Monday, July 30, 2012

Still Trusting God With This Pregnancy

I am 31 weeks pregnant!  I continue to praise God for His mercy upon me and for the healing He has given me.

I have not made any trips to the hospital!  WooHoo!  I am not having the pre-term contractions that plagued my previous pregnancies.  I thank God that the varicose veins in my legs and vulvar area are not painful and that they are not an issue in this pregnancy.  I am praying for the visible manifestation of the veins to be healed and cleared away from my skin.  I continue to praise God because I have few common pregnancy complaints, and the few complaints I experience are short lived.

I do not have ligament pain or sciatic nerve pain.  I do not have any UTI, yeast infections or athlete's foot.  I do not have leg cramps.  I do not have a stuffy nose, nose bleeds, or headaches.  I do not have heartburn much, and when I do, it is mild and all I have to do is prop myself up a bit and go back to sleep.  I do not have weird dreams.  I do not have any constipation!  Praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord!!!  My ears are not clogged.  I am not out of breath.  No swelling.  Blood pressure is great!  Blood sugar is fine.  Skin is clear.  No new stretch marks, and I am already bigger than I have ever been (and I have two months to go).  I am not excessively tired, though I do get tired, and I do take naps, but not everyday.  I don't sleep great, but not horribly either.  I am comfortable at night.

I am able to carry on with my normal activities and more.  I can twist and turn and bend with ease.  Laundry is no big deal.  Dishes are not a chore, though I am thankful that my children and my husband do most of the dishes.  It is just good to share the responsibilities.  I can do anything, and I am not afraid to do it.

I am thoroughly enjoying this pregnancy!  Also, I have no fear of labor or birth.  I look forward to the day.  I am actually hoping to carry this baby to it's due date.  That would be a first.  Nobody believes I will be able to do it, but with God all things are possible.

God has worked a miracle in me and He is doing something amazing!

Every time I get out of bed and I don't have a contraction, I praise God!
Every time I get up from bed or out of a chair and I experience no pain from the veins, I praise God!
Every time I have a normal bowel movement, I praise God!
Every time I notice my clear skin, I praise God!

The list goes on and on!  God is amazing!  He is worthy of our praise!

Tested Where I Teach

I have had the most amazing opportunities to share the Good News with others as of late.  What I find is that I am tested in the very areas where I am teaching others about the word of God.

What I mean is this:  When I talk to someone about how to get rid of all bitterness, anger, and rage, then bitter thoughts begin to flood my head and I find myself struggling to be loving and kind to certain people whom I have already forgiven.  I had not been thinking such things prior to my sharing this good news with someone.  It IS a spiritual attack, and it is coming from outside of me.  The purpose is to ruin my confidence in the testimony I am sharing with another.

I know this because the reason I was able to share so boldly with my friend is that I had overcome the constant feelings of offense, bitterness, anger, and rage, and as a result light and life filled my days and filled my home.  A few days after sharing with my friend, negative thoughts began to overwhelm me.  Everything felt so frustrating and hopeless.  Old thoughts popped back into my head.  Old expressions of frustration began to flow out of me.  Critical words, tone of voice, and mannerisms flowed out of me.

The enemy whispered in my ear that I had never really forgiven these people.  He whispered that there was still a lot of bitterness, anger, and rage deep inside of me.  He whispered in my ear that it was hopeless, and that it was always going to come back up like a weed again and again, and that I would never get rid of it.

Then, I realized that I was listening to the wrong voice.  These things are not true.  God is light, and in Him there is no darkness.  These things I was listening to bring darkness, death, and despair.  I'll have none of that!  God does not give me a spirit of fear!  He gives me a Spirit of power and of love and of self-control.

When I realized that it was an attack of the enemy, and that these thoughts were not mine and that they were not true, then I began to praise God because He opened my eyes to see it.  He does not let me continue in my sin.  The Holy Spirit living in me convicts me of my sin.  He causes me to recognize my sin and I agree with Him that what I was doing was not His will and that it was hurtful to me and others.  He comforts me by reminding me that there is now NO condemnation for me, as I am in Christ Jesus.  My sins are paid for by the blood of the Lamb.  I have been washed clean.  I am not a sinner in need of a Savior.  I am a son of God, and I want to be like my Daddy.  Because I am not cast down by shame and guilt, my Heavenly Father is able to lead me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.  He is able to make me more and more and more like Him, so that in this life, I will be like Him.

The truth is that I do indeed love these people, and I had forgiven them.  I do not want to say or do hurtful things.  I want to bless them and see them built up.  It was the enemy who was bringing up old stuff, and he was trying to put it back in.  It is not deep down in me somewhere.  This was coming from the outside.  When I recognized this, I went to the people whom I had offended and asked for their forgiveness.  Light and life returned, and all the bitterness was gone!

It was the worst 30-40 minutes of my day.

Now, there have been many attacks like this over the past few days.  Some last for a few minutes and some longer, but I keep getting back up.  Now that I recognize this scheme of the devil, I am better able to fight it.  God's word says that if I resist the devil, He will flee from me.  I have not felt bitterness, anger, and rage for some time now, so for this to pop back into my life at this time is too coincidental to write it off.  It is clearly an attack.  I can stand against it when I put on the full armor of God.

I used to spiral down into depression, but now I look up.  God is so good!  It is His will that we have life, and have it more abundantly.  This is eternal life, to know God and the One he sent.

God is love.  I am made in His image.  I am made to be love.  I am His child, and I want to be like Him.  He has made a way for me to grow up into His likeness.  How wonderful!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Spiritual Attack Testing My Faith - Part 5

I am learning to ignore the voice of the stranger.  I will listen only to my Good Shepherd, for He loves me and cares for me.

I was listening to some teaching last night and the preacher pointed out what I have been saying, that we get attacked by the enemy when we are doing good and we get attacked when we are doing bad.  Either way, the enemy hates believers and will stop at nothing to try to get us to doubt God and blame God.  I heard another speaker once who said that the enemy takes a risk every time he attacks a believer, because if the believer turns to God (instead of doubting or blaming God) then the believer's faith is strengthened.  That is what happened when Satan attacked my children with leg cramps, eye pain, and eczema.  When I prayed in fear, I saw no improvements and I was tempted to doubt, but when I turned to God in faith and believed that He would indeed answer me, then I found God to be faithful to His word and my faith was strengthened.  My relationship with God grew and my love for Him exploded.

When I speak out and share the Good News, I usually find myself under attack.  I shared about my delight in being 29 weeks pregnant and not experiencing pre-term contractions, and BAM, suddenly I began to have more contractions and strong contractions.  They are indeed Braxton-Hicks contractions and they are tiring and they are sometimes strong, but they are definitely NOT labor contractions.  The stranger whispers in my ear, "Here they come again!"  "Maybe you over did it at VBS."  "God didn't really heal you.  Do you see?  You are having contractions again."  "Look.  You can't count on God.  He's allowing you to have contractions yet again."  "Sleep, rest, take care of yourself.  You know what to do.  You've been through this before."  I will NOT listen to any of that.

Here is what I know.  During my last few pregnancies I learned that when I became afraid of what was happening in my body, then everything got worse.  When I gave in to the fear, then I truly had something to be afraid of.  When I dug into God's word and learned that I could count on Him for my strength, I got up and served my family (because that is my calling) and I was fine and had fewer contractions.  I know that God allows me to be tested, but he does not tempt me.  Trials come so that my faith will be proven genuine.  His word says that!  The trial comes, and Satan tempts me to doubt God, to question God's goodness, and to blame God for my discomfort.  I will NOT!

I put on the full armor of God and I rest in His truth (belt).  I rest in His promises.  I am made righteous by the blood of the Lamb and the Spirit lives in me and leads me in paths of righteousness (breastplate).  I rest in the peace that He gives me (shoes).  I take up my shield of faith, and by it I am able to extinguish all of those flaming arrows that are hurled at me by the enemy (shield).  I know that my Redeemer lives, so I rest in my salvation (helmet).  I take up my sword, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, and I PRAY!  I pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests, and I wait for the Lord to answer because He says that He will!

I fight with the Word!  God is good!  He's good all the time!  He is love!  He cares for me.  His love endures forever.  His faithfulness endures through all generations.  He sent forth His word and He healed them.  When I cry out to Him, He hears me.  Nothing is impossible for God!  God rewards those who earnestly seek Him.  Faith pleases Him.  God is love.  He made me in His image and He made me to love.  He commands me to love Him and to love others as He loves me.  There is NO fear in love, because perfect love casts out all fear.  And on and on and on and on and on...

Surely, as I write this, I have not had one contraction.  My baby moves and I am filled with joy knowing that this special gift is safe and secure in my womb because God keeps us safe.  I have had some contractions over the past few days and I have been tempted to worry, but God says that we should not be anxious about anything, so I pray.  I trust.  I'm fine.  I will not fear.  I walked for an hour tonight before I sat down to write this.  No contractions.  Praise God!

Also, my 5 year old is sick with a fever and aches and pains.  I wish I could say that I prayed for him and he became immediately well, but I can not.  He is still sick for three days now.  He is so sweet.  He comes to me with such sweetness and tells me he loves me.  He asks me to pray for him.  I do.  Sometimes he feels better.  Sometimes he gets worse.  Sometimes there is no change.  We just keep praising God and talking about all of the things that God has done for us.  He likes that and is comforted by that.  I took him to the doctor today.  It was the first time in two years that he had been to see a doctor.  She was wonderful and nice and thorough.  She did a strep test after assessing all of his symptoms, but it came back negative.  Praise God!  She determined it was a virus and advised me to keep doing what we have been doing until he gets well.  So we love and cuddle and pray.  We give detox baths, encourage lots of water, and give him lots of rest.  He will be fine.  God is with us through it all.  I understand that sometimes God will let us go through the fire, but He is there with us and we will come out of it unharmed like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  So there you have it.  We do not live a life without trouble, but we live abundantly through it all because the God of all creation is right there with us.

Amen.  Amen.  Amen.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Spiritual Attack Testing My Faith - Part 4

We finished a week of VBS.  I had such a blast leading the Celebration Time at the beginning and end of each day.  I get to review the Bible Points, Bible verses, and Bible stories with the children, as I teach them the words and motions to the VBS songs that we sing throughout the week.  I love praising God with song, and I love leading others in worship, too.  We had our closing program last night, where we shared with the parents (family & friends) what we learned through the week and sang 6 of the songs we learned during our Celebration time.  We also watched a slide show that my husband put together of all of the different activities that took place through the week.  Everyone enjoys seeing the slideshow at the end of the week.  We finished up with an ice cream social in the gym.  What fun!

I really enjoyed being able to lead the music, with all of the dancing, jumping, turning, and hand motions, during my 29th week of pregnancy.  It is a testimony of God's healing that I could do this.

I know that many were wondering if I really should be doing all of that given my history with pre-term contractions and all.  I have shared with many in my church that Jesus has healed me, and they see me eating all kinds of food and feeding my children all kinds of food.  They may just think that I had gone overboard with the whole diet thing and that nothing was ever really the matter in the first place.  I hear all the time about how wonderful my children are and what a delight they are, and I wonder if anyone remembers, or even noticed, how bad things were for us not too long ago.

Many may not have seen or experienced what we saw, because we just didn't make it to church when things were really bad or we were there only briefly.  All they would remember is that we were often absent or late, but they did not really understand the full extent of what we shared with them because they were not present to experience it.

All kids throw tantrums from time to time, so that is easily dismissed.  All kids have rashes or act unreasonable on occasion, so those are easily dismissed.  Sometimes kids just don't want to talk or look you in the eye, so that is easily dismissed when you only see a kid on occasion.  However, everyone knows that I have had "trouble" with all of my pregnancies and have ended up on bed rest and medications for pre-term contractions.  People talk, so even people who didn't know me until recently seem to know my history.  What a testimony of God's power it will be for them to see me carry my baby to term without any complications.  I look forward to seeing this miracle accomplished by the power of God so that many might believe that we have truly been healed by Jesus.  God is to be praised!

Today I have had a lot of Braxton-Hicks contractions.  It is tiring and makes me achey.  I didn't want to do much and I had no appetite.  Does this mean that I am wrong about being healed?  CKS woke up with a wet bed.  SSS was whiny all day, but we spent the day encouraging him to use his nice words and he is catching on again.  CKS had eye pain today, but we prayed for it and it went away quickly, both times.  KRS woke up a short while after going to sleep with a nightmare and could not go back to sleep for some time.  Does this mean that we are not healed?  NO!  The question is: How am I going to react to what I see?  Am I going to panic and run back to diet?  Am I going to question God's goodness?  Am I going to pray harder and work at doing things right so God will heal us once again because something must have gone wrong?  NO!  These are spiritual attacks.  At the end of the day, I recognize that all I need to do is rest in the promises of God.

I spent most of the day thinking, "Oh, no.  I don't know what is going on here.  Why is this happening?  I had such an amazing week!"  (spiritual attack, wrong thinking)  I continued to have contractions and I felt so tired.  I didn't feel motivated to do anything.  I just wanted to sleep.  Then, I got up and went shopping, because I needed to go shopping.  (it was the right thing to do)  I praised God all the way there and spent some time thinking about everything.  I began to praise God, every time I felt a contraction.  I began to recall His word.  (put on the full armor of God)  I feel great now and I am not afraid.  I am not having any contractions anymore.  My baby is moving and I feel rested and content.  I look forward to getting a few hours of sleep and waking up to go to church and lead worship in the morning.  Oh, my.  I just remembered that I need to gather all of the VBS kids in the morning to sing one song during the worship service.  Cool!  I'm up for that!  Glad I am feeling better again.

God is good all the time!  His love endures forever!  His faithfulness continues through all generations!

I WILL trust in the Lord with all my heart!
I WILL acknowledge Him in all my ways!
I WILL fear the Lord and shun evil!
I EXPECT it will bring health to my body and nourishment to my bones.
His word says it.  I believe it. (Proverbs 3:5-8)

Praise the Lord, Oh my soul.  All my inmost being praise His holy name!
Praise the Lord, Oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits,
Who forgives ALL my sins and heals ALL my diseases,
Who redeems my life from the pit and crowns me with love and compassion,
Who satisfies my desires with good things, so that my youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Psalms 103:1-5

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Spiritual Attack Testing My Faith - Part 3

CKS is reading again.  Last week he wanted to read, but he could not focus or keep his eyes on the page.  He could not sound out words and did not recognize common words he knows, like "the", "on", and "what".  Today, he knew all of the common words he had previously known and learned three new words, and he had no trouble sounding out and reading new words.  All praise to God, our loving and gracious Heavenly Father.

I did NOT change our diet.  This is our VBS week.  The boys are finishing up their swim lessons.  This week, we are eating eggs and oranges for breakfast, VBS snacks (cookies, trail mix, crackers, pudding), boxed granola/ezekiel cereal with raw milk for lunch, fruit or ice cream for snack, and GAPS type foods for dinner, plus rice, potatoes, or bread.  It is NOT the strictly healthy food diet we used to adhere to.  Truly, we are free.

SSS is more cheerful and cooperative again.  He continues to potty regularly on his own with no accidents, and this on the big people potty, with or without the little toddler potty seat on top!

SSS actually graduated today from ISR swim lessons.  He earned his trophy!  He tested in winter clothes today and handled himself masterfully (at 3 years and 3 months).  He immediately flips to a float, no matter how he enters the water, and he can swim-float-swim to the edge or to the steps to get himself out of the pool, even while weighted down with drenched clothes, coat, socks, and shoes.  I am so proud of him.  He has a blast and thinks that it is all fun and games.  He has the biggest smile on his face when he gets flipped upside down and dumped into the water head first.  Amazing!

CKS tests in winter clothes in two days.  He is also doing amazingly well.  I am so pleased.

I shared our testimony again with someone new last night.  It was so good for both of us to hear what God has done and what he continues to do for us.  She was amazed to hear that all six of us were healed of food and chemical sensitivities, and especially that our son was healed from autism.  We just do not hear of children being healed of autism, but NOTHING is impossible for God!  I DO NOT FEAR anymore what will happen when I share our story and what God has done, because it is all true and it needs to be told!

Faith matters!  What we believe matters!

Galatians 5:6 "Nothing matters, except faith expressing itself in love."

I John 3:23 "And this is His command, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us."

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life."

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Spiritual Attack Testing My Faith - Part 2

CKS's rash is gone.  He is making great eye contact again.  His attention and focus is improving.  I did NOT change diet.  I did NOT run back to healthy food.  God wants us to trust in Him with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-8).  So I did what God calls me to do, and I ran back to HIM.

SSS continues to do wonderfully in his potty training.  Actually, I would say that he is trained.  He wears underwear all day and puts all of his pee and poo in the big potty.  He has even used the big potty without the soft toddler seat that keeps him from falling in.  He is such a big boy.  He has even used the potty at a restaurant!  Also, his diapers are dry in the mornings, so I will likely put him in underwear at night, too.

Even better than potty training, the whiny, fussy, bad attitude is melting away.  Praise God for that!  That was wearisome.

The bad attitudes and ugly comments from me and from all of my children are fading away, too.  Whew!  Thank You, Lord!

We have had several completely dry nights!  I always give God my thanks for that.

Cheerful, happy, pleasant kids greet me in the morning.  So thankful for that!

Miracle of all miracles (OK, this is really quite small compared to all that God has done, but it is huge to me), I am 28 weeks pregnant (12 weeks to go!) and I am leading VBS music everyday this week.  NO FEAR!!!  God has given me an absolutely miraculous pregnancy (when you look at my history), and He will give me the strength and the words to lead a group of 137 children (plus many adult and teen leaders) in worship and to teach them that God is in control, He is with us, and He will never leave us!

I continue to have only the occasional Braxton-Hicks contraction (not the 4-20 an hour contractions as in previous pregnancies).  I continue to be pain free from the varicose veins on the back of my right leg and in the groin area.  I continue to be free of other common pregnancy complaints.  I feel great!  I feel tired at times, but generally I have lots of energy, especially in the mornings.  It is impossible not to sing of God's amazing love and of His mighty power!  He loves us!  He does!  He hears us!  He does!  He saves us!  He does!

Oh, God, You are great and mighty!  You are so loving and good and kind!  You do not leave us!  You call us to seek You, and You promise that we will find You.  You call us to worship You.  You call us to believe You!  You call us to trust You, to take You at Your word!  I believe You, Lord.  You say what You mean and You mean what You say!  I can count on You!  I have nothing to fear.  If You are for me, than who can stand against me?  You are for me!  You have made me Your child!  You have made me a son, a co-heir with Christ.  You live in me to work through me.  That is what Your will is, Your good, pleasing and perfect will.  How amazing is that!?!  Thank You, Lord, for making me Your own.  I love You.  I love You!  I love You!!!

OK.  I need a little sleep before VBS in the morning.  Lord, give me strength.  Give us all strength!  May You be glorified this week through our time of learning and worship in VBS.  Your Name be praised forever and ever and ever!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Spiritual Attack Testing My Faith

I always find it interesting that when I post, or share in person, about the wonderful things that I have to be thankful for, that shortly thereafter we have issues with those very praises.  For example, I recently posted on my other blog about my fourth child showing absolutely NO signs of autism, among other things, and pretty nearly everything I posted about is now no longer relevant.

Read post here:

However, it makes me think, "What is going on here?!?"

This has been a pattern from the start of my blog of our GAPS journey.  I would post something wonderful and give God praise for all of the improvements and for the blessings, then everything would fall apart right after that.  I would refrain from posting for a bit.  It caused me to be hesitant about posting, because I feared what would inevitably follow.  It does seem to be a spiritual attack.

Also, I have been thinking about what I have lately declared out loud and in recent posts.  I have given power back to food and healthy living.  I have declared that I can make a positive or negative impact on the outcome of my family's health with the choices I make regarding food and toxins.  I affirm for other people that food and healthy choices are important.  I CAN influence our health based on food selection, and healthy choices ARE important.  I should NOT discourage people from making healthy choices, but healthy food is NOT what healed us!  Avoiding toxins is NOT what healed us!  JESUS HEALED US!

I give my kids bread, rice, potatoes, cookies, crackers, and ice cream because I have nothing to fear.  They are healed.  When the kids became so sick with a respiratory illness that lasted and lasted, I began to talk about how eating so much sugar and starch was probably what was suppressing their immune systems.  It took three to four weeks of constantly having sick kids to care for which drove me to this thought, but here is the thing.  Even though they were sick, none of the GAPS symptoms were present. In fact, after recovering from the bug, SSS potty trained and CKS began to read and I noticed that ALL of his symptoms were gone, gone, gone!  The older kids were physically sick, but were amazing in the way they handled themselves and dealt with others.  I could not have been more pleased with all of what I was seeing, so I posted about it!  Truly amazing!

Here is what I think happened.  Having sick kids seriously tested my faith.  After a time, I ran back to my old way of thinking, which is that healthy food and avoiding toxins will save us from having to deal with these troubles in the future.  I began to speak it.  I began to share it.  I switched back to healthier food choices and tried to cut back on the breads and sugars.  Lo and behold, EVERYTHING fell apart.  Why?  Because I made an idol out of food and healthy choices.  I put my trust in my idol instead of in God, to sustain us and see us through.

My God, my Heavenly Father, loves me and He will NOT let me go to the left or to the right.  He wants me to walk in righteousness.  I put my trust somewhere else and He lets me suffer the consequences of that choice.  Rashes came back.  Autistic traits came back full force.  Everyone began to act in their old ways again.  I began to lose my sanity and my self control.  I could freak out and run back to what I have known for the past few years or I could run back to God.  I am running back to God!  I have NOWHERE else to go.  He IS my life.

I am not afraid to post this because I KNOW my God is real and I KNOW that He loves me with an enduring love.  His faithfulness continues through all generations.  He hears me when I cry out to Him. He answers me when I call to Him.  I am confident that I will soon be able to post that ALL of the symptoms have gone away yet again and that the beauty I posted about just days ago will be back and my mouth will be full of praise for my King!  In fact, today was WAY better than yesterday.  Things are already improving.  I expect it to get better and better and better.

My youngest two are finishing up with their ISR swim training, probably next week.  CKS began to act autistic again and I spoke it out loud several times that it might be because he was swallowing the pool water.  I confessed it!  I spoke it!  It is not so!  (I know, because only two of my kids are in the water and all six of us were having issues.  Hmm!)  I put them in swim lessons and I was confident that they would be fine, and they were.  I am again confident that they will be fine.  They are amazing!  What they are learning in their swim lessons is amazing!  I am so proud of them.

I will NOT pull them out of the "toxic" water, and I will NOT stop rewarding them with a celebration of their hard work of learning new things in the water.  I will NOT restrict their snacks at VBS next week.  My God is able to keep them safe and sound.  He gives us His Spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.  I will trust in Him.