Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Loving Large Families

Phoebe Elizabeth Winderweedle, my maternal grandmother known by her nickname "Bettie", was one of 12 children-- six boys and six girls. I never knew her, but she has always been a vivid person in my thoughts, since I was named for her. I have always been called Bettie.

My mother would recount to me all my grandmother's virtues and talents, chief among them the ability to look at a picture or design of a dress and copy it to perfection. She was a self taught seamstress who would make fashionable clothing for pennies during the depression. She had an unfortunate accident with a pair of scissors and lost her sight in one eye, which slowed her down not a whit!

I have a photo of Grandmother Bettie with nine of her siblings. (Two children died very young.) I can instantly spot my grandmother in the photo, as she is the only one of the girls dressed in a "Titanic" era dress, while her sisters are wearing black skirts and white blouses!

When my parents married, and after I was born, they went to Brazil as Presbyterian missionaries and my mother never saw her mom again. My dad was one of three children, and my mother was one of eleven. When Dad and Mom talked about having children, their goal was to have 12! They ended up with six children, but by the time the six of us were all married, my parents could say they had twelve children!

Because of a lack of faith and in conformity to the Christians we were around, my husband and I decided to stop at three children. We bitterly regretted that decision later, but the deed was done. We confessed our sin to our children and lamented with them that there would never be any more siblings. For years I dreamed about having another baby, and would wake in tears of regret.

God is so merciful to the repentant! My three children have given us 24 grandchildren in 13 years-- and my children are still young enough to have many more. Praise God for willing hearts who believe God's first commandment to "be fruitful and multiply", and who trust Him to provide all they need. My second husband's daughter has given him a granddaughter, after waiting on the Lord for many years-- that makes number 25 for us!

Psalm 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
5 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 128:1 ¶ Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.
2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
3 Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.
4 Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mom, the Baby is Here!

My son called early the morning of April 27 to say that Josiah had arrived! The labor was short, and the baby arrived weighing 9 pounds 12 ounces and was 23 inches long! What a blessing!

My husband and I drove up with a meal and spent the next three days cooking meals, reading to the older children, and enjoying our new grandson. When the baby slept, mom slept-- usually during the day!

How good God is to bless our family with a new life. How grateful we are that our children love large families, as they see each child as a great blessing from the Lord, and commit themselves to teaching and training their children to love and obey Him.

It is not easy rearing children in this age of hatred of children and rebellion against God. May God bless all of you who trust Him for the strength, courage and grace to "receive little ones" in His name!

Psalm 127

1 ¶ Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
5 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.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lady in Waiting Again!

Our bags have been packed for weeks. The laundry room is crowded with things we need to put in the car as soon as we receive the phone call that the baby is on the way. My little greenhouse is full of seedlings almost ready to place in the garden beds, including the plants we started here for my son's garden in Pennsylvania. Those plants will also need to be put in the car to take north when the baby comes!

And we wait! And pray! And wonder-- should I go ahead and soak my bread to make tomorrow? What if the call comes and I am in the middle of making bread? Do we have time to plant the windbreak trees we bought the other day? We have not finished getting the garden beds readied for planting-- we should have already planted the beets and Swiss chard!

Sometimes waiting makes me listless and unable to start a project for fear it will not be finished. Then again, I madly started painting the bathroom and managed to get it done-- but still no call!

The words from Ecclesiastes 9:10 come to mind: "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."

There IS time to clean out a drawer, time to straighten the living room, time to put clean sheets on the bed, time to write someone a thank you note or send a birthday card. Oh! I can also do (fill in the blank)! Make a list of things that can be done in 5 or 10 minutes, and check them off as they are accomplished! It is amazing what all CAN be done while we are waiting for a big event, like the birth of our 24th grandchild, Josiah!

We can continue waiting with joy, knowing we have used our time productively, and the baby WILL eventually arrive!

Ps 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Friday, March 12, 2010

God's Sovereign Mercy

"My whole life passed before my eyes!" Have you heard people with near death experiences say that? At our near death experience this past weekend, all I could say was, "Jesus, Jesus!" All I could see was Him as we sat in total silence after the deer hit us, spun our car around, and we scraped down the guardrail. All I remember was calling out to God-- and He was there! And our car engine was still running!

God sent the young man who saw the accident, and stopped to ask us if we were all right. The young man who walked around our car and told us what was damaged, and who waited to see if we could turn the car around and head slowly back for home, 5 miles away.

How merciful was our God who allowed the deer to hit us, but only at the right spot where we would be saved alive, though our car was totaled! If the deer had hit us in any other spot, we might have been seriously injured, or even spun the other direction into the path of the young man's pickup truck.

God is sovereign over ALL THINGS at ALL TIMES, and He is merciful to the ones who trust in Him, as well as to those who do not. God does all things to accomplish His will and to magnify His own name!

Aside from sore neck muscles, we are well and safe. Praise be the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation! To Him be all glory forever and ever!

Psalm 103: 1-5 «A Psalm of David.»

1 ¶ Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Old and New Year's Joy

In December I received a surprise letter from a young mother of 5 children:

I need to thank you!

Thank you for teaching me to sew!! It has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. I've never stopped using the gift you gave - whether it's been for family, friends or for the church. I'm very excited because I just finished my first quilt (a king size at that!) and it turned out beautifully. I'll be posting pics in a week or so but . . . I never could have attempted anything like that if you had not invested your time teaching me this invaluable skill. I truly appreciate the time you gave to my teenage years. You've impacted my life more than you'll ever know (in more ways than just sewing too!) I sure wish older ladies realized the importance of mentoring!!

Thank you, Bettie.
To God be the glory!!

The next surprise was a letter from Christi's younger sister:

Hi! I was just thinking about you and thought I'd drop you a note. I wanted to let you know how all the time you took to teach me things in my younger days have stayed with me through life. I never buy bread, always make my own. I remember you teaching me how to knead on your kitchen table! And this Christmas I sewed all of our gifts we gave away. I even made a saddle bag for my grandmother's wheel chair that turned out great... and I made the pattern myself! Yesterday I sewed our dog a cute fleece coat which she loves so far (she doesn't like being cold!). I've made several dresses lately and I have 18 yards of fabric in the drier right now ready to be made into some new pants and skirts.

I'm not telling you all of this to brag or be boastful, I'm telling you to let you know how appreciated you are! Anyway, thank you for taking time to teach me so many things way back when. They will never be forgotten. Take care.


Bettie Need January
How good to hear from you! I am so proud of you for going beyond what I taught you-- now pass it on to someone else! May I add this to my Titus 2 Blog when I post Christi's letter? I'd like to make it a "sister post".

Lindi Jenkins January
Christi's letter? I didn't know! How wonderful that God put you in both of our lives. Yes, the letter is yours, please use it as you wish. :)

I love hearing about what's going on in your life these days! Keep well and may God bless you for all you have taught and continue to teach all of those future wives in this world.

Christi and Lindi are daughters of good friends of ours when Jeff and I were in church with them. When Jeff died in June 1997, Lindi came and spent many days with me until my son could finish his job in Kentucky and move to Virginia to help me after his dad died. These are precious letters for me-- I love hearing that young ladies I have mentored are using the skills they learned.

Dear women, you will never know how much your life will impact the next generation unless you make yourself available to share in even the smallest way, in teaching young women godly ways to bless their future husbands and families! Are there young ladies who would benefit from you sharing one of your talents? Go for it!!

3John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.