Feed on the Word Daily

Fill up on the Word daily!!!

Oops! Abigail you're not supposed to really EAT the Word!
Abigail likes to eat Kleenex and paper. When I came into the family room, I found my bible with some of the pages ripped out and her chewing on something. I didn't figure it out that she was eating my BIBLE until I found this page!
But, how can you be mad at this cutie???

Oh, Lord your Word fills me and sustains me! I will be filled as with the richest of food.

Miracle Monday

I love to pray. When I am praying, talking to God, I feel so close to Him. I believe God has called me to be an Intercessor, so whenever someone comes to my mind, I lift her/him in prayer. I pray for the country. I pray for my neighbors. I get several emails asking me to pray for people's concerns, and I keep a long list of concerns I pray for daily. Did I say I love to pray?

Well, I also lead a women's bible study. After our weekly study, we lift up one another's concerns and pray for each other. As the leader, I listen and write down each woman's request as she shares. The strangest thing was, I often would NOT share my own concerns. I would diligently write down and we would pray for our concerns together as a group. Then, we committed to pray over these concerns during the week. But, for my own needs, I consistently would bear them alone or pray over them with my prayer partner. I wouldn't share them with the group.

This was about three to four years ago and Aaron was one. When he was born, his tear ducts were closed, so he would get "goopy eyes" frequently. Whenever he had a cold, it would go into his eye and have a runny eye. People would often assume he had "pink eye," but I would assure them that he had a closed tear duct and this was "normal" for his eye. Our doctor said most kids grew out of this by the time they were 15 months old, so we would watch and wait.
Time went on and Aaron's eye did NOT get any better. Our doctor sent us to an eye doctor when he didn't grow out of it by the time he turned one. The eye doctor said we would wait until Aaron was 15 months old, but if the tear duct didn't open, Aaron would have to have surgery. We continued going every few weeks to check, but the duct remained closed. Finally, the doctor said we wait two more weeks and if the duct wasn't open (and it looked like it was NOT going to open on its own now!) we would schedule the surgery.

Not what a mother wants to hear. No matter how "routine" or simple a surgery is, a mother would much rather that her baby would not have to go through it!

Well, the night before the appointment was my bible study. As I was taking prayer requests for everyone else, God spoke to my heart, "Tracy, you prayer for everyone else. Why don't you pray for yourself? Why don't you pray for your own needs? Pray for Aaron."

Boy! I was convicted. I shared this with my group and we prayed for Aaron. I knew they would also be praying for him the next day during the time of the appointment.

When Brian and I took Aaron the next day, we really expected that we would be setting up the surgery appointment. Actually, that was what the doctor thought, too. While waiting, I again said a prayer for God to open Aaron's tear ducts. When the doctor came in, he began telling us about the surgery, preparing us. As he began to check Aaron's eyes, more of a formality, really, he stopped talking. He then told us that Aaron's tear ducts had opened! He was astounded! He couldn't believe it!

I could believe it! God had miraculously healed Aaron AND reminded me that I needed to pray over my needs! It was wonderful that I prayed for others, but that I needed to FIRST pray for my needs and the needs of my family.

God is so good!

Philippians 4:6, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to the Lord."

Please go over to a Mom's Life http://beth-amomslife.blogspot.com/ to read all of the amazing ways God is working in people's lives! God is good and there are miracles all around when we open our eyes to see them.

I'm Alive!

"I'm alive! I'm alive! I'm alive! Hallelujah! Amen!"
These were words we sung today at our worship service. The joy in the room was amazing. We are alive! Because Christ is alive! We are alive, amen!

2Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

I found this amazing picture at my friend's church's website, "EFCN" in Naperville, IL.

Many blessings to you all today. Live your life in Christ- ALIVE!

More Snow!

Just when we thought we were finished with snow........God had other plans! It was sooooo beautiful and the BEST part- it was melted by lunchtime!!!! :)

The Way Things Are???????

I was going through some of my older posts and found this. Oh, how I needed to hear it again. I hope you will be blessed by it. It is from October, 2007

Praise You, God! You were so AWESOME, POWERFUL, AND BIG at the Ladies' Retreat where I spoke over the weekend. Praise You! God confirmed time and again how He wants to set us free! He does not want to see His dearly Beloved children in bondage, living under the yoke of Satan's deception! Hallelujah!

This morning, one example stands out in my mind.

A dear woman at the retreat had shared with me what she is going through at home- a terrible situation. Her husband is in bondage to a terrible sin. We prayed together, and I especially prayed that she would feel God's loving arms around her. I prayed that He would comfort her, pour out His wisdom on her, and shower His love upon her. The next morning she shared with me how powerfully God had spoken to her through His Word. God led her to Isaiah where it talked about how He was going to come in to crush bondage and pride and that He is a source of strength. This passage spoke to her personally. It touched her exactly the way she needed. God had put His arms around her through His Word. God's Word is alive and active and personally speaks to each one of us! Praise God!

I was thinking how often we can sometimes "roll over and play dead." We start believing that THIS is all there is, or this is just how it is. We forget to fight- to stand firm and put on His armor. We forget to be strong in the Lord and His mighty power and to take our stand against the enemy's evil schemes. We just accept our circumstances as "the way things are." (Did you ever see the movie, Babe, about a pig who refused to accept that things were just the way things are?) We just sigh, and say, "This must be God's Will, His plan." And sometimes it is! There are times that He is refining us or our circumstances are a result of sin or our choices- but that is a whole other blog!!!

God reminded me of an example of this that happened not too long ago. I was NOT feeling well- I had a "bug" of some kind. But, I had so much to do. My "to do"list was FULL. While I was praying with my mentor and prayer partner, I had a "woe is me" attitude and was just kind of giving up. "I am sick today, I won't be able to do all things I need to do. Oh well." I even said, "God must be slowing down." (And He, does do that, too- but that, too, is a whole other blog!!!!!)

She began to pray for healing. She began to take our authority in who we are in Jesus and what He has already done for us. I, of course, didn't want to hear these things! I wanted to her to feel sorry for me- I was sick! I wanted to "wallow!" But, as we prayed, my faith began to rise. I knew it was God's will for me to get up and accomplish the things He had called me to do that day.

We talked about the time when Jesus healed Peter's mother from a fever and she got up to serve them. (Matthew 8:14) Immediately after we prayed I felt better. I still had my cold, but my attitude had completely changed. I had energy to get up and do the things I needed to do. Once I finished, I felt God say, "Rest now." I felt so much better!!!! I rested without worries of my tasks. I was so thankful and praised Him over and over!

This morning, as I pondered all of this, I opened my Bible. The Spirit led me to the story of the woman being healed in Mark 5:21-34. The crowds were huge. The Bible says, "A large crowd followed and pressed around Him." Have you been somewhere where the crowd was huge and people bump into you and you bump into them? Somewhere where you have to hold hands with the people you are with for fear of being separated? I picture the crowd like that around Jesus. The people are crowding Him, trying to get near Him.

The Bible says, "And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse." Whew! There is so much just in that short passage! In Bible times blood issues were taken seriously. If this woman had a blood disease, she would have been considered "unclean." People probably avoided touching her or getting too near her- for twelve YEARS. Can you imagine the pain and the loneliness of this suffering for so long? In fact, Scripture says she had "suffered a great deal." Can you relate?

Have you suffered a great deal?

She spent all she had. She spent everything she had to get well. She sought out many doctors. She was using everything available. Yet, she was not healed. In fact, the Bible says "she grew worse." Have your circumstances ever grown worse, even when you have given everything you have to change them?

But, she knew where to go! She knows that Jesus can heal her. She thinks, "If I just touch His clothes, I will be healed." She knows the power of the her Savior. She knows it just takes a touch of his cloak. She doesn't even need to touch Him, just His clothes. So, she comes up behind Him, without saying a word, reaches out, and touches His cloak."IMMEDIATELY her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering." God wants to free us from our suffering!

Notice a few things. She goes to Jesus. She has great faith- she knows she just needs a touch from Jesus. She reaches out and touches Him. "At once Jesus realizes that power had gone out from Him." Wow! She reaches out, touches Him in her need, and power goes out from Him to heal her. Now, Jesus knows who touched Him. He is God. He is all knowing. All through the New Testament Jesus knew the thoughts of those around Him. So, He knows already knows who touched Him, but He asks, "Who touched my clothes?" Now the disciples are surprised by this question. EVERYONE was touching Him! A better question might have been who is NOT touching me???? They say, "You see the people crowding against You, and yet You ask, 'Who touched me?' "

Jesus looks for her in the crowd. She knows she's "caught." She falls at His feet, trembling with fear and tells Him the whole truth.

Jesus calls her "Daughter." He says, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."

Hallelujah! Jesus FREES us! He frees us from our suffering! Jesus came to "set the captives free." She has been healed already, now He wants to free her and bring restoration! In front of the whole crowd, all the people she was trying to avoid, Jesus restores her and validates her. He calls her daughter!

One other HUGE point- there were LOTS of people touching Jesus, many of which probably needed healing. Why didn't Jesus' power go out from Him when they touched Him?

She believed!

Jesus said "her faith healed her." So many of us may touch Jesus, but do we believe? Do we have faith in Who is and What He can do?

Thank You, God that You bring healing and freedom! Thank You for Your restoration!

Thankful Thursday

Oh, Lord, I am so thankful for.......
the beautiful birds that are out praising you every morning! When I have been out this week walking early in the morning, their sweet song has been such a blessing to me. I am reminded that Spring is here. Hope is alive. "Weeping may last all night, but joy comes in the morning." The winter has been long and I have missed the birds' beautiful music, but joy comes in the morning! There is a crispness, a "clean" smell in the air. I love that each bird sings its own song. As I was enjoying their music, I noticed several different bird calls and it occurred to me that they each have their own song. I thank you, God, that we each have OUR own song....May we always praise you like these sweet birds. Doesn't matter that anyone was listening. Beautiful.
"Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise Him. Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to Him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy." -Psalm 33:1-3

Who is Jesus? I AM Part 4

Who is Jesus? I AM…
the Resurrection
I love how Jesus illuminates His name by performing a miracle to give the name such meaning and understanding to us. To show the miraculous abundance of His life giving nourishment, He fed more than 5,000 people from only 5 loaves and 2 fishes, calling Himself the Bread of Life. If Jesus can feed all those with so little, won’t He be able to “feed” me? Won’t His nourishment be enough for all of my needs?

He calls Himself another name then performs such an incredible miracle that brings such clarity to it- the Resurrection. Jesus says, “I AM the Resurrection.” Then, to make sure we absolutely “get it”, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead!

Sometimes we think there are things in our lives that are so dead, nothing, no one, not even God can bring them back to life. We forget and lose faith that “with God all things are possible.” I love that Jesus shows us that this thinking is NOT true!

Lazarus was a close friend and disciple of Jesus. Jesus loved him very much. When Jesus is with Martha and Mary after Lazarus’ death, Jesus wept and the people said, “See how He loved him!” Jesus had compassion and love for all around Him, but He had a special relationship with this family. He was sad for the sisters, grieving with them. The Bible says, “He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” He cared what happened to these people- they were very dear to Him.

So…..why wouldn’t Jesus have come and healed Lazarus? In fact, some of the people around that day asked the very same thing. They said, “Could not He who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Why didn’t Jesus heal Lazarus?

The Bible tells us that when Lazarus was sick, the sisters sent word to Jesus to come. I am sure they expected Jesus to come right away. There are many accounts of Jesus going to those who needed healing. In fact, Jesus took a boat and crossed the lake to go to Gerasenes to heal a man who was demon possessed (Mark 5). And, Jesus healed people without even GOING to them- He just spoke the Word and they were healed. Jesus healed a centurion’s servant without going to him, but simply spoke it. (Matthew 8). Couldn’t he have just spoken where He was and Lazarus would have been healed at that moment?

What He did tell His disciples was, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Then, the Bible tells us, Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days.” This tells me that because He loved them, He stayed two more days. It was on purpose! Jesus’ timing is perfect. Many times I get impatient, wanting God to do things in my TIME, but I find that God’s timing is always perfect. I am sure that Mary and Martha did not think Jesus’ timing was perfect! I am sure they were waiting for Him expectantly, wondering what was taking Him so long. I can imagine them going to the window often checking for His familiar figure walking in the distance.

Jesus must have confused the disciples, also. First Jesus said that the sickness would not end in death. Then, Jesus said that Lazarus was asleep and that He must go wake him. When the disciples heard that Lazarus was “asleep,” they were hopeful and glad that he “would get better.” Finally, Jesus tells them that Lazarus IS DEAD and “that for their sake, He is glad that He wasn’t there, so that they may believe.” They must have wondered what Jesus meant! If Jesus loved Lazarus, why was it best that He hadn’t been there? Couldn’t He have saved Lazarus? Couldn’t Jesus have healed him?
I believe that Jesus loved Lazarus so and that He chose Lazarus to reveal Himself to many as the Christ. After Jesus raised Lazarus, the Bible says, “…many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary put their faith in Jesus.” In fact, the Pharisees made plans to kill Lazarus because so many were putting their faith in Jesus on account of Lazarus! Jesus chose His dear friend to reveal His glory.
So, by the time Jesus arrives, Lazarus has been in the tomb for four days. When Martha sees Jesus, she says, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (Can you hear the pain in her voice? She was a follower, a disciple. She had probably seen many healings. I think she wondered why Jesus hadn’t come to heal the ones He loved.) Then she says, “But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Could that be hope? Is there a glimmer of faith, even though things look so bleak, so desperate? Lazarus is DEAD, but……..

Martha’s reaction reminds me of Jesus’ first miracle, when He changed the water to wine. Even though it was a much smaller scale, things looked impossible at the wedding at Cana. For the bridegroom and his family, this would be no small affair. To run out of wine on such an important day, his wedding day, would be unthinkable! So, Mary, the mother of Jesus, simply comes to Jesus and tells Him they have run out of wine. Jesus says, “How does this involve me? My time has not yet come.” The situation looks bleak, dead. But, Mary doesn’t argue or plead with Jesus. She simply tells the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” It reminds me of Martha’s statement.

“But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”




So, Jesus tells Martha that Lazarus will rise from the dead. Martha answers, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”No, Martha. Not on the last day. Today. Expect the miracle Today.

Jesus says the most amazing words, “I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Martha does believe and confesses her faith.

Jesus does indeed raise Lazarus from the grave. Jesus calls to him and Lazarus comes out of the grave ALIVE.

Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. This is so amazing! We have the promise of eternal life when we believe in Him. We will never die. But, there is so much more to this precious name of Jesus. He can resurrect everything dead in our lives!Is there a relationship that is dead in your life? A hope that has died? A dream? Have you given up for dead the idea of victory? Jesus CAN resurrect it! That is why Jesus didn’t just heal Lazarus. Jesus made sure that Lazarus was DEAD and BURIED! There was no hope, no life left. But, Jesus is hope. Jesus is life. He brings to life what is dead. There is nothing that is so gone, so dead that Jesus can not resurrect it. He IS the resurrection. He IS the life. With God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!
Like Jesus asked Martha, I ask you, “Do you believe this?” Jesus said, “I AM the resurrection and the life. HE WHO BELIEVES IN ME will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and BELIEVES in me will never die.” We must believe. We must have faith. Jesus will do it, but we must join with Him in faith.

Father God, thank you for your gift of Life! Thank you that through Jesus you bring to life the things we think are dead, hopeless. Give us the faith to believe you can do this, Lord! Jesus asks us if we believe! Lord, help our unbelief! Father, by the power of your Holy Spirit, show us areas of our lives that you want to bring back to life but are waiting for our faith. Thank you for Jesus! Thank you for Jesus! Thank you for your love. I love you! I love you! In Jesus precious Name, the Life, the Resurrection, we pray. Amen.

Thankful Thursday

I am so thankful for my friend, Christine's new relationship with Jesus that I had to post it under Thankful Thursday! I have already posted the complete story in "Who Is Jesus- I Am Part 3" under this link: http://tracyberta.blogspot.com/2008/03/who-is-jesus-i-am-part-3.html if you would like to read it. Here is Christine's email after she made Jesus the Lord of her life Monday night. I hope her story blesses you like it has me! I rejoice in you, Jesus! I am so thankful for your love! I am so thankful that you woo us relentlessly...........

For those of you who were not at the study last night, we talked about knowing when we first had a relationship with Jesus. I had a hard time figuring it out, because I never really had "a day" when I knew like others have had. Those of you there last night, thank you so much for your encouragement. I HAD THAT CHAT WITH GOD! Praise Jesus! All the way home in my car. I cried almost the whole way, I was so moved by simply saying out loud to God that I want to commit my life to Him. I had no idea I would feel that way. Tracy, your analogy to a wedding day says it all. I was almost nervous starting out, like having cold feet or something. But by the end I knew I was entering the best relationship of my life. As I started praying and talking to God, the words just flowed. I just knew He was there, in my car, in my heart, surrounding me. And you know what else? It was as if I could feel you all praying for me. I am so blessed for all of you, really, really, really! I don't have Maria's email, but will you forward this to her for me? You all were so non-judgemental last night and I am so blessed to have you all in my life. Thank you for your encouragement! How awesome of a gift is that??!! I couldn't ask for better people to take this journey with. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

In Christ's presence,

Happy 1st Birthday, Abigail!

Birthday Breakfast.....yum!

Fun at Chuck E. Cheese!!!!

Mmmmmmm....... Look at my cake!!!!!!!!!! ......yummmmmm!!!

Happy Birthday, Abigail Grace!
March 19, 2007

Word-filled Wednesday!

“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”-Zephaniah 3:16

In honor of Abigail's 1st birthday, I would like to post one of my favorite verses on my 1st Word-filled Wednesday- Zephaniah 3:16. When Abigail was born, God spoke to my heart a very special meaning to this verse. I journaled about it a year ago:

As I snuggle Abby, only a few weeks old, inhaling her sweet baby smell, rubbing my cheek against her soft skin, my heart fills with inexpressible JOY! I look down into her eyes and my heart feels like it is going to burst because I am filled with so much love for her. Could it be possible to love a person so much? To be filled with such delight just LOOKING at someone?

Abby hasn’t DONE anything. She hasn’t pleased me because of her deeds or actions. I am delighted in her because she IS. She just lays there and IS. She does not need to perform in any way to please me. She doesn’t have to be “good.” I just love her- I can’t even explain it or put it into words. I love her with a love that can not be measured because she is mine.

God has shown me again how He feels for me by showing me how I feel for my children. “He takes great delight in me (and you!) and rejoices over me (and you!) with singing”- not because I have DONE anything, but simply because I exist and I am His. And, just as I look down at Abby, my heart bursting with love and joy, our Heavenly Father looks down at us, His heart bursting with love and joy.
He breathes us in, rubs our cheeks, and is delighted in us. Oh, let that sink in! How our Father loves us!

Please visit Word Filled Wednesday for more inspiration!


John 3:16 by Max Lucado.......Giveaway!!!!!!!!!

In honor of Easter, I would love to give away the wonderful book, "John 3:16" by Max Lucado!

"Embark on a journey of hope and encouragement for daily living with Max Lucado as he unpacks the timeless message of John 3:16. If you know nothing of the Bible, start here. If you know everything in the Bible, return here. It's a twenty-six word parade of hope: beginning with God, ending with life and urging us to do the same. He Loves. He Gave. We Believe. We live."

It's simple! All you have to do is leave a comment- make sure you have an email address listed so that I can let you know if you win! I will draw a name on Easter Sunday and send out your book on Easter Monday. May you be blessed this Resurrection Day in abundance!

Miracle Monday

Aaahhh!!!!!!!! Have you ever gotten behind and struggled with catching back up? Well, that is me right now. (I could use some prayers in this area!) Anyway, I am posting a new meme that I am excited to participate in, "Miracle Monday." I know, I know, it is Tuesday.....that's what I mean about being behind! But, I love this idea- to share the "everyday" miracles that we see God working in our lives. And, by thinking about them, realizing THAT and HOW God works in our lives every minute. He is always there- He never leaves our side. Like yesterday, at Target, when I had Brian and the kids waiting for me in the car (mostly crying) and every checkout line was so long. I said a little prayer asking God to help and a very nice Target employee led me to a new line opening. Oh, how I thanked Him and gave Him glory!

So, please go over to a Mom's Life http://beth-amomslife.blogspot.com/ to read all of the amazing ways God is working in people's lives! God is good and there are miracles all around when we open our eyes to see them.

So, this week, in honor of Abigail's 1st birthday tomorrow, I would like to share my miracle.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans for hope and a future. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.”-Jeremiah 29:11 God does have a plan for our lives! Now, the funny thing is sometimes our plans are not always God’s plans! His plans for us can look very different from our own at times. Brian and I were not planning a fifth child. Our family, we thought, was "perfect." We were comfortable.... I can definitely say, A NEW BABY WAS NOT OUR PLAN! In fact, we were taking precautions to prevent any chance of another baby. We sold all of our baby things- car seats, strollers, clothes, bouncy seats, everything- in a garage sale. I had given away all maternity clothes.

Well, we found out we were expecting in July after a trip to Adventureland Amusement Park. We went when it was really HOT- in the 90's. Several times, I had to sit down because I thought I was going to pass out. I thought I had heat stroke! When I continued to be sick Saturday, Sunday, and then Monday, I told Brian I needed to get a pregnancy test. His response was, "Why?" He just figured birth control was 100% accurate!

To be honest, when I first took the pregnancy test and it was positive, I did NOT see the humor in our situation! Since this is my 7th pregnancy, I have taken MANY tests. For the first time, that positive sign did not fill me with exuberant joy. In fact, if I were to be completely honest, I felt disappointment, anxiousness, and fear. You see, I had my plans all figured out. I had thought, Aaron, my youngest, would start preschool in the fall. I thought, "I am in new season of life! I finally have a little independence, I can concentrate more on writing and speaking. I can volunteer at school. I could even go have coffee with friends- for the first time in 10 years!"

A new baby was the farthest thing from "my plan!"You see, God’s plans may look so different than ours! We have an idea of what we’re going to do, how it should be done, and the timing of it all. The Bible says, “God’s ways are not our ways. But, God's ways are perfect." And, reminding myself of Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you (God knows what He's doing!), plans for GOOD and not evil, plans to PROSPER YOU AND NOT HARM YOU, plans for hope and a future." If God's plan was a new baby, then that was good! Even though it took us by surprise, it was a good plan for our family.

What really turned my thinking around, though, was Psalm 147 that says, "Sons are a heritage from the Lord. Children are a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate."

Wow! I looked at my pregnancy in a whole new way! God was rewarding me! And, I felt badly because I had not seen this child as a "blessing.'' It was like that saying, "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth." I had taken God's gift for granted and wasn't thankful for it. Boy, does the Truth have a way of changing your thinking! I replaced the lie the enemy and my flesh had been deceiving me with, stealing the joy from this pregnancy with His Truth!

When Abigail was born, Brian and I were overwhelmed by the love we felt for her. And, we wondered how could we think we didn't NEED her? That was the emotion I felt the strongest.....how could I ever had thought that I didn't NEED another baby? When we would look at her we were filled with such joy. We were so thankful that she was a part of our family. She was definitely our miracle.

The republished post that tells about Abagail's birth follows..........

Father God, thank you for being a part of our lives. Thank you for your miracles. Give us eyes to see your miracles every day. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Baby Abigail
Greetings, all!Grace and peace to you all from our Lord Jesus Christ!

Sorry it has taken so long to get to all of you! Thank you all for your well wishes and congratulations! Abigail is doing awesome and mommy is LOVING "being home" snuggling this sweet baby. I never thought I would be doing all of these things again- nursing a baby, burping a baby, changing diapers. What joy there is in taking care of this little one!!!!! She is so warm and snuggly and sweet!I have so many praises to share with you!!!!!

First of all, it is so neat that Abby is 10 days old today- on her actual due date!!!! First, I praise You and thank You Lord for Abby waiting to being induced last Monday. We got to the hospital at 8:00 AM and the nurse started the Group B Strepp antibiotics right away. When Dr. checked me about 9:00, I was dilated to 5. She was funny! She "panicked" and was like, "Oh, my! I need to get things going here!!!!" She started hustling around, getting things ready for a delivery. I could have told her- not to worry- I am not "in labor" until I am at least 8cm!

Anyway, Brian and I "hung out" until Dr. came back at noon. We had papers to fill out and questions to answer with the nurse. At noon Dr. broke my water. We did NOT want to do pitosin- we wanted to let the baby come on its own. So, we walked and walked around the hospital floor. Contractions were light- about 5 min. apart. At 2:30, contractions a got a little stronger. We continued to walk through them. By 3:15 it was time to get back to the birth room! Contractions were about 2 min. apart. By 3:30 they were one after another. I couldn't believe when Dr. said to push on the next contraction! Two more pushes and Abigail was born!

She was born at 3:55 and weighed only 8 lbs, 3 oz (little compared to Aaron and Aly!).

Thank You Lord that Abigail is healthy and was not affected at all by the Group B. Thank You for all of the prayers and support from our family, friends, sisters and brothers in Christ! We felt their prayers! Thank You for the wonderful hospital staff! Thank You for our Dr. who also seeks You and trusts in Your Wisdom, Lord! I pray such blessings and love on these wonderful people!Thank You for Lansinoh (lanolin ointment for soreness during breastfeeding)! Thank You that You have given me wisdom after nursing 4 other children! I knew how to work with Abby to get her latch corrected. I thank You Lord for patience to wait through the hardest time and most painful (when your body is sore already from having a baby!), to continue to work through the nursing. Thank You for reminding me that it is just a short time ( a few days to a week) that I have to get through before nursing becomes beautiful and wonderful time to bond with baby. Thank You for continuing to remind me of Romans 8:18- that my present sufferings would not compare to the glory to come! Thank You for my MP3 player so that I could listen to my music while nursing to "calm" me down!Thank You for all of the support and love we have received from friends- meals, phone calls, just the thought that I could call any of these people if I need anything! Also, thank You for a reminder from a dear friend and mentor to stay in the Word right now, more than ever! Lord, my prayer is that You would help me to find the time to fill up on Your Word. Thank You for Your continued presence and so many answered prayers!

Let's meditate on Psalm 139:13-16"For You created my inmost being, You knit me together in my mother's womb (and as I look at Abigail, I am amazed at how He knit her together in my womb! He knit together her personality, her dark hair, her blue eyes, everything about her!). I praise You because I am wonderfully and fearfully made! (Wow! each one of us is unique! How amazing God is! What an incredible Creator! Looking at Abigail's little fingers and toes- so tiny. Even as I change her diapers I amazed at how each part of her body was made to work a certain way!); Your works are wonderful! I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, YOUR EYES SAW MY UNFORMED BODY. (Selah! Stop and think on that!) All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. (Isn't that wonderful??? All of Abigail's days God already knows! He has written each day in His book and knows what will happen!) Praise You, Lord!"

I cannot name myself as one
Who never goes astray,
Who never stumbles on the road,
Or leaves the hallowed way.
But when I know that baby feet
Will follow where I've trod,
I walk with care that
They too may walk
That road that leads to God." - Margaret Fishback Powers

Lord, we Praise You and thank You! Your blessings and miracles are all around us. Give us eyes to see You, Lord, never to take for granted all that You do and all that You are. Lord, I pray that You would help me be the mother You have called me to be. I know I will make mistakes, and I know I will be forgiven in You. Help me to be a Light shining for You, especially for my children. Help me to "walk with care" so that they will look to You, Father! Praise You, Jesus! In the Most Mighty Name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Blessings to all of you, dear ones!
Posted by Tracy Berta-daughter to the King, wife, mother, speaker, writer at 10:43 AM

Thankful Thursday

Oh, I am so thankful for the first signs of Spring! The weather is warmer, the snow is finally beginning to melt, revealing the patches of green underneath, and I even saw a very determined flower poking through the snow (maybe a daffodil? Just the greenery had made its way through). The sweet sparrows are fluttering, and I saw two morning doves nibbling at the bread we had put out. I know it won't be long until I am awakened each morning to their sweet song. Ah, spring is in the air! When I take deep breaths outside, I can even smell the crispness, the cleaness. I am so thankful for Spring.

This Spring I am especially thankful because the winter was long. We had record snow falls, debilitating ice storms, and very cold temperatures. I love that God can show us how wonderful Spring is by the trials of the winter. Would I have appreciated this Spring if it were not for such a hard winter? Now, I am looking forward to Spring with eager expectation......hope. I have experienced the death of winter and now long for the new Life of Spring. Oh, how good God is. Easter can only be in this season of Life. When we experience Christ's resurrection from the darkness of death, our eyes, nose, ears- all of our senses experience the same thing happening in nature. We see things "spring to life" after a long, cold, bleak season of death. There is a time for winter. There is a time for Spring.

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

I am thankful for Spring because it a season of Life, and I am thankful for the Life that brings Spring.

A Prayer in Spring
Robert Frost (1915)
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.
For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

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One Thing

Only one thing is needed............As I was reading this morning, God led me to Psalm 27-

"ONE THING I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple." -Psalm 27:4

Oh, Lord, how that hit me this morning! ONE THING, ONE THING, ONE THING....Is that the ONE THING I ask of the Lord? Is that what I seek? Is that what I want more than anything- to gaze upon the His beauty and to seek Him with all of my heart? It occured to me that if I would begin seeking ONE THING, all of the other things would "fall into place."

I want to SEEK God with all of my heart, mind, and soul! I want to seek Him as treasure. "...you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart." God promises that we will find Him. He is NOT hiding! It is not like a game of hide-and-seek where you try to hide from the seeker and NOT be found to win the game. God WANTS us to look for Him. He wants us to turn to HIM. He wants us to FIND Him. He just asks ONE THING- that is with our whole heart- not a divided devotion. He doesn't want to share our love with idols or other things that would pull our heart from Him. He wants us to make Him our ONE THING! He wants us to hunger for Him! God wants us to seek after Him in an intimate, real, living, breathing relationship with Him.

As I pondered, "ONE THING," I immediately thought about Mary and Martha and what Jesus taught them and us about ONE THING.

These sisters both dearly loved Jesus, and were dearly loved by Jesus. He came often to visit and teach them. As the story goes, Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus while Martha was preparing a meal for them. In fact, the Bible says, “Martha was distracted by her many tasks.” You know, I’m sure Jesus would have been happy with peanut butter and jelly, but Martha must have been putting out quite a spread. Well, there is our Martha, “distracted by her many tasks,” and getting irritated at her sister.

Can’t you picture her in the kitchen, having a “pity party,” talking to herself, listing all of the things she is doing WITHOUT any help? As she is working, she is getting madder and madder that she is the only one doing these tasks. I picture her slamming the cabinet doors, banging the dishes down. Sighing loudly, thinking that if Mary and Jesus hear, maybe they will "get it?"

Finally, Martha explodes! She comes to Jesus, whining, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

Now, take a step back, and look at what Martha is doing- she is making a meal for JESUS. She is serving the Lord. She is doing a “good” thing. Like, Martha, I can fill my life with so many distractions- sometimes very “good” things, and like Martha, I get overwhelmed and frustrated, and I begin feeling sorry for myself, and I, too, usually explode. “Don’t You care, Lord? I’m doing this all by myself! Make Brian help me.”

What does Jesus tell Martha? He says, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her.”

How many times when I am banging doors, slamming dishes, and sighing loudly, having my own pity party, feeling sorry for myself, complaining that life is not fair, do I hear my Lord whisper to me, “Tracy, Tracy, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.”

The ONE THING that is needed is getting to feet of Jesus, like Mary. It is putting everything else aside and spending this close, intimate time with Him. ONE thing, only one thing! You see, when you are at the feet of Jesus, you hear his voice. You are still and quiet and listening. You are in a posture of looking up. He will whisper to you what is important, what His will is. You may find that His priorities for you are much different than your own. You begin to hear and understand, and begin to ask, “In light of eternity, what really matters? What is really important?”

And, notice what Jesus says, “Mary has chosen what is better, AND IT WON’T BE TAKEN FROM HER.” Don’t skip that message from Jesus. You see, Satan loves to attack us in this area. He tries to make us feel guilty for being unproductive. We think, “We got to get up and get some work done! There is laundry, there are dishes, there are bills to pay!” But, Jesus is telling us to not be distracted by these things, that it is better to sit at His feet, and when we choose to, it won’t be taken from us.

So, I pray the prayer of David, "One thing I ask of you, Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life (Lord, I want to DWELL in your presence, completely filled with you. I want to be filled to the measure with all the fullness of God. I want to draw near to you. Lord, my desire is to ABIDE in you!), to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord (Lord, you ARE altogether beautiful, altogether wonderful to me!) and to seek Him" (Lord, I choose to seek you with all my heart. Lord, you are the treasure I seek). Father, help me to remember that only ONE thing is needed- to sit at your feet. Help me to make you my ONE THING! In the precious name

Thankful Thursday

Father God, I thank you! Today I want to thank you for your glorious Word! How precious it is! How alive it is! How it cuts right to my spirit! It fills me with life, with energy!

"I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your Word.....your statues are my delight; they are my councelors.
...your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart."-Psalm 119

I love the Word and am so thankful that God has given us the beautiful gift of it. And, thank you, Precious Father, you have given us the Holy Spirit that teaches us in the Word!
I have recently begun listening to the Word on CD and DVD. I have "The Gospel of John" on DVD and watch it often, either for our movie time, or just putting it in while I am working around the house. I don't always SEE the movie, but I hear the sound, and I am mediatating on the Word. It is awesome. This movie is actually word for word the Book of John. It is amazing that when you hear the Word SPOKEN, you can actually hear things that you may have missed reading it. I'll give you an example. I had read verse 8:58 before but did not "get it" until I heard it said by the actor playing Jesus. I was in my closet putting away clothes, had the DVD on loud in the bedroom, had to stop what I was doing and rewatch that part.

It was when Jesus was in the temple talking the people. He was telling them that if they were from God, they would believe that God, His Father had sent Him. They think he is crazy, or demon possessed and the exchange between them went on for several verses (12-58). They are claiming to be Abraham's children and followers. Jesus tells them if they were truly children of Abraham, they would have FAITH (Abraham is the father of faith!!!!!). Jesus tells them Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing Jesus' day. They of course, laugh, saying how could you have talked to Abraham???? He was dead long before you were even born. Now listen to this, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth. Before Abraham was born, I am!" At this, the picked up stones to stone Him, but Jesus hid himself..."

WOW!!!!!!!! When I read that in my Bible, I had passed right over it. But, hearing it out loud, you couldn't miss it!!!!! Jesus was calling himself "I AM." Do you remember when Moses talked to God through the burning bush? God tells Moses to go free his people from Egypt. Moses asks, "what is your name? Who should I say sent me?" God answers, "I AM WHO I AM. Tell them I AM has sent me." (Exodus 3). Do you see now why the people wanted to stone Jesus? Jesus was referring to that sacred Name of God- I AM. He was saying, I am I AM!!!!!! Wow! Anyone who says Jesus wasn't controversial hasn't studied the Gospels!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But, I may have missed that really cool revelation if I hadn't HEARD it. And, you may be wondering, what is the big deal with that? I don't get it. Why is Tracy so excited anyway???? It is because the Holy Spirit teaches each one of us individually- shining Light on scripture and quickening it in our hearts. Don't be "spoon fed" the Word. Please don't just read blogs, listen to speakers, go to church and hear sermons, PICK UP THIS WORD AND READ IT FOR YOURSELF!!!! LET THE HOLY SPIRIT TEACH YOU AND GUIDE YOU! BE TRANSFORMED BY IT! LET IT BRING YOU JOY!!!!!!!!
So, for my Thankful Thursday, I am so thankful for the Word. I am also thankful for different ways of hearing scripture. Check out:


Wordless Wednesday...........

We had so much fun when we went to the Wisconsin Dells. It was such a blessing! Not only did I have the privilege of speaking to precious women, but I also was treated to a mini-vacation with my family. It was Abby's 1st time swimming! Thank you, Lord!

Here comes the bride! (and the groom and the flower girl and the minister!)

Well, we had a wedding over the weekend at our house. It was very exciting. The girls had been "planning" it all week- what to wear, how to decorate the house, what to have to eat at the reception, which of mom's lipsticks to wear.........all the "details" of an extravagant wedding!

Who got married, you ask? Why Aly, our 7 yr. old and Aaron, our 4 yr. old, of course! Now, before you get "grossed out" because they are brother and sister (like Andrew, our 11 yr old!), please know they play imagination games all the time. They pretend to be puppies (they "leash" one another and take each other for walks around the house) and horses, they play school, and "space"(complete with a homemade rocket filled with used "gizmos" bought from an aviation company), restaurant........ I will never forget the summer that we played treasure hunt. But, first we had to put on pirate clothes, paint mustaches and scars on us, make a map with burned edges, and hide jewels in the yard. It was a fun game that lasted almost all day! All this to say, we like to pretend at our house and the kids love to make believe they are grown ups. So, it wasn't weird that Aly and Aaron wanted to have a wedding. They know they wouldn't really marry a sibling in real life.

Well, like I said, it took a few days of planning for the Sunday evening wedding. Well, on Friday, driving in the van, Aaron said, "Mommy, I am kind of scared to marry Aly." This got my curiosity peeked and I asked why. He answered, totally serious, "Because I'm already married to Ashley." Apparently they had played a scaled-down version of wedding last weekend and he had married his other sister, Ashley, 9! After chuckling, I explained that they were just pretending and that he wasn't really married to his sisters.

I then thought this was a perfect "God moment" and opportunity to tell him that God has wonderful plans for his future. I said, "Aaron, God loves you so much. When you grow up, you will get married to a special woman. And, God has that special wife already picked out for you."

After a brief pause, Aaron said, "I'm gonna pick out my own wife!"

It still makes me chuckle!

But, I thought, oh, how like that I am! I want to pick out my own ______! I don't always want to trust God and allow him to provide, to lead, and to direct my steps. I think I know what is best for me and that I can do it on my own. So many times, I just barrel ahead, doing it my way.

I want Proverbs 3:5-7 to be the cry of my heart (but I want to live it, not just recite it!):

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean NOT upon your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your steps, He will straighten your paths."

Trust........Have I really entrusted God with my whole life- every detail? Or, have I held certain areas back- either not wanting to trust God because He may tell me "no" in an area, or I think I can "handle" it, so I WANT to do it myself, or I haven't even thought about turning this area over. God, I want to completely trust you with every area of my life. I don't just want to give "lip service" to this trust, but I want my actions to prove that I trust you through a joyful obedience. I want to surrender every area of my life and every part of ME over to you.

Lean NOT upon my own understanding....Again, how many times, like Aaron, do I say, "I can do this myself!" I don't need God's or anyone's help because I have it under control. I am competent. I can do it. Thank you, God, that I DON'T have to lean upon my own understanding. Thank you that you are an ever-present help in my life. Thank you, Lord, that you are wise and that you have good plans for my life. Thank you, Lord, that "you give wisdom to anyone who ASKS and that you give it generously, without fault finding."

In ALL my ways, acknowledge Him......the big, the little, everything. He knows me better than I know myself. He knows every detail about me (see Psalm 139). I want to seek God in every detail, in ALL my ways. Father, help me to remember to seek you in all the details in my life. If "even the hairs on my head are numbered," how concerned you are for all the details of my life. Help me, Lord, to NOT "be anxious for anything, but to pray about everything" (Phil. 4:6) Help me to seek you in all my ways- from relationships with family members to treating the checkout lady with kindness, to big plans of my life, to asking you help me to plan supper! I want you, Lord, to be in every part of my life!

THEN!!!!!God will direct my steps, He will straighten my path.........Don't you want God to lead you and guide you? Don't you want Him to straighten those crooked paths? Oh, that He would direct my steps! He has good plans for our lives. He gives us the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us. When we are trusting Him, we are following Him, following His leading, walking the straight path! Father, thank you for guiding me and leading me! I want you to direct me. Lord, you see the end from the beginning- you know where all the pitfalls are. I know that you will lead me on level ground. I know your ways "are not my ways- but your ways are perfect." I thank you that you are a good God with a good plan for my life. Praise you, God! Thank you!

Jesus, I want to be like you!

We have all seen the bracelets (or heard of them), WWJD- What Would Jesus Do. Although I never bought one, the concept is the cry of my heart. I want to "do" things- do life the way Jesus would do it. I want to shine the light of Jesus by BEING- in my words, in my actions, my reactions. Lord, I feel like I have "backslidden" in this area! I want to reflect the light of Christ in everything I do, in everything I am.

Listen to what Kay Arthur says:

"When we stand before Him, one second in eternity will erase all care and thought of anything except whether or not we allowed the situations of life to make us more like Him. So remember, every situation that requires us to crucify our desires, our reactions, is an opportunity to let people see Jesus in us."

Oh, how my heart cries, "Amen!" How I want to allow the situations of life to make me more like Him. But, first I need to surrender myself to Him. I need to crucify my SELFISH nature and allow Jesus to be BIG in ME! How I want you, Jesus, to reign in my life! So, why do I keep pushing you off of the throne? Why do I step up and take over???????

I love when John the Baptist said, "I must decrease so that He (Jesus) may increase." That is my prayer, God! I want to decrease so that you may increase!

I want Jesus to be increased in my reactions when life isn't going my way. I want Jesus to be increased when I need an extra dose of patience and self-control (both fruit of the spirit- I have them already- but I want them to INCREASE in me!). I want Jesus to increase when I am being judgemental in my thinking of others. I want Jesus to increase when I should be more merciful. I want Jesus to increase in me so that I can forgive "yet while they are still sinners"- not waiting for an apology or for them to "get what they deserve." I want Jesus to be increased so that I can love how He LOVES. I want Jesus to increase in me so that I will obey the will of the Father. I want Jesus to increase in me so that I will trust and believe- not just in my head, but in my heart so that it is evident in my actions!

"For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested (revealed) in our mortal flesh." -2Corinthians 4:11

"Let us keep our eyes on Jesus, the AUTHOR and PERFECTER of our faith..."- Hebrews 12:2

"...He that began a good work in you will carry it on to completion....."-Philippians 1:6

"Therefore, I urge you, believers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship."-Romans 12:1

Father God, praise you! Lord, you are good, you are glorious. Thank you for Jesus Christ. Thank you for grace and your Holy Spirit which empowers me to live my life in Jesus Christ! I don't have to react to situations the way my flesh wants. I don't have to lose my temper. I don't have to complain. I don't have to worry or fear. Lord, I don't have to do this in my own strength. "...your grace is sufficient for all my needs- where I am weak, you are strong!" I don't have to rely on or in my strength. But, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Help me to decrease, Jesus, so that you may increase. Help me to remember that every time I crucify my selfish reactions, my wrong thinking, my desires, it is an opportunity to allow Jesus to shine through me. Help me to allow you to be BIG in me. In Jesus' precious name I pray. Amen.


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