Welcome! This is where it all began. I no longer post on this website and some of the content reflects former convictions and understandings. Some of these posts are hard core on issues that I am softer on these days. I deleted many posts that I feared would lead people into legalism, so if you find a missing hyperlink that may be why. These days I write at Covered By His Hand.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Piper Sermon on the Holy Spirit

I just finished this sermon by John Piper on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I highly recommend that you listen to it!

Manual Labor, Here I come!

We are leaving this evening to go back to Boonville, MO for more manual labor! I look forward to it, it is good to work! I will not be able to post any comments, because I will be away from the computer until Wednesday (July 2) or Thursday (July 3). I sure do miss my blog while I am away! Even if I had a notebook/laptop, I really doubt that I could find good service in the boonies... Plus, when would I have time?! I thought about trying to get to the public library, but I can't post with 4 kids in tow! As for working from my phone... we are too stingy to use the internet on our cells! We don't even use the text message function, because of excess cost. (You know me, the woman who won't use air conditioning and disposable diapers because of cost refuses to use these handy electronic devices). So, it is so long for now!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I am a new person! - My testimony

I have wanted to write an update on my health - but I have had little time to do so. Since I started taking SuperMom vitamins (read this for details) I have seen a lot of physical improvement. Ten weeks ago I could not hold a pen or cut my own steak. Now, I am able to do those things plus lift a 70 pound hay bale by its strings! We attribute this to answered prayers and the vitamins.

While my physical improvement is HUGE to me, I have experienced something that is even more important! On Monday, June 16th of this year (2008) I experienced a movement of God on my life like I have never felt before! As many of you may have figured out by now (if you were reading between the lines) I have struggled with depression for a long time (as long as I can remember). During that time I have changed a lot in my Christian beliefs... these things being doctrinal. I enjoyed studying Scripture and doctrines, but there was something missing. I had this intellectual understanding of Christ, but no power. I witnessed to people (on occasion) because I knew it was expected of me. I did many things because I knew to do them. But, two weeks ago God changed EVERYTHING!

Here's how it happened... Paul and I were praying (as we do every night after the kids go to bed) and I was weeping and mourning for my sin. I was crying out to God regarding my depression and the way I treated my kids. ("Why do I always yell at them? Why am I so short tempered? Why can't I change?") I was so depressed these past few months that I wanted to be dead. I hated myself and most everyone else. I hated my kids because they brought out the worst in me. I hated living. I slept in every morning and did my best to get out of cooking every meal. I had Paul and the kids walking on glass around me - because they feared my wrath. Yes, I mean wrath - the ungodly, unhealthy emotion - rage. I was reading the book of James over and over again, feeling convicted but totally unable to change. I told one friend that I felt completely devoid of the Holy Spirit. Sure, I had knowledge, but no love. Well, that night I prayed a prayer that I had prayed before many times, "Lord, If I am not a Christian right now, please -God, please make me one now." Within minutes of this prayer and praying to God Psalm 51, I felt a HUGE change. I was all at once weeping for joy knowing that depression was ripped away from me. Years of hurt, anger, rage, and wrath were ripped away from me. I was crying out to God for the salvation of everyone I know! I asked for salvation of everyone on my road (by name), in my extended family, in my city, in the world! I have never had such a heart for the lost - ever! I was weeping, begging God to forgive sins that I had held onto too long. I was begging God to take the millstone off my neck that I had been dragging around as a result of the way I was treating my children, all the while claiming to be a Christian. I knew I was changed. All of the sudden I wanted to be alive! I had lived under the heavy burden of depression for 8 years and all of the sudden the burden was taken away. I felt - for the first time ever - peace and contentment.

What did Paul think of all of this? He wanted to believe that I had changed... but after all, I had stated many times before that I had changed. How could he know that this was totally different?! I knew that time would show that God had worked in me life. Not for my sake, but that Paul (and everyone else who doubts) would see that God has done a miracle in me!

The very next morning I got out of bed feeling thrilled to be alive! I was ready to embrace this new life of peace and joy (things I had not felt for so very long)! I couldn't wait to serve my family and love my children. I was constantly asking myself how I could make things better for them, instead of trying to just get by. The selfish, self-serving Bethany was gone! I served Paul and the kids all day like never before! I did not yell at all!, and I couldn't remember why I ever had!

Over the past few weeks I have noticed A WHOLE HEAP of changes!!! Here's a big one - as long as I have been married I have always lived from one project or one special occasion to the next. I was always filling my time with these projects to keep myself from thinking about my own self-loathing. Only, nothing would EVER satisfy... Nothing would ever make me happy! Nothing would ever bring me true joy or peace! Yet, I kept going on, because I did not know what else to do! One of my favorite projects was moving! Paul and I are known for our seemingly rash, cross-country moves. I can't tell you how many moves we have made in 8 years - I have long since lost count! I knew that moving would keep me occupied for months! Not to mention new friends and trees and animals... moving was the best escape of all... EXCEPT that it was no escape at all!!! I never found any peace, joy, or freedom from depression with any move.

These past few months in my home have been awful! I can't imagine any other man staying with such a miserable, quarrelsome wife. I knew better, yes! But, still I struggled. I acknowledged Paul as the head of some things, but not all. I was reading some great Christian books and the Bible, but it only made me more depressed. Each time I read a book on biblical womanhood that convicted me, I felt miserable. I would beg and plead for God to make me into that kind of woman. But, it never seemed to happen... there was no power to change, I just kept getting more depressed. Would I ever be well? I was putting hope in medicines ... hoping that if I could get the right doctor and the right medicine, everything would be well. BUT, that was a lie! I was believing a lie - trying to put a band-aid on a "heart problem."

Another thing... I am eating SO much less. I eat until I get full and not a bite more, I don't need to. There are so many other ways I have changed.. I could go on here for hours! For example, I used to think I was ugly - couldn't stand to have my picture taken. But, now I think I am pretty, I thank God for what I look like. And, I smile a real, hearty smile (teeth exposed) - even for pictures.

So, to what do I attribute this new change in me? I say that the Holy Spirit has come into my life like never before. I think I was a Christian before, because I loved God and loved the Word. I felt conviction for sin, and I loved the doctrines that I hold to. Yet, there wasn't power behind this love... and that is what I think has happened. Let me remind you that I was raised Baptist and went to a Baptist college. I have had many teachers/preachers who have gone to great lengths to explain away some occasions in Acts where the Holy Spirit came at a time other than the person's original conversion. Baptists believe that the Holy Spirit comes at the moment of conversion and there is no need to ask for a second filling. That is, most Baptists believe that. John Piper believes something a little different, something liken to Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones. (You can research that on your own...)

I firmly believe that the Holy Spirit came into my life and brought His power in a big way. I had some indwelling of the Holy Spirit since my conversion years ago - that accounts for the conviction I felt for sins and the illumination I had in studying Scripture. But, I feel like He descended upon me with all His power 2 weeks ago. I cannot explain this any other way. In family worship we have been going through Acts (in the evenings). There are so many times when the Disciples prayed over men specifically to receive the Holy Spirit... we cannot deny that these texts are there. BUT, we can try to explain them away as I have been doing my whole life. I see now that I was crippling myself!!!

If I was stranded on a desert island and found a Bible, but I had never read it before - how would I read it? If God was pleased to save me through the reading of that Bible and I had no one to instruct me as to the meaning of the Scriptures except for the Scriptures themselves... would I still think that men did not need to ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit? I think that I would read Acts in a much simpler way. I think that I would come to the conclusion that a person does need to ask to be filled after he is saved.

You may disagree with me... you may quite adamantly disagree with me. And, that's ok - I was once in your shoes! I will pray for you that God would be pleased to touch your life in the way He has touched mine and you can see for yourself the power and freedom that is to be found!!! I am a new person - praise God He has given me the Spirit that I did not even know to ask for!!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Back from vacation

We are back from our vacation. I have bunches of pictures to share, but Blogger is being naughty. I will try to post some pictures later.

Synopsis of our vacation:
-Saturday we went to Chevy's Mexican restaurant in Columbia, MO to celebrate some birthdays.
-Sunday Paul preached at a tiny, country church near Columbia.
-Monday through Wednesday was spent by me in the house cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry. I tried to serve my parents-in-law as unto the Lord. Paul spent most days working on farm equipment or working in the field. We were able to bale the hay on Wednesday and get it in the barn that night. (We put up square bales, those are the rectangular bales you sit on at fall bonfires.) I did work in the field along side the men on Wednesday. I set aside my long skirt for a pair of Paul's work jeans. (Never ever wear loose fitting clothes around a tractor!) I worked hard! It felt good to work so hard all week long (indoors or in the field). I loved hauling the hay bales in the fields - it is good to work!
-We got home at 2:30 am on Thursday morning... couldn't wait to get into my own bed!

Overall, it was a great trip. My back does not hurt (save the muscles that I used to throw hay). We will be helping my in laws with lots of work this summer, so we will get ourselves into shape. Did I mention that Paul's Dad, who recently turned 70, was working in the field with us? Wow!

I hope to post pictures soon. Between blogger and storms disrupting our satellite signal, I may not get pics on until tomorrow. Oh - we get to pick raspberries tomorrow am!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

On vacation

We are leaving Friday morning (the 20th) to go to Paul's parents' farm near Boonville, MO.We will be completely cut off from the internet world... I will miss my blog. I should be back online Thursday or Friday the 27th.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Why is a good tan so important

I was laughing at myself this morning as I thought about how I used pride myself on my good tan. I went to great lengths to have way too much of myself naturally darkened. I even mowed the yard in far less clothes than one should for that job in the name of getting a good tan. Yes, I was one of those women who my little girl points at aghast and says "Mommy, did you see...." I am NOT happy that I did that. I am not bragging about it. I tell you this now so that you can see that when I talk about modesty you know that I have really struggled over this issue and changed a great deal!

Now I am asking - why is it so important to Christians to have a good tan? First of all, the Bible makes it plain that man looks upon the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at our heart (I Samuel 16:7). Secondly, does everybody really need to be seeing the areas of our flesh that we are trying so hard to get tanned? Do we as Christian ladies need to have every inch of our upper body tanned? The only person who should see most of your upper body is your husband and he should not be too concerned about your tan.

Because of my struggles with modesty, I no longer wear tank tops (without an outer covering). Up until last summer I did, and it didn't strike me as immodest. But, I just don't think it is necessary for me to do so anymore. And, if I am not sleeveless then I don't ever have to worry about the trouble of concealing my undergarments.

I am not going to split hairs over how much is too much to reveal, I am not your judge. But, I am trying to get you to ask yourself this - "Who is it that I am trying to look good for? Am I trying to please men that are not my husband? How important is it that I get a 'good' tan?"

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Illustration for children or adults

I was talking to my kids this morning around the breakfast table and a great illustration came to mind to convey a sinner's condition. Below is how you might be able to describe to a child what it means to be "dead in your sin."

You know how sometimes we drive down the road and see/SMELL a dead animal? Would you want to get out and touch it and pet it? No, I would not want to touch a dead animal with a ten foot pole. Did you know that the Bible says that people are dead in their sins? (Ephesians 2:1) Remember that ALL people sin and fall short of the Glory of God? (Romans 3:23) God looks on sinners like we think of that dead animal. God is so Holy that He cannot look at sin. Our sin is even grosser to God than that dead, stinky animal is to us! (Habakkuk 1:13; Psalm 5:4-5)

The good news is that Jesus Christ made a way for us to be clean and pleasing to God. We never could be good enough to make God forgive us. We could never try hard enough to come back to life - much like the animal on the side of the road cannot come back to life. (Romans 3) The only way to please God is to be perfect. Can you be perfect? No, Never! But, we know of one person who lived on Earth and never sinned. Who is that one perfect Man? That's right, Jesus. Jesus never sinned. (2 Corinthians 5:21) He died as a sacrifice for us! He was killed on the cross instead of us! (Isaiah 53) The Bible promises a curse of death and separation from God for those who sin. But, Jesus took this curse upon Himself. (Galatians 3:13) So, if we believe that Jesus is our Savior - because He died on the cross then rose again - then something amazing happens. When God looks at us, He no longer sees stinky, dirty, nasty, DEAD people! He sees Jesus and His perfect life and His death on the cross. And, do you know what? God says that Jesus' death is a sweet smelling offering! (Ephesians 5:2) We are no longer stinky to God!

Thank you Jesus, for dying on the cross so that God sees your atoning blood instead of the stinky worm that I am!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The benefit of bed rest

I have discovered that there is one sure benefit to bed rest.... lots of time to read, read, read! This week I read Future Men, by Douglas Wilson. You can find this great book and others at Veritas Press.

As the title suggests, this is a book that challenges parents to think in terms of their young boys being future men. I LOVED this book!

What I LOVE:
- the book is grounded in Scripture!
- draws distinction between gender roles
- like all of his books, it is VERY thorough
- it talks about covenant family
- it covers MANY areas of a young man's struggles (finances, laziness, effeminacy, lust, and more)
- he caused me to change my opinion about boys playing with guns and swords. Paul and I are now eager to let our boys have guns, something I once thought "I will never do that when I have children."

What I did not love, and I thought could be improved:
- he would set forth a bold principle, but not give specific examples. For example, he states that boys need to be educated differently than girls and that homeschool mom's need to be careful to not do everything the same with both genders. Great point!, but what does that look like practically? I have NO IDEA how to homeschool my boys!

Only one criticism from me means the book gets 5 stars! Go order one from the library or order one at VP today.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The invalid returns

Thank you, friends, for all your prayers! Thanks to my wonderful husband you were kept up-to-date! You can all pray for blessings for the friends and family who watched my kids, cooked meals, and did my laundry!!!

I am walking very little. I can sit up very little. As I write I am sitting on a pillow on the office chair. I am going to try not to take any heavy-duty pain meds today. Just so you know, they did a pregnancy test before administering any narcotics or doing any X-rays. We would NOT have allowed any big-time drugs if I had been expecting. (Make sure you do the same if you ever end up in the ER! I am not sure that it is standard care, I asked them to do the test first.)

I am not able to bend down yet, so no: dishes, cooking, laundry, picking up toys, etc.

The kids are behaving TERRIBLY!!! It may take weeks to get them back on track!

Thanks again for your prayers!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bethany update 2

Bethany came home late Monday evening. She went back to the doctor immediately Tuesday morning and had a MRI Tuesday evening. They determined that she has bulging disks and needs bed rest until things return to normal. She is holding up as best she can. Please continue to pray.Beth thanks you for your prayers. It will be several days before she will be able to get up and around again.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Bethany update

We had to have Bethany transported by the paramedics to the hospital. She could not even get up off the floor without intense debilitating pain. She is still at the hospital and I have no idea how she is at this time, when I left she was on her way to radiology and had just been administered some pain medication and muscle relaxers. I had to come home to be with the kids this evening. Beth's mother is on call to bring her home this evening if she is released. It looks as if she may be staying overnight. This is the worst she has ever had it. Thank you for your continued prayers. I will keep her blog updated as things progress.

Back Problems

Bethany is having severe back pain and is unable to blog. I am taking her to the doctor today. Please pray for her recovery.
Paul(Beth's husband)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Thanking God for the "little" things

Sometimes when we step away from all our modern conveniences we see the little things that we take for granted every day. This is the case in our home since we have not yet turned on the air conditioner. Here is a few things I value more than I have in summers past, some of the "little" things God gives us:

-cool breezes on a hot day
-cooler temperatures at night time
-shade trees
-birds that sing even when it is hot
-a cold basement
-a cool compress
-driving with the windows open (also helps get stinky kid smell out of the van!)

Praise the Lord for His glorious creation.

Monday, June 2, 2008

More weekend pictures

This is Lydia, my two year old. Notice how her face is filling out a little!
Nelson, he's four.
Rebecca is being led around by Paul's nephew.
Rebecca and her cousin Lizzy trying on Grandpa's hats.
Lydia ate a watermelon as big as her head.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Paul's Dad is 70

This weekend we went to Boonville, MO to celebrate Paul's father's 70th birthday. Let me start out by saying that Dad doesn't look a day over 50! And, how many 70 year olds do you know that play volleyball with their children and grandchildren?! Dad is so healthy and strong, in spite of his heart stints and skin cancer, that I have to ask myself "How does he do it?" No special diet! Unless you call eating your favorite hearty foods every day a diet. (He swears by eggs and sausage for breakfast, just like his father before him who lived a long,full life.) He does, however, take dozens of supplements and he puts cayenne pepper on every meal!
All of my father-in-law's children made it out to the party. So, there was Paul, his brother, and four sisters. There were about 17 grandchildren in attendance, and one great-grandbaby. It was truly beautiful to hear the Happy Birthday song with about 25 people singing! OH - how I want to hear that when I am 70!
Paul's nephew brought out his horse, Jax. Rebecca was a brave girl to get aboard a horse for the first time, but Nelson and Lydia were too scared. It's no wander - the horse is every inch of 15 hands. Rebecca wanted to ride side-saddle in her skirt, but that wasn't an option - so I found some blue jeans for her. (I don't think that I could get her to wear pants for any reason other than this horse ride!!!)

We spent 10 hours driving y-day, for our short 5 hour visit. It shouldn't have taken that long to drive there, but we took a long detour. We went through an Amish area so that the kids could see a different way of life. With the exception of the Little House on the Prairie shows, they have never seen anyone work a field with their hands, drive a buggy, or the like. We were able to see a few families out, but the fields were too wet to work. We did get to see a few buggies. Rebecca wants to become Amish now - big surprise. We are all prone to idealizing such a life (especially those of us who read an occasional Beverly Lewis novel.) It was really neat to see this new and different way of life through the eyes of my 6 year old! She wants to wear long, homemade dresses, ride horses, and bake foods from scratch. So, in these ways she would fit in. But, is she ready to give up central heat and air conditioning and electricity? I think not.