Friday, October 21, 2011

The Prince's Poison Cup

I love fairy tales! A young lady of humble origin is rescued by a prince who falls in love with her. They marry and live happily ever after. As a child I never understood, that far better than any fairy tale devised by a human mind, was the glorious story of love and redemption that God the Father wrote before the foundations of the earth were laid.


In The Prince's Poison Cup, R.C. Sproul tells the old familiar story in a fresh way. Theologically rich, Sproul lays out the story of creation, fall and redemption as the grandfather in the story tells his granddaughter Ella the story of a prince who had to drink the poison cup of his Father's anger. The story was sparked by Ella's question, a question your children have probably asked at one time or another: "Grandpa, why is medicine so yucky if it is going to make me well"? Grandpa's reply, “Some things that look or taste or smell wonderful are really awful. But sometimes things that seem terrible are actually very good. I even remember a story in which both of these strange things were true. Would you like to hear it?”  And thus begins the story of a King who sent His Son to rescue His people.


Like Ella in the story, my nine year old daughter figured out pretty quickly who the Prince in the story represented. Yet, being reminded of the love Christ has for us never gets old. The book is well illustrated with enough pictures to hold the attention of preschool aged children. This story is geared toward young children, but is theologically heavy enough to spark up conversation with older children, and perhaps even tweens. If you are a fan of The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones, you will also like this book. 


I received a review copy of this book from Reformation Trust.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Scared to Create

I really, really want to make things. I will spend hours looking through craft books or browsing tutorials online, and find so many ideas. I will be totally motivated to start a new project, and go purchase the things I need. I can come home, start the project...and then I don't finish it.

It's not that I don't want to complete it, or that I lose interest. It's just that I am scared. I am afraid to mess up. I know I can't make it perfectly, so I just throw in the towel. Meanwhile, I keep browsing blogs and am so amazed at the things other people make.

"I can do that too!" I think to myself. But I don't. I bookmark the project and I move on. Six months later I go back to it and wish I had the courage to make it myself, and yet I never do. I am so afraid to make a mistake that I never really start anything.

This post made me remember that I have always wanted to create. See, a long time ago there was a little girl who gave her Barbie dolls haircuts and colored their hair with fingernail polish, and crafted outfits for them from crepe paper, or whatever she could find.

That girl was me.

Then there was the Grandma who couldn't teach me how to crochet because I was left handed. The art teacher who was frustrated to no end with me because my circles never closed. Somewhere along the way, I listened to everyone else and forgot that I am indeed the daughter of a Master Creator, and He made me with the desire and capacity, and yes, even the ability to create!

Today I am going to remember who I am...not the Natalie who is petrified to mess up, or the girl who has told everyone for years that I don't have a creative bone in my body.

Today, I am going to create. And this is where I plan to begin.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fithian Adoption Fundraiser

My friend Terry is adopting a 14 year old girl from China, and they will be traveling soon to bring her home! They still need several thousand more dollars to complete the adoption. Please help out by either donating money through their website, or by purchasing something from one of their two fundraisers. What an awesome blessing, to be able to participate in God's work of bringing the fatherless into a family!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Induced

I hate to hear when a pregnant mom is planning to get induced. Usually, there is a "good" reason; the fear of a very large baby, the mom made it to her due date and hasn't (gasp) had her baby yet, the doctor tells her she should, etc. Sometimes, a mom is just plain tired of being pregnant and being induced seems like the easiest choice. When a mom chooses to be induced, often she is going to end up with the pain and longer recovery time of a c-section, and that is much worse than being pregnant a little longer.

When I was sorting through the three Rubbermaid containers of miscellaneous paperwork I came across a lot of papers that reminded me of when I tried to be induced. Not induced in the sense that I wanted some pitocin to bring on labor and the delivery of my baby, but I wanted to do something, to take matters in my own hands, and end the labor of waiting in the desert where the Lord had me.

In those containers there was a lot of damning evidence of numerous times I tried to outrun God. With each piece of paper, I was more and more reminded of the sovereign control of my Father. Were there consequences? Absolutely. Yet, God was so faithful to never let me run outside of His plan for my life. Always, always, always He brought me back."I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6).

In the moment, I remember being so angry at Him. Surely it wasn't His will for us to be stuck, so why was He thwarting my attempts to change our situation? Only now, years later, can I see that while I was busy trying to change my outer situation, He was working to change my inner person. "but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us" (Romans 5:3-5).

Those papers are gone now; torn up, and thrown away. I don't want to be reminded of my lack of faith, only of His great faithfulness. I don't want to dwell on my disobedience, only on His forgiveness.  "In Your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed. In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling" (Exodus 15:13).

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Taking Out the Trash

Sometimes, I hang on to things I don't really need. There is sixty or so pounds of paper shoved in Rubbermaid containers- most every piece of mail that I have received in the last five years, clothes that fit me four years ago, but short of a miracle will never fit me again, lots and lots and LOTS of books I will likely never read again. Then there are the things inside of me I hang on to; ideas about how my kids should be, things I think I need to be, ways of doing things that haven't worked since the days when I only had two kids, and on and on it goes.

In many ways I feel like 2011 is a year of new beginnings. The last five years have been the most difficult of my life emotionally, mentally, spiritually, financially. The Lord has been faithful and compassionate to show me it's time to take out the trash. When things are hard for so long it's hard to believe they will ever change, ever get better. I have lived the last five years waiting for the other shoe to drop. I knew in my heart that God was for me, but in my head I felt like He was against me. I was becoming bitter.

I've been reading the book of Jonah, and one thing I realized for the first time is that the big fish swallowing Jonah wasn't God's punishment. It was God's grace! When the storm came, and the other men realized that Jonah was to blame for the storm Jonah told them to throw him overboard. I always thought God sent the fish as a strange time-out for Jonah to give him an opportunity to think about what he has done, but Jonah 1:17 says "But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah". While Jonah certainly had time to ponder his disobedience there, God really sent the fish to take Jonah to safety so Jonah could complete the task God had for him!

In the fish, Jonah prays, and toward the end of his prayer he says "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs" (2:8). The clothes, the papers, the pain, the past....all these things I have been clinging to and allowing to color my present are all idols. But God is making all things new! He is renewing my mind, my heart, my life, and it is time to take those idols and put them where they belong- the trash!

Jesus, take my worthless idols, and shatter them to pieces. I don't want them anymore. I want You. I know the storms of the last five years have hurt, but I know you have used them to change me, and you have always been faithful to preserve and protect me. I know You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love. Redeem the past, and take my future and make it something beautiful...for the sake of Your glory.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Doula-ing

After contemplating returning to school to become a labor and delivery nurse for the last 8 years, I finally realized that it isn't the nurse experience I want to have...I just want to be present, and supportive, and nurturing. In March, I found myself at a DONA approved Birth Doula training. Have you ever had one of those experiences where you just knew you were right where you were supposed to be? That's how I felt.

This past weekend I was hired by a couple to be their doula. I can't even explain how excited I am about this birth. I have never been present at a natural childbirth. I am nervous and yet calm, because I know that in the moment, God will lead me and show me how to support this family.

I was also, seemingly out of nowhere, hired by WIC to be a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, and the best part is I get to work from home. It's so rewarding. Some of the Moms I talk to have never seen a mother breastfeed. They aren't even sure they can do it. I love having the opportunity to encourage them and help them to understand that their bodies were created in a way that they can feed their own children.

Being a Mom to six (so far) girls, all of this has me thinking. I want my daughters to see childbirth as something that is natural and beautiful...something that a loving God has designed their bodies to accomplish. I want my daughters to breastfeed, and not feel awkward or unsure of themselves.

I am extremely excited to host a combo CAPPA Birth Doula/Childbirth Educator training in the St. Louis area next month. The trainer, Louise Delaney, of Sweet Miracles Doula is a lovely Christian woman, and I can't wait to be a part of this training and to learn from her. I also have (yet another!) website for my doula business. It is Metro East Doula. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Books for Pierre

Hi Everyone,


You may know that Pierre Alexis, the Director of Maison des Enfants de Dieu orphanage in Haiti is currently in the St. Louis area speaking about his ministry in Haiti. Yesterday, he told me that he has always dreamed of going to seminary but the older he gets the more he realizes that isn't likely to happen. We signed him up for the free courses offered by Covenant Seminary in St. Louis through their Covenant Worldwide program, but he still needs the books to complete the courses.



Today my Pastor was able to give him two of the books he needs to complete his first course, but there are still two more he needs. If you know Pierre, you know he LOVES books! Michael and I planned to go ahead and buy the next two books for him, but then I started thinking....what if we all chipped in and got Pierre books to complete MANY of the courses?



I called Covenant Seminary's book store and explained the situation. The man working said he thought the manager would probably give us a discount, but I would need to call back Monday morning to be sure. What I would like to do is order them and have him be able to pick them up on Monday before he leaves.



I am asking for as many people as possible to chip in $10 (or more if you want) to Pierre's book fund. You can send the money to my Paypal account (buncharunyons@yahoo.com) and then tomorrow night I will tally up the total and call Monday morning to order him as many books as possible.



Pierre has an amazing heart to serve the Lord and to serve the children in Haiti, and I think this is an awesome way to bless him. Please, give what you can, and pass this on to as many people as possible. I will update via my blog and Facebook how much money we have raised.
In His Service,

Natalie

P.S. If you are in the area Pierre will be speaking tomorrow at 9:00 AM at Westminster Church in Godfrey, and at 6:00 PM at Peace Church in Granite City. Feel free to attend either service.