Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Because Of Love, You Have Been Warned...

In this message, Brother Charles Lawson shares an account by Dr. Maurice Rawlings, who was the former personal physician to former President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower.  This account, given by a formerly self-proclaimed unbeliever in Jesus Christ; a man whose reputation was at stake; a man highly regarded amongst those who were highly educated, powerful in society... verifies what God has been warning us of all along:  Hell.

Because this preacher, and this doctor, (and, many, many others), care for the souls of humanity, they risk being scoffed and mocked by their fellow kind, with messages like the one I am sharing today.  Still, the reality of a soul damned, eternally, is worth the temporary ridicule.  If you would take but a moment to listen... It may just save your life.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Molding Into A Mama: Part 7

     After checking my progression, the midwives kept a scrupulous eye upon my bathroom visits!  I was so much in my own mind at the time, that I did not comprehend why.  Of course, I later realized that they did not want me delivering on the toilet!

     I was informed of what to expect to feel, regarding pushing sensations.  They never came.  Oh, and I was getting so sleepy!  My legs were getting wobbly, too.  All I wanted to do was climb into that big, luscious bed, and doze.  My birth team wanted to keep me going, to have that baby!

     Finally, Dear sought with my main midwife for help.  He was desperately concerned with my exhaustion, wanting to alleviate it somehow.  She came into the room, asking if I wanted her to break my waters.  I readily agreed.  Anything was better at this point, to alleviate the monotony of walking between contractions, and then standing with one foot on a stool while bearing down at an angle, with the contractions.

     She had me stand, then bear down, to assist in breaking those waters.  Before I knew it, a pressure like none other I had experienced, came.  Immediately, she knew he was coming!  Still, I was oblivious.  I thought, when she told me to bear down (like I had to use the bathroom), that I was simply encouraging my son to get into position to where I could start pushing... Nope.  I was pushing!

     In the squatting position, with Dear behind me for support, I awaited that next sensation.  When it came, I roared!  (Dear described it as "yelling," but, my Amazonian moment would be diminished in my mind if it were not "roaring.")  My midwife reminded me to pour that energy into pushing.  Listening to her, I pushed with all my might, bearing down on the foot of the bed with my hand, keeping me upright.

     I remember her saying I was crowning.  My, what excitement!  With that next contraction, I pushed with the same amount of fervor.  There, in her hands, was my son!  It took a total of seventeen minutes of pushing!  (Later, we realized he had not come sooner, because he was slightly at an angle.)

     Immediately, she handed him to me, and got me walking over to the side of the bed.  Li'l Man and I finally arrived to that pillowed haven of rest.  The joy and awe that overcame me was, and still is, indescribable.

     Dear rushed over to us, from the other side.  The midwives got busy cleaning us.   I was more than happy to let them. He was here, in my arms, looking up at me! 

     I felt a warm rush, and figured he anointed me with his first workings of his bladder.  When the ladies removed the blankets, though, it was evident that he blessed me with another substance...

     ... Who cared, thoughI surely did not!  I was in mommy bliss!

     Being so early in the morning, they cleaned us up, dimmed the lights, and left the room (after waiting nearly an hour for my placenta's birth).  Dear, Li'l Man, and I were able to cuddle and snooze.  I know I snored, and loudly, too.  I even woke myself up from it; but, I did not care.  I had my family. 

     A bit later, they came in to do more work.  They checked us both out.  Other than a slight, superficial tear that my midwife easily repaired, the only issue she saw was my son's tongue tie.  Dear was able to weigh him, with the happiest of grins. 

     Making sure we were all informed of what to do, post-natally, we were then prepared to go home.  My doula had left, just a couple hours before; getting home for a quick nap and shower, before heading off for her day job.  Still fueled with mommy bliss, I was excited to take our family home.

     We informed my mother of our impending arrival.  She got busy making breakfast, of which the aroma was a great welcome upon entering the house.  I was immediately ushered to bed, alongside my precious boy.

     Mamaw was the first family member, after Papa and Mama, to hold our son.  She was so delighted, too!  He was the first grandchild for which she was able to be available for their birth.  Such a gift for her.

     First pictures sent, news sent out, and we three were on our way to getting some much needed rest.  Mommy bliss was wearing off, and sleep was a welcome friend.  The next days, and weeks, would be full of great joy, as well as great grief...

Monday, March 14, 2016

Molding Into A Mama: Part 6

     It took us nearly forty minutes to arrive to our destination.  It being the dead of summer, made for a beautiful, warm day.  I was grateful for the scenery as we drove along; it helped with distracting me from all the back labor I was having.

     By the time we arrived to the cottage, my midwife and one of her assistants were readying my room.  They took our vitals, then let me make myself at home.  You best believe I did! 

     I quickly changed into my pajamas.  How much better it was to be so comfortable!  Dear set out the food and drinks in the kitchenette, making sure to get that first pot of coffee started.  If counting from that first moment at home, I had been experiencing labor for about sixteen-and-a-half hours at that point.  We knew it could still be a while yet, before our son entered this world.

    Soon, our doula arrived.  She came straight from her first job, having worked a full shift as a culinary professor.  She was eager to get started to help, and we were so glad to see her!

     From that moment on, time seemed still for me.  The only way I knew time had progressed as much as it had, was by the darkening of our already-darkened room, by the setting of the sun.  Each moment for me was simple:  work with each contraction, by letting it do its job; rest in between each contraction, with either my doula or husband rubbing my back, while I sat on my birth ball, leaning over the bed; having those blessed, warmed rice packs applied to my back; having cool washcloths applied to my neck and/or face; be refreshed with water or Gatorade, and nourished with the various foods we brought; and, the occasional bathroom break.

     At one point, my midwife asked if I wanted her to see how far I had dilated, after checking other vitals; I readily agreed.  Having studied incessantly during my pregnancy, and years before it, I knew (as a first-time mother) I probably was not that far along.  Was I in for a surprise!  In just a few hours of being there, I was already at a "nine!"

     That realization was such an encouragement to me!  Dear rushed outside to message the news to folks!  We were getting so close!

    I was mainly surprised, because I kept waiting to go through "transition;" but, it seemed to never come.  As I walked in between contractions (at the blessed suggestion of my doula), I became more teary-eyed the further I progressed.  I was missing a very dear sister in Christ:  my former pastor's wife, back in the Pacific Northwest.

     I kept thinking of her encouraging me through each contraction, or simply being a calming, comforting presence; and, the more I thought about it, the more choked-up I became.  Of course, I was in my own little world; so, at the time, no one knew.  However, the feelings of missing her, and wishing she were there with me, became too much to bear.  Dear, ever alongside me as I walked my path in the room, just held me as I finally became an uncontrollable, sobbing mess in his arms.

     I told him why I was weeping, and he just compassionately held me.  I found out, later, that my doula realized I was transitioning at that moment.  She quietly notified the midwifery team, who were sitting at the kitchen table behind the closed door of my room.

It would be another five hours before our son was born.  Yet, when he came... He came!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Very Special Day Of Remembrance

     Ten years ago, I received a blessing that I definitely did not deserve.  This gift would  dramatically change the course of events for us.  Our lives would never be the same.

     Ten years ago, I finally found a church to attend.  I had struggled, like many, with going wayward as a Christian.  Though I am still growing in the grace and knowledge of my Saviour, the early years after being born again, were a struggle for me.  Thank God, though, He was, and is, long suffering!

     After a course of events, God was finally able to get my undivided attention, again.  This time, I was far away from all I had known.  There was nothing left, (save stubbornness), for my flesh to find any comfort:  no familiar places, and no familiar people (except my new husband).  Being thousands of miles away from anything that could keep me distracted from what God wanted to do with me, was a blessing.

      Yet, not the blessing of which I speak.  No, that one would come later.  When it did, I was completely unprepared for what God would do!

     So, one night, totally crushed by my behavior, I repented.  I asked the Lord for help.  I needed His strength to not continue misbehaving.  I needed to find a group of believers with whom to meet:  to grow, and to fellowship.  Thankfully, He did not waste time directing me.

     I found a small group of Christians meeting in a quaint little area of the new town in which I lived.  I still remember that night.  One of my dearest friends I now have, that night, was a stranger to me.  Though I arrived late (thinking they started on the half hour), she cheerfully motioned for me to come sit beside her and her spouse. 

     It was so refreshing!  For, for the past few years, my church attendance was a struggle.  Too many times I sowed unto the flesh, rather than the Spirit.  Too many times I yielded to temptation, rather than God.  Coming to church, determined no longer to waver, my heart was overflowing!

     The young man that greeted me at the entrance, reminded me of my brother when he was young.  The church used the same Bible with which I used in my youth, and preferred.  The singing was of the old-time hymns:  the same as my youth.  The kindness of my now-dear friend, was so moving.

     The man that preached that night, has now become a dear brother to my husband and I; his wife, and children, too, are dearly loved.  I mistakenly thought he was the pastor!  Yet, the man I would come to know and love as my pastor there, cheerfully introduced himself after services (not quite as young as that night's preacher). ;-)

     Ironically, he and his wife had once been stationed (having served in the military), just minutes away from my hometown, years ago.  To our knowledge, our paths never crossed.  Everyone there that night, was so friendlyI was so excited!

    That night, after I arrived home, my soul was just bubbling with joy!  It felt so good to be back in the will of God, to be amongst His people, and moving forward!  Yet, this experience is not the blessing of which I speak.

     Dear had determinedly decided against attending that church with me.  Why?  He gave empty excuses.  When I came home, full of a happiness that he did not provide, well, he was not happy.

     I kept going there, though.  I would offer him the opportunity to come, but, he refused.  Finally, a few weeks later, he decided to come on a mid-week service.

     He liked it!  He started coming every time; even telling me (who was saved), that even if he had to drag me, we were going (he was not yet saved)!  I was so surprised!  I knew this church was unlike anything to which he was accustomed.  I was wondering what would happen...

... Well, during this time, the pastor would come over, weekly, to do a Bible study of basic Bible truths, trying to reach my husband.  He was able to break down the Gospel, and why he needed it.  Thankfully, it seemed to make sense to Dear.

    One Sunday evening service, after about a month of visiting, three verses stuck out to him:  "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you restTake my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heartand ye shall find rest unto your soulsFor my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."--Matthew 11:28-30.  To this day, neither of us can recall the sermon.  Yet, from that night forth, he would never be the same.

     When the invitation was given, I noticed something I had never seen before that night:  Dear go forward to pray.  All the years together, he assumed he had to do these great fetes to get God's attention.  Even though I was not where God wanted me to be, I knew God was not distant.  I told him that he could just talk to Him.  He never saw God as just a prayer away, but rather so, so far from him.

     That night changed his mind.  He finally saw that God was approachable.  He saw that He could come directly to Jesus, without fear, or works... Just come!

     He never talked to anyone after the service.  I was so curious as to what occurred.  So, on our way home, I asked him:  "Did you get saved tonight?" He did not answer me immediately.

     After parking the car, he looked at me.  "I think so," was his reply.  Something was definitely different.

     I was not about to push the matter.  Getting inside our home to our awaiting dog, he quietly got the leash and took him outside.  Coming back, he confirmed it:  he was saved!

     While looking at the night sky, as he walked our dog, he simply asked Jesus to save him.  At the church meeting, he had asked Him to help him.  In such a short time between the church house and our home, God had worked mightily on his heart!

     He did not just want help:  he wanted Christ's salvation!  Realizing that he could go to Him, without a priest, or works to prove himself, he called out to God to save his soul!  By the time he came back inside our home, he definitely was a new man!

     Oh, my heart!  I had married him while being like one of the Corinthian saints, and he an unregenerate man.  Yet, standing before me with unspeakable joy and peace, was the man for whom I prayed, when I was eighteen years old:  just a couple years before I met him.

My husband, now a Christian, is the blessing of which I speak!

     I did not deserve this gift.  Oh, but how glad!  Nevermore did I fear for his eternity:  it was now secure! 

     No longer were we on two different paths.  No longer were we enemies.  We were aiming for the same destination.  We had the same Father, now.  We were now going to get to grow together, in Christ!

     Grow we would!  My, how he took off for Christ!  I barely could keep up with him!  I had never seen something like it, in person!

     God had a hold of him!  God used that zeal to whip my weak spiritual muscles into shape, too!  I just had to hold on for dear life.

     That zeal, coupled with knowledge, has matured over the years.  There are so many stories I could tell you, of different things Dear has tried, in reaching the lost, or ministering to the saints.  Not always have I handled things well; it took me out of my comfortable, complacent zone.  Oh, but did it do me good!

     Though there are still some things that are the same about him, since I have known him, he really is a different person.  It would be such a contrast to put the man of yesterday next to the man of today.

     Does he still struggle with sin?  He would be the first to let you know, he most certainly does.  Though his soul is redeemed, his body is still the same, with the same tendencies and desires.  Such is it with all who are born again.

    Oh, but the gift God gave me, in this man!  One who points me to Christ, every day!  One who seeks to exalt the Lord who saved our souls! 

     Ten years ago, God performed a miracle in our home, by saving my precious husband's soul.  I am beyond honored to be married to such a man.  I am so grateful to be his help meet, as we journey this life, together.

Happy birth day in the Lord, love.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Molding Into A Mama: Part 5

     Having the prayers of so many brethren in the Lord, were of such invaluable comfort to me!  Knowing I had people on which I could call, day or night, to join us in seeking the Lord for whatever the reason, was and is a much-cherished gift.  If any of you that prayed for us are reading this:  THANK YOU.

     We sought those prayers endlessly.  Neither one of us wanted to go outside of the Lord's will.  Prayer was, and is, vital.

One day, in particular, I sought special intercession:  the start of his arrival into this world.

     At first, I did not think I was in labor (how many mamas can relate?).  Just a few days before the night my labor started, some of my family had arrived from out-of-state, hoping to be here for the newest addition of our family's debut.  However, I was concerned that they were going to miss said-event.

     Li'l Man was not about to let his family down, though!  After my stepfather and younger sisters left to visit other family in a nearby state, my mother, Dear, and I went about our day as usual.  I had made a huge pot of homemade, spicy chili, the night before, in anticipation of being laid-up with a new baby.  Not wanting any of it to be wasted, I was thoroughly enjoying each and every bowl. :-)

     That night, though, I thought I was suffering from the effects of aforementioned chili.  To my knowledge, though, it does not cause one to go to the bathroom at one-hour intervals... Of course, I only realized this fact, after about four hours of this activity.

     By this time, it would not be long that I would have been awaking, anyhow, to make breakfast for Dear and I, before he went to work.  So, I just sat in the kitchen, using the contractions timer, and awaited my husband's arrival to the kitchen.

     It had not been unusual for me to be up before him at other times, with the progression of the pregnancy.  So, initially, he thought nothing of me sitting there at the table as he made his morning coffee.  What was different, was seeing me using the timer...

... Talk about excited!  He was like a  chicken with his head cut off!  It was so adorable to watch; especially since he had been asking me, daily, if I was in labor, from the moment we entered the month of Li'l Man's birth.

     We tried contacting his lead at work, to no avail.  There was no way he would have been able to concentrate.  So, he prepared to go in to the job site, to inform him of the exciting news!

     Once he came back home, my mother was awake and excited, too, but, much more reserved.  Both, though, lovingly hovered.   Thankfully, after realizing what they were doing, they let me completely rest.  (I had been in bed, but, knowing this was a first for both of them, in their own, unique ways, I did not want to rob them of this moment.  But, oh, how glad I was to sleep!  It would come in handy, later.)

     We kept tabs on my contractions, having notified both my doula and midwife earlier that morning of our state of affairs.  Once the contractions were consistently around three minutes apart, for about an hour, Dear could no longer contain himself.  He wanted to get us over to the birth cottage, pronto!  I did feel we could wait a bit longer, but yielded to his insistence.  My mother would stay at our home, to care for our dog.

     So, having prepared these past months all that we would need:  our birth kit, supplies, food and drink (coffee being of the utmost importance here, for said-papa), diaper bag, birth plan, directions to cottage and hospital (if needed) left for my mother, our change of clothes and  toiletries, and, most of all, prayers, we were on our way!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

"Approach Unto God..."

     Friend, is your soul in need of spiritual refreshing, reviving?  Have you been wondering if you are simply religious, and not really born again, like Christ teaches?  Do you know, that you know, that you know, that you ARE born again, but have fallen into the same snare as the Galatians?  Well, this message is for YOU!

    Friend, who does not consider themselves religious, but acknowledges "the man upstairs..."...Who is disgusted by hypocrital Christians they know, and watch, or have watched, over the years... This message is for you, too!

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