Saturday, December 27, 2008

Leaning Against Him

Dear Sisters,
Hi! I woke up this morning at 3 am. I couldn't sleep anymore, so I got up and headed toward the kitchen. Quincy had been sick all night, so I stopped and put a fresh log on the fireplace in the living room where he slept. I just wanted to be alone with the LORD, hear His Beautiful Voice in His Word, and talk to Him about so many things. I lit a candle in the kitchen and put on the coffee. I opened up my Bible that is so well loved it is falling apart at the seams and once again asked Him to let me lean against Him and breathe Him in.

"When You said, 'Seek My Face,' My heart said to You, 'Your Face, LORD, I will seek.' " Psalm 27:8

Quincy heads out for Afghanistan the first week of January, and Brady is still in Iraq. Art's company has seen so many layoffs right before Christmas with more grim prospects ahead. And the pleasure of getting a baby girl from China after all these years of waiting is now looking dimmer and dimmer. But I knew there is peace in those Blessed Pages, and I prayed for "eyes to see" and "ears to hear" once again.

"You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusts in Thee."

Before I knew it, it was 5:30 am and my heart was at rest once more in His Precious, Precious Promises. I never tire of hearing them. I never tire of thanking Him for them. His Love Letter to me every day.

"All my fruit is found in You."

"I will love You, O LORD, my strength!"

"Each day has enough trouble of its own" were never truer Words; which is why I need so much to sit with The Living Word each morning before starting out yet another day. He is ever my strength.

"Man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word which proceeds from the Mouth of God." The Living Word which nourishes and nourishes beyond description. Without it, I am a bundle of raw nerves when the trouble hits.

"LORD, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore, tell her to help me!" Luke 10:40

A wise pastor once said, "Ministry makes a poor master."

"Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is absolutely necessary, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41-42

It is a choice to sit at His Feet every day. But I have learned that in order not to be troubled and worried about the "many things" and then to start blaming others for it (including the LORD Himself), it is absolutely necessary. I need His Word resounding in my ears all day as I face yet another day "with trouble of its own". For "the Kingdom of God is righteousness, joy, and peace." And I want to walk in His Righteousness through Jesus Christ my LORD, His joy in the Holy Spirit, and His peace that passes all understanding.

It's not about "doing it all", rather doing it with Him and for Him. For apart from Him, I am nothing. But with Him, all things are possible. And peaceful.

"Faith working through love."

Those are the Words I've been hearing over and over again lately...

"Faith working through love."

"Faith working through love."

"You will show me the path of life; in Your Presence is fullness of joy; at Your Right Hand are pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16:11

His Pace
His Pleasure
His Power
His Patience
His Perfect Love
His Passion
His Priorities
His Purpose
His Praise
His Peace

all, all, all in

His Presence.

I'm still learning. Believe me, I'm still learning. But by His Grace, I will keep on listening, learning, and leaning against Him. For He truly is my all.


Friday, January 4, 2002

More About Laine

Dear Sisters,

I thought I would introduce myself. It has been so nice to receive e-mails telling me how much you like the Proverbs 31 Bible study. A friend of mine told me yesterday that I sound as though I "have it all together" in it. We laughed about that as she knows me so well. What I hope to convey in it is that I am striving, as I know many of you are, to conform to the image of Christ and to have my home be used for His Glory. With that in mind I thought I would tell you how the Bible study came about.

I have been married 16 years to Art. I prayed since I was sixteen for
God's man for me, and God was faithful to me, even when I was not to Him. I am 36 with four beautiful children: Quincy (14), Brady(11), Abbie(7), and Gabe(4). I often look at them now and whisper to God, "You make the most beautiful children."

When I was pregnant between Abbie and Gabe, I lost a baby at five months of pregnancy. It was so hard for me because I was very sick with that baby and in bed much of the time. The fact of the matter was, I was becoming depressed and feeling God was not listening to me as I cried out in sickness. Then it got worse... my baby died inside of me without my knowledge of it for a while.

I was His Child, but I was spending more time reading rough romance novels, and watching soap operas and movies that I should not have. These were the words I was meditating on all day. I was spending no time in His Word except for opening my Bible in church on Sunday morning.

I was a fearful woman who put her children first in her life. Most of my fears concerned them. In my fear I was critical and frustrated which caused me to yell at them a lot. My husband didn't know what to make of me and just tried to cope. We often had heated discussions. I felt as though everyone was sucking off me, and they were sucking me dry...

I got pregnant two months later with Gabe. Oh, I was so excited. He was born five weeks early, but there was serious trouble two weeks later. Before I knew it he had developed pneumonia and was in an oxygen tent in the hospital fighting to breathe and stay alive. The nurse who was assigned to us told us he couldn't keep up the striving to breathe as he was only 4 pounds and that his heart would give out. She was sorry but she was so swamped with patients and would we call out to her when the heart monitor went off to signal his heart had stopped so that she could rush in to tend to him. (I am trembling as I write this and trying not to cry.)

Well, I cried out to God as never before in that hospital room. He had taken a baby from me already and was now ready to take one I had seen and held. I had been a Christian since I was ten, but I did not feel His peace at all. I didn't feel it because I did not know my Father. I didn't trust Him in this situation whatsoever. So I started to bargain with Him. I promised Him I would get up early every morning and get to know Him if He would heal my Gabe. The heart monitor went off signaling Gabe's heart had stopped, and I rose to yell for the nurse at my husband's cry. I pleaded with God as I began to yell for the nurse. Gabe's heart started to beat again.

My husband had been encouraging me to write a book on saving money on food as I had a knack with that and had spoken to many women about it. The heart monitor went off again with a penetrating long and loud buzz that sliced into the room. I rose again to yell for the nurse at my husband's cry. (My husband just kept staring at Gabe in the oxygen tent praying for him to live.) I made my second promise. I promised the LORD I would write for Him to women if He would heal Gabe. The heart monitor stopped blaring and Gabe's heart started to beat again. Soon the room was a mass of confusion as they prepared to rush Gabe by ambulance to San Diego Children's hospital.

One week later the head doctor of the critical care ward came in and told me that they had no reason why this baby was well. But they were sending him home. I was so far from God that I did not give Him the praise and the glory He deserved to that team of doctors. I stood there silent, but thankful to have Gabe back.

Once I got home, I knew I had to do what I had promised. So I started to get up at 4:00 a.m., as this was the only time of my day that I could be alone, and I opened the Bible to the beginning: Genesis. I asked Him to show me Who He was, and not as I perceived Him to be, as I did not know Him as I should. And I asked Him to help me love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. It was very hard for me to get up at 4:00 a.m. with a nursing baby, three other children, and home schooling. And I had always started to read the Bible before, but found it to be too time consuming and difficult to continue. But I feared God! So morning after morning I got up to be alone with Him. Soon I was growing and finding out who God was! And how much He loved me! I couldn't wait to get up and get into His Word, and many times would get up at 3:30 a.m. to linger longer with Him.

That was five years ago this November, and my whole life has been turned upside down with the joy and love and adoration that our great Heavenly Father brings to me, one of His Chosen Homemakers. I have more energy than I did before when I was sleeping longer. He multiplies my time. (I liken this to tithing as it seems you can never afford to tithe, and then after you start tithing, you can never afford to stop. Likewise
when you "tithe you time" to Him giving Him the first of your day daily.)

And this summer I have had the privilege of almost seeing completed the book that I promised to Him almost five years ago. The Proverbs 31 Bible study is the beginning of that book as I have a passion to help homemakers as God has so wonderfully seen to help me. It was good that I was afflicted. I no longer read rough romance novels, watch soap operas, or movies that I shouldn't see. He slowly pulled each one of those out of my hands. I no longer put my children first, but can see His plan for the family and try to walk in the Light of His Word on it. I no longer fear, feel frustrated daily, and yell at those that I love the most. I ask that I walk at His Pace, doing His Priorities, by His Power, with His Peace, and with much Praise to Him along the way. I ask that I might cling, cling, cling to Him and that I never return to the state I was in before. Because I know that it is only through the power of His Holy Spirit that I have anything with you to share.

And each morning I get up so excited to see what He will say to me in His beautiful, beautiful Word. And then I have the pleasure of conversing with Him as He speaks to me. Intimate conversation in a holy kitchen. I can handle other's words now so much better in my day because I have heard The Word first. (My husband told me today that as I share with other women he can see early morning lights on in kitchens all across America. It gave me goose bumps when he said that as I know the strength a homemaker has who is sold out for God and clinging to Him.)

My husband gets up next when I am 3/4's of the way through my Bible reading, and I have never looked at him with more love than I do now. God has given me new eyes to see him. He sits next to me and reads His Bible, which he never did before. My children get up after he leaves for work, and I cannot believe the change my behavior has had on them. My eldest son says the change in me caused him to start to read his Bible through every day for a year (recently accomplished). And then, "my servants" get up and get going, which has had the most profound effect on my outlook concerning the running of my home. It was on the umpteenth time of reading through Proverbs 31, and trying to assimilate the wisdom taught there, that He opened my eyes to see who my servants were: crock pot, bread machine, washer, oven, sink, refrigerator, sewing machine, and many, many more. And then to get them going early in the morning after
He has given me the Living Bread to meditate on all day long.

I am still striving to be all that He wants me to be. I have not arrived. I still struggle. But as I see Him afresh and anew every morning, I see He has the power to do anything with anyone who is willing to let go and let Him have total control. It took me three readings of His Word to do that. Now I am His Servant, His Slave, His Daughter, and part of His Glorious Bride! I ask Him to orchestrate my moments into a life of praise to Him. May He shine, may He shine, may He shine! And may His Servant, Laine, be forgotten and may Jesus Christ be the fragrance remembered. I am His Fingerprint, wanting, oh so wanting, to leave His Impression.

With much love to you all,
(Psalm 18:1)

"I love you, LORD, my strength."

~*~*~*~Update to Laine's life~*~*~*~

Dear Sisters,

Art and I have been married 24 years. We are in the process of adopting a baby from China. We hope to have her somewhere between October 2005 and January of 2006, God willing. Art is a welder, and I am a full time homemaker. We have homeschooled our children for fifteen years now, and we have graduated our two oldest sons. We live on a modest income in Southern California, but by the grace of God through much prayer and patient persistence we became completely debt free in 2003 including our
mortgage. Thank you, LORD!

Quincy, our oldest son, is now 21 years old. He is going to Bible school full time, working as the Freshmen Leader with 165 freshman kids at our church, and teaching piano on the side. He recently came back from a semester of Bible school in Israel and is presently on a short missions trip to Swaziland, Africa with his brother planting gardens and the gospel. Quincy is my deep thinker and loves books by Oswald Chambers. He has a passion for the LORD and seems to be heading into the ministry. We enjoy Quincy so much.

Brady is eighteen years old. He attends both Bible school and a local community college. He also works full time in outside maintenance with a crew at our church. He leads worship weekly for the high school and occasionally for the college group by playing the guitar and singing. Brady visited his brother in Israel a couple of months ago, and he is now working with him in Swaziland for a brief time. Brady also has a passion for the LORD and was willing to quit his job if he had to in order to go to Swaziland to help the people there. (Praise God he didn't have to!) He would love to go into a music ministry. We enjoy Brady so much.

Abbie is now fourteen years old. She is might right arm. We really work so well together in our home. Not only that, but we have so much fun doing it! Abbie is a freshman in high school, so she is one of the freshman kids that Quincy is in charge of at our church. We like that! And she does as well. Abbie loves to bake, so she is baking something almost every day. Nothing lasts around here with four men in the house - everything is eaten promptly - so she has very willing taste testers. She would love to go to a chef school someday, preferably in France, but we'd like her to go to Bible school first, and then we'll see from there. In the mean time, I continue to teach and train her the best that I can in all areas that I think will be of help to her in the future. We enjoy
Abbie so much.

Gabe is twelve years old. He has an easy going style and the funniest sense of humor. And this used to be my strong willed child! It was worth all the prayer and patient persistence we put in with him to see him so sweet natured now. Gabe is in the sixth grade and is my husband's right arm. Our older boys are so busy with work and school, so Gabe has taken up where they left off. He's always learning something from Art. He is also learning to play the drums on my father's vintage drum set. My father was a professional drummer, so it is exciting to see our son follow in his footsteps and on his drums. Brady hopes Gabe will be a part of his music ministry with him. We enjoy Gabe so much.

I still get up at 4:00 a.m. every morning as I have for the past twelve years to seek the LORD in His Word and in prayer. It continues to be my favorite part of the day. Jesus is my strength, my song, my shield, and my salvation!