Asking for Help

If you ever felt like you should be able to do it all – and do it all by yourself, because otherwise you were a weak person, you might want to watch this scope I did when I was at one of my weakest times. You will learn that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but can turn out to be a blessing and even enjoyable and lifegiving if you will allow God to bless you through others.

https://www.periscope.tv/penneymarie/1OdJrgLEjePxX

The quality isn’t good, but I think the message is good enough, that I decided to share it anyway.

When the Going Gets Tough

Have you ever felt like things just couldn’t get any worse… and then they do?!!!

I have been through times and seasons like that.

Foreclosure, bankruptcy, betrayal, no compassion, nobody willing to help, well, one person willing to help, and then she changed her mind.

Yeah, we went through all of that. And we had 8 kids, two of them nursing babies.

But God –

He knew our hearts. He knew our inward parts. HE knew that we were only doing our best to follow Him wherever He led us.

And He took care of us during our crazy, ridiculous, scary Journey of Fire across the US into parts unknown (to us) and back to parts we were sorta familiar with and established us for a time in a place where I could be built up in faith and trust in God’s love and intimate knowledge of me.

He spoke to me in ways that convinced me that I’m special in His sight, and I’m not just one of a big flock of sheep that is not even noticeable or important or significant. Even though I received messages from the everyday happenings that conveyed the exact opposite, whenever the Lord met me and spoke to me prophetically, He told me that I was special and well-loved, and that my efforts and my life were noticed and impactful.

Well, Shawn (my oldest son) and I lived through the same things and experienced the events according to our own unique ways of seeing things, but we learned many of the same lessons and concepts through the sufferings and trials.

Join us as we discuss the faithfulness of God and His sovereign works in our hearts and lives as we went through a long period of suffering and loss and tough times and came out with our faith stronger and purer and galvanized in a way that nothing else could have accomplished.

Listen at this link on http://www.Periscope.tv/penneymaried:

https://www.periscope.tv/w/1BRKjWnNYQwGw

A Sign of Hope in Yellow Irises

In May of 2005, I had a dream. In the dream my family was walking through an empty house in the afternoon. I knew it was our house, but it did not look like it. I knew that we had to leave the house before these certain people came. We had already cleared all the rooms. We walked out to the garage which was at the front of the house (possibly facing north?). My mom pulled in to the driveway in a car. I wondered how we were all going to fit in the car (it didn’t seem that it would fit our family, it wasn’t a van or a big vehicle). I walked over to the car and opened the back door. Then I saw yellow Irises between the front seat and the back seat. They were growing from the floor of the car. I said, “What pretty yellow Irises!”. They were tall and in full bloom. Then I said, “I’m so glad we can grow flowers in our cars now, it looks so pretty”. I wondered how we would fit among all the flowers. But we all fit in without any trouble. It ended with us all sitting in the car.

It has been 10 years almost exactly since I had that dream.

I have been keeping my eye out for yellow irises ever since.

Most of the irises I see are purple, not yellow.

I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day. She mentioned in passing that my sister had brought her some yellow irises that were so pretty. She said there were so many that she asked her if she had any left. The stalks were just covered in blooms and they were really impressive. She said that people stop by my sister’s house to look at the irises because they are so striking.

The wheels started turning. I remembered my dream about the yellow irises. The only part I remembered was saying, “What pretty yellow irises” and that they were growing from the floor of the car. I told my mom I had a dream a long time ago about yellow irises, and I asked her to send me a picture of those yellow irises. Fortunately, I had written the dream in a notebook, so I was able to look it up and get the rest of the details.

IMG_0552

Here is the picture she sent.

IMG_0550

She also sent this picture of Dad with the yellow irises.

(You might remember that my Dad had a stroke 2 months ago. Well, he has recovered very well and is able to do almost everything he could do before! Praise the Lord! God has been very faithful and merciful to us.)

At the time I had that dream, we had just been foreclosed and had left our house. It was a very scary, terrible time for us. We were feeling lost and devastated and very confused.

We wanted something good to happen to change everything and reverse all of our misfortunes right then.

Since then we have experienced some more trials and troubles, but also lots of wonderful things.

We have moved 5 times. We have lived in 4 different states since we left Ohio. We left behind everything and everybody that we knew.

For the last 3 years we have experienced very difficult times just trying to survive financially.

We have been praying fervently for a home and land of our own for the last 10 years, and especially since we got here in Texas 3 years ago. I started sowing into Kim Clement’s ministry with the prayer request that we would have our own home and land while we still lived in York, PA, so it has been more like 5 years.

Well, now I believe the sign of the yellow irises has come to pass.

I’m not sure what it means exactly, but I believe that it means that we are about to have a “suddenly”.

I do know that in dreams the color yellow signifies “hope or mind”. And flowers signify “a fresh beginning, passing of the old”. We get most of our dream interpretation help from John Paul Jackson because we know he was a true Christian and only got his information from God and the Bible and not other sources.

Perhaps the dream was to give me hope that a fresh beginning is about to happen for us.

And the timing of Mom and Dad getting those yellow irises is to tell me that it is going to happen now.

Of course, I hope the timing is now. With God, we know that our timing is different from His, but I believe that He is letting me know through the dream and its fulfillment and other words and happenings that the time is very soon that we will experience a big change in circumstance and will get our own land and our own home.

In the meantime, I’m praying in hope and expectation and excitement that God is going to answer our prayers very soon.

I am trusting Him and listening for His voice, renewing my mind and drawing close to Him.

I’m believing for the hundredfold since we left behind everything that we knew.

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. Matthew 19:29

With great excitement and anticipation!

Another Christmas in Jeopardy

Did I hear him right? Did this really just happen? Again?

We were just getting caught up from the 9 months of unemployment before he landed this job. We finally got to the place where I felt free to buy a few things besides absolute essentials. And maybe a few Christmas gifts for the kids.

Now he calls and tells me that the company let him go. Two weeks before Christmas.

I can’t believe this is happening.

But it’s not a joke. He wouldn’t joke about something like this.

Now instead of proceeding with plans of buying gifts for Christmas and health supplements that I’ve been putting off buying until our bills were paid off, I have a finite amount of money that I will have to be very careful with until we know where our next money will come from. And I was going to buy new clothes for the daughter who wears the same tattered skirt every day. I wanted her to look nice in the family picture I wanted to have taken. Oh well, who am I to make plans.

discouraged woman

But I’m not depressed. I’m not discouraged. I’m a little thrown off, but I’m not worried. I’m actually happy and at peace. Why? Because I know that God has something better planned for us. And my husband is taking this well. He is not depressed or discouraged, either. He is not angry. He knows that God will take care of us. He knows that God has something really good in store for us – something better than the job he just lost.

This time is different. When he lost his first Texas job last November, he took to the computer and stayed on it for 9 months trying to make something happen. He got his second Texas job at the end of that 9 month period because of a contact that our son’s boss made for him. It didn’t come from any of the work he did on the computer.

So now he’s convinced that it’s all in God’s hands, and he can’t force anything to happen.

Twelve years ago, we gave our lives completely to God and made the commitment that we wouldn’t do anything unless He told us to.

And I prayed a dangerous prayer. I prayed for a Baptism of Fire. Neither of us wanted to live a mediocre life. Gary didn’t want to just go to a job every day and come home, eat, sleep and do the same thing the next day. We read in the Bible that signs and wonders are to follow those who believe.

We wanted to be able to move in the power and leading of the Holy Spirit. I just knew that the only way we could be made fit for such a life was to experience a Baptism of Fire. So I asked for that.

Twelve years later, I can tell you that I believe in the supernatural power of God in a way now that I only thought I believed back then. I have seen God do miracles for us that I would never have believed He would do for little ole me. He has revealed His great love for me personally in a way that has changed the way I see myself, Him and others.

He sustained us in our own house in Ohio for 4 years with no income. Then He allowed us to lose our house so that we had to move to an even higher level of faith and trust Him in a faraway place – Arizona – where we were strangers with little money and no income. Then He led us to a place of great spiritual warfare, IHOP-KC, and allowed us to camp there for a while (3 years) with a minimum of stability and supply.

Through all of this He gave us encouraging words, gifts of money and necessities through His people who heard His voice. At one point, as we were transitioning from abject poverty to a fairly comfortable lifestyle, He blessed us with $20,000 from a totally unexpected source – a couple at IHOP who seemed to be worse off financially than we were!

They were sowing for us to have our own home. But they said that they knew that things come up so they told us to feel at liberty to use it for whatever we needed it for. My kids needed dental work, so a good portion of that money went to that. Then we ended up moving from one house to another and then one state to another, and now that nest egg is all gone.

But we know that God has bigger things than that in store for us. He has given us big dreams.

So we are not downcast.

When Gary first called and told me he lost his job, I wrote the first entry in my new planner – “Gary lost his job today. It’s a new day”. So far that is all that’s written in my planner.

We’ve been through worse before. And God has been more than faithful. He has refined and purified our faith.

Why should we be downcast?

Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.

Arise, shine;
For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the Lord will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.

I have HOPE this Christmas. And JOY!

He is answering our prayers.

And I’ve prayed some doozies!

On Having a Full Quiver

017

I guess I’ve never really written on my blog how I feel about whether people should use birth control or use natural family planning or let God decide how many people to put in their family. It is a controversial topic. But since I have used the theme of “sharing our journey”, I will now describe my journey to the understanding and reasoning that I have now about limiting or not limiting family size.

When my husband and I first got married, we were naive about everything but thought we knew everything, like most young newlyweds probably are. We talked about children before we got married, of course. I said that I wanted at least 3 children, since that was what my family had, and I figured that worked out pretty well. Gary said he would like to have an even number (for whatever reason), so we said, ok, we’ll have 4. And that was what I was shooting for. Sort of.

It was never a real concrete decision that I thought I would never change my mind about. It was just a nebulous idea of how our future might go. After all, I knew that I couldn’t predict the future or control it.

I have a tendency to let God lead, and I follow. That means my ideas and opinions have changed about a lot of things. And I have learned about things that I believe the Lord led me to, when I wasn’t even interested at first and had no clue that there was an issue. Many things that our society as a whole accepts, I was led to reject and do the opposite.

The number of children our family was to include was one of those things. I didn’t know that God really cared one way or another about this issue until I started really seeking Him about it after I had Patrick, our third child, and he had some birth defects. I was devastated, of course, but the Lord helped me through the guilt and confusion and fear as I pressed into Him and trusted Him to take care of Patrick and to give us a good quality of life in spite of his “limitations”. I have told Patrick’s story in the posts under the category Patrick’s Testimony.

One of the big questions I took to the Lord was, “Should I have another baby?” We went through some genetic counseling, and the doctor told us that it was probably just a fluke, and the chances of us having another baby with arthrogryposis were very slim.

I still needed to hear something more definite from the Lord about it. So I kept praying. I felt like He told me to talk to a slightly older woman at church who had 5 children, and she seemed to have a good head on her shoulders, and she knew about things that I didn’t know about living a more natural, healthy lifestyle. So I went to her house and asked her how she felt about birth control and the matter of limiting the number of children, etc.

She shared with me about natural family planning. Her husband actually kept a chart of her ovulation, so that they were both involved in making the decision of whether to have another child and when. I highly respect their wisdom and their partnership in praying together and discussing these things and communicating so intimately with each other. They were both open to having another child at the time I talked to them. He was as accepting of the idea as she was.

I took these ideas and meditated on them and ordered a book from Focus on the Family about how to keep track of my fertility. I read the book and learned enough to be able to tell pretty well when I was fertile. I kept praying for God to show me His heart about this whole issue of how many children I was to have.

Soon after I had Patrick and started his therapies and surgeries, etc., I found out I was pregnant with number 4! Patrick was 10 months old when I got pregnant again. I learned some things about the birth control pill that I found troubling. I also learned about the history of birth control and Margaret Sanger and found out that her reasons for pushing birth control were mainly about getting rid of black people. I prayed about birth control. I believe that God revealed to me that it is not His will for His people to use these forms of birth control. Most of them actually destroy an egg that has already been fertilized or keep it from being able to implant after being fertilized. In reality, it is aborting a pregnancy that has already been started. I believe that God causes that life to happen and we don’t have the right to destroy human life, even at that stage.

As I prayed about it more, the Lord led me to the line of reasoning that goes like this. Who makes people? God, of course. Who knows what people should be in each family? God, of course. Who knows how many people should be in each family? Yep, we all know the answer to that. Who should decide how many children we have and which children would be in our family? I came to the conclusion that it was God’s place to decide all of these things, not mine. He knows the future. He has the spirits of new people in heaven that He intends to send to earth, and He knows which of these spirits are supposed to be in my family that He wants to put in my and my husband’s care. He knows these things. My husband and I don’t. When it comes right down to it, number doesn’t matter. The heart of the matter is letting God have His way in our lives.

So what we basically ended up doing is letting God lead this area of our lives, just as we let God lead every other area of our lives.

I believe that God gave us just the right children and that He is pleased with our acceptance of His will for our lives. I could not be happier. I am so glad to have each and every one of my children. I am happy to still have young children side by side with my older children. My older children have learned so many good lessons from helping with their younger siblings. The younger children are so happy to have their older brothers and sisters to play with and learn from. We are proud of our big, happy family. We are close-knit and each of them loves all of their brothers and sisters. Of course we are not perfect. But I believe we have a higher level of family satisfaction than many other families that I have observed.

As I said before, it’s not the number that matters. What matters is obeying God.

God gave me ten children. I feel exceedingly and abundantly blessed to have such a full quiver.

That’s my journey.

I praise the Lord for my full quiver.

SONY DSC