Will I grab for it, or will I listen for it?

Salt was flying.

Sugar was spilling.

Baking powder was pouring.

Small hands were grabbing and snatching and dumping.

Ingredients jettisoning all over the kitchen.

A mommy was attempting baking…

…with an overly eager two year old and four year old.

Those little boys were so eager to help me make “gooten fwee bwownies” (Gluten Free history here)

that they were a little TOO eager.

For they were snatching things up and dumping things in and spilling things over and in their zeal, they were actually ruining the brownies they so desired to make.

“Boys, boys! You have to wait patiently, and listen to mommy, and step by step I will tell you what to do. If you don’t wait for instruction, you will ruin the brownies.”

And in that moment, I was the prophet.

Speaking, “Thus sayeth the Lord”

to a heart that needed to hear it.

For so often I long for the end result (yummy, Gluten Free brownies? or an influence in people’s lives for the sake of the Gospel? or a home that is well-run with lots of discipleship happening in it? or a house that needs to hurry-up-and-get-renovated-because-I’m-suppose-to-be-moving-my-kids-into-it-in-three-weeks? or a church to plant in a neighborhood I have a lot to learn from?)

But just like those boys, I’m grabbing and dumping and trying to outrace the other set of hands in order to try to accomplish things in my own, limited understanding.

But if I would just wait patiently in the presence of the Lord.

and listen for His voice

and expect to receive step by step instructions

and then DO them.

Then beautiful, powerful, and significant-for-the-Kingdom things will happen.

Sort of like those “gooten fwee bwownies” those little boys so proudly produced.

So proud of themselves!

So proud of themselves!

 

Lord,

I find set before me more ingredients and possibilities and to-do’s than any one person could possibly manage. Grant me the grace to enter into each day with a heart attitude of “you know the recipe, Lord, and I won’t touch or do or add anything unless your voice whispers, “now add this”  and “it’s time to do this”. So often I’m asking you to help me “get all this done!” but right now I ask you to help me hear Your voice. May I only touch what you tell me to touch, and do what you tell me to do. I believe and trust that you are creating something wonderful and I want to be a willing participant in it’s accomplishment, not a hindrance to it. I’m trusting you for the recipe, Lord.

 

Be still before the Lord, wait patiently for Him.   

Psalm 37:7

~~~~~

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

Isaiah 30:21

~~~~~

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.  

Proverbs 3:5-6

God Uses the Messes

It had been another frantic Sunday morning.

If I had lain the children’s clothes out the night before, we wouldn’t have had battles over mismatching clothes.

Help me, Lord. 

If I had trained my kids better about putting shoes away in their shoe bins, we wouldn’t have spent 20 minutes franticly looking under couches and in toy chests for them.

Help me, Lord.

If I had a better chore system, my daughter would automatically do her breakfast chore without mommy asking 16 times.

Help me, Lord. 

If I had gotten up earlier, I would have had Bible time with the kids at the breakfast table instead of barking at them to eat faster so we could leave.

Help me, Lord. 

If I were calmer, gentler, maybe there wouldn’t be so much bickering and complaining in the car while we drove downtown to church.

Help me, Lord.

If I were a more organized person, my purse wouldn’t be so heavy with all the junk that’s accumulated in it…in addition to lugging a chunky baby in a car seat carrier.

Help me, Lord. 

Gotta love the chunky cheeks and double chin...except when you're carrying him in a car seat carrier with a large purse and five kids following behind...

Gotta love the chunky cheeks and double chin…except when you’re carrying him in a car seat carrier with a large purse and five kids following behind…

And we’re just rolling in to church, and I’m exhausted. The adrenaline rush to get us out the door is starting to crash, and we file into our seats. And all the kids are fidgety. And Katy-Grace is “hungry again”. (We just ate breakfast!) Daniel Josiah took five bagels off the refreshments table on our way into the sanctuary. (I’m telling you, we JUST ate breakfast!) Malachi needs a diaper change (I JUST changed it, before we left), and all I want to do is sing some songs to Jesus and not have to deal with anyone else’s problem for at least 20 minutes…

Then the whimpering starts…

“Mommy! Mommy! My tag is itching me.”

Honey, I can’t do anything about that right now.

“But, moooommmy, it really itches. Can you cut it off?”

Lord, I know I’m failing miserably at everything…and if I could just get my act together and get more organized, things wouldn’t be so hard. But Lord, you’re going to have to handle this problem. I give it to you. I have nothing left. 

“Mommy, can’t you get some scissors and just cut it off…it reeeeaaaalllly iiiiiiiitches…”

Honey, you’re just going to have to deal with it.

We’re already halfway through the worship time, and I’m fishing through my bag to find Malachi’s diaper so I can slip out and change it.

And then I feel them.

I had thrown then in there earlier in the week to wrap a gift for someone at.stoplights.on.my.way.across.town

because, again, I didn’t have my act together, and was doing it on the fly.

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The miraculous scissors

I quickly pulled them out and snipped the tag off. Thus relieving me of an entire-worship-service-long whining session.

Thank you, Lord, Thank you!!

I whisper to Him.

And He did some whispering back:

If you had had your “act” together like you envision and expect for yourself, I couldn’t show up in such intimate ways. You wouldn’t need Me.

 I take the entirety of your messy life, and use every part. Even un-cleaned-out purses and lost shoes and whining children. 

Bring me itchy tags, and disorganized purses, and frantic mornings, and let me bear them.  I have creative ways of carrying them, while you carry my easy yoke and light burden. 

The “extra luggage” that you think is so cumbersome now, might be your answer to prayer later. 

Faith as small as a mustard seed…as small as itchy tags, can move mountains. Just watch.”

 

The crazy full, and unorganized purse. All part of God's plan.

The crazy full, and unorganized purse. All part of God’s plan.

Isaiah 65:24 NLT

I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!

My Sick Little Boy

“Jesus is so stwong. He is stwonger ‘dan satan. And Jesus love yittle Judah and he is wiff you. He is wiff you evewy day.”

The little white-boy afro hovers over his little baby brother and sings truth to him. Truth that even this Mama needs to hear every.single.moment of these action packed, feels-like-I’m-sinking in all the needs of this family of eight days.

Benjamin singing over Judah in his little bouncy seat

Benjamin singing over Judah in his little bouncy seat

Those songs sound like the ones I used to sing over him before placing him in his crib in that mold infested room. I thought it was a safe place for him, but all those nights of sleeping and playing in it were actually slowly infusing toxins into his little body.

We didn’t discover it all until last fall, and finally the health issues that little boy was having made sense. We worked our plan, and saw improvements.

But then symptoms started coming back towards the end of this summer. The sallow face. The bags under those brown eyes.  I started catching him laying around the house more and more, just like he had done in our old house. The fatigue, and achy legs, and he started catching every sickness that came into our home, and it took him twice as long as anyone else to get better from it.

It was time to do some health hunting again.

His pediatrician (who was at least honest enough to admit this!) told me that western medicine is ill equipped to deal with detoxifying a body and strengthening an immune system.  “If you need drugs, I can prescribe them, but other than that, I can only refer you to a naturopath or someone who deals with detoxifying the body.”

So last week, I loaded the three little guys up early in the morning to drive to Birmingham to get tested with a much-recommended naturopath.  We would also be conveniently visiting my wonderful, wise and encouraging 89 year old grandmother who lives in Birmingham as well.

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Grandma Murphy’s first time meeting Judah

After Benjamin’s testing, several months of my suspicions were confirmed. He’s still got an off-the-chart level of mycotoxins (from the mold) in his body. He’s got chemicals and hard metals festering there.  His gut and liver are in hyperdrive trying to remove the toxins, but because he is gluten, dairy, peanut, soy and sugar intolerant (and the kid lives off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches….good job, mom.) his body has been constantly attacked, with not a break to recover.

The doctor told me, “This little boy couldn’t have experienced enough trauma and stress in just four years to cause his adrenal glands to be this depleted, even with all the exposure to mold….The only other explanation is that your adrenals were shot when you were pregnant with him.” Well, as a matter of fact they were. (we were in the middle of leaving the ministry in Newark, to move to seminary, and my body completely shut down)

The doctor asked about rapid mood swings, about complaining about running, about his bowel movements….all things she could read on the scan she had done, and it hit the nail on the head.

Serotonin levels were extremely low, leaving no buffer to deal with conflicting emotions.

The yeast and mold has settled even in his joints, which explains why he doesn’t run as much as the other kids, and hates walking up and down the stairs (or is that only when I’ve asked him to do his chores?)

His digestive tract is in ruins because of all the stuff I’ve been feeding him that his body can’t digest.

That appointment for my boy connected a lot of dots. explained a lot of issues. but also gave me a heap of a lot of work to do to try to get my little man better.

nebulizer treatments. round the clock herbal supplements. vials of homeopathic prescriptions. alkalizing water treatments. soap and skin care product changes. and a major dietary overhaul.

SO….on top of adjusting to life with six and trying to keep up with the older three and all their school commitments and homework and projects. and on top of nursing and caring for an infant, while his two preschool brothers get into everything imaginable in the house, we now are playing Dr. Mom AND specialized- gourmet, gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and sugar-free chef.

And based on the symptoms that the doctor was describing, I have very strong suspicions that Katy-Grace and Malachi also have gluten intolerance as well.

I have to admit it. Our family is now categorized in the “food snob” bracket of society.  We’re taking everyone off gluten and dairy and we’re eating a whole lot of fruits and veggies and rice.

So when we turn down the snacks offered or the treats given, please don’t take it personally. Can you offer us blueberries instead?  We have restrictions now, but we know that “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:6) and we will be happy and content with our boundary lines

We know that our “bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? We are not our own; we were bought at a price. Therefore we will seek to honor God with our bodies. (I Cor. 6:19-20)

And we will be careful what we put in them, not so that we can “achieve” perfect health, or simply be healthy in order to have a “happy life”, but because that little boy, Benjamin,

he has some more singing to do.

And he has more hearts to touch.

And this mamma wants to give him every opportunity to do so, using a strong, healthy, mold and toxin-free body, that can be poured out for the sake of others. (2 Timothy 4:6)

 

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Anyone have some brilliant bulk style, affordable, gluten free and dairy free meal ideas?  Please share! It will save this busy mamma some time researching!

 

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:

Psalm 18

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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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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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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