An attempt to declare the Glory of God for what He has chosen to do with our lives. A legacy to leave to my children in the telling of it.

Sunday, December 29, 2013


I stumbled across this video of an old Spurgeon sermon on YouTube. Oh my, here's a man of God preaching the word of God. It spoke volumes to my heart. Hope it does to yours, too.

{My notes while listening, then the video link follows.}

God intended His trials to be felt.

It is feeling a trial that makes it a trial. The essence of the trial lies in the feeling of it.  God's blows fall just where He intends us to feel them the most. He smites us where we are sure to be affected. Trials which are not felt are unprofitable trails. If there be no crying out then there will be no emptying out of our depravity. It is just so much as we feel that we are profited. A trial unfelt must be a trial unsanctified. We are only blessed by feeling it under God's agent, the Holy Spirit. Though He slay me yet I will trust Him. For God sent the trouble that we might feel it. Not excessively that we would murmur against God, but that we may feel the rod; that we may kiss the rod.

Let the smoke {trials} come - they reveal our hearts. Trials till the soil of our heart. They make us know our blackness. We feel worthless, good for nothing, useless. How empty we become in trials. All our hope is gone, we feel empty, we need a full Savior to save us. In trials we are capable of being affected.

Christians, though they have trouble and feel their troubles, they do not forget God's statutes. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but not one word of Scripture. All Christians must carry the words of Christ, all must take up their cross and follow Him. His statutes are statutes of promise, as faithful as the God who uttered them. Hold fast to God's statutes. Our trials are only the smoke, not the fire. They might smoke, but they do not destroy us. There is nothing that will burn the Christian. Smoke might blur our vision, but it does not destroy us. There is no cause why we should forget our God in the midst of our trials.

We are washed on the shores of Christ by our trouble. Remember that Jesus is in the smoke with us. God's statutes are in the furnace with us, too. God's word is subject to the trial and it will come out shining brighter in the end. The more flame there is, the better we will be able to see our Master in the smoke with us. And if my sufferings may augment Thy praise, behold me well content, let sorrow well attend.

God's statutes are in our soul, where trials cannot steal. Christ and grace are unaffected by the smoke of trials. The outward man decays, but the inward man is being renewed day by day. Hold fast by God's word. If under our trial and troubles we hold fast to God's word, we can take assurance that we are children of God.

Guilty, weak and helpless I may be, but there, in God's arms, unshaken, will I rest until this vial body dies. If you can stand a little smoke, then you may believe yourself a child of God. Fair-weather birds are good for nothing. God loves those who can move in the storm, those who can make the wind their chariot. "I  know whom I have believed."  If you do not swerve from your post when the trials come, then you are verily a child of Heaven. Constancy, endurance and perseverance are the true marks of a hero of the cross and are the invincible warriors of the Lord. Know that every man is expected to do his duty.

Those who overcome will receive a crown of glory. Be refined by your trials. Do not consume {triumph by yourself in} your own trial. Let God consume you in them. Suffering Christians might be pitied now, but our light trials are working for us an exceeding glory. Our temporary trials are allowing us an escape from an eternal trial of punishment.

If thou art not a sinner, I have no salvation for thee. If thou art a Pharisee and knows not thy sins, I have no Christ for thee. But if thou art a real sinner, I have this for thee: Jesus Christ.

Listen to the sermon - Charles Spurgeon: Heaven and Hell

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Monster

Grief is such of a monster.

There is no better way to describe it on this cold, snowy morning. The holiday season was spent in a blissful numb. Several times I would attempt to take a mental temperature and try to gauge just what it was that I was feeling, expecting the pain to overtake rather than the ability to enjoy the events. Numb is okay, as Alexis reminded me. None of us minds Novocain while sitting in the dentist's chair after all. Another Christmas spent without your firstborn son and a little numb is just fine.

But like the fuzzy lip, it doesn't last long. It's reminiscent to the feeling after the first anniversary. Being all pepped up to do it well, face it all, go through the motions at least. Then it hits ... hard. Coupled with the fact that I've been on a marathon picture sorting, collage making frenzy doesn't make it easier. In grief, I have found,  you do what you can do and you do what you think you have to do, even if it might seem irrational to everybody else. I have gotten it into my head that I have to have all of my pictures sorted and printed into book format before we hope to move in the Spring. I have gotten through two and a half years, nearly 1,000 collages. Which brings me to 2011. And we all know what happened in 2011.

As my mom said the other day, I'm living in three realms: the past, the present, and the future. When I first started the project I couldn't convince my brain again that Trent really wasn't here. As if he had just been hiding in the woods for the past three years, like in the pictures. I almost called him in for supper a couple of times.

Then there is the jolting present. Shutting off the computer and seeing the empty chair and bed. No Ken-doll locks, no giggle, no smacking kisses goodnight.

But then there is the future, the glorious future. To keep my eyes trained there often times becomes difficult. It's reality seems unreal, lately. As if God has asked too much. I force my heart to repeat the promises. Clinging to the hope in them. Battling for victory.


The victory to overcome this deceitful heart of mine. Victory over unbelief. Victory over thinking that it would be better to have Trent here. Victory to live victoriously.

I felt strong enough to venture into the February 2011 pictures today. I figured I better do it while I thought I could. I realized again the depth of my weakness. A son in a coffin three years later is harder than it was that day. I see the people again, the ones who were here with us. I see the bewilderment, and even the lost-ness, on so many of their faces.

Then I look at my face in the pictures. I can almost see the grace of God being poured out. I wonder where that it is now. I wonder why God lets it get so hard. Not blasphemously wondering, just wondering at His good plans that includes our total weakness. I wonder if at the foot of Jesus' cross it was the same. Mary, looking at her son... fully trusting God, but wondering... how is this the good plan? I envision Jesus at Gethsemane, asking if there wasn't another way. Accepting that this was the wisest way.

Somehow glory is only seen through the impossible. Our faith is only proven through the impossible. To make it to the end, longing for God alone, only happens through the impossible.

The pictures that were taken the days, even months and years, before the accident were so worldly. To see my heart three years later, and what it desires now, is enough of a reason to praise God that His ways are higher than mine. His love baffles me. Why me? Why grant this suffering to me? The other option would have been to let me go on living only for here and now, indulging even more into my kingdom rather than His. There is no appropriate description for how deep my longing runs for Christ, to see His face, to bow at His feet, to know His glory.

Would I trade that desire for a lifetime of a son, when it would mean trading an eternity of being satisfied in God? No.

The perspective helps. This blip of a life is kept in check. I try to remember to look up from the grief once in a while. For as debilitating as it is, it drives me nearer to God.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Cards

I wish thee no greater good than that God break in upon thy careless heart,
and shake thee out of thy false peace, and make thee lie down at the feet of Christ. 
~Richard Baxter, The Saints Everlasting Rest

I seriously considered inscribing our Christmas cards with that line this year. But then I thought otherwise. My smiling, polite genetics got the best of me and I went for a safe, happy, NIV, non-eternal verse: "Rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again - Rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4) I made it through the picture taking this Summer, made it through the collage process this Fall, and have even started a list with the intention of really sending them out before the blessed holiday is over.

And then the kids who were brave enough to venture out into the below zero weather to trek through the snow banks to the mailbox started bringing me Christmas cards. Safe, happy, NIV, non-eternal versed Christmas tidings with pretty covers and well wishes for a happy holiday. I handled it well to start with. I made it through the first few. And then I cried. Cried because everybody else gets to send out happy cards this year. Cards with all their children smiling in goofy poses. Cards about how big Johnny has grown, and how sister got a new car and brother is getting straight A's.

While I pondered my past year, and considered what I would write for a cheery holiday letter, I thought of the many mornings waking up to fight the battle just to get out of bed, fighting for God's glory to reign, fighting to say "thank you" for my son being in Heaven with the next words from my lips being a plea for the salvation of my children who are still here; the constant weight of their eternities laying on my heart like a rock.

Or watching my daughter cry her eyes out, focusing on grieving not as those without hope, and trying to come up with the perfect answer to the barrage of people who think her greatest achievement this past year should have been getting a driver's license rather than a deeper walk with the Lord, that time spent behind a wheel would have been better spent than time behind a Bible.

And, rather than my husband getting a promotion, how I've watched him work two jobs to support a family in this hard economic time, how I've watched him battle for victory to lead us well in the midst of his own pain, how I've watched his desire for God to reign over his desire for the world, how I've watched his strong hold to Scripture win over his flesh.

I could write about letting it all go, giving up our kingdom of a farm and material possessions in attempted obedience to what we hope will be a life of being poured out for God's kingdom. But somehow it seemed wrong to report those growths, as if I would be destroying the façade of everybody else's joy at this time of year.

Then I remembered that God loves me. He really, really loves me. Loves me enough to "wish [me] no greater good than that [He] break in upon  [my] careless heart, and shake [me] out of [my] false peace, and make [me] lie down at the feet of Christ."

Then it struck me how sad I was. Not so much in being sad that Trent isn't here, though I miss him like crazy, but sad because in my own power I cannot change one single person, especially the ones that I love the most, to value God's glory and "break in upon [their] careless heart, and shake [them] out of [their] false peace, and make [them] lie down at the feet of Christ." Instead I watch so many professing believers walking around careless, with peace, not lying down at the feet of Christ. As Casting Crowns puts it (Spirit Wind), "Believers leading carnal lives... wonder what they're fighting for."

Along with all this, John Piper's book, The Pleasures of God, has my head swirling with his chapter on God's glory in bruising the Son on the Cross. He talks about God's delight in His own glory, and how the suffering of Jesus to take on the curse of sin in obedience to the Father was a measure of Jesus' love for God's glory. It's as if Jesus and God are battling to prove their love for each other, round and round, one-upping the other in proving it. Which all causes me to look fresh at my own suffering and how I view God in it.

If, like Jesus, the measure of my own suffering is meant to reveal God's glory and will result in God, and myself, delighting even more so in His glory, then I am right where He wants me. If suffering weighs out our truest affection, and if one of God's greatest delights is His glory, and if He allows His children to suffer to prove their greatest desire (all the while acknowledging that the ability that it would be His glory that rises to the top ultimately comes from Him), then what a joy it will be to see the measuring rod on that day that I enter God's presence and He says, "Well done good and faithful servant. You loved me this much and trusted me to portray my glory through you while you suffered this much." 

It is not the suffering that is rejoiced in, but what is accomplished by God via that suffering: the revealing of His glory that works out even our own salvation. To come to an end of ourselves just may be God's greatest mercy. To be sure, salvation only comes about by the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, but God continues to prove it by increasing our longing for Him throughout our lives.

Which brings me back to the Christmas cards. And how much easier it would be to have five children posing, but how much greater is the work that is being done to only have four. So all that rambling to wish you this holiday season:

No greater good than that God break in upon thy careless heart,
and shake thee out of thy false peace, and make thee lie down at the feet of Christ.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Puppy Love


Another blessed event of new life has occurred on our farm. Probably for the last time, making it all the more cherished, Lady our lab dog delivered six beautiful little pups. She even made it super convenient for us and had them in the middle of the day when we had no other scheduled plans rather than in the middle of the night. Four girls and two boys, including the bonus chocolate babe. It's all I can do to not give in to Micah's pleas to keep just one. Aahh, puppy love.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Don't read John Piper for an hour immediately before going to bed lest you wake up with thoughts like these swirling in your brain in all out attempt to connect the dots, before the coffee is even done brewing, and causing you to wonder ceaselessly, yet again, just who this God is that has chosen you to have a sneak peak at the unfathomable beauty of His glory to come:

* One of God's greatest pleasures is His delight in His good plans for His children.

* God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.

* So, when I am satisfied in God's good plans for me, I will be most satisfied in Him.

* To be most satisfied in God I must be most satisfied in God, not other things.

* When I pray and long for God to be glorified in me, it means that I must be most satisfied in God.

* For God to answer that prayer He must first make me delight in what He delights in, namely His glory.

* To prove that I delight in Him, as a Christian's desire would be, he removes what I do delight in to reveal what my greatest delight really is.

* The pain comes when it is discovered that it is not God, or His good plans, who is my greatest delight.

* God takes away what I desire more than Him for my own good, for my eternal good, to prepare me to delight in Him above all else for an eternity in His presence. He makes Himself my greatest desire so that I can say as Paul did in Philippians 3:8, "I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ."

* Nothing else will satisfy me like God will. Attempts to be satisfied elsewhere will graciously fail if God is going to be glorified in me.

* When I am fully satisfied in God, my delight in Him will overflow.

* God is like a mountain spring, never ending, never needing filling, freely offering my thirsty soul to fill on Him alone to be satisfied so that I will be able to run down the mountainside and share with others, knowing that there will always be enough grace and He will never run dry which means that I can be filled yet again.

* God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.

~My thoughts from the book by John Piper, The Pleasures of God

Friday, December 13, 2013

And the Winner is....

And the winner of the camera giveaway is ...


First of all, thank you to all those who shared the giveaway, and to those who didn't enter:) Thanks for allowing the camera to bless somebody who was truly in need of it. I wish I could give one to each person who entered. The stories behind the need were so beautiful and deserving. Paige, I know what a joy it will be for your family to have this long awaited gift, and I will be excited to see the pictures that you take with it. Watch your mail, a package will be arriving soon!

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Mother's Prayer

I had to repent yet again the other day. As I was driving along, by myself, which was probably why the complete thought occurred, I realized that my greatest desire for my children is still that they would thrive in this world. That they would be comfortable, successful, loved and praised here. That they would look for, and find, their joy now rather than seeking and longing for it in eternity.

The humbling had come a few days after a conversation with Alexis where she accidentally mentioned a wound she had been given quite some time ago. Her nosy mother pressed her for details and got upset enough for the both of us, then I proceeded to go into momma-bear mode in order to protect her from every mean teen-age girl in the universe. My pride swelled for this daughter that I adore so much that I hardly noticed her godly approach to the matter that had already been forgiven and dealt with by her.

 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” John 15:18

A few days later God used that verse to align my soul back to reality. If the world hates Alexis, keep in mind that it hated Jesus first. Keep in mind that it reveals my daughter's allegiance to her King. Keep in mind that it hates her because she shines Light. Keep in mind that the world will not be her friend and will continue to hate her as long as Christ keeps her faithfully bearing witness for Him.

As I was praying this morning, sending up my petitions to the Almighty for my children (salvation, character, bold witnesses, love for Scripture) I revisited this little incident as I got to Alexis' name. Praying for her future, my thoughts went immediately to happy scenes: a happy college experience, followed by a happy missions experience, followed by a happy marriage and child raising experience, followed by a happy death in her sleep at ninety-two where upon she faces God with little to nothing to have to give account to for trusting Him because her life was so simple and indulgent that she never needed Him. Amen.

Tears came because, on the surface, that is what I want for my daughter. I know the alternative: pain, hurt and brokenness which would result in a desperate need for her Savior. My flesh wants the easy path for her, while at the same time I know which road will lead her closer to Christ. As scary as it was to pray, I handed her over again to this God whose ways are higher than mine, as far as the heavens are from the sky, and trusted His plans for my daughter. Attempting to see into eternity, I prayed for more than what this world has to offer her. I prayed for that hurt, that brokenness, that desperate need for God. If it keeps her soul awake to eternity, I would rather have her uncomfortable here.

Now I'm going to start praying that God would give her mother the strength to watch Him work His glory in her life.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Poor Momma's Camera Give Away

As I've been sorting through my pictures in an all out attempt to organize them and eventually print them into book format, I have been so saddened by the many months that I only had a cheap digital camera. I don't say that whining, because at the time a $30 Dollar Store camera was wonderful. But as grateful as I am to have all those fuzzy memories, and as much as I realize we couldn't financially justify a nicer camera at the time, it still makes me sad to have hundreds of blurry pictures of my children. So, in the spirit of the giving season, I am glad to be able to host:

The Poor Momma's Camera Give Away

I realize that there must be other Momma's out there in the same position that I was in a few years ago, that, for whatever reason, you find yourself with no digital camera in this age of digital everything. So, I am offering to the lucky winner a Canon Black PowerShot SX160 IS 16MP 16x Optical Zoom Digital Camera, with a 8GB memory card and 2 year warranty from WalMart.

Canon Black PowerShot SX160 IS 16MP 16x Optical Zoom Digital Camera

The rules are simple: just leave a comment on this post for a chance to win.

The details: I'll close the contest in one week, December 11, 2013 at midnight, and pick a winner soon after so you can hopefully get the camera in time for taking Christmas pictures. Shipping only to the lower United States. Please, only enter if you are truly in need. It doesn't have to be dire straights, but let's give somebody deserving a camera the chance to win. You don't have to technically be a Momma to enter, just somebody in need. This contest is hosted by MoreGloryMinistries. Feel free to share this post on your blogs, etc, etc. Let the praise go to God!

Good luck!

Just a sappy side note to all you Momma's who don't need a camera but have taken the time to comment anyway~ I love ya all! So glad to have you as bloggy friends:)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I Like This Guy

Rob has gotten us hooked on YouTube music videos lately. I am much more of a reader than a visual person, but I have to admit, torturing the kids with oldie-but-goodies music videos from the seventies and eighties has been pretty entertaining on these cold, dark nights. Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, George Straight, Kenny Rogers, Patsy Cline ~ we're calling it history. But I also discovered some awesome preachers on YouTube. Francis Chan and John Piper being at the top of the list, but I recently stumbled across David Platt and, from what I've heard so far, I really like this guy. Check it out...

Monday, December 2, 2013

Smiling Through Thanksgiving

I admit, the beginning of the holiday season last week did not thrill me. Turkey Day loomed on the horizon, but the Blaze Orange Holiday of Wisconsin deer hunting was the toughest to anticipate. I ignored it all as long as I could, stayed busy, and resisted making any definite plans until hard pressed. The baton of our long standing hostess position was offered up to my sister. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be so, when they ended up with what was first thought to be a child with the flu that eventually would up being an emergency room visit and a trip to the big city for an overnight stay in the Children's Hospital. An eye opener to all about what we are truly celebrating on this gluttonous day. Needless to say, we never did make it to their house, but instead disappointed all of the cousins and will have to plan for a Christmas sleepover.

My well laid out plans to ignore the week morphed into being one of the best holidays that we've enjoyed for years. This humble farmhouse became a revolving door as we welcomed old friends that we haven't seen for many months as well as friends and family that we see regularly, a couple of nights of sleep overs, and an unexpected visit from relatives on Thursday. There was no turkey in sight, but instead authentic Indian chicken curry, home grown steaks on the grill, and too many pieces of Éclair cake and cream cheese pumpkin pie.

Some of the highlights that found us smiling:

*A house overflowing with loud, laughing kids.

*Familiar faces who have made up Thanksgivings past and present so memorable.

*Friends who sent emails, little knowing the power of their simple words.

*Frosting turkey cookies.

*Cranking the grinder to make cranberry salad.
*Paper plates.

*Playing tag in the dark.
*House movers who found time to move a house during this festive week.

*Tears for friends who have new babies welcomed into the world and at the same time other friends who have said good-bye to their mother; an ushering in and out of this little blip of time in the midst of eternity.

*The overwhelming knowledge that God would continue to use this broken vessel for His glory.

The crash seems to come afterward. When all the people have gone home, and the sugar rush is winding down and there isn't enough to do except wait for eternity to begin. When again the extra chair is empty and the days are long. How I desire for the work of God to overwhelm me so as to pass this time quicker. How I need a place to invest for His sake. Ministering, cooking, serving, encouraging, challenging, hugging, loving, even driving to pick up a momma and her son curbside at the ER makes this doable. I smiled through the Holiday. I thought of and prayed for so many of you, hoping that you were able to smile as well.


One of the best parts about not moving immediately is the time to linger through the packing process. We have been at the farm for six years, which culminates in a lot of stuff and a lot of memories. A majority of the clean out was done over the summer when we sold off the machinery, farm equipment and animals. In anticipation of hoping to move right away I even did a pretty major clearing out of closets and rooms. Pictures came off the walls, kitchen cupboards were sorted, and the outbuildings cleaned.

Now that I have nothing to do but wait six months until I can physically move anything else, I have been overwhelmed to close this chapter on our lives by recording it in both written and photographic form. I bought my first cheap digital camera shortly after we purchased the farm and proceeded to capture nearly every experience of our kids' childhood, so, luckily I have the {literally} thousands of pictures taken since we moved here. Unfortunately, they are all un-sorted on the old computer instead of the newer laptop, which meant that Grace had to teach me how to use a flash drive to move them and now I get the fun job of sorting and printing them.

I've also been writing a family memoir, called (what else?), OurCrazyFarm~ The Book. It was actually begun the summer of 2011 after Trent's accident when I could still recall how it was when life was normal. I've relished living in both the book and the photos. Easier to be there than look around some days; easier to stay there than to live now.

I'm hoping to have both projects done by Christmas. Hah! I'll be lucky to have it done by next Christmas, but since I work best under pressure, Christmas is what I'm telling my brain. Even Christmas presents, to surprise the children, you know.

It will be good to have something physical to look back on, but at the same time, I am anxious for what the future holds. It feels easier to live a new life at the other place. Hope seems easier there, rather than surrounded here by choking memories. I want them to stay where they are happy memories, not crying ones. The book has done that so far. Laughter is the tone of it, because there was much laughter back then. Death did not loom. The photos reveal the change. Innocent faces were all that was seen prior to 2011. The recent photos reveal too much contained pain; too much knowing of grief.

I have been praying for and anticipating what God has in store as we move on. Thoughts of ministry in India has left Rob speechless, but knowing that we will be entering a stage of our lives where we expect to have an abundance of money and time, something that we really have no experience with, has me wanting to proceed with caution. I've been asking the big question: what do I want to do with the rest of my life?

Above it all is the hope of the "renewal of all things (Matthew 19:28)." We begin this next chapter with the thought of eternity. What will matter then? How do we live it out now? What is of utmost importance?

For now, I keep plucking away at the keyboard, forcing my brain to live five years ago, five kids ago. Smiling, laughing, enjoying innocence and not feeling too guilty to let the kids cook as we can always call it Home-Ec.