Words have power. Written words provide proof. You can read them, and reread them whenever you want. They can speak life to someone who needs encouragement. They can speak death to someone who is being deceived. The choice lies within you. How is it that you want people to remember you? Encourager...that is the gift that God has laid on my heart. To use my written, spoken, and/or sung words to lift people up. To be one link in their road to healing, restoration, joy. I have been without those things, and I claim them to be mine again. If you want me to seek God on a prayer for a specific situation...that is why I am here. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to pray God's Word of Life over you.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

This is what fall looks like....in PA! Bahaha

Yep it is fall here in PA. This very day that I have pictured below was last saturday. Aiden was so excited to wake up to snow...that he wanted to go right out and build a snowman. That afternoon he went to a birthday party and it was warm enough for just a light jacket. So weird. Oh and the snowman...he was no longer. =/

How many differences can you find? =)
 
Aiden built this snowman all by himself. (With my homemade snowman kit of course.)

This is with just a bit of mom's help. I just simply showed him which pieces were 'supposed' to be mouth pieces since the rocks he was trying kept falling out. He was getting a bit frustrated...and that is not what snowman building is all about. Haha!
This is the wamest day of snow we will have all year probably. Ariel gets her endurance for the cold from me. None. Haha! This day though..she stayed out for hours. This too shall pass.

He was not at all good at making snow angels. Once he would get up...Ariel would take his spot and 'fix' it. Lol!

Another family dog...Butch. He LOVES the snow! As you can see...he is made for it. Snow can not penetrate through that mass of fur!

This has nothing to do with playin' in the snow. But seriously, how precious is he?! This was just before lunch today. My little Levi...asleep with four other kids all in the room with him. It's rough being a one year old ya know?


So winter is about to start any day now...and we in the Knapp household couldn't be happier. My kids love the snow...me, eh not so much. To me it means four hats, four coats, four pairs of mittens, four pairs of boots, four pairs of regular shoes to change into, and lots of carrying through snow that is quote..."too deep". *sigh* To them it means playing, sled riding, snowmen, cuddles under a blanket and of course hot cocoa (got a recipe for homemade hot cocoa mix today...and I am so going to make it! I will share it IF it passes our test for complete chocolate goodness. We don't mess around with our chocolate in this house. ;)
What I do look forward to...is the snow plowing jobs that keep us going through the winter. =) God has His hand on those...so we thank Him for each flake of snow that helps Him with His plan for our provision. He is so good to us!!

How about you? How does God uniquely provide for you and yours? Got a miracle to share?...cause you have an audience waiting to hear! =) Show God off to your friends. It will spark them to do the same. What better conversation starter is there?

My Journey Through 7 Pregnancies-Part five

If you have been a faithful follower of my blog, and you know me at all, you know that I have four living children. The title of these posts about my pregnancies lets you know that I have seven of them. I have told you about two of my children being born healthy...and two of my children entering the Kingdom of Heaven. So, we must press on. This pregnancy is one more link to who I am today. I would not have chosen my path, but I allowed God to use it to make me stronger.

Two tragic losses. Then two healthy babies. When my husband and I found out we were pregnant again, we were so excited. As a little added bonus...my best friend was also pregnant. She was expecting her second baby boy. She was one of the only people that knew we were expecting. Again we weren't telling too many people...just in case. But we figured we were in the clear. We had dealt with out losses. We were through that portion of our lives. Now, we could enjoy having children. Right?

Uh, not so much. We were progressing in the pregnancy and we began to have some complications. Then one night while we were at a friends' house, just as with my first two pregnancies the complications got much worse. I immediately burst into tears in their bathroom. Trying to figure out how I could compose myself enough to go tell Eric what was going on. I did not even give our God...Healer...a chance. I was already assuming it was over. I came out of the bathroom after what seemed like an hour...to find that my husband had left. He and our friend, Al had gone somewhere for a little bit. It was evident by my tear stained face that I was on the verge of losing it.

My friend Chris took me into another room as I explained what was going on. She prayed for me...and I doubted. When Eric got back...they all prayed for me...and I doubted. We started on our way to the ER. Silence. I could do nothing but weep silently. There were no words for the disappointment I was feeling. I was already preparing for how I was going to overcome another death of another baby I had already learned to love.

You see it isn't at first sight that a mother and father learn to love. It is the positive test. It is the first appointment. It is the first sight of a tiny beating heart. It is the blurry blob of a black and white sonogram picture. I had all of those. I had proof that my baby had been living. And now I was about to have another sonogram to find out what I already knew. No heartbeat.

The doctor who had been very hurried and uncompassionate up until this point...now came in with a face drenched in solemness and sorrow. He gave us the bad news...and sent us on our way. He said he had spoken with my doctor and she said that there was no need to come in again unless my condition worsened. Even those words stung my already hurting heart. We drove home, again in silence.

Later, once we were home with our children my phone rang. It was a friend of a friend telling me to call the hospital because my prego best friend was there. She was not due to have her baby for weeks...so I called not knowing what to expect. She answered and told me that her son had indeed been born that night. He was tiny, but doing fairly well. He was in the NICU and would need to spend some time in the hospital. We talked about what all had happened to her that night...and then she asked what I found out at the ER. My heart just sank. Here she is on cloud nine because her son has just been born...and now I have to tell her that mine is gone. It was really hard on both of us. What could we say?!

Over the next few days my condition worsened. One day as I was in tears on my couch...my sweet little son came over to console me. He did all he knew how to do to help. He prayed that God would make our baby all better. As soon as he was finished...he instantly believed it would happen. I doubted.
Even after all of the prayers that were lifted up on behalf of that baby...I never believed. Remember that innocent happiness that had been stolen after my second miscarriage? I was being held in a place where I couldn't even trust the God that I so dearly loved. The God that I praised because he had given me two living children when I had only been promised one. The God that I was claiming to serve on a daily basis. The God who was faithful to me, ALWAYS!

I thought I had been healed of the emotions and anger from my first two miscarriages. Now that I was faced with yet a third disappointment...they all came back. I was very angry. I was embarrassed at my lack of belief. I was upset that I had to face people who had prayed for me and tell them the news. I was mad that I had to deal with another heartache of a child lost. I was in shock that God had chosen the day of my son's death to be the day of my best friend's son's birth. I was right where the enemy wanted me. Struck down.

But I thank God He promises that I will not be destroyed. He promises that He will use everything for the good of those who love Him. And I love Him. I know I didn't show it...but He knows it. He has seen every day of my life, and He has seen my heart. He knew that that pregnancy would cause me to be struck down. And He knew that my husband and I would not let it destroy us. And He knew that that pregnancy would be the healing, once and for all, of all the hurt. All the pain. All the disbelief. All the distrust. All the unforgiveness from each of my miscarriages. Finally, I could experience grief...and really get through it.

I had been feeling guilty for a while about the fact that I was still hurting. It seemed as if my grief became a part of almost every conversation I had. I could relate so many conversations to what I was going through. I felt as though people were annoyed with hearing about it. (Which is a lie from the deceiver...but I bought it for long enough!) One day I was a women's bible study and God finally showed me. The thing that was still bothering me was the timing. I was still frustrated about the timing. He said to me..."The day that Angie's son entered the world, that was the day that yours entered Heaven!" Finally...it was as if the weight had been lifted. I didn't want to think of death when she was celebrating life.

So you see. God had a plan. He knew. Even though I felt as though I failed Him, He was still faithful to me. I trust Him. I have a greater knowledge of Him as Healer. I have a better appreciation of His blessings to me. I have a bigger voice for His provision. And I have a increased passion for reaching out to women who have gone through this kind of painful loss...and need a little encouragement from someone who has been there.

I am here for you. Disappointed one. Barron one. Angered one. Doubtful one. I have felt. And I am victorious through Jesus Christ! You can be too. Start by being real before God. Tell him how hurt and broken you feel. Let Him heal you and make you stronger. You may be the link to someone else's healing and restoration...but that means first you must be strengthened. Don't believe the lies of the enemy. Focus on the truths of the Father!

He.
Will.
Not.
Disappoint.
You!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Teachable moments

Oh how I love it when my kids ‘help’ me in the kitchen. If you have small children…or ever did…you know how helpful they really are. Dumping ingredients, cracking eggs, stirring…these are clearly learned skills. Haha! Don’t even get me started on electrical appliances and children. Lol! Yesterday I spoke of ‘wishing’. And, if I am just being honest, there are times when the kids want to ‘help’…that I really would wish they wouldn’t. It is easier to just do it on my own. Ya know? Don’t judge me. Lol!

But then I see the face of this little girl below. My Ariel. We were making cookies because her brother got to go with Dad…and she was sad. I got us matching aprons…and look at her smile. And pose! I call that ‘The Sydney’ because it is a trademark pose of her cousin…you guessed it…Sydney. =)
Fall 2011 112

Teachable moments. Isn’t that what our time with our children is all about? Moments that make a difference in their lives. I love to hear the prayers of my children…so why do I sometimes get too rushed to listen? I love to see God heal them…so why do I sometimes get frustrated when they interrupt my prayer to ask for prayer. I love to hear them explain how life is through their eyes…so why do I sometimes not really listen.

Prayer. That is what changes lives. The more I pray for my kids. With my kids. In front of my kids. The more they understand how powerful it is. The more natural it will become to them. The more they will see the hand of God in their own lives. The more they will share God’s goodness, provision, healing, and love to the people that surround them.

What example do you set? If you can relate to how I can be at times with my small children…know you aren’t alone. I don’t pretend to be perfect. I would fall short if I did. I don’t pretend to have it all together…because that isn’t the truth. I fail. I struggle. I get angry. I apologize. I regret. I have grace. And I must extend grace to others.

These little sponges that God has given us…they are always watching. (My oldest son…is literally watching me type this right now. =) He just asked why I typed my favorite three dots. Haha! I told him that is where I would pause if I was reading this out loud. I have been told I was a comma queen…so I switched it to …) Can you admit when you reacted wrongly towards your children? Can you ask for their forgiveness?

Let’s lead by example. Let’s pray with them every time they ask…no matter how busy we are. Let’s listen to them as intently as we expect them to listen to us. Let’s use these days of their impressionable youth to better them. Let’s be involved. Let’s teach them how to accept love. Let’s teach them how to give love. Let’s be real with them. Let’s show them what a relationship with our Father looks like.

Raising Godly children takes a lot of work. Raising Godly children takes a lot of patience. Raising Godly children requires a lot of prayer. And raising Godly children yields the ultimate reward. Eternity. Find people in your world that will bathe you and your children in prayer. Commit to do the same for them. Love and be loved.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I wish I may, I wish I might

Another thing my pastor spoke about this past Sunday morning was wishing. We have all done it. Daydreams of what life would be like if…(fill in the blank). Or how about these…

I just wish I had a huge, beautiful home to bless others.

I just wish I was married.

I just wish my baby was born so I could hold him/her.

I just wish my baby was sleeping through the night.

I just wish my baby could walk.

I just wish my baby could talk to me and tell me what he/she wants.

I just wish my toddler were potty-trained.

I just wish my children were all in school so I could have a minute to breathe.

I just wish my children knew how to read so they could do their school work on their own.

I just wish I could make more of a difference.

I just wish I had more time to use my passion for ministry.

I just wish…

I just wish…

When I say ‘we have all done it’…that includes me. I have thought some of the above statements. And writing some of my own thoughts along with some of the examples that Pastor Al gave…was an eye-opener for me. While we are wishing…what are we wishing away? Our precious newborn babies? Our amazing, always learning toddlers? Our short, blessed time at home with preschoolers? Our chance to spend real time reading to our children? Our huge responsibility of the family God has entrusted to our care? Our ability to feel content with exactly what God has given to us? Awww man! That puts a spin on those wishes doesn’t it?

I don’t want to live my life in the wishes of my next destination. I want to LIVE in my journey. I want to get the most out of it. I want to always be teachable.

Learn.
Grow.
Discern.
Stumble.
Get up.
Become weakened to gain strength.
Gain knowledge.
Gain experience.

Be mindful of your future…just don’t live wishing you were already there. And the only thing you should never be content with…Is how much you know about Christ. Keep searching Him out. He will never disappoint you my dear friend!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

This Trip We Call Life

The other day I was reading over one of my journal entries from this past August. I didn’t get much from it…and didn’t sit down here and share it…so I thought that was just wasted time. Until today. =) I love the way that God prepares us for what is to come. We are clueless…but we know that He works all things together. He is so good at his job. ;)

The answer I was reading over was to the following question. “Of all the kinds of journeys you can think of (road trips, camping, hiking, railroad, stagecoach, etc…), how would you best describe your life’s journey?”

My response…”Probably hiking for me. (Not that I ever really do much of it. Haha!) Some of the paths seem too difficult to conquer…but if you focus on one step at a time…you are there before you know it. Some of the paths look enticing, like an easy way out, but end up causing you much pain and discomfort. Things are not always as they seem. Some paths lead you ‘up’ to your goal destination. Some detour you from it. And you would never appreciate the relaxing down-hill stroll…if you didn’t have some mountains to climb over. In the end, the struggle of the hike is worth the view from the top. Breathtaking!

So today, when my pastor was giving a message on ‘The Journey’, this page I wrote kept coming to my mind. I may have even typed that to you all before. I honestly can’t remember for sure, but there is more to it this time…so please read on. =)

We read a passage from Luke chapter 24. Click here and start in verse 13 and read the story of “The Road to Emmaus”. Go ahead…I will wait. =)

If you are like me…and sometimes you feel a bit lazy, I guess I will go ahead and summarize for you.
These men were walking several miles on the road to Emmaus…but they were supposed to be in Jerusalem. On their ‘journey’ they met Jesus…only they could not tell it was Him. They told Him of Himself. Haha! They told him about what had just happened. (This was just after the crucifixion and death of Jesus.) He told them story after story of truths from the Bible. Finally as the trip ended, they could recognize Jesus. So, what did they do…they went back to Jerusalem. (Where they should’ve been in the first place. Haha!)

What does that speak to us? Well first, they didn’t stay where they were told. I am sure we all never do that! ;) Even though they were traveling in the wrong direction, Jesus still met them where they were. He walked along side them. He spoke with them. As soon as they realized it was Jesus they were with, they wanted to go back to where they were supposed to have been in the first place.

Do you ever feel as though you are doing the wrong thing? Not necessarily sinful, just incorrect for where you are headed. Like you aren’t even traveling in the right direction? Spend time with Jesus. Talk to Him. Be with Him. Listen to Him. Before you know it, you will want to turn back to the correct path. The Path of Righteousness. And that is a lovely place to be!