Samantha ~ my Sister, a Blessing!

…Samantha…  photo 618ecbcf-efb9-42d7-bd9f-19cee7c87bac.jpgMy dear sister has just celebrated another birthday and as we rejoiced and I reflected over what a blessing she has been, I couldn’t help but be very glad that she has been in my personal life for twenty years!!!

Samantha, you shine Yahweh’s light radiantly through your life and I praise Yahweh for the blessing you are! I have seen as you’ve gone through very hard trials, yet as Yahweh led you through the valley of the shadow of death, you proclaimed his love and trustfulness. You looked heavenward and sought the King of kings – Yahweh. Thank you for the love you show very constantly!!! I love watching you and am sooo grateful that Yahweh has kept you in my life and our family’s life so closely, in a way you wouldn’t be if you were married. There were many times when, as I looked ahead at the paths each of my siblings have trodden and prepared before me, I’ve gained encouragement and strength through your example. The path of staying pure and waiting for our spouse, serving Yahweh wherever He calls us, honoring our father and mother and living purely for Yahweh -going against the most common grains of our surroundings, is not always easy; it is very hard to do at times. Yet I’ve watched as you have become a more and more shining light in our Heavenly Father’s kingdom and I am very blessed!!

Thank you for pointing me in the right direction and for staying in Yahweh’s path.

 photo DSC00903 - Copy.jpgI have seen as you choose to praise Yahweh even in hard times, how you delight and spread joy in the family daily. Your smile is bright and your eyes sparkle!!! Words of wisdom and kindness is the law of your tongue. Your compassionate heart and loving gentleness is such a blessing and I am so blessed to be your sister!!!

I praise Yahweh your care and love for me and the rest of our family: from the times you cared for me as a baby and went to bed early because I wouldn’t go to bed without you even when friends were here visiting, (-sorry about that!), for giving up many pleasures and desires of your own so you may do what was best for others, being an inspiration and challenge with your example and words, loving babies, elderly people and Israel as you do so passionately (-it has encouraged a deeper, better love for them in my heart also). Your love and compassion for those around you, and the example you’ve set for trusting in Yahweh, and honoring Yahweh and our parents…Lolly, you may be a natural leader, but I’ve yet to have a great privilege, as I do with watching you, of a daughter who truly loves and honors her parents so well, daily. The way you smile ever and decide to honor them, even when you disagree with the way something should be done, is challenging for me!!! The way you openly reach out to my heart and draw me to my knees in surrender to Yahweh, albeit with a hug and words of wisdom, speaks volumes to me!!! I really do not know where I would have been had you not been there to pull me up when I was falling, or been willing and loving to have a three in the morning talk and prayer time when I had an inward struggle and pain in my heart, or the constant smiles, words of wisdom, your sharing what you’ve been learning. You wouldn’t have been there in those times if you had been married. I would be very happy for you if you were married to a godly man, and am grateful for our sake that He has blessed us with you home for so long! I am humbled and blessed that Yahweh has blessed me with a sister as you!!! It is an undeserved privilege to be your sister, at home, whom you love dearly!!! Getting to see your heart and love for Yahweh is a HUGE blessing and someday a man will receive the blessing you are when you marry!!! The blessings and seeds you have planted in righteousness will continue to multiply as you please Yahweh, not only in our lives and the lives of others now, but to others whom we will be able to bless by the seeds you’re planting in our hearts!!!

I love you dearly, and thank Yahweh for you!!!!
Your sister; Sarah

Posted in Godly Daughterhood | Leave a comment

Wintery Red, Brown and White Outfit

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 “A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O Yhwh, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. 4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: 6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. 7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. 8 My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.” ~Psalms 63:1-8

Amein and amein! :o)

A huge thank you to my wonderful sister Sarah, who not only took these pictures, but actually uploaded them on here for me! She had been after me to get some new outfit pictures taken for y’all, so before I headed out on my cross country ski’s, she quickly took some pictures for y’all, which I pray will be a blessing!

I added the above scripture verse, as it has kind of been my “theme” verse the past couple of days, and looking at the above picture, I couldn’t help but think of it, and what Yhwh has done for me this past week! It is truly how I feel right now!!!

Okay, so what am I wearing? The scarf I got at a thrift store in KY for about .99. :o) My glasses I got at Sam’s Club (couldn’t resist the teasing…I know it’s not part of the outfit!). I’m actually wearing a few layers, so I won’t bore you with shirt #1 and shirt #2, etc. I got all of my shirts for under $2.99 and the cream sweater I paid a little bit more for (as I’m a little bit more particular about my sweaters, so don’t mind spending a little bit more on them ;o) I think I paid something like $4.99-5.99 for my sweater. The brown linen skirt was also purchased at…yep! My favorite thrift-store Hands of Hope (along with pretty much everything else beside the scarf I’m wearing!) for .99!

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Praying Yhwh richly blesses you! In His Love and Grace, Samantha

Posted in Godly Daughterhood, Modesty, Modesty Monday | Leave a comment

The fear of Yhwh is to hate evil: Pride…

The fear of Yhwh is to hate evil: Pride…”

Such a small word. How can it wreak such havoc on one’s life???

The past few days I have found myself praying the words of Psalms 139:23-24 with all my heart, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” I want to be a vessel of honor that He can use. Not one that He can’t. And I want to serve Him with my whole heart, not with just part of it!!

But how could I, if I wasn’t coming before His throne with a pure, and perfect heart? I wanted to be able to stand before my King, with a clean heart!

I wanted to be holy, no matter what it cost me and so my prayer has been “search me, Yhwh. Please, search me! Try me and show me where I have allowed sin to rule and have dominion in my life and help me acknowledge it, repent of it, and please forgive me for it and help me get it out of my life, once and for all.” It was time to do some deep cleaning of my heart and soul…again.

Last night as I was talking with my sister, sharing with her a struggle that I was having, it hit me like a ton of bricks. As I allowed Yhwh to take me down a journey, revealing my heart to me, He showed me what has been a major root sin in my life. It’s called allowing the spirit of Pride into my life. I could see it plainly now. And talk about a very humbling moment. I had unknowingly allowed it in to rule, and rule it was…in soooo many areas of my life! But there is one particular area of my life that this spirit had controlled me in, which broke my heart. And this morning found me on my knees crying out to my King, once again, begging His forgiveness like never before!!! Realizing the seriousness of this sin and how it has kept me bound in its chains for far too long.

You see, my precious sisters, although I have tried to ignore this wicked spirit and its control it had on my life (not really wanting to accept the fact that this was a major problem in my life), I realized that I could not deny it any longer. Accepting the fact that it had kept me in bondage concerning one of the most important aspects of my life…hurt. It really hurt. You see, my precious sisters, this evil spirit of pride has held me back from truly worshipping my King, as King! It had stopped me from praising Him according to His righteousness (Ps 7:17), which He deserved! Not to mention a slew of other things.

Let me explain.

My whole life I have cared more of what people thought, than what my King thought. Not in all areas, but in some of the most crucial and important areas of my life!! Yet, isn’t it just like Ha’Satan to know exactly what areas he needs to try to control us in to get us away from truly serving our King, in spirit and in truth?! Well, he certainly knew how to go about stealing something that rightfully belonged to my King! But isn’t that what he is out to do; to steal, kill, and destroy? So it really shouldn’t surprise me! But that truth didn’t really help the hurt, the pain, the regret, and the great sorrow that I felt from the truth of it all…because in some ways, it did surprise me. It did take me by surprise. As much as it shouldn’t have, as much as I should have seen this a long time ago, I didn’t. Atleast I never accepted it before.

I allowed Yhwh to play my life before my eyes, this time not stopping Him (ever asked Him to reveal your heart to you and then beg Him to stop?). I had asked Him to search me, and I needed to let Him. But as He played things before my mind’s eye, it stung deeper and deeper, as the realization of it all hit home. Time after time, I saw myself in a setting where I had longed to worship Him, even as simply as raising my hands in worship (like I knew He commanded!), or getting down on my knees before Him, or the times I longed to be free to just dance before Him and stop being so concerned about knowing the steps or what people might think as I stumbled my way through them, yet allowed something to hold me back and make me stop short. I allowed myself to think of the many times I have felt so overwhelmed by His love, yet fought the tears that wanted to come, afraid of what others might think, waiting for a more private setting to let them fall (after all, who enjoys crying in front of people for whatever reason?! Okay, I know. Pride.).

I thought of the many times that I have wanted to reach out and encourage or share the gospel with another, but held back. What if I didn’t say the right thing? The list was endless. In my heart I longed to do one thing, but always held back by something…or what I now realize was a five letter word…pride.

Yet, that’s not what I had seen it as. Like a lot of things, as Yhwh teaches us and matures us, we learn what we have always thought was right, is wrong. Take raising your hands in worship. Isn’t that just drawing attention to oneself? So we refrain. I mean, you don’t want to do that, right? Ha’Satan puts a lie in our minds, and we accept it, hook line and sinker. Sure, anything we can do in this life, can be turned into sin. If our hearts aren’t pure, and the spirit we do it in isn’t pure, it’ll be sin…even if there is nothing sinful about the act itself. I don’t argue this. But, that doesn’t change the fact that we are supposed to lift our hands up to our King! What has to be pure is our hearts in doing so.

Yet, Ha’Satan tries to convince us we can’t obey Him, because we could sin. Instead he convinces us to just “do it when no one is looking”. Ultimately, what he is trying to convince us to do is, “stop serving Yhwh in public! Stop hailing Him as your Master and your King!” You know, the same mindset he used on the children of Israel with Jeroboam in telling them, “just come here, it’s too far to go all the way up to Jerusalem to keep the feasts!” changing what Yhwh commanded, ever so slightly, ever so slyly.

And way too often in my life, I have given into his lies. My heart yearned to be free to worship my King, yet pride held me back. There have been times that I have had to hug my arms to keep them from raising up in praise and worship. Everything within my heart and soul wanted to, yet in the name of humility, I forced them down. There have been times that I have simply just walked away from a group, so that I could, in the cover of the night, worship my King, as Lord and King of my life, freely.

I know for some of you who have been raised that this is quite normal to do, probably would never understand, why for others, this is a battle similar to other struggles we have, having been brought up that it’s wrong. Yes, like many other things, we learn that it is anything but wrong! But, it doesn’t change the fact that this has been a struggle that I have had my entire life.

This sin has gone so deep, has controlled me to such a point, that it has stopped me from serving my King, the way He wants to be served! Who cares if anyone is looking and thinks poorly of you…why should that ever stop you from worshipping your Creator, your King, your Lover? Yhwh brought to my mind about David dancing before Him in the streets. If I wanted a pure heart, then I had to realize that I had failed Him in this! I had to break the hold that this unclean spirit had on my life and I had to stop letting pride rule my life!! Was I going to be a Michael? Or a David? Was I willing to worship Him, like it was only He and I in the room, or stop from worshipping Him, because I was more concerned what people thought (or God-forbid, might think!), than what He thought?

He brought my mind to a future place, where having realized that He answered my prayers, I had two choices I could make. One was to get down on my knees, not caring who was around, and thank Him for His answer, for His provision which I knew I totally didn’t deserve, yet was grateful for? Or would I choose the second option which was was to wait to do that, until totally alone? Which would I choose? You might laugh and think that this is a funny question, but it wasn’t funny at all to me. He knew how to get me straight where He needed to and how to get to the heart of the matter. And He knew my heart better than anyone. He knew at this point, the spirit was willing, but the flesh was being controlled by an unclean spirit. And He knew I had to admit, I would not thank Him or praise Him, by humbling myself like that. I would wait, like I had always done.

You see sisters, we can’t deceive our Heavenly Abba. He already knows our hearts. But He wants us to get to know our hearts for what they are, and if we don’t acknowledge the sin in our lives, there is nothing more He can do. He was going to keep walking me down a road, until I saw what this sin was, in it’s entirety, and how it hurt HIM and our relationship.

He the continued and brought to my mind the lepers that He had healed. He had healed all of them, yet only one turned around, raised his hands to the heavens, and worshipped Yahshua right there and then, thanking Him for what He had just done! He didn’t wait until he was home and alone. He wasn’t worried what people had thought! This was his KING! He deserved to be thanked and praised, regardless as to who was around, right then and there! Yahshua had just answered his prayer and healed him!!!!

So, let me ask you a question…why should we be any different? Yes, I think we’ve taken this seriousness a bit too far! We have got to loosen up some! I mean, Yhwh says to “let them ever SHOUT for joy!!!” And why shouldn’t we, so undeserving of His love, not shout His praises from the rooftops? I can hear some saying “Amein!”…so what’s holding you back? When is the last time you have stopped what you were doing, and truly shouted His praises to the world? When have we even praised and thanked Him, right then and there for answering our prayers, or for providing something for us, in public? All too often I think we mumble a quick “thanks” or something. But, let me remind you, this is your KING who just provided something for you!!! He didn’t even have to protect you on the road, but He did. He didn’t have to provide you with a car to drive from place to place, but He has. See what I mean? How often do we truly sing forth His praises and what He has done for us? Why do we hold it back?

Yhwh then brought my playing my guitar to my mind. Again, something I hated to do in public. I knew I wasn’t that good at all, and I’d rather not be humiliated (okay, humbled!) in front of people. But again, what was I to care more about? What people would think about how horribly I may have played? Or was I to care more about Who I was playing for? Again, I saw how I had allowed the ugly monster of a spirit called pride, to rule my life. There was no denying it any longer. And truthfully, I was tired of denying it. He had made His point very clear, and I wanted to be set free!! I wanted to live my life, truly and wholly, for my King, and hold nothing back from Him! I saw it more clearly than I have ever saw it before. Yes, it was humbling. It is humbling! And yes, the truth hurts, but it’s the truth, and now that I knew what the truth was, I had to take action. And that meant that Ha’Satan and his ugly fruit of pride was being kicked out!

Sisters, I share this humbling experience with you, because of a beloved fellow believer who once told me I needed to be more open and honest with you in sharing what Yhwh is doing in my life (however humbling!), because just like it has blessed me when they have done the same with me, and just like them sharing has led me ever nearer to the foot of the cross and shown me how I too, could retain victory in my own life, maybe in my sharing my struggles and victories with you, it will help one of you who are struggling with the same thing, to gain the victory in your own life. We can try to convince people until the cows come home, that we are perfect, but we aren’t. I’m certainly not. You’re not alone in your struggles. This is the one thing Ha’Satan wants so desperately to convince us of…that we’re all alone and that no one struggles with what we struggle with…because if he succeeds, we can’t learn from each other in how others have become overcomers, not subcomers! In being blatantly honest with you, I pray it will do what my friend has done for me, and help you look at your own life, a bit clearer. We have got to come before a just and holy God, with clean hearts.

Yhwh tells us to “…believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God:…” (1 John 4:1) He goes onto to say that “…pride compasseth them about as a chain;…” (Psalms 73:6) Pride is not from Yhwh, sisters! No matter what Ha’Satan will try to convince you of, or to try to make you believe it’s something other than pride, we have to see sin as what it is, sin.

Proverbs 8:13 says, that “The fear of Yhwh is to hate evil: pride” Here Yhwh tells us it’s evil, plain and simple, and He hates it! Why? Because it keeps us from serving Him, in sincerity and truth! It’s the fruit of Ha’Satan, not of Him! It’s an unclean spirit.

I come before you and ask you the question, have you allowed this evil spirit to rule your life? Are you allowing pride, no matter what name it is hiding under, to keep you from serving Yhwh, with your whole heart? Yes, it may have fancy names like humbleness (when in reality it is really pride stopping us FROM being humble!), fear (another major sin we often deal with), shyness, etc. But in reality, they are all just Ha’Satan trying to candy coat this root spirit and it’s ruling in our lives, to try to draw our attention away from it, so it can continue to keep us in slavery…or as scripture says, chains.

Sisters, regardless as to how it is holding you captive, I want you to know it doesn’t have to remain keeping you in it’s chains! Yahshua has given us the power we need to break these chains of sin in our lives! He longs to set us free, but we have got to be willing to get down on our knees and cry out to Him! We have got to come before Him in true repentance and ask Him to forgive us! We have got to acknowledge this is even a problem in our lives (or any other sin for that matter!), before He can help us overcome it. We have to start realizing the area’s Ha’Satan has gained entrance into our hearts, and start doing some house cleaning! Kick him out!!! He has no right to you…not any longer! You’ve been bought by a price, the highest price anyone could ever pay…Yahshua’s own blood! And believe me, there is power in His blood!

Will the battle be won instantly? No, because we have let it take deep root into our lives, and roots dig deep and are hard to uproot. It’s going to take vigilance. Ever watchful, ever rejecting him trying to re-gain entrance, being constantly in prayer, and realizing we need Yhwh’s strength to overcome. But Yhwh wants us to worship Him and serve Him with our whole heart, and I promise you, He is right there beside you each step of the way! But like any soldier must do, we must keep our eyes open, ever watching to make sure the enemy does not gain entrance behind the front lines (and when he does, to kill him on the spot!)! Keep him up front where he belongs, and keep your guns loaded and aimed at him, where they belong.

Oh, my precious sisters, keep fighting the good fight of faith!!!! Our God IS on the Throne!!!! Don’t ever lose site of the prize that is set before you!!! Keep pressing on…pressing in. And may Yhwh give us all the strength we need, as we continually get down on our knees and seek His face. May we never stop allowing Him to cleanse us and purify us, and show us when we have been terribly wrong. Let Him humble you. It’s what it is going to take. After all, isn’t that a virtue? :o)

I’ll leave you with a verse that has become so dear to me.

I WILL PRAISE Yhwh according to HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS: and WILL SING praise to the name of Yhwh MOST HIGH.” Psalms 7:17

HalleluYah!!

Posted in Choices, Conviction, Faith, Godly Daughterhood, Holiness, Intentional Living, Loving God, Prayer, Serving Yahweh, Surrendered, Traits | Leave a comment

What’s on the Menu for Dinner??? SHAWARMA!

Some of you probably have no idea what a Shawarma sandwich is, while others of you reading this, probably have a watering mouth right about now! For those of you who aren’t familiar with what it is, it is an Israeli sandwich which…how does one say it? Is out of this world! For years after my sister returned from Israel, all we heard about was how much she could go for a Shawarma sandwich…and I, like some of you, had no idea what on earth she was talking about! What could be THAT good?! I never understood until I too, was blessed to go and have one, and I have to admit, I am often found saying the same thing to my family “I could SOOOOO go for a Shawarma sandwich right now!!!” It’s kind of funny as I often will think of things in terms of “and how many Shawarma sandwiches could I buy if I didn’t purchase “whatever it is that I’m thinking of”?” :o) Yes, 17 shekels is a lot for a sandwich, but oh!!! Is it so worth it!!! :o)

As much as I’m sure nothing compares to the Shawarma you get over there on the spit (the thing they usually cook it on), I have to say, I have wanted to learn how to make Shawarma for SO long! But how could I?

While on the computer one day looking at something, I saw a Shawarma electric knife being advertised. Well, that got me off on a rabbit trail and I was more determined than ever to learn how to make it! One click led to another, and soon I came across this lady’s recipe who had made it, and tried two Israelis on it, and they thought she had finally gotten herself her much longed for, spit! If they thought it was that good, I was determined to try it!!

But, you can’t have Shawarma without a few toppings! Charif and Amba sauces, Salat (a mixture of tomatoes, cucumbers, olive oil, lemon and salt to taste (I like also adding a little pepper to mine), diced onions, dill pickles, a white sauce (http://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/2015/03/toum-middle-eastern-garlic-sauce/ – but I have also made something like it using Hummus as a base to work off of), and Lafa (huge tortilla shells). I haven’t master the art of making decent tortilla’s, so I just purchased ours. Just make sure if you buy them, to get the really large ones!

So armed with the recipes below, I set to work…

http://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/2012/08/chicken-shawarma/

http://theweiserkitchen.com/recipe/sweet-tart-mango-sauce-israeli-style-amba/

http://www.levanacooks.com/the-hot-sauce-happy-family-charif-recipe/

I have to admit, I was quite pleased with how well try “number 1″ came out!! I had no idea how much I missed it, until I looked around the table at my family when I was done eating mine, and realized that I was totally done with my sandwich, and they were only partly through theirs! <gulp!> Okay, so I more likely inhaled it! But it tasted SO good!

Well, tonight I decided to make it again, (okay, honestly!!! I waited to make it again for a whole week and one day since I made it the first time!!!) and again, I was delighted with how it turned out! This time when I made the Amba sauce (which has become a favorite of mine on just about any meat-type sandwich!) I ended up using 2 Mangoes which were a bit  riper than I had wanted. You’re supposed to use 1 green mango and some dried unsweetened Mango (which is not only hard to find here in the states, but also a bit pricey!). Last time I used just the one green Mango and tonight I decided to use 2. It came out SO much better using 2 Mangoes!! I have to tell a story about this real quick! I had just finished blending the sauce, when apparently the aroma of it finally made it to my mother’s room, where she was lying down. She asked me what I was cooking, as it smelled SO good! So when I told her, she told me it smelled “out of this world!” When I had a few minutes, I brought her a spoonful of it to try, and she agreed, it was so much better and was extremely tasty! So all that to say, take it from my Mama, make it with the 2 Mangoes instead of just the one! :o)

I changed one more thing and added chopped cabbage and grated carrots to my Salat, and it definitely went well with it (and helps spread it a bit further in a large family!), so either or goes great in it!

Anyhow, I won’t go on and on, but I did want to walk you through how to make the sandwich part of it. I’ve gotten some questions about this, and as my siblings all looked at the table, one by one they all asked “what do I do with all this?!”, so I decided to do a pictorial for those of you who haven’t had it before…just incase you too are asking “how do I actually make the sandwich?!” :o) It’s really simple…and you can’t really go wrong! Just keep stacking it on! :o)

Note: For those of you who have had it, I’m sorry to torture you…I’m not intending to! :o) 

The Table:
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Add a good amount of meat onto the center of your Lafa (or huge Tortilla shell).
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Then add your Salat onto the top of the meat:
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And now for the sauces…you’ll also see in the pictures below that I tried sour cream on this one…I just had to try it, as I love sour cream! Ummm…may I warn you to save yourself the trouble and DON’T TRY IT!!  Hahaha!
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Top it off with onions and dill pickles, and some Amba sauce (okay, I love this stuff, so I generally put quite a bit on mine!!)!
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Then roll the BOTTOM and TOP in towards the center, and THEN roll it! Otherwise you will have a pretty big mess when you go to eat it! :o)
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Viola! Your Shawarma sandwich ready for the eating!
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:o) Okay, I couldn’t resist! :o) Enjoy!
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The Fight for Our Little Girl – A family’s struggle for their little girl

Nearly a year ago, I read the beautiful story about miss Sabrina being brought into the Long family as one of their own children, and I was absolutely surprised and saddened to see this recent update. Please be praying for their family, Yahweh’s strength, peace and wisdom about doing what is pleasing to Him in this journey!

“How can he just take her away from us??? She’s our daughter! She’s my daughter!” There were tears in his eyes and his voice was cracking.Though I was still in shock over the news, I was doing my best to hold it together because I knew Terry was going to take it pretty hard. From the moment Sabrina was placed in our home two and a half years ago, she’s been “Daddy’s girl”.Recently I shared When We Were Blessed with Another Child, explaining how the Lord had graciously added this precious little one to our home. Two years almost to the day of her arrival, I received a court summons in the mail. Sabrina’s biological father who had not seen her since she was two or three years old had filed for sole custody of her.

Our world has been rocked with the threat of losing our daughter.

Though I was a bit rattled about the issue, I told myself there surely wouldn’t be much of a battle; after all, she’s been in our care for over two years. She calls us Daddy and Mommy and refers to the others in our home as her sisters and brothers. She even signs her name Sabrina Long. In just about every way possible, Sabrina is our child.

Except…

It is true that I have only guardianship (my name is the only one that appears on the document as we simply transferred responsibility from my elderly mother). Though we have discussed the possibility of adopting her, we hadn’t made any strides to do that. Now suddenly her father wanted back in her life, not just to visit, but to dissolve my guardianship and take her away from us.

Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.

Psalm 61:1

The Court Battle Begins

I sat alone in the courtroom feeling very small. It wasn’t playing out the way I had imagined.

After clarifying the intentions of her father, the judge turned to me.

“As the non-parental guardian, the burden of proof  lies with you, Mrs. Long, to prove why the child should remain in your home.” He then explained that Indiana law sides with the biological parent, which is great news for all us biological parents! In this situation…not so much. His rights as her father clearly trumped my rights as the legal guardian.

After answering questions and feeling shut down each time, I feared that if the judge asked me anything else, I would be found in contempt of court, as my heart was in my throat and I could no longer speak.

Her father was told to begin visiting with his daughter at our home for an hour each week to “begin the bonding process”. The judge then set the next hearing for two months and gave us instructions to exchange contact information.

He stepped up to the desk where I still sat, holding the pen and struggling to recall what phone number to write down. “I’m not out to take her from you guys.” He said. Well, that was a relief. “You would destroy her if you did.” I responded with tears in my eyes.

All summer I held onto those words. “Not out to take her” to me meant he really only wanted to be allowed to visit with his child; to get acquainted and to share in her life. Okay; we can do that!

A New Ministry

Up to that point, I was the only one in our family–besides Sabrina– to have met him. Without her present, I spoke with each of our older children, explaining that God was calling us to a new ministry. “No matter what happens, we are going to love this guy with Jesus’ love.”

That is what we purposed. And that is what we did.

We welcomed him, his girlfriend, and three of her children into our home in August. Because we live an hour from them, we had previously stated that they could spend more than the amount of time required by the judge.

He had asked if he could bring her a gift and she was thrilled with her new baby doll. She was excited to show him around our place. Prior to his arrival, I had asked the other children to stick with them, as Sabrina can be a bit shy and nervous in such situations. So the group–one adult man and a gaggle of children–traipsed all over our property. To see the new chicken coop. To visit the rabbits. To check out the creek. To hike back to “Fort Redwood” in our woods.

In the meantime, I was able to spend some time with the girlfriend, who was curious about our lifestyle. She asked several questions. When she inquired what my thoughts were on overnight and weekend visitations, my heart skipped a beat. “We will have to let the judge make those decisions”, I told her.

Before they left I took a few photos of Sabrina with her father and then of their group with Sabrina to email to them later. He shared with me that he had been horribly nervous about this visit and had feared what she had been told. I assured him that we had said nothing bad about him at all. He thanked me for making the visit pleasant and for not bad-mouthing him to his daughter. I pulled out my planner and scheduled the next visit for 2 weeks, in which we would host a cookout.

The second visit didn’t go as planned. Though he had invited his mother and two of his other children, along with the girlfriend and her 3 children, only half the group showed up. Terry was home, meeting him for the first time, and in spite of our attempts to make the visit pleasant, it seemed a bit strained and more awkward.

Back to Court

Several days before the next scheduled court date, his girlfriend texted and asked if I would bring Sabrina to the hearing so that afterward we could go to their house for a visit. Seeing no harm in it, I responded, “Sure!” I brought Destiny along to sit outside the courtroom with Sabrina during the hearing. I told Sabrina that we were going to court “because your father wants to spend time with you and we’re trying to work out the details”.

We sat together outside of court as several families gathered in the waiting area. Their jovial smiles and frequent photo-taking was evidence that their business with the court that day was much different than ours. Each family was there to finalize adoptions. My heart sank as I imagined what could have been.

The judge immediately asked him if he had been visiting with his daughter, to which he answered, “Yes.” Then he turned to me and asked the same question. I nodded and said, “Yes sir. Twice.” Looking at the papers on his desk, in which I’m sure he took into account that it had been over 2 months since he had ordered this man to spend an hour a week with his daughter, he sighed then addressed me.

“He must be able to spend time with his child!” He stated firmly, as though I was preventing this from happening.

“Your Honor; he has been allowed to see her every time he has asked. Twice. And the last time we even had a cookout for him. Our family has been very accommodating.”

He turned back to her father. “Do you still desire to terminate Mrs. Long’s guardianship and obtain sole custody of your daughter?”

“Yes I do!” Wait. What?!

I felt as though someone had punched me in the chest. Suddenly I couldn’t breathe. Did he seriously just say he is still pursuing sole custody???

When asked if I had any objections to overnight visitations, I responded, “I will comply with whatever I am court-ordered to do.” The judge shook his head. “That’s not what I asked.” Then he repeated the question. The last time I had stated my objections, I had been shut down and so I tried to watch my wording this time. “We parent very differently,” I explained.

Much of the rest of what was said during those minutes in the courtroom are a blur in my mind. I remember being told “The two of you are now co-parenting” and “We must begin acclimating the child into her father’s environment.” Presumably to prepare her for the transition to move in with him–a man she had seen only 3 times in the past five years! 

The judge was addressing me again. “Do you wish to contest this custody suit?” I nodded while trying to find my voice. “Don’t come back without an attorney,” he admonished. Then leaning over his bench toward me he said, “Mrs. Long, if you do nothing, he will be awarded custody.”

The Hardest Visit

As we stepped out of the courtroom, I was still trying to gain my composure while the girlfriend was saying they would grab their vehicle and meet me around front, as I was to follow them back to her parents’ house (where they are living). I avoided eye contact with Sabrina and Destiny and held my breath to keep from falling apart as we rushed out of the courthouse. Why oh why did I ever agree to bring them along? Why did I agree to this meeting after court?

I climbed up into the van and closed my eyes, squeezing back the tears. As the girls buckled their seat belts, I tried to pray, but was so overwhelmed the only thing that came to my mind was one plea: “Lord, please help me!”

I heard a sweet little voice behind me ask, “Mommy? What’s wrong?” I bit my lip and looked around for the other vehicle, still avoiding those innocent eyes. “Nothing Sweetheart. Nothing is wrong…” Your world is about to be ripped apart… The words were only in my head. But they felt heavy. The thought of ever having to tell her she had to leave our home was…overwhelming.

Oh Lord God, PLEASE help me. I can’t do this!

What I really wanted to do at that moment more than anything else was to drive to a secluded spot all by myself and cry my heart out. I needed to be alone, to pour out my grief to Jesus, but here I was with two little girls both looking at me with questioning eyes. “Lord, please help me! I need Your supernatural grace!”

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Psalm 61:2

The drive took about 15 minutes. I will never forget the walk up to the house. It was like I was outside myself, watching it all play out. I continued to beg the Lord for grace. I knew He was there with me because there was no way I was doing this alone.

We stepped inside the house and I was introduced to the girlfriend’s mom. There was an immediate connection between us. Much to my surprise and amazement, the woman was a Christian! Oh thank You Jesus!

For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.

Psalm 61:3

We talked for a few hours there in her cozy living room. She had asked how I had ended up with Sabrina and I told her the story. Somehow I felt like she could relate to the things I was sharing with her.

When it was time to leave, I hugged my new friend and thanked her. “If I have to let Sabrina go on overnight visits, I feel better knowing she will be with you.” She smiled, looking into my eyes, and nodded silently.

Lawyers Are Expensive

The judge had suggested I call the I.U. School of Law to apply for free legal assistance. They were booked solid, but gave me the number of another agency where I was told, “We only assist biological parents.” I called the number they gave me and was once again told the same thing. There would be plenty of free legal counsel for her father, but not for me. I made one more phone call, where I was told we exceeded the income guidelines. Whoa! Twelve of us living on one income exceeded their guidelines. The lady was very understanding and helpful though and gave me the number of an attorney whom she believed would work well with us.

I liked Michael the moment we connected. We talked for over an hour about the situation and then we spoke again the next day equally as long before we discussed fees. It would be $750 just to begin the process of retaining guardianship. When he asked if we could afford his services. I was honest. “We can’t afford any of this.” I imagined he was sighing on the other end. I had already taken several hours of this man’s time only to inform him that we can’t afford to hire him. “I know that sounds dreary and all, but it’s not. You see, we are Christians, and we know that God will provide if this is His will for us.” Silence on the other end told me he probably doesn’t know Jesus in the same way I do.

I emailed an update and prayer request to several friends that day. Within an hour a friend called and said they were one their way to meet us as the Lord had laid it on their hearts to help.

Though I still felt a bit cautious about getting my hopes up, I couldn’t help but be a bit excited about what the Lord might do…

I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings.

Psalm 61:4

In the midst of the battle, though the storm is raging all around us, Jesus is with us, carrying us through. Our hope rests in Him.

~~~

Taken from: www.thelongwaytogo.com

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Visit the Long ladies’ blog and read the following update, The Battle for Our Little Girl-Part 2

Please keep this precious family and little girl in your prayers for Yahweh’s will to be done, and for strength t do whatever Yahweh calls them to do.

Blessings;

 

Posted in Godly Daughterhood | Leave a comment

Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer – A Book Review

Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer – A Book Review

This morning I finished one of the most amazing and thought provoking books that I have read in a long time! It’s called Fervent, inspired by the film “The War Room” (which was one of the most powerful movies I have ever seen!). It was written by one of the key actors in the movie, and as you can probably guess, it’s on prayer. More specifically, praying strategically and realizing who the real enemy is and how he is out to steal, kill, and destroy you.

How many of us have heard the phrase “we’re in a spiritual battle”, yet, have no idea what that really means, atleast not in-depth or what to really do about it? For years, this was me. I often heard that Ha’Satan was my enemy, that I was in a spiritual battle, but no one ever really explained to me what that meant or what to do about it. What did this so-called enemy of mine look like? What was he trying to do? How could I engage in this battle? If I was truly in a spiritual battle, how could I fight properly?

We’re well versed in knowing who our physical enemy is, when we’re in warfare, but how do we identify this enemies advances in our lives, spiritually? How can we determine it’s him? How can we fight in a manner that ensures us the victory that we have in Yahshua? Often times I would fall and fall and fall again, pleading with Yhwh to help me overcome something within my life, only to find myself feeling helpless and giving into it, yet again. Why? Why couldn’t I get the victory in this area of my life? I would find myself thinking something and wondering “where in the world did that come from?” The struggles were endless. Until Yhwh showed me something so powerful that has given me sweet victory in areas of my life that I have never had victory in!

This past year (really two) has been one of the most incredible years of my life. I feel like if I were to put my finger on one thing that Yhwh has taught me, more than anything else this past year, it would be concerning prayer. Realizing and being able to identify the enemies activity in my life, his advances, and how to counter them, properly. Yes, we are in a spiritual warfare! Yes, he is out to steal, kill, and destroy us! But Yhwh did not leave us helpless to do anything about it!! He tells us to weigh the spirits and He tells us how! He gives us the armour that we need, the question is, do we and will we, use it? Will we engage? Will we be soldiers who are aware of their surroundings and the enemies advances, and soldiers who will do something about it? Will we be ever watchful, ever careful, and forever prayerful?

This book was extremely helpful in my journey of realizing just how Ha’Satan is trying to advance and defeat us. But it doesn’t leave you hanging. It also shows you in scripture how we can fight and WIN these battles! First, realize who is behind those thoughts of yours. Second, counter those attacks, correctly! Don’t give into them, counter them! Reject them! Realize who they are coming from! Scripture tells us what is the way, the truth, and the life. Are we going to speak (or accept) death, or life? Are we going to give into those thoughts, fears, worries, anxieties, discouraging thoughts,etc? Or will we realize who it is behind them and his reasoning for trying to get us down that path (defeat and destruction), and then take Biblical action on them?

Girls, we ARE IN A WAR! And this war is a fight for your very soul and your very life! Will you let him win, or will you join hands with your God, who has won the battle already, and longs for you to start walking in this victory and stop doubting that He has truly already won! Ha’Satan knows that his time here on earth is limited!! He knows the truth! He knows that he has been defeated already! It is only a matter of time! BUT do you know that? Do you acknowledge that fact? He has no power over your life, unless you give him that power! Are you giving him ground that he has absolutely NO right to have?

Each chapter starts off with a paragraph about “If I were your enemy”. For an example, in the chapter called “Your Focus; Fighting the Real Enemy”, it says “If I were your enemy, I’d disguise myself and manipulate your perspectives so that you’d focus on the wrong culprit—your husband, your friend, your hurt, your finances, anything or anyone except me. Because when you zero in on the most convenient, obvious places to strike back against your problems, you get the impression you’re fighting for something. Even though all you’re really doing is just…fighting. For nothing.” Fervent prayer relies on focus. Focus clears away dead space and clutter.”

On the chapter called “Your Relationships; Uniting in a Common Cause” it starts off with “If I were your enemy, I’d work to create division between you and other Christians, between groups of Christians, anyone with the potential for uniting in battle against me and my plans. I’d keep you operating individually, not seeing your need for the church or tying yourself too closely to its mission. Strength in numbers and unity of purpose…I would not allow things like these to go unchecked.”

Again, another chapter called “Your Purity; Staying Strong in Your Mosty Suspectible Places” starts off with “If I were your enemy, I’d tempt you toward certain sins, making you believe they are basically (even biologically) unavoidable. I’d study your tendencies and proclivities till I learned the precise conditions that make you the most likely to indulge them. And then I’d strike right there. Again and again. Wear you down. Because if I can’t separate you from God forever, I can at least set you at odds with Him for the time being.”

How very true that is! Each chapter deals with identifying the “bigger most common” area’s, and then how you can make your battle plan, once you identify who is behind what is happening. Each physical war is fought specifically and strategically. And so does this war need to be! At the end of each chapter, she gives you a couple pages of just scripture verses to help you pray specifically (and scriptural) about whatever area Ha’Satan is trying to advance in. She encourages you to write these prayers out. Know in what areas need prayer, why they need prayer, and then start praying specifically about them.

Sisters, prayer is POWERFUL! This is the tool to engaging and fighting, Yahweh’s way. I cannot begin to tell you how amazing my prayer time has become…nor how much bolder I have gotten when it comes to doing battle upon my knees! (Note: Something I have learned is, speaking them out loud really helps! It not only keep my focus, but there is just something powerful about it…I don’t know how to explain it, but I’d encourage you to try it! Whether you need to take what I like to call a “war walk” or get up in the middle of the night and go to another room where you aren’t going to disturb your sleeping family members to do this, I would urge you to just try it!! There is something pretty amazing and pretty powerful as you listen to Yhwh speak through you! Not to say just walking with Him, praising Him, thanking Him, and just sharing your heart with Him!)

But it is about time that we believers see him (Ha’Satan) for who he is…a liar, a thief, a destroyer, and murderer…and realize that…HE IS OUT TO DESTROY US!!! He isn’t this stupid, lazy, nice soft and gentle enemy!!!! Satan is wise, extremely diligent, intelligent, and an extremely strategic enemy! And he is YOUR personal enemy! Focus in on him, not the distractions he is trying to get you to focus on, so that you will stop throwing the darts where they rightfully belong! Realize that he knows your weakest points, and he WILL target them. Realize that he does NOT want Yhwh’s will being done in your life, and he IS (not possibly!) going to try to stop it! Stop thinking that he could care less about destroying you…for if that is the case, you have a whole lot more to be concerned about! Yhwh tells us to realize he is your enemy and out to destroy you, because he is YAHSHUA’S enemy! So everything that our God stands for, Ha’Satan will stand against! Everything that Yhwh wants you doing, Ha’Satan is going to try to stop you from accomplishing! No matter what he has to do, do prevent you and convince you otherwise!

And my dear friend, we will never get a break from this war until we are with Him! Never. The battle will rage until he is bound by Yahshua and put in Hell for eternity. The sooner we all understand this, the better off we will be. He isn’t going to stop, just because it is bed time. He isn’t going to stop, just because you are getting tired and worn out. This just means that he will intensify the battle, because he knows your defenses are down! And the closer to victory you get, the more intensely he will fight, because he does NOT want you reaching victory!!! Thank Yhwh for this, because it truly means your victory is coming! Realize that there is no battle too big that our Lord and Saviour does not walk before us in! He is right there! But He does require you to use the weapons and defenses that He gave you, so learn to fight well, using them!

Remember David when he was about to go out again Goliath? Saul tried to send him out with weapons David didn’t know how to use. What was David’s response? No matter how good that armour and sword may have looked and been, he wasn’t used to using them and could not go out in a battle and use something that he had no clue how to use! That would have ensured complete defeat! Did it stop David from learning how to wield a sword and shield? Absolutely not! He eventually learned and went to battle with a sword…and won victory after victory…because he took the time to learn how to use them, and to use them well!

Learn from his life. Scripture gives us the defenses and offenses that we MUST learn how to use! He gives us the wisdom. He gives us the instruction. But it is up to us to learn how to use them, and we must learn to use them well! Will we learn to fight, and will we fight to win? Or will we half-heartily use them, and die in the process? The choice is up to us. Which will it be? Will you sit on your couch and never engage, letting him overtake your life and the lives of those you love, or will you go down upon your knees and engage in this intense battle and not let Ha’Satan get the victory that does not rightfully belong to him? Will you finally tell him enough is enough? I urge you to learn to identify and engage in this battle! The two kingdoms are in a raging war…which side will you take your stand on? For my precious sisters, whether you realize it or not, you will be on one side or the other…there is absolutely no middle ground!! The question isn’t about not being on one or the other. The question is, can Yahshua count on us to be a valiant soldier who will do his duty in this war? Will He find you faithful and steadfast, to the very end?

So would I recommend this book? Yes! Highly so, as I think it’s a subject that we have left untouched for far too long! I for one, plan on giving Ha’Satan the fight of his life! Someone once asked me if I was afraid of living my life in such a manner that he would fight so hard against me? I smiled. My reply went something to the extent of, I wouldn’t dream of wanting to live another type of life! Will living my life dedicated to and for my God mean always being on Ha’Satan’s radar? Yep! Is it easy being in a raging war, 24/7? Not at all. But is it worth it? You better believe it is!!! But I also know that the only way that I can survive it, and thrive in it, is to learn to live my life, down upon my knees! The most defeated and discouraging times I have ever faced, is when I have gotten up. Girls, we desperately need Yhwh’s help! Don’t ever think that you can live this life, without Him!!! For nothing, absolutely NOTHING, is further than the truth! Live each day, dedicated to Him and surrendered to Him.

Yhwh bless.

Posted in Book Review, Challenges, Choices, Godly Daughterhood, Holiness, Intentional Living, Prayer, Temptation, Trusting God | Leave a comment

Are We Preparing?

 photo plan-ie_1.jpgAre We Preparing?

And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” Luke 12:47

This morning as I was reading Luke 12 to the family for our morning devotions, this verse really stuck out to me. He who knew the will of his lord, and prepared not…

It had me pondering it all day…how are we preparing? Practically speaking, how are we preparing? What about spiritually? Have you ever thought about how this verse could apply to our every day lives? What has Yahweh called you to do and be, and are you currently preparing so that you can fulfill His will to the best of your ability? Or do you go on living from day-to-day, without ever really giving the future much thought? So often I hear people say “well, when it happens, it happens”. But I see something totally differently here. I see Yahweh wanting us to know His will for our lives, and He wants us giving attention to the ways He needs us preparing ourselves, so we can complete that perfect will of His. It reminds me of the scripture verse “where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18) Are we a people who have no vision, no plan, just living our day-to-day lives? Or do we realize that He has a purpose and a plan for our lives, we seek His will, and then we work towards that goal? We prepare ourselves so that we can fulfill that vision?

It makes me think of a battle. If they just went to war, with no vision, no plan, no preparations, can you imagine how that battle would fair? It would be horrible! No one just goes into battle and says “well, what happens, will happen!”! So it is in our Christian life. Yahweh wants us to work towards fulfilling His will in our lives. He wants us preparing, so that we can do just that. We have a race that is set out before us. If we don’t prepare ourselves to run that race to the end, and run it strong, we will fail. We won’t make it, atleast not strong!

I mentioned in one of the past articles, that this summer has been a time for me to sit back and really ponder things. How am I already prepared and what are ways that I can be preparing? It has left me pondering, praying, and answering some deep questions concerning my life. What has Yahweh called me to do? How can I, and how am I, fulfilling that? What can I be working on to do a better job at it? And so forth. He isn’t a God who sends us forth unprepared, but at the same time, He wants us doing our part, too.

This verse really made me stop and ponder my life even more in-depth than I had been previously. I mean it makes you stop in your tracks, doesn’t it? We have work to be doing. We are to be about our Father’s business and that means that our lives have to be intentionally lived out!! And that means us sitting down and seriously praying about what Yahweh is calling us to and making a plan about how to get from point A to point B. Look at it practically. We are all called to be a sister, a daughter, a friend. Some a wife and mother, too, if not right now, then in the future. Are you prepared for this roles? In which ways can you be working on to better prepare and fulfill each one?

For myself personally, I have felt for years that He was calling me to one day be on the mission field, for lack of a better word. So not only have I been pondering the list above and the areas that I can be preparing in, but I have also had to give this last one a lot of prayer and thought. I know that now (not later!) is the time to prepare. So how am I preparing myself for this? How am I preparing myself spiritually? Emotionally? Even physically? It made me think about a dear friend who said that for the past 30+ years, he has been convicted of the fact that his body is the temple of God and how if he was going to run this race that was set out before him to run (spreading the gospel), he had to be physically fit. Most walk/run/exercise because they want to simply lose weight or be more fit, with no real purpose other than that. But it really made me think hard about what he said. How could I serve Him, if I wasn’t physically fit to handle the physically demanding lifestyle that often comes with this calling? Keeping physically fit, so that we aren’t easily worn down, is a huge thing when you’re on the field serving Him! We are His Soldiers. Staying fit for His army is a must! I always knew that taking care of our bodies should be important to each of us, but this made me even more cautious of being diligent in this area of my life!

But what about the spiritual aspects of preparing? Are we staying well grounded in the Word? Are we exercising ourselves in the Word? Are we pondering and meditating upon its precepts? Are we hiding His Word deep within our hearts?

One area, which I guess could go along with the spiritual aspect of preparing ourselves, that Yahweh has been teaching me a great deal about, is the power of prayer and learning to fight His way! We are in a spiritual battleground! We are fighting the enemies of darkness, and we can only fight them with spiritual ways, as it’s in “heavenly places”. Are we learning how to battle down upon our knees? I love the phrase “the battle belongs to Yahweh”. It’s so true! We can’t fight spiritual battles, using physical means. It just doesn’t work. So are we learning to recognize the enemies advances within our lives, and are we learning to counter his attacks, Yahweh’s way?

What about the language barriers, for those of us who have this calling upon our lives? This is something that I have struggled with so much, yet this verse reminded me that I can’t give up and I must do all that I can, to prepare to serve Him to the fullest! And breaking down this barrier, is so important! But it takes a lot of sweat, and yes, a lot of tears, too. But it’s worth it all, this much I do know!

What about emotionally? How can we prepare ourselves emotionally? It makes me think of the fruits of the spirits. If we aren’t strengthening ourselves in these fruits, we will easily give into producing Ha’Satan’s fruits, which often (always) involves our emotions. Are we exercising His fruits within our lives? Galatians 5:22-25 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Anointed’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

Practically speaking, ways that we can be thinking about preparing ourselves generally speaking,  is housekeeping, cooking, taking care of little ones, taking care of our families health-wise, learning how to encourage and pray for them, learning to submit and follow, etc etc. The list is endless, but I encourage you to take time to ponder the different roles Yahweh is calling you to or has you in already and how you can better prepare yourself in them or for them. Make a plan and have a strategy, a plan of action that you can take to get there.  For, where there is no vision, the people will perish.

Posted in Challenges, Choices, Godly Daughterhood, Intentional Living, Learning, Life Purpose | 2 Comments

The Life of David

Have you ever thought about the life of David? Reading through the book of Sh’muel (Samuel) has had me really pondering his life a lot. He was the youngest son of eight. He was the least unexpected choice, yet he was Yhwh’s chosen for Israel. I had to smile as I could see his father’s reaction each time he brought forth one of his sons to Sh’muel to see if he was the chosen one of Yhwh. And each time Sh’muel shook his head and told him he was not the one. After seven sons walking before him, Sh’muel finally asked “is this all of them, or do you have another?” Jesse admitted he had a youth, but I can imagine him thinking “surely not him! He’s too young!!” But, he called him from caring for their sheep and Sh’muel knew instantly that David was indeed Yah’s chosen and told Jesse that “this was he who Yhwh had chosen!!” Imagine Jesse’s shocked expression! Or that of his brothers! He was the youngest one!! But Yhwh’s ways are not our own and He surely knew what He desired and needed in the one to be king over His chosen people! And Yhwh had been preparing him, unbeknownst to them, his entire life!!

Then we see Jesse sending him to go check on his brothers in battle. When he got to where the battle was, he heard Goliath’s boastings against Yhwh, making fun of the Israeli’s.

Again we see something profound. David asks what was going on and who this man was? When his brothers heard it, they thought he was being prideful and disobedient and they treated him as one that was totally inferior to themselves. Who was he to even search this matter out? He needed to go home where he could tend the sheep again…where he belonged (or so they thought)! Yet, that isn’t what Yhwh had called him to do.

We see David going to Saul. Again we see Saul telling him he was only a youth, surely he couldn’t do what the whole army couldn’t and/or wouldn’t do! They had fled before Goliath! But it’s interesting to see what happens next.

Remember David’s brother told him he was prideful and thats why he was there. But David knew otherwise. Yhwh had prepared him and he was up for the challenge. He knew it was Yhwh’s will, as Yhwh had indeed prepared him for this.

So he stood before King Saul and told him just how Yhwh had prepared him. He told him about the lion and bear and how Yhwh had shown him how to kill them ad how Yhwh had used his life up to this point. David wasn’t being prideful about it, but just acknowledging how Yhwh had prepared him for this moment and he asked Saul to let him go. Saul understood at this point that Yhwh had indeed prepared and called him to be the one to handle Goliath and told him he could go up against Goliath.

But he still didn’t quite trust the fact that Yhwh had totally prepared David and wanted to send David to battle the way he thought was needed. Which I can understand. I mean, send him up against a giant with only a slingshot and a few stones? He was man enough for the battle, he had obviously been prepared for this moment by Yhwh, but didn’t Yhwh need Saul to help prepare him…even a little bit? Didn’t all soldiers need a sword and shield, too?

And for a minute David did allow Saul to prepare him the way man thought he needed to be prepared. But the problem was, that’s not how Yhwh had prepared him for battle and David began to realize he could not go up against Goliath like this. It had to be Yhwh’s way or no way, as ridiculous as it may have looked, him going with just a slingshot and a few stones! He had to trust Yhwh knew best and that He had given him the wisdom and the complete preparation needed. So he laid sword and shield down, explaining to Saul he couldn’t use something he had not been prepared to use or had proven beforehand. Yhwh had indeed given him all that he needed at that moment and David had to rest in that…and so did Saul. But how often do we baulk at Yhwh’s preparations, thinking we know best?

As I ponder this whole encounter, it has been so encouraging to me. Yhwh does prepare us, and prepares us in the exact way we need to be prepared in, even tho at the time, we or others, may not understand this. But this is where faith in a loving God comes into play. Will we trust Yhwh that He knows what is best and that He will and that He does, prepare us and those around us, in the exact way, shape and form that is needed?

My precious sisters, He’ll give us the wisdom we need, when we need it, if we seek Him and trust Him and His ways! Yes, like David I’m sure we will go through a lion and bear experience and wonder at the time why on earth we needed to go through that! But Yhwh knows exactly what He is calling us to walk through and in what ways we will need to be prepared in, as well as strengthened in. I’m sure at the moment of that lion and bear coming to attack him, he had no idea what the outcome would be! Yet, we can later see it was that very experience that Yhwh used to show David He had prepared him to handle it and David’s faith was obviously very much strengthened in Yhwh. He had no doubts that Yhwh would once again deliver him (Goliath this time) into his hands…and deliver him he did!

So as we go through life, lets embrace Yhwh’s preparations (what He brings us through) and trust that He knows best and what is needed. Praise Him for those trials, girls! Acknowledge Him and His ways. Trust Him with your whole heart and when He asks you to do something that you just don’t understand, be willing to trust Him in it!! Face each Goliath in your life with a faith (trust) in a loving and merciful God who will deliver His own! And realize, He cares more about where your heart is, than anything else. Like He told David, He looks on the inward, we the outward. He sees the whole picture, we see such a minute part of it. Give Him your all, walk before Him with an upright and perfect heart, and let Yhwh use you the way He needs to…and watch how beautiful the life of your story turns out! For His ways ARE perfect! And Goliath was slain and the Israelites were delivered! HaleluYah!!!

Posted in Godly Daughterhood | Leave a comment

Legacy of a Grandmother

Hello girls,

Do y’all have a sweet friendship with your family – close and distant? I have been feeling a greater and greater importance for family, and our legacy, in the past couple of years. Besides my blood family, we have had many adopted family members, especially grandparents. They each came into our lives in different ways and times, but I’d like to share a testimony about my adopted Gramps and Grams.

Many years ago…back in 2000 or so… an older couple called my parents and asked if some of my older brothers could go help them with some handyman stuff at their house. They came over for sabbath and met our family, my brothers helped them and then we didn’t see them much at all for years that I can remember. They later called again to ask if we could go help them again. We enjoyed spending time with them and about eight years ago they asked my dad and mom if it would be okay if they adopted us children as their own grandchildren and my abba and ima as their own children. We happily said “yes!” and “named” them “Grams” and “Gramps”. :-)

Several years later, I believed that Yahweh wanted me to begin calling them. I began trying to follow through with that calling and we had many sweet conversations. Over time, as our relationship furthered, mostly only through the phone calls, I saw a deeper sight of their sweetness and how sweet and beautiful my relationship with them was becoming. I grew deeper in love with both of them and they blessed me richly with their love and godly wisdom. It was wonderful having grandparents who taught me to follow Yahweh, to become a virtuous and fruitful homemaker and to love and serve my family. Grahams often encouraged me when I talked with her, asking about my latest sewing project and how it was going along, then encouraging me to continue learning to quilt, garden, can, be a good homemaker and love being a keeper at home and Yahweh’s child.

I remember one night, she shared with me how grateful she was that I had been calling them as I did and how it seemed that I was one of the few who called them to talk with them. My eyes filled with tears as her abundantly thankful words flowed out heartily. I couldn’t help but feel glad that it touched them so much, but also greatly sad that I hadn’t been  putting more effort into calling them frequently. Knowing that it touched them so much to be talked to and listened to…I wonder how much it would bless others to be called and listened to, and showed that they were thought of and cared for. I think that, often times, the elderly people in our lives are put to the side and behind our interests and priorities. We don’t seem to realize that they care about things also and want to be showed love and respect, or realize that it means so much to them to see that we are interested in them and their feelings as well as learning from them. Elderly people are generally slower…they don’t always make “sense” and don’t seem to even show interest in joining our conversations sometimes…until we show true interest in hearing them. Let’s take care and attention to showing elderly people that we love them, ask them questions, showing interest in them as a person. Maybe make a homemade gift for them and send them a bible. Tell them we love them and share the love of Yahweh with them as we have opportunity. Yahweh opens doors, amazingly, through love and kindness.

It was truly interesting to hear about Graham’s childhood when I asked her to tell me about it. I was blessed that she enjoyed telling me as she did!!! We had several conversations about her growing up years. It was so different, and unique. No electricity, wheel-barreling water to their farm in Texas from the nearest train depot with her grandfather (who along with her grandmother had raised her), having only had several pairs of clothing at a time-one of which was her church dress and was to hardly ever be worn besides then, having a quilt-frame that her grandfather had made for her grandmother and her that was able to be pulled down and worked on during the day, then raised back out of the way again in the evening. They were very interesting to hear about! Gramps loved to tell us about his journey in life from working in his goat ranch in Texas to moving to Israel after they were recognized as a country around the world, getting to Israel. He enjoyed telling us stories from his younger years as well as when he was in Israel building a ranch. As he grew older and his short-term memory faded I was blessed in hearing the story of his growing up in life from the thriving business he had on his ranch to going to Israel many times in a row. Maybe the elderly person in your life enjoys talking about their past or not. Either way, show them you love them and are interested in their interests and cares. Be an attentive hearer. I found a letter, to no one in particular (it was more like she had found a paper and jotted down her thoughts) written on a piece of printed paper and then apparently she’d tucked them into her bible…later to to be found by me after she died. She wrote it several years ago. Her words on that piece of paper were so touching. She wrote about so often when we get old, we are not listened to. We call people and they chatter on and on then hang up saying they didn’t have time to talk…and listen. It meant so much to her to be listened to and loved, but it seems in this present generation, young people don’t really put time aside for elderly people. I agree; most people don’t seem to have time for the elderly. One thing that she told me was that she was so upset at times was when she’d be having a conversation with someone and they’d say they needed to go because another person was calling them. She missed just sitting and talking with a person, or talking as they weeded the garden and such, without distractions of electronics. We really ought to be careful not to hurt those we are sharing time with by esteeming them as lower than those around us.

Another time on one of their anniversaries, Grahams was probably in the most delighted and giddy state that I’ve ever heard her in, as we talked on the phone. Grams delighted in being a homemaker for her husband. She was so joyful and pleased as she informed me of her and Gramps’ previous evening and how nice it was. They’d been sitting in their rockers on the front porch when she asked Gramps where he wanted to go for their anniversary. (They hardly ever left the house and were on a strict diet so going out to eat was a rarity.) She told me, delightedly, that Gramps had said that he would like to just sit on their front porch by the wood stove talking with her and that she’d made their place feel so much like home that he didn’t want to go anywhere else. She was so happy about that!!!

Grams and Gramps have both died but Grams’ legacy is still with me. She loved and encouraged me heartily to become a fruitful homemaker, to enjoy gardening, farming, canning and sewing, to love babies and be efficient. I was incredibly blessed to be Graham’s granddaughter. Having a grandmother that encouraged me to love Yahweh, become a virtuous woman, and do what pleases Him for me to do, blessed me beyond words. She was a precious blessing that I believe I would never have gotten to know had I not made it a point to. Thanks to Yahweh, I was greatly encouraged to love them and call them frequently. Through those conversations, a sweet relationship was built and opened my eyes to seeing that my adopted grandparents and elderly people were so precious.  Precious sister, do you know elderly people, especially your grandparents, whom you can bless with letters, phone calls, gifts, and such to let them know that they are a precious person and well worth time and love in your eyes? Listen to them, share Yahweh’s love with them and bless them with sweet love! We really do not know how we may bless them and point them to Yahweh.

I miss my adopted grahams and gramps. I miss calling Grahams and enjoying conversations with her, hearing her delighted laugh when I told her funny little things my nieces and nephews said and did. I miss hearing her still slightly southern drawl, and worn, yet sweet voice as she spoke. I miss being able to go up north occasionally to help her for a few hours or a day, giving her hugs, holding her hand as we were on our way to our house so she could recover from her hospital stay and painful heart, miss singing and playing my violin for Gramps, hearing him tell me the same story over and over again sometimes finishing with adding his reminder “what you put into life, you get back out. If you are willing to work hard at life, you’ll get some back, but if you aren’t willing to put work into life, you aren’t gonna get much out’a it!!”, I miss his good humor and laughter. I miss them. But one day, we will be reunited, Yahweh-willing, and will be able to serve Yahweh together, in new bodies. Grams won’t be in physical pain then and Gramps won’t struggle with his memory. Yes…sometimes I miss them dearly and burst into tears, but I am so blessed to carry their legacy forward. Even though I am not their granddaughter by blood, I will still be able to take the sweet memories, lessons learned through them and words of wisdom they gave me and use them in life to bless others.

“…weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalms 30:5b

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Blessings;
Sarah

Posted in Family, Friends, Godly Daughterhood, In loving memory | Leave a comment

Why have you been so quiet????

“Why have I been so quiet????”

Well…honestly…I’ve had an extremely busy spring, summer, and fall. Well, my family would say a busy entire year, and now that I think about it, I guess I have! :-) But truthfully, the quiet hasn’t really been because I have been busy, although that is certainly a part of it.

Earlier this year Yahweh really convicted me that I needed to get my priorities straightened out. My prayer life wasn’t what it needed to be, I wasn’t spending nearly the amount of time serving those closest to me, that I wanted to, not to mention a list that could go on and on. I felt like although I was writing on here a lot, I was neglecting those closest to me. Not just in time that I could have been spending trying to serve and encourage them, but also I realized I had allowed my personal writing and encouraging others to slack and I really felt convicted that I needed to get things put more in the balance.

Don’t get me wrong. I love writing here. I love sharing with y’all. But I never want electronics to take the place of or become more important than those He’s put in my life, personally. Yes, the people around me. I looked around at all my siblings, nieces and nephews, friends, and others who I’ve kind of adopted over the years, and I knew I needed to refocus where I spent my energy. I thought of those who are older and dear to me, who I cherished so much, and who also needed encouragement once in awhile…who are now passed away. How often do we wish we made that phone call when Yahweh placed them on our hearts, or wished we’d stopped and taken the time to write that letter, or stop in for a cup of tea…only to never get that chance because we neglected it when we had it? I didn’t want to have the same regrets with those still here.

I look around me at my ever growing family, and I realize that the time is slipping past me. I want to cherish each minute that I can get. I want to jump on the opportunities to serve, encourage and pray with and for them. If that means cuddling on the couch with a one year old, or taking a starlight walk with a group of them, or simply sitting at the table and coloring with them, I want to take the time to do just that. If it means folding laundry, sweaping floors, washing dirty dishes, to help another, I want to do that. I want to be there. I want to take the time while I still have it. I want to be available for that friend who needs someone to talk to, or even cry on.

I know right now Yahweh has me serving in different places, a lot. But that only means that I need to be more guarded with how I spend my time and where I place my energy on, more than ever. If I have the choice of getting on my computer or only having the time to sit at my desk and handwrite that letter to a family member or friend who is on my heart, than I plan on sitting at my desk, pen in hand. :-) If I have the choice of sitting on the couch reading to my nieces and nephews or other little ones, or writing an article, I think you know what my choice will be! It’s not to say I won’t ever write on here. I’m not really sure where Yahweh is going to have me go with this blog. But I wanted you to know why I’ve been so quiet and to let you know I honestly do not know when or how often I will be writing. I just want to serve Him where and how He has me serving Him…but also making sure I don’t leave anything undone. And with taking a step back and refocusing, seeking His will on what and where He wants me to focus my attention on right now, I felt like and feel like, I need to take a break from writing. To everything there is a season, and right now, I just don’t feel the season is with writing on here. (although you may still be hearing from some of my sisters! ;o)

I’ve also been busy taking a personal inventory of my own life and heart, taking a step back and really trying to examine where I am and where I need to be. What does Yahweh need me working on, preparing for, etc? I want to be all Yahweh has for me…I want to be the servant of Yahshua that I need to be…I want my faith strong enough so I can encourage those around me. As I look around at the world, I realize all the more how strong our faith in Messiah, needs to be! We need to be strong in Him. We need to know His word. We need to know how to stand, and how to stand strong.

On top of that, I’ve been thinking and praying a lot about my future. In what ways do I need to be preparing myself (emotionally, spiritually, financially and physically) for my future husband and the ministry that Yahweh has instore for us? What ways do I need to grow in? To prepare in? To learn how to do? Both in character, but also in every day type of things? The older I become, the more I realize there is so much I don’t know how to do, but long to! Just to name one that I am learning a lot about right now is essential oils and how they can bless my family! Joining Young Living, although I was at first pretty sceptical because of cost and the fact that I had tried other cheaper oils with no success at all, has been such a blessing! Not only in the health benefits to my own life, but watching them really help and bless my family, has been such a huge inspiration to learn all the more (I’d love to share here, but due to FDA regulations, if you’d like to learn more about how they’ve been a huge help and blessing, I need to ask you to please email me! I would love to share with you what a tremendous blessing they’ve been with you!).

But on that note, I should close this off for now. My precious readers, I do ask for patience as I seek to follow Him. I honestly don’t know where this blog will be or is going. I just feel a thirsting within my own heart and soul to dig deeper, to pray more, to serve more, and to become all the more that He has for me…so that I can be faithful in the things He has and is, calling me to. And this may mean a lot less time for writing and sharing on here than previously. Please don’t feel like you aren’t important. I love you all and I am so thankful for all the faithful readers He’s blessed me with over the years! You are all precious in my sight and His and I pray that He will richly bless you all as you strive to become all that He has for you, too!

So until next time…

Posted in Intentional Living, Q and A's, Website | 2 Comments