off his shirt to let Judah lay on his chest.

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Firstborn and natural leader…or forced into leadership because there are so many little ones following him.

 

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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).

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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

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A Birthday Party to Defy Pinterest

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

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And now I look like this:

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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…

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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.

 

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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

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