Tuesday, May 21, 2019

When You've Made a Mistake~ The Mercy of Redemption

This winter I made a mistake. I noticed two rabbits for sale on a community yard sale group and felt sorry for them. Feeling sorry for them wasn't the bad part. The bad part was that I decided to take them in and care for them. When we picked them up, the first thought that struck me was how large they were--they looked so small in the picture! The rabbits (intended as meat rabbits) were literally puppy-sized and very "cozy" in the regular size cage that I intended to house them in until they could be outside in a hutch. 


One of our bunnies exploring the hay bin while I cleaned her cage this past winter :-)

I brought them home and realized my mistake. I hadn't strongly prayed about taking these rabbits in and now I found myself in a peculiar situation. The rabbits didn't fit in the cage that I had for them; they were huge--and they were mine. 


It was winter when I took them in; they stayed eventually in a cage in my mudroom and were a huge hassle to take care of. I was frustrated with myself. In the middle of homeschooling and all of the other responsibilities that I have, this was not what I needed-- Two large meat rabbits whose cage needed to be cleaned every few days and who would eventually (very soon) need a larger space. And one was nippy (they had been kept in a dark shed and not handled very much at all). I separated the rabbits and acquired a second cage. This was a little better, but not very much. 

I was frustrated with myself. I hadn't really prayed about the decision; I felt like the rabbits were distracting me away from time with my children, and they obviously were not small pets who could be easily kept in a guinea pig cage. I knew in my heart that I had made the wrong decision and was now facing the bleak and "depressing" consequences for it. 

So I waffled back and forth about what to do. If I kept them, they would be a huge amount of work and time commitment. I could give them away. I could rid myself of the responsibility. My brother-in-law works for an Amish family doing construction and they were willing to take the rabbits off of my hands. I strongly considered it. And I almost took this course of action. 

But then the Lord spoke to me. I felt uncomfortable giving the rabbits away. The feeling grew and grew in my spirit. I had made the commitment, taken the step of saying that I would take care of the rabbits--I had given my word in front of my children. I had taken responsibility, as wrong and as foolish as that may have been. 

I believed that the Lord was urging me to follow through on my decision. He was speaking to me, softening my heart--it was better to show my children that even though I had made the wrong decision in taking the rabbits in, that I would be faithful in caring for them since I had said that I would--it was better to keep my word, even to my own hurt and inconvenience. 

After I made this decision, the day after--one of my sisters walked in and said (along these lines), "Bekki; I want to talk to you about the rabbits; I think that you should keep them!" I explained to her that I had decided to keep them --and her words confirmed the conviction that I felt the day before. She had sensed from the Lord what I had sensed. 

It was such a freeing feeling. Instead of getting rid of the inconvenience, I embraced it. The Lord gave me a love for the rabbits and a desire to take care of them that had not been there before. My frustration was replaced with His peace. I realized that I could involve my children in caring for the rabbits and in loving them. I could show my children that we follow through on our word; that we keep our promises, that we care for what we said that we would care for. It was an opportunity to teach them. 

My children help me to clean their cages and to feed them, change their water, and to give them snacks of carrots and lettuce. They help me to put them in at night. It has been an opportunity to teach my young children responsibility and care for the Lord's creation. 

The Lord transformed a foolish mistake based on the feeling of the moment into a redemptive situation. As soon as it was spring, we built a structure for the bunnies outside--my children and my nephew helped to dig the huge trench (the wire had to be buried 2 feet deep because of predators --we live in the country) and to build the structure. The bunnies are so happy to be in a big space; and I know such a feeling of joy in obeying the Lord in following through on my decision. Almost every day my daughter Debbie wakes up earlier than her brother and lets the bunnies out of their hutches into their run and helps me to feed and water them. My son Elisha gives them their lettuce and carrot snacks and both children help me to clean the rabbit's cages. 

I was reminded through this situation that we live in a throw-away culture. If something doesn't work out or if we think that we made a mistake, we abandon it. We give up. We start fresh without any thought for redemption of what seems lost. 

When a wrong decision is made, we evade the consequences; we run away instead of dealing with them. 

Would it have been wrong for me to give the rabbits away when I realized what a huge responsibility they were? For me, it would have been--perhaps for someone else, it would not. But for me, as I believed God was speaking to me, it would have been the easy way, but I would have faced a second regret. 

We live in a society that embraces throwing things away. The abortion issue is a devastating example of this. 

People make mistakes--they sin--and then they try to rid themselves of the consequences, sometimes out of ignorance, sometimes out of blatant selfishness, sometimes because they don't have Christ and don't know how to handle a desperate, seemingly-confining and embarrassing situation. 

As Christians, we have the answer to this problem. 

The answer is Jesus Christ, the Author of redemption. The answer is His Word, that Word which urges us to follow through on our word, to face the consequences of our sins or foolish decisions, to offer Him the broken pieces of our lives and see what He does with them and how He redeems them for good. 

We may be stuck in a difficult situation because of our choices. But the Lord is merciful. We see this in David's life, especially in regards to his horrific sin with Bathsheba. 

David suffered agonizing consequences for that sin, but the Lord brought good--ultimately--from it. Not from David ignoring his sin or trying to push it under the rug or by justifying it, but only through heartfelt, sincere repentance and turning from the ugly choices that he had made. 

The Lord is merciful. He can redeem awful, devastating situations in our lives and bring beauty for ashes--when we submit to Him--when we repent and turn and cry out to him. He did it for the nation of Israel; He will do it for us when the repentance is real. 

In whatever situation you are facing in your life because of choices that you have made--poor choices, sinful choices--turn to God--not to the world's way of handling things--abandoning ship, justifying our actions, selfishly walking all over everyone and everything that gets in our way, but to God--the God of forgiveness and redemption. And in crying out to Him, mercy will come and the beauty of what He restores. 



It will never erase the sin, or the foolish act--but it will cover it with the mercy of redemption. 








You might find me on these link-ups:

Inspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomRaising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story,  Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdayGood Morning Mondays,  Counting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridayRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayCoffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog PartyFabulous Warm Heart PartyOh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday LinkupWriter WednesdayTea and Word

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Welcome Spring! And An Update :-)

Well . . . it seems as though spring has finally arrived here in Wisconsin. :-) We had a very long, cold winter this year. But I am again reminded of how the Lord refreshes and renews the earth; even after the harshest of winters--what a mighty and merciful God we serve!




We took in a wounded pheasant this year. She had to stay inside during some of the coldest weeks of winter (we had a polar vortex this year with temperatures in the negatives and winds chills up to -50). Here she is below in her cozy house awaiting spring's arrival! :-) She was so excited that she has been laying eggs lately! :-) I've read that they are rich and high in protein, so maybe my husband will be getting an omelet ;-). 



 She is a sweet, sweet bird who talks back (in a good way! ;-)) with a kind of cooing noise when you go near her cage. It seems like we will be keeping her since her wing still hangs down a little and building her a bigger enclosure outside. She even has a male friend who comes to visit!!:-) He wears cologne and swaggers (haha; just kidding about the cologne :-)). 


Our geraniums came inside this fall and have been quietly  sitting in the hallway upstairs. I love this reminder to me of life, even through the bleak days of winter. Soon, they can go back outside, too. 





This is the picture that my niece drew for our ministry newsletter :-). For those of you who aren't familiar with our ministry or why we came here to Wisconsin, you can read more about it HERE

If you would like to be on our mailing or email prayer list for updates, let me know below (with your e-mail address) or send me a message through the box on this blog and I'll add you to the list. :-) 


Our home in the snow . . . 



Cheerful visitors this past winter . . . :-)




One of our rabbits climbed into the hay bin while I was cleaning out her cage. :-) We'll be building an enclosure for her and her sister outside soon, too . . . 


The arrival of spring means that I can burn again! :-) Hopefully, I won't accidentally burn our field down again like I did last year . . . haha; I seem to have a proclivity for doing these kinds of things!!


My 10-year-old nephew is always helping me in different ways outside; here he is chopping a tree limb that fell this past winter . . . :-) He and my niece are such a blessing to me . . . 


A sweet deer in the field across from our home . . . 


And here are a couple recommendations of things that I've/we've been enjoying lately--my husband gave me this CD for Valentine's Day this past February. Those of you who know me well know that one of my favorite movies is a Christian film called Old Fashioned (you can read my review for that film HERE). 

The CD --oh; I love it! It so perfectly compliments the film and was such a precious gift. If you have never seen Old Fashioned and would like to, you may find it HERE on Amazon. It is truly a beautiful film that speaks to the heart . . . I can't recommend it highly enough . . . 


And here are two devotionals that my kids and I have been enjoying; oh--I love these! I highly recommend Kenneth N. Taylor's devotionals for kids--they are simply written without detracting from the Biblical message and the illustrations are wonderful! I also recommend this devotional from Rod and Staff. It is a great devotional for young children (you can find it through a company called Milestone Books). 


And there you have it--an update and some recommendations! Again, please feel free to join the mailing list for our prayer letter for our ministry. I've also started a Facebook group for our ministry and you can join that by clicking HERE and asking to join. I would love to have you and am so grateful for your prayers! 

And finally . . .  :-) 


The Lord bless you, each and every one! 
    

Friday, January 25, 2019

A Valentine's Giveaway! :-)


“Until the will and the affections are brought under the authority of Christ, we have not begun to understand, let alone accept, His Lordship. The Cross, as it enters the love life, will reveal the heart’s truth.”
~Elisabeth Elliot

💕

It's no secret; I love Valentine's Day. It's a holiday that brings back so many nostalgic, wonderful memories for me from my childhood and just sweetens the wintry month of February with its warmth. 

For a few years now, I've held a Valentine's Giveaway here on the blog. :-) I love these giveaways; they are so fun for me and I hope that they bring joy to you! I am praying that one of my readers will be blessed by this giveaway. 💗

This year, I am giving away a couple of wonderful resources and some other fun items (pictured below :-)) . . . 





Here is what this giveaway contains! 😊



This is a copy of my precious sister's novel about missionary David Brainerd and Jonathan Edward's daughter, Jerusha. This book will bless and feed your soul. It is a beautiful, fictional re-telling of these real characters in history combining fiction with a great detail of carefully researched historical fact. It is a beautiful, poignant love story that is both challenging and encouraging. You can read my review of A Holy Passion HERE



Old Fashioned is one of my favorite films. It's a movie that has just deeply touched my heart and I love to share its message with others. I watch this film over and over again (and this is from a person who doesn't watch a lot of movies because I have young children! :-)). If you have never seen Old Fashioned, please read my review HERE. It's a film that will just leave your spirit so full. It's not your typical Christian movie--Old Fashioned is a gritty, sensitive love story with so much depth and artistry and above all else, that points to Christ Jesus. 


I was introduced to Little Hope's Blessings through a friend's blog. :-) Ang makes such delightful things, like this rose-scented lotion and various other crafts/personal care items. I thought that this lotion (and the accompanying "bath bomb"--the other item of hers that I am giving away) --haha; that sounds dangerous! ;-) was just perfect for this giveaway! 💟



Oh, the Russell Stover chocolate heart. 😋So many fond memories of this Valentine's "staple" that reminds me of my childhood. My Mom and Dad would always give each of my sisters and I one of these on Valentine's Day. We looked forward to this so much and savored every chocolate it contained (except the jelly-filled one--I didn't like that one as a child! :-)). 
I included it in this giveaway for nostalgia's sake. :-) (this in not the one that I had as a child, by the way--this is a fresh one--haha! ;-)--in case you were nervous!)



I printed and framed one of my favorite quotes from Anne of Green Gables. :-). This quote always reminds me of Lamentations 3:23--that His mercies are new every morning--and who doesn't like to start their morning with a delightful, delicious cup of tea? (or coffee, in my case! ;-))



I hope that you enjoy this giveaway! I had so much fun putting it together! The Lord bless each one of you as you contemplate His great love for each of His dear children! 💟

Enter the giveaway below! 😊
a Rafflecopter giveaway
You might find me on these link-ups:

Inspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomRaising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story,  Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdayGood Morning Mondays,  Counting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridayRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayCoffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog PartyFabulous Warm Heart PartyOh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday LinkupWriter WednesdayTea and Word

Monday, January 14, 2019

Romantic, Feminine, Easy-to Use Hair Clips and Accessories

 Dear friends, I've begun selling Lilla Rose flexi clips and hair accessories as a fun way to supplement our family's income. As a stay-at-home, homeschooling Mom of two children, Lilla Rose is a way that I am able to help our family financially right from our home. :-) 

I am finding more and more that it is a really wonderful company to work for. I have already been connected with many other Christian sisters who also sell Lilla Rose as well as been introduced in a greater way to the many beautiful and useful products that Lilla Rose offers. 

Lilla Rose is not a "Christian" company, but many believers are involved in it--both in the administration department as well as in the sales end. I like this about Lilla Rose as well as the fact that their hair accessories encourage femininity and are so easy to use and effective! :-)

Aren't they lovely and feminine? This one reminds me of Anne of Green Gables . . . :-)


My niece wearing a Lilla rose flexi clip :-)

When I signed up for Lilla Rose, they gave me my own website URL and sent me their starter kit. This kit alone contained over a dozen beautiful hair accessories, such as the one below! It also contains business cards, a purple drop cloth useful for displays, pamphlets and other information that could be passed out to customers or prospective customers, as well as as other really useful selling tools! The starter kit itself was a treat to open! 





As I have been delving into learning about these products and connecting with other people who sell Lilla Rose, I have been impressed by the quality of these clips and accessories as well as very blessed to be able to ask questions through Facebook groups and of my group's leader and receive detailed, really helpful answers very quickly. It is truly a great company to work for; I now understand why many stay-at-home Moms choose Lilla Rose and really benefit from it.

After I joined Lilla Rose, I set up a Facebook group for anyone who wants to join to learn more about Lilla Rose and to be in involved in giveaways, etc. :-) If you would like to be a part of this group, please click on this link or on the picture below to join and I will add you to the group! 






If you have a chance, look over Lilla Rose's products; they are very unique and beautiful! This is one of my favorites for obvious reasons . . . :-)


I love these bobby pins as well! Lilla Rose sells such a wonderful variety of items! 


This month, Lilla Rose is also running a great sale that if you spend $40 or over, you receive  a free pair of bobbies. They have some really cute ones right now!! 


And finally, if anyone is curious about becoming a Lilla Rose stylist, please feel free to ask me any questions! I would love to answer them! If you are genuinely interested, please let me know either through messaging me on the side of this blog or commenting below. This is a fun, easy business that is great for some people and Lilla Rose is offering a great start-up price this month. 



So there you have it! :-) It was fun introducing my Lilla Rose business to you! :-)




You might find me on these link-ups:

Inspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomRaising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Messy Marriage,  Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridaySHINE Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Coffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog PartyFabulous Warm Heart PartyOh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday LinkupWriter WednesdayTea and Word

Friday, January 4, 2019

Lessons I Want to Take Into the New Year






I love this quote from one of my favorite stories, Anne of Green Gables, "Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it." Anne's schoolteacher reminds her of this truth to which Anne determinedly repeats her teacher's words. The older woman, Miss Stacey, then adds a word at the end of her previous quote--" no mistakes in it yet." 

I found myself at the beginning of this year reflecting on some of the truths that the Lord has been teaching me over the past year and looking forward into the future with both hope and trepidation. As Gandalf tells Frodo in The Lord of the Rings, "It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the Road and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." 

I've been contemplating some heavy things this past year, and have been reflecting upon how the Lord would have me step into the future with Him. I am closer to 40 this year than I was last year (I recently turned 36) and I want my life to count for something. But not for myself--for Him. Otherwise it is a wasted life--I read this quote in our church bulletin this past week--


Only one life; twill soon be past
Only what's done for Christ will last.

I listened to a Fox newscaster interview several individuals on New Year's Eve and ask them what lessons they took away from the past year. The responses actually saddened me, as I realized afresh how lost and dying this world that we live in truly is without Jesus Christ. The theme that reverberated through most people's answers was, "I want to love myself more, appreciate myself, forgive myself." Without Christ, the focus and direction of our lives is turned upon ourselves--and what a sad place that is to end! 

Christ Jesus turns our direction and focus outward--toward Him--and then applies that knowledge of Himself to every area of our lives--the inward parts and then also in our dealings with fellow men. 

Perhaps this year, the Lord will use our lives to point other lives to Himself--to change the sad, inward focus of mankind and to offer the hope and joy of salvation to a lost and dying humanity. 

With those things in mind, these are some of the lessons that the Lord has been impressing upon my heart and spirit as He daily weans me away from being self-focused to becoming more formed to the image of His Son. It is truly a daily process for all of us, because we are just so human!! But I pray that these things may be more formed in me this year and I pray them also for you dear friends--


Lessons I Want to Take Into the New Year~~


Letting Go~ This has been an important one for me over the past year. Learning to surrender in the little and big areas of my life continues to be a daily decision and oftentimes a battle. Many times, we don't even realize how tightly we are holding on to something that the Lord wants us to let go of, to relinquish. Sometimes the "messiness" of life overtakes us and we need to fall upon our knees before our loving Father and cry out to Him for help and guidance and direction. Something that I feel very strongly about is that we don't need to embrace the "mess," but allow our Father to take the mess and to transform it into something of beauty and order and peace in our lives, whatever our situation--


Drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace.
~John Greenleaf Whittier

When we learn to let go of our own plans and perceptions and self-focus, Christ exchanges these things for the joy that is life-giving and that brings order and peace and strength into our lives that would otherwise be chaotic and restricting in terms of our ability to be used for Him. 






Pressing On~ This is another area that I sense the Lord is continually placing before me. With my children, in areas of discipline and obedience in my life, in terms of embracing wholeheartedly what He has called me to do, and with making sure that the focus of my life continually is Christ and Him crucified--these are the areas that I need to press on in my daily walk with the Savior who poured out His life for me. 



Decreasing~ This has been a huge lesson that I've been confronted with and that each of us is confronted with on a daily basis as followers of Christ. This lesson hit home to me in a very real way this year when I knew that the Lord wanted me to give something up that I desired fervently. The Lord spoke to me specifically through this verse as I relinquished a dear hope into His hands. He fulfills the desires of our hearts, but at times, He also teaches us that something that we desire (even a very good thing) may not be His will for us individually and specifically. We see this in David's life when he desired a good thing--to build a temple for the Lord--but it was not for him to do. (II Samuel 7:1-17) The letting go is painful and hard, but the blossom is glorious and sweet and brings honor to the One who is Greater. 



Bringing Glory to Christ~This is the final lesson that I want to bring into the New Year. It is so easy to get caught up in the trivial, in the worries and cares of this life, that our focus can shift from the Glorious to the superficial and empty. When we keep our focus upon Christ and His glory, sincerely, not just in word but from the heart, we honor Him. And those who honor Him, He will honor. It is my heart's prayer and desire to hear those precious words at the end of my life--"Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord." (Matthew 24:21) May this be the prayer of each of our hearts! 





The sands of time are sinking,
The dawn of Heaven breaks;
The summer morn I’ve sighed for—
The fair, sweet morn awakes:
Dark, dark hath been the midnight,
But dayspring is at hand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.
~Anne R. Cousin

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Dear Friends, I'd like to take this opportunity to invite each of you to a Facebook group that I've started! I've recently begun selling Lilla Rose hair accessories and would love for anyone to join this group on Facebook if you are interested in learning more about Lilla Rose or already appreciate their pretty, feminine hair accessories. Each and every one of you is welcome. Just follow the link below and request to be added and I will add you. :-) 


Join Group







You might find me on these link-ups:

Inspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomRaising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story, Messy Marriage,  Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdaySoul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewCounting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridaySHINE Blog HopRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayLiving Proverbs 31Coffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog PartyFabulous Warm Heart PartyOh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday LinkupWriter WednesdayTea and Word