Friday, April 27, 2012

Three Months with Little Man

I can hardly believe it has been three months since we have been given custody of our little man. It seems like time has flown by. I am amazed at what has come from this process. First I cannot begin to describe how much I love this kid! He is my very own and rightly so because I am his guardian, his protector as he is in this limbo stage of life. Until permanency is established our role is to nurture, train and protect.

I don't see him as someone else s kid either. He is part of our family now. He just has a very large family in reality. I tell him this often that it is such a blessing he has so many people who love him. He has adjusted very well to us. He has even bonded well. He is safe to thrive now. When we first got him (three months ago) he spoke only a few words. Words that were hard to understand even. Today he is speaking up a storm! He is saying large sentences of up to five words. When he is struggling to find words you see his little mind thinking it through and out comes what he needs to say. His vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds. All he needed was a chance to thrive. Someone to really talk to him and communicate. Here we do A Lot of talking so I have to believe this helps! He copies words and figures our how to use them properly in conversation. That is brilliant.

His memory is amazing too. He is able to tell me some things about his past, what he has done in preschool, and about his day in general. He could not walk or run really well either at first because he was never really allowed out of a play pen or car seat but now his large motor skills are really great. He is gaining great control. He was terrified of baths but now really enjoys them. He even has started to learn how to pretend play with toys! It is amazing to see.

As you can imagine when he was finally allowed to run free he had many issues with boundaries. But now through bonding with us he respects them. He listens. He has come a long way in this area. He is so funny too. He is such a joy to be around. Also, as I type this I am hoping we are in the final stages of potty training. He is sleeping mostly through he nights now too. He is starting to understand he is secure. He also has grown since he has been here. Three months can do so much for a child in need. Sure it is hard work but for the sake of a life it is worth it!

My favorite part is that he requests songs to be sung to him like Jesus loves me and Our God is an Awesome God. He can tell me about the disciples and Jesus from Sunday School lessons. He loves to pray and reminds us when we forget. He seems to have a love for Jesus. We are going through the Jesus Storybook Bible and talking all the time about Him so I am glad for this.

Most of all, he has changed us. My life was very comfortable before he came along. I did not realize just how much. The girls can do pretty much for them selves now. I was free to sit back more, do more of what I selfishly wanted to do. After all I thought I earned that right? I homeschool all day, clean the house, cook dinner, keep my family in clean clothes all with a child with autism and a chronic illness of my own. I thought I was doing good. Well, God had other things to say.

Entitlement is something that I think I fall into so easily again and again. Comfort had become an idol. I was fine with the status quo but when the call came for our little man in need we knew it was what God wanted for us. Going in I was a bit naive even though I worked years as a social worker. I thought oh it will be different but nothing about this has been easy. We have been slapped in the face by the ugly things of the world. We could no longer hide our eyes in our safe little home. We had to step up to the call and in doing so God has shattered our world but in a great way. He is using all of this to remove the selfishness in our hearts and turn us from idols we did not know we held close back to Christ. The process is excruciatingly painful but Christ-likeness is worth every moment of it. I would not change it for the world.

So what does the future hold? I don't know but I don't have to know because I know who holds my future and it is His sovereign will that I trust. Until then I will protect this little guy with my life just like I would with my other kids. After all they are precious gifts from the Father that really belong to Him anyway. I only hope that in the end I will know that I did fight the good fight in parenting them well in HIM and training them how to live in this hard world. After all my girls had to learn, earlier than I desired, first hand about things I wanted to hide from them about kids being neglected in the world. They just cannot grasp this. I really cannot either but am thankful that God keeps my heart connected to the children He has entrusted to me.

It is ok to do the hard things in life that will rock your world. After all this time is so short. Help those who need it, open to your eyes to those in need, let your children be part of the process. Walk like Jesus walked. It is the only way to really live abundantly in HIM!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Psalm 119 - Week 14


Listen to this song to start and prepare your heart. When I read verse 105 I cannot help but think of this song.

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
There is great comfort when you can know there is a road map for you when you feel lost. If we stay on the path written out we are less likely to get lost. His word keeps our way illuminated. We can stay the course if we abide by it.

106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.
David had resolved to follow God's laws, period. We would be good to fix our minds in such a way as well. Not out of legalistic compulsion but out of an overflow of love for our Savior. To resolve to follow His righteous ways is a privilege not anything else.

107 I have suffered much; preserve my life, LORD, according to your word.
Here is Spurgeon's words on this verse, "I am afflicted very much. According to the last verse he had been sworn in as a soldier of the Lord, and in this next verse he is called to suffer hardness in that capacity. Our service of the Lord does not screen us from trial, but rather secures it for us. The Psalmist was a consecrated man, and yet a chastened man; nor were his chastisements light; for it seemed as if the more he was obedient the more he was afflicted. He evidently felt the rod to be cutting deep, and this he pleads before the Lord. He speaks not by way of murmuring, but by way of pleading; from the very much affliction he argues for very much quickening."
Thoughts on this?

108 Accept, LORD, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws.
When we are enamored by His love even so in the midst of trial, we should be giving God praise out of our free will. We cannot help but praise the One who redeems us. We also cannot help but to want to know more about Him and His laws.

109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law.
David chose to not forget God and His law as he lived in hard conditions. Though he was king and was "entitled" to the kings life he did not see it that way. He could have killed the obstacle in his way of King Saul but he refused to do that to the Lord's anointed. He let things all play out in due time. I can learn so much from him in this!! So often I want to demand my so called "rights" in a situation but instead I should be looking too and seeking out God and His laws through my times of trial and running for my very life.

110 The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts.
We will always have enemies as we pursue God. Persecution abounds around us. And we have a war against the spiritual forces of darkness however none of this should cause us to stray from Him but instead draw in closer.

111 Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.
Oh to really live as His word being our inheritance. That they would be the ultimate joy of our heart forever! We must remember what a blessing His word is even when we feel like we do not want to read it.

112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.
Oh this is my prayer for us this week. May we be a people who set our hearts on keeping His law. May we be a people who finish strong in HIM! 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Book Review: 1000 days: The Ministry of Christ by Jonathan Falwell

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of review.

1000 days is a book that focuses on the last three years of Christ's life on earth which numbers around 1000 days. Looking at the life of Christ with this view in mind really puts it in a perspective for me regarding the importance of time and meaningful ministry. These 1000 days were the number of days that Jesus was in public ministry until the date of His death. We do not know much about what happened in His life before these days. However, these last three years are recorded for us and Jesus did make them count.

The focus in this book, which did not have a chance to cover enough, covered many of Christs words. He chose His words wisely. He cared so deeply about His disciples and us that He used words that would prepare and help them for the future. I am amazed at the importance of His words. This books didn't share anything new but did put it in a really neat perspective.

I found my heart encouraged to worship often as I read through the author's words alongside Jesus life. It is a book that I do recommend. It is the kind of book that encourages and spurns you on toward the gospel and gospel shaped life. In this life filled with limited time, I do not like to waste it on things that are not meaningful. Reading included. However this book is worth the time and one of my favorites for 2012.

You can get a copy from amazon here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Book Review: Unashamed to Bear His Name by R.T. Kendall

I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher for the purpose of review.

I first read a book by this author when I was struggling with forgiveness. It helped me so very much so I was very excited to review another by him. It was a good book that gave me a lot to think about. It speaks about the reproach we receive as Christians. How bearing Christ's name will bring stigma and how to walk it out gracefully.

This book reviewed all throughout the Bible how stigma has taken place. It also added various other experiences throughout history including Dr. Kendell's own life. It is very true that if we are going to walk this out faithfully and close to God and His word there will be persecution. It comes in various forms but He has to be enough for us. Christ has first experienced it and will help us when we do too.

You can get a copy of this book from here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Psalm 119 ~ Week 13

מI love this next section and how it speaks of the Psalmists dedication to the word. It is so inspiring to me. I feel this at times then at other times I do not. However, one thing I have learned is that feelings will deceive you. His word is truth and never changes and truly is the best thing in my life no matter how I feel emotionally.  Cultivating a love for His word is key to this! When it all boils down to it His word is all that matters. All that will truly sustain you!

If you think about it this way, pretend you had a father you adored. He cherished you and loved you so deeply. You felt secure when he was around. You hung on his every word. But then he dies. It devastates you, only to find a letter written by his hand to you. What would you do with that letter? 

I know what I would do, I would cherish it! I would hold it close and memorize it. It would be what would sustain me and help me keep him close to my heart. We have that with God's word yet our God is alive! He is coming back for us and His word is what sustains us until then. We must hang on every bit of it with anticipation knowing it is enough to get us through. He is coming, He is enough, His word will sustain the weary and encourage the cheerful.

 97 Oh, how I love your law!
   I meditate on it all day long.
Oh what our lives would look like if we always expressed this! The outside world would be compelled to look into it. Agree or disagree with this?

98 Your commands are always with me
   and make me wiser than my enemies.
Oh how His words do stay with us always and make us the wisest in the land. His ways are always best.

99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
   for I meditate on your statutes.
Anyone who meditates on His word continually will have the most insight. The Psalmist understood this rightly. How much do you meditate on His word?

100 I have more understanding than the elders,
   for I obey your precepts.
Again, no matter position or age if we keep His law continually before us and our hearts we will have more understanding than others. spiritual insight will be plentiful with us. Have you seen this to be true?

101 I have kept my feet from every evil path
   so that I might obey your word.
It is discipline and work on our part to keep ourselves from evil. We must say no to it in order to obey His word and with so much temptation out there and the world against the Christian way this takes a stronger love for God and His word than the world. When we love Him more we will say no to the world.

102 I have not departed from your laws,
   for you yourself have taught me.
God is our teacher, we must listen to Him and be not departed from his laws.

103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
   sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Oh think of the sweetest dessert your heart desires. How how much sweeter and delicious are God's words to us! How precious is that!

104 I gain understanding from your precepts;
   therefore I hate every wrong path.
As we gain understanding and grow in love with His word we will come to despise wrong paths. That is evidence of growing in His word!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lessons Learned from the Fire

One of the main things I have learned in this time away from our home is that I have way too many things. I have all I need here at this hotel room and I am not missing anything at our home. What does this mean for us? A major purge is coming! I will probably try to have a garage sale just to try to make a little money to help with our expenses through this ordeal and trial but the rest I am giving away. I cannot believe it took a fire to help me see that. I think I was just in denial really because I do complain often about messes. I see the overflow of toys and things coming into areas they should not be located. Now I am certain we just don't need all that stuff. Simplify is what is happening at the Parsley home. The girls have been talked to so I hope this transitional period will not be terribly painful for them. They have come to realize all they need they have here too.

Honestly I knew this already but helping my family in continually pointing them to the cross is what matters. This tight space and trial is exposing yuck in all of our hearts. It is most important we encourage one another to look to HIM who can change us. He is showing us the sin that needs to be released and let go. He is our all and main priority.

In life God entrusts each of us with certain trials. They are what help us become more and more like Him. They are what is given us as an honor quite honestly because we get to share in the sufferings of Christ. God does major work in these times. In this I can see that I have a renewed passion to help Hannah in her areas of struggle with Autism. Thankfully she is very high functioning to the point that unless you have a trained eye and discerning heart you will most likely miss it. However, in these trials I see her difficulties more clearly and have a renewed passion to help her through them. It is God's grace to let us go through these times of unpredictability now when she is under our care to help her learn how to handle it in a healthy way. It is hard but we are a team and work to help her.

Also, I see the work that is needed with little man. He has certain delays and issues that have become more exposed while being here but I also have a renewed passion to help him become the best young man he can become. God helps my heart see and discern. I am thankful for that.

I also have been able to see just how responsible my oldest is. How she has taken charge in a good way and been so helpful. I am really glad for her maturity in Christ and how she desires to be all God wants her to be.

My husband too I see where I am failing as a wife to him and want to be more of what he needs. Praying I will not be as worn out dealing with all these needs so I have time for him as well.  He cannot be last priority on my list.

There are true and amazing people that God puts in your life to encourage, pray, and love on you. I am so thankful for all of them. So thankful that I would have a house to stay at or two or three if we did not have insurance. Meals provided if we did not have insurance. So many things that friends do because they care for you. I am so thankful for that and it is in trials you see this more clearly.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Psalm 119 - Week 12

Well we are officially half way through now! What great diligence and effort you have made! Thanks for sticking to it and I hope you are learning as much as I am. No reading of God's word is pointless. It is an amazing living book. God's word is so precious. Praying we will continue to be ignited by it! Today I copied Scripture from the NLT Translation.


89 Your eternal word, O Lord,
    stands firm in heaven.
Isn't it nice to know that God's word is firm and stands firm in Heaven. It is not the kind of word that is simply typed and printed but word that originated from the mouth of the creator of the universe. It comes from before time and exists there after. It stands firmer than anything else in God's home in Heaven. It originated from Heaven. What a perfect word. A word that never changes. Do you believe God's word is perfect?
90 Your faithfulness extends to every generation,
    as enduring as the earth you created.
How God is amazing and never changes. He is not like a shifting shadow. He is constant. He will extend His faithfulness to every generation until none remain. How amazing is His faithfulness until the earth is no longer. I love that. How does it make you feel that God is solid and not everchanging like human beings?
91 Your regulations remain true to this day,
    for everything serves your plans.

Every word of God's is true. In fact it is the only thing that is solid and can be trusted 100% of the time. I know many honest people but still their words can be mistaken or mixed up. This is not the case with God. All things serve His sovereign plan. Nothing is a surprise to Him. We must trust His word and promises. Have you every found a promise from God's word not true?
92 If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy,
    I would have died in my misery.
One thing that God's word does is sustain us in trials if we lean on it and believe it by faith. It can also help prepare us for those trials that are yet to come. How has God's promises sustained you?
93 I will never forget your commandments,
    for by them you give me life.
Oh may this be our prayer, that we will never forget His commandments. May they rest firmly in our hearts so we can recall them at all times, but especially in times of need. I have a hard time memorizing Scripture but the Holy Spirit will bring to mind a specific verse or verses when I need it. Have you experienced this? Please share.
94 I am yours; rescue me!
    For I have worked hard at obeying your commandments
Spurgeon says this of this verse and I liked it, " when the Lord sets us seeking he will not refuse us the saving. He who seeks holiness is already saved: if we have sought the Lord we may be sure that the Lord has sought us, and will certainly save us." Oh how precious it is that we are chosen by HIM! Take a moment to praise Him for that!
.95 Though the wicked hide along the way to kill me,
    I will quietly keep my mind on your laws.

Oh how it is difficult when we are persecuted for His name's sake. Those wicked ones do find ways to trap us or kill us. Yet being solid and grounded in His word is a way we can be like Jesus and quietly keep God's word. Like Jesus went and did not open His mouth. God will be our defender. His word remains final. Do you have an example of keeping quiet in your life then seeing God move?
96 Even perfection has its limits,
    but your commands have no limit.
No one is perfect that ended with Adam. There were great men and women through the times but none perfect. Christ would come and be perfection on our behalf, however before that and before the Word became flesh to dwell among us, His commands came and were perfection with no limit to them. Now that is really cool. Thoughts?
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