God Knew

When my husband and I started to try to have a baby in 2010 God knew that it wouldn’t be until 2016 that we finally would conceive our son Caleb.

When I was in my mother’s womb, God knew that I would struggle with infertility issues when I grew up, but that didn’t stop Him from planting the desire to be a mother deep in my heart from a young age. That didn’t stop Him from placing me in a family where I was the oldest of six, surrounded by babies and younger children–I’m so thankful for those years that I feel prepared my heart for loving and valuing children – whether they “are mine” or not! All children belong to God first and foremost as their Creator*. He gets to see their first smile in the womb, their first grimace, their very first movement, their “firsts” belong to Him. God gets the first fruits of our life in the secret place of our mother’s womb. Even today with the advancements of ultrasound technology we come no where close to the 24/7 intimacy God has with our precious little ones as He tenderly and lovingly knits them–as He knitted us –together.

God doesn’t make mistakes. God is on time. God is perfect.

In January of 2013 I created a business card for a dear friend of mine as a class project for school. I needed to created one and she had a business that needed one. She created cute, lettered cloth blocks by hand. I borrowed one to help me with my project and I ended up never giving it back to her before she moved out of state. Flash forward to 2016, God has blessed my womb with life and another blessing of a friend graciously and kindly offers to take some photos of me to help document this miraculous time in my life. That morning before we met up for breakfast and photos she wanted to know if I had any wooden blocks with letters on them to help with the photos, I had none but thought maybe we could go by Walmart and grab some after breakfast. Anyway I remembered though that I had a cloth block in one of my office drawers somewhere…I just couldn’t remember the letter on it! I hoped it would still be in the drawer that I thought I’d last put it in, it was — way in the back.

Lo and behold the letter on the block was the letter “C”. In the bold color red, just like the shirt I had chosen to wear that morning for photos.

Before the beginning of time God knew me. He knew all of my paths that I’d take and every moment of my life. He knew that my husband and I would come very close to choosing to stop trying to have biological kids before He would open my womb. God knew that we would have a son and that we would choose to name Him Caleb. In 2013 He knew this and the cloth block my friend gave me to help me with my project had the letter “C” on it. How fun it must be for God, like a big surprise, 3 1/2 years earlier and He is the only one that knew as she handed me a block of cloth, both of us clueless how meaningful it would become. How amazing and how loving is our Father in Heaven truly is!

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Picture by Magdalena Ferrandino

 ” I could ask the darkness to hide me
  and the light around me to become night—
     but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
    Darkness and light are the same to you.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.”  – Psalm 139:11-16

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” – God speaking to Jeremiah (the prophet) 1:5

* Whether we accept the price God paid to adopt us as His child and become our Spiritual Father is different than God being our Creator. See John chapter 8 and Romans chapter 8.

Childbearing Hips

As one negative pregnancy test led to the next and to the next, each cycle became less of an exciting wait and more of a dreaded encounter, hoping against all odds that this would be the month, only to have those hopes dashed be a single pink line and those telltale cramps. Agonizing cramps that seemingly mock me from within my own body. Taunting me that I have the body parts but that I’m broken, that I don’t work, that I might look like a perfectly fine woman on the outside-but that I’m not. Cramps that I still have to suffer. Suffer every month for what-for nothing my mind cries out. The frustration at “being broken” can feel overwhelming at times. Questions of “why was I created to be a woman if I don’t even work” flit across my mind as cruel reality brings jarring pain to such a crescendo that my infertility cannot be ignored–not today. I can go for a few weeks acting like everything is normal, but then the cramps, then the reality. The empty womb crying out at me–”don’t you dare forget!”– a war between my body and my mind, between my hormone levels and my desire to be a mother.

The identity crisis of being a woman with infertility is real and it was unexpected. It caught me off-guard when I began to feel trapped in my body, a body that didn’t work. A body that looked like it should work-but wasn’t. My childbearing hips were helping me carry in the groceries, or a box up the stairs, but that wasn’t what they were supposed to carry. They were supposed to help me carry a baby, my baby. Like I’d carried brothers and sisters growing up. Instead here I was all alone with no baby and these childbearing hips. Watching the diagnostic ultrasounds of my womb, finding out the exact measurements of these body parts that remained vacant, lifeless. I felt like I was useless, like I was defective. Betrayed by my own body it felt like there had been a mistake. Life wasn’t supposed to be like this. I was supposed to be a mom. My dream of raising children, homeschooling, making homemade bread, my body didn’t match up. It wasn’t right. Something was wrong.

Something is wrong. Things are broken. There is sickness. There is disease. I’m not the first person to feel trapped in, or betrayed by their body and I won’t be the last. In the end our bodies will fail each and every one of us, expiring to return to the dust because of the curse of sin that is upon us and all of creation. A curse that we’ve inherited and that we perpetuate. A decay that renders our ability to stay young, strong and healthy out of our control as time marches forward until we breathe our last. And when we breathe our last it will surely matter what or who we identity with and as. It matters because if your identity is founded only in the life that you spend in this body then you are guaranteed to be disappointed, to be betrayed by your body and by your idolatry. But, if your identity is rooted in Christ Jesus then you are guaranteed life eternal. Whenever I feel frustrated with my body, whenever the sorrow washes over me I cling to Jesus and I remember that my identity is in Him. I am His. I belong to Him. I am His daughter. I am His bride. He satisfies me with His Living Waters and comforts me with His strong arms. He holds me and He sustains me. He is my confidence. He is my Rock. He is my salvation. He is my hope. I will never be disappointed when my eyes are on Him, and they will be on Him forever–for when I leave this body I will be going home to a place that He is preparing for me. A place where He is the Light, where there is no more sorrow, no more tears, no more shame.

I refuse to agree with the lies of Satan that seek to take my eyes off of Jesus. I speak the Truth of God’s Word over myself. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am carefully made by the hands of my loving Father Who knew me in the womb, Who knew me even before He formed me. God made me a woman, God has given me the heart of a mother and I am so thankful for these things. I rejoice because of His tender love, He is my Victory. I am so incredibly thankful for my body. I am thankful for every part of my body. Yes this creation may be under the curse of our sin, but God is the Redeemer and He is making all things new. God is my Redeemer! He is my “dream-come-true-Boaz”, He has paid the greatest price so I can be with Him forever and ever and I gladly give myself over to Him, to His authority, to His will. He can–and is–making something beautiful out of the mire clay. I am free to dance in joy as He lifts me up from the ashes. He has brought me into His glory and I look forward to be taken into the full measure of His glory. His strong arm upholds me, His strong right hand defends and protects me.

I need thee every hour Lord. I need Thine Righteousness to revive me for Thine power to course through me, for You Holy Spirit to wash and cleanse me, for Your Word to lead me. For every part of me to be enveloped in Your presence, under Your guidance and authority. Every lie, every doubt hold no power over me-for I sit down under Your shadow with great delight and Your fruit is sweet to my taste, You bring me to Your banqueting House and Your banner over me is love. You satisfy me and embrace me, You come leaping and bounding over the mountains and hills and lead me into the Cleft of the Solid Rock, through Your pasture among the lilies. (See Song of Solomon 2).

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,  being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.  2 Corinthians 10:-6

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.  Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.  I Thessalonians 5:16-24

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”  Revelation 21:1-8

God IS the standard.

PrintWhat is the standard for morality? Is it arbitrary, did God create it, can he change it? I was mulling over how I would answer these questions this week. I knew that I would want to explain that true righteousness can only be found in Christ. That morality is not arbitrarily what God “decides it should be”. Why can I say this so confidently? Because God IS the standard of morality. He IS Righteousness. As the sermon on the mount puts it, when we hunger and thirst for righteousness we are satisfied. We are satisfied not because of a law or a code that is found, or decided upon, but because to be filled with righteousness is to be filled with God. The living, powerful God Who has no beginning or end. The unchanging (immutable) God. Since He is eternal and immutable, then all that is truly Good and Perfect also does not change and did not begin; because He was, and is, and is to come. The world’s standard changes with the whim of pop culture, with the urges and desires of man, but God remains unchanged and Holy. God is the standard of morality.

All that is in opposition to Who God is, His Purity, His Holiness, is therefore in opposition to God himself. That is why God describe those who have their minds set upon satisfying the very urges that oppose Him, as His enemy.

The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
Romans 8:7-8

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
James 4:4

This is kind of scary, I mean every time we decide to indulge the desires of the flesh we are literally taking a stand against God. Against THE God of the universe who determines are very breath and life.

However, when we choose to submit our mind and bodies to Him, we are taking a stand against the ruler of all that opposes God as James 4:7-8 says

Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

I was thinking about this even further, I mean there has been times in my life where although what I was doing was “technically” or “legalistically” (in a religious sense) acceptable I knew that God did not want me to do it. He was calling me to trust Him and obey Him. Although I could be justified before man, I couldn’t before Him because it was not God’s will for my life. What then? If it is in opposition to God’s will, it is in opposition to Him. Disobedience, or to violate/fail to respect and comply with God’s will, is therefore immorality in and of itself. It is immoral, or wrong, to oppose what is perfect and pure, to oppose God.

How are we to know what God’s will is for our life? Romans 12:1-2 has the answer:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

In other words, as our minds are transformed by the Spirit we begin to have discernment and are able to better hear God’s voice. To better see the way God has for us. But, in order for this to happen we must repent and give up, or sacrifice our sinful ways. We must submit to God so that His Spirit can be in control, instead of our own desires.

God calls us to do this now, while we still have breath, before our soul passes outside of time, into eternity. He sits upon the law in a seat of mercy. Christ’s perfect blood has been shed to pay the price for sinful opposition and to protect all who come and bow before Him, the Holy One. Death has been defeated so that in God’s great mercy life can be restored to those who were at enmity with the Author and Giver of Life. Not because of anything done on the part of the enemy, but because God IS Love, unconditional love.

Learning about God – by “listening” to the Prayers made in Public throughout Scripture

This post is currently being updated and more observations will be added as I go through the public prayers listed on the Verses on Prayer page. Currently I have left off after 2 Chronicles 20:1-29.

What do we learn about God by studying the public prayers made throughout scripture?

We learn that:

  • Our strength is lifted up in the Lord
  • God is salvation
  • There is none holy like the Lord
  • There is none besides God
  • There is no Rock like our God
  • The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by Him all actions are weighted
  • The Lord slays and makes alive, the Lord brings down to Sheol and raises up
  • The Lord makes poor and makes rich
  • The Lord brings low and He lifts up
  • The Lord raises up the poor out of the dust and lifts up the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with nobles and inherit the throne of glory
  • The pillars of the earth are the Lord’s and He has set the world upon them
  • The Lord will guard the feet of His godly ones
  • Against His adversaries will the Lord thunder in heaven and they will be broken to pieces
  • The Lord will judge to the ends of the earth
  • The Lord will give strength to His King and exalt the power of His Anointed
  • there is no God like the Lord in heaven above or on earth beneath
  • God keeps His covenant and shows mercy and loving kindness to His servants who walk before Him with all their heart
    (we know from other scripture that God also keeps His covenant with those who reject Him and His mercy)
  • God kept what He promised David, Salomon’s father. God spoke with His mouth and fulfilled it with His hand.
  • God is the God of Israel
  • The heavens and heaven of heavens cannot contain God
  • God and only God knows the hearts of all the children of men
  • God separated Israel out of all the peoples of the earth to be His heritage (and we know from other scripture that those who accept Christ as their savior are grafted into God’s people and those who do not believe will be pruned away Romans 11)
  • God is good and His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever
  • God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and of Israel
  • The Lord is God
  • To the Lord belongs the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory and the majesty
  • All that is in the heavens and the earth is God’s
  • To God belongs the kingdom
  • God is to be exalted as Head over all
  • Both riches and honor come from God
  • God reigns over all
  • In God’s hand are power and might
  • In God’s hands it is to make great and to give strength to all
  • God’s name is glorious
  • All things come from God and out of God’s own hand we give back to God (offering)
  • God’s Name is holy
  • God tries the heart and delights in uprightness
  • God is the God in heaven
  • God rules over all the kingdoms of the nations
  • In God’s hands are power and might, so that none are able to withstand Him
  • God drove out the inhabitants of the promised land before Israel and gave it forever to the descendants of Abraham, God’s friend
  • the battle is not our, but is God’s
  • God’s mercy and loving-kindness endure forever