Thoughts from a Large Family Mama about Expecting Her Ninth Child

I’m 36 weeks along now with my ninth child. The time has flown by. I really do think that each pregnancy goes by a bit faster since our already busy home consumes much of my thoughts.

But oh, how our sweet new little one has been making his presence known lately! He has grown so much, and my body definitely feels it. At 39, this pregnancy definitely feels differently than my earlier ones.

And yet, I feel such a deep sense of gratitude. Such a deep sense of awe.

I hardly feel worthy, ladies. Bringing up and birthing babies is a miraculous event.

For most women, this is what we were called to do. We have been called to partner with God to bring His image into the world.

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.

Psalm 127:3

The fruit of the womb is His reward. But do we really believe that?

Sometimes I haven’t. Sometimes I’ve taken the gift of my fertility forgranted.

Sometimes I’ve been more focused on things like our finances than on my family. Worldly things aim to choke out the most important things if we let them.

The solution is keeping our eyes on the Father and our Messiah.

The solution is to offer our bodies as living sacrifices while keeping ourselves unstained by the world.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

James 1:27

The world can stain us, ladies. It is filled with lies from the deceiver which tell us that we already have “enough” children, and providing them with an abundance of worldly goods is more important than continuing to bring up babies for the glory of God.

But when we take our eyes off of the world and instead, offer our bodies as living sacrifices, the Lord is glorified.

Having children isn’t exactly what I would call a “sacrifice.” It is a privilege. But as mothers, we do sometimes “sacrifice” our time and energy for the sake of our children. Our bodies look differently after having children. But this feeling of burden can and should be lifted when we realize we are walking in our calling and this is what we were created to do.

Knowing this, I am humbled, excited, (and a little nervous!) about meeting our newest little one.

I’m honored that I have been chosen to carry this child 20 years after carrying my first born.

A new baby brings such hope to a dark world.

Celebrating the Day of Atonement as a Christian/Messianic Believer

This has been the second year we have celebrated the Day of Atonement as Christian/Messianic believers, and I would love to share some of the ways we remember this special and holy day with our children.

I must admit, I felt a twinge of disappointment when I realized I misplaced so many of our Feast Day things during our move. I had to scramble to put a few things together, and I’m so glad I did.

Like all of the Lord’s other appointed times, the Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur is a foreshadowing of our Messiah.

These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

Colossians 2:17

So of course, I wanted to dive right in, while honoring Christ as the substance of this day. I will gladly walk in the shadow of the Lord’s “thing to come.” Yom Kippur foreshadows the Day of our Lord, otherwise known as the final Judgement Day.

The Day of Atonement is the holiest day of the year. It is a time to examine ourselves, and to come before the Lord in humility.

In Leviticus 16, we are told this is when the high priest made atonement for all of the people. It was a solemn, holy time.

But yet this wasn’t a perfect sacrifice, since it had to be repeated year after year. From the book Celebrating Biblical Feasts in Your Home or Church (page 148) by Martha Zimmerman:

It indicates that even the priests weren’t perfect; neither were the sacrifices. It was obvious that something was missing. The requirement had to be met year after year. It was never complete, never final. All that the animal sacrifice of the Old Testament could provide was a “temporary covering.” This ritual was meant to be a symbol, pointing to something greater that was to be fulfilled in the future.

We believe this holy day points directly to the Messiah. (Hebrews 9:13-10:18). It is a joy to celebrate unto Him.

First, we decorated with white decor, to symbolize how in Christ, our sins have been washed away.

I also used this experiment to signify how we have been made clean by the blood of Messiah.

My children completed Yom Kippur worksheets from Bible Pathway Adventures. (This is a great resource for the upcoming Feast of Tabernacles, too!) We focused a lot on the story of Jonah, which teaches about the value of repentance and turning from our sins.

I also picked up butterfly sun catchers from Walmart to paint, while teaching about how we have been made into a new creation once we repent and put our faith in Christ.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17

This is a time to reflect, a time to right past wrongs. It is a time to ask the Father to rid us of even the tiniest of sins. I wrote about a few of my own Day of Atonement thoughts here.

We also took up a small collection for one of my favorite organizations, Blessing Bethlehem.

I hope this post has given you a few ideas as how you can honor the Day of Atonement with your children. We are now looking forward with great joy to Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles. Blessings!

This post contains affiliate links.

$31,699 Left on Our Mortgage

Ladies, I’m beyond grateful and excited because as of today, $31,699 is left on our mortgage. Lord willing, we will see the $20k’s within two weeks or so.

We are almost three years into our debt/mortgage free journey. I’m so grateful to God for how far He’s brought us. All glory belongs to Him.

So much of this journey has been a lesson in contentment. I’ve learned that I don’t need many of the things that I thought I needed before. My children do not need all of the extracurricular activities. The best things in life are free, and simplicity is a precious gift to give them.

After a busy month, I’m looking forward to settling in our home and nesting. Our ninth child, a boy, is due in less than a month now. The last two weeks have been filled with small purchases to get ready for baby. Our biggest expense was building up my cloth diaper stash again. I used cloth with our fifth and sixth children for a time. I’ve decided to dive back in and I’m very excited about it. Our new Thirsties covers are my favorite purchase.

So cute!

So much of our baby clothing and gear has been provided by my mother in law and my husband’s aunt. They have been a God send! Since our youngest son is almost ten, we were lacking in boy things. But not anymore!

Hopefully we can keep extra expenses to a minimum going forward. That is the plan, anyhow.

The Scriptures have been so reassuring during this time, even when my flesh is weak.

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Luke 12:27

The Lord cares for us and wants to provide for our needs. He is our loving Heavenly Father, and has been so good to us. Even when the answer is no to some of our wants and desires, He is good.

Looking forward, we are excited to honor God with our finances, instead of paying for our past. We hope to be good stewards of what the Lord has given us while setting a good example for our children. They are always watching and absorbing.

I would also like to take a minute and share a testimony I recently read from a sweet blogger. I hope you are encouraged by it.

Have a blessed rest of the week!

This post contains an affiliate link.

This is What He’s Put Before Us

Today is The Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year for some. Over the past ten days or so, I’ve been reflecting on my life and ways I can make some changes to better serve God.

We’ve been on quite the roller coaster ride over the past three years.

We’ve moved twice while working towards debt freedom. Our current home is a lovely little cabin tucked into a hillside.

We purchased this home thinking it would be a good investment property. I really didn’t think we would be here too long once our home in South Carolina sold. What I didn’t realize was the conviction I would feel to put our house sale proceeds on this home instead of putting it towards a more “suitable” piece of property. This is what my husband wanted to do, too. Our mortgage now sits at $33,699.

While our mortgage balance may be low, oh how I miss having a larger piece of property. I really don’t like our current parking situation. I have hardly anywhere to garden. I really want to set up a new greenhouse, but where? Our children can no longer ride their bikes. I definitely will need to get creative while living here!

It’s kind of funny, since one of the #1 things I was looking for in a home was a flat yard. Since I thought we would be living here temporarily, I didn’t even take the yard into consideration.

And seeds of discontentment have taken root.

Never mind the fact that the nicer pieces of land that we’ve “owned” in the past didn’t even belong to us. They belonged to the bank and carried a hefty mortgage. I’ve conveniently forgotten how crushing a large mortgage feels.

And ladies, I know just how wrong my thinking is.

Those seeds of discontentment are covetousness. It is a sin that needs to die.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Exodus 20:17

Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”

Hebrews 13:5

Looking longingly at home/land packages that I think will better suit our needs will not get me anywhere. This is what He’s put before us. The Father believes this small hillside cabin fits our needs perfectly. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here. And who am I to question Him?

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

Today, on Yom Kippur, I’m asking the Spirit to help me put this sin to death. The Lord has given me all that I need. He has given me a lovely home to care for. He has given us a path to debt and mortgage freedom. If we are here long term, in time we can implement terracing, Lord willing.

The Day of Atonement is all about repentance. I’m so grateful that our God offers His mercy freely to those who turn from their sins.

Lord willing, I will share how we recognize this day with our children sometime soon. I misplaced some of our Feast day things during the move and last night I was left scrambling to put something together for them. The Feast of Tabernacles is coming up and I shared what we’ve done in previous years here.

Blessings, ladies!

Violation of Policies

Yesterday, I logged into Facebook. The first thing I noticed was that I had been given a $5 credit to boost a post on my blog page.

Now, this is a tiny little blog. My only hope for it is that somehow through it God will be glorified, and that I can possibly be an encouragement to other women.

And so, I’m not too worried about advertising. None the less I thought, if I have been given a credit, I might as well use it. I applied the credit to my latest post, Don’t Blink, Mamas.

Within five minutes, this boost was rejected due to “violation of Facebook policies.”

Rejected? Why was it rejected?

I really don’t know. Perhaps it was rejected since in the post I mention my faith. Perhaps.

Through this, I’ve been reminded that this world is not my home. While I may use this world’s social media platforms, the platforms themselves are ungodly, and in a way, are in direct opposition to the message I hope to share about the importance of Biblical womanhood.

Beloved, I urge you as sojouroners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.

1 Peter 2:11

We are sojourners and exiles here. Rejection from the world is to be expected.

Most of social media, and the world, really, is focused on “passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.” The worldly ways of enjoyment and entertainment are almost always in opposition to God’s ways. And yet we often seek out the world to find pleasure in the flesh, instead of the true hope and joy found in the Most High.

This is hard. I struggle at times to really show my children the dangers of worldly amusement. The problem occurs when our attention shifts from God to worldly things.

When our eyes shift from the Lord, the adversary can easily find a foothold in our lives. We are no longer strangers and pilgrims, but one of the world’s own.

I sure don’t want that to happen.

I will gladly take my Facebook “rejection,” and keep plugging along.

Being an exile on this Earth is actually an honor bestowed to God’s children. I try to teach my children that this is a good thing as regularly as I can. We are going to look differently. We are going to act differently. Our thoughts and affections will be focused on different things. Hard stuff for children to grasp, for sure. As a mom, it’s my job to do my best to model this for them in my own walk with God.

Before I go, I’d like to share another post by Anne Elliott which was very encouraging to me. Anne’s blog has been my go-to for reading material lately.

Blessings, ladies!

Don’t Blink, Mamas

Over the weekend, my family had the opportunity to visit our oldest daughter who recently started college. She is living three hours from home, which has been hard on me. I miss her so much, and these feelings coupled with pregnancy hormones are not a good thing, ha!

Since she has left, I’ve really been reflecting on both my parenting through the years, and how I parent now. Have I done enough? Do I do enough? I can’t help but think about the many times where I made the wrong choices. The lost opportunities. I was young when I had my first born, only 19. I loves her fiercely, but I still had so much to learn. The Lord had yet to refine me into the believer I am today, and I made a lot of bad choices about the influences I let into our home and the way we spent our time. When she was very young I encouraged feminist thought, which goes against every fiber of my being now. Entertainment was paramount, and it wasn’t until she was about 10 when the Lord began opening my eyes to the beauty of obedience and holiness instead of following along with the cultural Christianity we were used to.

I’m a different mother now, for sure. And yet I know that I still have so much growing and stretching to do. Sanctification is an ongoing process. In these days between the Feast of Trumpets and Yom Kippur, I’ve really been examining myself. There is still selfishness I need to set aside. I still definitely make mistakes as a mother.

The years have flown since I’ve had my firstborn. Seriously, it’s like I’ve blinked and she turned into a young lady. I’m very grateful that I will always be her mama, and I will always have opportunities to show her my love. I’m so thankful for my other seven children still at home. I’m thankful for the Lord’s mercy when it comes to my mistakes. My little ones are definitely experiencing a different childhood than my oldest crew!

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves in tender compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience—
Colossians 3:12 TLV

The Lord has really been impressing the importance of humbleness and gentleness on my spirit right now. Oh, how I long for these qualities to shine through in my mothering. Our children are our most precious gifts. Time is fleeting, and the Most High can use this time to lead our children to Him.

How we spend our time matters. Our actions and words matter. How we love our children and husband matters. When God’s love truly reflects through us, we are giving our children a glimpse of who He is, and His life changing power to make a new creation out of brokenness.

I truly hope your week is blessed, ladies. Let’s love our families well!

A Small Disappointment

Well, our power went out a few hours ago and I’m awake, trying to make sure we have a good plan to get everyone ready for violin lessons this morning. A minor inconvenience at most, really. I thought while up I’d share a small disappointment we recently encountered with y’all.

When we moved back to Georgia, I began looking for violin lessons for four of my children. They had been taking fiddle lessons in South Carolina, and I wanted them to continue.

I found a lovely band/choir program for Christian homeschoolers not too far from home. At first, we were only interested in violin, but two of my children decided they would really like to try choir as well after gentle prodding from the directors on several occasions.

At first, I was a bit hesitant because our faith is messianic in nature, and I knew many choirs focused on Christmas music during the fall. But when I discovered the fall performance took place on November 8th, my fears were relieved. I figured this date was far too early for Christmas music.

However, at the parent meeting, I learned that the children would be singing at the Toys for Tots Kick-Off in downtown Atlanta. I sent a message asking for my children to be excused. A few days later, I received a call from the director stating that the entire fall program was comprised of Christmas music, and this is how the children learned to read music. If my children did not participate in these sessions they would not be allowed to participate in choir during the spring.

While the director was super nice and professional about this, I was a bit dumbfounded and my children were disappointed. Not quite knowing what else to do, I pulled them from the choir program.

Now, I know in the scheme of life this is a little thing. Our family does things differently than most people in the greater American Christian communty. And yet my heart ached for my children, who received their first tiny taste of persecution. (Now, I do hesitant to call this actual “persecution.” It probably relates more to poor advertisement of the choir program.)

Mamas, doing the right thing for our families can be hard. We often feel crazy and countercultural when doing what we believe is the most God-honoring thing. This principle applies to so much…public school, holidays, music, movies, and social media are just a few other examples of things we must navigate for God’s glory.

I would like to encourage you to do what you believe the Lord is calling you to do, no matter what the circumstance may be. Yes, it’s been hard for my children to not participate in choir when their heart was set on it, but this situation has given us ample opportunities to discuss why my husband and I believe the way we do, which has been a good thing.

I hope that your weekend is lovely, ladies. If you’d like to read more about how we generally view holidays, you can find that information here.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

Life in Our Home || October 2019

When I look back at the past month, I see a flurry of activity. As we prepare for the birth of our ninth child, things have been busy! Throw in birthday parties for three children, dropping our first child off at college, and the continual settling into our new home, and I must admit that I am tired.

The blog has been quiet as of late. We have been laser focused on paying off our mortgage, which involves me (by my own choice) accepting a lot of Etsy orders. I feel like it is time to wind down, with baby being due in early November. This has been a struggle for me. We have come such a long way, and I’m ready for this chapter to end! We started off with $293,000 worth of debt in November 2016, and are now at $33,699 left on our mortgage. My sweet husband has been working a lot of overtime and overall, we try to live a fairly simple life. Downgrading our home twice has also helped our cause.

I think one of the reasons why I am having a difficult time slowing down is because I place a lot of the blame of our debt on myself. My husband has always been more steady and smart with finances than me, and I was usually the one who wanted the new house, car, or camper. I was the one with student loans. We are in a totally different place now, thanks to God’s mercy. But I still take the words “Owe no one anything but love” in Scripture very seriously and I’m trying very hard to find the appropriate balance. I think my focus will shift to frugality even more so once our baby arrives to counteract any losses in Etsy income.

Life has been different without our oldest daughter here. I believe this has been the hardest part of parenting so far. This life change has made me cherish the moments with my other children even more so. Children are such blessings and gifts. I am truly blessed to be expecting our ninth at age 39.

The pregnancy has been going well except for some nerve pain in my leg which puts me out of commission at times. My family has been so helpful and I’m very grateful for them.

We celebrated the Feast of Trumpets a few days ago, and I’m looking forward to celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles soon! How I love His feasts and this time of year!

I hope you ladies have a lovely October. Oh, and I would love to quickly share a head covering article that was a blessing to me which I recently stumbled upon. Blessings!