Saturday, November 17, 2012

Becoming Three Part 2 & 3

Twas the eve before Halloween...

The next day was your due date, the day babies never come on. It's an unwritten rule that the day the doctor's say your due, you aren't suppose to arrive. ( This drives mommies crazy!) What are the chances that out of 365 days in the year that a baby actually comes on their due date? Doctors make an educated guess at when you will arrive, they count nine months ahead, close their eyes and point to a day on the calendar and that is your due date. (Well something like that).

On February 25, 2012, mommy found out she was expecting a baby! This was a surprise for me, and I couldn't wait to tell daddy. Before I took the test, I thought for sure I couldn't be pregnant. I was babysitting that afternoon for a friend of mine and on the way to her house, I swung into Walgreens to get a pregnancy test. The lady behind the counter noticed that was the only thing in my hand, and smiled and asked if I was excited. I told her it would be a shock if I was pregnant but babies are always a wonderful exciting thing!

My friend left, and I was all alone with her two girls and the pregnancy test. After taking the test, it instantly turned into a plus sign, no two minute delay, no second to think it was negative. The one line although faded was definitely there, which meant I was definitely pregnant! I kept pulling it out of my purse and staring at it -- still positive. One of the girls I was babysitting asked what it was I kept looking at, I told her it was just a little something that would change my life. She was only five so she was confused and quickly found something else to occupy her.

When I got home, I wrapped up the test and put it in a gift bag for daddy to open. I told him I bought him a little gift that only cost $12.99 at Walgreens. I was hoping to throw him off, but he suspected it might be a pregnancy test. He was very excited and shocked when he saw the positive test. We waited (well mostly waited) about twelve weeks to tell our family and friends the exciting news. And even though you were an unexpected surprise, it took only a moment to fall in love with you! I began dreaming of your future and what you would look like.

On April 6, 2012 we had our first doctors appointment. You were 11 weeks in the making and we got to see you on the ultrasound. Your little arms and legs were flying everywhere and you were alive and healthy! It truly was love at first sight. Once they told us your due date, Halloween, I kept trying to change the date of my LMP so your due date would be different. But every date I tried to give them kept coming up with a Halloween due date. I finally accepted it ( besides babies never come on their due dates, remember?!).

When we first found out we were expecting, it seemed the end would never get here! It seemed so far away! But here we were the day before your official due date, awaiting your arrival. It could be any day or moment now!

We arrived home at nine o clock in the evening and were watching Netflix. I started to feel my stomach tightening and some pressure down low, but it felt just like the Braxton Hicks contractions so I didn't think anything of it. I thought they would go away. Around 10:30pm they seemed to be pretty consistent and I told James about the contractions I was feeling. He asked me if I wanted to pack my hospital bag, but I told him no. I said if I packed then the contractions would probably go away, it would be too good to be true. I did make a list of everything I wanted to make sure I brought to the hospital right then. Around 11pm, we got ready for bed. As soon as I laid down the contractions got stronger. Laying down was really uncomfortable. Around 11:30pm, I decided to try to time the contractions and see how far apart they were. (Which in active labor is hard to do! Who wants to think about watching a timer when going through contractions?) I noticed some blood in the bathroom and I knew this was the real thing!! Labor!! I was so excited I ran to the bedroom and told James, I was really in labor. And it's a good thing I made that list, because it gave James something to do while I was having my contractions. We called my friend, Bethany around 11:45 to give her a heads up about being in labor. (She was my doula or labor coach.) Then we called the midwife at the hospital and waited for her to call us back. Around 12:45am, we decided it was time to head to the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital at 1:30am, and I was checking in while James parked the car. I could barely sign my name as the contractions kept coming. As we finished signing everything, we were waiting on the nurse to come down and take us up to the birthing center. While we were waiting I had about four contractions and as the last one came and went, I threw up on the floor in the ER. A little gift from my heart to theirs. Normally, I might have been embarrassed, but when you're in labor all of that goes out the window. Finally, the nurse came and wheeled me up. She said it had been a busy night with women in labor.

Part 3: This section I will go in detail about my unmedicated water birth. I have had many ladies ask me to share the details of my birth story and how I was able to do it. So if you don't wish to read the nitty gritty of my delivery then I would stop right here and fast forward to the last paragraph. :) 

After checking me for about 20 minutes, she told me I was 7cm dilated and 90% effaced. I was relieved when she told me how far dilated I was. I had planned on a water birth so they were filling up the tub and I couldn't wait to get in. I hated laying down! I was breathing through the contractions like I had been practicing and trying to keep my body relaxed. The contractions only lasted a minute and were like a wave. They would start out not as intense and at the peak be the strongest and then it would fade away. During the contraction I kept telling myself, just thirty more seconds. I figured anyone can handle pain for 60 seconds. I was able to get in the tub a little past 2am. It was so warm and cozy, such a relief from laying down on the bed. James took a moment to pray with me as I was getting in. It was such a sweet moment, as we prayed to the Lord to help us and give us strength.

My doula recommended that I get down on my hands and knees and sway my hips during the contractions to help the baby move down. Easier said than done! That was pretty hard to do when the contraction came on but I managed. I kept thinking during the contraction that soon I could snuggle with James for a couple minutes and rest in between the contractions. After the contraction would fade off, I would sit up against the side of the tub and hold James hand as he rubbed my back. Then as soon as another contraction started, I would get into position and let go of James. ( I didn't like any touch or talking during my contractions. That was the best way for me to stay focused on relaxing and breathing.)

Around 3:30 they checked me again and I was at 8-9cm dilated but there was a part of my cervix that still hadn't softened yet. So I got out of the water to labor on the ball for a few minutes and then I had a few contractions standing ( I would lean against James and sway.) My water was close to breaking so the midwife asked if I wanted it broken but I told her no. ( I had been recommended that if it can be avoided to not have them break your water because it is a cushion for the baby during the contractions.)  I got back in the tub for a few minutes but the water seemed to be relaxing my body too much and slowing the contractions down. So I got back out and just as I did, my water broke. By now it was a little after 4am and they recommended I labor out of the tub a little longer. Around 4:30 or so they wanted me to practice pushing on the bed so I would be prepared to deliver Jacob in the water. But after a few "practice pushes" I was staying put! I did not want to get up. They gave me the option if I wanted to deliver in the water but that wasn't a big deal to me, and the bed was just fine.

It was like a pep rally in there with each push. The nurse,Emily, James, my friend Bethany, the midwife all cheering me on. "Oh I can see his head!" " He has a full head of dark hair!" "Good push!" "Just one more deep breath- push he's almost here!" "Okay rest...Okay one more...Good push!" "You're doing great!"

Now believe it or not, pushing was my favorite part. The entire time I was in labor I felt the urge and intense pressure down low and I could finally give into that pressure- it was such relief! And after thirty minutes, the crowd went wild, as Jacob head had finally come out! Success! Someone said to look down, but all I could see was my giant belly still. One more push and his shoulders and the rest of him came out. Just then the loudest cry ever heard to mankind filled the air. His lungs were in good working condition! The time was 5:14am (which is pretty neat because our anniversary is 5-15!)

They placed this beautiful crying baby on my chest and were wiping him down as I was holding him. He started calming down right away as I talked to him and tried to soothe him. I finally got my "moment". The one I had dreamed and prayed for, this moment with my son in my arms, it was priceless. I looked up at James and he was grinning from ear to ear. I asked James if he wanted to hold him but I was forgetting he was still connected to me! (I hadn't delivered the placenta yet. oops) Instead James reached out his finger and Jacob held on to it. It was so sweet.

After a few minutes, I delivered the placenta, and James cut the umbilical chord. The worst part I thought, was all the pushing on my stomach after I delivered. Just when you thought it was all over, those evil nurses torture you a little longer. ;) I was able to feed him right away and held him for almost two hours before they took him away to get all cleaned up. Twas the happiest day of our lives!!

 The best advice I heard during my pregnancy was that labor is all mental. I had mentally prepared for labor through lots of prayer and positive thinking. I had to ignore the millions of nay sayers who said it was difficult and painful. I told myself this is what the Lord has designed my body to do and with the Lord's strength I can do it! And it really was tolerable. I don't remember thinking in labor about wanting an epidural. I had already made up my mind that it wasn't an option and I could do it unmedicated.

To all you who are wanting an unmedicated delivery, you can do it! The best advice I could give you is to pray, practice relaxing (find what relaxes you, music, a specific scent, etc), and practice breathing!  I would practice breathing through pain when I would stub my toe or hurt myself. So then it became a reaction that when I was in pain, I would breathe and relax. And be excited about labor and delivery, don't be afraid of it. It's what our bodies were created to do! Fear makes pain worse.

We proudly welcomed Jacob Daniel Pranger into our arms on October 31, 2012. Yes, Halloween and his due date. What are the odds?! He weighed 7lbs and 7 oz and was 19 inches long. He had the most perfect round head and a little chubby body. He has his daddy's lips, and eyes, and mommy's nose and ears. The hair color looks like daddy's but it might be mommy's as it is lightening up. His eyes seem to change a little every day but are a dark grey/blue/green. What a blessing from the Lord our son is! We are cherishing every moment with him, including the middle of the night feedings. He loves his mommy so much he wants to spend most of the night with me. I'm a milk slave, what can I say? But he is worth every minute!

Our first family photo ;)

Praying together

Our sweet boy!

Brand new! 

Newborn Photo by Mommy

Our Family of three! 
We pray and hope we can raise him in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. May Jacob see the Lord in our lives and desire to serve Him with his life as well. We look forward to raising him on the mission field of Russia. He has stolen our hearts! And we can't thank the Lord enough for this precious gift.

And that is how our family of two became three!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Becoming Three Part 1

The day before you came into our lives...

Well, Jacob, every one thought mommy and daddy were pretty crazy to be doing all the traveling we did when I was so close to my due date. And rightfully so, you could have come at any moment! But the Lord gave mommy a peace that you would come after we were done traveling, so I wasn't worried- most days! I was certainly anxious to meet you. My midwife said you could come early and every one and their mom's told me how low you were and I could go any time. My favorite was always hearing "You're still here" (meaning you haven't had that baby yet!?) and I wasn't even past my due date! But like a good missionary wife I smiled and said, "Yes, still here and so are you!" :)

Our last missions conference was in Mansfield, Ohio and it was only an hour drive back home. It was such a wonderful and encouraging conference, but I was anxious to get home and rest! After services on Sunday night, I remember thinking to myself, we made it, we finished all our meetings and now we just wait until Jacob decides to come! I was so excited on the way home that night just thinking of you being in our arms soon!

Then Monday came, and it was like a switch went off (pregnancy hormones, I'm sure) and I was so sad you weren't here yet. I began to think you'll never come. I looked at your crib in the corner and imagined you being all snuggled inside. Then in the car at your carseat and thinking how much you'll be in it. All of this depressed me because you still weren't here. Ho hum... and this was only day one of waiting! Tuesday rolled around, and I was determined to be in a better mood! I had a wonderful time of prayer and asked the Lord to forgive my awful attitude from the day before. And the Lord gave me a joy all day long! (Funny how when we keep our focus on Christ and not ourselves how we have joy!)

Daddy and I decided to go to lunch at mommy's favorite fast service restaurant, Chickfila, and then go to the mall to walk around. You see Hurricane Sandy was causing a lot of storms in our area so it was pretty gloomy outside. So the mall would be a perfect place to exercise! After walking around awhile I spotted a little spa that said "20 minute foot massage for $20" and I thought to myself, that sounds nice but $20- get real. I mentioned the foot massage to James knowing for sure he would say, "I'll rub your feet when we get home for free" which would be fine with me. Instead he said insisted I go! I was really shocked to say the least. So off I went thinking to myself maybe this could help induce labor! This little lady had magical hands. After twenty minutes of her working on my feet and hitting a lot of pressure points, I felt like a new woman. Recharged and ready for the rest of the day!

After walking around the mall a bit longer, we headed out to Beachwood to meet some friends for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Our friends insisted we order what we wanted because it could be our "last meal" before Jacob came. Little did we all know she would be right! After a great dinner with our friends, we headed back home. It was only seven in the evening and I wanted to walk some more. So James and I stopped at a different mall on the way home and walked around for another hour. By the time we got home it was close to nine o' clock and I was exhausted. I started to feel a few contractions but they felt just like the Braxton Hicks, so I thought they would come and go like they always did. Little did I know in a few more hours our lives would change forever.

Looking back, James and I were able to have a perfect last day together before Jacob came into our lives. We had such a great day being out and about and enjoying each others company. I'm so thankful I didn't waste the day pining for Jacob to be here or I would have missed out! I felt so special the Lord would give us that day together to make a few more memories of "just us."

"This is the day that the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Two Week Notice

Dear Mommy & Daddy,

   Consider this your two week notice. Ready or not, here I come!
            - Jacob Daniel Pranger

My Sweet Little Pumpkin,

   My mind still can't comprehend, seeing your sweet face in just a couple of weeks! The big question, will you be early or late or right on time? Such a mystery! We know whenever you decide to come, we will be ready! My eyes get all teary eyed every time I think of holding you and kissing your sweet face. I have prayed for that moment and look forward to it so much. In that moment, you will be placed in my arms and into our lives forever. Seeing you will be the sweetest moment of our lives.

   Secretly, I will be watching your daddy. I can't wait to see his expression when he sees you for the first time. I have been blessed and spoiled to carry you in my belly for the past 38 weeks. And we have become pretty fond of each other. Mommy is so in love with you! And I can't wait for daddy to feel that same love when he gets to see and hold you for the first time. Daddy has been playing with you almost every day. He likes to feel you move around and poke you in hopes you will kick him. He prays for you and talks to you too. (He's the more manly voice you hear. The sweeter gentler voice is me :) ) At first daddy felt a little silly talking to my belly, but he got over that. A few weeks ago, daddy put his hand on my side and you kicked him right away! I was cheering you on as you played with him- it was really cute. I'm pretty sure you have long legs too, because you sure like being spread out!

   The midwife said last week, your head is down and in position. I am 1cm dilated and 25% effaced! Which means you are getting ready to meet us!! And you are super low! Yesterday when I went for a run, I thought you might fall out. (And yes, I am still running! Go me! I'm taking it easy so don't worry.) And apparently, I have been getting Braxton Hicks and didn't even realize it, my midwife pointed it out to me. So what I need you to do is to make labor really easy for mommy, okay? If you could just make the real contractions feel like the fake ones that would be great.

   My sweet little boy, I can't tell you enough how excited I am to meet you. Two weeks left! Your baby shower is this weekend, then mommy and daddy will be as physically prepared for you as we can be! God has been so good to us to bless us with you. We love you with all our hearts.

Until We Meet,

Whose pumpkin is bigger?

Aren't these the cutest shower favors ever? And daddy helped decorate all the cute faces! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Safe in the arms of Jesus...

A year ago today, James and I lost our first baby. I wasn't very far along, so we kept the loss pretty private and to those close friends and family who knew we were expecting. The Lord has laid it on my heart to write a little about it and share my experience.

Miscarriage is very common and happens to a lot of women. They say one in every three pregnancies ends in miscarriage. I was surprised to learn of how common it was after I had miscarried. My miscarriage was between the 5th-6th week and I can only imagine how much harder it would be to lose a baby later in pregnancy. I can't offer any words of wisdom regarding how to go through the loss of a baby; but I can share with you how the Lord brought me through it and share what I learned. I must admit I am a little nervous writing this because it is so personal. However, I hope and pray my post can be a blessing and an encouragement to you.

We were shocked to find out we were expecting a baby and he or she was due in May. It only took what seemed like a moment to go from shocked to super excited. The instant love a mother feels for her baby is unexplainable. And James and I were both so excited to become parents! I had already begun thinking of who the baby would look like, would it be a boy or girl? Would he have daddy's ears or mommy's nose? I couldn't help but smile as I day dreamed about the little life growing inside of me.

Around the end of the fifth week I noticed some spotting. I was determined to not be an overly worried pregnant woman, so I thought it was probably okay. I had read that that was normal and could be implantation bleeding. The next day, I asked my doctor in our church and he calmed my nerves by telling me that it was probably implantation bleeding and to not worry! But the bleeding continued throughout the week. I had come to accept that I was probably losing the baby. I waited until our scheduled doctors appointment on Friday to find out for sure. I still had such high hopes that just maybe everything would be okay with the baby.

As the nurse did the ultrasound, she didn't say anything and was very quiet. This time she didn't print out a photo of our little sack baby and give it to me. Instead she told us to wait in a specific room and the doctor would be in soon. It wasn't a room where we went last time but more of a private sitting room area. I thought this couldn't be good. James and I just sat in silence not wanting to say what was on our minds. I still clung to a little bit of hope that baby was okay. Then reality hit when the doctor confirmed my worst fear, that we had lost our baby.

It was so exciting to tell our friends and family that we were expecting. And it was one of the hardest things to tell them we had lost the baby. I have to admit, I questioned why. Why would the Lord surprise us with this baby and then take the baby home. I had such hope and faith that it was going to be okay. I prayed for my baby to be healthy and safe. Why would the Lord allow us to go through this loss?

To be honest, I don't know why bad things happen or why tragedies come into our lives. I do believe the Lord allows His children to go through difficult times, so we can only look to the God of hope and peace for our strength. As a result, we grow closer to Christ and learn He truly is all we need.

The Lord gave me this verse the day we lost our baby. "...the Lord gave; and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21 "Blessed be the name of the Lord" kept playing over and over in my head. God is good when times are easy and God is still good when times are hard. Everything good comes from the Lord. He is the giver of life eternal and life physical. Who was I to question my Lord and Savior? He alone knows what is best for my life and I needed to trust Him at this uncertain time.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. " Isaiah 26:3,4

The Lord gave me these verses that I clung to. In the Lord, I could have peace and everlasting strength. This was the first time I experienced God's grace in a mighty way. He gave me a peace that passeth understanding. And I had to just keep my mind focused on God and His promises. I am so thankful for a loving heavenly Father who promises to always carry us through the storms of life.

To those of you who have gone through a miscarriage, it's okay to be sad and to mourn. I was surprised at the times when I thought I was "okay" that I began to cry and be sad. I remember going to Walmart and tearing up as I passed the baby section. Or months later it would just hit me out of nowhere as I was driving. At these moments, I simply prayed for God's strength and comfort. I couldn't turn to my husband for comfort because he didn't know what I was going through. He could pray with me and be sympathetic but he couldn't take the hurt away. I am so thankful he was by my side each step of the way. But God alone knew my heartache and He alone could give me the comfort and strength I needed. May I encourage you to find your comfort and strength in Christ.

And now a year later, I feel so blessed to be 33 weeks and four days pregnant. God has truly blessed me with a wonderful pregnancy and a healthy baby. Having gone through the loss of a baby, I believe I am even more thankful for this little life growing inside of me. How can I complain when I feel a little sick or tired?! I am thankful for the sickness and fatigue because it means theres a baby on his way! I can't wait to hold him in my arms and see his sweet face and cover it with kisses! I think it's so special the Lord would bless us with this baby. I am so undeserving of such a gift. " Blessed be the name of the Lord!"

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Seeing God on the Road

James and I have been on the deputation road now for five months. Time truly has flown! I wanted to share how we have seen God provide for us beyond our imagination since we have stepped out on faith. Living by Faith is the theme of my blog, and it is amazing how God has blessed us. It amazes and humbles me each time God does something for us. I feel so undeserving of His blessings and provisions.

"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Unto him be glory..." 
Ephesians 3:20-21a

Before we started deputation, we took a survey trip to Russia (so I could see what I was getting myself into!) We booked our tickets and put them on our credit card. This was certainly a step of faith. I hated having that money sit on our card. So I prayed, that the Lord would provide the money for our trip that month. James didn't know I was praying this way, and about a week later he called me to tell me about this huge blessing. I had a feeling it was our tickets being paid for and it was! A pastor and friend felt the Lord leading him to take care of our tickets, and wrote James a check for the whole amount. I couldn't believe it! I had heard of stories like this happening to other people but never personally witnessed it. This was God reassuring me that going to Russia was indeed His perfect will for our lives and He was going to take care of us. I couldn't help but tearfully praise Him for taking care of us and giving me peace about this new journey.

Before we hit the deputation road, we really needed a new vehicle. We had an Isuzu Rodeo but it had just hit the 200,000 mile mark and we had just found out we were expecting little Jacob. So we began to pray and search. The Lord closed some doors, so we kept on the hunt. We came across a small dealership with two Honda Pilots (what we were wanting). The man was from Ukraine, so James closed the whole deal in Russian, which was pretty neat. The price was a little over what we had wanted to spend, but the Lord allowed us to borrow from some friends what we needed to pay cash for the vehicle. We believed the Lord had provided this car for us, and we could pay it off in a few months. As you know I hate debt, so I began to pray that we could pay this off within two months. Again the Lord amazed us. We had a man in our church who wanted to give us $3,000 towards our car. We were in shock that someone would be such a blessing to us. God's provision again amazed me!

About a month ago now, we were in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee for a week long meeting. James and I were out shopping for some maternity clothes (for me not him :) at consignment stores. Our last stop was a cute boutique called Feather Your Nest. As I was looking I could tell there wasn't a maternity section, but a dress caught my eye. It fit my pregnant self with room to grow (added bonus) so I went to purchase it. The shop owner, Sarah, was so sweet. I was telling her why we were in town and about us being missionaries. As I was paying her, she gave me back the $20 bill I had handed her. I was really confused because all I was suppose to get was cents back. She said it wasn't much but she wanted to help us on our missions journey and raising support. I was speechless and thanked her for being a blessing to us. This was yet another humbling experience for me- that God would show His love to me through this stranger. It was such an encouragement and reminder to me that God loves me more than I can imagine.

About a week ago as James and I were driving up to Alaska, we stopped at a tiny motel for the night. James was talking to the man (the owner) about our trip and why we were driving to Alaska. He shared with him our burden for souls in Russia. He said his church supports a lot of missionaries around the world and would be happy to pray for us. After our nice chat, we headed back to our room to unpack for the night and relax. We heard a knock at the door, and James went to check on it. At the door, his wife stood there with cash in hand and gave it to James. She said your stay is on us tonight, we want to be a blessing, and smiled and walked away. James was in shock, he couldn't believe that a complete stranger would show God's love to us. We just knelt down right there and thanked the Lord for taking care of us. I was really thankful that James got to experience the same kind of kindness from a stranger that I had experienced just a few weeks earlier. It was just amazing to see God provide for us.

There are many more ways the Lord has taken care of us, but these are the stories that I wanted to share. I have to admit before we got started on this journey, I was concerned with how it all would "work" out. From the very beginning, God showed me He was in control and would take care of us. His Word promises He will provide our every need. By the time we started deputation, I was so excited to see how the Lord was going to provide our every need. We don't have a physical home to go home to while we travel, but the Lord has always provided us a place to stay and has met our needs above and beyond. I believe this is only the beginning of things to come!

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:19

May I encourage those of you afraid to step out on faith to simply trust your heavenly Father. He won't call you to a place and then leave you there. He will only bless your faith in Him and take care of you beyond what you could imagine!

" If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?  And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you." 
Luke 12:28-31

The most important decision of faith is that of your eternal destination. If you have never placed your faith in God concerning eternity, may I encourage you to get that settled. God tells us we can know without a doubt where we will spend eternity. We can live a life of peace and comfort with Christ. If you have any questions or want to know more about how to put your faith in Christ, I would be more than happy to share that with you. It's the best decision I ever made!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

My handsome little guy...

My Sweet Jacob,

   Mommy can't tell you enough how much she already loves you. I can't imagine how much more that love will grow when I get to see your slimy little self for the first time and hold you in my arms. (I'm such a cry baby lately, no offense, and am getting tears in my eyes just thinking about it!) I can't wait for my "moment" with you. It will be this moment that I will be thinking about while in labor. Hopefully, it will help keep my mind off the pain for a few seconds. Allow me to explain this moment.

Every time I watch a birthing video, (which you won't want to watch for many many years) I see the mommy laboring in pain during the last home stretch before she gets to see her baby. I can only imagine what's going through her head, probably thoughts of why she got pregnant haha, and just wanting the pain to be over. Then finally that last push, and a few seconds later she hears the soft cries of her baby and he is placed on her chest. In that moment, she forgets about the agonizing hours of labor and looks into her baby's sweet face and just smiles the biggest smile she has ever had in her life. I can't wait for that moment! It is so sweet to watch. I can't wait until my moment with you! I can't wait to see your sweet little face and kiss your tiny nose. And daddy and I agreed, we are going to keep you forever and ever.

Well my son, you are 30 weeks and 3 days old today. Less than ten weeks and you will be in our arms!  Allow me to give you an update. You have been a really good boy this whole pregnancy for mommy, so keep it up when you come meet us! Mommy is still able to go running even with my growing belly. You give me leg cramps some mornings and the occasional charlie horses, but I can't complain!  Other than that everything has been great!

At your 20 week appointment, the doctor was concerned about some fluid (pee pee) backed up in your kidneys. The good news is this is very common in boys and usually works itself out by the time they are born. Yesterday we went to take another look at them to see if it had improved. I was very excited because that meant we got to see you again! You still have a little bit of fluid but not much, so we aren't worried about it. The doctor said it was very minor and we will take another look in about five weeks.

You are one cute looking little guy! :) A couple weeks ago, I was able to get a peek of your cute face and you were just smiling with your eyes opened having a great time in there. This time you were still pretty active but eyes were closed and you were sucking your thumb for a little bit and holding your foot with the other hand. I was surprised at how spread out you were! One leg was up near my ribs and the other one was low by my belly. But I'm glad you are making good use of the space you have! Mommy just loved watching you in there! It was nice to know what exactly I was feeling when you move around inside. You are head down now, which is great! So the soft little flutters I feel low are your little hands and the bigger movements by my belly button are your kicks, and your little bum. :) You make me the happiest mama ever!

This week daddy and I are taking you to Alaska! You are quite the world traveler already. We love you so much, Jacob. We pray for you every day. We pray we can be the godly parents you deserve, and that you will serve and love God with all your heart, mind, and soul.

All My Love,

Here are some of the things I have been working on while awaiting your arrival!
Burp Clothes, still adding some personalization to them!

Your reversible blanket! This side is more manly.

Your first blanket :) made with love from Aunt Hannah and Mommy
I know it's adorable! 
28 weeks and 2 days. Smiling with your eyes opened!
Mommy holding photos of you at 30 weeks and 2 days
Your wipe cases! You will be one stylish babe in the nursery!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Heavy Heart...

My heart has been hurting for the past couple of days for a loved one. The Bible says with knowledge comes sorrow and that is very true. This friend of mine has been away from the Lord for almost a year now. This person is so near and dear to me, I would give my life for hers in a moment. I wish she didn't have to go down this path; but she has made her choices and is now living with them.

When I was informed a couple days ago of how she was choosing to live her life now, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had hoped for so long she wasn't living that way. I had hoped it was just a phase and she would come back to the Lord soon. (Ignorance is bliss.) But ignoring the facts won't change them. My heart breaks for her. I'm thankful I know because it has challenged me to pray more fervently.

It's only by God's grace, I am not in her shoes. I am not condemning her in any way. I too have gone down the wrong path and made choices that were against God's will for my life. I am so thankful that God took the mess I made and made it into something beautiful for Him to use. And for that, I can only give God the glory. I know God can do the same thing in her life as well. I have hope!

In Christ alone, I place my trust.

It's hard to see hope in a situation sometimes. But I refuse to give up on the God of Hope and Peace. I can't imagine how much God sorrows when we stray from Him. I know my heart is heavy, but how much more does God hurt when he sees His children going through unnecessary pain. I wish I could help her choose the right path. I hate knowing how lonely and miserable she is...

I believe she would not have gone down this path if she saw where it would lead her. I believe Satan slowly pulled her in, and before she knew it, she was in over her head. Stuck in a pit she slowly dug for herself. I have been there. Trapped in my own pit. It wasn't an easy climb to get out, but my Savior took me out step by step.

" Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein; and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him." Proverbs 26:27

I can't help but think of the prodigal son. My dream and hope for her is that she too would come running home into her Father's open arms. All is forgiven!

"And he arose, and came to his father,
( this part makes me teary eyed!) But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck and kissed him. For this my son was dead, and is now alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry." Luke 15:20 & 24

If there is a loved one in your life going through what seems like a hopeless situation, may I encourage you to not lose sight of the cross of calvary. It's because of the cross, we have hope in every situation. Don't give up on your friend, but pray. Pray fervently. Pray believing. Pray without ceasing.

I believe the Lord wanted me to share this. Maybe in hopes to encourage someone. I know the Lord has lifted my heavy heart by simply writing this out and looking in the scriptures for comfort. I'm thankful I have a God who cares for me and takes my burdens upon Him.

May you have a great week this week!

From the Heart,
Isaiah 26:3,4

Friday, June 22, 2012

Uphill Battles

Today as I was on my morning run, I was faced with some inclines and tiny hills. Of course to me, they seemed like mountains as I wastrying hard to run up them without stopping. I was tempted as I started my run to go another direction, one without inclines and hills, but I wanted to face the challenge.  I kept reminding myselfthat running downhill would be worth the work of running up the hill. That thought of the reward and ease of downhill stuck with me all morning.

"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible." I Corinthians 9:24-25b

Life is much like a race with many roads, some smooth and easy, while others are rough, windy, and full of hills. Trials and hardtimes are like the hills and inclines. But the nice thing about going up a hill is eventually you will come down the hill and be on the other side (the law of gravity!). If you are a runner, going downhill is probably your favorite.  It’s a time you can catch your breath while running at a good pace. (It almost feels like cheating!) I’m thankful for the times in life that God gives us to “catch our breathe” after a hard run uphill.

There are many people I know, who are going through an uphill battle. It’s hard to understand the reason why they have to go through such struggles. And for some people, it seems just as they are about to catch a breath; they are back on the incline. It doesn't seem fair. But we must trust God who knows all things. And through that trust comes peace that passes understanding.

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding." Proverbs 3:5

On my heart right now our two young families, Amos and Liberty Pranger and Chris and Amanda Thorne, who are watching their newborn sons fight for their lives. I can’t imagine what they go through on a daily basis. I do know, it's God's strength alone that helps them on their uphill battle.

For Amos and Liberty, this is the second time togo through this uphill battle with a child. Their oldest daughter has a very rare genetic disorder, NKH. NKH can’t be detected until the baby is born. After a traumatic labor, my nephew Gabriel was in remission. The thought of him having this rare disorder had pretty much vanished from all our minds. It was a waiting game to see how long it would be until he would fully recover.

After ten days, he was making improvements slowly but surely! I didn’t know it, but they were running tests that day to test for NKH. And the results came as a shock to all of us, especially Amos and Liberty. Our hearts sank when we found out the news, Gabriel tested positive for NKH. This family has a long road ahead of them. They are thankful this time around they know what to expect; but it doesn't make it any more enjoyable. They are trusting the Lord, like they do each day, to protect their four children. 

Amanda and Christ Thorne’s son, Logan, has a rare heart disease. Their son is now 3-4 months old, and they have been living life not knowing what each day holds for their son. Her testimony through this has been a blessing and anencouragement to me. She finds reasons each day to be thankful in spite of the storm she is in. You can read up on her blog and their journey here: 

As an expecting mom, I can’t imagine spending sleepless nights apart from my son as he lay in the hospital. These two families have shown what it really means to live by faith. I have seen their confidence and strength in God. Their hope lies in the Creator of hope and life, Jesus Christ. Thank you both for keeping the faith and being a great testimony to all of us. My heart and prayers go out to you and your little ones. I pray the day soon comeswhen you can “catch your breath” awhile and enjoy the rewards of your faith. I’m thankful the Lord blesses those who are faithful. I can only imagine the rewards He has in store for you all. What a testimony you have been to all those around you. :) 

“...weeping may endure for a moment, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5b

 For those of you going through an uphill battle, rest assure that God is with you. Though the road seem rough and windy, don't give up- give it to God.

"This trial is not the end of the story, there's a bigger picture God alone can see. Faith will take you through this trial, for we know Who holds tomorrow, and He assures me it's for my good and for His glory." 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Breakfast Blessings!

This morning started off like any ordinary morning. It was time to hit the road again! Within in an hour we were all packed up and checked out of the hotel. My poor stomach was growling with hunger pains, so I let my husband know baby Jacob needed some food. My husband asked a question that didn't even need answering, " Would you like a chicken biscuit from Chick-fil-A?" Is the sky blue? Does great coffee come from Starbucks? Of course! There is always room for a chicken biscuit from the greatest fast service restaurant ever! Well you get the point, so first stop Chickfila! ( My husband sure knows how to keep his pregnant wife happy!)

As we are getting our usual prompt efficient and friendly service through the drive-thru, James phone rang. It was a pastor from Michigan that we had recently been at his church. He was calling to let us know that the church voted last night to take us on for support, effective immediately!! Hooray! What a great way to start of the day. Praise the Lord! As James is still talking, we pull up to the window and I communicate in between the rude driver on the phone and the nice
lady. She hands me our receipt and hat do I notice?! It's a survey which means a free chicken sandwich!! ( I have been getting these quite frequently and I will do almost anything for a free chicken sandwich from the greatest quick service restaurant ever!). Blessing number two of the day! However to our dismay, I notice no honey in our bag for my biscuit and James' burrito is marked sausage not chicken as he ordered. This was a dilemma.

To go back or not? Nah, we were already on the road. Part of life is living with disappointment from the one restaurant that never lets you down. But alas, James remembers we have honey packets that I keep with our tea! The biscuit is saved! And as I'm adding James' salsa inside his burrito ( I'm such a nice wife) I notice it is indeed chicken just a wrong label! Blessings number 3 and 4! I knew Chickfila wouldn't let me down. :)

We certainly received more than our chicken biscuit this morning. I wasn't expecting the Lord to bless us with a supporting church. And it's " ironic" as I was telling James last night about the verses I was memorizing and how the Lord was really speaking to me about Ephesians 3:20 " Now unto him, that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all the we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us."
How I don't want to limit God's blessing in my life by my lack of faith and power from God. He truly did exceeding abundantly above what we could have thought this morning. He turned an ordinary breakfast into a spiritually fulfilling one!

Monday, June 11, 2012

VOW: Road to Recovery

Ephesians 3:17-20

"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen" 

My sister in love, Liberty Pranger, just gave birth to her fourth child and first son Sunday afternoon. What she thought would be a normal delivery turned into a nightmare of a day. Nothing was going the way she had hoped and many of us prayed. 

Saturday evening, her water had broken (two weeks early). Early Sunday morning, they induced her to help her labor along. Her placenta ended up rupturing and they rushed her into an emergency C- section. They rushed baby Gabriel to NICU to save his life. He had taken in a lot of blood and had been without oxygen for some time. His little heart stopped beating twice, but they were able to revive him. Today, his oxygen levels are improving, but he still has a ways to go. We praise the Lord, he is alive and on the road to recovery. 

 As I am expecting myself, I just can't put myself and her shoes. What a scary heart breaking thing to go through as a parent.  I know of another young family also relying on God to take care of their little son on a daily basis. My heart truly goes out to them as the cling to God for his unfailing strength and healing power. How does one go through such a trial and not lose it? It is in Christ alone.

As Christians, we don't know how people go through such difficulties in life without God. As believers, we can cling to a hope that is found in God alone. We may not understand the reason of the trial we are facing, but we can trust a God who knows all things. It is through these times we must cling to our faith and seek out the depths of God's love. When we can trust Him, we are filled with the fulness of God. We have fulfillment, hope, and peace in Christ alone no matter our circumstance.

He never said it would be an easy road, but He promises to hold us each step of the way. I am thankful my in laws don't have to go through this trial alone, God is with them. They are holding on to God's unseen hand. And we all anticipate the day (hopefully soon!) he can go home completely healthy!  

These are the verses I am hiding in my heart this week. My family and others around us seem to be going through some difficult times. I wanted to be reminded of God's unmeasurable love. It is such a sweet reminder that God cares for us so much and He is with us through these hard times. May you be filled with the fulness of God this week! 

Monday, June 4, 2012

vow ii: Two things I am very grateful for!

Mercy & Abundant Forgiveness! 

As you know, I have been working on hiding God's Word in my heart. This is week number two of scripture memorization. This week's verses are:

 Isaiah 55:6-9
Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. "

(v6) The Bible is clear that there will come a day of judgment on all mankind. We will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account of our life. On this day, it will be too late to seek the Lord and call upon his name. I believe it is vital in our lives that we seek the Lord daily, else we might lose sight of Him throughout the day. 

(v7) I am very grateful and thankful that there is no limit of the Lord's mercy and forgiveness on our lives! (Mercy- God sparing us from the judgment we deserve; Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm.) How simple it is to find forgiveness and peace with Christ, yet so many hold on to their will, out of fear to let go and let God. I have found this to be true in my own life and in others lives while serving in the ministry. 
For years, I held on to my guilt of my past thinking that it wasn't "right" for me to have peace because of the mess I had made. Satan whispered lies in my ear that I believed. And because of that, God couldn't use me because I wouldn't let Him.  What peace I found the day I let it all go and laid my guilt and burdens at the feet of Christ!  

(v8,9) I like how the Lord uses simplicity in nature to help us understand what He is saying. 
"as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways..."
The Lord has brought these verses to my mind many times. When the Lord changes my path, He reminds me His ways are higher than my own. He knows all things. My finite mortal mind can not begin to understand God's ways or thoughts. That's where trust comes in. 
The Bible says in Proverbs 3:5,6 to lean not unto thine own understanding but in all thy ways, acknowledge Him (paraphrased). So I realized to simply trust and not worry. I can't figure it all out anyway, so why waste my time worrying about it when I could have the mind of peace. And besides worrying causes wrinkles, and who wants those?! 

 I pray these verses can encourage you throughout your week as well. I will be working on memorizing them and reflecting on their meanings. Have a great week! 

Friday, June 1, 2012

From Princess to Prince Charming in less than 60 seconds!

It's a BOY! 

The proof is in the the photo! 

It meant a lot to have my family there! 
   Seven weeks ago, we got to see our little Jacob for the first time and my heart just melted. He has grown so much and it was wonderful to see him healthy and having fun in there. With each heartbeat I watched on the screen, my heart just skipped a beat. I couldn't get my eyes off the screen or the smile off my face, such a sweet moment.

  As we arrived, my bladder was full and my heart anxious to see our baby "girl". I thought for sure we were having a little girl... Until the nice ultrasound technician shattered that thought into a million pieces with three words..."It's a boy!" Within the first minute, she could tell that it was a boy. We saw plenty of shots of his manliness to know without a doubt it's a prince! I kept starring at the TV watching our little guy and I couldn't stop smiling! Even after registering for blues and browns, I believe I am still in shock but very very excited!

  Seeing my little prince moving around was simply amazing. And we can relive the moments with the DVD of the ultrasound and a CD of all the images! We could see him waving his hand at us and showing off ( I think he knew he had an audience!) His back is up against my uterus so that is why I can feel him so much. He is just tucked away up in the corner just for me so I can feel and poke him! It is the greatest feeling in the world to be able to feel him moving around in there. I am loving every moment of being pregnant!

  I thank the Lord for blessing us with a little prince and a very exciting day! Now to look for cute hats and argyle clothes! May the shopping begin!

From Our Hearts,
Amber & Baby Jacob

Just for Fun!
Cute Quotes from My Niece Gracie:
"Awe man, you're not having a girl? 
Well why did you pick a boy instead?"

I was waiting on the bathroom and said I really had to go, then Gracie said:
"So you really have to go potty, huh?" Me:Yes :)
"I bet you wish you were on the potty right now, is that right?" 

- couldn't help but laugh at her- she is too cute!! 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dear Prince or Princess...

James and I are thrilled to find out what the gender of the baby is tomorrow. I can't wait to wake up in the morning, throw my clothes on and rush out the door. We have a sixty mile drive to Oklahoma City, and I know I will be antsy the whole way. Plus I have to drink lots of water to have a full bladder for the ultrasound, no telling how many bathroom trips we may have to make. But I have planned the whole day and my outfit is all picked out!

We will leave around 8:30am to drive to Oklahoma City. This will leave plenty of time to get a Chickfila chicken biscuit for breakfast as we get closer to the city. Oh, and the best part, my brother and his wife get to come along! My brother also has the same affection for Chickfila as I do, so he will appreciate this as much as I do. We should arrive a little early (depending on traffic) to the appointment. I'm sure my heart will be pounding with anticipation with each minute that passes before 10am. I can't wait to see my little baby and hear the heartbeat! After the ultrasound, we will then go to Target to register for the little babe. Most likely do some shopping at the outlet stores and then go to lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. ( It will be David & Charity's first time there!) Then head back to Weatherford, smiling the whole way, to relieve the babysitter. Sounds like a great day to me!!

My sweet little prince or princess,

  Tomorrow is the big day when we find out if you are a little prince or princess. We find out if mommy has been right this whole time by calling you a girl or if daddy's hopes for a boy come true. Either way we both will be completely excited with the outcome. We decided either way, we are going to keep you and love you to pieces, and then ship you over to Russia with us! ( but we will talk about that later. :) )  Be prepared little one, you are in for quite the journey!
  Today has been a special day because I have felt you move around all day. My belly is growing a bit more now, so you should have plenty of room to keep growing! Know that we pray for you every day and love you more than you can imagine! Can't wait to see you tomorrow! 

All My Love,

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Treasure in Earthen Vessels

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." 
II Corinthians 4:7

The Lord, has worked on my heart about hiding His Word in my heart. God has entrusted in us, (earthen vessels) this priceless treasure that has been preserved from generation to generation. The Bible says, "If the gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost."II Cor 4:3. It is my prayer that God's Word can shine as a light through me, so others may see God's power and light in my life for God's honor and glory.

"Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I may not sin against thee."
Psalm 119:11

Another reason or motive for me wanting to memorize God's Word is to act as a filter in my thoughts and actions. If my mind is constantly on Christ and His Word, then it will in turn affect my thought life and actions. As a woman, my mind runs constantly. Unlike men, we don't have the ability to shut our thoughts off and think of nothing. I believe Satan uses things to trigger memories, or thoughts, that may bring us to slip backwards. My desire, with God's help, is to help guard my thought life with scripture. So when the temptation does come, I can reflect back to scripture.  

I have created the acronym "VOW" - my Verse(s) Of the Week that I hope to memorize. VOW - Proverbs 7:1-5 & 16:3.

" My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.  
"Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established."

The Lord led me to these verses to memorize first. They explain the importance of hiding God's Word in our hearts. It's not enough to just read the Bible, but we must write it upon the table of our hearts. God's law should be as the apple of thine eye meaning something, or someone, that is cherished above all others. For me, I need to work on cherishing God's Word above all others. 
My goal is to each week memorize a new portion of scripture and dwell on it all week. The more you put something into your heart and mind, it can't help but flow out. It is my desire that God's Word will flow out of my heart and be my filter against wrong thoughts and actions.  

Just thought I would share what the Lord is working in my life about. I would like to hear what God has been speaking to you about through your devotions!

From the Heart, 
Amber & Baby Pranger 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Our heavenly little blessing

James and I are excited to announce that we will be adding a new little bundle of joy to our family! Just when we thought life couldn't get any better, the Lord blesses us with a baby. Our due date is November 1, 2012. Yesterday, April the 13th, we went to our first doctors appointment. I was eleven weeks along at the time, and we couldn't wait to see our little baby. Nothing could have prepared us for the joy that flooded our hearts when we saw our baby for the first time.

Our little one was squirming around with his or her arms and legs going everywhere. I just laid there and shed a couple of tears just watching our baby alive and well! Then I would glance over at James who was grinning from ear to ear at what he was seeing. (James was really hoping to see two little babies in there but there was only one :). Maybe next time!) We watched the heart beat on the monitor -144 bpm- nice and healthy! We praise the Lord that our baby is doing well so far!

As the doctor came in, he let us know that everything was looking great. And just when we thought our day couldn't get any better, he said " Why don't we see if we can hear the heartbeat?" I was so excited! The nurse had told us we wouldn't be able to hear it until our next visit. So after a few minutes, we heard the sweet little "swish swish swish swish" of our baby's heart beat. Music to our ears! That Friday was truly a gift from the Lord. And we will forever cherish those moments.

We truly appreciate your prayers for us during this time! As many of you know we are on deputation traveling around America. I won't be able to go to monthly appointments like I am suppose to; but I trust the Lord will take care of me and the baby while we travel. This is such an exciting time for us as we prepare to go to Russia in fall of next year. And we are even more excited to be taking a little one with us! I'm sure there will be new challenges with traveling with a newborn, but nothing we can't handle with the Lord's help!

We look forward to keeping you posted on our deputation and pregnancy. :) God is so good!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Florida to Siberia Part 2

Okay allow me to back up just a little. As I mentioned I grew up in beautiful sunny St.Pete, Florida. This paradise was my home...

I grew up in a wonderful Christian home and was raised in church. Church was not an option in my house. I am thankful for a father and mother who knew the importance of raising a family in church. So you may wonder why I didn't accept Christ as my Savior sooner in life. 

Like a lot of people I have met over the years, I had made a profession of faith when I was five years old. But growing up I always doubted if I truly did accept Christ. When I was sixteen years old, the Holy Spirit convicted me at a youth activity about my need of repentance and salvation.  I understood then that salvation was more than saying "I'm sorry for my sins and Jesus forgive me." It was a repentance - a turning from- my old ways and sin nature and desiring to do what was right ( and doing it!). From that day on I was determined to do what was right with God's help. It was the best decision I have ever made! 

Okay back to arriving at Heartland Baptist Bible College...

Oklahoma, where the wind goes sweeping through the plains. And that's about all there is there- plains and red dirt. Just kidding ( a little). 

So I left my beaches and sunshine to go to college in the great state of Oklahoma. As I had mentioned before I was hesitant to go to college right away. I wanted to build my career and then transfer out to Oklahoma and go to college. But I went when the Lord told me to. And guess what? Shortly after I arrived in OKC, Starbucks nationally raised the pay for all supervisors in the company. Who would have ever thought that would happen? Not I! It was reassuring to see that even in my finances the Lord was going to take care of me. This was the first time I saw the Lord bless me for stepping out on faith and trusting Him. 

And of course a few years later, the Lord brought this handsome young man my way. And now we are on our way to start deputation to be missionaries in Siberia, Russia.           ( Such a humbling thing, that the Lord would use me in such a way.) God is so good to us.

I can look back at that time before college, where I made the decision to do what God wanted, when He wanted, the way He wanted and see how the Lord blessed. Time after time as I trust Him, sometimes not knowing what is next, the Lord always has taken care of me and blessed me beyond what I can imagine. 

Now I look forward to the next step of faith, because I have the confidence that the Lord will take care of me. His will for my life is much more exciting than anything I could have tried to do on my own. And now when things come my way that are unexpected instead of worry, I trust Him (sometimes I worry then I trust :) ) . I am excited that God would care so much for me. And I know He wants that for all of His children. 

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord." Isaiah 55:8

If you are having trouble trusting God with something whether small or big, trust Him. His ways are perfect. God only wants what is best for us. Hold his hand through it all and He promises to take care of you. 

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusted in thee. Trust ye in the LORD forever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength." Isaiah 26:3,4

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Florida to Siberia

How does one go from the sunshine state to one of the coldest parts of the world? 

Living by faith- that's how! Living by faith is the most exciting adventure a person could live; and I am blessed to be living this life.

"For we walk by faith not by sight." II Corinthians 5:7
(The most simple yet the most difficult verse in the Bible.)

Life is full of choices. Choices to do right and choices to do wrong. To choose the straight and narrow road or the wide road. On February 26, 2005, I chose Christ as my Saviour, and that was the best decision  of my life. I would like to say, I jumped right in and gave my whole life to Christ at that time, but I didn't. I wanted to, but secretly I held on to a small part of my heart out of fear.

In fall of 2005, I was faced with another decision, to attend Bible college in Oklahoma City or to pursue a career. I knew the Lord had called me to attend Heartland Baptist Bible College, but again fear crept into my heart. I knew Satan was working hard to again get me off track. He knew he could no longer have my soul but at the very least he would try to get my will. I went to my favorite place one night, the beach, and sat and prayed. That night I surrendered and gave the Lord another small part of my heart that I was holding back.

Little did I know some of the greatest days of my life were ahead. A life of peace and true joy that can only come from living your life for God. If I would have known then what I know now, I would have given my all to Christ years ago and holding nothing back! I am thankful we have a patient God who deals with each of His children in their own time. Check out my next post to find out what happens when I arrived at Heartland.