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Saturday, 20 February 2010

Another Sabbath greeting to you!

Here I am nice and peaceful after another hectic week. The peace, I accredit to the sacredness of the day and the permission my mind has to be free of all tasks (other than tending to my children, of course!).

It is not even ten in the morning and I have already changed two poopy diapers, have suctioned Isabel's nose due to her difficulty breathing thanks to her cold, have read some books with Ethan, worked on some puzzles and attempted to teach the little ones the value of CLEANING UP when done with something (okay, okay... so I am still learning that one, too!), and now just attempted to wake up my teenage daughter who proceeded to grunt and growl at me in protest.

Happy Sabbath, y'all! Ok, now I am chuckling at calling you "y'all". Hee hee hee.

My blessings are abundant and it's just so nice to have a day set a part to make time to REMEMBER all of these blessings. Maybe that is part of what makes Sabbath so sacred for me... if I did NOT stop, I would likely complain about the mountain of laundry to be folded and put away, the dishes that pile up regardless of attempts to keep the kitchen clean, and more meals to be made. I would forget about the delight that is my family whom I have the privilege of clothing, of feeding and whose presence means that this house looks as though it is thoroughly and messily lived in!

I could easily miss that if God did not ask me to set that time aside. Thanks so much, God! You sure know what you're doing!!

It is also a great day to pray for others. This is often the day when I can really be intent on my prayers for all of you and any other situations we are made aware of that could use some special intentions. On that note, I would like to thank you for the miracle of YOUR prayers that have been blessing the very family I have asked you to pray for. The beautiful healing process continues and I have witnessed a grace among them this past week that has me humble and inspired by the power of the Holy Spirit!

Last Sabbath, we ventured outdoors dragging the kids on sleds and soaking in the sound of birds chirping and the sun beaming down on the earth. It was a chilly day yet the sun was melting the snow and ice off the grain bins. Nature can be such a symphony of sounds and a visual display of perfect creation. Such a harmony in every sense of the word!!! The only not-so-great part about last Sabbath was Duane's snowmobile ride he gave me...

This is where I am reminded of where boys are different than girls (although I know some girls with the same dare-devil streak!). My logic about these machines is "hey, those seem dangerous... maybe they are not a good idea... unless used very responsibly." Duane's logic "how fast can I push this thing before it defies gravity and all other laws of physics?" He forgets to incorporate the question "could such a quest be FATAL???" Ay caramba! My dear husband asked if I wanted to drive and I said "no, I trust your ability to handle this thing more than my ability!" So I scooted behind him, wrapped my arms around him as tight as I could, nuzzled my head against his back, shut my eyes and held on for dear life as I heard the familiar roaring of the snowmobile as it attempted to take off for space!

All was fine until we went over a big bump and I smashed my face against Duane's back. Even over the roar of the engine, I could hear a snapping sound... not good, folks. I begin banging on his back to get him to stop which he interprets as "go faster." No, dear hubby, no. He finally looks behind him and stops the machine. My nose feels funny and it is bleeding. This creates two sensations for me: one is of sheer fascination as this is my first bleeding nose since I was five, immediately followed by nausea and lightheadedness!

Long story short (wait, it is already long) everything turned out perfectly fine! But Duane felt horribly guilty and I felt like an idiot for smashing my face against his back. Happy Sabbath, y'all? Hee hee hee... that's just going to make me giggle every time I say it!

Nowhere near this much action this Sabbath as Duane's shift work has him working this Sabbath and the next. These are always the harder ones because the element of observing this as a family is missing. But it's a good exercise for me to lead my family in an honorable day regardless of my husband's absence. It is special because God made it so, not just because my husband is there. It's a definite bonus, but no less a sacred day as designed by God.

But do you know what makes this Sabbath special? The fact that I get to share with you that God has blessed us with the growing presence of another baby! Yep, four kids and counting... Duggar family, watch out! NOT! God-willing, we should be welcoming Little Baby Vaags at the end of September or beginning of October... just in time for harvest. Once again, this is a little sooner than we anticipated (and yes, we know how this whole pro-creation thing works! We are just abnormally fertile! As Duane puts it, "it's like you're a fertile field! I just have to walk by with a bag of seed and something grows!!!").

I think October 10th would be an especially special day to be born. When else could you say that your birthday is 10/10/10? At this point, we just pray for a healthy baby free of allergens.

So thank you for making this Sabbath extra special for me by telling you our special and exciting news. We are richly blessed and praise God for the abundance in our lives and for His every provision for our family. We hope that we can share His grace with all of you. I hope this day finds you feeling special and may you be blessed with a moment of peace to reflect upon your own blessings and to rejoice at a Creator who loves you so very much... as do I. God bless you all!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Will you unite with me in prayer?

There are many of you who bless me by reading my blog... There are many of you who bless me and my family through your prayers. How else could Ethan have experienced the AMAZING healing that he has over this past year if not for the army of prayers flooding in on his behalf??

I would like to ask for this very strength to be extended to a family's healing that I am fervently praying for. I will not delve into any details out of respect for this beautiful family but know this: there is a deep and hurting history and it is about to be mended!

I cannot begin to tell you the beautiful tears of joy I have shed KNOWING that God's victory is coming through this! That He loves these people SOOO much that He would have them suffer as they have so as to experience the DEPTH of His grace and forgiveness and mercy! He knew all along that this would not be an endless pain even though it appeared that healing would be near impossible. He KNEW that He loved them that much from the beginning and He wanted their healing to be TOGETHER as it has been evolving!

I am shedding tears from the sheer beauty of what has been revealed to me!

I have been PRIVILEGED to be a part of this process... to be witness to God's miraculous and gracious works through their hearts. I am humbled by them as they have each willingly drudged through past pains in order to love each other deeply enough to make PEACE with where they can be at as a family from this point onwards.

There is a critical step about to take place and I am determined to have an army of prayer uplift each person's step in this process. Will you unite with me to pray for this family as God works His victory through their hearts?

Will you gift them the very blessing you gifted me all this time?

And will you rejoice with me when I exclaim "It is done! The broken have been mended, the bridge has been built and the old patterns have been destroyed! All in the name of God!"

Thank you! I cannot wait to see the power of our unison! And for each of you out there aching in your hearts for the distance that seems insurmountable within your own families, please find peace in knowing that God's glory can be found in the darkest of places. In fact, when you would least expect light to be found, that is where it is the most brilliant! Do not lose hope and do not stop working on your own heart's readiness to forgive and to love. Old habits will never hold up to the Holy Spirit! And may these prayers find you where you are in within your own family dynamics and bless you richly for the times you chose to exemplify God's love through grace and mercy... even if it went unnoticed. I love you all!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Blessed Sabbath to you!

The day is peaceful, even with little ones running around and the occasional yelp from I don't know what (nor do I think I WANT to know!). The peace is not from my surroundings but rather from the quiet in my own heart and soul.

It is Sabbath in our home today, and it is ALWAYS such a gift.

Our family has been on quite a faith journey these last few years. A key ingredient to finding my true soul mate was finding a man whose heart belonged to God... a man who served God's Will and not his own. Duane felt the same way and this was an absolute unwavering condition to our "happily ever after". Both of our faith walk looked SO DIFFERENT and we spent so much of our time together debating, arguing, seeking further clarification from scripture, praying, etc... We have truly challenged each other and have committed our homestead to seeking HIS truth through His word. But this has meant asking ourselves the humbling question: are we wrong in our beliefs to-date??

My hesitation has been that scripture can be so easily misinterpreted! We are limited by our own experience, our own understanding... if you yourself have not truly forgiven someone who has deeply wronged you, will your understanding of God's forgiveness for you be the same as He intends it?

So turning to scripture initially left me questioning if we would ever truly understand His TRUTH.

But it has revealed to us a whole new depth to our faith that I did not know to anticipate! We have tried looking at it with the eyes and faith of a child... letting go of all we thought we knew to discover it in a whole new light.

I am FASCINATED by other people's faith walks because they have a level of experience which I have NOT had... therefore they will have retained something from scripture that I would be too limited to grasp! And my prayer is that my own experience could possibly shed light unto others, too!

Wouldn't that be just a glorious way to gather in God's name? To discuss and further shed light on our COLLECTIVE understanding of His word? Remember my earlier entry about the three blind men trying to describe an elephant? Remember how they each described something completely different but in the end, each were right... but each was only describing a PART of the truth? Is it possible FAITH is the same way? Without each other and our differences, we cannot piece together the mosaic that will be the image of God's truth? Can we each have a COMPLETE faith without each other?

It is my dream to honour each person's faith walk, WHEREVER it brings them, with the sincerest hope that we can learn from each other, CHALLENGE each other (willingly and lovingly) and GROW in a faith that is deeper and closer to His TRUTH.

For our household, we have personally come to look at scripture in a perspective we have been blind to all along... We often refer to the OLD testament as an old piece of history that is simply there for the sake of reference. It is old and we should treat is as we treat old clothing, old things we own... with disregard.

But the old testament holds the full description of God's will for us and we are discovering that Jesus did not come to abolish the law (just as He himself proclaimed) but to SHOW us how to LIVE it perfectly just as He did!

This has challenged us in ways you would not believe! Does this mean that His laws and statutes STILL apply to this day? Did our UNCHANGING God truly remain unchanged? If so, how are we to be living? And does the Gospel message look different with that knowledge in the back of your mind?? Oh, you bet!

In our home, we have gone right back to one of the commandments of observing the Sabbath from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday... the seventh day that God consecrated when He himself rested after creation.

Has this made any significant difference in our lives? You bet! It means preparing our day a week in advance so no cooking is done on our day of rest. It means ensuring no business will be done (we were so grateful to our contractors who respected that no work would be done on the addition during that time frame. And isn't it interesting to know that Saturdays have become the BIGGEST shopping day of the week? Hmmmm, makes you wonder about that slithering snake from the garden of Eden, no?), and it means preparing our home and our hearts for a day when we can truly be still and KNOW that He is our God.

What a DELIGHT! It's like having family date-day to look forward to EVERY WEEK! It is a refueling beyond measure! I know my husband's mind is FREE of thinking of the many things that need to get done on the farm, I know my own mind is FREE of thinking of the million and one things left to do around the house. We are FREE in every sense of the word, sanctified by the glory of the Sabbath and the promise God made to meet with us within it.

I had no idea it would come to mean so much to me. It is our family gift to each other and to God.

And so I am delighting WITH YOU this sabbath as my heart belongs to Him. I delight in connecting with you through the prayer of my intentions to find you wherever you are at this moment and to LOVE that God made you with purpose! And I hope that you discover the glory of a day set apart from all others and discover the gift that has been yours since the beginning of creation!

All yours! Just for you and your faith! A reward beyond measure.

I would LOVE to know of your own faith journeys, your own beliefs and what has captured your heart as God's truth. I want to GROW in every possible way, to be YOUR servant through my love for God. I want to know how to do this for you from this distance! I want to know HOW to KNOW you! Is it enough to send forth my prayers trusting that God will find each of you: those I know and those whom I don't know?

Will you KNOW that I am praying for you? Will you accept my prayer for you? Oh I hope so! It feels so good to pray for humanity! I believe in each of you to the very core of my being... each of you, right down to the one who struggles with such deep dark secrets that you cannot imagine any of God's light within you!

It IS there for His breath BREATHED YOUR LIFE! And His light will cast away ALL darkness so do not doubt your beauty for ONE second! If God Himself did not believe in you, do you think He would have sent Jesus to die for your sins? No way!

I am nearly jumping out of my chair with exuberance! I am just so pumped by this unconditional love thing! It is liberating, energizing and just so gosh darn gorgeous!

So my prayer for you today? At this moment? Beyond recognizing your own beauty? It would be that you discover for yourself the sacredness of this day for you. That you be revitalized and renewed. That you find yourself with an inkling of familiarity in knowing He gave you this day with purpose... because He loves you that much! And whatever troubled time you face, may you find freedom from its grip today and every moment you remember that you are loved. And may your own heart discover the freedom of forgiveness for those who have wronged you so that you may be brought to your knees by the sheer amazing grace of knowing you, too, have been completely and gloriously forgiven!

You out there, have a magical day and know that whoever you are, I have asked God to bless you and I have thanked Him for loving you. Take care, special ones!