Sweet Like Honey

our family's journal of God at work


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Thank You

Dear Friends,

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts! I have not posted in a while and I am sorry about that. It has been a hard year since our baby was born, health wise, for me. But I am thankful to be getting better and to have more energy. Our baby has just turned one and is big and healthy!

As I have gotten stronger I’ve been able to add activities that I need to do or enjoy doing. The Lord is constantly surprising me with opportunities to use my skills, gifts and interests–starting at home and then out beyond home. Most things have come to me rather than me trying to get things started. I just have to praise the Lord because a year ago I was hardly even able to take a short walk or read to my children without being wiped out. I literally would fall asleep reading a book to them.

[This year I discovered I probably have an electrolyte wasting disorder, which is most likely the root cause of my other problems. Due to this I have a harder time dealing with toxins, and when I am exposed to them my body gets depleted to dangerously low levels of minerals. It can take a while to detox and rebuild mineral stores. Having a baby in the hospital set me back quite a lot, and I had some other exposures to chemicals that only added to the problem.]

Lately I have felt the urge to write again.
I want to be careful what I write here–words have a powerful influence and I am learning to be careful with mine–though I have not arrived at all, I want to grow in that area. I tend to feel strongly, react strongly and well, that has gotten me in trouble before. The Lord has blessed me with merciful friends! My journal is full of what the Lord is teaching ME but that doesn’t all need to go here.

The one thing I have sought to maintain even when I have to limit myself is time with the Lord. I am thankful for the forced concentration on the most important thing (Jesus)that I have had this past year. I am glad now to add the other things–but I don’t want to lose sight of my Savior. When you have energy you tend to want to get busy, you know? Not to mention the fact that I am easily distracted! Please pray for me to guard the early morning time against busyness!

Anyway, I want to continue to write what the Lord puts on my heart to share. Please pray that I will have discernment to know what those things are.

Blessings!
Cassie

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She’s Having Another One???

I was in the grocery store yesterday and the checkout lady, whom we talk to often, said, “Four is enough, isn’t it?” I said, “Well, actually, I am pregnant and I’ve had 15 miscarriages and I would love to have more children.” She was pretty shocked. A friend was standing behind me in line and after I left the checker said to my friend, “She’s pregnant.” My friend had not heard that news yet and so she got this really excited look on her face and the checker was really surprised by that. My friend said, “That’s great! They’ve been trying to have another one for a long time.” Then the bagger, who had counted them all and told me I had a handful said, “What? She’s having another one???” I saw my friend again a few minutes later at our produce pick-up and she double checked that I was really pregnant and then told me what happened. She was so excited and told me she would be praying for me.

Regardless of the outcome I am going to keep seeking the Lord and finding my joy in Him. I read something by Lillias Trotter the other day. She said, “A faith that has to deny facts is not really faith.” I am trying to enjoy this time. I have looked the “facts” full in the face and decided that God is able to overcome them, and even if He does not I will not give in to fear or worry and I will continue to praise Him. Should He choose to allow this baby to become part of our family we will be very thankful!

The checkout lady also told me that my children were always smiling (if only that were really true) and asked me how I got them to be that way. “You don’t beat them, do you?” “Well, I do discipline them when they need it, but I don’t beat them up.” She said, “But they probably don’t ever do anything wrong, do they?” What world does she live in???

Neither I nor my children are perfect, but by the grace of God we are trying to walk in faith, love and obedience. It doesn’t come naturally to any of us and especially not children! However, when our children learn to obey and know they have to take their parents’ seriously, they tend to be much happier than other children. Obviously, you have to deal with heart attitudes as well as behavior or you will end up with obedient children who are angry on the inside. This takes a lot of training, talking, praying, loving and, yes, discipline. Our family hasn’t arrived in this area either. But I hope that the Lord will use us where we are to be a light to people in the store, friends, neighbors and others we meet along the way.


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Family Update

It has been a while since I’ve written anything about our family happenings.  The short version is that God has us on a wild adventure.  Sometimes we feel like Abraham: Knowing God is telling us to go here and there and do this and that, but only seeing the path right before our feet.  We know He is good and that His purposes are good, even though oftentimes we have to go through difficult things.

We are thankful that Rob has a good job.  In this economy, not everyone can say this, and we have friends unable to find a job.

We are thankful for the many wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ God has put in our life.

We are celebrating Christopher’s 8th birthday today.  It is hard to believe he’s that old already.  Time rushes on–birthdays are a good reminder to make the most of the time God gives us.

I have had a recurrence of my chemical sensitivities.  They’ve never fully gone away, but God took them to a point that made it possible for me to go to church and to the store and to some friends’ homes.  But our church recently got into its remodeled new home, and after a couple of weeks of being there several hours a week the carpet chemicals  and people’s perfumes started to wear me down again.  Rob even started getting headaches.  Additionally, the city where we live dumped an extra amount of chlorine into the water and I can hardly even stand to be in our house.  Every time someone turns the water on I start to feel horrible–and that is with charcoal filters on the water lines and the showers.

The Lord has led us to leave our church [building] and has told us to stay home on Sundays for now.  We are still connected to our church family and I am still able to go to the ladies’ tea and Bible study.  And He has provided some friends in the Lord to come meet in our home every Sunday afternoon and evening for fellowship in the Lord and seeking Him together.  Some of them are from our church, others are friends from other churches.  If you are local, and you’d like to come to our house at 2pm on Sundays you are more than welcome.  I only ask that you have no perfumes on.  Fabric softener is a problem, along with perfumed lotions, etc.  I hate to have to say that, but that is just the way it is.  We also plan to eat dinner together and everyone can bring food to share.  Most everyone can eat anything, and I will just be fixing something I can eat–so no one has to worry about special diets.

So, that’s where we are at.  God has led us here.  It’s an interesting journey!


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All in a Day’s Work

The children and I set out yesterday on a full day of errands. It was hot, we didn’t pack any food and it took much longer than I thought it would. Along the way everything seemed to go wrong. I tried to find my sister’s new house to drop off a gift and couldn’t find it, even though I’d been to that neighborhood before.

I gave up and went to get a lab slip from my doctor (this is the reason I went to FWB for my errands instead of shopping here) only to get in and find out it was the beginning of the lunch hour. We stayed in the waiting area for a while because the children had immediately gotten out the doctor’s photo albums of the children he’d delivered (used to be an ob now just does gyn) and they were loudly exclaiming over all the babies. I let them have their fun and finally left to try to find my sister’s house and failed again, so we went shopping for our trip and Carol’s return home.

Everything went fine in Office Depot. This is where we met the pioneer lady (see post below). The thought occurred to me that God uses our delays to get us to the right spot at the right time, and that we never know what effect short interactions with strangers might have on them and us.

Next stop, Publix. As we walked in the door I started feeling lopsided and realized that a strap on a “personal clothing item” had broken! Talk about feeling self-conscious! I still had to shop for two households in that state.

We rushed to the bathroom for a pit stop and there was a woman in there who asked us if we homeschooled. We told her yes and she said she was doing that this year too. It sounded like it was her first year so I quickly encouraged her that it was a great and good thing, and that was it. But as I said before, she may have needed just such encouragement and there we were in the bathroom to give it at the appointed time. I might have talked longer but we were desperate for that pit stop and Laura wanted me to come in the stall with her so that’s all I had time to say.

I normally enjoy shopping with the children, but yesterday they were hungry and didn’t have as much self-control. They weren’t being bad, just really REALLY loud. They read EVERYTHING at the top of their lungs and got excited about anything they saw. I already felt like I wanted to crawl into a hole so it was a bit overwhelming to feel like we were drawing even more attention to ourselves. I prayed quickly, “Lord, I need your Spirit! Fill me.” We managed to maneuver two loud, laughing carts around the store and get everything on the list and I didn’t yell at anyone. That was God’s grace!

The crackers I needed were on a top shelf so I had to stand on tip toe to get them. I grabbed the first box and then was trying to decide if I wanted the same kind which was very far back on the shelf or another kind. I had just decided on the other kind when a man came over and asked, “Need some help shorty?” I think he thought I was offended when I said, “No, thank you, I was going to get this one.” He apologized and I said it was okay. Anyway, it was funny to me. No stranger has ever called me shorty before.

At the checkout, the cashier commented to the bagger that I had bought everything organic and then she turned to me and said, “You would die if you knew what I heard on the news about organic.” I just smiled and I could tell she was disappointed that I hadn’t taken her bait (She didn’t know she would have gotten an earful on the subject if I had! Why do people believe everything they hear on the news anyway?). A few minutes later she said, “There’s nothing wrong with it, don’t get me wrong.” She was then really confused when she scanned Carol’s groceries and found that all of them were conventional!

At last we were out of the store and after we loaded groceries in the car we pretended to be the cart collectors and ended up with a caravan of four carts. We made a train with them, with our hands as connectors, and the kids thought that was fun.

Back to the Dr.’s office we went. I told the receptionist I was there for my lab slip and she looked really confused. She looked for it, couldn’t find it, and went to talk to the nurse. She came back a few minutes later and told me the nurse had mailed it to me! She had called me the day before and told me to come get it. The receptionist made me a copy of it anyway.

Next we went to CVS for some travel containers and then I determined that I would find my sister’s house. Her birthday was in July and I wanted her to have her b-day present before October! This time the directions made perfect sense to me and I found it without trouble. Of course! God’s timing is perfect and doesn’t often match mine.

When we got home and checked the mail, there was the lab slip from the doctor. I had almost called them to ask if they could mail it as they usually do, but I hadn’t. Apparently it was a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand was doing and only God knows all the reasons we had to go to FWB, because other than dropping off the gift I could have done all my errands at home in a lot less time.

To top it all off we made a quick dinner and then went to Carol’s house with Rob to clean, sort, and file. Our friend Nancy came and gave the house a thorough cleaning with the children while Rob and I sorted through giant piles of important and unimportant papers and filed what needed saved. Several hours later we came home, had a second dinner and then crashed into bed.

It was a long day, but God was present with us and we all had peace. I am thankful that He gives us what we need when we ask Him to.


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Daily Blessings

So, I haven’t been writing much lately. . .actually, I’ve not been doing much lately. . .I am two months pregnant and have merely been surviving day to day because of the fatigue and nausea. There’s also been the emotional aspect of wondering if this pregnancy will go full term. I find myself surrendering to God’s will a lot. I also catch myself telling God that if this pregnancy doesn’t go well then I am done–I can’t keep doing this; but what does that mean for someone like me who doesn’t want to do anything permanent like surgery and who is against abortifacient forms of birth control? I’ve had 12 miscarriages, and I know some people think I am crazy, “Why doesn’t she give up?”–but there really are some tough questions involved. It is not a light thing to play God over your life. I just trust myself to the mercy of God and know He is storing up for me a greater weight of glory. He is sovereign and He is good. I am thankful for the children I have, and am not idolizing having a baby. I would like more children, but my life doesn’t revolve around that. I haven’t even been trying to get pregnant, but God seems to have other plans and so I trust the babies I’ve lost are with Him and that my losses are not a waste. I am weary of feeling like a broken woman though. I do beg Him to heal me.

Laura was making plans for the babies (she wants twins) today, and how she will help them learn to swim. It was so sweet. She really wants another baby in the family. Everyone does. Laura is almost four, and is definitely the mother hen of the family. She loves to take care of everyone and wants to tend to a little one so badly. When she was sharing her thoughts with me I became very choked up, “Oh, Lord, please don’t let her be disappointed!” I gave her a hug and told her how sweet she is.

We’ve finished up our school year (we go year round with short breaks) using My Father’s World Adventures and are taking the week off before we go into MFW Exploring Countries and Cultures. The boys wanted to start this week because they love MFW and can’t wait to get into all the new books. We got a head start on the geography last night when Christopher pulled our laminated US/World map from Adventures down and started asking us “What is the capitol of _________?” We spent over an hour passing the map around as we all took turns asking and answering similar questions–giggles and smiles thrown in for good measure. This was after a good Sunday afternoon nap, a thunderstorm that knocked our power out for a while and a dinner we threw together from things that didn’t need cooked, a family read-aloud of the Wind in the Willows, a pleasant walk and then a good visit with a neighbor. By the time we fed everyone again and put them all to bed it was after 11pm. But we were having such a fun time just being a family we didn’t notice how late it was.

This morning I was able to get out of bed early enough to have a good quiet time with the Lord. I’ve been dragging so much lately that this hasn’t happened like I would want it to, so I was really excited about this. The rest of the day was full of little blessings.

I was able to conquer the mess in my kitchen (had a bit more energy).

A friend came by to bring some books she’d borrowed and we ended up going to Staples together so we could talk for a bit and get something done too (she has her own business and is so busy right now). When we got to the store we met my friend’s mom, who “just happened” to be there at the same time, so we got to talk with her too. The children were so excited about going to Staples for the first time that they screamed with delight when I told them we were going–they were as excited as if I was taking them to the zoo or something. It was pretty funny. They’ve been stuck at home a lot lately though, due to sickness we’ve been dealing with. When I was checking out, the cashier said, “I just want you to know that you are an encouragement. My wife and I want to try for four kids too.” I was so surprised, and grateful that we could encourage this young man that children are the blessing he thought they would be. I hadn’t started the day out planning to go to Staples, but it became pretty evident that God had directed our going. I love how He is in every detail of our lives.

Later, another friend who orders for our organic produce co-op delivered the produce right to my kitchen and carried it all for me. That was nice, since I can’t lift too much right now.

I got a lot done, and then had time for a good nap which gave me energy to have dinner ready on time! LOL. That is a struggle when I am not pregnant, but right now it is really hard. It really is the simple things! I just felt the Lord upholding me all day. Dinner and family worship time were wonderful and we all talked about our favorite part of the day. Rob said his favorite part of the day was coming home–I am so glad. That is my favorite part of each day too. 11 years of marriage has gone by so fast, and I love my husband more with each passing day. He is a blessing!

How have you seen God’s hand in your life today?


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Times of Pruning

God has been doing much pruning in my life lately, which has been painful but good.  He is such a gentle gardener.  He has given me, through some friends, these two words that describe it so well:

Hymns of John Newton

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.

’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”

and this from an anonymous author:

“Perhaps you have been asking the Lord for a long time that he will be pleased to use you in such a way as to impart impressions of Himself to others. That prayer is not exactly for the gift of preaching or teaching. It is rather that you might be able in your touch with others, to impart god, the presence of god, the sense of god. You cannot produce such impressions of god upon others without the breaking of everything, even your most precious possessions, at the feel of the Lord Jesus. Once that is reached, God will begin to use you to create a hunger in others. People will scent Christ in you. The least saint in the Body will detect that. He will sense that here is one who has gone with the Lord, one who has suffered, one who has not moved freely, independently, but who has known what it is to let go everything to Him. That kind of life creates impressions, and impressions create hunger, and hunger provokes men to go on seeking until they are brought by divine revelation into fullness of life in Christ. … god sets us here to create in others a hunger for Himself. That is, after all, what prepares the soil for the preaching.”

God has been loosening my grip on things other than him (through the miscarriages, my health issues, Rob being gone so much working on the house, changing churches): letting go of children, husband, ideal situations, my own imagined wisdom and strength–He really has been bringing me to the end of myself and to a complete dependance on Him–showing me my desperate need for Him each moment of the day.  I know this is not a finished work, but I am thankful for His work of grace in my life. 

Psalm 73:23-26 has become so real to me:

23Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength [2] of my heart and my portion forever.

This past Saturday we had a last minute wedding to attend for a couple in our church.  It was actually a remarriage/reconciliation, so it was extra special.  We had it at the future church building which is still being remodeled, so there are tools and supplies and construction debris lying everywhere.  The ceremony was very simple–just the reciting of vows and exchange of rings, a prayer and announcement of man and wife and the kiss.  No music, no candles, no reception! The couple was dressed in work clothes because they had been helping with some of the work on the church beforehand!

As we were gathering around for the ceremony my friend Tammy told me to “Go up there and sing a wedding song!”  I told her I didn’t know any wedding songs and I didn’t make any effort to think of one.  Then suddenly the Lord put a song (The Lord Bless You and Keep You, from Nahum, as Michael Card sings it) in my mind and I knew it was from Him–so I silently said I would sing it whenever it
became clear it was the right time.  My heart was pounding so hard during the ceremony.  As soon as it was over I asked our pastor if I could sing a song and he said I could so I started singing–the pounding stopped and the song came out in a very powerful way.  It was obviously of the Lord and not me, because I am a timid person normally.  

The next day at church, the groom shared with me how blessed he had been by the song and shared that what encouraged him the most was that there we were in an unfinished, less than ideal situation for a wedding, and God chose to work.  He mentioned the unfinished state of the building and the resulting “sweet acoustic” that is there because of all the hard surfaces in the room that won’t be there once it is finished.  He applied that to our lives and said that God doesn’t need perfect situations to work in powerful ways, and that often He chooses to use less than ideal/perfect situations and people to do His most powerful work.

I agreed with him at the time, but the more I pondered what he said the more I realized that what he said had been a word from God to me–and I realized God had worked through me, blessed this man, and then spoken to me to tell me what He is doing in my life–causing me to let go of my obsession with the “ideal”, causing me to submit to Him leading me through hard things, causing me to expect Him to work powerfully in the daily trials of life as I cling to Him in prayer and dependence on Him and the work of the Spirit in my life. 

This past week I experienced another miscarriage and I also gave in to the temptation to complain bitterly against Rob for dragging us through this remodel.  I made him cry, and God used that to get my attention.  I knew I needed correction in my thinking so I searched for messages on Sovereign Grace Ministries website and found Carolyn Mahaney’s “What To Do About The Things You Can’t Do Anything About”.  It was great.  Her main point was that all we go through is hand chosen for us by God, using John 21 as her text where Jesus tells Peter that he (Peter) will later die of Crucifixion. 

As I listened, the Lord showed me that I was struggling with whether or not it was really God’s will for us to be going through this remodel because the decision to do so had come directly through my husband and not from God (to my human eyes anyway).  I can’t blame the miscarriages on Rob but I can blame the difficulty of the remodel on him and second guess his “listening to God” skills.  I became so ashamed when I realized that I was being unsubmissive, unloving, untrusting, dishonoring. . .  He reminded me that even if Rob does make a sinful or unwise decision I am still supposed to honor him with a gentle and quiet spirit and trust God.  He made it clear that Rob is NOT sinning or hearing from Him incorrectly and that He has a purpose for this hard, less than ideal situation.  I have repented to God and to Rob, and I am excited for what God has and will do through this time.  

What I am being shown repeatedly is that we are weak and empty, lack wisdom, don’t know how to communicate, don’t know what to do. . .in ourselves. The answer is to cling to the Lord and ask Him to do the work we try so hard to do but fail at miserably. We can’t do anything, don’t have anything to offer, unless we abide in Jesus. So in all of my wrestling I am coming face to face with my frailty. The only place to go is the Lord–and He doesn’t despise me for my weakness; He knows I am but dust; He remembers my frame. He wants me to bring all my emptiness to Him. He wants to prove Himself faithful and strong on my behalf.
I am learning. . .To be still and know that He is God is what we need. I am unfit, unworthy, unwise, unknowing.  He is everything.  As we rest in Him He will fill us with what is needed. He will pour out through us. He will do the work and weave the glorious tapestry of grace that will amaze us when we see it. We serve such a wonderful God.  All we need is Him–not perfect situations or perfection in ourselves.