Thursday, November 13, 2014

Happy birthday and Sophia's story

A year ago I was in the hospital with a new tiny newborn baby. I love that sweet terrifying new born stage. Sophia is one today, she is whole, she is a gift and i feel overwhelmingly thankful for her healthy delivery and life.  I was pondering these things in my heart and the Lord stirred in me a thankfulness for the darkness and hardness of the season in pregnancy with her. As I was praying and thanking the Lord, He gave me a sweet picture of that darkness and how that He had brought me through that dark period so that in the end His brightness will shine all the more. The darker the dark the brighter the light is when it comes. Like coming out of a cave and the sun is almost blinding.
I pray that if you are in a what seems a dark season that your faith would stay hold on Jesus. Even in the dark cling to Him and when that light shines again you will see His face like you never have before.

I wanted to repost the testimony of Sophia today on her birthday.<I can't believe my baby is 1!> My God is faithful and worthy of praise always. Wherever I go may I never be ashamed of testifying of Jesus and how good He is.

SOPHIA'S STORY(blog entry)
October 21st, 2013

“I have found as a believer that each season that the Lord brings to our lives has great purpose and providence in its outcome. Whether the season brings storms, sunshine or snow, the end result is a well purposed plan the Lord has orchestrated for our lives. Without rain in the summer how would the earth and all its beautiful vegetation grow? Without sunshine how would its life spring up to its full glory? Without snow and colds of the winter how would the old die off to make room for fresh new life of the spring? 
Each season I’ve found in my life has had and still does have purpose and fruit that comes from it. Whether i see fruit come to life in that very season i’m in or if don’t see it until i have moved on to a different season, there is always purpose and fruit. 
This past season has been a hard, rough and stormy season but i can sense a shift in my spirit of the season to come. Good things that He has and will continue to bring to fruition. This doesn’t mean that the next season will be all rainbows and lollipops but i can guarantee and prophecy that i know there is good to come. The fruit is to come forth and my inner man rejoices and cries out, “ Worthy is the Lord God Almighty!”.
I am almost at the end of my pregnancy with Sophia. This pregnancy has been wrought with trials and testing and lots of ‘school room’ learning to trust in Yahweh.
From what started with fear of loosing her in the first trimester then to guilt of being blessed with another child when others were not or had lost their babies at different stages in pregnancy, turned to very real and dangerous complications inside my uterus, where all i could do was trust the Lord for Sophia's health, to being borderline in having pregnancy diabetes and finally being at the end and waiting to see her and know her. Sophia is in there and how the Lord has chosen for her to be made.”

(When i was about 24 weeks pregnant the doctor told me that they found a uterine band when they did an ultrasound. Uterine band is kinda like a rubber-band of nerves that stretches into sack and can attach to your baby. It can cause amputations of limbs or malformations and even death. The doctor did extra ultrasound but there was no way of really knowing if it had affected her until she was born. I remember asking him if he seen all her fingers and toes and he simply said he didn’t see them all from the ultrasound but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. We’d just have to wait and see.)

“The only thing I had was to trust that the Lord is covering her and does cover all my children with His loving care.
 I’ve went through different stages with all of this with the Lord. First i dug up all the lies and fears from the enemy, only to find myself when i wasn’t careful falling into the “pit” left over. I learned that i had to fill that pit that held my fears back up with the promises of the Lord. Slowly i began to fill that pit up with His promises. (Yes, the Lord knows whats best, Yes, the Lord is Faithful, He does love me, HE does love Sophia, HE is worthy, etc...) Then i realized that i was not having faith completely in His work and His will and was just waiting for this season to end. We knew we would love Sophi no matter how she was made and we knew that we would turn to the Lord for any challenges but i didn’t know how to give my fears to the Lord in the “waiting period”. The Lord had me in a very real classroom, He wanted my full heart to trust in Him and he loves himself enough and knows my need for Him enough that He allowed us to walk through this. Finally now at the end i finally feel like I’m ‘getting’ it and seeking to in the little time i have left till she gets here to surrender my heart to HIm.
This is what i know:
Sophia means Wisdom and Elizabeth means God is my oath. Both of these the Lord has sought after in my heart. Both these i have had to surrender to Him to teach and guide me. I have learned to not just ignore the season or any thoughts of Sophi but to speak life and promise over her....”

There were many more lessons that i received and am still receiving during this season than what is written but i think that the most important one was that i have a very real need for a Savior, a Father and a Friend and His name is Jesus. I need Him not just when things are bad and rough but also when things are going great and smooth. I need HIM. 

So Sophia Elizabeth Vandenberg has made her appearance into this world and guess what?!? She had NO affects at all from the Uterine Band. Praise the Lord, we would have loved her no matter what, but our hearts are full of His mercies for us. The whole pregnancy and all the way up to the end of having to be induced and nothing going as planned was a blessing...Not because my baby has 10 fingers and 10 toes and all her limbs but because my sweet King did this for me. HE loved me enough to have me walk through a season where i could trust in nothing but Him. The Lord showed me that though mans plans fail, He never fails. Though our hearts may grieve, He is always there. When we have nothing left but to hope in Him, we realize that is all we need.

I told Ryan that i feel like David, like i had been hiding in a cave crying out to the Lord for His mercy and strength to face the unknown on the outside. And now the Lord is commanding me to come forth from hiding and speak His name.. He grew Sophia (wisdom) in my cave and now i must come out and declare Elizabeth(GOD is my oath).

So there you have it. My sweet sweet beautiful baby is one and I think often of His goodness when I look at her sweet face. I feel so thankful. Thankful for my babies, health and thankful for the Lord choosing me to walk through that particular pregnancy. He is good and He is faithful always in the darkest of nights or the brightest of days. 
Blessings, sweet friends. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

An abundance of gifts from the Giver!

My life is full. 

Real full.

Real real full.

This full full life may not seem full to those around me and heck may not even be full to them if they had the same. But let's just agree that the fullness degrees vary from individual to individual and what may appear to be an extremely full lap to one person may measly be a walk in the park to someone else. I have noticed that the Lord has a way of stretching that full and in His hands we are capable of walking with grace. Oh to thrive in the capable of the fullness…or the real fullness..or the real real..well you get the idea. 

 After a pretty intense pregnancy with Sophia(you can read Sophi’s story), I just wasn't prepared for the ‘wow factor' that comes with that 4th child. I didn’t remember the transition to 1, 2 or 3 being especially hard and just didn’t give it much thought before I had her. I think I was thinking that it had to be easier than going through that particular pregnancy. Then i had her and it was kinda akin to being knocked off my feet and having to learn to stand again. I felt like I was starting to get the hang of it and then we started our homeschool year….and there I was knocked off my feet again. Just not knowing how to manage a home, love my husband and 4 kids, keep them all happy, fed and well… alive. 

A couple weeks ago I was walking into church with 3 kids in tow and one on the hip while probably clinging to the shirt of the boy who would happily dart in front of large moving objects whilst crossing any given street. 
{ I’d like to sit down and have a cup of coffee with the person who ever invented the quote “Easy like a Sunday Morning” and have them explain or teach me this “easiness”…or perhaps let them help me on every Sunday from here on out. =) ha that’d teach to say such silly things. Bet they never had a naked toddler who prefers being dressed in the raw only to be challenged by Ninja Turtle pjs}
Ok, I need to get back on point. So I was struggling to get in the door and was probably 5 minutes late already and I run into a dear friend who sees me juggling my posse, smiles sweetly at me and ask me how I am doing. I am pretty sure I just looked her and said (my famous quote) "Four. Is. Hard." She being a mommy was sweet and understanding and I babbled about it the rest of the way into the building. 

  I FINALLY make it in and try to realign myself in a worshipful manner to God. Oh how this mama loves worship,I need it to focus my heart on King Jesus and prepare my heart for the word.
During the worship service that morning we begin singing a song with the lyrics “He gives and takes away. He gives and take away. Still my heart will say, blessed be the Name of the Lord!” The sweet conviction of the Lord came on me like a sweet word from a Father and awakened me like a strong cup of coffee. HE HAS GIVEN ME SO MUCH! He has not taken away. He could take away and He would still be God and Just and Perfect but He has just GIVEN to me!
I had this really sweet simple vision of me looking down at my lap and it being so full of gifts that i could barely manage to hold onto them. And i was complaining at all these gifts and how i was having a hard time holding them instead of focusing on and walking in thankfulness, seeing them as the gifts that they were. 
Don't get me wrong I love my kids, love my life, love my call but I think that there is a difference between being thankful for what He has given and walking in thankfulness for what HE has given. I was thankful and am thankful for my 4 kids 6 and under and my home and my husband and being able to homeschool and stay at home but I wasn’t walking in thankfulness for all that entails. I’m not saying that there are not times that it isn’t way hard but there is a central shift that happened in my heart that day. I could see my “full lap” (full life) and all that it entails as a gift and not as the job that goes a long with the things that I am thankful for.  

i just want to encourage you take a moment and look at all that is in your lap and what the Lord has given you. Maybe you already have the perfect outlook, but I know Satan wants us to be disillusioned by all that the Lord has given, and i struggle at times with being distracted by the gifts and how to carry them instead of seeing the beauty and the love of them.

Since then there are days still that i don't get my teeth brushed till afternoon, or you will find me with messy hair, robe, pjs and a cup of coffee in my hand after 10am. BUT I can see clearer than I have in so long at my full full life. I still struggle at times to carry all these ‘’gifts’’ but you know what? I’m not looking down continually at my full lap but am learning to look up to focus on Jesus and He is miraculously helping me walk in all that i am and all that i have in the midst of all that i am not. I’m reminded as I type of the song that says “He’s been good to me, what do i have to fear, knowing He is near.” Amen. 

So I guess what I am trying to say is.......

 Whether you are in a season where He has given you an abundance you are struggling to steward or even a season where He has chosen to take away, let’s not be fooled by the enemies schemes and spend time focusing on our lap at the abundance OR the lack. Let’s lift our drooping heads and look to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith!  After all, He HAS been so good to us.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Thursday, May 22, 2014

by the word of your testimony

We’ve been talking in the body a lot about the power in our testimony and have had different people share each Sunday. Two of my favorite scriptures are Rev. 12:11—“And they have conquered Him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” And also the verse in 1 corinthians 2:2 —“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” The Lord stirred in me a couple weeks ago (when a sister shared her testimony) the importance and how good it is for us to know how to proclaim Jesus’ work in our lives. I am not a teacher nor do i feel like i can give great words of wisdom to people, but there is one thing that i know that i can do and that is to share what the Lord has done to me and for me. How He found me, saved me and bought me when i was not worthy. I can come and claim Christ and Him Crucified, buried and raised from the dead and how THAT has changed my life forever. I would encourage you all to not be ashamed of and even to make it a practice to share what the Lord’s done to you/for you. You don’t need to be a great evangelist or have the Romans road memorized. The world just needs Jesus and what better way to share Jesus than by telling Him from your life. I’ve been stirred in my heart to share my testimony so this is my heart of obedience as weak as that may be at times…

  I grew up in a christian home. My parents were first generation believers and I am so thankful of all the generational chains and curses that they broke for us and that I do not have to struggle with today. My parents being saved when they were adults and knowing the depth of their own sins and how freely the Lord forgave them were great examples of the love and mercy of the Lord in my life. We went to church every time the doors were open. I mean- Sunday school, Sunday morning services, Sunday night and Wednesday night; plus the occasional revivals. I’m so thankful for the faithfulness my parents taught me while growing up.  So, I grew up hearing the gospel. It was more the “hell fire and brimstone” or “fire insurance” gospel but the Lord used it to bring me to a place of wanting to know Him and that fear of hell was really real in my life. I remember the first time the Lord dealt with my heart. The Spirit just overcame me as i set in my ‘pew’  with tears running down my face and I realized my need for a Savior. I didn’t go to an alter but I believe that that is when I became a believer. That is when I knew I needed Him(Jesus) and I wanted Him. 

   Fast forward a few years of living my own life but still going to 3+ services a week and lots of alter calls and youth camps where I would continually go down and ‘rededicate my life’ to Jesus and I came to a place where I was so tired of the back and forth Christian life that I had. I was 12 and on the outside thought that I had everyone fooled by my “Christian walk” but on the inside I knew my sins and struggles and started to even question if I was a christian or not. It was around this time that we had one of those revivals with a hell fire and brimstone preacher (not mocking and I believe the Lord can use any method He pleases to bring in prodigals, call the lost or empower the weak in Jesus name) that I set in my pew again just tired, tired of my struggles and tired of failing my God and myself. Here is where I believe I truly learned what it meant to surrender my life. It was at this point that I believe that I started being not just a believer but a follower of Jesus.  

   Fast forward about 6 or 7 years.  See the thing was that I was a weird kid. Kind of a natural introvert who would rather stay home than to go out but I had a knack for working a crowd. I mean people loved me and I made sure they did. I was that young adult that every grandma tried to set me up with their grandson and I was ok with that—after all, all i wanted to be “when i grew up” was a mom and wife. I even had someone tell me that I’d “make a great preacher’s wife someday if I’d grow my hair out and get a little more bible knowledge”. lol, I didn’t mind though because it had been my dream since I was little. I had spent years trying my hardest to be a good christian girl and to find my fairy tail christian romance man to sweep me off my feet and to marry me. We were gonna have a great christian home and a white picket fence to boot. I had lots of boyfriends along the way that I was convinced that this could be ‘the one.’ In all of this still not truly knowing how to walk in the Spirit and his leading or combat the enemies attack. I would still spend my week as normal doing the best I could (failing miserably at times) and then going back to church to get a refresher to last me till I came back again. It was along this time that the Lord brought a mentor into my life. He taught the young adult Sunday school class that I started to attend and it was under his discipleship/mentoring that I feel like I began to grow as a follower of Jesus. In this period of my life I still struggled a lot with my own sins and struggles but I started to view Jesus as not just the Savior that I first believed in, then followed; but I started to see Him as a King over everything on this earth and King of my life.

Fast forward a bit and I get to a point where I am done trying to find my own fairy tail and start putting that energy into learning to love Jesus and give my ALL—hopes,dreams and plans to Him. It was in this period of time that I met Ryan. I was in a great place with Jesus and am so thankful for the steps the Lord laid out for me. When I look back and think about it, i think that when i saw Ryan for the first time, i believe that it was one of the first times i recognized the voice of the Lord in my life. I knew that i was gonna marry him when i met him. Not just as a fairly tail but as hearing the Father say “this is who you will partner for my kingdom with.” A year later we are married and another year later we have Emma and are moving to Kansas….and this is where King Jesus really starts messing us up for His Kingdom! We have failed a lot and have not always been perfect but i know my King! I am learning to hear His voice more and more each day and to be living stones with the body around us. In each season He has brought me too i may slip and slide along the way but i have known by testimony and by evidence of His power that i may stumble and fail (and i do a lot) but He is my rock and redeemer. I know my redeemer lives and i am learning to look for His return more and more each day!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Chores, blessings, and jurisdictions

I woke up early this morning to spend time with Jesus. I mean not really early just had a little bit of time before the kids woke up. But any time that i can get i want to use it devouring Him in this season. I was sitting in my prayers asking the Lord for His Rhema Word for my day and i started thinking about last night as i prayed myself to sleep thinking about all that i have to do and all that i am not getting done and all the things that are required of a mommy of 4, wife, and keeper of home. All these chores. As i was praying this morning the Lord simply spoke to me the simple phrase-

"If you would view all these things as blessings and not chores.." 

Here comes the ugly truth....Sometimes, nay most of the time, life is chore for me-my family is a chore to me, my relationships are a chore to me, my calling is a chore to me, my home is a chore to me, my sweet babies/husband are a chore for me. Ugh....   I mean don't get me wrong i love all these things but more times than not these days these things all pile up on top of each other needing me to be there, show attention to it/them or fix it or walk in it and do it. When did the world of gifts collide with the realm of "stuff" and become just things i had to do? It's when i started to view all these things as chores and not blessings, folks. My family, my babies, my relationships, my home and all that comes with running a home have become "chores". This reminded me of how on '19 kids and counting'(<-new fave!) instead of chores they call it Jurisdictions.                                                                 
The definition of Jurisdiction is:the official power to make legal decisions and judgments.

Isn't that cool that it has the word power in it? I don't know, but this blessed me this morning.  I have had jurisdiction gifted to me by the Lord over a lot of things. My goal is to call these things blessed because i am blessed. I can walk in the demands of my life/calling because i have been given the "official power" to do so!  And I am blessed because of it! 

So maybe today i will get to that closet that needs cleaning or maybe i'll dust(<--hahaha) or get organized and run more productively or maybe just spend more time with my kids not thinking about all i have to get done but focusing on them....I don't know, but i do believe with all my heart if i could focus on their little faces, look at that mountain of laundry, open the closet with stuff falling out of it and view all these things as blessings and not chores then i will be/feel blessed and not so much like a robot going throughout my day and never succeeding at anything.  In Him i can do all things because He gives me strength! May ya'll(That means 'you all' for those of you who aren't from the South=) know your power over your "jurisdictions" given today and be able to view them as a blessing! May you walk in your blessings with power and authority given and be able to enjoy it in Him. XOXO

(4 of my most precious blessed jurisdictions=)