Archives for September 2013

Prayer & Praise Monday – September 30, 2013

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Good morning, Prayer Warriors!

We missed getting the prayer requests up last week and so this week we’ve got a TON! We praise God for the opportunity to lift these up to the throne of God’s grace together this week. I know i say it a lot, but it truly is a privilege to get to pray and to be a part of God’s work in the lives of our friends and customers.

Here is a quick word from the Psalms to focus our hearts today:

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
(Psalm 19:14 NIV)

Let’s begin with a praise:

• Praise the Lord for His miracle gifts of Cole and Ramona! Cole is pictured in the top photos and Ramona is in the bottom two photos:

ColeandRamona

These beautiful, tiny twins were born to Molly’s cousin, Amanda, and her husband, Chris. They came far earlier than their due date – about 9 weeks early, actually! Weighing in at just over 2 pounds each, there was potential for many, many complications! God, in His mercy, delivered two very healthy babies who have been gaining weight and strength over the past week and are making great progress! Please pray for Amanda’s healing and for both Amanda and Chris as they juggle home life and their long visits in the NICU as they wait for the babies to come home.

• And another BIG praise from Karen, who we’ve been praying for while she’s been on her mission trip to Tanzania. She returned last week and just emailed me today with such an encouraging report. I was going to summarize, but I think it is best said in Karen’s own words. Skim if you need to, but I think you will be blessed by hearing how God used your prayers to impact Karen and the amazing women of Africa:

Your prayers were felt the entire time I was in Africa but oh how His power filled me the day of the Women’s Seminar.  God woke me up at 3 am and I prayed straight for 3 hours – then slipped back to sleep for an hour and then leaped out of bed ready to go.  I spoke in the morning and shared my story of not being able to have children and how God healed the hurt in my heart by calling me to pray for the babies of Babyline.  This was in a small and very poor village called Kamala.  To everyone’s surprise a small group of Muslin women who have never attended any function with Hope of the Nations arrived and sat on the front two rows.  I could see their eyes glued to me and one even openly wept when I spoke of my feelings of shame and hurt for not having a child. In their culture not having children is like being cursed and they had never heard of the God who can comfort and bring meaning to a woman who never has a child.  After I spoke, I gave an invitation to come forward and pray and be prayed over and two thirds of the women attending rushed to the front.  In Africa when we pray – everyone prays out loud at the same time.  It is so moving and there I was surrounded by women praying, weeping and holding up their hands to God.  Next Happiness, the woman interpreting for me invited women to come forward and share what they received from my talk.  Several spoke about the wonder of praying for their children.  One woman who looked ready to deliver any minute gave a passionate call to all of the other women to pray for their children.  Another shared her inability to have children and now was filled with hope that God could use her too in some special way.  I am in awe of these women, they have the greatest faith in God and I know that in response to this invitation from the Spirit to pray for their children there will be no stopping them. My talk naturally led into the sharing of the gospel for as children are “a” gift from God, which means it is only one of many gifts and in my case He chose not to bless me with that gift but Jesus is the one gift everyone can receive.  My Mom was to speak during the afternoon and I wondered if we should reverse our speeches but God impressed on us to stay with our first choice.  It turned out that the Muslin women all had to leave at noon to attend a funeral and so God ensured that they would hear the “gift” of salvation in Jesus.

Karen ended her email with, “I told them of you and your prayers for them and they were deeply touched.  Many of them asked me to take their love back to you and let you know that they are praying for their “sisters” in America.”

How amazing is that?? As someone who has (thus far) not had the privilege of doing much international traveling, I love being reminded of how small God’s world is when we are a part of the body of Christ. Let’s pray this week for the African believers that were encouraged by Karen’s talk and also pray for those African women who don’t know Christ or who may have just made a decision to follow Him for the first time. To God be ALL the glory for His work in Tanzania these past few weeks!

• We have a new request for prayer from a customer named Heidi. Heidi attended the Choose Joy event we got to be a part of back in February of this year. Heidi and her husband have struggled through the challenges of infertility and have been brought to a point where they are both in the process of adoption, as well as pregnant with their first child! I’ll let Heidi share her request in her own words:

Please pray that my husband, Alan, and I are completely surrendered to the plan of our good God and that we don’t fall prey to the temptations of worry and bitterness as we seek to adopt our foster son whose mother is still actively working to get him back (but unlikely to succeed), and plan for the January birth of our daughter who has Down Syndrome per an amniocentesis. Please ask God to fully heal my husband who had shoulder surgery last week, and for God to provide for our financial needs as my husband is self-employed and unlikely will be able to work until mid-December. Lastly, ask God to please resolve the uncertainty of my own current job and either provide stability where I am or a new job who will be understanding about my pregnancy.

• Please continue to pray with me for Meredith for complete deliverance- mentally, emotionally, and physically. You may recall that Meredith has Lyme disease and has had heart tissue damage as a result. Our God is the Great Physician! Let’s continue to pray for complete healing for Meredith as she battles this aggressive disease.

• Throne of Grace’s, Tami, would love prayer as she has gone back to work part-time in the computer gaming industry where she was formerly employed before coming to work for Throne of Grace. The company she worked for as a sound design engineer needs her help for a few months in order to finish up the game she was working on before she quit. You may not know this, but Tami is a VERY busy lady! She has one of the biggest servant hearts I know and gives generously of her time and energy for work at church, to care for the needs of friends and family, and of course, in her (invaluable!) work for Throne of Grace. Please pray that Tami will be able to find the time and energy to fit in the extra hours of work and trust the Lord’s wisdom for balancing it all. She will still be working for ToG, but not quite as many hours a week, so please also pray that we will trust the Lord to faithfully provide for ToG’s needs, as well – especially since we have just entered out BUSIEST season of the year! 🙂

• Finally, we have an update to a prayer request we first posted back in July of this year for Mo and his wife, Krissy. You can read more background HERE. Mo is 31 and has follicular lymphoma, a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After completing his medical residency at Duke, Mo was set to become a family physician there. Now, he is beginning chemotherapy instead. Please pray that the Lord will grant success to Mo’s doctors and that the cancer will be eradicated. Pray that God will use this battle to draw Mo and Krissy closer to Him. Pray that Mo will have the strength and energy needed to both fight the cancer and endure.

Phew! I’m sure thankful we have a BIG God, because there are some big needs there! I’m rejoicing in our great praises this week and holding on to the promises of Scripture as I pray over these requests.

If you are praying with us this week, or even want to leave a special prayer for any of these needs, would you leave a comment below?? I know it would be a great blessing to these individuals and families…

By His Grace and for His Glory,molly

It’s a Girl Thing

Last month my sister had a sweet baby girl named Caylah.  As I write this I am on board a flight to Ohio to go meet my niece for the very first time!  Yay!  I cannot wait to hold her!  Isn’t she adorable?

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My sister also has a 2 year old son named Jayden.  Cole cannot wait to see and play with his cousin this week!  I love living in California, but it is difficult being so far away from family.  Thankfully we have been able to make it back to Ohio at least two times a year.

Here is a pic of the two them last year during our visit:

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In preparing to go on our trip, I wanted to make a special gift for my new niece.  It is so fun to have a little girl in the family!  I called my sister and asked her what she needed.  She mentioned having lots of elastic headbands for Caylah and needing a way to store them.  I decided to make something functional as well as decorative (shocking, right?  I will decorate anything….seriously).

I started with a basic 8×10 canvas.  You can buy these for a couple bucks at your local craft store.

Its a Girl Thing_3

I then took some light blue and green acrylic paint and swiped them across the canvas with a sponge brush (get those brushes when Michaels has them 25/$1.00).

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I added a little bit of water to help blend the colors.  I just kept playing with it until I came up with the look I wanted.

Next came picking out some paper.  When my sister had Jayden, she decorated the nursery in an “under the sea” theme and now Caylah is in that room.  I had purchased some paper for a banner I made for Jayden’s shower 2 years ago and had some leftover which was perfect to use now (and girly actually!).

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I used two strips of the paper and used Modge Podge to adhere them (don’t you love how the dolphin and octopus have bows?  Too cute!)

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I then took some coordinating pink paper and used my Cricut to cut out the letters of Caylah’s name.  I used my Under the Sea Cricut cartridge which has an awesome nautical font…the perfect touch!  I love how the pink “pops” off of the blue and green background!

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After adhering everything down with Modge Podge, I did 3 more coats on top of everything.  The bottle said to add coats every 15- 20 minutes.  I then let it dry for a couple hours.  The Modge Podge sealed everything down and gave it a nice finish.

Its a Girl Thing_8

When everything was dry I went through my ribbon stash and found some cute ribbons that matched well.  I hot glued one pattern around the outside of the canvas.  This framed the piece and also hid some of my drip marks :).

In order to accommodate all of Caylah’s headbands, I used three small screw hooks on the bottom.  I figured she will also collect barrettes and bows when she gets more hair, so I added some long strands of ribbon in 2 different patterns for them and hot glued them to the back.

Its a Girl Thing_9

I love the finished product!  I will recommend to Danielle that she use Command Adhesive Velcro to adhere it to the wall…that stuff is amazing.  The nice thing too, is that the canvas is super light, so if (when) Caylah decides to tug on those ribbons, it won’t hurt her if it falls down (it’ll just make a mess of hair things for my sister to clean up!).

I really hope that my sister likes my gift!  I am so proud of my sister and I love her so much.  She went through a lot to have children and I am so thankful to see how God has blessed her and her husband with 2 beautiful children!

Have you had to come up with a baby gift recently?  Do you do homemade or is a gift card more your style?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

deb

Update:

Here’s a pic of me giving Danielle her gift!  Love my sis!

Its a Girl Thing_10

Blessed Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Hello Throne of Grace friends! Our blog has been hijacked today by my super fun, super godly, super real friend and sister-in-Christ, Amanda. I’m going to give her a quick introduction and then let you get to know Amanda for yourself! I know you’ll love her!

Amanda and I go WAAAY back to the elementary school days…well, maybe even before that! We grew up in the same little church in southern California and have fun memories of church musicals and vacation Bible school. Then we ended up getting to be roommates in college for two years. I love that we had that time together as young adults as we were both so challenged in our faith and grew so much in those days. Here is a photo of Amanda and I and our other 2 college roomates – Josie and Becky. Amanda is the one on the far right:

photo of LSM roommates

Amanda calls herself an “Amateur Woman”, as opposed to a “Professional Woman”, which I love. It perfectly describes the way she lives life without pretenses for the love of life itself! Amanda has married to her college sweetheart – yes, I got to witness the relationship from its inception! – for the past 13 years. They live in Irvine, California with their two sweet and beautiful daughters, ages 9 1/2 and 6. Amanda is a solid Bible teacher, freelance writer, former MOPS coordinator, creative seamstress, fantastic cook, and has recently added encouraging speaker to women’s groups to her long list of useful skills. I could keep going but I’d better let Amanda take over…Enjoy!

Blessed Between a Rock and a Hard Place

The place on earth where I am happiest is a shallow stretch of the Big Sur river adjacent to river site 127. I lie in my inflatable boat in 12 inches of slowly-flowing water, a damp paperback in my hand, a cold drink tucked against one corner of the boat. The sycamores and redwoods are my walls and archways. The water on the stones is my music. The blue sky is my roof.

On our annual late-summer camping trip, I make it a point to get into my boat and find a sunny spot on the river as soon as we have camp set up. Sometimes the kids play around me. Sometimes they take off with their daddy for the rapids up the gorge, and float past me, bound for adventures downstream.

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A few weeks ago, you could have found me in my boat in the late afternoon, drifting slowly; no need to tie my boat to a tree as in year’s former, because the drought has lowered the water level. Late in the day, sunshine is scarce on the river, so I cherish the moments when I drift into a warm place, and hope I stick. One afternoon, after feeling a bit shivery as I floated through the shadows, I ran aground in just such a place. I took care to hold very still so as not to dislodge myself. I was happy, but a precarious kind of happiness, knowing all the time that one false move could send me downriver.
Five minutes into this delicate bliss, my band of merry boaters came loudly toward me: Jeff, our two girls, and our 10-year old friend Oceana. Oce was ahead of the others.

“Don’t touch me!” I called out. “Nobody come near me! I am finally in the perfect sunny spot and I don’t want to move.” Oce looked at my curiously. Then came Sophia, my eldest. “Don’t touch me! Don’t dislodge me,” I screeched as she held out her hands to me. Again, a curious look, slightly wounded. Down went the rest of the family. Peace was again restored to the river.

About 15 minutes later, the sun shifted and I began to shiver. So I lifted my head to get up and realized something. I was totally and completely wedged in my spot. On the downriver side of my raft, I was hemmed in by a rock and two big logs, forming a triangle-shaped dam. No matter how I had wiggled, no matter which of the kids had bumped into me, I wasn’t going anywhere. No wonder the kids were looking at me funny.

Had I ever so much as lifted my head out of the bottom of the boat, I would have seen this, and felt secure. And I would have received the disruption of my family with open arms.

What a fascinating metaphor. How often do I become reactive and irrational because I let fear or insecurity rule over me?

* My husband makes a thoughtless remark (simply because he’s distracted, trying to be funny, or just being, well, male), and I allow myself to question his affection and devotion.

* A friend fails to return a phone call and I imagine ill will on her behalf and fear the loss of the friendship.

* A week of high demands from my kids and I begin to imagine myself a slave, a drudge, a woman with no sense of self, no life of her own. The classic martyr.

* A flash of doubt runs through my mind and I fear the loss of my faith, and disqualification from my life work and ministry.

Were I to lift my head in any of these situations — look at my Father, see the Big Picture of my life — I would see that I am wedged tightly in a dam of goodness. It is built of solid stones and strong timbers.

My husband chose me and will keep his vows.  I have solid friendships with safe women, not perfect, but built on the wise principles of the Bible, the best relationship manual there is. I am a competent, not perfect, mother, and my life is full and rich with mission and purpose both in the walls of my house and outside of them. And running under all of it is the strength of the faith handed to me by generations, which I’ve embraced since I was a little child. And under that, the love of God, which was mine before I breathed my first breath. He has promised nothing will shake it. He is the Rock I am blessed to be standing on, hemmed in by His love, goodness, and wisdom.

How much less reactive, how much kinder and happier I would be if I remembered how secure I truly am, and stopped treating small disruptions like earthquakes. This morning, I am tired. We are home from vacation and there is no more river to lie in. My girls had a sleepover last night during which the favored game was Musical Beds. There will be a lot of demands today, probably tears, definitely reactivity. I hope I manage it well.

So I lift my head today and look up. I say “Thank you, Father, for making me secure. Hem me in on all sides.”

Wow! Thanks, Amanda! I definitely needed to hear that today! I hope you all were as blessed as I was. Let’s pray together that the Lord will give us His eyes to see the places where we feel precarious, and instead see how we are “stuck” in Him!

If you enjoyed Amanda’s devotion today, you can find her blog, Scraps of Soul, HERE. If you have the time, be sure to check out one of my very favorite posts she’s written, called In Defense of Martha, where Amanda brings a fresh perspective on the Mary and Martha story from Luke, chapter 10.

As I mentioned, she also does speaking engagements in the southern California area. She might be perfect for your next MOPS or women’s event. You can contact Amanda through her blog, or contact me if you’d like a list of her Fall speaking dates.

Blessings,molly