Friday, December 17, 2010

Count Your Blessings

One of my favorite movies to watch this time of year is 'White Christmas.' It is a classic and has so many great musical pieces in it. But one of my favorite songs in that movie is 'Count Your Blessings' ...when you're worried and you count sleep, just count your blessings instead of sheep...and you'll fall asleep, counting your blessings. Since I have had children I have struggled any time I wake at night to fall back to sleep. It seems as though my brain enjoys the uninterrupted thoughts it is able to have in a quiet house :). But it makes fr a very tired mommy. I have began adopting the idea this song proposes and praying thanksgiving and even intersession until I fall asleep. I'm not sure if it works faster or if I am just not as frustrated as I lay awake. But the idea is a great on for this time of year. I would like to imagine that I am sitting at the 'Christmas Tree of 2010' where God, my loving Father, has wrapped many planned out and wonderful gifts for me and those in my family. I would love to share a snapshot of those gifts. I will try hard not to forget any, but my Father is very generous, and I may inadvertently forget one.

  • The very biggest gift under the tree is my favorite and by far the one that my Father had to sacrifice the most to give me. The description on the outside of the box describes the gift this way: 'But God demonstrates His own love towards (me), in that while (I) was yet a sinner, Christ died for (me)...For while (I) was an enemy, (I)was reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, (I) shall be saved by His life. Romans 5:8&10

My favorite Christmas song of all time puts it this way in the last verse:

On the night before Christmas

Mary laid down to res;

while Joseph, he paced the floor praying.

And in an every day stable,

in an everyday town,

in the hours to come,

God would wrap Himself up;

And come down from heaven and the world would forever be changed;

After the night before Christmas.

~'Night Before Christmas' Steven Curtis Chapman~

  • The next gift I opened this year was the gift of a decade spent my wonderful husband Luke. It never ceases to amaze me how much God is able to squeeze into such a short time.
  • I was allowed to open a 31 year of life, a gift indeed.
  • I got a gift of a very healthy year, for both me and all my family.
  • There are few words that could describe the gift of righteous pride I have been given at watching my children blossom into wonderful people, caring of others and growing in their own relationships with my Father.
  • My Hannah is becoming more and more creative, as she nurtures her reading and writing interests, and uses the beautiful gift of song God has given her.
  • My Noah is an amazingly sweet spirit. He is always concerned about the people around him. He is concerned for their feelings, their needs and their eternal future. He is becoming quite a handsome young man.
  • My sweet and funny Abigail experienced the joy of growing and gaining a little more Independence by staring Kindergarten this year and she is flourishing! She is very happy and is a great friend to those around her. She and Hannah have become much closer now that they have school in common and this has been a particular prayer of mine for the past couple of years. I am so blessed in this regard.
  • My Lily....she is amazing. She is soooooo smart. She misses NOTHING. She too has grown up so much this year and it is always a joy to be around her (although her high pitched voice can overwhelm you at times, because it never stopped:)
  • My Sarah is a bundle of energy. She is funny and is learning to play well with her bigger brother and sisters. There is nothing she does not think she can do. She has an iron will, she is very independent, and she also closed the chapter on diapers for this family for a long long time!
  • Luke has completed two very successful semesters in his masters program.
  • He gave us a roof over our heads
  • a car (two actually) to get around
  • food to eat
  • clothes to wear
  • many laughs throughout the ear
  • some tears to put things in perspective and remind us that we still live in a fallen world.
  • a WONDERFUL visit with the entire Mike Dietz family in July (first time in who knows how long.)
  • an opportunity to see all the living grandparents on both sides of both families.
  • the opportunity o welcome a new sister-in-law to the family
  • a beautiful new niece and the help she needed with her legs (she has clubbed feet.)
  • a new job which is PERFECT for my little brother whom I love so dearly.
  • the opportunity to once more participate in Community Bible Study which has meant so much to me.
  • a wonderful VBS, community grill, fall festival, and 2 children's programs at church.
  • and so many more that I know I am forgetting at this moment.

Thank You, Father, for a wonderful Christmas this 2010. You have been good; So very, very good. I pray that I will be a good steward of Your gifts to me and that when others look at me, they see You and give all the glory to You, the giver of all good and perfect gifts.

Monday, October 25, 2010

October 26th-28th

"and command them saying, 'Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan,...carry them over with you, and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight...Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying 'what do these stones mean to you?'...So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever." Joshua 4:3, 6 &7

God has done many things in my life for which I feel I need 'stones' to remember. But by far the most powerful of these happened two years ago this week. And for this event, God even provided me the 'stone'
On Sunday, October 26th, at 8:38 am God gave Luke and me a precious, healthy 9Ib, 20 1/2 inches long bundle of sweet baby -Sarah Michal Panter. Her mother could not have been happier that she was finally here, and therefor the daddy could not have been more relieved. They had threatened to cancel my induction, and when Luke saw that I was close to loosing my sanity he debated with the nurses till the snuck me in and proceeded to induce. On Monday, seeing all was well, we were both allowed to go home. On Tuesday, My oldest two went to school, excited about their newest addition, my dear friends picked up Lily and Abigail and took them to bible study, and with Luke in school as well, Sarah and I had some 4 hours to bond and rest. My oldest got home from school around 3:45, Luke followed (along with my mother) around 4:30pm. About 15-20 minutes later, the minute Luke walked out of the door to run some errands, I was sitting on ,my bed holding the just-fed, and happy Sarah. In an instant everything changed, and something was VERY wrong. We would later find out that I had had a ruptured aneurysm in my right Illiac artery.
For the next 44 days God would proceed to show His power in undeniable, and miraculous ways.

It has only been two years, and I still think of those events almost daily. They rocked my world in a very unexpectedly good way. I am so grateful to God for the 728 days He has given me since. For every single smile, laugh, hug, triumph He has allowed me to be a part of in the lives of my children. I am so grateful for every tear I have had the privilege to kiss away. I am so grateful for the husband God has blessed me with, who went through an unimaginable ordeal, and did so with such integrity and faith and hope. I am so grateful for a mother who prayed over me as I lay barely conscious moments after the rupture, who loved and cared for the precious new life, and comforted the four other scared and confused lives that mean so much to me. I am so grateful for ALL the family and friends God impressed to be heroes for me and for my family.

It is such an honor to have lived this miracle. And I pray that Luke and I and our children will know how to be the best possible stewards of this miraculous story. October 26th-28th will always be stones to our family. We will never forget!

Happy birthday my sweet Sarah, Happy Anniversary to you and to me!!! Glory to God today and forever!!!!!

"For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Phil.1:21

Please consider listening to this song! I want to REMEMBER this every moment of every day!!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Father

Becoming a mother has opened my eyes to a whole new level of God's love for me. I understand so much more of who He is, if only on a small and imperfect scale. But last night I was reminded of something about my heavenly Father that I cannot replicate, and that brought me comfort.
As I have said many times, my nights are VERY seldom uninterrupted. My children have bad dreams quite often, and I always pray with them and usually walk them back to bed; and that usually does the trick. Sometimes, if they persist, I will let them move to a couch in the living room and that works. But last night, Lily would not quit. I went in and sat with her and we talked (at 3am) for about thirty minutes and I finally had her calmed down and went to bed very tired. When I laid my head down the thought struck me...'I am so glad my Father does not sleep. or need sleep. He is never too tired to talk!'
I am so glad for this experience of motherhood and how much closer it has brought me to God, but I am also glad for the knowledge that my Father is SO MUCH bigger and better than I am!!!

'I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will never slumber or sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The Lord will guard your coming out and your coming in from this time forth and forever. Psalm 121

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Challange!

Last year, I took on the challenge to read through the Bible in 90 days. It was amazing. At the same time I was going through a study of Genesis with Community Bible Study. This too was incredible. But one thing (of many) that both struck me and convicted me at the same time in both of these studies was how often in Scripture, women are the tool that throws a kink in things! Eve should not have talked and debated with the serpent, and then she gave it to Adam once she decided to disobey. Sarah and her 'helping God out' with Hagar. Rachel, plotting and leading Jacob to trick Isaac. Rebekah, and her flippant behavior toward God's chosen man. These are just a few. I am not saying everything these women did was bad, as a matter of fact the New Testament remembers Sarah fondly, but I distinctly being struck in my study of Joseph that when He is being tempted by Potiphar's wife the passage does not say he ever even debated with her, in fact it says "he did not listen to her" (Gen.39:10) and of all of the patriarchs, there is nothing bad recorded about how he acted.

I have met several woman who are very independent, others who are 'in charge" in their homes, others who feel like they have lived long enough to have earned the right to say whatever they think to whomever they want. It is so unattractive. I so very much want to be a soft spoken (not wimpy or weak-just not loud and overbearing) woman who imparts grace to my hearers. I want to bless my children, my husband, my friends, strangers, and i do not want to leave any of these doubting who is in control of my tongue.

This is and always will be a struggle-this will be my challange. But, I pray that I never, 'give in' or 'give up' and that I will speak life and not death. Please pray for me in this.

Monday, August 23, 2010


The past two weeks at my house have been buzzing with expectation. I am fortunate enough to have very social children, and therefore school has always been something they look forward to rather than dread. My third, Abigail, is starting kindergarten this year, and has been anticipating it for at least a year and a half! There has been the excitement of buying school supplies, picking out a new backpack, getting some new clothes and shoes. Abigail was even excited about getting the shots she lacked to be ready for school. We met with the teachers on Friday, and the anticipation had reached its peak by this morning. There were no tears as Luke and I dropped them of to school this morning. I even had to make Hannah and Noah come back and give me a hug! There is something inevitably exciting about a new beginning. A fresh and clean start. A year full of possibilities and successes. I assume everyone starts out with great expectations and hopes. As the mother who suddenly has three less children at home during the day, there are even 'new beginnings and horizons' for me. I can expect a slightly smoother nap time. Shopping becomes easier to manage, and the messes in my house become more contained. I found myself, the last two weeks, planning my new routine and schedule, and anticipating being more successful in my endeavours.
But, expectations can only become reality if we act in such away to bring about the result we desire. Just as my Lord's mercies are new EVERY MORNING. I want to remember my past experience, look toward my goal and press on firmly, without wavering to the right or to the left, in such a way as to receive the prize. And I take courage in the knowledge that I have n ever been expected to achieve these things on my own, but I can rely on the Holy Spirit who abides in my to give me courage and wisdom to discern my actions during the day. To remind me that Jesus has already overcome this fallen world and flatly defeated death and sin on my behalf. I can choose ever day as I wake to live a victorious day, one that I will not regret.
I pray this for myself, for Luke, and for my children. I desire to see our family live a life that in the words of Steven Curtis Chapman's song "lives out loud"!!