The Blessed Duggars

What an amazing blessing it is to hear about the Duggars with baby number 20 on the way! (edited to add: We are so sorry to hear that the Duggars lost this little one in the womb at 19 weeks. Our hearts go out to them. Duggar family, we love you and are praying for you!)

I am continually AMAZED by the graceful and loving way that Michelle and Jim-Bob respond to all the invasive questions they get asked. They turn every prying question into an opportunity to share about the blessing of children, to smile and share about living debt free, their struggles, their faith and their wonderful family. Its amazing how they have given their lives for God to use to teach people about the blessing of children and faith in Him. They are never swayed in their faith or in their commitment to raising their family as God lead’s them.

I am so grateful for the encouragement of their books:

The Duggars: 20 and Counting and A Love That Multiplies

and I am so blessed to see that little Josie is doing so well after such a huge trial. It is so challenging to see how Michelle mothers her children with such love and grace and always has time for them.

Thank you Lord for the Duggar family!

“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

Psalm 127 v 3-5

Teachers of Good Things

About 9 years ago, before my hubby and I had any children, I met a wonderful godly older woman. She was a huge blessing to me and became my Titus 2 teacher. It was the first time in many years that there had been someone with a vision for her family that I could relate to. There were others but none of them had spoken of the blessing of family like she did. She spoke of how since moving to Cape Town, she had seen such a fear of childbirth among the women in the churches. She said there was such a spiritual stronghold in Cape Town over the area of childbirth. Nowhere else had she seen such fear of childbirth and so many elective caesarians.

She encouraged me in my desire to have my first and all other babies at home (at that time God had being doing a huge work in my and hubby’s hearts – going from fear of childbirth to great health and hope – and from not having much desire for children to wanting them desperately!)

Marlene encouraged me to trust God with my desire to have a positive  joyful childbirth testimony to encourage others with.

After a few years, she and her family moved away from Cape Town South Africa to Nashville, Tennessee.

I was very sad and I cried out to the Lord “Who would be my mentor, my teacher and my encouragement?” God whispered in my heart that I should be still before Him – the all-sufficient one.

Then a friend of mine said that the Lord had very clearly given her a scripture for me..

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” John 12 v 24

She wasn’t aware of my heart’s cry but she said she felt God saying I must let go and God would provide.

I thought: “But you don’t understand, Lord – those type of women are few and far between. I don’t know of any other older women who have a great vision for their families!”

I decided to leave it in God’s hands – although now and then I wondered: “Who would inspire me with my family? How would I grow as a mother? Who would I draw from? Who would help me on my mothering journey and teach me what I needed to know? Who would show me what they had done so I could learn from their lives and be inspired to great things within my family!”

It is now six years later and God has been so faithful – He has done far more than I could ever ask or think! He is indeed the all-sufficient one and there are seasons in our lives when its just Him and us and He is enough! I love Marlene dearly but we seldom have contact now as she is busy with the ministry God has given her there and I am busy with our precious little ones.

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us”  Ephesians 3 v 20

God has provided and I have had everything I have needed in the absence of “in the flesh” women I have had some incredible women teach, inspire, encourage and mentor me.

I’d like to introduce you to some of them so that you can be blessed too!

Some wonderful older women who are far down the road and  have large families and grandchildren are:

1. TERI MAXWELL of Titus2.com. I have love “getting to know” the inspiring Maxwell family through reading their books, following their lives and ministry through their blog, gleaning much from Teri’s monthly Mom’s corners has been a huge blessing and equipped me in so many ways. I have loved her books: Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit, Manager of their Homes, Chores and Schools, Keeping our Children’s Hearts and my hubby has loved reading Steve Maxwell’s books: “Raising Sons to Support a Single Income Family” and “Redeeming the Time” and “Feed my Sheep”.

2. NANCY CAMPBELL of Above Rubies. The Above Rubies magazines were what really started a “different from the norm” journey for us. Would you believe I had never even heard of a family with more than 5 children until I first read those magazines about 5 years ago. I love the encouraging stories from Mom’s everywhere and the wise teaching of Nancy on how to be a better wife and mother.

Then there are those who are still growing their families, still growing in their mothering journeys but with wonderful large families, lots of experience, lots of heart and LOTS of wisdom:

3. Linnie from BACK TO ANCIENT WAYS: Linnie  distributes the Above Rubies Magazine in South Africa and has a BIG heart to bless, encourage, challenge and help mothers in their calling. Her husband owns our local Health Shop, which is like no other health shop in the way he cares and invests in the lives of his customers. Their eight children are an inspiration. Linnie shares her struggles, her joys, her challenges, the answers God gives her and her journey at Back to Ancient Ways. Heidi-Mari, her oldest daughter is amazingly creative and such a beautiful example of a young lady for the Lord – Heidi’s Crafts. Linnie has inspired me to stand up for what I believe about family in the face of persecution from others, she has taught me much about homeschooling and about delighting in your children and “wearing your baby!” She is a passionate person who does everything wholeheartedly and I so love hearing what is on her heart. She is honest and open and real and she draws you into her journey. I am so thankful to the Lord for her!

4. Kimberly from RAISING OLIVES: This year I came across the blog Raising Olives and “got to know” Kimberly and her wonderful family a little bit through all her blog writings. She is such a blessing to me and is so full of wisdom and encouragement as she raises her 10 children. They have inspired us so much in our Bible memorization, homeschool methods, talking to our children, keeping our children’s hearts and being available to them, and also many practical things such as decorating and organizing. I go to her blog archives whenever I need advice about something, encouragement or fresh wisdom and ideas. Thank you Kimberly!

I really believe God has brought these women into my life through their blogs as an answer to my prayer many years ago. There are others that have encouraged me too and I am so grateful and very blessed by His faithfulness!

“The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Titus 2 v3-5

Inspired by a Daughter on Mother’s Day

I was so touched by this post by Heidi-Mari about her Mom. She lists 12 things that she loves about her Mom. If any of you Mom’s are feeling disheartened – picture your daughter writing this about you in a few years time. How special!

  1. I love it that my mother doesn’t leave us at schools and play groups and go to work. As a “full time job”. My mother is a full time MOTHER at home!
  2. I love it that my mother homeschools us!
  3. I love that my mother wants all the children God wants her to have, by not using the pill or abortion.
  4. I love that my mother cooks a big meal every night from scratch!
  5. I love it that my mother spend lots of time with us.
Read the rest of Heidi-Mari’s list here…
Kelly-Anne from Beautiful Girlhood wrote about her Mom…
  • “I am thankful all the time that I have a mother who cares for me and loves me! Sometimes I go wrong and disrespect her, but her loving ways correct me. She has become so precious to me that I don’t want to be angry with her or become rebellious towards her. I want to please her all the time because she is just so wonderful. I have never heard her grumble or complain and no matter what she is always beautifully, My Mother!
I see my mom as the Proverbs 31 woman.”  Read the rest of what Kelly-Anne wrote here…
What a blessing it is to see these precious girls growing up honouring and respecting their Mom’s, loving spending time with them and desiring to be beautiful for the Lord! Heidi-Mari and Kelly-Anne, I have never met girls like you before and I am honoured to have a glimpse into your lives – you are an inspiration! May God bless you on your journey to becoming beautiful woman for God and treasured wives and mothers!
“Thy wife [shall be] as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. ” Psalm 128v3

Prayer for the Lee and Crawford Families

About a week ago, there was a comment from Sherry on my blog that she liked the look of the crustless quiche and was going to try it as she had “a milk cow providing milk, egg laying chickens, and leeks and green onions in the garden.” and she was looking forward to preparing it soon.

I had a look at Sherry’s blog A Bakers Dozen Barnhouse News. I loved it and I immediately felt an affinity with this wonderful family. I read many posts from her blog over the next few days and was so amazed by her lovely family, her children building little houses for themselves all over her farm, the cows, the planting – their beautiful white wooden farmhouse with red roses around the outside and lovely new window boxes waiting to be painted. You could just see the love and care that Sherry and her family put into their home.

It was so lovely to connect with her in this way – so I was so devastated to hear that on Wednesday evening her husband Tom Lee was killed protecting his family from the tornado. Their home was completely destroyed. Their precious children were trapped under the collapsed house for hours and 3 were injured. Doug from Vision Form shares about this on his blog.

This photo was taken on Resurrection Sunday.

The Crawford family from Generation Cedar also lost their home  and are staying with a family from their church with their newborn son and other 8 children. Read more here.

I cannot find the words to express the pain and anguish I feel for these dear families. Sherry especially, my heart goes out to you for the loss of your dear husband and I am so devastated.

It is so wonderful to hear of all that is being done to help by the body of Christ in their area and surroundings. Kelly and Sherry, we will continue to pray for your precious families.

My dear brother lost his wife in December last year just three days after their first little girl was born. How does one even begin to cope after something like that.

How do we respond to such tragedy, such devastation to life as we know it – and such pain.

As an outsider who has never experienced this depth of loss (though I miss my precious sister-in-law dearly – I see two things – incredible pain and incredible strength intermingled. The strength is God’s alone.

Such loss and such grace intermingled.

Amazing Grace,
How sweet the sound
Amazing love,
Now flowing down
From hands and feet
That were nailed to the tree
As grace flows down and covers me

“How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.” Psalm 13

“Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast. How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.” Psalm 36v5-7

“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.” Psalm 40v1-5

“My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah. ” Psalm 62v5-8

Lord, I ask for your grace and provision for the Lee and Crawford families. I ask you to comfort the Lee family, help them to find solace in you. Please draw them so close to you in their grief and to each other. Protect and keep them. Help them to cling to you and give them strengthen in their hearts. Please provide for all their needs. Lord, please bless Sherry with your grace and gentle comfort.

Please bless the Crawford family – give them grace and strength with their newborn and other precious children. Encourage them in their hearts. Please hold them in your arms of comfort and provide for all they need. Help them to increase in faith in You during this time.

Lord, I also ask for your provision and comfort for the many other families affected by the tornadoes. Amen

“For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” Colossians 1v9

The Maxwell Family

Posts about families that are a great inspiration to us!

This post is about the Maxwell Family. They are a family with eight children and two grandchildren – so far.

 

I will definitely blog about them again so in this post I’ll just mention some things that I love about this family.

1. They have a Christmas tradition of making a special treat for all their neighbours around Christmas time and going carolling around the neighbourhood to pass out the yummy treats. They attach a card with a message from the Bible to each parcel 🙂

2. They have a church that meets in an old-age home to bless and minister to the residents there.

3. They have an incredible love for God and for the power and integrity of His word – their family life is an inspiration. The boys designed and had this banner made as a gift for their Dad.

 

4. They have Family Bible Time together every evening after dinner.

 

5. They travel around the country together in a huge converted bus for 5 or 6 weeks at a time ministering to families all over the USA and Canada. Dad and sons do most of the bus maintenance and repair work themselves.

 

6. Sarah Maxwell has written a series of wonderful children’s books – The Moody Family Series. We have loved and adored these books and have read (and are reading) them (they are affectionately known as the “doggy books” as there is a pic of a dog on the first four books in the series) over and over with our children.

 

The books are based largely on the life of the Maxwells and getting an inside look on how they have brought up their children is wonderful. They portray the kind of family life we want to have.

Have a look at their blog www.titus2.com/blog

and ministry website www.titus2.com

 

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” – Titus 2:11-13