I told you we have a lot of birthdays in July - now add one more. Olivia Rae made her debut on the morning of July 12th. And she is absolutely PERFECT! Thank the Lord. (Mommie is recovering well. Now, we pray for extra sleep for them both.) No close up pictures just yet.
This month we've celebrated John, Zachariah, Grayson, Noni, Olivia's birth and the wedding anniversary for Nathan and Meagan. Eleven years they've been married; time is flying.
On my birthday, the girls brought all ten of the practically perfect grands to sing Happy Birthday to Noni. They also brought peanut butter jelly sandwiches, chips and juice which gave us the opportunity to share a gourmet lunch together.
Are those precious faces, or what?! Yes, you are correct - that question was facetious.
Madi and Ava are hugging. Noah is holding Andrew with Zach squeezed into the open spot. I'm holding Olivia and her brother, Parker, is close at hand to help. Then comes Abby beside Spencer who's holding Grayson. Of course there had to be balloons because no child can imagine celebrating a birthday (even when you're "old") without balloons.
The most contented smile is Noni's!
I wish we were only busy marking celebrations but everyone we know has life happening, don't they? The past two months have been unusually tough for our family. We've been introduced to severe illnesses, we've had frightening moments of loss, shocking news and moments that have literally taken our breath away.
If you knew the details, you would know I'm not exaggerating one little bit. This is a tough time.
In the middle of all the upheaval, I found myself holding my breath - often. My watch would vibrate and I would glance down to find this message, "Even a few moments of deep breathing can help your outlook." Right! I would gladly take deep breaths if I wasn't subconsciously waiting for the next bit of bad news.
Still, there was a church to care for and meetings to attend and deadlines to meet. So, one deep breath leads to another then another and we find ourselves able to move. Of course, praying is another almost subconscious action as well. But it never hurts to be reminded.
So, when Frank asked me to share the sermon this past Sunday, it was easy for me to prepare the message from the very scriptures and truths that have been carrying me. The simple title was My Hope and My Help.
John told about the Holy Spirit who is our helper or in Greek, our "parakletos." (Jn. 16:7) And I found this example that explains the term John used.
It seems Greek soldiers (in the time of Christ) were sent out to battle in pairs. That way, when the enemy attacked them they could stand back to back and cover each other's blind side. Your battle partner was called your "paraclete."
By choosing that word, John was explaining to his readers that the precious Spirit of God wants to cover our blind spots. He wants to be our helper in tough times; all we have to do is ask. Could you use some of that help today, like me?!
I also shared from Paul's writings that "... this hope [in God] will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us..." (Romans 5:5)
That's comfort I can lean into during this time of feeling overwhelmed!
Frank and I pray almost daily that our children and grandchildren will follow Christ every day they have breath. Maybe another birthday is the perfect time to remind ourselves that He wants to partner with us on this life journey. He wants to be our Hope and our Help. I think I'll let Him - how about you?
How do you celebrate birthdays in your family? Do you have a month with multiple celebrations? Would you share one of your favorite comfort scriptures with us? Thanks for leaving comments, they're such an encouragement.