Tuesday, November 8, 2011

An Optomist View of Our Homelessness...

For a time we had been desiring Michael the opportunity to finish his seminary degree. An "opportunity" came up in June of this year and since we had also desired to be closer to family, we decided to move in WITH my parents. :o)

It was difficult to leave the ministry we had been so much a part of there in WV. It was hard to paint over Lila's nursery and pack up the only place she had ever known as home as this was where we had brought her home from the hospital. It was extremely difficult saying goodbye to some friends sent for above... but it was hardest to step out, in faith, and move.

We have been overwhelmed with fear, brokenness and grief as we have seen unbiblical examples of "brothers and sisters" in Christ. It was ugly. ;o(

And we have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of God's love, kindness and grace shown to us through His children. Starting with friends in WV who showered us with prayer during our difficult time, to helping us even steam clean our carpets and pack our things, and sending us off with a cherishing farewell. When we thought there was no way that they could possibly give anymore ... they gave again. We received cards of encouragement, at just the right times, from brothers and sisters in Christ, who go to Sunday School with Michael's grandparents. We were welcomed into a church family where we feel at home, where we can heal and grow from the biblical disciples and teaching.  Most of all we have been shown favor in the graciousness of our families and friends through prayer and hugs.

And in a time, I could fear being homeless (and did!)... God orchestrated events that not only do we have a bed to sleep on, we are able to live in TWO large bedrooms, with our own private bathroom (with double sinks), have the run of a dream house, all while being close to family (al-biet REALLY CLOSE. haha.) I am NOT complaining!

However, we DO hope for the future when God makes His plan clear for us in ministry and family. We would covet your prayers. Thank you!

p.s. Michael and I have always desired to be completely candid with all our faults and challenges as well as joys and triumphs. If you have questions, or would be interested in more information on our move away from WV, please contact us. We would be open to share.






Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dedication
... that I may walk before God in the light of life!

May 30, 2011

What a privilege it was to dedicate Lila Grace to our Lord with so much family present! We are beyond blessed to have the honor of raising Lila and we pray that she too will someday (soon) come to the Lord as her own personal Lord and Savior that she may walk with Him and honor Him all the days of her life.

Whenever a new child enters a family it is very exciting. There is no greater moment when parents realize that their child is a gift from God and through their joy they can express to God their full appreciation for this gift through baby dedication. Not only to express joy, but dedication a child also acknowledges God's sovereignty not only over their child, but also us, as parents. We present our child, Lila Grace to God publicly in front of His people (and our family) asking for wisdom and grace in carrying out the responsibilities of raising a child. We also come together to pray that our child will one day trust Christ as their Savior, as we have also trusted.

It is important to understand the meaning of dedication and the best passage is Deut. 6:4-7.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
 First, it commands us as parents to ♥ God. If we honestly hope for Lila to one day love and follow God, our lives must be an example. Second, this passage makes it clear that the responsibility of teaching children belongs to us, her parents.  Church can most certainly help with instruction and discipleship, but we must be intentional about seizing teachable moments as they come about as Lila grows into the woman God has made her to be. "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it" Proverbs 22:6.  Proverbs 10:1 reminds us that "a wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother." We believe that the most valuable lesson parents can teach their child is the "fear of the Lord," for Proverbs 1:7 tells us this is "the beginning of knowledge."

There is NO HIGHER CALLING for parents. 

"Children are a heritage from the LORD..." Psalm 127:3. We believe that as followers of Christ we are called to recognize that children belong to God first and foremost and that He, in his goodness gives children as gifts to parents. We not only have the responsibility of being a good steward of this gift, but also the awesome and wonderful privilege of enjoying our gift! Because children belong to God first and are given by grace as gifts to parents, it is meaningful and appropriate that we dedicate our children back to God. Hannah in 1 Samuel 1 presented her son, Samuel, to the Lord. Then in Luke 2:22 Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. So in the same way, we, Michael and Laura bring Lila Grace, presenting ourselves first and our daughter to our Lord in love and in prayer.

We were also blessed to have such a heritage of faith with us. Examples that we ourselves were raised by and examples we will use to raise our own children. Three generations present, and many more praying for us! Proverbs 17:6  declares "Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers." There is great pride in seeing a new generation of family dedicate their child to the Lord and the joy is abounding when the children are raised to fear God and love Him with all their hearts, souls and minds.
 We are blessed beyond measure. 
Here are some photos from our special day! 


I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14














During the service, I passed Lila Grace,
to Michael for the prayer of dedication.

Michael holding Lila during this time
symbolizes that he is the family's spiritual head. 


Pastor Mike invites Michael to say the prayer of dedication for our family.
(This is a little unusual, but Lila's BFF, Grace was supposed to be dedicated this day as well, but ended up being sick. Michael (ie. Children's Pastor Michael) was to say the prayer of dedication for both families. We missed our friends! But we wouldn't have had it any other way!)




 


Lila says "AMEN!" :)



Please ENJOY this video of the special dedication service and prayer.
p.s. Lila really cutely, as only Lila can do, ends the prayer!

or click here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JCeRMCERmI

To our family:
I just wanted to share how much it meant to us to have you come for Lila's 1st Birthday and Dedication.  It blessed our hearts and our home so much.
I had questioned doing the dedication at the church,and the Lord really showed me that it wasn't about the church, it was about Him.
 To have you and the other family members there really helped show the love and support we have as we continue on this journey... of parenthood and ministry.
I cannot truly express how blessed we feel to be a part of such an amazing family who loves each other and loves the Lord. We know that it will be YOU all that keep us in your prayers as we walk this journey.
♥, Michael, Laura and Lila 


For more information on dedication vs. baptism reference the following link: http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/packer/baptism.html

Celebrating the first year! ~ Part 8

It was an amazing celebration with FAMILY and sweet friends that we will never forget. Thank you to all who came to help us celebrate and those who couldn't come but wished they would've been there. We <3 you all!


Birthday Girl all tuckered out! Playing with her glow sticks!





May 28, 2011, Bridgeport, WV





Celebrating the first year! ~ Part 7 *-*-*-It's MY PARTY-- Cake!-*-*-*

Lila had her very 1st taste of cake (or sugar) at her 1st birthday party! We thought she would love it with how much she oogled it all the time... but her 1st taste caused her to gag! and even when we tried a few more tastes... she still wouldn't have it. So we decided to let her have fun playing with her cake!! and she did!

HAPPY 1st BIRTHDAY LILA GRACE!!!

Sweet Birthday Girl

I'm ready! I've got my Birthday Hat on!


LOVED LOVED making the birthday high chair bunting for Lila!

Sweet Kisses from Sweet Cousins

Love them all!

Everyone starts singing...


1st look at her cake! She likes it!

Happy Birthday to you...

Happy Birthday to you...

Cousins all helped blow out the red glitter ONE candle!

"Hmmm... what's this?"



Not sure what to think....


Ummm... what am I suppose to do with this? 
Maybe I will taste it?


She tastes it! ... and GAGS! haha

Micah sharing his cupcake with the Birthday girl...



and she gags at every taste... so...

It's way more fun to put my balloon in it!


:)



so... let's flip it over and let the playing and exploring begin!
She had FUN with this part!











Papa checking in on the birthday girl... 
and she tries to share! lol!


 Oh What SWEET FUN!!!
 
 


HAPPY 1st BIRTHDAY LILA GRACE!!!






Celebrating the first year! ~ Part 6 *-*-*-It's MY PARTY-- Pinatas & Presents!-*-*-*

We had fun with the pinata and presents.. .Lila actually may have been more excited about the cards than the presents.

Lila pulled the first string on the pinata!


YUMMY!



Custom made goodie bags made it super special!



Yummmm!



Playing bubbles with Aunt Andi
Katherine loved the candy!


THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!


Lila <3 'd reading the cards! it was super cute!





Love's her dog Violet!




Katherine Helping!
Sweet Birthday Girl reading her Birthday cards!