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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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)

 

 

Our summer to date

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

High Points:

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

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

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

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

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

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Cousin Bonding Time!

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Children’s Museum

 

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

 

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Cousins enjoyed watching a super hero show and meeting characters.

 

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

 

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Houston Zoo…the girls wrangling the rhino…

 

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Benjamin and his FAVORITE…the tiger.

 

 

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

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

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

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Learning about the dress and etiquette of the day

 

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Katy-Grace practicing her curtsy

 

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Trinity practicing her curtsy

 

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Getting to use tour props

 

 

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

 

Some Low Points:

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

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

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BEFORE the mud pit fiasco

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Jaelle and Adrianna…things deceiving LOOK calm

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

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

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Malachi trying to drink the soap. AWESOME.

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

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

From the Mouths of Babes….extra ones

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

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

This child is the Presence of Christ in my life.

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

“And the King will answer them, ‘

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

you did it to me.” 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You’re kitchen gonna break.”

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

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

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

“Yeeaahhh….Your kitchen gonna breeeaaak.”

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

so I wasn’t too offended.

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When you declare who should be King…

I wake up wanting to be God. or at least king over my little world.

I wake up wanting my schedule to go according to my plan. I wake up wanting my children to behave perfectly and fall in line with that plan.  I wake up wanting no interruptions, no change of events, no extra people to feed or neighborhood kids filling my home and my ears with, “Miss Kimberly!!” (in addition to the already five children, screaming “Moooommmy!”. I wake up wanting to execute everything I had on the agenda in perfect timing, with no pesky pregnancy fatigue slowing me down.  I wake up declaring, “I want to rule!” “I want jurisdiction over my kingdom!”

And just wait for the wrath of this “rulership” if you make unexpected messes, or dare to eat peanut butter in the living room, against the “law of the land” (for of course, with the eating of the peanut butter comes a massive carpet clean up), or if you didn’t do your chores on time, thus slowing me down, or if your temper tantrum comes at the exact time that we were suppose to be loading in the car to head to school,….

This “lord” can throw some pretty intense temper tantrums herself. So,

“Fall in line! Bow to my rule!”

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There were some other people, too, that I read about recently, who also wanted to declare who would be king.  They didn’t want to have to wait and sit before the True Lord to get directives from Him.  They wanted to pick and choose and set up their own jurisdiction, just as I want to set up my own jurisdiction over my home and life and schedule.

“Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel and Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old….Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.”  I Samuel 8:4

And when Samuel inquired of the Lord about it, God’s response to their demand cuts to the heart of the matter…and the heart of this mamma who wants to be king over her world.

…for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. ”  I Samuel 8:7 

they have rejected me from being king over them.

And with every irritated response I give to each interruption, I am declaring who is really king around here.  And every loud outburst at kids not doing what they are suppose to is showing who is really running this show.  And every lack of interest in my husband’s “world”, because I’m too consumed with trying to rule my own, I reveal that

I have rejected Lord Jehovah from being King over me.

I have nicely moved into the role.

But when humans try to play God, it comes with a price.

God warned the people, that if they chose a human king there would be consequences. Their sons and daughters would be forced into slave labor to serve that king.  The best of their resources would be swallowed up by that king. And worst of all,

“When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” I Samuel 8:18

For when we trust in false kings, we forfeit deliverance from the True One.

How much have I, for the sake of my own desire to rule, yielded up my children, yielded up the best of my moments with them, simply because I had wanted a physical king (me!!) ruling over this home, schedule, and life. I can’t be king, I cannot control, I cannot grasp so tightly every action, mess, and behavior….but nonetheless, I continue trying, and failing, which leads to lashing out in anger from this out-of-control attempt at usurping the Throne.

I lose my children in the process. I lose the best of these little years. For it brings utter ruination…crushing of little spirits, forfeiting of sweet moments, a loss of witness amongst my own kids, a spirit of anger and frustration in our home.

But praise God, there is a Savior, who holds this power-hungry mother in His grip of grace.  There is a Savior who cried out for relief, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!?!” in my place, dealing with the consequences of  my rejection of the true King.

And now, since He was the one not answered (on the cross)

I am the one who receives a “Yes!” and deliverance from my own oppressive ruie.

If I will just fall before that cross,

and repent of trying to be king,

and yield myself to the True King.

 

 

(and the best place to start yielding, is by sitting at His feet right from the start…)

Introducing Iver-eight

This unexpected child, but perfectly expected and planned by the best Family Planner known to history, has already broken me. over.and.over.and. over.

The life-exchanged-for-life that is going on over in this Iverson household, has not been pretty, but in the mess of it all, new life, not just this sixth child’s life, but a life of perseverance and a life of character building and a life of continual repentance to my husband, kids and Heavenly Father has been growing.

And this week, we were able to have our first introduction to this new little person.  A person who I’ve met in exhaustion,  and sickness and fluttering kicks and sharp jabs, but who I got to “meet” visually,  thanks to modern day technology.  And I am in love. And the times this week that the growing of this little person has landed me on the bed…or couch…or floor, I have a real person, with a name, to talk to, pray for, and say

“You, my child, are worth it.”

And as I do so, I savor Jesus saying, “Father forgive them.” while He hung dying on the cross. A bold declaration of,

“You, my child, are worth it.”

I’m so thankful for the tiniest taste of that suffering which brings new life, for it makes my new life in Jesus so much more appreciated.
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Front shot of our new child's face

Front shot of our new child’s face, arms and belly

The source of all those sharp kicks

The source of all those sharp kicks

Some strong little legs....

Some strong little legs….

My fourth SON is the culprit of the physical, emotional, and mental hurricane I've been in for these past 24 weeks!

My fourth SON is the culprit of the physical, emotional, and mental hurricane I’ve been in for these past 24 weeks!

And I SWORE it was going to be a girl!!! Chalk it up to my excellent mothering instinct, but this little girl that I thought was growing in my womb was actually our fourth son, Judah Iverson (middle name yet to be determined).

The technician probably thought I was crazy, A. for being pregnant with our sixth child and B. For flipping out on that examining table…”What?!!?!? Are you sure? This is crazy!! I just KNEW we were having a girl!” (Its a good thing we found out ahead of time, this time)

Upon our return home, everyone was excited….

except for my five year old daughter, who promptly burst into tears.

“But I wanted a GIRL!!! I don’t want a BOY! Boys are so MEAN!”

Danny snagged it on video, but she doesn’t want us to show people because she’s embarrassed about all the tears. So, to honor her, just take my word for it….its pretty funny, I mean heart-wrenching.

 

 

 

From the Mouths of Babes…cover song style

There are many a day as of late that my afternoons are spent in this position, out of sheer exhaustion…

 

my official pregnancy position

my official pregnancy position…not very flattering is it?

One such afternoon, Benjamin emerges from the extensive imaginative play (thank you, Lord, for my kids having good imaginations!) and starts knocking on my door. I was literally too tired to get up, unlock it and let him in (not that I would have minded him cuddling with me…I was just literally too wiped out to move)

And so after about 10 minutes of me hearing him knock, shuffle around and cram stuff under the door, he remembers a similar scene in a much beloved movie.

So he starts reenacting:

 

“Knock, knock”

“Elsa, you in daya”

And then the song:

“Do you want to build a snowmaaaan…

or ride our bikes around the haaaallll…

we used to be best buddies,

but now we’re not….

I wish you would tell me whyyyyy…”

 

(this one isn’t very clear but the only snagging I have of it on camera)

 


And then he says to me,

“Now, Mommy, you say, “Go away Anna”

So I do.

And He sings

“Ok, byyyyeee!”

and then he laughs, and starts the reenactment all over again.

So for the meager effort on my part to say “Go away, Anna” ever 3 minutes, I was able to buy a full 20 more minutes of resting and being off my feet…..until a real emergency erupted like the broken lamp downstairs due to the unmonitored pillow fight.

Have I told you that my Benjamin is my easily pacified child?

And that, thanks to the movie Frozen, and thanks to Mommy being too tired to care just how many times they’ve seen it, nearly everything in our lives has been turned into a musical…all to the different tunes of Frozen songs.

Sure beats a whiny voice. (I’ll take what I can get here)

 

Just in case you want to see the real video…not just “Benjamin’s version”

One Thing to Cling to When Things are Tough

Where’s this blogging girl gone?
Well, after a week spell of intense editing and rereading into the late nights, sickness has slammed the family. And slammed the door on the writing momentum.

And when your husband, and your kids, and your pregnant self are all horribly sick, violently coughing through night after sleepless night, aching and feverishly enduring day after long day,and it hurts to breath,and you can’t talk (trying clapping to the kids to communicate to them each day) and you can’t quite keep up with all this (and who needs what, when):

The many attempts at fighting this misery-inducing beast off.

The many attempts at fighting this misery-inducing beast off.

and you start fantasizing about how you might manage to get yourself hospitalized so you can at least get breathing treatments, strong pain meds and SLEEP,

you can start to lose your bearings.

You can forget whose you are, and how He works in His children’s lives.

You forget that,

Desperate situations do not necessarily mean God’s dissatisfaction.

But rather, it is in the heat and pressure, and tension and struggle of those desperate situations that somehow God is working and moving and refining and sharpening a mother who on more than one occasion through this past two weeks of weakness has found herself saying,
“I’m in way over my head. I will never have my life together. Look at this messy house. Look at these snotty, sick kids. Look at your impatient sick self trying to yell at them through a fiery throat and intense coughing spells. Who am I KIDDING trying to bring another child into the world, much less adopt another one into our family?”

But,

Desperate situations do not necessarily mean God’s dissatisfaction.

A.B Simpson writes:

“The other day, my friend and I were passing by the power plant that produces electricity for the streetcars. We heard the hum and roar of the countless wheels of the turbines, and I asked my friend, “How is the power produced?” He replied, “It simply is generated by the turning of those wheels and the friction they create. The rubbing producers the electric current.

In a similar way, when God desires to create more power in your life, He creates more friction. He uses this pressure to generate spiritual power. Some people cannot handle it, and run from the pressure instead of receiving the power and using it to rise above the painful experiences that produced it.

Opposition is essential to maintaining true balance between forces. It is the centripetal and centrifugal forces acting in opposition to each other that keep our planet in the proper orbit. The propelling action coupled with the repelling counteraction keeps the earth in orbit around the sun instead of flinging it into space and a path of certain destruction.

God guides our lives in the same way. It is not enough to have only a propelling force. We need an equal repelling force, so that He holds us back through the testing ordeals of life. The pressures of temptations and trials and all the things that seem to be against us further our progress and strengthen our foundation.

Let us thank Him for both the weights and the wings He produces. And realizing we are divinely propelled, let us press on with faith and patience in our high and heavenly calling. ” (Taken from Streams in the Desert, by L.B. Cowman

So, those desperate situations do not necessarily mean God’s dissatisfaction…

They might actually mean His favor.

Lent (A Little Late): The best thing to give up for Lent

Lent.

A time to prepare our hearts for the sacrifice of the One who was sent to save people from the judgement they deserve.

A sacrifice necessary to gain us favor in the eyes of our Holy Maker.

And in honor of His sacrifice, we choose to sacrifice for 40 days leading to Easter.  All that we might know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. (Phil. 3:10)

And every time I open that age old book, hungry for some soul-sustaining Truth, I see it.

Sacrifice.

Funny, how you’ll drag tired body out of bed in order to read about animals being butchered. But in my Bible reading plan, I just finished reading through Leviticus and Numbers, and sacrifice after sacrifice after sacrifice is made.  Insane numbers of animals sacrificed, on a daily or regular basis. (to be honest…it seems like such a waste, I mean they could have eaten all those animals in their desert wanderings…but thats a whole different blog post)

And then I read that God doesn’t even care about all those animals He so specifically told Moses to sacrifice.

I will not accept a bull from your house
or goats from your folds.
For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.

If I were hungry, I would not tell you,

for the world and its fullness are mine.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?

Psalm 50: 9-13

Well, great. Now I’m wondering why God won’t make up His mind. He commands them. Then He says He doesn’t want them.  But I read on. And sacrifice pops out from the pages once again.

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and perform your vows to the Most High,
and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.

Psalm 50:14-15

And the very next morning, not so early (it was a painfully fatigued day), but during a few stolen moments while small children built forts with couch cushions, and very successfully unorganized the entire playroom, it pops again.

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;

you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

Psalm 51:16-17

And the pondering and praying I had been doing on what to give up or do for lent, (meat?…no this pregnant body is desperate for it these days, even-earlier morning prayer sessions? no this pregnant mamma needs more sleep, not less. Coffee? I’m sorry but my children would bear the brunt of that each day) it all came clear as to the sacrifice I was to make for these forty days leading to His magnificent one.

A sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.

A sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart.

And how could the two go hand in hand?  Well, for me to praise the Lord and give thanks in the midst of physical suffering? Well, thats a sacrifice of brokenness. Broken of my own desires and agendas. A sacrifice of me being on the throne and dictating to God how I want my world to be run. A sacrifice of my will, to declare “whatever You give is good, and I will thank You for it”.   And a sacrifice of praise is one contrition and repentance, for I simply cannot do it.

But I know the One who can.

And as I share in some suffering, and choose thanksgiving in it, I choose CHRIST. I choose Him IN me to accomplish it. And I choose the resurrection that comes when Christ is alive in a dead tomb of a struggling mamma.

And the sacrifice of self,

leads to the Resurrection I long to experience.

So, the best thing to give up for Lent

is myself,

for this is where I meet Jesus in that dark garden and know Him in me intimately as I, too, cry,

 “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42 ESV)

And choosing to praise Him no matter what, is a constant declaration,

not my will, but yours be done.”

More Lenten helps

And to help with the sacrifice of thanksgiving, I downloaded this app on my phone to help me record all those things worthy of giving thanks to God for.

With the kids in the afternoon (when I can gather some of the neighborhood kids as well) we are doing this Lenten devotional.  There are only 17 entries which is perfect for late starts and moms who can’t get their act together on some  most days (namely, ME).  We always take time to observe and recount what we see in the painting (most DEFINITELY a homeschool activity as they learn to observe famous historical art, as well as get their hearts probed by the Word)

Last year’s Lenten endeavors.

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