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Celebrating at our house! (so many reasons to…)

Well…this has been one PERFECT weekend I must say! AND…it has ALSO been yours truly’s birthday weekend!!! Yep! This momma turned 34 years old today (by the way–doesn’t Facebook make you feel SO LOVED on your birthday…when all 1500 of your VBFF send you birthday wishes!!! SO fun:) I just love that my birthday fell on a Sunday this year…as many of you who know me–Sunday is one of my favorite days!!! I force myself to REST (much needed always!) and there is nothing more refreshing to meet with a big group of believers and worship together. I was just singing in church this morning thinking what a sweet birthday gift it was to get to start my day with worship!!! ITY and Frankie baby stayed at home with daddy (didn’t want to share their runny noses) while Parker, Laney and I scooted off to church. Truly, I was overwhelmed this morning…just thinking HOW GOOD the Lord has been to me! Then I sat there thinking…there are so many who do not believe…who do not know Jesus this Christmas…who may look at my other brothers and sisters in Christ…and me and think…half of the time they just talk mumbo jumbo–they just doesn’t live in reality…I mean…can you REALLY KNOW Jesus? I mean…really?

Well, I’ve been there…and I completely understand what some of you MIGHT be thinking…

I know it seems crazy…to think this baby born in manger was Jesus, God’s son. To think this baby was actually part of the Trinity…God made fles!?!? That this boy, once a teen…a tween even…then a man…was sinless. Yet–to cover our sins there needed to be a perfect sacrifice…one without sin. So, God sent His son–to be that sacrifice for us. What kind of God would send His son to be sacrificed anyway? A God that loved you…one that would risk everything in order to have a relationship with you…a REAL relationship that can only be understood when you take the chance of seeking Him out to discover if truly this baby was God made flesh…so you might know Him and follow Him as Your ultimate Father. Yes, a crazy story…but my friends–when you know Him…you KNOW Him–and truly it is a miracle. This baby in a manger came so we might have a relationship with God. He loved us that much. And, indeed, the story is wild…but would you expect anything else out of a miraculous God? Oh to know the story! To BELIEVE the story!!! And to be the one telling my children of this baby…this miracle. There is no greater story you can tell your children this Christmas…so don’t let this week slip by without sitting down as a family to retell the most beautiful story of all. Don’t let just teachers, friends, books, grandparents, tv or anyone else be the one to pour the most beautiful story of Christmas into your children this week. No matter their ages…this story is the story that changes hearts and lives…through the birth of a Savior who came so we might know Him.

sweet Laney as Mary in last week’s school performance

Parker the shepherd

I sat there during worship this morning thinking of the Savior born as a babe in the manger as the congregation sang “O Holy Night”. It’s the first song on my playlist today. Go ahead…start it over…turn it up…close your eyes–and take it in. The words…so powerful and true.

As I sang “fall on your knees”…it was if my knees could buckle at any moment…and truly my heart wanted to fall to my knees. O night, devine!!! I thought of my little babes back home…how GOOD the Lord has been to me. My sweet ones who would soon run out of their Sunday school rooms with candy canes and their hand-made ornaments that I would safely tuck away and forever treasure. The hymn continued…In Him all oppression will cease…I thought of the children THROUGHOUT the world…whose lives are SO FAR DIFFERENT from my children…His precious ones being trafficked into sex slavery…orphans doubling up in cribs in orphanages with not a gift to their name this Christmas…orphans who don’t even know a BIRTH DATE like I know mine today…with no idea the day they were born as there has been no one to tell them or remind them…just left–abandoned and hoping for love…YET…IN HIM ALL OPPRESION WILL CEASETHIS is why Jesus came! This is what the night devine…O Holy Night WAS ALL ABOUT. His calling on my life is just beginning…how thankful I am to know Him and that I get to live for Him…

I was overwhelmed thinking more on His goodness dispite the things that overwhelm us when we pray “break our hearts for what breaks Yours”…although the sin of the world and hard things you see can make your heart weary…truly in Him the weary heart rejoices for He came for a purpose. In Him hope is present!! And I love how this song proclaims that!!!

WHAT a way to start your birthday and end your weekend!!! Thank you God for this most precious, perfect gift!!! (Truthfully…my day started long before church…with my 3 nieces calling me at 8am to sing Happy Birthday to me! So sweet:) And to be reminded during worship of our purpose in this world…all the ways He has cared for and blessed us…and our continued purpose!!!

Instead of celebrating with cake, candles and ice cream…I just wanted to take a minute to really celebrate with His goodness in my life!!!

SO thankful for my kids being raised in environments that surround them with Jesus’s love…

Thankful that as we prayed about God putting other families like ours in our lives…to raise our kids together and do ministry together…and life together…that He didn’t just bring one–or two (although we would have SO THANKFUL for that!!!) Instead He brought LOTS!!! And thankful that we spent our weekend celebrating Christmas TOGETHER!!!! Some of the sweet families who meet monthly in our home…

(these kids LOOOOVE some crafts…so you know I just adore them! they are SO MUCH FUN!!!)

Some of the Levy crew…

LOOOVE this little stinker!


We’re rejoicing because the cool Teabos moved to town last month!!

And of course Angie…who helped us get the group started…

One of ITY’s sidekicks with his momma Tiffiny

More of ITY’s sidekicks…

SOOOO many reasons to celebrate!!! So thankful for these families and how God is using them to make change all over the world through His sweet children.

AND there is something else I am VERYYYY thankful for today!!! We are EXPECTING A BABY!!!!! (okay, okay…I, personally am not expecting a baby!!!) BUT…my bestfriend Kelly IS!!! SO…I FEEL LIKE I am!!! Kelly has been my friend since the 7th grade and this is the year that we’ve actually lived with our hubbies longer than been roomies ourselves!!! We were roomates ALL THROUGH collage at Auburn and THEN 4 years after college!!! SO…we might as well be twins…sisters…or something like that and her children are like mine and vice versa…SOOOO we are expecting;). You will hear A LOT about doctor visits from me because I’M SO EXCITED!!! (Sorry if I threw some of you off there for a second!) Congratulations Kelly and Shawn!!! This will be #3 for Kelly! And I’m so excited!!! We have raised our babies together…and I’m so excited to welcome another sweet one into this world! Here is a picture some of you might remember from last summer of our babies together!

WHEW!!! What a POST! Off to enjoy my babies after nap time!!! Hope you all had a GREAT weekend!!! DON’T FORGET to enter the t-shirt give-away!!! We’ve already sold 50 t-shirts but we need to sell 200 more!!! SO…see this post and comment on how many times I should enter you…there just MIGHT a few surprises in store for the winner!!!

Jen - December 19, 2010 - 8:30 pm

Happy Birthday! Awesome post. (:

Amy @ Filled With Praise - December 19, 2010 - 8:58 pm

Happy Birthday!!!! I love that you and Elijah share the same day.
Love ya,

Alison - December 19, 2010 - 10:53 pm

Happy Birthday, Andrea!!! Sounds like you had a great birthday!! So glad! And yes, you did throw me off with the “we’re expecting a baby!” comment! 🙂

laura wesson - December 20, 2010 - 1:35 am

Happy Birthday, Andrea. . .we share a birthday!! Sounds like you’ve had a great weekend. Looking forward to meeting you in Feb.

Kristi - December 20, 2010 - 9:59 am

Love this! “Oh Holy Night” has been the most powerful song to me as well this season. Every time I hear the line “all oppression will cease” I completely lose it. I think of Abby home with us and I think of all the others that need a home. My heart breaks more and more for another in ET. Hmmm!

Karen - December 20, 2010 - 11:15 am

My heart gets a little weepy every time I read about the adoption conference… because I want to come. 🙂 In March, we brought home our 6th child, our first adoption. Like you, I will never be the same nor do I want to be the same. My soul cries out to help those left behind- I’m not sure what my call is yet and I am struggling in the wait. Homeschooling the 6 children keeps me oh so very busy but I know there is so much more I should be doing. I’d love to be around like-minded people. Any possibility of a waiting list? If not, then I just don’t need to be there and I need to accept the closed door. 🙂